Testify!

Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God! Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” John 20:28‭-‬29 NASB

When I was 5 years old, I knelt with my daddy and prayed for Jesus to come into my heart. Yes, I was rather a precocious child. Strong willed. Over the years and into my teens, we had numerous missionaries in our home and church, teaching and preaching and discipling. Active in all aspects of church life, going to camp in the summer and lots of activities revolving around Jesus, it was easy for me to believe. As a teen, I knew I was called to serve God as a missionary. At 18, I left home to attend college, determined to follow my LORD. I attended a Christian college where I would be surrounded by by my peers, and I would be supported on my journey.

Life; the world, intervened. Let me assure you, Satan is alive and well at Christian colleges, looking for any cracks and openings in our shields of faith. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

He found my weakness, and I fell to his tempations. I strayed from my Lord and stayed away, running from God, for many years. Like Moses, I spent 40 years in the wilderness, only mine was a wilderness of sin. God gave me many opportunities to see His Mercy and His Grace. I mostly ignored Him, and chose to blame Him for my circumstances. I even fell back on that Mercy when I found myself in dire circumstances, but I wasn’t ready to let go of my worldly ways, so I would plunge back into that life.

I have compared my lost years to the Israelites 40 years of wandering in the dessert. I started out trusting God, then I slipped away from Him. The Israelites received His Mercy many times throughout their journey – manna and quail when they were hungry and had no food; water where there was none; deliverance from the Egyptians. His Mercy fed and clothed me at times, and He delivered me from certain death more than once. God didn’t destroy the Israelites because of the prayers of the righteous, and He didn’t destroy me – or allow the enemy to destroy me – because of the prayers of my family.

Some of us have to hit our “bottom” before we can see Jesus. We don’t take anyone’s word that He is real, He loves us, and He wants to forgive us. Sometimes we are like Thomas, Doubting Thomas, and we think we have to “put {our} fingers into His wounds” before we believe.

“One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the LORD!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in His Hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in His side.” Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” He said. Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at My Hands. Put your hand into the wound in My side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My LORD and my GOD!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE WITHOUT SEEING ME.” John 20:24‭-‬29 NLT

I’m so far from perfect, it can’t be measured, but the LORD GOD of the Universe thinks I’m worthy of His pursuit. What a humbling thought! I continue to sin and to stumble. I have doubts and I worry. But…..

I am so grateful that He doesn’t give up on us; on me!

Keeping On

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NLT

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of GOD our SAVIOR, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth. For there is ONE GOD, and ONE MEDIATOR also between GOD and men, the man CHRIST JESUS,Who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the Testimony given at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 2:4‭-‬6 NASB

Keep on keeping on…..

Jesus freely offers us Salvation, knowing our salvation is the best defense against the enemy. Through it we receive the righteousness of the LORD Jesus. It is only through Jesus Christ, LORD, that we have any defense against the Adversary, whom we know as Satan. We have God’s Power to protect us, because we are inadequate in ourselves. In Christ we are adequate; we have everything we need, and we are lacking nothing “through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (NLT) In John 17:3, Jesus tells us “This is Eternal Life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” In verse 10 of 2 Timothy 2, Paul reiterates “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” The LORD GOD chooses US, by His own Glory and Excellence.

God’s Promise: (verse 4a) “He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises.” The Gospel is one great promise…. Romans 10:13 holds the greatest promise: “for WHOEVER will call on the name of the LORD will be saved.” Max Lucado put it beautifully by saying “The promises of God are the stitching and the binding that hold the Scriptures together.” Whatever we need is already stored in His Word.

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the Image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” Colossians 1:13‭-‬18 NASB

What a Blessed Saviour!

He Promises

“….. seeing that His [Jesus; Jesus as GOD] Divine Power has granted [past, present, and future] to us EVERYTHING [all inclusive, everything we need] pertaining to life and godliness [to live a godly life, a Christ-like life, for us to become like JESUS], through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own Glory and Excellence. For by these He has granted to us His Precious and Magnificent Promises [made throughout the Scriptures] so that by them you [every person who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour] may become partakers of the Divine Nature [looking more like Christ; living a life in His Image], having escaped the corruption [the rottenness, the stench of decomposition] that is in the world by lust [lust = evil desires of the human heart] – becoming less and less like the world.”

2 Peter 1:3‭-‬4 NASB

Attention, Leaders!

“It is an abomination for *kings* to commit wicked acts, For a throne is established on righteousness.” – Proverbs 16:12 NASB

We don’t have a King in the U.S.A., but we do have layer upon layer in our government: Mayors, sundry politicians, Governors, Senators and Representatives – both State and Federal, Judges, Legislative leaders, Cabinet members, President.

As I watch all the negative news coming out of our states and our Capitol, and lately, especially from the State of Virginia and Washington, D.C., I just want to take up arms and defend our country against those “leaders” who are undermining everything these United States was founded on. The

For We the People, the Bill of Rights should be our touchstone, inviolable. The first two items listed in the Bill of Rights are Freedom to exercise Religion and freedom of Speech and the Press; and the Right to Bear Arms. Without these two, we are no longer citizens, but we become subjects, required to do whatever the government deems “proper”, rather than the people. As Christians, we are to obey authority, to “submit.”

“Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” Romans 13:2 NASB

Does that remain true when our authorities themselves oppose the ordinance of God? Paul goes on to write this:

For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.” Romans 13:3‭-‬5 NASB

Here in the United States, we thankfully live in a Republic. In a Republic, by the votes of the people, we can change who is in authority. In fact, we have the responsibility to change who is in authority when those people, those leaders, become sources of fear and evil. There are no good or perfect humans, no one who is truly wise, so we must search God’s Word for our answers.

No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God.” Romans 3:11 NLT

“But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25 NASB

I challenge everyone reading this to consider these words, especially the Scriptures, to determine the best course of action. For myself, praying for our leaders is critical. If the times call for action, then I will respond, and not sit by while evil takes over.

Remembering Dr. King

Today we celebrate the life of a good man, a great man, Dr. Martin Luther King. It troubles me deeply that many will use this day to promote racism, because that is precisely what Dr. King was against. Many others will use it to push THEIR agenda of privilege – we live in a world of agendas, it seems. The color of your skin (red or yellow, black or white, we are ALL equal in God’s eyes) does not give you the right to have and do things that are unjust to others, and it shouldn’t give an economic edge or bias. There was a show on PBS a few years ago that was set during the Civil War, and a Union Doctor chastised a Union nurse about not tending to the Confederate soldiers who were in their hospital. He told her that among the wounded, there was no Blue or Gray – all blood is the same color. Red. To me, that speaks volumes, and it is a message I have preached for many years. God created ONE race, the HUMAN race. He saw fit to create a rainbow of colors, from the palest albino to the darkest black; we all bleed the same and we all – ALL – share same DNA and we all share the same ancestry in Adam and Eve.

Instead of celebrating or emphasizing our differences, wouldn’t it be awesome if we would emphasize our sameness?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
Genesis 1:1, 26-28 NIV

That verse is worth repeating, over and over again! “GOD created {ALL} human beings in His OWN Image.”

Especially today, let’s celebrate life and our likeness to Jesus, and let go of the differences. Let’s stop demanding special treatment for different colors – or for having a different take on life. Oh, how I wish I were as eloquent as Dr. King! He preached equal treatment, not special treatment. He preached equality, humility, and love. Something all of us would do well to emulate. Like Dr. King, I, too, I have a dream.

I KNOW

I KNOW by Big Daddy Weave
You don’t answer all my questions

But you hear me when I speak
You don’t keep my heart from breakin’
But when it does, you weep with me
You’re so close that I can feel you
When I’ve lost the words to pray
And though my eyes have never seen you
I’ve seen enough to say
I know that you are good
I know that you are kind
I know that you are so much more
Than what I leave behind
I know that I am loved
I know that I am safe
Cause even in the fire to live is Christ, to die again
I know that you are good
I don’t understand the sorrow
But you’re calm within the storm
Sometimes this weight is overwhelming
But I don’t carry it alone
You’re still close when I can’t feel you
I don’t have to be afraid
And though my eyes have never seen you
I’ve seen enough to say
I know that you are good
I know that you are kind
I know that you are so much more
Than what I leave behind
I know that I am loved
I know that I am safe
Cause even in the fire to live is Christ, to die again
I know that you are good
You are good
I know
On my darkest day
From my deepest pain
Through it all, my heart, will choose to sing your praise
On my darkest day
From my deepest pain
Through it all, my heart, will choose to sing your praise
On my darkest day
From my deepest pain
Through it all, my heart, will choose to sing your praise
I know that you are good
I know that you are kind
I know that you are so much more
Than what I leave behind
I know that I am loved
I know that I am safe
Cause even in the fire to live is Christ, to die again
I know that you are good
You are good
I know

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Benji Cowart / Hank Bentley
I Know lyrics © Word Music LLC, Weave Country, Howiecowie Publishing, All Essential Music
So that’s the question. I know. Do you know?