Seasonal Or Steadfast??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #720

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #720  Seasonal Or Steadfast???

 

As we see so much chaos, sickness and uncertainty around us today, I would like to share a word or encouragement and warning at the same time.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the circumstances and forget the surety and certainty of The God whom we serve.  HE is the same always and the rules haven’t changed; and Jesus doesn’t change to accommodate culture or generation.  HE never changes!

Jesus Christ

the same yesterday,

and to day,

and for ever.”  Hebrews 13:8

Paul encouraged the young ‘preacher boy’ Timothy to stand fast in truth and not waver—we need to heed that same word of truth today.

I charge thee therefore before God,

and the Lord Jesus Christ,

 who shall judge the quick and the dead

at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Preach the word;

be instant

in season,

out of season;

reprove,

rebuke,

exhort

with all longsuffering

and doctrine.

3 For the time will come

when they will not endure sound doctrine;

but after their own lusts

shall they heap to themselves teachers,

having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears

from the truth,

and shall be turned

unto fables.”  2 Timothy 4:1-4

Sounds like today, doesn’t it?  But Paul calls us, as well as Timothy, to stand fast, regardless of the season or times, the responses of other, or the trends of the moment.  We’ve been called to follow Jesus, to take up our cross and not fall for the lies of the devil.  Peter warns us clearly about the constant spiritual danger around us.

Humble yourselves therefore

under the mighty hand of God,

that he may exalt you

in due time:

7 Casting all your care

upon him;

for he careth for you.

8 Be sober,

be vigilant;

because your adversary the devil,

as a roaring lion,

walketh about,

seeking whom he may devour:

9 Whom resist stedfast

in the faith,

knowing that the same afflictions

are accomplished in your brethren

that are in the world.

10 But the God of all grace,

who hath called us

unto his eternal glory

by Christ Jesus,

after that ye have suffered a while,

make you perfect,

stablish,

strengthen,

settle you.

11 To him be glory

and dominion

for ever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 5:6-11

Sometimes we must endure seasons of suffering, trials and challenges, yet it is important that we keep our eyes on Jesus and not on the trials, or the blessings and provisions of deliverance themselves.  King Hezekiah, went to God in earnest prayer requesting healing from what the prophet told him was a fatal illness, and God answered his prayer.  But Hezekiah didn’t use the 15 years that God granted him with wisdom and humility, but rather made poor choices, and left Judah in the hands of an unprepared young king who became one of the worst, if not the worst since Ahab, kings causing more harm, and misleading more people of Judah, than just about any other King.  Don’t be a Hezekiah and blow it after God blesses and delivers; if /when God brings you into a season of opportunity, keep your eyes humbly on Jesus not yourself, or the blessing you received!

In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.

And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz

came to him, and said unto him,

Thus saith the LORD,

Set thine house in order;

for thou shalt die, and not live.

2 Then he turned his face to the wall,

and prayed unto the LORD…

… And Hezekiah wept sore.

4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out

into the middle court,

that the word of the LORD came to him,

saying,

5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah

the captain of my people,

Thus saith the LORD, the God of David

thy father,

I have heard thy prayer,

I have seen thy tears:

behold, I will heal thee

…6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years;

and I will deliver thee and this city

out of the hand of the king of Assyria;

and I will defend this city

for mine own sake,

and for my servant David’s sake.”  2 Kings 20:1-6

Has God answered your prayers?  Have you responded to God’s grace with humble gratitude, or presumption, or even disregard?  We must be continually vigilant to stand fast in the “evil day”, just as Peter called us to above.  I pray that God’s Word will help us to stand fast and be like Jeremiah; being so devoted to God, regardless of the circumstances, that we are compelled to obey and serve HIM faithfully in spite of the circumstances or response!

…I am in derision daily,

every one mocketh me.

8 For since I spake,

I cried out,

I cried violence and spoil;

because the word of the LORD

was made a reproach unto me,

and a derision, daily.

9 Then I said,

I will not make mention of him,

nor speak any more in his name.

But his word was in mine heart

as a burning fire

shut up in my bones,

and I was weary with forbearing,

and I could not stay.”  Jeremiah 20:7b-9

May we stand with this same assurance knowing that “our God reigns” and that HE WILL accomplish HIS purpose in and through us if we will but heed HIS voice!  I pray God’s blessings and work in your heart today, knowing that HE is working in, on, with and through you and me!

What shall we then say to these things?

If God be for us,

who can be against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son,

but delivered him up for us all,

how shall he not with him also

freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay any thing

to the charge of God’s elect?

It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth?

It is Christ that died,

yea rather, that is risen again,

who is even at the right hand of God,

who also maketh intercession

for us.

35 Who shall separate us

from the love of Christ?

shall tribulation,

or distress,

or persecution,

or famine,

or nakedness,

or peril,

or sword?

36 As it is written,

For thy sake

we are killed

all the day long;

we are accounted as sheep

for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things

we are more than conquerors

through him

that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded,

that neither death,

nor life,

nor angels,

nor principalities,

 nor powers,

nor things present,

nor things to come,

39 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 8:31-39

We win IN JESUS!!!  May you stand steadfast and not seasonally!  Our Lord’s return is truly imminent, are you ready?  I pray that you are and if you’re not that you will call on HIM today!

Amen and Amen!

He’s Alive!!! Are You??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #719

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #719  He’s Alive!!!  Are You???

 

And you hath he quickened,

who were dead

in trespasses

and sins;

2 Wherein in time past ye walked

according to the course

of this world,

according to the prince

of the power of the air,

the spirit that now worketh

in the children of disobedience:

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation

in times past

in the lusts of our flesh,

fulfilling the desires of the flesh

and of the mind;

and were by nature

the children of wrath,

even as others. 4

But God,

who is rich in mercy,

for his great love

wherewith he loved us,

5 Even when we were dead in sins,

hath quickened us

together with Christ,

(by grace ye are saved;)

6 And hath raised us up together,

and made us sit together

in heavenly places

in Christ Jesus:

7 That in the ages to come

he might shew the exceeding riches

of his grace

in his kindness

toward us

through Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:1-7

God’s amazing grace brings life to the “dead in sins”, and Paul reminds us that we are all born in sin, as well as the fact that we choose to sin!  “But God” loved us so much that He sent Jesus to give us life—that’s what “quicken” means—to give life to those “dead in trespasses and sins”; and because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too can be raised to “walk in newness of life”!

Therefore we are buried with him

by baptism

into death:

that like as Christ was raised up

from the dead

by the glory of the Father,

even so we also

should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together

in the likeness of his death,

we shall be also

in the likeness of his resurrection:”   Romans 6:4-5

I would encourage you to read all of Romans 6 to get a real picture of the life victorious over sin and death that Jesus will grant to those who come to HIM in repentance and faith. It’s the crucified life—I choose to follow The Christ who died for me, receiving HIS life and living by HIS power and grace through His Holy Spirit dwelling within me!

I am crucified with Christ:

nevertheless I live;

yet not I,

but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live

in the flesh

I live by the faith

of the Son of God,

who loved me,

and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

So, my simple question for us today is this:  Have you been crucified with Christ?  Has the Holy Spirit confronted you with your sin?  Have you heard the voice of Jesus calling you to repent and believe in His substitutionary (in your place), atoning (paying your cost), sacrifice (being the very payment for sin by HIS precious blood)?

For all have sinned,

and come short

of the glory of God;”  Romans 3:23

That means you and me!  But God didn’t stop there—praise be to HIS name!

For the wages of sin

is death;

but the gift of God

is eternal life

through Jesus Christ our Lord.”   Romans 6:23

So, in conclusion, I pray that the words of Jesus HIMSELF will speak to your heart and cause you to examine yourself and see if you have “resurrection life” from THE ONE who can give you eternal life, if you will but hear and receive, because HE IS ALIVE!

Behold,

I stand at the door,

and knock:

if any man hear my voice,

and open the door,

I will come in

to him,

and will sup

with him,

and he

with me.”  Revelation 3:20

God is waiting for you today—don’t put it off!

Then Agrippa said unto Paul,

Almost thou persuadest me

to be a Christian.”  Acts 26:28

I implore you, don’t be like Agrippa and the old gospel hymn, “almost–but lost”!  (From Almost Persuaded, by Philip Bliss).  Won’t you come to Jesus today.

How shall we escape,

if we neglect so great salvation…”  Hebrews 2:3a

Don’t let the enemy of your soul lie to you and cause you to miss Jesus and the LIFE that He gives!  Choose LIFE!

I am the door:

by me if any man enter in,

he shall be saved,

and shall go in and out,

and find pasture.

10 The thief cometh not,

but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:

I am come that they might have life,

and that they might have it

more abundantly.”  John 10:9-10

Amen and Amen!!!

One Way-One Price-JESUS!!! Bible Ballistics: BBs #718

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #718  One Way-One Price- JESUS!!!

 

He was placed in a tomb—but my friends, HE, Jesus, didn’t stay there.  HE arose triumphant over sin, death and hell!  And HE did it all for YOU and me!  I pray that you will seek Jesus today!

For God

so loved the world,

that he gave

his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

17 For God

sent not his Son into the world

to condemn the world;

but that the world through him

might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him

is not condemned:

but he that believeth not

is condemned already,

because he hath not believed

in the name of the only begotten

Son of God.”  John 3:16-18

Condemned or Redeemed?  The choice is yours but choose wisely there is a test.  And Peter gives us a most beautiful picture of the price that our Lord paid, and how we who are HIS should approach the world!

For what glory is it, if,

when ye be buffeted for your faults,

ye shall take it patiently?

but if,

when ye do well, and suffer for it,

ye take it patiently,

this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto were ye called:

because Christ also suffered for us,

leaving us an example,

that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin,

neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled,

reviled not again;

when he suffered,

he threatened not;

but committed himself

to him

that judgeth righteously:

24 Who his own self

bare our sins

in his own body

on the tree,

that we, being dead to sins,

should live unto righteousness:

by whose stripes ye were healed.

25 For ye were as sheep

going astray;

but are now returned

unto the Shepherd and Bishop

of your souls.”  1 Peter 2:20-25

May you see Jesus in this special time, and when you do, may the world see Jesus IN you/me!

Jesus’ love and willingness to die for you and me says it all—

What will YOU do with HIS sacrifice?

Amen and Amen!

 

 

Why We NEED The Altar??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 17 No. 01

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 17 No. 01  Why We NEED The Altar???

 

I recently read a social media post longing for the days when we practiced the “altar call” in more of our churches.  I so identified with the writer, for I know that same longing; yet there was a response disclaiming, of sorts, this longing with the thought that we didn’t need the altar for “everyone” is worshipping, and that the “body of worship” is the new altar.  Well, I would beg to differ, and I’d like to address the reasons I differ.  The altar was the center, the heart of most churches—it wasn’t just the more charismatic churches, but Baptist churches, and Methodist churches and Presbyterian churches, and others who all called congregants to the altar at the conclusion of the services.  Why?  That is the issue, and what I long for; a return to a time when we are called to decide if we will truly hear and heed the Word of The Lord, to respond in obedient to submission to the call of The Lord to each heart.

Today we seem to just glory in the volume of the music, and the activity of raised hands or shouts of glory, but I’ve often watched the faces of the congregation turn to stone after all of this “praise” when The Word of God is opened.  Where is the longing to please God by hearing His Word and responding to the conviction of The Holy Spirit calling us to face our sin, to repent or to yield to God’s direction in our everyday living?  What is worship after all?  It’s not the genre of our music, or the cut of our clothing, or even which translation of the Bible you may use; worship is a life lived in obedience and devotion to God. Even as Jesus said:

Jesus saith unto her,

Woman, believe me,

the hour cometh,

when ye shall neither in this mountain,

nor yet at Jerusalem,

worship the Father.

22 Ye worship ye know not what:

we know what we worship:

for salvation is of the Jews.

23 But the hour cometh,

and now is,

when the true worshippers

shall worship the Father

in spirit

and in truth:

for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24 God is a Spirit:

and they that worship him

must worship him in spirit

and in truth.”  John 4:21-24

And what is this Spirit by which we are to come to God?  It is the indwelling Holy Spirit, the New Covenant, of Jesus who will lead us into all truth.

Howbeit when he,

the Spirit of truth,

is come,

he will guide you into all truth:

for he shall not speak of himself;

but whatsoever he shall hear,

that shall he speak:

and he will shew you

things to come.

14 He shall glorify me:

for he shall receive of mine, and

shall shew it unto you.”   John 16:13-14

And what is this truth—it is all The Word of God (the written word and The Living Word)—that which touches the hearts of HIS own and enables us to live holy lives that display God and His Word before a lost and dying world.  Conviction, restoration and truth can be found at an altar—for we who belong to Jesus or want to—by bringing our burdens to lay them at HIS feet!  We are to bring our faults and our failures for His forgiveness and cleansing, as well as our burdens.

This then is the message

which we have heard of him,

and declare unto you,

that God is light,

and in him is no darkness at all.

6 If we say that we have fellowship with him,

and walk in darkness,

we lie,

and do not the truth:

7 But if we walk in the light,

as he is in the light,

we have fellowship one with another,

and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son

cleanseth us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin,

we deceive ourselves,

and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just

to forgive us

our sins,

and to cleanse us from

all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned,

we make him a liar,

and his word

is not in us.”   1 John 1:5-10

God is ever at work conforming us into the image of HIS Son Jesus (See Ro. 8:28-29), yet so many today seem to be content with a praise that omits a life of holiness.  Much like the crowd that greeted Jesus with “Hosanna” on Sunday yet cried “Crucify HIM” four days later.  We want a ‘worship’ that makes us feel good but requires nothing of us: no repentance, no recognition of sin, no willingness to align our lives with The Word of God.  What do I mean, well, let’s be blunt:  we live the way we want, singing “Praise the Lord” on Sunday and curse like the world on Monday; we lift our hands on Sunday and join hands in living with one to whom we’re not married with no compunction or shame and we could go on, but Jeremiah describes much of the Christian culture today, much better than I—yet it grieves my heart.

For from the least of them

even unto the greatest of them

every one is given to covetousness;

and from the prophet

even unto the priest

every one dealeth falsely.

14 They have healed also

the hurt of the daughter of my people

slightly, saying,

Peace, peace;

when there is no peace.

15 Were they ashamed

when they had committed abomination?

nay, they were not at all ashamed,

neither could they blush:

therefore they shall fall among them that fall:

at the time that I visit them

they shall be cast down,

saith the LORD.

16 Thus saith the LORD,

Stand ye in the ways,

and see,

and ask for the old paths,

where is the good way,

and walk therein,

and ye shall find rest for your souls.

But they said,

We will not walk therein.

17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying,

Hearken to the sound of the trumpet.

But they said,

We will not hearken.”  Jeremiah 6:13-17

For they have healed

the hurt of the daughter of my people

slightly, saying,

Peace, peace;

when there is no peace.

12 Were they ashamed

when they had committed abomination?

nay, they were not at all ashamed,

neither could they blush:

therefore shall they fall among them that fall:

in the time of their visitation

they shall be cast down,

saith the LORD.”  Jeremiah 8:11-12

Much like our culture, Israel had chosen to be “religious” but not faithful to God.  They renamed sin, just like we do, but it remains sin—then and now, and there is a price to pay!

Woe unto them that call evil good,

and good evil;

that put darkness for light,

and light for darkness;

that put bitter for sweet,

and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe unto them that are wise

in their own eyes,

and prudent

in their own sight!

22 Woe unto them that are mighty

to drink wine,

and men of strength

to mingle strong drink:

23 Which justify the wicked

for reward,

and take away the righteousness

of the righteous from him!”  Isaiah 5:20-23

Paul warned Timothy of the peril of sin and its toll on mankind and the world; and it would worsen with time.

This know also,

that in the last days

perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be

lovers of their own selves,

covetous,

boasters,

proud,

blasphemers,

disobedient to parents,

unthankful,

unholy,

3 Without natural affection,

trucebreakers,

false accusers,

incontinent,

fierce,

despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors,

heady,

highminded,

lovers of pleasures

more than lovers of God;

5 Having a form of godliness,

but denying the power thereof:

from such turn away.  2 Timothy 3:1-5

Paul also made a most profound statement to the Philippian church, that I think we ought to take to heart today.

Beware of dogs,

beware of evil workers,

beware of the concision.

3 For we are the circumcision,

which worship God in the spirit,

and rejoice in Christ Jesus,

and have no confidence

in the flesh.”  Philippians 3:2-3

It’s all about being faithful to “worship God in the spirit”, to “rejoice in Christ Jesus”, and most of all to “have no confidence in the flesh”!  We must return to the altars of days gone by and seek God’s face in repentance, mourning and hope.  Our God hears and answers prayers, and as John said above (in 1 John 1:5-10) we can find forgiveness, and restoration in God, and HE will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness”!  And confess means to agree with God that our sin IS SIN!  We must stop this attitude of self-satisfaction, and seek God’s face, and as the woman at the well, hear Jesus’ assessment of our sin, repent and receive His forgiveness, restoration and cleansing.

What is the altar all about?  Good question.  It is the place of sacrifice—the place of recognizing our sin, and the offering of a sacrifice for it.  The Old Testament believer would take the required animal, slay it before the priest in confession of sin; then he would take the blood and burn it upon the altar, to cover the sin.  Jesus came to be the sin offering for all sin—the ultimate sacrifice.  So, when we come to the altar, we come recognizing our sin and failure to be what God has called us to be, seeking HIS forgiveness and the application of HIS redeeming blood and grace!

the blood of Jesus Christ his Son

cleanseth us from all sin”!

Oh, that we could be willing to humble ourselves before our God and seek HIS face in all we do, even bowing at an altar!

But he giveth more grace.

Wherefore he saith,

God resisteth the proud,

but giveth grace unto the humble.

7 Submit yourselves therefore

to God.

Resist the devil,

and he will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God,

and he will draw nigh to you.

Cleanse your hands,

ye sinners;

and purify your hearts,

ye double minded.

9 Be afflicted, and mourn,

and weep:

let your laughter be turned to mourning,

and your joy to heaviness.

10 Humble yourselves

in the sight of the Lord,

and he shall lift you up.”  James 4:6-10

The altar is to be a place to bow and draw nearer to God, to seek His face, to discern HIS will for our lives.  The old-timers sometimes referred to the altar (or a portion of it) as the “mourner’s bench”—a place where we intercede over the sins, needs and wickedness of our world.  Oh, that we could have a heart as Daniel had to pray for his people, not in arrogance and self-righteousness, but in identifying with his people, and calling on God to move and call HIS people to HIMSELF in repentance!  Oh, that we would hold ourselves to God’s standard, and humble ourselves in all our ways.

As we see in scripture, over and over again.

Likewise, ye younger,

submit yourselves unto the elder.

Yea, all of you be subject

one to another,

and be clothed

with humility:

for God resisteth the proud,

and giveth grace to the humble.

6 Humble yourselves therefore

under the mighty hand of God,

that he may exalt you

in due time:

7 Casting all your care

upon him;

for he careth for you.”  1 Peter 5:5-7

And as Peter goes on to say, we are to trust to God’s care in humble dependence upon HIM, resisting the devil in faith!

Be sober,

be vigilant;

because your adversary the devil,

as a roaring lion,

walketh about,

seeking whom he may devour:

9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith,

knowing that the same afflictions

are accomplished in your brethren

that are in the world.

10 But the God of all grace,

who hath called us unto his eternal glory

by Christ Jesus,

after that ye have suffered a while,

make you perfect,

stablish,

strengthen,

settle you.”  1 Peter 5:8-10

I simply pray that God will take this message and touch my heart and yours, and that we will flock to that altar to find renewed love, holiness, peace, and power to change the world!  So, let’s come to HIM in confidence, seeking HIS face and ways, and not our own, as the church at Laodicea did.  May we take heed to the very words of our Lord and Savior and “see” truth!

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;

These things saith the Amen,

the faithful

and true witness,

the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works,

that thou art neither cold nor hot:

I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm,

and neither cold nor hot,

I will spue thee

out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest,

I am rich,

and increased with goods,

and have need of nothing;

and knowest not

that thou art wretched,

and miserable,

and poor,

and blind,

and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold

tried in the fire,

that thou mayest be rich;

and white raiment,

that thou mayest be clothed,

and that the shame of thy nakedness

do not appear;

and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve,

that thou mayest see.”  Revelation 3:14-18

May HE open our eyes “that thou mayest see”!!!

Amen and Amen!!!

Hope And Help Among Us!!! Bible Ballistics: BBs #717

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #717  Hope And Help Among Us!!!

 

I just want to share a brief word of encouragement that I pray will help you today and brighten your way.

Two are better than one;

because they have a good reward

for their labour.

10 For if they fall,

the one will lift up his fellow:

but woe to him that is alone when he falleth;

for he hath not another to help him up.

11 Again, if two lie together,

then they have heat:

but how can one be warm

alone?

12 And if one prevail against him,

two shall withstand him;

and a threefold cord

is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

I’m not talking about “safety in numbers”, but rather the benefit of encouraging words that show caring for one another!  Our kind words can be a help, a blessing and often a spark of hope that someone may need more than we can see!

Iron sharpeneth

iron;

so a man sharpeneth

the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

I got just a such a note this morning and I don’t think we can understand the power of our words when we use them to lift up one another.  I pray that this simple post will encourage each of us to be an encourager each day! Amen!