But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness (2 Tim 3:13-16)~~ It’s interesting how open profession of the truth as it is in Jesus, and resolute attention to the duties of godliness, stir up the scorn and enmity of the world; but let someone speak against the Word of God and they get a worldwide platform and embraced. While good people, by the grace of God, grow better over time, so bad people over that same time, through the craft of Satan, and the power of their own corruptions, grow worse. Yes, the way of sin is down-hill; such as the “world’ proceeds to go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. Those who deceive others, deceive themselves, thank God, as they will find at last, to their cost. The unfortunate thing is that we will spend hours, even days promoting and reading gossip and rhetoric and things to be amused, entertained or enlightened by worldly views and passions; turning away from and even disputing the Word of God as it is written! But when it comes to the uplifting of the name of The Lord, and living under His will, that Word lays on our coffee table under a layer of dust! We forget it and it’s truths; it’s power to change our lives for the ultimate best…and we turn to believe the social press that finds it’s way to our focus! We will even deny any connection or allegiance to the Lord or His will, just to fit in socially and we’ll claim that His Word doesn’t trump the law of the land nor His way supersede the way of the world! We will read a social, political or rhetorical passages from cover to cover but we struggle on one verse of God’s Word! The Bible is a sure guide to eternal life. The prophets and apostles did not speak from themselves, but delivered what they received of God. It is profitable for all purposes of the Christian life. It is of use to all, for all need to be taught, corrected, and reproved. There is something in the Scriptures suitable for every case. They must not lie by us neglected, seldom or never looked into. My friend, here in these verses is a prophetic word fulfilled… And here also is our remedy! As this world continues in its tailspin, we must hold fast and intensify our dwelling in God’s Word. It is truly the guide to our survival and salvation. It is the daily immersion of this that deepens our roots in Him that we might hold fast to His foundation and stand in a bowing world! Friend, now more than ever, it’s time – put down the tabloids, logout of the social gossip and turn off the cable for a while – Blow the dust off that Bible and start reading!
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made (Gen 2:2)~
As we come to the end of this week it’s typical to look back and reflect on what it has been. We feel a sense of accomplishment over what we’ve gotten done this week; we feel a sense of relief that the week is over and we’re (generally) DONE with whatever mission we’ve been on. Whatever we attribute to the ‘end’ we are grateful that some form of labor is behind us and some form of stress can be put down for a minute. Even if you have to continue your work on Saturday and/or even Sunday, there’s something about coming to the end of your ‘work week’ whenever it is. What’s important is that you take that time to break from it and see where you’ve come from; you rest from your works just as God did from His. In His honor, rest in His finished works in Christ that have created your coming eternity! Above all, reverence Him for He is the light at the end of the tunnel, the source of life, righteousness and peace – all glory and honor is His! May we be always grateful because we have walked through the valley of the shadow of death many a time and He has never been away from us, but has always gone before us, walked with us and even carried us! After all that we’ve COME THROUGH we’re still standing! Let your victory leading up to today be your encouragement of what God will do for you going forward; never leaving or forsaking you, but giving you a lesson in every experience. Abide in His teachings and learn and surrender to His will. We have an opportunity to praise Him because of what He has done already; even if not one more thing is done because after six days, God ceased from all works of creation. In miracles, he has overruled nature, but never changed its settled course, or added to it. Everything is already done that we may rest in Him! As you rest this ‘week end’ may your heart know a joy beyond what earth can afford; may God rejoice over you, and the joy of our compassionate Savior be completed. Praise the Lord!
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? 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.
For He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Ps 91:11-12)~ The enemy is a master of trickery and will have you believing that your wrong decision is everything right… He’ll having you ‘trusting your instincts’; He’ll have you justifying it because you’ll be feeling like it’s right for you! You’re saying: “I know the Bible says ‘this’ but things are different today…” Just like he did Adam and Eve in the Garden…(What? You thought this was a NEW thing?) Yes, they knew what God said and even the devil acknowledged that…(the devil doesn’t disagree with God, he simply twists it to his own purpose)… having them thinking they could make their own decisions regardless of what God said! He will have us trusting what we see rather than God. Soon we’re caught up in a crooked path…going straight in the wrong direction of this rejection and unbelief of God’s Will! Like it or not, we are at war within ourselves fighting reality (truth) against perception (our way of seeing it). The enemy will attack us and try to deceive us into passivity and apathy concerning the war at hand. We get desensitized to things we KNOW are wrong and we start to become accepting, tolerant and even allowing of the wrong things as if they were… Right!!! The enemy wants us to believe that we should take certain paths (make certain “laws”, decisions and moves) that may be anything other than ‘straight’. Once we’ve fallen to this trickery we’ll eventually realize the truth and it hits us like a ton of bricks and yes, we feel the guilt! But to soften THAT blow, now the enemy shows us some false hopes by “things” he will put in front of us to make us “feel good about our decisions”. He will have us believing that while evil has won in our lives and that we are failures and that SINCE we are going ‘down’ we might as well go ‘with a bang’…one bad decision after another! Now we’re really spiraling out of control! BUT… Yes!!!! The devil is a liar! Because when Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins Satan deceptively introduced into the world, Satan’s fate was sealed. With the payment of death no longer required of us for sin, Satan lost his only chance at victory. God revealed to the apostle John (and others) the great and glorious victory He wins in the future (Revelation 20:10). It comes down to this: Though the “battle” still rages, the outcome of the “war” has already been determined. God wins. Satan loses. That’s IT!!! And that’s what the enemy doesn’t want you to know or remember.. Trust me, he ain’t going down like that without a major fight! He knows he’s defeated and destined for destruction and he’s “dead” set on taking you with him! Like I said, even the enemy knows the truth! But see, something happens when we trust God, God will give His mighty, powerful, TRUTH KNOWING warrior angels charge over us. And knowing that truth, they don’t let you get stagnant in life where you will fall to the enemy, but will “keep you moving” down the “straight” path while the obstacles of this life come at you…terror, arrows of the enemy, pestilence, harm, disaster, evil, bad decisions; all while reminding you of the truth of God’s grace, mercy and salvation; keeping you from the harm of the enemy as you fight the good fight to its glorious end. Trust in God to deliver on His promise to restore creation to its sinless, no-evil state. And rejoice because He will! That’s right, step on that devil’s head! Trust in God to give His angels charge over you. To keep you in all your ways. Know that ‘trust in’ God is not a passive trust. You don’t trust and hope He does something coriander if He might…that’s fear! You have to walk in faith and expectation that He has already taken care of it, even though you can’t see the fullness of it…yet! Trusting that God will take care of everything while we sit on the sidelines and watch is like faith without works – dead. There are no spectators in the spiritual war between God and evil. We must choose a side and gear up. We do so by choosing which type of trust we will have: trust that if we do this we’ll have that and what we see tells us what to believe in, or ‘trust that’ God will “do” it and we’ll reap the benefit of ‘trust in’ God as we live our lives and we WALK the walk of faith and FIGHT the good fight of faith… in the care of the angels He’s given charge over us!
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord (Josh 24:15)~~ Those that are bound for heaven, must be willing to swim against the stream. They must not do as the most do, but as the best do. We must choose popularity or divine purpose. We must come off from all confidence in our own sufficiency, else our purposes will be in vain; His will or our own. The service of God being made our deliberate choice; We cannot be indifferent as to whether we serve God or not. Choose you whom ye will serve, now the matter is laid plainly before you. Whoso despiseth the Word shall be destroyed (Prov 13:13), He that stands in awe of God, and reverences his Word, shall escape destruction, and be rewarded for his Godly fear. Will you serve the convenience of man’s ways, habits and traditions or the precepts of God’s will? Will you run with the crowd, honoring the created or will you stand against the popular to honor Him that created and sits above all things? Who is on the Lord’s side? Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!
..Be Ye Transformed By the Renewing of Your Mind… (Rom 12:2); Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)~~ What does it mean for us to have the Mind of Christ? Herein is our example. Jesus knew full well who He was and what His destiny was; yet He didn’t make a show of it; He didn’t walk around pounding His chest in arrogance about His power or His persona or what He possessed in Heaven. Instead He walked in His assignment for 33 years on earth as a man; in humility, denying Himself of all of His Heavenly glory to walk among man AS a man. He could have easily made it all about Him because in truth, He was worthy but He, even He gave all glory to God the Father! It wasn’t about Him, but about the Lord. Jesus could have walked around promoting Himself and subscribing to a form of ‘social media’ of that day – seeking His own followers and favorites, likes and trends; but He instead promoted the Father. He lived a life that made Him worthy of GOD’s acknowledgement (This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased – Matthew 3:17) and as a result, He was GIVEN a name above every name. His promotion came not from those around Him, but from the Lord (Psalm 75:6). Jesus knew that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11). So herein again is our example in having the mind of Christ: Walking in our assignment – doing what we are called to do; not being self promoting, but sacrificing ourSELVES, being humble and worthy of God’s acknowledgement and giving credit to HIM for what comes to us from our ways and works. And in Him, not the promotion by and of the world, will we be positioned!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isa 55:8-9).~~ It is one thing to pray for God’s will to be done in your life, but it is quite another to accept His will. Many of us talk a good game about wanting His will for our lives, but once it is revealed, we get scared and we run away from it; We let fear take over; Or we refuse to accept it because God’s will actually isn’t what we wanted at all. I can say all of this because I’ve been there and in many ways, I am there right now. I’ve long prayed for God’s will and purpose to be revealed in my life, but I never really took into consideration how I would respond to the revelation. I realize that not only should my prayer be, “Thy will be done” but also, “Let me accept thy will.”
It is easy to become negative, frustrated and angry when things don’t go our way or work as WE have planned. But, what we need to remember is that GOD’s plan for our day, better yet, our life is always greater than our own, even when we can’t see it in the moment. His blessings don’t always come in the ways we expect. But God is always at work in our lives and sometimes we just need to adjust our perspective or our vision to see where He is working. Some of the biggest blessings in my life have come from situations that were less than perfect in my own view, in fact, often they come from the most difficult of times. It just reiterates to me that I need to look at where God is working and recognize the hidden blessings in even the most difficult of situations. God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good! As much as we THINK we know what’s better for us, we eventually find out that God only knows!
So, the next time you get upset because things aren’t going YOUR way.. keep in mind that it could very well be going GOD’S way! It’s not always going to be just simple, cut and dry – remember, Israel had to cross the Red Sea and wander in the desert for years before getting to the promised land… and God was with them the entire way… blessing them along the way! When we follow HIS way, we can surely expect that we will not come to a position of regretting our own will before we acknowledge His…saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but THINE be done (Luke 22:42).