The Wilderness Of Sin

“And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:” – Exodus‬ ‭16:1-2‬ ‭

God had just miraculously moved in mighty ways to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh. God had brought them out of Egypt and defeated their enemies in the Sea before their very eyes. All of Exodus chapter 15 was a song of praise that they sang to God about how He had so moved to bring forth such undeniable and miraculous victories against their foes! Yet as soon as the singing stopped and chapter 16 begins we see that they went from praising God for His great power and might, right into the wilderness of Sin and began murmuring against Him, His methods, His wisdom, and even the very power that had just brought them this great victory. 

The name of this wilderness is by no means a coincidence. In the native tongue, it meant “thorns“. If you recall, thorns did not exist on the earth before sin, but came about because of sin (which is a lack of faith). When Adam and Eve lacked faith in what God said, they doubted what God had originally told them and sinned. Therefore, mans original sin was a lack of faith, or “unbelief“. Because of this “sin“, the ground was cursed and “thorns” came up making life very hard for Adam from then on (Genesis 3:18).

Therefore, this wilderness full of thorns was called Sin for they are one in the same, cause and effect. Therefore when Jesus bore our sin, did He bare also a crown of thorns. Jesus expounds upon this truth in His telling us of the good seed that was sown in thorny ground. He explains that the good seed is His word. It is planted and grows and even produces good fruit! This represents a person who has heard the word of God and received it! It was planted in them and began to manifest through them. It was producing fruit which is the evidence of the faith in our hearts manifesting from our lips and lives! But then these thorns come up and choke it out that it dies! Jesus tells us that the thorns are “the cares of this world”, in other words, fears, worries, doubts, distractions, deceitfulness of riches, a desire for the easy way. In other words, when things got less easy then they gave up the struggle, and the faith in them in what God had both told them and done, died. The thorns stirred up unbelief in the words that God had planted in them and even with the fruit of it laying right before them, they gave up and the thorns won and took over.

“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” – Matthew‬ ‭13:22‬ ‭

This is exactly what happened to the Israelite’s. God had told them to do something. He had given them the promise of victory and reward. He had proven His words with great deliverances and victories already! Yet even as the fruit of this lay right before them, as soon as the struggle started to get tough and faith was required to press on, they entered the wilderness of Sin, “the land of thorns”, unbelief sprung up, and they began to murmur their doubts against both Moses and God. Sadly, just like for Adam these thorns of sin would prove to make their lives very miserable from here on out. This began their wondering in the wilderness as they tried year after year to achieve victory their own way in their own strength by their own means and could not, for promise only comes by faith. Therefore was the Promised Land given only to those who chose to believe, having faith that overcame fear even when it didn’t make since. Fear of friends, fear of failure, fear of famine, fear of foes, fear of Giants, and fears of woes. Of the over two million who left Egypt, only two proved to have a faith bigger then all their fears, and of the original two million, only these two (Joshua and Caleb) entered into promise. 

Choose not to be overtaken by the sin of unbelief and die in the wilderness like the Israelites did. Choose to put those thorns under your feet and press on believing, no matter what! And don’t be surprised if it seems that almost no one else “believes” like you do. Almost no one else believed like Johsua and Caleb did and they all missed the promise because of it. There have always only been a few that truly dared to believe, and they were all thought fools for doing so, yet God calls them great before history, and in the end, called them friend and son, saying “well done, My good and faithful one“. 

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:14‬

“But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” – Hebrews‬ ‭3:17-19‬ ‭

“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 ‭

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” – Hebrews‬ ‭11:24-26‬ ‭

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The Revelation Of Lamentation

“The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!” – Lamentations‬ ‭5:15-16‬

The book of Lamentations is a very grim and dark book among the literary works of the bible. Therefore, most people tend to avoid it for it’s woeful broken words. However, we are warnded in the word not to remove any part of the word and to teach the full council of God. Therefor, this book cannot be excluded nor should it be! 

You see, the book of Lamentations is a very important book, as is its purpose. Alone it is a bitter ingredient but as a piece of the whole it is invaluable and necessary to the proving that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. “All things” includes both the good and the bad, the pleasant and the woeful, the bitter and the sweet, the wilderness and the promise. It takes more then sugar to make a cake. Flour, baking soda, oil, or coco in and of themselves are not pleasant ingredients but they are necessary that the whole of the ingredients might work together to make something good in the end.

Lamentations is a bitter ingredient, but a critical one. In this neglected book we see the consequences of sin. That it separates us from God, that it removed His protection (though not His love), that it brings wrath and judgement upon the sinful. It teaches us divine justice, that God is obligated by His own rules that He cannot break because He is not a man that He can lie, to pay out the wages of sin whether He wants to or not, for He is no respecter of persons. If we will not obey, there will be hell to pay and there’s no exceptions to that, not even among the chosen. It also teaches us humility and reverence in the way the Israelite’s in this book begin to recognize their need for God once His protection, favor, and grace had been lifted from them. 

The whole of the book of Lamentations is a record and example of what the proper response to the recognition of disobedience in our own hearts and lives and to the sin in the lives of those around us should be. The greatest revelation of lamentation is that we should literally lament over sin, which means “to grieve, as over the lost of a loved one.” Does your own disobedience or the sin of the people, church, or nation around you grieve you like the loss of a loved one does? It should, because it grieves the Holy Spirit of God that way and if you have His Holy Spirit within you, you should feel it grieving through you at every wickedness set before it.

Lastly, it shows us that even in the worse situations we should never blame God, but rather recognize our failures, repent of them, acknowledge and proclaim His majesty. God is the only one who can deliver you from the oppression of the enemy, so never attack the deliverer out of prideful spite that He is not serving you. Humble yourself before the only one who can save you and seek to serve him even in the midst of the trial. Exalt God, declare His greatness, give Him glory, give Him honor, He hears the cry of the righteous so position yourself in your rightful place before Him that He might hear your prayers and deliver you! That place is one of humility, selflessness, and faith. 

It all comes down to this. When men determine that they either don’t need God or don’t need to listen to God, He withdraws Himself to show them how wrong they are. When the Lord withdraws, the enemy rushes in like a flood for where the light retreats darkness fills the absence. It is in this state that men must lament, and grieve, and cry out as for the loss of a loved one, because they have lost their first love. Those that do not lament the absence of a loved one only serves to prove that they never really loved that one at all. For man tend not to truly appreciate the light until it is dark. Yet God offers few a way back, and that way is through lamentation. Which is true broken humble heartfelt genuine repentance. In this we see that the book of lamination is a revelation of the direness of sinfulness, the appreciation of the presence of God, a commitment toward application of His grace to empower us into obedience to His words and will, and a picture of repentance for so arrogantly not previously doing so.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah‬ ‭59:1-2‬ 

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” – Luke‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭

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

“The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!” – Lamentations‬ ‭5:15-16‬

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” – Psalms‬ ‭34:15-19‬ ‭

Reverencing The Courts Of God

“Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.” – 1 Samuel‬ ‭12:23-24‬ ‭

Once while I prayed, half distracted by the day’s task ahead, the Lord spoke to me and said, “if you can’t give Me your undivided attention, it’s because your heart is divided.” The reality of that simple truth pierced me. How could I allow things so trivial to occupy the same space as my God and King? Had I really become so dis-concerned and disrespectful of His presence? Have you?

“The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people. Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy. The king’s strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.” – Psalms‬ ‭99:1-5‬ ‭

I think that many a prayer would be answered if we reverenced His courts as we should. When we enter nonchalantly, half heartedly, or absentmindedly, to God it is as if we have not entered at all. What an insult it must be to our Lord and savior who suffered so much shame, rejection, and reproach, poured out His precious blood, and died a cruel death that we might gain access to come boldly before the great and terrible thrown of God Almighty in prayer, when we do so in words but not appreciate or reverence it enough to truly do so in heart, mind, focus, and intent. Don’t just rattle off a surface prayer like the unfelt words of one speaking to a familiar face in the supermarket or a coworker in passing out of duty, tradition, or obligation. If your heart, focus, and humility toward His deity isn’t in it, then it is no better then the vain repetition of the heathens. 

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” – Matthew‬ ‭6:7‬ ‭

“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 ‭4:16‬ 

If you were going before your favorite celebrity or a summoned judge, you would put some thought into what you were going to say. Both in advance of the meeting and during. You would be focused. Your words would be thought out and with purpose. You would acknowledge their value and express your appreciation for them taking the time out of their busy lives to spend some of it listening to you. You would eagerly anticipate meeting with them. You would appreciate both the opportunity as well as every word spoken, and you would be fully present when they were spoken that they might stick with you once you had departed. Should we not do the same and so much more when we come to meet with the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Master of all Things, the Great and Terrible Judge of all the World, the Sacrificial Lamb, the Great I Am?

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” – Hebrews‬ ‭12:28-29‬ ‭

 “And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.” – Revelation‬ ‭19:4-5‬ ‭

“Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power:” – Psalms‬ ‭65:1-6‬ ‭

The Wisdom Of Trusting God’s Plan

“It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.” – Proverbs‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭

The bible says that because the rewards of iniquity are not paid quickly, it is in the heart of man to do wrong, but nevertheless, you can rest assured that that reward will come, a wage well earned and paid in full when we least expect it. Know that all wickedness will be judged, all selfishness avenged, and all pridefulness humbled before the great and mighty day of the Lord. Likewise, will all righteousness be rewarded, for God is both just and faithful. Therefore, it is only a fool who loves mischief.

The fool craves mischief like sport, or a hobby. Their evil heart finds pleasure and purpose in manipulation, meddling, gossip, and slander because their trust is in themselves. Therefor they feel a since of false accomplishment in the illusion of control that comes from their faithless interjecting into situations and lives. However, the wise know that the creator is in control of all creation and they humbly except their place in it. Not leaning on their own understanding and trying to force their will, they seek in wisdom, to gain understanding from the one who is in control that through understanding His will in a situation, they might be made all the wiser. In other words, they trust God. 

You see, a life of true faith, is a life without manipulation! When you meddle, manipulate, speak guile, foolishness, or malice, stir up strife or contention, force your emotion, will, or wants on others, and feel some since of pleasure, accomplishment, or relief from that, then you are showing that your faith is rooted firmly and solely in yourself, your will, your understanding, and your wants. However, taking for an example Joseph who was hated, hurt, rejected, sold by his own brothers into slavery, lied about, abused, imprisoned, and forgotten for a time, yet he placed his faith in God who he knew was in control and had a reason for this season so that in the end he could say to those who had seemingly wronged him, that he knew it was all actually by the hand of God positioning and training him to do greater things then he could have ever done on his own. His faith was in the Lord and that trust was rewarded all because he sought understanding from God and therefor did not manipulate his way out of God’s perfect plan, nor murmur against it, but served patiently and faithfully through it. Let us all endeavor to do the same remembering that God’s ways are not our ways, because God’s ways are perfect and ours are not. So trust His way no matter what it looks or feels like in the moment. He has a reason, He is getting you somewhere to do something and if you don’t abandon His plan for your own then you will see the glory and wisdom of it all in the end. Trust and pray and wait and praise and thank in faith in the waiting, and be among the few who get to see what God can truly do, that you yourself never could. 

“And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” – Genesis‬ ‭50:16-21‬

“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. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” – Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-7‬ ‭

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.” – Psalms‬ ‭37:23-24‬ ‭

Beginning to End, The Sum of All Things

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” – Genesis‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭

Jesus, the early apostles, and the disciples all warned through out the New Testament that there will be an end to all things and that we should be vigilant to be prepared for it at all time, for no man knows the day or the hour of it, but God alone. 

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:10-14‬

However it is hard to grasp the inevitability of an end without first taking hold to the reality of a beginning, and that both are by the hand and prerogative of God, the creator of all. All things were made by God and for God, and without Him was not one thing made, it is He that gives and He that will one day take away that which was given. All things are for His glory and what little time we have on this mission field of an ark we call Earth to give Him the glory that He deserves before judgment befalls us all should be used to the fullest. You see, we are given but a short time here to try and to test our faithfulness for greater things beyond this proving ground. God has bigger plans then we do, bigger then our house, our career, our hobbies, our meager intellect or education. God has grander things in store that are so far beyond our comprehension in this current life that it fails us to fathom the breath of it. Yet God, desiring a people that willingly love, serve, trust, and obey His greatness, must first acquire this people through a testing. By this are the rebellious, selfish, and self willed, weeded out that a second rebellion not arise in the heavens. 

To this ends the earth is but a proving ground. A place where faith and trust is tested, where submission and obedience is tried, where lessons can be learned and wisdoms gained, where loyalties and allegiances can be made clear, where hearts can be revealed and choices made. The span of time that this earth will exist is very short, for its purpose is a quick one. It’s a temporary proving ground for and eternal home. A temporary interview for an eternal job. A temporary trial for an eternal reward. It had a beginning and it will have an end, and the sum of it all is very short in the scope of things. The God that made all will be the same God that ends it all and the same God that judges all. According to your actions here, will your eternal faith be determined there. Make sure that you were on God’s side. Don’t expect Him to be on yours, you choose to be on His, He is the creator, He is the judge, He is the boss. 

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to (makes a way for) repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:” – Romans‬ ‭2:4-6‬ ‭

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” – Acts‬ ‭17:30-31‬ ‭

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” – Colossians‬ ‭3:2‬

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”‭‭Revelation‬ ‭20:12-15‬ ‭

In the end it will all have been about sifting out the obedient from the rebellious, the humble from the prideful, the righteous from the wicked, the faithful from the unbelieving. This is why when asked about the end, Jesus said that it would be like a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats. The sheep to follow the shepherd to His pasture and the goats to be cast into the fire (Matthew 25:31). He also said that it would be as a farmer separating the wheat from the tears (weeds). The wheat unto the masters barn and the weeds unto the fire, being of no use to Him (Matthew 13:24). It’s all about sifting out this chaff and this world is but the threshing floor. So don’t hold so dearly to it. See it in perspective. This world is not our home. Labor as you might you will never make it to be. Set your eyes on Jesus and on the things eternal and remember that from it’s beginning to it’s end, this world is only a proving ground, so what is it proving about you?

“He (Jesus) answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” – Matthew‬ ‭13:37-43‬ ‭

Heart Check, Examining the Fruits of Your Lips

“He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom. The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom. The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted. As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.” – Proverbs‬ ‭10:17-25‬ ‭

Notice how the author of this proverb pins the words of the foolish to the heart of the wicked, and then to the rewards of iniquity? This is because he knew that they were inevitably linked. You see, Jesus told us that some might think it a sin to commit adultery, but He says it’s a sin just to think about it and lust in your heart. Then He stated that we know that murder is sin, but He says that if we hate our brother then we have committed murder in our heart and He sees it the same. Jesus was pointing out that sin starts in the heart and is counted sin by God who tries and knows the heart far before it makes it’s way to our actions.

“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.” – James‬ ‭1:14-15‬ ‭

The proverb, as does the book of James, lays out the pathway of sin that we might recognize it and deal with it as early as possible. First off, ALL sin is birthed in selfishness. The devil will plant a selfish thought or lie in your mind. He will wrap it in pain, flattery, excuses, whatever justification he needs to get you to allow that seed to be planted in the garden of your heart, but these self reasonings are toxic fertilizer to say the least. Once planted in your heart, it may lie dormant for a little season, but just as with any seed, when the conditions are right and you least expect it, it will spring up in the form of your bitter words. This is the first manifestation (of fruit) of the weeds of sin now growing in your heart. If not plucked out immediately they will root in deeper and deeper and grow stronger until those words manifest into actions that then, producing the poison fruit of all out rebellion, serve only to plant more seeds of iniquity into the hearts and lives of others around them (usually their own loved ones, friends, and family) and the sin cycle continues! 

This is why the proverb tells us that the wise watch their lips, for it serves to show us what is really in the heart that we might repent and call on God to pluck out anything that need not be there before it gets rooted in and becomes actions that damn our souls and poison the hearts of others around us. Many a people have cursed their own blessings into fruitlessness, poisoned their own promise, and dug up their own vineyard by simply not watching their mouth. 

“For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” – Luke‬ ‭6:43-45‬ ‭

Jesus makes it very clear hear that the words of our lips are the fruit of what is in our hearts. Scripture says that we ought to speak that which is edifying to the body, that which ministers grace (or the power, favor, and influence of God) through us to others. In other words, our words should be the fruits of faith, grace, love, selflessness, longsuffering, joy, temperance, and so forth that is planted in our hearts through the Holy Spirit that resides there. If selfishness, bitterness, backbiting, guile, malice, manipulation, contentions, gossip, slander, strife, or any other such thing proceeds out of our mouth then it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, it is the fruit of the iniquity that is in our hearts, planted their by an unholy spirit. Know that God will not share His glory or His house with an other. Either the Holy Spirit inhabits your heart, or an unholy one. They won’t share temples. So examine the fruits of your lips that you might know what is inhabiting your heart and take actions if necessary to evict that which is displeasing to God by repenting and calling upon that which is pleasing to God, the Holy Spirit, and let the fruits of your lips bring forth praise and thanksgiving continually for the goodness, wisdom, faithfulness, and glory that is our God. For this is the fruits (or evidence) of Faith!

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” – James‬ ‭3:10-18‬ ‭

Give Thanks! 

thankfulGive thanks with a grateful heart! As Christians we have so much to be thankful for! We are loved, we are chosen, we are His, we are children of promise, we are never alone, forgotten, or forsaken! We have an ever present help in times of trouble, we have an anchor for our soul, we personally know the healer, the deliverer, and the miracle maker! The very hands that formed worlds into being, spin galaxies in motion, and hangs the earth on nothing, holds our heart, our life, and our destiny. What else could we ever need, what else could we ask for and not be the definition of spoiled, ungrateful, and selfish children? How can we seek the attention of men when we are being offered the attention of the creator of men? How can we seek for temporal material things when we are being offered eternal spiritual things? How can we complain in the face of all of His goodness, patients, kindness, longsuffering, and mercy toward us? How can we say to Him that we need more while He is saying, “I will supply all you need because I have given of Myself and I Am all you need!

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” – Philippians‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭

“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” – Psalms‬ ‭34:13‬

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be worried for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” – Philippians‬ ‭4:4-6‬ ‭

Let us be thankful in all things, for the fruit of the words of our lips are the evidence of the faith (or lack thereof) in our hearts! Never listen to the devil planting those snake eggs of evil selfish thoughts in your mind, less they hatch and devour your heart and find their way back out of your lips to be laid into someone else’s mind that it might then hatch in them and devour the faith of their heart also an the cycle continue.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – Ephesians‬ ‭4:29-30‬

Ungrateful speech out of the mouth of a believer serves only to tear down the greatness and fullness that is our God. He is all we need and if we have Him we should desire nothing more because what could ever compare in worth to Him? No ones attention, no ones things, no ones position, no ones promises, no ones title, no ones life, and no ones love can ever come close to His. So in all things where He has placed you, whether good or bad for the moment, be content in faith in the positioning, seeking Him and His will only, speaking that which is edifying to the body, and letting no guile or doubt come forth out of your mouth less you prolong or poison you’re own promise, corrupt your own vineyard, and despise your own inheritance as both Esau and the ungrateful Israelites did in the wilderness.

“But with whom was he (God) grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?” – Hebrews‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭

What comes out of our mouth is the fruit of what is really in our hearts, not what we claim is there but what is really their. A heart of faith is a heart that prays, praises, and is thankful above all. If you truly believe that He is who He is, that He said what He said, and that He will do what He has said He will do, then you will be thankful and the fruit of that faith will manifest in rejoicing and Thanksgiving! So start believing, really believing, and give thanks unto the Lord your God, for He is good, He is wise, He is faithful, and He is enough! Choose today to put your trust in that and speak it out with thanks giving and you will never be disappointed.

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” – Ephesians‬ ‭5:19-20‬

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 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 ‭100:1-5‬ ‭

Avoiding The Last Day’s Soul Snare

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” – 1 Peter‬ ‭4:7-9‬ ‭

Peter could honestly say that the end was near in his day, so how much nearer are we in ours? With this in mind, we should be ever vigilant, preparing our hearts and waiting with anticipation for the coming of our Lord. 

In this text we are given instructions which reveal the Devil’s main tactics for preventing us from being ready to meet the Lord at His return. First it says to “be sober“, this means to be focused, attentive, not influenced by any substance, spirit, intoxication, entertainment, or distraction that might cause you to not notice the signs of the times around you or walk in the righteousness required to be counted among the faithful at His glorious coming.

Next it warns us to show charity, or selfless love, toward others in every situation. Even as Christ did, so must the believer who functions as His body in His stead until His return. Upon which we will have to give an account for every idle word spoken while claiming to carry His Holy Name as our own. Note that the passage doesn’t only say to have charity (or love), but to have “fervent” charity. That is to say, a selfless love that goes the extra mile. A love that does not only react but initiates, reaches, changes, and illuminates the darkest of situations and hearts. An uncommon, unconventional kind of love. This kind of love is what sets Jesus apart from every other false deity that came before Him and it is thusly what sets the true Christian apart from every other hypocrite and false religion around them. Wether a person exhibits this love as a fruit of being led of Jesus’s Spirit within them, or not, will be the deciding factor in who is welcomed into glory or cast into damnation on that faithful day. So again be vigilant.

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:20-21‬ ‭

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 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;… For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans (sinners) do the same?” – Matthew‬ ‭5:43-44, 46‬ ‭

As the time of Christ return gets closer, the days get darker, and the hearts and minds of men grow colder and more wicket, this will be the stumbling block laid before most that will cause many to miss heaven. The more the devil stirs up the wicked to come against the righteous, the more tempted they will become to return the hatred, but they can’t! For the word of God is clear that unless you forgive and love others, He will not forgive you. It doesn’t matter how much the devil tells you they deserve to be hated. Remember that God deserved to hate us but He chose to suffer for us instead, and suffer by our very hand. All the while praying for us, for God to forgive us. Let that same mind be in us if we truly have the mind of Christ and are led by His Spirit. 

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” – Philippians‬ ‭2:5-9‬ ‭

Let’s face it, if anyone had a right to hold a grudge it was Jesus, but He didn’t. He did exactly what God said to do, because God said to do it, because He was humble, and because He loved God. God has commanded us to forgive and hold no grudge, therefor if we choose to hate or begrudge anyone for any reason because we think we deserve to, then we are acting in both pride and rebellion against the will of the Father. So choose today to forgive, pray for, and bless the seemingly least deserving, that you may be found in right standing with God as we await His inevitable ever-nearing return. I plead with you dear brother or sister, the time is indeed very short, therefore be ever cautious not to be blinded by hate, deceived by sin, and caught unaware in this the final hour.

“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 ‭

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:10-13‬

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” – Matthew‬ ‭25:31-46‬ ‭

Glorying In Infirmities

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭

Is anything impossible for God? No of course not. By His very nature what He says simply is, for creation lies in the power of His words. However, sometimes He chooses to do things, or not to do things that baffle our human minds. In our limited understanding we may question God, the devil might get in our ear and even cause us to doubt the goodness of God, but if we will but trust in His infinite wisdom and unfailing love, and seeking Him for understanding, wait patiently until all be revealed, we will always see a greater purpose in our pain then the pain itself. Not unlike the pain of delivering a child, once the reason for that pain comes forth it becomes not only worth it all.

Often times those greatest in the faith endure the most afflictions. This seems counter intuitive to us, but I’m sure the process of pruning seems counter intuitive to the tree. How can cutting away its beautiful lively luscious branches until it looks mangled and near death be helping the tree? Yet it is a time proven fact that no amount of water, fertilizer, or babying can compare to the amount of fruit that comes forth in its season then from the act of pruning.

Likewise, sometimes we must be pruned also. We need certain things to be cut away in order for us to become fruitful to our fullest potential. However, sometimes God will also allow things to come upon us not for our good but for the good of others. This is a trial of faith that is reserved for God’s most loyal and trusted soldiers. For example, Job went through his great trials for you and me. So that you and I might draw faith from His unwavering resolve in the midst of utter brokenness. That once knowing his plight we might (as Paul said) follow after his example as he followed after God, and in the face of unimaginable sorrow and suffering, be able to say as he did “yet though you slay me, still will I serve you! 

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:11‬ ‭

Remember that according to zither book of Revelations, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, because the testimony validates the power of the blood and the testimony only comes by way of a test. For it is the testing of that faith that creates a testimony of faith!

Then there is this, sometimes there are those that God trust so deeply and desires to use so greatly that for the sake of humility He must allow an infirmity. Moses might have been thought a god if it had not been for the frailties of a speech impediment. He surely was no god, the man could hardly speak, yet God chose him to be His mouthpiece, speaking through him that which would be re-uttered for thousands of generations. 

In this reality we see the great power of God manifested through the meekest of vessels insuring that God alone gets the glory and is worshiped for His words and actions, not the man that relayed them. This is what Paul was praising God for in our opening passage. He was thanking God for his infirmities knowing that it was only because of his weakness that God would choose to use him at all. He recognized that because of the great revelation and power that God brought forth through him that God had to also with that allow for an infirmity to show forth his mortality that he not become worshiped himself. All saw the power of God healing the sick through Paul, yet he could not heal himself proving the power was God’s and not his own, and that he was but a mortal man walking out the will of an immortal God. All the more it proved the power of God when others saw his resolve and faithfulness to continually labor to walk out his faith even in the face of pain, rejection, opposition, heartache, and infirmity, all for the love of God and the sake of others, and rejoiced at the opportunity to do so that God might be more greatly glorified. Let us be thus minded, and endeavor to do the same.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” – Philippians‬ ‭2:5‬ ‭

“For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:6-10‬ ‭

Game Changer

hqdefaultWant to know how to change your day, and the devil’s too? How to turn the tide on the endless wearying battle with the lies and discouragements that the devil is constantly speaking in your ear? How to get off of the defense and onto the offence in this fight of faith? Then listen up, these are the 2 main rules that you need to put into practice to see everything change so that you can not only more easily hold your ground against the devil but start advancing and taking new territory in the fight.

1.) When God speaks, stop talking and start listening!

2.)But when the devil speaks, stop listening and start talking!

That is to say, don’t struggle in an inward battle with the thoughts, discouragements, and temptations he is speaking into your ear. “Speak” to that mountain of lies and cast it into the sea of forgetfulness! That’s right, stop listening and start speaking! Out Loud!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” – Proverbs 18:21

So here’s you’re battle plan. Today, make it a point to praise God out loud. Thank Him for all that He has done and brought you through, and all that He WILL do and bring you though! Tell Him how wonderful and faithful He is, how you love Him, and why. Do it all out loud because your are not so much doing it for God to hear, for He knows your heart, but your doing it more so for the devil to hear! Stop letting the things you hear the devil say give you a bad day. Instead start letting the things the devil hears you say give him a bad day! If you are truly a child of God then you have the mind of Christ and the devil cannot get in there so say it out loud and smile that this day you stopped letting him beat you down with his words and lies and you swung back, because this day you stopped listening and started speaking.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” – James 4:7

Remember that the devil is a created being and unlike God he is not omnipotent, therefore he has limited resources and HATES to waste them. So stop leaving him guessing at whether or not his attacks are working and show him that they are not! You do this by speaking to the mountain, OUT LOUD! As soon as he starts whispering doubt, speak faith! When he whispers, discouragement, sing praise! When he shouts lies, whisper truth. When he murmurs complaints, shout thanks to God! Show him that his limited resources are being wasted on you and he will take them elsewhere. That’s when you start praying for those that he took the fight too when it left you! In this, you have graduated from defense to offence and become a contender for the faith!

“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