Archive for January, 2007

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No-matter-what-ology

January 31, 2007

I Corinthians 15:58  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Mark 10:9  “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Actually, they were my aunt and uncle.  I called them Mom and Dad because they raised me from the time that I was three months old.  They met while working at a hotel in Sturgis Michigan in June of 1940.  Three weeks later, they were married.  My oldest sister, Sally was born in 1941.  Later, because of Americas entry into world war II, my Dad went into the navy and served in the Paciffic.  He was on a supply ship and, as a result, never saw actual combat.  He had albums full of pictures that had been taken on various islands following major combat operations.  I was always amazed that all of the palm trees were blown away from about 4 ft up.  Tree stumps everywhere, in nearly every picture. 

He returned home as things were winding down and returned to work at the White Pigeon Paper Mill.  My sister, Sandy was born at the leading edge of the “baby-boomer” generation in 1946  Later on, they opened up a greenhouse/pet shop which my folks both operated while Dad continued working nearly 7 days a week at the paper mill.  In 1965, they were granted legal custody of me at a time when their youngest daughter was 18 and thoughts of not having to raise kids would normally have been a reality.  They willingly took on this commitment, and as a result, I had two of the best parents that one could ask for.   

In all of my years, my folks were always very busy.  In 1974, they sold the properety in White Pigeon, closed the greenhouse, and moved to Constantine to continue operating my Grandpas farm.  (He passed away in 1970)  We raised cattle initially, but later changed over to swine as the profit margins were greater and the turnover was faster.  (I don’t know why I’m going ito all of this)  Dad retired from the paper mill in 1982 after 42 years of service and full time farming, his longtime dream, became a reality. 

In their later years, my folks were finally able to do some travelling.  I was happy for them as they had been tied down for as long as I could remember.  In 2000, my Mom lost a battle with liver cancer, and this past December, my Dad passed away at a nursing facility in Sturgis.  They had met as teenagers, married three weeks later, and remained together for sixty years.

During the time that I was a kid, they would have some incredible squabbles over nothing that would at times last for two or three days.  They seemed to have their own way of “handling things” The sheer numbers of these arguements became less after moving to the farm but would still pop up and I often  thought to myself, “this might be the final showdown.”  They remained together through it all.  They really loved each other “for better or for worse” despite not always seeing eye to eye.

Today, such stories of commitment are nearly unheard of.  Folks will often “live together” or will “try out” this marriage thing.  If it doesn’t work out, they split up and an astronomical divorce rate is the result.  A landscape filled with single parent households, or grandparents raising their grandkids because the parents “have a life.”  I know of such situations personally.  Ours has become a self-serving, instant gratification society.  Kimberly and I will have been maried fifteen years on March 28.  It’s amazing that we know of very few who have been together this long.  The way that I look at my parents steadfast commitment in amazement, people look at us in similar fashion.  We have very defined differences concerning ideas, but we love each other, we love the kids, and “for better or for worse” means exactly that.  Any relationship is what you make of it and any one of them will require work and steadfastness. 

Our older son Matthew has autism.  I have heard folks say to me “I don’t know how you can handle it.  I couldn’t do it.”  Well the truth is you just do what has to be done.  He has special needs, but he has a personality that’s undeniably “Matthew.”  I pray for him much and my desire is that he would be deliverd from this, but you still work through things and you love the Lord Jesus; no matter what.  Commitment means being there regardless of the advice of those around you who watch from afar.  (This post has absolutely nothing to do with what I was originally going to talk about.  This is one of those “here it is just run with it” mornings.) 

Lamentations 3:22-23  “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

What a comforting scripture.  When I think back at all of the times that I’ve failed the Lord it truly is amazing that he has still put up with me.  It is incredible that Jesus really is able to save us to the uttermost, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for us.  Gods mercies are new every morning as verse 23 states.  The more that you think about it, the more incredible it becomes.  He sees everything from an eternal standing, and he remembers our frame. 

I John 2:1-3  “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”

We don’t have a licence to openly live in rebellion.  If we love the Lord, we’ll desire to live for him.  Folks outside of the faith look at us oftentimes with a “don’t do this” or “can’t do that” mentality and in the process, miss the entire picture.  When you love someone, you desire to please them.  When you are born again, the old desires begin to go away; replaced by an everlasting love that never wains.  A fellowship with the Almighty that will carry you through the darkest valley or the most trying of situations.  A peace that the world can never give and can never take away.

I Peter 4:19  “Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” 

He remains faithful.  Jesus truly is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  I’ll be wrapping this up, but I just wanted to think about things concerning commitment in an age when many seem to be only committed to themselves.  I would encourage all who know the Lord Jesus to not allow any form of discouragement or anything in this world to cause wavering.  We’re all in this present evil world together but we have our affections set on the world to come.  I was originally going to talk about Hebrews chapter 11 this morning, and so I’ll close with this passage from the “hall of faith” chapter.

Hebrews 11:8-10  “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he would after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

One more thought came to me as I was typing that in.  A city “with foundations”  The works of our hands, regardless of how great their physical foundations may be, will not abide forever.  The city whose maker is God “hath foundations.”  It will never pass away.  Now I need another closing verse.

Ephesians 3:20-21  “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

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Sinister Swayings

January 30, 2007

Matthew 13:19  “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.  This is he which received seed by the wayside.”

II Corinthians 2:10-11  “To whom ye forgave any thing, I forgave also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

This initial paragraph is somewhat off the topic but in writing down the above passage of scripture, I included verse ten which is very telling.  In it, the apostle Paul is talking about forgiveness among brethren.  Ill-feelings. schisms, and all manner of bitterness can spring up when there’s discord between saints.  Such discord gives Satan leverage and a platform from which to launch a barrage of lies.  Wispering into the ear such things as “they”re judging you.”  Or how about “you don’t have to put up with being treated like this.”  The falsehoods abound as the accuser of our brethren makes full use of the few remaining moments before he is cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years and finally into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet have been waiting.  (This is way off topic, but during the millenial reign of Christ, the beast and the false prophet are the only two entities in the lake of fire.  All others who rejected the truth are cast in after the millenial reign as is the accuser of our brethren.)

I can remember as though it were yesterday, the first lie that I heard as a new christian.  I gave my heart to Jesus in September of 1983 at around 11:30 in the morning.  During the course of that summer, the Lord had used Teresa’s (the girl next door) aunt and uncle to begin softening my heart.  By September, I knew full well that I needed a Savior and it was that particular morning that I was sitting on the edge of my seat, hanging on to every word that the preacher was saying.  I gave my heart to Jesus that morning, and became a new creature.  “Seconds afterwards” a thought popped into my head which seemed to make sense.  The thought was along these lines. “This is just a fad.  Give it a couple of days.  You’ll never be able to live like those people.”  This lie did the exact opposite of what it was intended to do.  It was almost audible; or so it seemed in its forthrightness, and I detrermined in my heart at that moment, with conviction, that this wasn’t going to become “just another fad.”  That September morning forever changed the course of my life and today I am eternally grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ who began a long painstaking work in the heart of this ever so confused teenager.

We live at a time in which the world is being prepared to receive the big lie; that being of a false messiah (antichrist)who will seem to have all the answers.  Those who know not God will find this guy irresistable as he brings about world peace, has the answer to all of the societal woes and is authenticated in the hearts of many by false miracles.  These lying wonders will seem to verify that this guy is, without a doubt, the one who will truly bring about global enlightenment.  To those who rejected the truth, he will seem to be the real deal (who can make war with him?)  Anyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ will be perceived as “the problem” because they stand in contrast to the way of “better living through ourselves” 

Another side note.  True miracles are very real as the gifts of the Spirit are very much at work in these last days.  They will always lead to deliverance and the name of Jesus Christ will always be glorified.  On the other hand, the false signs that the enemy will perform have but one purpose; that being to put on a show and cause the undiscerning to follow along.  They will offer no form of deliverance; only empty promises.  Discernment is a must; not a luxury.

Hebrews 5:14  “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

(Note the words “by reason of use”)

John 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your rememberance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Our problems as saints, reside in the little lies that sneak in unawares.  They can take on the form of an erroneous teaching, thoughts of unbelief, ideas which place undue emphasis upon earthly things, any kind of a deception that will cause us to drift a little.  (It will always be “a little” at first)  The father of lies is a masterful manipulator of emotions and he knows exactly when to launch a lie as to give it the optimal chance for success.  This is just one of the many reasons that sober-mindedness is an absolute must.  If we let our guard down for a moment, that’s the moment that Satan has been waiting for. 

Proverbs 4:23  “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

We all must be ever watchful of little roots of carnality which, once they get going can be like handing the enemy a loaded pistol.  Any self-serving motivation, spiritual pride, a puffing up of ourselves in our own eyes, any of these things can give the enemy a prime opportunity to enter the camp and run amock.  While living in Virginia, I fellowshipped with a “holiness church” for a while.  They seemed to really love the Lord and lived a clean life.  After being there for a while, however, I began to see the incredible amount of bickering and spiritual pride present in their midst.  An incredible amount of carnality with a “holiness” label on the outside.  I’m always leary when folks begin labeling themselves as opposed to lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ.  Spiritual pride is like a weapon of mass destruction concerning such matters. 

 The thought that I’ve really wanted to get to, despite taking every back alley to arrive, is the lie of doubt.  There are many people in our lives whom we love dearly, but they have kept themselves out of the household of faith.  You keep them in prayer and this “thought” will come by that you’re wasting your breath on this one or that one.  If we could only grasp the incredible power of fervent prayer and why the enemy does everything in his power to cause discouragement.  When folks are on your heart and you don’t see anything happening, it’s very tempting to allow discouragement to set up shop.  This is simply more reason to pray for them all the more fervently.  This has been a point of continual warfare in my life as it’s a situation that really hits home. 

I need to wrap this up.  It’s so much easier to write in the morning when the facilities are awake as opposed to after work when things are shutting down.  This post is only intended to bring attention to the pitfalls of deception that are everywhere.  We have to be ever so vigilant in making certain that we’re walking in the Spirit at all times.  There’s a spirit of ease and slumber in the land.  We must give all diligence to stay awake and be watching always.  I’ll close for now but, as usual, here’s two familiar verses.

Mark 13:37  “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”

James 5:16  “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

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When the Morning Stars Sang Together

January 29, 2007

Exodus 3:14  “I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

John 8:58  “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

From everlasting.  The very concept resides beyond our ability to grasp and yet God is from everlasting.  Not even the most knowledgeable quantum physicist can come up with a formula that would capture the essence of “from everlasting.”  It definately falls into the catregory of things past finding out, and yet we can take comfort in the fact that God is eternal and that he has never changed.  Nor will he ever be any different than he is now.  The more that we learn of his nature, the more profound this concept becomes.  In times past, folks of a doubtful mindset have asked such questions as “Well where did God come from?”  A logical question indeed.  Since everything on earth has a beginning, it’s only logical to consider “having an origin” to be a universal attribute.  Yet the truth is that God didn’t come from anywhere.  He was, and is, and forever will be “I AM.”

Job 9:1-3  “Then Job answered and said, I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?  If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.  He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?”

This is remeniscent of the advice that Gamaliel offerd in Acts 5:34-39 as the council was minded to slay the apostles.  “If it be of God ye cannot overthrow it.”  The ninth chapter of Job goes on to tell how God spread out the heavens, made the chambers of the south and does great things “past finding out.”  Modern science can definately attest to this.  As a result, researchers are continuously searching deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the Almighty and yet many of them will not acknowledge that “this cannot possibly be just a chance happening.”

Job 12:7-10  “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:  Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee:  Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?  In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”

The very creation proclaims that God is and that he holds the very breath of life in his hand.  When we see the wicked seeming to prosper, it’s good to remember that what we’re actually witnessing is the tender mercies of the Lord.  The same type of mercy that he showed toward us when we were lost and undone.  He can cut a person off with no warning and could have done so with any one of us prior to our acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  He loves us so much that he sent his only begotten Son, Jesus into the world to pay for our sins with his own innocent blood.  The book of Job proclaims just how awesome God is while it details the undeniable limitations of those who dwell in houses of clay.  Our great salvation becomes increasingly greater as we gain in our understanding of the deep things of God.

Job 14:1-2  “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.  He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”

Probably one of the most well-known chapters of Job would have to be chapter 38.  It is here where God demands of Job an answer.  God then proceeds to make the point that he it was who laid the foundations of the earth and commenced to create all that is in the earth.  Chapters 38 and 39 are so powerful that an attempt to capture their meaning by placing a few strategic verses in this post would do them a great disservice.  Thes chapters openly declare the marvellous creative nature of our God and in reading them a person cannot help but marvel at just what a wonderful creator he is.  One particular portion of chapter 38 has always intrigued me and I’ll mention it here.

Job 38:31-36  “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?  Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season?  or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?  Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven?  canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?  Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that the abundance of waters may cover thee?  Canst thou send lightenings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?  Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts?  or who hath given understanding to the heart?”

 God fills heaven and earth.  He is, without a doubt a very present help in trouble and a strong tower to all who place their trust in him.  He knows them that love him and who think continuously upon his name.

I need to close this up shortly so that I don’t begin talking in circles.  As we begin to grasp this concept of just how incredible God is, we’ll be less amazed by those things coming to pass upon the earth.  The more we understand these things, not as merely statistical or historical events, but as they are, God revealing himself to us through his word, the more that Gods perfect peace which passes understanding will abide within us.  This is a very basic concept, but we really need to get this into our hearts more so each day.  Without a doubt, “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.  In light of the topic of this post, I’ll leave with the following verse. 

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and for ever. 

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Uncharted Territories

January 28, 2007

 James 4:13-15  Go to now, ye that say, Today or to-morrow we will go into such a city and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  For that  ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that.”

 I was thinking about some concepts tonight involving exploration.  All of us who are alive today, even our most senior of citizens, were born after the world was pretty well mapped out.  The concept of going into a land with absolutely no idea as to what’s there is a concept that we cannot grasp in the way that the early explorers did.  They went into lands and seas with no maps or eye-witness accounts recorded by those who had gone previously.   They were “trailblazers” in every sense of the word.

I think that of all the journeys into the unknown that were ever embarked upon, the maiden voyage of Christopher Columbus had to be the most unnerving.  I was trying to imagine what it must have been like for a crew member who was aboard the Santa Maria.  Imagine being on a vessel that’s sailing to the “edge of the world” in your mind because some oddball character had convinced the Spanish Monarchy that the world was round.  He believed that China could be reached by sailing west, even though “everyone knows” that China is in the east.  I imagine that as the crewmembers were going about their daily tasks they were also taking nervous glances at the horizon to see if anything looked peculiar; like perhaps as it were, “a huge waterfall going over into the abyss.”  I suppose that the guy in the crows nest grew weary of replying “No I don’t see anything.  if I do I”ll let you know!”  The idea of venturing into a completely alien situation (to boldly go where no man has gone before) must have been quite a traumatic ordeal for those who subscribed to the flat earth doctrine. 

Isaiah 46:9-10  “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God and there is none like me,  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My councel shall stand, and will do all my pleasure.”

In a similar way, we are all venturing into uncharted territory.  Ours is upon the sea of time.  None of us  know “exactly” what’s going to take place tomorrow.  The peace and safety that many of us experience today could be a memory by tomorrow morning.  This is not to say that it “will” be, but it “could” be.  An incident in the middle east that shuts down the Strait of Hormuz would send the western economies into a tailspin almost overnight.  Panic would ensue as suddenly the best laid plans were loosed from their moorings.  This is not intended to cause anyone to be fearful.  Quite the contrary, the desire is to unveil the fragility of the arm of flesh in hopes that we will draw close to the Lord Jesus Christ who has promised to NEVER leave us  nor forsake us.  As we venture into the unknown, the very one who created all that is will be right with us every step of the way. 

We tend to be like Peter was when he came out onto the water with Jesus.  We become frightened by the storm and start to sink as fear takes a hold of us.  When Peter was walking to Jesus on the water, those waves could have been a hundred feet high and it wouldn’t have mattered so long as Peter looked to Jesus.  Such is the case with us.  If we abide totally in Christ and trust him as scripture tells us to do,  nothing will be able to shake us.  We can be “asleep n a pillow” while the storm of the century rages on the other side of the hull.  The following scripture is ever so well read and yet ever so needful.

Matthew 6:31-34  “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat?  or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after al these things do the Gentiles seek:)  for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow:  for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil therewith.

To arrive at a place where we simply trust the Lord Jesus in all things.  Then if the arm of flesh fails, we’ll know that our hope doesn’t rest in the physical realm, but in the God who fills heaven and earth.  He who has the hairs on your head numbered.  The Holy One of Israel who never slumbers nor does he go south for the winter.

I know that I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I remember during one of the many news stories, an interview with a lady who had lost her restaurant on the coast of Mississippi.  The reporter asked her a typical reporter question.  “What will you do now?”  I can’t remember her exact reply, but it was along the lines of “Well, the house is gone, the restaurant is gone, the vehicles are gone…..sooooo…..I’m going fishing!”  This lady simply didn’t let the situation get to her.  I don’t know if she was a christian or not, but she was handling the situation far better than most. 

Like many today, I’ve never lived through any form cataclysmic events.  Continual prayer; continual drawing closer to the Lord Jesus is a must as time continues to run its alloted course.  A continual examining of ourselves is crucial.  We dare not hang on to any weight or sin.  We must strive to ensure that no root of bitterness, no pride, no ill feelings toward another, and no self serving motivations are setting up shop in our hearts.  How things are going to play out in the days ahead, we don’t know for certain.  But if we’re abiding in Christ, everything will be well with us.  Even if we should be delivered up. 

Well it’s 5:00 am.  Another all nighter.  I wasn’t expecting this post to take on such an apocalyptic tone.  In fact, I’ve caught myself trying to avoid apocalyptic sounding posts.  Such censorship of that which is on my heart is a disservice and something that I need to work on.  To be honest in all things.  I need to close this up but will end it with the following:

John 16:33  “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  in the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

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Needful Interludes

January 27, 2007

Time with the Lord Jesus Christ is more precious than the finest treasures on earth.  The fellowship that we have with the Holy One of israel is awesome beyond anything that the world can offer.  Making time to build up our most holy faith can be very challenging at times as we have an ever increasing list of things that “have to be done.”  The daily “grind” seems to reach into the deepest crevaces of living.

As for our household, we have four kids, Morgan, Megan, Matthew, and Ryan.  Matthew has autism and as a result, has particular needs which must be attended to.  He has a very analytical mind and he’s unbelievably strong.  I praise God that he has a relatively good disposition.  My wife, Kimberly,  (kimbob!  lol. or perhaps kimbobbi?)  works at a daycare while I work in Three Rivers at American Axle on second shift.  The days seem to swirl around nonstop at times as the parade of errands and obligations never ceases.  During the day when I’m home, there’s likewise an endless list of chores that need to be tended to; so much so that by 1:30pm, I’m rushing to get everything done.  Such an environment is very normal these days and it plays havoc with finding quiet time with the Lord Jesus.  There’s a dangerous tendancy to compromise time with the Lord in order to accomplish those things which really aren’t as important as we think. 

This situation has led to much creativity in seeking time for the Lord and time for the hiding of the word of God in my heart.  Ever striving to keep my thoughts on the Lord at all times and taking advantage of any lull in the chaos to spend time with him.  There is one such time that I can depend on transpiring every working day; that being the 25 minutes that it takes to get to the plant and then back in the evening.   It sems like too little time and yet, it’s during this drive that I have many awesome moments in the Lord.  Over a year ago, a thought came to me concerning this.  If I were driving with my best friend, what would we do?  We would probably be talking nonstop about this and that and how much of this will that take to make this like that.  Well Jesus is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, and to simply drive along and not acknowledge this is rude at best.

Incidently, it was while driving to work that I asked the Lord to forgive me for wandering so far away from him and to please begin putting things back together again.  He has been ever so faithful and has completely restored me.  It was almost three years ago when my season of rebellion ended and I cannot thank him enough for his bountiful mercy.  Here’s a verse that sums up the quickness of the restoration:

II Chronicles 29:36  “And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly.”

Our God specializes in doing things suddenly and words cannot express my eternal greatfulness to him.  Leaving the house around 2:30pm, it’s just the Lord Jesus and me.  The radio is never on and my thoughts quickly enter the realm of things eternal.  I’m still paying attention to the road of course.  Sometimes it’s prayer for an individual or a need; sometimes simple meditation.  Oftentimes it’s one of the melodies which reside in my heart.  Many times its humming them, sometimes singing.  Rarely with earthly knowledge.  My heart longing for the day when such fellowship will never again be interrupted by the agents of mundaneosity. 

I continue on; traversing the patchwork of woodlands and fields which, aside from the presence of vehicles and telephone poles, look don’t look much different than they did two hundred years ago.  Above is a clear blue sky which seems a limitless as the one who created all things for his pleasure.  Sweet communion in the presence of the Almighty who inhabits eternity with those who have a humble and contrite spirit.  Soon, the fields begin to give way to sub-divisions as the woods surrender to gas stations and strip malls.  My thoughts turn to the folks at work who don’t know the Savior and prayer is made for them and for a door of utterance.  Sincere prayer for victory over foolish jesting; a problem with which I wrestle daily.  Gods peace, which passes all understanding abiding within; I’m ready to take on whatever resides beyond the doors of AAM.

You reach a place in the Lord where this world seems thoroughly alien.  You become very much “in the world” but not “of the world.”  You long for the day when you shall ever be with the Lord Jesus.  Every saint joining in a heavenly chorus that shall ring throughout the eons.  A person which in life you knew only as the friend of a sister in christ whom you knew only by a screen name; you’ll be able to talk to in person.  A day that will soon drop from the list of unfulfilled prophecy as Jesus Christ returns and gathers his elect from the four corners of the earth. 

We live in a time of incredible deception and computer enhanced realies which look real, but are an illusion.  We all need a vision of the world to come.  I need to be closing this up for now.  Today is Saturday and the return of Jesus Christ has never been closer.  This is kind of an “out of the box” posting as I wasn’t certain as to where it would go.  I’ll close out with the following familiar passage:

Ephesians 2:3-7  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (for by grace ye are saved.)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

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I Need Thee Every Hour

January 26, 2007

John 15:5  “I am the vine, ye are the branches:  he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

One thing that I have been striving to do as of late, is to acknowledge the presence of the Lord on a continual basis as he is always at hand and never watching from afar off.  As a result, I seek every opportunity to get into prayer and strive to keep my thoughts in heavenly places.  Even at work, the monotonosity (don’t say that too quickly) of the tasks provide one plenty of time for prayer and meditation upon the Lord.  This is not to imply that I simply forget the earthly tasks at hand.  on the contrary, having your focus upon the Lord Jesus causes you to tend to your earthly tasks better; working as unto the Lord and desiring to maintain a good testimony for those all around who are watching and listening. 

I would like to say that thus far it’s been a success, but in truth, it’s a struggle at times.  The necessities of this life, obligations, daily happenings, and the company of folks who just don’t share in your love for the Lord Jesus all work against this desire for continual fellowship.  At work, if someone near you has a huge radio ( the ones with wheels on them) and they decide to blast it at the highest volume setting, it can be a hinderance.  What really amazes me is that these folks will crank their radio up to the top volume setting and then want to carry on a conversation with you.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to go down that rabbit trail.  Nonetheless, distractions are at every corner and its as though you can sense that in the spiritual realm, Satans minions are pulling out all of the stops in an attempt to sever your lifeline to the throne room.   

Lately I’ve been thinking about something and tonight seems a good time to share it as today has seen a few missteps on my part in a number of venues.   As the verse in the beginning states, without Christ we can do nothing.  I can always tell when my prayer life has begun to wain as I become irritated at little things. (such as being cut off in traffic by a person who’se engaged in a heated discussion over a cell phone)  Its like a gauge that lets me know when I need to find a place alone with the Lord.  If we aren’t abiding in him continually, such things will slip out and they will be noticed by those who are watching and listening.  With the lateness of the hour and the numbers of folks whom I love dearly still outside of the household of faith, it’s imperative to walk in the Spirit continuously.

I Peter 3:15  “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

Truly we can do nothing on our own.  If I go out in the power of flesh alone, I stand a very good chance of saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing which will cause scattering instead of gathering.  I’ve been guilty of this and there’s nothing more discouraging than when your testimony takes a hit because you weren’t in the right frame of mind.  It has happened at home as ours is a house divided concerning such things.  I have often said to the Lord “I have no problem if I’m in turmoil because of my witness, but if it’s because I’m in the wrong about something, please show me, so that it can be addressed.”  This household; my wife and our four kids, are precious to me and I’m very concerned about the situation.  The last thing that they need is for me to be out of sorts.  I would request prayer over this situation as I really feel the lateness of the hour.  The passages of scripture where Jesus talks about a house being divided; the parents against the children and such, loom very large in my mind.

Philippians 4:13  “I  can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Just as without Christ we can do nothing, through Christ we can do all things.  Another thing that’s been on my heart as of late is that of spiritual warfare; pulling down strongholds thropugh fervent prayer.  Again, prayer being our lifeline, you can expect the enemy to come against it with everything that he can (or rather what the Lord will allow) in an attempt to hinder things.  Most of the distractions will be things which “have to be done.”  This gives them preeminance because, “you can always pray later.”  Not neccesarily.  There may be something taking place that needs prayer at that very moment; which brings me to another thing that’s been on my heart for about a week.

Philippians 1:3  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

As he was travelling, every time that Paul thought about the saints in Philippi, he would thank God for them.  I’ve been striving to do this also.  Whenever a name, a situation, a place, anything that comes to mind, I’ve been minded to pray for that person or situation at that moment.  The awesome thing about prayer is that you can pray anywhere.  You can be in Wal-Mart and engage in spiritual warfare.  You can, through Christ, pull down long standing strongholds while mowing the lawn or balancing prop shafts at work.  It’s an asymetrical warfare and it takes place 24/7.     

Philippians 1:6  “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” 

What a comforting verse.  Without Christ we can do nothing, through Christ we can do all things, and He will continue the good work that he’s started in us.  Jesus truly is able to save us to the uttermost.  And as mentioned earlier, we need his uttermost.  (I know that I do)  I need to close this up for now.  Jesus Christ truly is a wonderful savior and is able to keep us, regardless of how high the waves get.  This is ever so important to remember.   There are some new places in the blogroll as I’ve come into contact with saints from various areas who love the Lord Jesus in spirit and in truth.  Where I live it seems very lonely; even in many of the churches, but when you meet saints who truly love God and upon whom their affections are set, the fellowship is awesome indeed. 

I John 1:7  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

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THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

January 25, 2007

Hebrews 1:1-5  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath apointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excelent name than they.”

It’s an attribute of the old unregenerated nature that each of us wrestle with to one degree or another.  That is the tendancy to categorize others.  In other words, we’ll consider the attributes of another; their education, their social standing, their financial reserves, physical features, their demeanor, and any notable characteristic that they might have.  We’ll then use these factors to construct our impression of that individual.  If a person is far more educated than us or comes from a very wealthy family, we would tend to hold them in higher esteem than one who washes dishes at a hotel.  This tendancy stems from the pride of life as our impression of others becomes based upon attributes which, aside from issues involving the heart, have no eternal significance.  This categorization goes on in our sub-conscious for the most part without our even being aware that we’re doing it.  As saints, we must strive to continually remember that we are all in the same boat; this being the fact that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” None of us measure up to Gods measuring stick; that being one of absolute holiness.  As Isaiah wrote, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”  (Isaiah 64:6)

There’s a post in this site that was done a while back entitled “Close Encounters” which talks about what happens when folks come into contact with the Lord.  Basically, it leaves one with a feeling of unworthiness and depravity.  (Because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God)  When you think about God who inhabits eternity and in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, you begin to see just how contrary we really are.  I know that if I think back and consider all of the times that I’ve failed God even after being saved, it’s almost more than I can handle.  When you love the Lord Jesus, you want to please him and be a good testimony for those who are still searching.  When you “screw up” be it an inappropriate fit of anger, a comment that was uttered without thinking, or anything that compromises your testimony, it’s very disheartening.  In such moments, you realize all the more that the old song is true; “I Need Thee Every Hour.” Only by abiding in the True Vine, Jesus, can we measure up and find the ability to put away the old nature.  He is our righteousness ad without him, we are completely undone.  This sounds basic I know, but its important to be mindful of these things lest we become ovecharged with the things of this world.

Hebrews 4:14-16  “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy,  and find grace to help in time of need.”

One thing that has always amazed me is that Jesus came into the world in a body of flesh, walked the earth for 33 years, and never sinned one single time.  Truly his ways are as far above ours as the heavens are above the earth.  And yet he knows what we’re going through because he went through it also.  The difference is that he condemned sin in the flesh.  He was able to pay the sin debt of the world with his own innocent blood.  We really do have a great salvation through Jesus Christ.  I once was lost and on the road to everlasting torment, but now I’m found and headed for a city not made with hands.  (Think for a moment as to just how profound that really is.)  The same is true for everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.   There was a day in our past when we woke up a sinner on the way to hell, and went to bed a new babe in Christ; our names freshly penned into the Lambs book of life. 

Hebrews 7:24-25  “But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

When all has been said and all has been done; when time has nothing else to measure, none of us will be able to say “look at what I did.” As we stand in that place beyond time and space with the Lord Jesus, we’ll know that we do not deserve to be there.  We will be praising the one who made it possible for us to be in that wonderous place.  We will forever be in remembrance of the love that God has for us in that he sent his only begotten Son into the world to save that which was lost.  As the new Jerusalem descends from God out of heaven, we’ll be praising him for the day that he called us out of darkness and into his marvellous light.  We’ll be rejoicing in the knowledge that this is a world without ending.  We will never be able to thank him enough for saving us from our own ways.  But we can certainly praise him forever throughout the eons to be. 

I need to be wrapping this up.  This middle of the night posting is affecting my ability to obtain adequate sleep.  Nonetheless, I count it a blessing to be able to share thoughts and meet others.  One day, there will be a final post as all of these things will come to pass.  This world is ever so temporal, but the one to come is everlasting.  My desire in every post and every comment is to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and on issues of eternal significance.  On that note, I’ll close out and leave with a very familiar verse.

II Corinthians 4:18  “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

GOOD MORNING!  It’s now 7:35am and I was just going over things again.  We’re in an age when slumber has overtaken many.  We need to be watching always as these things are soon to come to pass.  The moment “will” arrive in which the return of Jesus Christ is no longer a prophetic event, but a very present fulfillment of scripture.  This age is coming to its conclusion and I would encourage all to seek the Lord while he may be found and draw in close.