Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. (Psa 27:7-10)~ There comes a situation in everyone’s life where our “Godly Wisdom” speaks out the same answer, regardless of any other convictions…even those that are closest to us, and love us the most; even our parents have that point of telling us.. “Pray” because even they can’t be there for us. God’s best time to help those that trust in Him, is when all other means of help fails. He is a surer and better Friend than even our parents are, or could be. He knew before He even created us (Jer 1:5) that specific point in time where our “moment in life” would come where HE would be the only answer for us, so God planted a “homing” signal within us…”Seek my face!”. We all have within each of us a presence just waiting to be called on but we instead make the mistake because of the desire of our flesh to walk in the flesh, to rely on those things or people… which can’t help us and in many cases, may even purposely hurt us. Some people love you enough but can’t do anything for you. Other people will hurt you, mock you, humiliate you and judge you. But God will heal you, magnify you and justify you. He knows the sound of our prayer and He sustains us through come what may. There is no problem, situation nor circumstance that exceeds His ability and desire to meet your need. When Jesus was here, He not only gave us prayer to use but He demonstrated its use and its effectiveness. Friend, whatever it is, you can pray about it!! Use the “homing signal” because all else won’t sustain you but in prayer you will find God’s hand to cover you, protect you and guide you! And know that in and through it all, whatever you may need – He IS; and He will NEVER leave or forsake you!
Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish (Prov 12:1)~~ To grow in knowledge, we must admit ignorance or error. For either we did not know the truth about a subject, or we held a false position on that topic. We may even have taught others wrongly, and we will have to admit we taught them an error. Only noble souls can admit ignorance or error, for most will protect their reputation at any cost. To grow in knowledge, someone must teach us. We must submit our mind and will to them. We must admit their superiority in knowledge. We must admit our inferiority. This requires humility, which most people do not have. Only noble souls can willingly submit and be taught by another person. In order to love knowledge, we must love to be taught by others. To grow in knowledge, we must change. Progress requires change, but change is humbling and difficult. Change means letting others see we were wrong; change means altering long-established habits; change means explaining our new actions to others. Only noble souls can change, for the cost of changing is too great for most people. The greatest key to progress and success, in any area of our life, is our appreciation and acceptance of instruction and reproof. Jesus Christ has much to teach us to make us perfect. And it will only happen if we are ready to receive instruction, and if we love reproof. If we are humbly eager to be taught of Him, He will send teachers to increase our knowledge. Do you love to be taught? Are you okay with being corrected? Can you take being told when you are wrong? Do you appreciate those who tell you how it ought to be done? Are you thankful for reminders to change? Wise and noble hearts will strongly answer, “Yes!”.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend (Prov 27:17); He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth (Prov 10:17)~~ There are times for us to sharpen and times for us to be sharpened. To be sharpened as a man is to be made ready for life; useful, helpful and productive in life and society. Our sharpness reflects the fullness of life: physically, emotionally, socially and most importantly, spiritually. Sharpening a good knife smoothes away the jagged edges so that it can do it’s job with the best precision and with the best results. A man ‘sharpening’ another is to coach, teach, lead guide, mentor or redirect to correct an errant behavior or habit. Unfortunately many of us become agitated when we are on the receiving end of direction and correction…We often don’t like being told what to do, or that we should change some aspect of our lives. We get offended and bitter when we are “sharpened” and we even criticize and question the right of someone else to exercise ‘sharpening’ over us. To protect our ‘ego’ we go into defense mode and deflect that correction back at that person or we justify our shortcomings in analogous parables. We even throw back a ‘don’t judge me’ Bible verse or two at them as if to say they are not ‘holy’ enough to issue correction on us. Truth is, each of us has a unique abundance of wisdom to share; BUT each of us can also stand to do better in life. None of us are perfect, BUT each of us has much to offer to one another. Our responsibility though is to keep ‘our ways’ from letting us be too self righteous and always wanting to speak correction; or too stubborn in ‘our ways’ to hear correction. We must always be open, in every circumstance to take heed of wise counsel with caution in whom we converse with; and we are called to have intent, in activity and conversation, to make one another wiser and better. No matter what our status, stature or demographic, we are all created in God’s image and under His wisdom, subject to guidance. No matter how great our morals, we have all erred in life and fallen short of God’s glory. Don’t be so proud that you elevate yourself above reproof. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (1 Pet 5:5).
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so EASILY beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1)~ We all have areas where we need to let go of things. These things EASILY ‘beset’ us, weigh us down, and trip us up. Contrary to what we would think, It’s not the major issues, but the little ‘flaws’ that eventually become bad habits and character traits. Whether it’s that snack we just can’t give up as we try to eat healthier; or that tendency to always have a comment, even when it’s negative; or that ‘so-called’ harmless side-track we take just for fun and think nobody is getting hurt because it’s so ‘minor’. These little things we do seem harmless to us so we allow ourselves to partake and we don’t consider the true consequences because we typically enjoy the gratification they give us in the flesh. These are the things that add the weight of Carnal Calories – and like physical weight on our bodies, we gradually and unnoticably get heavier until one day we are so burdened down we can’t figure our way out of it! Like a diet and exercise regimen for our bodies, each of us must take a look at what we hold onto that contributes to our spiritual detriment; because eventually it contributes to our spiritual demise. But don’t despair – God started a good work in each of us and will continue it until the day Christ returns.. so each of us is a work in progress. That my friend means you’re not done by any means! it’s not over until God says so! So our part of that work is like the diet and exercise for our bodies.. we have to work out and take in what sustains our health. We must, for the health of our spirits, eat right – take in God’s word and exercise – “run the race” set before us with perseverance and faith! Like your body that can’t exercise well when it’s bogged down; your spirit can’t “run the race” when it’s bogged down with spiritual detriment! Lay aside those extra carnal calories… those sneaky little bad habits that are hampering your spiritual fitness… and run the race to victory!
And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise (Heb 6:15)~~ We are in this world as a ship at sea, tossed up and down, and in danger of being cast away. We need an anchor to keep us sure and steady. Faith and Trust in God is our anchor in the storms of this world. It is sure and steadfast, or it could not keep us so. The free grace of God, the merits and mediation of Christ, and the powerful influences of his Spirit, are the grounds of this hope, and so it is a steadfast hope. The promises of God may safely be depended upon; for there two things which cannot change, the counsel and the oath of God, in which it is not possible for God to lie; it would be contrary to His nature as well as to His will; and we, as His children, have a title to the promises by inheritance. These consolations of God are strong enough to support us under our heaviest trials. God knows you’re tired, frustrated, worn out and feeling unappreciated, But you can’t bow out because life is tough. You can’t run and hide because things might not be going in the direction that you want. We were never promised a trouble-free life – in fact we are reminded of quite the opposite in Job 14:1 (Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble). We are going to have many trials in life but we can’t let them stop us.. With the experiences I’ve had, If I were going to quit, trust me, I would have done it by now! But by the Grace of God, I am what I am! He gives me a wonderful tree of Fruits of the Spirit to live from (See Galatians 5:22-23). As one of the fruits of the Spirit is longsuffering, remember, the promise of His ‘due season’ is your reward. We must learn and trust in the power and importance of waiting on God; while we wait it out God is working it out! He endured and received His promise of Glory! He fulfilled the promise to us and made the way that we may endure and do the same. we are all going through seasons but we must remain steadfast in our faith in Him. God’s promise awaits us if we can endure the journey. Meanwhile, to keep us mindful of that promise, He blesses us greatly along the way in life. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art WITH me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Ps 23:4).
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? (Isa 43:19) ~ Too many times, God is working in our lives, showing us favor, enriching us, changing us, protecting us, sending us healing, but we don’t recognize and therefore don’t experience His goodness because we are focused on what we were, what we see, feel or have gone through in the past. We brand ourselves, other people and situations by what we or they were and don’t allow ourselves to see the glory of God’s work in us and them. God is in our midst, but we are so wrapped up in ourselves, our past, the past that hurt us, affected us; the past that we claim has made us…that we don’t even recognize Him, experience Him or get to know Him! God is giving us blessings throughout our lives, but we are so depressed by and distraught on the old that we can’t see the new! God’s goodness is on display. The question is do you see it? Put off the old man! In Christ all things are made new! We are replenished daily; we are made new….daily. Old things are passed away and all things are made new! You are not what you’ve been through, because God’s graces and mercies are new every morning. Every day, He is doing a new thing and as long as your eyes open – He is telling you to look and see it!
…that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Eph 5:26-27)~ We can try to live a holy life among a lost world, and we can persevere not to allow the influence of darkness stain our garments; but in truth, each day we stand before the Lord in need of new mercies. We hear and see things that can bend our thinking and tarnish our purity. Even in times when we’ve not sinned, our spirit can still pick up the stale odor of the world from just having passed through it—kind of like walking through a shroud of cigarette smoke.. We didn’t smoke it but we might come away smelling like we did…its influence is on us! God has made provisions for our continual cleaning and re-cleaning. He knows that we’ll encounter constant challenges to our faith, constant pressures to compromise, subtle foxes spoiling our vines from beneath where we don’t always see them. Our Lord is the master of cleaning our dirty laundry. He can lift any stain, press out any wrinkle, and remove any lingering odor of unrighteousness. God’s grace provides for us a good washing when we need to be cleansed from being out in that dirty world. Jesus paid an awful price to make possible this holiness we can so freely wear it, and He did it not just for our benefit…He intends to present Himself with a perfect, flawless Bride, and she’s not going to have one speck of soil on her wedding garment! When we allow Him to use the soap of grace, applied against the washboard of loving discipline, and rinsed in the water of the Word, we come out as pure, forgiven, and sanctified as if we’d never been dirty in the first place. So Fresh; So Clean!
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven…(Colossians 1:16-23)~~ Why did God become man? This is the enigma of Christ. Only man should pay the penalty for his sin; because sin is, after all, a mess that human beings have made; but only God could pay this penalty. An imperfect prophet dying on a cross would at most be a martyr and a model. Jesus Christ was human, and also divine, His sacrifice had a human face on it, but His death in our place is the true divine offering. He is the image of the invisible God, and by Him all things were created, and all God’s fullness dwelt in Him. And so, because of who He was, He was able to reconcile to God all things by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. On that most violent of all days in human history, God was reaching out to those who were alienated from Him and at enmity with Him. He offered us reconciliation so we could end up holy in His sight, without blemish, and free from accusation. Our debt to sin is paid in full! Only God could do that!!
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isa 5:20)~ Mankind has lost its spiritual equilibrium and inverted its values. We have ridiculed the absolute truth of God’s word. There are those who have set their hearts on the wealth of the world. Not that it is sinful for those who have a house or car or nice things to purchase another; but the fault is, that some never know when they have enough. Those who set their hearts upon the world, will justly be disappointed – never satisfied – never fulfilled. There are those who are extremely fond of the pleasures and the delights of sense. God’s judgments have seized them, but they will not turn themselves from their pleasures. The enjoyment of life’s pleasures and treasures is lawful; God didn’t say we can’t enjoy life; but when it draws the heart and mind away from God, then it becomes a sin to us. There are those who set up in sin, and exert themselves to gratify their lusts. They are daring in sin, and walk after the lusts thereof. They misuse and argue to their own benefit the distinctions between good and evil. They create their own “reasonings” to divine revelations; prefer their own ‘choices’ to the counsels and commands of God. They deem it necessary to continue in profitable sins, and to neglect self-denying duties. How light we make of disorder and dysfunction in the world, in our homes and families, in our lives. We leave ourselves open to the wrath and curse of God. Our very judges and lawmakers pervert justice. It’s become that every sin needs another sin to conceal it and a new law to protect it. What’s worse is that there is an overwhelming desire nowadays to remain in this chaos! Where do we see the need to repent of sins and openly to avow our belief in Jesus as the Savior, by being baptized in His name? When will we take such energy to professing our faith in Him, that we may partake of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit? Those who repent of their sins, and give up themselves to Jesus Christ, prove their sincerity by breaking off from the influences of the enemy. We can’t do a little here and there and think we won’t get caught up – taking fire into our bosom will surely burn us! We must move ourselves to avoid it with dread and holy fear. SUBMIT yourselves therefore to God. RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:13-17); And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. (2 Kings 19:6-7)~ Notice that when you abide in Him, God – the Creator of the universe – the most powerful being and the source of all life – says, “I myself will come against your enemies. I myself will come against that sickness. I myself will come against those who oppose you.” It says God is the one who caused Hezekiah’s enemy to turn around. That means God can cause that unfair boss to take an early retirement. God can cause that neighbor that’s giving you so much trouble to decide to pack up and move. God can cause that classmate to be transferred to another school. He can even cause your enemies to do favors for you… To look out for you and to be convicted, convinced and converted because of your faith! Where many may think evil against you; God will turn it into good, to bring to pass His glory! (Gen 50:20). Today, no matter what’s coming against you, NO WORRIES – Just keep pressing into God. Put His Word first place in your life. Honor Him in all that you do. Let Him fight your battles and bring you the victory He has promised you!