Personal best

“..And let us run WITH patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1(d)

There is nothing like the feeling we have when we first come to Christ and we have been forgiven of our sins and washed and everything is made new. I want to say one thing… keep that feeling!

The enemy has a funny little way of trying to come in and whisper things in our ears the moment we get saved and we often feel pressure from within ourselves asking “Now what?”

Salvation should not be a chore or performance based, the feeling like one wrong move and you’re going to hell.

It should be JOY, and JOY evermore. But as I said the enemy lies and when Jesus saves us,we ARE saved and we are NOT required to do anything other than keep God’s commandments and do OUR personal best in all things. We are all created differently and we all have different gifts, talents, and convictions.

The biggest trap of the enemy (and he will work this through people) is telling you that you should do this and you can’t do that and once that pressure start it will have you even second guessing if you are even saved. So do let it even start! And if you have not committed to Christ just yet, this maybe can answer a few questions to help you make that commitment.

Notice we are all called to run OUR own race, as Paul said he had finished his course (race) I can not run your race and you can’t run mine.  NO ONE will ever be able to complete the course God ordained for you.

It is one of a kind and that is why you have to be so careful AGAINST listening to the wrong voices, especially when you are “new” to the kingdom or “in the valley of decision” so I want to hit a couple of “stumbling blocks” and hopefully push them out of the way before you even happen up on them.

#1. God LOVES us, simply because HE DOES, nothing we have done, nothing we could ever do, nothing we could buy, nothing we could ever earn. He created us and He loves us. He WANTS us FOREVER with Him and once you have accepted Him and are saved He will not let anything separate you from Him, the ONLY way you can be separated is if you WANT TO BE.

Read Romans 8:28-39 for wonderful insight on just how strong the bond between us and God truly is. God said this:

Isaiah 49:15: ” Can a woman forget her sucking (nursing) child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?  yea, they may forget, YET I WILL NEVER FORGET THEE (you).”

Isaiah 46:4: “And EVEN to your old age I am he: and EVEN to hoar hairs (grey hair) WILL I CARRY YOU: I HAVE MADE, AND I WILL BEAR; EVEN WILL I CARRY, AND WILL DELIVER YOU.”

And Jesus said this: John 16:27: ” For the Father himself loveth you,because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” 

#2. Not a competition. The only person you “need” to be is YOURSELF!

Mark 10:38-40: “And John answered him, saying, Master, (teacher) we saw one casting out devils IN THY NAME, and he followed NOT us, and we forbad him BECAUSE he followed us not (told him that he could not do that because he was not with them).

And Jesus said, Forbid him NOT: for there is no man that can do a miracle in my name, that can lightly (soon afterward) speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part (side).” 

Even people with good intentions can have the wrong idea.

Luke 9:52-56: “And sent messengers before his face (Jesus sent), and they went, and entered into a village of Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him (they would not allow him to stay there), because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did? 

But he turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives BUT TO SAVE THEM. 

And they went to another village.” Doubt that James and John were good guys? Of course they were! But even good guys can unintentionally steer you wrong! The Samaritans hated the Jews and these people thought Jesus was going to Jerusalem for “religious” reasons, so they would not help him, if they only knew who they had refused!

But anyway, angry and offended, James and John ASKED him to GIVE THEM the power to torch these people, which is interesting too, He hadn’t given them that and they didn’t ask Him to do it himself, THEY wanted Him to allow them to do the job !

So maybe it wasn’t all about them “insulting” Jesus but maybe a little about the human response of “How dare they?” And you will find sometimes when people are pushing you in a way you don’t feel you should go, it could be that it’s not about you, or the kingdom, it can sometimes be good old-fashioned control.

Just as they didn’t want anyone using Jesus name without being one of them and you see each time Jesus sets it straight. So remember your relationship is between you and God, no one else. as we are told in Philippians 2:12, to “work out our OWN salvation with fear and trembling” that means for us to be serious and knowing that it is only between us and God. 

#3 Relax IN grace. Know that no one knows everything nor will we ever. God does not require of us the things we do not know. When we are saved,we are saved by grace and His grace covers us as we grow.

The more we grow, the more we are taught, then the more we are held responsible for, but God is kind, loving, and merciful and knows exactly what you are aware of, capable of, and most of all ready for.

To fight CONDEMNATION, that either someone else tries to make you feel or the enemy tries to bring, use this verse, because after you’re saved GOD WILL LET YOU KNOW IF SOMETHING IS WRONG, you will feel it.

1 John 3:20,21: ” For IF OUR HEART CONDEMN US; GOD IS GREATER THAN OUR HEART, AND KNOWETH ALL THINGS. Beloved, IF OUR HEART CONDEMNS US NOT, THEN HAVE WE CONFIDENCE TOWARD GOD.”

Of course for that one to apply, you must be saved. But basically what he is saying, is this, God lives in you and if your heart is not convicting you then you are not condemned BECAUSE God is greater than your heart and you would certainly be aware of His will. 

Once you have been saved, those SINS are washed away FOREVER, they no longer exist according to God.

Romans 8:1: “There is therefore NO NEW CONDEMNATION to them which are IN Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Which means, once saved, we are FREE, FREE, FREE! And God wants us to ENJOY that!

Be happy and joyous in knowing that you are saved, that you can go boldly before the throne of grace to ask for help whenever you need it, and to know that the King of the universe has now called you not only His friend, but His child and heir to all that heaven holds! 

Keeping His commandments and loving and honoring Him, He doesn’t ask us for much because He takes care of everything for us, so enjoy your run and know it’s not about placement, it is only about your personal best.

Love, Peace, & wishing you a great week! Till we meet again!

Φλογιζω  NBJ 2017

From archives because sometimes we all need to be reminded.

“And neither do I…”

“PLEAD my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.” Psalm 35:1,2

I love the fact that the word “plead” is already capitalized in the text, relating to us the urgency and desperation in which David’s heart CRIED OUT to the Lord.

Really a PLEA we hear echoed through the New Testament in the many VOICES that CRIED out to Jesus whenever and wherever he passed by.

We are given the account of Bartimaeus in both Mark 10 and Luke 18.

I decided to go with this passage and underline and highlight what we will look at later.

Luke 18:35-43: “And it came to pass, that as he (Jesus) was come nigh to Jericho, a certain blind man sat begging

And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant, and they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.

And he CRIED, saying, JESUS, thou son of David, HAVE MERCY ON ME.

And they that went BEFORE rebuked him, that he should hold his peace (basically just told him to shut up), but HE CRIED SO MUCH THE MORE,THOU SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME. 

And Jesus stood, (stood still), and commanded him to be brought unto him; and when he was come near, he asked him, Saying, What wilt thou that i shall do unto thee? 

And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.

And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and ALL the people we they saw it, gave praise unto God.

The striking note with this story is how badly this man was treated, treated by those who should have been voluntarily taking his hand and walking him to Jesus and asking Jesus to restore him on his behalf! 

But instead as he cried out to Jesus, they tell him to “Be quiet”.

Did they maybe just want to keep him “begging”?

Did they want to keep others at “arm’s length” away from Jesus, while they themselves were constantly privileged to sit at the table with the absolute King?

But as the cry grew louder JESUS HEARD, and you know Jesus probably heard him the first time and was just letting it play out, considering he commended the man on his faith, as he did others who lifted their cries over the voices that told them to cease and those who suffered rejection by their peers in order to gain an audience with the King.

Jesus stopped, stood still and granted him his petition to the glory of God and the key word there, ALL who saw it, glorified God!

Matthew 20 gives us an account of two men who desired sight from the Lord crying out for him to “Have MERCY on us, O Lord, son of David.” 

These men ALSO were told to “Be quiet” and AGAIN they CRIED that much louder. AGAIN, Jesus stood still, asked their request and granted it and I love this verse:

Matthew 20:34:” “So Jesus had COMPASSION on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.” 

John chapter 9 tells of the divine restoration of sight by Jesus that ENRAGED the Pharisees and Jews so much that the man and his parents were brought in to be questioned because they did even believe that he had been blind, nor did they believe that he had been healed and STILL debated Jesus power and questioned his deity.

And the parents were so AFRAID of being “put out of the synagogue” so AFRAID of excommunication by the “church” that they said the man must speak on his on behalf.

CHOOSING  the”church” crowd” instead of Christ.

CHOOSING to crumble under the threat of condemnation rather than to follow after blessed spiritual consummation.

Talking about CONDEMNATION, the VERY FINE LINE between winning people to Christ and destroying those who ALREADY belong to Christ.

Let’s take a cold hard look at the word itself and think of it in terms of PROPERTY.

We ALL belong to God.

Period, and yes, that is period, 🙂 

The words of GOD, Ezekiel 18:4: ” Behold, ALL SOULS ARE MINEas the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

We know that  Jesus came into the world as a perfect, sinless, lamb to be a ransom for US. ALL those souls that ALREADY belong to God, but through sin had became enslaved.

The enemy having us all held hostage in bondage to him through those sins.

And as with most hostage situations a ransom is required.

1 Timothy 2:4-6: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 

For there is ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus: WHO GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time.”  

We know from this verse that God is telling us, HIS desire is that ALL should be saved, and we are told in another scripture concerning Jesus, that he is “NOT WILLING that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance.” 

The other key word there is repentance.

We have to repent, 2 Corinthians 7:10: “For godly sorrow worketh (produces) repentance to salvation not to be repented of (regretted) but the sorrow of the world worketh (produces) death.”

To try to wrap this up and put a bow on the thought I’m trying to bring with this all hinges on this next verse:

Philippians 1:15-17: “SOME indeed preach Christ EVEN of ENVY and STRIFE: and SOME of GOOD WILL:

The one preach Christ EVEN of CONTENTION, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

But the other of LOVE, knowing that I am set for the defense of the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin, the Holy Spirit urges people to their need of salvation, as ministers and representatives of Christ, our job and our job alone is to be a LIGHT to those people and to show those people the way as we have been shown.

But often we engage in a war among ourselves as to how that should be done, just as the disciples and the crowds that tried to silence those who cried out when JESUS ears are open to those cries!

We often engage in “ministerial” war of those who do PREACH the Gospel but with contentions and anger CONDEMNING those whom God has set apart that they should be saved.

And in those painful damning condemnations while they verbally hammer and bash “sins” and verbally spew out THEIR own personal thoughts of what the punishment for those sins should be, they are failing to remember one major fact… WE WERE ALL SINNERS, and it WAS HIS WILL THAT WE ALL SHOULD BE SAVED.

And as Paul so eloquently described those differences, we understand the truth of how so many who profess Christ and profess to be his agents can attack others with such CONDEMNATION.

And it truly can be compared to a “building or property CONDEMNED through the practice of “EMINENT DOMAIN” the property is already OWNED of God, but through the guilt and shame of sin, that “property” is LEGALLY CONDEMNED, so that the EVEN after having been “purchased” and paid for, that property can STILL be taken from the rightful owner by having it declared UNFIT and held under the domain of another.

And in the Spirit world, we know WHO wants that domain, and as those in our stories above, for whatever reason, would rather rebuke another while they are helpless than to SHARE that good news of the Gospel.

It is a sad state and is really fueling the battle against false teaching, making all who preach mercy through repentance clumped in the category with those that teach of envy and strife.

That is what often happens, if we are not ever aware of who we listen to and what voice we choose to hear.

Maybe today you are battling with that same old feeling of condemnation, EVEN after having received Christ.

Maybe through something said or done the enemy is trying to take that “domain” over you, trying to drag you back, telling you that you are “unfit”.

Don’t listen, ONLY listen to Jesus, even you have “fallen short” and WE ALL DO, repent, talk to him, get whatever it may have been under his blood, because what is so often failed mentioned, is the fact that JESUS IS MERCY, His MERCY is unsearchable, and the word tells us that mercy is renewed EVERY single morning.

That godly sorrow leads to us to forgiveness but that constant screaming of condemnation leads us to spiritual death.

YESTERDAY is DEAD, gone, only alive in your mind and those who would use your yesterday against you, don’t fall for it!

Be like those WHO CRIED ALL THE LOUDER! The more “they” tell you to be quiet, the more you should call out to him!

And stay away from those who try to scream “CONDEMNED” at you and over your life, their ONLY desire is to exercise religious snobbery and false superiority over you, and believe me those who preach in that will receive the greater condemnation.

We are warned by James 3:1 that as teachers of the Gospel we WILL receive the GREATER condemnation because we are HELD to the standards that we hold others to. So we will have that STRICTER rule to be measured by. 

The best example of the TRUE mercy of Jesus that should always be remembered whenever you may wrestle against the feeling of condemnation is the very familiar story of the woman who was brought to Jesus, her accusers HOPING that he would CONDEMN her to death by stoning, were met with met by something the were not quite ready for, their own thirst for her blood being given them to drink when he QUESTIONED their own sin, as Jesus told them “whoever among them” that was WITHOUT sin should cast the first stone.

And we may know these verses well, but we will read them again,

John 8:9-11: “And they which heard IT, being convicted by their own consciencewent out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 

And she said, No man, Lord, and Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”  I love that!

He WAS and IS the standard lifted up against the enemy!

He stands and he stands ALONE in the face of all that rises up to condemn us, condemnation from real enemies, enemies from our past, or that enemy of guilt within ourselves, or even the enemy of our own sinful flesh, as this lady who was snared in sin.

He is quick to forgive but we are also REQUIRED to go, but SIN NO MORE. 

We started with David, let’s end with David. 

David had sinned in “numbering” Israel, once he fell under conviction for that sin, he was given a choice of penalties for that sin and while weighing that decision, this was David’s answer to the prophet, Gad.

2 Samuel 24:14: “And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait (distress): let us fall now into the hand of the Lord;FOR HIS MERCIES ARE GREAT: and let me NOT fall into the hand of man.”

Always, always wait for the last word to be from the Lord, his mercy and his mercy alone has the final say!

God Bless you and thanks for reading! Have a wonderful mid-week and know above all on this earth that Jesus Christ LOVES you and He WANTS to save you. 

If you have already accepted that precious gift of his salvation, and maybe have stumbled just a little or even a lot,  Get up and GO ON!

GO ON to know him more!

He died for YOU, ME, and ALL of us and in that glorious resurrection He gave us victory, this world is not the end and this world is not forever!

One day we will be in His glory eternal and forever at his feet…  and as his word tells us, “LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU” AND “LET NO MAN TAKE YOUR CROWN”!

Concerning the kingdom of God, no one can take from you what you will NOT surrender!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NB 2018