Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blessed Are Those Who Hunger & Thirst For Righteousness

Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

We are already into the fourth week of our Friday evening home Bible Study small group looking at the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus. What a blessing to dive into the deep meaning of the Lord’s instruction and teachings, especially for the facilitator who studies it twice for preparation and presentation, but even further to the Blogger who gets to acquaint with, meditate upon and convey the lesson a third time. And what a lesson the Lord is teaching!

Righteousness. The word itself can make us a little uncomfortable. We don’t use it much today either. Somehow the word righteousness feels out of place in our culture. Should it be this way? The word for righteousness in the Greek is used to describe whatever is right or just in itself, and which therefore conforms to the revealed will of God. A life aligned with God’s will. Being “right with God”. Hunger & thirst are bodily cravings that must be satisfied. Life cannot be sustained by simply eating one meal or having an occasional sip of water; rather, the intake of food and water is to be a continual habit of life. So, too, a hunger and thirst for righteousness implies a craving and desire that has to be satisfied (meaning a deep inner contentment), no matter the cost. Are we truly satisfied with our life? If not, could it be that we are hungry for the wrong things? Do we have our priorities right and straight? Are we looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places? Think about it. What is it that you just absolutely have to have? Luke 12:34 says: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If, like the words of songwriter Mick Jagger, “I can’t get no satisfaction”, then what exactly do you & I hunger for? Thirst for?

John 7:37-38 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'"

John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her (the Samaritan woman at the Well), "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

What do thirst for (our motivating, driving force) and where do we go for our satisfying water of life and “well being”. Is there anything in our lives that might ruin our appetite for righteousness? Think about it. How would the world be impacted if all truly desired to live life as God intended it to be lived? Is satisfaction – that sense of deep inner contentment – something we can pursue and gain as an end in itself, as so many of us do, or is it a natural by-product of something else? Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:31-33 "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Providence is defined in my Webster’s New American Dictionary of 1960 as “God’s care for mankind”. Jesus speak to this in the giving of the “Lord’s Prayer” of Matthew 6, instructing us to pray: “Give us this day, our daily bread”. “Give” means that God is the “Giver” of our provision for life and we receive all from our Maker, Lord God. “Us” means that we are not selfishly in this world alone, but to “love our neighbor as ourself”, having compassion and care for all and each other, as God does. “this day, our daily” means (as we read earlier) Life cannot be sustained by simply eating one meal or having an occasional sip of water; rather, the intake of food and water is to be a continual habit of life. So, we ask our Heavenly Father, Creator and Providential Provider to meet our true needs in life, each and every day for living and living in righteousness. “Bread” represents all our needs. So, as life is not comprised of only nourishing our bodies, we ask God to provide the needs of our entire life (body, soul & spirit) to, including His Devine Hand on our life as His precious child seeking first the kingdom of God (his Will, not ours) in righteousness. The sensual flesh of our sin nature thinks otherwise.

James 4:2-4 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people (meaning spiritual adulatory against God), don’t you know that friendship with the (godless and therefore lawless) world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. The world seeks life satisfaction (doing a this and a trying to do that), apart from God, in darkness. How can we be sure that we have a genuine hunger and thirst for righteousness? We need to focus our attention on the spiritual and not the sensual and physical. What is our continual habit of life and who do we live for?

Psalm 119:1-8, 40 & 123 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness. My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation and Your righteous word.

John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Satisfaction guaranteed! Christ is our righteousness, Brian

All Hallows Evening

Matthew 15:3 Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God?

In a day or two, we celebrate Halloween. Dressing up in costumes, going to parties, playing games and “trick or treating” for the little kids. But when I ask people what is the significance of the day and what exactly are we celebrating on this “second most popular” holiday in the United States of America?, the answer always seems to be the same: “I don’t know.”

I’ve listened to a couple Pastors this week explain that there is a confluence of three streams that flow together to form this modern celebration. The first goes back to the Druids, who were the pagan inhabitance of pre-Christian Ireland & Scotland. The Druid or Celtic year began on November 1, which was called “Samhain”. This was their New Year’s day, and consequently, October 31 was “New Year’s Eve”. It was also a combination of a “Harvest Festival” and thought of as a “Festival of the Dead”, for it was said that it was this night that the Earth came to its closest contact with the unseen and spiritual world. Consequently, ghosts, goblins and witches terrified the populous, supposedly destroying crops, killing babies, stealing farm animals, upsetting garbage cans and reeking all sorts of havoc on the people. Bon fires were set upon the hills, either to keep the ghosts away, or perhaps to guide the spirits of the dead back to their homes, where it was believed that the spirits of the deceased on the eve of Samhain find warmth and good cheer in the home of their kinfolk before the onslaught of winter. Therefore, we see a lot of the folk custom of Halloween has come from this Druid celebration.

Another one of them is the custom of “Trick or Treat”. It originated when the people of Ireland went around to homes asking for various treats for the celebration which was to follow later in the evening. Then, when the belief in the reality of goblins and ghosts began to decline, and it was no longer believed that they were really doing these mischievous things, the children decided to help out. So they dressed up in various costumes and put on masks, then went house to house asking for treats, but adding a little something extra … threatening also tricks if they failed to be generous. And so, there were garbage cans upset, gate posts found in trees, and all sorts of pandemonium that took place on that night, supposedly attributed to the ghosts and goblins, but, of course, wrought by the dressed up children.

Deuteronomy 18:9-11 “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.”

The second stream that flows into the modern celebration of Halloween comes from Central Europe, when the Christian church made its attack upon the pagan bastions, destroying the temples of the various heathen gods and goddesses. But it was never able to completely eradicate the pagan worship which reappeared in the “Dark Ages” in the form of witchcraft. One of the important aspects of witchcraft are a number of celebrations each year, which are called “Witch’s Sabbaths”. One of the highest witch’s Sabbaths, the “Black Sabbath” of witches, occurred on October 31. This was a night of feasting and revelry, and imagery includes themes of death, evil, the occult, black cats, bats, mythical monsters and other related Halloween paraphernalia. The source of much of our Halloween folklore today stems from the high witch’s Black Sabbath of October 31 celebrated in Central Europe in the Middle Ages.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.

The third stream that completes the modern concept of Halloween comes from the Roman Catholic Church. The church was engaged had been engaged in appointing certain days to honor and reverence certain Saints that the church had appointed or declared. There had become so many of these days that it became impossible to have a specific day for each Saint, so they decided to have one day in which they would remember all of the Saints, called “All Saints Day”. In the 700’s A.D., Pope Gregory III changed the date if “All Saints Day” to November 1, and in the year 834 A.D., Pope Gregory IV extended this celebration to the entire Roman Catholic Church. There was a celebration associated with this, on the evening before called “All-Hallows-Mas” or “All-Hallows-Even” on October 31 and it is from these two words that we have the contraction “Halloween”.

Here you see the three-fold origin of the celebration of Halloween. Are you still excited to celebrate it? Well, unrelated, on October 31, 1517 @ noon in Wittenberg, Germany, a young professor of Theology by the name of Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the University door that sprung into existence the Protestant Reformation and churches. So October 31 is the birthday of Protestantism and the Evangelical faith. Saved by grace alone, saved by Christ alone, and saved by faith alone. Now that’s no trick, but the greatest treat of all.

In Christ, Brian

Hillbilly Ten Commandments

Some people in the world seem to have trouble with all those "shalts" and "shalt nots" in the Ten Commandments. Folks just aren't used to talking in those terms. So we translated them for you to make them easier to understand.

1.) Just one God. The God of the "Good" book.

2.) Put nothin before God. Any fella or gal, place or thin' that yer puttin more importin than Him? Stop.

3.) Watch yer mouth. Be holy and revere the Lord, yer Maker.

4.) Git yerself to Sunday meetin. Thankin' and givin glory.

5.) Honor yer Ma & Pa. God picked them, so love em and do what they say.

6.) No killin. Jesus even said, no hatin, fer its the same thig in yer heart.

7.) No foolin around with another fellers woman. Jesus said, 'don't be even thinkin about it."

8.) Don't take what ain't yers. That's lo down and ya wouldn't want folks takin yer stuff.

9.) No tellin' tales and gossipin'. Tell em straight and tell em all. Don't be addin anythin.

10.) Don't be hankerin for yer buddy's stuff. The "good' stuff is in heaven. Have a hankerin for that instead.

Now that's kinda plain and simple, don't ya think? Y'all have a nice day!

Blessin's, Brian

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blessed are the Meek

Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Looking forward to Friday evening small group Bible study of the “Be” attitudes of the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 5 (the Sermon on the Mount), which focuses the blessings of the Believer, for life on this side of Heaven and the eternal rewards to come to those who are “born again” (John 3). Not how to “act”. These are “Be” attitudes, not “do” attitudes. This is the heart attitude of the regenerated heart of a Believer. Meekness, humble gentleness, is Holy Spirit-given fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), not by self effort. Not of us, it is a natural “fruit of the Spirit” in those saved by faith in the redemptive atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ – not by our works or any human desire and decision, so that no one can boast. The glory belongs to God alone. The opposite of “meek” is proud. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek,” but realistically, in this day and throughout history it seems to be the aggressive, the fighters, the intellectuals, or even the just plain lucky that might inherit the earth. But Jesus’ view of life and righteousness is nothing like the world’s perspective. The ancient Greeks understood the gentle or meek person to be the one who is angry on the “right” occasion, with the “right” people, at the “right” moment, for the “right” amount of time. There is a thing called “righteous indignation” over sin, but in the intent is to correct with gentleness; neither in excessive anger, nor in pathetic mildness that never gets angry. In humility remember that, except by the grace of God, there walk I.

Psalm 37:10-11 “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before (Rest in) the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”

Joseph demonstrated the foundation of faith in action by his life when he proclaimed in Genesis 39:9b How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?", and also in Genesis 50:20You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” He did not live a man-centered anthropocentric life, but a God-centered Theo-centric life, looking beyond actions to the sovereignty of God to choose meekness rather than anger. Gentleness is not weakness; it is power under control. James 1:19-20 tells us that every brother & sister in Christ must have the habitual nature to “be quick to hear (be a good listener), slow to speak (think about what you are going to say & watch your words), and slow to anger (in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control); for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” 2 Timothy 2:24-26A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

In our church’s Summer series, Ray Vanderlaan explained that sin brought chaos and death into the world and God is, by grace, working to bring “shalom” (peace and order) back through His redemptive plan of salvation, but not by excusing sin unpunished; that would be unjust. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." Sin must be paid for, and the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). We just discussed this issue this week in Wednesday’s Men’s Bible Study at church. We read in Romans 3:22-26The righteousness of God comes 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.

Psalm 37:22, 29, 34For those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.” How do we get there? John 1:12 -13 makes clear, “To all who did receive him Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” And consequently, Romans 8:16-17The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” – inherit the earth. Revelation 5:9-10 declares, "Worthy are you (our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ) to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

We will never be really, biblically gentle until we have surrendered our will to the will of God; aligning our will with His will. To put it another way, strength without control leads to chaos. Loving God sets the standard to live by and live out daily, not us. Meekness, gentleness and humility starts with unconditional surrender to the control of God. Have we ever given our will to God? As Jesus did, have we ever cried out to Him and said, “Not my will be done, but Yours”? When we do, meekness and gentleness becomes something the Holy Sprit works within us, not something we must try to manufacture on our own; it’s not a “DO” attitude. The mistake we make all too often is trying to live the Christian life on our terms, in our own strength, without unconditional surrender to let God work in us. We view gentleness as a law to be obeyed, a forced limitation on our behavior, rather than a character quality God is working into our lives. The Lord’s nature of meekness is sown into the fabric of our soul (mind will & emotion), and written upon our heart, that we do not try to be meek; we are meek and becoming meeker as we grow and mature daily in our walk as a Christian because it is a “BE” attitude of the child of God.

In Christ, Brian

Monday, October 17, 2011

An American Audit

Proverbs 28:2 When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.

We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people. President George Washington's First Inaugural Speech (1789)

Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. President George Washington's Farewell Address to the People of the United States — September 26, 1796

Our First President and "Father of our Country" pointed to the standard by which to measure. How are we doing?

Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

One nation under God. In God We Trust. God bless America.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blessed are Those Who Mourn

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted”.
This week’s small group Bible Study focused on the second of beatitudes taught by Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. The study began as many would think: “Really?” Taken at face value, “blessed are those who mourn” seems strange. But as Jesus explained that it is the “poor in spirit” who are blessed when we reach the point of realizing our spiritual bankruptcy because of sin. It is then that we are able to be blessed of God. There is a connection between mourning and realizing our poverty of spirit. Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
The specific language used in this beatitude includes the strongest word for mourning in the Greek language. It is the term used for mourning the death of a loved one, and it describes a grief that cannot be hidden. But when Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn.”, the question that comes to minds is, “What are we to mourn?”

James 4:4 & 6-10 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Both cleanse and purify are technical terms in the Old Testament. The reference to cleansing, which brings to mind an external action, would indicate stopping certain behaviors (words and deeds). The admonition to “purify your heart” deals more with the internal cleansing of an individual’s thoughts, motives, and desires of the heart. The double-minded person suffers from divided loyalties. On one hand their desires to be near to and please God; on the other hand they love the world and all it has to offer.

What is to be our response to our sin? At my Wednesday night men’s Bible Study group a 20 year old young man (we'll call him Robert), from my New Believer’s class last year, commented that knowing “what is sin in the eyes of God” is the most difficult thing for his age group in recognizing that they are a sinner and seeing the consequences for their sinning against a “just & holy” Lord God. The world, the flesh and the Devil are bent against God's perfect moral law, teachings, statutes and commands; focused on sensual self interests and pleasures. With no moral compass, no one mourns their sin; they ignore it in humanistic moral relativism. How can there be a sorrow that is in according to the will of God which produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation? Repentance means changing your mind about your sin, mourn your sin, literally making a u-turn and bringing your thoughts and actions in line with God’s will.

Psalm 34:17-18 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Holiness is the standard. Each of us is to be holy just as God is holy. Holiness is the goal. Sound impossible? Good news! Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are the ones who realize they just don’t have it in them to be holy. They are blessed because they are the ones that God helps. Sorry Ben Franklin, God does not help those who help themselves. God helps the helpless. As we see our spiritual poverty, the Holy Spirit works in us to bring us to mourn over our sinful lack of holiness. Jesus paid the painful ultimate price for our un-holiness. Our response to sin, the response prompted by the Holy Spirit, is to mourn over sin. We should mourn because sin caused the death of Christ in our place to atone for them. Sin grieves God and causes damage to His people. Spend some time in prayer today, asking God to break your heart with the things that break His. Ask Him to help you mourn over sin, that you may be blessed with Him comfort.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:1-3 Seeing the crowds, he (Jesus) went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

We started a small group home Bible study at our house this week, which began by asking God to help us see the familiar verses of the Beatitudes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew, chapter 5. Focusing, this week, on the first of these precious teachings that radically defined and took righteousness to the “right” level of what it means to be blessed of God and how these blessings are manifest in our lives; to live out these blessings in our Christian walk. Growing in our faith by seeking and finding truth, maturing in our godly knowledge and wisdom from above, aligning our purpose with the Lord’s purposes of restoration and creating beauty in this fallen world, to be a light shining in the darkness as ambassadors for the Son of God, for the kingdom of heaven, to impact our life and the lives of those within our sphere of influence, in this time and place of God’s plan called history. Do we want to be blessed by God? Of course, we want His blessings in our lives!

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Blessed or blessedness is first and foremost a characteristic of God. It is a part of who He is, His state of being. The Greek word translated is ‘makarios’. It is sometimes translated as “happy”, but it carries a much deeper meaning. In English, the idea of being “happy” is based upon favorable circumstances. But to be blessed is to possess the favor of God. It is a state of being defined by fullness and satisfaction from God. To be blessed is to be walking in the fullness of God regardless of circumstances; in good times and bad.

Luke 18:9-14 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: " 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. 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."

The Greek word translated in Matthew 5 as poor means “to be poverty stricken, powerless, utterly destitute, and bankrupt.” To be “poor in spirit” means knowing you have nothing to offer and acknowledging your total dependence on God. It suggests a humility, which is the opposite of pride. It seems to be ingrained in our sinful human nature to think that we are better than perhaps we really are. This is especially true when it comes to standing before the Righteous Judge of the universe. We fail to recognize the seriousness of sin that is wicked iniquity in the eyes of our “Just & Holy” Lord God. All too often, when it comes to sin in our life, we justify our actions by comparing ourselves to someone we believe is worse than we are; like God grades us on a curve or scale. But that’s not the way God judges. Just look at the Ten Commandments. How do you and I measure up to no idols, taking God’s name lightly or profanely, no lying, no stealing, no hating, no lustful thoughts, no envious desires. Paul clarifies in Romans 7 stating: “Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” God’s standard is perfection , not goodness. No one measures to the standard known as righteousness. 1 John 1:8-10 says: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” Our only hope for blessing is to confess our sinful life that falls short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and admit our utter dependence on God. Those who are walking in the fullness of God, those whose inheritance is heaven, are those who are “poor in spirit”. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

2 Corinthians 1:2-4 "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
Blessings, Brian

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. What about ... in these days ... here and now?

Have we turned into a disposable society, where life, relationships, and faith are taken so lightly. I was talking to a Christian co-worker that said that he believes that our egocentric pagan culture has been indoctrinated and bought into the notion that “we deserve it” … whatever we want, with no limit, which has created a immoral code that (as Alliance Defense Fund President Alan Sears states) is contaminating minds with a endless torrent of anti-God, and anti-Christian propaganda, in the battle between faith & unbelief. Are we starting to reap the results of decades of a force-fed unbiblical diet of Darwinistic evolution, pre-marital sex, abortion, socialism, selfish disrespect for authority, and entitlement? Not only have we lost sight of the gospel massage that God has a plan to forgive and save, but we have lost sight of God and living focused on ourselves. But the One who creates also reigns and rules, and the heavens & the Earth are His. In the eyes of God Almighty, we are entitled alright, for our willful disobedience, unfaithfulness and rejection, but God's plan of redemption and salvation is knocking at our hearts door, for the blessed life.

It's "right" to obey God. Not see how close to the edge of the cliff without falling, or to the line of God's standards without crossing. We want God to bless the flesh and our disobedience; wanting blessing without obedience, as we live in compromise of His Holy Word, Will & Way. We want to go to heaven, but we want to be the lord of our life and follow our own flesh desires and rules ... what is right in our own eyes. We prove, time and again, that we do not understand the complexity of God, or the seriousness of Sin. Never under-estimate the consequences that result from our acts of disobedience. Victories & trials, good times and bad, are to train us and mature our faith, improve our life through life experiences by developing knowledge and associated wisdom, shape our perspective an, ultimately, to give praise to the living God and bring Him honor, to trust in His presence and follow Him. May we see that light of truth in this dark age and act upon it in righteousness, shining that light of the gospel of Christ, by our godly life, into the darkness.

Know that God goes before us and prepares the way. God’s grace, out of unmerited love towards the sinner, provides salvation to the Sinner though Jesus Christ alone, transforms hearts, changes lives; making a way to be "right" with God, to those who repent, believe and accept the free gift. Two things I have learned are that there is a God and He is not me. In the words of songwriters Glenn Frey and Don Henley: "This big, bad world doesn't owe us a thing!" The sense of entitlement in our sin nature is, at the root, pure pride and causing chaos in our self-centered society. Who serves who? Look around and see what godless, lawlessness has produced.

Proverbs 21:2 People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart.

Justice is getting what we deserve ... getting what we are entitled to for our willful disobedience. Mercy is not getting what we deserve . Grace is getting what we do not deserve. Realize what we all deserve for sinning against the "Just & Holy" Creator God. Understand God's love and unmerited grace to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for our sins with His life on that cross to redeem us because we were helpless to pay ourselves. Believe, repent & accept the free gift of forgiveness & salvation, if you have not already. Appreciate, with a life of praise, honor, glory and thanksgiving, in trusting obedience, in dedicated discipleship, and in devotedly serving the Lord in His work of redemption in this world, this side of Heaven (our eternal home). Make a difference.

Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.

In Christ, Brian