Monday, February 29, 2016

Prayer Checklist

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Prayer is is defined in the 1828 Webster’s dictionary as a solemn address to the Supreme Being, consisting of adoration, or an expression of our sense of God's glorious perfections, confession of our sins, supplication for mercy and forgiveness, intercession for blessings on others, and thanksgiving, or an expression of gratitude to God for his mercies and benefits. Being of such great importance in the life of a Christian, prayer (talking with our Heavenly Creator Father is something that I believe that everyone would agree as something that they could always improve on. One thing for sure is that prayer is a great privilege. I read  an excellent little checklist  to help us on our prayer life  the other day that “d like to share today. It started by asking: “How is your prayer life?” For a Christian, prayer should be the very life breath that we breathe. Our hearts should be so in-tune with God that every occasion calls for pray.

Here’s a little checklist for your prayer life:
o   Do you pray for progress in your Christian life? (growth and maturity)
o   Do you pray for your growth in sanctification (into the likeness of Christ)?
o   Do you pray for your effectiveness as a soldier of Christ? (against the evil one)
o   Do you pray for your reproduction in the spiritual world? (bring people to Jesus)
o   Do you pray for your fruitfulness as a witness for Jesus Christ? (tell others)
o   Do you pray broadly for the lost that they may be saved?
o   Do you pray also for the saved that they may win the lost?
o   Do you pray in confession of your sins of commission? (What you did, but shouldn’t have)
o   Do you pray in confession for your sins of omission? (What you didn’t do, but should have)
o   Do you pray for not only the sinful deeds that you commit, but also for the thoughts that breed them?
o   Do you pray for the sinful words that came off your tongue?
o   Do you pray in confession of your sin of attitude?
o   Do you pray for your lack of warmth, love thoughtfulness and concern?
o   Do you pray in praise and adoration towards God?
o   Do you thank God, not only for what He has done for us, but for who He is?
o   Do you praise God for His wisdom and power, for His justice and his mercy, for His omnipotence and His omniscience, for all that He is and ever shall be, even His eternal nature.

How narrow our prayers can sometimes be. I hope that this little reminder will help you to pray more effectively. Prayer is a great privilege.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Vision, Direction and Guidance

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

We can all use  the direction and guidance that this Proverbs passage promises, but what is the condition of this promise? It is to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. That does not mean that God is asking us to park our brains at the curb and stop using our heads. I’ve read that what is being condemned here is unhealthy self-confidence, which the secular humanistic world is constantly commending ... depending on ourselves in a sensual world that we can see rather than depending on the Divine providence of God that we cannot ... except for the fingerprints.

Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

How do we acknowledge God? By seeing God in every aspect of our lives, by having a vision of Him and His providential workings in and thorough us, we acknowledge Him.  I remember going through Driver Training class in High School and again while I worked in the telecommunications industry, that we were taught the Smith System of defensive driving. There were five principles of safe driving that were taught which were intended to keep our focused, keep us from distractions and to be aware of our surrounding while operating a vehicle. They were (1) Aim High in steering allowing the driver to stay alert of the dangers and traffic ahead while focusing their attention high, so as to view the road as whole and not just a few feet ahead. (2) Get the “Big Picture” means “Be aware of your surroundings at all times” to avoid major accidents by noticing how other drivers behave on the road. Having a keen awareness of these dangers will reduce these risks. (3) Keep your eyes moving means remain alert. Consistent eye movement prevents your body from entering the trance state, keeping you alert to every driving condition ahead of you. (4) Leave yourself an out means ensure that other drivers do not box and pen you in. Do not follow other vehicles too closely, and always anticipate what choices other drivers make. And (5) Make sure they see you prevents accidents by removing assumptions made behind the wheel. As a driver, make sure that other drivers can see you and anticipate your move. 

Psalm 119:133 Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.

With knowledge and wisdom, you must first "be aware" before you can "beware". Likewise, I understand that for a safe trip through this pilgrimage on earth, God directs us along life’s long and winding road and pilots us over life’s tempestuous sea in two main defensive driving ways. First, by His holy Word and the instructions He has given us there. Secondly, by circumstances in our lives; sometimes opening doors and sometimes closing them; sometimes by making our path smooth and sometimes by causing us to fall flat on our faces; sometimes moving obstacles and sometimes by throwing them up before us.

John 14:15-17 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

It is also important to recognize the role of the indwelling Holy Spirit in God’s guidance in our life. Why is this guidance essential? Galatians 5:16-18 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.” How many times have we heard that still small voice of the all-seeing and all-knowing Holy Spirit which seemed to pull us back. Then, in retrospect, we saw that God spared us from grief or even disaster. We all have 20-20 hind-sight, and often it is in retrospect that we can see the guidance of God. But we have this promise that He will provide direction for our vision and walk, if we look to see His work and guidance in every aspect of our lives. Even in the little things, in everything God’s providence is there.

In Christ, Brian 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Serving Servant

Mark 10:42-45 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This last Sunday, Pastor Kyle’s sermon focused on the godly purpose of serving others. There always seemed to be an unhealthy desire for attention and fame in our culture. The modern age platforms of movies, radio, television, social media have created broader and faster avenues of reaching the world audience to the point of not knowing who or what is really important. Today, the website YouTube allows anyone, at any time, to spread their views immediately. There is so much information at our fingerprints. But, our significance is not found there. Life is not about greatness or being served, but connecting our life to God’s great purposes. According to Jesus, in the verse above, the path to significance is found in servanthood.  

Matthew 23:11-12 The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.


Jesus gives us a different and better path and process to keep us humble. The key for us is to be re-directable. Kyle gave us three things we need to know to serve effectively in God’s kingdom. (1) We have hidden agendas and motives, Some serve only when convenient, but everyone has certain desires, wishes or perceived needs behind the scenes. That desire should be for the glory of God. (2) We have spiritual gifts. God’s gifts are to be used for His glory. If not used, then it’s like burying them in the ground. (3) We are called to minister to others through serving. Have this mindset and live the obedient life we were called to. Ephesians 2:10 says For we are God’s handiwork,  created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” and applies to all work in our life.


Mark 9:35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Have we lost our joy in serving? Kyle told us four keys to keeping the joy in our service to the Lord. (1) Confront our ego. We are all nose-blind to our own stink when it comes to our egos. Pride is a grievous sin to God. (2) Create and maintain a sustainable pace. Without margins in our lives, we end up taking care of ourselves as the burden becomes overbearing. (3) Keep it a priority. Never forget why you are doing what you are doing. Never say. I’m going to drop this because I’m not feeling it anymore. Keep serving from becoming a routine. (4) Look for God stories. God stories are happening all the time. Something that you are going through that God is working with. Many encounter God through someone serving in ministry and touched their life. You could be a part of someone else’s God story.   

Philippians 2:5-11 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God  something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself  by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,  to the glory of God the Father.


In Christ, Brian

Praise Report – Home

James 5:15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.” 

I have a wonderful “Praise Report” on my dear wife today. After 25 straight days in the hospital, we have brought her home with the stomach bleeding condition completely stopped.

This particular condition is called a “Dieulafoy Lesion” and those of you who would like to know the details of this illness, here is a web-link that will explain: that you can go to and read about it.

This was a very serious (even life-threatening) condition as this lesion would open for a very short amount of time and bleed a massive amount of blood into the stomach, then close and be undetectable. The blood loss would immediately lower the hemoglobin level of the body, lower the blood pressure and increase the heart-rate to dangerous levels. Any hemoglobin level below 6.0 is non-life sustaining and requires a blood transfusion immediately if drops below 7.0. The lesion would bleed every two to three days only, so was like on a roller-coaster ride of getting better and getting worse. Over the 25 days, she experienced 3 CT Scans and 7 Scopes put down into her stomach to try to find the bleeding source, and 23 pints of blood transfused over that time to replace the losses.

On the seventh Scope procedure, (seven being the number of “completion” in the Bible, the Gastro-intestinal Physician saw the actively bleeding Dieulafoy lesion and was able to insert clapping clips on the location, which completely closed the wound and stopped the bleeding. The lesion shall now heal and the clips will natural fall off in 3-4 weeks. Her vital signs and hemoglobin level immediately corrected and we were able to bring her home, where she is expected to have a 100% recovery after a little rest, relaxation and recuperation.

I want to thank you all for you blessed prayers for her. We think about the slim chances of the doctors have the scope in her stomach at the exact moment that the blood gushes out, and praise the Lord for His loving mercy and grace in guiding the Physicians to discover and treat this condition, that she may live and bless us all again.

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Acceptable Day – Part 2

Michael continues: Last month Jane was having stomach pains.  About the same time, John hurt his wrist and his wife made an appointment and insisted that he go to the doctor. Jane told the doctor that John would have surgery to repair his wrist instead of an injection that may or may not alleviate the pain. The next week John returned the favor by taking his wife to the hospital to have her checked for her stomach pains. After the examination, Jane’s ER doctor and an oncologist came to the waiting room and reported that Jane had a large cancerous mass on her pancreas that had spread to her stomach. A few days later the doctor reported that Jane also had a large mass on her spine and that the cancer had spread to her vital organs. The oncologist kept mentioning God during the report. John asked the doctor if he was a Christian and the oncologist answered: “yes.” The doctor’s prognosis was that Jane only had about two weeks left to live and there was nothing medically that they could do for her. Her life was completely in God’s hands. 

With only two weeks left, there is no time to start loving your wife as Christ loved the church. Jane told John a long time ago, that if he died before her, she didn’t know if she could make it through life. At that time John prayed, “Lord, please take my wife before me.” He wanted to spare his wife the pain of seeing her beloved husband suffer before dying. John reminds us that we must take the time now to love our spouses as Christ commands. The context of this commandment is Ephesians 5:22-33: “Husbands and wives submit yourselves one to another out of reverence for Christ.” A similar passage in Colossians 3:15 says: “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts to the which also ye have been called in one body, and be ye thankful. And whatsoever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God and the Father through Him.” John once asked Jane, “Have you ever met someone you didn’t pray for?”  Her answer was: “I can’t think of anyone.” Before that day’s Bible Study, Jane said, “Tell the group that they need Jesus, not just in times of disaster, but that they need Jesus today.” 

Today is the acceptable day of the Lord. How do you accept the Lord Jesus?  According to Romans 10: 9-10:That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe with thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Today is our moment of destiny …now is our “come to Jesus moment.” Now is the day of salvation. Before we can minister to others, we must first allow God to minister to us through the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf.  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.

Only when we allow God to love us by accepting His gift of salvation through Christ, can we in turn love our husbands and wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. Now is the acceptable day of the Lord … today is our “come to Jesus moment.”  As God reveals to us how Christ loved the church, we can love our spouses with this same love.

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

The Acceptable Day – Part 1

Romans 5:3-5 “We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

This week, Michael writes: God always honors faith but He never honors fear. Although there will always be ‘wars and rumors of wars’ and unexpected events in this life, Jesus said, “Fear not, for I have overcome the world.” Cataclysmic events are often our “come to Jesus” moments. We have to be brought to our knees to acknowledge that we cannot help ourselves. On our knees, we have no control over our own situation. 

The story of Johnny Bash is a story of turning to God for deliverance in the midst of the storms of life. Johnny was a successful young man in the eyes of the world. He was an athlete who had a thriving business. While on vacation on the Colorado River, he dived from the boat into the river. The river was shallow and in that catastrophic moment, Johnny suffered a spinal cord injury and became a quadriplegic. These are the times that try men’s souls. The trials of life challenge us not only when we ourselves have been broken and in need of help, but also when God calls each of us out of our comfort zones to minister to those among us who have been broken. As Jesus said, “In that you have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me” – Matthew 25:40.

John White, a minister and evangelist with “Firefighters for Christ,” is another Believer who has recently been brought to his knees. John reminds us that God is in the business of healing relationships. He and his wife, Jane, have been married for many years. As a fire fighter, John spent years training and drilling how to react and rescue others in the “line of fire.” He disciplined himself so that in the midst of a crisis situation, his actions to save others would kick in automatically. However, John like most men, had never been trained how to react as a husband. John knew that his wife was a godly woman who loved him despite his faults and failures. After twelve years of marriage, John finally read this command to husbands In Ephesians 5:25: “husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church.” John made two vows to God …  the first was to love God above all. The second was to love his wife Jane as Christ loved the church.
Learning how Christ loved the church is a lifelong lesson. John often asked his wife, “What can I change to love you more?” As a godly woman Jane always answered from a heart of unconditional love, “not a thing.”

Let’s continue Michael’s message on “Loving our spouses … and significant others” tomorrow, on the next post. In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Clean and Pure

Psalm 119:15I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.”

I read a great little devotional today that I’d like to share.

Psalm 119:9 says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word.” That word “way” really means a “rut” like a chariot wheel would make in the road. On our last trip to Kingman, Arizona, we went exploring and found the old trail to an old gold mine where the wheels of the Ore carts actually wore deep ruts in the solid granite. Have you ever heard of a one-track mind? The devil plants a thought in our minds, and over time it becomes a belief. Before we know it, he has captured a stronghold. Thank God there is a way of deliverance.

John 15:3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

God’s Word will cleanse you. Hallelujah! God’s cleansing powers can sweep over your soul today. And fresh winds of the Holy Spirit can blow through the temple of your body and make you clean and pure.

Ephesians 5:26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”

In Christ, Brian

Monday, February 22, 2016

Give Unto God

Psalm 29:2Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”
In order to give to the Lord the glory (praise ascribed in adoration and honor) due to His name, we must truly know and understand the who, what, when where and why of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the full impact of God’s unmerited favor in His loving and merciful Plan of Salvation, which could never be seen as anything except beauty. Then, all would naturally give the glory to God and worship of the Lord in His sovereign holiness. Hallelujah!
In Christ, Brian

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Faith and Creation

Hebrews 11:3 “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

I read that this is the very first object and example of faith in the Bible’s great “faith chapter,” in Hebrews 11. This fact strongly argues that any truly meaningful and effective faith must be founded, first of all, on the revealed fact of special creation—creation ex nihilo—not creation through some protracted, naturalistic, imaginary process of evolution. I was raised in a pseudo-Christian home and yet I knew that God created everything. I was never taught Darwinian Evolution Theory in school growing up and would have rejected it immediately, as it directly contradicted the Bible and Creation by God. Macro-Evolution as the origin of life was merely an attack on God. All of the “worlds” (Greek aion—that is, the “space/times”—the continuum of space and time which constitutes the physical cosmos) were simply called into existence by God’s omnipotent Word.


Psalm 33:9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.In no way did He have to start with some chaotic form of matter already in existence. Jesus Christ – John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.- created space and time as well as matter/energy. Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Romans 1:17-20 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because 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 article points out that right at the end of the previous chapter, the apostle asserts that “the just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38) and concludes by speaking of those “that believe [literally ‘have faith’] to the saving of the soul” (10:39). Following immediately then is his definition of faith - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1), and after that the great progression of objects and examples of faith in Hebrews 11. Heading the list of these, of course, is faith in the special creation of all things by the Word of God. The necessary conclusion is that a “living” faith and “saving” faith must be founded, first of all, on the fact of supernatural creation of all things by God in the beginning. It’s sad to see so many souls being lost to the bad science of godly creation of the Cosmos and life.

 Job 38:4-6 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone.”

Darwinian Evolution is also based on faith, but it is contrary to Scripture and to true science. “Theistic evolution” is a false faith, which states that Evolution is true, but God orchestrated it, and those Christians who believe such things should carefully examine their hearts in the light of God’s Word. For faith begin on the very first verse: Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Love Purposes

Romans 8:18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy o be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

At last Sunday, Pastor Kyle and his wife Lisa announced on the church stage that they were expecting their first child, to the cheers of joy by the congregation or this young couple. We are all happy and excited for them.

In Kyle’s sermon, he explained to us how we are increasingly affected by the world’s definition of love. The English word “love” is quite wide-ranging, where you can love a person and love pizza, but though they use the same word “love”, they do not have the same meaning. The 1828 Webster’s dictionary defines the word “love” as, in a general sense, to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification. We love a friend, on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in his society. We love a man who has done us a favor; in which case, gratitude enters into the composition of our affection. We love our parents and our children, on account of their connection with us, and on account of many qualities which please us. We love to retire to a cool shade in summer. We love a warm room in winter. We love to hear an eloquent advocate. The Christian loves his Bible. In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things, as the sum of all excellence and all the attributes which can communicate happiness to intelligent beings. In other words, the Christian loves God with the love of complacency in his attributes, the love of benevolence towards the interest of his kingdom, and the love of gratitude for favors received.   

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

That almost 200 year of Webster’s dictionary goes on to say that love is an affection of the mind excited by beauty and worth of any kind, or by the qualities of an object which communicate pleasure, sensual or intellectual. It is opposed to hatred. Love between the sexes, is a compound affection, consisting of esteem, benevolence, and animal desire. Love is excited by pleasing qualities of any kind, as by kindness, benevolence, charity, and by the qualities which render social intercourse agreeable. In the latter case, love is ardent friendship, or a strong attachment springing from good will and esteem, and the pleasure derived from the company, civilities and kindness of others.

 Between certain natural relatives, love seems to be in some cases instinctive. Such is the love of a mother for her child, which manifests itself toward an infant, before any particular qualities in the child are unfolded. This affection is apparently as strong in irrational animals as in human beings. We speak of the love of amusements, the love of books, the love of money, and the love of whatever contributes to our pleasure or supposed profit. Patriotism; the attachment one has to his native land; as the love of country. The love of God is the first duty of man, and this springs from just views of His attributes or excellencies of character, which afford the highest delight to the sanctified heart. Esteem and reverence constitute ingredients in this affection, and a fear of offending Him is its inseparable effect.

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

Kyle points out that having the incomplete or wrong definition of love can lead to unrealistic expectations in life and quickly turn into unmet desires of the heart. Love is designed to be a day of encouragement, not a day of discouragement. What a good thing that God, who we serve, does. Keep following God’s purpose and think not about yourself, but about God’s love in your life. What a pure and true blessing!

In Christ, Brian

Friday, February 19, 2016

Of Faith or Fear - Part 2

Michael continues that according to Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  My strength is not by my own power but only by the power of God's mighty hand. It's easy to speak and think things that are theologically correct until the crisis comes. We have no control in the midst of the storm. Isaiah 41 says, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee;  be not dismayed; for I am thy God:  I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold the with the right hand of my righteousness." To be a man or woman of faith, we must die to ourselves in order to live for Him. Our security is not in the things of this world ... our government, our job, our paycheck, our family, or our accomplishments. The secret of Gethsemane, was the conclusion of Jesus' prayer: “If it be thy will, let this cup pass from me...  nevertheless, not my will but thine be done." Prayer is not aligning God's will with my will, but rather, aligning my will with God's will. The conclusion to your prayer will determine whether you will be a man or woman of fear or a man or woman of faith through believing according to His will.

Often we ask God to work a miracle and to deliver us immediately from the crisis of the hour. However, God often says wait. For tribulation works patience and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope makes not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy spirit which is given to us. Until we put our hearts on the altar of God, we will never hear "Well done thou good and faithful servant."  It's not the amount of faith that you have, rather it's the quality of your faith.  What's important is the object of your faith, Jesus Christ. Not in my own strength but in His strength alone ... I must decrease that He may increase.

Luke 18 begins with Jesus' parable about a judge who feared neither God nor man. A woman who was consistent in her request continuously petitioned the judge to settle her dispute with her adversary. Because of her persistence, the unrighteous judge granted her request. Likewise when the Son of Man comes will He find persistent faith upon this earth?  When the crisis comes, God expects his men and women to be the reliable ones who endure faithfully to the end. God has plans for our suffering so that we will be the faithful ones who prove His power in the time of trial and tribulation. The Apostle Paul even though he was in jail said "I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 

Are you a man or woman of faith or fear? Jeremiah was called the "weeping prophet" because he warned Israel that because they failed to make faith-based decisions, Israel would be taken captive by Babylon. In the midst of his lamentations, Jeremiah wrote by God's inspiration, "Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father...  there is no shadow of turning with thee.  Morning by morning new mercies I see.  Thou changest not thy compassions they fail not, great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Of Faith or Fear - Part 1

Thank you Lord for allowing us to meet as a band of brothers and sisters, as like minded men and women who link together within the body of Christ to influence our surroundings not with our righteousness, but with your righteousness. Thank you Lord for reminding us that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man  or woman availeth much and for your blessed assurance that there is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.

This week Michael writes that words reveal the heart of a person. It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles an individual, but that which comes out. Jesus taught a parable about a master who gave his servants talents (money) to manage. To one he gave five talents, to another he gave two, and to the third he gave one talent. The servants to whom he gave five and two talents both doubled their talents by the time their master returned. The master praised each of them, "well done thou good and faithful servant. Thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things; enter thou into  the joy of the Lord."  The one who received one talent buried his talent and gave it back to the master when he returned. He said to his master, "I knew that you were a hard taskmaster, reaping what you have not sown and gathering where you have not planted. So in fear I buried your talent and have returned back to you that which is yours. This servant made a fear- based decision instead of a faith-based decision. The master said to him, "you wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gathered where I have not planted. You should at least have put the talent in the bank so that it would earn interest. Therefore, take the one talent that you buried in fear and give it to the faithful servant who has ten." The Lord has given each of us resources to allow the Master to bless us back abundantly when we invest wisely and in faith according to His purposes. That which is done in “believing faith” reaps rewards in eternity. Fear-based decisions result in weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

The only way to experience the love of God is to allow God to break you so that you can be reconciled back to Him. We must first experience a “Gethsemane” in order to experience the hope of the resurrection. Many years ago, when a pastor was in the father's waiting room, and the doctors told him that his baby might not live, God asked him, "no matter what happens to your wife and your baby, will you still love me, praise me, and serve me?"  These are the times that try our soul.  In the midst of adversity, will you be a man or woman of faith or fear?  When the doctor came back into the waiting room and said, "I'm sorry, we lost the baby," this cataclysmic event forced him to seek comfort in the Lord. The next few weeks, as he sought the Lord in faith, were the times of the greatest spiritual comfort in his life.

Let’s continue Michael message on faith and fear tomorrow,

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Profit and Loss

Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

This is one of the saying of the Lord which clued me in quite early that I was missing just how serious salvation really is and how much I was not grasping in the life-issue of our soul. It is easy to comprehend the physical world that are perceived by our five senses, though understanding what we think and why we do what we do can get complicated. I’ve read and observed that in these materialistic days, many people have naturally become abnormally occupied with investments and returns, capital gains and losses, balance sheets and cash flows. This is nothing new, of course. The prevalence of covetousness is so universal, in one form or another, which God had to place a prohibition on it in the Ten Commandments. I was slow putting the whole “covet” – to desire inordinately; to desire that which it is unlawful to obtain or possess; anything that ii put higher in importance than God, because it was one of the “Both ways” kind of things of life and the soul never seemed to cross my mind. I don’t owe my soul to the company store ... or did I.

Proverbs 13:7There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

One article pointed out that, in this verse above, the Lord Jesus made a heart-searching comparison one day, when He posed a surprising question relative to divine bookkeeping. Reality is that not even the riches of the entire world could purchase one human soul, yet men often seem willing to sacrifice their souls in pursuit of material riches and what they lead to in this life, but, what about godliness and being spiritual rich in this life and eternity? The temporal for the eternal? Is such an exchange really a sound investment? Merely to ask the question is to answer it.

Don’t get me wrong, earning wealth is good, if it is acquired honorably and by the will of God, but “coveting” wealth and “hoarding” wealth are foolish sins. That article stated that the true measure of profit and loss is the balance sheet kept in heaven. One must first glean an account there, however, and this means coming to God empty-handed, on the basis of Christ’s free gift of His own riches. 

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Our soul is worth more than anything. He died for us, that we might live through Him. Then, once our heavenly account is established, here is real investment counseling: Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In Christ, Brian