earnestly contending for the faith

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The word “spend” comes from an old English word, “spendan” (forspendan, use up). Everyone knows what it means to spend or “use up” money. But not many individuals allow themselves to be aware of using up time (Where has all the time gone?). That is especially true in the younger ones.

We all have been given a deposit of the time and no one knows how much. The seconds are practically ignored, but seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours make days, days—weeks, weeks become months, which turn into a year that we reminisce about for a few minutes each New Year’s Day. We quick scan the past year, resolve to do some things differently, stop doing other things, and turn over a new page of time, and forget our resolutions.

But about those seconds. In a second the final score of a championship game is sealed. A second is time enough to avert disaster in many situations. In a second a .220 bullet can travel 4665 feet. In a few seconds we can do or say something to someone that can take days, weeks, years, or a lifetime to pay for, ask forgiveness for, but we can never unsay or undo it. Continue reading

Grateful to God for all of His blessings and benefits.

I woke up this morning as usual with a song in my mind and thanking God. I was reminded of what the psalmist wrote:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”— Psalm 103:1

Are we truly blessing the Lord God when we merely say, “Bless the Lord”? It is not possible to speak a blessing upon the Lord God. I mean, if your car was broken beyond repair, and someone gave you a new car, you would feel blessed and give abundant thanks to and praise God. But the blessing materialized to you as a new car. How does the mouthing of blessing become a blessing to God?

I can tell you how it does not become a blessing. When speaking the phrase, “Bless the Lord,” is rote or does not come from a faithful soul. The same applies to people that thank God as a rote practice or an off-the-cuff remark when they find their missing glasses.

God is not blessed by our mouthing a “Bless the Lord” no more than you are blessed when someone knows your car went kaput and says, “I’ll think about you.” So?

God is blessed when our “Bless the Lord” comes from a deeply grateful soul that is poignantly aware of his or her benefits from God. People pick out the phrase “Bless the Lord,” but most do not read the rest of what the psalmist wrote.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” — Psalm 103:2-5

It is not difficult to realize that the psalmist had spent some time thinking of all God’s benefits in his life. The phrase, “Bless the Lord” was not just a casual utterance or something he uttered because it seemed the religious thing to do.

It was an eruption of gratitude from his soul. The words mean little to God, but when compelled and empowered by deep and near speechless gratitude, they convey a pleasing sacrifice of praise.

Therefore, it is not our words that bless God, but our words that are soaked with gratitude blesses or pleases Him.

I am grateful today. Although the world may groan, complain, and bemoan its state, I take time to assess my condition. Spiritually and physically I am bestowed with many of God’s benefits. All around me today there may be many calamities. People will be in angst, or angry, depressed, or their spirits crushed or enraged, but as the psalmist wrote:

“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” —Psalm 107:29

Godly Thomas Zimmerman, whom I greatly admired, once remarked, “Remember, when you’re in the storm, the storm doesn’t have to be in you.”

In this time of turmoil in politics and evil shenanigans, when people are obsessed with things they cannot control, It is time to put our hope fully in God. I do not want the storm in me—and life is full of storms.

There is no greater way to have a grateful heart than to search the treasure chest of your soul and realize all of God’s benefits. Then you can do something truly marvelous. You can bless the Lord.

Can you imagine what He is hearing from the majority of people in our nation right now? Is it a blessing to Him? Would we rather be a blessing than receive one?

“Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” — Psalm 107:31


People are being played by the enemy. Every trial we enter, every battle we fight, every temptation we struggle with, all ministry, and everything else that wars against our spirits, causes an exertion of spiritual power.

Any man of God can testify that anointed preaching takes a toll on his strength. I pray and sometimes fast when I have to deal with a major issue that will require much spiritual strength.

Consider that in the following passage Christ felt power go out of Him when a woman touched the hem of His robe.

And Jesus said, “Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” — Luke 8:46

The Greek word for virtue is translated from the Greek word for power.

Virtue: Greek—dynamis; miraculous power.

In the next passage, we understand that the Holy Spirit imparts power to us.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” —Acts 1:8

Power: Greek—dynamis; miraculous power.

Does anyone understand that power going out must be replenished by power coming in or we can become weak.

“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” — Proverbs 24:10

Please consider this warning. People are being lured to stress about this volatile political situation. It is draining them of power. They will become weak and faint spiritually in a time when they need to be at their strongest.

Turn off the news programs. Don’t read all the reporting on the Internet about this fiasco. This world is not your home and the secular realm is Satan’s domain.

Whatever happens with this election, there is nothing we can do by obsessing with the details of this power struggle. Do we really want to be spiritually drained in such a time as this?

Remember that old dragon Satan drew a third of the angels with his tail and cast them to earth. He is drawing God’s people into a nasty cloud of contention so that he can strike them down.

Pray, read God’s word, do whatever is uplifting, encouraging, and that replenishes rather than drains your spiritual energy.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” — Colossians 3:1-3

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