Keeping Our Eyes On The Prize??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #640

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #640 Keeping Our Eyes On The Prize???

 

I would like to share a word of encouragement today for all of us as we continue to watch the world caught up in this pandemic.  Those of us who know Jesus, should have a confidence and peace that will cause others to see our Lord Jesus in us, rather than the worldly chaos that is all around us.  May you take heart in these reminders.

Brethren, I count not myself

to have apprehended:

but this one thing I do,

forgetting those things

which are behind,

and reaching forth unto those things

which are before,

14 I press toward the mark

for the prize

of the high calling

of God

in Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 3:13-14

When we recognize our calling to follow Jesus, rather than the call of the world, we will find that we have to “forget” something, and set our sights, if you would, “on things above”!  Remembering that we have a great testimony of the faithful to encourage us!  Not a cheering squad in heaven, but rather, testifiers to the faithfulness of our God.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about

with so great a cloud of witnesses,

let us lay aside

every weight,

and the sin

which doth so easily beset us,

and let us run with patience

the race that is set before us,

2 Looking unto Jesus

the author

and finisher

of our faith;

who for the joy

that was set before him

endured the cross,

despising the shame,

and is set down

at the right hand

of the throne of God.”   Hebrews 12:1-2

I encourage you to read through Hebrews chapter 11 for a boost to your faith, hope and confidence in The God Almighty of the universe, and His Son Jesus! Isaiah gave us a picture of God’s faithfulness even when we have great trials surrounding us!  God never said we wouldn’t have trials, or that simply speaking “His Name” would make us immune to the realities of life in a broken world, but  He did promise that He would be there with us, and He would accomplish His purpose in, with, and through us, if we will but trust to HIS perfect will and provision!

But now thus saith the LORD

that created thee, O Jacob,

and he that formed thee, O Israel,

Fear not:

for I have redeemed thee,

I have called thee by thy name;

thou art mine.

2 When thou passest through the waters,

I will be with thee;

and through the rivers,

they shall not overflow thee:

when thou walkest through the fire,

thou shalt not be burned;

neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

3 For I am the LORD thy God,

the Holy One of Israel,

thy Saviour… ”   Isaiah 43:1-3a

God never said we’d never have difficulties—but He did say we’d never walk through them alone (and Isaiah implies here that these are not things of our own making or presumption).  May these words ring in your heart and mind as you face a broken, sick world that is going crazy around us.

Let your conversation

be without covetousness;

and be content

with such things as ye have:

for he hath said,

I will never leave thee,

nor forsake thee.

6 So that we may boldly say,

The Lord is my helper,

and I will not fear

what man shall do

unto me.”   Hebrews 13:5-6

May God bless and comfort your heart; and may He also grant you wisdom in your decisions in this difficult time.

Amen and Amen!!!

 

 

 

Living In Faith Or Presumption??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #639

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #639 Living In Faith Or Presumption???

 

There are a lot of issues floating around in this time of crises and chaos in our world.  We are seeing emotions flare, ideas in conflict, and opinions flying around in abundance.  I have only a few words to share this morning in this regard.  There are those who are claiming to disregard the requests and orders of government officials stating that they are violating their “rights” and are gathering, flaunting their confidence in “God” to deliver them, or protect them from the virus.  It is polarizing people of faith—that is the issue that I wish to comment on this morning.  Is there a difference between standing in faith in God and acting in presumption toward God?  I believe that Scripture gives us clear guidelines in this regard if we will but let them speak and then heed God’s direction.  I share The Word; you will have to decide for yourself what you will do with it.

With that said, I would like to add that being the church is our call, more so than ‘going’ to church. (And I believe that church attendance is a priority, but it is not the do-all, be-all of deciding how to be an affective witness of God’s truth before a lost and dying world.)

Let every soul be subject 

unto the higher powers. 

For there is no power 

but of God: 

the powers that be 

are ordained of God. 

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, 

resisteth the ordinance of God: 

and they that resist 

shall receive to themselves damnation. 

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, 

but to the evil. 

Wilt thou then not be afraid 

of the power? 

do that which is good, 

and thou shalt have praise of the same: 

4 For he is the minister of God 

to thee 

for good. 

But if thou do that which is evil, 

be afraid; 

for he beareth not the sword in vain: 

for he is the minister of God, 

a revenger to execute wrath 

upon him that doeth evil. 

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, 

not only for wrath, 

but also for conscience sake. 

6 For for this cause 

pay ye tribute also: 

for they are God’s ministers, 

attending continually 

upon this very thing.

7 Render therefore

to all their dues:

tribute to whom tribute is due;

custom to whom custom;

fear to whom fear;

honour to whom honour.

8 Owe no man any thing,

but to love one another:

for he that loveth another

hath fulfilled the law.”   Romans 13:1-8

Paul makes it so clear that we are to be honorable citizens to the government powers and subject ourselves to them (and remember that when Paul wrote the commands above the Roman government was not friendly toward ‘Christians’!) unless the commands directly violate The Word of God!

Jesus Himself gives us the greatest instruction and example in regard to presumption in all of scripture.  I simply ask that you consider what He is saying—and while He was speaking to Satan, He had it recorded for us!  I would encourage you to read the entire passage and consider the three things that Satan tempted Jesus to do; meet His own needs outside of God’s will and timing, to tempt God and His Word; and to worship anyone or anything other than GOD!  And remember, Satan used “The Word” to tempt, but Jesus used “The Word” ‘in context’ to refute him!

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city,

and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

6 And saith unto him,

If thou be the Son of God,

cast thyself down:

for it is written,

He shall give his angels

charge concerning thee:

and in their hands

they shall bear thee up,

lest at any time

thou dash thy foot

against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him,

It is written again,

Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”   Matthew 4:5-7

And just a note, tempting God with His own Word, is still tempting God.  You decide, are you walking and living in faith “IN GOD” (not in your own faith or interpretation of it) or are you being presumptuous toward God, His Will and His Word?  I’m praying that we will hear HIM and not our flesh or the flesh of others!

Amen and Amen!!!

 

Big “IF”s In God’s Word??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 15 No. 04

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 15 No. 04  Big “IF”s In God’s Word???

 

As I begin this post, I’m not sure if it will be long or short, for I’m not really sure where this will take me but it’s been on my heart for a long while, and today is the day to pursue what I believe God may have to say to us.  I have seen a lot of information on social media and a lot of scripture posted—some in context, some not so much.  Because of that I want us to consider one of the passages that I have seen and what it may be saying that we don’t want to hear.

And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him,

I have heard

thy prayer,

and have chosen this place

to myself

for an house of sacrifice.

13 If I shut up heaven

that there be no rain,

or if I command

the locusts to devour the land,

or if I send

pestilence among my people;

14 If my people,

which are called by my name,

shall humble themselves,

and pray,

and seek my face,

and turn

from their wicked ways;

then will I hear from heaven,

and will forgive their sin,

and will heal their land.

15 Now mine eyes

shall be open,

and mine ears

attent unto the prayer

that is made in this place.

16 For now have I

chosen

and sanctified

this house,

that my name may be there

for ever:

and mine eyes

and mine heart

shall be there perpetually.”  2 Chronicles 7:12-16

This truth was given to Solomon as he was in the midst of the dedication of the temple that he had completed in Jerusalem.  God came and told Solomon that this place would be a place that represented HIS very presence, and that when the people strayed and forsook Him, they could come to this place (or even look toward it) to seek Him again.  But there are some ‘if’s’ here that we often ignore or try to diminish their import.

The first is “if” “my people” will do…., then what?  Who are God’s people?

But as many as received him,

to them gave he power

to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe

on his name:

13 Which were born,

not of blood,

nor of the will of the flesh,

nor of the will of man,

but of God.”   John 1:12-13

And Jesus Himself told Nicodemus “who” was His!

Jesus answered and said unto him,

Verily, verily, I say unto thee,

Except a man be born again,

he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him,

How can a man be born when he is old?

can he enter the second time

into his mother’s womb,

and be born?

5 Jesus answered,

Verily, verily, I say unto thee,

Except a man be born

of water and of the Spirit,

he cannot enter

into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh

is flesh;

and that which is born of the Spirit

is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee,

Ye must be born again

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.

19 And this is the condemnation,

that light is come into the world,

and men loved darkness

rather than light,

because their deeds were evil.”   John 3:3-7, 17-19

Jesus came that we might have life—eternal life—new life IN Jesus!

And we know that all things work together

for good

to them that love God,

to them who are the called

according to his purpose.

29 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.”  Romans 8:28-29

Jesus did the work, we receive the work, God glorifies the work as He conforms us to HIM.  Whose are YOU?  Who are you allowing to work in your life?  God or Satan? (See Eph. 2:1-10)

Being confident of this very thing,

that he which hath begun a good work

in you

will perform it

until the day

of Jesus Christ:”  Philippians 1:6

When we come to Jesus, we are “born again” of His Spirit, and He imparts to us not only His precious Holy Spirit, but also His love which “is shed abroad in our hearts” (see in Romans 5:1-11), but what have we done with that gift?  Are we living in His love or the fear of our circumstances?  Are we living in the Spirit or the flesh?  Is our life identified with Jesus or is there so little resemblance to our Father God and Jesus The Son, that people can’t tell any difference between us and the world?  That “if” that God mentions to Solomon is referring to “my people”—for Solomon that meant the true worshippers of Jehovah God, who looked forward to the coming Messiah who would deliver them from sin not just cover it up from year to year.  We who are on this side of the cross have seen and received the completed work of salvation, and we don’t have to go to Jerusalem or a physical temple—for we are the temple by the redeeming power of Jesus’ blood shed for us.  But how are we treating that temple—His temple?

What?

know ye not that your body

is the temple

of the Holy Ghost

which is in you,

which ye have of God,

and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price:

therefore glorify God

in your body,

and in your spirit,

which are God’s.”   1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We who have received Jesus’ saving grace, ARE the temple of God—yet we see professing believers, who claim to know Jesus, adopting the so-called ‘morality’ of the world—they say it’s ok to “shack-up” without benefit of marriage, everyone is doing it!  They condone promiscuity, for who can live without sex—it doesn’t have an “on and off” switch to use only when we’re married, does it?  Well, in a word, YES it does—it’s called “self-control” and obedience to God; and God calls His own to live holy and pure lives.  Many people who claim the name of Jesus have justified almost all things that once were seen as sin—drunkenness, immorality, foul language (I am so tired of hearing vulgar words come out of the mouth of those who claim the name of my precious Savior—even taking His name and The Father’s name in vain!), dishonesty (it’s ok to steal, lie, cheat, fudge on the truth, lie on reports, steal from your employer {and not doing your job, is the same as stealing the wages you say you are ‘earning’ when you don’t work}), bullying, treating others with disrespect, mistreating others, cruelty….the list could go on endlessly.  Yet, God called HIS people to recognize their own sin, not just the sin of others, and turn from it and draw near to HIM!

God calls us to “humble” yourselves.  That means to ‘bow’ before God, recognizing that HE IS the Sovereign God of my heart—of all creation for that matter.  And to bow, is to acknowledge that HE IS God and I am not!  We are called “by (His) name”, but we aren’t called to BE HIM!  Yet much that is going on in Christendom today is simply idolatry of “self” dressed up in ‘church clothes”!  Humility means I recognize my own inability and depend on HIS ability working in me.  Taking up my cross—which means dying to self and living unto Jesus in all I/you do!

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

Have you been “crucified with Christ”? (See Matthew 16:24-26) Or are you living your own life, and trying to tag His stamp of approval on it?  When we are saved, we ought to recognize our own “death” to sin and self for we are “raised to new life”!

Therefore if any man be in Christ,

he is a new creature:

old things are passed away;

behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God,

who hath reconciled us to himself

by Jesus Christ,

and hath given to us the ministry

of reconciliation;

19 To wit,

that God was in Christ,

reconciling the world

unto himself,

not imputing their trespasses

unto them;

and hath committed unto us

the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,

as though God did beseech you by us:

we pray you in Christ’s stead,

be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us,

who knew no sin;

that we might be made the righteousness

of God

in him.”  2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Let’s go on; the next thing God calls us to do is to “pray”—seeking God’s way not mine.  Prayer isn’t dictating to God, rather it is seeking to know my Father and what He desires; Jesus told us how!

After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father

which art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done

in earth,

as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:9-10

Prayer is seeking to glorify God in all we do; seeking God’s Kingdom; seeking God’s will on earth.  Rather than seeking our own will and wanting it continually– stamped with God’s heavenly approval, of course….that is totally NOT prayer!

God calls us to seek HIS face—that’s real prayer and earnest recognition of who God IS?  Then, God steps on the real issue—we are to “turn from” our “wicked ways”!  That means “ME” and that means “YOU”!  We can’t erase God’s Word with the ‘vote’, or popular ‘polls’, or by “legalizing sin”.  God says sin is still sin, and we MUST turn from it.  Believers must stop sinning and calling it something else—God says we must turn from it—agree with Him that it is sin and STOP IT!  That’s what the Apostle John meant!

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 1:6-10

To “confess” here means to agree with God about our sin—and as long as we deny our sin, we will not repent (which means to turn away/turn around from; an about-face, if you would!)  As long as we keep justifying our sin with whatever excuse we are using; we will never find forgiveness and cleansing.  Just as John goes on in verse 8 to remind us, to say we have no sin, is to deceive ourselves; and if I may say so, we live in a culture that is doing its best to erase sin by ‘legalizing’ it.  God’s way has never before, still hasn’t and will never, ever change!

Jesus Christ

the same yesterday,

and to day,

and for ever.”  Hebrews 13:8

So, the question is the same today as it ever has been, are you willing to “turn” from your way and go God’s way?  Or will you cling to your own sin and reap the consequence.  Isaiah dealt bluntly with this same issue!

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened,

that it cannot save;

neither his ear heavy,

that it cannot hear:

2 But your iniquities

have separated

between you and your God,

and your sins

have hid his face

from you,

that he will not hear.

3 For your hands are defiled with blood,

and your fingers with iniquity;

your lips have spoken lies,

your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

4 None calleth for justice,

nor any pleadeth for truth:

they trust in vanity,

and speak lies;

they conceive mischief,

and bring forth iniquity.”  Isaiah 59:1-4

Sound familiar?  Even as Paul told the church at Galatia, and God told Solomon, when we pursue God and do things His way, then HE has promised to “heal their land”.  And folks, our land certainly is in need of healing, and I don’t mean just the COVID-19 virus!  We are in need of a real heaven-sent, sin-forsaking, heart changing, move of God!  A revival of God’s own, that the lost may see Jesus in us and come to His cross in repentance and faith to be saved from their sin.  But that’s not likely to happen until God’s own start sowing righteousness and love for God and His way, rather than the lust of the flesh!

Be not deceived;

God is not mocked:

for whatsoever a man soweth,

that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh

shall of the flesh reap corruption;

but he that soweth to the Spirit

shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  Galatians 6:7-8

I’d like to bring this all to a close with one of my favorite passages, where Jesus makes it clear that “saying so” doesn’t “make it so”!  Are you talking a ‘talk’ that you can’t walk because you don’t possess Jesus?  Have you been born again, yet you are not walking in “the light”?  Or are you burdened for the broken, lost and suffering world that we live in?  May we truly search our hearts and build our “house on the rock” of Jesus Christ The Lord—the only way to God.  Jesus Christ The Lord, who gave Himself to be our substitutionary, atoning sacrifice for sin; it’s what He came to be and do!

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS:

for he shall save his people

from their sins.”   Matthew 1:21

Yet Jesus’ warning to us is still valid today, what will you choose, The Rock or the sand?  Have you been saved “from” your “sins”?  Jesus saves, delivers and transforms?  What about you?

Enter ye in at the strait gate:

for wide is the gate,

and broad is the way,

that leadeth to destruction,

and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate,

and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life,

and few there be that find it…

 .. 21 Not every one that saith unto me,

Lord, Lord,

shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;

but he that doeth the will of my Father

which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day,

Lord, Lord,

have we not prophesied in thy name?

and in thy name have cast out devils?

and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them,

I never knew you:

depart from me,

ye that work iniquity.

24 Therefore whosoever heareth

these sayings of mine,

and doeth them,

I will liken him unto a wise man,

which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended,

and the floods came,

and the winds blew,

and beat upon that house;

and it fell not:

for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth

these sayings of mine,

and doeth them not,

shall be likened unto a foolish man,

which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended,

and the floods came,

and the winds blew,

and beat upon that house;

and it fell:

and great was the fall of it.

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended

these sayings,

the people were astonished at his doctrine:

29 For he taught them

as one having authority,

and not as the scribes.”                                    Portions of Matthew 7:20-27

So, as you read or post things from scripture, especially 2 Chronicles 7:14, you might want to take some time and be sure you are living what you’re posting!

Examine yourselves,

whether ye be in the faith;

prove your own selves.

Know ye not your own selves,

how that Jesus Christ is in you,

except ye be reprobates?”  2 Corinthians 13:5

Are you calling others to do the same and:

…speaking the truth in love…”  Ephesians 4:15a

What “ifs” are you wrestling with?  May God do HIS work in us, that the world may KNOW that Jesus is Lord and King!!

Amen and Amen!!!

Power And Love Over Fear!!! Bible Ballistics: BBs #638

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #638     Power And Love Over Fear!!!

 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;

but of power,

and of love,

and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

I love this verse, yet we so often just quote it and miss the message that Paul was giving to a timid young preacher boy; he was calling Timothy to remember that he was walking, working, preaching and ministering in the power, love and “right thinkingness” of God.  And to think right is to have our mind set on Jesus in all things. (See Phil. 1:6)

Looking unto Jesus

the author

and finisher

of our faith;

who for the joy that was set before him

endured the cross,

despising the shame,

and is set down

at the right hand

of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

Jesus paid the price for us—He saves us, He keeps us, He gives us His Holy Spirit to lead, guide, protect and direct our steps—that we might live for Him in righteousness and truth, with the spirit of HIS love.  Which by the way, He has imparted to us as well!

And hope maketh not ashamed;

       because the love of God

              is shed abroad in our hearts

                      by the Holy Ghost

                             which is given unto us.

6 For when we were yet without strength,

       in due time

       Christ died for the ungodly.”  Romans 5:5-6

Because we have received His love, we can walk in that love, and respond to our circumstances in confidence of His provision.  So, I encourage each of us to remember that we can walk in victory because our Lord is LORD and KING!  He is coming back, and I want to be found faithful—how about you?  But we can only do that in HIS power.

Finally, my brethren,

       be strong in the Lord,

              and in the power of his might.

              11 Put on the whole armour of God,

                      that ye may be able to stand

                             against the wiles of the devil.”   Ephesians 6:10

God has always shown Himself faithful, and I’ll simply leave you with a couple of reminders of HIS faithful provision—for the ‘battle is the LORD’S”, and we who are “born of the Spirit” never walk alone!  Amen and Amen.

And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah,

and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem,

and thou king Jehoshaphat,

   Thus saith the LORD unto you,

          Be not afraid nor dismayed

                 by reason of this great multitude;

          for the battle is not yours,

                 but God’s.”  2 Chronicles 20:15

And all this assembly shall know

that the LORD saveth

not with sword and spear:

for the battle is the LORD’S,

and he will give you into our hands.”  1 Samuel 17:47

Look Up To Jesus Not Down??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #637

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #637  Look Up To Jesus Not Down???

 

We recently talked about Daniel and his faith, and I would like to share just a brief word today about looking “up” to The Lord and not “around” at the “lions” who are roaring around us.  Here is my paraphrase of Psalm 121.

 “I will lift up mine eyes—I look around for help–

unto the hills,–at all around me (situations)-

from whence cometh—then I consider my source–

my help.—knowing that I am helpless alone–

2 My help—I look to God, He knows my helplessness–

cometh from the LORD,–God IS MY source–

which made heaven and earth.—Creator–

3 He will not suffer thy foot—my steps are HIS-

to be moved:–He helps me stand in truth–

he that keepeth thee—I’m secure in HIS care–

will not slumber.—He IS always with me–

4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel—Always–

shall neither slumber nor sleep.—Vigilant-

5 The LORD—The Savior before whom I bow–

is thy keeper:–HE never leaves or fails–

the LORD—The God who is sufficient in all things–

is thy shade—stops the glare from blinding me–

upon thy right hand.—ever reachable–

6 The sun—no forces of this world control me–

shall not smite thee by day,— nor harm me-

nor the moon—even the reflections don’t harm–

by night.—for My God IS Light–

7 The LORD—The King who rules–

shall preserve thee—The God Who keeps–

from all evil:–I can trust to His care–

he shall preserve—He accomplishes His work in me–

thy soul.—He works in the core of my being–

8 The LORD—The Ruler of all events and time–

shall preserve—He keeps me from corruption–

thy going out—when I’m exhausted–

and thy coming in—when I’m full–

from this time forth,–even right now–

and even for evermore.”—and always!

I pray that God will comfort, encourage and strengthen you today and each day as you remember to look to the Lord not those lions that are surrounding you.  Blessings on you and yours as we all face the difficult circumstances around us!

Amen and Amen!!!