Monday, October 11, 2021

Conditioned To Seek God - (3)

The series continues as we look at God's response to the prayer and confessions of faith launched heavenward by Jehoshaphat and all of Judah as they came together to seek God for miraculous deliverance from their enemies. Please subscribe to my Channel. Thank you!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Have You Noticed, This World Is Not Perfect?

You have probably noticed, the world we live in is not perfect. Truly, I thank God for the breath of life given to me in this world, at this time, but I still live in a very imperfect world. When I hear of continuous, cold-blooded murders in the cities, and see the fires burning out of control in the west; when I see the homeless vying for a place to sleep under a bridge, or think of the thousands of innocent babies murdered every day; or when a family member or close friend dies of covid, it all doesn't let me forget how flawed our world is. I could write volumes about how bad the world we live in is.

Recently God simply reminded me of why the world is so imperfect. satan. The world God created (as outlined in Genesis 1 and 2) was a perfect world. "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." (Genesis 1:31) Everything in the Garden of Eden was very good and perfect. Man lacked absolutely nothing. God's intention for mankind after Eve was created was for them to be fruitful and multiply, fill and subdue the earth. I don't have a problem believing that outside Adam and Even's realm was an area still "without form and void". God's plan was for Adam and Even to extend Eden (as they were to be fruitful and multiply) until it covered the whole earth. Through the perfectly created realm of Eden, the glory of God would fill the whole earth! But as one can learn from Genesis 3, the serpent (the devil) temporarily thwarted that plan.

I won't go into much detail because I'm sure most everyone is familiar with the event from Genesis chapters 1-3. "The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:8-9) God had placed Adam, and later Eve, in a perfect environment with only one rule: "The LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)

God's rule was not to hinder Adam and Eve, but to teach them obedience. Obedience can be learned only when a choice is given. God gave them a choice and clearly outlined the consequences if the wrong choice was made. Unfortunately, they were deceived by satan (in the form of a serpent) into making the wrong choice and they suffered for it. As a matter of fact, all of mankind has suffered for the choice they made eons ago.

So as God reminded me of the sole cause of our fallen world I got angry. When you see the broken and destitute, blame satan. When you cry for the unborn innocent, get angry at satan. When your loved one is ravaged by covid, give ALL the credit to only one...satan. When your husband is bound tightly to porn, there is only one to blame...the devil himself! And on the other hand, thank God that Jesus came over 2,000 years ago to seek and to save "that" which was lost! (See Luke 19:10) Be grateful to God Jesus took upon Himself ALL of the sin that entered into our realm and caused it to fall, when He hung on the cross. Thank Jesus that He broke the power of sin over those who will surrender to Him. Be grateful that when Jesus broke the power of sin, He broke the power of death, sickness, disease, pain, and suffering over all of mankind. Adam and Eve, you and I also have a choice to receive or reject Jesus, who came to redeem us from the pit of this fallen world.

Agree with me, or disagree with me. But salvation is not offered to you and me just so we can go to heaven. Yes, that will be great. But God wants you here, in a relationship with Jesus, quite frankly, to work through you in supernatural ways to bring eternal freedom to those who have yet to meet Jesus. God wants you to create vacancies in hell for those folks. Who are they? Just look around at our fallen world. You won't miss them. Get angry at the one who caused it all. And never forget, Jesus has given His church authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy...and nothing shall by any means injure you! (See Luke 10:19)

Friday, September 24, 2021

Are You In "Mere Men" Status?

"Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Corinthians 1:10)

Is it even possible for we believers to be in agreement, have no divisions among ourselves, and be made complete in the same mind and judgment? Well, just by observation of today's church you wouldn't think so! But Paul says it is possible. It's Scripture! Paul has been informed that people of the church are quarreling over who to follow. Some are saying, "I follow Paul." Others are saying, "Well, I follow Apollos." It's no different today. "I follow this nationally known preacher." "I'm of the Baptist camp." Others say, "I'm Church of God." It's funny how I hardly ever hear someone say, "I am a follower of Jesus Christ." Or, "I'm a Christian"! I once heard someone say, "I'm a Baptist, not a Christian"!

Paul was determined to set the folks at Corinth straight. His point is that Jesus is our salvation, no one else. There are those who can preach Jesus well, but we shouldn't follow them, we should follow Jesus. Even as we obey the Great Commission and make disciples of the nations, the disciples we make should be followers of Jesus, not of ourselves. Some Pastors, Preachers, and Teachers are intent on gathering followers for themselves, or for their church/denomination. On the other hand, I'm grateful for those who not only lead folks to Jesus as they follow Him, but lead those to follow Jesus, not themselves. This is effective, kingdom leadership! We need more of it.

Here is the problem with gathering people to build our own kingdoms. It produces extremely immature sheep! This was Paul's point. That's the problem with too many of our churches: a lack of growth to maturity. Listen to how he put this. "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men?  What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth." (1 Corinthians 3:1-7) (Underlines added by me.)

Division in the church (this kind by following men, not Jesus) makes us "mere men" according to Paul. Mere men don't change the world. They make up numbers. They can raise finances, but they don't change the world, by changing lives. In the case above, Paul couldn't even speak spiritual things to them because they were walking as "mere men". Paul understood that this kind of division would prevent believers in the church from growing to maturity in Christ. He had the solution. "Be imitators (followers) of me, just as I also am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:11) There it is! Follow me as I follow Jesus. Watch me, and you'll see how to follow Christ. But the attitude of many is "Watch me! You'll see I talented I am. You'll see how great I can preach."

You may have your preferences, and that's OK. But if you're exalting your preferences over Jesus Christ, you're heading for "mere men" status. A church filled with "mere men" makes up a powerless church. It may be large, medium, or small; but it will also be powerless. It may be impressive, but still...powerless. However, a church filled with folks who are committed to following Jesus as the leadership follows Jesus, is a powerful church made up of "spiritual men". Of course, that includes women, boys, and girls too.

Paul made a very interesting statement: "God who causes the growth." (See above.) Do we get that? God causes the growth, not man. When you and I are intent on following Jesus, not a man or men, or a church or a ministry, God will cause us to grow. But in order for us to be successful at following Jesus, we need help from folks, churches, and ministries who encourage us to follow them...but only as they follow Jesus. This again, is true, Biblical, and effective leadership. Man can be impressive and draw people by their impressive talents. But man alone cannot cause growth in the body of Christ.

My heart for my children has always been that they see and pursue Jesus, because they see Connie and me pursuing Him. Some parents wonder why their children turn away from following Jesus. In more than a few cases it's because the children have heard one thing, and seen another growing up. Nothing blesses my heart more than to see my children loving, following, and serving Jesus, because they learned by example, not by lecture alone. That should also be the heart of any Pastor, church, or ministry. Those who understand and practice this are producing maturing followers of Christ through whom God is using to impact folks in powerful ways.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Right Before Our Very Eyes

With all that is happening in the world, it's pretty easy to see Bible prophecy unfolding right before our very eyes. It's very difficult not to see that we are well into the end times, and that Jesus' coming is very near. Whether He comes on my watch or not, there is no denying that we are clearly witnessing what the Bible says will happen as His coming draws very near.

The fact that Jesus might not come in my lifetime is not an excuse for me to pull back and cruise through this life, living according to my on personal agenda rather than God's. On the other hand, He could very well come in my lifetime. That's how close we are. The truth is, if you can see the signs of the times, you also see that He is near. The signs (Bible prophecy coming to pass) should convince anyone in their right mind that Jesus is real, and is very near. And, whether at His coming, or our meeting Him when we leave this life, we should always live for that day. We should live to be ready!

Bible prophecy unfolding before my very eyes gives me a peace that transcends understanding. Why? Because it is proof that God is not a liar; that He speaks the truth. It confirms that even though heaven and earth will pass away, what God said will stand. Being true to His Word makes God trustworthy. He avails to you and me many precious and powerful promises in His Word that He will bring to pass, if we simply believe what He says is true. "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19) 

Unfortunately many Christians can't discern the signs of the times because they don't know and stand solidly on His Word. They are living more for the world than for Jesus. I'm not trying to sound harsh in saying that. But if you are living for the world, that's the way your life goes; according to the world! The things that happen in the world affect your life, more that what God says about your life. You are moved by those things, but not by God's Word, because you don't know His Word. You think within, "The world has been bad before, and it's no different in our current times." Yes, the world has been bad since the moment the serpent deceived Adam and Eve. However, one who is living for Jesus every day will recognize those events that the Word of God specifically says will take place as we draw nearer to Jesus' return. They will be seen to them as Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes!

The first coming of Jesus was prophesied for thousands of years, but His own people didn't recognize the time of His coming. "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." (John 1:11) God had raised up and sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for His coming. How did he do that? By preaching the Gospel of Jesus. "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached......." (John 16:16) Sadly, the religious rejected John the Baptist's message. But many who were considered outcasts from the religious society of the day did receive John's message. And most of those who received John's message received Jesus. "But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name..." (John 1:12)

It's not much different today concerning Jesus' return. The only difference is that the church has been established to be the body of Jesus in the earth. And the main responsibility of the church is to propagate the Gospel of Jesus, and make ready a people who are living for Jesus, and looking for His return. As followers of Jesus, they live by the Word of God which clearly describes what to look for as His coming draws closer and closer with each tick of the clock.

I don't claim to be an expert in Eschatology. But I do study the Word. Do you? If God said certain things would begin to take place toward the end, we should be able to recognize these events being played out - right before our very eyes. What has taken literally thousands of years to prophecy concerning Jesus' return will consummate in an extremely short period of time. If you are basing your perceived timeline of Jesus' return on the timing of events of the past, you may be surprised. Things are escalating on a pace much faster than ever before. And things will continue to escalate even more rapidly in the days ahead. Hence, my point in this post. Know what the Word says, specifically about the things that will happen as His return quickly draws closer. We are most definitely in the last days. Matthew 24 describes the events that must take place before the great tribulation. Those things are already happening - now. Don't think you will be snatched out of here at some point just because you made a mental ascent to a 20 second prayer. That prayer should be (or have been) a life-commitment to serve and follow Jesus all the days of your life. Included in our commitment to Him should be our preparation for and our expectation of His return. Be on the alert my friends. Look at the signs of the current times and observe. Be ready. Know Jesus. Know His Word. Expect His return very soon, and live accordingly.