Are You Assembling With Like Minded Christians?

“…. and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NASB1995

Our walk with Christ is personal; it is not private or individual, and it is critical for our spiritual health to come together with fellow believers. Are you too lazy to get up and get ready to attend a service? I have been, too many times. We can be conceited or arrogant, and think we don’t need the church. It’s possible to worship when out in nature, and as uplifting as it can be, it can never replace meeting with others of God’s people. Worldliness will also cause us to abandon Christ. When sports or shopping keeps away from church, we are hurting not only ourselves, but others who rely on us to be an example of Christianity. Willful sin cuts us off from the lifeline of the church.

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” Hebrews 10:26 NASB1995

A passion for Christ, Who is the head of the church, is a passion for the church. Just as it was the custom of Jesus to attend services (Luke 4:16), it should be our custom, our desire, to attend church and be with God’s people. Gather together in God’s Presence, His “church”. Christ promises to be with us, when 2 or more gather…. it is a time of renewal; a reference point that helps us define where we are in our lives. Being together helps us to consider and encourage others. When we are active and participating, we help the church to be all that it can be by encouraging others through our attendance, and through praying for each other.

We are preparing for the end of the world as we know it: there is wide spread apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), a move toward a one world government, and the pandemic. We need to gather today in preparation of the ultimate gathering at the Rapture. We aren’t going to live here on earth forever, but know this: everyone will live SOMEWHERE for eternity. Will you live in Glory with Christ, or will you be stuck for eternity in agony with the enemy of Christ? Only you can decide.

Hold On!

“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the LORD, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;”
Hebrews 12:3‭-‬5 NASB1995

We have only just begun this battle for our lives and our beliefs. The enemy is alive and well in our nation’s capital, and we must stand against him! Rise up, Christians! Armor yourself with prayer and with Scripture, and with the fellowship of other believers. HOLD ON, for we will prevail in the end!

(I know, because I read the back of the Book!)

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND Lord OF LORDS.”
Revelation 19:11‭-‬13‭, ‬16 NASB1995

Hallelujah! Christ is KING!

Pick up your swords!

HOLY Week

“And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.” Mark 11:17 NASB1995 (read verses 11-20) Holy Week. Why is this particular week more Holy than last week, or next week, or any random week? Should we be treating it any differently than the other 51 weeks of the year? Should we be acting any differently this week than any other week? I’ve heard the reasons, and it’s a good thing to focus on the life of Jesus and the events leading to His death and resurrection. Shouldn’t we be focused on His resurrection every week? “Also concerning the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Your name’s sake (for they will hear of Your great name and Your mighty hand, and of Your outstretched arm); when he comes and prays toward this house, hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, to fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name.” 1 Kings 8:41‭-‬43 NASB1995 THIS. This verse is what this week, this season, is all about: “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.” John 3:16 NASB1995 As Christians, let’s concentrate on the strangers; the people we don’t know, who we see in our church and in our daily lives. Make them welcome. How many times have you been in a situation where you didn’t know the people around you? That man or woman or child who is there by themselves might not really be ignoring you. They might be too shy or insecure to reach out. Reach out. Welcome them – sincerely – into God’s house, and continue beyond a single service. Help them feel like they have come home. If God loved us enough to send His Son Jesus to die for us, can’t we love enough to reach out a hand in friendship?

It’s a GOOD Day!

“…. and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:4 NASB1995

Good Friday! The day Jesus went to the cross. What makes it good? He went to the cross, and He took upon His shoulders the sin of the world. My sin; your sin. He died, yes, but it was an incredible death! Unlike when we die, Jesus didn’t go on to heaven and call it good. He took on sin and death and defeated them. How much more glorious can it be? He died, and He fought sin and death – and what a battle that must have been! – and then, He walked out of His grave! GLORIOUS!

Jesus said “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:28‭, ‬33 NASB1995

Because of His death, I am free to live. Are you? Have you accepted Him as your Saviour? Do it, today, before it’s too late!

Wash Your Neighbor’s Feet

“So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”

In the days that Jesus lived, people wore sandals and walked to get where they were going. As you can imagine, that made for dirty feet! Typically, it was a lowly job, and the lowest servant’s job, to wash the feet of anyone who came into the house. Jesus took on that role to make a point. Let me ask you, have you ever had anyone offer to wash your feet? (It would be unusual to visit someone today and have them offer to wash your feet. We wear shoes, so it’s not as if we need the dust washed off.) Years ago, my pastor and his wife illustrated this story by asking a couple of members of the congregation to allow them to wash their feet. I was one of those people. It was an honor, but also very a humbling experience. To have someone I honored and looked up, washing my feet. Servants who lead; leaders who are servants. The very best and most effective leaders are servants.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 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 13:12‭, ‬14‭-‬18‭, ‬34‭-‬35 NASB1995

We fail mightily today at following this commandment. Remember, Jesus gave us the most important commandments.

“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:35‭-‬40 NASB1995

I think, if more of those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, would claim and live these verses, our world would undergo a dramatic change. It starts with me. What do you think?

Abortion: BABY, or “Fetus”

For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully
and wonderfully made;

Wonderful are Your works,

And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;

And in Your book were all written

The days that were ordained for me,

When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.

When I awake, I am still with You.

O that You would slay the wicked, O God;

Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.

For they speak against You wickedly,

And Your enemies take Your name in vain.

Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?

And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,

And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalms 139:1321,23-24 NASB1995

What in the World?

A few days ago, I made a comment on social media.

“A German dramatist named Schiller in a play he wrote, said “Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.” I don’t believe in “gods”, but I am thankful that GOD is in control and all of the stupidity – on both sides – will end when He is ready for it to end.”

This is a response I received:

“So you are waiting for your god to end everything and all will be well? If your god is in control, it is doing a damn poor job for everyone.”

Are we waiting for our ‘god’ to end everything? I’m not waiting for Him to end things as much as I am waiting for Him to begin things! It isn’t fair to blame God for the state of our world. We did this, not God. Eons ago, when He created man and placed him in the Garden, God gave him free will. We choose what direction we go in. We choose who we go with. We have the choice of choosing a life of the world, or a life with Him.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” Psalms 133:1‭-‬3 NASB1995

A blessed life, a good life. We had a guest speaker for Sunday services January 31, Dr. Jonathan Murphy of Dallas Theological Seminary (and hailing from Northern Ireland originally). What he spoke on meshed with the thoughts I had begun here, and I’ve incorporated some of his thoughts into this.

We all know that life can change from blessed to bleak in a microsecond…. How often have you started out a day feeling good about your life, only to have something happen that throws you into a rage? The dog throws up all over the floor just as you are (trying) to leave for work. The kid drops or spills something, making a huge mess. Your spouse says something about your appearance, and it just goes all wrong. The store clerk completely messes up your order.

I love this poem Dr. Murphy quoted:

“To live above with the saints above

Wouldn’t that be Glory

But I live below with the saints I know

And that’s a different story”

– Dr. Mark Hitchcock

Doesn’t that just sum it up perfectly! We want to enjoy the blessings of great relationships in harmony, and from harmony, but that desire isn’t always realistic. It’s something we have to work at. Psalms 133 is a beautiful example of a life to strive for; in fact, the NASB calls it The Excellency of Brotherly Unit.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” Psalms 133:1‭-‬3 NASB1995

It begins with “Behold” – that is David, saying, “LOOK, watch God’s vision for us! Pay attention here!” He wants us to have harmony in our lives. Look at Genesis 1:1-2. God created harmony. “And it was good….” The wording of the psalmist is very specific “….how good and how pleasant ….” Living in harmony includes diversity, and is pleasurable in God’s design. The High Priest Aaron was the holiest person known at that time, and he represented all people in front of God. Here, he is being prepared head to toe with the precious oil, just as in John 12 and Mark 14, when Jesus is bathed in costly perfume. Harmony = sacred service to God. The “dew of Hermon” symbolizes moisture coming down to the dry lower regions of the land, soothing and refreshing; life giving. Verse three completes the circle with verse one: “For there* (in harmonious relationships) the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” For there – on the mountain of Zion, Jerusalem, where everyone, is in harmony when Jesus Christ, our ultimate High Priest, our only Mediator, Who prays over us, will return and bring life forevermore.

God does not bless squabbling and dissension.

When we fix our eyes on our High Priest Jesus Christ we want to behave and live like Him.

In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus!

Friends, Christians, listen. Spiritual warfare is REAL. Spiritual warfare is not visible, it is obscured; it is well organized, and it is constant.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10‭-‬12 NASB1995 (read 13-18, too!)

These demonic spirits are in every place of power today, including the US Capitol. We are in an all out attack. Read Genesis: God created TWO genders, male and female – two genders, brought together in marriage. This is a fundamental truth that is being denigrated and ridiculed today, from the office of the president on down. How can a Christ follower support someone who is for “gender neutrality” and killing babies in the womb?

Make no mistake, Satan is alive and active. His goal is to obstruct Christians. No matter what he does, though, he cannot keep our prayers from reaching God! Delays to our prayers can be because of the warfare, where demons are fighting to keep angels from bringing us answers, but not because God isn’t listening or answering. As the end draws near, the demonic presence will intensify. Want the prophecy? Read Daniel 9.

This is the TRUTH: We overcome through Jesus Christ! We don’t fight FOR victory, we fight FROM victory. Stand firm. Jesus defeated satan at the cross. We are fighting from the position of victory and we CANNOT be defeated. Remember this! It will be actualized at the second coming. Meanwhile, satan is out on bail…. Each of us is bound in the snare of the devil, ONLY until we receive Jesus Christ into our life. We can ONLY be strong IN the LORD. The Armor of God IS Jesus.

Our mission is to further the proclamation of the victory of the LORD.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NASB1995

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, ” Ephesians 6:18 NASB1995

“SUBMIT THEREFORE TO GOD. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NASB1995

A.W. Tozer “It is not the praying sheep that satan fears, it is the Shepherd.” I pray that The Good Shepherd, the Lion of Judah, our LORD Jesus Christ, comes back soon!

“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. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16‭-‬18 NASB1995

Accept Him today, because this is the most important decision of your life!

His Grace

I need His Grace every day, every minute. What is it I am talking about, this Grace? Grace is the forgiveness we receive with our acceptance of Jesus Christ. Recognizing, acknowledging, that He is the Christ, Messiah, Son of God. He is of God, and He is God. He is the manifestation and personification of Grace.

“The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.” John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.” ” John 1:29‭-‬34 MSG

“Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.” ” John 1:50‭-‬51 MSG

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5‭-‬6 NASB1995

Have you opened your heart to Him? Just like James says, ask. Only a tiny bit of faith will open up a whole world of Grace.

“And now I commend you to God and to the Word of His Grace – the GRACE of the LORD Jesus Christ – which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:32 NASB1995

AMEN.

If It Feels Good…..

“She (god) doesn’t judge because we are all equal. We are all gods; just love everyone. No judgment. If it feels good, do it. Be good and we’ll ALL go to heaven. If you’re good enough, you’ll be rich.”

Ever heard any of that before?

Unfortunately, it’s all part of the feel good, prosperity message the enemy is spreading. GOD is good. He loves us all equally. He is Love. But that’s not the end of the story!

Because He loves us so much, He disciplines us and He will judge us at the great white throne judgment.

“Then I saw a Great White Throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11‭-‬15 NASB1995

The last verse is the one we should focus on. We will all be judged. Everyone, NO exceptions. The question is, when you are judged, will your name be in the Book of Life so that you will have an advocate in Jesus Christ?

I will be judged. All of the bad decisions, all of the hurtful words and actions, all of the poor choices. So will you. No matter how rich, successful, or powerful, you might think you are, you will stand before God on the day of judgment on an equal footing with the most heinous criminals.

The only way – the ONLY WAY – to escape the second death and the lake of fire (*hell*) is to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. After all, He died as the final sacrifice for your sins (for MY sins!), in order for us to have eternal life; so we don’t have to die the second death.

What’s the catch? Accept Him as Savior. Don’t just acknowledge He’s the Son of God, because even Satan and his demons acknowledge Him.

That’s it. Is it too easy, too good to be true? Nope… It IS easy, and it is also hard. I guarantee it’ll be the absolute best decision you’ll EVER make.