Daily Devotions – 2021 1st Quarter

Jan 1, 2021 – Isaiah 46:10 – My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure

“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” Isaiah 46:10 KJV

Hi Everyone!

Our Amazing God doesn’t make mistakes. Everything that has happened in this world God knew about from the beginning. It is hard to fathom, but we are actually living out God’s very detailed plan for our lives. Some believe that our God is something similar to a spiritual janitor, who is an expert a cleaning up our messes, but I know for a fact that my messes were a part of the plan that God had for my life! We are going into a new year, and I want us to fully embrace the truth that our God is very precise and intentional, and His plan for the world is already done, completed from the beginning. When we begin to fully grasp God’s intentionality, verses like Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”, will begin to make a world of sense in our lives. Today, we will explore Isaiah 46:10, to look at God’s intentionality.

“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”

The word “declaring” means “manifesting or giving a report of”. God didn’t just create the world. He created the plan for the world at creation as well. When God declares something, He establishes it as truth that can be backed up. The word “end” means “future or end times”, and the word “beginning” means “the specified point when time and space were started”.  So our God established the end days from the beginning? When did it happen?

In Genesis 2:1, the Bible says, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” All of creation was finished at this point, including the plans and purposes God has for the world and the people in the world. In Genesis 2:2, the Bible says, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Why would God “end” the work if everything wasn’t completed? Does our God “rest” knowing there is work to be done? ” In Genesis 2:3, “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Sacrifices were accepted when they were without spot, wrinkle or blemish, and God blessed the sacrifice. Why would God bless and sanctify a day commemorating the completion of creation if He wasn’t completely done with His work?

“and from the ancient times the things that are not yet done”

This work was done, the declaration was made, establishing the end from the beginning, before it was physically complete on earth! The phrase “are not yet done” means “incomplete”. So before anything showed up, it was already set in its order and time. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, the Bible says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” If God didn’t create the end at the beginning, then how could there be a season for EVERY THING? The word “season” here means “appointed time”. Appointed times don’t happen by chance. They are designed in the beginning to happen at the exact moment God ordains. In Ephesians 1:4-5, the Bible says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”. So God chose us before the foundation of the world, set us apart and knew the precise place we’d be when He adopted us as Gentiles into the fold, which was in His will to do! God has to declare the end from the beginning to do this. He knew an adoption was going to take place!

“saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure”

The word “counsel” means more than “advice or advisement”. It means “plan or purpose”. The word “stand” means “rise up in victory to any test or scrutiny”. Let’s look at this passage in Isaiah in context. God ordained that Cyrus would free God’s people from the Babylonian captivity. In Isaiah 44:28, it says, “That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” In Isaiah 45:1, the Bible says, “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut.” Please know that this was a word of prophecy, spoken of Cyrus 150 years before his birth! This also means the captivity hadn’t happen yet! So God gave Cyrus a name, made him a king, ordained for Him to conquer Babylon, and set God’s people free 150 years before his birth! God had the provision in place before the need arose!

May this New Year solidify the understanding in our hearts that every minute detail of our lives is a part of His plan!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

January 2, 2021 – Psalm 91:1 – He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 KJV

Hi Everybody!

This is a brand new year, a year where most of the world is under the shadow of Covid, under the oppression of sin, and fear is more prevalent than faith. Rebellion is at an all-time high, and there is a blatant disregard for the well being of others. We are hurting as a people and when we search for solutions we are bombarded with more problems. Amid so many problems, what is the common thread? The world is becoming more and more Godless, and lawlessness is at levels unfathomable. There are over 2 billion Christians, but only a small number of those have a viable, personal relationship with God. I used to be a “church goer”, a ritualistic, religious practice, where I felt good to be in the house of God, but had no victory in my life in the other 6 and a half days of the week. I didn’t have a strong relationship with God, and it really showed. In order for us as believers to have victory in this day and age, a close, personal relationship with God and the infilling of the Holy Spirit is mandatory. Today, we are going to look at Psalms 91:1 and draw closer to the secret place of God.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

The word “dwelleth” means “to settle or remain”. The phrase ” secret place” means “covering”. Okay, so to settle means that make ourselves a permanent residence in any set location. So we are to make ourselves at home under the covering of our God. This is an intimate place of divine protection. In Psalms 27:4-5, the Bible says, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” Our secret place is in the Spirit, in prayer, a place the enemy can’t inhabit. We have to have a desire as believers to fellowship with God in His secret place, to make ourselves a home under His covering, because it is the only place of true safety. In Psalms 15:1-2, the Bible says, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” Dwelling in the secret place of the Most High has conditions as well, and we have to live the change God places in our hearts. We can’t be people who go to church but people can’t see the church in us. In Exodus 33:14, the Bible says, “And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Why is that? Simple. Because in Exodus 33:11, the Bible says, “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.” The Lord spake face to face with Moses, showing an intimate relationship between them. How many of us speak face to face with the Lord? Prayer, open communication with God, studying God’s Word, and giving Him reign to lead us is how we make residence in the secret place.

“Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”

The word “abide” means “to live, with the implication that it will be forever”. This isn’t some fleeting experience. God wants this to be a permanent experience for His children. In John 15:4, the Bible says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” Us trying to bear fruit without the Lord is like being a 2×6 board trying to grow leaves. We aren’t attached to the root, so we are not receiving our sustenance from God, the Source of our provision. This verse is conditional, because we can’t abide under the shadow of the Almighty unless we dwell in the secret place of the Most High. The word “shadow” means “shade or defense”. Defense usually implies protection, which means that God backs us when we dwell with Him. In Psalms 17:8, the Bible says, “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings”. If a person is the “apple of the eye” the person is special to person who beholds them. We are truly special to our God and we become even more special to God when we dwell under His shadow. In Jeremiah 17:7, the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” We are blessed when we dwell in that secret place of the Most High and abide under His shadow. Blessed people can’t be cursed, blessed people are protected, and blessed people are cared for under God’s watchful eye.

Are we dwelling in the secret place or are we residing in fear? Are we engaging in prayer or are we afflicted by worry? Are we seeking God’s face or are we turning our face towards the cares of the world? May we recommit ourselves to fellowshipping with God in a way we haven’t before.

God’s Blessings in 2021!

Marshall

 

Jan 3, 2021 – Proverbs 22:3 – A prudent man foreseeth the evil

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Proverbs 22:3 KJV

Hi Everyone!

“There is a cliff ahead!” If we were driving down the street and saw a sign like this, our instincts would be to apply the brakes. We don’t know how far ahead the cliff is and finding out the hard way could be life or death. So if our first instincts are to apply the brakes, our second thought should be to turn around. What if we disregarded the sign and trusted in our own eyes to tell us where exactly this cliff was? What if we never slowed down, putting faith in our car’s ability to stop on a dime? What if we coasted just enough to see where the line is, telling ourselves that we can turn around at any time? Doesn’t this sound crazy? Well think about this. We do the exact same thing in our faith walks, ignoring all of the warning signs, toeing the edge until we fall off, all the while telling ourselves that we can “turn it around at any time”? We have crashed and burned many times, only to find ourselves right back at the edge, expecting a different outcome. This shouldn’t be. Today, we are going to look at Proverbs 22:3, a word on heeding the warning signs.

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”

The word “prudent” means, “sensible or knowledgeable”. A prudent person is someone who exercises wisdom, and their actions are clearly ones that are made in wisdom. Prudence and wisdom go hand in hand because the only way a person will know that we are prudent or wise is if they will see it in action. In Matthew 12:33, the Bible says, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” We have the ability to produce good or bad fruit, and it is usually the result of good or bad decisions. To “foresee” something, it means that we see the outcome before it happens. If I burn my hand on a stove, then I have an action, a consequence, and wisdom for the next occurrence I may have with a stove. If I burn myself the same way the next time, then I didn’t heed the warning. Sometimes, the warning will come from people, who have experienced being burned and are trying to warn us before we too feel the discomfort and pain behind it. The prudent person takes the warning, believes in the warning and the consequence and makes a decision to avoid doing anything that will produce those consequences. In Proverbs 14:16, the Bible says, “A wise man feareth, and departed from evil: but the fool rageth and is confident.” We don’t want to be the types of people who walk into traps when it could be avoided. A prudent man hides himself, making himself invisible to the influence or the influencers. This means he won’t be around to tempt further. In Proverbs 4:14-15, the Bible says, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”  We are not supposed to be in the presence of evil or in its path.

“but the simple pass on and are punished”

The word “simple” means foolish. A foolish person is someone who has all of the tools to do right, knows it’s the right thing to do, but disregards it to go in the opposite direction. They are the person that sees the “There is a cliff ahead!” sign and keeps driving, thinking they can get close enough without falling over. “Pass on” means “cross over”. It kinda gives the indication that there is real intention behind doing the wrong thing. The word “punish” means “to inflict a penalty”. Obedience is mandatory! In 2 Thessalonians 1:8,9 the Bible says, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” We cannot disobey the warnings and commands God gives us through His word and through His people and expect there to not be a punishment of some sort. This doesn’t sound too pleasant, does it? In 1 Timothy 1:9, the Bible says, “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers.” The law was designed for the foolish people who needed a standard in front of them to carry themselves in obedience.

May we be people who are led by the Lord to pay attention to the warning signs God has put in place to keep us on the right path, to foresee evil and hide ourselves.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 4,, 2021 – Ephesians 5:2 – And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Ephesians 5:2 KJV

Hi Everyone!

Love is the most beautiful gift we can give someone on this earth. It’s the most selfless quality, the most edifying attribute, and love has definitely saved a life or two. Christ said in Matthew 22:40 that “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”. The two commandments were to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Christ not only came to fulfill the law, but He came to simplify the law. Christ took over 600 laws and summed them up in two commands. Love is all encompassing, it’s pure, and it’s completely selfless. A person may forget kind gestures, but they will never forget our love. It is important as believers to lead with love, because love is the essence of our outreach and ministry. Today we are exploring Ephesians 5:2, our walk of love.

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

The word “walk” means “to tread all around”. When a person treads all around, they cover the most amount of ground because they go everywhere. When God asks us to “walk” in anything, He expects us to embody His command wherever we go. It doesn’t matter if it is the park, or the prison yard, everywhere we tread, we are supposed to be available to follow God’s command. This command is for us to walk in love. Which kind of love? Agape (Godly)? Phileo (Brotherly)? Eros (Intimate/Relational)?

In this text, we are commanded to walk in Agape love, Godly love. This means “the love which God or Christ exercises towards the church, the love that is derived from God.” In John 14:23, Jesus said “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” I used to think that agape love was reserved for God to love us with, but when He loved us and made His abode with us, that same love became the example for us to use with others. Because God commanded us to walk in agape love, that means He has already given us this love to do so with. In John 13:35, Jesus said “By this shall ALL MEN know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”. How can all men know if we don’t tread all around (walk) in love? How will they ever know if we don’t reach them? So by commanding us to “walk in love” God is telling us to not keep this to ourselves.

“As Christ also hath loved us”

Christ is our example. He came and loved the most unlovable people; the tax collector, the woman at the well, the woman caught in the act of adultery, Peter, Judas, the people who crucified Him, and the thief on the cross. Now if Christ reached out to the rejects and brought them into the fold, and reserved salvation for Gentiles, then He has shown us that He too trod all around in love. He didn’t discriminate and His heart even hurt for Jerusalem. In Matthew 23:37, Christ wept for Jerusalem, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”.  This love Christ exercised towards us was agapao, which means “to regard with love and strong affection”.  Christ showed us how to love and we as believers must follow His example with a willing heart. In 1 John 4:7, the Bible says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.” Love is the manifestation of God in a relationship or interaction, no matter the type of relationship or interaction it is. In verse 8, the Bible says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love”. If God is love and we love someone, then we just have given them God! Sometimes, we are the only representation of God people are going to see, so what are we showing others?

“and hath given himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.”

Love is self-sacrificial. In Ephesians 5:25, the Bible says, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

God is going to always give us a human reference to a spiritual truth. In Romans 12:1, the Bible says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Living sacrifice. When we love someone, we place ourselves last to the person we love. This is pleasing to the Lord! An “offering” is “a presentation”. That is why Romans 12:1 ties so perfectly with this part of the verse, because we’re reading about presentations and sacrifices both being acceptable or well-pleasing to the Lord.

May we approach love with a different lens and see it as the absolute least thing we can do to bring the greatest result for the Kingdom of God.

God Bless You All!

Marshall

 

Jan 5, 2020 – 2 Corinthians 3:3 – ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us

“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:3 KJV

Hi Everyone!

God created us to embody His Word in this world. Remember John 1:14, where it said, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”? Remember 1 John 4:17, where is says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world”? It is beyond our thoughts to really grasp that we have access to the same God in the same way Jesus did when He walked the earth, but it is true. Didn’t Christ tell the disciples that they would do “greater works than these” because Christ went to the Father? Because we sometimes fail to understand who we are in Christ, we can find ourselves accepting a standard of life than is far beneath the standard of life God has for us. We bear the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are commanded to live after the Spirit, so when people see us, they should see Christ. Today, we are going to look at 2 Corinthians 3:3, the living epistles of God.

“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”

The phrase “manifestly declared” means “to render apparent”. This means that our character, our actions, and our fruit bear witness that we are children of God. When something is rendered apparent, it suggests that the evidence speaks for itself, and it is obvious that we are Christians. In 2 Corinthians 4:10, the Bible says, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” What people see should reveal two things, this new man that we walk in, and the old man that we have walked away from. Every day affords us the opportunity to reveal who we are. An “epistle” is defined as “a written message”. In Isaiah 49:16, the Bible says, “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Because we are engraved on the palms of our God’s hands, our actions should reflect that. We’re not a written message of our pastors and spiritual leaders, but we are the written message of Christ. The word “ministered” means “provided for, cared for, or administered to”. Paul expresses that there is a difference between who are identity should reflect, and the people who look after our spiritual development.

“written not by ink, but with the Spirit of the living God”

The word “written” means “engraved”. If something is engraved in ink, it can still be carved out and taken away, because the ink only goes so deep. If we are engraved with the Spirit of the living God, then there is a depth that can’t be measured, let alone reached. In Psalms 40:8, the Bible says, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: thy law is within my heart”. When the Spirit of the living God writes His law in our hearts, our intentions change, and it is no longer about us, but about what God desires from using Psalms 119:11, the Bible says, “Thy word have I hid in mind heart, that I might nor sin against you.” The Word becomes a standard of life to those who hide it in their heart. Our God is living, so this is continuously happening to people, God turning His people into living epistles! In 2 Corinthians 3:6, the Bible says, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The law produced the acknowledgement of death within but the Spirit of God produced life. In Romans 7:6-7, “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” We have the Spirit of God’s written message on our hearts now. It is time we walk like it.

“not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”

In Exodus 24:12, the Bible says, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” The law was written on tablets of stone, which wasn’t designed to last forever. The law was necessary to show mankind our need for a Savior. In Ezekiel 36:26-27, the Bible says, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” The word “fleshy” means “soft, yielding to an impression”. When Christ was crucified, He sent the Holy Spirit in His name, and engraved the Word in our hearts, changing us from the inside out!

May what comes out of us reflects what the Holy Spirit has engraved within us!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 6, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 6:17 – Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV

Hi Everyone!

What separates us from the world? I mean, let’s really take a deep look at ourselves, the way we conduct ourselves, the way we talk, our reactions and responses, and our beliefs. Do we stick out like sore thumbs, where our difference from the world around us is evident, or do we appear to be no different than those around us? What are people’s reactions when they find out that we are believers? If they are shocked, then are we effectively representing the faith to those around us? It is easy to profess to be a believer, or anything for that matter, but upon further examination, will our professions hold up to scrutiny? I ask these questions because I believe that all believers should look deeply into their walk with the Lord and take a close look at what is there. In 1 Peter 2:9, the Bible says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” Are we representing what God clearly says we are? Today, we are going to take a look at 2 Corinthians 6:17, the separation between the Church and the world.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

The word “among” means “in the midst”. That suggests that a person can be so woven into the sinful world around them that people can’t see the difference between the Christ in them and the world. Paul is writing for God’s people to “come out from in the midst of them”, which is no different than saying “make your true identities known”. In Joshua 7:13, the Bible says, “Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.” The process of sanctification is the consecration of something or someone, declaring it as holy, withdrawn from profane or ordinary use. There was something in the tribe of Israel that was accursed, and it was causing Israel to lose battles they should’ve won easily. Joshua, frustrated by the loss, went to God to find out why, because it made no sense, and God told him Israel sinned because there was something accursed in the camp. Separation is necessary to maintain holiness, and it is also necessary to expose unholiness. In Matthew 25:32-33, the Bible says, “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” Even in the end days, Christ will gather everyone together and then separate them “one from another”. Being “in the world” but not “of the world” is another separation. There has to be a difference between us and the world, because if not, who will ever believe that we are chosen, royal, peculiar, and set apart? Us coming out from among them is us establishing there is indeed a difference, that we live according to the standard of the Lord and not according to the world’s standard. It has become more taboo to stand up for the Word of God than it is to do the things God calls cursed. Why? Because there isn’t enough separation.

“Be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;”

“Be ye separate” means “to set off or apart by bounds; to define”. It means to draw the line in the sand and establish what side we are on. This requires courage because a lot of times, we are not going to be in the majority. What happens when we are the only ones in the room who stand by the Lord? In Joshua 24:15, the Bible says, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua fervently and loyally served the Lord and demanded that of Israel as well. How many of us are making that same demand in our households? How many are asking our children do they want to go to church, or TELLING them, “we are going to church”?  To “touch” is “to agree with, or identify with”. The word “unclean” means “impure”. It is speaking of those who don’t belong to the Christian family, and we are not to identify or come into agreement (connection) with them.

“And I will receive you,”

The Lord gives us a promise for obedience to this verse. The phrase “will receive” means “to take into one’s favor”. When we have the favor of the Most High God, there is no fear or worry. We know we are covered and secure in Him, and lined up to receive from His Kingdom.

May we draw the line in the sand and establish ourselves as children of God in a world becoming more Godless by the second!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 7, 2020 – 2 Corinthians 7:1 – let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV

Hi Everyone!

I am a living witness to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. I went from an aimless criminal and gang member with an unexplainable desire to self-destruct, and God has turned me into a beacon of light, showing the way to Christ. The changes I have made in my life can only be attributed to God granting me the privilege to be called His child, and His precious Holy Spirit cleansing me of all of the filth that was so enormous in my mind and heart. Do we ever think for a second that our salvation and the process of sanctification are promises made by God and fulfilled? When we think about fulfilled promises from God, we tend to think about some external tangible thing that may bring joy to our hearts, but the conditions God places upon His word are promises as well. God shows us that we don’t serve Him faithfully for nothing, that these promises equip us to experience our own promised land in Him. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 7:1, the promises that promote holiness.

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

The word “promise” means “divine assurance of good”. Remember the word “good” goes all the way to Genesis 1:3, when God said, “Let there be light, and it was light”. In Genesis 1:4, the Bible says, “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” When God saw what He commanded come to pass, He declared it to be good. When we as children of God are living the lives God commanded, and created us to live, and doing the things He created us to do, He declares it as good. Good is always associated with God’s intended purpose from the beginning. God doesn’t make promises lightly. In Hebrews 6:13, the Bible says, “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself”. Think about this for a second. God not only makes the promises, but He swears by Himself, putting His name and reputation on the line! This is why a lack of faith is so disappointing to God because not believing in His word is like calling God a liar. In Hebrews  6:18, the Bible says, “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:” Immutable means “unchangeable”, and if it is impossible for God to lie, then His promises are going to be fulfilled. The thing we don’t consider in our finite minds that these promises are ALREADY fulfilled, because God declared the end from the beginning. The word “beloved” is spoken of Christians as united with God or with each other in the bonds of holy love. It is saying “loved by God”

“Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit”

The word “cleanse” means “to purify”. If Paul is encouraging the Church to purify ourselves, then that means there is a great responsibility we have as believers to keep ourselves pure. In 1 Peter 1:14-16, the Bibles says, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” The key word to this passage is “obedient”. Obedience is us receiving the Word, believing on it, and doing what it says. If a person is obedient, how does lawlessness have the opportunity to enter? The word “filthiness” means “immorality”, and that is religious defilement due to our attachments to idols, and the realm of sin that comes with it. In Corinth, there were pagan rituals, temple prostitutes, orgies, sacrifices, and other unholy deeds, and some of the believers were engrafted into the “world”. “Cleansing ourselves” is removing anything from our midst, mind, and activity that is not pleasing to God. The “flesh” is our human nature absent the spirit, and the “spirit” is our spiritual nature absent the flesh. In Galatians 5:17, the Bible says, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” These two natures have nothing in common with each other, so either we are walking in the flesh or walking in the spirit. Our fruit will bear witness of what we are walking in.

“Perfecting holiness in the fear of God”

Perfecting. The “ing” suggests a continual process, and “perfecting” means “to perform a work to bring it into completion”. Holiness is “sanctity and virtue”, and it is a combination one setting oneself apart for God’s intended purpose and exhibiting moral excellence. People should see this process at work in our lives, and it should come from deep reverence and honor to God only.

May we receive the promises of our Lord with deep honor and reverence, as we aim for obedience.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 8, 2021 – Jeremiah 35:15 – but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me

“I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.” Jeremiah 35:15 KJV

Hi Everyone!

God never ceases to draw His people unto Himself. No matter where we are, what we have found ourselves in, or how dark and deep the prison is, God has prepared people to cross our paths so His Word can go forth. The sad thing is no matter how many representatives come in the name of the Lord, no matter how true the word is, there are going to be people that are going to ignore the warnings God patiently sends to us. I know for certain that I ignored the many warnings I was given, but I am so happy I finally listened. Looking back, I can see all of the people who tried to share the word from the Lord with me, and I can really come to understand God’s overwhelming love for me. Today, we are going to look at Jeremiah 35:15, God’s call for us to come home.

“I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.”

God is serious about us returning back to Him. “All my servants and prophets”. God didn’t send one or two. He sent all of His representatives! That is so much love that God freely shows us, by never ceasing to send people our way. The word “servant” means “slave or minister”, and the word “prophet” means “inspired spokesman, someone God ordains to speak what the Lord requires them to say.” Neither office could serve their own purpose, but only the purpose God has for them. In Jeremiah 7:25, the Bible says, “Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:”. God cares so much about the state of our salvation that He constantly sends people to check in on us, to keep us on the right track.

“Rising up early and sending them”

This statement means a continuous act. In Jeremiah 26:4-5, the Bible says, “And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened;” God had to keep sending His servants and prophets because the Israelites were not heeding the many warnings God was giving them. In Isaiah 65:2, the Bible says, “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts”. God is trying to reach His people, trying to beckon us home, but He is finding us, a church that wants to go after our own way. God is sending His ministers daily so that there will be no excuse when His wrath comes.

“Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings”

The word “return” means “turn back, repent, or to be restored”. God doesn’t just want a FEW people to repent from his evil way, He wants EVERY man to repent of his evil way. The word “way” means “course of life”. This implies a direction a person chooses to take, not one that merely happens to them. To “amend” means “to make well or pleasing”. It is deeper than to just change or alter something about ourselves. We alter it in order to please God. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” There are rewards in store for those who return back to the Lord, one of the rewards from repentance is our rightful place in the kingdom of God. God desires to fellowship with His children but He won’t when we decide to go our own way.

“And go not after other gods to serve them,”

In Exodus 20:2-3 the Bible says, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” God is telling us to remember who He is, that He released us from the bondage of Egypt. We all have been in bondage to some form of sin, so everyone has experienced Egypt in that sense. Salvation means we have experienced freedom. To “serve” means “to offer up oneself in worship”. So we were freed from bondage, only to take up bondage again by serving other gods? Ouch! The word “gods” means anything we put above God.

“And ye shall dwell in the land which I have given you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.”

The promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey. It also is the kingdom of God, that spiritual land God desires His children to dwell in. The ear is and instrument of obedience, so before we can dwell anywhere, we have to hear and heed the Lord!

May we hear the Word of the Lord and heed Its commands.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 9, 2020 – 2 Corinthians 10:4 – For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;” 2 Corinthians 10:4 KJV

Hi Everyone!

Every believer experiences warfare in their faith walks. No one is exempt, and even though our warfare may have different variables, but the weaponry is the same. I have been in warfare where I have tried to fight flesh with flesh, using my own power to try to win a war, only to lose time after time. I called myself a fighter because of my lightning fast response to handle wars with the flesh only to realize that I hadn’t begun to fight yet. I realized in my walk that wars are fought and won in the spirit, not in the flesh, because our weaponry is spiritual, not fleshly. God designed it this way so we’d use Him in battle instead of ourselves, because the Bible says in Zechariah 4:6, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” The same rules apply now! Today, we are going to look at 2 Corinthians 10:4 for a word on warfare.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”

The word “weapons” means “tools, an implement, or utensils”. The word “warfare” means “military service or apostolic service”. So our faith walks and our ministry, mirror that of military service. In 2 Timothy 2:3-5, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” We are soldiers in the army of the Lord as the song says, a “good” soldier who performs our duties according to God’s intended design for His children. We are not supposed to war with our minds on the world. We have to war with our minds set on pleasing the Lord. A soldier is trained thoroughly, and our leader, through repetition, embeds the operations into their heads and hearts, so the instruction becomes the soldier’s new instincts. We are rewarded when we operate in obedience.

So the “tools of our apostolic service” are not carnal. The word “carnal” means “weak, frail, imperfect, and temporary”. Fighting wars with the flesh can have some short-lived gratification, but there are usually long-term consequences. If we can come to an understanding that fighting wars with carnality will never produce real victory, then we may be less likely to use it. Isn’t there a quote that says something to the nature of, “To the victor goes the spoils”? We will reap the type of victory based on the nature of the tools we use in battle. In 1 Corinthians 9:25, the Bible says, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” I remember a time I fought ever war from a carnal perspective. I built a reputation, fear, and power from the nature of the weaponry I used. Guess what? That crown faded as quickly as anything, and I was left to chase more crowns. Back in the days in Corinth, the winner of a race or battle received a wreath. Problem was, the wreath withered and died because it was never designed to be permanent. We as believers have to start racing for a crown that doesn’t wither, but we have to engage in spiritual warfare with spiritual weaponry.

“But mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)”

The word “mighty” means “powerful or capable”. Our spiritual weapons are powerful, but only THROUGH God. We can’t take spiritual weaponry and then do what we want to do with it without God’s approval and provision. Remember, we are soldiers and we answer to our Commander, so He gives us the directives but the weaponry as well. In 2 Corinthians 6:7, “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,”.  Truth, power, and righteousness, all given by God. In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Have we, as believers put our complete faith on what God has given us to defeat Satan? In Ephesians 6:16-17, the Bible says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” Faith protects our hearts, salvation protects our minds, and the Word of God is our weapon of offense. We should only be striking, striving, and warring, using the Word of God. Strong holds are fortified places meant to keep a person in bondage. Our spiritual weaponry pulls down the walls of strong holds, allowing what’s inside to go free.

Do we use the Word when Satan rears his very ugly head? Do we trust that the Word is powerful enough in itself to set us free? May we all seek victory in the Word of God!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 10, 2021 – Daniel 4:9 – I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession

“And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;” Daniel 4:9 KJV

Hi Everybody!

God keeps His promises. He does exactly what His word says He will do, and there is not a time where He doesn’t fulfill His Word down to the letter. I frequently tell people that there are conditions to His promises that have to be met in order for His promises to activate, either for reward or punishment. In Deuteronomy 30:16, the Bible says, “In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” Whether a blessing or a curse, whatever God promises, it will be so! When things don’t go our way, or we suffer punishment, are we, as believers, honest enough in our walks to acknowledge that our God keeps His covenant, especially to those who love Him and keep His commandments? Today, we are going to look at Daniel 9:4 and acknowledge that God is the keeper of His covenant to us.

“And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;”

The word “prayed” means “a person that gives a specific intercession for someone else”. In this verse, Daniel interceded for Israel, knowing that the time was coming to an end for the Israelites to be in captivity. He was calling God on His word. In John 17:17, Jesus says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” In this very popular verse, it is really a part of a complete prayer of intercession, Christ praying on our behalf. Intercession has been present all throughout our faith’s history, and we now have intercession in the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:27, “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Intercession should always be made according to the will of God, no matter who is making the intercession. God’s word said the captivity of the Israelites would be 70 years, and after the 70 years, they would be delivered, Daniel is interceding on behalf of Israel, that they will be released from captivity when God ordained for them to be released.

“And made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God”

The word “confession” here means “to revere or to worship, in an act of declaring what is awesome about our God”. It comes out in praise and in thankfulness, and the acknowledgement is us telling God who we know Him to be. In Psalms 145:3-6, the Bible says, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.” Not only are we to acknowledge God’s greatness, but we are to pass it down from generation to generation and teach people to praise and worship Him for all of His power and majesty. The word “dreadful” means “reverential and awe-inspiring”. Our God is the only God, deserving of all of our praise and all of the glory that is due His name. David was identified as a man after God’s own heart and Psalms chronicles his unceasing praise of God.

“keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him”

The word “keeping” means “to protect or to guard”. The word “covenant” means “an agreement or alliance between two people”. A covenant always has terms or conditions to it in order for it to remain valid. The word “mercy” means “compassion” and the word “love” means “to have affection for”. So our God will protect the agreement He made with us, because our God isn’t going to make an agreement where the terms of the agreement won’t come to pass. God will be compassionate toward His people who are affectionate towards Him. When a person is affectionate towards someone, they display their love outwardly, and it’s deeper and more full. God desires this kind of love from us but He won’t force us to love Him like that. We have to do it on our own!

“and to them that keep his commandments;”

The word “keep” here means ” protect, guard, attend to, or observe”. The word “commandments” means “decree, precept, or word”. We have to treasure the commandments of the Lord and make sure that we protect the word, and do what the word says. The best way we can keep God’s commandments is to do what they say. In 1 Samuel 15:22, the Bible says, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” God wants a people who have a strong desire to obey His word.

God will always keep His promises. The question is, will we keep ours?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

January 11, 2021 – 2 Chronicles 7:14 – … then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Hi Everyone!

I remember when I was 16 years old, I was in the Juvenile Detention Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We had church service and a church called Christian Faith Fellowship came to conduct the service. One of the pastors recited this verse and called two youth up to recite this verse by memory. I was one of the two. Then, I had no real understanding of this verse, but inside of myself, I knew this verse was life-changing. I was too broken then to appreciate the wealth behind this Scripture, but praise God that I do now. With God, all things are possible, including change, and this verse shows that there is always hope where God is concerned. I gave up on myself without ever realizing that what I committed to memory was a verse telling me that God has never given up on me. Today, we will look at 2 Chronicles 7:14, and see that our God is mighty to save, and more than willing to forgive. It is not too late!

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

“If my people” is a phrase that introduces a condition. That means, that the conditions have to be met before the promise comes. “My people”. Who are God’s people? Christians? In Psalm 24:1, the Bible says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein”. So we are all God’s people, and we were created to be His people, whether we accept that as truth or not. In Psalm 100:3, the Bible says, “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” To know the Lord God is to know that He created us, and we are His people, and He is our God. In Romans 9:25, the Bible says, “As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.”  Whatever God calls people, that’s what we are, but we have to accept our place in faith. That is where our free will comes from, but God’s intention was to give us free will so we’d choose him. The word “called” means “to address, announce or proclaim”.  The phrase ” called by my name” means “Upon whom my name is called”. God desires for us to bear His name, and represent Him by being His people.

“Shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face”

The phrase “shall humble themselves” means “to bend the knee in subjection”. This means we understand that God is Lord over us and we give Him His due honor and respect. In James 4:10, the Bible says, ” Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” In the sight of the Lord. Guess what? The Lord is always watching so we should always be humble. In 1 Peter 5:5-6, the Bible says, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” God honors our humility and responds. Humility should always precede prayer, because we are seeking God, who holds all the power and direction, and we should never come into prayer like “spoiled rich kids”. When we pray, we are coming into the presence of our Lord, where we hope to remain as we live our lives.

“and turn from their wicked ways”

This speaks of repentance, the act of turning back from sin to turn to God.  Repentance is extreme important. In Luke 13:3, the Bible says, “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”. Life or death is on the line when it comes to repentance. We can not expect to partake in the divine nature while still holding on to lawlessness. In Galatians 5:17, the Bible says, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” We have to totally turn our backs on the sin we carried for so long, because we can’t serve both flesh and Spirit.

“Then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land “

Think about this for a second. Our repentance reaches heaven and the Lord will hear it! In 1 Peter 3:12, the Bible says, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” So if God hears from heaven, then that means the process of repentance changed our appearance from sinful to righteous, and God inclines His ear to our prayers. In 1 John 1:9, the Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When He cleanses us, He heals our “land” as well, the place our feet tread.

May we all hear the call of the Lord, repent, and receive forgiveness for our sins today!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 12, 2021 – Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 KJV

Hi Everyone!

I have been in many situations where I wanted to change, I wanted to do the right thing, and I promised myself, my family, and even my church that I was going to get my life together. When it came to actually changing, I came to find out that changing was a little bit harder than I gave it credit for, and I found myself crashing and burning. I desired to change deeply but I kept losing my battle time and time again. Many believers have found themselves in positions like this, and some still find certain aspects of their flesh hard to overcome. The statement “easier said than done” makes a lot more sense to someone who has struggled with being freed from bondage, because throughout the process, one has to constantly address and overcome the bondage that tries to overcome them. It requires continuous work and attentiveness, and that constant push is something a lot of people aren’t prepared for. Today, we are going to look at Matthew 26:41 for a word on a believer’s diligent war against the flesh.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The word “watch” means “to keep alert, awake, or to be vigilant”. Consider our watching to be similar to someone in a watchtower. The person in the tower is able to see all the way around, from an angle that allows them to look from above. We will be able to see things that come our way before it comes. In Matthew 24:43, the Bible says, “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” When we watch, we will be more prepared for the attacks of the enemy, and we won’t allow him to invade our lives, our minds, and our hearts to take away everything we have of value. In John 10:10, the Bible says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” When we understand what the enemy is coming to do, it should make us stand guard even more.

We can’t watch alone though. The verse says “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation”. Our prayer life is key to our victory over the flesh. Our prayers are powerful in the kingdom, and there are wars fought concerning our prayers. In Daniel 10:12-13, the Bible says, “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” Daniel saw a vision that terrified him. He prayed, fasted, and didn’t anoint himself for three weeks, until the answer came, and when it did, Daniel found out why it took time to receive an answer. In James 5:16, the end of the verse says, “… the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Our prayers have power, so when we see the enemy mounting an attack, our line of defense is prayer first! “Temptation” means “the things that entice us to sin that we may not be strong enough to resist on our own spiritual strength”. God wants us to succeed over temptation, and doesn’t want us to fall victim to it.

“The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”

In Romans 7:18, the Bible says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” We have to be aware that there is nothing good in our flesh that can help us to overcome temptation. We can have a desire to overcome temptation, but if we try to resist in our flesh, we will lose! In Romans 7:21, “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” This awareness should send us to the feet of the Father, for strength, for wisdom, or guidance on how to master our temptation. In Romans 8:13, the Bible says, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Only by the Spirit of God can we resist the temptation that tries to make residence within us. In John 6:63, the Bible says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Our flesh does nothing but set us back and keep us from victory. We can’t enjoy a life in the Spirit, when the flesh has reign in our lives. If we are led by the Spirit, we won’t fulfil the lust of the flesh, but we have to remain in the Spirit to not fall prey to temptation.

May we all exercise the knowledge and strength God has given to triumph over temptation.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 13, 2021 – Psalm 91:2 – He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust

“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” Psalm 91:2 KJV

Hi Everyone!

Is God really our refuge? Let’s take an inventory of whether or not God is truly our refuge. Simple question. When a storm comes, where do we turn for answers? Refuge isn’t just a habitation, but it is a place people turn to for safety and protection from whatever storms come their way. When we are lost in a world of sin, our refuge becomes some the most harmful things conceivable, far worse than what we were running from in the first place. But here’s the thing. Even as believers, we can take refuge in the wrong people and places! I will be the first to admit that God was not my first option for refuge in a lot of situations I found myself in. But He let me get stuck in them so much that now the first name I want to call is God’s! Until God becomes our refuge, our first optionand our only source for protection and rest we will constantly find ourselves absent of the peace we desire. Today we are going to look at Psalms 91:2, for a look on God’s refuge.

“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

The word “say” here isn’t just lip service. It is intended for actions to follow His word! The verse says, “I will say of the Lord”. The word “will” is a term of certainty. How many people hear us speak of our Lord? In Mark 11:23, Jesus says, “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” What we say activates our faith, and what we receive of the Lord sometimes is the result of what comes out of our mouths. In Proverbs 18:21, the Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Whoa! Death and Life? The tongue has power? In Matthew 12:34, Jesus says, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks?” What is inside of our hearts will come out by the words we speak, and the words we speak are evidence of where our refuge is. We can say “Lord, Lord” all we want, but until our actions show we seek the Lord for refuge, we will be all talk, and no power.

“He is my refuge and my fortress”

He is. Our God still IS! He is not the God of our past, the God of Acts that no longer works the works He did then. In Hebrews 13:8, the Bible says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever”. I remember feeling disconnected to God, like He was my Auntie’s God, but He wasn’t my God. Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue! When is God going to be OUR God, OUR refuge, OUR fortress? If God is someone else’s refuge and fortress, then we don’t have access to the provision, but if God is OUR refuge and fortress, then we have access to His safety, protection and provision. In Proverbs 18:10, the Bible says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Whoa! So the NAME of the Lord IS a strong tower? Not was. IS! When we begin to understand that we can place complete trust in the NAME of the Lord and be safe, then when will we place complete trust in the Lord? The word “refuge” means “shelter from harm”. The word “fortress” means “net or castle”. God needs to be our refuge and our fortress for Him to reign in our lives.

“My God; in him will I trust”

The word ‘”trust” here means, “hie for refuge”. The word “hie” means “to run towards by instinct”. That means that the first thing we do when a storm comes, or a battle surfaces, or even when we just want to fellowship with God. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Seek the kingdom of God first. The first person we seek is the person we place the greatest value in, the person we expect to get the job done. Do we really trust in OUR God? If so, our instincts should lead us to God first for refuge, and we then should seek Him fully expecting Him to give us the refuge we desire. In Hebrews 4:16, the Bible says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Boldly! Bold people seek with the intention of not leaving until they receive what they seek. That is trusting our Lord too. Our actions have to follow our professions to trust in the Lord. God is not seeking lip service from His children, but He is seeking a people that would put Him first in all things.

May we claim God to be our perfect refuge and fortress, and may our instincts reflect the trust we place in the Lord.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 14, Psalm 91:3 – Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler

“Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.” Psalm 91:3 KJV

Hi Everyone!

As believers, we will come upon some hard moments. It is inevitable, but one thing we can do is rest assured that when these times come, that not only will God be right there, but He will deliver us with either grace or removal. God won’t remove everything from our path, nor will He remove us from everything that comes our way, because sometimes God equips us with his grace to endure. That is deliverance as well, because knowing we can endure something removes the agony of the ordeal itself. In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, the Bible says, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” See, the recognition of God’s grace in the midst of struggle became deliverance, because there was a changing of the mind, and that change allowed Paul to receive God’s strength with pleasure. God’s deliverance should always produce joy, because freedom should make anyone happy. Today, we are going to look at Psalm 91:3, a word on deliverance.

“Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”

“Surely he shall”. This phrase is filled with certainty about what God will do. When we are afflicted, do we, as believers, have an unwavering trust in the Lord to deliver us, or our minds, out of a bad situation? Our instincts should be to run to the Lord for refuge, but are our instincts to trust in the Lord to deliver us? In Hebrews 11:6, the Bible says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” We have to believe that God IS, meaning “God exists”, and He rewards us that diligently seek Him. When a person is diligent, they are determined to seek the fruit of their search, and they carry the resiliency to not stop until they find it. When we are afflicted, are we diligently seeking God the same way we are seeking to be delivered. The word “deliver” means “to snatch away”, and it is the power of one force overcoming the power of another. When a person snatches someone away, then that usually implies an undeniable intention to free someone from the grasp of bondage. God is that person who has snatched us away from bondage and placed us into healing, snatched us away from death and placed us into eternal life, snatched us away from strongholds placing us on fertile ground full of seed. In Jeremiah 39:17-18, the Bible says, “But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.” God doesn’t debate about delivering His children. When God decides to do it, He sets it into motion and it happens. Nothing can stand against the deliverance of our Lord, and the reason is because “thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the Lord”. If we don’t trust in the Lord for deliverance, then we shouldn’t expect it.

The word “snare” is “a spring loaded net” or “a bird trap”. A snare is laid out in advance designed to catch a bird in a hungry and vulnerable moment, when they don’t expect a trap. That is how the enemy works, by baiting a trap and getting us to follow after the bait until we are “ensnared” by the trap. Yep, the enemy lays out bait, and the bait is very attractive. In Proverbs 27:7, the Bible says, “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” The enemy relies on our hunger because he knows hunger produces vulnerability. The enemy came to tempt Jesus after He fasted for 40 days and tried to use His hunger against Him. As badly as we want to blame everything on Satan, we have to hold ourselves accountable. In James 1:14, the Bible says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” So our own lusts draw us away, and cause us to become enticed into sin. Our own failure to trust God for deliverance is the reason why we find ourselves still ensnared. We are looking for everyone else to free us but God. The verse says, “Surely he shall deliver thee”, so when are we going to start believing?

“and from the noisome pestilence”

The word “noisome” means “rushing upon to ruin, destructive”. When something is noisome, it is not designed to leave anything standing. The word “pestilence” means “plague”. God’s deliverance is from sin, from destruction, and from the traps of the enemy, all threatening to ruin us.

May we trust in the Lord’s deliverance.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 15, 2021 – Psalm 91:4 – He shall cover thee

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4 KJV

Hi Everyone!

We all need God’s covering in our lives. There is no greater protection we have other than God’s, but a lot of times, we will slide out from under His protection, and try to go at it alone. Do we fully grasp that there is a war waiting for us, that the enemy is hard at work trying to pluck us from the hand of God? He doesn’t sleep, and he always is plotting to influence us into our demise. He won’t play fair either, so we have to secure ourselves in the presence of God, to make sure that we won’t fall prey to the enemy’s attacks. Our loving God thoroughly protects His children, and when we fully rely on this truth, He will be the one we turn to for safety at all times. Today, we are going to look at Psalm 91:4 and develop a picture of how our God protects us.

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

“He shall” is a definite phrase letting us know that it is going to happen. God gives us His Word first, then His action following our faith in the Word gives us the assurance that God makes good on His Word at all times. When a person has proven themselves to be trustworthy, it becomes way easier to trust in them. In Psalm 124:6, the Bible says, “Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.” A Word of faith is a Word where there is a belief based on both Word and action. When God’s protection is experienced, this verse makes a world of sense. The word “cover” means “to entwine, fence in, defend, and protect”. That means there is some real intention behind protecting and hiding us from the enemy. Look at how a fence is designed. There is tons of reinforcement involved, aimed at keeping things in and things out, and it has stakes that are dug deep into the ground to keep the fence standing securely. That’s what God does for us. Do we trust our God for this level of protection? With being fenced in, there is a security that will produce rest. In Psalm 20:7, the Bible says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” The Lord’s name alone is real protection, so imagine what His presence does! In Deuteronomy 32:11-12, the Bible says, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” This is a perfect picture of the Lord covering us with His feathers. When we are covered by God’s feathers, we are not visible to the enemy, because we are so camouflaged by the presence of our Lord. The enemy sees our Lord and flees because he doesn’t stand a chance!

“And under his wings shalt thou trust”

The word “trust” means “flee to for protection”, but it also means “to confide in”. Think about 1 Peter 5:7, which says, ” Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you”. When we confide in the Lord, we bring Him our petitions and entrust our lives and direction to His care. When we try to trust in our own power, the minute we begin to say “I can handle this on my own”, we make the decision to step out from under God’s covering, making us vulnerable to attack. A baby bird has everything they need right in the nest, so we have to embrace the truth that we have everything we need with God. If we are believers but don’t confide in God, nor flee to Him for protection, then we have effectively crippled God’s impact in our lives. In Proverbs 3:5, the Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding”. Trust is pivotal to any relationship, and it is no different with our relationship with God. If we don’t trust in God, then we will deny Him access to certain parts of our lives. That’s why the Bible says, “Casting ALL your care” and “Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart”, because God wants it ALL. Protection is only effective when we trust our Protector, when we stay close to our Protector, where we make ourselves available to be protected.

“His truth shall be thy shield and buckler”

The word “truth” means “faithfulness”. So it is HIS faithfulness that will protect us, because God always makes good on His Word. In Ephesians 6:16, the Bible says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” The shield is what soldiers use to protect themselves against the attacks of the wicked, but we have to have faith to clothe ourselves with the shield. If we don’t trust God at His word, and trust Him to protect us, then we are without protection and the enemy will have a field day with us! God doesn’t want us to rely on our faithfulness, but He desires us to rely on HIS faithfulness. If we protect ourselves with His word and His faithfulness, then nothing can stand against it.

Will we trust God enough to remain in the secret place, secure under His feathers, where the enemy can’t get to us?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 16, 2021 – Psalm 91:5 – Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day

“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;”

Psalms 91:5

Hi Everyone!

No one is exempt from fear. Being afraid is a normal human emotion, and being afraid is the minds warning system to seek protection. Fight, flight, or freeze are the decisions that we make when we are afraid, and our response can be as natural are the fear that tries to overtake us. When we become more Christ centered, more spiritually driven, then we allow God to change our response to fear. Those who once froze in fear learn how to fight, those who ran learned how fight, and those who fight have learned how to fight with the right weaponry. When God changes our response to fear, it now becomes an enemy we have to fight and overcome, but when we realize that we are under God’s protection, there is nothing to fear. There is nothing to fear because we are in the presence of God, which is why when angels appeared to people, one of the first things they say is “fear not”. When we remain in the presence of God, a war can be raging around us, but there is nothing to be afraid of. The presence of our Lord keeps us safe. Today, we are going to look at Psalms 91:5, fearlessness in war.

“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;”

The word “afraid” means “frightened”. We are sheep, in need of our Shepherd to keep us fed and safe, but a wolf’s job is to rush at the flock, to incite fear, causing sheep to scatter and flee. A vulnerable sheep is one who is separated from the flock, from the protection of the Shepherd, and is the one that is most subject to attack. In 1 Peter 5:8, the Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Lions scatter flocks too, and the enemy is traveling, looking for easy targets. The word “terror” means “alarm or dread” and the word “night” has a deeper meaning I want us to consider. The word “night” means “adversity, signifying the gloom or despair that sometimes overtakes the heart from the lack of God’s presence”. So the word of God says that we won’t be frightened by the dread of gloom from being absent from God’s presence! In Micah 3:6, they had a real reason to be afraid, because it says, “Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.” Darkness signifies the absence of God’s presence, the lack of His word, and there would be no warnings, and therefore, no protection from the enemy. In 2 Peter 1:19, the Bible says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” The Word of God is a light in a dark place, so we can see clearly the path we have to take, and see the enemy when he tries to advance.

“Nor the arrow that flieth by day”

Just because we walk in Light, living by the Word, and abiding in the presence of God, it does not mean the enemy won’t hurl some arrows in our direction. It doesn’t mean that the arrows won’t get close! In Ephesians 6:16, the Bible says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Wait a minute, so the enemy will try to attack someone who has on the full armor of God? With nor just arrows, but FIERY darts! In Psalm 64:1-4, the Bible says, “Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.” Our enemy is not going to make his agenda known, and desires to catch us by surprise. David asked God to preserve his life “from FEAR of the enemy”, not from the enemy. He understood that fear had to be put in check, and David was a valiant warrior, but is unafraid to express to God that he is afraid. So being a warrior isn’t about being fearless. It’s about addressing our fears, giving them over to God and allowing Him to replace our fear with courage. The enemy isn’t afraid to attack us, and he won’t be. God has given us a secret place to dwell in, where there is nothing to fear, where we can get the strength and the courage we need to get victory over the enemy. Only by remaining in the presence of our Lord will we have the protection to be unafraid.

May we all develop the courage in the Lord to stand rooted in Him even when we are afraid. We will find that there is no reason to be afraid!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 17, 2021 – Psalm 91:6 – Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction

“Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”

Hi Everyone!

Being under the covering and protection of our Lord affords us a security that we wouldn’t have otherwise. There is real safety in the presence of the Lord, but sadly, knowing this isn’t enough for us, and sometimes, we find ourselves straying further away from the secret place of God. We talked about what the secret place is, how it protects us, how our God hides us in His feathers so we not as visible to predators, and how there is nothing to fear by the absence of God’s presence because we haven’t removed ourselves from His care. As believers, we can’t become blind to what is going on around us, because what is happening in the world is the evidence that we definitely need more and more of God’s presence in this world. Covid isn’t going away, and as vaccines roll out, we have record number of positive cases, and whole countries on lockdown, again. We are amid “silent killers” that don’t have a face, and sometimes, don’t bear any symptoms. Day and night we are taking losses, but no one really wants to admit that just maybe, a world becoming more and more Godless may just be contributing to it. Today, we are going to look at Psalm 91:6 and see some more things that the Most High God protects us from by our remaining in His secret place.

“Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”

The word “pestilence” means “a destroying plague”. Yesterday’s verse 5 and today’s verse 6 are connected, because the Bible is telling believers what we don’t have to fear. Let us not be naive and think that bad things aren’t happening, and won’t happen in our world. God is trying to show us that by us remaining in the secret place, putting our trust in the Lord’s presence, we will be safe from all of the stuff. If God is telling us that we shall not be afraid, then He obviously has shown us that we are secure in Him. The word “walketh” means “travels or spreads”. Pestilence won’t stay stationary and it will keep spreading until it reaches immunity, similar to a broken chain. In Exodus 12:29, the Bible says, “And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.” The plague of death spread until every firstborn who was not covered under God’s protection in Egypt died. Look at this. There were limitations God placed upon the plague, and boundaries for how far it spreads. God gave Israel instructions to spread the blood across their door posts. In Exodus 12:13, the Bible says, “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” There was nothing for Israel to be afraid of because they obeyed the Word of the Lord and the blood was a testimony of their obedience. So while Egypt was screaming in agony over all the death, Israel was completely safe in the secret place. “Darkness” here is physical darkness, also metaphorical, means it comes without being seen. In Exodus 12:12, the Bible says, “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this NIGHT and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.” God wasn’t playing with this plague. God even afflicted false gods!!

“Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday”

The word “destruction” means “to be cut off from salvation; to experience ruin”. The word “wasteth” means “to devastate”. God has us covered from this too, and it is all because we remain in His presence, under His feathers, receiving His protection. In Job 5:22, the Bible says, “At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.” So not only will we be safe when plagues and destruction come, but we will be able to laugh? That means we will be so far removed from what’s going on that we will have joy in our hearts still, and it will be as if nothing is happening at all. In Lamentations 3:22-24 the Bible says, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” Our Lord loves us and He desires for us all to receive His covering and protection. His mercy, or divine compassion, is never ending, so He is always trying to protect His children.

Do we trust in the Lord enough to stay put and place ourselves under His protection, His direction, and His leading? We have nothing to fear when we remain in his presence.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 18, 2020 – Psalm 91:7 – but it shall not come nigh thee

“A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”

Hi Everyone!

Being under God’s protection will allow us to avoid experiencing terrible things that will happen to people around us. Look at how Covid has ripped through our world, how one person dies from it, and the next person goes unscathed. Society likes to place their own standard on who deserves bad things happen to them, without realizing that there has to be a loss of humanity in order for someone to make a statement like that. I have had a close family member despise the favor God was showing me at a time when my sister was dying, and another close family member despise me for God blessing me with a prison job that paid 19 cents an hour because they were struggling financially. People despise me for being at peace in prison with 2 life sentences without parole, because they can’t seem to find peace when they can walk out of here whenever they choose. It doesn’t mean I don’t go through things, because I do every day, but I won’t suffer as the world suffers because I try my best to remain under the feathers of my Lord Jesus Christ, abiding in the secret place with my God. From “the nest” I will see the terror by night, the arrow by day, the pestilence that spreads in darkness, and the destruction that happens in broad daylight, but I won’t be the victim. Today, we will look at Psalm 91:7, and come to thank the Lord that we can see suffering, but we ourselves are protected from it.

“A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”

The word “fall” has a ton of meanings, but let me share a few with you that are contextual to the Scripture. Fall means, “to be cast down, to die, to fall away, to perish, to rot away, to slay, to throw down”. Ouch! I don’t care what meaning we take in, it doesn’t mean it is good news for us if we are the victims of this. God assured us in His Word that He would deliver us from the snare of the fowler, from the noisome pestilence, and He assured us that under His protection, we have a trust that none of these terrors would happen to us. In Genesis 7:23, the Bible says, “And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.” Noah and his family were in the ark with all the animals God ordained to be there, and while they were safe and protected from the rain, the whole world died! Why Noah out of everyone? Why was Noah’s family spared and the world was put to death? In Genesis 6:8-9, the Bible says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Noah was in the secret place of the Most High God and he remained in the presence of God. In Genesis 6:22, the Bible says, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” So Noah obeyed God, doing ALL God commanded him to do, and he was saved when a whole world drowned.

If I saw a thousand people fall at my side, that in itself would invoke terror. Imagine being in a stadium and a thousand people keel over and die right in front of us. Ouch, right? Then it says “ten thousand at thy right hand”. The right hand normally symbolizes strength, and it also symbolizes the people closest to us! Ouch again, right? Noah probably lost a bunch of people he loved and called friends. Our salvation separates us from the people who are perishing, and sadly, we will be taken, while some of those we love the absolute most will be left behind to experience eternal damnation. We are safely in the secret place while those we care for are wandering as sheep without a Shepherd. In Genesis 18:19-21, the Bible says, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” God was planning to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but He remembered Abraham who rested in the secret place of the Most High God, in the presence of our Lord. Abraham tried to intercede for Sodom, for Lot’s sake, because He knew Lot rested in the secret place of the Most-High God as well, and so received favor to rescue Lot and his family. Imagine this. Abraham begged God to not destroy the city if He could find 10 righteous people there! 10 righteous people out of a whole city? Sadly, Lot’s wife looked back when she was told not to; and she turned into a pillar of salt! Abraham’s family was saved while thousands fell all around them.

When we dwell in the presence of our Lord, resting in the secret place, we will be spectators to this, not the victims. May God give us the fortitude to choose His protection over punishment!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 19, 2020 – Psalm 91:8 – Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked

“Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”

Hi Everyone!

In the last couple of months, I have seen more instances of civil disobedience, more instances of hatred, and more instances of lawlessness. Sadly, a lot of these people partaking in these overt acts of protest are professed Christians. This world has become less Godly and therefore, less loving, and wickedness abounds in our society. Amid a major pandemic that is taking more lives than anything we have seen in history, people aren’t making the connection with what is happening in the world of sin to what is happening with Covid. Does this mean that only bad people are suffering and dying? Absolutely not! The question we have to ask is are we dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty? The Bible promises safeguards against stuff like this and the Bible is absolute truth, so if the Word is true and can not lie, then we may have to take a spiritual inventory of our faith walks to make sure we are located securely in the presence of God. According to Psalm 91, we may not be exempt from catching Covid, but it shouldn’t destroy us. Being in this presence won’t exempt us from seeing what happens and will happen to people who are not under this covering. Today, we are going to look at Psalm 91:8, being an observer to the lack of covering on a person’s life. The grass definitely isn’t greener.

“Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”

The word “wicked” means “morally wrong, enemies of God, people that refuse to learn righteousness”. Wickedness has a reward, even though the wicked seem sometimes to go untouched. The word “reward” means “retribution, punishment”. So the reward of the wicked is to allow the snare of the fowler to keep them confined, be victimized by the noisome pestilence, allow the terror by night to reach their doorstep, the arrow by day to impale them, and allow destruction from the pestilence to overcome them. Ouch right! I know we as believers can relax and say, “Well, I am a Christian, I’m safe”, but that is not completely true. In 2 Samuel 24, David took a census of all of the fighting men of Judah and Israel. Joab tried to convince David not to do it, but he was undeterred. It took 9 months and 20 days to complete the count, and when it was done, David was convicted by his wrong, and confessed his wrong to the Lord. It took him 9 months to realized he sinned! His seer, Gad, called by the Lord, had to deliver a word to David. In 2 Samuel 24:12-13, the Bible says, “Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.” The Lord gave David a choice on what his punishment would be, and one of punishments was three days of pestilence in the land. David chose the three days, probably thinking “It won’t be that bad”. In 2 Samuel 24:15, “So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.” 70,000 men died due to David’s sin! God made David watch his kingdom suffer by his hand. Ouch! The secret place doesn’t exempt a person from the consequences of sin and wickedness, and if David is identified as a man after God’s own heart and this happened to him, then we should really repent of the sin that pulls us in bad directions.

Now, let’s look at a different observation point. In Genesis 19:27, the Bible says, “And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: 19:28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.” Obedience kept Abraham in the secret place, where he observed the punishment of the people that are morally wrong, the enemies of God, and the people who refused to learn righteousness. Disobedience caused David to lose 70,000 men in one day. In James 4:4, the Bible says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Adultery is a married person committing infidelity with another person outside of their marriage. As believers, we are the bride of Christ and if we are a friend of the world, we have made the world the bridegroom, and not Christ.

Abiding in the secret place of the Most High has its safeguards, and sadly, we are going to see suffering in the world while we go virtually untouched. This should make us desire to see more people saved and secure in the secret place.

God Bless!

Marshall

Jan 20, 2021 – Psalm 91:9 – Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation

“Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;”

Hi Everyone!

Abiding in the Lord is mandatory in any successful believer’s lives. We have to be in the presence of the Lord and allow His presence to dwell within us. Without this, we are vulnerable, easy targets for the enemy to sneak in and attack. Sometimes, the attack is physically felt, but sometimes, it is emotionally and mentally felt, which is a lot harder to overcome a lot of the time than physical. When we look at Psalm 91, it is easy to look at the plagues and pestilences, the terrors and the arrows, and believe that this is what Psalm 91 is about. We look at this world and how crazy it has gotten, and we tend to wonder is this all the world is about now; division, war, disease, dissensions, and hatred? Sadly, people fail to see this world as the place God created so that we could fellowship with Him, and also the place where He ordained us to have dominion. How does so much powerlessness exists in a world that we are supposed to exercise dominion in? The answer is simple. We are failing to dwell in the presence of the Lord continuously, to receive His Lordship and direction, to fellowship with the Lord under His terms. Today, we are going to press on through Psalm 91, now on verse 9, and gain further understanding about dwelling in the presence of God.

“Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;”

We have to look at this Psalm as the Word of God, but we have to also look at it as encouragement from one believer to the next. The Psalmist here has obviously experienced some of this stuff listed, either as a spectator or as a victim. The phrase “hast made” means “to determine, to set in place, to convey”. These are all definitions that express intentionality. So there is no lip service here. We are to set in our minds that we belong in the secret place of the Most High, that the Lord has us protected under His feathers, and we have to invite the Lord to come dwell in us. God is not going to kick the door to our heart in and force us to let Him in. In Revelations 3:20, the Bible says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” The biggest word in the verse is “if”. There are conditions to every promise the Bible has, so do we ever stop to think that our victory in Jesus Christ depends on us too? God knocks on our doors and invites us to come dwell in the secret place of Most High God with Him. The choice is ours. Have we determined that the Lord is our refuge? Have we determined that our salvation is our refuge from condemnation? Have we determined that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, the only Way to the Father? Who have we determined the Lord to be in our lives?

“which is my refuge, the most High, thy habitation”

The word “refuge” means “shelter from harm”. The psalmist expresses ownership by saying “My refuge”. Is the Lord A shelter or is He OUR shelter? In Psalm 71:3, the Bible says, “Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.” Is the Lord just our refuge, or is He our STRONG refuge? If we don’t think the Lord’s refuge can protect and sustain us, then we will find ourselves venturing out to seek refuge elsewhere. We have to believe that what God provides is exactly what we need to keep us safe. This verse says the psalmist “continually resorts” to the Lord, meaning we can’t be ‘one and done’ in our faith. We have to continuously turn to the Lord for shelter and allow His word to dwell richly in us. In Psalm 31:2-3, the Bible says, “Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” A house of defense. A strong rock. A fortress. David communed with the Lord continually about everything, and he had no problem with calling out to God, asking for His deliverance. He even told God to deliver him “speedily”. Relationship gives us access to the provision of the person we are in a relationship with, and David seems to have had an “all-access pass” to God. We do too!!! The word “habitation” means “abode”. We have to make ourselves at home with the Lord and reach after Him with everything we have in us. God has always been our dwelling place, and in Psalm 90:1 the Bible says, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” God has been providing the same secret place since the beginning, and it is still available to us. God has never stopped trying to fellowship with His people! The question is, will we dwell in the house of Lord, or seek shelter elsewhere?

May we come to know our Lord Jesus Christ as our habitation, as our refuge, and as our God.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 21, 2021 – Psalm 9:10 – There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling

“There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling”

Hi Everyone!

I love repetition in the Bible, because if something is said more than once, it is extremely important to God. It is also God reassuring us when we become unsteady in our mind and unsure about where we have planted our feet. All throughout Psalm 91, God is reassuring His children of the safety that we will have if they remain in His presence. God is really using His word to convince us, so that is telling us that He is truly concerned about our well-being. In 2 Peter 3:9, the Bible says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Not only is our God a great promise keeper, but He is very patient as well, giving us time to make the choice to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. He won’t bully us into this choice. True love isn’t forced upon someone. It just is, and it is our jobs to receive the Word and remain under His protection. Today, we are going to look into Psalms 91:10, and hopefully find ourselves more secure in the presence of God.

“There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling”

Please note that verses 9 and 10 are attached, completing one point. Verse 9 was the foundation for verse 10, which is the building. It is confirming what Psalms 91 has been teaching so far, that there is complete safety in the presence of God. The word “evil” in verse 10 means “bad, in a moral or ethical sense, also meaning pain and misery, leading to ultimate disaster”. The word “befall” means “approach with anguish in tow”. In Proverbs 12:21, the Bible says, “There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.” God doesn’t not design for pain, misery, and ultimate disaster to be the final, perpetual verdict for His children. It doesn’t mean we won’t experience hard times, or have some pain, but in 2 Corinthians 4:17, the Bible says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” So when we are afflicted, the word says it won’t last long and it has a way to bring glory to God. People read this passage and think that nothing bad will happen to them. It means that we won’t be destroyed by what happens to us. In Genesis 50, when Joseph’s brothers thought he was going to get even, Joseph said in verse 19 and 20, “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” God’s intent behind what happens to us determines whether it is evil or good. Evil leads to our destruction, but “good” is in line with the purpose God has for our lives. Even Job understood his affliction in Job 23:10, when he said, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Sometimes, “bad things” happen to believers who are in the secret place, but only so God can get the glory from our victory in Him, so God can show people what deliverance looks like in a believer’s life, so God can get the glory, which can draw more people into the secret place.

“Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling”

The word “plague” means “a blow, infliction, usually given to people who are disobedient to God.” There is always a condition or a reason something happens. When we are in the secret place, we are obedient, our minds are trained on the Lord and we are being fed and cared for by our God. David was a man after God’s own heart and he had bad things happen to him as a result of his disobedience. In Psalms 27:4, the Bible says, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.” This should be our aim, and as long as it remains that way, our stories will remain a testimony of God’s protection. Even when things happen to us, it won’t last. We won’t be the face of suffering, and while the world wastes away, we will grow stronger, more faithful and more resolved to reside in the Lord’s presence. To obey is better than sacrifice correct?

May we all reach after obedience of God’s word and rest in the dwelling place of His truth. The secret place of God is our best line of defense against the enemy.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 22, 2021 – Psalm 91:11 – For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways

“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

Hi Everyone!

A good banking practice is to protect our investments. Time is also an investment tool, and another good banking practice is ensuring we get a return on our investments. God is even more than a good banker, but He definitely protects His investments, and He ensures a return on His investments as well. When Jesus ascended to the Father, He told the disciples that He would always be there for them, and the same rules apply for us. Today’s study is a continuation to verses 9 and 10, but this time, God is giving us a picture of how we are going to be protected, so no evil befalls us, and no plague come nigh our dwelling. Sometimes, God gives us the Word and we just have to trust in it happening; but other times He gives us a window into what He is doing, and how He will bring it to pass. Today, we will be looking in Psalm 91:11, how God protects His children.

“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

When a Scripture begins with the word “for”, it is continuing or establishing a point previously made. Our God backs His word up and I am so thankful that God reveals Himself to us. In Matthew 13:11, the Bible says of Jesus, “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” The people that are blessed to dwell in the secret place of the Most High God, have access to the mysteries of God, to the revelations that come by the Holy Spirit, and to an understanding of His Word without seminary training. The phrase “shall give” means “to give an order or command to direct someone”. So our loving God gives his angels orders to direct us in the way we should go. In Proverbs 16:9, the Bible says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” The Lord’s direction will always triumph over what we think our way may be. It doesn’t matter if we are in power or a pauper, we as believers are under the direction of God. In Proverbs 21:1, the Bible says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” God is even in charge of our hearts. The word “angels” means “messengers of God responsible for aiding, protecting, and fighting for those who trusted in the Lord”. Who trusted in the Lord, who made the Lord their dwelling. So God gives the angels directions to guard over us, and of course they obey. So when God tells us we are covered in His protection, He sends His angels to make sure His word comes to pass. Key words here are “His angels”. The angels job is to carry out the word of the Lord.

“For He shall give his angels charge over thee”.

The word “charge” means “command”. So God gives His messengers orders to take command over us, to ensure His word remains true. In Isaiah 55:11, the Bible says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” God’s word will do the very thing He orders it to do. His angels are responsible for our lives so if something happens to us outside of God’s will, then that means the angels didn’t follow their orders. That won’t happen. In Psalms 34:7, doesn’t the Bible say, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them”? God has us covered!

“To keep thee in all thy ways”

The word “keep” means “to hedge about, to guard”. The word “ways” means “course of life”. So our course of life, by dwelling in the secret place of the Most High God, should be to always serve God in all we do. His angels are there to ensure that we remain in the pathway of God. In Isaiah 29:16, the Bible says, “Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” Imagine us controlling our ways as we flipping our lives upside down. God framed us in His purpose, and His angels will make sure we don’t find ourselves outside the direction of God. There had to be legions or angels commanded by God to watch over me, all to get me to this point, where I can fearlessly share the Word of God, and use my life as a testimony and a crime deterrent. Imagine the angels that had to yank me back on track, or clear people out of my midst, or deflect the bullets that could’ve been fatal when I was gunned down in 2001! I often wonder why I was protected when I was clearly doing a bunch of wrong, but there was a word of prophecy given to me on my 17th birthday that I would ultimately preach the Word of God. That word has to happen, so God had His angels protecting His investment, ME, ensuring I fulfilled my purpose. They are still protecting me!

May we understand how deep God’s love for us is, that angels are ordered to guard us!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 23, 2021 – Psalm 91:12 – They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone

“They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Hi Everyone!

Being under the covering of God gives us confidence and assurances that the world doesn’t have. We have seen that being under God’s protection will cause us to be the spectators to a lot of people suffering destruction while we won’t be harmed or consumed. This level of protection should produce a gratefulness and maintain a believer’s desire to remain in the presence of God, but sadly, sometimes, this confidence can turn into arrogance. Arrogance will cause a person to purposely step into harm’s way, which is not wise. If I know a neighborhood is extremely dangerous, and I am not led by the Lord to go there, why would I risk my life and potentially the lives of the people I’m with to go some place that can do me and them immense harm? There is a fine line between confidence and stupidity, and God doesn’t want us to use His covering as a means to display reckless behavior. Today, we are going to look at Psalm 91:12, for another role the angels of the Lord have.

“They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

The phrase “shall bear thee up” means “lift or carry”. A famous representation of this would be the “Footprints in the Sand”, where the man asked God, why, when times got rough, he looked down and only saw one set of footprints. God told him that during those rough times, He carried him. Of course, I am paraphrasing here, but the truth remains the same. In Isaiah 40:11, the Bible says, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” God will carry us through everything that comes our way, and even through some things we mess up, but it doesn’t mean we constantly place God in situations to carry us away from the sin and destruction we place upon ourselves. Satan used Psalms 91:11-12 when he tempted Jesus to throw himself off of the pinnacle of the temple in Matthew 4:6. Christ response was Scripture too, which says in Matthew 4:7, “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Christ quoted a part of Deuteronomy 6:16, to combat the test of the enemy. Do we as believers continue to test the parameters of God’s protection? Do we ask God for traveling mercies when we drive, and then not wear a seat belt? Do we pray for the same traveling mercies, put on our own seat belt, and then drink and drive, or text and drive? Do we ask God to keep us safe and then we abuse prescription medication, or meander through dangerous neighborhoods with no reason whatever to be there? How far do we use God’s protection as a license to make our own rules? In Romans 6:15, the Bible says, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Now we’re talking about sin. Why? Because Christ said “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”, and if we put our amazing God to test by putting ourselves in compromising positions trusting His angels to lift us up, then we are disobeying God’s word. Isn’t than sin? People count on “grace” the same way they count on the angels to lift them up in their hands. In Romans 6:1, the Bible says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” We should never take God’s protection or His provision lightly, nor should we ever abuse or mismanage it either.

“Let thou dash thy foot against a stone”

The word “dash” means “to strike or smite, causing one to stumble”. The angels of the Lord lift us up and carry us in their hands, so we don’t catch a blow that causes us to stumble. Look at a picture of how the wicked live. In Proverbs 4:19, the Bible says, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” God doesn’t want His children to be blind wanderers stumbling at everything that comes into our path. Let’s look at another picture. In Isaiah 28:7, the Bible says, “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.” This is the type of thing God is trying to prevent His children from experiencing. Even the supposed “shepherds” were out of line because they were too busy being full of strong drink instead of being full of the presence of the Most High God. Things will transpire in a believer’s life, causing us to be carried away from something harmful, but where can we be carried away to when the danger is ourselves?

May we come to a level of appreciation for the God we serve, who doesn’t have a desire to see any of us stumble in our sins. May we show our appreciation by never putting our God to the test.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 24, 2021 – Psalm 91:13 – Thou shalt tread … shalt thou trample under feet.

“Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”

Hi Everyone!

God promises us victories over predatory forces designed to defeat and destroy us. God always proves His Word to be true, and if He says that we are covered, then we are safe from what would mean peril for someone not under God’s covering. It doesn’t mean we won’t feel some heat, or experience some hardships, but God’s presence in our lives ensures that we will be able to thrive in any environment we may find ourselves in. As I mentioned before, this doesn’t give us a license to do whatever we want, and it definitely doesn’t mean we place ourselves in compromising situations to put God to the test, or to show people that we are covered. Years ago, I sadly watched a video clip of a church who set a bunch of poisonous snakes loose on the stage area, and people tread upon these poisonous snakes at the behest of their pastor who assured them they wouldn’t be bitten if they trusted in the Lord for deliverance. More than one person was bitten and seriously injured as a result. Someone, in their warped thinking, might say that those people who were bitten didn’t have faith, but why put God to the test, especially when His word tells us not to put the Lord our God to the test? How can a church that openly practices disobedience, expect themselves covered? Today, we are looking at Psalm 91:13, to experience the difference between deliverance from unexpected harm, and putting God to the test, expecting His deliverance.

“Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”

The word “tread” means to walk. Now look at this closely. The verse says, “thou shalt tread UPON”. I doesn’t say, “put the lion or the snake in your path, then walk amongst them”. In Acts 28:3, the Bible says, “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.” Here, Paul was being hospitable towards a barbarous people, helping to gather firewood. He wasn’t looking for trouble, nor was He looking to prove to anyone how powerful his faith and his God is. He was doing the right thing and might have been bitten in the process. God doesn’t promise that we won’t get bitten sometimes. In Acts 28, the barbarous people thought the worst of Paul because he got bitten, and called him a murderer, the victim of deserved vengeance. In Acts 28:5, the Bible says, “And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.” So Paul triumphed over the beast, nor the other way around, and experienced no ill effects from the snake. The barbarous people changed their tune when they didn’t see him destroyed or die from the snake, and called him “a god”. What we overcome gives us a testimony about Our Amazing God, and gives people who don’t know God a report of God’s power. Paul didn’t go looking for trouble. There will always be an opportunity for God to show His power through us, so there is no real reason for us to force the issue. In Genesis 3:15, God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This means there is going to be a constant struggle between Satan and mankind, so we will have enough tests that will come our way. God promises victory for us, but if the enemy can bruise the heel, then he can affect our walks.

In Daniel 6, the presidents, governors, princes, counsellors, and captains came together and conspired against Daniel. They asked King Darius to issue a royal decree (one that cannot be broken) stating that anyone who petitions any God or man except Darius for 30 days shall be cast into the den of lions. Darius signed the decree, without considering Daniel, who unapologetically prays to God three times a day. Darius only realized, after, that his administration tricked him into signing the decree to target Daniel. In Daniel 6:16, the Bible says, “Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” Darius knew Daniel’s God was a deliverer, but he still had to cast Daniel into the lion’s den. The next day, when Darius came to check in on Daniel, Daniel says in verse 22 of Chapter 6, “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” Daniel gave God the glory for this victory, BUT he wasn’t looking for trouble either. He was just praising the Lord as he was supposed to when rouble came. God delivered Daniel.

Things in life happen that are out of our control, and may we take comfort in knowing that there is always victory in Him. Predatory forces have nothing against our God!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 25, 2021 – Psalm 91:14 – Because he hath set his love upon me

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.”

Hi Everyone!

Do we set our love upon the Lord? The Bible said in John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” To “keep” means “to observe or put into practice”. The Word doesn’t begin to mean anything in believer’s lives until we put the Word to practice. It is only then that we will experience the depths of God’s faithfulness, because we will hear the Word of God and experience it come to pass. Christ said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” Why then, do people try to find another way, another truth to soothe their itching ears, and another life besides the abundant life Christ promised? Have we ever equated our obedience to Christ as expressing our love for Him, or have we grown content with just being affectionate? Today, we will look at Psalm 91:14, obedience being the pathway to love and deliverance.

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.”

The phrase “hath set his love” means “to join to”. In Genesis 2:24, the Bible says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Why am I talking about marriage here? The word “cleave” means “to join” as well, and this joining forms a union between two people, making them one. In Isaiah 54:5, “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” We are definitely the bride, and Christ is the Bridegroom, and that marriage of salvation makes us one. In Revelation 21:2, the Bible says, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Marriage is a very powerful institution, and that is why the Bible says in Mark 10:9, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Once God put it together he wanted it to remain that way. This is the type of relationship God desires to have with His children, one that is forever and unbreakable. We have to be believers joined to our Father, setting our love upon Him by putting His word into practice.

“Therefore will I deliver him”

This is conditional on us joining ourselves to the Lord, observing His Word, having a desire to always fellowship with our Lord. One of the strongest aspects of any relationship is communication, and God desires a people that will talk to Him and open our hearts so He can talk to us. The word “deliver” means “carry away safely”. In Psalm 145:18-20, the Bible says, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” The Lord hears us when we call and is always near when we call upon Him in truth. That means according to His Word, so we can’t break from that secret place and remove ourselves from the presence of the Lord and expect Him to hear us. He wants to hear us and see us drawing closer to Him. He’ll hear our cry and save us from anything that threatens to ruin us. We have to join ourselves to the Lord in order to expect His deliverance in times of trouble.

“I will set him on high, because he hath known my name”

The phrase “set him on high” means “to place in a location that is inaccessible”. God will relocate us in a place where the enemy can’t reach us, where his offensives can’t hurt us, and where we are safe from destruction. In Psalm 59:1, the Bible says, “Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.” Even David experienced enemies mounting up against him, but God kept him safe, causing him to triumph instead. God will place us somewhere where the only person that can reach us is Him, and that is in the secret place of the Most-High God, under the shadow of the Almighty. This is why it is so vital for us to dwell in the presence of the Lord, because we have a real security we wouldn’t have otherwise. The word “known” also is a marriage term, much deeper than retaining knowledge, but actually joining ourselves so we become one in it. In Psalm 9:10, the Bible says, “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” We have to join ourselves to the Word of God, and place our trust in Him. The word “name” means “authority or position”. We have to know our God and also know what He is able to do with His power, in order for us to trust Him. The answer to everything of our God is will be found in His Word.

May we set out love upon God and find our deliverance in the process.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 26, 2021 – Psalm 91:15 – He shall call upon me, and I will answer him

“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”

Hi Everyone!

When we find ourselves in pressing situations, we can count on our God to see us through them. All through Psalm 91, God makes the same promise in different forms, but the message remains the same; dwell in the presence of God, and be reassured that He will protect us from destruction and ruin. That is just by dwelling in the presence of God, because He won’t let us be consumed by the attacks of the enemy. What happens when we cry out to Him? Does He hear us? When we are afraid, does He give us peace? How does God respond when we call out to Him? Remember, this study we’re doing in Psalm 91 is about dwelling in the secret place of the Most-High God, about being in the presence of our Lord and King, the promises in this Psalm are designed for people who abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Today, we are going to look at Psalm 91:15, our call to God and His response.

“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”

The phrase “shall call” means “to accost, to address by name, to summon”. All of these are good definitions for this because it really paints a clear picture of what we are supposed to be doing when we call out to God. The word “accost” means in the Webster’s New World College Dictionary “to approach and speak to; greet first, before being greeted especially in an intrusive way”. This means we don’t wait on God to talk to us. We approach Him. Where? In that secret place! In Hebrews 4:16, the Bible says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Boldly!! Bold people approach God knowing we have every right to be there in His presence. Bold people approach God, trusting they are going to get the answers they seek. Bold people trust God at His word! We have to address our God by name too. The name of the Lord is of extreme importance, and addressing Him by name is vital to our being heard. Think not? What if your name was “Marshall” but someone was walking behind you screaming “Peter”!!! You would ignore them because they can’t be calling you if they are calling out the wrong name. In Acts 4:12, the Bible says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” That name is Jesus! The word “summon” means “to call upon to do something, to call upon to appear”. In Romans 10:13, the Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” We have to call upon our Lord with purpose and with expectation that He will respond. The word “answer” means “to pay attention in order to respond”. That’s what our God does when we accost Him, address Him by name, and summon Him. He answers.

“I will be with him in trouble”

The word “trouble” means “tightness or adversity”. Ever been on a tight spot? Ever faced some adversity? God promises to be with us in trouble, but do we believe in that? In Psalms 50:15, the Bible says, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” God wants to deliver us because it brings glory to His name. How does it bring glory? Because we share our testimony with other people, how God came in a tight spot and rescued us from destruction. What does sharing our testimonies do? In Mark 5:20, the Bible says, “And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” When we share our testimonies, men marvel and they may just seek out Christ for themselves. We don’t have to be preachers or have extensive knowledge of the Bible to be effective for the kingdom. This demon possessed man went from spiritual bondage to a huge spokesman for Christ. All he had was his testimony.

“I will deliver him, and honour him”.

The word “deliver” here means “to strengthen, to fortify, to equip for war”. God is not going to always remove us from adversity, but sometimes, He will equip us to overcome it. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Bible says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul asked God three times to remove the thorn in his side, but God gave him grace and His strength, and he in return gave God the glory. The word “honour” means “to make heavy”. This means that God will make us credible and powerful. If our words carry weight, then that means we can be trusted to deliver on what we promise. If God can make us heavy, then that means that He is the heaviest! Remember, we are to use what God gives us to bring glory upon Him, so WHEN he delivers us, we are to broadcast God’s goodness to everyone.

May we call out to God, so He can equip us to overcome and spread our testimony of deliverance.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 27, 2021 – Psalm 91:16 – With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

“With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”

Hi Everyone!

I am even further convinced that, in the presence of our Lord, we have amazing protections from the destruction that is prevalent all around us. Literally, thousands and tens of thousands are suffering destruction while we are the saddened spectators of it. I am not just talking about Covid, but I am talking about drug overdoses, murder, and drunken driving accidents causing death. Our world is crumbling under Godlessness, under Godless leadership, under the lack of faith in schools, under the weight of broken homes. I have gone through fire after fire; from my parents’ abandonment, to abuse, to bullying, to homelessness as a teen, making a slew of horrible decisions in the process. I know what it feels like to be so separated from the love of God that death becomes a very welcomed guest, and I also know how it feels to experience the presence of God so richly that I fell in love with God all over again, and nothing else mattered. I have come to realize that while God is a protector, a deliverer, a healer, a Savior, and a liberator to all who remain in His presence, none of that really matters without experiencing His love, His presence, His affection towards His children. God makes an abode that makes us feel safe, loved and a part of a family. Today, we will look at the last verse of Psalm 91:16, a long life of salvation.

“With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”

The phrase “long life” is something God gives to His children, especially those who walk in obedience to Him and remain in His presence. In Proverbs 3:1-2, the Bible says, “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” By keeping God’s commandments in our hearts, and allowing God’s law to remain in our minds, He will ADD length of days, long life, and peace to us. In Psalm 1:2, the Bible says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Day and night. That means we continue to commune with the Word of God so what will come out of us will be His Word. The word “trust” means “hie for refuge”, and the word “hie” is an instinct reaction causing us to run to someone or something for safety. So we study our Word daily, meditate on it day and night, so we build the instinct to run to God first for safety. Remembering God’s law and planting His commands in our heart is a daily action that also keeps us in the presence of God. In Deuteronomy 30:15-16 the Bible says, “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” God is a gentleman, and He gives us the choice to choose life and good by walking in His ways, and putting his commandments into practice. Long life is an assurance a believer has that does these things, that follows the Word of the Lord.

Think wickedness won’t shorten a person’s life span? In Ecclesiastes 7:17, the Bible says, “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” God doesn’t say this if it can’t be a possibility for someone who walks in wickedness. In Exodus 20:12, the Bible says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” It is implied by God that long life isn’t promised to those who don’t honour their father and mother. In Joshua 24:20, the Bible says, “Ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.” There is no safety to those who forsake the Lord, but the Lord will consume those who serve strange gods. In John 5:24, Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Only through hearing the word of God, believing on God, who sent Christ to die for our sins, and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can we pass from death to life. We still have a choice to make everyday, to dwell in the presence of the Lord, to abide in Him and allow Him to make his abode in us. We have to make the choice to remain in the secret place of the Most High God, resting safety under the feathers of our loving God. That ensures our deliverance, our protection and our provision.

“And shew him my salvation”

The word “salvation” here means “deliverance or protection”. God’s salvation, not our own, not our friend’s, our family’s, or our spouse’s. His salvation gives us the testimony that we can share with the world around us, and our testimonies bring glory to God. May the “secret place” be, to each one of you, the place of great comfort, and love!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 28, 2021 – Genesis 1:26 – Loving YOU Part 1 – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness

Hi Everyone!

Do we really love ourselves? When we look in the mirror, what do we see? Do we check for flaws, or do we check for beauty? When we look within, what do we see? Is the pain from a broken home still visible? Does the stench from horrifying relationships tarnish our self-worth? How is our self-esteem? High, low, undetectable? Before we can begin to love ourselves, we have to begin the process of knowing ourselves. When we know who we are, we don’t become subject to the lies of the enemy, designed to keep us blind to who we really are. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, the Bible says, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The enemy, Satan, doesn’t want us to know who we are, so when we have a false self image, the enemy will present things (and people) to keep our minds in that state of blindness, so we will be conditioned to accept what the enemy says over what God says about us. When we accept who God says we are, it allows us to see God’s Word as truth, which will then allow us to know Christ as our Savior, and in that lies our ability to receive salvation to our souls. Today, we are tackling Genesis 1:26, who God says we are.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

“And God said” is a phrase that, by itself, carries power! Creation came to because of what God said. In Genesis 1:3, the Bible says, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Whatever God declares it to be, that’s what it is, and whenever God orders something to come into existence, His word does it. The word “image” means “shadow or resemblance”. When a person walks “in someone’s shadow”, they are imitating or performing the same acts as the person who cast the shadow. When that happens, they resemble each other, and one can see the connection. When people see us, do they see a people walking in the shadow of God, bearing His image? The word “likeness” means “similitude”. When God created us, He designed us to not only look like Him, but act like Him as well! In Luke 8:16, Jesus says, “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.” When we know ourselves, we should then allow our “light” to shine, which is God dwelling in us. We are to position ourselves where we can be seen, not to elevate our egos but to magnify God, who is revealed in us. When we are afraid to show who we truly are, we are saying we are ashamed of who God created and declared us to be. In Genesis 2:25, the Bible says, “And man and wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Never, and I repeat, never be ashamed to be who God has created you to be. There is only one you!!!

Who we are began at creation, with the Word of God expressing what man was to become. God didn’t create us to look like something else. He gave us His image and His likeness, and the ability to walk in who we are, because He wanted people to see us and see God. In 1 John 4:12, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” God is saying, “Don’t worry about seeing me physically. Worry about who I am being perfected in you.” God is love, so if we ever desire to manifest God’s presence, then love is definitely a sure way to go. Before we can do any of this, we have to do the most simple thing anyone could do, accept that God created us in His image and in His likeness. Before we can begin to love ourselves, we have to understand and accept where we came from. A tree began with a seed, but what keeps a tree alive is its root, which is actually inside of the seed itself. Everything the tree needs for life is already inside of the seed, so when God created us, He created us with our identity, our purpose, our strengths and our weaknesses. In Ephesians 1:4, the Bible says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” There was no mistake behind our births. We were selected!

The word “dominion” means “to reign or to subjugate”. Before we can walk in dominion, we have to accept that we bear God’s image and likeness, so because He reigns, we reign as well. Imagine a prince or princess that won’t accept their crown. Doesn’t seem too logical does it? Well, we do this same thing when we don’t accept what God says about us, because He created us to bear His image and His likeness, and He also gave us dominion as well. The key to loving ourselves is uncovering Who we came from and what is His intention for us, and we will begin that work here!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 29, 2021 – Proverbs 1:7 – Loving You Part 2 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge

Hi Everyone!

What do we really know about our God? That is a very important question, because what we know about our God determines the type of life we live here on earth. Before we can begin to love ourselves, we have to know ourselves, and before we can begin to know ourselves, we have to know our God. If a bought a brand new appliance, I would pull out the instruction manual, and read what the manufacturer has to say about its product. The person that knows the product the best is the person that made it, and the manual ensures that, if followed correctly, the user will have the optimal experience from the product. Our faith walks are no different. God created us and He provides an instructional manual for how we should live, move, and have our being. That manual is the Bible. If we follow it correctly, we will experience the promises the manual contains. We have to have a deep respect for any manual in order to know how to operate the product effectively, and it is no different in the faith. Today, we continue our journey into “Loving You” by looking at Proverbs 1:7, the fear of the Lord.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

The word “fear” here means “moral reverence that makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge”. We are to have this deep, profound respect for our Creator, which will cause us to listen to Him when He speaks. In John 1:1-3, the Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” So we have to first understand that if we want to know God, He can first be found in His Word. The Bible is an instructional manual for us to not only know who we are, where we came from and how we are supposed to live, but it also tells us about the Manufacturer as well! So if the Word is God then the Word will allow us to get to know our “mysterious” God well. If we don’t reverence our Creator God, then we are subject to mismanage His Word, causing us to make up our own rules in the process. We will never be able to operate according to God’s design for us by trying to operate outside of the manual’s instructions. This “fear” is not about being afraid. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him, because when we become afraid, we hide from His presence and God did not create us to dwell apart from Him. In 1 John 4:18, the Bible says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Look at this as a parent. Would we want our children afraid to come to us? Quite the opposite, right? We want them to come to us, so we can help them with whatever they need, and we’d actually feel hurt if our children sought answers elsewhere for something we know we can easily provide. God is the same way, and part of that moral reverence known as “fear” is knowing it is best to dwell in the presence of our Lord and Creator God.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”

The word “beginning” means “the first fruit, the best, or the principal part”. The first part is the most important! In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The best part of knowledge is having this deep moral reverence for the Lord, which is the foundation to everything we know. When we seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness we don’t have to worry about ‘not having,’ because God’s will apply to us. In Psalm 111:10, the Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” Fearing the Lord is the beginning of everything we desire to have as children of God. We exercise good understanding when we follow the Word of God.

“But fools despise wisdom and instruction”

The word “fools” means “people who act silly or perverse”. The word “despise” means “disrespect”. I don’t have to go to the Word to make this illustration, and I am sure a lot of men can vouch for this with me because we are KNOWN for doing this. We buy something we have to put together, but the instruction manual is usually the LAST thing we grab. We will tear everything apart, have tools everywhere and we’ll start putting it together, only to have to stop because we got it wrong. Normally, someone will tell us to look at the instruction manual, but we’ll fight it until we have no choice but to tuck in our tails and read the instructions. 🙂 God wants us to be a people who read the instructions first, and then we will understand that everything has its place and time.

May the Word of God be our first source of knowledge, and may the fear of the Lord bring us closer to Him through His word. We can’t know ourselves until we know Him.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 30, 2021 – Luke 10:27 – Loving You Part 3 – Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart

Hi Everyone!

Loving God is the key to loving ourselves. Everything God desires for us to do has love as a main ingredient. When we understand the necessity in knowing ourselves, in understanding we come from God, and in understanding that before we can begin to love ourselves, we will see that we have to first love God. We can only give someone what we have, and absent the love for God, we aren’t equipped to extend anything more than fleeting affection towards the ones we profess we love. Sadly, we also do it to ourselves as well, and we tend to not love ourselves by mistreating ourselves like we aren’t created by God in His own image and in His own likeness. By knowing our God, we will begin to understand who He is and what He has done for us, and our superficial affection then turns into love because we allow God to inhabit us and place His love in our hearts.  God isn’t about rules like everyone tends to think. God is about love, because if a person loves, then there is no need for rules. Today, we are studying Luke 10:27, another piece into loving ourselves.

“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”

The word “love” here is in reference to superiors, and includes the notion of duty, respect, honor, and service with fidelity. God wants a love from us that is faithful and undivided. This love is shown by people who have a desire to follow the Lord. God doesn’t take our love lightly. In James 2:5, the Bible says, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” Don’t think that we have to be prettied up to love our God. Don’t think we have to have it all together either. He desires a people rich in faith, people that hear the Word of God, believe in it, and do what it says. God promises us His kingdom if we love Him, and He has chosen us to experience Him.

The word “Lord” means “supreme authority”. So we are not loving a second rate God. We are loving the Person who has created everything, including us, and whose plan is being performed down to the letter. Is God Lord over our lives? Quick test. Whose direction do we live under? In Psalm 37:23, the Bible says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” A “good” man, mankind that is living according to the purpose God has for our lives. When God is Lord, we will take pleasure in His direction because we know it is best for us.

“With all of thy heart”

ALL! God doesn’t want our scraps, nor does He want our love last when all our other options have failed. He desires His children to love Him because He is. As parents, what type of love do we want from our children? Love that’s out of fear of consequence? Love that is only because the gifts come? Love because life is great and we don’t have a care in the world? If we want real love from our kids, unconditional love, then doesn’t our God, our Lord, and our Creator want the same thing? The “heart” is “the center of the desires, feelings, affections, passions, and impulses.” In Proverbs 4:23, the Bible says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The heart is extremely important, because it is the entry point to every good and bad thought, idea, and feeling. God wants us to “keep” or “guard” our hearts with all diligence. That means we are responsible for what we allow in and what comes out.

“And with all thy soul”

Once again, “ALL”. The soul is the seat of our identity. Our souls are who we are. God wants us to love Him with who we are. In the first part of 1 Chronicles 22:19, the Bible says, “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God;”. To “set” means to “fix in position”. When someone is fixed in position, they are not designed to move. God wants His children to seek after Him and love Him, having no desire to move.

“With All thy strength”

Yet again, “ALL”! The word “strength” here means “moral and mental might”. Love isn’t physical, but it does require strength. It makes it a lot easier when we understand that our God is Love, that our God is strength, and if we are His creation, then we have access to love God the way His designs. In Psalm 73:26, the Bible says, “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Our God loves us so much that we don’t need our own strength to love Him. He gives us His strength so we can love Him even when it is not easy on us.

“With All thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself”

The “mind” means “thoughts, intellect, understanding”. So God desires us to love Him from everything we know and understand about Him. God wants us to take all the love we give Him and then love His creation with the same love we would love ourselves with. May we come to love God and people with everything He is!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jan 31, 2021 – Romans 8:16 – Loving You Part 4 – we are the children of God

Hi Everyone!

Loving ourselves is a very important thing, and the vast majority of people who don’t love themselves have no real appreciation of who they are, and where they come from. When we look within, do we really understand that we are children of God? If not, then what blocks our understanding or our belief. Since the beginning of creation, Satan has been trying to get us to doubt who we are, doubt who we belong to, and deny the power that we possess. He doesn’t have to strip us of our power if we can be convinced to freely give it away. In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, the Bible says, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The person that has been convinced to receive the lies about their identity has been made lost and blind, so we can’t find our way to God and so we can’t see the things He desires for us to see. Today, we take some of that back, and we look at Romans 8:16, accepting our place as children of God.

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

“The Spirit itself” is a phrase that lets us know that the Holy Spirit is present and it making the determination as to who we are. Remember in John 14:26, Jesus says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” The Holy Spirit is the constant reminder of the Word of God, everything we have been taught and everything we need to learn as well. God is always telling His children who He is and who we are, because He knows there is an enemy out there trying to give a different report. In Isaiah 53:1, the Bible says, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?”. We have to believe the report given by God concerning us, and we have to understand that as children, God is more than willing to reveal Himself to us.

The phrase “beareth witness” means “to give testimony, to affirm, to validate information and attest to its truth”. So the Holy Spirit gives a report on our identity, and His witness is truth. In Hebrews 6:18, the Bible says, “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:” God can’t lie, and we have a strong hope in His word to do exactly what He sets out for it to do. In Exodus 20:16, the Bible says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” So God expects us to speak truthfully about each other and give accurate reports on our neighbor. He does the same thing. So when the Holy Spirit bears witness about something, you can take His report to the bank.

“The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit”

“WITH” our spirit, not TO our spirit. In Matthew 18:16, the Bible says, “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” God is establishing the truth in His witness through us, through our witness that we ARE the sons of God. God doesn’t need our help to establish who we are, but He desires us to accept and claim who we are. In 1 John 5:9-10, the Bible says, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” Yeah, it is really this serious. If we don’t believe God’s witness about our identity, then we have effectively called God a liar. How can we believe the report of the “creation”, but not the report of the Creator? I was called “evil incarnate” and “incorrigible” by the judge who sentenced me to 2 consecutive life sentences without parole. Do I believe His report, or do I believe God’s report and the truth He planted within me? The judge who sentenced me over 16 years ago would have to provide a different report on me today, praise be to God, because I am a child of God, a man of standard, a man of faith, and I am in the business of seeing lives saved. I accept what God says about me, because His Spirit gave a report with my spirit that I am a child of God.

Did I always feel this way? Absolutely not! Do I always feel this way? Absolutely not! It doesn’t matter what I feel or don’t feel, because the truth doesn’t care about feelings. It just IS! We have to accept who God says we are, because we are His creation, and He knows us the absolute best. When we hold on to who God says we are, then no other report matters.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 1, 2021 – Romans 8:17 – Loving You Part 5 – And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ

Hi Everyone!

Who God says we are is who we are. When His Spirit bears witness with our spirit, it is our job to come into agreement with the Word of God by faith. If God declares us His children, then it is our job to carry ourselves as such; and come against any thought or idea that is contrary to that truth. Feelings of inferiority can seep in, causing us to question who we are and our access to the kingdom of God as His children. One of the biggest problems in our society is that people are taking on identities that aren’t accurate. I know this firsthand. Those living the street life, committing crimes, partaking in the gang culture, developing a reputation that is completely contrary to who God says they are. God created us unique and gave us our own purposes. He did this to form a body of His children where there is nothing lacking, where His people can touch all points of the world to win souls for Christ. Today, we are looking at Romans 8:17, it’s about more parts of our identity where the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit. The more we know about ourselves, the more we can love about ourselves.

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

The word “children” here are those who God loves and cherishes as a Father, the devout worshippers of God, the righteous and saints. This expresses a deep spiritual connection established through our relationship with Him. God also establishes us as “heirs”, which means “a partaker of the blessings which God bestows upon His children, implying admission to the kingdom of heaven and its privileges as the result of our salvation by the death of Christ.” When Christ was talking to Paul about His purpose in Acts 26:18, He said, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Open their eyes. When we accept an identity for ourselves outside of what and who God claimed us to be, we have accepted blindness as normalcy, darkness as the climate we live by, and Satan as the authority in our lives. In Christ, we can see who and what we are, receive forgiveness for our sins, and an inheritance. Heirs receive an inheritance, and that inheritance gives us the ability to access the kingdom of God right on this earth, and when we die, we have eternal life waiting for us, where we will live with our loving God together. In Galatians 4:6-7, the Bible says, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” No believer in Christ can say in truth that they are powerless. We have the Holy Spirit inside of us, part of our inheritance, and we are established as children of God.

I don’t care what your parents used to call you, what your spouse used to say, what kids at school used to call you. We are children of God and as believers, we have the power of Christ dwelling in us. We are “joint-heirs” with Christ, which means “fellow participant”. In John 14:12, Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Belief is necessary, because if we don’t know that we are children and heirs of God, then we won’t believe His word. Christ said that we will do what He has done because we believe on Him. He went further to say, “Greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father”. How can we have this truth in our hearts and then allow ourselves to believe that our prayers won’t be answered, or miracles won’t happen, or man’s report carries more weight than what God says? If we deny our identity, we deny our access. It is no different than being enrolled in a school that we won’t go in, because we feel unworthy of being there. Our name is on the roster, our test scores got us in, but we stand outside calling ourselves stupid. What if we accept the words “failure”, “murderer”, “adulterer”, and “evil” into our presence and accept that as truth? What if “Paul” accepted “persecutor” as his identity. We wouldn’t have 2/3 of the New Testament!

“If so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together”.

The phrase “suffer with” means, “to experience pain jointly or to sympathize with”. In 2 Timothy 2:12-13, the Bible says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” Let us not be confused, we are created to be one with our God, whether we accept that or not, whether we suffer a little or not, or a lot. He created us to bear His light!

May we come to accept our rightful place as children, and heirs, of God.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 2, 2021 – Romans 8:29 – Loving You Part 6 – conformed to the image of his Son

Hi Everyone!

Part of understanding our God is understanding that before we were created, God already had the plan for our lives figured out. He knew us at creation, even before we were born. Every second of our lives moves according to God’s plan, and we are skillfully crafted to perform that plan. Part of knowing ourselves is to know that God didn’t just toss some spare parts together to create us, that He was very detailed in His design of us as individuals. Knowing ourselves is coming to understand the personal purpose God has for our lives, but loving ourselves is the happy acceptance for God’s creation and purpose for our lives. When we love ourselves, we will stick as closely to God’s unique design of us as humanly possible. Today, we will take a look at Romans 8:29, God’s foreknowledge of us, which will hopefully give us more to understand about ourselves and therefore, more to love.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

The word “foreknow” is used of persons and means “to approve of beforehand”. Please read this over again. God not only created us, but He APPROVED of us before we were created. In Genesis 1:31, the Bible says,  “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” God declared every thing He created and declared it VERY GOOD. What did God do next? In Genesis 2:1-3, the Bible says, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” God rested, blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because there wouldn’t be anything else added to it. Think about this. Everything God created us to be is already there within us, but we find ourselves trying to build a better identity outside of God’s design because we haven’t accepted who God has created us to be. God told us by approving of us that we are good enough, smart enough, and strong enough. It’s our job to believe that.

“He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son”

The word “predestinate” means “to limit in advance, to predetermine”. This means that God set our boundaries, our potential on order for us to remain in His purpose for our lives. To predestinate something means to set the course for someone to be in places they were created to be in at the precise time they were set to be. In Ephesians 1:5, the Bible says, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” God even had to precise time set for our salvation, and every event leading up to it. The word “conformed” means “formed together with, fashioned like unto”. God, once again knew the precise time that we would before “fashioned like unto” the image of His Son. Imagine a statue that looks exactly like the person it’s reflecting. God has fashioned us to look like Christ at the precise time and place He designed for it to happen. In Philippians 3:21, the Bible says, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” The word “image” means “reflection, representation, or similitude”. God designed us to look like Christ, act like Christ, and project Christ in all we do. God already had this time and place figured out! So when I was face deep in the street life, God already knew before I was born that I would not only go through all of this, but I would live my life for Him, spreading the Word of God to any willing to listen. I didn’t see it, but God did. I thought I was too far gone, that I did too much wrong, but God approved of me before I was born. Looking back, I see clearly that everything in my past was absolutely necessary to who I am today. How can I ever help pull people out of fires I’ve never been in myself?

“That he might be the firstborn among many brethren”

In 2 Timothy 2:21, the Bible says, “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” God’s desire is for us to choose Him to be our God all while knowing that some won’t. If we remove ourselves from what we think is valuable, and accept and appreciate what God deems valuable, we will become the “firstborn”. The firstborn is always the chief one, the beneficiary of the inheritance of God. The firstborn are set apart, and so are we as believers! God didn’t create us to be like everyone else. He created us to look like Christ. God loves us that much that He approved every detail of our identities. When will we?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 3, 2021 – Romans 8:30 – Loving You Part 7 – whom he called, them he also justified

Hi Everyone!

God orders our steps, and those steps lead us to where He called us to be. Having the security of God’s word in our hearts should make us secure in who we are as well. The word is “should”, because not all of us will come to a sincere acceptance and admiration for who God created us to be, and those will live their lives in paralyzing doubt and disbelief. If we don’t know who God is, then we can’t begin to embrace who we are, because our identities are given by Him. If we can’t embrace who we are, then we won’t accept our purpose, because our identity is woven into our purpose. If we won’t accept our purpose then God won’t be glorified in our lives. People who truly love themselves are being who God created them to be and doing what God has called them to do. In this society, people are chasing wealth and fame more than fulfilling God’s purpose in their lives, and while this world is touting the most millionaires and billionaires ever, the world is becoming less loving, irreparably broken. Today, we forge on into loving ourselves, looking at Romans 8:30, what predestination produces in us who believe.

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

As we already discussed, the word “predestinate” means “limit in advance, to predetermine”. God has our purpose fixed, the place our purpose will occur, and the time it will manifest. In Romans 9:21, the Bible says, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” Let us not think that what is happening to us is catching God by surprise. He even figured our rebellion into His plan for us, causing the worst moments of our lives to ultimately work for good. In Romans 8:28, doesn’t the Bible say, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”? ALL things work TOGETHER! God set limits so we’d remain in the framework of His purpose, so He only let us go so far, do so much, make so much money, and have certain people in our midst for periods of time. We thought it was “fate” but it was the creative precision of God that caused these things to come to pass at the precise time.

“Them also he called”

The word “call” means “to summon in order to appoint for a position of divine purpose”. In order for God to call us, He has to know where we are and will be, and even better, He called us before we were born! In Acts 2:39, the Bible says, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.” There is a promise in store for those who the Lord calls, and it is not exclusive to Jews. God had us figured into the equation the whole time, knowing full well that the Gentiles would be engrafted into the body of God. In John 10:16, Jesus says, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Please don’t believe the lie that we aren’t included in the promises of God due to past sins, religious affiliations, or because we don’t feel worthy. How we feel and what we think doesn’t negate the work God has already done, nor the plan He has had from the beginning. Too many believers are in churches feeling unworthy because they haven’t embraced what God has already approve of us. He called the people He established beforehand.

“And whom he called, them he also justified”

The word “justified” means “rendered righteous or just”. It is bestowed upon mankind by God through salvation by Christ Jesus, absolving us from the consequences of sin and giving the privilege to enjoy divine favor. In Romans 5:1, the Bible says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. God laid the groundwork for us to partake and succeed in this divine nature, but it is still our job to accept and embrace our place in the kingdom of God by faith. Justifying us is making us approved by Him to do what we are called to, no different than God putting His stamp on us. There is no reason to feel unworthy or unqualified because He has thoroughly equipped us.

“and whom he justified, them he also glorified”

The word “glorified” means “bestow honour and adoration upon”. This is God placing a spotlight on us, so He can reveal that we belong to Him. In John 17:22, Jesus says, “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” Christ glorified us so the world could see that we are one with God, so we can then show the world who our God is, and give Him the glory for who we are and what we do!

May we come to understand that we are in the perfect place, at the perfect time for God’s purpose to be fulfilled!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 4, 2021 – Romans 9:17 – Loving You Part 8 – I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee

Hi Everyone!

Our lives have purpose, and the main purpose for our lives is to bring glory to God. When we are glorified by God as in Romans 8:30, we then give glory back to God by showing people in our testimonies why God gets all of the credit. In the tenth chapter of Luke, when Christ sent the seventy out to preach the Word of God, they came back excited that the devils were subject to them through Jesus’ name. Christ adjusted their perspective. He gave them both power and protection in Luke 10:19, but in verse 20, Christ said, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Christ wants us to focus more on where we stand spiritually with God than focus on the power He’s given us to activate the kingdom of God on earth. Today, we will look at another aspect of loving ourselves in Romans 9:17: why God gives us the power and abilities we have.

“For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”

Think about this with me. God created Pharoah from the beginning, knowing full well he was not going to convert and be saved, but equipped him with a powerful purpose nevertheless. God even knew Pharoah would harden his heart and not let the Israelites go. In Exodus 3:19-20, the Bible says, “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.” God created Pharoah to harden his heart until all of the plagues came to him, the last being the death of all the firstborn, causing the Passover to be implemented. Then he let them go. The phrase “raised thee up” means “cause to rise or exist”. God’s purpose isn’t just for believers, like some would assume. Everyone was created with a purpose, so if those who aren’t believers have some purpose of importance, then we, being the children of God, definitely have a purpose of importance. In Habakkuk 1:6, the Bible says, “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not their’s.” God ordains people that aren’t saved to rise in power, but the Chaldeans had a purpose too, and that was to take Judah captive, preserving the line to Christ so they wouldn’t be destroyed. God also rose up King Cyrus of Persia to overthrow the Babylonians to ultimately free God’s people from captivity.

“That I might show my power in thee”

The word “power” here means “miraculous force”. It’s not about strength or might, but it’s about God fulfilling His purpose in the people He has chosen. In Romans 9:22-23, the Bible says, “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory”. God can show His power though His wrath or through His blessings, but God has purpose even in both. Wrath was always used as a tool for redirection and repentance, which turns people back to God so He can receive the glory that is due His name. At the same time, God shows His power in people by blessing us with what we need to perform His purpose. In Ephesians 3:7, the Bible says, “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” God’s power is revealed as we reach after His purpose, as we share the word of God, as we activate the promises of Scripture, and as our faith bears fruit. In Ephesians 3:20, the Bible says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”. We are able to do beyond anything our finite minds can conjure up when we allow God’s power to reign in our lives. He gets the glory when His power is revealed in us, because our mouths will speak the victory and our lives will bear witness!

“That my name might be declared throughout all the earth”

The phrase “might be declared” means “to herald publicly”. When someone heralds something publicly, they become the “town crier” in a sense, having a boldness to speak a word of truth to those whether they listen or not. God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt and triumph over Egypt was spread all over the world. In the second chapter of Joshua, the word of God’s deliverance spread to Jericho, ahead of their arrival. It confirmed to Rahab that Israel would conquer Jericho.

God gives us the power to operate according to His purpose, so His power can be revealed in our lives, so His name can spread throughout the world. May we be willing vessels that God can use for His purpose.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 5, 2021 – Luke 15:7 – Loving You Part 9 – joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth

Luke 15:7 – Loving You Part 9

Hi Everyone!

We are so precious to God! Every part of our lives matter to Him and His love for us is in every detail of our attributes and character. Imagine the God we serve creating billions of people, all with their own specific characteristics, their own purposes, and their own identity. There has to be an extraordinary love and care that God has to have for His children, and His love for us is freely shown by the death and resurrection of Christ. In John 3:16, the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God sent His Son as a perfect atoning sacrifice for our sins, and gave us access to everlasting life if we believe in Him. God gave His son, knowing full well there would be tons of people that would reject His gift, but He did it anyway, to save the ones who are lost. Today, we will look at Luke 15:7, yet another reason for us to learn how to love ourselves.

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

I personally have been that “one” that was lost. I know what it feels like to be separated from the Lord. It humbled me to fully grasp this verse, especially after reading Luke 15:4, which says, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” Do we fully understand that God went searching for us, found us WHERE WE WERE and offered us repentance as if we were always living righteously. In verse 5, God put us on His shoulders and rejoiced. So while the world around us is flinging dirt on us every time we do something wrong, God is searching us out in order for us to rest on His shoulders. The word “joy” means “delight, rejoicing, or gladness”. God celebrates when He finds us and speaks to His closest people about His child that was lost and now is found. Our salvation is a huge deal for God, and when we can clearly understand that God not only celebrated our repentance, but He got the heavenly host involved in the celebration as well, it should really show us how deeply God loves us.

The word “heaven” is the abode of God, Christ and the angels, the spiritual realm of God. Believe it or not, this is where everything began. In John 6:63, Jesus says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” When God spoke and called for creation to come, it was in the spiritual realm, and its manifestation was in the earth. That is why in the Lord’s prayer, Matthew 6:10, Jesus says, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Everything begins in heaven. So when we come into repentance, the celebration begins in heaven and manifests itself in the earth, with our lives bearing the evidence of our repentance.

The word “repentance” means “think differently, implying Godly sorrow for unbelief and sin which causes the person to turn from this and turn to God and the gospel of Christ.” Repentance is more than just being sorry. Plenty of people are “sorry”, but still don’t change. Repentance always causes a change of direction. In 2 Corinthians 7:10, the Bible says, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” True repentance means we keep our minds, hearts, and direction moving towards God, and our back remain towards the sin and unbelief we used to walk in. There is rejoicing in heaven, kicked off by our loving God, who came running after us when we were lost, all because we turned towards the Lord our God.

“More than over ninety nine just persons, which need no repentance”

The word “just” means “morally upright, righteous, holy”. The person who is lost carries the greater importance to God, not because they are better than the ones who are already in the fold, but because their lives are in the greatest amount of jeopardy. In 2 Peter 3:9, the Bible says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God doesn’t want any of us to perish, and the 99 have security in eternal life with God. God doesn’t have to run after them, because they are already home. That also means that there was already a celebration over their repentance too, because we ALL have to come to repentance!

God loves His children, even the ones who are lost, the ones who have backslidden, the ones who have been “outside” of the fold. God is searching for us, hoping to find repentance, so He can place us on His shoulders and bring us home where we belong. There is a celebration in heaven waiting on our repentance. That’s how much our God loves us!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 6, 2021 – Ephesians 1:18 – Loving You Part 10 – The eyes of your understanding being enlightened

Hi Everyone!

God wants His children to understand who we are, whose we are, and where we are going. He doesn’t want us blind, unable to see our way, because that will make it very easy to fall. When we can’t see clearly who we are, then we are vulnerable to suggestion, and that is when we can allow the wrong people or influence to give us our identity and direction. In Psalm 119:105, the Bible says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.  Is the Word of God our source of direction, the source by which we understand who we are? Do we heed what the Holy Spirit reveals to us about what we need to do and where we need to go? To go any other place besides the Word and the body of Christ to find our identity and direction is as seeking darkness out to find light. God has everything we need, but do we trust what He reveals to us? Today, we are going to look into Ephesians 1:18, understanding our identity and purpose in Christ.

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”

The word “understanding” means “broken down thoughts spiritually deciphered”. We receive information, and to understand the information correctly, we break the information in pieces, allowing God to put those pieces together, to make it a complete thought. This isn’t done without God! In 2 Corinthians 4:6, the Bible says, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” We have to acknowledge that the understanding we have is given to us, and not something we have because of our intelligence. The word “enlightened” means “to impart spiritual and moral light, to shine light upon”. When God “turns the light on”, we will be able to see what He has revealed clearly, thus giving us everything we need to share what we see correctly. In 1 Corinthians 2:10, the Bible says, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” The Holy Spirit is the greatest teacher we will ever need and as believers.

“That ye may know what is the hope of his calling”

The word “know” is a term of relational intimacy, used to speak of two separate parts become one. When we know something, we have come together with it in agreement and made what we know a part of us. The word “hope” means “expectation or anticipation”. So this isn’t a “wishful thinking” kind of hope, but it is a “I am going to look for it because I know it’s coming” kind of hope. In Psalm 121:1, the Bible says, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” The person that hopes is looking for what they hope for to come to pass. Because of our faith in Christ Jesus and because we are the children of God, we have a real reason to hope, a real reason to expect God to reveal himself to us. In Ephesian 2:12, the Bible says, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” That was our picture without God as our Father, but now we are children of God with access to His word and promises. The word “calling” means “a divine invitation by which Christians are introduced into the privileges of the gospel”. God gives His calling with the intentions of it being possessed permanently. In Romans 11:29, the Bible says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. God wants us to be secure in Him, that He is going to give us the understanding we need through His revelation what His invitation to the kingdom of God all entails. How can we stand by a word we don’t understand? How can we have faith in a word we don’t understand? So God secures our knowledge in order for us to have security in His word!

“and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”

The word “riches” means “wealth, fullness, abundance, or valuable bestowment” God just doesn’t give us something. He gives us more than what we need! In Psalm 23:5, the Bible says, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Running over means excess beyond capacity! The word “glory” here means “perfection, excellence”, and that is what is revealed when God shines His light. In Acts 26:18, the Bible says, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” An inheritance comes when someone dies. Christ died so we could be thoroughly equipped with the understanding we need about who we are, whose we are, and where we are going!

How can we love what we don’t understand?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 7, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 6:20 – Loving You Part 11 – For ye are bought with a price

Hi Everyone!

Do we really understand that God’s love redeemed us from the penalty of eternal death, a promise fulfilled in all who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior by faith? Do we even understand that we are loved that deeply, and every second of our lives matter to God? In Matthew 10:30, Jesus says, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” A God that numbers the hairs on our head definitely cares about the state of our faith, the state of our lives, about the joy that wells up in our hearts. God cares about our tears as well, and the filthier we are, He loves us even more. Imagine being a slave and someone steps in and says they will die a torturous death to free us from our bondage. Let me paint another picture. Our heart has failed and someone says they will give their heart so we can live, knowing the transplant would kill Him. That’s what Christ did for us! Today, we are going to explore 1 Corinthians 6:20, the depths of God’s love for us.

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

The “bought” means “to redeem, to acquire for one’s self by a ransom or price paid”. This pertains to those whom Christ has redeemed by His blood for the bondage of sin and death. Just think about this. God thought we were valuable enough to Him for Him to pay a price for our salvation. That price was His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Why do we take this so lightly? Look at your child if you have one. Imagine conceiving this child so he can grow up and get tortured and strung up on a cross, nails driven into his hand and feet, so he could save the lives of people who you know don’t deserve it. That is what our God did for us. In Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Our sins had a wage, one that we are unable to pay. In Biblical days, when a person owed and couldn’t pay, thy became the slaves of the people they owed. God sent Christ to be the perfect, atoning sacrifice for all who believe on Him, His shed blood being the payment for the outstanding debt owed. In Ephesians 1:7, the Bible says, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” In Christ we have this redemption, this price paid that released us from the prison of sin and death, and we are free indeed, because John 8:36 Jesus says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” This type of love can’t be fully comprehended, but it doesn’t make it any less real.

“Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”

The word “glorify” means “to render honor, to give praise to, to magnify”. This should be our response to being redeemed, to glorify God, to give Him honor for what He has done for us. In Luke 17, Christ was met by ten lepers. They asked Christ to have mercy on them (v.13). It then says that when Christ saw them, he said “Go shew yourself unto the priests.” They obeyed, and as they started to go to see the priests, they were cleansed (v.14). In Luke 17:15-16, the Bible says, “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.”. The Samaritan knew whose Word cleansed Him, whose mercy healed him, and he remembered what Christ did for Him, and fell down on his face at His feet! To “worship” means “to depress, to bring oneself low in the presence of God”, and this is what he did! He worshipped, giving God the glory for his healing. In Luke 17:18, Jesus said, “There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” The person furthest from the kingdom, a mixed breed, a person despised by Jews was the one that did what we as believers are supposed to do. Have we as believers gotten so comfortable with God that we have neglected to give Him the glory for what He has done in our lives?

In Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” We offer our bodies in service to the Lord, a living sacrifice pleasing to God because He redeemed us from the penalty of death we deserved. Above that, we offer our bodies because He loves us and we love Him and have a desire to please Him. In Colossians 3:23-24, the Bible says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” We serve God with our whole hearts because we have been set free of bondage. We use our freedom to serve our loving God.

In Psalm 24:1, the Bible says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” We are the redeemed of the Lord’s. Let us say so!

God Bless!

Marshall

These Daily Devotions are a Red Thread Poets daily offering initiated and written by Marshall Jones as a devotional study of God's Word as a 'verse of the day'. Marshall's Bio and a sample of his poems can be seen on this website, also a link to his published book of poems, A Raven's Meal. The Daily Devotional is dated as seen each day on the Red Thread Poets Facebook page.