We Must Endure the Hardship to Experience the #Heavenly

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Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 2:3) ~ In our lives, we are sure to have trials… many of us have seen our share…even now as we think of all of the things that weigh our hearts. As written: Man born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. But we are not to despair, stress out and lose heart over the challenges of our lives. We are to persevere with diligence, like a soldier, a combatant in the Lord’s army! As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. This is not by being strong in our own strength but being faithful to our Captain, and resolute in His cause. He has commanded us to be strong and of good courage! We must endure the hardship to experience the heavenly! If we would partake the fruits, we must labor; if we would gain the prize, we must run the race. We must do the will of God, before we receive the promises. Those who strive lawfully shall be crowned at last; for which reason we have need of patience. Faint not my brethren. Stay the course and continue standing on what God promised Abraham, of whose seed we all are because we are in Christ…all the nations of the earth will be blessed!
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Stop Complaining; Endure #TheWait; Provision Will Come In God’s Vision –

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O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? For spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention (Hab 1:2-3); I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hab 2:1-3)~~

When tossed and perplexed with doubts about the methods of Providence, we must watch against temptations to be impatient. When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we must observe the answers God gives by His word, His Spirit, and providences; and what the Lord will say to our case. When we get impatient, we tend to stop doing what WE are supposed to be doing. We back away and refuse to do our part because we feel justified holding back since the blessing…that vision we are looking for is being (seemingly) withheld.

But the reason so many of us miss the Word of God is because we are now not ‘listening’ to the Word of God. We may feel like God is not listening to us when in fact we have not stopped complaining about things and being all over the place; to get in position and even listen to HIM. When He finally gets our attention and we stop all of the actions and noise of our own understandings …when we wait on Him, THEN He gives us the vision! A true vision that is bigger than us and has generational proportions; a vision that we don’t accomplish but He accomplishes through us… a vision that brings HIS glory (not ours) to pass.

But until God makes a move, we must exercise patience and trust; we must abstain from complaining because our blessing seems delayed; we must do what WE are supposed to do..standing OUR own watch! Trust Him…it will happen! God is not a man, that He should lie (He is the Way, the TRUTH and the life); neither the son of man, that He should repent (His gifts are irrevocable): hath He said, and shall He not do it (His Word will not return to Him void); hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good (and God Said: “Let There Be”… and it was so; and He saw that it was good)? Don’t complain, gripe or fret: He will do what He said He would do! You just keep the faith and do what YOU’RE supposed to do. It will come to pass!

God Will Take You – Just Come Back! #Repent = #CleanSlate –

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Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Ps 51:1-12)~~ All of us have sinned and fallen short of His glory. There is not one of us that is beyond the guilt of our transgressions. There is also not one transgression that God is not already aware of. The guilt of things I’ve done and the person I’ve been is enough to make me run and hide in shame for the rest of my days. But the glorious thing about all of this is, as we own up to the truth about ourselves, and realize how much we have actually strayed away, God Is already telling us to just come on back!

Let’s see that again… As we are confessing ourselves to Him and HIM only, HE IS REMINDING US THAT WE CAN ALWAYS COME BACK! 

No matter how bad it is or was or how long it’s been – He stands with open arms to you! There is nothing too great for His mercies; too hard to forgive; or too far gone beyond His righteousness. God requires perfect righteousness And in Jesus- this we have. His love for us is truly without limit! My friend, open up to God today and experience the restored joy of His free salvation in you! Then, start fresh and clean from the heart… in God’s hand!!!

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed (1 Cor 5:7)

Not Feeling the Love? You’ve Gotta GIVE #LoveFirst ~

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…but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13:13)~~ There are a lot of ways we can approach life. Many will say we should focus on ‘getting ours’ by any means necessary. The way of the flesh: selfishness, pride and the “me-first” approach take the way of focusing on what we GET and pursues the objective of “receiving”, even if it’s at the expense of others. We want it all and we want it now. We don’t care how anyone else feels about it as long as we get ours. When we don’t get ours, we not only express our displeasure, we take vengeance on anyone or anything that stood in the way of our happiness and we make sure their causing our displeasure is well exposed and in today’s world…well documented!

Meanwhile, our own contributions are nonexistent in every way. At what point did we give anything? Did we sow any good into the life of another? Did we take the way of giving love or were we just focused on what we were receiving (or not receiving)?

  • Love will not be impatient or rude.
  • Love won’t be jealous and it doesn’t focus on its own achievements or its own needs, ignoring the feelings and needs of others.
  • Love doesn’t insist that everything be done its own way and doesn’t punish when this doesn’t happen.
  • Love isn’t irritable or resentful.
  • Love doesn’t “bring back up” when you’ve “messed up”.
  • Love doesn’t try to hide the truth.
  • Love doesn’t give up on you, calling you a lost cause.
  • Love doesn’t doubt you.
  • Love doesn’t leave you.
  • Love doesn’t walk away from your emotions….AND,
  • Love never fails at doing ALL of these things!

Focus on love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you’ll know without a doubt that love covers a multitude. Every situation is an opportunity to respond with love. How do I ‘love’ in this situation? There are a lot of ways we could do things, but when we take the way of love, the best result always comes out…for us as well as others.

Remember, Jesus gave two specific commandments, rooted in love: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:37-39). Notice, this is about DOING and GIVING…He never said anything about “getting”. God First LOVED! He didn’t demand it and then give His in return (Although you could argue that we actually received love first thanks to God). There my friend is our model example! Matthew 6:33 reminds us: Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you! So if the kingdom of God is rooted in Love that He GIVES, does it not make sense that we too GIVE Love first?

Jesus Said “Watch & Pray”, Yet We Can’t #StayWoke ~

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Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “ Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him (Mark 14:37-40)

WE have fallen asleep on our watch! As the world continues to get worse and worse; As the ‘way of the world’ builds upon itself and justifies itself; Christians, believers, we stand idly quiet and suppress the Truth that we were commanded to stand upon. It doesn’t take much of a lapse in alertness to become desensitized to the spiritual reality upon us by the pseudo-comforting distractions around us.  Staying awake spiritually involves looking past the clamor of worldly attractions.  It’s about our spiritual awareness – it’s about perceiving the presence of the kingdom of Heaven growing up like wheat among the tares of modern society. But we have lost our spiritual edge and focus and as a result, we are not aware of the ongoing revealing of the Kingdom and the immanent coming of our Lord! We are more and more finding ourselves conforming to the ways of the world; being accepting and even partaking of things that we in our spirits know that God opposes and timidly sitting quietly regarding the Truth of God. Rather than walking in that Truth that we are so well versed in, we settle in to the crowd in fear of being the standout and possibly the cast out!

Jesus told the disciples to watch and pray, yet we are not praying; for all sorts of reasons. We are getting up in the morning after sleeping until the last minute because we worked or played too hard last night and we’re not giving God the glory for waking us up this morning! We are so career, socially or entertainment occupied throughout the day that we don’t hear the Word of God trying to guide us through our day and rather than giving Him glory for helping us make it through the day, we are praying a rehearsed memorization – if we even remember to do it after we turn off the TV and plug in our electronics for the night. We won’t even talk about the last time we went to church! Our Bibles have more dust on them than the unused dining room table and not only are we setting a bad pace, our children are learning from us!

Our lack of relationship with God has us unprepared to face the world we must live in and worse, it has us unprepared to witness His impending coming. Let this be a ‘WAKE UP’ to all of us – as the world continues to worsen, our spiritual alertness must intensify! If we are to stay awake spiritually we need to listen closely to what Jesus is saying.  We need to read Scripture with our minds and hearts, with our eyes and ears.  Jesus said it so often: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

As the world continues in its tailspin, we have to be diligent to stand on and for the Truth of God. Accepting the politically correct so as not to offend is not part of God’s command to love thy neighbor! We must not waiver in our faith or in our function with regard to the direction of the spirit versus the comfort of our flesh – that means we will make unpopular decisions and even stand alone in our opposition to the world view at times. We must be mindful of the tricks of the father of lies (satan) that twist and manipulate the Truth to set the motions of the world! And we must keep a strong relationship with the Lord to ensure our preparedness for what is to come! Jesus said “watch and pray,” but they slept.  Jesus’ passionate praying before His betrayal prepared Him to receive God’s will—even in suffering and death—with power and grace.  If we are to stay awake in the midst of a world in a spiritual stupor, then we need to be diligent in prayer.  No wonder Paul advises to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Jesus was praying and they were supposed to as well.  Listening and praying won’t tell us when Jesus is coming again, but it will get us ready to receive Him when he comes.  May we, as the bride of Christ, stay awake as we eagerly await His glorious coming!

 

In The #War of Spirit vs. Flesh; We Can Win!

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For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom 7:19, 23-24); Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me (Ps 142:7)~

The knowledge of our own sin and shortcomings produces levels of guilt within us that can be so strong as to make us feel like God would rather discard us by the wayside than have us under His hand. Some of us have gone to the extremes of even imposing certain punitive acts upon ourselves whether in guilt or as our misunderstood interpretations of penance for our failings. When we sit down to think it over, the lies of the enemy will drive us to self-hatred and self-destruction as we look at ourselves as undesirable and unusable to God.

Friend, be comforted! You are NEVER beyond the love of God (Rom 8:38-39) for the Word says there is NO condemnation to those that are in Christ (Rom 8:1). There can be NO situation so distressing or dangerous, in which faith will not get comfort from God by prayer. Rather than show our troubles too much to ourselves, dwelling on them, which does us no service; we find comfort, by showing them to God, that we might cast the cares upon Him who cares for us, and thereby ease ourselves. NEVER should we allow any complaint to ourselves or others, which we cannot make to God. When our spirits are overwhelmed by distress, and filled with discouragement; when we see snares laid for us on every side, while we walk in His way, we may reflect with comfort that the Lord knows our path. Those who in sincerity take the Lord for their God, find Him all-sufficient, as a Refuge, and as a Portion: every thing else is a plot of the enemy; a refuge of lies, and a portion of no value.

It is our duty and of our interest to beg of God to set us at liberty from our transgressions, that we may run the way of His commandments. The Lord delivers us from the powerful persecutions of sin, and yet deals bountifully with us! He raised the crucified Redeemer to the throne of glory, and made Him Head over all things in Heaven and Earth. Now we, the convinced sinner have His salvation over our cries for help, and we are brought to praise the Lord in the company of His redeemed; delivered from this evil world, from sin and death, to worship our Savior forever!

Life Happens… #ButGod ~

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“But God . . .” The revelation of the Almighty that makes the course of adversity stop in its tracks as He intervenes and speaks His will:

  • “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive”  ~~ (Gen. 50:20).
  • “Their beauty shall be consumed in the grave . . . . But Godwill redeem my soul from the power of the grave” ~~ (Ps. 49:14-15).
  • “My flesh and my heart fail; but Godis the strength of my heart and my portion forever” ~~ (Ps. 73:26).
  • “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” ~~ (Rom. 5:7-8).
  • “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard . . . the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But Godhas revealed them to us through His Spirit” ~~ (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

Whenever you feel discouraged, whenever you feel the weight of the world coming down on you, whenever you feel like you’re going deeper and deeper into a hole –  look to the hills from whence your help comes (Ps 121:1) and remember the times when a “but God” intervention happened and be reassured of God’s love and involvement in the lives of those who love Him.

Creator of the universe

Who reigns in awesome majesty:

How can it be that You’re involved

With such a one as me?

Who am I that you are mindful of me? (Ps 8:4)

-But God-