Tag Archive | Christian

Bible time for Justin and Jacob

“I know the plans I have for you.”  GOD  

There is no one His equal.  He is love.  His compassion knows no boundary.  He has no boundaries known to man.  Except one…your will. 

He will not allow anyone to put Him in a box of any kind.  He will break out of it every time.

He was, He is and He will be involved in the lives of all mankind because He is the creator of all mankind.

All that He is, His power, His love, His majesty, causes anyone who is in His presence to come away filled with awe and wonder.  In His presence all fall on their face.  Pride crumbles.

He loves mankind so much that in His plan, knowing the past, present and future, He sent His Son, His own unique Son, into the world of men as a man.  He came as a man among men.  He displayed God to man.  He came to redeem, to buy back what had been given away by Adam, the initial created by God man, who made the decision not to trust God’s word.

God is love.  Love gives.

Jesus taught His disciples that God is a father, “Our Father who is in Heaven”.  In this dispensation we are the beneficiaries of the last will and testament of God’s son.  He is the mediator of this New Testament.  He came to Earth to showcase who God is. 

God is a Savior.  God is a healer.  God is a deliverer.  God is a provider.  God is a protector.

God is a God of order.  He is not causal or careless.  He is purposeful and intentional.  He is not haphazard.

Corrie ten Boom, author of the book, “The Hiding Place”, tells the story of God’s love for those who abused and murdered her family and the Jewish people.  The Word of God says, “What does it profit if you love those who love you, love your enemies and do good and pray for those who use you?”  Corrie had to forgive the guard, who before receiving Christ as his own personal Savior, had abused her sister Betsey.  She could only do so with God’s love.

Can you pray blessing on one who has “done you wrong”?  Pride can’t, pride won’t.    Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping that the one you hate, the one who offended you, the one who stole from you…dies.  Flesh wants a pound of flesh. 

“Tit for tat, butter for fat, you steal my dog I’ll steal your cat.”

You are only a human being, you are not God.  Apart from His appropriated power you cannot forgive from your heart.  And only truly seeing your own “self” in the light of His love and then seeing your offender through the lens of God’s love, only then are you able to forgive.

“With God all things are possible.  Nothing is too hard for God.”  With you?  Not so much.

Most of your life is ahead of you.  The path in front of me is much shorter.  I am advising you to make the most of each day.  Choose to follow the path least travelled.  “Broad is the way that leads to destruction.”  Many people are walking there.  The surest way to reach your desired destination is to stay on the narrow path, keep focused on the goal.  God is calling you to walk with Jesus, led by His Holy Spirit.  If you do so, you will fulfill your destiny

Religion will keep you satisfied, just a normal, nominal Christian.  Keep drinking that Kool-aid and you will leave this world having made your mark on the world.  “He was a good person.”, they will say.  “Only God is good.”,  Jesus said.  

A Christian is a Christ One.  Christ is not Jesus second name.  Christ means the sent one.  Jesus is the one sent.  His name in Hebrew, the language of the people when He was on the Earth, means Savior.  Jesus Christ…sent one to save, that was who He was.  It was love that sent Jesus. 

Who He is now is King.  A king has a kingdom.  When you accepted Jesus as your Savior you were brought into the Kingdom of God.  You are now looked after, taken care of by King Jesus.  You have to learn the ways of The Kingdom.  The Word of God will teach you the way.

Someone once asked thus question.  “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”  This is something you should consider.

A true Christian will touch the world around him with the love of God, he will impact the life of every one whose life he touches. You have influence. How do you choose to use it? 

Learn to love.   May what motivates you be the love of God.

My prayer is that when you stand before God, the Righteous Judge, there will be more than enough evidence written in the book of your life to hear these words… “Well done good and faithful servant, enter in to the joy of your master.”  Amen!

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The Story of Stanley Smith

The following story is purely fictional, but it is based on truth.  Consider what happened to Stanley Smith.

My name is Stanley Smith.  I want you to know that Hell is real and so is Heaven.  I have been to both places.  Now, where is that found in the Bible you may ask.  Well, my answer is that it is found in several places either directly or indirectly.  If you really care to know, you can search it out.  I am not the source of easy answers nor am I going to argue with your unbelief.  I am simply a witness.  You will either believe what I am about to tell you or you will not, but that will not alter what I experienced and was commissioned to tell.

I am 45 years of age; a faithful husband and a loving father to our two sons.  I am a good son to my parents and I am a good friend to a couple of guys.  My parents raised me in a Christian home and when the kids came along my wife and I decided we needed to get involved in church.  I saw myself as a good person.

I was driving home from my office on the night of September 15, 2016; I had worked extra long hours that day because of changes that took place in the company I work for.  It had been bought out by a larger firm and transition was underway necessitating that management spend extra time making sure that it went smoothly.

Our place is out in the country near a town of about 10,000 people, we have a hobby farm of 5 acres.  I had a pole barn built to house the horses.  My wife and I each have a horse and our two sons share one.  We love taking in the horse shows at the county fair and have participated in many of the local equestrian activities.

We sit at the tail end of a state park system, nestled in a grove of trees; it provides a measure of privacy, but also enjoyment as we see deer, wild turkeys, and other wild life, on a regular basis.  There was an outbreak of tent caterpillars last year and they sprayed our grove to stop it from spreading further into the park.  We appreciated that.

My wife has a vegetable garden, from it we get fresh veggies for summer eating, and enough to do some canning for winter cooking.  We keep a few chickens for eggs and occasional eating.  It’s a good life.

Anyway, I was heading home that late September night when a 12 point buck darted into the road in front of my car.  The last thing I remember is crashing into the deer.

The next thing that I remember is that I began to go down into utter darkness, I thought, “There must be some mistake, I am supposed to go up.”  As I began to descend I smelled a horrible odor like the worst rotten eggs you every smelled in your life.  I heard people screaming; I was terrified.  The realization that I was on my way to Hell impacted all my senses, I yelled, “Jesus, help me.”

Suddenly, a light as bright as the sun shone upon me and yanked me out of that horrible place.  I found myself standing before Jesus.

“Why was I going to Hell?  I don’t understand, I believe in you.”  With great sorrow in His eyes, He told me that I had not belonged to Him, He could not stop me from going there; I had made the choice.  “But,” I said, “I am a good Christian, I go to church and I help people, I am not a sinner like some of the people I know that have affairs, cheat and lie.”

He replied, “It is written in My Word that all men are sinners and no one can come to the Father except through Me.  I am the Way.”  “I spoke to the Pharisee that the only way here is to be born again.  Like the Pharisees, you trusted in your own goodness, your own works; that is not the way here.”, He said. “You chose your own way and that is what sent you to Hell.”

Tears ran down His cheeks as He told me that the only reason I was with Him now was because my mother had said she would not allow me to go to Hell and Father had heard her prayers.  He told me that when I cried out to Him, I came into agreement with her prayers and He was able to rescue me from Hell.  I fell at His feet and cried out for Him to save me.  “I believe Lord, forgive me.”

I trembled to think how close I came to being lost forever.  His love flooded by whole being, all the things of earth left me at that moment and all I could do was worship Him.

He lifted me up to stand before Him.  His eyes were pools of liquid love.  I knew at that moment the joy of the Lord that I had only heard about.

“I am going to give you a choice.”  He said.  “You can stay here, enter into the city, and meet your loved ones who have gone on before or you can go back and be a witness for Me.”

I could see my grand-parents, some aunts and uncles and others I knew who had passed on.  They were waving and beckoning me to come.  It was hard to choose.  Heaven is indescribably beautiful and the peace and love are tangible; but I chose to come back.  You may wonder why.  It made perfect sense to me there, but in the months that followed I too wondered why I had made that decision.

Instantly, I found myself back in my body with searing pain shooting through my legs.  My head felt like it weighed a ton.  I was aware that there were people all around my vehicle because I could hear them talking.  They thought I was dead.  I tried to tell them that I was very much alive, but my mouth didn’t work.  I don’t remember what happened next.

I was told that I was in the hospital for two months before I woke up.  My injuries were so severe that there were moments when my family despaired for my life.  I so wanted to tell them I would be okay and that I had seen Jesus, but it would be a year before I was able to do so, it was just too sacred to me.

I am fully recovered today.  In His mercy, God healed several parts of my body, but much the same way that Jacob was left with a limp after wrestling with the angel of the Lord as it is recorded in the Bible, I was left a paraplegic.  I thank God every day for my life, for my family, and for all the blessings I have been given.  I do not in any way feel angry about my lot in life.  I know that in Heaven I will walk again.

God has opened up doors for me to share my testimony and I have seen many come to Him as a result.  If you are one who thinks that your own goodness or your knowledge of God, Jesus, or Heaven will get you there, please accept my experience; repent of your sin and receive what Jesus did for you in His death and resurrection.  You will be eternally grateful that you did.

 

I received this story early one morning.  It was written and put into a folder in my Word account.  God is trying to reach out to many people with the message from Heaven.  I trust you will consider His message, turn from sin and embrace the cross of Christ if you have not already done so.  Dying to self is not easy, but the result is out of this world.  Heaven awaits the sons of God.

You are loved by Jesus and me. (Joy)

 

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Prayer, Possession, Position and Priority

Good Morning, it has been an hour now since I woke up.  It is about 5:30.  When I wake up in the early morning hours, I wake up wide awake and I know that I must get up and get with God.  I don’t feel Him, I don’t see Him, but I know I am with Him.  And, I know that He has something that I am to pray about.

Normally, I sleep peacefully through the night and awaken after approximately eight hours.  I wake up happy, thinking about the Lord and ready for the day.

Recently, there are several things that have happened to those I care about.  A few years ago I would have been worried, even fearful for them.  Today, I know that my Father in Heaven holds them in His hand and I can trust that He knows what is needed to bring them to full dependence upon Him.  That is His goal.

My mind wanders around as I pray for my loved ones.  I see them in my mind’s eye.  I see characteristics, pitfalls they may have fallen into and I pray that God will set them free.  The Bible says that in this world there will be trouble; we could all say AMEN to that.  If it stopped there we would have every right as believers in Jesus to feel wretched.  However, that is not the end of the story.

Peter the apostle, tells us that God gave us great and precious promises so that we could escape the lust that is in the world.  In our American Christian mindset we most often think of lust in terms of sex.  It is more than that. Lust takes many forms.

In Eden Adam and Eve lusted to be like God as they listened to the lie of the snake.  They felt that there was something God had denied them.  The evil one accused God to them saying, “God knows that in the day that you eat of the fruit you will be like God.”

Why is this a lie?  Because Adam had been created “in the image and likeness of God”.  Adam looked just like God.  The same authority that God had over Heaven, Adam had over Eden.  He lacked nothing…except one thing, a companion like himself, so God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs.

Eve also bore the image and likeness of God since she was created by God from Adam’s rib.  They had a perfect environment.  They lived in perfect relationship with God.  It was like Heaven on earth, that is until the adversary sowed doubt and introduced lust into the picture.  Paradise was lost.

The result of Adam’s choice is called sin.  It happens every time someone listens to the accuser and chooses lust instead of life.

What do you lust after?  Power, fame, fortune, a good reputation?  Some lust after food, some lust after knowledge.  Lust is nothing more than idolatry and it can take many forms.  It is a “sneaky” spirit that first must deceive the mind before it possesses the soul.

When I was a young married woman I lusted after my husband.  I wanted to be with him all the time.  Though I did not see it at the time I wanted to possess him.  I cried if he wanted to go outside and I made him miserable if he wanted to be alone.  I “needed” him.

Thank God He did not allow my husband to fulfill my lust!  I had an emotional deficit that I wanted him to fill.  I did not know at that time that I was created with a God-sized vacuum and only God could fill it.  It would be many miserable years before my eyes were opened to the truth and I trusted Jesus to be Lord of my life.

I have shared this in the hope that I might help you see that you can be a believer in Jesus and be a “soulish” Christian who is led by lust instead of being led by the Holy Spirit as the sons of God are to be.

Man is a spirit and when a person comes into relationship with God through Jesus we say that he is saved or born-again.  Since man is a spiritual being the Bible says that we become “a new creature in Christ Jesus.”  The essence of meaning is “something that never existed before.”  This  transformation is immediate.  The Bible says that a believer is “seated with Christ in Heavenly places”.  That is in the spiritual realm.  It is a legal position.  It carries with it Heaven’s authority.

The church is called the “Body of Christ” and each person likened to a member of the Body.  Thus each person has a part to play in the well-being of the Body.  When one part of your body is in distress your whole being feels distressed.  This is why God leads us to pray for one another.

The soul and body of a believer is that part of our being that relates to the natural world, the world around us.

The soul houses the mind (not your brain), the will and the emotions, including your affections, and when your are born-again it enters into a process called salvation.  You are saved from your past sins, being saved presently and will be saved in the future.   Depending on your former lifestyle, this can be messy and you need to be patient with yourself and others as God crafts you into the image He has of you.

It is essential that one who comes to Jesus must commit himself to the Lord with all that he knows of himself at that point in time.  It is absolutely essential that he get a Bible that he can understand so he will read it.  By the way, do not be pressured that you must devour the whole thing at once.  Just start a regular program of Bible reading.  There are many fine Bibles and Bible studies that will help you grow spiritually.

Prayer is the conversation of a believing heart with God. If you want a relationship with someone you spend time with them, you talk to them about yourself and they talk to you about themselves.  It is called, “Getting to know you”.  (smile)

Take some time every day to be with Him.  God wants you to know Him and though He knows you more than you know yourself, He wants you to bring everything to Him.  He loves you so much.

You have a blessed day today.  Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emmanuel

Isaiah 9:6  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

Jewish history records the birth of a man named Yehoshua to a virgin named Miriam and her husband Yosef.  She was thought to have conceived this child in fornication.  Yosef too believed this, and was disposed to put her away until an angel appeared to him and said,  “Yosef, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Miriam thy wife:  for that which is conceived in her is of the Ruach ha Kodesh.”  Matthew 1:20

Yehoshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus, He is a divider of families and cultures.  A decision must be made, we will all make a choice.   The question we must ask ourselves is:  Who is this man?  Is He the Son of God as it is written and believed on among Christian people?  Is He simply a good man, a teacher or a prophet as many religions teach?

Christmas, the time of the calendar year when Christian people of all nations remember the birth of this child.  Each year there is increasing hostility against Him and those who hold to faith in Jesus.

What to do?

“My Beloved is mine, and I am His.”  Song of Solomon 2:16

“As He is so are we…in this world.”   I John 4:17

“When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”  Matthew 9:36

We must humbly come to the Lord and ask that we may be filled with the love and compassion that He has.  Out of that infilling we will do the will of the Father as He did.  John 5:19

When you go out and about during this season, I want to put you in mind of a truth that will keep you from feeling resentful, being sarcastic or being religious.   When a store clerk, a waitress or some other person serving you says, “Happy Holidays”, don’t be offended.  You are being served, the person has most likely been instructed what to say and they don’t want to lose their job.

The etymology of the word Holiday is Holy Day.  Was it not a Holy Day when the Savior was born into this world?  One of the meanings of  Holy is, “set apart for sacred use.”  Instead of being offended, you can smile and say, “A Happy Holy day to you too.”  People know that Christmas is about Jesus birth, at least here in America they do.  There is a fight over having a manger scene somewhere in America every Christmas season.

Someone once said that we will be asked one question when we stand before God, the righteous judge, “What did you do with this man called Jesus?”

Jesus still makes the news.  He is the King over the Kingdom of Light and Light dispels darkness, it cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:14  “You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”

Let you light shine!  Love like Jesus loves!  Give the world a smile, they need it.

Merry Christmas!

Joy

 

 

 

Window On The World

Do you know that you have a window on the world?  Your two eyes are that window through which you view it.  I challenge you today to consider, first of all, what you are seeing and secondly, how you are seeing.  Is your view accurate or has it been interfered with?

Recently, I have experienced some physical challenges.  When presented with challenges our tendency is to see them through the filters that we have established through our education or experience.  These two lenses are very powerful, very strong, and they color the decision that we must make in regard to the challenge that has been put before us.

A decision is always required, it is either yes, no or no decision, which is a decision.  Let me explain.  The doctor has just given you a death sentence: You have cancer of the colon and he gives you 1-3 years to live.  He then presents some options to you.  Do nothing or we operate and you do chemotherapy.as a follow-up.  His skill-set, His education and experience, have told him that these are the only options.  They are not.  He may have read about or heard of other options, but they are dismissed as irrelevant.  At this point, the ball is in your court, the decision is yours.

Recently, a friend of mine walked through the scenario that I just mentioned.  She chose another option, She chose to accept prayer for healing and God healed her of color cancer.  God is not dead, asleep or on vacation.  He heals today!

There are times when challenges come to us and the answer to “Why God, Why?” is not answered with a miracle.   Sometimes we must war against powers that come against us from the enemy of God, our own flesh and the world.  These are all lenses that can cloud our judgment, our decisions.

To me, it is abundantly clear that in certain times, certain ways, there is no easy answer. It is at these times that you must war against all of the powers arrayed against you, including your own filters.  It will be no easy battle, but it is a war that you can win because there is a man who has gone before and paid the price for freedom.  The scripture says, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”  We can’t, but He can.

There is a requirement to walk that road, it is full surrender to God.  Humans find that difficult because Adam, the father of all man-kind, was made to rule and reign, and we all have it in our DNA.  We don’t like being told what to do.

Filters…lenses, they are designed to alter what you see.  In some cases they will clarify, in other cases they will color, or blur, or sharpen etc.  You chose by a yes, by a no or by making no decision, which is a decision.

You have two gates into your soul. (your mind, (intellect) will, emotions)  These gates are your eyes and your ears.  What you receive at the gate will set you free or take you into bondage, what I am calling your yes or no decision.

As you navigate through life, you will accept or reject filters and lenses.  Some will be received because you like the filter, you think that it colors your world.  For example:  alcohol, drugs, cigarettes. Or other choices that are not seen as quite as “bad”, such as Coffee or Tea, but nonetheless contain an addictive substance.

But there is another decision, and that is: no decision; in which case, you are going “with the flow” and whatever comes along you get by default.  This is perhaps the most dangerous kind.  Why?  Because as I said above, God has put into our DNA the rule and reign gene, and when that is not exercised someone will rule and reign over us. That is not God’s will.  He gave us a will so that we could chose freely to follow on to know Him, or God forbid, follow our own fleshly desires or demonically inspired leadership.  It was a risk that He took, but He did not, does not, want robotic commitments.  We have a mind, a will, a heart and we can choose whom we will follow.

As a human ages, there will be challenges.  The body came under the curse of “The Fall” when Adam chose to eat the fruit Eve offered to him, instead of telling the snake to get out of the garden.  According to Psalm 90:10, “The days of our years are seventy years or if by reason of strength they be eighty years yet is their strength labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”.

In our day it seems as though people are living longer.  Many reasons are given, but in my opinion, it is that God is waiting “For the precious fruit of the earth”, meaning the souls of men, and He is giving more time for man-kind to see how much He loves them, time to repent of their sin of rejecting Him and His gift of salvation in His Son, Jesus.

So, friend, what lenses or filters are affecting your window on the world?  What is your world view?  Is it Biblical?  Is it worldly?  Is it demonic?  You will one day give an account to God the righteous judge, but for now He extends His hand, His grace, inviting “whosoever will” to come, and He will not turn away any who come with a repentant heart.  Will you come and allow Him to help you to really see?

Jesus said,  “I am he Way, the Truth and the Life.  No man comes to the Father but by Me.”  John 14:6 Two Thousand fifteen years later, He is still the same, and the truth is that no man can come to God the Father except through the Door, Jesus. John 10:7-9

If you don’t know him today, check your filters, check your lenses, maybe you have allowed things through the gates that were error or outright lies.  Repent before God of the sin of rebellion and ask Jesus to mediate for you with the Father, He will and you will be set free.

Bless you!  Joy

Sanctification

I received a phone call last night from a friend.  She mentioned several times…”There has to be something more.  What is wrong with me, I feel like something is missing.”  She is born of the Spirit of God and so she is a part of the body of Christ.  She has been baptized in the Spirit, and she has spoken in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance.  Yet she still feels like something is missing.  What is it?  What is wrong.  Could it be her lifestyle?  What about her past?

This morning somewhere between sleep and awake I heard some things about sanctification. Sanctification means to be set apart for God, for His use, for holy use.  It involves dedication and purification, it also involves renewal of the soul.  [Romans 12: 1-2]

To the natural eye the church of Jesus Christ appears to be splintered and broken.  It appears at this time that little is being done to fulfill Jesus desire that  the lost would be won, the found be taught, the sick healed etc.  Jesus returned to His Father in Heaven after promising “another comforter” would come and after giving the disciples His command to go.  [Matthew 28: 18]  He also promised that He would come back to earth again.  The church is waiting for that event.

We have come down the centuries a long way since that day.  At this time the Body of Christ goes to a building that they call “church”, while most of the congregation does not even know that they are the church.  This they do most Sundays, some Wednesdays or possibly for a special event, that is when they feel like it, unless something better comes along.

Some of the churches give a salvation call every Sunday.  The people sin during the week and don’t “feel” right with God, and though they try so hard to be good they can’t seem to stay that way; so they go to the altar to “get saved”.   There is a sense a lack, but they don’t know what it is.

It is written:  For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) nothing good dwells, for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.  For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”  [Romans 7: 18]  The answer is found:  “Reckon yourself dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  [Romans 6:11]  Reckon means to consider it done.  [Say out loud: “I am dead to sin and alive to God!” You believe your own words more than anyone’s.]  If you are sanctified, set apart to God, you should be able to walk in truth.

Let’s talk about sanctification. a person who has never given themselves over to the Spirit of God in order that they may be molded into the image and likeness of Jesus, will not be able to walk the sanctified life.

Don’t get me wrong, it is great that they have believed and received Jesus as their Savior, but Jesus does not come into someone’s life to only be a resident, to be added to the stable of lesser gods that occupy the temple of the Holy Spirit, your body and soul.  Jesus is God, He is Holy,  Jesus is Lord and for the price He paid for your freedom from the adversary, He deserves the right to your whole life.

The church of Jesus Christ is praying and waiting for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as recorded in Joel 2:28 and other references as well.  This world-wide outpouring will bring a great harvest of souls into the Kingdom of God.  There are many prophetic incidences that will coincide with this outpouring. See Isaiah 60:11-3 for one example.  It is said that during this time the Body of Christ will finish the work of the Lord on earth.

The Lord desires to make His will known to His people so that they may trust and obey.  However, there must be in a believer a heart to seek after Him and His will.  In other words, one must have a hungry heart.  For you see, a complacent or lukewarm saint will not ask, seek or knock to know God’s will and His way.  A deceived man does not know that he is deceived and many in the church are deceived, asleep or in bondage.

The church has batted theological words and ideas around for generations; there have been great arguments, division and separation that has plagued and fractured the Body of Christ.  I do not believe that this was the Will of our Father, though I am aware that some believe it is.

I believe that Jesus had something else in mind when He spoke the following to His disciples right before He left planet earth:  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”   Matthew 28:18

The authority over all things belongs to Jesus, He allocated it to His disciples because it was and is His desire for “all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”   [I Timothy 2:4]  Can people hear the gospel of the Kingdom unless someone tells them?  The disciples of Jesus spread throughout the known world, carrying the good news that the Kingdom of God had come to earth, that Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) had made a way for everyone to come to God.

Jesus told the disciples, “Authority is mine because I paid for it, I am giving you power of attorney, and here is what I want you to do.”:  “Make disciples of all nations. [ethnos]  Has the church done what Jesus commanded?  I believe that the church (generally speaking) has made followers of men, followers of denominations, followers who depend on the system not on Jesus, and the system is dependent upon them and their money.

Of course, there are exceptions, but I am speaking generally.  I do not believe that the condition of the church at this time Is God’s intent, but when you leave the fox  in the hen-house and you don’t chase him out, what result would you expect? The adversary of God infiltrated the church early on, and he always brings destruction to the plan of God.

The church has built whole denominations around men and their doctrines.  I believe it has been God’s intent to restore lost truth to the Body of Christ.  I Thank God that salvation by faith and not by works was restored to the Body of Christ through Martin Luther!  I believe that today Luther would not recognize the church that took his name.

The command given to the disciples was to baptize and teach the nations the “things” that Jesus commanded the disciples.  What would these things be?

When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment in the law He said:  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all they soul, and with all they mind.  And, the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor  as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  Luke 10:27

Jesus speaks these words:  “A new commandment I give unto you.  That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.  If ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34-35]  The Body of Christ was given the command to love one another. Is that what we see?  Do we not see the opposite of that?  Can you love God whom you cannot see and hate your brother whom you can see?  [I John 4:20]

How can you honor God with your lips when your heart is far from Him?   [Matthew 15:8]  James records: “Can good and evil come from the same source, sweet water and bitter?”  [James 3: 10-11]  Joshua said to Israel when they were getting ready to enter the promised land:  “Choose today whom you will serve.  If the Lord is God serve Him.”  [Joshua 24:15]  Let your words and actions agree.  How can you go to church on Sunday looking like a saint and live like a devil Monday through Saturday?  Is Lord Jesus worth living for, is He worth dying for?  Die to yourself and live for Jesus.

Do you value what Jesus did for you or do you take God’s grace for granted?

When you feel guilty, when you feel condemned, and you rationalize that you are okay because you are born-again are you trusting in the Lord?  Do you think that God is pleased with hypocrisy.  Living with one foot in the Kingdom of God and one in the kingdom of this world will bring confusion and every evil work.

Are you living life like Frank Sinatra:  “I Did It My Way.”  Be aware there is a fox in the hen house and destruction is on the way!  “Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” [I Corinthians 10:12]

Grace came with a heavy price; Jesus paid it out of love.  However, you must not presume upon His grace.  Misplaced trust will be like a crocheted dishpan, it won’t hold water.  There is a day when all will be judged according to the life lived on earth, are you ready for that?  [II Corinthians 5:10]

Many people do good deeds, but what is the motive?  Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew; he thought he was doing a good thing, something that would be appreciated by the Hebrews, instead Pharaoh sought to kill him and he had to run.  God sent Moses to the backside of the desert for forty years until he was emptied of himself.

The first day that Moses appeared before the Pharaoh, by the power of God he did the signs God told him to do.  The magicians of Pharaoh’s court did the same.  Pharaoh did not believe Moses signs.  God took Pharaoh through many plagues, but only when his heart was touched did he believe it was God and let Israel leave Egypt.

The world replicates the good deeds of the law by helping the poor and needy.  Do they do this because they genuinely love the Lord or the people they help, or are their good deeds done to keep the law or to placate a guilty conscience?  The day will come when the heart of the world will be touched and then they will believe that Jesus lives.  They will turn to Him or they will turn away from Him.  Will it be just in time or will it be too late?

Jesus command to His children is love, love for God and love for your neighbor.  Paul said love fulfills the law. [Romans 13:8] There is a little book that I possess called, “The Greatest Thing”, in it the author plainly states that if you love God’s way, the law is fulfilled.  Why does the church not love like that, why does the church not fulfill this command of the Lord, why do we see a church full of “do-gooders” instead of disciples of the Lord Jesus obedient to the will of the Father as He was?

This question brings me to Sanctification.  I suggest to you who feel like there must be more to being a Christian than what you are experiencing, there is more.  I believe that the answer is found in what the church calls sanctification.

In my experience the answer is found in surrender, the place where the process of sanctification begins.  I came to a point in my life where I was so miserable I could not stand myself or anyone else. I thought I knew so much about God and His ways.  I had studied the Word of God and was studying the Word of God…for hours, yet I was prideful, critical and full of anger, all of these hallmarks of the Pharisee spirit.  [Luke  18:10-13]  The only ones I loved were those who loved me back.

I recall finally getting to a place of brokenness, where I lay face down on the floor crying out to God, “I give up, I can’t do this anymore, I surrender. ”  I surrendered my life to Him that day.  I turned it over to Him and got down from the throne of my life.  I wish I could tell you that everything changed that day, it didn’t.  I fully expected it would, but it didn’t.  I know now that day began a process called:  “Sanctification”.

Please note the word PROCESS.  This is an on-going, daily submission of myself to God, acknowledging His Lordship over me, yielding to Him all that I know of myself at that moment in time.  When that is done then I resist the adversary and the works of the kingdom of darkness with the Word of God.

I believe that the Spirit of God operates in sanctification like this:   When I surrender whatever it is He has been dealing with me about, There is set in place a legally binding decision in the courts of Heaven; from that point on Holy Spirit has the legal right to line up my life with my words and actions. Of course, the enemy of my soul will work to see to it that my words and actions are not in agreement with my decision because that is what he does, but I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.

This principle of a one time decision and then a daily yielding, submitting to God, resisting the adversary; of committing once to establish legal precedence in the courts of Heaven, and then reaffirming it daily, applies to every work of grace, from salvation to forgiveness, to deliverance, to healing, to protection, to provision.

It was a momentous day in my life when I gave God, the Holy Spirit, permission to work me over and make me into the image of Jesus the Messiah.  This work of His is ongoing, it will not be finished in me until the day my feet walk the streets of gold.  But, oh the joy of loving and being loved, of walking in the righteousness of Jesus and in His peace.

God’s command to love one another is daily being lived out in the lives of many in the Body of Christ and it brings incredible pleasure.  I did not care much for people when I was younger, but now because I am yielded to the Lord and I have the mind of Christ, I sense His love and joy for and over them  {Zephaniah 3:17]

Oh friend, there is so much I would like to say to you, but I trust there will be more time and more blogs.  I just want you to know that when you get off the throne of your life and invite Jesus to be your King, no matter what you experience here is this world, it is all and only Glory to and for Him and blessing for you.

I was 15 when I met Jesus, I am now 76.  Music has been a huge part of my life.  It has been therapy for me over the years.  This song below was one of the first I played on the piano.  I love it!

“Living for Jesus a life that is true, striving to please Him in all that I do, yielding allegiance glad-hearted and free this is the pathway of blessing for me. Oh Jesus Lord and Savior I give myself to thee, that thou in thy atonement didst give thyself for me, I owe no other Master, my heart shall be thy throne, my life I give hence-forth to live. O Christ for Thee alone.”     Words and music by Thomas O. Chisholm and C. Harold Lowden, The Heidelburg Press, Copyright 1917

I am “all-in”,are you?

In His love…Joy

Judgment or Discernment?

“Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned with the measure you use to deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.” Matthew 7: 1-2 AMP

“But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No} you must not so much as eat with such a person. What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside.” I Corinthians 5: 11-13 AMP

I see two sides of the coin of judgment. First, if you judge, criticize and condemn others you are going to get the same in return. There is a law in the Kingdom of God called, “The law of Sowing and Reaping.” What you give out will come back to you. Secondly, according to the Apostle Paul, you must discern and judge what you are seeing and hearing so that you will not be deceived.

Scripture tells us that in the last days there will be great deception, to the point that even the very elect of God will be tempted to believe the deception. Matthew 24:24 “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonder; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

Are the above scriptures the end of this matter of judging and discerning? By no means. There is much that the Word of God has to say about this subject. My purpose in bringing the subject to this venue is this: To warn whoever reads this that deception has been unleashed in greater measure, and Christian people are to be warned that they might be aware and beware as well.

I am a Watchman and therefore I am accountable for what I see. According to the Word of God, I must be watching for the approach of the enemy of the Kingdom and I must warn when I see him coming. I see him coming!

James 4:11-12 (AMP) tells us, “[My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law, But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it} One only is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy [the One Who has the absolute power of life and death]. [But you] who are you that [you presume to] pass judgment on your neighbor?”

Since Life and Death are in the power of the tongue, (Proverbs 18:21 AMP) and “they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]” and since Matthew 12:36-37 (AMP) says that “men will give an account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.”, and since these words are true, then it would be well for each of us to be very careful what we have to say. Words do matter.

Having said all of that and having pointed you to the scripture regarding the subject of judgment, criticism and condemning others I want to bring forth something that I have seen so that you can discern for yourself whether these things be of God or not.

Very recently, a major Christian “Star”, took a stand with and for uniting with another professed Christian whose beliefs differ starkly in contrast to his own and to the Scripture. Paul declared: “What harmony can there be between Christ and a wicked, worthless person? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” II Corinthians 6:15 (AMP)

When we hear of situations like the above, we must discern not judge if this be of God or not. Discernment is done not by emotion or affection for a person or ministry, nor does it fall into the category of rationalization, rather, it is your human spirit led by the Holy Spirit that will discern if this is the work of God, the work of man, or even possibly the work of the enemy of God.

Another major incident has occurred. This one is very controversial and being batted about on many venues. The lead player of a very famous rock music group declared that he is now a believer in Jesus, having been freed from his sinful lifestyle, it was killing him; it killed the mother of his child and he realized was setting a bad example for the child.

The problem that some have with this scenario is that he believes he heard from Jesus that he should go back into the rock world and bring the band and the people who attend their concerts the gospel, and then when this is done they are to sing the same old songs about sin.

It has been pointed out that before the concert the band, who are now all “saved”, go into the crowd and lead the people to Jesus and people are also getting healed physically. Are these conversions genuine? Are these healings genuine? God knows.

I suggest that you might want to read II Thessalonians 7-12, it is too long to put here. The jist of the passage is that deception is at work in the world and to prevent being deceived you must have a love of the truth. (verse 10)

The kingdom of the enemy will be active against the Kingdom of God until Jesus comes, there will be miracles and signs and wonders done by people who belong to the kingdom of darkness, the Word of God says there will. Darkness and Light, two kingdoms competing for the souls of men.

Jesus warned, “And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or lo, he is there; believe him not.” Mark 13:21 “Then” in this passage refers to the time at the end of the age when false Christs and false prophets will be sent, by the enemy of God and His Kingdom, into the world to deceive; with the purpose of taking as many as possible to eternal damnation.

In past years I have heard from various sources that a great harvest of souls will come into the Kingdom of God just prior to the removal of the Bride of Christ. I have heard that this time will not be like it has been in the years past and that the church must be ready to receive those who are not at the same place “we” are.

Is there any doubt that we are close to the end of the age? Is there any doubt that it is getting darker as each day goes by in the kingdoms of this world? Is there any doubt that God is moving in power upon people and sometimes quite sovreignly through visions and dreams to bring them into His Kingdom? I don’t think so. It is widely reported that God is healing unbelievers as well. I believe to get their attention and bring them into the Kingdom of God.

What is the fruit produced by someone who claims to be a Christian? It can be those whom he has brought to Christ. There is much in the Word of God concerning fruit that would require much study. But, in regard to the subject of judgment and discernment, the fruit of the person, his work, is what will be judged by God when we all stand before Him, according to I Corinthians 3:13. Will the fruit that you have produced remain?

Those who have turned many to righteousness shall shine like the stars according to Daniel 12:3.

I personally know a man who was touched at a “Christian” concert, who “accepted Christ”, yet later confessed that he no longer believed in God. Decisions and choices are made that will affect the final outcome, for it is crossing the finish line that matters in the end.

It is my opinion that many so called conversions are produced at the height of emotion; not being genuine the attendee very quickly goes back to his old lifestyle. It should also be noted that if a person is not mentored after their conversion, there will not be a much change in lifestyle.

Ignorance is not bliss and sometimes it leads to destruction. Jesus parable of the seed, the sower and the ground in Mark chapter 4 shows a picture of what can happen when good seed falls into bad ground and good ground.

It is written in Luke 6:43-44 “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.” “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16

Times have changed and are changing rapidly. The world, our country and even our own little worlds are very different than five years ago. It appears that everything in this world is getting darker by the day, and yet, it appears as though the Kingdom of God is getting brighter and brighter. Isaiah 60:1-3 speaks of this very thing.

The end of the age will naturally and spiritually bring a harvest, because everything comes to fulness at harvest time, the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness will both produce fruit. It will be a harvest of righteousness and a harvest of unrighteousness, fulness in both areas.

Your choice will determine whether you are in darkness or light, what you do with Jesus is the determining factor. When harvest is over some will enter into life eternal in Heaven and some will enter into life eternal in Hell. Your choice…here and now…determines destination. Don’t put off a decision for Heaven, Jesus is the door, there is no other.

Jesus, talking about the last days said, “Go into the highways and byways and compel them to come in that my house may be full.” Luke 14:23 When they come from the highways and byways they will not be clean, they will have the taint of an evil world upon them because that is where they have lived in the darkness of sin. It is here that the church of Jesus Christ must discern and not judge. May the Lord grant us His huge compassionate heart for those who don’t know Him and His love, so that we will see as He sees and love as He loves. This is my prayer for all of us.

Jesus and I love you,
Joy

Forgiveness

“Forgive as I have forgiven you.”  Luke 11:4

That is a command not a suggestion.

“For if you do not forgive your brother then neither can my Heavenly Father forgive you.”  Matthew 8:14-15

There are conditions.

Who ever said that being a Christian was a riparian delight or a walk in the park?  Depending on where you live, it can get you murdered.

But, let’s be honest, American Christianity has not been tested and I fear if it was, it would not pass muster, not at this point anyway.

There are standards, some would call them laws, and this issue of forgiveness is one of those.  It is serious!

We can gloss over it, as many do, with all kinds of reasons why it is impossible to keep this command, such as, “I can never forgive him, you don’t know what he did to me.”  No, well then, why should God forgive you for what you have done to Him?  Is not the greater sin your telling God you won’t do what He asks of you.  Disobedience, my friend, is outright rebellion, in case you didn’t know.

We can say that God does not really mean that He won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive our brother, because He  loves us and He accepts us in Jesus just as we are.  That is a half-truth.  Half-truths are no different from lies.  A little bit of dog poop in a brownie still makes it inedible.

I can just hear someone say that I am being legalistic.  Really?  Have a glance at the Proverbs of Solomon and see how often he uses point and counter-point to show how God looks at things.  There is the Law and there is the Gospel.  There is the Old Testament and there is the New Testament.  These are Covenants, made by God.  He takes them pretty serious.  I think He means what He says.

Offense comes to every one.  There are no exceptions, we live in a fallen world.  Again, choices are made.  We either decide we will forgive or we decide we won’t.  No decision is a no decision, simple!  Is it easy to forgive?  Absolutely not!  It is probably one of the hardest things to do.  “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city.”  Proverbs 18:19

So, my friends, the challenge today is this:  Have a look at your heart before the Lord.  Are you offended by someone, by something said or something someone has done?  You better deal with it, because the repercussions are great.

God is a righteous judge.  This is how fine it gets:  “But I say unto you, (Jesus speaking) that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Matthew 18: 23-35 Jesus tells the story of a steward who worked for a King.  He owed the King a huge sum and could not pay.  So the king commanded that he be sold, with all that he had, until he could pay off the debt.  He begged for his life and the king had compassion on him and forgave him.  However, the servant found a fellow-servant who owed him a small amount and told him to pay up or else.  The poor fellow begged for patience and he would pay, but he would not hear of it and had the fellow thrown into prison.  This really irritated the other servants and they complained to the King, who when he heard addressed this unjust steward with these words:  “You are a wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt, could you not have compassion and pity upon your fellow-servant as I had upon you.”  And, then He handed him over to the tormentors, “till he should pay all that was due unto him.”

Here is the kicker:  Verse 35  “So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

I guess that pretty much sums it up for me.  I have no choice.  Either I forgive the one who offends me or I won’t be forgiven.  And, if I won’t forgive the tormentors come, guess who they are…  I choose to forgive, for my own sake.  I like freedom and peace….don’t need tormentors, no thanks.  How about you?

Reflectively His,

Joy