Dating 🤔

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13‭-‬14 NIV

Will that prize include a companion here on earth? “Forgetting what is behind …..” Have you tried relationships, and they never seem to work out? Got a bad taste from people who have falsely represented themselves, taken advantage of you, and hurt you? For me, the goal is to measure anyone I might be interested in against The Christ. Not looks or success, and not by how the world views them. I want a relationship with someone who lives this verse:

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” – Luke 16:10 NASB

Back to Paul’s advice:“Forgetting what is behind …..” We have to be very careful to differentiate between the past that we have put behind us (have we really put it behind us?) and the present we aspire to. Knowing how imperfect I am, and all of the mistakes I have made – and still make – can I judge someone else for not being perfect? Well, the answer is that yes, I absolutely can judge them, but then I am guilty of being unrighteous, in little and in much.

Life will never be easy. The question is, shall I try to make it easy on myself using my “superpowers” of control and perfection, or shall I let the real One take it, the One Who really is perfect and has complete control?

What do you think?

The Fear of GOD: Praise Be!

“The fear of God” is a phrase used numerous times in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelations. One of the first times it was used was to illustrate how much God wants us to love Him. In Genesis 22, Abraham is prepared to offer his son, Issac, as a sacrifice to the LORD – his miracle son, born to him and Sarah in their old age. Abraham trusts with his whole heart that the LORD will provide an alternative, and He does. Abraham answered [Issac], “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” He [GOD] said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear GOD because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.” – Genesis 22:8‭, ‬12‭-‬13 NIV

Do I love the LORD, the GOD Who created me, enough to sacrifice my child? I’m pretty sure I don’t have it in me to do so. I would gladly offer myself, my own life, to save my family and loved ones – but to willingly lay one of them on an altar and prepare to offer their life? Could you? Do I “fear” GOD enough? Thank GOD that He made that decision for us by sending HIS Only Son as our sacrifice!

“Praise be to the GOD and FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST! In His Great Mercy He has given us New Birth into a Living Hope through the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST from the dead, and into an Inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This Inheritance is kept in heaven for you….. Concerning this Salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the Grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care….. Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your Hope on the Grace to be brought to you when JESUS CHRIST is revealed at His coming.” – 1 Peter 1:3‭-‬4‭,10‭,13 NIV

“But just as He Who called you is Holy, so be Holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be Holy, because I Am Holy.” “Since you call on a FATHER who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in Reverent Fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed …… with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through Him you believe in GOD, who raised Him from the dead and Glorified Him, and so your Faith and Hope are in GOD.” – 1 Peter 1:17‭-‬19 NIV

To “Fear GOD” means to be awestruck, astonished, conscious, reverential; to live a God-centered life. In Genesis 31:53 NIV, Laban said to Jacob “May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” “So Jacob took an oath in the Name of the Fear of his father Isaac.” (“the Fear” = GOD)

Since we call Him Father and reflect Him as our Father, shouldn’t we want to avoid offending Him or disappointing Him? If I do a thing, will it hurt God? From Romans 14:12, we learn that God judges our work, but He doesn’t judge whether we will be in heaven. Belief in the LORD JESUS CHRIST determines where we will be – heaven – and our service & works determines how we will be there. Our ‘graduation’ is the works we do while still on earth. Our Foundation is Jesus and as such is rock-solid, but the rest of our building will reflect our works. When GOD tests our works, our “building,” will His Holy Fire destroy my building?

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the One already laid, which is JESUS CHRIST. If anyone builds on this Foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11‭-‬15 NIV (Also read 1 Corinthians 4:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

Teachers and preachers are held to an even higher standard because they are the leaders and guides for everyone else. (James 3:1-2) Our life, our deeds will be judged; not our salvation. On earth, money talks; in heaven, only the Blood of JESUS is accepted as payment for our sins because His is the Blood of the Unblemished, Innocent Lamb (Exodus 12, Rev 5). The Blood of the Lamb is the scarlet thread that runs through the Bible from start to finish – there is no hope in a bloodless gospel. We are ransomed with a precious, priceless, infinite price, the price of JESUS as the Lamb. Listen to John’s Revelation:

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, Who was slain, to receive Power and Wealth and Wisdom and Strength and Honor and Glory and Praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To Him Who sits on the Throne and to the Lamb be Praise and Honor and Glory and Power, for ever and ever!” – Revelation 5:6‭, ‬12‭-‬13 NIV

Jesus is our Sacrifice, our Pardon, and all we have to do is to accept the Pardon as offered – Free, clear, no strings attached. If you don’t accept a pardon, then it’s no good. From the great evangelist Billy Graham, “We all have a hunger in our hearts for God – an empty place in our souls that only He can fill.” (Read Psalm 42:2).

We have our past redemption by The CHRIST, and the future prospect of judgement:

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear GOD and keep His Commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For GOD will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13‭-‬14 NIV

Political Suicide?

This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
Isaiah 8:11‭-‬13‭, ‬19‭-‬22 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.8.11-22.NIV

Oh, Jerusalem

“Comfort, comfort My people, says your GOD. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s Hand double for all her sins.” – Isaiah 40:1‭-‬2 NIV

Jerusalem, the “city of peace.” This is an ancient (over 3000 years old) – and very modern – city that has been completely destroyed twice, and partially destroyed several times. King David claimed it in the name of LORD for the Israelites, and throughout history it has been called the most favored city of the LORD. There is a battle continuing even now in Jerusalem between the Israeli and the Palestinians. We know there is a major battle over the city still to come, because it was prophesied thousands of years ago, telling of the LORD’s return.

“Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as He fights on a day of battle. On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day – a day known only to the LORD – with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light. The LORD will be King over the whole earth. On that day there will be One LORD , and His Name the Only Name. The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.” – Zechariah 14:3‭, ‬6‭-‬7‭, ‬9-11 NIV

What Hope the LORD gives! This passage was written over 2700 years ago, and once again, the prophet nailed what would be happening to Jerusalem and Israel in the 21st century. Are you anxiously awaiting the LORD’s return, or are you a scoffer who doesn’t believe? My friend, my heart hurts for you if you haven’t called on JESUS for your salvation. Our hope, the world’s hope, Jerusalem’s hope – indeed, the only hope – all lie within the MESSIAH, LORD, the CHRIST, JESUS.

“And everyone who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved.’ ” – Acts 2:21 NIV

Image: http://www.wikiwand.com/en/New_Jerusalem

Insulted, Gossiped About, Lied To

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:11‭-‬12 NIV (Red Letters of JESUS!)

I want people to like me. My feelings are hurt when people gossip about me and spread lies about me. Sometimes the hurtful things said are true and many more times they are lies. Either way, words hurt. Does that mean it’s okay for others, and especially people who claim Christianity, to use the gossip for their own entertainment? When I am insulted, persecuted, and lied about, I’m just supposed to turn the other cheek? I’m supposed to Rejoice??? This is what JESUS says to us about it:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and Glorify your FATHER in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14‭-‬16 NIV

Once we choose JESUS, we are no longer of this sinful, corrupt world. Why then do we continue to live as though we are still part of this world? As Christians we shouldn’t want to be a part of the gossiping and lying and back-biting, yet the people who have professed the CHRIST are often the worst about doing them. What’s up with that? Perhaps we need to pick up our Bibles and do some searching …..

There’s a song by David Crowder called Red Letters and it ends like this:
Thank You, God, for red letters
When the ground began to shake
The grace of God started falling
And I became a free man that day
The prison walls started falling
And I am a free man today

Have you read the Red Letters? Has your ground been shaken; have your prison walls fallen, have you received the Grace of the ALMIGHTY GOD and embraced your new freedom? It is an incomparable experience. It is truly the Peace that passes all understanding.

“He [King David] said: “The LORD is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer; my GOD is my Rock, in whom I take refuge, my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation. He is my Stronghold, my Refuge and my Savior— from violent people You save me. “I called to the LORD, Who is Worthy of Praise, and have been saved from my enemies.” ” – 2 Samuel 22:2‭-‬4 NIV

I Stand In Awe

Our pastor talked about prophecies in the Bible last Sunday, and how many of them are about JESUS, MESSIAH. Even though the writers didn’t know the who, they knew the when and how, because GOD was directing their pens. It is fascinating to read the prophecies and to see how they have been fulfilled throughout history. Take Habakkuk, for instance. He identifies himself as a prophet, and it is generally acknowledged that he wrote this in the mid-to-late seventh century BC, shortly before the Babylonians captured Jerusalem in 586 BC. He couldn’t know what would happen in the 20th and 21st centuries, yet his words still apply to our world today.

“Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted. Will they therefore empty their net And continually slay nations without sparing?” – Habakkuk 1:3‭-‬4‭, ‬17 NASB

“Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” – Habakkuk 2:2‭-‬3 NIV

Habakkuk saw wickedness, destruction, violence, strife and contention, laws being broken and the courts subverting justice; he saw that wickedness was overcoming his people. Where was his GOD? Why was He allowing all of this to happen? When would the ALMIGHTY GOD redeem them? These are valid questions; questions I have asked myself, and ones I have heard others asking. Why, GOD? Honestly, to really know the answers, I believe we won’t know until we are face-to-face with our LORD. It will all make sense, then. Meanwhile…….

The LORD has seen fit to equip His Prophets with the visions and revelations that He revealed to them to be recorded in His Word, the book we call the BIBLE. I love this anagram of the word:

B – Basic

I – Instructions

B– Before

L – Leaving

E – Earth

We have the complete set of Instructions, written just for us in our time. Let us be like the Prophet Habakkuk, and lean on the foreknowledge that our LORD has seen fit to provide us. Rather than spending our time standing and questioning the things/circumstances we are in, perhaps we would be better known for our thankfulness that we are alive, that we know Him as our LORD, JESUS CHRIST. Thank You, GOD, for Your Forgiveness, Your Mercy, and Your Grace!

“LORD, I have heard of Your Fame; I stand in awe of Your Deeds, LORD. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in Wrath remember Mercy.” – Habakkuk 3:2 NIV

Listen to “I’m A Survivor” by Zach Williams. ( https://www.zachwilliamsmusic.com )

(Image from https://www.everydayknow.com )

Love

“But now Faith, Hope, Love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is Love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 NASB

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have Loved you. Greater Love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:12‭-‬13 NASB

JESUS, LORD, CREATOR. He Loved us enough to lay down His LIFE for us!

What better Valentine’s gift is there? WOO-HOO!!