Friday, July 31, 2015

Tough Questions / Tougher Answers - Part 2 - Storms

Continuing Michael's message from yesterday: One of the hardest questions is, "Do you want to spend the rest of your life learning to become just like Him?"  If the answer is yes, you will be tested by trials and tribulations. Crisis and calamity strike suddenly and without warning.  Our hearts must have been prepared in advance.  Jesus rebuked the waves and the raging storm when he said, "peace be still."  Who is this man that even the winds and sea obey him? The crises in life ask the great questions of life. Little crises are the tests for the bigger crises. He that is faithful in that which is least shall be faithful also in much.  According to 2 Timothy 3:16, The Word of God is profitable for reproof and correction once we have heard the doctrine of how to believe rightly. The purpose is that the child of God may be perfect ...  perfected through and through unto all good works.

There are two types of storms:  Storms of correction and storms of perfection.  The disciples had already obeyed Jesus who had said, "Let's get in the boat and go to the other side" – Mark 4:35-36. They were within the will of God when the storm came. When God asks us to follow Him, there are four levels of obedience: (1) I'll do what God wants me to do, if it lines up with what I want to do. (2)  I'll do what God wants me to do, if he'll do what I want him to do. (3)  I'll do what he wants me to do, as long as I'm comfortable and it's convenient. (4)  I'll do whatever you want me to do Lord, because I want to be just like Jesus. If you choose door number four, the storms of life will rage. These are the storms of perfection. According to James 1:3-4, "Knowing this, that the trying of your patience worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." Jesus said, "You must take up your cross daily and follow me."  Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction. However, straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it. Only Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life. He said, "No man cometh to the Father except by Me." Those who choose to follow Him are a peculiar people, a  royal priesthood, an holy nation. We're outliers from this world as citizens of heaven. Nations of this world will come and go but the our heavenly homeland abideth forever. We've been redeemed from the bondage of this “fallen” world, having been reconciled to God through the finished work of His son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

What is the storm raging in your life today? My times are in thy hands ... God's question to His children is, "No matter the storms of life, will you still purpose in your heart to love me and to serve me?" Are you a child of God absolutely?  I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice holy (and wholly) acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service – Romans 12:1.  Are you all in?  Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee.

May God richly bless you. 
Your brother in Christ, Michael

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tough Questions / Tougher Answers - Part 1 - Crisis

Psalm 1:1-2 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”

Michael writes this week: Jesus took three years of his precious life to disciple twelve men – the Apostles. They had the honor of walking with Him to witness up close and personally the way, the truth and the life. You're most like the ones with whom you spend time ... the ones with whom you associate. The Lord had the twelve apostles, but Peter, James and John were His “inner circle”. Who are your three and who are your twelve? With whom are you doing life? What I mean is, with whom do you spend time hanging out and talking about the deepest things of life?

When Jesus taught his disciples, he asked them the hard questions ... penetrating questions to see if they understood “the walk” and “the talk” of being a dedicated and devoted Follower. The lesson of Matthew Chapter 8 is that when the crisis comes, and courage is required, God expects His disciples to be His reliable ones, who stand strong in the Lord, in the face of the storms of life.  This is the essence of life in a “fallen” world. The crisis reveals our character and our faith. The crisis is our training to test our faith so that our faith may grow.  Adversity and failure prepare us to trust not in the power of our own might, but rather in His strength alone. The child of God is the one who is faithful to rise to the challenge and to learn from the lessons of adversity. 

The account of the storm in Matthew 28 occurs after Jesus healed the Centurion's servant. Jesus marveled at the faith of the Centurion because he said to Jesus, “you don't need to come minister to my servant, just say the Word, and he will be healed.”  In Matthew 8:23 Jesus was asleep in the boat while the storm raged across the Sea of Galilee.  The disciples were terrified and awoke Jesus.  Jesus said, "why are you so afraid, O ye of little faith?"  Is the storm you confront, bigger than the God whom you profess to believe? God always proves Himself in the midst of the storms of life. Don't tell God how big your storm is, rather, tell the storm how big your God is. The more helpless we are, the more God's grace and mercy covers for our weakness. We must become child-like in our believing: Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." On our own there is no way that we can approach the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Turning from my own strength unto his strength is the meaning of repentance. I must decrease that he may increase. 

We’ll pick up right here tomorrow with the remainder of Michael's through-provoking message: Tough Questions / Tough Answers.

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Two Ways

Psalm 1:6 "For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

I read this short devotional the other day that hit me hard. The inescapable truth in life is that there are only two roads and that there are two destinations to which they lead in eternity. The word “way” (Hebrew, derek) means “road.” There is only one way leading to heaven—the way of the righteous; and one way leading to hell—the way of the ungodly. The equivalent Greek word in the New Testament is hodos, also meaning “road.” Its literal meaning—that of an actual roadway—lends itself very easily to the figure of a style of life whose practice leads inevitably to a certain destiny. Since there are only two basic ways of looking at life—the God-centered viewpoint and the man-centered viewpoint—there are only two ways of life, the way of the godly and the way of the ungodly. The one leads to life; the other to death.

Catch this reality, because it is vitally important: There is no other way and we have to choose which way we go, because to make “no choice” or pretend that there is no God is to take the default road to eternal damnation due to “original sin” and the unforgiven sins we commit in our lifetime. How can we not have a sense of urgency on this life and death issue? Paul explains how we are all on the road to Perdition in Ephesians 2:1-3 saying, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time,  gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” How much do we not want to hear these unpleasant words about this highway to hell? But, truth be told, because of sin, we all have been on that road and no matter how “good” we are, Paul explains in Romans 3:23 All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, and The wages of sin is death.” Thank God, He made a second way for us!

.The Lord Jesus taught in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

But what is the way of the righteous that leads to life? The Lord tells in John 14:4,6  You know the way.” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven? What way are you going? Follow Jesus.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blessings We Have

2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 

I read a great little devotional today that explained how the blessings we have in Christ are far too many to number, but it is a blessing even to note just a few of those indicated by the words "we have". First of all, in Christ “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” - Ephesians 1:7. As a result, “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” - Romans 5:1.
Thus, through such promises, His Word assures us of salvation. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that we have eternal life.” - 1 John 5:12-13. There are many other blessings that are ours in Christ. Those who oppose the cross in the Public Square of this nation as a symbol of Christ's death and resurrection are ignorant of and blind to the fact that it is their cross, the symbol of the penalty for their sins, and the symbol of their death - justly and rightly deserved. They are attacking the light of truth, life, forgiveness, and salvation itself. Christ took their place on that Cross. Child of God stand up and stand firm for the Lord, bringing the gospel of the Cross through faith in the redemption from hell, reconciliation with God, remission of sin and regeneration of the spirit in Jesus Christ alone. Offended Atheists offend God. Why?

John 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Finally, in the words of our text, when God calls Believers home, “we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” and then we are “to be present with the Lord” throughout the ages to come - 2 Corinthians 5:8. These are a few of the blessings we have in Christ. 
Praise God for what we have in Christ, Brian

Monday, July 27, 2015

In the Presence of the Living Lord

Psalm 18:46 The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.”

Years ago when my wife was a church secretary in Anaheim, California, I remember talking to Pastor Jim Schibsted and he said something to me that truly touched my heart in ministry ever since. He told me that the physical components of the church (the facility, the administration, the worship, the fellowship, the Study groups, and the Christian outreach) were successfully operating, but felt a deep need to develop and improve the “spiritual lives” of the members (their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and their Creator Father God. He saw where “the rubber hit the road” (us being the tire and God being the foundational asphalt highway to heaven).  He saw that Almighty God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) was not a component of “the House of the Lord” or our lives and living here, but the Rock on which that house was to be built.

Matthew 7:24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Years later, I heard a Pastor Robert Sproul say that what was missing for many of the members of his church, and every church, was the lack of people experiencing the true “presence” of the Lord in their Worship and in life. What or who are we worshipping? As still another pastor Tracy Hearnsberger once told me: “We are not worshipping “worshipping”; we are worshipping the “risen” Lord Jesus Christ, the “living” God, in His presence. I realized that these men of God/shepherd of God flock were saying the same thing in different words. This is what the Psalmist means: Jesus lives and we are in His very presence! The Lord alone is the solid Rock foundation that we can stand on with unshakable faith! Christ alone is our salvation, our refuge and our strength! Let the God of our salvation be exulted!  Praise and honor and glory be to God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Love & Joy for God’s Law

Psalm 119:97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

I read a real thought-provoking article the other day that asked this all-important question: “What does it mean to love the Lord?” The author stated that tough they do not want to downplay the importance of affection and adoration towards Him, loving God is not exhausted by mere feelings.

In his exposition of Psalm 119:97, Augustine of Hippo asks another important question: “How can it be that what God commands to be loved, be loved, and yet the commandment itself not be loved? Love for God and what He commanded us to love is inseparable from love for the very commands of God. If we love the Lord, we will love law, for His law is a reflection of who He is. Our affection for the law is not due to its being mere law of our Lord, but because it is the teaching and revelation of our most holy Creator Father God; it is from God and is taught by God. Consequently, one cannot be a Christian and have distain for the law of God. To hate the law of God is to hate God Himself. If we truly love God, we will truly love His law, and if we truly love God’s law, we truly love God.

Psalm 119:111-112 Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.

Such godly love, of course requires the (born again) regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Unless we are brought out of the realm of sin and death by the sovereign exercise of the Lord’s will to take from us our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh, we will remain dead in sin, hating God and His law. We live in a lawless age that disdains boundaries and restrictions; a day of lawlessness, when so many think that they can love the Lord and yet show no concern to learn and do what He commands. Non-believers do not care because they are in the darkness and rebellion of unbelief. May the Holy Spirit soften and open their hearts to Jesus. Unregenerate “natural man” has “no fear of God” before their eyes – no honor, no respect, no reverence, no adoration for God. May the Lord give them eyes to see and ears to hear, that they may find forgiveness and salvation at the foot of the cross. Sadly, they have no love of the Lord’s law, no authentic desire to promote the glory of God, nor any recognition of what they owe Him as our Maker. Yet. We all need the gospel light of truth.

Our love for God’s law sets the disciples of Jesus Christ apart from those who believe that we may live as antinomians (those who are against the law), doing whatever they want, whenever they want. Of course, on this side of glory, we know that the sin nature of the flesh desires is in battle with the indwelling Spirit and perfection will not be achieved until heaven. Honestly, this coexistence of love of God’s law and remaining sin will mark the lives of believers. Our struggle with sin is not a sign that we do not belong to our Creator; rather, it is proof that we have been redeemed by Christ. Stay in the Word of God and walk in the Spirit.

Joshua 1:8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Although true Christians may fall into sin, they get back up in sincere repentance and walk with the Spirit, with the persevering desire to fight sin, which shows that they fully and finally belong to Jesus and are heirs of eternal life. The Lord’s testimonies, or commandments, are the “joy” of our heart, and that to which the Christian inclines their heart and affections. If God, by His Spirit has poured His love into our hearts, then we will love whatever reflects His character. We will love His law because it shows us who He is, and He is altogether lovely. Meditate on them day and night.
In Christ, Brian

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Living Waters

Genesis 1:21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, … and God saw that it was good.”

After years of production, the third feature film in “The Design of Life” series arrived and we jump in immediately, like water on a fish. The two predecessors (Metamorphosis -  The Beauty and Design of Butterflies and Flight – The genius of Birds) explained and displayed the monumental complexity of these magnificent creatures which defy the laws of evolutionary explanation, yet are so common and natural that we take for granted. These animals and insects are nature’s marvels, not only in design, but also in unbelievable natural abilities that surpass logical reasoning and could never have evolved. I leave saying; “How do the do that?” and never look at them the same after.

Romans 1:19-20 “What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

The attacks on Creator God are directed via atheistic macro-evolution through the disguise of scientific materialism that starts with the blasphemous maxim of “no God”.  Yet, why do the atheistic evolution models exclude the evidence in nature to the contrary, leaving out the contradictions and insurmountable problems found in the cosmos, the earth and the living plants and animals that unmistakable point to intelligent design and an almighty Designer God. The directors, producers and staff of Illustra Media bring to life the reality of this marvelous created design in nature and the truly amazing abilities of ordinary, yet extraordinary creatures that have God’s fingerprints all over them. This new documentary “LIVING WATERS” is no exception. We were on the edge of our seats as each of these living aquatic phenoms extraordinary natural capabilities and the unbelievably complex functional design within them to accomplish their mind-boggling feats, yet naturally and effortlessly were displayed and revealed in astonishing cinematography. It truly was one “WOW” moment after another, that could not help but bring us to glorifying the almighty Creator that formed and gave life to these wonderful wonders that make up the living waters of our world. I hope that you all make the time and take the time to get a copy of this life’s design enlightening DVD for yourself and your loved ones. The truth shall set you free and you’ll never look at life the same again.

Psalm 148:7-9 Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths.”

Illustra Media produces video documentaries that examine the scientific case for intelligent design. Working with Discovery Institute and an international team of scientists and scholars, Illustra has helped define both the scientific case for design and the limitations of materialistic processes like Darwinian evolution. LIVING WATERS: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth is a fascinating exploration of life in the liquid universe that covers more than 70% of our planet. This remarkable documentary celebrates the beauty and brilliance of the biological systems that make life in the oceans possible. Extraordinary cinematography and computer animation open stunning window of discovery, including: (1) A spectacular tour of a dolphin’s internal sonar system – a mechanism so powerful and precise, the animals can locate and capture small fish buried in the sand. (2) The magnetic compass embedded in the head of a sea turtle – a biological wonder that guides there long-distance travelers as they journey across thousands of miles of open sea. (3) A Pacific salmon’s amazing sense of smell – an elaborate navigation aid that leads the fish back from years in the ocean to the very gravel bed where it was born. (4) The power and majestic grace of a humpback whale - a creature whose existence defies the theory of Darwinian evolution. Each leg of this cinematic odyssey is highlighted by cutting-edge research and compelling evidence for purpose and design. LIVING WATERS is an unforgettable film that challenges scientific materialism with the timeless truth about the origin and complexity of life on Earth. In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth – Genesis 1:1.

The Southern California premier of “LIVING WATERS: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth” will be Saturday Sept 26, 2015 @ the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton, California from  2:00-4:00 PM.  Illustra Media has graciously extended an invitation to every one of this blog’s readers to this special event and screening of this feature film. I hope that you mark your calendars and can attend with me. See you there.
In Christ, Brian

Friday, July 24, 2015

Anthropic World

Genesis 1:27-28So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

In astrophysics and cosmology, the Anthropic principle (from Greek anthropos, meaning "human") is the philosophical consideration that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious and sapient life that observes it. It explains why the universe has the age and the fundamental physical constraints necessary to accommodate conscious life. As a result, they believe it is unremarkable that the universe's fundamental constants happen to fall within the narrow range thought to be compatible with life. The Universe and especially the planet Earth were created to support life … and for mankind.

Isaiah 45:18 “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”

I read that the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Nicholas Copernicus was held at the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in Prague on April 18-19, 1973. Copernicus showed that the earth was not at the center of the universe, but that the sun was at the center and the planets revolved around it. At the celebration, Astronomer Brandon Carter discussed his discovery of certain, almost inexplicable findings in the world of particle physics and astronomy. They all seemed to suggest that this world, and the whole universe, have been created, formed and made for the purpose of hosting intelligent life on this planet – namely mankind. Many similar physical constrains which appear optimized for human existence point to the fact that this universe seems to have been designed for mankind. Carter’s Anthropic Principle says that the universe has a “purpose”. That is a dirty world to evolutionist who have substituted “chance” for design and creation by an almighty Creator.

Romans 1:19-20 “What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

There are approximately 400 “at-the-same-time” parameters (which is mathematically impossible to occur at the same time) that do exist on earth to make it uniquely inhabitable. This is not to mention all of the “irreducible complexity” of the life forms that inhabit this planet. Both sides of Creation verses Evolution walk by faith. Nobody here was there at creation. But, when we truly take an honest look at the evidence, it takes more faith to believe in Godless Macro-Evolution for creation and the origin of species. Despite man’s attempts to deny God, He has left His fingerprints all over the place. May God's truth shine and be seen by all those who sincerely seek Him.
In Christ, Brian

Thursday, July 23, 2015


 Isaiah 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”

I read that there are three main verbs used to describe God’s work of creation in Genesis. These are “create” (Hebrew, bara), “make” (asah), and “form” (yatsar). The three words are similar in meaning but each with a slightly different emphasis. None of them, of course, can mean anything at all like “evolve,” or “change,” on their own accord. All three are used in Genesis with reference to man. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth … And God said, Let us make man in our image . . .  So God created man in his own image. . . . And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground” – Genesis 1:1; 1:26-27; 2:7.

Isaiah 45:18 “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”

All three verbs are used together in Isaiah in order to describe, adequately, God’s purposeful work in preparing the earth for man. God created, formed, made, and established the earth, that it might be the home of men and women. God created the earth for life to exist. The earth is “Anthropic”. But my devotional reading asks: What was God’s purpose for the people who would inhabit it? Our text answers this most fundamental of questions, and once again, all three key verbs are used: “I have created him . . . I have formed him . . . I have made him . . . for my glory.” This biblical perspective alone provides the greatest of all possible incentives to live a godly and useful life. The reason we were created is to glorify God!

Question: 1. What is the chief end of man?
Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

He's got the whole world in His hands.
In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Get Real

This week, Michael writes: Are you living in reality, or are you just holding on to your possessions? Are you playing with "Monopoly (fake) money" or are you investing in eternity?  Evangelical Christian Evangelist Jim Elliot, who was one of five missionaries killed while participating in Operation Auca - an attempt to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador, said “He is not a fool who loses what he cannot keep to keep that which he cannot lose.” What endures?  Jesus said, "He who loses his life for my sake shall find it” – Matthew 10:39. For that which is seen is temporal, but that which is unseen is eternal – 2 Corinthians 4:18. According to Ephesians 5:6, "let no man deceive you with empty words." Galatians 6:7 says, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Are we able, in our own power, to access God's throne of grace? There is a fine line between empty words and confession of our Lord Jesus Christ which gives us access to God's holy of hollies only through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:17-18 You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.

Many men and women major in "theology" - the study of God. However, beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the cunning craftiness of this world and not after Christ. Knowledge to know and knowledge to grow in heart, mind and soul. We here to live by the “believing” faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation. Jesus said, the gospel is the good news --that the kingdom of God is at hand. There is a battle raging between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the prince of the power of the air (Satan). Jesus said, "Upon this rock (the truth that Jesus Christ is the Messiah; the Son of the Living God), I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" – Matthew 16:18. The devil is the father of all lies – John 8:44. However, Jesus  is the Truth of the Word of God in manifestation. If you know the truth, the truth will set you free – John 8:32. Our authority in “Truth” is the same promise that God gave Joshua: "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”Joshua 1:9. According to Romans 8:37, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

God has called us as his emissaries (agents, ambassadors, envoy and messengers) to represent His kingdom in a “foreign” land. This world is not my home, we're representatives of our heavenly homeland, for we are citizens of heaven. Now then, we are ambassadors of Christ, walking in this secular world according to the authority we have been given by our Lord to represent our homeland in a crooked and perverse godless realm among whom we shine as lights in this world in darkness of truth. Therefore, we are called not only to “deliver the message” but also to “be the message”:  We pray you in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God – 2 Corinthians 5:20. We have not been called to overcome the world. We have been called to overcome evil with good – Romans 12:21.  We have not been called to condemn the world, but to deliver the message of reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:18. This is the message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone through Christ alone. For he who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him” - 2 Corinthians 5:21.  According to Romans 8, "who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?  Shall tribulation or nakedness or famine or peril or sword?  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us...  for I am persuaded that neither life, not death, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor dominions nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" – Romans 8:33-39

Our challenge is this: “Get Real”. Reality is not in the things of this world. It is not in the physical battles of this s present life. Reality is only in the Lord. The things of this world will soon be passed, only that which is done in Christ will last.  Therefore, be thankful unto Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, and his Truth endures to all generations – Psalm 100:5.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ, Michael

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Remember Jesus Loves You

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

 Ephesians 3:16-19  "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."

Monday, July 20, 2015

Justice for All

Psalm 137:4 “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?”

We all want justice for injustices against us. Justice is defined in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary as: The virtue which consists in giving to every one what is his due; practical conformity to the laws and to principles of rectitude in the dealings of men with each other; honesty; integrity in commerce or mutual intercourse with impartiality; equal distribution of right in expressing opinions; fair representation of facts respecting merit or demerit. It is a duty to do justice to every man, whether friend or foe. Equity should, in strictness, be justness with vindictive retribution; merited punishment. When there is no law, unjust (bad or immoral) laws or two conflicting laws, there is no order or justice; just relativism (what right for you may not be right for me). Where are the boundaries? What are the standards to follow and, since justice includes: honesty, integrity, fairness, righteousness, truthfulness, reasonability, merit, impartiality, and equity, who made them? Lady Justice is blindfolded and weights the facts and the truth in her scales for a fair and just verdict. I read how unbearable it is for us to wait for justice to be served, because we wait for vindication. This applies with man’s justice in terms of the dealings with humans, residing here and now, this side of heaven. There is also Almighty God’s justice.

Hebrews 11:16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

The psalmist reflects on the covenant community’s experience during the Babylonian exile, but also pertains to the pilgrims and sojourners of the Judeo/Christian covenant community today. We await the manifestation of the Lord’s justice of which all of mankind stands in holy judgment by His just standards. The article clarifies: it is not that the exiles were unable to worship God at all; rather, they could not praise Him in His fullness because they were outside the Promised Land. The picture is one of pilgrimage, of a people who were out of sorts because they were not in their true home; Ambassadors for Christ temporarily representing His kingdom to this foreign land. And to the Christian, the child of God, the citizen of heaven, our true home is the kingdom of God and we are here on mission, but just passing through this fallen world. We will at times feel disconcerted and discomforted as we long for the day on which God will judge all people and bring in the new creation (Revelation 20:11-21:1-2). We will not forget the city of God as we go about as strangers, set apart from sin in the world. This is the eternal perspective of Christianity. By God’s just and holy standards, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God in the scales of justice. If God’s just judgment and rightful justice were applied to the world, nobody would be innocent.

Daniel 5:26-27 This is the interpretation of each word. God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting (have not measured up to God’s standard).

God is just and holy, so must punish sin, but God is love and mercy. The Lord Jesus said in John 3:14-18 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” We must always remember the truth told to us in Ephesians 2:1-10, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works. Forgiveness of sin and salvation is not, deserved, earned or purchased by us. Jesus saves. It is not inappropriate to long for justice, but in doing so, let us pray that our enemies receive justice in the same manner we have – through the cross of Jesus Christ that paid for our sins and freed us from God’s wrath. 

John 3:33-36 He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Praise be to God for our Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ – Justice for all.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Higher Ground

1 Timothy 6:11-12 But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness for a right standing with God and true goodness, godliness (which is the loving fear of God in reverential adoration and being Christ-like), faith, love, patience, and gentleness of heart. Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and for which you confessed the good confession of faith before many witnesses.

I came across a devotional which explained that a Christian disciple may be tempted by the fallen sinful flesh, but has no desire for their past life of sin and rebellion against the just and holy almighty Creator God of earth and heaven. Walking in the Spirit, we flee from sin, aim for and pursue a godly life here, and lay hold on our salvation and eternal life in Christ; “putting off” the old sinful flesh nature and “putting on” the new godly nature ... moving to holy higher ground.

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

In the old church hymn “Higher Ground” by Johnson Oatman, Jr. in 1898, one verse says: “My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fear dismay; though some may dwell where those abound, my prayer, my aim, is higher ground.” I read that one of the most precious promises of Christianity can be found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, where it says that “if any man or woman is in Christ, they are a new creation: the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” We are told that standing on the promises of God, we can put our old habits of sin behind us and live a new life in victory over sin, death and hell. No longer can sin bind and reign over us – we can live in victory of the cross!

Colossians 2:11-12 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

There is no need to be anywhere else. Our prayer and our aim is to walk where the Lord and Savior of the world leads, be where God want us to be, and do what He wants and has equipped us to do; to be salt and light for the glory of God. Only while there can be assured of higher ground with Him.

Philippians 3:14 Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, July 18, 2015


1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.
In the past, the people of God were unwilling to live the lifestyle that God called them to. Do we today? The prophet Elijah took on the prophets of Baal (the god of nature) & Asherah (the goddess of fertility) on Mount Carmel. “Carmel” translates to mean “God’s Vineyard” for its fertility, so when God stopped the rain for three years, it was a direct assault on Baal and this non-god’s worshippers to say: “Who is Baal?” and, ultimately, “Who is God?” The people had abandoned the Lord’s commands and followed the Baal. In the confrontation between God and Baal on Mt. Carmel, Elijah called upon “the Lord”; not his God, because there is no other gods. What gave Elijah power was a vertical relationship with Almighty Creator “Yahweh”. How is your vertical relationship with the Lord?
1 Kings 18:36-37 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.  Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”

Through us, people know who God is. God calls His people to the culture to do what God calls them to do, in their time and place in history, so that the people walking in darkness will know who is truly God. As it says in 1 Kings 18:39, Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said,The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Our living out the presence of God is not going to suddenly persuade everybody that God is real. Transformation/conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit, but we have all kinds of people having been given a gift from God, which the Lord has said, if you use that gift for me, as you use it, it will show what God is like. And that also means that if I’m going to know what God is like, I  can watch you, the child of God, who reflects the Father. For you and me, our calling is to be what God called us to be. And a godly shaping force in our culture is what God has called us all to be. Because you do it for the Lord, people who watch you will see Him.
Isaiah 45:5  I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.”
Heavenly Father, it is easy for us to have allegiances to more than just you. It is easy to trust in ourselves, in our own strength, in our own power, in our own money, and in our own abilities, but you have shown us that there is only one God and that is You. I pray that we live in such a way that what we do, what we say, and how we act would make clear to people that you are God, that you are our Lord, and that You are working through us. And I pray that you would just fill us with such a measure of Your Spirit that we can feel, powerfully, Your presence in us and that we can be Elijahs in the world that we live in for you and the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God! Amen.  
In Christ, Brian