Posted in Hiding His Word

It Is the Gift of God

Isaiah 41:17–43:13; Ephesians 2:1-22; Psalm 67:1-7; Proverbs 23:29-35

You Hath He Quickened
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 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. – Ephesians 2:1-3

Quickened Together with Christ
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, (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. – Ephesians 2:4-7

It Is the Gift of God
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. – Ephesians 2:8-13

Having Abolished in His Flesh the Enmity
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. – Ephesians 2:14-17

For Through Him We Both have Access by One Spirit Unto the Father
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. – Ephesians 2:18-22

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Ye Are My Witnesses and My Servant Whom I Have Chosen
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. – Isaiah 43:10-11

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That Thy Way May Be Known Upon Earth
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; And cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations. – Psalm 67:1-2

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They that Tarry Long at the Wine
Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; They that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, When it giveth his colour in the cup, When it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, And stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, And thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, Or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; They have beaten me, and I felt it not: When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again. – Proverbs 23:29-35

The Words of the LORD are Pure Words

1 Chronicles 22:1–23:32; Romans 3:9-31; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 19:13-14

The Words of the LORD are Pure Words
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. –
Psalm 12:6

There is None that Doeth Good, No, Not One
What then? are we [Jews] better than they? [Gentiles] No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
– Romans 3:9-12

The children of Israel believed the law that God gave to Moses was the way to perfection. If a person could obey all of God’s laws, then they could be righteous before God. The problem was that no one could abide by all of God’s laws. So, Paul revealed the truth that – no man is perfect. No, not one. No Jew or Gentile. But God is perfect, and God is perfectly righteous.

By the Law is the Knowledge of Sin
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. – Romans 3:20

For no person will be justified [freed of guilt and declared righteous] in His sight by [trying to do] the works of the Law. For through the Law we become conscious of sin [and the recognition of sin directs us toward repentance, but provides no remedy for sin]. – Romans 3:20 AMP

We are righteous because we do the “deeds of the law.” The law, however reveals our sin and makes us aware of it.

Unto All and Upon All Them That Believe
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
– Romans 3:21-26

No one can achieve perfection before God on their own. We need God and become perfect through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross in our place. He took our sins and imperfections and paid the price of them on the Cross, giving us His righteousness – His perfection…that we might stand pure before the Lord.

When I think about His sacrifice, I am reminded of the verse in Philippians 2:12 where Paul writes – work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Every sin that I committed was placed on Jesus on that cross. Jesus never sinned – I did. Every sin that I committed. But also, the sins of this day were placed on Jesus on that cross. How much then should I consider my sin and mourn for my sin and repent for my sin? He paid the price that we would stand blameless. Philippians 12:13 then reminds us of the truth in our Scripture passages today, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure. We can do nothing. He has done everything.

In light of all that, am I working out my salvation that He might have the reward for His suffering? Am I taking His sacrifice for granted?

Oh, Father, I come before You and thank You for sending Your Son to die for me. Thank You, Jesus, for paying the price for me. Help me, Lord, to always mourn over my sin, repent of my sin, and then to leave it at the cross with a thankful heart for all You have done…and then help me, Holy Ghost, to always remember the sacrifice and empower me today to “go and sin no more.” I love You, and I ask all of this in Jesus’ Holy and precious Name. Amen!

The House Builded for the LORD Must Be Exceeding Magnifical
And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death. Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God: but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever. Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee. Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.
– 1 Chronicles 22:5-13

Set Your Heart and Your Soul to Seek the LORD
Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.
– 1 Chronicles 22:19

Stand Every Morning to Thank and Praise the LORD
and to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even.
– 1 Chronicles 23:30

A Prudent Wife is From the Lord
House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD
. – Proverbs 19:14

Prudent
– wise or judicious in practical affairs; discreet; sober; careful in providing for the future

 

 

Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – The Love of Money and A Dishonest Heart (Luke 18:18-30)

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And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” ~ Luke‬ ‭18:18-30‬‬‬‬

The rich young ruler was one of a few men in the Gospels who came to the feet of Jesus and went away in worse condition than when they came. This happened because of bad choices and being a person that said one thing but did another. In a word, he was dishonest and he showed that in three ways.

His words – In Jesus day, rabbis were called “Master” or “Teacher” but it was unusual for a rabbi to be called “good.” The Jews used the word “good” only in reference to God. This explains why Jesus asked the young man what he meant. Had he really believed that Jesus was “good,” then he was confessing that Jesus was indeed God.

His behavior though proved that he did not believe Jesus Christ was God. If he thought he was in the presence of almighty God, would he argue the law, speak of his own character, but then refuse to obey the Word given? After all, he knew that God sees the heart and knows all things!

His sin – There is no doubt the young man tried to keep the law. This may have been what brought him to the feet of Jesus to start with. Jesus did not quote laws to him as a means of salvation, because obedience to the law does not save us. He held the law before the young man as a mirror to reveal his sins just as He does to each of us.

But the young man looked into the mirror and would not see his own sin. Jesus knew the young man’s heart, so instead of preaching to him about covetousness, He asked him to do something that a covetous person would not do. Nobody is saved by giving all his wealth to the poor, but nobody can be saved who will not repent of his sins and turn away from them. This young man was possessed by the love of money, and he would not let go.

His refusal – This young ruler thought that eternal life came to those who “did something” but when Jesus gave him something to do, he was sorrowful. In other words he refused! He wanted salvation on his terms, not God’s. It says in one gospel account that he then turned and walked away in great sorrow. (Truly, to me that is one of the saddest stories in the Bible).

The disciples were shocked when Jesus announced that it was so difficult for rich people to be saved. Why? They were Jews and the Jews believed that riches were a mark of God’s blessing as well as His favor and approval.. “If rich people can’t be saved,” they asked, “what hope is there for the rest of us?”

It is not possessing riches that keeps people out of heaven. Abraham, David, and Solomon and others were wealthy men. It is being possessed by money and things and trusting and idolizing them that makes salvation difficult for the wealthy. Wealth gives people a false sense of success, security and superiority. When people are satisfied with themselves and what they have, they very often feel no need for God.

The rich young ruler is a warning to people who want a faith that does not change their values or upset their lifestyle. Jesus does not command every follower to sell everything and give it all to the poor, but He does convict in any area in our lives that we don’t put Him first.

Heavenly Father, today I come before You to tell You I love You! Thank You so much for sending Your most precious Son to die for my sin. Thank You Jesus for dying for me. Let me never forget the cost that I might have a life eternal. Lord You are good and great and greatly to be praised. Help me today to keep my eyes on you and not on things or money or pursuit of money. Help me to trust You for provision. Thank You Lord that my steps are ordered today. Help me to take every opportunity to give as You command and help me to obey and follow every step of the way that I may get in and stay in Your perfect will. Help me to be content with what I have. In Jesus Name I Pray! Amen!

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. ~ 1 Timothy 6:9

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. ~ Luke 12:15

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~ Matthew 6:21

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. ~ 1 Timothy 6:10

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. ~ Matthew 6:24

 

 

 

Posted in Journal

My Baptism Testimony

Psalm 30:11-12   11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.   You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,   12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.  O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!
 

When I was eight years old I walked down the aisle of our church and professed my faith in Jesus, and I was baptized three weeks later. It was an incredibly significant day in the life of my family but for most of my life, I silently questioned whether either of these experiences was authentic.

Then a little over a year ago an old friend sent me an email that contained a testimony and one question -so what has God been doing in your life?  I couldn’t answer it.  I was baffled and it made me angry.  At the time I couldn’t see that He had been doing anything. Some things had happened in my life that left me feeling betrayed and abandoned by God.  And at a time when I should have run toward Him, I ran away and lived a life ruled by fear.  Therapy, medications… nothing worked.  I was afraid of everything.  People, new places, and new experiences.  I could not have walked in the door of Life Church. I couldn’t even walk out to my mailbox or open the door to a knocking neighbor.  I hid in my home and went nowhere outside my home alone.  I thought I had tried everything and there was no hope for me. However, that morning while sitting in my dining room floor, I began feeling such intense loneliness that I was pretty sure I was dying, I finally became desperate.  Clinging to the testimony sent from an old friend, as the only hope I could see for me…I said a prayer and reached out to God.  I asked for help and I asked for Him. Jesus helped me alright.  On that day God set into motion what He had already started and things came together in a way that I would never be able to deny and can only describe as a miracle.  Jesus rescued and saved me.  I can say that I know it. On that day, He grabbed my outstretched hand and pulled me into His arms.  Then the Holy Spirit took hold of me and began to speak to me, and we had an encounter that broke me and then changed me and healed me.

This past year God has changed me so much….but even after all He has done for me, I was still filled with so much pride that I wouldn’t even think about baptism. I didn’t want to put myself out there and do something so public and outside my comfort zone. So I put His command in my hand, and I closed it.  And God has been incredibly loving and patient with me.  However, the Holy Spirit started speaking to me a couple of months ago when I walked up to this altar, and I said “More God, I want more”….and you know what He said?  “Me too- Open your hands.”  And He started using the Wednesday night Bible study and the service of a few weeks ago. On that day, I didn’t go to the altar but not because I didn’t need the Holy Spirit to do a work in me.  I didn’t go because I was ashamed that I was still hesitating.  Pastor Sammy and others were talking about revival and repentance.  I was scared and just wanted to run and hide- because I knew I was part of the problem. God had told me specifically what to do, and I hadn’t.  But instead of running something in me once again asked for help.  And He said “open your hands or you are just pretending to serve me.”  That hit me hard and I felt incredible sorrow. I mean He died for me and I say I love Him. I have to thank God for that sorrow because although it was excruciating at times, I again found myself changed and opening my closed hand became not just the fulfillment of a command but a way that I could show Jesus that do give Him back my love and my life.  It is something I now want to do.

So today I stand here and I can say with all my heart that I trust Christ and put my faith in Him alone.  To me faith is believing that God is here right now and that everything comes from His hands, even sorrow- not by anger but by mercy and love and in fulfillment of His will.  And no matter what He ever asks me to do or allows me to go through; I never again need to live in fear because He will never abandon me to go through it alone. And today I will follow the example and command of Jesus, and I will be baptized.