Eyes on Christ (Part 3)

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:22-33 NIV

Heavenly Father, please speak to us today. Help us be hearers of the word as well as doers of the word. In Jesus name we pray ~ Amen

There is so much in this passage – so many things to learn and think on. But today our priority is to learn to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Seek Him first. Look past the storms and troubles of this world, look past our fears and anxiety, look past anything trying to distract you, look past even the things that are good gifts from the father – Look at Jesus and don’t be distracted.

Yesterday we discussed the differences in the 3 accounts of this story in the Bible and the importance of our own testimony. Today, we should pick up where we left off…
All three accounts have fear in common.

“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.” Matthew 14:26 NIV

“but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.” Mark 6:49-50a NIV

“they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. “ John 6:19b NIV

Fear. Well, isn’t that something the disciples have in common with our current world.  In its current state, it rolled over our world on the heels of an unknown disease. Fear loves the unknown, the new, and the imaginary.  The unknown causes us to try to reason – which is good. Then our imagination fills in the gaps with our limited understanding and this is usually bad as we come to the wrong conclusions and develop fear.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:3:5 NKJV

Casting down imaginations – this doesn’t mean casting down creativity and constructive imaginary play. The word imaginations here is when our imagination fills in the gaps with our limited understanding and we become fearful.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, 
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

See that, take it to God and let peace guard your mind against fear. If only the disciples had this understand at the time when Jesus walked on water.

“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27 NIV

”Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Mark 6:50b NIV

“But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” John 6:20 NIV

I love Jesus’s response – it is so similar to his response to our fears.  Having been human and having a human mind while growing up, I am sure he understood fear. So when we are afraid, His response isn’t: ‘didn’t I tell you not to be afraid?!’ But instead His response is “Take courage! Don’t be afraid.” He come from a position of understanding and compassion.  But as we watch the current events, do we remember to take courage? When the evils happening around us do not make sense, do we will in the blanks and become fearful? Or do we remember ‘don’t be afraid’? 

And finally I ask you – would you recognize Jesus?  These men knew Jesus well; they ate and slept and lived together – don’t you think they might have recognized the way he holds himself? Maybe recognize some characteristic that made him unique?
When my son was a child, my grandfather dressed up as Santa and came over to visit. I played along that it was indeed Santa. For a brief moment my son acted afraid, but quickly determined he was safe. After Santa left, my son said he wasn’t afraid because he knew by the way Santa walked, that he was uncle (my brother)!!! Ha ha ha.  I never noticed that my brother walked like my grandfather before that.  So if my 4 year old son could recognize my brother (or actually my grandfather) who he didn’t see often, shouldn’t the disciples have recognized something about Jesus??

How well do we know Jesus?  Will we recognize Him when He returns in the sky? 
And you reason this out and tell me: but there was a storm and Jesus was walking on water, something that no one had ever seen done before!
Well, the disciples had been with Jesus in storms and yes Jesus was doing a new thing – will we recognize Him if he does a new thing in our world?

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 NIV

God is making a way and there will be a great spread of the gospel. The prodigals shall come home. Everyone will have heard the gospel and had an opportunity to repent from their evil ways and turn to Christ.  The spring is swelling and coming in like a tidal wave.
We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus!!! We must recognize Him, we must hear Him and we must obey Him. 

Take some time today to think on Jesus. Think on who He is. Make sure you keep your eyes on Him and that you know Him and will recognize Him.

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Eyes on Christ (Part 2)

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:22-33 NIV

Heavenly Father, please speak to us today. Help us be hearers of the word as well as doers of the word. In Jesus name we pray ~ Amen

There is so much in this passage – so many things to learn and think on. But today our priority is to learn to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Seek Him first. Look past the storms and troubles of this world, look past our fears and anxiety, look past anything trying to distract you, look past even the things that are good gifts from the father – Look at Jesus and don’t be distracted.

Yesterday we discussed how Jesus sent His disciples ahead in the boat, they ended up in trouble, and Jesus went to them. Jesus comes at the exact right time. He will perform miracles just to be there for us. And Jesus is praying for us and with us.

Let us read the two other witnesses versions of the story. As true in these days, was true in those days – every witness to something has a different understanding of what they saw and experienced. Matthew was there and his is the most detailed version. Mark had learned the stories from Peter. John was there, yet his version is the shortest and least detailed.

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

Mark 6:45-52 NIV

Mark leaves out the part about Peter walking on water as well. Mark also felt that Jesus was planning of walking right past them and wasn’t coming to help them. He also points out that they did not even understand the miracles that happened the moments before they got into the boat. Mind you, Mark wasn’t there. Mark was a student under Peter – and much of His account was written based on what he had learned from Peter.
The hours before the disciples all limbed into the boat, they had a huge hungry crowd listening to Jesus teach. This was the miracle of feeding the 5000 with just a few loaves and fishes.  Why did Jesus feed all those people? He was human, He understands hunger, and He was concerned with their wellbeing. I cannot imagine as Mark did, that Jesus did not care about their struggle and was going to walk on by them.  Maybe. But maybe this was just more evidence that the disciples still did not understand how greatly God (and Jesus) loves us and understands the full love of the loaves. 
I pray our hearts are not hardened. That we won’t walk with Jesus and miss out on the understanding of each wonderful thing He is trying to show us and He is doing for us.  We must keep focused on Him.

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone.

John 6:16-22 NIV

John also leaves out the part of Peter walking on water. John doesn’t say Jesus was going to walk past them just like Matthew (maybe only Mark felt that way as he was telling this second hand?).  John doesn’t connect this with the miracle of the loaves. John did not mention the wind and the storm. But John adds a little detail no one else puts in their account of the story – John says that when Jesus entered the boat – they were somehow transported to the other side, immediately.
If Jesus can transport to the other side, why would he have bothered to walk across the lake?  If Jesus really meant to go past them and not join them couldn’t he had just made himself appear on the other side?

Walking on water was recorded three times in the Bible. Obviously, this event is extremely important and needed to be preserved for the future church (you and me). And although all three accounts are slightly different – all three have Jesus walking on the water and a second miracle in the same passage.
Matthew’s second miracle is Peter walking on water and the storm calming.
Mark’s second miracle is the wind calming.
And John’s second miracle is being transported to the other side of the lake instantly.
All of them were focused on Jesus – walking on the water. Therefore they make have differing accounts of what else happened as those other things happened in the peripheral while their focus was on Christ.

The gospel of Luke contains the story of the feeding of the 5000, but does not contain the story of Jesus walking on water.  Luke is a physician and companion of Paul.  Where Luke relieved his account of Jesus’s life seems to have been from interviews and discussions, many testimonies of the people who walked with Christ.  I do not know why they left off this miracle.  They must have been focused on other things.

Today, let us focus on Jesus. What does He have for us today?  Are we focused on Him and His miracles in our lives.  These miracles (maybe small, maybe big) are all critical parts of our testimony (and we are to overcome by the word of our testimony). Are we keeping record? Are we writing them down first hand as Matthew? Are we sharing with others what the Lord has done??? And what He is doing??  Let us take special note of every little and big miracle He has done and share them with others.
God is still alive and still doing miracles!  In our current world, we need to see His work happening.

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Eyes on Christ (Part 1)

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:22-33 NIV

Heavenly Father, please speak to us today. Help us be hearers of the word as well as doers of the word. In Jesus name we pray ~ Amen

There is so much in this passage – so many things to learn and think on. But today our priority is to learn to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Seek Him first. Look past the storms and troubles of this world, look past our fears and anxiety, look past anything trying to distract you, look past even the things that are good gifts from the father – Look at Jesus and don’t be distracted.

Jesus sent His disciples ahead in the boat. Not an uncommon thing for him to do, but just look at what happened this time:

“Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.” Matthew 14:24 NLT

They were not just in little waves – they were ‘in trouble’.  Jesus was off, who knows where, in peace, praying – and His disciples were in trouble.  Can you imagine what they must have been tempted to think?  Talk about feeling forsaken!

As we look around at current events on a global scale – have you wondered if God has pulled back His spirit, are we forsaken?  Is this a time like Noah’s time, when God destroyed the world because of their evil? Is this at all comparable to Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by God because of their evil? What of today?
God spared the world in the early 1940’s when evil ran ramped all over the world and Hitler targeted God’s chosen people. Are the days we are living with as evil as then? 
But then we see so many scriptures being fulfilled in new ways and the global scene being set for the reign of the antichrist as also prophesied in the Bible.  We can literally feel the principalities of fear, greed, and chaos sweeping over the globe and troubles multiplying and coming against us.  

No matter how we look at our current times – we are in a small rickety boat in the midst of a storm – and we are in trouble.  And where is Jesus?
This is SO BEAUTIFUL!!! He is praying!! Yes! He is at the right hand of the Father (who is pretty busy with a lot of huge global events and planning Christ’s return for His church) and there sit’s Jesus saying: hey dad, Tom needs encouragement, and Mary needs healing, and dad, Robert needs to be saved so can we tell someone to go to him? Dad, one of your children just asked that you intervene in the life of her friend who has slipped away, can I go get him? And dad, Sam has a business meeting today that is making her anxious, can we calm her and work out a good outcome? Oh no! Dad! Kyle is about to wet his pants because there is no bathroom yet – let’s help him hold it!!!

” Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34b NIV

Yes – Jesus is praying. Interceding on our behalf. Asking God to work all things for the good. Can I get an AMEN?!?!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV

That night, I have no doubt, Jesus was praying for His disciples (as well as anything else he was praying about). I am sure Jesus could have walked around the lake, taken a different boat the next day, maybe road a donkey? I am sure Jesus did not have to walk on water to get to them.  But what I also know from this passage – is that Jesus knew his friends were in trouble and he went to them and got there the fastest way he could.  He literally changed the laws of physics to get to them.

Note also, it was almost dawn.  The night had almost past.  I can’t help but think that at first, the disciples had things under control. A few of them were seasoned fishermen. They were well able to handle things… for a while… but as the night raged on, the men grew tired (both physically and mentally after a day of ministering and learning with Jesus).  That was when Jesus came.  The troubles must come, but God has a plan and Jesus as already overcome!

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

And when Jesus climbed in the boat – the storm died down.

Today, acknowledge that Jesus is praying for us. God knows our situation and send help at just the right moment.  Jesus has overcome – we need to keep our eyes on him.

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Grace to Write This Blog

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16 ESV

Today’s post is a very special post.  This is not only a post opening with a verse on grace (my favorite subject) – but this is also my 100th post! Woo-Hoo!

Once upon a time (before I started this blog) I did my bible studies and hand wrote them down in a note pad. One day I felt the Lord telling me to share them on the internet.  I was NOT immediately obedient.  I questioned if it was really God. When I did (and still do) my Bible studies, I write it out in a way that is kinda a sermon or a letter – to myself.  I did this as a child growing up in the church. For those who do not know, I walked away – twice.  Doh!  But I am back and this time I have been changed in ways I was never changed before.  By grace, I am changed. By grace I am back to stay – and through continued grace I pray the Lord does not let me slide away again. This is the grace upon grace coming from his fullness. This is the power and hope I never realized when I first learned about the Lord.

I pray over every one of these: that God will bless anyone who reads it. I hope those of you who have found this are blessed. I am not sharing this, myself – to let God use it as he would see fit. I believe God has told me not to share, but He will share it and grow it as He wishes. (I did share with a couple Godly women, who I share everything. They continue to encourage me.) I let God lead people to this blog – I do not do this for my glory or my ego, but that God gets the glory! Also, I do not discourage people from sharing this (please do, at the Lord’s leading, as His word never returns void). This is His work, not mine.

Because this belongs to God, I do not use my name; and the handle on this blog is not a handle I use anywhere in my life or on the internet. Blogger said create an account and I realized that might be used as my ‘by line’.  I prayed about what to use just as I prayed about the title of this: “If not for grace”.  The title comes from the very real daily realization that my life would be a complete train wreck, if not for the grace of God working its transformative powers in me.  My user name was chosen with the same grace in mind. 
“Lilies” – pure white Easter Lilies, specifically. The white lily was named the Easter lily because it blooms in the spring and because it is pure white, being a wonderful symbol of the work of the cross washing our sins away – cleaning us and purifying us – a symbol of mercy and grace.  I am washed white as Easter lilies and a child of The King – leading to the second part of my user name = princess.  I am a child of the King adopted through grace (Ephesians 1:5)! Therefore I am a princess!
I am unable to turn off the ‘by line’ acknowledging the author of each post – God authored the Bible through grace and inspiration and I just study it (and apply it to my life). God shares this – God uses this – this is God’s work. Please always give Him the glory for this blog.

This has been a much larger commitment than I had expected. It has kept me diligent in my studies. I originally aimed to post daily, then switched to no posts on Sundays (hoping you all are being fed by a Holy Spirit led church). I have occasionally posted on Sundays anyway. I have occasionally failed to post daily but I maintain diligence as best I can. It is through grace that we have made it to 100 posts! Praise the Lord!

Originally I tried to keep things down to 800 words per post, finding myself editing out sections and worried that something God wants to say may be cut. So I changed my mind and try to keep things under 1,500 words per post (or at least under 2000).  Yes these are a little lengthy (but you should see how much I edit out). According to my statistics, I average 1,271 words per post. I have published on here 125,853 words (before today’s post) most of which is quoted scripture – none of which shall return void, but shall accomplish what God has set it out to accomplish. 
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 KJV
Remember that always: Use the scriptures and quote them out, do not water them down or change them – do not steal from God the power of His words.  They are sharper than a 2 edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). And Jesus fought off the enemy by saying “it is written” and quoting the scriptures (Matthew 4:4-6).

I have a handful of ‘followers’ and pray over you each daily when I check my stats. Most of you visit my blog on Wednesday at noon – maybe I should do something fancy on Wednesdays to thank you for your visits.

Traffic to this blog increased when the government shut down began here in the USA, then slowly fell away. It increased again when the riots and political unrest began here in the USA, I hope people continue to seek God and blogs that speak the word.  Only 85% of my views come from the USA.  It is not just what is happening here that is drawing people to Christ!
11% of the traffic comes from China – considering their internet limitations and politics, I assume most of these are autobots. But whoever you are, from there, who actually spend time on each post – I see you and I am praying for you! God shall protect you.
3% of you are from France.  Well, hello there! I have always wanted to visit.
And the rest of you are from the United Kingdom, Russia and India. I hope most of you are real people and not autobots. 

I have the comments turned off, as I originally had many spam comments (leaving links leading to extremely inappropriate sites) and I was not clever enough to figure out how to delete them. (Especially trying to get them down as soon as I learned they were there!) So I deleted my post and reposted with the comments turned off and have left the comments turned off. I do not have enough time to manage autobot spam. I have work to do for the Lord. 

If you create an account with Word Press you can “like” my posts.  I am trying to find other ways to manage comments so I can interact with you all – it will take me some research as ‘blogging’ is new to me.  I appreciate those of you who are sticking with me through this journey.

As I hit my average number of words in today’s post, let me close. I thank God for all of you and anyone new to reading this as well. I shall continue to pray for you all.

“… grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 NIV

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Grace, Love and Division

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2 NKJV

Let’s start in prayer: Dear heavenly father, as we read this, we thank you and praise you for your mercies and forgiveness! Cleanse us please and help us turn from sins. Please open our eyes and understanding; give us ears to hear what you are saying. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:18-23 NKJV

“It is the last hour” – I have heard so many say it is the end of the world and others say but they have been saying it since the times of Jesus.  All I know for certain is God has not changed and if this was what God had them preach almost 2000 years ago, we should be preaching it today, as we believe the Bible is timeless and continually relevant.  But if 2000 years ago was the last hour, then it stands to reason we are approaching the last minutes.  Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!

The bible is very clear about the end times being overrun with lawlessness and false teachings. Even false prophets and church leaders who lead entire congregations away from God. As these things increase around us it is important to take a look at some of the passages attached to these ‘end days’ and ‘last hour’ messages.

Here in 1 John chapter 2 we have a beautiful passage that begins with such grace as forgiveness of sins and Jesus, Himself, advocating on our behalf with the Father.  I am not sure about you – but I am definitely a sinner who has been redeemed by grace.  It is empowering and freeing. But it is also work as I have a sin nature and dying to this sinful nature is a daily task as we have talked about when we read Romans 6 together.  John starts things off with telling us first and foremost – get yourself right with Christ.

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1 John 2:3-6 NKJV

Although the Bible does say that all you have to do to be saved is believe, it doesn’t and can’t stop there. Salvation is a gift; you cannot work or pay to get to heaven. You have to accept the free gift through believing. When you believe, it begins to change you and transform you. You cannot stop there. If you do you will slowly slide away to the point where your assurance of Heaven becomes a theological debate which ends up settled with “we shall see when it happens”.  I don’t know about you – but I want to be MORE sure than that!!

John is very clear here: “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Again with obedience! As we have discussed obedience should be our response to grace. If we know Jesus (or are saved) we will keep his commandments. No further “if”s, “and”s, or “but”s about it.  Time to ask yourself the hard question – Am I keeping His commandments?

Dear Lord Jesus, help us to keep your word, to live and obey it, and help us be an example to other so that they know we are Christians and they are drawn to you. – amen

“Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” 1 John 2:7-11 NKJV

Oh Lord please help us love! As this nation and the world around us falls into division – let me be on team LOVE.  Let me Love the Lord and mankind (every sinner and saint – every race and color – even the ones who won’t go out because of covid-19 and the ones who won’t stay in regardless of covid-19). Lines are being drawn all over – everything seems to have 2 sides and you are made to feel you are either with or against.  The truth is – NONE OF IT MATTERS! Except Jesus and His love and the grace of the work of the cross. We are bound as family with love for Christ and the Father when we unite in obedience to His commands. What a beautiful way to show our appreciation for the grace.

John was writing to the believers.  Because yes, believers have sin struggles and believers have trouble with division. Believers are human and fragile (it is God who is manifest strong when we are weak).  But this message as he said in verse 2 (above) is for the whole world, including those who do not yet believe. If you are reading and on are the fence about all this, please keep reading every day because I am sure you and God shall work out your salvation.

“I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.” 1 John 2:12-14 NKJV

As John finishes saying that his readers are doing well, have even overcome the wicked one, he jumps right into one of the themes (also love and fellowship with God) of the book of 1 John – the separation and distinction between of the church (children of God) and the world which is full of evil and under the dominion of Satan.

As the divisions happen around us – as this spirit of division takes roots – be aware that as Christian we should be united – but not united with the world. As the times become more “uncertain” the division between Christians and the world will become more and more prevalent. We have already been told and felt to separation – watch as this spirit of division makes it obvious to the world.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”  1 John 2:15-17 NKJV

Today – let us think about this verse. Examine ourselves to see if we are still clinging to the world in any way. We can literally see the world crumble and pass away in front of our eyes these days. So focus on God and His worlds.

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Much Needed Grace

1 Happy are those whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned.
Happy is the one whom the Lord does not accuse of doing wrong and who is free from all deceit.
When I did not confess my sins, I was worn out from crying all day long.
Day and night you punished me, Lord; my strength was completely drained, as moisture is dried up by the summer heat.
Then I confessed my sins to you; I did not conceal my wrongdoings. I decided to confess them to you, and you forgave all my sins.
So all your loyal people should pray to you in times of need; when a great flood of trouble comes rushing in, it will not reach them.
You are my hiding place; you will save me from trouble. I sing aloud of your salvation, because you protect me.
The Lord says, “I will teach you the way you should go; I will instruct you and advise you.
Don’t be stupid like a horse or a mule, which must be controlled with a bit and bridle to make it submit.”
10 The wicked will have to suffer, but those who trust in the Lord are protected by his constant love.
11 You that are righteous, be glad and rejoice because of what the Lord has done. You that obey him, shout for joy!

Psalm 32 GNT

Let’s start in prayer: Dear heavenly father, as we read this, we thank you and praise you for your grace! Please open our eyes and understanding; give us ears to hear what you are saying. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

This Psalm is overflowing with praise for that little thing we call grace. The undeserved favor of God.  We confess our sins to God and ask to turn from them and through mercy he forgives us – but moreover, through grace he then blesses us.  What an amazing things this grace truly is.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV

Psalms 32 verses 1 & 2 tell us how to be happy.  Tell me we don’t need more happiness in this world these days.  The joy of the Lord is our strength!

Verse 6 talks about a great flood of trouble – maybe like the troubles facing our nation. Maybe like the troubles we have at work. Maybe like the troubles with the economy and our finances. Maybe like the troubles with our health. 
I have had some personal struggles lately, watching this flood of troubles chasing me.  Yesterday there was no post – I am so sorry.  I have been fighting off a head cold and a few rough days at work and came home from work and slept. I see these troubles coming right up within a millimeter of me. And honestly I have been a bit anxious. 
Have I forgotten:
That I AM loyal to God?  
That I pray to Him in my time of need?
Therefore this flood of troubles can come and it can come close – BUT IT IS WRITTEN: it will not reach me!

In this psalm, David is worshiping God for this grace and I cannot help but giggle at the response the Lord gives:

”The Lord says, “I will teach you the way you should go; I will instruct you and advise you. Don’t be stupid like a horse or a mule, which must be controlled with a bit and bridle to make it submit.” Psalm 32:8-9 GNT

‘Don’t be stupid’.  Well, Lord, I try not to be stupid. But I do seem to think I am not so smart sometimes. I have to be reminded over and over of your goodness and mercies. I worship you for your grace, yet have to be reminded of that very thing!!!

Lately I see a trend – a repeating message in these posts: God is trying to lead us. Guiding us with His still small voice, and here being taught and guided. We must keep focused on God – seek Him first and foremost. Keep ourselves humble before Him and let Him continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   

This is the VERY reason we should make sure we get into the Bible every day and ask Him to speak to us through it – because we easily forget some of the simple lessons. While focused on a global pandemic and the strange times we live in, we are spending a lot of energy trusting Him for protection from all these BIG things. Don’t be like me and get anxious over the little things that can all rush in at once like a flood. Being comforted by this psalm – I rest, knowing it will not reach me.

”but those who trust in the Lord are protected by his constant love. You that are righteous, be glad and rejoice because of what the Lord has done. You that obey him, shout for joy!” Psalm 32:10b-11 GNT

It is written: I am protected by His constant love!  Woo-hoo! That feels so good to say – Say it out loud! It is written: I am protected by His constant love! 

Ever notice that every time I write about grace, the word obey pops up??  Over and over in scriptures it keeps appearing – it’s like obedience is supposed to be our response to grace. Probably! Dear Lord, Help us to respond to your grace with obedience.

“Be glad and rejoice because of what the Lord has done.” – “HAS” Past tense.  He has gone before us and prepared a way. He has finished the work through the cross and resurrection.  The battle has already been won.

Today – be encouraged. His grace is sufficient for us and our circumstances as He protects us and He shines His face down upon us.  All that is left is to praise Him! Praise Him as David did – in Songs and Prayers.  God id Good! He is still in control!

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Still Small Voice

11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord Passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

1 Kings 19:11-14 NKJV

Let’s start in prayer: Dear heavenly father, as we read this, open our eyes and understanding; give us ears to hear what you are saying. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Lately it feels as if we have and/or are living through a wind that could shake a mountain, and then an earthquake, and then fire.  I live in the United States. I recognize that we are having a rather easy time compared to the global news.  We had the pandemic and then some riots (please note that I am not saying protests are bad – just the riots and looting). Other countries have been devastated by locust, earthquakes, wars, as well as the pandemic and riots. Many Christian are being killed for their faith in other countries. Multiple countries have reported strange things in the skies, including my own – here the government put out a press release saying if you see anything please report it, yadda, yadda, yadda. And the news of it has since been suppressed.

But I am encouraged, because the Lord wasn’t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. The Lord came in the stillness afterward, with a quiet voice.

While we prayerfully fight back at the principality of fear, the principality of chaos has moved in. I don’t know about you, but I am tired. I have also been fighting off allergy symptoms and congestion (I do not want it to turn into an infection). The doctor has me on medicine that makes me groggy and clouds my mind. Any progress I might be making praying for calm clarity in the midst of Fear and Chaos – feels rather lost in this medicine head. (Please pray for my healing.)

But none the less – I am encouraged, because the Lord wasn’t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. The Lord came in the stillness afterward, with a quiet voice.

Can you imagine what it might have been like up a mountain, in a cave and the wind is so strong it is ripping rocks off the mountain.  I do not think I would be like Elijah and stay inside that cave during an earthquake – it could have caved in on him!  And fire – what was this fire? Like a forest fire? Just a random wall of fire?!  (I will admit – with my groggy medicine head I thought about this scene and what Elijah must have experienced, a little too much.)

The Holy Spirit comes with the sound of a rushing mighty wind (Acts 2:2) – Just the sound. Elijah knew God wasn’t in it because this was an active destructive and not just a sound.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV
Here we see in the book of John that Jesus says it is the enemy who destroys – Jesus came to give life.  

Although this passage in 1st Kings doesn’t directly say it – I can’t help but notice God protection. The wind, earthquake and fire did not harm Elijah at all. As we go through some crazy things happening all over the world we too can be encouraged – we are protected under the wing of the Most High when we make him our refuge (Psalm 91).

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah” Psalm 46:1-3 NKJV

And then later, in that same chapter of Psalms, about how strong, mighty and powerful God is and all He can do – we find this:

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 NKJV

Be still and stop striving and trying in our own power, stop being overwhelmed, stop responding emotionally, stop being distracted – Just stop for a second to wake up and understand and acknowledge God for who He is and what He is doing! Focus on God.

While the wind is still blowing and the earth still quaking and the fire still raging – Hold still and know that isn’t where God is! He is working in the quiet places. He is guiding us from behind.

“and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it; when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 ASV

But most importantly, He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6 & Hebrews 13:5). God was with Elijah and protected him while the wind, shaking and fire happened.  God was also there, after, in a still small voice.  God is also here with us, protecting us now.

When God was ready to talk, Elijah got right to the point.  He didn’t even take time to answer God’s question: What are you doing here?
Nope, Elijah was there to talk to God and he had things to say.

So imagine if you will – it is you on that mountain and here you are speaking with God.  What would you say?

And we have that opportunity through the grace of Christ Jesus to come before Him daily and pray, worship, ask for anything we want.
Elijah didn’t talk to God about the wind, earthquake or fire – he did not get distracted. He went before God with his hearts cry.
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts”

Be zealous for Him; and be encouraged, because the Lord isn’t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. The Lord comes in the stillness, with a quiet voice.

Take some time today and quiet yourself, worship in the knowledge that He is God, and listen.

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Walking with Jesus

“and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it; when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 ASV

Let’s start in prayer: Dear heavenly father, as we read this, open our eyes and understanding; give us ears to hear what you are saying. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Walk.  I love to: walk, take the dog for walks, and go to the gym and walk on the treadmill. Current events show people walking, holding signs, and walking with a purpose.  So let’s talk about walking.  Where do we walk? Why do we walk and how do we walk? We = being followers of Christ. 

The verse above says that God will speak to us and tell us when we are on the path and if we veer off, he will tell us to get back on it. He will tell us to walk to the left or to the right exactly when it is time to walk to the left or the right. 

The word walking may indeed mean literally walking in some verses. In some it is a symbol of how you live your life. And in some verses it means both. Faith often takes an obedient action to make it happen – like you can’t just pray inside your head for your mountain to move, but rather you must SAY (there is the action) “Mountain be moved!” It is so similar for walking – our faith shall make us move. Walking is definitely a literal as well as symbolic word for our world today.

Where?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the 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.” Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV

Go to all nations, all people, and go everywhere you can. This blog can reach everywhere in the world that has internet.  I can’t physically go (at least not right now with a global pandemic and limited resources).  Thank you Jesus that this verse doesn’t say to walk to all nations.

Jesus walked a lot – the disciples walked a lot – the Apostle Paul walked a lot – the Israelites walked for 40 years in the wilderness – and granted it was the main form of transportation in those days.

Why?

The verse above also says to go and why” “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” – but let’s get into it deeper. Jesus healed, forgave and redeemed.  The disciple also healed – in the name of Jesus. They taught Jesus’s forgiveness and the life changing power of redemption and turning away from sins. If we are Christians we should be doing the same.

“The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5 KJV

Christians are followers of Christ. How can we follow a man who walked on Earth almost 2000 years ago (died and rose again then ascended to heaven)? Sometime I like to seriously think about it. We cannot see him. How do we follow him?  We have the Word of God and we know the Word of God is also Jesus. And Isaiah said (above) that God will guide us with his voice. But the 12 disciples actually saw Jesus in the flesh. However, if we walk really walk, the way we were told to walk, we shall know Him without seeing Him. He will reveal Himself and Make His completed work manifested in our lives.  We do not need to see to heal the blind but we need to walk to heal the lame.

How?

So how do we walk? The Bible has no shortage of answers to that question. Here are a few:

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV

“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” Ephesians 5:8 ESV

Since I talked about love and light yesterday, I won’t get back into it. But let’s discuss the following two more: walk by faith and walk in spirit.

“for we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NAS

NOT by sight. We cannot see Jesus here on earth anymore. We cannot see angels or demons.  We cannot see the spirit world.
Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

Children believe every silly story you tell them and it takes quite a few years before they learn the difference between real and make-believe.  The Bible says we need to believe like children. Simply because the Bible says it, I believe it.  The difficult park about that is actually getting there.  I find I have to talk myself into it some days. Sometimes I just repeat: “His word says it and I believe it” and repeat it until I believe it. God says we can ask for help believing.  Thomas believed, yet doubted the resurrection and Jesus mercifully showed Thomas Himself.  Jesus will reveal Himself to each of us the way He needs to. You just have to try to believe.

As I talk about often – I am praying some huge prayers. Prayer for lives to be transformed. Prayers that require perseverance.  I cannot see any progress, and if I think I saw a glimpse of progress, the enemy covers it up with chaos and sin.  But the Bible says God is working on those prayers. Right now as I type, God is deep inside of those love ones, whom I pray for, and he is working. Right now as you read this, God is slowly manifesting His completed work in my love ones lives.  The Bible says he is and therefore He is!  Can I get an Amen?!

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25 KJV

Walk in the spirit; live in the spirit. I already said we cannot see the spirit world – so how do we live there? I don’t know. So many times I am able to look past my earthly problems as see God’s hand in it. I see the greater purpose. I have peace about it and I know God is in it.  The spirit is there – past the distractions of this day. It is also close, deep inside you.

Galatians 5:16-26 talks all about overcoming your flesh in order to walk in the spirit. It’s a great passage to dig into. (I have previously in this blog and may do it again, but not today).

As we think about walking – of course there was the bonus round of walking:

“Shortly before dawn, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.”  Mathew 14:25 ISV
Peter saw it and was eager to do it Himself. You see, with Christ – eyes steadfast on Him – we can do all things! Yes, I believe if Jesus could walk on water and Peter could for a couple steps – than so can I! I am not sure what it would accomplish, and I am sure I have not told to by that voice behind me as describe in the first verse I have quoted today.

The point of all this walking is that Jesus came to transform us.

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 NAS

We can then being transformed through Christ, walk in newness of life.  If you are not walking with Jesus (having a friendship with him) Please click the link below.  If you have already asked Jesus to be in your life, yet you are not walking in this newness – seek Him. Maybe you aren’t walking close enough with Him, maybe you have started to walk away without realizing it (ignoring that voice which is telling where to walk), and maybe you realize you have walked away and need to come back.

There is therefore now no condemnation – be covered in grace and turn (away from sin) towards our redeemer! Then walk this way: walk healed like the lame, walk in love and light, walk in faith and God will help your unbelief, and walk in the spirit and truth, and walk in newness of life.

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Walk in Love and Light

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV

Again, let us start in prayer: Dear heavenly father, as we do this study, open our eyes and understanding; give us ears to hear what you are saying. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

The world needs love. True love, not that fake heartache wrapped in a hug with the words “love and light” that it has been passing off as love.  I am talking Godly love that loves the sinner (and not the sin). The kind of love that transforms people. The kind of love that would die for another as Jesus did. The world needs love.  And here we see that the Bible says Christians are the ones who are supposed to provide that.

Paul wrote these words to the Ephesian church. At the time the church was not in unity, and their social issues may have been different than the current event of 2020 – but we too fight the spirit of division.  Everyone seems to be divided: within churches, churches against churches, social group against social group, anarchists against law enforcement, and even anarchist against anarchist and law enforcement internally within departments.

Paul’s answer is to send them a letter that says ‘love and light’.  I assure you this is not the same as the ‘love and light’ that people use on social media mixed in with ‘thoughts and prayers’. He lays it out: 1. Walk in love. 2. Define what love is NOT. 3. Walk in light.

Walk in Love

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV

Maybe, just maybe – if this is the answer to a dividing spirit then, it is the answer to the dividing spirit now. It does say we should imitate God – and God is love.
Diversity is great but it should not divide us and we should not strive to all be the same – diverse in nationalities and united in love and light.    

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:7-12 ESV

Jesus, we need love in our world right now. Help us learn the true love and be your true love. Fill us with love overflowing. The love that extends your grace and mercies. The love that heals and bring unity and peace. ~amen

Define What Love IS NOT

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 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.” Ephesians 5:3-7 NKJV

There is no mincing words here. First it says to love, then jumps in immediately to list off what is NOT love. Let’s read it again in the amplified bible to really see all that is included in this list of what love is not.

“But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith]. Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God]. For be sure of this: no immoral, impure, or greedy person—for that one is [in effect] an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God [for such a person places a higher value on something other than God].” Ephesians 5:3-5 AMP

What the world offers is NOT love. It is sin and selfish. And when written out like this it does not seem all that tempting. But in real life – it is. We all come from a sin nature and that makes this a draw. As a child of God, you deserve to be loved by other as God loves you and not a cheap knock off selfish thing people pass off as love. Other children of God (as well as the world) also deserve to experience God’s pure love through us.

Notice the way this section end – “the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”  I use the word obedient a lot in these posts. Some feel offended by the word ‘obedience’. However, following Jesus means being obedient. Therefore following the world is disobedient. Following Jesus means being a child of God – not following makes you a child of disobedience.  Either way, you are following and an adopted child to it.  Be careful not to be deceived.

Heavenly father, please expose this false love and help us avoid it. Please give us the grace to learn to be true love and to respond positively to you uprooting any evil still within us.  Let us be your love to this world that greatly needs it. ~ amen

Walk in Light

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:8-14 NKJV

Light exposes secret sins, not so secret sins as well as the good. Yes, light exposes everything.
Praying that God’s light exposes is great BUT as followers of Christ – WE ARE THE LIGHT.  The Light that draws people to Christ as well as the source God uses to expose truths. And our light is darkened when we do not love as Christ has commanded us to. To love everyone or if our light is darkened by our own sins.

So unity begins deep inside yourself and myself. Getting our love right. Letting the light in, letting it expose our own sinful ways.  Once our own sin is exposed – do not wallow in self pity and condemnation. Take it to God in prayer, ask for forgiveness and turn away from it. 

Unity comes when we recognize what is not Christ like love – and we do not participate in it. That means we do not offer it to the world and we do not accept it. Turn from sin.  This is a critical part of unity. We cannot be united in Christ if some of us are “sons of disobedience”.

Notice how unity starts with looking within – not at others.
We cannot effect unity and change within our churches until we are honest about our own conditions first.  Then we can unite as a church body and effect change in our communities and states and nation. But it starts in each individual heart.

Lord, today, shine your light into our own lives and expose to us what needs to be dealt with. Then fill us to overflowing with your light – that we can walk in love and light.  Offering love to those who need it and exposing what needs to be root out.  Let us recognize that we are the light – but it is you who brings conviction and change both inside ourselves and in others.

This is how unity is created – in obedience to the command to love one another – no matter of race, nationality, career, etc.  Loving others as Christ loves us even if they are intentionally trying to harm us, even if they aren’t a nice person, etc.
Let me bring this up into current events. Learning to love the George Floyd’s and their families as well as loving the murdering cops. I know, this is tough.  God wishes that neither will spend eternity in hell.  How about loving the poor small business owners who had their lively hoods destroyed by rioters as well as loving the rioters. Yes, tough. God’s will is that all will be saved.  Can you love the sinners regardless of sin?  God says we are drawn to God because of His love and if these people never see God’s love, then how would they know?  How can they show love if they do not know love?  It starts inside me and inside you. Then it will grow and reach them.

It is time for a change in this dark world! Lord, start with me!

Be the change! “Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Time to Believe & Love

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Romans 10:9-10 NIV

First, let me apologize for not having a post ready this morning.  I had a few words rolling around in my head and I knew the meaning. I did not have a clear enough direction and I have had to work this over.  As I said a few days ago – God is doing a new thing. Maybe the way in which He is giving me these studies will be new as well? We will find out.

Second, let’s start in prayer: Dear heavenly father, as we do this study, give us a spirit of humbleness and pour out your mercy and forgiving grace.  Forgive us for any sins, including the sin of thinking we know (any topic and your Word). Lord we acknowledge that sometime we know your word so well, that we miss what you are trying to say to us in the moment and we know some topic and our opinions so well, that we sometimes miss what you are saying about it. Bring our own sins to the surface, to our attention, and wash them away as we acknowledge them. Help us turn from our sins. Prepare us to learn from you. Open our eyes and understanding; give us ears to hear what you are saying. You are doing a new thing Lord, yet you are the same. Since you do not change, help us use your word to be guided in the work you are doing.  In Jesus name we pray. Amen

I feel like a broken record. I speak and I write the same things over and over in a different way each time, hoping that each new way I present it will help it get through. Lately I feel unheard.  I can only imagine how God feels, while He speaks and we do not listen or we hear and just do not do what He wants us to do.  Let me be as simple as possible. Simple because the bible says:
“And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 NIV

So in the simplest language I can muster:
It is time. The time is now. There is no time to wait.
Believe. Love. Seek God.

Now let’s study this like the mature adults we are – God doesn’t want us to be lukewarm, so please keep your heart open in case God is trying to speak directly to you today.

Time

“Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16 NAS

You have to see it. It is so difficult to believe that you cannot see it. The days ARE evil. This is the time.

Making the most of your time? Other versions say “redeeming the time”.  This means we should be urgently doing the will of God.

“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:11-14 NIV

Understand the time. Wake up. If it was time, almost two thousand years ago when this was written how much more is it time now when we are seeing the signs that were prophesized?

“For He says, “At the acceptable time (the time of grace) I listened to you, And I helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation” 2 Corinthians 6:2 AMP

Today is the day of salvation.

I have received a little slack for being one of those Christians who is always saying – Jesus is returning soon. I was told that they have been saying it since the time of Christ – and that is true. But if they were saying it and they are our example, shouldn’t we also?  If they believe the hour was at hand, should we all the more???

Believe and be changed

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

I have met so many who profess they believe in Jesus as Romans 10:9-10 says (first verse written above).  I have met so many who are trying to avoid condemnation as written in Romans 8:1, that they preach a message of ‘good enough’.  However, ‘good enough’ is not good enough.  Do not confuse “condemnation” with “conviction to change”.

Do you believe?  I am not judging you when I say I can tell by just looking at you. So can the whole world.  If you believe the Bible, if you truly believe, then you are changed (and for the better).  If the Bible be true, and you have not been changed, then you are not in Christ.  This is simple logic.  I do not say this to condemn you as there is therefore now no condemnation – but to bring awareness and for you and I to permit God to do His transforming work within us. The good news is that when we believe, it is no longer us living, but Christ living in us.  Yes, this is good. In there are the blessing, peace, salvation, victories, on and on – the list of promises goes on. 

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 MSG

Dear Jesus, we believe. Help our unbelief.

Love one another

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV

Do you love? Do you even know what true love is? Would you recognize it and cherish it? It is so rare in our world. Dear Lord, help us recognize true, Godly, unconditional love. It is always a gift from You, let us not ever take advantage of it and always thank You for it!

In this verse are the words of Jesus. He loved us by dying for us.  Do you love enough to die for the ones you love? How about the ones you don’t like? How about for the ones who do evil against you? Serious question here – would you die for them? 

Do you love the rioter? Do you love the politicians? Do you love the people who rewrite the event of the day in the media, twisting it to fit their agendas?  Do you truly love the sinners (regardless of their choices and sins)?  Love is not condoning actions. Love is understanding where they are at in their minds and heart, seeing them the way Jesus sees them. (I cannot understand some people’s minds and hearts. I just pray that I can see them the way Jesus sees them.)

Dear Jesus, open our eyes to see people the way you see people! Change us Lord!

Seek Him – He is faithful

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 KJV

Sometimes I think we focus too much on the second half of this verse. It is a beautiful and hope filled promise of faith.  But all too often, we seek Him ONLY when we need something instead of seeking Him FIRST.

Seek Him always. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – which does not mean you need to stay in your prayer closet all day! I actually do not even have a prayer closet or a designated place to pray. I do find a quiet place every day to pray but I also wake up and praise Him as I climb out of bed and turn on the coffee.  I say a prayer with my morning coffee. I get to work and pray over the work I am doing and anything else that comes into my head as I go about my day. Pray without ceasing is just staying aware that Jesus is right there with you, and if you have a relationship with Him, then you should be talking and listening to Him. If you are not, then are you even in a relationship with Him? Are you even saved?

Seek hearing Him!  Listening to God comes by reading His Word. That is first and foremost. That is infallible.  If you are not reading, you are in disobedience to Him. (Reading the Bible DOES include audio versions, some cannot read for various reasons. And even if you can read, some people are audio-learners.)  Get into His Word.
Hearing Him also comes by being still – waiting on Him. See what He can and is doing. Hear what He is saying.

“God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change his mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19 NIV

God is not a liar. His words are fulfilled and will be fulfilled.  When you seek His promises, when you read Hs prophecies, regardless of your belief in them or not, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow therefore His will shall be done.  It is written. 

Our belief and transformation determines if we are going to be part of the blessing or the curse.
Listen, everyone to some degree has an agenda or a plan.  God laid His plan out in the Bible.  When we are Christians we are on His team we are for His will.  He isn’t on our team, fighting for our will and our agenda.  He is for us.  But He isn’t like a magic wand we can wave to get our own way.  If we are truly Christians and our will is God’s will we are on His team, doing His work. Let go of our own plans and watch how much God blesses us. Give up – your will, your hurt, your agenda, just stop railing against yourself and what God is trying to do. Stop, and let God heal you and bless you.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

God’s plan, His will, is that we give testimony. We should share what we have experienced God doing. Tell others of His Love, mercy, and forgiveness.  This is the will of our Father.

I am a sinner, saved by grace. I once did drugs, had wrong relationships, was in bondage to sin.  Now I am different. I am free. I began being changed by God deep down in my inner parts – and as God does a work in my depths, in my darkness. He is pushing sin up and to the surface for me to acknowledge and turn away from. Yes, he is still doing this – yes, I still sin. I cannot turn away from it on my own. Sin is too tempting and has too strong a hold on me.  BUT…
It is grace. Grace is doing a transforming work in me (currently DOING and will keep working in me as long as I am here on earth). Grace convicts and causes me to change.
Then self-condemnation sweeps in and I cry out – But Lord, I am so evil. I am so unworthy and shall never be worthy – I might as well give up!
And a quiet voice, a good voice, a solid and unwavering voice responds: “there is now no condemnation – ask for forgiveness and be clean, be made whole, and be healed.”
So simple.
Yet I am tempted to punish myself – hold myself down – enter into a new bondage. BUT NO! God has freed me – He has freed us! Standing strong, Lord help me not be moved, standing in (inside of, surrounded by, engulfed in) the liberty and freedom of my salvation!

Heavenly Father, help keep this word in our hearts and minds. Stir inside us and grow us. Let these word be seen and heard, watered and fertilized. Transform us Oh Lord. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**