THE RIPPLE EFFECTS OF SMALL THINGS

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

Oscar Wilde

It is so difficult on where to start this morning as this is not only much to say, but more importantly much to perceive, give great attention of thought to, and especially meditate on. I must apologize ahead of time for my rambling thoughts, and it is my prayer that God would straighten this in your minds as you read for His glory.

Many times we think that we come across things by chance or luck, yet do not think it to be providentially or in Sovereignty place by God. If that is the case, then I dare say we have much of God yet to be known and missing out on many opportunities to know Him.  But before we get any deeper, I challenge you to think about; have you ever given thought to your thinking or your thoughts? I say all of us don’t and here’s why.

Many scientists have tried to quantify how people think and there are sciences that are dedicated to thought and behavior sciences, but quantifying thoughts has always been elusive. With that said, these are not “facts” but scientific opinions to kind of help with where I am going. I am not trying to deceive you, but prove a point. Ready? For sake of argument I am going to use a nice even number, 60,000. That is the middle of the road that some scientists believe how many thoughts (between 50,000-70,000) the average person has per day. Now if we divide that by 24 (hours in a day) that is 2500 thoughts per hour, and divide that by 60 (minutes in an hour) that’s 41.67 a minute, divide that by 60 (seconds in a minute) is .6945 thoughts per second. One of the fastest response times recorded was that of a human sprinter. From the sound of the starting gun to reaction time was 150ms  WOW!

Okay, I know, to the point already!

So the point of all of this is since we do not give much purposeful thought, capture one tiny piece of it, and meditate on it, I dare say we think very little of our sins against a Holy God either, right? I mean, after all, why would we want to waste our time on something like this? Because we greatly sin every day and they have eternal consequences! This all started because I have been reading and studying Genesis chapter 3, the greatest sin, the greatest most heinous crime ever committed and continues to be committed each day, and begin to see even more how great the value of Christs’ blood is, how much grace and mercy God gives us every moment of every day! Here in Genesis many think only one sin was committed but the eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Oh dear reader, go, read Genesis 3:1-14 and ask God to give wisdom! Study other books like commentaries or listen to sermons on the subject for they are many! Like our federal headship of Adam and Eve, we give little no no thought to our many sins, not just a few, M-A-N-Y!!! sins Do you hear God calling us like He did them in the Garden of Eden?

Where are you? What have you done? Of course these questions are rhetorical to God, but should drive our wicked sinful hearts to our knees in repentance! There should be many tears that would flood our homes, and if sackcloth and ashes were still a thing in America we would be buried as Achan and his family were in Joshua chapter seven, where all of Israel stoned them and burned them with fire for not obeying God. We belong to each other, we need each other, and our actions affect one another (1 Corinthians 12:12). Achan’s sin had a profound impact on the whole community as our sin today affects the entire body of Christ! In our ignorance we follow man and not Christ as the Apostle Paul rebukes the church in 1 Corinthians chapters 1 and 3. Are we getting the point yet? And just because the word sins is plural, let us not be a prideful modern day pharisee in Luke 18:9-14  by saying something like “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, pedophiles , unjust in my social media posts, a user of pornography, or even like those around me, for I am far more superior. I fast twice a week from all worldly things and yet do not worship you all of the time; I give tithes of all that I get, although reluctantly and in a non-cheerful manner”

Friend, it would do us VERY well to humble ourselves quickly and take heed the admonishment that the Apostle Paul gives in 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” This is so important. so crucial to not only diminish our sinning, but more important how to wage war against our sin and strive for holiness in our living a God honoring life. The Apostle Paul eve repeats this again in Ephesians 6:12-18:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.

Reader, Christ is coming again soon! Much sooner than we think! This time he is no coming so graciously against sinners as He did in the Garden of Eden, this time it is for Judgment, the question is, which side of the battlefield are you on? If you are Christs’, do not fool yourself by letting your guard down or be so foolish as to say you are without sin, for we ALL are, and we are told to confess our sins that we might be cleansed from ALL unrighteousness, and if we say we have no sin, we make Him out to be a liar and the truth is not in us; 1 John 1:9-10.

My prayer is that we all take this way more seriously than we do, but strieve not in the flesh, for it is weak. Seek the Holy Spirit to give supernatural power against sin, for it is far greater a foe that we give credit to, and we too are weak like Adam and Eve without God.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

LET THE REDEEMED SAY SO

LET THE REDEEMED SAY SO

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

Romans 10:14-18

This has been upon my heart so much during these trying times of what the world is calling a pandemic and is using constantly and feeding daily reminders about what is being called the “new normal” and trying to get people conditioned and acclimated to what the world wants us to believe. If we are a logical and critical thinker, we would quickly deduce that the opposite of normal is not a “new normal”, like it is some sort of new soft drink, the opposite of normal is abnormal.

As I finished up reading the book of Revelation and know what one day (possible soon) will come, and a level of death that will be far far worse than what this pandemic has and will cause (for the death will be in the millions), the Gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be proclaimed more than ever today.

One of, if not the greatest and most important duties a Christian has, is that of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So many new believers struggle with knowing what God’s will is for their lives, and this is the first thing we are to do is go and tell others the “Good News” which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So why is this duty of doing so important? Well, for one, not only as believers, but more importantly disciples of Jesus Christ, we are commanded to do so in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The thing is however, we cannot do something that we ourselves do not know and understand, nor are we capable of doing something that we are not, and in doing so, could very well be in danger of hypocrisy!

How can that be, and why would I say such a thing! Let’s look at an analogy right quick. Say you had the money (represents the great gift of proclaiming the Gospel) and you used the gift to purchase a nice leer jet. Now if you have the money, they will sell you a jet even though you don’t know how to fly it. So you get your jet and then go around bragging about all of the wonderful places you will go, but you cannot fly the plane without a pilot (the Holy Spirit), and you yourself do not have a pilots license. Yet, you go around and tell people you are going to go, but never do. What good is it to have this wonderful gift and not be able to use it?

That is the same way with many so-called Christians. They do not go because of one of two reasons. 1) They are not truly saved, nor have they counted the cost of what it means to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ.

2) They have not been trained! How can a person be expected to do something they themselves do not know how to do? Sadly, this is how many churches today leave their so called converts (believers in Christ) and to those churches, more numbers and more money in the offering plate is all that matters. They will one day be held accountable to what God has given them!

Now many of your might be mad by now, and that’s okay, but I am being honest. And unless you do not see the importance of people’s salvation, true repentant, faith saving, truth believing salvation of others, then I would say you are mad for the wrong reasons. I am not saying these things our of judgment and condemnation, rather out of love and great concern for those going to hell. For the confession that I too have not done as I ought to be doing all of the time, and know I WILL be held accountable just as those churches will be! Why? Because we are ONE BODY and ONE CHURCH!

Just to give you a rough idea of what we are facing in the TRUE spiritual pandemic, that of unsaved people, here are some quick eye opening statistics from last year. Now mind you, these are combined numbers, meaning what the writer is referring to as “religious” not necessarily Christian, for the grouped together Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, etc. but this is just for number effect. We are also going to use the old church saying of “20% of the people do 80% of the work.

In 2009, there were an estimated 233 MILLION “Christians” that means there should have been on average 46,600,000 Christians doing God’s will! Do you think they were? Can you imagine how the world we be today if they were! 10 years later, there is a rapid decline of those who no longer believe (and I contest that many were not truly converted to begin with) 13 million people have given up on their faith! This is 13 million more people that are potentially bound for hell, and that is not even including the millions of others who are definitely not even saved! This is why proclaiming the Gospel is so important!

Lastly, as we see in our opening scripture of how will people respond to a call they have not heard, and how can their hear without someone preaching or proclaiming? Do you remember the old movie scenes where someone (usually a child) was standing in the public square on top of something yelling “EXTRA EXTRA read all about it” followed by the latest news headlines? That is proclamation, and that is how we need to be about the Father’s Kingdom business, and is not only our duty for those who are saved, we have been elected to do so, and willingly, not reluctantly, all for the glory of God alone. This is one of the greatest signs that both shows the dying world that you are Christ’s, and are not ashamed!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WHAT DOES CHRISTIAN LOVE LOOK LIKE

WHAT DOES CHRISTIAN LOVE LOOK LIKE

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The Apostle Paul

You know something… I cannot think like you do, but I can feel like you do and somewhat express things like you do. What do I mean by this? Well, like you, I know what it is to be hungry, experience pain and suffering, happiness and sorrow, and to a certain extent, love. I mean after all, I am only a dog. See, when God created creatures and man, he created us different. If left alone, I will live by instinct, but you live by reason (a story for another day perhaps).

Before we go on to love, I want to use an extremely absurd analogy to (hopefully) get my point across clearly.

Say you saw a quick glimpse of someone doing something extremely crazy silly, say smacking themselves in the head with a hammer, and you found it funny. The next day, you saw the same person doing the same thing, and still found it some what funny, but now it is starting to concern you. The next day you see the same thing, but you stop for a moment and realize that the person eventually starts to show signs of pain and bleeding. Would you think it to be funny anymore? I should hope not, but even more so, should be showing great cause for care and concern for this individual and why they would be doing such a thing. You see, you missed it the first few times because you were just passing by. Maybe you were in a hurry or concerned with just yourself.

Sadly this analogy is not far from the truth of real life and real people. Many times we see others hurting themselves in many ways that cause much pain. Many do not stop and show them love by being concerned not just with the physical being, things that are seen, but more importantly, their spiritual well-being, what is both seen and unseen. And just as sad, many of the times people don’t want to truly be loved, because they like their lifestyle of sin (which can hurt them spiritually and physically). Many have even been hurt by the church of all things and have lost faith and hope in Christians, how sad is that!

Look again at what Christian love should look like in the opening quote. Did you know that love is both a noun and a verb, in the sense of 1 Corinthians 13, it is a call to action. We are to be patient, kind, not envy or boast, be not arrogant or rude, selfish (our way), love bears others burdens. Does this describe you? If we are Christians it should, and if it does not reflect our character towards others in a Christlike manner, this should greatly concern us and grieve us. It should cause us to take as much time as needed to examine ourselves and our motives in the Christian faith. As the Apostle Paul says in the second half of verse 1 “but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Let me boil this down real quick for us. You cannot truly love God if you do not truly love people, and your cannot truly love people if you do not love God. Clear as mud?

We are called, commanded, exhorted, even disciplined all because of God’s love. The Bible even says we love because He first loved us – 1 John 4:19

If you profess to be a Christians, please take these words to heart, examine yourself in light of the scriptures, spend time with God daily in His Word and prayer, that He would grant you tenders and love towards others, and a heart to be like Christ in their lives. As the old hymn goes “They will know that we are Christians by our love!)

#ToGodBeTheGlory

THOU SHALL NOT…

THOU SHALL NOT…

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For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Romans 7:15-20, 24-5

 

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. It was not like I intended to do it, it’s just that I needed to do it, and so I “doo’d” it. Yup, I did the BIG no-no, the cardinal sin, the breaking of the breakenest of rules. I am doomed and loved no more! I pooped on the floor 🙁 I had pee’d (again not intentional and I am still a puppy needing training) on the floor a couple of times, but will eventually learn with training in love, you know, like God does with you 🙂

In some ways we are a lot alike with the exception I do not have the freedom to really think and act for myself in a sense of full capacity like you humans do, but both of us need help and guidance in this crazy world if we are going to make it.

Yesterday I wrote on obedience, which ties into today’s thought, that true obedience leads to true holiness and being content in the Godhead (again, we need to always keep in the forefront of our worship we worship a triune God; God the Father, Christ the Son, God the Holy Spirit, all of whom are worthy of praise and worship!) We would do well to learn in humility that apart from God, in any way, we are like the world, and that is NOT a good thing!

Although the 10 Commandments were giving to Moses for ruling the people of Israel, they are still very relevant and applicable to us Christians today. We would do well to heed God’s Word in the greatest fear as the Apostle Paul did in Romans 7:7-10 – What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.

Here was the most zealous of all for obedience to the law (the ceremonial laws), yet it was the Holy law of God that showed Paul (and should us as well!) what God says sin is and what not to do. Which drives us to the cross, seeking forgiveness of our sins, teaches us humility, grace, mercy, true Christian Godly love, how to love ourselves in spite of (not leaving us in) our sins, and how to love others. This is in the basic sense of what it means to be Holy and God is Holy. However, if we are not daily in the Word of God, not in fervent prayer, ceaseless praying, not only seeking, but submitting in complete dependency of the Holy Spirit, we are nothing but working in our own flesh, thinking we are doing it all and greatly sinning by robbing God of His glory.

God does not say “Be perfect as I am perfect”, even though true Godly Holiness is perfect, lacking in nothing, God is telling us what to always be striving for, how high the standard is that He expects of His children, the elect of God. You see, the “Be Holy as He is Holy” is saying that we must be set apart, we are set apart, by what Christ did on the cross by redeeming us from our sinful selves. However, that Salvation although is a one time act (if you are truly saved, you do NOT lose your salvation, nor can you lose your Salvation), but this great gift of Salvation is being worked out in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) and grows towards His holiness as the Holy Spirit grows us spiritual and progressively in sanctification, something which is impossible for us to do in and for ourselves or others. This is why knowing what the doctrines of the Bible teach are important, and anything less that God doing, in one, or any combination thereof His triune Deity, it is sinful self-righteousness, and needs to be repented of.

Well, I better get off the computer again as the Mrs. of the house is probably about to wake up and take me outside. Thankfully they love me unconditionally just as God does them. Just remember, there is a vast difference between an mistake, and accident, and willfully sinning, and when any of them happen, it is best that we own up to it immediately and act in the holiness we are called to be in Christ. If you mess up, apologize, if you cause an accident, clean it up, if you sin, go to God in prayer seeking forgiveness, and then your neighbor whom you offended if that is the case. When they see the salt and light you are and you demeanor it opens the door for…

1 Peter 3:15-17 – But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

 

#ToGodBeTheGlory

A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT

A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT

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A New Heart and a New Spirit

Over the years of being a Christian and realizing more and more that we have nothing to do with our salvation, I have read many such scriptures, but by far, my favorite is Ezekiel 36:26-27.

Although it was a scripture for a particular people in a particular time, it also comes with a future promise for when the Holy Spirit is poured out among believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27

Here is the commentary from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:1-11 – The law of Christ was written in their hearts, and the love of Christ shed abroad there. Nor was it written in tables of stone, as the law of God given to Moses, but on the fleshy (not fleshly, as fleshliness denotes sensuality) tables of the heart, Ezekiel 36:26.

Their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, by the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. He ascribes all the glory to God. And remember, as our whole dependence is upon the Lord, so the whole glory belongs to him alone. The letter killeth: the letter of the law is the ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the gospel, we shall not be the better for so doing: but the Holy Spirit gives life spiritual, and life eternal.

(my observations) Notice the commentator says the law of Christ. This is the very one an same law that was given to the children of Israel through Moses. Note, it was the law of the Jew to obey, not the Gentile, for no man can truly obey nor fulfill the law, that is why God fulfilled His own law in the flesh of man through the God-man, Jesus Christ the Son. Matthew 5:17-18 – Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. However, we are still not off scott free, for we are to obey the law in love, love for God and love for our neighbor, and that is fully dependent on God the Holy Spirit that dwells and gives each true believer to be a Christ following Christian. We also see the response of Christ Himself when He responds to the question meant to trip Him up when the lawyer asks Him (Christ) both “What must I do” to inherit eternal life and who is my neighbor. Luke 10:27 – And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Especially see Paul’s references to love in Romans 8:4, 13:8, 13:10

The commentator does a wonderful job when he says their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, but he also stops short of what that impression is. I can only assume since the prophet Ezekiel was preaching and admonishing a very hard-hearted, sinful, rebellious people (the children of Israel), Ezekiel is pointing out Israels sins against a Holy, Righteous, Judging God, whose wrath against sin has been storing up for many years. When we look in the context of modern day society, cannot the same be said of us who are the gentiles the Bible always speaks of? Imagine if you will if we only had half of a Bible, half a counsel of God, one where Israel had not yet rejected the Gospel of Salvation unto Christ and the law was to be kept. There would be no need of the Apostle Paul to write about the gentiles being grafted in in most of Romans the 11th chapter. Not only that, there would be no hope for you and I for eternity in heaven! Nothing but condemnation of hell for eternity! Romans 8:1-2 says “here is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” You and I would still be held accountable to the holding of the Ten Commandments each and every day. You and I would be held to obeying over 600 laws, animal sacrifices, going to the temple, etc. Christ came to fulfill all of those parts of the law, and we are set free in liberty to love Him for doing so, and to show love to our neighbors as well, by sharing the Gospel on what Christ has done for sinners. To show mercy to us who have been shown mercy, to be graceful to others as we have been shown grace.

These are the things the commentator sums up when he said And, which is conjoining the coming thought to the previous thought. This is a two part deal, one of which you cannot have part A without part B and vice versa. Our WHOLE dependence is upon the Lord. The Lord ALWAYS means a complete single in one person, yet three distinct persons each complementing one another in all things, and in all times. So it is the Holy Spirit, the person of God Himself, who is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (having unlimited power, able to do all things), and omnipresence (meaning God is and can be everywhere at the same time, AND is the only one who can).

This is summation and the culmination of the Gospel of Christ. The Word of God in law only is ineffective against stoney hard hearts, and is the very reason and purpose for the Gospel given, rich in grace and mercy. It is the Gospel that shows us the mirror of God’s law that we are completely and utterly incapable of keeping, and cannot save ourselves. The proud say their is no hell, no judgment, therefore I worry not and can save myself. Unfortunately, the will find out the truth and full counsel of God the hard way. It is only by the preaching of the Word of God in boldness and power that will go forth when we do so to glorify Him and whom He would save, and not anything we say or do. Even when we speak as I am now, it is in full dependence of God’s Word going forth. If it was not for me being saved, I would not care if others were, and sadly many who profess to be a Bible believing, born again, Holy Spirit filled, Christ following Christian, do exactly just that! They do not fully and completely love their neighbors as themselves. Sure, they may watch their house while the other is on vacation, borrow each others tools, stand at the fence-line talking about the recent big game or other worldly event, but they speak nothing of Christ or glorifying Him!

The Old Testament dispensation was the ministration of death, but the New Testament of life. The law made known sin, and the wrath and curse of God; it showed us a God above us, and a God against us; but the gospel makes known grace, and Emmanuel, God with us. Therein the righteousness of God by faith is revealed; and this shows us that the just shall live by his faith; this makes known the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The gospel so much exceeds the law in glory, that it eclipses the glory of the legal dispensation. But even the New Testament will be a killing letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without dependence on God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening power.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

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THE RIPPLE EFFECTS OF SMALL THINGS

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” Oscar Wilde It is so difficult on where to start this morning as this is not only much to say, but more importantly much