Mo Matter What, Who, When, Why, How or Where…God Can Be Trusted!

bible2a“No Matter What, Who, When, Why, Where, How…”

Are you are a believer in Christ? Then you need to read and reread the book of Job because you need to know the God you serve and His and your adversary. This is not just a well I will but it is a book that YOU MUST devour until you understand each and every character’s profile but mostly your own and God’s!

Beloved, when you are faced with afflictions and situations that seem ‘out of character’ you will be like Job asking the proverbial question: WHY?  As you wander the book of Job you will unearth this question more than once. Job’s friends have been saying he has sin in his life.  Yet Job has been saying to his friends God Knows All. Job 31: 4 “Does he not see my ways and count all my steps?” God cannot, nor will He ever lie. That is why he can trust God.  Although he has been through the fire and continues to feel the heat, one thing he knows is this: God knows all and therefore no matter how bad life has become and how despondent he is over this strange set of circumstances he will not walk away from his belief that God is God and He knows the reason; this is true EVEN IF WE OR JOB NEVER DOES!

Job knows this about God: He cannot, nor will He ever lie. That is why he can trust God.  Although he has been through the fire and continues to feel the heat, one thing he knows is this: God knows all and therefore no matter how bad life has become and how despondent he is over this strange set of circumstances he will not walk away from his belief that God is God and He knows the reason; this is true EVEN IF WE OR JOB NEVER DOES!

If we fail here, Satan wins.  

God has, as one author noted, “locked himself in” to consistently adhere to the laws He has established and that is why we can trust Him. He cannot lie, change, break a promise or allow his power to be stopped. His word cannot be broken, annulled, and he cannot sin. All of these are true about God and that is what Job is clinging to even as he wonders what all of this is about. We too face these same dilemmas.

James reminds us that when we are in a trial to ask for wisdom and that is what Job is doing. This is where the rubber meets the road and we must decide: will I trust God or not. Ask yourself: Has God been faithful in the past? Then you can trust that he be faithful now and as well in the future.  If we can say yea and amen to this we can know for certain that at some point in time God will end our suffering, our pain or our dilemma. And if perhaps we need to know, He will also reveal its purpose. May you be encouraged to know that as Job wondered you may as well. But, even in his wondering, he still trusted God. You can as well.

 

 

Tick Tock….

clock-christmas-mug2Revelation 16 “Tick Tock….”

‘You are just—the one who is and who was, the Holy One—because you have passed these judgments, they got what they deserved.’ Does God take pleasure in this? NO! The answer is found from the pen of Ezekiel: “Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign Lord? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live?” [Ezek 18] and from the pen of Peter: God ‘is being patient toward you because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.’ [2Peter 3]

The truth is this: what you sow you reap. Satan has sown his seeds of the “deadly d’s” and now God has set his sickle to him and his tares and with righteous judgment they will be reaped to destruction. Satan’s heart was defiant from the beginning and now God’s patience has run its course. God’s sacred history and His plan are unveiled that we might know and be challenged to repent and live righteously. He has immersed us into the lives of the 7 churches that we might know God’s standards of righteousness and be warned of the consequences if we do not. God has opened his book that we might see how much He hates unrighteousness as we should as well.

It is darkest before the dawn but Christmas is coming and the Holy One, the Ancient of Days’ clock will have sounded its last tock forever and we hear the bells resound: “It is finished!” and so it will be.

All Scripture is taken from the FREE online Bible Study tool of Bible.org ministries.

“Bait and Switch”

2cor-4-bait-and-switch2

We have all been approached by salesmen who say you have to take advantage of this deal today because tomorrow it will be gone. Beware, these are very persuasive people!  These were and are today the enemies we face. In Corinth there were those who sought to use these tactics to show Paul in the worst light possible. But God’s ways are not men’s. Truth will shine above the lies even though temporarily it may seem the other way around. As then it is true today, our true enemy is Satan and his goal is to dupe the unsuspecting, to deceive through any means possible. He targets those along the path of life who are seeking truth but often when the gospel is presented he comes and snatches it away lest they see the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as Paul, we too might be the target of the unscrupulous who seek to paint us in unflattering colors. This is not new for even the religious leaders tried this tactic with Christ. The truth of the matter is this: their temporal gain is their eternal loss.

So what do we do in situations like this? Take a lesson from Christ and Paul. Let your light shine through your earthen vessel for it is the light that dispels the darkness. If you are persecuted or knocked down remember this, Jesus will use this to present the gospel so that some will see and be converted while others will hear “you are without excuse.”

Precious One, do not despair, for your suffering is producing an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. This is temporary but what cannot be seen is eternal.

The Original War Room

mark 14 war room2 A recent movie reveals the spiritual battle that all believers face, but the original War Room was in Heaven and played out on the screen of the Garden of Gethsemane. The screenplay revealed the tool of temptation, the submission of our Savior and the power of prayer.

Only Luke reveals to us what took place just after the Last Supper on the way to the Garden. The prophecy of Zechariah would be fulfilled but Jesus revealed that  a battle for the disciples had already been waged in the heavenlies between Satan and God just as it had been for Job. “Simon, Simon, pay attention! Satan has demanded to have you all, to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”

What was it that Satan wanted? He wanted to prove that Simon’s faith was chaff, not wheat. He would fall for the temptation. That is why Jesus implored the disciples three times: “Stay, Pray, Watch” for the “enemy is prowling about seeking whom he can devour.”[1Pet 5]  Satan’s three weapons are; “Steal, Kill, Destroy”—BUT Jesus had prayed. Satan’s weapons are not flesh and blood but spiritual forces of evil. Prayer is our weapon.

The disciples did stay. The disciples slept not prayed. They failed to watch and thus when the accuser, Judas, arrived they were caught off guard. Satan stole their confidence, killed their words, and destroyed their weak faith—-But Jesus prayed.

Jesus is imploring us: “Stay, Pray, Watch.” What are we doing? Are we prepared?

Evangelism vs Counter-evangelism

acts 14 horse battle2It seems that no matter where we turn we are faced with the false lies of the enemy of our souls.  Satan is not only a master deceiver but he is a master at distraction. Just as Jesus said, he will plant tares among the wheat and therefore, we should not be surprised when we come face to face with them as Paul and Barnabas did in Iconium.

Even though Paul and Barnabas were Holy Spirit anointed sent missionaries, they still came face to face with the dichotomy of the false vs the true. When this occurs in your life, what do you do? Take a lesson from them: they spoke courageously with reliance upon the Lord. They relied upon Him for their words and the power behind the words. They testified to His grace trusting that God was hearing and answering this same prayer: Acts 4:29 “Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage”

We are often are surprised when others misunderstand the gospel message. Don’t be. Just remember, our God is greater and nothing is impossible with God’s help. When faced with the counter-evangelists, pray as the early church did; put your armor on and go forth into the battle.  horse is prepared for the day of battlebut the victory is from the Lord.” [Pro 21:31]

Fool for Satan’s Sake or Wise for Christ’s Sake?

proverbs 4 wisdom2a The author of Hebrews reminds us we must be trained by experience as we gather wisdom from those who are themselves mature, in fact, the aged, or the elder amongst us. They have learned to discern both good and evil and now are passing on that to the next generation as the psalmist said to do. [Ps 78]  Daily we are in a spiritual battle against unseen foes and need both our armor and wisdom to defeat this deadly foe. We find it in the Word of God which is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. [2Tim 3] God’s promise is sure; He is always ready to give his children wisdom.[James 1]

Solomon knew this well for that is the one gift he asked of the Lord. Two times he reminds his children, and us, that it begins when one actively listens with mind and body. Just like our heavenly Father, Solomon tells his children that they are to listen so that they may gain discernment which is being able to judge between good and evil. They are to acquire wisdom which is the supreme gift and to do that they must lay hold of his words and hide them in their hearts. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” [Ps 119]

But why is wisdom so critical? Without wisdom, we are fools for Satan’s sake. With wisdom, we are wise for Christ’s sake.

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The Villain, God, and Us

luke 22 i have prayed2In the opening verses of Job, we find the villain Satan in the presence of God as the accuser of the brethren who has been on the prowl looking for someone to devour. [1Pe 5:8]

The adversary challenged God that Job’s trials would result in falling and cursing God. But God knew his servant Job, he is “a pure and upright man, [he] fears God” Just as God knew Job, Jesus knew Peter and Jesus knows us. Unlike Job Peter was given fair warning. “Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;” The question is this: when tests come will we be like Job?

And how does the adversary work? Distraction. He distracted Job from his prayer walk.  He distracted through the disciples’ mistrust of another’s motives and arguing as to who was the greatest. In the midst of this, Jesus revealed the test and a powerful truth: The test may not be removed but “I have prayed for you, that your faith not fail.”

We are to be like Job: he never cursed God. But, if like Peter we fall we must NOT say: I have fallen; I am of no use BUT rather I have fallen, I must get up and strengthen others as Jesus said. God will use the bad to bring about good.  Beloved, cling to this: Jesus is interceding for us that our faith not fail.  It is not “if” but “when” we fall we are to turn back and strengthen others with the lessons we have learned.

 

How to Pray for the Wicked

psalm 58 59 pray boldly2aToday as we watch the news our hearts are filled with much sadness by the many atrocities around our world. But God wants us to see that it is at times like this that we must be bold in our prayers for those who are blinded by the enemy and do NOT know the truth so that they may come to the knowledge of who Jesus really is and who God is.

TRUTH: The Holy Word presents the case of the righteous vs the wicked (the ungodly) from Genesis to Revelation that we may be discerning of the ways of Satan.

TRUTH: But there is also another reason and it is so that we may confidently approach God with weeping and praying for their lost souls. We know from history that the words of Paul have come true in more than one century: “fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” The why is clear: “the one who kills you will think he is offering service to God.” [Jn 16] because “the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.” [2Co 4:4]

TRUTH: We must  bow before the Father and pray that their eyes of their heart be enlightened so that they may know the hope that is true and everlasting; that they may come to the knowledge of the true God; that the blindness that Satan has passed over their eyes may be removed and they see with their eyes and understand with their heart and turn to God and be healed. [John 12].

TRUTH: Beloved we are blessed to know the truth. Be bold before the Father and pray with boldness for the lost.

War Ain’t Pretty But….

Nope, war is ugly and there are more victims than victors. but, spiritual wars are even uglier. Let me explain:

Here’s what it looked like. Ephesians 6 battle mind2

Before I began this post I experienced an onslaught of the powers of darkness overshadowing me. It was more powerful than I have experienced in a long time. That is what happens when you come against these strongholds of the “enemy” Satan. But, just as Paul prayed for the Ephesians I began to pray: Strengthen me Holy Spirit in my inner man for Satan is my enemy and he does not want me to write this nor to share it. Just as quickly as the forces of darkness began to diminish. How often do we not utilize the tool of prayer in such strong words. But, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were interceding for me and I must believe that this is why Satan’s or his demon’s powers were thwarted. And now precious ones to the post!

This is War and It Ain’t Pretty!

ephesians 6 armor2This is the truth regarding a believer’s battle! This is real war Beloved lest we think otherwise!

Paul was all too familiar with walking in the flesh as well as walking in the Spirit and what lay ahead for the Ephesians. Recall what he told the Ephesian elders: “after I am gone fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” Jesus said “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves.” Who better than Peter to remind us that Satan himself roams about seeking whom he may devour and audaciously demands that we be sifted as wheat for he experienced it in real life. BUT, just as Christ prayed for Peter that his faith not fail, he sits at the right hand of God interceding for us. In addition, the Holy Spirit “intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.”

Take heart Beloved and prepare for the spiritual battle you will face daily moment by moment. Pray boldly that God would “grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person” because the real battle begins in the mind.[See above for my real life experience today!] Our real enemy is not flesh and blood but spiritual forces that are invisible to the naked eye. Yet, Satan cannot vanquish: truth, righteousness, the good news of peace, faith, salvation and the word of God. Be conscious that a spiritual battle is raging; be knowledgeable of Satan’s schemes of deception and untruths. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Imitate Christ, put on your armor!

Acts 8 “Persecution Leads to Powerful Proclamation”

ImageOn Jan 8, 1956 five missionaries were slain upon a riverbed in a small jungle area of Ecuador. The world wept and many asked why. Jim Elliot was one of those five and his words “he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” became the rallying cry for missions around the world. The truth of what Joseph said in Gen 50 “As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people,” fanned the flames of missionary hearts. So too in Acts 8 what Satan desired to accomplish God used to bring the gospel of salvation to men, women and children to those whom the Jews had rejected—the Samaritans.

The Jews prejudice was clear and profound. We recall the words of James and John, who had prejudicial hearts in Luke 9, asking Jesus if they should call down fire upon the Samaritan village that did not welcome them. And yet Jesus walked and taught and prepared the way for just such a time as this. The Samaritan woman at the well and the parable of the Good Samaritan were his lessons to the disciples to open their eyes to their perception and their heart of prejudice. Yet Jesus saw them as kingdom people. Do we see others in this frame of reference?

 As the waves of persecution swept over Jerusalem God touched the heart of Philip, one of the seven servants of God from Acts 6. He would become the instrument God would use to cross the barriers of prejudice to bring the message of salvation to the Samaritans. As the news traveled back to Jerusalem, Peter and John’s heart of prejudice would be challenged. Could it be that God will open the doors to these? Jesus had said: you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth” but the church had been slow in their progress to accomplish this. Did God allow this to move the church beyond the Temple, beyond Jerusalem? We may never be able to answer that question but we can see how God will use the evil intentions of Satan to bring about good thus once again teaching us this principle: Jer 29:11 “For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.”  

 God does not let us rest but opens our eyes to see His marvelous message of salvation is offered to all. The Jerusalem church sent Peter and John to see. They may have come with hearts of doubt, perhaps unbelief but the evidence was clear: salvation had come to these Samaritans. It was such a profound lesson for them that as they journeyed back to Jerusalem they proclaimed the good news to many Samaritan villages. The words of Gamaliel were  ringing forth…”but if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them, or you may even be found fighting against God.”

Where do you find that you are asking “why would God choose them?” instead of “why would He not choose them?” Are you hindering the work of the Lord God Almighty because of your heart of prejudice?  Are you still in Jerusalem or have you moved to your Samaria so that His Word can ring forth the truth of His saving love and power?