April 1, 2021 – Mark 11:24 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 20 – believe that ye receive them
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.
Apr 2, 2021 – Acts 26:18 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 21 – that they may receive forgiveness of sins
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?
Apr 3, 2021 – Daniel 10:12 – thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words
Sometimes, there is a wait when it comes to our prayers, and that wait can be very agonizing! It is a natural reaction to feel uncertain as we wait, and that uncertainty can produce fear, if left unchecked. At those times we are uncertain is where we should cleave even more to the Word of God. Instead of “waiting anxiously” on the answer to manifest itself, we should continue to press forward, attending to the things God has for us today. Never allow our minds to shift from uncertainty, to fear, to doubt, all because we feel the answer to our prayer isn’t coming fast enough. God is very precise with His plan, and very diligent in answering our prayers at the perfect time. Trusting in the Lord when it grows “quiet” is vital to our faith, because there is movement by God when we pray. We have to humble ourselves before the Lord until the answer comes, because the right mind, heart, and spirit ushers in the presence of the Lord. Today, we will look at Daniel 10:12, a prayer offered and a prayer answered.
“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.”
The word “fear” means “to be afraid, to be frightened”. There is nothing for a believer to fear in this presence of the Lord, or in the presence of His angels, especially if we are living for the Lord. I love how God gives us this amazing assurance in the midst of His presence. In 2 Timothy 1:7, the Bible says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Fright doesn’t come from the Lord, and it is not a spirit He gives. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him. He desires for us to reverence Him with deep, moral respect, done out of love and a willing heart. In Isaiah 41:10, the Bible says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” This is what the presence of our Lord does in the life of a believer, and with such great promises, there is no reason to be frightened. A vision was revealed to Daniel, which made him afraid for what would happen to Israel. In Daniel 9:22-23, and the Bible says, “And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” God wants to give us skill and understanding, so we know how to operate according to His will. He answers our prayers because He loves us and desires us to know His will. With a report like this, there shouldn’t be anything to fear.
“For from the first day that thou first set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God”
The first day! We tend to think that, because the answer doesn’t come right away, that God somehow doesn’t hear us. In John 9:31, the Bible says, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” When we “set our hearts to understand”, this implies we empty our cup before the Lord so He can fill it with what we need to understand. “Worshipping” God means we “depress ourselves, make ourselves low before Him”. The act of worship is giving God the green light to come dwell within us and over our lives. The word “set” suggests we fix our positions, our minds, and our hearts. In Colossians 3:2, the Bible says, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” If our attention is on Christ, then we make ourselves available to receive His will. This is an intentional act on our part, and it positions us exactly where we need to be spiritually, to “understand”, or “separate thoroughly and rightly”. The word “chasten” means “to browbeat, look down upon, or depress”. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, 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?” We have to scrutinize ourselves before the Lord, to clear our anything that need not be there.
“Thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words”
The word “heard” means “to listen intelligently, or discern the meaning of”. In Acts 10:3-4, the Bible says, “He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” When we pray to our God and humble ourselves before the Lord, He responds!!! It is not an “if” when it comes to God responding, but a “when”!
Are we positioned to hear from the Lord?
Apr 4, 2021 – Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword
The Bible is more than just a book. It is much more than a bunch of old men telling us about God. Do we really understand that the Word of God is alive and powerful, transforming lives, saving souls, setting standards in our hearts that mature us in this process of sanctification. The road to God began with the Word, the road that leads us to repentance begins with the Word, and the road to salvation lies in the Word. There is not a problem the Word of God can’t solve, a question the Word of God can’t lead us to the answer of. The ability to live an abundant life of favor and peace lies within the Word of God. The Word of God knows us inside and outside, and if we surrender, the Word of God can lead us safely into our purpose. Today, we are going to look at Hebrews 4:12, the very capable Word of God.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The word “quick” means “living, alive, active”. In 1 Peter 1:23, the Bible says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” We are born again by the Word of God, a seed that cannot die or be brought to shame, something that will endure forever. In 1 Peter 1:25, the Bible says, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” The first thing we must understand is the Word of God is living, which means it still works just as strongly as it did before. We tend to only pay attention when something applies to us, so if we don’t think the Word of God applies to us, then we will never be able to activate its power! The word “powerful” means “effectual, operative”. Do we as believers really have faith that Scripture works? 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.” When God spoke, creation came to be accordingly to what God spoke, exactly how He ordained for it to be. If we don’t believe the Word of God works, then we won’t use it. In Mark 12:24, the Bible says, “And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” We have to know the Scriptures to know the power of God, and we also have to know the Word of God to know what power we have as well. In Luke 10:19, Jesus says, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” If we don’t ever come to know our power, then how can we effectively operate according to God’s will, also understanding the power we have over the enemy?
“Sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow.”
The word “sharper” means “more keen”. Being keen requires depth of perspective, the ability to look beyond normal vision. Eagles have keen vision, allowing them to see prey from long distances. 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.” God desires to reveal His will to us, so He looks deep within us, understanding when the right time will come for us to experience more revelation from Him. The word “piercing” means “to reach through, to penetrate”. The phrase “dividing asunder” means “to separate into parts”. In 2 Timothy 2:15, the Bible says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” By studying the Word of God, it reaches through our soul and spirit, identifies the difference between the two, and separates them, so the Word of God can affect them both. When the spirit, soul, and body are in agreement according to the Word of God, we become living testimonies of God’s power resting in mankind.
“And is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”
The word “discerner” means “able to decided correctly, or be skilled in judgement”. In 1 Corinthians 14:25, the Bible says, “And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” The Word of God is designed to pull what’s inside of us to the outside of us, but the Word doesn’t reveal all of the good and hide the evil. The Word of God is there to establish truth, to weigh up our deliberations and mentalities against It. The Word of God knows all things about us, including things we haven’t discovered yet!
Is the Word of God this powerful in our lives? It should be!
Apr 5, 2021 – Acts 28:27 – For the heart of this people is waxed gross
I watch the news now with great sadness, having a real picture as to what society as a whole is encountering on a daily basis. News reports of back to back mass shootings, reckless parties with huge crowds while we are trying to get a pandemic under control, constant warfare in the Middle East, and an overall Godlessness is present for every viewer to see. ABC World News does an “American Strong” segment at the end of its shows, to change the tone of our countenances, to give us something positive to walk away with. Sadly, the reality of a Godless society reappears with even more vigor and the positive takeaway is soon forgotten. This world is sick and broken without Christ as head, and until this world turns their hearts to the Lord for salvation and healing, we will continue to be saddened by the depressing news reports we see. Today, we are going to look at Acts 28:27, a world in need of conversion and healing.
“For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
The world “heart” means “the center of our innermost being, the seat of the desires, feelings, affections, passions, and impulses”. The heart is extremely important for any believer. In Proverbs 4:23, the Bible says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We have to guard our hearts because this place can become a playground for the enemy if we allow him access. In Romans 1:24, the Bible says, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” God will continue to lead us to Him, but eventually He will see that our hearts are centered on our desires and not Him and He will say, “You want to live that way? Go for it.” The phrase “waxed gross” means to “render callous”. Callousness isn’t an instantaneous process. It starts small and becomes something that can’t be managed. In James 3:5, it says, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” In Romans 1:26-27, the Bible says, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” This world is filled with violence, homosexuality, godlessness, atheism, because the small sparks that started these behaviors blazed into wildfires for the whole world to see. Sin is sin, and in God’s sight, me taking a life and a person’s homosexuality is at even keel, with us both needing healing and salvation by Christ, but God isn’t going to force us to open our ears and eyes. That is our job!
“And their ears dull of hearing, and their eyes have closed”
People as a whole a hard headed! God knew it way before we were born. In Exodus 33:3, it says, “Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.” 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.” All day long? God is very persistent, and that is why 2 Peter 3:9 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.” The call is there, but do people want to see and hear it?
“Lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
The word “hear” means “to give audience to, to pay attention”. The word “understand” means “to comprehend”. The phrase “should be converted” means “return to good, return to God, repent”. The word “heal” means “to cure, to make whole”. In 1 Peter 2:10, it says, “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” When our hearts became callous, preventing us from receiving the Word of God, we had no identity, and therefore we weren’t a people. When we opened our eyes, ears and heart to the Word of God, we became THE people of God, obtaining mercy where mercy wasn’t available. The Word of God received begins the process of conversion and healing, and in it, lies the ability for God’s power to work through us. The gift of salvation is available to us all, and it doesn’t matter what we’ve done and where we’ve been. If God changed me, then there is no doubt He can change you as well!
Apr 6, 2021 – Hosea 4:6 – because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee
Our world suffers, and it is heartbreaking to see how many people are lost without any sense of direction. As I sit in prison, I watch so many lost brothers, without a clue as to how to begin to rebuild their lives. So many are disconnected from God, and rebellion is secondary. I have come to discover that what we don’t know contributes to our misfortune, and what we choose not to know leads us into a blindness that can be destructive. God wants His children to know Him and know His will for our lives, all of which can be found in the word of God. We when reject the Word of God, we are essentially accepting destruction as an inevitable reality. What we don’t consider is that the generations under us suffer as well, because they enter a world unequipped to live abundantly in it. Today, we will look at Hosea 4:6, the necessity of true knowledge in the world.
“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.”
The word “destroyed” means “to be cut off, to fail or perish due to silence”. In Proverbs 1:7, the Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The first problem in our world is the world doesn’t fear God, meaning having that deep reverence for the Lord our God. If we don’t fear God, then we aren’t going to care to know Him and what pleases him. Knowledge is so important to a believer’s life, but we’re not talking about book knowledge or world knowledge. We’re talking about the knowledge of the Word of God, the knowledge only God can give. In Proverbs 1:2-4, the Bible says, “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” Knowledge has a huge purpose; to understand God’s word and will for our lives, so we can know what is right for the world we live in, and to teach what we know in the Lord to people who don’t know. Our society has become more Godless because parents aren’t seeking knowledge of and from God, so they have nothing to teach their children but carnality and idolatry. The generations only teach what they know and God becomes nothing to people because they’ve never been taught otherwise. In Isaiah 5:13, the Bible says, “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.” Bondage is second nature to someone who doesn’t know the Lord, and the sad thing about it is they don’t KNOW they are in bondage! The word “knowledge” means “discernment or sight into how to please God”. This knowledge is us coming into a full and interactive relationship with our God, learning what He requires from us for ourselves.
“because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee”
The word “rejected” means “to despise, to refuse”. In 2 Peter 3:3-4, the Bible says, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” There will not only be people that flat out reject the knowledge of God, but they will mock God at the same time, testing His patience and restraint. Just because the world rejects the knowledge of God, doesn’t mean God has lost power. In Matthew 21:42-43, the Bible says, “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” God isn’t going to force anyone to accept Him as King, nor is He going to force anyone to be His children. He has opened His loving arms to whoever seeks salvation, and those will be the ones God accepts. People rejected Christ and still do, but He is still the most important Person to our faith!
“That thou shall be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children “
The word “forgotten” means “to mislay from lack of attention or memory”. 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.” When are we going to be a people who don’t let the Word of God fall by the wayside? According to Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 20:6, we are destined to be priests of the Lord. Yeah, US! It is time for us to begin studying the Word of God, meditating on the Word so we are not of the ones cut off for our lack of knowledge.
Apr 7, 2021 – Hosea 6:6 – For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice
Do we have the right heart for worship? Are our attitudes consistent with our love for God and for others, and do people clearly experience our love when they experience our service? If our hearts aren’t right, and our attitudes don’t reflect the love that God has placed in our hearts, then no matter how we try to mask it, it will eventually show and destroy our witness in the process. Our service works to effectively point people to the God we serve when it is done with an attitude of love and graciousness, but if the heart isn’t right, it can serve to turn people away from the faith. If we ever listen to the reasons people have for not attending church or experiencing salvation, their experience with other believers would near the top of the list. That shouldn’t be! Christ can to fulfill the law, simplifying it in the process, making it more mentally attainable for us. We must do the same! Today, we are going to look at Hosea 6:6, having the proper attitude for service.
“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
The word “desired” means “to incline or bend towards, to take pleasure in”. The word “mercy” means “lovingkindness and faithfulness to others”. Mercy also implies us foregoing inflicting judgement upon someone who has offended us. In Ephesians 2:4-6, the Bible says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. God sets the example for mercy being shown to us, by loving us when we were unlovable and paving the way for our salvation even though we didn’t deserve it. In Matthew 18:25-27, Jesus says, “But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” Mercy requires compassion, and compassion requires love. God cleared our debts when we asked for mercy, knowing we were unable to pay. We must do the same with others.
“Sacrifice” implies the slaughtering of an animals as an offering to the Lord. God isn’t saying that He doesn’t honor our sacrifices, because the Bible says 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.” Our sacrifice has to be pleasing to the Lord, but all the sacrifice in the world means nothing without a heart of mercy, love, and compassion. In 1 Corinthians 13:3, the Bible says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” The act of faith and worship means nothing without the right attitude and heart. It doesn’t profit the kingdom of God at all. 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.” When we are cheerful givers, God sees us as the reflection of Him, doing exactly what He would do, and it makes God proud.
“And knowledge of God more than burnt offerings”
The word “knowledge” here implies knowing God as a result of experience, relationship, or encounter with God and His Word. Knowing also implies intimacy, two separate parts becoming one. It is just as important for us to know God as it is for Him to know us. In John 10:14, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” Good shepherding paves the way for people know God and them to be known by God. Our service opens a door and presents God in both Word and by the fruit of our hearts, so our testimony will reflect who God is accurately. In Ephesians 3:19, the Bible says, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Knowing the love of Christ gives us a clear roadmap on how to love at this level as well. In 2 Peter 3:18, the Bible says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” This is something we have to grow into. Relationships are built over time by constant communication, and in a relationship, especially one with God, we will begin to become more like Him.
God desires that we know Him through relationship, and exercise what we know in this world. Love, mercy, and compassion should flow from us, and in service, these should be the lasting impressions people are left with.
What does God see in our hearts as we serve others?
Apr 8, 2021 – Hebrews 5:12 – ye have need that one teach you again
Growth should be mandatory in the Church in my opinion, but the rate of our growth God leaves up to us. God is not going to force us to seek His face, to embrace His teachings, submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, or grow as believers. God positions us to experience all of these things, and He doesn’t deny a believer who seeks Him with their entire heart. We are not supposed to be the same believers, having the same faith, knowing the same amount of Scripture and experiencing the same level of God’s presence five years from now as we do today. Sadly, that isn’t the case, and there are churches with members who have been there for 20 years but don’t know the true meaning of baptism, what the atoning sacrifice does, what salvation is versus sanctification, and what faith is. Today, we will look at Hebrews 5:12, the expectation of growth in the faith.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.”
The word “time” perceives time quantitatively as a period measured by the succession of objects and events, denoting the passing of moments. So this means a series of events transpiring in a space of time which should invoke growth as an end result. The word “ought” means “to be under obligation”. The word “teachers” means “instructors”. Don’t think we as new believers aren’t supposed to grow into instructors of the Word of God! In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said “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.” So, when Christ declared that “all power” was given to Him, His first instruction to us was to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of Jesus Christ, THEN teach them to practice what we ourselves were taught. Christ even promised that He would always be there with us. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The Word of God is meant for a believer to be taught by it and then be able to use it to teach others, being positioned to perform God’s purposes for us. 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.” How can we provoke each other unto love and good works without instructing them in some way? How can we exhort someone absent instructing them in the Word?
“Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.”
So instead of being teachers by now, we haven’t learned the first things a believer should’ve learned. This is a very unfruitful walk in the Lord, something we all must avoid. The phrase “first principles” speaks of elementary instructions, the first things in a row we have to learn. In Hebrews 6:1-2, the Bible says, ” Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” These are the levels of our instruction that we should have learned well enough to advance into the deeper things of God. If we have advanced from this level, then we should be able to teach these things. Imagine with me an electrician, who, five years into his apprenticeship, still only knows how to wire up an electrical outlet, and nothing else. It would be a shame to the profession! Well, the same rules apply in the faith.
“And are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat”
The word “milk” means “the first elements of Christian instructions.” To still have “need” for milk suggests stagnancy in the faith, where nothing is being learned. How can this be? In 1 Corinthians 2:14, the Bible says, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” If a person is still “carnal” in their nature and thinking, then they won’t be able to grow spiritually to receive the things God has for them that will cause them to grow. A person can be saved and still be carnally minded. “Strong meat” is solid doctrine that builds upon the foundation of Christ.
Are we good stewards of God’s word? How has our knowledge and faith grown since we first believed?
Apr 9, 2021 – Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love
Nothing we do for the Lord and on the Lord’s behalf is in vain. God not only sees everything we do for the building of His kingdom, but He is there to dote on His children affectionately. Remember, in Job 1:8, when it said, “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 making an open display of Job’s stance of faith and attitude towards God’s word to Satan, even allowing Satan to test him! The enemy rails accusations while God supplies praise for His children living and operating according to His will. Sometimes, ministry can feel like a “thankless job” that goes unacknowledged, but God sees our work for Him and He is so proud of us for living our lives for Him. Today, we are going to look at Hebrews 6:10, a word on having a ministry worth acknowledging.
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
The word “unrighteous” means “unjust”. The word “forget” means “to lose out of mind, to neglect”. Let’s put this together. God declares it would be unfair to not see, not remember, or fail to acknowledge our work for Him. In Isaiah 49:15-16, the Bible says, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Let us first understand that God sees everything we do, good or bad, edifying or destructive, and He is not the type of Father that neglects His children. The word “work” means “works of faith”. In Proverbs 14:31, the Bible says, “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” God not only sees what we do, but He distinguishes our work and takes a stance for or against it! In Matthew 24:45-47, Jesus says, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” We have to understand that we didn’t place ourselves in this position of ministry and service. God placed us in these positions, and in these offices, and gave us everything we need to perform what He ordained us to. We are faithful when we do what God commands us to do. God is going to “peek in” and see what we are doing with what He has entrusted to us. He wants to see love there in our work, because without love the work serves no divine purpose. “Love” here is “agapē”, spoken especially of goodwill towards others, the love of our neighbor, brotherly affection, which the Lord both commands and inspires. God gives us the love and we give that same love to others.
“which ye have shewed toward His name”
In Colossians 3:17, the Bible says, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” When we minister to the needs of saints and unbelievers as well, we represent the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is authority in the name, but it also means this is the example we are to follow. In 1 Corinthians 10:33, the Bible says, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” In ministry, we are the last person to be considered. We desire our service to bring people into a knowledge of God and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, also partaking in a person’s spiritual maturity as well. So we serve God first, serve people next, and then we think of ourselves. The beauty about it is we won’t ever have to think of ourselves because God will do that for us. In Matthew 10:42, Jesus says, “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” Because this is true, just think of the reward for doing things in the Name of Jesus!
“In that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister”
The word “ministered” means “to be an attendant, to wait upon, to serve as a deacon”. 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.” Able ministers! God has made us able to serve the people He has ordained us to serve. In this verse it speaks of the “saints”, which are “those who are purified and sanctified by the influences of the Holy Spirit, those who profess His name.”
We are to use what God has given us to edify the body of Christ, which is His Church. God won’t ever forget our service!
Apr 10, 2021 – Hebrews 3:5 – And Moses verily was faithful in all his house
What will be spoken of our ministry after we leave this world? Our faithful service to the Most High God will always bear a record and that record will serve as a testimony of God’s presence, favor, and movement in our lives. People as a whole desire to leave something of impact to the world, a legacy to speak for our time here on earth, our means to essentially “live forever”. We should desire to help make this world a better place, but are we trying to be the focal point of the testimony or is Christ the focal point? Believe it or not, what’s behind our service will surface and that will bear testimony as well. It is not designed for a believer to seek His own glory, to seek the praise of men, to leave behind a testimony that doesn’t point the way to Christ. Today, we are going to look at Hebrews 3:5, a legacy of Christ left behind
“And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after”
The word “verily” means “truly, most assuredly”. The word “faithful” here means “trustworthy”. This suggests that a person’s body of work is consistent with obeying the Word of the Lord. In Hebrews 3:2, the Bible says, “Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.” Our faithfulness should be towards the Person who appointed us, and that is God. In this society, we are seeing more and more people being faithful to people who are enemies to the cross! This shouldn’t be. In Luke 19:12-13, the Bible says speaking of Jesus, “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” No one in their right mind will entrust something of extraordinary value to someone who isn’t capable of being trustworthy, and God is no different. If He appointed us to serve Him, then He has already equipped us to perform whatever is required. Then in verses 16-17 Jesus, “Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been FAITHFUL in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” The nobleman’s instructions were simple, and he found his servant faithful who multiplied what He was given. He called him a “good servant”, “good” pertaining to something (or someone) operating according to the intended purpose from the beginning. Because the servant was faithful in “very little” he was given authority over ten cities. What we do with a little will tell the story on what we will do with a lot.
The word “servant” means “attendant”. It is interesting that the Greek word for servant is “therapōn”. Doesn’t it appear that the word therapist derives from this? In Joshua 24:15, “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.” We have to not only be people who serve the Lord, but our house as well. What good is our ministry if the only people affected by the hand of God is us? In Exodus 14:31, the Bible says, “And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.” This verse shows that we as servants of God are just as vessels that the Lord chooses to use to facilitate His Word and His will through. He doesn’t need our help at all, but He desires for us, as children of God, to usher in His presence through our service. In 1 Corinthians 7:22-23, the Bible says, “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” Being servants of the Lord produces freedom that we cannot experience any other way, because there is no ceiling to what we can do for the kingdom of God!
“For a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after”
The word “testimony” means “something evidential, a witness”. One of the most available things we have in our ministry is our testimony. In Mark 5:19-20, the Bible says, “Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” Christ freed the demon possessed man, and the people asked Christ to leave their coasts. The man wanted to go with Christ, but Christ told him to go home and spread the word. He spread the word to ten cities!!
We are still talking about his testimony today! May our faithful service provide a great testimony for others to know the Lord!
Apr 11. 2021 – Hebrews 10:25 – but exhorting one another
We are created to be a part of a body, that body being the Church. Together, we are at our greatest strength, because the strong can account for the weak, and all are covered. When a lion hunts they attempt to scatter the herd, catching one who has drifted away from the group, or couldn’t keep up. Apart from the group, the lone animal doesn’t stand a chance, and is quickly devoured. When a weak link is surrounded by strength, they begin to pick up the characteristics of the strong, and little by little they become stronger. The strength rubs off! Well, the same rules apply with believers, where, when we come together, the power of God rubs off, the anointing of God rubs off, the knowledge of the Word of God rubs off, making us all stronger believers. The Church exploded in Acts because they came together with one accord and the Spirit moved through the Church with power. Today, we are going to look at Hebrews 10:25, the power experienced when believers come together.
“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.”
The word “forsaking” means “to leave behind, to desert”. Sadly, there are tons of believers who don’t feel going to church services is necessary to the faith. While going to church isn’t a requirement for salvation, it is truly something God desires from His children. In Genesis 2:18, the Bible says, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” From the beginning, it was never God’s intention for man to be alone, so God created a helpmeet for him. What does marriage have to do with us going to church? In 1 Corinthians 15:45, the Bible says, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” Christ is the last Adam! In 1 Corinthians 15:47, “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.” Now, Christ came to fulfill the law, not to destroy the law, so His presence didn’t change the rules from creation! If Christ is the “last Adam”, then God HAD to look at Christ the same way He did Adam, believing it is not good for Him to be alone, so He created a helpmeet for Him too! Who is the helpmeet of Christ?
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.”
It brought John the Baptist joy knowing that Christ and His Church would form an unbreakable marriage. Even though He wouldn’t be physically there when the Day of Pentecost took place and when the Church began, he saw it and it made him glad. It should make us even more glad to be a part of the marriage, to be one with Christ!
The phrase “assembling of ourselves together” means “to gather together for a Church meeting or service”. In Psalm 133:1, the Bible says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” God finds the gathering together of believers to be good, which signifies God’s intended purpose from the beginning fulfilled, and pleasant, which just makes our God feel good! Imagine how proud we would be as parents looking at our children working together in unity to accomplish something we’ve asked them to. Wouldn’t that be an awesome sight? That is what God feels when He sees His children gathering together as one. In Romans 12:4-5, the Bible says, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” The reason people don’t see the importance of gathering together for service is because they haven’t accepted that we are members of one another. There is no unity because the Word of God is not being accepted as truth. The truth is, we should want to run to a gathering of believers, to reconnect with the body!
“As the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”
The word “exhorting” means “to call upon someone to encourage, comfort, admonish, or strengthen”. In Proverbs 27:17, the Bible says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” The coming together is vital to the growth of the body of Christ! In Hebrews 3:12-13, the Bible says, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” When unbelief sprouts in the church, it causes division and people to be led astray. We have a lot of “lone wolves”, believing that assembling together is pointless, and that is a major lie! In Ecclesiastes 4:12, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Unity in the body helps us all prevail against the lies of the enemy, and disunity is one of the lies keeping believers out of the Church, and from experiencing the full power of the Holy Spirit in our lives together. Let’s break Satan’s power over the body by coming together!
Apr 12, 2021 – Hebrews 12:1 – let us run with patience the race that is set before us
As believers, God provides us with suitable examples of the faith people have, who have overcome great odds and faced impossible situations, yet stood on the promises of God’s word and prevailed. In life we are constantly surrounded by examples, ones that lead us toward the will of God and examples that lead us away. In our own lives, do we live lives that become an example that leads people towards God or away? The beauty about God is He creates an excuse free environment, equipping us with everything we need to run the race that God ordained us to run, but it is still our job to run the race. When we look at the company we keep, what manner of people are they? When we look at our role models, what qualities do they embody? Today, we will look at Hebrews 12:1, the witnesses of faith that make our race easier to run.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”
The word “seeing” suggests that “we take notice or give attention to”. 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”. We have to pay attention to everything around us because there is an enemy around hoping to catch us by surprise. In 1 Peter 2:21-22, 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: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth”. Not only should we take notice of the enemy that is lurking all about, but we should also take notice of Christ, how He lived under the same type of circumstances but He still overcame the world. The phrase “compassed about” means “to lie all around, to enclose, to encircle”. We are NEVER alone when we do the will of God, and we never will be the only ones going through hardship. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Bible says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Common to man! So there is always someone facing what we are, which means enough examples are present of people who are mastering the faith in their daily lives.
The word “witnesses” means “people who testify to the truth of what they see, hear, and know”. In Acts 23:11, the Bible says, “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” Our walks with the Lord will always bear witness to who we are and who God is everywhere we go. The phrase “let us lay aside every weight” means “let’s cast away all burdens and hindrances “. In Colossians 3:8-9 the Bible says, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;” We have people around us that have cast away the deeds of the old man and so must we! They show us it can be done. The word “sin” here means “defection from the gospel”. Ouch!! The word “besets” means “thwarts”, suggesting we are easily tricked and beaten by this weight and sin in our lives, and it causes us to stumble. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the Bible says, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” We have to keep ourselves from falling by leaning on and living out the Word of God. In it we have the chance to become witnesses as well.
“And let us run with patience the race that is set before us”
The word “run” means “to move hastily”. The word “patience” means “endurance, constant under suffering in faith and duty.” The word “race” means “a course of life full of toil and conflict”. None of this suggests that we will have an easy ride as believers, but God will allow us to be constant in Him no matter what comes our way. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, the Bible says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” We are to run our race in the Lord to receive the prize, and that prize is the approval of our God for running a great race in faith. The phrase “set before us” suggests that God gave us the race to run. In Acts 9:15, The Bible says, “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”. If God chooses us to run our race, then He has already ensured us the victory!
May we always pay attention to the witnesses before us, who showed us that we can win the race we run if we remain in Christ.
Apr 13, 2021 – Hosea 13:14 – I will redeem them from death
We were bought, purchased by the blood of Christ, redeeming us from the penalty of death. It was a death we deserved, because our sin and our sin nature would’ve meant permanent separation from our God. Praise be to God, who loved us so deeply that He provided a sacrifice that would bring His children back into His presence. Hosea was given a “horrible” task of marrying a harlot, witnessing her leave him no matter how hard he loved her, and then having to go and get her, despite all she has done, and restore her back as his wife. God did this to illustrate what Israel was doing to Him, what we are doing to Him by going astray, but He still receives us back unto Himself, offering salvation and restoration to all who have faith in Jesus Christ. Today, we will look at Hosea 13:14, a ransom paid and redemption given by Christ’s shed blood for us.
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”
The word “ransom” means “to redeem, to release, to deliver “. The Israelites needed deliverance from turning their backs on God, and serving other gods, living a lifestyle that greatly displeased our God. The ransom is the price tag, and we were unable to pay it. In Psalm 49:6-8, the Bible says, “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)” Please understand with me that we were in an impossible situation, deliberately turning our backs on a loving God, and nothing we have gained on our journey could ever pay for the certainty to death that was sure to come. In Psalm 49:15, the Bible says, “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.” Only God could provide the means to pay such an outstanding debt, so He sent Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, to redeem us from the grave. The word “power” means, “hand or strength”. The word “grave” means “hell, the world of the dead, the pit”. We are dealing with a spiritual state, not a physical one. In Isaiah 25:8, the Bible says, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” God wants to take death away. He wants to take away the grief from our hearts, and take the stench from our sin off us, so that we can experience all things new in Him.
The word “redeem” means to “buy back from spiritual death and bondage”. Kinda makes us think about the phrase “selling our souls to the devil”, doesn’t it? In Ezekiel 37:13-14, the Bible says, “And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.” See, God doesn’t want to just rescue us from death! He desires to give us life, to live with His Spirit within us, restoring us back to how He intended us from creation. 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.” God is breathing His breath, but instead of just air, it’s His Holy Spirit, into us, making us completely alive in Him. In John 20:22, the Bible says, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost”. Do we really embrace the fact that we are born again when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and we are new creations requiring “breath” to live? 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.” Christ’s death had a purpose, just as our redemption does, and it is to give us abundant life in Christ, a life that is full of the breath of God, which is the Holy Spirit”.
“O death, I will be thy plagues; O graves, I will by thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes”.
The word “plagues” means “pestilence, threat of destroying”. The word “destruction” means “extermination”. The word “repentance” means “sorrow, compassion”. Instead of inflicting wrath upon us, God turned His wrath upon death and the grave! In Hebrews 2:14, it says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”. Christ’s death not only destroyed the power of death, but the person in power as well!
When God destroys death, it will be forever. God is the only Person that can stop death from being destroyed. In Isaiah 55:6, the Bible says, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near”, so this shows that there will be a time when repentance will no longer be available. The premise of repentance being “hid” means that there will be no more access. In Matthew 25:10-12, the Bible says, “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” Christ will have a time where repentance will run out, and there will be people left out of the wedding banquet. In Revelation 20:14, the Bible says, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” This aspect of repentance still follows the same meaning, “the changing of the mind and direction”. So God is saying the idea of Him changing His mind on destroying death and the grave will never happen because death and hell will be destroyed.
O death, where is thy sting! We are redeemed!
Apr 14, 2021 – Psalm 139:23 – know my heart
How intimate do we want to be with our God? How much of Him do we want Him to know about us? How much are we willing to share, or are we just content with God yanking it out of our minds? A relationship is built and strengthened by the information entrusted to each other. You want to see a strong couple? It is one where they know each other’s secrets, and there is nothing hidden between them. This disclosure doesn’t come by one trying to pry the information out of the other, but it comes when a person desires to pour out their innermost thoughts, feelings, and longings. God wants the type of relationship with us as His children where we are willing to come to Him with everything concerning us, including the things that bring us shame to speak of. In this phase of my life right now, I am asking God to invade my heart and mind and pull anything that is hindering my relationship with Him to the surface, so we can cast it in the fire. I want our God to search me and see a vessel prepared for His habitation, because I want to be everything He has called me to be. Most of all, I want to lay myself bare before the Lord, so He sees me as I am, not as I want Him to see me. Today we are going to look at Psalm 139:23, allowing God the privilege of searching His children.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts”
The word “search” means “to penetrate, to examine intimately”. This is a bold request, because it requires God to see exactly what is there, whether we like what it is or not. If we invite a friend to our home, we will tidy up as much as humanly possible to make a good visual presentation, but in this case, we are inviting a friend over to see our home as is. Ouch! In Job 31:4-6, the Bible says, “Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.” See, God knows what is there already, but He is not going to force us to reveal ourselves to Him. This type of intimate examination is designed for people who desire God to “weed their gardens”, to identity things in there that don’t fit the picture God has for us. It is almost as if we are asking God, “Please, get in our business and show us our faults so we can remove them from our path.” In 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, 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. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” We want God to examine us intimately to weed out what’s not supposed to be there, but also so God can see His Spirit at work within us. God wants to search us and see our desire for His presence.
“And know my heart”
The word “know” is a term of intimacy, becoming “one flesh” with what we know. In this case, we are to desire that God becomes one with our hearts. The word “heart” is “the inner person, the seat of our emotions”. In Psalm 26:2-3, the Bible says, “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.” This examination is also to assure ourselves to God that our hearts are the way He desires. We want to have hearts that please the Lord, and we want our God to know us as deeply as possible. In John 10:14, the Bible says, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” God knows us but there is something beautiful when we His children open our hearts to God, and desire Him to know us. In Revelation 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 door is to our hearts, and God will never force Himself inside. If we open the door, He will come and become one with us.
“Try me, and know my thoughts”
The word “try” means “to test or investigate”. In Proverbs 17:3, the Bible says, “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.” Refinement burns off the impurities that taint our value and hinder our growth. Not only do we want God to intimately examine us, and become one with us, but we also want God take anything that’s not of Him and burn it away. The word “thoughts” means “anxieties, disquieting ideations”. 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.” When we allow God access to that unsightly stuff inside of us, we are giving to Someone who is beyond capable of replacing it with something spiritually healthy, something that will allow us to grow beyond our wildest imagination.
What will God see if He intimately examines us? What things within us need a one way trip to the fire?
Apr 15, 2021 – James 1:4 – but let patience have her perfect work
A process is defined as “continued development involving many changes”. Those changes can be pleasant and some can be unpleasant, but the process has a design to make the person going through it stronger. Our faith walk is one huge process, where we face different variables, different tests, and it is all designed to make us stronger believers, wiser believers, more complete believers. The key is seeing the process all the way through, which is extremely hard to do. How many of us have given up right before our breakthrough would’ve come for us? How many of us have wanted the reward without the process it takes to obtain it? God wants His children to trust in Him to see us through everything we face without choosing a way out when it gets rough. Patience is definitely a virtue, and it is not a quality for the weak. He wants us to rely on His strength and His direction when we are uncertain, and know that we will be rewarded for our endurance. Today, we will look at James 1:4, the completion of patience.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
The word “patience” means “endurance, perseverance, and constancy under suffering in faith and duty”. We are to “LET patience”, which means we have to surrender our desires to control everything that comes our way. This requires trust, and God wants us to trust Him in the face of all circumstance. In Isaiah 26:3-4, the Bible says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength”. We need peace to remain still in the faith of a test of patience. A storm was raging and Christ was asleep on a pillow, but the disciples were panic-stricken, and fearful of death. If they would’ve trusted the word Christ gave them in Mark 4:35, which says, “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side”, they would have allowed fear to have reign over their faith. I love the word “constancy” in the definition of patience because a person who is constant in the Lord is someone who cleaves to the Word of God no matter how it looks. In Jeremiah 17:7-8, the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” A tree planted means that we are there to stay, and a tree planted by the waters means we don’t have to rely on rain or any outside elements because where we are planted will naturally sustain us. God wants believers rooted and planted in Him, people who only see Him in the face of challenge and not the challenge.
The phrase “perfect work” means “a completed process”. This means we have to see it all the way through! There are no short cuts in the kingdom of God. In Philippians 1:6, the Bible says, “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:” We have to place our confidence in the Lord that He will finish the work He began in us. We make the mistake in actually thinking we are the ones working the process, but we aren’t. God is working the process in us! We just have to continue seeking Him, seeking to plant His Word in our hearts, and be prepared to learn what we need to glean from the process. That is why we have to LET patience complete the process, or mature completely, because it is our God at work within us!
“The ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing”
There are rewards for letting patience have its perfect work. The word “entire” means “whole in a spiritual and moral sense”. In Colossians 1:10-11, 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; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness”. God wants us to endure the tests to our patience because He desires for us to bear fruitful in all we do, to know Him and His word more, and receive strength to face any level of opposition we may face. “Wanting nothing”, means “lacking nothing”. In 2 Timothy 3:17, the Bible says, “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” God desires for His children to have everything we need to live for Him. In Luke 22:35, the Bible says, “And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.” There is no place the Lord will send us, no thing the Lord will allow us to go through, where we would lack what we needed to overcome. It’s our job to see the whole process through!
Apr 16. 2021 – Matthew 11:25 – thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent
Are we grateful to receive the Word of God and the revelations God ordains for us to receive? Do we really see it as a privilege to learn the things God desires for us to know, and do we honor that privilege by taking the opportunities God supplies to receive the Word of Truth? Do we understand that God didn’t reserve His Word for the smart and wise, but for a people with whom He would have to “start from scratch”? There may be more visually qualified people, but God doesn’t care for the qualified. He qualifies those He reveals Himself to, and that way, all roads, all signs point back to God. God leaves no doubt that He is the one that is doing the teaching, because man is going to be confounded by what we share! Today, we will look at Matthew 11:25, a babe’s reception to the revealed Word of God.
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”
The word “thank” has interesting meanings. It means “to agree fully, to acknowledge, to praise”. Christ is assenting with God that His decision is a good one. In Matthew 18:19, Christ 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.” Whenever there is agreement, the thing agreed upon is activated. In John 14:16 Christ says, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Christ prayed for us to receive the Comforter, but what will the Comforter do? In John 14:26, Christ 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 Comforter will teach us and remind us of the Word of God we have received. Now let’s back up. Christ “thanked” God, or “agreed fully” with God, or acknowledged and praised God, all of which counted the decision of God DONE! When we thank God, we are coming into agreement with His will, and we are counting His will as done, whether we see it or not. “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth”. This statement of praise is also worship, because Christ, who could assume all power in heaven and earth, submitted that power to God. As believers, Christ is Savior to a lot of people, but is Christ Lord? In Philippians 2:9, the Bible says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name”. God exalted Christ because He humbled Himself by choice! As believers, we have to position ourselves in worship to receive from the Lord, just as Christ did.
“Because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent”
The word “hid” means “to keep secret, to conceal”. In 1 Corinthians 1:19, the Bible says, “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Imagine God trying to fill our vessels, only to discover that our head knowledge has completely filled that vessel! There are too many scholars without a relationship with God, without God being Lord, and God will put a total end to their wisdom and understanding. The word “wise” means “skilled in learning, intelligent, enlightened in things human and divine”. The word “prudent” means “mentally put together”. Well guess what? In 1 Corinthians 1:27, the Bible says, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”. God never designed the “smart” to receive the things of God because the smart will always pat themselves on the back for what they know. God chooses to reveal His wisdom to people society will feel don’t deserve to know, because in 1 Corinthians 1:29, the Bible says, “That no flesh should glory in his presence.” God dispenses what He wills to people who will give Him the glory. If the glory doesn’t come back, God will shut off the flow!
“And hast revealed them unto babes”
The phrase “hast revealed” means “to take the cover off, to disclose, spoken of things communicated, made known by His Spirit of influences.” The word “babes” mean “simpleminded, immature Christians”. In 1 Corinthians 2:14, the Bible says, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” God wants His children to spiritually discern the Word of God, the word God reveals to us, and live according to that word!
It brought Christ pleasure to see the “babes” receive the Word of God. May we have the same gratefulness.
April 17, 2021 – Exodus 6:6 – I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians
I still remember the bondage I was under behind my sin like it was yesterday. I was running a race where I never got ahead, I only set myself back so many times that man could do nothing to help me. I remember the many cold shoulders, people’s turned backs, and I felt alone in a way I never have been before. I still experience the consequences of that bondage I was under, but praise God I am no longer enslaved by the sin that held me hostage. I have been set free by the blood of Jesus Christ, redeemed by His precious blood, and praise God that I have been given these special opportunities to experience freedom that the world could never give. I needed deliverance, and God stepped in, I needed healing and God stepped in, and I needed a Lord and Savior and God provided that as well. Today, we are going to look at Exodus 6:6, setting the captives free.
“Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:”
God is telling Moses to convey a Word from Him to Israel to get ready for freedom. There is always a word or promise that comes BEFORE the action. “I am the Lord” establishes the authority by which the Word comes. In John 5:43, Christ says, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” Are we receiving the name of the latest self-help author as the authority on freedom, or are we receiving the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as the authority on freedom? Christ said it himself that people who come in their own name will be received before Christ. 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”. The testimony of our Lord is sure, and the Lord was anointed to proclaim liberty to the captives, and open the prison to those who are bound. Wouldn’t it be wise for us to be sure that the authority we receive as truth is actually capable of setting us free? This is what Christ came to do, and in Luke 4:21, after quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, the Bible says, “And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” The Word of God us enough for us to place our confidence in it, but will we believe when the Word is given.
“And I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage,”
The Israelites cried out to the Lord in the midst of their bondage and God heard them. In Exodus 3:7-8 the Bible says, “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” Before Israel knew their cries were being heard, God was already establishing their deliverance! God doesn’t just hear us, He responds, and when God responds, nothing man will ever do can stop the Word of the Lord from happening. In Psalm 81:6, the Bible says, “I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.” God either removes the burden from us, removes us from the burden, or give us the grace to endure the burden. The word “rid” means “to snatch away” and the word “bondage” means “slave labor”. God’s intention is to snatch us away from slavery, slavery to sin and slavery to works of the Law, neither which could ever save us from sin and sin’s consequences.
“And I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgements.”
The word “redeem” means “to buy back from spiritual death, bondage, and exile”. A “stretched out arm” activates power! From Exodus 3:20, when God said He would stretch out His hand and smite Egypt, to Mark 3:5, when Christ told the man with the withered hand to stretch forth his hand and He restored it whole. When the hand or arm of God stretches out, something powerful happens. The word “judgements” means “inflictions or plagues”. In 1 Chronicles 17:21, the Bible says, “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before thy people whom thou hast redeemed out of Egypt?”
There is going to be a testimony given on God’s deliverance, one that will separate us from the world! Will it point to Christ awesome power to make us free indeed?
Apr 18, 2021 – James 5:16 – the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much
We need our believing brothers and sisters in Christ in our personal faith journey. No person can make it alone, and that is why God created a helpmeet for Adam. Our faith community is made stronger when we come together, and are transparent with our weaknesses, with our faults, with our fears, and with our sins. What is supposed to happen next is our brothers and sisters are supposed to cover us in prayer, and those prayers will then heal our afflicted brother or sister in Christ. Sadly, a lot of times, confessions are exposed in juicy gossip, no one is prayed for, no one gets healed and the Church loses trust with the very people we and the Church are created to serve. The enemy makes his habitation near our weakness, hoping to pick us apart. However with a covering of Christ’s presence and in prayer, the weak will receive protection and the path to heal in a healthy environment. Today, we will look at another popular Scripture, James 5:16, effectual fervent prayer.
“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.”
The word “confess” means “to acknowledge or concede”. Whatever we confess, we are bringing it out to the open. In Acts 19:16-18, the Bible says, “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.” Sometimes, “the fear of God” can be put into us, causing us to reflect upon our own actions, which can lead to confession and repentance. In Romans 10:10, the Bible says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Confession comes from the heart, and we typically confess faults to people we believe can actually do something about them. The word “faults” means “transgressions from lapses in judgement or sheer carelessness”. In Galatians 6:1-2, 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. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” There is always supposed to be a response if a brother or sister is overtaken by a fault, and God desires a Church who will come together and cover them in prayer and restore them, the same way we would want them to restore us if we were the ones overtaken. He wants the Church to be ready to help everyone who desires to get the weight of sin off them.
“That ye may be healed”
The word “healed” means “cured, made whole”. God doesn’t want us partially made whole. He wants us completely cured! In Matthew 9:12, Christ says, “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” God wants what He ordains to be done the right way, so it doesn’t have to be done twice. In John 4:15, the Bible says, “The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.” The woman at the well wanted a permanent solution to her problem, but it required confession. Christ asked her to call her husband, and in John 4:17, the Bible says, “The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband”. Once Christ got this out in the open, He completed her confession, then began to work the Word into her exposed spirit. In John 4:28, the Bible says, “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men”. She asked to have her thirst quenched and after her interaction with Christ, she left her water pot behind!
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”
The phrase “effectual fervent” means “active, operative, producing an effect”. The word “prayer” here means “petitions to God on another’s behalf, making known one’s particular need.” In Genesis 20:17, the Bible says, “So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.” Our prayers are supposed to do something powerful! The word “availeth” means “have strength, power, and ability”. In Psalm 34:18-19, the Bible says, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” Do we understand that when a person has transgressions it hinders their ability to have their prayers answered by God? This is why confession, prayer, and healing are so important, because it unblocks and clears a path to the Lord.
May we, as a Church, keep our access to the Lord unobstructed.
Apr 19, 2021 – 1 Peter 1:7 – the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold
Our faith is subject to frequent testing. I know this personally, because recently, the enemy has been hitting me from angles I didn’t see coming. It left me hurt, unable to explain what was going on. As God’s grace became sufficient, and His strength was made perfect in my weakness, I understood that God has already given me the victory before He allowed me to experience the test. I have a choice in the face of testing: I could focus my attention on what is happening and make a residence in struggle, or I can set my affections in things above, allowing the Holy Spirit’s inhabitation within me to give me the peace to hold my position. God won’t make that choice for us, but He gives us what we need to stand firmly in faith no matter what is going on. Today, we are going to look at 1 Peter 1:7, the trial of faith.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”
The word “trial” means “proof of trustworthiness”. The word “faith” means “fidelity, firm persuasion, assurance, established credence”. I love the term “fidelity” when it comes to faith, because it correlates to relationships, especially marriage. It gives us the understanding that no matter what happens, we are faithful to the Word of God and to our relationship with God. In James 1:2-3, the Bible says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” The testing of our faith should be received with joy? Seriously? On the surface, it seems like James may had a little too much communion wine, but it makes perfect sense. Here’s why! In 2 Corinthians 2:14, the Bible says, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” ALWAYS causes us to triumph in Christ!!!! I am reading a book “Victory in Spiritual Warfare” by Tony Evans, and he speaks on how some believers are fighting FOR victory instead of fighting FROM victory. If God ALWAYS causes us to triumph in Christ, then the victory is ours as long as we remain rooted in Him. This is why we can receive the promise of Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” because in Christ’s strength lies the ability to conquer our mountains. In 1 Peter 4:12-13, the Bible says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” It is no strange occurrence when our faith is tested, and it gives us the opportunity to share in Christ’s sufferings, so we can also share in the victory.
“Being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it might be tried with fire”
Do we really see the trial of our faith as being of immense value? The word “precious” means “valuable, costly, esteemed, and beloved”. The word “perisheth” means “to destroy fully”. Isn’t it odd how we can place more faith and value in something that can be completely destroyed than we do of our faith? 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.” The things of faith are eternal, but the things we see are temporary. God wants us to always be spiritually minded and eternally driven. The word “tried” here means “to examine, to put to proof”. In Hebrews 12:29, the Bible says, “For our God is a consuming fire.” Who better else to examine our faith, to establish our faith by evidence but God? Refinement by fire burns off anything that has made us impure in our faith, causing us to be vessels of the highest value. In Job 23:10, the Bible says, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” God knows the way we take, meaning that He has positioned us to experience victory!
“Might be found into praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”
The phrase “might be found” means “to perceive or learn by experience that a person or thing does a particular thing.” This is building a record for ourselves of our faithfulness. This is why God questioned Satan in Job 1:8, which 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?” This is the perspective we want the Lord Jesus Christ to have of us when He beholds us in the last days, but why can’t this begin now?
May the testing of our faith produce a record for ourselves that brings glory, honor and praise to our awesome God.
Apr 20, 2021 – 1 Peter 2:25 – for ye were as sheep going astray
All sheep go astray in some way. We have all stepped outside of the will of God and have had to get back on course. I learned a level of compassion I never had for people, because God allowed me to find this beautiful path of faith again after all I have done. I know people can be restored because I was. I know people can change, because I did and am still changing. God is not done with me, and He is not done with mankind as well. He desires for His people to return to Him to serve Him as Lord and King. God understands a sheep’s nature and knows that at times we will go astray, but praise be to God for being so loving to continue to search for us, and to look for our return. Our world is in disarray because people started going astray and remained astray, and had children and led them astray as well. Our society must return to the Lord God and be a people led by our loving God. Today, we will look at 1 Peter 2:25, a word on returning to the Lord.
“For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
The word “sheep” means “something that walks forward”. Weird definition for an animal correct? Sheep are animals that are led, so if the sheep are walking forward, they are moving how the shepherd leads. In Hebrews 12:2, the Bible says, “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.” Christ is who we must look forward to, who is our beginning and our end, who knows the way we should take. In Hebrews 1:14, the Bible says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” So the sheep walks forward, the shepherds are sent forth, so this means there shouldn’t be sheep without shepherds, because ministers are sent to lead the sheep forward to Christ. In John 10:11, Christ says, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Christ is our example for what a shepherd should be, but we tend to fall drastically below this standard. This shouldn’t be, because if we are willing to be living sacrifices, then how can we lead the sheep forward? In Ezekiel 34:5-6, the Bible says, “And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.” Sheep are scattered, led astray because there aren’t enough shepherds, and some of the shepherding amounts to no shepherding at all.
The word “astray” means “to roam from safety, truth, or virtue”. In Matthew 18:12-13, Christ says, “How think ye? if a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.” You want to know what is happening when sheep go astray now in a lot of churches? No one comes after them! They are left in the wilderness to be consumed because no shepherd is willing to inconvenience themselves for someone who is led astray. Is this the example Christ left us? What happens when a sheep, who was astray, walks into a church, clothes dirty, hair matted on their head, a foul stench coming from their body? Is there rejoicing by the sheep being found, or judgement? Just because a sheep goes astray, doesn’t mean that they have to remain that way.
“But now are returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
The word “return” means “to revert, or to convert”. It expresses a change in direction. In Luke 22:31-32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Christ knew Peter was going to go astray and turn his back on Christ. Christ covered him in prayer so his going astray wouldn’t destroy his faith. “WHEN thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren”. Christ knew he would come back and told him to use his testimony to strengthen his brothers. The word “Shepherd” means “pastor, speaks of Christ, the Great Shepherd who watches over and provides for the welfare of the church.” The word “Bishop” means “a watchman or overseer of the church, speaking of Christ”. In Hebrews 13:20, the Bible says, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant”.
If God brought Jesus Christ back from the dead, then He will definitely bring us back from our sin! Let us return to the Lord today.
Apr 21, 2021 – 1 Peter 3:11 – let him eschew evil, and do good
God entrusts our state of minds, hearts, and faith into our hands, allowing us to make decisions daily that will reveal what is within us. As believers, we have to make choices, to serve the Lord or to fulfill the flesh, to walk in faith or move according to how we feel. Likewise, to think of truth, honesty, purity, what is lovely, things that are just, things that are of good report, or to think of our worries and live in anxiety. God gives us His Word so we can walk securely within the power He has given, achieving the victory by living our lives in Him. In the Word of God is the provisions and the instructions for us to live Godly lives. When I was neck deep in my sin, worrying about trying to change was frustrating enough for me to quit before I began. There is no peace when we try to do it on our own, but when we seize the Word of God in our spirit, heart, and mind, I discovered that if we center our focus on the Word of God, then we don’t have to focus on walking without stepping on a crack. Today, we are going to look at 1 Peter 3:11, a Godly mind’s victory over evil.
“Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”
The word “eschew” means “to deviate, to avoid, to go out of the way”. This implies a conscious choice to stay out of the way. In Psalm 1:1 the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” We don’t want to be anywhere where there is a presence of evil, or anything that will separate us from our fellowship with God. The Bible says in Psalm 33:10-11, “The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” Ungodly counsel will not hold up to the truth or purposes of God and has a very short expiration date. 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 aren’t supposed to stand in the way of sinners, because how then can we be distinguished from them? I remember when I was shot in 2001. At the time I had 2 jobs and wasn’t in the streets as much. But because I didn’t “come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord”, I looked no different than the people they were targeting and I was shot in their place. In Psalm 26:3-4, the Bible says, “For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.” When we walk in truth, experiencing the Lord’s lovingkindness, we don’t have time to entertain divisive people. The word “evil” means “depraved or injurious minds, attitudes, and actions, wickedness”. 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.” The presence of evil in our lives ensures that we don’t do the things God desires of us, and that keeps us out of fellowship spiritually.
“And do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”
The word “good” is always designed to reflect something or someone that is in alignment with God’s intention from the beginning. “Doing good” implies a person who is obedient to God, doing the things He commands us to do. In Romans 13:3, the Bible says, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same”. When we do the things God intends for us to do, we don’t have to worry about negative consequences, nor do we have to worry about not having the Lord’s peace. The word “seek” suggest we search for peace. This is an intentional act on our part to obtain the peace of God. In Philippians 4:6-7, the Bible says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We can’t do nothing and expect peace to just show up. We have to cast out our anxiety, dive into prayer with thanksgiving, and the peace of God will guard our minds and hearts. The word “ensue” means “to pursue”. In Romans 14:19, the Bible says, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Our pursuit of Godly peace will positively affect those around us as well. “Peace” means “tranquility, arising from reconciliation with God and a sense of divine favor.” Sounds like a pretty great reason to have peace, right?
Within us lies the choice to choose good or evil, anxiety or peace, victory or defeat. Which will you choose today?
Apr 22, 2021 – 1 Peter 4:2 – but to the will of God
Salvation was not a free pass to the sin all we want, despite having the assurance of eternal life by faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. A lot of believers have this nonchalance about sin, this disregard for the sacrifice Christ made to redeem us from the penalty of death. Instead of taking this clean slate, and seeking to become all God has created us to be, we do the same things we have been delivered from, the same things that caused our separation from God in the first place. We also have the audacity to believe that we can live any way we choose and still live in victory. No believer should have this mentality, because it would be a continual disappointment to our loving Savior Jesus Christ to mismanage this precious gift he has bestowed upon us by His death. He suffered and died so we can live abundantly, so our lives should reflect the gratefulness of being saved and restored. Today, we are going to look at 1 Peter 4:2, using our salvation to live in the will of God.
“That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
The phrase “no longer” suggests that an end has been placed upon something. When we receive salvation in Jesus Christ, we have to make a choice of what nature we will answer to, the new or old. 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.” We still have to make the choice to serve the Lord after salvation, and every day thereafter, and that choice should be in accordance with who we are. 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.” We have to establish in our spirits that we are new people in Christ, therefore subject to do new things. The old man and nature is passed away, but sadly we have the choice to revive the nature in our lives. The word “live” means “to spend one’s existence”. We are supposed to live according to our nature, according to the authority we are under, and in Romans 14:8, the Bible says, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” We belong to the Lord, so our lives should be lived for Him. The phrase “rest of his time” means “remaining opportunity in a season or life”. Do we view life as an opportunity, or is it something we take for granted? In James 4:14, the Bible says, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” If our lives fly by before we know it, then shouldn’t we be a little more diligent with how we spend it?
“In the flesh to the lust of men”
The word “flesh” pertains to a mortal body. That means while we are still alive here on earth, we +shouldn’t live our lives to please our flesh, but God. The word “lusts” means longings or desires that are forbidden by God. In 1 Peter 1:14, the Bible says, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance”. If we are obedient to God, then we will be disobedient to the former lusts we once walked in. Whatever nature we are obedient to, we will be disobedient to the other. There is no gray area to this. 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.” Whatever our hearts go after is the thing we will give our attention and time to. In Romans 6:12, the Bible says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Whatever we go after, we are in service to, and it will have reign as long as we allow it. God doesn’t want us as believers to spend the rest of our lives chasing after a nature from which we have been saved.
“But to the will of God”
The word “will” means “purpose, intention, desire or preference”. In Galatians 2:20, the Bible says, “I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” With such a beautiful picture of what Christ did for us, it should make us desire to do what God desires us to do. In James 1:18, the Bible says, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” God wants to make us “a kind of firstfruits” meaning “His set apart selection, fully devoted to Him, the representation of His identity and power on earth.”
We should live the rest of our new lives desirous to do God’s will.
Apr 23, 2021 – Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart
God doesn’t always feel near to us when we are heartbroken. The key word is “feel”, and just because God doesn’t feel near to us, doesn’t mean he has forsaken us. Truth be told, God is right there for us and with us at all times, ready to step in and help us, but do we really believe that? If we have a splitting headache and we have the medication that will cure the headache, but don’t believe it will work, then we probably won’t take it, right? Well, the same rules apply with God. If we believe that His presence won’t work to cure our brokenness, then we won’t call upon Him in our distress, or even in our sin, to receive the deliverance we need. We can’t blame God when we won’t call upon Him, correct? God is always here and He desires to deliver His children into the abundant life He created us to experience. Today, we will look at Psalm 34:18, the nearness of God to deliver the broken spirit.
“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
The word “nigh” means “near, at hand”, as if to say God is at our service. This verse didn’t say the pastor is near, or our parents are near, neither did it say our friends are near, but God himself is near! That is important! In Psalm 145:18, the Bible says, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” Unto ALL, meaning everyone has access to this, but few use the access they were given. It also says, “to all that call upon him in truth”, meaning according to God’s design or God’s word. In John 4:24, Christ says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Worship, meaning “to depress oneself, to bring oneself low, to prostrate oneself before the Lord”, must be in truth, and that must be in accordance with the Word of God. When we are of a “broken heart”, it means that the seat of our inner nature is crushed into pieces. We may look fine on the outside but it’s a 10 car pile up happening on the inside. In Proverbs 18:14, the Bible says, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” We can handle the “outside stuff”, like illness or injury, but God never designed us to handle the “inside stuff”, like stress, heart break, anger, or sorrow, without Him. In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible says, “Casting all your care upon HIM; for he careth for you.” ALL of our care! We don’t give God a chance to heal our broken hearts, because we won’t give it ALL to Him! We have to humble ourselves, bring ourselves low, tell ourselves that we can’t handle this alone, that our God is mightier than the circumstances we face. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, the Bible says, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed”. What we go through has an expiration date when we turn it over to the Lord, because He is near to all who are broken hearted that call upon Him in truth.
“And saveth such as be of a contrite spirit”
The word “save” means “to free, to deliver from tribulation, to bring to a place of safety”. In Psalm 51:17, the Bible says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Wait a minute, so is this saying that our broken hearts and our hearts of contrition are sacrifices? Does it read that God wants us to turn loose these things before Him, so He can do what He wills with them? 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.” So by coming after Christ, we are purging ourselves of everything we have in order to seize everything God has for us. The sacrifice +comes in where we cast our will into the fire, exchanging it for the will of God. There are no broken hearts in the kingdom of God, only broken strongholds. In Hebrews 5:7, the Bible says, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared”. We are not crying out to someone who can’t fix what is broken or save what is lost. We are crying out to God Almighty, for whom nothing is impossible! The word “contrite” means “crushed into powder”. That suggest there is no trace of what it was when it was whole! That means a complete restoration of our spirit! In Psalm 109:26-28, the Bible says, “Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy: That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.” When we are saved, we want to convey a testimony that points directly to God’s power to heal and deliver.
Let us come before the Lord in our brokenness and contrition, allowing Him to transform us into living testimonies for Him!
Apr 24, 2021 – Exodus 14:13 – fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD
When the enemy is pressing upon us, trying to destroy us, we can become unsettled, afraid, and panic stricken. I have been in binds where I had no clue how I would make it through, but at the perfect time, God stepped right in and delivered me. It takes a lot of trust to stand still and allow God to fight these battles for us, and with most people having “fight or flight” instincts, it is hard to abandon our “go to” methods to take God at His word. God requires faith, children that will place their full confidence in the written and spoken Word of God, because faith in God with provide permanent victory. God does not desire us to keep fighting the same enemy, the same battle, and the same nature over and over, but that is what will happen if we continue to operate on our own power. Today, we will look at Exodus 14:13, beholding the salvation of the Lord.
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”
I want to make it clear that Moses is operating according to God’s leading. In Exodus 13:18, the Bible says, “But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.” The first thing we must understand about God here is if He leads us anywhere, His presence and His authority will be right there every step of the way. The second thing I want to make clear is Moses was operating according to the Word of the Lord God. In Exodus 14:4, the Bible says, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.” God prepares Moses and Israel for the attack that is sure to come. Never think for a second that when the enemy attacks us, God hasn’t already had a word prepared for us to walk in! God doesn’t get the glory if we succumb to the attack of the enemy, so it is not God’s intention for us to lose!
The word “fear” means “to be frightened, to be afraid”. God doesn’t want us to be afraid, especially when His word has already assured us of the victory! In 2 Chronicles 20:15, the Bible says, “And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” Do we really understand that there is nothing to fear when led by God’s word, because God will fight the battle for us! God’s presence should invite deep, moral reverence, not terror, because 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.” Think about this. If we are in Christ, then that means we are in God, and if we are in God then we are in love! Love should never produce a reason to be afraid, because if we are living in love, then there is no penalty, no condemnation, no death. We should want to experience the presence of the Lord, experiencing His hand move powerfully in our lives.
The phrase “stand still” means “to put in its place, to station”. This means our feet are locked in position and we don’t move. In Isaiah 41:10, the Bible says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” There is no reason for us to move when God is at work, because He will give us strength, and he will hold us up in His righteousness. How will He do any of this when we won’t stay still? In Psalm 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.” If we let God fight our battles, the world will see that our God delivers, but if we try to fight our own battles, people will associate our faith with “trying and failing.”
“see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day, for the Egyptians whom you have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more forever.”
The word “salvation” means “deliverance, help, victory”. It did say “the salvation of Moses”. In Jonah 2:9, the Bible says, “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” Salvation belongs to the Lord! The name of Jesus in both Hebrew and Greek means “The Lord Saves”, and deliverance is His identity. In Psalm 50:15, the Bible says, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” When the Lord delivers us, He will be glorified! This deliverance in this verse is immediate, and swift, and the Israelites will see God’s power in a way they will never see! The word “shew” means “make complete, accomplish”. In Philippians 1:6, the Bible says, “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”. God will always bring His Word to completion! 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.” When God moves, nothing on earth can stop His hand. Being assured of this allows us to remain still in the face of the heaviest circumstances, and find ourselves victorious while our enemy finds himself defeated forever.
May we trust in the Lord and have the courage to stand still when the enemy is mounting an attack. Victory is ours!
Apr 25, 2021 – Jeremiah 17:10 – I the LORD search the heart
God knows our hearts. We pray and He not only hears our prayers, but He also hears the stuff we are too afraid or too ashamed to ask for. It is refreshing to know that, even though our God knows us inside and out, He still expects us to come to Him, speak to Him, and entrust the contents of our minds and hearts to Him. It should make it easier for us to pray and speak to God, but a lot of us still have trouble. In speaking with God, we tend to ask for things we desire, but our God not only knows what we need, but He knows what to provide that we don’t think we need as well, things we may feel that we don’t qualify for. Imagine this amazing God who knows our hearts well enough to know what to give us, in order for us to fulfill His purpose, and glorify Him with what we have. Today, we are going to look at Jeremiah 17:10, God, the searcher of our hearts.
“I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
The word “search” means “to penetrate, to examine intimately”. When God searches us, He doesn’t deal with the surface. He desires to know us from the inside out. In Psalm 139:1, the Bible says, “O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.” God knows His children on a level no one does. It doesn’t say “My pastor searches my heart”. This level of searching can only be done by the Lord. In 1 Samuel 16:7, the Bible says, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” Mankind has their own standard to discern what manner of man a person is, but the characteristics we tend to look at will fool us because there is always something we will miss. The word “heart” is the “center of a person’s innermost being, the seat of thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc”. In Ephesians 6:6, the Bible says, “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”. God knows what type of service we are giving, and from what place it comes. 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.” When our hearts are right, aiming to please the Lord in our lives and service, it makes God more than willing to position us for success in Him.
“I try the reins”
The word “try” means “to test or prove”. In 1 Samuel 17:39, the Bible says, “And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.” David couldn’t wear the sword and armor because he has never tried them on before, and the lack of experience with it would’ve proven fatal. The word “reins” means “mind or interior self”. We know the word “reins” from our knowledge of how an animal is rode, especially a horse. The reins pulled a certain way gives the horse direction, much like if our mind is pulled a certain way, our bodies follows. 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.” When we pour ourselves into the Word of God, both written and spoken, it renews our minds, and allow God to test our innermost being, our innermost thoughts, to ensure we are able for be directed by God. In Proverbs 3:6, the Bible says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” The Lord wants to look within us and see people ready to be led by Him, people with empty vessels who seek to be filled with His Word, people who desire to live to please Him.
“even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings”
The word “ways” means “course of life”. This is important to the believer who desires anything of the Lord to consider. In Jeremiah 32:19, the Bible says, “Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings”. God knows when we are ready to receive of Him, because He knows the deepest parts of us. God sees everything!! The word “fruit” means “reward”, and it suggests the end result of our work. In Matthew 12:33, Christ 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.” There is no fooling God. He knows who we are, what we desire and what we will do with what He gives. God will only dispense what we can handle, what we can use to bring glory to Him, and nothing less.
May the Lord search our hearts to find laborers ready for the harvest.
Apr 26, 2021 – 1 Peter 5:2 – feed the flock of God
It is important to make sure the Church is taken care of. We who have grown spiritually should be helping those who aren’t at the same level as we are, so they can grow spiritually, and become more intimate with our awesome God. We have to have a selfless mind, and a heart of love and compassion, looking beyond where they may be to what God can truly do in their lives. Sometimes, we have to be an ear to hear, a ride to church, a Bible verse at the most opportune time, or someone to sit and pray with. Wherever we are needed, we should be willing to step in because when we needed someone, God always made sure someone was right there. I know personally, there has been a believer there for me that has ushered me into this next chapter of my life. Sadly, I also experienced “kindness” that came at an awful price for me. Today, I want us to look at 1 Peter 5:2, effective shepherding in Christ Jesus.
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind”
The word “feed” means “to care or provide for, to supervise, to tend to”. This responsibility is for the pastors and teachers of the church. Before anyone breathes a “sigh of relief”, thinking this doesn’t pertain to us, in Matthew 28:19-20 Christ says, “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.” Seems like this is directed to all of us, but just in case we think not, in Hebrews 5:12, the Bible says, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” We were never designed to remain “just students”, “just church goers”, or “just believers”. We are supposed to grow in our knowledge of the Word of God to be able to teach someone else what God has revealed to us. The word “flock” means “believers of Christ, the Church”. 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.” God wants us to take our positions seriously, because not only have we received salvation, but our teaching can pave the way for someone to experience Christ, and receive salvation as well. “Which is among you”. Sometimes, the mission field required a plane trip to a place where the Word isn’t being preached and God has selected His representatives to do that, but for most of us, our mission field is right in front of us, at school, at work, in our neighborhoods, or in our own families!
“Taking the oversight thereof”
The word “oversight” means “to give attention to, to examine the affairs of”. In 1 Timothy 3:4-5, the Bible says, “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” Our homes are the first place our shepherding begins, and that extends to the neighborhood, the Church, the community, the job. In Jeremiah 23:3-4, the Bible says, “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.” Shepherding contributes to the growth and fruitfulness of the Church. Shepherding helps strengthen the body because the flock is always fed!
Not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind”
The word “constraint” suggests that a person is doing something because they are compelled by force. Ever been helped by someone who really didn’t want to help, or by someone who was forced to help? Makes one not want the help at all. In 2 Corinthians 8:12, the Bible says, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” God desires a willing mind, not a ton of qualifications. A willing mind is expected. The phrase “filthy lucre” suggests an evil purpose, usually greed. In Ezekiel 34:8, the Bible says, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock.” When our teachers and pastors are more concerned with their own gain than the gain of the Church, the flock will always suffer.
May we feed the flock of God, considering the edification of the Church as we serve!
Apr 27, 2021 – 2 Peter 3:9 – that all should come to repentance
I can reflect upon my past life and see God’s patience at work. When I was in the street life, I can recall Sister Linda, Mrs. Herzer, Mrs. Denton, and many others constantly pouring loving upon me, showing me that God still loved me, and wanted me home with Him. I had a ton of people giving me a word that I can now certify came from the Lord, and God sent a host of people throughout my life to help me make it through everything that came my way. God was preserving me because He knew I would get to this point of repentance where I fell upon the Cornerstone broken, and He would transform my life to serve Him. When I think about God’s overwhelming love for me despite my many decisions made to disgrace the cross, I can only think about God’s patience towards us. Today, we will look at 2 Peter 3:9, God’s unfailing desire for His children to come to repentance.
“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.”
The word “slack” means “to cause a delay, late, tardy”. The Lord is never late, and that becomes evident by Isaiah 55:11, which 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 knows the time and place His promise will manifest itself, whether it seems to be a long wait or not. Ecclesiastes 3:1, the Bible says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”. When we understand that the world moves on God’s time, we will no longer classify God’s movements according to when we feel He should move. The word “promise” means “announcement of a divine assurance of good, one of eternal life”. In Hebrews 10:36-37, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” God is patient concerning His promises, but we have to be just as patient with Him to receive His promises. I hear so many believers say, “I wish Christ would come for His Church now”, but what about the people, some of the relatives even, that will miss out on salvation if God answered the prayers to come right now? 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.” When God makes a promise, it will be so.
“As some men count slackness”
The word “slackness” means “tardiness, being late”. Most of us are quick to put our timetable on God, but do we really understand some of what happens when a word is delivered to us? 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.” There is a resistance that is mounted by the enemy to keep the Word from reaching us, so imagine what is happening that is trying to withstand salvation?
“But is longsuffering to us-ward”
The word “longsuffering” means “long-minded, slow to anger”. In Isaiah 30:18, the Bible says, “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” It is God’s grace and love towards us that causes Him to forego judgement in order for us to receive salvation. 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”. Grace makes room for mercy and salvation!
“Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.
Pay attention to the words “any” and “all”. God doesn’t want anyone to “perish” or “be destroyed fully”, but He wants everyone to come to “repentance”, or “a reversal of decision, reformation.” This implies Godly sorrow for unbelief and sin, and a turning from them unto God and the gospel 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.” Whosoever! Another definite term. We have a God that is so patient with such a stubborn and sinful people, a people He loves so deeply that He already allowed Christ to die and the rewards are STILL available to us right now. God doesn’t want to punish us. He wants to receive us as His own!
May we view the patience and love of God as the reason to repent and experience this divine nature God has in store for all who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Apr 28, 2021 – Exodus 19:5 – if ye will obey my voice
Do we really understand how special we are to God? Can we comprehend the love God has for us, how He has never stopped trying to bring us back into right fellowship with Him? Since the beginning of creation, God designed His children to reside with Him, and through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we now have the Holy Spirit sent to reside IN us. Despite who we may have been, despite the wrong we have done, despite the bad decisions we have made, this gift is available to all, because it is God’s desire for His children to be saved and become whole in Him. Even though God makes this gift available to all, there are conditions to His promises, but the conditions come as characteristics of worship, things that give God free reign to operated mightily in our lives without our interference. If we are willing to humble ourselves before our God and be obedient to the Word of God, we will become something we never imagined we could be in Him. Today we will look at Exodus 19:5, because peculiar treasures to God.
“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine”
The word “obey” means “to hear intelligently with the intention to heed”. Imagine a soldier hearing their leader’s instructions, ready to carry out the command. That is how we must be when we hear the Lord’s voice. In Deuteronomy 11:26-28, the Bible says, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” Blessing and cursing comes from our obedience, or lack thereof. 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.” Obedience should always come in love for God and from our desire to please Him. A lot of times, we hear the word “obey” and automatically shift our minds towards the potential consequences that will come if we don’t obey. In Ezekiel 36:27, the Bible says, “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.” If we entrust our hearts and minds to the Lord, He will give us what we need to obey His voice! “Indeed” indicates a person committed fully to obeying God’s voice. All or nothing!
“And keep my covenant”
The word “keep” means “to maintain and observe something for the purpose of sustainability”. The word “covenant” means “an alliance, compact, or agreement between two or more persons. A covenant is made when a Word of promise is given that the parties agree to, and flesh is cut in two, allowing the parties of the covenant to pass through. In Exodus 2:24-25, the Bible says, “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.” God doesn’t forget His covenant with us, and will move on behalf to make sure the covenant is kept. If we obey God’s voice and keep His commands, and God keeps His promises, no matter what happens along the way. Hebrews 8:6, the Bible says, “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” We are a part of an even better covenant than the ones made in the Old Testament!
“Then shall ye be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine”
The phrase “peculiar treasure” means “a wealthy, unique treasure”. This expresses something highly valuable that is kept under guard. In Deuteronomy 4:20, the Bible says, “But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.” If we came out of the fire, then that means we are pure and of the highest value! Only in Christ can we be at our highest value! 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.” Doesn’t this picture give us a reason to WANT to obey the voice of the Lord? 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 Lord’s and His desire is to make us a people set apart, special in nature, divinely purposed in Him.
May we obey out of love for our Lord, and may we place great value in who God has transformed us to be.
Apr 29, 2021 – Exodus 19:6 – ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation
God distinguishes His children, giving us roles that automatically separates us from the world we live in. We are members of the kingdom of God, and because of who we are, we have access to God, and ability to fellowship with Him from anywhere we are. The world is longing to belong, but sadly, they serve a leader who is leading them right into the lake of fire if salvation doesn’t come first. God already views us as a unique possession of wealth, AND He also views us as royalty, people that will administer His Word and His love to His people, while representing the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in the world. We have a position of importance that doesn’t make us better than anyone else, but it does mean that our futures are secure in Him. That is something to give thanks about! Today, we will look at Exodus 19:6, a kingdom of priests and kings unto God.
“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.”
The phrase “shall be” implies a condition fulfilled that will produce a further action. In Exodus 19:5, the Bible lays out the condition by saying, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine”. The “And” to begin today’s verse expresses a continuation to a previous verse. The word “kingdom” means “a form of dominion, of royal power”. God is the ruler of our kingdom, and His kingdom is governed by love and truth. In Deuteronomy 33:3, the Bible says, “Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.” This is such a gentle perspective of how the kingdom of God appears; the saints under His care humbling themselves in worship, ready to receive the Word of God. 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”. We were chosen to carry the roles we have in the kingdom! Do we understand that, from the Old Testament with the Law and to the New Testament with grace, our roles in God’s eyes haven’t changed? He saw us as kings and priests then, and he still sees us as such now!
The word “priests” means “one officiating, performing the function of mediators between God and His people”. Imagine with me that all believers will be viewed as a kingdom of priests by God. No pressure, right? In Hebrews 5:13-14, the Bible says, “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” As believers, we may start with milk, but we are supposed to grow into believers who can not only handle meat, but can teach milk or meat to anyone as well. We are not supposed to go backwards because as a kingdom of priests, we are the representatives of the God we serve. I am starting to understand why it bothered Christ so much to see the disciples’ lack of faith, because the most simple thing for a priest to do is believe the Word given from God. How can we teach what we don’t believe?
The word “holy” means “inherently morally sacred”. The word “nation” means a group, tribe, or flock of people. In Leviticus 19:2, the Bible says, “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” As a kingdom of priests, we are to be a reflection of the God we serve, and His attributes must be visible in us. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, the Bible says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Not only are we kingly priests, and a holy nation, but we are also temples of the living God! God chose us to be set apart, to not blend in, to have our lives completely built by Him, through Him and in Him.
“These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel”
The word “words” means “sayings or speech by royal decree”. In 2 Corinthians 4:13, the Bible says, “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak”. We receive the Word of God by faith, and that very word God gives us is what we speak to His people. 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.” Being kingdom priests should give us a great desire to be witnesses for Christ!
May we accept our rightful place as priests in the kingdom of God, and may our speech produce the power of God’s Word to all who may hear!
Apr 30, 2021 – Matthew 18:3 – except ye be converted …
Humility is essential in our faith. God gives us the ability to do some pretty awesome things in Him, but He also gives us the same ability to humble ourselves and receive of the Lord what He desires for us to have. As believers, especially as adult believers, we sometimes have a struggle submitting our will to God in exchange for His will. We don’t appreciate the message we send God when we want to hang on to our own will, telling Him, “God, I know you’re God, but my way is better “. No one is going to want to acknowledge that this is the message that we are conveying to God, but it is the truth. God wants to begin in us with a new foundation, and He wants His children born again so we can learn how we are supposed to live, love, serve, and think according to God’s intention. Today, we will look at Matthew 18:3, receiving kingdom principles as little children.
“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
The word “verily” means “truly, or surely”. It is said so the hearer will bank on the trustworthiness of the statement. In Numbers 23:19, the Bible says, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” The word of the Lord is true, and will most certainly manifest itself exactly how God says it. Who is saying “Verily”? Jesus Christ, God robed in flesh! The word “except” also means “unless”, which is a word of condition. In John 3:3, the Bible says, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Please don’t be careless enough to assume that there are no conditions when it comes to our salvation, our healing, our restoration, or our sanctification. There is always something we must do on our end in order for the provision to be dispensed by God. The word “converted” means “to turn back, twist around”. This word suggests a change of mind which causes a change of direction. That change of direction should cause a new course of action. In Matthew 3:1-2, the Bible says, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” There has to be repentance in order for a person to enter the kingdom of heaven. In Isaiah 55:7, the Bible says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Conversion and repentance require us to completely abandon our way and our thoughts, accepting Jesus Christ as the Way.
“And become as little children”
The word “children” means “immature Christians”. In Matthew 16:24-25, Christ 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. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” We have to declare everything we are to be untrue, in order to receive the Word of Truth, which will provide salvation to all who have faith in Jesus Christ. In Colossians 2:6-7, the Bible says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” When we receive Christ, we are starting back from scratch, as a seed that grows roots in Christ, and grows in Christ, becoming strengthened in faith. The immature Christian, doesn’t remain an immature Christian because they grow in Christ and not on their own knowledge or accord. In Matthew 19:14, the Bible says, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Christ desires for the path of an immature Christian or even a nonbeliever to be clear to Him, and no one should deny someone access to the Word of God. In Mark 9:42, Christ says, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” There is no help for the one who turns a person away from the faith.
“Ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”
In Matthew 5:3, Christ says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The poor in spirit are the ones who presents themselves as little children, as helpless sheep needing a Savior and a Shepherd in Christ Jesus. In Matthew 7:21, Christ says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” The will of God is for us to turn to Him and be born again!
Who’s way has reign in our lives, God’s or ours?
May 1, 2021 – 1 John 4:1 – many false prophets are gone out into the world
There are a lot of false gospels being preached in the world, and tons of people are being led astray behind it. We are living in a world where it is okay to sprinkle the world into our churches, where “exceptions” are made for abominable behaviors, and less and less of the pastorate are speaking against it. There is a fear present in our churches to boldly speak against things that we know are Biblically wrong, and our churches are more concerned about offending people than offending God. At the same time, we aren’t trying the accuracy of the Word we receive from teachers and preachers, automatically assuming that their titles make them infallible. That shouldn’t be either. We as believers must go to Scripture to make sure we are receiving the true Word of God, and there is nothing wrong with verifying the accuracy of the things we hear and are taught. Today, we will look at 1 John 4:1, an examination of the source of our teaching: of God or of enemy.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
The word “beloved” is spoken of Christians as united with God or with each other in bonds of holy love. This term pours love upon the hearer. In 1 John 4:11, the Bible says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” We as believers must give our brothers and sister the same love we ourselves have been given by God. The word “believe” means “to be firmly persuaded, to entrust”. So we are not to be firmly persuaded, or entrust ourselves to every spirit we hear. In Jeremiah 29:8-9, the Bible says, “For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD.” Isn’t this a scary thought, that someone can come, sounding like they are of God, maybe even holding a prominent position, but STILL give a word that is not of God and shouldn’t be believed?
The word “spirits” means “a person or teacher who acts or professes to act under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit”. Believe that there a going to be people who give a false word, all the while saying they received it directly from the Holy Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, 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?” If we have to examine our own selves, to make certain we are of the faith, then we most certainly have to examine the pastorate we listen to! In 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew THYSELF approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The teachers and preachers have a responsibility to convey the true Word of God, but we have just as great of a responsibility to rightly divide the word of truth. The Word of God is the standard by which truth is measured, and the Holy Spirit in us discerns the things that may fall between the lines. God has equipped us to process the spoken and written Word of God, but are we diligent enough to study for ourselves?
“But try the spirits whether they are of God”
The word “try” means “test, prove, or examine”. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 the Bible says, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” ALL THINGS! So every word received has to be examined before we are firmly persuaded as to its truth. If we discover something we have heard isn’t of God, then we are to do away with it. In Revelation 2:2, the Bible says, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars”. God sees our works, our examinations, our desire to receive the things that are of God exclusively. Our diligence to uncover fraud in our churches can prevent others from being led astray.
“Because many false prophets are gone out into the world”
Christ said this day would come. The phrase “false prophets” means “pretended preachers”. In Matthew 24:4-5, the Bible says, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Christ told us to pay attention, to make sure that we aren’t the ones deceived. In Acts 20:29-30, the Bible says, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” The enemy is planting his people in our churches to lead the flock astray and render our churches fruitless.
May we examine the word we receive according to the Word of God?
May 2, 2021 – Galatians 2:4 – to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus
The enemy is crafty, using sneaky methods to break the Church down. We have false teachers who spread half-truths, which are full lies, who bring in doctrine that isn’t Scripture, causing the flock to become misinformed, and subject to be led astray. This behavior doesn’t please God in the slightest, having people operating in the offices of the Church turning people away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. We also have to be aware of people in the flock, inserted to stir up dissension and cause confusion with the gospel, so the Church can pick up the law again, instead of continuing the grace we have received by salvation. The sad thing is the people within the flock stirring up the confusion probably are thinking they are doing the right thing, as Saul did when he was persecuting the Church. The truth must be taught to keep the falsehood from our Church. Today, we will look at Galatians 2:4, the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage”
The phrase “false brethren” means “pretended associates”. These could be people sitting right next to us in service, appearing to be of the flock, but are there under false pretenses. In Matthew 7:15-16 the Bible says, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” These people can “look the part” and that is the scary part about it, because they won’t be so obvious. Christ knew what we would face as believers, which is why He said in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Christ knows who we will be around but He also wants us to pay close attention to who is who. The phrase “unawares brought in” means “smuggled in”! This expresses an intention for these false believers to be planted into the Church. The enemy doesn’t want the Church to grow in truth and in power, so any way he can fight against a growing Church, he will. In Acts 15:1-2, the Bible says, “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.” These false teachers are taught incorrectly elsewhere, then planted in the Church, teaching doctrine that undermines the truth of the gospel. Paul and Barnabas came against the lies, and had “no small dissension and disputation with them.” Do we stand silent in the face of a lie, unwilling to go to war in the name of truth?
“Who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus”
The phrase “came in privily” means “to come in alongside stealthily”. These people do not want to be discovered! In Jude 1:4, the Bible says, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Spies smuggled in study the people around them to find out what they know and don’t know, and to plant seeds of doubt within their vulnerability. The word “liberty” means “freedom from the yoke of the Mosaic Law”. The law could never set us free. In Romans 8:2-4, the Bible says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” This is the liberty the false brethren are trying to steer us away from. Liberty is only in Christ Jesus!
“That they might bring us into bondage”
The phrase “bring us into bondage” means “to utterly enslave from the inside”. In Galatians 5:1, the Bible says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Standing fast means we develop roots, becoming unmovable. The enemy is trying to uproot the truth from the Church, and is trying to nullify what the cross has done for us. In Matthew 11:30, Christ says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Christ’s death wasn’t designed to place the yoke of bondage upon us, but instead it placed the yoke of grace, faith, love, and the Holy Spirit upon us and in us.
May we be diligent to study the truth so we can root out the false teachers and brethren in the Church.
May 3, 2021 – Philippians 2:2 – fulfil ye my joy
God desires to see a Church unified in love, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and He wants us to walk in victory together. The beauty of the Church forming in Acts was there weren’t factions, denominations, or anything causing a separation in the body and if there were, they were addressed immediately. Everyone had all things in common, and no one lacked anything because everyone considered each other. The Church grew as a whole, and nothing could stand against the power of the Holy Spirit at work. The apostles were beaten, jailed, spoken ill against, and even killed, but nothing stopped the Church from growing everywhere it was planted. Sadly, there are people who believe that the Church as in Acts no longer exists, but the problem isn’t the Church. The problem is the truth is fleeting in our Church, and faith and love are becoming forgotten concepts. Today, we will look at Philippians 2:2, a Church that fulfills God’s joy.
“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
The word “fulfil” means, “to complete, to make perfect, accomplished to an end”. The word “joy” means “cheerfulness, or calm delight”. In 1 John 4:11-12, the Bible says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 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’s love is the first thing that must be present in the Church, because the love we show each other manifests the presence of God. This love is perfected IN US! In 1 John 4:13, it says, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” The love we receive from God that we love others with is perfected in us, evidencing the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. The Church is suffering because God’s love has been replaced with our type of love, which is full of conditions and rules. In Romans 12:9-10, the Bible says, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”. We are robbing ourselves of the experience of God’s power moving mightily in the Church because we won’t love others the way God loves us! Christ came and summed up the law in two commandments: Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves. Love fulfills God’s joy, love makes God’s joy complete, because in 1 Corinthians 13:8, the Bible says, “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” Love doesn’t fail, and if the Bible says in 1 John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love,” then that means that God doesn’t fail either!!!! So if the Church is not growing, it is not God, it is our lack of love and faith!
“That ye be likeminded, having the same love”
The word “likeminded” means “having the same sentiments, interests, affections, or thoughts”. To be likeminded, we have to develop an understanding for each other. In Romans 15:1-2, the Bible says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” In order to edify the Church, God has to be the first priority, what He desires, what He says, and what He expects from His Church. In 1 Corinthians 1:10, the Bible says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” The Church is fractured because we aren’t perfectly joined together, and we don’t have the same love because the same truth isn’t being taught. The Word of God isn’t the sole standard in the Church, and that’s the reason we are so divided. Man’s doctrine and traditions have replaced God’s Scripture!
“Being of one accord, of one mind”
The phrase “of one accord” means “co-spirited, joined together in peace and harmony.” It spurs believers to unity and love. In Mark 12:29, Christ says, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord”. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one, or one accord, the example of how we should be. In John 17:11, Christ prayed to God, asking Him, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” Christ prayed for us to be one, like He and God are one. Unity in love pleases our God because we are then positioned for the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and power to cause lasting change and power in the Church.
Is our lack of Godly love hindering God’s power and movement in the Church?
May 4, 2021 – Exodus 25:8 – that I may dwell among them
I can’t say it enough. Since the beginning of creation, God has desired to reside with His children. He even did it one better, when He offered us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, so the Spirit of God could reside in us. We have such a precious gift in the Holy Spirit, which gives us not only the presence of God, but the power of God as well. There is a real security, knowing we are the beneficiaries of such an amazing inheritance. The thing that baffles me to this day is how little God actually asks of us compared to what He does for us. God tells us, “Just build me a place to reside and reign, and heaven will come to earth”. The Church suffers behind the lack of God’s residency in our sanctuaries. His presence has been replaced with religion, denominationalism, selective hearing of the Word of God, allowances made for abominable behaviors, and people still under bondage to the law. This isn’t the Church God desires for His people, nor will it ever be. Today, we will look at Exodus 25:8, a sanctuary fit for God’s presence.
“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.”
The phrase “make me” means “construct for an intended purpose, to perform a function or activity with a distinct purpose, moral obligation, or goal in view.” In order to accomplish this, God must qualify the people for service. In Exodus 36:1, the Bible says, “Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded.” The Lord calls for something to be done, and He equips the people with wisdom and understanding in “ALL manner of work”. In 2 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”. A huge part of living a Godly life is hearing the command of the Lord and having faith that, what He commands, we will be able to perform. If God commands us to make Him a sanctuary, then He has already given us everything we need to do it. We know this by knowing Him!
The word “sanctuary” means “a holy or sacred place, consecrated and set apart by God”. The sanctuary isn’t the place we declare holy. It is the place God declares holy! 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.” A sanctuary is wherever God calls us to hear His Word! Another example of this is in Joshua 5:14-15, which says, “And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” The sanctuary of the Lord has always been bigger than a building, and God never designed it to reduce His presence to just a structure.
“That I may dwell among them”
The word “dwell” means “to reside, to inhabit, to permanently stay”. In Psalm 23:6, the Bible says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” How can David dwell in “the house” of the Lord forever when up to this point in his life, the presence of God dwelled among the tents and tabernacle? The “house of the Lord” has to be more than just the structure. John 14:17 says, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” God gave us the privilege of His presence dwelling among us before His presence dwelled IN us. In Jeremiah 31:33, the Bible says, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” The sanctuary was always designed for communion with God, no matter where it was, whether in tents or buildings, whether by burning bushes or near Jericho. God wants to be our God and wants us to be His people. In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, the Bible says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” We are the temple of God, a habitation for the Holy Spirit to dwell and have reign. God’s power can be made manifest through us because He dwells in us!
Will we make God a sanctuary, so He can dwell in us?
May 5, 2021 – Deuteronomy 4:2 – keep the commandments of the LORD your God
The Word of God is complete in itself. It doesn’t need our help or our alterations for it to be as powerful as it is. In fact, our frequent “twisting of the Word of God” actually does it a major disservice, because we can’t experience the full effect of the Word with only part of the truth at work. When we operate outside the will of God, there can be no real expectation of our prayers being answered, breakthroughs being made, nor can ‘God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. There should be no such thing as “chew the meat and spit out the bones” when it comes to the Word, but sadly, more and more teachers and preachers are taking “the good parts” out of Scripture and ignoring the rest, leaving our knowledge incomplete and the Word we receive of no effect. Today, we will look at Deuteronomy 4:2, experiencing the complete Word of God as is.
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
The word “add” doesn’t just mean to add. It also means “to augment”. It is saying the Word of God is not good enough. The first time someone added something to the Word of God sin came into the world through man. In Genesis 2:16-17, the Bible says, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” These are clearly given directions with no ambiguity to them, so there is nothing to misinterpret. Well, let’s look at Eve’s response to Satan Genesis 3:2-3, which says, “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, NEITHER SHALL YE TOUCH IT, lest ye die.” You see what just happened? Eve was either given this addition to the Word of God by Adam, or she came up with it on her own, but either way she lied, because God didn’t tell Adam to not touch the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When we add to the Word, we are either projecting a message that the Word of God isn’t perfect, or were are lying on our Father. Here’s what baffles me about Adam. In Genesis 3:6, the Bible says, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband WITH HER; and he did eat.” He had to be standing right there and didn’t intervene, especially when the Word of God was being diluted with a lie.
The word “word” here means “speech or matter conveying divine communication”. Do we realize that when God places something upon our hearts, that He is speaking directly to us? The word “command” means “to direct, give charge, to order people in various situations”. In Joshua 1:7-8, the Bible says, “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” It takes faith to follow the Word of God, but it also takes strength and courage as well. It is not easy to go against the current of this world, especially with the enemy aiming to pull us into the flow of the world, but God promises to make our way (course of life) prosperous and we’ll have “good” success, the type of success God intends for His children to have.
Neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you”
The word “diminish” means “to withhold, lessen, shave out, or remove”. In Proverbs 30:5-6, the Bible says, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” EVERY word of God is pure. Do we really believe that? We destroy our own credibility when we add or take away from the Word, but as a representative of the kingdom of God, we bring dishonour to 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”. ALL scripture. So this means we can’t be people that cleave to “the good parts” and discard everything else. We strip the Word’s ability to be profitable in our lives when we don’t receive the full Word of God.
May we ingest the full Word of God into our spirits, no additions or subtractions.
May 6, 2021 – Ephesians 4:14 – we henceforth be no more children
Children are easily misled. They are programmed with a trust in them that will allow them to walk into danger without the least bit of awareness. A child’s lack of knowledge requires them to rely on teachers, leaders, pastors in order for them to understand the life they are commanded to live. Children should be protected, and the surest protection we have is the Word of God. God takes it personally when a little one is offended or led astray, and the person who has led them astray will suffer a great condemnation. I am sure right now that you are aware that we aren’t talking solely about children, but also about new believers. God desires His children to mature into firm believers in the Word of God, unable to be misled by false doctrine or lies. The enemy is banking on our vulnerability while our God is trying to strengthen us in the knowledge of His Word. Today, we will look at Ephesians 4:14, a child planted in the Word of God.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”
The word “children” means “babes, unlearned, unenlightened, immature Christians, simpleminded”. The word of God commands that we “be no more children”, which means God expects us to grow. We should not be ten years in the faith without the same knowledge and experience in the Word of God. In 1 Corinthians 13:11 the Bible says, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” A child who becomes grownup is one who is humbled before the Word of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach and guide them into all truth. This is a choice that God gives us to make. In 1 Corinthians 14:20, the Bible says, “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” When we understand the Word of God, we can apply it as mature believers, and the likelihood of us being led astray is slim. What should we do if we want to understand the Word of God the way God intends? 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.” God desires for us to know Him, to be wise in the Lord, because He is willing to give us all the wisdom we need, as long as we ask in faith. We have to ask God, believing that we will receive the wisdom we are asking for.
“Tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine”
The reason we are tossed to and fro is because we lack trust in what we have received of the Lord to allow it to grow roots. Imagine pulling a seed from the soil because we are fearful that it won’t grow. That is what we do when we don’t receive the Word of God in faith. In Matthew 13:20-21, Christ says, “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” The Word of God can feel good to receive, but without a root, a hard time can remove the Word from us causing us to go astray. The phrase “wind of doctrine” means “perverse instruction taught by men, unstable opinion”. In Ephesians 5:6, the Bible says, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” The ones who lead the children astray have God’s wrath coming. I definitely don’t want to be a part of that!
“By the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”
The word “sleight” implies “operating by fraud”. The phrase “cunning craftiness” means “trickery”. This suggest that false doctrine will be given in a deceptive manner. In Romans 16:18, the Bible says, “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” The enemy knows how to make it sound good! In 1 Peter 1:8, the Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. Don’t just be on guard from the devil, but also be on guard for the teachers and preachers that sprinkle in a little lie in with the truth. Rightly divide the Word of truth as mature believers do, and weigh every Word given in Scripture, testing its accuracy. Only after proving its truth, receive it into your spirit.
May we mature into believers of sound Biblical truth, led by the Holy Spirit, rooted in Him, unable to be led astray.
May 7, 2021 – John 12:24 – it bringeth forth much fruit
I have encountered a lot of believers who desire the promises of God without the sacrifices it takes to receive those promises. I have been one of those believers, wanting breakthroughs to come in my life while I was unwilling to speak the words God desired for me to speak to His people. I experience a very unfruitful walk with the Lord then, where I was growing in my knowledge of Scripture, but nothing else around me was growing. When I came to myself and realized that a life lived for the Lord is one of selflessness and sacrifice, all in order for God to be glorified and the body of Christ be edified. Bearing fruit requires us to put our agenda to an absolute end and take hold of God’s purpose in our lives. A sacrifice made will reap an amazing harvest, far more than we could ever do on our own. Today, we are going to look at John 12:24, a seed planted and a harvest reaped.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
The word “verily” means “surely or truly”. When something is said twice in the Bible, it is of significance. The word “except” means “unless”, so Christ is telling us that this condition has to happen to activate the promise. In Matthew 13:23, Christ says, “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” A seed multiplies when it is buried, because it rises again and bears fruit. Sounds familiar? The word “fall” suggest a person falls from a higher place to a lower place. In Philippians 2:6-8, the Bible says, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Christ came from the highest place possible, stripped himself of His Deity to take the form of a servant, all to take on the death we so richly deserved for our sins. In 1 Corinthians 15:36, the Bible says, “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die”. The word “die” means to “perish and come under condemnation”. There was no getting out of it, because there would be no eternal life for us without Christ’s death.
In Matthew 16:21, the Bible says, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” Jesus is trying to prepare the disciples for His death, but Peter decides to rebuke Jesus! In Matthew 16:22, it says, “Then Peter TOOK him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” I imagine Peter taking Jesus by His shoulders, maybe giving Him a shake or two! Christ responds in verse 23, and His response is swift. It says, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Peter was trying to come in between Christ and the will of God. Christ saw it as Peter was working for Satan by his rebuke. Christ stands by the Word of God, and so must we. The word “abideth” means “remaining in a particular state or condition”. Just as God doesn’t desire for man to be alone, He doesn’t desire for His Word to be alone either. We must share the Word and allow it it grow and bear fruit. In Luke 8:11, Christ says, “Now the parable is this: The seed 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.” Jesus IS the Word of God! Both must be planted in order to bear fruit. In James 1:21, the Bible says, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” If the Word of God isn’t buried, we can’t have Godly sorrow that worketh repentance, and without salvation by faith in Christ Jesus, the seed will remain alone and unfruitful.
“But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit”
The phrase “bringeth forth” means “to yield or reap”. In John 12:32, Christ says, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” ALL MEN. Christ death means the Church should explode with people, because His death bears fruit for the entire kingdom of God. Are we as believers willing to be sacrifices so others can live abundantly? 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.” We glorify God by allowing His seed to bear fruit in us!
May we come to understand the importance of a seed, that it can lead to salvation!
May 8, 2021 – Zechariah 4:6 – not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit
When we were in the world, living the lives we desired to live outside of the Lord’s reign, we had to do everything ourselves, operating in our own power. We hear in society too often of “self-made success stories”, and there are tons of people who try to lace up their boot straps, and make their own destiny. We live in a world that feels that they don’t need God to be successful at life, being taught that burning desire, mere belief, and a monetary donation will produce what 50 years of working, saving, and investing would do. Our world is plummeting quickly because we have become people who feel that our own strength, our own power, and our own intelligence is sufficient. The enemy is enjoying this, because there is no real victory if the Holy Spirit isn’t leading. Today, we will look at Zechariah 4:6, victory through the Holy Spirit.
“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.”
God answers our prayers and petitions. Sometimes the answer may take a long time, and other times, it may come right away like in this text. In Psalm 65:5, the Bible says, “By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea”. A lot of people try to operate in their own power because they believe that God is not answering their prayers fast enough for them. It doesn’t matter how far away we are, God hears us. In John 11:41-42, “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” Christ testified that God always hears Him, so He had the confidence to petition God for help. What did Christ do first? He took away the stone! Metaphorically, we can have a stone in front of our promise, preventing us from receiving it. That stone is unbelief, whether being from our feeling unqualified, or our doubting the power of our God to give us what we ask for according to His will.
The temple is being rebuilt in this passage, and there was some resistance by members in the government. In Ezra 5:2-3 the Bible says, “Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them. At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?” When we are performing the Word of the Lord, expect resistance, and definitely expect people to question our right to perform a Word coming from the Lord. Zerubbabel led the charge to rebuilt the temple of the Lord, permitted by King Cyrus’ decree, which couldn’t be broken. In Daniel 6:15, the Bible says, “Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.” God allowed the right government to conquer Babylon, whose decrees are irrevocable, then God instituted King Cyrus to decree that the children of God could rebuild their temple and walls. God already ensured Zerubbabel’s success, by using the Medes and Persians’ governments to fulfill His good purposes.
The word “might” means “military strength or numerical influence”. Armies and numbers mean nothing to our God, who doesn’t need any of it to fulfil his purpose. In Proverbs 21:30-31, the Bible says, “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.” War strategies don’t measure up to the Lord, and nothing used in battle stands a chance. A government tried to mount up against Zerubbabel, but a royal decree authorized by the King Cyrus, who was ordained by God to fulfil His purpose, did what an army couldn’t. The word “power” means “wealthy in ability, to be firm in substance”. In Hosea 1:7, the Bible says, “But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.” We don’t have to war against flesh and blood when Holy Spirit is at work. In Acts 6:10, the Bible says, “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” No force in heaven or on earth can resist the power of the Holy Spirit, the Force by which God operates in heaven and earth.
The question is, will we trust the Spirit of the Lord and roll away the stone of unbelief, or will we continue to exercise our own strength?
May 9, 2021 – John 14:6 – I am the way, the truth, and the life
I sadly hear a lot of people tell me there are many paths to God. They are people who say they don’t believe in organized religion, but they believe “there is something out there”. As the Church is suffering from the lack of truth being taught within the body, these new philosophies are coming in to replace the Word of God and Jesus Christ as the way to God. Every other day, it seems like a new thing is being taught as the path to enlightenment, the path to success, the path to wealth, but what about the path to God? Many people see the faith as a sect with too many rules that are impossible to keep. They haven’t come into the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the overwhelming love God has for His children. They complicate the faith out of their lack of knowledge, and subject themselves to condemnation because they won’t believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and eternal life. Today, we will look at John 14:6, Jesus Christ, the only way to God.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
These are the words of Jesus Christ himself, spoken to Thomas, one of His disciples. The significance to this is Jesus Christ speaking to the disciple known to us as “Doubting Thomas”. In John 20:24-25, the Bible says, “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” He changed his tune when Christ appeared, telling him to touch and examine His wounds, and in John 20:28, it says, “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.” Thomas not only believed now, but he always professed Jesus Christ as both Lord and God! In John 20:29, it says, “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Christ called out Thomas’ lack of faith, and expressed that the ones who believe without seeing will be blessed. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, the Bible says, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”. God wants a Church walking by faith, believing the Word of the Lord as truth.
The word ” way” means “a mode or means to obtain something, the author or medium of access to God”. Jesus Christ identifies Himself as the ONLY means for us to come to God. It didn’t say anything about the information in our latest self-help book, it said nothing about meditation, treating people well or doing good works. In Hebrews 9:14-15, the Bible says, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your ‘conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament’, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Christ death and His shed blood redeemed us from the curse of the law, making us partakers of the divine eternal inheritance thought faith on His name. His death pulled us from dead works into the grace we now stand. Only Christ can give us this.
The word “truth” implies that He, Jesus Christ is the incarnate truth and the teacher of divine truth. A person can only give you what they have. 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.” Christ is full of truth, and in John 1:17, the Bible says, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Jesus is the conduit by which truth is experienced on this earth. In John 16:13, Christ 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.” Even when Christ goes to the Father and the Holy Spirit comes, His truth will remain to guide us into all truth, which is our path to God.
“And the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me”
The word “life” means “that life and bliss and glory in the kingdom of God that awaits the TRUE disciples of Christ after resurrection.” Eternal life, where we dwell with God forever! In John 10:9, the Bible says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Salvation only comes through Christ, and in Acts 4:12, that is why it says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Jesus Christ is that name!
The world thinks there are many paths to God. May we teach them Jesus Christ, the ONLY way to God.
May 10, 2021 – John 16:33 – be of good cheer; I have overcome the world
We live in a world that is becoming void of peace. I just saw on the news a Jewish festival in Israel end in a stampede, with 44 people dead so far, and over 100 people injured. There are at least 36 people whose conditions are deemed critical, but unknown. How does something that is supposed to produce joy, peace, fun, and community turn deadly, with children among the fallen, at a religious festival of all places? We live in a world where people are relying on outside circumstances to provide peace, only to find themselves in peril. We live in a world that takes comfort in all the harmful amenities the world provides and mistakes it as peace, and we have people collecting “healing” rocks, doing yoga, working out, and making tons of money, all believing these are pathways to peace. Peace only comes by Jesus Christ, the answers found in the Word of God. Today we will look at John 16:33, peace by Christ overcoming the world.
“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 “spoken” means “to teach or preach”. Christ preached the Word of God for a person to experience peace with God through Him. In Isaiah 9:6, the Bible says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Christ is preaching His identity to His disciples, with hopes that they receive peace. 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.” So the Word of God spoken by Jesus Christ gives us life, and in that life is peace. In Romans 8:6, the Bible says, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Are we receiving into our spirits what is being spoken to us? Is it the Word of God, or a word from the world? Christ said, “These things I have spoken unto you,” so we must understand that the Word of God is how we obtain peace. All other teaching and preaching must align with the Word of God to activate the promises in Scripture.
“That in me ye might have peace”
The word “peace” means “tranquillity arising from reconciliation with God and a divine sense of favor”. Christ said “IN ME”. 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.” Our problem is we look for peace outside of Christ, we look for provision outside of Christ, and our efforts are in vain because we cannot bear fruit of ourselves. Having material stuff is not the same as bearing fruit. We must abide in Christ to receive the peace has can only give. In John 14:27, Christ 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.” Our hearts won’t be troubled if we are abiding in Christ, and there won’t be any fear either. In Christ lies everything we need! Read this part of John 16:33 again. It says “might have peace”. Christ’s peace is guaranteed if we abide in Him, but that choice is ours to make. God is not going to force us to abide in Him any more than He will force us to seize His peace.
“In the world ye shall have tribulation”
The word “tribulation” means “evils by which one is pressed, affliction, distress, calamity”. In John 15:19-20, the Bible says, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” Just because we abide in Christ, doesn’t mean we won’t face tribulation. This is a common misconception. In 2 Corinthians 4:8,9, the Bible says, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed”. Things will happen, but what happens to us won’t be our ultimate state.
“But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”
The word “overcome” means “to subdue or conquer”. In Romans 8:37, the Bible says, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Christ overcoming the world gave us the ability to be more than conquerors in Him. In 1 John 4:4, the Bible says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” We have extraordinary power in us through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, giving us power over the world.
Christ overcame the world, so we can overcome the world in Him!
May 11, 2021 – Zechariah 8:12 – I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things
Seeds are meant to grow. Vines are meant to bear fruit. The ground is meant to give increase. This was the design of our Creator from the beginning of creation, and this intention still is the same today. We have hindered fruit that we bore through unbelief, through sin, and through stagnancy, all of which displeases our God. When we prevent God’s increase from manifesting in our lives, we are shutting off our own means to grow, and whatever doesn’t grow tends to atrophy and die. We don’t want to be a people whose faith is so withered away that we are essentially a soldier without armor or without a sword. God wants us covered in the depths of His provision, to have evidence of God’s presence and movement in our lives, so our lives can bring glory to Him. Today, we are going to look at Zechariah 8:12, bearing fruit for the kingdom of God.
“For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.”
The word “seed” implies more than just seeds that produce plants. It also means “descendants, offspring, or posterity”. In Genesis 1:11, the Bible says, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” The first mention of the word “seed” had an intention for the seed. The seed was initially created by the Word of God, and when the tree bears fruit, it will bear seed “in itself”. This means that the only thing we must do after God creates it, is taking care of the seed, by planting and watering it. In 1 Corinthians 3:6, the Bible says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” Everyone has their role with the seed, but God’s role is to create the seed and give the increase. In 1 Corinthians 3:8, the Bible says, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” The word “prosperous” means “of peace and blessings”. True prosperity lies in the Lord and only in Him. In Proverbs 20:21, the Bible says, “An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.” If the seeds we plant aren’t blessed, then they won’t bear good fruit. We sometimes try to force our own increase, going after fast money without God’s blessing, and we may end up with a few extra dollars, but no peace. This is why there are millionaires and even billionaires who have more problems than poor people because their wealth is gained without God’s peace and blessing. In Hosea 2:23, the Bible says, “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” He planted us into the earth in Him so we can bear fruit and be His peace.
“The vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew”.
In John 15:16, Christ 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.” God has selected the “fruit for His garden”, meaning the people for His kingdom. He has created us to be sustained completely by Him. In Jeremiah 17:7-8, the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Being sustained completely by God requires us to trust in the Lord with everything we are. The word “increase” means “to produce a crop or wealth”. There is no real harvest if our trust isn’t in the Lord and we fulfill the command we were given to be “fruitful and multiply”. How can we be fruitful when we won’t be planted in the Lord?
“And I cause the remnant to possess all these things”.
The phrase “cause…to possess” means “to take property permanently, to inherit”. The word “remnant” means “the remainder left”. In Matthew 25:23, the Bible says, “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Sadly, everyone won’t be allowed to experience salvation and eternal life and entrust their lives to the Holy Spirit’s leading because of their own choice to reject Christ as Savior. The one who remains, the remnant, will experience the fruits of their labors in the Lord.
May we live our lives to be fruitful, multiply, and increase in the Lord.
May 12, 2021 – Exodus 33:14 – My presence shall go with thee
In the presence of God, we are completely filled and sustained. I remember living a life absent of God’s presence, and there was no peace, no real comfort and I had no protection whatsoever. I thought a gun could protect me, I thought my friends could cure the loneliness, and I thought making money in the streets would bring me the happiness I so desperately needed. My thinking knocked me further out of fellowship with God, completely broke my relationship with my family, caused me to be shot and turn into an insomniac. It has cost me so far nearly 20 total years of incarceration. So much for what I thought! As a believer, I need to be in God’s presence even more, because there is no rest outside of the presence of God. The enemy loves to rob us of rest, because without rest, there is no peace, and without peace, we are distant from the presence of God. God desires to reside with and in His children. Today, we will look at Exodus 33:14, resting in the presence of God.
“And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
A little back story. God gave Moses the marching orders for Israel to process towards the promised land. God assured Moses by saying in Exodus 33:2-3, “And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.” God was so annoyed by Israel’s sin and idolatry that He felt He would destroy them if He hung around. To Moses or Israel this wasn’t good enough, and they mourned. God told them to strip themselves of their ornaments, which is a form of humbling themselves before God. Then the cloudy pillar descended, resulting in the presence of God at the door of the tabernacle. In Exodus 33:10, the Bible says, “And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.” God wanted His presence to go with Israel but He needed them to humble themselves in worship first. If we ever wonder why God’s presence doesn’t seem to be with us, we should examine whether or not we have humbled ourselves in worship, and if we have cast our will to the side and if we have denied ourselves? 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.” Do we cultivate the environment for God’s presence to come? We have to keep our space ready to welcome the Holy Spirit.
The word “presence” means “a turned face”. So if God’s presence is going with us, His face is turned to us. In Numbers 6:25-26, the Bible says, “The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” When God’s face shines upon us, His grace, His countenance, and His peace will be upon us. Moses knew how important God’s presence was because He experienced it often, and knew there was no place He wanted to go without God’s presence. Israel experienced God’s presence dramatically in Exodus 13:21-22, which says, “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” The cloud provided shade from the brutal sun and the fire provided light. In Psalm 119:105, the Bible says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” God’s word goes before us in the same way, to light our path and show us where we should go.
“And I will give thee rest”
The word “rest” implies a settling down or causing one to lie down. In Psalm 23:2, the Bible says, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” God gives us a settlement in Him, establishes comfort in us, and puts us at ease. In Matthew 11:28, Christ says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” God wants us to come to Him first in order to receive His rest. Before Israel could continue to receive God’s presence they had to humble themselves, and make themselves available for God’s presence to lead. In Joshua 22:4, the Bible says, “And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.” God keeps His promises, and if He says that His presence shall go with us, it will, and if He says that He will give us rest, it is ours!
Praise God for our always desiring His presence and rest to be upon us. May we make ourselves tabernacles worthy of His presence.
May 13, 2021 – Proverbs 3:5 – trust in the LORD with all thine heart
A believer HAS to trust in the Lord. We live in a world where the path that may be the most comfortable is the path that leads right to destruction. When we come to the Lord, we strip ourselves of everything we thought we knew, everything we think we are, and where we think we are going, exchanging it for what God knows, who God says we are, and where God says we are going. Our lives are no longer ours, but we belong to God. In order for us to submit to God, there has to be a real trust there, because we essentially render ourselves vulnerable, becoming defenseless sheep. We have to entrust our safety, our health, our success, and our future to the Lord. It can’t be a part time experience. We have to entrust our lives totally to God, knowing He will do a much better job at directing our lives than we can. Today, we will look at Proverbs 3:5, a word on our undefiled trust in God.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
The word “trust” means “to hie for refuge”. The word “hie” implies an instinctive reaction to run towards safety. So, if we trust in the Lord, we run toward Him for safety, perspective, direction, and anything else we need first, above anything and anybody. God is our first option, not our last. In Psalm 91:2, the Bible says, “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” The person that trusts in the Lord KNOWS that He is always available, and won’t fail us. In Romans 10:11-12, the Bible says, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” God doesn’t care about our background, our ethnicity or anything else. Whoever puts their trust in Him won’t be ashamed, and He is going to respond better than we can ever imagine. In Psalm 37:5, the Bible says, “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” God is not looking for “lip-service believers”, for people that profess they trust in the Lord, their actions are completely inconsistent with trust. In Matthew 15:8, Christ says, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” God knows the difference between the people who truly trust in Him and the ones that don’t, so if we think we are fooling Him, we’re not. We don’t just have to trust the Lord, but we have to trust in the Lord with ALL of our heart. God told Abram to leave his father’s house, family, and land to go to some land God would show him. In Genesis 12:4, the Bible 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.” He left “as the Lord had spoken unto him”. God’s way, not ours!
“And lean not unto thine own understanding.”
The word “lean” means “to rely on oneself, to support one’s own self, to trust in oneself”. In Jeremiah 17:5, the Bible says, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” If we rely on ourselves, then our heart has departed from the Lord. That person is cursed not blessed. Do we realize that trusting in the Lord keeps us in fellowship with the Lord, keeps us under His protection and covering, and keeps us in the will of God? I used to suffer from busyness, trying to accomplish a bunch of stuff, pulling 20-21 hour days, thinking I was doing what God wanted me to do! I was leaning on my own understanding, because the whole time I was moving, the Holy Spirit kept sending me a word from Psalm 46:10 through a few people, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” I finally listened and peace has been restored in my life that I had no clue was gone! I thought because I was doing “good” things, working toward a “good” goal, that I was in alignment with God, but I wasn’t. The word “understanding” means “discernment”. God gave us the ability to understand, comprehend, and discern but our discernment is not infallible. We must ask God for guidance at all times to make sure that we are aligned with His will. In Jeremiah 9:23-24, the Bible says, “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” Knowing the Lord and the direction He has for our lives is the most important thing in our lives, far above what we think we may know.
May we recommit our lives to trusting in the Lord completely, with our entire heart!
May 14, 2021 – Proverbs 3:6 – in all thy ways acknowledge him
How important is God when it comes to the direction we take in our lives? Do we inquire of God before we make decisions, or are we like most believers, making decision after decision without inquiring of God, leaving the outcome to chance? David was known as a man after God’s own heart, known for inquiring of the Lord for not only direction, but even the outcome of his movement as well. The couple of times David went on his own, he took Bathsheba from Uriah, then had Uriah killed when he thought he could cover up their sin. Secondly, he then took an unauthorized census of all of the fighting men in Israel. Both times, severe loss came as a result. What are we willing to continue to lose as a result of our unwillingness to live our lives the way God intends us to? In God’s word, we have all the answers we need, yet we will bypass these answers to go our own way. Today, we will look at Proverbs 3:6, a life directed by God.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
The word “ways” means “course of life”. This implies that we trust God with our final outcome and everything that leads up to it. In Isaiah 55:7-8, the Bible says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” Our ways have to align with God’s. That is the most vital step, and it will save us a world of hurt and trouble if we will take the time to seek God’s perspective on our direction. In James 1:5, 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.” Are we asking God for wisdom concerning our course of life? There is a condition to James 1:5, and it is found in James 1:6-7, which says, “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. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” Do we ask God for His wisdom, totally placing our confidence in hearing back from Him? Most of us grow impatient, and in our impatience tell ourselves, “Well, I guess God wants me to figure it out on my own”. Some even don’t wait that long! The word “acknowledge” means “to know someone relationally and experientially, to make or cause to know”. In 1 Chronicles 28:9, the Bible says, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” To know God is to abide in Him, where His Word and His direction are engrafted into our identity. A complete heart and a willing mind, bringing more power to the Scripture in 2 Corinthians 8:12, which says, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” Everything God expects of us we are able to do, but we must have a willing mind.
“And He shall direct that paths”
The phrase “shall direct” means “cause to be straight, right, or prosperous”. In Jeremiah 10:12, the Bible says, “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.” One of the early things we have to grasp is common sense. This world we are living in now was here before we were born! But seriously, God’s power, His spoken Word created and established everything in this world. Who better to trust with the intention for the creation than the Creator? In Jeremiah 10:23, the Bible says, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” We don’t know how to effectively direct our steps without God. In Psalm 37:23, the Bible says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” When we allow God free reign to order our steps, we are inclining ourselves to God’s direction. In Proverbs 16:7, the Bible says, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” When God’s direction is kept, His enemies will remain at peace with us! In Isaiah 45:13, the Bible says, “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.” When God directs our paths, we will experience His righteousness, we will have power as children of God to build, to help set people free, and it is all because we have a heart of service.
By acknowledging God in all of ways, we commune with our God, receiving His direction, which allows His power to move through us. If there first be a willing mind …
May 15, 2021 – Malachi 3:1 – behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts
Since creation began, God has paved the way for His purpose to be fulfilled. Sometimes, He uses people as His representative, other times He uses acts of nature to redirect us. He also sends His Spirit, causing prosper in whatever He sends it to do. There has always been a sign of the Lord’s arrival as a reference, a warning, or a message for us to be prepared for the purposes of God. There will come a time when the world will be without excuse, and will be unable to say to God, “I didn’t know”, or “I never heard about You”, because God has been sending His messengers and continues to do so. I can look back and see a delegation of messengers giving me a word to return to the Lord, God’s persistence to see me repent and receive salvation. Today, we are going to look at Malachi 3:1, a view into one of the most famous messengers of the Bible.
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”
The word “messenger” means “one sent on the business of diplomacy of another”. In this case, the messenger is sent by God. Who is this messenger spoken of? John the Baptist. In Malachi 4:5-6, the Bible says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Why would I reference Elijah is I have clearly said the John the Baptist is the messenger spoken of in Malachi 3:1? In Luke 1:17, another messenger, Gabriel the angel, came with a word of prophecy from God for Zacharias concerning His not yet born son, John the Baptist, saying, “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” You see how Scripture continues to confirm Itself as true? In Romans 10:15, the Bible says, “And how shall they preach, except they be SENT? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Messengers present and confirm the Word of God, an important task that God takes great pleasure in.
“And he shall prepare the way before me”
The word “prepare” means “to turn to face, to ready one to experience”. The word “way” means “path or course of life”. So John the Baptist’s role was to ready people to experience the path to the Lord. In Mark 1:3-4, the Bible says, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” John the Baptist not only made our path to the Lord straight, but He also worked to make the Lord’s path to us straight as well. He preached the Word of God, He did baptism for the remission of sins, baptism being a picture of identifying with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. A messenger is designed to make the message clear and easier for person who will come after.
“And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in”
The word “seek” means “to search out or strive after in worship”. This means we search out knowing we need God for the answers. In Amos 5:4, the Bible says, “For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live”. Christ, according to John 10:10, came “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” so when we search out the Lord in worship, abundant life also becomes available to us. The word “temple” means “palace or dwelling place of God”. In Habakkuk 2:20, the Bible says, “But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” If we are seeking the Lord, we have to be silent, allowing Him free reign to reveal Himself to us. Suddenness doesn’t mean He will appear right away, but we won’t see Him coming when He does! In Habakkuk 2:3, the Bible says, “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Even if the Lord seems to be taking forever, He moves in perfect time. The “messenger of the covenant” is Christ because Christ is the one who will come into “HIS Temple”. In Hebrews 9:15, Christ is identified as “the mediator of the new testament”. The “mediator” is “the interceder, the go-between, and the medium of communication between the parties of the covenant”. We should take pleasure in the fact that the way has been paved for us to be partakers of the new covenant, that we have a loving Lord and Savior willing to die to ensure a place is prepared for us.
The messenger has come, and God will continue to send His messengers for a lost and wayward people, to return us to the type of fellowship God desired to have with us since the beginning. Are we messengers as well, preparing the way for the Lord?
May 16, 2021 – 1 John 3:24 – he that keepeth his commandments
A lot of people refuse to come to the faith because they have the wrong perception of God and what He actually desires from His children. People tend to think Christianity is a series of rules designed to confine their individuality and suck all the fun out if their lives. Sadly, there are people in Church who have this belief, that God is some brutal tyrant, who forces people to be compliant and fulfil His purpose. The idea of a loving God becomes the furthest thing from their minds because they associate God with rules and punishment. He is not seen as the merciful, patient, loving, and willing God desiring to keep the door open for all to come to repentance. Because we have the wrong perception of God, we have the wrong perception of the faith, and people aren’t walking in victory because by our own perception, we have chosen bondage. Today, we will look at 1 John 3:24, and explore the labor of love in keeping the Lord’s commandments.
“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.
And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
The word “keepeth” means “to observe, to obey, to hold fast to”. The word “commandments” has a very interesting definition, one that will help us understand something more about the God we serve. It means “an authoritative prescription”! We know a “prescription” has something to do with medicine, directions suggested for a person to follow in order to treat or cure a condition. We know the doctor won’t force us to take the medicine, even knowing it is great for our healing, but he desires for us to take it, knowing it will make us better. Our God is the same way, prescribing His commands so we can live a better life in Him. God will not force us to follow His commandments. Let’s look at two of His commandments and judge for ourselves. In Mark 12:29-31, the Bible says, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” So this brutal tyrant, who the world has pegged as a God who is too hard on His children, says the greatest commandments are for us to love Him with everything we are and to love our neighbor as our own bodies? Who seems unreasonable here, God or us? In Matthew 22:40, Christ says, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” So if we keep these two commandments, then we keep the rest of the law? The word “dwelleth” means “to abide, stay, reside in”. In 1 John 4:8-9, the Bible says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” God manifested His identity, love, by sending Christ to both live and die so we could live through Him. So God’s love isn’t in word only, but in action.
“And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.”
God doesn’t want us to just believe. He wants us to KNOW our position in Him. The word “know” is a relational word forming a union between the information and the person receiving the information. The two becomes one as in marriage and the information become fused into the person’s identity. In 2 Corinthians 3:2, the Bible says, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men”. God desires for us to BE Scripture, not just have head knowledge of it. Don’t think so? The word “abideth” means “to remain united with God, one with Him in heart, mind, and will”. To become one with God means to become one with His Word. 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.” Christ is the Word of God, and the Word was made flesh, sweeping among us. In 1 John 4:17, the Bible 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.” We can only be living epistles if the Word becomes flesh. It is deeper than just learning about the Word. It is about us becoming one with the Word, living the Word of God out in our lives. The “Spirit” is the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2:12, “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.” Freely given. God doesn’t withhold anything from His children that will help us fulfill His desire for us. He gives us His Word, and He gives us His Spirit to understand how to live His Word out.
May we grow to see God as reasonable, loving, and may we see the faith as attainable.
May 17, 2021 – Acts 2:46 – and they, continuing daily with one accord
Unity in the Church is absolutely vital to the faith. When the Church formed in Acts, two things were present: the Holy Spirit, and the Church was moving as one. One of the reasons why the Church today lacks the power it did in Acts is because we have broken fellowship through denominationalism, selfishness, and there are churches that don’t believe in the Holy Spirit’s power or movement. The enemy enjoys seeing us separate ourselves from each other, and separate ourselves from Scripture. Without unity, there is no agreement, and where there is no agreement, the Holy Spirit won’t be in the midst. Is the Church gathered together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, or does the denomination matter more? When will we become a Church that gets back to the Bible, and the unity of the Church? When will we forsake religion? Today, we are going to look at Acts 2:46, what unifying the bride of Christ produces.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”
The word “continuing” means “to be earnest towards one another, to persevere together”. This is a daily activity where we are fellowshipping with the body of Christ in some manner. In Acts 1:14, the Bible says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” After Christ told them to not depart from Jerusalem, the ones who complied came together in prayer and supplication, waiting to receive the promised power of the Holy Ghost. The journey to receive the power of the Holy Ghost began with the Word given, then obedience by the believers, then they spent their time in prayer before Peter stood up and preached the Word of God. In Acts 2:1-2, the Bible says, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” The Spirit of God moves when we are with one accord. In Psalm 133:1, the Bible says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” It is God’s intention for us to fellowship together in unity, because in unity, we can move in God’s power. In Philippians 2:2, the Bible says, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” It brings God joy when the Church is of one accord, because His Spirit can move without hindrance, and the Church can be built up together. The word “temple” here refers to the courts of the temple. In Psalms 100:4, the Bible says, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Our attitudes will vastly affect the Spirit’s impact in the Church. Do we go to attend a service with joy in our hearts, or is it a chore? If we begrudgingly serve God, then what are the odds of us unifying with the body to usher in the Holy Ghost?
“And breaking bread from house to house”
The phrase “breaking bread” should be seen as a love feast. On the surface, we are looking at food, which is vital for any person. The breaking of bread was a great display of hospitality, generosity and selflessness. In Luke 9:16, the Bible says, “Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.” This was a huge feast, the result of Christ blessing the offering of two fish and five loaves, and breaking them. When the bread is blessed by the Lord and then broken, it will multiply. In Proverbs 22:9, the Bible says, “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.” When the Church has the eye, mind, and heart to serve others, our supply will always be blessed. In John 6:48, Christ says, “I am that bread of life.” Not only are we supposed to break bread physically, but spiritually as well. We break spiritual bread by sharing the Word of God with others!! The Church grew because the Word of God was shared house to house!
“Did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart”
The word “gladness” means “with rejoicing”. The phrase “singleness in heart” means “with a sincere heart”. In Acts 16:34, the Bible says, “And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” When our attitudes shift to rejoicing, when the Church breaks bread with love and sincerity, the presence of the Lord remains. In Romans 12:13, the Bible says, “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” When we break bread with sincerity and genuine love for our brethren, then others will receive the bread with the same heart.
May we continue the work from Acts, sharing the Word of God with gladness, unifying the Church through the Holy Spirit.
May 18, 2021 – Matthew 7:21 – not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord
Looking the part isn’t enough when it comes to the faith. God doesn’t want children who appear to be of the faith, but whose actions are inconsistent with what the Word of God commands. There is a lot of hypocrisy in the Church, and the sad thing about it is, not much has changed since the Christ called the Pharisees and scribes hypocrites. As children of God, we are expected to bear the attributes of our Father, to operate under His authority, and do the will of our Father. There are a lot of people who the world thinks are saved, but who won’t enter the kingdom of God. Outward appearance doesn’t amount to inward salvation, but our society seems to be shifting to accepting religion as salvation, good works as faith, and head knowledge as the teachings of the Holy Spirit. Today, we are going to look at Matthew 7:21, a word on entering the kingdom of God.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
The word “saith” means “to call forth, to bid to come”. In Romans 10:13-14, the Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 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?” To the person thinking from the surface, wouldn’t these two verses sound like a contradiction, saying “not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord” and “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord”? In Matthew 15:8-9, Christ clarifies the difference by saying, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” This is religion versus relationship with God, people who say all the right things, but God has no place in their heart. Those are the religious types who are more concerned with appearances than Godliness. In Matthew 23:27, Christ says, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” To man, the religious look like everything is spotless, but to God He clearly sees the filthiness in man. In Matthew 7:20, Christ says, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” The fruit will bear witness to what type of tree we are, and we know a person can only keep up a façade for so long! The heart in man is what God looks for, and despite our greatest efforts to conceal the contents of our hearts, God knows and sees our hearts clearly. In Proverbs 1:28-29, the Bible says, “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD”. God knows our hearts and will not respond to us if we don’t have deep, moral, reverential respect for our Lord and what He desires to teach us.
“But he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
The phrase “doeth the will” means “to fulfill the purpose”. In order for us to fulfill God’s purpose, we have to know what God’s purpose is for us. God’s will for us is found in the Word of God and by what the Holy Spirit reveals. In Acts 17:11, the Bible says, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” We have to search the Scriptures daily, receiving the Word of God with a ready mind. In Luke 6:46-48, Christ says, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” We build on a rock, a solid foundation, so we aren’t shaken or destroyed when storms (the enemy) come to beat upon the house. This result comes because of obedience, because we have made the choice to follow the word of the Lord with a sincere heart. In John 9:31, the Bible says, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” To worship God means we prostrate ourselves before the Lord, and turn over our will to God. When we prepare our hearts and minds to receive instruction from the Lord, the Lord will hear us and make Himself known. In 1 Corinthians 4:20, the Bible says, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”
Do we want to be people known for our words and appearance, or do we want to be children of God led by the Holy Spirit? Entering kingdom of heaven is at stake!
May 19, 2021 – Ephesians 6:10 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 1 – be strong in the Lord
As believers, we no longer have to move in our own strength and in our own power. With the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, we now have the ability to walk in dominion as Christ did when He walked the earth. The enemy knows what type of power we have access to, and what that power is able to do to transform lives, such as turning more people to the Lord. And he wants to take that away from us. Because nobody can take away anything God has given, Satan’s only method is to cause warfare to transpire in our spirits, hoping we will relinquish our position in the kingdom. If that happens, he can torment us at will. Spiritual warfare is present in every believer’s life, but too many believers are trying to fight off the enemy with the wrong weaponry, and in the wrong realm. This can be tragic to both a believer’s life and the world we have around us. Today, we will look at Ephesians 6:10, and begin a study into the Warfare in the Spirit.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
The word “brethren” means “one who is connected with another in any kind of intimacy or fellowship, having the same “Father”, being followers of Christ, and being of the same nature”. Context is important to Scripture. In Ephesians 1:1, the Bible says, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus”. From this verse we learn who is the writer, Paul, and who he is writing to, the saints which at at Ephesus. “Saints” are spoken of those who are purified and sanctified by the influences of the Spirit”. So saints and brethren are believers. So how does this pertain to us now? 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”. All Scripture is valuable to bring us into fellowship with God. In Romans 12:4-5, the Bible teaches, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” As brethren, we are one, one with Christ and one with one another. This unity is powerful in the faith, and in Ecclesiastes 4:12, the Bible says, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Our unity in Christ strengthens us, making it harder for the enemy to break us. In John 15:5, Christ 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.” We need each other, but without Christ we don’t have a leg to stand on.
“Be strong in the Lord”
The word “strong” means “empowered”. This means power is given to us by the Lord! In order for the Lord to give us power, He has to have power correct? In Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Jesus Christ has ALL POWER, so it is absolutely nothing for Christ to give us some of His power, right? The word “strong” here is a variation of the word “dunamis” which means “miraculous force”. It’s word, “dunamoo”, means “to enable or strengthen.” We must understand that our strength doesn’t come from our ability, our wisdom, or our power. In Philippians 4:13, the Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Our ability as brethren and as believers is directly linked to Christ’s strength. In Zechariah 4:6, the Bible says, “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 Spirit of the Lord fills us with the strength we need to overcome the enemy. Being strong in the Lord is walking in the strength He supplies!
“And in the power of His might”
The word “power” here means “vigor or strength”. The word “might” means “forcefulness, or spiritual ability”. Spiritual ability, not physical or mental ability. We can’t wrestle our way to victory over the enemy, nor can we think our way out of an attack. Trust me, I have failed miserable at this! In Ephesians 1:19, the Bible says, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power”. The power is meant for us, but the condition is that we believe. We will not use a weapon we don’t feel is effective against the enemy, which is why our own lack of faith is where we lose our battles. In 2 Timothy 1:7, the Bible says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” What God has equipped us with is sufficient for victory.
When we begin to move in the strength and power the Lord has given us, we will experience more victory in warfare.
May 20, 2021 – Ephesians 6:11 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 2 – Put on the whole armour of God
The enemy is busy, looking for ones that can be swayed to entertain his influence. The enemy doesn’t have power over believers because Christ destroyed his power on the cross, but the enemy will operate freely within the power we give him. Imagine someone following behind us looking for any sign of weakness, poking, prodding, trying to find a place of vulnerability within us. That is exactly what that enemy does, and sadly, most of us at some point break down and allow the enemy room to sow tares among the wheat. This is warfare in the spirit, and a soldier is at their absolute best when they put on their armor. Armor protects us against attack by absorbing the blows that would consume us utterly without armor. Armor is only effective when we put it on and wear it correctly. If the enemy is able to penetrate any part of our lives, it is only because our armor wasn’t on or used properly. Today, we will look at Ephesians 6:11, the whole armor of God.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
The phrase “put on” implies we dress or robe ourselves. This is an intentional act on our part. In Colossians 3:10, the Bible says, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him”. Now I want us to look at 2 Corinthians 5:17, which says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he IS a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” If we ARE new creatures in Christ, then why do we have to PUT ON the new man? God makes salvation available to us, but it is our job to accept His gift. God makes our identity available to us, but it is our job to accept who we are in Christ. There can be a difference between who we are and what we put on. In Ephesians 4:22-24, the Bible says, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” We as believers have to reject our old man and accept this new man understanding that in Christ we are made righteous and holy. We must put on the “whole armor of God”. So that means that, in order to accept God’s armor, we have to put off whatever defense mechanisms we used to use to protect ourselves. In order for armor to work, it must be worn in its entirety, thus the “whole” armor. Some armor is no good from God’s perspective. 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.” This is great armor, but if we ‘make provision for the flesh’, we will take Christs armor off, thus taking Christ off! In 1 Samuel 17:47, the Bible says, “And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.” David, being obedient to Saul, tried to put on Saul’s armor, but couldn’t move properly because he has never fought with armor before. David knew the only armor he needed was the Lord! Man’s armor cannot win the battles the Lord can!
“That ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”
The phrase “stand against” means “to endure, persist, continue, or withstand”. Putting on the whole armor of God gives us the protection we need to withstand attack. In James 4:7, the Bible says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We can’t resist the devil without submitting to God first. When we submit to God we are putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, accepting His way over our own. In 2 Corinthians 6:6-7, the Bible says, “By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left”. Battles over the enemy are won because we are robing ourselves in Jesus Christ, leaving no room or provision for the flesh. In Romans 8:8, the Bible says, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” We can’t please God if we are in the flesh, because flesh wars against Spirit, and Spirit against flesh.
The word “wiles” means “trickery, to trace out with method and skill, to deal artfully, to lie in wait.” In Genesis 3:1, the Bible says, “Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The word “devil” means “false accuser, or slanderer”. God said the serpent was more subtle than ANY beast of the field, so trickery is what he does best. The full armor of God gives us the knowledge and power of God in its entirety to withstand the deception of the devil. What good is it if we don’t use it?
May 21, 2021 – Ephesians 6:12 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 3 – for we wrestle not against flesh and blood
In warfare, it is easy to see people as the enemy. They are tangible, able to be approached, and if necessary, avenge ourselves against. We go through life victimized by people, we develop hatred in our hearts for them, we’re unwilling to forgive, and the people that hurt us are to blame. People fight to right wrongs, people shoot each other to even scores, and it seems like our whole world is at war in some fashion. The enemy is enjoying this because as long as we continue to make war with each other, we will never come to understand where the wars are really waged. There is a spiritual realm at war with believers, aiming to wrestle victory from the saints, and it is headed by Satan. When believers begin to understand that there aren’t bad people, just bad spirits in people, we will begin to pray for their deliverance instead of hope for their downfall. Today, we will look at Ephesians 6:12, wrestling against the spiritual forces.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
This word “wrestle” means “to struggle hand to hand with an opponent, to struggle with attempting to handle, maneuver or manipulate something”. The key word in this is struggle. 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.” Our struggles should always be for crowns that can’t rust or fade; but also for crowns that please our God and bring us into closer fellowship with Him. The phrase “flesh and blood” implies the physical and moral weaknesses and frailties of humankind. In 1 Corinthians 15:50, the Bible says, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” If flesh and blood can’t inherit the kingdom of God, then surely flesh and blood won’t prevail in a spiritual war. Let’s look at our Lord Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 1:21-22, “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church”. Christ had to put off the corruptible flesh in order to seize the incorruptible spirit, and he has authority over all spiritual things. Christ never wrestled against flesh and blood because He knew the war was in the spirit. We must know the same as being believers. In John 6:63, Christ 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 flesh can get us nowhere, and has no value compared to the spirit.
“But against principalities, against powers”
The word “principalities” means “the princes and chiefs among demons”. The word “powers” means “demonic dominion”. This changes everything because society thinks people are the enemy, not the realm that is working within the people. In Ephesians 2:2, the Bible says, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”. We used to “go with the flow” when we moved according to the world, living in disobedience, completely detached from the will of God. We waged our wars in the flesh because that was the nature we answered to. When we “wrestle against” principalities and powers now as believers, we stand in opposition to the demons and demonic dominion that tries to utterly enslave us again.
‘Against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places “
The word “rulers” refers to Satan and his angels. The word “darkness” pertains to people in a state of moral wickedness, under the influence of Satan. We don’t come against the people under Satan’s influence, but we come against Satan and his angels. In Matthew 16:22-23, the Bible says, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Here, we have a perfect example of Christ warring against Satan, not Peter, because Peter’s rebuke of Christ came by the influence of Satan. The person that tries to keep us away from God’s calling is under Satanic influence, and in that case, Satan must be resisted. “Wickedness” means “moral malice, an evil disposition”. In Colossians 1:13, the Bible says, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son”. Because we are in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, we now have the power to fight against the enemy from heavenly places. If our warfare is against Satanic influences in heavenly places, then there is no reason why we should be warring with people on earth. In Luke 23:33-34 when Christ was on the cross, the Bible says, “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Do we really consider that when we are wronged, that the people hurting us aren’t fully aware of what they are actually doing, that they are actually under Satan’s influence? This is why Christ says in Matthew 5:44, “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”. It is our job as believers to take the high road when in warfare, which requires us to exercise the things of the Spirit, not the things of the flesh.
May we understand the power the Spirit has over the flesh and keep the right perspective on where our battlefield really is.
May 22, 2021 – Ephesians 6:13- Warfare in the Spirit Part 4 – take unto you the whole armour of God
The enemy can be withstood. Sometimes, we can give the enemy more power than he deserves and far more power over us than he actually has. No one wants to accept that we give Satan power through unbelief, through sin, and through our own desire to do things our own way. We can’t be people that block God out and then expect to become successful in warfare. The whole armor of God is exactly what we need to overcome the enemy, but if we go into warfare with one piece of our armor missing, then there lies our vulnerability and the enemy’s point of entry. Christ was at all points tempted but didn’t sin, able to withstand the trickery of the enemy by the Word of God. The enemy only has the power we turn over to him to operate in our lives. Unlike those in the world who don’t have salvation or the promises of God, we can stand victoriously against the enemy. Today, we will look at Ephesians 6:13, withstanding the enemy.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
The phrase “take unto you” means “receive unto yourselves”. This implies that God makes this armor available, but it is our job to receive it. God is not going to force us to use the armor He provides. In Romans 13:12, the Bible says, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” The time is now to receive the armor of God, because the enemy is constantly trying to engage us in warfare. In Luke 22:31-32, the Bible says, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Even Christ implied to Peter that he would have to resist the enemy. That is what I love the most about God, that He doesn’t force us to love Him, or use His gifts, but He equips us anyway just in case we are willing. In Colossians 3:12, the Bible says, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering”. We are the elect of God so we are able to receive amazing qualities unto ourselves that will make warfare a lot easier to master. In Hebrews 2:8, the Bible says, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.” When we put on the whole armor of God, the enemy is subject to us, so the only way the enemy can get the victory is if we never take up the Lord’s armor.
“That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day”
The phrase “that ye may be able to” is a conduit for a condition fulfilled. Taking up the whole armor of God makes us able to withstand, but without the whole armor of God, we won’t be able to do anything but fail. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. The ability to do all things lies in the provision of the Lord. The word “withstand” means “stand against, to oppose”. In Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Our emotions are something the enemy uses to render us vulnerable, which causes us to not take up the armor of God. We can’t succeed against an enemy when we are giving him place to reign. The phrase “evil day” means “a period of time where people are morally wicked, corrupt, and the world is full of sorrow and affliction”. Kinda sounds like right now doesn’t it? We have a Covid pandemic, tons of mass shootings, a culture oversexed and violent, and we currently have Israel and Gaza firing off rockets at each other. In John 12:35, 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.” Imagine going to war in darkness. That is exactly what happens when we don’t take up the whole armor of God. We are unable to oppose the enemy because we can’t see the enemy or where he is attacking from.
“And having done all, to stand”
The phrase “done all” means “to work fully, to accomplish, to fulfill”. The word “stand” means “to hold one’s position firm”. When we take up the whole armor of God, stand against the enemy, and obey the Word of the Lord, we have done all God has asked us to do. In 2 Chronicles 20:17, the Bible says, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” When we follow the Word of God and take up His armor, the Lord will fight our battles and we will stand, seeing God’s deliverance. That is something worth standing for!
May 23, 2021 – Ephesians 6:14 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 5 – stand therefore
A believer’s armor protects us from the blows of the enemy. Each piece of armor has a purpose, covering a part of the body that the enemy can penetrate. The armor of God fulfills this same purpose but the armor is spiritual, its qualities aimed at eliminating vulnerability in us. We have to always remember that wearing the WHOLE armor of God is vital to our spiritual health, that no piece by itself is sufficient protection. In warfare, we have to be vigilant in making sure we are covered because the whole point of warfare is to conquer and win! We will discover the importance of truth and righteousness to a believer’s life, how the enemy loves to twist the truth and get mankind to circumvent the righteousness of God. Remember, the enemy’s goal is to get us to abandon our spiritual armor! Today, we are going to look at Ephesians 6:14, living in truth and righteousness.
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;”
The word “stand” means “to hold one’s position against and enemy”. So we aren’t just “standing” there casually, but we are standing there ready for battle. In Matthew 26:41, Christ says, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” A believer has to be aware of the enemy and be on guard. The word “loins” means “procreative power”. Interesting meaning isn’t it? The loins is where life comes from. The phrase “girt about” implies being fastened around a believer like a belt. So not only does this give us protection, but being fastened around like a belt speaks of permanence. The word “truth” implies a love for the truth, in words, conduct, and sincerity. In John 16:13, Christ 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.” When we gird ourselves about with truth, we are putting ourselves in position to receive the Word of God from the Holy Spirit, and move according to His leading. Our jobs as believers are to be conduits for the truth to be spread. In John 1:17, the Bible says, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” When we gird ourselves about with truth, we are putting on Jesus Christ! In John 1:14, we understand why grace and truth came by Jesus Christ where 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.” The word “full” means “abounding”. Christ came to the world full of grace and truth and He kept truth in the world when the Holy Spirit was sent. God told us to be fruitful and multiply, and that happens through procreation. In spiritual warfare, the truth has to be fruitful and multiply the same way. The enemy is a liar and the father of lies, operating through deception, so this is why we need the truth. The enemy can’t hold up against the truth!
“And having on the breastplate of righteousness”
“Having on”. The breastplate is only effective if it is worn! The breastplate is a corselet that protects our vital organs from attack, especially our heart. In Proverbs 4:23, the Bible says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We have to guard our hearts against attack. Here’s how. In Psalms 119:11, the Bible says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” The Word of God protects our heart against the attacks and deceptions of the enemy. The word “righteousness” implies “justification, Godliness, a heart that is right with God”. In Isaiah 54:17, the Bible says, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” This is the truth, that no weapon formed against us shall prosper or succeed. We have to understand that our righteousness is not ours, but God’s! In Philippians 3:9, the Bible says, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith”. We are made the righteousness of God by our faith in Jesus Christ, so we are putting on the Word of God, receiving it as truth, shielding ourselves in God’s protection. In Isaiah 11:4, the Bible says, “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” The righteousness of God invokes power, and that power is found from the Word of God.
May the armor of truth and righteousness be the evidence of the Word of God’s power over Satan.
May 24, 2021 – Ephesians 6:15 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 6 – the gospel of peace
Spreading the gospel of the Lord is essential to the faith. It is not about how much spiritual knowledge we can receive from the Holy Spirit, but how much of what the Holy Spirit teaches us that we share with others. When Christ ascended to the Father, He told the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, and through discipleship, more people can have access to the Lord. The feet are what moves the body, and if the feet are injured, nothing moves, the message doesn’t go forth and the body doesn’t grow. Whatever doesn’t grow tends to atrophy and die, so it is essential for us to keep our feet protected, so the Word can be delivered. The beauty about breaking down the Word of God is that we tend to learn and retain more Scripture and revelation if we share what we learn with others. What we know about the Word produces security, and security produces peace. Today, we will look at Ephesians 6:15, the beauty gospel of peace.
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”.
The armor being described is typical of a Roman soldier’s armor. The shoes the soldier wears have a special design, an early design of a cleated boot that grips the ground during combat. Having feet firmly planted is essential in battle because the enemy tries to move us from our position. 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.” God desires his children to be unshakeable in their faith, unable to be negatively influenced by the lies of the enemy. If we are stable in our foundation, it makes it way easier to help others gain the same ground spiritually. In Hebrews 3:14, the Bible says, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end”. To partake in this divine nature, we must be able to stand firm, and endure to the end. A lot of people fall away because times get hard and they lose their confidence in the very ground God has given them to stand on. In Proverbs 24:10, the Bible says, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” Why is that? It is because we have abandoned the strength of the Lord to take up our own strength, which caused us to remove the shoes the Lord has provided for us to hold our position. No cleats means no traction, and without traction, the enemy can easily knock us back. The word “shod” means “to bind around one’s feet”. This is once again and intentional act, securing ourselves in the Lord, so if we are mistakenly thinking that we can operated effectively without putting the armor on, we are fooling ourselves. In Colossians 2:6-7, the Bible says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Receiving Jesus Christ, or putting Him on, allows us to grow roots and build our foundation in Him.
The word “gospel” means “good message” and it refers to people preaching and teaching the gospel, or laboring in the gospel. These are people that are carrying the Word of God out, that are living it out in their lives. 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 identity is in the Word of God, but it manifests itself when we live the Word of God out, when we do what the Word of God says. Obedience is mandatory. Imagine forgetting who we are because we aren’t living out the Word of God. How can our foundation be firm in the gospel if we don’t know who we are? In Romans 10:15-16, the Bible says, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias [Elijah] saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” When the gospel is being spread, good news is being spread. Good news tends to produce peace, if the good news is believed. Not every one will receive our message, but spread the gospel anyway. The word “peace” pertains to welfare, prosperity, and every kind of good that produces Godly bliss. In Colossians 3:15, the Bible says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” When peace is allowed to have reign, that means the gospel is being lived out and spread, and that makes us one with God and one with the Church.
Are our feet planted firmly in the Word of God so we can experience and share the gospel of peace?
May 25, 2021 – Ephesians 6:16 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 7 – taking the shield of faith
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. This is a very well known and quoted verse, but faith is so much more. It is also the foundation under our feet, the refuge we need from storms, and the protection we need from the enemy’s attacks. If the enemy can attack our faith, then our foundation in Christ can be shaken, and that opens us up for lies to come in. We have to intentionally protect ourselves with our faith, showing the enemy that we will not be deceived. When our faith is under attack, it can come up close or from a distance, but the protections we have by our faith will cover us in all situations. It is our job to put the shield of faith on, because armor is only good if we use it. When we operate in faith, God steps in and covers us from anything the enemy tries. Today we are going look at Ephesians 6:16, taking the shield of faith.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
The word “above all” expresses the importance of faith. Faith is highly essential to the life we live, and the enemy knows it. In Romans 10:17, the Bible says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith comes from the Word of God. The hearing is the conduit by which we receive the Word. The first aspect about faith we have to consider is the Word of God. So far, we have looked at truth, righteousness, and peace in the armor of God, all of which are found directly in the Word of God. In order to have true faith, it has to come from the Word of God. The word “taking” means “receive unto oneself”. In 1 John 5:4-5, the Bible says, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” Born of God, born again, the recipient of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. That is who we are as believers, and that identity is engrafted into our foundation in the Lord. The enemy is known for attacking our identities in Christ, causing us to question the validity of our place in the kingdom of God. The word “shield” refers to a large shield, by some estimates 2.5 x 4.5 ft., able to cover the entire body. This shield is one of “faith” which means “a firm persuasion, a deep reliance on Christ, an unshakable confidence in the Word of God’s truth. In Psalm 33:20, the Bible says, “Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.” If we don’t believe this, then we won’t take up the shield of faith, because we won’t believe that faith is enough to cover us from the enemy’s attack. With a shield this big, we have to intentionally place ourselves behind it, also holding it in place. We can’t be lackadaisical with our faith.
The enemy is real and the attack can be destructive.
In Psalm 91:4, the Bible says, “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” His truth is our shield. The Word of Truth!
“Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”
The word “quench” means “to extinguish”. So the shield of faith is lined with oil-treated leather to extinguish the fiery darts, which are flaming arrows. Did you notice that this verse said “ALL the fiery darts”? That means the enemy’s attacks will hold no weight against the shield of faith. The enemy just doesn’t want to consume us, he wants to destroy everything around us as well. The enemy has even put the Word of God to test before hasn’t he? In Matt 4:1, the Bible says, “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” So if Jesus Christ, when tempted of the devil, took up the shield of faith to extinguish the enemy’s flaming arrows, then we must do the same. Satan used Christ’s hunger against Him, and in Luke 4:3-4, the Bible says, “And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Satan questioned Jesus Christ’s power and then questioned His authority. Christ responded with the Word of God, telling Satan that bread for food means nothing compared to the Word of God. In Psalm 7:10, the Bible says, “My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.” Do we trust God’s shield in times of trouble, when we feel affliction, or when the enemy tries to tempt us to sin? The word “wicked” means “Satan, or the evil one”. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, the Bible says, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” We must identify the evil that exists around us and stay away!
Will we make the choice to take up the shield of faith, to extinguish every attack from the evil one!
May 26, 2021 – Ephesians 6:17 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 8 – the helmet of salvation
Our standing with the Lord has real power. Do we as believers really understand that our salvation makes us a part of a kingdom where the Holy Spirit works to produce the will of God in all of our lives? The enemy tries to alter our perception about our standing with the Lord, so we don’t accept the power we have and then walk in that same power. The enemy also tries to make the Word of God a lie in our minds and hearts so we don’t receive its truth and experience victory. Our salvation and the Word of God are a part of God’s armor indeed, but the beauty about the Word of God is that it is a weapon designed to mount an offensive against the enemy. Until this point we have been protected by God’s armor, but now, we have the ability to fight back! Today, we will look at Ephesians 6:17, the power of our salvation and the Word of God in our walks of faith.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
The word “take” means “receive unto oneself”. There are many who aren’t walking in victory because they won’t receive the gifts God has graciously bestowed upon them. The word “helmet” means “an encirclement of the head”. The word “salvation” means “deliverance by a defender”. In Isaiah 59:1, the Bible says, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” How many people have we heard say, “I have done too much wrong. I am beyond saving”? Where does that thought come from? 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.” The helmet covers the head, and the head is where the thoughts are processed. The enemy loves toying with our minds, because if he can convince us that we aren’t saved enough, or works will produce our salvation, then we will go through life chasing our tails never experiencing the abundant life God promised us. Blows to the head can be fatal, so it expresses the importance of protecting our salvation. In Hebrews 2:3-4, the Bible says, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” We can’t be believers who neglect our salvation and take it for granted, nor can we attribute our salvation to any other than Jesus Christ, because 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.” The enemy would love to get our minds wondering about our salvation, causing us to take our helmet off and not walk in the victory of our salvation. Remember, this letter to Ephesus was written to believers, so our taking our helmets off won’t cause us to lose our salvation, but it will cause us to doubt and destroy our assurance of salvation.
“And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
The word “sword” means “knife of war”. The word “Spirit” refers to the Spirit of God, and usually brings empowerment, and the impartation of spiritual knowledge, aid, consolation, sanctification, and intercession. The word “word” here is the spoken word of God, used in teaching, precepts, and doctrine. In Hebrews 4:12, the Bible says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” If we don’t believe in the Word of God’s power, then the enemy will exploit this weakness. Imagine soldiers with swords, and they don’t believe in their power. They don’t stand a chance in warfare, because their life will be about defense and never about victory. In Romans 15:4, the Bible says, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” So one of the Word of God’s jobs is to give a believer hope in God. A believer will not win a battle where we don’t have hope! In Romans 5:5, the Bible says, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” We have sure confidence in victory over the enemy if our hope is in the Word of God. In Romans 13:4, the Bible says, “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Kingdom people have authority, and we are not to bear the sword in vain.
God gives us the armor and weaponry for victory, but what good is a sword we never swing it?
May 27, 2021 – Ephesians 6:18 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 9 – praying always
Prayer changes things. Prayer is our way of communicating our wants, needs, desires, fears, and flaws to God in order to receive His ear, His answer, and His intervention. We actually get to speak to and with God! We’ve been talking about taking up the whole armor of God, but prayer is embedded in not only a believer’s armor, but also in every facet of our lives. There is an importance to prayer that a lot of us don’t fully appreciate, and it is easy for us to slide into a lackluster, ritualistic prayer life which adds no strength or power to our lives. Prayer has been responsible for healing, for people coming to repentance, for people being raised from the dead, and for victory over the enemy. With such a powerful, proven record, it most certainly has to be acknowledged with the armor of God. Today, we will look at Ephesians 6:18, the powerful impact prayer has in a believer’s life.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”
The word “praying” means “petitions made to God”. The word “always” means “every occasion or every set and appointed time”. Prayer is supposed to be a regular part of all of our lives, and we are to be in constant communication with God. In Luke 18:1, the Bible says, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint”. Christ took time out of His ministry to point out through a parable why prayer is necessary. Parables are earthy stories told to reveal Spiritual truths. In Luke in this particular parable, a widow was looking for justice from her adversary. She was persistent! In Luke 18:4-5, Christ, speaking of the adversary, says “And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” The answer didn’t come right away, but the widow’s relentlessness is what got her the answer, as evidenced by her “continual coming”. Do we have any clue how many prayers of ours didn’t get answers because we stopped being persistent, and stopped asking? In Luke 18:7-8, Christ says, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” God will definitely answer our persistent prayers, but we have to have faith that He will answer.
“With all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”
With ALL prayer and supplication. God wants it all! In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” God is an all or nothing kind of God, so we have to be all or nothing kinds of believers. The word “supplication” means “an expression of need or desire concerning ourselves or others”. In Colossians 4:2-3, the Bible says, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds”. We are not to just pray for ourselves, but also for the Word of God to spread to others through every available channel. This is to be done with thanksgiving, signifying a faith that the prayer will be answered. “In the Spirit” refers to our coming into full submission to God’s will, conceding our desires to what God desires. This can be done by praying according to the Word of God, or by praying in tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance. 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.”
“Watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”
The word “watching” means “to stay awake, to keep guard”. “Perseverance” means “persistency”. The word “saints” means “believers purified and sanctified by the influences of the Holy Spirit.” In Matthew 26:40-41, it says, “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Intercession is absolutely necessary in the Church, and we have to persistently look for the answers to our prayers. God wants his children to pray with expectancy. 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.” The purpose of prayer is for answers to our prayers, both for ourselves and others. Our prayers can have great results.
Prayer is fellowship with God in a place the enemy can’t inhabit. The greatest prayers offer the greatest resistance!
May 28, 2021 – Proverbs 21:31 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 10 – safety is of the LORD
A believer’s job in warfare is to put on the whole armor of God. We are to robe ourselves in truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God in order for us to withstand the deception of the enemy. Armor is essential to a believer, but there are also things that are useful in battle as well. No matter what we include with our armor, we have to understand that it is God that is supplying the victory. We have to realize that we are empowered by God with everything we need for the victory, but we must not attribute the armor, the horses or the armies before we acknowledge that it is only because God provided it that the victory was won. We must not become believers that savor the blessing before we savor the One who blesses us, because we are incapable of fighting the enemy and his forces without everything that God provides. Today, we will look at Proverbs 21:31, safety in warfare.
“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.”
The word “prepared” means “set up, established, to be fixed and steadfast against an enemy”. Horses put the soldier at a major advantage, they are harder to reach being higher up, and enabling blows to be struck with speed and efficiency. So a horse was very much a luxury in war and some horses were equipped with armor as well! In Psalm 20:6-8, the Bible says, “Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.” There are people in the Church who don’t depend on God for the victory. It is the saving strength of God that gives us the victory. How many believers believe that the NAME of the Lord trumps all kinds of weaponry? The people who trust in horses and chariots, will suffer defeat while the believers in the Lord will remain standing. In Psalm 33:17, the Bible says, “An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.” People give weaponry and materials of war too much credit, and they are left disappointed and even destroyed by letting them replace God’s power to save. In Isaiah 31:1, the Bible says, “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!” As believers, we have to seek the Lord and what He provides for victory. Seeking the provision of the world, or the numbers in an army, or the strength and experience of the soldiers, will take our eyes off God and rob us of deliverance. The phrase “day of battle” means “in the occasion of warfare.” This verse doesn’t mean we don’t prepare ourselves for war, but there is a difference between preparation, and trusting in the Lord alone for the result.
“But safety is of the Lord”
The word “safety” means “deliverance or victory, not by human means”. In 1 Samuel 17:47, the Bible says, “And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.” David knew that the weaponry didn’t matter, the height of the enemy, nor the experience. When the battle is the Lord’s victory is ours. In 1 Samuel 17:45, the Bible says, “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” David knew the victory was in the name of the Lord, but he also knew that the enemy wasn’t defying him, but he was defying God himself. We have to be mindful of what the enemy is actually attacking, in order to prepare oneself for battle. We tend to make people the enemy, instead of the hurt that has caused unforgiveness, the unforgiveness that comes from our not walking in truth, righteousness, faith, and the gospel of peace. The enemy loves it when we have no clue where the attack comes from, because we will resist everyone but him! In 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, the Bible says, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God has given us victory from sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ, not through horses, armies, or experience. In Jeremiah 3:23 the Bible says, “Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.” It doesn’t matter what we have for battle or where we are, because if the Lord isn’t giving us the victory, we will lose!
May 29, 2021 – Proverbs 21:30 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 11 – there is no … against the LORD
Since the beginning of creation, the enemy has tried to mount a serious offensive against the purposes of God. Satan does not want to see God’s will be done, he doesn’t want to see lives transformed by repentance and true salvation, and he definitely doesn’t want believers discovering the authority God has freely given to all who believe. If the enemy can get us to question our salvation or underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit within us, then we will walk this earth as lesser version of our true selves, much to the disappointment of our God. Many kingdoms have tried to war against the kingdom of God, many voices have been spoken against our Lord and Savior, but none of them have been able to hold up to the Word of God. Any counsel that doesn’t lead us into the presence of the Lord God, or cause us to race towards the purposes of God in our lives is counsel that should not be given any credence. But sadly, even many in the Church are listening to the wrong voice. Today, we are going to look at
Proverbs 21:30, another aspect of warfare, counsel against the Lord.
“There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.”
The word “wisdom” implies “skillfulness, experience, shrewdness, and wit”. In Proverbs 1:7, the Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The beginning to wisdom is to fear and revere God, so the first thing we have to look at when receiving counsel is whether or not the person has reverence for the God we serve. In Proverbs 1:3, the Bible says, “To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity”. We have to incline our ears to wisdom and instruction, positioning ourselves to hear the Word of the Lord, and we also have to make sure we are receiving counsel by people who are doing the same. Why would we trust the wisdom of people who aren’t seeking the wisdom of God? Strangely, the wisdom we receive from God concerning us may come from an unbeliever. Don’t think so? In Numbers 23:11-12, the Bible says, “And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether. And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the LORD hath put in my mouth?” Balak sent for Balaam, hiring him to curse Israel. Balaam’s word had to have power, but in Numbers 22:12-13, the bible says, “And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed. And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you.” Even though Balaam practiced magic and divination, and was considered a false prophet, said to have led Israel into apostasy. When God spoke to Him, telling him not to curse Israel and not to go with the men Balak sent, Balaam reverenced God and listened, for the most part. The enemy calls us cursed, but God deems us blessed, and because man’s wisdom could not hold up to God’s wisdom, Balaam blessed Israel three times instead of cursing them!
“Nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord”
The word “understanding” means “insight, discretion, or intelligence”. In Jeremiah 9:24, the Bible says, “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” We have to receive understanding that guides us into the knowledge of God, understanding that makes us more sound believers, better people in Christ, and more committed. In Psalm 119:104, the Bible says, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” A person can only give what they have, and if they aren’t receptive to the Word of the Lord, then how can they convey the Word of the Lord to others? The word “counsel” means “advice, idea, or plot”. The word “against” means “to stand in opposition to”. In Acts 5:38-39, the Bible says, “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” Do we really realize that when we go against the counsel and Word of God that we are actually fighting against God? Men’s counsel will come to nothing, but God’s counsel will stand forever. In Hebrews 6:17, the Bible says, “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath”. Immutability means unchangeable, so our God’s counsel can’t be changed or shaken.
May we find security in the wisdom, understanding and counsel of God, knowing that nothing can stand against God.
May 30, 2021 – 2 Timothy 2:4 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 12 – please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier
In warfare, focus is absolutely mandatory. We have to set our minds on the purposes of God, what He commands for us to do, and on the life He ordains for us to live as His children. Focus is a term of vision, and to be focused implies that we train our eyes and mind upon a set position, goal, or plan. Where we focus our attention will ultimately determine our victory in warfare or our defeat, because if we take our focus off of the Lord and off the Word of God, then we will lose sight of the bigger picture. A hunting lion attacks a crowd, hoping to get someone to break from the group, leaving them vulnerable and unprotected. Satan is no different, and He looks for someone who focuses on the world and not the Word, thus breaking from the Church. Our focus should be on the Lord, how we as His children are supposed to please Him. Today, we will 2 Timothy 2:4, setting our minds on 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.”
The word “warreth” means “to serve in military, or to execute the apostolate”. The word “entangleth” means “to entwine, or involve oneself in”. Both of these actions are intention and involve a commitment. In 2 Corinthians 10:3, the Bible says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh”. Our commitment needs to be to keeping our warfare in the Spirit, as good soldiers of God. 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.” In order for us to be spiritually minded and driven, there has to be a renewing process that continues in our minds, weeding out the flesh that so stealthy tries to enter into our space. 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”. What we allow to remain in our minds will take root, grow, and bear fruit, so every thought or idea that threatens to distort our focus on the Lord needs to be opposed. There is real vigilance required as a soldier in the army of the Lord, because there is an enemy present that is always looking for a point of vulnerability. In 2 Peter 2:20, the Bible says, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” God gives us a way of escape from living and warring in the flesh, but it is our job to take it and not entangle ourselves in it again. The only way we can be overcome in spiritual warfare is if we entangle ourselves in the flesh again, and the consequences will not be favorable to us.
The word “life” represents the present life we are living and our livelihood. In John 17:14, Christ says, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” When we make the commitment to accept Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior through faith in His name, we become a people of the Word, and not of the world. In 1 John 4:4, the Bible says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” When we focus on our Lord and we focus on our position in the kingdom of God, we understand that the only way we can be overcome by the enemy is if we allow him to reign over our thoughts, speech, and actions. In James 1:14, the Bible says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his OWN lust, and enticed.” This verse is for anyone that will utter the lie, “The devil made me do it.” If we lose focus, we can only blame ourselves, because we have the word of God, so we know where to focus our attention.
“That he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier”
The word “please” means “to be agreeable to, to be acceptable to”. The word “chosen” means “to enlist in an army or gather as a warrior”. In John 8:28-29, the Bible says, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” When we receive the Word of God with a willing mind and heart, speaking only the things we were taught by God, living the way God’s word declared for us to live, God will make His home in us, giving us the power we need over the enemy.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7
May 31, 2021 – Romans 6:12 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 13 – let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body
Sin is one of the main reasons we lose our battles in spiritual warfare. We are tantalized by a sinful nature that we have been delivered from, and indulge, leaving us in need of forgiveness. How can we, as believers, created in the image and likeness of God, ever have victory in warfare when we can’t get past the sin that entangles us? This is the place the enemy wants us to remain in, because if sin is our war, then sanctification and spiritual maturity are way off. This is not to say that sanctified or spiritually mature people don’t sin, because that would be a lie, but it is to say that sin doesn’t have authority in a sanctified and spiritually mature person’s life. Whatever has reign, whether flesh or Spirit, will be what is evident in our response to the enemy’s influences. If sin has reign, the disobedience to God will be present, but if the Spirit has reign, victory will be present in the face of warfare. Today, we will look at Romans 6:12, ending sin’s reign in our bodies.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
The word “sin” implies a proneness to sin or a propensity to sin. This is deeper that just doing something wrong in God’s eyes. This suggests a pattern of sinful conduct which can be construed as a lifestyle. Paul is writing to believers in Rome, so this is addressed to people in the Church! 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.” Receiving salvation in Jesus Christ makes us new creatures, and as new creatures, we now answer to a new nature. What is this new nature? In Romans 8:29, the Bible says, “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.” We as believers are now conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, then we represent Christ in our homes, our families, our communities and in our churches. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, the Bible says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” When it says that Christ “knew no sin”, it means that He never became one with sin, agreeing with it in order to partake in it. To know sin means to form a union with it. Christ did not sin, so He didn’t form a union with sin. If we are conformed into His image, then we have to same ability to not form a union with sin, but sadly, all of us make decisions that are contrary to what God commands for us. Some people sadly believe that because we are under grace, that gives us a license to do as we wish, knowing “we are going to heaven anyway”. In Romans 6:1-2, the Bible says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Let us not be among those deceived into believing that we can live lawlessly as believers. Christ lived to obey and please God and we must do the same.
The word “reign” means “to be king, to have dominion, to prevail against”. In Psalm 19:13, the Bible says, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” As believers, do we pray to God, asking Him to empower us to fight against the sin that tries to have dominion over us? If the desire to sin is too strong, do we ask God for help? The phrase “mortal bodies” refers to part of us that are subject to death. The brain and its thinking processes are a part of the body and thus tempt our souls with its sinful lusts. In Ephesians 1:20-21, the Bible says, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come”. We are of a kingdom that has power over all sin, but if we don’t allow Christ to have reign in our lives, then we won’t have power to triumph over sin.
“That ye should obey it in the lusts thereof”
The word “obey” means “to heed or conform to a command or authority, to hear under as a subordinate”. The word “lusts” means “a longing for what is forbidden”. In Romans 6:17, the Bible says, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” We were a people that heeded the longings for what was forbidden, but now, we a people who heed the word of the Lord, walking in obedience that leads into righteousness. We were a people set for death, but now are a people destined for eternal life.
Let us ask ourselves what has reign in our mortal bodies, flesh or Spirit?
Jun 1, 2021 – 2 Timothy 4:5 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 14 – watch thou in all things
Believers are to expect warfare at some point in their lives. God never promised that we would avoid hardship, persecution, judgements, betrayals, or anything else when it comes to the faith, but He did promise to never leave or nor forsake us. Having the assurance that the Holy Spirit dwells right within us, ready to teach us what we need to learn and what we need to do makes the thought of going through warfare or hardship manageable. Within us lies the power of God, but the only way we can access it is through faith. If we aren’t experiencing victory, or peace until victory comes, then we are not fully using the knowledge and the power that God has freely given us. Remember this is warfare and we are soldiers in the army of the Lord! Our jobs are to not only endure hardship but be able ministers in the midst of hardship as well. The goal is always introducing more souls to Christ, no matter what we struggle with. Today, we are going to look at 2 Timothy 4:5, ministry in the face of warfare.
“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
The word “watch” means “to keep guarded”. We are to always be on guard in our faith walk. In 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6, 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. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” A good soldier always remembers who they are and what they are fighting for. If we lose sight of what we are fighting for, the enemy can plant the wrong cause in our lives. In 1 Timothy 6:12, the Bible says, “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.” Sometimes, we can be misdirected into fighting the wrong battles, and that will amount to wasted time and hinder fruit from being borne. In Acts 20:30-31, the Bible says, “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” There is always someone whose goal is to spread lies and division within the Church, but even in the Word of God, there is a warning system in place. God doesn’t just tell us to “watch”, but He tells us what to watch out for!
This phrase means “to undergo hardship or trouble with patience”. In Romans 12:12, the Bible says, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer”. Please don’t miss the fact that we have to rejoice in hope. If we don’t have hope to rejoice in, then we will think that our hardship won’t end. Without hope it will be extremely hard for a soldier to be assured in what they are fighting for. In 2 Timothy 1:11-12, the Bible says, “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” See, Paul knew that sufferings came with the responsibility of spreading the Word of God, and he wasn’t deterred. The goal was more important than the hardship of the process.
“Do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of the ministry”
The word “evangelist” means “preacher of the gospel”. An evangelist doesn’t have to be located in any particular place, but they travel as missionary to preach the gospel and establish churches. The word “ministry” implies Godly service, ministering in divine things, as teachers, preachers, and apostles.” In Matthew 28:19, Christ says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. If we know or see lost people, then we have a responsibility to share the gospel with them, not just the pastorate. The phrase “make full proof” mean “to confirm, accomplish entirely, or to fulfill”. In Colossians 1:25, the Bible says, “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God”. God empowers us to be preachers and teachers of His Word, to fulfill Matthew 28:19-20. In warfare, the work of the Lord is still required to be done, no matter the affliction, hardship, or stress. In 2 Corinthians 1:4, the Bible says, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” God will always comforts His children when we are under hardship. That comfort allows us to comfort others; and allows us to remain strong under warfare.
May the strength of warfare make us able ministers of God’s Word.
Jun 2, 2021 – Proverbs 16:7 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 15 – when a man’s ways please the LORD
In warfare, the right perspective is vital. The type of mentality we have while going into battle will greatly affect the outcome of the battle itself. My late beloved Auntie Dianne used to always tell me that if I do the right thing, then I don’t have to worry about the consequences. If we focus our attention on pleasing the Lord, and fulfilling His purpose for our lives, then it takes the sting out of the warfare the enemy tries to inflict upon us. The Lord doesn’t promise us that we are going to be well loved and accepted as believers. In fact, the Word of God says that some of our enemies will be in our own homes. What do we focus our attention on, the enemies that present themselves as an obstruction to our faith, or do we concentrate all our efforts on pleasing the Lord and allowing Him to deal with our enemies Himself? Today, we are going to look at Proverbs 16:7, pleasing the Lord in the face of warfare.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him”
The word “ways” means “course of life, mode of action, or journey”. In John 14:5-6, the Bible says, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The first thing we have to embrace totally is that Christ is the only way to God. There is no pleasing God without Christ being our Lord and Savior. In 1 John 4:17, the Bible 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.” Our love is perfected in Him, giving us the ability to represent Christ in our lives. So it is not only vital for believers to receive Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, but it is also crucial for us to live like He did. In John 8:29, Christ 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 always pleased the Father, and the Father remained with Him. When we please the Lord, God remains with us. How can the enemy prevail with our God right with us? The word “please” means “to be acceptable, to be approved, to produce delight”. In John 14:23, the Bible says, “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.” Obedience is mandatory to pleasing the Lord, obeying both the written and spoken word of God. God rewards our obedience by making His presence with us, affording us the best protection in any level of warfare we encounter. In Romans 8:8, the Bible says, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” God wants a people who remain in the Spirit, right where He is. If we continue to lose our battles, then we have to ask ourselves, are we obeying the Lord, are we following Christ’s example, and are we allowing God entrance in us to dwell with us and in us? Sometimes, we have to check ourselves to make sure that we are giving ourselves every opportunity to succeed in warfare.
“He maketh even him enemies to be at peace with him”
The word “enemies” means adversaries. These are people that come against us. In Matthew 5:44, Christ 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”. When an enemy presents themselves, do we operate from a position of love, compassion, grace, and prayer? When Christ was on the cross staring out at people that opposed Him, He asked God to forgive them because ‘they know not what they do’. He prayed for the same people that strung Him up on the cross. How many enemies or adversaries have mounted up against us that we have prayed for, that we have blessed, that we have forgiven? Remember, the verse in Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways please the Lord …” Well, if the Word of God tell us to forgive, to bless, and to pray for our adversaries, and we don’t do it, then how will they ever be at peace with us? The word “peace” implies safety, being uninjured in the mind and body. Jacob was terrified by his brother Esau, because he tricked him out of his birthright and then stole his blessing. Esau wanted to kill him, so Jacob fled. In Genesis 33:3-4, the Bible says, “And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.” Jacob humbled himself before Esau, and Esau gave him and hug and kiss, weeping at the sight of his brother. God turned an adversary into a brother because Jacob’s ways pleased the Lord!
May we come to know that warfare produces the surest path to peace if our ways please the Lord!
JUN 3, 2021 – Romans 8:28 – Warfare in the Spirit Part 16 – all things work together for good to them that love God
There has to be a purpose behind the storms we face and the warfare we find ourselves under. We tend to ask God why He causes things to happen the way they do, sometimes causing a great discomfort to us in the process. Even as I type, I am wondering how I accidentally erased this devotional on my tablet without sending it, causing me to do a brand new one in its place! God has an intention for our warfare, for our storms, and for our struggles and that intention is for us to triumph! God didn’t create us to have dominion, to be fruitful and multiply, only to have something in creation be able to triumph over us. God’s word not only gives us the instructions we need to live on this earth, but it also gives us the assurance we need in the face of our battles. How does one maintain their joy while under the heaviest of hardship? By cleaving to the Word of God, and by living out the promises in the Word. Today, we are going to look at Romans 8:28, finding the good in the face of warfare.
“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.”
The word “know” here means to “to perceive, to be acquainted with, to have a relationship with”. Knowing takes two separate things, Scripture, and a willing spirit, and makes us one. It’s the same dynamic that exists in marriage. When we know, we live according to what we know, essentially becoming what we know. In James 1:2-4, the Bible says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 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.” What we know isn’t blind knowledge that doesn’t come from God, but it is the assurances given by His Word that makes us confident in all situations. If we don’t know or haven’t received the Word of God, then how will we ever count anything joy, and how we will ever see that our warfare produces patience? “ALL things.” That means good, bad, and nasty. In Ephesians 1:11, the Bible says, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”. When Christ was crucified, we were given an inheritance and had a purpose where ALL things worked together to fulfill God’s intentions. In warfare, we have to have assurance that our Lord is leading us into a place where we will obtain victory, no matter how rough things may be or how badly things look. That assurance is only through the Word of God, both written and spoken into our hearts.
The phrase “work together” means “to cooperate”. So the circumstance has to cooperate with our God’s direction. 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”. If we understand that everything was created by God and for God, then we know better than to give circumstance power over our God! In Romans 5:3-5, the Bible says, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” When all things cooperate according to the will of God, and the love of God has spread all through our hearts, then warfare produces a patience that allows us to gain life experience, and life experience gives us the opportunity to see God’s hand give the victory in all situations. It becomes easier to hope in the Lord.
“For good to them who love God”
The word “good” means “beneficial, useful, profitable”. The word good also implies God’s intention being fulfilled. In Genesis 1:4, the Bible says, “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” God called for light and it appeared and God declared it good. The word “good” is God’s declaration that it is exactly how He called for it to be! “Who love God” implies a condition, so if we don’t love the Lord, then there should be no expectation of all things working together for our good. The word “love” refers to superiors, including the idea of duty, to love and serve with fidelity”. In Exodus 20:3, the Bible says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Fidelity implies faithfulness, that God is our first and most important love, that God comes first. If God isn’t Lord and first in our life, then, the promise doesn’t apply to us. In 2 Corinthians 2:14, the Bible says, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” When God is loved and is first, He will always cause us to have victory in Christ and reveal the power of His knowledge every place we go. So God’s word is available to us in all situations, so in the Word, we always have assurance.
“To them who are called according to his purpose”
The word “called” means “appointed, invited into the kingdom promises and privileges.” The word “purpose” means “eternal intention of God.” In Romans 11:29, the Bible says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” When God calls someone, He doesn’t revoke it. We sadly don’t accept His calling, which is another reason why all things don’t work together, because we aren’t working together with God! 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”. God has to count us worthy to call us, and He calls us so that we can fulfill His will for our lives. He calls us in full expectancy that we will use His Word and His power in all things. “His purpose”. Even though we are the ones going through the warfare, it is NOT about us! God doesn’t make all things work together to fulfill our desires, nor does He do it to make our name great. He does it so that His will may be done. In Genesis 50:19-21, the Bible says, “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. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones.” Man’s purposes will never triumph over God’s purposes. Joseph didn’t realize why he was sold into slavery, then falsely accused of rape and imprisoned, until his brothers came to Egypt to buy grain. Then, the dream he had as a child about his brothers bowing before him was fulfilled and he understood “why”. He had to endure the warfare in order to understand the purpose fully! In Ephesians 3:11-12, the Bible says, “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” Warfare endured gives us a look into God’s purpose, which then should give us the confidence to cleave to His Word and the promises in them by faith. Warfare is designed to make us stronger believers, wiser followers of God, able to not only endure warfare, but show others how to endure it as well.
May we come to understand that the purpose of warfare is to triumph in Christ Jesus!
JUN 4, 2021 – Acts 20:24 – to testify the gospel of the grace of God
A believer’s life is one of sacrifice, committing ourselves to the growth and needs of believers and unbelievers alike. Not only are we to sacrifice our own way, our own thoughts, and our identities, but we offer ourselves up daily, putting others above ourselves. There is no such thing as a selfish Christian. This beautiful walk of faith is one where our primary goal is fulfilling all God has required of us and more, to be able to be that “good and faithful servant” when God calls us home to be with Him. Do we understand that we have been entrusted to the body of Christ to make a real difference with all God has given us? Do we understand that our outreach expresses the depth of the gospel that is within us? Today, we will look at Acts 20:24, living our lives to finish our course.
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
The phrase “none of these things move me” implies that nothing makes Paul apprehensive or afraid. In suggests that Paul’s mind is made up to serve the Lord, no matter the cost or consequence. In Acts 21:13, the Bible says, “Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” People didn’t want Paul to fulfill his calling, and wept for him, knowing imprisonment and persecution awaited him, but Paul told them he was ready to live and die for the name of Jesus Christ. Look at the dedication of the apostles with what was asked of them, and then reflect on our dedication with what is asked for us. Most of us have it way too easy, but we won’t sacrifice the little we are required to. The phrase “count I my life dear ” implies that Paul doesn’t consider his life to be of value or precious to him compared to the ministry. In Philippians 3:7-8, the Bible says, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Our perspective about value has to change as believers if we are to ever be good stewards of the faith, and the things we are leaving behind by this sacrifice have to be esteemed as bodily waste!
“So that I might finish my course with joy”
The word “finish” means “to complete, fulfill, or accomplish”. In Philippians 1:6, the Bible says, “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”. God finishes what He starts and as children of God, created in His own image and likeness, we must do the same. The word “course” means “race or career”. We know Paul’s “career” to be the ministry. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, the Bible says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” We run a race to not only finish, but we run to obtain the prize! The prize is the goal, and the race isn’t done until the prize is obtained. “With joy”. 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.” Our attitudes have to be right about service, and if it is not done with cheerfulness, then the whole purpose is defeated. Our attitudes about service are just as important as the service itself.
And the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God”.
We receive the “ministry”, which means “service in Divine things”, OF the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2:2, the Bible says, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” If we don’t know the foundation of our ministry, Jesus Christ, how can we follow His example of ministry, or become able ministers ourselves? The word “testify” means “to declare fully or teach earnestly”. The word “gospel” refers to the good message of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus, and its doctrines and precepts. In Acts 14:3, the Bible says, “Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” A sound testimony of Christ can open the door for a display of the Holy Spirit’s power working in us, operating according to the grace of God. The word “grace” means “unmerited favor saving us from sin”. This is the grace that God only gives by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. What are we willing to sacrifice so others can receive the same grace of God that we have? How much of the good message of Christ are we willing to share with those who need it? Do we feel that it is our responsibility?
Jun 5, 2021 – Isaiah 11:2 – and the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him
The Holy Spirit is a believer’s power source, tying us directly to the will of God. It is by the Holy Spirit that what God decrees comes to be, and it is by the same Holy Spirit, that we learn the deep things of God. There would be no devotionals written by me without the Holy Spirit’s teaching and leading, and I will definitely admit that I would not be able to understand Scripture the way I do now without the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that rested on Christ, is the same Spirit He prayed to the Father for us to receive. The Holy Spirit gives us a sure road map on how to live on this earth in a manner God intends for us to live. The best way to receive the complete benefit of the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives is to let Him lead! Today, we will look at Isaiah 11:2, the bountiful gifts of the Holy Spirit.
“And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD”
The word “spirit” means “breath” and the “spirit of the Lord” speaks of the Holy Spirit. 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 meanings of breath here in Genesis and in Isaiah 11:2 are parallel, and the Holy Spirit brings us to life, finishing the work of creation and formation of God in our lives. In John 6:63, Christ 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.” We are incapable of accomplishing God’s will for our lives by moving in our own power. The Holy Spirit empowers us to accomplish all that God ordains. The word “rest” means “to settle down or dwell”. When the Holy Spirit rests upon us and dwells within us, we have real power, and real authority to see the promises of the God in the spiritual realm come to earth. 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”. When the Holy Spirit was upon the Lord, lives were changed completely, bonds were broken, true freedom became normal among believers, and people without a voice possessed the power of God. This was prophecy for what was to come, and it was only the tip of the iceberg compared to what Christ is able to do by the Holy Spirit’s power. In Matthew 3:16-17, the Bible says, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It pleases the Lord God for His Spirit to rest upon us, and He pours His Spirit upon those He loves.
“The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might”
The word “wisdom” means “skill, experience, or wit”. This comes as this ability to exercise what we know. In James 1:5, 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.” When we ask God for wisdom, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to receive the wisdom God has for us. God appeared to King Solomon, telling him to ask for whatever he wanted and God would give it to Him. In 2 Chronicles 1:10, the Bible says, “Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?” We know that God answered his request, because in 2 Chronicles 9:22-23, the Bible says, “And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.” The word “understanding” means “discernment and comprehension”. In Proverbs 1:5-6, the Bible says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.” We receive the Word by the Holy Spirit, we understand it by the Holy Spirit, and we are able to display this understanding through the wisdom the Holy Spirit gives. When we apply what the Holy Spirit gives, we will do incredible things for the kingdom for God. The word “counsel” means “advice”. In Isaiah 46:10, the Bible says, “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 counsel of the Lord God cannot be put to shame, and whatever the counsel of the Lord is will be the best route for us to take. Why? Because God knew our ending at our creation, so He knows where every step we take will lead – in advance! The word “might” means “strength, ability, or power”. There is a might man has, and a might the Spirit gives. There is no power greater than the Holy Spirit’s power!
“The spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord”
The word “knowledge” means “insight or notion”. When we trust in the Lord God, He imparts His knowledge upon us through the Holy Spirit. In Daniel 1:17, the Bible says, “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” We know that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego served in positions of power in Babylon due to the knowledge God imparted to them. One example; God revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation. The wise men in the land weren’t able to do either! The word “fear” means “moral reverence”. It implies the deepest level of respect a person has that paves the way for their compliance. In Philippians 2:6-8, the Bible says, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Christ didn’t have to make himself of ‘no reputation’, but He did so out of moral reverence for the Lord God, making himself obedient to His will. He didn’t have to be a servant, but chose to serve out of moral reverence for God The Father. In Proverbs 1:7, the Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The Holy Spirit also gives us the ability to have this moral reverence for God, so we can move according to His will, just as Christ did.
In John 14:12, Christ 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.” This shows that we have access to the same Holy Spirit and the promises as Christ did. May we surrender ourselves completely to the Holy Spirit’s power and leading, becoming everything God has ordained for us.
Jun 6, 2021 – Romans 6:13 – but yield yourselves unto God
As believers we have a new life in Christ, making us reborn, becoming new creations by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This new position gives us access to the kingdom of God, to the provisions and promises God has for His children, and it aligns us to live the life God intends for us to live. With all of these amazing gifts God has bestowed upon us, He still equips us with the choice to serve Him or to serve sin. God doesn’t force us to choose Him, nor will He force us to adhere to this new nature we have in Christ. It is our job to not entertain the enticements of the old nature, to give in to the impulses that aim to lead us into sin. In the midst of temptation, we have to stand in our faith and be resolved to answer to our new nature and the power it has over sin, but sadly, many of us don’t. Today, we will look at Romans 6:13, not yielding ourselves to unrighteousness.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
The word “yield” means “to exhibit, to present, or to give assistance”. This is an act of intentionality on our parts, making ourselves willing participants to sin. Remember, Paul is writing to the Church, so this is addressed to believers. In Romans 7:5, the Bible says, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” Simply put, we have believers in Church who act no different than the unbelievers! The word “members” means “limb or part of the body”. In Matthew 18:9, “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” Pretty extreme, huh? Christ chose this extreme to really highlight our need to eradicate sin from our lives by any means necessary. In 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, the Bible says, “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Not only should we NOT yield our members to unrighteousness, but we subject our bodies to accountability according to the Word of God. The word “unrighteousness” means “moral wrongfulness”. The Word of God gives us the certainty we need so that we know what it is we need to do, and what to stay away from. In 2 Corinthians 10:6, the Bible says, “And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” Sin is disobedience to God, where our decisions, mostly intentional, violate the commands of God. We have to be subject to obedience first before we can understand how to revenge all disobedience. Anything we do contrary the written or spoken word of God is sin. In James 2:10, the Bible says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Sin is sin and it causes separation from God. This is why we shouldn’t present ourselves to practice sin in any way because of this separation from God it causes, causing us to walk in darkness again.
“As those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God”
The words “alive” and “dead” speak of spiritual states, where those who are “alive” have received salvation by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, entitling them to eternal life with God. Those “dead” have no salvation because they have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In 1 Peter 2:24, the Bible says, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” Because Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, we have the privilege of being able to live a life that is pleasing to God, as long as Christ has been accepted into our hearts as Lord and Savior. In Romans 6:22, the Bible says, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” We have the ability to bear fruit for the kingdom of God now because of our salvation, and that freedom we now have has removed the restrictions to being servants to God. In 1 Peter 4:2, the Bible says, “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” We have a choice of how we live the rest of our lives as believers. We can be fruitless Christians, operating no differently from the world, using our bodies and minds to please the flesh, or we can live according to the will of God, bearing fruit that will remain, presenting ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God. Which will you choose?
Jun 7, 2021 – Romans 8:14 – led by the Spirit of God
Being children of God is an amazing privilege for us. By accepting Christ Jesus as both Lord and Savior, we have been adopted into the kingdom of God, having the same privileges as Christ! We have access to the same power, the same peace, and we have eternal life when our lives here on earth are over. To receive such a precious gift, one that we most certainly don’t deserve, is really a testament to God’s unfailing love for us, how He never gives up on us being His children. Sadly, there are many that refuse to receive the gift, and a lot that initially accept the gift only to later refuse God’s leading. If God is not leading us, then we aren’t following Christ’s example, because He followed wherever God led Him. If God isn’t allowed to lead, then we have made no home for Him to dwell in us, so we can’t have the full experience of being children of God if His power is not at work in us. Today, we are going to look at Romans 8:14, following the lead of our God.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
The phrase “for as many” gives us the impression that not everyone is going to accept the Lord’s leading. In Luke 6:46, Christ says, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Obedience is essential if God is to be Lord over our lives. Obedience shouldn’t be under duress because God hasn’t taken us hostage, nor is He going to force Himself upon us. If we are disobedient, not following the written or spoken word of God, then God isn’t Lord in our lives. In Psalm 37:23 the Bible says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” We have to take pleasure in the Lord’s leading, knowing that He knows what is best for us and being assured that His Headship will provide everything we need to live the lives He intends us to live. I used to think serving God faithfully will take away all the fun from my life, and I would have to do a bunch of things I didn’t want to do. I couldn’t have been more wrong! In Psalm 119:133, the Bible says, “Order my steps IN THY WORD: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” If we aren’t opening up the Word of God, to discover His will for our lives and also His amazing love for us, our perception of God is going to be flawed, and we will most likely rebel against His plan. We have to be people who want God’s word planted into our hearts so we will live according to the Word and not according to our own strength. The word “led” means “to incite, to induce, or to guide”. The Spirit of God, more known as “The Holy Spirit” leads us in the way God ordains. In John 16:13, Christ 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.” The Holy Spirit is the Conveyor of God’s Word and His good purpose. If we won’t give the Holy Spirit room to operate, then God’s purpose will never be fulfilled in us.
“They are the sons of God”
The word “sons” refers to the pious worshippers of God, the righteous of God, the saints who God loves and cherishes as a Father. In John 1:12-13, 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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” We have to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, receiving Him into our lives in order to get the power to become the children of God. Our positions with the Lord require and carry power, which means this is not to be taken lightly. In Luke 12:48, Christ says, “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Being children of God is not only an amazing experience, but it carries huge responsibility and accountability. God provides us with every possible way to be effective as children of God, but we have to use what He so richly provides by His Holy Spirit. 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.” The Spirit of the Lord in our hearts changes us from servants, who do the work because we HAVE TO, into children and heirs, who do the work because we desire to please our loving God. In Galatians 3:26, the Bible says, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Faith in Christ Jesus begins the change in our identities. There is no other way!
May we come to experience the full benefit of being children of the Most-High God, being led by the Holy Spirit into our purpose.
Jun 8, 2021 – Romans 10:3 – being ignorant of God’s righteousness
The life of a believer is one where we must be driven by the Word of God. Our salvation made God’s righteousness present in our lives, as Christ’s work on the cross fully satisfied our debt of sin. Our problem comes in when we, as bride of Christ, begin to set our own rules and try to establish our own righteousness. God gave us power to have dominion, but He never intend the power He gave to give us dominion over His Word, over His righteousness, over His purpose. We must be willing to surrender all to the Lord, presenting ourselves as empty vessels desiring to be filled by the Lord. As new believers, we should have abandoned what we thought we knew, exchanging it for what the Holy Spirit desires to teach. Sadly, the Church is filled with people who don’t know the Word or even worse, swat away what they do know. Today, we will look at Romans 10:3, submitting ourselves to the righteousness of God.
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
The word “ignorant” means “unknowing, unacquainted, or to ignore”. This can be by choice, or because they aren’t taught, but both are unacceptable in the Church. In Matthew 28:19-20, the Bible says, “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.” This is the Great Commission, Christ’s parting words to His disciples, a very short message that should ensure that no one is left not knowing the Word of God or how they should live as believers. We bear immense responsibility in the maturity of the believers. In Hebrews 5:1-3, the Bible says, “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.” Because we as believers have been in sin, receiving salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, it should bolster compassion within the body to not desire to see someone apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must always remember where we come from, and also keep the memory of our salvation close in our minds. In Romans 3:22-23, the Bible says, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. God’s righteousness produces forgiveness of sins and salvation from the penalty of death by faith in Jesus Christ. How can we receive such a powerful gift while people remain ignorant around us?
“and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted unto the righteousness of God”
The word “establish” means “to confirm as truth”. The word “righteousness” implies justification, the making of one to be right, holy, or innocent. In 1 Peter 2:18, the Bible says, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” We cannot be subject to authority on earth and make up our own rules, so why should it be any different with God? We should submit even more! In Mark 7:8-9, Christ says, “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” In order for us to follow man’s tradition and man’s so called righteousness, wh have to lay aside what God commands. This means we, sometimes blatantly, ignore the Word of God to follow tradition, most of which have no Biblical foundation whatsoever. This shouldn’t be. In Mark 7:13, Christ says, “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” We nullify the Word of God’s power because we try to establish our own righteousness. The word “submitted” means “to render oneself subordinate, to cause one to obey”. In Philippians 3:9, the Bible says, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith”. When we are in Christ, the Word of God shows us we have been made righteous of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Any other way will not obtain the righteousness of God.
When we ignore the traditions of man and submit to the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ, we will bear the testimony that will bring the truth of Christ to all who are willing to hear.
Jun 9, 2021 – Romans 12:6 – gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us
God has thoroughly blessed us with gifts, and as a body, our gifts are in different areas, affecting different people. God has created us to be unique in our identity, and created our gifts to fit us perfectly. There is no one on the earth that can do what God has created each one of us to specifically do, and that makes our gifts special. The problem the Church has is when we believers take on roles in the Church that God didn’t ordain for us to take. We have choir directors who were called to be deacons, pastors who were called to feed the homeless, Sunday School teachers who were called to the finance committee. Some people are serving the Church in their roles, but God is calling them to bring the Church into the community. We have an obligation to utilize the gifts God has given us, according to the ability He has given us. Today, we are going to look at Romans 12:6, operating under the grace of God.
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith”
The word “gifts” means “endowments, having a miraculous faculty”, referring to the abilities imparted to believers and particularly to teachers by the Holy Spirit. In Romans 11:29, the Bible says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” God bestows His gifts upon us and they remain there, whether we use them or not. God doesn’t give us gifts for them to remain dormant. In Luke 19:13, the Bible says, “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” When Christ ascended to the Father, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to dwell in us forever. We also have the power within us to operate in our gifts, and are expected to do this until Christ comes back for His bride. The word “differing” means “varying”, which implies that we are not going to all have the same gifts. This is by design! If everyone is pastors, then who is going to feed,the homeless, and if every one is choir directors, then who is going to work with youth? In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, the Bible, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” God has to be intertwined in all of our gifts, no matter what they are, and the Holy Spirit has to work through our gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12:7, the Bible says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” The gifts of God are to make us profitable for the kingdom of God.
The word “grace” means “divine favor, unmerited, which causes one to experience joy and gratification.” The word grace implies God making up the difference for what we lack. In 1 Peter 4:10-11, the Bible says, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 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.” We receive the gifts from God, when we speak, we speak the words God has given, and in ability God gives it. This means we don’t try to preach, teach, or serve like anyone else, but in the power strength, and ability that God gives us individually. Grace is the not only the accepting of a person who falls short, but it is the bridge God has constructed between where we are and where He desires for us to be. In Luke 12:12, the Bible says, “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” God gives us the the gifts and the ability to carry the gifts out. It is all given to us by grace.
“Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith.”
The word “prophecy” means “prediction” referring to the foretelling of future events, revelations, or directions of the Holy Spirit by believers in teachers in the Church. The word “proportion” means “distribution of Word”. The word “faith” implies firm reliance and persuasion in what God have given, based on the Word and will of God. This means we are only sharing what God gives us to share, not what we think or feel. 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.” Prophets as the messengers of God, saying the things God desires for His children to know. We operate in proportion of our faith when we only say what the Holy Spirit leads us to say.
May we use the gift God has given, how He intends for us to use them, accepting His calling as able ministers in His kingdom.
Jun 10, 2021 – Romans 8:33 – it is God that justifieth
In the course of my faith walk, I have experienced numerous people flinging dirt upon my shoulders, regurgitating my past bad acts, poor decisions, and my conviction which has had me in prison for nearly 18 years. These railing accusations have come from family, people I thought were friends, prison staff, and other prisoners. It has not been an easy road navigating through all of the people who have spoken ill of the changes I’ve made, the things I’ve accomplished, and the person I am now. It is beyond discouraging when you try your hardest to be the person God has called you to be, only to be met with reports of who you once were. I realized years ago that man has a report they can give, but the only report that holds any real weight is the report God gives about us. As believers, we can suffer some real torture by ingesting the wrong report. Today, we are going to look at Romans 8:33, identity of God’s elect.
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
The phrase “lay … to the charge” means “to call into question, to accuse, to arraign, to bring to account”. In criminal proceedings, an arraignment is a process where a person’s crimes are laid out and the defendant has the option to plead guilty or not guilty. In Matthew 27:13-14, the Bible says, “Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.” Jesus Christ had a bunch of accusers speaking against Him laying false charges against Him. When it came time for Him to defend Himself, He said nothing. In Matthew 27:22-23, the Bible says, “Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.” Pilate seems to defend Christ here, even asking them what did Christ do wrong deserving of crucifixion. Instead of laying out charges, they screamed more for Christ to be put to death. See, Christ did nothing wrong and the only accusation written on the cross was in Matthew 27:37, “And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” The accusation was the truth, and our Lord and Savior was accused of being who He was, the King of the Jews. In our lives we have done things worthy of accusation. I was a Barabbas, a murderer set free at the expense of Christ’s death, and people’s accusations of me WERE correct in a lot of ways. It all changed the minute I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and committed my life to serving Him …
The word “elect” means “selected, chosen, favorite”, “spoken of those chosen of God for salvation, or as members of the Kingdom of Heaven, therefore enjoying His favor, leading holy lives in communion with Him.” The key word in this part is “GOD’S elect”. It is a way different set of circumstances when it is God making the choice. 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”. We must understand that we were selected by God before the world began for the position in Christ that we now stand in. God chose us “to be holy and WITHOUT BLAME”, meaning an accusation by anyone won’t stand up. 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.” A crowd of people brought this woman before the Lord, accusing her of adultery in the very act. They wanted to stone her according to the Law, but first asked Christ for His perspective. In John 8:7, the Bible says, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Christ called their own sin into question, making them realize that they too have done things worthy of punishment, but have been forgiven.
“It is God that justifieth.”
The word “justifieth” means “to render innocent or just, to absolve from sin”. 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.” When Christ died on the cross for our sins, and we have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, we were given a new identity in Him. Old things passed away, meaning our past sins!
May we never again allow the baseless charges of our past sins be held against us. We are the chosen of God, made innocent by Him! Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!
Jun 11, 2021 – Romans 14:19 – things wherewith one may edify another
As believers, it is our job to build each other up in the Lord, cultivating an atmosphere for the Church to operate at its absolute best. An environment of peace is one of assurance, one of collaboration, one where it is safe to build freely without fear of destruction. In edification, we have to pursue a peaceable means to encourage and empower our brothers and sisters, and we have to pursue lives of peace, because wherever there is peace, the Holy Spirit is present. Sadly, there can be more drama and gossip in the Church than there is outside of the Church, and that is why the Church isn’t being healed, why we aren’t unified, and why the power in the Church has greatly diminished since the Church formed in Acts. Today, we will look at Romans 14:19, the edifying of the body by experiencing an atmosphere of peace.
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
The phrase “follow after” means “to pursue”. If we are in pursuit, then we are intentionally going towards our intended goal. Pursuing the things that make for peace is clearly defined by our actions, and there is no doubt whatever where we stand. In Psalm 34:13-14, the Bible says, “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” One of the biggest problems in the Church are the things that come out of our mouths. Gossip abounds in the Church, and people seem to be more likely to cut someone down, rail accusations, or render judgements on someone than speak a word of encouragement that can begin the road of restoration. Words are spoken based on thoughts, so if our thoughts are of evil and not peace, then there is no way we can sincerely pursue anything that makes for peace. In James 3:9-10, the Bible says, “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” It is sadly possible to sound holy one minute and then curse men the next. That effectively destroys our witness, because one thing people will certainly remember, especially from believers is how they were treated. There are tons of people who won’t step foot in a Church because of the way they were treated by believers and that is so heartbreaking to think that they came to us expecting a type of Christ, but got the enemy instead.
The word “peace” means “harmony in a civil sense, the opposite of war and dissension”. In 1 Chronicles 28:2-3, the Bible says, “Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood”. David desired to build a house for the Lord, but the Lord declared him to be a man of war. We can not build anything unto the Lord when we are driven by war and not peace. Peace facilitates the edification of a believer in Christ Jesus. In 1 Kings 5:4-5, Solomon says, “But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.” We can only build in places where there is peace. We must first pursue to flood our atmosphere with peace, then work at building.
“And things wherewith one may edify another.”
The word “edify” means “to build or building up in faith and advancement in divine life”. By edifying on another we are clearing the way so we all can grow together in the Lord. A stagnant Church means there is no edification among the believers. In 1 Corinthians 14:12, the Bible says, “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” Spiritual gifts mean nothing if we don’t have a heart to edify the Church. Edification means we will put ourselves last for the sake of others. In 1 Corinthians 10:24, the Bible says , “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” A thriving Church is where everyone seeks to build people up into who God has called them to be. There can be no selfishness in the edification process because edification is always about the other person. In John 13:15, Christ says, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” Christ gave us the example, and now it is our turn to be this example in another’s life.
May our lives be lived to build up the Church, serving others over ourselves.
Jun 12, 2021 – Isaiah 25:4 – thou hast been a strength
Do we praise God enough? This question should cause us to look within, and examine ourselves, whether or not we praise the Lord for all He is and has done for us. Do we praise God at all? In our lives, we have been ingrates, asking God for more and more, all while never praising Him for what He has already done. Every now and then, we need to really reflect on what God has protected us from, what He has given us, how He has saved us, and how He has made us new creations in Christ. Maybe these reflections will make us more grateful believers who give God the praise in all things in our lives. Our praise keeps the enemy away! Today, we will look at Isaiah 25:4, remembering the deliverance of God through praise.
“For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”
The word “strength” means “defense or a fortress”. Isaiah is talking about God’s strength. In Isaiah 26:4, the Bible says, “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength”. Do we trust in the Lord’s strength enough to bring our issues to Him, having full confidence that He will deliver us from whatever mounts up against us? The word “poor” means “weak or thin”. In Romans 5:6, the Bible says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” God responded to our poverty by giving us Christ as our Lord and Savior, but also as our sacrifice, achieving salvation for us that we couldn’t do on our own. How many of us praise God for His salvation poured out upon us, knowing full well we didn’t deserve it, or do we just accept the gift and move on? In Matthew 5:3, Christ says in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Christ deems the poor to be blessed. Why? Because we will inherit the kingdom of God because of our deliverance! How many of us feel blessed, or even receive this truth that we are blessed even at our lowest points?
“A strength to the needy in his distress”
The word “needy” means “destitute, to be in want”. This could be spiritual or physical. The word distress means ” a tight place, trouble, or affliction”. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-17, the Bible says, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”. No matter what is going on outside of us, no matter what may wither away, we are being renewed daily. Our view of our afflictions should be to understand that afflictions are temporary and once delivered will bring glory to God. In Psalm 34:19, the Bible says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them ALL.” God doesn’t pick and choose which afflictions He will deliver us from. If we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, we will be delivered from all of them! Have we ever praised the Lord for getting us through a period of affliction, or have we been too relieved that it was over to give God the praise He deserves?
“A refuge from the storm”
The word “refuge” refers to a safe place given by God, where we can find rest no matter what is going on in our lives. The word “storm” means “a gush of water, a flood, or a tempest”. This type of storm is overwhelming, making it hard for us to plant our feet on solid ground. In Psalm 107:28-30, the Bible says, “Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.” God doesn’t have to take us out of the storms in life, because He will either calm the storm and give us peace, or give us peace in the midst of the storm. When we are delivered we are glad, but do we give God the praise?
“A shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”
The word “shadow” means “shade or covering”. The word “heat” means “drought or desolation”. The word “blast” means “violent wind”, and the word “terrible” means “ruthless”. 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 enemy will try to cause a drought or beat against our strength until we crumble, but the Lord will come in and triumph over the enemy. God continues to deliver us, continues to protect us, continues to bless us, but do we continue to give Him the praise?
May we learn to praise God in our circumstances and in our deliverance. Our God is awesome!
Jun 13, 2021 – Romans 16:17 – avoid them
Unity is essential in the Church. God is pleased when we come together, using our gifts, our abilities, and what we are being taught by the Holy Spirit to inspire, strengthen and encourage the Church. Where there is unity, there is no selfishness, no division, no things present that break the bonds God has established. As badly as we would like a Church that is completely absent of anyone or anything that aims to disrupt the unity God has provided us, we know that this is not the case. Unity begins with each person’s commitment to God and our faithful reception of the Word of God by faith, because by both, we would see that God desires for His children to live and worship together as one body. The enemy hates unity, because unity produces agreement, and agreement ushers in God’s answered prayers, giving the Church even more power by faith. What do we do when people are in our congregation, purposely trying to disrupt what God is trying to establish in us? Today, we will look at Romans 16:17, avoiding those who cause division in the Church.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
The word “beseech” means “to call near or invite with the purpose of encouragement”. It is the same as saying, “Please pay attention to this because it is very important!” Paul is writing to the Church in Rome, and his letter is based on reports, observations, and experiences within the Church. The word “brethren” refers to believers, the saints of God, the redeemed of the Lord by faith in Jesus Christ. So it is clear Paul is speaking to believers. 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 enemy is always looking for weaknesses in any God-ordained institution, so we have to be on our guard at all times. The word “mark” means “to take note of, to identify, ” to keep an eye out for”. In Philippians 3:17, the Bible says, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” We are not only to take note of the people who are causing divisions, but also of the people that set great examples of the faith. These are our references of how we are to live, move, and think, and how we are not to. We believers should always be aware of what is going on around us. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the Kingdom of God.
The word “divisions” mean “disunions or dissensions”. Christ warned us of this in Matthew 13:24-25, which says, “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But WHILE MEN SLEPT, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” The key is the men slept! A person who sleeps is unaware of what is happening right under their own nose, and the same parallels for the Church. Too many of us are spiritually asleep and unaware that Satan has planted enemies in the Church, whose aim is to sow discord with the believers. In Luke 11:17, the Bible says, “But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.” Satan wants to destroy the Church, so he causes disunion and dissension, so we are unable to unify and usher in the power if God through agreement. In Psalm 133:1, the Bible says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” God intended from the beginning for us to dwell together in unity. The phrase “offenses contrary to” means “scandals or activities opposed to”. An example of this is found in Acts 15:1, which says, “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” We know as believers that this is a lie, because in Romans 10:9, 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.” If someone doesn’t know this, these teachers could lead them astray! The word “doctrine” means “instruction”. 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 Bible is our guide, our truth, the standard by which we weigh everything said or done. Our examples must embody the Word of God in their lives, so the truth is taught in word and deed. The enemy can’t stir division where all believers are on watch, and the Holy Spirit is given free reign to teach the Word of God.
The word “avoid” means “to deviate from”. This suggests that we change directions the minute we encounter them. In Proverbs 4:14-16, 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. For THEY SLEEP NOT, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.” Our enemies are relentless, tirelessly trying to sow disunion in the Church, causing the Church to become stagnant and die. If we become a Church that constantly has to address who and what we are not, then we will never be able to establish who we are!
Pay attention to those who stir dissension and stay from their path! Unity is the goal!
Jun 14, 2021 – Matthew 5:16 – and glorify your Father which is in heaven
We as believers are light bearers. God has so graciously placed His Light in us, giving us the charge to go and spread His Light unto all nations. We have an obligation to not only reveal the Light to those who are walking in darkness, but the world must be able to see God’s light in us. Why would anyone want to obtain the Light we encourage them to have if they can’t easily see that Light in us? This walk of faith is more than just lip-service, words spoken to ramp up a crowd of people only to lose them because our livelihoods are inconsistent with the words we speak. Letting our Light shine is a body of work, living a life that pleases our God, so when people take note, they see clearly the God in us. Too many people go to Church but the Church is not in them, and many are pushed away from the faith due to poor representatives. That must change! Today, we will look at Matthew 5:16, letting the Light of God shine in this dark world.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
The word “light” means “luminousness”, speaking of moral and spiritual light and knowledge which enlightens the mind, soul or conscious, including the idea of moral goodness, purity and holiness”. 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.” God created light and immediately separated it from darkness. The two were never designed to dwell together. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” God created light to stand alone to shine according to His command, so we must also pursue fellowship and unity with those who possess the same light as we do. In Isaiah 60:1, the Bible says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” The light in us spurs us to action, to stand ready to move according to God’s command, accomplishing all things for His glory. God wants us to use what He has given us to bring glory to Him, because nothing outside of what God has given is necessary for us to shine. This is why it is important for us as believers to be the people God called us to be, because in our own unique identities God has provided His light. The word “shine” means “to radiate brilliancy”. In Proverbs 4:18, the Bible says, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” When we are living lives that please the Lord, His light shines upon not only us but our path as well, leaving no doubt that we are the favored of the Lord.
“That they may see your good works”
The word “see” means “to behold, to have or gain knowledge of”. In Philippians 2:15, the Bible says, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world”. Our lives and our work are designed to stand apart from the world. Allowing God’s light to shine in us leaves little room for scrutiny, even though people will try to pierce it anyway. In Matthew 7:20, Christ says, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” The word “works” mean “deeds or labors”. These are words of action, and our actions will definitely reveal what kind of people we are. If we allow our light to shine, then more people will see that we are of the Father, because our fruit will resemble our God. “Good works” speaks of the deeds we do in obedience to God, the things God intended for us to do from the beginning. In John 6:28-29, the Bible says, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” All of our work begins with the Word of God, placing our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and receiving the Holy Spirit, which will teach us all truth. Our works must always come from the Word of God! We don’t work to be seen, but our good work in the Lord makes us visible!
“And glorify your Father which is in heaven”
The word “glorify” means “to bring honor to, to esteem highly, to magnify”. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 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? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” God created us, created light, and places His light in us so we should let this light shine everywhere we go, all so we can then tell someone else about the God that causes us to shine! It is our job to tell others where the Light comes from.
May our lights shine before all men giving us the opportunity to glorify God!
Jun 15, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 2:14 – the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God
God created His children to live according to a different frequency to those who are in the world. Not only are our actions and deeds supposed to glorify God, but the way we think, receive information, and process things must be according to the will of God. When we think of frequency, we tend to think of radios, where it is necessary to be tuned in to the right frequency to hear the programming available. The same principle applies in our faith walk, because we have to be tuned into the right frequency to listen to the Word of God. Those unable to tune into God’s frequency are the ones who hear words but are unable to produce meaning from them, so the message is never received, and is often deemed as foolishness. The Holy Spirit is the frequency by which we are able to understand the Word of God. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 2:14, discerning the Word of God.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
The phrase “natural man” refers to a body governed by the soul or the fallen instinct of man. A natural man is carnal in nature, allowing their thoughts, feelings and desires to drive them wherever they think, and ultimately wherever they want to go. In Matthew 16:23, the Bible says, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Christ rebuked Peter, one of His disciples, for operating according to the natural man and not according to the things of God. Please don’t think because we are saved, that we are incapable of being carnal in nature. In Romans 8:7-8, the Bible says, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” The two natures are available to us, but we have to choose the things of the Spirit, because the natural man is incapable of pleasing God. In Romans 7:22-23, the Bible says, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” There is a war between the natural mind and the spiritual mind, and this greatly affects believers. Remember, the letters of Paul were written to the Church, to explain why the natural man can’t understand the things of God, but also to explain why some believers can’t understand. They are both operating from the same natural man! The word “receiveth” means “to accept or take hold of”. Whatever we receive shapes the reality that governs our lives. 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.” There are two things we can choose to receive here, but the Word of God tells us which one we SHOULD receive! The natural man is going to respond with their emotions which will lead them into bondage. The spiritual man is going to place themselves under the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit.
“For they are foolishness to him”
The word “foolishness” means “silliness, or absurdity”. In 1 Corinthians 1:18, the Bible says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” Two perspectives here, one deems preaching of the cross to be nonsense, and one other deems it to be the power of God. 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 natural man is blinded by Satan so they won’t be able to receive the gospel of Christ. How can we know our way if we can’t see?
“Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”
The word “know” is a relationship term expressing the joining together of two things as one. We become one with what we know. The word “spiritually” means “divine, assisted by the Holy Spirit”. The word “discerned” means “examined, investigated, or scrutinized”. In John 14:17, Christ says, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” The natural man can’t examine the things of the Spirit, because the Spirit doesn’t have residence in their lives. When a believer becomes carnally minded, it means we are no longer accepting God’s frequency, but rather catching the frequencies of the world.
God desires for us become a Church that is spiritually minded, receiving the things of the God with a clear signal. May we tune ourselves in to the Spirit of God, listening for every word from Him.
Jun 16, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 3:6 – God gave the increase
We all have our roles to play in the kingdom, all are important and necessary for the building up of the Church. God delegates the roles we play and it is our job to operate within the parameters God sets. Some of us will introduce someone to the Word of God, and others will confirm the Word of God already introduced, but both are vital in allowing someone to receive the truth of God in their hearts. I remember a time when I was teaching someone the Word of God and it became highly frustrating because no matter how clearly I thought I presented the Word, the dots didn’t connect for them in certain studies. A brother showed me this verse, which is the topic verse for this study, and immediately I realized that I was trying to do all three, plant, water, and get the increase! Sometimes, we will never see the increase from the seeds we plant or water, but it doesn’t mean the increase won’t happen. We just have to focus on the role we have to play. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 3:6, a seed producing increase.
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
The word “planted” means “to instill doctrine”. This is usually the person making the introduction to the faith. No person plants without hoping for increase, but increase isn’t the focus. The focus of the planter is to teach the Word of God. In 1 Corinthians 4:15, the Bible says, “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” There are many teachers of the Word of God, but not as many planters. Paul uses the “father” reference to express the type of care the planter has for the people who are introduced to the seed. In Mark 4:26-27, the Bible says, “And he [Christ] said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.” The planter should have rest after the seed is planted, because the seed will grow outside of our control. Ever wanted someone to receive the Word of God so badly that it wrecked your countenance and confidence when the increase didn’t happen in your time? That is an indicator that we haven’t rested after we planted, and is there is no rest, then there is no peace, and without peace, God is not the dominating force within us. 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.” We are only responsible for sharing the Word of God in any capacity we serve, because we cannot control what they receive or hear.
The word “watered” means “to imbibe or to furnish drink”. In Acts 18:24-25, the Bible says, “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.” So Apollos knew Scripture very well, and taught what he knew well, but there was an aspect of the faith he still hadn’t receiveded. Someone planted good seed in Apollos. In Acts 18:26, the Bible says, “And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” Aquila and Priscilla watered the seed Apollos had in him by connecting some dots in the knowledge he already possessed. Apollos became even more knowledgeable because of the planting and watering of the Word of God. In John 4:14, Christ says, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” The waterer positions the hearer further to receive the benefit of God, His Holy Spirit, that will continue to teach and guide us unto all truth!
“But God gave the increase”
The word “gave” means “to bestow upon another”. The word ” increase” means “growth”. In 1 Corinthians 1:30, the Bible says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”. When God gives the increase, there becomes concrete evidence of it in our lives. No man can get increase unless God gives it. In Ephesians 3:7, “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, so therefore, God’s increase! In Psalm 127:1, the Bible says, “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.” We must leave the increase to God, allowing Him to produce the result of our labor in Him!
May we plant and water in hope, but leave the increase to our most capable God!
From June 17th to July 3rd Marshall is taking a vacation, so we are replaying: