September 28, 2014
In the suburb next to the one we live in there has been a beautiful occurrence that has gone national. It can be read and viewed here:
Being that homecoming is actually a very big deal in Texas, this act of kindness shown by two girls toward another is no small thing. But giving up the crown for their friend who had experienced a cruel prank has reaped more reward and honor than had they kept their crown. What an inspiration to all of us to remember those who hurt, those who are bullied, and those who are less fortunate. And what an encouragement to remember to be kind, generous, humble, unselfish, and self-sacrificing!
Last year I wrote about my niece, Kiana, who was her school’s 11th grade homecoming princess and whose boyfriend accompanied her in his football uniform. This year this same young man is the captain of their football team, but, ever since last year, Kiana, with his agreement, has planned, if she gets nominated again, to have a particular other classmate to be her escort. This classmate happens to be mentally handicapped. Kiana has assisted with him and the other handicapped students for several years, getting them involved and participating, and this year, while being a cheerleader, the president of the student council, and the vice president of the student body, she has organized for them to be a part of several things including the cheerleaders. Talk about someone who has worked to make potential outcasts feel included and honored!
There are many self-sacrificing people in the world. True, there are many who are not, but there are many who are. And all too often their acts of kindness and selflessness go unnoticed. Maybe this is why it is so wonderful when someone’s does get attention. Even national attention.
May many take such heart-warming stories to heart and strive to think of ways to show kindness to everyone they can, especially to those who may be hurting somehow. I’ve seen that sometimes even the smallest act of kindness can go a very long way. It can melt a heart, it can create a friendship, and it can save a soul.
June 17, 2014
This last Friday I had an exceptionally great time spreading the Gospel downtown with my signs, tracts, and conversations. As I always do, I’d asked my mom to call others to pray, and later, I found out she’d asked seven people to be praying. I could tell, for I had many excellent discussions and much encouragement from many who were excited and encouraged themselves to see my boldness. But why should we not be bold? We have a message of Good News and the Spirit of the Mighty Creator within us –He who gives us His words to say, His strength, His leading, and the encounters He has pre-planned.
I went earlier than I usually do because I was determined to walk up to catch the white-collar lunch crowd about a mile from the big train and bus depot where I usually canvas. I think I’d not been there for about three years so I was shocked at the swarms of people. (The economy certainly must be better! And what an opportunity to plant seeds among the “self-sufficient”!) After I’d been there a bit, a singing, guitar-playing Christian I’d met before came up and began setting up his amp with a homeless-shelter friend. I talked with them a minute and then a young girl, maybe about 18 years old, showed up with a camera.
After taking some pictures, this girl sat down on the water canal wall so I walked over and began a conversation. What a philosophy she had developed for herself! She admitted to having had the Gospel explained to her many times, but still, she wasn’t even sure about a Creator. In fact, if there is one, she mused, then He (or rather, It) is a force, not a person. Moreover, there is no Heaven or Hell, she opined, except there is both for those who believe in them. See, she reasoned, reality is what a person believes it is, and Truth is completely relative. (I thought this philosophy was deemed nonsense and had thus gone out of vogue 20 years ago, but I see it must be alive and well.) I tried to listen to her respectfully, but when I asked if wanting to be queen would make us queens, or if wanting flowers to grow up amid the cement at our feet would make it so, she knew I found her doctrine to be more than silly.
What pathetic thoughts people are being taught to entertain! The whole of creation (including DNA and the fine-tuned delicateness of the universe) declares a Creator (Ps. 19:1-4 // Rom. 1:19,20), yet people insist that there is great evidence to the contrary and continue to insist upon inventing their own Truth! We parted politely, but as I walked away from that block, I felt both grieved and disgusted concerning the foolishness of those who weave their doctrine from their own “lofty” thoughts. “The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight” (1 Cor. 3:19) is the verse I kept hearing in my spirit. So grievous! I prayed many times over the next few days for that girl’s soul, and that the enemy would not snatch away the Good Seed (the Truth) which the Farmer had many times in her life attempted to plant within her. (Luke 8:5,12) May the Lord have mercy on her!
Later, back at the main depot, I met a friend who used to be homeless and wow! has he ever been growing in the knowledge of God’s Word! It was precious to hear him quote verses and so humbly describe what the Lord has been revealing to him. We talked quite a while and I thanked the Lord for impressing on me that that good fruit in this endearing soul was largely due to the numerous times I’d talked with him about the Truth. I thank the Lord when He shows me some lasting fruit from my labors.
One guy came up to me and could not stop telling me –for about 15 minutes– how important it was what I was doing. “Do not ever stop this assignment,” he kept saying. “This is so wonderful and I know the Lord wants you to know you are not to ever stop due to the commands of people. Do not listen to those who discourage you or tell you that this boldness is dumb. Keep doing this! It is great! It is of God!” and on he went excitedly, then praying for me a very wonderful prayer. I was truly encouraged.
At one point, later, I saw a guy sitting on a low wall watching me and frowning. The frown did not make me want to talk with him, but eventually I realized the Lord was telling me to go over and talk with him anyway. I approached him with, “Well, do you like my signs?” (These were about freedom for sin’s captives.) “No,” he answered –as I expected. “Why not?” I asked.
The guy went on to explain how annoyed he was at Christians’ doctrines, particularly that they were always telling him that gays could not inherit Heaven. “Do you teach that?” he asked me.
I’m usually straight-forward, but I chose to be gentle, saying something to this effect: “God considers all adultery –gay or straight– to be sin. Even looking at someone –of either sex– with lust, is adultery, and it breaks the law of love. Lusting after someone defiles that person. Lusting in not love, but defilement. Defiling others instead of loving them unselfishly causes pain. God wants to shield us from such pain. He wants everyone to love Him and to love others.”
The man softened and talked with me. He told me some about his upbringing. He asked me questions about the Word. When we parted, he had a smile –one of appreciation or of hope, or maybe of both. I’ve prayed for him many times since. And for many others I’ve met down there. –Because prayer does change things. It does change eternal destinies.
Going and speaking and sharing and proclaiming changes a lot. But it must be bathed with prayer. And prayer must be followed with Spirit-led words and action. It all must be done together –done with faith and boldness. For we have no small Message to bring to the world!
March 7, 2014
We are to proclaim God’s wonderful acts all across the globe. (1 Ch. 16:8,9) Are we doing so? We are to tell of His love and His faithfulness and remind the peoples of the earth how profound are His thoughts. (Ps. 92:2,5) In the hearing of the nations we are to shout and sing with joy to the Lord, the Mighty and Holy King who loves justice. (98:4 & 99:4,5 // 1 Ch. 16:23-31) We are to broadcast the perfect character of God –that “there is no wickedness in Him.” (Ps. 92:15) Are we doing these things?
If we are not advertising God across the earth with consistency and boldness, and in line with the Truth, why not? Are we ashamed of God? Are we afraid? What of? Our reputations? Or are we just too busy? Or is it that we ourselves do not actually know God, His ways, or what He has said?
Whatever our reasons for not declaring God –His character, His works, His salvation, His judgements, His mercies, and His Truth– to a world that sits in darkness, a world that remains shackled by evil and sin, a world that gasps in death… is to disobey God’s numerous commands to do so. Remaining quiet or timid when people shriek with fear, when they groan in such hopelessness that they are willing to run to chaos rather than lay in that “overwhelming nothingness”, is to act with wicked negligence. Even a worldling’s heart is moved to call 911 when someone is seen to be in danger or wounded. But God’s (supposed) ambassadors often glance quickly away and, tiptoeing around the sufferer (Luke 10:31,32), they instead head for the party hall, or the mall, or their church.
What insensitivity! What selfishness! What greed! “It’s all about me” still, isn’t it? Well, Jesus said some things about that –that those who try to preserve Self or who use up time attending to spiritually dead things (Luke 9:23-25,57-62) are not fit to be called His. (same verses & 14:33) Their negligence to give themselves (their hearts and their lives) whole-heartedly and forever to Christ –to His glory and to His mission– is to act in rebellion, unbelief, and/or embarrassment concerning Christ and His words. (9:23-26) To disobey Christ’s Leadership is to reject or disown Christ as one’s Lord. (Mt. 7:21 // 2 Tim. 2:12 // Jude 1:4) It is to forfeit one’s soul. (Luke 9:25,26)
Let us remind each other then, that love for God is to proclaim Him –to proclaim Him boldly, always at the leading of, and under the control of, the Spirit, and, while never neglecting any chance we get, to be doing this everywhere, even to the most remote regions of the earth, including the most sinful, dark areas of our own city.
October 6, 2013
Israeliteindeed’s post yesterday is excellent! Here it is:
Please click here to read the last few sentences, and also, to show appreciation, to click “Like” or make a comment.
It is so true that it is precisely the love of God that compels His people to repeatedly warn deceivers (and their followers) and to courageously expose their lies to the world. For deceivers harm others –for this life, and for eternity. Thus deception is evil to the core and must be exposed and apprehended. But who has equipped themselves well with the Truth so that they might step up and take action?
September 16, 2013
I was very excited to hear Daniel email me this wonderful report of the encounters he and his friend had this last Saturday as they went out ministering to the homeless. I applaud him for his courage and obedience, for being “a doer of the Word, not a hearer only.” (See Ja. 1:22) For as that verse along with verse 21 warn us, if we merely listen to the Word without putting to practice what it commands, we deceive ourselves if we believe ourselves to be saved. (See also Luke 6:46-49) And being that Jesus has told us to follow Him in being “fishers of men” (Mt. 4:19), meaning to bring others into His Kingdom, we must be doing this actively –either on the front lines or assisting in some capacity. (Mt. 5:13-16 & 9:35-38 & 28:18-20) If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will definitely be proclaiming Christ’s Kingdom in the boldness and power of God’s Spirit. (Mi. 3:8 // Mt. 11:12 // Acts 1:4-8)
Here, and used with permission, is what Daniel wrote:
Thanks for the words! It was awesome to serve the Lord. Wasn’t easy, a different experience for me to be honest, but was great. We ministered to a group of about 7 homeless sitting together. At one stage the Lord really took over and spoke through me quite convictingly and strongly, with the basic message of ‘Look Jesus is calling out to you guys now, and He loves you with an everlasting love, but you guys need to actually choose Him, if you don’t want Him He can’t give Himself to you, so you have to choose if you really want Jesus from your hearts or not.’ But it was in a powerful way that I even saw the one girl was quite convicted. I really felt the Spirit talking through me, cause I am not normally outspoken like that and firm like that, especially speaking in front of a group.
We also specifically ministered to this one person Vincent, who we felt God wants to raise up as even a leader, even to lead the homeless to a better place, like Moses, but could really sense God calling Him to Himself with all His heart. I told Him I felt God say that He was holding back his heart from God, which He confirmed was true, and then told Him God is challenging Him to give Him and wants all of His heart. I hope that gnaws at Him until He truly gives God all His heart. What I really wanted above all else was that God would show up and speak through us, which is exactly what happened! In my humble opinion that is what is impactful, when we are the vessels and we speak just what God is wanting to speak to a person or group of people, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then you come away with a sense of, whew, okay I just spoke what the Lord wanted to say, now its up to them if they respond to the Lord or not . Like basically doing His work, not our own, but He does it through us. Vessels :) (obviously offering them to respond then and there, but you know what I mean, like they now know Jesus has directly reached out to them). I really believe that God will now speak to all of them Himself and convict them further of what was said. I hope the words burn in their hearts so they can’t forget them. Jesus really called out to them there today.
It’s also just personally so great to know that in some way I’m responding to doing the work of Jesus. Its really almost relieving to the soul, that actually doing what He asked of us, not just hearing it.
It is so true that when we step out in the courage and obedience that comes from (true) faith, then the Holy Spirit takes over (not like a trance, but seemingly natural, though also supernatural), rewarding our efforts so that we do actually find Him speaking through us! (Mark 13:9-11 // 1 Peter 4:11) If we are cleansed vessels who have been walking in the Spirit, then we are fully enabled to, every chance we get, open up our mouths to proclaim the Message of freedom obtained through Christ. (Isa. 61:1 // 1 John 2:6) It truly is an exciting and fulfilling vocation!
September 3, 2013
Slander is a grievous sin, and those who practice it, right along with those who practice sexual sin, theft, hatred, discord, jealously, and fits of rage (1 Cor. 6:9,10 // Gal. 5:19-21), will reap Hell. From your tone and words, I will have to caution you about several of those sins, as well as your sin of mockery, and about throwing your stone / your judgmental statement: “This guy is definitely full of SIN in his life.” Do you have sin in your heart and life? Jesus warns us to examine our own selves first as He says, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…” (John 8:7)
Maybe you’d do well to ask yourself if you are truly a man who walks in the Spirit. Ask yourself, too, if you are walking in wisdom. Is it wise, and is it of the Spirit, to introduce yourself to me via an attack? Wisdom is supreme and we are to seek it as our top priority, for therein is the knowledge of God. (Pr. 2:1-6 & 4:7) Those who are wise walk in the Spirit continuously and they therefore behave and speak humbly, not with arrogance and hostility as you have. While accusing me of pride and boasting, you say, “I’m pulling down your mighty stronghold of who you think you are in relationship to Christ Jesus.” Really? How so? Are you saying my beliefs now crumble due to your angry outburst? Is that not great pride on your part?
Well, as for me, I boast in the Lord alone. Yes, He who makes His true and faithful followers walk steady, strong, and victorious. Does that make you angry, Jim? I see that you resent my confidence about knowing the Lord, His Word, and His voice, and so you call that pride. No, pride and confidence are not synonymous. Confidence is being sure of the One Whom we are in unity with, and knowing what He has told us. Confidence is walking out our Lord’s instructions with faith, trust, courage, boldness, maturity, and wisdom.
I would caution you about slandering Jeremy Riddle without stating what it is he does that is so sinful. Moreover, your accusations must be reliable and correct and your sources trustworthy. Also, for me to post a song I heard in passing or at church and that struck a grateful and worshipful chord in my heart toward God, is not the same as promoting the singer himself (though he must be acknowledged). There are about three songs by Riddle that I like (or even know about), and I certainly don’t promote or post him, or any man or band, but instead songs that have God-exalting words and peaceful or joyful music. I’m sorry if you think that it is my business to take precious time out to research the lives of singers so as to try to find out if they are sinful, or if they are holy enough for me to worship God through their songs. If that is your doctrine and you want others to adhere to it, then it’d be wise of you to explain your beliefs with tact and humility, not anger.
Your comment has reminded me of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11: “God, I thank You that I am not like all other men –robbers, evildoers, adulterers– or even like this tax collector.” I exhort you to check your heart and see if you have added to the Pharisee’s words, “For they sin, but I don’t sin. And I sure don’t worship You, God, with incorrect kinds of music.” What is the music you believe God is pleased with? Is it the type you like, that which you are used to, and that which is the culture of your brand of “Christianity”? Definitely there is a lot of wicked music out there that calls itself “Christian”, but let’s remember that God created variety for His pleasure, as well as for ours, and a variant that is not to our liking is not necessarily wicked. Let’s remember the record of King David and his wife Michal, and that harboring contempt toward a fellow worshipper of God is another detestable sin in God’s eyes. (2 Sam. 6:16-23)
My comment page is not open to those who wish to waste others’ time and who work for the enemy to distract God’s people from instructing one another constructively. Therefore, Jim, please do not comment here again until your own heart has been cleansed, and you can approach a discussion with respect toward others.
July 20, 2013
Isa. 62:3 says, “You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Is it only Jerusalem that is being referred to, or are all who are righteous included? It is the latter, and their righteousness will shine “out like the dawn” (v. 1) that the nations will see it. (v. 2) This is what will bring glory to the Lord.
If we are in Christ, then we, just as He is the Light of the world (John 8:12), are also the light of the world. (Mt. 5:14) “A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (same verse), for its light lights up the sky and everyone can see it and its light plainly. This we ourselves are commanded to be. We and our light (Christ within us) are to be put on a stand to be seen. (v. 15,16) We are to do so in order that everyone can see Christ. We are to do so that we may encourage and flavor (influence) the world. (v. 13) We are to stand up boldly and shine out Jesus everywhere. We do this through our righteousness, and that does mean by doing good deeds. (v. 16) There is no way to shine out Christ through our righteousness if our behavior is not righteous. Righteousness is about action. It’s about action that proves what is inside. (15:18-20)
So what about it? –Can each one of us honestly say we are a crown of splendor and a royal diadem in the Lord’s hand? Are we each wearing the “garments of splendor” (Isa. 52:1) –Christ Himself whom God has so graciously clothed us with? (Gal. 3:27) And are we choosing to wear Him daily as we are commanded to do in Rom. 13:14? He is our full armor of God (Eph. 6:11), the armor of Light (Rom. 13:12) who extinguishes the darkness and exposes evil. (John 3:20 // Eph. 5:8-14) Are we thus living as children of the Light? (Eph. 5:8) If we are, then we will bear its fruit –which “consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” (v. 9)
God says, “I will grant salvation to Zion, My splendor to Israel.” (Isa. 46:13) True Christ-followers, through faith, are Abraham children and heirs of the promise (Rom. 4:16 // Gal. 3:29) –and of all the promises that go along with the promise. (2 Cor. 1:20)
Therefore, and because all heirs are also God’s servants, to every one of us the Lord declares this: “You are My servant, Israel, in whom I will display My splendor.” (Isa. 49:3) Does it matter how He chooses to do this in and through each of us? It shouldn’t. For when we came into covenant with Him we submitted our will to His. Is there then not cause to rejoice in that He wants us, desires to use us, and delights to make us His own instrument of splendor? Indeed there is great cause for rejoicing.
Moreover, if we, as we hold out the Word of Life, are becoming blameless, faultless, and pure, then we ourselves, along with our deeds, will be shining like stars amongst a crooked and depraved generation. (Phil. 2:15) Then when Christ returns in blazing glory, we will not be disappointed, for the reward He will bring with Him will show we “did not run or labor for nothing.” (v. 16) Yes, it will be seen that we did not labor without purpose or spend our strength in vain. (Isa. 49:4)
Having been a crown of splendor and a royal diadem in God’s hand will prove, eternally, well worth the “light and momentary affliction” (2 Cor. 4:17), effort, and submission.