“If God is not King, …Then He is not Savior”

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” – Judges 21:25

Since I was a child, I’ve heard it said, “Many want Jesus as Savior, but not Lord.” An old but very relevant point today. Reading this passage this morning, this verse stood out at the conclusion of chapter 21.

Without a king, there is no “rule” of the people whether corporately or individually. Inadvertently people will pursue their own lusts or desires if there is no ruler or law keeping them accountable to a will other than their own.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” – Proverbs 12:15

Historically, Israel was to remain a “theocracy” (ruled by God) and not a “monarchy” (ruled by a king), but they wouldn’t have it. They demanded of Samuel the prophet to give them an earthly king. Ultimately, we all have a king; the question is who? Whether the Spirit unto life? Or sin unto death?

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” – Romans 6:16

The salvation of Jesus we speak of is a “saving” FROM sin because of its “end game,” death. The “Kingship” of our Lord Jesus is to reference our “sanctification” as to “maintain” that position of our saving. Him being ruler, and us being servants to obey.

Whether you believe this or not, we all have choices in life that dictate a consequence that can either be positive or negative. A parent tells a child what they should do, but ultimately the child chooses whether to obey mom & dad, or disobey. This is simply no different with God: A choice given from God to mankind of whether to surrender & serve Him, or not.

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” – Romans 6:13

If you don’t want Jesus as your King (ruler), then you can’t have Him as Savior… They go hand-in-hand.

Jesus our Savior pulls us out of the pit, and Jesus our King keeps us from the pit!”

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Paper Treasures Worth More Then Gold

“And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” – Habakkuk 2:2-3

I love my bible app just as much as the next person. I highlight in it, make notes, use it when writing devotions and researching lessons. However, as one who inherited bibles from my grandfather marked up with his underlines, highlights, notes, and personal commentary, I realize that I will never pass my bible app down to my grandkids. So I encourage you all to take some time everyday with the Holy Spirit and a paper bible and let Him teach you. Let Him lead you. Let Him tell you what to mark up and what notes to leave behind. You never know how God may use it to minister to someone long after you’re gone, maybe even your own kids or grandkids.

Upon the passing of my grandfather’s sister, my husband was asked to minister her funeral. When he looked at her bible he immediately knew that God had a better idea. She had so loved the word of God that her bible had a lifetime of revelation, notes, and personal commentary filling every space on every page. So my husband simply read the passages that the Lord had given him and then read her notes on them. In this did God allow her to preach her own funeral and minister the gospel of her beloved Lord and savior to 5 generations of her family in her own words! What a blessing for her from heaven, what a comfort for her family still here! How inspiring an idea?

After the funeral, my husband was able to hand her bible with it’s lifetime of love, loyalty, faith, and devotion etched into every page down to her children to continue to minister to them for years to come. What a gift and how rare a treasure in this digital age. How much rarer will it be to the generations to come.

Take time today to sit with God with your note pad and bible and start seeking the Lord for something to leave behind, a paper treasure of ministry value rather then monetary value. Don’t be scared to mark up that bible, don’t be hesitant to leave notes, don’t be ashamed to journal, and write, and draw. These things that mean so little today could mean everything to someone later.

“Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.” – Jeremiah 30:2

“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.” – Deuteronomy 11:18-21

“Increase”

“And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?”

Habakkuk 1:14-17

Now here is a picture of fishing for men that we don’t hear preached very often. A word of judgment and wrath from God because that many men had been gathered in, yet the glory and praise for it was being given unto the instruments used to collect the increase rather then to the God who brings the increase. They began to worship their own nets, the works of their own hands because by them they became prosperous.

This is a very carnal mindset and is quite dangerous as it both grieves the Holy Spirit and provokes God to anger. It happens more then we realize, and it serves the devil by stirring up envy, strife, and devision among the body. Crediting your own preaching, teaching, denomination, singing, program, promotions, anointing, movement, or gadgets for a soul saved is worshiping your net rather then the God who put the increase in it.

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” – 1 Corinthians 3:3-7

Paul continues this passage by stating that; yes, everyman will be rewarded according to his work and obedience to the leading of God’s voice to do that work. However, that man cannot take credit for what that work accomplished because only God can make the work bare fruit. You can be obedient to plant a seed but only God can make it suddenly spring into newness of life! So you better Cry Out to God that He bring the increase or else your labors will be in vain. Yet when He does, don’t go praising your own hand for planting a seed, or your rake, or tractor, or field, praise God who brought that dead seed to life and made it fruitful that all the rest not continue to be wasted!

Remember that when the tool gets the praise for how God used and blessed it, God gets angry and throws the tool down. He will not share His glory with an other, He would rather work tool-less. When someone truly cry’s out in faith, God will answer. He will come and do what no man can. When the real Jesus shows up, the fish do too and you will see increase that you never saw before. You can use the same tools, in the same way, but you’ll get totally different results. When this happens the temptation will rise up to take glory for what God Himself has done. When this happens, stop and remember that you’ve planted these same seeds and work this same ground before and didn’t get the same results, so Praise and Glorify God who sent it. Don’t start worshiping your net as this great and special net that can do what no other net can do. Worship the God who filled the net as a great and. special God who can do what no other God can do, and He will keep doing it.

“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.” – Luke 5:1-7

The Rewards Of Righteousness

We read of great exploits throughout the scriptures preformed by righteous men and women of God. We also read many marvelous promises of God, nearly all of which, again are contingent upon righteousness.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – James 5:16

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:12

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry…The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles…Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” – Psalms 34:15,17,19

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” – Psalms 37:25

So what exactly is righteousness and how do we attain it that we might walk in these blessings and power? First we must come to terms with the truth that God is no respecter of persons, if He did it for Elijah, Abraham, Peter, and Paul, then He will do it for you if you meet the same conditions they did.

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” – Acts 10:34-35

“… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” – James 5:16-18

So we see that according to James (the brother of Jesus), everyone has equal opportunity to walk in righteousness unto miracle working power. We also see according to Peter (the disciple of Jesus) that God is no respecter of persons picking certain people out of favoritism. Instead He will use anyone (are as the Bible often puts it) “whosoever” will fear and reverence Him and walk righteously. Peter also makes it very clear that if we do not walk in righteousness then we are not only missing blessings, we are missing Jesus all together because only the righteous “are excepted by Him”. So how then do we walk in righteousness?

The first thing you have to come to terms with is that you cannot do it apart from God. Not by good deeds, or intellect, or strength of man. Doing what you think is right is self righteousness and God says that your righteousness is as filthy rags before Him. However, doing what God says is right is walking in God’s righteousness. Even if one claims the Name of Christ yet does not do His will, then he is self righteous just like the Pharisees.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21

“And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” – Matthew 12:49-50

Therefore, believing and doing what God says is right is true righteousness, and what is this but faith? Real faith. Not just empty faith professed but true faith expressed! This is why without faith it is impossible to please God and without righteousness you are not excepted of Him. You see true faith is believing what God says because scripture says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. You seek, God speaks, you believe, trust, and obey, which will cause you to be in right-standing with Him and He will count you as righteous. For the word “righteous” literally means “to be in right standing with God.

So this means that in order to be righteous then we have to hear from God so that we can then choose to believe what we have heard. Hearing comes by God’s Word, either logos (His Written Word) or Rhema (His present personal spoken Word). Therefore, in order to walk in righteousness we have to believe both the scriptures and what He speaks to us personally in the place of prayer. Therefor, if you are not personally hearing from God daily through His word and in prayer and personal communion then you cannot walk in righteousness because you have not heard His instructions and only have your own righteousness to lean on.

“And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles 12:14

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Your own plan, your own idea, your own logic, your own agenda, your own ministry, your own words, your own understanding, your own strength, your own tools, your own skills, your own wants, your own wisdom, it all equates to your own righteousness which equates to filth to God. Therefore, if you do not seek God for His words to give you His wisdom, His plan, His insight, His instructions, His strength, His power, His promise, His will, His righteousness then by default what you do will be your own will and that is evil in the sight of the Lord.

“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” – Romans 10:2-3

“…Presumptuous are they, selfwilled…And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;” – 2 Peter 2:10, 13

So we see that it takes both humility and faith to walk in God’s righteousness. It takes humbling ourselves to recognize that we need to seek God to hear His voice, and once we have heard it it takes faith to trust and obey it. However, man in his natural fallen state cannot hear God’s voice, for his sins have separated him from the righteousness of God. So if you don’t hear God’s voice then there is something you must do first.

You must humble yourself, confess your faults unto God, and repent. Then by faith you must call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to wash you clean with His blood and fill you with His Spirit so that you can go boldly before the thrown of Grace where you will then have direct access to God, His voice, and His righteousness.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: 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.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

By faith it can be yours. God is no respecter of persons. If you believe what He said enough to do it by faith then you will gain access to the very thrown of God and being reconciled back unto the Father, He will then begin to minister to you, to teach you how to hear his voice and be led of His spirit into all truth.

However, once that He has begun to speak to you and instruct you, you must then daily humble yourself to hear what He is saying and have faith to believe it no matter how difficult it may seem. Remember that He truly is God, that nothing is impossible to Him, that He gives more grace unto the humble, and that nothing shall be impossible to those who truly believe because He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Remember that it doesn’t matter who you are, it matters who He is, and what He says.

If He says it, you believe it and walk in it, and that will position you in right standing with Him. Submit to this and you will be standing right where He wants you so that when the time comes and the curtain is drawn you will be in position to play your part in the destiny that He has planned for you and it will be counted unto you as righteousness.

“And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” – Romans 4:21-22

“Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” – Genesis 18:14

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” – Matthew 17:20

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” – Numbers 23:19

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭

He Calls Me Beloved

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” – Matthew‬ ‭10:22‬ ‭

“I am incredibly blessed by knowing that the way we are valued and understood by man is not at all how we are valued and understood by God.

I may be thought a million things by my peers, but God knows my absolute heart and there are no misunderstandings.
That really comforts me in this world of tiring labels. Mainly because I am nothing when measured by the world. Nothing. (What an honor!) Yes it is an honor to be measured nothing by a world of proud self worshippers. Hear me out….

I am measured entirely different by the Lord. Beloved, chosen, friend, more than a conqueror, salt and light…one little bitty sheep who is completely loved and adored by her shepherd, a daughter of the most high, the one who breathed into man a living soul when he formed him from the dust of the ground, and His hand is tightly gripped upon her, completely secure.. as though She were the only one.

All of that measures so much higher than any name/s on earth I could ever make for myself.  Let the world think what it wants of you and me, let peers think you’re
Immature, weird, unintelligent.
Let them even hate you. Jesus says they will. For his names sake. But, be glad, in fact.

It doesn’t matter what the world thinks, or what it calls you. Those things are not, and never will be what God calls you.
They are not what He sees when He looks at you. He sees His name draped over you, a crown upon your head, you are deemed royal, because He shed his blood for you and it covers every inch of you. You just remember, you don’t make your own name here, and the world doesn’t make your name. God has called you so many things and none of them measure high to the world. In fact the world doesn’t even count them.

Be proud to stand apart. You are peculiar, you got that right, but you are peculiar in the Lord. And you are measured so differently by Him! You are measured higher than any opinion by peers. So let people think whatever they want. God already values and understands you totally and completely, and has so many other names for you. Of so much more worth then any that the world would ever label you with, even theirs are all fading by the hour.

“As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.” – ‭‭Romans‬ ‭9:25‬ ‭

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” – ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” – ‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:20-21‬ ‭

Submitted by Amelia Barr

Seeing Through God’s Eyes

FAITH TRUSTING IN GOD. HOW? YOU NEED GOD VISION!

Seeing things from HIS EYES now, not mine! 

I recently got a new pair of sunglasses.  They were different then all of the others I had before. They actually made it easier to see.  They made everything brighter and look like it was the Garden again in the beginning of creation. Looking like a High Definition screen.

So GOD begins to speak, “This is what happens when you look through MY EYES.” GOD SEES ALL, AND KNOWS ALL, AND NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM! Knowing that GOD is for me because I am HIS, gives me FAITH FOR TODAY AND ALL MY TOMORROWS. 

The Faith is not only in knowing who GOD IS (which is key), But also in knowing WHO’S I am.  HE IS my FATHER and my KING! So all I am is HIS, and all HE IS is mine! As my FATHER, HE has promised to protect and provide for me, as I HUMBLY SUBMIT TO HIM AS GOD AND KING. That means, I draw near to HIM to hear his voice, and obey as HE speaks to me. I return the LOVE and DEVOTION to HIM that HE has given to me. And in keeping myself faithful in our relationship, as HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL, I have no reason to fear ANYTHING AT ALL!

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.” – Psalms 28:7-9 

“But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God.” – Psalms 31:14

So… GOD VISION is SEEING EVERYTHING THROUGH HIS EYES. This only happens by abiding in HIS PRESENCE. That is when we can gaze upon the beauty of HIS HOLINESS AND GLORY! The more time we spend with HIM alone, the more we become like HIM, love and trust in HIM and SEE from HIS perspective! Which is totally awesome by the way!! This terrible sin filled cursed world we live in,  is only temporary; and this life is the testing ground to determine who will be faithful to GOD, as HE IS FAITHFUL UNTO THOSE WHO LOVE AND SERVE HIM WITH THEIR WHOLE LIFE.

“O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.” – Psalms 31:23

“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”- Joshua 22:5

*ALL

“Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day. For the Lord hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God. Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you. And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof. Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you. When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.” – Joshua 23:6-16

The devil’s order of attack:

•Entice you away from GOD’S PRESENCE

•Instill doubt, causing you to question GOD, by lying about GOD’S WORD

•Present temptation making sin look good and pleasant and wise

•Then once he has us convinced of his lies we sin (disobedience to GOD)

Once you understand the tactics of the enemy, you can avoid the snares.

“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” – Proverbs 1:10

Understand the devil cannot make us sin once JESUS has set us free, he can only entice us to stray away by our own lust (desires). If we will recognize the devil’s attack plan and choose to avoid it all, by drawing nearer to GOD until all desires other than HIM vanish, we can have victory over all sin by HIS strength. IT’S ALL AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN ABOUT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! This is the ONLY protection we have from the enemy!

The key to obedience:

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41 

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked (past-tense)  in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though 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. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” – 1 Peter 4:1-7, 12-19

Suffering in this life will come to ALL, from your own sin, or by the sins of others; But let it not be by your own sin, for if it is,  it will be suffering deserved. But those who are obedient to GOD will suffer persecution and in the end be rewarded by GOD for our faithfulness to HIM.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” – James 1:12-16

“Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 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 4:2-10

“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” – James 1:25

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But 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.” – Psalms 37:25-40

Submitted by Heather Wright

Faith Tested is Grace Proven

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” – Romans 8:16-17

2 Timothy 3:12 tells us that “ALL who live Godly WILL suffer persecution.” They will be rejected, lied on, slandered, cursed, hurt, and hated at the least, while many will be beaten, in-prisoned, tortured, and even put to death. Yet we are told that though the severity may very, persecution, trial, and tribulation is not some remote possibility for Christians in an other country or of an other time, but that ALL true believers will face it and have to endure it if they are truly led of God’s Spirit because the first place the Spirit will lead you is into a wilderness where the faith you claim will be tested so that you can come out testifying to others of the faith you have and the grace it manifested to you in your wilderness when you stood upon it and where not shaken from it. In this will you then be proven fit for the masters use in the greater works that He desires to entrust you with. For they will surely stir up a far greater persecution against you then the former, yet will you have learned to trust God with this giant on the battle field because that you have already learned to trust Him with the lion and the bear in the wilderness, for the purpose that the impossible feats of faith preformed by you may glorify God even as Christ did.

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

Even Christ Himself had to endure rejection and persecution for the sake of obeying the Father’s voice and will, and it is no different for us, for the servant is not greater then His Master. If they did it to Christ, they will do it to us. So away with this false notion of an easy Christianity, a painless Pentecost, a Passoverless salvation, a sacrificeless death, and a powerless resurrection. It’s high time the modern church put down their pacifiers, their passive liars, their useless muses, their petty excuses, and pick up their cross and follow Christ down that straight and narrow path that so few are willing to walk because it’s not the easy road, it’s the broken one. It cuts the feet with every step, yet for love we ought to walk it. We will walk the wide road being cut to the heart with every step for the love of the world but we won’t walk the narrow one for the love of God.

Selfishness! It’s all rooted in selfishness. “Oh make me known like Christ but don’t make me known for what Christ was known for. Don’t make me too unconventional. Don’t make me too uncomfortable. Don’t make me too unlikable. Don’t make me too unconformable. His yoke is easy and His burden is light, I don’t really have to carry that heavy cross”…

Oh my friend of little faith, you miss the point completely. Because of love the true believer will pick up the cross in faith, then being yoked together with Christ will He then bare the burden with you and you with Him. In this will His strength make the burden light and easy to bare as His grace is shared with those who love Him enough to except the burden in faith. Once picked up in faith then and only then will His grace (which is favor and power) be poured out that you be able to carry it as a witness and testimony to others of the impossible love, strength, power, faithfulness, and glory of our God granted to us and manifested through us that it might prove us in faith and the strength of our God through us in grace. Yet none of it will come but by trusting God when you are led of the Spirit into a wilderness that no one else will understand and everyone else will reprimand.

So lay down your desire to please anyone but God, set your eyes on things eternal, set your heart on Him alone, yoke up with Christ Himself, pick up your cross in love and faith, and go in fearless grace, because that love for God cast out the fear of man. The fields are ready, the Master is calling, do you have eyes to see and ears to hear? Or will you forfeit the Kingdom in the name of comfort, doubt, selfishness, and fear?

Yes we are saved by Grace through Faith but understand that faith must be tested for grace to be proven. In this is the tree proved by the fruit that it bares, and those that be proven only, Jesus says… “the Kingdom is theirs”.

“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:” – 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:13‬ ‭

Baal the god of gain: Robbing GOD of Glory

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you. If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the Lord thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again. And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers; When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭13:1-18‬ ‭‬‬

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; And say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God: That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O Lord. Then the Lord said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them. For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not. And the Lord said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble. For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble. What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest. The Lord called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. For the Lord of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal. And the Lord hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings. But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered. But, O Lord of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause. Therefore thus saith the Lord of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the Lord, that thou die not by our hand: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine: And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.” – ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭11:1-23‬ ‭‬‬

Over and over again, all throughout Scripture, the LORD gives us warnings of this image of Baal that was worshipped by the people. And due to the fact that GOD has been continually speaking (loud and clear) about the seriousness of this thing HE DESPISES called “Baal”

So I began to ask Him “LORD, what is it? What is this thing YOU so despise?” I knew it was an idol made in the image of a man, but I wanted to hear it from HIMSELF, so as I asked HE responded, “It’s wealth, riches, possessions, prosperity, plenty, and SELF-SUFFICIENCY; It’s the idol of “life without GOD”, it’s the very sin of thue Laodicean church!

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” – ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:14-17‬ ‭

Oh ok, well now I know why it makes HIM so angry! It’s the sin of “MY LIFE – MY WAY” when it’s not your life at all! It’s HIS! You are actually HIS CREATION, THAT HE CREATED, FOR HIMSELF, AND REDEEMED BY HIS OWN BLOOD! What a mess we are in for! What wrath surely is coming upon all who still worship this god of self-sufficiency today… and they are many!!! This is the sin that sickens GOD the most, so much so that those found in this lukewarm state shall find themselves in HIS vomit! To claim HIS NAME, yet worship yourself instead makes GOD sick!

Thinking to yourself, “That’s not me.” Well let me challenge you: ask yourself, Has GOD asked me to do something, that I’m not willing to do? Has GOD asked me not to do something, that I continue doing? Or has GOD asked me to give up something that I keep holding on to?

Being honest we have all fallen into this category at some point, but the important thing is that we respond to the LORD as HE brings us reproof, rebuke, and correction. Hear the LORD speak now:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” – ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:19‬ ‭

“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” – ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭9:23-24‬

“And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:19-20‬ ‭

HE blessed, HE break, HE gave… of HIMSELF as the bread of life. God’s abundance always comes by way of giving, the devil by way of taking that which is not his!

“Will a man rob GOD?…”

“Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.” – ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭29:1-4‬ ‭‬‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

Prayers for All Men

“And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.” – Acts 22:4-5

Paul (at this point called Saul) had been a very hard man, hunting, imprisoning, and even murdering the followers of Christ in an effort to eradicate them completely. Yet as he recounts his journey to Damascus where he had an encounter with Jesus, repented, and got saved, he makes an interesting statement that the Lord is drawing my attention to this morning.

Paul stated that he was going to Damascus to take those who were bound there to Jerusalem to be punished. No doubt he was referring to Christians that had been imprisoned for their testimony of Jesus. He was literally on his way to gather them and bring them to the priest in Jerusalem to be tried and most likely executed.

We all know what happened to Paul during this trip, but today my mind goes to the persecuted Christians who were in Damascus waiting for him to get there and rip them from their homeland to face execution in Jerusalem. How they surely prayed such fervent prayers for God to deliver them, yet I wonder if they (having so fresh Christ’s teachings and example) prayed for God to deliver their persecutor? Will, when we all stand before God on the day of judgment and the account of every man’s life be read, hear the story of how the prayers of these few nameless believers set on course these events that would change the world forever?

The early church and many believers around the world today face the dangerous of wicked men like Saul was, yet though they may have to keep a separation for safeties sake their prayers for them can infiltrate the most dangerous places and hearts if we will but be faithful to send them. It was too dangerous for a believer to walk up to Saul and speak the gospel to him, yet the prayers of the saints from a distance went where no man should and did what no man could. So never stop praying.

Though surely many more did, we do know for sure that at least one of Saul’s victims did indeed pray for him even while Saul aided in his death. As Stephen was martyred by stoning, Of which Saul was present, he prayed this prayer.

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” – Acts 7:59-60

Jesus commands us to pray for those who hurt us, use us, and persecute us. How much more does He expect us to pray without ceasing for those who just don’t agree with us or listen to us? Sure, God could have poured out wrath and sent a bear to devour Saul on the road to Damascus and delivered the believers that way. But it was far better that God pour out mercy and send Jesus to deliver Saul on the road to Damascus that he, the believers in prison in Damascus, all the thousands of lives that Paul’s preaching reached, and all the millions of souls that his writings have since reached would all be delivered through this one act. This is why God delights in mercy. Mercy is better then wrath. Pray for mercy with a merciful heart. Pray for all men, pray for the ones that need it most, for the Saul’s. After all, it’s the Saul to Paul testimonies that have the greatest impact in proving the limitless ability of the life transforming power of our Jesus. So pray, even when it’s too dangerous to get close to a person or situation, still pray. There is no distance that prayer cannot span, no heart it cannot pierce, no terrain it cannot infiltrate, no enemy too fierce. So pray, everyday, for all men.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” – 1 Timothy 2:1

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” – Matthew 5:44

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:18-20

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” – Isaiah 61:1

Praise Wins The War

“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.” – 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Many enemies where marching against Israel at this time, three different armies to be exact. Upon seeking the Lord for a battle plan, Israel received a strange response. They were told not to be afraid, but that God Himself would fight for them, they needed only to believe in God and His words being spoken through His prophet and praise the Beauty of His holiness!

So what does it mean to praise God “in the beauty of His Holiness”? Holiness means to be set apart. It encompasses God’s faithfulness, His uniqueness, His unmatchable power and strength, His unfailing wisdom and glory, His omnipotence, His impossible miracle working limitless ability. It is to vocally acknowledge that He is set apart from all other things and nothing can compare, compass, confound, contend with, or conquer Him.

You see, sometimes we lump Thanksgiving and Praise together, and they should both be given, however their is a difference between them. Thanksgiving is vocally expressing appreciation and faith in the things that God has done. While praise is vocally expressing appreciation and faith in the things that God can do, and will do, and is doing, but has not yet fully done, even when you see no current physical evidence or showing of it yet. It is your faith in God vocalized, not to others (as in witnessing), but to God Himself that equates to praising!

The most amazing thing about this story is that this Praise turned the tide of the war. As they praised God in faith, God Himself fought the battle for them and caused their enemies to destroy each other leaving them only to then turn their Praise into Thanksgiving!

This happened at other times in scripture as well and still happens to this day, for God is unchanging. As Debra the Prophetess and Judge over Israel sang, the very angels of Heaven came and fought along side them, defeating their oppressors. Then in the very next chapter after their victory, their song of praise changes to a song of thanksgiving.

“Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam. Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the Lord made me have dominion over the mighty….The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. They fought from heaven; the angels in their courses fought against Sisera.” – Judges 5:12-13, 19-20

This again happens in the time of King Hezekiah, as well as many other biblical accounts. God truly does inhabit the praises of His people because while worship is love expressed, praise is faith expressed. It confessed and professes the beauty that is God’s Holiness and all that it entails. It draws Him to take notice, it stirs Him to take action, it pleases Him beyond measure, and it turns the tide of the war. So praise Him in the Beauty of His holiness! Praise the impossible power, love, faithfulness, wisdom, and ability of our King and He will come and inhabit those praises, and when He steps into the situation, everything changes. So praise.

“Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” – Psalms 100:3-5

“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth:…” – Psalms 96:8-10

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is God, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

“… he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the armies of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.” – 2 Chronicles 20:21-22