Whatever it Takes

Recently I read a story of a courageous border collie named Pasty who risked her life to lead 900 sheep to safety through the Australian wild fires ravaging their land. A lot could be learned from this selfless farm hand. While most where thinking of their own pain and suffering, while most were striving to avoid being hurt, while most were trying to get away from the torment that was coming, this dog ran full force into it. She did not think of herself, she was determined to save the sheep.

So often we abandon an assignment because it puts us in a place of pain, discomfort, or even danger. So often we fail to keep the sheep when all of Hell rises up against us. When circumstances are not easy or pleasing to us, we flee and leave them to find their own way or perish in the chaos. It should not be so. A Christian should be selfless, always thinking of others, sacrificial like Jesus.

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” – John 10:11-13

God said that David was a man after his own heart. This was personified in the fact that even as a child he ran full force towards personal peril to snatch a lost sheep out of the mouth of the enemy.

“And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.” – 1 Samuel 17:34-35

The word Christian means to be like Christ. Christ was willing to suffer and to sacrifice in order to keep the sheep. We also should, like this sheep dog was, be willing to do what we must to lead other to the safety of the Masters house. So close are so many to the raging fires of hell, yet so few do what they need to, going out into the fields and enduring all hardship in absolute selflessness to lead them away from this emanate destruction and into the arms of the Master that loves them.

“And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither….Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” – 1 Samuel 16:11, 13

“While I (Jesus) was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” – John 17:12

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” – John 21:15

Out of the House of Bondage

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” – John 8:44

In the beginning Adam was created in purity and perfection, a son of God, part of his family. However he chose to break covenant with the holiness of God who is a spirit and come into agreement with an unholy one, the devil. In doing so, he chose to receive of that rebellious unholy spirit and that seed of unrighteousness was passed down through his children generation after generation, which is the inherited sin. The sin nature.

God (who is a Spirit) sees family, not in flesh, but in spirit. Those who have the rebellious spirit of Satan are considered the children of the devil, and since we are all born of Adam then we all have it. So then do we all need to be delivered from it. We need to be born again in the Spirit.

When we choose to be crucified with Christ, who we were, dies. We then receive His Spirit through a new marriage covenant in which the two become one, and are raised into newness of life; a bride of Christ. A new creation. Part of a new family. Children of God. But before we can become part of this new family, we must first choose to leave the old one. Being once children of the devil we must choose to leave our fathers house and be espoused to Jesus.

Abraham’s father was an idol maker, making him a son of Satan, but God chose Abraham to be the father of many nations. Yet before He could bring him into covenant with Him, Abraham had to first be willing to come out of his father’s house.

“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1-3

God moved in might miracles of love and power for the Israelites in the wilderness. He showed forth His great love and care for them. He covered them with a cloud like a husband is the covering for his bride. He provided for them. He fought for and protected them. He did all that a good husband would do. He committed Himself to them and asked that they commit themselves to Him with a marriage covenant that we call the 10 commandments. But before all of this could happen they had to first be willing to come out of their fathers house. Personified by that old pharaoh in Egypt. Children of rebellion and an unholy family, chose to leave it behind to become a bride, and a child of the Kingdom of God.

“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:2-3

Abraham left his fathers house, the Israelites had to come out of Pharaohs house, and even Jesus went into the enemy’s house to be espoused and bring His bride out. On the night before His crucifixion he gathers with His disciples in the house of Simon. Simon was Judas’s father.

Yet what Jesus did in that house that night was so profound and amazing that it still confounds hell to this day. You see in the time of Jesus in order for a man to be espoused to a bride, a supper would be held in her father’s house. The groom and the bride to be would share a drink from a cup of covenant or agreement. She was agreeing to the marriage, to leave her fathers house and become one with her husband. To receive His name, be under His covering, and become part of His family. When the disciples drank of that communion cup that night, they became the church, the bride of Christ. Everything that was His, He willed it to them, and then died in their place as there covering to give it to them. This is the beauty of the new covenant, of what Jesus did for us. He offered to become our husband! But in order to receive if it we must first be willing to leave our fathers house through repentance and choose to be married only to Jesus. Him and Him only, no other god’s, no other idols, no other allegiances, no other lovers; we must give our whole heart, our whole life to Jesus.

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” – 1 John 3:10

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 11:2-3

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” – Ephesians 5:25-32

Remember this, that obedience to Jesus is not legalism or law, it’s love. Be committed to your Spiritual husband and thank Him with your actions for all that He has done. And above all else, be willing to leave your old father’s house just like Abraham, Moses, and the disciples did. Jesus still bids those that would be His bride to come and follow Him, and leave their old life behind. It’s time. Walk out of the house of bondage, and into a new life with Jesus.

From Glory to Glory

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

God took Joseph from the glory of his father’s favor and dreams of great destiny to the glory of ruling all of Egypt, but He had to take him through a prison to do it.

God took Moses from the glory of escaping Egypt to the glory of escaping the armies of Egypt but He had to take Him through a sea to do it.

God took David from the glory of slaying Goliath to the glory of Kingship in the palace but He had to take him through a cave in the wilderness to do it.

God took us from the Glory of mount Sinai to the glory of mount Calvary, from the glory of Moses to the glory of Jesus, from the glory of the law to the glory of grace but He had to take us through Gethsemane to do it.

If you trust fully in God as the sheep trust their shepherd, deny self will, choose to pick up your cross and follow after Him, then He will take you from mountain top to mountain top, but He will have to take you through some valleys to do it. He will lead you to still streams and deep wells but He will have to take you through some deserts and wildernesses to do it. He will lead you to victory after victory but He will have to take you through some battles to do it. He will lead you from glory to glory but He may have to take you through some humility, adversity, uncertainty, and opposition; through some seas, some fights, some prisons, and some wildernesses to get you to those destinations.

Yet if you put your trust in Him and just keep following, you can rest assured that He will keep His promises. He will never lead you to something that He does not fully intend to bring you through, from glory to glory. So don’t be either content or afraid and stay on the mount of transfiguration, press on the the next and greater destination, because there is still a Pentecost coming.

The disciples thought that the glory of seeing Moses and Elijah on the mountain was the height of what God could have for them and wanted to settle there in it, but God had so much more in store for them. He had a greater glory coming! A personal indwelling and a mighty outpouring! But they had to trust Him to get them from glory to glory, even though He had to take them through Calvary and three days of darkness to do it. What manner of Glory does God still have in store for you, and will you deny yourself to leave one glory to follow Him through whatever it takes to lead you to the next? God is not static, nor does He rest. The fight is not over as long as you have breath, but nor are the victories if you keep following His lead and allow Him to take you from glory to glory.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” – Jude 1:3

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:12

Pray in the Spirit

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” – Ephesians 6:18-20

Ephesians chapter 6 clearly tells us that we fight not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities. Paul reminds us that our real foe is a spiritual one not a physical one. Therefore we are to fight him in the Spirit and not in our flesh. This is great news to those who truly grab hold of it! Because we rarely have the physical authority or resources to get much done, but through Christ who died to strengthen and equip us in the inner man, being raised with Him we are made more then overcomers! All power, dominion, authority, and might has been given Him, and us through Him, who have invited Him to come and live within us! So that even the most physically weak or spiritually strong through Jesus!

Why then do we continue to trust in the arm of the flesh? Why do we fight in the physical where we have little to no authority? Why do we waste time trying to obtain physical resources, the tools of Egypt? Because that’s were your faith is…

My friend, fight in the spiritual we’re we have all authority already and all the resources of heaven and you will see the physical effected. The problem with men’s logic is that they try to work in the physical and think that it will change the spiritual, when in reality they are meant to work in the spiritual and watch it change the physical. Physical men praying in the Spirit to a God who is Spirit, this Spiritual God then effecting the physical world on their behalf. Trust, faith, partnership, covenant.

“Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24

Though Ephesians 6 does tell us that we are at war, the equipment mentioned that we are given in which to fight it, are not physical but spiritual. It concludes with a command to pray in the Spirit that, together with all of this equipment, you might be made usable that the Holy Spirit (who is the Spirit of truth) can boldly speak the truth through you with anointing and supernatural authority as we ought to. Because only the truth can set men free, and only crying out and availing your self to the use of the one who is the truth will bring true and lasting liberty.

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

“And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” – Acts 2:3-4

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” – Acts 4:13

Faithful to Christ

“Now I urge you, brethren , note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctor in which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.” – Romans 16-17

Acceptance, unity, reconciliation – these are all good and godly things to desire and go after, but just like everything else, only in its right place. Acceptance is so heavily encouraged among Christians that we forget that God commands us to avoid an even reject (Titus 3:10-11) certain people. To seek unity with those that the Lord says to reject will place you right next to them in disobedience to the Lord. Rejecting this doesn’t mean that you don’t love them. It means that you love them too much to except and feed into their destructive ways, and you love the Lord too much to disobey Him.


Jeremiah Foster

Public Faith

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” – Romans 10:9-11

“For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” – Luke 9:26

Faith in Jesus, by it’s nature, must be spoken. Love, by it’s nature speaks the truth. If you really believe that there is a heaven and a hell as Jesus said, if you believe that He is salvation and resurrection from the death, then you will not fear what man can do, but will openly profess your faith in Him no matter what it cost you.

The Bible says the Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple secretly (according to scripture) for fear of the Pharisees but there came a point in which he had to be willing to publicly express his faith and love for Jesus and in doing so earned a place in history.

Nicodemus came to Jesus by night for the same reason as Joseph, yet there came a point that he had to publicly fight for Jesus among the Pharisees that accused him and earned great reward in heaven for it.

All of the great men and women that we read about in scripture chose to take a public stand for their faith so that others could publicly see a demonstration of God’s grace and believe.

There were many a nameless prophets hiding in caves in Israel from the death sentence set by Jezebel, but only Elijah publicly stood against her, professing faith in God to defeat her wickedness. For it, God used him to publicly demonstrate both His great majesty and His great mercy, and of all the prophets of the day, only his name is remembered by the pages of history and is given a place of honor in God’s eternal Kingdom for truly believing.

Jesus lived a very public life, He preached a public message, in public places. He faced public opposition and spoke public correction. He expressed public love and compassion for the broken and forgotten. He even died a public death to set the stage for a public demonstration of grace that would put the enemy to an open shame and pave the way to stir faith in others unto salvation for all ages when all was completed with a public resurrection.

Other religions are built on public men claiming private revelations from private visitations from God knows what. Ours is built on a public demonstration and the undeniable endorsement of heaven in both word and in action.

Public faith releases a public demonstration of grace that puts the enemy to a public shame and brings public revelation of the truth to those who have been kept in the dark for far too long. God seeks partners to covenant with Him, to count the cost and pick up their cross and follow after Him so that He can use them to publicly demonstrate faith, so that He can publicly make His grace real to the people again. Unbelief runs rampant where there is no public profession to counter it and no public demonstration to shatter it.

Lord use me. Light me ablaze for all to see. Shine the light of your truth through me, that others might come to believe the testimony of the blood of Jesus and all that it brings us by seeing it publicly demonstrated through us, just like You taught us. Lord, use us for Your glory.”

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation 12:11

“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

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” – 1 Corinthians 9:16

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-2

“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” – 1 Peter 3:14-18

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” – Luke 9:23-26

Undying Love

In the beginning God created man for fellowship. To walk and commune with Him in the garden. When God looked upon man, His creation, His children; He said “it is good”. Because that “it is not good to be alone” and man was God’s remedy for this problem.

The first time God says something is not good about His perfect creation is when He says that it is not good for man to be alone. God understood loneliness. He understood Adams need to love someone because that he was made in God’s likeness and God Himself had felt a need have someone to love and had created him for fellowship.

God loved us into being! He created us with intention, to love Him and be loved by Him eternally. An undying being created us out of undying love, to be in an undying relationship with Him and the moment we fell out of it He began a plan to win us back again.

Like Gomer, the Israelites strayed into the hands of wicked lovers and cruel masters time and time again. Yet when they cried He always came running to save them. Out of Egypt and into a wilderness, to mount …. for their first marriage covenant. The Ten Commandments as their wedding vows. God laid the conditions of His commitment down and asked only for their faithfulness to the wedding vows. First and far-most among them, love Him and no other before Him.

Yet over and over again (like Gomer) they cheated on Him and giving themselves into the arms of sin, sold themselves by that wage again to the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Persian, anyone but the one who truly loved them. Lover after lover, master as master, they were beaten, bruised, abused, and used. Yet they returned to the empty promises of their selfish and heartless taskmasters.

Then comes Jesus, God in the flesh. Every word God had ever spoken, manifested as a man. Perfection. Love incarnate. Now we would all see how much we are loved. Not just in word but in deed. The first time that God had tried to marry Israel in the wilderness they had said to Him, “send us a man” and in Jesus He had done just what they requested. He showed what true love really was. Yet still was He despises and rejected, hated, cursed, and neglected. How amazing that through this all, from creation to the cross, He never lost His heart for us. Truly proving that He has an undying love for us. Even when it was us that tried to kill it, He resurrected it.

He endured all, He was patient with us from creation, He was kind even praying for us as He died, He hoped for our love to be returned to Him and it gave Him the strength to bared the weight and the shame of mount Calvary. He thought only of you and me, He gave everything. He covered us from death, paid out debt and purchased us from the other lover who had dominion by our own agreement, defeated the grave, and restored our place in eternity so that we could forever be with Him. That’s why I love my Jesus. Because He first loved me. Before the foundations of the world, He was already fighting for me, and far beyond the grave He will still be faithful to me. He will keep His promises. He will love me unconditionally. He is a safe place to place your trust and you love in this undying relationship that He purchase for us at the price of His own blood. He attained for me and that is enough. He need do no more for me. He has already proven His love and how undying it truly is for us. Now it’s our turn to return it.

“Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“…God is love.” – 1 John 4:8

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.“ – John 17:24

“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Abundance

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

Though hidden in the humble, God always does more then we ask for. Give Him thanks even when we don’t see it, believing that He is working all things together for our good. He is a God of abundance, but He gives it with wisdom. He gives what He can trust us with. He with holds no good thing, but that which would corrupt us He does keep from us. If we would be made selfish by riches then He will not give it, but to those who are faithful with the little He makes ruler over much because He knows that He can trust them with it. He trusted Abraham with riches because Abraham was generous, selfless, and giving. The riches did not change him but only better equipped him in his abundant giving.

“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.” – Matthew 10:8-10

In all things God loves to give good gifts to His children, but in His wisdom He will not give them what will destroy them. So the gifts that He gives often come wrapped in humility and hardship. Not that He desires this, but that it teaches us selflessness, compassion, and righteousness; that which builds treasures in heaven where our home truly is. Yet if He can trust us with more here, He is more then willing to pour it out on us. After all, He comes to bring us life and life more abundantly.

Now I’m not preaching a selfish prosperity, but a selfless authority entrusted to those who have bent the knee to the King and been handed the resources of His Kingdom for it. When we submit to God’s rule in our lives, He positions us over much in the spirit. Give up home, family, career, and prosperity to humbly obey His leading and He will eventually trust you with greater things then that which you gave up for Him.

“Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” – Mark 10:28-30

Ministry, giftings, teachings, authority, missions, spiritual blessings, rewards in the Kingdom, souls won for Jesus, things that count in eternity! Abundance in what matters! Yet does He also, in times of righteousness, entrust us with earthy riches to advance the work of His Kingdom when He knows that He can trust us with it. Not to build big houses or buy fancy garments that moth and rust will destroy, but to do the work of the evangelist, to tend to the orphan and fatherless, to spread the gospel of Jesus, to feed the hungry and bring hope to the hopeless, to run to the aid of those who need deliverance.

God will support and supply the needs of true ministry and will entrust all that is necessary to those who bend the knee, seek and obey the King, and do not fleece the sheep for their own selfish gain. Though it be a rare thing, God seeks and desires men and women like these. The Abraham’s, the Lydia’s, the Joseph’s, the Joanna’s, even the Cyrus’s. Those who He uses in areas of finance to support the work of the Kingdom. Though know this, in all of these instances did the contributions come unsolicited. It was completely a work of the Holy Spirit.

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

God can move mountains by the work of His hand, but when He chooses to use the finances of man, it never comes by way of begging. Biblical giving was always directed by the moving of the Holy Spirit, personal conviction, and the tithe and the offering. Never from begging. God does not need to beg men to finance His plan. When fundraising is involved you can be pretty sure that it was not God’s plan, it was yours. Yet when God calls it to be, he provides more then the need. He gives abundantly masked in humility, and leaves a testimony of His abundant ability to preform miracles of provision for those who walk righteously and put their trust in Him.

“And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord, and his people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.” – 2 Chronicles 31:8-10

The Rewards of Suffering

“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” – 1 Peter 3:14-18

The Bible makes it clear that “all” who will live Godly “will” suffer persecution. The level of persecution may differ greatly from situation to situation, nation to nation, or age to age, but on some level everyone who truly seeks, hears, believes, and obeys God’s voice will be persecuted for it. It may be a great physical suffering at the hands of an oppressive government, or a crushing emotional suffering at the hands of a loved one, whatever the case, it hurts. Yet Paul tells us here to actually be happy when such things rise up against us.

It’s one thing to suffer for your mistakes, it’s something totally different to suffer because of the error of others. Especially while you are trying to saved them from the error with the truth and they choose to hate you and hurt you for it. Yet this is exactly what Christ did for us and He fully expects us to do it for others.

You see, for those who do not receive the truth of God’s loving, saving, forgiving, life changing, unexplainable grace by hearing you speak about it, the next step is to show them the truth of God’s loving, saving, forgiving, life changing, unexplainable grace by seeing you live it. The best part is that the Bible tells us that there is special reward for those who reach these seemingly unreachable souls through demonstration and not just word only. There’s a crown of rejoicing stored up for those who do. There is an “exceeding” great reward for those who pray for and bless those who persecute them. There is more opportunity to grow in grace, be more like Jesus, and allow place for God Himself to defend you in miraculous ways that will build the faith of all involved.

Oh Lord give us patience to endure, and wisdom to rejoice when we fall into diverse temptations knowing that it is all working a greater weight of glory together for us in the end if we don’t withdraw, backbite, lash out, grow bitter, or arrogant.

We will never have a better chance to show forth the fruits of the Spirit that proves that our God has made us different then when we are hated, oppressed, despised, or rejected. It is in those times that we can show true love, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, Joy, goodness, peace, and self-control.

We must always be willing to speak of Jesus, our faith, what He has done for us, and the reason for our blessed hope and assurance. We must also be willing to reprove sin with love, mercy, compassion, and brokenness over the damnation awaiting the wicked in the end if they do not repent. Yet we must come to terms with the reality that doing these things will cause opposition from the enemy. Give men no reason to speak ill of you, but if in your humble right-standing with God they still do, then happy are you. For if you chose to please man you would not please Him who gave all to save you from eternal damnation.

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

Put quit simply, if we are not willing to face suffering then we do not truly believe in the reality of the eternity that we claim to be preaching. If we are not willing to endure rejection then we do not truly love Jesus more then anything. If we are not willing to stand in the midst of opposition and keep speaking what the Spirit is giving then we are not willing to count the cost and follow Jesus’s leading. But if we can lovingly and passionately do these things then we can say before all of creation on the judgment day, that we truly believed.

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” – Romans 10:10-11

Oh what a day of rejoicing that will be, when we see Jesus and know that He is pleased with us! When we receive the reward of our suffering because we deemed Him worthy enough to endure to ensure that He received the reward of His. One more soul added to the Kingdom, and a people that believed Him and followed His leading no matter how the devil tried to sway them. Let us rejoice indeed, when we fall into diverse temptations, being hated for righteousness sake; that we have been entrusted with the opportunity to unleash the greatest demonstration of grace that man will ever see this side of eternity.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” – Matthew 5:11-12

“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” – 1 John 4:17

“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. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:16-18

Compassion

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, compassionate, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32

When we look at the life of Jesus we see a common thread showing up before many of His miracles. The words: “and he was moved with compassion”. Before he fed the 5000, he was moved with compassion because they had been fasting 3 days. Before he gave sight to the two blind men that cried out to him, he was moved with compassion over their condition and treatment. Before he raised the widows dead son, he was moved with compassion for her grieving. Through out the miracle ministry of Jesus the one thing that unlocked His healing virtue more then anything was “compassion.”

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36

It is no different for you and me today, after all it is the same Jesus that lives on the inside of us and His healing virtue is still available to us yet we do not see it unleashed enough (I fear) for a lack of compassion. Now we know that not every situation is the same and some miracles have a timing to their releasing. Like the one that triggered revival in Jerusalem after Christ’s ascension. Some were for the glory of God, the miracles coming to validate the message and (in Jesus’ case) the messenger. Yet did the overwhelming majority of Jesus’ recorded miracles come simply because of compassion and it is compassion that many in the body are lacking.

I can remember a time when I had a severe foot injury that had rendered my walk slow, labored, and painful for years. One night at a service I was overwhelmed with compassion for a young single father in a wheelchair trying to raise two small daughters on his own. I wanted so badly for the Lord to heal him that night. I cried out to the Lord with all of my heart and I felt His healing virtue flow. I just knew that if he had the faith to but stand, he would walk! Sadly he never did. I walked back to my seat heart broken for him. So distracted by my prayer for God to heal his walk that I did not even notice that he had healed mine. My limp was gone, the pain was gone, the fused bones now moved freely. There had been compassion and their had been a healing.

“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.” – Luke 7:13

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” – Psalms 51:17

One of the greatest marvels of the Christian Faith is that our God chose to humble himself to come and live among us as one of the least of us that He might experience every hardship that we do and more. And in doing so has increased the compassion in His already merciful heart toward us. All that Jesus endured makes Him all the more understanding, patient, and approachable with our frailties. He gets it. He really gets us. He has compassion because of his experience as a man, facing heartbreak, weariness, pain, and temptation. And that compassion drives Him to petition the Father on our behalf to release the grace that we need to overcome the things that break us down.

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16

“But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” – Isaiah 49:14-16

While Jesus’ experiences of hardship have caused Him to grow more compassionate, we tend to do the opposite. Jesus was already perfect and was mistreated and somehow still managed to become better because of it. We were far from perfect, probably a lot closer to worthless, God redeemed us, forgave us of all our sins and offenses, and others (by the leading of His Spirit) forgave us also! They welcomed us in, made us feel like part of the family, trusted us to be part of their army, and then the battles came and we started to change, but not for the better like Jesus did. We began to loose our compassion.

Attacks, disappointments, betrayals, slanderers, manipulators, users, heart breakers, every scar making our hearts harder. It’s time to sit and talk with Jesus. He knows all about those scars. Show Him yours and He will show you His. Tell Him how they caused yours and He will tell you how you caused His, yet still He continued pursuing you, even unto death.

Take a moment to remember all that He has endured for you, all that He has loved you through, of all the things that He has forgiven you, and watch compassion return to you. He did it for us, we can do it for them too. We can forgive, we can try again, we can be broken over the rebellion of the deceived and dying. We can war for them, we can weep for them, we can pour out our hearts in intercession for them yet again like Moses and Jesus did. We can unlock healing for both us and for them, when we repent of our woundedness, weariness, hardness, and offenses; and ask humbly, “Lord, as you forgave us, we now forgive them, please give us a heart of compassion again”.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” – 1 Peter 3:8-11

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” – Colossians 3:12-15

“Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:” – Zechariah 7:9