What I Deserve…

Satan is devious. He wants us to question God and rebel against Him, but if we forget God, that’s even better. He wants us to succumb to the lusts and pleasures of the flesh. He knows how dark and depraved our human nature truly is. BUT he doesn’t “make us” do things – he can’t force us to do anything, ever … it is OUR choice. “But God,” made us ALIVE. We DESERVE death, but because of God’s Mercy we have LIFE instead of hell and damnation. 

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.
Micah 7:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mic.7.18.NASB1995

But GOD Who pardons our sins and rebellion, Who is limitless, unending, and Who loves us in spite of who and what we are.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But GOD, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of GOD; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which GOD prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:1‭-‬10 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.2.1-10.NASB1995

Compare: Buddha’s dying words, which were to “strive without ceasing” to the dying words of The CHRIST, Jesus, whose words were “It is finished.” By Grace and through Faith in JESUS we can receive Salvation …. Both of these are gifts of and from God; there is nothing we do can earn them. Because He died…. it was never because of anything I could say or do. No justification.Just like the thief on the cross, it is always just because “the Man on the middle cross told me to come.” We are HIS workmanship; we are HIS Masterpiece!

But GOD demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rom.5.8.NASB1995
All you have to do is take His Hand…..

And GOD…..

“But when the fullness of the time came, GOD sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, GOD has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “ABBA! FATHER!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through GOD.”
Galatians 4:4‭-‬7 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/gal.4.4-7.NASB1995

For His Name’s Sake

For the sake of Your Name, LORD, Forgive my wrongdoing, for it is great.
Psalms 25:11 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/psa.25.11.NASB2020

For HIS Name. Not my name. His Name.

In 50 years (or probably less), no one outside of a few family members will remember my name, or any of my so-called achievements. I won’t be in any history books, and there won’t be any statues or streets named for me. No holidays to remember my life. My reputation and my relationships won’t be of any consequence. That’s okay. I’m not looking for fame.

Here’s what is important. GOD’S Name. His Name is eternal, and immortal. His Name is Holy. David is asking God to for his, David’s, wrongdoing for the sake of the Name above all names, the Name of God Himself. When we call ourselves Christians, everything we do reflects on God, reflects on the Name of God. Going forward, maybe we should be more concerned about the way people see GOD’S Name in us, rather than how they see our name.

Should We Work?

There are several reasons to work: to provide for yourself and your family, to do good for the world, and to give God Glory. Whatever kind of work we do, as Christians, our work should always be done well. As we near the end of this earth as we know it, there are some who believe that we (followers of Christ) can just sit back and wait for Jesus to return. Don’t fall for it! Paul gave very specific instructions on this.

“Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

2 Thessalonians 3:110-‬13 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/2th.3.10-13.NLT

There were people in the church in Thessalonica who had become undisciplined and were not working, and instead, were being busybodies and stirring up trouble. All sin being equal,  then being a gossip or meddlesome is no better than being murderers and thieves! At the time Paul was writing this, Greek philosophy was prevalent in this society. The thoughts of Aristotle and Plato and the immaterial v. the material world. “Work” was for slaves, and the leisure life was for slave owners and those who could pay others to do their work. There was also the erroneous belief that the world was about to end anyway, so why bother working? Paul makes a point to remind them how he supported himself while he was with them, and he was very clear that if a person was able bodied and hungry, don’t give them food, give them work!

“For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.”
2 Thessalonians 3:7‭-‬9 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/2th.3.7-9.NLT

Paul’s example is of servant leaders who labor for the good of others. He practiced what he preached. When our motivation is to give God Glory, work is not a burden. He also wrote this to the Colossians about work.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Colossians 3:23 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/col.3.23.NLT

Paul has couched this letter in no uncertain terms: he starts in verse 6 with the word command. These are his (our) “brothers and sisters”, fellow Christians, the people who make up the church. Those among them (us) who defy this instruction are not to be associated with, but are to be warned. Shamed, NOT shaming. The goal is always restoration to fellowship and the LORD’S table.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. ….. Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.”
2 Thessalonians 3:6‭, ‬14‭-‬15 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/2th.3.6-15.NLT

Many thanks to Pastor Jay Risner of Faith Bible in Edmond Oklahoma for his sermon “A Busy Body or Busybodies “.

The Prophesy of Ezekiel

And the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog (central Asia), the prince of Rosh (Russia), Meshech and Tubal (Turkey), and prophesy against him and say, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Sudan), Put (Libya) with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah (Russia/Turkey) from the remote parts of the north with all its troops—many peoples with you. “Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.” Ezekiel 38:1‭-‬8 NASB1995

Read chapter 37 regarding the Jewish people coming back to Israel. Persia became Iran in 1935, and the Republic of Islam in the 1970’s. In the Battle of Gog and Magog – Gog is an individual, but he is not the antichrist. Satan wants to change and control the outcome of this prophecy. He is using the Mullah regime to attempt to fast track the Apocalypse by destroying the Great Satan, which is the USA. GOD won’t be rushed! It will happen, but only in His timing. We are seeing prophecy fulfilled, but it hasn’t all come to pass yet. Israel is populated and prosperous, but not yet at peace. In the Panorama of Prophesy…. will the battle of Gog and Magog happen before or after Second Coming?

(12) “You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.” ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan, and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’ Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?’ ” ’ “Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it? You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army; and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.” ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them? (18) It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD, “that My fury will mount up in My anger. In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground. I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains,” declares the Lord GOD. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone. I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD.” ’
Ezekiel 38:9-‬23 NASB1995

The invaders will come for plunder and to control the middle east. Starting in verse 18, the greatest battle of all time is described; Armageddon.

How do we respond and prepare as Christians?
1. Receive Christ as Saviour – He is coming! WHOEVER will call upon the Name of the LORD will be saved….
2. Remember, GOD is in control. He knows the future. Jesus said “And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.” Matthew 24:6‭-‬8 NASB2020
3. Remain alert and awake. Prophesy is there to keep us disciplined, transformed, and focused on the Blessed Hope.
4. Witness more. Encourage others. Pray.

Pray for the people of Israel, and all of the Middle East; Russia, Ukraine and all of that region, and China, for those people are living in the lands that the prophet Ezekiel testified about.

How much do you REALLY need?

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/exo.20.17.NASB1995

How much do you REALLY need? Covetousness is the violation of the first commandment – whether other gods, another’s goods, or restless dissatisfaction with our life. It hides in our hearts: “covet” is repeated for emphasis, and it is comprehensive – it covers everything. Instead of looking at others possessions, we should be thankful that our neighbor has what they have. It’s okay to have desires, but not when it becomes an obsession. “If only…” is one of the most destructive phrases in existence. In Joshua, chapter 7, covetousness cost Achor his life. Paul warns the Corinthians about covetousness:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 6:9‭-‬10 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/1co.6.9-10.NASB1995

The thirst for more – having wealth is not the problem, but when the wealth owns you, that is the problem, when the focus is always on “more”.

“Then [Jesus] said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
Luke 12:15 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/luk.12.15.NASB1995

Cultivate contentment, not complacency. Be satisfied; subtract ungodly desires, add dependence on Christ. Contentment defined: The learned, divinely empowered ability to be satisfied with the providence of God in any and every circumstance of life. (1 Timothy 6, Hebrews 13:5 Philippians 4:13) Through the Strength of Christ, we can be content. SEE what you have and be thankful.

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:9‭-‬15 NASB1995

Repent, for the LORD is Near

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NASB1995

https://bible.com/verse-of-the-day/2pe.3.9/691

Have you seen people wearing placards and crying “Repent! The end is near!”? Hae you read the story of Chicken Little crying “The sky is falling”, or Peter and the Wolf, who cried “Wolf!” so many times so that when the wolf really came, no one believed him. Are we like that? Christians crying that “The end of the world is here, Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming!”, and now unbelievers just scoff?

People are so dramatic….. or should I say we are attention seekers and drama queens? God will come when He comes. Even Jesus couldn’t tell us exactly when He will return. Read Matthew, chapter 24. Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the end of times, in response to their questions. Mark also documents these words of Jesus in Mark 13.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mat.24.36.NASB1995; https://bible.com/bible/100/mrk.13.32.NASB1995

Should we even talk about the end times? I think it’s good to read the Scriptures so that we know what will happen, but we do a disservice to ourselves and to the world when we speculate on the when. Focus, instead, on the fact that Jesus is coming again, and whether or not you are ready.

“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—”
Mark 13:33‭, ‬35 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mrk.13.33-35.NASB1995

Billy Graham answered the question of why God keeps secret the time of Jesus’ Second Coming. He says “…. the Bible does tell us that certain events must happen before His return — many of which seem to be taking place today. For example, Jesus said that “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world … and then the end will come” – Matthew 24:14. Why hasn’t God revealed it to us? Suppose you knew for certain that Christ’s coming was still several centuries away. What difference would His return make to you then? Probably very little. But because it could happen at any moment, we should have a sense of urgency to do God’s will. Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me” – John 9:4. Make every day count for Him.” (From https://billygraham.org/answer)

That’s an incredible statement. Make every day count for Him. Maybe, it’s a challenge. What will you do with it?

Who Is A GOD Like You?

Deceived. Denied. Abandoned. Deserted. Lied to. Ignored. Lied about. Awkward. Hurt. Introverted. Rebellious. Angry. Lashing out. Acting out. This is me. This was me. I have endured them, and I have lived them. I did them to my parents and family, to friends, and to God. People who did these things to me became objects of loathing and derision. Why should I ever speak to them, let alone forgive them?

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jhn.13.34-35.NASB1995

In what sense is this commandment “new”? The old command was to the Jewish people to love their fellow Jews; the new command from Jesus is to love ALL people, regardless of nationality, love one another as disciples of Jesus. The old was to Love as you love yourself, but the new is to Love as Jesus loves you.

Wait! You mean, love those people who abused me???

“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.”
Leviticus 19:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/lev.19.18.NASB1995

Jesus gave us a new proof of Love; a new pattern. In His time, the Hebrew slaves were not required to wash feet because it was the lowest of tasks, but Jesus did it. He performed a humble service, the lowest of low, to demonstrate His love and devotion to His friends, but also to the one who would betray Him. These acts that can be seen, to show visible love to all peoples, are what we are called to do. It doesn’t mean that we literally need to be running around and grabbing people’s feet to wash them, but we are to use humble, visible things. The Apostle John wrote a lot about Christian love for one another: John 15:12 “This is my Commandment…. Greater love has no man than to lay his life…”; 1 John 4 “This is love: …”; John 13:5-15.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (not selfish or self centered) “…do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Show the love. It is a verb, active, through attention and service, act as ‘slaves’ to the LORD. Love = to live for. SERVE.) “Rejoice in hope, [because you are] patient in tribulation, [because you are] constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” [Don’t entertain to impress; hospitality is sharing practical Christianity. Acts 4:34 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” When we are cursed and maltreated, bless and love them] “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” [Not by fixing anything, but just being there, even when rejoicing is harder when it is something that you want that doesn’t happen.] “Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own estimation.” Romans 12:9‭-‬16 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rom.12.9-16.NASB1995

Agree on the basics. Be humble – think of yourself less, not less of yourself. Befriend the unimportant; make them feel important. Be open and willing to say I am wrong, I am sorry; admit to not knowing everything. If Jesus is truly your Lord and Saviour, He says that “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35 NASB1995

“You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.”

– Amy Carmichael

“Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.” Micah 7:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mic.7.18.NASB1995

“….. everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”

Victor Frankl. Man’s Search for Meaning, 1946

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 5:3‭-‬5 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rom.5.3-5.NASB1995

He IS. He was, He is, He will be. He has always been. He will always be. Alpha and Omega; Beginning and End, only without a beginning or an end! He IS.