Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Matt 23:28)~~ We all talk about changes we need to make but so often we do things…going through motions..keeping up appearances…even fooling ourselves…while in reality we are the same old us. What’s happening is that we are doing things that would be expected by others that would look like we’ve changed or grown or gotten better but in reality, we resist doing any different, being any different and we sure don’t think any different. We really haven’t changed and don’t desire to. We are stubborn, fearful, worried about our ego and self esteem and self reputation. Some of us are downright selfish and simply refuse to be different because we feel like it’s our right to carry a certain image, even if it is the source of negativity. We are really, what we are inwardly. Outward motives may keep the outside clean, while the inside is filthy. Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2). But if the mind, heart and spirit be made new, there will be newness of life; here we must begin with our own way of thinking. If you still think like you did with the junk and drama that you were in and kept up, it doesn’t matter what you do, you will continue to be in … junk and drama! You can’t expect things around you to change for the better while your mind is stubborn and stuck on old ways of thinking. How can a negative minded person ever live happily?? You have to start thinking differently. Seeing things differently. Having a new mindset! Changing what you do is only and action that LOOKS like change…but if you still look at life the way you did, your actions will become a burden to you because you really don’t want to do these things…they just look good on the outside.. all for show to others but so superficial and unreal for you. You will come to resent anyone that is paying attention to your activities of change because they are expecting you to maintain what you really don’t want to do… your mind is comfortable being the same old you. WOW! By now your head is probably spinning because of all of the drama and craziness from even THINKING about the situation being like this. So again… change only begins for real when you renew your mind! Here is the important part: That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph 4:22-24). If you are real about wanting things to be different, better or new, your true mind and heart must think and drive you differently and you will have to fight that aura about you that resists it. Once again…Real change first happens in changing your mind! Your way of thinking will then change your heart…and the subsequent actions will be genuine. ..not just for show! And as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he! (Prov 23:7).
Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:1-3)~~ We have inter-mixed true relationship with God with precepts of carnality – allowing ourselves to be manipulated by the enemy and misled, misinformed and improperly aligned according to the influences of the ways of the world. Yes we love God and know who He is and believe in Him and even believe Him, but our lives are an indication that we are still missing … something! We are off and we just know that we’re out of sync with God and that’s enough to keep the turmoil going in our lives. We are hesitant and we back away from total commitment to God because we live in our guilt and fears because we haven’t been totally committed to Him. The world has us believing that commitment to ‘self’ is the priority; that we must do certain things and live a certain way and acquire gain at any cost, even the cost of being (just a little) misaligned with God so that we can be prosperous and successful. Believe in God, go to church, pray, do good things.. but be about YOU first and all will be well. Yes, the devil is a LIAR! Because something is just … off… and deep down, we know it! Let us now repent of not being where God wants us to be – let us seek ‘authentic’ relationship with God, not just going for form and fashion because someone told us it’s the right thing to do. Let us give God glory in true spirit, uninhibited and without hesitation. God is restoring us of the years of loss and pain, He is resuscitating in us those things that have seemingly died in our lives that have sent us down these dark paths.Through Christ He has restored the Life in us that was first intended at creation. God has reconciled the world to Himself – that we may live raised up in His presence. He promises love for us regardless of the hints of the enemy that He has left us alone. Let us know once and for all that it’s more than just knowing ABOUT God, but through the revelation of these truths, it’s about KNOWING God in relationship. It’s about what we EXPERIENCE Him doing – preserving us, keeping us, holding on to us, blessing us, nurturing and growing us in Him; changing the very course of our lives and renewing our minds and Spirits – those things that go far beyond what we could read or talk about, those motions we go through with no true connection, just an action to check off of a task list; it’s about what is DONE in us, for us and to us by His love, grace and mercy; EXPERIENCING His Joy, His Peace, His Love! God is turning us around so much so that the people who have known us all of our lives may even see us as a complete stranger because we will not be what we used to be. In Him, we always come through different than when we started out! When we RESET and come back to Him, He sets the order on our behalf! There is revelation in the relationship! God’s revelation in relationship to us will be the refreshment of life that cleans all things, nourishes all things, quenches all things, satisfies all things. It will bring forth the harvest of His promises to us in RELATIONSHIP. You’ve been waiting and planning and thinking of how and when and why to come back to Him, getting your life in order – even reading your Word and going through the motions of it all, but there is revelation in relationship! Rather than getting your life together to come back to God, come back to God and get your life together!
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it (Isa 43:18-19) ~ We all have a past and the world likes nothing more than to remind us of it and keep us in it. The world likes for us to remember and hold onto old pains, old mindsets, old ways of life, old customs and traditions, old desires, old drama. We focus on things that happened to us even as young children and today we can’t even get along in our own family because of how our brothers and sisters were when we were growing up. We can’t even love our spouses right because of how our mothers and fathers were around us growing up. Our children suffer the burden of the pain we felt when we were children because we see that old stuff as a way of life. We are still mad at that person that did this or that to us 25 years ago and they don’t even remember us! We’re mad at those type of people because of something that their ancestors did to our ancestors and that man or woman who is just as Christian as you are doesn’t-even-know-you! You can’t see the true goodness of some people because you’re constantly looking through your clouded judgement. Every time we try to move forward, we look back in that “old” room and pull out those “old” memories! Friend, it’s time to close that “old” door, lock it and throw away the key! God is not telling you not to learn from the lessons of your past, He’s not telling you to forget what has happened in the past, but He IS telling you that you need to stop holding onto that past; you need to stop allowing it to have influence on your future – stop letting your past hold your future hostage! YOU are causing yourself to not be able to move forward even though God is doing NEW things… YOU are keeping yourself in the mindset of those old things to the point you can’t even fathom the possibility of newness in your life. YOU are holding on to anger and bitterness and frustration while life and God’s work goes forward. God has blessed you and you’re LIVING in that blessing…but you are still focused on the pain of that past! The scar has healed over but you keep thinking about how much it “may have” hurt – that’s right, half of it you didn’t even experience, you just heard about it!!! The people that hurt you are gone on with their lives and because YOU won’t forgive; because YOU won’t move on, YOU are the one still hurting! You’ve got to let it go, it’s ‘past’, it’s over and done and you can’t change it. Move on! God is trying to take you into something brand new and awesome – something more than eyes have seen, ears have heard or that which has entered into any heart…but if you keep holding on to the old, you can’t receive your brand new. That new thing is made by Him to spring ‘forth’; not fall back. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-14) Behold, God is doing a NEW thing; it shall spring forth; do you not see it? Friend, the past… LET IT GO and turn away from it… and that new thing.. you WILL see it! Be blessed!
But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves:for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt (Matt 14:24-31)~~ Christ had Peter come, not only that he might walk upon the water, and so know his Lord’s power, but that he might know his own weakness. And the Lord often lets us have our choice, and our ‘sinking’ to humble and prove us, to let us realize our limitations, and to show the greatness of His power and grace. When we look off from Christ, and look at the greatness of our opposing difficulties, we shall begin to fall; but when we call to Him, He will stretch out His arm, and save us. Christ is the great Savior; and those who would be saved, must come to Him, and cry to Him for salvation. We are never brought to this point until we find ourselves sinking in the confidence of our own choices. It is then that the sense of need drives us to Him. Christ rebuked Peter. If we could just believe more, we would suffer less. The weakness of faith, and the prevailing of our doubts, displease our Lord, for there is no good reason why Christ’s disciples should be of a doubtful mind. Indeed without faith it is impossible to please God. In the worst of stormy days He is to us a very present help! Situations in your life can be like you’re in that tiny ship in a vast ocean getting tossed and blown all over the place. God keeps you in this storm but He is always right there for you to reach out to. Keep your focus on Him and don’t be too proud to cry out for Him! He won’t calm the storm but if you’ll just believe in Him, in the midst of the storm you’ll be walking on water!!!
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice (Eph 4:31)~~ Bitterness acts on the mind in the way poison acts on the body. Bitterness is that state of mind which willfully holds on to angry feelings, ready to take offense, able to break out in anger at any moment. It is resentful cynicism that results in an intense antagonism or hostility towards others. The person who is bitter can be resentful, cynical, harsh, cold, relentless, and unpleasant to be around. These things lead to wrath, which is the explosion on the outside of the feelings on the inside. This unbridled wrath and anger often lead to brash self-absorption of an angry person who needs to make everyone hear and feel the pain of their grievances. Next comes slander…that speech springing from cynicism, bitterness and anger; designed to wound or injure others. All this then leads to a spirit of malice, which signifies evil-mindedness or feelings of intense hatred. This kind of attitude is sensual and devilish in its influences. Malice is a deliberate attempt to harm another person. The danger in succumbing to cynicism, bitterness and malice; allowing them to rule our hearts is that they are of a spirit that refuses reconciliation. Hebrews 12:15 warns us to “see to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”. The cynical, bitter person only sees their own feelings and doesn’t consider and may not even have awareness of the destruction of the lives they impact. Therefore, “every form of malice” must be done away with. We must always be wary of allowing “bitter roots” to grow in our hearts. God wills that His people live in love, joy, peace, and holiness—not in bitterness. Therefore, we must always watch diligently, pray frequently and always guard our hearts and minds…Neither giving place to the devil (Eph 4:27); And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Eph 4:32)!
In the case of Joseph, his problems began the moment he fell for his brothers’ “we’ve got a really neat pit to show you” trick. They sold him as a slave to Ishmaelites passing through the area in an attempt to rid themselves of “the dreamer” (see Genesis 37:19). Eventually, Joseph was able to gain a good standing with Potiphar and was placed in charge of his house. But later, Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph and falsely accused him of adultery. Joseph ended up in prison as a result.
And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them (Gen 50:20-21); Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:14-21)~~ Don’t worry about how people treat you or respond to you…as long as you have the affirmation of God in your life, nothing else anyone else thinks or says matters…Nothing else can stop you, nothing can separate you from His care nor remove you from his hand! No weapon formed against you shall prosper! We must be careful how we respond to people, even those that hurt us. Even as your enemy is your footstool, you don’t need to trample on them! You might have within your desire, power and ability to retaliate, but your blessing will be tied to your willingness to forgive and to respond in kind. We must treat others, even those that hurt us, as we “want” others to treat us, not as they “have” treated us… and keep moving on. You are not blessed until you are able to look at those who did you wrong, and declare in your spirit that to retaliate you become like them, you come down to where they are; but because God is in you, you’re forgiving them not for them, but for yourself. In relieving them of your wrath, you remove that detriment from yourself. And what they meant for evil against you, God will use for your good. If they hate you because of your promotion…imagine what they will think when you are the owner… if they dislike you for the good things in your life.. imagine how it will be when there are great things in your life! Regardless of why they might hate, don’t anchor your life and sanity down by carrying the burden of worrying about it. God is your great provider, carrier and protector. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The Lord taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me (Ps 118:6-7). Michelle Obama’s statement may have been made in a political arena, but it’s a great philosophy for living life – “we will NOT stoop to their level! When they go low, we go high!”
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 God’s 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!