Category Archives: salvation

Do You Know that you Know?

Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Romans 14:5b

What a word from Apostle Paul. The great persuader and crusader of Jesus Christ.

In this wishy-washy world it’s good to know that I know. A very wise statement from a friend of mine, Shirley Fitzwater, was one his daughter Teresa shared with me and I’ve yet to forget it. It may not be an original, but I’m giving him credit. Shirley said, “The only thing worse than the guy who doesn’t know, is the guy who doesn’t know he doesn’t know.”

Confused yet?

When you break that statement down, it speaks so much to society. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing something. We’re all learning as we walk this earth, and I have so much to learn! But those who don’t know that they don’t know, are unaware that they’re missing any knowledge. It breaks my heart. The sirens of Hell are screaming loudly and yet they ignore them.

As the wife of a fire fighter I’ve had to listen to the sirens (tones) drop on David’s multiple radios for years. Some days when emergency services are very active, I want to take the radio out into the driveway and smash it in to a million pieces. I think I might find great joy in that. Noises bother me. But over the 30 years he’s served, most days I tune it out. I try to let it be a reminder to pray for the people who are involved, but some days I just don’t. I’m not a super saint, I’m Shari. Fully a failure much of the time. But isn’t that illustration a world view. They’re tuning out the sirens of Hell and pretending that their day will never come. They don’t know that they don’t know.

As I said, I’m glad I know.

In the context of Paul’s scripture in Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

I must confess that there is a part of my less than lean body that made me smile when Paul said that “another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” That’s the evil side of Shari. But the jest of this conversation speaks of judging the manner of life someone is living who does indeed know, although they’re not living as we believe they should. Another’s life is truly not ours to judge. And the world loves using that statement against Christians saying that we are judging them when we speak to their salvation. They don’t know that they don’t know. And arguing that point with them may or may not drive them into a deeper relationship with Christ. But Paul said that those who are weak in the faith, just accept them. Don’t argue.

It’s a fact that I am ever so grateful that God always impressed upon my heart that I didn’t know. I knew there was something missing in my life. So, when I received the salvation of Christ, I knew I didn’t know, and I set out to know it. But not every child of God is like that. It’s like children, they grow at different rates.

My grandson Luke is almost as tall as I am. Well over five feet. His cousin Noah, who is just a few month’s younger is so much shorter! But we do not look at his stature and say, “Noah, you need to do better.” No, we encourage him to work with the stature he has. Should we not do the same for the child of God?

I am grateful that I know and I am indeed persuaded in my own mind about the word of God, my standing with Christ and the doctrine for which I believe. But I believe what Paul is saying and reminding us of, is that we need to take care of our relationship with God, and not to judge the relationship that others may have and the way in which they worship God. If a person is saved, he or she is the property of God, and He is their Master. It’s not up to us to judge the Lord’s servants and argue.

But Paul said Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. We, as mature saints of God, need to know what we believe and why we believe it. That requires more than an occasional Sunday in church, and reading the word of God. I’m not judging, I’m just saying what the Lord has impressed upon my heart as the only path to fully being persuaded of who He is.

Do you know that you know? If so you need to glory in it! And you need to share that wealth with someone today.

My Hearts Desire

Romans 10:1

Brethren, my hearts desire is that Israel might be saved.

Continuing on in my journaling of Romans, I made it no further than the 1st verse of Romans 10 today. My heart broke for the Lord. It broke for Him, not because of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, although that was certainly a part of it; but it broke for my own failures as His child that He so willingly included into His family. Shari Johnson, gentile, who He willingly allowed the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus Christ for. So that I could be a part of His amazing family. And what a privilege!

And so now I turn back to Paul’s burden, that is my burden too, that Israel might be saved.

Dying and end times can be scary . The world would love it if we’d just ignore it. It’s way easier than facing the reality that eternity will come to all. The world would have you believe that you should never ever read the book of Revelation! It’s far too confusing. That’s a lie. It’s not confusing if you’re in a good bible believing preaching church that teaches the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Will you understand every jot and tittle? If you do, you’re a better bible scholar than I am. But you’ll understand what the Lord needs you to understand. And while it won’t take all the uncertainty of our end days away, it will give you peace. And help you to understand that God has a plan.

It’s a plan that will restore his precious Israel back to a right relationship with God. God’s desire. It will happen the same way it happens to a Gentile. Through belief on Jesus Christ. It will not however come as easy for those who believe after the church has been raptured (caught up) to be with Jesus. Which could be any day now. There’s going to be a terrible time of tribulation. Seven years, that those who believe on Jesus Christ now will be privileged not to have to go through. Something else I’m grateful and humbled for.

When those who have not read scripture, or been in church, hear this teaching it sounds insane. That’s what Satan want them to believe. But get in the book and read the prophecies of the Word of God and understand what has come to pass already, that was predicted thousands of years ago and suddenly it doesn’t sound so insane, but rather reality sits in, that there is a God. And He has a plan, and it’s playing out just like He said it would.

The end times will play out like no Hollywood production ever could. There will be a Hero that swoops in from the sky and saves Israel. There will be heroes on earth that will take a part of the Master’s plan and set things into motion that eventually put the Devil into the pits of Hell where he’ll stay. But not until he does some serious damage on earth by deception (which he already has). And during that time there will be trials and tribulations that have people crying for the rocks to fall on them.

Revelation 6:16

And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

But it’s not something that anyone has to fear who knows Christ Jesus as Savior. Jew or Gentile. It’s why I want and desire, as does the Lord, for Israel to accept what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Have you accepted that? Do you know where you’d be if God decided today to call His church home? Would you be with Him and your saved family? Or would you be left here to face those 7 years of tribulation. That you likely will not survive. That’s not said to cast fear. That’s said to help you understand it’s not a fairy tale. It’s real.

Want to know for sure? Follow this link.

If you did, please, please, please let me know!

Rewired for Christ

Romans 6:18-23

If you had to describe your state of mind, pre-salvation what one word would you use?

I would use the word “tumultuous.” Meaning unbridled and unrestrained. I wasn’t connected to anything solid and so I was flailing around like a windsock going what ever direction the wind blew me in. I didn’t have direction and things good or bad seemed to jolt me into a new direction without any thought to where I was going.

So think about your world pre-salvation for just a second. What did it look like?

Coming to the knowledge of who we are in Christ is a game changer for the child of God who happens to be in a place where they can grow in grace and under discipleship and solid doctrine. But prior to that life seems to be …

Short Circuited

At birth we have a disconnect from the Creator. The reason I could be jolted in any direction was because my wires were not connected.  

I thought the definition of “short circuit” was fitting for a person of a lost nature:

[in a device, an electrical circuit of lower resistance than that of a normal circuit, typically resulting from the unintended contact of components and consequent accidental diversion of the current.]

It was never God’s intention for mankind to have contact with the low side of life.  And once we were, we were diverted from God’s control. We were severely disconnected. We fell short… as in “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

What happens if you grab ahold of a short circuited wire? Nothing good, right? We’re shocked. That too is a reaction to sin. As a child we know when we’ve done wrong. We generally feel bad about the transgression, even thought we seldom confess. The more we do it, is like getting shocked by low does of electricity. We get used to it. Maybe our nerves get seared and no longer feel the guilt that we once did for committing sin. So in order to get a jolt that makes a difference, usually something drastic has to take place.

What took place in Paul’s life that made such a drastic difference?

Acts 9:3-9

 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

I love reading the story of Saul becoming Paul. That’s what happens when we reconnect with God. We become an entirely new person!

Romans 6:19

 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Apostle Paul is helping the Romans to understand that he understands. He totally gets where they came from. Prior to salvation they were following their sinful fleshly ways, but now, there should be something new that they have a connection to – righteousness. They should be drawn to it.

John 12:32 says “And, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

Praise God for that drawing.

A great illustration of drawing electricity is the power between water and static electricity.

It’s in a like manner that we are drawn to Christ. The Water of life! But also prior to salvation, you were not only short circuited there was a

Circuit Breaker

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

The sin that was in our lives is what kept us from coming to Christ. We felt the draw, but there was a break in the connection. Sometimes ever after the jolt of reality that we’re lost, it’s years and years before people come to Christ.

Why do you think that is?

There are probably as many excuses as there are stars in the sky, but the truth of the matter is rebellion. It’s the same reason that Satan and the angels fell. Everybody wants to be in charge. The ol’ “You are not the boss of me attitude.”

It’s a funny comment when a parent says “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” But that’s illegal. Else it might happen more often. But with God it’s very much the truth! He kicked Satan and his crew out of Heaven, and He will now allow those who have rejected His authority to be in Heaven.

Praise God for

Conductors!

Romans 6:21-22

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Conductors conduct electrical current very easily because of their free electrons. Insulators oppose electrical current and make poor conductors. Common conductors and insulators:

What would be a conductor of the Christian faith?

Pastors, teachers, social media posts, evangelists, ministers of the gospel, songs…

So many! You and I, if we’re doing what we should are conductors of the power of God. People see it in our lives, we touch people with our actions and words, just like the wires that carry electricity. We too can jolt people into the reality that they need Christ. They may break the circuit by rejecting it, but they can’t stop us from sharing it. Because we are

Hardwired

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our decision to accept what Christ did on the cross creates within us a hardwire to the Lord. We can’t disconnect from it.

Verses of reminder:

John 10:27-29 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 6:37 – All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 10:28 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 3:16 – 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.

Romans 11:29 – For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

Jude 1:24 – Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

2 Corinthians 1:22 – Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:

It’s important for us to remind ourselves that God is in charge of the connection. Not us. We might walk away from God, but He will never walk away from us.

He will continue to call His children home when they stray. Because that’s how He loves us.

The Beautiful One

As I read down through the upcoming text, my heart was filled with joy! Thinking on the beautiful salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ and what that means to me personally.

That’s how we must look at it in order to understand what it was that God did for us. For me. For you. For the one and the many that you love. Oh, glory to God does that not make you ever so grateful today?

We look back in frustration at Adam and Eve’s very simple sin; the sin of disobedience; and we try in our best pious way to imagine we would not, in truth knowing we would. We’re all that weak. That’s why scripture says “for all have sinned,” in Romans 3:23. That’s every “one” of us. We are all disobedient to death.

But read about the beautiful “One….”

Romans 5: 17-21

17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus Christ our Lord, that beautiful One. As I’m continuing my study in Romans, slowly making my way through these pages, trying to get a closer, deeper relationship with the Lord, and wishing I didn’t fail so miserably at it, verses like this that stop me in my track and cause me to say, “Thank You. I wish I was better at life-ing.”

The Lord deserves better. His time on the cross not only took the sin of this one Shari, it took the sin of a world of people, generation after generation, and it’s that thought that causes me to hear His cry, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46b)

And I hear within my own heart, why have you forsaken Him? Why do you fail? But then I recall His word that says I’ll reign in this life because of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ll have victory in this life. Satan may think he has won the battle with this girl, but he has not won the war. The word reign is to have supremacy, power, control over! That’s what we have in Jesus Christ. It’s not that we won’t mess up, but it’s those messes that are covered by the blood. He did that so we wouldn’t continually live in defeat. He didn’t die for the righteous (Romans 5:6-8), He died for sinners. Every “one” of them.”

I’m the one. You’re the one. But Hallelujah! He’s the ONE.

Excuseless

Even creation awaits it’s turn for redemption. Can you imagine that day?! I think about it a lot. The more and more wicked this world gets, the more I think about it. Perhaps you do too, or perhaps you’ve not given it any thought at all. You may not even know the truth about creation through the Word of God. But regardless we are all excuseless when it comes to the Creator.

Genesis 3:17

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Revelation 22:3

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

Between Genesis 3 and Revelation 22 is a whole lot of history. A whole lot of sin and praise God! a whole lot of grace for those of us who know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. But one thing there is not, is an excuse.

Romans 1:20

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

This morning as I sit in my little office at the back side of my house, I hear the rain pouring down outside. It’s replenishing the ground, filling the rivers and doing what nature does. Taking care of us. It’s also making my White Silky chickens, tan, but that’s a part of nature too, even if I don’t like it.

I’m not a big fan of Hell either. Neither is God. It was never His design for us. And yet there it is, looming at the end of a life who denies the Lord Jesus Christ.

Redemption. Just like the end of time when the curse will be lifted from off this earth, so will it be lifted from the souls of men when we spend eternity, forever and ever in a curse free, perfect place with the Lord Jesus. We can do that because He redeemed us by His blood sacrifice on the cross. He died for you, and for me and for all others and that is why we are excuseless.

Think about it…

If you gave your child, that you love more than life, for the redemption of a nation, would you be willing to accept anyone who wouldn’t confess what your child did?

I didn’t think so.

Yet, the world expects the Lord to. Even though He gave us not only His Son, but all of Creation that testifies of the Creator. It’s all written in His book, even science can’t deny it. But men can.

We can deny it because unlike creation we’ve been given free will. God wants those who want to be apart of His family. It’s that simple. Why would you invite someone into your home who didn’t want to be there?

I’m extending an invitation to all who read my blog, to join me in Heaven when it’s our turn. You have received your invitation. If you don’t come, you’re excuseless.

I’d like to say you’ll be missed. But truthfully, I don’t think so; because there’s no sadness in Heaven. But there will be a great sadness, pain and separation in Hell.

The greatest road anyone will ever travel:  Romans Road of Salvation

  • ACKNOWLEDGE YOU’RE A SINNER

Romans 3:23 KJV “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

  • REALIZE THAT SIN DESERVES PUNISHED

Romans 6:23 KJV “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

  • UNDERSTAND THAT CHRIST HIMSELF TOOK THAT PUNISHMENT ON THE CROSS

Romans 5:8 KJV “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

  • BELIEVE THE TRUTH OF THE WORD OF GOD AND CONFESS IT

Romans 10:9 KJV “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

  • PRAY AND ASK GOD TO SAVE YOU. TALK TO HIM…

Romans 10:13 KJV “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

  • UPON THAT CONFESSION THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL MOVE INSIDE YOUR HEART AND STAY THERE UNTIL ETERNITY. AT WHICH TIME YOU’LL BE WITH THE LORD HIMSELF!

Romans 8:1 KJV “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

  • BUT WHILE YOU’RE HERE, YOU’LL NEVER BE OUT OF HIS PRESENCE!

Romans 8:38-39 KJV “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

DID YOU TAKE THAT STEP? PLEASE MESSAGE ME AND LET ME KNOW! I WANT TO CELEBRATE WITH YOU 😀

Pardon Me For Whining

Okay… so I feel like I should apologize for whining yesterday. It’s not that it’s not in my character, it’s just not in my character to do it out loud. I always do it in my head so the world thinks I’m super spiritual. Just kidding… they don’t. But I like to think myself super spiritual sometimes; because then I don’t feel so bad about myself when I realize I’m an epic failure. Now that I’m done with that, let me tell you what I really want to do. I want to Psalm 13:6 it today!

Psalm 13:6

I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

So in case you missed my whining session at the end of my vlog (video blog) yesterday, I was a tad emotional about the fact that temptation in this world is hard. Everyone faces it, and I’ve had my share lately when it comes to wanting to escape the will of God. That sounds bad. I should want to be in the will of God, right? Well, I technically do, until it’s a struggle. Like in the world of my finances and then I want to jump this ministry ship and get a “real job.” I get in that mode because that’s what the world tells me I should do. So this morning as I went merrily on my way, bible journaling through Psalms I came upon David’s whining session. However in his defense, his own son Absalom was trying to kill him. That really trumps my reasons to whine.

Abandonment Issues

1How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

Forever? Have you ever felt that way? When God does not answer immediately, especially in the microwave society for which we live, the feeling of despair can take over quickly. I want an immediate resolve so I can move forward. I want God to fix this mess! But with that cry I have to realize that God didn’t make my mess. I did.

Just like David. While he didn’t cause his son to become his enemy, he caused himself to lack the confidence that he had earlier experienced (before the sin with Bathsheba). Failing in our walk with Christ causes the feeling of abandonment, not because God moved, but because we’re not as close as we once were.

Advice Issues

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

The worst thing I can do is ask myself for advice.

Taking counsel in my own soul will just add insult to injury. I’m a little too close to the situation, don’t you think? And yet when I don’t hear from God, rather than being still and waiting, I talk. And talk. And talk some more.  I’m such a slow learner.  

Ability Issues

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

Can you not hear the whining heart of the Jesus chick? It’s pretty loud. “I’m dying here Lord!” that’s what David said and that’s what I have a tendency to say. Because of my struggles I don’t have the ability to get the things accomplished that I want to get done. And because of that, I too feel like the enemy is rejoicing in my failures and I’ve been moved out of the place I long to be in.

Unexpected Blessings!

So here I am sitting in my office this morning and God reminds of a pumpkin that’s sitting at the edge of my yard in a pumpkin patch that I didn’t even plant. I had pumpkin décor last fall and it stayed in front of David’s wood shop on a few bales of hay, until it decayed and David as he often does, he cleaned up my mess. He threw the hay, pumpkin and all at the edge of a field. The seeds from those pumpkins made it into the ground and bore fruit. It was so exciting when David discovered our unexpected blessing and showed it to me.

So this morning I hear… this mess too will bear a surprising fruit. Be Still.

But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.6 I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

So let me unwind and un-whine. God is good. That pumpkin is far from the only blessing in my life. I received such sweet encouragement from a few friends yesterday.

I shall not be moved! Because the Lord has more than dealt more than bountiful with me. How about you? Do you have a pumpkin in your patch? Praise God for it. And run the enemy off the porch of your dreams. Thank You Jesus.

The signs of a fruitful ending

It Doesn’t Change the Book

I can tell by the look in their eyes when they’ve tuned me out and they’re wishing me off the planet. Even family. It’s not that they don’t love me, it’s not that they’ll not tolerate me. It’s that I make them very uncomfortable. Which is never my goal, but almost always the outcome. And such is the life as someone who loves to share Jesus and wants everyone regardless of heritage to become a part of my family. To share my Father. The Lord Jesus Christ.

And to ask most of them, they’d say they already do. But deed… “the proof ain’t in the puddin’,” as the saying goes.

It’s been the case as far back as Genesis. Someone always trying to get in by somebody else’s coattails, or by works, or just assuming God would never let them go to Hell. And so those of us who know the truth, continue to tell the truth and those who don’t want to know, shut us out. But that doesn’t change the book. –

In the book of Nehemiah, which happens to be where I’m reading, I was dreading chapter seven. It’s a chapter of name after name after name. And as I read I prayed, “God, please let me get something out of this besides a glaze over my eyes.” And as I traveled through the names, hoping someone’s would pop off the page and capture my attention, it didn’t. It wasn’t the name God wanted to capture my attention with. It was registration process.

In verses 64-65 my heart broke.

These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.

Urim and Thummim were priestly devices found on their breastplate and used to determine God’s will. In my small mind, I imagine it to be as a priest flipping a coin. Don’t believe everything I tell you, I might lead you astray. But that’s still how I see it.

But for today, there’s no more coin flipping. And there’s only one Priest that matters and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ. Friends and family can tune me out, shut me down and tell me to go away, but when it comes to their final days, the question will remain “Are you a part of the family of God?”

Matthew 7:21-23 King James Version (KJV)

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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

There were 642 persons (verse 62) who professed to be children of Israel. But the word said they were polluted. What an indictment. And it’s the same indictment that’s going to be against those who profess to be children of God but have never made Him Lord and Savior. Oh… they believe in Jesus. But then again, so does Satan. They believe in God. Satan knows Him personally. That won’t keep him out of Hell. Some of them go to church, most do not. But to tell you the truth, Satan’s in church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday. He never misses a revival. He’s usually sitting beside of me trying to get my attention off task. The question still remains, “Is your name written down in the Lamb’s book of Life?”

Revelation 21:27

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.

Those who are not written down, having accepted what Jesus Christ did for them on the cross as payment for their sins, are still covered with the pollution of this world. They won’t enter into Heaven with that pollution on them. They’ve got to be clean, and the only way they can be is to be covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. And why would they be?

If your child died for someone so that they could be free, and that person denied what they did and never acknowledge with gratitude the cost that was paid for them, why would you want to spend eternity with them?

God not allowing folks in Heaven sounds harsh until you view it from there.

What a privilege to be a child of the King! A member of the Family of God. You can’t change the book. Not the Bible or the Lamb’s book of Life. Both were written in indelible ink.

Just Give Me Jesus

He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.

Job 13:16

It’s not that I don’t feel like a hypocrite on a relatively regular basis. But for years I have felt like this was my message for the world. Not in judgement, but rather in tender compassion and pleading to the soul playing church on earth, and missing Heaven in eternity.

There’s a vast difference between being in church and being in Christ. But for too long the religious crowd has preached (and I use the term liberally) that all the world is fine, so long as they’re in the building.

Iglesia ni Cristo

When I visited the Philippines several years ago there was a huge church that was the size of a small West Virginia city. It had pointed steeples and ornate architecture that gave it a castle appearance, but not in a good way. It just looked cold and evil. It was the Iglesia ni Cristo (meaning Church of Christ) but not as the American Church of Christ. They believe that they are the one and only true church called out of Isaiah 43:5. It’s a very formalized methodical religion. All who are not a part of their church are Hell bound. according to them. That doesn’t sound any crazier to me than those who preach what many churches are preaching today, which is just show up occasionally, continue living in sin throughout the week, and you’re fine. It causes me to wonder if even the Pastors are saved who preach a message that is anti-relational with Christ.

I can’t help but think that my message today will be viewed as judgmental. But I promise it’s not. My heart breaks for church leadership as well who don’t have a deep enough relationship with Christ to understand its importance and their purpose. They’ve been deceived by this world too.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This is my friend Chuck McDonald’s life verse. Because when he got saved, he became a new creation. And anyone who knew him, seen the evidence in his life. That’s the key, and it’s the missing piece of many people in our own churches. Evidence. They walk out the door on Sunday morning and walk back into the world looking no different. There’s no evidence that church made a difference.

It’s not that the message doesn’t go out of many churches, because it does. There are many, many good preachers. So what makes the difference? Church leadership.

It’s not just the Pastor’s job. What made the difference in my friend Chuck McDonald’s life, and in my life is that there were people who stepped up and took me under their arm as a disciple of Christ. I keep saying it, but I’m not living it any better if I’m honest.

My formative years as a new Christian were spent in fellowship almost every day with people from our church. We had breakfast together at a local restaurant, we spoke on the phone, we were in constant church services of some sort, somewhere. It was amazing! If our church wasn’t holding a revival I was looking for someone else’s.

Does it have to be that extreme? I don’t know. It worked for me. And it worked in the days of the Bible.

Acts 2

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Steadfast, in doctrine, in fellowship, breaking bread and praying! Glory to God if only we had that kind of time.

Well, in this modern day of technology, do we not? We can be across the globe, and still be in constant fellowship, and yet we don’t.

I joyously speak with my friend Dewey Moede from New Mexico most every day. He is who God sent into my life to follow up where others left off. You too are that person who is in need of a Dewey, or perhaps you are the Dewey.

My point being is this; we should be living our lives, wherever we are for Christ. So that people know we’re there for them and that a relationship with Him and them is an important part of our everyday.

I’m not about what denomination is over the door, I’m about what your relationship is with my Lord. Are you truly a brother or sister in Christ?  

Only those who are will be Heaven.

Just give me Jesus.

Dreams of a Soul Winner

Daniel 12:3 ~ And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

I am a dreamer! I have goals and ambitions that likely far exceed possibility, but still I dream. Daniel was no ordinary dreamer and his dreams were not ordinary dreams, they were visions far into the distant future; likely a vision into our “now.” Much like the book of Revelation, the book of Daniel reads like a newspaper.

And while I must confess, without the assistance of theological commentaries I wouldn’t know beans about the majority of it, a verse like Daniel 12:3 stirred my soul this morning and so did the notes on the side of my bible page. It may have been a sermon outline, or it may have been my thoughts, I’m not sure of where it came from, but there it was… an outline in the waiting for me this morning as I finished out the last chapter of the book.

Know the Word of God!

The wise men did then, and so do the wise men and women of the day. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” it says in 2 Timothy 2:15.  

I’m always stressing the importance of bible reading to my students. Sometimes I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. Sometimes I’m the dead horse. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world and not read the word of God. Believe me when I say, I get it.

It’s also easy to read it and not divide it. Trusting that what a preacher or commentary said is correct, which may or may not be the case. Also, when reading the word of God it is a living, breathing document designed to speak to you personally. The message never changes, but how you’re to apply it does and you need to be able to read and divide (understand) what God wants you to know.

Look for Evidence

When Daniel interpreted dreams, the interpretation was truth. If there had never been any evidence of what his interpretation was, nobody would have ever believed him.

When winning souls to Christ, and witnessing to our family and friends, they need to know that you know what you’re talking about. Not that you’re a bible scholar, but that you have a relationship with the Lord that means you can hear from Him and understand what He wants you to know. Just as I know people  need proof in the pudding of my relationship with Christ, I want proof in the lives of the people I touch. I want to know that I’ve encouraged them and made a difference. It’s the things my dreams are made of.

Act on It!

When the wise men of Jesus’ day heard that the Messiah had come, they didn’t stand around waiting for a news brief. They went to discover the truth themselves.

And when it comes to Messiah’s return for His church we don’t need to be standing around for a news brief either, that news hit the stands 2000 years ago. We need to be acting on.

The Apostle Paul shared that news in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

The archangel… the same one that spoke with Daniel will blow the trumpet for the Lord Jesus Christ! His word does not change. The end result is still the same. Jesus is coming back and we need to ready and sharing that word with our family and friends.

It is the dream of this soul winner that no one I love is missing in Heaven. Please… be faithful child of God! Tell the world of Jesus.

That’s a Good Funeral

Proverbs 17:27

He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

One might think (and often correctly) that me and the phrase “sparing words” would never be in the same sentence. It is however a family trait.  While I have no problem speaking what’s on my mind, there are times (sometimes days upon days) that I’d rather say nothing to anyone. The ringing of a telephone causes my stomach to go nauseous and even messages on social media overwhelm me. I like silence. Because I know that in those times is when I am most likely to hear God speak. And then there are other times, if I’m honest, that I am drawn to the noise of the earth around me because I know in the silence I’ll hear God speak, and that scares me too. It’s crazy, I know! But it’s me being real.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a sweet cousin who’s epitaph verse was Proverbs 17:27. He was a very well educated man with much to say, but seldom said it. His daughter said it best when she said “if he spoke you should listen, because his words were weighted.” What an awesome testimony he had.

As I sat there and watched his children work through their grief in front of an audience and do it so God glorifying; it did what a funeral should do, it caused me to reflect on my own life and the cause and effect of silence. Silence can be good, or silence can be bad, there must be balance as in everything in life. Even Cheesecake. I know that’s random… but it’s true.

The Racket

Three times in Psalm 46 the Psalmist says that “God is our refuge.” Refuge being a safe haven, sanctuary or shelter. As a child of God I understand that. I have run into that place to escape the sorrows of the day so very many times. I’m in that place right now. I needed this word this morning to send me to the feet of Jesus to speak to Him about the many burdens in my life. They accumulate so quickly. Too much, too often and I’m consumed by it.  They’re a racket in my mind. God understands. That’s why He spoke this Psalm into David. Not only for him, but for us.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Those roaring waters and trembling mountains that feel as though they’re going to bury us in defeat are exactly what runs us into the refuge. If it were not for that trouble, we’d think we didn’t need help. We’d be sure that it was us who could get us through the issues of the day. God doesn’t make the trouble, but He’ll get His glory in the midst of it!  I witnessed that yesterday.

My cousin’s death was not a death of God’s timing. But God knew the heart of the man and used the occasion of his memorial to quiet the noise in my life and probably many others. Death has a way of putting life in check.

  • This is important. √
  • This is not. √

The River

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

I sing a song titled “Tell Me One More Time About Jesus” and in that song there is a line that speaks of the Pastor’s words being like a “cool drink of water.” The Psalmist’s words are such. So were the words of the memorial, because they all point to Jesus. Jesus is that river, that makes glad the city of God! When a child of God comes home, whether timely or not, you better believe there is rejoicing in Heaven! Should there not be on earth.

I told my cousin Duke last night when he called to see how the funeral went, that “I love a good funeral!” We laughed, but he knew what I meant. Because we both know Jesus. And there is joy in knowing that a loved one’s struggle is over and they are sitting beside of Victory! Glorraaaaaay! That puts a shout in my soul.

The Refuge from the Rage

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

You can better believe that Satan was not a happy camper at Gassaway Baptist Church yesterday. He expected worlds to fall apart when he moved “his kingdom.” But this world is not our home, and this world was not what my cousin’s children had their eyes on.  They were standing in the refuge of the God of Jacob. The same God and Savior who gave Jacob a new name when he wrestled with God in Genesis 32.

Every battle of a child of God ends in Victory, even if it doesn’t always appear that way.

My cousin was described as a man of few words, yet he was a writer, a thinker, a ponderer… and he and I had many times talked about our ponderings of God. He left his testimony with us through his children when his daughter said, “Our dad was a humble man who wouldn’t want you to focus on his education, successes and the many things he did that no one knew. He would want us to tell you of the day he made Jesus his Savior.”

That’s a good funeral.