Monday, June 29, 2015


"Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar." - Psalms 138:6
"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, but gives grace to the humble.” - James 4:6
"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, NOT TO THINK OF HIMSELF MORE HIGHLY THAN HE OUGHT TO THINK, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith." - Romans 12:3
"These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an ABOMINATION (a thing that causes disgust or hatred) to Him:
(2)A lying tongue,
(3)Hands that shed innocent blood,
(4)A heart that devises wicked plans,
(5)Feet that are swift in running to evil,
(6)A false witness who speaks lies,
(7)And one who sows discord among brethren." - Proverbs 6:16-19
If we want to get closer to God, the first thing we have to destroy is our pride.  The list of sins that grow from the seeds of pride are endless.  Humility brings God closer.

How do you destroy your pride?  By simply being honest with yourself and others as to who you really are. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fighting the Wrong Enemy

But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” – Mark 13:12

Is there anything sadder than the death of nine people who were in conversation with God when shot to death by a 21 year old?  To be in a place where you feel safe, a place of intimacy where you can be yourself with others, and be at peace with God, and have that stolen from you by one person is horrifying.  It hurts my very heart to think of what these nine brothers and sisters in Christ endured. But none of our pain and grief will bring them back, and they wouldn’t come back if they could.  Their lives have ended and their coronation day has come.
And now they come out of the woodwork.  It happens every time, and yet the situation never changes.  They want to spout their gun law opinions, whether it is to keep people armed – and even armed at church, or to have all guns removed from civilians.  Brothers and Sisters in Christ, please don’t fight the wrong enemy.  It matters not if evil holds a gun, a knife, or a flaming torch – evil is still controlling the situation, not what is in their hands. 

We are told that a day is coming, and even now is, when we will be hated for believing in Christ.  We’ve sat and worried about Isis, and read all the propaganda about them being in our states and in foreign lands killing children and old alike.  We sit and wring our hands in worry, wondering what we will do “if” we are faced with them and will we be strong enough to not deny Christ.  We argue over sending troops to defend the defenseless against them.  Meanwhile, evil grows under many names other than Isis. 
For years now I’ve not watched the news.  I refuse to.  When God says to protect our minds, to think on the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good, and virtuous, the news reports don’t seem to meet His standards.  I think what He was saying was to think on His word, and there you can find peace in a broken society.  It is possible to live without watching the news and be very happy, and even live without fear of the future.  Sitting and worrying over all that is going wrong in this world is a fine way to depress yourself and miss all the good in this world!

But even when not watching the news reports I have heard and seen the evil that abounds.  Children being killed, old people abused, animals being maimed for sport, wives treated as punching bags, young girls sold into slavery, and the list goes on.  The enemy my friends is not a gun or a knife or drugs or even the fall of society.  The enemy is evil itself, and he has a name.  You can fight for the right to carry a weapon, fight against drugs, fight against child pornography and a dozen other symptoms of evil, but evil will continue to thrive in a world that is without God. 
So how do we fight against evil when those without God do not want God?  There is only one way to win against evil, and that is to overcome it with good.  People may doubt your faith, but when your actions prove what is within you they cannot argue with the presence of good in your life.  The absence of living out our faith is hypocrisy at its very core, and friends, the lost don’t care much for hypocrites. 

We’re not told to try to witness to the entire world a check drawn from our church treasury, but to “GO” and make disciples.  We are not told to reach them with questions like “Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior?” or “If you were to die tonight, where would you go?” or theatrical events aimed at producing fear of death in them.  Brothers and Sisters in Christ, please understand that these types of conversations and events are an immediate turn off to anyone who is evil, for evil has not fellowship with light, and they do not want to hear about Him!  And how do you expect to “win” a soul to Christ based on fear when you KNOW it is necessary for them to believe in Him through faith to be saved, and yet they’ve never gotten to know Him?   
We must stop taking the easy way out of ministry!  Handing out a track is the easiest thing you can do to alieve yourself of the guilt of not serving God with your hands and feet.  Knocking on doors, inviting people to your church, holding “high attendance Sunday” and “bring a friend” events to pull people in to hear a salvation message hasn’t been doing the job.  How many do you know that were brought to the salvation of Christ through these actions?  And you cannot count the baptisms that resulted if those that said they receive him are not abiding in Him now.  Many are being deceived into believing they have Christ because they recited a prayer, and got dunked.  And when their lives are falling apart they cannot understand why Christianity doesn’t work for them.   

We have to stop taking the easy route to ministry and do what God’s word teaches.  Jesus commanded us to “go”, to “make” disciples, to “teach” them.  These are actions that we have omitted from ministry for the easy route of writing a check, holding an event, or handing out a track. 
Paul said in Romans 12:20-21 “Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  That is the recipe for success in ministry. We SHOW other the Christ in us by doing what Christ did.

Now, before anyone gets the crazy idea that “Oh boy, I’m gonna go get some coals of kindness to heap on old Joe’s head! He did me wrong and now I have a Biblical way to get even!” let’s talk about that part of this passage.  To “heap cols of fire on his head” refers to how they would share coals from their cooking and warming fire that had not gone out overnight with those whose fire had gone out.  The person needing the coals carried a basket on his head, and the neighbors would take tongs and put their hot coals into the basket to share their fire.  You see, it’s not about vengeance, it’s about kindness.  So find a way to be kind to old Joe by sharing your fire.
The only way to win against evil, is to “overcome evil with good”.  The only way to not be overcome yourself by evil, to fear it, to worry about it, to create a complete panic attack in your soul over it, to become part of it, is to do good to those who need to know Christ. 

Friends, a 21 year old boy is not your enemy.  Racism is not your enemy.  Guns are not your enemy. EVIL is the enemy.
If evil is hungry – feed it the bread of life (John 6:35).

If evil is thirsty – show it the one who will cause them to never thirst again (John 4:14).

If evil needs clothing – show him how to be clothed in righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
If you share the Holy Spirit within you, the Holy Spirit will do the rest (Mark 13:11).

Evil doesn’t need gun laws or regulations, stricter judicial systems, stronger parenting, or rehabilitating prison systems.  Evil needs Christ.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Faithful in the Least


“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” – Luke 16:10-13

If there ever was something that could be labeled as a “necessary evil”, I believe it would be loving money.  I’m not talking about just the green and silver stuff, but riches in general. 
We are taught our whole lives to earn and earn much!  Our school years are spent learning more so we can gain great employment, and our career years are spent desiring promotions and increases in pay and bonuses.  We desire it because the world judges us as successful when we achieve great wealth.  Yet, God says that loving money and wealth is evil, and brings sorrow.

If you allow yourself to love money, you set yourself up for trouble.  We are to love and serve God, who in turn provides for us out of His great wealth (Philippians 4:19).  When we love money, it becomes our ruler – our Lord.  We start to desire more of it, put our time into earning it, keeping it, investing it, and worrying about it.  If we continue down that path long enough we will find that we have lost the peace and abundant life God desires to give us.  Money has a way of gobbling up your peace if you let it.
Those that love money will worship it and respect it over the ways and will of God, making them…to put it as God put it…evil.  1 Timothy 6:10 says “the LOVE OF MONEY is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”.  Having money doesn’t make you evil, but loving it does.

I like how Timothy carefully points out that loving money is straying from faith.  When we begin to concentrate our hearts and minds on money, we lose focus of the One who is our provider.  We begin to think WE are to earn our provisions apart from Him.  While money is necessary in this life, loving it is not!  Love God, Worship Him, and all things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
If you’re consumed with thoughts of money, check your giving.  If you find that it’s hard to give…then you need to give.  Give in faith that God will come through.  Without faith, no one can please God (Hebrews 11:6). 

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.” – Malachi 3:10

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Heart Diet

"But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?  Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh." - James 3:8-12

I think what James is saying here is that our words about others have more to do with who we are than who they are.  Our words, especially those that are spoken against someone else, show the defilement (rottenness, pollution, impurity, profanity) of our hearts. 

We're so careful to watch our diets to protect our hearts from heart disease, and protect our bodies from all sorts of sickness.  Yet Jesus said in Matthew 15:10-11 “Hear and understand:  Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” 

A physical diet often includes eating less, and eating better.  Maybe the best diet for the heart is just saying less, and saying better things.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Faith and Works

“But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.
You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” – James 2:18-26

“The faith that does not produce works of charity and mercy is without the living principle which animates all true faith, that is, love to God and love to man. 
They had faith, such as a man has who credits a well-circumstanced relation because it has all the appearance of truth; but they had nothing of that faith that a sinner, convinced of his sinfulness, God's purity, and the strictness of the Divine laws, is obliged to exert in the Lord Jesus, in order to be saved from his sins.

Your pretending to have faith, while you have no works of charity or mercy, is utterly vain: for as faith, which is a principle in the mind, cannot be discerned but by the effects, that is, good works; he who has no good works has, presumptively, no faith.
It is well to believe there is one only true God; this truth universal nature proclaims. Even the devils believe it; but far from justifying or saving them, it leaves them in their damned state, and every act of it only increases their torment; they shudder with horror, they believe and tremble, are increasingly tormented; but they can neither love nor obey.

Here is a proof that faith cannot exist without being active in works of righteousness. His (Abraham’s) faith in God would have been of no avail to him, had it not been manifested by works; for by works-by his obedience to the commands of God, his faith was made perfect-it dictated obedience, he obeyed; and thus faith had its consummation. Even true faith will soon die, if its possessor do not live in the spirit of obedience. He believed God; this faith was never inactive, it was accounted to him for righteousness: and being justified by thus believing, his life of obedience showed that he had not received the grace of God in vain.
As among friends everything is in common; so God took Abraham into intimate communion with himself, and poured out upon him the choicest of his blessings: for as God can never be in want, because he possesses all things; so Abraham his friend could never be destitute, because God was his friend.

It is evident from this example that Abraham's faith was not merely believing that there is a God; but a principle that led him to credit God's promises relative to the future Redeemer, and to implore God's mercy: this he received, and was justified by faith. His faith now began to work by love, and therefore he was found ever obedient to the will of his Maker. He brought forth the fruits of righteousness; and his works justified-proved the genuineness of his faith; and he continued to enjoy the Divine approbation, which he could not have done had he not been thus obedient; for the Spirit of God would have been grieved, and his principle of faith would have perished. Obedience to God is essentially requisite to maintain faith. Faith lives, under God, by works; and works have their being and excellence from faith. Neither can subsist without the other, and this is the point which St. James labors to prove, in order to convince the Antinomians of his time that their faith was a delusion, and that the hopes built on it must needs perish.
There can be no more a genuine faith without good works, than there can be a living human body without a soul. Where true faith is, there is God; his Spirit gives life, and his love affords motives to righteous actions. The use of any Divine principle leads to its increase. The more a man exercises faith in Christ, the more he is enabled to believe; the more he believes, the more he receives; and the more he receives, the more able he is to work for God. Obedience is his delight, because love to God and man is the element in which his soul lives.” – Adam Clarke

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s OBEDIENCE many will be made righteous.” – Romans 5:19
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of OBEDIENCE leading to righteousness?” – Romans 6:16

“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  And this commandment we have from Him: that HE WHO LOVES GOD MUST LOVE HIS BROTHER ALSO.” – 1 John 4:20-21
“The faith that does not produce works of charity and mercy is without the living principle which ANIMATES ALL TRUE FAITH, that is, love to God and love to man.“ – Adam Clarke

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us GO ON TO PERFECTION, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,” – Hebrews 6:1
“But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.  For God is not unjust to forget your work and LABOR OF LOVE which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,  that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through FAITH AND PATIENCE inherit the promises.” – Hebrews 6:9-12

Monday, June 1, 2015


“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Matthew 6:24 (NLT)

Money is mentioned more in the Bible than prayer or love.  Why do you think that is?  I believe it’s because God knows that money and riches can easily become our idol, and so He has chosen this as a form of worship.  Giving God a portion of our earnings prevents us from coming under the power of the desire for money.  It can become the thing that sits on the throne of our heart, where God wants to be worshipped.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 that we can either worship God, or we can worship money.  What you CANNOT do is worship both.
God instituted tithing, giving a tenth of the “first fruits” of your income to Him in the Old Testament (Genesis 14:18-20).  Many will say that because it was in the Old Testament it was under the old covenant and we’re no longer under the commands to tithe.  But the story of Abram giving a tenth is also retold in Hebrews 7:1-2, (New Testament).  Furthermore, in Luke 11:42 (New Testament) Jesus says to the Pharisees, “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. YOU SHOULD TITHE, YES, but do not neglect the more important things.  It is from our own greed that we want to discredit what is obviously a command to tithe.

God does not want our money because He needs it.  Keep in mind that God is the source of everything we have (Philippians 4:19).  He made it all, and He owns it all.  But we need to give it for our own benefit.  1 Timothy 6:9-10 says But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 
We sin because we are lead away by our own lusts and desires, becoming discontent in our life (James 1:14-15).  Timothy says that those who “desire to be rich”, loving money, fall into those harmful lusts that destroy them.  Greediness brings many sorrows.  Worshipping God by giving is one sure way to prevent greediness and ward off the evils that come from loving money.  But it has value in our lives above warding off evil. 

Going back to the Old Testament to Malachi 3:8-10, Malachi tells us of the blessings – or curses – that money can bring if not tithed upon.  He says “You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me”.  Maybe it doesn’t seem like a curse because you’ve never experienced fully His blessings, for you see, His blessings are far more than money.  Notice how Christians are not all rich, but true Christianity brings peace and contentment.  Friends, money will never buy you peace and contentment.  The simple fact that rich people continue to desire more riches should show you that.  There is no contentment in being rich. 
And while there is also no contentment in being poor, true contentment can be had in either when God is involved.  Need proof?  Paul said in Philippians 4:11-12, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on ALMOST NOTHING OR WITH EVERYTHING. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”  Contentment comes from NOT LOVING MONEY, but loving God.  Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep in in PERFECT PEACE whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.”  If you will trust God, He will give you what you need.  Psalms 34:10 says that “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”  But if you trust in money to bring it to you, without worshipping God with it, simply put, your finances are cursed.  You’ll never be content, you’ll never find peace.     

God dares us to follow His will in tithing!  He asks us to try Him – test Him – to see that He will do what He says.  He wants to show us that if we worship Him with our money, He will bless us in ways we cannot count.  In Malachi 3:10 He says “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” 
How many blessings have we left in God’s storehouse because we have chosen to love our money, albeit a few measly dollars, rather than allow Him to bless us?

Tithing is about love.  If you truly love God, you will give cheerfully, and God loves a cheerful giver.  But tithing is also about trust.  What it comes down to is do you trust the money in your pocket to bring you what you need, or do you trust God to do what He has said when you give?  (Hint: It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).  That’s the one thing He cannot do!)
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8