The words I write are the best of me put on public display. However, the reality of me is somewhat, different. Everything that shines brightest in me is Jesus lighting my darkness. Whatever I am not, Jesus is and everything He is I am not. He completes me. He is the source of my joy and without Him, I am nothing.
It’s becoming popular today to scoff at the reality of sin but sin is real and sin is deadly.
It has sometimes been asked whether God commands certain things because they are right, or whether certain things are right because God commands them. . . . I emphatically embrace the first alternative. The second might lead to the abominable conclusion . . . that charity is good only because God arbitrarily commanded it—that He might equally well have commanded us to hate Him and one another and that hatred would then have been right. I believe, on the contrary, that “they err who think that of the will of God to do this or that there is no reason besides His will.” God’s will is determined by His wisdom which always perceives, and His goodness which always embraces, the intrinsically good. But when we have said that God commands things only because they are good, we must add that one of the things intrinsically good is that rational creatures should freely surrender themselves to their…
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Rising now, fourth blood moon!
A spectacle or a portending sign,
Of the ending of the end-times?
Might be coming! The LORD’s Day!
The fearful will look and swoon!
Wanting answers more benign,
Soft sounds in soothing rhymes.
Don’t speak of the LORD’s Day;
I believe and Jesus is coming soon!
A favorite memorized comfort line,
Sing this old song in soothing chimes.
Hoping to avoid the LORD’s Day;
As God’s vineyard He begins to prune!
Then trample His grapes into wine,
Songs will turn to sad wailing croon!
Wrath visited on the LORD’s Day;
Holocaust! Moon heavenly warning sign!
Jesus is only safety in ending end-times;
Have faith! Not fear of rising blood moon!
Be prepared for the LORD’s Day!
Wonderful post with inspiring music by Robert Hansen. If you are experiencing pain today, this is just what the doctor ordered. I’m so thankful that I have the joy of Jesus to comfort me when I am in pain!
First I just want to say thanks for this beautiful weather to end the summer and start the fall. I can’t even remember the last time it wasn’t sunny. In fact, it has been so nice I have almost forgotten about all the rain we had at the beginning of the summer. Isn’t that how you want us to live though? Forget the past, don’t worry about the future, live for today.
In this life I know I will have troubles but I keep pushing forward to the prize that awaits me. I am sorry God that many times I have been so caught up in the bad things in my life that I let them consume me. I complain about the rain but I know you will give me sunny skies in the near future. I get caught up in anger at the person that hurt me…
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It should have been enough to end all religious confusion. The Son of God came to earth in the form of a man, lived a sinless life, was crucified, and rose to live again on the third day. This graceful action proceeding from divine love is enough to set all people free from bondage to sin and this was the reason for this act of profound love: that even while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us and paid the penalty for our sins so we can live and by faith, gain full liberty from our sin. There is nothing to add to the work of Christ Jesus which proceeded from ultimate wisdom. The centerpiece of God’s redemption plan is enough to confound every human philosophy, none of which can ever achieve anything more Truthful; but foolishness is persistent like the pride that births it and by its ever-seeking human god-like power, blinding religious clouds formed in an effort by human controllers, to apprehend God’s glory and harness His power as their own. Leaving the joy found in Jesus that blazes (that bright Morning Star) as simple Truth re-mystified and shrouded in clouds of human religious confusion.
The work Jesus accomplished on the cross is enough to satisfy (upon believing acceptance) every human need for holiness by revealed, simple Truth and obedient response. However, soon after Jesus completed His great work of self-sacrifice, mists from the depths of sin darkened human intellect began to rise and form disorienting cumulus clouds of confusion in preferred human teachers, doctrines, theologies, methods, and practice. All the boxes people create to conform and limit God to human understanding serve only, the evil purpose of categorizing uniformity that isn’t large enough to contain God’s universal Truth; but locks it away in a greedy hoard that creates a form of godliness but denies the power found only, by transforming faith in Jesus. Religion takes all the focus off of Christ and places it back on man and the silent awe and humbled human response that only Christ’s profound act of love can accomplish is forgotten, as strife rises and the bickering begins. Relationships are broken in disputes over how God’s Truth should be understood, expressed, and put into action. Pride surges in who knows more, who understands it better, who gathers more converts, what methods are best, which form of worship is correct, what theologian has the best theory, and Truth is left utterly, convoluted. Wolves seeing an opportunity in distracted believers enter by stealth and manipulate confused minds toward their own ends. Saying what one faction wants to hear and putting other factions down is the method wolves dressed as sheep use to divide believers and leave them vulnerable as prey. Led by wolves, believers begin to act like predators and rip, bite, and tear one another over each other’s incomplete understanding of Truth. Such disorderly conduct thickens the confusing clouds of religion making them nearly opaque and thereby, obscuring the Truth around which they formed. The outside world sees only, madness and those trapped inside spiral downward in diminishing purpose. The Truth is suppressed by those who sought God’s power for themselves, by human religion and the world flounders in spiritual darkness.
Still, enough is enough! No matter how dense the confusion caused by false religion, the Truth is enough! It can’t be altered by the astonishing nebula that swirls around it. Those who are of genuine faith may be confused and oppressed for a season but the Truth lives in them and by this Truth, the counterfeit is revealed. They are the small lights that reflect the true Light of the world; tiny beacons lighting the way out of the dark mist of religious confusion and pointing others to Jesus Christ and the work He accomplished on the cross. Lifting Jesus in lives of loving obedience and true testimonies of the power of God’s amazing grace and its life transforming power; so that others may look to Jesus for themselves and live. These are those who practice the pure religion of loving others in their affliction and living moral lives. On the day Jesus returns the clouds of confusion will forever, dissipate and never from again. On that glorious day when everyone will understand that Jesus is enough and all human controversy ends. Joy will crescendo in bright rapture and never again be obscured by the dense clouds formed from prideful human intellect, known as religion.
Romans 10:5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.”[a] 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[b] (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’”[c] (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[d] that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[e] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[f]
People have many different ideas about what love is from fondness, to a deep emotional bond, to passion. We are social creatures and all of these forms of human love come from our basic need to connect with others. Needy love always disappoints because human love can’t completely satisfy its own need. Emotional bonds are easily broken and passion burns itself out, leaving those needing a lasting connection wanting. Everyone wants the security of an eternal love but nothing human can last. The only kind of love that can assuage human longing is the love of God who is Love. Accepting God’s love by accepting Jesus as Savior is the only way to fill our deep need for security with an everlasting love. Choosing to love others as we are loved is also, the path to increasing the joy found in Jesus.
God demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son to save us, even though human beings had turned against Him. He chose to set aside His right to destroy His enemies, when destruction is what human beings deserve. He sent His Son as a sacrifice and an ultimate expression of His love for His created children even though, most don’t even acknowledge His loving action. God doesn’t love us for what He will get from us in return but instead, He loves because He is Love. By loving sinners, God expresses His character. Those of us who follow Jesus must make the same kind of sacrificial choice to love others not from ourselves but from His divine love that is imparted to us through faith in Jesus. We must choose to love others even when they never return our love or remain unchanged by it.
No matter how much we learn about God, no matter what works we achieve in His Name, if we fail to love all of it is worth nothing. No matter how great our faith, if we don’t love we will fail in glorifying God. No matter what we sacrifice for others, if we do it without the love of God then nothing is gained. If we neglect love then all of our teaching, testifying, preaching, correction, and prophesying are nothing but racket. It is the choice to love others as God loves us that fulfills the calling of every born-again child of God. When we choose to love as God loves, His righteous character is revealed to a lost and dying world. Jesus is the Man who perfectly demonstrated the character of God and when believers choose to love, Jesus works through them. By loving others, we fulfill the Law and the Words of the Prophets.
Demonstrating God’s character requires treating others with patience and kindness. It is not expressed by pridefully raising one’s self above others but acknowledges the equal value that God places on everyone. Divine love does not seek its own purpose but looks to fill the needs of others. It is long-suffering, slow to take offence, and doesn’t keep record of insults. It is truthful, despises evil, and always seeks to protect others. In divine love there is always hope because God is trustworthy and He doesn’t give up on those whom He loves. God’s love never runs out but lasts for all eternity. There is no spiritual or physical force greater than the love of Almighty God!
When believers neglect to love, we lose the main characteristic that sets us apart from the world. We lose purpose and become ineffectual in edifying one another and in making the saving power of Jesus known in the world. It is sin that causes love to grow cold and today, the church is rife with sin. The only cure is for each believer to turn from sin and return the focus on Jesus, our first love. He is the One who first made Love known to us and the One who empowers us to love others in the same way. Without Him we are nothing and have no hope of pleasing God or completing our purpose. Discouraged Christians are the most discouraging people of all and highly vulnerable without the joy that gives them resilience. Joy can’t live apart from God’s love. The power to change the world lives in us by our faith and that power is unleashed when we choose to love.
May God’s love increase through us and righteous joy abound!
I Corinthians 13:1-8
A cooled summer breeze rustles through the Cottonwoods stirring matured leaves in a rustling shimmer. I notice autumn’s first hints of gold now appearing, as purple wild Asters bloom in compliment. I catch a whiff of roasting green chili and my mouth waters in anticipation, triggered by memories of past New Mexico autumns. My mind floods with other such unique remembrances, the substance of traditions important to me even though, I like the Cottonwoods am a relative new-comer. I’ve made my home among them. They are like me and I am like them. Our common ancestors were transplants in the New Mexico Territory, a hardy stock that adapted well to the desert and flourished. Together we’ve filled every river valley and tributary arroyo, clinging to the water that has enabled us as immigrant desert aliens to blend in with the natives. We are New Mexico now and only God has the power to remove us. By the sheer force of stubborn survival, we have woven ourselves into those traditions and customs that stretch back to the ancient Pueblos. The Bosque’ is only a little over one hundred years old but every New Mexican cherishes it and on hot summer days, we rejoice in its evaporative cooling shade. In autumn, their sparkling gold display is a favorite atmosphere for family picnics and happy celebrations by people of many cultural backgrounds. The Bosque’ represents a cultural blending that makes New Mexico a special place to live.
Not everyone is as accepting of the Bosque’ and those outsiders who brought the Cottonwood trees with them, as are I and most long-time New Mexico residents. Another kind of new-comer is invading now. They call themselves Progressives and they want to take New Mexico backwards in time and restore us to imagined desert purity, devoid of transplants. They war with the rural, custodial citizens (the ranchers and farmers) who have guarded the land that sustains them for millennia. By imposing hardship through standards and regulations, these new tecolotes (vultures from outside of New Mexico) seek to drive them from the land and return all of it to the wolves and coyotes. In the name of environmentalism, they seek power and control by controlling the rural lands and waters. They cloak themselves as beneficiaries but they are no different from the Spaniards who came to New Mexico seeking gold, cloaked in the religion of the Catholic Church. Each seeking to enslave the native people by holding them to a pointed sword with the command to convert or die! In the name of preserving wild New Mexico the Federal Government is stealing the land and destroying her unique accepting character. They are robbing the people of the ability to feed themselves. I know this same war is happening in every state, as the Federal Government and the corporations they’ve married seek to control the food supply. I also, know that this isn’t the only area of life in which the government is trying to establish a strangle-hold over the people. Government control is the main characteristic of this current moment in time.
However, this is still September in my beloved New Mexico and I will continue to rejoice in the beauty of the season, despite the threat of a government grown too large and bullying. The desert is accepting of diversity but only, those new-comers who are willing to adapt themselves to her will survive. The Spaniards who came seeking gold and took control over the native peoples by enslaving them, never found the gold they searched for and the desert broke their power. The desert will also, break these new gold seekers. They will vanish, the true natives will remain, and any new-comers who stay behind will survive only, in a humbled, blended form. I have faith in God and in the natural world He governs to knock people back down when they imagine themselves omnipotent. What is true in New Mexico is true in the rest of America and the world. Those who seek gold and power bring misery but it is the meek who will inherit the earth. I trust in God’s promises. I will not fear no matter the specter the controllers raise. I will put my faith and trust in God and like the humble Cottonwood, I will endure and outlast them. The vultures are gathered and circling, thinking their feasting time is near but the humble will not die. God will frustrate their plans and show them that He is the one in control. They will go hungry and vanish. Only, the meek and faithful will remain.
A beautiful girl with time to kill…
Needs excitement and a thrill!
Spiritual vacuum a need to fill…
Loves to shop more than a pill!
Filling dreams with a green bill…
Buying power to top off her till!
Then over-flows, begins to spill…
Material –joy-hoard heaping hill!
A heart of greed, just won’t chill!
Girl gotta buy more, can’t be still…
To buy more stuff she might kill!
Anything to achieve her thrill…
Ignore that hole she can’t fill…
Joy-hoard-to-trash, a bitter pill!
Joy things rot, as with green bill…
Moths then rust stink-up the till!
Garbage-greed-pile is heart spill…
Denying huge growing trash hill…
Material greed too hot to chill!
No room for more, buying still…
Take her trash she’ll surely kill!
She’s a Material-Joy-Hoarder!
There is no lasting joy in material things and no amount of shopping can fill the inner void meant for Jesus. Greed can never be satisfied and drives all its devotees to destruction. Only Jesus can satisfy what those subject to greed hunger for. In Jesus there is contentment and spiritual treasure that never decays.
In the mind of every person lives the divine and the profane. Though some of us lean more heavily one way than the other, our every thought and action is a combination of good and evil. This sets us apart from all other creatures that populate the earth. It makes us more powerful than all other beasts, even god-like but it is also, our curse. Human beings are double-minded creatures, unstable in all of our ways. Even those who desire what is good, commit evil and those who choose evil sometimes, accomplish good. The outcomes of our choices often evade our ultimate intentions. Though we are god-like on the earth, we perish because we are unable to choose correctly between good and evil and produce ultimate good. Our instability not only, affects our own kind but threatens the entire world with extinction.
Denial (in all its lying forms) is the common chosen method for coping with the evil that human choices create. Like naughty children, we run and hide from God and when we are exposed; and the Lie is the fig-leaf we naturally choose to hide our sinful imperfection. Hoping to avoid the evil in natural consequences, we add a little more evil. Many choose to deny the existence of evil, altogether and embrace the Lie by thinking they can rightly employ it and control their personal destiny. Inner peace is the promise sought for by accepting the evil within as good and normal but the promise is false. Those who choose to follow their double-minded reasoning (as we all sometimes do) follow their predilections into personal dysfunction. Putting trust in denial is putting trust in evil and the trap is set for Satan to claim ownership over misguided souls. He is a cruel slave-master and his slaves will receive intimate knowledge of torture and torment. Those who fall prey to his cunning end by becoming depraved human beings, good for nothing but burning.
Truth (in factual and divine living form) is what all people need to balance the instability within. We mustn’t deny that evil exists inside us, nor surrender to it. It can’t be covered with lies. The only way to overcome evil is with good and only, God is good. He is the only One able to rule over evil and work it to ultimate good. He sent down His goodness in the form of Jesus, His Son to deliver us from evil; most specifically, from the evil that dwells inside of everyone. Jesus is divine truth in living form and He is the cure for sin. It is in following Jesus and in mirroring His ways that believers learn to submit their inner evil to good, in the hope of a future realization of God’s ultimate good. This is the only way to avoid a future of ultimate evil and personal destruction. This faithful journey of hope begins with truthful acknowledgment of evil’s source and acceptance of a true covering of sinful acts that is only, the blood Jesus shed (the pure blood of a pure life lived) in order to purchase God’s forgiveness for us. This is Salvation, a graceful covering of our sinful nature that enables us to learn how to rule over the evil inside us with good, by trial and error. True faith in Jesus is the life-long, earthly struggle against personal sin; those who endure such hardship in an unceasing inner war and persevere in hopes of achieving full liberty from sin and death will realize the long-ago promised and hoped for Redemption. On that day, God’s children will shout in joyous liberty!