Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In the Midst of Persecution – Part 2

Michael continues that in the midst of persecution, either you shatter and come to naught or you breakthrough to the other side with the power of God in manifestation. This temporal world shall come to naught, however it is God which works in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. Peter had a shepherd’s heart to bind up the wounds of the flock of God. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not of necessity, but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a willing mind. His purpose was to remind the flock that there was a purpose for their lives beyond this present world.  For this light affliction works a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Only through Jesus Christ can we come know God's purpose of our lives.  Our purpose is revealed one step at a time as we walk in fellowship with him. We worship God, not because we have elected the freedom of worship in this land. Rather, we worship God because we are the results of God's election. We are the elect of God, chosen according to his foreknowledge which he wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

In this world we shall have tribulation. Jesus said, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world – John 16:33. In the face of the conflict and the pain of the spiritual battle, the healing balm is the blessed assurance that my life is hid with Christ in God. Peace comes only after having been shattered by the spiritual warfare. He's the healer of broken hearts, he mends our shattered dreams. The love of God is the tie that binds our heart to Gods heart. It is also the bond of perfectness within the family of God ...  and above all these things, put on charity which is the bond of perfectness.

1Peter 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”

A Sower went forth to sow. The seed is the Word of God. God's message is scattered by the seed that is spread through persecution. The adversary uses persecution and conflict to "atomize" and divide the hearts of man ... brother against brother, and family against family. However, God uses persecution to scatter the seeds of the Word of the Gospel of truth. He called us as the message scattered abroad in the midst of the persecution of this world. 

The seed of the word has been planted in our hearts. For ye have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever – 1 Peter 1:23. Seed produces the fruit for the next generation. Unless a seed fall to the earth and die, only then can it reproduce life and fruit ...  you teach what you know but you reproduce who you are. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them...  and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the age. Freedom.

Your brother in Christ, Michael

Monday, June 29, 2015

In the Midst of Persecution – Part 1

Michael asks this week; “What were the consequences for the men who signed the Declaration of Independence?”  Many of their sons were tortured and killed for having stood with their fathers against the tyranny of the king of England. Emerging through the crucible of the fire and the heat of the battle is the result of God's forging us to be a better man in service to our Heavenly Father. The deliverance is instantaneous. God changes hearts by hot-forging us in the moment we are malleable from the heat of the furnace.  We are transformed and conformed to His mold, struck while our raw material is heated white hot. God's heat treatment and hardening is sufficient unto deliverance from the evil of the day. When God seems the most distant, at that moment God is most present.  Through the suffering, God is closest in the time of battle, in the heat of the crucible of the testing and forging.

Jesus used Peter as an example of a man who learned how to walk in fellowship with his Heavenly Father. Impetuous Peter was an example of the raw material that God has to work within every man and woman. Peter was a product of his times:  a fisherman, a man seasoned in leading his crew, a hard working uneducated man. It took years for Jesus to build of this raw material, a man who would become a “fisher of men”. Where are you in your journey toward proximity to your master's heart?

1 Peter Chapter One is the introduction to Peter's epistle to the church of God that had been scattered due to persecution. The Persecution that started in Jerusalem and Rome scattered the Christians to distant lands. The burning of Rome had precipitated a crisis of confidence within the Roman Empire. The Emperor Nero had set the fire to burn down the city to build something that he though would be a lasting monument to his own ego. Nero needed a scapegoat for having burned down the city. He blamed the Christians, who became hated through out the empire. Peter's first epistle was written to encourage a persecuted church to bear up under their suffering and to stand up against the challenge of the affliction. Suffering produces brokenness and a contrite heart.  Only the Healer of broken hearts can reconcile the broken hearted to Himself ...  to bring back together that which has been separated. This world is not my home; I'm just a-passing through.  Our citizenship is in heaven. Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation" – Romans 1:16   Reconciliation to God through his Son Jesus Christ, emphasizes peace, companionship, brotherhood, and love.

Your brother in Christ, Michael

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What Really Matters

Proverbs 16:8Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.

What really matters in the end? I had read that the quest to answer this question has driven human history and driven people to probe the meaning of life. Nobody can avoid this question and all of us develop our priorities according to what we believe is of ultimate importance. Holy Scripture’s answer to this all-important question proclaims the emptiness and futility of those answers that our unbelieving God-rejecting world system tends to propose. The article points out that, ultimately, what really matters is not the degree of fame that we achieve, and the level of our intelligence is not what is most significant. The position to which we rise on the corporate ladder is not of ultimate importance, nor the size of our bank account or our net worth. No, what counts is righteousness. Righteousness is defined as purity of heart and rectitude of life; comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the Divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion. It is the perfection or holiness and faithfulness. It is the cause of our justification.

Proverbs 16:8 is saying that all the money in the world will not help us one bit is we are not concerned for righteousness, If we lay up treasures for ourselves but not rich towards God, we are fools indeed – Luke 12:13-21. There are several lessons from Proverbs 16:8, which we must take to heart: (1) The promises of divine material blessing upon the righteous people that we find in Scriptures are not always fulfilled in our lifetime. That it is better to be righteous and own little than it is to be wicked and rich implies that there are some righteous people who do not experience material prosperity. (2) We cannot apply it universally to mean either that righteousness and poverty go hand-in-hand or that injustice and wealth are inseparably linked. It is better to be righteous and poor than evil and wealthy, making the point that when one is forced to choose between money and righteousness, righteousness is better. However, one can be righteous and wealthy, just as one can be wicked and impoverished.

Given the choice between two options, it is still better to be righteous. Simply put, money in itself is indifferent. What is morally significant is the heart of the person. The only kind of righteousness that avails for eternal life is the righteousness of Christ that imputes to us by faith alone. But those who have received such an imputation will also begin to live according to the pattern of their Savior. They will increasingly become righteous in practice and profession. In the end, only righteousness matters.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Genesis 5:2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.”

Here is a good bible trivial question to ask: “What was Eve’s name before her husband Adam named her “Eve”? In this day of sensitivity and battle of the sexes, it is important to focus on God’s own evaluation of the two sexes and their respective roles in the divine plan. As Creator of both, He alone can speak authoritatively about the matter.

Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

The devotional that I read this morning points out that both man and woman were created in God’s image, and thus, in the categories of salvation, rewards, and eternal fellowship with their Creator, both are surely equal.

Galatians 3:26-28 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither … male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

At the same time, when God created them, He named them both “Adam” (אָדָם in Hebrew) – translated into the English word “Man”. Thus, it is biblical to use the word “man” generically, when referring to (mankind) the human race in general. When the woman was formed out of Adam’s side, Adam said, “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” – Genesis 2:23. Here a different Hebrew word is used for “man” (ish), and “woman” is isha. Adam also gave his new bride a personal name. “Adam called his wife’s name Eve (הִוא in Hebrew) translated into the English word “life-giver”; because she was the mother of all living” – Genesis 3:20.

There is, therefore, nothing demeaning in using the word “man” as a generic term for both men and women, for this usage is sanctioned by God Himself. Nonetheless, each individual has his or her own distinctive personal name, and God deals with each of us individually on that basis. Child of God, He knows your name.  Our obedience and faithfulness to the divinely ordained role each of us is called by Him to fill is God’s criterion by which He measures us for eternity. May the love of His children be a reflection of the love of the Father.

In Christ, Brian

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Lamentations 3:19-26 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

You must know what you have been saved from, before you can see and understand what you have been saved to. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now, I see.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

God’s Amazing Grace

Romans 5:20 “Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more.”

Michael writes this week that our worthiness is only in Christ. In our flesh we are helpless and hopeless, but in Him we are made worthy by the payment He made on our behalf. Our worthiness is not in our accomplishments but only by his grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast."

Charles Spurgeon wrote in "All of Grace" that every good thing we have is only by God's grace. God, who did not with hold his only begotten son, has given us life through His grace. A child of God is a person of grace and truth. Grace is unmerited Divine assistance for regeneration and sanctification. All, having a “fallen from grace” sinful nature, need God's assistance for salvation because we dead in our sin. Regeneration is the new birth. It is salvation through the faith of Jesus Christ. Sanctification (where we get the word “saints) is to be “set apart” for the purpose for which the Designer designed us: that we may be holy and without blame before Him in love. Grace is the good done to those who didn't deserve it by the one who wasn't obligated to give it. In the sinful flesh without God, there is none good, no not one. We cannot of ourselves perfect the flesh.  Our worthiness is not according to the deeds of the flesh. Rather, our worthiness is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Only the love of God through the truth of the Word of God offers grace. None of the other religions of the world are based on grace. Only the Truth of God through Jesus Christ offers grace unconditionally, because of the great love whereby he loved us. Grace, though illogical according to the flesh, is unmerited Divine favor. In Matthew 16:25, Jesus said, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:  and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."  Grace, therefore, is a foreign concept to the unsaved mind. Grace can be understood and received only by living in proximity to Jesus Christ through the Word of God.  Spending time in His presence is the only way to understand grace. The world is not impressed by lavish church buildings and great oratory. The world is only impressed by God's amazing grace. However, those who do not believe think that people of God have ulterior motives; that they take advantage of others.  They want the blessings, but will not and cannot acknowledge the Blessor.

Grace is unconditional. It is not according to our deserving it. Jesus washed the feet of all twelve disciples including Judas, the one who would betray him. Jesus offered grace, not because they were deserving, but because they were undeserving and in need of it. Grace demands nothing in return. Grace is the pure act of giving according to the love wherewith the Lord loved us. The worth that we find through Jesus Christ is only by his grace. People are attracted by grace. Grace says, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they're doing."  If you're going to err, then err on the side of grace rather than judgment. The story of the prodigal son is the story of the gracious and forgiving father. He did not recompense evil for evil. Rather, he said, "Let us eat and be merry, for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." Gracious acts look foolish in the eyes of the world. However, we who were unworthy were made worthy by His grace. He who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf, that we who were dead in trespasses and sins may be made the righteousness of God in him. The grace of God triumphs over judgment when we accept his grace alone by faith alone unto salvation through His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Friends with the World


Romans 14:12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”
I read how Christians are being targeted today by hate and it reminded of an article by the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee where he stated, Don’t act as if some strange or weird thing has happened to you if the world doesn’t accept you because of your faith. John 15:18-19 reminds us “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.I posted earlier from a previous article, looking around today, “Have you ever wondered why our society is going downhill in manners, ethics, morals, and honor so fast? A major part of it is that so many lack the fear of God, which sets the standards and boundaries for life. The secular humanist acts as if they will not be held accountable. Another article declares that many people today think that they can get away with all sorts of crime and injustices in this dog-eat-dog society today. But in the big picture, God sees all, and He will one day bring it to light – whether in this life or the next, sin has consequences with God. Sin is always serious and always destructive. That’s who and what they really hate?

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

McGee goes on to say that “friendship with the world” factor has always been a problem for many in the ministry. I once knew a pastor that that actually said that before you could witness to someone about the gospel of Jesus Christ, you first had to make them your friend. Carnal human relationships (though created by God) has not saved a single soul, and is not what the Lord commissioned His followers to preach or teach because friendship with the world is not what they need; they need a Savior and Lord in Jesus Christ to redeem and save them from their sins and the Word of God to give them direction in life, aligned with God perfect Word, Will and Way. Its not about making people feel good that they are dead in sin and trespasses, its about rescuing them from that in Christ. McGee comments that he wonders if there is not sorrow in heaven, because a church is friends with and popular with the world when Jesus is not? Does anybody really care how many friends they have in hell? Seriously.

John 3:17-19 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

The child of God needs to recognize that the God-rejecting world system will hate them. There is an offense of the Cross to those who are perishing in their sin. But, in the case of the gospel of Salvation, they need to be offended and here the truth that sin is death and Christ is life, spoken in love, but not candy-coated or watered down. Christ came to seek and save the lost; we are to also. They may love their darkness, evil and sin, rejecting Jesus. We do not stop bringing the light of the world in the Word of God to a lost and dying world. But, let’s make sure that Christ’s rejection and our rejection are for the same reason.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Start your day with Prayer & Praise

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 149:1-6 Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their king. Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. or the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory' Let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Good Seed + Good Soil = Good Fruit

Luke 8:11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.

One of the very first parables of Jesus that I remember is “The Sower”. It seemed very straight forward in a earthly story that was easy to understand; not to mention that the Lord interprets its deeper means spiritual meanings to us. Quickly, I identified myself as a Sower of God Word, broadcasting the light of this gospel truth because I could see the holy plan and the sacred purpose in this world by the children of God. I read a short devotion that the word of God is pictured by many beautiful symbols in the Scriptures, and perhaps one of the most meaningful is that if the seed, sown in the field of the world by the great Sower, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:16 says, Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.”

The parallel is made that Isaac himself was the “seed” of God’s promise to Abraham, and he was a precursive fulfillment of the ultimate promised “seed, which is Jesus.” Isaac’s sowing of literal seed in the land of the Philistines in Genesis 26:12 is thus a type of Christ’s sowing of spiritual seed throughout the world. As Isaac’s sowing brought forth a hundredfold, so the beautiful parable of the Sower indicates that at least some of the seed “fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit a hundredfold” – Luke 8:8. Although not all seed will come to fruition, it must be broadcast and sown throughout the world. Some of the seed will bear fruit. Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the Sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

1 Peter 1:22-25 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

The first of Christ’s parables is this parable of the seed. The second, complementing the first, indicates that the seed is not only God’s Word, but also God’s children – those regenerated through the Word. Matthew 13:37-38 He answered and said unto them, “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom.” Thus, we also become Sowers of the Word, witnessing to this lost and dying world, fallen in sin and darkness, and bearing good fruit in His name.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Moving Forward

Acts 8:1-8 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.

Pastor Kyle continues with our Sunday sermon series through the book of Acts by saying that, from the outside looking in, it’s hard to see what’s going on under the hood. Life is messy and ministry that gets involved in people’s lives is always messy, but both are well worth it. Nobody is immune to the “valleys” in life, but there is always a proactive step to move forward, even when one feels like they can’t. But, how can move forward in a painful “new normal”? (1) Take time to mourn & grieve. Even when being ravaged in a significant loss, take time because you are vulnerable. In doing so, find where you are in Christ. Not taking the time to grieve loss, buries the painful emotions which can latter appear as depression or illness. (2) Get back to normal routines, somewhat, quickly because there is comfort in daily routines. It takes different amounts of time for different people, but when the fog lifts, get back to what you do best. Seasons pass, somewhat. We learn from the trials of life and mature from the experience.

(3) Keep proclaiming Christ and sharing what God is doing in your life. In our sadness, we can either run away or towards God. We can disconnect ourselves from the Lord and His church or embrace both in faith and there will be much joy seeing Christ and seeing Christ’s work. Do not stop serving Jesus in “dry times”. Hard times enhances our personal testimony. Stress, grief and anxiety increases credibility. There is a Holy Spirit! Let me tell you about Him. (4) Be mindful of unseen spiritual battles. Not because of conviction or beliefs, but because of public opinion driving people, a powerful spiritual encounters happening all around us, all the time, competing whether Jesus is Lord or ___________________ (person, place or thing) is lord. Satan’s lies tempt us to take our eyes and heart off of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and onto something else. Things are missed. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

We need to take an account of your life to see if we are just going through the motions? Is Jesus being preached? The “lost causes” are often one step away from the kingdom of heaven. We need spiritual discernment when we are caught up in personal grief. Two final things for us about moving forward from Phillip the Evangelist. (1) Ministering in the midst of personal pain can translate to supernatural power, when we lean on the Holy Spirit. (2) We cannot expect “the lost“ to come to us. We need to go to them. Many of us have lost family members and friends that are living in sin, have not heard the gospel of Salvation or do not know the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s our job to reach out to them, not just by example. If you witness only by your life, then you only witness to yourself. Christ told us that we are to point beyond ourselves, unto Him and to His Cross, and that requires the use of our testimony of our redemption and forgiveness by the mercy of God through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ which transformed our life. The Lord has entrusted us with the responsibility and the joy of leading others to Himself by the Holy Spirit.

 What if all of us reached out to someone who doesn’t know the Lord? We all suffer loss in our lives. Our wounds from these losses become scars, but our scars are bridges to others broken hearts. The healed are blessed to heal others in Christ and be a blessing. Jesus Christ is the “Great Physician.” God gave us more than we need in Christ to move forward.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

What Have You Got to Lose?

Psalm 53:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Long ago, I heard about Pascal’s wager. Have you heard of this brilliant reasoning? The world-wide web tells us that Pascal's Wager is an argument in apologetic philosophy devised by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–62). It posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or not. Given the possibility that God actually does exist and assuming an infinite gain or loss associated with belief or unbelief in said God (as represented by an eternity in heaven or hell), a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.). Pascal formulated the wager within a Christian framework. The wager was set out in section 233 of Pascal's posthumously published Pensées ("Thoughts").

The wager is described in Pensées this way: If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is ... "God is, or He is not." But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions. Do not, then, reprove for error those who have made a choice; for you know nothing about it. "No, but I blame them for having made, not this choice, but a choice; for again both he who chooses heads and he who chooses tails are equally at fault, they are both in the wrong. The true course is not to wager at all."

Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose. This is one point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.

"That is very fine. Yes, I must wager; but I may perhaps wager too much." Let us see. Since there is an equal risk of gain and of loss, if you had only to gain two lives, instead of one, you might still wager. But if there were three lives to gain, you would have to play (since you are under the necessity of playing), and you would be imprudent, when you are forced to play, not to chance your life to gain three at a game where there is an equal risk of loss and gain. But there is an eternity of life and happiness. And this being so, if there were an infinity of chances, of which one only would be for you, you would still be right in wagering one to win two, and you would act stupidly, being obliged to play, by refusing to stake one life against three at a game in which out of an infinity of chances there is one for you, if there were an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain. But there is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. What have you got to lose? Would you wager eternity? By the way, God exists.

In Christ, Brian

Friday, June 19, 2015

Walking in the Spirit

Romans 8:1-8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

I read a devotional today on the subject of “walking in the Spirit’ that pointed out that this promise by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8 is followed in a later Pauline epistle by two distinct commands in the letter to the church in Galatia.  I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh“ in Galatians 5:16, then again,  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit “ in Galatians 5:25. These are a couple of my favorite passages, because they explain the stark contrast distinction between living in sin against God and living in righteousness with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Galatians 5:16-17 clearly says, “ I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another. We cannot willfully sin against God fulfilling the lusts of the flesh continually as a way of life and be “right with God”. Galatians 5:21 proclaims the consequences plainly, “The works of the flesh … of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The article made an interesting point, that although the two Galatians verses that speak to “walk in the Spirit” appear to be the same command in English, there is a significant distinction in the original Greek language in which the Apostle Paul penned the letters. Both the Romans 8;1 and the Galatians 5:16 passages use the word perepeto, which carries the connotation to ‘walk around” and to “be at liberty.” The second iteration in Galatians 5:25 uses stoicheo, which means to “step precisely”, to “march”, or to “go in procession” - same command but different emphasis. The context of Galatians 5 stresses the difference between an out-of-control lifestyle of sinful fleshly behavior and a life controlled by the Holy Spirit. They meet in the state of “at war” with each other, not “at peace”. The “fruits of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit” are diametrically opposed. They cannot exist together; they are not harmonious. We both “mind” and tend to the things of the flesh or the “things of the Spirit”.

The daily devotion concludes that the Christian walk has great liberty (Romans 8:21), but that liberty must “step precisely” in honesty (Romans 13:13), good works (Ephesians 2:10), and in truth (2 John 4-6). Our walk is expected to be by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), and we are to conduct a spiritual warfare in the Holy Spirit’s power (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), protected by the full armor of God (Ephesian 6:10-18).  This is walking in the Spirit  and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Revelation 5:11-12 “And I beheld and heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousand of thousands;  Saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.’”

Worthiness: most Christians think they're unworthy. When you call a person a "man or woman of God" most will look away because they don't feel worthy.  people struggle to find a clear conscious, to validate their progress in this journey of life. The perfection that we have in Christ is a spiritual perfection, perfected by the righteous payment of Jesus Christ on our behalf.  However, our culture validates us not by who we are and whose we are, but by our works and our accomplishments. The concept of the self made person is an "American ideal."  In contrast, God knows that in my flesh dwells no good thing – Romans 7:18.  We are all broken, struggling with sin. We all miss the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus – Philippians 3:14.  In order to be reconciled back to God, we must be broken of our pride. Pride lifts up self to validate itself. Pride is the essence of sin. Jesus Christ came to set pride in stark contrast to humility before almighty God. When Lazarus died, God gave Jesus an opportunity to teach His disciples an important lesson about humility ... to allow God to work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure; to show his power in our weakness.

When we face life's desperate situations, God says, "If the outcome is not what you desire, will you still love and worship me?" Until we make peace with the reality that “not my will, but thine be done”, we cannot receive reconciliation unto fellowship and communion with Him.  God's not here to serve me, rather, we're here to serve Him. When Jesus announced that He came to Lazarus' house to work God's will, Lazarus' sister said, "He's been dead four days and he stinketh."  When we speak about Christ and Him  crucified, it is onto those who perish, the stench of death unto death, but unto those that believe, it is the sweet smelling fragrance of life unto life. In order to walk by faith and not by sight, we must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.  Humility allows God to work His will in our lives. Jesus came to make us free. He came to allow us to be free “in Christ”, to act not through the motive of guilt and shame, but to live shamelessly in service for our Lord.

People often feel that they don't live up to their parents' expectations. They feel unworthy as they look at the accomplishments of others whom they view as successful. The root cause of these deep seated feelings of inadequacy is the adversary's accusations that we don't measure up. The point of repentance is when we realize that God loves us despite our failures in the flesh. We have been made righteous in God's sight through the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Worthiness is not based on our performance, but rather in the Spirit we received when we were redeemed through His redemptive work. 
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Therefore, we have been made worthy by  grace alone through faith alone.  Like Lazareth, we who were dead have been made alive through the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Unworthy was I of the grace that He gave. Unworthy to hold to his hand, but He made me worthy, and now by His grace his mercy has made me his own. Therefore, how shall we who were dead in trespasses and sins continue therein?  We have been set free from the bondage of sin. We have been made worthy by Him who knew no sin that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus Christ made us worthy. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

May God richly bless you.
Your Brother in Christ,

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Master Passion

Luke 19:10 “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Why did Jesus come? Was it to make the sinners fell better about their sinning by freely forgiving all and bring assurance of heaven, even if they feel no remorse, have no repentance for what they do while rejecting God and Word? No. I read that the most characteristic feature of Jesus Christ is that He is the Savior of the world. He declared that He came to seek and save the that which was lost, but not leave them lost in sin. If Jesus Christ has come into our hearts and taken over our lives, that characteristic feature of His life will be the reproduced in us an we will have a genuine interest in the souls of those who are hell bound. The master passion of the Lord to seek and save the lost becomes ours too. Those who do not know “the gift of God” in redemption at the cross for the forgiveness of sin are “dead men walking”. Jesus is the antidote, but many of the lost done realize that they are lost because of the sin nature of the fallen fleshly desires, because of the pressure from the God-rejecting world system in our culture, and because of the tempting lies of the devil, so they do not know or accept the antidote to save their life. Sin is death – Proverbs 14:12 / 16:25.

Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Lord has a grand adventure for each of us; a great purpose for us to fulfill. We are here for a reason. Jesus said to the Apostle Peter, “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people” - Matthew 4:19. 
In effect, the Lord was saying, “I will give your life meaning, significance, and purpose in the work of the kingdom that you cannot even imagine ... increasing the population of heaven, by reducing the population of hell.

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

We have been blessed to be a blessing to others. We have been sought after and found by the Lord for Salvation to seek and save the lost and dying by shining the light of the gospel in their lives, so they find forgiveness and redemption at the foot of the cross, in the atoning blood of Jesus, that the Holy Spirit transforms their heart and regenerates their spirit unto salvation. This is the master passion. Get passionate about seeking and saving the lost.

Romans 3:23-24 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Praise On

Deuteronomy 32:3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

2 Samuel 22:47 “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!

1 Chronicles 16:8-10 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Nehemiah 9:5 “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.

Psalm 18:46  "The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!"

Psalm 28:6-8 Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Psalm 63:4  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 68:19  Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

Psalm 72:18-19 Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen."

Psalm 75:1 We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is nearr; people tell of your wonderful deeds."

Psalm 86:12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.

Psalm 89:52  Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.

Psalm 97:12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.

Psalm 103:1-3 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins.”

Psalm 106:1-2 Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can declare all His praise? 

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

Psalm 113:1-3 Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, Praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its going down the Lord’s name is to be praised.

Psalm 118:28 You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.

Psalm 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 146:1-2 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will praise the Lord: I will sing praises to my God while I have my being."

Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!