Are You Following Jesus Or Church?

When we are faced with questions as a christian and we don’t know how to answer them we need the Holy Spirit for insight, revelation, wisdom and understanding. I have been looking into the sin of judging and gossip lately and the Holy Spirit has shown me something I want to share. You know how churches are known for condemning people who are gay? And it is a hard thing, until the other day I understand how to respond to that. We are not the judge. We have been instructed by Jesus to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and to love others. He didn’t say to judge or condemn anyone. It isn’t our place to figure out anyone’s life. It’s between them and God. Only God knows everything about that person and knows their heart. God is the only one who knows sin and how it came to be. He only knows why each person has the problems they have. We can never begin to know everything. We are only called to love people. We aren’t suppose to sit around and try to figure it all out. We are only suppose to speak well of others, love them and lead them to Jesus. The Holy Spirit does the rest. We can’t save anyone. We just lead and the Holy Spirit does the work. I have learned that trying to be God was what Satan did and when we try to be God we are doing the same thing. It’s wrong and God doesn’t like it.

I am learning that there is a difference in following Jesus and following church. The church is people, not a place or building. Jesus’ Spirit is inside of us. We carry the light. Satan works where he has an opening, even in churches. This is why people are turned off to going to church. Since they see and feel corruption, they turn away and get even further fom God. These man made denomnations are not what Jesus wanted for church. He wants us to fellowship and worship together and spread the good news. Who cares how big or how many satellite churches you have. When Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the synagogue it was because they were tainting something holy with something common. He didn’t like money being a part of the spiritual.

I will confess something here. I was saved in my kitchen in August 2010 with the Gospel Of John on the computer. Jesus came to me and revealed Himself to me all by myself. I have allowed the Holy Spirit to teach me and guide me. He has manifested Himself to me because I ask Him to. He is experienced by me because I want to. This experiencing God is what makes a relationship with Him, not going to church. I am a true worshiper but I don’t fit in with church people and now I don’t fit in with the world. I guess this is how Jesus was. You see, there is the world that belongs to Satan and the so called church. Jesus even said of the church in His day that they were white washed tombs. Meaning they looked good on the outside but empty on the inside. I’m not saying all churches are this way, I’m just saying be careful about where you go.

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True And False Worship

There are 2 interpretations of fasting in today’s reading. I like the second one which was written by Ole Hallesby ( 1879-1961) because I think he more closely explains what it really means. The other one by Donald Whitney comes from more of a now-a-days interpretation, I know this because it says (USA Contemporary) beside his name. Could it be possible that our interpretation of fasting could be all wrong? Considering what it says in Isaiah 58:1-14 the church and people have made it into something about themselves. In the Mosaic Bible before chapter 58, it is titled: True and False Worship. I learned worship is how your heart is toward God. Worship is a state of being, not singing. Praise and song come from worship. So to be a true worshiper my heart has to be pure and sincere toward God. In this scripture God is talking about their fasting, which is what we see today as false worship. Here is Isaiah 58:1-14, NLT version from Bible Gateway,

True and False Worship

58 “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
    Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel[a] of their sins!
    Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
    and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
    that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
    pretending they want to be near me.
‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
    ‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
    and you don’t even notice it!’

“I will tell you why!” I respond.
    “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
    you keep oppressing your workers.
What good is fasting
    when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
    will never get you anywhere with me.
You humble yourselves
    by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
    like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
    and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
    Do you really think this will please the Lord?

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
    lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
    and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
    and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
    and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
    and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
    and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
    ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
    Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
    and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
    and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
    giving you water when you are dry
    and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like an ever-flowing spring.
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
    Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
    and a restorer of homes.

13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy.
    Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
    and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
    and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
14 Then the Lord will be your delight.
    I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

 We should take great notice of what God considers fasting.

Jesus Saves!

John 4:23, But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Jesus was talking to the woman at the well and she thought God could only be worshiped in a certain place but Jesus explained God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. It doesn’t matter “where” we worship as long as the place of worship comes from our heart. True worship is a heart that is right towards God. We worship in our spirit and in His truth. Worship is a state of the heart. Praise comes because of worship. I wrote something about this here.  I pray, I know I have right standing with You because of my faith in Jesus. Help me to also have and maintain a pure heart towards You, to worship you truly in Spirit and in Truth.

Trail to the Tree

This is the last day of Trail to the Tree. Ann didn’t have anymore days on there so starting tomorrow I think I will add her new devotion Lent to Repent.

Today’s reading is about Jesus’ resurrection. When the angel told Mary that He is risen and go tell the disciples.

Ann says: So give us courage to run, Father, great joy coursing through these veins, to tell the world!

This joy to tell the whole world came to me when I had my salvation experience. I wanted to tell people in the grocery store and people I had known about this Jesus that I found! I did do all those things and even people at the church. I found out later in the Bible that we must confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord. Romans 10:9,

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

This is why I write this blog. Hoping someone who doesn’t know this good news might come to know it through the working of the Holy Spirit in these words. I pray that God will use me to type and the Holy Spirit will direct the people who need the good news to read something here that will wake them from their sleep. I looked up the word Gospel recently and it comes from the Greek word “euangelion” which means the joy news, You receive joy from the Holy Spirit when you receive Jesus. 1st Thessalonians 1:6,  You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. Something else I learned from Ann Voskamp is a clenched white knuckle fist can’t receive anything. We have to have an open, humble hand to receive light. Flames need oxygen to light. If you want to ignite the flame in your heart and become on fire for Jesus then I invite you to receive Him in your heart today!

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Christ Died For Us

Today is about reverence, worship and praise toward God for who He is and toward Jesus for what He has done. I wrote an article about reverence, worship and praise here . What I read today brought these scriptures to mind. Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 1 John 4:19,  We love because he first loved us.

My reading was a poem and a quote. The quote is about how the blood of Jesus is forgiveness of sins and the cross represents the sinners that we are. He bled forgiveness on each one of us. We all have a cross to bear, our own sinfulness, but Jesus’ shed blood washes it away. Picture yourself carrying this heavy, burdensome cross across a river and a big gush of water like in the wild rapids comes along and takes the cross from your back and washes it down river. Jesus can do this for us.

The poem was about seeing God for who He really is. Having reverential fear and awe towards Him. We shouldn’t take His presence lightly. It is an honor to be in His presence. We should remember that we need God to survive and thrive. We take His Holy Spirit for granted these days. The Israelites didn’t have His Holy Spirit. We need to take God’s presence seriously and be thankful Jesus made a way for us to be with Him.

Trail to the Tree was about the gift of rescue. Ann wrote:” Father, we paint ourselves red with Jesus’ blood so that satan can not enter into this soul place to wrack ruin and death, but that You would come through the door of our hearts…that we would come through Jesus, the door, and into Your Presence.”

We are rescued just as the Israelites were on the first Passover. They painted crosses with blood of a lamb on their door posts so no death would come inside. So by faith I paint with Jesus’ blood a cross on the door of my heart so no evil can come into my thinking, my attitude, my love, my peace, my joy. Jesus rescues me and also protects me.

Thank you God for loving me even as a sinner. Thank you for Your mercy and lovingkindness and for sending Jesus to save me. Thank you Jesus that You saw Your mission through to the end to save us all from death. Thank you that You loved us first and died for us to live.

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No Doubting!

I wrote this back in November 2014 in my journal. I thought I shared it before but I can’t find it so I’m going to share it now.

Matthew 14:28-30, And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. But when he PERCEIVED and FELT the strong wind, he was FRIGHTENED and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me! Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him saying, to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

Peter wanted proof that it was Jesus on the water so Jesus called him out. Can you think of a time Jesus has called you out? Asked you to do something that was uncomfortable? Peter believed until he FELT and was made AWARE of the storm, then he doubted. I know from a recent circumstance in my own life where I was in a storm one day and I failed just as Peter did. I saw the storm over seeing Jesus. I plan on the next time I am in a storm of life to focus on Jesus no matter how hard it is. Peter yelled for help and Jesus gave it but He pointed out where Peter went wrong. Peter doubted. Where is your faith in the storm? When you need it most?

We should all learn from Peter that it is the storms of life that we need our faith in God the most. But when we begin to see things start going downhill (sinking) we get scared and start doubting. Don’t doubt God’s power, don’t be afraid, He is there holding out His hand saying, Come! Come to Jesus when your afraid. When your in doubt. When you feel like you are sinking.

When we go to Jesus and dwell in His presence and meditate on the Word we begin to feel joy, peace and hope, these are the things that keep us from sinking! Your faith will get stronger as you meditate on what God is saying. You will trust Him as He brings to pass in your life what he promises in the Bible. He WILL do it for you.

Remember times past He came through, He is still the same, He never changes. If we stay true to our relationship with Him, He will stay true to us. He doesn’t forget His covenant. When we find ourselves in a storm, turn to Jesus in prayer, worship and praise and He will save us!

Practice the Word so when storms come I will stand firm in my faith!

Reverence, Worship And Praise

These three words are what comes naturally after being born again. Once we are woken up to the fact of who God really is, when we know without a doubt that He is the one and only true living God and He loves us, we begin to have reverence for Him. Reverence is a deep respect for Him. Then, as some would not realize, comes worship. We tend to think singing to God is worship, but as we reverence God there is a feeling that comes and it’s called worship. So, as Kim Walker once said, we worship God in our heart and the singing is a manifestation of the worship we feel.  So, singing is praise! Praise is the expression of reverence and worship.

God showed me several scriptures in the Bible having to do with reverence and worship. Scriptures that tell us if we will do these things God will do something in return. First of all if we want to have wisdom we begin with reverencing and worshiping God. Psalm 111:10 says,  The [reverent] fear of the Lord is the beginning (the prerequisite, the absolute essential, the alphabet) of wisdom;
A good understanding and a teachable heart are possessed by all those who do the will of the Lord;
His praise endures forever. If we reverence and worship we are in God’s will and He will give us wisdom. As followers of Jesus, not only do we want knowledge but most importantly we want His wisdom. When we possess wisdom we have insight and understanding that mere knowledge can not express. Knowledge of something isn’t the same as experiencing it. When Jesus imparts wisdom to us we are experiencing His presence. When we follow the Holy Spirit we are living in wisdom.

When we reverence and worship God we are actually serving Him. If we ever doubt that we are serving,  just look at your heart and see if you are reverencing and worshiping God. As it says in Psalm 2:11, Worship the Lord and serve Him with reverence [with awe-inspired fear and submissive wonder];
Rejoice [yet do so] with trembling. When we are serving God and in His will for our lives we then put ourselves on the path where all blessings flow. Blessings include provision. Psalm 111:5 says, He has given food to those who fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence];
He will remember His covenant forever.  God notices who reverences and worships Him. He will provide for them and never forget them. 

When I read about people in the Bible such as Abraham, Jacob and David, I like to think we are like them only living in a different day and time. This scripture tells me that this is true, Psalm 61:5, For You have heard my vows, O God;
You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name [with reverence]. We can have assurance that if we are reverencing and worshiping God as they did, that God is with us too. God is looking for people who will honor Him, put Him first!

And lastly, when we reverence and worship and then praise God, it keeps Satan away! I had a dream once where demons were messing with me and taunting me and I heard the Spirit of God tell me, evil can not inhabit the praises of God!  When we are actually praising God, evil can’t be present. That is comforting to know that evil can’t penetrate the praise we give to God! Luke 4:8, Jesus replied to him, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.’”  This was what Jesus said to Satan when he tempted Jesus.

So, no matter what we do, keep worshiping and praising God! It should be like food is to our body. Do it all day, every day! Keep your head up and hold hands high!