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No Corners Cut, No Pacifying, No Round-About Way

“You Need to Know!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

You need to know that God isn’t happy with how you are living. He declares that things will not be pretty until you acknowledge your guilt and seek [his] face [Hosea 5:15-16]. Our brothers, Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah tell us the same thing in so many words…“You think God is impressed with your worship? You think God is impressed with your prayers? You think God needs your sacrifices? You think that if you’re loud enough or earnest enough or put a little extra in the offering plate that God owes you attention? You’ve got it all twisted! God says, “Stop bringing him meaningless sacrifices! Your incense is detestable to him. New moons, Sabbaths and consecrations, he cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New moon, festivals and appointed feasts, his soul hates. They have become a burden to him.” [Isaiah 1:13-14]. “You come near to him with your mouth and honor him with your lips, but your heart is far from him. Your worship of him is made up only of rules taught by men.” [Isaiah 29:13].  Paul says, Stop it right now! Start to change by renewing your mind with God’s truth. In the Old Testament God wanted His people to serve Him with ALL their heart, soul, mind and strength (Deut. 6:5).  I tell you, you must sacrifice your selfish desires and live for God every day. You must put to death the selfish tendencies that rise up and push your agendas, your plans and desires over God’s.

God desire is that we live a righteous life which is the best life we can live.  God told Israel to: Wash themselves and make themselves clean.  To put away their evil doings. To suit it up… To get the sin out of their lives, and today He is telling us the same truth. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!  I don’t know who you are trying to please with your life, but today you are being challenged to live lives which are pleasing to God.  You must come to yourself and realize that you are God’s own and created for His purposes. You must come to yourself and forsake the foolishness in your life, the vain pursuits, that carry you farther and farther away from God.

Now I don’t know whether you know or not, but more than 60 times the New Testament tells us that something either is or is not God’s will for His people. Four of those times are in Peter’s letter written to hurting believers. In verse 2 of chapter 4, Peter says, instead of living for “evil human desires” followers of Christ should live “for the will of God.” He tells us that we have spent enough time living as pagans, but now we need to live for God. Don’t desire sin as much as you desire God. Don’t desire sin’s lie as much as you desire God’s truth. As Romans verse 1 chapter 12 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and the perfect, will of God.”

I want to encourage you to give yourself to God. Don’t let your mind get twisted to where you refuse to take godly instruction from God’s Word. I know what I’m talking about. You see when you live for the devil your mind gets warped to where you can’t think right. You begin to think God is expecting too much out of you, making too much of a demand upon your life. The Devil is a liar! Seek Him while He may be found. “Be transformed, not conformed to the world.” For God has called you to live a separate life, to be a peculiar people unto Him. Therefore, come out from amongst them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; so that God will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be His sons and daughters.

Learn from Jonah’s example. Jonah was a man who decided he wasn’t going to do what God had told him to do: He wasn’t going to go to Nineveh, where God had called him to go. So, he decided to take a ship for Tarshish rather than going to Nineveh as God said. Off he went, sailing in the wrong direction. He made life miserable, not only for himself but for everybody else that was on that ship. When you’re out of the will of God, nothing goes right. You can’t be blessed when you’re out of God’s will for your life. And you certainly won’t have a smooth running life when you’re doing your own thing, rather than obeying the Lord. While Jonah was out to sea, he thought he was running away from the Lord, but God blew up a storm while he was on that boat. The mariners didn’t know what to do. They expected the storm to break up the ship at any moment and destroy them all. Those mariners also knew that somebody on that ship wasn’t right with God. They were all praying to find out what was wrong. Jonah’s interest had disappeared, and his disobedience was causing such misery to those around him. I tell you, life can become one continuous storm when you’re out of the will of God, tossing you to and fro. The only way to stop the storm is to enter into God’s will for your life.

Consider the following scripture regarding choice. Deuteronomy 30:15 through Deuteronomy 30:20 (NKJV) “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

I want you to know that not only did God admonish the people to choose life; He also gave them a good reason for doing so, namely life. God has given us His Word, which reveals His Way. Why not learn it and graft it into your heart and live your life accordingly? May what you’ve read have a practical effect in your daily life… You needed to know!


“As Promised –The Brother’s Keeper Mission Project Update!”

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By Lou Coleman

This is a different article from the norm of a mission project update. It’s an article as I struggle with the unease and sadness and grief about what I encountered in Ghana Africa as I represented the Brother’s Keeper Mission Project recently. Upon arriving in Ghana I was taken to the aftermath of a great flood that happened two days prior to my arrival. A city destroyed. Homes washed away. Roads covered. Buildings inundated. Communities and villages flooded. The smell of death in the air. The circumstances were so overwhelming as to be mind-boggling. The pictures shown are some of the destruction from the Flood.

As I witnessed some of the destruction, I began in my thoughts about Israel of old and how they experienced natural disasters as judgment because of sin. Filled with emotion, I remember reading Psalm 29 verse 10 that said… “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood…” Then as I continued reading verse 11 it said, this same Lord, “May He, give strength to his people. May the Lord bless his people with peace.” It seemed, at first, odd that they sought peace from the same God they ascribe such awesome and terrible power. But I was also reminded of God’s grace and awesome power which was proclaimed in the ancient story of Noah and the flood and what Israel noted over and over, that there was destruction and wind and storm and uncertainty in this world, but God is still God, and God is not in the wind, nor is He in the earthquake, nor the fire, storm, or even the flood, but mostly in the hope and the hearts of those who can discern His persistent, still, small voice in the background beneath and above and beyond the chaos. As I tried to think about a flood of that magnitude, one question kept floating to the surface. Why would God do such a thing?

lou 2In order to answer that question, the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:37-39 to his disciples on the Mount of Olives before he was crucified drew a fascinating comparison with the days of Noah. He tells his disciples that the past is the key to the future. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. They were buying and selling and continuing in all the usual activities of human life. Business as usual. Children went to school each day, businessmen made deals, teachers taught, doctors dispensed healing, and farmers tended their crops. They paid no attention to Noah as he warned them of impending judgment; they paid him no mind whatsoever until the day that Noah entered the ark. Study the days of Noah because what happened in those days will happen again at the end of this age. The spiritual conditions of the pre-flood world will be replicated in the days preceding the return of Christ to the earth. One translation said, “They did not know.” What a damning indictment. It was an age of enlightenment. But they did not know. It was an age of great progress. But they did not know. It was an age of lou 1music, fine arts and literature. But they did not know. It was an age of military might. But they did not know. It was an age when mighty men roamed the earth. But they did not know. They knew so much but understood so little. They knew more and more about less and less until they knew everything about nothing and nothing about what really mattered. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. They had no time for God until it was too late. That is the world of Noah’s day. They were wise fools who did not heed the warnings of the preacher of righteousness. Then the flood came and took them all away. Genesis 6:1-8 offers the Bible’s most detailed answer to the question, “Why did God send the flood?” There was a rapid spiritual degeneration after the first sin. Once sin entered the human bloodstream, it quickly spread until it dominated humanity. But now, with the passing of a few generations, the entire world has become a cesspool of sin. Things have become so evil that God decided to start all over again. Lord have mercy on our soul! For those that have ears, hear what the Spirit is saying.

lou 7The Bible speaks directly then and now to our struggle for meaning in the face of chaos. It speaks to our conflicted hope and trust in God, God within and somehow behind this world of uncertainty and violence, and yes, even death. Could it be that the God of all creation allows such things to happen to remind us that He created us to be our brother’s keeper? For when disaster strikes people come together for a reason. When there is a disaster neighbors begin to talk with each other. The poor widow living across the street becomes important. We begin to touch base with each other seeing if the other person is okay. Now my question is this, why does it take a disaster to bring people together? When disaster happens a community comes together and all of a sudden lives are important. I think it is so awesome and great when we help each other, but this shouldn’t be only because of a disaster. We shouldn’t wait for a disaster to become friendly. Thousands of people survived the flood because neighbors or complete strangers reached out to those in need. They became their brothers’ keepers. And that purposefulness and connectedness brings joy even amidst death, chaos, fear and loss. Don’t wait for your neighbor’s house to be destroyed or a death happens before being neighborly to them. All who claim Christ, we are being called to this opportunity to serve and reveal our faith. Opportunity request personal responsibility and urgency in action. When the question is raised, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  I hope that the spirit wells up within you and says, “You bet I am!

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The good news – In the midst of such devastation I want you to know that what the Brother’s Keeper Mission Project set out to do was accomplished. Praises go to the Most High God! Special thanks to Am I My Brother’s Keeper… Yes I Am – Conduit of Grace Church/Pastor Martin & Dora Lucero; 2 God Be All the Glory Inc. / Dr. Bruce & Carla McMorris; God’s Promise Church/Pastor Robert & Gwen Phillips; Church of the Living God, Temple 208/Bishop Ernest & LaShawn Dowdy; The Beautiful Gate Church Worldwide, Ghana Africa/ Pastor Richard Yeboah; MDISNET/ Reginald Young; Oliver Lambert Realty; Westside Story Newspaper; The San Bernardino American News; Universal Property Solution; Universal Transport Group; Krystal Louie and Deacon & Missionary Warren & Ruthie Roberson. May God continue to bestow His blessings upon you!

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It’s Time to Make up Your Mind!

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

I would just remind you that these are dangerous times for the church, the people of God. We are seeing the church develop an appearance that is more and more like that of the church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22. A church that has everything it needs, except for the presence, power, and glory of God. Just as the Lord issued a call through Joshua, all those centuries ago, for His people to make of their minds as to whom they would serve, so He issues the same call to His people on this day. Hear the call God is giving to you, It’s Time to Make up Your Mind! And, it is! If the Lord be God then serve Him. If He isn’t, then go ahead and serve whatever has your heart. Whatever you do, stop trying to have the best of both worlds!

Matt.6:33 say, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The context of that verse is “prioritize.” Many of us choose the carnal, the physical, the clothing, the food, the shelter, the money and any and everything else that is not spiritual. The majority of us are too much like Peter. Jesus told Peter in Matt.16:21-26 that he cared not about the things of God but only the things of men. Jesus went on to say though that the soul of man was more important than gaining the whole world. Now that is hard for a worldly-minded person to understand. Why? Because they are so interested in what they can get out of life right now that they forget that there is an eternity out there much longer than the here and now. Making the right choices takes a heavenly-minded person.

Listen, Joshua knew the previous generation in Egypt had succumbed to man-made gods and had influenced this present generation. A choice had to be made between God’s will and man’s will. Joshua made the right choice and led the people to do the same. When Saul got saved on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:6) he had been making decisions based on what man wanted him to do. The Jewish leaders wanted him to round up all the Christians and put them to death and he was doing just that. Then he met the Lord and after he got saved his first statement was, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Everyone who names the name of Jesus should be asking, “Lord, what is it thou would have me to do?” But Joshua did imply in verse 19 Chapter 24 that the people couldn’t serve the Lord because it wouldn’t be convenient for them. God is too holy for your lifestyle! But I tell you, we should always choose the Spiritual over the carnal, the eternal over the temporal, God’s will over men and commitment over convenience. Oh, how we need more Christians making the right choices.

So how do we decide such an issue? Do we flip a coin? Do we follow the majority opinion? Not at all! As Christians, you and I look to God’s Word for direction. We look to the timeless, changeless Truths of God’s Word to guide us in our decision making process. And what does God have to say about this particular issue? I think Paul sums it up pretty well in the words of our text: “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Paul presents God’s mercies as his strongest argument for giving ourselves to God. “I urge you,” Paul said, “by the mercies of God . . . to present your bodies…” (Rom. 12:1). When we recognize what God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ, the only response is to give ourselves completely to him. That should be motivation enough for us to give our whole lives to God. If reflecting on God’s mercies doesn’t move us, then we are in trouble.  I ask you, where would you be without God’s love and forgiveness? Where would you be without God’s presence in your life? What kind of hope would you have without him?

You need to remember who you are, where you came from and what the Lord has done for you.  Remember where He found you. What He did for you. How He has blessed you. How He has worked on your behalf time and again. How He has answered prayer and met needs. Remember His power in your life. You need to remember that since the day you were saved by grace, God has never left you nor had He forsaken you, as He said, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20. Remember His presence in your life. You need to contemplate the fact that you have much today that you simply do not deserve! Think of it! You are saved, secure and headed to a home in Heaven! You are hell prove and in the body of Christ. You are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and live in its presence all the time. You have more than anyone can understand or imagine! God has been so good to you! In light of these truths, I wonder why you seem to have a hard time just simply loving and serving Him as you should.

Listen, Joshua’s command to the people was three-fold. They were commanded to “fear” God; clean up their lives by putting away their other gods; and they were to serve the Lord. This would put them in a position to put God back in the forefront of their lives. This is a command that God’s people need to take heed to today! We need to Fear the Lord – That is, we need to reverence and honor Him for Who He is. He deserves to be respected and loved by those He has redeemed! We need to put away our other gods! All those things in our lives that come ahead of the Lord need to be put away forever! And we need to serve the Lord with sincerity. We are His possessions and should live as such, 1 Cor. 6:19-20. The implication for us is that God does not want His people to live lives of hypocrisy! He wants us to be what we claim to be!

Joshua challenged the people to choose who they would serve and to get about it! The same choice stands before you today! It’s about time you stop straddling the fence and make up your mind whom you will serve. You cannot have both God and the world! You cannot have Him and all your distractions. Joshua set the example and laid down the gauntlet for the rest of the people by stating his clear intention to serve God.  We need some Joshua’s in our day! We need some men and women who will settle it in their hearts that Jesus Christ and His Word and will are going to come before everything else in life! We need some who will set the example for others. We have too many who, by their lives, give justification for slackness in life. We need some who have a backbone of steel and who would rather die than let something come ahead of God in their lives. (Ill. Daniel – Dan. 1:8-19; the 3 Hebrews – Dan. 3:1-30; Daniel – Dan. 6:1-28; Ruth – Ruth 1:16-17. If He has to compete for your time, your attention, your money and your love, it calls your whole profession into question! God wants us to serve Him, love Him and honor Him. When we do that, He will bless our lives. It’s time to make up your mind. Choose whom this day you will serve!  Forsake the foolish, and live, and go in the way of understanding. Know that because God is consistent we can be assured that He will deal with us exactly as He dealt with the people of old. That which He approved or disapproved of in the past will engender the same response. I tell you, it’s time to make up your mind!