Sing Like Never Before

“The LORD is Righteous in everything He does; He is filled with kindness. The LORD is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them. The LORD protects all those who love Him, but He destroys the wicked.” – Psalms 145:17‭-‬20 NLT

“The LORD is RIGHTEOUS.” That statement, standing alone, should make every living human and creature shake in their boots. He is RIGHTEOUS. He acts in accord with moral, divine Law. The LORD is free of any guilt or sin. What man has ever lived who can claim true righteousness? There is one, and only one, Who can claim it, and that man is JESUS. Are you in tune with JESUS LORD? Claim the Salvation He offers to us, freely and equally to every human. Ask Him to be in your life on earth, so that you can spend eternity in Praise, rather than in agony with the enemy. Praise His Holy Name.

“I will praise the Lord , and may everyone on earth bless his holy name forever and ever.” – Psalms 145:21 NLT

Listen to Matt Redman “Sing Like Never Before.”

Nobody Knows…..

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” – James 1:2‭-‬4 NLT

There’s an old Negro Spiritual from the 1800’s that fits here:

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory, Hallelujah

Sometimes I’m up
And sometimes I’m down
Yes, Lord, you know sometimes I’m almost to the ground
Oh, yes, Lord, still

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus

We – all of humanity – love to judge people. You can deny it, but denial doesn’t make it untrue. I know I struggle with it, even after a lifetime of being judged by others, sometimes rightly, but more often they were wrong. To judge someone fairly, you need to know their bsckground and their situations intimately. Think you know me well enough to judge me and my actions? No, no more than I know you well enough to judge you. Our pasts, our troubles, may be known in generalities to those who are close to us, but nobody truly knows the troubles, the trials, you or I have endured. Like the psalmist says, “My eyes are straining to see Your Promises come true. When will You Comfort me? I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey Your Decrees. How long must I wait? When will You punish those who persecute me?” – Psalms 119:82‭-‬84 NLT

Right here, right now, my mind struggles to believe my heart and my Faith in my LORD. My mind is screaming “How will things work out? What am I to do?” My heart is saying “Trust in the LORD, for He is in control. There’s no need to worry.” I KNOW this to be true, but I often have a difficult time believing it. My puny little human brain wants to grab my circumstance and situation away from the Almighty GOD, the One Who created us and Who Loves us beyond understanding….. can I solve anything that GOD can’t? No. No. And NO.

“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘CHRIST JESUS came into the world to save sinners’ – and I am the worst of them all.” – 1 Timothy 1:15 NLT

As long as I worry, I’m telling people through my words and actions that I don’t fully trust in JESUS. I am the worst of sinners, yet He Loved me so much He left heaven to cover my sins with His sacrificial blood, to save me (ME!), once and for all time. I am Forgiven, and not to be judged. Who am I to judge anyone else?

LetsSingIt – The Internet Lyrics Database}

Angel / Son

For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. ” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” – Hebrews 1:5 NLT

I believe that we are constantly in the company of angels, both exalted and fallen. God sends His angels to watch over us and to protect us from the enemy, who goes by many names. He was named Lucifer, the morning star and the shining star. Because of his rebellion against GOD, he has become known as the devil, the enemy, Satan. This fallen angel took a third of the angels in heaven with him when he fell from Grace, and their entire beings are eaten up in the ugliness of envy and pride. We have to constantly be on guard sgainst them, and we (humans) cannot fight them off on our own.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of GOD: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the MOST HIGH. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” – Isaiah 14:12‭-‬15 KJV

Can you imagine how incredibly angry he became over that? Being kicked out of heaven….. the closest thing I can imagine is this: born to an incredibly wealthy family, raised in opulence and beautiful surroundings, never knowing hunger or thirst or loss – to be escorted out by security and thrown out because I wanted to control it all, to take it over in my greed; suddenly thrust into poverty and pain and want. Revenge? Anger? Envy? I think I would feel all of those things and more! In this imagined place, I would want to harm the other occupants; to turn them against the Father.

That’s exactly what the enemy and his followers, the falllen angels, are doing. In the process, all the evil has twisted them into hideous caricatures of their original forms. If you think about anyone you’ve ever known who was angry and bitter, you know that it transforms their entire being. A good actor can hide all that ugliness for a time, but truth always comes out. ALWAYS. The enemy is a great actor. He can appear as a beautiful, empathetic being in order to turn you / me from the LORD. He’s been doing it for millenia, so he’s had lots of practice in the arts of deceit and persuasion; he is the father of lies.

I believe God has assigned His angels the task of guarding His Children, the ones saved by His Mercy and Grace through the sacrifice of His Son, JESUS CHRIST. I believe that the day JESUS returns to earth, He will be surrounded by His Angel Armies, and He will defeat the enemy. I want to see the defeat of the creatures who have given human-kind hell (pun inteneded!!!) since the beginning, when our Almighty LORD, CREATOR of all things, punishes them for the remainder of time. He will claim revenge and Victory! Come on, JESUS, let’s get this party for the Father started! Hallelujah!

What is JESUS to you? Angel, prophet, a good man ….. SAVIOUR?

Who Will Go Up To Heaven?

Have you ever read the letters of the Apostle Paul to the Romans, specifically chapter 10?

“Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to GOD is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for GOD, but it is misdirected zeal.

For they don’t understand GOD’s way of making people right with Himself. Refusing to accept GOD’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with GOD by trying to keep the law.

For CHRIST has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in Him are made right with GOD.

For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with GOD requires obedience to all of its commands.

But Faith’s way of getting right with GOD says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring CHRIST down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring CHRIST back to life again).”

In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart (Deut 30:12-14).” And that message is the very Message about Faith that we preach:

If you openly declare that JESUS is LORD and believe in your heart that GOD raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with GOD, and it is by openly declaring your Faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced (Isa 28:16).”

Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same LORD, Who gives generously to all who call on Him.

For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved (Joel 2:32).”

But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?

That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring Good News (Isa 52:7)!”

But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “LORD, who has believed our message (Isa 53:1)?” So Faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.

But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The Message has gone throughout the earth, and the Words to all the world (Ps 19:4).”

But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, GOD said, “I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation. I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles (Deut 32:21).”

And later Isaiah spoke boldly for GOD, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for Me. I showed Myself to those who were not asking for Me (Isa 65:1).”

But regarding Israel, GOD said, “All day long I opened My Arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious (Isa 65:2).” – Romans 10:1-‬21 NLT

This letter from Paul should dispel any question you have as to who will go to heaven. Good works; being a ‘good’ person, won’t do it. Following the Law of Moses to the letter won’t suffice. Saying you believe in God won’t work, either, for “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” – James 2:19 NLT

I know where I am going, through the Grace and Mercy of my LORD and my Saviour, JESUS. Do you?

Redeemed From Sin

“We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.” – 1 Corinthians 4:12‭-‬13 NLT

“Praise the LORD, the GOD of Israel, because He has visited and redeemed His people. He has sent us a Mighty Savior from the royal line of His servant David, just as He promised through His Holy prophets long ago. Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering His Sacred Covenant — the Covenant He swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve GOD without fear, in Holiness and Righteousness for as long as we live. Because of GOD’s tender Mercy, the Morning Light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give Light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the Path of Peace.” – Luke 1:68‭-‬75‭, ‬78‭-‬79 NLT

The GOD of Israel, the People who are His children, aren’t just of the physical line of Abraham. GOD includes both Jew and Gentile, all who have accepted His Son as Saviour – that includes me, and I pray it includes you, as well; ALL of His children. As a follower of CHRIST JESUS, we can anticipate many trials and temptation; we know we will be treated differently, even to the point of persecution. As Paul said to the church in Corinth, we who are known as Christians will be treated like the world’s garbage. Is it fair? I want to say no, it isn’t fair. Then I remember that while the world who mocks us and treats us badly will spend eternity in agony with Satan in hell, we will spend eternity with our LORD JESUS! How’s that for fair? A lifetime of hell on earth to trade for an ETERNITY of Love and Peace and JOY with my LORD….. I am Redeemed; are YOU?

Listen to Big Daddy Weave sing “Redeemed.”

Photo by Robert Nyman on Unsplash

We Are Foreigners In This World

In the parable of the prodigal son, the boy ran away from home. He turned his back on his Father, lost his inheritance, and made a royal mess of his life. When he finally admitted his mistakes to himself, he said: “I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you….. ” – Luke 15:18 NLT

The boy had become like a foreigner to his family, living in a pig pen and scrounging for sustenance, but he was welcomed home with open arms in spite of his actions. This parable is such a beautiful way to describe our relationship with our LORD. When GOD created the earth and all that is within it; when He created the Universe, it was set as the stage – and what a Magnificent stage – for mankind to live in and fellowship with Him. We blew it. We think we are as smart and as good as the Creator. Some of us think that we, humankind – are gods! How wrong we can be! Satan introduced sin to Adam and Eve, and got us thrown out of the Garden, the place we belonged. Home. Subsequently, we have become foreigners, strangers in a strange land that provides us with glimpses of original beauty from our home. Someday, this old earth with be re-formed and re-made (which is scary/exciting!) The good news, though, is that no matter how bad we mess up, GOD is waiting for us with open arms, ready to forgive us, if we will just ask Him.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.” – Revelation 21:1 NLT

When JESUS returns, and the earth is transformed, then we no longer be foreigners. We will once again be first-class citizens, dwelling with our LORD, like the first man, Adam. Until that time comes, Christians, followers of the CHRIST, will be foreigners on this earth. In many cases, we are treated as illegal aliens, second class citizens, even criminals. We need to – have to? – rely on our LORD for our strength. Paul says it like this:

“We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the LORD. For even CHRIST didn’t live to please Himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult You, O GOD, have fallen on me.” Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us Hope and Encouragement as we wait patiently for GOD’s Promises to be fulfilled. May GOD, who gives this Patience and Encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of CHRIST JESUS. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving Praise and Glory to GOD, the FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.” – Romans 15:1‭-‬6 NLT AMEN.

Listen to HOME by Chris Tomlin….

This Is Not My Home

Heaven – What a GLORIOUS home we are headed to!

This old earth is filled with breathtaking beauty, and I have enjoyed the views – and I look forward to many more years of viewing them. Spending time in the high mountains of Colorado and New Mexico, the Alps in Austria; visiting the Grand Canyon and viewing the canyons and valleys of the U.S. Playing in the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, from sandy beaches with warm water to rocks and cold ocean water (the ocean is my happy place 🏖 ) ….. from the high desserts of sage and chamisa to the eery other-worldlyness of the Saquaro “forests” of the Sonoran Desert. BUT, this earth is not my home. I’m just here temporarily, until my LORD sees fit to bring me Home.

Do you ever wonder what happens when we die? Is it just nothing? Are we reborn, as the Hindu teach, or do we ‘become one with the universe,’ as some would have us believe? Do you scoff at the idea of a heaven filled with cherubs floating around on fluffy clouds playing harps, presided over by a grouchy old man with a long white beard?

I tell you plainly, those are all FALSE.

Heaven is definitely a place, and so is hell. We call it by many names: Sheol, Hades, Abaddon, Gehenna; but eternal damnation is the same regardless of the name. I don’t know what it will be like, and if you are really curious, there are quite a few resources to help you describe it. John calls it a place of fire and agony. After the New Testament, look at ‘The Many Names of Hell’ by Dr. Elmer Towns, on BibleSprout. I just know that I don’t ever want to see it. What we call Paradise, or Heaven, that’s what I am looking forward to! Despite our continual sin, the CREATOR, the LORD GOD of the Universe, wants us to spend eternity with Him – He doesn’t want us in Hell, but it is always and forever our choice. Who would choose forever anguish over eternal paradise? Apparently, millions and billions of people would rather live their lives without Christ than with Him, and that choice is their death sentence. Listen to this conversation by a known criminal when he met Jesus on the cross:

But the other criminal rebuked [the first criminal]. “Don’t you fear GOD,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – Luke 23:40‭-‬43 NIV

What will Heaven be like? I don’t know, except that it will be glorious. The Apostle John was shown glimpses of Heaven, and he tried to put it into words that we can understand – but how do you describe the unbelievable, the indescribable, the unimaginable? I’m pretty excited to get to see it, and to experience it. I pray that you be there, too.