I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Rev 2:9-10)~~ We seem to constantly go through trials and tribulations – finding ourselves in limiting and confining situations – being persecuted and prosecuted for our convictions. There are challenges seen and unseen that are working against us; a disingenuousness that is on a mission to steal us from the Truth that holds us up, kill our relationship with the Lord and destroy any chance at salvation that we may have. Times are really hard and seem to be getting harder. People are getting tired and discouraged and growing weary of the fight – even to do right because it seems like the world is just going its own way against God and winning on every front. But we should count it all joy – yes, it’s all good – because God knows what we’re dealing with …. He sees the darkness of the world around us. He is aware of the enemy that is in a constant mission to bring us down in the darkness of the world and His Word to us is to stay faithful! His dream for us is bigger than our discouragement (and His dream is His intent and will not be foiled). His assignment for us is bigger than the attack on us (and God won’t have us failing HIS assignment); His vision for us is bigger than the vindictiveness of those that work against us and His promise is indeed greater than the pain we’re dealing with so that our joy will certainly greater than their judgement! HIS will, no matter what, will be accomplished (Isa 55:11)!!! Knowing this, remember that in all the darkness, Jesus is the Light of the world! He is the source of our light and your salvation, and regardless of what’s out there, we should have no fear (Ps 27:1). We are to let that light shine through us… before the darkness of the world, that God may expose the forces against us and in HIS victory, be glorified (Matt 5:16). We may be in hard times but in Him we are rich. We may be tired but waiting on Him renews our strength (Isa 40:31) Keep being you, doing what you’re supposed to do and in due time you will reap the benefit (Gal 6:9). Keep doing good in even the worst of situations that seem to try to undermine your destiny and know that all things work together for GOOD to those that love God and are called to His purpose (Rom 8:28). What we begin to understand is that no matter what happens in life – good, bad or ugly, God has a way of taking it and using it for our good (Gen 50:20). So in all of the things that go on around us, don’t worry – God knows! Stay faithful – keep smiling, keep your head up and keep praising God because what you’re dealing with won’t last – your trouble has term limits and it is absolutely temporary – know that it’s almost over! Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning (Ps 30:5)… and the SON is rising!
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil (Prov 4:25-27)~ Like a boat without propulsion, a lack of focus can cause us to drift. Our relationship with God, our marriages, our lives with our families, our careers. All of these areas that are typically the most important to us, but we, in our complacency just let things go on automatic while we focus on other things. There may not be obvious conflict or struggles, just subtle distractions that lull us ‘asleep’. We hardly notice we’re losing our “standing and foundation” until we end up somewhere we never intended to be. We must be intentional about the path these areas in our lives take. We must keep our hearts, minds and spirits focused on the Lord and His intent for us. Our relationships with God and our marriages and families and careers and each other; are areas where the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy. Those little distractions become major issues if left unattended! Keep your heart with all diligence. Set a strict guard upon your soul your relationships and your values; keep your heart from doing hurt, and getting hurt. Relationships in all aspects.. how we interact with God and each other are key to achieving our destiny and should never just be left to ‘drift’ on their own as if ‘autopilot’ will get it done. These areas take work, diligence, commitment, perseverance, patience and dedication. Small course corrections can change your marriage, enhance relationships and strengthen resolve. But it requires focus! Above all, we should seek from the Lord Jesus; that living water, the sanctifying Spirit, issuing forth unto everlasting life. In Him, we shall be enabled to put away those fiery darts of the enemy; our eyes will be turned from beholding distractions, focused, dedicated, diligent and committed; and walking by the rule of God’s word, treading in the steps of Christ!
Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers ‘with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth (Prov 5:15-18)~~ (Scene in a Courtroom divorce proceeding after a husband’s name showed up on the Ashley Madison list): “Why are you asking for a divorce?” the judge inquired. “Because all my husband wants is to make love,” the woman said. “Most women would be pleased!” said the judge. “They are!!” the woman fired back. “That’s why I want a divorce!!!” – – – The only real promise of infidelity is that most of those marriages end in divorce. In the blink of an eye, the trust and security that was the foundation for a healthy marriage is destroyed. Sadly, it takes years of dedicated work to rebuild lost trust and security ripped away by an affair.. IF it even happens at all! The reason is simple. After an ice storm, have you ever attempted to walk down a frozen sidewalk? Although it’s possible, there’s always anxiety that a horrible fall might be right around the corner. What many couples fail to realize is that an absence of trust and security in a marriage is like condemning a person to live on that ice-covered sidewalk. Your mate is never truly free to relax because he or she is continually fighting to keep his or her footing. Lawful marriage is a means God has appointed to keep from these destructive vices. But we are not properly united, except as we attend to God’s word, seeking his direction and blessing, and acting with affection. If people put as much attention into their OWN marriage as they give to outside entities activities and people, imagine how low the divorce rate would be! Instead of looking at how green the grass APPEARS to be on the other side, try watering your own grass! It’s amazing how well a marriage flourishes when we nurture it!!! It’s been said how awesome it is to marry the one you love.. (Well, who else would you marry???)– but even more awesome it is…when you love the one you married! Look it’s just that simple! Marriage is that protected fenced in backyard! NO ONE should be allowed to walk in inside it other than the two of you that are part of it…and God Himself; not the kids, not mama or daddy or your siblings or your buddies or your girlfriends! FORSAKING ALL OTHERS means just that! This is your beautiful, blessed and sacred space – Your dream yard and the curb appeal you show the world should be a reflection of God’s purpose and blessing upon you! Water the grass and tend to it meticulously! When there are issues – deal with them IN THAT SPACE. When there is joy – celebrate IN THAT SPACE. When there is tribulation – grieve and rebuild IN THAT SPACE. Your marriage should be your place of solitude and your ultimate destination to get away from the world. Treat it right and your marriage will be something you’ll always look forward to coming home to!
In our discontent, confusion and sometimes even our selfishness, we find ourselves apt to quarrel with God Himself and cry out upon the badness of our times, the hardships we have to go through and the waiting we have to endure to get to our blessings; when we have more reason to cry out for the badness of our own hearts; and even in these times we enjoy many mercies. We long for the goodness of former times; as if we didn’t have like things to complain of (that we did). We find ourselves quoting even Christ to say “Lord if you would let this cup pass from me…”. Anything would be better than having to go through something bad just to get to the good! It’s a fact though, that our own impatience in going through… makes our trials harder for us than they need to be. See, in quoting Christ, WE leave out the part that says “Nevertheless, not my will but THY will!” (see Matt 26:39). If we would only understand the necessity of the “PROCESS”. We have to remember that weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Ps 30:5) – that’s a PROCESS. In fact, every blessing that God has ever delivered came as the result of a PROCESS. He could have instantly restored mankind after the fall in the Garden of Eden, but He took creation through a PROCESS for the next few thousand years until the coming of His son Jesus! He could have simply ‘smote’ Pharaoh and the Egyptians and freed the Israelites but He took them through a PROCESS of crossing the Red Sea. As we go through the “PROCESS” we will find at the end that the event of our trials and difficulties is often ended better than we thought at first… we just need to not be weary in our well doing…because in due season (after the process) God’s promise will be delivered! Don’t tap out in the PROCESS but wait it out…endure it…run it with patience! And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise (Heb 6:15). Friend, God’s Word tells us over and over and over again…Believe It! If you have PATIENCE in the PROCESS, the PAYOFF is His PROMISE! Focus on your Faith and it will get you to the Finish!
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust (Ps 91:2)~ To have seen the dangers I’ve seen this week and to see it avoid me! The enemy set out to eliminate me but the Hand of God was on me. I came within inches of a major accident but He moved me out of the way. And I and those with me were spared and unharmed. Then the enemy tried to confuse my mind in fear but I remembered that God would keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusts in Him! Years ago I had a bad experience with a responsibility that I have. Once a year I have to repeat that task in the same situation but ever since I’ve learned to call on that perfect peace, God has remembered me and rewarded my faith and trust in Him; And in that fearful situation I had complete confidence and calm… Perfect Peace; and that problem that made my experience unpleasant has ever since been moved out of my way! Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident (Ps 27:3) – Friends, Praise God with me! Let this be a confidence for YOU: God is able and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him! Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But IT SHALL NOT COME NEAR YOU (Ps 91:3-7) – To God Be the Glory – Amen!
In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-7)~~ of all of the things we needlessly worry about, one of the biggest things people worry over is what another person thinks about them. Life is too short for any of us to spend time worrying about what other people think and say about us. I would almost bet that if they had anything positive going on in their own lives they wouldn’t have time to sit around and discuss yours anyway. It always seems that the unhappiest people in the world are those individuals who get too caught up in the opinions of people who don’t even matter, instead of how they truly feel about themselves. These people are so worried about how they look in someone else’s eyes…and misery loves company so they pass their judgement on you..and if you worry you’ll be the same old way. Therefore, why worry yourself about other people’s opinion of you?? It’s not important. Know what God thinks of you and what HE plans for you and let that be the basis for your opinion of yourself! When you are focused on how much God loves you, regardless of anyone else, you will realize that the only person who can pull you down… is you! So never give others the power to control your self-worth, your happiness, and your positivity! God loves you, regardless of what someone else thinks of you. You don’t NEED everyone’s approval, you’ve got God’s approval! As Romans 8:31 says: If God is for us, who is against us?
And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? (Ex 3:11)~ There are many reasons why God shouldn’t have called you, but don’t worry, you’re in good company. Moses stuttered. David’s armor didn’t fit. John and Mark were rejected by Paul. Timothy had ulcers. Hosea’s wife was a prostitute. Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning. Jacob was a liar. David had an affair. Solomon was too rich. Jesus was too poor. Abraham was too old. David was too young. Peter was afraid of death. Lazarus was dead. John was self-righteous. Naomi was a widow. Paul was a murderer. So was Moses. Jonah ran from God. Miriam was a gossip. Gideon and Thomas both doubted. Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal. Elijah was burned out. John the Baptist was a loudmouth. Martha was a worry-wart. Mary was lazy. Samson had long hair. Noah got drunk. Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse? But God doesn’t require a job interview. He doesn’t hire and fire like most bosses, because He’s more our Father than our Boss. He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss. He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. The enemy says, “You’re not worthy.” Jesus says, “So what? I AM.” The adversary looks back and sees our mistakes. God looks back and sees the cross. He doesn’t calculate what you did in ’78. It’s not even on the record. Like vine branches, we are not continually laden with fruit. That would be unnatural. For a significant portion of its life, a grapevine is nothing but a dry, twisted stick; fruitless, useless for shade, worthless as timber; to all appearances fit only to be ripped from the ground and reduced to ashes. Yet those barren times are as vital in the life of the vine, as the seasons of fruit. Sure, there are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t have called us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him more than our next breath, He’ll use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, or what we look like. And If He thought enough of you to call you to something, don’t you worry about being right for it. God has made sure that you are qualified and justified, that in all this His name will be magnified and glorified! “Why Me?” you ask: because while many are called, few are chosen! And He chose you and God has never had to regret a choice! You may be full of problems for some people but you are fearfully and wonderfully made and you’re perfect for God!
Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts (Hag 2:2-9)~~ Many of us look at the state of the world today (pick your concern) and we feel SO discouraged because we remember how life used to be – what we saw as better times. It’s so apparent that the “world” is truly the enemy of God because in every instance we see, the “world’s” way of doing things is in total disregard to Him! It’s like there is nothing that can get the attention of today’s culture in its rampant persuasion of its population! But we must stay encouraged to continue in the goodness that God gives us, no matter how hard or discouraging it may seem. Every day is a new mercy from Him and a new encouragement to continue on because His faithfulness is great and His compassion for us is unfailing. We must not grow weary in well doing for “His” due season is coming…a time when “He” will set the state of things once and for all. In progressing to that time though we must endure convulsions and changes; great revolutions and commotions. Jesus shall again come; as the desire of all; and desirable to all. The promise is that in Him shall all the earth be blessed with the best of blessings; and this is long expected and desired by all believers. We may have some good places even in this terrible time, but He went and prepared a place for us; a new ‘house’ in which we will spend eternity. So let us be comforted that the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, in what will be beyond all the glories of the first house, far beyond any that we could imagine; in the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of glory, personally, and in absolute perfect nature. Nothing but the presence of the Son of God, in His own form and nature, can fulfill this. Jesus is the Christ, is He that should come, and we are to look for no other. This alone is enough to silence the “ways of the world”, and condemn the obstinate rejection of Him. Finally as God is with us, peace is with us. The promise is fulfilled in that spiritual peace which Jesus Christ has by His blood purchased for all believers. All changes shall make way for Christ to be desired and valued by all. And the “world” shall have their eyes opened to behold how precious He is, whom they have until then rejected! It is fixed and it is finished!
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you….(Matt 28:19-20); Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Tim 4:2)~~ It’s intriguing how the world claims to be interested in knowing the miraculous works of Christ; but only to the point of wanting to suppress it in order to further man’s own intent over the Will of God! Even today, there are many who will come into the knowledge of God only that they will be able to develop a strategy to circumvent the message of Light and promote themselves. When the Truth of God frees us, that thing we are being freed of is that thing the evil of world desires that we hold on to. So the enemy, through the laws of the world, will then seek to kill, steal and destroy the truth of God in the efforts to turn us back to ‘the world’ because the goal of the enemy is to steal us from God, kill our relationship with Him and destroy our salvation. Laws and common desires, social modernization, political and social stature… these “facts” as the carnal mind would contend…do not make a thing righteous in the sight of God. No matter how compelling the argument, no matter how charismatic the speaker, let no opinion sway your belief in the true Lord of all things! Jesus told us to go and do these things; telling the lost world of His liberating sacrifice! Let nothing silence your message, let nothing keep you from your worship and honor of Him! For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38-39). The truth of God cannot be challenged or destroyed by the majority rule and it’s validity cannot be changed by swaying the opinion of man! Truth is truth, no matter how much the ‘times change’! The grass withers, the flowers fade, times indeed may change, but the Word of the Lord shall stand… uncompromising and unchanging, forever!
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord (Ezk 37:11-14)~ No matter how desolate things get, no matter how dead the situation may seem, and even though everything seems like all is hopelessly lost, God specializes in bringing life to that which appears to be dead. He created man and with the breath of life, man began living. Christ walked the earth, waking those that appeared dead as if they were only asleep, calling Lazarus from the grave after days of lifelessness. And with the ultimate calling, God called Jesus from the dead, not only raising Him up, but restoring eternal life to all mankind through His payment against the wages of sin.. after we were even born into the world dead in sin! God specializes in calling things that are not as though they always were! Indeed NOTHING is too hard for Him! What the enemy intends for evil is made good by the Lord (Gen 50:20); He restores that which is depleted, taken or destroyed (Joel 2:25); and the glory of your latter times will be even better than the former (Hag 2:9). Believe and have faith in Him -that which seems to be at the end shall actually be at a new beginning for He makes all things new! Get up from that state of lifelessness and behold your salvation! Praise the Lord!