Jesus, The Light of the World

Jesus is the Light of the world, from eternity past all the way to eternity future. The genesis of creation was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world and the Lamb will be the Light of heaven; no sun, moon or stars will be needed there.

The grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness of God is demonstrated through the incarnation. He came to earth, Jesus to be the Light of the World! A High Priest tempted in all points, felt our frailty, fully knew this human condition; and He lights the path for us by His example, by His Word, and as our Comforter!

The greatest power in any revelation is the complete application of it. We must never be guilty of having a knowledge of the Truth but denying the power of it! The power comes from a daily relationship with the One Who said, I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life! He also said, I am the Light of the World! Unpracticed truths are no better than idolatry.

So how do we practice this revelation that Jesus is the Light of the World?

1. Let Jesus be the Light that brings understanding, knowledge, and wisdom to your life. Where do you go for insight, wisdom, understanding, knowledge? The daily practice of asking Jesus to be the Light that guides our way is a foundational part of being His follower. The Light must never be replaced by leaning on our own understanding, a friend’s feelings, the conventional wisdom or norms of our day. All of those things may confirm what He shows us, but our relationship with Jesus must be the priority of our life.

2. Let the Light shine in the dark places of our life. Asking the Holy Spirit to shine like an X-ray light and pass over our mind, our heart, our mouth, etc. When the Light shines over those places of our life, that are busy in action, it can show us the motives and thoughts behind the actions. Often our actions and words carry an imbedded code from an unresolved area of brokenness or hurt. Jesus didn’t make you to live in anxiety, fear or stress. Surely we all have encounters with each of these, but they are not to be our chronic companions. Jesus, the Light of the world wants to give you a revelation that brings such clarity you can draw a line between the thought and the intent. He can flow through the counsel of a pastor or the wisdom of a Christian therapist to confirm and help us learn to live free from the pain of our past or bound by the limitations of our brokenness.

My prayer for you today is that you have an Encounter with Jesus the Light of the world today that is transformative. May He continue to Light your world and lead you to brighter days!

Jesus Is Coming Soon!!

If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, He has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by His own death as a sacrifice. And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him. (Hebrews 9:26-28/NLT)

The #1 priority of Jesus Second Coming is to bring salvation to those eagerly waiting for His return. While there is no doubt those who have rejected His overtures of mercy, grace, and love will face the consequence of that choice, may the scripture clearly establish that the Lamb of God is coming to receive the reward of His suffering. The Bride He gave His life for! The Bride He longs to see on that heavenly wedding day! The Church!

He won’t be checking the label on anyone’s collar. He knows the heart of every man, woman, boy, and girl. It won’t matter on that day which organization or church you were a part of. It’ll matter if you obeyed that first and great commandment and the second which is like it (Mark 12:29-31). The church was never about an organized effort of man, it has always been a movement powered by the Spirit of God! The book of Acts records every principle of the genesis of the movement that continues today as the most powerful force of faith in the earth.

Peter warned in some of his final words (II Peter 3:3) that there would be scoffers in the last days. There are certainly those that make a mockery of the promise of His coming. Scoffers outside the Church don’t bother me at all. Haters are gonna hate. It’s the scoffers inside the church that are a concern to this soldier. Nobody in the church blatantly ridicules the return of Christ. No, the scoffers in the church reflect Jesus’ teaching of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 25. He likens it to ten virgins, who as the Groom tarried ALL fell asleep. Powerful principles are revealed in this short parable. The oil is a symbol that represents the Holy Ghost. You must have the Oil in your vessel. We are simply an earthen vessel, the treasure is what is on the inside! Verse 9 of this chapter exposes the fallacy that you can buy the Oil. If you try to buy the Oil, you will never have it when you need it. You must carry the Oil in your vessel every day! Church we cannot afford to be sleeping! We must be a #WOKECHURCH!!

There is a clarion call that screams in the spirit of the saints my dear Brothers and Sisters, “The night cometh!! (John 9:4) We must be inspired by the burden that Paul carried, he said that he wished himself accursed if his people could be saved (Romans 9:3). Most of us like Ezekiel are sent to the world we live in (Ezekiel 3:5). We can’t afford in this hour to be sleeping in the church, as scoffers who are living like the second coming is never going to happen. Remember what led us to Him was His goodness (Romans 2:4). May that same goodness flow through our lives and bless the world around us.

Jesus is coming soon!

Judgment & Justice

Jeremiah prophesied of Jesus when he said, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” More than 600 years before Jesus came God declared what He would do. Jesus came and He said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34 and Dr. Luke recorded these words of Jesus, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division” Luke 12:51.

Let me go direct to the point, you can’t have justice without judgment. We wear T-shirt’s and put on bumper stickers that declare judgment free zones. Our world declares an obsession with justice but then would like to see it happen without judgment.

The reality is we all make judgment calls in the course of our every day lives. The person promising us we’ll be millionaires in 6 months if we give them $199 and join their business by buying our franchise, and all we have to do is ride around the Caribbean in our yacht, we judge to be not telling us the truth. The politician who promises to charge us no new taxes while giving us every government benefit we ever imagined, we judge to be a liar. The pilot and air traffic controllers think we should fly at 30,000 feet instead of 34,000 (I’ve witnessed 100% of their congregation submit to their wisdom), we judge them wise, proven by nobody ever opening the door and getting off the plane. Doctors tell us that our symptoms indicate an underlying sickness and a certain medicine will knock it out; so we choose to trust them and take the medicine. Life, every day, demands we make clear judgment calls.

Truth is a sharp sword (Hebrews 4:12). It draws a very fine line. And we know that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). There is clarity in the judgment and justice that Jesus, our Creator, brought into the world.

Grace and truth. Judgment and justice. When principles collide, our thoughts and feelings easily become conflicted. The One Who is the Word has promised to guide us through the anointing on our lives (I John 2:27). He gives us His Word. He gives us the structure and life giving inputs of the rest of His Body (IF we’re connected to the Body). It is far better to consciously and intentionally dialogue with wise counsel to guide us in times of great question. We can lean into our relationship with our Heavenly Father and trust the One Who said He would never leave us or forsake us.

Judgment is necessary. Justice is possible. In the context of every contradiction of our daily lives, Jesus is pleased to live through each moment with us and guide us by His grace.

May His peace be yours today, as you trust Him in every way.

He is a good, good Father.

He made known his ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. Psalm 103:7

In His acts of judgment may you discover His ways of justice.

Jesus, Our Redeemer

John 8 opens with the powerful story of a woman brought to Jesus in the temple accused of unfaithfulness. A few truths stick out in the John’s telling of this story: 1. Jesus wrote on the dirty floor of the temple, a physical demonstration of a practical truth, church work can get dirty sometimes. 2. Jesus established who gets to throw stones at church, anybody who is sinless. 3. Jesus established the norm, there was no condemnation in His House.

As we consider the beautiful truth of redemption, I’d remind us we all need the Redeemer!

Isaiah said it this way “this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” Isaiah 29:13

Israel’s history in the Old Testament repeats this circle – Following God, Rebellion, Captivity/Bondage, Crying Out, and Deliverance. Over and over, they experienced Jesus, the Redeemer!

This pattern continues in the first century apostolic church as indicated by John’s writing in Revelation 2 & 3. These same characteristics of the beginning of the Church Age still exist today:

  • At Ephesus, they had forgotten their first love (2:4);
  • In Smyrna, the crowd of hypocrites who claimed to be believers but were actually of the synagogue of satan (2:9);
  • Pergamos, there were those who held to the false doctrine of Balaam, a belief in the acceptability of compromised purity (2:14);
  • The church of Thyatira, tolerated the false prophetess Jezebel, who led innocent followers, servants of God to compromised purity (2:20);
  • Sardis had a name that declared life but they were dead (3:1);
  • Philadelphia had little strength, and was also plagued with people who claimed to be believers but were liars (3:8,9);
  • The lukewarm at Laodicea were warned that they would be spewed out of the mouth of God (3:16).

We must recognize our immediate, personal need of a Redeemer. The truth reveals we are all sinners in need of a Savior, slaves bound in a dead man’s body, our only hope of escape is through Christ. We need Jesus, the Redeemer!!

Ruth in scripture tells the beautiful story of a Redeemer. Here was a lady who was disadvantaged by birth; born into a despised minority’s that had descended from Lot and the illegitimate child with his daughter. Then married into a family that tragically saw her father-in-law and brother-in-law pass away and leave three ladies without a provider. Naomi, her mother-in-law, decided she should return to her native land and encouraged both daughters-in-law to remain in their home country. Ruth returned with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem and humbled herself to gather remnants with the poor in the fields of the wealthy. No doubt in the pecking order of the poor who gathered what they could, Ruth heard whispers and comments that ridiculed her or reminded her of these facts of her life. She refused to be caught up in that and continued to serve with joy. You may well know the rest of the story; how Boaz, one of those wealthy landowners, honored the law and custom and redeemed Ruth to be his wife. Through this custom of becoming a Kinsman Redeemer, we see the beauty of Jesus, our Redeemer!

It is possible that some would consider redeeming a slave from slavery as only a historical fact found on the darkest pages of human history. However, the horrific tragedy of human trafficking and slavery continues in 2019 to be a dark stain on the history being now written of the world. Just as Oscar Schindler saved 100’s of Jews from the Nazi attempt to eliminate them from the earth, there are dozens of men and women leading organizations all over the world that are redeeming children, youth, men and women who have been told they didn’t matter and bound in horrible, degrading slavery. These men and women are modern day examples of Jesus, our Redeemer! The Church joins in this fight to redeem these captured in this tragedy of slavery. In fact many of these organizations leading in this fight are Christians that have been awakened to such a great need and cause. No doubt eternity will reveal many heroes who set 1,000’s free!

The Church also stands as a Body of believers who have been redeemed from a horrible slavery. We are married to setting others free from the gratitude toward those God used to set us free! The slavery to sin ends in destroyed lives on earth and for eternity. We are forever grateful that our lives were transformed when we God used His Body to lead us to an encounter with Jesus, our Redeemer! We were trapped in sin, imprisoned by sin, caught in the very act as this woman was! Just as it was completely irrelevant on that day that she wasn’t the only one caught in the act, neither does it matter that someone else was a sinner – the dooming fact was that we were one. There is no way you could have avoided the snare of sin. Before birth, in the genetics of Adam that you inherited you were born dead spiritually. In the face of that fact, today’s beautiful, liberating truth is that Jesus is Our Redeemer!! The One Who is perfect, the only One Who could cast stones – His whole purpose and destiny is to never cast a stone at one sinner! Instead He is the Rock we can run to and their find healing, salvation, and hope!

My prayer is that He would transform your life today! Jesus, Our Redeemer!

8 Steps to Recover from Failures

Let’s not sugarcoat this fact, we all fail. Sometimes. We don’t have a problem telling anybody that we’re not perfect; but, it’s hard to even form the words, “I failed.” While there are varying degrees and types of failures, none are so important to have a template to guide our recovery from than the failure of sin.

Sin is missing the mark. We are challenged by Paul’s words to PRESS for the mark. Anything less than hitting that mark is sin. In contrast, we don’t hear much talk at church about failure. There is a human & church folk tendency to parade our pretty sins; the ones we really think are strengths that initially appear to be a weakness. I get it why we don’t talk about failure much is, we don’t want to glorify sin. But we must discuss failure, specifically how to recover from it. Because one thing is certain, just as much as death and taxes, where there is flesh there will be failure.

Jesus knew we would sin. He told Peter as much. But His prayer request was that when Peter failed, his faith would not fail.

A great way to avoid a failure of faith is to have a clear plan of action for when we mess up and find ourselves sorry that we let God down.

Paul let us know and all the believers at Corinth a simple 8 step plan to recover from failure. It is found in II Corinthians 7:11.

It was the first time, as an adolescent that I saw an 8 step plan in my personal study of the scripture. At the time, my family was attending a church pastored by Pastor Clifford Readout, who teaches extensively on the 8 Steps from Death to Life. If you’ve never heard that powerful lesson on salvation, you should.

Here are the 8 steps for Recovery from Failure:

“For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” II Corinthians 7:11

1. Godly Sorrow – There’s a heaviness that accompanies genuine repentance that our world and carnal nature thinks is wrong. It is the correct human response to Holy Ghost conviction, as was shown in Acts 2:37.

2. Carefulness – The meaning here reflects an earnest diligence. A picture of the earnestness is given in Luke 1:39, when Mary found she was expecting and went with haste/carefulness to see Elizabeth. Immediately and without delay. The diligence is to be the same care shown towards the doctrine as mentioned in Jude 1:3. A thorough treatment of the matter. Partial or delayed treatment of failure will only compound it.

3. Clearing of Self — But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: ( I Peter 3:15). The “clearing of our self” and “an answer” is the same root word. Our answer points to the grace and mercy of God. It’s not defending our mistake, it’s a humble, yet confident, answer of the certainty of our forgiveness.

4. Indignation – The same displeasure that Jesus showed when He rebuked those in Mark 10:14 who tried to prevent the children from coming to Him. It’s the righteous indignation of a Phinehas (Numbers 25:7) directed at the sin in our own lives. Strongly refusing to allow it to gain a stronghold or any returned entrance. We must intentional sabotage any future desire for that sin in our life (Romans 13:14)

5. Fear – This was also one of the characteristics of the Book of Acts church (Acts 5:5 & 11). This same root word of our word “phobia” indicates a constant and even trembling fear, both at the awesomeness of God and the frailty of our flesh. This awe of Him should cause us to tremble, not the fear of man. So often we allow the fear of man to rule our lives, but the right Godly fear will allow us to live above that (Matthew 10:28).

6. Vehement Desire – A picture of this desire, is a baby that wants milk. All of us, who have witnessed that desire denied, have seen what “vehement desire” looks like. It’s the same hunger we had as a babe for the milk of the Word (I Peter 2:2).

7. Zeal – This root is also translated as jealous, and shows the vital importance of faithfulness to a vow that is expected in a marital vow. In fact the same root appears in II Corinthians 11:2 when Paul mentions his desire to be zealous/jealous of the New Covenant Believers at Corinth to present them in purity to Christ.

8. Revenge – Not only is the enemy not going to take me out or capitalize on the frailty of my flesh, but I’m going to help someone else overcome this same frailty or failure. In doing that we become more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), by being one who births other conquerors.

We will have experiences of failure in our flesh. Jesus was the only perfect human. So when we fail, we have this template from the Word to guide us in recovering from any fall.

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 24 & 25

The Struggle is real…

More than one believer has been rudely awakened to the reality that living for God is not without struggle. In fact the struggle is a war. Ground zero of that war is the mind.

The Warring Mind ~
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Romans 7:22,23

Paul’s writings in Romans chapters 6-8 capture so many key truths about this struggle. Especially for a brand new believer understanding this truth is critical to surviving that war within. The enemy would love you to believe that you’re the only one struggling. Many have thought that they just weren’t cut out for this Christian life because they struggle to be spiritual.

Highlights from these chapters include:
1. Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? (6:1,2)
2. For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (6:4)
3. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. (6:7)
4. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. (6:13)
5. Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (6:16)
6. Sin will enslave you and then continuously take you deeper. (6:19)
7. Through the new birth we identify with the death of Christ and are freed to serve Him by living in the Spirit instead of striving to follow the letter of the law. (7:6)
8. Sin will try to twist good things, even the Word of God, to heap condemnation on us. (7:16)
9. There is nothing good in my sinful nature. (7:19)
10. The internal conflict between my sinful nature and my desire to please God can make me miserable. (7:24,25)
11. Those sold out to Jesus have power over sin. (8:2) What controls you? (8:5)
12. Christ lives in you (8:10)! That Same Spirit (8:11)!
13. The Children of God are led by the Spirit of God! (8:14) Abba Father! (8:15)
14. Today’s suffering doesn’t compare to the future glory. (8:18)
15. We must wait patiently and confidently (8:25) for the blessings of full adoption (8:23).
16. The Spirit will help with our human frailties (8:26).
17. All things will work for our good (8:28)!
18. God is for you! God is for us! (8:31)
19. Nothing can separate us from the love of God manifest to us in and through Christ (8:35 & 39).
20. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us (8:37)

The revelations that come from the Word of God will always require action. Unpracticed truths are no better than idolatry. We know that knowledge of truth is not enough. We must be doers of the truth. So my prayer for you today is that revelation will come as you study these chapters from this simple outline; and that revelation will help you to be victorious in living for Christ!

The Shadow of Truth

The New is in the Old Concealed,

The Old in the New is Revealed.

This letter from Paul is written to all of us who are a part of the church of this New Covenant of grace.

I Corinthians 10:1-15 – Lessons from Israel’s Idolatry

1 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground.

Paul telling them all of their forefathers, came through the Spirit (Cloud) and the water (Sea); He is talking about both Israel and to us – anybody that has not come through the Spirit and the water is not our forefather in the faith. Don’t just consider anybody a forefather. He goes on to make it plain.

2 In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses.

3 All of them ate the same spiritual food,

4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Every child of God, from Israel coming out of Egypt to those baptized in 2017 will pass through a wilderness. What you do as you pass through the trial must be that which is pleasing to God. Nobody gets to make up their own religion. God was not intimidated by Cain’s bad attitude, and He won’t be by our 21st century demands, culture, or ideas. If we are to come to God we will have to come to Him, His way. If we want to reach our personal promise land, that divine destiny on earth that He has called and promised us, we will have to honor the Lord’s desire and design.

6 These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did,

7 or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.”

8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.

9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites.

Scripture is pretty clear, nobody should be playing with snakes. Anyone who does is dumb and doesn’t know the Word of God.

10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.

Neither should believers be a grumbling, complaining, murmuring, cynical, critical group of people.

11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

A second time, verse 6 said it and here again we are told: everything written about Israel in the Old Testament was written for us living in this final dispensation of man.

12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

One of the most misquoted scriptures in the Bible. You have probably heard it said, “God won’t put on you more than you can bear.” Not true. The Bible says, He won’t allow a temptation that is more than you can stand. But He is clear, if anyone will follow me, let him take up his cross and follow me. What is the cross? It is the instrument that is intended to kill our flesh. God still wants our flesh to die. Believers, would you please quit glorifying your flesh. Jesus wants your flesh to die. And any temptation that the enemy throws at you; every evil desire your flesh is attracted to – God will give you a way out of every temptation.

14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.

When you are tempted to bow in worship at the idol of You; yes, the idol your most tempted by is the one you see in the mirror every morning. Make yourself god, worship your desire, exalt your thinking – NO, NO, a 1,000 times NO!! FLEE, RUN in the opposite direction

15 You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true.

So Paul is clear, the Old Testament is written as a symbol for us to learn from. They lived through it in real physical life, so we could learn spiritual truths from the Old Covenant or Testament here in the New Covenant. As with all history, those who refuse to learn from it will be required to repeat it.

In the Old Testament we see the shadow of truth, in the New Testament He is manifest in the flesh.

His Word stands declaring today to every hungry soul, I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE!!