Friday, April 27, 2018


For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 King James Version (KJV)

   If I’m trying to persuade you of something and you’re of a different opinion, I’m trying to change your mind to see things the way I do. 
When you put a republican and a democrat together they are trying to convince each other to move over to their side. 
In the same way, God is trying to convince you of His love for you. To demonstrate that He is for you and that He loves you despite your past or even the difficulties and circumstances of your life. 

   It was not easy for the Apostle Paul to learn this after his past life persecuting Christians and throwing them in jail. Paul went into the desert for three years after his conversion, then there was a period of 14 years of training that he went through. Then the day came when he could say he was fully persuaded of God’s love for him. 

When you believe Jesus loves you, the “fruit” or proof is that you will stop grumbling and complaining against Him. 

When you trust His sovereignty you will joyfully accept whatever has come into your life. You know He loves you and you trust His guidance and direction in the midst of your circumstances.

You learn to realize that He sees something you do not see and that He has your best interests in mind. God really does want His best for you in this world and in eternity. 

 Choose to trust Him today as you walk through your trials, being fully persuaded of His love for you.

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 
2 Timothy 1:12 (KJV)

 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Acts 14:22 King James Version (KJV)

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Old and The New

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. John 2:9-10 KJV

In my last entry I was writing about the difference between living by religious rules and regulations and true relationship with Christ. I thought it was interesting in John 2:9 when Jesus turned the water into wine and the wine was taken to the governor of the feast. When the governor tasted the new wine he said, “This is the good stuff!”The Pharisees and the religious leaders were a picture of those who, “tasted the old.” They had chosen to live by rules and regulations. Remember, they were the ones who were always giving Jesus trouble. In Matthew chapter twelve they told Jesus that His disciples were picking the corn in the field on the Sabbath and that was not acceptable. They considered the disciples actions to be work which was not allowed on the Sabbath. Jesus reminded them of what David and his men did when he was hungry. They went into the Holy place and ate the consecrated bread that they were not supposed to eat. 

 One of the things I like about the scriptures is that there is enough there to shake things up to where you can’t put God in a box. Basically what Jesus was saying is that the bread David ate was not allotted for him to eat. It was wrong for him to do that. Then Jesus told them that He was Lord of the Sabbath and He can do whatever He wants to. Jesus shook up the box on them! 

  There’s all kind of issues where people put God in a box. For example, the subject of women Bible teachers is one where people try to put God in a box. They take a couple of scriptures and say this and that, but God will put His anointing on who ever He pleases.
God leaves enough throughout the scriptures that shows He is going to accomplish His purpose in whatever way He chooses. If you want to be confined to the old, you can have things however you think they ought to be. You’ll just be doing whatever it is without God’s anointing on it. 

  In the sermon on the mount in Matthew Chapter 5 Jesus talked about the old and the new. He said, “The old has said, thou shalt not murder, the new has said, if you have anger in your heart you have murdered in your heart.” The old dealt with the outward appearance of unrighteousness. Jesus introduced a new thing when He talked about the motives of the heart. 

 When the lawyer came to Jesus he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus asked him, “What does the law say?” The lawyer could have said, thou shall not do this or that. He didn’t say that though, he replied, “Thou must love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. He knew that God was talking about the issues of the heart. Then the lawyer asked him, “Okay, if I’m supposed to love my neighbor, who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, how a man was robbed and beaten and left for dead. The religious leader and the priest both passed him by and did nothing. It was the Samaritan, the one who was willing to lay down his life who did the right thing and truly loved his neighbor. 

  We can use religious talk and pray and read the scriptures but the gospel is about laying down your life. It’s easy to lay down your life for those who are laying down their lives for you. It’s easy for me to lay down my life for my wife when she is baking me chocolate chip cookies. I can’t wait to do wonderful things for her then. When she’s not meeting my expectations or is an obstacle to the things I want her to do, that’s when it’s difficult to lay your life down. 
The crux of the gospel is the cross. It’s one thing to talk about it but the reality comes in our day to day life. The reality comes when we are not getting our way or when we are spending time with someone we don’t enjoy spending time with. God says, “I want to use you to display what love really is.” 

Love is the giving up of yourself and your rights. 

You and I will never do that until we first believe the love that God has for us. 
One point I always come back to is John chapter 13 when Jesus washes the disciples feet. Knowing the very reason that God the Father sent Him he laid aside His garment and washed their feet. He didn’t have to prove anything or tell them He was Lord. Because he knew God’s love for Him and knew who He was, He was able to lay down His life for them without looking for anything in return. 
In every one of our relationships if we are not not looking for the approval of others, we can genuinely lay down our lives for others. 

They’ll be no hook in it and no hidden motives, no grumbling or complaints because we are convinced of God’s love for us. We are convinced of His sovereignty and that He is not playing games with our lives. 

  God tried to convince the children of Israel of His love but their hearts were always looking back to where they came from. Wherever you’ve come from, if your heart is still bent on going back to where you came from, you’ll be given every opportunity to do so. 

  I spoke to one man in the prison recently who said he was a prayer warrior and fasted often but God had not proven Himself to him. He said he was ready to walk away from God. I think he was waiting for me to beg him not to go. I didn’t, I told him if there is still something back there that you are looking for, go ahead. Because you’re always going to be looking back. That’s living in the Valley of Decision where you haven’t come to the end of yourself yet. 

  As for my life, I’ve burned those bridges long ago. We all are going through hardships and difficulties. That’s how God’s love is tested and tried in us. Even when the circumstances of life are difficult and you’re in loneliness and despair, where are you going to go? We’ll never have peace in this world apart from the Lord. There will always be difficulties and that’s how we are going to see Jesus in our lives as we move from glory to glory. The further I go, the harder the trials are going to get but I’ll be stronger and they won’t seem like anything to me.

  I say the new is better than the old. I don’t want to live by rules and regulations, I want to live by relationship. That is eating from the tree of life at every moment of the day. It’s calling on the Lord and asking Him, “Open up yourself to me and show me how to do this.”

for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Romans 8:13-14

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Rules or Relationship?

And they said to Him, “The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”
Luke 5:33-39 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The practice of fasting is established throughout the scriptures. In the time in which Jesus walked the Earth, the religious Pharisees fasted two or three days a week. Jesus exposed their hearts when He told them that they only fasted to be seen by men. Their religious act of fasting did nothing to bring to their hearts a revelation of who Jesus really was. There was a prophetess by the name of Anna who spent forty years fasting and praying in the temple for the reconciliation of Israel. 
When Joseph and Mary brought in the baby Jesus, she received a revelation of who He was in her heart. 

  So you can see there were two different types of fasting taking place with two different motivations and ultimately two different outcomes. Jesus told the Pharisees that they had missed the day in which He had visited them and their religious activities had done nothing to soften their heart towards Him. He exposed to them that they love their traditions and acts of worship more than they love God himself. 

  Think about it, we can have a church program or ministry that we love more than Him. The Lord reminded me recently as I went on a fast of the scripture, Isaiah 58, the fast that God chooses. He spoke to my heart that it’s easier for me to fast for a short season than to live a “fasted” life. It’s easier for me to bring my body into subjection for a few days than to live differently on a daily basis. Bringing our flesh under subjection to the Spirit man day by day is much more challenging. 

The judgement against the people of God in the book of Jeremiah was that they would not obey God’s voice. 

    Thinking back to Luke chapter 5 where Jesus talked about the wine and the wine skins is eye opening. God is not looking to reform us, He wants to make us new creations. If your trying to reform your life by religion eventually the “new wine,” in the “old bottle,” will burst. The two are just not going to fit together. Your life is not going to fit until you let the sword of the Spirit, God’s word, put the old man to death. You have to make a choice to let Him do a new work in you. 
We would rather live by precepts, rules and regulations than relationship with God. 

  In the book of Genesis there were two trees in the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil worked off of rules and principles, such as, do this, don’t do that. The tree of life operates in the moment, hearing the Spirit of God as you make decisions. 

   Living in relationship instead of rules brings peace and rest. Listen for God’s voice and don’t confine Him to a rule. Stop and really listen to what He is saying to you. Begin to depend upon relationship, living by the Spirit. Cultivate in your heart, your relationship with the Lord. 

    The Children of Israel knew God’s acts but Moses knew His ways because there was a relationship there. We are learning to hear His voice and be sensitive to it. God’s heartbeat from Genesis to Revelation has been for the purpose of having relationship with you. The very thing that would separate you from Him, sin, he took upon Himself. He made a way for you through you through the cross, to be able to boldly come to His throne of grace. 

      Stop and reflect upon this amazing truth and choose today within yourself, a heart of thanksgiving.

I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me.
           Song of Solomon 7:10

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Thursday, April 5, 2018


Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:4

  There are, “beholds,” all through scripture as we study God’s word, but when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he made an unforgettable statement. “Behold,” give attention to this...”This is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world!” 
When God was speaking to the Apostle John, 

  He said, “Behold, (give attention to this), Lo, I come quickly.” 

   Are we choosing in the midst of what we see to say, “Behold, the Lamb of God!"?  Have we chosen not to give in to discouragement and despair? 

We don’t live by sight, we live by faith. Whenever we move into a place of discouragement or despair we have taken our eyes off of Jesus. We have let the situation and circumstances steal our courage to believe. 

 Do you know what it means to be discouraged? It means your courage has been taken from you.

 I know that God is good and because of that I know He has a purpose in what we are walking through. If we will look to Him as the eyes of a servant look to their masters, He will be faithful to show us the way. 

Jesus not only wants to instruct us, He wants to make Himself known to us. Remember, one of His names is Emmanuel, “God with us,” in our circumstances.

Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

Isaiah 40:26-28 King James Version (KJV)

The greatest builder of faith is not answered prayers, it’s the process of waiting.

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By Andy Brink,
Photo by Luca Dugaro on Unsplash  via the  Over app.