He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed (Prov 13:20)~ I guess another way of putting it…Birds of a feather flock together. Regardless of the way you word it, the outcome still means the same. One of the biggest challenges of a person’s life is peer pressure. Growing up, we were (hopefully) taught how important it was to be around the right people to avoid ending up in the wrong place. Those of us who listened to our ‘teachers’ weren’t often in the popular crowd! But I’ve learned (time and time again) that God’s plan for our progress is rarely popular (or convenient). But I’ve also learned that He blesses those who are willing to do and align with what others won’t… Him! Therefore I’m energized when I think on Romans 12:2 (be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind) because the world makes us think we’re supposed to be this way or that way and we look for people that are the way we think we are supposed to be and get in deep with them…just because everybody’s doing it doesn’t mean it’s right for you…or right at all! But in a renewed mindset I know that it’s okay to not necessarily “fit in” with the crowd. When we stand different from “the crowd” and stand for the things of God, we walk with a different crowd…we adopt a truly foundational element of walking in wisdom. With this wisdom we experience some amazing things with God. When we choose to align with the right people, it results in us ending up in the right places. It’s not only about who you know, but as the late Bernie Mac would say – “Who you Wit”?
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith (Heb 10:35-38)~~ God intends that we are all blessed…when HE is ready to bless us. So often we give up on His promise for our lives because it doesn’t come in our lives when we are ready to see it. We think that if we don’t have something by a certain point in OUR time that He is not going to give it to us at all when actually God JUST might be blessing us through the manifestation of prerequisite events. Every blessing has a path that must be traveled. Christ had to go through the years on earth, the sufferings, the cross, and the grave before He could rise and be in the power of The Promise… He went through HELL! Think about that next time you think things are bad!! In order to get TO the greatness of your blessing, you may have to go THROUGH a time that requires your commitment and patience. Therefore you can’t give up on God’s promise just because you feel like it’s not happening in your time or plan. Remember His thoughts and ways are higher than yours. He sees a bigger picture and HE knows the best plan and the best time for everything. If you stop believing just because of the delay, you miss the true blessing! While you’re spending your time and life complaining. .. you are missing the blessings He has for you. You can’t be in control of everything… but rather be happy and trust in Him who IS in control. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Don’t give up! Wait on Him! While waiting… keep on doing what’s right. Keep giving God your “yes” while He works out your mess. Be not weary in well doing. .for in DUE SEASON … HIS due season you shall reap if you faint not.
…and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts (Haggai 2:4-7)~~ Regardless of the setbacks, the hardships and even the tragedies we face in life, God keeps us – we are here because of HIS purpose for us! We can’t be discouraged or blinded by what we see in life – we must remember our faith in Him. We cannot focus on our pain, but remember the possibilities with God. It’s not about our hurts but the hope we have in Him. Rather than being driven by our problems, we must seek His purpose. We can’t just go through life ignoring God’s plan, ‘existing’ in our problems and sorrows; but we must see to doing the work of His purpose. Yes, there will be issues that will shake us to our core but everything that IS belongs to God and God promises to bring peace, even to this world! ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts (Haggai 2:9). We just need to hold on and do what He calls us to do… seeking first His kingdom and experiencing a much greater outcome if we persevere. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal 6:9); And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise (Heb 6:15).
NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS – YOU’LL MAKE IT!
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Ths 5:18)~~ God has given us reasons time and time again to give Him thanks, and this is what we must do. We are living in a time of great anxiety, but He has offered us a way out of anxiety. We may know His loving care. There is no one so good, so high, so holy, and so merciful as God. We are thankful that He has invited us to bring our petitions and our requests to Him. Who else can we go to for wisdom, or for hope, or for guidance? We are thankful for peace that proceeds from His forgiveness, the wholeness that comes from His restorative touch. We are thankful His for creating a world He called “good.” We thank Him that despite the evil that has entered the world and still wages war in our own souls, His goodness is undiminished. We thank Him that we have seen honor that is bolder than shame…mercy that is wider than cruelty…truth that is straighter than deception…faith that is stronger than treachery…hope that is deeper than desperation. We thank Him for the ordinary things: the bread we receive, the breath by which we live. And we thank Him for the extraordinary things: the strength we didn’t know was possible, and the discovery of truths we didn’t know. We thank Him for the immeasurable grace shown to us in the coming of Jesus Christ, the hope of the world. Be thankful today for each other and the blessings you have… In all things today, give thanks In His Name.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal 5:1)~ Christ will not be the Savior of any who will not own and rely upon HIM as their only Savior. No matter what the ‘world’ leads people to, or determines as the new ‘order’ of things, the Word of God remains as it was in the beginning and we must remain steadfast in the doctrine and liberty of the gospel. All true Christians, being taught by the Holy Spirit, wait for eternal life, the reward of righteousness, and the object of their hope, as the gift of God by faith in Christ; and not for the sake of their own works. Our ceremonies, traditions, self-assertions and rewritings of the ‘laws’ we live by have no impact nor influence on our salvation in Him. No outward privileges or profession, social or economic status, position nor power on earth will bring us to acceptance with God, without sincere faith in our Lord Jesus. True faith is a working grace; it works by love to God, and to our brethren. Our two prime directives given by Christ were to love the Lord and to love others; that everything within the law hung on this (Matt 22:37-40). Our world has gotten away from those two directives and has spun out of control. We’ve made great advancements in knowledge and discovery and there are many great and amazing things man has achieved. There is nothing wrong with how far we’ve come as a people. But as far as we’ve come, we’ve simultaneously fallen back as more and more the love for and dependence on God in this world continues to diminish – in our achievements we have become self-reliant and self-absorbing. More and more in this world, we see the lack of love and concern for our fellow man. Never has the hatred between us been so prominent. Without faith working by love, all else is worthless, and compared with it other things are of small value. God’s promise restores ‘integrity’ back into His creation as it was at the foundation of the world. May we learn to be still; leaning not to our own understanding; but in all ways acknowledging Him and His finished work; and allow Him to do His works of restoration in us. May we be of the number of those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. May we recall and return to a point of living under the directives Christ put before us: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; Love thy neighbor as thyself”!
A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends (Prov 16:28)~~There are those that would rather go through more pains to do mischief than would be needful to do good. They keep up conversations and activities that defame and destroy the character of others, separate friendships, and lower the reputation of others by any means possible; and they take pleasure and pride in doing so. Sadly, this hateful characteristic is becoming more and more common… even in the quest for new political leaders…. yes, the dignity of the office of the President of the United States is not only a target, but threatens to antagonize! Where does it stop? When do we stop talking negatively about others?? Whatever happened to “If you cannot say something good, then don’t say anything”? We hate and cringe at the thought of committing rape or murder – but all this slander and gossip are as bad as both. They violate and kill a person’s reputation instead of their body, and it ruins their joy, peace, friendships and relationships. It’s really sad these days how people love to cause division by spreading rumors, innuendos, secrets, or lies about others. What’s worse is that the world PAYS people for the most outrageous information and will make those willing to participate rich for putting it on display – just look at how many reality TV and gossip shows are on…there are entire networks dedicated to this type of stuff…and the more brashly the hosts of this information come across, the more outrageous their gossip, the more they are respected in their ‘profession’. When does it stop?? You would use any means to prevent a terrible crime… what if we were to so respond forcibly to verbal wickedness as well? What if we didn’t entertain but instead actively rebuked and purposely avoided gossip, backbiting, slander and negative talk when we came across it…taking the same efforts to shut down all of the “wretchedness”? What if we refused to subscribe to divisive and perverse insinuations…turned away from the reality shows; refused to tune into the media or share the posts that promote negativity and embrace ignorance? Slanders would not be so readily spoken, if they were not readily heard. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men (Rom 12:18) and seek not to harm others by divisive words. This is the most peaceful and successful way to be. By choosing to be a peacemaker, you are a true child of God (Mat 5:9). The peacemakers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They don’t delight in spreading more ignorance and broadcasting the best gossip. They seek to keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. Imagine what we could do, what a difference we could make by building up lives with our words rather than tearing them down; if we looked to bring out the good rather than expose the bad; if we would take joy in the positive rather than be entertained by the negative. Purify your heart, and let it produce gracious words at all times; Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man (Col 4:6).
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Mark 10:9) ~~ With and through our life we must guard our marriage, so that the outside world cannot negatively influence it, infiltrate it or separate it. We must protect its core – the love between husband and wife. This doesn’t come for free – it will cost us a lot – but “no” must be an integral part of our vocabulary. Saying no to others – whether to people, things, or tasks – is not easy. Sometimes it is hard work, causes anxiety, and may upset others. But in order to say yes to your marriage, you must be able to say no to other things. You simply do not have the time, resources, and energy to do everything you want and to please everyone around you. If you do not learn to say no to others, you will eventually ﬁnd out that you have been saying no to your marriage all the time. Marriage involves more than keeping the love between you and your spouse alive. It also means forsaking, or leaving behind other things. Before marriage, we could take care of career, friends, sports, trips, and other activities. Marriage though means forsaking some freedoms in order to gain growth. Marriage is not an extension of singleness where you bring your spouse along. You can’t have both at the same time. If you don’t make forsaking a part of everyday life, you always run danger of adding the wrong thing (bad inﬂuences) to your marriage and subtracting the good (closeness and honesty) from it. Marriage is designed to be an exclusive club, a two-person arrangement that provides a safe place for each spouse’s soul. There is no space for a third party to receive an equal share in a marriage, because that can easily disrupt the safety of the relationship. That means “Mama” and your “Family” will have to understand! Your “boys” or your “girls”, BFFs, partners and homies gonna have to hang without you this week! With a third party present, our love gets divided. A part of our heart is taken away from our spouse, where it belongs, and brought to an outside source. Our spouse is our prime address for ﬁnding comfort, help, truth and growth. But marriage is not the only place for that. It was never designed to be the source for all life for us. That would be idolatry, because only God and His resources are our life source. Of course, we also need and should have close friends in whom we can conﬁde and who conﬁde in us. We should have activities and associations aside of our marriage, But if they drive us away from our spouse, we certainly step over the line. In the end we have to learn to avoid extremes and ﬁnd the right balance. We need outside relationships and activities to get some of our needs met that our spouse simply cannot meet. But at the same time we have to make sure that these external inﬂuences do not intrude into our marriage and take a part of our heart away from our spouse. When it comes to your marriage – Build a wall of protection around it, stand your ground to all that comes against it and Just say No to anything that tries to take you away from it!