Book Review for “A Heart Like His”- Christian Non-Fiction

What the book is about: “We all go through times when we feel insignificant or times when we feel certain that we have experienced a degree of failure from which there is no return. This is not a reality we experience alone, but is one that a man after God’s heart experienced as well. From shepherd, to refugee, to king of Israel, David exhibited the purest virtues and the most heinous sinfulness, but through it all his relationship with the Lord continued to grow.

A Heart Like His looks at this bond of mutual love and admiration between a man who was not unlike any of us and the one true God who is all good and all powerful. Beth Moore walks us through an exploration of David’s incredible life, drawing spiritual insights from a man who boldly fulfilled his divine destiny not merely by what he did, but who he loved and served. Bringing lessons from David’s life to bear on your own, this picture of a man who loved and followed God will help you to serve with a heart focused on Him no matter the circumstance.”

My Review: This is a great book on the life of David. His faith, his love for God, his sins, and his redemption. We all go through some stuff on our path. If you need some encouragement this is a good book for you. Beth Moore is an inspiring author. I can recommend for teens and up. I give it five stars.

Get it here.

 

The Delivery Business

Colossians 1:13 (Weymouth New Testament), “It is God who has delivered us out of the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us into the Kingdom of His dearly-loved Son,”

God is in the delivery business. I know, in the past I have said that He is in the “Family business: saving souls” but this is still a branch of the family business!

We recently started a business of our own. We specialize in expedited (you needed it there yesterday) delivery. People contact us because they have a load that the customer wants ASAP and we can get it there fast in our little sprinter van. So maybe I have had delivery on my mind. However, the month of January our church always goes on a corporate fast (and prayer time). During one of those times of praying and listening, this thought popped into my head, “God is in the delivery business” followed by this scripture in Colossians. Soon I couldn’t even stop the thoughts that bombarded me. I am going to share a few.

God has delivered me!

Out of darkness and into the light. II Corinthians 5:1 (NIV), “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

From my past. “Philippians 3:13 KJB), Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”

From fear. I John 4:18 (NASB), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

From sickness (including tumors, anxiety, and some ugly stuff you don’t want to hear about.) I Peter 2:24 (NIV), “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

 

God has delivered to me:

Forgiveness. I John 1:19 (KJB), “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Blessings. Ephesians 1:3 (NASB), “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”

Mercy. Jude 1:2 (NLT), “May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.”

 

Grace. I Corinthians 15:10 (NIV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

Wisdom. James 1:5 (KJB), “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

I am sure there is more to be found. I sure love to think of the Father hand delivering all of these wonderful things to me. A personal gift. Free of charge.

Now, our company, JW Expedited LLC, delivers for money, our purpose and motivation is to please the customer so that we get paid well.

God’s motive? Love.

Some Christmas Love

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Luke 2:8-15 (AKJ), “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, see, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

I think that is good news don’t you? God’s message that night? “Peace on earth and good will towards man.” Aren’t you glad is wasn’t “Chaos and trouble on earth and I sure am angry with men.”

He had reason to be irritated with His creation. He could have left us to our own wicked devices and allowed the world to “go to Hell in a hand basket.” However, His message that night wasn’t that we get what we deserved, no! It was “I love you.”

Sure He knew how wicked man had become, that’s why He made a way, from before the foundation of the worlds, to show us Ultimate Love. God hanging on a tree. His love poured out to us, just like the blood that flowed from His broken body.

With God, we may reap what we sow, but we don’t get what we deserve. I deserved Hell, how about you? But, I won’t see it! Nope, the closest thing to Hell I will ever experience was my life without Him, before I surrendered my heart to His love. That was bad enough.

Now that we know this “good news” and have experienced it first hand- go and tell someone else!

Isaiah 52:7 (NIV), “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

I Am Not “A Sinner Saved by Grace”

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If you’ve been around for very long in Christian circles or even if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “I am just a sinner saved by grace,” usually uttered in false humility, true low self-esteem, or full of pride and bravado. The problem with this saying is that if you are saved, it just isn’t true!

Yes, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (I John 1:8, Romans 3:23). However, once we surrender to the loving Creator of the Universe, the God of Mercy and Truth, He makes us brand new!

II Corinthians 5:17 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”

Ezekiel 26:36 (NIV), “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

We aren’t renovated, remodeled, or patched and pieced back together. We are brand new. Not made from old junk, but made of all new material. We are born of heaven now. The Kingdom of God is in us! There are no sinners in the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God is not in a sinner.

Luke 17:20-21 (ASV), “And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Jesus who was sinless, through the finished work on the cross has made me righteous. I have been brought out of darkness into His light. I have been adopted into his family and am now a son/daughter of God. He was the firstborn of many brethren. I am one of those brethren. Not because I am something special, or because I deserved it, or earned it, just because He loves me. I could have never fixed my life, or made my heart brand new. Only He could, and He did. He said, “It is finished.”

II Corinthians 5:21 (KJB), “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV),” For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

When I was born, I was born into sin, into this world and under the ruler of this world. By no choice of my own, Satan was my “father.” Thankfully, I gave my life willingly to a new and better Father. He rules with Love and Peace, not fear and hate. Once I was born again, or born from Heaven, I received as a gift, the nature of my new adopted Father. I have the nature of God, not the nature of my old father (Satan). I don’t have two natures. Just like a cat can’t have a nature of a dog. There is no place for false humility, and if you are saved you should find an abundant amount of confidence in Him. There is no place for pride, we can’t boast. Pride is sin, plain and simple. When we have the attitude that we are “sinners saved by grace” we want to boast about our sin, how horrible we were. We also want to justify any sin that we still commit. “Of course I sin, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”

Romans 8:17 (ASB), “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

I am still alive, in a fallen world, and Satan is still alive and active in this world. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is still weak. So yes, I will sin until I die. However, it doesn’t happen as often, and I don’t let it keep me back. It doesn’t make me a “sinner.” (Using a butter knife to remove a screw does not make it a screw driver.) If there was nothing I could do before I was saved to make me a saint, why would anything I do after I am saved make me a sinner? Now when I mess up I repent and move on. Each day I am getting more and more like Jesus. God forgives and then doesn’t remember the sin ever again. When He looks at me, He doesn’t see my past sins, He sees his son/daughter. He sees a joint heir with Christ, a co-laborer with Him.

David questioned God about being so focused on us, just human beings. Before Jesus died for the sins of the world, before redemption and restoration, God was “mindful” of us. We were in a class just a little beneath the angels. Angels and humans alike are created beings.

Psalm 8:5 (NIV), “You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”

Now that I am accepted in the beloved, adopted into His family, and am the body of Christ and His bride, I am in a different class. Now I am in the same class of Jesus. I am not deity, never will be, but I am still seated in Heaven with Him. Now those same angels are here to serve me. They aid and protect me, and they minister in my life according to the perfect will of God.

Hebrews 1:13-14 (NIV), “To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Emphasis mine)

Now I am a SAINT. You don’t, or can’t earn sainthood. It’s not something that you become once you perform certain tasks and then die, hopefully to have the church recognize you later and label you “saint.” When I accepted Jesus as my personal savior I became a saint. The veil was torn, I now have free access to the Father and He calls me a saint.

Philippians 4:21 (NASB), “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.” (Again emphasis mine)

Greet every saint, every believer, every follower of Christ, every Son of God, every member of the body of Christ, that’s who Paul was talking about. Other versions say, “God’s people”, “God’s holy people”, and “Every one who believes in Christ.”

We need to be sure of who we are! We waste time and energy if we don’t. How can we walk in the power and authority given to us by God if we want to identify ourselves with who we were before we met Him? Does a butterfly fly around saying, “I am just a caterpillar with a fancy set of wings?”

Yes, I was a sinner, but now through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, by His grace, I am now a saint.

Who are you?

Are You Ready?

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I Thessalonians 5:1-11 (NLT), “Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”

I don’t know about you, but I happen to think we are living in the last days. So much of Biblical prophecy has come to pass and all you need to do is read the headlines to see that things are going from bad to worse. Sometimes I get sickened by the evil that runs rampant in our fallen world. I stopped watching the news years ago, same with reading the newspapers. First off they are very biased and secondly, I just don’t want my mind filled with bad news. I do peruse some of the headlines and of course I hear about all of the stuff going on, just not the details. I prefer to think of all the good news! To me, the best news is that if we are in the last days, Jesus is returning soon! Can I get a Hallelujah?

I understand that I won’t ever know the exact hour that He is coming, but I do understand that I am a child of the light, a child of Almighty God, so I will know the season. So I decided a long time ago that I was going to be ready. I am reminded of the Jews during WWII. They eventually figured out that those trains weren’t going anywhere that had been promised and for some fortunate ones, they had people to help smuggle them out or hide them away. They had to have their bags packed and be ready to go. They had to leave behind everything and only take a few necessities or maybe a very small trinket of sentimental value. That’s the way I want to live. Not in fear of being found, or killed, but ready to go, mind made up bags packed. My senior pastor, Dr. William Hohman said it something like this: “I am going to live like He is coming today, and work like He is going to tarry awhile.” That says it all. We don’t sit down and look to the sky as if we don’t have anything else to do. The Father has a job for us, and the closeness of Jesus’ return should be prompting us to do that job well. We are building His Kingdom, leading others to Christ, encouraging and building up His Church. Jesus said in Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Yes, we may be caught unaware by His return, but I am determined to be caught doing good, full of faith when He does.

We need to be mindful of the time. Use it wisely. Seek the things above, stop worrying, and start working. We can only do this if we have completely surrendered to Him. We will mess up, but we get back up. He is quick to forgive and as we wash our minds in the word of God, we will be changing into His image and those sins that once so easily beset us won’t be a temptation anymore. He is coming for a spotless Bride. I am going to prepare for The Bridegroom.

How about you? Are you ready?

Discerning His Blood

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I Corinthians 11:23-30 (NIV), “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.”

Paul is teaching the Church at Corinth about the Communion. He points out that they needed to “discern” the body of Christ. When we fail to do that we eat and drink judgment on ourselves. What does that mean?

Jesus called it eating His body and drinking His blood. So many people found that offensive that they left and didn’t continue on with Jesus. Once again they didn’t understand. He wasn’t asking them to become cannibals. Peter may not have understood, but he knew Jesus, so he answered, “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68, KJB).

Over my years of walking with the Lord, and it has been about 44 years now (several of those in a backslidden state, and several as a “carnal Christian.”) I have heard this preached in several different ways. None of them bad and all had good points, but recently the senior Pastor at our Church explained it in a way that finally clicked in. When we think of Salvation, we know that Jesus purchased us with His blood. We who were slaves to sin were totally set free by the sacrificial blood of the only One who could legally do it. All we have to do is confess that sin, and turn our hearts and lives over to Him. When we do that we are His. We know that when we die we will go to Heaven to be with Him and that He isn’t holding our sins against us. We are welcomed in the family of God.

What most of us have trouble with is all the other stuff that comes with Salvation. Salvation means much more than going to Heaven one day. It means accepting all the good things God has in store for us here. It includes healing and deliverance. It gives us the authority over everything. We have the same authority Jesus did, the same power available to us, (the Holy Spirit), and we are made just as righteous as God. Now, that is a little harder to wrap our minds around. I finally had to bypass the head and just get it into my heart. That’s the best way to think and meditate on spiritual things anyway. Still having some trouble with that? Let’s take a look at just a few scriptures.

Hebrews10:19-24 (NIV), “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

Ephesians 1:7 (KJB), “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:”

Romans 3:25-26 (NIV), “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
Mark 14:24 (Weymouth New Testament), “This is my blood,” He said, “which is to be poured out on behalf of many–the blood which makes the Covenant sure.”

1 John 1:7 (NIV), “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

So what did Paul mean when he said that we need to discern His body and His blood?

As Dr. Hohman taught us, it means that we need to understand and apply what His shed blood accomplished for us! If we don’t understand that we are right with God, that we are accepted in the Beloved, we won’t even try to enter the throne room let alone do it boldly. If we don’t use our authority, the enemy and our own flesh, ride rough shod over our lives. A covenant, which is so much stronger than a promise, had to include the shedding of blood. Jesus shed His so that we no longer have to live under the law, but we now live under grace, the Law of Love. His plan for us isn’t just to get by, or to tread water. We are supposed to take ground! We aren’t waiting to one day get to Heaven, we are His ambassadors and we are bringing Heaven to earth!

It is so important that we understand who He is, who we are, and what His shed blood has purchased for us, when we don’t we still live in bondage. The prison doors are opened but we sit shivering in the corner and refuse to leave.

Do a word search in your bible concordance and if you have access to the internet, use it for good and do a scripture search on the blood of Christ. There are some good blogs and commentaries out there (like mine), but first and foremost, see what God has to say about it. All of our other writings should line up with and encourage understanding with what is written in His word. We can never substitute good writing, good teaching, and good preaching with God’s word. The work of men can never do the job that His word can, after all His word is alive, and sharper than any double edged sword. Mine are not.

When we try and do it without remembering and discerning His blood, we make a mess of our lives. I did. However, when we do it His way, it is so much better. Notice I didn’t say easier, just better. He himself told us we would have trouble, but not to worry because He had already overcome.

Live for Him! He already did all the hard stuff. We just need to stand on His word, keep our part of the covenant, and walk in our authority.

Jesus, thank You for Your shed blood. Holy Spirit help me to understand with my spirit and to apply the blood rightly to my life. I choose to accept all that it purchased for me. I will not allow Your sacrifice to be in vain in my life.

A Lion or a Lamb?

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The world has issues with who God really is and to be perfectly honest so do a lot a Christians. Sometimes I have to be reminded. We look at the Old Testament and see a God who wiped out whole nations, every man, woman, child, and even their animals. Then we turn to the New Testament and read that “God is Love.”
Is He a lion or a lamb? Is He Master and Ruler, or Servant of all? Is He a vengeful God, or forgiving Savior? Is He so Pure and Holy that He can’t bear to be around sin, or did He pour out His blood to get rid of our sin? The answer to all of these paradoxes is YES! Does it make sense? No, but the wonderful thing about God is that He doesn’t have to make sense. He is God after all. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

So how do we reconcile the God that sent the flood, and Jesus who died for our sins?
Let me first explain one thing you need to know about God. He is Love. No matter what He does, even wiping the human race off the face of the planet, minus the eight He saved, was motivated out of love. Think about this for a minute…what if He would have allowed the human race to continue? There was only one person that God said was righteous. Yes, his whole family was saved, but we don’t know if that was because the shared Noah’s obedience to God, or if it was just God’s mercy and love for Noah. How long do you think it would have taken for there to not be a single faithful follower? God, in His love for His creation, took action while there was still one. Think of Sodom. God would have allowed it to remain if there would have been even five faithful! Evil is like a cancer, it is caused by Satan, and then accepted and propagates in the flesh of men. You can’t cut out part of cancer, you can’t leave just a small cancer cell, you have to do radical surgery and cut it out. That’s what God’s cleansing did.

Through His love and patience, a remnant always remained. Noah and his family, Lot and his daughters, the poor and week who were left in Israel after the enemy took everyone of import captive (after killing thousands). Always, He honored His promise to the founding fathers. For David’s sake, He always made sure to leave an heir. When His own chosen people demanded a king, and the majority of those kings led His people into idol worshipping, even sacrificing their own children, God’s hand, as a loving parent, was forced to discipline His children. Talk about tough love. Don’t ever think it didn’t grieve Him. He lamented over the loss of those He loved. We think we have to make hard choices.

God is the same. Who He was in the Old Testament is still who He is now. He lives outside of time. There is no yesterday for Him. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all right now for God. The only difference is that we, who live in time, are in a different state. We live under grace, not under law. Jesus’ shed blood gives us the choice of eternity of Heaven or hell. Just as each new king had the choice to follow after God, or to lead the people in rebellion. We live in the Church age, aren’t you glad, but soon, just as in the Old Testament, God will not spare the world any longer. He will gather up those that are His, and once again, the God who is Just and Holy will deal with evil in this world, once and for all. There will be no more mercy and grace, no “one more chance.”

Isaiah 26:21 (NIV), “See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.”

Revelation 19:11-21 (ESV), “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.”

Time is winding up like a scroll. Soon and very soon, you will see Jesus coming in the clouds and the Holy Spirit will usher us out of here (if you follow Jesus). Will you be like James and John and ask God to call down fire on the rebellious? Or will you be like Abraham who reasoned with God for Sodom, or like Moses and Aaron who pled for the rebellious group they led, or maybe you will be like Amos who lamented over the loss of the house of Jacob and begged God?

Amos 7:1-6 (NIV), “This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the late crops were coming up. When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the Lord relented. “This will not happen,” the Lord said. This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: The Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the Lord relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign Lord said.”

Do I want Jesus to come back soon? You betcha’! However, I also want to reach as many as possible before that great and terrible day. The finality of “the end” should motivate us! There will be no more grace, no mercy, no more chances for those who have refused Him. Those that are His will spend eternity with Him in the light of His love. Those who are not His will spend eternity in the dark, no God, no love, no light, and no hope. No because God is cruel, but because they chose.

He is Love, He is Just, He is a strong Daddy who takes care of His children. He knows what’s best for each and every person and every decision He makes is for the best!

Can you help them find their way to Him?