Archive for October, 2020


What is a Disciple?

 Do you consider yourself a Disciple of Jesus Christ? Do you really understand what Discipleship means?

Of course, it involves developing a strong prayer life, a disciplined pattern of Scripture memory, and being a faithful witness to the lost? But, true discipleship is so much more than that.

There are three fundamental areas involved in true discipleship. (1 Corinthians 13:13):


Is your faith such that you are willing to lay it on the line when the chips are down, even to the point of climbing into the fiery furnace (so to speak), as did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? (Daniel 3)

Are you able to authenticate your faith by demonstrating congruency of life between the secular and the spiritual? (Psalm 24:3, 4)

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek himThe work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” (Hebrews 11:6; John 6:29)


Is your primary focus on the temporal or on the eternal? Do you, by your life demonstrate the fact that you understand the transitory nature of our earthly existence, and the importance of investing in the eternal?

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earthlooking for a country of their ownlonging for a better country—a heavenly one… ” (Hebrews 11:13-16-nkjv)


Do you live a life of selfless sacrifice? Have you been so impacted by Christ’s love that you are compelled to live a life of loving service rather than selfish indulgence?

For Christs love compels usthat those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15)

These are the fundamental characteristics of Discipleship. If you were unable to say an unqualified YES to these questions, don’t despair.

Few of us are able to be so adamant in our answers. In fact, we know that Jesus’ disciples were often fickle and shallow in their understanding of the basics of discipleship. But, they were willing to hang in there by determination and focus on what Jesus required of His Disciples. They also believed so deeply in their cause that many were killed for their belief.

But, they were also able to change the world and leave a legacy of discipleship that we are able to follow.

Adapted from “Facts of the Matter” Daily Devotionals”


“You are not to make a covenant with the people who are living in this land, and you are to tear down their altars.But you have not obeyed Me. What is this you have done? Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap to you.”—Judges 2:2–3

God gave the Israelites specific instructions: Drive the Canaanites out of every corner of the land, and obliterate any vestige of their abominable idol worship. This assignment was challenging! Their enemies had formidable chariots. The Canaanites had seemingly impregnable fortresses that were dangerous and difficult to overcome. The Israelites failed to drive all the Canaanites from the land. Much about the Canaanite lifestyle and religion appealed to the Israelites’ sinful nature. Rather than destroying them and their idolatry, Israel compromised. The Canaanites would prove to be a troublesome distraction to the Israelites. Their idol worship would present a constant temptation.

When you became a Christian, God declared war on sin’s strongholds in your life. Sinful behaviors and attitudes were firmly entrenched in your character, but God commanded you to tear them down. The Holy Spirit pointed out areas of your life that were resistant to God’s will. Were you tempted to merely establish a truce rather than obliterating every sin?

Is anger one of sin’s strongholds? If so, it will rise up against you in moments of weakness. Is there a stronghold of lust in your life? If so, you will succumb to it when caught off guard. In careless moments, these strongholds will still tempt you to continue your past sinful behaviors.

Do not underestimate the destructive power of sin. If there are strongholds in your life that you have never defeated, the Holy Spirit is still prepared to bring you complete victory.
Experiencing God Day by Day

The Hard Times

Dr David Jeremiah recently wrote:


For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13

One of the hardest, but most important, lessons for children and young people to learn is to view hardships in light of their purpose and outcome. Most children don’t like to practice scales on the piano, but they love a superior rating at the recital. Most young athletes don’t relish the hours of grueling practice, but they love the joy of victory and accomplishment.Granted, the purpose and outcome of every hardship in life is not always evident. But all we need to know is that God is at work in us “to will and to do for His good pleasure.” God has a purpose (Romans 8:28) and His outcome is plainly stated: to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). And for that He is worthy to be praised. It’s why Paul wrote that we should “in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We may not thank God for the pain, but we can certainly worship Him because He is in control of our life—confident that He has a purpose and knows the outcome.

Worship in times of hardship isn’t easy. If you need a guide, use Paul’s words in Romans 11:33-36—a doxology of praise when we don’t have all the answers

When I am beginning to slip

How do I realize I’m slipping off my Spiritual Rock

  • When I begin to act as if genuine joy is dependent on the state of the circumstances surrounding me.
  • When I begin to lose the distinct aroma of the fragrance of Christ in my life.
  • When I begin to feel or act as if my self-worth and acceptance is dependent on how well I perform.
  • When I am losing my grip on the reality of spiritual warfare. Then I begin to treat my brother or my fellow human being as my enemy and seek to do battle with fleshly weapons.
  • When I act as if victory or success depends on me and my ability rather than on the adequacy of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • When more time is spent in the “activities arena” than in the prayer closet.
  • When the praises of men and women become more important than the approval of God.
  • When relating to and caring for people is less important than programs, planning, meetings, and budgets.
  • When I assume responsibility to worry and fret over things and people that God in His sovereignty and power would take charge of (if I would allow Him to do so).
  • When my rights become more important than God’s will and way.

Facts of the Matter

Core Values of the Christian Life

There are Five core values that are worth living and dying for:

1. Loyalty to Christ and the Bible

A commitment to follow Christ through uncompromising obedience to His Word. Like two wheels on a bicycle, loyalty to Christ and the Scriptures work in tandem.

Lord to whom (else) shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68b)

2. Commitment to the Great Commission

Partnering with God in winning the lost and discipling the saved:

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20)

3. Faith in the Promises of God

God has given us His “great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4)

The promises of God are foundational to our faith, giving us hope and the ability to believe God for the furtherance of His Kingdom. Without the promises, we end in despair.

4. Vision for Spiritual Reproduction

Investing your life in that of another. Christ invested in The Twelve. Paul invested in Timothy: “The things you have heard me sayentrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) Dr. Frank Labauch used the phrase, “Each one teach one.

5. Practice of Spiritual Disciplines

  • Abiding in Christ. (John 15:5)
  • Obedience to the Word of God. (John 14:21)
  • Intake of God’s Word through reading, hearing, meditation, memorization and study. (John 8:31, 32)
  • Speaking to God through Prayer. (Luke 18:1)
  • Sharing your life through Fellowship with others. (Hebrews 10:24, 25)
  • Witnessing: Sharing with others what you have seen of Christ. (1 John 1:3)

Resource-Facts of the Matter

The Gift of Reconciliation

The fruit of “peace” is by extension, the gift of “peacemaker”, which also can by extension be called, “the gift of reconciliation”.

Dr David Jeremiah, renowned pastor and Christian philosopher tells of a physics professor who illustrated a characteristic of olive oil by pouring just one tablespoon of oil onto a choppy lake, it quickly spread over the surface of the water, calming the lake in an area measuring half an acre. Since olive oil spreads to just one molecule thick, it covers a wide area and creates a slick surface that prevents the wind from gaining traction with the water, thus quieting the waves and whitecaps.

When we’re anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit, our words, deeds, attitudes, and influence spreads further than we know, creating a calm that lessens the storms of life. When the Holy Spirit uses us, we never know how far or how wide the ripple effect will extend—either geographically or in time. One simple word or deed for Christ, touched by the Spirit, may directly or indirectly touch someone elsewhere in the world without our knowledge, and it may have a chain reaction that continues until Christ comes.

This gives new life to the expression, “pouring oil on troubled waters”. The committed Christian who is a witness to a heated discussion can often bring the temperature of a debate down to a reasonable level by just introducing a calming word of peace. It can often defuse an escalating disagreement which could very well leave a lasting resentment among those involved and, which may bring about long term consequences when decisions are made in the heat of a moment.

When we let the Holy Spirit speak through us by being willing to interject a word of peace in the midst of a heated moment, we are exercising our Spirit-led action as a peace-maker.

We are often reluctant to get involved because we are afraid we will appear to be taking sides. A neutral and calming word can be used by the Holy Spirit to bring peace in the midst of a (brewing) storm.  Remaining uninvolved might grieve the Holy Spirit by allowing issues to escalate to an otherwise dangerous level.

Take a chance, be a peacemaker.



Obedience is knowing God’s will and doing it.

Disobedience is knowing God’s will and not doing it.

Do I always know God’s will?

When you became a child of God by believing and accepting Jesus as your Savior, you were given the gift of knowing God’s will. That gift was given in the form of the Holy Spirit which is Chris’s indwelling Spirit.

Among sanctifying us and teaching us of the character of Jesus Christ, His job is to convict of sin and of righteousness. That amounts to making you aware of God’s will at all times.

When we plead ignorance, (I don’t know God’s will).  that is grieving the Holy Spirit in that we are denying His presence and doing His job.

When I am in a quandary and can’t really decide God’s will, it is time to get into a quiet place and pray until you know God’s will. If we still do not get clarity, it is His signal to wait. Don’t make a decision and don’t do anything until you do know. His silence is our signal that there is something spiritually wrong and until it is rooted out, confessed and repented, we will not be able to be clear on God’s will.

Therefore, not hearing God’s will is evidence of disobedience. If and when we are in that position, we can know that something in our life is out of place. Somewhere we have gotten off track with the Holy Spirit because of sin.

The next question is, is it possible to sin and not know it? That takes us back to the same situation as above. As it is the Holy Spirit’s job to “blow the whistle”, (that is to convict of sin). We can be sure that as a Christian, possessing the Holy Spirit means you will know, and be convicted.

The believer can harden His heart to the convicting Spirit. That means that he has habitually ignored that “still small voice” until he is no longer sensitive to Him. That Christian has some serious repenting to do. The Christian who no longer is disturbed by the Spirit’s voice has drifted so far away that he can scarcely call himself a Christian. (That is a whole different doctrinal issue).

Fruit of the Spirit

How do I pray?  

When in prayer, request the best:Pray for the Fruit of the Spirit:

Fruit of the Spirit – That which brings forth the righteousness and truth of the Holy Spirit when growing us through His Sanctification process. They are the things that define us as Spirit-filled disciples of Christ. They are the things that depict the holiness that has been imparted to us in this growth process. They are the attributes that others see as we reflect the image of Jesus Christ.

 While all Fruit of the Spirit are not listed per se, they are implied in several places.

Colosians 3:12-17 Is a listing of the Fruit of the Spirit

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
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Let Go

What are the things in your life that you just cannot turn loose?

Remember the story about the guy who falls over the cliff, grabs a branch and cries out, “Help, is there anyone up there?” God calls down, “It’s Me, God. What do you want?” To which the man replies, “Help me out of here!” God says: “Let Go… Trust Me.” And the man responds, “Is there anyone else up there?”

Obedience, the prerequisite to ABIDING IN HIS LOVE, is simply “letting go” of our choices and adhering to HIs, just as Jesus obeyed the Father and thereby ABODE IN HIS LOVE:

If you keep My commandments, you will ABIDE IN MY LOVE, just as I have kept My Fathers commandments, and ABIDE IN HIS LOVE.“ (John 15:10)

The more insidious sins that we resist “letting go” of are usually the ones that reside in that private domain of our lives slightly beneath the surface; subtle sins which still allow us the luxury of maintaining the facade of Christian respectability:

  • A smug sense of superiority amidst our worldly successes.
  • Mentally writing people off who no longer matter in furthering our career or status.
  • Satisfaction over beating out the other guy in a competitive bid.
  • Secretly harboring sins that pander to our lust.
  • A secret “sin closet” that I permit myself to occasionally enter and no one else knows about.

Christ’s example of obedience toward His Father was immediate, unequivocal and enduring, and cut to the very core of the Lordship issue. It is this standard to which He is calling us:

My Father, if it is possible, let this cup (the cross) pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) With this surrender He went to the cross.

Obedience, the “letting go” of our will, means giving God TOTAL ACCESS to that private domain of our lives where those secret sins reside.

To continue pandering covert sins while maintaining a facade of Christian respectability is a high price to pay for missing HIS ABIDING LOVE.
(Adapted from Facts of the Matter)

Our Joy and God’s Sovereignty

“Joy is perfected only in acceptance of the total sovereignty of God!”

Words and thoughts like “if only” reveal a non-acceptance of God’s sovereignty. Why did one thing happen instead of another thing?

This thought would be fatalistic if you believe man does not really have free will. But, God made man with free will which gives us a choice. The choice is “God’s will” or “my will”.

Any person, even a professing and committed Christian, can choose his own will over God’s.

But, what about those things that happen where we have no choice? Can those things be according to God’s Sovereign will? Yes!

If we can accept and fully believe Romans 8:28,  (NKJV)
28  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

The question then is,”do we really know and believe that or just accept it because it is in God’s word?  It is not the easiest thing to believe. It goes against what we think God “ought to be like”. That is, if God loves me, why doesn’t He let things happen that I think are good?

It all comes down to what we believe about the Sovereignty of God. Is it total sovereignty or is He sovereign only to the extent that we let Him be sovereign. Which brings us back to our first statement about “Joy”. If our joy is based only on our circumstances, then we struggle when our circumstances are very uncomfortable.

Can we experience joy in spite of our circumstances? Habakkuk seems to think so.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (KJV)

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk believed joy prevails beyond our circumstances.