Thursday, December 19, 2013

He Shall Reign Forever And Ever

Yesterday evening I was reading about how "The Church" is losing relevance and how it is impossible for it to have both relevance and moral authority simultaneously.  The inevitable result is supposedly a decline into total insignificance.  (Alas)

Well this morning I was sitting in bed, praising the Lord, and praying in tongues.  A vision came to me of a stone on the top of a hill that got loose and rolled down the hill.  As it rolled it grew larger and larger.  When it got to the bottom of the hill it crushed an image (a statue) that represented all of the kingdoms (governments and cultures) of this world.

Many of you know this vision is written up in Daniel 2, verses 31 through 35, with the interpretation following in verses 36 through 45.  (Well, there is no mention of a hill or the stone rolling down the hill.  Where did I get that idea?  Well, it doesn't matter - the stone was cut without hands, and struck the image.)

Especially take note of verse 44:
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

This is like Psalm 2:
1 Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
6 “Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

Numbers 14:21 says:
but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord—

And Habakkuk 2:14 says nearly the same thing:
For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said:
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Upon Peter?  It doesn't matter to me.  The end result is total victory for Jesus and His kingdom.

And He shall reign forever and ever.  End of story.

So yet again we see the importance of focusing on the Lord God and His truth.

Larry Carroll

Scripture above is from the New King James Version

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Why Even Try?

I know of at least one person, (and probably more than just one), who has given up without even trying, when it comes to personal wealth.

"I'm never going to have real money."  So the next thought is, "Why even try?"  The one person I know who said this explicitly then took her $15 and spent it on after school snacks to take her mind off the situation.  Others spend what little they have on entertainment.

I'm concerned that there are people that regard faith the same way.  They say or think something like this, "I'm never going to be able to live and believe the way these giants of the faith lived, and for sure I'm never going to be able to live as Jesus lived, SO WHY TRY?"

Well, try because it pleases our Father God.

And try because you are not in this alone.  You have the Holy Spirit in you, right?  I hope you do.  And you may have, probably have, other saints living this out with you.  Believer, are you in Christ?

And try because you won't have any real peace if you give up.

I'm told that sanctification is a process.

Winston Churchill, at the beginning of World War Two, gave a speech in which he said in part, "Never give up, never give up!"  Good advise for the Christian Pilgrim.

Larry Carroll

Friday, September 6, 2013

Psalm 13, A Change of Focus

In Psalm 13 we read:

1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

5 But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me. (NKJV)

What do you see here?

Well, I see a change of focus, and a change for the better.  It reminds me of Second Corinthians 5:7 which says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

The author (David maybe, probably) of Psalm 13 started by sharing from circumstantial truth and ended by sharing from the higher truth revealed by the Spirit, a solid truth, a much better truth.  He shifted from walking by sight to walking by faith.  And faith in what?  Faith in the promises of God which the Lord God shared previously.

If the Lord God has shared promises with you, to ignore them is called unbelief, and that is displeasing to the Lord God.  It hurts Him, too.  Don't ignore the promises of God.

In Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5, when He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you.", did He mean it?  Yes He did.  Don't ignore this promise.

 Remember this old chorus:
Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
It's true.

Larry Carroll

Monday, September 2, 2013

More Than "Just Say No"

From Mark 15:8-11
8 Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them. (NKJV)

It looks like the chief priests knew that just saying "no" was not good enough.  They needed to suggest an alternative.  This incident occurred when Pilate suggested Jesus as the one to be released at the feast.

"No" was not enough.  They had to say "Yes" to someone else, and in this case it turned out to be Barabbas.

This is a good lesson for us when harmful or wasteful suggestions are made.  Do more than just saying "no" (though that is a good start).  Say "yes" to something better, hopefully much better.

Or if you are warning another person (or yourself) about a harmful activity, suggest a positive alternative.

Don't do that.  Do this better alternative.

Larry Carroll

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Psalm 27 - In the Second Person, Except Verse 14

Psalm 27 is written partly in the third person (about the Lord God) and partly in the second person (to the Lord God).  If it were totally in the second person, it might sound like this.  If you are one that prays the scriptures, this might help.

Psalm 27 - In the Second Person, Except Verse 14

1 Lord, You are my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
You are the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

4 One thing I have desired of You, O Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in Your house
All the days of my life,
To behold Your beauty,
And to inquire in Your temple.  (Verse 4 is worth memorizing.)

5 For in the time of trouble
You shall hide me in Your pavilion;
In the secret place of Your tabernacle
You shall hide me;
You shall set me high upon a rock.

6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in Your tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to You.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”  (Do it.  You'll never regret it.)

9 Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me, (He won't.)
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then You will take care of me. (He will.  He promised.)

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see Your goodness
In the land of the living.

(So don't lose hope.  We will see His goodness.  Pray for eyes to see it.)

(I am leaving verse 14 in the third person.)

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Larry Carroll
Based on the New King James Version

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Believer, You Are In Christ Jesus

Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus," (NKJV)

Believer, you are in Christ Jesus.  Your sins are forgiven.  Jesus' blood has washed you whiter than snow.  You are clean, you are holy, and you have every right to enter the Holy of Holies, which is God's presence.  Do it!  This is a great privilege.  Use it.

Father wants you to come into His presence, no matter how you feel about yourself.  He loves you, He loves us all, He really does, more than anyone could ever know.

Larry Carroll

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Correction By Delegated Authority - Living a Supernatural Life

This is a two part blog post, although the second part could be appropriately connected to many topics.

Part 1.
The question came up in one of the groups I'm in:
How do you deal with a response to a "concerned and loving confrontation" that says in essence, "Who are you to tell me I'm doing the wrong thing?"

Well, OK, if I'm taking it upon myself to correct a person, then that person has every right to blow me away.  But if I have been delegated by a higher authority to deliver a warning message to someone, then whether he or she recognizes that authority or not, I know I have not spoken out of turn.

So, that person who is confronted should properly ask, "By what authority are you telling me this?"  Yes, I know, this is not a likely response.  But YOU can respond this way (gently, lovingly) if ever you are confronted, unless it is immediately obvious who the higher authority is.

Are there some Biblical guidelines?
Well, I can think of two:

Proverbs 9:7-9
7 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself,
And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.

Matthew 18:15-17
15If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 

As I'm reading this, it looks to me like verses 16 and 17 address the confrontation of a scoffer, which shows that scoffers do have to be confronted, too.  Just be aware that you will most likely be insulted for it - or worse.

OK, now if the higher authority is the Lord God Himself, then all the better - even better than a police badge (which is itself an example of delegated authority).

This leads to:
Part 2.
Hearing the voice of the Lord
Or more generally:
Living a supernatural life

Where to start here?  Well, ask the Lord to bring you to a place where you can, in fact, hear or sense or recognize the word of the Lord inside you. What does that mean?  A voice?  Not likely.  It's just a knowing. "How do you know that?", someone might ask.  "I just know" is all you can say.  It's a sanctified gut feeling. (Oh, but you might be wrong when you start out.  That's correct, so start out in a community with more mature believers.)

OK, do you know you are baptized in the Holy Spirit?  Make sure of it.

And being baptized in water is a statement to the community and to the world that you are really serious about your relationship with the Lord God.  At baptisms, we often sing, "...I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back..."

Do you know that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength?  Sort of?
(Well, I want to.)  OK, that's a good start.  Ask the Lord for a fresh revelation of His (exceedingly good) goodness.  And ask Him to show you how much He loves you.  It's overwhelming.

Larry Carroll

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I will bless the Lord at all times

Psalm 34:1 says:
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

OK, "all times" and "continually" include "now".  And I believe it.

So, what happened to me recently.

After fighting it for a while, my tooth started to hurt so much I knew I had to have it (and the adjoining wisdom tooth) out.  But I couldn't get an immediate appointment.  What came to me was Psalm 34:1.

Well, I don't recall it easing the pain much, but it's the truth, so His praise was in my mouth (off and on) while I waited.

The two teeth were extracted and I felt better.  Two days later, Helen and I went to the second of two kindergarten graduation ceremonies, which was 35 miles from home in Morris County.  Nice.

However, when we got in the car, the "check engine" light was on.  Alas.  Well, the last time that happened it was just a loose gas cap, so we decided to see what would happen.  Maybe it was OK.

What happened was the temperature gauge went up to "hot".  So Helen and I pulled over to the side of the road, called AAA, and found a shady spot to bless the Lord.

The car got towed home and fixed that afternoon.  How nice!  We drove it about 70 miles that evening, so it seemed good.

The next morning we went down to Union County on the Garden State Parkway and, near our destination, watched the temperature gauge go up.

Time to bless the Lord again.  Well, it's always time to bless the Lord.  Even the good times are times to bless the Lord.

In the New Testament, this is written in Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
This is saying the same thing.

So how do we get to a place where we can bless the Lord or rejoice in the Lord always?
1. We need to know His love for us.  We need to really, really know His love for us.
2. We need to know He has not abandoned us, and is still with us, right here right now, walking through this trial with us.
3. We need to practice blessing the Lord at all times.  We can practice in traffic jams and traffic detours and any other annoyance that comes our way.

Larry Carroll

The scripture above is from the New American Standard Bible.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Gift of Tongues

OK, in First Corinthians 14:5 it says:
Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues...
I believe the author really meant it.

In first Corinthians 14:14,15 we find a use for this gift which is different than the use it had in Acts 2.
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 
What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.
This is true even alone at home.  For me it's true, especially when I'm home alone.

Now we come to a verse that show me that the author really values this gift, First Corinthians 14:18:
I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all...
I believe the author really meant it.

As for me, I really value it, too.  There are times during the day when I catch myself, seeing that I seem to be out of touch with the Lord.  When I then start to pray in tongues, the effect is like a shot of spiritual adrenalin to me.  Really.

I also find this gift so valuable when I want to pray about something or someone but don't know what to pray.  I am so very thankful for this gift from God.

Larry Carroll

The scripture above is from the New American Standard Bible.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Holy and Holiness - What Do They Imply?

Holy and Holiness - What do they imply?  They imply all things good, exceedingly good.

Here are some descriptions and attributes which they imply:

Alive and life
Beautiful and beauty
Clean and cleanliness
Courageous and courage
Delightful and delight
Dignified and dignity
Encouraging and encouragement
Faithful and faithfulness
Fascinating and fascination
Free and freedom
Gentle and gentleness
Glorious and glory
Good and goodness
Great and greatness
Healthy and health
Honest and integrity
Intimate and intimacy
Joyful and joy
Just and justice
Kind and kindness
Loving and love
Merciful and mercy
Passionate and passion
Patient and patience
Peaceful and peace
Perfect and perfection
Pure and purity
Refreshing and refreshment
Righteous and righteousness
Self-controlled and self-control
Shining and light
Sweet and sweetness
True and truth
Virtuous and virtue

for which I presently do not have good noun/attribute forms.

So when we ascribe holiness to the Lord God or to the Lord Jesus it is no surprise that we should be drawn to Him as the maiden was drawn to the king in the Song of Solomon.  And, it should be no surprise that Jesus Christ is drawn to us, too.

And when we are told to love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength, this should be a natural response to one who loves us with all His heart, all His soul, all His mind, and all His strength.

Larry Carroll

Monday, April 15, 2013

When We See His Face

On November 16, 2012 my mother died.  What did she see and experience that day?

From Revelation chapter 1 we read,
"12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.

So we see here that John was overwhelmed when he saw the Lord Jesus as He is now, in all His glory.  He fell down at Jesus' feet as dead.  And this is what my mother saw and experienced when she went home to glory.  She, too, was overwhelmed.

And this is what we will all see that day.  No exceptions.  The beauty, the glory, the love of Jesus will totally overwhelm us all.

But it doesn't end there.  Verse 17 continues,
"But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last."

Do not be afraid of death.  The Lord God wants to establish a relationship with you, too, through the death of Jesus Christ and welcome you home to live with Him forever.

"Yes, Lord, save me!"  He will. He loves you.

Larry Carroll

Scripture is from the New King James Bible.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Joy of Marriage, The Joy of Surrender

In 1906, O. Henry wrote a short story called "The Gift of the Magi".  The story tells of a young married couple both of whom sacrificed their dearest possession for the happiness of the other.

It was Christmas time.  The man had a gold pocket watch, but sold it to buy combs for his wife and her beautiful long hair.  The woman sold her beautiful long hair to buy a gold chain for her husband's gold pocket watch.  And when they found out, they discovered something much more precious than either the hair or the watch; they discovered how much they truly loved each another.

I recently attended a wedding and advice was given to the newly married couple, which got me thinking about advice I'd give, if I were asked.
1. Serve each other.
2. Submit to each other.
3. Forgive each other.
4. Die for each other.
I see all of these in Ephesians chapter 5.

But what if only one party wishes to enter in here, only one party is willing to serve, submit, forgive, and die for the other?  Is it still worth it?

Yes, it is.  This is what Jesus Christ did, and is doing, for His bride, His church.  And look what it says in Hebrews 12:2:
"looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (NKJV)

And I'm finding it true in my life, my marriage, too.

Happy Valentine's Day.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Never A Solo Flight

We have heard that the teaching or mentoring process goes like this:
1. Book learning and basic concepts
2. I do it, you watch.
3. I do it, you help.
4. You do it, I help.
5. You do it, I watch.
6. You do it all by yourself.  So for example, at this point, a pilot will make his or her first solo flight.

But in God's kingdom, it's not this way.  For He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  (Hebrews 13:5)

So you're never alone or on your own anymore.  You never have your first "solo flight".

And that makes me very happy.

Larry Carroll

Saturday, January 19, 2013

They Weren't Faking It

Paul and Silas demonstrated that they really meant it, as was later written by Paul in Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always..."


In Acts 16:25 it says, "But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them...".

"The prisoners were listening to them" says that they weren't just barely, almost inaudibly, praising the Lord God in a whimper, licking their wounds so to speak.

No, Paul and Silas weren't faking it in the cold Philippian jail, with bloody, stinging backs and little creatures crawling all around.  No, they meant it.

They knew something that many others don't know:
The Lord God was still with them.
The Lord God is an exceedingly good God.

Oh, well we know that.

Yes we do.  We also need to know that, even though present circumstances are real, the presence and the promises of the Lord God were, and are, more true than present circumstances.  They are a superior truth.

Oh my.  Now don't get weird on me.

OK. Yes, I know, present circumstances can hurt really badly.  The enemy can use pain to argue that the Lord God has forsaken us, or is angry with us, or doesn't love us, or all sorts of bad things.

People have felt like that from the beginning.
Psalm 13 starts with "How long O Lord?  Will You forget me forever?"
Psalm 22 starts with, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"

And yet by the end of each of these two Psalms, the author has crossed over to praise.

And we can, too.

Larry Carroll