Tag Archive: Love


heart-in-bible“The work of Christ on the cross did not influence God to love us, did not increase that love by one degree, did not open any fount of grace or mercy in His heart. He had loved us from old eternity and needed nothing to stimulate that love.

The cross is not responsible for God’s love; rather it was His love which conceived the cross as the one method by which we could be saved. God felt no different toward us after Christ had died for us, for in the mind of God Christ had already died before the foundation of the world. God never saw us except through atonement.

The human race could not have existed one day in its fallen state had not Christ spread His mantle of atonement over it. And this He did in eternal purpose long ages before they led Him out to die on the hill above Jerusalem. All God’s dealings with man have been conditioned upon the cross.”

― A.W. Tozer, The Radical Cross: Living the Passion of Christ

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imageSin is so terribly destructive, so utterly diabolical! Sin is so horrific that it’s true power and perversity are arguably unfathomable by the human mind. How much more so for the father of lies, the father of sin!?

We dip and dabble at it as if certain sins are permissible. We tolerate sin in our lives and sometimes even encourage it as if it’s as harmless as a squeaky screen door. Perhaps our reluctance to resist the devil (in the Lord’s strength of course) has something to do with our own perspective of sin and the father of it.

What if you discovered you were born into a family that had been hunted and killed for years? What if you also discovered that there was one person behind it all, a person only known as the prowler? You are forced to grow up on the run and after a decade of fear, the unthinkable happens. Your parents, your brothers, and sisters are all trapped and killed. Some how you are able to get away, only to go on the run again.

Another decade goes by, and you finally think you’re safe so you decide to settle down. Not too long after you move into your first place, a package arrives in the mail. Wrapped in beautiful, shiny paper, this intriguing gift causes you to let down your guard. There’s a small card attached. Your curiosity gets the best of you. You open the card. The message reads, “Dear Boy, I hope you accept my gift. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Your Friend, The Prowler.”

Would you open the gift? If not, then why? Why not open a present offered by the one responsible for hunting and destroying so many?

Of course, it’s not always so black and white with Satan, the enemy of our souls. Or is it? Perhaps it is that clear, but because of our deep personal devotion to the flesh, we often allow the issues to become muddied so we really don’t have to think too much about them.

Maybe if we’d ask the Lord to seriously pull back the curtain on sin, Satan, and our own selfish hearts, we’d begin understanding the deep destructiveness of the worldly nets we’ve wrapped ourselves in. Perhaps if we’d sincerely ask the Lord to give us eyes to see the sinfulness of sin and the beauty of Himself, we’d choose to leave this world’s temporary temptations alone, instead clinging wholeheartedly to the only gift that truly and eternally matters, Jesus Christ!

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“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:15-18, 21

Jeremiah 29:11 was Cherrie’s and my marriage life verse. It held us through many twists and turns, reminding us to always keep our eyes on Jesus! Hebrews 12:2. For those believing couples struggling through their marriages, please don’t give into the fleshly pride which daily plagues our hearts and minds. Humble wedding rings and bible-noqHyourselves, preferring one another above your own desires. Romans 12:9-10, James 4:10. Submit to the Lord, not your feelings. James 4:8. Draw near to God! James 4:7.  Keep your eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2. Pray that the Lord will give you His eyes and heart toward your spouse. John 13:34. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. James 1:19. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Ephesians 4:26. Love one another as Christ has loved you. John 13:34. Let Jesus be the Head.  Colossians 1:18. Be a minister to your spouse. 1 Timothy 4:6. Work harder at your marriage than your job! Colossians 3:23-24. God’s mercies are new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23. So should it be with us. Be merciful, slow to anger, letting the peace of God rule your heart. Proverbs 14:29, Colossians 3:15. Let the Lord’s Light examine you and examine yourself. Psalm 26:2, 2 Corinthians 13:5. Take the log out of your eye so you can lovingly remove the speck in your spouse’s. Luke 6:42.

Think of this… If you got a call right now that your spouse was being held hostage, would you be filled with a desire to pray and lovingly rescue him/her?  Remember that love. Remember we are all broken sinners saved by the grace of Jesus Christ alone. Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Timothy 1:15-16. Be tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32. Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2. Then when the burdens get heavy, remember to let Jesus bear them. Look at Him and learn of Him. His yoke is easy and His burden light. Matthew 11:30. Do not worry, instead seek first the Kingdom of God. Matthew 6:23.

Remember, we don’t live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4. Just as we should sit together over dinner, so sit together over the Word. Feast regularly and consistently on God’s Word both independently and as a couple. Psalm 34:8. Let Jesus be in the midst. Matthew 18:20. Let the Holy Spirit, not worldly methodologies or psychologies and philosophies be your teacher. 1 John 2:27. Let Jesus be the One who renews and transforms you and your marriage.  Romans 12:2, Titus 3:4-7.

Earnestly pray for one another (even when you don’t feel like it) and pray together. James 5:16. It’s hard to be mad at someone you pray for and pray with. Pray, pray, and then pray some more!!! Romans 8:261 Thessalonians 5:17. Remember, your marriage is a microcosm of Jesus and His bride, the church. Ephesians 5:25-33. Just as He has nurtured and bound together born again believers around the world for centuries, so must He be the One who knits you as one. Ephesians 4:16, Colossians 2:2-3.

Stick with it. Don’t grow weary in doing well. Galatians 6:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:13. Don’t believe the lies of this world, of self, or the enemy of our souls. John 8:44. He only seeks to kill, steal and destroy. His pleasure is in tearing down, not building up. Jesus came so we could have abundant spiritual life in Him. John 10:10, John 15.

Hang tight to Jesus and again, never stop praying for one another. Romans 8:26, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, James 5:16. You are not stuck when you’re abiding in Christ.  Trust in Him!  2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 18:2. Let Jesus be your comfort, not your spouse. Psalm 119:76, Isaiah 12:1, Acts 9:31, Romans 15:4.  Let Jesus be the One who brings fulfillment. 1 Corinthians 15:28.  Remember, Jesus came to save, not destroy.  Luke 9:56, John 10:10. Let Him do His marvelous work. Let patience have her perfect work. James 1:4. Be bold. Speak the truth, but always in love. Ephesians 4:15. Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you! Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7. Don’t lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:16. Jesus has overcome the world!  John 16:33, 1 John 5:4.

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17

No Jesus, No Thanks!

Heart and Cross Image

An atheistic evolutionist would have us believe there is nothing more than matter, yet if matter is all there is, then how would an immaterial concept such as “THANKS” ever originate? “Thanks” has no color, no shape, no texture, and no taste. A rock, for example, is matter in a solid form, yet it cares nothing about being thankful. In fact, we could say a rock cannot even care, let alone be thankful. The same could be said for all solids, liquids, and gases. Thankfulness is a concept that goes way beyond the material. So if it didn’t come from matter, then where did thanks originate from?

Nonphysical concepts such as thankfulness cannot be derived from matter, but instead must come from something immaterial. And to say that thankfulness came from some sort of impersonal “higher power” energy or force would be foolish. Mindless energy and impersonal forces would be unable to produce such a personal concept as thanks.

Thanks is not simply a figment of our imagination found in the dictionary and it is not the mindless product of some impersonal force. It could only originate from One who is both personal and loving. In truth, thanksgiving must stem from a loving heart, one that is not self-seeking. The Bible describes this kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13, “Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up…” 1 Corinthians 13:4. This love comes from the personal God who is love (1 John 4:8,16), the God who demonstrated His love in sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Savior of the world. (John 3:16-17)

Jesus is not only the Savior, He is the Creator and coming King. (Colossians 1:11-20) He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He truly is the Son of God and God the Son. Without Jesus there would be no universe and no earth. There would be no salvation. There would be no love and without love there would be no thanks! Truly it can be said, “No Jesus, No Thanks!” During this season, let us not only be thankful, but be sure to give thanks to only One who truly deserves it all, the Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him, talk you of all His wondrous works. Glory in His holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:8-11

Gungor_I Am Mountain“I recently had the best meal of my life, an eight-course Japanese/sushi thing…and just the balance of the plates they’d bring and how they handled each of the flavors after the next to build to something, it was amazing.”

“That’s how I wanted to approach this record. To have a palate cleanser when its needed, something easy to go down, a breath for a second when things get too dark or heavy.” ~Michael Gungor, I Am Mountain, Bio (http://gungormusic.com/bio/)

Michael Gungor has definitely made some waves over the last year regarding his allegorical view of certain sections of Scripture. Although this is clearly a dangerous deception in need of correction, I can’t help but wonder why so little was said four years ago when he posted a three part reflection on his spiritual journey into all things contemplative.

One thing that’s fair to say is that Michael is not a hypocrite, at least on this. Unlike so many others involved in today’s “Christian” ministry scenes, he sure isn’t trying to appear biblically conservative, while secretly exploring mystical “Christianity”. His thoughts even four years ago were posted right on his website for all to read. Yet many churches, including what we might consider solid, line by line and verse by verse churches, either through ignorance or self-denial continued opening their doors to him month after month and year after year.

The few who said anything during that time were typically marginalized or worse, vilified, or simply ignored. After all, those choosing to speak up are often told not to say anything ‘negatively’ against what some so-called leaders label “moves of the Spirit”. A proper teacher of God’s Word, however, will never use this shabby excuse as a cloak to hide behind. No one is above being lovingly and truthfully corrected regardless of his/her popularity, personality, or charismatic presence.

The way to keep the unity of the Spirit is not found in turning a blind eye, but rather in exposing the darkness that is frankly running rampant in this modern or rather post-modern church era. We are reminded in Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [expose] them.” Nowhere in Scripture are we told to be tolerant of evil actions or evil doctrines. Contrary to the spirit of this age, tolerance does not pave the road to biblical unity, but instead is the bridge to the wide road leading many to destruction. Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reminds us, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.” Romans 16:11 [Emphasis mine]

LightInDarknessLight will never divide the light. Truth will never divide the truth. In reality, division is caused when darkness and deception are embraced and promoted by the saints, allowing devilish doctrines to be injected into the body of Christ infecting many and causing many to become unsuspecting carriers. They have then become transporters, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to a wide variety of deadly strains of false doctrine.

In the world, of course, it’s just the opposite. The world is already full of darkness and deception, so the light of God’s Word will definitely divide as the Lord shines into the darkness. “And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:5  

May we always be wide awake and alert in the times in which we live. May we never slumber or sleep, knowing the Morning Star is soon returning. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…” 1 Peter 1:19

“You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8.

As the saying goes, it’s darkest just before the dawn. We might believe reaching this world and sadly much of the professing church is a futile attempt, however, nothing could be further from the truth. With God all things are possible. We are not seeking a revival or reformation, but rather the salvation of the Lord. We look up for our hope and look around to fields for our labor.  We choose to take His yoke upon us as we faithfully and joyfully serve Jesus, letting His true light work in and through us, knowing with confidence that He who is in us is greater than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

May Jesus’ words truly encourage us! “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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Here are a couple excerpts from a Lighthouse Trails article posted back in 2011:

Michael Gungor [gives] detailed information on how to practice contemplative meditation in a three part article.

He explains to his readers that he went on a “spiritual pilgrimage” in September 2010…”The first week was a week of silence and meditation at a spiritual retreat that I found by googling ‘best spiritual retreats in the world.'” He said that he went on this pilgrimage because he was “on the brink” and “didn’t really know what [he] believed in.” Gungor began his journey with a trip to the Vatican where he heard the Pope speak: “Not a bad way to start out my spiritual journey. Made me want to be Catholic actually.” After this, Gungor caught a flight to Assisi and on the flight he “listened to a couple Rob Bell sermons on [his] iPod.” Gungor explains that the retreat was “a cross religious retreat, so they had statues of Mary in the room next to a Buddha next to a Hindu something or other.”

In part 2 Gungor [does] what most emerging figures do – he de-emphasizes beliefs and doctrine, calling evangelism a “pyramid scheme” and says in many ways he agrees with the “new atheists.” He says he doesn’t  “believe in the old guy in the sky,” talking about God, adding: To me, God is the basic Reality of the universe. God is what is. That’s how Moses wrote that God introduced Himself, isn’t it? “I am that I am.” God is. Whatever is, that is God.

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6717

Note from Unity in the Truth: This song was written by my wife Cherrie back in 1993 after being a Christian for about a year and over a year before we met. A good friend of ours that worked with Cherrie in writing songs early in her Christian walk sent this to me. I don’t think too much about coincidences. Sometimes the timing of things is of the Lord and other times it might just be the timing of things, but I have to say I think it was at least very fitting that I received it in the mail on June 16th. Upon opening the envelope, I noticed that Cherrie’s song was dated June 16th… 1993.  

As is always the case with the Lord, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  It was most definitely encouraging, especially in light of some challenging events this summer. God is so gracious! In Exodus, the Lord reminded Moses and reminds us, “The LORD God, [is] merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth…” Exodus 34:6.  

I pray Cherrie’s poem, “The Angel’s Choir” blesses you as much as it did me.

 

THE ANGEL’S CHOIRGod's love to people

My friend, I’ve just been thinking,

It’s so fortunate we met.

I know you’ve also realized,

This meeting was no accident.

 

But now I’d like to emphasize,

If possible, somehow describe,

My desire,

but God will require,

That we walk together until it’s time,

For one of us to arise to God on high,

And leave earthly gifts to live with Him in paradise.

 

And I promise if I’m called first,

I’ll be sure to reserve,

A seat next to mine in the angel’s choir.

 

In all our conversations,

God’s been there to teach and bless,

Through you God has empathized,

With the emotions I’ve expressed.

So I’m asking for a surprise.

 

I’m seeking God’s perpetual fire,

To inspire,

An equal light,

Until I am called to sing on high.

You see friend, I am so grateful,

For the gift of your eyes.

 

You just let me be and pray instead of criticize.

So I’m asking God to keep matching our strides,

Until it’s time for the other soul to fly.

~Cherrie Huseby

Faith Becomes Sight!

Flynn and CherrieMy beautiful bride of almost 18 years went to be with Jesus last night (March 21st), entering into the joy of the Lord.  She served Him faithfully for 20 plus years. Regardless of cancer’s intrusion three and a half years ago, she simply continued running the race set before her with joy in her heart and Jesus as her sole and grand prize!

Cherrie honestly hungered and thirsted for righteousness, searching the Scriptures daily, desiring to know her Lord and Savior more and more.  One word that has always come to mind to describe her walk is integrity.  She understood the absolute necessity of a sincerely Christ-centered and upright life. She knew the very real need for God’s Word in the believer’s life and the Gospel to every nonbeliever she came across. When she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in July of 2010, the doctors would not tell us how long she had left.  Later we discovered that many with cancer that far advanced really don’t have more than several months.  Praise God we learned quickly that God is not a God of statistics.

Through chemo, radiation, and the prayers of the saints, the Lord allowed the cancer to shrink small enough for surgery in May of 2011.  Three weeks later we had our 15 year vow renewal, moved to a new house, and Cherrie got busy again, going back to work part time from home.  Everyone we knew surrounded us with so much encouragement and love. It was truly humbling! After getting through surgery, Cherrie told us she was surprised to overhear the nurses talking outside her curtained room about her whole lung being removed.  She was only supposed to have her left lower lobe taken out, but the surgeon found a small amount of cancer in the upper lung and chose to remove the entire thing.  She said she laid there with this new revelation, contemplating life with only one lung. Self pity began creeping in, but as she explained it, only for a moment.  The Lord opened her ears to those around her.  She could hear a man moaning in agony, a baby crying in pain, and families sobbing near by.  It was at that moment that God reminded her that there were many people hurting as much or worse. It was then that the Comforter began to produce in her a new desire, a ministry of comfort to those affected by the ravages of cancer.

When her son, Jake and I first talked with her after surgery, she smiled and told us she wanted to start a cancer group at church, focusing on Christ.  God is so amazing! The next two years were filled with Cherrie serving as the leader of Calvary Cares Cancer Support along with keeping up her blog, Comfort in Christ.  We were blessed to minister to many during that time, but God was not through yet.  Last summer Cherrie decided she wanted to make her blog into a devotional book so we embarked on yet another journey in the Lord.  We picked 50 of her posts and with the help of two friends and the support and prayers of many, her e book, Comfort in Christ Cancer Devotional  was finally sent in for publishing on January 31, 2013.  She was so excited to see the book go live in January! In January, Cherrie experienced a set back that landed her in the hospital for a week.  It was at this point with much prayer that we sought the Lord’s face, desiring to do His will.

With a new granddaughter in the midst and much desire to continue serving the Lord, she decided to stop chemo and simply continue resting in the Lord, running the race until He called her home. She always told me, “I never want to chase cancer’s tail.”  I can say, although at times cancer caused her to go places and do things outside of her control, she never allowed it to own her.  She simply used it as another tool in witnessing to the lost and encouraging the saints.  In the extra three and a half years she was given, praise God she did not go the route of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:25), but instead the way of Job, praising and testifying of the greatness of God in the midst of adversity.  She was blessed in that time to see her son get married, have a beautiful granddaughter, begin a Christ-centered cancer support group, write an encouraging blog, put together an e book, and be a godly witness to countless thousands.  Although we never asked for this valley, we both said we wouldn’t have traded it for a moment.  How ironic that for years, Cherrie sought the Lord, asking Him to open the door for her to have a focused ministry to pour her life into.  The answer came in the form of adversity, providing a mission field we would’ve never ever thought of on our own.  In the midst of experiencing the effects of the curse in a very deep way, God took that curse and turned it upside down to bless others.  How awesome is our God!

Last Saturday, we laid in bed and Cherrie for the first time told me she was ready to go home to be with Jesus.  She leaned on my shoulder and told me she just wanted to rest in what the Lord had done with joy in her heart.  She was ready.  She had fought the good fight and run the race, coming out victorious, not because of anything good in her, not because of her own strength, but because of the ultimate Victor- Jesus Christ who lives and abides forever!  She simply yielded to His will as a vessel to His glory and honor.  Cherrie was not perfect and she would have been the first to remind people of that.  She would probably “kill” me for writing so much about her.  She wanted to focus to be on Christ.  Her life was simply one that yielded to the Savior.  Jesus gets all the glory and I know she’s face to face with Him now singing His praises.

Even in the last week, although she really could not leave the house, our prayer was to be like the Apostle Paul.  Even though he was under house arrest by the Roman authorities, he shared the Word with all who would come to see him as well as the guards he was chained to.  We prayed the Lord would give us opportunity to share the truth with the hospice nurses and aids coming to our home.  Sure enough God honored our prayer.  We had the privilege of testifying of God’s goodness and He opened up an opportunity for me to talk a bit in depth with one particular male nurse, leaving him with Gospel tract and Lord willing, much to consider. Mid Monday, Cherrie was admitted to Peppi’s House here in Tucson, where she had excellent care and still we were able to share Jesus with all those who came.  Thursday night, a good friend came to visit us and God opened an amazing opportunity for us to share with Brenda, a 71 year old volunteer.  We talked for a half hour and she was so interested in hearing about Jesus.  Jesus’ life in Cherrie was again being proclaimed as I shared some of her testimony to Brenda.  It was a great night with many seeds planted and watered yet again. PicsArt_1395520014824Cherrie ran the race all the way to the end!

Last night (Friday, March 21) her son was able to come down again to be with her.  Jake and I sat with Cherrie praying and reading Scripture and literally upon finishing with 1 Peter 1:3-9 and with “It Is Well With My Soul” playing in the background on my phone, she breathed her last temporal breath. The timing could not have been more amazing and blessed!  She entered the joy of the Lord peacefully and pain free. God so undeservedly blessed me with an amazing woman who taught me many things throughout our 20 years of knowing one another, however the most important lesson I ever gleaned from her was that fear of the Lord is truly our strength and joy!

God is good!  Below is a collection of Scriptures and other writings that the Lord has impressed upon my heart over the last several days.  I hope they bless and comfort you! In Christ’s truth and love, ~Flynn

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“Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation [encouragement, refreshing].” 2 Corinthians 1:2-7

Poem by C. T. Studd Only One Life, ’Twill Soon Be Past “Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears; Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score; When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn; Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne; Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,”Thy will be done”; And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. ” — extra stanza — Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.” ~C. T. Studd

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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withers, the flower fades: because the spirit of the Lord blows upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:1-8

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:1-8

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.  But he that had received one went and dug in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants comes, and reckons with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliver unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:13-21

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 11:1-10, 13-16, 23-27, 12:1-2

“I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple: I was brought low, and He helped me. Return unto Thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.  I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant, and the son of Thine handmaid: Thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:1-9, 15-17

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21

Deeper Obedience

Open BibleObedience sometimes sounds like a dirty word, especially in today’s post modern world. However whether we want to admit it or not, we all obey a master. We will either be a slave to sin or a bond servant to the Creator of the universe and Savior of mankind. For the forgiven sinner washed in the blood of the Lamb, this truth is understood and readily embraced. The challenge for those who have been born again by the power of God is that we too often forget that our own obedience must go beyond mere outward actions to something much deeper.

This is a tough subject to cover in a small post. Please do not think for one minute that this writer is giving permission to walk in disobedience toward God or those in authority, but there is a deeper obedience revealed in Scripture, one far beyond the confines of this physical body. We are called not only to offer God our bodies (the outward), but first and foremost our hearts and minds (the inward). “My son, give Me thine heart.” Proverbs 23:26. The reality remains, if we’ve truly given the Lord our hearts, then outward obedience ought to follow.

Jesus came from above, leaving His Heavenly throne, demonstrating total and true obedience to His Father in Heaven. Jesus taught the truth of God’s glory and man’s utter need for Him in hopes of exposing and rooting out the hypocrisy of those living under the appearance of obedience, but inwardly denying the Lord of glory. “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men.” Isaiah 29:13.  Again, Matthew 15:7-13 plainly reveals this truth. “You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draws nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And [Jesus] called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But [Jesus] answered and said, Every plant, which My heavenly Father has not planted, shall be rooted up.”

It’s easy, especially in today’s Christianity, to fall into one of two basic categories: liberal or religious Christianity. Liberal Christian philosophy is rooted in allegorizing God’s Word and is often times viewed as the most malignant intruder to the true body of Christ. The other, although practiced by many, is the one Jesus actually spoke most harshly against. Ironically, although religious “Christianity” darns a thick cloak of righteous living, too often it’s unrighteous fruit is ripe, thriving in a toxic and tradition-based environment. Religious “Christianity” brings the outward appearance of obedience, yet just as with the Pharisees and other religious leaders of old, the heart is far from the True and Living God.  In Scripture, this is said to be a form of godliness, but denying the power there of. (2 Timothy 3:5) Sadly, the man-centered doctrines of religious righteousness reach into many avenues of all our attitudes and actions.

Besides the two categories mentioned above, there is a third option only chosen by a few, one that is neither based on man’s reasoning nor religious conformity. This third option could be called the deeper Christian life. For most born again believers, the desire to obey the Lord is important, making it easy to confuse outward conformity with inward transformation. The religious wolves know this all too well, preying on unsuspecting sheep by teaching them the traditions of men for the doctrines of God. Instead, the Lord came to liberate mankind from this hypocrisy, eradicating error and rooting out unrighteousness by giving all who would choose to receive Him a new spiritual heart and mind, a soul and spirit centered on Heaven with Christ as their one true Light. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2. “Forasmuch as you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:3. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26.

The inward transformation found in this deeper life brings to light a deeper obedience, one that truly requires the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Even though outward obedience, that is to say conformity, seems best, sometimes simply following what others claim to be the letter of the law causes us to entirely miss the life of the true law. The Pharisees chided Jesus more than once concerning this. “Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” Matthew 15:2. Another time the hungry disciples picked grain on the Sabbath. “And it came to pass, that [Jesus] went through the corn fields on the Sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful?” Mark 2:23-24.  The Pharisees were so busy walking by sight, desiring outward conformity, that they were blinded to the reality of the Living Word literally right before their eyes!

One of the best Old Testament examples of this deeper, inward obedience is found in Exodus 32-33. Here’s an insightful exchange between the Lord God and Moses.  In Chapter 32, the Israelites grew weary of waiting for Moses as he spoke with God, turning instead to false gods. “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” Exodus 32:1.  Tragically, while the Lord was sharing His glorious Word with Moses, the people were at the bottom of the mount breaking the very first and greatest of all God’s commands.

God grew angry at the people’s deep rebellion, “And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.” (verses 9-10). God then specifically commanded Moses to leave Him alone so He could consume the wicked people.  God also told Moses He would make a great nation of him, forgoing His previous promise to Abraham. Moses could have easily obeyed God, reasoning within himself that God told him to do these things therefore they must be done. Moses could have taken the outwardly obedient route.  After all, God gave him specific orders, yet Moses chose to go a deeper way. He could have left the mountain and told himself he was obeying God. After all, God told him to leave.  But the deeper path was one guided by loving discernment, not outward observation. Moses desired the God of His commands even more than God’s commands, lighting his path directly to the Lord.

Did Moses leave and allow God to destroy all the people? No. Instead Moses drew even closer to the Lord, speaking to Him in spirit and truth!  He then lovingly brought the law and judgment of God to the people, giving them opportunity to repent. After that, Moses returned to the Lord, interceding on the people’s behalf.  What a great picture of Jesus!  What an amazing picture of selfless love, first for God and then for the people! No wonder God called Moses His friend! God’s love ought to be our true motivation for obedience and Moses is an excellent example of this deeper life, one that is not based on empty, outward conformity, but on a genuine and deep, deep love for God above all else.

At the end of Chapter 32, the Lord commanded Moses, “Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.”  After the Lord dealt with the people’s sin, Chapter 33 reveals the beauty of what comes from this deeper walk with God!  “And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. And Moses said unto the LORD, See, Thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and Thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Yet Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, shew me now Thy way, that I may know Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation is Thy people. And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? is it not in that Thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory. And He said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee…” Exodus 33:8-19  [Emphasis mine]

Oh, to know Jesus so deeply, so intimately that we desire nothing less than Him!  Moses deeply and obediently sought the Lord above all and God blessed him with His rest and presence. Moses desired nothing less than the glory of God and the Lord rewarded him by revealing His glorious goodness found in His name alone! The Lord blessed Moses with the knowledge of God. The Lord Himself was and is and always will be the true reward and marvelous treasure discovered by every saint choosing to walk in deep obedience unto Him!

“O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best! ’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest! O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;  and it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!” (“Oh, the Deep, Deep Love” ~S. Trevor Francis)

“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22

“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:6-8

Self Love“Another book, coauthored by Myers and Malcolm Jeeves, states that “the most common error in people’s self images is not unrealistically low self-esteem, but rather self-serving pride; not an inferiority complex, but a superiority complex.”A recent study conducted by Scott Allison et al indicates that people give themselves reasons to think positively about themselves. For instance, they regard themselves more highly than others by remembering unfair actions against themselves instead of their own unfairness to others. There is a definite self-serving bias in all of us. Self-esteem and self-love do not need to be encouraged; they are part of the fallen, sinful nature. In Jeremiah 17:9 we are told, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Man is self-serving, self-affirming, self-loving, and self esteeming because he is self-deceiving. Many of the ways that man serves, affirms, loves, esteems, and deceives himself are found in the research as well as the Bible.”

“The Bible does not present self-esteem, self-worth, self love, self-confidence, or self-fulfillment as needs that must be met to create capable, loving, well-adjusted people. Instead, the direction of Scripture is away from self and toward God and others. Self is not to be enhanced or catered to. Self esteem is not even mentioned. On the other hand, Paul warned that a Christian is “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Romans 12:3). And when it comes to esteem, Paul says, “. . . let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). From the context of Scripture, the fallen nature is already biased in the direction of self. Self-love is already there or Jesus would not have commanded us to love others as we (already) love ourselves(Matthew 22:39).”

“There are those who try to use the Great Commandment to justify self-love. However, the Great Commandment teaches just the opposite: to love God and others. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).”

“Is the commandment to love self a commandment of God or is it a commandment of men? We found no Bible commentary that said that Matthew 22:39 (or parallel verses in Mark and Luke) commands us to love ourselves. However, many people have distorted the meaning of Matthew 22:39 to give credence to their self-love teachings. For instance, humanistic psychologist Erich Fromm says:

“If it is a virtue to love my neighbor as a human being, it must be a virtue—and not a vice—to love myself, since I am a human being too. There is no concept of man in which I myself am not included. A doctrine which proclaims such an exclusion proves itself to be intrinsically contradictory. The idea expressed in the Biblical “Love thy neighbor as thyself!” implies that respect for one’s own integrity and uniqueness, love for and understanding of one’s own self, can not be separated from respect for and love and understanding of another individual. The love for my own self is inseparably connected with the love for any other self.  If an individual is able to love productively, he loves himself too; if he can love only others, he cannot love at all.(Emphasis his.)”

“Fromm was an atheist who argued against the fundamentals of the Christian faith. It is even more disturbing when Christians parrot such misunderstandings of Jesus’ words about loving neighbor as one loves himself. Rather than properly exegeting the passage, they use Scripture to support a pet theory.”

Excerpts from “12 Steps to Destruction” by Martin and Deidre Bobgan (pp. 57-67) http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/e-books/12steps-ebk.pdf

Self-Esteem pill bottleDo People Actually Suffer from Low Self-Esteem and Self-Hatred?

What about people who claim to hate themselves? Do they actually hate themselves or are they trying to gain sympathy and support? If they tell someone they hate themselves, the common response is to rescue them from that idea. In the process they receive sympathy and support not normally given. It is a predictable transaction that once begun can become a habitual way of relating to others and receiving support. There are also those who are unhappy about themselves and their circumstances and generalize them into some kind of self-revulsion, all the while loving themselves.

On the other hand, there are some who do experience personal revulsion because of their sin. In fact, unconfessed known sin, such as resentment, bitterness, hatred, and self pity, may make the person feel guilty and therefore uncomfortable. The actual guilt may then be transformed into feelings of self-hatred and worthlessness. In that case, the person does not need more self-love, self-acceptance, or self-esteem.

The person needs to repent and confess and be cleansed. We are not saying that there are no individuals who genuinely think they hate themselves. But, what they generally hate is something about themselves or their circumstances. They exhibit actual love for themselves in that they continue to spend most of their time concerned about themselves, even if it is with unhappy thoughts. They generally get to the point where they are unhappy about themselves because a discrepancy exists between their aspirations or desires and their performance or condition. This intensive hatred is evidence of high self-interest.

Thus a woman who aspires to be thin and beautiful rather than fat and ugly by cultural standards could end up hating her condition and thereby think that she hates herself, because her desire for a perfect figure is discrepant from the reality of being fat and “ugly.” She is reacting to the discrepancy, but the root of the problem is self-love and even pride. She does not actually hate herself. She hates the discrepancy. If she truly hated herself she would be happy, or at least satisfied, to be fat and ugly. But, her self-love in tandem with the discrepancy makes her miserable.

Dr. David Myers, in his book The Inflated Self, discusses research having to do with how people view themselves and others. The research demonstrates that there is definitely a self-serving bias at work in individuals. Myers says: Time and again, experiments have revealed that people tend to attribute positive behaviors to themselves and negative behaviors to external factors, enabling them to take credit for their good acts and to deny responsibility for their bad acts.

Numerous research studies contradict the common notion having to do with self-image. In his book, Myers presents research to support his statement that: Preachers who deliver ego-boosting pep talks to audiences who are supposedly plagued with miserable self images are preaching to a problem that seldom exists.

Excerpts from “12 Steps to Destruction” by Martin and Deidre Bobgan (pp. 57-67) http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/e-books/12steps-ebk.pdf

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