Witnesses

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12‭-‬13 NASB

I’m tempted every day, and many times I think that I can handle it instead of looking for the way God wants me to deal with it. My biggest? Not talking about Jesus.

What is it that makes it so difficult to speak about my Saviour? I believe in Him. I know He is the Son of the Most High God, and that He is alive. When I say He is alive, I mean He is alive. He died, yes, a horrible death on a cross, one of the cruelest ways known to kill a person. His body was annointed with the normal spices for burial, and then wrapped in strips of cloth, as was the custom in His day. His body was in the tomb, with door sealed shut, for three days. After all that, Jesus walked out of that tomb and was with His friends, His disciples, and was seen by over 500 people. Eyewitness accounts.

And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Luke 24:38‭-‬39 NASB

Easter Sunday is approaching. Now is the perfect time to talk about Jesus. Let’s be part of the ”

“Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 NASB

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, ….” Hebrews 12:1 NASB

Worship the Creator

“Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 66:1‭-‬2a NASB

Who are we to question the Creator? Who is man, to build fancy buildings and claim that they are GOD’S house? How do we become so arrogant as to believe that something we put together is sufficient for Him?

I have been blessed to be able to travel some in Europe, and see some of the stunning, soaring architectural features of many cathedrals. I’ve been in the backwoods of middle America, and in the Southwestern states, and witnessed majestic churches and humble adobe ones. The awe that I felt was the same for all. Stepping into a building that is dedicated to the LORD brings a sense of worship to me. I have felt His Presence.

BUT.

I have felt the majesty of my God even more profoundly out in His Creation. Have you ever stood on the edge of a mountain at sunrise, or sunset? Have you witnessed the unspeakable grandeur of the Grand Canyon? Have you stood in a creek at daybreak, witness to His creatures waking to a new dawn? Have you been in a field, listening to His breath as it brushes across your skin? Watching clouds as they appear to boil up on the horizon, or been caught out in a summer rain shower? It amazes me that anyone can see these things, and still refuse to acknowledge our Almighty God!

For all of history, man has been trying to impress God with buildings. I’m not against church buildings. They serve a necessary purpose for the gathering together of fellow believers. It’s when we try to out-majesty the Majesty of our God that we often begin to go astray. Are we trying to impress God, or people? I’m not against pretty churches. I attend a pretty (in my opinion) church. I have enjoyed visiting God’s church buildings across the U.S. and Europe. I’m just afraid that we get too caught up, sometimes, in “going” to church. Especially now, in this weird time of social distancing and not being able to join together in our usual manner, we have the opportunity to observe God in His Creation and worship with Him there.

If you are able, take your online worship outside. Use our Savior’s beautiful creation to enhance your time. I think He will be pleased with us. Even my humble backyard is a part of His glorious world.

Anxious Thoughts

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” Psalms 94:19 NASB

In 1872, a young wife and mother named Annie Hawks penned these words:

I need thee every hour,
most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine
can peace afford.
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to thee.

In times like today, when so many people are frightened and worried, these words offer Christians the comfort that we are safe in the arms of Jesus. For those of you who want that comfort, it’s within your reach. I know how it feels to believe that you’ve done something that can’t be forgiven. I know what it means to be standing on the outside looking in, deep in sin and wondering how He could possibly reach me – and thinking that there was no way the LORD would even want to reach me.

Please, listen.

No matter what, God knows you and loves you.

He forgives, no matter what. Liars, cheaters, adulterers, thieves, even murderers. Don’t take my word for it! Read the Bible! The greatest people in it are sinners. Moses was a murderer. King David was greedy and an adulterer. Rahab and Mary Magdalene were prostitutes. Peter lied. Paul persecuted the early Christians! There are many, many more, too. Nothing can separate you from the Love of the LORD, once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. He is our salvation. No one, and nothing, here on earth can save you. Not Buddha, not Mohammad, or Joseph Smith, or any of the other thousands of imposters.

“For GOD so Loved the world, that He gave His ONLY Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have ETERNAL LIFE. For GOD did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16‭-‬17 NASB

Believe it. Believe HIM.

Fearful?

“Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You. I said to the LORD, “You are my LORD; I have no good besides You.” The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 16:1‭-‬2‭, ‬4‭-‬5‭, ‬8 NASB

Are you worried about your health and safety because of this virus called COVID19? Are you fearful that the world as we know it is ending?

I will say this. Yes, the world as we have known it is over. We can’t go back. I’m not convinced we should want to. My fears aren’t because of a biological “bug”. I’m much more concerned about the actions of people, and especially of those who are “in charge.” Government, whether it’s your local town or those in Washington, doesn’t easily let go once they have taken over something. Is it necessary for the powers that be to pass resolutions to order people to stay at home except for going out for essentials? Apparently so….. but for the criminals, and those people who consider themselves above the law, will it make a difference? Probably not, and those are the very people who are creating issues for the rest of us. Politicians have turned it into a political issue. I’m talking about both sides of the aisle.

“The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips.” We are so busy bartering for all of our everyday gods that we have forgotten the GOD Who is in control.

I will continue to protect my family and my home to the best of my ability, but I will not fear or be intimidated by the enemy’s actions.

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalms 118:6 ESV

An Ordinary Man

Do you ever wonder what Jesus looks like? Kings and queens of Jesus’ day had likenesses carved and etched on different surfaces, and there are other descriptions of “ordinary” people from that time period. For instance, we’ve been told that David was “beautiful”. Why do you suppose there isn’t even a hint of what Jesus looks like? In the artwork depicting Jesus, it inevitably shows Him as a handome man, but fairly generic, as if all of the artists were afraid to depict a Jew. I’ve read in the scriptures that He was an ordinary man, and I’ve wondered about that. I have a beautiful picture of Him, but I really doubt it’s Jesus.

This “ordinary” man was anything BUT ordinary! Not only did He heal the blind and the deaf, He cast out demons, turned water into wine; He healed cripples and a multitude of illnesses, and He raised up people from death back to life. He Himself came out of the tomb, and there were hundreds of people who witnessed to seeing Him after His resurrection. He said to His disciples, “I have been given ALL Authority in heaven and on earth.” – Matthew 28:18 NLT

He has authority over me, and over you. Have you submitted to that authority yet? Remember, it’s better to live this life as if there were a God, than to spend eternity wishing you had…

Where Is God?

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:6‭-‬9 NASB

There is so much going on right now, it’s difficult to look outside my door and consider how other people are being affected. Yesterday, I saw a clip of a (very) wealthy televangelist exhorting people to “Do not stop giving financially! If you are laid off for this crisis, do not stop giving to the ministry!” I suggest that instead of telling people they need to be giving their money, listen to this message from Franklin Graham of http://www.BillyGraham.org:

We haven’t seen anything like this since World War II, and we need to be praying. This is a great opportunity for evangelism. This is going to … I think, open people’s hearts like we haven’t seen in a long time.

People are afraid. People are anxious. People are just outright scared, and this is an opportunity for the church to pray for revival and pray that God would use each and every one of us to touch the lives of an unbelieving world so that they would put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, that they could come to know that their sins are forgiven, that they have that hope of heaven, and that hope of heaven is Jesus Christ who took our sins and died on a cross, who was buried for our sins, who on the third day God raised to life. Jesus Christ is alive, and He’s coming back. What an opportunity to share this message with the world …

Maybe your heart has been gripped by fears as millions of others have because of the coronavirus pandemic, but I want you to know that God loves you. He made you. He created you. He knows everything about your life. You don’t need to be afraid. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

If you’ve never invited Jesus Christ into your heart, there’s no better time to do it than right now, and you can trust Him as your Savior. Just pray this prayer right now with me, just simply say, “God, I’m a sinner. I’m sorry for my sins. I ask that You forgive me, and I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son, and I want to invite Him to come into my heart and trust Him with my life. I’m willing to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord forever, and I pray this in Jesus’ Name.’”

His message is spot on. My prayer is that I might encourage one person to seek out the LORD and His Blessings.

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S Lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His Compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your Faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21‭-‬23 NASB

New Life


Read 2 Peter and Jude. (They’re short!)

The author is Simon, or Simeon, Peter, called “the Rock” by Jesus. Peter writes to emphasize his 2 lives, his before and after of meeting Jesus, the Christ. He shows us the difference in our old lives and what we can become through Jesus. Simon Peter describes himself as a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. An Apostle is ‘one sent with the delegated authority of the one who sends him.’ We know that Jesus sent His Apostles out to spread the Gospel and to preach Salvation.

Peter writes “To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours” – for there are no 2nd class Christians, we are all equal in the sight of God, “by the righteousness of our God and Savior.” That’s One person, GOD and SAVIOUR, Jesus Christ, not multiple beings but One. Peter reminds us that the substance of our salvation is the righteousness given to us by Jesus Christ: GOD, SAVIOUR, SPIRIT, One person. In his letter to the Romans, he quotes King David: “Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD will not take into account.” (Romans 4:8)
Grace, the free, unmerited favor of God, Righteousness, and Peace are ongoing subjects for Peter. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; ” Ephesians 2:8 NASB He knows these intimately through his own personal experiences, and his desire is that everyone learn to know them, too. To that end, he spent his life traveling and writing, sharing the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Grace and Peace be multiplied” [grow and increase] “to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; ….” Our part, our work, is nothing; all we bring to the table is our sin. We grow through the knowledge of His Word, and full of experiential knowledge, we become God explorers, learning about Him throughout our lives. We all are all born into His kingdom as babies. There are no great Christians born; everyone must grow into their own personal relationship with the LORD.

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17‭-‬18 NASB
2 Peter is all about being learning, knowledge and growth – and that you have to know to grow. These books call Christians to spiritual growth to combat false teachings through the knowledge of the LORD. He was writing to the believers in modern Turkey against false teachings just as we are faced with today, such as there not being a literal hell, gender confusion, and Christ not being the Son of God. All we have to do is listen to what’s going on around us to see these falsehoods in action. Our knowledge of His Word will help prevent us from becoming like these Galatian Christians:

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:6‭-‬9 NASB

Faith and salvation both come from the LORD. As  A.W. Tozer said, “God is never found accidentally.” My prayer is that you have found God, and that you are learning His Words so that you are not deceived by the father of lies and deceit.

“To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”