He Is Near

“We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks,
For Your name is near….” Psalm 75:1

Such great encouragement and hope to know this!

The psalmist, speaking to God, says:

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. Psalm 73:28

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. Psalm 65:4

His is as “near as the mention of His name”.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 119:18

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6

He invites us to call on the only Name that can truly save, satisfy, help, deliver, provide, give wisdom and comfort.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

…He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (Jesus Christ), since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

Don’t miss this kind, Sovereign invitation. Again, seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. He is near, NOW, for you, in every concern, fear, disappointment or loss. He is true and will not disappoint.

Be blessed!

Mitch

Are You Standing for the NFL?

American Flag proudly flying above the U.S.S. Constellation in Baltimore, Maryland’s Inner Harbor.

I’d like to have a word with Americans today.  And when I say Americans, I not only mean citizens of this great Country, I mean citizens who are loyal to the Country and its Government.  Because you are the only true citizens.  Because that is what it means to owe allegiance.  It means to be loyal to the Government.  If you are not loyal to the Government, you are not a true citizen of the county.  You may be an anarchist or a revolutionist, but certainly not a citizen.  Because a citizen is loyal to their Government.

Here in the United States of America, we have many methods of demonstrating our loyalty to our Country, our Government, and our Ideals.  However there are three undeniable expressions of loyalty that every American has agreed upon for decades, that expresses our loyalty and our Allegiance to our country and our government.  And those three expressions are (1) To serve in the United States Military (the Armed Forces of the United States of America – the United States Navy, the United States Army, the United States Air Force, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard).  If you serve in the defense of our country, and you serve honorably and loyally, you are proven to be a loyal citizen of this great country.  As a matter-of-fact, we have had a program in our past where we have extended citizenship to foreign nationals who have served honorably in our Military.  My wife has Filipino family members who are U.S. citizen today because they served in the United States Military.  (2) To salute and revere our flag.  Acknowledging our flag has been considered for decades to be a sign of patriotism towards our country.  And to salute our flag has always been considered to render a military salute for military members in United States Military uniform and to place ones right hand over the heart for citizens not in United States Military uniform.  And by standing, if one is capable of doing so, while rendering said salute, while facing the flag.  And (3) by reverencing our National Anthem in like kind.  These three methods of showing patriotism for our country has never been debated seriously in our history.

The acts of some of our professional sports players, most notably those in the National Football League (NFL), to not follow these practices (Jaguars, Ravens kneel at UK game) is, by definition, a disrespect to the American flag, the American National Anthem, and our country.  It can be perceived as nothing less.

The citizens of the United States of America have many divides over the course of our history.  However, other than the United States Civil War (where the South actually succeeded, set up their own government, and had their own flag), we have never not respected our country through our differences.

I have had lots of differences with my country during my lifetime.  Abortion for example.  I believe abortion cheapens life and kills innocent, defenseless, human babies.  And yet I’ve never knelt before the United States flag.  The assault on my Christian values.  Which I believe has led to many of the problems we experience today.  And yet I’ve never disrespected our National anthem.  And the protests against our great Military, during the Viet Nam War, and the wars that have followed.  And yet I have never not honored my country.  I love my country, as is evidenced by my actions and what I do.

I married a Philippine citizen (who is now a Naturalized American Citizen).  And we have traveled to the Philippines many times over the years to visit family and friends.  On some of those trips we have attended festivals where the Philippine National anthem was played.  I have stood respectfully, but I have never placed my hand over my heart or recited the pledge to their flag.  To do so would be to disrespect my country.

When American Football players stand on foreign soil (the United Kingdom) and kneel when the United States National Anthem is played, it is not only disrespectful to our country, it is tantamount to renouncing their citizenship.  And when they stand and place their hands over their hearts for the United Kingdom’s National anthem, it is not only disrespectful to our country, it is tantamount to pledging their allegiance to a foreign country and government.

The same is true for our members of Congress or any other citizen who does not honor our flag, our anthem, or our Government.

We must find ways to work together to overcome our challenges, but disrespecting our country is not one of them.  That is quitting the team.  We must support the team and work with it to make it a better team in the end.  And thankfully, here in this country we have the freedom to do just that.

Consider this, what if one of those NFL teams had some differences amongst the players on their team?  And what if some of those players chose to protest those difference by wearing the jerseys of a rival team?  How far do you think that would go?  What if they were to bring out the flag or team colors of a rival team and place them over their own team colors?  How long would it be before their teammates, coaches, staff, and owners sat down and had a word with them?

We may have differences, and we may have problems, but we are still Americans and we should still honor our country.  And quite frankly, if you cannot, then I invite you to leave and let those who do honor our country to hold up the flag.  Let me know how far you get in any other country on Earth disrespecting their flag, anthem, or government.  I’d suggest you try North Korea first.

Do You Stand with the NFL Today?  I hope not.  I hope you boycott the NFL until they learn to stand at attention with the rest of us, for the United States Flag.  If you want to kneel, try the altar at your local Church.

First Things First

Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The scriptures tell us to seek His Kingdom first. So, what is this “kingdom” we should seek? I believe kingdoms are about kings and their domain. That being so, seeking His Kingdom is seeking Him as King and we being His domain…giving Him His rightful place of rule and reign in us, over us and around us. And, the word “seek” is most accurately rendered “seek and keep on seeking continuously”.

Verse 33 is in the “imperative mood”, meaning it is a command, an imperative…not an elective or just an option.

The word “first” necessarily implies several things about seeking His Kingdom:

Priority – It is first in importance
Purpose – Implies the first and most important reason why we exist
Profession – Implies my first and primary task, work, objective
Passion – Implies my first and primary motive in all we do

So what is the outcome of this endeavor?

Matthew 6:25-32
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The outcome is amazing! If we make HIM our greatest priority, purpose, passion, possession and profession, THEN HE will make us His priority and add everything else we need to be sustained and flourish.

Jesus was once asked what the foremost commandment was.  His reply, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength”.  I feel this is a great complimentary  verse to the focal passage of this brief note.  I think this says it all very simply.  What we love and cherish the most in this life will always determine our priorities, guide us in our purpose, work, choices and be the  foundation for our value systems.

May it be that we seek Him and His rule and reign over us…seek to love Him with everything in us, and out of that, every other concern, need and desire will be abundantly met out of His unlimited, loving supply.

Give Him Praise!

Mitch

 

The Bible!

Through the years, there are those who have impacted my life greatly. One of those is Richard C. Halverson, former Chaplain of the United States Senate. His writings speak powerfully to many issues. I share today this devotional taken from his bi-weekly devotional letters, May 20, 1996, published by Concern Ministries, Inc.  I might add, I have attempted to get permission to use this devotional and have been unable to find a contact to do so.  If you can help, please let me know.

“Through the centuries, the Bible has meant more to humanity than any other book.

On his deathbed, Sir Walter Scott, the great English Author, requested that his son bring him ‘the book’. ‘Which book?’ asked his son. “There is only one book” Scott replied, “The Bible”.

The late Yale professor, William Lyon Phelps, said if he had to choose between the Bible and a university education, he would choose a knowledge of the Bible.

Concerning the Bible, Patrick Henry said, ‘There is a book worth all other books.’

     Horace Greely commented, ‘The principles of the bible are the groundwork of human freedom.’ And Rufus Choat said, ‘No lawyer can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.’

‘Hold fast to the Bible,’ urged Ulysses S. Grant, ‘for it is the anchor of our liberties.’ Then he added, ‘To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization – and to this we must look as our guide in the future.’

In the words of Woodrow Wilson, ‘When you have read the Bible, you will know it is the Word of God because you will have found it to be the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your duty.’

What an amazing phenomenon – the Bible!

It is virtually a library in itself – written by over forty different writers, from different cultures, over thousands of years, in various languages, addressing many subjects, and yet a unified whole.

To contemplate the Bible’s influence in exalting people and nations to consider its supernatural composition – not to mention the fulfillment of its numerous prophesies – is only to arrive at the conclusion which the Bible claims for itself, that:

    ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for…instruction in righteousness: That the man or woman of God may be perfect…unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:16)”

May this great book become endeared to you, and increasingly so, as it has these.

Be Blessed,

Mitch

HE Satisfies!

Psalm 145:15-16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
15 The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 38:9 (NASB)
9 Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You.

Psalm 103:5 (NASB)
5  …Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

All of God’s creation is administrated and sustained by HIM. Nothing is lost, expires, occurs or fails apart from HIS loving, sovereign knowledge, oversight and permission.

Especially for mankind, the apex of HIS creation, all desires, needs, deficiencies and concerns, no matter how small, are seen by HIM (El Roi). HE not only sees all but HE is The Provider (Jehovah Jireh)for all, The Shepherd (Jehovah Rohi) and God Almighty (El Shaddai, the All Sufficient One). So, not only does HE see and know our needs, HE is uniquely qualified to meet and satisfy those needs, has promised to do so, and that without diminishing HIS supply at all!

There are many others who feebly make this claim. They are all counterfeits! They may “convincingly” make their argument. We may take their bait. But, as all things false, though they may satisfy for a brief time, they soon give way to a greater hunger than before, and we realize we were fooled.

Only God himself knows how many times I’ve been deceived, gone after “another” source, and soon find myself disappointed, more desperately in need, plus facing consequences of my error.  HE clearly declares HIMSELF The SOURCE for all. Why would we go elsewhere? “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”, provider, keeper?

For every legitimate (God-given) need, drive or desire, there is a legitimate supply. HIS Word to us is: 2 Corinthians 9:8-9 (NASB)

8 …God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all-sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
9 as it is written,
“He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever.”

Hear all these inclusives: all grace, always, all-sufficiency, abundance, every good deed! God is not limited! My problem has been my propensity to run to another rather than to HIM. There lies the limitation if any, the guy I see in my mirror.

May it ever be, from this day on, that I always run to HIM early, always honor HIM by relentlessly trusting His Word and HIS endless supply.  Oh that I would forever make HIM my first choice and never again my last chance. May I always remember that “HE blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear (revere and trust) HIM”, alone. (Psalm 67)

These are true words, for HE has declared them.  This is my prayer for you who reads.  Run to HIM…make HIM first, and get ready for HIS promised abundance.

HIS blessings on you and yours,

Mitch

Do You Meet Minium Requirements?

A co-worker came into work the other day and matter-of-factly proclaimed:

“I met the minimum requirements of motherhood this morning.”

I had to chuckle.  We all have some set of minimum requirements we believe we need to meet in order to survive each day.

But there are also a set of minimum requirements that others depend upon us to meet in order for their own survival.  If we do not nurture and care for our young, their chances of surviving in this world go down significantly.  And the younger the offspring, the less their odds for survival.  There are those in the world that are critically ill or injured that have a minimum requirement upon others for their survival.  If they do not have some very basic needs met in their lives, their odds for survival begin to plummet dramatically.  And we all depend upon others in some way or fashion.  How many of us in the world today could get by without a grocery store for food?  If your livelihood depends upon a vehicle, could you manufacture your own fuel and parts?  How many of us could provide for our own clothing and shelter?  What would our world look like and what would we, as humans be like, if we were all suddenly responsible for our own set of minimum requirements?

These questions become all the more intriguing when considered from our base world views.

For the Atheist it presents a fairly severe conundrum.    There is no meaning, after all, the entire universe is simply a petri dish of chemical and physical actions and reactions.  The fact that the majority of us seem to do our part is some outrageous statistic that is difficult to fathom at best.  Even great minds like Dr. Richard Dawkins and Dr. Stephen Hawking have stated that the appearance of order within the universe and our lives is, in fact, an illusion.  The idea that we would all just happen to come together and work towards some greater goal of survival is statistically unimaginable.  Where did this magical inner drive come from?  What is it within the natural universe that drives a process towards propagation of a species (or kind)?  The Atheist is hard pressed to find an answer within the confines of their own world view.

For the Agnostic it really doesn’t matter what the answer is or where the drive to meet any set of minimum requirements comes from.  The Agnostic simply tolerates the status quo as it meets their own set of needs and desires.  If the Agnostic finds that any one set of their basic minimum requirements is not being met, they might become anxious, or desperate, or angry, but they couldn’t really tell you why.  Nor should they care if they are truly agnostic in their world view.  Why should the Agnostic care if suddenly the portion of the world’s food supply that they depend upon were to stop?  Sure it would threaten their very survival, but they are, after all, agnostic.  And for the Agnostic, Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be.

For the Theist however, the drive to meet some set of basic minimum requirements for both ourselves, and for others, takes on a whole new meaning.  It is only within the Spiritual that we find real answers to the questions as to why we need to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Which is exactly why the founding fathers of the United States of America prescribed these basic unalienable rights as having come from God.  Because from whom else could they come?  Certainly I could not grant such rights to you, nor could you grant them to me.  And we cannot collectively grant them to each other.  Which is why governments of the world who set themselves up as the arbitrators of such rights fail and become oppressive to the people.  The Theist also recognizes that just as they have been granted these rights from a living God, they have an obligation outside of themselves or the rest of creation to protect these rights in and for others.  The Theist must meet a set of basic minimum requirements for both themselves and others because their God expects no less.  The mere fact that a God, a Creator, outside of our limited physical existence, has granted us life and given to us the pursuit of liberty and happiness, demands that we honor the Creator by protecting and preserving the minimum requirements  of life, liberty, and happiness in the lives of those around us.  It becomes our sacred honor and duty to do so.

However, as important as these questions are, and as critical the preponderance of our answers to them is, they are not what I want to settle upon today.

There is one greater question that faces all of humanity, from Adam and Eve to each and every person alive today.  It is a minimum requirement that every person that has ever lived, is living today, or ever shall live, faces in their own life.  And it is a minimum requirement that none of us can meet of our own accord.  We are all dependent upon a another to meet this requirement in our lives, and it is a requirement that, sadly, the vast majority of humanity never has, and never will, give careful consideration to.

It is the question of Why?  What?  And Where?  Why are you here?  What is your purpose?  What is the meaning of it all?  And Where will you end up for all of eternity?

There is one very eloquent answer to these questions.  It is found in the Bible, in John, Chapter 3, and Verse 16.  And that answer is:

“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 3:16 (KJV)

The minimum requirement to understanding why we are here, what the purpose of life is, and to securing our place in all of eternity, is to simply Believe on the Person of Jesus Christ.  That He is who He claimed to be, the Son of the Living God, and that He came to pay the price for all my sins by dying on the cross and rising from the dead on the third day.

A very important question, critical to each of all our eternities, and it has such a simple minimum requirement.  Believe on Him.

How about you?  Have you met your basic minimum requirements for today?  More importantly, have you met THE basic minimum requirement for all of eternity?

Don’t Be Afraid

Psalm 37:1-11 (NASB)
Security of Those Who Trust in the Lord

1Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers.  2For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. 3Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  4Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 5Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.  6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. 7Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.  8Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. 9For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.  10Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.  11But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.”

The scriptures speak to fear probably more than any other thing. He knows we are prone to fear more than any other emotion. He also knows that our arch-enemy Satan, is a fear monger, the father of terror. Though Jehovah God has assured our security,  peace and rest, Satan speaks to the contrary, hoping to discredit God, His Words, and propagate what is false.”

Listen again to His promise in Psalm 37:

“Do not fret…Be not envious…Trust in the Lord…Delight yourself in Him…Commit your way to… and trust in Him and He will do it…Rest in the Lord and wait for Him…. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing. …For those who wait for Him…will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.”

Such encouragement and such warning! Succumbing to fear will take us places we do not want to go. These words seem to suggest that fear is the soil from which anger and wrath emerge…the opposite of faith.

I’m such a slow learner in these things. How I’ve failed and dishonored my God by listening to another, when I know the truth of His sovereign care…believing what my five physical senses tell me rather than His forever promises.  Still, after many years, if not careful, I can find myself off course, having believed a lie, having forgotten Jehovah’s certain words of security, hope and provision. Psalm 37:23-26:

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.  When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.  I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread.  All day long he is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing.”

Thanks to the Holy Spirit dwelling in and around His followers, who can quickly remind, correct and get us back to truth, faith and security again.  How kind and patient He is…understanding, forgiving and continuing to move us forward, Godward…relentlessly after Him and His way…His best.

Let these words from Him take you and keep you in the place of rest with all your concerns. He loves and sees you.  He’s always caring and working for your benefit and for His glory.  Give Him Praise!!

Amazed,

Mitch

Today Is The Day!

“For I hope (wait for and trust) in You, O Lord;
You will answer, O Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15

In Psalm 38, King David cries out to the LORD acknowledging his sin and seeking relief from the suffering it brought. He knows (vs 9) that his LORD is aware of all his concerns, confesses his inability to do anything about them, then makes the declaration of verse 15.

As with David, much, if not all our troubles can be traced back to our sin / sins. Though, we must remember the words of Jesus Christ in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” If we live in this world, we will have trouble and not necessarily because of anything we have done, and we can overcome in it because He has, and we are in Him.

That said, our failures, disappointments, reversals, and more, may be traced back to the person we see in the mirror each morning. Someone once said: “I am what I am because of the choices I have made”. David, as should we, took full responsibility for his situation, and if we are to move forward from where we are today, it must begin at this place of confession. In Psalm 32:3-6, David says he suffered until he acknowledged and confessed his sin. Only then did forgiveness, relief from guilt, and reconciliation with God come.

We all need  to be reconciled to this indispensable, Life-giving relationship; agreeing with Him about our condition, finding the abundant forgiveness He offers through Jesus Christ’s completed work, then, following His detailed instructions on how to get on and stay on His path (Psalm 32:8-11).   This fulfills our reason for existing, gains His favor, successes and life-sustaining supply. This gets Him the glory and honor He deserves and He mercies us with joy, rest and the inner peace He has guaranteed.

Seek Him NOW while He can be found (Psalm 32:6).  Today is the day!  Know the benefits His way assures (Psalm 32:10, 11).  His unfailing love is here, now, and promises consistent ongoing personal improvement and future amazing outcomes to all who believe in Him.

May this be yours in abundance, Today!

For more help in knowing God personally:  https://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html

Carpe Diem!

Mitch

Are You The Redeemed of the Lord?

One of the more interesting dynamics of the Christian Faith to me is the argument that as the Elect of God, we are perfectly in his hands.  Never to have calamity or evil ever cross our paths again.  These are the “feel good” Christians.  The idea that “if God be for me, who can be against me?”

The opposite side of the coin however are the “daily struggle” Christians. The I must “work out my faith” Christians.  That every day of my life is a new challenge and I must face the Sin in the world against a constant barrage of ill will directed at me by Satan himself.

Both view points point to various Scripture to bolster their claims and to drive their points home.  They will preach that you should live your life secure in the knowledge that God only wants the best for you, or that you must constantly be on your guard and struggle in your faith.

What is interesting about these studies to me is that you never hear both sides at once (or so rarely that they are almost impossible to pinpoint).  You never hear someone preach “God wants to make you rich!” and “You have to put on the whole armor of God” at the same time.  And so you are left with the feeling that perhaps God wants to fight all your battles for you, but only if you take up the sword and do the fighting yourself.

There are many interesting concepts found within Scripture.  Some that are seemingly contradictory of each other.  But only when considered from humankind perspective.  When considered from God’s perspective, they begin to look a little differently to us.  I’ve talked about these Scriptural paradoxes in previous posts.  Perhaps the most famous one known is Calvinism vs, Arminianism, of which I have quoted Louie Giglio when he stated that it is a great mystery to man; that God is 100% in control and yet man has free will at exactly the same time.   I believe our “status” here in this world is exactly one of those cases.

Consider the words of Paul of Tarsus to Timothy in I Timothy 1:15.  Paul told Timothy that he was Chief amongst sinners.  He said “I am”.  I’ve looked up the Greek word for “I am” in this passage for you.  It literally means “to be”, in this case “to be found”.  It is present tense.  Paul was telling Timothy that he literally was the number one sinner in the world at that time.  Paul probably wrote this letter to Timothy somewhere between 58 and 64 AD.  Yet in his letter to the Roman’s Paul writes that it is not he who sins, but the sin that dwells in him: Romans 7:17.  Most scholars date the book of Romans to somewhere between 54 and 57 AD.  Before his letter to Timothy, where he is currently, at that time, Chief amongst sinners.

So which is it?  Is Paul confused?  Or do we have a Biblical paradox here?

I believe that both are true at exactly the same time.  At the same time Paul enjoys the completed work of Christ in him, and yet he remains Chief amongst sinners.  He is both redeemed, and within the sin struggle of this world at exactly the same time.

Consider Paul’s words in Romans 8:17.  Paul is so bold as to point out that we are Joint Heirs with Jesus Christ, the Name above all names.  The Son of the living God.  But he points out that if we share in His Glory, surely we share in His suffering as well.  You might be considering that Christ’s suffering is over, and you are correct, but we should not be so naïve as to think that we can know Glory without also knowing Suffering.

So the question then comes “Does God own the Cattle on a thousand hills”?  Well of course he does.  He is God.  And “Does God want the best for our lives”?  Well of course he does.  He sent his only Son to die on a cross for our sin.  He plans to one day wipe away every tear and lift every burden.  But do we still have to put on the whole armor of God and take up our cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus?  Well yes, we do.

Why?  Because there is little substitute for experience.  I was talking with a very well-educated person recently.  A person with many degrees and certificates.  But yet this person needed some advice, even with all of their studies and academic achievements, they needed some advice in life.  And the reason they needed advice is because they lacked experience.  You see, experience cannot be taught.  It must be gained though one’s own journey.  And God desires for us to experience Him.  He delights when we explore and strive to understand Him.  He delights when we come to Him in order to know Him more.

And that includes with both blessings and sorrow in our lives.  It includes when we struggle with sin in our lives and when we put on the armor of God and say No! to Satan.  We cannot know victory without knowing defeat.  And God’s blessings are all that much greater when they have been delivered in the midst of great sorrow.  It is when we are weak, that He can be strong in our lives.  Is it because we do not already have the Creator of all things living inside of us?  No, of course not!  If Christ be for me, who can stand against me?  No, it is because He wants us to stand in His strength and not our own.

Are you the Redeemed of the Lord?  I pray today that you are.  But if you are, I pray that you will recall that it is only because of what God has done for you and not what you have done for God.  Can God grant you all the blessings of Job in your life and much more?  Well of course he can.  However I, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, say that if God so chooses NOT to bless me, NOT to shower my life with all the peace, joy, and love, that only He can give, He is still God.  And He is still upon His throne.  God may choose to deliver me from the fiery furnace or He may not.  But He is still God.

Introductory Comments…

“From Thy precepts I get understanding; Therefore, I hate every false way.  [For] Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:104-105

I’m privileged to join LRPSP as a contributor / editor.  In a day of fake news and an unlimited array of information sources, getting the truth about anything proves to be a challenge.  But the Scriptures, as interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit, can give us God’s view on all things and offers wisdom that can make life work for us.  Why look to Him?  Because His Word tells us He is the only reliable source for truth.  He, our Creator and Sustainer, is that Source.

There are many voices but only One we can depend on. There are many worldviews and paths to take but only a dynamic relational link to God through His Son, Jesus Christ, makes us privy to the vast liberating flow of Truth and Life that gives Light, revealing His path, His way.  He desires to do this in us.  It is only from this Foundation we experience the outcomes and success He’s intended. Otherwise, we are following “fake news” disseminated by the enemy of our souls, who only seeks “…to steal, kill and destroy”.  Any other way  but His is false.  Jesus said of Himself that “He is the Way, The Truth and The Life.  No one comes to the Father but through me.” John 14:6

He’s promised to be our adequacy, sufficiency and security.  As our Maker, He is uniquely qualified to fulfill these needs.  As we choose His way and let Him work in us, it pleases Him and gets Him the Glory, Honor and Dignity that is His alone as Creator, Sustainer, Counselor, Guide…Our Hope, Deliverer, Redeemer…Friend.

I trust your times spent reading here will be helpful.

Indebted,

Mitch

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