Thursday, January 12, 2017

Abide in Him

We all want to be happy.  No cost or expense is spared on our quest for happiness. Satan, the world and our own sinful flesh try to seduce us with all kinds of tantalizing promises; but if we follow them we won’t find happiness. No, instead, at the end of the day, at the end of our lives, we will come to the realization it was all a lie and all we’re left with is sin and guilt, shame and pain.  Yet our craving for happiness can’t be stifled.  We search, we blindly grasp, we waste our time, we waste our lives, but the truth is, this world has nothing for us. Although it may come in glittery wrapping, its promises prove to be empty and worthless and ultimately end in death.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: 1 John 2:17a

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:14-15

So where is the only place where true happiness, real joy, can be found?

In the One who made us.

In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11b

Jesus commands us not only to come to Him (Matt 11:28) and believe in Him (John 6:29) but also to abide in Him.
 
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. John 15:4

And we can know we are abiding in Him because He has given us His Spirit.

Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. 1 John 4:13

And when we abide in Him we bear fruit. Out of Him flows the love and joy and peace and patience and gentleness and goodness and faith and meekness and self-control that we’ve been missing in our lives. As we abide in Him we finally experience the true happiness our souls crave.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

But abiding requires obedience. We need to deny ourselves, say no to sin and keep His commandments.
If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. John 15:10

And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us. 1 John 3:24

He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked. 1 John 2:6

And it might seem hard sometimes, this denying ourselves and obeying God, but it is so worth it!

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:17

How awesome it is to know the love of Christ that passes all knowledge and be filled with the fullness of God! Now that is true happiness!
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

And think about our future. We know we all must die, unless Jesus returns first, but either way we all have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10

And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 1 John 2:28

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

An Undivided Heart

Do you ever struggle with a divided heart? I do. I want to serve and love God but then slowly, sneakily, sin creeps in. It may be just little things that are easy to excuse. Respectable sins. Everyone does that. It’s no big deal. Does it really matter if I just eat whatever I want without exercising self-control? It’s my money right? It’s okay to buy whatever makes me happy! I’m tired, I just want to relax and watch a video, there’s nothing that bad about this one; a few little things? Well I can overlook that. And the list goes on and on. But the truth is. You can’t serve two masters. 

Jesus Himself says this very clearly in Matthew 6:24: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

And Joshua states: And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

Who are you obeying? The lusts of your flesh? The world? Satan? In Romans 6:16 it says: Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Everything you do, say, think about, eat, and spend your time on matters. Are we walking in obedience in every aspect of our lives or are we giving the devil a foothold? In Ephesians 4:27 Paul warns us by saying: Neither give place to the devil.

Are you feeling convicted? Jesus calls all those who feel burdened by sin and enslaved to Satan to come to Him.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

And when we come to Him and put our faith in Him, He never turns us away.  Instead He makes us new. 

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

Romans 6:6
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Romans 6:18
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

But following Jesus means saying ‘No’ to sin, saying ‘No’ to the world, and saying ‘No’ to our own selfish lusts.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24

Following Jesus means we need to deny ourselves, and that’s hard sometimes. And the more we give in and compromise, the harder it gets. But remember, all the tantalizing pleasures this world and Satan have to offer lead to death.

For the wages of sin is death; Romans 6:23

Satan is a liar and a thief. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: John 10:10a Will we fall for his tricks? Will he be our Master? Will we pledge our allegiance to him?

Jesus came so that we might have life.  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (Jesus) John 10:10b

Come to Him. Believe in Him, Follow after Him and you will find rest for your souls. You will found hope and peace, joy and love, and an abundant life that you could never dream of.  You may experience hardships and struggles, impossibilities and trials, but He will guide you through it and nothing can ever separate you from His perfect, all encompassing, incredible love! (Romans 8:31-39)

So look to Him. Come to Him. Believe in Him. He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6b

Yield yourselves to Him. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Romans 6:13

Submit to Him. Draw near to Him. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. James 4:7-8a

Ask Him to teach you and give you an undivided heart. Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. Psalm 86:11

You will never regret it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Look to Him

I haven’t written for a while. I wanted to but simply couldn’t, or wouldn't; I don't know. This morning when I was reading through my Bible study book I was suddenly very convicted. One of the things I read about was the sin of wasting time. When I read it, it felt like a slap on the face. I really had been wasting my time lately on useless things. I had also become very good at excusing my time wasting. But there was no excuse. And the truth is that time wasting is a sin and:

Sin steals joy (Psalm 51:12)
Sin removes confidence (1 John 3:19-21)
Sin brings guilt (Psalm 51:3)
Sin gives Satan the upper hand (2 Cor 2:9-11)
Sin quenches God’s Spirit (1 Thes 5:19)
Sin brings physical damage (Ps 38:1-11. 31:10)
Sin causes an ache in the soul (Ps 32:3-4)
Sin breaks God’s heart (Eph 4:30)
Sin opens the door to other sins (Isaiah 30:1)
Sin breaks fellowship with God (Isaiah 59:1-2)
Sin produces fear (Proverbs 28:1)
Sin makes me its slave (John 8:34, Romans 6:16)
Nancy L.DM

Things needed to change. Now.
So after lunch instead of turning to other sources of entertainment I turned on my audio Bible and felt compelled to start with the book of Revelations.  God knew exactly what I needed to hear.

Revelations 3:19
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Revelations 2:4-5
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Revelations 1:3
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Revelations 1:7
Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Getting up, I quickly went to my computer and found the verses God had directed me to weeks ago, but I never finished working on. The verses about how Jesus compares Himself to the brazen serpent in the wilderness.

John 3:14-15
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (Jesus)

Numbers 21:4-9
And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

“The people were saved not by doing anything, but by simply looking to the bronze serpent. They had to trust that something as seemingly foolish as looking at a serpent on a pole was enough to save them. Surely, some perished because they thought it too foolish to do that.” David Guzik

As it says in Isaiah 54:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

“We might be willing to do a hundred things to earn our salvation, but God commands us to only trust in Him - to look to Him.” David Guzik

So I beg you, don’t waste your time. Time is precious and you don’t know how much time you have left. Look to Jesus and be saved. Come to Him, He will never turn you away. If you aren’t sure, be like the Bereans. Search the scriptures for yourself and see if these things are so.

Acts 17:10-11
And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

For, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; (Hebrews 2:3a)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Greatest Gift of All

Christmas time is here and in our commercialized world it’s become a season of gift giving, but have you ever really thought about the Greatest Gift of all?

The Greatest Gift of all is Jesus.

John 3:16 says: 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.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:18
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

According to God’s Word there are only two responses to God’s unspeakable Gift. Either you receive Him or you reject Him. There is no neutral; no middle ground.

John 1:12
But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:

John 12:48
He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (Jesus)

Matthew 10:40
He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent me. (Jesus)

Mark 6:11
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. (Jesus)

Some will argue and say, but how do I know if The Gift is for me? Let’s look at what the Bible says:

Luke 2:10-11
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

John 3:16 says: 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.

Romans 5:18
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

The argument: Jesus was not given to me will never stand on Judgment Day. Instead Jesus will say: He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:48

So how are you responding to the Great Gift? And I mean responding because the truth is you are responding to Him right now. You are either receiving Him or rejecting Him and the answer is really the difference between life and death.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15


Monday, December 5, 2016

Ignoring the Warnings

“Hey stop!" We’re up in the mountains, far from home, when a fellow motorist waves us down and points to our front tire. Jason stops the van and we both jump out. Sure enough our front tire is very flat!

“Oh no!” I sigh! “This is my fault!” The tire light has been on for months but I’ve just been ignoring it. I even noticed the front tire was getting quite low a few days ago, but still I forgot to mention it to Jason. This is what happens when you ignore the warning signs, I think to myself.

As Jason gets to work on tire, I wait in the car and try to keep the kids entertained as we wait. The following day I can’t shake the thought of ignoring the warning signs and how that applies to something much greater than a tire that’s going flat. How many people out there are ignoring the warning signs of upcoming death and the eternity that follows?

Hebrews 2:3a How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;

We know we won’t live forever and we even hear of people dying around us and yet so many of us go on as if there is no death or eternity. The Bible also warns us that Jesus can return at any time; but are we ready?

1 Thes 5:2-3 says: For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. Luke 23:30

I think of the story of the rich man and Lazarus who both died. In Luke 16:23a it says this: And in hell he (the rich man) lift up his eyes, being in torments,

He was in a place “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Jesus (Mark 9:44)

He soon realizes it’s too late for him so he asks Abraham if Lazarus could be sent to His father’s house to warn his brothers.

Luke 16:27-28
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Abraham responds by saying: They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:29-30) 

Suddenly everything was so clear to the rich man. If only he would have listened to the warning, if only he would have sought God while He was to be found and called upon Him while he was near. If only he had forsaken his ways and thoughts and turned to the Lord; God would have had mercy on him and pardoned him, but now it was forever to late.

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 John 3:16 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.

Don’t let the simplicity of the gospel be a stumbling block for you. Don’t be like Naaman who thought it was too easy and to humbling to dip seven times in the Jordan River.

Our human nature resists simply believing because it’s humbling and we don’t want to submit to God’s way and God’s plan. We think and tell ourselves it must be more complicated that that; we are proud.

There is something very simplistic and humbling about putting our faith in Jesus Christ, and that’s why Jesus says “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

So don’t ignore the warnings. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Instead listen to God when He says:  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 33:11

For how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Hebrews 2:3a

PS: If anyone has questions or would like to talk feel free to email me at jwkrul@gmail.com


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Not a Super Woman

 Monday, October 31, 2016
6:46 a.m.

All is dark as I maneuver our charcoal van through the curvy streets that lead to the airport rendezvous spot. Three sleepy eyed, rosy-cheeked boys nestle in the back as Jason and I share a few final words.

The serious mini bus rollover accident he was involved in in his last trip to Haiti has left its mark on our lives. Every moment we have together as a family has become just that much more precious. Knowing that we can’t add a single moment to our lives fills with me peace; our heavenly Father is completely trustworthy and in control.

Before long we’ve reached the parking area and I help unload Jason’s backpack and carryon. Another HFL staff member is already waiting and when she peeks into the back of the van full of boys she remarks how I must be some superwoman. I laugh and shake my head.

After saying our goodbyes I head back home and think about her comment. I’m definitely not a superwoman but I do serve a super God! Because of who God is, when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10b) He grants me wisdom; making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7) And He renews my strength; Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31) He never leaves me or forsakes me and upholds me by His righteous right hand.  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

How great is our God!