Saturday, October 31, 2009

Conscious of Sin

Romans 2:10-16 “Glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when unbelieving Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.”

Atheists choose to not believe because if there is a God who created everything, then that God has sovereignty to reign and rule over all Creation, and all Creation is subject to his teachings, commands, and statutes. To an unbeliever, that is unacceptable to their self-governing life standards. But whether we believe in God or not, He exists and there comes a day when He judges all, just and fair, by His holy Law. There is purpose to God’s Law for us and nature. It is not legalism, but the standard that He sent before His Creation for contentment, order and peace. We have the liberty to follow His righteous Law or not, but there are consequences to breaking any law: Man’s, Nature’s or Nature’s God ... there is loss and penalty in some way, shape or form, based upon the law. We are accountable, whether we believe in the law or not. The Law-giver has authority whether we like the law or not. Sin is falling short of God’s standards ... missing the Mark set by God and hitting a different Mark. But if perfect observance of God’s law is the standard, then how can anyone be found righteous before God? Nobody is perfect.

Romans 3:19-25 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”

Romans 6:21-23 “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become bond-slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

To all who believe through faith in the Cross, there is justification by grace through the atoning redemption by our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. It was God’s Plan that His Son would pay a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay. To pay the price for our Sin, Jesus willingly took our place on that Cross out of pure love for us ... it was not bought, earned nor deserved by us. Shall we continue in selfishly willful disobedience, that Christ died to save us from in love and who now lives inside our hearts, or shall we live to God?

Galatians 2:16-21 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I, through the law, died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."

In Christ, our Lord & Savior,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Battle Within

Romans 7:7,12 & 14-25 “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I didn’t know what would change in me, but what I did expect would change, didn’t. Sin continued to be a part of my life and that didn’t seem fit my perceived definition of Believers. I understood that my Redeemer took my sin upon Himself and, in my place, paid the penalty with His blood on that cross, but I didn’t understand why sinful desires continued within me. There seemed to be a battle within me. I desired to follow the Lord, learning & living by God’s Word, Will, and Way for my life, but my eyes were open and I was sadly aware that my carnal desires had come along for the ride. As the Apostle Paul said above, I had the joy of my salvation (justified by grace through faith), the Spirit within my heart, and the desire to please my Heavenly Father, but the sinful nature of the natural man was waging war within. Reality is that this battle wages within every Christian because the world, the flesh and the devil tempt us daily. It would be discouraging, except we know that God allows this battle within, so that we may see clearly and understand that we can not make it on our own. That we all need to take up our cross daily and follow the Lord; trusting and depending upon Him always and forever. Believers are freed from the bondage of sin in Christ; called to liberty as Children of God. Walk in the Spirit! Be encouraged ... in the end, we win the war.

Galatians 5:13, 16-18 & 24-25 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Balanced Word

I read an article that made the point that we can speak so much about the Christian-life and Christian-living that the gospel message often can get lost. God’s plan of salvation in this lost and dying world must be balanced with how we live out our faith and grow. Without “Christ outside of me, dying for me” first, I never get to “Christ inside me, improving me”. It is essential to hear the announcement of Christ’s work on our behalf on the Cross. To realize that we have all sinned against our just & holy God, are lost because we owe a debt for our sins that we can not pay, but our merciful God, out of pure grace, sent Jesus as the God-man who met the Law’s demands for us, shed His blood and died on the Cross for the penalty of our sin, freely justifying us before God, forgave our sin and gave us eternal life. That we were dying and Hell-bound, but in accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord, we are now liberated from the bondage of sin, living and Heaven-bound, which is a gift that we neither earn nor deserved. We all need to see that, in our sinful condition, we are truly lost, first, so we may seek to be found and saved by Jesus. We all have an eternal home; the joy is in our Lord and our salvation! Praise be to God!

1 Corinthians 15:40-50There are heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

For those beyond the age of accountability, salvation unto eternal life begins the moment we first believe and profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but the journey began the day that God created us and we were conceived. As life starts at the beginning, the pilgrimage to Heaven begins before the Christian walk. I look back and see this in my life. Paths that progressively revealed reality & truth through seeds planted by God in the people, places and events that led us to clearly see our true selves, this world (both earthly & godly sides), and the race set before us that we are all running that led us to the foot of the Cross and the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Profession of faith is the first & foremost goal of our God-designed journey on earth, and once saved by “new birth” in Christ, is taking the route to eternal life, in new life on the road to Heaven, defined by God and guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit with Jesus in our new heart.

John 6:63 Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it."

God, when He created Adam & Eve, did not just make a woman and a man, but started the family plan by which the world would find unconditional love and security, comfort and trust. Generations build upon the prior generations, and in godly examples, find the satisfaction and joy that our Heavenly Father intended. But, how easily we are distracted and take our families for granted, if we are not careful.

I heard that you can look at three items to determine the priorities of a person. #1 The Bank Statement to see in our Checking Account, Credit Card & Debit card transactions of who & what we are spending our money on, or the flip side for who & what is being neglected. #2 The Phone Bill to see who we are spending all that time calling and texting, or not calling or texting. #3 The Day Planner to see who & what we are spending all of our time with & on, while bringing to light who & what are left without time. But i think that we might want to add our Computer History and our television log for good measure. It's a good test to step back and take a good hard look at what we are doing to see if our priorities are straight and healthy. Do we not take proper time and care of our families, because we've loaded our day with ourselves? Do we take special time, blocked out, from the busyness and selfish desires for our personal relationships with our Father God in Heaven and the family that He gave us here? Have we called them and talked lately?

If our family lives reflect our Father in Heaven, by making time, and taking time, to both talk daily to God and to truly touch the loved ones in our lives, then real relationship aligned with God's plan fills our hearts with loving warmth and care. That's real comfort! Cherish each day that the Lord gives, count the many blessings that are in the people that make up where you came from, that have brought you to where you are now and where you are going, and then you may truly truly rejoice and be glad in it.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cancer Awareness Month

Proverbs 18:14 "A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?"

Last December, I lost my wonderful cousin Laura to cancer. In the short time that I was blessed to correspond and talk with her, she taught me about cancer awareness, compassion, faith and ministry to truly touch lives and leave a legacy of love. Being cancer awareness month, and to honor my priceless cousin, I decided write you about another very close people in my life, who developed and succumbed to cancer, but not before helping to shape my life and grow closer to God.

At church, I progressed as a Bible Study teacher and Student through my Mentor Bill Stiles, who was my dad's age. My wife, Patty, actually was an Adult Bible Study teacher before me. Once I discovered the Word of God, a thirst for spiritual knowledge and to teach the truth drove my life. The Lord removed my blinders from my eyes, and the Bible now made so much sense to me and I was growing quickly. Bill was the Senior Bible Study teacher and discipled us with in depth study. I love "in depth" study! He was so demanding of our dedication, but Bill was light-years ahead of us in Bible Knowledge and Spiritual wisdom, that our spiritual adolescence frustrated him some. But he truly loved us and enjoyed teaching the Word of God. I learned so much from him. Eventually, Bill and I taught on alternating Tuesday nights and we attended each others classes for literally years. It was a wonderful group of church friends that wanted to learn about the Bible and mature their walk. also in the class was a friend, Tim Chambers.

One Tuesday night, Bill gathered the Bible Study group together in the church kitchen, after the class and broke the news that he had been diagnosed with Esophagus cancer and would start Chemo-therapy, so would have to step down as Bible Study teacher to concentrate on fighting the disease that threatened his life. He said that it didn't look promising for him due to this particular type of cancer. We all prayed together, but I was in shock. We didn't see Bill for almost six months. He was an extremely over-weight, but the radiation treatments had reduced him to a slender man. One day, He returned to run the church office computer system for the Pastor. We talked for a little time and as I was saying good-bye, he said "Brian, God bless you". It was the last time that I saw him. Bill was such a godly man with a servant's heart. With him I came to know and understand "blessed assurance". I miss him dearly and can't wait to see him in Heaven someday. He is there and Victory is his. His son-in-law told me that on Bill's last day, it was as if Angels surrounded his bed. A true "Child of God" went home. What a great man, that blessed me and helped me see truth in Christ and life.

Through this godly man, who found victory in Christ, even with terminal cancer, I learn so much about life and matured in my faith. Bill demonstrated the Christian walk and I grew in my love for God. I have learned to cherish life and the relationships that God has given me.

Cancer has touched each and every one of us, directly or indirectly. This month America promote cancer awareness and prevention. Let's know the enemy, live healthy and help find a cure. 3 John vs. 2 "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Malachi 1:6 "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the Lord Almighty.

In the 1890 American Public School ‘Primer of Ethics’, it is written: God is the creator, and we ought to adore Him. He has made laws, and we ought to obey them. He forgives the penitent – He loves all His creatures; and we ought to love Him. He is always near us, and ready to listen to us, and we ought to pray to Him for help, guidance and protection. His power is always present with you and around you.

Every duty which we have to perform is required of us by God; so that we cannot neglect any duty whatever, without disobeying Him; which is, as it were, a double sin. When a person does wrong to their fellow man, they are being unjust and oppressive to their neighbor. If the action is expressly forbidden by law, then, in addition to the sin against their neighbor, they would be guilty of being disobedient to the law – breaking it. Now, the law of God clearly forbids all the sins of which we can be guilty against anyone; so that we cannot do any wrong without disobeying Him. Therefore, if a person is unjust, disrespectful, deceives, wastes time, or is insubordinate and troublesome to their fellow man or woman, they disobey and displease God. Every offense which we can commit, small as well as great, is a transgression of His law; and we cannot really be happy after we have committed such transgressions, until we repent and obtain His forgiveness. We ought, therefore, to make it the great duty and business of our lives to secure and enjoy, at all times, the favor of Almighty God, our Father in heaven. We should seek His pardon for our sins, go to Him always in our troubles, look to Him for protection in danger, for strength in temptation, for comfort in sorrow, and for peace and happiness in duty; and we should cultivate such constant habits of intercourse and communion with Him, as shall help us, under all circumstances of life, to feel that He is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in time of trouble.

1 Peter 3:8-18: Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

How would our children and adults act, and what would this nation be like, if this lesson on respect was still taught in our schools today? Why did this teaching ever stop? Hearts, minds and souls seek this truth.

Love & Respect, in Christ, Brian

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Not Of This World

John17:11-18 Jesus prayed, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they (Believers)are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”

Many years ago, after starting to attend church in Fresno, California, the Holy Spirit opened my mind and heart to the loving and living Gospel. Accepting the Lamb of God as my Lord and Savior, I began hearing the truth of being saved by grace through faith, not works, the sovereignty of God, and the severity of the consequences of sin, if not forgiven. I, like most, did not understand that being a Christian meant being set apart from this lawless world by God for God’s purposes in righteousness for fullness of life. Not having a church up-bringing or knowledge of the Bible’s Holy Scriptures, the Lord started teaching and molding this “born again” mind, body and soul. What I was blind to in the pursuit of happiness was becoming clear in the light of Christ. To live the “good” life was not tied to materialism, position, wealth, pleasure, or power, but to a loving relationship with the Creator of Heaven & Earth – Father God, and my Redeemer – Jesus Christ, God the Son. I was in the world, but not of the world. I was a Child of God with citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven; an Ambassador for Christ to this lost & dying world, but NOT OF THIS WORLD. Kingdom workers love and serve the Lord, and their neighbors in this world, as the desire of our heart is to please God. My great Christian Mentor Bill used to say that he walked out the door each day and everywhere he looked he saw ministry ... people who needed help and needed to hear about salvation and life in Christ. So many neighbors seeking happiness in all the wrong places, with a godless world system that encouraged the walk on “wrong” path as sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and drugs; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; wild parties, drunkenness, orgies, and the like - Galatians 5:19-21. When all the time is was faith in the one true God of the Bible and the finished work on the Cross by our Lord and Savior that fulfills our hearts desire that produces the good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) that is defined as true happiness.

The Logo “NOTW” is from the store “C28”. C28 is a Christian retail store, offering an alternative to the mainstream mall stores. The Christian clothing, music, jewelry and accessories reflect a clean and positive Christian lifestyle. C28 stands for Colossians 2:8, Not Of This World (NOTW), and all about Jesus! A great store. Check them out.

Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Matthew 5:5-9 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

Though I believed in God always, it wasn’t until the Lord woke me and opened my eyes to the truth, that the Bible revealed the true answers to living and peace. There are two aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: First and foremost, Salvation to eternal life, Jesus rescues us from Hell. Secondly, Life abundant here & now; healthy, holy and wise. John 10:10b “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The regenerated heart has an amazing desire to learn, grow and mature as a disciple (Follower & Student), which creates a thirst for the Word of God in Holy Scriptures for that godly knowledge and wisdom for life (physically, mentally and spiritually), and peace in life. Salvation in Christ does not eliminate or produce immunity from the sinful nature in this life, but brings them to light that they may be identified, targeted, and addressed to remedy, in the will and with the help of God, by kingdom of Heaven workers (aka - us).

Proverbs 12:20 & 28 “There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace. In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”

One of the first verses that captured my heart was “blessed are the peacemakers”. I visualized both the narrow and wide gates & roads that the Lord explained in Matthew 7:13-14, and clearly saw that belief & righteousness produces “peacemakers” who bring the message of faith, hope and love in Christ to the world blindly traveling on the broad road to destruction. Oh, how I wanted to be a Peacemaker. God blesses a Peacemaker, not a Peacekeeper because one maintains only, while the other addresses the root problem and changes the condition to what is right, which is peace in heart, mind and soul. First and foremost, to the foot of the Cross for Salvation to eternal life, to rescue from Hell by being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Secondly, for Life abundant here & now, healthy, holy, wise and full of peace. Seeking the evidence and truth will not lead us to the “right answer", but to the “right person” ... the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the world. Glory Hallelujah!

James 3:13-18 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Shalom, in Christ, Brian