Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Smoke is generally a good thing when used to cook tasty, well-seasoned meat or even cure those meats as is still done in homes and countries around the world. However we all know that most times oft, where there is smoke, there is fire….and some fires destroy. 

In ancient days, most fires burned inside of tents – whether large or medium or in the courtyards of a collection of homes, where families resided together. And so it was, during bible times. In those days, as well, the means of transporting water (or wine) were in wineskins. These were pouches made of leather which held the beverage in, perfectly, for as long as they were maintained in good condition. That is, until smoke got a hold of these wineskins.

Think of all the bible-based movies you have seen on television or the movie screen, or even the free billion copy giveaway classic –The Jesus Film – and you will see the kind of tent or courtyard of which we speak. It was also a habit of the holders of these wineskins, usually mostly men, to hang their wineskins on poles to the entrance of their tents. Over time, this habit actually led to the smoke from inside of the tent or even the middle of the small family courtyards finding its way into the very fabric of the wineskin. The result over a fairly short period of time is the breakdown of the leather, which forms the “skin”. It becomes brittle and eventually cracks. Here to forth, the wineskin is destroyed.
Psalm 119:81-88
81   My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word.
82   My eyes fail with longing for Your word, while I say, “When will You comfort me?”
83   Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your statutes.
84   How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?
85   The arrogant have dug pits for me,  men who are not in accord with Your law.
86   All Your commandments are faithful; they have persecuted me with a lie; help me!
87   They almost destroyed me on earth, but as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts.
88   Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
In Psalm 119:83 we read of our true and faithful servant of the Lord beginning to feel like that wineskin which seemingly absorbs all this smoke – day after day, night after night. Like any real wineskin, this can only go on for so long before there is a crack up. This is precisely what appears to have happened to “Christian” as he (or she) journeys through life.

It brings to mind Paul’s famous quote in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 "we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body." Like Paul, Psalm 119:81-88 shows us a fellow believer in God who similarly, realizes where his lies – IN GOD!

This is the encouragement of us modern day Christians – men, women, teenagers, millennials and anyone without hope.  Life in the 21st century is not easy for those of single-minded faith in the one True God of the Bible, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Regardless of how easy, thoughtful and scientific our faith is, the forces arrayed against the person in this psalm, whom I call “Christian” (a la Pilgrim’s Progress), were the same forces aligned Jesus Christ during His trial and crucifixion. 

Like Paul, we can also feel under attack by the steady, pungent and often dense smoke of unwanted trials, tribulation and persecution.  Like Paul, we can rest assured that our hope is in the Lord (verse 81).  Sometimes our eyes are made dim by the smoke of unrighteousness and we strain to see the promised better day (verse 82), but it does not mean, that day of redemption is not coming,

Even while we wonder “oh how long shall the wicked reign and the people of God suffer loss” (verses 84 and 85), we know that the Justice and Goodness of Almighty God lie in His Word, His Statues, His Precepts and all of His commands. While we may not see immediate justice from above, we know that certain terrible day IS coming. What is more achievable and desirable, is to ask for the Lord’s Mighty Hand of protection (verse 86).

Just like our Christian brethren in several difficult parts of the world, most authentic believers will never abandon the Lord and His Word.  It is not because we have been deceived or promised some mysterious “pie in the sky”. The bottom line is  women and men of the Cross (or the Book, as some call us) know with every fiber of our being that all of this is absolutely true! We possess something (or Someone) which the world cannot see, take or deny and this is the Holy Spirit of God.

He is the same Holy Spirit to whom we can pray for the Lord to spare our lives, from those who hate us (verse 88), so that we may continue to serve Him. Most time oft, He does. However, if perchance, God has another plan, in His unfailing love He allows us to come on home,  our broken and smoke damaged wineskin, will be filled with new and more divine supernatural "wine" which only the redeemed can taste. Amen.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


In trying times like these, it is no surprise so many are troubled, tried and tested beyond the max. Many seem to be folding. Many are in the process of thinking about giving up and even giving up on the Lord, Whom they surmised has “abandoned” them. Some find comfort in medicating themselves. The number one selling drug in America are anti-depressants. Some find comfort, after walking away from the one True God in “spirituality”, which is a wide-ranging word for “ I believe in nothing and ….everything”.

The principles and facts of Faith are hard things. The walk of faith is just as difficult and it is called Faith for a reason. It requires an evaluation of evidence presented. It requires acknowledgement of certain facts: from creation to salvation and how one gets there from here. It requires critical thinking, if you’re a westerner and sheer belief in a better way, if you’re persecuted by the religions of Asia and the Middle East, where grace and love are non-existent.

This is why God presents Himself to humanity as the confirmed God of the intellect and as One simple in Grace and Truth. When He says "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)”, He has offering men, women and children a free way out of their troubles and the pit of despair. This way is still available free and open to all – everywhere….in every part of the world. 

Today's problem is multi-fold, just from this statement alone (i.e. Isaiah 1:18). God, in His Loving manner of Grace, Mercy and Compassion is opening Himself up to be questioned, quizzed and even doubted, when He confronted by a potential believer. Here is the ONLY one of any so-called religions which offers both relationship and love. Yet, even this is not acceptable to mortal mankind who is basically unreasonable in both word and deed. 

We think we are good even though, there is nothing good in us except the sin with which we were born. However, we deny we are sinners, because we are “good” people. This statement could only be true in the horizontal sense. Some of us are most definitely and obviously better human beings than not just bad guys here and abroad but even those sitting in pews next to us, who are Sunday “Christians” only. So how, does one handle horizontal relationships with not so good people, compared to what God demands in the “Love Chapter” of 1 Corinthians chapter 13? Well, Psalm 119:78 gives us the answer here: 
Psalm 119:73-80
73   Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
74   May those who fear You see me and be glad, because I wait for Your word.
75   I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76   O may Your loving-kindness comfort me, according to Your word to Your servant.
77   May Your compassion come to me that I may live, for Your law is my delight.
78   May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall meditate on Your precepts.
79   May those who fear You turn to me, even those who know Your testimonies.
80   May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, so that I will not be ashamed.
This answer can only emerge from the heart, mind, body and soul of the believer who has the correct view of God and a dynamic fluid vertical relationship. The complete man, woman  and child of God are the ones who can maintain both vertical and horizontal relationships, in the proper order. This is what we see in Verses 73-77! We see the following in rapid fire:
- Acknowledgement that God is our Creator, Sustainer and Provider
- Because He is all this and more, He can also give us wisdom (Verse 73 and James 1:5)
- Because of this ability to right ask and receive wisdom from the God Who made unknown galaxies and more, the sheer JOY leads to the burning urge to share with everyone who will listen! (verses 73-74)
- God’s Word/Commands/Statutes are perfect so we need to accept and learn from them, even if it hurts (verse 75)
- The natural flow of KNOWING from Whom all life, wisdom and joy flows births the ensuing knowledge that only God Himself can comfort us! (Verse 76). Therefore we need no other man-made placebo or substitute, when we, who are His, possess something which is SO real!
- Because we know there is no fake replacement for Abba Father, the loving God of heaven, and He surrounds us with His goodness, we can rest  COMPLETELY in this and “let God be God”! (verses 77-78).
- The proof that God is built us for relationship and fellowship with like-minded believers, with whom we will spend eternity is the inspired plea for us to be around only those who will inspire us to greater heights in the Faith. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Have you ever made a huge mistake which hurt no one but yourself and promised God to never do it again? Or how about this one? Somehow, again in your own efforts, you have managed to get yourself in a pickle and promised God “Lord, if You get me out of this one, I will…..(fill in the blanks).

We have all done this more times than we can remember! God, in His mercy, grace and long-suffering with us, knows we are going to mess up and it is only His love that prevents Him from striking us dead the next time we make another one of these conditional “promises” we make. Some of these self-inflicted wounds have the potential to damage not just our testimony (depending on the level of degree of sin) but our own walk, if we are not careful.

When God disciplines us due to these shortcomings, it is for our own good. Who among us cannot testify to the goodness and mercy of the God of second, third and 3000 chances? Just imagine if the God of the Bible, the one True God Yahweh, was not our loving Creator who is full of grace and mercy?! (Verses 67-68) Where would we be? God does not just discipline us when we fall short in sin. He also brings correction through circumstances, people, new paradigms and most of all- His Word! "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
Psalm 119:65-72
65   You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word.
66   Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments.
67   Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.
68   You are good and do good; teach me Your statutes.
69   The arrogant have forged a lie against me; with all my heart I will observe Your precepts.
70   Their heart is covered with fat, but I delight in Your law.
71   It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.
72   The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

As we travel along Highway 119 (as in Psalm 119), we, therefore, now pull over at the nearest rest stop (Verses 65-72) to simply get out and “stretch” our proverbial spiritual legs, be refreshed by reflection of the surrounding scriptures so present in our midst.  This rest area is designed, constructed by the Master and placed there for us to have a significant pause to stir our thinking.  This thinking should lead us to acknowledge our position as sinners saved by Grace in verses 67 and 68. It is only then we can fully comprehend His unmerited favor. Stretching our spiritual limbs should result in another desired effect. That is, it should birth an overwhelming sense of gratitude of what this Grace really looks like.

It would behoove every Christian, who is in the lifelong pursuit of holiness to use our few quiet moments in this spiritual rest area to meditate on verse 65From this flows the instruction in the Revealed Word and Decrees of the Master Himself (verse 66). God has dealt well with us, in spite of ourselves and our mistakes, by His provision of our temporal needs. When we could not figure out how this bill was getting paid, or how our sick child was going to be cared for at the doctors, or how we were going to get to work the next day when the car would not start last night. When He provided this or that, just in the nick of time or brought us to this place where we found just the perfectly home within our price range, where community and safety were readily available.....these are some of the things which show that He has "dealt well" with this Servant. The most important part of the entire equation of course is the fact He saved our souls from the fires of hell.

Our reflection in the "rest area" will not be complete and we should NOT get back on the expressway, until we know that there is a verse 69. This verse represents the orange cones of life. These "orange cones" are not just things which slow us down, way down, but can become obstacles in life. Any so-called allegedly spiritual philosophy which tells you that "your best life is now" and you have the power to speak things which are not, into being, because you have the power of the "I am" will cause you severe internal engine trouble in the journey of life. The truth is this: you and I are going to face trials, tribulations and taunts from the enemies of God who have simply transformed themselves into those who HATE the people of God - Christians.

Oh, may we never forget, we are children and followers of the Suffering Savior, Who held up His Suffering for our sake, as a standard. This is the very Standard which was in the plans and Mind of Holy God, before He spoke the world into being in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Do not despise the seasons of suffering, of going through the difficult times and testing because these are not the times that try men's and women's souls. 

These are the times which show our mettle. 
These are the things which show that of which we are made, in our core. 
These are the tests which graduate us from spectator to special in the Eyes of God and man. 
These are the testimonies which show the world we are who we say we are, and more importantly, we are WHOSE we say we are - Yahweh! 
This is the true meaning of perseverance of the saints which can provide the fuel for the next leg of the journey, in Jesus' Name.
This is what should be in our rear-view mirror as we drive on ahead through the construction zones of life, where we sometimes get slowed way down from our normal daily clip. 
This is what we need to grasp from Psalm 119:71 when the inspired Scripture says: "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes".

Let us learn from the Master, the ultimate GPS of our lives, Whose love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, direction, protection, provision and simple GRACE are the most priceless things in the world - ever (verse 72). Let us lean ONLY on Him for the very fuel of each and every moment that we may cruise in peace, joy and contentment, all the days of our lives. Let us resolve to live like this, from this moment on, and experience what is truly the most fruitful and meaningful life, we can possible imagine. It will bless you. It will bless everyone else around you, for an eternity. Amen

Sunday, March 12, 2017


At some point in life, we have all felt rejected or unloved. Sometimes the feeling is one of not belonging to anyone, anything or to even God Himself. Here is where the Christian should remember that she or he is more than just a member of the Kingdom family. Here is where we bring to mind the truth, that we are joint heirs with Christ in this same Kingdom.

Webster's Dictionary defines an "heir", in part, as "one who receives or is entitled to receive something other than property from a parent or predecessor".  Immediately, we see that the recipient here, did not earn of anything but the "inheritance" was bestowed upon him or her. It is basically grace, mercy, compassion and love which comes from Someone who has all of those attributes and more.

The Psalmist, David, representative of us all, knows from where his lot in life cometh. The Lord is MY Portion (Verse 57) explicitly emphasizes that without what He has given us, without God, we are nothing, have nothing and are appointed to nothing in this life. Because of this truth, we can rest, knowing that His Grace and Favor (verse 58) is a written in permanently in each of our lives. 
Psalm 119:57-64
57  The Lord is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words.
58  I sought Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your word.
59  I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.
60  I hastened and did not delay to keep Your commandments.
61  The cords of the wicked have encircled me, but I have not forgotten Your law.
62  At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances.
63  I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.
64  The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.

Constantly resting in the Promises of God is a hard thing to work out while in the daily grind of things. This is so, especially where such eternal truths are constantly facing us. In addtion, being an HEIR of Christ, and living intentionally to "CLAIM THAT INHERITANCE" are most definitely two of the hardest things for a Christian to do.  The reason why so many Christians are easy targets to misdirect and thus, misfire right off the bat, is because they are so involved in navel-gazing and internal machinations of daily living, to see past the noise.

To avoid this, we MUST consider His Ways (verse 59). This is important as the only way we can understand the Inheritance He has given to us, is to read and study His Bible regularly! There is not another way. 

The cords of the wicked (verse 61) conspire to place- and KEEP us, constantly in bondage. The snares of Satan seeks to suffocate both the intake of the Word and glorious sharing His Marvelous Grace, and then shake us loose from it. However, if we even rise up in the middle of the night and thank God in the spirit of worship and just acknowledge Him in all practicality, we can experience a paradigm shift which will open up the portals of heaven to our souls to release more and more resting in the Eternal.

This is our commission from this incredible portion of Scripture from Psalm 119. We must teach our fellow Christians, just how they too, can live currently in the eternal realm, as spiritually successful sons and daughters of the King. But we can only do so, by reading, studying, understanding and sharing the principles, the power and the prescriptions, from the very Hand and Heart of Almighty God, in Jesus' Name, amen. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


It is the opposite of the nature of human nature to spend much of our waking hours just marveling at the goodness of God. Some come close, as we mature in our walk with Christ, most compartmentalize their entire Faith system.  Putting one’s faith on a shelf, because one is afraid of being classified as a “Jesus Freak” or a “bible thumper” is more dangerous to the person who does it, than the majority who mock us. 

We see what happens with a florist who stands up for biblical marriage. We see what happens to the best neuro-surgeon ever in the world, when he talks about his salvation in Christ, in the public arena. We see what happens when a football coach takes a knee and prays with this team during practice, even when none of the team objects….and on and on. 

There is a huge problem in the academic and intellectual, as well as media elite towards the ordinary folk who believe in God and trust in Christ as Lord and master.  The only time of each year, we seem to be not under ridicule, from them,  is around Christmas and Easter.  Even then, they run TV specials on “did Jesus really die on the Cross” or “Jesus never claimed to be God” (He did) or the misnamed Jesus Seminar would go off on another of their gnostic exploits into Neverland. Psalm 119:51 below confirms this thinking has been going on for over 3000 years now. As King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes "there is nothing new under the sun”.
Psalm 119:49-56
49  Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope.
50  This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me.
51  The arrogant utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
52  I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O Lord, and comfort myself.
53  Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake Your law.
54  Your statutes are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
55  O Lord, I remember Your name in the night, and keep Your law.
56  This has become mine, that I observe Your precepts.
The Godly are to be righteously upset about this as Psalm 119:53, in today’s section reminds us. While there is nothing wrong with a Christian who has righteous anger at spiritual wickedness abounding across the world in increasing intensity, we are not supposed to first – land there and if/when we are there, we are secondly, not to STAY there.  It was imperative to address anger from the Christian point of view first here, due to current events.  We are to be rightly upset about the perversion and brainwashing aimed at our children, whether it is from Disney, Hollywood or even the Cartoon Network. We are to be morally outraged that our brothers and sisters in Christ are being brutalized in the Middle East, Europe and Asia by practitioners of another religion, while the world and the powerful remain silent. 

However, we must remember our foundation as people of “The Book” as the pagans call us.  We are to call out to God, in times like these, when we are pressed on, squeezed and poured out and His Word will bring comfort and hope to our hearts (verses 49 and 50).  This is huge as we are asking our Heavenly Father to remember His promises to us to never leave, forsake, abandon or turn His back on us. He never has. The teacher is always silent during our mid-terms and finals.  God does something really powerful when we remind Him of His promises – He responds through the Holy Spirit. 

Here is where true conversion is REALLY critical. Unless a person possesses occupancy by the embedded Holy Spirit of God, he/she is NOT a real Christian and not saved, born-again or whatever one wishes to call it. This is crucial and not harsh. This is absolute truth! God communicates His thoughts, directions and answers to our prayers, via His Holy Spirit , which is our absolute guarantee that we belong completely to Him! Therefore, it is from this position, and with confidence, we can respond, in praise “Your decrees have been the theme of my songs, wherever I have lived” (Psalm 119 verse 54, NLT).

At the end of the day, when it all comes down to it, the Lord Jesus – Yahweh of the Bible – is all we have. He is all we want. He is our portion in the Land of the Living, and if we are wise, we will remain resolved to spend of the rest of every part of our lives, following Him (Verses 55 and 56). 

Every waking moment should be consumed by the manifest presence of God in our lives. Every waking minute should make us aware of Whose we are, why we are here and what powers us to take the next step.  Every wonderful mission should drive us into the Arms of our Loving Heavenly Father, Who though He would allow us to be tested by fire, as in the purifying of gold, will always stand by the Promises He made to us.