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).
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:11-12)~ Can you imagine a soldier rising up early in the middle of a war zone, heading out, and forgetting to prepare for battle? That’s what we do each time we wake up in the morning to leave the house without “putting on the WHOLE armor of God”. It’s not enough to just pray; GEAR UP FOR YOUR DAILY BATTLE – you’re not going out there to fight people, but mindsets, ideologies and idiosyncrasies… Laws, rules and opinions “designed” toward your demise; all cleverly setup to ‘appear’ harmless and even inviting, yet serious and severe enough to not only throw off your victory and eternal destiny, but to derail the journey of generations that follow you.
This battle is about much more than you…you are just one piece but with a potential to impact so much more. This is why we must “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8)~ there is a very real enemy out there waiting to attack… and that enemy knows just how to get you… especially if you’re not prepared. Everything to keep you from your victory will be thrown at you today! Things that challenge what you believe, but spun in such a way that you could actually go the wrong way and not realize it until it’s too late! Look, the enemy wants to bring you down … Especially if you’re already walking in faith… You’re too dangerous to the master plan of evil! Therefore you need to protect yourself and be ready to counter the attack! Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph 6:16-17)!
Remember this my friend: It doesn’t matter how strong your will is, the enemy knows your weakness… but there’s something else that the enemy knows that he cannot defeat…and that’s your strength in Christ by faith in the Word of God…so the enemy will try to get you to not take it with you! Don’t let the enemy find you without the Word! Soldier: It’s a war zone out there! And it starts right now….Don’t go into the day unprepared! WORD UP Soldier, the day awaits!
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)~
No matter how big or intimidating something may look to you, remember, God is Lord over all things, even that which strikes fear in you. He knows all about it to the deepest of its core and He gives you victory over your fears! Just remember- your God is bigger than the biggest of anything that might come against you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding (Prov 3:5) ~ He’s got it, and He’s Got You!
Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die; A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent (Prov 15:10,5)~ Interesting how some of US folk take righteous pride in correcting the faults and pointing out the indiscretions of others, … And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye (Luke 6:41)? But OH don’t let someone call us out! Being corrected when we are wrong has an interesting impact on us. First and foremost, our ego is bruised because the person who reproved us also may cause us a small amount, or large amount of embarrassment. Next, it leaves us with a choice to make: do we heed the instruction to correct ourselves or do we defend our egotistical position and retaliate against the reproof?
There are several variations of what may happen here but a single fact remains: no human being is above reproach; For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). That doesn’t mean we go around looking to fix people; how judgmental that is…and what a measure it gives us to be judged by! But what it does mean is that we all have a responsibility to heed the instruction of “wise” counsel. We are cautioned to take heed whom we converse with, and directed to have in view, in conversation, whom to make one another wiser and better.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend (Prov 27:17). That doesn’t mean you’ll always be the one DOING the sharpening! Sometimes you will be on the receiving end and in other times you will be the reprover. But in BOTH cases you must humble yourself in the respect of true righteousness. None of is so good that we will only correct others, and none of us is too good that we can’t be corrected! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye (Luke 6:42).
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isa 40:31)~ so many of us are looking for that blessing, that breakthrough, that change. And while we look and believe, we sit! Yes, all things are possible to him who believes and has faith; but as we believe, we can’t just sit there the way we are and think because we just have faith that things will just suddenly… change. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:20)
Faith must be ACTIVE! Keep in mind, those who had faith when Jesus walked all had an action corresponding to it. The woman with the issue of blood didn’t just wait for Jesus to come touch her for her healing, she had to (DO SOMETHING) make her way through resistance that was keeping her from Him (the crowd) and the effort of action in her faith made her whole; the impotent man at the pool had a healing from Jesus, sure he did, but he had to rise up, take up his bed and walk in the faith that Jesus made Him whole. Friend, we all have healing and blessings in The Lord but our faith is just a belief until we take a step in it. Martin Luther King Jr is famous for saying that Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. We know the top of the staircase is there but we’ll never get there standing at the bottom watching it in awe of its height or greatness! Isaiah says they that wait on The Lord renew their strength… that strength is to be USED to MOUNT UP with the wings of Eagles; to RUN the race set before us and to WALK in the paths of His righteousness, that we will NOT FAINT in adversity, but PROSPER and PERSEVERE!
Christ has healed our spiritual diseases, let us GO wherever he sends us, and TAKE UP whatever he lays upon us. So often we look for our blessings but we sit in that ‘unblessed’ situation and continue to sit in our stuff (some of us call it waiting in faith); when all we had to do was move in the blessing we believed God for and we would see the difference. See, God sets our blessing in its place long before we actually need it. Often times we miss it because we believe Him for it, but we won’t move on what we believe in… toward it. It’s on the other side of the street and the light has changed but we won’t enter the crosswalk. God doesn’t always take the situation away from you and He won’t always take you out of the situation. Many times the blessing is in the actual enduring and the process of going through. We may not always be clear on which way we have to move but one thing we can be certain of is that we HAVE TO MOVE! The proof of our spiritual cure is not just our belief, but our RISING and WALKING; MOVING in faith; in Him!
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!
For BY GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9)~ Sin is the death of the soul. A man dead in trespasses and sins has no desire for spiritual pleasures. As we come to realize the nature and severity of our sins, we are thrown into an endless cycle of disappointment when we realize that we, no matter how much we resolve to repent, cannot meet the standards of holiness God demands. One of the worst feelings is when you are doing your best yet you know that what you do is not good enough for the One that matters! No matter how well we do what we do, our own guilty conscience simply reminds us of our failures! But oh devil, you are a LIE! See, WHILE we were sinners – with our dead souls, Jesus covered the wages of our sin and died for us; His unselfish and ultimate act of grace. The grace that saves is the free, undeserved goodness and favor of God; and He saves, not by the works of the law, nor by the penance of man, but through faith in Christ Jesus. His grace to our soul is new life to our soul. Regenerated, we become a living soul; to live a life of holiness, through being born of God; being delivered from the guilt of sin, by pardoning and justifying grace. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of our self-promoting frivolous efforts, that we would find glory in our own vain achievements; no, all boasting is shut out. Instead, it is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by His power. It was His purpose, to which He prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of His will, and His Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our good conversation, and perseverance in holiness. When we realize what He has already told us, that we can’t on our own meet His standards, we turn our dependence to Him and accept and trust His grace to be our saving measure! Rather than the act of trying to do something to oppose the sin, His work, not ours, diminishes the impact of desire for that sin.. HE changes us… by His grace, we are that we are.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh (Luke 6:45)~ Just like the tree is known by its fruits; what the mouth “commonly” speaks, generally agrees with what is most in the heart. If you ever want to really know a person, listen to them when they “really” speak .. off the cuff as they say. God knows the heart, But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:8). We are so full of unruly evil in our tongues that we have to script ourselves and write down our conversations to make sure we say what sounds good for the situation. But the truth will be revealed when we are just “being ourselves” and the words that come out will be spoken from the heart. That which is in the heart is sometimes so strong, even our own minds can’t control that which heads toward our mouths! Knowing all this, we each have a responsibility: May the word of Christ be so grafted in our hearts, that we may be fruitful in every good work…and word!
Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. (Prov 12:25)~ Care, fear, and sorrow upon our spirits deprive us of the drive and vigor in what is to be done, or courage in what is to be born of us. When we are facing challenges and negativity around us and those around us are speaking in negative context, it’s easy to stay discouraged and depressed and without any desire to progress. A trial in someone’s life can cause them to focus on fear and walk away from the blessings the Lord intends for them. When a person is seeing nothing but negative, they will even start to believe that they don’t have what it takes to be successful or happy. Now more than ever, we need to automatically let the encouragement flow. We need to tell others how much we love them, how we value them, and tell them that they are talented and creative. Our words can be what keeps a person going; our compliments can put a spring back into their step. Always remember, with your words you carry life-giving water. A good word from God, applied by faith, makes the heart glad. You carry hope, healing, encouragement and new beginnings, and you can pour it out everywhere you go. The Word says death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov 18:21) and it is so. Today, choose to speak encouragement. Choose to speak victory and faith. Instead of telling people what they’re doing wrong, instead of pointing out all their faults, find what they are doing right. Focus on the good. There are already enough critical, judgmental people in the world. Let’s be people who lift up others and restore them. Let’s be the light of Jesus in the world.