God, not evolution – 171

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A children’s song begins with the phrase, “My God is so BIG! So strong and so mighty.…” It’s true! Out of nothing, in a moment of time – no wait – there was no time and there was not even “nothing” before Creation.

In 6 days He created the heavens, the earth, living plants and creatures – and then said, “Let us make man in our image.” Gen 1:26.

Most atheists embrace a popular theory called the Big Bang. Instantly, the stuff of the universe sprang into being from a single point – all of it – including space and time. How? “We can’t say,” they say. Then, over a great period of time life began on planet earth. By chance? Ha!

Molecular biologists (modern science increasingly supports Creationism) have looked into the ‘random chance’ required to form a single protein molecule from the 150 amino acids required – supposing a primordial ocean full of amino acids under perfect conditions. They calculate there would be one chance in 10 to the 164th power – assuming 6 thousand million billion trillion trillion trillion connection attempts per minute (perfect conditions).

That’s a big number! How much time is that? After all our universe is 4.6 Billion years old according to unbelievers. Well, the biologists ask us to consider an amoeba, moving a 1 foot/year, crossing the entire observable universe of 90 billion light years, carrying 1 atom from planet earth and back. You can see we have already passed the supposed age of the universe. Well, suppose that amoeba keeps going until all the earth is transported across the universe.

Then add our entire solar system including the sun. Then add the entire Milky Way galaxy. Don’t stop there, but add the entire universe being transported 90 billion light years, one atom at a time. Is that enough time for ‘chance’ to create a protein molecule? No! Do this 56 million more times!

That gives you an idea of how long it would take for a single protein to randomly form. And the simplest cell has over 300 proteins. And they all have to form, then come together, and work together, in a protective membrane (where did that come from?), simultaneously, to form a living cell.

By the way, for evolution to create a human – that’s chance over time, has been calculated as 1 in 10 to the 2,825,000 power. As Albert Einstein has said, “God does not play dice!” There is NO CHANCE of that having happened.

God created the heavens and earth. God placed LIFE upon the earth. His crowning achievement: making man in His image. You are precious, amazing, in His image, and so loved by God Himself that He was willing to die for YOU rather than live without you – think about that – rejoice – and COME ALIVE!

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He is RISEN! – 170

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Easter Sunday. We celebrate with great joy, for Christ is Risen, He has risen indeed! Just 3 days earlier, Jesus, upon Calvary’s Cross, declared, “It is finished.” “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” John 19:30, Lu 23:46. Although the Jews and Romans were instruments of Jesus death – in truth He surrendered His life to the Father, dying for the sins of humanity.

Sunday morning the women go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body – but Jesus is not there! He has RISEN! This resurrection from the dead is proof that we have been justified, reconciled to God. Hallelujah!

Lu 24:5-8 records some women terrified at the sight of angels at the tomb who asked, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? …He is not here, but He has risen. Remember He told you He would rise again on the 3rd day.” They thought someone had stolen Jesus’ body. We would have too.

As the women leave, Jesus makes a special appearance to Mary. She hugs Him like crazy! Jesus says, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, `I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’  Jn 20:17.

To fully accomplish redemption Jesus had to ascend – to sprinkle the genuine Mercy Seat in heaven with His own blood – MERCY. How unlike the blood of Able that cried out for vengeance from the earth. 

“My Father and your Father.” Whoa! Islam has no Father God. Buddhists don’t. Hindus don’t. But you do!

“… God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace we have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace we have been saved through faith – it is the gift of God” Eph 2:4-9.  

GO, in the grace of God, let others know Christ is Risen – help them COME ALIVE!

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God’s Will – 169

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We’ve been talking about “knowing the will of God” – “doing God’s will” or, “being obedient to His will.” Last time we found in Hebrews 8:11 that God said “I will be their God, And they shall be My people. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ For all will know Me.” 

The word ‘know’ used here conveys the same intimacy as between a husband and wife. My friend, that’s God’s desire for us – to know Him that well! Is that awesome or what? It totally flies in the face of all that religious talk that places God far away in heaven somewhere and us so weak, feeble, insignificant, and certainly unworthy of notice by the Almighty.

We are sons of God! In union with Jesus. Sealed with the Spirit. His blood has cleansed us from all unrighteousness. We are forever accepted in the beloved.

So desire to be in His will, for God has purposed GOOD for you. Don’t be afraid! And God is well able to cause you to be in His will – smile.

Things still a little cloudy you say? I understand. There’s enough junk in the world coming at us all the time seeking to distract us from Jesus, get us drawn away. Well, there is something you can do about it. PRAY  ABOUT  IT. Not any old way. But like Paul did for the Colossians..

In Col 1:9 Paul writes, “… we (he and timothy) have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” There you go! Pray you be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

The next verse tells us what happens: we will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, we will please Him in all respects, we will bear fruit in every good work and we will increase in the knowledge of God….” Pretty good, eh?

TODAY — PRAY that for yourself – it’s God’s word to you – and COME ALIVE!

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God’s Will: no mystery – 168

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Knowing God’s will, knowing what He desires for us and from us – we all want to know that, right? Yet most Christians over “doing God’s will” or simply “be obedient.” And the BIG part of these struggles is finding out just what IS God’s will.

Little do they, and perhaps you too, know that the BIG part is really the LITTLE part! Check out Hebrews 8:10-11 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel (that’s the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood), After those days, (when the Old Covenant has been superseded) says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people. “And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ For all will know Me.” 

Whoa – this is HUGE. Under the New Covenant, everyone will know the Lord. God has placed ‘laws of living’ – in our minds. He has written it here – upon our hearts. It is saying we have understanding of His will; and a heart of obedience. Our performance or lack thereof cannot change it.

You say you have no idea of His will from day to day? Not so! Just this morning for example, as Mary and I were getting up, I gently massaged her forehead and head. She exclaimed, “That feels so good! How did you know that it was hurting? I didn’t even know it was hurting until you put you hand on my head.” It’s Spring here in Texas and all the pollens in the air can make heads pretty stuffy. 

 Well, I didn’t know her head hurt. She didn’t know her head hurt. But the Spirit knew. I didn’t have a vision about it, no angels appeared, no thunderous voice from heaven. Without thinking, without praying, without meditating on a Scripture, I just stretched out my hand to the woman I love so much, and touched her. 

Walking in the Spirit, walking in the will of God, is like this example. So be confident today my friend. Want to be in the will of God? Then you ARE in the will of God. Just walk it out – and COME ALIVE!

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Roar – 167

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Last time we looked at 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all our cares upon Him for He cares for you.” Everything that steals our peace of mind – even the little things in our day to day life, matters very much to our Father!

Then we looked at the preceding verses, 5 & 6, and heard Peter telling us to put on humility, for God is opposed to the proud but gives GRACE to the humble. Let us humble ourselves – like the children of Israel in the Exodus from Egypt. At the proper time, God exalted them. They went out victorious and although some things went wrong in the desert (unbelief), Israel made it through by God’s hand, conquering over 30 kings in the process and possessing their Promised Land.

Peter warns that the proud, those who deal with life on their terms, will not have God’s help. And nor will those who worry, for both do not cast life’s cares over to God. He wants to help, is waiting to help, but they are resisting Him.

There’s more to learn about worry and fear. If we look at the following verses 8 & 9, we find Peter urging us to be on the alert for the devil is roaring like a lion! I’ve been to Africa, and there is nothing like a lion roaring to send a shiver up your back, fill your heart with fear and urge you to take action, any action, to get away from there.

In the Garden of Eden the devil suggested to Adam and Eve that God could not be trusted; that He had questionable motives. But if THEY took action – they could become as gods.

No different today, friends. We have mixed up messages all around: God is good, but He is going to beat the daylights out of you. He loves you but might send cancer on you to teach you a lesson. Untruths urging us to distrust God – to discount the precious blood of the Lamb.

We’ve all heard those evil thoughts, “Don’t wait for God – He can’t be trusted – YOU TAKE ACTION – now!”

Don’t listen to those evil words. Humble yourself by rolling your cares onto God’s big big shoulders. Wait patiently for His deliverance – for He is faithful – and COME ALIVE!

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What, Me Worry? – 166

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1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all our cares upon Him for He cares for you. This versus has a play on words in the Greek, where your care becomes God’s care. The words care and cares here are two entirely different words. Looking closely at their meanings makes this promise even more precious to us.

In the Greek text this word care is merimna. (Mer’-im-nah) It has to do with anxiety, stress, distractions, insecurities, worries – the kind of thoughts that rob peace of mind. Jesus used the word in Mt 6:25 when He said, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

The second word, translated cares, is melo (mel’-o). It is a verb meaning to be concerned about or interested in. God is not only aware of us, but He is interested in us. Even more, He cares for us with deepest affection, and watches over us very carefully!

We can cast all our worries, insecurities, doubts, concerns – everything that steals our peace of mind – upon Him, for our well-being in day to day life matters very much to Almighty God, our Father!

Now, get this: in the 2 preceding verses Peter tell us to put on humility, for God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Let us humble ourselves – under God’s Mighty Hand, he says – which is a reference to the Exodus from Egypt. God WILL exalt us at the proper time, he assures us.

However, the proud, the disdainful, the presumptuous, when life comes at them – POW! – DEAL with it themselves. But, did you know that worry is also form of pride because it involves taking concerns upon ourselves instead of entrusting them to God. “I” have to take care of these things, “I” will figure this out, and so on. We get anxious, depressed, and wonder why God is not helping. Now you know!

So today, my friend, it’s time to roll those cares onto God’s shoulders – and COME ALIVE!

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Oil-Water – 165

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The Gospel is good news – always. There is never any bad news in the Good News!

I’ve spoken many times about the pitfalls of mixing the 2 primary covenants found in Scripture: Old Covenant from Mt Sinai – where the LAW was handed down. And the New Covenant, begun at Calvary – where GRACE was rained down upon us, and continues to rain.

Mix them together – and most people do – and it is easy to get confused. Double-minded, says James. The Law made nothing perfect. The Law did not take away sin. The Law did not enable us to overcome sin. Law did not help us do right – not in the very least little bit!

It just told us right from wrong – and commanded us to do ‘right.’ With punishment in store for failure. The Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. John 1:17.

Law had a good purpose, described in Gal 2:24-27. To lead us to despair of our own abilities and to place our trust in Christ. With our trust in Christ, we are justified by FAITH. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under that tutor, the Law. We have become sons of God. That’s more than a nice expression: it is the TRUTH!

The Law has expired for we who have clothed ourselves with Christ. So then, why do we all tend to mix them together at times? Well, God leaves us IN the world, which has a 100% total mindset of performance. Perform. Achieve. Attain. The Law at work – driving men to Christ if they will only open their hearts to listen.

Although we are in the world, let us as Gal 5:1 declares, stand firm in the Spirit. Reminding ourselves that we have been crucified with Christ and already risen with Him in new life. We choose to walk by faith and the Spirit, and not by obedient performances to some standard.

Today my friend, may the Spirit of the Living God help you to walk IN this world, by FAITH in Christ Jesus, in His finished work – and COME ALIVE!

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You Ain’t No Olive – 164

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The Gospel is good news – always. Never any bad news in the Good News!

When we see Jesus in the Gospels we see God. We study Jesus in the Gospels, we come to understand the character, nature, of God, for Jesus is the exact representation of God. To see Jesus is the see God. Hebrews 1:3, John 1:18 & 14:9. 

Puzzled over the will of God? Just look at Jesus. Don’t let religious thinking, mixed covenant thinking, worldly or demonic thinking get you confused.

We know sickness is not from God. Ever. How do we know? We look at Jesus! Who did Jesus make sick or refuse to heal? To whom did He say “This sickness is from God teaching you a valuable lesson that God’s grace and mercy and kindness could not.”

What about crushing? You know, the parallel comparing us with an olive – where we are told that just like an olive we need to be squeezed, crushed, before the oil of the Spirit, the good stuff, will be revealed to the world.

Not true! It presumes you are still filled with pride and wickedness and it has to be crushed out of you. My friend, you have died with Jesus and risen with Him. He is in you; you are in Him. A new creation! To whom did Jesus say the terrible stuff they were experiencing was crushing by His father to cleanse them from unrighteousness and sin, stuff His blood could not do. Ridiculous! Who did Jesus advise when they came to Him for help that He had to leave them alone for the crushing to be completed? No one!

The storms of life REVEAL our faith – they do not build faith. Check out the disciples in the storm on the lake in Mk 4. Jesus said to His disciples, “Where is your faith?” NOT this storm is building your faith, aren’t you glad to be in it? And He immediately stopped it, right?

Faith comes from hearing the word of God concerning Jesus! Ro 10:17.

Yes, in this world we WILL have tribulations – BUT Jesus didn’t say “The Father has sent them to grow us up.” He said, “Take courage for I have overcome the world.” Jn 16:33. It’s time to believe the truth, my friend, and COME ALIVE – for the Good News IS Good News!

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Waystations in Glory – 163

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What is heaven like? John 14:1-2 provides a clue – it says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places (mansions in the King James). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”

Jesus told His disciples he would go and prepare homes, mansions, places in His Father’s house for us. The Father’s house is heaven, and we each have our own place there, prepared by Jesus.

Out of the economic depression of the 1930’s there arose a ‘mansion mentality.’ God’s people, having lost hope of ever prospering in this life, began to dream of one day living in a lovely mansion in heaven. Numerous songs were written about our mansion just over the hilltop in heaven. I’m sure you’ve heard one or two. 

Is that heaven then, a nice home and people to invite over for choir practice? Is there more to be found with the Creator of the universe?

Ahhh…. The Greek word used for mansion is ‘mone’ – which has a number of possibilities. ‘Mone,’ according to lexicographers – those are the people who put together dictionaries, has the sense of mobility and stability. Stability in your mobility. Thus these ‘mansions’ – can be thought of like stopping places, way stations, along the path of the righteous. 

Carrying this a bit further, we might imagine heaven as a place of unfolding vistas, new horizons, new sights to be seen – from our awesome Father – wonders that never cease, oh hallelujah! 

‘Mone’ also brings with it a sense of rest. Our mansion, this way-station is also solid, stable. Restful. There is rest for us in the midst of the continuous unfolding of God’s eternal purpose.

God’s plans are far beyond what we could ever imagine – the future laid up for us is fantastic. But you don’t have to wait, for Col 1:13 states we have already been translated, like Enoch, into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

So live this earthly life today – as a resident of the Kingdom – with a confident assurance of your future, and COME ALIVE!

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Your Effort – or His? – 162

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This is a place–of GRACE.

Col 1:13-14 For He (the Father) rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We believed – God performed the rescue, the forgiving, the translating into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. That’s GRACE in action.

How about Col 1:27 “to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The fullness of God, living in us, never to leave us, never to forsake us. True! It’s GRACE again! No wait! That’s nothing less than HYPER GRACE and it’s from our Father!

Because of the GRACE of God “… the life which we now live in the flesh we can live by FAITH IN the Son of God.…” Gal 2:20.

By Grace we have been made complete in Him (Col 2:10). And made alive together with Him (Col 2:13). By grace we’ve been raised up with Him and hidden IN HIM (Col 3:3). It’s time for us to throw off the cloak of rejection and unworthiness and darkness and walk in the Light and Love of God, for we are accepted in Him.

Consider a homeless beggar on the streets. Suppose by amazing chance he is chosen to be prince. He did not earn it; it was bestowed upon him. New clothes, new hairstyle, new living quarters: a palace. With attendants for his every need. With authority in the realm. With royal opportunities everywhere. There’s only one thing: he has to believe it and walk in it. If old friends ask him to booze or shoot it up and sleep in the gutters – he could, but in no way should – for he is a new man; time to walk in the truth. The old man has passed away – all things have become new. That formerly homeless individual will need to renew his mind to the truth.

It’s the same for us my friend. Isn’t it time we stopped believing who we once were? It’s time to proudly wear those fancy duds of the Kingdom: righteousness, grace, truth, integrity – and COME ALIVE!

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God Sick Of You? – 161

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I’ve heard people say God made them sick to teach them a lesson. A sickness from God to teach them patience. What? Epilepsy from God? Mental Illness? Auto accidents? Cancer?

Consider: Jn 14:9. Jesus says whoever has seen Him has seen the Father. Jn 10:30. Jesus said the Father and He were one. Heb 1:3 says the Son is the exact representation of God. To see Jesus is to see God. To hear Jesus is the hear God. What Jesus did, and what He did not do, all reveal God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for Col 2:9 says all the fullness of Deity, of God, dwelt in bodily form in Jesus.

By virtue of the incarnation, Jesus is God in the flesh.

Now – look at the Gospels. Who did Jesus make sick? Or refuse to heal? Who did He fail to heal? To whom did He say that God was teaching them a lesson with their sickness? Or that their sin was keeping them from being healed?

Yes, in His hometown they stumbled in unbelief over the carpenter’s son, and only a few were healed. Are we from His hometown? Did we know Him as the carpenter’s son? Nope. So we have no cause to stumble.

In Mt 8:16-17 it says, “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.””

If Scripture says He came to take them away, and the Gospel accounts record just that – then the concept that God gives sickness – is wrong! Some denominations say God healed then, but not now. Nope. Some think it was only to prove He was the Messiah, not that He cared at all about people. Nope.

Perhaps you prayed and were not healed. And someone told you it was a lack of faith on your part. Or that there was sin in your life. Or that you haven’t done enough with the talents God has given you. Or you are harboring unforgiveness. NO!

Jesus is the SAME, yesterday, today, and forever. Heb 13:8. Believe it, pray again, receive your healing – and COME ALIVE!

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Not By Might – 160

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You’ve likely read Zech 4:6 “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, `Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
Might. It’s the strength found in a team, a group of people.
Power. It’s the strength of an individual. God is not impressed with what we can do (Ps 147:10) or the might of a nation, an army, an enemy, or the church. 

It is His Spirit ALONE that accomplishes His purposes, my friend. Let us not boast in our supposed abilities (Ja 4:13-16). Nor struggle with the notion that God expects, demands, we do great things for Him.

Let me tell you a story. Long ago I was helping out in a large conference our church was holding. I had volunteered to help set up rooms, provide water, direct people – little things but necessary things. One morning I prayed, “Lord, show me someone who needs a hug.” Can’t get much more “little” than that, more humble, I thought.

After one session concluded, and I was arranging chairs for the next, in walked — SuperServant! Cape flowing in the breeze. A double “S” on his chest. Eyes twinkling. He grabbed 6 chairs at a time, loudly asked where they should go, made a commotion of helping. All eyes fell upon him.

SuperServant! I knew him. My hands balled into fists, I felt like punching him! And the Lord said, “He needs a hug, he’s doing this because he feels rejected.” I could not do it. I was battling anger. I left the conference. Went home. Fell on my bed. Cried in my pillow: “Lord! I cannot do even one little thing for You!” I sobbed.

“That’s right,” He said. “You need My help in everything.” Quite a lesson, for us all, don’t you think? And me? I arose with a new found understanding of what it means to rely upon the Lord for everything.

Don’t trust yourself, my friend. Don’t condemn yourself either. But as Paul says in Col 1:28-29, “Proclaim Jesus, admonish and teach Him with all wisdom; to present every man complete in Christ. Do this, but strive according to His power, which mightily works within you.”

Today, rely upon the Spirit – and COME ALIVE!

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Stressed! – 159

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Are you stressing out in trying to fulfill your destiny? Trying to accomplish something great (by human standards at least)?

Well, listen, Father has given us the gift of LIFE – to enjoy, and in doing so we shall fulfill our destinies. DON’T STRESS OUT – but CHILL OUT as you ENJOY – THIS – LIFE!

Thanks to JESUS, there is now JOY in LIVING. In living under the New Covenant. Friend, we cannot fail, or come short, for God has already JUSTIFIED us. He has already made us the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. 2 Cor 5:21. He is NOT DISAPPOINTED when He looks at you, dear believer!

We are accepted in the Beloved! We are IN Christ. In order for the Father to judge us, He would have to judge His Son again. He cannot do that.

Although Jesus has given us a COMPLETE SALVATION – religion will say that we have come short and there is something more for us to do. NO! It is a Great Salvation. Heb 2:3. God, having performed such a great salvation, now simply wants us to enjoy it with Him! To plumb its depths and heights and give glory to His Son.

Thanks to religion we find Christians worldwide who believe in salvation by grace, but also believe it is all up to them. They are racked by thoughts of “am I good enough?” Perhaps you are one of them.

Remember Ro 5:17? We’ve been given the GIFT of RIGHTEOUSNESS through which we will reign in this life. Religion, and culture today, stresses performance. Great performance earns the reward, and there are plenty of losers. That is not the KINGDOM message.

So, if you have been caught up in DOING, STRIVING, STRESSING OUT to hear the Master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” stop! New Covenant life is BEING. BEING IN CHRIST. Being at the feet of Jesus. Just BE in Jesus and allow Him to do it.

Today, let us cease striving, but enter His rest, allow HIS ministry to flow through us, as we COME ALIVE!

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Wrestlemania – 158

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Spiritual warfare  a wrestling match, Paul tells us in Eph 6. By GRACE, we have armor from God with which to gird ourselves: truth, righteousness, peace, salvation, faith – the Word of God. It takes place primarily in the mind, for in 2 Cor 10:5 we are told to take captive evil thoughts. Like depression. Loneliness. Rejection. Grief. Anger. Violence. Sexual vices. Self-pity and more. They don’t belong to us. They are not our thoughts!

By GRACE, we have what it takes – God’s power and authority – to take every ungodly thought captive. Jesus has given us HIS victory. HE has raised us up to sit with Him in heaven, with authority, far above these things. Eph 2:6. Where do these ungodly thoughts come from? 

Demons are the authors of evil twisted thoughts, and conditions, and many sicknesses. All 4 gospels record Jesus casting out many demons. Few Christians cast them out today, few believe they even exist. Why? Well, one of satan’s lies is that they don’t exist! But friend, they do and they are warring against us. Thankfully they are subject to us in Jesus’ name. Lu 10:17.

CONSIDER: have you ever said or done something that you afterward regretted; something that hurt someone, hurt yourself? Maybe you said,
“I don’t know what came over me.”
“I don’t know why I did that.”
“I don’t know why I said that.”
“I couldn’t believe it was me speaking.”
Perhaps someone—someTHING was inspiring you.

Paul in Gal 5:19-21 speaks of the works of the flesh. Demons will try to rile up your flesh. To get it working evil things. Anger. Violence. Impurity. Whatever! And if you have given place to them before, you may even feel them in your body. Your body may seethe with anger – or burn with desire. Before you know it, you act in the flesh, and suffer the consequences.
 And those demons who inspired you now shout condemnation at you! It’s a LOSE-LOSE if we DON’T challenge them. 

Today, may our Lord Jesus by His grace grant you the gift of discernment of spirits. It’s time to wrestle – and win. Yes, it’s time to COME ALIVE!

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Once I Was Dead – But GOD – 157

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God, “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace we have been saved—” Eph 2:5.

Paul tells the Colossians the same thing and more. Beginning with ch 2 vs 13 – “And you, who were dead in your trespasses, God made alive together with him, (sound familiar?) having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This God set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities (those demonic powers who would condemn us and try to control us) and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Jesus.”

I ask you, who is doing the work in these passages? Ourselves – or God? Who is the active one? Ourselves – or God? Who is making us alive? Ourselves – or God? Who is doing the saving? Ourselves – or God? The forgiving? The canceling? The nailing? The disarming?

Dear friend, let’s not be fooled into thinking salvation came our way through our own merits, or that we had a hand in it, or our good works earned it. It’s by grace we have been saved through faith. It’s not our doing; it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8.

That phrase, “have been saved,” is in the perfect tense, meaning that our salvation is fully secured. It’s done. The whole process of “salvation by grace through faith” is a gift from God – not something that we can accomplish ourselves.

When a person was crucified, there was nailed to the cross the list of accusations, the reasons, why that person was being crucified. In Col, Paul tells us that all of OUR debts, sins, offenses, transgressions, you name it, were written there. All – of – them. Jesus was crucified because of our failures.
And because of the Cross, the devil’s power has been broken. He still tries to accuse us – but wait! That sin, real as it may be, has already been nailed to Calvary’s Cross. There’s Jesus’ blood, pouring down from the Cross in full payment. The accusations, however real, have been paid for. Hallelujah!

It’s time we believe it – and COME ALIVE!

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Faith Shield – 156

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“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one.” Eph 6:16. Fiery darts – from the devil. Roman shields were large, door sized; covered in leather, wet down before battle – a flaming arrow hitting the shield would be extinguished.

Our shield of FAITH extinguishes the devils darts. What are his darts? Thoughts that come zinging at you. Day. Night. From the Internet, media, people, co-workers, bosses, demons. Yes, demons. You didn’t think those fearful condemning thoughts came from you, did you?

Well “Have faith in God.” Mk 11:22. Have faith in God – like Paul in Acts 27:25 when the ship was storm tossed, he says, “So take heart men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.”  Don’t trade your faith for fear – have faith, and it will turn our exactly as God has said. Today’s looming disaster will be tomorrow’s awesome God victory — a true Come Alive experience!

Everyone but Paul on that ship feared for their death. Hmmm. Remember Heb 2:14-15 —

“ Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those (us) who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

It’s a big temptation friend, to fear – for safety, for your job, for danger. Immediate death, or slow death from job loss, sickness – whatever. The devil wants us making decisions, taking action – based on fears, not faith. That’s the path to lifelong slavery, even though Jesus has broken the bondage for you. Don’t remain under it!

God has not given us a spirit of fear. 2 Tim 1:7 so we can resist it. Jesus has made the devil, powerless in our lives. But you can choose to believe his lies, make bad decisions, and be enslaved. Don’t! Let’s listen to the Holy Spirit, ok?

“The Lord is my helper; we will not fear….” Heb 13:6. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 Jn 4:18.

So live in the love of God; fear not; stand behind that shield of faith – and COME ALIVE!

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Everlasting Love – 155

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Jer 31:3 – “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness…”

Everlasting love. Eternal. Never vacillating, oscillating, fluctuating. Never dries up under the Summer heat or freezes up in Winter’s cold. Steadfast. Constant and perennial. Out of that love God, it says, draws us to Himself. The Holy Spirit is constantly at work in the hearts of all people. 

Everyone wants to be loved. And to love. We talk about it. Write song after song about it. But apart from the Lord, it’s always conditional love. Conditional love is broken love – because someone didn’t measure up. They failed. And with the failure, love disappeared. We soon get the message: “if we want to be loved, we have got to measure up.” Not only that, but conditional love often sets achievement levels that are beyond reach. So people go off looking for love in all the wrong places, places that are full of hurting people. Hurting people who minister rejection out of a fear of rejection.

We may enter into a competition for acceptance, approval, or affection. It generates alienation. One guy wins the girl, one girl wins the guy, and all the rest are losers -coping with rejection as best we can and entering the next competition for love full of the fear of rejection. Many give up.

Consider: the Father has not rejected anyone – Not even Jesus when He became our sin offering at Calvary. But it may have felt that way to Jesus. On the cross He quoted Ps 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The rejection feeling was the worst ever! When it was over, Jesus paraphrased the vs 39 of that Psalm, “He has done it” – or, “It is finished.” Jesus experienced this for us so we could experience God’s unconditional acceptance, His love, forever and ever!

God loves us unconditionally not because we are somebody; He loves us – and we become somebody! He loves us as if there were no one else to love! Nothing we can do can add to God’s love for us. Nothing we can do can lessen that love! 

But we can cooperate with that love. How? By receiving His love today and everyday. 

So today, receive the love of God, and COME ALIVE!

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The Lesson – 153

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The other day my lovely wife commented: “Before you are able know who you are in Christ, you need to know who Jesus is.”

Jesus Christ is our focal point. Our identity comes – through Jesus. As we come to know, truly know – Him, and then who we are IN Him – we can more readily recognize what in this life comes from God, know what to resist, how to walk uprightly, and so much more. As believers we are sons of the Most High, the All Mighty God, who is Father. Who is love. But do we know that? 

People often read Mat 25:21, “…well done good and faithful servant….” And focus on service in their church, on the mission field and so forth. Please don’t stumble. Jesus spoke those words when the Old Covenant was still in effect.

Believers in Jesus have been adopted. We are sons. A son and a servant are very different persons! Servants are paid wages, punished if they do not perform. Sons serve without payment: the entire kingdom is theirs already! They serve – out of love. Doing God Stuff is their delight.

Jesus is our Redeemer. Purchaser. Savior. The tender mercies of God – the Dayspring from on high in the flesh. God revealer. Righteousness imparter. Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. Who has removed the separation between God and man. Judgment has been superseded – by Grace.

Until a person knows Jesus, and begins receiving the grace of God – they will see God as demanding. Expecting. Impersonal. With requirements. There will be that fear that they are ‘not good enough’ and fear that God will be disciplining – and by that they mean punishing them – for their failures. Many failures. 

True, Heb 12:5-11 speaks of God disciplining His children. But read it in the Message Bible for some insight. He instructs – Educates – not punish. He trains. Listen: God will not break your arm to teach you a lesson! Do you want a lesson from God? Ro 5:8 “…while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Now THAT’S A LESSON!

Today, consider God’s lessons through His Son – and COME ALIVE!

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Jesus Forgives – 154

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As you come to know Jesus – and your new identity in Him – everything changes. It takes some time to grow into our new identity as Sons of God. The Gospels show again and again knowing who Jesus is comes by revelation knowledge, not book learning.

For example – in Lu 7:36-50 we find a woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. It’s found only in Luke’s Gospel.

Jesus is dining in the house of Simon the Pharisee. None of the customary greetings were given Him. No welcome kiss. No washing of His feet. No anointing of His head with oil. Simon certainly had no idea who Jesus REALLY was.

Dining typically took place in the inner courtyard, which usually had a pathway to the street. And along the pathway comes an immoral woman! Everyone tenses. Except for Jesus. She stands behind Jesus, and the Greek says she unleashed a flood of tears. Then undid her hair to wipe His feet – At the time, undoing one’s hair in public was a sinful act.

Kissed His feet, anointed His hair with the perfumed oil. Shocking everyone – but Jesus. Jesus receives her. Says she loved much. But that is not why she was forgiven.

You see, by faith it was revealed to her – JESUS – as one who would not reject her. She SAW JESUS as one who could and would forgive her. He could, and He did. It was her faith that had saved her, said Jesus. Luke 7:50.

Her faith, my friend. Her faith. As she approached Jesus, step by step – Love overwhelmed her – forgiveness enveloped her. She was loved – forgiven – she knew it by revelation knowledge. Just as Peter suddenly knew Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God.

It happened to me, Jan 18, 1976 when I stepped out of a church pew to respond to an altar call to declare Jesus my Savior and Lord. I took one step into the aisle, and – love overwhelmed me. I knew God was real, He loved me, He forgave me, He received me just as I was; BEFORE I could verbalize it, I knew it, and like that woman in Jesus’ day, a flood of tears poured down from my eyes. A flood my friend. A Holy Spirit flood.

Ask Jesus for revelation knowledge of Himself. Col 1:9-10. He WILL answer – and you’ll be well along to knowing who YOU ARE. You’ll COME ALIVE!

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Price Paid – 152

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At Hank’s Place we believe THE GRACE OF GOD is-  always – totally – completely – sufficient – for you, for me, for everyone – for all time!

I saw a FB post the other day that said, “Many want the anointing—but how many are willing to endure the crushing (picture of an olive) to produce the oil?” Really? Really? So pious, such a challenge. Are YOU WILLING to pay the price?

STOP right there my dear friend! This is bad thinking and defiled religion! When God looked around and saw there was no one – Is 59:16, HE bared His mighty right arm. HE sent forth a Savior. That Savior paid the price for everyone. To bring many sons to glory. New Creations – sons of God – in righteousness. YOU pay the price? Rubbish!

Consider Elijah – did he pay the price? Read 1 Ki 16-17. You’ll find repeatedly: “and the word of the Lord came to him.” To various prophets. Then Elijah suddenly appears, with the word of the Lord, and continues in the word of the Lord. Friend, Elijah heard, believed, acted. Where was the price?

Consider Elisha – did he pay the price? In 1 Kings 19:16 the Lord tells Elijah to anoint Elisha in his place. 3 verses later he tosses his mantle upon Elisha and Elisha responds, in faith, sacrificing his father’s oxen as an offering and followed Elijah. Where was the price?

How about when Elisha asks for a double portion of the anointing – 2 Ki 2:9-12. Elijah says, ‘now that’s a hard thing, but if you see me carried into heaven it will be so.’ To see? He saw! Faith! Elisha asked, and believed – and received!!! What price my friend, what price?

Consider Moses – did he pay the price? Exodus 3. Moses saw – the burning bush. He heard the voice of God. He removed his sandals. He believed. He received. 

Do you see? Even under the Old Covenant the anointing came ONE way: by faith. 

Oh, and John the Baptist – did he pay the price? Luke 3:2, “…the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” John heard, John believed, John received and acted.

OLD or NEW Covenant, the anointing comes but ONE way: by faith.

Today – do you desire a greater anointing? Then ask! Then hear – the word of the Lord. BELIEVE IT – and RESPOND! You’ll help many – COME ALIVE!

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God Protected – 151

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Listen to 1 Jn 5:18: “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” The Message Bible expresses it this way, “The God-begotten are also the God-protected. The Evil One can’t lay a hand on them. We know that we are held firm by God.…”

And don’t forget Luke 10:19, “Behold, I have given you (this is Jesus speaking to His disciples – disciples like you and me) authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”

But you say you gave a testimony in church and have been sick for a week? Spoke in a Christian meeting and the devil’s been kicking your uh, back-side ever since?

Well, consider these 2 passages—and don’t let him! These verses declare we have God’s protection, and God’s authority over the evil one. BELIEVE the TRUTH my friend, and in your believing, act! Speak out. Remember how Peter got out of the boat and walked on water? Mt 14:29. Until he saw the wind. He believed, and acted upon Jesus’ words. Then his seeing – the wind – became his new believing and he began sinking. 

Back to 1 Jn 5:18. The concept John is presenting is that of a wedge. The devil seeks to drive a wedge between us, and God. Didn’t he try the same thing with Adam and Eve in the Garden? But “He who was born of God” – this is a reference to Jesus, protects us; we cannot be separated from God. Any separation you are experiencing is an illusion, a lie.

So keep the faith my friend. Jesus is watching over you. You are in the palm of the father’s hand. John 10:29. We no longer have a ‘sin condition’ that allows the devil to assault us when he pleases. We have been joined to God. 1 Cor 6:17

What about Job you ask? Why would you live by events that happened before God’s covenant with Abraham, and before the New Covenant in the blood of the Son of God? Don’t run your life by what you think it says in Job, ok? 

Today – thanks to the grace of God, you can resist the devil. And he will flee from you. Ja 4:7. And you know what? You will experience a new dimension – in COMING ALIVE!

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Supplied by God – 150

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At Hank’s Place we are CONTINUING IN THE GRACE OF GOD – join us, please!

Please look at Phil 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” The Amplified bible says it this way, “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

The Greek word for supply is pleroo (pardon my Greek), related to a word used to describe the fullness of God. The Amplified is spot on when it says God will liberally fill us to the full, fill up all hollow spots, cause us to abound, load us up with everything we have need of, making us so filled up that we are totally complete. In all things. In every aspect of our lives.

Again, thanks to Jesus and His unique work of salvation at the cost of His life – for us – now God shall liberally, fully, gloriously, abundantly, supply all our needs by imparting richly and furnishing abundantly, in a lavish and magnificent way – measured not by our standards or any worldly standard, but according to His riches in glory – all disclosed and discovered and realized in Jesus Christ! That’s POWERFUL dear friend! Think about it!

The immensity of God’s provision toward us is beyond our imagination. What’s that you say? “If His provision is so huge, then why do I have such debts and pains and lack?”

The answer may be found in the preceding verses: Phil 4:15-18 where we find Paul thanking them for their participation in the gospel, in giving and receiving, in gifts for others and for himself. Friend this is NOT “Give so we can get!” The Philippians were people of faith, and love, who saw God’s provision, saw themselves in His hand, who saw His commitment to them; and in response they were generous in giving away from themselves, in helping others in need. 

So today, dear friend. Let us look to Jesus! Let us look to our Father! Consider His love, His faithfulness, our adoption as sons of God. His covenant with us through Jesus’ blood is unbreakable. 

Consider, and soon you’ll be freely giving, receiving – receiving and giving. Life will become such a sweet adventure, for you will have COME ALIVE!

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Lavish Grace -149

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At Hank’s Place we are CONTINUING IN THE GRACE OF GOD!

Check out for instance, Gal 3:5 “So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” I love how the Message Bible says this: “Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?”

God lavishly provides us—with Himself! Whoa! That means in a VERY GENEROUS and EXTRAVAGANT manner. The original Greek word is choregeo (chor-ah-yeg-eh-o), and came to refer to the wealthy patron or patrons of the arts who would underwrite all the expenses of the chorus, the dancers, the show. It was a place of honor and importance because of the great personal expense involved.

So we can say that God, out of His grace, lavishly, extravagantly, provides us with His Spirit, thanks to Jesus and Calvary! Check the wording. If you’ll check the Greek wording carefully, you will find that Paul is not referring to a single instance, a miracle here and a miracle there, a healing here or there. He is referring to a continuous floodtide of answered prayers. Of healings – of deliverances – of miracles. Oh how marvelous is the grace of God my friend!
Unbelievers may question the existence of God or His provision, but believers can soon discover, with simple faith, a LAVISH SUPPLY of all manner of blessings from His incredible, generous nature.

Paul is saying our Father is the patron, the sponsor, the backer, the choregeo—who has underwritten lavishly the total cost of our lifetime walk with Him. Jesus paid the TOTAL PRICE of our redemption at Calvary.

And Jesus urges all to come unto Him, weary, heavy laden, racked with guilt and failure. “COME!” He says! And as we do, He starts us on a journey that is fully and lavishly provided for, a journey in which we have COME ALIVE – at last!

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Opportune Time – 148

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The theme here at Hank’s Place in the New Year is CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.

This message was free flowing from a frigid location in Northern New Jersey. Read Romans 1 and John 4 for background.

In short, it doesn’t matter how people are typecast or profiled. It doesn’t matter what you think about them or they about you. What matters is that TODAY is the Day of Salvation – always – and the fields are white to harvest.

This means there are those ‘out there’ in the group you may think are rejects, God deniers, who have ears to hear, who are ready to receive, who are ready to believe, and you know what?

In believing, they will COME ALIVE!

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Lies Evolve – 147

 

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The theme here at Hank’s Place in the New Year is CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.

We have been sharing about sharing the Gospel with all cultures, with the wise and the foolish.

Ro 1 is so fascinating. The self professing wise men, who deny God, become fools. And  they suppress the truth in all unrighteousness. Ro 1:22, also vs 18. A clear example of this is the theory of evolution and the billions of years old earth – taught in most places as factual and true. Taught by these God-deniers! Exchanging the truth about God for a lie, they now serve the creature rather than the creator. Ro 1:25.

I don’t know about you, but someone with Phd’s after his name boasting about how his papa is a monkey just seems so incongruous, don’t you think? Or the argument that the Big Bang and evolution MUST have occurred because, well, here we are – is pretty flimsy, don’t you agree? 

But without God in the equation, man can be as gods, like satan offered Eve in the garden. Don’t fear evolutionists, friend. You don’t have to believe their religion, and that’s what it is because it comes down to faith. Science and the Bible are in amazing harmony. But the wisdom of this world is busy suppressing the truth, telling outright lies, and bullying those who would speak out truthfully.

Did you know in the past decade there have been findings of T-Rex bones in Montanna with soft tissue and blood cells in them? Search the Internet and see for yourself. This means that those bones are only a few thousand years old, in agreement with young earth theories. And there are literally hundreds of other scientific findings that the God haters try to suppress. 

Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel or your origins, my friend. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the LIVING GOD, by God! Walk in the truth, fear NOT.

They lie to avoid accountability before GOD. Yet anyone, any evolutionist, could say, “Lord Jesus, be merciful to me, a sinner.” And just like the tax gatherer in Jesus’ day, that person would be forgiven and justified – in fact – believing upon Jesus causes that person to COME ALIVE!

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