Jacob’s Ladder

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Genesis 28:15

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

Because of Jacob’s obedience to his mother’s counsel in the matter of the first born blessing that his father, Isaac, bestowed upon him instead of upon his brother Esau, Jacob had to leave his family and home and go to another place. Immediately after leaving his father’s household the Bible says in Genesis 28:11 that Jacob “lighted upon a certain place”. The word lighted is used in Genesis 32:1 this way, “And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.” The translation “lighted upon” and “met him” are from the same original word. Jacob came to a specific place at a specific time that had been previously appointed by God Almighty. Had Jacob not been at that specific place at that specific time he would have missed the angels of God that had been sent to minister unto him. Instead of missing his appointment though Jacob was at the right place at the right time to have his “ladder” experience which is often referred to as Jacob’s Ladder. 

So many times we human beings live in dejection, depression and/or defeat because circumstances have seemingly forced us into situations we have no control over. We feel we will always be viewed as a failure and will never reach the place we could have in life. We reason, how did I end up in this place when all I was trying to do was be obedient? The LORD told Jacob clearly, “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” The LORD used a seemingly bad situation to drive Jacob to the place appointed for his ladder experience. Our God is so big that He can use even what appears to be defeat, in our eyes, into a ladder experience elevating us into the relationship He desires with us. Jesus died as a criminal in man’s eyes and yet that bad situation is what bought my eternal salvation and established me in a right relationship with Jesus Christ.  

Fear not and place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ today for He will never leave thee nor forsake thee but will most assuredly bringing you to a certain place where your Jacob’s Ladder is waiting. 

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A Burning Heart

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Luke 24:32

And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

After Peter had gone to the tomb of Jesus and witnessed with his own eyes the empty tomb of Jesus and the grave clothes left there, he and Cleopas left to go to a village called Emmaus. As the two are walking and discussing what has happened, Jesus appears to them. Peter nor Cleopas recognized Jesus. Although Jesus had taught them how that He must be betrayed, crucified and would rise again they failed to recognize the Resurrected Christ. Peter knew by personal experience and had seen with his own eyes that Jesus was no longer in the grave and had left the grave clothes behind for a resurrected body yet Jesus was a stranger to them that day on the road to Emmaus. 

As they walked the road to Emmaus that day Jesus asked them why they were sad? He was the Resurrected Christ and knew exactly why they were sad. He didn’t ask for His benefit, He asked for their benefit. Their answer revealed their need for a renewed and fresh vision of who Jesus was. They answer Jesus in Acts 24:19-20, “And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.” They understood Jesus to be a mighty prophet and still did not really know Him as the Almighty Risen Redeemer of all mankind. That’s when Jesus began again to reveal Himself to them which culminated with their eyes being opened and a relationship with the Resurrected Christ being established.

After Jesus vanished out of their aight that day they said, “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” They immediately arose and returned to Jerusalem to share their discovery of the Resurrected Christ.

Does your heart burn within you with the discovery of the Resurrected Christ? Are you compelled to share your experience of Christ’s Resurrected love with others? The Prophet Jeremiah said, “But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones…”

It is time for a renewed vision of who this Jesus is that we follow. He is the Resurrected Redeemer of all mankind! May Jesus set our hearts on fire with a renewed vision of who He is. 

Deceived

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John 1:5

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

We are living in awesome days where individuals, families, churches, nations and this present creation are making eternal choices. Personally I can not think of another verse of scripture that strikes any deeper in my being than this one. Imagine for a moment that you were standing at an eternal crossroad in your life and God Almighty shined the light of His love and truth down on you and you failed to recognize it. 

There was a time in my journey when I thought I had things figured out. I thought that if I practiced hard enough and got as close to perfection as I could while living here on earth that when I got to the other side I would be rewarded with the biggest mansion, the most expensive crown and everyone would recognize that I really was the spiritual one and that I had suffered wrongfully at the hands of human beings. My goal was to make the top and be the best that had ever served Jesus Christ. 

Wow! How deceived can a human being possibly be? The moment my goal is the reward instead of the Rewarder, I am deceived and I don’t care how many times a week I am going to church. The moment my goal is the salvation instead of the Savior, I am deceived and I don’t care how many times a week I am praying. 

Light shines in the darkness and darkness comprehends it not. That is exactly how our nation reached a place where we feel like if someone has a different political view than I do that they should be eliminated. That my friend is hatred. Yet we Christians have no right to look down our nose at the condition our nation is in. Our church believes that they are the one who has figured it out and has the ultimate truth. If you think you have the ultimate truth you have embraced the salvation instead of the Savior my friend. The ultimate truth is that Jesus Christ died at Calvary for my sin because He first loved me. We are going to spend eternity discovering the ultimate truth and how much Jesus really loves us and yet you can tell me that you have the ultimate truth today? I think not!

My prayer today is that I would comprehend the light when it shines in my darkness and my prayer today is that the church and our nation would comprehend the light while it is still shining in the darkness for surely today is the day of salvation. 

Keep My Commandments

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John 14:15-18

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Jesus was preparing the disciples for His death. He knew they would feel lost and shepherdless when He was crucified and physically taken from them. The disciples experience with Jesus up to this point had been outward in the physical world and now, with the crucifixion of Jesus, they were being moved into a higher realm. From this point forward their experience with Jesus would be inward and in the spiritual world. The fruit of that experience would be displayed outwardly through their works.

Prior to this the disciples had been the visible outward manifestation of Jesus’ works that resulted from His inward relationship with the Father. Now the crucifixion of Jesus would move the disciples from only an inward belief to an outward doing, as it were. As it says in James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”   

We Christians are quick to loudly proclaim our love and devotion for Christ. Yet when it comes time to put our faith into action by loving and comforting the poor, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow, we draw back from the commitment of time and resources, the emotional investment that requires. We put up a wall between us and those on the outside so as to minimize our exposure to ridicule and rejection. We are filled with faith on the inside and yet somehow that never translates into the love of God to the Fatherless or the Comfortless on the outside.  

“If you love me, keep my commandments.” What are those commandments? Those commandments are to love the LORD with all our being and to love our neighbor as ourself. That is love inwardly and outwardly. James 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” 

Does your religion measure up to the biblical standard?

Fruit

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Luke 6:46

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

The LORD is clear in His Word, “For every tree is known by his own fruit.” At the risk of being overly simplistic, if a tree has pecans on it then it is a pecan tree and if it has apples on it then it is an apple tree. Likewise, if a tree never has any kind of fruit on it but rather is filled with thorns then it is a thorn tree. 

In today’s world there seems to always be a politician, preacher, professional or pundit spewing about what is wrong with everyone else and with those who hold opposing views. Yet when you look in their tree, there does not seem to be any fruit. Rather their tree is filled with thorns and serpents. It is completely beyond understanding, to me, how we have reached a place as a country and as God fearing people where anyone who doesn’t believe like I do is the enemy. Unfortunately I fear that we are rapidly approaching a place where it is conceivable that one side or the other of political philosophies and all opposing religious views could be outlawed and transgressors imprisoned and openly persecuted.

There will be some who indignantly declare that is absurd and could never happen in America. Please allow me to remind you of what a great man named Abraham Lincoln once said, ”America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” How did our country reach a place where we were killing each other in the Civil War? Make no mistake, our country is in the middle of a cultural civil war today and if we don’t begin to bear fruit of brotherly love we could most assuredly find ourselves once again at war with each other. Is that what we want our children to experience?

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” What are the things which Jesus said that we are not doing? He said to love the Lord thy God with all thy being and He said to love thy neighbor as thy self. Jesus has already set the example. He loved and died for all. He did not die just for members of His church, His political party or those who had the same color skin as He. The fruit He bore was love and forgiveness even when wrongly persecuted and executed at the hands of sinful man. 

What kind of fruit are we bearing America? What kind of fruit are we bearing church? What kind of fruit are we bearing Christian? Lord God in heaven above, please have mercy upon us and wake us to the hate, disrespect and abuse we are inflicting upon one another and upon your great Name.

Secret Faults

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Psalm 19:12

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

In this passage of scripture the Psalmist is concerned about the things in his life that are displeasing to the Lord that he is unaware of and doesn’t understand.

Somehow as we grow up we see less and less in our life as being wrong and more and more as being someone else’s wrong and their problem. When a child is two or three years old it doesn’t understand that playing with a venomous snake is seriously dangerous. However when that same child is twenty or thirty years old it understands the dangers associated with venomous snakes. The psalmist was concerned that there was error and secret faults in his life that he could not see.

What the Psalmist did understand was that since God was big enough to create and control all we can see such as the day and the night, He was also big enough to control all that we can’t see. I can see day and night where I am but I can not see day and night on the other side of the world and yet it is perfectly under control and in subjection to the Creator just as my side of the world is.

To apply that to me personally then means that since my Creator is big enough to control and bring into subjection what I do see and understand about myself means that He is also big enough to control and bring into subjection what I don’t understand about myself.

Simply said, Jesus Christ shed His blood, died on Calvary’s Cross, descended into death and hell and was raised from the dead by the resurrection power of the Father. That is sufficient to save me from an eternity in hell and that is sufficient to save me from whatever wrong and error that is in my life that I don’t understand yet.

Matthew 7:11, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” The LORD Jesus Christ is an infinitely better parent than we good ever possibly be. We can trust Him!

Last Shall Be First

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Mark 10:31

But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

To be last, as it is used in this particular passage, means to be last in time, place or space. It also means to be last in rank or last in grade of worth. It is so easy as people of Christ to feel last in rank or worth while living in this world’s carnal system. However God’s word promises that the last shall be first. 

Just prior to this remark by Jesus, Peter had been saying to the Jesus how that the disciples had left everything to follow Him. That is what prompted Jesus to say, “And the last shall be first.” Jesus then begins to talk about all that He was going to go through and how He would eventually be delivered up, tried and convicted and then crucified. After all of that then would the last be made first.

In this world of instant gratification that we live in we want what we want and we want it now. Push a button and download it now. Certainly there is a peace and satisfaction that comes right now while I’m following Jesus but before the last are made first we must follow Jesus all the way to the cross and into a tomb of death, peacefully praising and worshiping the LORD until the Father’s resurrection power comes and makes the last first.

What a glorious day when we are resurrected by the Father’s glory just as Jesus was and we then spend eternity in the presence of God Almighty glorified by and with His eternal resurrection glory. As it says in Romand 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Blessed Jesus please teach me to patiently wait upon thee, in whatever tomb I find myself in, until the Father’s resurrection power comes upon me.

All My Days

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Psalm 27:4

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

Many Biblical Scholars believe this Psalm was written during the time that David was fleeing from Saul. Saul had an issue with David because David had been chosen by God and anointed to be the next king over Israel. Saul was intent on causing David to fail and ultimately Saul wanted to kill David to prevent him from assuming the throne in Saul’s place when in reality Saul would have remained on the throne longer and been a better leader had he embraced the anointing on David’s life. Saul could have utilized the talents and abilities that God had given to David and Saul and the nation both would have been better off. Instead the envy and murder in Saul’s heart controlled Saul’s choices and eventually Saul and his son lost their lives.

As David was fleeing from Saul his prayer to the LORD was that there was only one thing he desired and that was to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of his life. David did not want Saul’s throne and as he wearied of the constant attacks and of fleeing for his life the desire of his heart manifested itself in this Psalm. David was clear in his intentions, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after”. David was like I want to dwell in the house of the LORD and that’s what I am seeking, not Saul’s throne.

Although David made mistakes in life and in his role as king over Israel, the desire of his heart always came up and in the good times and in the not so good times, his moral compass always brought him back to where he was supposed to be which was in the house of the LORD and enquiring in His Temple.

May God have mercy on us in these days.

Secret Faults

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Psalm 19:12-13

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

In this passage of scripture the Psalmist is concerned about the things in his life that are displeasing to the Lord that he is unaware of and doesn’t understand.

Somehow as we grow up we see less and less in our life as being wrong and more and more as being someone else’s wrong and their problem. When a child is two or three years old it doesn’t understand that playing with a venomous snake is seriously dangerous. However when that same child is twenty or thirty years old it understands the dangers associated with venomous snakes. The psalmist was concerned that there was error and secret faults in his life that he could not see.

What the Psalmist did understand was that since God was big enough to create and control all we can see such as the day and the night, He was also big enough to control all that we can’t see. I can see day and night where I am but I can not see day and night on the other side of the world and yet it is perfectly under control and in subjection to the Creator just as my side of the world is.

To apply that to me personally then means that since my Creator is big enough to control and bring into subjection what I do see and understand about myself means that He is also big enough to control and bring into subjection what I don’t understand about myself.

Simply said, Jesus Christ shed His blood, died on Calvary’s Cross, descended into death and hell and was raised from the dead by the resurrection power of the Father. That is sufficient to save me from an eternity in hell and that is sufficient to save me from whatever wrong and error that is in my life that I don’t understand yet.

Matthew 7:11, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” The LORD Jesus Christ is an infinitely better parent than we good ever possibly be. We can trust Him!

Let Not Sin Reign

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Romans 6:12

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

To reign, as used in the passage, means to be king and to exercise kingly power. Christ, through His Word, tells us, “Let not sin reign in your mortal body.” So I have a choice in this matter. I do not have to allow sin to be my king and exercise kingly power over me. However, as life soon teaches you, just because we know what the answer is in a situation and just because all we have to do is make a simple choice to do what is right, doesn’t mean that it is always an easy thing to do. Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it is necessarily easy. What then is the key to making this simple choice to not let sin reign in our mortal body?

The answer is in the preceding verse, Romans 6:11, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” All we have to do to prevent sin from being the king of our life and exercising kingly power over us is to “reckon” ourselves to be dead unto sin.

To reckon is to count, compute and calculate or to take into account and to make an account of. Romans 3:28, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” We conclude or we reckon. Romans 4:3, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. It was counted or it was reckoned.

The simple thing to do to prevent sin from reigning in my mortal body, that isn’t always easy, is choose to believe that it has no power. Sin has no power over me because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead! Death, hell and the grave could not and did not reign over Jesus and greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world so sin has no power over me. Not someone else’s sin and not my sin.

Thank you Father! Jesus has been raised from the dead and sin has no power over me.