First blog post

Hello, I hope that you will enjoy reading my devotions. I do not claim to be an expert in the word, but I am a student of the word and desire to share the insights that the Lord gives to me. I love the Lord, my desire is to please him above all else. I want to hear him say “well done” at the end of each day. I pray you are blessed and challanged!post

EVERYDAY


1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”

The spirit, soul, and body are talking about all of us, every aspect of who we are. Paul wrote this as a way of saying that we must be completely led by the spirit in every way and every day. Our devotion to Jesus must not be just a one-day-a-week thing. We are to live and serve him daily, obeying his word and his commandments. We don’t get a day off with God. We may want to take one. We may want to have a little time sat aside to indulge in sin or visit the thought of it, after all, haven’t we
been forgiven for every sin, past, present, and future?

Jesus Christ must be Lord of all of us, not just those parts we want to reserve for religious things, or religious activities. We need to actively walk out our faith daily, fully surrendered to Jesus. We need to remember that at any moment he could return or we could be called home. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Today is the day we have to get it right, or at least make every effort to get it right!

Jesus can keep us when we actively surrender our bodies, minds, and souls to him. When He alone is the reason we wake up, the reason we do anything we do, knowing that the all-seeing God, truly does see it all, even our intent. Are we going to get it all right all the time? No. Is every intent of our hearts pure? No. We don’t even know our true hearts, the word tells us our hearts are deceptive above all else!

How then do we go about this daily living, this daily surrendering? We read God’s word and pray, then we pray, and read God’s word. His word is life, it is the truth! He tells us everything we need to live right in this world. He tells us that our flesh desires those things of this world that will rob us of our peace, our joy, and our intimacy with God. His word tells us those things we are commanded to do. If we study his word, seek him through prayer, surrender our wants for him, and let the Holy Spirit guide us, we may just get it right more times than not.

Jesus can keep us, He is the one who calls us, saves us, fills us, and keeps us. Not one the Father has given him will ever be lost. But we can make our journey through this earth much easier by being fully surrendered in every aspect of our lives. Remembering that we are never alone, He is with us every second of every day.

Surrender your control to Jesus. Let him come in like the mighty rushing wind he is; let him speak peace to your soul. Ask forgiveness for anything that the Holy Spirit brings to mind, knowing He is faithful to forgive. Then if there is some sin that you find yourself either flirting with or actively doing, stop! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you turn away. Here’s the thing, we become what we think about, look at, and actively participate in.

All sin is wrong, and to God sin is sin, whether it be you stilling gum out of someone’s purse or killing someone. God hates sin. But some sins rot your mind and fill your heart with things that are hard to forget and revisit you. The enemy prowls about roaring like a lion, looking for whom he may devour. He isn’t a lion, but he wants you. He may not be able to steal your soul, but he can steal your peace and your intimacy with Jesus. He can saddle up between you and God and cloud your mind.

Remember that sin starts in your head, moves to your heart, and given enough time will become what you do, you will act upon it. We are born sinners; it is only when we are born-again, fully surrendered that we can have that daily walk. Stay close to the Lord, let him have every day; let him show you how to walk, and talk in all your ways.

TREASURE HUNT

Matthew 6:21

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Everyone enjoys a treasure hunt, or at least most do. Studying the clues and running around trying to find them. The Bible talks about treasures, but they aren’t the kind most chase after. When you take a long look at your life, your actions, and the things you pursue, what is it that motivates you? What things are you trying to gain more of? Is it money, fame, bigger houses, better cars, or a more amazing job? Do you seek to gain as much wealth and things in this life as you can?

As children of God, we are to pursue those things that please God. We are to be about our Father’s business. When we became born-again believers in Jesus Christ, the things we do in His name, for His sake, to please Him have been and continue to be deposited in heaven. God keeps a record of those things. They matter to him. Do they make us more saved, absolutely not! Works will not and cannot save you. It is by grace alone, in faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. He is our redeemer and Savior, and there is no other way! However, God does want us to work for him, he does have things he wants us to pursue here on earth for Him.

The only way we can know what God wants us to pursue is by reading His word, praying, and asking for the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and guide us to those things, maybe those people. God is not interested in whether you are wealthy, or have the latest this or that; all those things are gifts He gives, according to His will and purpose. But those things are never meant to distract us from the work of the Lord.

God looks at each of us, He knows our make-up and He has designed specific things for us to do while we wait for His return or to meet him in death. He knows our motives behind what we do, we cannot hide from God. But knowing that what we do does matter in heavenly places, and knowing that we will one day stand before a Holy God shouldn’t we desire above all else to do those things which he calls us to with all our might? Shouldn’t our desires here on earth as we wait to be to deposit treasures in heaven?

Whatever you chase will be what your heart locks onto. The bobbles and goodies of this world can certainly distract us from the true work of God, and the enemy can even trick us into believing that those things are what God wants us to have. We need to be very careful about what we set our sights on. The Lord has requirements for us.

Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil”

God sees it all, nothing is ever hidden from him. We need to truly seek Him making sure to look deep inside our hearts to see if what we are doing is in line with His will for us. We can all do nice things, but it isn’t just about being nice, it is the motive behind it.

For me pleasing the Lord while I trod the soil of the earth is more important to me than anything. I want to be vigilant to walk where he leads, to do those things I feel he has called me to. I want to guard my eyes, my ears, my heart, and my soul. I want to prayerfully seek Him, asking: “Lord, what would you have me do?” And I want to do it with all I have knowing that I am pleasing God. I don’t always get it right, but I sure try!

Yes, we need money, a place to live, etc…, and God will supply those things; just remember you will take none of it with you. And when you stand before Him, I dare say you won’t be bragging about the size of your bank account, the size of your home, or the many things you have accumulated. Nope, it will just be you and Him, everything open to Him, the ALL-SEEING, ALL-KNOWING God will open your vault and peer in, what will He find?

Oh Lord, Help us to stop being selfish, to stop acting like this world is our final destination. Help us to desire those things that please you, and to do them; knowing that it pleases you, and the treasures we store up are eternal. Help us to travel lightly knowing this is not our home!

MY COMMAND IS THIS:

John 15:12 “Love each other as I have loved you.”

Let’s face it sometimes it is hard to love someone, let alone as Christ loved us. At first glance, this verse seems straight- forward, “love as I have loved you.” Jesus’s love for us is deep, intimate, all-consuming, perfect, unconditional, and sacrificial. His love never loses its fire, never fails us, it surrounds us constantly. His love is faithful, long-suffering, forgiving, giving, and protective. There is nothing to compare to it. The greatest love story between two people can never compare to it.We long to be loved by someone here on this earth in a way that mirrors that kind of love.

We fall in love, and we promise to love unconditionally, to give ourselves to one another, to be faithful, and so on. But all too often fall short in our efforts. Loving someone is work. At first, it is all-consuming, exciting, fresh, and new, and we are laser-focused on winning that person’s heart, it seems effortless, but all too often once that heart has been won, and as time goes by, it is not held and protected as it should be. People are moody, distracted, and selfish. So many times there may be good intentions with bad follow-through. Keeping love alive in a marriage is work, and it takes two to do it. It takes relationship, realness, communication, openness, tenderness, and intimacy. We need to invest in the one God gave us, we need to consider their needs above our own.

Jesus would not have told us to love as He loves if it wasn’t possible. But how? I think first we need to read God’s word so that we are intimately acquainted with Him. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to give us the power and wisdom to know how to love, and we need to pray and seek Him when we first start our journey together, and throughout the years we spend together. Jesus must be the head of your relationship.

We need to guard our hearts as we walk this sinful earth. Our world is filled with lots of eye candy, and lots of distractions. There are so many things that can pull and tug at us. This world seems to be more and more self-serving and less and less sacrificial. In all of our relationships, we need to let love guide us. We are told in His word that, “Love never fails.”

On this earth, people will hurt us, use us, and maybe even leave us, but Jesus never will. His word tells us that He is faithful to the end. As His children, we can never lose His love. His love is what nailed Him to the cross, His love conquered death, hell, and the grave. His love will one day bring him back again. People will let you down, they will hurt you, and maybe even break your heart, but God never will. We may not always understand His ways, but we can trust that He means all of it for our good, and His glory.

We need to look at those in our lives that God has given us and be sure that we are loving them with all we have, the very best we can. Agape love…That is what we get, and that is what we need to give; “as He has loved us.

Take a love test. Look deep into your heart and soul and make sure you are loving God first, and then take a long look at those in your life, whether it be your spouse, another family member, or friends, and see if your love is self-serving or selfless. Loving as Christ loves us is a daily work, and the way we can do it best is by looking at His perfect love and imitating it here on earth. To be like Him…that should be our goal.

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Luke 2:9-14 “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for be”hold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” 11 “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
12 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace and goodwill toward all men!”

Can you imagine what those shepherds must have seen and felt as this announcement was made to them? Of all people lowly shepherds, just doing what they always did, trying to keep their sheep safe and lead them where they needed to go. What must “the glory of the Lord which shined around them look like?” I do not think I can think of a bright enough light that would encompass what they saw. And then, a multitude of heavenly hosts. Was the entire sky full so that nothing else could be seen, and how did it sound? I try to picture it in my mind, and I know I fall so short in capturing this special event.

Jesus, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords had left His throne and traveled through space and time, to come rest inside a virgin girl. A humble girl just going about her humble life, and then everything changed! She would forever carry the stigma attached to being with child before she was properly wed. Do you ever wonder why He chose to do things the way He did?

When I look at Christmas and I think of the events I am reminded that God is not looking for perfect people of high standing. He didn’t choose to make the birth of His son a huge event full of pageantry, in a castle where the high and mighty lived. No, He chose the lowly road, with ordinary folks doing ordinary things. So, that means that we have hope. No one is too far down the totem pole to receive God’s mercy and grace. And no one is so high and mighty that God’s love cannot penetrate their hearts and save them. It said to all men…

But when I look further into Christmas, the birth of Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world, I see a cross. It is facing the manger, a foreshadowing of what was to come. This sweet infant babe, who had given up His throne, and left all of heaven’s glory behind, would one day bleed and die on a cross for you and me. His blood would be shed so that you and I can be cleansed for our unrighteousness and sin.

Had Jesus never come, and had He never died where would we be? Look at your life and try to imagine it had Jesus not chosen to save you. Look at the times when it felt hopeless, but God. Look at the moments that brought you to your knees, but God. Look at the wretch you were, but God. When He left the throne room of heaven to come and save His children, those the Father had given him, He knew the cost. He also saw the cross and was fully aware of all that He would suffer, yet He came anyway. Those who were there in that moment and all of us who throughout these past decades; He came for you.

So, as you look at that manger seen and you read the story of His birth, “What do you see?” Isn’t it amazing, isn’t it wonderful, isn’t it extraordinary to think that He who hung the stars, He who created all things would come just for you?”

For me, it makes Christmas even sweeter, that babe in the manger even more precious. Those events shook the world, and that of Mary, just for me. What greater love is there? Oh, how I love Him, Oh, how I thank Him, Oh, how I praise Him!”

What else do I see? He will come again, not as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, but as a conquering King! He will come and make all things new, and those who have not yet died in Christ will go to meet him in the air, our faith will be made sight!

I don’t know what your Christmas looks like, whether you have a family to celebrate with, or you are alone. You may have gifts and you may not, but whatever it looks like, try to look at it through the eyes of heaven, and see that He knows, He is there, and He loves you.

Jesus is still reaching out, and He is still saving souls, until you draw your last breath there is hope, won’t you ask Him into your heart today? He is waiting.

May you have a blessed and joy filled Christmas!

DOUBT

Luke 7:20
“When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ “

John was in prison, he had been sent ahead of Jesus by God to clear the path for the Messiah. He like most probably thought Jesus would come in judgment and wrath, punishing, banishing, and brandishing the sword. But this Jesus was nothing like that. He preached forgiveness and sat down with sinners. John was having a moment of doubt. Life was hard, he may have been mistreated, and he surely was wondering if he had missed something. So, when his disciples came to see him, he sent them away with this question: ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ His disciples went to Jesus and asked that very thing. Jesus was not angry, he did not condemn John for his doubt, instead, Jesus responded by telling John that he had accomplished what He had been sent to accomplish as their Messiah.

And as the old saying goes, the proof was in the pudding. The deeds he had done, the healings that had happened, all that he had done had been and was being reported. The prophets in the old testament had foretold that Jesus would do these very things. Scripture was being fulfilled in their seeing.

All too often in this life when things happen that cause us pain, or confusion; when things seem unfair and relentless. We have doubts about God. Are you there? Do you see the pain I am in, the hurt I carry? Do you hear my prayers? Don’t you see what they have done? Can’t you make this all go away and stop? And just like John God reminds us of who He is. He doesn’t get angry at our doubt, He doesn’t chastise us in any way. He understands us, He sees our hearts and He points us to His word, which brings life. In these pages and passages, we see time and again where he delivered, and rescued. We can see his faithfulness to His people. We can be reminded that His promises are true. His word is life. In these pages of scripture, we see how the prophecies of old were fulfilled just as they had been foretold, and as we read further into the New Testament we read that one day, “that day,” Jesus will return and all things will be made right. This life is temporary, all its hurts, hardships, and disappointments are meant to perfect us, and move us closer to Jesus.

God doesn’t always remove the hard from our lives, it doesn’t mean that He is uncaring, or has not heard your cry for help, but instead, He may be using that very thing to do a work inside of you that is far more important than your immediate comfort. Again, I remind you we have not been promised an easy path, we have been told we will suffer many trials in this life, but we are to remember God is with us, and He has overcome it all. He is victorious! Every battle whether you can see it or feel it has a victory banner already waving over you in the spirit world. Jesus has conquered death, hell, and the grave.

We each need to take our doubts to Jesus. Tell him all about it, and let the oil of His presence and the nourishment of His word, restore our faith, make us strong, and bring joy back to our hearts! He is who He said He was. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is always with us and will never forsake us. It is His word, and it is the truth!

THEIR BLOOD CRIES OUT TO GOD

Genesis 4:3-10
“And in the process of time, it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering.
5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?” 7 “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, ” Where is Abel your brother?” He said, ” I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.”

This is the story of Cain and Abel, children of Adam and Eve. Both brought offerings, one was accepted and one wasn’t. But the part I want to focus on is verses 9 and 10. First, God knew what had occurred, He
knew Cain had killed his brother, and God was giving Cain an opportunity, to be honest with Him. But as we read in verse 10 God told Cain that Abel’s blood was crying out to Him from the ground. Think about that for a moment; Abel’s blood crying out. You know that life is in the blood, both literally and spiritually. We need blood for our bodies to continue to live, our organs to work, and our hearts to beat, but we also need the blood of Jesus to wash us clean and save our souls.

Having said this, I want to address the sin of abortion. I know this is one of those subjects people try to avoid. You are either for or against it. I am totally against it. I cannot imagine what it must sound like in the ears of a Holy God to hear all the blood of these innocent babies crying out to Him constantly. Can you even imagine what millions of babies screaming would sound like? Abortion is murder. Plain and simple. People can yell at the top of their lungs, what about rape victims, or people who have experienced incest? But do you know that the majority of abortions do not happen because of rape? No, they happen because someone had consensual sexual intercourse with a person and now finds themselves pregnant. And they simply do not want a baby now, or a baby with that person. The timing is all wrong, and the list goes on. But whatever the reason it is still murder!

God is the one who brings life, God is the one that caused that baby to be conceived, and God hears the cries of that baby when it is ripped out of your womb, or chemically murdered inside the womb. And His heart breaks. There are many sins, and none of us are innocent, we are guilty even if we think it in our hearts, but today’s topic is about going through with it. Maybe you have had an abortion, and if you have truly repented of that sin and asked for forgiveness, then you are forgiven. But if you were just sorry, and now still advocate for a woman to be able to have an abortion, then you may need to examine your heart and your motives. Why would you want someone else to murder their unborn child? Because your heart has not truly learned to hate those things God hates.

We Christians are called to repentance, and what does repentance mean? Repentance is not a punishment, it is agreeing with God that what we have done is sin, it is deep sorrow for our actions, and a turning away from those things that God calls sin. We recognize that we have sinned, and we see that there is a better way, God’s way. We need Godly sorrow.
All too often we are sorry we got caught, we are sorry because we are uncomfortable, but Godly sorrow goes deep into the heart, and demands a change.

If you are that person who had an abortion, first know that God can and will forgive you. There is no sin that He will not forgive when we truly repent and turn from our sin. You need to learn to hate what God hates and love what God loves. The Bible says that “All have sinned and fallen short.” We cannot undo our sin, once we have done the act, whatever it may be, we cannot go undo it. An egg cannot be unscrambled and put back into its shell. What is done is done, but again we can go to God, be honest about our sin, repent and turn away from it, (do not repeat it), learn from our sin, and be cleansed by Him. Once we have done that, God no longer sees us as guilty He does not even remember our sin, He throws it as far as the east is from the west.

You cannot advocate for people murdering their babies, you cannot decide to play God and commit the murder yourself. If people think that God is turning a blind eye to this horrible black mark on our world, know that He is not. We as individuals and as a nation need to be on our knees repenting and asking for forgiveness. I pray that you will. I pray that you will examine your heart. Their blood cries out to God.

HABIT OR SINCERITY?

Psalm 50:7-15
7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you: I am God, your God. 8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. 9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens. 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14 Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most- High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

Revelation 2:4-5 “Yet I hold this against you. You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

News flash people, God does not need our rituals or habits. So many people go to church and do religious activities out of habit. They pay tithes, attend all the functions, gather, and repeat. This is their pattern of worship and obedience. Their parents took them to church, they witnessed their behaviors, and now as adults, they mirror their behaviors. These things in and of themselves are not bad, they show that we decided at some point that we would follow Jesus, He called us and we repented of our sins and were born again. However, as time has passed and we no longer have that enthusiastic excitement about us. You know the kind: “you fall in love, and you cannot stop thinking about that person; you desire to spend as much time with them as possible, when you are away from them you feel it in your very core. You could spend hours with them and never tire of it. Love is grand! But what happens often as time goes by? Our enthusiasm dwindles, and that first love excitement fades.

When love fades or becomes so familiar that it loses that spark, we need to stop and rethink things. We need to have a heart-to-heart talk with ourselves. We need to examine our actions. God wants a relationship with us. He should be our “first love.” We need to keep our love for him fresh and new. How do we do this? How do we keep the staleness away from our relationship with him? We read and pray, and we talk with him. God’s word is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword. Everything we need is in His life-giving word. How do you keep your relationship with your husband going, because marriage good ones are hard work. They require constant attention, good communication, good listening ears, active participation, intimacy, and so on. Our relationship with the Lord can grow stale as well when we do not wholeheartedly seek Him; in prayer, in His word, in our decisions; when we do not sit with Him and gaze at His beauty when we do not remember that He alone has saved us, He alone keeps us, He alone gives us eternal life. God does not need what we do, He wants our hearts, our minds, and our souls fixed on Him, in constant loving communion and obedience, and relationship.

At the beginning of our walk with the Lord we often find ourselves with great excitement without knowledge, then after time goes by we may have knowledge without excitement. Both of these things are needed in our walk with the Lord. We need to do what the scriptures tell us and return to our first love. We need to rekindle that Holy fire we once felt. Yes, Give your tithe, Yes, assemble yourselves with other believers, yes, go to church functions, help, participate, etc. But do not let it be from habit, or because you were taught to do it. Do it out of love for the Lord, let him be your first love. Examine your heart so that your motives are pure before Him. Let that spark return to your heart and your actions when you return to that moment when He saved your wretched soul!

I too, need to remember why I do the things I do. I too, need my heart, my mind, and my soul fixed on Jesus. I too, want to feel that Holy Fire excitement when I think of all He has done. I too, need time in His word, allowing the food of heaven to nourish my soul. I too, need time in prayer or sitting quietly waiting on Him. Just like my marriage I need to be purposeful in the things I do to keep it fresh, exciting, loving, and close. I desire to know Him, I long to please Him, and I never want to take my salvation for granted in the sense that I do not feel the need to actively seek God every day. Maybe you will join me in praying this prayer.

Lord, forgive me for every time I did anything out of habit, or ritual. Forgive me for not seeking time alone with you more. Forgive me for any time I have ignored your loving nudge for me to sit down and be quiet and wait on you. Thank you for loving me regardless, thank you for chastizing me as needed, thank you that even though I may lose my way, my excitement, you NEVER feel that way about me. I love you Lord, and I desire to keep that Holy flame going until the day you return or call me home. It is in your name, Jesus, amen

NOT PRETTY, JUST PERFECT

Mark 15:25-30,33-34
“It was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: KING OF THE JEWS. 27 They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left. 29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So, You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!”
33 “At the sixth- hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice. “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”- which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

These tell us the final hours leading up to Jesus’s death on the cross, and many other scriptures tell us of the terrible beating he received, he was whipped until flesh hung on him, so bruised and battered he could hardly be recognized, his beard was plucked out, and a crown of thorns placed on His head. His disciples denied they even knew him. One friend even betrayed him with a kiss. He was made to carry His cross all the while weak, bleeding, and in horrible pain. Once at the crucifixion sight his hands and feet were nailed with huge spikes to the cross, each spike 6 to 8 inches long, driven into his wrists which caused the tendons to tear and break, forcing Jesus to use his back muscles to lift himself. Because his feet were nailed together, it forced Jesus to support himself on a single nail that impaled his feet.

Jesus would have had to alternate between lifting with his back muscles and his feet just to breathe. The pain must have been excruciating. Eventually, his side was pierced and water poured out. His body had given all the blood it had. He endured all of this for three hours. Imagine if you can the scene, all the while his mother watched.

We Christian’s like to wear our crosses to show our belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus. They are always perfectly straight, and some very ornate. I have a necklace I wear that the cross on it is crooked. I am wearing it right now. People always look at it and say:
“Your cross is crooked, what happened to it?” I just smile and say I know. I guess many would not wear it, but I love it. The cross Jesus died on was not perfectly cut. I am sure it was uneven, and probably had knots which only further agitated our Lord’s wounds. It came from a tree growing nearby.

The pain and anguish the Lord suffered while on that cross was ugly, beyond what we can imagine. Hour by hour he was bleeding out until every drop was gone. He did all this for me, a sinner, without hope, damned and headed for hell. But that blood he shed has cleansed me from all my sin, and now I am seen by the Father through the blood of Jesus, clean.

So, I wear my crooked cross and am reminded of the ugliness of the cross that Jesus died on in my place. I remember the pain and suffering that He endured so that I might be saved and have eternal life.
His death was not pretty, but the cross and Jesus were perfect. His death on it accomplished the final act Jesus had to do to make a way for us. Death holds no victory now and has lost its sting, because of that Old Rugged Cross and the Lamb that was slain.

Hallelujah and praises to Him who alone is worthy. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is his name!

UNSPOTTED

James 1:27-33
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Pure religion undefiled, what is it? The greek meaning is to look after, take care of & provide for this is an act of worship when we do these things and are pleasing to God and the Father. As the body of Christ, we are to give ourselves to serving others, often we excel at that, and other times we fail, and we are selfish in our desires. But if this is a part of our worship, why would we not do it? There are many ways to help someone in need; sometimes all they need is a listening ear or a kind word, other times they may have a real need, and if we can meet the need we should, without counting the cost!

But today I want to focus on the latter part of these verses. “to keep himself unspotted from the world.” How does one go about doing that?
All too often we get caught up in the agendas of this world, we operate like one of its citizens and not like a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
We hang on to every word that comes out of the newscaster’s mouths, we listen to the arguments around us, and we get caught up in the causes that divide. Often, we dislike people groups, because the world has said we should. No group or nationality of people is better than another. All are created in God’s image. We think the President is the final say in everything and that he can do no wrong. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!! We do not belong to this world, we are aliens just passing through. The only thing we should be caught up in and defending is God’s word, and anything that goes against it, but even in that we should do it in love.

If you are the person who thinks the news, even so-called Christian news is complete & undefiled truth you would be wrong. To some extent, all news is skewed to some degree, wanting your loyalty to them. The President is a man, yes we should respect the position of authority God has given him, and we should obey the laws in place as long as they do not violate scripture, God’s holy word, however, we need to remember that the people who hold office are flawed, they have sinful natures and an agenda. Power so easily corrupts people. The only truth is the truth God has given us between the pages of Genesis and Revelation. God’s word is living and active, able to change even the vilest sinner. When we take up the banners of the world and start looking and acting like them, we become spotted with the weight of sin that the world carries. We are too entangled in the goings on around us. Our focus has been lost.

Another way we get spotted by this world is to get caught up in all the nastiness of the celebrities out there. Not all are bad, some are Christian and live their lives displaying their faith, but more often than not they make nasty movies, and tv, and their clothing and behaviors should not be worshiped and glorified. Man cannot handle glory and should not receive it. God alone is to be glorified. We need to hate sin, just like Jesus does, however, in the hating of sin, we do not hate the person. So many things are sinful and flat-out wrong and against God’s word, homosexuality, abortion/murder, gossip, etc., and the list goes on. We need to call it what it is, but in doing so, continue in love, you pray for that person, and you should be kind to those people if it is in your ability to do so.

We should not be so like-minded in our thoughts and deeds with the world that the world cannot tell us apart. We need to remember that we are the only bibles some will ever read. To the best of our abilities we need to live Christlike lives, fully surrendered to the Lord, obeying his commands, loving and forgiving as he does and has done for us. We too were once dead in our trespasses and sin, and are now made alive through the cleansing power of sin, & the unmerited favor of God.

Our world is under a curse and is passing away. Every generation has its stuff it picks up and marches forward with, but as Christian, we need to be very careful if we walk arm in arm with it. Through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live in this foreign land, I believe we can do it in such a way as to be pleasing to God. If it were not so, he would already have removed us!

Do you want to live unspotted? Do you want to hear those words “well done” when you enter heaven’s gates? Do you want to hate sin and love well? It is possible, but only when you allow God’s word to feed you; it is living and active, and only when you allow yourself to be led by the Spirit, purposeful in prayer and eyes fixed on the prize before us. I pray that you will; I pray that the so-called causes of this world, the entrapments of stuff, celebrities, and all the other silliness will not hold you captive, only Jesus!

One day all this stuff will be gone, I look forward to that day when I will see my Jesus face to face, the one who bled and died for me, whose unmerited favor saved my soul. I want to live a life pleasing to him, I want others to see Him in me, I want to love as he loves, forgive like he forgives, fully surrendered, fed by his word, and filled by His Holy
Spirit until he either calls me home or returns in the clouds to get me. I do not want to stand before him with the stench of this world on me.
How about you?

Blessings my friends… I love you and pray for you!

Lord, may each of us cling to you our God and Father, to your word so that this world will not have any hold on us.