Buyer’s Remorse

I have been hearing for the past couple of years about HUGE sources of crude oil and natural gas within the borders of our United States of America and the North American continent. In fact, the more I hear it reported, the more I hear that we have enough under our own soil to kiss OPEC goodbye! That is not only amazing, it is quite a relief!

I grew up visiting the oil rich areas of Oklahoma, and even recently saw some of the old pumps and storage units dotting the landscape of Oklahoma as I traveled recently to my grandmother’s funeral. It reminded me of the days before our seemingly total dependence on Middle Eastern Oil.

Has anyone else been puzzled by this situation? Why are we being held hostage financially buying oil from someone else when we have all we need available in our own possession? HUH? This sounds similar to insanity, but what do I know….I just have one question! WHY ARE WE BUYING FROM OUR ENEMY WHAT WE CAN GET FREE FROM OUR OWN HOMELAND?!!???

This post is really not politically motivated nor am I even talking about cultural feelings concerning oil, I truly do have a point.

Rom 14:17  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

1Sa 12:21  And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 

I have found that all people basically seek the same things. They want to be happy, secure, and free from worry. They desire for life to be “right”. Although life is not fair, they desire for things to work out and there to be no major tragedy or surprises. Built within each of us by our Creator is the desire for these things. Those who live the lifestyle of sin are simply looking for these things. The alcoholic, drug addict, prostitute, thief, murderer, those living illicit lifestyles, and so much more (the list really is endless!) are simply seeking for life to be “right”, seeking peace, and some joy in this life. What’s wrong with that? Nothing. Nothing at all. We are made to seek these things. However, WHERE you seek them will determine if you truly find them.

God has designed the gift of the Holy Ghost, the baptism of His Holy Spirit, to bring all of these basic human needs to your life! However, as crazy as it seems, a lot of folks continue to try to buy rightness, peace, and joy from the enemy. You see, God has promised you all of these things by simply receiving the free gift of the Holy Ghost! It is available to you in your own “back yard”…yet so many continue to pay a high price for TEMPORARY moments of joy, peace, and “right”ness. For just a few hours, under the influence of a lie from the enemy, you have peace. You feel joy. Things seem right. However, as soon as the supply is exhausted you find yourself going back to the enemy of your soul to pay the high price of what he provides…all the while you have free access to the real!

The enemy of the soul holds you hostage, exacting high charges and prices from you for what you can have for free. It is the gift of God. I know folks who would seemingly rather continue to pay the ultimate prices of sin just to have temporary peace and joy. They would seemingly do anything BUT receive the gift of the Holy Ghost as the book of Acts says they should and can have!

Sin brings buyers remorse. The effects are never permanent, and only satisfy for a short time. However, know this, the effects of the PRICE of sin IS PERMANENT…eternally so. For the wages of sin is death….but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Why not consider stopping the insanity? Quit buying what you need from Hell and the enemy of the soul, and realize you have all you need right there in your back yard! Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? If not…why not seek to be filled today!? It is the greatest experience you will ever have!

May you find true Rightness, Peace, and Joy….ONLY in the Holy Ghost!

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The Impression I left behind

While walking this past week in a remote park area outside of Steelville, MO I came across this dog “footprint” in the concrete sidewalk. This particular sidewalk is I know at least 7 years old, but I think it is closer to 10, but either way I began to think about the dog that left this track.

Dogs don’t live as long as humans, and this track was left by a mature dog. Given that this track was left so many years ago, it is VERY possible that the dog who made this track so many years ago in the fresh concrete is no longer alive. One thing is for certain, this track WILL outlast the life of the animal who left it. The perfect imprint of the true, the imprint not only proves it walked this way, it also outlives the life that left it.

Heb 11:4 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 speaketh.

We are daily leaving tracks, imprints, impressions, and images of ourselves that WILL outlive us. Like the track of this dog, forever sealed by concrete, our actions, words, and lives will forever be sealed for future generations. I am humbled, and often afraid of the truth that I am leaving prints from my walk through this vale that will outlive my mortality. I often feel so inadequate…as a pastor, as a parent, and as a son. However, no one else is called to leave the prints I am called to leave. I want to be CONSCIOUS of where I am walking and what those tracks will look like in the days after I have gone on with my life.

As a pastor, I deal with individuals who have tracks on something more enduring than concrete. Tracks on the heart…and in the mind. Abusive parents whose now adult children have a hard time with authority and submission, damaged spouses who have experienced the pain of betrayal or abandonment, and people who have been forever impacted by the GOOD tracks left by those who loved them! Good and bad, these tracks endure long and are well-defined! I am SO thankful that God has allowed me very early in the lives of my family to realize that every step I take will forever impact them. Good and bad. Tracks last.

One day sooner than I like, my life will be over. It can be very soon, or a few decades away, either way…it will soon be passed. However, I continue to leave permanent impressions on the hearts and lives of those I have influence with. My children. My spouse. My parents. My friends. My co-workers. The list is longer than most of us realize, but big or small, the soft, tender surface of humanity are receiving imprints from my steps. Imprints that will outlive me.

What decisions you make today, even if it seems like you are just wandering, will surely be securely sealed as a testament of your passing this way. What impression are you leaving today? Don’t live your life without THINKING. Consider your way!

Pro 4:26  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

Before you decide to forever negatively impact the life of your children…consider it. Before you decide to walk in such a way that will lead your family away from God…consider it. Before you decide to abuse that which God entrusted you to protect…consider it.

Watch how and where you walk in the hearts and minds of humanity…you are leaving tracks that will never be erased. Make sure that after you are gone, long beyond your funeral, that the tracks others find and see clearly represent who you REALLY are, not the person you have become due to not seeing the future. Yesterday, you stepped on someone’s heart, maybe for good and maybe for bad, but without doubt you left an indelible impression upon the enduring consciousness of the mind. What will others see because of your carefulness…or your carelessness…with your words and actions.

Surely, the prints of my passing will be memorialized forever in the hearts and minds of those I have touched. May God bless you as you consider the path of your feet….

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Just a Stick

To most, it looks like just a stick. However, in the hands of a boy, there is no limit to what it may be. I am not so far removed from my days as a boy to have forgotten this simple fact. Back in the days of my youth, I have seen my share of sticks. Those sticks have immediately transformed in my hands to any number of things that I needed to fulfill my dream for that moment!

It looked like a stick, but it was a light saber that was used to defeat Darth Vader in the days of Star Wars. Before I was mature enough to be trusted with a firearm, the stick was my musket in the Revolutionary War, my long rifle in the Civil War, my Tommy Gun as Clyde in the duo of Bonnie and Clyde, my machine gun in WWII, my M-16 in Vietnam, my shotgun quail hunting, my deer rifle, a deep-sea fishing rod, a sword, my cane, Babe Ruth’s bat, the stick to save me from the quicksand, and so many other things!

But it was just a stick. At least, that’s what everyone else said, but to me, it was a way of life. There were times that I forsook the ball and glove, and all other items of reality for an escape into the realm of make-believe. It was MY world. Everyone and everything else was subject to be enemies, props, and friends…but they remained in the realm of reality while I made them whatever I needed them to be! This may sound crazy to you, but that’s just because you have obviously never escaped to the great world of Pretend! In days of sorrow, days of hardship, or just normal days, my use of “the stick” was an opportunity to become whatever I wanted to be! Life was simple then, easier in a way, but I would like to draw from this simple example a sound Biblical truth.

Exo 4:2 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.(just a stick!)
Exo 4:3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.
Exo 4:4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

Now, this is the Word of God, and I wish to make SURE you understand, this was NOT AT ALL like the imaginary activities I described from my childhood! This REALLY happened! However, that is not the point I wish to make, but I desire to draw from this passage and lead you into a new dimension of faith for yourself! God asked Moses to do something so great and so wonderful that he honestly had a hard time believing it! Add to the mix that God is speaking to him out of a burning bush that is not burned up, and he is barefoot because God told him to take his shoes off, and you have the recipe for an outside observer to think Moses is NUTS!! Strait jacket CRAZY!!

Moses begins to think about all the reason why he CAN’T do what God has called him to do. #1. He is on Pharoah’s EMW (Egypt’s Most Wanted) list for murder. #2. He has a speech impediment of some sort. #3. Who is going to believe THIS story!? #4. He’s a LONG way from where God wants him.

That’s a pretty impressive list of reasons why he CAN’T do what God is asking him to do. Any of those should exempt him, but ALL of them together? This is a no-brainer! God will surely see the sensibility and have him excused. So, what was God’s answer? “What’s that in your hand”….Moses: Uh, a stick? (Boy, God really needs to get His eyes checked)…Throw it down (actually just let go of it and gravity will do the rest LOL)…and shazaam “just a stick” is “just a snake”! Yikes!!! Now, pick it up….that’s right, by the tail :). Now, the snake is “just a stick”. What an incredible MIRACLE! Now, Moses, use what you have in your hand to erase all your mistakes, failures, and fears and GO DO WHAT GOD TOLD YOU! An incredible future awaits you!

For those who are familiar with the Bible, you know how Moses became one of the most renowned leaders in Israel’s history, and accomplished what everyone thought was impossible….and it all started with “just a stick”.

Can I encourage you? God has plans for you! God wants to use you for some purpose in His kingdom and for His glory! The problem is NOT that He doesn’t want to, nor that you aren’t able (with His help of course!), the problem is that you are wandering around in a spiritual desert, remembering your failures and bad choices that landed you there, and even if God were to miraculously show up and try to talk to you, all you want to do is make excuses for why you can’t! God is not going to ask you to provide what you don’t already have. He’s not going to demand you go get something to help Him out! He is looking for what you already have “in your hands”. He’s asking right now…why not listen? What is it you already possess that you and God can use to do His work? To answer someone else’s prayers? Now, don’t start that “I can’t do anything” business with me or God…Take you “just a stick” life and just do what comes NATURAL. If you will turn loose of your “just a stick” watch what God can and will miraculously do with it!

This is simple, but I felt God speaking to me to share this through my blog, so whoever is reading this, THIS IS FOR YOU! You may not have much to offer you don’t think, but if you will quit making excuses and quit telling Almighty God (you realize what I just said?) that there’s no way He can use what you are or what you have, cause it’s “just a stick”…and just turn loose and let God show you! That “just a stick” may be the very thing He needs to set someone else free from bondage! It may be the very thing He can anoint and in YOUR hands, it can be a powerful weapon against the prince of this world!

I know you have failed, made bad choices, and hell has convinced you to just keep wandering around in the desert, but you have stopped by “the burning blog” (like that?), God has spoken to you, now take off your shoes, throw down your stick, and watch what God is about to do with your life and what you already possess!

Just a stick? Nah, this is a miracle waitin’ to happen! I have prayed for you as I post this, and seriously believe God is going to use this simple illustration to change your life forever!!! Godspeed…..

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The Fireplace in July

Ah, nothing like sitting around the old fireplace in July, watching the crackling fire and enjoying the heat! Yeah, I know, that sounds nuts doesn’t it?! No one in their right mind here in Missouri would use their fireplace in July, known as the hottest month of our calendar year. There are many days when the outside temperature soars to over 100 degrees and the heat is UNBEARABLE! It would be SO silly to build a fire on a day like that! The air conditioner and the fireplace would be competing to see which one could function the best, and the whole purpose of having an air conditioner is to ESCAPE the heat!

Our fireplace is beautiful, with black and gold front on the insert, and an antique mantle we bought out of a house being demolished for a great price, and some granite and tile inlays on the hearth that make it so pretty. However, once winter is gone, the fireplace is just another piece of decor in the Self house. My wife pretties it up with all kinds of decorations that she can’t use during winter, and although it looks good, it is pretty much worthless during our summers. Yet, we don’t throw it away, we just maintain it until we need it, and when we need it, it is worth all the “keeping”.

There’s a lot of similarities between my fireplace and much of the Word of God. When you study closely the temptation of Christ, you discover that in EVERY instance, the Christ overcame the temptations of Satan himself by “it is written…” and quoting a portion of the Word of God. There is so much power in the Word of God. There is something that will defeat hell and all of his temptations contained within the written Word of God. Yet, the Word of God is SO diverse in its applications and the multifaceted dimensions of His Word will fit EVERY application. However, sometimes you may read or hear a passage of scripture that seems like it “just doesn’t apply right now”….yet it is NOT time to throw that part away or ignore it, it is time to maintain it in your spirit for the day that you WILL need it!

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

There seems to be an attempt today to say “well, that part is outdated” or “that doesn’t apply to this situation” or “this generation”…but the Word says ALL Scripture! Every word of the Word of God matters!! The Word of God is the ONLY thing that will outlive the earth and everything in it, including us! The Bible is such an amazing book, from Genesis to Revelation, the Word is contemporary and relevant to THIS untoward, ungodly generation. It is NOT the Word of God’s responsibility to stay up to date with us, or to be flexible to us, it is OUR job to continually apply the Word of God to our lives and WE CHANGE!

The scriptures about money don’t seem to be important, until you are struggling to apply them to your finances. The passages about lust and sexual sin don’t seem too important, unless you are struggling to be pure in that regard. The parts about love and relationships and forgiveness…well, they are “just good words” unless you are having problems in these areas. I can tell you, just because a particular passage doesn’t seem to “apply” to your life right now, you need to KEEP it in your mind and spirit so you have it when you need it!

Note this: Psa 119:11  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

The writer, under the inspiration of God, states that The Word of God…IT IS WRITTEN!…will help you overcome temptation and failure when you apply it, but you can’t apply what you don’t know!

May I encourage you to daily spend time with God’s Word, and ask Him to not just give you knowledge, but give you wisdom. The Word of God is intended to be lived! Read your Bible. Listen to it on CD/MP3….however you can!…and most importantly, listen to a preacher of truth preach it!

Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

There are a LOT of voices in this generation competing for your attention. Each of them has something to say. However, you NEED the Word of God to have faith, you have to HEAR IT….and how can you hear without a preacher! If you are trying to make it “without a preacher”, you are going to have trouble with this passage of scripture. Faith will come when a preacher preaches the truth!

You may not think you needed what you read, heard, or had preached to you today! However, just like my old fireplace, don’t just let it be a decoration, maintain it and keep it, because when you need the Word, it will be worth all the trouble it took to keep it!

Seasons change, and the Bible has the answer to your current situation! It also has the answers to circumstances you haven’t been through yet…but you need to get the Word NOW, so when that season comes, you are READY!

 

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Pushing Spring

First of all, an apology, my life has been very busy the past few weeks with the tragic passing of my niece Jessica, so I have not written anything for a long while. It has been tough enough just keeping up with life’s duties during this trying time, so blogging slipped pretty far down the list. With that said, let’s get started AGAIN!

PUSHING SPRING

Every year here in Missouri, in Late February or early March, we begin to see trees budding and Easter Lilies pushing through the barely thawed earth to bloom their yellow radiance in defiance of winter! To me it is always an EXCITING time of year, as the blooming of the Easter Lilies is a sign that Spring is on the way. I saw a weeping willow today that was VERY green with new leaves and the Maple trees are showing signs of new plumage!

Yet, it seems that every year for as long as I can remember, a heavy frost and usually even some snow will blanket the terrain and you will see these flowers frozen in beauty for a day or two…only to wilt and die as soon as the freeze is over. Everyone always says “they came out too soon!” and we sadly watch them fade away. This year is no exception, indeed it is apparently a bumper crop year! The budding trees and the blooming flowers…and the predicted “last gasp” of winter is in the forecast! Soon they will feel the bite of below freezing temps and no doubt some heavy frostbite! When will they ever learn?!

Pushing Spring can be painful.

I wish that we could get humans to have their spirit and attitude! Allow me to explain what I mean. Humanity loves a sure thing. In the stock market, the medical field, and familial settings, we look for the guaranteed return on investments! We want to KNOW that the risk we take today is really not much of a risk, because the future is secured. We diligently search for solid predictions of the outcome before we go “all in”. People check the weather, check the markets, check the predictions in sporting events, and check the reviews on hotels to make SURE the outcome will be good before making any commitments. Is there anything inherently wrong with this? No…but I was wishing…..

That like the Easter Lilies and Willow tree here in Missouri, that we as humans might one day lose some of our trepidation about the future and just truly COMMIT!

Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Psa 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

We get to make the choice, unfortunately too many times we CHOOSE to control the outcomes. If we can get an iron clad guarantee, then we MIGHT then totally commit to God, but if the outcome is uncertain, we hesitate and often refuse to proceed. What if we fail? What if it turns out wrong? What if others see me fall? What if? Due to uncertainty, we truly MISS OUT on some really awesome days!

Allow me to philosophize? Thanks! The Easter Lily and some of these other plants and trees I have spoken of are right now enjoying some of the BEST DAYS that Missouri has to offer! Weather is PERFECT, humidity is great, sun is shining and life is GOOD! There are “other” plants that will bloom later, but right now they lie buried beneath the soil due to a ‘reluctance’ to break out because of the “chance” that winter might not be over. It may not be what everyone thinks is smartest, it may not be good “common sense”, but there are a few brave plants and trees that defy a possibly rough future and rejoice to commit to life in spite of the threat of a difficult future….and they do it at the FIRST OPPORTUNITY they get! Just let their environment present the chance, and they are going to commit to BURSTING FORTH in spite of the uncertain days ahead.

Like the weather here in Missouri, life changes fast! Things can go from “top of the world” to “pits of hell” pretty quick if you are human. We all know this. Things can go south bad, and they can go there in a hurry. However, where are the human “lilies” that defy the uncertain future and say “I’m not staying down any more!”

When life has piled a bunch of dirt and maybe even a little “fertilizer” on you, instead of becoming hard and bitter and refusing to live…why not allow the negative environment cause you to desire to live above what has buried you? I refuse to be depressed! I refuse to allow life’s circumstances and the fear of the future to cause me to stay down! LIVE!!!

Psa 118:24  This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

There are no guaranteed days. There is no “perfect life”. Human mortality is filled with uncertainty and change. Today may turn out bad, or it may turn out to be one of the best days of my life, but whatever it holds, I’m all in!! I’m committed to REJOICE in the Lord and be GLAD in whatever type of day this is.

Sometimes life has a way of freezing your beauty. It may frost you over in an attempt to destroy you. However, I’d rather DIE LIVING than to stay buried under the soil of fear and doubt and never live! Yes, facing the day can be difficult when you don’t know what’s coming, but like the lily that Pushes Spring, why don’t you decide right now that you are tired of being dormant and covered up. BURST FORTH in praise for the God who made this day! BREAK OUT in confidence that even if tomorrow is bad, even if the future is uncertain, those who get close enough to see you are going to see your beauty!

Push Spring…go ahead!! Jesus said

Mat 6:34  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (ESV)

There are no guarantees. God made today for you to LIVE and ENJOY it. You may be missing some of the best days of your life because you are worried about a winter that may be over, or a frost that may never come…

God Bless you as you COMMIT TO BREAK OUT FROM THE OPPRESSIVE COVERINGS OF AN EMOTIONAL WINTER and LIVE….in spite of fear…LIVE!!

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Jesus and the Disc Jockey

Isn’t it amazing how consistent this is? What, you say? Ah, I’m speaking of our preconceived notions and images that we construct in our mind that are almost always wrong. Have you ever finally met the radio personality that you listened to for years without ever meeting? I have NEVER, not one time, met someone whom had been a part of my life via radio that ever matched up with what I imagined them to be!

From the Rock & Roll female DJ when I was a teenager, who I was sure was the most gorgeous woman I’d ever see, to the local men who operate the “Morning Mayors” talk show I listen to now in my 40’s, without fail, the real person and the image I concocted in my mind are WORLDS apart. I was SO disappointed to meet the overweight and downright homely person behind the voice that had brought so much entertainment to my young life as a teenager. I couldn’t believe it! I was in total shock. Yet I don’t get any better at this as time goes on. Now, years later, I still am not  very good at “imagining” the person associated with the voice with any level of accuracy. Matter of fact, I have to admit, I pretty well stink at it!

Each one of us, when we hear a voice of a telemarketer or other “faceless voice”, unintentionally but without fail, form an immediate image of “the person” we are talking to. It is part of the human condition, we just do it automatically. We may not think too deeply about it, but we have these temporary images on a daily basis. Rarely are they right, but it is the way we operate. This “perception” is our reality, but it is also not reality at all. With that knowledge, let’s consider the following:

Mar 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
Mar 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Sometimes people have a terrible perception of the true church. For those who are on the inside, it is given to them to UNDERSTAND the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. However, to those who are looking from outside of the church, they can often misunderstand so much of what they “see” and “hear”. Oh, they see…but they don’t perceive properly, they hear, but the don’t understand! What a horrible spiritual condition, that they would be close enough to the church to see and hear, but yet they never have a proper image of what they see and hear! The scripture above says that this spiritual misunderstanding keeps them from being CONVERTED and their sins being forgiven! Wow.

I have NEVER regretted getting IN the church instead of just SEEING AND HEARING the church. Until I had really gotten in the church, I misunderstood so much. How many times have you heard “the church just wants your money” or “that church is controlling” or “that church is just emotional” and so much more. These are PERCEPTIONS folks get of the true church that are shockingly inaccurate to those who know it from within, but this perception is some folks reality. God said “taste and see”…  You cannot accurately understand nor perceive the true church unless you get in! The church is not a denomination, it is not a certain brand or religious preference, the true church is full of spiritual “mystery” about the Kingdom of God that can ONLY be fully seen from within!

I remember thinking that “those folks are nuts!” and misunderstanding so much of the church. However, upon careful Bible Study, and FAITH in the Word, I soon discovered that there was MUCH about the church that I just didn’t understand or see clearly.

This is not new. Jesus asked His disciples “who do others think I am” and they said Jeremiah, Isaiah, John the Baptist (all raised from the dead apparently)…that is what outsiders THOUGHT Jesus was. However when Jesus asked the INSIDERS who do YOU think I am? Peter said “Thou art the CHRIST, the Son of the LIVING GOD”. Jesus stated that this was NOT understood by human perception, but by DIVINE REVELATION! To fully understand the Mighty God in Christ, that God was manifest in flesh, that God was IN Christ reconciling the world to Himself, a human must be subject to DIVINE REVELATION!

So many folks think that obedient faith (faith with works) is a human claim to what they call “salvation by works”, yet James said under the anointing of the Holy Ghost that “Can faith alone save us?…NO, because faith without works is DEAD being alone!” You cannot fully understand that concept if you allow human flesh to try to “get it” but through divine revelation, you can understand that although you can’t “do” anything that will make you worthy to go to heaven, you MUST DO TRUTH (John 3:21&James 1:23), you MUST be born again of water and Spirit (John 3:1-8), you MUST receive His Name and His Spirit….this is NOT “salvation by works” but it is OBEDIENT FAITH! This is what saved Noah and his family….God gave specific instruction to the saving of himself and his house and when by FAITH he OBEYED the Word of God, when Judgment came, he was separated from the judgement of sin by his OBEDIENCE IN FAITH. However, you cannot fully understand this from the OUTSIDE!

So many folks misunderstand the Word of God and all the mysteries that are contained within its wonderful pages! You CAN know truth! You CAN understand the Word of God! You CAN understand the singleness of the Godhead! You CAN know the truth and the truth will make you free! However, it can’t be just a distant misperception…you must get IN the church to have these mighty revelations. They are not humanly given, but the Spirit reveals them to those who want to “see the real” instead of being “satisfied with the misconceptions”.

There are glorious truths awaiting those who are hungry and thirsty for more of God than just “religion”. Don’t be satisfied until you clearly see the God behind the Voice! He is more than a denomination, more than a religious preference that suits your flesh, but He desires to be clearly seen in His fullness and truth! How about we all step back from our preconceived ideas about God and salvation, and let God’s Spirit reveal to us the fullness of His image! You may be surprised what you see……God Bless and Challenge you today!

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The Precipice

I read a book several years ago titled “Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon”. It was a very fascinating read, and also disturbing at the same time. The book is broken up into different genres of tales, from death in water, death from heat, death from disease, to death from falls. The numerous ways that people have died in the Canyon is amazing in its diversity, yet the same result. Tonight I looked again at stats for this past year, and from a 4-year-old girl who fell 400 feet to a 41-year-old man who fell 150 feet, the deaths from falls are the most hard to fathom.

If you are near the biggest hole in the earth, with sheer drop-offs and crumbling rock ledges…why would you even get CLOSE ENOUGH to fall? That is the most hard to understand. Now with that said, let me clue you in to a little secret. Most of the falls are NOT suicide, and are NOT from someone being forced over the edge…they are from stable, well-balanced human beings who thought they could get one step closer. In reading the book, I was mesmerized by the stories of people who did the unthinkable….crossed the safety fence or safety wall, went beyond obvious signage that said “do not go beyond this point”….and promptly fell to their death hundreds to thousands of feet below. There are places where the drop is 4000 plus feet! That’s nuts! Yet something within humanity dares to challenge the edge to some degree all the time. I can just tell you one guy you will never read about falling from the edge of the Grand Canyon to his death…and that’s ME! I won’t get close enough to the edge to fall into THAT hole!

Ecc 10:8  He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. 

In the Bible days, God used the “hedge” analogy a lot. The hedge was a protective barrier that kept the deadly things out, and the living things in. For the distinction between living and dying, one only had to look at “the hedge”. During the trial of Job, Satan recognized that God had placed “a hedge” around Job and all that he possessed, and Satan couldn’t get through it to destroy, and as long as the hedge was there, Job was protected within it and lived an abundant life. It was the breaking of the hedge that brought the destruction into Job’s life. When God compared His chosen people to a vineyard, He declared that the first thing He did after purchasing it, was to build a wall around it…in Bible times, those walls were hedges made of stones, thorn bushes, and vines. What was the purpose? It kept the destructive OUT and the living IN. Yet for the hedge to be broken was to invite the bite of the serpent!

There IS a hedge about God’s people. It is known as righteousness and true holiness. Only God can build this hedge. Only God can determine its parameters. Yet, this hedge serves a great purpose, and it is NOT to place the child of God in bondage, but to keep them from the destroyer and to allow them to live life abundantly! Satan is referred to as “that old Serpent, the devil” in the Bible, and took on the form of a serpent in Genesis. The analogy is God’s, not mine, but it certainly is applicable in this post!

This hedge of holiness and right living is built by God and obedience to His Word to be a protective barrier between us and the influences of evil in our world. There are things in the “canyon of sin” that will not just hurt you, they will kill you spiritually! The wages of sin is DEATH! The Word of God is filled with many “rules” and “laws” that God intended to keep us from death and destruction. If we only realized the damage and death that was caused by breaking the hedge. We must not forget that the serpent dwells “near the hedge”. I hate snakes. If I know that snakes are near the hedge, I’m going to stay away from it. Allow me to elaborate.

(Back to the Grand Canyon) The fences and walls erected around the Grand Canyon are not their for show, and not to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you from dying. You cannot see the substrate underneath the surface, and many times, those fences APPEAR to be ridiculously far from the actual edge. The fence seems to be “too restrictive”, yet to ignore the fence is to INVITE death from a horrible fall. I remember one story about a man who wanted a better picture so he crossed the fence and went out nearer to the actual edge. What he didn’t see and wasn’t able to be “explained” to him was that the substructure was crumbling and precarious, that is the reason the fence was so far from the actual edge. With the addition of his weight, it was just enough, and the “perfect picture” turned out to be his demise. He fell over 600 feet to his death. The park ranger stated “the fences are there for this exact reason!” Unfortunately, folks who believe that fences are just keeping them from having fun are flirting with death constantly.

Remember the hedge? There are some principles of holiness and righteousness in the Bible that may seem to be “ridiculous” to some, but they are “safe”. Safe may not be as exciting, but it’s better than dead. Yeah, I’m sure it’s very thrilling to fall 600 feet in a free fall, but that journey to the bottom ends with death. Whoso breaketh a hedge? That’s right, God said a serpent SHALL bite him. You cannot defy the Word of God, the principles of holiness and right living and not suffer the destruction of the Serpent. He awaits just beyond the hedge God designed to protect His children!

I see so many folks who like to push the envelope, hang out around the precipice, ignoring the Word and the Hedge of Holiness and Separation from this world and the influence of evil. They allow it in their living rooms, their automobiles, their entertainment, their lifestyle choices, and in so many areas. The influence of the Serpent is just beyond the hedge. Don’t play with the edge. Indeed, take heed to the warnings of “Death in the Grand Canyon” and realize that no amount of “freedom” and “fun” is worth the collapse of your life into the abyss of sin and death! You cannot break the hedge. You cannot afford to walk beyond the “written warnings” of the Word of God! God isn’t trying to place you in bondage, He is on the contrary trying to keep you from “Death over the Precipice”.

Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Don’t let the “last portrait of your life” be the time you broke the hedge and the devil delivered the bite of death…….just stay a safe distance from the precipice of sin, that is what TRUE holiness and righteousness is all about. God wants you to live, your family deserves it, and the church desires it.

Joh 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 

Live ABUNDANT life! Stay away from the edge…..

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