When the World Presses In (2)-Getting the Wrinkles Out

“This is my comfort in my affliction:

for thy word hath quickened me.”

Psalm 119:50, KJVIMG_4055

My granddaughter brought my great-grandbaby by for a visit. Being only five weeks old, smiles are appearing more often but she, also, has inherited her daddy’s scowl. As I worked to coax a smile from her, I explained more wrinkles will adorn her smooth silky baby skin than smiles.

Age brings worries, tension, and troubles into our lives and wrinkles multiply. The world presses wrinkles into our spirit more than our flesh if we allow it. The Spirit of God washes away the worries, our haunting past, all that’s not of him, and gets the wrinkles out. We would not know the power of the Lord in our lives if we never experienced the cleansing and the heat of the iron.

“Beloved think it not strange

concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,

as thou 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.

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ,

happy are ye;

for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:

on their part he is evil spoken of,

but on your part he is glorified.”

1Peter 4:12-14, KJV

Apostle Peter knew about fiery trials, as did Apostle Paul. The world pressed more wrinkles into their flesh than what covers a Shar Pei puppy. But the wrinkles didn’t mar their spirit. Both considered the persecutions and trials a source of coming to know Christ through sharing his sufferings. Paul wrote—

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ …

I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung,

that I may win Christ … And be found in him …

That I may know him and the power of his resurrection,

and the fellowship of his sufferings,

being made conformable unto his death;

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

(From Philippians 3: 7-11, KJV)

Paul’s past represented a pharisaical rising star. He possessed the heritage, the recognition of Jewish elite, a misplaced zeal, a spotless reputation according to the law. All that changed when he met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. What he had before was of no more importance than what a donkey dumps on the path behind him.

Paul’s greatest desire consisted of knowing Christ. His desire should be ours. To know Christ means—

  • to experience him in our lives;
  • to experience his resurrection power which takes us from physical and eternal death to abundant life, and eternal life. That is the power of the resurrection of Christ in us.
  • Along this road in the resurrection power, knowing Christ involves experiencing his suffering for sin—not for the remission of sin, but for the suffering of sin’s influence in this world.
  • We will experience Christ’s death. Before hanging on the cross the human aspect of Jesus, his flesh needed to die to self.

In Christ’s anguish before his trial and march to the cross, Jesus laid aside his flesh’s desire to not drink the cup of suffering held in his hands. Instead, he picked up his cross and obeyed the Father, taking our sin—giving us his righteousness.

Jesus showed us by his life, death, and resurrection how to know him after telling us—

“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.”

Matthew 16:24b, KJV

Our wrinkles find cleansing in the blood of Christ. They are ironed out as we share in his cross. We don’t welcome suffering or persecution, but we shouldn’t shrink from it when it comes. Christ is our strength.

We can rejoice in suffering, because it reveals the power of Christ in us, giving us a platform to share the Gospel of our Lord—a platform where wrinkles are ironed out and spirits are renewed without spot or blemish, like the flesh of a newborn baby.

What wrinkles do you need the blood of Christ applied to?


When Dirt’s In The Way

When Dirt Gets In The Waybloglove-699480_960_720

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way …

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?

By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Psalm 119:1a, 9, KJV

Have you watched players engage in the sport of curling? I admit I have but not for long. The game consists of two teams sliding “rocks” down an icy path toward the house, which looks like a bulls eye. When the thrower releases the rock, two other teammates skate in front of the rock with brushes—looks like brooms to me, sweeping all debris from the path they want the rock to travel. The rock resting closest to the house wins a point. These rules are a brief summary of the game.

In the blessed way of the undefiled, believers need to regularly clear our way from debris that would cause us to veer from the path that leads home. Psalm 119: 9 begins by asking—

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?”

Then the verse summarizes the answer.

“By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Being a pastor’s wife, people have commented to me about living with someone who doesn’t ever sin. Let me set the record straight. Pastors and their wives are people saved by grace through faith like every other believer. Our feet need washed like all others.

Take for instant the disciples who walked with Jesus in the way. Even they needed the filth of the world washed from their feet. We, who are saved, don’t need a complete bath—we had that when we received Jesus as our Savior. But we do need to regularly be cleansed of the ways of the world that sneak into our hearts influencing  our minds, our words, and actions. The apostle John explained—

“If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness …

My little children, these things write I unto you,

that ye sin not.

And if any man sin,

we have an advocate with the Father,

Jesus Christ the righteous.”

1 John 1:9-2:1, KJV

As a born again child of God, the righteousness of Christ has been put to our account. The Father counts us righteous because of Christ’s righteousness. In day to day living, we are still being trained in righteousness. Sometime we sin disrupting the close fellowship the Father wants us to have with him. The way to cleanse that disruption is through confession.

If we daily brush away the debris the world seeks to pour into our path through the mind, we learn to guard our thoughts and walk in obedience.

  • “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
  • (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
  • but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds:)
  • 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:
  • And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience,
  • when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 9: 3-6, KJV

Our way is most commonly littered with the words we speak. A daily mouthwash helps keep our words pure and our actions undefiled in the way.

  • “But  be ye doers of the word,
  • and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves …
  • If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
  • Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
  • To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
  • and to keep himself unspotted from the world …
  • For in many things we offend all:
  • If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man,
  • and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 1:22, 26-27; 2:2, KJV

Food For Thought:

“Finally, God’s Word will keep us from wrong thoughts, words, and actions: or else wrong thoughts, words, and actions will keep us from God’s Word.” (From The King James Open Bible, expanded edition)

Are you missing a closeness with the Lord you once enjoyed? Maybe it’s time to sweep away the debris hindering your way.  God’s Word is a wonderful broom.



silhouette image of person praying
Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

‘“Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,

Oh that I were as in months past,

as in the days when God preserved me;”

Job 29:1-2, KJV

Do you wish for days gone by? When we are children we want to be adults. When we are adults we wonder why we wished for the years to fly. Some past days are good to remember and others are good to forget. Job desired to return to the days of sweet fellowship with the Almighty—days when the Lord’s presence was evident in his life and protected him.

“Hast not thou made an hedge about him,

and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?

Thou has blessed the work of his hands,

and his substance is increased in the land.”

Job 1:10, KJV

Who wouldn’t trade the days of misery Job experienced for the days of unnumbered blessings? The Lord blessed Job with increase in property, family, respect among his community, and a close relationship with the Almighty.

His longing—

  • “As I was in the prime of my days,
  • When the friendship of God was over my tent;
  • When the Almighty was yet with me,
  • And my children were around me;
  • When my steps were bathed in butter,
  • And the rock poured out for me streams of oil!” Job 29:4-6, NASB

Job’s agony swallowed his closeness with his God. He felt alone and forsaken. Then as if the Spirit blew a breeze of hope into Job’s mind he recalled God’s faithfulness to his children, even as King David did in the psalms.

“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:

  • for the end of that man is peace …
  • the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD:
  • he is their strength in the time of trouble.
  • And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them:
  • he shall deliver them from the wicked,
  • and save them, because they trust in him.”(From Psalm 37)

Do you feel the weight of sin, sickness, or sorrow crushing your spirit as Job’s trials crushed him? Job recalled what he knew of God and had hope. We can do the same when—

Crushed by Sin:

“If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness …

  • 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,
  • 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.”

1 John 1:9; Hebrews 12: 1b-2; KJV

No matter how hard, when the weight of sin is cleansed from our heart we can look to Jesus for strength to finish the race.

Crushed by Sickness:

  • “Bless the LORD, O my soul
  • and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;

who healeth all thy diseases …

Is any sick among you?

  • Let him call for the elders of the church;
  • and let them pray over him,
  • anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick,

and the Lord shall raise him up:

and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”

Psalm 103: 2-3; James 5:14-15, KJV

For the follower of Christ, healing has been bought and paid for by Jesus’s stripes. It is ours in the here and now or in eternity. We have been healed.

Crushed by Sorrow:

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

  • 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 …

I will not leave you comfortless:

I will come to you.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4; John 14:18, KJV

Christ knew sorrow. He knows how to comfort us.

In our troubles we may wish for days gone by. Those wishes will go unheeded and bury our hope. It’s better to live in the day we have, thanking our heavenly Father for his forgiveness, his healing, and his comfort. In a moment our distress came. In a moment it will vanish. We need only to look to Jesus and wait. He will come. He will not disappoint.

Do you long for days gone by or look to Jesus for hope in this day?

The Great Exchange

2 Corinthians 5: The Great Exchangeblog tombb796a201f64ff34f04fe09f604ff0ae4--easter-crafts-crafts-for-kids

This Week’s Scripture Verses:

“For indeed in this house we groan,

longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,

inasmuch as we, having put it on,

will not be found naked.”

2 Corinthians 5:2,3

Jesus Christ—

The Son of God,



King of kings,

holy, righteous, sinless,

Clothed himself:

  • in flesh— the son of man to come to us,
  • in mortality to face death,
  • as the creature to share in our weakness,
  • as the servant of servants to show us how to live before God.

He became naked, shameful to look upon as He hung on the cross before a gawking world. He took all this on himself that we could put on His heavenly garments and not be found naked before the Father.

“He made Him who knew no sin

to be sin on our behalf,

so that we might become

the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:21

For Thought: Meditate on the weight of our shame Jesus carried. What have we gained through His sacrifice?

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, we offer up a voice of praise for,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain

to receive power and riches and wisdom

and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

Revelation 5:12.

May we live clothed in Jesus and his righteousness. May we bring Him honor, glory, and blessing as we walk in his power, riches, and wisdom. For He has taken our shame and given us glory.

Leavened? Unleavened?

1 Corinthians 5 Leavened or Unleavened:

bread-1696166__340“Your boasting is not good.

Do you not know

that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (5:6)

The aroma fills the house with its promise of something good. The stomach growls. The smell tempts the tongue with almost a taste. Homemade bread, risen to perfection and baked to a golden brown, lathered with butter, not the fake stuff, invites the hungry to feast and fills the mind with a memory revisited anytime the fragrance fills the air. Leaven, or yeast in our current English language, makes the bread rise, filling it with volume and lightness that melts in our mouths. This homemade bread is a temptress.

The yeast in bread continues to grow as long as allowed. It steals what it needs from the dough to cause the rising action. Eventually, it grows throughout the dough adding some flavor but mostly air and its own fermentation. Such is sin.

In scripture, leaven is likened to the sin growing in the natural spirit we are born with.* The more we feed it the more it grows until it takes over our thoughts, actions, words, our hearts, and minds. It shouldn’t be ignored but in the spiritual sense, needs purged. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church concerning their ignoring the sin in their body of believers. Not only, was the sin/leaven growing in the one sinning but it was beginning to rise in the body as a whole.

“Clean out the old leaven,

that you may be a new lump,

just as you are in fact unleavened.

For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

Let us therefore celebrate the feast,

not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness,

but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”


The purging needed to begin with the whole before it could be addressed in the one. It would need to be handled with the hope and purpose of restoring the whole to an unhindered fellowship with God and each other. Sin is a contagious disease which we do not avoid as we should. It’s not like other diseases that instantly bring bad symptoms. It appeals to us as the aroma of fresh baked bread. It pleases our human senses. But it does its work internally in our hearts, minds, and spirits. Piece by piece growing its destruction and weakness in us as it slowly fills us with its curse-so slowly, we don’t recognize it until its left its mark on our lives. Its cure is found in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth-a heart sincere in repentance and a mind filled with truth, a heart that receives forgiveness-

“in order

that no advantage be taken of us by Satan;

for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

2 Corinthians 2:11

For Thought: How long has it been since you asked the Lord to reveal any ‘leaven’ hidden in your heart? Mind? Or spirit?

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11; What do these verses say about restoring fellowship with an erring brother/sister in Christ? What should be our attitude?

Our Prayer: Father, you have given us Jesus Christ. By his death and resurrection you have purged the old leaven of malice and wickedness from us. May we join together, remembering we are one in Christ Jesus, and celebrate for He has filled us with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. May we celebrate his life in us and give you praise.

*Only on a few occasions is it used in a positive sense.(Leviticus 23:17; Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:21) And I hope you will join me Monday for a game of “Knowing”. Have a blessed weekend.

(1 Corinthians 5:6; all scripture quotations from this series in Corinthians are taken from the NASB unless otherwise state.)

Are You Armed?

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Eph. 6:10.

“Who’s going to know? Sin done in the darkness, in secret remains in secret, right?”  Wrong.

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” Numb. 32:23.

Joshua 6 and 7 recounts the victory of Jericho and the defeat that follows.

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan…took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.” Josh. 7:1.

“It’s really no one’s business what I do. If I choose sin, it will only hurt me.” Wrong again.

Another victory loomed before Israel as they prepared to go against Ai. They needed only two or three thousand men to defeat Ai’s forces. So…

“…there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men…” Joshua 7:4,5.

blog soldierDespair reigned in Israel’s camp and even in Joshua, but he took it to the Lord. And the Lord spoke.

…Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned…Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies…neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you…” Josh. 7:10-12.

Sin weakens and brings fear. Sin separates from the presence of a holy God. Sin must be destroyed before it destroys. The Lord offers hope in a choice, but one way or another, sin must be removed from among you.


”Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, there is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you…And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath…” Josh.7: 13,15.

Achan had all night to ponder his sin and repent. I believe this was his opportunity to receive mercy and not judgment.

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy… 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.” (Micah 7:18; Isa. 55:7).

But the morning came. Achan remained  disobedient to the word of the Lord and put himself and his family in certain judgment. As the morning proceeded, each tribe appeared before Joshua until Judah appeared, Achan’s tribe. Still no repentance, not even when Joshua called him out. When Achan’s sin found him out he confessed, but confession is not repentance. Israel executed the judgment of the Lord. How did it get to this point?

I have heard it said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. –” Ravi Zaccharias

And it begins with a look. “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel…When I saw among the spoils…Love not the world, neither the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes…then I coveted them and took them…and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (from Josh. 7:21; 1John 2:15-16).

For us: What’s left when we fail to guard our hearts with the breastplate of righteousness? Do we quit? Is there hope for renewal?

“Sanctify yourselves against to morrow…” Josh. 7:13; Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God…Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”( 2Cor. 2:1; 1Thess. 5:21-23).cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg

God takes sin seriously, so seriously He laid the sin of the world on His only Son, Jesus Christ and nailed it to the cross in His body. How seriously do you take sin?

It is time to come out from among the world armed with the breastplate of righteousness. It’s time to repent.

What does it mean to repent?


What Witness Follows You?

“And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.” Ex. 2:4.

Yes, this week’s journey is through Numbers, but God chose this nameless child of the yet nameless baby to play a part in Israel’s history, and her story starts in Exodus. Her brother Aaron would be Moses’ mouth to Pharaoh and Miriam would be the woman behind the man…most of the time. They were the trio of God to the fledgling nation of Israel.

“For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants: and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” Micah 6:4.

Miriam, like all of us, has an example to follow and a failure to flee. Scripture introduces her standing by the river, out of sight but watching over her baby brother who was doomed under Pharaoh’s edict to murder the baby boys. We don’t’ know how long she watched and waited. We do know she stayed until her brother was back safe in his mother’s arms and free from Pharaoh’s threat.blog miriam thSZMN0YO5

“His lord said unto him,Well done, thou good and faithful servant: Thou has been faithful over a few things,I will make thee ruler over many things: Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”Matt. 25:21

The next time Miriam comes on scripture’s stage, approximately eighty years have come and gone. Israel has passed through the Red Sea, Moses sang the Lord’s victory song, and Miriam leads the women in worship.

“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” Ex. 15:20,21.

This scripture reveals the call of the Lord on Miriam to speak His message. This passage indicates to the women, as she freely exalts the Lord in worship. And as an older woman she is faithfully leading the younger women.

Image result for printable depictions of miriam dancing at the red sea“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Ps.107:15.“The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5.


It’s only been a little more than a year since Miriam joined in the victory song, when scripture shows a root of bitterness planted in Miriam’s heart.

“And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married…And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.” Numb. 12:1,2.

I want to make excuses for Miriam. She is surrounded by a multitude of grumbling. She is getting up there in years. But there is no excuse that satisfies the Lord.

“…wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? Num. 12:8

 The promised land loomed ahead ready for the taking but for Miriam it would be a distant dream she could not know, for sin had entered her heart.

Bitterness: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” Heb. 12:13,14.

Jealousy & Self exaltation : “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another…For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work…Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (Gal. 5:26; James 3:16; James 4:10).

Disobedience: “Let no main deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” Eph. 5:6,7).

“And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them: and he departed.” Numb. 12:9.

Sin reaped its harvest in Miriam. “…and behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow…”

Sin breaks fellowship with the Father and other believers: “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another 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.” 1John 1:6,7.

Sin brings shame: “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” Prov. 29:23.

Sin brings the Lord’s chastisement: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. The LORD hath chastened me sore; but he hath not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.” Ps. 118:17-20.

The Lord opens the gates of righteousness, “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 good news, the Lord restored Miriam after seven days of separation. The bad news, for seven days the people did not journey towards their promise. And finally we see in chapter 20, Miriam dies without entering the abundance of the promised land.

She left us with many good lessons to follow, including a hard lesson to encourage us to flee sin.

“He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings…But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 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.” 1Tim. 6:4,11,12.

For Comment: What do you admire most about Miriam?  What woman in scripture do you identify with? What woman in your life has served as a good witness of a godly woman?



Heroes, Villains and Your Heart

“And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go…Then the officers of the children of Israel…met Moses and Aaron…and they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.” (Ex. 5:2,21).water-kitchen-black-design.jpg

The antagonists in Exodus are like a dripping faucet that will not quit, but what is a good story without at least one antagonist?  Without a villain, no hero arrives to save the day. Many would tag Moses as the hero of Exodus and Pharaoh as the villain. I believe Moses is the instrument of the real Hero, as Pharaoh is the instrument of the real villain. Another antagonist in Exodus is the product of our flesh as seen in the people of Israel as they continually desired to return to Egypt.

Unlike Moses who, “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” They lost sight of the reward for the temporary comforts of the world, including bondage under a hard hearted Pharaoh, who opposed God at every turn.

The LORD God revealed himself to Pharaoh through the words of Moses.  “And the LORD said unto Moses…do all these wonders before Pharaoh…but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go…say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn…Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.” Ex. 4:21-23.


Why did the LORD God harden Pharaoh’s heart? Did God leave Pharaoh without opportunity for repentance?

First, the word Pharaoh received he did not believe. This was his first opportunity to turn from his wickedness, his rebellion.

“And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice…”

With that statement judgment began.

“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…Ex. 6:6;

Four hundred years of slavery, bondage, murder and oppression of God’s children ended the time of turning for Egypt. Satan had worked through the Pharaohs attempting to destroy the promised seed of Abraham, who would bless all nations. If he destroyed Israel, he destroyed the seed. But God does not forget his covenant. Pharaoh would see the power of the LORD in the judgments to come.

Each plague the Lord put upon Egypt evidenced the power of God before Pharaoh. Each time Pharaoh had a choice but each time the choice became easier and easier to be rebellion. He would not bow to the Hebrew God.

“And the LORD said unto Moses…stand before Pharaoh, and say…Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth…thou shalt be cut off from the earth…for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?” Ex. 9:13-17.

Those who believed the word of the Lord were spared. But when Pharaoh saw the thunders and hail end, “…he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened…”

The end of Pharaoh’s hardened heart would be destruction. Sin had done its work and would have its wages. “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Prov. 29:1.

Pharaoh’s kingdom was not unlike the coming kingdom of the beast in the end times. “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” Rev. 16:10,11.

Many things of God we don’t fully understand. Let’s cling to what we do know. “But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.” Rom. 2:2. Judgment comes after opportunities are rejected.

God could not be holy if He did not judge sin. And His final judgment came in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. Receive Christ’s judgment as your own or receive judgment on your self.

“…we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 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…TODAY IF YE WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS.”( 2Cor. 5:20-21;Heb. 4:7)

You have heard the word. Will you receive or reject it? Guard your heart.




A Day for Sackcloth

“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Rev.11:3

In scripture, the Jews wore sackcloth and ashes to proclaim the mourning of their souls, whether for the death of a loved one or, as the prophets did, to mourn sin and coming judgment as they called the people to repentance.DSCF4721

All too often, our nation’s clothing has been the sackcloth of mourning. Sunday’s massacre lengthens the trail of tears of our people. As we pray and mourn for those in Texas, may we open our eyes to the sin sickness running rampant in our country, the good being spoken of as evil and the evil as good, and pick up our sackcloth and pray for repentance and righteousness to reign in our lives and our nation.

It is time for the children of God to, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:10.

What can we do to see this kind of thing end? Begin with ourselves and pray. It’s too easy to look from a distance on a tragedy like this and conclude sin is the culprit. Which it is. But then we go about our merry lives, until the evil comes to our house. It is time we arm ourselves with the sword of the Lord, which is His word, and bear the breastplate of righteousness in our lives and shine forth the glory of our risen Lord that others may see and turn to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It will do us no good to pray for others, if we do not begin with a hard look at ourselves as David did in Psalm 51.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin…Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice…Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee….open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.”

God promises to hear the prayers of His children, of the righteous person. Once we know His cleansing, it is time to pray for our nation. 2Chronicles 2:14 is God’s promise to a king. It is good for us today.

“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.”

To the families in Texas, know God sees the evil brought against you. He is faithful, will keep you as surely as He holds your loved ones who have loved and served Him. And remember, as they are with the Lord and the Lord is with you, you are not that far apart…just out of sight.

Praying the God of all comfort, comforts you in your pain. May we all mourn for sin so much that it no longer has an appeal to us. May we remember in Christ’s righteousness there is healing for all, the victims, and the perpetrators.