Happy New Year!

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13, 14

Happy New Year, 2016 is here! Blessings to you all. Enjoy every moment and stay safe and focused.

As you enter upon a new year, let it be with an earnest resolve to have your course onward and upward. -ML

Hold On, He’s Strong, and Walk Boldly With Your God.

Fatherless & Widowed

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. Jam 1:27

While reading this verse a couple mornings ago a few thoughts came to mind.

In this world, many young people are growing up without both a mother and father or in some cases neither, for whatever reason. Also as a result of the introduction of sin the blessed union of marriage has been tainted by death and has taken many a husband leaving brokenness and sometimes unquenchable sorrow. Caring for the physical needs of these individuals is James’s inspired message to us in this verse, but what are we doing within the spiritual context of this instruction?

As we take the gospel, in love, to this world we are to share and reveal an image of a father, that the world has distorted and that many have never known. Foreign to many is a father of love, free of abandonment, hurt, pain, or rejection, however Love is our Father who art in heaven. Now as for the companionship of a husband lost, the Bible calls the church a bride anxiously awaiting their groom, who we know as Jesus. James along with inspiration from Paul (Eph 5) is laying it out for us and bringing these ideas together so that we can better understand a pure and undefiled religion. People hate religion because it is often practiced outside of love and the pure heart and intentions that Christ ministered with. James is saying if we look at this world as being full of individuals who have been spiritually orphaned and/or widowed, taken advantage of, abandoned, hurt, and rejected by our adversary, the devil, after willingly or unwillingly going his way for a season, they have a need day in and day out that longs to be filled. As we move closer to the second coming of our Savior there is little knowledge and understanding of the true nature of God the Father and His son Jesus, and we are to visit and share with our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. what hopefully is an overflow of Christ in us. The abundance of true wealth, not just our earthly gain, shared with those longing to be restored is an earnest and honest practice of pure and undefiled religion.

Finally, keeping ourselves unspotted from the world, but how?

One day a young minister was being escorted through a coal mine. At the entrance of one of the dim passageways, he spied a beautiful white flower growing out of the black earth. “How can it blossom in such purity and radiance in this dirty mine?” the preacher asked. “Throw some coal dust on it and see for yourself,” his guide replied. When he did, he was surprised that the fine, black particles slide right off the snowy petals, leaving the plant just as lovely and unstained as before. Its surface was so smooth that the grit and grime could not adhere to it. In commenting on this incident, an unknown author said, “Our hearts should have the same characteristic. Just as that flower could not control its habitat, so we cannot avoid living in a world filled with evil. But God’s grace can keep us so clean and unspotted that though sin touches us on every side, it will not cling to us.”

Living in this world we all experience hurt and pain. Our hurt and pain, God who is able and remains faithful, uses to smooth off our rough edges and bring out a glow, a shine, a surface that the evil of this world cannot cling to.

Jesus in His final prayer before Gethsemane asked these things of God the Father, I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As we seek a closer walk with Christ, our religion, in spirit and in truth, in Him as the foundation of our truth and hope and every promise fulfilled, will become purer and our lives will become even more resistant to the things of this world. The Lord is faithful, who will establish you, and keep you from evil. 2 Thes 3:3

Jude says this Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24

Remember as you go through each day, this day, what the truth about a pure and undefiled religion is. Church attendance, yeh sure. Bible study, definitely. Paying tithe, again sure. But nothing can replace walking in and sharing the love of our Savior Jesus Christ and His Father with the Fatherless and Widowed of this world for this is as we once were ourselves, a broken people without Father or Groom, who have now been called to the family of God. Continue in grace and to grow in faith in our brother, friend, and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Live blessed.

Who Is Greater?

“Sometimes, the best way to take our eyes off our situation is to refocus on something greater.”

Question who or what is greater than God?

David said it like this, I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him. Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge. Ps 62:5,8

He is the King of Kings and Lord or Lords. He is the creator of all. Nothing is too big or for that matter too small for Him to be concerned or care about, especially when you take it and surrender it to Him.

Refocus and turn you eyes to Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith and He is Love and has loved you with an everlasting, and endless Love. Heb 12:1; Jer 31:3

Finally John answers the questions of what or who is greater, our situations or our circumstances, our tests or our trials, None of these!

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who (or whatever) is in the world. He has overcome the world. 1 Jn 4:4; Jn 16:33

Peace, Quietness, Assurance

Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered.

The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled.

As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd.

A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner.

The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace?

A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power.

A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.

In Luke 12:24 Jesus tells us to consider the ravens and how they neither sow nor reap, but God feeds them and how much more are we better than birds. In Matthew 10:29-31 Jesus references the price at market for two sparrows which was half of a penny but that they don’t fall from a tree or from the air without the Father knowing and caring but again we are more valuable to Him than even these.

Is 32:17 The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.

Matt 5:6 states that Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

God has promised that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, will be filled. The result of this filling will be peace. Furthermore the effect in our lives of being filled with righteousness is receiving quietness and resting in God’s assurance.

Finally Is 26:3 says, that we will be kept in perfect peace, as we keep our thought centered and focused on God. The verse goes on as if the question the question of why is asked and the answer is because we trusts Him. (NKJV)

Deut 7:9 says, Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

Lam 3:22,23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

“You must not let anything rob your soul of peace, of restfulness, of the assurance that you are accepted just now. Appropriate every promise; all are yours on condition of your complying with the Lord’s prescribed terms. Entire surrender of your ways, which seem so very wise, and taking Christ’s ways, is the secret of perfect rest in His love.
The soul consecrated to the service of Christ has a peace that the world cannot give or take away.”

– ML 176.6, 176.7

Praying for Nepal

I spent last December in Nepal preaching, sharing the Good News, and getting to know the people of Nepal. I met some wonderful people and made many friends there. We don’t know and may never know the impact of GOing when God stirs us to action, however and wherever. He is not calling us all to foreign missions but He is calling those who Love Him to Share Him.

Faith

All things are possible to him that believeth. Mark 9:23

God is simply asking us to trust Him. He then promises “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My (Jesus) name, He will give it to you.” John 16:23. Now, our asking should be according to the will of God for our lives. As our minds and lives more reflect His, we will begin to experience a oneness of mind and purpose as Christ did when He walked this earth. This will make true for His followers this admonition from Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Asking for a new car may not be in God’s plans for your near future however stepping out of that dead end job where your boss challenges your faith every chance he/she gets may be. Going across the street to visit a neighbor may also be. Leaving an extra tip with an inspiring note for a waitress or waiter may be. Remember God has a plan for you even when your plans begin to fall apart. Jer 29:11. Have faith in the one who spoke this world into existence, who by His breath created all that is, and in who our trust has a solid, never to fail foundation. John 14:6.

“Through faith God’s children have “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” And through faith we today are to reach the heights of God’s purpose for us.” –ML

Ninety-nine percent just won’t do unless you’re expecting the ordinary. Our God IS GOD. Trust Him with 100% and expect the extraordinary.

“You must learn the simple art of taking God at His word; then you have solid ground beneath your feet.”

Live Blessed

Seek Ye First

When did this world begin disregarding and encouraging ignoring God’s simple admonition in Matt 6:33 (Check out the full context starting at Verse 24), “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you,” (food, drink, clothing, etc..) I want to be a billionaire sooo………bad, really….? Just a thought.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Pet 2:9

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Rom 13:11-14