Oh God, How I Need You

“Lord, I need You, Every hour I need You; O God, how I need You…. “

These words were penned originally by Annie Sherrod Hawks (1836-1918), and the chorus by Robert Lowry (1826-1899) as part of the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour,” and recently by Matt Maher in his poignant hymn to the Lord. However you sing, whichever chorus you use, the words will move you if you let them.

“But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. …. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:18‭, ‬27 NLT

Because God created us the way He did, we need Him to complete us. Without God in our lives, there is a hole, one that we often try to fill with anything other than God. Without Him, we are nothing. God also created within us a desire to connect with others, and especially with others who share our beliefs and desires. He didn’t want us to be alone. Just as He longs for our love and fellowship, we long for His. We also long for the company of others. Our relationships complete us…. and our relationships can destroy us.

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s Law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.” – Matthew 5:17‭-‬18 NLT

Just because we CAN, doesn’t mean we SHOULD. We are free to pursue our relationships with whomever we please. God gave us that choice. Sadly, there are many who don’t understand what a healthy relationship looks like.God first, then spouse, then children, and THEN the church. BTW, the Church is not a building; the Church is a BODY of believers, the BODY of Christ. When we make poor choices, we separate from the Body, and that separates us from the Lord. Everything works together….

“…. Every hour I need You, O God, how I need You.”

(All scriptures quoted from http://bible.com)

In the Beginning 

From the very first chapter and verse of the Bible’s Old Testament, to the very end of the New Testament, God is acknowledged as the One Creator, the One Who made it all. 

 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” – Genesis 1:1‭-‬2 KJV

  “…. And He laid His Right Hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the First and the Last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am ALIVE for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” – 

Revelation 1:17‭b-‬18 KJV

Do you still doubt the Truth of the scriptures?  Read on….

  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was Life; and the Life was the Light of men.  And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” – John 1:1‭-‬5 KJV
I think that, among other things, John was a poet. The books he wrote present the Truth of Jesus so beautifully, as the words flow. These first 5 verses of John 1 are among my favorites, and just about anyone can tell you what John 3:16 says:

  “For God so Loved the world, that He gave His Only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have EVERLASTING Life.” – John 3:16 KJV

 If I know someone is struggling, especially if they have questions about God, or they are angry at God, I suggest John as a place to start reading. The KJV isn’t easy for new readers, and younger readers, to read because of all of the thee’s and thou’s, but these verses especially are so beautiful as they are written here. 
Amen.

(All scriptures quoted from http://bible.com)

Fearless?

Are you fearless for Christ? I confess that I am not. Sometimes I feel consumed by fear and worry about the future, and I am afraid to step out in faith to follow God’s prompting. Jesus showed me what fearless looks like, when He sacrificed His life for mine.​

  “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” – 1 John 3:16 NLT

NOT only am I afraid to offer my life, I’m afraid to take a tiny step of faith and give to the church. Many of you know that I lost my job one year ago, and haven’t found anything suitable in that time. Despite my lack of faith, God has provided. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. The bills aren’t always paid on time, and I have to decide which one has to wait another month….. but they all get paid, even though it’s not in my time frame. Today I stepped out in faith and pledged a small monthly amount to my radio station. It’s a Christ radio station, listener supported, and the songs I hear are always the message I need at the time – even if I don’t like the song or the message. I know that God will honor my faith. Remember the mustard seed? A mustard seed is just about the size of the period at the end of this sentence…. tiny!

  “The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!” – Luke 17:6 NLT

How fearless are you?

(All scriptures quoted from http://bible.com)


Build Me Up, Then Cut Me Down

 “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,  and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.” – Jude 1:20‭-‬21 NLT

I had a plan on what I was going to write today, based on verses 20-21, but it seems that God has another plan for today. Previously, I was writing about the dangers of listening to false prophets. Jude expands on this by talking about false teachers. It amazes me to realize that we – humans across the earth – can’t seem to grasp these truths after thousands of years ….. and even more amazed that our LORD, the God Who created us, hasn’t given up on us! Listen closely to what Jude has to say:

  “Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. …. In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. …. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) …. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion. …. These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want. …. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.” – Jude 1:3‭-‬6‭, ‬8‭-‬9‭, ‬11‭, ‬16‭‭, ‬18‭-‬19 NLT

It sounds familiar because it is familiar. From the beginning of man’s existence, we have rebelled against God, and to what end? I’ve said many times we have only two choices; two ways to turn in our lives. Right or wrong, good or bad, Love or hate, God….. or satan. What do we do about this; how do we fight against it? Jude gives some great advice here:

  “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the Power of the Holy Spirit, and await the Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will bring you Eternal Life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s Love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Now ALL GLORY to GOD, Who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His Glorious Presence without a single fault. All glory to Him Who Alone is GOD, our Savior through Jesus Christ our LORD. All Glory, Majesty, Power, and Authority are His BEFORE all time, and in the PRESENT, and BEYOND all time! AMEN.” –Jude 1:20‭-‬25 NLT

We MUST build each other up! I wonder if the phrase “Hate the sin, love the sinner” came from reading this passage. As Jude says: “…. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.” (Jude 1:23b) In a sense, rhe phrase is correct, but remember his caution as well. It is so easy to be swept into behaviors that we know aren’t wrong, just so we can be accepted by our peers. I certainly can’t tell you how many times I have chosen inaction, only to be drawn into things I knew were wrong, or how many more times it will happen. After sharing my testimony for the first time, I was approached by people that I had known for about a year, and who were friends of a family member. They didn’t known me as THAT sister…. They knew me as a different person than they had heard about, and had judged “that sister” for her actions. Having heard my back story through my testimony,  they realized how wrong their judgment was. They hadn’t know my situation or what led me to the decisions I had made, or the truth of why I had given up my child. I say all this to emphasize what Jude said. Again, read verses 22-23:

  “And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.” 

We must show mercy, remembering always the Mercy we have been shown through Jesus Christ. We can’t know what has happened in someone’s life that led them to the decisions they have made, but we can reach out to them with the Love of Christ Jesus. That’s OUR choice as Christians. “Love Mercy, walk Humbly…..” (Mercy Me). 

Echo Canyon Amphitheater, Northern New Mexico 2016

(All scriptures quoted are from http://www.bible.com )

Who Knew?

When God said these Words thousands of years ago to the Israelites, He knew they would be true for us today. I substituted our nation in the following scriptures to show His Words to us.

“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the GOD of [America], says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of [the United States of America], trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, because they are telling you lies in My Name. I have not sent them …. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ” – Jeremiah 29:8-9,11 NLT

There are so many false prophets today! Look at the messages being broadcast on national television, plus all of the other media out reaches there are. Giving money will not get you closer to God. Having a charlatan lay His hands on you and pronounce you healed won’t do anything to save you. Lavish sets and thousand dollar suits and dresses don’t show the gospel. Million dollar buildings can’t get you any closer to God, and expecting God to make you rich will only bring spiritual defeat.

Have I offended you yet?

A truly committed, saved by Grace pastor won’t waste his preaching and teaching time to exhort money from his flock. His burning desire will be to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen. He will be a humble man, and he will be more concerned with his people than the building where they meet. It is the Elders and the deacons duty to oversee the care and feeding of the flock, and the head shepherd (the pastor) to oversee it, but also to not be averse to doing whatever needs to be done. His focus should be God first, his wife second only to the LORD, thirdly his children, and then his church flock. That’s the example Jesus gave and lived.

I’m not saying all television pastors are false prophets, and there are great men of God leading some of the biggest churches. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts completely. Great men are almost always bad men.” (From a letter written by Lord Acton, historian and moralistic, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887.) Men called by the LORD don’t want control, they just want to preach as God called them to do. Having said all that, there still have to be funds to maintain the buildings, and to pay a living wage to the pastor in order for him to devote his life to spreading the Gospel. Nobody – NOBODY – needs millions of dollars to live, and many, many pastors work other jobs besides pastoring to they can provide for their families.

It is imperative we test our leaders, and that our leaders test tnemselves. Paul and John both wrote about this:

“…. but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21‭-‬22 NLT

“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from GOD. For there are many false prophets in the world. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.” – 1 John 4:1‭, ‬3 NLT

“Our actions will show that we belong to the Truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” – 1 John 3:19 NLT

Look at yourself first before looking at anyone else. (“Look At Yourself” by Uriah Heap. Great song!) We are sinners, saved by Grace and not by works, according to the Gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ. Our preachers and teachers are human, just as we are, and they are not infallible. There will be times when they will stumble and even fall, and it is our job to help them. When Jeremiah wrote his words to the Israelites, I’m quite sure he didn’t know they would be read by me. I’m pretty certain he didn’t know they would still be true today …… but God knew.

Don’t judge them; PRAY for them instead.

(All scriptures quoted from http://bible.com)

KING Of Kings

 “Yours, O LORD, is the Greatness, the Power, the Glory, the Victory, and the Majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One Who is over ALL things.” –1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT

Who am I to dispute this? 

C.S. Lewis, well known scholar, and author of the Narnia books, the Screwtape Letters and more, was a staunch atheist for many years. He began his study of the Bible so that he could disprove it, and instead, he was convinced of the existence of the Almighty LORD and the Sovereignty of Jesus Christ. He had disputed the validity of the scriptures, and after he studied them extensively, accepted Christ as his Savior.  Quite a change. If such a scholarly, well learned man could understand this Truth, who am I to dispute it?

Is it time you faced the truth? “EVERYTHING in the heavens and on earth” belongs to God. I belong to Him, and YOU belong to Him. I said yesterday that the idea of being a slave chafs me, but the truth of the matter is that regardless of my irritation I either belong to God or the world – i.e., Satan, the enemy. We often choose the enemy because of the illusion of beauty and power He presents to us. The idea that we can control our destiny is mesmerizing, and it is false. Throughout life, we are constantly faced with choices, and every choice has two sides. Right or wrong, God’s way or the enemy’s way. We justify our actions and decisions, but does that make them the right choices? Our human nature causes us to stumble continually because we take our eyes away from God and replace the “view” with desire for power. James says it so well:

  “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” – James 3:13‭-‬17 NLT

There will be a Judgement Day. Each one of us will stand before the throne of the Almighty LORD, and hear of our shortcomings and failures as presented by the enemy. “…. every knee shall bow…” This statement brings me such HOPE! When Paul says “EVERY knee,” I know he means that nothing; NOBODY, will remain standing. ALL of God’s creations, including Satan, because he was created when God created the angels, will bow. No matter how much he fights, he ultimately loses.

  “…. at the Name of Jesus EVERY knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10‭-‬11 NLT

I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy losing. I like being on the winning team, and that’s where I choose to be. As a child, I was often picked last for teams because I wasn’t very good at sports. With God, I know I am as valuable as any of the other team members. I know this because He sent His Son to suffer and die and return to life – for ME. He did it for you, too. Which team do you choose? Take a knee for Jesus!!!

(All scriptures quoted from http://bible.com)

REBEL

My life has been filled with rebellion. Even now, as an official senior citizen, I still rebel. I don’t like people telling me what to do, or what I should do, and my actions can be unpleasing to God. So why do I do it? What is it that keeps us from living totally honest and honorable lives, especially in situations where being less than these only hurt us?

  “It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.” – 1 Peter 2:15‭-‬16 NLT

I think that verse 16 might give us an idea of why we rebel – why I rebel. The idea of being a slave grates on my nerves, but not the idea of living for Christ and being in God’s will. It’s a bit of a dichotomy. On the one hand, my heart’s desire is to live for Christ; to be the honorable person God wants me to be. Please don’t misunderstand me. I try hard to be an honest, honorable person. My word is important to me. If I say I will be somewhere or do something, I fully intend to do it. Like the old saying, “God willing and the creek don’t rise….” I’ll be there. Unfortunately, being human, my word isn’t always what I want it to be. A situation may arise, or I could become distracted from my plan. As Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft a’gley.”

  “In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; He saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear Him.” “…. You [I] love Him even though you [I] have never seen Him. Though you [I] do not see Him now, you [I] trust Him; and you [I] rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible Joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the Salvation of your [my] souls.” – Psalms 34:6-7, 1 Peter 1:8-9 NLT

Hallelujah and thank You, LORD, for sending Your Son to save me! And that You for Your forgiveness and grace over my human frailties and failures. Amen.

All scriptures are from http://bible.com