The Result of Abiding in Christ, An Examination of John 15:1-8

John 15:1-8

1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Our Excerpt today is from F.B. Hole’s “Commentary on John” published in 1947.

The surest proof that we are in Christ is that we abide in Christ; and the surest proof that we abide in Christ is that we produce fruit in life and service, the very character and ways of Christ coming out in us. Without Him we can do nothing. Abiding in Him there is much fruit; we are brought into communion with His mind so that we ask with liberty and have our desires granted, the Father is glorified, and our discipleship is proved genuine beyond all question.

It is a great privilege, as well as a great responsibility, to be left on earth to bear fruit; it is even a greater privilege to know ourselves to be the objects of Divine Love. The love of Jesus rested upon these disciples—and upon us also—just as the Father’s love rested upon Himself. In the knowledge, the consciousness, the enjoyment of His love we are to abide. This abiding is maintained by obedience to His commandments.

Words of Grace for Strength

The idea of “abiding in Christ” that we find in this passage is explained by the understanding that it is the Word of God (Jesus is the Word, See John 1:1-5), that is being spoken of. Abiding in the Word means living by the truths and doctrines of the Word. This takes place when the Word has taken deep root in the life of the disciple of Jesus Christ. He has a true affection for the Word, the Word is truly food for his soul. When the disciple of Jesus abides in the Word, he is able to know it, understand it, teach it, and stand fast in it.

This passage establishes this truth, abiding in Christ ensures fruitfulness. There is a general truth stated here when Christ says; “I am the vine.” But, it becomes personal to the disciple when Christ says; “you are the branches” because it brings each individual disciple into a connection with Christ. So now, the truth is made definite and becomes a personal application when we continue to examine His statement in verse 5; “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.”

Jesus is not merely setting forth a law here, but instead is giving a promise that will be completed in the disciple by the action of Jesus Christ Himself. Notice when Christ is speaking of bearing fruit here, He says “much fruit.” The inference here is that as disciples we are not to be satisfied with a little fruit or immature fruit or shriveled up fruit. Instead, by abiding in Christ, the fruit we bear is plentiful, lush, sweet, and mature. In other words, abiding in Christ will produce in the disciple, a character rich in the manifold graces of God which bears fruit. Indeed, those branches that are fruitless are taken away by the Father as the vinedresser in order to preserve the health of the fruitful vine, those that bear fruit are pruned, tended with loving care, so as to allow even more fruit bearing as one grows more fruitful in Christ in one’s walking in faith with Him as a growing disciple.

So this union of the disciple with Christ as he abides in Christ produces fruitfulness which in the end glorifies God and increases growth in the disciple. Christ’s life is all about glorifying God, our lives also should be all about glorifying God. For our lives are not our own if we have truly given them to God when we accepted His gift of Salvation. A mature, fruitful branch within the vine is now part of the vine, no distinction can be made of it as separate and apart from the vine itself, they grow as one.

Abiding in Christ means we are “In Christ” becoming every day more like Christ as His disciples. This discipleship will only be completed at the point in time we are ushered into the physical presence of Jesus Christ. As we live here in our earthly bodies we are in the continual process of becoming, His true disciples and servants.

If we bear much fruit because we are abiding in Him, the bearing of fruit will cause us to grow closer to him and be more of a disciple, which in turn will cause us to bear more fruit. Discipleship in Christ produces character, and character produces conduct which rests not on the character of the disciple, but in the character of Jesus Christ. When Christ’s Word abides in us it is more than intellectual understanding or acceptance of His Word, it means the whole consciousness of our very being is saturated with His desires, His affections, His understanding, in other words we have surrendered our will to His Will.

This brings us then to verse 7. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” This must be understood not of temporal things, such as riches or honors, profit, pleasure, or anything that the natural man might desire, but of things spiritual which are limited by the restriction that what is promised, is as according to the Will of God. Christ in His earthly ministry cared little for physical comforts as long as physical needs were met. The true focus was on the spiritual needs and growth of those who had chosen to follow Him, for God is spirit, and will be with us in spirit and in love.

When we look back to verse 3, we find the phrase “because of the word” which tells us how the working of the word is what has made us clean. Verse 4 then says “abide in Me, and I in you” and warns that we cannot bear fruit unless the disciple will “abide in Me.” Now in verse 7, again we read; “if you abide in Me, My words abide in you” which is significant in that it illustrates a position of obedience in the life of the disciple. “I in you” demonstrates that we are possessed of Christ, while “my words abide in you” demonstrates action on the part of the disciple to be a disciple.

In other words, the disciple has completely given his will to the Will of God. In doing so, the disciple’s will is no longer his own, but instead is God’s Will, what the disciple desires, or asks for is what God desires for the disciple to receive. In Verse 8 we are given the key to understanding this whole passage; “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” It is all about the fruit! Our prayers should always reflect God’s Will for us. What we should desire, what we should ask for, is to bear “much fruit” and in doings so we are accomplishing the Will of God in our lives, and are becoming His disciples. A fruitful branch grows deeper into the vine (the Son), is tended carefully by the vinedresser (the Father) and lives to produce fruit by the indwelling of God within us (the Spirit).

Become His disciple and bear fruit!

Lord Change Me!

“Nevertheless when he shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18)

We spend far too much time praying, “God, change my circumstances…change my coworkers…change my family situation…change the conditions in my life…” Yet we seldom pray this most important prayer: “Change me, Lord. The real trouble isn’t my spouse, my sibling, my friend. I’m the one who stands in need of prayer.”

God orchestrates the steps and lives of all of his children. He doesn’t allow anything to happen to us merely by happenstance or fate. And that means he has allowed your crisis. What is he trying to tell you through it? He’s saying you need to change.
Like it or not, we’re all in the process of changing, in one way or another. In the spiritual realm, there is no such thing as mere existence; we’re continually being changed, either for good or for bad. We’re either becoming more like our Lord or more like the world — either growing in Christ or backsliding.

So, are you becoming more sweet-spirited, like Jesus? Are you looking soberly in the mirror each day and praying, “Lord, I want to conform to your image in every area of my life”? Or has your bitterness taken root, turning into rebellion and hardness of heart? Have you learned to shield yourself from the convicting word of God and the voice of his Spirit?

If this describes you, let me tell you plainly: You will never receive deliverance unless you change. Your life will only become more chaotic, and your situation will worsen. Stop building your case, pointing your finger, justifying yourself. God won’t meet you until you wake up and admit, “Nothing is going to change for me, unless I’m changed.”

Excerpted from the Message; “Change Me O’ Lord” by David Wilkerson 1999

Words of Grace for Strength

Many Christians have encountered problems in their walk with Christ and therefore their relationships with others because they have failed to understand the process of sanctification in their lives. When we accept Christ as our Savior we are justified before God through the blood of Christ at Calvary. But, the Christian’s journey has only just begun at the cross. Sanctification is an ongoing process of change which the believer in Christ must be continually working at as he strives to be more Christ-like.

Let us always remember the world we are called out of when we answered the call of our Lord. It is a world centered in self-absorption, self-gratification, and self-importance. In our sin nature, with which we struggle as we move through our sanctification, we are likely to find vestiges of this self-worth clinging to us still. It might seem at times quite natural to pray for the Lord to change others instead of ourselves. For as we are still coming to terms with who we are to be in Christ, that easy road will seem more appealing if one is not centered in Christ.

Too often, the new Christian is not properly discipled in sanctification. This causes almost immediate stagnation and often frustration for the new believer because they think all of their problems should have been put behind them when they turned to Christ. They believe everyone and everything around them should be changed, when the reality is they should be still crying out to God to change them.

It is the responsibility of every Christian to be a disciple and a discipler of others. As we grow in Christ we learn to say “Lord change ME” rather than “they need to change.” Only when we have yielded our will to God’s will and therefore experience the freedom of the process of sanctification and change, are we able to effectively disciple others into change.

The process of sanctification involves a daily structured Bible study, a disciplined prayer life, and submitting yourself in a relationship of discipleship with a more mature Christian (a Christian who, although more mature than you, should also be seeking and submitting in a relationship to a Christian who has walked the road to a point of more mature sanctification). These three elements of growing in a sanctified life should never change as we go through life, a process that continues until we are called home by Jesus. Realizing the day in which we live is chaotic and filled with trials for the follower of Christ, nevertheless we can and must grow and change more into His likeness every day to reach others with the Gospel.

Time is short! Lord Change Me!

Just Living!

Some of my fondest memories, are of driving from one cow pasture to another, or from one farm or ranch to another with my grandfather and a car full of boys, my cousins. Wherever we were going, it seems we were always singing. God had blessed all of us boys with good voices and a natural aptitude for harmony. However that was not the case for our grandfather. My grandfather, R. H. Marlin, could not carry a tune in an oil tanker, but he loved to sing and did so at the top of his lungs. Some of his favorite hymns were; “Heaven Came down,” “When the Roll Is Called up Yonder,” and “Living by Faith.” As I consider his life, and the lessons I learned from it, I believe these three hymns sum it up pretty well. Having accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, heaven had come down to fill his soul; and he knew because of this, that when the roll is called, his name will be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But, of real significance to me, is the fact that he truly lived his life by faith. If I close my eyes and let my mind drift back, even now I can see the index finger of his right hand keeping time as his craggy voice sang;

I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know rules o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.

I’m Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arms,
I’m living by faith and I feel no alarm.                 Wells and Winsett 1918

Living by faith is; “Just Living.”

Now over the next few paragraphs I’d like to expand on that statement. But first let me say, I love words, or more to the point semantics, and so as we expand on the statement; “just living,” I hope we will find in it, two meanings as it relates to faith in the daily life of a Christian.

What is faith?

In Hebrews 11:1 we find this statement written; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So faith is based on substance and evidence and not on emotion. Faith is acting on what you believe to be true, not what you feel to be true. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we find written; “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” So then, walking or living by faith is the opposite of trusting what we see, hear, or feel (physically or emotionally). True faith, is to express belief in God who gives us faith (Romans 12:3), in Jesus Christ as the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and His Holy Spirit who keeps us in faith (2 Timothy 1: 13-14).

Faith is the pathway God has set before us, to bring us salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. Because of His great mercy and love for us, we receive faith from Him in the form of a gift. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9)

The fact that we are justified in the sight of God by the faith which He gives us, is explained by the apostle Paul in Romans 5:1-2; “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” And in his letter to the Galatians; “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)

Because we have been gifted with faith by God, it should be clear that we can do nothing to earn either grace or faith, that we have received them because of Christ’s finished work on the cross. Only by faith in Christ can we be made righteous (Romans 5:19; Galatians 2:16) and John wrote in his gospel; “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). True faith in Jesus Christ involves more than just believing in His existence, it is believing that His atoning work on the cross is sufficient payment for our sin debt.

Positionally, the risen Christ Jesus is our Savior, and therefore is the object of our faith as we develop a personal relationship with Him. We are brought to faith through the work of the Holy Spirit who acts on behalf of Christ. He originates the process of faith in us by convicting us of our sins (John 16:7-10), and draws us to the Savior regenerating our unbelieving hearts. If you are truly a believer in Jesus Christ, then positionally you are in Christ, and if you are in Christ, then you have been given the gift of faith by God. You have been saved by faith.

The Bible, God’s Word, has been given to us as the instrument of our faith. It is the tool which God uses to establish, build, and strengthen our faith and within its pages we find everything which “pertains to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1-3). Paul wrote to the church at Rome; “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The Holy Spirit uses the word of God to convict man of sin and bring them to faith in Christ (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18). In the parable of the Sower (Luke 8:5-15) Jesus compares the Word of God to a seed which germinates into faith. And the psalmist writes that the Word is a lamp and light to keep him on the path of righteousness (Psalm 119:115).

Living by faith

Three times in the New Testament (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38) we find this phrase from Habakkuk 2:4 quoted; “the just shall live by faith.” Habakkuk is making the point that only man who is just in the sight of God, can and will live by faith. The three New Testament passages are repeating the same thought. So who are the just? They are those who have been made righteous by the faith which God has given them in Christ Jesus, they have been justified by God through faith (Romans 1:12; Romans 3:28; Romans 5:1, 19; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:11, 24).

Living by faith is what Christian life is really all about, placing our complete trust in God to supply and meet our every need. Truly living by faith will take our lives out of the realm of the ordinary world into the realm of the extraordinary, supernatural world.

At one point the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, but Jesus told His disciples that if they had faith the size of a grain of mustard seed, they could tell a sycamore tree to replant itself into the sea and it would obey, or they could tell a mountain to move from one place to another and it would (Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:5-6). The lesson wasn’t that they needed more faith, but that they needed to exercise the faith which they already had. If they would do so their faith would grow.

Living by faith moves beyond merely believing in God, to having complete trust in Him to accomplish everything He has promised in our lives. This faith is essential for the Christian life, for without it we cannot please Him and certainly won’t receive His promised rewards (Hebrews 11:6). He promised if we ask we will receive (Matthew 7:7; John 14:14), and He tells us to ask in faith believing without fear (James 1:6).

Living by faith is standing on God’s honor and integrity, and acting on His promises to us, learning to trust Him in every part of our life. Living by faith involves believing that absolutely every bit of God’s Word is truth, and that in it we find everything we need for life, knowing that God has given it to us for that reason.

Living by faith is a lifelong process of spiritual growth and sanctification, which draws us ever closer to God the Father through our relationship with Jesus Christ, empowered by His Holy Spirit. God desires each of us to be living a life of faith, to be in that process, and that can happen when we quit doubting Him and trusting in ourselves. Imagine how much might be accomplished for the cause of Christ in these last days if we would simply trust God, live by faith, and let Him live through us.

How do we accomplish this?

Read the Word! Study it! Memorize it! Pray over it! Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you understanding and teach you the precepts found within it!

Pray for wisdom! Pray for boldness to share the Word! Pray for God to show you His Will for your life! Pray for Him to give you strength to accomplish it!

Be a disciple, find someone who is living by faith and ask them to disciple you! Learn to disciple others yourself! Get involved in a local church which is teaching the Word of God and the Word of God only! Surround yourself with friends who also desire to live by faith!

Living by faith is not for the faint hearted or those weak in character, but it is for those who realize that strength and character come from God, and that living by faith, is living in complete dependence upon God. Living by faith is something that only can be accomplished with the strength and power of God in your life, surrendering your will to His Will. Living by faith is truly life in Christ, and for the Christian, it really is; “just living.”

Just living = having been justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus!

Just living = what the normal life of a Christian is, when he is Living by Faith!

I’m Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arms,
I’m living by faith and I feel no alarm.

Yes grandpa, I was paying attention.

Our Lord’s Return ~ What Is Your Attitude? Part 4

Today we present our fourth study from Ruth Paxson’s writing on what the attitude of the believer should be toward our Lord’s return. We again present an excerpt from her book; Life on the Highest Plane, published in 1928.

Excerpt:

1 Thessalonians 1:10“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

1 Corinthians 1:7“So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Wait.” Let us not miss the sweetness of this precious truth by failing to apprehend the inwardness of its meaning. We have told some of the blessings that will come to the Christian through our Lord’s return, his resurrection from the dead or his translation without dying; his removal from the very presence of sin; his release from all bondage to self and to Satan; his reign with the Lord as co-heir of the Kingdom. Yes, all these and other blessings await us upon the coming of the Lord.

Yet the chiefest of all blessings will be missed if we stop here. What we wait for is not a blessing but a Person. We wait for God’s Son, our Savior; it is the Bridegroom, our Beloved, for whom we wait. He has promised to come for His own to receive them unto Himself. When He comes, we shall meet Him in the air; we shall see Him face-to-face; we shall be like Him; and we shall forever be with the Lord.

… Our Lord has gone away to prepare a place that we may be with Him forever. During His absence our hearts are comforted and cheered through His Word and we find precious companionship with Him in its study. But He promised to come back and, as we draw nearer and nearer to “the day of Christ” with hearts fixed intently upon this blessed hope, we wait for the Son Himself from heaven.

Words of Grace for Strength

For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night. – Psalm 90:4

One extremely important fact to remember when waiting upon the Lord, whether it is for an answer to a prayer, or for His Soon Return, is that the author of time views time differently from you and me. For He is outside of time, for He created time, and He controls time. Time may wait for no man, but time is answerable to our Lord, as is all Creation.

Paxson speaks of the blessing in waiting for a Person, and it is true that we await the return of our Lord and Savior more than we await the occurrence of an event. The sweetness of the wait is that in the fullness of His timing, His plans are perfect. We are waiting on His timing for His planned return; first for His Church, and a few short years later, to return to rule and reign over all the world. In doing so we get to experience that perfect moment, the one chosen by the Lord Almighty to enact that moment we so desire, that we are so anxious for.

Oh, how sweet that chiefest of blessings will be. We are so fortunate that absolutely nothing can rush that moment preordained in His plans and purposes; that moment which will be measured out in the fullness of His Will and in the fullness of His Time.

No matter how bad things are getting in this present time, we wait, secure in His sovereignty. No matter what is said or done, threatened or carried out, we wait, secure in His sovereignty. No matter what burdens are placed on us, or possessions taken away, we wait, secure in His sovereignty.

And always remember that while we wait, our Lord is not idle. A place is being prepared for each of us by Him as we wait. A place perfect to spend eternity in His presence. Who would want to rush the rapture, knowing we need wait until all is prepared for us as He has planned?

Remember also, neither should we be idle, for our Lord has called us to serve Him while we wait. His desire is for us to be evangelists and teachers and ministers and disciples who are making other disciples; living out our faith as examples of His grace in these last days. His desire is, that while we wait for His return for us, we should call the world to repentance in His Name, sharing the very fact of His grace and mercy available to all who will trust in His salvation; and of His coming judgment, which will follow His physical return to rule and reign.

We wait, for the Son to return from heaven. We wait, for our time in His time.

We wait, and blessed are we who wait for Him.

Read Part 1 here:

Read Part 2 here:

Read Part 3 here:

Read Part 5 here:

Read Part 6 here:

Read Part 7 here:

The Prayer of the Contrite Heart ~ Psalm 51

This psalm is a ladder which climbs from the horrible pit, with its miry clay, into the heights of sunny joy, where the song breaks from the forgiven penitent. Here is the cry of the lost sheep which has been torn by briers, harried by wild dogs, drenched in the morass, but which the shepherd has found and brought home rejoicing. This path has been worn by myriads of penitents. Psalm 51:17 was written on the wall of St. Augustine’s cell.

There is no doubt as to the occasion or the authorship of this psalm. It abounds in references to 2 Samuel 11:1-27; 2 Samuel 12:1-31. It is remarkable that such a confession should have been handed to the chief musician; but the publicity thus given has made it a means of grace to myriads. Note the epithets for sin: transgression, “the violation of law;” iniquity, “crookedness from the straight line of rectitude;” sin, “missing the mark.” However much God longs to forgive, He cannot, until confession is made. We must acknowledge our lapse from virtue! Blot out, as from a record; wash, as foul stains from linen; cleanse, as a leper by the touch of Christ. Our only plea is the multitude of God’s tender mercies.

It is not enough to be forgiven; the true penitent longs to be kept from breaking out into the old sins. He desires a clean heart that abhors the least taint of sin; a right or steadfast spirit, influenced by God’s Holy Spirit, and therefore a willing spirit as well. Then shall follow the joy of salvation, success in soul-winning, humility of soul, the blessing of Zion, and the up building of the Church. What glorious results are these-like the fair colors extracted from coal-tar!

There are no sacrifices so dear to God as broken hearts; no offerings so precious as contrite spirits. It would be impossible to compute all the walls that have been built; all the Jerusalem’s, that have been blessed, all the congregations that have been moved, all the revivals that have resulted because sinful men and women have been loved back from the pit of corruption and reinstated into the clear shining of God’s forgiveness and favor. Do not be content with forgiveness; seek restoration to the old place and then strive for a better.

Excerpted from “Through the Bible Day by Day” by F.B. Meyer 1914

Often, Andy and I collaborate on this Post we call “Words of Grace for Strength.” Today, I hope you will allow me to use it for a bit of personal reflection. The excerpt above is of course Meyer’s commentary on Psalm 51 in which King David made full confession of his sin with Bathsheba, and having done so pleaded with God for forgiveness, restoration and renewed usefulness. I am in complete agreement with Meyer as to his “title” of the Psalm, “The Prayer of the Contrite Heart” for it truly speaks of one who has recognized a need to place oneself in the complete control of his Lord because of his own failures.

Many years ago I was encouraged by Dr. Jerry Chaney to learn to “Pray the Psalms of David in the attitude of their author.” Psalm 51 has become a prayer of brokenness for me. There was a time in my life when, like David, I believed because of God’s favor in my life that I could act with impunity as I saw fit. Unfortunately, while David’s rebellion against God’s authority lasted only one year, mine lasted close to twenty. But, when at last I had been completely broken by my own sin, I cried out to Him who had paid my sin debt, once again acknowledging Him as my Savior, my Lord, and my God; He forgave me. Now the period of time since my restoration exceeds the time of my rebellion and I truly desire to be used by God every day. There are times though, that I have been discouraged, times of weariness, times of impatience, times when I felt I was somehow unappreciated or ignored… but then I am lead back to Psalm 51, and here I find that all I need is to be right with Jesus… restoration is life lived for Christ!
Read this wonderful Psalm with me (the bold emphasis I have added as my petition to my Savior).

Psalm 51:1-19
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Is this your prayer today? Are you closer to Jesus Christ today than you were one year ago? Twenty years ago? Do you feel the presence of His Holy Spirit in your life? Do you still feel the Joy of your salvation? I must confess, I needed to read and pray this Psalm again today. Did you, Do you? Let us finish the Psalm.

13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.
18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

Friends, I need Jesus to forgive me daily for my failures, for my weakness, for my selfish pride, for sin which enters my thoughts and is displayed in my actions. And, I ask you to forgive me too…

I want to be used by my Savior in whatever way He chooses. As the old Hymn says, I have decided to follow Jesus, No turning back! How about You?

Tuck

The Condemnation of Israel as a Nation is Simply Hatred of the Jews!

Quite frankly, as a Preacher-Teacher of God’s Holy Word and a student of Biblical Eschatology, even though I am fully aware of End Time Prophecies and God’s plans for the Church, Israel, and the nations; I am sickened by the anti-Semitism which daily grows more virulent in the world. Merely one month ago I published an article entitled “Anti-Semitism, by any other name…” which established biblically Israel’s covenant right to exist in the land which God promised to them for eternity. I will not here repeat that article, but invite you to revisit it, or read it for the first time.

In response to what is now thousands of rockets fired on Israel and its citizens (since I published that article) by the terrorist organizations Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have made a military incursion into Gaza to eliminate that continued threat. In the most unusual display of humanitarianism in the annals of warfare, the IDF announced by telephone, and leaflets, where their airstrikes would take place, and since the incursion, have repeatedly warned civilians and non-combatants to move away from the areas of attack. Hamas however has given no such warnings of their rocket attacks on the citizens of Israel, and continually use their own women and children as human shields. For this incursion in defense of its citizens and sovereignty, the Nation State of Israel is being vilified around the world.

In just the past few days, rioting and anti-Jewish protests have risen in cities all across the world. In Europe rioting has taken place in cities in France (where synagogues have been attacked), Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Spain. These protests and riots have also shown up in such divergent places as Thailand and Indonesia. In Canada protests have been seen in Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, and have even resulted in violence in Calgary. In the United States, protesters have been in evidence in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, New Orleans, and in Boston Jews were physically assaulted. What is most alarming in all of these accounts, is that in every instance the vitriol has gone past a condemnation of Israel, to verbal and visual displays of hatred for Jewish people everywhere. Rather than death to Israel, chants of “kill the Jews, murder the Jews, gas the Jews,” are being heard in all of these protests. The only explanation for this is anti-Semitism.

On virtually every broadcast news channel and in almost every news publication, not only is anti-Semitism on display, it is in fact embraced and espoused by most of these organizations and their employees (I refuse to call them journalists because their bias is evident in their reports). They continually decry the casualties in Gaza (which now numbers near 800 and are the direct result of Hamas’s policy of using its own people as human shields) while ignoring the number of rockets fired into Israel by the terrorists. They also ignore the fact that since the incursion began, every opportunity which has been offered to Hamas for a cessation of hostilities has been rejected by the terrorist organization. The truth of the matter is, they believe that as more of their own people are killed (which is in truth is a result of their own actions), a sympathetic press, the UN and anti-Israel governments will eventually compel Israel to acquiesce to their demands.

One of the most troubling things to me about the reaction of these so-called news organizations, the United Nations, and others who are condemning Israel for the deaths of the nearly 800 Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, is the fact that somehow the deaths of thousands of Muslim Arabs as well as Christian Arabs at the hands of other Islamists does not meet with the same condemnation. In Syria over 150,000 Muslims have died at the hands of other Muslims, in Iraq thousands of Muslims and Christians have died at the hands of Muslims, in Libya thousands of Muslims have died at the hands of Muslims, in Mali thousands are dying at the hands of Muslim extremists, in Nigeria the Boko Haram have murdered thousands of Nigerian Muslims and Christians. Beyond the actions of Muslims, consider the fact that in North Korea thousands have been put to death by that communist regime, or that China continues to eradicate the ethnic Tibetans, or that ethnic cleansing continues in the Central African Republic and Burma, or that in Mexico, on the US’s southern border, well over 100,000 have been murdered by the drug cartels.

Why are all of these not met with the same outrage as is displayed toward Israel? Unfortunately I know the answer, it is because they are Jews. The fact of the matter is this, through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Psalm 105:7-11) whom, by the way, God renamed Israel, God chose Israel to be the people through which He would offer redemption and blessing to every person in every nation of the world. Along with that fact is the truth that because of this, Satan hates the Jews.

I hope that this article, as well as my other article on anti-Semitism, will serve as a warning to everyone who reads them. If any individual, any news organization or other business, any religion, any nation, and especially anyone who identifies themselves as a “Christian” speaks in condemnation of God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel, they need to understand they face God’s judgment and wrath.

Study God’s Word, God’s Word is Truth, and today we are living in a time in which His revealed prophecy can be understood by those who diligently seek His wisdom. For those of us who study these things it is clear; now the end begins!

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome

What The Meek Do Inherit

The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, more important than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the kingdom of their Father. He is willing to wait for that day.

In the meantime, he will have attained a place of soul rest. As he walks on in meekness he will be happy to let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace meekness brings.

Then also he will get deliverance from the burden of pretense. By this I mean not hypocrisy, but the common human desire to put the best foot forward and hide from the world our real inward poverty. For sin has played many evil tricks upon us, and one has been the infusing into us of a false sense of shame. There is hardly a man or woman who dares to be just what he or she is without doctoring up the impression. The fear of being found out gnaws like rodents within their hearts. The man of culture is haunted by the fear that he will someday come upon a man more cultured than himself. The learned man fears to meet a man more learned than he. The rich man sweats under the fear that his clothes or his car or his house will sometime be made to look cheap by comparison with those of another rich man. So-called “society” runs by a motivation not higher than this, and the poorer classes on their level are little better.

Excerpted from A. W. Tozer -The Pursuit of God (1948)

Words of grace for Strength:

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

The world looks at the meek person as a fool, yet one who is meek in the Lord is strong and wise in God’s eyes, and has achieved a level of peace and inner calmness that is lost to, and frankly incomprehensible, to the world at large; because the world confuses meekness with weakness. Matthew 5:5 has Jesus proclaiming the blessedness of the meek and their inheritance of the earth. Imagine the freedom of placing all of our cares and concerns at the feet of our Lord, and caring only to hear from Him one day “Well done, good and faithful servant” Matthew 25:21. Imagine the freedom of being able to ignore the taunts and jeers, the “tsk, tsk, tsking” of neighbors and colleagues, of even possibly family and friends, knowing your strength, security and salvation is sealed in the Lord. What power, what freedom! And you can well imagine how agitated it will make those lovers of the world to see and know you have rejected their value structure, you believe worthless what the world holds dear and is willing to pay the greatest price to get, the turning from and defiance of a Holy God. We will inherit the earth one day as we rule with Him at His Second Coming, but for now our inheritance is that the earth is powerless in its hold on us, if we are in Christ.

Meekness is power and strength under control; it is living a disciplined life under the control of the Holy Spirit. Our example is our Lord Jesus, He who has at His fingertips the ability to create worlds and destroy worlds, because He as the Son of Man is still the Son of God, and therefore is; Very God. When we read the passages which describe the torturous beatings and scourging He endured during the trial before His crucifixion, when we read of the scorn and cursing He endured, and then read how after all of this He is compelled to carry His own cross up the Via Dolorosa to Calvary, and then we read how they nailed Him to that cross, and hung Him there between heaven and earth to die.  Nowhere in the Scripture is it recorded that He begged for relief, nowhere in the Scripture is it recorded that He cried out declaring His guiltlessness, nowhere in the Scripture is it recorded that He showed any weakness, but throughout the entire time of His trial and crucifixion He was the perfect example of meekness. Jesus Christ who possessed all of the power in heaven and earth subjugated all of it to the will of His Father. Meekness is not weakness, but instead is subjugating our will to the will of our Father in heaven in the understanding that any power or strength that we may have come solely from Him, and that He in our meekness will enable us to endure anything, all things, for the cause of Christ; because we are in Christ.

We of the True Church, His Remnant Church, have that meekness at our command and at our fingertips if we just allow the Lord to work in our lives through His will. If we will enjoy and use that portion of the inheritance already realized, as we await the glorious inheritance to come, we can exemplify Christ like meekness. We will need that meekness as we move forward in a troubled world which is spinning more out of control daily. We will need it to face the onslaught of persecution that is coming our way. It may seem ironic that the very thing that will get us through those times, meekness in the Lord, is the very thing that may attract the attention and attack from a sinful and defiant world. It is not irony; it is God at work in us. For as He told His disciples; “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 and again He said; “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”  John 15:18-20

Friends in these Last Days we need to not only understand meekness, but to be examples of it, and we need to remember these words the Holy Spirit gave to Peter; “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17

Knowing that in displaying meekness, the strength and power given to us by Jesus Christ will enable us to endure whatever may be in store for us, until He comes for us. Patiently living disciplined obedient lives, we find no reason to be anxious because…

Jesus is Coming Soon!