Alive Forevermore!

“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold,
I am alive forevermore. Amen.
And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
Revelations 1:18


*Submitted by Randy Summers on Facebook. Please visit his page!
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It’s Strange

inspiration_church
This is another article that was going around Social Media:

*It’s strange how twenty dollars seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping.

*It’s strange how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church, and how short they seem when you’re watching a good movie.

*It’s strange that you can’t find words to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend.

*It’s strange how difficult it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read a popular novel.

*It’s strange how everyone wants front-row tickets to concerts, but they want to sit in the last row at church.

*It’s strange how we need to know about an event for church 2-3 weeks in advance so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust our schedule for other events in the last minute.

*It’s strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God AND share it with others, but it’s easy to repeat the latest gossip.

*It’s strange how easy it is to question the words or concepts in the Bible but how easy it is to believe everything that we read in magazines and newspapers and on social media.


*It’s strange how hard it is to think about and ponder these things and admit that we might just need improvement no matter how long we’ve been “serving” the Lord! (I am surely including myself in this!).

JUST SOME BREAD CAST UPON THE WATER! HOW MUCH OF IT WILL RETURN TO US INDIVIDUALLY?!

Ecclesiastes 11:1, “Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days.”

*Main body above line, author unknown. If you know the author, please email me so I can give them the credit they deserve. Thanks and God Bless!
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In Your Best Interest

inspiration_church
This has made its rounds through the internet and Facebook now for a little while. It’s author is unknown so if you know it’s authorship, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due. It was submitted by Christian friend, Christiana Giannotti.


Man: God, can I ask You a question?

God: Sure

Man: Promise You won’t get mad …..

God: I promise

 

Man: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today?

God: What do you mean?

Man: Well, my alarm didn’t go off and I woke up late …..

God: Yes

 

Man: My car took forever to start…..

God: Okay

Man: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait for it to be remade …..

God: Hmmmm

 

Man: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call …..

God: All right

Man: And on top of it all off, when I got home, I just wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn’t work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did allow all that if you love me so?

God: Well let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that …..

 

Man (humbled): OH

GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Man: (ashamed)

God: The first person at the lunch counter who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn’t want you to catch what they have, and I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.

 

Man (embarrassed): Okay

God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, so I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Man (softly): I see God

God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark all night long.

 

Man: I’m Sorry God

God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to TRUST Me ….. in All things , the good and the bad.

Man: I will trust You.

God: And don’t doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.

 

Man: I won’t God, and let me just tell you God, Thank YOU for everything today.

God: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I Love looking after My Children …..


Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

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Life Happens!


Hebrews:
11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

12:1-2, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Romans:
5:1-2, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

10:8-10, “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

James:
2:17-18, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 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.”

2:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Mark 9:24b “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”


“Oh no, not another one of those faith sermons. Faith, Love, Joy, Temptation; can’t you preachers be creative, can’t you preach anything else?”

Yep! This was really said to me back in the late 80’s by a normally affable little old gentleman. Evidently, he was being a little melancholy due to a situation that cropped up a couple of weeks before. I replied to him then as I will right now; “You can’t be a Christian if you don’t have faith!” There, I said it. It’s the truth by the way. As the Scriptures above indicate, you can’t even have a relationship with God Almighty, our Heavenly Father, let alone please Him, without having, walking in and actively engaged in FAITH!

LIFE HAPPENS!! No, it’s not a bumper-sticker, it’s reality. Whether you’re trying to sell your house and move to another part of the country, or you are recovering from a heart-attack with new stents in place, or you have just given birth to a precious treasure whose limbs are all out of whack, or like I just went through, you develop an abscess in your teeth that can affect a heart condition and you need help NOW, you need faith in a God who has said His promises are steadfast and sure!

Life happens and it’s a journey to be sure. But the real question is, do you stumble and bumble your way through it, or do you stay focused on a clear, set and determined path, DESPITE what life throws at you? “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.” – Psalm 37:23-24.

Faith as Hebrews 11:1 states isn’t in what you see, it isn’t in what you envision, but rather it’s based on what you HOPE in the Lord and especially as that hope pertains to His promises. You may not SEE the steps the Lord has placed before you, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there, and it is our Hope in the Lord that causes us to put one step in front of the other.

I’m reminded of a scene in the now classic movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where the main character Indiana Jones must traverse a wide chasm to get to the Holy Grail, the chalice from the Last Supper. Looking ahead, it appeared there was a huge gap or open expanse between him and the side he needed to get too. As he was facing a decision on how to step, the camera panned from a straight-on view to a side view and you could see from the new perspective that it was an optical illusion and that there really was in front of him a solid path or bridge that spanned the chasm. Eventually he surmised something along those lines and threw dirt and gravel into what seemed to be “thin air” and he could see the now designated path.


The whole exercise according to the Hollywood writers and such was to demonstrate faith in what the character couldn’t see but what was there. In spiritual terms, it still fell short because he wasn’t willing to take a step until he DID see the pathway! As Christians, we are told by the Lord through His Word to take a step and that He has already laid out a path before us. With faith, you aren’t given the luxury of waiting until the path becomes visible and then moving forward, for then when it IS seen, it is no longer faith!

So it is with our Salvation as well. We first have to be told about such a great gift somewhere in our spiritual beginnings. Someone had to tell us about this “Gift of Salvation” and our need for it. Thus the Apostle Paul tells us that in Romans 10:17. We have to hear the Word of God first and foremost before the “seed” of that Word can germinate and grow into what we now know is faith.

Don’t get me wrong, we all start out with a little bit of faith in general. Take for instance walking into a darkened room within you house; what do you do first? If you are like most people, you walk through the doorway to that room, reach out and flip on the light switch. Immediately you expect the light to flood that room. Now you don’t see the electricity surging through the wires. You don’t even see the light bulb that is the instrument of that light, yet. But the moment you flip that switch, you expect, you HOPE for light to flood the room. In fact, we are so accustomed to it happening time and time again, we give no discernable thought to it. We just EXPECT light!

Why is that do you wonder? Because as a child you witnessed the miracle of instant light over and over again from your parents and you just followed their example knowing that every time you flipped that switch there would be light! Now, in your adulthood, you don’t just BELIEVE there will be light; without thinking about it you KNOW there will be light (barring the unfortunate situation where the bulb or electricity has gone out).

So it is in the spiritual, you hear the Word enough, that seed is planted, it is sown, and the Holy Spirit waters and nurtures it and soon enough, almost like a miracle a shoot appears, life as it were. I remember when I was young, a kid, a child really, I always had questions about God and Heaven. Used to drive my mom crazy with the questions! My dad couldn’t be bothered so it was always my mom that was bombarded with them! I even asked anyone who would listen outside the home, like teachers and friends at school. Finally as a teen-ager, going to High School, I met this other teen my age who wasn’t afraid to talk about “religion!” We used to talk for hours at times, in study hall, after classes, etc.

I would tell Ron (later became my brother-in-law) about what the Church said/taught, as I was raised Catholic, and he would tell me what the Bible said. This went on for almost a year. He knew where I went to church, what denomination I was, but I never knew what church or denomination he was until one day he invited me to a special Wednesday night youth service, he called it. I went, I was thoroughly intrigued as I had never witnessed a service like this and the guest “preacher” was totally engrossing! I couldn’t hear enough about what he was preaching. Then he gave an “altar-call,” a call to repent of our sins and allow the Lord Jesus Christ to come into our hearts! There, instantly was that green shoot from the sown seed that had been watered for almost a year. Faith sprung up, I believed this is what I needed. I was religious (at 16 that was something) but I needed to become spiritually reborn. The Word of God had been planted and watered and now it was time for results.

Now don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t thinking these things through like this back then. All I knew was that I needed to get to that altar and let Jesus do the work in my incomplete life back then. I made my confession, willingly and I believed with all my heart that I was changed back then, that I definitely was something new! It hearkens back now, to my steps being ordered of the Lord as Psalms 37:23-24 stated; and here is the completion of that thought based on the analogy of the light switch as compared to faith: “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105. When you read or hear the Word of God enough and it takes root, it is like the electricity that is coursing through the wires in the walls of the house, connecting the light switch to the light bulb. When you need a bit of faith for a given situation in your life at any moment, you have the power to believe coursing through your being already if the Word of God has been stored up within your spirit!

Now as no natural analogy is entirely perfect for those things in the spiritual I want to make this thought clear; the faith to believe is based or should be based in the promises and the words of the Lord as written in our Bibles. It is not some magical belief or thought based in just general principles. It is not based on what you can imagine within yourself for that is bordering on New Age concepts that are contrary to Scriptural principles and thought. But again our belief is rooted or founded in the words of the Lord through what we read and hear from the Living Word of God! Any other belief is just what I stated before; it is New Age or magic, both of which will breed death in your spirit and the Bible tells us to avoid completely!

When faith grows, when it matures it becomes much more than just belief, but it evolves and grows into knowledge. Yes, I know I have stated this many, many times before, but it bears repeating for it does mature from mere belief to actual KNOWING! Don’t be confused, it is still faith, but so much more than just basic belief. Today for instance, due to time, experience and natural and spiritual maturity, I KNOW I am saved, redeemed, reborn in Christ. It is no longer just the experience that I had when a teenager where I believed only that I was saved.

Now in my life there is a peace that abides no matter the circumstances. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t concern for a situation, but it is no longer worry and apprehension. In actuality peace and even joy can accompany situations that in other instances would be bothersome and worrying. The reason for the peace is the justification by faith that the Apostle Paul speaks of in Romans 5:1-2. Justification or simply put, the reason for, or the belief because of, my faith and the experiences that have accumulated over the years and the resolutions that the “steps of the Lord” have demonstrated to be completed in any given situation. They add up to knowledge that when the Lord says He will take care of me, that He will meet my needs, that He will not forsake me in my times of need, then His word is true and I do not have to doubt that I will get through anything because of Him and Him alone!

One other thing; just because He has ordered my steps does not mean I no longer have free will. I still CHOOSE to follow Him and the path that He has put down before me, and the reason the path is as it is, is simply because we serve an Omniscient God, one who knows everything in advance! This is why we NEVER can take God by surprise and why He can make everything that happens to us work out for our benefit, even what the world would consider seemingly bad things! (Romans 8:28).

The Apostle Paul goes on to say this; Romans 8:29-31, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Many people stumble over the words predestined and foreknew (as some versions translate it), but they are thinking on a merely intellectual plane and not discerning with the spirit. The Lord God Almighty, as I stated earlier, has a Character trait known as Omniscience. It means that he has ALL Knowledge or is All-Knowing. For us to be predestined, just means that since He isn’t taken by surprise by our choices, He has the way prepared for us already in the knowledge of those choices.

When Pharaoh of Moses’ day was hardening his heart, the Lord said this, “But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” – Exodus 9:16. Pharaoh had the choice to do what was right, but God KNEW what his choices would be, so used those very choices to demonstrate His (God’s) glory and power throughout the land. God didn’t make Pharaoh do the things he did, but He knew that Pharaoh would do them!

So it is with us throughout our life’s journey. When we are a child of God, He knows our choices. Some choices still have consequences that require discipline, which is never easy, (Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:5-8), and others are a delight to Him (Psalm 37:23).

We sometimes forget that when we proceed with a choice, we are taking action; with actions , of any kind, there are causes and effects. Our choices become a verb rather than just a noun or a “something.” As with so many things characteristic of a lifestyle, which itself implies action, or moving forward, the spiritual lifestyle and especially FAITH is made up of many actions.

Concerning life and faith, take for instance the word journey. It can be said that life is a journey, a noun. Journey is described as “something.” But in relation to life being a journey, you can also say that we journey through life, a verb. Now journey becomes something we do! So this is why the Apostle James is so specific in the way he described the concept of faith. So much emphasis had been put on it as a “something” that it had begun to lose its distinction within a Christian’s lifestyle. We can talk about faith to others and they can easily infer that you are talking about some supernatural mystical force that brings the believer what ever it is he has enough of “IT” to draw on!! It no longer becomes the spiritual powerhouse that allows us to journey through this life as a disciple, a follower of Christ and Christ’s example!!

James sets the record straight and in my opinion (notice I said opinion) it is the perfect companion to the Book of Hebrews. To me, it is truly inspired that the order of the Books in the New Testament has Hebrews first and then James following it. The fact that a great deal of exposition is dealing with faith as an attribute of Christian behavior in both Hebrews and James is amazing and yet they find the ability to write about the results that faith provides in other areas!! That to me, is definitely the Hand of the Holy Spirit!!

James is so keen to point out that faith, being “something” is nothing without “doing” or actions. He elevates the concept of faith to beyond some New Age philosophy that deals with man’s ability to conceive, dream and believe to the actual implementation of that faith!! You see someone in need? Don’t just wish them warm, clothed, fed, prosperous, if possible within your ability make it happen by giving them blankets, clothes, food, or finances! In his day, the emerging church had already started turning from bringing all their personal belongings and putting them together for the poor, to doing just what he said was an abomination; “go in God, be blessed, be warm, etc., etc.”


James makes a great analogy also. I hope it isn’t lost on many, when he states at the end of chapter two: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” – James 2:26. Faith is relegated from the mysterious unto the body of a person in analogy and Works are compared to the spirit! Just the opposite of what most would consider. We would NATURALLY assume that faith, being a spiritual characteristic would be compared to the spirit of man, the life, or life’s blood that makes us who we are and that works, that is the natural progression would be compared to the body of man. This is actually what so many had relegated faith to being, the “it, the thing” rather than the motivator, the effect, or action of that “thing!” In essence, the cause is FAITH and the effect is WORKS. James knew what he was writing about under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Works are the result of what we do not see. If they are what produces fruit and life in others, it is tangible and a direct result of the faith that is NOT seen! The works is the HOPE in Hebrews that is not seen in Hebrews but becomes the EVIDENCE as seen in James!

Now as relating to Salvation and Redemption, James does not and is NOT saying that works saves. The Scriptures do NOT contradict and if they do in your analysis then it is your interpretation that is wrong. Concerning Salvation, what does Paul say? “That if you confess (works) with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe (faith) in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes (faith) unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession (works) is made unto salvation.” — Romans 10:9-10 (Emphasis added is mine).

So it isn’t the works that saves you but rather that cause (faith) which produces the confession or works. They go hand in hand, because as James says, you can’t have faith that is alive without a result of that faith. It is nothing, it is magic, occult, trying to get something out of nothing!!! Please, please don’t forget that your faith has to be in Some ONE, our Lord, God Almighty. Faith in yourself as the New Age prescribes, through conceiving, dreaming and believing is misplaced and never consistent, but only in God Almighty THROUGH the Lord Jesus Christ will faith be PLEASING to the Father and consistent in its results!!

In closing; do you feel you “lack” faith? Read and listen to your Bible more! Ask the Lord, the Originator of our faith for more as the father of the son with the mute spirit did in the Gospel of Mark. The Lord has promised to always give more of what we NEED in our spiritual lives, ALWAYS! Need more wisdom? Need more grace? Need more faith? Ask and it WILL be done, as promised and the Lord NEVER goes back on His Word!

Don’t let these abundant false teachers tell you that you lack faith and that is why you don’t receive something from God. God will always speak to you, the individual BEFORE He ever speaks to a stranger about a need you have! He may use a stranger to confirm that He IS speaking to you, but the Holy Spirit is your guide and counselor as much if not more so as someone who is gaining fame and fortune by televising the plight of God’s individual children! IF, and I stress, IF you lack faith then cry out as that father did in Mark, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” God, our, YOUR Heavenly Father will hear you and give you an answer to any of your questions and concerns! He’ll let you know if you NEED to be healed, if you NEED extra finances, etc., etc.

People, dear people, do NOT rate success by what you have and do not have and especially in light of the world’s standards. Rate success by your intimacy with your Heavenly Father through Christ Jesus! Rate success by how you follow His leading and commandments, to love Him and to love your neighbor! That is REAL and TRUE faith! That is REAL LIFE!!

When life happens as it most surely will until the Lord calls us home, look at each situation through the eyes of the Lord, the final outcome, and not what is immediately starring you in the eyes. That is faith at work.

Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote; “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.


*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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I John 2:15


1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Now remember that John is still talking to the Christians that he has designated into three categories, the little children, young men and fathers. He is still addressing them when he continues on to say what he does in verse 15.

This verse on the surface seems very simple and self-explanatory. But I want to delve just a lot deeper into it. Now many well-meaning Christians throughout time have misinterpreted this scripture to mean that because of the Apostles emphatic statement, we are to set ourselves apart and have absolutely no dealings with the “heathens” of this world! Just as the Gentiles in the Old Testament were to be avoided by the children of Israel, so these modern day gentiles are to be avoided by true Christians.

Now, sad to say we even have some modern day churches that teach outright that the “light” meaning themselves, cannot have any dealings with the “darkness” meaning those outside their circle of believers. Don’t be surprised by this if you haven’t encountered it yet, in our younger days the Holy Spirit actually led my wife and I to one of these “churches” so that we might learn what is being taught in the “name of the Lord!” They are a denominational church, but on the fringes so to speak. If you didn’t know different they would sound just like any other Christian Church, denominationally speaking, but it is when you are “wooed” to their services and Bible studies that you soon realize the differences.

We had told the Lord, we would go where He wants us to go and do what He wanted us to do that we might learn more and become more like Him! He truly does take us at His Word! In due time, and since this denomination was BIG in debating doctrine with other denominations, it was a perfect learning ground. We did come to love the people very much because for the most part, they DID love the Lord, they just believe they had to cling to a NATURAL holiness (under Law) rather than a spiritual holiness under Grace!

The Lord did allow us to move on after a little more than a year, and we DID learn a lot, but some of it was truly how NOT to behave or believe as a true Christians, yet even today I can tell you that my knowledge of what goes on in the “church” world HAS been heightened because of the experiences the Holy Spirit allowed us to be a part of through those learning years! The sad part is, even some members that became our closest friends, told us that if we go back into the darkness of mainstream “church” we would no longer be welcome in their “light.” True to their word, there was only one sister, out of a church of about 120 that would ever have anything to do with Sue and I!

Now if what some of these denominations believe is absolutely true, you should be able to realize right off the bat, that the command to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” — Mark 16:15, would be near to impossible and the ability to win a person over by demonstrating God’s love through actions would be equally impossible due to the fact you couldn’t associate with them. The only hope these “religious institutions” have of winning someone to the Lord would be the hope that a “heathen” would see their great love displayed to one another and want to escape the pleasures of the world, or in their street “preaching” to them of hellfire and damnation they would flee the world’s enticements in fear!

In truth, the world that John is speaking about, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is that part of the world system or organization established by man that is in direct contradiction to the Will and desires of the God who created this earth. The world we refer to in this instance is not the material creation that our Heavenly Father made for us to enjoy, but rather the world ideals set up to give men more pleasure and the ability to accomplish what THEY want, aside from the will of the Lord. When we speak of the world as our enemy then, we need to understand and remember that it is NOT the creation, but, and I reiterate, the system that man has established in this world, the system with its lusts and pleasures that are continually enticing men, that which is enmity, or contrary to God Himself. The world, through man has developed its own set of temptations and vices, and just as in everything else that man has put his hand to do, man has left God out of their equations. The very nature of our old self corrupts everything that it’s applied too. The very thing that God created for man for his (mankind’s) benefit is the very thing that man has tried to use against God. The created world, the earth itself, is a gift from God and we are its stewards. As such, we need to keep a proper perspective concerning the pleasures and blessings that we derive directly from this treasure the Lord created for man.

Remember this that the Apostle Paul wrote his protégé, Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” – 1 Timothy 6:17.


The first part of Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness, …..”
Also, Psalm 50:12 confirms this in its ending saying, “For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.”

We also need to understand and remember that after God created everything in the world, He looked upon His creation and it is implied that “in His heart” He saw that it was good (Genesis 1:31). The word that is used to describe our English word, good (twob or tobe – Strong’s Hebrew #02986), in the original language means: best, better, great, complete. God did not find fault with His creation as He made it.

**Adam Clarke’s Commentary states it this way: The plan wise, the work well executed, the different parts properly arranged; their nature, limits, mode of existence, manner of propagation, habits, mode of sustenance, etc., etc., properly and permanently established and secured; for every thing was formed to the utmost perfection of its nature, so that nothing could be added or diminished without encumbering the operations of matter and spirit on the one hand, or rendering them inefficient to the end proposed on the other; and God has so done all these marvelous works as to be glorified in all, by all, and through all.

However, after Adam and Eve sinned, the ground was then cursed and tainted, its beauty diminished and stained for as long as sin remained on check. It wasn’t because the CREATION wasn’t perfect, but corruption due to sin then came into play. The depth of this disaster hit home to me years ago as a young man in my twenties and fairly newly married. I was living in Washington state, where I was born and raised, and I was visiting Mount Rainier National Park with my new brother-in-law, his wife and mine. It was only the second or third time I had been there and we were visiting an area of the park in which I had never been before. We were standing on a bridge overlooking a huge gorge, with evergreens and firs blanketing the floor below us. As I looked into the mountainous distance, the word “breathless” took on a whole new meaning; it was so beautiful and awe inspiring that it literally DID take my breath away. My brother-in-law, who later became a pastor in Washington, said something I will probably never forget as long as I live. He said, “Remember that with all its breath-taking beauty, it is still marred and stained by sin.”

The impact of that statement drove home to me the awful significance of man’s far reaching sin, and even to this day, many years later, when I recount this story and think about it, I still want to weep in sorrow. It left a life-long impact on me. What I had viewed, and the beauty I could see, was only a fraction of what God, our Heavenly Father, truly meant for His children to enjoy.

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” — Romans 8:20-21.

This material creation that God Almighty made for us to enjoy, is bound by the same corruption that has ensnared us, and ITS hope is tied to our hope, its freedom will come when we are totally free from corruption! In this day and age when all you hear is argument and debate about the causes of global warming, the pollution overtaking the sea and the earth itself, you can begin to comprehend the far-reaching taint of man’s corruption on an environment that was created for our enjoyment! Now, when you think of that, take into consideration what we have done to the space AROUND our earth. ***As of 5 July 2016, the United States Strategic Command tracked a total of 17,852 artificial objects in orbit above the Earth, however, these are just objects large enough to be tracked.

God has never been pleased with any of His children conforming to the ways of the world system. Read 1 Samuel 8:7-18, where the children of Israel wanted a king, just like other nations. They were in essence rejecting God as their king and leader. There is instance after instance in the Old Testament, as well as in the New Testament, that lets us know of God’s displeasure with mankind’s choices. Unlike what false teachers and false doctrines would try and convey, conformity to this world and its set of values is an indication of spiritual decline, rather than spiritual enlightenment.

The Apostle Paul stated, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2.

I have stated it on my Facebook page as well in other lessons that there are teachings going on today that reference the “renewing of your mind,” but not in the Biblical or Scriptural sense, and they are enticing the hearer or reader to “open up your mind” to dream, conceive and believe. They teach that whatever you can make your mind believe, you can actually bring it about to fruition! Some teachers in this are even trying to bring Theoretical Quantum Physics into the equation. The truth is, some of these concepts DO WORK!! (Just don’t forget the science part is theoretical and not proven). Also remember this, the concepts can come under the heading of being NEW, or in many cases, New Age, not even disguised for what they are. The concepts are anything but new, going back before Christianity and even Judaism!

Remember this: “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:1-5
.

Your mind will be renewed and open and you will be JUST LIKE God, able to create and bring your own desires to fruition. You can have wealth and prosperity, health and wholeness, you will be popular and successful if you can just believe, conceive and dream it!!! In other words, if you can do it yourself, you don’t NEED God! This has been the GREAT lie from the very beginning and sadly there are churches teaching this stuff under the guise of renewed thinking!!!

We have to develop a new mind set, yes, a new way of thinking when we come to God, belong to God and surrender our lives to Him. But, when we accept salvation, redemption, we are not just asking for His forgiveness but also putting our very lives into His hands, giving Him control, knowing that He knows what is best for His children. Our wills become secondary in the knowledge that his will for us is perfection in our lives lasting into eternity! Proverbs 14:12 confirms this by stating, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” AND Psalm 37:23-24, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.”

Jesus, Himself told the disciples, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.”
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
“And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?” — Matthew 6:19, 24, 16:26 (NLT).

Jesus tried to point out to His disciples that just one soul is worth so much more than all of the world. If you set your sights on winning what the world has to offer, it is often at the expense of losing your soul. You may think you have won or gained something in the short run, but in the eternal scheme of things you will definitely come out the loser.

As Jesus expressed to His disciples, we cannot divide our loyalty, man does not have that ability, and, God does not want anything put before Him for anything that takes priority and precedence becomes an idol, a god in our lives. He has commanded us not to put any gods before Him, and anything we value and esteem more than Him, becomes our god.

We CANNOT love this world and what it offers and LOVE our Heavenly Father. It cannot be done! We trade the pleasures of such a short time for the treasures of an eternity! As a loving Father, He WANTS us to have the true treasures!


Next post we will begin with 1 John chapter 2 verse 16-17.

*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
*Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.
**Adam Clarke’s Commentary – Public Domain
***Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_debris
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FREEDOM

This from a Sister in Christ who does lovely art AND poetry! Please visit her site for inspiration and edification!!!

atimetoshare.me

10522415_10201072964104576_4898188832115141887_nART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A great nation once united, now tarnished black with hate,

One nation bound by God’s own love, lies corrupt at Satan’s gate,

We hold all these truths apparent, that God created man,

We know that He has set us free, from Satan’s ugly hand,

Our God will once more lead our land, if we allow Him to,

He’ll lead us to true freedom, unite us through and through,

We simply must believe in Him and turn our prayers His way,

To trust in His intervention, and let Him guide each day,

We will only know true freedom, and feel that peace within,

When we join and be united, and put our faith in Him.

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Independence Day 2018


2 Chronicles 7:
12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.
13 “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,
14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
15 “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.
16 “For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
17 “As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments,
18 “then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’
19 “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them,
20 “then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
21 “And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and this house?’
22 “Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.'”

2 Corinthians 3:16-17, Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.


I want to say happy Independence Day to all, but sadly with the state of our nation it wouldn’t be true! Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stick-in-the-mud by any means and I truly due respect and honor this Birthday of the United States of America becoming a sovereign nation. It’s just that in reality it isn’t a “happy” Birthday. At least not with political parties and extremist groups trying to tear it apart from within.

You see, we started out as a great and promising “experiment” as it were. Men of high moral character wanted a new place to practice their religious liberty without the constraints of an oppressive government long before the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were penned. These men wanted to follow after the Lord, God Almighty according to the dictates of their hearts as ascribed to the Bibles they read. They were willing to cross vast and dangerous oceans (at least for their day) to accomplish that goal, and they succeeded. Once they arrived here, they found it wasn’t any more hospitable than the actual journey, but they persevered and it was by the practice of their faith that any of them survived at all leading up to the time when other men of high moral fiber and character chose to break free from the tyranny of a then oppressive government to govern themselves with the very Biblical principles that led them to this land!

Today, we have men and women who no longer share those values or even consider them a viable part of this government. Don’t get me wrong, they want all the freedoms to do what THEY want to do, while restricting others from exercising their rights!

You see, this is ALWAYS the case when LIGHT is shone in and on darkness. The darkness will always flee and try to hide itself from that light. It does NOT want its true nature or ugliness exposed so that everyone who looks will see the true nature. That is the way with darkness, any darkness! So, the way to defeat a nation is to do one of two things; either continue on IN the darkness, hiding from the light, or make it seem like the darkness is the okay thing to do as an okay way of life.

When human nature becomes so self-centered that it is only concerned with what it wants and no one else matters and when it is allowed to continue unabated, it starts to become the “natural” order of things. Soon, this little bit of darkness is considered okay, then that one, then another and another and pretty soon, as has happened in this once blessed United States of America, wrong becomes right and right becomes wrong!

The ONLY thing that has kept this nation afloat to this point in time, 242 years to this date as a nation, have been the prayers of those whom the Heavenly Father calls His children. Oh, don’t get me wrong, to a degree we have to repent for the condition of America the same as anyone and everyone else. But, we have recognized our role in its condition and we have come to the place where we have had to humble ourselves, as the writer of Chronicles states, and have had to repent for not being watchful and vigilant and we have prayed for the Father’s forgiveness and it IS for that reason, why His Mercy and Grace has been poured out upon our land despite the rapid growing wickedness.

You see, I believe for our sakes, everyone of His TRUE children, we have been given a reprieve as it were, but a reprieve only, for a time is coming when there will arise a world leader and the United States of America will not stand in the way of that leader’s plan. The Lord WILL take care of and be with His children as always, and we may even be removed from this part of the situation (speaking of the Rapture) but no matter what happens, God’s children are the ones keeping this country standing and the anti-christ at bay. I do not know what will happen to the U.S. of A. for I am not gifted in future prophecy though as a child and servant of the Lord, I have my suspicions. Except for some vague references in some of the prophetic texts in the Bible, it doesn’t appear that the U.S. is even mentioned, so who knows and this is why all eyes are always looking to the east for what is about to happen.

But, as God’s children AND blessed children at that, to still enjoy the religious and spiritual liberties that we do, what we MUST do is to continue to pray for our leaders, pray that the Holy Spirit will get hold of their hearts and spirits first, and then give them wisdom to act upon what the Spirit is saying to them! We don’t know how much longer we have as a FREE nation, because we can tell by the world’s political and moral season that we ARE in the last days, so we MUST use this freedom to pray for, encourage and support those leaders that exhibit CURRENT moral character (remember the past can be forgiven) and pray for the Holy Spirit’s free reign to move where He deems most appropriate!

We must make our voices heard AGAINST any injustice according to Scripture and not just what we FEEL is an injustice. The Word of God MUST remain the “Lamp to our feet and the Light to our path,” as the Word teaches! (Psalm 119:105). We must continue to have FAITH in God’s ability to see HIS plan fulfilled for the betterment of ALL His children the world over! When we have faith in HIS ability, then we can rest assured we are pleasing Him! (Hebrews 11:6).

REAL freedom, real independence doesn’t come from a document written by men, no matter how spiritual or well-meaning they were. That written document has been and will remain a blessing to those who adhere to it, but REAL freedom comes from the Holy Spirit that resides in each and every one of us who has chosen the Lord Jesus Christ as his King and Ruler. There is no other leader and no other country that can compare.

In closing, as you celebrate America’s Independence, remember that it was the SAME Holy Spirit that resided in those men that inspired the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution so that even these 242 years later, we can still embrace the blessings derived from those liberties!

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Lord Purify Me

Psalm 51:10-12,
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take
Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

*Randy Summers my Christian Brother on Facebook posted this and I couldn’t pass it up!
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Life – God’s Presence Needed


Psalm 27:8, “When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.”

Philippians 3:10-11, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

What Do You Want?

Jane Goodall loves chimpanzees and spent years in Africa studying the little creatures. A confirmed evolutionist, she delights in any communication, understanding, and affection between herself and the apes. In her book In the Shadow of Man she tells of such an experience. She and a chimp patriarch sat close to each other. Goodall picked up a palm nut and handed it to the chimp. He took it and simultaneously held her hand firmly and gently. Her heart soared. The gentle pressure of his fingers indicated to her that the barrier of untold generations of evolution had been overcome, if only for a few moments.

We get out from life what we expect; often, what we put into it. People satisfy themselves with little when they could have much; with the least, when they could have most; with self, when they could enjoy God. We can choose the results of faith or take the consequences of self-will. We can develop the most inordinate, fleshy appetites, or in surrender to grace find self-control. We make the choice.


Courtesy of Speaker’s Sourcebook of New Illustrations by Virgil Hurley copyright © 1995 by Word, Incorporated. Used by permission.
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Applicable Quotations

Our lives are a manifestation of what we think about God. – Anonymous

God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not the choice. You must take it. The only choice is how. – Beecher

I count all that part of my life lost which I spent not in communion with God, or in doing good. – Donne

Our life is scarce the twinkle of a star in God’s eternal day. – Taylor

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Life

1 Peter 1:22-25, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”

*I posted this the other day on Facebook. The Lord inspired me with this as I was praying.
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