“What is Happening?” ~ A Sheep’s View

The Shepherd is passing this way ~ again.

Blind Bartimaeus was on the roadside begging. He heard the multitude following Jesus and asked what was happening (Luke 18:35-43). Jesus responded to Bartimaeus’ call for mercy and opened his eyes so that he could follow Him.

The multitudes today are blind to what is happening around us. We are sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus has passed this way before. In the times of His choosing, He sends His Holy Spirit to call those to whom He wants to show His mercy. We sometimes hear but don’t understand the times and our needs.

John’s and Jesus’ first message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. 3:2: 4:17

Jesus was here to reveal the Father’s kingdom; to bring light into the world and into the hearts of men to expose their darkness and their sin. He brings judgment and chastisement in order to turn us to repentance and faith in Him.

His sheep follow Him when He opens our eyes to see and know Him as the true Shepherd.

Never again can we forget the voice of Him who calls us to be His own. He laid down His life for His sheep so that we may never die but live through Him and be with Him forever.

“Repent, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:5

“I came to call sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17

“Unless you repent, you will perish.” Luke 13:3, 5

Simon Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized.” Acts 2:38

“Repent and be converted.” Acts 3:19

“Repent of your wickedness.” Acts 8:22

Jesus is passing this way ~ again.

Jesus is calling us by His mercy to hear His voice and follow.

We can call out as Bartimaeus and David.

“After thy loving kindness, Lord
have mercy upon me:
For thy compassions are great,
blot out all mine iniquity” (Ps. 51:1).

Gracious Father, I pray that you bring multitudes to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Let us hear His voice calling us to repent and follow Him. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Jesus Is Passing This Way

Is there a heart that is waiting,
Longing for pardon today?
Hear the glad message proclaiming,
Jesus is passing this way.

Jesus is passing this way,
This way, today;
Jesus is passing this way,
Is passing this way today.

Is there a heart that has wandered?
Come with thy burden today;
Mercy is tenderly pleading,
Jesus is passing this way. 
Refrain

Is there a heart that is broken?
Weary and sighing for rest?
Come to the arms of the Savior,
Pillow thy head on His breast. 
Refrain

Come to thy only Redeemer,
Come to His infinite love;
Come to the gate that is leading
Homeward to mansions above. 
Refrain
Fanny Crosby  1895

Music:  Jesus Is Passing This Way.
PDF

Related Article: “What’s Happenin?”

Overflow of God’s Word

For the past month, my mind and heart have been deluged with thoughts of encouragement for God’s people. The river of living water Jesus promised from the Holy Spirit has been flowing, bringing to the surface words of truth He has planted and watered over the years. My small basin is not enough to capture what He is pouring out. I share a few of the titles here, praying He will settle me and write through me what He desires. If you have an interest in either of these, please leave a comment.

What is Happening?  ~ A Sheep’s View

What Shall We Do? ~ A Sheep’s View

Repentance and Dependence

Our Greatest Need

Words of Life ~ JUDGMENT

Survival of the Fittest

The History of Hope

Quarantined in Christ

Clean Hands

Love and blessings to all in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Fran

Words of Life ~ COMFORT

As an extension to our former post, Conspiracy, Controversy, and Consolation, we need to look further into the COMFORT  (consolation) that comes from our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit.

The different meanings for COMFORT can be found here.

More than ever, in this generation, we are in need of consolation. As God’s children, we find all we need in the Word of God.

“This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” Psalm 119:50

 “Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.” Psalm 119:76

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Roms. 15:4

Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God.
Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40:1-2
“For I will turn their mourning to joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.”Jeremiah  31:13
“Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted.” Isaiah 49:13

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19
Comfort from our Father, and our Lord Jesus, by His Holy Spirit
Our Heavenly Father is the perfect Father, who knows when to chasten and when to comfort. He comforts after chastening brings us to Him in repentance.
Isaiah 61:2 is quoted in Luke 4:10, referring to Christ, the Messiah “To comfort all who mourn,”
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit – the Comforter (paraclete) – as our advocate.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” John 16:7

“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.”Acts 9:31

“And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” 2 Cor. 1:7

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are comforted, and together, without controversy, in our consolation and salvation, of one mind, endure the same sufferings. We live in peace, edify, exhort and comfort one another.

 “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,” Roms. 15:5

“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. 2 Cor. 1:3-4

“But he that prophesies speaks unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” 1 Cor. 14:3

 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.” 2 Cor. 1:6

“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.” 2 Cor.7:4

 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2 Cor. 13:11

 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thess. 5:11

Peter’s prayer for the Jewish Christians, was by “the God of all grace,” to be established in their suffering, “exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand” (1 Peter 5:10-12).

Dear Father in heaven, continue to send your Holy Spirit for conviction. In your chastening turn us to see you as our Father who chastens because you love us. Bring us in mourning for our sins to receive your forgiveness and comfort. Use these times of trial for our good and your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Conspiracy, Controversy, and Consolation

After a holy day when it seemed the whole world joined in the celebration, let us look at the reason for our Lord’s death and resurrection and why we should be observing every Lord’s Day as a holy day.

Is there a conspiracy in the world? Yes!

The controversy concerns the identity of the conspirators and when and where the conspiracy began. Consolation is for those who live in peace, while enduring the conspiracy and the controversy.

Our sovereign God, Creator of heaven and earth,  has been, and always will be in control if the conspiracy, the controversy, and the consolation.

Our Lord God, ruler over His creation, keeps heaven holy, preserving His kingdom for His people – those who live in obedience to the rule of His kingdom.

The enemy uses every means and opportunity to war against God’s kingdom here on earth. This is the spiritual warfare the Christian encounters as we live for Christ and the truth.

The great conspiracy has always been “against the LORD and His Anointed” (Psalm 2). But the final attempt failed as Jesus rose from the dead, victoriously ruling in power over heaven and earth. This victory is now ours over every conspiracy the enemy may use against the Lord, His kingdom and His people.

Even as the conspiracy began with our first parents in the Garden of Eden, so did the controversy. Men want to blame other men as conspirators, not realizing that God’s enemy is not man, but as Paul identifies them.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:11-13

Even as the enemy conspires through men to overcome God’s rule on earth, he continues to stir up contention among God’s people for unrest and anxiety, fear, and chaos. People use the sword of God’s Word against each other only to prove their inability to discern the truth.

God is Achieving His Purposes
As God rules over all (Psalm 103:19) He uses the works of the enemy to achieve His purposes.

Joseph’s brothers conspired against him, only that God would use their evil for good. (Gen. 37:18; Gen. 50:20)

The enemy was given permission to make Job’s life a hell on earth, but God used the enemy’s work to refine Job and make him an example for His people (Job 2:6; Job 42).

The religious leaders conspired to destroy Jesus and the truth He came to reveal. but it was the Father’s means to deliver His people (Acts 4:24-28). The conspirators were turned on their heels and the victory of our Lord was executed over death and the enemy (2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14-17).

Paul was part of the conspiracy until Jesus confronted Him on the road to Damascus and turned Him to repentance (Acts 9:1-6). Afterward, Paul witnessed God’s working through his afflictions to conform him to the image of Christ (Phil. 3:7-10).Consolation
The enemy was defeated on the day Jesus rose from the dead, He lives forever and we live through Him. (2 Cor. 13:4; 1 John 4:9).

We live in the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. No longer tossed to and fro by the enemy’s lies and upheaval, we can console others with the good news of the victory in Christ.

Even as Isaiah prophesied against God’s people because of their rebellion, he was instructed to comfort His people (Isaiah 40:1). God judged, chastened, and sent His people into captivity. He restored them after seventy years ~ the number of years they had profaned His Sabbaths. God promised comfort through their affliction.

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you should be afraid
Of a man who will die,
And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?” Isaiah 51:12

“And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” 2 Cor. 1:7

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercies… be of one mind,” Phil. 2:1

We will continue tomorrow with more of God’s Word on comfort.

Gracious Father, we pray that you continue to work in the hearts of your people. Even while we are apart, strengthen our hearts to comfort and exhort one another, to be of one mind, and edify the body of Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

The Buried Treasure

Uniquely, this season of many deaths coupled with the celebration of new life in Christ has unearthed the message we most need to hear. Instead of gathering to offer our praises, we are being kept to ourselves to discover our personal needs.

In the three sermons I heard yesterday, repentance was the subject of each of these, a basic message that has been hidden for decades.

From Acts 2:36-38 to Luke 13:1-5 to Acts 11:18 the clear message was brought to the attention of the hearer.

When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life. Acts 11:18

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;  but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,” Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?Romans 2:4-8

I add to this post the third message I heard from Luke 13:1-5 — a message we need to hear and to answer.

God Has Given Us His Kingdom

Our pastor has been preaching through the Gospel of Luke for several weeks.
His text in some way is relative each week to what we are experiencing in the world today.

We were blessed last week with this sermon from Luke 12:32-40.
https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=329201743101855

God Has Given Us His Kingdom    Luke 12:32-40   (Outline)

I. God’s Gracious Gift (v.32)
A. Do Not Be Afraid!
B. His Glorious Kingdom of Grace and Power
C. The Father Well Pleased with Us
II. Sell All for This Treasure (vv. 33-34; Matt. 13:46)
A. Hold Loosely to This World
B. No Weakness, Thieves, or Decay in Heaven
C. Your Heart Is Where Your Heaven Is
III. Be Ready for the Lord (vv. 35-36)
A. Jesus Now at Heaven’s Wedding Celebration
B. He Will Return; Be Ready for Him
IV. The King Is Coming! (vv. 37-40)
A. Let Him Find You Watching
B. He Will Reward His Faithful Servants
C. Like a Thief in the Night: Watch!

“What is Truth?” in Times Like These

Many are living in fear and confusion because they do not understand what is happening. Governments are accused of deceiving the people with false reports and keeping the public in suspense. Who really knows the truth about the virus that has spread throughout the world ~ even to the smallest towns and near all of us? Who knows what would happen if we did not observe the restrictions imposed upon us?

“What is truth? is a question for all times, especially while  we remember these words spoken by Pilate as he conducted the trial of Jesus.

Pilate’s question was a casual response to Jesus’ words,

 “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

John 18:37

Jesus had previously spoken of the truth to the people and privately to His disciples.

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
” John 8:31-32

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6

Our human nature causes us to doubt what we hear. We are inundated by data that only serves to confuse and distract us from our only true source of life.

The world continues to turn its back on the King and Lord of truth and so we live in a world of fantasy and fiction with no sure foundation for living.

Truth and Authority
When our trust is in Jesus Christ ~ the only bearer of truth ~ we do not have to rely on human sources. Our minds and hearts need to be turned to Him. He teaches us to trust Him even as we live in uncertain times under the human authorities placed over us. The truth in Jesus Christ brings us to trust in Him.

While He warns the sinner with the truth, it is good news of truth for those who come to Him in repentance and faith.  Whatever we hear falls under the authority of our Lord, Jesus Christ. All ~ including sickness and death ~ is under His jurisdiction as He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Let us bring every thought captive to Him and live in love, joy, and peace as He rules in all times and circumstances, and through all our tribulations (2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Galatians 5:22).

He never  changes. He, in truth, rules  forever, leading us onward and upward in His grace to His glory.

 “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for sending your Son to reveal your truth to your people. Keep us by your Spirit in your Word to seek the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name, I pray, thank you, and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Related Article: Onward and Upward

Image: Google

Strategy for Times Like These

Few of this generation understand how to face and deal with the issues of this life. Not claiming to be one of the few but needing to know and use what our Creator has promised during these times, I write as I seek His kingdom and His righteousness. Only as we look to and receive His instructions can we discern the times and overcome our opposition.

Life is a constant battle (and has been since our first parents joined the forces of the enemy against God). The antithesis reveals the presence and power of God ~ good against evil. His grace and His glory are continually revealed in every generation whether through individual tensions or worldwide onslaughts.

The origin is the same. We each are dealing with our own thoughts ~ who we are, why we are, and how we are to live. It all boils down to self. Each heart beats to its own battle cry.  Each is bound and instructed by its own thoughts of what we see life to be. We walk according to the flesh. We respond to everything according to our own desires. And we buy, hold to and defend all we think will keep us alive.

This is the reality when the battle becomes prevalent and worldwide. We cannot escape the news of death and degradation when it mushrooms around us, but we can know and respond differently than the multitudes.

“Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

If we are aware of the battle in our lives during peaceful times and have learned to overcome the fleshly war, we are more apt to respond in faith and wisdom in times of crisis.

2 Corinthians has been a constant reminder of the greatest warfare we face. It teaches us that we are captives to the stronghold of our minds ~ thoughts that control us and keep us bound to ourselves and at enmity against God.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Paul spoke these words to the Corinthian Christians, knowing their need to deal with their former lives and their selfish desires. For every Christian, the power of the Holy Spirit works, teaching us through God’s Word, the strategy we are to use when facing the enemy.

We have this divine power available today as real as it was with Paul.

We must recognize the enemy within ~ thoughts that rule. Self has to be brought captive to Christ, in repentance and faith. We must ask and receive His Holy Spirit to bring us captive and teach us through His Holy Word.

We must spend time in His Word and prayer for the necessary instructions. When we overcome the enemy within (pride, fear, and unbelief), we will be confident in facing whatever the odds may be against us.

As we wait in times like these for what may come next, we must prepare.

Just as a soldier learns to use his weapon, we must have our weapon ready. Study and memorization of His Word is necessary for overcoming the enemy.


“Fear not, for I am with you;

    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,”
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

We have the promises and assurance of our Father’s presence and power with us at all times. They are for our consolation and comfort though we may have to endure sickness and death. Christ has been through suffering and death, leading us through the most treacherous of times we could ever face, excluding the eternal wrath of God.

When He wins the battle in us for our souls and minds, we become living sacrifices with all His people, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness to rule in the world.

 “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17

What promises of God’s Word do you use as a weapon of your warfare?

Gracious Father, forgive us as your people, living at enmity with you. Rend the heavens and come down to make yourself known to the adversaries ~ beginning with us, your children. Turn us from our selfish desires to receive all that you have prepared for us. Be merciful to us and all your enemies. For your glory, and our joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Fran

Image: Google