Interpreting Circumstances

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭ESV‬

It is easy and somewhat comforting to use Old Testament scripture—particularly 2 Chronicles 7:13 & 14— to interpret our circumstances.

But using these scriptures this way is taking them out of context. Those are Old Testament scriptures where God was speaking to Solomon about the Israelites who had repeatedly forsaken Him. Is there a lesson here for us to learn?

Absolutely. God was always faithful to His people, accepting and loving them even in their sin and He is a person of His Word—He brought judgment for their sin. So, let’s learn from that but that is not where the story ends. We can’t stop in the middle of the Old Testament and use that to interpret the circumstances around us today. The scripture keeps going and years later God brought the Messiah that He promised—the Son of David—that saved His people from their sin and His judgment. In the New Testament, Christ was crucified—nailed to a cross—and all of God‘s judgment for sin was poured out upon Him. (Romans 5:8-9, 1 John 4:10, 1John 2:2, 2 Corinthians 5:21)

So, God is no longer judging sin. He judged it at the cross.

The only people that will now have to deal with the eternal consequences of sin are those people that reject Jesus. (Romans 2:5) The New Testament explains that although we will face trials and troubles in this fallen world, God is not doing this nor judging His people.

We need to maintain a repentant heart and we need to surrender to Him. We need to seek Him on a daily basis. We need to pursue holiness and all of the things that He talks about in the New Testament. But when we are born again—when we are His, we want to do that from our new heart and spirit.

Can troubled times help us see our need for God and bring sinners to Him? Absolutely. But according to scripture, troubled times are not punishment for our sins or unrepentance.

There will be plagues and such brought to the earth and things that will happen at the end during the Daniel’s 70th week when God is yet again dealing with Israel for His final time. We can get all the details of this in the books of Daniel and Revelation.

But it’s counterproductive to our testimony and our faith to believe and to tell the world and the New Testament Church that He is bringing coronavirus and locusts and other forms of judgment to the earth at this point.

New Testament scripture shows us that God has not taken anything away from us except for the eternal judgment of our sin. And now we have the choice to accept that free gift and all of of His promises that go along with this newborn life.

Pray and study the scripture in context for yourself. God is just and He does not make us pay for our sin when He already judged Christ for it.

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Is God Judging The World?

When bad things happens and difficult times come such as 9/11 and now the coronavirus pandemic, there are those that quote and post Old Testament scriptures and proclaim that God is judging the world and to escape we must repent immediately.

Sinners should repent and I pray that they do. Believers—those who already repented and are born again—should always maintain a humble heart knowing that it is God’s grace which makes us who we are.

That being said we are living in the New Testament after Christ came. Let’s take a look at what Jesus said about God judging the world now.

“For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” John 12:47 ESV

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”
‭‭John‬ ‭12:48‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭22:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭12:49-50‬ ‭ESV‬‬

So let’s summarize what Jesus said: 1. God is judging no one. 2. God gave all judgment and authority to His son, Jesus. 3. Jesus came to earth to save the world (through His sacrifice and resurrection), not to judge it. 4. Judgment is coming and it is Christ’s word that will judge those who reject Him. 5. Jesus spoke on the authority given to Him by God—His Words are God’s Words.

God is not judging the world. In the Old Testament after the law, He judged sin. We are no longer the law. We have a new and better covenant. (Hebrews 8:6, 12:24)

This prevalent teaching that God is judging the world through disease, pain, sickness, disaster, etc. is false teaching. Jesus predicted false teaching would come through false teachers and prophets. Paul, Peter, and John also warned us this would happen. (2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 4:1, Matthew 7:15, 2 John 7:1-10)

To avoid being deceived by this false teaching, we need to be studying the Word with diligence and we better be checking all teaching against the scriptures as a whole just as passionately as the Bereans did with Paul. (Acts 17:11)

The scriptures are being played out before our very eyes and if there is any time in history that we need to know them backwards and forwards and pray for understanding, it is now!

Don’t rely on me or any other person for the truth. My prayer is that through this post and all my posts that you would, please, study the scriptures for yourself and pray, pray, pray with a teachable heart. God will not fail you. He has given you His very Word and sent the Holy Spirit to help you understand it. (John 14:26) I plead with you to not take it for granted. It will change your life now and for eternity.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
John‬ ‭14:26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Great Patience & Perfect Love

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 KJV

In the Bible Study that I have in my home, we are studying end time prophecy in Daniel and Revelation and as I was preparing for this week, I was overcome. Along with details about the things to take place in the future, I am learning so much more.

I am learning that the study of end time prophecy in Daniel and Revelation is much more than a timeline or even a warning. It is comfort. It vividly shows us the extent of God’s plan to redeem His creation from the sin of the fall in the Garden of Eden. It is a glimpse of the end of this earthly story. Yet, this end is just the glorious beginning for all who choose Him.

It is astounding that our Creator knew it all before the foundation of the world and has gone to incomprehensible lengths to make a people for Himself—a people to love, to commune with, and to rule and reign with Him. The scripture from Genesis to Revelation is a picture of love and justice. A picture that drives me to my knees in gratitude, in worship, and in surrender.

So, I ask you. Where are you in that picture?

Believe on Him and be saved. Abide in Him and find strength to endure and victory in the battle.

Study it for yourself and take hope in His great plan that is bathed in patience and absolute perfect love.

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12 KJV

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First The Natural, Then The Supernatural

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:13 KJV

The Bible is full of types and shadows. God first shows us the natural…and then the supernatural. Let’s look at one place in the scriptures where He does this.

The Gospel in Exodus 12

First the natural: God warned His people that judgment was coming to Egypt (a type of sin) through the death angel and He told them how to escape.

He instructed them to take a spotless lamb without blemish and to sacrifice it on the 14th day. He said to roast it with fire and eat all of it, leaving nothing remaining. And they were to eat it in haste with their loins girded, shoes on and staff in hand ready to go. They were to cover the doors of their homes with the lamb’s blood. When the judgment came, those with their homes covered by the blood of the spotless lamb would be passed over.

Now the supernatural: Through many prophets and through His Son, God has warned us that judgment is coming and how we can be spared.

Jesus, the sinless, spotless Lamb, was sacrificed on the 14th day of the month of Nisan. He descended into the fiery pits of hell and defeated death for us. We must take ALL of Jesus and we must choose Him now, with haste as the days of the rapture and judgment near. We must be ready to go, dressed with truth, the gospel of peace, full of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God (see Ephesians 6) and we must cover ourselves with the blood of the spotless Lamb. Only then will we escape the judgment of sin.

Now is the day to choose Him—-and be ready. He is coming soon!

He which testifieth these things saith, “Surely, I come quickly.” Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20 KJV

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He Prolongs Grace

Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the heat of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by Him. The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him. Nahum 1:6-7 ESV

In the Garden of Eden God made it clear that there was a choice between obedience and sin.

The sin of disobedience brought a penalty. Yet, throughout the Old Testament God would show much grace through the repeated calls of repentance by His prophets and watchmen. He gave people many opportunities to turn from disobedience back to Him. But once they had made their choice to remain in their sin, He–the just judge–sent the just punishment.

The good news of the gospel is that when Christ came, He took all of the punishment, so God no longer is judging sin and carrying out the penalty on people. For now we have a choice. God is still prolonging grace–over 2000 years of grace. He calls and He waits. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and the day will come when He, still the just judge, will send the deserved sentence for sin and the consequences will rain.

But not yet…He is prolonging grace.

He is calling sinners to repent. It is the day of salvation.

He is offering His righteousness through His own Son.

Choose Him and choose freedom.

There is nothing on this earth worth holding on to. He is calling you….Come home.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV

Our Hope Was Born In Bethlehem

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.‘” Matthew 1:20-21 ESV

God’s great plan that had been in motion from the foundation of the world provided for us the only way for redemption.

We must never forget that without Jesus, we are lost. Every human born into this world is born with a debt that must be paid. That sin that has come down from every human father to child in every generation since Adam. We are, by default, debtors. If you doubt that, take an honest look and you will see evidence of sin–pain, fear, doubt, hurt, shame, self-centeredness, pride. This sin debt must be paid. We must pay it ourselves or have an innocent man pay it for us. The only innocent man untouched by Adam’s sin is Jesus–God in the flesh. He had was born without sin and lived a sinless life. Without His own sin debt, He chose to pay for ours. (“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Had Jesus not come to earth, we would all be doomed to pay for our own sin. We would all be destined to hell. (Romans 6:23)

His coming to earth and paying for our sin debt is our only hope.

Our only hope was born in Bethlehem that day.

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV

What We Believe Matters

My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge...” Hosea 4:6 ESV

Many people have major misconceptions about God because they form their beliefs off of their own emotions because of their life experiences, what they see in the world, what they hear at church, what they read in Christian books, Christian devotionals, what their family says, what’s posted on Facebook or other social media. They go everywhere for answers except the Bible and when they do, many go into it with preconceived notions, a stubborn heart and ignore the scriptures that they don’t understand or don’t agree with. They interpret it with an earthly mindset even though the Bible says the the scripture is spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14—“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”)

It doesn’t make any sense to form your beliefs of a book that you barely know for yourself. I did this in the past and it is a huge mistake.

Our beliefs determine how we think and our lives go the way of our thoughts because we make decisions based on our thought patterns.

What we believe matters. It determines how we deal with circumstances beyond our control and it affects the decisions we make and there is no escaping the consequences of our decisions—good or bad.

If you want a different life, take a look at your beliefs. Do they line up with all of the scripture—(for this is God’s inspired Word and message to us)? If they don’t, seek Him for an understanding of the Bible. Give up your “me-time” and study the Word He has given directly to you. You do not need a go-between person you and Him. (Jeremiah 33:34, John 14:26—“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”)

If you really want to have an understanding of the Bible take the time to study it with a teachable heart. He knows your heart and if you want the truth, He will never fail to show it to you (Luke 16:15). 💗

Secondhand Knowledge

and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” 1 Timothy 2:14 ESV

God daily walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He talked with them face to face. They had a personal relationship with Him. They had no sin nature. They were made perfect and still, they sinned.

Satan tempted Eve into sin by getting her to question God’s command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why did it seem so easy for her to question God and become ensnared by Satan’s lies?

Genesis 3:3 has the answer.

And the woman said not the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.‘” Genesis 3:2-3 ESV (my emphasis)

Eve misquoted God. In Genesis 2:17, God said “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” God said nothing about touching the tree–only about eating from it.

Eve had not been created when God gave that command to Adam and so, as far as we can tell, she got that information secondhand from her husband.

There is a great lesson in this for us.

Deception now is so great. False teachers abound. Misquoted scriptures flood social media and many peoples knowledge of God depends on what they learn from others. It does not matter what people say with their opinions and beliefs. Christian books are not the answer. Christian blogs are not the answer. Even a trusted believer with a strong relationship with God to mentor you is not the answer.

You must get to know God for yourself.

Secondhand knowledge will lead you into deception.

We are fortunate to have the scriptures before us and thousands of years of history showing us what God has done in His plan to redeem humanity. The apostles, the early church, and those Old Testament men and women of faith did not have what we have.

God’s actual living, Holy Spirit inspired Word is within our reach every moment of the day. Take time to study it in detail. Take time to pray and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you and help you understand it (John 14:26).

Do not rely on secondhand knowledge. Doing so will make you vulnerable to deception and lead you into sin and the price will be higher than you want to pay.

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This Is Good News

So with many other exhortations he preached the good news to the people.” Luke 3:18 ESV

What news was John the Baptist preaching that Luke said was good?

John answered them all saying, “I baptize you with water but He who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” Luke 3:16 & 17 ESV

Verse 17 is quoted often and how thankful we are for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire, but there was more good news that John the Baptist was preaching. In the often overlooked verse 18, he said Christ would do more than baptize us with the Holy Spirit.

John’s good news was that Christ came to divide.

Jesus confirmed this when He came. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34 ESV

This is good news for those who love Him and have surrendered their life to Him. We will be gathered for good and we will not have to live in eternity with the pain that sin and the rejection of Christ brings. We will safely enter heaven in peace with joy. Every tear will be wiped away. (Revelation 21:4)

For the unbelievers–those who reject Christ and put themselves on the throne of their lives, their end will be the burning, eternal pain of separation from God in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

Yet, in a day when much preaching is tickling our ears and making us feel good, we struggle to hear the things that challenge us. It is hard to hear the truth. John’s good news was that Christ came to divide. This means we have a choice. We choose Him, take up our cross (Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23, Mark 8:34) and walk the difficult and rewarding path OR we reject Him, choose ourselves, and face the bitter end as chaff to be burned.

It is easier to walk the path of the world and do what pleases our flesh. But the consequences are dire. We suffer on earth and we will suffer in eternity if we choose this path. But it is easier to give into our carnal desires, to follow the crowd, to avoid the truth.

Facing the truth is painful, so it takes courage. The truth stands strong in front of our pride and makes us see ourselves for who we really are, not what we think we are or what we want to be.

We strive to be self-sufficient, to protect ourselves from pain and this makes it difficult to accept the fact that without Christ, we are NOT good people. At our core, we are self-centered, ungodly people and we cannot make ourselves into this great, kind, wonderful, giving, selfless person that we really want to be. We can change some actions and try to make ourselves look good. We can even convince others that we are wonderful people, but we know deep down who we are. If we are willing to be honest with ourselves, we know that we cannot take those selfish thoughts, unkind, wrong desires and make them go away on our own.

We cannot save ourselves. We need someone to save us (Romans 3:23). And the beauty of God is that Christ knows the awful state we are without Him and He loves us anyway. He suffered more than we can imagine to offer us a way to be free from all the stuff we cannot free ourselves from.

All we have to do is surrender it all to Him. Not say a little prayer, do some good deeds, go to church, have Christian friends, etc…We have to surrender our life, our wants our choices, our will, our plan, our purpose to Him. We cannot walk between this world and His world. “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself a enemy of God.” James 4:4 ESV

This is the truth.

The truth is hard. It is hard to lay down your pride. It is hard to fall on your face before God in tears of repentance. It is hard to be vulnerable. But this is exactly what you must do. The reward is inexplicable peace of mind regardless of the storm around you. The reward is a life without worrying about tomorrow and the cares that it brings. The reward is having the strength through Him to let go of all of those things that make us slaves to pain, worry and stress. The reward is standing on the threshing floor and being gathered by our loving Father to live in eternal bliss forever.

Please choose Him. Do not choose to be the chaff. Do not choose the path that leads to destruction simply because you do not want the pain of the truth today.

My mother said these wise words to me many times, “If it is easy, it isn’t the right thing.” The right thing pushes us, challenges us, grows us, and with Jesus—It frees us.

Why are you hanging on to a life that is killing you? Fall on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ and be broken. You will never regret it.

And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone it will crush him.” Matthew 21:44 ESV

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Grace, Faith, and The Church Today

The church today is losing and here’s why.

Christians are just as sick, just as tired, just as depressed, and struggling just as much as unbelievers. All that we have presented to the world is eternal hope but we haven’t given them a lot of help for today—for this life on earth. The church today isn’t presenting victory not the victory that Jesus talked about, not the victory that He offered to us— victory here, now. Victory that inspires us, spurs us on and lights a fire with us that leads us to a better life and helps us lead others to a better life here and in eternity. The church today isn’t bold and strong. The church today has become tired and defeated and though we look energetic and put on a good face for social media, we are dying inside.

Our lack of victory has relegated us to looking to Hollywood for inspiration and we now mimic their methods of entertaining us and with a scripture and some religious lingo, it now looks like we have something we can offer. Yet…as churches grow in number, we have become what we always criticized….religious. We cannot offer to others what we do not have ourselves. There is no depth…no anchor. When life’s battles come, will we fare better than the rest of the secular world…? No…There is no evidence that we are faring better…Battles have come and we are still suffering. Death, illness, depression…Many ask, when will we see the victory Christ promised?

Since the church can’t offer the world what it needs now, we’ve had to change. We’ve had to adapt the world. We’ve had to find something to offer them to keep our doors open, so we chose to become like the world and we justify it by saying “by being like them, they will become like us.” This doesn’t even make sense and it’s not a principle that we would teach our children. We would never teach them to look around and do what everyone else is doing….We would never teach them to succumb to peer pressure, but instead to be different, to stand out. So, what are we doing and how did we get to this point?

The legalistic church has mixed the old and new covenants and are so busy working their way to heaven or into God’s good graces that they have no time for God—They are too distracted by man-made religion. (Mark 7:9, 13) They cannot obey Jesus’ command to go into the world and make disciples, heal the sick, and raise the dead (Matthew 10:8). They cannot access the power that Jesus left them through the Holy Spirit  (2 Timothy 3:5). They are just trying to stay afloat in the sea of rules and regulations. The sin of pride.

The grace church has been so focused on God’s grace that they, too, have been distracted from the full gospel of Jesus Christ. They, too, cannot access the power (2 Timothy 3:5) left them because in the guise of freedom, they have become like the Nicolaitans of old (Revelations 2:6, 15) and are too busy enjoying the pleasures of “sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25) and suffering from the consequences of a life filled with sin the rest of the time (Romans 6:16, Galatians 6:7-8). Yet still, the sin of pride.

If we want victory in this life and the next, we must come to end of ourselves (Luke 9:23-24; Matthew 16:24). We must decide that knowing God and His Word is the most important thing in our lives. We must decide that our opinion of what He said is unimportant (Romans 3:4). We must let go of everything that we have been taught, everything that we have believed and everything that we want to believe and choose to do as Paul did (Galatians 1:16)—lay ourselves out before God-and commit all that we have and all that we are to Him. He will teach us all we need to know if we are focused on Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17). A life focused on Him is full of faith, studying His Word and denying our flesh. Doing so requires a sacrifice of our empty pleasures, our “me-time.” But the price is so little compared to what Jesus Christ paid in becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

We have a job to do and we have great power and victory to share, if only we would take a hold of it for ourselves.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:57‬ ‭ESV‬‬