Due to some health issues there won’t be any Bible Ballistics for a while. I hope you have a great week
Bible Ballistics: BBs #284 A Mindset Of Service And Love!!!
One of my favorite men of scripture is Daniel—a mighty man of faith, devotion and service from his youth and through his entire life. In fact even his enemies had something to say of him that I hope can be said of me.
“Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. 4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” Daniel 6:3-5
These men were Daniel’s enemies because they were jealous that the king “preferred” this Daniel, even though the king was new to the kingdom. This tells me that Daniel’s character was such that the righteousness of his life shone through all that he did. Daniel at this time was somewhere upwards of 80 years old, and he was still faithful to God in all his ways. He wasn’t just a “One-day-a-week” believer in God—He was a “full time” believer!!! Daniel had been faithful from the beginning of his encounter with the Babylonians and now, in chapter 6, with the Medes and Persians. What made Daniel such a faithful man?
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.” Daniel 1:8-9
Daniel “purposed in his heart” to be faithful to his God, no matter what! He had made up his mind to be true to his God regardless of where he was, or what he was called to do. While our relationship with God is one of “faith”, it also requires a mindset of faithful devotion, commitment and service; and Daniel knew how to make a commitment and hold to his faith regardless of what it might cost him. And we see in verse 9, that God was right there providing for Daniel and his three friends through their entire life in Babylon.
They were three teenagers, away from home (no one would see, no one could tell their families), they were offered the best of the world’s delicacies and yet they determined to keep their commitment to God in all their ways. They chose to hold to God’s law, and yet they did it in a way of respect and submission to the authorities over them. When you follow the actions of Daniel and his friends, you don’t see cocky, arrogant teenagers; you see men of faith, humility and respect, who display their faith at every turn. We also see God providing for them at those turns. We can learn so much from these young men.
How are we ordering our steps? Are we living according to God’s Word or according to our own lusts and desires? We Daniel’s character in the verses at the beginning of this article, and we also see his dependence on his God as danger confronts him. He is about to be thrown into the Lion’s Den, and yet he clearly is depending on God, and even the king has seen in this man something that has made a real impression on him, even in regard to Daniel’s God.
“Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” Daniel 6:16
And what had put Daniel in such peril? Without going into the whole story, Daniel continued to pray to his God even though it was “against the law”! But the thing I want us to understand, the thing that America MUST understand—Daniel didn’t START praying then—He simply continued to do what he had been doing ALL the time. What about us? If it became illegal tomorrow to pray to Jesus and Father God, would it make any difference in your life? Would it make any difference in how you relate to God now? Or would it not affect you, because you’re not praying now?
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed,
he went into his house;
and his windows being open
in his chamber
he kneeled upon his knees
three times a day,
and gave thanks before his God,
as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6 10
Does your/my life reflect the sovereign dependability of our God, or do we waver and hem and haw around God and His Word. Do you know Him well enough to cling to who HE is, and trust to what HE has said? Do you know what HE has said? Have you rested and depended on HIM to meet your needs? Or are you running around trying to “fix” your own life issues? I challenge each of us today to live a life that can join with Daniel and be able to proclaim to the world.
“My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” Daniel 6:22
It’s your choice– Integrity or Indulgence– It will show!
Bible Ballistics: Vol. 8 No. 03 What Is Real Love???
As we celebrate Father’s Day today, I can’t help but think of my own godly Father, and that makes me smile, even though he’s been gone for 25 years! Love doesn’t have an expiration date! My father was a quiet man, yet one who lived what he believed—he walked the walk, he didn’t just “talk” the talk! One of the biblical Greek words that is translated “love” is ‘agape’, which means benevolent love; it means selfless love, which always acts or behaves in the best interest of the recipient of that love.
My father was one of the best examples of this god-like kind of love. But what does it look like? How does that kind of love act and respond?
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (Jesus even laid down His life for His enemies-See Romans 5:1-11)
As Jesus spoke these words, He was about to lay down His life for His disciples, for the world—for you and me! While we know that Jesus laid down His physical life, He shed His blood for our salvation, I’d like to talk about this concept from a different perspective. People can be willing to die for others; our military men and women pledge themselves to give “all” for the defense of our nation; local people make that same kind of commitment to our fire and law-enforcement departments. Yet there is something more. The question that I’d like us to consider is not just, “Are you willing to ‘die’ for someone/something?” but “Are you willing to give yourself to ‘live’ for others?” Are we willing to sacrifice our personal desires, comfort, and convenience for the benevolent good of others.
We often think of this in regard to true Christian living and martyrdom but do we apply it to our living relationships with others? I’ll have to admit, I don’t always make the grade in this area, but my father was an example of selflessness that took me many years to appreciate it fully. While Jesus left us the greatest of all examples in giving His life’s blood for us: He also gave His ‘living’ in often foregoing His own personal desires to meet the needs of those around Him. He kept on going when He was tired, when He was ridiculed, when He was weary and perhaps even frustrated with the unbelief of those around Him. Jesus gave Himself for others, to serve and minister to them that they might see truth and come to salvation in faith, and we are called to follow HIS example. What are we “giving”? How are we “behaving” toward others?
“Let nothing be done through strife
but in lowliness of mind
let each esteem other
better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things,
but every man also
on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient
even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:3-8
Jesus laid down His life for us, and we are called to lay down our “self” life, for a life of “selfless” service to Jesus and others; to give of ourselves that others may come to “life” in Jesus. We are also called to humility; to servant-hood; to obedience to our Father God (as well as our earthly father); as we die to our selfish desires and live to God through the power of The Son! When I see the needs of others, my thoughts should go to God, asking ‘What can I do?’ We are living in a culture that has been, and still is, teaching others to focus on “Who will meet my needs?”; rather than “What can I do to help?”! We are to be living unto Jesus and serving others, and we can only do that when we “die” to self!
“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
I watched my father live this out in his life with my mother, with us children, and with others. While he had very strict rules about lending and borrowing (he seldom did either); while he wouldn’t loan you his tools, he would come do whatever repair work you needed to have done. While he wouldn’t loan out his mower, he would come mow your lawn if you needed it. He also had strict rules about others driving his car, but if you needed a ride he would escort you wherever you needed to go. He gave of himself to meet the needs of others as he had opportunity.
In the case of my mother he almost always did what pleased her. Many thought he was a “hen-pecked’ husband, but what they didn’t realize was that my mothers happiness and pleasure meant more to him than anything else. He often gave up his desires to please her even when it cost him financially. My father would serve others because He loved serving Jesus in any way that he could. While he was a man of few words, he was a man of selflessness and kindness in every way, and to everyone. What he taught me about self-sacrifice by his life and actions are a priceless heritage and I thank God for His blessing of a godly, honorable, honest and generous father.
He lived out the “fruit of the Spirit” in his daily walk, and I thank God for the things I learned from him. And one of the things that I learned is that you can do a lot of talking, but if your actions don’t match your words, you haven’t really said much worth listening to. I learned that “laying down your life”, doesn’t mean just “dying”, in an even greater way, it means living a life of selfless love in action. Living a life that gives of ‘self’ to secure the good of others to the glory of God. And one can only do that when we have God’s love within us.
“Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access
into this grace
wherein we stand,
and rejoice in hope
of the glory of God.
3 And not only so,
but we glory in tribulations also:
knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience;
and experience, hope:
5 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.” Romans 5:1-5
When we come to Jesus by faith and repentance, we receive God’s love via the Holy Spirit—we receive the ability to share God’s love with others from within. We also receive the ability to grow in grace and truth by the Holy Spirit of Jesus. You might want to note that we don’t grow in the “fruits” of The Spirit, but in the “fruit” of The Spirit!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is
against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s
have crucified the flesh
with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory,
provoking one another,
envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26
Sometimes doing what is best may mean that we are misunderstood. Real love, godly, ‘agape’ love does what is best for the other person—not what indulges their sinful flesh, and that isn’t always welcome! But I thank God that I have had a wonderful example from my parents and especially my father. I knew the security of truly “unconditional” love and forgiveness from one of the godliest men I ever knew. I am married to another!
If you still have your parents (Especially your father) with you, take time and let them know what they mean to you. If not, then thank our heavenly Father for all that He is and all that He does in providing for us, especially for Jesus who actually gave HIS all for us; and for the blessing of godly parents.
Happy Father’s Day! May our lives bring honor to our Heavenly Father and to our earthly fathers and mothers.
“Honour thy father and thy mother:
that thy days may be long
upon the land
which the Lord thy God
giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12
We are all blessed beyond measure, may our lives reflect our gratitude in all we do!!!
Bible Ballistics: BBs #283 Repentance Is Unique!!!
I’d like to continue on our topic of “repentance” today, as many don’t understand what real repentance is. First let’s identify what repentance is NOT. Repentance is not being sorry you got caught doing wrong. Repentance is not regretting the consequences that are confronting you because of a particular sin. Repentance is not shedding tears of regret to get your way. Repentance is not seeking an escape from the results and consequences of your sin.
So what is “repentance”? It involves the recognition of wrong doing/sin and turning away from it. It is changing one’s mind about the reality of sin, being sorry to the degree that you no longer desire to continue in the direction that you have been going, and turning to something else-JESUS!
Paul gives us a good picture of repentance. Paul had rebuked the church at Corinth for their acceptance of open, blatant sin within the body of believers. He had called them to deal with the offender that he might come to repentance. The church accepted Paul’s counsel and dealt with the offender, bringing him to repentance. Paul has heard of this result from his previous letter, and defines this issue of genuine repentance in the heart of the saved or the lost.
“For, when we were come into Macedonia,
our flesh had no rest,
but we were troubled on every side;
without were fightings,
within were fears.
6 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
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance
not to be repented of:
but the sorrow of the world
worketh death.” 2 Corinthians 7:5-10
There is a “godly sorrow” that brings real, genuine repentance—a repentance “not to be repented of”; but there is a “sorrow of the world” that only leads to “death”! That kind of sorrow is all around us, because we have created and accepted a culture that is free of responsibility—where people take no personal responsibility for their actions and choices. A sorrow that only deals with regret of being exposed or caught; which regrets the loss of material or political influence, but has no shame or sorrow for the actions themselves (And often that doesn’t even follow because sin is so readily accepted by the world)!
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:” Matthew 3:8
John the Baptizer called the religious crowd to produce the evidence of real repentance, not to depend on their heritage or political position. Real repentance will be manifest.
“But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:12-13
“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Luke 15:7
In these passages, Jesus reveals that only those who recognize their own sin will see any need for repentance. Those who think they are “righteous” in and of themselves, have no need to repent or to seek a Savior. Jesus came to save those who would hear the voice of His Spirit convicting of sin and respond in repentance and faith. Faith that Jesus has already paid the penalty for our sin, which we could never do. We don’t have to go to hell—we can have eternal life with Jesus in heaven, but only when we see our sin, turn from it and to the Savior who died to give us new life!
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have eternal life.
16 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
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 3:14-19
Jesus came that we might have life (and have it more abundantly, see John 10:10), and He came to purchase our salvation and life with His own blood—HIS sinless blood.
“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 5:21
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Jesus came to earth, took on flesh and blood, lived a sinless life, revealed His Father to us, and voluntarily gave HIS life to pay for our sin, because HE had no sin debt of His own. What have you done with His sacrifice? Have you recognized your own sin and come to Him in repentance and faith? Today is the day of salvation, will you avail yourself of it? Or will you refuse to see sin as sin and go your own way. The choice is yours, but choose wisely—there is a test at the end. (And the test won’t be by man’s standard!!!)
Bible Ballistics: BBs #282 Repentance Is A Must!!!
With all the talk going on around us about the most recent violence in America, I’d like us to examine an important topic; a topic that most don’t want to think about or talk about—that is repentance. While our Lord God Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ love with an unconditional love; a love that always does what is best for the recipient; God’s forgiveness is NOT unconditional. And without forgiveness none can enter God’s heaven—but that is why Jesus came! Jesus came to be the sacrifice necessary to provide the way of salvation—the forgiveness of sin, and salvation from the penalty of that sin. Because the penalty of sin is death-and we are all found guilty of SIN!
“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
Scripture is replete with the message of salvation from “sin”, and that all are sinners. And while all sin, and all are offered the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, not all are willing to hear the message and believe it, and to have faith to be saved. And that is the message that is so repulsive to many in our world today—in fact it’s been repulsive to most of the world since the beginning.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23
All have sinned, but we don’t have to remain in the throes of sin! We can come to Jesus and have victory over sin, death and hell, by repentance (Turning from our sin—our own way, and turning to God), and faith in God’s grace through His Son’s death for all who will believe and receive His sacrifice!
“But now being made free from sin,
and become servants to God,
ye have your fruit unto holiness,
and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God
is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:22-23
God is ready and willing to forgive those who will come to Jesus, but it must be in repentance from sin and faith toward Jesus and His sacrifice for sin!
“There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And Jesus answering said unto them,
Suppose ye that these Galilaeans
were sinners above all the Galilaeans,
because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, Nay:
but, except ye repent,
ye shall all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen,
upon whom the tower in Siloam fell,
and slew them,
think ye that they were sinners above all men
that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, Nay:
but, except ye repent,
ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5
If I might paraphrase this to our culture:
Someone else’s sin isn’t worse than yours—
It doesn’t matter how we “categorize” sin, IT’S SIN—
Just because some die in tragic ways,
that alone doesn’t make them worse than others—
Just because sins are made “popular” or “legal”,
It’s still SIN—
Throwing rocks at other’s sins,
Doesn’t negate our own sin—
As Jesus says clearly twice, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”! Unless we see our sin, we will never see a need for repentance nor a Savior! And without Jesus our future will be death and hell! There is only one way to have eternal life, and that is through Jesus, and we must come to Him in repentance (of our own way) and faith in His substitutionary, redeeming death for sinners on Calvary’s Cross! There is no other way.
“He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised,
and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God,
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 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 53:3-6
The question isn’t ‘Did Jesus pay the price?’, for He did; the question is, ‘Will you turn from your way to God’s and receive the salvation that Jesus offers?’. There is no other way, regardless of what the popular voices in the world are saying. There will be an accounting; a time when all will answer before God, and bow before Jesus. The question isn’t “will you bow”, but rather “when will you bow”! Will you bow before Him now, as your Savior and Lord God, or will you bow before Him as your judge at the end? Will you experience His forgiveness and redemption unto life, or His wrath unto death? The choice is yours. Choose wisely!
“Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet
to be partakers of the inheritance
of the saints
13 Who hath delivered us
from the power of darkness,
and hath translated us
into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption
through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:” Col 1:12-14
So will you “partake” of life with Jesus, or experience His wrath?
“And I saw a great white throne,
and him that sat on it,
from whose face the earth
and the heaven fled away;
and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead,
small and great,
stand before God;
and the books were opened:
and another book was opened,
which is the book of life:
and the dead were judged
out of those things
which were written in the books,
according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead
which were in it;
and death and hell delivered up the dead
which were in them:
and they were judged
according to their works.
14 And death and hell
were cast into the lake of fire.
This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written
in the book of life
was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15
And just in case you don’t know, that book of life is the “Lamb’s Book of Life”—and Jesus is the Lamb! Where is your name written? The Lamb died for you, and He wants to write your name in His book, but only by repentance and faith in His sacrificial death for YOU!
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:27
So in closing, it’s not any “special” sin that sends you to hell, but “any” sin that isn’t under the blood. And when we come to Jesus, He forgives and cleanses us from sin and makes us new! So count on Jesus, not your “lifestyle” whatever it is!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17