Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Is GOD communicating with you?

THROUGH HIS CREATION.

Psalms 19:1 For the director of music. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

THROUGH THE WORD.

2ND Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

THROUGH HIS PROPHETS.

Numbers 12:6 he said, "Listen to my words: "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.”

THROUGH VISIONS.

Genesis 46:2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, "Jacob! Jacob!" "Here I am," he replied.

Genesis 15:1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."

THROUGH DREAMS.

Numbers 12:6 he said, "Listen to my words: "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.

1 Kings 3:5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."

FACE TO FACE.

Numbers 12:8 With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

THROUGH JESUS.

Hebrews 1:1-2 ¶ In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

John 14:24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

THROUGH ANGELS.

Judges 2:4-5 When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the LORD.

Matthew 2:13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."

Revelation 22:6 The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place."

THOUGH HIS PRESENCE.

Exodus 33:19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

BY VOICE ONLY.

Deuteronomy 4:12 Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.

Matthew 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Acts 10:13 Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."

Acts 9:4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

BY WAY OF A FLEECE.

Judges 6:36-40  Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing-floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said."  And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.  Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew."  That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

THROUGH ANIMALS.

Numbers 22:28 Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and it said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?

I’m certain my list can be added to, but I think this is a reasonable start. Though you never want to limit the LORD, you always want to ‘test’ everything. What are the parameters of ‘testing’? The Word. The Bible. The Truth. If it’s not matching up with those teachings, I’d be very, very careful. Always remember that there’s an enemy out there, and he’d love to ruin you.  We can also be enticed by our own desires and presumptuousness.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Perspective

I was standing at the kitchen sink one day (doing dishes…does it ever end?), and as I glanced out of the window that was situated right above the sink, I noticed a bright and brilliantly colored yellow bird land on one of my tomato plants in the garden. My first thought was…WOW…LOOK AT THAT….HOW BEAUTIFUL!! That’s when I noticed that that ‘beautiful’ bird was actually very busy about sustaining itself or it’s offspring. It was seeking prey, seeking some other living thing to devour for dinner and/or prepare for dinner for the family. I realized at that moment that to a tomato worm or any other living thing on their menu, they weren’t beautiful at all! Beautifully colored or not, they were monsters…horror stories…merciless killers. It was a lesson in perspective. Don’t be fooled by bright lights, fancy colors, or outward appearance. Don’t be fooled by fine sounding arguments. Test everything against the Word of GOD. A tree is known by it’s fruit. Take your time and look closely at that fruit. Compare it to the fruits of the Spirit. And always remember, Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:14…And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

1 Thessalonians 5:21…Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Colossians 2:4…I tell you this so that no-one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

Luke 6:43…No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Friday, October 3, 2014

JESUS

The pre-eminence of JESUS, the CHRIST, the ‘ruler’ over GOD’s creation (Revelation 3:14).

John 1:-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Hebrews 1:1-3…¶ In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

1 Corinthians 8:6… yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

1 John 5:1-12…And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 John 2:23 No-one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 2:22-23…Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No-one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

There are many other scriptures that I could post. These pretty much sum up the facts, though. GOD, the Father, has put all things under CHRIST for now. So much so, that you can’t circumvent CHRIST if you have any plans of getting to the FATHER. HE is the ‘gate’, the ‘door’, the ‘way’ to the FATHER. GOD said so. JESUS was the perfect manifestation of the FATHER. If you reject HIM, how aren’t you rejecting the FATHER?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

End Times Persecution…

Matthew 24:9..."Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me."

Regarding the scripture above, there was a time when I thought it likely referred to the secular world…that THEY would be the primary force persecuting the Christian church in the end times. After all, the world has been moving away from the basics and the truth…’the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord’…and ‘there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death’. Though I still believe that thought has merit, now I’m not so sure that secularism will be the ‘primary’ source of persecution. From what I am seeing happening in the middle east, from what I’ve learned about islam over the years, I’m beginning to consider (more seriously) that it could well be islam that ends up being the primary source of persecution regarding the Christian church. Of course, we all know that extreme muslim sects have always persecuted Christians. What is noteworthy, though, is they also persecute and kill fellow muslims that believe slightly differently. What ultimately sets them apart is that they want to take over the world by force (in the name of allah). If THAT is your goal, and if you are convinced that dying for that cause only ushers you into heaven all that quicker…well…what a formula for disaster!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Are you willing to be a watchman?

I’m always looking for signs. Born in the 50’s, we used to have school drills in which we would hide under our desks in case of a nuclear attack. ;-) Yeah…we were very safe under there! haha. That experience left an indelible impression upon me. Since those days, I’ve had a healthy skepticism when it comes to the intelligence of mankind and any chance he has of longevity on planet earth. Then one day I got saved. I started reading the Bible, intently, and religiously…over and over again. That only confirmed my skepticism regarding man. Outside of the grace and mercy of GOD, we were doomed….period…end of story. That made perfect sense to me. If you are saved, you are saved by the GRACE of GOD alone (through CHRIST), not by anything you have done, or will do. Quite frankly, even believing in the grace of GOD is a gift from GOD. That said, again…I’m always looking for signs. I’m looking for signs that GOD is wrapping things up here. Why? Well, because it’s important. JESUS told us to ‘watch’ for those signs. Why? I think it was to inspire us to keep focused on what really matters. What really matters? Well, LOVE really matters…love for GOD and love for our ‘neighbors’. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pandemic of words

We’ve all heard of communicable diseases. I think they are typically transmitted by touch (contact), air, water, insect bites, etc. On the other hand, we’ve also all heard of verbal communication. Generally speaking, for most of us, that relates to communicating via words in some format….audibly, text, and even sign language. It may well be that a pandemic is in process, only this time, it’s being transmitted via words. As far as we know, for the first time in history, there is a type of media that is virtually ubiquitous. For instance, people with internet connectivity in virtually any part of the world can now tune in to just about anything from anywhere. If you are upset about virtually anything and looking for reinforcement, you can likely find it online. Consider that the internet/media can be the carrier for diseased words (words of rebellion, words of discontent, words of hate, etc) and those words can now be spread much easier than ever before. Quite frankly, one person with a successful website or broadcast can touch millions and millions of lives, and those individual lives can reach out and touch others. Not all words are bad, of course, but our world is a fallen world. Jesus made a statement saying that satan, himself, is the prince of this current world. Are you seeking and receiving communications that cause you grief (and I’m not talking about an update from your aging grandmother)? Are you tuning into communications that cause you discontent and unrest? Are you tuning into incendiary communications? Do they upset you, make you mad, make you want to fight…even kill? Make sure you check the author. Yeah….the prince of this world is very sly indeed. He’ll take anyone captive to do his will, and quite frankly, he’d have you kill people (even your neighbors), he’d have you stockpile weapons, he’d have you revolt if in the end it meant chaos, death, and destruction. It seems to me that satan loves chaos and destruction. It’s a win/win for him. he’ll take a revolution over peace any day of the week and twice on Sunday. One of the beginning signs of the end times is revolutions. The world does seem to be heading in that direction. We need to be careful about what we seek, who and what we tune into, and what comes out of our own mouths.

Luke 21:9…When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.

Philipians 4:8…Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Titus 3:2…Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no-one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility towards all men.

1 Peter 2:13-14…Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

Romans 1:1-7…Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.

Proverbs 24:21-22…Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious, for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?

Galatians 5:22-23…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Proverbs 13:3…Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Psalm 141:3-4...Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.

Revelation 12:9…The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

1 Peter 5:8…Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

John 8:44…You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dependencies…

The health of the world economy has a few dependencies. Oil happens to be one of them. What nation doesn’t depend on oil, doesn’t need oil? How high can oil prices go before it has a detrimental effect on a society, where it upsets the economical balance enough to cause cataclysm? We found that out at the end of George Bush’s last term in office, toward the end of 2008. Gas prices kept going up until the housing market collapsed. People could no longer meet their financial obligations. The whole world’s economy appeared to hang in the balance. If America, the Wal-Mart of the world goes down, enters a full blown depression, it will snowball…and all those other countries that have built up entire industries that are dependent, at least partially, on being able to sell volumes in America will also suffer loss, and or fail. More and more people will become unemployed all over the world, and therefore, more and more people will no longer be able to be ‘consumers’. Other industries will fail….etc. You get the picture? It would snowball! That makes oil and its cost pretty dang important. When it comes to the sovereignty of other nations, what do you think the industrialized nations of the world would be willing to do to insure continued reasonable costs on oil? How about just about anything?

The other thing that is interesting regarding these oil rich countries in the Middle East is that we, the USA, have dictated that they shall NOT have nuclear weapons. This seems rather hypocritical considering that we have more nuclear weapons than any other country on the surface of the planet. I guess we’ve made ourselves the self appointed policemen of the world? The question is, of course, by our merits, do we deserve to be in that place? Apparently, the answer to that question depends a lot on where you were born and how much you need our military might to insure your continued economic welfare. As that self-appointed policeman, though, we threaten war and invasion if those countries that we depend on to provide oil to the markets at a reasonable cost even think about developing nuclear weapons. Regarding those nations in the Middle East, we used to claim that we couldn’t allow them to have nuclear weapons because of Israel. Though I’ll admit that that’s a tough one to argue with, especially when numbskulls like Ahmadinejad are around, it appears that nowadays the line is a bit blurred due to our actions in Iraq and the subsequent lack of WMDs? Our true motives for invading Iraq, therefore, come into question. One thing that is undeniable, is that America makes no bones about the fact that we will get involved militarily if our ‘interests’ require it. Well, we know that reasonable prices (by our definition at least) on oil/energy is definitely in our ‘interest’. Our energy dependencies will definitely get us up in arms. Of course, nuclear weapons are the only thing that can, at least potentially, guarantee those same oil rich nations any sort of sovereignty in the long run. If you were Iran, would you be building a nuclear weapon?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Simplicity

First off, let’s face facts, we all need a savior. We’ve done nothing in our entire lives that qualifies any of us to inherit eternal life with unspeakable joy/bliss in the presence of the most holy and righteous eternal GOD…the creator of the universe and everything in it (and more)…period. Right? If any of us think we have, I’d love to know what it is you think you’ve done that qualifies you for such a valuable prize? Yeah, by our works, there is no way whatsoever we deserve much more than punishment/destruction. If we take the good we’ve done, and subtract all the crap (there’s a ton of it whether you know it or not), I suspect that any of us will have a deficit beyond what the USA does…and that’s substantial to say the least. So we all need some help if we are to have any chance of redemption. We are on the way to prison, or destruction, or worse! Who could possibly bail us out, pay our debt, and for that matter, why would they? Well, no typical human being would be able to pay our debt, that’s for sure. Very special arrangements would have to be made, but why would anyone bother? Now that’s a great question! Why would they? The answer to that is because they possess unimaginable mercy, love, generosity, forgiveness, and goodness! Yeah…it’s all those and much, much more. Remember, GOD IS LOVE! From the beginning HE devised and implemented a plan. Let’s prepare a sacrifice that is worth so much that this sacrifice alone can pay the outstanding debt for all the sin that has taken place. Guess who that sacrifice was? Yeah, that would be JESUS. Unlike the rest of us, He lived a sinless life…even though he was tempted just like the rest of us. Well, actually, I think He was tempted far more than any of us have been. Satan wanted Him to fail so badly, and tempted Him with tests and promises that you and I have NEVER had to deal with. Unlike the rest of us, Jesus stayed true to the will of His Father. He didn’t bend, He didn’t compromise, and He didn’t fail. Our lives hung in the balance. He chose US and the will of His Father over everything else. There’s only one thing you can do to fail. Reject it. Reject the grace and mercy and love of the only true GOD and the means by which HE accomplished this task…who is CHRIST JESUS THE LORD. He’s the free gift of eternal life with unspeakable joy for eternity! The only requirement? ACCEPT HIM!

Mark 14:65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him.

Mark 15:19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spat on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.

Matthew 26:67-68 Then they spat in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, "Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?"

Luke 22:63-65 ¶ The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, "Prophesy! Who hit you?"  And they said many other insulting things to him.

Luke 23:33-34 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

1 Peter 2:22-25 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Who are we to condemn anyone?

In Christianity, there’s this whole ‘condemn not’ thing. It’s there for a reason. We’ve all heard the old adage, if you haven’t walked a mile in their shoes, you are in no position to judge. Imo, this is a wise adage. Who knows what any of us would be if our initial circumstances would have been different? If you had been born into a different family, would you be the exact same person you are today? Of course you wouldn’t. Very likely, all of your influences would be different, and many of your experiences would be different as well. Because of our ignorance, we have to trust GOD’s judgment in these areas. If GOD chooses to forgive, are we in any position to argue that? Of course we aren’t. GOD knows all the circumstances, we don’t. Depending on our upbringing, it IS possible that we can discern (biblically) right from wrong. That doesn’t mean we can condemn anyone. Every one of us have sinned, even those of us that knew that what we were doing WAS sin. You’ve lied…right? Did you know that lying was wrong? Ever steal anything? Did you know that was wrong? The OT law is interesting. If you sinned in any area, you failed…you did not gain eternal life through the law if you failed in any area….period…end of story. It didn’t matter in what area you failed. You could only earn eternal life via the ‘law’ by never failing, never sinning. It was a win or lose proposition. Everyone lost. The law, itself, that offered eternal life, was the same law that put you to death. And then came CHRIST. HE put to death the law…and gave life. That life was in HIM…as HE was the only one that lived a sinless life. He created an ‘ark’ of sorts. By your own merits, you don’t qualify for eternal life. CHRIST qualified us. The only thing that we really have to do….ACCEPT THAT….ACCEPT HIM…ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST….ACCEPT GOD’S FREE GIFT. JUST HUMBLE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO ACCEPT GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS. That’s it…that’s all you have to do. The rest is up to GOD.