Gird Yourself and Others

Gird = To surround; to encircle; to inclose; to encompass; prepare oneself for something difficult or challenging.

I have read the book – The Bible – and the message is plain as day – Make sure your salvation and abide in Jesus Christ, the Savior. Whatever timetable God has for transitioning this world into the tribulation period, those who are His have the responsibility to share the Word of God, sow seeds of faith, and disciple another. Of course, these persons must be willing to hear and have the heart to KNOW God. To force biblical education on another ends up being information only.

I’ve lost people to COVID19, random violence, and sickness. Death isn’t easy, but it’s a part of the sin passed onto man through Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden. If I paid close attention to all of the chaos in our world, I would be very stressed and depressed. If I focused on the things taking place in the world from a purely mental perspective, I might not leave my house ever again.

Daily reading of scriptures gives us a piece of peace for life issues. Remembering what God has done for us adds hope. Knowledge of the theme and prophecy of the Bible and what comes after gives strength when we feel any signs of weariness. When you know these things, you can show compassion toward others, empathize with some, and sympathize with others.

Sometimes I overthink my future: when to retire, where to retire, can I afford to retire. But the truth is – I may not get to retire in this life because I might stand at the Judgment seat far sooner than I imagine. Hence, the need to keep my mind stayed on God is my saving grace. 

King David was great at demonstrating this mindset. That’s what I want to share today – the need to gird our minds in a way that helps us maintain a firm stand and grip on reality but find a place of relief from the physical reality that assaults our eyes, ears, and hearts. And, whenever and wherever, help others do the same.

30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. 31 For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God? 32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

Psalm 18:30-32

Pouring Out

It’s in the pouring out into others of what God pours into our heart & soul that helps we, as the vessel of the Holy Spirit, and the receiver of the message, to heal and grow stronger. It’s why it’s necessary to sit under sound biblical teaching under those who are able to rightly and plainly teach the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

You can’t pour out anything except you first be filled up. Even one scripture a day, received and digested with the Holy Spirit’s help, has the power to water and refresh a multitude. You have a village to nurture and grow and sow into. I’ve heard my pastor call it our “circle of influence.”

Whatever you call it, you must understand that your life in Christ has purpose and it is to shine the light on Christ—his death, burial, and resurrection—as the only way to salvation.

Go and Get your refill for today—one Book, one passage in context, one memorable verse, one sermon—then pour out and water the forest of men, women, and children around you to strengthen them spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

ISAIAH 35:3-5

Do You Have Perfect, Everlasting Love?

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Jeremiah 31:3

In this Old Testament scripture, God speaks to the Nation of Israel about his plan to redeem them from their captivity in the future. Inspirationally speaking, God’s love for humans extends to everyone, and it’s why he sent his Son to die for our sins.

Our misunderstanding of God’s love leads us to question all the wickedness we see in the world. Why the death? Why the abuses against human life? Why doesn’t he make everything perfect like him? According to the scriptures:

  • God is longsuffering with people (Numbers 14:18; 2 Peter 3:9)
  • God is extending his mercy upon the lost (Ephesians 2:2-4; Titus 3:3) 
  • He’s giving people time to accept his Son (John 6:44-45) 
  • God is allowing the righteous (in Christ) and the wicked to coexist on earth (Matthew 13:29-30)
  • God has an appointed time for reaping the harvest of saved souls (Revelation 14:14-16)

Some have experienced hurt; others fear the possibility of heartache. But we must realize that God is the only person able to provide us everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) that is so perfect it casts out fear (1 John 4:18). When we place this level of expectation on another to love us, we miss the reality that they are only human – not perfect.

Shift your world view on what love is and seek God’s perspective. Pray for those who love you the best way they know how (parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, and other Christians) and are trying to overcome their shortfalls. Ask God for his wisdom to know those who have no desire to learn or try and maintain a safe distance until they want to know God’s way to love.

God is the only perfect, everlasting love.

Grown Up Christians

It’s not about age, it’s about spiritual maturity

Ephesians 4:1-3
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

In 1787, walking out of Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin was asked the question as to whether or not we had a republic or a monarchy? Franklin replied “A republic, if you can keep it.” Our nation has struggled to keep a republic ever since.

In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul challenged the church at Ephesus to “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The challenge is “if you can keep it.” UNITY and PEACE in the body of Christ are two things that every member of the body must strive to KEEP. Satan knows how difficult this can be, so what he does is work to sow discord and division through doctrinal, political, and racial strife.

While the world will always struggle with these things, the body of Christ was established to demonstrate what a UNIFIED and PEACEFUL BODY looks like to a lost world. When we allow the things of this world to infiltrate Christ’s body, then we have become a friend of the world, and the scripture says:

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4

Paul gave a solution to our delima:

Ephesians 4:14-16
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

It’s time for us all to GROW UP!

Ray Stewart is Senior Pastor of Grace and Truth Baptist Church in Independence, MO. Devoted to the doctrinal teaching of the Word of God, he sees the church as a place … “Where the People are the Church”

Don’t Blame the World or Its People

The issues we bemoan about the deficiency of human compassion and the woes of society aren’t simply issues surrounding the sorrows and atrocities being played out in private and in public.

No, the real issue is, has always been, and will remain for a while yet to come – “that through one man, sin entered the world, and death through sin, so that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).” The good book (the Bible) has been thrown out with the bath water (spiritually speaking). 

History is merely repeating itself – in biblical days they, too, did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25 – In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.). And with each generation mankind draws further and further away (Proverbs 30:12) from the one and true God (John 17:3) of the biblical text.

No matter how we wrap it or present it, the issue is SIN and the REJECTION of Jesus Christ by which man remains captive to his natural born sinful state. While there can be a life that appears on the surface to be flourishing, prospering, joyful, and in all ways living at the pinnacle of earthly existence – the unseen destruction and condemnation of this same life may be unrealized until it is too late.

The freedom of choices comes with a price tag no man is able to pay. Rejection of the blood sacrifice made to give one a new nature, a new heart, and a new mind is a freedom steeped in bondage – to the flesh, to lusts, and to pride.

Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, wasn’t a scapegoat – He was the sacrificial Lamb of God – the redeemer of man from sin – the hope of everlasting life (Galatians 6:8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.).

When people choose their own way they are simply doing what sinners do – and we can’t really blame them for that. But what we can do – those who know of the eternal security found in Christ Jesus – is to continually stand and proclaim the Gospel Truth – being blameless toward those who reject the word of truth.

Philippians 2:14-16 (KJV)

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

What God Saw in Me

God’s word is our mirror

Gladys Wilborn © March 25, 2021. All rights reserved.

I was recently moved by a post a sister-in-Christ sent out to our text group. It gave a different perspective on the opening verse of the Book of Esther regarding Queen Vashti. In short, this queen’s husband summoned her to be put on display with the rest of his kingdom as a source of pride in all that he possessed. For this king, his queen was a beautiful possession he wanted to show off to his princes.

This sister then referenced a similar scenario found in Job 1, wherein God offers up Job as someone in his kingdom worth showing off to his wayward son, Satan. In verse 10, God says, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man…

The question posed by my sister-in-Christ was this: Are you a showoff? Does God see something in you that he wants to show off to others?

It was time for a session of spiritual self-examination.

The first thing that came to mind were questions. For example, when you go to the doctor’s office they hand you a list for you to check off personal information about yourself, i.e., your name, birthday, ailments, medicines you take, etc. The purpose is to give them an overall view of your physical health status.

The questions that came to mind were similar in that they were meant to give an idea of my spiritual state of being. To examine myself, I wrote down questions and then went to the Bible for answers.

  • Am I being loyal to God?

Psalm 119:59 – “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

  • How is my attitude?

Psalm 119:60 – “I made haste and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

  • Am I seeking God in the word?

Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

  • Is God my trust?

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

  • Am I praying?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.

  • Am I being stirred by his word?

2 Timothy 1:6 – Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

  • Am I quenching the Holy Spirit?

1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Quench not the Spirit.

I wanted to take this test to see my spiritual state and to be reminded that what God saw in me was the workmanship of His Son. God saw me saved by faith in Jesus Christ, redeemed, transformed, sanctified, made righteous, holy, and Spirit-filled.

God saw me as part of a local church, growing in my new life to be Christ-like, using my spiritual gift/talents, serving in the body, giving financially and unselfishly of my time and energy, sharing the faith, walking in the Spirit, clothed in the armour of God.

In my self-examination, I was able to see what God saw in me – someone who was daily being made perfect in Jesus Christ

The First Lie Ever Told

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:” – Genesis 3:4

Look at where that got us. The God-created beings, Adam and Eve, were duped by the craftiness of one whom had fallen from great heights. [word to the wise: be careful around those who lose their lofty crowns… they can be venomous (full of malice & spite)]. Eve was drawn into the lie and Adam was enticed by the fruit the lie brought forth (sin).

Let’s be honest here. As much as many of us would say we hate liars, lying, and lies we, in fact, accept liars, lying, and lies because of the fruit it carries with it. We’ve even lied to ourselves to avoid facing the truth of our own character deficiencies.

So in 2020, amidst myriad lies and liars in a multitude of social, governmental, medical, and spiritual states, can we all face this truth:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 5:12

We are ALL GOING TO DIE! And as fearful and harsh as that may seem to many, it is a truth that began over 6,000 years ago in a garden where a man and woman listened to the voice of a creation instead of the voice of their CREATOR.

God’s arms are STILL WIDE OPEN and ready to receive ALL who will accept the gift 🎁 of ETERNAL LIFE through His Son, Jesus Christ. And the beauty of it all is it requires the simplest act on our part:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 10:9-11

I have recovered from many of the lies told me and the ones I have told myself. Yet, I have grown wise enough to know there is one lie we can’t afford to leave unchecked…

Fire and Brimstone

Love is a foundational truth in the Bible.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

However, in these last days let us not forget the ministry of reconciliation. The Christian mandate was given in Matthew 28:19-20 to “… go thee therefore…”

Accordingly, as we demonstrate the loving sacrifice of the living God, let us not forget the other truth we must share regarding God’s wrath to come.

FIRE & BRIMSTONE

I Love My Body

© Wanda J. Murry, October 1, 2020

The Body is an amazingly beautiful piece of human art. It is especially eye-catching when you dress it in fine apparel. It stands out and beckons you to take a second and third look; to draw closer for up-close and personal vetting. Someone said that beauty was in the eye of the beholder; yet, the Body invites depth that goes beyond the naked eye. It’s the only way to see if it’s only skin deep.

I don’t boast about much, but I couldn’t miss an opportunity to celebrate my Body. Let’s face it – if I don’t brag about my Body, no one will know how magnificent it is. It would be a great disservice for me not to boast about my Body when many are searching for one that looks and feels as good as mine does.

My Body is so satisfying I know if I share a little about it, you will be aroused and want to explore it. And that’s precisely my intention – to awaken an emotional desire in your heart to draw you nearer to it. You see:

My Body is:

  • sweet like sugar
  • comforting like a warm blanket
  • welcoming and protective

My Body will:

  • penetrate your intellect
  • make you thirsty & hungry for more
  • fill you with love, joy, & peace

and, My Body provides:

  • the embrace you desire
  • the truth you require
  • the home you admire

I celebrate my Body today because it has been good to me in ways seen and unseen. It nourishes me even as it cleanses me of the garbage I’ve taken in. My Body is my gift to all who will enter its doors, which I share proudly today:

Grace and Truth Baptist Church

15904 E. 23rd Street South – Independence, MO 64055

It is a Body that consistently equips the sons and daughters of God to be more than just Believers. 

I dedicate this blog post especially to my sisters in the Women’s Ministry, who never cease to amaze me as they teach me by word and deed, what it means to be a woman with a heart for God, given to hospitality. By demonstration, they are the epitome of Abigail, Esther, Ruth, Naomi, Hannah, Deborah, Mary, the mother, Elizabeth, Priscilla, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Sarah, and more. Perfecting their state as virtuous women, they are daughters in whom I believe God is well pleased.

Sisters, you are a huge part of why I love my Body!

Song of Solomon 7:1

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

Proverbs 12:4a

virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:…

Proverbs 31:10

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.