Come Out! Come Out, Wherever You Are!

DSCF0144“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

This phrase of the Lord’s prayer meets the need of our day. May, we God’s own people bought with the blood of Christ enter the spirit of this prayer as we face the challenges, the testings of our faith.

God’s Kingdom

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:

  • for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
  • Let not man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God:
  • for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” James 1:12,13

May we remember in God’s kingdom testing is for proving, growing our faith and confidence in Him.

  • He has delivered us from evil, or as some read it from the evil one, Satan’s kingdom.
  • He is delivering us now from the power of the evil in this present testing, by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
  • He will deliver us from evil in the future by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, King of glory.

God separated us unto Himself as a holy people and calls us to come out from among the world. The trials God draws us into openly display our Father’s work in us as we walk in His strength through them. We endure by Him and receive a crown from Him and He is glorified in His body, the church. He never tempts us with evil.

Satan’s Kingdom

Satan purposes to steal our peace, kill our joy, and destroy our witness. He lies to us inciting doubt and distraction from God’s purpose.

“But every man is tempted,

  • when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
  • Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:
  • and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:14-15.

Satan always tempts us with evil, even when appears good. He tempts to bring us to failure and fill us with doubt about God’s goodness and grace.

God’s Kingdom

We pray for the Lord to not lead us into trials more than our faith is ready for.

  • He promises He will not.
  • He promises to go with us and be our strength as we wait upon Him.
  • He proves His faith in us.

To pray for trials to come our way boasts of our strength and borders on tempting God. So we pray,

”Lead us not into temptation.”

Our responsibility:

“Submit…to God.

Resist the devil…

Draw nigh to God…

Cleanse your hand…and purify your hearts.”

James 4:7-8

Satan’s kingdom

“your adversary the devil,

as a roaring lion, walketh about,

seeking whom he may devour.”

1Peter 5:8

“Resist…and he will flee from you.” James 4:7


Praying and thinking on these things this morning, my mind drifted to the church of Jesus Christ and the testing before us today. Many cry for normalcy. My personal belief, if you’re interested?

  • God does not want to take us back to normalcy before this trial came to us.
  • His desire is to take us to a greater faith, a greater glory.
  • He calls to us to come out of the world. Resist the world’s call.

For we are not of this world but of His kingdom.

Too long we have lived like righteous Lot in the Old Testament Sodom and Gomorrah. We, in the western civilization, are comfortable living among the sin. No longer do our hearts ache at the devastation it wreaks. It vexes us but we’re not repulsed by it. God wants more for us. He wants us to set our minds, our hearts, our affections on things above.

“If ye then be risen with Christ,

seek those things which are above,

where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Set your affection on things above not on things on the earth.”

Colossians 3:1-2

Let us seek His face, turn from our wickedness and turn to His righteousness, mercy, grace, and love. Then restored in the fullness of fellowship with Him we will see His power, His kingdom, and His glory among us. Greater faith and greater glory awaits, but we must come out from among them. We must shine the light of our Lord living in us as He has made us to do.

“Ye are the light of the world…

Let your light so shine before men,

that they may see your good works,

and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14,16.

It must begin with me. Will you join me?

“Watch and pray,

that ye enter not into temptation:

The spirit indeed is willing,

but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41.

“greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

1 John 4:4

 

 

 

 

Defeating One Kingdom, Holding to the Other

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“but deliver us from evil.”

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon,

Satan’s kingdom:

behold, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat…

God’s Kingdom;

“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:31-32.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing,

Satan’s kingdom

 but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.

How can we, those who are of the body of Christ, pray for you in the temptations you face?

 

Temptations of the Kingdoms

Part 4 of the Kings and Kingdoms series proved to be a difficult one. There was the temptation to lean to my own lack of understanding without searching it out. If I did I would miss the truth the Father wanted me to have. So, here we go.

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“And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:13.

This phrase of the Lord’s Prayer has passed over my lips from my heart numerous times but without the understanding I desired. I didn’t understand why the Lord included it, especially the first phrase. Temptation doesn’t come from God. First mistake.

  • Some temptation God does lead us into.

First question.

  • Then why would we pray not to be led into it?

Hopefully, through this week of sharing scriptures and maybe some stories, we all come into a better understanding. If you have already solved this dilemma please feel free to share in the comments.

Second mistake.

  • Forgetting there are two kingdoms still at odds with one another. Two kinds of temptations.

Of God’s Kingdom

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan,

and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…”

Luke 4:1.  

“Then the devil leaveth him,

and behold,

angels came and ministered unto him.”

Matthew 4:11.

Of Satan’s kingdom

“Being forty days tempted of the devil…

he…hungered…

If thou be the Son of God…

command this stone…be made bread…

All this power will I give thee…worship me…

If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down…”

Luke 4:2-10.

In these verses the Lord God shows us two kinds of temptations. One proves the righteousness of the one tested. The other entices one to sin.

Cling to this as we proceed through the week. Jesus did not go alone into the temptation. Neither do we. When the Father does take us into a time of testing the “but” in Matthew 6:13 reminds us He will deliver us from evil.

How has the Father ministered to you in times of testing?

The Kingdoms’ Abundance

Part 3 of Kings & Kingdoms, Life in the Kingdom, Continued

DSCF4721“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.”

 Isaiah 55:7

Do you remember the day the heavenly Father drew you to Himself through the Holy Spirit’s work in your heart.? Maybe, like my daughter, you remember the first time you heard His voice but did not respond positively.

Tears flowed with sobs as the song began to play. My attempts to console her and quiet the sobbing served no purpose. As discreetly as possible I carried my four-year-old daughter into the pastor’s study and shut the door. I sensed the Lord speaking to her tender heart. She didn’t understand nor did I how to explain what was happening. By the time the church service ended her crying stopped and we left by the side door.

Fast forward two years later, we stood side by side as my husband, the pastor, extended a simple invitation to receive Jesus as Savior. No response by anyone, or so I thought.

The amen sounded as my daughter tugged on my sleeve. “Whatcha need, Sis?”

Her wide blue/green eyes showed no unusual emotion as she spoke. “Mama, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and forgive my sins.”

I tried to keep in check the joy bubbling in my heart. “Well, do you believe He did forgive you and now lives in your heart?”

“Well, yes.” She hesitated. “But this wasn’t the first time Jesus spoke to me. I said, no, the first time.”

If you have never received  Jesus’ forgiveness of sin , the question above remains a mystery to you. You are still bound by the guilt, punishment, and power of sin over your life. But your life doesn’t have to stay in captivity. Recognizing your sinful state is the first step.

A parable, a Pharisee and a woman reveal the need and response in both kingdoms.

Luke 7:36-50 relates the whole account. Simon is the Pharisee, the woman a known sinner who desired to show the Lord her love.

Simon, saw only a sinner touching a supposed prophet which caused him to doubt the veracity of Jesus’ identity. For surely He knew what she was if indeed He was a prophet.

“And Jesus answering, said unto him,

Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee…

In God’s Kingdom

“There was a certain creditor which had two debtors:

  • The one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
  • And when they had nothing to pay he frankly forgave them both.

Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”

In the world’s kingdom

“Simon answered and said,

  • I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.
  • And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.”

This is the way the world looks at forgiveness. The more owed the more we love. We forget that both were unable to pay the debt. Jesus turns Simon’s eyes toward the woman, revealing his own sinful state.

“Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house,

  • thou gavest me no water for my feet…
  • Thou gavest me no kiss…
  • My head with oil thou didst not anoint…
  • but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little…

In God’s Kingdom

  • …but she hath washed my feet with tears,
  • and wiped them with the hairs of her head…
  • But this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet…
  • but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

Wherefore I say unto thee,

Her sins, which are many, are forgiven:

for she loved much…

Thy sins are forgiven…

Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace.”

These scriptures once bothered me for lack of understanding. I wanted to love Jesus like that woman. I didn’t understand at that time my sins put me in as much debt as the woman’s sins. For it was a debt I could not pay. When I understood this, my love for Jesus began to grow and continues today. I needed His forgiveness as much as this woman. It cost Jesus the same to forgive me as it did to forgive her. I needed much forgiveness.

Don’t confuse her actions as her means of forgiveness. They were her outpouring of a heart washed clean from its sin. Jesus made it clear her faith saved her.

Jesus revealed Simon’s lack of devotion showed he didn’t understand forgiveness, nor does the world today.

Jesus “abundantly pardons”.

“…But where sin abounded,

grace did much more abound.”

Romans 5:20.

“And the grace of our Lord was

exceeding abundant with faith and love

which is in Christ Jesus.

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,

that Christ Jesus came into the world

to save sinners of whom I am chief.

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy,

that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering,

for a pattern to them

which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God,

be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Timothy 14-17.

God’s Kingdom

Final words:

  • We forgive much for we have been forgiven much.
  • We forgive for the Father commands it so.
  • We forgive to live in full fellowship and joy with the Father.

The apostle John writes the following in his first epistle, the first chapter. He writes to believers not yet perfected and needing the dust of the world washed from their feet, not for salvation, but for joy in fellowship with the Lord.

“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,

  • we have fellowship one with another,
  • and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
  • If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

What does Jesus have to say to your heart about forgiveness?

Life in the Kingdoms, Forgiveness

Part 3 of Kings & Kingdoms

blogreligious-2598299__340“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Kingdom of God:

Matthew’s Gospel introduces Jesus’ teaching concerning prayer. His teaching captivated the ears of the multitude, including His own disciples. This crowd included followers, curiosity seekers, the religious elite, and the poor.

Luke’s Gospel, chapter 11, relates another time of the Lord’s teaching on prayer. This occasion resulted from one of His own questioning disciples. Here Jesus speaks to His followers, those who believed Him to be the Messiah. What He spoke, Jesus lived. He calls us to the same standard.

“And he said unto them…

And forgive us our sins:

for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us…”

“Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.”

Matthew 5:7.

“and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” James 2:13.

Kingdom of this world:

The rule of the world exacts judgment and executes payment. Pardon happens according to the inclination of the heart.

“Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton;

ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

Ye have condemned and killed the just;

and he doth not resist you.” James 5:5-6.

“For he shall have judgment without mercy,

that hath shewed no mercy…” James 2:13.

Forgiveness among the world depends upon the whims of the heart to implement mercy to the offender. It should not be so among the children of the kingdom of God. As the Father’s forgiveness cleanses our hearts and frees us from guilt and its punishment, forgiveness to another by the grace of God should flow from our heart to our offender. No more than God’s forgiveness can free us from guilt and punishment unless we receive it, nor can our forgiveness extended to another free them unless they receive it. It does, however, free us from the guilt and seeking of exacting punishment, keeping our heart cleansed before the Father. Mercy not judgment remains the rule for God’s children.

When do you find it hardest to forgive?

What’s Next?

After preparing his heart, Ezra knew the hand of the Lord was upon him supplying mercy and strength to accomplish his purpose in the Lord. He would not journey alone.

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10.

In preparing to seek the law of the Lord, Ezra reveals the path to integrity.

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Ezra Sought the Law of the Lord:

“This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given…

Ezra the priest, a scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel…

a scribe of the law of the God of heaven…” Ezra 7:6,11,12.

A ready scribe is translated as an able scholar. In this instance an able scholar of the words of the God of heaven.

For Us:

To live a life of integrity there has to be a common standard by which integrity is measured. That standard is fulfilled in One and shown to us in His word.

Integrity will be found in:

One whose,

“…delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:2.

One who understands,

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes…

And is…

“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:

One whose heart is set to know the word of the God in heaven.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.” Psalm 119:105,106.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2Tim.2:15.

Once heard and received, a man of integrity will seek to do the word.

“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.

But who whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein,

he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work,

this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25.

Seeking to know the word and putting the word to work in our lives leads to our teaching of it by example and speech.

Ezra’s Example:

“And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until the midday,

before the men and the women, and those that could understand;

and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law…

And Nehemiah…and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto the people,

This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.”Neh. 8:2,3,9.

And no one complained about the preacher being too long winded. Now, that is a work of God.

For Us:

We look at another example of integrity as we read the apostle Paul’s instructions to  Titus.  His words give us the definition of integrity.

“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine…

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works:

in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned;

that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Read the whole of Titus 2 for the complete instructions.

The walk of integrity is not a one time commitment but a daily journey of preparing the heart to seek, to do, and teach.

How’s your walk?

What Holds Your Heart Captive?

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 “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils.” 1Cor. 10:21.

The combined books of Kings and Chronicles tell a tale of the politically united, powerful and prosperous nation of Israel, albeit the description is foretold in Deuteronomy…

“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth…

And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” Deut. 28:1,13,14.

… and its decline into a divided, downtrodden, and destitute nation. These books contain Israel’s glory and its disgrace. They are the story of a nation once the head becoming the tail.

What happened?

“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day…

The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee…

Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;

Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee…” Deut. 28:15,36,37, 47,48.

Even as they declined from conqueror to captive over the span of approximately 457 years, 112 of which were the united years, and the rule of 39 kings, 19 in Israel and 20 in Judah, the Lord did not leave them without hope. His covenant with David would not be enough to keep judgment from coming but it would insure God restoration of the nation.

The Davidic Covenant: (For the complete covenant see 2Samuel 7:4-17).

“And the LORD said unto him(Solomon), I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:

Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.” 1Kings 9:3-5.

2Chronicles  7: 12-22 confirms the covenant with Solomon making it clear, if the people do not follow God fully, all is not lost. There is hope.

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

Lessons for Our Living:

The Warning:

“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils.” 1Cor. 10:21.

“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matt. 12:30.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matt. 6:24.

The Judgment:

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4.

The Promise:

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;

and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2Cor. 6: 17,18.

The Way:

“If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:9.

The Command:

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written,

Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Matt. 4:10,11.

Don’t expect the devil to leave you if you play in his yard.

“Jesus said unto him,

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matt. 22:37.

There is no division in all. Do you wander through life and wonder why you have no joy? no peace? no victory? Allow God to search your heart and mend where it is torn. Israel tried to serve the Lord God and the gods of other nations. They became weak politically, economically, and spiritually. Let’s take their lesson to heart.

Here Come the Judges, Part 4

SWIFT, STRONG, SERVANT

These words typified three judges barely noticed in God’s word.  And then there was a fourth.

Swift

Ibzan, his name means swift. He may have been a Gentile for he sent his daughters abroad to find husbands and brought wives from abroad for his sons. I wonder if his name characterized him. Was he swift to exact judgment on his enemies? The word doesn’t say. But his name turns my mind to a day when the Lord will act swiftly to exact judgment on those who are the enemies of the cross.

“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matt.24:27,44.

Strong

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Elon, meaning oak, judged Israel for ten years. Was he fearful and learn to trust in the Lord’s strength even as Isaiah did centuries later, and we can today as we face our enemies?

 

“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; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isa. 41:10.

Servant

Abdon, the servant, was a man of great possessions. Did his possessions possess him  or did he use them as his name indicates to serve the Lord by serving Israel? Did he serve knowing what we know?

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” Heb. 12:28.

The Fourth

Samson, meaning distinguished, was set apart before birth as the Lord’s servant to deliver Israel from the Philistines. When wronged he reacted swiftly in revenge, using the Lord’s gift of strength for his own advantage. His lack of wisdom and commitment to the Lord’s design for him, eventually, ended in his captivity and the loss of his physical strength. It is in his weakness he cries out to the Lord and serves God’s purpose.

“And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” Judges 16:28-30.

Samson’s parents committed him to the service of the Lord before he was born, and in his death he fulfilled the commitment. His story is found in Judges 13-16. The conclusion is found in Hebrews 11:32-34.

“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae: of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

LET US:

Be Swift to Obey

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“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Heb. 5:8,9.

Strong in the Lord

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Eph. 6:10,11.

Featured Image -- 4621A Servant of God

And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many…Matt. 10:44,45; 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.” Rom. 12:1.

We met famous judges and obscure judges, each name recorded in God’s history. Your name will never be found in the scriptures but is it found in the Lamb’s book of life?

One final chapter remains to finish our walk with Christ through Judges. I hope you will join me next time.

 

 

Are You Caught in a Cycle of Sin?

blogthorns-52766__340The Book of Judges tells a sad tale of a people without knowledge of their God, a people allowing a seed of sin to take root and grow into a bramble of briars picking away at their strength.

“And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old…And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers… and there arose another generation after them which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:8,10.

I wonder, in all the warring and conquering of lands, did the past generation fail in declaring the One who gave them victories? Did they leave the future generation vulnerable to captivity instead of conquest?

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“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. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.” Isa. 5:13,14.

Have we done the same with our younger generation?  Are they seeing us as those in the days of the judges,

“In those days there was no king in Israel:

every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25.

Father, forgive us where we have failed to declare you as our King and live like kingdom children.

It has been said,

“Sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go.”

If we could see where sin will take us, would we still go?

I’m afraid the answer is, “Yes”. For God in His word has shown us. And, yet, many still choose it.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13,14.

For the few who enter the strait gate:

The cycle of sin is broken.

It reigns no longer unless we allow it.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 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…But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:12-13,22-23.

In Judges the people had more good years than bad. But they missed the best because they failed to drive out the Canaanites. Chapter one lists those failures. Chapter two relates the results.

“And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the lands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies…Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet, they would not hearken unto their judges…they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.”

Their lives became one test after another:

“That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.”

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courtesy of Pixabay free images

Life did not have to be this way. Moses warned them and Joshua warned them. But the word failed to be spoken to succeeding generations and the cycle of sin ensued along with its enslavement.

We have the full counsel of God’s word. We have the promises and the warnings.

“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.” John 10:10.

What’s your choice? And are you passing the word along?

 

 

“Has He Eaten Today?”

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” Psalm 41:1.

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picture provided by Pixabay

Do others feel conflicting emotions over the person standing on the corner in rags holding a sign pleading for help of one kind or another? Do you pretend not to see? Stop to see? Wonder if the need is true? Do you consider the poor?

The man sat alone at a table, no sign. His blond hair unkempt and his clothes torn and dirty. Occasionally, he spoke to no one any of us could see. The car hops walked around him with trays of food being served to the many waiting in their cars.  My Mom and I ate our chicken strips and drank our flavored lemonade. But my thoughts kept my eyes on the unkempt man speaking to his unknown friends. Finally, I buzzed the order takers.

”Has the man sitting alone eaten anything?”

There was a pause followed by the quick appearance of one of the car hops at my car.

“No, Ma’am, I don’t believe he has eaten anything today.”

What good would my one meal do for the man who had nothing?

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble…He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse… The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.” (Prov. 28:27; Prov. 22:9).

I don’t know the answer but he could have been me. In fact he was me at one time and the Lord reached down and delivered me from all my trouble.  In fact, the giving would most likely do more for me than him because God’s word says,

“And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:14.

Honestly, that day, the blessedness of the act hid itself from me. I left him only a moment better off than he was, as far as I could see, but again the Lord speaks, this time to the poor.

“For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence; and precious shall their blood be in his sight.” Psalm 72:12-14.

Maybe at the resurrection of the just, maybe, he will be there. And when I stand before the Lord, I can hear, “You saw me hungry and you fed me.” Maybe, just maybe, one meal in the Lord’s name will feed a hungry soul. Who knows? Only God.  But this I do know.  His love did not withhold the Lord from giving His Son for my need. I was the man.

Loving Heavenly Father, as you have blessed us with your love, open our eyes and our hearts to those you put in our paths.

What is your first response to the one standing on the corner or sitting alone waiting for one act of kindness?