But If Not


Daniel 3:17-18

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

These three words have impacted me so much …“BUT IF NOT”! These three young men went from being praisers on that day to being TRUE worshippers! They basically said… “we know that God CAN do it, but even if he chooses not to do it we will still worship HIM! We know that God can keep us safe, but even if He doesn’t and allow calamity to come upon us, it doesn’t change the way we feel about Him!! Help us Lord to say “BUT IF NOT!”

God’s people go through some hard rough and trying times, but if they can stay true to God, and learned how to worship in the hard times, eventually God brings them through and blessed them more mightily than ever before! You might be in the furnace now, but learn how to worship! You might be stripped down to nothing now, but learn how to worship! You might have lost everything, but learn how to worship, God’s not thru yet! Unfortunately, we often seek what God can do for us, and neglect having an intimate relationship with Him. We want the blessing of God, and fail to come union with Him. We are adept in praise, but we never really worship.

Can we as the church truly worship God even when HE it appears that He is not blessing? Can we yet worship when it appears that He is taking things from us? When we are seemingly being attacked on every side, emotionally, spiritually and physically?

My heart is heavy as I think of the horrific event that took place in Charleston, South Carolina a few days ago. Yet to hear the words of forgiveness spoken by the families affected embolden me even more to operate in the love of Christ. Can you hear him from the cross saying “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. They have chosen not to serve the king of this world that says hate, demand and seek revenge. But instead they released their grip on anger and embraced their arms around unexplainable love.

True worshippers are shown at this time. It is much more than lip service and even church actions. Yeah I know we volunteer to clean up the church building and serve in the different ministries, but that is not worship. That is works and in the realm of His Kingdom Jesus says that worshippers are wanted and preferred not workers.

Let me end with this… the world will know us by our love, not our religious sayings, not our righteous indignation, not our Bible thumping or our condemning others. Until we can love our enemies and pray for them who despitefully knowingly use us, they will not see Christ. They will see Christians. Mahatma Gandhi said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I understand and agree with what he was saying. My prayer and desire is to be a follower of Christ so that He may be seen even in the “but if not” times. If He does not heal me, if he does not let me work where I desire, make the money I should rightfully make, or if I do not get the girl or the guy or the house I desire, I choose to worship Him. If I am never known or recognize outside of my small circle I will worship Him. Understand this, He can deliver us oh king…BUT IF NOT……

Do Faith, It Pleases


“How many of you think God is really pleased with you?” In the natural a person can choose to love you because of his or her own goodness, but to be pleased with you, they actually have to like your performance. Right?

With God, no one could ever be pleasing to Him based on performance. His standard is perfection, and no goodness on our part can ever compensate for our sins. We may please man with our actions, but “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Once one becomes more thoroughly aware of the exceeding sinfulness of sin within himself it calls up the question, “What must one do?” Notice the word “do.” Does this not indicate activity of some kind? In other words, are we willing to expend some measure of energy—work—to begin stopping actions of sin in our lives?
The way we receive the forgiveness that’s available through Jesus’ blood is by faith (Rom. 10:9-17). When we put our faith in Jesus as our Savior, we are pleasing God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.”

Faith comes from the heart (Rom. 10:10), and God looks on the heart — not the actions.

It’s our hearts that really concern God, and faith in Him (trust, reliance) is what He is searching the heart for.

A person whose actions are not right but who trusts the Lord is more pleasing to God than an individual who is doing the right things but has no faith in God. It’s not a case of those who act the best will get accepted, and those who act the worst get rejected. That would put some of the followers of other religions ahead of many Christians, but that is not what the Bible teaches.

This is exactly the point Paul is making in Romans 11:6: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” The amplified says it this way “6But if it is by grace (His unmerited favor and graciousness), it is no longer conditioned on works or anything men have done. Otherwise, grace would no longer be grace [it would be meaningless].” It’s one way or the other but it cannot be a combination of the two. We’re either saved by God’s grace through what Jesus did for us, or we’re saved by what we do without Jesus, but not a combination of the two.
If God used performance as the basis of whether or not He was pleased with us, no one would ever pass the test. “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Ps. 130:3).

Satan used to accuse me and say, “What makes you think God will use you?” The truth is that none of us are perfect. We don’t deserve the blessings of God. We must put our faith in Jesus. It’s hard for some people to accept this. It has been ingrained in us that if we aren’t holy, God won’t bless us. When God looks at you, He doesn’t see your goodness — He sees Jesus. If he saw us we would all be doomed.

If you’re walking in faith, God is pleased with you even though your actions don’t measure up. The worst sin is self-righteousness. The attitude that God owes it to you because you’ve been good is erroneous. When it comes to God, your performance can’t earn you anything. Because you have, do and will sin, you need a savior. It is your faith in the FINISHED work of Jesus that will grant you access to God.

I’m not advocating sin. Your actions are important. Your holiness is important because it changes your heart toward God but it does not change God’s heart toward you.

The actions and consequences of sin will hurt you. Even though God will love you just as much, you won’t love God as much. It will harden your heart toward God. If you constantly live in sin and never feed yourself spiritually, it will kill you. I am not saying you should ignore your actions. You will never do everything perfectly, but don’t let it keep you from receiving the blessings of God.

Look at Peter during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. He denied the Lord three times. He cursed and blasphemed God, and yet Jesus prayed that his faith wouldn’t fail. Jesus’ prayers were always answered. Peter’s actions failed, but not his faith. He was restored to God and went on to become a pillar of the church.

Some of you may be thinking, this is great — I can live like the devil and still get what I want from God.” If you think that, I would ask are you truly born again, because a True Believer wants to please God. This word is for Believer’s who have a desire to serve God and live by FAITH in His completed work.

EXCUSE ME BUT DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?


2 Timothy 3:1-4… “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy; Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good; traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”

 Does this sound familiar to you? What is your local news reporting this week? What time is it? Do you know? Are you aware?

We are constantly hearing of “perilous times” in the Middle East, the Ukraine, the west, third world countries and other various parts of the earth. To be honest “perilous times” encompasses the entire earth. Yes, even in your country, province, city and town. “Perilous times” resides in your family, your home, and even your mind. It is of different variances and intensity but it is still “perilous times”, a struggling, and a conflict. This “time” is impacting everyone, every class, every race, and every culture. Sometimes I think mankind is not at peace unless mankind is at war. What is that? Why do we seem to have the urge to usurp someone else? Where is this attitude, this brokenness, this rage, and this reaction coming from? What is the weapon of attack?

One attack strategy of the perpetrator in this time is to use seducing spirits, spirits not only highlighting lust and sex. We see and hear that constantly. It is attacking every culture. Look at the videos; listen to the music that is prevalent in our culture, especially the American culture. You cannot see a show or listen to music today without sexual suggestive dancing and lyrics being presented. This attack from seducing spirits is not just about lust but more importantly it this spirit is to lure us from our true lover, our true husbandman, our true strength and help. It is to draw us from Truth and to bond us to a lie. Its assignment is to make people question Truth and seek another. What is Truth?

Another attack strategy is spiritual deception. The only way that the enemy can gain a foothold in this world is to pervert and twist truth. So he uses men to espouse religion and tradition and superstition to bring about chaos in the name of God. He is not ignorant of God, but mankind has allowed himself to be ignorant. So he tells mankind to reach out to God. He says find him in your own way. He says there is no right or wrong way. He also empowers men to lead astray, lead from the virtuous way those who have not entrenched themselves in the Truth. What is Truth?

This can only be done through false teachers. They take the lead in engineering a path to lead people to a false, dangerous and fruitless destination. They excel in the atmosphere of fear and phobia. The pathway to false ideology becomes wide and bright when the sheep mentality of the fearful uninformed is revealed. Trust is placed on the most flimsy of support. Add to that the need to sensationalize any event through the phenomenon of real time access from anywhere in the world, we are a people open to anything good or bad.

But it is the time that we should be most concern. Nothing is by happenstance. All is by plan and purpose.

2 Peter 3:3 – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts…

In this time some men, using the guise of politics, religion and morality are REALLY walking after their own perverted lust. They mock the sanctity of life and freedom that every human being has if their will only is to be done. They are seeking to fulfill the lust of control, money, position, sex, murder and power. They follow their own evil desire. That is their NOBLE cause. It is not only here in the United States but it is in every country in the world. It is in every religion and those who would be the head of such. History has consistently shown the hearts of men.

Sooooo, how do we overcome this? What is the winning strategy?

2 Corinthians 2:14 – Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ,

The winning strategy is not the problem. We as believers just need to NOT be afraid and be BOLD in the HIM because we are ALREADY victorious. Read it again He CAUSES us to triumph to be victorious. This is a concluded result. He will make us victorious because in Him dwells NO defeat. We just need to be willing to stand up and fight.

But a prerequisite must be that we are aligned in agreement as believers. Not as a denomination, race, culture or creed, but as believers.

Lev 26:8 – And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

The Greek word for agreement is “symphaneo” – this is where we get the English word symphony. A symphony is a collaboration of different instruments playing together in harmony. Whether you enjoy that style of music or not, there is one thing you must admit. When you hear it, there is harmony and each instrument is playing the same song in the same key on the same tempo together. but have you ever heard the orchestra musicians before the presentation doing warm up? Every section, every musician is doing his own thing. They are all playing different notes in different keys, different scale patterns and rhythms. It sounds like total chaos. But once they are united and give their total attention to the conductor, the one who knows the plan, chaos becomes collaboration, headache becomes harmony, individual limits becomes collective actuality But only when we agree. We as Believers need to have “symphaneo” in our prayer, worship, and resolve of following our “conductor” who knows the plan to victory. If God be for us, who can be against us? We should not be a people paralyzed by fear of terrorist, disease, and mayhem or any other. He CAUSES us to triumph, even in “perilous time”.

It’s official. I’m no longer a Christian!


I am giving up my “Christian card”. The term “Christian” is no longer what I want to be known as. Before you turn away hear me out. The word “Christian” is only found 3 times in Scripture, none of which Jesus’ uses. It was initially used as a derogatory term, like the “N” word. It was not a term of endearment. Gradually, through acceptance of it’s meaning “Christ like”, the word “Christian” became a standard for a religious viewpoint. For me, it is not the word, “Christian” that I can know longer align myself to, but it is the definition and the illustration of that word. Have you been paying close attention to our world today? Answer me this, what as an unbeliever would inspire you to become a “Christian” today? What can you point to that is universally the indisputable and unshakeable standard of the word Christian across the board? If the word’s initial definition is “Christ like”, then why does “their” Christ like, and “your” Christ like and “my” Christ like look different from each other’s? Is Christ schizophrenic? Is it denominationally or culturally, or racially or politically based? It appears to be the case based upon its nature of separatism. I am personally so ashamed of how so called conservative “Christian” have either bought into the ploy of politics or are treacherously hypocritical in order to reach a political goal. Their actions of name-calling, lying, denigrating, fighting, etc., is that “Christ like”? What is the draw to a un-believer? The word “Christian” has become a joke to the world because it leaves so much too one’s interpretation of the “word” and the personal manipulation of the one using the “word”. This too is also where the real problem lies. We argue and differentiate between the “interpretations” of the words of Christ instead of what He ACTUALLY did. I heard an “evangelical Christian” politician quote the Old Testament verse” “if you do not work, you do not eat” as a reason for not helping the poor and unemployment increase etc. Hhhmmm! I seem to recall Jesus saying in Matthew 25:33 – 40, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me…. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. How can one misinterpret or remotely over look that as a “Christian”? John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples (not Christians), if ye have love one to another.”

Let me say this, I want to be identified only as a “disciple” and follower of Jesus Christ. He never once said become a Christian, but over 90 times He says, “follow me”. The word “follow” in the Greek does not just mean “trail” as we know it in the English language. It also means to be a particle of union or to be an attached piece to the whole. It means to copulative, bonded, yoked as one. His footsteps are my footsteps. His actions are my actions. His words are my words. His showing of love is my showing of love. If we mirrored Him completely and became His reflection in the earth would there be so many different “Christian” images? You might have your own interpretation on what He said and what He meant but you cannot question what He did. No I am no longer a Christian. I want to be a follower of Christ. I want to be one of His disciples. I also learn I cannot “be” like him, but He can “be” in me, but that is next week’s thought. So from this day forward… let me be a “follower of Christ”.