Daily Devotions – 2021 1st Quarter

INCLUDED IN THIS QUARTER:

“Psalm 91” Series – 16 days January 2nd and January 13th to January 27th

“Loving You” Series – 30 consecutive days from January 28th to February 26th.

“The Faithfulness Of Faith” Series – 21 consecutive days from March 13  to April 2nd. 

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

 

Feb 8, 2021 – Psalm 127:1 – Loving You Part 12 – Except the LORD build the house … except the LORD keep the city

Hi Everyone!

Because God is the Author and Finisher of our faith, He sets the things in motion for us to fulfill his purpose. A lot of times, we try to author our own stories and go off script, only to find that our ventures don’t bear fruit. A venture without God may lead to some level of accomplishment but without God ordering our steps, it doesn’t lead to our purpose. God is not concerned with accomplishments, awards, or the superficial desires we feel we need to feel whole. God is concerned with us operating and living to fulfill His good purpose on this earth. People mistake wealth with a person being blessed, but a blessed person is the one who desires to live the life God intended. In Proverbs 20:21, the Bible says, “An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.” The word “hastily” means “by greed”. This world races after riches, after fame, after a bunch of things that drive them further away from the presence of God, all while God created us to draw closer to Him. Today, we are looking at Psalm 127:1, as we come to understand that only God can provide the type of prosperity we are created to have.

“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

In Ecclesiastes 3:14, the Bible says, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” God doesn’t build temporary structures in his children. God builds something in us that will be forever. Our problem comes in when we don’t like the design of the home and don’t feel that it is suitable for our taste, so we start cutting away and adding to it until it becomes something we love the sight of. We don’t realize that, as with any home that is built, there is an Inspector that makes sure it is constructed according to specifications. If the home doesn’t meet specification then it has to be brought into compliance or it has to come down. Well it is the same way with our lives, and our ministry. God, our Heavenly Inspector is going to make sure our homes as built according to specifications, and the only way it will survive the test is if the home is built by Him according to His specifications. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, the Bible, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” God may give us the tools and the abilities, but the plan is His, and He will check the work! In 1 Corinthians 3:13, the Bible says, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” A person who labours in vain is a person that builds something that won’t survive the test, a person who tries to go their own way without God, and tries to author their own story.

“Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain”

There is no protection without God. In Proverbs 21:31, the Bible says, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.” We have to understand that our best efforts of protecting ourselves mean nothing if the Lord doesn’t keep us. The word “keep” means “guard, observe, or watch over”. David knew this well, and in Psalm 3:6-7, the Bible says, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.” David knew that if didn’t matter how many people mounted up against him. David was a valiant warrior, known all through the land for killing Goliath, giving Israel a victory over the Philistines, but in Psalms 3:7, David calls God for help and acknowledges that God smote all of his enemies. David always gave God the glory and didn’t try to fight without God. David inquired of God before he went into battle, to make sure it was what God wanted. In 1 Chronicles 14:10, the Bible says, “And David enquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand.” Until we will be a people that relies on God for protection, God will continue to allow our efforts to protect ourselves to be in vain.

In Matthew 23:12, Jesus says, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Part of loving ourselves is loving the plan God has for us, the building He is building within and the edifice that the world sees. May we become a people that allow God reign to build us into people of His purpose.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 9, 2021 – Ephesians 4:24 – Loving You Part 13 – put on the new man

Hi Everyone!

Do we understand that we are new people in Christ? Our salvation has essentially buried the old person, the old nature, and has replaced it with a new person and new nature. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Do we really believe that? For a long time after recommitting my life to the Lord, I still felt unworthy, and still saw life from the lens of someone who lived outside of the kingdom of God. I still felt filthy. It wasn’t until I really came to accept what the Word of God said about me; that I am reborn, that I am a child of God, that I not only am a part of the kingdom of God, but I have access to God’s promises through His Word, that the image staring at me in the mirror changed. Once I accepted my identity in Christ, I no longer accepted anyone holding me to who I used to be, nor do I stand there and allow mud to be flung on me. God wants us to embrace our identities in Him and take our place as the children and the redeemed of God. Today, we will look at Ephesians 4:24, as we learn to love ourselves, learning how to put on the new man.

“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

The word “new” speaks of Christians who are reborn, renewed, and transformed from children of darkness to children of light by the Spirit of God, thus making us a new creation. We want a second chance at a first impression? God offers that to us freely by His Spirit when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. In Revelations 21:5, the Bible says, “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” Understand something with me. Our God sits on a throne as King. Whatever the King says goes, right? Why? Because Kings have authority to declare things. In Luke 7:1-10, Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, but in verse 7 and 8, we get a moving picture to how authority works. In Luke 7:7-8, the Bible says, “Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” A word spoken becomes a word acted upon, and what the person in authority says, comes to pass. So when we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior and God declared us to be new creations in Christ, then that’s what we are!

We are to “put on” the new man. Doesn’t that sound like we are wearing our new man like clothes? In Ephesians 6:11, the Bible says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Then, in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, the Bible says, “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” Yet again, In Colossians 3:14, the Bible says, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” We have the privilege to put on love. In Galatians 3:27, the Bible says, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” We also have the privilege to put on Christ! The phrase “put on” means “to invest with clothing”. So our salvation doesn’t make this automatic, and this is something God gives us the opportunity to do, to produce fruits of salvation, fruits of the Spirit are at work. Whatever we put on, people see clearly and they will remember us by what we put on. This is a command by our loving God, but it is also a choice, and sad to say, many people, myself included, have made the bad choice to put on our old man even after we’ve been born again. A lot of us have made the choice to not accept this new man and have made the choice to dwell in a state of diminished self-worth. In Peter 1:3, the Bible says, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”. We have everything we need to live a Godly life and all the information in His Word to accept who we are in Him. The choice is ours.

“Which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”

The word “create” means “to fabricate and form in a spiritual sense, to renew”. God created man to live in righteousness, with his heart right with God through faith. He didn’t create us with the intention to use our free will to put on anything inconsistent with our identity in Christ. In Romans 13:14, the Bible says, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” When we put on Christ, we will walk in righteousness and truth, and look at ourselves according to how God sees us. Who we truly are can be found in the Word of God. May we all come to know ourselves as we know our God!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 10, 2021 – Ephesians 5:27 – Loving You Part 14 – That he might present it to himself a glorious church

Hi Everyone!

God adores His children! We may not always feel that way, and sometimes, we feel unlovable. That is not what God feels towards us, and He actually created us so He can proudly show us off. Don’t think so? In Job 1:8, the Bible says, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” God is looking to display who we are, to proudly boast in His creation, especially to Satan! God creates us with every ability to fulfill His purpose, and when we have victory in things we face, our God is cheering us on! Remember, God is our Father, and Fathers celebrate the accomplishments of their children. God’s desire is to look upon His children with pride, and that shows how much He loves us, because we have a Father that wants the absolute best for us. When we have a Creator that thinks that highly about His children, then why don’t we feel like we are worth that much to Him? Today, we are going to explore Ephesians 5:27, another aspect of loving ourselves, understanding what our Father thinks of us.

“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

The word “present” means “exhibit”. We God exhibits us, He puts us on display for everyone to see from all angles. Think about a clothing store with me. What does the store staff put on display in the front windows? Their best clothes, their best ensembles. Why? Because it attracts people to stop, take notice, and come inside to see what else the store has to offer! In Titus 2:7-8, the Bible says, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” God wants us to show a pattern of good work, meaning that is what people by far see of us. In Titus 2:14, the Bible says, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” God had Christ die for us, to not only redeem us from the penalty of sin and death, but to make us a special and beyond usual people. Guess what? God didn’t create us to be ordinary people. God doesn’t put ordinary on display. Remember, what’s on display represents who displayed it! So God placed His Spirit inside of us, and gave us the ability to live extraordinary lives in Him, so He can show the world who we are in Him! The word “glorious” means “adorned in pure and splendid raiment as a bride”. The word “church” means “Christian community of people on earth, saints of the Living God’. God desires to display a community of Christians adorned in pure and splendid raiment as a bride, to show the world the love and pride He has for His children and creation. In Colossians 1:22, the Bible says, “In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight”. What a sacrifice to show us off with pride, huh? That’s our God!

“Not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing”

The word “spot” means “stain”. In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was offered, but the sacrifice had to be without spot. In Numbers 28:3, “And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.” Imperfections to the sacrifice were not acceptable to God, because a sacrifice without spot, blemish, or wrinkle was considered by God to the absolute best. God wants our best! In Exodus 12:5, when God ordered His children to sacrifice the lamb for the passover, He said to Moses, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goat”. That type of sacrifice God desires. In Deuteronomy 15:21, “And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.”

“But that it should be holy and without blemish”

Christ is the perfect, atoning sacrifice for us, who died to make us acceptable in God. 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”. This was God’s original design for us as His children. In Ephesians 2:6, the Bible says, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. God didn’t design for His children to be in the shadows unseen. God desired for us to bear His image in the earth, so men may see us and glorify God!

May we live our lives worthy of God presenting us to Himself a glorious church, one without spot or wrinkle.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 11, 2010 – 1 Corinthians 13:4 – Loving You Part 15 – Charity suffereth long

Hi Everyone!

We’ve been going through this series, “Loving You”, getting ourselves on a path to knowing and loving ourselves on the deepest levels possible. We have to know where we come from and the intended design of our God and Creator, so we can begin to understand ourselves better. We pour through the evidence of God’s love for us, how detailed He is in every aspect of His plan for our lives. God’s love for us is abounding and deep, and He makes provision for our salvation and restoration while we are still face deep in our sins. The love of God, if translated correctly, will become the reason we can fully love ourselves. If our Creator loves us with every fiber of His being, then there is really no excuse as to why we can’t love ourselves. As with anything, we have to receive our identity, our purpose, and God’s love with faith, and then walk in our identity, live to fulfill our purpose, and love ourselves deeply the same way God does. Before we can begin to understand love, let us ask ourselves, what is love? Today we will look at 1 Corinthians 13:4 and start breaking down to attributes of love.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,”

The word “charity” is love, but it is agape love, “the love which God or Christ exercises towards us. The love is derived from God”. This is the purest form of love because it comes directly from God and it doesn’t have the filters that we sadly place on it. When we pick and choose who we give love to and on what level, we have diluted agape love. Whenever we place stipulations on a person in order for them to receive our love, then we have diluted agape love. In Romans 12:9, the Bible says, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” The word “dissimulation” means “insincere, deceptive”. This verse gives the message “hate the sin, but love the sinner”. The phrase “suffereth long” means “patient, slow to anger, forbearing”. In Romans 5:8, the Bible says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” So if God sent Christ to be a sacrifice for our sins while we were still sinners, then God’s love is truly patient. If we are created in the image and likeness of God, then we must be people willing to love people while we still have dirt on ourselves. In 1 Peter 4:8, the Bible says, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

“And is kind; charity envieth not;”

Charity is love remember? Love IS! It exists, it has an identity and it has characteristics that prove it’s existence. Patience is an attribute, one that requires both grace and understanding for what our brothers and sisters are going through. How can we understand if we don’t try to see what they go through? Love isn’t about feelings. It is shown! The word “kind” means ” to show oneself useful, to act benevolently “. How do we as believers show ourselves useful? In service! In Luke 22:27, the Bible says, “For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” Christ is telling the disciples that serving others is the most important thing, no matter what our position in the church may be. Helping others in need with a pure heart is another way of us showing love to others. In Romans 12:13, the Bible says, “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” We have to use what we have to be a blessing to others. The word “envieth” means “to have warmth of feeling against”. This means we don’t covet our neighbor’s house, nor do we despise people for what they have. Love should make us rejoice when someone has something we don’t have. I frequently cheer brothers on when they go home, or get their cases overturned, and sometimes, I cry with them in joy. Love is always going to want to see someone else’s joy complete. In Romans 12:15, the Bible says, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Love means we have each other’s back, not stab each other in the back, right?

“Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”

The phrase “vaunteth not itself” means “to brag or boast, to be high- minded or haughty”. In Psalms 34:2, the Bible says, “My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” If we boast in anything, it should be in the Lord, for what He has done, and for who He is. In Romans 12:3, part of the verse tells us “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly”. Love isn’t about putting ourselves on display, but it is about serving others with our whole hearts.

May Love be our goal!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 12, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 13:5 – Loving You Part 16 – (Charity) Doth not behave itself unseemly

Hi Everyone!

Love is the greatest thing we can give someone else, and it is also the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Before we can fully appreciate loving anyone, including ourselves, we have to embrace the qualities love possesses. Our actions bear witness to whether we are operating in love, and these verses we will study in 1 Corinthians 13 will become the standard by which we measure love. God doesn’t want His children to have relationships absent love, ministries absent love, gifts of the Spirit absent love. Love should be the reason we do all of these things! 1 John 4:12, the Bible says, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” When we love one another, we show people who our God is, and it is how God is manifested in any relationship. Love is the evidence that God is present in a relationship! Today, we will love at 1 Corinthians 13:5, for more qualities of love.

“(Charity) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;”

The phrase “behave itself unseemly” means “conduct unbecoming to one’s identity in Christ”. A believer who behaves himself unseemly is someone who no one can tell is a believer by their actions. It is a person we see more “world” in than “Word”. In 1 Corinthians 15:33, the Bible says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” Our conversations can display whether we are speaking in love, because in Matthew 12:35, Jesus says, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” What is displayed in our actions is usually the evidence of what is inside of us. In Romans 12:10, doesn’t the Bible say, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”? If this is how we are supposed to act, then there can’t be room for us to act and speak like the world. If we are created in the image and likeness of God, then our goal should be to act like Him.

“seeketh not her own”

Love isn’t selfish! 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.” Our God is not a selfish God, nor should His children be, and that is why we should present our bodies a living sacrifice unto God, making ourselves available to serve God and people with their entire heart. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, the Bible says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” God doesn’t want His children to love and give because we HAVE to, but because we WANT to! In John 15:13, Jesus says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This is the attitude our God want us to have because He has freely shown us this kind of love as an example for us. Want to know where? In John 3:16, Jesus 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 Christ to the world to die on the cross for our sins, and Christ freely offered Himself in love. In Philippians 2:4, the Bible says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” The Church grew because of this attitude! In Acts 4:32-33, the Bible says, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” When we love each other, there are no weak links, no one is impoverished, and everyone experiences the power of God, because no one keeps that to themselves either.

“Not easily provoked, thinketh no evil”

The word “provoke” means “to stir, to exasperate, to anger”. In Ephesians 4:26-27, the Bible says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Anger gives the enemy a way inside of us to influence us to walk in anger instead of in love. If we are not easily stirred, exasperated, or angered, then that means we have extended both tolerance and grace to someone else out of the love that is in our hearts. The word “thinketh” means “to take an inventory in order to judge”. “Thinketh no evil” means “we keep no record of people’s wrongs”. In Matthew 6:14, the Bible says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:” Forgiveness is also the evidence of love, which is pleasing to our God.

May love abound in our hearts towards each other.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 13, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 13:6 – Loving You Part 17 – rejoiceth in the truth

Hi Everyone!

The beauty about God’s word is that it plainly tells us who we are, and who we are not. It tells us what things are and what they are not, and I love that the Bible clearly defines the difference. Flesh and Spirit, good and evil, light and darkness. Either we’re of one or we’re of the other, and our actions will bear witness of what side of this we are on. There are no grey areas when it comes to love. Either it is or it isn’t. God gives us a standard by which we measure our offering of love to to establish whether it is or isn’t. If we are in line with the Word of God, cool, but if we fall short of love, then we have a clear road map on how we can get back on track. God wants us to succeed at living a holy life, which is why He conveys His commands in a clear and understandable fashion. It will also show us how far we are from the mark, which will give us the understanding that we constantly need God’s presence within us to measure up. Today, we will look 1 Corinthians 13:6, more aspects of love.

“Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth”

The word “rejoiceth” means “to be cheerful, to be merry with”. The word actually has a positive connotation but here it is applied negatively to godlessness. The word “iniquity” means “injustice, moral wrongfulness; wickedness or unrighteousness seen more in the neglect of the true God and His laws and an adherence to the world or to idolatry”. So these people celebrate godlessness in others, support their wrongdoing, or completely condone their actions! In Psalm 10:3-4, the Bible says, “For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” The man’s actions are already abhorrent to the Lord, but imagine believers standing behind him cheering him on, celebrating His sicknesses, approving of his wrongdoing. We are no better than him. In Proverbs 1:10, the Bible says, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” God doesn’t want us even yielding to the enticements of sinners! In 2 Thessalonians 2:12, the Bible says, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” If we love someone, why would we want them to experience the same penalty we ourselves have been delivered from? If we love someone, why would we celebrate the deeds that would lead to their condemnation? In Romans 1:32, the Bible says, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Our love should want us to see people at their best, not cheer them on as them ruin their lives. That is not love.

“But rejoiceth in the truth”

The word “rejoiceth” here actually means “to sympathize with gladness”. The word “truth” implies “conduct conformed to the truth, integrity, virtue, a life conformed to the precepts of the gospel, someone who lives uprightly. 2 John 1:4, the Bible says, “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” It should be a joy to us to see someone living their lives according to the Word. We know how great that feels to walk with the Lord and experience His presence, and the love in our hearts for people causes us to share in that experience with them. In John 8:32, Jesus says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” So when we see believers walking in truth, it is our job as believers who love them to celebrate that with them, to fully support them as they walk after the love, and to build a community of love around them. We should celebrate with them as if they were just released from prison, because they were! In 3 John 1:3-4, the Bible says, “For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” How many of us celebrate others that are living for Christ? In John 1:17, the Bible says, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Jesus says in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” When a person walks according to the truth, they are living in the promises of God, assured and strong. If we love our brothers and sisters, then we should have a desire within the deepest parts of our hearts to see people walking in truth like we are. When we don’t share the word of truth with people, we jeopardize their chances of experiencing this. A little something to think about.

May our love produce the best possible outcomes for the people we love.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 14, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 13:7 – Loving You Part 18 – believeth all things

Hi Everyone!

Love is unconditional. That means that our love doesn’t depend on anyone else but us. God gives us His love and then commands that we share it. He doesn’t give us stipulations, or express to us that a person has to “clean themselves up” first before they can receive love. In John 13:34, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” God gives us the example, and we are to then give people the same love we have received. It is not easy because, let’s be honest, some people make it so hard for us to love them, and will go as far as to push our love away. Even worse, there are people right now being martyred for sharing their faith and love with others, knowing the risk involved. Loving people who love you back is easy. Loving people when everything is going well is easy too. What happens when times get hard? When disagreements erupt? When we have been wronged by someone we love? Do we show the same type of love when the other person doesn’t make it convenient? Today we are pressing through 1 Corinthians 13:7, a word on unconditional love.

“Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

The word “beareth” means “to roof over, to cover over, to endure patiently”. It says that if we love people then we are to cover them no matter what. “All things” means ALL things. Of course, we like to place our own standards on this, and tell ourselves that we will cover people until a certain point, but is that how God loved us? In Romans 15:1, the Bible says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Our covering shelters them as they build the resolve necessary to love a little better, and by covering them, they experience an example of what real love is. In Galatians 6:1, the Bible says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Sadly, a lot of believers receive this amazing, reckless love from our God and then forget where we come from, forgetting that we too were once without salvation and with a whole bunch of fault. God didn’t save us so we could forget, but He saved us so we can remember and show others the Way, the Truth, and the Life, through our words and our deeds. In Proverbs 10:12, the Bible says, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” A covering is a safe place to hide from bad weather, or an enemy’s attack. What if people were trying to find a safe place in us, but only were met with hatred and judgement?

“Believeth all things, hopeth all things”

The word “believeth” means “to have faith or confidence in”. My Granny, Ruth McKinney, never stopped believing in me, no matter how bad I got. She was always happy to see me, and no matter what I did, she always received me as if I did nothing wrong. She didn’t condone anything I did in the slightest but she always loved me. She passed on my 18th birthday in 1999, but she embodies 1 Peter 4:8, which says, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” I learned how to love by the Word of God and the examples His children have set in my life. God created me, and never stopped having faith in who I was to become. My Granny never stopped having faith in who I was to become, and I won’t stop having faith in the people I love. I understand now, when Christ saw the multitudes and had compassion on them, because I remember when I was in the multitudes needing compassion, needing covering, needing a Savior. The word “hopeth” means “to expect”. In Galatians 6:10, the Bible says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Guess what? We always have the opportunity to do good to all men. There is a saying I used to hear a lot growing up. “We’ll leave the light on for you”. It is also a slogan for a motel chain if my memory serves me correctly. The saying signifies that there will always be someone there waiting on you when you come. How many people would find themselves at the altar if they can be received with love when they make their way “Home”?

“Endureth all things”

The word “endureth” means “to await, to bear up under, to be patient under”. In 1 John 3:18, the Bible says, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” We are to be patient with our fellow brothers and sisters, as they grow into the faith and as they become who God has called them to be. Our love is not to change, not matter how long it may take others to get themselves together.

May our love be unconditional, abounding in truth, and may our love teach others how to love as God commanded.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 15, 2021 – 1 John 4:10 – Loving You Part 19 – Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us

Hi Everyone!

The love we have in our hearts comes from our Heavenly Father. The standard for love comes from God, and His love for His children gave us the greatest example of love for us to experience. Our salvation is the result of God’s undying love for us and His relentless to bring His children back to Him. Our greatest levels of love could never equate to God’s love for us, and His salvation was despite everything we have done that would disqualify us from this precious gift. We have the hardest time forgiving people for the smallest infractions done to us, unable to get past the hurt in order to forgive them, but our God loved us and forgave us for a lifestyle of offense done to Him. The standard of love set in 1 Corinthians 13, shows that it is extremely difficult to love someone perfectly. We are going to fall short! Today, we are going to look at the extent of God’s love for us in 1 John 4:10, and understand more about the qualities of love in the process.

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

The word “love” here is the love God extends to us, giving us the capability to love others. In 1 John 4:8, the Bible says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” God is love, and if His Spirit dwells in us, His love dwells in us. If we are created in His own image and in His likeness, then He has given us access to embody the same characteristics He has, and that means we are supposed to “be” love as well. God’s love overpowered our own for Him, and our love for Him wasn’t factored in when He gave his Son to die for our sins. In Romans 5:8, the Bible says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Let us think about this. Almost 2,000 years ago, Christ died on the cross for our sins present day, giving salvation to all who believes on His name. That means He died before we were born, and the sacrifice was made before we formed the thoughts to live in sin. We place stipulations on who we love and under what circumstances, but imagine us already having love, forgiveness, and restoration ready for a person BEFORE they do anything wrong to us! Our God wants us to see His children, AND even ourselves, the way He sees us. Why is it so hard for us to look at others, and ourselves the way God sees us? In Romans 5:18, the Bible says, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” The nature from sin, our old man, is overrun by judgement and condemnation, so it is hard to fathom accepting God’s love. We have become a people conditioned to see fault and offense. Salvation is a free gift to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but it is up to us to believe God’s report on who we are. Love covers a multitude of sins, and in the presence of real love, there can be no offense.

“And sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”

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.” Simple condition for such a powerful gift, right? The word “sent” means “set apart and sent forth”. This is where we get the word “apostle” from. Whenever God sends someone, it is to fulfill His purpose. In Titus 3:4-5, the Bible says, “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” We are the recipients of salvation because of God’s love and kindness. God thinks the world of His children, only to see us, believers, not love our brothers and sisters, or not love ourselves the way He does. The word “propitiation” means “atonement, that which appeases anger and brings reconciliation with someone who has reason to be angry with us.” Please pay attention to this part of the verse. It says, “And sent His Son to be THE PROPITIATION for our sins.” It didn’t say “a propitiation”. Why? Because in Christ, we would only need one! In Romans 5:10-11, the Bible says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

We as believers have to stop walking around like we are unlovable, like we are horrible people, like we are condemned. Someone WILLINGLY died to save our lives, all because He loved us and thought we were worth saving. May that kind of love make it easier for us to walk in love, extending that same love to ourselves and others.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 16, 2021 – 2 Thessalonians 3:6 – Loving You Part 20 – withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly

Hi Everyone!

What type of company do we keep? This is a very important question, because we tend to associate with those who we have things in common with. Have we really taken a moral inventory of the people we surround ourselves with? Every person has a voice and that voice can be highly influential to those around them, and on the same note, a person’s actions can be just as influential on those around them. Do we surround ourselves with people who love God? With people who love themselves? Do we have the appreciation for the fact that a person’s character can rub off on us, whether good or bad, causing us to either act more like our character or act outside of our character? Part of loving ourselves is making sure that we are in an environment that invites love, spiritual accountability, people who really desire to see us become everything God ordains. Today, we are going to look at 2 Thessalonians 3:6, keeping the right company.

“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.”

The word “command” means “to transmit a message”. The person who transmits a message has a hope that the message will be received and acted upon. “Brethren” are the brothers and sisters of the faith, so this message is to believers within the Church at Thessalonica. Whenever something is commanded, it is of extreme importance and it will greatly benefit the person that follows the command. In James 1:22, the Bible says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” God wants a people that follow His commands. In 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” We are able to follow God’s commands without them bearing down on us too hard. The word “name” here implies authority, showing whose authority this word is given under. It is not about the person delivering the message but about the person’s authority to activate the word when followed. It is given in the name of Jesus Christ and according to Philippians 2:9, the Bible says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” If a word comes in the name of Jesus Christ, then there is no higher authority. This means pay close attention!

“That ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly”

The phrase “withdraw yourselves” means to “avoid”. This means to physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually remove ourselves. We have to become people who are very intentional about people who we share our spaces with. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the Bible says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” Understandable, but remember, Paul is talking about a “brother”, a believer! In Romans 16:17, the Bible says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Whether the person is a believer or not, if their words and conduct are contrary to the Word of God, then we are to avoid them all the same. In 1 Corinthians 15:33, the Bible says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” A person’s evil words and deeds can corrupt us, and it can definitely rob us of the loving relationships we want to experience with God and others. The phrase “walketh disorderly” means “to practice moral irregularity”. Disorder implies a person that is lawless, and we are to avoid “every” brother who walks this way.

“And not after the tradition which he received of us”

The apostles spread the word of God, teaching people how they are to act as believers. The word “tradition” means “transmission or precept”, which is a word or command given that should be followed. In 1 Peter 2:21, the Bible says, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” Peter followed Christ, and then spread that Word everywhere He went, in both word and deed. Christ is the example, so the Word that came from Him should be the Word that we embody and then extend to others. In 2 Thessalonians 2:15, the Bible says, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” If a person is not acting in the way the Word teaches, nor heeding the admonishment of the shepherds, then he or she is not a person we should share company with. If a person is not walking according to the Word of God, then they can’t be walking according to the love of God, and that is a contagion we can do without.

Loving ourselves means we choose our company wisely.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 17, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 10:5 – Loving You Part 21 – Casting down … every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God

Hi Everyone!

As we establish our identities and our purposes in Christ, the enemy will come to stir doubt and confusion within us. If the enemy could cause us to question who we are and what God has called us to do, then we can become stagnant, and then vulnerable to attack. The enemy doesn’t want us to love ourselves, because that would mean that we understand we are children of the Most High God, and we have proudly accepted who He has created us to be with open arms. We then plant ourselves in the foundation of Christ, so when the enemy tries to knock us off balance with his lies, we will remain rooted and strong. Part of loving ourselves is continuing to allow God to build us into the people He ordained for us to be, and keeping the enemy away from God’s design. As believers, we thirst for truth, and have to be willing to come against anything that jeopardizes what God is building. The questions is: do we love ourselves enough to speak the words of life as to who we truly are? Today, we will look into 2 Corinthians 10:5, the trial between truth and the enemy’s lies.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

The phrase “casting down” means “to demolish, to make low”. The word “imaginations” means “reasonings, devices, and counsels against God”. The enemy is going to come to bring a testimony about both God and us. He is going to come to bait traps, and find vulnerable believers unsure about who they are in God and where they are going. 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”. The word “vigilant” means “to keep watch, to guard”. The enemy is looking for a point of access so he can attack. In James 4:7, the Bible says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Only by submission to God can we resist the enemy. So when we “cast down imaginations”, it implies intentional actions on our part to demolish the enemy’s lies with the Truth, which is the Word of God.

“And every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”

The phrase “high thing” means “barrier”. The word “exalteth” means “rises up”. The word “knowledge” means “true doctrine”. So the enemy is coming to devise a strategy that will form a barrier, keeping a believer from the true doctrine of God. The enemy would love to block our access to the truth, to rob us of the fellowship with God, in where we have our identity. In John 8:44, Jesus is speaking, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Christ clearly defines the enemy, and He says that there is no truth in him. The question then is, why does the enemy’s testimony about us carry more weight than God’s? In Psalm 119:160, the Bible says, “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” We come against the lies of the enemy with the Word of God, so that requires us to plant the Word of God in our minds and hearts. 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.” The Word of God builds a standard within us that gives us weaponry against the enemy. Remember, the enemy is coming against the knowledge of God, the source of our love, identity, and purpose.

“And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

The word captivity expresses bondage, making something submissive and bringing something under subjection. In Matthew 18:18, Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” God has given us the authority and ability to come against anything that defies the Word of God; and He has given us the weaponry to do it. Where negative the word “thought” means “negative plan or device”.  Spiritual bondage begins with one negative thought coming against God’s truth that, if we don’t destroy it, it can spread darkness into our lives. Christ’s obedience to God is the standard that we shoot for, and we are to obey the Word of God just as Christ did. In Luke 11:35, Jesus says, “Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.” We have to be on guard for every reasoning and every thought that comes our way, examining it according to the Word of God, to ensure that the enemy doesn’t get a foot in to plant a lie.

May we search the Scriptures to find our identity in Christ and the power He has given us over the enemy.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 18, 2021 – Ephesians 1:13 – Loving You Part 22 – the gospel of your salvation

Hi Everyone!

God gives us a clear understanding of who we are in His Word, and from the beginning, God has been pouring His love unto us, His children. He has cleared our paths when things came to destroy us, He has us when predators lurked, and He even punished us when we strayed too far from His design for us. It all was done so we can become everything He created us to be, and so that we as believers could have direct fellowship with our God. All of the work God has done to express His undying love for us, and we still choose to go our own way, choose not to believe in His Word, and still choose not to accept our identity in Him by faith. God, like any parent, desires for His children to trust Him, to receive His Word of truth concerning us, and believe that we are children of God. One thing that makes a relationship great is trust, and trust makes a relationship stronger. When we begin to trust what the Word says about us, we will begin to understand that there is a lot to love there. Today, we are going to look at Ephesians 1:13, a message on trusting the Word of truth.

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”

“In Whom” refers to Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We have to trust in Jesus Christ, because that is where our faith as believers begins. The word “trusted” means “to hope in advance”. In Romans 10:17, the Bible says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The Word comes before faith, so the Word also comes before salvation. So we hear the Word of God we believe in the Word of God, and we then do what the Word of God says. Trust doesn’t come with mere belief. If someone told us to sit down in a chair, that it will hold us up, we can believe the word but still not sit down. It is only when we sit down, that we activate the Word of God by trust. Trust is the physical manifestation of belief, because by our actions we become vulnerable to what we are trusting. Is the Bible “the word of truth” in our lives? The word “truth” means “true doctrine of God”. Faith without the Word of God isn’t faith. The steps of faith are clearly defined because God wants His children to have true faith based on His Word alone, having something concrete to hold on to. In John 1:12, the Bible says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”. There is real power to those who believe in His name, who receive Him as Lord and Savior, and who have faith in the Word of God. The word “gospel” means “God’s plan of salvation, its doctrines, declarations, precepts, and promises”. The word “salvation” means “deliverance from sin and its spiritual consequences and admission to eternal life with blessedness in the kingdom of Christ”. In Ephesians 4:21, the Bible says, “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus”. If we are going any place to hear and be taught the Word of truth for the answer to our salvation other than Jesus Christ, then we have to be prepared to experience lies and not live in victory.

“in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise”

The word “believed” means “to entrust, have faith in”. The word “sealed” means “to stamp for security and preservation”. Our faith secures our salvation and our position in the kingdom. The seal attached expresses authority, only revokable by the Person who sealed it in the first place. In 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, the Bible says, “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” We are not only sealed, but God confirms us, so if we are not secure in God’s seal, then how are we ever going to walk in authority, accepting our rightful place as children of God? In John 6:27, Jesus says, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” We should not aim to feed our bodies more than we feed our spirits with the Word of God, because the Word of God inside of our hearts has no ending. The word “promise” means “an announcement, especially a divine assurance of good”. We aren’t standing on a limb blindly for the Lord. He gives us His Word, and when we believe in the Word and place our trust in It, He responds with  salvation, a seal, and a divine assurance of good.

May we all understand how secure we are in Christ as believers!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 19, 2021 – 2 Timothy 1:7 – Loving You Part 23 – of power, and of love, and of a sound mind

Hi Everyone!

There are a ton of things God has bestowed upon us. Scriptures says in 2 Peter 1:3 that God’s divine power has given us everything we need to live a Godly life, so we as believers are equipped for everything that comes our way. We have access to the knowledge we need to understand the Word of God, because the Scriptures say in John 14:26 that the Holy Ghost, sent in Christ’s name shall teach us all things. Christ also gave us his peace, not a peace the world gives. The Bible gives us a clear picture of what God has given to us as His children, but as with anything else, we have to believe that what God has given us belongs to us! Another part of loving ourselves is knowing what our loving God has equipped us with, and what He didn’t equip us with. Sometimes, holding on to something God didn’t ordain for us to hold on to can make the difference between the freedom to accept and love ourselves, and the freedom to remain in bondage. Today, we will look at 2 Timothy 1:7, the characteristics of the Spirit God has given us.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

The phrase “hath not given” means “did not bestow”. When something is bestowed upon someone, it usually should be seen as a gift in direct reflection of the person who is bestowing the gift. God is very clear on what He gives and also what He does give. The word “fear” means “timidity or cowardice caused by weak, selfish behavior”. In Romans 8:15, the Bible says, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Fear is a prison, and people that walk in fear, walk in bondage to the thing they fear. God wants to make it clear that He didn’t give us fear. Even when His angels appeared to the shepherds abiding in the fields in Luke 2, in verse 10, the Bible says, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Being in the presence of God, the heavenly hosts, or our purpose should not produce cowardice, because in Ephesians 2:10, the Bible says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God has already ordained us to walk in the good works He has planned for us. Fear wars against power, fear wars against purpose, and if God did NOT give us the spirit of fear, then let us ask ourselves, who did? There are many believers too afraid to make a move towards the purpose God has for them, because they haven’t even gotten past the fear of who God has called them to be. Imagine a church filled with people who haven’t embraced who they truly are, and you will see a church that hasn’t begun to walk in power!

“But of power”

The word “power” means “miraculous force or might”. This isn’t speaking of physical power, which means absolutely nothing when it comes to God. God is not concerned with us working our own power, but He is looking for a people that will use His power. In Luke 24:49, Jesus says “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Our problem is typically with our impatience. We don’t want to tarry until we receive the promised power, but we don’t want to grow weary with waiting and so we try to move on our own power before God’s appointed time. In Acts 1:8, the Bible says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” God’s power gives us the ability to become witnesses, both in word and deed, being people who can fully display God’s working power in our lives.

“And of love, and of a sound mind”

The word “love” here is agape love, the love God gives us to walk in. It is the purest form of love we have. In Galatians 5:13-14, the Bible says, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” God gives us freedom, and we are to use that freedom to love other people as ourselves.

Wait a minute,

to love people, we have to receive God’s love, then love ourselves? How else can we love someone as ourselves if we don’t love ourselves?

The phrase “sound mind” means “discipline and self-control”. This is a person who is focused on God, trained on His Word, prepared to walk in truth. In Colossians 3:2, the Bible says, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” If we are focused on God, then we aren’t focused on fear, because in Christ is everything we need!

May we be unafraid to be who we are!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 20, 2021 – John 15:4 – Loving You Part 24 – Abide in me, and I in you

“Hi Everyone!

Communion. The word automatically shifts a believer towards the ceremony where the bread is broken, symbolizing Christ’s body broken for us, and the wine is drunk, symbolizing the blood Christ shed for us, activating the new testament. Communion is in remembrance of Him, to identify with what He has done for us. It is a ceremony not to be taken lightly, because in 1 Corinthians 11:29, the Bible says, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” There are penalties for the person who partakes in communion unworthily. Let us look beyond the ceremony, to grasp the meaning of communion, which means “partnership, social intercourse”. Intercourse implies a joining, partnership implies a joining, and both are designed for two separate people becoming one. Communion with God is absolutely necessary as a believer, a dire necessity, because absent from Christ there is no life. Today, we will look at John 15:4, a word on communion.

“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.”

The word “abide” means “remaining, dwelling, enduring in perpetuity, forever”. It means that we aren’t “fair weather fans”, hanging around to get some favorable result or to get out of some slump, but it means we are joining ourselves to the Lord forever. In 1 John 2:19, the Bible says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” There will be people that start in the faith, that won’t continue, and it will be revealed who those people are. In Matthew 12:33, Jesus 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.” Time and circumstance will reveal whether we are abiding in Christ or not, and it won’t only reveal it to us, but others will see it as well. Have we ever stopped to think that our faith could make or break other people’s decisions to abide in Christ? In 2 Corinthians 13:5-6, the Bible says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.” Our faith is between us and Christ, being the Author and Finisher of our faith, but we are clearly visible to the world around us, and our fruits will reveal who we are. Before we can be subjected to scrutiny, we are to check ourselves and by holding ourselves personally accountable to ensure that we abide in the Lord.

“As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me”

The end of John 15:5, the Bible says, “for without me, ye can do nothing”. Any fruit that we bear is only the result of Christ giving us the ability. There should be no conceit in the kingdom of God because we are only using what we are given by Christ. In John 15:16, Jesus says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” Christ chose and ordained us to go and bring forth fruit, fruit that remains. So if Christ chose us to bring forth fruit, then doesn’t that mean we were also chosen to abide in Christ? We can’t bear fruit unless we abide in the vine. It is like a branch that gets broken off, with no connection to the life-giving sustenance that not only keeps it alive, but allows it bear fruit. How is our connection to God? Intact? Broken? Severed? Let us examine ourselves. In Colossians 1:22-23, the Bible says, “In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” Christ did His part, dying on the cross, and sending the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. It is our job as believers to continue this relationship, by drawing closer to the Lord, by searching His Word diligently, by fellowshipping with God in prayer, and making ourselves available to be taught and led by the Holy Spirit. We are responsible for our relationship with the Lord, and in order for us to bear fruit that remains, we have to remain one with Christ.

Before we can enjoy this process of loving ourselves, we have to abide in the Lord, and have communion with Him. He is love!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 21, 2010 – 1 Corinthians 3:16- Loving You Part 25 – the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Hi Everyone!

God wants us to know Him. Since the beginning God has desired to fellowship with His children, for us to abide in Him while He abides in us. God doesn’t want us blind to His word or His purpose in us, so He has always sent representatives to His people to keep them filled with a fresh Word. First, He talked to man directly, then He sent prophets, then Christ, the disciples, the apostles, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible, to ensure that mankind always had access to the Word of God. God sends us His Spirit so we will always have the truth in our hearts. The enemy wants to hinder us from experiencing His truth, and having an amazing relationship with our heavenly Father. When we begin to accept the truth in our hearts about who we are and how highly God thinks of us, then just maybe, the way we look at ourselves will begin to change. Maybe then, we will start place more value into who we are in Christ instead of the worldly attachments we frequently use to pacify our broken spirits. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 3:16, and come to understand another aspect of ourselves according to God.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The word “know” is a term that expresses a relationship between two things. It can express a sexual bond between a man and woman preferably a husband and wife. In Genesis 4:1, the Bible says, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.” When we “know” something, we are forming a union to the information we are receiving, making it a part of us. Paul writes “ye are”, which is present tense, which should let us know the Word of God is alive in us and the promises apply to us now. The word “temple” means “a dwelling, metaphorically, of persons, Christians, in whom God or His Spirit is said to dwell or act.” Have we really grasped the fact that we are a dwelling place for our God? We house the Spirit that moves within us, allowing us to walk in power. Banks have vaults that are virtually impenetrable without the key and codes, and that is because of the wealth they hold inside. We are vaults for the Spirit of God! In 1 Corinthians 6:19, the Bible says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” If a vault is secure, able to keep the enemy out, then why do we find ourselves opening the door and allowing the enemy to have residence where God clearly belongs? “God” here is defined as “The Supreme Diety”. If someone is supreme, then there is no other authority above them. In 2 Corinthians 6:16, the Bible says, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” The temple of the “living God”! God is alive and at work in us, but it is our job to let Him have reign of our temple. He wants to commune with us, and join us unto Himself. He desires our bodies to represent Him and our relationship with Him.

“And that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

The word “Spirit” means “breath, spoken of as imparting new spiritual life to those who believe in the gospel, and then dwelling in Christians.” The word “dwelleth” means “to occupy a house, to cohabit”. What does this “Breath”, the Spirit of God, do? In Genesis 2:7, the Bible says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The “Breath” of our God, His Spirit, gives life. 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.” The word “quickeneth” means “to give eternal life, to make alive forever in the bliss and privileges of the Redeemer’s Kingdom.” So we not only live, but we have eternal life! Our lives are sealed forever in Him because of the Spirit living inside of us. In Acts 17:28, the Bible says, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” The Spirit inside of us allows us to be ourselves in Christ unrestricted by anything, and the enemy doesn’t have power over the Spirit of God that rests in us. We sadly have the ability to let the enemy in to ruin this beautiful temple God has erected in us.

God made us temples that house His essence, that house everything He is. God must really think highly of us to allow us to be a dwelling for His Spirit. When will we become people that begin to embrace the value God places in us, not in conceit, but in awareness that we are built for more than bondage? We are built to not only house the Holy Spirit, but for the Holy Spirit to have its perfect work in us!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 22, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 6:11 – Loving You Part 26 – And such were some of you: but …

Hi Everyone!

Guilt is like drug abuse. We take on more than what is prescribed, it alters our character and mood, it can become highly addictive, it can kill us, and it keeps us from appreciating who we are and are created to be. How many believers are still flinging their own mud back upon themselves because they won’t accept that God has washed them clean from their sins. How many people are still living in willful penance, allowing others to incarcerate them for sins we have been forgiven for? How many of those believers are us? How can we ever rise to this level of loving ourselves when we won’t accept what our Creator God says about us? What good was Christ’s death on the cross if we won’t allow His blood to wash us clean, and accept clean as the new normal. We are new people, declared new by God, and we have access to a brand new life in Him. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 6:11, the fruits of being washed clean.

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Look at the word “were”. Past tense, right? The letter was to the church at Corinth, so Paul was writing to believers? So sadly, there were people in the church that still practiced the same unrighteousness they did before they were saved. Look at our churches now. There is a lot of unholiness taking place in believers, and there are even TV shows that display the church in no different light than organized crime! In Ephesians 2:8, the Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”. Have we really accepted this as truth, and if so, are we living our lives like people who were saved from our sins? The word ” washed” means “to bathe fully, to have remitted, to be freed of the consequences of sin.” Do we believe that we have been bathed fully of our filth, having our sins remitted by God through Christ? If so, then why won’t we have faith in God’s salvation and leave the guilt behind us?

“But ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus”

The word “sanctified” means “to purify or consecrate, to make holy, to render clean”. How can we still be who we used to be if we were not only forgiven for our sins, but washed cleaned and purified for holy use? In 1 Corinthians 1:2, the Bible says, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:” We are called to be saints, we are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and despite how we may feel, that is exactly who we are! Our self-awareness has to sometimes catch up to our salvation, which is understandable, but there has to come a point in life where we have to proudly step into our identity in Christ and come against any thought that tries to “dirty us back up”. The word “justified” means “to render righteous and free, to absolve from the consequences of sin and admit to the enjoyment of the divine favor, to clear from any charge or imputation. In John 8:10-11, the Bible says, “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” This woman was caught in the very act of adultery and the penalty was death by stoning according to the law. Her accusers proudly brought her before Christ, to get His insight into the punishment. Christ ended their accusations with one statement. Christ made her to see that there was no one to condemn her, and then told her He wouldn’t either, but He told her to go (move forward) and sin no more. If our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ doesn’t condemn us when we have fallen short, then why do we? Paul only used “were” once in the verse. He used “are” to express that we “ARE sanctified” and we “ARE justified”. Present tense. It is not dependent upon what we feel but upon what the Word of God says.

“In the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God”

The word “name” means “the authority by which the message comes.” Want to know how great is Christ’s name and authority. In Philippians 2:9-10, the Bible says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” If we are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, then what man, including ourselves, can change that report?

May we accept, with our whole hearts, the salvation, sanctification, and justification given by Christ, leaving guilt behind us forever? There is no place for guilt amid believers.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 23, 2021 – 1 Peter 2:9 – Loving You Part 27 – But ye are a chosen generation

Hi Everyone!

In this society we live in, there seems to be a standard for everything, most falling short of the marks our peers and influencers set for us. Most people spend their lives hearing they aren’t good enough, smart enough, young enough, old enough, thin enough, saved enough. Yeah, sadly, the Church has been soiled with these standards as well, and people are walking around Church trying to look the part, not to please God, but to measure up to the standards of those around them. How can we ever grow into a people who receive who we are in Christ, who will come into a deep and pure love for ourselves, when we are constantly being positioned for inferiority? This is not how God wants us to be. The best accountability is the truth, and God wants us to come to the full truth about who He is and also who we are. Today, we will look at 1 Peter 2:9, our identity through the lens of God.

“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”

“Ye are”. Once again, this is present tense, to express that this is not only at work right now, but it remains a continuous process of being. The phrase “chosen generation” means “selected offspring”. Selection implies a person chooses the best, or the favorite from the bunch. In Deuteronomy 10:15, the Bible says, “Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.” The Lord loved us so much that He chose the line all the way to Christ, then went further and chose the Gentiles that He would bring into the fold as well. Remember, this is written to the Church. In John 10:16, the Bible 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 believe that we were handpicked by God to be a part of the kingdom, and there was no mistake in God’s choice.

“A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people”

The phrase “royal priesthood”, means “Kingly fraternity of priest”. No pressure there, right? In Exodus 19:6, the Bible says, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Priests convey the Word of God to people, the are representatives of Christ, and they are holy, consecrated people. In Revelation 5:10, the Bible says, “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Imagine us not accepting who we were selected to be because we can’t accept the truth about who we really are. The phrase “holy nation” means “a consecrated tribe of people”. In John 17:16-17, the Bible says, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” The Word tells us who we are, that we aren’t of the world, neither shall we receive what the world says as truth.  We are so important to the Lord! In 1 Corinthians 3:17, the Bible says, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” God is serious about how we live and what we allow inside of us. His Word of truth is what He desires to inhabit us, and He wants us to be a people who is built and established by Christ. The phrase “a peculiar people” means “an acquired possession of people for preservation.” In Ephesians 1:14, the Bible says, “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” We have immense value to God, so much that He purchased us and will set the date for Christ to come back for His bride, the Church. In 1 Corinthians 6:20, the Bible says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” If we were bought with a price, then that alone should tell us how much we are really worth a lot to God.

“That ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”

The phrase “shew forth” means “to publish, to declare abroad”. The word is spread essentially. The word “praises” actually means “virtues”, which means “moral excellence”. The word “darkness” means “absence of spiritual light and truth”. The word “light” means “true knowledge of God and spiritual things”. God has selected us to be His Kingly children; an acquired possession consecrates by God, so we can tell the Word how salvation in Christ brought us into the truth knowledge of God and spiritual things. God selects us to be people willing to share our testimony about who God is in our lives!

May we walk as a people of God, ready to step into the place He has prepared for us as His children.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 24, 2021 – 1 Thessalonians 2:13 – Loving You Part 28 – the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe

Hi Everyone!

When we hear the Word of God, what is our response? Do we receive the Word of God with an open heart? Skepticism? Are we sure that the Word applies to us? When we hear our pastors, ministers, and teachers share the Word of God do we see the messenger and then discount the message? We as believers can hinder our own spiritual progress because we are so stubborn, that we won’t accept the Word of God unless it either comes from someone we can relate to or comes directly from God’s mouth Himself. In Romans 10:21, the Bible says, “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” God is tirelessly pouring His Word upon us, constantly sending His elect to speak a word of truth, and constantly revealing our identity to us, but do we believe God’s Word concerning us? Today, we will look at 1 Thessalonians 2:13, a word on the effectual working of God’s Word in those who believe.

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

The phrase “without ceasing” means “to go uninterrupted”. When we serve the Most High God, there should always be thankfulness behind it. It is really a privilege for us to share a Word that comes from the Lord, and just as must of a privilege to receive a Word that comes from the Lord. Do we really see how great of a position we are actually in as believers? In Luke 11:27-28, the Bible says, “And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” The woman tried to give the womb Jesus came from credit for the Word of truth that came from Christ, but Christ told her the person that was blessed was the person who heard the word, and kept it. Christ wasn’t exempt, and He heard the Word of God and kept it just like we are supposed to, but He accepted the entire Word as truth, even the Word spoken of himself. Paul and his ministry team are in continual thankfulness to see the Word go out and be kept. People are being blessed by the Word. What is there NOT to be grateful for?

“Because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us”

The word “received” means “to associate oneself with, to learn, to identify oneself with”. If a person receives the Word of God from us, then it has to be delivered in such a way where it resonates with them, and makes enough impact to begin that work. In my opinion, the Church of Thessalonica received more than just the Word. They received a living application of the Word, they received love, and they received a great example. In Hebrews 4:2, the Bible says, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Two different crowds can receive the same Word, but it can impact them completely different. Preaching the Word and receiving the Word are two different things. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” We don’t just share the Word. We share how the Word can be lived.

“Ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God”

The word “men” is in accordance with human views, to illustrate by human example or institutions. This means we bring “head knowledge” into a spiritual assignment, in an attempt to operate according to our own understanding. In 1 Peter 4:11, the Bible says, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” When we share the Word, it should come from God, taught and led by the Holy Spirit. The phrase “word of God” speaks of the Bible, but also of divine revelations, declarations and oracles of God. We have to receive the Word that comes from God’s delegates like it comes directly put of God’s mouth, especially when the Word is accurate.

“Which effectually worketh also in you that believe”

The phrase “effectually worketh” means “to be active, to be efficient.” The Word of God will move and come to life in those who believe, “believe” meaning “to place faith in, to entrust”. The Word has to work IN us, meaning we place it there by faith, in order to be effectual. May we associate ourselves with the Word spoken of us as believers, and may we begin to live out that truth in our lives.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 25, 2021 – 1 Thessalonians 5:8 – Loving You Part 29 – But let us, who are of the day, be sober

Hi Everyone!

As believers, we have to arm ourselves for spiritual warfare daily. The enemy is busy everyday, aiming to keep people as far away from the faith as possible, and 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.” There is a real threat out there, and that threat is also aimed at stripping both our identity and our security in Christ. Part our loving ourselves is seeing the value in what God created in us, and doing our part to protect it. If the enemy can keep distorting the knowledge of God that we have, then we will question who we are and what we are called to do. If we don’t know ourselves, how can we love ourselves? It’s odd how we aim to protect jewelry and money with our lives while our identity and relationship with God remains vulnerable to attack. What if we guarded our faith as strongly as we guard our possessions? Today, we are going to look at 1 Thessalonians 5:8, a word on guarding what truly matters to God.

“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”

The phrase “of the day” is speaking about believers. In 1 Thessalonians 5:5, the Bible says, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” Being of the day means that we can clearly see what’s going on around us, and we can clearly see who we are. In John 11:9, the Bible says, “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.” The last part of this verse, “he seeth the light of this world”, is highly important. Here’s why. In John 1:9 the Bible says, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” The “true Light” is Christ! In John 1:4, the Bible says, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” We have life through the Light as well. In John 1:12, the Bible says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”. We have to receive the Light in our lives in order to receive the power to become sons of God. Being “of the day” is vital to every believer, because it pertains to the people who have faithfully accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior; and abide in Him. This means that we embrace what the Word of God says about us as truth, and we aim to live out the Word in our lives. If the Word says we are children of God, then we believe that and start living like children of God. To be “sober” means that we “keep watch, or be on guard”. God has given us power to be the children of God, but He also gave us to choice to choose to walk in darkness or in light, to be children of darkness or children of the day. Would we ever drive a car with our eyes closed? That is exactly what we are doing when we accept a lie into our identity and relationship of God.

“Putting on the breastplate of faith and love”

A “breastplate” is what a soldier wears in combat. It protects the vital organs of a soldier’s body from attack, especially the heart. In Proverbs 4:23, the Bible says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” God wants us to protect our hearts with everything we have in us. Life flows from our hearts.  In Ephesians 2:8, the Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”. There is no salvation without faith. In Matthew 22:37-40, “ Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Love ensures we follow the law without worrying about the law. There is no righteousness without faith and love, because both are required!

“And for a helmet, the hope of salvation”

A helmet guards the head or the mind. In Romans 12:2, the Bible says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Our minds allow us to establish, by evidence, the will of God in our lives. Protecting our minds ensures the enemies can’t attack our minds with lies, causing us to lose sight of who we are and what we are called to do. May we become a people of God who choose Light over darkness, and truth over lies. Our identities are secure in Christ if we have the boldness to accept who we are and what we are called to do. Secure people love themselves, remember that.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 26, 2021 – Philippians 1:6 – Loving You Part 30 – he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it

Hi Everyone!

We have made it through this series, “Loving You”, and in the process, we have uncovered God’s intended design for His children. We learned about the intentionality of God to create us for His purpose, and we have learned that before we were born, there was a purpose, a name, and a character already ordained for us. We learned that we are unique, and the love of God formed us into His image and likeness. We discovered that we have authority in being children of God and we have access to the Spiritual realm by the Holy Spirit taking residence in us. We were created in love, and no matter what our purpose is, we are called to love others as well. The intent of this series was to bring us into a knowledge of who we are, why we were created, and how deeply God loves us, so we can begin to look within and begin to love ourselves. When we love ourselves, we will place value in who God created us to be, and we’ll protect His purpose in our lives by fulfilling what we are called to do. Love brings security, and when we are secure, the enemy has the hardest time penetrating our lives. A life lived in love is a victorious one, because we will always live to serve others, knowing it is pleasing to our God. To close out this series, we will look at Philippians 1:6, confident that God finishes what He starts in us.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

The phrase “being confident” means “one who is persuaded, assenting to evidence or authority”. God wants His children confident, in who He is as our God, who we are as His children, and in what He has appointed us to do. In Romans 8:28, the Bible 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.”. God wants children that KNOW, through forming a union with the Word of God and living it out in faith. This confidence allows us to remain rooted in Christ even when we look like we are going in the opposite direction. In Jeremiah 29:11, the Bible says, ” For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” God wants us to be confident in His faithfulness, because He has our ending figured out already. In Ecclesiastes 3:14, the Bible says, “I KNOW that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” God doesn’t do anything in us that man can change, unless we let him.  So when our parents said that we weren’t going to be anything, when our spouses said there wasn’t anything special about us, and when society brands us failures, they are only uttering lies of the enemy, because that is not what God said about us.

“That he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

In Galatians 3:2-3 the Bible says, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” We received our salvation, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the power to operate as children of God in all faith. We entrusted our confidence to the Lord, believing His Word to be true, and we set out to do what the Word says.  If we turned around and abandoned something proven to work in order to work out our own purpose, according to what we feel that we must do, then we have restricted God’s power to operate in our lives. In Proverbs 3:6, the Bible says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” We have to remain connected to the Lord in everything we do, in order for the work of the Lord to continue. In Galatians 4:1-2, the Bible says, “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” There is a process involved in forming us into children that are in the image of God, and the process is continuous! We never stop growing, we never stop maturing in the faith, and God is never done with us. The word “good” goes back to creation, when God created something by His word and it was so. When He saw what He created manifest itself, He saw it was “good”. Good implies the fulfillment of God’s purpose from creation. The word “perform” means “bring to an end or complete”. “Until the day of Jesus Christ” is pertaining to the second coming of Christ. So what we do today in Christ will continue until He comes back! God created us to make an impact, to affect history, giving testimony of God’s love for us!

God began a great work of love in us, and we must look in the mirror and see God’s love looking back at us. May we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 27, 2021 – Acts 2:38 – Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus

Hi Everyone!

What does repentance mean for a believer? Is it just being sorry for the bad things we’ve done? Is it asking for forgiveness? What about baptism? Churches practice baptism, but do we really understand what baptism truly embodies before we ourselves are baptized? There are people that go to church weekly, but have no clue what either repentance or baptism represents. I admit that this truth took some time to develop for me, and it wasn’t until I was an adult, more relationship conscious with God instead of religious, before God revealed the truth to me. Even though, on the surface, the teaching of repentance and baptism can seem to be elementary, the full understanding which leads to a transformed life requires maturity. Today we are going to look at another popular verse, Acts 2:38, and dive into the foundation of sanctification.

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

What causes us to repent? 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.” The word “repent” means “to change the mind, implying a turning from pious sorrow, unbelief, and sin and turning to God and the gospel of Christ.” When we repent, we a literally changing direction, turning our backs to the unrighteousness and turning our face to the righteousness of God, walking towards Him. In Matthew 16:24, the Bible says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” We leave our old life, our old mind, our old nature behind us, declaring it all to be untrue, and we come after Christ with an empty vessel to be filled by Him. Repentance is extremely important because we are positioning ourselves to be made new. Our problem tends to be that we want to still hold on to parts of our past, refusing to let go of who we were to receive our new identity in Christ. Our faith requires total surrender and that can’t be done without total repentance.

The word “baptized” means “to make whelmed, i.e. fully wet, to dip, to immerse”. The sprinkling of water on the head is not baptism, because baptism requires full immersion. In Romans 6:4, the Bible says, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Baptism signifies the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, so when we are baptized, we go into the water, our immersion signifying death and burial, and when come out of the water, we are resurrected as new in Christ. We identify with Christ through this ceremony, and immersion is a very important part  of it. Please don’t mistake this as a condition for salvation. In Romans 10:9-10 the Bible says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Repentance leads to salvation, and baptism allows us to identify with Christ.

“In the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”

The word “name” implies the authority by which the commandment is under. Because baptism is us identifying with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, then it should be a surprise that we are commanded to be baptized in Christ’s name. This is important! The word “remission” means “pardon or forgiveness of sins”. In Hebrews 9:22, the Bible says, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Because of this verse, we understand that Christ’s shed blood remitted the sins of those who have made Christ Lord and Savior by faith. A better way of translating “for the remission” would be “BECAUSE of the remission of sin”. This ceremony identifies us with Christ, His salvation giving forgiveness of sin.

“and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”

The word “shall” means it will happen. Repentance turns us away from sin, and baptism identifies us with Christ, making us one with Him, making us a vessel ready to receive the Holy Ghost”. The word “gift” means “gratuity” and we know gratuity is paying something beyond what is asked, like a tip. In Johh 14:16, the Bible says, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever”. God always wants to commune with His children, and now He has the chance, and it will be forever.

May we as believers come to understand these foundational components of our faith and exactly what  they mean for our relationship with God. 

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Feb 28, 2021 – Ezekiel 33:7 – I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel

Hi Everyone!

Are we our brother’s keeper? How many of us rise to this challenge with an open heart and zero apprehension? In the world we live in, it is not hard to say, “Not my problem”, and keep moving through life, tend to our own business and our own issues. This world is becoming more and more Godless, and a word of truth is becoming less and less popular. People seem to be more desirous to be lied to, to be pacified with diluted forms of the truth, and the odds of people watching their fellow man fly off a cliff is high. You would think believers would be exempt from such heartlessness, but sadly, sometimes we are the main culprits! When Christ ascended to the Father, He left us a commission in Matthew 28:19-20, which says, Jesus speaking:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Nowhere in this Scripture does it say to stand silent and watch our brothers destroy their lives. Today we are going to look at Ezekiel 33:7, being watchmen for the Lord.

“So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.”

The phrase “have set” means “to appoint”. It means God saw fit for us to have this position, that He qualified us to perform what He appointed us to do. There is no excuse! In Jeremiah 1:7, the Bible says, “But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” If we are babes in Christ, we aren’t exempt, because we are all equipped to speak the word of life God commands us to. In Jeremiah 1:9, the Bible says, “Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” God has done all of the work, including giving us the words to speak. All we have to do is be willing to open our mouths. In Romans 8:30, the Bible says, “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.” A lot of believers stand silent out of fear of their capabilities, but we shouldn’t fear anything because God has us covered and we should be prepared to speak a word on His behalf.

A “watchman” is “someone that peers into the distance.” Think of a kingdom with guard towers, or someone guarding a lighthouse. They have a vantage point to be able to see everything from all angles, and be able to see the enemy coming from a distance. This job is extremely important because the safety of the kingdom is at stake, and his job is to blow the trumpet, or sound the alarm, so that people know the wrath of God, or enemy, was approaching. In Ezekiel 33:3-4, the Bible says, “If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.” We are only held responsible for what we fail to say, for the warnings we failed to give. In Matthew 10:14, Jesus says, “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” We are responsible for casting the seed, not the increase! Expect people to reject our message, but that still doesn’t exempt us from spreading it! The phrase “unto the house of Israel” is no different than saying, “the children of God”, the “body of believers” or “the Church”. Now, some will say that this Scripture will exempt us from sharing the same warnings with nonbelievers, but Christ also told us in the commission to “make disciples of ALL nations”. Christ also stated in John 10:16, “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.” We have to remember the time when we were lost, where we had a watchman appointed that warned us of the sword coming to devour us, and be willing to be that same thing for someone else. It really pleases our God when we serve as a watchman with love in our hearts for our fellow man.

“Therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.”

God gives us the ability to “hear” or “discern” His message, but it is our job then to “warn”, or “enlighten” them with the word God gives us. In 2 Timothy 4:2, the Bible says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” May we uncover the boldness God has given us to use the word He has given us to warn the people He has created of the sword that is coming. Let us not forget our salvation as we aim to serve others.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 1, 2021 – Ezekiel 34:16 – I will seek that which was lost

Hi Everyone!

Since the fall of man, God has been searching us out, with every desire to bring us back to Him. We are His sheep and as our Shepherd, He wants to take really good care of us. He doesn’t intend for His children to remain in the pits of despair, under bad circumstances, or in spiritual or physical infirmity. It angers God when He has entrusted shepherds to care for His children, to make sure they have everything they need, also making sure they aren’t led astray and consumed in the process, but can’t find a shepherd among us. We are our brother’s keepers, and we are supposed to be going after sheep being led astray, protecting sheep from attack, and making sure that they are provided for. That’s not just God’s job. It is our job as well. There are people in ministry that are more concerned with feeding themselves than the flock. This shouldn’t be! If we won’t do what we are entrusted by God to do, then what is really our purpose here on earth? Today, we will look at Ezekiel 34:16, a template for what we should be doing on earth.

“I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.”

The word “seek” means “search out or strive after”. So our God not only searches for us, and fights for us as well. “Striving after” is another form of “fighting for”. In Genesis 3:8-9, the Bible says, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Adam and Eve hid themselves, knowing they had sinned, sin immediately striking fear when confronted with the presence of God. Did it stop God from seeking Adam out? Absolutely not! Why then, are we so quick to turn our backs on someone who sins against us, or sins period for that matter? Why don’t we go search them out? Why don’t we fight for them? The word “lost” means “to lose oneself, to wander away”. In Luke 19:10, Jesus says, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Christ came to seek AND save the lost. Why aren’t we looking at the lost like they need to be sought out, like they need salvation? Have we’ve gotten too “saved” to help our fellow man out when they need us the most?

“And bring again which was driven away”

The phrase “bring again” means to “return or restore”. The phrase “driven away” means “pushed off or away”. So these beautiful sheep were pushed away from the Church, by either an intentional act, or by conduct that led the sheep astray. In Matthew 18:6, Jesus says, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” It is a very serious offense to lead a sheep astray. We should be leading people TO the Lord, not away from Him. Even when sheep are led astray due to bad shepherding, God searches us out to return us back to Him!

“And will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick”

The phrase “bind up” means “to wrap up firmly so healing will occur”. The “broken” are the spiritually and physically broken, people who have been discouraged away from the faith, hurt immensely behind bad shepherding. In Isaiah 61:1, the Bible says, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound”. This is how we are supposed to approach the sheep we shepherd. We are supposed to help heal the brokenhearted. How many of us walk past someone we know God is pushing us to counsel, or acknowledge? Are we binding up what is broken by standing silent while someone around us is suffering? The word “strengthen” here means “to fasten upon to cure or heal”. If Christ said that we will do greater works than these, then why isn’t there healing in the flock?

“But I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgement”

The word “destroy” means “pluck down, bring to nought, to desolate”. The word “fat” means “greasy, greedy, rich”. The word “strong” means “mighty in a bad sense, violent”. So not only is there bad shepherding, but the sheep are being robbed and dominated by people who are supposed to keep them in the presence of the Lord. In James 3:1, the Bible says, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” Simply put, respect our appointment, love and take care of the sheep and there won’t be any room for judgement.

May we follow this example and begin to shepherd more effectively.

God Bless!

Marshall

Mar 2, 2021 – Romans 8:27 – And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth

Hi Everyone!

We have an amazing God! He just didn’t create us and put His purpose inside of us but every detail of our lives matter to our God. Our thoughts and feelings matter to Him as well, and as our God checks on our well being, He also makes sure that what we experience on the inside is known to Him as well. God knows who belongs to Him, who puts Him first, and He knows what consumes our thoughts on a daily basis. Ouch, right? God also knows our hearts, and even when our minds and actions haven’t always lined up with His will, He knows how badly we want to please Him. There is no fooling God, so all of the people who are praising God from an empty heart void of salvation are doing it in vain. God knows His children better than anyone knows us, and He even cleans up our thoughts to line up with His will. Today, we are going to take a look at Romans 8:27, God’s ability to intercede from the deepest place within us.

“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.”

The words “searcheth” means “to investigate”. This isn’t our God merely looking for some lost keys, but this is our God peeling back layer after layer to get to the bottom of every thought, feeling, and experience within us. In Psalms 139:1-3, the Bible says, “O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” God investigates every part of us, all parts of our character, every direction we want to take, and even understands thoughts that we haven’t made yet! The “heart” is “the seat, of the desires, feelings, affections, passions, impulses, our innermost being”. In 1 Thessalonians 2:4, the Bible says, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” God entrusts his “Good Message” to us and allows us to speak on His behalf. If we are only speaking the Word of the God, then we won’t be concerned with being approved by men, but our God.

“Knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit”

The word “knoweth” means “to join to, to become one with”. The word “mind” means “inclination or purpose”. God knows exactly who and what He created us to be, and He also knows how our thoughts and feelings can play a role in the purpose He has for us. Imagine our spirits being gardens and God identifies the fruit and the weeds in our gardens. In Jeremiah 29:11, the famed Bible verse says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” How does He know this? Because God is our Creator and His Spirit dwells in us! So God investigates our hearts with His intention of them being one with the Spirit that is inside of us. God investigates, knowing what is supposed to be there.

“Because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God”

The phrase “making intercession” means “to confer with on another’s behalf”. An intercessor is an advocate who speaks on their client’s behalf. In Hebrews 7:25, the Bible says, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”  Salvation hedges upon intercession, because if there was no intercession then there would be no forgiveness. One of the greatest examples of intercession happened in Luke 23:34, where the Bible says, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Christ spoke on His persecutors’ behalf, making an excuse for their behavior. Christ knew God wouldn’t take what was happening to Him lightly, so in the midst of His suffering, He covered the people who persecuted, beat, tortured and ultimately killed our Lord and Savior. In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Christ requires intercession out of us as well, and He gave these directives before He was crucified, allowing His actions to be an example of what He previously commanded us to do. The word “saints” are “people purified and sanctified by the influence of the Spirit”. The word “will” means “a determination rendered”. In Colossians 1:17, the Bible says, “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Nothing is in place without the will of God. Intercession keeps pushing us towards God’s will, even when we fall short.

May we become people who God can search and find His Spirit alive and at work in our lives.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 3, 2021 – 1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no man despise thy youth

“Hi Everyone!

Ministry is not an easy task, though it becomes easier with experience. There is a ton of scrutiny awaiting someone in ministry, and sadly, it sometimes comes from those in Church right along with us. Here in the prison, I am confined in, everything I say and do is under a microscope, and there are people waiting for me to slip up, or for something bad to happen so they can say “Aha!” There are people outside of prison who discount God’s calling over my life because of my confinement, and there are people close to me who despise God’s favor in my life. Despite all of the “noise” around me, I remain undeterred, and will continue to spread the Word of God as long as I am led by the Spirit to do so. Timothy was a young leader in the church, which wasn’t too common, and he was frequently discounted because of His youth. When we put limitations on the Holy Spirit’s power to effectively work in anyone based on our own limited expectations, then we are telling God who He SHOULD work through. Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 4:12, a word on focusing on the things that truly matter.

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

Like I said above, Timothy was a young leader, and he constantly had his abilities undermined by older, more seasoned believers. The word “despise” means “to think against, to look down upon”. The word ” youth” means “newness”. Paul is instructing Timothy to not let anyone look down on him for not fitting into the age requirement. In Acts 10:34-35, the Bible says, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Peter had to get past his mentality that the Holy Spirit’s power is only for the Jews, so God sent him a vision ahead of Cornelius’ arrival, allowing him to come into this revelation. Even pastors can hold stereotypes and prejudices against other people which can stifle the moving of the Holy Spirit. Paul had to send word ahead to the Church at Corinth about Timothy, to make sure He would be received the same way they would receive Paul. In 1 Corinthians 16:10-11, the Bible says, “Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.” Paul knew people in the Church had preconceived notions on what their pastorate should look like. The Church should be the last place with stereotypes, but sadly, that isn’t the case.

“But be thou an example of the believers”

The word “example” means “a die, a model for, a resemblance”. The word “believers” means “firm in faith in Jesus Christ, Christians, the Church”. In Titus 2:7-8, the Bible says, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Whether we see it this way or not, we represent the Church, and the Church represents Christ. It doesn’t matter if we are pastors, choir member, deacons, trustees, or we are attendees. We represent Christ, and when people see us, they are supposed to see the evidence that the Spirit of God is at work in our lives.

“In word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity”

Paul is telling Timothy to focus his attention on representing Christ and the office he holds, because that will silence the critics. “In word” pertains to the things that come out of our mouths, making sure our words reflect the Word of God and the Spirit dwelling in our hearts. In Colossians 4:6, the Bible says, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Because of the Spirit that dwells within us, our words have a power that they never have had before. Our words have to be words of Spirit and Life, just like Christ. “Conversation” means “behavior”. “Love” is agape, the love that comes directly from God that we love others with. “In spirit” means “the empowerment imparted by the Holy Spirit, giving one supernatural qualifications”. “In faith” implies doing what they Word of God says, and the fruit it bears. “In purity” means “Godly cleanliness, free from defilement”. In 1 Corinthians 15:58, the Bible says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” We should remain firm in the faith, embodying the Word of God, and allow that to be our focus.

Stereotypes are inevitable, but a sound record of faith in ministry tears any walls down. May we usher in the Spirit through our walks.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 4, 2021 – Genesis 11:6 – nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do

“Hi Everyone!

The power of agreement is something that is vital to the success of the Church. It is also vital in marriages, in relationships, in family, and in business. When everyone is on one accord, it seems like one big force sweeping through, making an incredible impact. As parents, doesn’t it feel good to give our children instructions and watch them work together to get the job done? Sadly, this agreement can be made for positive or for negative purposes, and the fruit of whatever sort of agreement it is will be evident to all. Do we understand that creation came by agreement? God spoke, the heavenly realm produced whatever God asked for, and that agreement is what we see when we look into the mirror, when we take a walk in the woods, or when we stare at the stars. Agreement is essential to produce the will of God in our lives, but what are we agreeing to? Today we are going to look at Genesis 11:6, and embrace God’s message of agreement for His children.

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”

A little back story. The people on earth spoke one language, and after they settled in the land of Shinar, they came up with the fascinating idea to build a city and tower that would reach the heavens, so they would appear to be powerful in the eyes of people outside the city. God gave them strict instructions to go and replenish the earth after the flood, not to remain in one place and not try to get to God through their own efforts. They came into agreement to disobey God’s word, and even in disobedience, God acknowledged that their agreement would have power. The word “people” means “a nation or tribe who shares a common language, a common location, and a common purpose and goal.” In Genesis 9:19, the Bible says, “These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.” Please understand that the people were already spread out, so they left the place they were to dwell in Shinar together. In Acts 17:26, the Bible says, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation”. God had appointed places for His people to live, and His design for everyone to scatter so His presence could spread over the whole earth.

“and this they begin to do”

God let them begin to build the city and tower. Look at Genesis 11:5, where it says, “And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the CHILDREN of MEN builded.” It didn’t say, “children of God”, did it? These were people that not only disobeyed God but people that were trying to build a city, tower, and people without God. Sometimes, God will allow us to make the wrong choices, and for a season, quietly watched us futilely build in vain. The word “do” here means “to accomplish or complete, conveying a notion of performing an activity with a distinct purpose, a moral obligation, or a goal in view.” In agreement, there is a common goal that brings people together, and usually no one stops until the goal is met. In 2 Corinthians 6:16, the Bible says, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Agreement can go both ways, but we can only be in agreement with either the Spirit or the flesh. Either we are going to be people that come together in agreement with God’s word, allowing Him to build us into a city and a tower or we will be a people who come into agreement, but in disobedience and try to build our own legacy.

“And now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do”

The phrase “will be restrained” means “clipped off, obstructed”. God is saying out of His own mouth that when His children, whether they claim their place or not, come into agreement, nothing on earth will cut them off from getting where they agree to be. In Ecclesiastes 4:9, the Bible says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.” The Bible also says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” There is real strength in agreement, and in agreement lies the ability to withstand resistance from anything working against it. In Matthew 18:19, Jesus says, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Instead of us building a city and tower, using our own power, trying to reach after our own godliness without God, may we aspire to come into agreement with God’s word so the Word of God can spread, and so His power can effectively work in us. There is no better agreement.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 5, 2021 – Genesis 12:1 – Get thee … unto a land that I will shew thee

Hi Everyone!

When I was younger, I felt like “giving my whole life up for Christ” was too much to bear, and I fled from my call like Jonah. There was so much I wanted to do, and all the “Church stuff” would put a major damper in my plans. Even then, I understood that our walk with the Lord is a personal sacrifice, and to serve the Lord faithfully, there would be some stuff I would have to leave behind me. I just wasn’t ready to be “sold out for Christ”. Those kids were laughed out of the neighborhood, and being a victim of bullying already, it would’ve intensified the mistreatment from my peers. In my adulthood, I realize that the sacrifice is actually very reasonable compared to the sacrifice Christ made for me, and God really only asks for us to be who He created us to be, nothing less. Sure, there later were hard decisions I had to make but I made them with relatively ease, understanding that a hard decision made for the Lord is really the least of my worries! Today, we are going to look at Genesis 12:1, being a living sacrifice.

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:”

The word “country” means “land of dwelling”. God, out of the blue, came to Abram and told Him to leave the only place he had known to be home. This is God asking him to take a vacation. God told him to move! Pretty scary thought, huh? 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.” The first thing we have to understand is everything on this earth, including us, belongs to God. When we make ourselves living sacrifices, we heed the word without question, understanding that God will always sustain those who follow His word. Being a living sacrifice means that what we desire for ourselves doesn’t carry any weight to what God has for us.

The word “kindred” means “nativity, birthplace, lineage”. So not only does God want Abram to leave the only home he’s ever had and known, but He also wants him to leave his family behind as well. That means he won’t see his brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, parents and grandparents anymore. This move means that this will be the last time he would probably see his family alive! In Matthew 10:37, Jesus says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” God wants to come first above everything and everyone we place value in, but there are rewards for our faithfulness to God. In Mark 10:29-30, the Bible says, “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” No man makes a sacrifice for the Lord and doesn’t get rewarded, and it says a hundredfold. Abram left his family behind and had descendants more than the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.

“And from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee”

The phrase “father’s house” implies the protections and provisions afforded to the son by right of him being the son. It also implies the inheritance as well. So God wanted Abram to give up his financial security and longevity as well, along with having to family to protect him against attack. In Matthew 19:21-22, the Bible says, “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” The sacrifices God requires us to make are things that won’t be easy to let go, and they will be things that we truly value. I firmly believe by experience, that God requires sacrifice in order for us to experience Him and therefore CHANGE our values. In Hebrews 11:8, the Bible says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Blind trust isn’t “blind” when we are led by the Word of God. In Hebrews 11:10, the Bible says, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”. We are not sacrificing anything to trust God, but to gain a land built by our God for us.

God wants to show us our promised land, the fruit of our sacrifice, the dwelling place of His purpose in our lives. That “Church stuff” I ran from actually became the best thing that has ever happened. I ran for nothing! May we be a people who move in trust and obedience when God calls us.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 6, 2021 – 1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith

Hi Everyone!

There is a constant struggle within our faith. God is leading us towards His good purpose, but the enemy is unleashing offensives to withstand the work of the Lord. Anyone who says that this isn’t a fight has no understanding of what is going on in their faith walk, and if there is no struggle at any point, then one has to ask themselves, “Am I going after what the Lord commands for me to go after?” With any fight, there is something to be gained, and in our faith walks, what is to be gained is eternal life in heaven and abundant life on earth. What is on the line is our experiencing God’s will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. The enemy doesn’t want any of this to happen, because as long as we are losing the battle or as long as our faith is stagnant, he can continue to hinder our chances of bearing fruit. Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 6:12, fighting the good fight of faith.

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

The word “fight” means “to labor and toil for the cause of Christ”. For the ones that think it is okay to put our feet up and do nothing after salvation, this definition debunks that myth. In 1 Corinthians 9:25-26, 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 therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air”. The world is fighting for a crown too, but there are fighting for one that will dry up and wither away. When a person won a sporting event back in those days, they trained extensively to be prepared to fight for the crown. The crown was usually branches with leaves made into a crown. The crown had nothing to keep the leaves alive so it withered away. In 2 Timothy 2:5, the Bible says, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” If we are to be people who fight for a crown that won’t wither and fade away, then we have to fight according to the Word of God. The word “good” means “profitable”. In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. The second word “fight” means something different. It means “unwearied zeal in promoting the spread of the gospel”. So our fight is not with the enemy as much as it is with spreading the gospel, with us using our gifting to bring glory to God, and with us using our testimonies to point the way to Christ.

“Lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called”

The phrase “lay hold on” means “to seize in order to obtain or possess”. The phrase “eternal life” means “the everlasting life of bliss and glory in the kingdom of God which awaits the true disciples of Christ after the resurrection” in Philippians 3:12, the Bible says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Eternal life is already promised to all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, but until it happens, we still have to race after Christ and our purpose in Him while we still live on this earth. The phrase “art also called” means “invited to salvation and repentance in Christ Jesus”. In 2 Thessalonians 1:11, the Bible says, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.” Do we really see us being called by the Lord as an honor, as a great privilege that not many partake in? What would God think of us and how we are using our calling? Are we walking in His power? Are we fulfilling His good purpose?

“And has professed a good profession before many witnesses”

The phrase “professed a good profession” means “to give testimony about the gospel that God ordained to be given”. It is only “good” if God ordained it from the beginning. The word “witnesses” means “people who can testify to the truth of what he has seen, heard, or know”. In Acts 4:19-20, the Bible says, “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” There will be opposition, people that will try to forbid us from spreading the gospel, but we have to have the mentality where we can’t help but to testify. In Matthew 10:32, Jesus says, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.”

May we come to understand that the good fight of faith is spreading the Word of God, confessing Christ everywhere we go!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 7, 2021 – Ezekiel 40:4 – set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee … declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel

Hi Everyone!

God has ordained us to be witnesses for Him. We tend to put a lot more pressure on the task than what is actually required, and a lot of times, we will hinder our own success in the process. In Proverbs 3:5, the Bible says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” This means we shouldn’t try to put our own spin on what God is doing, what He is teaching and what He required of us to do. God only requires us to testify to what we know, what we see, what we hear, and what we experience from Him. He allows us to have different experiences so our testimonies can be different, but still point to the same awesome God. It is designed so there is not a need or an area the Church can’t reach. Today, we are going to look at Ezekiel 40:4, the ingredients of our witness.

“And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.

The word “son” means “builder of the family name”. The word “man” means “embodiment of mankind”. This is usually used to speak towards someone who is the representative of God, speaking on His behalf. The word “behold” means “fix one’s attention upon”. This requires intention on our part. Colossians 3:1-2, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Our minds as believers need to be fixed on the Word of God, giving Him our undivided attention, because not only are we representing the kingdom of God, but we are also representing how mankind should operate on earth. The word “hear” means “to discern, to hear intelligently, to listen with the purpose of understanding”. The word “ears” should be seen as “instruments of obedience”. In Philippians 4:9, the Bible says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Merely hearing the Word of God is no different than hearing a car horn, it does nothing for us as believers. We have to put what we hear into use! In James 1:22-24, the Bible says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” Our identities are established when we put the Word of God into use, because we hear with the intention of following. If we don’t put into practice the Word we hear, then we will forget the Word and forget about who we are in the process.

The phrase “set thine heart” means to “root or establish the depths of one’s being into”. In 2 Thessalonians 3:3,5, the Bible says, “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” It is God that establishes us and sets us into the foundation of Christ, but we have to make ourselves available to Him in order for this to happen. This part of the verse says, “set thine heart upon ALL that I will shew thee.” We have to receive the full message from the Lord, and we can’t cut out the part we don’t want to hear. In John 16:13, the Bible says, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” God is going to provide the entire truth to us, and show us what we need to see. In 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”. If we don’t receive the full truth, the blame rests upon us and our desire to hear what we want to hear.

“For to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.”

God intentionally brought us before Him so we can experience His presence and hear His Word. After we receive His Word, He commands us to “declare all” that we see to the body of Christ. The word “declare” means “to make known, announce publicly, to herald like a town crier”. In Acts 20:27-28, the Bible says, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” We have to be completely attentive to the Word of God and ALL He shows us so we can be effective witnesses for the kingdom.

May we use ALL of what God provides in our witness!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

March 8, 2021 – Luke 22:31 – that he may sift you as wheat

Hi Everyone!

The enemy is Satan, and Satan is incredibly busy with trying to kill, steal, and destroy. He doesn’t care for the things of the Spirit and in fact, he desires to strip a believer from ever receiving anything that comes from the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t want us being led and guided in truth, nor does he desire for us to fulfill our purpose on this earth, doing what we were created to do. Satan wants to break apart the home, tear apart families, and cause people to walk this earth as lesser forms of themselves. He presents the pleasures of sin to be the most rewarding experience and convinces people to deny Christ to reach after heaven on earth. Satan doesn’t want us knowing who we really are and if we don’t see him coming, then he will certainly stalk and hunt us like prey. God knows this and He prepares us in His word to stand guard, and even warns us when the enemy is on the prowl. Today, we will look at Luke 22:31, the sifting of the enemy

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:”

The first thing I want us to look at is Who is saying this. The Lord is speaking to Simon Peter. So whatever our Lord is saying, we can bank on it as 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”. That is why it is so disappointing to God when we don’t trust in His word because it is the same thing as calling God a liar. The enemy loves it when we “bring God down” to his level by calling Him a liar through our unbelief, because He knows there won’t be victory to the person who doesn’t place His faith in God.

The second thing I want us to look at is the fact that Christ calls Simon’s name twice. Christ also called Simon by his old name, not the new name he was given. God knows our hearts and what spirit we are under! Whenever God has ever mentioned someone’s name twice, it is of supreme importance, and it used to say, “Please pay attention to this because this is vital!” In Genesis 22:10-12, the Bible says, “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, ABRAHAM, ABRAHAM: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” A life was on the line and the lineage to Christ was in jeopardy, so God called Abraham to establish that He was calling him and He needed him to stop and listen. In Exodus 3:4-5, the Bible says, “And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, MOSES, MOSES. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Once again, supreme importance because Moses was called to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. Lives were on the line, and the lineage to Christ had to be preserved.

The word “Satan” means “the devil, or the accuser”. The phrase “hath desired” means “demand permission, to claim back for oneself”. So the accuser, Satan, has demanded permission from God to torment Peter. Where does this sound familiar? In Job 1:10-12, the Bible says, “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” Satan had to get permission from God to strike Job because he had a hedge of protection over his life, and God gave him permission! If God gives Satan permission to torment us, then God has already prepared us to experience the victory in Him. In Job 1:20, the Bible says, “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped”. When Job was afflicted, he mourned, but he worshipped God despite his affliction, despite his torment. Satan can demand permission to torment and afflict us, but he has no control over our praise and worship. It is when the enemy is busy, that we have to draw closer to God. In Isaiah 59:19, the Bible says, “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” The standard is the Word of God, and Satan can never overpower the Word of God!

Resist the devil and he will flee! May we use the Word of God to come against the sifting of the enemy!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 9, 2021 – 2 Timothy 1:9 – Who hath saved us … which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began

“Hi Everyone!

I have heard countless guys in prison tell me, “I ain’t ready to get back in the church stuff. I have to do some changing first.” There are so many people that feel like they have to be good enough for salvation, to be holy enough for God to call them. That is the furthest thing from the truth! Last time I checked, I didn’t read anything in the story about the Prodigal Son about him cleaning himself up before he returned home, neither did Paul have to clean himself up before Christ appeared on the road to Damascus. A lot of times, we display a profound disrespect for God by not wanting to be soiled in His presence, but at the same time, display a lack of understanding that God is the only Person who can clean us up. His calling is not about us being good enough or clean enough, but because He chose us specifically to fulfill His purpose. Today, we are going to look at 2 Timothy 1:9, God’s unfathomable calling.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”

The word “saved” means “delivered from eternal death, sin, punishment, and misery consequent to sin”. In Romans 6:23, the Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Our sins deserve the penalty of death, eternal separation from our loving God, but, God decided to bestowed a gift upon His wayward children by giving us Jesus Christ to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins to all who believe on His name. In Romans 10:9-10, the Bible says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” God gave us the easiest part of the deal when it comes to salvation, and nowhere in this verse does it say we have to be “holier than thou”. The word “called” means “to bid or invite.” In Romans 11:29, the Bible says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” God doesn’t make mistakes. When He calls us, there is a great design and plan at work, and this plan was already in motion since creation. The phrase “holy calling” means “sacred invitation”. In 1 Thessalonians 4:7, the Bible says, “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” In Hebrews 3:1, the Bible says, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus”. God has called us into holiness and we are to use our holiness to study and emulate Christ, to become more like Him. This is a process, and we don’t come in as the finished product, but we come in as people ready to be transformed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. 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.” People don’t go to the throne of grace if they don’t need grace, mercy and help in time of need. We come empty and we leave full, correct?

“Not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”

The word “works” means “deeds or acts of the law, meaning works requiring or conformable to the Mosiac moral law and required by this law”. In Romans 4:6-7, the Bible says, “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” Faith already did the job of our works. Now this doesn’t give us the license to live in sin because we have faith, but it gives us the understanding that there was nothing in our works meet for salvation. The word “purpose” means “God’s intention beforehand”. 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”. When we really begin to understand that we were already God’s choice from the beginning, then maybe we’ll stop feeling like there is some “achievement bar” we have to meet first before we can come to God. It doesn’t mean that we should be conceited. In Romans 11:20, the Bible says, “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear”. We have to have a deep, moral reverence for what God has offered us as believers. None of us were deserving of the gift of salvation we were given, so none of us are in any position to act as if we earned this privilege that God bestowed upon us before the world began.

May we come to appreciate our salvation and our calling even more, knowing there was a place reserved for us!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 10, 2021 – 2 Timothy 2:21 – prepared unto every good work

Hi Everyone!

As believers, we are in constant need of refinement. God not only wants us to be vessels of honor, but He desires for us to remain that way, always ready and able to fulfill God’s purpose. There are things God removes from us through refinement, but there are also things that we have to remove ourselves from. God gives us the discernment of what that is, but leaves that up to us, entrusting us to make sound spiritual decisions in order for us to grow the way God intends. We belong to God and we are created for His use, but how many of us are still trying to set our own rules for how we are to live, move, and have our being? The truth is, our ways have to be God’s ways, and our thoughts have to be God’s thoughts, if we are to live the abundant life God has prepared for us to live. That can only be done in Him. Today, we are going to look at 2 Timothy 2:21, the purge meet for the Master’s use.

“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.”

The word “purge” means “cleanse thoroughly”. It implies something unhealthy being removed from our person and our presence. In Isaiah 52:11, the Bible says, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.” It even implies us removing ourselves from something that isn’t healthy. 1 Corinthians 15:33, the Bible says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” What types of conversations do we voluntarily have daily that are not consistent with who we are in Christ? Here is a question we can ask ourselves to test the nature of our conversations. Would we have this same discussion if God was standing right there listening? The sad thing is, God IS right there listening! In 2 Corinthians 6:17, the Bible says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” God requires us to stick out, nor blend in a crowd where no one knows who we are. We may be the only people making the right decision, or saying the right things, or doing what God requires. When we remove ourselves from all spiritually unhealthy things and people, we make ourselves available to give God our undivided attention.

“He shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use”

The word “vessel” has an amazing implication, one I have never seen before. It gives the imagery of “a wife contributing to the usefulness of her husband”. In John 3:29, the Bible says, “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” The Church is the bride, and Christ is the bridegroom, and this is a real marriage. When we are vessels of “honour”, we are “esteemed and valuable”, but only because of who makes us and who fills us. Do we really value what God has created in us?  That may be one of the deciding factors in how we live and what we attach ourselves to, because if we don’t see ourselves as vessels of honour in Christ, we will allow ourselves to be mishandled and filled with the wrong stuff. The word “sanctified” means “to consecrate, devote, set apart to a spiritual and holy use”. In Ephesians 5:25-26, the Bible says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”. The Word is what cleanses and sanctifies us, all of which is a direct result of the love Christ has for the Church. Once we are loved, sanctified and cleansed, we can be “meet for the Master’s use”. The phrase “meet for” means “easily used for Christian service”.  In 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, the Bible says, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Our sanctification should leave no question as to where our words, conduct, wisdom and power comes from. Everything we are should point the way to Christ.

“and prepared unto every good work”

The word “prepared” means “made ready”. The word “good” implies God’s intended purpose fulfilled from the beginning. The word “work” means “deed or act, an undertaking”. In 2 Timothy 3:17, the Bible says, “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” God wants His children prepared for the work He has for us. It will require a purge of anything that can and will hinder the flow of God. May we present ourselves willing for God to cleanse us thorough in Him, so we can fulfill His intended purpose for us.

If there first be a willing spirit……

God Bless!

Marshall 

 

Mar 11, 2021 – 2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the word

Hi Everyone!

The world as we know it is changing at such a rapid rate, that it has transformed into a world we have never known it to be. In my 39 years of life, I have witnessed the value in the home change, the value of life diminish, and the lack of faith in people’s lives. Our society has become more and more Godless by the second, and television clearly depicts how far we have gotten from the Word of God leading our homes. When a child knows a Kardashian before an apostle, a fashion trend before a Bible verse, when a little girl can put on make-up before they can recite the Lord’s prayer, then it is the proof that we are failing miserably as a society. What happened? How have we gotten so far away from what God intended for us as a people? The answer is sadly simple. God no longer reigns in our households, in our communities, and sadly, in our churches as well. Today, we will look at 2 Timothy 4:2, and come to the understanding that it is time for us to hit the reset button, and reinsert the Word wherever we can.

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

This verse was written less than two thousand years ago, and it makes perfect sense today. The word “preach” means “to herald the divine truth publicly”. Think of a town crier, giving a message for all to hear whether they receive it or not. In 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, the Bible says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” Our job is to spread the Word of God to plant the Word in the soil of people’s hearts. Sometimes, we will be the people who water the planted seed by confirming a Word previously given, but God is going to produce the increase. In 1 Corinthians 2:12, the Bible says, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” We receive the Spirit of God, which gives us access to know the things that are freely given to us of God. We are not supposed to keep what we know to ourselves. The Word of God must be spread! The second part of the great commission in Matthew 28:20 says, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” We have to be teaching what we have been taught. The word “preach” scares people off, but everyone is responsible for the spread of the Word.

The phrase “be instant” means “be at hand, be present, or be ready”. This means that whenever God puts in on our hearts, we are always ready to share the Word. In Galatians 6:10, the Bible says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” As we have the opportunity. In Titus 2:1, the Bible says, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine”. So we aren’t ready to speak a word that isn’t of God, but a Word that displays God’s truth, doctrine solely based on the Word of God. “In season, out of season” implies when it may be convenient for them or when it may not be. There are going to be people who wholly reject our message and sadly, that is the reality to spreading the Word. In Matthew 10:7, the Bible says, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In Matthew 10:14, the Bible says, “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” Spreading the Word of God in season or out of season doesn’t mean we can ever control who receives our testimony. We just have to be ready and non-discriminant with whom we share the Word!

“Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”

The word “reprove” means “to admonish”. The word “rebuke” means “to tax upon”. To “exhort” means “to aid, comfort, or encourage”. All of these are to be done according to the Word of God. In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. The Word of God is what does the work to transform lives. We just have to speak when God commands, whether they want to hear it or not. I “rejected” a lot of the Word when I was in my mess apart from the fellowship of God, but oddly enough, those seeds eventually grew, and now God is getting the glory from the Word people shared with me both in and out of season. “Longsuffering”, or patience, is necessary because we have to understand that this is a process, and it takes time for seeds to grow! The word “doctrine” means “instruction, teaching.”

May we become a people willing to share and spread the Word of God both in season and out of season, remembering that someone did the same for us!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 12, 2021 – 2 Timothy 4:3 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine

Hi Everyone!

We are living in times where, slowly but surely, the true Word of God is starting to matter less and less. Instead of people searching the Scripture for truth, attending church for truth, they are going from verse to verse, from church to church, trying to find a message that appeals to what they desire. Some churches today erroneously pour out “blanket blessings” upon congregations of 10,000 people, promising houses and cars, money and security, and sadly, some people go to churches to experience the emotional relief of a prayer believed to be answered, only to be disappointed later. “Name it, claim it” churches have vastly overshadowed true doctrine, and some people want to attend church to feel better instead of attending church to learn the living Word of God. Today, we are going to look at 2 Timothy 4:3, a word on sound doctrine being the foundation of any church.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”

The time “WILL” come. Not “might” but “will come”. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, the Bible says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” It WILL come because there has to be a falling away before Satan is revealed. The phrase “will not endure” means “will not admit, will not receive”. In 2 Timothy 3:5, the Bible says, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Our churches are turning into places that have a form of godliness and that is because the gospel is not being received in its entirety, but in parts that please the hearers. To “deny” means “to declare untrue”, so people who don’t receive the world in its purest form, have essentially stripped the power from the Word of God. In the last days, many people will become more intolerant of the confrontational, demanding preaching of God’s word. They won’t look for rebuke, nor will they look for correction. In Proverbs 27:17, the Bible says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” If we won’t receive iron sharpening then how can we be friends of God? In John 15:14-15, the Bible says, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Why would we want to separate ourselves from this kind of love and from this kind of relationship?

The phrase “sound doctrine” means “the true, pure, healthy, and uncorrupted divine teaching of God”. In 2 Timothy 1:13, the Bible says, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” Sound doctrine leads us towards the Lord, and keeps us in His presence. In 2 Timothy 2:6-7, the Bible says, “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” Before we can spread the Word of God, we have to partake in the Word for ourselves, and allow the Holy Spirit to cause us to understand the truth. In John 16:13, Jesus says, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” We have to continue to receive sound doctrine into our hearts and minds, so we can live the type of lives God intends for us to live. The Word is not going to always be pleasant. In John 6:63-64, 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. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.” If we receive sound doctrine according to the Spirit’s leading and teaching, it produces life. Man’s words and wisdom of this world have no Spirit or life.

“But after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”

In James 1:14, the Bible says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” We can’t blame Satan for the way the Church is today. Every man is drawn away of his OWN lust and enticed, so man is running around, trying to find the doctrine that appeals to their itching ears, whether right or wrong. This shouldn’t be! In 1 Timothy 1:4, the Bible says, “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” A false word causes confusion and confusion keeps people apart from the presence of God. Sadly, people are racing after false doctrine in record amounts!

May we find life and truth in the pure Word of God only!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 13, 2021 – Hebrews 11:1 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 1 – faith is the substance of things hoped for

Hi Everyone!

What is faith? Is it belief in a desired outcome? Is it what produces an unwavering stance about a person, place, or thing? What are the building blocks of faith? Why is it so necessary in the lives of believers? Over the next two weeks, we are going to dive into faith and establish its identity and purpose that God intended for it. We will understand the difference between faith and belief, and we will understand that, absent the Word of God, there is no faith. Faith produces salvation, faith produces fruits meet for repentance, and faith produces the abundant life Christ came to this world for us to have. The truly successful people in this world may not have an abundance of wealth, but they are rock solid in their faith, and their faith became their wealth. Our faith is as good as currency in the kingdom of God, and if applied correctly, will invite God’s good purpose to come into our lives. Today, we will look at Hebrews 11:1, faith defined.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The word “faith” means “a firm persuasion, reliance, assurance, a belief in the truth of someone or something.” When we have faith, we are exercising confidence in what we believe. In Hebrews 10:35, the Bible says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” Faith is not something God forces us to have, and He gives us the choice on whether to keep our confidence or cast it away. There is a reward for those who remain firm in their faith, and God doesn’t leave us hanging when we are faithful in Him. In Romans 10:17, the Bible says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The word “hearing” means “instruction or teaching”. So our faith comes by “instruction”, and “instruction” by the Word of God. Think about this with me. If, when we are instructed in the Word of God, faith comes, then that means that our faith is fused into the Word of God. There can be no faith without the Word of God or a Word from God! Hence the difference between faith and mere belief. I can believe it will rain in five minutes, while it is sunny out with no clouds in the sky, and claim I have faith, but what would my faith be attached to? Faith must have substance!

The word “substance” means “foundation, guarantee, of proof”. Let’s look at construction for a second. When we build a house, we find a location, dig into the earth deep in order to lay our foundation. The foundation is the most important thing in a house and requires the most care. If anything is messed up in the foundation it will show up eventually on the surface, and may even cause the house to be destroyed! In 1 Corinthians 3:11, the Bible says, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” If no other foundation can be laid but Christ Jesus, then the foundation, or substance of our faith is Christ Jesus. It would make sense that faith comes by instruction and instruction by the Word of God, because the foundation of our faith is the Word of God. In John 1:1, the Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In John 1:14, the Bible says, “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.” So, this confirms that Christ is the Word of God, the only foundation we can lay, so therefore He is the substance of our faith. The phrase “of things hoped for means “things entrusted in, things expected”. In Jeremiah 17:7, the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” When our hope is in the Lord, we will find out, that we don’t need a lot of what we thought we did before!

“The evidence of things not seen”

The word “evidence” means “proof”. In 2 Corinthians 4:18, the Bible says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” If we can physically see it, faith serves no purpose, because faith is about seizing what is unseen. Faith is entrusting ourselves to the Word of God that the promises, if applied correctly, will materialize into reality. In Genesis 12:1, the Bible says, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee”. In Genesis 12:4, it says, “So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.” Abram didn’t physically see the land, but God’s Word was all the proof he needed when he left everything to go after God’s Word. Abram believed the land existed because God said it!

May we come to understand faith to be the foundation which causes the execution of God’s word!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 14, 2012 – Hebrews 11:3 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 2 – Through faith we understand

Hi Everyone!

We have a beginning, and our beginning came from the Word of God. Creation came to be because of the utterances of God, speaking things into existence. Before He spoke, the earth was without form and void, darkness covered the face of the earth, and there was water everywhere. God turned that into the world we live on right now, and the intricacies of His creation leave no doubt as to His existence. People who don’t believe search for a “cop out” explanation by saying they believe there is “something out there” but they don’t believe it to be God. With creation comes authority, and if a person can’t believe in God as Creator, then how can they have faith that all things will work together for their good? To place faith in the Creator is to place faith in the plan the Creator has for the world. Today, we are to look at Hebrews 11:3, understanding God’s creation through faith.

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

The word “understand” means “exercise the mind, to comprehend”. When we understand something, we have processed it in our minds, put it to test, and have developed a concrete stance about it. The “we” in this are believers, because there will be many that won’t believe, so they won’t understand. In Colossians 1:16, the Bible says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him”. When we place our faith, our assurance, our confidence in this Word, then we know that everything we are, and everything the universe is came from God. If we wanted to know about Amazon inside and out, from start to finish, then the person to seek out would be Jeff Bezos, correct? Seeking our understanding from the Creator about our origins, purpose, and future will ensure that everything we receive will be accurate. It is easy to trust in the Word when we are receiving it directly from the source!

The word “worlds” means “the universe as an object of creation and existence”. The word “framed” means “to complete thoroughly, to set in order”. Please pay attention to the word “framed”. It is past tense. So the universe was completed thoroughly from the past!!! In Genesis 2:1-2 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.” So on the seventh day, God rested because His job as Creator was done. Sometimes, we as believers fail to really embrace that a Word from God is all we need, and that word was already spoken on our behalf. In Psalms 33:6-7, the Bible says, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.” Think of the word framed again. Frames house pictures, paintings, and they serve as borders for whatever is inside. Everything operates within the boundaries God sets! His word set the boundaries, and the reason why so many people fall short of reaching after their purpose in the Lord is because people are trying to operate outside of the boundaries God sets. In Romans 12:6, the Bible says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith”. Even our gifts are under the boundaries God sets for us individually. Whether it is the universe or the gifts in his people, we are all the framed word of God.

“so things which are seen were not made of things which do appear”

The phrase “were not made” is speaking about works of creation, so this phrase means “were not created by God”. God’s Word produced creation from nothing that previously existed. In Genesis 1:3-4, the Bible says, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” When God called for light, it appeared, and it says that God SAW the light. Remember, it was dark before God called for light, so the light could have come from anything already in existence. In John 1:5, the Bible says, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” This proves that God created “something out of nothing”, because darkness couldn’t understand what light was while the world was in darkness! God’s word in creation gives us a firm foundation to stand on, and a full understanding of how true His word truly is.

Our faith must start at the beginning with creation. If we don’t embrace and place our total confidence in God as Creator, then our “faith” is truly blind.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

 

 

Mar 15, 2021 – Hebrews 11:8 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 3 – By faith Abraham … obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went

Hi Everyone!

“To obey is better than sacrifice”. We have heard this quote from 1 Samuel 15:22, but do we really understand how important obedience is to faith. God doesn’t mind our offerings, our sacrifice, our praise, but none of that means anything without obedience. Obedience and faith go hand in hand, because there is no such thing as faith without obedience, or obedience without faith. Faith requires us to believe the word we are given by God, which will cause us to obey it and carry the Word out. Sometimes, the word we are given won’t seem to make any logical sense, but God doesn’t abide in the realm of our logic or our expectations. God has a plan for our lives, and our obedience makes His plan a lot easier to carry out. Surely, the Person that devised the plan knows better than the people that are living out His plan. Today, we will look at Hebrews 11:8, the parallels of faith and obedience.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

“By faith”. Faith has to be the cause of our movements, and our movements in faith always produce the intended purposes of God. In Romans 4:20-21, the Bible says, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Faith is much bigger than us, and in my opinion, we have the easiest job in believing and obeying the Word of God. Unbelief hinders our faith and facilitates disobedience. If we don’t believe in the directions we are given, nor reverence the Person who is giving the directions, then the odds of us not carrying out the directions are very high! If we don’t follow the directions then we don’t get to the place God intends, which is a loss for everyone. In John 11:9, the Bible says, “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.” Abraham didn’t stagger at the promise, because he saw the light of this world, which is the Word of God. He seized it!

“When he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for inheritance”

The word “call” means “to bid, to invite to come forth”. In 2 Timothy 1:9, the Bible says, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”. This just isn’t any calling. When God calls a person, they are called according to His purpose and grace. This call will sometimes cause us to separate ourselves from everything we have trusted in before, and AFTER we obey the word of the Lord, then we will receive our inheritance. The word “receive” means “to take hold of”. This implies that, while it is available to us, we still have to grasp it for ourselves. The word “inheritance” means “possession from heirship”. In Ephesians 1:13-14, the Bible says, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” When we are called, we have to trust God’s word to be true, and act upon what it says. We can’t receive the inheritance by lip service, telling God we believe in His Word but won’t move from our position. Faith will require vulnerability to His design for us to take hold of God, who is certain about His plans for us.

“Obeyed; and he went out, not knowing wither he went”

The word “obey” means “to heed or conform to a command or authority”. This command or authority comes from God, and when Abram received the word from God, He answered the call by obedience. Our attitude towards the command God gives is not of real concern to God. In Matthew 21:28-31, the Bible says, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” God knows that sometimes we will rebel for a season, but if we obey the Word of God, we will be doing His will. Obedience activates faith! Abram, had no clue where he was going, but his trust in God was the only thing that mattered, and because he was obedient, he was identified as one of the champions of faith.

May God’s word cause our own obedience to activate our faith.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 16, 2021 – Titus 1:9 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 4 – Holding fast the faithful word

Hi Everyone!

Just as faith goes hand in hand with obedience, our faith is attached to the Word of God. It is the foundation by which we build our house, and it is the power source of our walk with the Lord. Show me a faithful person and I will show you someone who lives by the Word of God. In Matthew 4:4, the Bible says, “But he (Jesus) answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Do we live by the Word of God? Are we willing to sacrifice our success, our independence, our plans and our future for what the Word of God commands for us to do? How important is the Word of God in our lives? It has to be the driving force behind our decisions, it has to be the motivation behind our purpose, and it should be the direction our testimony points to. Today, we are going to look at Titus 1:9: effective communication by faith in the Word of God.

“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

The phrase “holding fast” means “to cleave to, to adhere to, to be faithfully attached to”. The image I immediately get is marriage, because 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.” This was the first time the word “cleave” was used, and it described the person that came from under the security he had to cleave to his wife, joining himself to her, the two becoming one flesh. Well, this is the same relationship God wants us to have with the Word of God, a marriage, where we come out from under the security of the world we once knew to cleave to the Word of God, the two becoming one flesh. In John 1:1, the Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then in John 1:14, the Bible says, “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.” So Christ is the Word of God. We are the Church. Christ is the Bridegroom, and we are the bride. In Ephesians 5:23, the Bible says, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Ephesians 5:25-26 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”. This union with us and the Bible should be seen the same way as a marriage, and it is just as important! In Ephesians 5:22, the Bible says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Submission! We as the Church have to submit completely to the Word of God the same way we submit to Christ! They are one and the same! This is why the Bible is urging us to “cleave to” the faithful word. Do we ever stop to really embrace the fact that the Word of God is faithful to us as believers! A faithful husband attends to the needs, wants and desires of his wife, the same way Christ does for the Church. When we see our relationship to Christ and the Word of God as a marriage, it may vastly change our attitudes about it all.

“As he hath be taught”

The word “taught” means “instructed”. There is a huge difference between sharing something about the Word of God and teaching the Word of God. Teaching implies showing a person the Word and then showing them how to ultimately apply the Word of God to life. In Colossians 1:28, the Bible says, “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:” The purpose of teaching is to thoroughly equip the person being taught everything they need to know so they can be completely able to cleave to Christ for themselves. In Galatians 6:6, the Bible says, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” The student fellowships with the teacher, so both teacher and student are assured that the instruction is received accurately. Instruction is vital to the faith!

“That he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers”

Cleaving to the instruction in the faithful Word of God makes us equipped to use the Word of God effectively. The phrase “sound doctrine” means “uncorrupted instruction”. In Acts 20:28, the Bible says, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” The true Word of God should be our only defense, our means to feed the Church. We cleave to the Word of God fully, and then take what we are taught to encourage and admonish other people in the truth, so they can receive the Word of God just as we have.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 17, 2021 – Hebrews 11:6 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 5 – But without faith it is impossible to please him

Hi Everyone!

Does God really exist to us? Are the same miracles Christ performed available to us today? Are our churches flooded with faith, or are they overpowered by religion, by rituals, and by people too afraid to experience the power of the Holy Spirit at work? We must be a Church, a body of believers, who are living according to the Word of God, activating the truth and the promises possessed in the Word. Do we present ourselves before the Lord ready to be used by our God according to His design, or are we still trying to chart our own spiritual course according to our own desires? We should desire to live lives pleasing to God, lives that bear evidence of His power, and with a testimony that establishes that our God’s hand is still powerful and present? Sadly, some people have no real experience with God, just a head knowledge of God no different than many a world leader. Today, we will look at Hebrews 11:6, having a faith that is pleasing to our God.

“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.”

The word “faith” is “a firm assurance, reliance, a belief in the truth of something or someone”. We can’t please God without faith. In Romans 10:17, the Bible says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith is attached to the Word of God, so if we are without faith, then we are calling our God a liar and discounting the truth in His word. In Romans 8:8, the Bible says, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” If we are in the flesh, the Word of God is not in use, it is not being relied upon. We can’t use the world’s tools trying to please God. In Romans 8:5, the Bible says, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”. The main reason a lot of our churches aren’t moving in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit is because they have become, or always were, churches without the true teaching of the Word of God, so they are essentially churches without faith. Our churches must mind the things of the Spirit because the Bible says in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” So faith requires a spiritual experience that can only begin with the Word of God being taught, believed and applied as the Word instructs. This type of experience pleases God.

“For he that cometh to God must believe that He is”

The word “cometh” means “to draw near unto Him in prayer, sacrifice, worship, devotion of heart and life”. This requires a full commitment. 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! The people who come boldly unto God believe that they have every right to be in His presence. In Job 1:6-7, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” Now explain to me how Satan presented himself before the Lord without reservation, but we are the children of God and we won’t present ourselves before the Lord? We as believers must come before God, to experience His presence, to empty our cups before Him, to make ourselves low and decrease so the power of the Holy Spirit can increase. We have to draw near to God with purpose. “He is” is the same as saying “He exists”. We must believe that our God is real and very much alive! Would we go to the house of a person whom we don’t believe in to live there? That would be pointless, correct? Well, sadly it is the same scenario if we are professing to be believers while our hearts don’t believe that God is present, or that He hears us, or that He answers our prayers.

“and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”

The word “rewarder” means “a person who repays any good deed”. In Isaiah 40:10, the Bible says, “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.” We have to believe that our God is powerful enough to do the things we ask of Him. In Genesis 18:14, the Bible says, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Sometimes, our reading the examples of faith will give us a clearer record of just how powerful and capable our God is. Can you imagine a 100 year old and a 90 year old getting pregnant? Talk about reversing the clock! To “diligently seek” means “to search out and investigate, in order to worship.

Do we really believe that our God is alive, ready to reward the faithful who search him out? Are we the faithful?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 18, 2021 – Hebrews 11:11 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 6 – because she judged him faithful who had promised

Hi Everyone!

When God’s involved, it’s NEVER too late for His word to activate and bear fruit in our lives. So many people looked at me in this midst of my sin, and thought I was past saving, that I was past healing, that I had gone too far in the wrong direction to make it back. I am here to testify that God showed me that His power is capable of cleaning up anyone* in any state they find themselves in, but our faith is definitely a requirement. Electricity is powerful and has the capability of turning the lights on without any problem, but if the switch is never flipped, the lights won’t come on. We have to receive the Word of God as truth, allow the seed to be conceived within us so we will birth faith, which manifests the power of God in our lives. Today, we will look at Hebrews 11:11, the birth of miraculous power through faith.

“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.”

The word “strength” means “miraculous power, force, or might”. The phrase “received” means “to take hold of, to seize for oneself”. The phrase “conceive seed” means “to cast in a fertilized egg”. Now let’s put this together. Sara believed in the Word of God, even though the thought made her laugh, and she seized the certainty of the Word of God. When she seized the Word given, it activated the miraculous power that allowed her to bring a fertilized egg to term. In Genesis 17:19, the Bible says, “And God said (to Abraham), Sarah thy wife, shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”  The provision for the promise is already accounted for! God knew they were going to have a child, that the child was going to be a son, that his name was going to be Issac, and God already had a covenant prepared to be established with him. Isaac’s name means “laughter”, because God knew they would laugh with incredulity, but not out of impossibility. Even when it sounded ridiculous, they still believed! In John 1:12, the Bible says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”. When we receive the Word of God in our hearts, God turns that into power to establish our identities in Him. In Luke 8:11, Jesus says, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Take the baby in the womb out of the equation and put the Word of God in its place. It operates in the same manner; we are filled with the Word of God through faith, the Word turns into miraculous power and that power brings the seed fully to term, according to God’s will. The impossible can be done because of the Word that has produced power in our lives

“And was delivered of a child when she was past age”

The phrase “was delivered of a child” means “to produce or bring forth life from the womb”. In Luke 1:36-37, the Bible says, “And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.” WITH God! See, our problem is we try to conceive seed without God, trying to understand Scripture without the Holy Spirit’s teaching, and we try to do the impossible without God’s miraculous power. I was barren, chasing after my own path and my own outcome, but when I allowed God to come into my heart and fill me with His Spirit, the impossible happened. Do I pat myself on the back for this transformation? Absolutely not! I seized the Word of God and allowed it to have residence, and God transformed me into everything He already had prepared for me since the beginning. Some people said it was too late, or I messed up too bad, but with God, all things are possible! The phrase “past age” means “beyond the appointed time for man”. In Isaiah 55:8, the Bible says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” God’s timing cannot be explained by man.

“Because she judged him faithful who had promised”

The word “judged” means “to deem or consider”. The word “faithful” means “trustworthy”. The word “promise” means “to assure of truth, to assert something respecting oneself, to swear by”. 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”. God is putting His character, identity, and name behind what He promises, because He is never going to fall short of His Word. In Romans 4:21, the Bible says, “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Do we consider God trustworthy in fulfilling His promises? The Word of God gives birth to miracles to those who receive the Word of God in faith, trusting in God to do exactly what His Word says.

It is never too late for God!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 19, 2021 – Hebrews 12:2 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 7 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith

Hi Everyone!

In order to really understand our faith and how our faith works in the life we live now, we have to watch examples from people who have succeeded in the faith. Hebrews 11 gives us numerous examples of titans in the faith, like Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Rahab, Joseph, Moses, and David to name a few. God always provides us examples, to not only show that walking in faith can be done, but God also shows us HOW we can walk in faith. There is no greater example of faith than Jesus Christ, the Person by which all of our faith as believers comes. Without Christ, there is no salvation, no Holy Spirit sent to teach us all things, and no Church built either. Christ was present with God in the beginning and He is still alive and seated at the right hand of the Father. There is no greater example of faith than Christ and today, we will look at Hebrews 12:2, to behold he Author and Finisher of our faith.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

The phrase “looking unto” means “to consider attentively”. So God desires for His children to understand faith by studying the example of Christ. In John 3:31, the Bible says, “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.” Our example should be Spiritual, from heaven, and our example must have authority. In John 1:3, the Bible says, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” We must also consider attentively that all things were made by God, and so everything necessary for our faith is already created by God. In John 1:32, the Bible says, “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.” Our Great Example of faith has the Holy Spirit upon Him. Christ isn’t just some man that walked the earth. We must really embrace Him as “God robed in flesh” to understand how he is the Author and Finisher of our faith. The word “author” means “one who makes a beginning, the source”. The word “finisher” means “completer, perfecter, one who accomplishes a goal and wins a prize”. In Revelations 1:8, the Bible says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” This is why we as believers must look at Christ as the source of our faith because everything began and ended with Him.

“Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame”

The word “joy” means “bliss, enjoyment, delight”. In John 8:29, Jesus says, “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” Christ knew when He had to go to the cross that God was with Him and His sacrifice would be pleasing to His Father. That brought God joy, and brought Him joy. In Hebrews 2:9-10, the Bible says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Not only would Christ be crowned with glory and honour, but we would have access to glory because of His sacrifice. That also brought joy to Christ. To “endure the cross” means “to patient under, to bear under the dying on the cross as atonement for our sins.” It brought Christ joy to please God by dying on the cross. Does it ever bring us joy when we are obedient to the Word God gives us? The phrase “despising the shame” means “thinking against disgrace”. That means Christ didn’t consider the disgrace of taking the world’s sin upon Himself, but chose to swat it away, choosing to please God instead.

“and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”

The phrased “set down” means “established as”. The “right hand” is reserved for the highest seat, the place of the highest honor. When I person is at the right hand, they are also viewed as having the strength of the person they are standing next to. In Hebrews 1:3, the Bible says, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”. When Christ took His seat, His work was finished, and our lives now bear the testimony of His sacrifice. Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the perfect example of the faith we walk in. He received the Word of God, believed it to be true, and carried it out despite the suffering that would result. Our shining example of faith!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 20, 2021 – Romans 5:1 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 8 – we have peace with God

Hi Everyone!

Our world is stripped of peace. War, rumors of wars, violence, acts of terrorism foreign and domestic, and contention abounds in our society. It shouldn’t surprise believers because Christ warned us in Matthew 24:6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” This in inevitable, and sadly we see this Scripture manifested in our daily news reports. The absence of peace goes hand and hand with the godlessness that has flooded our world, but it also comes from a lack of faith in the body of believers. Faith is security, and with security, we have peace, correct? If our alarm system is armed, and the doors and windows are locked, our sleep will be sounder because unless the alarm goes off, there is nothing to fear, so no reason to lose our peace. If only our faith was that secure! Today, we will look at Romans 5:1, real peace given by faith in Jesus Christ.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

The word “justified” means “to render or declare righteous, to absolve from the consequences of sin and admit to the enjoyment of the divine favor”. In Isaiah 32:17, the Bible says, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” There is always a course of action behind the declarations of our God, some tangible benefit or punishment behind His Word, depending on which side of the coin we are on. Righteousness isn’t just a quality. It is an action that produces a result, and that result is stillness and security! Justification doesn’t produce anxiety, but peace. In John 16:33, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” The Word of God is supposed to usher in peace into our lives, because its truth gives us a firm foundation for our feet. Christ overcame the world, so we have access to the same victory in Him. In 1 John 5:4, the Bible says, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Do we understand that our faith gives us the power to overcome the world, because it is by faith that we are saved and thus born of God? The word “faith” here means “unwavering confidence in Christ’s death as the ground of justification before God, saving faith”. This just isn’t mere belief. This is the foundation of our salvation, or our security in our salvation, our place in Christ is established forever. In Romans 3:28, the Bible says, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” People are still under the mistaken impression that they have to follow the law to be justified by God, and there is absolutely no peace when a person is walking while trying not to step on cracks. Christ died, giving us access to salvation and eternal life, so the Word of God can transform our lives. We were never designed to be our own righteousness!

“We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”

The word “peace” means “tranquility, arising from reconciliation with God and a sense of divine favor”. In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” There is peace the world gives and real peace that Christ gives. It comes from our standing with God through faith in Christ Jesus, and the security of being a member in the kingdom of God. The world tries to offer peace in its possessions; money, sex, drugs, material possessions, power, but every one of them have a very fleeting satisfaction, requiring us to continue to go after them. God doesn’t want us to equate peace with feeling good, because feelings have no security and can change as swiftly as the wind does. In Colossians 1:20, the Bible says, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” When we as believers understand that it is faith in the blood of Christ that gives us access to reconciliation with God, we will develop more peace in where we stand spiritually. In Romans 4:5 the Bible says, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” When we are secure in our faith, which should be in the Word of God, we have a foundation to build our faith on. That foundation is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. It is only by faith in Jesus Christ that can we be made righteous. If we have faith, then we KNOW this as truth!

May peace come through faith, and may we be secure in the Word of truth!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 21, 2021 – Romans 4:20 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 9 – but was strong in faith, giving glory to God

Hi Everyone!

Sometimes, it is extremely hard to stay strong in faith. Things happen, producing events that rip the heart in pieces, but as believers, we have to look beyond what is happening to the promise that God has for us in His Word. Just because we are knocked on our butts doesn’t means the Word is any less true than it has always been, and just because some of our ordeals seem unpleasant, doesn’t mean that it isn’t included in the promise God has for us. The Israelites traveled though the wilderness on their way to the promised land, but who would’ve known that the wilderness produced an unbreakable strength that would allow them to seize AND protect the promise? What God has for us, and the road we take to get us there, at times won’t make a bit of sense, and may seem like we are actually going in the opposite direction. It is when things don’t make sense that we must cleave even harder to the Lord, and commit ourselves even more to the promise. Today, we are going to look at Romans 4:20, pressing through to the promise.

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;”

The word “staggered” means “to be in strife with oneself, to doubt, hesitate, or waver”. The person Paul is speaking about is Abraham, who is the father of many nations. A profound lineage to Christ came from someone whose wife was barren at first! Despite what it appeared to be, despite what capabilities he felt he didn’t possess, he didn’t waver, doubt, or hesitate. Abraham was put to test multiple times, being told by God to leave his father’s home and land to go to a land he would show him. He was told he would have a son in his old age, and his descendants would number the stars in the sky. He was told to sacrifice his son, the same promise he was given! Neither time did he doubt the Word of the Lord, nor hesitate when God gave him a command. He carried the word out as given. In James 1:3-4 the Bible says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” We have to see our faith all the way through in order for the promise to manifest itself in our lives. If we doubt, waver, hesitate, or wrestle with ourselves, we will hinder and frustrate the process of faith, and what faith will transform us into. God doesn’t will for us to lack anything when our faith is complete. We have to see the completed process even as we find ourselves in the wilderness, or under testing, because it will change our view of what we deem to be sufferings. Abraham didn’t waver at the promise. He believed in the promise and went after it in faith.

The word “promise” means “a pledge of divine assurance of good”. The promise was the birth of a son. The promise made both Abraham and Sarah laugh, but they both believed. In Hebrews 10:23, the Bible says, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” We must fully embrace God’s faithfulness first before we can place our faith in Him. If we don’t see God as faithful, then how can we ever trust His Word? We must speak our faith out loud and then hold our position, trusting the promise to come. If God said it, it must come to pass, all we must do is remain rooted in His foundation. In 2 Peter 1:4, the Bible says, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” The promises of God allow us to partake in the divine nature, this newness we have as believers in Christ, so absent the promise, there is no access to the divine nature where we can experience the Holy Spirit of God.

The word “unbelief” means “faithlessness, disbelief”. This really implies a refusal to believe. Ouch! Abraham didn’t look at his age, nor did he see what hasn’t happen previously as the evidence of what it to come. God said it, so Abraham considered it done and made room for it. In Mark 9:23, the Bible says, “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” It is really that simple, but this is the hardest thing for us to do as believers because either we are not relying on the Word of God for our belief, or we are asking for stuff outside of His will.

“But was strong in faith, giving glory to God”

The word “strong” means “empowered”. Matthew 9:8 says, “But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.” The strength of our faith should produce an outcome that gives God the glory. It should bear evidence, causing others to give God the glory. Our faithfulness should bring glory to God and shine a light on His faithfulness.

Our faith may open the door for someone else to place their faith in Christ.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 22, 2021 – Romans 4:21 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 10 – And being fully persuaded

Hi Everyone!

Faith requires us to surrender our strength, our knowledge, and our vulnerability to God. That isn’t always easy to do, because a lot of times, it will require us to let go and trust that God has a firm hold of everything we have prayed for. What type of confidence do we place in God, especially in periods of uncertainty or difficulty? Does His Word reign at the times we are completely confused, not knowing where we should go? The only sure path at times like these is the Word, and it is only through God that the road we must take will be clear. Many falter because logic and mental reasoning will always distort the faith that is required for God’s will to be done. We have to abandon all paths but the path the Word of God lays out for us. It is not about relying on our faith, but relying on God’s faithfulness, that He will fulfill the Word given. Today, we are going to look at Romans 4:21, persuasion in the promises of God.

“And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”

The phrase “fully persuaded” means “completely assured, to know entirely”. This means we can’t keep anything back from our faith, nor prepare for contingencies. There is no such thing as a back up plan when it comes to faith. In James 1:5-6, the Bible says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” When we ask God for anything according to His will, we can’t ask and then question whether or not our prayers and petition will be answered. We are supposed to ask in full assurance that God hears us and is already responding to our requests. The person that wavers is flipped upside side down and tossed around like a ragdoll. 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?” We don’t have to have any monetary wealth as long as we are rich in faith. We are members of the kingdom of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and that makes us heirs to all the promises of God directed towards us. It is our job to be completely assured that the Word of God is true and applicable to us right now.

The word “promise” means “to announce oneself, to offer for a responsibility or service”. Consider it like this. When God promises something to us, He announces Himself, by saying “Here I AM”. Then God goes a step further by saying “I AM at your service”. Do we really appreciate this, God being at our service by fulfilling His word? 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.” God has extended His promise to all He has called, to His children, and God fulfills His promises. In 2 Corinthians 1:20, the Bible says, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” God doesn’t say no to His promises, but He says, “So be it”. There isn’t a situation outside of our disbelief where God’s promises won’t come to pass. We have to be believers that ask the Lord in expectancy of Him giving us what we prayed for according to His will. This should not be seen as a “free for all”, where we ask God for anything that comes to mind, anything we want whether it is according to God’s will or not. In James 4:3, the Bible says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Faith is not a selfish quality, and our requests should always please God and position us to fulfill His purpose in our lives. That is why Matthew 6:33 is so important, because Jesus says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” If we seek the kingdom of God first, and God’s righteousness, then what we ask will conform to His will and He will honor it.

“He was also able to perform”

The word “perform” means “to make or do”. We have to believe, in faith, that the Lord God is able to DO the things we ask of Him. Would we ask someone who couldn’t drive to drive us cross country? Absolutely not? In Matthew 9:28-29, the Bible says, “And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.” Our faith activates the promises of God, and our faith only goes as far as what we are completely assured about when it comes to our God.

The faith of a mustard seed can move a mountain and cast it in the sea. How great is our faith in God’s faithfulness? How completely assured are we that God is ready to bring His word to pass in our lives?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 23, 2021 –Hebrews 11:33 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 11 – And being fully persuaded

Hi Everyone!

Our faith carries power. Our faith carries authority. When we start to understand that our faith manifests the spiritual realm here on earth, then we will understand why the enemy tries so hard to attack our faith. Satan doesn’t want us operating in our God given authority, nor does He desire for us to know who we are in Christ Jesus. If the enemy can distort our vision, then he can all but assure that we conquer absolutely nothing. In Romans 8:37, the Bible says, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” We are not just conquerors. We are more than conquerors! The Bible teaches us that faith is more than just belief, but it is operating in the assurance that the Word of God is not only alive but extremely effective to fulfill God’s purpose. Today, we will look at Hebrews 11:33, just some of the things our faith allows us to have.

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.”

Let’s look at another perspective of what “faith” is. Faith is the means of appropriating what God in Christ has for man, resulting in the transformation of man’s character and way of life. Faith is as good as currency in the kingdom of God and it also is the conduit for God’s will to be done. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, the Bible says, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” We entrust our vision to the Lord, that He knows exactly where we must go. In 1 Samuel 23:2, the Bible says, “Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.” David was identified as a man after God’s own heart, and it is because he always enquired of the Lord for the direction, and he waited for the Lord to tell him what he must do. In Proverbs 3:5-6, the Bible says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Faith begins with the Word of God, and when we are able to trust in His faithfulness and direction, there won’t be a need for us to lean on our own understanding. 

The word “subdued” means “contended against and overcame”. The word “kingdom” means “dominion, people on territory under kingly rule”. Sometimes, we think subduing kingdoms is something incredibly hard because we try to measure ourselves up to the numbers a kingdom may have. In Judges 7:7, the Bible says, “And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.” God purposely dwindled Gideon’s army down from 32,000 to 300, so there would be no question who gave them the victory, and God alone would be glorified through them. Gideon and the army just had to seize the Word of God spoken to them, and carry it out as given. They did, and they defeated a powerful foe in the process. In Joshua 6:20-21, the Bible says, “So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” The power of faith, not the might of man, caused that wall to come flat down.

The phrase “wrought righteousness” means “to perform acts of justice, impartiality, or equity”. Faith also allows us to be stewards of the Word of God and all He entrusts us to. In 1 Kings 3:5, the God says, “In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” God essentially gave Solomon a “blank check”, but all he had to do was ask. In 1 Kings 3:9-10, the Bible says, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.” Solomon wanted to do the job the Lord entrusted to him well, more than anything else in the world, and God not only gave him that, but gave him immeasurable wealth.

“Obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions”

A “promise” is “a pledge of a divine assurance of good”. In 1 Kings 8:56, the Bible says, “Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.” God doesn’t fail and there is not a time where God doesn’t keep His promises towards us. The first part of Daniel 6:22, the Bible says, “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me … “. When we receive the victory by faith, let us proclaim the power of our God, who causes us to prevail!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 24, 2021 – Hebrews 11:17 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 12 – he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son

Hi Everyone!

In faith, there is trial. Please don’t think that we, as believers, can walk a lifetime of faith without a trial. In relationship, in friendships, in jobs, in businesses, there is always going to come a point where our faith is tested. Sometimes, the enemy will subject our faith to scrutiny, and at other times God will allow us to be tested to sharpen our iron. Sadly, we live in a society where so many seem to want everything to work perfectly, and if it doesn’t and that thing is tested, there is a falling away. Our faith never matures because, testing which actually matures our faith  is never desired or appreciated. God is not only right alongside us when things are spectacular, but He is also right with us when we experience the fire. We are never alone when tested, and the engrafted Word in our hearts ensures that we always have great shoulders to rest upon. Today we will look at Hebrews 11:17, faith under test.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son”

The word “tried” means “tested with adversity in order to examine one’s faith and confidence”. Abraham is the “test subject”, and God’s request was brutal! Imagine life and death to be involved in a trial! In Genesis 22:1-2, the Bible says, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” We are always called before we are tested, so when we are tested, it is not by accident. Nothing happens without God’s approval. Usually, the sacrifice is going to be something we love, something near and dear to our heart.  Matthew 19:21-22, the Bible says, “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” The rich man followed the commandments no problem, but Christ knew his heart, and his obedience to the law meant nothing, because he was unwilling to sacrifice his wealth to give his heart completely to the Lord, serving Him. His financial wealth was more important to him than the heavenly wealth promised to him by Christ Himself.

The phrase “offered up” means “to carry unto the Lord in order to give or sacrifice”. When Hannah gave Samuel, her only child, to the Lord, it was in answer to a prayer she prayed to God. In 1 Samuel 1:11, the Bible says, “And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.” Imagine when the time came for her to keep her word, the sadness that had to come over her. She was faithful to her word and obedient to the test, and her womb opened, giving her 5 more children! Five is synonymous Biblically with grace, so God’s grace is abundant towards those who persevere under test. In James 1:12, the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” The end of a trial has a reward, and that reward is the crown of life. We must endure trial though.

The phrase “that had received” means “to take hold of in faith AND confidence”. See, faith just isn’t confidence or trust, but it is moving in the confidence and trust we have. Faith produces evidence! In James 2:18, the Bible says, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” When Abraham was told to leave his father’s house to go to a land God would show him, Abraham got up, got his family together and left. When Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac, he rose up the next morning to carry the Lord’s word out. In Genesis 22:8, where Isaac asked where the sacrifice was, the Bible says, “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” There is no question Abraham believed this, but it didn’t keep him from obeying the word of the Lord. Abraham believed the promise, so he knew God was going to fulfill His word, so offered his only begotten son. The phrase “only begotten son” means “sole or unique son”. Isaac was unique because he was the child of a promise, and Abraham was willing to sacrifice the promise to obey God.

What are we willing to sacrifice in faith?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 25, 2021 – Philemon 1:6 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 13 – every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus

Hi Everyone!

When people see our faith, what do they see? Do they see power at work, the miraculous force of God changing circumstances in our lives for His good purpose? Do they see the favor and protection of God? Do people witness our prayers being answered and do they have a front row seat to the victory we have in Jesus Christ? How is our faith communicated to mankind? These are bold questions that require us to look within, and come to a fresh understanding of where exactly we are in our faith. God doesn’t require us to be “closet believers” who never experience the power of the Lord working because our inactivity puts out our fire, greatly hindering our effectiveness. As believers, it is our jobs to bear fruit, a fruit that remains, but if we aren’t moving in faith, then it would be extremely hard to bear fruit. Today, we are going to look at Philemon 1:6, the communication of our faith.

“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”

The word “communication” has a deeper meaning than I appreciated. It means “partnership, communion, intercourse”. It refers to a mutual sharing of all life, which believers do because of their common life in Christ and mutual partnership or ” belonging to each other in faith”. In Romans 15:2, the Bible says, “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” The body of Christ builds when we put ourselves in a position to serve the body of Christ. Selflessness is crucial for church building, and in Acts 4:32-33, the Bible says, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” When the Church is in one accord, no one is thinking of themselves, but how to remain in one accord with the body of Christ? The Holy Spirit moves when we are in one accord because not only does this signify communion, but it also expresses agreement. Why does the enemy love to separate families, churches, pastors, servants, and believers? He knows that where there is no partnership, the power is limited, because there is nobody present in the body to compensate for the weaknesses that we have. With power comes grace, and with the grace of God, all things are possible. In Hebrews 10:24-25, the Bible says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” This is why we are supposed to come together, to build each other up in love and faith, to encourage and teach each other, for us all to grow together in faith.

“May become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing that is in you in Christ Jesus”

The purpose of unifying of the body of Christ to share the faith together is so our faith may become effectual. The word “effectual” means “active, or operative”. We have to have a faith that is in motion, that is alive and active. In Ephesians 4:16, the Bible says, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Every part of the body of Christ is important to the effectual working of the entire body of Christ. This is why the enemy is having a field day in the Church right now, because he is practicing a great war time strategy of “divide and conquer”. Sadly, more believers are more concerned with denominations than they are with working together in Word and in truth to ensure that faith translates into power. Faith requires agreement, and faith definitely requires intercession. A king without a kingdom won’t be a king for long.

The word “acknowledging” means “recognizing”. How powerful can the Church be if it never recognizes the Holy Spirit that empowers us to do incredible things for the kingdom of God? In Philippians 1:11, the Bible says, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” It is by Jesus Christ that we are filled with everything that makes us fruitful in righteousness. The phrase “good thing” means “useful or profitable to fulfill God’s intention”. In 1 Timothy 4:8, the Bible says, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” Are we communing with the Word of God, receiving of the Lord, so we can share what we receive with others in order to build the body of Christ? How is our faith evident?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 26, 2021 – Ephesians 2:8 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 14 – For by grace are ye saved through faith

Hi Everyone!

Faith goes hand in hand with salvation. There is no salvation without faith, and therefore no access to the kingdom of God either. People have followed the misconception that we have to follow the law to usher in salvation, instead of receiving His Word as truth and the way to salvation. I ask myself: why do so many people fall short of this free gift, why do so many people refuse to partake in this amazing life in Christ? The only answer that helps me understand is their lack of faith due to their lack of knowledge of the Word. In Hosea 4:6, the Bible says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” If God’s children are destroyed for lack of knowledge, then by knowledge of the Word of God lies the path to salvation. The path must still be received in faith in order for salvation to come to the believer. Today, we will look at Ephesians 2:8, faith’s implication for salvation.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”

The word “grace” means “the unmerited favor God shows in saving us from sin, admitting us into the divine kingdom”. In Romans 3:24, the Bible says, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. We are rendered innocent and made righteous by the grace of God. When something is expressed to be “by grace”, then grace is the vehicle that produces our salvation. Grace produces the atoning sacrifice. In Romans 5:8, the Bible says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. This gift was already supplied before we would ultimately receive it, and it was while we were out there, still living in sin completely apart from God, God already had the sacrifice prepared for us before the world began.  In Romans 5:10, the Bible says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” The grace of God is designed to bring reconciliation between God and His children, to make everything right between us. God’s idea is for us to not focus so much on the death of Christ, but the life of Christ because in His life we have access to abound in the kingdom of God by the Holy Spirit.

I want to paint a picture of grace and hopefully it will express its importance. I am standing at the edge of a cliff. Below is a canyon 500 feet deep. There is no way possible to cross this canyon to make it to the other side, which is me trying to earn my salvation through my efforts. Grace is a bridge that God erected through faith in Jesus Christ, allowing us to cross over and be saved through faith, despite us falling drastically short.

The word “saved” implies salvation from eternal death, sin and the punishment and misery consequent to sin. In Romans 4:7-8, the Bible says, “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” We went from being cursed to blessed because of the grace of God producing a perfect sacrifice from sin through Jesus Christ. In Galatians 3:13, the Bible says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”. Grace allowed a perfect Christ to place the sins of the whole world upon Himself, becoming the curse we should’ve been. Then His death was a death of the cursed, causing Him to pay the penalty meant for us. In Galatians 3:22, the Bible says, “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Salvation is a promise, and that promise is available to all who believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him as Lord and Savior. God did all of the work. All we have to do is receive the gift His love and grace has made available to us.

“It is a gift of God”

A gift is given, and when God gives a gift, it was already prepared for the people who will receive it. In Matthew 16:17, the Bible says, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” No man is capable of giving us the gift of salvation, neither is any man capable of giving us a spiritual gift either. In John 6:44, the Bible says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” God draws His children to receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t even control what drew us to the Lord!

The Word of God gives the path to salvation, but it is our job to receive the Word in faith.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 27, 2021 – John 8:12 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 15 – I am the light of the world

Hi Everyone!

A huge part of our faith is what and Who we follow. Do we follow after truth? Is the Word of God the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path? Despite how it looks, do we cleave to the Word of God over our fears, our apprehensions, and our ambitions? What made Abram so powerful in faith? He took God’s word for it when He told him to leave His father’s house, even though he had no clue where he was going. When we follow after the Lord, we have to trust that His way is THE way, His truth is THE truth, and His life is THE life. If we are trying to partake in anything of these things absent the Word of God having reign in our lives, we will always come out short of what we need, because we haven’t placed our confidence in the Lord. The Lord is the Light of the world, lighting the path for all who believe on His name. Today, we will look at John 8:12, another component of faith, walking in the light of the Lord.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Christ uses the words “I am”. Normally we overlook those words because they are frequently used for a person to identify themselves. What makes this different is who Christ is. In John 1:1, where it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Couple this verse with John 1:14, which says, “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.” These two verses establish the deity of Christ, so in Exodus 3:13, when Moses asked for the name of God, verse 14 says, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” So when Christ uses the words “I am”, it is much deeper than just mere identification. He is establishing His deity, and therefore His truth and power in His word. The word “light” means “the true knowledge of God and spiritual things, Christian piety”. Christ IS what we are living our lives to be! The “world” implies the people, the order in place, the universe as a whole. The world needs light to live the way God intends for us to live. Don’t think so? In Genesis 1:3-4, the Bible says, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” The first thing God created was light, and the first thing He did was divide light from darkness. The firsts are the most important to God. God never intended for light and darkness to dwell together, just as God never intended for us to exercise faith outside of the Word of God. How can we have faith and not believe in the Word of God, which is the light of the world? How can we exercise faith when the Word of God isn’t the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path?

“He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, But shall have the light of life”

“He that followeth” is an all inclusive invitation, but there will be a ton of people who won’t take the invitation God has given. The word “followeth” means “to be or become a disciple of anyone as to faith and practice, to practice their teaching.” The word “followeth” also implies a total surrender, giving ourselves completely to Christ, and the direction He is for our lives. In John 10:26-27, John says, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”. We can’t follow Christ when we can’t hear His “voice”, and His voice is the Word of God and the teachings and leadings of the Holy Spirit. When we follow the Lord, he “knows” us, implies a marital intimacy of His abiding in us and we abiding in Him. How can we call ourselves believers in Christ and then not follow His Word and not allow His word to have reign in our lives? The word “darkness” implies moral darkness, separation from God due to sin and faithlessness. Not believing in the Word of God is faithlessness, and faithlessness is darkness. 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.” God has given us an opportunity to know Jesus Christ by allowing His Word to shine a light in the inner most parts of us. With light comes knowledge of the Word, and with that knowledge comes faith, which then transforms us into vessels of God’s good purpose. “Shall have”. The result of following Christ, abiding in the Word of God. The word “life” here implies a life of bliss and glory in the kingdom of God which awaits to true disciples of Christ both now and after the resurrection. What a beautiful reward for us who follow the Word of the Lord in faith!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 28, 2021 – John 7:38 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 16 – out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water

Hi Everyone!

What is the source of our belief? Is it the pastors we listen to, the family and friends we speak with? Does it stem from the burning desires we have? Where do we turn to for the truth? Belief is essential to the faith, but just as faith has a foundation in the Word of God, belief should also be based on Scripture. How we, as believers, pattern our lives should be based on the Word of God, but we live in a society where tons of people are racing after their own glory, after their own path, trying to construct their own purpose. In a lot of churches, God is being reduced to a banker and the kingdom of God a vault, and the “prosperity doctrine” has taken over sound Biblical truth and doctrine. The “name it, claim it” doctrine being taught has imploded the faith with nonsense, and the Holy Spirit is becoming less and less active in our lives. We must get back to the truth, so we must begin at the foundation. Today, we are going to look at John 7:38, true belief according to Scripture.

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

The word “believeth” means “to entrust one’s spiritual well being to Christ.” When we entrust something to Christ, we completely surrender it to His will, His direction, and His Word, accepting that as the only way. In John 14:6, the Bible says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Christ is the ONLY way to the Father! As believers, the foundation of our faith is Christ, but that foundation can only be built by the Word of God. If faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, then we must also entrust our lives to the Word of God. In Romans 10:14, the Bible says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Then, in the first part of verse 15, it says, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” So, the preacher is sent for us to hear the Word of God, which causes us to believe on the Word, especially what the Word says about Christ, and that will open the door for us to call upon Christ for salvation. After salvation, the preacher is still sent, we still hear the Word, believe on it, and we now learn how to activate the Word in our lives as maturing believers. If we never hear the Word correctly, then we won’t believe the Word of God correctly, and if the Word of God is not believed correctly, then we won’t surrender ourselves to It correctly. In John 17:17, Jesus says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” The Word of God causes the sanctification because the Word of God is truth. Why then, are so many churches preaching doctrine that scratches itching ears rather than preaching the Word of truth which leads to salvation, maturation, and sanctification?

“As the scripture hath said”

This is the condition in this verse. Remember, the word “believeth” means “to entrust one’s spiritual well being to Christ”, not merely to attest to the truth of something. In James 2:19, the Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Mere belief means nothing and doesn’t even separate us from devils! The key condition is us entrusting our spiritual well being ACCORDING to the Word of God. In John 6:63-64, 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. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.” Our beliefs, not backed by the Word of God, profits us nothing, and that is why we have churches that have thousands of members, but there is more bondage than freedom in the congregations. 

“Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”

The word “belly” means “heart”, the deepest part of our being. The word “rivers” means “current, running water”. This implies a continuous flow. In Acts 2:17, the Bible says, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” The “living water” is the Holy Spirit, promised by Christ, and when the Holy Spirit flows from the deepest parts of God’s children, the Church moves in power and miracles happen. The Holy Spirit is poured upon us and we become vessels of the Master’s purpose.

If we don’t entrust our spiritual well being to Christ, according to Scripture alone, we will not be able to experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the outpouring of His power. May we become believers who are completely sold out on Christ!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 29, 2021 – Psalm 37:5 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 17 – Commit thy way unto the LORD

Hi Everyone!

Faith requires commitment. There has to be an unwavering belief, and an undistracted focus on God and the things of God. Society may teach that we can do whatever we desire under the sun and still have unrestricted access to the kingdom of God, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. How can we operate outside of the will of God and then pray and petition our Loving God, expecting Him to answer our prayers in faith? That is like bringing volleyball rules into a basketball game, expecting the game to conform to the rules we place upon it. Before we can access the kingdom, we have to commit to the King, surrendering all we are and desire to Him. Too many are left emptyhanded, carnally minded and driven by flesh, all while professing to be of the faith. There is no faith without commitment to the Word of God, and the purpose God intends for us. When we give God what He desires, then He gives us the access to the kingdom we desire. Today, we are going to look at the Psalm 37:5, committing our way to the Lord.

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

The word “commit” means “to roll onto, to entrust”. Imagine with me a baby who walks up to us, slaps our leg, and the minute we look down, two small arms go in the air, desiring to be picked up. The baby trusts that we can pick them up and carry them, but the baby also trusts the direction we will take them. Something inside of them just knows they are in safe hands. That is how our God desires us to roll onto Him. In Proverbs 16:3, the Bible says, “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” This is no different than us seeking the Lord for direction as to what He desires for us to do with a desire to perform the things He is asking us to do. Commitment sets our mind about accomplishing the things of the Lord, so the Lord comes first in our thoughts. That is why Matthew 6:33 is so powerful when Jesus says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Commitment requires God to be our first thought, our first resort, the first person we speak with. We understand that God has the direction we need to take to fulfill His good purpose, and we position ourselves to follow His direction. The word “way” means “course of life”.  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 person fully committed to becoming who God has created them to be (good), inclines themselves toward the Word of the Lord. There is no real commitment without the Word of God reigning in our lives. This isn’t just entrusting only the good stuff either, like so many do. Commitment requires us to entrust our baggage to God as well! In Psalm 55:22, the Bible says, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Allowing God to cleanse us from our baggage destroys the hindrances that keep us from fulfilling God’s good purpose for us.

“Trust also in Him”

The word “trust” means “to hie for refuge”. The word “hie” implies we instinctively run towards safety. God desires to be our first choice, to be so deeply embedded into our instincts where we inquire of the Lord before we go anywhere else. In Psalm 62:8, the Bible says, “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” At ALL times, when times are great and when we are terrified. At times where we feel the Holy Spirit’s presence and at other times where we feel disconnected. Our trusting the Lord isn’t about the circumstances, but it about us training our eyes and our minds upon the Lord, always seeking His Word and truth 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.”

ALL of our heart.

God doesn’t want part of us. He desires all of us. Commitment in faith requires undivided trust, and total surrender to Him. This means our thoughts and plans no longer matter because we have placed ourselves under the direction of our Lord!

“And he shall bring it to pass”

God is faithful to those who aren’t faithful to Him, so just imagine how faithful our God is to those who are faithful to Him! 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.” We have to always rely on the Word of God, because the Word is what begins our faith, and it is the solid foundation we entrust ourselves to. God’s Word and plan goes out and nothing can stop them from happening. Isn’t God worth our total commitment, isn’t He deserving of our faith, especially when it is impossible for Him to lie and fail?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Mar 30, 2021 – Psalm 37:7 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 18 – Rest in the LORD

Hi Everyone!

Part of being in and of the faith, is coming to an understanding that what God has for us is for us. It is all too easy to look around as we are waiting on our promise, and to wonder why the world seems to walk around with all of their desires fulfilled while we wait without. This is a great trap, and many fall-away because they train their eyes on their desires instead of training their minds on the Lord. The famous quote of “A watched pot never boils” applies here; but think about it. Watching the pot isn’t going to make it boil any faster than the designed time for it to boil, so watching the world isn’t going to bring our own faith to pass. When we ask something of God according to His Word and will, it is already done in heaven, so God wants us to have rest in knowing that the promise is already done. A faithful person is a person who rests upon the Word and promises of our God. Today, we will look at Psalm 37:7, resting while we wait on the Lord.

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

The word “rest” means “to be still, to be silent”. This is extremely important because when we are still and silent before the Lord, that positions us to set our minds on the Lord and commune with Him. In Hebrews 3:14, the Bible says, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end”. We have to see our faith all the way through, and that requires us to rest in the Lord, even when things aren’t seeming to go as we hope or plan. If we rest in the Lord in the beginning, and then get antsy and try to embark on our own path, then we are not at rest and we are not operating in faith. In 1 Corinthians 15:58, the Bible says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” If our mind, heart, and bodies are abounding in the work of the Lord, then we are focused on the ministry of the Lord, instead of the blessing by the Lord. To be unmovable, means the enemy, doubt, fear, or anxiety doesn’t have reign, causing us to be pulled from our position in the Lord. In Isaiah 30:15, “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” It takes more strength for a person to stand secure in faith than it does for a person to build an empire on his own power. Even when our bodies aren’t moving, our mouths still need to be still as well, because in anxiety, we can begin to speak things that can and will disrupt our faith.

“And wait patiently for him”

The phrase “wait patiently” means “to yearn for longingly”. It expresses that we have this burning desire for the things we ask for in faith, but it doesn’t trump our desire to experience the presence of the Lord. In Psalms 46:10, the Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Sometimes, God is going to require us to be still, stand silent, and just entrust our paths to His very capable hands. If we aren’t at rest, then that means, we aren’t at peace, and if we aren’t at peace, then that means the Holy Spirit is not the dominant, presiding presence in our lives. In Lamentations 3:25-26, the Bible says, “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” It is GOOD, meaning fulfilling to God’s purpose from the beginning. God says something is “good” when He speaks something, and it becomes exactly what He says for it to be. When God sees His children are faithful, trusting, and yearning for Him longingly, but still abounding in the work of the Lord, we are the picture of the children He created us to be.

“Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

The phrase “Fret not thyself” means “become angry or vexed in jealousy”. In Exodus 20:17, the Bible says, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” It is important that we don’t pay attention to what other people have because that is like telling God, “You have not blessed me, and you don’t seem to know how!” Brutal, huh? When we look elsewhere, we can’t appreciate what God has done and is doing in our lives, and it robs us, and God, of the opportunity for Him to have reign.

Waiting on our desires is unsettling and can produce nervousness and fear, but the Word of God provides promises that allow us to have rest in Him. May we seize this blessed rest.

God Bless!

Marshall 

 

Mar 31, 2021 – Mark 11:23 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 19

Hi Everyone!

What we speak from our lips is very critical to our faith. We profess to believe in the promises of God, but then “stinking thinking” flows from our lips, soiling the very promises we are entitled to. I came to understand that I have had to allow God to reprogram my mind, to not dive into an area of pessimism and doubt because I have been conditioned by a hard life to “expect the worst”. 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.” It is a tragedy for a believer to speak words of death, because by our own words, we shut the door on our God. Our words hold power, and until we become bold in our faith to speak our faith into the atmosphere, we will continue to have dreams deferred. Today, we will look at Mark 11:23, a fearless tongue removing mountains.

“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.”

These are the very words Christ spoke. 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”. If it is impossible for God to lie, as Scripture as clearly stated, then we know for a fact that anything spoken directly by Christ is untainted truth. The word “verily” means “surely, truly, something said that is trustworthy”. So we have Christ, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and TRUTH, saying the word “verily”. Christ really wants us to trust in this Scripture, to receive its message and power. The word “say” means “to lay forth speech”. That in itself means nothing without context. I quote this a lot but 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.” Christ is telling us that His words carry the power of spirit and life in them, so His word is not to be taken lightly! Remember, God SPOKE creation into existence, and it was exactly how He spoke it! Before we can get into the verse itself, Christ is laying the foundation for His Word, securing the truth and the power behind His words.

The word “whosoever” implies that this promise is available to ALL who are saved by faith in His name. So Christ says, “Verily, I SAY (lay forth speech of spirit, life, power, and truth) unto you (believers), that whosoever shall SAY (lay forth speech of spirit, life, power, and truth) unto this mountain”. Can we see what just happened here? Christ let us know that the power of His Word has been transferred to us, so that our words carry the same power His did! The word “mountain” implies “something that rises up against us, blocking our path”. Remember, Christ words are spirit and life, so we can physically remove spiritual opposition. “The weapons of our warfare are NOT carnal.” Remember? We have to speak the Word of God to our mountains.

“Be ye removed and cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart”

The word “remove” means “to lift up and away”, but a good visual would be “to uproot”. The reason our mountains don’t move because we haven’t gotten to the root! The word “cast” means “to be thrown”. The “sea” has always, since the beginning, been a picture of judgement. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, the Bible says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. This shows that we are to rebuke the thing that rises up against the Word of God, whatever it is. This can’t be done with doubt, because we have to believe in the power of God behind our Word, and “doubt” means “to be in strife with oneself, hesitate or waver”. Any words spoken with doubt in the heart are words without the power to bring faith to pass.

“but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith”

The word “believe” means “to be firmly persuaded”. Firm means we are rooted in a position, unmovable from it. If we believe our spoken words will happen, that God will bring our words to pass, it will be so. God spoke creation into existence and now He expects us to speak His word into existence as well. In Matthew 12:37, Jesus says, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” God has given us the ability to operate in the same authority He, Christ, the disciples, apostles, and His Church did. Do we believe in the power of our words, to manifest the spiritual realm unto earth?

What is the nature of our words? Faith? Spirit? Power? Life? What have our words brought to pass?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

INCLUDING APRIL 1ST and 2ND TO COMPLETE THE 21 DAY SERIES THE FAITHFULLNESS OF FAITH:

 

April 1, 2021 – Mark 11:24 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 20 – believe that ye receive them

Hi Everyone!

When we pray out our desires before the Lord, what happens next? Do we speak against the very thing we prayed for, doubting the likelihood of it happening? Does fear creep in because we have taken a bold step, and now uncertainty is robbing us of the joy of casting our desires before the Lord? Do we consider it done the minute we prayed it? What happens after we pray plays a role into whether our prayers are answered, and it is not God’s fault when our desires don’t come to pass because our faith wavers. We have to be bold enough to bring our petitions before the Lord, and then be bold enough to stand upon God’s faithfulness after we pray. Faith doesn’t work too well if there is no belief that God will answer our prayers. This is us once again calling God a liar if we pray, but don’t believe in our prayer getting answered. Today, we will look at Mark 11:24, receiving our desires by faith.

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

The word “therefore” connects two or more points. “Therefore” is meant to usher in a course of action to validate the truth of Mark 11:23. The truth in verse 23 is connected to the point made in Mark 11:22, which says, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” Faith is the foundation of these three verses, but faith has to be applied correctly in order to be effective. In Matthew 17:19-20, the Bible says, “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” God knows our hearts, those praying and operating in faith and those who aren’t. When we don’t get what we asked for, there are two reasons: unbelief and asking for something that is outside of God’s will for our lives. In Psalm 37:4, the Bible says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” When we allow ourselves to be formed by God into the people He created us to be, what we desire is going to be in line with what He desires, and we will be able to receive the things of God we ask for. See, faith is attached to the Word of God, so until we become a people who have faith according to the Word of God, our faith will continue to be fruitless.

The word “desire” means simply “to ask”. In Matthew 7:8, Jesus says, “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” God desires for His children to receive what we ask for but we have to ask according to His word. In John 15:7, Jesus says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” This is where we as believers tend to fall short in our faith. We don’t abide in God, and God’s word doesn’t abide in us. How can we expect anything from God when we are disconnected from Him? Sin separates us, unbelief separates us, a carnal mind separates us, but it is NOT God’s design for us to be disconnected from Him. The word “pray” means “to supplicate or worship”. This is the act of acknowledging that we are incapable and our God is fully capable, where we cast our cares upon the Lord, where we decrease and allow Him to increase, bringing what we pray from to pass. The act of prayer is us positioning ourselves to have the right mind, heart, and attitude towards God and in towards what we pray for. The verse says, “WHEN ye pray”. There is no “IFS” when it comes to prayer. Prayer is just as essential of the process to applying faith as belief. In James 5:16, the Bible says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” A praying believer will see things done a lot faster than a wisher or thinker.

“Believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

Let’s forget about believing in the “stuff” we ask God for. Before we get to the “stuff” GOD must be believed in first! Mark 10:27, “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” We tend to believe in people a lot faster than we do God, and we find ourselves disappointed when the people we believe in can’t fulfill our joy. We must place our confidence in God, and entrust our lives to His will. We must ask of our God in expectancy that, what we pray for, as long as it lines up with Scripture and God’s will for our lives personally, will be so! We can’t ask and NOT place an expectation upon God to answer. Our God can not lie!

May our prayers of faith translate into promises fulfilled.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Apr 2, 2021 – Acts 26:18 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 21 – that they may receive forgiveness of sins

Hi Everyone!

Our faith is supposed to DO something! Our faith has power, and that power has the full capability to cause miracles to happen. It’s a beautiful thing for the world to know we are Christians by our love, but it is an explosive thing when the world can identify us by our faith! Our churches are supposed to be places of freedom, where the sick are healed, the blind are made to see, the irreparably broken are full restored by the power of God. Faith is designed to bring an atmosphere completely under the authority and power of God, but it all begins with the Word of God. The Bible shows us who we are, whose we are, the purpose God has for His children, what we are capable of and what the Word of God does in this world we live in. It is our job to entrust our confidence to the Word of God and perform the things God commands us to. Today, we are going to look at Acts 26:18, faith activated!

“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.”

The phrase “open their eyes” refers to spiritual sight. When we walked without salvation, we were spiritually blind, unable to see our God and the direction He has ordained for His children. In Isaiah 35:5, the Bible says, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” Even before we knew we needed it, God provided us the opportunity to see. What caused our blindness in the first place? 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 “god of this world” is Satan, and he has no desire for us to see the Lord! In Matthew 11:4-6, the Bible says, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Christ sent word back to John the Baptist about the power of God at work in the lives of God’s people. John the Baptist heard about the works of Christ from prison! The fruits of our faith are supposed to spread into the darkest places, but if we don’t exercise our faith, how can the people hear?

“And to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God”

The word “turn” implies a conversion, turning the believer to the service and worship of the true God. “Darkness” pertains to “moral darkness, the absence of spiritual light and truth, the presence of sinfulness and calamity”. “Light” means “the true knowledge of God and spiritual things, Christian piety”. The “power” spoken of here is “the dominion, authority, or rule over a person or thing”. In Ephesians 5:8, the Bible says, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light”. We have to understand what we have been delivered from, and what power we now have access to because of our deliverance. In John 12:35-36, the Bible says, “Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.” We have to walk in our light, in the true knowledge of God and spiritual things, because the enemy desires to place us back into darkness. Walking in the light allows us to ability to exercise our faith in the Word of God, and in that faith comes power! What type of parent doesn’t want their children to walk in the fullness of their power and abilities? God is no different!

“That they may receive the forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me”.

Our faith in Christ alone gives us salvation, and salvation gives of the forgiveness of sins. Salvation gives us an identity as children of God, and with this identity comes power! In Colossians 1:10 the Bible says, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”. God turns us from the power of Satan to the power of God, that, by faith in Christ, we can bear fruit in every good work, and also know our God even more! What separates the faithful believers from the “church goers” lies in our ability to put the Word of God into use, and when the Word of God is in use in us, the world around us is transformed!

“According to your faith be it unto you.” Christ’s words. What will our faith produce?

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.