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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Live It!!

There is an old secular saying that applies to at least one aspect of what we'll call 'Christian living' for the purpose of my rambling about today.  This saying is actually sort of a loaded gun, or at the very least a pointed finger. (Wow! I really hope that my examples didn't violate someones civil rights or cause someone distress.  My wife, Faith, tells me that I'm too blunt in how I say things sometimes, well actually she says that I'm too blunt all the time. Ooops!) Anyhow, back to my rambling. The saying I have in mind goes something like this: Why is it that no one remembers what a person says, but always remembers what they do.  This goes hand in hand with another old saying that says: Actions speak louder than words.  Okay, so now we have two loaded guns, or pointed fingers. (I really have to be careful about the analogies I use, we must 'make nice' with everybody!)  I've always felt, and so I've always said, that every single day of our lives has to be a living testimony to not only the mercy and glory of GOD, but also to the redeeming gift of HIS grace through HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST.  Every word we speak, every move we make, every breath we draw, every step we take, every thought we form.  If you think that I'm making it sound as if we shouldn't even be alive without GOD, you're right!  You are exactly right!  Because that's the whole point of both the love GOD has for us and the blood CHRIST shed for us, is that without this merciful mix of love and blood we aren't alive.  We're basically the walking dead without salvation.  If you think about it, that is what satan is.  He's already dead but just hasn't laid down yet, but the time is soon coming that he won't have a choice in the matter any more.  Guess what?  That same time that's coming for satan is coming for you and me too.  That day is coming when the walking dead are laid down, right into the fires of hell, and then the [final] decision will be made for us where we'll spend eternity.  Here's the scary part though; there are a lot of folks out there that don't even realize that they're among the walking dead.  There is an even scarier part, and that is that there are many who are pretending to not be among the walking dead, who are pretending to be Believers.  I've often said that only two people know whether or not a person is truly saved, that person and the LORD GOD.  I can fool everyone I meet into believing that I'm a bona fida, Born Again, Spirit Filled, New Testament Christian.  If I'm really good at conning people, then I might even reach the point that I begin to believe the lies.  But, GOD is very clear on this issue, HE sees right through charades, and it gets HIS dander up.

'Do not be deceived, GOD is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.'  (Galatians 6:7-8    NKJV)

How much plainer would HE have to say it so that everyone understands HIS position on people playing games and pretending to be something they're not?  Like I said earlier, it is possible to fool people, but not GOD, HE'll see right through all the head games every time.

A point to be fully aware of is that GOD is no respecter of persons, positions, places, or things.  When people try to use other people as a gauge to determine their own respectability or righteousness, they're making a huge mistake.  Think about it, if I'm using you to figure out how holy I am, then I'm assuming that you are holy, at least to a certain degree, and then I use your holiness, or lack of holiness, to prove where I'm at on the 'holiness scale.'  JESUS addressed this in part when HE was giving what we refer to as the Sermon On The Mount.

'For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.'  (Matthew 5:20    NKJV)

From what we know, now, the righteousness of the the scribes and Pharisees, as well as that of the Sadducee's, didn't amount to much, so it appears that JESUS didn't set to high a standard.  But we have to keep in mind that the people CHRIST was speaking to didn't know what we know.  They didn't have the Bible in front of them to read and learn about the actions of the Jewish leaders of that day and time.  All that the people in the days of the public ministry of JESUS had to go on was a little over four thousand years of their own history recorded by different scribes and prophets.  The leaders of the children of Israel were identified and respected as righteous solely on the grounds that they were the leaders of the cultural and religious aspects of the Hebrew nation.  There was so much legalism (Oops! There is another politically incorrect word, the 'L' word.) impregnated within the leadership of GOD's

Now that we have so much more of GOD available to us, we should be able to make better decisions.  Because of these better decisions we should be able to make, our lives should be a testimony of what not only what GOD has done for us, but also what we've become as a result of what HE'd done for us.  We shouldn't ever have to tell someone that we're a Christian for them to be aware of it, it should be reflected in every single part of our lives.

Here's a position we don't want to find ourselves in on a not so distant day.  We do not want to be feeling more and more doomed as we approach a certain Judgment Seat, knowing that a lifetime of either pretending to be something we weren't, or denying the truth of a Heavenly FATHER and a Redeeming SON was over.  At that point, there are no options except one.

'Not everyone who says to ME, "Lord, Lord" shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of MY FATHER in heaven.  Many will say to ME in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in YOUR name, cast out demons in YOUR name, and done many wonders in YOUR name?"  And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from ME, you who practice lawlessness!"'  (Matthew 7:21-23    NKJV)

If you're one of those who'll hear these words, your only option isn't really an option.  All that'll be left is to receive your just punishment.  Now let's think about this whole thing for just a minute.  In order to have arrived at this point of being cast into the eternal lake of fire, you had to have lived your whole life as a lie.  There is not a single person who, if they're being completely honest, can say that they don't believe that GOD is real.  I know that a lot of people say it, but remember that I qualified my statement by saying that complete honesty was required.  Then we have the pretenders, but they are in the same position of, if they're completely honest, knowing that the relationship with GOD that they've pretended to have was just a sham.  Remember where we started, that people always remember what we do because our actions speak much louder than our words.  My position on this is that if someone chooses to live a lie, and not live their lives as a testimony to GOD and all of HIS glory, then at least don't try to pretend that it's not a lie.  (Uh oh!  I better get this finished and posted before Faith comes in.  I might be being a little too blunt.  We wouldn't want to offend anyone now, would we?)  If you're a Christian, and I pray you are, then live it!  Don't just talk about it, live it!  Don't just think about it, live it!  Don't just lie about it, live it!  At this point in time, we all have the same opportunity before us, so LIVE IT!

Be Blessed before the LORD!  My prayer is that your life, either right this second or with the new beginning CHRIST died to provide for you, brings blessings to GOD the FATHER.       Amen

See you soon!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Just Believe!

Okay, here's the thing that we need to get straight.  GOD doesn't need our help in 'interpretting' HIS Word.  Whether it's the Old Testament, which by the way there are several books out that say just the opposite, we do need to read as a literal truth-filled work, or the New Testament, HE gave it to us with the assurance that we are complete [before HIM] if we'll use it.

'All Scripture is given by inspiration of GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of GOD may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.'  (II Timothy 3:16-17    NKJV)

I can guarantee that this same piece of Scripture can be read in every translation or version, and it will still say the same thing, that the whole Bible is from GOD, and is necessary for the works HE calls us to. The other thing we read here, and this is an absolute truth, is that without HIS Scriptures in your life you aren't complete, or whole. Don't let this throw you, and don't make the all too common, and sometimes [spiritually] fatal mistake of trying to find some hidden meaning here. There is nothing not revealed in what HE is telling us here, that without knowledge of HIS Word, which is from HIM, we aren't complete before HIM.  HE tells us how we should present ourselves, what we should and shouldn't wear, what we should and shouldn't eat, how and how not to pray, how and how not to handle disputes with fellow Christians.  HE's got it all covered.  I get kind of bent out of shape when I find someone 'discovering' some new meaning for Scripture that's supposedly been hidden from man for the two thousand years or so since CHRIST walked the earth.  People are always popping up with some new interpretation, and now we're being told that we shouldn't read the Old Testament in a literal fashion.  Why not, that's how the LORD gave it to those HE inspired to write it.  HIS chosen people didn't have any trouble understanding it when it was given to them through the prophets. I'll promise you that when the Egyptian army saw the Red Sea closing in on them that they didn't stop to try to figure out the figurative meaning of all that water coming at them, they knew that they were done for, literally!

So what am I doing here today? What is the bottom line I'm headed towards? It's really pretty simple, and this is something I've told countless people, and I'll continue to tell anyone who'll listen.  READ YOUR BIBLES! If the Bible says that the Nile ran red with blood, then that is exactly what happened.  If the Bible says that Noah built a really big boat and then it rained for forty days, then that's exactly what happened. If the Bible says that after three days in the tomb CHRIST arose, then that is exactly what happened.  The Bible isn't something we can pick and choose from what to believe, it's an all or none deal.  We don't have the option to believe parts of it that we find believable and not believe other sections we find unbelievable.  Here is a point to spend some time with, HE knew that people would have a hard time with parts of HIS Word.  He also knew that people would find it difficult to understand why some people suffer and are ill.  When we're counseling someone on the suffering and illness issues, Scripture tells us that these things happen so that HIS sovereignty and authority and power and mercy can be not only seen, but claimed when HE heals and/or strengthens those afflicted.  What's so different about having our faith strengthened in regards to accepting every single word of Scripture as Gospel, literally? That's another part of man's relationship with GOD that is an all or none proposition, faith.  HE tells us that without faith there is no relationship between HIM and man.

'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.'  (Hebrews 11:1    NKJV)


'But without faith it is impossible to please HIM, for he who comes to GOD must believe that HE is, and that HE is a rewarder of those who diligently seek HIM.'  (Hebrews 11:6    NKJV)

Pay real close attention to what the LORD is telling us here, in a very literal manner. I said earlier that faith is an all or none issue for the Believer.  While this first verse is commonly understood to address our future with GOD in Heaven, it also talks about the here and now. When someone lays a petition before the LORD, and prays for something in particular, believing that HE'll grant their petition, and doing all of this strictly on the strength of what they believe, that's faith. The key thing to praying over a certain issue, whatever that issue may be, is to pray, or ask, that HIS Will be done.  This second verse is just about as literal as a person could ask, and there's no mistaking exactly what it's saying. 'Without faith it is impossible to pleas HIM,...'  How can anybody not understand that? I'll tell you how, and that's if it doesn't fit into their desires or plans to believe in HIM.  That's where those who claim to be atheists and agnostics are. 

Oh, one more thing, I know it's been awhile since I mentioned it, but Yeah, I'm A Believer!

Be Blessed brothers and sisters!

Friday, August 19, 2011

'A' Truth or 'The' Truth?

The question seems simple, and clear, enough. Right? Maybe, maybe not.  Actually if we're not careful, this seemingly innocent question can derail a person completely in their growth in CHRIST.

Scripture, like just about any other subject, can be studied from at least two different points of view.  Some of those who study Scripture do so from an objective position.  This basically means that they're approaching things from an academic angle.  Their goal isn't to grow Spiritually as a result of learning more about GOD and HIS ways by studying HIS word.  Instead, the target they're shooting for is to become more competent in knowledge and understanding about a certain subject, in this case the subject is the Bible. But the subject could just as easily be Applied Mathematics or Molecular Biology.  Then we have those whose approach to studying the Bible is much more personal, or subjective.  (Okay, I confess, I'm one of these.)  Since I've already confessed, although I think a better word would be 'professed', to be one who studies Scripture for the purpose of growing in my knowledge of CHRIST and the will of the FATHER, I'll use myself as the example.  I study the Bible to learn more of the ways of GOD.  To me, the Bible being divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament, isn't indicative of what is important and not so important, or what used to be and now what is.  The Bible, in it's entirety, is HIS Word for me.  Think about it, we have a history book, a geography book, a math book, a book that is a work of literature in itself, a devotional, and a book that records each and every Believer's family tree from beginning to present. 

Now, here is the point to be made.  If the Bible is approached strictly from a desire to become proficient on a certain acedemic subject, then the meaning of the information contained within the Bible looses something important.  It looses the personal meaning that it should have for every one of us who has made the choice to confess and profess.  GOD didn't send HIS Son as a lesson on the things 'a' diety has the authority and power to do.  HE didn't allow HIS Son to die in a lowly degrading manner on 'a' cross just to make a statement of some kind.  JESUS didn't choose to do the FATHER's Will just to demonstrate the proper response of 'a' child to 'a' father's request, or instructions.  Okay, now we've come full circle, we're back to where we started, or where I started at least.  If we come at the Bible, and accept it to be a true and accurate document in regards to the approximately 4,500 years it covers, and do this from a clinical position, then we've effectively reduced all that it is to 'a' simple truth.  That's it, just another book to be put on a shelf labeled 'true'.  But, when we come into HIS Word from the [spiritual] perspective HE would have us use, then everything changes.  Our reading isn't just something we have to do in order to be able to ascertain the truth of the book.  Now there is joy and excitement and adventure and a sense of looking forward to the next chapter or the next page or the next word.  This is where our LORD FATHER wants us to be, and where we have to be to be in HIS Will for each of us who Believe.  Now the Word of GOD is 'THE' Truth not just because HE says it is, but because it's alive within us.  The 'TRUTH' of HIS Word is manifested in many ways, in things from little urgings and whisperings when we're involved in something something we shouldn't be, or fixing to do something contrary to HIS Will. 

There we have it, the question that seemed so innocent.  Is the Bible simply 'a' truth to you, or is it 'THE' Truth around which your life is centered?  The Bible, and 'THE' Truths contained within it cannot be separated from GOD and HIS Will or JESUS and HIS Shed Blood.  It's a package deal.  Is it your package deal?

Be Blessed fellow Believers, in HIS Will!

Friday, August 12, 2011

'Be Holy For I Am Holy'

Our history, if we're not afraid to claim history as a whole as 'ours', recorded more than one instance of people who were tied, shackled, whipped, beaten, mutilated, forced to relocate, separated from family, tortured until death or recantation took place, and just plain old-fashioned murdered, just to mention a few reactions to what someone may have believed to be true.  The thing is this, it still happens to this very day, and the Bible promises that it will continue and only get worse and more frequent, right up until the day of Reckoning that we Believers know as the Judgment Day.  I've written before, and stated it in talks and studies, that I welcome what I see going on around me in this world today.  I don't see it as adversity, I claim it as my LORD GOD keeping HIS promises!  Persecution will not affect you unless you're a threat to satan.  I read the foreword in the book 'Christian Atheist' and found it to be right on target.  There are literally millions of Christians in this country, not to mention the entire world, who are not a threat to satan.  It's not that satan is afraid to mess with them, it's that so many people do his job for him by not living the life of a Christian. 

Here is one of the most common scenario's that actually creates Christian atheists:  Somebody who is doing the work of the devil will make a big deal and call a lot of attention to someone else who runs their business or lives their life in ways that are pleasing to GOD.  It won't be living the Christian life that the devils pawns will fuss about, it'll be something else, like not supporting homosexuality.  This is a good example since it's all over the news today with everything from churches appointing practicing avowed homosexuals as ministers to states passing legislation showing support for two men or two women getting married.  Now the queer world is after Christian Values Network.  That would be a major coup for them in their lopsided caps, to get a multinational entity who has built their success on HIS agenda to recant from their stated position before GOD.  Now we never need to forget that the devil is cagey, and he'll use any willing idiot he can to get in GOD's way, and those gay rights people are just prime for his picking, he really loves that bunch.  Talk about someone not being a threat to him, they most definitely doing the devil's work for him! I just read on UCN that this bunch of devil followers is naming anybody who isn't as debased as them a 'bigot.'  Okay then, if that what it means to be a bigot, then I'M A BIGOT!  There, how's that?  I'm also against murdering and stealing and having sex with anyone other that my wife and any other thing that is contrary to GOD.  A part of me feels sorry for anyone who let's themselves be led by the nose, and they really believe that what they're endorsing is there idea.  These people never had an original idea in their lives, and now the devil is leading them around on a leash like a bunch of mindless idiots.  Oops!  There I go again, sounding like a BIGOT!  I take solace from one thing, and that is as long as these misguided fools are still drawing breathes, there is still a chance for HIS gift of grace to be accepted.  For that reason alone, I pray that each and every one of them has a long life. 

Here is the bottom line for me.  My LORD JESUS took a beating, withstood ridicule, and then willingly handed over HIS Life for me, and I love HIM for that.  But the thing is that HE also did all of these things for every single one of these people I've been going on about.  Do I understand how people could even begin to suppose that which they advocate and practice is okay?  No, nor would I ever want to, then I would be in fear for my own Spiritual sanity.  Am I mad at them?  At times, but for the most part it's frustration I feel, that they could be so blind to something so obvious.  Then I have to remind myself that they've given control of their thoughts over to satan, they've been willfully blinded.  When it's all over and done with, when every single one of us has to give an accounting, what then?  That's the question that satan closes their ears to the answer of.  The same thing with the ones who call themselves atheists.  On that Day, when they're denied just as they've wasted their lives denying, and they see hell coming straight at them with no place to run and hide, who do you suppose they'll be calling out for then?  If you really think about it, anybody who lives or professes to believe anything contrary to GOD is running and looking for a place to hide, that's what it's all about.  So, what I have to do, and what I willingly embrace, is to keep these people constantly in prayer.  I have to try not to let my frustration get in the way of HIS Work, and by that I mean that I have to take care not to alienate myself from people I know who aren't one with the LORD.  The other side of that is that I will never misstate my position with GOD for the sake of maintaining an acquaintance or friendship with someone who isn't with GOD, that would really please the devil!  The companies that have yielded to the devil's plans, and cancelled their business agreements with CVN

Where are you?

Friday, August 5, 2011

We'll Be Okay!

It's so easy to get disappointed, disgruntled, and disillusioned with not only ourselves, but with the way things are in the world around us.  What we have to always use to balance things is the Grace of GOD.  What a lot of us don't get about Grace is that it is the very beginning of HIS Works in us, the imputation of Grace.  The part that confuses people is that without the receipt of Grace there would be no believing, or confessing, or redemption, it would be impossible.  Nobody, without the workings of Grace within, will ever wake up one morning and say, "Hey, I feel the Holy Spirit working in me.  I think I'll get saved today."  I've been thinking, even more than is usual for me, about how we each stand before the LORD.  I believe that what got me more focused on this issue is that a week ago today, July 29th, I went through an Ordination Ceremony to be ordained as an Evangelist of GOD.  I've held the position of Elder in the ministry International Prayer Response for almost three years, and felt called to seek the position of Evangelist.  Thinking about all that goes with this new position humbles me when I think of how much HE is depending on me.  If I let it, just thinking about being an Evangelist would completely bog me down, physically and spiritually.  Instead, I think about how others HE called probably felt much the same way I do, but they answered HIS call, and so will I.  When I voice the thought, 'LORD, I can't do this thing YOU've called me to,' it's like I hear HIS voice.  HE's saying something like, 'I know that you can't, by yourself.  That's why I'm not expecting you to do it by yourself. I'm here.  You'll be okay.'  I think my biggest fear is that I don't want to look back some day and realize that HE didn't call me into this, or any other, position, that I'd called myself.  Maybe that thought is HIS way of keeping me honest, so to speak, so that I'll test everything by HIM and HIS Scriptures.  When I think about what's going on all around us in this world and I apply the same thought there, then I can almost hear HIS voice encouraging me, and promising me that I don't have to deal with this world by myself.  Another thing that I do think about alot is that to a lot of people, GOD is an untapped resource.  Even Christians, or maybe I should say, 'especially Christians,' never consider turning everything over to HIM.  Most of us only go to HIM with what we consider the 'important stuff' and try to deal with the other things ourselves.  The point we're missing is that just like a sin is a sin is a sin....., so our problems are our problems are our problems.....  When we pick and choose what we give over to the FATHER, we're actually placing restrictions on what HE can and will do for us.  The reasons we do this varies, but I believe that one of the most common reasons is that we're involved in something we know that HE'll disapprove of, so we try to keep HIM out of that loop.  Our reasoning is flawed because whether we mention it to HIM or not, HE already knows. 

The bottom line is this, we'll be okay.  This world will get worse and worse day by day, and we'll be okay.  Things that we've never imagined could happen will happen, and we'll be okay.  Whether we voluntarily turn every single things over to HIM, we'll be okay.  What makes this true is the gift of Grace, and it's only because of that merciful gift that we'll be okay!

Be Blessed my fellow Believers, in HIS perfect Will!
Absarokee MT