Still Writing in the Dirt

For His man, Jesus still works in the dirt with His hands.

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John 8:6-8 – This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

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Our Text for Today is one that is very familiar to many.  It is extremely powerful as it relates to redemption and forgiveness.  To that end, please allow me some observations from that passage.

In Genesis 1 & 2; we read the story of original creation (v. 1), the fall of Satan and chaos coming to the earth (v. 2), and the renovation of creation for the sake of brining His man on the scene (beginning in Genesis 1:3).  And when Father came to His man, instead of speaking him into existence as He had all of creation, He, along with Son and Holy Ghost, used His hands to shape and mold the dust of the earth into human form, meticulously construct every element of the human frame, and breathe into the breath of life.  What a glorious picture of love and divine purpose.

In our Text for Today, a woman taken in adultery is brought to Jesus.  Once again, Satan’s presence in God’s creation, in this case, the life of a woman whom God loved, had created a wreck.  It was NEVER Father’s intention for any human being to be a slave of sin, just as it was NEVER Father’s intention for creation to become “without form and void.”  But it happened.  And just as in His renovation, He put His hands in the dirt to bring man to a ruling place, so He did with the woman taken in adultery.  Jesus stooped and wrote in the dirt.

And He is still doing it today.  He became flesh, was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.  He suffered the death of the cross, dying the death of the cross.  He was raised from the bowels of the earth the third day so we could be raised up with Him.  Now He is the Head and we are His body.  The hands are in the body.  Our hands have become His hands.  Man was made from the dust of the earth.  We are to reach out to man, proclaim the good news, and lead people to Jesus.  With our hands (now become His hands) we are to reach into the lives of the unsaved, and with the help of Holy Spirit, bring them out of darkness and into the light.  We’re still reaching into the dust of the earth, and by the work of Holy Spirit, we are seeing, not His molding of a human form, NOT His handwriting on a wall, but His handwriting on what was a heart of stone that has now become a heart of flesh where His law is written.  You see, He’s still working in the dirt.  Thank God! 

Manna for Today – John 8:1-11; Genesis 1 & 2; Leviticus 20:10-16; Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26

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Expect Division; Work for Unity

Scriptures speak of “unity of the Spirit.”  That doesn’t JUST happen.

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John 7:43 – So there was a division among the people because of him.

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I urge you to take a moment and read the three (3) verses in John 7 just before our Text for Today.  In churches today, and since my move from a 28-year pastorate to my current ministry, I see a lot of this, there is a plethora of “little foxes” that seem to offer an almost infinite number of reasons for division.  At the same time, I hear from so many members of the five-fold ministry, and almost every pulpit a cry for unity.  And so many people seem to be so surprised when there seem to be elements of division in the church.  My friend, as long as there are two people in the congregation, the potential for division is present.  It was the same in the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  Even among the people who believed on Him, there was division.  Some thought Him to be Messiah, the Christ.  Others thought Him a great and promised prophet.  Still others thought Him a wonderful rabbi.  And all this among those who believed on Him.

Dear one, the controversy of thought surrounding Jesus at this hour has not diminished.  It has, in fact, expanded.  Today, with Islam, and with so many cults built around the name, Jesus, the expansion of what I describe is enormous.  The number of cults using the name of Jesus is constantly increasing, and even Islam embraces Jesus as a prophet.  But all these are only points of contention designed to denigrate, belittle, and mock the Name of Jesus, that Name that is above every name, that Name at which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.  So expect division.  It’s out there in a plethora of forms, each one, regardless of how great it may look, is a “little fox” with a designation from hell to spoil the Lord’s vine.

But unity is still called for by the Lord.  The five-fold ministry was set in the church UNTIL we all come in the unity of the faith.  And it is through the five-fold ministry that the Lord has set forth the work of “perfecting the saints,” so they can do the work of the ministry so the body of Christ can be edified.  One could see it as almost oxymoronic; while we should expect division, one our main objectives is to work for unity.  While Satan strives to bring about division and disunity, the body of Christ has been fully armed and excellently equipped to work toward, and ultimately see established, unity in the body of Christ.  We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices, and at the same time, we must realize that our enemy is truly powerless against the weapons of our warfare, for they are mighty through God.  The enemy’s weapons are carnal, but our weapons are supernatural through the Spirit.  Enjoy you labor. 

Manna for Today – John 7:40-53; Ephesians 4:11-17; Psalm 133; Matthew 18:19-20; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Song of Solomon 2:15

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Keep It Flowing

It is Father’s will for Holy Spirit to FLOW in and through you.  Use your faith.  Keep it flowing.

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John 7:37-39 – In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

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Aside from Jesus, there is NO MAN, past, present, or future has ever, is presently, or will in the future live without sin, without failure, and without mistake.  Briefly, allow me to distinguish among those three terms; sin, failure, mistake.

Sin is sin.  It is a willful violation of God’s Word.  We know it when we do it, and we’ve all done it at some level.  For the believer, sin requires confession of the sin, repentance from the sin, and faith toward God.

Failure is NOT sin.  It means you tried but were not successful.  We have all failed.  If we sin, have we failed?  Not technically.  One does not desire to fail, and should consider sin a failure.  You could have stopped the sin before you did it, but failure comes at times despite all the right we do.  For the believer, failure requires renewed faith in God, renewed commitment to working out that which pleases Father, overcoming the obstacles that aided in the failure that came about.

Mistake is an unintentional error.  When one transposes figures on a form, makes an unintentional error is a mathematical process, fails to stop soon enough to avoid a collision (in a valid attempt), strikes the wrong not on guitar or keyboard as one plays, these are mistakes.  One CANNOT make an intentional mistake.  For the believer, mistakes require correction, more learning, more refinement, more practice, more instruction, etc.

Mistakes and failure will not, in themselves, cut off the divine flow of Holy Ghost in and through your life unless you allow it.  Sin WILL.  Sin left unconfessed cuts off fellowship with Father.  Sin confessed is not when God learns about it.  He knew it all along.  Sin confessed is you spitting out the seed of the sin committed.  Unconfessed sin will eventually produce fruit that will call for a reckoning.  You can talk about your failures and mistakes with friends, counselors, and elders, all of which may very well help you.  But sin must be confessed.  I despise hearing someone who has totally violated the integrity of God’s Word call what they did a mistake.  It was not a mistake.  It was sin.  The flow of Holy Spirit can and will rise above mistakes and failures, but sin will cut it off.  Correct your thinking and open the flow of Holy Spirit in and through your life.  It’s up to you. 

Manna for Today – Luke 11:13; Acts 1:8; 1 John 1:7-9; Psalm 66:18.

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Not Speaking to Me

When reading the Scriptures, one should be keen to know to whom a given passage is speaking.

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John 7:34 – Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.

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When you are reading various passages of Scripture, it would benefit you greatly to consider TO WHOM THIS PASSAGE IS WRITTEN; FOR WHOM IT IS WRITTEN.  I write and speak these words often when teaching the Bible.  Please give accurate consideration to what I write.  All Scripture is truly recorded, but not all Scriptures are true.  When Samson was asked by Delilah about his strength, he spoke two outright lies to her.  It is truly recorded, but what he said was not true.  It is truly recorded that Job was told that fire had come down from God out of heaven to destroy his possessions, yet the statement was not true.  The servant who told him that was wrong in his assessment.  It was NOT from God.  As believers, we MUST guard ourselves that we “rightly divide” the Word of Truth.  We need to know WHO said it, TO WHOM was it spoken, WHY was it spoken, and more besides.  But this gives you an idea of the questions to ask.  Based on that, is our Text for Today intended for the believer?

So let’s look more closely.  TO WHOM was it spoken?  It was not spoken to His disciples, or those following Him.  It was certainly not spoken with a bent of intention for the church.  It was spoken to Pharisees, priests, and Jews who did NOT believe on Him.  This becomes even clearer when we read that He said to His disciples (and those who believe on Him, including the church) that He was going to prepare a place for them, and that He would come again to receive them to Himself, that where He was, they could be there, also.  I have only shared two examples of my premise, but that is sufficient to make clear that what I write is true.

It is the responsibility of the believer, and especially the man/woman of God who fills and office of the five-fold ministry, that we “rightly divide” the Word of Truth.  This is a grave responsibility.  We MUST “study to show ourselves approved unto God, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH.”   Lives are hanging in the balance.  Believers who need healing, deliverance, and provision in their lives are suffering because of failure in this arena.  Sinners are being lost into eternity without God for this failure.  Once again, this is a grave responsibility, and we, the church, MUST step up and improve our manner of study and presentation of the Gospel of Jesus for the sake of all who hear us.  Our Text for Today was not spoken to me.  I sought Him and found Him because He first found me.  Where He is, I will one day be.  And I pray it is the same for you, my friend. 

Manna for Today – John 7:32-36; John 14:2-3; Judges 16; Job 1:16; 2 Timothy 2:15

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Time for Increase

If these are the “end times” as so many of us believe, then it is time for increased works. \

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John 7:31 – And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

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One of the elements so often addressed in today’s church is increase.  In most cases, that topic is addressed in the arena of finance, possessions, and provision.  I am fully convinced that it is the will of God for His people to prosper and be in health.  Jesus said, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”  I believe that covers the totality of one’s Christian walk and witness, not just finances/possession.  I also believe that the application of this truth is so intricately woven into the fabric of the Christian walk that we often fail to recognize it.

Think of this.  We have received the New Covenant with its authority and ability (exousia and dunamis).  The New Covenant is greater than the Old Covenant.  What Jesus did in His earthly ministry.  Jesus declared that the believer in the New Covenant would do the same works He did, and greater works, too.  And since there are many more of us today than when He singularly walked the earth, the volume of works He did should be greatly increased, especially since each of us is His JOINT-HEIR.

Now let us reason together.  The people referenced in our Text for Today believed Jesus was the Christ.  Christ has indeed already come, paid for our redemption, and is today seated on the right hand of Father.  We are not only to do ALL THAT Jesus did, but GREATER.  And in this age it should be greatly multiplied.  Now are these the last days?  I believe they are.  My friend, it is time for the increase of which I write to be fully manifest and recognized.  That and the preaching of the truth of God’s Word IS the salvation message and confirmation to a dying world.  Father has set the requirements; they are recorded in His Word.  It is time the body of Christ stepped up, accepted the responsibility, and begins to operate in the manner necessary to open the way for Father to fully manifest Himself in confirming His Word with signs following.  Open your heart, your soul, and your eyes with full expectancy to see the increase of which I write.  It is before us.  Let us enter into the rest and Kingdom service necessary to see it ushered in by the hand of our God.

Manna for Today – John 7:25-31; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; Matthew 18:19-20;             3 John 2; Luke 12:48

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How Do You Use Your Time?

Far more important than a point IN time is HOW YOU USE you time.

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John 7:30 – Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

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I am absolutely amazed at how Christians us time as an excuse for not receiving something from the Lord, or to justify stages of struggle in their lives, or as to why it seems a prayer went unanswered.  I cannot number how often I have heard statements such as, “I know the Lord will heal me in His timing.”  That person has no understanding of the covenant into which Jesus has brought them.  And then some say, “When it is the Lord’s timing, I will be promoted.”  That person is attempting to void themselves of all responsibility for the work of the Lord by placing EVERY weight on the Lord, not understanding that He is ALWAYS READY, but that they are forcing Him to wait on them to get ready, to train, to grow up, to prepare.

Think of this.  In Genesis 15:13, God told Abram that his heirs would be afflicted by the Egyptians for “four hundred years.”  Yet in Exodus 12:40-41, and in Galatians 3:17, we read that the children of Israel were afflicted by the Egyptians for 430 years.  Did God miss it?  Absolutely not.  So why is there a 30-year discrepancy in the numbers?  It is because what God desired, God said, but Moses, by his killing of the Egyptian slave master, threw the plans of God 30 years in arrears.  You see, it wasn’t God’s timing, it was man’s misuse time.  What are you doing with the time allotted to you for your purpose in the earth.  How many of us have labored, worked, and even struggled for years to build a stable ministry?  Yet consider Jesus.  He had to be 30 years of age before He could be truly accepted as a messenger of the Lord.  And within a little more than three years, He had fully accomplished all He needed to do to step into the final stages of the redemptive work Father had planned for Him.  In that time, He started His ministry, chose the 12, did more works that could be recorded, finished the work Father gave Him to do, payed the full price for our redemption, and was seated at the right hand of Father.

Time and again we see it in the Scriptures.  It isn’t really a matter of God’s timing, but a matter of what man (and that means us) does in his day-to-day living to enable Father to use him as He desires.  God will not use an unprepared vessel, yet how often are we fully prepared in a timely manner for the Lord to work through us as He pleases.  It is NOT a matter of us waiting on Him to be ready, but of Him waiting on us.  Are you ready today?  Let’s work at it both smarter and harder. 

Manna for Today – John 7:25-31; Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 5:16; Galatians 1:11-17

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Sent By Truth

Imagine being SO TRUE that TRUTH sends you to do His bidding.

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John 7:28 – Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know Me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me is true, whom ye know not.

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Are you a Christian?  Are you a believing Christian?  Some people think if they a Christian, they’re a believing Christian, but that is not the case.  I know many people who, based on Romans 10:9-10, are Christians, but they do not really believe what God says about them, has committed to them, and expects of them.  That is sad, but still it is true.

But let us take a moment today and consider our finest example of what it means to be a believer “sent by Truth.”  His Name was Jesus.  He ministered as a prophet under the law of Moses, NOT as a New Covenant child of God.  Yes, He was, without doubt, the only begotten Son of God.  But in all He said and did, He perfectly pleased His Father.  And in order to please God, one MUST live by faith.  And that is precisely what Jesus did.  HE LIVED BY FAITH IN ALL HE SAID AND DID.  He was the PERFECT example of what it meant to LIVE BY FAITH.  To put it in other terms, all Jesus said and did, He said and did BELIEVING HIS FATHER.  He knew that He and the Father were One, that He was the Word made flesh, that Father COULD NOT lie, and that He was the perfect outshining of the Father.  It was therefore absolutely necessary that He perfectly fulfill the truth in which He was sent to walk, for it was the Truth Who sent Him.

I’m not using what some call double-talk here.  I offer the simple Truth.  Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are One.  Father spoke the Word, Jesus was the Word made flesh, and Holy Spirit both inspires the Word in men’s hearts and carries out the Truth of the Word when it is spoken in faith.  He did it with Father in the creation, He did it with Jesus in He earthly walk, and He stands ready to do it with us in this present age if we rise to the position in faith to which the Truth has called us, in which we stand in the Truth made flesh, and when we speak that Truth in faith.  And He does it to please the Father and see to it that we bring forth fruit that remains.  Father speaks ONLY Truth, Jesus IS the Truth, and the believer is a member of the body of Truth.  And as Father (The Truth) sent Jesus (The Truth mad flesh), so Jesus (The Truth made flesh) has sent you.  You are Truth sent, so GO and DO THE TRUTH. 

Manna for Today – John 7:25-31; John 8:16; John 8:26; John 15:1; John 17:3; John 17:18; John 20:21;                      2 Corinthians 1:18; Hebrews 6:18

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Righteous Judgment

Decide NOW!  Will your judgment be righteous or not?  It’s up to you.

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John 7:24 – Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

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There is much banter within the body of Christ about JUDGMENT.  One Scriptures says to “judge not,” while another, such as our Text for Today, says, “judge righteous judgment.”  So what’s a person to do?  “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”  That’s the best possible answer I can offer anyone.  Questions of judgment are broad and far reaching, coming from more sources than one can number, involving as many situations as there are questions, and based on what one will hear from various scholars, both self-declared and actual, offering even more responses than queries.

So let’s examine this issue from our Lord’s admonishment and instruction.  He said to judge “righteous judgment,” and to “not” judge “according to the appearance.”  Let’s focus for this writing on that single instruction.  It is a safe place to begin quest for understanding of judgment.  Appearances can be deceiving, and that for a number of reasons.  Consider for a moment the scientific.  Elements such as distance, depth-perception, lighting, and even atmospheric conditions impact what our eyes perceive in marked manners.  Have you ever seen a mirage?  I have, and a slight change in humidity or lighting can totally change it.  Have you ever been in desert country where an object seemed much closer than it actually was?  I have, and a rock formation that looked like it was only a mile or so distant was discovered to be more than 30 miles away.  Have you ever seen someone who looked so much like someone you knew (at a distance) that you approached them to speak to them?  I have; too often to discuss.   Do colors seem to differ widely in various lighting?

And then there is mistaken reasoning.  I once heard someone talking about a brother in Christ who was seen leaving a liquor store.  Their speech was not kind, and was in fact judgmental and condemning.  Yet when I confronted him in the presence of the person he was talking about, it was discovered the man was moving to a new residence, and had gone to the liquor store to find boxes for moving breakable items he needed to move.  It seems the boxes in which the liquor was delivered made the best possible packing boxes for breakables.  You see, righteous judgment requires that perceptions be examined in the best possible light, and the best possible light is ALWAYS TRUTH.  In order to judge righteous judgment, ALWAYS examine observations in the light of God’s Word.  When you don’t KNOW the truth, don’t use conjecture, or suspicion.  Be quiet until you KNOW the truth.  Until you KNOW the truth, speak of it ONLY to the Lord in prayer.  If you never KNOW the truth, NEVER speak of it other than to the Lord.  If He wants you to know more, He can tell you.  Otherwise, KEEP QUIET! 

Manna for Today – John 7:1-24; Psalm 54:1; Luke 7:1-2; John 5:30; 1 Corinthians 6:1-5 & 11:31;           2 Timothy 2:15

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His Will Established

If there is a question about God’s will in healing, it should be settled here.

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John 7:23 – If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?

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From the very start today, let us discover an absolutely sure footing for our discussion.  First, let us acknowledge that God’s Word is truly recorded, and that the will of God is clearly established therein.  Second, the Scriptures clearly reveal the will of Father concerning healing – IT IS HIS WILL TO HEAL!  Third, Jesus ALWAYS did those things that pleased the Father.  Fourth, it is absolutely established that “without faith it is impossible to please” the Father.

Now let us examine our Text for Today.  Jesus addresses the fact that keeping the law of Moses was needful, for it was the will of the Father.  That was, of course, under that Old Covenant that was established on the law of Moses.  He then addressed the matter of healing.  He had healed a man on the Sabbath.  He always did those things that pleased the Father.  His healing of the man on the Sabbath was an act that pleased the Father.  Since it pleased Father, it MUST BE THE WILL OF THE FATHER, not only that healing was His will for His covenant people, but that even healing on the Sabbath was His will.  And if it is pleasing to the Father that a work could be performed on the Sabbath, it is certainly pleasing to the Father that such a work be performed on any other day of the week.

Now let us examine for a moment the priority level our heavenly Father places on healing.  To what law of Moses did Jesus relate His act of healing on the Sabbath.  To the law of circumcision.  And that law, my friend, was of the highest importance for any male of the Hebrew, and in Jesus’ day, any male of the Jewish people.  By law, circumcision was required, or we could say DEMANDED, for ANY male born as a Hebrew, or Jew.  On the eighth day, the infant boy was to be brought to a priest for the act of circumcision.  I find it interesting that Jesus, in reference to His act of healing, placed it in such a high priority as to use circumcision as its equal.  It could not be placed on a higher plane of acts commanded by and pleasing to Father.  And so it should be for the church.  3 John 2 should be our defining statement as to the will of Father regarding healing.  IT IS HIS HIGHEST DESIRE AND GREATEST PLEASURE FOR HIS CHILDREN.  Enjoy you HEALTHY day! 

Manna for Today – John 7:1-24; John 8:29; 3 John 2; Proverbs 4:20-23; 1 Peter 2:24

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Whose Doctrine Do You Declare?

When I hear some ministers speak, I really wonder who has poured into them.

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John 7:16 – Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

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At this writing, I have experienced more than four and one-half decades in the five-fold ministry, with 28 of those years as the pastor of one church.  I can think of no higher honor than to be called by my Lord to serve Him and His church, and to be recognized in that service by those whom I have served, and especially to have been honored that the Lord has confirmed His Word in and through my years in ministry.  I give my Lord all the glory.  But in that almost one-half century of ministry, there have been numerous occasions while hearing the words one has spoken from the pulpit or in public setting that simply had NO basis in Scripture.  That, my friend, works to trouble my spirit.

I have heard it declared that Father put sickness or disease upon someone to teach them something; that God wants some people poor as an example of how to live humbly; that the baptism in Holy Spirit and the operation of His gifts have passed away; that the ministry offices of apostle and prophet are not valid in today’s church; that we really don’t have to live according to the Word; and so much more.  These things are troubling to my thinking.  Something Jesus said ministers to me so strongly in those times.  He said, “Let not your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God, believe also in Me.”  If Jesus said I should not allow my heart to be troubled, then I fight against any such troubling words, actions, or reports.

Still, such things are present.  And while I fight the good fight of faith to keep my spirit man from being troubled, my heart still cries out to Father on behalf of the multitudes that are being deceived, led astray, and misinformed through such false teaching.   My question today is simple.  Whose doctrine do you declare?   Do you declare the doctrine of tradition to which we have all been exposed?  Jesus said that we, through our tradition, make the Word of God of none effect.  Oh how powerfully corrupting tradition can be.  Is your doctrine that of the current age?  Jesus said heaven and earth would pass away, but His Word would never pass.  Or are you using your theological pencil to add to the Word, or its eraser to take away from the Word?  Remember the warning of Revelation to those who add to or take away from the Scriptures.  Our times are growing ever darker.  Never has it been more important for the true Light to shine.  I urge you; go to the Word.  Build your doctrine on that Word, weighing it diligently, keeping it in its proper context, building faith, sowing life, giving light, walking in love, being not only a spokesman FOR the Word, but one who LIVES the Word. 

Manna for Today – John 7:1-24; Matthew 15:16; Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33;        Revelation 22:18-19

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