Monday, October 31, 2016

Created to Cleave

Genesis 2:18-25 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord  God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

This last week’s Sunday Sermon by Pastor Kyle covered the marriage relationship as Creator God designed it. He explained that the Lord God Almighty designed marriage from the beginning to be a lifelong complimentary and procreation partnership between a man and a woman in unperverted and unashamed intimacy. The Bible uses the term “they knew each other” to describe the multi-faceted intimacy of this mentally, physically and spiritual union, that the origin of marriage describes as “cleaving together” and “becoming one flesh”. The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines “Marriage” as; “The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.It is sin that distorts the purpose of sex as it was intended by God.

Matthew 19:4-6 And He (Jesus) answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning (Creator Father God) ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

God’s design in marriage for the man to “cleave’ to his wife is an interesting term because the word has two definitions that are opposite. The first definition of the word “cleave” in the 1828 Webster’s dictionary is: “To stick; to adhere; to hold to. To unite aptly; to fit; to sit well on. To unite or be united closely in interest or affection; to adhere with strong attachment. I once heard a pastor describe the “cleaving of the marriage relationship between a man and a woman” as if two pieces of wood were glued together to were the two became one solid piece, and two separate by force would split and splinter the pieces with great damage to both the cohering parts. The second definition of the word to cleave is the contrary to the first: “To part or divide by force; to split or rive; to open or serve the cohering parts of a body, by cutting or by the application of force.” Designed to “leave and cleave”, not "cleave and leave”.

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

God-designed marriage is the foundation of civilization, society and the family unit. The law of the land has been changed and marriage has been distorted from the original definition and redefined by secular society, but that does not change God’s definition. All have sinned and by the grace of God, all sin is atoned for by Christ redeeming sacrifice on the cross for the repentant sinner, who believes and receives regenerating rebirth. The question is whether you and I are going to hold to our belief and preferences that match the Holy Scriptures of the Word of God in the Bible as light or conform to the ways of the humanistic God-rejecting world system in which we are supposed to influence and clean up? Christianity gave birth to the good kind of tolerance, as summarized in Christ’s Golden Rule. Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets – Matthew, chapter 7, verse 12. This implies respect for others – even if they’re different. Tolerance is defined as: “The power or capacity of enduring; or the act of enduring. To put up with, endure and bear with those who have different views, habits and/or lifestyles than you, even though you do not agree with their view. Tolerance does not mean that you must agree with their views as well, nor hold that their lifestyle is equally true and equally valid as your own. Nothing usurps the authority and commandments of God Almighty, our sovereign heavenly Father. Evil in the eyes of the Lord is a “hate crime” against God. God is good. In God We Trust.

Romans 12:9 “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween - What are we celebrating? - Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween - What are we celebrating? - Part 1

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

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

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

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

Let's continue this great history of Halloween tomorrow.

In Christ, Brian

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Supreme Being: God

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The word “God” is defined in the 1828 Webster’s dictionary as: The Supreme Being; Jehovah; the eternal and infinite Spirit, the Creator, and the Sovereign of the universe. The All-knowing, Almighty Creator of the Cosmos is the self-existent, ever-present Sustainer of everything and all. Can we truly wrap our minds around our Heavenly Father? Can the finite comprehend the infinite?

Isaiah 55:8-11 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, and My thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, 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.”

I think about all the things that there are that could be learn and known, then catch a glimpse and realize (1) that there is so much more to learn than there is time to learn it and (2) God not only knows it all, but crated it all. So, in a world that rebels and rejects the living God (father, Son and Holy Spirit) and His faithfully believing student/follower children, there truly is no man-made weapons of war necessary; for though the God-rejecting world system may attack, these assaults are but nothing to the Supreme Being; Jehovah; the eternal and infinite Spirit, the Creator, and the Sovereign of the universe.

May the gospel of Jesus Christ be preached and heard, the Word of God be read and applied to life by all, and may the love and grace of awesome God reign on earth as it is in the kingdom of Heaven.

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Grow into God's Maturity.

This week, Michael writes that contentment is a hard lesson to learn.  We're all works in progress...  we're in the process of being wrought by the master's hand.  Our choice is to be yielding and willing to allow God to work within our hearts to will and to do of His good pleasure.  

Are you your own man or woman, or are you His man or woman. O men and women of God: “choose ye this day whom ye shall serve”:  as for me and my house we will serve The Lord.  He called us from the darkness of this world into the marvelous light of his glorious truth so that we could declare the excellency of His power that works in us.

A child's perspective is self centered. The characteristic of childhood is "what's in it for me?"  A child only thinks of himself and of immediate self gratification. There is no maturity in self-centeredness. The period of adolescence is for growing  and developing into maturity. This is a turbulent time when the childhood pull of self-centeredness struggles against the pull of the greater things in life:  growing into an understanding of the perspective of "what would Jesus do?"

Our culture worships “self”.  It glorifies childhood and adolescence. This stunts growth into wisdom and maturity. Whom do you emulate?  Who is your mentor. Whom do you choose to follow and to model your life and behavior along the way? A disciple is a disciplined follower. Many are called but few are chosen. Jesus spoke to great multitudes, but he chose twelve.  

There are two types of leaders: self-serving leaders or God-serving leaders. God-serving leaders serve God by serving others. Jesus said that in that you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  Giving is living.  As you serve others, you serve God.

The love of God is paradoxical. The God-rejecting world says to "help yourself" in our self-serving culture. However, by serving God through serving God's people, you allow God to bless you in return. Serving others in love allows God to multiply blessings back to you as a result of your giving to bless others.  

Let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hand the thing which is good that ye may have to give to him that needeth. What do you need?  All I need is Thee. The giving is of the Word of God ... of spiritual things ...  of the Love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. They don't need stuff. They need God's salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. For what doth it profit a man if he gains the whole world and looses his soul?

Are you growing in Christ?  What's most important in your life? There will be tribulation in this life. Materialism and the things of this world are fleeting.  Worldly goods, position, honor of man, accolades, and wealth of this world are but for a moment. For everything there is a season. As Paul said, "I have learned to abound and to suffer need, however, God is my sufficiency in all things." In my own ability I can do nothing. Did we in our own strength confide our battle would be loosing. If done by my own hand, my efforts will come to naught.  As Solomon said, all is vanity...  it profiteth me nothing.  What abides?  Jesus said, "lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, but rather lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...  for where your treasure is there will your heart be also."

A Christian Worship leader penned these words to the song "The Star of the Show."
Lord I will do my very best to see that all your people are blessed. But when the night is over, and it's time to go, Lord they'll remember who's the star of the show.
It's you Lord who does the fulfilling, It's you Lord who gets the top billing,
It's you Lord who performs like nobody can

In The words of the great hymn by Martin Luther "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God:"
Did we in our own strength confide our battle would be loosing, were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing. Doth ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is he, and he must win the battle. It's not about me. It's about Him. I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me. We're running a marathon ... the race is not yet over. I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

We're God's work in progress. Therefore yield to the touch of the Master's hand.  Thou art the potter I am the clay. For it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. Growing up into Him: I must decrease that he might increase.

May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ,

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Short Fuse

James 1:17-20 “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

Any of us that have or have had the privilege of igniting firecracker on the fourth of July know physically what a short fuse looks like and may have experienced the negative effect of lighting one of those bad boys off. My ears are still ringing. In case you don’t know, sometimes when we light one of those ladyfingers off, the fuse would burn right down to the firecracker, then go out. Not wanting to waste a single big bang, we’d proceed to grab that little nub of a fuse that remained and gently pulled it out a little more. This was proceeded by the not-so-thought-out procedure of relighting that short fuse and getting out of the way before it exploded and damaged something. Consequences never crossed our mind then. Everything is fun until someone gets hurt.

That term “short fused” is now used to describe someone who is quick-tempered, hot-tempered, easily provoked, impetuous, rash, touchy, volatile and let those firecrackers … explosive. Webster’s dictionary defines the term as “a tendency to get angry easily”. They let things get under their thin skin. We all know the type and maybe have been that person before once or twice.

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

But, there is no love, joy or peace in being “short fused”. Not only are they miserable, but everyone around that person is walking on egg shell trying and to set them off. It surely is not what our Maker, Father God, intended. Our good Lord God, who spoke the Cosmos into existence, never changes, but is in the business of changing us for the better. By His mercy and grace, we can be born-anew with a heart inclined towards God and flowing with the fruit of the Spirit of God – changed from the inside out. The opening passage gives us the Christian recipe to the mature thick-skinned long-suffering patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that each and everyone of us seek. That being to know and understand that whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father and that we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. 

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Life in the jungle of this “fallen in sin world” is no bowl full of cherries, but the bad things (little or big) are really no big thing in the grand scope of life. When a child of God goes down, they go up, so let the stuff that bugs you be like water on a duck. Happiness is holiness as God intended it. Have the God-perspective and you will not have a short fuse.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Those Who love Jesus

John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

In surveys of Christians, the fourteenth chapter of the book of John was found to be the favorite chapter. I was not surveyed, but if they had, I’d say that it my favorite chapter also and was far before I heard of this survey. The promises of the Lord Jesus come one after another and they are true blessings for the born-again Believer/Disciple. The bible verse above has always filled me with joy, security and peace. It will forever be a solid and sure directive to live-out the teaching of the Holy Scriptures in my life daily and walk in the indwelling Holy Spirit, which was promised just a few verses earlier in this same chapter.

 John 14:15-17 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

Both of these great verses in John chapter fourteen begins with an “if’, indicating that there is a choice involve here and the proof of that choice is reveal in whether or not we keep the Lord’s teachings, statutes and commands found in His Holy Word. The amazing promises of God are ours in our transformational dedication, devotion and desire for Jesus, lived out in our obedience to Him and His Word as our living standard.

The contrary is true and produces opposite promises to those who chose to oppose and disobey the Lord’s teachings, statutes and commands found in His Holy Word. We cannot love God and reject His commands in the Word of God. Someone may say that I am reading that into these verses and passages above, but Jesus made this point clear in the every next verse and that these words were directly from our Creator Father God Himself.

John 14:24 “Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

Love, joy and peace are things that everyone desires, but they come from a loving relationship with the Lord that is the natural outflow of the child of God, who has confessed and repented of their sin, accepted the free gift of eternal life in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, had their spirit regenerated and reconciled with God and live a life of obedience; following, learning, growing and maturing in this journey to the ‘promised land” of Heaven.

In Christ, Brian. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Life as God intended Us to Live it - Part 2

Deuteronomy 30:19-20a “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.”

Continuing Pastor Kyle’s bold message on living by the Word, Will and Way of God, Kyle told us that we may not live in the Garden of Eden anymore, but gave us three positive statements about living rightly in the eyes of the lord today. (1) We are still made in the image of God. We all were formed by God out of the dust of the earth, like clay in the hands of the Potter (Isaiah 64:8). Our Maker forms our life into whatever He wants; not what we might desire. Our view of what is good for ourselves may be distorted as we do  not see the whole picture. We have to trust our Creator father God. (2) We still have the same marching orders from God and that involves obedience. Remember that next to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the tree of life to test us. God did make us to be robots, but gave us a “free will”. Satan tempted our first parents with a lie, but continues to deceive the world, create confusing doubt in our mind and tempt the flesh desires of our sinful heart today. But, we are to put on the full armor of God (God’s truth and righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith and the Word of God) as we walk in the Spirit and not gratify the sin nature’s desires. (3) Jesus makes the “Garden” intimacy possible again. Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The enemy (the devil) has stolen our garden experience. But, through Jesus’ work on the cross, our sin is reconciled and our intimacy restored for the quality of life. Satan steals and kills; God provides and saves.   

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Kyle explained that there were numerous methods of dealing with our sinful shortcomings. Some are behaviorally focused. We need accountability, checks and balances, reminders and an occasional “slap on the wrist” for correction to keep us on the “straight and narrow” path of righteousness. Sin makes people feel shame and guilt, but the grace of God heals all wounds. We need to take a look at ourselves and focus on why we go there in the first place and what are the paths that led us there? Some are heart-focused. Jesus said in Matthew 6:20-21 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Compared to the big picture laid out for us in the Word of God, are there some pieces missing?  The best are holistic. Do we look at the whole picture with an eternal perspective or with an “in the moment” existential short-sightedness? We all carry stress, but what place do you go to (physically and mentally) for relief, or what do you consume to take the edge off? Jesus paid the price for us to have a restored “Garden” intimacy. We have a picture of God’s Way, but need a map to get there and an instruction manual on how to.

2 Peter 1:3-7 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”

There is a plan and a picture by God for us to get to the Garden experience. If we have no spiritual growth and progress in life, how can we say that we are walking in obedience with the Holy Spirit? We have the choice to say: “No thanks, I got this.” But, we have to look at why we do what we do in honest conversation with the Lord. We all need to “tend to the garden” of our life in body, mind, soul and spirit, and live our life as God intended us to live it.

In Christ, Brian.   

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Life as God intended Us to Live it - Part 1

Genesis 2:5-7 “Before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

This last Sunday, Pastor Kyle continued the Sermon series through the book of Genesis and told us how he always puts together assembly items that he buys by pouring out all the pieces, then looking at the picture on the front of the box. But, more time than not, he ends up with a few extra pieces that are needed somewhere, and so calls a friend to come over, who pulls out the instructions manual from the box and puts the item together properly, with no extra parts and works as the manufacturer design and intended it to. How often do we all do that with items we buy and also in our life in general? Do we read and take the directions that God has given and left for us, intending us follow for our own good in life? The Holy Bible is (B.I.B.L.E.) is truing the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth – our Instruction Manual for living this side of eternity by the Designer/Creator/Sustainer and it is intended to be use and followed.

Genesis 2:8-10 “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.”

The story of the origin of life on earth in the Holy Scriptures is not really a story; just like the story of your or my life is not actually a story; it is reality and the factual history of genuine times, people, places and events that took place. God created mankind in a garden paradise of Eden, but, because of sin entering the world, we do not live in the garden anymore; but in a “Fallen” world. When we take our eyes and heart off our Maker and His design for life, we fashion our own little gods to focus on and follow, instead of the Designer/Creator and Sustainer of our life. It goes without saying that our life works best when following God’s instructions, not our own choices by what we think and feel, surrounded by little false gods of our making. Our choice to live as we want is truly a life or death decision, just as Adam and Eve deciding to disobey and eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil did.

Genesis 2:15-17 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

We may not live in the Garden of Eden anymore, but we are still made in the image of God. 

Let continue Pastor Kyle's  message on "the God-designed life" on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ignite - Part 2

Michael continues; When a nation defies the truth of the Word of God, the only thing that will save the nation from destruction is God's mercy and grace.  Men of God must stand in the gap to lead and to shepherd his people through prayer.  Intercessory prayer allows men of God to forge spiritual bonds as families and as churches in the body of Christ.  As men respond in prayer, God will intervene with the power of his might.  Prayer is God's force multiplier.  Prayer is God's offense in the spiritual battle.  Praying in the power of the Holy Spirit wields the sword of the spirit of truth and allows God to intercede against the powers of darkness.  The golden bowls of incense in the book of Revelation is the prayer of the saints.  God's prophet in the Old Testament said we have no plan and we have no power but my eyes are upon you, Lord.  In prayer, the power of God is loosed upon earth to bring about his purpose and his will.  May our prayer be, "here am I Lord, send me."  Prayer is aligning my heart with his heart, my will with his will, his purpose with my purpose.  As we pray, it is God who works within us to will and to do of his good pleasure.

We are the ones whom God has called to link heaven and earth.  Prayer is the communication... The co-Union between God and men.  We have been called a Royal priesthood to stand in the intervene on behalf of God's people.  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.  The riches of the Glory of the mystery is Christ in us the hope of glory.  He has called us to lead others from darkness to light.  There is no one in the dark so deep as the one who thinks he's in the light but he's really in the dark.  Therefore quench not the spirit.  May we be like John Wesley who said when someone asked him why people came from such great distances to hear him preach, "I light myself on fire, and people come from miles around to watch me burn." 

Through prayer...let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.  O Lord, ignite me, set me on fire so that the light of your Holy Spirit will lead others from darkness and into the glorious light your gospel of Truth.

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ignite! - Part 1

This week Michael writes: We look for the mountaintop experiences in life.  However, we're built for the battle in the valley of human need to which God has called us.  It's the staying quality that matters.  From life's valley of humiliation we reach up for God to rescue us from pain and shame.  From the valley of humiliation God will remove all doubt...His power is made perfect in our weakness.  According to Psalm 34:18-19, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

Peter Kling's grand daughter Leslie, a police officer, was recently murdered in the line of duty.  She and her family Jack, and Zachary, had just bought a new home in Hemet last year.  Peter shared a message about seeing his grand daughter again in her "father's mansion" where he as prepared a place for her.  

The catastrophes of life drive us to our knees.  These trying times cause us to run to the Lord and not away from him.  Humiliation steals our sense of value that our earthly life amounts to anything.  In the valley of humiliation the adversary will beat us down.  The devil will remind me that in my flesh there is no good thing.  However, Jesus said, come to me all of you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  God made children to be afraid of the dark.  However there is nothing worse than grown men who fear the light.  For the light came into the world and men rejected the light because their deeds were evil. God sent his son to rescue us from the darkness.  

The theme of this weekend's men's retreat is "Ignite."  Prayer, studying the word, and fellowship with our brothers in Christ provides the fuel for igniting our hearts.  The spiritual warfare gives us the purpose for prayer.  Prayer and the Word of God are God's offensive weapons in the spiritual battle.  Spiritual revolutions are worked through the power of prayer.  Praying men are God's mighty men, empowered with hearts on fire ignited by the power of the Holy Spirit.  

Let's continue Michael's message "ignite" on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Lord's Peace

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Psalm 4:8 “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 29:11 “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.”

Psalm 37:10-11 “For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Fork in the Road

Joshua 24:14-15 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

When you come to the fork in the road, take it. We all have choices to make. Choose to follow the Lord.

In Christ, Brian


Monday, October 17, 2016

Two Types of Pride

James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
There are two types of pride; one good type of pride and one bad type of pride. The 1828 Webster’s dictionary defines this good type of “pride” as: to pride one's self, to indulge pride; to take pride; to value one's self; to gratify self-esteem. Example: “I take pride in the fact that I made the efforts, sacrifices and struggles required to finish my Master’s Degree program in College” or "I take pride in my working hard and perseverance in meeting my employer's goals and objectives for this year” or “I take pride in my tireless endeavors for the Lord in reaching out to my friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers with the love of God and a helping hand that they may know the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Honorable.

Proverbs 6:16-17a “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look.
The 1828 Webster’s dictionary defines the bad type of “pride” as: Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others. Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt. This pride is abject and mean. Insolence; rude treatment of others; insolent exultation, as in prejudice pride. Dishonorable.

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Know the difference between “right & wrong”, and choose to do what is “right” in the eyes of the Lord.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Written for our Learning

Romans 15:4 “ For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

 I have always been taught in Bible Study that you can see Jesus Christ throughout the entire 66 books that comprise the entire holy Word of God. This is because the Bible is God’s redemption and reconciliation gospel message to us that began in a perfectly created world and universe, but sin entered this blessed creation through deception, temptation of mankind that led to sin and death. The road to atoning propitiation for forgiveness to restoration and glory began, has been planned and orchestrated throughout history, and is being coordinated and arranged today by our loving Creator God. This is the common string though all the pages of the Holy Bible; the living Word of God, written for our learning. God designed it that way for us to know the whole plan and understand the bigger picture His plan of salvation - justification, salvation and glorification by His grace through our faith.

I read one pastor’s article that said, “Let no modern Christian ever think that he can ignore the Old Testament and base all his faith and practice on just the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, as vital as they are. Even the apostle Paul, who wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else, depended heavily on the Old Testament Scriptures for his exposition of the New Testament doctrines he had received ‘by the revelation of Jesus Christ’. For example, in the longest and most doctrinal of all his epistles (Romans) he actually quoted from the Old Testament no less than sixty times, even though the epistle had been specifically addressed to Gentiles.” The word of God is written for the salvation and “Life’s Instruction Manual” on how to live as God’s children and citizens of the kingdom of God.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Pastor Morris explains that in his letter to the Gentiles at Corinth, after an extensive discussion of the Old Testament account of the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness, Peter said: “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” – 1 Corinthians 10:11. In this passage, the word translated “examples” is the Greek word ‘tupos’, from which we derive our word “types.” Thus the experiences of the Israelites were actually revealed by God to be “types” of Christ and our relation to Him. Therefore, in addition to the many explicit prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament, many other Scriptures can be profitably expounded as “types” of Christ. Indeed, in all the Old Testament Scriptures, as Christ Himself taught, are “things concerning himself”. The holy and living Bible was written ultimately by God, through Holy Spirit inspired men, for you and I. The word of God was written for our learning.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Washed by the Word

Ephesians 5:26 “That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.”

I used to listen to the “Through the Bible’ radio ministry of the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee on the way to work and learned a tremendous amount about the Word of God and its application in my life as a Christian. This five year program, that continuously repeats, has helps millions in their faith since its beginning till today. From one portion of his edited notes on Leviticus 8, Dr. McGee writes how Moses brings Aaron and his sons to the laver for washing. He gives them a bath, if you please. This signifies that they are to be holy, pure and clean if they are to serve the Lord. They have already been to the alter for forgiveness, but they need cleaning.

Hebrews 10:22 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

A great many people today say they are qualified for service because they are saved. Now it is true that salvation is the prime requisite, but for service one must also be cleaned.

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

McGee explains that the holy spirit renews us as we go along, but we need a washing from the Lord. With what does he was us? What is the cleansing agent? It is the Word of God. That is what cleanses us. The Lord said that His disciples needed to be washed because their feet were dirty. They all had a bath; that is, they all had been saved (except Judas). But they all needed their feet washed so that they might have fellowship with Him.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

How do we get that washing? It is by confession that we are forgiven and cleansed. Do you want to be used of God? Then go confess your sins, dear Christian. That is the first step. This is God’s way. This is His command. We either must do it His way or we cannot be of service. He has His way of doing things and we need to learn and obey His ways.

From “Edited Messages of Leviticus” by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Straight & Narrow

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

I find it funny how adages, aphorisms, axioms, maxims and mottos that I heard growing up were often sayings from the Christian Bible. I was sure young the first time that I should “walk the straight and narrow” and know that it was talking about having good and decent morals, honest and just ethics, proper and honorable manners, free from lying, cheating, stealing, and selfishness. I don’t know about you, but I heard “The Golden Rule” of treat others as you would want them to treat you, way before I found that it was a Bible verse.

Matthew 7:12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

They were good lessons of life being taught by adults in my life that were caring, concerned and active in the teaching of the next generation in the “right for society” and “right before God” ways of community unity and cultural peace and social tranquility. People have a basic knowledge of “right and wrong” because  as Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us: “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” But, our sin nature tempts our hearts daily towards the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5; 16-21), distracted on that broad way that leads to destruction. The foundation standards of “right and wrong” are the just and perfect statutes and biblical principles laid down for “good” life and living by our Creator, Father God found in His Holy Word. But, the living Scriptures must be communicated and explained to those who do not know and are being taught the opposite message by the secular humanistic and materialistic, God-rejecting world that we live. We must make clear, what is confusing and conflicting, so that “good does not become evil, and evil become good” as warned in Isaiah 5:20. The Bible even tells us how to go about this good task.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Therefore, we must teach and train up our children about the right way, the honest truth and the good life of following Jesus Christ, as a child of God. Romans 10:14 asks, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? “The good way is the God way, through the narrow gate and along the straight and narrow path, lit by the Word of God. In this way, we need to narrow-minded and train them up in the way that they should go for today and for eternity.

Psalm 34:14 “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”

In Christ, Brian