Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Are you Listening?

The heavens declare the glory of God; and their expanse shows his handiwork.
The invisible realities of God's nature are clearly seen since the creation of the world, because they are understood through the creation itself--in particular God's eternal power and Deity. — God did not leave himself without witness. — Day after day utters speech, and night after night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; [I ask] what is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that you pay attention to him?
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands, and he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring."

God is always speaking.  If you look at the world around you, He is clearly revealed in certain ways--His eternal power and His Deity (His "God-ness") are interwoven with the things He's made. The outside universe (sun, moon, stars, planets) all speak of Him, if you are listening.  You may not know Him, but the God who made the world knows you. What's more, He wants you to know Him--not just in the sense of some religious ritual--He wants you to KNOW Him--His ways, His doings, His personality, His power, but most of all, Himself.  We are told, "In Him we live and move and have our being," and also, "We are also His offspring."  The same God who "Built a man" out of the red dust of the earth in Genesis longs for your fellowship, your connection with Him, and He's made a whole world, a whole universe, that shows you His wisdom, His greatness, His goodness, His love, and now He calls you to look upon His works, to see Him and seek Him.
Are you listening?

Friday, September 27, 2013

When Trouble Comes...

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort!, He comforts us in all our troubles so that we will be able to comfort everyone who is in any trouble with the same comfort we have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort comes abundantly through Christ.
May Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who has loved us, comfort your hearts, just as He has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through His grace .
YES!! Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me!

God good, and He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.  We live in a world of trouble and sorrow.  These two things often set themselves against each other, so we look at God our dear Father on the one hand, and on our troubled lives on the other, and we think, "WHY??" The short answer is that God does allow trouble, and that Satan is alive and well on Planet Earth, and Satan hates mankind--all of them/us. However, God is able to transmute our pain and sorrow into something else, and comfort us in all the difficulties we face, if we allow Him to minister to us.  It takes time.  Sometimes He seems quite absent, and our sorrows just overwhelm us, but then as time goes on, He reappears, and brings an armload of comfort and consolation with Him. Trials do strengthen us, even though they make us feel weak.  They work to our benefit, as they demonstrate that our faith is real, and they change us into better people, even as they build our relationship with God. They also make us far more sympathetic with other people in the same situations, and create in us the willingness to put an arm of comfort and kindness around those who suffer, so that we may give the same comfort we receive from God. These things only happen, though, if we do not get angry with God, and only if we seek Him in sincerity when the trial comes. We are always encouraged to pray for an end to difficulty, and God grants this in one way or another, based on His own decisions--for our lives are ultimately under His control.  There are several different potential "endings" to your problems; one is the deliverance that often comes, and is simply God intervening in your trial with healing, deliverance, or a complete change in your circumstances; another is Him ending the trial in heaven, with you entering heaven with Him; another is Him being with you in an extended trial, and holding your hand, as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

If you choose to accept it, this is your future.

Death is swallowed up in victory.
Thank God! He gives us the victory [over death] through our Lord Jesus Christ!
[Since God's] children are partakers of flesh and blood, [Jesus] also took part in the same; that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver those were all their lifetime subject to bondage because they feared death.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.
Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the heavens; and those who turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
I [Jesus] am the Resurrection and the Life--He who believes in Me, even though he dies, yet he shall live--and he who lives and believes in Me shall never die. For we know that if our earthly home of our bodies is dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
I am the One [Jesus] who lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and I have the keys of hell and of death.
Jesus has the keys.  The key to heaven...the key to understanding...the key to fellowship with God...the key to healing...the keys of death and hell...He holds these keys for your sake, so He can open the doors to all God's blessings for you in the future.  He acquired these keys when He died and rose from the dead, so that where He has gone, you may go as well.  However, YOU have a key as well--the key to your own heart and life, and only if you give Him that key will he be able to use the keys He has to bless you with everlasting life, with heaven, with strength and healing for today. It all depends on Him, of course, and all the blessing and love that He has is ready for you, for now and forever--but you have to hand Him the key to your life.  How do you do that?? Well, He's around, so just say the words "Lord, I give you the key to my life" (this is what prayer is: since God is always around, you can talk to Him just like He's in the room with you, because really, He is), and mean it. When you do that, the Lord uses His keys as needed to open all the doors for you-- the door into a relationship with Him that never ends, the door into everlasting life, the door into heaven itself, and the door of resurrection.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nothing Hidden...

God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.
Judge nothing before the time comes, until the Lord comes, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and show what is in [everyone's] hearts: and then everyone shall have [his] praise from God. — He who hears My (Jesus') words, and believes in Him (God the Father) who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. The Father judges nobody, but instead has committed all judgment into the Son's [hands]: because [Jesus] is the Son of man. He who believes in the Son is not condemned.
There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hidden, that shall not be known.
LORD, you have searched me, and known me... Search me, O God, and know my heart: test me, and know my thoughts: See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Since nothing is hidden, we never need to hide ourselves from God. He knows anyway. This means that you can freely tell Him all about "you." Your deepest secrets. Darkest desires. Highest hopes.  Worst fears. What makes you happy. What makes you sad. Everything. 
So what comes of telling God "your truth?"\
Forgiveness--1 John 1:9; If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us...
Cleansing--(1John 1:9) If we confess...He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness...
Mercy--Hebrews Let us approach His throne of grace (where we may pray to Him), that we may find mercy, 
Power--Let us approach His throne of grace (where we may pray to Him), and grace (power) to help in our time of need.
Purpose--"You will guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me into glory (heaven)."
Reassurance-- Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God. For I shall yet praise Him, who is my Helper, and my God.
Deeper spiritual life, and closer connection with God. If you don't give up on Him, He won't give up on you--in fact, He NEVER gives up on you: "I will never leave you, or forsake you."
God loves you, you see, and you mean everything to Him.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Good Inheritance

The one who overcomes inherits all things.
[The Old Testament heroes] desired a better country, that is, a heavenly land: therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he has prepared a city for them.  [Yours is] an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that never fades away, and it is reserved in heaven for you. All things are yours ... the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours because you belong to Christ. Eyes have never seen, ears have never heard, nor has it even entered into people's hearts, the wonderful things that God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit. Truly, I have a beautiful home as my inheritance [in heaven]. You will guide me [now] with your counsel, and afterward receive me into glory.

Everywhere the Bible talks about it, heaven is a place. Jesus called our personal places in heaven "dwellingplaces;" the word "paradise," which Jesus mentions to the thief crucified beside Him is a word originally meaning "parks," like the fabulous parks kings had made for themselves. THIS is our future.  A place like no other, where there will be no tears, or crying or sorrow, no suffering, no death, no disease.  If this world has been a tough journey, heaven will be wonderful indeed.  It's like an everlasting picnic without ants or bees--just warm sunshine and beautiful days that never end, full of happiness and enjoyment.  God has prepared this for all His children, and you can rest assured that He will get you there.  You will not fail. He won't let you. You have His assurance that He will take you "all the way."  He said, "of those you gave Me, I did not lose one." And, "I give [you] eternal life, and nobody shall pluck [you] out of my hand.  My Father, who gave [you] to Me, is greater than all, and nobody is able to pluck [you] out of my Father's hand.

Monday, September 23, 2013

He Never Leaves...

Our God has not forsaken us.
Beloved, Don't think that these fiery trials [persecutions] which you endure to be strange--but rejoice, since you are enduring part of Christ's sufferings [in your persecution]. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Can a woman forget the baby she breastfeeds, and not have compassion on her own little baby? Even if that happens, I will never forget you--[or forsake you]. I will never leave you, or forsake you. I am with you, even to the end...I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.

He can't leave.  We are, as the Gospel of John so eloquently puts it, "one with the Father, one with the Lord Jesus," or as later in the New Testament, "one with Him."  That connection can't be broken because His "DNA" is now in us.  You may not always feel an overpowering Presence, but He's never "not there." With Him comes not only the awareness of His presence, but all He has to offer as well.  He is not one to offer His presence, but not all of Himself.  He is totally committed to you.  So much so that it is now impossible to dissect one from the other.  "We are His body, His flesh, His bones..." So don't ever worry about being "left." He can't do that, any more than He can leave an arm behind. It is so overwhelming to Him that He even tells us, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." If you want some more light on this, read Psalm 23, and then 139.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Guidance

 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation. Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness... make your way straight before me. "He who follows Me [Jesus] shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. ... "I am the LORD your God... Who leads you in the way you should go. I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. In your book all the days ordained for me were written, before I ever came to be.

Good times. Difficult times. Times of terrible testing.  Times of happiness.  God's hand is on us all the time, even when Satan seems to have the upper hand, and is tormenting us as if we were his only interest. When Job was suffering and struggling with the hard times he experienced, his greatest cries were "Why?" and "When will it end?" and "Please, just kill me and be done with it."  Sometimes life is so terrible that we cannot endure.  Other times, it's so good we think we are living a fantasy. And other times (most times), it's just life. In each of these instances, God is there, and He is leading us through life to the ultimate goal--Life with Him forever.  No matter what today holds, He will be there.  No matter what tomorrow holds, He will be there, and He loves you. What's more, He's on your side. Always.