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Archive for December, 2012


(Scripture from the KJV)

– My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change. For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? – Proverbs 24:21-22

– “I really don’t know what I was waiting for, and my time was running wild. A million dead-end streets. Every time I thought I’d got it made – it seemed the taste was not so sweet.” – David Bowie (“Changes”)

Why do so many seem to always go about continually trying to change their ways (Jeremiah 2:36)? Almost all of us are bombarded daily with commercial pitches and products – promising “to change our lives.”. This can be very easy to do if we don’t like ourselves much – or it seems that others don’t like us very much – and it can be a very expensive endeavor if we keep buying into it each time. The only true and lasting change there ever can be in life comes from above and within. It is through the might of the Holy Spirit in the inner man – Jesus Christ dwelling in hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).

This inner change cannot be done by without help from God. We can’t just wish and hope that it will happen. We have no root in ourselves – without our Father we can do nothing (Mark 4:17, John 15:5, Acts 17:28). Through praying in the Holy Spirit – God has to get to work on our desperately wicked and deceitful hearts – full of presumptuous and secret sins – cleansing us from all unrighteousness (Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm 19:13, Psalm 90:8, Romans 8:26, 1 John 1:9). This is called repentance. It is changing our hearts. However, it is not merely turning away from sin – but turning to God for His help in doing it (Psalm 79:9). Repentance is a continual, day-by-day renewal of the inner man – while our outer man perishes (2 Corinthians 4:16).

It is allowing Christ – not worldly commercials – to transform our minds (Romans 12:2). As long as we live – this process cannot stop. Who among us can ever say “I have made my heart clean – I am pure from sin (Proverbs 20:9)?” As believers, the second we hit the cruise control button on inner change, our cunning and deceitful adversary – the devil – will waltz right in (1 Corinthians 10:21, 1 Peter 5:8). Without repentance – we will perish (Luke 13:3,5). This process is over when we take our last breath. That’s when the final change takes place – when Christ changes our vile bodies – that they may be fashioned like unto his glorious body. According to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Philippians 3:23).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. – 2 Corinthians 9:15

During the holiday season each year, some of us may come across a church marquee or card that reads this: “Jesus came to pay a debt he did not owe – because we owed a debt we could not pay.” Over 2,000 years ago God gave us the most unspeakable gift – at the most unspeakable cost – the life of His only Son (John 3:16). We were all bought with a painful price – the precious blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:20, 1 Corinthians 7:23). Our sin debt was forgiven and paid in full at Calvary. The reason we serve God is because we can never repay Him for what He did – this is our biggest reward and blessing (Romans 4:4, Ephesians 2:8-9).

This is why God does not recommend forgiveness – He commands it (Matthew 6:14-15). We forgive all others unconditionally for the sake of Christ – lest Satan should get advantage of us – for we should never be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). What God did for all mankind by hanging His beloved Son on the Cross – was far more than enough for what we all deserve (Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3). We must all be very careful and prayerful that it really was enough – that we never want anything more than to receive the end result of our faith – and the grace brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Samuel 12:21, Job 21:15, Job 35:3, Malachi 3:14, Hebrews 11:13-16, 1 Peter 1:9,13).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– But as the days of Noah were, so shall the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking – marrying and giving in marriage … until the day that Noah entered the ark.  And knew not until the flood came – and took them all away – so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.  Then shall two be in the field – the one shall be taken – and the other left. – Matthew 24:37-40

Only our Father in heaven knows the precise time when He will send Jesus back for His children.  God is the only One who will know the exact second when His gospel of the kingdom has been preached into all the world – for a witness unto all the nations (Mark 13:32, Matthew 24:14).  This is so everyone on earth will have a chance to either accept or reject Him.  When the time arrives – Jesus Christ will come as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Until that day, the devil will be roaring around like a lion – around the clock – seeking whom he can devour and take captive at will (1 Peter 5:8, 2 Timothy 2:26).  Christians are not immune – nor should they be ignorant of Satan‘s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  The devil is the day and night accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).  Only those of us who endure to the very end – the same shall be saved – when we receive the end result of our faith (1 Peter 1:9, Matthew 24:13).

However, there seems to be a growing and dangerous deception in much of modern Christianity that the physical walls of any church provide people with some of permanent protection from the contaminating influences of the outside world.  Bolted doors and locked windows somehow make it impossible for Satan to penetrate them.  But, the devil is a spirit – having access to the same places God does (Job 1:7, Job 2:2).  Our Father knew exactly where Satan’s seat was in the church at Pergamos (Revelation 2:13) – does he have one in each of ours (Ephesians 6:12)?

We are warned in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 that when people start to say “Peace and safety” –  sudden destruction will come upon them.  It will be as swiftly as the travail that comes upon a woman with child – and they shall not escape.  Christians are supposed to be children of light – and not darkness – so that they day of the Lord should not overtake us like a thief.  We must sober, vigilant, and watchful always – and not allow Satan to lull us into complacency, laziness, and slumber (Isaiah 6:10, Matthew 25:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6).

Praying always – that we may be accounted worthy to escape these things that shall come to pass – and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).  We should never get so warm, cozy, and comfortable in our churches that we believe nothing can hurt us within their walls.  Satan’s fiery darts can land anywhere and burn away any safety we thought we may have had.  We don’t want to be found naked when all of the earthly tabernacles are dissolved – and only the heavenly one remains (2 Corinthians 5:1-3).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– To whom He said, “This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing” – yet they would not hear. – Isaiah 28:12

Even as believers, we will all get weary and worn out from having to live and work in this world. Many times we will feel a need to take an extended break. It’s not wrong to take vacations and recharge batteries – but no matter where we go “to get away from it all” – we cannot escape God‘s watchful eye (Job 9:11, Jeremiah 23:24). We may feel “refreshed” when we come back to our homes – but it usually lasts no more than a few days to perhaps a few weeks. The problems and issues that can seem to disappear during our times away – toss out the welcome mat to greet us upon our return.

We might even feel rejuvenated and renewed – until the world starts weighing us down again. It becomes a repetitive cycle throughout many lives. Two weeks of vacation every year does not work for us as believers. As Christians, our renewal comes from within. Any lasting transformation that occurs has to come from the inside out – through the power of the Holy Ghost working in our hearts (Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 2:10-16, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Romans 8:26-27). This cannot come without the repentance and remission of sins. When we need any refreshing – as we often will – it has to come from Christ first (Acts 3:19).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)
To every thing there is a season – and a time to every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

We cannot live in an arbitrary, chaotic, and random world – where everything is based and contingent on coincidence, fate, or luck. Everything has to be a God moment – or it’s not. Even if it seems to be evil or wicked, God is aware of it (Psalm 103:19, Isaiah 45:7). Whatever happens to us from cradle to grave – our Father requires everything that is past (Ecclesiastes 3:15). However, it is not for us to know the times or the seasons the Father has put in His own power (Acts 1:7). There would be no way for God to judge us or the world when the time comes – to determine eternal destinies – if He missed just one thing (Romans 3:5-6).

Whatever happens on earth – has to happen in order to fulfill God’s will and Scripture first – not our will. Even before Christ started preaching and teaching – our Father chose a disciple by the name of Judas to betray Jesus (John 6:64) – to fulfill Old Testament prophesies of Christ’s subsequent death and resurrection (Psalm 16:10, Psalm 22:16-19, Psalm 34:20, Zechariah 12:10). Tribulations come from above as well – to accomplish God’s plans. Our Father chose Joseph to go through years and years of difficulty and trials to save many from famine (Genesis 37:2 – Genesis 50:20). This was probably not Joseph’s own plan for his life. However, all things “eventually” did work together for the good – but not just Joseph’s (Romans 8:28).

Our Father sets this world in our hearts at birth so we cannot figure out – or find out all the work He does under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Many of us would love to know when something is going to happen – or why something is happening now. We can’t know “when” while we are living – because God does not operate according to human calendars, checklists, and clocks (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8). We could never learn to trust Him if He told us the precise time something was going to occur. Just like Abraham and Sarah did with Hagar (Genesis 16:1-6) – any impatience on our part can make us try to force or rush a blessing that God did intend for us to have later – according to His heavenly timing.

God has many things to tell us – but we cannot bear them now (John 16:12). Even the disciples of Jesus did not have their understanding of Scripture opened to them until after Christ’s resurrection (Luke 24:45). They thought they knew beforehand – but Jesus kept making points to them that they did not. Just before going to Jerusalem to be crucified – Christ told them that what was about to happen – was to fulfill all things written concerning the Son of Man. But, they still did not understand (Luke 18:31-34). Only after Jesus rose again were the disciples shown plainly of the Father (John 16:25). Won’t it be the same for us?

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– You shall not respect persons in judgment; but you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God‘s.  And, the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto Me, and I will hear it. – Deuteronomy 1:17

God’s strength cannot be made perfect in our pride (2 Corinthians 12:9). There is nothing too hard for the Almighty (Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:27) – but most of life on earth is so hard for so many.  However, our Lord can do things like make the sun stand still in the sky (Joshua 10:13).  There is nothing He can’t do.  God is jealous for us.  Just like any loving parent on earth would want their kids to tell them what’s bothering or bugging them – so does He (2 Corinthians 11:2).

Our heavenly Father will “hear” anything that’s troubling us, upsetting us – perhaps something we can see absolutely no way out of.  However, our trust comes from submitting to His will always – accepting and understanding that the solution and outcome of whatever case we present to Him – may not be exactly as we may anticipate it will.  Just because we’re Christians does not mean we are going to get our way every time. This is one of the biggest causes of backsliding among believers (Proverbs 14:14).

Casting all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7) does not mean taking some back when we think we know how to handle them better and quicker than He does. We cannot learn trust through impatience. The Lord is good to those who wait upon Him – unto the souls that seek Him (Lamentations 3:25, Romans 8:28). Remember Joseph had to wait a very long time for God to show His goodness to not only him – but to all of his brothers as well – the ones who had sold Joseph into slavery to begin with (Genesis 37:3 – Genesis 45:28). All the harm that seemed to befall Joseph – turned out to be a blessing not only for himself – but to his entire family as well in the end.

 

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