The Apostle writes, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him” (2 Corinthians 5:8, 9 NIV11). Obviously, our motive to please Him isn’t to curry His favor. Look at all the favor God has already shown to us undeserving sinners. The Father gave up His Son for us.
The Son laid down His life for us. How could we imagine that our efforts could ever merit more favor than what He has already shown us! Likewise, our motive is not fear-driven, terrified that we might take a wrong step and bring down His everlasting punishment on us. In Christ, we have full and free forgiveness, which frees us from that kind of terror.
Rather as we walk heavenward in faith, that faith eagerly desires to do what is God-pleasing because of all that He has done for us. Faith does all things, even eating and drinking, to the glory of God. Faith shines out to show God’s love toward others in our words and actions.
Faith places God and His Word first in our lives. And as faith does all this in this broken world, we need courage. The world belittles faith in Jesus. The world wants us to follow what we see, not what God promises. The world wants us to place the earthly first. It takes courage to walk heavenward in faith.
But keep your eyes forward-looking at the judgment seat. Doubt and unbelief worries questioning, “What will the verdict be? Have I done enough good? Does He really know all my sins? Is He going to hold me accountable?” Doubt and unbelief cope by trying not to think about Judgment Day or by imagining that the Judge can be swayed by our efforts or sincerity.
Faith, though, sees who the Judge is. Who is that on the judgment seat? None other than my own dear Savior, Jesus Christ. Faith calls out, “Guilty sinner though I am, You died for me, dear Jesus.” Faith knows the verdict that has already rung out from the tomb: “Forgiven because Jesus has risen!”
Faith knows and believes that Jesus’ blood has washed my record clean. Faith knows and believes that even though sin corrupts even the best that I do, Jesus purifies my works. Faith eagerly waits for Him to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come … take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:23, 34 NIV84).
This gives us courage, courage to do what is pleasing to our God no matter what hardships or dangers we must travel through. For we already know the final outcome as we walk heavenward in faith. We know the verdict. What’s more, even though the world rejects and despises the good we do in God’s name, our Savior knows and he does not forget. So boldly, courageously do what is right good with your faith focused on Jesus Christ, the righteous Judge, who freely credits you with His righteousness.
Those homeward-bound pets faced many dangers and challenges as they journeyed home through the wild woods. We, too, walk-in danger all the way. But our walk is heavenward. We walk by faith, faith in Jesus. Keep walking heavenward by faith, longing to be with your Lord, courageous to do what is pleasing to Him.
The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keeps your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
The Lord, a Provider, and Deliverer. Fearful that Saul would kill him, David fled to Gath and sought the protection of the enemy (1 Sam. 21:10-22:2). But you are never safe out of the will of God, and David had to lie to escape. This psalm is David’s personal testimony of what God did for him.
“I will bless” (Psalm 1-10). David had every reason to praise the Lord, for the Lord had rescued him from certain death. When you call on the Lord in faith,
He saves (Vv. 4-6), He keeps (v. 7), and He satisfies (Vv. 8-10). Why run to the enemy when you can run to the Lord and be safe? David writes this psalm for the spiritually immature, who need to be instructed in the ways of God.
One thing David thinks we need to know is how to live in a way that brings the blessing of God. How do we face hard times? When we hurt, we want to know: Have we done something wrong? Has God deserted us? What do we need to do to receive God’s help?
These are good questions. If we pay attention to David, we will get some answers. The center of the biblical mission in the Old Testament is found in the words taste and see. The task of Israel was to attract the nations to their God.
For their faithfulness to Him, God had promised to bless them abundantly, and when the nations saw this blessing they would see that the living God was with them. In the midst of a world of gods who were not good at all, there was one living God, and He was altogether good (Psalm 100:5).
The psalmist invites others not to take his word, but to put the matter to the test for themselves. “Taste” is from the Hebrew “to try the flavor of,” here meaning, “to experience”. The surest proof of religion is found in personal experience.
Without Christian experience, the religion of Christ is only theory, and as a mere theory, it has no saving power. Taste is an important figure of speech in the Bible. Everywhere it’s used figuratively. Taste suggests full participation in and/or experience of the thing enjoyed.
Here, the invitation to “taste and see that the Lord is good” is a call to rely fully on Him and to experience the benefits of a personal relationship with God. Let any man in this spirit approach his Maker, and plead the promises that are suited to his case, and he will soon know whether the doctrine is of God.
He shall taste and then see, that the Lord is good and that the man is blessed who trusts in him. This is what is called experimental religion; the living, operative knowledge that a true believer has that he is passed from death unto life.
The word “taste” here means properly to try the flavor of anything, to eat a little so as to ascertain what a thing is,… It is used here in the sense of making a trial of or testing by experience. The idea is, that by putting trust in God– by testing the comforts of religion– one would so thoroughly see or perceive the blessings of it– would have so much happiness in it– that he would be led to seek his happiness there all together…
If those who are in danger would look to him; if sinners would believe in him; if the afflicted would seek him; if the wretched would cast their cares on him; if they who have sought in vain for happiness in the world, would seek happiness in him– they would, one and all, so surely find what they need that they would renounce all else, and put their trust alone in God.
You may have heard it said that a person does not really know who his friends are until the bottom drops out. I think there is great truth to that. All of us have experienced the pain of discovering that people we thought would be faithful – no matter what – were simply “fair-weather friends.” You know, friends whose loyalty hinges upon the climate or circumstances.
As long as the relationship is enjoyable, they are with you all the way. But when it begins to demand some sacrifice on their part, they are hard to find. The ultimate measure of friends is not where they stand in times of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy.
That being the case, apart from the adversity of some kind, we would never know who our faithful friends really are. In the same way, we will never know in a personal way the faithfulness of Christ apart from adversity. As a result, our faith in Him would never increase. It would remain static.
One of the primary reasons God allows us to face adversity is so that He can demonstrate His faithfulness and in turn increase our faith. If you are a believer, you have made a decision to trust Christ with your eternal destiny. But you will not experience His faithfulness in that particular area until you die.
God wants more from you and for you than a simple intellectual acknowledgment of His faithfulness. It is His will that you experience it now. If our lives are free from pain, turmoil, and sorrow, our knowledge of God will remain purely academic. Our relationship with Him could be compared with that of a great-great-grandfather about whom we have heard stories, yet never met personally.
We would have great admiration, but. no intimacy, no fellowship. There would always be a sense of distance and mystery. That is not the kind of relationship God wants with His children. Through the death of Christ, God has opened the way for us to have direct access to Him.
He went to great lengths to clear the way so that nothing stands between Him and His children. There is potential now for intimacy between us and our Creator… God is in the process of engineering circumstances through which He can reveal Himself to each of us.
And both history, as well as our personal testimonies, bear witness to the fact that it is in times of adversity that we come to a greater realization of God’s incredible faithfulness to us. It assaults our pride to acknowledge that there are things we don’t know or problems we can’t overcome. But when we stop trying to do it ourselves, we are in a position to receive the help God sends.
If we have gone through life trusting in our own judgment, we may find it hard to commit our will to God and his plan for us. But if we refuse to seek God’s help and direction, we may never know just how good he can be to us. He has the power and the wisdom we need to have victory in our struggles with sin and temptation.
When we look to the world, we are perplexed, and at a loss. But on looking to Christ depends our whole salvation, and all things needful… Those who trust to themselves, and think their own efforts sufficient for them, shall want; but they shall be fed who trust in the Lord.
“Taste and see” does not mean, “Check out God’s credentials.” Instead, it is a warm invitation: “Try this; I know you’ll like it.” When we take that first step of obedience in following God, we cannot help discovering that he is good and kind. When we begin the Christian life, our knowledge of God is partial and incomplete. As we trust him daily, we experience how good he is. None is beyond the need for divine help. In the divine plan, self-sufficiency is impossible. Man needs God.
David invites us to “taste” Jesus. He will be sweet and good. When we trust in Jesus and He has all of our confidence, we will benefit from His wonderful sweetness. He is a God of love, and that love is ready to be poured out on each of us. Ask God to pour out His love for you today.
“Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were you.” -Dallas Willard
“What I heard was that you can have the one without the other – that you can be saved and not be a disciple. I smelled a theological rat in that claim.” – Scot McKnight
“Discipleship is not an option. Jesus says that if anyone would come after Me, he must follow Me.” -Tim Keller
“When the church becomes an end in itself, it ends… What we need is for discipleship to become the goal, and then the process never ends. The process is fluid. It is moving. It is active. It is a living thing. It must continue to go on. Every disciple must make disciples.” – Robby Gallaty
“The one indispensable requirement for producing godly, mature Christians are godly, mature Christians.” – Kevin DeYoung
“Thriving churches have the Great Commission as the centerpiece of their vision while dying churches have forgotten the clear command of Christ.” – Thom S. Rainer
“Most people in America, when they are exposed to the Christian faith, are not being transformed. They take one step into the door, and the journey ends. They are not being allowed, encouraged, or equipped to love or to think like Christ.” – David Kinnaman
“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Only a disciple can make a disciple.” – A. W. Tozer
I received news of something happening today that is flying under the radar. This is a call to prayer that I felt was important to share separate from our Monday emails.
I just learned that the director of the National Institute of Health (NIH), Dr. Francis Collins’ last day as the director is this week. That is public knowledge. What I’m about to share isn’t.
His final act as director happens today. He has arranged a virtual lecture for Bill Gates to speak to the NIH staff. An individual who shared this information with me referred to this as “today’s evil agenda” taking place. It is certainly a call to prayer.
The NIH and the Gates foundation have had a robust working partnership since the creation of the foundation’s “Grand Challenges and Global Health Initiative” in 2003 in which they have worked together closely in the area of vaccines and gene-based therapies.
In 2019, the NIH announced funding of $100 million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop “gene-based cures” for issues such as sickle cell disease and HIV on a global scale. We see where that has taken us to the present day.
Almost like an evil scientist, Gates has been funding the editing of the human genome that will change people’s DNA. While his gene-altering therapies are promoted as a cure for diseases like cancer, there are numerous doctors across the globe who have expressed concern. The COVID-19 “vaccine,” which by definition does not fit the category of a vaccine, has been said to have a gene-altering capability, not to heal, but to harm.
The question is, what is happening today at the NIH that as the last act by the exiting director, would be to have Bill Gates speak? Why is the director stepping down?
The NIH has been oddly silent about this transition, just one more change in a host of CEO’s who have stepped down or been removed in the last year such as at Disney, Hulu, IBM, LinkedIn, MGM, Amazon, Google, Uber—over 1300 in 2020 alone and almost as many in 2021.
The NIH, Fauci, and Gates are in a well-coordinated partnership. Fauci’s wife, Dr. Christine Grady, is Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the NIH and responsible for guiding the ‘ethics’ of the government organization’s work. She is also Head of the Section on Human Subjects Research. That should give us all pause.
My contact continued to share statements that are completely in line with the prayer email for this week that we “Don’t Lay Down Your Sword.” Some I can share and some I can’t. One thing she shared was this:
“I saw a computer screen that was dark and then suddenly came to light.” She went on to describe it as the darkness about to be vanquished. Like it Monday’s email, when it knows its time is done and is trying one last attempt to take as many with them as possible–this is that. She explained that was the overwhelming feeling of the meeting today.
The enemy is trying to get everyone to look everywhere, but where we are supposed to…
So, today let’s pray over what is taking place in this transition that is not on people’s radar. What else is not on people’s radar that needs to be? There is something taking place in the spirit realm today–you can feel it.
And although we may not know the full ramifications of all of this, He certainly does.
Lord, we don’t know what is happening behind the scenes today, but You do. We ask that you would thwart any evil agenda and misinformation. We pray You would continue to shine Your light into these governmental organizations to remove and replace leadership that is untrustworthy and corrupt to put in their place those who have the best interests of the American people at heart and who will fear You. We pray into this ungodly partnership between the Gates Foundation, NIH, and Fauci that has controlled present-day agendas and mandates. We pray Lord that Your plans and purposes will prevail, lies will be exposed and America will be saved.