April 1. 2020

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” – Matthew 16:24-28 ESV

Warrior;
Such a powerful word for an important time. Notice the individuality of God’s instruction and God’s mentioned consequences. This is NOT a corporate judgement, or a GROUP command, this is an individualistic message. IF ANYONE- not any family, not any group of people, not any church or ‘get-together- BUT, if anyONE…for WHOever..what will it profit A MAN…to repay each PERSON according to what HE HAS DONE- or NOT DONE! This is a ONE ON ONE agreement, there is no EN-MASS. En masse means, in a mass; all together; as a group. In Jesus’ most famous sermon, on the mountain, He describes how individualistic this relationship is. “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Leader, I have heard researchers of the original text talk about how the original language alluded to a “turnstile”. How many people get through a turnstile at one time- ONE! When I flew into London’s Heathrow airport we had to take our luggage and carry it through an underground train system called the TUBE, and it was impossible to take our luggage through the turnstiles we had to go through to get into the train station. We take nothing with us when we stand before God, the only thing we have is our Faith which showed up in our WORKS, which expressed itself in our actions, in our deeds. For according to a man’s deeds, He repays him; according to a man’s ways, He brings consequences. and loving devotion to You, O Lord. For You will repay each man according to his deeds. If you say, “Behold, we did not know about this,” will not He who weighs hearts consider it? Does not the One who guards your life know? Will He not repay a man according to his deeds? I said in my heart, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked, since there is a time for every activity and every deed.” (Job 34:11, Psalm 62:12, Proverbs 24:12, Ecclesiastes 3:17) God says this ALL throughout HIS WORD.

Conduit, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21) Where is your security? Is it in your 401k, is it in your job, your health, your fame, your bank statement, your family name or your church membership? Jesus, in Luke 12:33-34, gives us an idea of treasure in heaven when he says, Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. We are called to be CONDUITS- pass through agents. We have been blessed, to bless others. Do you consider what you have yours? Or is what you have GOD’s and he is allowing you to steward it to be a blessing of compassion, concern and care? Read Matthew 25:31-46 and read about GODS accounting system: 31When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats…. The TIME IS NOW, to start storing up treasures in heaven and not at the BANK OF THIS WORLD. With all the hurt and the homeless and the helplessness in these CORONA TIMES, how can you be different than the world and give away what little you have to those who have less? How will GOD reconcile your account before HIM? To he who much is given, much will be required! Some have been given much and used it to secure their position in this world. Some have been given much and blessed many more through their generosity and compassion. The Sheep and the Goats- on which hand will God put you? The time is now to clean up your accounting system! For this is the TIME that Jesus spoke of when He said: Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” People get ready, there’s a LION A COMING!

March 31. 2020

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” – John 6:66-69 ESV

Warrior;
Peters question, “To whom shall we go?” was really a statement. Peter was NOT asking Jesus to name someone else for the disciples to follow. Peter was saying that there was no one else! What say you, WARRIOR? This is very similar to another time when Jesus asked Peter a similar question in the 16th chapter of the book of Matthew; When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. “Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (v13-16) Jesus was proud of Peters answer then too, because He knew that ABBA Father had given it to him! Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (v17-18)

Leader, in school we would get occasional quizzes. The quiz was to keep you on the journey of proper knowledge. The quiz were smaller tests of the bigger things. Quizzes told the teacher if we were ON COURSE to pass the BIG TEST that got us over the threshold of success. The BIG TEST was the one that allowed us to advance to the next stage, the next level, the next grade. We would have periodic quizzes to make sure we were on course to PASS the FINAL TEST! Peter KNEW that nobody could replace Jesus as the disciples MASTER. He was EVERYTHING TO THEM! Jesus was their TEACHER (John 6:68), Jesus was their SHEPHERD (John 10:11), Jesus was their LAMB (John 1:29), Jesus was their WAY (John 14:16), Jesus was their GOD (John 20:28). As Peter said, and it is worth quoting again, “to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Conduit, are you ready for the final exam? Is there evidence in your life that you are a FOLLOWER of the RISEN CHRIST? Are you living your life, like HE IS THE ANSWER TO LIFE’s questions, to life’s FINAL EXAM? Or is this a big UP UNTIL NOW MOMENT? Are you a Peter, Mary or Paul…or are you a JUDAS? Judas Iscariot did go to someone else, something else! Jesus said to his disciples, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” (John 6:70) By devil, Jesus means a member of the OTHER TEAM, a follower of someone other than Jesus will ALWAYS MEAN A FOLLOWER OF SATAN- there are only 2 teams. You are either on God’s team, or the other team! Today is the DAY OF DECISION. It is NOT TOO LATE, until you take your last breath- to decide to be a FOLLOWER OF CHRIST. If you are not, call me, Mr. Black 817-657-4921. I will help you get ready for the TEST. The TIME IS NOW, the time of the Gentiles is wrapping up and TEST TIME IS COMING. I want you to know the reward for passing this test is MIND-BLOWING! But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”(1 Corinthians 2:8-9)

March 30. 2020

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. -Proverbs 8:13 ESV

Warrior;
Evil is what is morally wrong, sinful, or wicked. Evil is the result of bad actions stemming from a bad character. Biblically, evil is anything that contradicts the holy nature of God (Psalm 51:4). Evil behavior can be thought of as falling into two categories: evil committed against other people (murder, theft, adultery) and evil committed against God (unbelief, idolatry, blasphemy). From the disobedience in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) to the wickedness of Babylon the Great (Revelation 18:2), the Bible speaks of the existence of evil.

Leader, A progression is shown: Pride and arrogance are conditions of the heart, which is where it all starts. Where there is pride in the heart, it will come out in “the evil way,” that is in action. Evil also emerges in words, though it may not always be obvious. When evil resides in the heart, it will be exposed in perverse speech, language contrary to the truth of God and to love. James 3:8 declares that “no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” He also says, “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man” (James 3:2). We can only reach that perfection with God’s intervention and help, which, thankfully, we have.

Conduit, the apostle Paul essentially says that the foundation of good works—particularly within the church of God—is humility or lowliness. Humble yourself before God and man whilst seeking ye first the kingdom of God- only then will WISDOM and ‘Fear of the LORD’, present themselves in overflowing abundance! If you want to get higher, then you must get lower!! As John said, “I must decrease so He can increase.” Can I get a witness?!

March 29. 2020

Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber. – John 18:38-40 ESV

Warrior;
The Bible is filled with HIDDEN GEMS, some NOT SO hidden. I AM BARABBAS and so are you, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ! Jesus became Barabbas’ SCAPEGOAT and HE is ours too, if we will TRUST in HIM and choose to make HIM OUR LORD! In the Bible, a scapegoat is an animal which is ritually burdened with the sins of others then driven away. The concept first appears in Leviticus, in which a goat is designated to be cast into the desert to carry away the sins of the community. Barabbas was a well-known criminal who had been imprisoned “for an insurrection in the city, and for murder” (Luke 23:19). One of the HOLY DAYS in Judaism is the Day of Atonement and it included a ceremony that involved the expulsion of a living animal from the camp, traditionally translated “scapegoat.” The high priest placed his hands on the head of the goat and confessing the sins of Israel, the priest symbolized the transference of the people’s sin to the goat. Together, the goat sacrificed, and the living scapegoat showed that the goats were substituted for the people and that they bore the penalty of the sin- and were made righteous.

Leader, the story of Barabbas, a “notorious prisoner” who was given LIFE, so that CHRIST could be crucified- is important! This is one of 10 things mentioned in ALL FOUR Gospels. HE was chosen by the crowd, over Jesus Christ, to be released by Pontius Pilate in a customary pardon before the feast of Passover. Barabbas’ name literally means, “son of the father”. Barabbas is mentioned in all four gospels: Matthew 27:15–26; Mark 15:6–15; Luke 23:18–24; His life intersects that of Christ at the trial of Jesus. Matthew 27:19: Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” A righteous man dies and a murderer, lives- This is our story!

Conduit, the story of Barabbas and his release from condemnation is the remarkable, parallel story of every believer. We stood guilty before God and deserving of death (Romans 3:23; 6:23a). But then, due to no influence of our own, Jesus CHOSE to die in our stead. The Innocent, JUST, JESUS, bore the punishment we rightly deserve. Like Barabbas, WE who BELIEVE, are allowed to go free with no condemnation (Romans 8:1). We get HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS and HE gets our PUNISHMENT! Jesus “suffered once for sins- He is our SCAPEGOAT, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). We have little ideas of what happened to Barabbas after his release! Did he go back to his life of crime? Was he grateful? Did he eventually become a Christian? No one knows for sure. But the choices available to Barabbas are available to us all: surrender to God in grateful acknowledgment of what Christ has done for us or spurn the gift and continue living apart from the Lord. CHOOSE WELL, Eternity is riding on it!

March 28. 2020

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints-1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV

Warrior;

Do you have PEACE in this confusing world?  Where does PEACE come from?  Where do we find PEACE?  What is the wellspring of LIVING WATER that satisfies the soul that is thirsting for PEACE? Jesus is the PRINCE OF PEACE! For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:6,7a) OUR FATHER in heaven is the purveyor of PEACE ON EARTH, and it is received by walking on a road paved with the Blood of JESUS! 

Leader, so many people allow CONFUSION and the DEVIL to get them OFF THE MARK – to SIN, by focusing on the wrong things. I once heard a supposed BELIEVER, ask the question, “Why is Jesus named the Prince of Peace instead of the King of Peace? Isaiah 44:6: “Thus says the LORD, the KING OF ISRAEL and his Redeemer, the LORD OF HOSTS: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.” “King of Peace” would be an appropriate title for God the Father. In the Roman Empire (when the Vulgate was made) the Emperor was often called the Princeps, (Latin: “first one,” or “leader”) the unofficial title used by the Roman emperors from Augustus (reigned 27 bc–ad 14) to Diocletian (reigned ad 284–305)- which is what the title “prince” refers to here. It is emphasizing the sovereignty of Christ, not downplaying it. The son of a king is a prince. “Prince of Peace” is an appropriate title for God the Son. It is JESUS who came to earth to save us sinners. In this role, He was the “Prince of Peace.”

Conduit, Paul the Apostle, in Philippians 4:6-7 tells us how to get the PEACE OF JESUS; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The psalmist tells us how to get this PEACE; Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble. (Ps 119:165) Jesus Himself told us that the gift of salvation is the greatest gift that we receive upon the first death, but He gives us a GIFT that we enjoy on this planet, in these tents: “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27) Amen! God keeps us in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on HIM, because HE trusts in US! (Is 26:3) Also see Job 1:8 and 2:3! Peace with the world is impossible if you are a child of God. Peace from this world, doesn’t exist; Peace in this time of pandemic is RARER than a Corona-virus vaccine! Whether social-distancing, or self-quarantined…whether you test positive, or negative for Covid 19, the only peace that comes from above is found in the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Today, welcome JESUS into your heart and into your ‘Shelter in Place’; And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen!

March 27. 2020

For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God. -Romans 10:3-4 NLT

Warrior;

The prophet Isaiah got a WORD from GOD: Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken. I will test you with the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness.(28:16-17a). Only Jesus can keep the Law of God’s righteousness. If we focus our attention on the LAW, our sinful nature will consume us! We can’t be GOODNUFF for GOD!

Leader, by focusing our attention on Jesus, we will be changed into HIS IMAGE. This is the image we were created to BEAR! In HIM there is NO SIN! This is why we are called to seek ye first the kingdom of God, and HIS righteousness! The LORD made us with the eyes in the front of our face because we MOVE in the direction we are LOOKING and we LOOK in the direction we are MOVING! Are you moving to be more like God or more like a better MAN? Matthew 5:17 reminds us, JESUS did not make an end to the LAW- by negating it, but by FULFILLING IT! HE has become our RIGHTEOUSNESS. When we “practice our righteousness” we are ABIDING IN HIM!

Conduit, for by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Rom 3:20) Jesus is the Cornerstone of creation. He is the only foundation for human life. When HE IS firmly placed in our lives- WE WILL NOT BE SHAKEN! When we have been BORN AGAIN in the SPIRIT, changes in our personality, our thoughts, actions and words- will come from WITHIN, and no longer from WITHOUT! IN HIM, we no longer are moved by FEAR; rejection, embarrassment, loss or even loss of LIFE! In HIM we do not live in fear, but we WALK BY FAITH! And we REMEMBER: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21)

March 26. 2020

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” – Luke 21:25-28 KJV

Warrior;
We need to understand God’s timing and God’s directives. After David was anointed King over Israel, there was a TIME when he was on the run, fearful of his life that had been threatened by King Saul. David ran from Saul for 13 years, hiding in caves with his 300 mighty men of valor! He was anointed by Samuel to be king when he was but a lad, at age 17, and he began to reign 13 years later at age 30. Then he reigned for 40 years until he became 70 years old. God uses all HIS TIME to help us understand the TIMES. God did anoint David as KING and God did allow Saul to pursue David for a TIME. The Bible has 2 Greek words that we translate into the ENGLISH word TIME; Kairos and Chronos. Chronos measures minutes and hours. Chronos is about being at the right place at the right time- on the clock; the time for a meeting, time to go to work, time to be at work, time to pick someone up. It is specific as to a spot on the daily schedule. Kairos, however, measures moments not seconds- a season. Kairos is about moments IN TIME, it refers to the RIGHT moment, the OPPORTUNE moment, the PERFECT MOMENT.

Leader, when David’s time had come for him to BECOME KING, God had him gather the troops. 1 Chronicles 12 goes into the background of this formation of David’s army which will allow for the KAIROS of DAVID’s reign. Now these are the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he could not move about freely because of Saul the son of Kish. And they were among the mighty men who helped him in war. For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God. Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command. Of the Reubenites and Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh from beyond the Jordan, 120,000 men armed with all the weapons of war. (1 Chronicles 12:1,22,32,37) It is interesting that tribes contributed anywhere from 1000 to 50,000. The lowest number was from the tribe of Issachar at only 200. These were considered the BEST WARRIORS, why, because they knew what TIME IT WAS- KAIROS.

Conduit, God has always considered those who knew the TIMES, to be wise: Then the king consulted the wise men who knew the times, for it was customary for him to confer with the experts in law and justice. (Esther 1:13) Wisdom comes from God, knowledge comes from man. “or to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind”. (Ecclesiastes 2:26) Eschatology is a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind. It is the knowledge of God’s word and seeking HIS WISDOM on HIS TIMING and HIS INSTRUCTIONS for this TIME. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24) We are currently in what is called, “The Time of the Gentiles”, when that is complete then the Rapture will happen, when the restrainer will be removed, and HELL on earth it will be- FOR A TIME. And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7) If we know what TIME IT IS, then we will be prepared and can be used and saved by God! The Time is NOW to know HIS WORD and HIS TIME! Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36) People get ready, there’s a train a coming!