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Archive for March, 2015

Left to ourselves, beginnings are reliable predictors of endings. But God is”… not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b). He sends no one to hell. But we often forecast our own ending by our beginning. So be sure your directions come from someone who knows where they are going—lest you find yourself lost in the quagmire of a maze and cannot extract yourself.

GOD SAID:In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;… and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said let there be light and God saw the light that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness, and God called the light day and the darkness He called night. And evening and morning were the first day.” On the second day God said, “let there be a firmament, and He divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.” DSCF6619 030 And for three more days He created the dry land, the Seas, grass, herb yielding seed, fruit trees yielding fruit, the sun, moon, and stars, birds, fish, living creatures…everything needed to sustain life on this earth. And God called all of it good. By the Word of His mouth, on the sixth day, God brought forth creatures after his kind, cattle and creeping things…and it was so. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion…So God created male and female in His own image and He blessed them and told them to multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it.” And God saw all He had made and, behold, it was very good. And on the seventh day God ended his work and rested and He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.

ENTER THE SERPENT WHO SAID: “ Yea, hath God said….?” And from that point on the serpent still asks every man, woman, boy and girl, “…hath God said…?”

EVE REPLIED: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

AND THE SERPENT COUNTERED: “Ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.”

EVE SAW: …that the tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and she did eat and gave some to her husband. And he gobbled what she gave him. In spite of God’s instructions.

AND WE SAY: God couldn’t have possibly created this whole earth and everything in it in a week. “Did God really say six days?” So in this age of enlightenment, scientists, preachers, educators and scholars have set out to prove God wrong. Many theories have been pursued over the centuries and in this 20th Century, those created beings have decided we weren’t created—we evolved. Really? Many have gone so far as to say, “God is dead.” Or there is no creator, we evolved from a tiny, single slush pool of slime that multiplied for billions of years. sun and lightning And many Christians, caught in the middle of this battle for the heart and mind—not willing to take God at His Word—choose to blend the truth with the lie and proclaim those six days of creation must have actually been the multiplied thousands and billions of years of evolution and, like Eve they believe Satan’s lie. Is it easier to believe a lie rather than believe the truth? Look around you—is it really easier? A lie + A lie + A lie = More lies. This equation always ends with the same answer—a lie. Same answer, just multiples of how many lies have built the foundation you’re hedging your bets on. But God’s Truth never changes. It is His yesterday, today, and forever Truth. Shame on us! We’ve allowed lies from that serpent of old and those who refuse God’s truth to smear and sear the hearts and minds of our children so they are taught and now believe there is no absolute Truth. But. No. More.

The God of all creation addresses that error in the first Chapter of Romans: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse, because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:18-21 KJV). rainbow I live in the black land of east Texas, a geographical area where the ground heaves and splits, depending on conditions of heat and moisture in the soil. Imagine the ordeal of building a proper house with a solid foundation or roads on ground that always shifts. The only hope for a relatively stable foundation lies in the home owner’s ability to keep the soil around the foundation moist. Or just the right amount of rain. Not too wet, not too dry—just right—and that part of right is always a guessing game. The roads? Well, East Texans get used to bumps and potholes and road repair.

In the same way, we live in the black land of a pagan world, where life heaves and splits. If your house (your life) is built on the Truth of the Word of God, the moisture of the Holy Spirit’s continual conversation, between you, the Lord Jesus, and God the Father, holds your house (your life) firm in the rock solid power of God’s hand.

Remember the song we sang as children? “The wise man built his house upon the Rock, and the rains came tumbling down. The rains came down and the floods came up.” What happened to the wise man’s house? “The house on the Rock stood firm.” And folks, God’s Rock is Jesus! Albeit, the foolish man’s house—built on sand—in the midst of the storm, went SPLAT!

God’s Word is not a Sunday pick-and-choose buffet. It’s God’s forever Truth answering the who, what, when and whys of your life. Truth preserved from ancient times—eternal truth. Is it any wonder the world, perhaps even your family, and your life seem to be going splat? Perhaps you need to reassess what you are hanging your eternal destiny on and return to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, accepting the fact God doesn’t need to tell you everything—there are secret things belonging only to Him (Deuteronomy 29:29). And like Adam, Eve, Abraham, and everyone since that time, to be His adopted child, He requires you trust Him.

“For we are saved by hope; but, hope that is seen is not hope. For what a man seeth, whydoth he yet hope for?” (Romans 8:24 KJV). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrew12:1 KJV). “And Abraham believed in the LORD, and He counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 KJV) “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).

WHAT SAY YOU? DSCF3351

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“…His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.’ And this expression, ‘Yet once more,’ denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27 NAS).

The alarm clock beeped and I rolled over, filled with good intentions to accomplish so many things this morning. Then the phone rang, my email inbox burped indigestion, and something on FaceBook caughtDSCF5461 my eye before I realized it was 10:45 a.m. I hadn’t eaten breakfast and was still in my jammies. And the morning was almost over.
My plans for the day shaken, but not lost. I could still catch up. Maybe. If I could just stay focused.
How many days do you struggle with this same jumble of junk? And the junk pile seems to grow babies every day.
Until I stopped reread Hebrews 12:1-2, that God brought to my attention yesterday.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…”

Jesus knew He had a job to do. He would only be on this earth a short time. His assignment was clear and at the appointed time He would be reunited with His Father. So He kept His eyes on the goal and His assignment from God—not on the circumstances of His physical surroundings.
The clock ticked off each minute—the crowds, the miracles, those horrendous hours in the garden, Judas’ betraying kiss, standing before Pilate, before Herod—the stripping—the scourging—the imagemocking. The cries of the crowd who had praised Him, now eager to crucify Him. The weight of the cross. The piercing pain of the nails. Shredded skin, hemorrhaging blood, drowning in the shame and sins of the ages.
Yet Jesus looked beyond those hours to the joy God promised Him, before the foundation of the world, and He endured the cross, the separation, the fires of hell to lead captives free, and just as the Father promised, He heard His Father’s command Arise My Son! And Jesus sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Unshaken. Right now and for all eternity.

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How about you and me? Do we stay focused on the mission God gave each one of us?
The writer of Hebrews tells us:
“…consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3 NAS).

DSCF4943And I must admit, I’ve grown weary this week. Weary and aggravated. I’ve struggled with writing this week’s blog in light of all that is going on in our nation and around the world. Until I opened my Bible and read this 12th Chapter of Hebrews.
“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; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline…then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Hebrews 12:4-8 NAS).

And my whining and ranting over our trampled Constitution, the lawlessness all over the world and here at home faded—in light of the mission. My mission. Your mission.

Things were basically in the same shape we are in today when Hebrews was penned. Lawlessness, rogue governments, evil hearts—when God, at the appointed time, sent Jesus. But thank God, unlike us, Jesus stayed focused.
And with this week of war in my spirit, God’s discipline has reproved my heart, my mind, and my mouth. DSCF4892Oh that I would be quicker to listen, slower to speak, and always ready to surrender my will to His will.
How about you?
Read these final words of Hebrews 12.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:22-25; 28-29 NAS).

And like Jesus, for the joy set before us—focus on the mission. So when the shaking on earth really begins we will stand firm in the assembly of the first-born.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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I braked the car just shy of the entering lane of traffic, waiting for a lady to back out so I could park in her space. Another car turned into this entrance lane, so I pulled forward indicating I had been waiting for the space.

 
The young man in the flashy sports car entering Chick-Fil-A’s parking lot inched closer.

 
I inched closer.

 
He refused to glance my way and as the lady pulled away, this hip young man gave his car the gas and zipped into the space. Hanging in the air between us, his inference I am king—you are nothing.

 
His rudeness normally wouldn’t have gotten under my skin, butDSCF8285 Texas weather had been less than pleasant the past few weeks. With ice and snow on the ground and a chilling wind blowing, this space was closest to the door of the restaurant.

 

 
I murmured, pulled around the building to another vacant spot, gathered my purse and coat, and groused all the way into the building.

 
But he was not inside.

 
I looked out the window to see he had vacated the sought after spot and was leaving the parking lot.

 
My brain shifted to mental lecture concerning his selfish lack of consideration for others. After all, I was his senior by many years.
And God’s Spirit whispered, How many times have you been so self-absorbed you didn’t pay any attention to those around you? How many times have you shoved your way to the front of the line to get the best spot?

 
“But God,” was out of my mind’s mouth, when the truth of the Spirit’s words convicted my heart.

 
Yes, we’ve all allowed ourselves to be anesthetized by a me first way of life, so caught up in our own plans we don’t stop to assess someone else’s turn. Someone else’s needs. Someone else’s plight.

 
Jesus instructed, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”(Matthew 5:43, 19:19, Mark 12:31 NKJV).

 
What does that kinda love look like to you?

 
When I’m hungry, I like to eat. When I’m tired, I relish the comfort of my bed. When I’m lonely, I need a friend who will listen and care. If I’m wounded or troubled, I need help. During a storm, I need shelter. And all of the time I need Jesus.

 
’Cause I’m guilty of neglect. Guilty of failing to exhibit love and concern for those about me. Guilty of disobeying our Lord by displaying a me first attitude.

 
You get the picture.

 
But these attitudes begin in the heart; and God’s goodness can’t be imitated without the presence of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.

 
Always conscious of the needs of people around Him, when the woman with the issue of blood barely touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, He was aware she touched Him.

 

Think about the scene—crowds surrounded Him from morning ’til night. He had to have been jostled and bumped and tired. But The Spirit discerned this woman’s desperate need and Jesus stopped to focus on her needs, her separation from God, and He healed her.

 
“Yeah,” you say. “…but He’s God.” Scripture tells us we are to be conformed to His image. In simple English, we are to grow up and act like Him.

 
Is it any wonder folks are bailing out of churches? Why should people want to be associated with us? We’re just like ’em, only worse—because we purport to be Christ followers.

 
And therein lies the problem. Our priorities are out of order and many within the church are deceived and calloused to God’s absolute truth. Shouldn’t those of us who claim the name of Jesus be different?

 
The same afternoon of the Chick-Fil-A incident, I listened to a report on Fox News about a mother who it seems has murdered her baby. A liberal young woman reporter, discussing the matter with Sheppard Smith, uttered this anguishing cry, “How could a mother kill her own baby?”

 
Well, why not?DSCF2693

 
We’ve allowed this generation to be taught It’s not a baby, it’s a blob. And with a swoop of the sword of their pens, federal judges have slashed and shredded what God’s truth told us from the beginning—Life begins before and during conception.

 
“Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written. The days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:16 KJV).

 

 

Men and women have legally killed their babies since that fateful DSCF2691Rowe v. Wade decision and over 55 million babies have been murdered since 1973. And those who think they’re king have made abortion legal and normal in our generation.

 
Why should we be surprised when families rupture? When evil pervades this polluted nation. And when God’s word of judgment becomes our reality?

 
Now battles rage over another of God’s truths—Marriage is between a man and a woman. And federal judges stand with swords drawn and ready to continue slicing and dicing the Word of God and the fabric this nation was molded upon.

 
But again, these issues begin and end in our hearts.

 
DSCF2349Your way, my way, or God’s way?

 
And should Jesus tarry, I’m afraid the heart and mind of this period in history will best be remembered by the lie—I am king—you are nothing. Which retorts a truth many are too prideful to comprehend, but will spend eternity regretting—then you are king of nothing.

 

 

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2-3 NKJV).

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