If you ever want a powerful defense for the Christian Faith Jude is an excellent book to refer to. Defending the Faith is not something new. Jude teaches the importance of not compromising the Word of God! The Word of God is priceless! You cannot manipulate God nor His Word no matter who you are! There are a lot of worldly influences that from the very beginning have tried to twist the Bible and its teachings! Many have been deceived, this is still the case today! Many worldly ways, concepts and methods have been embraced and embedded into the organized church system that are not of God. This is why it is important to know God and know His Word; of Him you can be certain and sure!!!
Jude tells us to “Contend for the Faith!” What does this mean? Contend means to strive against difficulties, to be persistent and assert yourself. Faith means believe without seeing. “FAITH is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By Faith we understand that the universe was formed at GOD’S command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible…” Hebrews 11 The Bible gives us the real facts! It is was not comprised of misconstrued circumstantial evidence. Many today attempt to use the Word to control others, justify their behavior and lifestyles but are really only promoting sin!
God is powerful as a matter of fact He is OMNIPOTENT meaning He is ALL POWER! He is SUPERIOR and SUPREME! Think about it with all the millions of organized church assemblies opened in the name of God, what is going on in this world should not be! It certainly is not because of GOD! It is because there are so many wolves in sheep clothing. “They are godless men who change the grace of God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” Saints are supposed to be believers! Not followers of the world. But, followers of Jesus Christ! Too many want to be leaders that are served, rather than Servants of God! All too often you now find that many in the church instead follow the latest trends and adopt the ways of the world. No need to be jealous! Diswengage from the messiness and focus on GOD! ALL you will ever need you can discover in the LORD! “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it…” Psalm 24. Want what GOD wants for you! When you “STAND” on GOD’S WORD you never have to stand alone! “GOD WILL FIGHT YOUR BATTLES”Take some time and think about it? Who are you really following?
We must TRUST GOD! When you know that there is a lot of false teaching going on what do you do? When you know that you have helped those that no one else would help, and they turn on you, what do you do? When you know that you have been mistreated and maligned and falsely accused what do you do? PRAISE GOD!!! Know that you are in good company because this is what happened to Jesus! When you know that manipulation and deception is present you still must remain faithful to God and His Word! Don’t let anyone pull you so low that you hate them… Don’t settle or compromise your godly principles to get access or support by the majority… Christianity is really not a popularity contest or a social club. Everyone will have to answer to the Lord at some point! So get right with GOD! God knows what you have or have not done. Don’t become bitter! Become BETTER! Guard your heart! God is more powerful than what any man or woman can EVER do to you! You must draw closer to God and TRUST HIM! Seek Him above all else! God will give you a strong sound mind! He CAN KEEP you from falling! “Do not be conformed to this world. But TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind!” Your true security and significance can only be found in the LORD! “If GOD is for us who can be against us!” THANK YOU LORD! & PRAISE GOD!
The Word is often used to justify lifestyles and wrong behavior that are not sanctioned by God! Minimizing sin and embracing tolerance. Often justified under the guise of unconditional love! God never intended for Christianity to become a legalistic doctrinal concept of rules and regulations. The House of God is supposed to be the Pillar of TRUTH! It is written! Christ died so we could have an abundant spiritual life! As a matter of fact it was the religious leaders that conspired to discredit JESUS and secretly sought to destroy Him. How ironic they called Him evil. Does this sound familiar? The Bible is the inspired Word of God! “It is a lamp unto our feet and a Light unto our path…”
The gift of Eternal Life is one of the most precious gifts one can ever receive! Along with that gift comes the promise of His Holy Spirit. The Comforter and ultimate internal Teacher! Jude extends to us Mercy, Peace and Love in abundance! When Jesus ascended to heaven He promised that the Holy Spirit would come. Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure. He told them “Nevertheless I tell you the TRUTH. It is to your advantage that I go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart , I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; of sin, because they do not believe in Me, of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, BUT you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of TRUTH, has come, He will guide you into All truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come…” JOHN 16
Jude known as the brother of Jesus Christ tells us that we have a duty to fight for God’s TRUTH! Not in a physical carnal way! Our weapons are not carnal! We must stay adorned with the spiritual armor! “PRAY also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the GOSPEL, for which I am an ambassador in chains. PRAY that I may delcare it fearlessly, as I should” See Ephesians 6 Without doubt we are in the last days and the Word of God is being fulfilled! We need not be afraid but prayerful! It is important to persevere knowing that God is with you! Jude says:“But dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times, there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you. Who follow mere natural instincts and DO NOT have the SPIRIT. But you, dear friends build yourself up in your most HOLY FAITH and pray in the HOLY SPIRIT. Keep yourselves up in God’s LOVE as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh…
One only must watch the news, read the newspaper or search online to see that time is near! “Anything goes!” There is not only a Economic Recession but a “SPIRITUAL RECESSION” as well! Many of our churches are allowing carnal worldly teachings… Bible study on many occasions have turned to group think and mind conditioning! Respect for God and His Word all too often laid aside; carnality takes the forefront because somebody says; “I’m human” The time of increased Apostasy is definitely here! Meaning the abandoning of Faith! LORD HELP US! Anyone can be subject to error. This is why we all need His Holy Spirit to convict the heart of sin and point us to righteousness. What is righteousness? It is right living in the eyes of God! Sin is anything that separates us from God! Jude says: Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? This is why Jesus left us His Holy Spirit!
“To GOD be the GLORY!” Having an encounter with God regularly will bring you closer to Him! It will open your “spiritual eyes” This is also why we must contend for the Faith and stand firm! If you have grown slack in your commitment to God; He can speak renewal and strength to your heart! We must humbly and diligently pursue TRUTH! God can bring a plan and a purpose into your life like no other! “To HIM who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great JOY to the only GOD and SAVIOR be GLORY, MAJESTY, POWER and AUTHORITY, through JESUS CHRIST our LORD, before all ages, now and forevermore! AMEN!!!”
I must preface this by saying that the “Down-Low” is a rather controversial “taboo” subject! You may be offended by the contents before you; in general it is preferably for adults only? It may ruffle your feathers a bit? However, I do think that having an open conversation with your mature teens should be considered at your discretion… You might be quite surprised by their reactions? This helps to protect them from acquiring felonious information in regards to the “Down-Low” from an outside source as well as keeps the lines of communication open. They may know more than you think? If you are sensitive to the topic of sex; read no further!
What is the “Down-Low”? The “Down-Low” is a discreet sexual encounter between a straight married man as well as unmarried men who have sexual relationships with other men. They often have sex with their friends and other men without telling their spouse or partner! This happens within many races and cultures on every social economic level! Often random one night stands… Many who are professed Christians! The fact that it is kept secret should tell you something! It is actually another form of homosexuality.
In this 21st century it becomes increasingly clear to me why God designed marriage in the way in which He did. One Man and one Woman! He has not changed His design! His design for sex within marriage was to give us healthy sexual boundaries! This keeps us free from STD’s, Herpes, HIV and AIDS!
The “Down-Low” is a homosexual act… According to the Word of God homosexuality goes against nature. It is considered an indecent act! This is still in your Bible if you have not torn it out!
“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchange the TRUTH of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator- who is forever praised. AMEN! Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged the natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Romans 1.
I believe all of God’s Word! Do as you please but nowhere in the Word does God condone any form of homosexuality, adultery, fornication or any sex outside of marriage! Deliverance yes! God is able! He told the woman “To go and sin no more!” I realize that these may be chosen lifestyles for many? You can choose as you please… But it does not make it right in the eyes of God regardless of who says so! It does not have God’s blessing! We; meaning believers are supposed to be “in the world but not of the world.” John 17. World; meaning cosmos the devil is the ruler of the cosmos. We are physically present in this world, but we are children of the kingdom of God! We are sanctified by believing and implementing the Truth of God’s Word in our lives! “Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
The enemy seeks to have us step outside of the Word of God! The Word of God points us in God’s direction. It is a Light unto our path. It shines the Light on darkness and can point us back to the right path as well! This is why we need Jesus as Savior and Lord to save us from the power and clutches of sin!
I have counseled with some who have been ensnared into lifestyles of alternative sexual relationships. I have seen the aftermath of what it does to the soul, the person, spouse and family… In many cases it creates and ongoing cycle of distrust, rejection, selfishness and secretiveness that causes much ambivalence, despair, insecurity, resentment and anxiety for those involved.
When the man on the “Down-Low” is in ministry this can be devastating. This causes much conflict within the family as far as their belief system. For example; the woman may seek the comfort of another woman. This in turn leads to a confusing physical relationship that further complicates her life as well. This is the ultimate rejection so her self esteem is at stake. She begins to question her own sexuality? To assuage her guilt she now turns to drugs!
The various family members begin to act out rebelliously and justify turning to worldly living… In some cases becoming a lesbian… The children become confused as to what is right? They begin to experiment and then become promiscuous as they reach puberty… Which begins to perpetuate another vicious cycle of dysfunction? Now the world has entered their home and the enemy has covertly shifted the entire focus of the family from God’s principles…
It really boils down to spiritual warfare!!!
The Word of God is powerful and was given to help us navigate through this maze of life! We must proclaim the Truth of His Word and encourage others to draw closer to the Lord in these last days. I know what it is like to be censored and oppressed for believing the Truth of God’s Word. Yet, we must stand on the Word of God! “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These men will divide you who follow mere instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourself up in the most Holy Faith and PRAY in the Spirit.” Jude 1.
When you see someone drowning do you try to help them? The point is we are called believers for a reason. The world and its ways of manipulation have worked itself into God’s Church. I am not talking about the building! I mean the lives of many baptized believers! The world says “ do whatever you feel is right” The Word of God says “Repent!” Which means to turn to God; not to repeat? We are not to jump into the quicksand of life! “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch them out from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Jude 1.
It is important not to compromise the Word of God even if it means being misunderstood! It is much more important what God knows rather than what others think? Don’t give in to false doctrine that goes against what God says! We are supposed to influence the world not let it influence us! Spend time meditating on His Word; “Be still and know!”
It is so important that we personally know God’s Word! We must develop and ongoing, growing intimate relationship with the Lord! This is about learning how to honor God with your bodies. In the Old Testament sacrifices were offered to God for the sins of the people! Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. Now we are to offer our body as a sacrifice to the Lord! As we do this our lives are transformed and our minds can be renewed daily by the Word of God! Do you believe God knows what is best for us?
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God –this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer by the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12.
One must seek to rise above any behavior that is not pleasing to the Lord! This closeted homosexuality, adulterous, bisexuality is dangerous! The “Down-Low” is one of those patterns of the world, and it is inappropriate!
I realize that the Church is divided on the subject of sex. No one wants to talk about sex really, or address the growing issues? Do we continue to just bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich? Many go to worship, sing, pray, dance, shout, fellowship and then go back to in many instances a lifestyle that is contrary to what God says is acceptable! Worship really becomes a temporary distraction or just another social activity? Think for a moment; what if Jesus were to return tomorrow? God is aware of the Truth… True worshippers must “Worship HIM in Spirit and in TRUTH.”
The idea of worship is to honor the Lord is it not? Are we not to learn to worship Him with our lives daily?
Should we not be concerned? Concerned does not mean you make someone feel comfortable in sin! It means that you care enough that you want to do something about it to help them… Many do not realize that they are looking for love in all the wrong places. The enemy just uses sex to win a stronghold over your life! He always perverts what God made for Good!
If you know that your spouse is indulging in a sexual relationship outside of marriage! I suggest stepping back. If you suspect this is so, be careful how you confront your spouse! Set aside some time when you both can talk. It is important that you get yourself tested? Prepare yourself. Keep in mind he may not be ready to confront his behavior. He may be offended if he is a leader in the Church… This makes it just that much more important! Talk about your relationship and how you feel. Allow him to talk about how he is feeling. Ask him about his current sexual relationship with you before you approach his suspected infidelities if you are not sure?
When you find out this is so? Know you cannot change him; he has to want to change. Many women marry men thinking that they are going to change them? It won’t happen! Only God can do this! “HE IS ABLE!” You can and should model godly behavior. You can intercede and pray fervently! This is his problem and you are not the cause. It is important that he seeks help and you both get godly counsel as to how you go forward?
See PART II
GOD Dwells In The Hearts of HIS People!
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. We in America have a freedom that you just don’t find in the rest of the world. We have freedom of speech, freedom to vote, freedom to live and go where and when we please. But most importantly we have the freedom to worship. There are many types of worship services but there is only one true God. The only way to worship Him is in spirit and truth. On a recent trip to Athens Greece and Istanbul Turkey I was able to see some of the world’s most exquisite architecture. Turkey is a country that is 95% Moslem. In Turkey there is the renowned Hagia Sophia Cathedral. It was built for the Christian community to reflect the beauty that Solomon’s Temple once beheld. In spite of its elaborate intricate handiwork full of gold mosaic tiles, marble and brick walls, it is now a museum. It also contains various artifacts derived from Greek mythology and its continence is a shadow of it’s once intended purpose. Ironically across from it is the beautiful Sultanahmet mosque. Its known as the Blue mosque due to an extravagant array of blue mosaic tiles. Adorned with its intricate splendor and statueous marble columns and stained glass windows. It is scrupulously maintained and it is a place of worship for the Moslem community. Turkey is full of ornately designed mosques and Mohammed is whom they worship.
Words cannot express my gratitude to God for the things my eyes have beheld. The scriptures continuously came to my mind as I walked through the Hagia Sophia. “God does not dwell in a temple made by hands”. “That God is coming back for a churh without spot or wrinkle.” There is absolutely no doubt in my mind to the unmerited grace the Lord has bestowed upon us.
The one thing the tour guide who was of Moslem decent (in Turkey along with our guide we were required to have a Turkish guide as well) said that stuck with me was “why would a powerful God allow His Temple to turn into a museum?” My point is God is so gracious and kind that He allows us so much freedom. He even gives us the freedom to choose who or what we want to worship. When I lift up Holy Hands, to Him and Him only my heart is eternally grateful. It is by His grace and His grace alone are we saved. God is truly worthy of all the PRAISE!
In Turkey is the city of Ephesus. There are miles and miles of ruins. Original artifacts, columns etc. and remains to testify to the fact Ephesus existed. To this day approximately only 10% of it has been uncovered. It is still currently under excavation. Primitive hand tools are used in order to preserve whatever archeological finds are uncovered. Paul wrote the book of Ephesians to the church at Ephesus. Just look at God! Despite the fact Turkey is a Moslem country Ephesus remains a monument to Christians of God’s eternal presence, grace and mercy. My most invigorating moments were spent in Athens Greece. We walked up the steep incline to the Acropolis saturated with aged columns made of marble. The Parthenon and majestic ruins were filled with slippery marble laden paths. The highlight was when I observed my husband humbly climb “Mars Hill!” The infamous hill that the Apostle Paul speaks about in the book of Acts. When we approached Mars Hill there was a woman preaching! Acts tells us “And it will come to pass in the last days saith God I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Paul spoke concerning an altar with an inscription representing the unknown god on Mars Hill. That unknown God is the God I love, worship and adore. The only true and living God. Mars hill today is in a magnificent open place. High above Athens for all to see. (I will forever cherish what it felt like sitting there and praising God for all He has done!!!) I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL! It’s walls and canopy are the blue firmament that God Himself spoke into existence through the Word. That Word is Jesus Christ wrapped in flesh. Who sacrificed His life for the sins of the entire world!!!
The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of God. Glory! Glory! His TRUTH is marching on!!!
“The earth truly is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof the world and them that dwell therein.” There is not a place that can be built that can contain the fullness of His majestic awesomeness. The early church had no building they met in homes. We have dedicated our home to be a place where God’s way prevails. The heart of each of His Children is where His true Church abides. There is nothing wrong with a church made by hands. But the focal point should not be a hierarchy laden with cliques, clichés, how do we pay our bills programs and solemn auxiliaries; a mere shadow of what God originally intended.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” We should praise Him in song, WORD and deeds. We are not saved by works. But our works display our faith. Our main focus should be to cultivate and environment where God receives the preeminence. It is God’s Word and His power that will draw men, women, boys and girls and change their lives when we spread His Gospel. Whether it be via T.V., radio, internet, song or the spoken word. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!
Anorexia and Bulimia are very serious eating disorders that occur when one does not properly relate to food. Eating disorders are serious. They can and do result in physical and emotional turmoil. There are a lot of control issues related to eating disorders. An unbalanced spiritual diet will result in a spiritual eating disorder. If you go without spiritual food; you will lack the proper skills to navigate through the spiritual maze of life. Jesus came to this world to redeem us from the penalty of sin. He overcame sin in the flesh for us. He came so that the world would not be condemned but saved. It is through His love we have obtained grace. To find out more about your purpose and the plan God has for your life it is important that you explore God’s Word. The Word of God is food for the soul. Have you ever thought about the side effects of a Spiritual eating disorder? When you do not have a consistent healthy spiritual diet it is difficult to comprehend spiritual things. Did you know that you can actually forever be in a learning mode and still not comprehend the spiritual things of God? In fact you will have a tendency to be misled. It is vitally important that you regularly read, study, digest and apply God’s Word in your daily life. You do not want to develop a spiritual eating disorder. It will result in serious spiritual consequences.
In order to grow properly one must consume a nutritious balanced daily diet. It is often said “we are what we eat.” Eating is a natural normal everyday occurrence. Without a proper daily diet one can become malnourished. It is a well known fact that in many third world countries thousands literally starve to death daily due to a lack of a proper balanced diet. It is difficult to reach your full potential when your body does not have its proper nutrients. Food for your body is what gas is to a car. Think about it? How far will your car go without gas? How can you make the journey? Food is fuel for the body. God created a marvelous thing when He created man. We are created in His image. We are body, mind and soul. God has also provided the necessary resources for us to live healthy lives. In order to grow physically we need food. In order to grow intellectually we need to study and stimulate our brain cells. When we study we assist the building of dendrites. Okay what are dendrites? They are nerve cells that send impulses to the body. Intellectual growth without spiritual development is futile. You will never fully understand life and its true meaning without knowing God. Remember He created us with a soul. Our soul also has needs. We need to spiritually feed our mind and soul with the Word of God. The Word of God is spiritual “bread from heaven”. It is essential to our spiritual growth and development.
Did you know that the Scriptures are considered “The bread of life?” They are essential for the proper growth and spiritual development for the believer. Just as food is necessary for the body; so is God’s Word for our soul. A proper spiritual diet is required if you truly desire to grow spiritually. A constant diet of religious junk food is unhealthy. Yes, it is possible to grow without God’s Word. But, you will not grow spiritually. You will grow carnally. It is even possible to grow religiously. This will cause you to be misled as well. You will be tossed to and fro by the various doctrines of man. Please know growing religiously is not the same thing as growing spiritually. Many people talk right and walk left. Remember Jim Jones and his followers? If one does not regularly participate in studying and applying the principles of God’s Word to life’s circumstances it is also possible to become stagnated. The Bible clearly tells us that God is a Spirit of Truth. When you know the Truth the Truth will set you free. This type of freedom leads you to be free to become who God wants you to be. It will give you a new lease on life.
Tasting the indescribable fruits of God’s Word is like putting on 3 D glasses. Meaning you will see things on a deeper level. God really is awesome! Spiritual warfare is at hand. Despite everything that goes on there is nothing that happens He is not aware of. Just think about that for a moment. That is really deep. Look around you and see all the things that are going on. The further we move away from God’s principles the worst things get. Many choose to live a life of misery and despair. Life presents many challenges. God intended for His Church to carry on His Son’s mission. He Loved, trained, developed, nurtured and became a living example to His disciples. He even died and rose from the grave so they would see the scriptures being fulfilled. This was the ultimate demonstration of love. Did you know that He and His disciples were persecuted, misunderstood, lied on and mistreated by those He came to help? They even plotted secretly to discredit Jesus in spite of all the good He had done. The Bible tells us there were places He went that due to unbelief His power was not manifested. These are a few of the important facts you will discover when you study the scriptures.
Today we have the Word of God in Book form. His Word is our source of spiritual food. Did you know that there is nothing written in the Bible that is less than 1800 years old? That fact is awesome in itself. The Bible’s Truth will forever be alive. It will and has stood the test of time. In Jesus’ time they did not have the Bible like we do. It had not been compiled into the Biblia 66 books as we have today. God really does supply all our needs. He did not leave us Comfortless. He left us His precious Holy Spirit as our internal Guide that we receive on the profession of our faith. We must daily ask for His infilling presence. We need His Holy Spirit to help us understand His Word. God does not want us to be spiritual anorexics. He wants you to know Him through His Word. How is your spiritual diet? How much time do you spend acknowledging God in your daily life? Do you ask Him to give you your daily bread?
This column is for you if you are reading this. Just take a personal inventory and see if you are really ingesting a balanced spiritual diet. You know and God knows. You should feed yourself spiritually in addition to being fed physically. When you attend a worship service it is the time for you to become spiritually nourished and energized as well. To praise God from whom all blessing flow. God has given many gifts to the Church. The gifts were given to spiritually mature the body of Christ. (See Ephesians.) When junk food is served in lieu of the Word of God; many become spiritually codependent. This often makes it difficult for them to deal with life’s everyday challenges. When you attend service the pastor, preacher, evangelist, teacher, minister or appointee, are all charged to deliver a message from the Word of God. When one truly lays aside their own agenda this is possible. It is also very good when the messenger let’s the listeners know when they are using illustrations to make a point. This is helpful for those who are not as familiar with scriptures. This time should be consecrated; instead of used to personally say something to someone you do not have enough courage to confront. Only after praying and sincerely meditating on God’s Word this is possible. Some even see this as an opportunity to get someone else to say, what they can not say themselves to someone. What happens when you eat junk food? The proper delivery of a spiritual message will feed your soul. It will enlighten, convict as well as encourage you to grow spiritually. The Word is like a two edged sword it cuts both ways. There is something for the messenger or deliverer as well as the recipient. God has left no stone unturned to see that His children receive proper spiritual nourishment.
It is an arduous task to deliver God’s Word. But how will you know if something is from God? Good question. This is why you need to study. You need to be like the Bereans in the book of Acts, they knew the Word of God for themselves. This is why it is important that we too develop our personal relationship with Him. A healthy Spiritual diet is one of the most important assets you can acquire. As a Christian it should be a necessary priority. How important did I say spiritual food was? Life can be difficult. A proper balanced spiritual diet will help you weather the tempestuous storms of life. It will give you keen insight. When everyone is saying it’s alright when you know its all wrong, let His Word guide you. God never tells us to support something that is not right. A proper spiritual diet will help you to stand for what’s right when the majority falls for what’s wrong. A proper spiritual diet will allow the Fruit of God’s Spirit to flourish in your life when spiritual warfare is about you. God keeps His promises. He said He will never leave you nor forsake you. I can bear witness to this He won’t! He said He will supply all of our needs? He will! (This does not mean just getting or having what you want) He said He will be peace in the midst of a storm. He will! His Word tells us that “God is Love” He truly is! Love is a wonderful thing. Having someone to love and knowing others truly love you is a wonderful thing. Many really do not know what Love really is. Love really is a beautiful ever unfolding gift from God. In the midst of trials, tests and wickedness God’s love will be an anchor. But you must always remember that spiritual nourishment is essential. His Word tells us that, “God is Love.”
When you read, study, deliver or share God’s Word please be prayerful. There are so many that have gone shipwrecked. So many casualties due to an unbalanced spiritual diet. Much too much junk food and not enough substance. If I tell you to come to my house for dinner you are expecting a balanced nutritious meal, right? What if I give you a plate of raw carrots? That’s okay if you are a rabbit. You might even think its funny, but, when you get home how do you think you would feel? My point is. As human beings we need more that just carrots. Some foods are a little hard to digest. We need both balanced spiritual and rich nutritious diets for our spiritual and physical growth. God wants us to continuously grow spiritually. “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” What does that mean? We must learn to embrace the Truth of God’s Word. God wants to be in every area of our everyday lives. He wants us to have a rich full spiritual diet, healthy marriages and sincere loving families.
I want to encourage you to make it a priority to spend some time with God. Really digest His Word. I assure you whatever is going on in your life He already knows. God wants you to live out the promises of His Word. God can and will make a way out of no way. He heals and He delivers according to His Will. Did you know Jesus also used very unconventional methods? The religious establishment was quite often opposed to His methods. What are you saying? God will supply the road, direction, vehicle, people and resources when and if necessary for you to accomplish whatever He wants you to do. All you must do is step out on faith! Do not be surprised when someone does not understand you. Always keep in mind that what matters is that God knows and sees everything. Nothing can come our way unless He allows it. This is why He tells us to do whatever we do as you do it for Him. Remember His Church is supposed to be the pillar of Truth. The enemy is the father of lies. God is awesome. God is a “rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” He is truly worthy of our praise. Remember it is more important what God knows rather than what others think. Why do you think Jesus spent so much time getting away and spending time with His Father? Jesus remained constantly spiritual nourished. Did you ever think about the fact Jesus could have just said everyone be healed. He could have completely done away with poverty and famines. He had the power to do so. But that was not the plan. He was faithfully obedient. It is important to know that Jesus was terribly misunderstood, called evil and blacklisted too. God also has a remedy in any case. God tells us to be happy when persecuted for righteousness. God really does have everything under His control. Knowing His Word is vitally important for your well being. Jesus really is coming back for His true Church. Some things will just not be understood on this side of Heaven. God will never lead you to do anything that goes against His principles. Really get to know God for yourself. You do intend to spend eternity with Him? This will prevent you from developing a spiritual eating disorder. Allow His Word to be “bread from heaven.” Let Him truly be your Shepherd. His Word has a bountiful table of blessings prepared for our spiritual nourishment. God will move or take you over any mountains or through the rough terrains of life when and if necessary. Begin to feast on the delicacies of His Blessed Word. This will result in you experiencing the fruit of His Spirit. Just remember you need a balanced spiritual diet to make the journey.
Just say you are saved. You don’t really have to mean it. If you just say it, this will be sufficient. We just say things all of the time. We go through the formality. “Good morning!” “Good evening!” “How are you?” Is it really a good morning or evening? Do you really want to know how the person is doing? We often adopt behaviors that appear to be socially accepted. But they are often quite superficial. No, I’m not saying that every time you see someone just give them an in-depth historical oration of your current list of woes. The point I’m trying to make is that just saying something doesn’t mean it’s so! When we accept Christ as our personal Savior it means we invite Him into our lives. His presence of light shines on the darkness in our life and allows us the opportunity to draw close to Him or to choose to stay in darkness. Often we establish unhealthy patterns in our lives. We don’t really want to change we just want someone or something to make us feel good. “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither His ear heavy, it cannot hear; But your iniquities (sins) have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.” (Isaiah 59:1-3) Breaking patterns can be painful.
Why do we need a Savior? The world is full of evilness. It wants to pull you in anyway it can. We are in the world but we are not supposed to be of the world. When Jesus Christ is Lord of your life you can access His power. He has the power to save us from the unhealthy patterns and pitfalls of sin that besets us. Let’s get it straight! The Comforter is not to keep us comfortable in sin. It is not a blanket (excuse my pun) to cover any abject behavior. So help me understand why it is socially acceptable within the Christian lifestyle to say anything, do anything and live any kind of way and still say “I’M SAVED”. Well I am sorry, but the scripture says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10). Webster says to believe means to have a firm conviction as to the goodness of something. Romans says with the heart man believeth unto righteousness. I guess doing what I think is right is righteousness? WRONG!
We sing that we are soldiers. But what kind of armor does the Lord tell us to wear that you may be able to withstand in the evil day? Your loins are to be girded with truth. No it’s okay to believe anything anybody says especially those who say and do anything anywhere! You are to wear the breastplate of righteousness. But you hold it up with adultery and fornication. Your feet shod with peace. But I will cut you up or punch you out anywhere anytime. But above all that I will take the shield of faith and hide, alcoholism, drug addiction, covetousness……and trust I can quench the fiery darts of the wicked. Then to top it off I’ll put on the helmet of salvation. When I say I have salvation I’m safe. I don’t think so! This may seem a bit sarcastic but it’s frightening to think one supposes he can prepare for spiritual warfare and not adorn the true spiritual armor. After all just say you are saved. The word of the SPIRIT which is the WORD will clean you up and prepare you for spiritual battle. It is only through a personal relationship with JESUS and He is the WORD wrapped in flesh; that you can overcome sin, anything or anybody that comes against you in the world. Don’t think for a minute you are not vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. The enemy in this battle is so clever that he will try to make you comfortable in your sins. He will try to tell you loving you is giving you what you want and making excuses for your shortcomings. This kind of love (which really isn’t love) will kill you. By the way he never takes responsibility for his actions. He always tries to distract you by saying, if you just give me this or if you would just do that I wouldn’t be in this mess. Spiritual warfare is about taking a stand. But for assured success it must be on the WORD of GOD!
Jeremiah was a prophet who stood amidst some dark days. The Lord told him; “Be not afraid of their faces; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold I have put my words in thy mouth. See I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:8-10) Did you know Jesus was mistaken for the gardener upon His resurrection? (John 20:15) We must address the garden of sin in our lives. We must root up the things that GOD does not consider righteous. Our belief in Him (according to Romans) should result in righteousness. Jesus is coming back! But we won’t be able to mistake Him for the gardener. He has provided us HIS WORD to clean us up. Don’t be safe, be SAVED. He is coming back for HIS church without SPOT OR WRINKLE.
What do you do when you know that you have earnestly and sincerely tried to help someone? When they have come to you to help them when nobody else would? When you have gone out on faith and taken a risk to support them. In turn you have been slandered, lied on, cheated, talked about and mistreated. It has been very disheartening to know what great lengths that others will go to and band together, just in order to discredit you. What do you do? You go to “Higher Ground,” and take it to the Lord. They will sink even lower to convince others of something that is simply not true. They will even dredge up false witnesses, really, all because you would not continue to succumb to their desires. Your good intentions have now been undermined and misconstrued. What do you do? You plant your feet on “Higher Ground” and again, you simply take it to the Lord! Jesus knows just how you feel. Despite everything they have done, did you know that you have really gained a lot? You know that the Lord knows better. Your faith and trust in Him has deepened and you are steadily moving towards “Higher Ground.”
To some degree you must just grin and bear it. You must hold on to the fact that if the truth would really be told you know that they would not know how to tell it. There is a saying that “The truth can go all around the world. But a lie just has to walk across the street.” There is something so seductive about lies that some people will believe anything but the truth. But really they have been deceived. I am sure you have heard the old adage, “give them and inch and they will take a mile.” There is so much spiritual warfare on the horizon. You must learn to guard your heart. Know the Lord’s Word for yourself so you will not be so easily swayed just by how things appear. There is much contentment knowing God knows the Truth! God’s Word is so exhilarating! Remember what it also says about itching ears? It says; “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry…….” Timothy 4:3-5. That time is now! Sometimes standing up for what is right means to simply sit down.
When I read the writings of Paul I can identify with many of the things that he encountered. Paul was even bitten by a snake. Yet, Paul managed to remain faithful despite the things that were going on about Him. He knew that they distorted his every move. Yet he continued to live for the Lord. He was not looking for them to support Him he knew that the Lord did. Paul was persecuted for preaching the Gospel. Paul’s methods were unorthodox yet he was quite creative, steadfast and unmovable abounding in his work for the Lord. He is an excellent example of what to do when there is much chaos about you. One must learn to keep your focus on the Lord. Learn to bridle your tongue in the process. James tells us that this will also bring about much discipline. Commence to steadily move towards”Higher Ground.”
We live in the 21st century where some of everything is going on. Yet, there is nothing new under the sun. Rest assured that the scriptures are being fulfilled. In this technological age you can literally go all over the world today without even leaving your seat. You can virtually communicate with both Christians and non Christians, from a multiplicity of colors, within the various denominations, all over the world. God is so awesome! He truly is Omnipresent! He has given us so many examples of who He is and what He is all about. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it……..” God does not change! His principles remain the same. You can invite Jesus into your heart wherever you are! Do you know that you can only come to the Lord unless He draws you anyway? “Jesus is the way the Truth and the life.” He really does set you free! Free to live for Him! Just know that there will always be those who will throw rocks and hide their hands. But don’t worry you know who made the hands. Nothing gets by God.
As each day passes I realize that I have somewhat become disenchanted with a lot of the “stuff on the church scene.” I have also come across many who share my sentiments. There is no question whether they love the Lord! But simply have opted out, not to get involved in the man induced messiness. Although, I have submitted somewhat to its timely ordinances, traditional rudimentary disciplines and doctrines, I have gradually weaned away from its constraints that quench my spirit. I openly admit that I have over the years gradually learned to comfortably take somewhat of a back seat position within the arena. I can thankfully and vividly recall what it felt like actually standing with my husband and our group in the Coliseum in Rome Italy where they physically killed the Christians for sport. That memory is forever etched in my soul. (Here they simply try and murder you with their tongue.) Hallelujah anyhow! I have literally become some what of a contented bench warmer when it comes to the expected systematic functions from a birds eye view. But from a shore line perspective I have launched into deep waters, knowing that my deeply planted roots in His Word will sustain me. I know that I can praise Him anywhere at any time. I know that “the earth is His and the fullness thereof…..” It is so important to know the Word of God for yourself. On a personal level, I find my love for the Lord’s abiding presence in my life is ever increasing.
I have seen an innumerable amount of leadership styles change and fluctuate outrageously within the church. Robert Rules of Order often suspended right alongside with broken commitments and biblical principles. Discipline and morality are all too often tossed aside like a garden variety salad. Then dressed up with a salad dressing of pickled “unconditional love” garnished with hot sassy tempers. What do you do when you know that something has gone awry? Should you just go along with the majority to be accepted within the group? No, you seek the Lord’s direction. You know that His Church is not made by hands. We the people are His true Church! He will make a way. God’s Word really does have cleansing power. “All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so the man of God can be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” When applied it really works! To be accepted you must often do anything but stand up for what’s right. If you don’t conform, you risk being accused of being unfriendly and considered unloving. To put it simply you are downright labeled evil, and oh by the way, you just don’t like people. The Lord says that we should “not conform but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” I love the Lord and all that His Church really stands for! I cannot count the times that I have been told by so many that I now just go and do my duty and leave……… I can literally stay in a good Spirit filled worship service all day and night. I am really thankful that I know a few places of worship where I can retreat to that God truly is worshipped “in Spirit and in Truth.” I Thank God for His bishops, ministers, minstrels, elders, teachers and pastors who really realize that He is worthy of the honor and preeminence.
I stay in the loop just enough to stay abreast of how things are progressing. I applaud those who continue to jockey for the inside positions. But with those who say they are my brothers and sisters I simply refuse to continue to fight. It never ceases to amaze me what they will fight over. Things such as what to wear and when. Should we dress formally or informally, depending on who or what we are celebrating? I thought it was all about who? Jesus of course! Well, John’s attire was made from camel’s hair. Do you know what a camel’s hair coat cost? How much does some of the designer jeans cost? Who gets to stand out front and lead sing? Who gets to preach and sit in the “high chairs” or sit on the front row? How much money does such and such a person have or give or don’t give? Whose uncle or father is in charge or whose mother teaches Sunday school? Where does the piano go? Whose family is in charge and on and on………………..What does it matter? If it matters so much that we look alike as far as our facial colors, and that we are from the same denomination? How does that all fit into God’s plan? The great commission includes everyone. Lord help us! The point I am trying to make is; I’m out of the ring but not out of His presence. Back sliding is not even an option! I have spent too much time within the walls. Let me out! You see it does not matter what you say; I know who I belong to! I encourage you to really get to know the Lord for yourself! This way you will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. I am moving towards “Higher Ground”
Jesus lived, died and arose so we could live differently. He freely gave us the precious eternal gift of salvation! We have been given the gift of having His Holy Spirit residing within us! It has been sealed with a promise! He has also promised to supply “all of our needs.” That means the needs of His Church as well. He will and can make a way out of no way. He is the ultimate Way Maker! The great commission described in Matthew simply says; “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. I thank God for freeing us to go beyond the walls. It has allowed us to really step out on FAITH and launch out in the deep and cast my line beyond the shallow shore. God is so deep! I am thankful of my position in Christ as His child! Although it is quite liberating, to the unknowing surface onlookers it appears as though I have become aloof. “Man looks on the outside, God looks at the heart.” He not only looks but knows what is in your heart. It really does go beyond the walls. Jesus really is coming back for a Church not made by hands. The victory is in the praise! As a matter of fact; new heights I am gaining every day. I have found a higher place. My aim and my goal is; I am reaching towards “Higher Ground.”
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. When God created mankind He intended that our lives were to center around Him. Let’s take a look at a few of the many examples. Before Adam and Eve sinned they lived in God’s welcomed presence. God provided them with everything they needed. Because of their disobedience they had to leave the garden, this was a consequence for their disobedience. They eventually had two sons Cain and Abel. Cain killed his brother Abel because he was jealous that God was pleased with his offering.
Joseph is another example. Joseph had the favor of God despite the ill will his brothers had toward him. They put him in a pit and later sold him as a slave. Joseph was favored again by Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife proceeded to seduce Joseph. Joseph refused yet this incident resulted in him being incarcerated. Joseph again found favor from the head jailer. He was eventually freed and became second in command in the land. Joseph was obedient to God. God provided for Joseph.
Moses another example. God spared Moses as a child through Miriam his sister and the pharaoh’s daughter. She raised Moses in the palace as her own son. But later he had to flee after he murdered an Egyptian. He lived with the Midianites for forty years and found favor and a wife named Zipporah. God later called Moses at the age of eighty to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses took His instructions directly from God.
Deborah another example was the only female judge out of twelve. Barak was reluctant to go up against Sisera who had 900 iron chariots. Deborah had the favor of God. Together she and Barak successfully conquered. Deborah trusted and obeyed the Lord. Jael, a woman, actually defeated Sisera by nailing a tent peg through His temple.
The Book of Esther presents another example. Haman prepared gallows for Mordecai because he would not bow down to him. Esther and her people were to be murdered as well. The Lord would not allow the king to sleep one night. Instead he read the Chronicles and discovered that Mordecai had been responsible for saving his life. Esther risked her life to inform the king of Haman’s plot against her people. Haman’s plan backfired. He eventually swung in his own gallows. Esther was faithful and obedient, she stood for what was right. Esther lived in the presence of God. God has given us a wealth of examples to encourage us in His Word. He has provided us with story after story of the importance of obedience.
The Bible illustrates the benefits of worship and the importance of living a life daily in His presence. Living in His presence does not mean that life will always go smoothly. You must daily prepare for “spiritual warfare”. Make sure you have personal devotional time each day, and then you will be able to praise Him even in the midst of a storm!
Moses lived in the presence of the Lord. The Lord allowed Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. He provided for them during their wilderness experience. In the Book of Numbers when the men of Israel slept with the Midianite women, a plague was brought upon them. God expressly told them not to follow man! God told them there would be a consequence if they obeyed man rather than follow His instructions. It was God who provided for them. He told them “BUT REMEMBER the LORD your GOD, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His COVENANT, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today!” Praise God!
When Zimri and Cozbi slept together out of wedlock a spear was driven through both of them and they together died. Joshua and Caleb were two of the twelve spies that were sent out to survey the “Promised Land.” Joshua and Caleb trusted God they obeyed God. They were not threatened by what they discovered. The other tens spies all died because of their unbelief. Because of their doubt and unbelief the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years. One year for each of the forty days the spies spied out the land. God’s presence was with them on a daily basis. Yet they chose to disobey and “do their own thing”. The book of Exodus exemplarily depicts and recalls the construction of the Tabernacle. In great detail it presents the multiplicity of tasks, discipline and consecration that went into the planning and actual execution of the Tabernacle. Moses and Aaron and their sons together led the people in consecrated worship. Each was given specific tasks. They were plentifully adorned with elaborate wardrobes and fine linen decorated with gemstones. The Tabernacle was arrayed in the finest of materials and table wares.
They went to a great extent to consecrate the Tabernacle and themselves for worship. Two of Aaron’s disobedient sons were killed because they improperly lit the incense. Eli the priest raised Samuel the prophet. Yet his sons died because of their disobedience. You will never find an example where God encourages or supports wrong! God is aware of our motives. He knows what is in hearts. He even tells us “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” God’s peace surpasses the understanding of man. Peace is a by product of living in the presence of the Lord. Make it a priority to worship and praise the Lord daily. “God inhabits the praises of His people.”
Why all the biblical stuff? Today God still wants us to worship Him. Today He still wants us to live in His presence. He wants us to be obedient! His covenant is forever! He sent His only begotten Son to live as our example and conquer sin in the flesh for us! He died that sin would no longer reign in the lives, hearts and homes of His children. Yes in today’s present time God still wants us to live in His presence. He does not want us to live controlled by sin. Nor must one faulter when being seduced by addiction and immorality. We have a Savior to save us from the shackles of sin. When we are tempted; He has provided a way for escape. We do not have to yield to temptation. The Bible clearly tells us that whenever we are tempted “IT IS NOT OF GOD!” Jesus died that we might have a right to the tree of life. Jesus died on the cross and arose with all power. He died that we might overcome the power of sin to reign in our lives. He has graciously provided us with the freedom to choose right or wrong. He has given us His Holy Spirit the Comforter to lead and guide us! He has provided a way back to Him! The Bible is His WORD. Jesus is the WORD made flesh. Jesus is “The Way the Truth and The Life” back to the Father!
There are absolutely no spiritual benefits when one attempts to justify wrong behavior. The Bible tells us that when you hold a lie as truth you are deceived! The carnal mind cannot accept the things of God. It is very important that each one us develop a personal intimate relationship with God. This is crucial because there is much deception and error about us! We must faithfully study, meditate and pray each day. Not certain how to pray? Jesus has provided us with a sample prayer “Give us this day our daily bread….” Prayer is simply honestly communicating with God. Thessalonians tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” Now remember when you pray you must obey!
When I read Exodus I think of the obedience, time and expense that went into building the tabernacle. It also lets me know that when you are obedient there is absolutely no need to worry. God is not a man. God does not lie! He has shown us time and time again that He will provide above and beyond whatever it is that we need. If necessary He can even drop food from the sky, water from a rock, provide us a way to escape, dry up a sea, or provide money from the mouth of a fish. You see the Bible is not a book of elaborate fairytales. It is Truth’s History! In the beginning; God created the heavens and the earth. God is sovereign! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that God will definitely take care of His children in any and all situations. But He expects us to be obedient to His will and His Way! Guess what? You will not even have to manipulate anyone or anything! Just remember Haman’s gallows. He will give you the desires of your heart if what you want is in His WILL for you! But know there are still brothers like Joseph’s and Abel’s, women like Potiphar’s wife. couples like Zimri and Cozbi, and of course those who plot to derail you like Haman! But Hallelujah anyhow! Keep your focus on God! God has said in His Word, “Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” Oh by the way do not be deceived “if you sow to the flesh you will reap to the flesh.” There are consequences for sin. If you sow to the Spirit you will reap of the Spirit” There are spiritual dividends for obedience! Then you can rest assured that, “HE CAN OPEN DOORS NO MAN CAN CLOSE!” Start living in His presence. Pray today asking Him “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done….…” Commence to obey and follow Him and you will have peace living in His presence even in the midst of this sinful world! “On earth as it is in heaven..…..” He has shown us and promised He will, definitively “supply ALL of your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus!” “I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed begging bread!” Blessed Assurance Jesus is mine! Oh! What a fountain of Glory Divine!
It is very important to have a personal intimate relationship with the Lord. It is also very important to know His Word. It is through His Word that you are able to understand the freedom you have in Christ. To know what your position is in Christ is very important as well. This way you will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Having faith in Jesus Christ is crucial. Hebrews tells that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen” KJV. The NIV says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith means that you trust in God who you cannot see. Yet, you can rest assured that there is absolutely nothing He is not aware of. It is in Him we “move and live and have our being.” Absolutely nothing takes place in heaven, or neither on earth, nor any where else for that matter that He is not aware of. Knowing that everything was spoken into existence through His Son brings great contentment. Having faith and trust in God makes all the difference in the world. It is important to know Him for yourself. To know what it is to be loved by God and to love God. When your faith and trust are in God you also know without a doubt that He keeps His promises.
Knowing of God and knowing who He is not the same thing. When you really know someone you are not moved by how things appear to be. Your relationship is not a surface relationship it goes much deeper. It is not built on what some one has told you. It is built on what you personally know to be true. You spend time walking with Him daily. Many people often subscribe to what someone else says without really getting to know a person for who they are. They make erroneous assumptions often received from biased information. You must know God for yourself! You must study His Word to know Him for yourself and not through the eyes of someone else. If you just listened to what the Pharisees had to say about Jesus you would get a totally different perspective. This is still quite true today. Many subscribe to idle chatter rather than to the Gospel or what is really true. In order to get a true perspective you must study His Word. In order to know someone you have to really listen and hear what they say. You have to have some idea of their point of reference in order to understand where they are coming from. For instance there were times that Jesus had absolutely nothing to say. It was not at all that He was guilty. He just did not respond to their accusations. He knew that they were simply trying to prove felonious accusations. They were not interested in really knowing what Jesus was all about. They just wanted Him to confirm their own distorted beliefs. They were insulted by the fact that He did not seek out their approval nor desire to be a part of their established traditions. They merely sought to disprove anything He did to undermine His integrity. Just think, Jesus never ever did anything that was wrong. Yet they totally misunderstood Him and treated Him very badly as well. So of course we too can expect to be misunderstood and mistreated at times. Since we know according to His Word “All have sinned and fallen short of His glory.” But Hallelujah anyhow! You can rest assured and have peace knowing that God already knows the Truth.
When you really know the Lord it is your desire to please Him. You realize that He is the reason for life and living. It is your desire to daily walk in the Light of His Word. Any weights that slow you down and impede your focus must be laid aside. Innuendos and accusations are also readily dismissed in the Light of Truth. You realize that they are merely side bar distractions. you simply do not even have to respond to. After all you know that God is a Spirit of Truth. You realize that anytime you accept a lie as Truth you have been deceived. God does not want you to be carried away with strange teachings. Such as, the traditions of men, legalistic rules and guilt induced tactics for giving. You realize through faith that God can and will provide everything you need at His appointed time. You know that God has promised to write His laws in your heart. You know that you are not saved by works or anything you do. You are internally guided by His precious Holy Spirit. “Man looks on the outside appearance. God looks at the heart!” This is the freedom you have in Christ. “It is by grace we are saved not of works, lest any man should boast!” Salvation is a gift from God that Jesus Christ purchased with His life! You also know that salvation is not paid for through monetary giving. God will provide whatever is necessary without manipulation for His will to be done. This is why faith is so very important! Your first priority is that His will is done in your life. This is why we pray give us today our daily bread. God can and will give you His peace that surpasses the understanding of man.
Abraham’s faith and trust was so great in the Lord that he offered up His 40 year old son Isaac. He knew that He had received the promise. He knew that His seed would be blessed. He knew that God Himself would raise Isaac up if necessary. Moses’ Mother hid him for three months then later put him in a basket to protect him. He actually found sanctuary in the temple of the very King who was trying to slaughter him. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after Joshua obeyed the Lord. and marched around the walls seven days. Hebrews tells us that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. Enoch walked with God and pleased God. He did not see death because God was so pleased with him. The Word of God tells us that God took him. This is just a few of the many examples that God has given us. He tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Is He the author of your faith?
Through Jesus Christ; the Lord will equip you with every good thing to do His will. When your relationship is based on faith and trust it is a real blessing. God will impart to you the fruit of His Spirit! You readily share just how wonderful God is without reluctance. Those who really know you will know this to be true. They know that you believe and are faithful to your commitments. The Book of James tells us,” My dear brothers, take note of this; Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you.” In order for this to happen the Word must be in you first! “Man looks at the outside. God looks at the heart!” God is not only welcome in your heart He is welcomed in your home! God has a better way. The wrath of man does not bring about the righteousness of God. This is why He calls us to be His disciples. This means to be a learner of His way and His Word! Merely listening to the Word can cause you to be deceived. YOU MUST HEAR HIS WORD! “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.” You must embrace and digest the truth of His Word wholeheartedly. Abraham’s faith was made complete by what he did. His faith and actions worked together. The Word says that righteousness was accredited to Abraham because he believed God. Do you really believe God’s Word?
Do you really believe God? If you do you know that God is aware of why you do or do not do some things. A personal relationship with the Lord is so very important. When you submit yourself to God and resist the devil he will flee. The Word of God has power. It washes you from all unrighteousness. God is so good! He has given us an inheritance that can never perish or fade. It can not perish no matter what someone else says, does or thinks. It is laid up in heaven beyond their reach. Neither can you purchase it with anything. It is a precious eternal gift that lasts through everlasting. A gift that Jesus gave His life for to all that truly believes and accepts Him as Lord of their life. Do you know of God or do you really know Him? This is why it is so important to know God and His Word for yourself?
There are many beliefs, religions and denominations but the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. There is a lot of conflict in regards to who is saved and who is not saved. Many subscribe to human unconditional love. That merely excuses those who they care for to remain shackled to sin. This type of love is what I call “Intoxicating Affections.” It merely mimics the Love of God. God is Love and it is only through Him that you can really know what love truly is about. Jesus did not die for us to be enslaved by anything. He died to free us from sin reigning in our lives. It is through Him we access His power. We never become the power! Many have been caused to go shipwreck or astray due to idle chatter. God’s Church is supposed to be a pillar of Truth! Many are often given gossip rather than the Gospel, junk food rather than Spiritual Food. Jesus charge was to “Feed His Sheep.” He is the Shepherd and overseer of our souls” according to I Peter 2:15. We need the Word of God! It is food for the soul. We are in the world but we are not supposed to be of the world. We all will at some point have to answer to God for everything that we have ever said or done! Hallelujah! This is why you must know the Word of God for yourself! II Timothy says “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly…….”
God knows who His children are. When you know God and the power of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection you know that you know that you know. You are built on a Spiritual House. You know you are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light!” Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. God is so good! Begin to really get to know Him! The Bible is full of situations that will help you know how to and how not to respond. His Word truly is “A lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.” I praise and thank God each and everyday for the people He has put in my life even for those who try to undermine my good intentions. They have helped me to cling even closer to the Lord. When you know you are accepted by God that is all that really matters! I cherish the Love, Joy and Peace; He has allowed me to experience that much more! “And the God of all grace, who called you to eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” I thank Him for being a constant companion. He is a mighty good leader! I thank Him for His precious Holy Spirit. God inhabits the praises of His people. “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we might be the praise to His glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of Salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promise of the Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of His Glory.” Hallelujah!
Did you know that John wrote the book of John so that you would believe that “Jesus is the Christ”? Did you know that the book of Luke starts out expounding on the joyful events that surrounded the birth of Jesus? Luke also tells us how Elizabeth’s unborn baby who was John the Baptist leaped in her womb. This took place at Elizabeth’s home when she was greeted by Mary while she was pregnant with Jesus. The Bible says; “ Elizabeth was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit.” Elizabeth told Mary. “Blessed are you among women and the child that you bear…..” many others shared in her joy. Did you know that Luke ends describing how when Jesus was ascending into Heaven “He lifted up His hands and blessed” His disciples? The Bible says that they worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. In spite of what was going on about Jesus the presence of God’s joy was with Him.
God the Father openly expresses how He was well pleased with Jesus! When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, heaven opened and the Spirit of God descended upon Him in the form of a dove. Jesus’ birth, life, crucifixion, death and resurrection was all for us! This is why we can have fellowship with His Holy Spirit. Do you know that Jesus wants to be the joy of your strength? Jesus Enjoyed Saving us! Do you know what joy means? It means to have a sense of well-being and gladness. Jesus endured many unpleasant experiences. Between the time of Jesus’ earthly birth and His crucifixion many events took place. Jesus was raised in Nazareth. Nazareth was thought of as a place where nothing good could come out of. But, the Bible says “the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” It says that Jesus was obedient to His earthly parents. He was also obedient to His Heavenly Father. In spite of all the things that were going on around Jesus the presence of the Lord’s joy surrounded Him. Our Joy in Jesus is not contingent on someone or what’s going on around us. When you truly know Him as your Savior and Lord you too can experience unspeakable joy!
Joy and Music are two wonderful gifts from God. We are able to express our inner feelings through them. Jesus did not die for us to live life unhappy, discontented and in bondage to sin. My Mother always told me “do not let people stop you from being who you are; because of who they are.” God really does have a better way for us to live. Jesus does not want you to have a yoyo existence. He wants you to have a consistent life. His joy will give you the melodic ability to soar like an eagle above suffering, covetousness, jealousy, false accusations and mistreatment. Did you know that eagles are committed to their mate for life? Have you ever noticed how they can sit contently on a rock? While seemingly idle they are being internally refreshed and strengthened. Did you know that Jesus is a solid Rock? Nehemiah tells us, Jesus wants to be the joy of your strength. He wants His true believers to live out their faith and daily life in the presence of God. Joy in Jesus will give you the ability to “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Jesus yoke is easy and His burdens are light. He even tells us if you are even insulted because of His name, that you are blessed! That the Spirit of God will rest upon you! God is so awesome! He is truly worthy of our praise!
Do you know what happens when Jesus is really not the center of your Joy? Do you know what happens when you do not really worship Him in Spirit and in Truth? You cannot manipulate or orchestrate the Spirit of the Lord! Have you ever wondered why things turn out the way they do sometimes? Revelations 3 says; “What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.” He says, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my Word and have not denied my name…” Did you know that when you are obedient to God He will take care of those who oppose you? You can not curse what God has blessed! Hallelujah! It is very important to know that absolutely nothing gets by God. It is a reality that in life you will always be faced with some type of trouble. Just know God will use it to strengthen your character, faith and trust in Him! By remaining focused you can still experience His Joy. “God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him!” You can have joy knowing the Lord in His time will reward you and reward everyone for what they do whether it is good or evil. Isaiah 61 even says that God will give you “The oil of joy for mourning. The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. That they may be called trees of righteousness ….. Everlasting Joy shall be theirs!” Do you really know who Jesus is? Do you really want to be made whole? Do you really want to experience His Joy? Begin seriously getting to know Jesus for yourself! Ask Him to give you today and every day, daily bread from heaven. Begin to put your trust and hope in God and not man.
Romans says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit! John 3 tells us that, “there is no greater Joy than to know that His children are walking in truth!” Begin to really walk in Truth! The truth really does set you free! When Jesus returned to the Father He left His disciples with these words; “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete………” God really does have a better way for us to live. Here is a little something I discovered while praising the Lord. Did you know that JESUS name has an acronym meaning?
Has JESUS enjoyed saving you? If He hasn’t know, He is just a prayer away. Do you want to experience His unspeakable joy? Do you know Jesus really is coming back? Sincerely ask Him into your heart today. Jesus wants to walk with you each and every day. Jesus is able to “keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy!” Praise God!
Worship goes far beyond, just having an emotional experience. It is during worship one can actually experience a closer encounter with the Lord. Worship includes adoration, exaltation, magnification, glorification and the giving of thanks to the Lord! Webster defines worship as; an extravagant respect admiration or devotion to an object of esteem; reverence paid to a divine being or supernatural power. God’s principles for life, living, marriage and the family as well as “True Worship” are continuously being abandoned. God is Omnipotent; meaning all power! God so deserves pure unadulterated praise! God created us to worship Him. He did not program us like computers or make us robots. It is out of His love and mercy that He allows us the freedom to choose to do so. This is not the same as being religious. True worshippers must worship Him “In Spirit and in TRUTH.” God wants us to live a life of worship. He wants us to live to please Him! “For though we live in the world we do not engage in war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world…” II Corinthians 10.
Ezekiel is a great example of a man that chose to live a life of worship and obedience to God. Despite what was going on about him, he lived what he preached. Look about us and see all that is happening! Today it is also so very important too that your main focus for life and living for the Lord become your number one priority. Instead of focusing on just the here and now look deeper. This is why worship is so very important. “Be still and know.” When your life is built upon the “solid rock” principles of the Lord’s Word you will be able to endure even in this day and time and not compromise your godly principles and values. We must learn to TRUST GOD regardless of what happens. As children of God He still wants us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3.Today we are currently experiencing a “famine of righteousness.”
One must only visit the corridors of Scripture to see time and time again the consequences of what happens when the world, a nation, or group of people ignores what God has to say. Ezekiel was willing to forego the praises and misunderstanding of God’s people. He did not receive a warm reception, nor was he welcomed. They instead had chosen to accept and embrace the ways of the world. Our devotion to the Lord must be more than talk. Sometimes it requires that we make grave sacrifices. Our future and eternal life rest in the Lord. God never forgets those who are faithful! The name Ezekiel means; God is strong or God strengthens! True success in a spiritual sense is not how the people respond to us, but it is how we respond to God! Ezekiel was called to an “obstinate and stubborn” group of people. We too are often called to share our faith with unkind, ungrateful and abusive people. Yet, God Our Father has promised to never leave nor forsake us. It is vitally important to develop an intimate personal relationship with Him. ALL of His promises are true! The Lord wants us to share the Gospel regardless as to how we might be perceived, even today when we are experiencing a “famine of righteousness.”
When studying the book of Ezekiel if you look closely you will see just how closely it relates to what is going on in the world right now. Ezekiel genuinely wanted the people to understand who God is! He was sent to the children of Israel to remind them of God’s principles for life, living and worship. The children of Israel were not a nation who did not know God. They had just become “rebellious”. They had turned their back on God and instead embraced the ways of the world. Ezekiel went to great lengths to get their attention. For over two decades he wrote, preached, warned and pleaded with God’s people to return to His principles. In reading Ezekiel one must not be so removed from him that he is thought of as a fictional character with an irrelevant message. To embrace the overwhelming genuine concern he exudes one must put on their spiritual ears and listen attentively. Ezekiel tremendously, ferociously and vehemently cries out as he prolifically expounds God’s Truth. Since he had been labeled as being “strange” the people were quite reluctant to listen. Ezekiel went so far that he even humbly acted out with great dramatization the need to be obedient. He personally modeled a Godly message to the people. He himself laid bound on his side facing a clay model of Jerusalem for 390 days and ate a simple meal of wheat, barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt baked into bread cake weighing about 8oz., that was cooked on cows dung. He then turned to his other side and lay there for another 40 days. This was an additional reminder to remind them of their 40 years spent wandering in the wilderness. Ezekiel went to great lengths to get their attention. He earnestly wanted them to return to the Lord! He even shared his vision of the corrupted Temple. They were experiencing a “famine of righteousness.”
There was absolutely no doubt that the “hand of the Lord” was upon Ezekiel. They however simply refused to listen. Ezekiel personally experienced “The GLORY of the LORD” on many occasions. Over sixty times throughout the Book of Ezekiel he repeated “Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel was known for his strangeness. He took grave measures to demonstrate his dedication to the Lord. The many prophets before him had also been ignored. Their unfavorable messages were overlooked and thought of as negative. Yet despite the odds God kept, sustained and strengthened them. The Lord said to Ezekiel; “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you…” He said “Son of man I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; and they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn…” The Lord told Ezekiel to speak HIS WORD to them whether they listened or not. Ezekiel was given a scroll to eat. As he ate it, he said “So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” They simply just did not want to receive the message that Ezekiel presented to them. God’s Word will yield conviction but there is a savory lasting sweetness when digested! They could not see how they had allowed the world, politics and its foreign customs and ways into the Temple. Ezekiel was able to experience the “Glory of the Lord” because of His obedience. God is so ASWESOME!
Today it is really no different, the world and society in which we live continuously attempts to embed its principles within the people of God. To make acceptable what God has said is not acceptable and to cloak and present itself as though one is practicing unconditional love. Yes, “God is Love” , but He is also a just God. According to Nahum; “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, He will not acquit the wicked.” Deception is all about us. Today because of it we too are experiencing a “famine of righteousness.” God’s principles for life and living are continuously put on the back burner. Ezekiel is such a good example because he had a real concern for the abuse that was taking place within God’s Temple. Sin was rampart among the people of God. Many of the leaders had simply lost their faith and were trying many alternative ways. Ezekiel was shown firsthand the “wicked and detestable things that they were doing.” They had banned together and plotted wickedness. They had embraced and accepted quite worldly practices and worship that was not acceptable to God. They had allowed the world into God’s Temple. The Glory of the Lord departed from the Temple.
This is why it is important that we are not drawn into superficial or emotional worship. Manipulation does not move the Lord! God is worthy of “True Worship.” We need to daily ask for the infilling presence of His Holy Spirit. We can depend on the Lord to keep us safe in an unstable world, when we are experiencing a “famine of righteousness.” It is very important to know that despite how things appear; “God is in control.” Ezekiel again is a great example! He displays how God may require you to do some things and give up some things, that one from a carnal perspective simply cannot comprehend. But looking through the lenses of one’s spiritual eyes you can better grasp the spiritual significance of the action. God always leaves a remnant of His people. God always has something better for us! This is why it is so important to know firsthand the Word of God! God’s Word is rich in a plethora of lessons of disobedience, betrayal, spiritual warfare, power and love. Jesus became the Word wrapped in flesh! True victory is always found in the Lord and abiding within His principles.
God sometime requires us to do some seemingly strange things. True “security and significance” can only be found in God! When God’s Spirit is with you, you can expect to be ridiculed, misunderstood or rejected. It is in seemingly hopeless situations that God is able to do a great work through you or to you! There is nothing more important in life than your relationship with the Lord. We serve an all knowing Omniscient God. Our Faith, Hope and Trust must always be in the Lord! Jesus’ Life, Death, Crucifixion and Resurrection were for a purpose! It is because of Him we have eternal life which equals SALVATION! God is so Awesome! Hebrews 4 tell us, “For the WORD of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in ALL CREATION is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.” PRAISE GOD! God always has a personal interest in the lives of His children, even when there is a “famine of righteousness.”