Measuring Faith

Siberian Larch 2018
Splendorous Siberian Larch

Do I have enough faith to serve God?  Absolutely!  Am I being conceited to make such a statement?  NO! – For God gave each believer just the right amount of faith.

3For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. ~ Romans 12:3 NKJV

No believer is greater or lesser than another brother or sister in Christ.  To think so WOULD BE conceited.  Our Father in Heaven has given each of us a calling, or gift of the Spirit, or any one of a myriad of special assignments in order to serve Him during our life here on earth.  What is important is that we serve humbly and that we bear fruit – and not compare spiritual fruits within the Church.

There have been many times that I felt intimidated instead of encouraged by the exemplary service of other believers.  The Holy Spirit is quick to remind me that’s stinkin’ thinkin‘!

The reality is that Jesus has done it all and simply allowed His followers to participate in His victory.  He supplies redemption, transformation, divine purpose, and a customized, perfectly individualized measure of faith to each one of us.  For without faith, there is no hope; prayer isn’t answered; and we are still disconnected in our relationship to Him.  So faith has very little to do with us and everything to do with Him.  Mostly, it seems that we just need to be willing to show up for duty and be ready to do our part.

4For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. ~ Romans 12:4-5 NKJV

Hey, I have no idea how much faith exists in the universe.  But I don’t need to know.  All that matters is that God knows, and that in love and grace He measured out just the right amount of faith to get me through – and you, too.

Thank You, LORD!

And thank you for following

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Conformed vs. Transformed

This year is my 60th birthday in Christ Jesus!  I wish I could testify that my life was powerfully transformed the moment I accepted Yeshua as my personal Savior and that I lived according to His perfect will this past 60 years.

Truthfully, I have been more conformed than transformed.

1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And 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 12:1-2 NKJV

Most of my life was not spent serving God, but in serving myself.  As a new believer, I was eager to learn God’s ways, but my enthusiasm waned as I progressed through childhood and on into adult life.  I became primarily focused on personal achievement, starting a family, and “the cares of this life” took over.  Focusing on the cares of life became such a priority that I slowly conformed to cultural “norms” of this world.  My body was not a living sacrifice to God.  I sporadically walked out my faith by thinking I was keeping the Ten Commandments, but for the most part I was “missing in action”.

Encouraged by the Apostle Paul, my focus now is to finish my faith race much stronger than I began.  To know the heart of God, read Romans 12.  The whole chapter spells out in plain language how to live a life that is pleasing to Our Holy Father God.  He states what our reasonable service should look like:

We should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  How do we do that?  – By reading His Holy Word, the Bible.  We are to live, serve, and forgive fervently by the power of His love and Spirit.  So praying the sinner’s prayer puts our names in The Book of Life, but real transformation requires more from us.  We must draw close to Him and learn His ways.  That, dear friend, is accomplished through the daily reading of His “Good Book”.  There is no short cut to learning how to behave like a Christian.  Don’t waste valuable time missing the mark like I did.  Jump into Romans 12 with me and next time we will continue studying what God says about finding His perfect will in our lives.

Until then, HAPPY 60th BORN-AGAIN BIRTHDAY TO ME! and thank you for following

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About Love

As I look upon the state of our nation and the entire world I am sad to recognize the fulfillment of Bible prophecy regarding the end times.  The stage is set for the Restrainer to be removed from planet Earth so that the Antichrist should be revealed.  He will spread his wicked agenda across the globe.

7For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the One who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and destroy him by the splendor of His coming. 9This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 NIV

Every heart of every person is driven by love.  Yes, even the wicked love something.

15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. ~ 1 John 2:15-17 NKJV

Mankind is now standing on the edge of a timeline precipice.  We have a unique viewpoint of world events via media technology.   Those who are watching can view approaching fulfillment of God’s prophecy regarding the end of the age of man governing himself.  Soon Jesus Christ will return to Earth, conquer Satan, and set up His kingdom.  Yeshua, our Messiah Jesus, will reign for one thousand years upon this Earth.  He will reign with strong power over evil.  As we have seen, the wicked who do not love truth shall be destroyed at His coming.

Now would be a very good time to be sure that you do not believe Satan’s lies.  If you have not surrendered your love of worldly things to Jesus, there is no better time to take care of eternal business than right now.  Helpful guidance is available here, talk to another believer or Pastor that you respect, or email me with questions.

Prayer – Father, as we lift Your Name above the heavens and all of the planets, stars, and galaxies of Your creation, convict hearts today that love the lie rather than Your Truth.  In the Matchless and Wonderful Name of our Redeemer, Jesus, thank you for such an awesome gift of salvation for those who sincerely choose eternal life over death by asking You to replace love of the world with Your love of Truth in their hearts. Amen.

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. ~ 1 John 2:26 NKJV

Thank you for following

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The Most Important Book

Of all the books in the modern world (almost 130 million), The Lamb’s Book of Life is the most important book – at least as far as it relates to every person who has ever lived.  And why would that be?

Read Revelation 20-21

Notice the events of the Great White Throne Judgement, which takes place at the end of Christ’s Millennial Reign on this earth:

11And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works . . .  15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Emphasis added) ~Rev. 20 KJV

The scripture is meant to grab our attention.  It is nearly impossible to read that verse and just move on without experiencing a strong reaction to the horrifying finality of verse 15 – a pang; likely followed by fearful thoughts, “Is my name written there?”  And, “How can I know?”

1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea . . . 9aAnd there came to me one of the seven angels . . .  10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.  27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Emphasis added)  ~ Revelation 21 KJV

Exactly who are they who are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

  1. Believers that Jesus (Yeshua) is the only way of salvation  ~John 14:6, Acts 4:10-12
  2. Fellow laborers in God’s fields of harvest of souls  ~Philippians 4:3
  3. Witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus  ~ Luke 10
  4. Overcomers  ~Rev. 3:5
  5. Tribulation Saints  ~Daniel 12:1

Whose names WILL NOT be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

  1. Unbelievers, and those who rely on their own “works” to be judged holy before God  ~Rev. 21:8, Rev. 20:12,15
  2. Those whose names have been blotted out! – Shocking, but true  ~ Rev. 3:5, Rev. 22:19, Exodus 32:31-33
  3. Worshippers of the Antichrist  ~Rev. 13:8
  4. Those who wonder after the Beast in the Great Tribulation  ~Rev. 17:8
  5. Those who accept the mark of the Beast and worship his image  ~Rev. 14:9-11
  6. Those who grieve the Holy Spirit of God (A whole other subject!)  ~Ephesians 4:30

Someday all dead people of the earth will be resurrected to stand before The Lamb, Jesus Christ, at the Great White Throne Judgement.  But we can know TODAY what our individual outcome of judgement for sin will be.

Today is the day of salvationToday is the day to make a decision on where we will spend eternity.  No one knows if life tomorrow will be granted.  There is no opportunity to change the outcome after death.  God loves us and has sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, to die in our place.  Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want anyone to perish in the lake of fire.

For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.  ~Luke 9:56a KJV

If you have never made a decision about this, take care of spiritual business right now.  Prayerfully ask Jesus to come into your life; to reign and to rule; to be your Sovereign Lord:

  1. Accept that Jesus is the Son of the Almighty God (Jehovah), Who came to earth to offer Himself as a sacrifice on a bloody cross for our sins.
  2. Repent now and ask Jesus to forgive you for sin; and believe on His Name for salvation.
  3. Give your life to Jesus and ask that your name be written in His Book of Life!  The world will say that redemption cannot be that simple.  Well, God chose to make it simple for us and hard for Him!  Jesus was beaten, tortured, and crucified for our sin – He Who had no sin.  Our works will never be good enough to save ourselves.  All we have to do is to make the right choice.  Doing nothing about this dilemma is making the wrong choice.
  4. If you just trusted Jesus to redeem your life by His Truth, Congratulations!  Welcome to God’s everlasting kingdom!  You are saved!  The angels in heaven are singing praises to God for your decision!  One angel is now writing your name in that most important Lamb’s Book of Life!
  5. Thank Him and rejoice for delivering you from eternal damnation to the lake of fire!
  6. It is very important that you confess your decision to someone else.  Profess by faith your confidence that you are sealed to Jesus and are redeemed by His innocent blood which was shed at the cross of Calvary for your sins:

Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.  ~Matthew 10:32 KJV

Email me to share your decision for Christ.  That counts as confessing Jesus before men, yes!  I will pray for you as you begin your new life in Christ.  Find a Bible and begin reading in the New Testament, Book of John.  Search out a Bible-believing-teaching-preaching local church and be obedient by following our Lord Jesus in baptism.  You now have a ready-made witness to share with others about where your name is written!

Are there any other special privileges or rights associated with having our name written in The Lamb’s Book of Life?  Definitely!

  1. Only those whose names are found written in The Lamb’s Book of Life will be granted entrance into the New Jerusalem.  ~Rev. 21:27
  2. Only those found in The Lamb’s Book of Life have the right to eat the fruit of The Tree of Life (yes, that’s eternal life!).  ~Rev. 22:14

God bless you, and thank you for following

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What’s In Your Wallet?

I was searching through a box of old photos a few days ago and noticed my dad’s wallet nestled down between photo albums.

“What’s in Your Wallet, Dad?” I wondered, as I gingerly picked it up and looked inside.

It’s been decades since I last explored the contents of his wallet; and frankly, I had never been able to get past the family photo contents without tearing up and closing it.  But on this day, I slid my finger behind his old driver’s license and pulled out this card:

A Living Hope
Dad’s Witness Card

It stopped me for a second… “Good for you, Dad!  Ever the Lord’s witness, you carried this gospel tract in your wallet.  How many times did you pull out your wallet and show this witness card to someone?”

Now, forty years later, I believe that God wanted me to notice Dad’s wallet and be curious enough to investigate further.  This side of Heaven, I will never know; but as we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus this Sunday, I’m sharing this card.  A Living Hope has been tucked away in Dad’s wallet for half a century… safe, and preserved… and I am thankful for the opportunity to shed light and ask,

What’s in Your Wallet?

“Thank you, Lord, for the mysterious and wondrous workings of Your Holy Spirit and how You move so powerfully and purposefully throughout the earth to bring the hearts of men back to you.  Woo us, Father God, through the Good News that Jesus loved us so much; that He gave His life for our redemption and broke free of the bonds of death – giving us A Living Hope.  Stir us up and revive us again, Lord, to proclaim Your Gift of Grace, Jesus Our Messiah, to the world.  In His Matchless, Powerful Name, Amen.”

So where is A Living Hope now?

In my wallet, of course.

Happy Resurrection Day!

Note:

Tribute to Good News Publishers for its tracts publishing ministry.  I was unable to determine if the publisher at Westchester, Illinois, is the same one as the Good News Publishers of Wheaton, Illinois, that later published the ESV Bible.  Here is a link to the history of the founders of that great tracts publishing ministry at Crossway.org.

 

The Power of His Name

As we approach Resurrection Day in memory of Jesus Christ’s victory over death, the Book of John includes a message about the days of Christ’s appearing after His resurrection.   Simply, the Apostle John states his reason for writing the gospel book about Jesus:

30The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the Power of His Name. ~ John 20:30-31 NLT

In these verses it seems that John is making sure that the salvation message of Christ Our Redeemer is understood – We have Life by the Power of His Name!  That is the same power that broke Jesus free of the tomb!

The next Chapter (21) of the Book of John records the famous “Feed My Sheep” message from Jesus to Simon Peter.  As Jesus is waiting for his disciples to come to shore after fishing all night, it becomes clear there was no catch.  At dawn, Jesus appears to His disciples for the third time since His resurrection and begins to speak to the crew.  If we only copy the text containing Jesus’s words in verses 5-19:

“Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

(Nope)

Then He said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!”

(Of course, the net immediately filled with fish.  The boat is about one hundred yards from shore and Peter jumps out, rushing to Jesus on the shore.  Amazingly, when Peter gets there, Jesus already has a meal of fish and bread cooked over an open fire!)

“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,”

“Now come and have some breakfast!”

Is it possible that Jesus is giving us a picture of what His Great Commission Plan should look like?

Hmmmm… catch some fish…

by sharing the Truth

He promises we will certainly experience a harvest of souls…

and then bring them to Him for a big breakfast that He already prepared ahead of time…

The marriage supper of the Lamb?

Wow!  By the Power of His Name!  (Not our power)

Later in the same chapter Jesus asks if Peter loves Him three times; in which case Peter responds that he does.  Jesus says,

“Feed My lambs”

“Take care of My sheep”

“Feed My Sheep.”

Then Jesus explains what it’s going to cost Peter to be an evangelist for Christ.  Sadly, Peter will be crucified.

18”I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and others will dress you and take you where you want to go.” 19Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow Me.” ~ John 21:18-19

“Father God, we pray for Your children who have suffered and given all to spread the message of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross to save the world from sin.  We also glorify Your Holy Name that Jesus arose from the grave and is alive today!  What a glorious testimony to all who will listen and repent of sin.  Thank you, Jesus, for loving us while we were yet sinners.  Thank You for giving us The Gift of Life by the Power of Your Name if we repent and follow You.  AMEN.”

Lily
Resurrection Day Blessings!