So much has happened in my life since my last blog post. My life is simply incredible right now. God brought tremendous heart ache and pain in my life to discipline and prune me in May of last year. Since then He has isolated me as I continue to grow from His teaching. He has revealed so much that every day is an eye opening adventure of His amazing wisdom and sovereignty. I hope to share more soon as God allows. May God bless you and teach you as you seek Him with all your heart.
Matthew 19:23 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” If you live in America, by the worlds standards you are rich. If you, your government, or your job seem to supply your every need, why would you need a savior? Amongst all your daily activities and duties, would you even have time for one? In whom do you place your trust? Is it really God? They say America is blessed by God. I say America’s financial prosperity has caused it to become poor, pitiful, blind, and naked. We are a lukewarm nation. Most of us profess His name but don’t do what He says. We worship Him in vain and He doesn’t listen to our prayers.
It is hard for someone who is rich to receive the Holy Spirit. It takes more than intellectual belief or a prayer to receive Him. It requires brokenness, dependence, and surrender. If you are not broken now, than you never received Him. If God began a work in you, He will continue a work in you. You will grow in your walk with Him with ever-increasing holiness. If you stumble and go astray, He will come get you. If you think you are strong, you do not have God’s Spirit. If you can laugh at perversity and not get an ache in your gut, you are lost.
It is hard for a rich man to fall to his knees in submission but that is exactly what we must do. How often do you pray? How much time do you spend alone with God? Do your tears run off Jesus Christ’s feet as you beg for mercy? Do you weep for the ways you fail Him? There is no such thing as a dry-eyed child of God.
Most of us learned when we were young that we were special and our natural instincts tell us it’s all about us. To reinforce a behavior that comes naturally, the world teaches self esteem, self worth, self preservation, self respect, and self love. Our dreams await us, they tell us. We just have to work hard enough to achieve them. Then we can sit back and enjoy the good life. But to become a child of God we must consider ourselves absolutely nothing! The weaker we become and the more we realize we are powerless in ourselves, the more power of God we will see. Becoming a child of God is not an add on to make your life complete, it is your life.
God is a holy God. We must become holy. We must hate what God hates. Are you tormented by the evil that is all around you in the world? Do you feel out of place and away from home? 2 Peter 2:7-8 “and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard).” If you are comfy here you should be very afraid.
If you want what this world offers, you are not worthy of God. Genesis 19:26 “But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” If you are not despised by the world, you don’t know God. If you are friends with the world, God does not love you. God loves those that obey. When we go around telling the world that Jesus loves them we are sending them straight to hell. What does God’s word say? Do you know the reason God loves His son Jesus? John 10:17 “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life.” Are you more special than Jesus that you don’t have to give up everything to be loved by God? Did John the Baptist speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit tell everyone that God loved them? Matthew 3:7-10 “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” It doesn’t matter what you say with your lips. God knows your secret life and He will give you whatever you deserve. Those that live to please God will enter heaven. Those that live to please themselves will go to hell.
Most who profess Jesus in this country do not know God. How can I say this? Jesus said we can judge a book by its cover. You will recognize them by their fruit. And few will enter in. A true disciple of Jesus Christ will do the things Jesus did. They will walk like Jesus walked. Paul said in Titus 1:16 that some professing Christians “claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.” Our actions show who we belong to. If God is in us, we will be obedient. We will love everything pure, holy, blameless, and good. We will hate perversity, slander, deceit, and selfish ambition. If you believe in God but don’t know Him, you have two choices. You can turn from evil and pursue Him above all else and ask, and ask, and ask until you receive Him or you can do what you have been doing and go to hell. If you don’t have an internal passion and desire that drives you to bring God glory with increasing measure, and a peace and joy that words cannot express, you are not saved.
May Jesus Christ bless you with peace and joy and a hunger to know Him more.
When Jesus approached Jerusalem His ‘chosen people’ in the Gospel of Luke, he cried (Luke 19:41-44). These people thought they knew God but they did not. Because of this, death was coming to them and this caused Jesus much grief. It is my mission and God’s will for me to speak to all those that claim to know God. I am driven by Christ’s Spirit to speak the truth. I pray with tears that this blog brings conviction to your heart. Don’t test your life against others to feel secure. Test your life against the Word of God.
John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
If love shows the world that we love Jesus, what does love look like? How do we know if we truly have it? I am sure you could ask most anyone that calls himself or herself a Christian and they would say they love Jesus. I am sure you could ask most any married couple if they love each other and they would say, “Of course we do.” And if you asked them how they knew they loved they might say, “Because I know my heart.” Yet the Bible tells us that listening to the heart is not wise. Jeremiah 17:9 "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” So how do we really know if we have love?
God is love. If we have God we will love because the attributes of Jesus Christ will begin to form in our lives when He makes His home in us. Our lives will reflect who Jesus is. A Holy Spirit filled Christian, the only kind of Christian, will do the will of God. If we have love our lives will be full of the fruits of the Spirit because true love produces the fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
For most of my life, I said I loved but I did not. Well, I did actually love but the only one I loved was myself. To the world it may have seemed I loved but there was always a secret agenda. How many people go through their married lives with the ‘you scratch my back I will scratch yours’ mentality? Doing something to get something is not love. Examine yourself! If you got nothing back for the things you did would you still do them? You know you have love when you give and you give and you give, and get nothing back and you still want to give some more. Real love is not something you run out of or something you do to pay for something else.
In the Gospel of John Jesus was struck in the face for simply answering a question with truth. Did Jesus retaliate for the wrong that was done to Him or did He show forgiveness and mercy? It is impossible to love until we know God. It is impossible to know God until we realize how evil our nature is and turn away from sin. When we realize that we deserve hell for the wicked things we have done, we can have mercy on others when they do wicked things to us. If God shows us mercy how can we not show mercy to others? Do we think we sit in higher places than the Lord?
If we have love, we will feel what others feel. We will be full of joy when others receive good news and we will be full of grief when others are grieved. If we have love we cannot make a personal choice that brings us happiness and others pain. Our sinful nature looks out for our own desires and happiness, and what we can get. God’s nature looks out for the wellbeing of others and what He can give. Love always chooses others first.
We can know that we have love if we speak the truth always. The truth often hurts. Those that tell you what you want to hear do not love you. People pleasers only love themselves. God is love. Jesus Christ is truth. The world will know that we are disciples of Jesus Christ if we speak the truth in love no matter the cost. If the world does not hate us, it is because we are not speaking the truth. Those that don’t know God hate the truth and they run from it.
Do you grieve, do you wail, do you weep? A deep love for others and God will often cause an overflow of tears. When excessive tears are produced, they drain into small ducts in your nasal cavity. When the ducts are full the overflow forms tears. In the same way, whatever is in the heart, when it is full, overflows into our lives in what we do, think about, and how we speak. Tears represent a heart overflowing with love.
True love always shines. No matter the circumstance, no matter the difficulties, love never changes. Love will die for another. Love will hate its own life. Love will be content in every situation. Love embraces hardship. Love endures. Love will stand forever.
John 3:20 “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.”
Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
John 5:44 “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
Ephesians 5:1-33 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?”
Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
James 4:9 “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.”
Philippians 3:18 “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.”
Acts 20:18-19 “When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents.”
Acts 20:28-31 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
John 8:31-32 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
John 18:22-23 “When Jesus had said this, one of the officers standing nearby slapped Him in the face and said, “Is this how” You answer the high priest? Jesus replied, “If I said something wrong, testify to what was wrong. But if I spoke correctly, why did you strike Me?”
How my heart breaks when I look around me. The world is flying by with every kind of distraction imaginable. The world is so busy with sights, sounds, and success. Everywhere I look I see most everyone chasing after the temporary things. This world and everything in it is going to burn. Those that cling to this world are going to burn. How can so many claim to know God yet live for pleasure, fun, and themselves? How can we claim the Holy Spirit is directing our lives and then love the world? Did you know that unless you do the will of the Father you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Did you know that Jesus came to serve, not to be served? Do you not know that society doesn’t dictate what a disciple of Jesus Christ does? Would Jesus do what you do? Would He talk like you talk? Would He go where you go and look where you look? Would Jesus love shopping? What Jesus binge watch all of the popular shows? Would Jesus be concerned about His appearance other than modesty?
I am sick of hearing people say we are all children of God! How far have we fallen? Our deeds show who our father is. Black and white have been blurred into gray. If everything is true than nothing is true. God’s Word is truth! What does the Bible say?
John 8:37-44 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”
“Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.”
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
If we are children of God, we will do what Jesus did. If we love Jesus we will obey His teachings. Saying a prayer, accepting Jesus into our hearts in front of a congregation, and calling ourselves Christians does not make us a child of God or cause His Spirit to enter us. A child of God will begin their walk with God in repentance and they will stay in repentance as God transforms them into Christ’s likeness. A born again believer turns from the world and hates the world. A true disciple of Jesus Christ will not laugh at what the world laughs at and will not need what the world needs. A Holy one of God will not use sexual innuendo or talk in perverse speech no matter who is listening.
No matter how good a paint job, what is underneath will always shine through. God’s Word says that disciples will have good deeds but don’t let deeds be a cover up for your ungodliness. God cannot be mocked. Busyness does not equal holiness. Apart from God we can do nothing and anything done without Him will not stand. Most any religion can do service projects in the name of love but God does not want sacrifice without obedience. Disobedient believers do not love God and will burn with the world they love. Those that know God intimately will live forever.
If you have been born again, Jesus Christ is living inside you. You can’t be hit by a train and walk away like nothing happened. If Christ lives in you, you will become a new creation. If the old you is gone, how can you continue in sin? The Bible says you can’t! Don’t believe the lie that God’s grace covers every sin and you have no part to do. You are expected to be Holy! You are expected to be separate! If the world does not hate you, it’s because you are not a child of God. If others that call themselves Christians do not get angry with you when you speak the truth, you are not a child of God. Those that love the most speak the most truth.
Jesus said that few would be saved yet the vast majority that believe in Christ live on autopilot, doing just enough to keep themselves deceived into believing they are ok. You can’t have Jesus and have the world too. You can’t worship Jesus and worship demons.
If God is your Father your mind will always be on Him. If the Holy Spirit dwells in you, you will love to do good and hate to do evil. You will hate sin and run from it. Living in the world will be incredibly difficult. You will be full of joy yet be full of sorrow. You will grieve the sin that is all around you.
Examine yourself! Don’t judge your life against others that call themselves Christians. If you are a preacher don’t judge your teaching against another preacher. If you are a husband, don’t judge how you treat your wife against other husbands. If you are a mother, don’t judge how you raise your children against other mothers. What does the Word of God say? When you stand before God, His word will be your judge. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Let God’s Word be your judge now!
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
1 Corinthians 10:21 “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.”
John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
1 John 3:9 “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.”
Hebrews 10:26 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,”
1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.”
1 Corinthians 5:12 “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?”
1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”
Proverbs 8:13 “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
Proverbs 6:12 “A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth”
Proverbs 10:32 “The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.”
John 14:23 “Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
John 12:48 “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.”
1 John 2:4 “Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.”
Hosea 9:15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds,
I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them;”
James 4:9 “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.”
Jeremiah 7:23-24 “but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.”
Without the Holy Spirit we are dead in God’s sight. It doesn’t matter how many good deeds we do in Jesus Christ’s name, if we are dead they are worthless. Ephesians 2 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” That is what was meant when Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life.” John 10:10 Jesus Christ died for our sins and after doing so sent His Spirit to live in those who obey Him. Loving children obey their father. Those that do not obey are not really His children.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 “The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.”
Those without God’s Spirit are the dry bones. They are dead. They are without breath. They are without hope. No matter how man tries, no matter how much he learns, no matter how sophisticated he is, he can’t bring dry bones back to life. The dry bones are good for nothing. But when the bones hear the word of the Lord, they come to life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Word of God and the Gospel brings dead people back to life. Why do we run from the Gospel? Why do we often think there is a better way? The Gospel of Jesus Christ saves.
I have heard it taught that we must make the Word more relatable to reach today’s generation. In doing so, the Gospel in churches has been replaced with motivational speeches, self-help talk, and feel good stories with enough Jesus thrown in to ease our conscious. Of course, they most always point to Jesus but by their actions, by not preaching the full Gospel, they deny Him. These powerless sermons rarely cause conviction and often are a rallying cry for more unity in the body. If bones are to come to life in such a church, they will do it in spite of what is being preached, not because of it. We must be careful not to put our hope in people or feel justified for living just like the world, because we look just like those believers around us. Our strength, our identity, and our approval should not come from community. Our strength, our identity, and our approval should come from God alone. What would your Christian walk look like if you could never attend what is called church? How often would you pray? What music would you sing out? How often would you mention the name of Jesus?
The modern church is high on the accountability of community because most are walking without the power of the Holy Spirit. I can say that because that was me for most of my life. I lived a powerless carnal Christian life and I desperately needed self-help books, counsellors, and accountability. I needed people in the church to build me up and make me feel good about myself. My joy came from my perceived success and others perceptions. Serving in the church gave me a sense of belonging and made me feel good about my walk. Am I saying I don’t need accountability now that I know God? Not at all. But I am saying that I don’t need to go looking for it outside of God. God is my everything. God lives inside me. When I get out of line He will either speak to my heart, speak through His word, or He will send a Spirit filled man to convict me. As long as I am connected to Him, He will lead me into all truth.
If you are a Spirit filled Christian, you are Israel. You are a child of God. God raised you from the dead to be a soldier in His army. You were called to fight the battle and to stand up for truth. To defend those that are mistreated and to love others despite what they do to you. Loving people is not always telling them what they want to hear because the truth often hurts. People will come against you because people came against Jesus Christ.
The enemy is relentless in his attacks. He loves to pervert anything that comes from God and the Gospel is at the top of the list. We must stand on the truth with all boldness. We cannot compromise. We cannot soften God’s Word. If we are filled with Christ’s Spirit, how could we not preach the full Gospel? Could Christ deny Himself? 2 Timothy 2:13 “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” The Spirit of Christ would never soften His message. Boldness to share the Gospel comes from His Spirit. If the full Gospel is not preached, the Spirit is not there.
May God bless you with the grace to walk like Jesus Christ walked and the boldness to stand up for the truth. If you don’t know Him, turn from your sins and seek Jesus with a humble heart and you will receive the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 2:3-4 “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”
Ezekiel 37:11-14 “Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Revelation 3:1 "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”
Luke 15:24 “for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
Acts 4:31 “After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.”
Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid What can mere man do to me?”
Psalm 73:23-25 “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.”
Jeremiah 17:5-6 “This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.”
Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
John 14:15 "If you love me, keep my commands.”
I am saddened that the holy fear of God is all but lost. I am afraid the power of God’s holy people is all but broken. The Gospel and its simple message has been replaced with man trying to find a better way to reach people. I once considered myself fairly intelligent by the world’s standards but anything I may have known I now consider worthless and foolish. The only thing that matters is knowing Jesus Christ and the Gospel by which I am saved.
No matter how hard man tries, the small gate cannot be made larger. Only Lot and his wife were saved out of Soddom. Only Noah and his 7 family members were saved from the flood. These events symbolize that most people will not choose God’s way, the narrow road that leads to life. Don’t be fooled by what man teaches. Don’t be led astray by the doctrines of demons. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Carrying a cross is extremely difficult. Dying on that cross is that much harder. But we must die for a time if we are to live forever. John 12:24 “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
Have we forgotten that the road to Jesus Christ is narrow? In the Gospel of John Jesus said if you love me you will obey my teachings. In second Timothy the Apostle Paul said that in the last days people will be lovers of themselves. If we love ourselves we cannot love God. If we love ourselves we live to please ourselves. If we love God, we live to please Him regardless of how uncomfortable that makes us feel. If we love God and do His will, we will be persecuted. Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
God is perfect. God is just. God is holy. Holiness cannot exist with evil. We are by nature evil. God sent his son Jesus Christ, to provide a way for us to be holy. It is through Jesus Christ that our evil nature is covered. Clothed in Jesus Christ, we are able to stand before God acceptable, as undeserving as we are. If we are not holy now, we won't be holy then. If we don't have a relationship with Jesus now, we won't have a relationship with him when we die. It is through Jesus Christ that we are able to turn from sin and live a holy life despite how evil our true nature is.
When God comes back on the earth He is not coming back to give the world a hug. When Jesus walked the earth, he came to love and to teach but when he comes back again, the words that he spoke when he was here will judge those on the earth. For those that turned from sin and followed His teachings, there will be life. For those that didn't obey His teachings, there will be eternal separation and condemnation. It is hard for man to be saved. It is hard for a man to be holy and righteous in a world that is perverse and evil. That is why 'wide is gate that leads to destruction.' The path of least resistance is a very wide path.
Demons believe Jesus is the Son of God. Matthew 8:28-29 “When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” A belief does not make you Holy. Holiness comes from turning from evil and turning to God. What do you get excited about? What do you hate? What do you love? We must choose to turn away from the world. We must choose to live a holy life. We must choose to be one of the few that truly finds Him. We must love the truth more than anything else.
If we show Jesus love by obeying His teachings, shouldn’t we know what His teachings are? How can we know His teachings if we don’t read His Word daily? How can we know what to do if we don’t hear His voice? How can we be led by the Spirit if we are living in the flesh? Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” We can’t fool God. God knows who love Him. If we love the world, we do not love God. If we love God, we will be dead to the world. We can know about God and call His name and still not know Him. We can serve others and pray and still not know Him. We can worship Him in song and gather on Sundays and still not know Him. To live in the Spirit is to die to self. We receive the Holy Spirit when we obey Him. Without obedience we will never know Him.
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” How do we know if we know Him? We will love what He loves and hate what He hates. We will have a completely new nature. The world’s flashing lights will no longer interest us. Acquiring things will not bring us joy. We will keep His commands. We will be persecuted. We will live as Jesus did. We will die to ourselves. We will hunger for His Word. Praying will be one of our most favorite things to do and we will do it often. We will be directed by the Holy Spirit. We will hear from God. Anger will rise up in us only out of our love for God. We will bear everlasting fruit. We will be bold in our faith. We will turn from all sin. We will be filled with joy. We will consider human wisdom worthless. The sin around us will make us uncomfortable. We will desire holiness. We will seek time to be alone with God. We will have confidence that God hears our prayers. We will be thankful in all circumstances. We will rely on God for our every need. We will be consumed with an internal hunger to bring God glory.
May the Lord Jesus Christ give you all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you may know Him better and better.
Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
John 8:31-32 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Luke 5:16 “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
1 Corinthians 10:20-21 “No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”
Psalm 102:17 “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.”
1 John 2:3-6 “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
Ephesians 4:26 "Be angry, yet do not sin." Do not let the sun set upon your anger,”
James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
1 Timothy 4 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Ephesians 5:1-7 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”
Philippians 2:5 “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”
Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”
John 15:10 “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
John 15:20 “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”
John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
John 14:15-17 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
Galatians 6:14 “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died.”
1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.”
John 14:23-24 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”
2 Timothy 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
2 Peter 2:7 “But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him.”
Matthew 11:25-26 “At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”
1 Corinthians 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.”
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 6:11-14 “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
There is a sweeping teaching in the church today that God’s grace is enough to cover over our every sin and by believing that Jesus is the Son of God and asking Him into your heart, you are saved for eternity. This false teaching has probably done more harm in the church today than any other. Once we believe that we are loved and accepted even though we don’t obey, we have no incentive to turn from evil and do good. If there is no fear of God, there is no wisdom and no true desire to beg for mercy. If we don’t turn from sin, we will never receive the Holy Spirit, and we certainly won’t be saved. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
This grace covers all teaching is everywhere. I recently watched the movie, The Shack, where God was portrayed as only having a loving side, and God’s wrath was dismissed. If there are no consequences, human nature will drift to satisfy its evil desires. If I am comfortable where I am, why would I ever want to leave that comfort zone? Do you not think Jesus was comfy on His throne in heaven? Do you think it was fun to suffer a horrendous death for you? Jesus left His comfort to show obedience to His father. But now we twist scripture to make us more comfortable in the physical world. Jesus had to obey the Father even to death but we don’t have to obey everything Jesus taught? How arrogant!
If there is any doubt that God still has a wrath side to those that disobey Him, the book of Revelation has several examples. Revelations 2:21-23 “I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” When Jesus comes back He is not bringing hugs to the disobedient, He is bringing a sword.
What does it mean to be a Christian? What does the life of a Christian look like? What do they think about? How do they speak? If a secret camera followed a Christian around in life for a day with the whole world watching, what would they see? What would they hear? What if the camera could record their thoughts? Would they look different than anyone else? Would they sound any different other than an occasional prayer? Would they be thought of as holy?
YOU WANT TO STAY DRY SO YOU GET A BUDDY TO HELP YOU RUN SOME ROPE FROM SHORE. YOUR FRIEND MAY HELP YOU STAY STANDING WHEN THE WAVES COME, BUT HE CAN'T KEEP YOU DRY. GOD HAS CALLED US OUT OF THE WATER. THE ONLY WAY TO STAY DRY IS TO OBEY HIM. YOU DON'T BELONG TO THIS WORLD. STAY FOCUSED ON THINGS ABOVE.
If the Bible says, without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14), how do we live a life of holiness? How do we not let sin reign in our bodies? The answer is simple…Grace. Don’t be confused, God’s grace is often referring to God’s power to help the Christ follower live a holy life. Without God’s grace, we are weak and powerless. With God’s grace, we can walk like Jesus walked. God’s grace enables us to go beyond our natural abilities. 2 Corinthians 8:1-3 “And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.”
Jesus Christ’s own words to Paul spoke of power and grace being linked together, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” If we think we are strong, we will never know God or His power. God’s grace comes to those that realize they are weak and need a savior to overcome their desire to do evil. If we think God will accept us no matter what we do on earth after we know Him, we are deceived. God is not pleased with most of the church when He judges. Revelation 2:16 “Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Revelation 2:5 “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
The relation of God’s grace and power is shown again in Ephesians 3:7 “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.” It’s our total dependence on God with childlike faith that allows us to receive grace. James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” If we are relying on our bank account or retirement portfolio to give us comfort and peace, we are not fully trusting in God and those stubborn sins will stay.
I know God’s grace is real because I have experienced it. I am a weak man yet I have been able to accomplish things that I could never do before. I am nothing on my own. I have only done what God has enabled me to do through His power. Through faith, I was obedient to His word and He gave. Romans 5:2 “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
If I fall away, I will be right back where I was in an instant. God is holy and perfect. I can’t walk with the world and claim to know God. I can’t rely on things, myself, or others to ‘satisfy’ me. God must become and stay my all. If I am to stay in God’s grace, I must stay in His word, stay out of the world, and be in prayer always. If I do, His power will grow in me. If you do, His power will grow in you! 2 Peter 3:17-18 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
May you be full of God’s wisdom and grace and may Jesus Christ be in your every thought.
Over the course of the last few years, a question kept coming to mind as I read the Bible. Why can’t I live like that? Why don’t others live like that? I remember pleading with God one night for Him to make me more like Paul. I mean, God is in control of everything. He can do whatever He wants.
Last summer, through no doing of my own, God woke me up. He began to teach me that indeed we could look like the Spirit filled people of the Bible and we could walk with God like they did. In fact, the Bible tells us that to see God we must walk like they walked. We must be Holy. 1 Peter 1:16 “for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
At a time in life when everyone was saying community, community, community, God has had me somewhat withdrawal and just abide in Him the last few months. Some pastors and teachers say we can’t grow without community but God has grown me more over this time period than any other time in my life. It’s great to be around born again believers but isolation can and will bring about a dependence on God to fill your every need. Without this dependence, we can’t know God. Dependence is faith.
Isolation to those without the Spirit could be disastrous but periodic isolation to those filled with God can be glorious. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert for 40 days to be tested. Was Jesus in community during this time? Of course not. Jesus was alone and hungry and He had to rely on His Father for everything. His faith was tested and He grew through that testing. Hebrews 5:8-9 “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Community does not draw us closer to God. God draws us closer to God. James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
During my time of isolation, I have had my own time of testing. God has used this time to teach me obedience. I have not gone without food or water but I have had to do without other comforts. God has been watching to see if I would give into temptation and turn back to my old life or if I would stay firmly planted in His Word of Truth. I have seen that the longer this time has went on, the greater the temptations have been. Without the power of God, I would have failed long ago.
The power of God? What is it? What does that even mean? If there is one thing I say that more people have a problem with and even get angry about it is the power of God over sin. The moment I say that God’s power has enabled me to walk away from habitual sins in my life they think I am arrogant, mislead, and deceived. I have never said I am without sin, for we all still have a sin nature and we all will occasionally slip up. None of us is perfect, not one. All I have ever said is I am not living in a habitual sin…my conscious is clean before God. Has the church become so mislead and deceived that we don’t believe we can attain this? Do we not understand that those that don’t come to this place will hear away from me, I never knew you, when they stand before God? The New Testament teaches this, Jesus taught this, yet we think we can pluck a few verses out of the Bible and make an entirely different Gospel based on God’s grace that looks past our willful sin. If we think, “We are who we are and we sin because we are human,” we are saying we don’t need to depend on God. We don’t need faith. We must daily depend on God like children and He will provide us power to walk like Him. His power will enable us to walk away when we are tempted to sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
For years and years I was stuck in sexual sin. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get free. Today, by God’s grace(enabling power), I am free. I didn’t need therapy, community, or support groups. I had to surrender my heart and life to Jesus Christ and He provided the power to overcome. If we obey Jesus’s teachings, we love Him. If we love Him, we will have His Spirit. If we have His Spirit and walk in the Spirit, we will be free of habitual sin. How can a Spirit filled Christian go on sinning? There is no sin in Christ. If they continue to habitually sin as I did, either they don’t have the Spirit or they have not denied themselves. Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” If we don’t deny ourselves, we are not a disciple of Jesus Christ. No slave of sin will go to heaven. Will we occasionally mess up? Yes. Can we live in it? No.
John 8:31-35 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.”
What about Romans 7? Doesn’t this show that even Paul couldn’t turn from sin? God was pleased to write the Bible in such a way that has caused division on the topic. Romans 7:14-18 “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Notice in the versus Paul says He is unspiritual and that good itself does not dwell in him. He couldn’t possibly be talking about his present state because we know Paul was powerfully indwelled with the Holy Spirit. To say that, would be to lie and to speak blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in him. Do you think Paul had the power to heal people (symbolism for spiritual healing) but no power over sin in his own life? One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control.
In Romans 7, Paul is speaking of the sinful nature in man before the Holy Spirit came, and how no matter how hard they tried, they could not follow the law, an external covenant. Romans 7 does not talk about the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 talks about the Holy Spirit, an internal covenant, and how if we have the Spirit inside us, we no longer live in the flesh (passions, pleasures, sin nature). Romans 8:12-14 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” How are misdeeds of the body done away with? The Spirit. The Old Testament law caused them to do what they didn’t want to do because the law gave sin it’s power. 1 Corinthians 15:56 “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” Until Jesus came, everyone was a slave to sin. Jesus died to give us freedom from sin. When His Spirit came, His power over sin came to those that received it. To have His grace, His enabling power, we must turn from the world, obey Him, and have faith that what He said is true. John 16:7 “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” It is better for you to have the Holy Spirit then have Jesus in the flesh in your living room. Why? Because His Spirit gives enabling power over sin and death.
1 John 2:6 “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
Romans 6:11-14 “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
1 Peter 2:16 “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.”
1 John 3:8-9 “The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very start. This is why the Son of God was revealed, to destroy the works of the devil. Anyone born of God refuses to practice sin, because God’s seed abides in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
Merry Christmas! Christmas is often said to be the season of hope but too often it seems people look for hope in the all wrong places. That was me for the first 32 years of my life and then off and on for years after. You see for years I was the seed that fell among the thorns. I thought highly of God but I was chasing after the riches and pleasures of this life so I was not maturing (Matthew 13:22). But thanks to God, He continued to discipline and rebuke me. The old me could never see the discipline for what it was. Today I thank God every time I face difficulty.
If you live in the world you have been through incredibly difficult circumstances in your life. There is no way to run or hide from the pain that is all around us. Sometimes God allows pain to lead us towards repentance. Other times we feel pain from our own bad choices and disobedience. But one thing is true for both. Pain serves a purpose.
When our bodies are inflicted with an injury, pain signals to the brain tells us that damage has been or is being done. If our hand is on a hot stove the pain causes us to ever so quickly get away from the source of pain. If we cut our hand using a knife we will think twice before cutting the next time. We will try to learn from our mistake and cut a different way so we won’t feel that pain again. Pain from the past often causes us to think before we do or it may cause us to never do again.
Pain can also come in the form of loneliness and depression. Why is it that so many people have depression through the holidays if they are alone? As a society we have been conditioned to find our joy and hope in people, places, things, and holidays. For many Christmas is a magical time of year. But when we experience the Christmas season without a loved one or if we find ourselves all alone, we can feel a deep emptiness inside us. We may long for the way it used to be and we may even carry around some self-pity and grief.
What about those that are diagnosed with the back breaking word cancer during the holidays? Where do they find their joy? Will Christmas for them and their families ever be the same? How can they not feel depressed and all alone? My sister was diagnosed with cancer this Christmas. It hits very close to home.
When we feel deep pain in our lives we often cry uncontrollably. We may feel a bit childish in our need to be nurtured and encouraged in our time of sorrow but we usually reach out to people when the pain is too much to bear. Pain teaches us to find dependence outside of ourselves. The world teaches us to run to support groups, counseling, alcohol, drugs, entertainment, and even sex when the tough gets going. Now, there is nothing wrong with getting support from an encouraging friend, a parent, or a pastor, but there is only one place that can bring about real relief. The whole purpose of pain and the dependence it creates is to draw us closer to God. God will never be found if we think man, a system, a book, or simply running away can fix our problems.
After my wife died I attended several counseling sessions. I was not new to counseling however. I had been on and off for a few years while I tried to not only work through my addictions, but also through a tough time in my marriage because of them. While I love and respect my counselor, she never really helped me find what I was looking for. As a matter of fact, in some ways following some of her advice, that I know was genuine and from the heart, actually caused me grief but that is another blog for another day. The only thing that has ever helped me was fully surrendering to Jesus Christ.
During my grief, a horrific time in my life, God gave me a great strength that my counselor noticed and commented on during one of my sessions. If my memory serves correctly, that was the last time I ever talked to her. God’s Spirit within me testified that He alone was the only one that could help. It can be comforting to have another human talking to us in real time, but that comfort is only temporary and it never brings about the healing we seek.
When I was messed up in the charismatic healing movement, I often commanded pains to leave peoples bodies and most of the time their pain left. It seemed amazing at the time, but all too often shortly after our interaction, their pain would come back and the people would want me to ‘pray’ again. Even though I was shamefully harnessing the powers of demons with my ‘prayers,’ the pain never completely left. Why? Because when we run to sinful man we will never be fully healed. We will keep coming back again and again just like support groups or counseling sessions. But when Jesus heals, it’s not a temporary patch, he heals completely. In the Bible Jesus healed physically to symbolize spiritual healing. The only thing we have to do is come to Him in faith. Matthew 8:1-3 “When Jesus came down from the hill, great crowds followed him. Then a man with a skin disease came to Jesus. The man bowed down before him and said, “Lord, you can heal me if you will.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “I will. Be healed!” And immediately the man was healed from his disease.
If this world was all there was I would say what a horrible place it is! If pain didn’t serve a purpose I would say what a cruel God I serve! If the Christmas season is where I found my hope for the year, what a miserable person I would be! And if Jesus Christ was not born into the world to die for me and then be raised from the dead, I would say what is the point of all of this? 1 Corinthians 15:32 “If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for human motives, what did I gain? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” But I know with every ounce of my being that God is real. I know Him. I know He loves those that love Him. I know there is a reason for everything. I know He brings pain to change us.
If our lives are all about our world, when our world changes we could get crushed. If our lives are all about Jesus, when our world gets crushed around us, we will still stand. The only thing constant in the world is change and change often brings pain. The only thing that completely heals us from pain and never changes is Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
May The Lord Jesus Christ comfort you in your pain and allow you to see just how much you need Him in your life. Pain in this world can be so hard but when we realize its done out of love, the trials we face become much easier to bear.
Anyone that knows me knows something in me has changed recently. Despite the circumstances in my life, my peace and joy don’t really fade. I have a contentment that goes beyond all human understanding. And this is not coming from someone that is on their honeymoon after receiving the Holy Spirit. This is a deeper, wider, more complete filling than I have ever felt or experienced. I have never had better days in my life! It’s as if the flood gates of heaven are open and pouring down on me rather than the small faucet trickle that I had known for so long. I have noticed a greater understanding of God’s word, my love for people has increased, anxiety has decreased, I care for the world even less, and I have more power over sin. My goodness how merciful my God is!!
When I look back at my life over the past several years and all the mistakes that I have made I find it unfathomable that God never deserted me. The mercy that has been given makes it hard for me to stand when I pray. Why did He not leave me when I was stuck in Porn? Why did He not give up when I was playing with demons? Why was He still waiting when I was into sorcery (Charismatic healing movement)? Why did He come back to me after I believed in the hyper grace false teaching? Through all my ignorance, arrogance, selfishness, and rebellion, God never gave up.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, about four months ago God sent me a demon to wake me up and wake me up he did. Shortly thereafter God had me run across a guy named Michael Chriswell on YouTube. Michael’s powerful testimony convicted me to the core. I realized my life was not living up to the standards Jesus Christ taught and there were things in my life I was still holding onto. There was one sin in particular that held me captive and I didn’t want to let it go. I even denied for the longest time that it was a sin. Most would probably say it’s not but God had convicted me long ago. By the power of God, I laid that sin down at His feet and walked away from it. Today there is not a habitual sin in my life that I am aware of. I have no bitterness, no unforgiveness, and no resentment. I am free and because of that, I am able to give Him the worship that He wants and deserves.
Now that I am free, I can fully do the will of God. I am able to live the John 7:17 life and I experience God on a personal level everyday instead of occasionally. What does that experience look like? Outside of just pure joy and peace, I hear God speaking often. Daily I will hear a message from Michael or read a scripture and then later I will be providentially taken to the same verse to confirm that God wanted me to hear it. Often the second time I see a verse God gives me a deeper meaning or understanding. Other times a particular verse will jump off of the page so much it becomes part of me like God spoke it to me personally. God has become more real to me than life itself. The world seems like a boring movie playing in the background if you will.
What does God want from us? Obedience. What does God expect from us? Obedience. Obedience is so important to God that His word says we will never receive the Holy Spirit without it (Acts 5:32, John 14:23) and that we will never enter heaven (Luke 6:49, Revelation 2:26). Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Obedience is not following a bunch of rules it’s a free giving of your will. True obedience is submission, reverence, and fear of God. When we properly fear God, something that many churches don’t teach anymore, we come to God as a trembling child that pleads for mercy. This type of approach to God is not optional, it is required. We must approach God knowing we are destined for destruction without His mercy. Just the thought should move us to tears.
It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past. You are never too damaged or too far gone. God takes great pleasure in using the broken and the forgotten. God does not have favorites. I am certainly nothing. I have been a fool for so many years of my life it boggles my mind that I am where I am. I am not strong. I am actually very weak. I am not super smart. As a matter of fact, psychologically I am quite dumb. When I hear human wisdom trying to figure out something only God can fix, my brain shuts down and I can’t apply human reasoning. It’s odd yet beautiful at the same time.
Recently I was hanging out with someone and they were talking bad about some acquaintances of ours and I felt my heart drifting towards joining their bad thoughts. While I was sitting there I felt God spoke, “Bad company corrupts good character.” When I got home I opened my Bible to start my prayer time. To my fascination, the first page I turned to contained 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." God confirmed to me that He had indeed spoke to me earlier that day. The closer we draw to God the more our phone may ring.
You don’t need a book to hear from God. You don’t need a seminar or a conference to inspire and refresh you. The fire that I have did not come from man. Michael only spoke what Jesus taught. If you want to know and experience God in a deeper way, you have to go in deeper than you ever have before. You must put God on such a pedestal that He is all you think about and talk about. Are you willing to carve out time in your day to read the Word and pray every day without exception?
God gives us as much of Himself as we give up of ourselves. When the Holy Spirit comes to live in us there are two spirits occupying the same space. If we are living for ourselves then our sinful nature will be in control and we will desire things and pleasure. If we drop to our knees and allow God’s Spirit to take control, we will hear God communicating to us in spine tingling, joy filled, unbelievable ways and our only true desire will be pleasing Him.
We want whatever we chase after. If we want more of the world, we will watch more movies, work more hours, and spend hours making things in our life beautiful on the outside. If we want more of God, we will spend hours chasing after Him so He can make us more beautiful on the inside. Exterior beauty will fade. Interior beauty will stand forever.
May The Lord Jesus Christ give you the desire and power to fully submit to Him!
Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Job 22:21-23 “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.
Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart.
If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent.”