Tag Archives: Jesus

The Practical Presence of God

Today we must all walk ourselves into the whole environment of the Lord’s Presence. No matter what. There will be people clamoring for attention: submit our responses to the Lord before we allow the persons to take us somewhere because it will be out of the Presence. They only know they want attention and do not know they are being needled by the enemy to take us out. Therefore, when we submit to the Lord before we start walking where these people want us to go, He will have compassion on us and them and all will come out right for all good and God’s glory.

Have you ever been lied to and found out much later after it has caused great harm because you accepted the person speaking the lies at face value? As you continually submit yourself into the Presence of God in Christ Jesus, lies become more and more evident and that kind of thing does not go far with you any more.

Have you ever had to make a decision you felt would not be right if you base it on the facts available? Submit yourself to the Lord and he will give you wisdom and insight beyond all facts. Understand what it means to make your decisions based on the Lord and not on what your own sight. His eyes are available to you, and he sees perfectly.

Coming into his Presence requires continual submission to him on our part; someone said it takes 21 days to make a new habit………….you are challenged now to start making his presence your habitation for the next 21 days………. I think you will be moving in permanently.

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The Cry of Your Heart

Is there trouble in your life? Are you seeking God’s mind on the matter, or are you just fighting your way through the experience?

Present day culture is so raddled with evil and desperation, it can be very difficult to choose to go to God for answers to a problem.  The problem and its impossibility of a good outcome focus our attention on the problem. God wants our attention focused on Him. We don’t think He is going to do anything right away, so we don’t want to look at him.

Consider a small child who has accidentally spilled water on the carpet. Over and over, the child has been told not to carry food or liquids across the carpet. The child doesn’t see why that applies to water because water dries clear. So he fills his little cup and focuses on walking carefully across the carpet. Suddenly the water spills.  It just happens. He wonders if the water will dry up before his mom sees it. What he doesn’t know is that the water has seeped through to the floor underneath and will cause harm to the floor.

Often we have a problem because we do something but don’t know all the facts of a matter and can’t predict the end result if we run into difficulties. We assume we can get by and things will work out even if we spill the water. Remember that God knows all end results and has put boundaries in place to help us avoid the ripple effect of a problem.

Okay, so water has been spilled and dried up without anyone being the wiser – we think. Then six months down the road, there is a creak in the floorboard under the carpet where we spilled the water. We take a look at the spot and see it isn’t real bad and shrug it off. We didn’t realize that all the while that board was moist, fleas got in there and made a nest. Next summer, when the weather becomes hot, those fleas come up through the now rotted board and right up through the carpet and start causing a very big problem. Everyone who walks through the room is affected and not just ourselves.

We spend all our time for days and weeks trying to get rid of the million tiny problems that are a result of one spill of water. We can’t eliminate the fleas; they reproduce too fast, and we become sick from the bites they lavish on us.

Finally, we cry out to the Lord in extreme agony. He hears. He knows. He takes us step by step through the process of redemption as many times as we need to get free. Because we are sick from a million bites, He heals us and removes that torment so we can focus on Him again. Then He reminds us that when we know what to do and don’t do it, it is sin. He leads us to repentance. He washes us clean. He shows us how to replace the rotten floor and seals the cracks. He sets us upright on our feet and puts a light in front of us so we can’t miss the way again. God hears your cry and heals your heart. Always. He never fails.

Now stop carrying water across the carpet.

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Worshiping God Together

Nehemiah 8:10 “This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

May I recommend that you read the entire book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament of the Bible, and especially chew on chapter 8. The context of the verse quoted above is instructive! The people of Israel had been hearing the Law of God read aloud to them and a group of them called the Levites also explained what they were hearing. These people had been reunited in Jerusalem and the surrounding area after long years of captivity away and were only re-discovering God’s Word. They were astounded and awed. His Word resonated in their hearts and minds and later in the book you will read that they vowed to follow the law and be blessed by God.

Chapter 8 gives us a nice pattern for meeting together to meet with God and give Him our complete attention.  There are five specific steps included, whcih we can easily follow in our church meetings today. The guidelines are simple! God always makes things simple to understand, even how we can have unity and worship Him!

1. A time of praise. The people stood, with their hands lifted, offering praise to God. The book doesn’t say that they sang, but as singers were an integral segment of Temple staff, singing and music could certainly be included.

2. There was a time of worship. The people bowed low to the ground and offered their complete selves to God in worship. There was no lolling around in easy chairs presuming equality living room time with God for this kind of serious worship. Purposeful reverence required involvement of body, mind and spirit all reverently bowed before the Lord their God.  More than likely, the people were also dressed in their very best garments. God deserves our first and best of everything.

3. Next came a time of preaching. The Levites, God’s appointed priests to the people explained the Word of God.

4. Following the preaching came a time of repenting. The Word of God entered into the hearts of the people and revealed what they needed to do to be right with God and they did this immediately.

5. Finally, a time of celebration. The people were told to feast and share what they had with people who did not have anything prepared. This precedent deserves much meditation by all believers!  Today, as Christ commanded we remember Him,  we would most certainly include the Lord’s supper, or communion following the time of repentance. Many millions of people in the world come to communion unprepared. They do not understand any of the Lord’s commandments regarding the bread and the cup, and so they take it unworthily, thus sinning against the Lord.  All you who do know what the Lord has said and follow Him in truth have the right and the obligation to prepare others.  Recommended reading further on this:

I John 5:13-21, 2 John

Being prepared to celebrate Christ and being forgiven of sin means that you must know and receive the truth that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, that he came to earth to die for the sins of all, and that he rose from the dead.  Review the pattern given to us in Nehemiah, practice it for yourself, and you will find that the Lord will raise you up to bring others in!

God bless you with His mighty joy as you worship God today.

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OMG and Relationship With God

How do we know we have fellowship with God? When do we know we are okay with him and not off on the sidelines somehere?  When can we be sure and more sure of God’s active power and glory in our lives?

Everyone wants a relationship with God. He is real, he is the creator, and he made us in his image so that whether we admit it or not, we want to know him.  You have heard the expression, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  If you will look around you and listen, you will always hear people who never give God any credit saying, “Oh, God!” as the first thing out of their mouths when trouble strikes. Maybe you are one of those people.

Do you flippantly write and text “OMG” all over the place? Do you know that God hears that and takes it with its full meaning, that you are either calling him or blaspheming him? God is real, and he knows even how many hairs are on your head. Think of this: suppose your name is John. Suddenly there is a whole culture of people using your name as an expletive or slang expression. You can hear each one, everytime it happens. Millions of people saying or texting, “Oh My John” millions of times a day. Yet they aren’t paying any attention to YOU, the person they are using to express whatever it is they are expressing. You can’t really help them, and most of the time, it’s meaningless anyway. Yet you keep hearing it and hearing it and hearing it. Do you have a relationship with these people? No.

Now think how God feels. He wants a relationship with everyone. He wants to be a loving Father to each and every person on the planet.  His name comes up continuously, yet he is not given any opportunity to respond.

Praise God, he can also read our hearts, and not just our text messages. He can pour his own Spirit into our hearts and help us and comfort us and draw us into relationship with him.

I John 1:6-7 says that we are lying if we say we have a relationship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. Think of this: anyone who is expressing an opinion and says “OMG” is claiming a relationship with God. Otherwise, how could you say God shares your opinion? Yet God says that when you keep going in spiritual darkness, you are lying about that relationship.

Most people who go on in spiritual darkness do so because they think God will make them stop doing some of the things they like to do. Well, that is true. However, God also shows you a better way, and then those things you thought were so important no longer matter.

Doing things that hurt your body, or hurt other people, or are just plain immoral or selfish (and don’t say it’s relative, because in your heart you know better) are things that keep you in spiritual darkness. Your Father God wants to deliver you from darkness and give you a path of light to walk in. God never lies, so you can always have fellowship with him in that manner. I John 1:7, those who are truly lving in the light of God’s presence also have fellowship with each other. Ahhh. So there we find we can have true relationships with other people, too.

How do we get into relationship with God? Through Jesus Christ his Son.

For God SO LOVED THE WORLD that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him will not die but have everlasting life. By agreeing with God and confessing out loud that you have been walking in darkness and that Jesus came to die for you as a sacrifice for your sin, you enter into a right and perfect relationship with God. You can call on him in truth. He loves you and will always hear you, and when your body wears out and dies, he takes you to heaven to always be with him.

Jesus says, “I AM the way, the truth and the life . . . . no one comes to the Father by through Me.”

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Grief and God

Every person experiences  separation from a loved one by circumstances, trouble, or death. It is going to happen to you if it hasn’t happened. When the pain of loss strikes, we react. It is what we do, and we cannot avoid the trauma of grief.

Grieving can be constructive or destructive. The first time it happens, most of us don’t fully understand how we are being affected. We say and do things we would not normally do, and we are unaware of the difference. At some later date, we look back and realize we were not in touch with the real world during that initial time of grief. If we have stuffed our pain deep inside somewhere to keep up appearances as normal, we are only fooling ourselves.  It will not go away by itself.

The purpose of pain is not from God. It is a result of sin in the world, and because we are born into the corrupt world, we cannot avoid grief and pain.

However, God certainly can use our trouble to our advantage. First of all, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrifice to pay for the sin debt loaded upon us. Sin leads to death, always, but by accepting Jesus as the One who paid that debt for us, we are totally saved from paying ourselves, and we go to be with God when we die instead of being eternally separated from him. Sin separates us from God, so God uses pain and trouble and grief to show us the results of sin and bring us to himself and save us.

God never wastes anything.

When grieving goes on and on, we become radically different from the persons we were before the loss that causes the grief. There are times when grief has become a habit and a comfort zone. We can’t move forward until we are willing to risk letting go of the grief. Sometimes grief paralyzes us; we go on as usual, but numb in our souls, and eventually, months or years later,  it has to come out. Many undiagnosed illnesses are probably a result of grief paralysis. These are examples of what may happen, but for sure, a grieving person’s character changes over time.

We can choose to let God make changes. People say “time heals” but that isn’t actually true. It is God who heals. As we pass through our life, we learn and grow and do new things, and God uses these new experinces to help us heal up.  He brings out his purpose of conforming us to Christ when we let him handle our grief instead of stowing it away as a personal possession or tyring to ignore it.

God is in the resurrection business. In John chapter 11, you can read the account of Lazarus’ death and how Jesus came to his tomb and raised him from the dead. Jesus did not come when first called when Lazarus was sick, so Lazarus died. Jesus remained away because he had a reason – to raise Lazarus from death and everyone saw God’s glory. In the time between the death and Jesus’ arrival, Lazarus’ sister Mary got herself in to a state and railed at Jesus when he did get there: “If you had been here, my brother would not have died!” Jesus did not get angry with her for that. He groaned in spirit and wept with her. Then he set about changing the situation. In this case, he called Lazarus back to life. In your case, if you have been grieving too long and cannot get out, he will restore you to life.

So much more could be said about how God handles grief. The only thing we need to remember , though, is to give it to him to handle! Man’s methods are partial and destructive, while God’s methods are always complete and constructive. Here is a prayer to get you started, please say it out loud:

Father, I ask you to take this burden of suffering I have been carrying. It belongs to you now and I never want to carry it again. If I try to pick it up again, please remind me that it is yours, not mine. I understand that Jesus paid for all that I carry on the cross and that is why it is yours and not mine. I ask for your peace that passes all understanding now to be rooted and grounded in me. Thank you for your love and compassion and mercy. In Jesus’ Name.

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Is Jesus Your King?

When you are walking through trouble, is Jesus your King?

Do you run to the Throne Room to seek an audience with Him? Lay yourself on the altar where He is worshiped there and expect only that which He bestows? No hidden hopes or agenda, and no withholding from Him a secret anger that He is going to fail you?

What about the times when you are glad and restored and happy and full of zest? Do you still seek the King? Is Jesus the one who gave you your joy or do you take credit for your own achievement?

Lord, I just saw you, extending your sceptor to everyone who reads this. You are smiling . . . you know exactly where we are and what we’re thinking. That is such a relief! I am touching the knob of your sceptor now, and you are drawing me into yourself. We are all here! Thank you, Jesus.

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Christians in the World

The deceptions of the world are amazingly blatant. Recently, television has been plastered with advertisements demanding that rich people pay higher tax than poor people; that such taxation is “more fair” for everyone! Such logic is what started the French Revolution. If there are taxes, then each person should pay his share, and it should be an equal percentage for everyone. God asks everyone to set aside and equal portion for Him. That amount is a tithe, or ten percent, and there are no shades or variations of that amount depending on how much He has blessed us financially! In Christ’s Kingdom, the rich always willingly give to the poor, so everything evens out. I think most persons of wealth do give away a great deal of money to causes they believe in, anyway. An extorted higher tax will just take away what they would have given away. 

The same principle applies to giving away the Good News, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our present culture imposes strict and oppressive rules on anyone who would freely give the good news that Jesus saves us from death and condemnation. The loud clamor of the world is that we who believe have no right to tell them anything! According to Romans chapter 1, this is so that they can keep on with their wickedness without conscience. Yet believers are the ones with the greatest wealth – Christ in us!, unto all godliness and abundant life. To tax us with restrictions against sharing Christ’s love defeats their receiving exactly what they need. We can shout them down with God’s love and God’s grace and give them the wealth we have, too.

Lord, today we thank you for giving us your salvation, We ask you for greater boldness to walk through the restrictions of our culture and proclaim your Good News. You walk with us and give us joy in reaching others for your Kingdom. Thank you, Lord. We pray in Jesus’ Name.

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The Service of Worship

Scriptures pertaining to this blog: Psalms 2 and 3, and epistle of I John, 1 and 2.

When we worship, we bow before God and serve Him. Reverence and trembling are the position of our souls. To worship like this means we are before God and focused on Him. We anticipate His every gesture and nuance so that we can obey Him. Picture in your mind a king who has servants gathered around him. These servants have no duty other than to anticipate and fulfill every gesture and nuance the king makes, and every word he utters expressing a desire or command. In doing this , the servants become so tuned in to the king that most of the time they do not even need to wait for him to say, “Bring me my cup.” The cup is already prepared, and when the king lifts his head to speak for it, the servant has it ready and waiting at his elbow.

A worshiper studies the One he worhsips, bows before Him, and serves Him intimately so that he is ready to obey the slightest signal. Many commands and precepts are learned so that the worshiper does not even need to be told what to do.  He trembles to think he might miss doing what his Lord wants him to do.

Yet in the context of worshiping God, in Christ Jesus, we are nots slaves from fear. We are beloved children, serving for love of the Master. This is the same love that God gave us when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins.  Christ served us! He showed us how to worship. 

Since our bodies cannot always remain bowed, the reverence we have for God moves in our spirits, then we submit our bodies to Christ which is our service of worship (see Romans 12:1-2). Our hearts and minds are cast to see and hear Jesus Christ first, before anyone else, including ourselves. How can we get to this place? PRACTICE. Yes, it really is that simple. Just like learning to play guitar. You read the book, you apply what the book says to do, and you learn to do it. To worship God and do whatever He desires for you to do, read His Book, study how He does things, apply this to your own life, and you will get better and better at being like Christ.

Also take refuge in the Lord, so you may accomplish all that you see and hear is His desire for you. Yes! God protects His children an worshipers! Jesus Christ protected us from death and hell by going to the cross for us. He literally put His life ahead of ours to lead us to safety.

When we serve Him, our adversaries increase. This makes life very hard. However, Christ sustains us through these experiences. The adversaries stalk and prowl, serving satan because they do not serve God. However, we can rest in the assured protection of the Lord. He manages our enemies, and they can go so far and no further. Even if we are called to make the ultimate sacrifice of human death, our victory over our enemies is already complete. We are going to heaven, friends, to the very throne room of God Almighty, where we can wait upon Him face to face! God smites and shatters His enemies, and blesses His own people.

In serving Christ, I John 1:1-4 says that our joy is made complete in telling other about Him. We tell others about worsiping Him, but also about having fellowship with Him. Fellowship and worship do go completely together.  A king’s best friend is his closest servant. One is not complete without the other. Worshiping God and fellowshiping with Him means we are in the Light. We can see. The cleansing blood of Christ is in the Light. To sin is to step away from the Light and be blinded by darkness. We are cleansed by the blood so that we can stay and walk in Christ, in love, and worhsip and serve Him and have joy because we are obvious servants of His. 

Today let us worship God by learning about Him in His Word and in being still before Him, listening and praying. Let us submit our bodies and our minds and hearts to him and see that we are standing in the Light of His countenance. Be aware of His presence. The Holy Spirit is anointing us continuously to know and do these things.

God bless you.

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Dependency Issues

Have you ever been the caregiver for either a young child or an elderly adult? Take a moment and remember how much time this responsibility required. Did you become a slave of this person’s need for attention? Yes, you are remembering how hard it was sometimes to even leave the room! Your entire personal schedule, including meals and hygiene, got wrapped around this other person’s life. More than this, you were constantly barraged with questions and comments. You might try to sit down and read a book, for example, and you were immediately discerned to be “not busy.”  In the other person’s eyes, that meant you were at their disposal completely. You begin to feel like commanding your time and attention is an obsession, and you can’t escape it.

People are made to be with other people. Because our earth-born nature is totally selfish, the people who look to us for help can go way overboard. 

When we are born from above, believing Jesus Christ to be our Savior and following Him, we look to Him for everything instead of to other people. Think about this: there is no “too much” in going to God for everything. We can never go overboard in looking to Him for every need. His time and attention is totally ours. Our Lord is focused on us! He knows how many hairs are on our heads – consider that our hair is always falling out and changing, so He must really be paying attention. 

Right now, God is watching us and enjoying His job! He longs for us to seek Him out, and He is never off trying to catch a break. He never needs to leave us alone to go take a shower. He has all the time He made to listen, give, help. The Lord is my shepherd, says Psalm 23:1 – our 24-hour caregiver. He is filled with light and truth and will likewise fill us. His gaze is always on us. If we get confused or wander away,  He can see all things and lead us back to Himself, and we do not fear being alone. Our amazing God!

Praise the Lord!

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Faith is Being With Christ

Psalm 84:11 says, Jehovah God is our Light and our Protector. He gives us grace and glory. NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD FROM THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIS PATHS.

Grace is God’s attitude toward us. He is more than benign or passively merciful. He’s not a laid back God. He is the Lord, mighty in strength and wisdom and His love toward us never dims or fails. Do you remember what Jesus told Nicodemus, the fearful yet believing pharisee? He said that God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  (Johns 3:16)

Psalms 84 and 85 both reveal that Christ walks before us. He lights the way and protects us from falling off the path of righteousness.

We have to trust Him, though, that He is where He says He is. 

In the trouble we all experience in the world, we get focused on the trouble. We cry out, Oh, Lord! Fix this and fix that! My friend, beloved in the Lord – He has already fixed the problem. Jesus Christ in Person is the remedy.

Faith is focusing on the Lord our God, on His Person, not just what you think He can do, and not on the problem itself.

Faith is turning away from seeking our own justice and saying, Lord, I want to see You today. When we make solving the problem our priority instead of the Lord, then our problems become our idols. 

Faith is looking at Jesus Christ Himself – deep into His eyes and His wisdom and love and power; who He is. Accepting relationship from Him and we are seeking Him first, in relationship toward Him. He is Highest and Greatest; Firstborn. He invites us to Himself before we do anything else. We have nothing to prove and nothing to gain by walking anywhere but directly behind the Lord in the path carved out by His justice. He made us for this, to love and be loved by God. We are the expression of His love and goodness. 

To look for justice in any circumstance is futile. We cannot make one hair on our head black or white. The sooner we look to God, the sooner we know He is the only answer to everything. All true justice comes from God.

Are you locked in a battle you never win? Is it sickness, failure, grief, depression, sitting on the spiritual fence? Sin, darkness, evil? What is your fight? Get away from that today. Use the time you are spending in worry (which is pointless) or trying too hard and getting nowhere. Spend that time one-on-one with Jesus, right now. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else you need will be added into your life. When you trust Jesus Christ to save you, then the Kingdom of God is within you. Christ sends His Spirit to live inside you, to teach you all things, lead and guide you into all truth, and bring you safely Home to God’s eternal heaven.

Remember, your answer is in the Person of Christ. Be with Him. It is the right things to do.

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