GOD WILL NOT SHARE HIS GLORY…

Spiritual Blog - Glory

Acts 12:20-24 – “Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country. 21 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died. 24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.” NKJV

 

I had a man of God stand before me years ago in a public meeting and as he was ministering to people he said over and over, “Flattery, flattery, flattery,” then walked away.  Later he came back and said, “My brother God wants me to warn you not to listen to the flattery that people have, are and will give you.  Keep your focus on Me and know that all that you have, all that you are, and all that you will ever be is dependent upon Me – THE LORD!”  I took that to heart and have always grown very uncomfortable when people begin to flatter me.  I know that sometimes it is a genuine expression of respect and they are giving me honor but I NEVER want to take credit for what God does through me.  As the song of old – “Without Him, I could do nothing.  Without Him, I’d surely fail.  Without Him, my life would be hopeless like a ship without a sail.”  I take that as a staple in my life.  I’ve had people tell me you need to learn how to take compliments and maybe I do but I am NEVER comfortable with words directed toward me for things God has done.

I believe the following quote by Vance Havner is totally accurate – “Popularity has slain more prophets of God than persecution ever did.”  I’ve seen preachers, individuals, businessmen, and most assuredly politicians succumb to this type of thing that cost Herod his kingdom and life.

I suppose that is one of the reasons that I have always tried to teach those I have led to “Follow me ONLY, as I follow Christ.”  I’ve always told the Churches that I was privileged to lead that if they depended on me they would be disappointed because I am human just as they.  My philosophy has always been to get the focus of every person and congregation upon JESUS, not man!

I confess that it is nice to hear complimentary words from time to time but sometimes those words or expressions go beyond what I’m comfortable with and feel that if I allowed them to continue I’d be treading on God’s turf and taking honor to myself that belongs only to Him.  I have great respect for many men and women of God and hold them in high esteem but I always keep in mind that they are human just as I.  I don’t want to find myself or any congregation in the condition of the Corinthian church who were saying, “I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos, I’m of Peter, or I’m of Christ,” and thereby dividing the Body.  Christ is not divided and only Jesus died for us!  I cannot save anyone God can.  I am a member they are members of the Body of Christ just like everyone else.  Their gift and calling may place them in a position of public recognition but IT IS STILL CHRIST!  So long as we remember that we will be fine!

May God bless you as you go through your day!

IF NOT NOW… WHAT ABOUT THEN?

Spiritual Blog - Footmen

Jeremiah 12:5 – “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” NKJV

 

The Lord has been stirring my nest over the condition of the present world, our nation, the church, and individual Christians or professing believers.  In America, although our liberties are under assault and the Church and Christianity are in the cross-hairs of those who would reduce or freedoms and restrict our ability to worship our God we still have freedom compared too much of the world.  It may and likely will get worse, much worse in the coming days and that should be no surprise for the Bible predicted it and forewarned us of its coming.

The Lord continually brings this passage to mind when I meditate on the Word, Life our present World, and the Church.  It keeps coming up in my prayer time and as I listen to what my heart is telling me through the Holy Spirit I am troubled.  The question that I keep hearing is – “If you can’t serve God with a whole heart now, what about then?”  If in relative peace we are wearied and lose heart how will we react when everything hits the fan?

Footmen refer to the smallest of evils or the little things.  If they cause us to have bitter complaints and grow weary in the warfare what will we do when the big stuff comes as is depicted in horses?  The footmen refer to the common everyday trials and difficulties of life whereas the horses refer to the exponential escalation of evil coming against us and our world.  If, in a land of peace, we are wearied by evil what will we do when the floodgates of hell open and the devil spews his venom out upon this world as we know is coming?

Let me use an occurrence that may seem totally unrelated but I believe helps to say what I’m trying to convey:  Years ago I had a man tell me regarding “giving” that since he was barely making ends meet he could not contribute to the church but if he had more money he could and would.  I knew that philosophy well and knew the falseness and deception that lay at its core but I let it pass.  In about six months his financial fortunes turned dramatically and his income almost doubled.  What about his contributions?  They stayed the same – ZERO!  I decided to discuss it with him and reminded him of what he said previously and this time he said, “Well I have to set aside funds in case things change again so once I have a nest-egg sufficient to care for my family I will begin giving.”  After a year in a gathering he was bragging to several other people about the amount of money he had set aside and how that even if he stopped earning a dime he and his family could continue their lifestyle for at least two years and now he was planning to begin buying some of the luxuries he had always wanted.  He saw me standing there and said, “Preacher, I will increase my giving once I’ve upgraded my house and my car.”  Did he increase his giving – NO!

What I’m saying is that if you can’t give when you are poor you won’t give when you are rich.  If you can’t serve God when things are relatively easy you won’t serve God when things get rough.  You will more likely shake your fist at Him saying – “WHY ME?”  When there is ease is the time to establish your faith and fellowship so that when difficult times come you are not easily shaken.  Horses are coming!  They may be much sooner than any of us think but THEY ARE COMING!

May God bless you as you go through your day!

THE BEGINNING AND THE END…

Spiritual Blog - End

Genesis 1:1a – “In the beginning God…” NKJV

Revelation 21:22-22:5 – “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.   25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day(there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.   27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

22:1- “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” NKJV

 

Man has been trying throughout the ages to understand, physically find, and fully explain or explain away God.  Multitudes of religions, cults, and sects have arisen for that purpose.  False religions are more numerous today than in any age known to man and more accepted as being valid than ever.

This all began with God – Jehovah God, The One True God the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  It will end with God – Jehovah God, The One True God the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  You can try all the explanations and theories you desire but the biblical account is true, I’m satisfied with that because I’ve experienced God in my life and that transformation cannot be explained through natural means or even science it was “supernatural”!  God took a reprobate and completely transformed my mind-set, character, and nature.  God took a person who was filled with bitterness and replaced it with His bountiful Grace and Mercy allowing me to “love again” and “cry again.”  The miraculous things He has done in my life are too numerous to try to mention here but suffice it to say – I HAVE NO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE REALITY OF GOD!

I know, as the patriarchs of old, that “I’m a stranger and pilgrim here.  I’m just passing through.”  I’m a citizen of the United States of America, a Texan and proud of it but more importantly my true citizenship is The Kingdom of God.  I have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s Marvelous Light.  I’ve been transformed from one “Lost” to one “Redeemed.”  Like Paul, I have not arrived but I’m pressing toward the mark of the high calling of Jesus Christ.

The one thing I know is that it all began with God and it will all end with God and those of us that are His will come through whatever the devil hurls at us directly or through the agency of man or government!  The end of the Book says – WE WIN!  That’s good enough for me and therefore I fear not what man can do to me for I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day!

May God give you peace and bless you as you go through your day!

AN UNDER UTILIZED PROVISION FROM THE LORD…

Spiritual Blog - Provision

John 7:37-39 – “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” NKJV

 

Have you ever considered or thought about how many promises and provisions of the Lord that for one reason or other we fail to utilize?  I think about it a lot and this is one of those situations or provisions that I believe is greatly under-valued and under-utilized by the Body of Christ.

We have numerous places, in Scripture, where Jesus spoke of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit including being our Lawyer, our Companion, our Helper, and our Prayer Partner.  Here Jesus identifies something about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that I’m not sure we fully value.

He speaks about those who are Spiritually Thirsty coming to Him and drinking and the result would be that out of the “heart” or the “innermost being” of the individual there would come a RIVER OF LIVING WATER that would flow out of that person.  Think about what that would mean to not only the individual life but those with whom we come in contact with.  Natural Rivers are a life source for not only the aquatic creatures that live in them but provide life giving nourishment for the animals and birds that come to the river to drink.  They also provide a source of nourishment for the plant life along the river and even provide for irrigation to produce crops that will provide life sustaining food for human beings living along the river.  Wherever the river flows and whatever it touches it brings life!  That is what Jesus is telling us that if we come to Him and “drink of Him” we will become “rivers of life” wherever we go and for whomever we touch and encounter.

He went on to identify that river as being the Holy Spirit thus identifying one of the many ministries and functions of the Holy Spirit within our lives that of bringing LIFE not only to us but to those we encounter, impact, and influence.  Consider a home where those within the home have that river flowing from them on a continual basis.  Consider a business where those in leadership have that river flowing from them on a continual basis.  Consider a nation where the leadership has that river flowing from them on a continual basis.  Consider a church where that river is flowing on a continual basis.  LIFE would be the results!  HEALTH would be the results!  SUCCESS would be the result!  PEACE would be the result!  God would occupy the throne in each of those areas and His Life, Love, and Liberty would be the rule not the exception.  The Holy Spirit is not an “IT” but a real person who has a real ministry.  We need to consider the power and provision of what Jesus has offered here and run to the Well of His Love and drink heartily!

May God bless you as you go through your day!

WHERE ARE THE WATCHMEN???

Spiritual Blog - Watchmen.PNG

Ezekiel 33:1-6 – “Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’  NKJV

 

This passage has troubled my heart for months now and I keep coming back to it time and again in my study and prayer time.  I look around me and see the condition of our world, our nation, much of the church, and multitudes of people who walk in deception and darkness.  I’ve been trying to sound the alarm but my heart cries out remembering the passage in Matthew 9 when Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”  Then I think of the words of John the Baptist when questioned if he was the Christ, Elijah, or the prophet in John 1 he said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord.”  My heart keeps crying out, “Where are the Watchmen?”

The duty of the watchman is to sound the alarm.  He cannot control whether or not people take heed and respond he can only sound the alarm.  If he fails to give warning then the blood of the slain is on his hands and I fear that we have come to that place in our world and our nation today where multitudes are being slain (literally, figuratively, economically, socially, morally, and spiritually) and too many who have been called to be “Watchmen” are sitting silent fearing upsetting some so that their position can be secure.  The Gospel has not concern about Political Correctness or the man-made ideology of separation of Church and State.  It has the lost in view and the redemption offered.

Likewise, on the political front (some will castigate me now over this) if we see destruction, the sword, the evil, the calamity and remain silent will we not also be judged for our silence?  We know the truth.  We know the potential problem.  We know the danger.  We know the answer.  If we sit silent how will God view that when we stand before Him?  I fully believe that America is a catalyst for the Last Days Harvest and if she is destroyed then we (AMERICANS) will find ourselves on the outside looking in at what God is doing because HE WILL BUILD HIS CHURCH.  His will is not always done so don’t tell me that whoever is elected is necessarily God’s will it might just be due to the negligence and silence of people.  When good people do nothing evil triumphs!

I am first and foremost interested in the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.  I am also interested in preserving a Free Nation for posterity and a nation where one can openly and freely worship and spread the Good News that Jesus saves!  If you are interested in the souls of men I beg of you, pray to the Lord and ask Him what He would have you do in these days.  I ask you to do nothing more than what He directs but also, nothing less!  It is HIS HARVEST not mine!  He is in charge I am not.  I am a fellow laborer and that is it.  I know that I’ve been called to be a VOICE so I pursue that with all diligence and only death will silence me.

You must understand that I believe that we have A LIFE not a bunch of compartments in which we move and operate.  So that LIFE touches everything about me and in any and all those areas which are touched I AM A WATCHMAN!  I’m not your judge, just a VOICE!  What you do with the sound of the Alarm is your choice!  I pray that you choose what God chooses and if you do we have both done our jobs!

May the Lord Bless you richly is my prayer!

ISAIAH’S PROPHECY… DOES IT APPLY TO AMERICA TODAY???

Spiritual Blog - Repent

Isaiah 1:4 – “Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward.” NJV

 

Israel had turned from the Lord and He was no longer the central figure in their lives, their nation, their government, or their focus.  Isaiah calls them:

  1. A people laden with iniquity.

They were burdened, encumbered, weighed down, saddled with or loaded with iniquity.  It wasn’t just a casual infrequent situation but a “lifestyle” that had developed in the people and the nation.  I sometimes wonder if our “Casual Christianity Theology” and our willingness as a nation to allow laws to be passed that relegate God to the back burner in our nation our government and our lives compares to Isaiah’s description of Israel.  I’m afraid I have to say – IT DOES!  When we allow laws to be passed that devalue human life especially life that cannot defend itself or argue for itself such as the unborn have we not become laden with iniquity?  When we have become calloused to sin have we not become laden with iniquity?

  1. A brood of evildoers.

The imagery of a group of birds hatched at the same time is clear, but it goes beyond that to a species, a breed, a group, or a kind that are of the same nature and character.  Isaiah calls them a “brood of evildoers.”  So this brood is a special group and the whole of their nature is bent toward and focused on evil.  It is self-centered to be sure and man-centered without question leaving one to conclude that it is anything but “God-centered.”  Evil is commonplace and the philosophy of “the end justifies the means,” “all is fair in love and war,” or as the Obama administration said, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” is paramount in this attitude.  Evil is the root, the objective, the vehicle, the tool, the means to accomplish the desired purposes.  Does that not fit much of our society today?

  1. Children who are corrupters!

Those who lack moral integrity, are open to bribery and other dishonest practices, morally depraved, putrid or rotten, contaminated, unclean depicts this group.  People who go out of their way to pollute the minds and hearts of others to achieve their purposes or somehow make them feel better about their own sinful ways are pictured here.  Is this now what we see especially in politics today?  We see it in business, in interpersonal relationships and sadly, at times, in the Church.  Is this not prevalent in America today?

  1. They have forsaken the LORD.

Israel had turned their back on God for their own self-centered purposes.  The problem in the Garden of Eden was that Adam and Eve made the choice to fire God as the “Center of their Universe” and install self.  That resulted in the fall and that depravity has run rampant in man’s heart from generation to generation.  Only through the Blood of Jesus can we be free.  Today, I fear that many in our nation have forsaken God and have no doubt that our Government does not honor Him at all.  So, this would be a picture applicable to America today as well!

  1. They have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel.

I don’t believe that I even have to comment here.  There is little doubt that if America continues in the direction that we are going for God not to judge us would require Him to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.  We are testing the longsuffering character of God and pushing Him to the limit.

  1. They have turned away backward.

That is a picture of “backsliding” if you will.  It is to reverse course and go the opposite direction which is what “repentance” is.  Repentance involves doing a 180 degree turn from sin toward God.  To turn from God back toward sin and the evil depraved nature, character, and actions of the human spirit is to “backslide.”  It is to insult the very Grace of God and demands God’s action.  Israel felt His wrath, so I must ask are we in that place today in America?  If we are not already there how much further can we go before we are?

My call is for us to “return to the Lord” knowing that if we return to Him with a whole heart He will return to us and receive us into the beloved.  It is time for a revival of repentance in America and that must begin with each of us.

May God bless you as you go through your day!

THE FIRST AND THE LAST…

Spiritual Blog - First

Exodus 20:1-3,17 – “Then God spoke all these words, saying, 2 ” I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.  3 ” You shall have no other gods before Me…17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”  NASU

 

I am not addressing the statement of our LORD in Matthew 20:16, “…the last shall be first, and the first last.”  Rather I am speaking specifically about the Ten Commandments (not suggestions) and addressing the First and the Last of those edicts.

I believe that it is a valid and true statement that “if you begin wrong you will, in all likelihood end wrong.”  If you begin with a wrong premise you will arrive at a wrong conclusion.  In today’s world, there are those who no longer accept the directive of the First of the Ten Commandments, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”  They reject the truth revealed in Genesis 1:1 that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  They reject that Jesus came to earth born of a virgin, live a sinless life, died on the Cross, arose from the dead, and is now ascended to the Right Hand of the Father.  They come to various conclusions as to the origin of man, the eternal state of man, and the requirements for acceptance into the Family of God and gaining entrance into heaven.  They begin wrong and reach wrong conclusions to their own hurt and many times their influence hinders others.  That is a place of danger for Jesus said, that if we confess him before men, He will confess us before the Father, but if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father.

The First Commandment addresses God as the Only True and Living God and He demands that we elevate nothing before Him.  Adam and Eve elevated their own will and desire before God by accepting the LIE offered by the serpent in the Garden and DISOBEYED the directive of God.  Their action could be described as voting God out of office and replacing Him with self.  They removed God as the center of their universe and installed self in that lofty position.  They became their own god and in so doing they lost fellowship with God and lost the Paradise of Eden which God had prepared for them.  They began the process of death and brought death both natural and spiritual to the human race.  They violated the First Commandment long before that Commandment was written on Tablets of Stone for Moses and Israel.  It was a truth embedded in Who God is and predated the Tablets of Stone in the Wilderness.  That Commandment and Truth did not suddenly originate in the Desert it originated in the heart of God before time began and it will continue when the Earth is no more.  That is the heart of what Jesus was saying in Matthew 6:33, “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…”  If God is sought first and foremost and we maintain our recognition of His Divine Sovereignty as Creator and the Only True and Living God, we will keep ourselves from erring from the path of godliness.  We may stumble but we will not fall prey to the enemy of our souls.  We may fail but we will not become failures.  We may sin, but we will not return to being sinners, practicing a lifestyle of sin.

The Last Commandment is addressed in Exodus 20:17 in the word is COVET or COVETOUSNESS.  The commandment expresses the Heart of God that He is our source, supply, provision, and satisfaction.  No wonder the apostle Paul could declare in Philippians 4:11-13 that he had learned CONTENTMENT in whatever state he found himself.  WHY could he be content in need as well as in supply?  WHY could he be content in peace as well as in the time of trial?  BECAUSE, God was His Satisfaction, therefore, he had no need to envy, lust after, or covet what another had or was enjoying.  He knew whom he believed and was completely confident that GOD would never fail or forsake.  He knew that “in Christ” he was more than a conqueror and that he could do all things through Christ Jesus.  The heart of God is that we TRUST Him completely, RELY on Him totally, and REST in Him fully.  If we have GOD, we have need of nothing else.  Jesus told us in Luke 12:32 that we are not to FEAR because we can rest in the confidence and assurance that it is our heavenly Father’s GOOD PLEASURE (desire and willingness) to give us the Kingdom.  David said, in Psalm 37:25 that he was once young and now he had reached agedness, and, in that time, he had NEVER seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread.  What was the message?  GOD NEVER FAILS and GOD SUPPLIES, therefore we do not need to be envious of the wicked and have no reason to lust after, long for, or covet that which another has because we have GOD!

Therefore, if you have the First Commandment as your foundational cornerstone and you make the Last Commandment the covering of your life you will be as those in Hebrews 11 able to Live in Faith, looking for that City whose builder and maker is God.  You will find that no matter your need God is your supply and when you have God you need never long for that which is in the hands of another.  You are Blessed beyond measure and His Grace is Sufficient.

I hope that this inspires you to focus on God and refuse to allow your situation, need, or apparent lack cause you to turn from God or look longingly at that which belongs to another.  God is honored by your CONFIDENCE in Him and He will provide all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!