A Fitting Word

I thought this was well said, so I’m sharing it with you in case you haven’t already seen it.

From David Shirley:

My heart breaks at how divided our country is at this time. It seems that the lines have been drawn and everyone falls on one side or the other. We all have our personal convictions and opinions. I have mine and you have yours. That’s ok. I want each of you to know that I love each of you and I treasure your friendship. I also think that the only way we can navigate the day in which we live is through the guidance, widsdom, presence and empowerment of God. Without that we’re all on a journey that won’t end well for any of us.

Yes, things are changing. It looks like some challenging days are ahead, especially for the church and for those who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. But didn’t Jesus tell us those kind of days would come? Didn’t he tell us that the world hated Him and it’s going to hate us ,too? No one promised you and I a problem-free journey to Heaven. It’s going to get harder and yes the persecution against the faith community is probably coming.

So what does that mean for those of us who claim the name of Christ? It means that I claim every promise that God gave to me as His child. It means that God is about to do something amazing and we get to be a part of it! It means that through Him I’m going to be ok. It means that when it’s all over and done we’re on the winning side. It means that as His child I don’t have to live in fear. It means that me, my family and my grandchildren were all born for such a time as this! It means that even in the midst of anger, division and rudeness I, as His child, still have the responsibility to let my light shine and treat others the way God expects me to. It means as His child I’m under His wing and never alone. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House or in control of Congress - my God rules and reigns over all and it is He who places men in authority.

Yes, these are challenging days - but aren’t they all? In John 16:33 Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In the days ahead, regardless of what they hold, I’ll take refuge in the ONE who promised shelter; I’ll live each day in His promises; I’ll continue to stand on my convictions and beliefs and I’ll refuse to compromise; I’ll endeavor to treat others with respect and dignity; I’ll rest in His peace and His grace because He said it was sufficient;

I refuse to live my life in fear, especially of man. I’ll do my best to live my life in such a way that regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in here, God is able to accomplish in me His plan to ultimately fulfill my purpose.

Read more
"Father, Forgive Them"

Luke 23:34 is a shocking verse. Verse 33 tells us that Jesus has been crucified. Before this verse, He has been betrayed, wrongfully arrested, mocked, spat on, denied justice, whipped until the skin of his back was shredded, denied sleep, stripped naked (except the loincloth around his middle), and made to carry the heavy wooden crossbeam up the hill named "Golgotha" or "Calvary." He had been so weakened that someone else had to help carry his cross. Now, he has just had his hands and feet nailed to the cross, and still naked, he has been put on display in front of a crowd of people - so they can watch him die. If that wasn't enough, the soldiers at his feet were gambling to see who would get his clothes after he dies.

In the midst of all that, he says (34) "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

Jesus understood what Paul said in Ephesians 6:12. He knew that these people, including Judas (the betrayer), Pilate (the unrighteous judge), and the soldiers (the ones who crucified him), were only pawns. Behind all of them stood Satan. He was the real enemy - and he had deluded all those people. So, Jesus can say, "Father, forgive them."

Is there anyone in your life that you need to forgive? Are there any situations that Satan has seemingly won the victory? What can you do, today, to repair those relationships?

Read more
Truth and the Church

Mountain Rest Baptist, in their monthly newsletter for November, mentioned an intriguing study by Arizona Christian University and the Barna Research Group. I have looked at the research, and it says, in part (this is just the first point):

"Truth and morality are determined by the individual, not by God or the Bible. Solid majorities of mainline adherents believe that there is no absolute moral truth (58%), and that God is not the standard or provider of truth (63%). A large proportion of mainline church attenders believe that people are essentially good (81%), are able to determine right from wrong apart from biblical guidance (71%), and generally know what’s best for their lives, without God’s guidance. They tend to believe that the Bible is a good book and contains wisdom for life, but it cannot be trusted to be absolutely representative of God’s truth principles for humankind (63%). Mainline adults contend that history is not God’s unfolding narrative that provides insights or wisdom for humanity; in fact, human beings cannot even be certain that God exists. Such belief is personal, they argue, and embracing Christianity is less important than embracing some faith."

see https://www.arizonachristian.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/CRC_AWVI2020_Release11_Digital_04_20201006.pdf

This statement fits in perfectly in our current series about Truth. When truth is dismissed, morality goes down the drain. In John 17:17, Jesus says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." - Was Jesus lying?

You must make the decision in your own heart and mind to believe ALL of the Bible. You must accept ALL of its Truth - whether you find it comfortable for yourself or not. Because, when you begin to dismiss parts of it because it doesn't fit your lifestyle, or choices, you are essentially saying to Jesus, "I know better than you... I'm a better judge about right and wrong than you are." You have set yourself up in the place of God, and that is the very thing that Satan did. See Isaiah 14:12-14 & following.

Read more

Why do we pray for the persecuted church? They’re half a world away; why should I care? After all, I’ve got my own stuff I’m worried about.

  1. We're commanded to do it in Hebrews 13:3 "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."
  2. When we remember that other believers are going through great trials, we begin to view things in a different light. Suddenly, "the color of the carpet" matters less when we realize that people are dying for the cause of Christ. It has the ability to put things in perspective.
  3. Who knows when it might be our turn to face persecution because of our faith? If we have been faithful to pray for others, it will help prepare us for what we go through, and it encourages us that someone else will be praying for us.

Then, how should I pray for those under persecution?

  1. Pray for their families to be provided for in their absence.
  2. Pray for peace.
  3. Pray for the boldness to share the Gospel with their persecutors - this may the only time the persecutors hear about Christ.
Read more
The Brass Sky

      Have you ever experienced the “brass sky effect” when you pray? The “brass sky effect” means that you are praying faithfully, but you feel that the sky is brass and that your prayers never make it to God.

           As we continue our series on prayer, we will start by celebrating answered prayer and then we will discuss reasons why sometimes He doesn’t answer our prayers. However, here is one insight as to what may be happening:

“13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (ESV)

           Now, we no longer live in an agrarian society but an industrial one, so we don’t feel the pressure of drought and plight like the farmers of old times did. We are experiencing the last of those …. “pestilence among my people.” Yet, in times of “brass skies,” we often are spiritually dry.

           According to this passage, the cure to “brass skies” and spiritual drought is to return to the LORD with all your heart. That means, first, humbling yourself. Put aside your pride long enough to acknowledge that you haven’t lived perfectly before God. (No one has, except Jesus.) Confess this sin to God and ask for His forgiveness. Seek Him through prayer, and TURN away from your sin; don’t keep doing it. Then, He promises that He will “hear from heaven." The brass skies will be gone. Further, He promises He "will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Read more