Quote for 07/15/208

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.   John 15:5

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This is an echo of John 14:6 where Jesus tells us that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Yes, we understand that a branch disconnected from its roots dies. So, as branches of Jesus, grafted into Him through faith, we can be productive, we can bear the fruits of faith.

Many graft themselves into many other false “vines;” Buddha, Mohamed, the occult, even simple optimism based on self alone. None of these work for eternity.

As in the humanism movement, good works and brotherly help can be seen in many faiths, but only in Christ are these fruits of the Spirit He first sent to His disciples; The Helper.

Good works no longer serve the purpose of salvation. They only serve the purpose of leading others to Christ, of sharing His love with all we meet.

Good works in any other name only lead people astray to false gods; humanism, optimism, inclusivity, or any number of good-feeling ideals that Satan sponsors.

Yes! Satan sponsored good works? Think on it; if Satan came to us with horns, pitchfork, and his burning pit he would steal no one away from God. No one would follow that picture! But if he comes as light and kindness he can deceive many away from their Lord and Saviour!

I applaud the intention of many to do the good works that many Christians fail to do, that they wish to be of service to their fellow man. However, I despair that they believe those good works are all there is. The only truly nourishing fruit is that which is produced, fed by the True Vine of Jesus!

Quote for 07/14/2018

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.   Psalm 18:30 NIV

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I believe this. I truly do. But there are days like today after shepherding my adult daughter through three seizures since 3:00am that I’m left trying to figure it out.

Sin – and my daughter’s seizures – came into this world through Adam and Eve’s choice of Satan’s temptation over God’s promise. God’s Word is flawless, so I know this to be true.

We’re left wondering about that shield. Perhaps the shield isn’t against the consequences of living in a sinful world where Satan constantly hurts us and throws horrible things into our lives. Perhaps the shield is against despair that things will ever get better. As long as we take refuge in Him, His shield keeps us from forsaking Him as we stumble through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

David writes in Psalm 23 that he will fear no evil as he walks through that valley.

I believe the saying is true that Satan only goes after those he doesn’t yet have. Why consume effort needlessly for something already in his possession? So he keeps working at my daughter, my wife, and me.

But God’s shield holds against fear and doubt. Trials come, and God uses those to refine us like gold, to produce character and hope (Romans 5:3-5).

Scripture, as they say, interprets scripture. One verse alone doesn’t always instruct. And that is why we continuously read His flawless Word!

Quote for 07/13/2018

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.   Matthew 24:35 NIV

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This reminds me of John 1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Jesus is the Word by which God made all of Creation. When He speaks all of creation listens! When the Word who is responsible for everything that exists gives His Word on something, you can bet that there is power and longevity there!

The most important Word Jesus ever gave us is that He loves us. He sacrificed the incredible power He had in the heavens with God. He sacrificed His life to pay our debt of sin. He prayed for His disciples and all future believers that they would all be one with Him and the Father. He did it with words!

From creating us and a universe to live in to cherishing us to pray for us, He did it with words. His words. Powerful words! Eternal words!

Quote for 07/12/2018

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.   1 John 4:11-12

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Have you ever walked into your room or office and somehow know someone has been there? They might have moved a thing or two just slightly. Maybe you just got some sort of undefined feeling that your space has been visited. You didn’t actually see anyone in the room, but you still know from the signs left from their visit, no matter how small.

No one has ever seen God. However, we can know that God is “in the room” by the effect He has on our lives. I sometimes doubt that I am saved. I continue to struggle against sin, often losing. But I look at what God has inspired me to do in my life. This blog is one thing. It takes a fair amount of time to keep up with the publishing schedule I set for myself. I do it, because I want to share God’s Word and support whatever Christian community I can reach. I want to reach people who do not yet know God and hopefully plant a seed in their minds that will take root by virtue of the Holy Spirit.

I try to do nice things for other people just because God does nice things for me. I don’t always succeed, but the struggle to do good continues.

I’ve never seen God directly, but I can see His effect in my life, in me behavior! That’s why it is so important to “do the good works God has prepared for us in advance!” They aren’t for Him; they are for us and others to see His reflection in our “room!” They are for us and everyone we meet to get that feeling that Someone Else has been and continues to be in our space.

Quote for 07/11/2018

In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.   Isaiah 12:4 NIV

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“That day” is Jesus’ Second Coming as described in the previous chapter; “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people…”

This echoes a favorite passage of mine, Psalm 50:15. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

I read that years ago when I was in I was in great despair. I copied it onto my prayer list to remind me that when God turned things around for me, I would tell everyone how God rescued me from my earthly calamity.

Isaiah 12:4 tells us how Jesus will rescue the world from eternal calamity:

“…with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked…The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”

Everything will be perfect just as it was at Creation! The person Who can turn all things back to how they were when God saw that everything was good is certainly worthy of praise and exaltation!

Quote for 07/10/2018

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.   2 Timothy 1:7

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My first job out of graduate school was working in a kitchen at a restaurant. I was extremely open about my faith, studying the Bible and praying daily.

The restaurant owner was driving me from one location back to his downtown location. He asked me a question during the ride, which I somehow misinterpreted. I took the opportunity to talk about my faith and the issue I thought he had brought up until we arrived. I caught a wry smile from him, and I suddenly realized I had completely missed what he had asked.

I can’t today remember what I thought he asked nor what I had said to him; not a bit of it. What I do remember is having only the most fleeting feeling of embarrassment which immediately gave way to faith.

I, in faith, simply assumed God had caused me to mis-hear what he had said, that God had used me to deliver a message to him.

This is no different from when I witnessed to a fellow actor less than 24 hours before he died; see my article Damned from 2016.

God uses us to send His messages to those He would have come to faith. We can’t do that in a spirit of timidity. Only in love and self-disciplined study and prayer can we fulfill the many missions God has laid out for us.

Quote for 07/09/2018

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.   Psalm 33:12 NIV

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Society is becoming increasingly coarse. Shootings that used to shock us now simply leave us wagging our heads in resigned sorrow. Teenage pregnancies that were once shameful are now celebrated. TV entertainment today would qualify for pornography yesterday.

What is happening to America? It’s what always happens when a nation of God forsakes Him and shows Him the door.

9/11 didn’t happen because we let our guard down. It happened because we let our God down! It is obvious that mere men cannot stop other men determined on destruction. God’s shield of protection is the only impenetrable shield!

This country’s greatness continues to decline. I pray for a change of heart, a change to humility and repentance that will invite God back within our borders and our lives. Our greatness always came from the God we followed. Our current problems come from the god we now follow; self.

Quote for 07/08/2018

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.   John 14:6

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This verse causes a lot of trouble for people who think there are many ways to find God, who think all humanity worships the same God in different ways.

But if we’re told there’s only one way to get to a destination, if only one road was built into a certain city, wouldn’t we be foolish to go any other way?

Look at all of the religions of the world. They all teach different things about God and how to reach Him. In fact, they don’t all talk about the same god at all!

Only one God begat a Son through a woman to live a perfect life for us and then be an unblemished payment, a sacrifice for our sins! Only one God, through the sacrifice of His Son, brings us straight to heaven. There is no reincarnation for us to struggle toward perfection one lifetime after another. There is no commandment to slay our opposition, but to love our enemies and pray for them. There is only love and sacrifice from our God and His Son.

Jesus truly is the only Way to the one God of all Creation!

Quote for 07/07/2018

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”   Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV

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I must admit that my knee-jerk response to most situations is sin. It doesn’t even seem to be a matter of choice! Sinning is something that I do as effortlessly as breathing. Scripture also tells us that there is none who does good; no, not one!

Our hearts deceive even ourselves as it moves us against God at every opportunity. This is why we struggle. And as long as we struggle as Paul did in Romans 7 we have this sign for ourselves; that we have not surrendered to our nature, fighting even our own hearts!

I submit to you that this very struggle is what God seeks in us. He looks for the actions of faith that show our intent to give Him a loving response for all His sacrifice and love.

Fortunately, we do not have to fear the reward that is surely due our sin. We can be relieved that Jesus innocent sufferings on our behalf deflect those rewards. Instead, we are rewarded for our faith!

Quote for 07/06/2018

And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be— “The Lord is one,” And His name one.   Zechariah 14:9 NKJV

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We currently suffer under the rule of Satan. We, as a race, as the physical descendants and relation to Adam and Eve, chose him over God in Eden, and gave him the keys to the kingdom, as it were.

Then started a 4000 year plan that culminated with the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father. He won our freedom, our salvation. He won the throne, seated at the right hand of God, set to come again and claim His kingdom for all eternity.

Then we will all be one with Him. We, who have accepted His payment for our sins and acknowledge Him to the world will hear Him acknowledge us to His Father and welcome us into heaven.

If you have not yet welcomed Jesus into your heart, if you have not yet accepted His sacrifice in payment for your sins, if you still have that emptiness that comes from guilt and hopelessness in a pointless “earth-only” existence…call out to Him. He will hear you. And He will answer!

Seek Him earnestly. Read the message He left for you in the inspired scriptures, His Word, and reach out to Him.