Unabridged Christianity Friday, Jan 11 2019 

A Spirit of Bondage

John 3:8
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

What makes a person a Christian is their miraculous rebirth. We must not forget they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

We have been studying the peculiar difficulties of understanding the differences between a religious man and a Christian.

One of the snares the devil employs so frequently is to make a religious man think he is a Christian when he has never been born again. In order to enter the kingdom of heaven there are two forms of worship required; in Spirit and in truth. A man who has never been born again cannot worship in Spirit because the Spirit is not in him. They may think they have worshiped Him because they’ve gone to church their entire lives, but God is a Spirit.

The enemy of our souls uses religion to delude people into thinking it is a particular building, certain rituals, robes and vestments that determine our condition with God. Religion is external with certain trappings.

A man who has been born of the Spirit has the life of God in his soul. It is an internal thing. He has communion with the Trinity. He knows Him. He knows His presence. He knows what it is to grieve Him. He knows what it feels to be dependent upon Him, to realize his own weakness and utter need for Him. He is aware of His activities within him, promptings, leading, corrections. He also knows the power He can give to do whatever he is called to do: preaching, teaching, service, prayer.

Another vital part of what the Holy Spirit does within those who are born again is assurance of salvation. There are two big things the Holy Spirit does in us; sanctification and assurance. Delivering us from sin gives us assurance, certainty. It is this assurance that gives us joy. The joy of the LORD is our strength.

A religious person can never know assurance.

There is a distinction that is very subtle between assurance and self-satisfaction. Paul explains it in Philippians 3:3-6

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

A Christian who is born again and filled with the Spirit of the living God receives assurance. In spite of his unworthiness he has been given this free gift from God. John 3:15-17

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

It is entirely because of the work of the LORD Jesus Christ. It is dependent on God’s grace.

There is no higher test of the rebirth than this because it cannot be counterfeited.

Assurance shows itself in various ways:

  1. Deliverance from the spirit of bondage and fear. Romans 8:15
    15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
  2. Deliverance from the law. This is the bondage of religion. Romans 6:14
    14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 8:1-2  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
  3. Peace with God Romans 5:1
    5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Romans 8:7
    Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
  4. He has Faith. Romans 4:3b
    Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
  5. He has the Spirit of Adoption Galatians 4:6
    And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

How do you approach God? Is He your Abba? Your Daddy?

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Unabridged Christianity Tuesday, Jan 8 2019 

Oh God, Thou Art My God (1)

John 3:8
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

As we’ve been studying we’ve seen that Jesus told Nicodemus what a man needed in order to see the kingdom of heaven. One of the reasons that Nicodemus struggled with understanding the rebirth is because it is something miraculous, something divine that occurs by the power and gift of God.

Have you ever seen a miracle?

God’s rationality is not man’s rationality. A miracle isn’t something you can explain.

Over the centuries, religion has become the greatest enemy of the cause of Christ because it is institutionalized, formal, cold, dead. Many churches quench the Spirit of God with the traditions of men. They set up the exact same order, same agenda week after week, not allowing time for the Spirit of God to move.

Philippians 3

Here Paul explains that he too was “religious”. He was a Jew, a Pharisee just like Nicodemus. He tells the Philippians exactly what I am warning you of here.

We need to be able to distinguish between religion and true Christianity by knowing the characteristics of a true Christian in order to test ourselves as to whether or not we have been born again and are the children of God.

And we have been reviewing each of these characteristics beginning with the general basic principles and going deeper into the specific detailed features of a true Christian. We are attempting to narrow it down to the “bottom line”. Being a retired accountant, it is difficult for me not to use the jargon of my profession. The whole point in preparing financial statements was to get to the “true condition” of an entities’ worth and activities. We are doing the same thing here, analyzing the details in order to get to the truth.

A Christian is someone who has become a partaker of the divine nature.

If we are unable to see the differences between religion and Christianity it means we are not born again. When a person is born again their spiritual eyes have been opened and they can see the difference. It is a part of the miracle of the rebirth.

We know we have life because we love the brethren. We know we have passed from death unto life because we love God. We receive as a part of His fullness the desire to know God.

1 John 4:20
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

So, we are moving from the things you can see with the natural eye i.e. your brethren to the realm of the supernatural things you cannot see except with spiritual eyes i.e. your God. We are ascending upwards from the basic principles into the pinnacle of truth in order to be absolutely certain. John 3:12
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

Religious people know about God but true Christians know God. You may think I’m splitting hairs here and that’s alright.

Religion and philosophy always use terms to define God but Christianity uses personal relationship to God in order to express the undefinable. Christianity is internal and philosophy is external. Whenever a philosopher begins to see the error of his ways and attempts to use internal means he looks and sees himself. He cannot see or define God internally because His seed is not in him.

When a person is born again his relationship with God becomes his primary focus. It is central to his new life. It is not an interest in religion. Be very careful not to make a mistake here. Paul was very interest and lived his “religion” prior to the road to Damascus as we saw in Philippians 3. He went all out. He was “zealous”.

The church is like this, always interested in her activities, her organization, and the institution of her religion. It is all external, a reliance on what they are doing.

The true Christian puts his relationship to God above theology and doctrine. So many people come into trouble getting what they know in their minds to take the 16 inch journey to their hearts where the true life in Christ resides.

The true Christian puts his relationship to Jesus Christ above his desires for the blessings from God because of the divine seed with in him, because he has been born of the water and of the Spirit. “Nearer My God to Thee”.

The man of God who has been born again realizes that this is the chief end of salvation. John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 17:25
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. John 3:13
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Let’s take worship. True worship is not just attending church and singing songs. It is communion with God. It is symbolized by communion. We take all of Him; the body, and the blood; for in the blood is the life.

It is like prayer. You don’t just dive right in and tell God all of your petitions. You wait on God until you “know” he is present. How do you know He is present? The Holy Spirit bears witness. It is part of the miracle of rebirth. His sheep “know” His voice.

The bible tells us over and over again about this. Enoch walked with God. Abraham was a friend of God. Moses talked with God. Jacob wrestled with Him. David sang to Him. Psalm 63 and Psalm 84.

Philippians 3:10
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

Paul knew God.

The true Christian expects God to show up when he prays, to answer his prayers, to hear him, to speak with him, to teach him, to deal with him, to have an intimate relationship, fellowship, communion. He thanks God for every experience, every miracle, every manifestation, every blessing, every gift of the Spirit given to him.

The devil cannot give us a desire for a personal knowledge of God. The devil can give you an interest in theology and religion. The desire to have a personal knowledge of God is by the Holy Spirit.

Come Back to the Lord-Day 8 Thursday, Mar 29 2018 

The Scripture we are studying today can be found in the book of Psalms chapter 119: 57-64

Psalm 119:57-64 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Heth.

57 The Lord is my portion;
I have [a]promised to keep Your words.
58 I sought Your favor with all my heart;
Be gracious to me according to Your [b]word.
59 I considered my ways
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
60 I hastened and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
61 The cords of the wicked have encircled me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.
62 At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You
Because of Your righteous ordinances.
63 I am a companion of all those who [c]fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.
64 The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.

For we know:

Hebrews 1:1-3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
God’s Final Word in His Son

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, [a]in these last days has spoken to us [b]in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the [c]world. [d]And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and [e]upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

The Lord is our portion. All who seek Him shall not be dismayed.

Come Back to the Lord – Day 7 Wednesday, Mar 28 2018 

The scripture for today is Psalms 119:49-56

Zayin.

49 Remember the word to Your servant,
[s]In which You have made me hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has [t]revived me.
51 The arrogant utterly deride me,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
52 I have remembered Your ordinances from [u]of old, O Lord,
And comfort myself.
53 Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked,
Who forsake Your law.
54 Your statutes are my songs
In the house of my pilgrimage.
55 O Lord, I remember Your name in the night,
And keep Your law.
56 This has become mine,
[v]That I observe Your precepts.

When the world begins closing in, we are taught to ask “WWJD?”, (what would Jesus do?).

He would seek the Lord in prayer. Go to some quiet place and plead our cause.

For we know:

Psalm 27:4-6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the [a]beauty of the Lord
And to [b]meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His [c]tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices [d]with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

My Bible Sunday, Jan 28 2018 

The verse we are going to be addressing this morning may be found in the book of Hebrews chapter 4 verse 12: 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

My dear reader, I would like to share with you my relationship with the Holy Bible.

Each day, I share with you a verse or two. Why do I do this? My purpose in sharing scripture with you is to share with you what the Holy Spirit is doing to my thoughts and intents. Perhaps you identify with me in this. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is discerning yours as well. I want to share my journey with you, my experiences, including the lessons I am learning along the way.

So what is my bible to me? Well, first of all the word “Bible” is not even in the bible. An interesting study one can do is to determine which popular sayings are not in the bible. I remember sharing the golden rule in one of my posts and someone said to me, “That’s not in the bible.” If you do not know what is not in it, how can you understand what is in it?

My bible is not just a fire insurance policy.

For some people that’s all it is to them. They look at it on Christmas service and Easter service. The rest of the year it collects dust on a shelf somewhere. I hope that isn’t you.

My bible is not just an inheritance.

For some people that’s all it is to them. They inherited the old book from their mother or father. They know it has the family tree in there somewhere. They glance at it when they are feeling nostalgic or after their parents have passed on because they miss them and they know that they used to read it on occasion.

My bible is my interpreter.

It interprets for me the language of Zion. And oh how I enjoy the conversations I have with God. There are times when I read it that the words jump right off the page at me.

My bible is alive.

One minute I use it as a sword against the devil and the next minute the Holy Spirit is using it on me as a scalpel to remove some error in my mind.

My bible is powerful.

It heals me. Not just physically but emotionally, spiritually and in every way.

My bible reassures me of my place in the Kingdom of God.

By it the Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I am a child of God. I am of the household of God. I am a stone of the temple that God himself inhabits.

 

My Testimony Friday, Jan 12 2018 

Today’s verse comes from John chapter one verse 19: 19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

When I look at the list of followers on this blog I am amazed. Currently, there are 99 of you. I look forward to the day when we can finally surpass 100.

But then it comes to me why are these people “following” me? Do they know me? Do they know where I came from? What my past was?

1 Peter 3:15 comes to mind: 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear

So I am prodded incessantly to give my testimony to you.

Christ had a testimony. We read about it in John chapter 3: 32 What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; [a]for He gives the Spirit without measure.

My prayer in giving you this testimony is that I too would “speak the words of God giving the Spirit without measure.”

We know the Word of God is true.

I was raised in the church as a child from about the age of seven or eight. It was after my mother divorced my dad and she was seeking salvation. She had been raised a catholic but after two divorces; need I say more.

As we went about church hopping, I was indoctrinated into the Mormon church at the age of eight. Their missionaries came right to our front door. Then when I was ten we moved away because my mother had remarried for the third time and he was a non-denominational Christian. So we attended the Christian Church. What grace God blessed me with in this beginning of my faith in Christ. The bible was central to this place. I began my over half century dissection of God’s Holy Bible. Throughout my entire life, God has had His hand on me.

I was not so faithful as He.

Would that I could tell you that my life was full of praise, worship, and prayer. But, alas, I became painfully aware of my need of a Savior. I know now that God has put me in this place at this time because He loves me. God is not done with me. I am a work in progress.

So I share my journey with you. Philippians 3:I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

My Earnest Expectation Saturday, Jan 6 2018 

Today’s verses can be found in the book of Philippians the first chapter verses 19-21.

Philippians 1:19-21New American Standard Bible (NASB)

19 for I know that this will turn out for my [a]deliverance through your [b]prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

To Live Is Christ

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

It is my earnest expectation that these scriptures will manifest for me in Christ.

My desire is to glorify God in my body in everything that I do. This desire comes from being saved. When you are saved you get this desire in your heart.  That will become your primary desire above all else.

Another desire I have is to pray. Seeking God’s face is like a thirst in my spirit.

A third desire is to be in the WORD. I’m not talking about skimming a few verses every day. I’m talking about a hunger for the meat of the word. I’m in it to chew on it. To meditate on it. To pray about it. “Lord, What are you trying to teach me in these passages?”

I have an overwhelming desire to hear the teachings of the Holy Spirit.

Another desire is to worship. Not just by myself; I want to worship with a big crowd. I want God to be so glorified by our corporate worship that He shows up with bands of angels to sing along.

This is what is meant by being renewed in the spirit of your mind. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. Even if salvation was the only thing that God ever gave me that would be enough. But that isn’t all there is to it. There’s unmerited favor. This is God’s grace. I could rant on and on about what is included in the package of  gifts given to the believer but suffice it to say that this world can’t contain it all.

Each day is filled with great expectations.

God’s Visitation-Part 1 Thursday, Jun 1 2017 

I’d like to begin this post with the story of how Israel got its’ name:

Jacob Wrestles With God

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[f] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[g] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[h] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Here we have an example of a historical fact. I-sra-el, or “I struggled with God.” It is also an example of a visitation from God. One of many throughout the bible that I would like to now bring to your attention.

Another instance is Moses and the burning bush:

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

Now here we have another instance of God’s Visitation. I will continue in Part 2.

God’s Day Tuesday, Apr 11 2017 

Some believe that everyday is God’s day. When defined as a set 24 hours, this is certainly true, but I’ve been pondering the fact that we know that God lives outside of time and yet he does everything within its’ proper time. This blog post just might blow your mind as I take you to a place you may have never been.

You may have never thought about this in exactly the way I intend to spell it out to you here. Oh, I know, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

But I also know that, ” with the LORD a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day”,  2 Peter 3:8  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

So imagine for a moment that you could understand the concept of one day stretching out into a thousand years. This is one of those impossibilities that is possible with God. Just like the camel through the eye of the needle.

I can’t help but think that God takes great musings about this pondering of His awesomeness.

Back to “a day”. The best way to understand this is back at the beginning. Genesis 1:4-5

God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Here we see exactly what God is doing. It is the essence of who He is that comes out so clearly. God “sees” what is good and separates it from darkness. Only God is good. Mark 10:18 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. ”

Why do I attempt to explain God to you? Every attempt I make fails miserably. I digress at every turn unable to put forth the meaning my mind so eagerly clings to in this expansion called “today”.

The point I’m trying to make is that every day is important, valuable, priceless, irreplaceable, unwavering in its’ capacity to glorify the God of the universe within the actions of His called and beyond the circumference of His chosen. We cannot contain all that God’s “Day” encompasses.

Only God can truly know his day and what it will be. Will it be full of gentleness, meekness and peace; absent of any need or want or worry? Or, will it be a “Day of Reckoning”? You decide.

God’s Balance Monday, Dec 26 2016 

God’s Balance

Psalm 103: 14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.

It is a wise man who learns that the foundation of life is love. Without knowledge; there can be no joy. Our faith yields a bountiful crop of peace. Healing comes through patience. The most miraculous power on earth is kindness. Prophecy is the cornerstone of goodness. Faithfulness brings the gift of distinguishing of spirits. Speaking in tongues is the epitome of gentleness and their interpretations are brought through self-control.

Psalm 103: 19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

For every fruit of the Spirit there is a gift. God is the ruler of them all. He distributes them as he wills.

You have heard of the “balance of nature” and how delicate it is on earth. With God, that balance expands to the bounds of heaven.

Isaiah 40:The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.”

Isaiah 40: 11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d] of the Lord,
or instruct the
Lord as his counselor?
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding?

If you are always thinking you need to put your own finger on the scale then you’ll never receive God’s best for you.

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