Tag Archives: salvation

Choose Now

Choose Now

The Message

I have a message for you:
Your sins are already forgiven.

Matthew 12:22-32

Jesus paid for all sin, past, present, and future; and God accepted His payment on our behalf.

God is not shocked or surprised by your sin. He knows it all and has seen it all before, yet He still sent His Son, loving us all enough to let His Son choose to pay the price we owe for the evils He did not do. And Jesus did so willingly out of love, delivering all who receive His gift of saving grace, delivering us from sin’s death – separation from God, desiring to give us life with God for all eternity.

There’s only one sin God will not forgive and Jesus doesn’t cover: the sin of refusing to believe and trust the truth of the work of God’s Spirit in birthing Christ to a virgin; living through Him, performing miracles and teaching truth; letting Him die on a cruel cross on our behalf so He (the Spirit Power of God) could raise Him to life again; taking Him up in ascension to sit on God’s throne as King of kings and Lord of lords. If we refuse to believe these truths of the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension to Lordship of Jesus Christ, only possible because of God’s work through the power of His Spirit, we cannot possess eternal life with God the Father. When we possess eternal life in Christ, He gives us the Spirit Power of God, making us a new creation, bearing the fruit of the nature and image of God in us. Eternity begins when we let God in.

Your sins are forgiven. Receive your gift by believing in Christ, receiving Him as Lord, and you will be saved to eternal Life.

Trust God’s Plow

Past hurts, traumas, insults, bitterness, etc., harden us. We can let God deliver us and turn experience into a victory that ministers healing to others, or we can set in our hardened condition and use our past as excuse for being bitter, angry, hardened, untrusting, etc.. Our past can enslave us or we can walk free.

It may not be easy: bringing the ugly to the surface where it can be properly dealt with can hurt for a bit. It can take time as God works here a little, there a little to free us up. But the pain caused by the work of healing is better than sitting in our hardened state, becoming harder, and bringing others with us into a state of hard heartedness as we hurt them.

Matthew 13:18-23

Morning Prayer: 9/10/22

“God has better plans for us than just giving us comfort. He wants us to have shalom, a Hebrew word that means “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.”” Alisa Keeton, The Wellness Revelation

Father, I pray Shalom for each of us and ours today. As I have come to understand it, great shalom only comes as we fully trust our God. Lack of trust in You breeds unrest. May we rest in peace now, while we have breath to live and thrive for Your glory and praise. In Jesus, amen.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭‬‬
💗🤗🙏🏼

Morning Prayer: 8/24/22

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭45:1-4‬ ‭‬‬

Father, may our words always be founded on the good theme of godliness, righteousness, truth, and love, honoring You with every word. May our words flow from Your heart, knowing You are first to hear, know, and receive our every thought, bringing blessing or curse to Your name. I surrender my tongue to You as Your pen: the pen of the Ready Writer. May I be known as one belonging to You by my words.

Pour forth grace upon my lips, making Your message through me a blessing to those who hear, blessing me in Christ forever. Help me remember that the words of my tongue are a sword, piercing the heart of the listener for good or for evil. May I faithfully gird the Sword of the Spirit on my thigh, O Mighty One, using it properly for Your splendor and Your majesty! In Your majesty ride on victoriously, through my words from You and for You, for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness. Let the right hand, bearing the Sword of Your Word in the power of Your Spirit, teach me awesome things. In Jesus, amen.

Morning Prayer: 8/13/22

Yes! This ⬇️

Father, we tend to fight the wrong battles, focus on the wrong enemy, and walk as defeatists while condemning others. The fight before us is not against flesh and blood pawns. It is demons and principalities that deceive and mislead.

As long as there is life and breath, as long as God is, there is hope. We are tasked to fight the good fight of faith until Jesus comes and the final victory is won. We’re not to stop living, loving, hoping, trusting, and sharing the Good News of faith until that Day and Hour.

We wear ourselves out in the fight, not realizing all we have to do is stand firm in You who are able to make Your servant stand. We tend to look at the battle ground when focus on You and Your glory enthrones You and encases us in Your victory. Forgive us this failure.

Father, teach us to pray. Teach us to praise. Teach us Your way to fight the good fight of faith. Bless us with strength and perseverance, and grant us eyes that see Your army surrounding us, fighting alongside us against the true enemies that come against Your glory, Your truth, Your righteousness, and Your justice. Grant us perseverance, faithfulness, and trust until Jesus comes and the fight is done. In Jesus, amen.

Morning Prayer: 8/10/22

Oh, Father. I know the pain of the work of evil in family, and I know several families who are suffering the destructive force of the hand of evil. I pray You fill them with Your love, and deliver them from the self destructive power of hate, bitterness, unforgiveness, even blame toward self and feelings of guilt gets an ugly grip where it is not truth. Evil destroys lives and families if not dealt with properly. Please grant wise counsel to the hearts and minds of each family member. May they seek Your face as never before and help each other recover.

A thought came out of my mouth the other day when talking about the need to forgive. “I can’t afford to not forgive.” When I heard myself say that, Father, I knew deeper than ever the truth of that fact. Forgiveness is for my own sake, putting no obstacle between me and You who are my first, most vital need and necessity if I am to be of any use to others struck by the evil we face. In Jesus, empower these to love the unlovable for Your names sake and bring to these full healing and restoration in the process, enabling them to forgive those snared and used to work the evil done. Amen.

God is Faithful

“One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was that in order to seek God consistently, you need His assistance. The truth is we have an adversary. There exists a being that does not want us to succeed or to grow deeper in God.” Jovita Sheppard

I know many parents who are in deep grief over choices made and hardship suffered by their kids and grandkids in these days. I know that, for me, I have wondered what on earth happened; what I did wrong: such thoughts leading me to feeling like a failure as a parent.

None of us are perfect, and I certainly had my childhood baggage to get rid of as I learned more godly parenting skills. As Christians, we all realize our own issues and growing pains as followers of Christ and as parents, and we all hope and long to give our kids godly resources that help them live life stronger and better. When they don’t succeed at seeking and trusting God, we grieve and feel the failure. So, the other day, crying out to God again, He came clearly to my mind with this clear understanding:

“You were not a bad mother. You prayed to Me for your children and grandchildren from before they were birthed, giving them to Me. You spoke of Me to them and took them to My Word. You got them into church, and you instructed them in My ways. You continue to encourage them to seek Me. You live your faith before them and love them with My love. You have trusted My lead and followed Me as a parent. Trust me now.

“Stop beating yourself up and keep doing what I taught you to do: loving, praying, encouraging, instructing at every opportunity. They need you to be an ally and support. Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to take you into a defeated spirit where you cannot do these things with confidence in Me.

“I got you through all you experienced in life, using it to get you where you are and make you who you are. I will do exceedingly abundantly in their lives as well. You keep trusting them to Me and My glory will be known.”

Maybe you, like me, were not raised in church or taught about God and His ways. Perhaps, like me, you had to learn godly parenting through on the job training. Keep doing what God taught you to do, knowing He will not fail His good purpose and plan. He will bring good out of the mess we see.

Perhaps you have only recently become a Christian. It is not too late. Seek God and lay your cause at His feet. Trust Him to instruct you. Keep praying for those you love and live the faith you have boldly and unapologetically. Watch with earnest expectation and hope to see what God will do.

May God bless you and yours in these strategic days.

The Fear of The Lord

“The Lord favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭147:11‬ ‭‬‬

I read this and ask God, “Do I fear You as I should? What does fearing You mean?”

How would you define “fear of the Lord”? I don’t quake before Him. Hebrews says I can come boldly before the throne of grace. He is my Father. I enjoy His presence. There is not a quaking fear there.

I look around at things going on in the world and quake at the fate of all involved in it when God moves against it. Do I quake enough to reach out a warning hand ready to pull them out of their pit of destruction? Is my fear of the Lord the righteous fear He calls for, expects, and is worthy of receiving? A fear that acknowledges His worthiness, respects His authority, and recognizes His justice and His right as the true Supreme Justice?

Holy Spirit, You come teaching me of sin, righteousness, and judgement. Is the understanding of these truths and humility it brings that causes my heart to crumble before Him “the fear of the Lord”? If this is it, I am there.

Father, I acknowledge Your worthiness, respect Your authority, and recognize Your right and responsibility to delve out justice. I quake at the thought of an eternity without You, Your love, Your mercy, Your grace, Your presence. Father, I need You and I cry out for those wallowing in the pit of a world set against You.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner in need of Your merciful grace. Let this “fear of the Lord” cause me to recognize the difference between the path of sin, the path of righteousness, and the consequences that come with Your judgment. I bow to You, my Daddy-King Jehovah in the name of my Beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, our Jehovah-Tsidkenu. Amen.

Morning Prayer: 7/14/22

“Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭AMPC‬‬
https://bible.com/bible/8/1th.5.16-18.AMPC

Father God, thank You for teaching me the joy of a grateful heart. Thank you for instructing me to know that no one can take that joy from me, and that, even in grievous circumstances, the joy of a thankful heart flourishes, for that heart knows You. That heart believes the truth about You and Your faithfulness at all times. That heart trusts Your Word, believes Your promises, accepts Your ways, walks with You in earnest expectation and hope, knowing that You always work for the good of the one whose heart loves You and who is living a life that follows You with heart desire to fulfill Your purpose.

We can always give thanks from a truly grateful heart because You are the source and cause of our gratitude. It is You we give thanks for as we remember You in every circumstance, rejoicing over the potential and assurance of experiencing You in this life, through the troubling and the good. You never leave nor forsake us. You are for us and not against us. Even in hardship and tribulation, You grow us strong as we trust in You, making us ready for the fulfillment of Your purpose and plan, as You bring us to completion, made ready and adequately prepared for our Bridegroom and King. Thank You that You are always the one we can be grateful for in every circumstance.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for loving us all the way to the cross, and for showing us the way to take up our cross of obedience to God at all cost, and to daily follow You with every step committed to the Father’s will and way. Thank You for taking all sin onto Your shoulders and experiencing the turning back of God’s rejection for us, so we who believe and receive Your gift of eternal grace never have to know that fate. And thank You, Father, for loving us and desiring this Parent-child relationship so much that You gave Your only begotten Son to accomplish it. May we forever keep our eyes on You with grateful heart. In Jesus, amen.

Morning Prayer: 7/12/22

Thank You that Your compassions fail not, and You, Abba-Father, lovingly discipline those You claim as a son or daughter. Your discipline proves our relationship with You as Father. I am grateful that You faithfully discipline me and I watch for Your loving hand that guides me on paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake.

Father, it is true. You already know everything about us, so we can come to You humbly with each sin in our lives without fear of shocking You who already know, and we can earnestly seek Your forgiveness and grace knowing it is already there for us through Jesus Christ our Lord. He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life made for us by You who make a way where there is no way. You are faithful, so we need not fear.

However, I want more of You, so I ask for courage to truly humble myself and let You search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any evil, hurtful way in me and lead me in Your still more excellent ways. I know when I sincerely seek You to create in me a clean heart, You will shock me with the findings and amaze me with Your mercies made new every morning. In Jesus, make it so in me, I pray. Amen.

Glorify God in Your Body

“… Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. …” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Many take the portion of this passage that relates to sexual sin, meant as an example of what immortality looks like in our relationship with God, and apply it’s text only to that. The immoral person that sins against their own body includes those who sin against the sexual purity God expects us to practice, but this passage is so much deeper than relations between one man and one woman. Our union with God is a marriage covenant, and any sin against God is a sin against that union. It hurts our body – our Spirit union.

Immorality: The character of being immoral; transgression of the moral law; immoral thought or action; wickedness; dissoluteness; licentiousness.

The immoral person is not moral; they are inconsistent with rectitude, purity, or good morals; they work contrary to conscience or the divine law, forgetting and neglecting union with God. These are wicked; unjust; dishonest; vicious; licentious. When we profess unity with God through Christ, yet behave immorally, we do harm to our own body, ripping at the core of that union.

Looking at this full passage, what does it say?

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”

There are many things in life that we can choose, do, or have within the borders of God’s Law, dictated by His moral compass, but not everything will profit us in our relationship with God. For example, we can have money. Being rich in this life is not sin. Having a storehouse of goods to see us through difficult times is not sin. But letting that treasure trove of God’s supply rule us, the trove becoming the end means, is sin. It gets between us and our God, becoming our greatest trust, our mistress, and robbing God of our affection and commitment. This is an immorality. It hurts our relationship with God and sins against our oneness with Him.

We are to be good stewards of all God blesses us to have. Rightly using the provision God blesses us to have, clinging to Him and trusting Him with and for that supply, sharing with those who have need as God leads, reveals good stewardship that God blesses with more supply, so we have plenty for our own need, and a surplus to help those in any need. Such collaboration with God, following His lead, feeds our union, making us strong in Him.

“Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.”

Our relationship with God is eternal. It is our lasting treasure. He is our exceedingly great reward. Anything that works against that truth puts a wall up in our relationship with God, just as “even looking at another woman (or man) to lust after” them puts a wall between us and our mate, robbing them of affections that rightly belong to them alone. It hurts our union with God, breaking trust, just as it does our mate in marriage. It is immoral.

“Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.”

Anything in life that separates us from God, robbing Him of our affection, commitment, loyalty, etc., no matter how good or innocent that thing may be, becomes a prostitute when it comes between us and God. It breaks trust. It is giving self to another in a way that rightly belongs only to God.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

Journey to Redemption

“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah…. Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. ….” Matthew 1:1-17

The lineage of Jesus is a picture of the redemptive power of God, how God takes those who commit great evil and works good out of it, and how good and evil alike ultimately work the will of God into this world experience. Looking at the kings of Israel is a roller coaster ride between good and evil. For me, as I read the names of all theses who struggled in this life and yet were included in the bringing of the Christ to us, it gives assurance to God’s ability to use even me. Just looking at the five women mentioned in Jesus’s family lineup is such a beautiful picture of redemption.

Tamar – the daughter-in-law of Judah who tricked Judah into fulfilling the law of birthing a child to carry on the name of the deceased don, who was her husband. She played the harlot in tricking Judah into lying with her so she could conceive and birth one of the fathers of Jesus. Despite the trickery she felt forced to practice in order to receive her due, Tamar was counted more righteous than Judah who refused his last son to her out of fear. Through her story we see deception, trickery, fear, faith, hope, and restoration.

Rahab – a harlot in Jericho who helped the spies of Israel escape and was protected on the day the walls fell and God’s people took possession of that land. She and her family were saved, and she was taken as a wife by Salmon, rewarded by God as one added to the line of Christ. Through her story we see harlotry, mercy, and redemption.

Ruth – the Moabitis daughter-in-law of Naomi. After the death of Naomi’s husband and two sons, Ruth refused to leave Naomi’s side and committed herself to follow Naomi and her God, no matter where that led her. It led her through commitment, faithfulness, and redemption to the pages of the history of Israel and its coming King.

Bathsheba – wife of Uriah, taken in adultery by King David who tried to hide the sin leading to pregnancy, even having Uriah killed in his attempts. But the prophet of God knew. The child born was taken in sickness, leading David to repent his sin. God’s grace to David and Bathsheba brought Solomon to life. We see lust, adultery, deception, murder, repentance, comfort, grace, and redemption.

Mary – believed to be of teenage years, was a virgin, considered a woman in her time frame, betrothed to Joseph. Found with child before the consummation of their marriage vows, no one believed her story of miraculous conception by the work of God’s Holy Spirit. If found out, she was destined to death by stoning for out of wedlock relations; the growing fetus considered proof of indiscretion. But God.

Angelic messengers, sent by God, prepare the couple for their journey of faith. Gabriel lets Mary know of her chosen estate, which she willing accepts by faith, despite the danger to her life. An angel in a dream brings Joseph into the loop of understanding the calling of God on them. And our Savior was born. Mary’s and Joseph’s story is a one of faith, humility, courage, hope, intrigue, anticipation, and, yes, redemption, as God protects mom and Babe, seeing Jesus safely to His destiny as redeemer of the world.

Redemption is throughout the history that brought the time of Christ to the earth. Now we have a part in His story. Jesus paid the price of sin that separates us from God, giving us a way to Him anew. His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension removed power from sin’s death, granting all humans opportunity to choose life – relationship with God for all eternity. All sin is paid for, but each person must choose to believe and receive the gift of Christ for themselves. The only sin that continues to separate us from the Father is refusal to believe and receive the truth of Jesus, the redeemer. By grace through faith we are saved. And once we choose Him, we become part of His redemptive story. What are you writing on His pages with your life?

Morning Prayer: 6/30/22

Father, Your love and grace amazes me, yet I’ve only touched the hem of it. I can’t wait for the face to face. Thank You for loving us Jesus-much. We are indeed blessed.

Father, I cry out for those yet to reach Your hem. Shine Your light and draw their reach to You. We need You to do that now, before it is too late. Bring about a great spiritual awakening as never before, and bring Your people into a life altering revival before love grows cold in these days when evil abounds.

I especially pray for children and grandchildren to the thousandth generation. By Your grace, as You have given utterance, I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved me may be in them, so they may know, receive, and possess Jesus for themselves. This I ask of You, Father, let not one of them perish. This is Your heart, too, according to Your Word. Thus I ask with trusting faith for You to have Your desire in these we so greatly love. In Jesus, amen.

Morning Prayer: 6/28/22

Father, thank You that You, knowing our frame, are mindful that we are but dust. We are Your creation, given breath, life, strength, and purpose by You. We can do nothing of eternal worth and true goodness apart from You. Only with You as our true supply of wisdom, direction, and power sourcing can we accomplish the work You prepared for us to do and succeed at fulfilling Your divine purpose and plan. You know how difficult it is for mere dust to maintain focus and not be blown off course by every wind.

Thank You for making The Way of redemption through The Truth of Christ, giving us The Life You desire we possess. He is our anchor that holds us, the wind of Your Spirit directing us on paths of righteousness, uprightness, and right standing with You, for Your Name’s sake, as pleases You. Thank You that our past is behind us, covered by Christ, and You use the lessons from it to bring us to a good end. May we not be stuck in the mud of dead dust. In Christ, we are free indeed.

Come Quickly, Lord!

I look around at the trouble and turmoil in all the earth today, and I cry out, “Lord, come quickly! Surely Jesus is coming now, for it cannot possibly get worse on the earth. Surely evil has completed it’s appointed course.” But looking back at 200ish years ago, the time of the plagues and warring crusades; or a hundred years ago, with WWI, the Spanish flu, and WWII, we find the same cry of the heart that cannot fathom evil could possibly get worse.

Here’s the facts: evil has brought its trouble to the earth since Adam and Eve fell to it’s influence and were sent out of that glorious garden of God. Evil remained through the days of Christ, even as Jesus paid a price none of us could even begin to pay. Evil will remain and grow ever stronger until Jesus returns and ushers His own back into that garden of God. Each age watches for Him, calls for His “soon” return, and expects Him in our today, unable to fathom that evil will possibly get worse.

But only The Father knows the day or hour when He will say, “enough” to evil’s trouble, and send Christ to usher in the eternal Kingdom. Ours is not to know the day or the hour, but to live in such a way as to be ready, should His coming be our now. If, in a hundred years, some child of God looks back from their own trouble with thought of, “Surely today, Lord,” may they see faith and faithfulness in our life story to help them stand firm in the wait.

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:42-44‬ ‭‬‬

5/10/22 Prayer

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭‬‬

Father, anxiety over the horrors going on in these days is a plague to our hearts. It is too easy to become anxious over so many evils and atrocities we see happening in our day. Your word wisely warns us to not anxiously look around at these things and be overcome by fear, but to remember that You are God. Through trusting belief that knows You are working for our good, even bringing good out of things Your enemy intends for evil, we enter Your rest and find peace that umpires our hearts in these days. Only in keeping our eyes on You can we walk through evil days in ways that honor and glorify You.

Thank You, Lord, that as we turn our hearts to focus on Your faithful truth, You bless us with strength to persevere as we experience Your trustworthy help. Thank You that You uphold us with Your righteous right hand of power, protection, and provision. In Jesus, I rest myself in You and find your peace that passes all comprehensive understanding. Let Umpire Peace lead me in paths of righteousness, uprightness, and right standing with You, not for my earning it, but for Your name’s sake. In Christ, Amen.

Love has Already Chosen You

You may not choose God, but He has chosen you. How do I know that?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

He loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son to pay a price you cannot pay, so you can choose a reward you cannot earn: eternity with Him as Father God. If you refuse Him, He will still love you, for He is Love and He cannot deny Himself. He will still love you even while you deny the gift of His Son and choose eternity separated from Him.

However, there will come a time when we all stand before Him. Those who accept His gift while there is still time will enter eternity in His Kingdom. Those who refused His gift will enter an eternity separated from Him. Will they know his hate as they go?

God is love. He does not hate those His Son died to save: all the people of the world. I believe those who refuse Him will know beyond a doubt the fullness of God’s love for them before they are removed from His presence forever, a love we all long for but cannot know except in Him. All who do not choose Him in Christ now will know exactly what they refused: love made full and complete.

Which are you? Are you one who has believed and received this gift of God and are now walking in His love to eternity with Him? Or are you one who has refused His love? It’s your God given choice. No one else can make that choice for you.

Don’t wait until it is too late. Don’t wait until you stand before Him, knowing for the first time the fulness of that love, only to be cast into outer darkness, never to be touched by pure love again. Don’t be one left with nothing but longing for a touch of His love through an eternal hell of knowing His love is out there, just beyond your reach forvermore.

One, Unhindered

One may have to fight for the right of religion, but faith is a heart issue that cannot be dictated, hindered, or stopped.

One may have to fight for the right of assembly, but worship praise and prayer is a personal and private intimacy that cannot be dictated, hindered, or stopped.

One may have to fight for the right to speak what we believe, but belief is a personal choice that cannot be dictated hindered or stopped.

Faith in God is an intimate relationship, a personal choice and discipline with God that no worldly, fleshly, demonic force can dictate, hinder, or stop.

When individuals praise, worship and pray, they do so in the personal and real Presence of God, even in the quiet of our souls, where we are transported to the throne room of the Father, made one with Him and each other. Worship assembles us as one before God, inseparable for all eternity, now and forever, whether we stand under the same roof, or seemingly separated, but truly in one heart.

This deep, abiding, personal relationship cannot be dictated, hindered, or stopped. Not even death can separate us from this love life with God that makes us One. Stand Firm in Faith, and do not grow weary in well doing.

Pardoned and Redeemed

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalms‬ ‭103:2-5‬ ‭‬‬

This in verse 4 really struck me. Forgiveness 1: participates with Christ’s redemptive work toward the person we forgive. We accept Christ’s payment for the sin done against us. He bought it, so the sin done against us is no longer ours to punish or exact payment for through vengeance. It’s God’s to deal with. Let it go. And then…

2: He crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion, not only covering us with His, but crowning us with responsibility, authority and resource to give our love and compassion in His name to those we forgive. His mercy is new every morning. His compassions fail not. This is the reservoir – the River – of resource we work out of as we practice forgiveness toward others.

Father, thank You for empowering forgiveness in me through Your redemptive work toward those who sin against me. I accept the price You paid and relinquish their debt to You. Now pour forth through me Your lovingkindness and compassion to them. Make it new and fresh every morning, and may they see You in my eyes and feel You in my love actions. In Jesus, amen.

The anointing of the cleansed leper

Leviticus‬ ‭14:13-18‬ ‭‬‬

I don’t recall ever noticing the anointing of the cleansed leper’s right ear lobe, thumb, and big toe with blood as is done for the priest, and I especially do not recall the anointing oil applied in each spot over the blood: all done on the right side, the side of imputed power and authority from God. How powerful a picture of not only cleansing, but supply of power, authority, ability.

Then to look up the significance of each body part: the ear for empowered hearing, not only to hear one another, but more importantly, to hear God; the thumb representing authority in ministry and service; the big toe, empowering a stable, strong, straight walk. So powerful.

Father, thank You for cleansing me of the spiritual leprosy of sin that separates us from You. I praise You for the blood of Jesus that fully covers us, and pray the powerful anointing of your Spirit for hearing, service, and a powerful walk with You. In Jesus, amen.

He Makes Me

From the 23rd Psalm, AMPC

I have had Psalm 23 in the classic Amplified version of scripture as my focus for meditation since the 1st of this year. A friend asked me the other day to share any insights I have in it. Awakened by a noise this morning at about 3:30 AM, I started reciting the chapter in my attempt to get back to sleep. Suddenly, as I quoted one line, new understanding grabbed me, opening up this beautiful passage as never before.

“The Lord is my Shepherd to feed, guide, and shield me: I shall not lack.”

This is God’s “who”. He is the Good Shepherd, not because it’s what He does, but because it’s who He is. It is His nature to feed, guide and shield.

The shield is everything from the Warriors shield, including the armor of God, with its helmet of salvation; to the anointing oil with its protective cover and healing balm; to the shield of shelter that hides us under His wing from enemy attach and the worldly elements of heat, cold, rain, sleet, and snow; hate, menace, and torment.

This is His “Who”. From provision of every need, to guidance – wisdom, discernment, to shielding, whether shelter or protective cover: we have no lack of Him – The Shepherd of our soul.

“He makes me…” “He makes me to…”. This is not force over me. It is action and purpose in me.

“He makes me to lie down in fresh, tender, green pastures.” He made us as receptacles. We are created for Him to pour Himself into us. He gives His first and best to us, satisfying and satiating us so that we lie down full and ready to enter His rest, sensing that we are safe and secure in Him. I am awestruck by the assurance He gives that causes my entire being to rest itself in Him.

“He leads me beside the still and restful waters.” This is not rapidly moving waters that can sound wonderful and make you want to kick back and mellow in the peace of it. It’s another place of provision and protection.

Sheep’s wool gets heavy and is very absorbent. When they get wet in deeper water, the weight becomes too great for their legs. Falling over, unable to get up, they drown. The Good Shepherd finds shallow, still or gently flowing watering spots where sheep can drink without drowning.

He does not “leave” them beside still waters. He “leads” them, remaining nearby and watchful, ready to help them up should they fall. Whether we bear the weight of this world, the weight of our responsibilities, or whatever weight is weighing us down and drowning us, the Good Shepherd is our Lifeguard, standing at the ready to respond to our need.

In these places of provision, guidance, and protection, “He refreshes and restores my life: my self.” “My soul (NASB).” The essence of who I am. We learn who we are – who He created us to be, as we walk with Him, knowing His Who at work in us. Then, as we get good at that…

“He leads me in paths of righteousness, uprightness, and right standing with Him, NOT for my earning it, BUT for His name’s sake.”

He directs us into righteousness for His reputation. As we follow Him, we don’t have to fret our ups and downs; only trust that He will get us where we need to be for the glory of His name. Our reputation should express His effective work in our lives.

I think of Moses prayer in Exodus 33. “And Moses said to the Lord, ‘If Your Presence does not go with me, do not carry us up from here! For by what shall it be known that I and Your people have found favor in Your sight? Is it not in Your going with us so that we are distinguished, I and Your people, from all the other people upon the face of the earth?’” (Exodus 33:15-16)

“Yes! Though I walk through the deep, sunless {or Son-less} valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me! Your rod to protect and Your staff to guide, they comfort me.”

No matter how bad things are in the world around us, God is and ALWAYS will be God – The Good Shepherd who feeds, guides, and shields us. I shall not lack! So there is no need for me to fear any evil or dread anything I might possibly find or have to face in the valley. In that valley…

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

He still Shepherds us in desolate, wilderness places of dark shadows. When the enemy is raising a raucous all around us, we can lie down, satisfied, satiated, safe, secure, and rested in Him. Though we may be unable to clearly perceive Him in dark, sunless places, we can trust He is there, working on our behalf. That is His Who and He is always doing Himself. Trusting that will strengthen our stance in dark places, for as He is, so also are we. Keep doing yourself in Christ.

“You anoint my head with oil!” This is a mighty shield of protection, I would liken to the helmet of salvation.

Flies, gnats, and other pests swarm the head of sheep. They lay their eggs in the skin, eyes, and ears. These form itchy sores as the larva eat the flesh and begin to burst forth. It causes the sheep to go nuts. They will thrash around, hitting their heads on rocks, trying to get relief and kill the infestation, even killing themselves in the process. Oil protects from the insects being successful at laying their eggs, kills and heals infested, infected areas, and protects the head from injury in head butts – whether in the battle, in discord, or at play with other sheep.

As we experience God feeding us and protecting us even in the midst of a swarming enemy, “My brimming cup runs over.”

We are the cup. The living water of God gushes from us to role downhill to other sheep, some not of His fold, drawing them in, refreshing them, helping them know, “He makes me to lie down….”

“Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life!”

The original language’s first word, given here as “surely or only” can be translated to either surely or only: so take the “or” out.

“Surely only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life!”

Back in Exodus 33, in verse 18 Moses requests God to show him His glory. God replies, “I will make all My GOODNESS pass before you, and I will proclaim My name, THE Lord, before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show MERCY and LOVING-kindness on whom I will show MERCY and LOVING-kindness.” (Exodus 33:19 AMPC)

“Surely only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life!” We are meant to know, recognize, and express the glory of God. He who feeds, guides, and shields us does so in ways that expresses His glory and makes His name known…for His name’s sake.

“And through the length of my days, the house of the Lord and His presence shall be my dwelling place.” The house of the Lord…the Temple of God: that is what you and I are, corporately and individually.

His presence is in the house, Beloved. My brimming cup runs over. This is what He makes the “me” I am. He makes me.

Deceptive Conscience

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. …” John 14:16-17, 16:8-11

As a Christian who believes Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, I don’t believe I’ve seen anything that makes me sadder than this ideology pictured below that says there is no such thing as sin.

It is true that, apart from God, our conscience does not recognize sin. Our conscience is dead to God, separated from Him, unable to know His righteousness so we can see sin’s contrast and the judgment of God against it. For that, we must have the work of the Spirit of God, drawing us to God and empowering our realization of how our lives fall short of God’s glory, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

To believe that sin does not separate us from God is to believe the lie of Satan, “…You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)

You see, they were already like God – we were created in His image, purely good, with no evil in them. Their conscience was pure, having no thought of sin, for they were like God in all His goodness, following Him in trusting purity. Then the devil led them to doubt the goodness of God and sin entered the heart of humankind, separating them from God and deadening the purity of our conscience.

Now, apart from the help of the Spirit of God, we cannot discern our sin or understand sin’s nature, because we cannot know God. The Devil will deceive us into thinking we know God, leading us to a type of god, a false god, if it will keep us from understanding our sin nature and our need of a Savior. Without God working to draw us to truth and His Spirit opening the eyes of our heart to discern sin in us, separating us from God, we cannot acknowledge need of the Savior when we refuse to believe sin exists and our conscience is deceived. We are lost forever, separated from God and doomed to an eternity without Him, never to know intimacy with the One True God.

“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” John 16:8-11

“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

FATHER, BLESS US

Father, begin with me. Search my heart. Father, reveal yourself to me. Make me know Your ways. Reveal to me every place in my life where my ways do not align with Yours. Instruct me in righteousness and cleanse me. Adjust my course to walk in Your ways and have Your favor. May Your light shine through me to reveal my God to all around me.

Father, I pray You for me and for all I love and care for: from self, to family, friends, church, and work associates; to city, state, and nation; and, indeed, to all throughout the earth. Let us know Your ways that we may know You, so that we may find favor in Your sight. Consider Your people, Lord, and lead us in Your presence, for apart from Your presence, how can it be known that we have found favor in Your sight, and that we are Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?

Lord, I pray You, show us Your glory! Make all Your goodness pass before us. Proclaim Your Name before us. Be gracious to us and show us Your compassion. Grant us to seek Your face with wholehearted fervor and to find You watchfully and affectionately caring for us.

Be gracious, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out our transgressions. Wash us thoroughly from all iniquity and cleanse us from all sin. Make us to know our transgressions, and that our sin is against You. You alone, we have insulted as we have willfully sinned and done what is evil in Your sight. Make Your people and the nations in which we reside know that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge. You, Lord, desire truth in our innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make us know wisdom so that we may repent, make amends, and turn to walk Your way.

I, alone, stand before You, with hope in Jesus, my Advocate, The propitiation for my sin. I cry out to You, trusting You through Christ, to purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness. Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me, but draw near to me as I draw near to You, and fill me to overflowing with the power of Your presence. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit of obedience. Then use me, O God, to teach transgressors Your ways, and turn sinners to You.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; that my tongue may joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it. You are not pleased with burnt offering, thus You gave my Jesus, once and for all; Your Son for me, because You love me. I stand amazed! And, OH, so grateful. Thus, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

By Your favor do good to Your humbled people. Build the walls of our cities and the nation in which You make us to dwell in safety. Grant provision to our dwelling places, for in its provision of rains in due season and productive work for our hands, Your people live in welfare: possessing health, happiness, and good fortune; well-being. Delight Yourself in us as we humbly walk in the gift of our Jesus.

Father, fill Your people with peace that passes understanding and umpires life. Grant us to so greatly trust You as to remain in Your rest, despite the turmoil of evil in this world. Let us not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious toward wrongdoers. May they wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb, either surrendering to You in newness of Life, or falling to Your justice.

Grant us to trust in You, O God, and do good. May we dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. May we delight ourselves in You and be such a delight to Your heart that You may inspire and fulfill the desires of our hearts.

Father, I commit myself and all my ways to You, trusting with ever growing fervor in You, believing that You will accomplish all that concerns me. I ask You for all around me to have this full assurance and commitment to You, so they, too, may know You and experience Your faithful care. Bring forth our righteousness as the light and our judgment as the noonday. Increase us to rest in You and wait patiently for You. Rest us in You so we will not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Equip us to cease from anger and forsake wrath, refusing to fret, knowing that it leads only to evildoing.

Father, You promise that evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more. We will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. The humble will inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant prosperity. Though the wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth, You, O Lord, laugh at him, for You see his day is coming.

Lord, the wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow to cast down the afflicted and the needy, to slay those who are upright in conduct. May their sword enter their own heart, and their bows be broken.

Thank You, Lord, for drawing us to Yourself and helping us to know that better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked. Thank You that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, made blameless in Him and by Him. For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but You, O Lord, sustain the righteous. You know the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever, through Jesus Christ the Lord. May we trust in Your gracious Gift and not be ashamed in the time of evil. In the days of famine, be our abundance.

The wicked will perish; and the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of the pastures, they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives. For those blessed by You will inherit the land, and those cursed by You will be cut off.

Lord God, I cry out for those in danger of being cut off. I pray You, open their eyes to see, their ears to hear, their minds to know, their hearts to understand, and grant them a spirit of repentance before it is too late to know Your gracious favor. Draw them to Yourself while there is still time.

We cry out for a great spiritual awakening to You in our land, and a great revival in Your Church. Deliver Your people from love grown cold and lukewarm commitment, to the heat of abundant fervor for You and Your ways. Empty us of self and ungodly, worldly, fleshly desire. Fill us up with the Power of Your Presence and spill us out to Your glory and crown: to the glory of Your great name.

Establish our steps, O God. May You delight Yourself in our way. When we fall, let us not be hurled headlong. Hold us by Your righteous right hand and do not forsake us nor let our descendants be found begging for bread. Grant us supply, including a heart that is gracious and lends, and make our descendants a blessing. May we depart from evil and do good, abiding forever in You.

You love justice and You never forsake Your godly ones; they are preserved forever. We cry out for the generations: draw our children to Yourself. May they be numbered among the righteous who inherit the land and dwell in it forever. May their mouths utter wisdom, and their tongues speaks justice. May Your law be in their hearts so their steps do not slip. Do not leave them in the hands of the wicked or let them be condemned when they are judged. May they faithfully wait for the Lord and keep Your way, that You may exalt them to inherit the land; and may our eyes see it.

Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; that the man of peace may have a posterity. The salvation of the righteous is from You, O Lord; You are our strength in time of trouble. Lord, help us and delivers us. Delivers us from the wicked and save us, as we take refuge in You.

In the name of Jesus, I pray You, regard us as good and restore our land. Set Your eyes on us for good, and bring us back as a great nation of people who seek hard after You. Build us up and do not overthrow us. Plant us and do not pluck us up. Give to us a heart to know You, for You alone are the Lord. Make the US to be Your people, and You be our One and Only God. Only by Your grace will a whole nation turn to You with their whole heart. This is what we cry out for, knowing that NOTHING is too difficult for You, and that it is Your desire that none perish, but all come to repentance. Thus we pray with believing hearts in the blessed and holy and honored Name above all names, Jesus, the Christ, amen.

Psalms‬ ‭139:23-24‬ ‭NASB

Exodus‬ ‭33:12-23‬ ‭NASB

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭AMPC‬

Psalms‬ ‭51:1-19‬ ‭NASB

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:7‬ ‭NASB

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:1-40‬ ‭NASB

Jeremiah‬ ‭24:4-7‬ ‭NASB

‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭NASB

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:9-11‬ ‭NASB

The Eyes of the Heart

‭‭Luke‬ ‭18:18-27‬ ‭NASB

“A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. …”

The wealth of this man was not the problem. God blesses us with wealth and requires us to steward all He gives us in ways that honor Him. This man kept the laws of God and most likely gave to the synagogue and to the poor as God requires. But his heart had apparently fallen into trusting his wealth and taking pride in it, giving it the place of true treasure in his heart, a place belonging only to God. So Jesus points out to him the thing that stands in the way of His right relationship with God.

“… And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. …”

Jesus had a purpose in making this distinction, both for this man’s eternity, and in training those who followed Him. You see, it was long believed that those with wealth were wealthy because they were right with God and pleasing to Him. They surely had a place in Heaven. Hearing Christ’s comment led an astonished disciple to ask,

“…“Then who can be saved?”

Thank God! Jesus assures our hearts, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”

We get our eyes off of reliance on God too easily, trusting in self, wealth, kings, etc., turning God’s blessings into a god of our heart. God lovingly points these out to us so we may possess the relationship with Him that He waits to give us.

Nicodemus walked away, dejected, that day. But he apparently took to heart Jesus’s words and became one of the secret followers that helped to bury Jesus, and He stood against those plotting against Him. He may have been a coward and given to riches, but I believe God did the impossible in his heart and we will meet him one day.

How about you and me? What stands as hindrance to our relationship with and testimony of God in our lives? Will we let God work the impossible in us to get our eyes rightly focused for our eternal good and His eternal glory? Today is the day of salvation, for we don’t know that we will have a tomorrow. Choose well the Treasure of your heart.

I’m Praying for You

“Most people have never heard their name and God’s mentioned in a prayer. You may be surprised how willing a friend will be to accept your offer to pray for them.” From a NeedHim.org devotional

This is so hard for me to fathom, being from the Bible Belt and having many praying friends and acquaintances, but the fact is, though many have a belief that there is a God, few truly know Him or understand that He is ONE. And fewer still think of Him daily, much less constantly. We often don’t think to pray for ourselves, and may find it hard to believe that anyone cares enough to pray for us.

My prayer for each one today is that we know Him who is God, that we seek Him for ourselves, and that we each have at least one person we know we can call on with any need and they will be faithful to pray.

I often leave the blessing of Numbers 6:24-27, praying it over people even though I don’t know if they believe. It doesn’t matter if the one prayed for believes. It’s the faithfulness of God to keep His Word and the faith of the one praying that moves the heart of God. So be faithful to pray, and please know you can call on me anytime. I count it a privilege to pray for you by name. 💗🤗🙏🏼

Fearless Ministers of Reconciliation

Yesterday’s post titled “Without Regret” ended with James 5:19-20:

“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

As I reread that verse, my heart gasped with realization. What better way to stop people from understanding their absolute need of God than to make talk of sin irrelevant. Making sure everybody feels good about themselves to the point of their being unable to recognize or acknowledge their own sin, much less to know their need of God’s saving grace, is an enemy tactic: a lie to make people feel they are good enough, having no need of mercy.

In a world where it’s difficult to broach the subject of sin and the need of a Savior, how much more difficult is it in environs where sin is no longer acknowledged, and talk of the sin nature is considered a negative mindset and an insult to one’s character.

With that came thought of this scripture:
“When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.” Ezekiel‬ ‭33:8-9‬ ‭NASB

Old Testament, yes, but it still makes me cringe for the number of times I let fear stop me from speaking to someone regarding their need of the Savior. How many will God hold me responsible for in my failure to speak of sin and the saving grace available to us. Now, I don’t believe we lose our salvation, but we do put a rift in our relationship with God through disobedience, and we do lose rewards that would be credited to our treasure in Heaven.

In Christ, we are charged with the ministry of reconciliation. God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ, and through Him, escape the wrath of God’s death penalty to obtain eternal life in Christ. We cannot make that clear to people without there being an understanding of sin, what it is, and how it separates us from God.

“… Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. ….” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:1-6, 8-21‬ ‭NASB

Reconciliation requires us to receive forgiveness for sin, which requires admitting we are sinners in need of the covering of mercy’s grace found in Christ. The enemy of God blinds the eyes of people who refuse to address sin.

We are called of God through Christ to be His instrument for reconciliation, which requires us to address the sin nature and define sin for the sinner in need of the Savior. When we as Christians refuse to address sin issues, we prove ourselves to be sinners, condoning sin with our silence, and making self a stumbling block to those who follow our example, and to those who remain blinded to the reality of the sin nature.

We are called to make God known by lightning up the evil hidden in dark places and by being salt that permeates all we touch with all that God is: His righteousness alive in us; His love pouring through us; His merciful grace freeing us from old ways to the new He bears out in us; His truth separating fact from fiction.

Therefore, Beloved in Christ,
“Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:34‬ ‭NASB

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” Ephesians‬ ‭5:6-13‬ ‭NASB

Without Regret

“Now if your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” Jesus, Matthew‬ ‭18:15‬ ‭NASB

It appears to me in these days, that it is not considered kosher to speak of things God considers to be sin. It’s considered negative and unpopular to speak of sin or the sin nature. It makes people feel bad about themselves, which is unacceptable in a feel-good society. It’s not easy to address sin issues with people today, just as it was difficult for Paul, who shares this fact with the Corinthians; but his experience shows that it is profitable when received properly, as God desires.

“For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while—I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭7:8-10‬ ‭NASB

Addressing sin issues in this world is seen as insulting, it makes people uncomfortable – as it should, and instead of recognizing the person pointing out the issue as speaking God’s judgment in agreement with His Word, the insulted one sees the speaker as being judgmental. We allow feelings of insult to keep us from asking God if what the speaker is talking about is true of us. We fail to recognize our sin nature, and seek God to lead us to repentance that turns from sin to align with Him and become as He is, bearing His image into this world. But to God, sin is a dead serious issue, and we are called to help one another recognize the pit we are in and, if possible, give a hand up from that pit.

The preacher, standing in for our pastor today, spoke of his memory of preaching to his stuffed animals as a young child. The desire and call to preach has always been in him. I have a similar memories. The first thing I remember after accepting Jesus as Savior, at about 10 years of age, is sharing Jesus and the need of repentance with a friend on the next day. Another vivid memory is of being the Bible teacher for our kid’s club, sharing scripture and teaching on things God calls “sin” or “righteousness”. It is in me, and I must faithfully speak warning to the heart that walks contrary to God.

Scripture does not focus on just righteousness, it contrasts righteousness with sin. Contrast produces understanding. I.e., we can’t fully know love without a comprehension of hate.

I know how hard it is to hear and receive such warnings. Sin is in all of us, and I’ve had to ask God if a sin warned against was truly in me. He has used faithful friends to pull me out of pits. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what I think of you or you, me. We can believe we see an issue with sin as defined and judged by God, in self or another, and be wrong. We can think the person seeing the issue in us is wrong when they are truly seeing clearly. We don’t know the heart like God does. We don’t even truly know our own hearts, either beating ourselves up with harsh self-evaluation or by refusing to receive truth. Thus it is vital that, when a preacher seems to be talking straight to us or a friend takes time to warn us, that we ask God’s opinion and seek His truth with a heart that is ready to hear, receive, and repent.

Don’t fear or ignore the voice God uses to call you out on a sin habit in this life, Beloved. Let it lead you to needed repentance. Fear, instead, being called out for sin when the end of days stands us before the judgment seat of God, where we will find it too late for repentance. Thank those who love you enough to reach a helping hand out with hope of keeping you from that fiery pit. And give God glory for His saving grace reaching out to us through Jesus, even while we are still sinners at heart.

“My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you strays from the truth and someone turns him back, let him know that the one who has turned a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” James‬ ‭5:19-20‬ ‭NASB

Stand Firm

Jesus was not afraid to offend those leading others away from truth and righteousness. He, who is example to all who hear, stood firm on righteousness; He spoke truth out of love that desired to protect His own, and out of desire to win some snared by deception. He spoke with the authority that comes from assurance of His facts, and He did not apologize for the offense the hearer took from His words.

As we make sure we are standing on what is true and right and good, we, too, can love those around us enough to chance offending them for the protection of all, with hope of freeing some.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:1-14‬ ‭NASB

God, or Not God

“… Choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days.” – Read Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:1-20‬ ‭‬‬

When discussing sin issues as defined by the Word of God and Jesus in the Holy Bible, people often say, “but God gives me choice,” which is true. God does give us choice, but that fact does not mean that which we choose is alright with God. All choice is truly between God or not-God. We either seek Him and His ways, or we go the way of our fleshly desire, this world’s philosophy, or demonic influences.

In Deuteronomy, God gives us defining parameters to direct our choice. We are told to choose good or evil, life or death, blessing or curse, prosperity or adversity. And God’s Word defines each of these choices.

Good is who God is, what God does, and what He says. To choose good is to choose God and His ways. All else stands in opposition to Him, which is evil, bringing us into adversity with God. (1)

God is life, abundant and full. Divergence from Him and His ways is death. (2)

God is the blessing, and He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Anything not of God, anything that replaces our affection for Him is a curse, for it robs us of The Blessing. (3)

Following and possessing God and all He is as God is prosperity. He is our exceeding great reward, the supply for our every need. Following hard after Him, keeping Him of first, most vital need and necessity, opens His storehouses to meet our need. And, more importantly, choosing Him as the one and only God and Lord through His gift of Jesus Christ grants us assurance of His eternal Kingdom. (4)

It doesn’t matter how rich we get in this life, without God as our choice, we are destitute and adversity is guaranteed. God allows no other God before Him, nothing else can have His glory. With great wealth comes great responsibility, and one’s first responsibility is to choose God as one’s true treasure. Failing to possess Him, we take our stance against Him, all the way into eternal damnation.

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” ‭‭Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬

“Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:19-20

(1) Mark‬ ‭10:18‬ ‭
(2) ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬; Colossians‬ ‭3:3‬; ‭‭I John‬ ‭5:12‬; I John‬ ‭5:11‬; ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬; Romans‬ ‭6:23‬; John‬ ‭11:25‬; ‭‭John‬ ‭14:6‬
(3) ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:4‬; ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:5‬; ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:12‬; James‬ ‭1:17‬
‭‭ (4) Genesis‬ ‭15:1‬; ‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3:8-10‬