PRAYERS

Welcome to this site. My prayer is that you take a look at the site and as you do, let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and reveal what God wants you to discover. (in Jesus' name)

God tells us that if we see a brother (or sister) in need we should do that which is within our means to help. Prayer is always within our means but we never know what doors Father may open through them. Should you desire prayer for anything (healing, direction, etc.) or if you want supportive prayer along with your own please feel free to e-mail that request to sharbu3@gmail.com and be assured that there are others who will be praying with or for you.


In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

At the end of each post are the options to share, forward or make a comment. Click 'comment' to respond. Let us know if you like, don't like or are helped by what you read. Comments can be made or read by anyone. All you have to do is select the "comment" at he end of the entry.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

 

5-10-2022        Words for Life

 

Father has been showing me, for some time now, to take a step back and keep the broader (bigger) picture in mind.  Not just in life, but in the bible as well.

In the book of Genesis, Father creates all that is and He establishes Israel as the vehicle He had chosen to deliver His love to the world.  Exodus through Deuteronomy He gives us standards by which to live.  The ‘historical’ books, Psalm, Proverbs and the books of the prophets bring a clearer understanding of how God’s love interacts with us and that includes the coming of the Messiah!

The gospels of Matthew and Mark bring us a spiritual account of Jesus’ life while built around an historical undertone. Luke (our historian) relates the life of Jesus in an historical perspective with a spiritual undertone.  And John?  John shows us how the love of Jesus Christ interfaces (or should)  interface with our lives as weaved around the life of Christ.

The book of Acts relates the building of the church from an historical perspective (thank you Dr. Luke) while interlacing with spiritual truths helping us to see how Christ’s love can operate through our lives.

Never thought about all this too much until these past few days (started thinking about all this past May 1st) as I started going through the book of Romans (not the 1st time!).  I’m already up to chapter three (as of the beginning of this entry – lol).  Father is showing me how Paul’s letter to the Romans is about establishing the church – spiritually.  Of course, the whole bible is intended to help us grow spiritually, but I have never noticed before how these first six books of the New Testament are put together for purpose.  The basis for our faith (Jesus), establishing the church (physically) and establishing the church (spiritually).

For today, Father says “Let’s take a look at Romans chapter 2.

A quick look at chapter one first.  Paul identifies who he is, who Jesus is and that he desires to see he Romans in person.  He also establishes that God is God (I AM that I AM – Exod. 3:13-14) and man is man and if it were up to man, the two would most likely never meet.  Father explains, because man insists on refusing Him, He gives them over to their own desires (Rom. 1:24-32) and continues in Romans chapter two.  

So, let’s take a look at Romans 2:1-29

1          Therefore you have no excuse, O man, for you condemn yourself when you condemn another man for you do the same things yourself.

2          We are sure that God judges according to truth in dealing with man.

3          so when you judge another, yet do the same things they do, do really think you will escape God’s judgment?

4          Do you despise the rewards of God’s goodness, forbearance and longsuffering because you don’t know that His goodness leads to repentance?

 

We see the presence of God in all creation, around us!  So, just because we don’t believe in God or don’t want to be obedient to His ‘game plan’, do we expect to escape judgment because of our ignorance? (Hah!  Don’t think so)

 

5          Yet, because of the hardness and ‘bullheadedness’ of our heart, we gather things unto ourselves even though the day of wrath is pending and so is God’s judgment.

6          And He will mete out His judgment to every man according to that man’s works.  (we will reap what we sow! Gal. 6:7-9)

7          Those who are patient and continue in well doing (His will) seek glory, honor and immortality and that leads to eternal life.

8          But to those who are contrary and don’t obey the truth, rather follow unrighteousness, indignation and anger

9          Shall receive tribulation and anguish because of the evil they have done, to the Jew first, then the Gentile (everybody else).

10        But glory, honor and peace to every person who works ‘good’, again, to the Jew first, then to everybody else.

 

That means everybody will receive his just rewards or punishment according as to how they have lived this life.  Because the Jews were intended to be God’s ‘spearhead’ (banner carrier [Isa. 49:6) unto this world, all things (good or bad) are dealt out to the Jews first, then to the rest of us (everybody else).

 

11        God does not respect who we are!

 

God does not consider how much money and possessions we have, how important we are in ‘man’s eyes’, or even what wonderful things we may have done.  What He does consider is what is our relationship with Him.  For with that relationship comes trust and obedience.  Do we believe and trust the Father?

 

12        For though we sin (go against God’s law) even without realizing what we have done, we will perish in our ignorance of His law.  And those who know His law and still sin, shall be judged by that law.

13        For even though it’s nice that we ‘hear’ the law and know all about it, we are justified in being obedient (doing) that law.

14        For when people who don’t know the law do those things contained in the law, those things (in themselves) become a law to that person.

 

For, when we have no clue about the law, yet do those things contained in the law, Father honors our ‘ignorance because we are doing His will anyway.

 

15        For then, our obedience shows that the law is written in our hearts and our conscience bears witness with ours that we are doing what is right and lets us know when we get off track.

16        God judged the secrets of men the day Jesus Christ came into this world according to the gospel.

17        The Jews rest in the law and boast of God.

 

Do we boast the fact that we are Christian?  We’ve confessed Jesus with our mouths and been baptized with water so we’re good to go, right?  Consider the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:1-23).  The seed by the wayside never lets Jesus into their heart.  They are ‘lost’.  The seed on stony ground, amongst the thorns as well as on good ground are all ‘church members’.  They all have professed faith in Jesus.  Yet, the seed on stony ground and among the thorns are suspect, for they have become like the five foolish virgins who weren’t ready for the bridegroom when He came (Matt. 25:1-13).  Some lost their faith and walked away from God while others became more concerned with things of this world and drifted away.   That’s why ‘doing the law’ justifies, not just ‘knowing it’!  Don’t forget Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10) or Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24).  The all confessed a belief in Jesus, yet go back and look at their end.  Two lied and the other had ‘no clue’ about the relationship.

 

18        The Jews know the law and attest that it is the way things should be because they have been taught the law (Gen. thru Deut.). 

 

Father intended the Jews to be the light unto this world, but that torch has been passed on to Christians as we have received that light in spirit and in truth (not just in the letter) and we should have the life, thke love  (Spirit) of Jesus Christ abiding in us.  Do we?

 

19        Are we confident that we, ourselves, are a guide to the blind?  We are (should be) yet a lights to those who are still in darkness (lost without hope).

20        (the Jews) were to instruct the foolish and teach babes for they have the form of knowledge of the truth (the Law was given to them).

21        When we teach another, don’t we teach ourselves as well?  When we preach to others ‘not to steal’, do we steal?

22        When we say “don’t commit adultery’, do we commit adultery?  We say we hate idols, but do we commit sacrilege (rob the church – not just money but truth, as well)?

23        (Let’s bring it on home) Do we boast of our Christianity but don’t keep God’s commandment (to love)? (not loving another is to kill that person for we don’t love him enough to share God’s life-giving love!)

24        Do our words and action cause ‘unbelievers to blaspheme God (attribute His works to something or anything else)?

25        The Jews were circumcised as an external expression of their obedience to God’s Law, but disobedience negates that action (for it is our heart needs circumcision.

26        (Paul speaking to the Jews) If the uncircumcised (us Gentiles) keep the righteousness of the law, won’t that be counted as circumcision (of the heart)?  (Yes)           

27        So if those who didn’t have the law (us Gentiles) keep the law, why do you (the Jews) judge us by the law even though you don’t keep the law yourselves?

28        So, one is not a Jew simply because he has been circumcised (in the flesh, born a Jew) for that is just an outward sign

 29       But we become Jews because our hearts are circumcised, circumcised in the spirit, not in the flesh.  Therefore we don’t seek the praise of men because of our outward circumcision but rather the praise of God because our spirits are circumcised.

 

In short, Are we living for God, through Christ Jesus, because the Holy Ghost is alive and well within our hearts?  Or are we just going through the motions, pretending to be what we actually are not?

God is a God of the heart.  Yes our heart is part of our body, an integral part, so our heart and body come as a total package.  Father desires our hear,t for where our heart is, is reflected in our words and deeds. 

Jesus ‘slammed’ the hypocrites of His time for being other than what they wanted people to think.  As Christians today, are we truly (inwardly) what we portray ourselves to be?  Or are we like the Jewish hypocrites of 2000 years ago – all ‘show’ and ‘no go’?

Christians are not perfect.  Paul describes the battle we face in Romans chapter eight, but thank God we have a propitiation (go between, One who stands the gap – 1 John 2:1-2) for us.  And when we are faithful to confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us those sins (1 John 1:9).  Father then puts those sins behind His back (Isa. 38:17) and casts them into the sea (of forgetfulness – Micah 7:19).  In other words, Father not only forgives them but He forgets our sins - completely. 

Therefore, we live in, for and through Jesus Christ and because Jesus stands the gap (for us) we are kept clean as we confess our sins before God.  Jesus is the first of many brothers (our ‘older brother’ and shows us the way (Rom. 8:29) – is our example!  Our profession of faith (John 3:16) and living in that faith gives us our confidence of eternity (1 John 5:13) with the Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, because He has given us the Holy Ghost until He returns for us (Eph. 1:13-14, 1 Thess. 4:17).

So!  Are these words for life?

Amen

Saturday, April 23, 2022

 



4-23-2022 Bless My Heart, O' Lord 

Doing something a little different this time.

Two weeks ago we did “My Lord, my God!”, an indication as to just how deep is our relationship with the creator of all things.  We started with when the apostle Thomas realized that Jesus really IS the resurrection, then how do we get to that point and what does God (the Father) expect from us. 

Today, I want to share some songs that Father has me singing along with and which always lift my spirits, especially if I’m feeling a bit down.  The five songs are by known Christian artists and which I believe carry God’s anointing.  That means, as I sing along with them, I can feel the presence of my Lord.  And I mean physically!  I can’t really describe the overall feeling I have because it is, literally, all over my body, but I can tell you that I get weak-kneed and, for a while, my legs don’t want to operate so well, sort of like cooked spaghetti.  Even though my legs aren’t numb, I feel like Elvis and his shaky leg!  No, this doesn’t last forever, sometimes a few minutes, sometimes maybe an hour or so.  And, as I implied, my body ‘tingles’ all over.

I think you’ll be blessed by listening to all the songs and, and as I do, sing along with them to get a greater impact.  Now, I don’t mean ‘just lip sync, but actually sing along with all your heart.  Father doesn’t care what we sound like.  He blesses the effort. (amen?)

My payer is that you be blessed and enjoy these songs as much as I.

I give a brief intro (in writing) so as to set the stage (a little bit) for each song.

The 1st  is “He’s a Chain Breaker” as recorded by Zach Williams released in 2016.

How many of us make poor decisions and get bound up by things that just aren’t good for us?  Father will give us victory – break our chains - and when He does we should go tell people.  “If we believe it.  If we receive it. If we can feel it.  Somebody testify!” 

 


2nd is ”Break Every Chain”  as recorded by Tasha Cobbs Leonard released in 2013.  Now, she has more than one version of this song but this is the one I like best.

I love this song.  Not only does it encourage that we have power in the name of Jesus, but it also prophecies!  In verse two an army rises up.  We have just entered a seven year period of Holy Ghost explosion!  Father is raising up watchmen and regular people to do His work as Jesus did.  Jesus told His disciples that, because He returns to the Father, we would do the works that He did and greater (John 14:12)!  The church will be shaken and many people will come to realize their true relationship with the Lord! 


 

3rd is “Holy Water (the church session)” as recorded by We the Kingdom featuring Tasha Cobbs Leonard released in 2020.  Note that We the Kingdom originally released this song in 2019, then Tasha Cobbs Leonard joined them for this version the following year.

Holy Water is what got me going on these five songs.  As I sang along with the lyric video and started learning this song, Father then added the first two and then the fourth and said “Learn them and know them!”  In my prayer sessions, I sing these four songs almost daily.  I feel this song is truly anointed, but to truly feel the anointing we need to sing along with it.  However, Father has also told me to do something when I sing this song.  So when I sing the first line that has “Like Holy Water on my skin” Father told me to anoint myself with oil.  I have a bottle with a mixture of exta-virgin olive oil, frankincense and myrrh.  As “Holy Water” is being sung, I anoint my forehead forming a cross, then when “on my skin” is being sung, I touch my forehead again.  If you have ever been under the influence of the Holy Ghost, you know what could happen.  I (at least) get all ‘fuzzy’ feeling take a couple of steps backward (but I don’t fall down).  As James Brown said on one of His songs “I feel good!”  Enjoy!

 


4th is “You Know My Name” Also recorded by Tasha Cobbs Leonard released in 2018.

Come to the understanding that Father knows each one of us – personally!  By name!  This song encourages the relationship He desires with each one of us.  It works for me!


 

The 5th is “Amazing Grace” sung in Cherokee by Walela and released in 2015.  Now there are multiple versions released on this song between 2008 and 2016 and the versions I have looked at all have the same song but a different slide show in the videos.  This is the first version I watched and it was released in 2015.

I don’t sing along with this song because the video has no “on screen” lyrics and it is sung in the Cherokee language.  What I do is listen to the song for it is sung beautifully, softly and the musical accompaniment sets a very relaxing atmosphere. I sit down, sit back and use this song to relax from the first four and just bask in God’s love.




Extra added attraction!

Father had given me this song some time ago and has ha me singing it at home for a while.  The intro lays the foundation for the song.

Mary, her sister Martha and their brother Lazarus lived in the little town of Bethany, about two miles outside Jerusalem, up on the hillside of the Mt. of Olives.  They knew Jesus.  Lazarus became ill.  They sent for Jesus.  Lazarus died.  Four days later, when Jesus did come into Bethany, Martha went out to meet Him and said "Master, had you been here my brother would not have died."  Jesus replied "He shall live again."  Martha then said "Yes, Lord, I know.  In the resurrection on the last day."  (suddenly, I hear the birds stop their singing from the trees, Maybe the breeze quits gently brushing across our face. Maybe Jesus puts his hands on his hips as he leans slightly towards Martha.  But He does say "I AM the RESURRECTION! ..."  

Jesus is our hope and promise for eternal fellowship with the Father, through Him.  He is our source of life!  Now, Jesus promises us, in he gospel of John, that we can do all the works he had been doing and greater.  All we have to do is ask the Father in Jesus' name (John 14:12-13).  Even as he walked with his disciples, he gave them power (authority) over sickness and to cast out devils.  Not only to the apostles, but to 70 of his disciples (Matt. chptr 10, Luke chptr 10).Just before he ascended back into heaven, Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Ghost who would then give them power (Acts 1:8) and to be witnesses unto the ends of the earth.  Power to give us strength to live this life for Him and power to do the works He did.  

We all grow in God's grace, but as we come to understand exactly what He has given us to work with ...whoa!  

And thinking on this is what prompted this song.  Again, may the Lord bless all who bring to heart what these six songs are all about.  






         

Saturday, April 9, 2022

 

4-9-2022    My Lord, my God!

            

 John 20:26-31

Eight days after the resurrection, the disciples were again gathered together, this time Thomas was with them.  The doors were shut, then Jesus, standing in their midst, said “Peace be to you.”  Then He said to Thomas “Reach here with your finger and behold my hands and don’t be afraid to put your hand into my side.  Don’t be faithless, but believing.”

Then Thomas said to Him “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus said “Thomas, because you have seen me and believed, yet blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Truly, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples which aren’t written in this book.  But the things that are written are so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that you might have life through His name (John 30:30-31, John 31:25).

What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?  To be a Christian?  All who have believed on Jesus since His ascension back into heaven, because we have heard the word His disciples have left for us, WE ARE the who ‘will yet believe’ in verse 31!  No mortal (on earth) has seen Jesus (physically) since the ascension, but, as we walk with our Lord, we can surely ‘experience’ Him.  

He promises us the Holy Ghost to give us the power - to live this life, do the works He has called us to - and enables us to share the gospel with those around us (Acts:1:8).  Then the Holy Ghost, as evidenced as in Acts chapter two, is given us to assure that Jesus is coming back for us.  Why else would He give us a ‘downpayment’ for our eternity?

The Holy Ghost is not just with us, but ‘in’ us (John 14:17).  Jesus was the presence of the Holy Ghost walking ‘with’ the disciples, but after the ascension, the Holy Ghost takes up residence ‘within’ the heart of each believer!  Understand that the Holy Ghost was not “in” the disciples 2000 years ago but (again) was ‘with’ them in the form of Jesus (John 7:39).

Our walk as a Christian today is to be continually growing closer to our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Jesus IS the Word of God (John 1:1).  The disciples handed down written copies of some of the Word Jesus gave to them as He walked and talked with them.  As John says in this passage, Jesus told the disciples a whole lot more (John 21:25), but John has shared enough with us so we can come into Jesus’ fold, the kingdom of God.  Because Jesus is the Word, because the ‘written Word’ reflects Jesus, we study the word so our mind and heart, may be renewed (Rom. 12:2) - daily.

To get its full impact, we study the Word prayerfully.  We ask God to open our eyes, our heart and our mind that He might show us what we need to learn as we read a (any) passage, then we sit quietly and listen for the Holy Ghost to teach us what Father wants us to pull from that passage, at that time.  Believe me, every time we read a passage, Father will show us something a little deeper and that deeper draws us (yet) a little closer to God. 

As we draw closer to our Lord, we find our relationship with Him growing stronger and in that stronger relationship we discover how true the words of Thomas are “My Lord, my God!”

MY LORD, MY GOD, implies that we are giving our all to Jesus.  Not only do I receive the promise of eternal life that He promises us (John 3:16) but He gives us the power to live this life for Him, in this world, (Acts 1:8) by taking up residence in our heart. 

Father enables us to say and do all that we do (or need to do) through Jesus living in us in the presence of the Holy Ghost, in our heart.  What do you think makes it possible when He says “I will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5)?

We have just entered a seven year period of “Spiritual Explosion”!  The Holy Ghost will manifest Himself as never before.  Jesus told the disciples that they (and we) would do the works that He did and greater because He goes to the Father (John 14:12).  And Father has been preparing His church, His body for this time (7 seasons, 700 years).  Building us to the point where we are ready to receive a fresh, a new outpouring of the Holy Ghost.  We are in the latter times spoken of by Joel (Joel 2:28-29). 

As the Apostles and disciples went out in Jesus’ name and did works and miracles, we will see a resurgence of this in the coming years as Father solidifies His body (His church), securing the elect.  The elect?  Those who truly believe and live for Jesus in this world.  Those who ‘hear’ AND ‘do’ the Word and will of the Father (Matt. 7:21-23).  That is those who have developed a real (working) relationship with our Lord.  Those who not only understand the ‘statutes that Father has passed on to us (the 10 Commandments & the Law) but have discovered that they are a basic description of God’s true love and that relationship which comes with it.  The elect are those who have learned to ‘abide’ (live) in God’s love!

Like the things that Jesus did?  Yes!  Just as Peter and John who allowed God to use them to heal the lame man at the Beautiful Gate at the temple, through their obedience (Acts 3:1-9).  Read on, in this passage, for Peter used this event to remind the people what they had done to Jesus and what He did for them (and us) and that it wasn’t Peter or John who healed the man but faith in Christ that set the man free (Acts 3:16).  Compare with Jesus healing the man with palsy (Matt. 9:1-8).

The things that Jesus did?  Like when Ananias prayed for Saul (Paul) and his sight (Saul’s) returned to him (Acts 9:10-18).  Compare with Jesus and the blind man (Mark 8:22-25). 

The things that Jesus did?  Or as Paul cast the ‘divining’ spirt out of the damsel (Acts 16:16-18).  Compare with Jesus and the ‘wild man’ of the Gadarenes (Luke 8:26-33).

We know that the apostles did many works after Jesus ascended and take note that they (the church) were of one accord (Acts 5:12).  Where two or more agree, Father will do it (Acts 18:19) and where two or three (at least) are gathered, Jesus is in our midst (Acts 18:20).

Understand, we won’t be seeing just ‘renowned’ men of God doing these works, but average guys and gals, like Stephen (Acts 6:3-8) or you and me, working the wonders and miracles of God.  Keep in mind Peter’s words “this happened because of faith in God”!  Take note that Peter channeled the miracle back to Father through Jesus.  Jesus tells the disciples that whatsoever you do, “ask in My name the Father will do it so that He is glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).  So we realize that we don’t do anything on our own accord, but these things happen because Father is working through us to accomplish His will.

If you look around, you can see that Father is already working (Africa, India) but the impact will go global. 

Remember, some seed fell by the wayside, some on stony ground, some among the thorns and some did fall on good ground (Matt. 13:3-23).  Not every soul who hears the Word of God will receive it or even retain it, yet some will thrive and grow!  This blog has peaked an interest, which already, is rising in Germany, Russia, Israel, Indonesia, Turkey and Hong Kong as well as the U.S.    These are the blog’s biggest audiences. 

Unfortunately not every soul will give their heart to Jesus (God’s desire that ‘none’ should perish, 2 Peter 3:9), but every inhabited continent will experience this explosion and Father will have His number of those who will come into His kingdom (1 Kings 19:18, Rom 11:1-5).

Remember that Jesus preached first to the Jews in the synagogue, then the Jews and the Gentiles out on the hillsides.  He ministered (healed) to the Jews first but didn’t neglect the Gentiles; remember the crumbs and the woman at the table (Matt. 16:21-28).  Jesus sent the apostles to the Jews (Rom. 1:16) then He sent Paul to the Gentiles (Acts 9:13-16).  

Father intends to get His own house (His body) in order (2 Kings 20:1-6) so we can minister to the people in and beyond the church as they come into God’s kingdom.  In other words “Wake up church!” there’s work to do.

As this explosion bursts forth, how many will come to the same conclusion as Thomas?  Will we turn to Jesus and say “My Lord!  My God!”

Amen

Saturday, March 26, 2022

3-26-2022        I Always Do The Things that Please Him    

        What will Father say to us?

John 8:19-30

As her accusers left, one by one, as she was alone with Jesus, He forgave the woman caught in adultery and encouraged her to sin no more.  Jesus then tells those present that, yes, He testifies of Himself, and yes, a man’s testimony of himself doesn’t carry much weight, but He also has the Father who testifies of Him.  Thus, the law is fulfilled in two witnesses (Deut. 19:15).  The Law and the prophets speak of the Messiah and Jesus declares His fulfillment of those prophecies (Luke 4:20-21).

In our passage for today, the Jews challenged Jesus as to ‘just who is your father’?  Jesus responded “You don’t know Me nor my Father for if you had known me, you would also know my Father.

Though the Jews didn’t like what He said, no one laid a hand on Him for Jesus’ time had no yet come.   Jesus then said “I go my way and you shall look for me and you shall die in your sins for where I go, you cannot come.”

The time Jesus speaks of is the cross where He would give His life, a ransom, for all who would receive Him and then would ascend back into heaven from whence He came.  Because many Jews still rejected Him, they would have no idea where to look.  Jesus also tells us that He is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).  The Jews thought ‘keeping the law’ (works) was the way to salvation (Matt. 2:13-31), therefore, they would have no clue where to look for Jesus and that means searching one’s faith!  And they just weren’t looking any further than the Law.

Then Jesus gives them a hint “You are from beneath, I am from above.  You are of this world, I am not of this world.  That’s why I told you would die in your sins for if you don’t believe that I am the one God sent (the Messiah), you will die in your sins.”  

Then the Jews asked Him “Just who are you? And Jesus replied “I told you who I was in the beginning (John 3:5-13).  I have many things to say to you and draw conclusions about you. But He who sent me is true and I speak those things which I have heard from Him.”

Him?  The Jews didn’t realize that Jesus was speaking of (God) the Father.  Jesus went on “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you shall know that I am He and that I don’t do anything simply because I feel like it, but I speak these things in accordance as to how Father has taught Me.  He who sent Me is with Me for the Father has not left Me alone (Deut. 31:6, Matt. 28:20, Heb. 13:5).  For this reason I ALWAYS DO THE THINGS THAT PLEASE HIM!”

Jesus emphasizes that He speaks the things Father has told Him.  Jesus says that when He is crucified on the cross, it will be evident that He has spoken the truth.  As Jesus died, what did the Centurion (a Gentile), standing by the cross say?  “Truly, this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39).  Jesus says that the Father has always been with Him. 

Quick review: In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was (is) God … and is the light of the world … made flesh (John 1:1-14); Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost for His mother Mary was a virgin (Matt. 1:20); Joseph was directed to call the child “Emmanuel” which means ‘God is with us’ (Matt. 1:23): Jesus is baptized by John upon which the Holy Ghost immediately comes upon Him like a dove (Matt. 3:11-17).  Father is with Him, Jesus of course is the Son and now the Holy Spirit, all coming, all together, as one, completing the Godhead (Col. 2:9).  Nicodemus came to Jesus at night.  While there with Jesus, he made the comment “No man can do these miracles that you do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2).

How many times did Jesus say “I do the will of my Father” (John 6:38).  The answer: 7 X!  Don’t get nipicky on the wording, but it was what He said, seven times!

And so, what is the will of the Father? 

God is love (1John 4:7).  He expresses His love towards us through His ultimate sacrifice which is that He gave His only begotten son, His Word, who came into this world as a human being, born of a virgin (Mary) that whosoever believes on Him (Jesus – the Son) would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)! 

Jesus tells us that there is no greater love than to lay down our life for our friend (John 15:13).  Jesus also says that all who obey His command are His friend (John 15:14). 

So, just what is the command of Jesus?  Actually, in a two-fold, single commandment we’re told - to Love he Lord God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and then to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31).  For the Law of Moses (10 commandments) and all that the prophets have said reflect God’s love (Matt. 22:40). 

That is, we learn to love as God loves us.  God does not lie (Num. 23:19) for He is truth (Deut. 32:3-4).  He has our best interest at heart (Rom. 8:26-28).  He doesn’t ‘dilly dally’ (linger) making us go through situations unnecessarily, but He is longsuffering, hoping and waiting for us to repent (2 Peter 3:9), that is, or when we ‘err’, ‘get back on track’. 

Jesus came to seek the lost (Luke 19:10) so He meets us where we are.  Saul (Paul) was persecuting the Jews and was on His way to Damascus to destroy the fledgling Christian church when Jesus met him on the way.  Saul meets and receives Christ into His heart and is baptized (Acts 9:1-19) and his life is changed forever.   

Even, once we’ve come into His kingdom, Father ‘reprimands’ us to keep us on track (Heb. 12:6).  But we need to remember Job (Job 41:1-34, Job 42:1-6) during these times.  Job discovered that though things may not seem fair, God is still God and all things work together for those who love the Lord (Rom.8:28).  As we read the bible, we discover that the bible is, indeed, God’s love-letter to us!

So, in the end, God is still love and we need to worship Him in love and truth, remembering who He is – “I am that I am” (Exod. 3:14).  He is everything we need and/or should desire!

Therefore, God is love and that which He does is driven by His love for us.  We reflect that love back to Him by giving Him all glory, praise and honor, respecting Him for He IS GOD and reflecting that love to those with whom we come into contact for we love them.  In so doing, do we “Do the things that please Him!”

Amen    

Saturday, March 12, 2022

 

3-12-2022 Shall He find Faith?

Jesus had just shared the parable about the woman and the unjust judge.  Understand that the judge didn’t believe in God nor did he care about “who” a person was.  He just got tired of this woman continually coming back and ‘buggin’ him!  So he finally gave her what she asked. 

Luke 18:7-8     Shall He Find Faith?

Consider that though God’s elect cry out to Him day and night and He is long suffering towards us, He will avenge us.  But, Jesus asks a question “When the Son of man comes, shall He find faith on earth?”

Say what?!  Of course He will.  Look at all the people who have professed Jesus as savior.  Look at all the Christian churches.  How could He NOT find faith when He comes back?

Look at what the Pharisee said, when he approached the altar “I thank you God that I’m not like other men, committing sin and violating Your law (Paraphrased).  I fast TWICE a week and give tithes of all that all that I have.”  Now, where is this man’s self-image?  What does he truly think of himself? (Luke 18:10-12)

Now, consider the publican, standing off from the altar, too ashamed to even look towards heaven, striking his chest, who says “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”  Where is his self-image?  Or should I rather say, in respect to God, who does this man consider himself to be? (Luke 18:13)+

One man thinks that he is ‘all that.  The other knows he is not worthy of God.  One is prideful.  The other is humble.

When Jesus comes back, which will He find?  Pride – I’m a Christian so I’m all that, heaven is due me!  Or humility – “Jesus, I know that You shed your blood for me and all that I am is in You.  Thank You for loving me so much!”

Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians urged the brothers, that as we gather together, because we await the return of our Lord Jesus, don’t be troubled.  Don’t let our mind be confused, neither by some spirit, a spoken word, not even a letter from another Christian that the day of Christ is already at hand.  Don’t let any man deceive you for that day won’t come until first there is a falling away and the son of perdition is revealed.  That is he who exalts himself above anything that is God or is worshipped and he desires to sit as God, in the temple (2 Thess. 2:1-4).  That is, he desires to be foremost in our lives.  Don’t believe anyone who says Christ has returned for Jesus shall return in the clouds and will be evident to all that He has returned (Mark 13:26-27).

The anti-Christ shall come but first, many in the church will fall away.  Even as Peter denied Jesus three times – but will there be repentance?  Peter repented (Matt. 26:69-75).

Paul addresses the ‘religious’ practices of the Corinthians, but the bottom line is that we judge ourselves so we don’t be judged (by God).  Why?  Father chastens us to get us back on track so we don’t find ourselves condemned with the world (1 Corinth. 11:31-32).  Paul chastises the church for being ‘nitpicky’ when people don’t do things exactly the way ‘we’ think they should.  We need to ask Father to show us their heart.  Jesus and His disciples didn’t wash their hands when they sat down to eat at the Pharisee’s house.  Jesus then explained that it wasn’t what goes into the mouth of a man, rather what comes out of his mouth is what defiles him (Matt. 15:1-11).  In short, don’t get wrapped up in what other people see about us or what we want them to think, but know where our heart is – in Jesus Christ.  It is so easy to see where others have gotten off track, yet we seldom recognize our own faults.  We need to take care of the ‘home front’ first, then we can help others to avoid God’s judgment (Matt. 7:1-5).  David messed up and repented and Father forgave him and set him back into right standing.  Again, as Paul told the Corinthians, we need to judge ourselves and repent so we don’t have to face God’s judgment. 

When Jesus returns, He will separate the sheep from the goats.  The goat’s hearts weren’t right as they did not live life as Jesus prescribed and will be cast into everlasting punishment.  The sheep love God with all their heart therefore remain obedient to His will, His word, His love and are welcomed into His eternal kingdom (Mat. 25:31-45).  Jesus tells us that there will be many who will call Him Lord and will have done many things in His name but will not have loved Him.  They didn’t live in His will.  Jesus will tell them to depart because they are among those who worked iniquity (Matt. 7:20-23).  They never took the time to get to know Jesus.

When our heart is right with the Lord, everything else will fall into its proper place.

We’ve said lit before (in previous blog entries) and it bears repeating again that Jesus desires that we all be one with Him as He is one with the Father, that we can all be ONE together.  AS we endeavor to serve Jesus (John 17:20-26).  As we grow, we find ourselves doing that which is right in the sight of God  – not our own.  What did Jesus pray?  “Father, not My will but your will be done” (Luke 22:42).  For ourselves, we might add “in my life and through my life”.  In that, we assure that the cup is washed on the inside as well as on the outside so our whole vessel is clean (Luke 11:39-40)!   

We need to ask ourselves “How many times have I heard the church called ‘hypocritical’?”  We need to make sure we are not among those who fit this description. 

That what which we do, we do by ‘living’ for and in Jesus Christ, our Lord.  And just how do we do that?  Obviously, we have to invite Jesus into our heart – The sinner’s prayer “Lord, I am a sinner.  I confess my sins before you (as Father brings things to mind, we need to speak them out before God). Forgive me my sins (thank You for your loving kindness).  Father, I receive that forgiveness and I determine to flee sins in the future.  I am weak so be my strength Lord that I can resist the enemy (devil) and should I fall, oh Lord, I know that as I am faithful and true to confess and repent any sin, You are faithful and true to forgive me that sin and that (as with all sin) you put behind your back (Isa. 38:17) casting it into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).  You are my strength, my hope, help me to live in your love.”

John tells us, in his first letter, about God’s love.  As we abide in that love, we know we have the assurance of eternal fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord (1 John 5:13).  We should live in God’s selfless, all-giving love.  We are fooling, OK we lie, to ourselves and to the world when that is not our goal.  As we read that epistle of John, we see that if we truly love God, His love is evident in our lives.  But, if we can’t love that which we do see (other people), how can we truly love Father, whom we don’t ‘see’?  Of course, ‘experiencing’ the presence of God Almighty might be correlated with ‘seeing’ Him.

I’m not talking about being a doormat, here.  I’m talking about caring for others enough to want what is best for them and be willing to reach out and help them.  Notice I didn’t say ‘do it for them’ but, rather help them to achieve their goals through Jesus Christ.  Yes, ‘they’ have to do something.

Jesus is the epitome of assertiveness.  Being assertive is not bragging or boasting on ourselves but knowing who and what we are in Christ Jesus and having confidence in all that we do. We can be assertive when we know who we are in Christ Jesus and are confident that He is always with us (Heb. 13:5).  So we ought not to be concerned what man can do to our body but rather be concerned about what He, who determines what happens to our soul, can do (Matt. 10:28).

Yet, we need to be like the five wise virgins – always ready, always watching, prepared to go with our Lord when He does call (Matt. 25:1-13).  Let us be living in His love.

The books of Matthew, Thessalonians and Revelation all give us a pretty good picture of what to expect when Jesus does come back for us.  Soooo:

Are we living for Him?

Do we know who we are in Christ Jesus?

Are we watching and always ready to go?

When He returns, how will He find us?

Living in faith?

Shall He find faith?

 

Amen

Saturday, February 26, 2022

2-26-2022 The Sower and the Church

Luke 8:5-14

Most of us who have some knowledge of the bible are familiar with the parable of the sower.  Some seed falls by the wayside, some on stony ground, some grows up intermingled with thorns and of course some comes forth on good ground and produces much fruit.

Jesus basically tells his disciples that they are to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.  Because they are learning, Jesus explains His parables to them, as He does so here.  He explains this parable in the last three verses of this passage.

The seed is the word of God.  On the wayside are the people who hear the word and the devil comes immediately and takes that word out of their heart.  The seed that falls on stony ground has no depth for moisture or soil so when problems arise, it quickly dries up and falls away.  The seed grows that together with the thorns (like the parable of the wheat and tares – Matt. 13:24-30) is eventually unproductive because of the cares of this world.  And at last, the seed on good ground which thrives and produces fruit.

Let’s compare this to the church.  An evangelist comes into a church, a town, an area and preaches the word from God and everybody hears it but there are those for whom the word goes in one ear and out the other.  That is, if they haven’t forgotten all they heard by the time they get out the front door, it won’t be long after it will become a distant memory, if that.  They go on about their lives having retained nothing from the experience.  These folks not only do not experience any growth, but they have rejected our Lord Jesus, or at best, ignored Him.  Oh, they say He exists, but He’s not for them or they may not even care what He has done for them  They go on living their life just as before.

Now, the seed on stony ground, that which is choked by thorns and that which falls on the good ground represent people who joyfully received what they have heard.  They start attending a church on a regular basis and are now happy campers.  They believe that their eternity is secure.

However, stony ground represents a surface relationship with Jesus.  These people have been baptized for the remission of sin and are enjoying the blessings of God.  Cool, so far.  THEN something happens.  Maybe a job is lost.  Maybe a parent, sibling or a close friend unexpectedly passes away.  Maybe they find themselves buried under the burden of heavy debt because of poor planning.  I don’t know, but whatever it is, it shakes the person because they really have no foundation in their life.  They’ve never truly made a commitment to get to know Jesus, develop a relationship with Him through reading scripture or even nurturing a relationship through prayer.  Their world is falling apart and there’s nothing there to help and they don’t even consider asking God for help.  They quit church.  They quit God because they think He ‘abandoned’ them.  Understand, God never abandons us, we walk away from Him.

Other people grow in the church, get involved in ministries, whatever.  BUT they keep looking at the world around them.  They see how entertainers, pro athletes and others have great success.  Big, or even multiple, houses, fancy cars, big parties, living the ‘good life’ and they wonder ‘why can’t I.’   in an effort to try to achieve these ‘dreams’, God gradually is set aside and these people try to achieve their dreams in their own strength.  Remember, the devil doesn’t mind helping you gain success – as long as it either keeps you from getting to know God or takes you away from God.  But, also remember that this success lasts only as long as it benefits him (the devil).  When a person becomes no longer ‘useful’ to the devil, he dumps them!  And that can be manifested in loss of health, wealth or even life (dying).  The point here is that, in this situation, there is the tendency to put God on the back burner, then eventually forgetting to even turn the back burner on.  Result – any relationship we may have had with Father fades out into nothingness.  A relationship with Him n longer exists!  Has God abandoned us?  No!  Again, we walked away from Him – for whatever our reason.

Bear in mind, the stony ground and the thorns are like the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13), five were always ready and waiting for the bridegroom and five took only enough oil for what they needed at that time not considering how long it may be before the bridegroom actually showed up.  The bridegroom came and took the five virgins who had always been prepared for Him.  The other five later went looking for what they had just lost – a relationship with our Lord.  Take note that the five foolish virgins knew where the bridegroom lived and came knocking on the his door.  “Let us in.” and what does the bible say He said to them?  “Truly, I don’t know you.”   He didn’t let them in.

Consider, some people we ‘know about.  Some people we know in social or casual situations.  Some people are our ‘friends’.  But others are our ‘best friends with whom we share our life and confide in.  We trust them. 

The stony ground and thorns represent situations, at best, where there was only a surface relationship.  Jesus was considered less than a best friend much less even than a friend.  These people never really took the time to get to ‘know’ Jesus.  So, thinking that just going through the motions was enough, when it became too late, they came to Him, and our Lord denied them access into the eternal promise.  There was no ‘real’ relationship.  Jesus says my brother, my sister, my mother are those who hear and do the will of my Father (Matt. 12:47-50).

“Do the will of my Father!”  That brings us to the final segment of this entry.  The seed that falls on good ground are those who become a brother, a sister or mother to our Lord Jesus.  Notice that no ‘father’ is mentioned.  There is only ONE Father and if we recall the passage of lineage, Jesus being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli (Luke 3:23).  Joseph was not the father of Jesus (as Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 1:18), but He was born of Mary who represents Jesus’ human connection.  When we compare Matthew chapter one with Luke chapter three, Matthew (Matt. 1:1-6) begins with Adam and ends with Jesus – who “begat” whoim.  Luke starts with Jesus and cites “who was the son of’ back through Adam who was the son of – GOD. 

Paul tells the Romans that we need to be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Jesus) so that He could be the firstborn of many brothers (and sisters) (Rom. 8:29).  And just what is the image of God?  God is love (1 John 4:8-11).  So we ought to love as God loves.  Bear in mind that love is deeper than just the ‘10 Commandments’!  Read the bible and discover the fullness of what love involves and remember Jesus IS the personification of love.

Jesus tells us that if we love Him, we will keep his commandments (John 14:15).  What are those commandments?  To love God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves!  That is with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:30-31).  Again, Jesus tells us that when we love even the ‘least’ of His brothers, we have shown our love for Him (Matt. 25:40).  As we do this, we find ourselves abiding in God’s will.

So, we have seen where the enemy prevents people from entering into God’s kingdom because they never have the chance to get to know the Lord.  We’ve seen that even some receive Jesus into their heart, they just don’t hang in there with Him.  They can’t take the heat of growth of being a Christian or just can’t let go of the world, either way, they forget their original commitment.  Yes, we all will stand before God.  some at the mercy seat where rewards are given for obedience and faithfulness, some at the judgement of ‘the great white throne’  where they will be shown all the opportunities they had to receive Jesus or where they rejected Him and walked away.  Peter tells us it would be better to have never known God’s righteousness, than to have known it then turn away (2 Peter2:21).

BUT, PTL!  Those who abide in God’s love and remain faithful and obedient to His Word and will, experience that eternal bliss with the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John, 3:16)! 

And, yes, God wants to bless us even while we are here in this world (2 Corinth. 9:8).

Amen

Saturday, February 12, 2022

 

2/12/2022 To Pay or Not To Pay?

                        

Matt. 22:15-22

I know that we have readers from many nations on this blog.  So, for those who may not know, now through April 15th is our tax time here in the US.


We receive our earning statements (W2s) from our employers and other documents designating any income we may have acquired over the year, so we can file our tax returns and see what the government gets to keep and what we may get back from ‘over payment’ or deductions.    

In past years, I used to look to see how I could get a little more back each year.  OK.  I wished for a lot more (never happened).  My sister and her family have five children so while they kids were growing up, my sister did what they could and claimed deductions to have money through the year, then being a home owner, they always looked for what other deductions they could claim at the end of the year so they could get the most back at filing time.  I never asked them how well this worked for them.  I never had more than two kids and never owned a home.  For me?  A moot point!  One year my wife and I had a ton of medical bills so I looked at itemizing to see if it would make a difference in my return.  After all the computations, itemizing, I got an extra $20 more than the standard allowances!  Whoopeee!  Can you guess what I have still never done?

More than once I’ve read the passage in the bible on how Jesus handles what is owed the government.

The scribes and Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus into saying who is more important, our government or God.  Needless to say, they wanted to go back and tell Herod (or even Pilate) that Jesus was cheating Rome out of what was due.  They tried to “butter-up” Jesus up by saying that they knew He was a man of God and He treated all men the same, no matter what their position in life so they asked the question “Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar or not? (vs 16)” 

Jesus asked them “Why are you tempting Me?  You hypocrites!  Show me some money”.  They brought Him a penny and then He asked them “Whose image and superscription (name, authority) is on this coin?”  They replied “Caesar’s.”  Then Jesus said “Therefore give to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar and give God the things that belong to God.”

What could they say?  They went their way.

The bible tells us that the tithe of the land, whether seed or fruit (or today, $$), is the Lords and is Holy to Him (Lev.27:30).  This is what we have and what we earned.  The Lord tells us to tithe of our yearly increase of our seed to Him.  Again, of what we’ve gained since the previous year. 

The Hebrew word maser (H4643) translates ‘one tenth’.  God tells us to tithe a tenth.  The Greek word is apodekatoo (G586) which translates tithe (something owed to a creditor).  Don’t we owe Jesus a debt for our salvation?  Now, remember, the ‘tithe’ is God’s.  God provides for us throughout the year, so as a “thank You” we give our tithe (10%) back to Him for His goodness towards us.  We owe it to Him – as a debt.  Right?  Now, of course, we don’t give our tithe directly to God.  Father has created all things so what need does He have for money?  But we do give it to the church, which is what God told the Hebrews to do thousands of years ago so the church, then, can do God’s work. Even the disciples collected money and gave it to the poor.

Now, we don’t tithe to the government, but we do pay a percentage of our income so the government can function.  People with lower incomes pay a lower percentage while those with higher incomes pay a higher percentage.  Nonetheless, we all want to get a little more back (if we can) in our return.

The government allows us to claim a percentage of our charitable donations for the year (along with other deductions).  Don’t most people take full advantage of these deductions?  (I think so)

My perspective is that what I give to God is God’s and what I give to Uncle Sam is the government’s.  I don’t claim my tithe (which I can do by law) in my tax return because I feel I’m saying “OK, government, I gave to God but now I want you to give some of that back to me so I’m claiming my tithe.”  What is God’s is God’s.  The government shouldn’t have to pay me back, even a part, of what I give to God.

The scribes and the Pharisees were hoping to get Jesus to commit not giving to Caesar for Caesar was not a ‘spiritual’ leader.  Then they could accuse Jesus of cheating the government.  What did Jesus tell the disciples when challenged if they were going to pay taxes?  Subjects to the ‘king’ are taxed so Jesus sent the disciples to catch a fish.  There would be money in its mouth with which the disciples could then pay not only what they owed but for Jesus as well (Matt. 17:24-27).

So do we pay “Caesar” what is due Caesar?  Of course.  But I personally believe that what is God’s is God’s and should not be reconciled with what we give Caesar (the government). 

I give to the government what belongs to the government and I give to God what belongs to
God.  I don’t mix the two.

I do what I do, but I’m not telling anyone what they should do. 

Yet, I say, think about it, then ask the Lord what to do.

Amen