Hearing God?

August 23, 2016


Heb 1
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds;

God does still speak to His children and is interactive in their lives. His sheep still hear His voice, What has happened is that we are trained to not listen to it so we don’t hear it or we think it is our conscience or our own brain speaking.  We also think that the only time God speaks is when we are reading the Word.

Sometimes, it is a verse we may not have deliberately memorized or even remember ever reading.  Sometimes, it is “nudge” in our hearts to pray or witness to someone. Sometimes He puts words in our mouths. A preacher might say something not planned in His sermon and even unrelated to his sermon, but afterward have someone say that it was exactly what they needed to hear.

Sometimes, it may be something that comes to your mind that sounds like your voice, but the thought is either so profound or so needful in your life you wonder how “you” came up with it when you were thinking about something on the opposite end of the spectrum at the time.

And then there are times when you are very quiet or in deep despair when you hear something not in your voice that brings you great clarity or hope. That is God speaking to you through the Holy Spirit, the inner witness, Who was sent to guide you into all truth and to comfort you as well as convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.  He does not do that silently all the time.

Yes, God did speak and is speaking to us through His Son, but He sent the Holy Spirit as His representative to convey His direction for the Spirit will not speak of Himself, but will speak what He hears from Jesus,

John 16:
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Holy Spirit will never say anything that contradicts the Word of God that He was directly involved with writing.  He does supply the life to the letter thus you cannot properly interpret or “rightly divide the word of truth” unless He is teaching you. Without His teaching the letter kills and we become Pharisees hypocrites or religious unbelievers like the Sadducees so listen up and make sure you hear Him speaking.  Yes, there are many voices speaking and false spirits, but don’t let those imposters and liars keep you from the blessing and protection that comes from the true voice that is yet speaking and will speak until we see Jesus in front of us and hear His voice directly.

Isa 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

If God had the Holy Spirit do that back in the day before He was sent to indwell each believer, how much more will He do it now for the ones He has sealed with the Spirit?  May God open our ears to Him.  Thank God that He is still speaking to us through His Son, the living Word, via the written Word, but Who also sent the Spirit to teach us the written Word as well as speaking to us what He hears from the Son that is specific for each of His children’s lives.   Rejoice in His voice!  Maranatha!

Cap Gun or Cannon?

August 18, 2016


Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
 
I don’t know if I have ever heard a dynamite blast, but I have heard and seen cannon and bomb blasts. I know the effect that force has on the receiving end of that force.  When I was a kid, I would take the rolls of paper fire crackers and instead of putting them in my cap gun to fire one at a time to get a small bang I took a hammer to get a bang so loud it made my ears ring for a minute or so. Loud, but not as loud or having near the force of a dynamite, cannon or bomb blast or the effect.
 
I am afraid that many Christians are settling for the one cap at a time bang and too scared to do the hammer the roll thing when God wants to drop a bomb blast of power into their life.  We all say, if we are saved, that we have the Holy Spirit in us. If that is so, why do we not have the power they had on Pentecost or throughout the book of Acts? That was a near nuclear explosion that had massive effect on the 120 assembled and the 3,000 that felt the shock wave along with the Divine heat that melted their cold hearts.
 
We have settled for cap gun power. A few may have taken up the hammer. We need to be willing to let the Lord drop the bomb on us. We need all the power He will give us in these last days. No time for childhood cowboy days. We need warrior princes and princesses in the Kingdom that have harnessed the power of the Holy Spirit or rather has allowed Him to harness them that He might unleash us to fire for effect.
 
The Holy Spirit is not for our entertainment or well-being. He is here to blow up the strongholds in us so that we may destroy the walls and strongholds satan has put around and in the hearts of men that they might be saved for the glory of God!
 
The time is short. The battle is hot. Seek for the power He wants to give. Do not just settle to be saved and using cap gun power to keep you comfortable in your make believe fort when you are to be prevailing against the gates of Hell blowing them to bits and setting the captives free.  I have outgrown my cap gun both in flesh and the Spirit.  I want to be a WMD in His hands.  I want all the power He will give me through the Spirit.  I want to light up the kingdom of darkness as one would light’em up on a physical battlefield.  Spiritual war is not Hell.  It is a war against Hell and we are tasked to do mop up and rescue missions until our Commander-in-Chief and King comes to occupy this world He has conquered by His death and resurrection and to deal with His defeated enemies.

Ask the Holy Spirit, the Divine armorer, to load you up and then move out in the power of His might to light up the night!  Hooah!  Maranatha!!

Greater Works?

August 18, 2016


John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
What works did He do? He preached the Gospel and we do that on a larger scale thanks to technology. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed people miraculously, turned water into wine, calmed the seas, stopped storms and so many other things that John said it would fill the world in just a three year ministry.  We are not seeing a lot of that being done because we don’t believe it and we let false signs and wonders scare us out of seeking the real. We are centuries behind in seeing what He promised in this passage.
My son once called me a theologian and I threatened to smack him if he ever called me that again. He was 30 at the time, so it would not be child abuse for those who might jump on that statement. I know what the word means, but over the centuries men called theologians have done as much as harm or more as those outside the Church.
It is because of theologians that we have so much division in the Church. The Holy Spirit was sent to lead us into all truth so if we are not all saying the same thing since there is only one truth then it is plain and obvious that we are not listening to Him and some greatly esteemed theologians are wrong.
One of the reasons we are not hearing the Spirit’s truth is that somewhere along the line a bunch of theologians determined that they had the authority over the Holy Spirit to tell Him what He could and could not do and when He could do it. The reasoning and rationale of men took over and the Holy Spirit was relegated to a near powerless doctrine instead of Him being the power of the Church giving gifts as He saw fit.

John records Jesus as saying whoever believes on Him would do greater works than He did, not just to those in the 1st century or one generation. He did His works through the Spirit and we now have that same Spirit in us if we are truly born of God. That being so, why would the Spirit stop empowering the Church to do beyond what Christ did especially in an age such as ours where the mystery of iniquity is showing itself so boldly and evil men are waxing worse and worse due to demonic influence? People still need deliverance, healing and so on.

Having been a “theologian” that taught that the Holy Spirit was now limited because the canon of Scripture was completed, I now repent of that and I want Him to make me a true theologian through the power of the Spirit, not just by the doctrines of men.  The Bible is the foundation and the Spirit will not do anything that contradicts the word He was involved with writing.  He and the Word work in conjunction as the letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive. (2 Cor 3:6)  That being true, He is not going to allow the words of Christ to be unfulfilled.

True, the Spirit is not going to give a show for a wicked and adulterous generation who only seek the signs and not Jesus like the Pharisees and Herod, but that does not mean He will cease to empower the Church to do His works and greater.  He doesn’t do Holy Ghost traveling shows where He manifests at 10, 2 and 4 like some seem to promote, but He will do what He was sent to do and that is to empower the Body of Christ to glorify God, win souls and edify the saints while convicting the world of sin and judgment.

Matthew 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Maybe you are not seeing the power and works of the Spirit manifested is because you believe what the theologians told you and not what Jesus said.  Put down your denominational/theological glasses and ask why you are not experiencing the Acts of the Church as shown in the book of Acts.   Calling it the Acts of the Apostles was a misnomer as folks other than the Apostles were filled and doing mighty works.  It was the Acts of the Church that was built upon Jesus and Apostles, Jesus being the chief cornerstone.  Even the carnal Church at Corinth was endued with the gifts and they were not Apostles.  An Apostle won them to Christ, but the Spirit gifted them with all of the gifts, not just a select few.

Seek Christ!  Seek to be empowered and allow the Spirit to give you what He wills and you may find that you have been missing out on all that God wants for you because of theologians and your lack of faith.  Maranatha!

 

How Hard Is Your Tongue?

August 15, 2016


Pro 25:15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
Ouch! This smacks pretty much all of us. Sometimes it takes real patience when dealing with someone that is not of like persuasion, especially politicians. Note we are to speak with a soft tongue. I have been trying to work towards that myself, but old IFB ways sometimes flare up. Too many times our emotions make us use a hard tongue and that breaks relationships, but not bones of resistance.
This verse speaks of us persuading someone else, but what about when they are trying to persuade us?
Pro 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Pro 15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
We need to speak a soft answer in a confident and calm manner. I know sometimes people say things that make your brain hurt, but still we need to use the soft answer. Anger ends dialogue and like a smart man, Chad Prather, recently said, exchanging jabs of who is the biggest pootie head is not profitable to either side. Let them get angry at truth, not the manner it is delivered in.
Let us learn to be wise and use our knowledge correctly rather let foolishness fueled by anger pour out of our mouths. Make God make it so in our lives! May we speak truth in love seeking to edify the hearer and heal where needed with mercy and grace! Maranatha!

Give Up My Liberty?

August 9, 2016


Rom 15:

1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Ever since the hippie movement we have moved into an age of the worship of self. It is all about me is the guiding principle of the age. People are about what is in it for them and makes them feel good or what advances their goal. This has infiltrated the Church in many ways because it has been adopted by many Christians. We have forgotten that Christianity is all about Jesus and the will of God, and others, not about us.

Many splits in churches are because somebody was unhappy about how things were done or something offended someone with influence. They then used that influence to try and work their own will. If there were not enough numbers to make it happen they lead their people off to start another church.

Doctrine is the real reason to split a church. If the leadership starts teaching error and no proper use of Matthew 18 effects a return to sound doctrine then those who know the truth should leave, but another church may not be needed as there may be several in the area teaching the truth. Seek those out and support them in the spirit of unity.

Many seek churches to just fulfill their needs. Sometimes that might be a particular type of music, age group, a coffee bar or something. Some think the Church is Welfare Part II. Doctrine is not important to people as it should be. In the church life, we have people at different maturity levels and often from many backgrounds. That means there could be many opinions of how something should be done or things that Christians should or should not do. Do we seek the good of the Body or our agenda?

In Romans 14 and 15 Paul is dealing with the merging of Jews and Gentiles into one Church, not gray areas as many teach. Now that is a monumental task since the cultures were as opposite as opposite can be. One very zealous for the Law of Moses and the rituals and traditions and the other having no such background and not interested in them once they heard the Gospel and especially since the Jerusalem Council released them from such observances. This created friction and the friction was generating great heat as it does still today.

He just spent all of chapter 14 telling the Church that stronger Christians were the ones who did not concern themselves about days and foods. Still no one was to judge the one on the other side or abuse the weaker brother. Tough he said the Gentiles had it right, he also told them to not cause their Jewish brethren to stumble. He said that he would not eat certain foods forever rather than cause his weaker brother to stumble.

He drives it home in these first three verses of chapter 15. Listen up strong people, you are not to bask in your strength and hurt people because you are right. You are to do what is necessary to help people get to where you are, not make them stumble and fall because you have to exercise your rights! It is not about you. You are not to please yourself. You are to edify your neighbor and bear the infirmities of the weak.

In Rome, that would have meant for people who were into bacon and ham sandwiches to eat them at home, but not bring them to the church suppers when you know your brother of Jewish background would be profoundly offended. A Jewish brother who saw his Gentile brother eating pork ribs through a restaurant window would not call everyone and talk about what an non-separated, worldly person that brother was to be doing that.

In our age, it might mean being careful of how you dress for church. You may feel you have liberty to wear something, but if it draws attention to you and distracts people from worship then save that outfit for another venue. When I was asked as pastor what the church dress code was I always said God and law enforcement frown on nudity, but otherwise I am open to discussion.

I have been at various services where I was embarrassed for the lady when she should have been embarrassed for herself, but I did not know her spiritual condition. She may have been lost or spiritually immature so I did not draw any attention to her as she was doing fine by herself in that respect.. I have seen men as well attired in things that may not be immodest, but were ostentatious at least. An early preacher named Chrysostom, also known as the golden orator, got quite rough on folks who got too gussied up for service.

Another thing is to not be age bigoted. Some young folks do not want to sit in the same service or Sunday School as those old people or the old people don’t want to sit with those young whippersnappers. Music is a big issue. Some won’t stay if the genre is not their genre. Sometimes a mark of maturity is to stretch you boundaries or get out of your comfort zone not lambaste something that is not your cup of tea. How are the older going to teach the younger if they are never together? How vain can a young person be if they think they do not need any mentoring from the old codger who has been down some roads the young need not go down and he could warn them?

While you have liberty, there are times when you are not at liberty to use it. When I visited a Mennonite church I wore dark pants, no tie, top button buttoned. I did not have a jacket as I was on vacation. Why, because that is what they dressed like and I did not want to offend them while I was there to learn about them. Karen sat on one side of the church and I sat on the other.

I could have exercised my right to wear a Western shirt and blue jeans and sit with my wife. Well, that would have been rude since I was a guest in their culture. It would also have disrupted their worship as they would have focused on me the rude intruder instead of the welcome guest. In the end, as they were walking out, one of the men kissed me on the cheek, as was their custom, and I returned it, which was out of my comfort zone. (2 Cor 13:12) Our Mennonite host at our B&B said I should be honored for he saw the Lord in me. Well worth the restraining of my liberty to hear that.

We need to get back to seeking God first and caring for one another rather than making everything about us.

Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
One of the reasons we meet is to exhort one another. I exhort whoever I can and someone will exhort me. I will be taken care of as I take care of others. JOY – Jesus, Others, You. When we keep that order it is amazing how what we think are our “needs” are exposed as unnecessary or selfish wants and our real needs are supplied. There is no joy if you put yourself ahead of Jesus or Others. May God grant us the strength to withhold our liberty for the sake of our brethren, the cause of Christ and the good of the Church. Maranatha!

Why Are You Mute?

August 7, 2016


Mark 1:

40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;

44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.

The word straitly is a strong word. He very sternly commanded him to tell no one and yet he told everyone he could find to hear.

You would think that since this was a deliberate disobedience to a direct command of Jesus that his leprosy would return, his tongue cease to function or even he would have a massive MI. Some preachers and Christians would rejoiced if any of that had happened. Thank God, the compassionate Jesus healed him knowing the cleansed leper would disobey that commandment.
How could he remain silent? How many years had he been cut off from society living alone on the fringes of the city? He was dependent upon the mercy of those who would leave food, clothing and maybe even bandages for his wounds. He could never shake their hand, hug and kiss them for their generosity. He could never attend temple worship and to a Jew that was like being cut off and forgotten by God.

He was not forgotten for Jesus had compassion and healed him. Be quiet? To be clean and free to have a rich and full life was more than he could have ever hoped for in his despair! He had to shout out his joy and give glory God to all he could find. It exploded out of him. It was the living water gushing from his spirit. It was give glory and thanks or burst. If only all disobedience had this much holiness in it! Was this a holy joy disobedience? Wow! How to let that sink in. Imagine when he went to Heaven and he said about this time, “Jesus, I just loved you so much and was joyful that I could not obey that command.”

Here was a man commanded to not speak and he could not obey for joy and gratitude. What happened to us? We are commanded to speak and yet we seem able to contain ourselves. Church is an option and far from being sorrowful if we cannot attend we are content to be C&E Christians or concert goers or partakers of the homecoming buffets.

Have we forgotten that we were also lepers who were cleansed of our sins? Is the thrill gone? Where is our joy and gratitude? Why will we just sit back and let other lepers suffer, die and go to Hell? As Keith Green sang, “God’s calling and you’re the one but like Jonah you run. He’s called you to speak and you keep holding it in! Can’t you see it’s such sin?” We are not in a state of joyful disobedience. We are just cold and carnal. We have lost our first love. We have our priorities all backwards. It is more, “Bless me, Lord! Bless, me Lord! That’s all I ever hear.”

Why are we not more like Knox and Whitefield? Knox said, “Give me Scotland, or I die.” Whitefield said, “Give me souls, or take my soul.” Our ears are clogged with the wax of sin and self so we can’t hear the Lord like Isaiah. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Thus we do not say like him. “Then said I, Here am I; send me.” Isa 6:8
Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

I wonder what is the greater disobedience to speak out of gratitude and joy when commanded not to speak or to lack gratitude and you where you do not speak when commanded? What do you think? Maranatha!

 

 

Rich Pastors?

July 28, 2016


1Co 4
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
 
It seems Paul missed the memo about prosperity in the Gospel as did the rest of the Apostles. `Their lives were much like Paul’s as in the end they were executed or in John’s case exiled.  If there is a New Apostolic Reformation, I would expect the modern apostles to be treated the same as the originals and suffer similar lifestyles. I am suspicious of a pastor or church leader who is living a lavish lifestyle when even Jesus had no certain dwelling place like the Apostles instead of multi-million dollar homes.
 
If pastors are to be examples to the world and to our people, why are they promoting the same values of the world? I am not saying they need to live in caves or shacks, but a modest home is all they need. They can fly with normal people using it as an opportunity to witness to a few people as well as to crowds. All cars will get you from A to B so you do not need the most expensive ones. Offices can be functional rather than lavish. The list can go on, but you get my point. From the time I was saved, I have heard that preachers are only in it for the money and these lad/lassies validate that statement and turn people away from the Lord. I watch very few TV preachers because of this and doctrinal issues.
 
The rule of thumb I was taught is that the pastor should not be the richest man in the church nor the poorest. He should have the median income of the church. I realize that means a pastor could have a million dollar paycheck by that rule, but what he does with it is what counts. He should live simply as an example to His flock not follow the trends and fads of that flock.
 
Many are concerned about our economic future and one advantage of living simply is that you have less to lose. You also might not even notice the downturn. The Amish probably feel very little pain during downturns or inflation since they are basically self-supporting and not bothered by lacking much of our modern conveniences that suck up all our money.  Besides, they are debt free as well.  A simpler life would help most of us and a pastor should lead the way to such a life.
 
I have no respect for a man/woman wearing Armanis, Rolexes and living in mansions asking people to send them money for some project the Lord has called them do, when they could have paid for it themselves if they had a $100 suit, a Timex, a Chevy and lived n a a 2500 sq foot or less house. You can point to Solomon, but then he was a king of a nation, not the under-shepherd of a flock.  He also had a thousand women to support as well as a non-specified number of children. No church leader has that going on today or at least as far as we know. You can say we are representing a King so we need to show wealth.  Hmm, well the King of Kings came in a manager and lived as the son of a carpenter.  If that worked for God and His Son, then simplicity should work well with us.

None of us spend our money in a totally wise or sacrificial manner.  Wasting a little or a lot is still waste.  Yet, when men/women in the public spotlight do it more people are harmed than if you spend too much at Starbucks in a month. No one turns away from God or finds reasons to castigate the church because of your addiction.

I am far from perfect, but because of that common accusation, I have done all I could to show that was not completely and have served without pay or little pay. Once I told a church I would come pastor for $10K less than they offered because it was more than I needed and they never spoke to me again.  I left a $65K job for a $20K pastorate + parsonage only to go back to work to keep the doors from closing and took no pay.  I have asked God to make me self-supporting and He has done that.  I once had to ask for a title because I could not do jail ministry without it.  I was told that they wanted to give me a title, but could not afford to pay me.  I said, what would change if you gave me a title since I am doing the work without pay now?  I tell you this to show I am practicing what I preach, not to exalt myself.  Hopefully, it will encourage others to follow suit or be encouraged if they are in similar conditions.

I could pastor a church or serve as a staff member of some sort for free now, even though a workman is worthy of his hire.  Not everyone can do that, but those that could should.  We need to send a new message to the world and the Church.   They are tired of rich church leaders.  Many who have sent them money with the promise they will be given much more from God because of their seed money have experienced crop failure and are bitter.  Explain prosperity preaching and rich preachers to myriads of people in Africa, Asia and other places where Christians are constantly on the move to keep from being imprisoned, enslaved or killed.  If it doesn’t preach worldwide, it isn’t biblical.

Spend your money well.  Make sure your tithes and offerings are spent well.  If you are going to send money to someone send it where they are digging wells for people to have clean water or to places where you get more bang for your buck.  Don’t waste it giving some lad/lassie the lifestyle of a king.  Give it to a lowly shepherd who is keeping it simple in their life so they can give their lives for the Gospel.  If your pastor is struggling to make it, then you need to help him, not Reverend Rolex or Minister Mansion.   Remember, those mansions and Rolexes are going to burn so  give that souls won’t burn.  Maranatha!

Where’s The Power?

July 19, 2016


1 Co 2:

4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Sometime back there was a commercial that asked, “Where’s the beef?” I think the Church needs to ask “Where’s the power?” Maybe the reason we don’t see the glory of God moving in our midst is because we have many words, some very enticing, but not the power as demonstrated by the Holy Spirit.

We have thousands of highly educated and some ignorant opinions being taught in the many sects that call themselves Christians. Much of which is man’s wisdom hence the variety versus one truth as taught by one Book and one Spirit sent by one God to one Body.

Some deny the power saying it doesn’t exist and others deny His full power by saying He can only do some things, but not others as God has made the Holy Spirit PRN instead of FT and He is no longer certified to do certain skills. Others believe in the full power, but only want it for their gratification or to exalt their ministry not God’s. Some abuse the power like the Corinthians.

Fortunately, there are some who not only believe in the full power of the Spirit, but welcome it wanting nothing but the glory of God, Jesus to be exalted, souls saved and edified that only the power of God can touch.

The Holy Spirit exalts Jesus, not Himself. He came to guide us into ALL truth, not leaving some truths to be hidden or grayed. He came to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He is here to be a comforter for the saved, but not in the way Grandma’s quilted comforter did. He gives the Church boldness to evangelize and power to walk in holiness in an unholy world. He gives life to the letter of the law so that the Word preached brings life not killing the hearer with a Pharisee or Sadducee spirit.

Yes, we do exalt man’s wisdom, even theological wisdom. We are more interested in what degrees a man has rather than the degree of control the Spirit has over the man so we call erudite men that may or may not have God’s wisdom. They laud the thoughts of men when God would give them profound thoughts. We do not need a spirited man to fill a position. We need a man filled by the Spirit in position for God to use him.

Many people have shaky faith because it based on the wisdom of man, not God. All they have are creeds or someone’s assurance that they are saved, not the inner witness of the Spirit.  Hence they are tossed to and fro carried about by every wind of doctrine and cunning deceits of men. Thus they bounce from church to church not knowing what to seek in a church or pastor looking for the right words to fill their needs when the answer is within the Word and within them if the Spirit lives in them.  The Holy Spirit, not their own. Introspection of one’s own spirit will either bring egotism and arrogance or deep despair.

It is time to seek the Lord for Holy Spirit preaching where the Spirit demonstrates His power to exalt Jesus and confirm that the words being spoken are from God, not man’s wisdom. Are there fakes and abusers? Yes, but that does not keep a man from buying his wife a diamond just because zirconium exists. Seek truth, trust God, learn to rightly interpret the Word in context and you need not worry about bad Kool-Aid in South America or here.

Think about it. What did the Church need in the first century to convince the unbelieving and silence the naysayers that we do not need today? What gifts does the Body not need to make it strong and healthy? After all, doctors have been wrong about the appendix and tonsils so be not surprised if some theological doctors have been sincere but sincerely wrong about extracting gifts and power from the Body.

Make your faith strong! Seek the Lord and all He might choose to give you. Seek people who believe God never changes, Jesus is the same, today and forever and the Holy Spirit is still the same!

Maranatha!!


I had a dear friend comment on something I posted on Facebook thanking me for sharing my life as my writings are inspiring.  Below is what I replied and hopefully it will be inspiring to someone as well.
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That is only because of Jesus. Flawed and weak as I am, my writings would be much, much different if it were not for Him. Whatever transpires in my life that inspires comes from Him. Whatever doesn’t inspire comes from me.

Indeed, if someone did a study of my sermons they would see a change in the last couple of years after I heard God say, “Will you let me be God?” He has also allowed me some insight to who I am without Him and that has created a desire to be more edifying in my writing.

Having spent so much time in a group that preaches grace on one hand, but lives in judgment and condemnation, I do sometimes have a relapse. While I would not change much of the content of my past sermons, I would change the delivery. While being bold and direct is how much of the Gospel was preached, it was not preached with the tenor that my peers and I have oft delivered it.

We tended to forget where we came from and to remember how frail we are and how good we were at hiding that frailty to maintain some form of perfection in our appearance. After all, a preacher must be perfect and we cannot allow our members to see our weaknesses or they will not respect us.

Sadly, that kind of mentality leads to hypocrisy and self-righteousness excusing our own sin while bashing other people’s sins. Instead of using compassionate language for the sinner and harsh words for the Pharisees and Sadducees we reversed it and became rude and crude in the name of boldness and taking a stand.

Indeed, our Bible sword was long and honed to be able to split hairs from a spider, but was made out of rubber as we studied and applied it to our own lives. We would rejoice as we lopped off the head of the ungodly and the backslid, but would not even allow it to mess up one strand of our own hair. We cared not who we offended be it sinner or weak sheep. We were men of God showing no quarter to the enemy, not realizing that in all our purported boldness we were as much an enemy to the Gospel as the devil for we did not portray Jesus as Savior extending arms of forgiveness in grace.as is His mission in this age.

We wanted to be the Judge and it is with judgment He returns and we do not have the call to bear that sword. We are called to rescue and redeem. Yes, speaking the truth in LOVE and calling sin, what it is, but not in the harshness we so often used. You can warn someone of sin and righteousness, but it should be because you want to lead them to salvation from Hell, not snicker and be glad if they do die lost.

I had asked God to purge me so He could use me more. Had I known what that would entail, I would not have asked for that , but I am glad I did. It has changed my life and is still changing it. Indeed, I have so much left to be purged that I am astounded He even wants to bother with me, but then that is the love and grace I thought I knew about after my conversion in ’75. I was a babe thinking I was a sage on the subject.

There are several things that have been spoken over me that I have yet to see, but I look forward to the day when they come to pass. I once wanted to be like Paul and Peter looking only at their victories, not their failures and the process of their tempering. I do have many of their weaknesses.

That was another of my flaws, wanting to be like men instead of being like Jesus. We are called to be conformed to His image. not the heroes of the faith. Indeed, that hinders our growth for we are not called to their ministry for their time, but for our ministry in this time. That means we will be shaped differently and Jesus will manifest Himself in us and to us the way He wants to work with our generation. We are to learn from their example, but we are His work for this time. They are light, but as the darkness deepens in our time God may make our lives much brighter than theirs so that we can see clearly in the deepest, darkest caverns to bring His love and salvation to the people dwelling in that darkness.

I want to be the Ron He wants me to be and to be as much like Him as I can be in my waning years. I am asking Him to make more far more useful and fruitful in whatever years I have left than I have been in the last 40 years.

The devil may think he has led me to my Thermopylae, but like that WWII general that replied, “Nuts” to the German call for his surrender, I do not have to surrender or wallow in the defeat of any battle for my Commander-in-Chief has won the war and though I be wounded and bloodied my dust off is on the way by death or Rapture and I shall return to march in the victory parade in Jerusalem when the King returns to reign! Glory to His name!! Maranatha!!

What’s Your Brand?

July 1, 2016


I have a branding iron that depending on how you turn it you could brand the cattle with a large I or a wide H.  For those not from Texas or other cattle states, you branded the cattle to mark them as yours.  Hence a design like Rocking R or Lazy S is used to distinguish your cattle on an open range from that of a neighbor.  It also helped to retrieve lost or stolen cattle.

I was thinking of the things we do are like the cattle.  We can brand them with a large I meaning with our ego or pride. Remember, the central issue of the problem of pride is I.  Our deeds can have I problems.  We give ourselves credit and they are all OUR plans about OUR desires.  Then again, we can hand the branding iron over to God and let him turn it into a H showing that all we are, have and do are His and thus holy.

In business these days it is all about branding.  You develop your brand and market it.  Even churches get in on the brand thing and market themselves. The ticket is the to have the right brand to get people to buy your product or come to your church.  Seeker church is a branding concept trying to find the right model for your demographics.  I get that different fish require different bait, but like all things it can go overboard. You will not find a church for this people group and one for that one or for lovers of different genre of music in the Word.  There was only one church per town where rich, poor, etc went to worship and serve God.  Hmm, a sermon there, fer sure.

I really do not like churches running like businesses and using business models.  Neither Jesus or Christianity are market items for they are not of this World. Thus using Madison Avenue tactics or techniques do not adorn or become the Gospel.  They are actually hindrances.  (Phil 1:27)

His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, but are higher.  ( Isa 55:9)  Why use thoughts other than His and methods that are trying to sell you what you do not need and cannot afford?  That also might be a sermon one day.  Do we really need to use methods that market baubles that are thrown away when they break or loose allure when we have a message that is worth more than the riches of the universe?  I think not!

In the Christian’s life, everything he/she says, does or thinks brands their soul the souls of others as well as presents a picture of what to the World of what a Christian is, what the Church is about as well as who they think Jesus is and does today.

Branding cattle takes some expertise.  You do not want the iron to be too hot to severely harm the animal.  After all, it is an asset and means money down the road.  You do not want it not hot enough or it may not brand the animal at all or make such a light mark that it can be easily altered by a rustler with his brand.

The only way we can be assured that the branding of our lives will be beneficial to us and others is to hand over our I iron to Him.  He will turn our I into an H.  When we allow that to happen, not only will it be His mark on us, but the resulting holiness will leave a mark on our families/friends/co-workers, church and job, our neighborhood, but may also be the start of a change in our state, our country and even the world.

Those who were branded by God,  but walked away from the herd may see their grass is not greener, even dead brown, and be led by the light of your holiness.  Those who were stolen from God by The Fall may see that have having the brand of Jesus on their lives is what they have been longing for and will come to Him to be redeemed.  Once bought by the blood and branded by Christ, the old scars of satan’s brand will fade.  They will joyfully display their new brand to the World thus drawing others to the herd.

When people look at you what brand do they see?  Is it a big I or the H?  Sometimes you can get people to cock their head left or right so they see an H even if it is truly a very large I.  You can do what looks like His work in the flesh, but God will not bless it.

One day, we will stand before God for inspection. If you have His brand of salvation you will be allowed to enter Heaven.  However, your life’s work will be evaluated as well.  All the stuff you branded with the I will be burned up and will not follow you in.  That which you let Him brand will result in rewards for you.

If you show up without His brand on you, you will not be allowed in.  Your branding will all be large I  branding because you held the iron. You may show Him all the work you did in church or the neighborhood using His name, but you will be as welcome as a cattle rustler.  Your life was all about you and He never knew you. You and your works will be burned forever,  (Matt 7:21-25)

Are you branded by the blood of Christ or the scars of satan and sin? If not the blood, today is the day to change brands. If your are His by blood and branding, is your life His?  Will your life’s branding work here go up in flames or will you give Him back your rewards laying them at His feet because you know it was all Him and not you that earned them?  If you are still breathing you can the iron over to Him!  Will you do it? Maranatha!!

1Co 3:
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

   

                             Branded

Like a wild mustang on the range,

I roamed life without a plan.

Christians seemed to be so strange.

I swore I’d never wear that brand.

No one could put a saddle on me.

Many tried, but they ended up in the dust.

I was wild and I thought I was free.

Never did I see the chains of sin and lust.

Then one day the Master found me starving on the plain.

I saw love in His eyes and peace in His face.

I couldn’t resist, my heart had such pain.

I quietly let Him rope my neck with Grace.

He touched me with a nail scarred hand.

A drop of His blood totally cleansed me.

I now wear the old Rugged Cross Brand.

My chains are gone and I am truly free.

Satan had rustled and branded me with sin.

He deceived me into thinking I had a good deal.

His venom wasted this man from within

And placed on my soul his Hellish seal.

Let Jesus bring you back to His Salvation Ranch.

He’ll give you a reason to lift up a joyful hand.

Don’t pass up what could be your last chance

To wear that blessed old Rugged Cross Brand.

      Nov 22, 1993