Friday, September 30, 2016

Spiritual Enforcers

II Corinthians 10:5 - "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (KJV)

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he wrote some sobering words regarding the vanity of childish imaginations and the necessity of godly vision. In I Corinthians 13:11 he states: "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things." In order to become spiritual enforcers for ourselves, our families, and our churches we must grow up and away from our compromise with this world. We must not fellowship with darkness but come into the light of Christ's wisdom. There is no other way to make hell tremble and heaven rejoice regarding the spiritual warfare which is the heritage of every child of God. Our gaze must be so transfixed on Christ as we take on His mind, taking every thought captive for the furthering of His kingdom.

Our legacy is to enforce God's law and bring all offenses before the judge and let Him deal with them according to His will. However, to get to this place of maturity will take us choosing the light over the dark. We must forsake the compromised position, embracing the implacable stance of a stalwart soldier of the Lord. This is the great story that Christ desires to write in our lives. One not of worldly imagination but of godly wisdom born in the heart of the Almighty.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Word of Hope

Matthew 15:23 - "But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, 'Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.'”

Have we become convinced the Lord is the only one to help us, yet we hear not a word from Jesus in this regard? Even worse, is the loud din of those in the church who say, "Just follow Christ from afar! Don't get too close or you will be disappointed!” However, just like the Gentile woman in Matthew we are not to listen to others but keep listening for the "word" from God. Too often, we might give up or give in to others who say miracles are not for today--that Jesus only uses medicine or natural circumstances as contemporary remedies. There will always be the naysayers who are following Jesus on the periphery of faith.

However, when we come and bow down before him as this desperate woman and say "Lord help me!" (verse 25) then all heaven will move on our behalf. Remember, beloved, hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:23). And what is hope? H equals HONEST appraisal of our situation, O equals OPENNESS to whatever it takes to remedy it, P equals PERSEVERANCE or PERSISTENCE to not accept "no" for an answer, and finally E equals EXPECTANCY that it will indeed happen. May we all silence the deafening clamor of those who would suggest otherwise and continue crying out to God until He delivers!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A "Put On" For God

Colossians 3:12-14 - "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity."

Have we ever been accused of being a "put on"? Being two-faced is wrong if we are using our masquerade to fool others. However, if we are Christians and confess we are often two different people, then we then have the power through humility to be a proper put on. When we allow ourselves to think right about ourselves, we start to think right about others. What we then put on our minds about ourselves and others become expressions of our hearts that transform.

Beloved, exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit is a choice. It begins by choosing to put on the Lord Jesus Christ in our every thought. The miracle then happens as His character becomes ours with hearts expressive of Him.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Working Together for Good

Romans 8:28- "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

This is one of the most misquoted verses in all of scripture. People often suggest that God causes all things to work together for good, regardless of the person, place, or circumstance. This is not the case, according to this verse. Paul tells us that He watches out to "cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It is important to understand these stipulations in order to obtain this particular promise. The first and most important is love.

God first of all wants relationship before anything. He is certainly interested in what He has called us to do for His kingdom, but above all He wants relationship first. When our hearts are given to Him in loyalty and love, then He can shape our ministries around us for our families, communities, churches, etc. The dynamic of all things working together for good will then be everpresent in our lives when we first love Him and then care for others around us.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Restorative Power of God's Law

Psalm 19:7 - "The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple."

God's law has always been perfect. Thus, it is the ideal baseline to see our wickedness as a race of people that have shunned God's requirements. The law may look harsh and demanding from a fleshly viewpoint. However, it is actually full of the love of God that shows His perfect character. This, beloved, through Christ's fulfilling of the law, is able to restore our soul. Our stark need juxtaposed to God's provision is the perfect remedy for sin that ails mankind.

God's testimony is always one of lifting up His holiness. However, it is also one of mercy, as He extends His goodness to us through the gift of grace. The wise of this world will always be confounded by the simplistic wisdom of God's message. God's witness to our restored souls is one of righteousness through His law, yet the wisdom of His power that is saving us daily as we surrender.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Recognizing a Child of God

Romans 8:14 - "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."

The profundity of Paul's writings is not difficult to understand. The mark of a true Christian could be characterized by this one verse. If we are walking in God's Spirit, we will not carry out the desires of the flesh; therefore confirming we are sons and daughters of God. A school child could understand this logic because it is meant for those who would become children in their attitudes toward God. He wants to lead us by the hand in such a way if we will but allow Him.

Are we being led by God's Spirit? Or do we tug away from His loving grasp to run to our own desires? He will continue to seek us out ... for a while. However, that time will come when we will not be able to find our way back to His waiting grasp. May we hold tight now, knowing that doing so ensures our kinship with the Father.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The End of Sin

Romans 6:6 - "Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin."

The grand result of Christ's crucifixion is our privilege to be identified with His death so that we would "be done away with." The old man and the old woman have been "knocked off" by Jesus Christ as He took our sin nature on the cross with Him. He paid the penalty of sin because there was no way in heaven or hell we could ever atone for our rebellion. The great dilemma of redemption was solved in one instant when Jesus said, "It is finished!"

The finality of Christ’s crushing of sin means only one thing – that sin has lost its power. There is no longer any reason whatsoever to submit to sin the way we did in the past. Never confuse sinful habits with sin itself. The former is sin that has been practiced and is perfected in wickedness. However, these are merely habits that can and must be broken when Christ sets us free. The power behind the habit of sin is no longer there so we must resist and submit ourselves to the one who has truly set us free.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Our Passionate Guardian

Zephaniah 3:17 - “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."

As the prophet reminded Israel, we often need a greater awareness of the One who guards our souls. Our perception can become skewed when we see the Lord as a detached Guardian that reluctantly watches us as disobedient children. However, this verse tells us different. Nothing slips His eye, nor does He allow anything to separate us from the love of Christ. He is forever there to keep us in the presence of God with fullness of joy, if we will but allow Him to do so.

Just as God created us with emotions, so the love and joy of the Lord ebbs and flows in demonstration. Sometimes, we will sense the Watcher of our souls in a quiet sense of love for His beloved. At other times, we will experience the Lord's approval in joyous exaltation as He rejoices over us. In each and every instance, we experience a God that is multi-faceted in His affections but never diminished in the way He expresses them.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Broad Expressions of God's Love

Psalm 18:19 - "He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me."

God delights in all of His children. He rescues us, not out of a sense of obligation, but one of deep desire for His beloved. Never let the enemy of our souls say that God wants to restrict our lives and keep good things from us. The "broad place" of His will is full of liberty and peace. Our only requirement is obeying Him as we would look to a loving Father.

Sin's pleasures will pass and leave us with an emptiness that will continue to increase over time. However, obeying God results in a continual filling of His goodness until we embody Christ's character. The wide expanse of God's blessings will never make us feel restricted. They are meant to give us boundaries, but at the same time remove any and all limitations regarding what He wants to do in our lives.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Slaves of Obedience

Romans 6:16 - "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?"

The entire human race is in spiritual slavery. Most do not know this, nor would they believe it if presented with this fact. In truth, we are either slaves to sin or God. However, those who know the Savior understand how Jesus Christ is not a cruel taskmaster like sin and the law. He never demands but always desires we do according to His will out of a heart of love. Obedience in this manner does not seem like slavery, but is instead a relationship of a bond-slave with his Master (Exodus 21:5-6).

We are all presenting ourselves daily to our respective master. Whether it is sin or God's grace – it is ultimately our choice. Both require surrender and obedience and will eventually turn us into the image of the one who controls us. Beloved, may we desire not the world for if we serve our flesh we are already dead. If we obey Christ and cling to Him, we will experience all the fullness of the Lord in this life and the one to come.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Path of Life

Psalm 16:11 - "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Many desire to find the "path of life." Symptomatic of finding God's path is the joy that always confirms we have chosen the right way. Some might suggest they find peace in their religion. However, unless there is accompanying joy, there is no true relationship.

God the Father invites His faithful to enter into the joy of His presence when we will one day step between time and eternity (Matthew 25:23). However, He invites us all to practice His presence now and taste the joy we will experience for all eternity. All we must do is proceed with surrender to Jesus down the path of life.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Unshaken Peace

Psalm 16:8 - "I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Many purport their fidelity to the Lord. Yet, many of these, when the going gets tough, will often falter and wring their hands in despair. It is admirable to spend time in daily devotions with the Lord. However, in order for us to stay in the peaceful eye of the storm, one has to create a habit of setting the Lord continually before us. Our "devotions" must span the entire day in whatever we do. Whether it is time in the word, or time washing the dishes, our affections should be continually stayed upon Him.

Things will constantly shake all around us. Whether they are relationships, situations, or circumstances, the world's power is prone to upset our peace. Instead, the peace of God can be the heritage of every believer if we will but look to the author and perfecter of our salvation (Hebrews 12:2). Our continuous gaze toward the Beloved is our only hope of unshaken peace.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Eternal Wages

Romans 4:4-5 - "Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness."

How many of us demand our wages from God? Romans 6:23 tells us regarding our true earnings. What religion will never understand is that what we do for God will never amount to anything of eternal value. However, what we do in God will ultimately remain for eternity. If we are motivated to be good out of a sense of obligation, then we will be disappointed in our wages on that last day. But if we are empowered by a great love for the Savior, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us for His glory, then we will not view it as our work whatsoever.

What will we have credited to our accounts when we cross the veil to eternity? Will we be a sheep or a goat on that final day? (Matthew 25:31-46) It will depend whether we have religion or relationship. If we are seeking anything other than Jesus, our pursuit has become a religion of dead works (including the religion of self-seeking). If we desire to know Christ, then He will empower His works through us and credit His righteousness to our accounts. In both instances, we will enter into either the joy or sorrow of our respective master.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sure-footedness in God

Habakkuk 3:19 - "The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places."

It is quite amazing to watch a video of an Israeli Ibex as it traverses the steep mountains of the Judean Desert. Their sure-footedness is uncanny how they can securely place their back hooves in front of their front ones, providing them stability as they climb or descend. The amazing coordination between their sight and their sense of touch with their surroundings is certainly something the prophet marveled at regarding the heritage of the Lord in his regard.

Like the hind or the Ibex, Habakkuk understood there is no fear as long as God is in our midst. The high places can often seem scary to an onlooker. However, when God is with us, we can be sure He is instinctively giving us the wisdom to step according to His will. There is nothing more comforting to know that no matter what we see or feel, God is leading and guiding us through both the high and low places of life.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Hiding of God's Power

Habakkuk 3:4 - "His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, and there is the hiding of His power."

God's all-powerfulness is something we can only speculate in its regard. The Eternal Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God must veil Himself to mortal flesh. Otherwise, we would be consumed by not only His holiness, but His sheer magnitude of glory. However, there is coming a day when we will see Him in His entire splendor and like the angels in heaven we will cry for joy, "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord ... God of power and might!"

Will the day of His revealing be a day of rejoicing or a day of mourning? Paul states how those who have not accepted Christ will suffer eternal punishment by separation from this awesome power (II Thessalonians 1:0). Often, the greatest regret is knowing what we might have enjoyed. This will be the heritage of those who see His great power and splendor and then to be reminded of what they have foregone due to their disobedience to accept Jesus' great gift.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

God's Promises Through Obedience

Exodus 17:6 - "'Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.' And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.'"

Moses' obedience to God secured him a place of honor and respect "in the sight of the elders of Israel." He did exactly what God told him to do which secured his leadership role as a humble, obedient servant. However, several years later, he came to a very similar situation in Numbers 20 where God told him to speak to the rock and yet he disobeyed by once again striking the rock (Numbers 20:11). This act of disobedience kept Moses from entering the Promised Land along with the twelve tribes.

We all have places of leadership in our respective homes, businesses, ministries, etc. What was good and proper in one situation may not be God's will every time. He may tell us to show strength and assertiveness in dealing with a person or a situation. Then, He may require us (in a different setting) to merely speak in a kind, loving way to reconcile a difference. The Ten Commandments are black and white and fairly simple to know when we have disobeyed. However, it takes listening intently to hear when God speaks the entirety of His will. The still, small voice of God is just as important to obey as God's written law. The disobedience of either will keep us from entering into all God has for us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Knowledge of God's Glory

Habakkuk 2:14 - “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

God's wisdom and knowledge fills not only the earth, but all of creation. One only has to read God's longest monologue in scripture in Job 38-41 to begin to understand His plan. However, a day is coming when this knowledge and wisdom will be manifested in all of its glory. The spoken word of God that we often skim over in these aforementioned chapters, along with others such as Psalm 19, will become reality when we see His glory fill the earth through the knowledge of Him.

The scripture tells us the nations will mourn as every eye will see Him when He returns to this earth (Revelation 1:7). On that day, the glory of the Lord will not only be seen regarding His knowledge in creation, but also the glory of His justice and mercy. For those who have hearkened His call, it will be a day of great rejoicing as salvation's plan for both mankind and the earth we live on will be revealed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Soul Rightness

Habakkuk 2:4 - “Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith."

The soul of man without the Spirit of God has lost its way. The mind, emotion, and will are skewed toward promotion and preservation of self. As the prophet states, it "is not right within him." Human souls, left to themselves, are motivated by fear and the eventual realization that without God, all will be lost. There is the continual grasping for "more," seeking to quell the fear and find that place of fleeting peace the heart of man so desires.

When we come to Christ, His righteousness fills us and seeks to rule our soul through our spirit and the Holy Spirit within. When we surrender to Him, fear must flee. Instead of our previous modus operandi of fleeing from God, we run to Him. This, beloved, allows our righteousness in Him to become reality. It then becomes His creation clinging to the Creator, allowing us to go from faith to faith as our soul becomes "right" before our God.

Monday, September 12, 2016

God's Great Gifts

Romans 2:4 - "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?"

Do we really understand what it cost God to save us? It cost Him an entire Person of His Godhead to sacrifice Himself on our behalf. The riches of Jesus Christ have therefore been given to all who would accept His great gift. He became sin for us, beloved, that we would be called the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21). This was God's great plan to redeem everyone, not just a select few.

The greatest expression of God's love outside Christ's redemption is "His kindness and tolerance and patience" as He waits for sinners to accept His Son's finished work. God tarries, as much of the world continues on their path of destruction, disregarding both His completed work and God’s mercy as He waits. What can be done? We can first accept His great gift. Then, we can pray and ask God that His kingdom would come to this earth, sweeping millions into His great harvest.

Lord, have Your way with our lives. Cause us to be intercessory missionaries for Your Great Commission. Then, send us out to our respective mission fields -- whether around the block or around the world -- for Your Namesake. Worthy is the Lamb to be slain to receive the reward of His sufferings! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A True Disciple of Jesus

Mark 14:69, 71 - "The servant-girl saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders, 'This is one of them!' ... But he began to curse and swear, 'I do not know this man you are talking about!'”

Whether we wish to believe it or not, those around us are always watching. Friends, colleagues at work, relatives, and especially those closest to us – our spouses and children. Oftentimes, those with whom we deal with will remain silent about our faith until a crisis moment reveals our allegiance. Then, we may find those we thought were not watching are watching indeed. Some might say, "You call yourself a Christian and believe THAT? Look at the way you are behaving!"

Peter was right. He did not know Jesus as he professed. He only knew Him as an acquaintance that he desired to emulate, but yet not enough to die for. Will we be surprised to hear others accusing us of being with Jesus only in relation to His precepts rather than relationship with Him? If we rejoice when others say we are "one of them," no matter the circumstances, we will embrace both His death in us so we can live through Him.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Facing Death to Self

Mark 14:31 - "But Peter kept saying insistently, 'Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!' And they all were saying the same thing also."

Crisis moments reveal true character. We can all be heroic in our resolve to follow Jesus in theory. However, when the moment of decision comes, how committed will we be to stay the course? Consecration is something each one of us will deal with, every day, the rest of our life here on earth if we know the Lord. How well we respond to each instance will determine how God sanctifies us for His purposes.

Religion will often look like the "real deal." However, when the flesh (or our old nature) is faced with death, it will always run and hide. We must all beware of the pride of selfish ambition (James 3:16). It manifests itself most profoundly in zealous, religious pledges that have no substance once the test of consecrating ourselves to Jesus comes our way.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Holy is the Lord

Habakkuk 1:13a - "Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look on wickedness with favor."

There is never a time in the history of sin that God has not had to look at a world filled with iniquity. In His wisdom and love, He has orchestrated ways that a holy God is able to put up with seeing the abominations that occur daily upon this earth. In this regard, He will never be able to approve the smallest iota of sin ever committed. That is why there will come a day of judgment when He will appease His wrath upon the disobedience of those who have not accepted His Son and His righteousness.

The furthest desire from God's heart is to have to judge mankind. He would much rather have a heart of mercy and grace to those He loves with all of His being. However, that day of reckoning is coming because anything less would be unjust. He must juxtapose His judgment with His mercy and forbearance He has shown for millennia. May we all hearken to Him in this age of grace and mercy, beloved of God.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Love's Obligation

Romans 1:14 - "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish."

Obligation does not necessarily imply emotion. It is a stated fact regarding a contractual agreement between two parties. However, Paul was obligated by love. He understood the importance of his message to all classes of people. Along with this obligation came extreme patience to explain himself to anyone who would listen to the gospel. Remember, patience equals love expressed. It manifests itself by a heart that has the best interest possible for the object of its affection.

Do we possess a sense of obligation to those around us regarding Jesus Christ's message of hope and love? Or, do we look at some and impatiently think, "They will never come to Jesus, why should I bother!"? Like Paul, we should never judge mankind from our perspective. Righteous judgment is better left to the Holy Spirit (John 7:24). It is our duty to live as ambassadors of His love to all men and allow the Father to draw those whom He has called through the patient love He has granted to those who are His sons and daughters.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Be On The Alert!

Mark 13:37 - "What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’”

Alertness denotes expectation. Jesus did not idly make statements such as "Be on the alert." As He states, this is a warning for us all. While in context this speaks of the end times, we should also be on the alert regarding the nearness of His appearing. How ready are we if Jesus came for us today? I am not merely speaking of His second coming, but what if He called us home today due to death? Would we be embarrassed for Him to find us in our present circumstance? Imagine our surprise if we crossed the veil into eternity and we were having an argument with someone over something petty, or we were flirting with the woman next door, or we were being dishonest with our employer?

Jesus Christ desires us to walk always in the light as He is in the light. Consecration in all areas of our lives now will mean a sanctified life when He returns, whenever that might be. We will have nothing to fear because faith has been the touchstone of our lives. Beloved, we must all remain vigilant, knowing that His return is imminent and our lives on earth are but a vapor that will soon expire.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Power to Transform

Mark 12:24 - "Jesus said to them, 'Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?'"

The Pharisees of Jesus' time had become so accustomed to religion that they were totally unaware the Scriptures should contain power. After all, if God's word is merely "words" and does not have power to transform, then what is the sense of their observance? They are then reduced to any other spiritual writings since the dawn of mankind. If all we can do is imitate God rather than being changed by His word, then we are no better off than the Pharisees of Jesus' day.

God's word is creative, so therefore it possesses power (Genesis 1;3). If the word is not transforming our lives, then we may be "mistaken" regarding how we have approached it. Are we looking for religion that fortifies self and makes us feel better about who we are? Or, are we looking for relationship that denies self and desires intimacy with God through His love letters called the Holy Scriptures? If it is the former, then we may clean up well on the outside, but our insides will still resemble hell itself. However, if our desire is the latter, then we will know the power of Christ's transformation as we are renewed daily into His image.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Prayer of Relationship

Mark 11:24 - "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you."

Prayer implies relationship. It is the ongoing conversation between God and man. How odd to believe that we will receive anything from the Lord if we only occasionally come to Him with our "wish list!" The reason why prayer either works or it doesn't is faith. And faith is the result of walking and talking with Jesus daily, much like the disciples experienced. The "chutzpah" of those who merely invoke their positional right as sons and daughters of God rather than their ongoing love relationship with the Father regarding praying and asking reveals their dire lack of relationship.

Our ongoing love affair with "Daddy God" will provoke two things: The first is praying only for the things we know He wants because we know Him. The second is asking with the faith of a small child that expects their daddy to give them what they ask. Beware of so-called children of God demanding from God on the basis of their "sonship." If there is not humility in faith in our asking, then it is questionable whether indeed the Holy Spirit is leading.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Justice for All

Nahum 1:3 - "The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet."

As the prophet spoke his oracle to the soon-to-be destroyed city of Nineveh, we can all learn a lesson on God's character and his promises. Many in this ancient kingdom had probably heard of Jonah's message and how God turned His wrath away from destroying Nineveh a hundred years earlier. Some may have thought after hearing Nahum, "God had mercy when Jonah prophesied our doom, so we shouldn't have to worry about judgment now!" However, Nahum's message is one of a very patient God who will ultimately display His great power against sin after much forbearance.

America has experienced several reprieves from God after various spiritual awakenings in the past. But like Nineveh, a day is soon coming when many will be surprised that God's patience is expended and there is no more mercy. The whirlwind and the storm will come against us for our "arrogance and careless ease" (Ezekiel 16:49). May the Lord, on that day, be justified regarding those of us who have disregarded the great gift of repentance He has offered through His Son's sacrifice. However, even in judgment, may He still have mercy on those who would cry out to Him.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Prosperity Through Adversity

Mark 10:29-30 - "Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life."

If we know Christ, we should desire to "receive a hundred times as much now in the present age." This is our material point of reference. While we hear about the wonderful "sweet by and by," none of us really know what heaven's reality will look like on this side of eternity. However, our prayer should be for a revelation of the eternal because that is what gives us resolve here in the temporal.

God's blessings are confirmed to His children often through fiery trials that test our resolve. We all want the Lord's prosperity, but this often goes hand in hand with adversity. If we seek only to hoard relationships and possessions for ourselves, then our increase will be negligible. However, when we give these back to the Lord for His kingdom, then we will see the hundred-fold increase. If we want the Lord's prosperity, then we must decrease in our pursuits and allow Him to multiply His will within us, even if this means through the veil of adversity and trial.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sea of Forgetfulness

Micah 7:19 - "He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."

God will always help us understand His great intent with symbolism we can understand. His metaphor is meant to give us hope and solace regarding His love for us. The prophet tells us through the Holy Spirit (and His analogy) that it is not enough to merely throw our sins into the lowest parts of the ocean. God demonstrates His great love toward us by first pulverizing our sin under His feet. The picture is one of complete dominion over sin and a thorough crushing until they are lifeless and impotent. Then, he takes this mangled mess of iniquity and buries it deep in the sea of forgetfulness.

It is quite tragic when we take our spiritual trawlers to the site of our submerged iniquities, seeking to salvage them from the depths of the sea. God has placed buoys about the place of our water burial with "No Trespassing" signs clearly marked. Just remember, God has buried our past and desires we leave it buried. We are free to sail through life without a care or bother regarding who we used to be. We are certainly new creatures in Him if we have accepted His great gift (II Corinthians 5:17).

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Expectancy With Love

Micah 7:7- "But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me."

There is no substitute for expectancy in regard to hope. Without expecting God to move on our behalf is like removing all power within faith. The essence of faith will always see those things that are unseen as yet-to-be revealed substance (Hebrews 11:1). Therefore, waiting in faith becomes a labor of love rather than an impatient exercise full of fear and anxiety.

Surety of God and His promises in our lives starts with understanding God's character. Scripture tells us God is love (I John 4:8). How much do we really believe this? I would venture to say to the degree we understand God's great love for us will be the degree we rest and wait expectantly for His promises to be fulfilled. Whether it be unsaved loved ones or finances or relationships, God's promise is never to leave us or forsake us in our need (Hebrews 13:5). We must continue to rest on the Everlasting Arms until He fulfills every promise He has spoken to our respective hearts.