The Wrong Bottle

brand_cleanersWith fourteen inches of snow outside, I decided this was the week to paint the inside of our home. After six days of painting, I AM DONE! So, I thought I’d quickly wash the inside of the large front window in our living room. Sure, the outside would have to wait, but it would look better. I only had ten minutes before my first piano lesson of the day arrived, but that would be enough time. And it would have been if I had grabbed the right bottle.

I sprayed and wiped, and sprayed and wiped, but the window kept smearing. It wasn’t until I wasted half of my time that I realized that I was using the Clorox Spray and not Windex! Clorox Spray is a wonderful cleaner, my favorite cleaner, but it doesn’t work on windows!

I suppose the first lesson I need to learn would be a challenge for my entire life—SLOW DOWN! One of my husband’s favorite statements is that God gives everyone the same twenty-four hours, and He always gives us enough time to do HIS plan! Admittedly, I am a “stop-and-smell-the-roses” type of person. I rush through my work so I can smell the roses; but lately, I find that too much rush means too much missed life. Life is work, so don’t be afraid to stop and enjoy it!

Lesson number two: Use the right cleaner. More and more often, I find myself wondering if people I know have been truly cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Our experiences mold and shape us, and, for me that meant years of believing in God, going faithfully to church, even loving God and understanding that He sent His Son to die on the cross to take away sin. But it wasn’t until someone gave me a Gospel tract that I realized I needed to ASK Him to be my Savior. It may sound like a moot point, but it that one of Satan’s lies? John 1:12,13 is in the Bible for a reason:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood (I’m a Christian because my parents are Christians), nor of the will of the flesh (I think I’ll get saved today), nor of the will of man (I want you to be saved today), but of God. (Only His Holy Spirit calls us to salvation)

What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

What can make me whole again?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Oh, precious it the flow

That makes me white as snow.

No other fount I know—

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

I use an old song visual that unfolds into a cross for this song. It’s been taped together a hundred times, but its message needs to be told! What wonderful Good News.

Are you washed by the Blood of the Lamb?

The Saddest Verse in the Bible or Who Goes to Hell?

ID-100170122 Matthew 7:23:

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 This is not only the saddest verse in the Bible, but it is also the most frightening verse as well. As a point of reference, this chapter is part of what we call “The Sermon on the Mount.” Many had gathered there beside the sea to hear the Master, and Jesus talks about a lot of things: The Beatitudes, This Little Light of Mine, how to do relationships, how to worship, how to pray.  Chapter seven begins with “judge not” and includes the lesson on the mote and beam, and ends with the Wise Man Builds His House Upon a Rock, but sandwiched in between these two familiar passages  are these two verses:

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (22)

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.(23)

  • Who is saying this? Jesus
  • Where? By the Sea of Galilee
  • To Whom? His disciples and many of his followers AND TO US!
  • How did they react:

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.(28,29)

I have to admit, when I first read this passage, I was shocked for two reasons: One, because the message was so strong, and two, I had never heard it before in my church, even though I was a regular attender and really paid attention. Think about it: have you ever heard your pastor preach on this verse?  Has he ever read it as part of the weekly New Testament reading? If the answer is “yes,” then you are blessed to be in a church that preaches the whole council of God; however, if the answer is “no,” you may ask yourself or your pastor why.

And here’s the real question: Who goes to hell? According to this verse, a person can be a pastor (prophesied refers to preaching the Word), an exorcist, or a person who does really amazing things in Jesus’ name! Jesus is not talking about a C&E Christian—someone who only comes to church on Christmas and Easter. He’s talking about a person who is really plugged in to “religion.”

Does that frighten you? Does it make you wonder about your own spiritual state?  It should, and that’s probably why Jesus said it.  He was talking to many really religious people.  They would make the average twenty-first-century church attender look like a heathen.  They knew how to “do God,” but something was missing.  When Jesus says, “I never knew you,” He’s not saying that He doesn’t know this person. He knows everyone and is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”2(Peter 3:9) He’s saying that this person is not His intimate friend. It’s someone who is busy about God but misses the whole relationship idea.

This is a real “heart-check” passage.  Don’t look to the other guy who seems to fit the bill, in your estimation: he’s all show and no heart.  He may indeed fall into this eternally fatal category.  But what about you? You say you’re a Christian, but is there any fruit to prove it?  You say things like, “I’m good, me and God, we have an understanding.” Yikes! Are you sure? I hope the understanding falls under God’s requirements, and indeed, He has requirements!

I suppose the real question can only be answered by you and God. Are you real? Is your love for Christ unfeigned, or is He just tacked on at the end of the day, like the idol worshipper who just wants to add Jesus to his god shelf.  Jesus won’t do that. You must tear down the god shelf (which, in our day can take the form of success, wealth, pride, sports, career, houses and lands… all those things that place such harsh demands all our time and attention!).  Only Jesus.  Jesus first. Jesus is All the World to Me…

Do you know Him?  Does He know you? If you have trusted Him as your Savior, your life will show it.  Others will know, you will know, and Jesus will know!  What a wonderful, peaceful place to be!

BUT, if this post causes you to question, perhaps it is God’s Holy Spirit knocking on your door. Get the answers you need. Salvation is available to all who will speak the truth in their heart. (You may need to check out What is Salvation?)

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The Great Divide

ID-100314857Jesus crucified is the true touchstone revealing what the world is: “The people stood beholding” in stolid indifference; the rulers, who wanted religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins, “reviled”: the brutal amongst them mocked or railed; the conscious sinner prayed; the covetous sat down before the cross and played their sordid games.  The cross is the judgment of this world. (Rev. C. I. Scofield)

I’ve been reading the daily accounts of Jesus’ footsteps this week, following along as He rides triumphantly into the city, cleanses the temple, preaches, prays…  As I think of the disciples, I try to put myself in their place.  They saw so much: Jesus healing; Jesus stopping the Pharisees with his words of wisdom; Jesus, as he raised the dead!  And now this!  All their hopes and dreams are lying trampled in the dirt.  They thought He would usher them right into His kingdom; but instead, He was arrested, brutally beaten and whipped, mocked, and most humiliating of all: crucified like a common thief! 

Yesterday, I stopped to see my mom.  I knocked on the garage door.  No answer.  I looked in the window of the garage and saw her car, so I knew she was home.  I walked to the front door.  No answer.  Now I believe my mom will live to be a hundred (don’t we all!), but that moment, a horrible dread went through me.  Where was Mom!  What would I find when I got inside?  I stopped and thought how everything could change in that moment. Then I walked to the side porch thinking she might be working out back.  That’s when I heard the piano.  What a welcome beautiful sound!

For about thirty-six hours, the disciples experienced that dread of the unknown.  It was over.  What would happen next?  Would they all be arrested for treason against the temple?  What would become of them?  Then, early in the morning of the first day of the week, they heard the news.  Could it be true?  Many still doubted, but then He was there in their midst with those reassuring words:  “Peace be unto you.”  What a welcome beautiful sound!

Some may be indifferent to the greatest story ever told; others will count the revenue they can make on this holiday weekend like those who “sat down before the cross and played their sordid games”; some will gather in their places of worship like the rulers, having “religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins”; some mock us, dear Christian and rail on our beliefs – we take the Bible too literally, they say; but the conscious sinner will pray at the cross and walk away rejoicing that his sins are gone because He is Risen!  Praise the Lord!!!  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!!!

…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John 20: 29a-31

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Diet or Life Style?

You know the scenario: you step gingerly on the scales, hoping for a good reading, only to have your hopes dashed to pieces.  Not only did you not lose any weight, you’ve gained!  So, you decide you are really going to get serious THIS time, and you go on a diet.

My life has been a trail of diets:  those times when I count the calories, cut the portion sizes, etc.  I’ve never been one for fad diets – I learned early on that they are just temporary fixes.

Usually a diet is brought on by the above situation or perhaps an upcoming event: a wedding, a reunion, Christmas.  Then we diet, somewhat meet the goal, and then go back to living the way we always did; and before we know it – the pounds are back again.  The same old cycle is replayed over and over again, just with different circumstances and different clothing sizes!

I think I finally get what they are talking about when they say, “Life style, not diet.”  It frightened me a bit.  What!  No more cookies or pizza?  No way! I LOVE to cook.  I didn’t want to change; however, as my body changes, I realize that it’s time for a life style change.  For me, that meant jump starting it with a diet.  If I don’t keep the calories under 1200, I will not lose weight.  (Don’t worry, Mom, I’m keeping it balanced nutritionally!)  So for several weeks I just kept counting and weighing and counting and weighing with little success!  Talk about disappointment! But this time I was determined to stick with it.  Praise the Lord for my husband and kids who kept encouraging me, and I didn’t even have to pay them!  And now it’s happening: I’m not as hungry, in fact the hunger pains are encouraging, AND the pounds are coming off!  Wow!  I’m ready for the plateau that I know will come when the pounds will not come off, but with the help of my family and friends, and most importantly by precious God and Savior and Friend I WILL keep at it!

Do you see the parallel?  Do you have similar roller coaster rides in your walk with God?  Do you have seasons of “dieting” when you purpose to spend more time reading your Bible, praying, getting involved at church?  For a time, you see results, but soon you’re back at the world again and life seems to be falling apart.  You don’t even want to get near the “scales” which happens to be the godly people in your life – you know you’re life isn’t “weighing in” well!

Is it time for a life style change?  The only way we will ever be serious about our walk with God is to have a passion for Him, His Word and His people.  That has to come from within.  I’m determined to lose the weight.  Why?  I’m not really sure, something kicked in to gear and I’m ready for the change.  That is all physical talk; however a godly life style change is a spiritual matter, and praise God we have His Spirit within us, as born-again Christians, to encourage us like no family or friend can!

Are there benefits to my new eating life style?  Absolutely!  You know them:  the clothes fit better, I feel better, I look better.

And the benefits of a new spiritual life style?  They are too numerous to name!  Peace with God, harmony in the home, vision and focus for God’s will in my life; better understanding of Who God is and what His Word says; Joy unspeakable; a better witness which will lead to a passion for souls which will lead to opportunities to share your faith which will lead to the thrill of all thrills: planting, watering and leading a soul to Jesus; Oh, and the best blessing of all:  when I stand before my Savior, He will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  It doesn’t get any better than that!

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Phil 4:13

“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:” 1Pe 1:8

This is a Toad

If I said, “This is a toad,” you would question my judgment, perhaps even my sanity! You may even argue, “That’s not a toad, it’s a cat.”  If I asked you how you knew it was a cat, you might stare at me in wonder; but to humor me, you might say, “It’s furry – toads do not have fur.  It’s cute – toads are not cute. (Opinion statement!)   “Look at it licking its fur.  Toads catch flies with their tongues.”

So you judge a creature by its looks and actions.

Are we wrong to do the same with Christians?  What does a Christian look like?  If we had a lineup like the police do and only one person was a professing Christian, how would you pick him out of the lineup?

  1. I would like to think that his countenance would speak loudly: a smile, a look in the eye that seems to say, “The Spirit of God dwells within.”
  2. His outward appearance.  Ours is the only century in which this is a difficulty.  Think back to Bible times.  Picture a Christian and picture a Roman.  Picture a Hebrew and picture an Egyptian. There were not just cultural differences, there were serious modesty differences as well.  Think to the 17th or 18th century.  Would you see a Christian dressed in a revealing, immodest garment? If so, she would have been called a harlot.
  3. Could we tell by his speech?  Would there be a difference?

Is it a toad or a cat?  Is a Christian just an inner change, or does having the Spirit of the True and Living God dwelling within make a difference on the outside as well?  Just something to think about; but remember, the world is dying to see something real in a Christian’s life!  “ If you want to make a difference, you gotta be different.”

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”  1Sa 16:7

The Great Divide

ID-100314857Jesus crucified is the true touchstone revealing what the world is: “The people stood beholding” in stolid indifference; the rulers, who wanted religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins, “reviled”: the brutal amongst them mocked or railed; the conscious sinner prayed; the covetous sat down before the cross and played their sordid games.  The cross is the judgment of this world. (Rev. C. I. Scofield)

I’ve been reading the daily accounts of Jesus’ footsteps this week, following along as He rides triumphantly into the city, cleanses the temple, preaches, prays…  As I think of the disciples, I try to put myself in their place.  They saw so much: Jesus healing; Jesus stopping the Pharisees with his words of wisdom; Jesus, as he raised the dead!  And now this!  All their hopes and dreams are lying trampled in the dirt.  They thought He would usher them right into His kingdom; but instead, He was arrested, brutally beaten and whipped, mocked, and most humiliating of all: crucified like a common thief! 

Yesterday, I stopped to see my mom.  I knocked on the garage door.  No answer.  I looked in the window of the garage and saw her car, so I knew she was home.  I walked to the front door.  No answer.  Now I believe my mom will live to be a hundred (don’t we all!), but that moment, a horrible dread went through me.  Where was Mom!  What would I find when I got inside?  I stopped and thought how everything could change in that moment. Then I walked to the side porch thinking she might be working out back.  That’s when I heard the piano.  What a welcome beautiful sound!

For about thirty-six hours, the disciples experienced that dread of the unknown.  It was over.  What would happen next?  Would they all be arrested for treason against the temple?  What would become of them?  Then, early in the morning of the first day of the week, they heard the news.  Could it be true?  Many still doubted, but then He was there in their midst with those reassuring words:  “Peace be unto you.”  What a welcome beautiful sound!

Some may be indifferent to the greatest story ever told; others will count the revenue they can make on this holiday weekend like those who “sat down before the cross and played their sordid games”; some will gather in their places of worship like the rulers, having “religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins”; some mock us, dear Christian and rail on our beliefs – we take the Bible too literally, they say; but the conscious sinner will pray at the cross and walk away rejoicing that his sins are gone because He is Risen!  Praise the Lord!!!  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!!!

…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John 20: 29a-31

Master of the Wind

Master of the wind,

Ruler of the stars,

God of the universe

Who dwells within my heart!

How can it be, dear One,

Who spoke the worlds in place,

That You, Almighty Elohim,

Full of love and grace,

Would dwell among a people

So bent to live in sin;

Yea, more than dwell: You conquered death

And come to live within!

How could we think that with our hands,

Our lives could be made clean?

Can deeds of goodness, small or great,

Our sinful souls redeem?

What could I do to ever pay

The debt of sin I owe?

Sin’s stain runs deep and deeper still –

“Condemnation” stamped my soul.

But Jesus!  Oh, Sweet Jesus!

Before the mark of time,

You promised to redeem me

And make my story Thine.

You died; You rose; You offered –

I saw; I wept; I took;

And now, O Blessed Savior –

My name is in Your Book!