Watch Your Step

Watch Your Step

Step by Step
Photo by Tobi on <a

My husband’s childhood home covered at least eighty acres of prime farmland, pastures, a pond, and a creek running through the woods. We enjoyed taking our children there each week and weather permitting, going on hikes through the woods to the natural pool the creek fed. I say we enjoyed, but in truth, all but me fully enjoyed the excursion.

I was too busy looking behind logs, being careful not to step on a pile of leaves, and still keeping my eyes on the path before me. I ordered my steps carefully, because I feared the slithering creatures that hid under logs and leaves or ventured across my path. Ordering my own steps proved futile. It didn’t keep the snakes away or keep fear from my spirit.

In all of life, wisdom dictates us asking the Lord to—

“Order my steps in thy word:

and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”

Psalm 119:133, KJV

It’s the only way to be productive and live without sin ruling our lives. When the Lord orders our steps, we will be living by his word and experience the fulness of joy on this excursion—no matter what comes our way.

  • In Christ we find freedom from the power of sin over us.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus

hath made me free

from the law of sin and death.”

  • For we have been—

“delivered from the bondage of corruption

into the glorious liberty of the children of God …

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,

If ye continue in my word,

then are ye my disciples indeed;

And ye shall know the truth,

and the truth shall make you free.”

Romans 8:2; 8:21; John 8: 31-31, KJV

  • In Christ, the Lord God—

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit,

out of the miry clay,

and set my foot upon a rock,

and established my goings …

Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:

and thy right hand hath holden me up,

and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Thou hast enlarged(supported) my steps under me,

that my feet did not slip.”

Psalm 40:2; 18:35-36, KJV

There were times on my family’s hikes, I was so intent on watching out for creatures that I found myself mis-stepping and landing on the ground. There are times in life we forget or simply ignore the steps the Lord’s word leads us to follow. When we do, all hope is not lost.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD:

and he delighteth in his way.

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:

for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand …

If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Psalm 37: 23-24; 1 John 1:9, KJV

No, the Lord has taken us out of the pit of sin and set our footing on the rock—a rock that will not fail us even when we fail in allowing him to order our steps. We have a rock, a sure rock, a spiritual rock that followed Moses and the Israelites—

“and that Rock was Christ …

And Simon Peter answered and said,

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God … 

Jesus answered …

upon this rock I will build my church;

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it …

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,

but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,

Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”

1 Corinthians 10:4c; Matthew 16:16, 18b; Ephesians 2: 19-20, KJV

  • Jesus Christ is that rock that insures we will stand at the last days with him.
  • He brought us out of the pit of sin.
  • He set our feet on the solid rock of truth.
  • He raises us up when we fall.
  • He keeps us.
  • He orders my steps in his word.
  • He is worthy of praise.

“For who is God, save the LORD?

And who is a rock, save our God …

The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock;

and let the God of my salvation be exalted …

Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD,

among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.”

Psalm 18: 31, 46,49, KJV

I will ask God to order my steps in his word and be my strength so that sin does not rule over my heart. Who is ordering your steps?


Testimony Time!

Testimony Time

bloggratitude-1201944_960_720“Thy testimonies are wonderful:

therefore doth my soul keep them.”

Psalm 119:129, KJV

In the country church my family attended, we practiced testimony time. It wasn’t scheduled in a bulletin or announced beforehand. The social leader or pastor surprised us with an impromptu time of sharing what the Lord had done for us. Mostly older ones participated. Their stories fascinated me as a little girl—but not near as much as one child’s.

Our pastor, a short, bald-headed man with a heart of gold, stood a couple of feet taller than the pulpit. He looked at me sitting with my husband and three children. “Would you come lead us in a testimony meeting? It’s time to share what God has done for us.”

Leaving the children with my husband, I walked to the front of the church and began by giving a short testimony of my own. Then I asked, “Who would like to go next?” If two people stood, one would politely wait for the other to share.

When silence grew, I knew it was about time to end testimony time. “Anyone else?” I asked.

A skinny boy with honey-blonde hair hanging on his forehead and around his ears stood. He wasn’t much taller than the pew he gripped. My eyes filled with tears as he began to speak.

“I’m thankful Jesus saved me, and I want to be baptized.” My youngest son, eight-years-old at the time, sat down.

With shock settling in, I said, “Praise God,” and ended testimony time.

My son’s testimony gave witness of the Lord’s covenant promises extended to the Israelites after leaving Egypt and were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

When the Lord handed down the Mosaic Covenant of Testimony, it bore witness to who God is and how his people are to relate to him and to others. We know them as the Ten Commandments, and they are wonderful.

“And he gave unto Moses,

when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai,

two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”

Exodus 31:18, KJV

God deemed the ten laws enough to govern a nation of over two million people. Not only that, but when Jesus came he fulfilled all those laws and condensed them into two.
The first five commandments are summarized when—

“Jesus said unto him,





This is the first and great commandment.”

And the last five and second summary?

“And the second is like unto it,


On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 22: 37-40; 7:12, KJV

Jesus fulfilled the laws and commandments of the Lord God—even to being the perfect sacrifice for sin once and for all. He obeyed them all even unto death. This is what my son unknowingly gave testimony to that night.

“And being found in fashion as a man,

he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross.”

Philippians 2: 8, KJV

The Testimony of the Lord—the two tablets of stone—bear witness of the covenant between God and Israel. They are hidden in the ark of the covenant under the mercy seat—somewhere.

But the Lord has shown us his witness in his word and through the living Word—who bears the fulness of God and is the spirit of prophecy. He is prophecy—the testimony of God, fulfilled.
When John of Revelation mistakenly worshipped his messenger he was told—

“See thou do it not:

I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren

that have the testimony of Jesus:

worship God:

for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Revelation 19: 10, KJV

And Jesus’s testimony is this:

“he that hath seen me hath seen the Father …

I am he that liveth, and was dead;

and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;

and have the keys of hell and of death …

Behold, I come quickly:

blessed is he

that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book …

And, behold, I come quickly …

I am Alpha and Omega,

the beginning and the end, the first and the last …

Surely I come quickly.”

John 14: 9b; Revelation 1: 18; 22: 7, 12a, 13, 20b, KJV

The Lord’s testimonies are wonderful bringing us into a relationship with him through Jesus Christ. Therefore our obedience is—

  • a blessing not a chore,
  • freedom not restriction
  • life not death

What is your testimony? Your witness? What wonderful thing does it say about the Lord?

The Body, Blood, and Beauty

The Body, Blood, and Beautyblog passover

“And he said unto them,

With desire I have desired

to eat this Passover with you

before I suffer:”

Luke 22:15, KJV

If you knew it was the last night of your life, what words would you want to leave with your family and friends? Jesus did know as he and his disciples gathered in the upper room to celebrate Passover. He wanted them close. Much needed said in a short time to prepare them for the coming darkness that would envelope them. He loved them.

One vitally important event required attention. As the band of followers celebrated the Passover meal with Jesus, all the elements of procedure and foods took place as usual. The account of the first Passover was rehearsed as the flat bread, wine, and bitter herbs were taken. The promise of God was reiterated.

“And the blood shall be to you

for a token upon the houses where ye are:

and when I see the blood,

I will pass over you,

and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you,

when I smite the land of Egypt.”

Exodus 12:13, KJV

The Israelite slaves of Egypt were to slaughter a lamb, spread the lamb’s blood on the doorposts and lintel of their homes, eat the roasted lamb, the flat bread, and the bitter herbs. When the Lord’s angel passed through the land, wherever he saw the blood, the first born were spared from death. Life came through the blood.

The night the Lord celebrated Passover the end of the meal deviated from the traditional. Jesus opened the door to the new covenant about to be instituted. The first covenant had come through the Law and was inaugurated by the blood of bulls, goats, and lambs. Jesus introduced the new covenant—

“And he took bread,

and gave thanks, and brake it,

and gave unto them, saying,

This is my body which is given for you:

This do in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19

The body of Christ had to be broken in order to destroy the weakness of our flesh in its slavery to sin.

“Who his own self

bare our sins in his own body on the tree,

that we, being dead to sins,

should live unto righteousness:

by whose stripes ye were healed.”

1 Peter 2:24, KJV

Under the first covenant of law, our body succumbed to sin. When Christ took our weakness, our sin nature upon his flesh, he gave us his righteousness and the power to say no to sin.

“Being then made free from sin,

ye became the servants of righteousness.”

Romans 6:18, KJV

Jesus didn’t stop with the giving of his broken body. Our sin still had a debt to pay we could not pay.

“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying,

This cup is the new testament in my blood,

which is shed for you.”

Luke 22:20, KJV

In the first covenant/testament, blood was required but only pointed to the pure blood to be poured out from the Son of God to cover our sin once and for all. For a testament to come into effect, someone has to die—In this case only One could serve as a perfect Lamb.

“Forasmuch as ye know

that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,

as silver and gold, from your vain conversation

received by tradition from your fathers;

but with the precious blood of Christ,

as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

1 Peter 1:18-19, KJV

Christ clothed himself in our filthy rags of sinful flesh—that we might be clothed in his beautiful robes of righteousness. He took our curse upon the cross—that we might be the blessed of the Father. He did it for me. He did it for you. But there is more.

Christ died to die no more. He died to free us from death’s hold. He rose from death’s hold. Without the resurrection his death would be in vain. But He lives, no longer dressed in our rags but in the beauty of the Father’s glory.

When the morning broke, the women hurried to the tomb and met two messengers. They said,

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?

He is not here, but is risen …”

Luke 24:5b-6a, KJV

When John saw him after Jesus ascended to the Father, he described the beauty of his glory.

“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks

one like unto the Son of man,

clothed with a garment down to the foot …

and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”

Revelation 1:13a, 16b, KJV

And this isn’t the end of the story. As Jesus ascended in the clouds to the Father, he promised to return.

“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.

I am Alpha and Omega,

the beginning and the ending,

saith the Lord,

which is, and which was, and which is to come,

the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:7-8, KJV

There is another resurrection day coming—our own—when we will be fully clothed in the beauty of the Lord. Are you ready? May the hope of this resurrection season fill your hearts with the joy and peace of our Lord.

The Writer’s Heart: Branded

The Writer’s Heart: Branded

herd of cattle
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on

“From henceforth let no man trouble me:

for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”

Galatians 6:17, KJV

My Bible’s translation help offers the word “branded” for in my body. When I think of branded, my mind travels to the first movie my husband, at the time boyfriend, and I saw. The local drive-in theater featured John Wayne in The Cowboys, a western set in the late 1800s. Needing cowhands and finding no men available John Wayne hired a dozen or so schoolboys for his cattle drive. Before the drive the cattle had to be branded with a mark burned into the cow’s hide. The mark identified each cow as belonging to John Wayne’s ranch.

The Apostle Paul’s branding identified him as belonging to Jesus Christ. He bore the brand of Christ in his body through scars from being stoned, beaten with rods, and the many times he received thirty-nine lashes from a Roman whip. Paul’s life, and message remained consistent with Christ’s brand.

“For Christ sent me not to baptize,

but to preach the gospel:

not with wisdom of words,

lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect …

For I determined not to know any thing among you,

save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

1 Corinthians 1:17; 2:2, KJV

Paul’s brand revolved around preaching Jesus Christ, crucified. Authors are encouraged to discover their brand and reveal it in their writing, websites, email, marketing, and book cover designs. Readers want to know what they can expect concerning style and message from an author. The message needs to be consistent but engaging, creative, and encouraging to the reader. It can be written in fiction or nonfiction—the same message presented surprisingly different.

Paul spent three years in the desert learning and growing with Christ as his teacher. He had spent a lifetime learning the law from the best teachers. Authors are called to be diligent in growing and learning our craft in order to keep our message fresh, new, and taking our readers into deeper thought and their own growth.

Our readers want us to be real—living out the message that motivates our writing. As the old saying goes, we need, “To practice what we preach.” Although, we don’t want our message to sound like preaching. We want to present ourselves and our message in such a way as to leave our readers asking, “When’s your next book coming out?”

Paul bore the brand of Christ in his body, his life, and his writing. If we are called to write—our bodies, lives, and writings, are meant to carry Christ’s brand and bring him glory. I believe Christ’s brand could be summed up in coming not to be served but to serve. What would you say Christ’s brand is? How does your brand reveal to whom you belong?

For more on the discovering your brand check out the article, “Seven Author Branding Tips,” by Mark Coker. It appeared in Publisher’s Weekly under, “Seven Branding Tips for Indie Authors, 11/19/2018. His tips aided in my thoughts for this blog.

Longing For Salvation

Longing For Salvation

woman lying her head on piano
Photo by Marcela Alessandra on

“My soul fainteth for thy salvation:

but I hope in thy word.”

Psalm 119:18, KJV

“I want out of this mess! I can’t take it any longer! Where is God!”

When life throws us a curve, we want the straight path of peace, joy, normalcy. We want what we can understand and control. We want out. We want deliverance. We look to our resources whether it be finances, health, a relationship gone bad, recovering from a disastrous event. After our resources leave us weaker than when we began, if we are smart, we turn to God and plead, “Help me. Be my deliverer.”

His answer when we call,

“Let us draw near with a true heart

in full assurance of faith,

having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,

and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10: 22, KJV

In the Book of James, we are told if we draw near to God, he draws near to us. He has not left us in our suffering. He is not far from us. He lives within us to strengthen us. We can trust him.

“But it is good for me to draw near to God:

I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,

that I may declare all thy works.”

Psalm 73:28, KJV

When tears and prayers rise and fall, when God is silent, and the salvation we seek remains a dim hope, what then?

We wait. We keep trusting our God who is faithful to his word. Jesus understands. As he hung on the cross bearing the weight of our sin and the wounds they caused, as he poured out his life for us in obedience to the Father, Jesus cried out in anguish,


 Jesus knows how we feel when we feel forsaken, when the clouds hide the face of God from us. We, also, know, according to Psalm 22: 23,27 and Philippians 2:8-11, the Lord God heard Jesus’s cry.

“For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;

neither hath he hid his face from him;

but when he cried unto him, he heard …

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD:

and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee …

And being found in fashion as a man,

he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,

and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

of things in heaven,

and things in earth,

and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”

The Lord heard him and delivered him through death to bring him to life and to glorious exaltation. Not only did the Lord deliver Jesus Christ through his suffering, he delivered us from the fear of death to share in his everlasting life and glory. We are told,

“The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him,

to all that call upon him in truth.

He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him:

he also will hear their cry,

and will save them.”

Psalm 145:18,19, KJV

Because God is faithful to his word, we can, hope in thy word. We can draw strength and peace in his presence for we know—

“The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;

therefore will I hope in him.

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

It is good that a man should both hope

and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”

Lamentations 3:24-26, KJV

When the heart falters, wavers for lack of strength, and feels faint—

  • Hope in the Lord,
  • Hope in his goodness,
  • Draw near to him,
  • Hope in his word, for he is faithful who has promised.
  • Then hope and quietly wait for his salvation.




Hebrews 10:37, KJV

Look up. Your redemption, salvation, deliverance is near.


No Shame: A Sound Heart

No Shame(2):A Sound Heart

a glass of wine and bread pieces near a bible

Photo by Amy Faru00edas on

“Let my heart be sound in thy statutes;

That I be not ashamed.”

Psalm 119:80, KJV

Each day, morning and evening, a lamb poured out its life by the hand of a priest and the command of the Lord. Each day, atonement by the blood of the lamb provided forgiveness enabling the people to meet and commune with the Lord God.

Following the offering of the lamb, the designated priest for that day, would pour out a drink offering of specified amounts of flour, oil, and wine on the fire—creating a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It was to be a continual offering, every day twice a day.

Over a thousand years later, after the final sacrifice had been given and poured out on a cross, the Apostle Paul made reference to this offering in his service to the Philippian church.

“But even if

I am being poured out as a drink offering

upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,

I rejoice and share my joy with you all.”

Philippians 2:17, NASB

  • Paul emptied his heart of his fleshly desires,
  • walked in the power of the Holy Spirit,
  • and consecrated himself to the Lord God through the blood of the new covenant.

He poured out himself as a drink offering to the Lord, completely devoting himself in the work of the gospel. He could rejoice knowing his work was not in vain, his heart was blameless/sound, and he would be unashamed on the day of Christ.

Before Paul offered himself as a drink offering, Christ led the way for us all to be a drink offering to the Lord.

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it,

and gave unto them, saying,

This is my body which is given for you:

this do in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19, KJV

Jesus was the final burnt offering, our atonement, the Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world. He was, also, our drink offering.

  • The drink offering consisted of flour. Jesus was and is the bread of life—

“and the bread that I will give is my flesh,

which I will give for the life of the world.”

John 6:51b, KJV

  • The priest poured oil into the flour even as the Lord pours his Spirit into us—




For this promise is unto you, and to your children,

and to all that are afar off,

even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Acts 2:18, 39, KJV

  • The final ingredient to the drink offering consisted of the wine poured on the fire—

“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying,

This cup is the new testament in my blood,

which is shed for you.”

Luke 22:20, KJV

The burnt offering reveals our salvation, followed by the drink offering which leads us to a consecrated life, sanctified by the word of God. Whereby, when Christ appears our hearts are sound, and we stand unashamed in Christ’s offering.

Consecration comes to us after we have believed Christ to be our burnt offering. Next, we practice giving ourselves to the Lord each morning and ending each evening with him. The Lord commanded the burnt offering followed by the drink offering as a place of meeting with his people.

“This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations

at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD:

where I will meet you,

to speak there unto thee.

And there I will meet with the children of Israel,

and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory …


Know ye not that your body is

the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,

which ye have of God,

and ye are not your own?

For ye are bought with a price;

therefore glorify God

in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Exodus 29:42-43;1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV

Do you want to meet with God? Hear him speak to you? Be a continual drink offering. There is reward.

  • God will meet with you.
  • He will speak to you.
  • He will dwell with you and be your God. And—

“they shall know that

I am the LORD their God,

that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt,

that I may dwell among them:

I am the LORD their God.”

Exodus 29:46, KJV

We didn’t walk out of Egypt with the Lord, but He did bring us out of the kingdom of darkness into his kingdom of light. He is the Lord our God.

And finally, we will know when we stand with Christ—

  • our heart is sound,
  • we need not be ashamed,
  • and he will say to us,

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant:

thou hast been faithful over a few things,

I will make thee ruler over many things:

enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Matthew 25:21b, KJV

God is Great. God is Good.

God is Great, God is Goodblogreligious-2598299__340

“Thou art good, and doest good;

teach me thy statutes.”

Psalm 119:68, KJV

The little girl’s blonde pigtails swung down beside her face as she bowed her head and folded her hands in prayer. “God is great. God is good. I will thank him for my food. Amen.”

That little prayer was my first remembered experience of talking to God. Today, the phrase, “God is good all the time. All the time God is good.”, is echoed in camp settings, teen groups, or anytime something really good comes into our lives. It is easy to say and easy to believe as long as all is well. But that’s not what the phrase or God’s word says. All the time includes—all the time.

Not only is God good all the time, but all he does is good. It is who he is. That which is good cannot do evil. In creation, God proclaimed each day’s work good—until he created the first person. Work completed God states—

“it was very good.”

When our focus turns to the state of our world, and views the evil that rules in the hearts of people, we have to wonder what happened to the very good.

When Adam and Eve entertained evil and believed God to be less than good, all goodness but one began to die.

“For we know that the whole creation

groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now …





Romans 8:22; 3:12, KJV

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and called Jesus good, Jesus answered him and said,

“Why callest thou me good?

There is none good but one,

that is , God.”

Mark 10:18, KJV

Jesus gave the young man an opportunity to declare Jesus to be God, and to realize no matter how well the ruler observed the commandments, sin still reigned in his heart.

Like so many today, the goodness standing before the young man is denied. It is true, God is good all the time. He is the only one good. And his goodness is available to all.

“The LORD is good to all:

and his tender mercies are over all his works …

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:

for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil

and on the good,

and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Psalm 145:9;  Matthew 5:45, KJV

God’s abundant goodness flows deeper than what we can see, the material blessings of sunshine or rain, good health, or material wealth. Evil people, good people receive air to breathe, wealth, and wellness. All classes of people receive the results of sin in the world, sickness, poverty, disasters. But not all people receive all the fulness of God’s goodness. This abundant goodness of the Lord is available to all but received only by those who call upon him in truth.

“For thou, Lord, art good,

and ready to forgive;

and plenteous in mercy

unto all them that call upon thee …

If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Psalm 86:5; 1John 1:9, KJV

Through the death of Jesus Christ, the good Master, God the Son, God’s goodness is made available to us who possess no goodness of our own. Jesus’s death took our sin/unrighteousness and gave us his goodness/righteousness.

“To the praise of the glory of his grace,

wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Ephesians 1:6, KJV

Yes, God is great. God is good … all the time. The questions remaining: Do you trust God to be good all the time? How would life be different if we did fully trust God’s goodness in all times?

When the World Presses In (2)-Getting the Wrinkles Out

“This is my comfort in my affliction:

for thy word hath quickened me.”

Psalm 119:50, KJVIMG_4055

My granddaughter brought my great-grandbaby by for a visit. Being only five weeks old, smiles are appearing more often but she, also, has inherited her daddy’s scowl. As I worked to coax a smile from her, I explained more wrinkles will adorn her smooth silky baby skin than smiles.

Age brings worries, tension, and troubles into our lives and wrinkles multiply. The world presses wrinkles into our spirit more than our flesh if we allow it. The Spirit of God washes away the worries, our haunting past, all that’s not of him, and gets the wrinkles out. We would not know the power of the Lord in our lives if we never experienced the cleansing and the heat of the iron.

“Beloved think it not strange

concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,

as thou some strange thing happened unto you:

But rejoice,

inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings;

that, when his glory shall be revealed,

ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ,

happy are ye;

for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:

on their part he is evil spoken of,

but on your part he is glorified.”

1Peter 4:12-14, KJV

Apostle Peter knew about fiery trials, as did Apostle Paul. The world pressed more wrinkles into their flesh than what covers a Shar Pei puppy. But the wrinkles didn’t mar their spirit. Both considered the persecutions and trials a source of coming to know Christ through sharing his sufferings. Paul wrote—

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ …

I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung,

that I may win Christ … And be found in him …

That I may know him and the power of his resurrection,

and the fellowship of his sufferings,

being made conformable unto his death;

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

(From Philippians 3: 7-11, KJV)

Paul’s past represented a pharisaical rising star. He possessed the heritage, the recognition of Jewish elite, a misplaced zeal, a spotless reputation according to the law. All that changed when he met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. What he had before was of no more importance than what a donkey dumps on the path behind him.

Paul’s greatest desire consisted of knowing Christ. His desire should be ours. To know Christ means—

  • to experience him in our lives;
  • to experience his resurrection power which takes us from physical and eternal death to abundant life, and eternal life. That is the power of the resurrection of Christ in us.
  • Along this road in the resurrection power, knowing Christ involves experiencing his suffering for sin—not for the remission of sin, but for the suffering of sin’s influence in this world.
  • We will experience Christ’s death. Before hanging on the cross the human aspect of Jesus, his flesh needed to die to self.

In Christ’s anguish before his trial and march to the cross, Jesus laid aside his flesh’s desire to not drink the cup of suffering held in his hands. Instead, he picked up his cross and obeyed the Father, taking our sin—giving us his righteousness.

Jesus showed us by his life, death, and resurrection how to know him after telling us—

“If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross,

and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:

and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Matthew 16:24b, KJV

Our wrinkles find cleansing in the blood of Christ. They are ironed out as we share in his cross. We don’t welcome suffering or persecution, but we shouldn’t shrink from it when it comes. Christ is our strength.

We can rejoice in suffering, because it reveals the power of Christ in us, giving us a platform to share the Gospel of our Lord—a platform where wrinkles are ironed out and spirits are renewed without spot or blemish, like the flesh of a newborn baby.

What wrinkles do you need the blood of Christ applied to?

According To His Word, Hope

According To His Word: Hopeblogcross-792538__340

“So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me:

for I trust in thy word.

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth;

for I have hoped in thy judgments.”

Psalm 119:42-43, KJV

“How do you know the Bible is true? I’ve heard inconsistencies exist in it. Is that true? If it is, how can you believe any of it?” The challenge spewed from his mouth, daring me to answer.

The Lord, true to his word, gave me answer that day through my personal testimony of the mercy and salvation God had given me through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. My witness included the eternal hope the Lord’s salvation brought to my heart. The Lord made clear the hope he brings to believers when, as a young Christian, Peter’s words challenged me to know why I had hope.

 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:

and be ready always to give an answer to every man

that asketh you a reason of the hope

that is in you

with meekness and fear;”

1 Peter 3:15, KJV

In order to answer others with meekness(gentleness, NIV) and fear(respect, NIV), we must remember, the Lord has sanctified, or set us apart from the world to be his own possession. He saved us for two purposes, our salvation, and for setting us apart from the world’s way of living to live and speak the gospel to others. Sanctification is the process of salvation bringing us to completion—both a work of God in us. One of the motives of sanctification comes as we learn what our hope is and how to walk in it.

As a new believer, the cross of Christ spelled out hope for me. In reality, the cross freed me from sin’s punishment and power. I didn’t understand forgiveness of sin alone didn’t provide the reality of the hope for everlasting life. Hope is birthed at the cross, but comes in its fullness with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“And if Christ be not raised,

your faith is vain;

ye are yet in your sins.

Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ,

we are of all men most miserable.”


“But now is Christ risen from the dead … “

1 Corinthians 15:17-19, KJV; 1Corinthians 15:20a, KJV

Our eternal hope is found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is alive. Because Christ lives, we live now and forever.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

which according to his abundant mercy

hath begotten us again unto a lively hope

by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled,

and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

Who are kept by the power of God

through faith unto salvation,

ready to be revealed in the last time.

Where in ye greatly rejoice …”

1 Peter 1:3-6a, KJV

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, but faith is only as reliable as its substance. The only substance to withstand the trials of life and continue in hope is found in the faith of our heavenly Father. Without faith in God, hope vanishes. It is futile.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him:

for he that cometh to God

must believe that he is,

and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Hebrews 11:6, KJV

God is the answer to life. He is the word of truth. He is our hope of today and all eternity. He is our reward.

Giving the Lord first place in our heart and seeking his truth, He is our answer to those seeking hope.

“Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help,

whose hope is in the LORD his God:

Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is:

which keepeth truth for ever …

The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion,

unto all generations.

Praise ye the LORD.”

Psalm 146:5-6, 10, KJV

I don’t know if my challenger found hope or not. My hope for him is found in the Lord that pursues us with his love—until we no longer have breath. When you need a dose of hope, where do you turn?

According To His Word

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“Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation,

according to thy word.”

Psalm 119:41, KJV

The son of man stood bound before his judge—one unable to discern the living Word standing before him, the Son of God, the King of kings. Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king. Jesus answered with—

“Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,

that I should bear witness unto the truth.

Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” John 18:36, KJV

Pilate replied, “What is truth?”

People continue to ask that question today. Like Pilate, the world searches for truth, but they are blind to the truth standing before them.

  • Multitudes don’t believe it,
  • twist it,
  • fear to proclaim it,
  • and walk away from it.

John, the apostle, wrote Jesus’s words stating, “Thy word is truth.”

Jesus, the living Word of God, said, “I am … the truth.” Not only did he make these statements, he lived the truth. He is truth.

When the psalmist asked the Lord to send his mercies and his salvation, according to his word, those same mercies he asked for, gave birth to hope. In his loving kindness, the Lord’s salvation has come to us. The truth has found it’s way into our hearts.

God’s grace lavishes us with his mercies—

payment for our sin debt,

cleansing from the sins of the past,

strength to live in victory over sin,

and eternal life.

  • According to his word, and his word is truth,

“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning:

great is thy faithfulness.

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul:

therefore will I hope in Him.” Lamentations 3:22-24, KJV

  • According to his word and his word is truth,


  • According to his word, and his word is truth,

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear,we shall be like him;

for we shall see him as he is.

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3, KJV

  • According to his word, and his word is truth,

“Being confident of this very thing,

that he which hath began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6, KJV

  • According to his word, and his word is truth,

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself,

that where I am, there ye may be also …

I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” John 14:2-3, Matthew 28:20b, KJV

Truth does not have to be believed—it remains the truth. Truth can’t be twisted—for then it is no longer the truth. Fearing to speak the truth—will not prevent it from be revealed. Walking away from the truth—will not bring freedom but captivity.

  • According to his word, and his word is truth,

“If ye continue in my word then are ye my disciples indeed;

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31b-32, KJV

If you, like Pilate, have asked, “What is truth?”,  according to his word, and his word is truth, Jesus is the truth. Know him and you will know truth. Truth never changes. Truth endures forever.

“The grass withereth,

the flower fadeth:

but the word of our God shall stand for ever …

O give thanks unto the LORD;

for he is good:

for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 136:1, KJV

With his mercies come salvation.