Who’s Standard??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #429

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #429    Who’s Standard???

 

I’d like examine a message that Amos spoke to his people—a message that is apropos for us today. Much like the days of the judges, we have become a people who are going their own way! The Word shares this assessment twice in the book of Judges, and it is worthy for us to consider today.

In those days there was no king in Israel,

but every man did that

which was right

in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6

In those days there was no king in Israel:

every man did that

which was right

in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

 What I’d like us to question today is “Who’s standard are we following?”, what standard are we ordering our lives by, God’s or the world’s? Is it our own way or God’s way? Until we recognize ourselves as sinners and come to Jesus in repentance and faith, we will never know the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit who will lead us “in the way everlasting”! (See Psalm 139:23-24)

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned every one to his own way;

and the LORD hath laid on him

the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

Until we recognize “sin” as “sin”, why would we need to repent? Why would we need a Savior to redeem us through His substitutionary, atoning sacrifice? Only the Holy Spirit of Jesus can open our eyes and lead us to the cross!

No man can come to me,

except the Father

which hath sent me

draw him….” John 6:44a

No matter what the world may say on every hand, there is only ONE way to be right with God, and that “way” is Jesus; and there is a time coming when every one will stand before God to give an account of what they have done with Jesus!

And being found in fashion as a man,

he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,

and given him a name

which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

of things in heaven,

and things in earth,

and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”    Philippians 2:8-11

Jesus is the only way, HE is God’s plumb-line, God’s standard, God’s judge, God’s own Son, The One who gave Himself for us, but we must come to HIM His way! We must come to Jesus in repentance and faith! And can be saved, and He will make us a new creation “in Jesus”, and come to dwell within us in the person of The Holy Spirit! That is God’s standard, the only standard that matters; and there is a day coming when God’s grace, mercy and patience will end for those who reject HIM! And I can’t help but believe that day is closer than we may think. God told the prophet Amos to warn his people of this same principle:

Thus he shewed me:

and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall

made by a plumbline,

with a plumbline in his hand.

8 And the LORD said unto me,

Amos, what seest thou?

And I said,

A plumbline.

Then said the Lord,

Behold, I will set a plumbline

in the midst of my people Israel:

I will not again pass by them any more:”   Amos 7:7-8

God was telling Amos that the days of His patient extension of grace to Israel was coming to an end, and if God’s patience came to an end with Israel’s sin—it will come to and end for those who are rejecting Him today.

So, how will you stand-up against God’s plumb-line? Have you created a standard of your own; are you following the ways of the world? Do you know Jesus? If you don’t, you can, if you’ll but listen for His voice that is speaking to your heart, and repent of your sin, trusting in Jesus’ payment for sin on the cross? I pray that you will come to Him. If you already know Him, may we ever be a reflection of HIS glory!

Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way,     

the truth,      

and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father,

but by me.” John 14:6     

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 Amen!

“This” Time Is Now!!! Bible Ballistics: BBs #428

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #428    “This” Time Is Now!!!

 

As we make our way through this cold winter weather that is gripping much of the U.S., I couldn’t help but think about the times that we live in—things are cold and then they get hot! When they’re cold everyone is crying for it to get warm, when it is hot, people clamor for it to cool off! It’s the nature of the dissatisfied human heart. But for those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ the King of Glory—we ought to look at things with different eyes; we ought to recognize that God is ever at work in our lives, regardless of the temperature, the time or the political climate. God has called us to serve Him faithfully wherever HE has placed us; or as someone as so aptly put it, “Bloom where you’re planted”; and while that isn’t scripture it does have it’s roots in scripture. Let’s take a ‘gander’ at The Word.

Esther was a godly young woman who found herself in a pagan culture, in the palace of a King—yet God hadn’t placed her there by mistake.

Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther,

Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape

in the king’s house,

more than all the Jews.

14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace

at this time,

then shall there enlargement

and deliverance arise to the Jews

from another place;

but thou and thy father’s house

shall be destroyed:

and who knoweth

whether thou art come

to the kingdom

for such a time as this?

15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,

16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan,

and fast ye for me,

and neither eat nor drink

three days,

night or day:

I also and my maidens

will fast likewise;

and so will I go in unto the king,

which is not according to the law:

and if I perish,

I perish.

17 So Mordecai went his way,

and did according to all

that Esther had commanded him.”   Esther 4:13-17

Esther wasn’t looking to be a hero, but when confronted with the opportunity to serve God ‘where she was planted’, even at the risk of her life, she chose to be available to God, for His service, even if it cost her life—so she fasted, prayed and obeyed God!

What is your “such a time as this”? What circumstances are you wanting to change, get out of, rearrange or scream and cry about? Well my friend, those circumstances haven’t caught God by surprise. “God never says ‘oops’!” and He hasn’t misplaced you or me! We are living here, now because God created us “for such a time as this”—no matter what our “this” is!

Only “YOU” can do what God has created ‘you’ to do, and we ought not wait for someone else to do what God wants us to do. Just as Mordecai told Esther, God’s plans won’t be thwarted because of our cowardice, laziness, apathy, fear or greed—God will use someone else if we refuse to heed His call. And we will never know the blessings that God had for us if we fail to step up to the bat right where we are!

We’re not called to fret over tomorrow, or yesterday but to live “this” day to its fullest for Jesus, to follow Him anywhere/everywhere He leads—to minister His Word, His grace and His love in whatever way He has called us to minister! And YES, we are all ministers of that which we have received from Jesus! Praying always, as He taught us!

After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father

which art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.(in me)

10 Thy kingdom come (in me)

Thy will be done

in earth, (in me)

as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread……”.   Matthew 6:9-11a

We are to seek His kingdom, His will, and His provision for each day! Just a little further on in this ‘Sermon On The Mount’, Jesus spoke these words to all of us who are HIS!

But seek ye first the kingdom of God,

and his righteousness;

and all these things

shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow:

for the morrow

shall take thought

for the things of itself.

Sufficient unto the day

is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:33-34

So what’s your “this”? You’re there for “such a time as this”; what will you do with your “this” today? Pray and obey, as Esther did, or desert? The choice is yours, but choose wisely, there’s a test at the end! Amen and Amen!

I’m Sorry! No I’m Not??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No. 25

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No.25 I’m Sorry! No I’m Not???

 

We see and hear so much “ugly talk” around us that is has become acceptable in most circles. Even with many Christians it has become acceptable to use crude, vulgar and unholy language, with a simple disclaimer of apology for “the language” content in whatever medium the language us used in—be it spoken or written! Well my friends, a preface of apology doesn’t justify ‘ugly talk’ anymore than if I apologized for my ‘violent’ behavior and swiftly began to kick you in the shins! It’s still wrong, no matter how many times I preface bad behavior with an apology. Scripture has a lot to say about our actions—and that is always the best place to start!

Jesus makes it clear that the problem isn’t the “mouth” it’s the heart.

And Jesus said,

Are ye also yet without understanding?

17 Do not ye yet understand,

that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth

goeth into the belly,

and is cast out into the draught?

18 But those things which proceed

out of the mouth

come forth from the heart;

and they defile the man.

19 For out of the heart proceed

evil thoughts,

murders,

adulteries,

fornications,

thefts,

false witness,

blasphemies:

20 These are the things which defile a man:

but to eat with unwashen hands

defileth not a man.” Mathew 15:16-20

What is “in” the heart will come “out” of the mouth! Whenever you squeeze something—whatever is “inside” will come out! And whatever is in a person’s heart will come out sooner or later, in one way or another—how sad that we have allowed ourselves to be deceived into accepting and approving of evil to accommodate the culture and please men. Isaiah tells us what God thinks of that kind of lifestyle, and while it is a lengthy passage, it is one from which we can benefit, when we take it to heart and allow God’s Spirit to touch our hearts with it.

And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:

16 But the LORD of hosts

shall be exalted in judgment,

and God that is holy

shall be sanctified in righteousness.

17 Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat.

18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity

with cords of vanity,

and sin as it were

with a cart rope:

19 That say,

Let him make speed,

and hasten his work,

that we may see it:

and let the counsel

of the Holy One of Israel

draw nigh and come,

that we may know it!

20 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!

24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff,

so their root shall be as rottenness,

and their blossom shall go up as dust:

because they have cast away

the law of the LORD of hosts,

and despised

the word of the Holy One of Israel.”   Isaiah 5:15-24

Even as we see all around us, men are claiming to be right because surely “God” would intervene if the scripture was true, but He hasn’t, so we are alright—in our own eyes and before “God”! They call evil good, and good evil; they are wise “in their own eyes” and “prudent in their own sight”! Mankind is creating a ‘god’ in their own image, rather than seeking and serving the “God” who created man in “HIS” own image! Peter refers to this willful rejection and arrogance.

Knowing this first,

that there shall come in the last days

scoffers,

walking after their own lusts,

4 And saying,

Where is the promise

of his coming?

for since the fathers fell asleep,

all things continue as they were

from the beginning

of the creation.

5 For this they willingly are ignorant of,

that by the word of God

the heavens were of old,

and the earth standing out of the water

and in the water:

6 Whereby the world that then was,

being overflowed with water,

perished:

7 But the heavens and the earth,

which are now,

by the same word

are kept in store,

reserved unto fire

against the day of judgment

and perdition of ungodly men.”   2 Peter 3:3-7

Peter reminded his readers that while God may not be active to their ‘satisfaction’, He is not dead, or as the song says, “Nor doth He sleep”! People choose not to believe the Word of God or God Himself, especially the person of Jesus Christ the Son of God—and that my friends, is the whole truth of the matter! God has called us to be His children through the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice for sin, and be empowered to walk in His Spirit so we would “not fulfill the lusts of the flesh”! Yes, we all stumble and fall but we are called to “walk in the light as He is in the light”, and that means we don’t’ stay in the dark. (See 1 John 1:5+)

But what about saying ‘I’m sorry’? Isn’t that enough? I think Paul has some advise that is timely on that issue.

Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

8 For though I made you sorry with a letter,

I do not repent,

though I did repent:

for I perceive that the same epistle

hath made you sorry,

though it were but for a season.

9 Now I rejoice,

not that ye were made sorry,

but that ye sorrowed

to repentance:

for ye were made sorry

after a godly manner,

that ye might receive damage by us

in nothing.

10 For godly sorrow

worketh repentance to salvation

not to be repented of:

but the sorrow of the world

worketh death.

11 For behold this selfsame thing,

that ye sorrowed after a godly sort,

what carefulness it wrought in you,

yea, what clearing of yourselves,

yea, what indignation,

yea, what fear,

yea, what vehement desire,

yea, what zeal,

yea, what revenge!

In all things ye have approved yourselves

to be clear in this matter.” 2 Corinthians 7:6-11

Paul reminds us that “godly sorrow” leads to repentance, while the “sorrow of the world” doesn’t! Because worldly sorrow is often only, “I’m sorry I got caught”, not “I’m sorry I offended God, and I don’t want to do it anymore”! This is what John talked about in calling believers to repent and “confess our sins”, meaning that we agree with God that ‘sin’ is ‘sin’—not justifying our ‘sin’ to simply cover up our error with a ‘convenient’ apology. When we truly repent with “godly sorrow”, God hears our plea, forgives us and cleanses us!

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 1:7-10

But as long as we fail to face or sin, and agree with God that it is sin, we will continue to fail and fall into the same sin time and time again. It is a sad state of affairs when we are more concerned with ‘fitting in’ than pleasing God with Holy behavior! But most today are so busy claiming that “we have not sinned”, that they don’t even hear The Word of God, much less any desire to adhere to its teaching or acknowledge its authority. There is no godly sorrow, until there is an acknowledgement that sin is sin. And foul, vulgar and crude language are sin, and ought not to be part of our vocabulary or our lives. If Jesus hasn’t changed my “mouth”, I might want to check and see if He has changed my heart! And Jesus knows those who are HIS own!

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure,

having this seal,

The Lord knoweth them that are his.

And, Let every one that nameth

the name of Christ

depart from iniquity.”   2 Timothy 2:19

Jesus made it clear that just “saying so” doesn’t “make it so”. A changed heart will be seen in a changed life, and a changed ‘tongue’!

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree

bringeth forth good fruit;

but a corrupt tree

bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth

evil fruit,

neither can a corrupt tree

bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth

good fruit

is hewn down,

and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits

ye shall know them.

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.”   Matthew 7:16-25

Jesus said “Ye shall know them by their fruits”! I think that we ought to take this call to heart, and examine our hearts to be sure that we belong to Jesus! Does my walk reflect the glory of Jesus and the work of His Spirit in me, or do I claim His name with my lips crying, “Lord, Lord” while walking the world’s way? Are you experiencing “godly sorrow” that leads to repentance, or are you choosing the “sorrow of the world” which “worketh death”? Are you really ‘sorry’? Or are you simply sorry you got caught? Only you and I can answer those questions, but the answers are imperative to our spiritual welfare!

May God open our eyes to see what He sees.

Search me, O God,

and know my heart:

try me,

and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be

any wicked way in me,

and lead me

in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Warm In The Cold??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #427

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #427 Staying Warm In The Cold???

 

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Matthew 15:7-8

There is a story told of an old man who had drawn away from the church for his own reasons, and the pastor went to visit him to encourage him to return to the fellowship of believers. The gentleman gave all his reasons to the pastor and made it clear that he could be a Christian without being a part of the ‘church’! As they were sitting in front of a warm roaring fire in the fireplace, the pastor simply walked over to the fireplace and took the poker and slid one of the coals out toward the edge away from the fire and continued his conversation with the man. After a few minutes the man asked the pastor why he did that, and in reply the pastor pointed to the coal and said, “As long as that coal was in proximity of the fire it stayed warm and glowing, but as it was pulled away from the fire it has begun to loose its warmth and glow. It’s the same way with believers; when we draw off by ourselves, and away from the fires of sharing The Word together, worship and fellowship we are likely to grow cold, simply because we aren’t ‘near the fire’!”

I’ve always loved that story for the beauty of the powerful picture it paints, and Jesus painted that same kind of picture for the religious leaders of His day. He told them that their service to God consisted of “lip-service” only for “their heart is far from me”! And that is what I’d like to consider this morning—are we close to the fire and glowing with the ‘fire’ of God or have we grown cold and settled for ‘lip-service’ instead of true fellowship with God and those of like mind and faith?

James reminds us that we are to willfully stay close to the “fire” and not loosing our ardor toward God, His Word and His people.

Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain,

The spirit that dwelleth in us

lusteth to envy?

6 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 4:5-10

If I might presume to summarize what James is telling us; we are to not be exalted in our opinion of ourselves—thinking we can make it on our own—but we are to humble ourselves before God, and mourn for our own sin and for the sin of those around us—our close associates, our nation and our world! And as we mourn for the needs of our self, our close circle, and our world, we are to bring everything to our Lord, seeking His face to know what to do to minister HIS truth, grace and love to those whom He brings into our circle of influence.

So on these cold days of winter, we can stay warm in the presence of our Lord and King, who is ever with us in the person of the Holy Spirit. So stay warm, my friends—stay close to the fire of God’s presence, God’s Word and God’s people!! “Think on these things….” (See Phil. 4:8-9)!

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith

without wavering;

(for he is faithful that promised;)

24 And let us consider one another

to provoke unto love

and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves

together,

as the manner of some is;

but exhorting one another:

and so much the more,

as ye see the day approaching.”   Hebrews 10:23-25

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

Amen and Amen!

Heir Apparent Or Bondservant??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #426

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #426 Heir Apparent Or Bondservant???

 

When we come to Jesus and are born again “of God”, we become the children of God by the power of The Holy Spirit; but many today seem to be presuming upon God, being more concerned with living like an “Heir Apparent” to the throne, rather than as one who has been saved by the mercy and grace of God. While God has, does and will continue to call people to Himself by the good news of Jesus Christ and His substitutionary, atoning sacrifice for our sin, it will never give us the right to usurp the power, position or place of God. We must come to Him in faith, recognizing that we are sinners doomed to hell, and Jesus has willingly, lovingly, paid our sin debt that we might have eternal life.

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 

God gives us “new” birth because we “were dead in trespasses and sins” (See Eph. 2:1-10), and that act of love and sacrifice should always cause us to be humbly grateful for God’s grace and love! It should never lead us to presume upon God, nor exalt ourselves, but to faithfully serve HIM in love and humility—never arrogance.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord,

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

We become children of God—those who love and serve the One who gave Himself for us. Where did we get this mindset of arrogance that presumes on the goodness and mercy of God? Yes, we are His children, but we are to be loving, obedient children not spoiled brats—but then we see to be living in a culture of spoiled brats (pardon my bluntness). Everyone has an attitude set on demanding “MY rights” whether it’s right or not. God never expects us to pout, doubt and dropout, for He calls us to a life of grateful service and devotion to the One who gave Himself for us! In the same passage where Paul mentions our ‘right’ to call God our Father, He also talks about how we are to “suffer with him”—oops, you don’t hear much preaching and teaching about that anymore. Do you?

For ye have not received the spirit

of bondage

again to fear;

but ye have received the Spirit of adoption,

whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness

with our spirit,

that we are the children of God:

17 And if children,

then heirs;

heirs of God,

and joint-heirs with Christ;

if so be that we suffer with him,

that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings

of this present time

are not worthy to be compared

with the glory

which shall be revealed in us.”    Romans 8:15-18

God’s glory is to “be revealed in us” not by our arrogant boasting or grabbing the glory for ourselves, but by our faithful service to our God. A faithfulness that often shines brightest in the face of unjust suffering! Surely we must be misreading this? No, we’re not! Jesus told us that when we choose to follow Him, we would generally receive the same treatment that He did! And ‘they’ loved Him ‘to death’—the death on the cross—all for you and me! What will you do with that attitude? I pray that we will take a moment today and ask God to help us join the Psalmist in praying for His spotlight of love to shine on our hearts, and reveal to us what is really there! For Jesus said that what is in the heart will come out of the mouth (and that means not only what we say but how we live—humbly or presumptuously). Here are a couple of passages for us to ponder today! May God work in you, and me that we might bring HIM glory today!

Search me, O God,

and know my heart:

try me,

and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be any wicked way

in me,

and lead me in the way

everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

Not that which goeth into the mouth

defileth a man;

but that which cometh out of the mouth,

this defileth a man…..

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts,

murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

20 These are the things

which defile a man:

but to eat with unwashen hands

defileth not a man.” Matthew 15:11,19-20

Remember, what’s inside will come out!!! What do you get if you squeeze a lemon? Whatever is inside, that’s what will come out!!! Amen and Amen!