Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
God is Watching. The bible is clear that God is actively involved in His creation, working to bring things to their desired end. His eyes are always looking over the earth for those who do good, and seek to honor Him and He is seeking to hear their cry for help. But for the unrighteous, He has prepared a place for them in the eternal lake of fire; His face is against them, and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. (Psalm 34:15-16; Hebrews 10:31). We must examine ourselves, in the same light, the Father uses to search our hearts; He is looking at our motives. Are they motives of unrighteousness, dead works? For our own gain or pleasure, and just looking good outwardly? Or are they motives to glorify His holy name, solely, good works? It would do us well, to truly look at our intentions and repent of any sinful, boastful, lustful or wayward actions on our part. All of our misrepresentations and false justifications with our breathy explanations of innocence in our vein attempts to hide our guilt; it's all filth and rubbish for He sees it all, He is watching. Always looking, and it will not stand before the holiness of His throne or the judgment seat of God. We can try to bury it and cover it up with explanations of how it wasn't that bad, for it's just a matter of misunderstanding, an improper choice of words, or an unaware glace of the eyes, but God can't be mocked, nor can His people who have been trained in righteousness.
The word of the Lord stands true, and we can trust everything He does.
Those Predictable Triggers Which Take Our Peace. Do you have people who will steal your joy, and bring strife into your life? They predictably will do the very things that bring agitation to your soul; stirring within you the feelings of unrest, anxiety or bitterness. This is the point were knowledge has power and we have to lay hold of it. The more we understand that the Lord upholds the universe in His hands and by the power of His Might, the more we can manage these moments and our feelings: for we will know and understand that He allows these trials in our lives, to strengthen our relationship with Him, by work everything together for our good and His glory. We will see His glory shine in the dark and difficult times of our lives. We must look to Him and that means turning our gaze from our problems, and letting the mediation of the Lord always be upon our lips. When we know the Lord hasn't abandoned His creation, and that He is working everything for His purpose, we can draw strength from Him.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Follow the Lord and All Your Ways will be Right. If we come to know the Lord, and begin to follow Him, then we will have joy and peace. Once we become believers and gain knowledge of God through the reading of His word, then we can be lead by the Holy Spirit. God can begin to speak to you in His still small voice, for you will know Him. You can hear the Spirit of truth speaking to you, convicting you of sin and of righteousness. When we disobey God, we will feel convicted of our sin, we won't have peace in our spirit. It's an unsettling feeling and when you replay the events which caused this conviction, you'll begin to try to justify your actions to make the feeling subside. When we obey God, the Spirit convicts us of our righteousness, and we have peace. We know we've followed God, because our hearts are settled. Instead of seeking to cover our actions or repeat the event over and over again, now we only mediate upon the glory of God and His divine ways, for we can see Him working through us to bring us out of that difficult situation. We will know He loves us and is protecting us, so we will reflect on His goodness and mercies. We will have peace with God and our fellow brothers and sisters.
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning,
your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Flowers of the Field. One of the most beautiful and peaceful sights to behold is a field of flowers blowing in the wind on a sunny day. They seem to not have a worry in the world; and while looking upon them, you don't either, even if, it's just for a moment. We are much like them, here today and gone tomorrow with only a flash of glory while we're here. Should we spend our days worrying about the next rainfall or sunny day, or what the weeds next to us are doing? No. No, we shouldn't; for there is a master gardener who is tending to us, and our every need, not to mention He is tending to everything - everywhere too. Anyways, we should continue to reflect the beauty of who we are; made by the creator for His divine purpose; vessels of honor to bear His image, and shine His glory. Above all, we don't want to miss the opportunity, for time is fleeting. Instead we should trust upon the Lord and His timeless provision and His eternal excellency.
But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.'
God's Graciousness Saved Mankind From His Own Depravity. The story of creation speaks to the love of Christ Jesus for me. His life is part of the plan for mine, which is His grace. But by the grace of God am I saved, saved from what, my own ways which lead me to destruction and death; always captive to the devil's wicked schemes, for he wanted his own glory, so he used lies to try to kill, steal and destroy every trace of good which God has done. In my disobedience, I was bound to all of that, rebelliously seeking my own path; as we all did. And God who is rich in mercy and grace, looked away from our treachery; instead He was tender, loving and merciful to us. He said, My Spirit will not strive against man, forever. (Genesis 6:3). Jesus became the acceptable sin offering so I could spend eternity with God; it was always His plan, nothing I did could have stopped His will. Praise God that mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13).
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
God Has a Plan for Us. We were created by Him, for His purpose; He made a way for us to be back in fellowship with Himself and others. He gave a promise, through Abraham, to be our God and for us to be His people. A relationship of Him leading and us following, and obeying the truth of His word. He would even live in our hearts, speak to us and guide us into all truth. First He had to correct the wrongs of mankind, which was accomplished through the giving and fulfilling of the law. He is the light of man, and He wants to shine through us in this dark world. We are like unleavened bread, for He will raise us up on the last day (John 6:44).
Ephesians Spiritual Warfare: Defeating the enemy with the victory of faith and knowledge of god
In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
Knowledge Really is Power. The more we learn God's holy word, the more His power will transform us into the image of His Son, Christ Jesus, and help us defeat the enemy of our souls. The power is to transform us, yes, we can help change the world, but that begins when we become the likeness of Christ Jesus. We must leave the old former ways to the newness of life in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 6:4, 8:29; Ephesians 2:11-22; Hebrews 10:20). This will require we don't think too highly of ourselves using a sober judgment (Romans 12:3). As we learn in Ephesians and Corinthians, there is a spiritual battle taking place. If we try to hide or deny it, it doesn't go away. It only defeats us. Living in fear keeps us captive (2 Timothy 2:26), but we don't have to stay defeated because Christ won the victory (1 John 4:18, 5:4; Isaiah 43:1; Psalm 3:8, 18:2), which is why He is so glorious. Jesus already defeated the enemy and has given you the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57; Deuteronomy 20:4; Romans 8:31). Jesus told us all these things so we could have joy and peace (John 16:33). You can joyfully die to yourself and be raised to a new life in Christ, which requires the knowledge of God.
I will raise up for myself a faithful priest,
who will do according to what is in my heart and mind.
I will firmly establish his priestly house,
and they will minister before my anointed one always.
Your Suffering isn't the Final Story. The nation Israel went from rags to riches, with the turning point being the pain and suffering of one woman in a land of darkness. At the onset of first Samuel the nation Israel disobeyed God, upon taking possession of Canaan, they hadn't eradicated the people and they followed in the Canaanite ways instead of being faithful to God. Their outcome of straying from God, is strikingly similar to our waywardness today, which is the suffering of immorality, strife, war, sexual deviance, rampant false religions, and even a corrupt priesthood within the church of God itself. The nation hadn't heard from God for awhile, until one man was raised, and taught by God, to be a faithful priest, Samuel. This is the same promise we have, to be a royal priesthood to God (1 Peter 2:9). This man restored the nation to their God and brought victory over their oppressors, the Philistines, all the days of his life. Even more miraculous then the story of his life; is the story of his birth. This is the hope and promise we have, that out of the ashes of our lives, the Lord can raise a mighty man to serve in His most holy assembly.
I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give Him to the LORD, for his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.
Having a Public Shameful Circumstance and Others Laugh and Taunt You. Elkanah lived in the hill country of Ephraim with his two wives; Peninnah who had children, and Hannah who had none. Peninnah wasted no time in provoking Hannah about her woes, for at that time, everyone know it was a curse of the Lord to close a womb for the Lord had said, "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28, 16:10, 22:17, 26:3-4; Jeremiah 30:19). Elkanah faithfully went to the temple in Shiloh for the annual sacrificial offerings, year after year, to make his offering in the years when Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas were priests. He would make sacrifices for his wife and children, but for Hannah he would make a double portion because he loved her and the Lord had closed her womb. Her rival provoked her, year after year, until she wept bitterly and couldn't eat on their last journey to the temple of God; Elkanah attempted to console her, by asking if his love for her could mean more than 10 sons (1 Samuel 1:1-8) but it was of little value for she was crushed in spirit.
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
God Fixed the Broken Relationship. The essence of God's everlasting promise to Abraham is the promise we live under today, namely that He will be our God and our children's God: giving His protection and provision. The original covenants were between God and man, required man to obey God's laws, and in doing so, they would display His wonderful attributes to the world. The problem was that man always failed to hold up his side, so God with a loving and forgiving heart, said He would make a new covenant to fix this problem relationship. It is the new covenant made in Jesus' blood that only requires that man should believe, not work. The is counter-cultural truth for there is a God, who loves you and He wants a relationship with you. He wants to help you.
In all this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
The Struggles are Real. Having had a rough start in life and little support, I quickly learned you have to fend for myself and trust in no one, including God. These were the early roots of bitterness which would grow deeper over the course of my life. The slightest offense was enough to erupt spewing fits of rage; and a string of broken relationships are the charges against me. How can there be a good God, because He surely would have stopped all this pain and suffering. Life, even human life, lost its intrinsic value of being made in God's image, because it was pointless and expendable and glory wasn't due His holy name for allowing it, or so I thought.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
The Armor of God. Entering God's rest is a joyful existence, for you're allowing the Spirit to guide you and you're watching Him destroy every lofty thing that rises up against Himself, as you cast all your cares upon Him. But can this be maintained or even achieved? Even my christian brother thinks I live in a fantasy land when I tell him to rise above the worries of this world. He tells me that I don't understand his situation, then he goes on to explain his woes. My heart sinks, because I know this joyful existence in the midst of the storms is true; I know it's even more real than the problems themselves. This joy is something deep down inside you where you know and accept that the Lord works through the struggles to teach and strengthen you in the faith. It's a welcoming of woes as they are the instruments of God, even an enemy attack, to refine you as pure as gold and lead you to the Kingdom of God.
But the man said, "Why are you looking in the place of the dead for someone who is alive?
Don't Miss His Call. Oh, why should you carry on, again and again, with the same message of Christ Crucified? For it is my very life; apart from the cross, there is no life in me at all. I've never been so alive, as I am in my death - my death to self and the worries of this world. Why my very words, indeed are of the Lord, for He awoke me and provoked me with thought. He was streaming words through my mind, causing me fear that I should miss His message to be delivered to someone. I rousted from my bed and began to write. But in honesty, I initially resist and wrestled with the Lord for but a moment as it was 1:00 AM, and I wanted to sleep. Similar events have occurred where I wrestled with the Lord and did not obey, but I only regretted them when He revealed the opportunity I missed to have Christ manifest Himself through me. Missing an opportunity to show God to this world has become my biggest fear, my biggest problem in this world for what else could compare to such a thing? Many times my words have been the answer to someone's prayer. There is only death outside of such an existence for that is true life.
I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.
Do You Believe in the Forgiveness of Sins? The complete and utter wiping away without a trace of remembrance? The washing away of sins, after turning them blood red with a sacrificial sprinkling, so they are now as white as snow. The royal robing, of a once broken and defiled clay vessel, with priestly royal embroidered garments. Honored in sacred lines with gold and adorned with chrysolite, emerald, turquoise, sapphire and diamond just to name a few precious gems. The welcoming of your presence into a holy sanctuary of only the most righteous; a place of absolute perfection with manicured lawns, decadent vineyards and glimmering streams of living sanctifying water. This is your inherited estate and you are the royal priest there-within making daily offerings of thanksgiving with songs of praise to your most holy King. Do not be faint of heart or slack of entry; No, come now for the gates have been opened and the Almighty Vine-Dresser is hearkening unto you eagerly awaiting your return unto Him.
JESUS THE HIGH PRIEST FULFILLED THE LAW - GIVING YOU PEACE WITH GOD, WHICH IS YOUR FREEDOM TO LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Matthew 5:17-20 ESV
The Fulfillment of the Law is Your Freedom. We live in the 'age of grace' where mankind is at peace with God, for Jesus' death was to redeem mankind from the wrath of God against ungodliness (John 3:16) and it's available for all who believe. Believing that God sent His Son to free you from fear of death, fear of the enemy and fear of God's wrath is extraordinarily liberating! Jesus' work on the cross taught us that we have a protective Father in heaven who loves us, cares for us, and is watching over us. He has a plan and purpose for our lives and He will bring it to completion. He is involved; He is sovereign; and He is working all things together for our good.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah predicted, "He bore our grief," and "Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer." (Isaiah 53:4,10). God was pleased to kill His Son, an innocent man, why? This is especially difficult to understand when we know, "He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord God" (Proverbs 17:15). The short answer is because He loved mankind and wanted to give him eternal life (John 3:16), but with a deeper understanding we garner the knowledge of God's power and authority was given into the hands of Jesus and His offspring (Genesis 9:1-3).
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation; my stronghold (Psalm 18:2).
We Have Been Created to Shine with the Joy and Victory of the Lord. We are to proclaim the excellencies of the Lord for all He has done for us, and this is how we shine. This is how we are saved, from His wrath. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Although the Lord is my friend, my father and my protector; He remains a Mighty King who presides over a Kingdom, a Kingdom of glory, honor and righteousness. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Deuteronomy 10:17; Revelation 19:16). He is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13). He is to be revered and honored (Psalm 2:11). He created you with a purpose and He will bring it to completion for He is faithful (1 Peter 2:9). The Lord is my victory song (Psalm 118:14), so I can lift my horn and proclaim His glory (Psalm 89:17).
A new command I give you: Love one another (John 13:34)
Command: Love One Another. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35). It's easy to look outside of ourselves and say, 'yeah, no one is following that command.' But what happens when you look a little closer, inside our own hearts? Then it's not so easy to judge everyone else, when we truly review our own conduct and intentions. How many times have you hurt those you love? If you're like me, it's more than you'd care to admit.
This Cursed World Begins With Me. Instead of looking at the speck in my brother's eye, I need to focus on the log within my own (Matthew 7:3). Oh the wretch that I am, I can't even keep the command of the One I love. I've walked in the Spirit for seven years now: walking, talking and trying to obey my Lord and Savior. Just yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to have two young girls, whom I just met, tell me that I radiate joy and nothing gets me down. I can't even boast in that for very long, because I like Peter can one minute have the radiance of God upon me and the next minute speak blasphemous curses against those I love. (Matthew 16:15-23; Ephesians 4:30).
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, animals, reptiles and serpents. (Romans 1:22-23)
The Depravity of Man: To Imagine and Worship A god Pleasing To Himself
Rather than Worship God, Man Created His Own gods. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, animals, reptiles and serpents. (Romans 1:22-23). God's wrath, His divine chastisement, has been revealed against man for suppressing the truth, which is that God, the Almighty, eternally exists in power and authority displayed in creation. (Romans 1:18). They suppress the truth in two ways. First by conjuring up false gods and images to worship, which is their ungodliness. A disregard for his power; the lack of acknowledgement of God. Secondly, by doing things apart from the divine order, which is their unrighteousness. A disregard for His authority, His providence and order. Theses thoughts and actions do not honor or thank God, who is worthy of all honor and praise. (Romans 1:21).
Yet You, LORD are our Father. We are the clay, You are the Potter; we are all the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
God is the Great Purifier. "Yet You, LORD are our Father. We are the clay, You are the Potter; we are all the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8). We were once, nothing more than mere dust of the earth. Having nothing more glorious within us then mere elements of the earth, and nothing precious or valued for certain. Common elements of which no man can boast. All that we have, within us, that is good is of the Eternal and Everlasting One, of whom we give all praise, honor and glory. We have as lowly earthen clay vessels nothing of which to boast before a Mighty God. There is no light in us. Having nothing, yet receiving all, is our victory song. Yes, we should relish in boasting of the true and wonderful riches of our heavenly Father who graciously and lavishly supplied all of our needs. (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Like clay in the hands of the potter, so you are in my hands.
To know there is a God and He personally formed you is a resting place for the soul. It's comforting to know I wasn't unwanted. I have a purpose to be here. There is a plan for my life. I'm not the consequence of a bad decision my mother made many years ago. No. I'm divinely made and crafted by the hands of the Most Excellent One, the Almighty, the powerful and knowing One, who is truth, love and righteousness.
No charge can be brought against this Magnificent One, not even my conception or birth. No charge of wrong-doing, negligence, nor oversight on His part: no, He made me with a purpose and a plan. I am not a mistake. He knew everything that would happen to me and around me, and we can still say, "God is good." He is the Holy One. The Righteousness of Christ, His mercies, His attributes of perfection are all the full embodiment of the Father here on Earth. There is no error in Christ: only perfection, in all He made and did. This includes me and you. He traveled here from yonder heaven beyond creation, where absolute glory and righteousness live forever, to come here to give me eternal life with Him.
We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5).
To live is to have laughed and loved; and even to have enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the coolness of a summer's breeze. On these days, we can breathe deeply and take in all that life has to offer with contentment. But if you've lived at all, you know there is another side to life. There are those days, when every second feels as if it's pressing in upon you: narrowing the gates and closing off all hope of a brighter day. In these dark days, the light seems so far off that all we have is lingering dread with the stench of impending doom. We've all felt the stinging arrows that pierce our hearts, when we are to blame for this dread. That moment, when you know it was you, your words or your deeds, that caused this great suffering. You've made the crown of thorns covered with shame upon your head. To where can you go? To where can you hide?
What do you do when the dread of darkness encompasses you? When this world has failed us, and we've even failed ourselves, we have a hope, an unfathomable joy that we can look upon. Even in the darkest hour of our lives, this hope can be seen for it is invisible. It's the fountain of living water that never ceases to flow. To be young in the faith is to question and wish this hope was visible, but the seasoning of life with it's many valleys and mountain peaks teaches us the sage of knowing this hope is most precious because it is unseen, for it shines the brightest in our darkest hour.
Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God (Hebrews 6:1).
Maturity of the Faith. "Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God (Hebrews 6:1). "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3). "And we desire each of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 1:11-12).
Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Matthew 9:13).
“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Matthew 9:13 We see, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). God is saying that He desires love and acknowledgment of Him rather than religious practices. Without a loving relationship with God, nothing you do can please Him: God made a simple way for that loving relationship, we call it – faith (Hebrews 11:6).
When mankind transgressed God in the garden, they were spiritually separated from Him (Ephesians 2:1-10). We turned from glorifying Him to glorifying the creation (Romans 1:21-25). God is love and mercy, so He wants connection with us, which is why He offered propitiation for our sins (Romans 3:25). Propitiation in Hebrew Strong’s Concordance 2617 hesed means God’s atoning lovingkindness and in the Greek Strong’s Concordance 2435 hilasterion which means a sin offering to appease the wrath of a deity or the sprinkling of blood on the Day of Atonement.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17). This is a lovely verse, but from what are we being freed? There is freedom in the Lord, from every type of sin, only obtained through faith in Jesus (Acts 13:38-39). So Jesus set you free from sin: slavery to sin (Romans 6:16). The gospel teaches us that we are saved by faith; we are saved by God's grace through faith; it's not of our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). No amount of doing good will save you.
And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (Romans 8:2).
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