Fires of Life that Build and Restore…

Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

Fires of Life that Build and Restore…

Each summer we read of fires out west and around the world. We frequently think of them as being disasters. Did you know there are fires in our lives that are intended to develop us spiritually? And yes, we frequently view those as disasters also. There are some misguided souls that teach that if you have fires in your life it is not a good thing or it is because of weak faith. The biblical reality is that some fires in our lives are noted in scripture as trials and tribulations and are required for our spiritual development of our faith.

When we view the reports of the wild fires or drive by where one has been we see that over time they actually renew life. If you’re going through a fire in your life right now, that will be something very important for you to mentally grab a hold of. If you don’t, all you’ll see is the damage and you’ll lose any sense of hope. And then instead of renewal or development the fires bring on discouragement.

It may be that those fires (trials and tribulations) have burned through your family recently, or your church, maybe your business or your relationships. Maybe they have affected your health. And there is no doubt that the fire has taken away a lot. There’s no denying the pain from the fire, but that’s never the whole story. You need to know the “rest of the story”. Maybe what we view as damage is actually development. What a paradigm shift!

1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”

God describes the fires of life as trials. If you are a believer the only fire in your life not from God are those that are a result of sin. God sees us as valuable like gold. The fires are not forever; they are “for a little while”. And notice what the purpose of the fires or trials is. The purpose is not to destroy but to “refine” the gold or to get the impurities out so that it increases its value. And if we are honest with ourselves we have many impurities that we need to be purged from our lives.

The challenge we have is to view those fires as trials and tribulations sent from God. To count them as joy as James 1:2, 3 says. That’s a tough one but if you believe that God is doing a work in your life that knowledge will give you the courage to say thank you to endure. God sees us as worthy of purifying, improving, and getting ready for greater things. But that requires denial of self and spiritual development on our part. The fire that appears to take away so much, actually brings new life if we stay close to God during the fire.

What kind of new life does God bring out of the flames? For one thing, He helps us focus the rest of our life on the things that really matter. Everything in our lives goes in one of two columns. One column for things that really matter and another for the things that don’t. A lot of times we get those columns confused. When we ask God for the wisdom to know the difference we then can set God focused priorities. When we look to God we then can emerge from the fire more committed to His glory instead of self comfort and glory.

The fire often forces you to sort out where your identity is really anchored. Is it in a person, your job, or your title, or your performance, or your appearance, or in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Or putting it another way the fires help us to see where our real priorities in life are. Are they in self or in serving our Savior? The flames often drive you to a new closeness to Jesus.

Yes, the fire destroys. But it only destroys the parts or things of our lives that have no eternal value. And thank God, that is not the end of the story. The fire also renews!

Portions from Ron Hutchcraft Ministries and “Renewing Fire.”

II Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Salt and Light in a Dark World…

Mat 5:13, 14 “You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”

Salt and Light in a Dark World…

We should be holiest in evil times. We live in a world that says, when it comes to spiritual matters “do not rock the boat or disagree with anyone”. If you do, you are then viewed as an intolerant person not open to the needs of others and not worthy to be in their group and you are a nasty person. There is a huge problem with that and if we buy into the world’s view and keep silent.

John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
Jesus presented a very narrow way to reestablish the link with God that sin broke. He proclaimed that there is only One way.

John 14:6 “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Mat 7:13,14 “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Now if we are ‘born gain’, we are or are supposed to be the salt and light of the world. We are to provide truth to a dark world. So who wants to hinder truth from being presented to those who need it? There is any enemy doing so and until Jesus returns a 2nd time we will have to do battle with him.

The profaneness of the times should not slacken our zeal–but heighten it. The looser others are — the stricter we should be. Based on who is running our world today the opposition we come up against should not surprise us.

II Cor 4:3, 4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

The way to hell is a well-trodden road. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” Exodus 23:2. Dead fish swim down the stream — living fish swim against it. Mere professors cut the garment of their religion according to the mode and fashion of the times.

Let us keep up the vigor of our zeal, in degenerate times. We should by a holy contrariness — burn hotter in a frozen age. We live in the dregs of time; sin is grown common and impudent. It is excellent for God’s name and glory to walk contrary to the world. Let us be as lilies and roses — among the briars. Sin is never the better because it is in fashion! The impiety of the times, is a foil to set off grace all the more, and give it a greater luster.

This plea will not help at the last day-“that we did as most others did.” God will say, “Seeing you sinned with the multitude — you shall go to hell with the multitude!” Oh, let us keep pure among the dregs! Let us be like fish, which retain their freshness, in salt waters.

Mat 7:13, 14 It is better to go to heaven with a few — than to hell in the crowd! “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there at:”

Portions from Thomas Watson (1620-1686)

Mat 28:19a “Go you therefore and make disciples of all nations……..”

Do you want to be Rich…

1 Timothy 6: 6″But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Do you want to be Rich…?

Ronald Meredith, in his book HURRYING’ BIG FOR LITTLE REASONS,
describes one quiet night in early spring: Suddenly out of the night
came the sound of wild geese flying. I ran to the house and breathlessly
announced the excitement I felt. What is to compare with wild geese
across the moon?

It might have ended there except for the sight of our tame
mallards on the pond. They heard the wild call they had once known.
The honking out of the night sent little arrows of prompting deep into
their wild yesterdays. Their wings fluttered a feeble response. The urge
to fly to take their place in the sky for which God made them was
sounding in their feathered breasts, but they never rose from the
water.

The matter had been settled long ago. The corn of the barnyard
was too tempting! Now their desire to fly only made them uncomfortable.
Temptation is always enjoyed at the price of losing the capacity for
flight.

I Tim 6:6-10 “But godliness with contentment is great gain: for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out; but having food and covering we shall be therewith content. But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after having been led astray from the faith and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish
and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the
love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for
money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many
griefs.

Don’t allow yourself or your family to fall into this trap!

A Modern Day Aesop’s Fable…

James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

A Modern Day Aesop’s Fable

A mouse looked through a crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife opening a package; what food might it contain?  He was aghast to discover that it was a mousetrap!  Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning, “There is a mousetrap in the house, there is a mousetrap in the house.”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell you this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me; I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house.”  “I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse,” sympathized the pig, “but there is nothing I can do about it but pray; be assured that you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow, who replied, “Like wow, Mr. Mouse, a mouse trap; am I in grave danger, Duh?”

So the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house, like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught.

In the darkness, she did not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital.  She returned home with a fever.

Now everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. His wife’s sickness continued so that friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer’s wife did not get well, in fact, she died, and so many people came for her funeral! The farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide meat for all of them to eat.

So the next time you hear that someone is facing a problem and think that it does not concern you, remember that when the least of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

James 2:15,16 “If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food; And one of you say to them, ‘Depart in peace, by you warmed and filled’; Notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful for the body; what does it profit?”

A Spiders Web and God’s Protection…

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ”

A Spiders Web and God’s Protection…

During World War II, a Marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific Island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades.

Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction.

Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several
small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves.
Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy
soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly
search all the caves and he would be killed.

As he waited, he prayed, “Lord, if it be your will, please protect
me. Whatever Your will though, I love You and trust You. Amen.”

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw
close. He thought, “Well, I guess the Lord isn’t going to help me
out of this one.” Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over
the front of his cave.

As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the
while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the
opening of the cave.

“Hah,” he thought. “What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord
has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor.”

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout
and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to
his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however,
after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on.

Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance,
his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while.

“Lord! Forgive me,” prayed the young man. “I had forgotten that in
You a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall.”

We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to
forget the victories that God would work in our lives, sometimes in
the most surprising ways. As the great leader, Nehemiah, reminded
the people of Israel when they faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem,

“In God we will have success!” [Nehemiah 2:20]

And remember: Whatever is happening in your life, in God, a mere
spider’s web becomes a brick wall of protection.

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Know your Enemy…

Know your Enemy…

Only one power would want to discredit the Gospel or seek to change it and that power is satan, the master deceiver who is in the business of blinding the mind. And yes, he is real. Look around you. The fact that a spiritual war is on all around the world explains a lot.

 II Cor 4:3, 4 “But if our Gospel is hid, it is hid to those who are lost, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God should shine unto them.”

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

On one side satan makes the Gospel and the road to heaven sound like it is a very difficult thing to know and only the philosophers or theologians or church leaders can understand it. He tells people that only the religious leaders can interpret the Bible. From the other direction he makes it sound simple. He even says that all religions can lead to God. No wonder he is called the master deceiver………… So, is the Gospel a complex spiritual equation?

Luke 18:17 “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

I John 2:27 “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

Mat 18:3 “…truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

A child can understand the Gospel. Jesus came into the world, lived a sinless life, died for the sins of mankind, was buried and rose again. We need to accept that we are sinners, that our sins caused spiritual and physical death and that the sacrifice that Jesus paid for us is sufficient to remove the spiritual punishment. Nothing can be added to it from our lives to make it complete. That is the faith of a child. Don’t allow it to be made complex!!!!!

And just so we do not forget.

Jesus is coming to earth a second time to put an end to sin and satan and to straighten out our messed up world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve read the book and I know who wins and it is not our enemy!

The last thing the enemy wants you to believe is;

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:16, 17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Differing Definitions – The Bible vs Worlds’…

Differing Definitions – Bible vs World

Do you ever wonder why so many biblical definitions differ from those that our world thinks are correct and teaches? The answer comes from the biblical truth of who is the god of this world for a moment in time and what his objectives are. Listen as God reminds us of why our world is so messed up.

II Cor 4:3,4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Isa 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’

So now you see that the one messing up our world is satan and his philosophies. That explains a lot about the philosophies of our world and most of its leaders. It also explains why we see the garbage on TV and hear the garbage on our communications giants that we do. Our enemy, the god of this world for a moment in time, is actively working to train our minds to feel that sin is normal and ok. One way he does that is to create different definitions for words having importance to our understanding of God and His eternal values. The following are some of the many definitions that we need to search the scriptures about to identify their true meaning.

  • Christian
    • From our Worlds Dictionaries;
      • one who professes belief in the teachings of JesusChrist based on or conforming with Christianity <Christianethics>
      • of, relating to, or being a Christian <Christian responsibilities>
      • professing Christianity <a Christianaffirmation> <a Christian country >
    • May I add that the greater emphasis of our world is on belonging to a Church organization that has the name of Jesus in it. Be very careful with that one. Many churches having the name of Jesus in them do not truly believe what Jesus said and the reason He came to this earth. Reference the ‘Born Again’ definition issue. Those churches teach Jesus plus works to be ‘born again’. If that were the case, then Jesus died in vain because His sacrifice for our sins was not adequate.
      • 2 Corinthians 11:4a,13 “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached…For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.”
      • Gal 2:16-21 “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
    • God’s word gives us the truth that any person placing their faith in Jesus alone for their salvation is a CHRISTian. See ‘Born Again’ definition in scripture.
      • Acts 11:26 1st called Christians.
      • John 3:3 You must be ‘born again’ to be a biblical Christian.
    • Saint
      • From our Worlds Dictionaries;
        • Holy person. In the New Testament, The Apostle Paulused the term to mean a member of the Christian community, but the term more commonly refers to those noted for their holiness and venerated during their lifetimes or after death. In Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, saints are publicly recognized by the church and are considered intercessors with God for the living. They are honored on special feast days, and their remains and personal effects are venerated as relics. Often Christian saints perform miracles in their lifetime, or miracles occur in their names after their death. In Islam, wali (“friend of God”) is often translated as saint; in Buddhism, arhats and bodhisattvas are roughly equivalent to saints. Hindu sadhus are somewhat similar. See also canonization.
      • So, you see from the dictionaries of our world that these are spiritually special people having given their life to serving or to martyrdom. Only a few obtain the status and it is obtained via a church proclamation. They become mediators between God and mankind.
      • God says that saints are all those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior or all of those who are ‘Born Again’. Yes, I am a saint using God’s definition even if some around me fail to see it. See the beginning chapter of many of the Epistles in scripture that announce they have been written to the saints. Not one or two people but the whole church at that location. While reading the Epistles it is obvious that they are written to those believing in Jesus and not just to a select group of special Christians. The scriptures are not talking about a select group of persons but to all those who have placed their faith in Jesus. Noted below is just one of the many examples you will find in scripture if you search for them.
        • Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
      • Mediator
        • From Worlds Dictionaries’;
          • one that mediatesespecially :  one that mediates between parties at variance
          • Sin causes a variance between us and God so there is no dispute there.
          • Many churches proclaim that their priests or Pastors are the Mediator between God and man which means the church laity go to the priest to have their sins forgiven.
        • Scripture notes there is only One Mediator between God and mankind;
          • I Tim 2:5 For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus,
          • Based on Jesus sacrifice for my sins I have the awesome privilege of approaching God through His Son Jesus directly without going through a human mediator.

 

  • Born Again
    • From Worlds Dictionaries;
      • of, relating to, or being a usually Christian person who has made a renewed or confirmed commitment of faith especially after an intense religious experience
      • having returned to or newly adopted an activity, a conviction, or a persona especially with a proselytizing zeal<a born–againconservative>
      • Origin ofBORN-AGAIN is from the verse “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3–AV)
      • Webster’s did pretty good job on that one. Our world’s definition of a Christian differs from God’s definition. The definition is again slanted by the enemy (satan the god of the world today) to suit his means. Just listen to those around you when the topic is brought up.
    • God’s definition of ‘born again’ is;
      • John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
      • Heb 9:22 According to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. It took Jesus blood to cleanse us. We cannot provide that cleansing by any of our sacrifices or works.
      • John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
    • Angel
      • Let’s see, there are the little angels shooting arrows to create love. We see them as fluffy little beings that our world creates figurines of to place on our bookshelves, but scripture tells us a very different story.
      • The following are some biblical examples of angels;
        • Psalm 91:11 God gives His angels charge over us or sends them as protectors. There is no better health plan than that!
        • Daniel 6:22 God’s angels shut the mouths of the lions to protect Daniel and He can do the same today.
        • Daniel 12:1 Michael the arch angel will have the task of tossing satan out of heaven. Angels are warriors’ not fluffy little creatures.
        • Luke 1:26-35 An angel was sent to Mary to help her to be not afraid and to understand what a great blessing to our world God was doing.
        • Revelation 1:1 God sent an Angel to tell John what will happen to our world during the tribulation period and what to record so we have God’s truths.
        • Acts 27:21-25 An Angel appeared to Paul and told him not to be afraid of the storm that threatened his life and lives of those aboard the boat he was on while being sent to a Roman prison where he was appointed by God to be a witness for Him.
        • I Chron 21:15 God sent one of His angels to destroy Jerusalem and stopped the angel from totally doing so. It was as a judgment because of the unfaithfulness of God’s people. One angel is as strong as an army.

 

So, what have we learned from this exercise? Do not take my word for it. The only truth or teaching you should trust totally are those absolutes that come from God. To find truth you must;

  • 2 Tim 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth
  • Acts 17:10, 11 “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. “