Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Most Loving Person

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

John 15: 8-17 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. “You are My friends if you do what I command you. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. “This I command you, that you love one another.

Who is the most loving person you have ever met? That is a hard question to answer. When we consider the Love of Christ, nobody comes close to measuring up, do they?
Abiding in Christ is bearing much fruit. Jesus says, we are to “keep His commandments and to “abide in His love” and that if we are keeping His commandments, we will abide in His love. And then He says; “this is my commandment (singular) that you love one another, just as I have loved you” He then describes this love as; “laying down one’s life for his friends.” Have you seen any of this type of fruit hanging out there lately? No … me either. Well, there was Mother Teresa, but as loving and other-centered and Saintly as Mother Teresa was, it was not good enough … before you get upset … stop. I am convinced that Mother Teresa would be the first to tell you exactly the same thing. ”There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside; Together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.” Romans 3:10-12. I finished my previous post with: “much of what we would see as fruit from our human perspective would not likely qualify as fruit at all, from God’s perspective. We are likely to be confused, especially if we are given to judging others. “For Christ’s love compels us … so from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” 2 Corinthians” 5:14,16. I suggest you read; "Your Mission Is A Ministry” where we explore this in additional detail. We are Ambassadors for Christ with a Ministry of Reconciliation. How’s your ministry going? Certainly Mother Teresa was living this mission. But the righteousness the world saw in Mother Teresa was actually the Righteousness of Christ living through her. 2 Corinthians 5:21. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus says; “abide in My love.” If you keep My commandments” ... and You might say; “there it is … that person has fallen from grace, or maybe he never knew Christ, since he does not keep His commandments.” His word also says; “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. We are ministers of reconciliation, not judges. Get off your high horse, before you fall and break your neck. What old things passed away? What things are become new? Well first of all; “Jesus died for all and therefore all died and the love of Christ controls or compels us and Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh or from a worldly point of view. We are to put on the mind of Christ. We have a new ministry. His righteousness is to live through us. Our only reason to look upon others is to allow Him to love them through us and to help them be reconciled, not judge them. This righteous walk is all about our position in Christ, not our earthly condition: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, 2 Corinthians 4: 7-8. We need to be renewed with the truths that encourage us in the completeness we have as heirs of the most Holy Creator. We need to turn our eyes upon Jesus and his word will become reality in our daily walk: “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit.” Jesus is the one who will live in and through us. His righteousness in us. When we abide above with Jesus … following the whims, attitudes, habits, and temptations of our old man will quickly be repelled by the inward leading of the Holy Spirit. He will give us new priorities, new goals and a new concern for others that is foreign to our old man.

You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit. Think about that: Jesus chose and appointed you, before the beginning, to do His will and to accomplish His purpose. ... Wow. No longer does he call us servants or slaves because we are heirs, sons and brothers. And we know the truth because Jesus said: “I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” We are spiritually positioned with Jesus in Heaven. We have remained here on a Heavenly mission. Faith in the vine brings forth fruit in the branches. His Holy Spirit guides us in His Heavenly purpose. Our role is to be responsible in our faith in Him and His finished work on the Cross and our position in His heavenly family. But make no mistake; this is not a license to leave the old man on the throne of your life … that would clearly be the way of a foolish young prince. We are to “prove to be His disciples as he lives out His love through us.” “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and Godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Titus 2:11-15 But, filter your words through the love of Christ. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

God Bless you my friends, Bob West
Pray to receive Christ as Savior

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Abide In Christ

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Galatians 4:1-7 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a servant, though he is master of all; But is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, To redeem those that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

February 9, 1980 … I walked up to Zig Ziglar and asked him to sign his book for me. “Why sure Bob” Zig replied as he wrote: “Bob, See you at the top … Your friend, Zig Ziglar John 15:5.” As an unbeliever, I thought this was kind of different that he would quote a Bible verse, but when I got home, I was determined to find out what it meant. I asked my wife Cheryl; “do we have a Bible in the house?” She said yes, and went to find the Bible that my sister had given us a few years earlier on Christmas. I stumbled through the pages until I came to the book of John and there, I found it ... John 15:5. I read the verse out loud and asked Cheryl: “do you have any idea what this means?” “No … she replied.” I laughingly said; “it’s Greek to me” and went about my day. If only I had been wise enough to really understand the meaning and power of those words more quickly, I can only wonder how much more God would have accomplished with my life. Here was the key to my walk with Christ and it flew right over my head. So much worry, pain, loss, and struggle could have been avoided. But then many Christians live their entire lives and never come to understand the application of God's truth, so I guess my foolishness is a trait, common to man. The root of the problem could be summed up in the statement “that’s the way I’ve always done it”. Our mind has been programmed with knowledge that might be true in our human way of getting things done, but God’s ways are not man’s ways, which is why we need to transform our thinking by the renewing of our minds. In my last post, I stressed that we needed to reckon our justification and our established position in Christ, as heirs and sons, in God’s heavenly family. To repeat: Romans 3:28 calls upon us to reckon or “count as true” the fact that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. To be justified means: “to be free of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin.” This is a key step in your spiritual growth. Without renewing your mind with this truth, the danger is that your old truth will continue to guide your daily activities and lead to your frustration and failure and the same worry, pain, loss, and struggle I mentioned above. So have you sat down and reckoned these truths? Don't you think it would be a good idea to stop and DO IT NOW!

One more thing, not wanting to leave a long story that has a happy ending, dangling ... eight months later, Zig Ziglar led me to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. My life has never been the same.

So that begs the question: “What is the old truth that I need to replace with the new truth?” I’m glad you asked. The old truth is the thinking that you are not acceptable, just as you are. And that you need to serve your way to salvation. Sorry to say, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change your old nature or work your way free of your old ways or their consequences. That’s the bad news. Christ paid for all of your sins, past, present and future, on the cross at Calvary. When you receive his free gift, you are forgiven and accepted into His eternal family.That is the good news. Performance and reward is so ingrained into our brain that our internal auto –pilot is apt to take over at any moment … leading us into an attempt to improve our condition … so that we will be acceptable, in the old way … like in school or at work, by doing good. It is futile as Paul clearly explains in Romans 7. The problem is that service will never qualify you or me. Our mind is constantly searching for acceptance and approval in the old way. We must transform this old thinking. Do not make the mistake of depending upon your condition, rather than your position for your acceptance. It is natural for our old ways to direct us to be producers (law) rather than receivers (grace). When service takes over as your driving force, even Bible study and prayer can become service-centered activity rather than resting in and trusting Christ, our salvation. We need to transition to a “being” and from a “doing” mentality. When we are following the Holy Spirit, He will let us know what to do, and when to do it. We are to be sons, not servants. Galatians 4:6 “Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Read Galatians above

The problem is that when we try to put on spirituality rather than resting in Christ and being transformed by the leading of the Holy Spirit, is that self effort produces the works of the flesh. Gal 5:19-21. Even at the most subtle level, our pride takes over and before you know it, someone like me gets all puffed up over the wisdom written on their blog, when in reality, I am just a dog … along for the ride.
“To abide in Christ and receive God’s love while unworthy, is the believer’s positional privilege and responsibility. God’s love functions according to its nature, not according to the quality of its object. Freedom from the dominion of self gives us a deepening rest in the Lord Jesus; we become rooted and grounded in the Source of Life, where we grow effortlessly and Godly fruit is born to His glory.” Miles J. Stanford

Abiding and resting in Christ brings the true fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me, you can do nothing. John 15:5 When Jesus instructs us to abide in Him, he means for us to abide or rest in our position in him. Some would say that if fruit is not visible in one’s life … that this is evidence that the person is not a Christian. I say that “no fruit” is evidence that just like the sons and heirs Paul describes in Galatians 4 above … these unfruitful believers are babes in Christ and are not yet abiding or resting in Christ… to their obvious disadvantage. Additionally, much of what we would see as fruit from our human perspective would not likely qualify as fruit at all, from God’s perspective. We are likely to be confused, especially if we are given to judging others. “For Christ’s love compels us" ... How, you ask? … "so from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” 2 Corinthians” 5:14,16.
Stay focused ... that's a Paradox Principle.

Jesus has defeated the world and every challenge that we can ever come up against. Only when we venture out on our own, do we fail: “when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Mathew 14:29-31
God Bless you my friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ as Savior

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Heirs of the Promise

Hebrews 5: 17-19 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast

As a new believer, I was consumed with the decision I had made. I had previously set a goal to read 52 books during 1980 and on October 20, while on this quest, I had learned about the saving grace of Jesus Christ and my life was forever changed. During the year that followed, God placed a burden on my heart to know the truth. In a Bible study I attended, we were studying the book of James which had become a personal favorite of mine. A friend I met there told me that he didn’t like James because there were too many do’s and don’ts. He said that the person who led him to Christ told him that eternal life was about receiving Christ’s free gift and not memorizing a list of things you could not do as listed in the book of James. His views were hard for me to believe so I began to study the issue, and it became clear to me that my friend was partially correct in his understanding. Many teachings in the Bible are evangelical in nature, dealing with how to receive eternal life through faith in Christ; and many others were more pastoral with a purpose of explaining the important issues regarding living a Christ-centered Christian life for the remainder of our life here on earth. To ignore these daily living truths would surely lead to a hypocritical and disappointing life ... a life that would not be honoring to Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior. My friend was telling me for the first time the concept that I have brought up on this blog, over and over. In his own way, he was telling me that he wanted to have the salvation Christ promised and the resulting eternal life, but that he still wanted to do what he wanted to do. Basically, he wanted to be the god over his remaining days on earth. He wanted to have his cake and eat it too. He did not come out and say all of this, but he may as well have.

Is my friend a Christian by simply praying to receive Christ as his savior and then choosing to live his life on his own terms with minimal and measured changes in his daily life? I have friends that I respect deeply that would say, no way … that we must make Jesus the Lord of our life to receive eternal life. I respectfully disagree. Jesus is the Lord and Savior of our lives, but living a sinless life or practicing lordship is not a condition of salvation. This is a topic that many books have been written about and it will be a topic of much discussion here over the next year. We will consider both biblical points of view and why Godly Christians are divided on this issue.

I have previously covered reckoning (to regard as being, to count as true) and the importance of this principle in knowing God’s truth and believing God’s truth and the principle of reckonings role in transforming our mind. Once we reckon something to be true … it replaces our old way of thinking with God’s truth. For me to think otherwise is no longer possible. For example: Romans 3:28 calls upon us to reckon or “count as true” the fact that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. To be justified means: “to be free of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin.” I am either justified with Christ on Calvary or I am not. Which is it? Once I have reckoned this to be God’s truth, I cannot see how my deeds or lack thereof can somehow nullify this justification. It is now and forever a guiding principle in my transformed mind. The fact is that when Christ died on the cross for our sins, none of our sins had yet been committed. Our heavenly father knows all things past, present and future. Therefore, He took all of our sins into consideration before he died on the cross at Calvary, on our behalf. As a result, we can be assured that all of our sins, past, present and future have been forever forgiven. Paul explains this clearly; “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” Acts 13:38-39. And also: “In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast”

A key point here is that our assurance of justification and salvation are not based upon anything that we have done. They are based solely on the finished work of Christ on the cross at Calvary and upon His righteousness. Our assurance is based upon our position in Christ. Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3. Have you reckoned your position in Christ to be true? Has your mind been transformed through the renewing of this truth into your deepest levels of your belief? If not, what are you waiting for? You are a son of the Most High, the Creator, and the Savior of mankind. You have an eternal position, established for you, by Christ, in heaven. Start believing these truths, start living these truths … moment by moment, day by day.

Our problem is that we are still here on earth, our body is still subject to our problems and challenges of the world. We are still tempted by our lust and pride. Sometimes, we do not feel like we are sons of God. Our daily experiences continually try to convince us that we are no different than everyone else. But this is about our position in Christ … not our feelings, our conditions, or our failures, our experiences or our sins. Our position is eternally established in Christ. And in our flesh, we have victory standing with Christ. Just as Jesus walked in human form but had victory over the world, we can also rise above our daily problems and challenges and rest in Him. Abide Above and trust Christ. He is our victory. He is our solution. He is our shelter in the storm. And when we fall back into our old habits and old ways, it is very easy to understand the Apostle Paul’s discouragement when he said: ”I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do ... So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7: 15-16, 21-25

We are the heirs of this promise. God’s purpose is for us to spend eternal life with him and His purpose is unchangeable and He has secured His promise with an oath. And by these two unchangeable things, it is impossible for God to lie. We who have by faith stood on these promises have strong encouragement. This hope God has given us is an anchor of our soul … a hope both sure and steadfast.

God bless you my friends, Bob

Pray to receive Christ as Savior
Reference: The Complete Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Line Upon Line ...

Isaiah 28:8-14 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men …

Romans 12: 1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

A primary purpose in these writings is to help believers and unbelievers as well discover truths they had not clearly understood previously. This material will eventually be published in a daily devotional. Precept upon precept, line upon line … my assumption is that you were with me when I began January 1st, but I realize that most were not readers at that time. I suggest on the days that I do not have new posts; that you go back to January and read from the beginning. There is a method here. Being out of context on this blog could leave you confused. A hypocrite under every rock.

A Barna Research Group study found that only 9% of Born Again Christians hold to a Biblical worldview on life. In other words, they have chosen not to use the Bible as the moral standard and guide in their lives unless it happens to agree with what they want to do. They have chosen to be the god of their day to day activities. In another meeting I attended years ago, Dr. Bill Bright explained that Campus Crusade had interviewed millions of Christians around the world and that more than 90% of Christians interviewed identified themselves as carnal Christians. Three types of people. My recent posts have been directed at two groups of people, the 91% referred to in the above study and also all of those who see themselves as Spiritual Man but in reality are still trying to work to earn their salvation. The one who is truly Spiritual has learned to abide above and rest in his spiritual position in Christ. His growth is directed by the inward leading of the Holy Spirit during his meditations on God’s word, moment by moment, day by day … precept upon precept, line upon line. One truth leads to the next and to the next. The Spiritual man becomes transformed by the renewing of his mind. His computer mind must be reprogrammed. Our part is to focus on God’s word. The good news is that with God, we have the Holy Spirit guiding our mind. When we are faithfully focused upon Him and His Word, He will internally guide us. He will speak to us in our thought life. God's part in this is to transform our mind. As hard as we try, we can't force it. To Abide Above, and to Rest in your Position In Christ is your part. What we think, will become one with the mind of Christ ... the Holy Spirit will replace the old thinking with the new. He will change the old worldly ideas to be consistent with the truth, as we meditate on His unchangeable truths.

As our mind becomes more and more transformed to Christ. What used to be normal becomes abnormal. False ideas that we had previously believed to be true will be exposed when measured against God’s word and will now become foolishness to us. “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”; and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-19 The only knowledge that you possess that qualifies as wisdom, comes from God. Self effort is futile because self effort depends upon our old worldly thinking, striving, worldly ways, and the false wisdom of the world to guide us. When I reprogrammed my computer recently with Windows 7, it was all done automatically. I could not even have begun to do it myself and I didn't try ... I know nothing about the ways in which these things are done. So it is also, with the transforming of the mind. Step by step, the new program removed the old and replaced it with the new. If I needed to do something, the program would prompt me. Just last night, a friend called me with questions about transferring over his cell phone service. That’s not nearly as complex as a new computer operating system, but without direction, still an impossible task to accomplish for him or me. Basically everything we do is complicated and requires detailed instructions. Our brain is more complicated than all of the computers and machines in the world combined. The idea that we could remove all of our wrong thinking stored throughout our lifetime, and replace it with God’s truth by our own personal strength, abilities and efforts is far fetched. No problem though, for the creator of the universe, He has given us a helper. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17 We can read and study and learn new ideas, but we have no idea how to remove the old ideas from our mind. Like the solar system, It is beyond our comprehension. Our mental storage system is infinite and more complex than we can ever imagine, much less understand.

Back in the 70’s a mind control program called EST Erhard Seminar Training came on to the scene. One top manager within my company left her job, and her husband and children, and moved to San Francisco to be a trainer for EST. Others I knew turned into EST cultists, recruiting my offices for potential new converts. Supposedly, after a weekend of the EST seminar, you could come to find and know “IT” … "IT" was sold as the ultimate truth. This false teaching goes something like this, “all of the rules and guidance you have been taught by your parents, schools, religion, and society in general are mostly lies. They don't follow these teachings themselves. You have allowed hypocrites to guide you into a world of guilt and ideas that are destined to failure. You need to identify all of this false knowledge. Now ... recognize that you are god and that you are the only god that matters in your life. Reject all of this old information and replace it with whatever you decide is the truth for you. Now, you have: "IT" Sound like some of the same stuff they are teaching in our schools today? Maybe not you say, but in reality, it is there, but much more subtly taught. They are simply telling our children; "you must discover your own values and truth, and whatever you believe is true, is your truth" It’s not a wonder that 30 years later these ideas are still prevalent, millions of people embraced this training under a variety of names and some are now educators misguiding our children with this babble. As you can also see, EST teaching is similar to “being transformed by the renewing of your mind” but with a major difference. The difference is: the SOURCE of the truth! EST training has a source that is contrary to God’s truth. Est is a lie! EST’s MESSAGE is "IT" … you are god, believe whatever you want and that is your truth. No more guilt, or accountability. You are "IT" ... you are god ... the beginning and the end of what is important. This is not a new teaching: The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:4-5. But obviously that is actually ignorant! An evil lie, and the original source of the fall of mankind ... according to the eternal SOURCE, the absolute Truth, God’s Word ... EST is a horrible lie! Something does not become truth simply because we believe it. Gravity is true, whether we believe it to be true, or not. A pregnant girl can believe she is not pregnant, but guess what happens in approximately nine months … truth.

AS MANY as 91% of all Christians have chosen to leave themselves on the throne of their lives ... the old values and worldly thinking are still guiding them. This has discredited their witness in the world, hindered their fellowship with the Lord, and stunted their spiritual transformation. God's purpose and mission for their lives has been compromised and altered. You can disregard God’s word, but that does not change the fact that God’s word is Truth. We can only become transformed with the truth with the inward help of the Creator, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus, the Lord and Savior who said; “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6. Renew your mind, Rest in Him, Abide Above in your Position in Christ. Any other plan is foolishness before God and leading away from God, His Eternal Truth, and His plan and purpose for you. I don't want that serpent's counsel guiding me ... do you?

God Bless You My Friends, Bob

Pray to receive Christ as Savior here

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

There Is Not Even One

Romans 3:19-28 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of our sins, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. By what manner of law? of works? Nay: but by a law of faith. We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

I realize that for many, salvation by grace alone is contrary to what you have come to believe, but I would hope my recent posts would help convince you otherwise. The idea that we have to do something to earn our salvation is ingrained in the hearts of men from the first time Moses introduced the law. An agnostic friend of mine demonstrated that fact to me ... when asked what his view was on redemption? he answered; “well if there is a god, I would hope that when I die, if I stood before him, he would look at my life and see that I have been a good person, better than most, and judge me favorably.” Unfortunately, my intellectual friend who claims to be a bible scholar is ignorant to the whole message of Christ and the central message of the New Testament. And his supposed superior intellectual intelligence would not allow for him to stop and listen to someone with lesser education than he. He is lost in the "well, this is what I think" foolishness, which is obviously has no impact whatsoever on God's truth. Many Christians are deceived here also, along with many others who are lost in supposed Christian religions that follow old covenant teachings to their great loss ... think new covenant! We should never allow man-made religious doctrines to come between us and God. Many great people have fallen for the idea that if they can just be a good enough person, by following the teachings of their church, or the model of Jesus in their daily life, or by following the laws of the Old Testament, this will gain them God’s favor. This is clearly a worthy discipline for anyone to follow, but it has nothing to do with God’s plan for our forgiveness, redemption, salvation and eternal life. Unfortunately, this road is a dead end, no matter how well intentioned. These are good people; it's not fair, you say. That is where we are confused, this is not a game and we do not make the rules. Romans: 3:10-12 says: as it is written,“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE. The truth is that the New Testament teaches a new covenant. Propitiation means: Christ shed his blood on the cross for you and me as atonement for our sins, and as a result God says: “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Period! Done!! It is Finished!!! This is the Good News! We cannot work our way to righteousness and God's favor. We become righteous through Christ and only through Christ. Truly righteous deeds are a result of Christ in our lives. They are the working out of His righteousness in us as we are renewed, transformed and guided by the Holy Spirit. Unless you have lived a perfect life, your good deeds do not result in your salvation, and they have no bearing on your ability to receive eternal life. The "good works" teaching is heresy. As born again Christians ... we already have eternal life.

I memorized Romans 3:23 and have quoted it hundreds of times. Looking at the verse in it's proper context reveals many truths that we may not have considered otherwise. God gave us the law because men were running wild and had no concept of right and wrong. The law came so that men would be aware of sin. Through the law comes the knowledge of sin. By the law, all became accountable to God and needed atonement for their sins. God (Jesus) came in the form of a man to be a propitiation or atonement for the sins of all mankind. It is clear by the above text that by the works of the Law, no flesh will be justified in His sight. So, are many religions leading sincere people away from God? People who from the world’s standard of measure are good, honest, and law abiding people ... are they led away from God and His gift of eternal life? Yes, absolutely. And many of them are missionaries knocking on our doors. They have been trained to reach out to you and I with another gospel that might lead you down any number of wrong paths. Most religions are Biblically deemed to be false religions. Do I respect their effort and their right to believe whatever they choose? Of course, I would fight along side them to protect that right, but they need to be challenged in these errors, lest they lead the unsuspecting away from God, and into a cult or false religion. Someone might ask me; “why do you quote so much scripture in a single post?” The scripture is the truth and this is the only thing I want to talk about … everything else is just opinion.
The more truth ... and the less opinion, and the less religion ... all the better.

The righteousness of God came apart from the law through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe! Wow … that word "all" is exciting! God looks at all who believe in Jesus Christ and in every case without distinction, God sees a righteous person. No one person is better than another. You, me, Billy Graham or Mother Teresa, God sees us all the same … without distinction. Our good deeds or Christ-like walk have no bearing on our salvation. Will God honor faithfulness and a man walking in righteousness? Will there be rewards in Heaven for those who live a faithful righteous life? Absolutely, and living for Christ every day should be foremost in our mind, but only Christ’s finished work on the cross at Calvary, only His propitiation for our sins can gain us eternal life in Heaven. The redemption is in Christ Jesus. Not you or I. We are justified freely by his grace and his grace alone, and it is a free gift. We do not have to do anything to earn this free gift. As the Apostle Paul so clearly says; But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. Romans 11:6

God planned to be a propitiation for our sins, through faith, in his blood (on the cross), to show his righteousness because of the passing over of our sins … for the showing of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him (you and I) that has faith in Jesus. God wanted to show us his righteousness, his justness and His love for each of us. He has given us a glimpse of his love on the cross … can you imagine what it will be like to be in his presence for eternity, free of the cares of the world? Did you notice here that God is not the justifier of those who are good people? Nope, He is “the justifier of him that have faith in Jesus” He is the justifier, and you and I are the justified. Eternity is now and we can be free of the cares of this world. All we must do is abide and rest in Him: “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. … We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” It’s the reckoning that counts.

God Bless You My Friends, Bob

Pray to receive Christ as Savior here.

We The People

A powerful message to the President.

Here's to Freedom and Liberty in America for everyone ... Forever.

God Bless You My Friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ as Savior

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Plan That Always Wins

Ephesians 6: 10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

Does the Principle of Position teach that we do not need to practice spiritual disciplines? Am I saying that as Christians our salvation is secure and so we can do whatever we want and do not need to make Jesus the Lord of our Life? No! No! No! The scripture teaches clearly here that we need to be spiritually mature in the world. Our position in Christ clarifies who we are and frees us to live for our Lord and Savior here and now. This allows Him to speak through us to a lost world, which is His purpose in each of us. We cannot be used by God if we choose to follow evil. Hypocrites who take advantage of their liberty in Christ will suffer the consequences of their actions here and in eternity. As we have noted previously, over 90% of all Christians have chosen to live a worldly life. Understanding and standing on and resting in our position in Christ is a critical step towards maturity and overcoming our old worldly ways.

John and Mary were meeting with me for biblical counseling. One day Mary called in tears. “I won’t be in tomorrow”, she said. Why, I asked? “I’m too ashamed, she replied, John threw me to the floor and I broke my arm. I am embarrassed to walk out the door.” The next day John a muscled construction worker, showed up for the meeting as scheduled. I asked him what happened and he told me his side of the story. “After a rough day at work, I came home and walked into the kitchen. Immediately Mary started yelling at me. I tried to remember that verse you taught me, “be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” I didn’t say a word but turned and walked away. Mary jumped on my back with her arms around my neck and she was choking me and then … she bit me on the shoulder. In reaction, I threw her off of me, with one arm, she landed on the floor and broke her arm.” This true story made it clear to me that I could not draw conclusions without all of the facts. When we met the following week, I started this couple on a plan that I told them would have total success if they would both follow it without fail. They both agreed to meditate on putting on the full armor of God three times a day and at any time they were on the verge of getting into a fight, they agreed to stop, pray, and read the scripture together and meditate on the verses, put on the full armor, and then do whatever the Lord was leading them to do. Guess what happened? Miraculously, this couple who had been fighting continuously for over five years went an entire week without a single fight. Three weeks later they came in and advised me that after a month with no fights, they did not need to come in for counseling any more … that God was now their counselor. They finally realized their fights had not been with each other, but rather the devil had been playing both of them for fools. Satan was actually fighting himself through them. The power of God’s word had driven away the evil that was attacking both of them and the power of God’s word was now renewing and transforming them. Biblical Counseling works best when the human counselor steps back, the counselees meditate and pray on God’s word, and the Holy Spirit intercedes and takes control of the situation.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. This is the key verse. We must understand that, this is all about His power, His victory, His strength and His might. Jesus is the one who enables us to stand firm when we remain focused on our position with Him in heaven. Satan is afraid of Jesus … not you or I. He can bring any one of us down, any day of the week, in a thousand different ways. We are only able to resist as a result of His power, not ours. Twisted versions of truth will be used against us every time by the enemy, but God’s truth absolutely repels him and his attacks. Righteousness will guard our heart and mind from his deceptions. Those who are peacemakers are not as likely to be drawn into foolish quarrels that throw us into a negative consequence auto-pilot. Faith is the reckoning that counts. It is "believing the facts to be true" that we cannot be defeated, because we are standing with Christ and the victory over our lust and pride ... and that Satan and sin have already been defeated. We need to keep our vision focused on Christ and His Word. Salvation secure for eternity provides us with more certainty that victory is absolute. Salvation is the anchor of your soul. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the word was God … is it any wonder that Satan flees the Word of God when we answer him with it? And finally our prayers release it all over to the one and the only one who assures certain victory … lest we become confused, or fall back into our old self.

Does putting on the full armor of God have anything to do with gaining eternal life? No. We already have eternal life. This is about victory over evil in the world. We have no personal power that can win this battle. Only Christ in us will win this battle. This is about defeating the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Jesus is giving us counsel here in how to defeat the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places and they have taken up residence on every street of the world we live in. Those who choose to live the carnal or worldly life choose to allow Satan to control them in the flesh and wage his war through them. What a horrible thought! There is only one plan that will ever win against this enemy and this plan will win every time. Put on the full Armor of God

Will we grow in spiritual maturity when we learn to put on God’s armor? Of course we will. When we focus and meditate on this or any scripture, we have our eyes on His Word “and the Word was with God and the Word is God” … our focus rightly positioned on the Word, and He is renewing and transforming our mind. But more importantly, we are already positioned with Christ in Heaven … How can we lose?

God Bless you My Friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ here!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Principle Of Position

Colossians 3:1-3 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Romans 3:28 We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

We will pick up where we left off
in the “The Reckoning That Counts” I suggest you reread it, because The Principle Of Position is most important to help you in your growth in the Lord and reckoning is a vital key to becoming positioned properly in Christ. The word Reckon means: “to regard as being, to count as true.” Romans 6 calls upon us, to count as true: that our old sinful self died on the cross at Calvary. Romans 3:28 calls upon us to reckon or “count as true” the fact that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. To be justified means: “to be free of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin.” Do you believe this to be true in your case as a Christian? Are you now and forever justified as God’s word teaches? Or as some would have us believe, are you trying to be good enough to earn your way into heaven? Are you still trying to be good enough to get into heaven? Are you trying to win the battle with the lust of you flesh and pride of life? We have already won that battle with Christ. When our focus is on Christ, the devil will flee. Remember ... when Peter walking on water, took his eyes off of Christ and focused on the wind and the waves, he began to sink ... but Christ lifted him up.

The Principle of Position is you and I standing on who we are in Christ … reckoning our Position in Christ to be true. Seeing ourselves as Christ sees us, rather than seeing ourselves as who we were before we were born again in Christ. Your Spiritual growth is dependent upon understanding this principle. “The Principle of Position can be summed up in one word: source.” In our source physically we were born into our human family position and the world has given us a career position, and we have characteristics, skills, strengths and weaknesses that help define who we are from a worldly perspective. But with Jesus, our source is Jesus ... victorious over sin and the world. We are standing with Him and God sees us differently from a spiritual perspective. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:4-6 As you can see, this verse is in the past tense … already done and in the past. We must see ourselves justified in Christ. In the same way God sees us, justified with Christ at Calvary.

Are you justified, and standing confidently in your position in Christ. Every Christian is already positioned eternally with Christ. Whether they understand this truth or not is another issue. Our condition is what we are in our Christian walk, but our human condition and our position in Christ are not the same. Once we understand our position in Christ, we can stop focusing on our condition and abide in Christ … where we can have peace and rest. Our condition brings us down … our position lifts us up. Our condition is carnal and focused on feelings and appearances … our position is perfect and focused on who we are in Christ. As we focus on Him, our worldly man becomes renewed and transformed into His likeness. A Christian who does not understand what his position is here and now In Christ, will most likely be left to focus on his un-Christlike old self rather than the on the Christ-centered person God wants him to be. This is a primary reason Christians fail. “If we are to grow and become fruitful, our faith must be anchored in the finished work of our position in Christ." Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Col. 3:2-3. When we envision ourselves as sons and daughters of the creator; foreigners in the world; focused on Christ; focused on the things above … the things of this world are brought into perspective, and our cares and worries can faithfully be trusted over to the Lord.

The problems of the world and the foolishness of men are only a momentary fog … here today, gone tomorrow
. This world is but a grain of sand, from God’s perspective. He is our Father, watching over us, protecting us … guiding us and answering our prayers. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:29-31; 37-39

We have all been positioned forever in the risen Lord by spiritual birth, but only the Christian who knows grows.
They are the ones who are abiding in Christ and allowing Jesus to complete His transformation of us. The natural man would like to do the transforming in his own strength … putting his brains and his God given skills to work making his old man into an imitation of Christ … but the harder we try, the more futile and foolish and lost we appear. Turn yourself over to God ... let God do His work on you. When we abide in Christ, we focus on Him and Him alone and Christ will do the transforming. We do not need to do it … we are already positioned with Christ in Heaven. Christ has already done the work on the cross. We only now need to be who we already are … sons of the most high, resting in our Heavenly Father. “It Is Finished”

When we focus on Christ rather than our self, He will change us, Let Christ do it … He is able.

God Bless You, My Friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ
Reference: ”The Principle of Position” by Miles J. Stanford

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Lord's Easter Gift

John Chapters 18 - 20
The Passion of the Christ

(Read watch and listen)
Click Here to Pray and Receive Christ

We need to read this each and every year ... in order to keep our mind focused properly on Christ.

12 So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, 13 and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people. 15 Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in. 17 Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself. 19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. 21 “Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.” 22 When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” 24 So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed. 28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. 29 Therefore Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” 30 They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.”

31 So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,” 32 to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die. 33 Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?”

Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him. 39 “But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” 40 So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.

19:1 Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; 3 and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. 4 Pilate came out again and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” 5 Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!”

6 So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” 8 Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid; 9 and he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” 12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.” 13 Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” 15 So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. 17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek.

21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.” 25 Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. 28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. 31 Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.

36 For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.” 38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes. 11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her. 19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

Click Here to Pray and Receive Christ

Happy Easter and God Bless You My Friends, Bob

Be Strong And Courageous

Joshua 1:8-9 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Proverbs 22:2-5 The rich and poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all.
A prudent man sees evil, and hides himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.

Everyday students in America spend up to $200,000 or more to be trained at a university on a hope that they will be able to succeed in their chosen field of life. Others pay thousands to attend a seminar for a few hours. And as I posted previously, Guy Spier and Mohnish Pabrai bid and paid $651,000 to have lunch with Warren Buffett in hopes to gain knowledge from him. They swear it was worth it ... but I really rather doubt it.

How much would you pay for information that you know for certain is absolutely true? If you had access to principles that you could stand on day after day, year after year for the remainder of your life and know you would always make the right decision by simply following this truth? It will never fail you. Now that would be invaluable … don’t you think? OK then … why do we so often take it for granted? I didn’t search for these truths to write about … they were simply there waiting for me when I turned to “train up a child” The Bible is full of such passages. Maybe I should search out 365 of these truths and turn it into a daily devotional and call it: ”Absolutes You Can Stand On” … Co-author anyone? Principles that by simply looking at them, we can say without question: this verse is absolutely true. I believe the verses above fit this definition. Do you agree? If yes, what would the Lord have us do with these special words to us? The Lord says we are to meditate on his Word. Have you done much of that lately? For a few moments, let’s meditate on how the Lord might want us to apply these truths to make a difference in our lives.

The rich and poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all. Now only an atheist would question this truth … and he would be wrong. When you view our world from this perspective, what do you see? If you are poor, rich people are no better than you from God’s perspective. Rich people have a false sense of worth. God made us all and loves us all as his sons, more than we can ever understand. If I am down, He will deliver me because I am His son. If I am faithful, He will honor my faithfulness. If I am a loving person to others, He will bless my life. If I lack courage, He will encourage me. Since I am his son, I am wealthier than the richest man in the world, but this is not about money. If I seek out his guidance, He will give me wisdom. If I pray to him, he will always answer my prayers. He has given me His Holy Spirit, to guide me every step of the way. If I follow Him, I will have a victorious life. If I model His character qualities, others will be drawn to Him through me. If I am puffed up, He will humble me. Everything I have is His, and what He gives, He can take it away. If I choose to sin, He will discipline me in His time, but He will always forgive me. He promises me grace, peace, and joy beyond what I can imagine. Since God made all, he is the maker of me, and all of his promises apply directly to me. Wow, after a few minutes of meditating on this … my head is spinning. I could write for an hour on this one until the power of his promises overwhelms me. But now that I’ve got you started here … Stop and meditate on this verse. You be overwhelmed!

A prudent man sees evil, and hides himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished. Once again, no one can deny this simple truth. Are you the prudent man or the simple man? Think back over the decisions that you have made in the past ninety days. Were you a prudent or a simple man? I stand convicted. I have definitely been the simple man. How can something be so simple, yet be so heavy? How can a simple proverb have so much power? We can’t see it, unless we meditate upon it. Who is the prudent man? The prudent man considers his steps carefully. He asks himself, "What would Jesus advise me to do? He looks into God's word for direction. He is the one who prays for God’s guidance … before he acts and has the courage to follow God. Who is the simple man? He is the one who allows his life to run on autopilot ... the old man is still in control. He allows his lust, flesh, pride and the wisdom of the world to drive him off the edge of a cliff or down a road that leads away from God. And then he says; Oh Lord, how did this happen? How did I get over here? How could I be so stupid? Forgive me, Lord! In what ways have you been prudent or simple? Is it not possible for you to admit you have been the simple man? Pray that God will reveal it to you, so you can move forward in wisdom and maturity. If you have been prudent, pray a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord that He gave you victory over your enemies, and also the maturity and the wisdom to slow down and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Prudent or Simple … which man are you? … really?

By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life. Okay here we are, more powerful than anything Warren Buffet could ever deliver in that $651k lunch. "riches, and honor and life" Compared to this Mr. Buffett can only offer the life of a pauper. Are you humble? What is standing in you way? What do you need to give up in order to win here? The promises are too great to resist. You and I must pass this test. Think ... meditate. What is God saying to you? Here is what I hear: Bob, humble yourself to my word! Meditate on it … do what it says and know that I am with you wherever you go. Stand strong and courageously; when you follow my guidance ... you will have victory. But know and be fearful … if you should choose to follow your lust, pride, or the cares of the world; rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit … you will suffer the consequences. DO NOT GO ON AUTOPILOT and allow your old man to take over and lead you off of a cliff. Autopilot is not an acceptable excuse. Your reward will be beyond your wildest comprehension. Trust Me! I will never, never, never fail you … your Lord and your God.

Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them. Have you been distracted away from that which is right or good? How would you know? Have you thought about it? How about a hundred times a day? The snares and thorns seem to be everywhere. The only place we are truly safe is right here … meditating on God’s word. Each of us needs to make a list of the thorns and snares in our life and ask God for wisdom and guidance in removing them far from our sight. We need to guard our soul … this means we are to flee evil lusts … as Joseph did with Potiphar's wife … or else we will be defeated by our enemy.

I am exhausted. But I am full, and I have much to do. What about you?

God Bless You My Friends, Bob

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Train Up A Child ...

Proverbs 22:2-6 The rich and poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all.
A prudent man sees evil, and hides himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.

The Proverbs are so rich in God’s truth, but they are more often than not … not meant to be taken as absolutes, but rather as wise insights that will lead us in the ways of God, towards righteousness, peace, prosperity and Godly living. This post is a bit of a diversion but living our life often has ways of leading us in other directions. This past week it was brought home to me that as wise as Proverbs 22:6 is; (train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it) it is not an absolute but rather: wise instruction for parents.

I have posted the preceding Proverbs so that the wisdom is apparent in context.
As you can clearly see, all five verses quoted above are words of wisdom, but only the first four verses are absolutely true. This is why we must meditate on the word, so that we do not confuse wise counsel with absolute truths. Isn’t it interesting that we have all memorized Pro 22:6 and heard it quoted a hundred times, but most of us have never deeply considered the absolute truths that come in the four Proverbs before it? We will look at those next time.

This past week I had a lengthy discussion online with a relative who identifies himself as a homosexual Christian. Since this discussion was online and available to the public, I feel free to refer to it here but I must be clear that it is not my intent to speak ill, gossip, or cause controversy among family or friends. But obviously, family and friends be careful what you say to me … it may likely end up in a post. This is a blog that speaks to the issue of “What is truth?” from God’s perspective. My personal opinions or anyone else’s for that matter have no relevance regarding the truth, whatsoever. We can know truth and we can observe truth but we cannot change it … our feelings desire or opinions or the laws of our nation for that matter are irrelevant when compared to the never changing truth of God. Conversation with my friend led me to look into the bible on several key issues.

First, there is the question of a person being a Christian homosexual living in that lifestyle. How are we as Christians to respond to this contradiction? Well my friend has chosen to disregard scripture that speak to the issue and pretend the Bible has been corrupted through the years. This is much different that someone who says "I know what I am doing is wrong, but I will do it anyway." He has convinced himself God approves of his lifestyle. He chooses to focus on the love of Christ and how Christ never spoke to the issue. He is a very loving person from a human perspective. On this I only need to say that Jesus and all of the teachings of the Bible are one and the same; “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” … “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” John1:1-18. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 2 Timothy 3:16 and "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." Romans 1:26-27. I know that this is not popular but the scripture is clear. The world says we are to be tolerant of this lifestyle. The Bible on the other hand teaches that we are to love the person but to call sin … sin. This applies to adultery, lying, stealing, gossip, slander, fornication, homosexuality and all other forms of sin, as clearly identified. There is no discrimination here. God's word is clear! For Christians to disregard sin … is sin, as well! Unfortunately, our public school system would like to teach our children the opposite of the truth on this and many other issues. In fact, that is now the law in California and elsewhere. I am convinced that this forced indoctrination by our state schools is a form of brainwashing. The result of this practice is a generation of young adults with a belief system contrary to God's truth. They are teaching their athiestic religious beliefs to our children under disguise of tolerance.

Paul clearly teaches how we are to respond to a Christian who chooses to disregard God’s truth; “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?

Is it possible for a homosexual to be a Christian, be saved, and spend eternity in Heaven?
Many of my friends would say ... "no way". But the word says; 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, so that no one may boast. Only God decides regarding the eternal salvation any of us. But regardless, with defiant sin, there will be serious consequences. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. Also Read: Luke 15: 11-32 and John 8:3-11. and finally, one for you: 2 Corinthians 5: 14-16. If you would like for me to address these issues in more depth, you need to comment with your requests. I do not want to spend too much time here.

Finally, my friend stated that his parents had brainwashed him with false Bible teachings during his childhood. (Obviously, those scriptures he doesn't agree with) His parents were conservative Christian missionaries and his mother discipled me, as a new Christian. He then went on to say he thought that I had been brainwashed as a child also. So the question: “Are we to train up our children in God’s word? Or should we, as my friend suggests; not limit them, let them make their own decisions in life, finding their own truth without parental guidance or interference? This thinking is at the heart of what is wrong with America. My reply to him was: “You are confused on truth. God gave us the truth as a guide to follow. He did not give us a brain to create our own truth to fit our personal desires as you have suggested.” As I've stated before, biological age does not define spiritual maturity. It is easy for a person to be forty years old and still be a hopelessly lost child."

The day after this conversation, I spent the weekend with my daughter and son in law and I was blessed as I watched two parents training up their children in the Lord. I watching with encouragement as my beautiful grand-children’s minds were being taught God's truth and carefully guarded against false teachings of the world. It was a blessing to watch the working out of God’s plan for parents and their children, in action ... learning and living God's Word. Brainwashing? God calls it: "renewing the mind and transforming the mind"

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

God Bless You My Friends, Bob