Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mary's Gift - Our Hope

What a blessing this day is for all those who know the Lord! No matter what you are dealing with in your life right now, whether things are going well, and you have a happy family to celebrate with, or you find yourself in sorrow or troubles or hardship, we have one sure hope and one light to look to.  We have a promise.  The same promise given to Mary, that day when the angel Gabriel came to her and said a Savior would be born in her.  She believed him, and she humbly submitted herself to him...

"And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."
(Luke 1:38)

In the same simple humble faith as Mary, we too can submit ourselves to the Lord in faith in His Word... a sure Word that is to come to pass, just as it did then, and will continue to do for those who trust in and lean on Him. And that promise of hope that He gave when He said He would come again for His own, to take them to be with Him where He is, forever more to be with Him, will also come to pass, just as that promise of His first coming did.  What joy! Even in a dark world, when things are taken from us, when we see evil abounding, we never lose our hope because it is in Him alone, and is not dependent on anything we have or don't have in this world. 

I pray for the world to look to that hope today, and see the unspeakable promise that God has given to the world through Jesus Christ His Son. No matter how hard the enemy tries to stomp out that light, it will continue to shine brighter and brighter until that day.

What gift has He brought you Mary?
What did the angel say?
What gift did He bring you Mary?
Tell me why do you sing?

Sing...sing His praise!

My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit....
Rejoices in God my Saviour
For He that is mighty...
He hath done great things!
And Holy...Holy is His name!

What message did He bring you Mary?
Nothing s impossible with God.
The Son of God now lives within you,
And now this is why you sing...

Sing...sing His praise!

My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit...
Rejoices in God my Saviour
For He that is mighty...
He hath done great things!
And Holy...Holy is His name!

Because you believed Him, Mary,
Oh so blessed are you!
What He promised was accomplished
And now in your heart you sing...

Sing...sing His praise!

My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit...
Rejoices in God my Saviour
For He that is mighty...
He hath done great things!
And Holy...Holy is His name!

This gift I want to bring to you now
If you will so believe
The Son of God can live within you
Like will sing!

Sing...sing His praise!

My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit...
Rejoices in God my Saviour
For He that is mighty...
He hath done great things!
And Holy...Holy is His name!

© by Ginny Larsen 1992

Monday, December 15, 2014


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The leaders of Jesus day sought to silence this "dangerous" Christ, fearing Him greatly. Today the world tries to silence Him as well. They would just as surely crucify Him as did those of Jesus day, and in fact are doing so by killing and silencing His church in any way they can. Why do you suppose they fear this humble servant that came only to bring light and life eternal to mankind?

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Just what are the teachings of this "dangerous" Christ? Is He a terrorist, that teaches His children to go about slaughtering every man, woman, and child that won't conform to Him? Is He demanding that they live as oppressed slaves? No, He is not, yet the world accepts that kind of religion. They accept a religion of men of lawlessness with no conscience, ruthless in all their ways, unmerciful and hateful, full of lies and deceit, and they reject the man of truth and light, the man of love and deliverance for their souls. They call Him the dangerous One. Why is He so dangerous? The pope recently made a statement that those "fundamentalist Christians are more dangerous than ISIS." Really? Why mister pope? Why do we scare you so much? Are we threatening to slaughter you if you do not conform to us? Have we beheaded anyone? Have we slaughtered innocent children? Why do you fear Christ so much? The very Christ you claim to serve? Is it because He exposes your sin and calls you to repentance? Is it because you would have to be held accountable to Him? This is the reason the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus day crucified Him.

Do you fear Christ? Do you fear the Gospel? If you're a child of God, you have found life and joy and freedom in that Gospel. You know that it is the only hope of the world and the only freedom and life that can be found. You understand that the world is under the sway of the evil one and cannot come into that light without painfully being exposed. It's their only hope of being delivered, so the enemy seeks in every way to deceive and to destroy that message of hope, calling it evil and calling evil good.

These are some of the teachings of this "dangerous" Christ and His "dangerous" church...His true church...His "called out ones" who have been called out of the darkness and deception of this world. This is what an "extremist" Christian believes... one who is loving Christ and following the fundamentals of His Word. He would only become extreme in His love toward God and his fellow man. The "fundamentals" of Christianity are simply the Words that Jesus taught. If we kept them what would they make us?

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a)

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 first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)

"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:17)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11)

There are many more examples of what Christ has called His "called out ones" to. And what are we "called out" from? From the world of sin and darkness. There is a difference in His children from all other religions in the world. He calls us to radical love. Islam is called to radical hatred, violence, and destruction. Christ calls us to such a love as will love even those enemies of His, reaching out to them with the Gospel of truth and love, the only Gospel (good news) that saves and promises hope for all eternity, free of evil and hatred and violence once and for all. That's pretty radical. Why does the world fear this? They fear having the truth of their love of sin exposed, and they fear having to give up being their own gods, which they can never truly be anyway. They fear God taking control of their lives, even though that means their only true freedom, yet they cling to their sin which keeps them in bondage and oppression. They fear "extremist" fundamental Christians that offer the truth that leads to eternal life, because they love their darkness. So they make up their own god, their own "good" justifying their sin, and calling it good, and calling good evil, clinging to their darkness.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." (John 3:16-21)

And for this reason Bibles are burned, Christians are imprisoned, lied about, falsely accused, scorned, mocked, marginalized, and the world embraces, instead, something evil in its place, even though that causes them terror and suffering. It's nothing but insanity. Yet insanity is the absence of God. When one rejects God, they accept various forms of insanity.

From Webster's 1828 dictionary: INSAN'ITY, n. The state of being unsound in mind; derangement of intellect; madness. Insanity is chiefly used, and the word is applicable to any degree of mental derangement, from slight delirium or wandering, to distraction.

It is Christ Who gives a sound mind. "...For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7-8)

Sound mind... sōphronismos
Thayer Definition: 1) an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control

And what is the fruit of those "fundamental" believers who are filled with His Spirit? What is "fundamental" anyway? Webster's 1828 dictionary: FUNDAMENT'AL, n. A leading or primary principle, rule, law or article, which serves as the ground work of a system; essential part; as the fundamentals of the christian faith.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24)

And in contrast what is the fruit of those still in bondage to clinging to those passions and desires of the flesh and this world?

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:17-21)

Let us then, as His children, seek to be true followers of Him, as dangerous as He is, filled with His love, forgiving our enemies, holding forth His love to all, even those who would mistreat us, lie about us, persecute us, take away our rights, and crucify us. Let us be radical in our love as He was laying down His own life for us even while we were His enemies. Let's seek to be filled with His Spirit bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, being lights in a dark world that will stand out in stark contrast to that darkness, knowing we have a hope that is sure and awaits all who will come to that light. It's not much longer. This life is short and temporary. But the life He has given to us and is in us, is forever more and nothing and nobody can take it away from us. If we don't hold to the fundamentals of faith in Christ, we have no true faith at all in Him.

Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (1 John 2:24)

My prayer today is that many will turn from clinging to lies and come to this dangerous Christ. Yes, He is very dangerous in regard to our sin. He seeks to crucify it and end it in our lives. He seeks to radically free us from it, so that we can partake of His holiness and live with Him in His glory forever, never again to be stained by it or touched by it. He seeks to wipe every tear from our eyes. He seeks to give us an eternity of glory and pleasure forevermore. He seeks to make us His own dear children sharing in His inheritance. Yet people would rather cling to themselves no matter what the cost. Lord, open our eyes to seek Your life, giving up ourselves, no matter what the cost for that!

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


To listen to an audio version of this devotional, click here (to save it, right click and click "save as")

Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. (Psalms 36:6)

"God's dealings with men are not to be fathomed by every boaster who demands to see a why for every wherefore. The Lord is not to be questioned by us as to why this and why that. He has reasons, but he does not choose to submit them to our foolish consideration. Far and wide, terrible and irresistible like the ocean are the providential dispensations of God: at one time they appear as peaceful as the unrippled sea of glass; at another tossed with tempest and whirlwind, but evermore most glorious and full of mystery. Who shall discover the springs of the sea? He who shall do this may hope to comprehend the providence of the Eternal." ~The Treasury Of David, Charles Spurgeon

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. (Psalms 36:7)

Though we cannot fathom God's love or justice, His righteousness, His workings with men, yet we can trust Him, in His perfect love, and His mercy and compassion. This is how the child of God can rest and even give thanks in the midst of suffering and trials and hardships on this earthly pilgrimage. What a God we serve! He is a perfect God. Perfect in holiness, and in righteousness, and in love, and in every way conceivable. There is no flaw in Him. Do we want there to be? Sometimes I think we do. We want Him to stoop down to our level and see things the way we do, and make exceptions in His perfect plan for us so we can have things our own way, or have our comfort or security in this world undisturbed. I'm speaking from my own heart of experience. I'll admit, there have been times I wish God would bend a little, while under His dealings - just this once God!

What a great Heavenly Father we have! He won't bend, as sometimes we parents will do for our own children if they cry enough, or wine enough. We so often bend our better judgment for them thinking just this once, it won't hurt them. Our Heavenly Father's love is steadfast, unmovable, and unchanging. How can perfection change? Perfection would no longer be perfection if it were to change. God is perfect. He does not need to arrive at perfection. He is perfection and the sole standard of it. That can never change or be altered.

What security we have knowing that! You've heard the saying, "if you can't understand what He's doing, trust His hand." Is that based on Scripture? Yes, I believe it is. We cannot possibly understand all He does, all He orchestrates, all He allows, and all the whys behind that. We can make ourselves bitter and miserable trying to. I could never understand the person who could not believe in God unless they could understand Him. When you believe in Him, your understanding and knowledge of Him grows, but not before. He has given us His Word, and enough light and evidence all around us, if we will but see it. It is our hearts that blind us to Him. Open our eyes Lord! There is so much to discover. I believe He wants to reveal it to us, and waits for us to seek Him out. But seeking Him must be in humility in order to receive anything from Him.

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)

Men will spend lots of money to go to schools to learn knowledge. They will read a multitude of books to gain more understanding. Yet they fail to go to the One Who has the store of all knowledge of all things to learn of Him and to know Him. " whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:3)

I believe God, in all His magnificence and beauty and glory wants to be known, and He has made us in such a way that we want to be known. We long for someone to really desire to know us intimately and understand our heart of hearts. Yet even the most intimate relationship between soul mates in this earth cannot compare to what God has made us for. He has created us to know Him intimately and to be known by Him.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Yet here and now, we walk by faith, not knowing fully. We don't know Him fully, or understand Him fully, yet He has called us to learn of Him and to know Him more and more until that day we see Him face to face.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

He is a treasure for us to seek continually and draw from. Why do we let any other pursuit in life cloud that out or distract us?

There are those who seem to think they have a "deeper" knowledge, and that not from the Word of God, but claim deeper spiritual experiences, even visions and revelations directly from God outside of the Bible, and you have to come to them, not the Word, in order to get that from God. These same people discourage others from reading the Word or from depending on it, and lift up their own experiences and visions and prophecies higher than God's Word itself, drawing people away from God. They are nothing more than the old Gnostics that Paul and John both dealt with in their day. God has given us His perfect Word that has all we need in it in this life to know Him and draw close to Him. He's given us His Spirit in our inner beings to illumine that Word to us and speak it to our hearts bringing faith and life, enabling us to walk as He walked in this earth. Many are drawn and seduced by these, as they seem to have something more special than the rest. They are mesmerized by them and drawn away into their heresies and caught up in their delusions.

God tests our hearts. Many times in seeking something "deeper" we are only truly seeking our own advancement and personal power. Will you go wherever He leads? do whatever He calls? accept whatever position you are given? Oh we're so quick to think of doing great things for our God and to say "yes!" I'll go wherever You want me to go dear Lord, I'll be what You want me to be!" But what if He calls you to a humble life of weakness in this world? What if where He wants you to go is in situations that are lonely, isolated, where there is no glamour or glory, where people despise you, where you are misunderstood, where you stand alone against the tide of deception, where you plug away day after day faithfully, yet see no instant results. What if He calls you to simply be His humble child and live a day to day life allowing His Spirit to work in you and through you to those around you, with no special "ministry?" What if He calls you to much grief and sorrow in your life, and loss after loss? Will you seek to know Him in that? Will you seek out the depths of God and to learn of His judgments? I'm asking myself these questions, because I believe God has asked them of me in many different times of my life. I went to Bible college as a young girl, thinking to have a special ministry of some kind where I would win many souls for Christ and do great things for God. I was full of zeal, but not full of knowledge. I thought I knew God, but I had so much more to learn of Him. One day, when I was at a chapel service in Bible college, I was at the altar earnestly praying, "Lord what is Your will for my life?" I was willing to go to another country and be a missionary, or to do anything He asked. The answer came to me as quite a surprise as the Lord spoke to my spirit, "to be my child."

Wow! I didn't get that! Not at all! Just to be Your child, Lord? I've since learned just how great that is, and how great a calling it is. JUST to be His child! All else that flows from us that will be of any significance or good in anyone's life around us, comes from that first. We may minimize that, but until we learn to be His child and walk as His child, and trust as His child, and grow as His child, and be His child around others and in our earthly relationships and ups and downs and joys and sorrows, we cannot really be anything for Him at all. It's as His child, in the humility of a child, that we learn to know Him the best of all. Do we really want to know Him? Learn to be His child, just as Jesus, as He walked this earth, walked in unity and full faith and reliance on His Father for all.

We can't know all there is to know about God right now. We can't understand all the whys. Many times life doesn't make sense to us. We may never get an answer in this life as to why God let certain things happen. Sometimes we do. Yet we can look at the cross and know that we can trust that kind of perfect love not to fail us.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)

What if God is not calling you to an exciting place somewhere? What if He's calling you to a mundane life of faith, perhaps in unhappy circumstances? Are you as willing to say yes to that as you are to anything else? Or maybe He's calling you to step out of your comfort zone and reach out more, or to do something quite beyond your nature. Whatever He's calling you to, are you willing to be His child, and walk wherever He leads you to and whatever He leads you to? "If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it." I like that saying, because I've found it true and it gives me hope for whatever lies ahead as well. This is a God that I can trust for that. His judgments may be a "great deep" but His love has been made quite manifest to us in a way that we can know whatever is in that "great deep" of God Himself is trustworthy and good.

Thank You dear Heavenly Father, for Who You are! For all You are! and that we have such incredible blessings and joy in just getting glimpses here below of that wondrous glory of You! I thank You and praise Your wonderful name!

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


To listen to an audio version of this devotional, click here (to save it, right click and click "save as")

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalms 27:13-14)

Just one of the benefits of being "in Christ" and a child of God is that no matter how dark it gets, no matter the trial, no matter the evil around you, or the devastation you face, we know we'll see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. We know that we have hope and that there is something good to look to. The world does not have that hope. They have to make good here and now, however and by whatever means possible. Those outside of Christ must get for themselves whatever they can, and when there is loss of all they thought was their life in this world, they are without hope. And when death comes, their heaven is past, and they have nothing to look forward to. For them, this earth was the closest they will ever be to Heaven. They enjoyed God's goodness even though never recognizing it as His or coming from Him. They enjoyed life which was a gift from Him. They enjoyed food, laughter, love, provision for their needs, and all was from His hand, yet they never recognized it as His, so they used it up for themselves however they could, worshipping the things created rather than the Creator; and when it was gone they found themselves separated from Him and all that came from His hand. His rain and His sunshine fall on the just and on the unjust. People don't recognize His goodness even while they are enjoying it. They never have enough to satisfy, and without Him, they never will. Self-love can never be satisfied.

It should never be so for His own children though. How much we need to see and recognize His goodness to us, even now in a fallen world, where sin has corrupted and brought suffering and harshness to life. Rather than be surprised at the evil we see, we should be all the more surprised it has not gotten worse than it is by now, and that the goodness of the Lord is still around us for us to hope for and enjoy and know that it is only a foreshadow of things to come that He has for us. His goodness in this world at this time is polluted and corrupted by the selfishness and hardness of mankind who refuse to give Him glory (Romans 1:18-32). What they suffer as a result is merely God giving them over to what they wanted and asked for.

But as believers, we have the opportunity now to look at His goodness, to see His goodness surrounding us. We have opportunity to give Him glory even in the hardships suffered to always see the goodness of the Lord that we enjoy. It's human nature to look at the bad and totally miss the good. So we miss the glory of the Lord in our trials. We forget all the promises He has given us for each and every one and we focus on our pain. Yet when we begin to be thankful for the goodness of the Lord to us, and recognize His blessings we are lifted up and strengthened to endure all else. In the Lord, there is always hope, and always goodness, and always praise. There is always reason to give thanks. The fact that He lives in you and wants to fellowship with you is reason alone for praise. The fact that He promises that any evil in this world however it touches you will not hurt you but will be used for your good, is great reason to praise Him. The fact that not one single thing can come your way without passing first through His nail-scarred hands is reason for praise. The fact that nothing below or above can separate you from His love is reason for praise. The fact that He has sealed you with His Holy Spirit and given you a promise that you have an inheritance in His kingdom forever and ever and will never pass away or become defiled in any way, is reason for praise.

As Corrie Ten Boom once said, "There is no pit so deep, that Jesus is not deeper still" (The Hiding Place).

This is the season for thanksgiving. We have a holiday one day a year to give thanks. We've experienced the goodness of the Lord in many ways every day, that we are probably oblivious to. Things could always be worse than they are. Thank God they aren't. Thank God we have the goodness of the Lord in our hearts and we don't have to be overcome by evil but through Christ in us, can overcome evil with good. We need to keep our confidence that we WILL see His goodness and walk in the "land of the living" where no evil can again touch us or those we love. It's His promise. It's our hope. Paul tells us, "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you" (1 Thess. 5:18). We desperately want to know God's will when we are walking through testings of our faith or need to make important decisions. This is His sure will for you in all things, whatever they may be. We are to give thanks. We are never to give up hope and faith in our loving Savior and what He is doing in our lives. We can give thanks that all is being worked out for good and we will see His goodness in the land of the living. The "land of the living" though it will one day be a place where we dwell, is even now a "place" where we dwell, though not physical. It is the place of being "in Christ" where the living dwell, and where we can abide in Him and His life always. If we do what we know to be His will, He will eventually lead us into further knowledge of His will as we keep on walking in faith and hope. Our very first obligation to obedience is to be thankful in all things. This is our first response - our first duty. What we consider circumstances to endure now, may later turn out to be an open door of blessing if we walk in faith trusting His hand. Back to Corrie Ten Boom, in part of her story, in The Hiding Place, when she was in a Nazi concentration camp and there was a terrible lice infestation Betsy was trying to tell her she needed to thank God for everything. Corrie said, "I can't thank Him for the lice." Later they learned it was because of the lice that the guards did not come into their building to molest them. Corrie learned a lesson in giving thanks in all things. We can trust our Heavenly Father with every single detail in our lives and should never think He has let up on His care of us or His love for us. If we continue to walk in faith and thanksgiving, we will see the goodness of the Lord.

His goodness is something I'm learning I don't want to miss! I don't want to miss it by my grumbling, or by my wanting of other things, or by my just failing to look for it. Every day we can see something of His goodness to us if we are looking.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. (Lamentations 3:21-26)

Let us, each day look for those new mercies, and the goodness of the Lord, and not fail to give thanks, as we wait upon the Lord.

Abba, open our eyes to see the goodness of the Lord and to help us to remember this hope always that we WILL see the goodness of the Lord, even as we are called to endure so much that is not good now. Let us never give up hope in your goodness. Help us to trust in Your goodness no matter what. Your goodness never changes, fades, or fails. It's always there. Praise You Lord!

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


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Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. (Psalms 25:8-9)

"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:10-14)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

One of the marks of most false religions and cults is that they teach self-righteousness in some form or another. That is, a sense of being "righteous in one's self." They teach that in some way a person can achieve a level of goodness in themselves by their own efforts, and reach either a state of godhood themselves, or achieve God's approval by their works and "obedience" to a set of rules or law that their particular group has put together. Just the same, those who claim to have no religion, and claim to be atheists, have a sense of righteousness in themselves, thinking themselves good without God, and have no sin or need of a Savior. In trying to set up their own moral standard, they develop their own causes which gives them purpose in their own supposed goodness. But God has made a remarkable way for mankind to find His salvation, goodness, and true righteousness. It is through humility alone, that man, seeing himself as a hopeless sinner, comes to find a salvation that is completely of God Himself, all of grace, and that there is not one thing He can do to purchase or earn that salvation for himself, not when he tries to hold onto and justify his sin. Rather than seeing himself as some little god that is able to attain perfection, he is stripped bare in his soul to the realization that he is nothing but clay and completely sinful in the light of a holy, perfect God. It's only in this state, when a man is brought low, when he truly sees himself as God sees him, that He is freely cleansed from his sin and brought into the true righteousness that God alone gives, by grace alone, through faith alone. And just as we received Him, so we walk in Him (Colossians 2). The only true righteousness is the righteousness of God.

I had a dream once that shook me. I'm not claiming it was some special vision of God or anything, but nevertheless, it had a strong impact on me. In my early Christian life, I thought my "obedience" so called was my righteousness. I understood I was saved by grace and that the Lord had come to live in my heart, but I did not understand His righteousness was now mine, imputed to me. I was up and down, according to how good I did or didn't do and according to my feelings. One night I had a dream where I died along with some others in a car accident. I was taken to heaven, and brought into a room to wait until summoned. Soon an angel came to get us and brought us into a huge auditorium filled with people that you couldn't even see the end of. In front there was a huge screen that everyone could see. I saw a man there with Jesus, and his life was being shown on the screen, and all that he did for Christ with pure motives was rewarded, and he was given rewards, which he was to take before the Father and lay at His feet. I was called to come forward and it was my turn to have my life on the screen for all to see. Everything I had thought I did for Christ I saw the self-serving motives to, and the self-dependence, and the pride. I came away with nothing but filthy rags, and I was to lay that before the Father's feet. I remember feeling such shame and sorrow and wishing I could go back and do it over again, and then suddenly I was awake, and I was so glad to find that it was all a dream!! I did have a chance to really serve the Lord!

The thing that stood out to me the most in that dream was my motives, my heart, my pride. All I thought I was doing as a Christian was nothing but me, me, me. It still took me some years to understand the righteousness of God I had in Christ, but the Lord was faithful to show me, patient to teach me, and longsuffering with me as I stumbled and got back up again many times. Finally He opened my eyes to see, He alone is my righteousness. If I hoped in anything else, I would find it filthy rags one day before Him and His holiness. What a loss!!! The only glory we have or will ever have is the glory of God Himself in us. All else will be looked on with such disdain and shame. All the pomp and impressions of man and the glory he gives himself will one day be seen for the foolishness and shame it is before God and man, for all to see. That is a very sobering thought for those who put themselves or others on a pedestal. It's a sobering thought for any of us, who even in the least things in life think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

The world teaches self-importance and self-exaltation. Yet this is the very heart of what is wrong with the world and the root of evil in the world. In today's world especially there is more and more of a movement against the righteousness of God proclaimed in His Word, the Bible, and in the self-righteousness of mankind, a hatred and animosity and violence against all who love His righteousness and trust in that alone as theirs. There is a hatred that is becoming more and more aggressive against all that is of that true righteousness because it exposes their hearts and acts, and reveals just what it is in God's light. When one has their own "light" which is really darkness, they have to do all they can to snuff out the true light that will expose it.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." (John 3:19-21)

One day, however, everyone's works will be exposed before all, and nothing hidden will remain hidden (1 Cor. 4:5; Luke 12:2-3). All will be brought out in the open for all to see, what was of God or what was of man - what was of the Spirit or what was of flesh. I know one thing, I want to be found in His righteousness alone. Obedience to Him is obedience to the Gospel, which is faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, receiving His righteousness, humbling ourselves before Him, and allowing His life to then be our life here as His ambassadors in this world, until one day we will be with Him where He is, fit for His perfect holy Heaven by that righteousness alone. Nothing blemished or imperfect will be there! Imagine! For man to think he can achieve that kind of perfection through supposed obedience to the law is nothing but a degrading of God's perfect standard, lowering it to their own level of "righteousness" which in God's eyes is as filthy rags.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (Philippians 3:7-9)

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. (Romans 3:21-27)

Why is it so hard for the world to receive such a remarkable gift? Why is it so difficult for us to accept something so freely given to all who will come to Him? It is human pride alone! We must somehow see something good in ourselves. We must somehow see that we've earned what we get. The greatest hindrance of all to a person receiving Christ is simply pride. It keeps us from admitting sin, and defeat, and failure. It tries continually to put a good light on our grossest sins and make them look like something beautiful, something good, something justified. The lost seek to create their own "morality" justifying their immorality, calling evil good and good evil. The more the world does so, the more it hates the light of God's holy Word and His people. Yet, still, only those who have humbled themselves to see their sin, admit it, and receive His free gift of salvation will go away justified. One day the truth will be made known. We can face His light daily now, or later. But we will face it. How glorious to stand before Him one day dressed in His righteousness that He freely gave!! What an assurance that will be in the hearts of all who do so. What a false assurance those will have who trust in their obedience to some form of religion or law they think will save them, and what a disappointment they will find!

Dear Lord, may we be found in You on that day dressed in Your righteousness alone, and not our own works at all. Open our eyes to see what You have freely given to all who believe, and the greatest love that any human could ever know that you so freely give to whosoever will. Enable us to see our pride for all it is, that it is truly our shame. Help us to let it go for the glory that You have for us, and allow us to be clothed in the most beautiful garments that You alone can provide.

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


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All blessings come from the Lord.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

Even while they sometimes come to us through vessels He uses or conditions He allows to be brought about, or circumstances we are placed in, they are from His hand. One blessing that seldom is looked on by any of us as a "blessing" is God's chastisement or discipline in our lives. Yet once one goes through that chastisement, and has learned from it, they realize the life and communion they have now in Christ, is so far beyond any pain the chastisement brought, that there is no comparison. Though it was painful, though it was hard to endure, though it was agony at the time, it brought you to a place in Christ that is stable, sure, and full of peace and fellowship in Him, if you relied on Him through it. You realize a communion that you never had before. To rejoice in our sufferings, is to have faith that they are working in us something far superior, and it is trusting our Lord Who shed His blood for us.

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

The meaning of the Greek word for chastisement, from Thayer's dictionary:
Thayer Definition:
1) the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment) It also includes the training and care of the body
2) whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.
2a) instruction which aims at increasing virtue
2b) chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)

From Strong's: From G3811; tutorage, that is, education or training; by implication disciplinary correction: - chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture.

What human father would not see to the nurturing, training, education, correction and instruction of the child he loves? A good father would try to do his best in that. God is not just a "good" Father, but thee perfect Father, and His chastisement in our lives is for "training in godliness." If our spiritual growth and life were all up to us, sad to say, we'd be most miserable and would not see to it. Have you ever heard of a child that disciplines him or herself? Their natural tendency is to be totally self-centered and to demand their own way in everything, even throwing tantrums if they don't get it. Eventually when they get to maturity, if they have been trained well, they learn to practice self-discipline in the things they were taught and disciplined in by their parents. But as believers, we need discipline from the Lord, to be trained in our spiritual walk. I believe God is more interested in what we are becoming in Him, than what we are "doing for Him." Much of the "doing" is "wood, hay, and stubble" anyway, being done in our own flesh, until we are made vessels of honor He can work through by His Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:12-14).

The blessing of this training cannot be measured. It is eternal. It brings about not only blessing here and now, in our communion with our Lord, and our knowing Him more, and the peace that brings, but it brings to us eternal rewards that cannot be taken from us forever. It's hard for us to grasp "forever." We are so temporal in all our thinking. But temporal thinking will not get us through the trials we endure in this life. It will only cause us to miss what God is working in and through us in the chastisement He is bringing to us. It's difficult enough to go through the trials and sufferings of this life, but as a believer how much worse if we suffer in vain because we did not trust the Lord's hand in our trial, knowing that it is for our training, our nurturing, our discipline, our very good (Romans 8:28)! We are no better off than the unbeliever then. We have His promise to rely on and trust in, that He will work all things together for our good, for our ultimate glorification in Him, not to be taken lightly.

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:24-31)

I would encourage you to read the entire chapter of Romans 8. We are not without hope, no matter how severe the testing. We are being taught how to apply His promises to our lives, how to "put on Christ" and to walk by faith, not by sight. Walking takes practice and sometimes we take one step and fall, and then maybe two, and eventually as we keep getting back up and keep taking those steps we become more stable, and more sure on our "feet" and we start walking with confidence. Some Christians, sadly, no matter how long they have been saved, have never learned how to walk. It takes effort to make those steps, and does not feel natural at first. I heard a testimony recently at a Voice of the Martyrs conference, from a lady whose husband was tortured and murdered because of His faith and work for the Lord. She was bitter toward those who did this and hated them. She was convicted that she was to love her enemies and pray for them. She knew she had to but did not feel it. She couldn't do it, but she decided she had to be obedient. At first the prayers for her enemies were nothing but words from her mouth that were not in her heart. But each time she prayed for them, eventually the Holy Spirit took over and filled her heart with genuine prayer from the heart for them and she was able to do it with ease. This is the exercise of "putting on Christ", walking in obedience, walking by faith. We take the steps, He puts the power and life into it.

Yet how sad when we think only temporally, and we disregard His Word that gives us that hope and promise and we only murmur and complain and never see the blessing He is working in us through the chastisement. Or if we see the chastisement as "punishment" or "judgment" from God as though He were applying it in anger then we run from Him, and place ourselves under a spirit of condemnation, rather than seeing His love through it, and submitting to His hand. We may not see ourselves as "running from God" though if we are not submitting to His hand in our lives seeking His wisdom through it and His glory, rather than just our own temporal comfort, we miss that blessing, and it's all in vain, and we have run from what He has for us. It won't benefit us. Yet God Who is faithful will keep working in us until we finally come to see it for what it is. The stronger our flesh's rule in us, I believe, the greater the discipline it takes to free us from ourselves, it seems.

Some of us seem to have a lifetime of discipline to walk in, such as a sickness or infirmity that we have to endure in this body as long as we're alive. It's one thing to have a terminal illness - at least you know it will end, and you will be free and with the Lord, if you are a believer. But to have something that you just have to live with, endure, accept, and there is so far no cure for, or to live in chronic pain every day, is another thing. Or to be born in a country where you are subjected constantly, day after day, to fear of terror by those who hate God and His children and want to steal, kill, and destroy, just as their father the devil bids them to do. There is no escape, but only learning to endure it by His grace, and not be overcome by it, and to learn to find His glory in it. We all have our different callings, locations, and things to endure. Sometimes there is no deliverance other than the Lord's coming to take us home. This is not because of God's displeasure of us. This is not because God is against us. What does it say? It is because of His love for us, and He confirms His love to us in it and assures us that He is for us, and if He is for us, who or what in heaven or earth can be against us? They may be against us, but they cannot defeat us. Through the things we endure we learn to rely on God and to know Him and the fellowship of His sufferings and become like Him, as we do as His Word says, seeking His face in all, and submitting to Him. Those who are the most broken in the flesh, learn to cling to Him the most, and He becomes the most dear to.

He does give us promise in the midst of each testing or hardship. He does not leave us helpless and He gives us promises that we can count on.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:2-5)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:6-10)

Sometimes the "way of escape" is to let God take you by the hand and teach you how to walk through it, by His power and grace, and to stand so that we are not hurt by it. He gives us feet that can walk on water, and not be overwhelmed by the storm and the tidal waves. He teaches us to overcome evil rather than to be overcome by evil. He reveals Himself there with us in the fiery furnace. He teaches us to find His shelter and rest even while in the storm itself, before delivering us from out of the storm. Paul learned that whatever his circumstances, whether he was being persecuted, suffered loss, or whether he had plenty, to be content. None of us is content in this life if we suffer, but in Christ, Paul showed us that it is possible as we learn to completely rely on Him through all. We learn that Jesus IS our contentment, and we are most content in His fellowship and closeness, regardless of the suffering. This kind of contentment does not come about just by human will. It is worked in us through the many chastisements the Lord brings to us, as we trust in Him and learn to submit to Him and know Him through them. It is worked in us through many hardships as we learn to make Christ our contentment.

God is never trying to "make us stronger" through our trials. This is a mistake many make. That is, He is not trying to "strengthen our flesh." Many times I've cried, "Why is this happening to me. It's only making me weaker, not stronger! I can't do anything! What good am I to God?" Sometimes He brings us to utter helplessness regarding our flesh, but remember what Paul learned in that?

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

How different a heavenly way of thinking is from the earthly, worldly way of thinking! It is totally opposite of human nature or human psychology that seeks to strengthen "self." It is only by divine nature that it is reasonable at all! It is only from Heaven's perspective that it can make any sense at all to live the Christian life. If there were no more hope than what we have in this life the Christian life would be the most unreasonable and hopeless and miserable life of all. Why would we endure, if there were not some promise of blessing for that endurance? Why would we suffer shame, reproach, persecution, etc., if there were not an eternal promise and hope? Yet many "Christians" live as though this life were meant to be our Heaven now. It's preached "God wants you to be your happiest now!" I don't think so.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)

If Christ, then why not us, His children as well? Do we think to learn it without suffering in the flesh? Do we think ourselves superior to Christ Himself?

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:17-19)

But Christ has been raised, and we have been raised with Him, and shall be raised to be with Him in eternity. What we gain through all in this world will be eternal gain for us. Where our treasure is there our heart will be also. If we look at each hardship in this world we've been given to endure as God wants us to see it, the benefit holds much treasure for us that cannot be measured. If we see it as the blessing it is to us, we will gain much. Let's not miss the blessing, disguised as chastisement, that God has for each one of us Who are born again, children of God. This is our joy and hope. Let's not take it lightly, or toss it away, or miss it. Abba, enable us to embrace it with joy, trusting in You! You will never fail in all Your purposes! You have provided for all!

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


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What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

"Practice makes perfect" they say. Exercise builds endurance. Sometimes we need to stop and ask ourselves if we are practicing what we have read in the Word and exercising those things. Are we reading it and walking away and forgetting it? How are we applying it to our lives. We don't grow in grace and knowledge of God just by reading it. We need to take it in to our hearts and minds and apply all of it to our lives. We need to actually do it! Simple right? Well, I guess not because the Lord seems to have to remind us again and again, and sometimes, in my life, it seems I've had to learn and relearn and relearn again, the same things over and over through various trials or circumstances. I have to be reminded many times over of something the Lord showed me very clearly in His Word, and then be reminded that yet another time, I must apply that Word to my walk, and not quit applying it.

We wonder why our lives get all messed up sometimes and why we are going through something in particular (Proverbs 19:3). Sometimes things happen beyond our control or anything we've done, but there are many times our own lack of applying the Word and walking in the Spirit has caused us to end up in a situation we do not want to be in. Many times we don't see or understand why or what we did or did not do that brought us to where we are at. Maybe we were just going about our business, doing things the way we wanted to do them, then everything fell apart. But in those things God allowed in our lives that are painful, we are forced to take a look and ask, and as we spend time in His Word He reveals to us what our flesh is and what led us to where we ended up. "Why did God let this happen to me?" We may cry out, not understanding or seeing. We don't see anything we did "wrong" or could have done differently. But maybe God saw fit to give us a little "practice" in putting our faith in Him in ways we have not even seen yet, forcing us to get up and exercise some godliness. He won't just do it for us. He wants us to get up, take what He's given us, by faith, and act on it, not just once, but as many times as necessary, until our walk is no longer feeble, but sure and steady and confident in Him.

It's a time that we need, more than ever, to sit at His feet, and let Him teach us. We need to let Him instruct us in His Word, and then we need to take that Word and act on it. If we don't act on it in faith, it won't have any benefit to us. We can't get by just seeking to do our own thing reading a few comfy verses each day to give us a lift, and expect God to just bless everything we do. He has a different plan. His purposes are higher than our purposes. He has given us His Word to be our light to our path, to be our guide, our counsel, and our very life. Are we practicing what we are reading? Are we taking it to heart? Are we applying faith to it? Are we making it our own and walking in it?

For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. (Hebrews 4:2)

If we forget to, God has a way of reminding us again and again. I know I have needed that reminder often and I still do, and my Abba never fails to give it to me! We take it lightly if we are neglecting His Word in a certain area of our lives, overlooking it easily, but God does not. He never overlooks or fails to make sure to accomplish His Word in us and bring us to the place of seeing where we are neglecting Him, and drawing us back to His Word of life for instruction and counsel, giving us opportunity to benefit from it once again.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22-25)

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:17)

In contrast, if you "know these things"... the things Scripture teaches us how to live by faith and how we are to conduct ourselves, and then we don't do them, how miserable we'll be! How much we'll miss! How little of Christ we'll really know and how little His life with benefit us. Of course, if we are not even reading the Word, we won't "know these things!" And then we are not practicing them either, but just living life our own way, pursuing our own interests. He's given us the greatest treasure and there is nothing on earth that can compare. There is nothing in this life we could gain for ourselves that could even minutely compare with what riches He has for us here and for eternity in Him, in knowing Him, in having His life flowing through us, in seeing His fruit produced in us and in seeing the life that comes forth to others we love because of it. There is nothing in this life that we could pursue that compares to the eternal rewards He has for us. If we really get a glimpse of it, we would pursue that life with all our hearts, not just casually, or half-heartedly, or as it suits us. This wonderful blessed Word of God, so full of true treasure and riches, so full of all we need to live life to the fullest in Christ, if we apply it and walk by faith in it, trusting in Him, rather than ourselves, can be of no benefit to us if we do not put our faith in it and practice and apply what it says. What a loss! It's one I know I don't want.

I know many times I have failed to apply it or remember to. But recently, I am made more aware than ever that every breath I am given the grace to breathe in this world, I want not to be wasted, but to be for eternal purpose in Him. As the world grows more evil, my view becomes more and more clear of what is important to me. What is important to God is what is becoming more and more important to me in this world. I want to make sure I am not neglecting that most important thing letting daily life crowd it out. I want to make sure that I am putting into practice all He gives me. I want to hold fast to that which matters, and live for Him.

"Practice these things"...that is the things that matter. Practice the things that matter.

Practice walking by faith daily, whatever the situation, from the smallest to the greatest things that come your way. Practice "putting on Christ" each day and walking by faith in Him. Practice love to others. Practice hope that doesn't give up. Practice being His light however He calls you to be. Practice denying yourself, taking up your cross, and following Him. Practice prayer and thanksgiving in every circumstance. We may not feel it, and it may not come natural, and we may be tempted, tossed, and oppressed, but practice godliness to all people anyway...put on Christ! Put off the flesh. It's by faith in His living Word, taking that Word into our spirits and trusting it is true as it says. He is good to His Word. We can count on it, walk in it, and practice it daily, trusting His power in us to live in and through us. We are not "obligated to the flesh to cater to its demands."

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:12-13)

You do not have to let the flesh have its way in you. You have the Spirit of God, if you are born of that Spirit and have come to saving faith in Christ. If so, you do not have to give in to the demands of your flesh no matter how loud or strong they are.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

"I can't help how I feel." No but you can help how you act, and can choose to trust and rely on all God has given you to stand and walk in and practice His Word. Tell yourself what His Word says, when your flesh or the enemy is telling you something contrary. Tell yourself what God's promise to you is, and what His command to you is, and then by faith, practice it, even if everything inside of you "feels" differently. Feelings follow faith. Faith does not follow feelings. Never will. Don't let your feelings control you. By faith, present yourself to God, and trust His Spirit in you to overcome the flesh (Romans 6:11-18).

The Christian life is more than feelings, it's more than experience, it's more than getting blessed. The Christian life is Christ in you, your hope of glory, and it is that, as we practice walking according to that life in us and all He is to us and has provided for us. If we lack wisdom He says to just ask for it, and He will give it, for every circumstance (James 1:2-6).

Abba, Father, enable us to see where we are lacking in our practicing daily all the things Your Word gives us, and in practicing faith instead of doubt, hope instead of despair, and trust that where You lead us, You will provide all for us and continue to bring us through. Help us to see when we lose our way or when we get onto a wrong path what brought us there. Help us to understand more and more the life that You would want us to practice and do daily, for Your glory, in Jesus name, amen.

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


To listen to audio click here

Psalms 19:12-14
(12) Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
(13) Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
(14) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
1 Peter 1:3-5

(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
(4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
(5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Thank God for the Holy Spirit that He has given to all those who trust in Him to be their righteousness and salvation! How sad when believers do not understand the keeping power of His Spirit in them, the resurrection power unto "newness of life" that is theirs, and the hope to which they have been called! That "hope" is a surety that His salvation is theirs eternally and is preserved for them just as they are preserved for it. How it must grieve the heart of our Father Who provided all for us! Some think it is their "faith" that keeps them. Yet the Word says it is HE Who keeps them, BY HIS POWER, through faith. Not faith in your faith being strong enough to keep you, or faith in your faith to persevere, but trust in HIS keeping power that is given you when you believed into Christ and became His child.

Trust...relinquishing anything on your part...unto Him, Who alone is able to save you to the uttermost and keep you. Even when your "faith" fails, He will not, because He abides in you and is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). I remember the revelation it was to me when the Lord made me to see it was "Christ in me" Who was my hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), not my perseverance. All that I thought was my perseverance had been Him persevering in me all along. I read that many times, yet I really was not grasping it. Christ in me...suddenly that became very real and tangible and I had peace that He would indeed act to do all in me according to His finished work and His promise. I have His presence truly in me through the Holy Spirit. He is real. He abides in me. He is my hope of glory. Not my willpower, my strength of spirit, and not my "faith" but His presence-His resurrection life. I trusted myself into Christ, and He came into me, and He alone is the keeping faith abiding in me, faithful to keep me through all in this world. I trust His faithfulness, not my faith. I trust the faithfulness of His Word. Not because I have to keep "believing hard enough." That is faith in my faith. But His presence in me when I trusted His power to save me, is the same saving power that continually works in me to keep me. Faith abides in me because He abides in me.

Those who think to be kept by their faith in their faith, have missed the joy of their salvation and their eyes again are on themselves, and something in themselves to keep them. In my own experience, the Lord showed me again and again that my own faith would fail. The "trying of our faith," I believe, is not so that we can muster up enough faith, but sometimes it is to show us our faith is misplaced. When we come to the end of it, realizing it is only another aspect of our flesh trying hard, we finally are able to relinquish all unto Him, and He directs our trust, our rest, our reliance to Him alone and His FINISHED work. Maybe it's a blessing that I am a weak person in the flesh. I do not have a strong willpower. I am a quitter by nature. I don't have strong inner or physical strength. I've had to "give up" many a time when faced with adversity, because I am not a strong person. Yet in doing so, I have found the Lord to be my strength (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). I have found His strength to be perfect in my weakness I have found His faithfulness not to fail when my faith fails. I have found the Lord to be my all. I have to feel sorry for the strong person who thinks it is their strength of faith or will that is keeping them and enabling them to persevere to the end. Sometimes a strong will is truly only a stubbornness in our flesh, which is all the harder to be broken so that true faith can take over. They have not found the Lord's rest. Oh they would say it is the Lord helping them (and it is more than they realize), but they are depending on their ability to have enough faith and inner strength still. May the Lord show us our own faults. As the Word above says, "who can discern his errors?" We can't.

We cannot discern our own hidden faults and the errors in our thinking and our ways. Only the Lord can make us see the errors in our faith, our thinking, our living, as we come into His light and ask Him. As in my last two devotionals, "Morbid Introspection" and "The Lord As Our Portion," we must be made to see our own searching only leads us as far as our own thinking and understanding can, and we cannot be made to see where we are blind, to see ourselves as He sees us (Proverbs 3:5-7). And when we are brought to the end of our resources, our strength, our faith, and even all hope, it is so that we are finally in a place to see by His light, by His Spirit in us, and to see the Lord Who is our portion...our all in this life, and to see it is all of Him from our saving to our keeping and our being made into His image. Each moment of our giving up, and our seeing Him as our portion, is our true growth spiritually. In the end, it is not our misplaced faith that will keep us, but His power that will keep us unto eternal life. He has given us His Spirit as a guarantee of that (Ephesians 1:14). In this life, the more we relinquish to Him, the more we enjoy that life in Him and the power of it to deliver us here and now from the corruption of the world we live in, and the more He is glorified in and through us in this pilgrim journey. The more that life is manifested through us, the more we are able to bear fruit for eternity and receive Heavenly rewards.

Faith...complete reliance on Him, all He is and does, relinquishing all of ourselves unto Him and into His care, is truly a surrender of faith, not a striving of faith. There is a "faith" that is a human work of the flesh, or a striving, and there is that which God continually tries to bring us to...a trust and relinquishing up of ourselves to Him, trusting all He is and has done, in surrender. It's as though the soldier, during a battle, saw that he was totally surrounded and there were no more hope so he gives up, relinquishing himself entirely into the hands of another, and all that they will do to them and for them, and depending entirely on their mercy. True faith is wrought in us by God when we are finally at that place of giving up...surrendering to Him. We are entirely at His mercy. And when we are there, we find Him faithful. We learn of all He is to us and in us and then He is able to truly manifest Himself to us. True faith is not a striving to keep on believing. True faith is a giving up of oneself to the One Who is faithful, ceasing all striving, just depending on Him to do what He said. When we do, we are finally at rest in His finished work, and we have peace. We have given up the care of our souls and the keeping of it into His hands. There is no longer a striving of faith. We rest in His security. We are assured He will never fail or forsake us. Faith - "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," is the substance and assurance and evidence in our hearts of the power of His finished work and His promise to save us to the uttermost and keep us for all eternity. God puts that kind of faith in our hearts by His indwelling Spirit, Who is that guarantee (Ephesians 1:13-14). All born again believers have that promise and guarantee, but not all enjoy it in this life, but strive and struggle to have "enough faith" to keep themselves, because of lack of understanding of what that "finished work" is. They never fully enter His rest because of unbelief. They haven't realized it's only the power of God that can conquer the giants in the land (Numbers 13:27-33).

As long as His presence is in us, He will provide the keeping faith, through His faithfulness, that we will be kept by His power. He has told us that "He will never leave us or forsake us" (Hebrews 13:5), and that His Spirit, once given, would "abide in us forever" (John 14:16, and 1 John 3:9). It does not say, "unless" or "but" or "if" there. It simply says His Spirit in us, will abide, remain in us forever. So often people take "if", "but" verses in other places of Scripture and add them where they are not meant to be. So they read those verses out of context and obscure their meaning. In their minds they are then convinced it is up to them to strive in faith to be kept, or they will lose what only the power of God can keep. They have changed the Scripture to read that they are kept through their striving of faith in God to give them enough power to keep persevering, rather than being kept by the power of God. It is Christ in them, that is the power and presence that keeps them through that is enabled by that power and His abiding presence...His persevering faithfulness, in us. It is not "the perseverance of the saints" but the perseverance of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us that keeps us.

There is a huge difference in these two kinds of "faith." One, is of human flesh and effort, one is of the power of God. What is it then, to be "kept by the power of God through faith?" It is a rest in His power to keep us because of His presence in us when we were made His child, through the finished work of Christ, and His Spirit that will abide in us forever, not a faith in our perseverance or level of sanctification. In that resting place we are able to walk in the power of His salvation and stand against whatever the enemy throws at us, dressed in full armor. He is always at work in us to enable us to see our flesh in His light, and to reveal more of His own power and faithfulness and provision for us. If each trial and suffering we go through becomes an opportunity for us to say, "Lord help me to see myself through this, and to see You and Your faithfulness," He will reveal Himself to us. Every suffering or loss becomes an opportunity for us to know Him more, and to know our own errors more clearly. Our normal reaction is to be defensive of our own flesh, our own ways, and to try to muster up more strength in ourselves to hold on, which we perceive as our faith. Sometimes the severity of the trial is so that we are broken, brought to the end of ourselves, and our own defenses and strivings, and yes, even to the end of our own understanding and "faith." What we thought was faith in God, is really now seen to be faith in ourselves. The sooner we see and let go, the better off we'll be! Even if the suffering does not end, the ability to endure it with all He provides and to glorify Him in it will be greater. We may feel devastated, shipwrecked even, but then just as though we were in a sinking ship, seeing no hope to survive, we see the lifeboat that is Jesus Himself, and we relinquish ourselves to Him to carry us through. He did not start this journey with us, across the turbulent sea of life, only to have us lost at sea. He intended to keep us and bring us safely to the other side (Matthew 8:23-26). What He begins, He has made full provision for in order to bring to completion. We are kept by His power, to the end, regarding our salvation; yet, temporally, we are not always victorious in keeping ourselves from the corruption of this world, if we are looking to our own faith to keep us in it. We may fail Him in the trying of our "faith" but He will never fail us in the proving of His faithfulness (2 Tim. 2:13).
2 Timothy 1:12

(12) For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Philippians 1:6
(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:

Dear Abba, I thank You so much for the confidence, assurance, and faith we can have in You, because of Your faithfulness. Your promises are true and faithful and will never fail. I have nothing to boast in. I only see in myself my own failures, my own weakness, my own sin and shame. I see again and again, Your faithfulness to me, Your working in my heart, my mind, revealing Yourself to me, drawing me to You, correcting me, teaching me, being light to my path, and again and again sustaining me with Your great love and mercy. I see You and Your work again and again over the years for me and in me, revealing Yourself, giving me faith and hope in You alone, showing me that You are faithful to the end and I can rely completely on You and on Your Word. I ask this for my brothers and sisters in Christ, in Jesus name, amen.

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


To listen to an audio version of this devotional, click here (to save it, right click and click "save as")

Psalms 16:5-8
(5) The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
(6) The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
(7) I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
(8) I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

"These are very blessed things spoken of, both as they relate to Christ, and to his people in him. Jesus in his human nature, uniformly made Jehovah his portion, and looked unto him to maintain his cause, and carry him safely through his vast undertaking. He not only considered it his meat and his drink to do his Father’s will, but his redeemed he considered a goodly heritage. And what is it to his people but the same? They who have chosen God for their portion, find that portion to be a goodly one, and are fully satisfied with Jesus, for they need no other." ~ Poor Man's Commentary, Robert Hawker

There are many disappointments in this life, many sorrows, many hardships that we all must go through at one time or another. People can hurt us, disappoint us, not live up to our expectations, and life can take unexpected turns, leading us where we don't want to go. For the believer in Christ, he learns through all of these things, that Christ alone is his portion. We soon learn that if we make anything else in this life that, we will be unsatisfied, and maybe even plunged into despair. When we first came to Christ, asking His forgiveness, receiving His Spirit into our hearts, He became our portion. But it took time as we learned of Him and grew in our spiritual walk to learn to trust Him to be that to us. Though He IS our portion - the portion of every believer - we fall short of trusting Him to be that in our lives. It is as we learn to abide in Him daily, eating and drinking of Him, that we learn to partake of the satisfaction that only He can bring.

John 6:53-56
(53) So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
(54) Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
(55) For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
(56) Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

Acts 17:28
(28) for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.' We need to see that all that happens to a child of God, is to enable us to be more and more free of ourselves and this world's grip, and to see God alone as our sufficient portion. The more we learn that, the more satisfied and at peace we become, regardless of circumstances, good or bad. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being. We find that to be true when we turn to Him in dependence upon Him as we learn to serve Him. We learn that to do His will becomes our "food and drink."

John 4:34
(34) Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

We look to relationships to satisfy a longing in our hearts. Sometimes the Lord gives us those blessed relationships in family and friends. Sometimes we find ourselves alone, without the human companionship we long for. Either way, we must learn that the Lord is our portion. If we are not satisfied in Him first of all, we will never be satisfied in a relationship either. We'll demand from others what they cannot give, and we'll never find them to satisfy. But as we give up our needs and longings to Christ, He becomes our portion, and to live for His will and His glory becomes food and drink to us. Every other relationship will be an extension of that which we have in Him. He'll make us a blessing to others around us. As the Lord becomes our portion in this life, we are able to bring that same life to others, so that He may become theirs as well.

What is the "food and drink" of my soul? What do I spend my energy on? What is my delight? Lord, cause me to see You more and more as my portion! Help me to see the things that distract me from that. The more I see Him as my portion, the more I desire what He desires for me and from me. The more I see this world being overtaken by evil, and an antichrist mentality, the more I see the Lord alone as my portion. This world is not my home. My citizenship is in Heaven, though I am a pilgrim on earth. The more I have eyes that are heavenward, the more I see my true purpose in this world, and the clouds fall away, and the way seems more and more clear to me. I see all that happens to me in a different light, and from a different, heavenly, perspective. Life has meaning and purpose that no man on earth can take away from me. Nothing that happens to me can separate me from my portion with Him. In fact, the more life throws at me, the stronger that awareness of Him as my portion becomes, and the greater my satisfaction in Him.

Joshua 18:7a
(7) The Levites have no portion among you, for the priesthood of the LORD is their heritage.

"But how beautifully are we again told in this place, that the Levites were not included in these grants: the priesthood of the Lord being their inheritance. Dearest Jesus! here again I behold thy loveliness. Thou art our inheritance, and our portion forever; for thou hast made us a nation of kings and of priests, to God and the Father. Revelation 1:6." ~Poor Man's Commentary, Robert Hawker

We may wonder why we have no inheritance in this world when it seems those who hate God prosper and have so much, and seem to be so successful. They persecute believers. They steal, kill, and destroy all that belongs to Christians in this world, taking it as their own. They oppress the poor and the weak. It seems that the wicked are inheriting the earth, not the "meek." But we have a greater heritage and one that is eternal, and even now in this world, He is our portion to sustain us and satisfy us, with promise of what is to come. Others may have their portion now, but only for a short while until they are held accountable for all they have stolen and devoured. We must wait for ours, patiently, enduring as we do. Yet there is no doubt of the value of that which we wait for, expectantly.

Romans 8:31-32
(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(32) He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Abba, the unspeakable gift you have given to us is beyond our comprehension! Don't let us miss, even now, the portion You have for us as we walk here in this living in it but not of it. Cause us daily to remember that You are our portion.

Psalms 73:25-26
(25) Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
(26) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Amen! May it be so Lord Jesus!

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.