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

Knowing God In A Deeper Way

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.” Ephesians 1: 17

Following is a true story from Dr. H. A. Ironside, a former pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago. The subject is Ephesians 1:17. The story also contains the best definition of biblical meditation I have ever read. Enjoy. Carl

“I remember years ago, while my dear mother was still living, I went home to visit the family, and found there a man of God from north of Ireland. I was a young Christian at the time, engaged in gospel work. He was a much older man, an invalid, dying of what we then called “quick consumption.” He had come out to Southern California, hoping climatic conditions would be of some help to him. But it was evident that he was too far gone to be recovered to health again. He lived, by his own desire, in a small tent out under the olive trees a short distance from our home. I went out to see him there, I can remember how my heart was touched as I looked down upon his thin worn face upon which I could see the peace of Heaven clearly manifested. His name was Andrew Fraser. He could barely speak above a whisper, for his lungs were almost gone, but I can recall yet how, after a few words of introduction, he said to me, “Young man, you are trying to preach Christ; are you not?” I replied, “Yes I am.” “Well,” he whispered, “sit down a little, and let us talk together about the Word of God.”

He opened his well worn Bible, and until his strength was gone, simply, sweetly, and earnestly he opened up truth after truth as he turned from one passage to another, in a way that my own spirit had never entered into them. Before I realized it, tears were running down my face, and I asked, “Where did you get these things? Could you tell me where I could find a book that would open them up to me? Did you learn these things in some seminary or college?” I shall never forget his answer. ” My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland. There with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time, and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart, and He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor that I ever could have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world”

Is it not true that most of us do not stay long enough in the presence of God? We do not get quiet enough to let Him talk to us and reveal His mind to us. “Meditation,” someone has said, ” is becoming a lost art in our day.” To meditate is really to chew the cud. Just as the cattle take their food in the rough, and then ruminate and get the sweetness and the good out of it, so the believer needs to read the Word and then spend time quietly in the presence of God, going over it again and again, ruminating, chewing the cud, until it becomes truly precious to the heart.

It is when one thus gets in the presence of God that the Holy Spirit delights to take of divine things and show them unto us. It is thus we grow in the knowledge of Christ. That is one reason why the Spirit came. Every believer to a certain extent has the knowledge of Christ, but the original word implies more that that. It is not merely knowledge as such; it is really super-knowledge, or full knowledge. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.” Perhaps you know him as Savior, as the One who has redeemed you from everlasting destruction, as the glorious Head of the Church, with whom you are linked by the Holy Spirit. He would have you to go on to know him better, for there are riches in Christ that you may be sure you have never yet entered into. We cannot afford to be negligent, or to let other things crowd out the blessing we might have by giving more time to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. ”

H. A. Ironside, LITT.D – In the Heavenlies [Ephesians] (1937), pages 86 – 89

God’s Jewels.

Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name.

And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, My peculiar treasure). And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.

Malachi 3: 16-17 Amplified Bible

“This was not a fear based on feelings but was the result of hearing, learning and responding to who God is from His word. Those who feared God would keep his commandments, walk in righteousness, and put aside anything that would hinder worship and service to Him.

Those who feared the Lord received wisdom from God, which brought blessing and favor.”

Messenger of Rebuke and Renewal – David M. Levy, p. 93

Communist China Church Update

As you are probably aware, the communist government is ravaging the Christian church in China. Many pastors have been beaten and imprisoned, church buildings destroyed or converted to secular use, church members beaten and some imprisoned, a rewrite of the Holy Bible to make it “pro-communist”, youth forbidden to attend church, and other suppressing tactics.

Yesterday at church I spoke with a sister-in-Christ who had done much gospel work in Communist China over the years. I asked her what her contacts were saying about the current outbreak of persecution. She said that some are saying it is really bad.

Others said they had been praying for persecution to return because the Christian church in Communist China was becoming too much like the church in America and it needed persecution to purify it.

Think about that for a moment.

Please pray that the Chinese Church will go “on in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts: 9:31). That the true believers would be “…all filled with the Holy Spirit and ” begin “to speak the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31)”.

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. “. Hebrew 13:3

Carl

Should Christians Read The Old Testament?

“Nothing in Scripture is written in vain. God had wise and gracious purposes towards us in leaving the Jewish history upon record; and it is our wisdom and duty to receive instruction from it.”

Matthew Henry

Some Christian pastors believe that Christians should “unhitch” their faith from the Old Testament. I strongly, strongly disagree with them. The following is one reason why.

In I Corinthians 9:27 Paul said “…but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”. Paul did not want to be disqualified from serving God in the gospel cause but he knew it was a possibility, if he did not control his body. He had received instructions from the Old Testament examples of people not controlling their body and being disqualified from serving God. In the original letter to the Corinthians there were no chapter divisions, therefore chapter 9:27, is followed immediately by chapter 10: 1-11, where he warns us about being disqualified:


[1] … For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;

[2] and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

[3] and all ate the same spiritual food;

[4] and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

[5] Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.

[6] Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.

[7] Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO play.”

[8] Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

[9] Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.

[10] Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

[11] Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

[12] Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” (Emphasis added)

As you can plainly see in verses six and eleven, Paul tells these New Testament Christians that Old Testament events “happened as examples for us” and “they were written for our instruction…”.

Why?

“…so that we” (New Testament believers) “would not crave evil things as they“ (Old Testament Israel) “also craved.” (V6) And suffer punishment from God (v 5).

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

Now these things are examples (warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did. [Num. 11:4, 34.] (Verse 6)

And

Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction…” (verse 11)

You do not need a theological degree to understand that. Paul cites four Old Testament events to warn these New Testament Christians that craving or lusting after evil things will bring the chastisement of the Lord:

1. The idolatry with the golden calf in Exodus 32: 4-6 (verse 7);

2. immorality with Moabite women in Numbers 25:1-9 (verse 8);

3. testing the Lord when the serpents attached in Numbers 21:4-9 (verse 9); and

4. grumbling in response to God’s severe treatment of Koran in Numbers 16:1-50 (verse 10).

God’s character did not change from the Old Testament period to the New Testament period and He is the SAME today as He was back then, therefore, He can warn His New Testament children not to be involved in idolatry, immorality, testing the Lord or grumbling using Old Testament Israel as an example. Because HE remains the same. What was an abomination to Him in the Old is still an abomination now in the New. What He highly esteemed then, He highly esteems now. God has not changed.

In closing, first read the Old and New Testaments and receive wisdom and instruction from both. Secondly, Paul summed up this discourse with a warning (verse 12) which Matthew Henry addresses:

“…let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” Note: The harms sustained by others should be cautions to us. He that thinks he stands should not be confident and secure, but upon his guard. Others have fallen, and so may we. And then we are most likely to fall when we are most confident of our own strength, and thereupon most apt to be secure, and off our guard. Distrust of himself, putting him at once upon vigilance and dependence on God, is the Christian’s best security against all sin.”

Thank you for your time. God bless you. Carl

Little Children and The Kingdom of God

But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD BELONGS TO SUCH AS THESE. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

Lord Jesus to the parents of the little children- Luke 18: 16-17 (emphasis added)

This morning the pastor shared this Scripture in his sermon and it reminded me of the following statement by the commentariat Matthew Henry:

“The Holy Spirit is given to us to make us like little children.”

What a great truth to live by. May we become like little children in our relationship with our Heavenly Father; trusting, believing, receiving from and loving Him, as little children in relationship with their earthly fathers.

Carl

He Is Able

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory BLAMELESS and with GREAT JOY, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Emphasis added)

If that does not bless you, the Amplified Bible says:

Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]–

To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever (unto all the ages of eternity). Amen (so be it).

May God’s word lift you from the earthly to the eternal, heavenly today, fixing your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:13)

May Great Joy in-Christ be yours no matter what the world and the devil throw at you. Blessings to our brothers and sisters over-seas who are in the thick of the fight. God has not forsaken you but is pouring forth grace upon grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit for you.

Carl

Surprise Divine Encounter

Last week we had the pleasure of visiting with good friends who took us to a wonderful museum and arboretum. After walking through the gardens we entered the museum and were greeted by an elderly, stately gentleman who gave us a brief orientation.

As we finished viewing the first wing, I encountered the gentleman again. I took the opportunity to ask if they had any toothache trees in the garden. I wanted to show our friends this tree that was used to treat toothache pain prior to modern medicine. He said he did not know.

As we continued to talk it became apparent that we were Christian brothers. Then to my surprise he said he wanted to show me something. He reached into his coat pocket and brought out a folded piece of paper. On it was written I Corinthian 13 from the King James Version. He was memorizing this Scripture while he was guarding the collection. He began to share what the Holy Spirit had shown him about “charity” or love through his memorization work.

It was one those unique moments when you encounter someone you have never met before yet, you seem to have known them forever and the conversation flows without reservation or uneasiness. All because Jesus is Lord and because of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

This surprise meeting was so encouraging and edifying to me. To find a total stranger, who seemed like a long-time close friend, that believed that God IS, that He exists, and therefore, he treasures what God has said so much that it was important to hide it in his heart that he might not offend Him.

Though he has never seen God the Father or Lord Jesus in the physical, his memorization work is an expression of his love for Them. The following scripture describes this faith and it’s result:

“….though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls…” (I Peter 1:8-9)

May you have great rejoicing with joy inexpressible and full of glory as you walk by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, believing in the Father and the Son! May you have many divine encounters that strengthen and encourage you.

Carl

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman At The Well

The following poem was written by my precious wife after hearing our son preach on John 4: 1-43, Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. May it minister to you. Carl

A Woman in a Far Away Town

She came to the well at midday

When the women of town were at home,

No judgement, no stares, no whispers were there,

Just the Samaritan woman alone.

No friends to walk with her to Jacob’s well,

No kindness to come alongside,

Always alone to finish her chore,

Five husbands, yet still not a bride.

She had never wed the man in her home.

She lived with him outside the law.

With her head hung in shame, she stood at the well,

Bucket in hand, with water to withdraw.

Standing near her, she saw a man at the well.

A Jew who could not look or dare speak.

She sought to ignore Him and finish her work,

Until he asked, “Will you give me a drink?”

A Jew asked a favor? This surely can’t be,

Yet with kindness He continued to say,

“If only you knew the Gift of God,

Living water I could give you today.”

Jesus had compassion and revealed who He was.

Told of her history and present day sin.

Never shamed her or judged her in any harsh way,

Because of this, she led many to Him.

Oh, that we could look past the stains others wear

And the shame of bad choices in life,

And offer God’s grace and an encouraging word,

Not judgement and stares filled with strife.

Let’s put on compassion and walk in His love,

Let’s build up and never tear down.

Let’s remember His love He so freely shared

In that long ago, far away town.

Nelda Johnson

The Way of A Fruitful Life

“Let any one who has a garden ask the gardener what makes the plants grow so luxuriantly, what makes them produce such sweet and pretty flowers. He will answer, ” The warm summer sun and the damp dew of evening, the cold north wind and the drenching rain, — these all help forward the growth of your plants. Were it not for each, the flowers would not be so bright and blooming.”

Just so it is with the children of God, who are called “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.” Sometimes they are in trouble; affliction of some kind comes upon them, which tries them, and makes them to grow in faith and patience. Then, again, the Lord raises them up, causing his face to shine upon them, just as the sun warms and revives the earth when the winter is past.

Oh, yes, the Lord’s people require both the north and the south wind to blow upon them, that they may bring forth much fruit to the glory and praise of God.

“Awake, O north wind; and come thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” (Caut. iv, 16)”

From Martin Luther edited by Miss Whately (1897)

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12: 11)

May the blessings of God be upon your life as you experience all the trials and tribulation that living in this world brings. May your “garden” bring forth much fruit.

Carl

Wisdom Calls – The Conclusion of All Things

King Solomon, aka “The Preacher”, gives you and I hard-earned advice on what is important in living out our life. Being very, very rich and not always obedient to the Lord, Solomon investigated all of life’s pleasures and came to the following conclusion.

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

Now let’s look at the Amplified Bible’s translation of the same Scripture. The richness of the Hebrew amplification is stunning and far reaching when you apply it to the way you live your life. The authors of the Amplified Bible say that this is what a Hebrew person understands when he reads this Scripture.

All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or evil. [Matt. 12:36; Acts 17:30, 31; Rom. 2:16; I Cor. 4:5.]

Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

Take a few moments and dwell on this Scripture. It is worthy of your pondering and meditation.

A short definition of the fear of the Lord is a healthy, overwhelming, profound, adoring, awed respect of the Lord. It is not a negative practice. As a matter of fact, Scripture tells us it is our treasure. We will discuss that later.

May we New Testament believers follow Apostle Paul’s instructions:

“THEREFORE, since these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God. ”

2 Cor. 7:1 Amplified Bible

Thank you for your time and interest. Comments welcome!

Be blessed and protected in Christ Jesus!

Carl

Let Us Rejoice – He is Risen

Jesus, The Anointed One, is Risen!

Alive forevermore

By The Father’s grace

We are Risen from the dead in Him

So let us consider ourselves to be dead to our sinful nature

Alive to God in the Risen Christ

Not letting sin reign in our mortal body

Presenting ourselves to God as those alive from the dead

The members of our body as weapons of righteousness

For our sinful nature SHALL NOT be master over us

Let us be a DAILY offering of love and obedience to our Mighty God and Savior

Conducting ourselves in His resurrected Life by the power of His Holy Spirit

Bless His Pure, Awesome, Holy, Life-giving Name

Thank you Almighty God

The Blessed — According To Psalm 1

While antiquing with my wife I found a small, black, worn book on a piece of furniture which turned out to be The Amplified Old Testament (Part Two- Job to Malachi – 1962) The translation’s purpose is “intended to reveal, together with the single English equivalent to each key Hebrew word, any other clarifying shades of meaning that many have been concealed by the traditional word-for-word method of translation.”

Martin Luther, who “spiritualized Germany and made the German language” with his translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, stated this about the Hebrew Scriptures:

“The words of the Hebrew tongue have a peculiar energy. It is impossible to convey so much so briefly in any other language. To render them intelligibly we must not attempt to give word for word, but only aim at the sense and the ‘original Authors] idea.” (Table Talk)

Evidently, the Hebrew language contains so much more in one word than our English language. Similar, I guess, to the Greek language in which the New Testament was written.

With this in mind, I wanted to share with you Psalm 1 out of the Amplified version so you can enjoy all of the shades of meanings. We recently shared a post on Christian meditation entitled …the righteous will flourish like a green leaf which was based on Psalm 1. Enjoy. Carl

“Blessed –happy, fortunate, prosperous and enviable–is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly (following their advice, their plans and purposes), nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful and the mockers gather.

But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law –the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God — he habitually meditates, ponders and studies by day and by night. [2 Tim. 3:16; Gal 3:1-29; Rom 13:8-10]

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted and tended by the streams of water, ready to bring forth his fruit in its season; his leaf also shall not fade or wither, and everything he does shall prosper and come to maturity. [Jer.17:7, 8.]

Not so the wicked — those disobedient and living without God are not so. But they are like the chaff [worthless, dead, without substance] which the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked, those disobedient and living without God, shall not stand justified in the judgement; nor sinners in the congregation of the (consistently) righteous — those who are upright and in right standing with God.

For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the (consistently) righteous; but the way of the ungodly — those living outside God’s will — shall perish, end in ruin and come to nought.

No Longer Anxious

“I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize that He is able to carry out His will for me. It does not matter where He places me, or how. That is for Him to consider, not me, for in the easiest positions He will give me grace, and in the most difficult ones His grace is sufficient.”

― Hudson Taylor (21 May 1832 – 3 June 1905) was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM, now OMF International).

From: The Berean Call

“…the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.”

This diseased leaf is from a live oak tree infected with the deadly Oak Wilt fungus. While in the Texas Hill Country, I learned that this reddish pattern is one of the ways to detect the fatal disease. It is an outward manifestation of an otherwise invisible, usually fatal, malady.

When I saw this, I was immediately reminded about what King David wrote in Psalms 1 concerning the righteous man who meditates on the word of God:

“And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”

King David uses a tree planted by a streams of water as a metaphor to describe a person who meditates on God’s word. Notice as a result of meditating on God’s word, the tree is firmly planted and its leaf does not wither.

The tree is not blown over by the wind. The person who meditates on what God says is not carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14). Because he knows God’s truth.

The word of God is like a river of life bringing spiritual “nutrients” to us as we sink our roots or thoughts into it. Because “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12), it can change us, bringing refreshing where there is drought! The Holy Spirit uses it to “judge the thoughts and intentions of ” our hearts bringing revival to us as we deal with what He reveals, good or bad. He wants to restore us to fellowship with the Son and the Father “…so that our joy may be made complete (I John 1:4).

Proverb 11:28 says

“He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.”

Are we spiritually dry today? Do we feel like our spiritual “leaf” is not flourishing but withered; evidence of an invisible disease eating away at our soul? Has the wind of life blown us over or broken part of our values?

Maybe we are feeding our souls too much on the “bread” of the world, the words and images that constantly bombard us during a typical day. Words and images that may even tickle our fancy and offer a distraction from the abrasion of the world but, when it comes to feeding our human spirit, that which communes with God’s Spirit, it is just vanity….nothingness. Like eating sugar all day; sweet but does us no good.

If this is you, I encourage you to plug into His streams of water today. Pick a scripture from the word of God and meditate on it for five minutes or through out the day. Use your mind to dissect the verse and get all of the “water” out of it you can. You will be surprised what His Spirit will show you. Let it free you from the things that choke out the word of God IN YOU: the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of riches (Matt. 13:22). The things that bring drought to your soul, paralyzing your mind, making your will passive and depressing your emotions.

May we let the abundant life Jesus talked about begin to flow out of us as we meditate on His Word. May His word reorder our priorities, expose the enemy’s snares, reveal sins that have defiled us, renew fellowship with Lord Jesus and Father God. He will pour His peace and joy into your spirit which will change the state of your soul!

Lord Jesus said

“It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ ”

Let us not try to feed our spirits with the world’s “bread” but with His Truths revealed in the Holy Bible.

Blessings and peace to you in Christ Jesus.

Carl

God’s Time Table

Time is not idle.

God Almighty’s clock is ticking.

Time is marching to the Second Coming

The Day of Vengeance of our God is looming (1)

The Year of Redemption will be in the Son of Man’s heart

Man can not stop God’s timing or turn it back

We can only worship the Lord with reverence

And rejoice with trembling

How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (2)

The day cometh

The Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night

While they say “Peace and Safety” destruction will suddenly come

The godless shall not escape

No. Not one. (3)

There is no fear of the Lord before their eyes (4)

But those who trust in Jesus Christ will not be surprised

The Day will not overtake them like a thief

They all are Sons of Light

They all are Sons of Day

They are alert and sober

Not asleep in the light

For God has not destined them to wrath

But for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ

Therefore encourage one another

As you see the Day approaching (5)

For Time is not idle

God Almighty’s clock is ticking

The Day of Vengeance of our God is looming

The Year of Redemption will be in Jesus’ heart (6)

Even so, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. (7)

1. Isaiah 63: 4, Isaiah 61: 2b

2. Psalm 2: 11-12

3. I Thessalonians 5:2-3

4. Romans 3:18

5. I Thessalonians 5:4-11

6. Isaiah 63:4, Isaiah 61:2b

7. Revelations 22: 20-21

Lord Jesus Christ – The Son of Man

The following Scriptures are about the Son of Man, a messianic term the Lord used for Himself in Scripture. I hope they strengthen and encourage you in your faith. If you have not placed your faith in Jesus Christ, I hope these Scriptures will cause you to re-evaluate your rejection of Him or apathy toward Him.

We begin in ancient Babylonia when Daniel, the prophet, (530 B.C.E.) had a vision of heaven. We then weave in and out of the New and Old Testament, ending in the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

Be strengthened and encouraged by what the Word reveals about our coming Warrior King and Priest, Jesus Christ! Carl

Daniel 7:9-10 – Daniel’s Vision Of The Ancient of Days and The Son Of Man

“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

[10] A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened. …

Daniel 7:13-14

[13] “I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

[14] “And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.”

Revelation 1:10-18 – The Apostle John Encountering The Glorified Lord Jesus On Island of Patmos.

[10] I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet…

[12] Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw…

[13] … One like unto a Son of Man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.

[14] His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. [15] His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.

[16] In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

[17] When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.

And He placed His right hand on me, saying,

“Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

[18] and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

Colossians 1:15-22 – Who the Lord Jesus Is.

[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] 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 through Him and for Him. [17] He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [18] He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. [19] For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him…”

Hebrews 1:2-3

[2] … whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. [3] And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…

Acts 7:56 – Stephen’s Vision As He Was Being Stoned To Death.

…and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Matthew 16:27 – Jesus Christ Speaking About Himself.

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”

Psalm 2:7-12 – What ‘God The Father’ Told ‘God The Son’ Plus A Warning.

[7] “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:

He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

[8] ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,

And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

[9] ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,

You shall shatter them like earthenware.'”

[10] Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;

Take warning, O judges of the earth.

[11] Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.

[12] Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,

For His wrath may soon be kindled.

How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”

Matthew 24:29-31 – Lord Jesus Tells About Gathering His Followers.

[29] “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

[30] And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

[31] And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. …

Luke 21:28 – Lord Jesus’ Instructions To Believers In That Day.

“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Psalm 110:1-7 – God The Father Speaking To Jesus, The Warrior King and Priest.

[1]The LORD (God The Father)says to my Lord (David’s Lord – Messiah -Jesus Christ):

“ Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

[2] The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion (Jerusalem), saying,

“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”

[3] Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;

In splendors of holiness,

from the womb of the dawn, I have begotten you.

[4] The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind,

“You are a priest forever

According to the order of Melchizedek.”

[5] The Lord (Jesus) is at Your (God The Father’s) right hand;

He (Jesus) will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.

[6] He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses,

He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.

[7] He will drink from the brook by the wayside;

Therefore He will lift up His head. … (clarification added)

Revelation 14:14-20 – The Reaping Of The Church From The Earth

[14] Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud,

and sitting on the cloud was one like the Son of Man,

having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.

[15] And another angel came out of the temple,

crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud,

“Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come,

because the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

[16] Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth,

and the earth was reaped.

The Reaping Of The Lost Souls

[17] And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven,

and he also had a sharp sickle.

[18] Then another angel, the one who has power over fire,

came out from the altar;

and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle,

saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth,

because her grapes are ripe.”

[19] So the angel swung his sickle to the earth

and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth,

and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God.

[20] And the wine press was trodden outside the city,

and blood came out from the wine press,

up to the horses’ bridles,

for a distance of two hundred miles. …

Isaiah 63:1-6 – Jesus Treading Wine Press OF The Wrath of God When He Comes To Save Israel.

[1] … Who is this who comes from Edom (modern Jordan),

With garments of crimson from Bozrah (Petra),

This One who is majestic in His apparel,

Marching in the greatness of His strength?

“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

[2] Why is Your apparel red,

And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

[3] “I have trodden the wine trough alone,

And from the peoples there was no man with Me.

I also trod them in My anger

And trampled them in My wrath;

And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,

And I stained all My raiment.

[4] “For the day of vengeance was in My heart,

And My year of redemption has come.

[5] “I looked, and there was no one to help,

And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;

So My own arm brought salvation to Me,

And My wrath upheld Me.

[6] “I trod down the peoples in My anger

And made them drunk in My wrath,

And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

(Clarification added)

Isaiah 34:1-3 – In The End, All Nations Attack Israel And Jesus Destroys Them.

[1] … Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples!

Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it.

[2] For the LORD’S indignation is against all the nations,

And His wrath against all their armies;

He has utterly destroyed them,

He has given them over to slaughter…

Revelation 19:11-16 – Jesus Christ, The Son of Man, Returns To Earth.

[11] And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse,

and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True,

and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

[12] His eyes are a flame of fire,

and on His head are many diadems;

and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.

[13] He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood,

and His name is called The Word of God.

[14] And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.

[15] From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations,

and He will rule them with a rod of iron;

and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

[16] And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written,

“ KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” …

Conclusion

What a mighty Lord and Savior we serve, a Warrior King and Priest. He is coming to deliver the true Body of Christ and to reveal Himself to the nation of Israel and save her from all of her enemies. The Messiah is coming in a second advent to finish what He started in the first advent.

Are you ready to meet Him Christian? Are you ready to meet Him lost person? That is the question.

Carl

What Does Intercessory Prayer Look Like?

Let me say right off the bat that we are not “dream” people. We don’t try to interpret dreams or live our lives according to our dreams.

That said, one night this week, my lovely wife had a dream concerning intercession, praying for the souls and needs of people. She said it was unlike any dream she had ever had. Vivid colors.

I wanted to share the dream with you in hopes it may encourage you to persist in your prayer life and to continue to intercede for lost souls and the needs of the Body of Christ. Feel free to share it with someone if the Lord directs you to do so.

Keep Praying!

Carl

Intercession

Last night I dreamed I was interceding along with others for many different requests. The prayers of the saints were flowing like a multi colored, liquid rainbow. Occasionally, while praying, a feeling of hopelessness tried to creep in, to hinder the prayers for others and the prayers seemed to fall out of the flow, to the ground, in the form of solid, colorless matter. I was running beside the flow, gathering the fallen prayers and putting them back up in the colorful, undulating flow that eventually came before the Lord of Lords. The enemy was constant, in trying to block and halt the prayers through discouragement, hopelessness, loss of vision and other tactics. But God, in His faithfulness, remembered every prayer that was birthed in the heart of the intercessors and voiced in faith.