Good Life, Eternal Life

When all the seats in the room are taken, and you get out of your seat so another can sit there, you have given place to them. Keep that in mind…“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death…By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life” (Proverbs 14:27; 22:4). “Fear” in the original Hebrew language of the scriptures, means “reverence.” To truly reverence someone is to defer to them or give place to them. To live in the fear of God, to reverence God, is to defer to or to give place to him. Since the Holy Spirit is the agency of God who is with us in this earth realm, we must conclude that to truly reverence God means that we defer to or give place to the Holy Spirit in our lives. Paraphrase: To give place to the Holy Spirit is a gushing fountain of life springing up to depart from the snares of death…by humbly giving place to the Holy Spirit brings riches, and honor, and life.

If there is one goal we should have, it should be to give place to the Holy Spirit in our lives. By yielding to God’s Spirit in our life, we realize forgiveness and release from sin through what Jesus did for us. By yielding to the Spirit we can walk in God’s power which will guide us and enable us to do his will in the earth. Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit is important to keep us “awake” spiritually to what the Lord is working in our lives. Jesus spoke about a time in which “everything goes” so that many are ensnared in ways that lead away from the Lord. Without the fear of God operating in our lives, we are lulled to sleep spiritually, allowing all sorts of stuff in our life for which we will give account in the day of the Lord. There will be a day of reckoning. If we make a firm decision to walk in God’s ways instead of our own, and commit ourselves to doing just that, the blood of Jesus can cleanse us of our sin, the Spirit of God can empower us, and we can begin turning our life around to doing his will. Jesus said it is not those who just say, “Lord, Lord”, who enter into the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of the Father who are in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). It is very important that we cultivate the fear of God in our lives. It is for our eternal life. “Have a seat, Sir.”

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Stinger-Less

wasp red

As a young boy living on the farm, I was around wasps and wasp nests a lot. It was kind of a sport for me to take a slender stick about two inches wide, about a quarter of an inch thick, and about two feet long, and go stir up a wasp nest. When the wasps would start flying around, the idea was to use the slender paddle to swat the wasps and kill them. If I killed one, that was a point for me. If I was stung by one, that was a point for them. The object was to stir them up just enough to make a few of them fly around so I could swat them until the whole nest was wiped out. It was a sport that would get the adrenalin flowing and greatly exercise ones quick reactions. Now days I still enjoy a little rumble with these winged stingers. Just today, at this writing, of three wasps that I needed to deal with in a work situation, one stung me, I killed one, and the other one left. So the game was tied. I have never heard of killing wasps to be a national sport, but for a kid on the farm looking for some high level excitement, it filled the bill.

Playing with wasps is one thing, but there is a stinger that you don’t want to play with, and that is the sting of death. “The sting of death is sin…” (1 Corinthians 16:56). If you have not committed your life and your eternity to Jesus Christ, trusting what he has done for you to be sufficient preparation for you to meet God in eternity, then you are playing with a wasp whose sting can take you out forever. You don’t want to spend eternity separated from God in hell. Whether you believe in hell or not, when you slip into eternity, you will find out the reality of what Jesus believed and taught. He believed in hell and he taught the reality of it, and, he taught us all — be prepared! Don’t play with the wasp of death. Do business with the Lord. Turn from your way of thinking and receive what he did for you for yourself. Then you can say with the apostle: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory…But thanks be unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55,57). Through faith in Jesus, death is stinger-less!

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God’s Program

God has one program consisting of three parts, to preach, pour, and present: Preach the gospel, pour the Spirit into believing vessels, and present the total salvation available through Jesus Christ to every person on the globe.

Preach the gospel, the good news. In this, the finished work of Jesus for every person is proclaimed so that sins are forgiven, sicknesses are healed, demons are cast out, and on certain occasions, the dead are raised – “freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10: 7, 8). There is water baptism which is the believers’ public identification with Christ showing their old life is buried and they are now raised into a new life with one purpose, to do the will of God. Baptism is administered immediately or soon after one’s commitment to Christ by another believer and follower of Christ. There is daily fellowship and “breaking bread” together which includes “communion” in which is the purpose of the broken body and the shed blood of the Lord remembered. In this there is a daily personal examination to overcome sin, divisions, and schisms so that we remain one united body in agreement in Christ. It also helps remind us that his broken body has healed our sicknesses and his shed blood has removed our sin.

Pour the Spirit into believing vessels. In this, the supernatural power of God fills and is allowed to rest on the physical body of the believer for strength, guidance, and comfort. Also, the Spirit provides supernatural “gifts” or “manifestations” in order to carry out the will of God in the face of a supernatural enemy.

Present Christ to every person on the globe. In this, there is discipleship training to train others to train others in a process of duplication. These three basic elements and practices are taught and transmitted to others for them to live in this way and teach and transmit to others the same way. This is how it all started, and as we continue in simply carrying out God’s program, God’s kingdom on earth will spread and people’s lives will be enriched, all to the glory of God and praise to the name of Jesus.

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Petal to the Metal

As we all get older, and our steps get slower, it is not a time to quit believing for the best, but to put the pedal to the metal in our faith petal to metaland press on in to the regions beyond. Isn’t it true, as a rule, that when we are sickest, we generally take more medicine and seek more remedy? This principle applies concerning our faith as well.

Rocks, probably the size of a grapefruit and larger, pummeled the Apostle Paul until he lay unconscious without any movement, apparently dead. With that the people drug him out of the city supposing that he was dead. (He would have been an ER case today for sure). However, as he lay on the ground outside the city, the disciples came to him and just stood around him. It did not say they prayed or anything; they just stood around him. As they stood there, Paul got up from lying on the ground and went back into the same city in which he had just been stoned and drug out as dead (Acts 14:19,20). He had a power working in him that went beyond the natural. He had the supernatural Spirit of God residing in him that gave his mortal body supernatural life. Paul told about this power when he wrote to the Romans, saying that if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (give life to) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you (Romans 8:11). To arrive at this understanding, Paul had no doubt read Isaiah 40: 29-31 that says that God gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength, and they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. He also had probably read Psalms 103:5 saying that God satisfies your mouth with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles. Here’s the deal. When the steps get slow and the body hardly goes, that’s the time to increase the dose. Let your faith lay hold on the Word more and more. Think on it, speak it, declare it into your life and your body. You might not be drug out of the city as dead and left there to rot, but whatever you are facing, having the Word operating in your life more and more sure won’t hurt anything, and it can sure help a lot. We all need all the help we can get!

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No More Twain

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.    Matthew 19:6

With a new chapter of my life opening after the passing of my late wife Becky on January 12, 2015, I sought God for his direction. The caregiver chapter with her lengthy illness was closed. Now, my desire was to get my life back to a focus on ministry. I spoke with the Lord saying: “Lord, if I am to remain single the rest of my days, fine. I know you give grace for that. But Lord, if you know I need a companion, here is my list of what I desire (I made a list of things I desired in a companion), and I am asking, let’s get it on quickly. I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time searching, dating, and all that stuff.” I laid the list and the request out before him and went about the business of making contacts with different pastors and churches in an effort to establish relationships for support of future gospel outreach and mission work.

In this process of making contacts with pastors in the local region, on May 5, 2015, I met Barbara Allred, Pastor of The Lighthouse Church in Benton, AR. I shared my vision with her and we became acquainted. In subsequent meetings God worked through her to free me from some things in my life that I did not need to be carrying, for which I am deeply grateful. Quickly we found much in common. We continued to see each other with a mutual friendship quickly developing into a deep and abiding love and respect for each other. With the revelation of God joining two together as one in marriage, we have determined that we would like to spend the rest of our days on earth walking with Jesus together to fulfill all his assignments for our lives. God favors having a wife, calling it “a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22). The celebration of our union together for this purpose will take place July 18, 2015 at 5 pm at The Lighthouse Church in Benton, AR. That is 75 days after first meeting her. God is a prayer answering God. The good news is that through the cleansing blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, every person has access to God and his plan for one’s life. God will do a quick work, a beautiful work, and one that is abundantly above all we are able to ask or think. He is worthy of all our love, because He loves each one of us and desires good for us all with all his heart.

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Stay In Love

Stay in love. Don’t get out of it. If you will do this, your love will fully develop, in which there is a deep settled peace and rest. There is no fear in fully developed love. Fear has torment and unrest. As you continue in and abide in love, fear and distrust will lose its grip and confidence and tranquility of heart will grow. Fully developed love gives you a calm boldness in the face of adversities and a resoluteness of purpose in your daily life which gives you strength to do those things that need to be done for the good of all. Through the love of God operating in us, we are able to see beyond the obstacles and see what the Savior can do for all situations and circumstances, and seeing that, we can give ourselves in that love to be that ready and willing vessel for him to work through all to bring the needed solution. Stay in love, and see the solution. (Thoughts from 1 John 4: 7-21; 5: 1-5)

Tethered with this is John 15: 5-10, especially verse 9 – same author, same line of thought: “…He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing…As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” It is interesting to note that the words “dwell” in 1 John 4, “abide” and “continue” in John 15: 5, 9 are all the same Greek word meaning “to stay.” The Bible says God is love, so if we abide or stay in Jesus, then we are abiding or staying in God, and this is one and the same as continuing in love, and if we do this, our love grows and matures, and fear, torment, and distrust diminishes. This is good news! There is a way to overcome the blows and the lashes and the traps and the temptations, and the doubts, despair, disillusionment, and the defeat that our experiences in the world have laid on us and sent our way. We don’t need to be gullible, but we can stay in love, in God’s love, and in believing his Word, and live out the way of abundant life and liberty in our particular situation. We can overcome our failures and our fears and rise up to stand in the station in which we find ourselves, and fulfill the destiny to which we are called. We do it by staying in love, continuing in God’s love, abiding in Jesus. 2-13-15

A Yielded Believer

Jesus did a wonderful thing when he poured the Holy Spirit out upon his followers. Their direct, flesh and bone, right-before-their-eyes connection with God had finished his earthly work and had disappeared back into heaven. The problem for the disciples was that Jesus, their leader, their helper, their instructor, their problem solver, their comforter, and their source of wisdom and supernatural power was now gone! So, in obedience to Jesus’ instruction, they huddled together in prayer and waited indefinitely for the Helper that Jesus said he would give (John 16:7). Well, it happened on the day of the Jewish celebration of harvest called Pentecost. And boy, did it happen! Those folks got filled with the Spirit and fire of God and they came out of the chute bucking and snorting! They were no longer intimidated by religious protocol and political correctness, and, by threats on their very lives. No longer did they hide in a room somewhere. They boldly came out in all public places, in the Jewish synagogues, in the streets, in the market places, in surrounding cities, and in far-away places, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ with signs and wonders, reaping a mighty harvest of souls for Jesus. The turning point in their lives was when they gave themselves to be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1 and 2).

The book of Acts is a short overview of the early church in which there are at least forty references to the Holy Spirit. Listening to and yielding to the leadership of the Holy Spirit was an integral part of the early church, and, the source of their supernatural power. Jesus had taught and demonstrated before his disciples that yielding to the Holy Spirit in and upon one’s life is allowing God himself to lead, help, instruct, solve problems, comfort, give wisdom, and demonstrate supernatural power for the good and benefit of all. It was through the agency of the Holy Spirit that the early church continued to be in direct contact with Jesus to carry out his ministry in the earth. Today, it is through the agency of the Holy Spirit that Jesus can continue to walk in our midst in a wonderful way. It just takes a yielded believer. 2-20-15

Young Forever

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless his holy name!…Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  Psalms 103:1-5

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40: 31

We need never grow old in attitude. Even if our bodies get slow, then finally go, we ourselves need never grow old. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Life is made to enjoy. We have good things to speak because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. When our confession lines up to the abundant life of the gospel, our inward youth is retained. We stay excited about life and the endless possibilities that flow from God. The spirit man flies heavenly in the face of the storm. The gale winds only push him higher. The spirit man, united with the Spirit of God in Christ, is not subject to the law of sin and death. He can run and not be weary. Blessed is the man who learns to walk according to the Greater One living on the inside. He is young forever!

And, on the physical side, God will cause us to enjoy the good things to eat and drink in order to take care of the temple. Simple obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit will get the job done here. That’s the bottom line in this area as it is in every area of our life. Such constant communion with God is a wonderful privilege that keeps our conscience clear and our love and faith flowing, which in turn works to keep us young. Stress in itself is a killer. Stress while in communion with God, according to the apostle Paul, can actually be a source of joy!

Paul, by learning to cooperate with and draw on God’s ability in the face of adversities, learned that God’s grace was sufficient for every challenge. Through his dependence on God, his weakness was exchanged for God’s strength.  So he said “Most gladly” would he glory in his weakness so that the power of Christ could rest upon him. He went on to say, “Therefore I take pleasure in” my own inabilities, in reproaches for the gospel’s sake, in necessities of daily life, in persecutions, and yes, in “distresses” for Christ’s sake! “For when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10).  Through his dependence on God, Paul kept a young, vibrant, victorious outlook on life. He was living the abundant life, mounted up on wings of eagles, the winds of stress only sending him higher and higher into God’s plans, purposes, and provisions. He lived this way until his mission was accomplished. Then, “swoosh”! The eagle flew straight up into heaven! What a way to go! 2-23-15

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