APPROACHING GOD BIBLICALLY…

Spiritual Blog - God

Psalm 100:4-5 – “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”  NKJV

 

Although we are extended an invitation in Hebrews 4 to “come boldly to the throne of grace…”  I contend that there is biblical protocol for coming into God’s presence as there is for entering the presence of an earthly potentate or ruler.  Yet, we sometime seem to give me care to how one comes into the presence of an earthly king or ruler than the Creator of the Universe.  I find that interesting and disturbing at the same time.

I am convinced part of this flippant attitude toward God is partially rooted in the desire to make Jesus our buddy and God is nothing more than “Big Daddy” or “The Man Upstairs” rather than fully recognizing His Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence.  HE IS GOD and who He is deserves and demands proper reverence and recognition.  God wants us to be at ease in His presence but He also wants us to be conscious of His Holiness.

The Psalmist gives us a process by which we should come into the presence of God and it is worth time to consider even briefly.

  • Enter His Gates with THANKSGIVING.

If we come before God ‘thankful’ we will at the same time be incredibly conscious of His Divine Sovereignty.  We will be conscious of His Covenants, Promises and the demonstrations of His acts of love, mercy and grace.  If we are anything less than truly thankful we will not regard Him properly.  Therefore the first step in entering the presence of God is “A Thankful Heart.” 

  • Enter His Courts with PRAISE.

This is impossible unless we recognize Him in His Divine Fullness.  He is God the Everlasting One the Creator of All Things.  He is the provider of our redemption.  He is the extender of Mercy and Grace.  He is the Door.  He is the Way, Truth and Life.  His Name is above all Names and He is worthy to be praised.  A thankful heart can freely offer praise for it has a proper perspective of the object of the praise. 

If we enter the Gates of God’s Presence with THANKSGIVING and come into His Presence with PRAISE we will find that He is GOOD, His mercy truly EVERLASTING and His TRUTH infallible and unfailing.  Upon those foundations we can offer our petition to Him confident that we are there pleasing to Him and demonstrating a proper heart condition that allows the Holy Spirit to mold and shape our character and guide our steps into the right paths.

We sometimes make God a supermarket or Amazon and want to quickly place our order and run but if we were to approach an earthly potentate we would NEVER take that approach.  We would follow all protocol and exhibit proper respect and honor for that ruler before broaching our petition and once the petition is offered and that potentate has rendered a decision we would continue to follow protocol and give proper respect, praise and thanks.  Dare we do less with God and should we not do even more toward the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY?

In fact if we are THANKFUL we will find that PRAISE flows naturally from that heart and we will appreciate His position, person and power as well as the provision.  God help us to never forget that He is I AM THAT I AM.

            God bless you as you go through this day!

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MAN IS NOT GETTING BETTER…

Spiritual Blog - Reprobate

Romans 1:28-32 – “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”  NKJV 

Each day as various newscasts, newspapers, blogs, articles and websites detail the happenings within our society, cities and various nations around the world I come to an arresting realization.  I realize that man is not getting better but the conditions in our world are growing darker by the day.  Here in Romans 1 the apostle Paul is addressing the unrighteousness of man and the wrath of God displayed toward it.  As I read this chapter I shudder thinking how like our present world this description is and if God’s wrath burned hot then how much more now?

In today’s Politically Correct world we are told what will soon become mandated by federal law that we must subject our core convictions to the will of various groups who discount the Bible and call good those things God calls an abomination.  We will be told that if we speak against sin we have engaged in hate speech and if we refuse to accommodate the practices that violate our convictions we face swift and severe penalty of law.  There will soon come a time when we must decide whether we will incur the wrath of man or the judgment of God and choose which path we will follow.

There are those in today’s world who resent even the mention of the God of the Bible and whose minds have become so debased they are vile, corrupt and engage in continual blasphemy.  Sadly there are those within Christendom who condone, excuse and justify those who practice sexual immorality, all forms of evil as the Paul’s list details.  Excusing sin and remaining silent when the core values of the Bible are trashed and trampled underfoot is, in my view, equal to those who do practice those lifestyles.

There comes a time in any society and individual life when God will give people over to their evil passions and desires.  We have come to a time when many have had their consciences seared as with a hot iron and no longer feel any remorse.  We have entire segments of society who no longer value human life and have no respect for the Bible or God.  Our world has become an increasingly more dangerous place and I tremble for the generations yet to rise to adulthood.  What kind of world will they encounter should God allow this world to continue?

There is a remedy for the problems of our world and that is Jesus.  Someone said, “Come to Jesus and your problems are over.”  The truth is that when we come to Jesus we just entered the battlefield of life and as He declared we become hated by the world.  Jesus will not remove all problems from one’s life but will afford a peace that is unknown to the world.  In the midst of the perilousness of our day we can walk in perfect peace and with supernatural power.  Man, as a whole, is not getting better but the Church of Jesus Christ is beginning to shake herself and is about to rise in power!

            God bless you as you go through this day!

THE WARNING FROM THE WORD…

Spiritual Blog _ Warning

Proverbs 29:1-2 – “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.  2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”   NKJV 

There are several messages to be gleaned from this passage but the overriding item I feel prompted to discuss is what I consider a “Warning from God’s Word” for nations.  There is generally a personal application in a warning from Scripture to nations and this is no exception.

The, He in this is both national and individual and the warning is incredibly clear. If we are rebuked by the LORD frequently and we reject that warning stiffening or bowing our necks and becoming more arrogant destruction is looming on the horizon.  I believe this is a warning not just for past generations but the current state of affairs in the United States of America.

Our first president George Washington identified as the father of our country said in his first inaugural address something that is profound and prophetic.  Those who claim that America was not founded on biblical principles must overlook the writings of many of our founders.  They sought not to keep religion out of government but government out of religion.  They gave us freedom of religion not freedom from religion.  One paragraph from our first president contained an impassioned plea and a warning that resonates with my heart today as he declared:

“I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my Country can inspire: since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the oeconomy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

             The words of Proverbs echo in that statement and America and Americans should heed the tug of the Holy Spirit heeding the warning and responding to the call.  The warning that if we reject the chastisement and directives of God by hardening our hearts we will be destroyed completely.  If that is a warning to the nation and we continue to thumb our noses at God’s warnings and fail to repent and return to His paths the nation is lost.

The next portion of the passage says that when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice as was the case in our founding when God was recognized and honored America prospered.  It goes on to say that when a wicked man rules, the people groan for the destruction of verse one comes into the picture.  As President Washington warned, we cannot expect the propitious smiles of Heaven if we disregard God’s Word, Will and Way.  When we call evil good and good evil we invite the frown not the smile of heaven and the door to destruction is opened.

Spiritual Blog - Remember

Two passages come to mind as I write and both are germane to this discussion:

Romans 1:24 speaking with regard to sexual impurity and especially homosexuality, declares “Therefore God gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen”.  In verses 26-32 the warning and declaration is more pronounced and we learn of the horde of demonic and destructive activities that come to a people who embrace or practice this wickedness.

2 Chronicles 7:14 which declares, “IF My people who are called by My name will 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.”  [Emphasis mine].

We have a warning and a promise of deliverance and the decision is left in our hands.  God will extend His grace if we RETURN and will pronounce judgment if we RESIST.  The choice is ours.  What is the choice you make?  It is imperative that we, believers, become intercessors for our nation.

            God bless you as you go through this day and my He stir your hearts for righteousness!

WOULD THAT ALL GOD’S PEOPLE WERE PROPHETS…

Spiritual Blog _ Prophet

Numbers 11:29 – “Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”  NKJV 

In this account young Joshua was distraught over the Spirit of God moving on the seventy elders began prophesying as the Spirit that was on Moses came on them.  What seemed to disturb him even more was two men God has also chosen did not come out for the gathering but the Spirit of God fell on them as well and they began to prophesy.  Joshua was troubled by their failure to respond to the directive to the man he viewed as next to God in importance.  Their failure to reverence Moses troubled young Joshua.

Moses cautioned him recognizing the source of his concern and uttered the desire that ALL the LORD’S people were prophets and the Spirit of the LORD would be upon them.  I share that desire for I know that when God’s Spirit rests heavily on anyone something wonderful transpires in their lives and labors.  I believe that the apostle Paul is echoing that sentiment in 1 Corinthians 14 when he instructs the church to “pursue love, and desire spiritual gives, but especially that you may prophesy.”  Paul declared the value of the prophetic voice and echoed the heart of Moses which was the heart of God concerning God’s people.

I’ve heard prophetic utterances from people that would argue they said nothing prophetic, but they did.  I have received confirmation as to a direction in which the Holy Spirit was leading via the prophetic words of individuals who had no idea they had spoken prophetically to me.  They did not see themselves as prophets and had never consciously engaged in making a prophetic utterance.  They just said what was in their heart and the anointing of that word was quickened to my heart and I knew instantly that I had heard a prophetic word that resonated and witnessed to me.

I’ve been told that preaching is prophesy and some of it may well be but there is a dramatic difference between ‘forth-telling’ and ‘fore-telling’.   I would suggest that all God’s people are prophets in a measure as we speak that which the Holy Spirit quickens to our hearts via the Word of God.  How many times have you heard something that you knew instantly was of a realm other than this one?  How many times have you heard something that was immediately quickened to your heart and it inspired faith and confidence in you giving you a boldness and assurance that enabled you to stand or take a needed action?

I have had people tell me that miracles are a thing of the past and prophecy is no more but I ask that you consider both the Bible and your experience before you remove a potential blessing of the LORD from your walk.  I understand the statement of 1 Corinthians 13 about knowing in part, prophesying in part and all that ceasing when that which is perfect comes.  Before you declare that is the written Word of God let me ask, “Has knowledge ceased?”  If all the things that are to cease disappear you dare not conclude that some have and others have not.  Why seek to eliminate a provision and blessing of God?  Why not seek to receive all that God has for us?  Of course there can be and is abuse but does the existence of abuse render the benefits, blessings and promises null and void?  There is abuse in voting but shall we ban voting?  There is abuse in marital relationships but shall we ban marriage?  There is abuse in life but we dare not allow some abuse or misuse defeat the benefit and blessing.

Simply test all things by the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit of God to witness and cause things that are truth to resonate.  God came to give you and me Life and that More Abundant!    God bless you as you go through this day!

DON’T BE THAT PERSON…

Spiritual Blog - Fools

Proverbs 18:2 – “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart…13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.”  NKJV

        

            I have been around people who no matter what the situation or event another was relating seemed compelled to chime in saying, “That was nothing…” as they proceeded to tell their event(s) that topped the account.  I have been around those in church, business and politics whose greatest desire is to ‘be heard’ or to ‘express their opinion’ often at the expense or disregard of the pathway of conversation.  When something is being related they will often butt in and give an answer before they hear the question.  The Bible calls that person a FOOL. 

You may not like calling anyone a FOOL but you have to admit it is both offensive and foolish to conduct oneself in that manner.  It is an evidence that the individual has little or no interest in the circumstances of others or the purpose of the discussion.  It is an evidence that the focus of their heart is SELF so in a sense it is talking a selfie with words and is counterproductive to any rational or reasoned discussion.  Even if the person is unaware that they are dominating the conversation with SELF it screams to everyone involved that they are without interest in understanding.  That will result in people finding excuses to avoid them over time and they will become isolated.

I have learned that one of the most important components in effective communication is detailed and careful listening.  If I listen more than I speak I find an unveiling of the hearts and motives of others and can more effectively speak to the situation and heart.  If before you conclude your sentence I am beginning mine you are put off for my action indicates that what you are saying is of little interest to me.  Some engage in a conversation or discussion and rather than listening to what is said they are thinking and formulating their response to what they perceive is going to be said.  Sometimes they are correct and often they miss the heart and details of what is being said and their response, though reasoned and possibly well phrased is off the mark.

If we are trying to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ and engage in that type communication we will find that those outside the family will become unresponsive to our message.  I experienced this as I observed a fellow Christian attempt to witness to a person who was not a believer.  The unbeliever had questions and presented ideas that this believer failed to hear because they were engaging in the type of behavior I have described.  The unbeliever was so put off as they felt, and rightly so, the believer was not truly interested in their concerns, arguments, questions or thoughts.  They felt that this person witnessing to them was only interested in hearing the sound of their own voice.  How do I know that?  They later told me as much.  I tried to diffuse the criticism and at the same time listen carefully and in so doing over time was able to plant seed that germinated in to spiritual fruit over time.

Don’t be that person but be one who hears the conclusion of the whole matter before rendering a judgment.  Be a person that reserves his answer until he hears the matter fully.  Be a person that is slow to speak and swift to hear.  Be a person that listens for the heart as well as the words.  Become a LISTENER and you will also become a better COMMUNICATOR.

            God bless you as you go through your day!

WHAT OR WHO DO YOU TRUST???

Spiritual Blog - Turst

Psalm 20:1-9 – “May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; 2 May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; 3 May He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice.Selah

4 May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.  5 We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners!  May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. 

6 Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. 

7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. 8 They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright.  

9 Save, LORD!  May the King answer us when we call.”  NKJV

 

The Psalmist captures the situation and the solution when we encounter times of darkness, difficulty and trial.  He recognizes there is a problem “Day of Trouble” and the source of our help, “God of Jacob”.  He reflects on the heart, God’s salvation and our proposed plan of action.  He identifies that God does not fail to protect or come to the defense of His anointed and answers prayer.  THEN without shifting gears he brings us face to face with a powerful and pertinent issue – “What or Who do we trust?”  

  • Some Trust the Arm of Flesh.  (Chariots and Horses or the ability and equipment at man’s disposal or within his makeup.)

I have had people tell me more than once that God helps those who help themselves and He should not be bothered with what we can handle.  There may be some elements of truth in that but if we TRUST in the Arm of Flesh the Arm of Flesh will fail us.

  • We Will Remember The Name Of The Lord Our God.   (The choice ever before us is TRUST.  We can opt to trust our ability, resources or something natural or we can turn to the supernatural and the Arm of the Lord.)

             He reminds us that those who choose the first option of the Arm of Flesh bow and fall.  Failure is almost guaranteed in trusting the Flesh.  He then reaffirms that those who choose the latter course of Trusting the Name of the Lord will rise and stand upright in victory.

I realize that making this blanket statement does not equip you to wage the spiritual warfare required for victories in life but it identifies where you need to turn.  The apostle Paul informed us that the purpose of the ‘five-fold ministries’ in the Body of Christ is to “equip and train” believers for the work of ministry.  We are informed that we are to put on the ‘whole armor’ of God and withstand the devil.  God has the provisions, will guide through the preparation and empower us to STAND if we turn our Trust to the Name of The Lord!   Never trust in your chariots or horses but always anchor you hope in THE LORD OUR GOD!

            God bless you as you go through this day!

PERSECUTION A MODERN REALITY FOR BELIEVERS…

Spiritual Blog - Persecution

Matthew 24:9-14 – “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  NKJV 

When I look around the world and see Christians beheaded by Islamic jihadist for no other reason than they are Christian it causes me to look more and more to the Eastern Sky for the return of our LORD.  The persecution of Christians is horrific in various parts of the world and while we are not experiencing that level of physical persecution here in the United States the concerted attack on Christianity is a present day reality.  Religious freedoms are being attacked regularly as the effort to cause believers to violate their convictions or suffer the consequences occurs.  The enemies of our faith have not taken us to the execution chamber yet for being Christians but are attempting to silence our voice, alter our lifestyles and force us to cast away our convictions and submit to the demands of anti-biblical groups and government edicts.

I am thankful that I live in America even with her flaws and the increasing assault on anything resembling fundamental beliefs and moral convictions.  We are still relatively free to worship and live as we choose.  I say that knowing that the day will come when we will not enjoy that liberty in direct violation of the Constitution of these United States of America.  The words of our Lord in John 9:4 – “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”  We have a window of opportunity and we must be aware of the time of our visitation and do the work of the Kingdom.

Let me give you a list of some of the worst countries for believers, per some statistical findings:

  1. North Korea 92/100             11.  Maldives                78/100
  2. Somalia 90/100                   12.  Saudi Arabia         77/100
  3. Iraq 86/100                          13.  Libya                     76/100
  4. Syria 83/100                        14. Yemen                   76/100
  5. Afghanistan 81/100             15. Uzbekistan            69/100
  6. Sudan 80/100                     16.Vietnam                 68/100
  7. Iran 80/100                         17. Central African Republic   67/100
  8. Pakistan 79/100                 18. Qatar                     64/100
  9. Eritrea 79/100                    19. Kenya                    63/100
  10. Nigeria 78/100                   20. Turkmenistan        63/100  

           Other nations on the list include India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Djibouti, Myanmar, Palestinian Territories, Brunei, Laos, China, Jordan, Bhutan, Comoros, Tanzania, Algeria, Colombia, Tunisia, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Mali, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.

In fact, if you examine most of the world you will find that it does not welcome Christians and while many tolerate us we are not considered valuable or viable members of society.  I find people expressing deep frustration when the world comes against them as though it were strange or unexpected.  Jesus and the writers of the Bible warned it Persecution would be normal for the believer who stands for God.  Therefore follow the directive of James and learn to “Count it all Joy” when persecution comes.  God will provide a shelter in the storm and a way of escape if it is more than you can bear even if that way out is promotion to heaven.

The world hates us because of our love for the LORD but take heart God is still on the throne and has not forgotten nor forsaken you.  Your redemption draws near!   God bless you as you go through this day!