“The radical God-centeredness of the Lord’s Model Prayer teaches us that man’s pride has no place before the throne of God.” (Dr. Albert Mahler, The Prayer That Turns The World Upside Down)
I have a decorative plate, given to me by my son, that misquotes the verse, “Give us this day our daily bread.” It says, “Give us this day THY daily bread.”
I’ve searched many translations, even looking through the oldest versions available to me, and none translate it that way, but I love the plate, not only because my son gave it to me, but because of the truth it reminds me to realize.
I, too often, fail to truly know what is best for me. I need the Father to instruct and form right desires and healthy appetites within me, leading me to seek after, recognize, and receive His best for me.
Pride hinders our ability to trust God for His best.
“”Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]” Matthew 6:9-13 NASB
Note: when struggling to pray, break down the outline of the Lord’s Model Prayer into its parts. Beginning with realizing that He is FATHER, who loves you and gave His all for you, let each part soak into your hurting soul to direct your heart in prayer for the trouble before you. Add to your praying the heart of Jesus that cried out in His time of agony, “Yet not my will, but THY will be done,” and you have a heart attitude God hears and responds to in amazing ways.
“It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.” Luke 21:13 NASB
Speaking of end times, Jesus warns His disciples of the persecution coming to believers. Alerting them to the fact that they will be taken to court for their faith, he tells them to realize the opportunity they have in that situation to bear testimony of their faith.
As I read these words this morning, it speaks to me for the difficulties we face each day. Whether we face illness that threatens our now-life, or whether we are constantly challenged by bosses without integrity; whatever difficulty comes to our day, it brings opportunity to bear forth our testimony by a life of righteousness well lived. Though no one sees but the “cloud of witnesses surrounding us” (Hebrews 12:1), the things that test our resolve bring opportunity to bear testimony that tells the truth about our faithful trust in God.
“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NLT
“By your endurance you will gain your lives. … Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”” Luke 21:19, 34-36 NASB
“The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform (accomplishes) this” – Isaiah 9:7 (AMPC).
I love that we can trust our God. Reading this focal passage in a devotional today has me wondering what scripture has to say about God’s zeal, so I did a little research, and here’s what I found:
God is zealous:
1. For His people (Isaiah 26:11; 37:32).
2. For the establishment of His King – Kingdom (Isaiah 9:7).
3. In His battle against enemy forces (Isaiah 42:13).
4. For the fulfillment of His purposes (Isaiah 9:7; Zephaniah 3:8; & all the above).
Another thing I noticed is the frequency with which His zeal is linked with Him being the Lord of Hosts. That says to me that God is not sitting back, waiting for things to happen. Zeal requires action, and He is actively involved in making sure His desire toward His people and purpose gets done.
We desperately need to see the zeal of the Lord in our day. We can do nothing apart from Him. We need His zeal for a Life that honors Him, fulfills His purpose, and walks in His victory.
Here am I, O God. Let Your zeal prevail and perform Your purposes in and through and around me and mine. Reveal Your zeal for all that concerns us. Pour forth Your zeal against the enemy that prowls around like a lion, set to devour. We look to You, O God, and are helped.
Thank You that You are for us and not against us who are of Your household; that You never leave nor forsake us; and that You are faithful, for You cannot deny Yourself by failing to fulfill Your word or by denying Your Son, Christ in us. We give all glory to You, realizing that Your zeal is our hope and help. In Jesus. Amen.
“You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10 NASB
If we are setting a bad example where we are, why do we tend to expect God will give us a position where we can lead others to be twice the hypocrite we are being?
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians 6:7-10 NASB
God does not often put us in the position we desire until we are being that person, living the level of integrity required for it, in the place we currently hold. You want to come up higher? Live the degree of faithful, integrity required now.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” Colossians 3:23-25 NASB
“And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way.” Luke 4:28-30 NASB
The faith of Jesus seen in his journey to the cross, refusing the crown of man and the fear of every threat, because He knew the promise of God and trusted His provision on the course set before Him, amazes and inspires my own faith, as does the faith of the apostles. To believe God for each step taken in obedience to Him is my heart’s cry. I see it in those who have gone before us. I saw it lived out in my friend, Steve and in many others who set a good example through faith. I pray to walk out that faith daily as I seek the Father to trust Him more. I choose to believe God, that it will turn out exactly as He tells us it will.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NASB
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 NASB
“And Ananias said to Paul ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’” Acts 22:14-16 NASB
This Matthew call to go and make disciples still speaks today. Note: it does not say, “Go and make converts.” A convert, untaught, will too easily fall away (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23). The work has only just begun when a person turns to Jesus, as it is more than telling about Jesus. The true call is to help each seeker grow to become a true disciple-believer, learning and growing as a Christ follower that bears His image and stands the test of time.
We are to help others become a disciple maker. In so doing, we will one day see the Righteous One face to face. As we fulfill this call, knowing it as God’s will, our hope is to hear His voice say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Be more than just a believer. Even the demons knew Jesus was the Son of God: The Very God incarnate; one with Father and Spirit, but their belief did not change them. We must be a disciple, continually being made new as we grow strong in Christ.
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” ~ Matthew 4:19
“Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. ~ Matthew 9:9
And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me. ~ Matthew 10:38
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” Philippians 3:12 NLT
A FB friend wrote a post on this Philippians passage encouraging us to possess the full treasure of God’s grace and provision to, in, and through us, (see link below). My thoughts in giving an example of possessing all that is ours through Christ, flows out of hers. I’ve probably posted similar before. In this day and age, with the trouble we see in this world, I cite Paul:“Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.” 2 Peter 1:12-13 NLT
On to our example of possession:
We are called to love as God loves. If we are to love others as He loves us – unconditionally and incorruptibly, then we must fully possess the love He provides us to walk out.
God IS Love. He loves out of who He is. His love is not dependent on who we are or what we do. It depends fully on the fact of who He is; thus, Jesus paid the full price for ALL and the grace available through that sacrifice of love is held out as a gift to receive and possess as one’s own.
The only thing about God’s love that is dependent on us is the degree to which we choose to receive it. Once we receive His Love, He has provided for us to possess that same love ability as our own through His Holy Spirit. As we possess and work out of that fruit of the Spirit expressed best in Galatians 5:22-23, we love as He loves, out of WHO WE ARE IN THE SPIRIT we possess for ourselves as He possesses us.
He provides love for our possession so we may BE LOVE on His behalf, being His love to those He places in our sphere of influence on any given day. Thus, love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is not something we have to learn. It is something we possess as our own, flowing out of THAT which flows into us. And we possess it by letting God’s Holy Spirit fully possess us.
“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:6-10 NASB
When we possess Him who possesses us, things like bitterness, hate, and unforgiveness find “no room at the inn” of our heart’s dwelling place.
A friend of mine wrote a beautiful FB post on the benefits of fasting prayer. It is linked below, but not sure it will open. I, too, have practiced fasting prayer many times for many reasons, and have experienced what Becky speaks of here. In fact, I have been doing some short fasts and praying, even Jerichoing our city as I pray for the desperate needs of family and friends.
I fasted a day last week for these things, plus for God to strengthen my resolve to eat right and do what is needful to take care of me in this season with my husband’s health and other family issues.
I am a stress eater by habit and have been so out of control, it is hurting me. My husband had me promise that I would take care of me and not let all this get me down physically from the lack of self care. Failing at that, I took a day to seek the Lord’s strength and resolve: and I believe I will keep doing so at least weekly through this season. It’s the only way I see of keeping my promise, by seeking Him who is my First, Most Vital, Need and Necessity. Without God, I can do nothing.
Since starting this routine in praying for family and friends, and now for myself, my strength and good appetite is returning, and I see the signs of God moving on behalf of family and friends. In fact, a “son” returned to his family the other day. Now for him to return to his God.
Keep praying! And as the Spirit leads, do fast before the Lord and be strengthened.
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart….” Matthew 12:35 NLT
When called, “Good Teacher,” Jesus, the Perfect Lamb and very God, replied, “Why do you call Me good? No one is Good except God alone.” Mark 10:18
The good treasure of a heart that produces the good that reveals a good man is the Spirit of God, producing as fruit the very nature of God within us. Are you filled and overflowing proof of His glory at work in you?
The fruit of that good treasure is revealed as:
1. Love – God is Love. Because He loves us, He gave His Son for us and fills those who believe with His Spirit so we can love as He loves: out of who we are in Christ. (1 John 4; John 3:16; Philippians 2:1-10; Galatians 2:20)
2. Joy – the joy of the Lord is our strength: RELATIONSHIP with God, as empowered by His Spirit, is our joy and strength. (Nehemiah 8:10; John 15:5)
3. Peace – a gift from Jesus – an “umpire” sent through the Spirit, helping us make the good calls, while trusting Him for His good to come. (John 14:27; Colossians 3:15, *AMPC)
4. Patience – the fruit born of Trust in God that waits upon the Lord with belief that He is working for our good. Through trust’s belief, strengthened by the Spirit at work within us, we enter His rest finding patient endurance that builds our character. (Romans 8; Hebrew 3-4; Romans 5:1-5)
5. Kindness – God’s mercy in action. The word translated as “mercy” in OT passages like Lamentation 3:22 is chesed or hesed. Hesed can also be translated as “kindness” or “lovingkindness”. Mercy and kindness are intricately linked and are the product of the Spirit’s work, enlivened in us. It is part of our Christ cloak. Put it on. (Lamentation 3:22-23; Colossians 3:12-17; 2 Peter 1:5-9)
6. Goodness – good is only accomplished through a life productive of the Spirit-fruit, as exemplified by Jesus who would not claim goodness as His own, giving all glory for any good to the Father alone. (Mark 10:18; James 1:16-18)
7. Faithfulness – God is faithful, and His Spirit graces us with a love for Him that fertilizes a faithful life within us, placing us in the fellowship of The Faithful. (2 Timothy 2:13; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Peter 4:19; 2 Corinthians 3:5; 1 John 1:5-7)
8. Gentleness – we show our good deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. God is the source of all true wisdom. (James 3:13, NASB; James 1:5-8; James 3:13-18)
9. Self-control – Philippians 4:13 in the Amplified Classic version of scripture Paul’s assertion says we are self-sufficient only in the sufficiency of Christ. His work in and through us makes us sufficient in all things. Our self-control is insufficient apart from His sufficiency. (2 Peter 1:2-13; 2 Timothy 1:7, AMPC; James 3:2; Philippians 4:13, *AMPC)
Beloved, all this to say, God is the treasure of a good heart. We cannot be good at bearing the fruit of godliness apart from the One True God, living it out through us. We are utterly and completely dependent on Him. The more surrendered we are to Him, the more spaces in our heart He fills and controls, the greater the abundance of Life He will pour through us as fruit that reveals Him as the source of any good we produce.
“You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10 NASB
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20 NASB
13 Days of Trust in the Lord and do good. Day 8 – Psalm 125:1
“Those who trust in, lean on, and confidently hope in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides and stands fast forever.”
Christians are not stubborn. We are CONVINCED. We have experienced God enough to truly and fully trust in the Lord. Truly trusting in Him, makes that person a rock on firm foundation. I see two things in today’s passage:
1) People who truly trust God cannot be moved from their position. Whatever life throws at them, they will not depart from God’s way. They trust Him with their past, present, and future, knowing that He is faithful to His Word. They are not tempted away from following God’s directives. God’s opinion is more important than the opinion of any person. God is Lord in their lives.
2) They abide on that firm foundation. To abide means to remain on/in – to live it. The person who truly trusts God not only stands on His faithfulness to His Word, trusting Him to be God, faithful to fulfill His promises, but they consistently apply His Word to their living and breathing. Every decision is dictated by God’s opinion as found in His Word to us.
Therefore, these truly desire and work toward being faithful in all things as He is. They are the ones you can go to and count on. They will speak the truth to you in love, helping you solidify your stance. They will be there to love and help in the hour of need wherever your need and God’s provision through them meet up. They are faithful as He is faithful, responding to His calling and equipping with wholehearted and willing fervor.
“Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,” Philippians 1:25 (see vs. 21-30)
Today is Missy’s bath day. She is too big to bathe in the sink, and too heavy for me, getting her out of the tub: plus, my knees don’t handle that well any more, so off she goes to the vet for a spa day every 2 weeks.
Getting her ready to go is not a problem. She hears her leash come off it’s hook, and the excitement is on. She loves a good road trip and pulls me readily to the car. Seated happily in Johnny’s lap, she eyes every site and takes in all the smells.
This morning, as I pull into a parking spot, she starts sniffing the air vent like crazy. Obvious recognition in her eyes, her happy face drooping with every breath, she glares at me, “I don’t like where you parked!” I know that’s what she said.
Getting her reluctant body out of the car, I sit her down and the battle is on. She wants back in the car immediately! When that doesn’t happen, her goal becomes that of getting me to change course. Fighting her over the threshold, she wearily follows me to the desk. While I take care of business, she stands like a pointer, leash taught, making sure I know where the door is and begging, “Please! Help me.” Little does she know that she stinks, and my nose keeps me pointed toward her bath.
This morning, as our ritual dance at the desk plays out, she suddenly grabs my attention with some extra exuberant tugs on the line. Looking back, she points intently at the door. A woman, just stepping to the door, reaches the handle and pulls. Missy’s excited eyes and joyful tug scream, “Hurry! The door is open. Now’s our chance.” 😂
Missy is a lot of laughs for us. She is so expressive and so smart. But there are times when we know what is best for her, so we fight to get her where she needs to be. It is the same with God and us mere mortals. We so often tug against something God is leading us to, not liking the discomfort of getting there. I wonder if He laughs at us like we do Missy.
Jeremiah 29:10-11 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”
I don’t know if you have ever read Jeremiah. It is worth the read, if not. In it, God calls His people to willingly go into captivity, promising those who do will find His faithful presence and provision while going through a designated timeout from their destiny because of corporate sin. Many, the prophet Daniel being one, went willingly and found God’s faithfulness. Others, like the King of the day, refused to willingly follow God’s path. Most of them lost their lives the King lost his eyes, his freedom, and his throne. Kicking against goads God sets in our path only hurts our feet. And, as Missy will tell you, fighting the Master’s pull only chokes us down. Better we go willingly into the Father’s plan.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
That’s a promise. God is faithful to His Word. Question is, do we believe and trust Him, even when the road gets rough? If we choose faith and a willingness to walk His way, we will find ourselves shining like gold and smelling like a rose on the other side of the difficulty we dread.
Last night as I got in the bed, I again prayed healing for my appetites. Immediately Psalm 37 came to heart as a healing balm.
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret…” ~ Psalm 37:3-7.
God told me early in January to occupy this journey to a healthier lifestyle. This healing balm instructs that I am to occupy the land of my dwelling, cultivating faithfulness, having my delight in the Lord who will not only give me my desire, but will direct me to desire good things He can bless.
One word that stands out here as important to my ability to occupy this journey is the word “CULTIVATE”: I am to cultivate faithfulness.
- a. To improve and prepare (land), as by plowing or fertilizing, for raising crops; till.
- b. To loosen or dig soil around (growing plants).
- To grow or tend (a plant or crop).
- To promote the growth of (a biological culture).
- To encourage or foster: cultivate a respect for the law. See Synonyms at nurture.
- To acquire, develop, or refine, as by education.
- To seek the acquaintance or goodwill of; make friends with it.
As I commit to the Lord in my dietary desires, He will do it, bringing forth my righteous judgment as a light. That begins with RESTING in the Lord and waiting PATIENTLY upon Him, giving Him opportunity to have a say in my desires. Accomplishing that rest requires that I refuse fretting: not allowing my thoughts to be stuck on a desire of the flesh. Allowing my mind to stick on a fleshly desire makes for struggle on this journey and too often leads to a fall. Allowing God to be God of my appetites, taking every thought captive in obedience to Him, I walk in freedom from that which would rule my appetite in His stead. Healing comes to my appetite as I cultivate faithfulness in waiting for Him to inspire good desire.
My part is to cultivate faithfulness to God as God of my journey, wanting Him and His desires above all. One thing stands out: “make friends with it”. My healthy lifestyle is not an enemy. It is a friend. A healthy friendship includes respect: respecting my body as God’s temple; respecting God as resident in it – knowing He always works for my good and not for harm, giving me hope for my final outcome; thus, respecting His desire for my nutritional needs and the foods that fill it. In developing that friendship and respect, I prepare my heart for the healthy desires God has for me, nursing and cherishing my desire for Him above all else.
I think of Daniel’s diet. His diet being vegan is not the important thing. The important point in his story is his commitment to faithfulness to God revealed in him eating only what the Lord prescribed. Daniel is one who listened to Jeremiah’s word from the Lord and obeyed. He surrendered to Babylon in obedience to God; and he continued to seek the Lord from the land of his captivity. He chose God first in all things, and God met his needs.
Healing of my appetites will come as I give myself fully to want of God, cultivating faithfulness and receiving God’s heart in forming my desire. And the promise: “…those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land” ~ Psalm 37:9b.
Led to read John 1 in the Message Bible today, I was struck by John’s words, “I knew nothing about who He was – only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize Him as the God-Revealer.” Before God revealed the truth of who was Messiah, John knew his calling and purpose, to get Israel ready to recognize Him.
Many people are talking a lot these days about the signs of end times that seem to be unfolding before us with ever increasing fervor. I am one watching closely with understanding of the times we live in. And if you have read my posts long and of late, you know I write to the body with regard to our readiness in these days. As I read John’s statement regarding himself, I know that my main purpose right now is to put out the cry to the Church in Christ: Are we ready? We must live in readiness.
A couple of my nieces have asked me to meet with them and one of my granddaughters on a monthly basis and one of their main concerns are the signs of our day. I am not one well versed in the prophetic discernment of Revelations. I can’t tell you what the hidden message of Revelations is without much digging and study under someone who is well versed in that area. Though I have studied it and I know what to watch for, and though I have facilitated groups in the study of the signs of end times, it is not my personal specialty, and it is not what God has called me to. But I do know this: the day is drawing ever nearer, but it is NOT Here Yet.
There is much unfolding before us and, as I have said before, the spirit of antichrist is growing ever stronger in the earth, but the signs are not full and complete yet. There is still much to come, and though it can and most likely will unfold quickly when it comes, it is NOT Here Yet.
For example, my sister expressed concern about the chip they have developed that goes under the skin of a person and monitors their health. Yes, this is the growing signs of the coming tribulation and the mark of the beast that will be required of mankind, but this is not the sign yet. This is not the mark.
The mark of the beast will require the bearer to express allegiance to the antichrist’s embodiment of one man who is yet to be revealed to the world. Without expressing allegiance to him above God, you cannot have the mark and without the mark, you cannot buy, sell, or trade, therefore you do not legally eat and live. So though this sign shows technology getting closer to being able to monitor mankind in such a way as to control commerce, it is not there yet. This is not the sign – the mark, it is a step toward it.
So if you want or need your health monitored closely, receive the technology without fear and with gratitude to God for its right and true use. The day the governing body of man says that you cannot have or keep using that technology until you pledge allegiance to “Mr. Antichrist Persona” cut it out and refuse the pledge and the technology.
My calling and equipping for ministry in my writing and teaching during this season is this, to quote Jesus and the apostles in telling you the signs to watch for and those not there yet. Jesus said such signs are birthing pangs of what is to come, but they are not to be feared (Read Matthew 24 *:6*)!
Here me, do not fear. Fear is enemy to FAITH. Fear can cause us to fall to the very thing we fear because we fear most the pain and hardship. It is easier to give in to the fear than to press forward in faith and face pain and hardship. Fear is dangerous to us, so do not fear! Did you hear me? Do NOT Fear. ONLY BELIEVE, TRUST, AND OBEY GOD!
Jesus is coming back, beloved, and we are called and equipped to face the days that will come as signal to us of His soon arrival. We have the Holy Spirit within us, uniting us as one with Christ the Messiah and God the Father. The Spirit teaches us all things so we will not be caught unawares, and He equips us to Stand Firm! He will never leave nor forsake us. The days ahead are precarious, but we can face them with strength, hope and assurance because our God is faithful.
The question is not When or Whether? Jesus is coming, and the signs of it grow ever riper, readying to birth there fruit into the earth. The question is, “Will we, Church – will YOU, Believer – be ready at His coming?”
We must BE REAL in Christlikeness, for the birthing pangs grow ever stronger. We must BE SURE of His calling and choosing us, for the day of His return is coming closer still. We must be busy about the Father’s business, being the God-revelators of our day, for there are many who still do not know that He is, and that He is COMING!
“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to HOW YOU OUGHT TO WALK AND PLEASE GOD (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD, YOUR SANCTIFICATION; that is, that you ABSTAIN FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY; that each of you KNOW HOW TO POSSESS HIS OWN VESSEL in sanctification and honor, NOT IN LUSTFUL PASSION, like the Gentiles WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD; And That No Man Transgress And Defraud His Brother In The Matter Because The Lord Is The Avenger In All These Things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, HE WHO REJECTS THIS IS NOT REJECTING MAN BUT THE GOD who gives His Holy Spirit to you” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.
Sexual immorality is rampant in our day, even among those who belong to God. Adultery, fornication, incest, pornography, homosexuality, rape and molestation of innocence: all these are addressed in God’s Word as being against His will for us, and we see it all in our day, in ever increasing prevalence, even among the people of God. I believe all these perversions of God’s ideal way sicken the heart of God who calls us to sanctification that has a vital purpose.
The institution of marriage and the act of marriage, as God intended it to be, is a picture of what our relationship is supposed to be like with our Holy God. It is the giving of oneself fully to one person, able to so greatly trust that person that we can be “naked” – fully exposed before them. Such intimacy is not meant to be shared with any other than the one we are intended for, the one we are to spend our life with. In likeness to our relationship with the One True God, we are to be saved and kept for the one we are meant to be with for all time.
Even to look on another so as to lust after them, which is the business of pornography, is to sin against God and against His holy institution. Premarital experience and fleshly lust rob of experiencing God’s best for us in our relationships and it hinders our ability to trust each other, which is vital to true intimacy. I know this for a fact, not only because of what the Spirit has taught me in God’s word, but unfortunately because of personal experience.
I was sexually active in my youth, not having anyone to teach me these things. I married unwisely to get out of that lifestyle and that marriage ended in divorce. When God brought my husband into my life – and He did! He has made this clear to us in many ways through our years – I struggled over my past as I began to learn the truth of God’s ideal. It hindered our intimacy for a long time, until God healed me of the consequence of my sin, delivering me from the guilt and shame, and set me free indeed. It is my hope in sharing these things that I can spare some of you the pain and struggle.
The pre-marital impurity done by or to those still waiting for their mate-in-Christ is the commission of sin against our Holy God and that intended mate. It is also sin against one’s own flesh, and I am not just talking about STDs or out of wedlock pregnancy.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the potential for pregnancy are just part of the consequences we can face. Sexual intimacy with another gets into the depths of our being. When we do find our mate, flashbacks of previous experiences can hit our hearts to bring us to shame. It can keep us from satisfaction with our mates and hinder our healing from that past.
With every act that is not sanctified and set apart in keeping self for one’s future partner, we do harm to these vital relationships as it affects our very personalities and expectations for marital relations. Needing to “practice” so we will be ready for our mate, knowing how to satisfy them, is a lie straight out of hell.
No two people are alike. What one likes and expects, another will abhor. If you “practice” with one and like certain things, then marry another who does not like those same things, you will be constantly dissatisfied with your mate, ill-equipped to satisfy them, and frequently tempted to go back to where your desires can be met. Sexual relations is one area where ignorance is bliss. If you come together in innocence and learn to please each other, you will be satisfied together. When you grow in your intimacy together, learn what each likes, and minister to each other’s needs, that very intimacy satiates desire and makes you one flesh together, protecting you from desire for another.
Realize, beloved one, that until a couple marries, they do not yet know that they will be married. Anything can happen to stop our plans for marriage between the proposal and the “I do”; so “we are getting married” is not a license to take to ourselves the privilege of marriage before we are legitimately wed together. TRUE LOVE WAITS! This false belief that “engaged” is the same as “married” has ruined the gift of purity for many young couples. From the instant of that first kiss of longing that makes one want to touch, all the way to the actual penetration, all of that act of intimacy is sex! It is a gift to be given on the wedding night, AFTER the “I do” is done. Scripturally, marriage does not begin until the parents give the bride to the groom and all human legalities that define marriage are fulfilled.
The next portion of our passage, “That No Man Transgress And Defraud His Brother In The Matter Because The Lord Is The Avenger In All These Things” speaks to me of the insult we do to others through failing to possess our own vessels in sanctity for our marriage partner.
Defraud: to use deceit, falsehoods, or trickery to obtain money, an object, rights or anything of value belonging to another. From the premarital encounter that destroys the gift of purity meant for another, to rape, sexual immorality done with another’s mate or against one’s own mate, any sin of immorality that is done by force against another ~ all of these are transgressions that defraud another. And all of these defraud God, for in that instant we insult the One who loves us most and rob Him of our wholehearted intimacy with Him as God and Lord.
If we are His child, such acts grieve and quench the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Since God is always with and for the believer, we cause pain to His Holy Presence, who is made to experience our sin by virtue of His intimate knowledge of us. Such acts do great harm to our relationship with Him. And it is an act of blasphemy, as it gives God’s name in us, “Christian”, a bad reputation.
I believe the “brother” in this statement toward those we defraud could be translated “brethren,” which would mean: our brothers and sisters in Christ; our family and those we are kin to; those of the same people group; any people whose lives are touched by our sin. Even the angels in heaven who are watching God’s people and the triune-God with whom we are one are adversely affected by our sin.
When we commit adultery, we sin not only with the person we partner with in the act, but we sin against their present or future mate, their children, and all who will be touched by the pain of the consequences brought about by the sin done and exposed to light. And what does it say? “The Lord is the avenger in all things.” So the consequences that come against us because of our sin come from the very hand of God. STDs that destroy our bodies; out of wedlock pregnancies that sideline our plans for the future; marriages ended because of hurt and lack of trust; these consequences and more are allowed by God because of our sin. HE WHO REJECTS THIS IS NOT REJECTING MAN BUT GOD.
Pray as God leads you today for yourself, those you love, and all God brings to your heart today. If you have committed these sins already, repent, stop what you are doing, get right with God and seek godly council to help you correctly deal with the sin done.
Pray for the body of Christ to be sanctified and set apart in purity, delivered from perversion, and to know how to possess their own body in obedience to the Father. It is better to be a eunuch by choice than to commit acts of such sin and face the wrath of our Holy God.
If you are one who has been hurt by such sin, forgive for your own sake, so that you can be in right standing with God, able to get His perspective on the issue, and seek godly council to help you find healing and strength to carry on. Unforgiveness, bitterness and anger will hurt you! Do not hold on to these but seek the healing power of God to equip you to entrust these hurts to Him.
Whichever side of the insult you are on, beloved, whether the sinner or the one sinned against, God will heal you. He will enable you to love and to trust again as you seek His face and His grace, which is sufficient for ALL THINGS. And, as I can attest to, His healing can establish your ability to experience true intimacy with your mate, renewing the gift He intended you to give to each other alone.
This series started as God spoke to my heart things I need to remember and put into practice as I see things in our day that disturb the heart and have me watching more steadily to the East for the Rising Son. Then, as I shared in our intro, the Spirit led to realization that something coming upon the earth will happen soon, causing the hearts of even the elect to quake. In preparation for knowing how we are to face such days, this study began.
By way of review, our study began in the intro with a call to remember that God is God and we are not, therefore we must trust in, lean on, rely on and be confident in Him. As the Architect and Builder, He holds the plans for all eternity in His Holy hands. He alone has the full blueprint. We see in part and know in part, but He sees fully with full knowledge. We must trust Him in these days that even the chaos and the quaking yet to be revealed are birthing pangs leading to the great things of God. (See the intro)
In our days together, we have covered many Words for Life that will see us safely through the birthing process. To come through this time of new birth, we must to ACTIVELY ABIDE in all that God’s word instructs us to abide in, especially in His Light. As things around us grow steadily dark, signaling the passing of the old and the birthing of all God’s design and desire, it is vital that we remain in His Light and be His Light to dispel the dark and draw those in who are open to the truth. (See blog post 2 of this series)
One reason we must be faithful to abide in His light is because darkness can cause even the elect to question whether He even exists and if His saving grace is real. God is weeding and pruning in these days, revealing those who say they have faith, but, having a head knowledge of God, do not truly believe from the heart (see 1 John 2:18-19; John 15:6); and pruning off branches from those who do truly believe, but still hold to the old that hinders fruit bearing (John 15:1-8).
In the Light of God we are able to know that He is faithful and His Saving Grace through Jesus is true; the full payment – propitiation for sin. To weather the coming storms, we must TRUST THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD AND HIS PROVISION for our eternal destiny. And we must trust with believing hearts that JESUS IS OUR ADVOCATE, forever and always interceding before the throne of God on our behalf, day and night. (See blog post 3 of this series)
Blog 4, “Sanctified – Set Apart”, reminds us that, like Esther, we are here for such a time as this. God has a purpose for us to fulfill in working with Him as builders on His eternal project. To fulfill our purpose we must have our minds and hearts set on the things above, the higher things of God’s eternal purpose and plan.
A major aspect that is needful for our living Sanctified – Set Apart lives is learning that we are called and EQUIPPED to BE as He is (blog 5). We are given His Spirit whose number one work in us is to restore the IMAGE we were meant to have: that of being like God in all aspects of our character and nature, will and purpose, thought and emotion / desire, deed and action. Scripture calls us the Body of Christ. We are to be an extension of all that He is, able to complete the work of Christ in the earth as His hands, feet, heart, mouth, etc. It is vital in these days that we find our place in His body and become all He desires us to be for His use in these days.
Then the blog posted yesterday on “Kingdom Reality” (blog 6) calls us to realize if we haven’t already, that our eternity began the day we said “I do” to Jesus, becoming part of His bride that is being made ready for Him. In that instant, we became citizens of the Kingdom of God, having authority and responsibility as part of the Royal Court to fulfill Kingdom purpose in this world. Like Queen Esther, we are here for a purpose. If we truly know Jesus as Savior and the triune Godhead as Lord, we are now and always will be of God’s Kingdom, and not only of God’s Kingdom, but of the Royal Court of Christ, working out of His authority. So act like it. Remember it. Let that reality direct our decisions and actions, our thoughts and desires, and our way of treating others.
In this final blog, I must remind us, as John did, “Children, it is the last hour,” and antichrist is alive and well in our day (1 John 2:18-23).
The war of terror brought by “radical Islamists” is the spirit of antichrist. People like one of my nieces, who say, “no god is my judge”, is ensnared by the spirit of antichrist. All who come against Christendom and the Jewish population out of which the Christ was birthed, whether a people group or a philosophy, that true enemy force is antichrist. All that seeks to lead God’s people from their faith and the truth we are to live is antichrist. Thus it is vital in our day that we:
Test our faith (2 Corinthians 13:5): *1 John*; Romans; *Galatians* – Colossians; these are excellent texts to read, praying for the Spirit to bring us to true and right evaluation of ourselves as to our hope in Christ and whether we are of true faith (Romans 12:3).
Just believing that Jesus is, is not enough beloved. Even the demons believe and they shudder (James 2:19), but their faith is not that of one who is saved for all eternity, one with Christ in His Body and part of the Bride – citizen of His Kingdom. There is more to it than just believing Jesus is / was. If our faith in Him does not bring His Spirit to possess us (1 Peter 2:9; John 16) and change us from the inside out to be as He is, producing the fruit of God in us (Matthew 7:15-23), we need to make sure of our position in Him. Today is the day of salvation, beloved, for JESUS IS returning at an hour we do not know, and on that day it will be too late to make that decision. Be sure of His calling and equipping you for all eternity.
Test the spirits (1 John 4:1): “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” ~ 1 John 4:1-6.
Beloved, I can’t say it better than that. If the Spirit of God resides in us, He testifies with the truth. If what I have shared is truth, the Spirit of God in you has done summersaults within you, confirming for you that these things are of God and convicting our hearts that these truths are to be heeded with understanding and with determination to do them. Even testing to see if we have the Spirit of God can be done by simply asking, do I truly believe all that Jesus says about Himself and all that others of scripture profess as truth concerning Him and is that understanding effecting the way I live, think, and prioritize life?
When we do doubt, and even the strongest can have moments of weakened faith, the Spirit quickly rises to assure the heart of the one who is truly His through Christ. If the Spirit within confirms our faith, we have hope of eternity and are called and equipped to become as He is, the very image of God, bearing the fruit of it. If we have doubt that remains, today is the day of salvation!
“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning (the Word of God and the Spirit of Truth). IF WHAT YOU HEARD FROM THE BEGINNING ABIDES IN YOU, YOU ALSO WILL ABIDE IN THE SON AND IN THE FATHER. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing (Spirit) which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing (Spirit) teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him (in God by the Spirit of God)” ~ 1 John 2:24-27 (Authors notes of understanding).
BE Strong and Courageous:
“Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, THAT WE WOULD BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD; and such we are.
“For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. …”
Antichrist is all that does not know or acknowledge God in all His fullness, especially the Christ who is our propitiation. The “world” is all that is dictated by the wisdom of the spirit of antichrist. That world sees that we are the Children of God because of our faith in Christ that brings to us the hope of eternity with Him, making us to be as He is; and being convicted, they hate us because they hate Christ because of the spirit of antichrist within them. That world spirt will come against us more and more as the day of Christ’s return draw near. Therefore we must be strong and courageous, drawing ever nearer to God, assured of the Spirit and the faith that is in us, filled with His Spirit, and ready to give an account for the hope that is in us, in season—when it is popular, and out of season—when it is not popular.
The birthing pangs we are experiencing are those of the coming tribulation that will usher in the 1000 year reign of Christ and the final and forever defeat of Satan and his evil. And, unfortunately, it will bring the destruction of all who are enslaved by the spirit of antichrist and fail to turn to receive the Spirit of Christ. But 7 years of tribulation will lead into that final hour of judgment and condemnation of antichrist in all its forms.
I am of the belief system that we who are now in Christ will be raptured out at the beginning of the tribulation period. Scripture seems most to teach that philosophy. But there is precedence for a later rapture time, and we must be ready for either scenario. We must test our faith and the Spirit in us to be sure that we are ready when He comes to go with Him, ready to stand before His throne with confidence in Him and His advocacy for us. And we must be strong and courageous, so if we are part of the tribulation saints who will suffer those days, we will have the ability to stand firm in our faith even when antichrist comes to kill us. That spirit of evil is doing and will do all he can to destroy those who truly and sincerely believe with whole heart.
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” ~ 1 John 2:28-3:3.
Cling to the Hope that is within you, and let no one and no thing steal IT from you or you from IT! Realize these are the last days, and many are perishing because of the spirit of antichrist that rules the world and it philosophy / wisdom. Be bold and courageous to share your faith wherever you are able, with hope that the Spirit of God will use it to deliver yet another ensnared by sin before it is too late.
Hello! Over the past few years I have developed the habit of writing a birthday letter for my grandchildren, encouraging them to be, and to be all God wants them to be. Since I also have several readers who are young, I like to share some with them, to encourage them. But even the mature in Christ can use a reminder of these things, to check ourselves and realize where we are in life, so 13 and up, read on; and be encouraged.
Thirteen! Wow. It is hard to believe that you are entering the glorious teen years. So much growth, freedom, and fun to be had if you face these years with realization of the power you have going for you. Here is the power I want you to possess as you head toward being an adult.
Growth – this is the beginning of turning the corner from “kid” to “adult”. You are not an adult yet, you still have much to learn; and you need to trust and seek God for it and you need to trust your parents to have your best interests at heart as they nurture you through this time.
But this is the time when you need to begin to realize and discover just who and what you want to be when you grow up, and I am not just talking occupation. Yes, it is important for you to more fully discover your likes and dislikes, talents, abilities and giftedness, so you can discover the areas of the workforce that you are interested in pursuing. But I am talking about what kind of person do you want to be? How do you want others to see you?
Do you want to be known as a person of integrity? Grow in the knowledge of what truth and righteousness really are. Today’s world would tell you that there is no real truth and no right or wrong; that truth and righteousness is dependent on each person’s viewpoint. So if you make someone mad, they can rightly hurt you according to their truth in the moment.
That seems a harsh and silly example, but you would be surprised at the number of people who think that way. People are at such a point in our time because they deny God and His ways as being a reality. To know truth, live righteously and be a person of integrity, grow in the knowledge of God and His ways, and you will succeed.
You need to begin now to give real focus to discovering the attributes you want to possess, learn what each requires, and begin to make those your own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, mercy, compassion, trustworthiness, truthfulness, etc. I challenge you to choose one attribute to work on each month, learn what God has to say about it, talk to others you see that trait in, and begin to possess these for yourself.
You may have to revisit a desired attribute many times throughout your life to check yourself and adjust to repossess lost ground, but if you will develop this habit of growth, you will become all you want to be. So, who are you, and who do you want to be? This is your main goal for life during your teen years, to become the adult you really want to be.
Freedom – there is greater freedom to be had as you progress through your teen years, which will make you feel powerful, and there is a power to express in possessing and maintaining this freedom. With greater freedom there is greater responsibility if you want to maintain your right to be free.
Example: if you want the freedom of going places with friends, prove yourself to be a responsible person who can be trusted to remain the person you want to be while out with others who will try to sway you to be what they want. One way to make this easy on yourself is to choose friendships with people who want the same things you want as a person. Another person who wants to be known as a person of integrity will not tempt you to lie to your parents so that you can do something you know they will not approve of, nor will you tempt them to be something you, yourself, do not want to be.
Freedom is not free! It takes work and commitment and knowing when to take a stand for what is right so you can maintain the freedom you have. Power over yourself, your desires, and your situations is required for true freedom to be yours.
Fun – if you begin today to develop as a person: becoming the person you want to truly be when you grow up, discovering good likes and talents, abilities, and your giftedness from God; and if you will live as a person who appreciates and understands true freedom is worth taking a stand to maintain, you will find fun in life that is worth having.
Looking for fun that is worth having and that you don’t have to hide from your parents will lead to a life worth living. You will not be easily snared by the evils of life: drugs, alcohol, sexual sin, etc. But you will find yourself a leader among your peers, helping them to desire to be better people, living in freedom, and having fun worth their time and energy.
All these things make for a life worth living that honors our God who is worthy of serving by being His light in the earth. Making these things your own personal journey in life will protect your relationship with God, protecting you from being drawn away from Him to things that rob you of the joy of knowing Him and His presence with you.
If you ever do walk away from these things I am giving you today, all you have to do is begin anew to practice this power you have. Possess the person you want to be, walk in the freedom that is free indeed, not being dictated by anything or anyone who would lead you away from who you are and want to be, and have a life of fun that is worth having.
Grandpa and I love you dearly and you are constant in our prayers. We desire the best for you, and that best is always God and His ways. Look to Him to direct you and you will find the best you can be in Him, with freedom that is true and eternal, living a fun life that the world cannot understand but longs to possess. It is all yours to possess. Go get it!
Love you dearly and daily,
Meeme and Grandpa