Friday, November 30, 2012

Take It To Jesus

Luke 9:37-43The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

Concluding the Sunday Sermon series on “Amazed by Jesus”, Pastor JJ focused on knowing what to do and what not to do with spiritual; problems that we encounter in our Christian walk. There is a danger that we children of God can misappropriate our faith by placing it where it does not belong. By putting our faith in people, places and things, or experiences and even our own ability apart from the Lord is a “recipe for failure”. We can easily distracted by the things of this world, to think more highly of our capabilities than we ought in spiritual matters. The disciples in the passage above did not take the boy to Jesus and, sometimes, we are guilty of doing the same. It is not about us, but about Him, so we need to turn to the Creator and His Almighty power.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

How can we, who have been transformed by the Way, the Truth and the Life, expect to see victory in spiritual battles and the “good fruit” of our Christian efforts unless plugged into Jesus (the Vine), without whom there is no fruit possible in spiritual life. Jesus is the answer and the solution, because of who He is, not what He did or what He offers. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. The question is: “Do we live like Jesus is the answer and solution to our problems? Or do we turn to other people, places or things which are just distractions from the Truth? Be the man in the crowd calling out to the Lord. Fall in love with Jesus. Know Jesus and understand His glory. Make Him central in your heart and every part of your life to experience what is unveiled and revealed for us to see in Him. Is that a reality in your heart, mind, soul and life? Jesus hears our cries and acts. Take it to Jesus.

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Transformed By Jesus or Mountaintop Experiences?

Luke 9:28-36About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

Not growing up in a “church-going” family, I never went to camp at one of those grand facilities in the local mountains with hundreds of other kids to spend a weekend of spiritual Bible Study and activities with camp counselors and other Christians, listening to charismatic motivational speakers, and inspirational bands, centered on the presence of the Lord in our midst. Where kids begin to hear that God has something greater for their life for them and tells them to “follow Him”. They see that nothing else matters more. From what I’ve heard, it is quite a transcendent experience and many make a life-changing decision with a profession of “saving” faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior from this literal “mountaintop experience”. Pastor JJ has accompanied many young “Seekers” to Camp over the years and attests to the transforming encounter, having witnessed the amazing Spirit-led conversion first-hand.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

But meeting Jesus on the mountain top is not a stopping place, it is a starting point. Pastor warns that there is a danger that we can turn it into an experience that never ends by, figuratively, building shelters in their minds to live in emotionally and never come down from the mountain, which is not a true relationship lived daily in “every day” life. This is placing faith where it does not belong. The child of God is “in the world” (a self-centered materialistic world that “misses the mark” of God’s standards), but we are not “of this world”, not conformed to this God-rejecting world system that “takes its eyes off the target” and on another. Citizen of the kingdom of God, where is home? How is salvation running your daily life? “Listen to Him”. 

Revelation 21:6-7 “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”

In Christ, Brian 

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Teaching Moment

Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”

A father was driving with his young daughter, who could barely see over the dashboard from the passenger seat. The dad playfully tells her to take-a-look around out the windows, then asks, “Do you know where you are?” The little girl looks outside, trying to find a familiar site, but not seeing any thing recognizable, she says, “No daddy, I don’t know where I am?” Sensing a teaching moment for his child about asking for directions, the parent proclaims, “Well then, you must be lost.” To which this logical young lady immediately replies, “Oh no daddy, I’m not lost! I’m with you.” It was quite a teaching moment.

Likewise, when we are with our heavenly Father, “Abba” God, we are never lost.

Proverbs 3:6In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Praise be to our Father in heaven, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for lessons learned.


Saturday, November 24, 2012


Isaiah 46:8-10 “Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.”

We are in week three of our Friday evening small group home Bible study on the topic of “knowing God”, our all-powerful, all-knowing and everywhere present Lord, all the time. What peace, confidence and courage in our heavenly Father brings. In Daniel 4:34-35,  Nebuchadnezzar blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” We are accountable to our Maker? There is a purpose for everything that our sovereign God does, even if we don’t know it or its beyond our limited comprehension. There is a Divine plan and purpose at work in this world and in our lives. God knows what He is doing. Yet people do question God, don’t they? So often people judge God (His person, His ability, His activity of lack of action) based on how they would handle things if they were running the world. Does mankind created in God’s image, create in their mind a god in theirs?

Isaiah 29:16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?

In an effort to help people know God, to understand the attributed qualities that make Him God, theologians have used various words to describe His attributes; among them are the terms omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. Omni (meaning “all”) is combined with the three different words, (1) “science” (meaning knowledge) – God is all-knowing. There is nothing that God does not know. (2) “potence” (meaning “powerful”). No one and nothing is more powerful than God. His power is inherent, part of His being as God. (3) “presence” (meaning “present here and now”). There is no place where God is not present. Absolutely nothing is beyond God’s reach. TO be clear, this is not saying that God is “in everything; that is “pantheism”, a false belief, which is contrary to the Word of God in its totality and context.

Psalm 139:7-8 explains: I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.” Verses 15-16 continue, “You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Our all-powerful Creator God is all-seeing and all-knowing because He is ever-present as Spirit. Do we live this truth out in our daily lives? We are incomplete. It is God who completes us and our times are in his hands.

Psalm 139:23-24 comes to this concluding prayer:Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

These omni-attributes of God mean that the child of God is never alone and never without help. Knowing who Almighty God is, and that He covers our every need with His presence from conception to and through physical death, ought to bring us such great comfort, confidence and joy. Let’s shape our lives around this Omni-God.

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012

Psalm 100:3-5Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

I’d simple like to wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving Day. May the providence of Almighty God be the focus of our hearts today and everyday. God bless you.

Remember the original intent of this Holy Day. Here is part of Lincoln’s Proclaimation.
“October 3, 1863 By the President of the United States
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
Abraham Lincoln”

Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Day of the Lord

2 Peter 3:9-13 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of person sought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Just the other day, I was listening to a study of 2 Peter 3 on the Day of the Lord and how it really is a day of future triumph, full of the brilliance of His glory and manifest majesty. For the day of the Lord is God’s final judgment and justice. The first day of visitation was the birth of Christ, the manifest promised Savior of the world, which we celebrate at Christmas each year. The second visitation, which is referred to in this passage, will be the final manifestation of Christ to judge the worLd (Judgment day). 1Peter 2:24-25 speaks to Jesus as the Bishop of our souls. The word Bishop is ἐπίσκοπος – episkopos in Greek is where we get our English word “scope”. The word “skopos” translates as “one who sees”, as an over-seeing General, who watches and sees that the job is being done properly by visitations and surprise inspections (like a thief in the night comes unexpected and unannounced). “epi” emphasizes “skppos” as a super-seer or supervisor. And like the supervisor rewards those who are vigilant, prepared and ready to do their work, and punishes those who are not, the Day of the Lord is “Good news” as the Lord visits His people (the children of God) to bring supreme blessedness and redemption, but a day of uttermost doom for the unregenerate man in the godless deterioration of sin unpaid, because it is a day of the final judgment. The word judgment is κρίσις or krisis in the Greek and where we get our English word “Crisis”. The day of the Lord is a crisis because “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up”, but not for the church. Fire purifies by removing impurities. God is not willing that any of His people perish. For the child of God there shall be a redeemed world of “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

14-18 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

What are we supposed to do in the meantime? The body of Christ is called to be diligent and vigilant, not disengaged from the work of the kingdom of God. We have the promises of God and look forward to these things, grateful, if the Lord comes tomorrow. While vigilantly watching for the day of the Lord, we are called to “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless”, working on our own sanctification (growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ). Do you want to hold onto this world and this life “reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” – 2 Peter 3:7)? You may look at this passage as saying “Beware”, but you can only “beware” of that which you are “aware” of. We have a lost and dying world around us that are not aware of this truth. Please share the “good news” of Jesus Christ to someone who does not know the Lord and God’s plan of salvation for them. The day of the Lord is coming, and it is glory for the child of God. Rejoice!

1 Peter 2:11-12 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Obey Your Thirst

Psalm 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

I've heard that a person can not survive long without water. Go any long period of time without this colorless, odorless, and tasteless liquid and you shall thirst. We need water. We can survive a longer period of time without food than water also. Our body mass is made up of 70% water. Water is essential to physical life, but though water makes up 70% of the earth’s surface, only 3% is fresh water. It’s no wonder that the Psalmist chose the relationship between the tremendous physical thirst of a panting deer for the crystal-clear fresh life-giving water of the cool babbling brook as an emotional word picture for us to visualize and understand our spiritual thirst by our soul for the living Lord God of Heaven and Earth in our life. We, far too often, get caught up in the moment, distracted by the cares of this world, that we can easily miss what is truly important and lacking for our mind, will and emotions. Genuine satisfaction, happiness and contentment comes from intimate communion with the Lord, as water to our thirsty soul.

John 4:10-11 + 13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

It all starts with the “living water” salvation from sin and death through Jesus Christ unto everlasting life. But then this “living water” becomes a fountain of water springing up and flowing out as the child of God works out their own sanctification daily, as a pilgrimage, walking in the Spirit, growing and maturing, thirsting to know the Lord more. Thirsting for the Lord’s holy Word, Will and Way to quench our spiritual dehydration, as much as a parched deer pants after a refreshing drinking from the shady brook. Obey your thirst.

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Authentic Jesus

John 7:14-18 Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach.  The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

Pastor JJ preached his next challenging installment in the “Amazed by Jesus” Sunday sermon series. Here’s what I took away from his message. You sure hear the term “authentic” today, as people are looking for the “real thing” in a world of counterfeit “knock offs”. People sure know how to “fake us out” today, with a convincing presentation that looks like the “real deal”. The “Confidence Man” (aka Con-man or con artist), is a swindler who uses a fraud perpetrated by taking advantage of trust placed by the victim in the bilker. They pretend to be genuine to deceive the credence (belief, faith and trust) of the target listener for their prideful will and personal gain. Jesus explained this truth to the Jews at the Feast of Tabernacles (which commemorated God’s goodness to the people during the desert wanderings after the Israelites were saved by the blood from the Angel of death on Passover, and then set free from slavery in Egypt by the Exodus). The Lord’s message and example is applicable to our generation also. Be authentic for God.

John 17:17Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

The teachings from our heavenly Father, found in the pages of the Bible, opens our knowledge and understanding of genuine truth that we can stand for and build our lives on. As Jesus choose to do the will of His Father, we need to align our will to do the will of the Father also; tuned into God’s Holy Word. The child of God does this by knowing and putting God’s teachings into practice, which includes, by faith, surrendering our lost will and putting our complete faith in God for our life, for all the days of our life. Abraham Lincoln say, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” And I’d add that you cannot fool God anytime. Do we hold onto what we have and chase what’s in front of our eyes for our instant gratification, or obey the God that proves His authentic faithfulness to us? Do we take our faith seriously and seek Him, and the kingdom of Heaven? We need to “do” the will of the Father in order to understand the will of the Father by experience. We need to stop playing games and making excuses with our lives. Trust and follow God.

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”

Was Christ’s life about Himself? No, He obeyed the Father. Is life about you and I? The authentic life that Jesus offers us is the “real life”, the “real thing” and the “real deal”. Shall we not offer our life to Him to use for His glory? It’s our choice to obey or ignore. You can tell a Con by who benefits by the Con. Trust, obey and follow the authentic Jesus, and be amazed.

John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sovereign God

Psalm 103:19-22 The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure. Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Continuing on in our Friday small group Bible Study with a series on the topic of “Knowing God”, His attributes, his essential nature of His character and His relationship to His creation. And by doing so gain a great wealth of insight into who He is, for such knowledge of our Heavenly Father, Lord God will bring stability, strength, and the ability to live a balanced life with pure and true love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), as our Maker intends for here and now, until He calls His children home to Heaven. Holiness is happiness, so we seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33). This week, we focused on the sovereignty of God – the Creator of the universe with supreme power and dominion forever and ever. What does that mean and what does that look like?

Isaiah 40:25 “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.”

Because a sovereign monarch is such a foreign term to most of us in this day and age, it would be good to define the word and associated idioms. Sovereign means “supreme ruler”; a king. Dominion means supreme authority and the territory subject to such lordship authority. Combine “king’s domain” and you have a “kingdom”. God’s kingdom. Three times in the Psalms passage above, it says “bless the Lord”, which implies attributing to God the praise that is due Him, recognizing who God is, what He has done, obeying, serving and thanking Him. We ask for God’s blessings, but do we bless God? Is God being blessed today in our families, our communities, our schools, in our society? Or is it more like what is spoken in Daniel 4:30The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” Who is on the throne of our heart? Do people live as Isaiah 40:25 suggests in our thoughts, words and actions, as if equal to God? – “you will be like God” was the Devil's lie to Adam & Eve (Genesis 3:5).

Isaiah 45:5-6 I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.

What inexplicable peace, confidence and rest it brings to our life to understand the character of this One, the “I Am”, who is supremely sovereign. May your faith be strengthened by His Truth.

Psalm 33:10-12 “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.”

Isaiah 40:13Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has taught Him?”

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Not Willing That Any Should Perish

2 Peter 3:1-9 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word are reserved for fire until the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

In the past, I’ve been told by some individuals that they believe that whatever God wills to happen must and will happen, so if God is not willing that any go to hell, then everybody is going to heaven, based on the last verse of the Bible passage above. Have you ever heard this type of logic before?  This morning, I posed this statement for discussion to our church’s Men’s Breakfast group. Here are the results of the study and dialogue.

It is easy for those “not wishing any to perish” in everlasting hell, themselves included, to take the Word of God out of true context to match and meet that base desire. Genuine and sincere peace, confidence and rest are found in the true attributes and character of God in relationship to His creation. God is merciful and, therefore, does not desire to punish us. But God is “Just”, and therefore, must punish sin. Any Judge, who does not hand down proper judgment on a convicted criminal, is not “just”.  Father God’s answer to the predicament of how to be both merciful and just was His plan of salvation available through the atoning death of His Son Jesus Christ in our place to pay the just penalty for our sin, “For the wages of sin is death (perdition), but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God could not just “will” forgiveness and still be a “just” God, against His character. Crime must be judged and castigation for justice remunerated. Justification, redemption, forgiveness and salvation must come through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ alone, who satisfies both justice and mercy. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This is the “Good News” of the “Good Book”. 2 Corinthians 5:21For He (God the Father) made Him (God the Son – Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
This is the Gospel. John 3:16-17For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

The Letter begins and is addressed “to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Peter 1:1) – Believers, who made the choice of accepting salvation in Jesus Christ by their own “free will”. The “will” implies our true purpose and our veritable intent; not just the action, but the heart behind the action. The first eight verses of 2Peter 3 reminds the Beloved Believer about  contrast of the scoffers purpose and intent by “willfully forgetting” their Creator God, and the destiny of ungodly, unbelieving mankind on the Day of Judgment. But, also, that our sovereign Maker is not slack in His judgment, but longsuffering. Why?

John 1:10-14He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The words “us”, “any” and “all” in 2Peter 3:9 refers to the “Believers”. Those who by willful faith will come to God will repent, because our calling is unto faith, unto repentance, and unto salvation as children of God into His kingdom with eternal  life.

John 10:25-30 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Malachi 2:10Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?” 

What does “One Father - God” mean to us personally”? And as the human race? God is our Creator. Whether the world believes and accepts or rejects this fact, the created still stands accountable to the Creator. Anything that we place in higher importance than our loving Maker is considered another god. I look at God’s attributes, like eternally self-existent and sufficient, sovereign and supreme Creator and Ruler of the Universe, All-powerful, All-knowing, All-seeing, present everywhere in all dimension, totally righteous in judgment and truth, truly Holy, the essence of love and mercy, and I realize what He has done, is doing and is going to do for me and you … I am awe-struck. Really sitting down and thinking about our one Father achieves a greater understanding of His first three Commandments concerning our responsibility in reverence towards Him.

Exodus 20:1-7And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

The “fear of God” is the reverence that we would never desire to fail Him or let Him down by our thoughts, words and/or actions. Everything and everyone else that is position in front of God is truly “spiritual adultery” against God, our one Father. Our sin nature from “the Genesis Fall” has driven us “away”, but our Lord God has provided “a Way" for our restoration and reconciliation to a loving personal relationship with our one Father again, holy and blameless. How could we take such a love, such a great redemption and salvation, adoption as children, citizens of the kingdom of heaven by our one Creator Father lightly? Do we know Him? I want to know Him more.Galatians 4:4-9But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God.

Mark 12:29-30 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. Love your Father.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote for God

Mark 12:13-17 Then they sent to Him (Jesus) some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it. So they brought  it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.

Three standard inscriptions on every American coin are (1) Liberty, (2) E Pluribis Unum (From many, One), and (3) In God We Trust. America was founded as a Christian nation, self-governed in a democratic republic. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” One of the privileges of a “Free” nation is the right to vote for their government representatives. With America’s Election Day upon us, our Pastor’s Sunday Sermon focused on the Christian vote and the Christian influence on their society, in light of the above Bible passage. The big questions is: “What are the things that are God’s” and “Are we giving what’s God’s to God?” The Child of God need to live as citizens of the kingdom of Heaven, faithful to Who we belong to and aligning our will and way with the Lord’s. What is really important? Christians need to reinforce biblical values, not redefine them, and take God’s values everywhere, including the “Voting Booth”.

Micah 6:8He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln overheard someone remark that he hoped “the Lord was on the Union’s side.” Lincoln gave this straightforward reply: “Sir, I am not at all concerned about that, for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.” The same is true on “Election Day”. In being an Ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), whose nation do we belong and are loyal to? Who and what are we committed to? Don’t miss the point. The real Ruler in the world is Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Do not be influenced by the insignificance of what secular man believes is significant. Citizen of heaven, never participate in issues that a child of God has no business thinking about, talking about or doing. Which world do we belong to?  Never be put into the bondage of sin by making decisions against the will of God. Are the things that break God’s heart, breaking our heart?

We are made in the image of God. Whose image is on your heart? Are the things that matter to God, matter to us? Our Creator Lord has called upon our lives to stand with Him and for Him. In this country, we have liberty to vote for God and His values. Don’t lose your voice in this dark and lost culture. Get out and vote, and make a difference.

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

In Christ, Brian