Now more than ever, it’s time – Blow the dust off that #Bible and start reading! –

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!

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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! 

What ‘Was’ That Used to Be, It ends NOW! #AllThingsNew –

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)~~ Today, the past ends. Today is the end of what was yesterday and tomorrow is a new day and a new beginning. As we leave the past and points of it behind, let us also leave behind the old identity which enslaved us in fear. Nothing can quite peg identity like fear – and its constant companion, shame – can. And that’s the big question. Who are you, really? An ineffective employee? A failed father? A basket case? A pervert? Damaged goods? Shame words try to name you, own you, and weigh you down. But know this: you’ve been lied to. You are not your old nature, for Christ has removed it completely in His perfect love and drives out fear. In Christ, you are His treasured possession. We were not meant to lug the weight of slavery around. Christ’s burden is easy; His yoke is light. You’re clothed in Christ’s righteousness, and when God sees you, He doesn’t see shame – He sees the perfection of Jesus. As part of God’s family, you are the beloved firstborn. Rather than receiving the just judgment of the enslaved in sin, God has ransomed His Son in order for you to be with Him. In His eyes, the chaos of the past is behind you, and the enemy that is trying to enslave you has “already” been defeated. Forget about what the enemy screams at you from the chasm of the defeated!! Losers and haters – those who have already been beaten down – will always try to bring you to their level of misery! You are NOT a slave of who you used to be or what you used to do. Just like the Israelites’ enemies and their accusations were drowned in the Red Sea, the shaming, condemning words of your past life of slavery have been silenced in the death and resurrection of Christ. The slavery of the sins of yesterday ends today. Who you were ends today. And He that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5).

Past Pain is No Excuse for Ugliness – #Choose Your Attitude –

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Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Eph 4:29-32)~ Have you ever heard someone talking about they can’t help being the way they are – that the circumstances of their life’s history and other people make them bitter and resentful and unkind and moody toward others?

Okay…being very direct here…that’s a stubborn, lame and lazy excuse to be able to hold on to that negative attitude. Being negative, bitter and cynical; saying ‘no’ to a positive light affords one the opportunity to just say ‘no’ and sit there with their arms folded and their lip stuck out and they don’t have to do anything else…. they get to be ugly and do nothing… and yes, they ‘could’ help it… they CHOSE to be bitter! They CHOSE to stay in a jacked-up mentality rather than moving on to a place of happiness! They CHOSE to stay mad and claim it’s their right to be mad when all that self-justification is just because they’re too lazy to take off that self-pride backpack and pick up some humility.  They’d rather hold on to the past and bring the present and future into their drama re-run! Reality check, you’re not the only one that has been hurt, mistreated or misunderstood before – your life is not the only one that has had some bumps and bruises! There are plenty of us that have tough lives (man born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble – Job 14:1).

Being kind though is the CHOICE that God wants us to make. Kindness is a CHOICE we get to make to share what we have with someone in need. It’s a CHOICE to encourage someone with a sincere compliment. God cares just that much how we treat each other. In Matthew 25:31-40, Jesus talks about people’s treatment of one another; and since He lives in us, what we do to each other we in turn do to Him. Thinking about it then: As you flaunt around your bad attitude at people, would you carry such a nasty disposition to our Lord? As you cuss out that person, would you cuss Jesus that way? As you abuse that person, would you abuse our Savior that way? How do you have it within you to mistreat that person and the Son of God so brutally? All lying, and corrupt language, that stir up evil desires and lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil-speaking, and malice, provoke the Holy Spirit. We should beware of all such demeanor. Ask God to help you make the CHOICE to be kind, especially when you don’t feel like it. It is our duty to seek, by the blessing of God, to bring others to think truthfully, seriously and positively; and to encourage others by our conversation; not belittle and tear them down with ridicule and disrespect. Being kind one to another sets forth the principle of love in the heart, and the outward expression of it, in a humble, courteous behavior. Would you want other people to treat you that way? Would you want Jesus to be treated that way?  Talk about tough lives… Jesus was TOTALLY innocent but HE took on the burden of sins for the WORLD… Yet HE loves everybody!!! I know what you’re thinking – “well I’m not Jesus” – well, we KNOW that to be true – but you DO get to Choose your Attitude!

#IWontComplain There is a Blessing Even in a Bad Day! –

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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).

 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Ths 5:16-18) 

Just Another Day The Lord Has Blessed Me -#Grateful –

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord ‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness (Lam 3:21-23)~ God gave you today! Yes, another day; another chance; another blessing. That in itself should outweigh any other depressive feeling you might have, whether you are guilty of something or the victim of another’s actions. We all have in our lives some source of distress or temptation but every day that God gives us is another day to rise above it. In fact, as bad as things are or may seem, we owe gratitude to God that it’s not worse. Truth be told, as you complain and lament on the things in your life that are so terrible and you long for a better scenario, there is a countless band of others out there that would gladly trade places with you!

But while there is life there is hope; and instead of complaining about things that are bad, we should encourage ourselves about the things that are good with the hope and expectation in Him that they will be better. No matter what happened to you.. it “happened”- you got THROUGH it. You didn’t succumb to it or perish in it! No matter what you did, God didn’t strike you down for it because today you came back to this life! He has again shown you an incomparable act of grace and mercy. Tribulation comes in all forms and ‘messes’ with us in so many ways and it causes us to pause in our lives; waiting on ‘something’ from the Lord’s hand. If tribulation works patience, that patience will work experience, and that experience a hope that makes one not ashamed. We are sinful people, and what we complain of, is far less than our sins deserve. We should in our tribulations therefore seek and inquire of God, and not falsely complain of Him or His justice toward us (that He’s not even imparting by the way). We are apt, in times of calamity, to reflect on other people’s ways, and blame them; but our duty is to search and try our own ways, that we may turn from evil to God.

Our hearts must go with our prayers. Due thoughts of the evil of sin, and of our own sinfulness, will convince us that it is of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed. God’s compassions fail not; of this we have fresh chances every morning. Every morning you wake up, God has given you another portion that far surpasses anything this world could give you; far more than any achievement could earn you; in excess and abundance of any earthly gift you could receive. Portions on earth are perishing things, but God is a portion forever. For this my friend, rejoice today and every day because every… day…. God loves you over and over and over again; UNCONDITIONALLY! Even when we are faithless, He is faithFUL! When we are without love, He loves! Yes, God just loves us…PERIOD (no ifs, ands, buts, becauses or whiles)… and NOTHING can separate us from that, no matter what the worldly circumstance! The Lord is my portion; I desire to have Him for my portion and salvation, and in His word do I hope. Be blessed!

#Promise – God is With Us, in EVERY instance, Unconditionally –

..And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20)~~ God with us! There is hardly a more central promise that our Lord has ever made to human beings. The alternatives are just too horrifying to imagine. If God has abandoned us, and that is why so many bad things happen in life, then what does that say about God, and what does it say about our destiny? If God vacillates, willing to be "with us" only as long as we don't get too obnoxious, coming and going like a father who keeps giving up on being a father, where does that leave us? If God is incapable of being with us, then we have to conclude that we will never reap the benefits of divine presence, and words like grace, mercy, love, and truth have no meaning. But God is not indifferent to our conditions, situations or inconsistencies. He doesn't set conditions in place to determine His love for us. God is not one that will turn His back on us, leaving us to figure out life on our own. Even when we turn away from Him, He's standing there for us, loving us, caring about us… saying to us 'if you want to come back, I'll take you no matter what!' No matter how broken we get, He wants to fix us and doesn't even want us to deal with it but just give ourselves to Him; broken and all! God promises to be with us always, even to the end of the world…never leaving or forsaking us, loving us while we are yet sinners! Forgiving us and throwing our transgressions into the sea of eternal forgetfulness- no, He won't bring it up again, ever! God is with us even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death! My friend this is His most beautiful promise.. that in every instance of every instance…He is God and He is "with us"!!

… and God will give you #Rest ->

REST

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His (Heb 4:9-10)~~ God has always declared man’s rest to be in Him, and His love to be the only real happiness of the soul; and faith in His promises, through His Son, to be the only way of entering that rest. There is, in Him, a more spiritual and excellent rest remaining than that of the seventh day. This rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, in the gospel state. The rest, is undoubtedly the heavenly rest, which remains to the people of God, and is opposed to a state of labor and trouble in this world. It is the rest they shall obtain when the Lord Jesus shall appear from Heaven. As God finished His work, and then rested from it, so He will cause those who believe, to finish their work, and then to enjoy their rest. But those who do not believe, shall never enter into this spiritual rest, either of grace here or glory hereafter. (Read that again… those who don’t believe shall never have rest! – No God = No Peace!) True Sabbath..that holy rest, the kind that empties us of our works and fills us with the blessings of God’s completed works, depends on complete confidence and trust….rooted in a deep conviction that God is good and God is sovereign. There’s no rest for those who don’t believe that. If God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes (Rom 8:28), you can relax. If He doesn’t, you had better start worrying. If God can pick any mess, any mishap, any wastage, any wreckage, any evil meant toward you, any anything, and choreograph beauty and meaning from it (Gen 50:20) then you can rest in Him! If He can’t, you had better get busy. Either God’s always at work, watching the city, building the house, or you need to try harder. Either God is good and in control, or it all depends on you. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28).