Just Enough But Not Enough

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Jonathan Swift –

Some of the meanest people are church people.” –Anonymous

“Minister, we been praying for revival of religion. And now God poured out his Spirit, we all ‘fraid for it.” –A Believer participating in the 1860 Jamaica prayer revival

Religion is dangerous in the sense that it is unregenerate man’s attempt to reach God by church membership, rituals, sacraments, obeying man’s commandments and teachings and performing other good works. It can only reform man, not change him. Religion can not cause man to be born again; therefore, it does not free man from his enslavement to sin. It still dominates him; therefore, though religious, he still hates and can be as mean as a snake. Listen to Brother Paul writing to the Christian church in Colossae concerning the keeping of religion’s commandments:

“These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” Colossians 2:23

Religion can not give us victory over our sinful nature. Paul said this about religious people: “…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” (2 Tim. 3:5). The power to radically change our sinful life only comes when we are born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3).

Flee to Jesus Christ, and to Him alone, to escape man-made religion s0 you can experience true life. Ask Him to save you today and to forgive all of your sins and be your Lord and Savior. He will cause you to be born again and the Holy Spirit will come to you and be your Comforter and Guide in this life. And He will change you by causing you to will (desire) and do of God’s good pleasure, bringing freedom from the human sinful nature.

Flee to Jesus today!

Thank you for your precious time. God bless! Carl

Thy Hand

"When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; 
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to thee, 
And my iniquity I did not hide; 
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord",
and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin."
King David in Psalm 32:3-5

God Almighty is the perfect Father to His children, the born again ones. In love He disciplines us for our good so we can share in His holiness (Hebrew 12: 5-12). He also desires to spend time with us, to fellowship with us. The Creator and Sustainer of all things wishes to spend time with us, His redeemed, yet still flawed creatures.

In this Psalm David describes how miserable he was when he did not confess his sins to the Lord. His body was wasting away through his groaning all day long. The literal translation says ” My life juices were turned into the drought of summer” (v4). All because “day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me” (v4).

Are you groaning? Is your vitality dried up? Are your life juices all dried up? Are you miserable? Is some unseen pressure bearing down on your soul day and night? Could Almighty God’s hand be heavy upon you like it was on King David?

If your a biblically born again believer, before you increase your daily vitamins/ supplements or tack on another 15 minutes of exercise in an attempt to relieve this miserable condition, answer this. When was the last time you confessed your sins to God?

Your choices are to stay proud, rebellious and miserable or humble yourself, confessing and forsaking your sins. I promise you, cleaning the slate will turn your groaning into joy. Do not let any sin come between you and your God. He wants to fellowship with you. We must fellowship with Him. He is our life.

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3

What say ye?

Carl

How Wealthy Are You?

…attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive arguments.” Colossians 2: 2-4

“In short, he says, “You are fabulously rich in Christ; and don’t you let anyone ever tell you otherwise.”

” Do you know how rich you are? The richest man is the one who understands truths the world’s greatest minds have never understood–that the wise and successful life is one focused on Christ. The richest woman is the one who grasps, that at the heart of all God’s plans for the future is, Jesus. We may read about CEOs on enormous salaries, but we are richer.

Do not let anyone, inside or outside the church, tell you differently with “fine-sounding arguments” (v4). Do not be swayed by entertaining preachers who tell you that life is all about you and your happiness when it is really about Christ. Do not be charmed by highly qualified teachers who try to persuade you that Christ is anything less that the glorious divine being we met in Colossians 1: 15-20. As long as we hold on tight to this Jesus, then our faith will remain strong (v5). I pray that everyone, especially those I love, will never let go of Jesus. ” Journey Through Colossians and Philemon –Mike Raiter

Dear Reader the following Scriptures tell us who this Christ is:

“And He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities –all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church, and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Colossians 1: 15-20

Do you know this Jesus? Are you fabulously rich because you understand who He is? Are you going to spend eternity with Him or do you have reservations somewhere else? I pray you are holding on to Him. If not, why not today? Tell Him all your sins and ask Him to forgive you. Then ask Him to be your Savior and Lord based on what He did for you on His cross where He took the guilt and penalty (death) for your sins and mine. You will never regret it.

Thank you for your precious time. May God’s blessings be on your life. Carl

Before I Was Afflicted


Suffering – it’s never pleasant, and we do our best to avoid all forms of it, but suffering is inescapable in this fallen world. The biblical view is that believers should expect sufferings, not simply because they live in this fallen world, but because God uses various forms of afflictions to discipline us, test our faith, and cause us to have an eternal perspective. As a result of false teaching, many have the view that all suffering is a sign of deficiency at our end of the equation. What should be seen as a privilege (suffering that God permits us to endure) is seen as a curse. Suffering that God permits his children to endure, is not harmful, but beneficial. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”(Psalm 119:67).
—Rick Becker, who with his brother minister in apologetics in South Africa

From Berean Call

Separation and Character


“It seemed clear to me from the teaching of the Bible that Christ’s people should be separate from the world in everything which denoted character and that they should not only be separate but appear so.”

― Catherine Booth (17 January 1829 – 4 October 1890, co-founder of The Salvation Army, along with her husband William Booth.

Evidence of The New Nature

“Entrance into the Kingdom of God is by the new birth, Matthew 18:3; John 3:5, for nothing that a man may be by nature, or can attain to by any form of self-culture, avails in the spiritual realm. And as the new nature, received in the new birth, is made evident by obedience, it is further said that only such as do the will of God shall enter into His Kingdom, Matthew 7:21….

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old And New Testament Words – kingdom, p.344 (Emphasis added)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Lord Jesus Matthew 7:21

Let us pray for ourselves as Paul did for the Colossians: that we ” would be filled with the knowledge of His will in spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that” we ” may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…” Colossians 1:9-10

Since someone not versed in true, biblical salvation may be reading this, let us share what Paul said about not being saved by good works:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

When we come to Christ as lost sinners, trusting only in His finished work on the cross, He causes us to be born again (John 3: 1-16). He gives us a new nature that is radically different from our human, sinful nature. Plus, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. We can now conduct ourselves in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4) and “do the will of the Father ” through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit Who works in us “to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). The good works come after we are born again and not before.

Obedience is now a natural characteristic of our lives and disobedience is unnatural. The Christian is not perfect (sinless) but God begins a process of removing sin from His life which will go on until he departs this earth.

Glory be to God for His great plan of salvation!

If you are not born again as the Bible teaches in John 3:1-16, please ask the Lord to save you from the guilt and penalty of your many sins and to make you a new person in Christ Jesus. You will never regret it.

Blessings of God on each of you! Thank you for your valuable time. Carl

The Gospel in a Nutshell

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. “ Colossians 1:21-23

“In these few verses (Colossians 1: 21-23) we have the most amazing summary of the gospel and, indeed, the most compact summary of the whole Christian life. It can be summed up in three very simple words: once…but…if.

“Once you were alienated” (v21). Paul sums up the entire unbelieving world in these words. They are essentially aliens, and it is a relational alienation due to sin. And like all people, we willfully chose to cut ourselves off from God before we were Christians.

“But now he has reconciled you” (v22). Enemies are now friends, aliens are now family, all because of Christ’s death on the cross. Jesus’ death does not just bring us back to God; it also has a future focus–that he might present us holy in His sight, without blemish, free from accusation. The image here is of judgement day, when the bride of Christ is presented to her husband. The question is: are you worthy to enter the kingdom? The psalmist says only the one with clean hands and a pure heart can ascend His holy hill (Psalm 24:4). The good news is that you can confidently reply, “Yes, I am worthy.” On that day we will not fear any voice challenging our claim, because Jesus has died for us to make us worthy.

“If you continue in your faith (v23). Of course, our salvation is secure, but we must continue in this gospel. We have been reconciled to God, and we must not go back to being His enemy. His death has made us holy , so we do not deliberately or willfully give ourselves to a life of ungodliness.

This is our spiritual biography: once…but…if. “

Journey Through Colossians and Philemon by Mike Raiter, p18

How Should Jesus’ Followers Respond To The Chaos?

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you….And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same…But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Jesus The Messiah Luke 6: 27, 32, 35-36

Lord Jesus in Luke is speaking to people who were living under the iron hand of the Roman Empire. These words must of been shocking to them….just as they were to me when I reread them last week. Yes, shocking I say. So against my human sinful nature which wants to rail, condemn and hate the anarchist, Marxist and communist who are working tirelessly to destroy my America.

But Lord Jesus says “And why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

It is ONLY our responsibility to obey and not argue with Him. To submit to his Lordship and not rebel. Therefore, let us repent of hate and put aside our “old man” or “old self” and put on our “new man” created in Christ Jesus and conduct ourselves in newness of life by the power of His Spirit. Then we can love our enemies just as He loved us …… when we were His enemy, ungrateful and pernicious (evil).

“…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth….and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us…” Ephesians 4: 22-24, 5:2

Carl

You Can Be A Christian, You Can Be A Marxist, But You Can’t Be Both

Christians are being pressured into repeating the beliefs of a neo-Marxist, collective guilt ideology that’s incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
— Read on thefederalist.com/2020/06/11/you-can-be-christian-you-can-be-marxist-but-you-cant-be-both/

Whitewashed… or Washed White…

There are a lot of people whitewashed with religion who are not washed white in the blood of Christ. This is indeed a true saying. Nicodemus was a most religious man, but he needed to be washed white. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee” said the Saviour, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) And when Nicodemus expressed his surprise at the Lord’s teaching, he was met by the solemn declaration, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7) You may be respectable, moral, upright, kind, amiable, and religious, without being washed white in the precious blood of Christ. (I Peter 1:19; I John 1:7).

A professing Christian was awakened out of her slumber of death in a very remarkable way. A high Church dignitary advised her to burn some Gospel tracts given to her by a relative. As she watched the destruction of one of them, her eye caught the words of one of the pages, “I was going respectably and religiously to hell.” The Holy Spirit revealed to her the fact that though she was “whitewashed” she was not washed white; that, in fact, she was “going respectably and religiously to hell!”

The Lord Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7: 13, 14) Multitudes throng the broad way, some on the clean footpath, and others on the dirty footpath. Few find the strait gate; they mistake other gates for the strait one. Some mistake ‘religion’ and ‘churchanity’ for Christ and Christianity.

Which road is the reader traveling — the broad or the narrow? Which class do you belong to —-the whitewashed or the washed white? Are you regenerated? Have you been ‘converted’ to, and by, God? If not, hearken to Christ’s declaration: “Except you be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). If you have never experienced this great change, you are an unsaved, unsanctified, unforgiven soul. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be cleansed from every stain (Acts 16:31). — A.M.

A tract from Pilgrim Tract Society, Randleman, NC 27317. Contributions send tracts to many nations. Send postage for 100 samples of tracts)

For more information on the Narrow Way, please search this blog for the “Narrow Way”. It is our most read post. Thank You.

A Roman Emperor’s Observations About Early Christians.

It causes one to consider his own Christian walk when you read early church history and see how the pagans viewed our Christian brothers and sisters. Most of the time their opinions are based on how Christians endured persecution, even unto death and remained faithful to Jesus. Eusebius of Caesarea (260-339 AD) , the first Christian historian, in his Church History relates the following incident where Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD) wrote the Council of Asia concerning the Christians they were persecuting. Note his observations about the Christians.

“The Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antonines Augustus, Armenius, pontifex maximus, holding tribunician power for the fifteenth time, consul the third time, to the Council of Asia, greeting. I know that the gods are also concerned that such men as these should not go undetected, for they would be far more likely to punish those who will not worship them than you are. But you hound them into trouble by accusing them of atheism and thereby add to their resolve to choose apparent death rather than life for the sake of their own god. They, then, become the conquerors when they sacrifice their lives rather than obey your commands. As to the earthquakes that have happened— and are happening— you lose heart whenever they occur and provide a painful comparison between our character and theirs. They repose greater trust in their god, whereas you neglect yours and the worship of the Immortal. But when the Christians worship him, you harass and persecute them to death. On behalf of such people many of the former provincial governors wrote our divine father, and he replied that they were not to be troubled unless they appeared to be plotting against the Roman government. Many have reported about them to me also, and I have replied in accordance with my father’s opinion. But if anyone persists in taking action against one of these people [as a Christian], the accused shall be acquitted of the charge even if it is clear that he is one, and the accuser shall be liable to penalty. Published at Ephesus in the Council of Asia.” (Emphasis and footnotes added)

The Christians were called atheists by the pagans because they would not worship the pagan gods and the Roman emperors.

They were evidently living out Paul’s teaching on persecution. He encouraged the saints in Philippians 1: 28 – 29 to be “in no way alarmed by your opponents — which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake….” He wrote in Romans 8:37 “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

By being willing to die instead of worship the Emperor and false gods, their great faith in God, the Father, and Jesus Christ was manifested to the pagans. The historical records contain incidences of people being converted while viewing the patience of the saints, as they were being tormented, fed to the wild animals or suffering other forms of gruesome death. Others stepped up and confessed their faith in Jesus Christ and consequently were made to join the Christians in their suffering.

Many of our Christian brothers and sisters in Communist China, Nigeria, Islamic nations and other countries are going through similar persecution TODAY. NOW. May grace be multiplied to them and the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31) be with them. Please remember them in your prayers.

Carl

What To Trust In


It is not good for us to trust in our merits, in our virtues or our righteousness; but only in God’s free pardon, as given us through faith in Jesus Christ. —

John Wycliffe (c. 1320s – 31 December 1384, English scholastic philosopher, theologian, biblical translator, reformer, priest, and a seminary professor at the University of Oxford. He was considered “the morning star of the Reformation).

(Berean Call)

Michael Youssef warns entertainment-driven church ‘making people feel good all the way to Hell’ – The Christian Post

Prominent pastor and author Michael Youssef issued a blistering condemnation of the entertainment-driven church, warning that the judgment of God will fall heavily upon the Church if it fails to return to His plan for discipleship.
— Read on www.christianpost.com/news/michael-youssef-warns-entertainment-driven-church-making-people-feel-good-all-the-way-to-hell.html

Above All Things

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” Proverb 4: 23

The writer of Proverbs warns us about the importance of what goes into our heart or inner person, the true ‘you’. “…with all diligence…” is also translated “above all things…”. Above all things we should watch over our heart for from it flow the springs of life!

He then goes on to tell us how to guard and examine our hearts. He uses such terms as “put away”, “put…far from you”, “watch”, “do not turn”, and then in another verse he tells us to “turn”. In other words, it is our responsibility to be pro-active in watching over our heart. A passive mind and will is the enemy of our heart and the welcome mat to our sinful nature and demonic intrigue.

First he warns us about our “mouth” and “lips”. “Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious lips far from you.” (verse 24) If we wish to know what is in our heart, all we need to do is listen to the words coming out of our mouth. The words of our mouth reveal the content of our heart. If we find evil (i.e. bitterness, deceitfulness, lying, boasting, etc.) pouring out of us, we need to find the root in our heart and remove it by repentance based on the word of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, he warns us about what we are paying attention to. Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.” (verse 25) Paul told Timothy to play close attention to himself and we need to do the same. Does good and noble things have our attention or are we fixated on worldly and sinful things? Do we like to tip toe into satan’s territory, exposing ourselves to his snare. If our attention is drawn to worldliness and sin, we need to determine where this is coming from in our heart and deal with it.

Thirdly, he warns us about where our thoughts and corresponding actions are taking us, are we walking in fellowship with Lord Jesus or are we on the path of the wicked? Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil. (verse 26-27) If we look honestly at the fruit of our lives, what path does it show we are own? Are we becoming more like Christ or more like the world? Or are we just wallowing around in complacently, worldliness and lukewarmness?

Paul, a brother who once found himself on the wrong path, tells us in 2 Corinthians 7 that we need to be perfecting holiness in the fear of God. The healthy, profound, adoring, awed respect (reverential fear) of the Lord teaches us to hate evil and to keep His commandments. Obedience is how we show our love for Him. (John 14: 21). By removing evil from our heart we become more “holy” or “set apart” unto the worship and service of God. I Corinthian 1: 2 tells us this is what God the Father through Jesus Christ has called us to. We are “saints by calling”.

So above all things watch over your heart, that hidden person who you truly are. That is the person the Holy Spirit sees and we need to see ourselves as He sees us. Thank your heavenly Father that His goal is to cause us to walk in agape love that flows from a pure heart, a clear conscience and sincere faith (I Timothy 1:5). If we obey His word in the power of the Holy Spirit this will be accomplished and our heart will be purified (I John 3:3 & 1 Peter 1:22). Thank you, Father God.

Carl

Food For Your Inner Man

“As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so is with the inner man. What is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God-not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts.” ― George Muller (The Autobiography of George Muller). From Berean Call

Christians and Christ’s Intention

“The true Christian was intended by Christ to prove all things by the Word of God: all churches, all ministers, all teaching, all preaching, all doctrines, all sermons, all writings, all opinions, all practices. These are his marching orders. Prove all by the Word of God; measure all by the measure of the Bible; compare all with the standard of the Bible; weigh all in the balances of the Bible; examine all by the light of the Bible; test all in the crucible of the Bible. That which cannot abide the fire of the Bible, reject, refuse, repudiate, and cast away. This is the flag which he nailed to the mast. May it never be lowered!”

John Wycliffe (c. 1320s – 31 December 1384),

He was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, biblical translator, reformer, minister, and professor at the University of Oxford. He was an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood and is considered an important predecessor to Protestantism. Wycliffe attacked the privileged status of the clergy, which had bolstered their powerful role in England. He then attacked the luxury and pomp of local parishes and their ceremonies. Wycliffe also advocated translation of the Bible into the common language.

From The Berean Call

The Insanity of Sacrifice

“Coming out of an environment of debilitating persecution and death in the Horn of Africa, we set out to visit other believers in similar settings to discover for ourselves if Jesus was trustworthy. Is Jesus able to accomplish in the Somalias, the Afghanistans, and the Syrias (and in every other place!) of today what He did among the Roman Empire of His day? Was His resurrection simply an isolated historical event –or is that same resurrection power available to those who walk with this Living Jesus today?

Within a brief time, we were given the opportunity to travel the world and learn from brother and sisters in Christ who had survived —and who were continuing to survive—in settings of severe persecution. Over the next decade, we visited more than seventy-two countries, and interviewed more than six hundred followers of Jesus who live in environments of persecution and the possibility of imminent death. Much to our amazement, we discovered that these fellow followers of Jesus were not merely surviving —they were thriving in their faith. And God was blessing them in remarkable and startling ways.

What we learned were life lessons from believers living in persecution, who are living out the resurrection —even today. Our search through countries revealed dramatic testimonies of believers who have come to know God intimately as a faithful friend —a friend who calls us to a life of sacrifice modeled after His own.

This matter of sacrifice is a challenge for all of us. And we will be wise to approach any conversation about it with a spirit of humility and prayer. It is our sincere hope that, through the stories contained in these devotions, God will change all of us. It is our prayer that God will give you a heart for the world. It is our desire that you will embrace the privilege of sacrificing for His glory.

God, we are so thankful for Your sacrifice that allows us to know You as Father, Savior, and Lord. God, we recognize that You have sacrificed Your Son for us. And we wonder if maybe that sacrifice should be the end of the story.

But You invite us to join You in sacrifice.

Why is our sacrifice still needed? Following You is so much harder than simply studying about You. Please give us courage as You call us forward.”

Excerpt from The Insanity of Sacrifice, A 90 Day Devotional by Nik Ripken with Barry Stricker, p. 6 – 7

Other recommended books by Nik Ripken:

The Insanity of God

The Insanity of Obedience

Please pray for an abundance of God’s grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit to be with those suffering persecution and the possibility of imminent death, in many nations today, for the cause of Christ. Do not forget them. May God fulfill every desire for good works that are in your heart and the desire for resurrection power.

Carl

The Importance of Kindness

To him who is about to faint and despair, kindness is due from his friend, lest he forsake the fear of the Almighty.

Job 6:14 Amplified Bible

Though I have read the Book of Job several times, I did not remember this verse until I heard a sermon on kindness.

Job is addressing one of his friends who came to “comfort” him. Job was faint and in despair from the trial he was undergoing and he needed “kindness” from his friends instead of judgementalism. Satan’s goal in Job’s trials was to have him curse God to his face which would amount to forsaking the “fear” or “reverence” of the Almighty. He would cease to conduct himself in the healthy, wholesome, overwhelming, profound, adoring, awed respect (reverential fear) which manifested itself in obedience.

After hearing this sermon, I couldn’t help but wonder how many times I had walked right by another Christian who was “faint and despair” and did not stop to offer a word of encouragement or to tell them that God had not forsaken them, but would see them through the deep waters they were going through. I wondered if a brother or sister in Christ had turned their back on the Lord due to my lack of sensitivity and just common kindness.

God put several Christian hospital workers in my wife’s path when she was receiving treatment for breast cancer. They were an unbelievable encouragement to her and me during this time of spiritual fainting and despair. Just to know that the Lord had not forgotten us, was such a blessing.

Do you know anyone that is fainting and in despair due to some trial they are undergoing? If you do, show them kindness. Encourage them to not let their trial deter them from continuing to offer the Father the profound, adoring awed respect that He alone is worthy of. Remind them that He chose them in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, to spend eternity with Him as His adopted child. And how He has lavished His grace upon them by sending the Lord Jesus to die on the Cross for their sins while they were yet sinners.

In closing, remember our brothers and sisters in foreign lands that are being persecuted and murdered for their faith in Christ. One way to express our kindness is to ask the Father to strengthen their faith, give them an abundance of grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Let us heed the Holy Spirit through the writer of Hebrews:

[Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.

But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him]. Hebrew 3:12-13 Amplified

Carl

Reflections on Psalm 51 – A Repentant Heart

“This is the greatest of all penitential prayers, biblical and extra-biblical. Through the centuries men with a burden of guilt have been led to the very throne of grace by its words. The author is not only conscious of being a sinner in general, he is also conscious of being a heinous sinner in some specific way. Yet, he is not one of the habitually wicked who refuse to repent. The saint is the sinner who repents; the wicked man is the sinner who refuses to throw himself upon the mercy of God. It is no wonder that in tradition the Psalm was associated with David in his deep sin and soul-searching repentance (II Sam. 11-12).

“Even in the laws of sacrifice in the Old Testament there is no sacrifice for sins committed with a high hand. This means that for the one who was guilty of such willful disobedience there was no sacrifice. He must throw himself directly on the grace of God. Since this was true, it also stands to reason that no one of the legal sacrifices was adequate to express the psalmist’s heartfelt thanksgiving and praise for so great a salvation. The only sacrifice known to him under such circumstances was his broken and contrite heart.”

Layman’s Bible Commentary – The Book of Psalms- Arnold B. Rhodes (1960) p. 85, 88

Since we New Testament believers still commit sin, I encourage you to read Psalm 51 in the light of these comments and remembering that David was saved by grace just like we are. He was looking forward to the Cross and we are looking back to the Cross. No one has been saved by their good works or keeping the Jewish law. It is only by God having mercy upon us.

Therefore, we need to continue to confess our sins so we keep ourselves clean of defilement from sin, which makes it impossible to fellowship with the Father and Lord Jesus (I John 1: 4-10). The Lord Jesus said the following:

“But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments and they will walk with me in white for they are worthy.” Revelation 3:4

Some Sardis believers were serious about purifying their ways and were keeping their sins confessed and forsaken; therefore, He said these would walk (fellowship) with Him in white. He would not walk with the other believers because they were defiled with their “deeds” that were characteristic of “dead” or lost people, not saved individuals.

Yes, the sacrifice of Jesus paid for all of our sins; past, present and future. But He that paid for our sins on the Cross taught His disciples to ask daily that God the Father would “forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:12). He also told the New Testament believers in Sardis (Rev 3: 3), Laodicea (Rev 3:19), Thyatira (Rev 2: 21-22), Pergamum (Rev 2:16), and Ephesus (Rev 2: 5) to repent of their sinful ways. And that is just in the New Testament.

After reading Psalm 51, read Psalm 32 where David describes what he experienced when he did not acknowledge his sin. See if you can relate to it. I can. Then read on and see what he says after he confesses his sin. I can relate and I believe you can to.

Oh, saint how God loves us and wants us to walk with Him in white; to fellowship with Him and serve Him in practical holiness being separated from the defilement of the world and sin. The hope of his calling and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in us and the awesomeness of His power toward us are so astounding and stunning and undeserved, shall we not prepare ourselves for the day we will see Him face to face? While we are on the earth, shall we not return His love that He has lavished upon us with eager service to Him and His cause?

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice you righteous ones. And shout for joy all you who are upright in heart.” Psalm 32: 10-11

Merry Lord Jesus’s Birthday to you and your family.

Carl