Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rise & Shine

Romans 4:25 “He (Jesus) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

When you sit down and seriously think that God in heaven sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on that cross to pay the price for our sins, and then rise to life in resurrection, conquering sin & death, that we may rise to eternal life through Him, it becomes overwhelming for the mind to grasp the depth of such love for us. When we repent of our sins and receive Jesus Christ as our personal Lord & Savior, our spirit is regenerated in rebirth from above and we are resurrected from spiritual death and eternal damnation in Hell to eternal life in heaven with God. Our sins are put upon Jesus and Christ’s righteousness thought His sinless life is put upon us through His blood shed upon that cross for us, justifying us … being found “just as if we had never sinned. New life and restoration of relationship with our Maker, Father God, in Christ. That’s what Easter is all about.

Romans 6:2-10 “We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”

People do not like to talk about sin and hell because they are not what we were created for and therefore both repulsive in thought and undesirable subjects of discussion. Yet, being the natural condition of unregenerate and unsaved due to unrepentant of sin and rejection of salvation through the atoning sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness in those sins, its the duty, commissioned by the Lord, to bring the issue to light and speak to the gospel message of life for the lost, for hope and in love. In bondage to sin and condemned to eternal separation from God in the anguish of hell is neither life nor living. The world, the sinful flesh and Satan has blinded so many of the truth and Christ tells us to let our light of truth in Him shine in the darkness of our society and culture, that they may see that truth and find their way to the resurrected Lord that died for them also.

Romans 8:33-35 “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

In a secular world looking for love and truth in all the wrong places, every which way but up, may it be our goal this Easter to not only have an answer for the faith that we hold so dear, but to give that answer, that truth of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the free gift of God, to the world that does not know this love and truth. 1 John 4:10 “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

Rise and shine,
In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Our Heavenly Father, Lord God, created the Earth by His good pleasure for us, When Adam & Eve bought sin into the world, God, by His loving mercy & grace, sent His Son to save us. Jesus the Christ died on a cross, in our place, to pay for the sins of the world and rose again on the third day, defeating sin and death. Romans 14:8-9. This we celebrate this holy week, at Easter. But not let us forget that Jesus has risen, ascended to the right hand of God in Heaven, and will come again to bring us home with Him. Hallelujah (“God be praised”)!

Matthew 24:30-31 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

Colossians 3:4 "When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

Hosanna (“oh save now”) Lord Jesus!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are You Fixed Yet?

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the testimony: that 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. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

There is an old saying that says: “If its not broke, don’t fix it”. This is a good rule of thumb when it comes to having the “right” people in the “right” job, a good relationship, a successful process and procedure to accomplish a goal, and a machine, piece of equipment, tool or even computer software that gets the work done. How many times have we had the “new & improved” updated version actually slow us down, has us going in the wrong direction or brings us to a stop? But when one of these things is broke, that’s when they need to fix it. There is regular and preventative maintenance, evaluating, monitoring and improving that ensures the highest opportunity for optimum function, productivity and desired benefit, but when it’s broke it must be fixed.

Romans 6:22-23 But now having been set free from sin, and having become willful bond-slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

At my Aunt’s funeral this last week, my cousin Mike told of the last words spoken to him by Pat being: “Did you get fixed”? Mike, like me, is just a wee-bit over-weight. He had a Lap-band procedure done years ago, but had it loosened for the last year for a (now cured) ulcer and gained the weight back, along with the associated blood pressure, diabetes, and heart risks. What Aunt Pat was saying was: “I care about your health & well being, and love you enough to tell you “straight up” that you are physically “broke”. His loving mother’s final message to him was to get the Lap-band tightened, start eating a better diet and get on an exercise program to get back in shape and live longer & better. Life is better than death, physically and especially spiritually. But do we take both for granted? How many around us do not even realize the life and death situation they are in?

John 3:31-36He (Jesus) has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”

Because our Heavenly Father, Creator God, out of His love and mercy gave, out of pure grace, His Son Jesus Christ as an atoning sacrifice to pay for the wages of our sin, we who believe in the redeeming Savior, accepting this free gift and follow Him as Lord of our life, are forgiven and made children of God, with a new heart in spiritual rebirth. Because of sin in our lives, we are broke. Outside of Jesus, there are no processes or procedure to make us better. There are no improvements, rules or works that we can perform to restore our right relationship with God. Looking to other religions or other gods will get us nowhere. Living the same sinful life will leave us broke, with unfruitful consequences today and unthinkable eternal consequences. We are all broke by sin and need fixed by “saving” faith in the one and only remedy; salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. Until we do, we remain broken and in need of the Great Physician sent by God. So the Question is: “Are you fixed yet?” Got Jesus?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Aunt Patsy Lou

This past week, I received a call from my cousin that my mother’s sister, Aunt Pat, had passed away suddenly on Wednesday. I had heard that we only have a few truly close people in our lives that we connect on the deepest level and relate to with trust, open and honest fellowship in the confidential and relaxed sharing and interchange of ideas, opinions, dreams & thoughts, safe and without reservations. In the years following the passing of my mother, I had developed this relationship with my Aunt Pat and realized the excellence of her natural loving quality of family and practical knowledge from years of experience in this world’s school of “hard knocks” combined to produce and shape a fine gem. The word “eulogy” is defined as “an oration in high praise of a person; to extol”. Let me tell you a little about my priceless Aunt. She was quite a character with a heart to match and exceed ... a one-in-a-million. There has been much said these days about both the attack on the family and the lack of family love, interaction & influence in our society, but it was God that made the family to care & support, love & fellowship, teach priorities, values & virtues in community. Character, loyalty, honor, respect, hospitality, courtesy, kindness, integrity, manners, charity, duty, faith, industry, dedication and devotion, which are not old school notions that passed away decades ago and forgotten. They are the fabric of society found in family and community as the Lord designed us to live. It’s not hard to see that it is these qualities that are lacking or perverted today that have a cultural in chaos. Self-life has produced a society that is blind to these balanced and healthy values and virtues, but some have eyes that see the truth and a heart filled with love, not of self, but of family and community. Aunt Pat was there, but with a unique “rough-on-the-edges” hilarious personality. She always said that we can laugh or cry at life’s situations. So her talks and stories would have everyone smiling at her humor. There had been many hard times in her child and adult life that she fought through with steadfast courage and determination, and conquered. Even in the last years, battling cancer and health issues in her late seventies, her outlook was that “life was worth living with joy”. Aunt Pat was experienced, knowledgeable, loving and strong because of her trying years. And she passed her wisdom on, to those who had ears to hear, in funny tales. Not ignoring the serious, but exposing with light and a light heart bathed in good old fashioned family values. I was blessed to have the Lord give me such a character in one of the closest people in my life … my Aunt Patsy Lou. We would, seemingly, talk for hours on the phone. I learned from her, love in demonstration, what family should look like. I knew her love. Rest in peace, I shall see you again soon on streets paved in gold, my priceless Aunt. Don’t take for granted the loved ones in your life. Talk to them, make and spend time together enjoy their company. Enjoy every moment, creating cherished lifetime memories, founded and finished in pure love. Don't forget to tell your family that you love them either. One day they will go to be with the Lord. And I hope that you will be able to say that your life was blessed by them becasue you didn't miss the opportunity. God made family; love & enjoy them. In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Holy is the Lord, God Almighty - Part 2

Isaiah 6:3 “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

What hinders us from denying self, taking up our cross (crucifying our sin) daily and following Jesus in total dedication and devotion in holy sanctification? What is still shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us? A.W. Tozer writes that it is the veil of our fleshly, fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated, an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress. This veil is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. To be specific, the self-sins are self-confidence, self-pity, self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-indulgent, self-love, with self-opinion and a host of others. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety an their power. Edwards adds that Self-love and its lusts keep the eyes so caught up only upon themselves that their minds are taken up with self and the admiration of their experiences. What they are chiefly excited about is not the glory of God or the beauty of Christ but the thrill of their own experiences. The fundamental object of holy gracious spiritual affections is the glory of God, so in no way can these affections be conceived to bear any relation to self or self-interest. The fundamental basis of holy gracious affections is the transcendent excellence and loveable nature of divine things. Christian love particularly is the spring of all gracious affections. Yet it is the divine moral excellency and glory of God in Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the works of God and the ways of God that are the primary reason a true saint loves these things. By the moral perfections of God they mean those attributes which God exercises as a moral agent: His righteousness, truth, faithfulness, justice, mercy, grace, goodness, love and holiness (What He does). By God’s natural attributes, according to the way of conceiving Him, that consists of His greatness, His omnipotent power, omniscient knowledge, His eternal being, His omnipresence, and His awesome majesty (Who He is). The moral excellence of an intelligent being, when it is true and real, and not merely external or counterfeit, is ‘holiness’. It is the only true virtue.

1 Peter 1:13-16 “So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

Holy is defined as (1) Regarded as inviolate from ordinary use and set apart for religious observance; sacred; consecrated; dedicated. (2) Free of sin; untainted by sin. (3) Of persons ; devoted to God; religious, saintly, innocent. Holiness in man is but the image of God’s holiness. A love for the supreme excellence of divine things, for the beauty of their moral excellent or holinesss, is the beginning and spring of all holy affections. Not that the saints (Believers)love God only for His holiness. All His attributes are attractive and glorious to them. They delight in every divine perfection. But their love of God for His holiness is what is most fundamental and essential in their love. It is here that true love of God begins. All other holy love for divine things flows from this. A true love of God must commence with a delight in His holiness. No other attribute is truly lovely without it. Those that do not see the glory of God’s holiness cannot see anything of the true glory of His mercy and grace. Herein consists the beauty of the saints that they are holy ones. The moral image of God in them is their beauty and their holiness. The Christian faith is beautiful because is holy. The excellence and love of the Word of God is in its pure holiness. The glory of the gospel is largely that it is a holy gospel, the bright expression of the holy beauty of God in Jesus Christ. The way os salvation is a holy way. The glory of heaven is that it is the habitation of God’s holiness. A new spiritual sense is given to those that are regenerated. This is different from all the other five senses that we naturally have. This is nothing other than the beauty of holiness; the great object of a spiritual taste, and appetite. It is a holy love of a holy object; the love of what is holy.

Revelation 4:8 “Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”

And so above all else, the holy nature of God, Christ, the Word of God and the other divine things must be consistent with the holiness of the saints; living for Christ, walking in the Spirit, trusting and obeying God. Likewise, what is sinful has enmity hostility in the heart) against God. So what is carnal (the sinful desires of the flesh) is against the holy things, against God, against the law of God, and also against the people of God. They have contrary natures. Wickedness hates holiness and holiness delights in holiness. The saints on earth (those who are sanctified) admire and extol (praise) all His attributes, seeing the loveliness of His holiness. This when they praise God for His power, His holiness is the beauty which motivates them. Likewise, they praise Him for His justice and awful majesty. They praise God for His mercy, grace and faithfulness. The test of affections, particularly love and joy, lies in whether or not holiness is the foundation of the affections. The sovereign power of God and the excellence of His holiness captivates their hearts and delights the saints above all things. By this you may examine your love to God and to Jesus Christ and to His word, and your joy in them, and your love also to the people of God, and your desires after heaven. This is the real test. This is the difference between saints and natural man. Instead of being terrified they will rejoice and praise God. They see the beauty of His holiness to live for today, their salvation by faith in the finished work of Jesus for their sins and the blessed assurance of their eternal home, not the terror.

Psalm 97:11-12 “Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.”

Revelation 15:4 “Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Give all diligence to growing in grace by adding to faith, virtue, and so on for “making our calling and election sure and for having an entrance into Chris’s everlasting kingdom ministered to us abundantly” (2 Peter 1-5-11). God is able to convict those who practice false affections and reject good rules; His grace is not limited in anything. Such moral rules may help real Christians detect what are false affections, which they may have mingled with true. God’s holy Word, Will, and Way will help their faith become purer, like gold tried in the fire.
Genesis 17:1 “The LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.”

Deuteronomy 10:12 “What does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul."

Holy is the Lord, God Almighty. The earth is filled with His glory!

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Holy is the Lord, God Almighty - Part 1

Deuteronomy 6:5 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” And from the Apostle’s Creed: “There is “One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and all things visible and invisible.”

Deuteronomy 10:12 “What does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul.

In studying the holiness of God, I found A.W. Tozer's writing that our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is eternal. He antedates time and is wholly independent of it. Time begins and will end in Him. He pays no tribute and from it He suffers no change. He is immutable. God has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure. To change He would need to go from perfect to less than perfect, and if He were to become less perfect He would be less than God. God is omniscient. He knows in one free and effortless act, all matter, all spirit, all relationships, and all events. Love and mercy and righteousness are His, and holiness so ineffable that no comparisons or figures will avail to express it. Only fire can give even a remote conception of it. God created the heavens and the earth, all the elements of the universe, the hosts of heaven and everything that lives and breathes. God is omnipresent. God is spirit and the limits of space, though established by Him, provide no boundary for the Creator. God is almighty. All powerful in all that is natural and supernatural.

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Read Job 38:1-40:4 for details we need to thnk about.

America’s first public school textbook asked every student in this nation the same question proposed at the 1646 Westminster Assembly: “What is the chief end of man; the purpose of our life?” The answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Why is it important that we esteem this our highest lesson to glorify God? Is it not the fruit of love? The great American Theologian, Jonathon Edwards writes: “For a man must first love God and be one with Him in heart before he will esteem God’s good as his own. It is the contemplation and enjoyment of God’s perfection that motivates someone to apprehend intrinsically the beauty, glory and supreme good in God’s nature, in a heart united to God in love. The basis of a true love for God is His intrinsic worth, for He is worthy to be loved for His own sake. The exercise of true and holy love in the saints is not primarily that they first see that God loves them and therefore He is to be loved, but rather that they first see that God Himself is lovely. God is the ultimate foundation in the love of true saints. Everything else is built upon this foundation. True gratitude or thankfulness to God for His kindness to us arises from a love for God, based on who He is in Himself. Natural gratitude has no such basis. The gracious stirrings of natural affections to God for kindness received always spring from the primary love already in the heart, which is for God’s own excellence. Because of this love that already exists, prepared the way and laid the foundation, the affections are disposed to flow out on occasions of God’s kindness.

1 John 4:6-12 “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we 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 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”

Edwards continues that Love of God makes a man desire to honor God and to please Him. A natural man’s love for his friend makes him desire to honor and please him. Yet the saint’s knowledge of the loveliness of God and his delight in Him for that are distinctive in holy affection. The desire is not the same. One has acquired the sweet taste of honey but the other has never tasted honey. Therefore their tastes are quite different. A spiritual application of an invitation of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ consists in the giving the soul a spiritual sense and relish of the holy and divine blessings offered, and the sweet and wonderful grace of the offerer. Relishing in total trust in the holy excellence of the Promiser and His faithfulness to fulfill what He offers, and in His glorious sufficiency, the heart embraces the offer and embraces the Promiser. Thus they are enabled to see their grace and their title to the promise." We are His children.

Genesis 17:1 “The LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.”

Deuteronomy 7:8-9 “Because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”

I’ll pick up right here in the next post. Wow, praise God! In Christ, Brian