Jesus Understands The Grief Of Loss

hugging-jesus“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” – John‬ ‭14:18‬ ‭

There is probably no time in our lives that we will be more likely to question God, His love, His compassion, and His plan then during the loss of a loved one. Yet there is likely no other time that one will so clearly experience the sweet compassion of the Lord personally reaching out to comfort and encourage us through it, even during the questioning.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:4‬ ‭

It is in these times of deep sorrow and need that Jesus, who was always moved by compassion, presses to draw nearer to us then ever before. If we allow Him, He will fill the void with an unsearchable love, an unmatchable communion, and an unstoppable hope for the future. Many grow bitter or remorseful and pull away from God during their season of sorrow but for those who draw closer, Jesus will be revealed to them in a far more personal way then they ever thought possible. When the grief comes, run to Jesus, fall into His arms, and let Him bring you comfort, peace, understanding, joy, and a new promise. This loving personal comfort that can only come from the Comforter Himself is a unique blessing that all have access too, but few utilize, and that is a shame. Jesus is reaching out during these times more intently then any other, let us choose to recognize it, get alone with Him and let Him comfort us.

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” – Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬ ‭

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” – Isaiah‬ ‭61:2-3‬ ‭

Why does Jesus have special compassion on those who are mourning? We know by scripture that as a man, Jesus experienced everything that we do. This was for a purpose, we can not have faith in the love of someone who does not understand by experience, what we are going through. However, Jesus’s experiences give us confidence that we can run to Him with our troubles and trust in His understanding love and compassion towards us, knowing that He has been there before Himself.

So how can Jesus understand what you are going through when you loose a loved one? We know that Jesus wept at the loss of His friend Lazarus. However Jesus knew that God was going to raise Lazarus from the dead even before he died. A closer examination of the passages in this story reveals that Jesus was not actually weeping over the death of Lazarus, whom He was about to raise, but rather He was weeping over the suffering of Marry, Martha, and the other mourners. He wept with compassion over them and their pain and you can rest assured that He weeps with you over yours as well.

“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept.” – John‬ ‭11:33-35‬ ‭

The reason Jesus was so broken for His broken-hearted friends was because Jesus knew exactly what they were going through having already experienced the heart wrenching loss of a loved one. You see, the last time the scriptures mention Joseph (Jesus’s earthly dad) was when Jesus was 12 years old preaching in the temple. Not once was he mentioned during Jesus’s public ministry, neither was he present with Jesus and Mary at the family wedding in which Jesus’s first miracle took place. The reason why isn’t made clear until Jesus is hanging on the cross and asked John to take Mary into his home and care for her as his own mother.

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” – John‬ ‭19:25-27‬ ‭

This would only be necessary if Mary’s husband Joseph was dead. Therefor we come to realize that somewhere between the age of 12 and 30 when His ministry began, Jesus had suffered the loss of His mentor, protector, care-giver, dad, and friend. Jesus being the oldest of His siblings would have not only born the weight of grief but also the burden of caring and providing for His family in Joseph’s place. In this Jesus experienced all that we do as broken, burdened, mundane mortals. The pain of loss and the burden of perseverance.

“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 ‭

Jesus suffered greatly through out His entire life. Much of this personal suffering is not recorded yet what is, is enough to remind us that He truly loves us and understands our deepest pain. He could have stopped it all at anytime, but He chose to endure it all that He might get to know you better by getting to know your pain and struggles better. There is truly no pain that He does not understand and the pain of loss stirs His heart most of all. This is why the only time the scriptures record Jesus crying was when He was reminded of the pain that is felt when we loose someone close to us. When Jesus saw Mary and Martha crying over the loss of their brother, it brought Him back to that place when a young Jesus wept over the loss of his earthly dad and He cried, being moved with compassion. He knows your grief, He knows your sorrow, and He knows that God has a plan to turn it all for your good. He knows because He’s been there, He knows because He lived it, and He knows how to get you through it. So run to Him, fall on Him, cry to Him, rely on Him, abide in Him, and watch Him turn everything around in the end; for He cares for you.

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah‬ ‭53:3-5‬ ‭

Advertisements

Repent or Burn

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

Without repentance there can be no salvation. Why? Because when we use the term “saved” it’s referring to our being saved from eternal damnation in hell, and as we all know, all sinners will have their part in the lake of fire that burneth forever. So what exactly is repentance? Many think that it is asking for their sins to be forgiven. Though forgiveness of sins is part of repentance, it is not repentance. Forgiveness and repentance are not the same thing. The word “repent” means “to turn away from, to forsake, to cease to follow or do“. Therefor, asking God to forgive your sins is “forgiveness“, but choosing to turn away and forsake them all together is “repentance“.

The simple truth is this, if you do not make the decision to repent of your sins, turn away from them completely, walk away from them, forsake them, and don’t look back as lots wife did, then you are not saved and are going to hell. Does that seem like a strong statement? Well, it’s not mine, it’s Jesus’s. Therefor it is the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it is to your flesh because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Him.

Jesus Himself said that, “unless you repent, you WILL perish“. The word translated to “perish” here in the original Greek was “apollymi“. The literal meaning or definition of the word “apollymi” is “to put out of the way eternally, to give over to eternal misery in hell“. Therefor, what Jesus actually said here is, “unless you repent (turn away from your sins), you WILL go to hell“. It doesn’t matter what you confess or profess, if you have not forsaken your sins then you have not obeyed the Father which is the evidence of a lack of faith.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:20-23‬ ‭

Many would then say, “what about grace? Doesn’t grace cover my sins?“. No, grace does not cover sin, it removes it. Grace is not mercy, grace is power. Grace does not excuse sin, it overcomes it. You see, grace is the power of the Holy Spirit of God manifesting through you, enabling you to do that which you could not do on your own.

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” – Romans‬ ‭8:11-14‬ ‭

You see, the only way to receive grace is by faith. If you don’t believe what Jesus said enough to obey it then you don’t have faith and therefore cannot receive grace. So then you are not saved. This is why unless you repent you cannot be saved. The repentance is the faith part that causes God to then send His grace which enables you to walk that repentance out in His strength.

It works like this. I can not diet for even three days, I haven’t the strength. Yet God has called me many times to 40 day fast. Now I can not go without food for 40 days so I need His grace to empower me to do that. However, His grace will not slap the food out of my hand, I have to first choose by faith to stop eating, turn away from the food, and forsake it. Then once I have done that in faith, He sends His grace to empower me to walk that fast out with strength. If I tried to go 40 days without food in and of myself I would fail or faint. Yet because of God’s grace working through me, I have more strength, energy, and life during those 40 days then when I am not fasting at all. The grace to abstain came because of the faith released when I turned away from the food in obedience and faith to the word of the Lord. I could not do it in and of myself, but through grace (the power of His Holy Spirit) I can!

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” – Ephesians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭

It is the same with sin. We must choose to stop partaking of it, turn away from it, and forsake it! Then God will send His grace (the power of His Holy Spirit) to enable you to walk in victory, strength, and overcoming power against all the wilds of the devil.

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

So choose today to stop serving sin, repent, turn away from it, pick up your cross and follow Jesus. Stop believing the lie that it is impossible to overcome temptation and sin. 

“When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew‬ ‭19:25-26‬ ‭

Believe by faith that God is God and that nothing is impossible for Him. If He can raise Jesus from the dead then that same power can raise you in power unto newness of life, but it takes faith! Believe that He can, and He will! Believe that He can’t, and He won’t. The devil has sold the church a lie that has stolen it’s faith and therefore it’s overcoming power, and for many, it’s very salvation. This lie that the devil is stronger then God, the flesh is stronger then the blood, and the power of it’s influence is stronger then the grace of God (which by definition is the power and influence of God). I am here to tell you today, that my God is stronger, nothing is too hard for Him, He has defeated the powers of death, hell, and the grave and the enemy no longer has dominion over me. I believe what He said, not what people tell me He meant. Because of that I walk victoriously against the powers of hell through Grace by Faith, unto salvation and eternal life in Christ Jesus… and you can to. Do you believe?

“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 ‭

“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” – Philippians‬ ‭2:12‬

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” – Acts‬ ‭3:19‬

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭

The Devil’s Front Man

“And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.” – Numbers‬ ‭22:15-17‬ ‭

God’s hand of protection was on the Isrialites for they were His people, holy, humbled, and walking in obedience to His words at this point in their history. As they passed through the land of Moab, Balak the king (an archetype for the devil) sought to destroy them. However he knew that he couldn’t as long as they were protected by God being the pure and righteous people of God that they were. So he sought to corrupt them that they might loose this divinely protected status that caused them to walk in such authority, power, favor, and strength that he might overpower and destroy them. However, Balak (like the devil) knew that the people would not listen directly to him to the ends of being influenced to partake in evil acts that would grieve the heart of God and cause His hand to be withdrawn from them. So as the devil often does knowing that they would not listen if they knew it was coming from him, he sought a front man that they would listen to… a preacher.

Here inters Balaam into the story. Balak knows that he cannot influence the whole congregation because they know who he is and what his agendas are. So instead he focuses on influencing one individual, the prophet Balaam. In like manner, if the devil can’t get to a congregation he will surely try to corrupt a pastor knowing that the people who would not listen to him directly will be easily led astray buy the pastor that does.

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (lies).” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭4:2-4‬ ‭

You see the thing about Balaam was that he had clearly heard from the Lord. God had warned him not to allow himself to be used against His people, yet for the promise of wealth, pomp, and prestige he set forth with intent to encourage this people to sin. In doing so, he became the devil’s front man. This is a common and ever effective tactic of the devil. Which is why both Jesus and the Apostle Paul warned continuously to watch out for the “wolves in sheep’s clothing“. Outwardly they appear to be of God’s fold but inwardly they are demonic spiritual predators seeking to destroy your soul for their own personal benefit and greed.

“But I (Jesus) have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” – Revelation‬ ‭2:14-16‬ ‭

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:15-23‬ ‭

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” – Acts‬ ‭20:29-31‬ ‭

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” – 2 Peter‬ ‭2:1-3‬ 

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” – Isaiah‬ ‭5:20-24‬ 

Always remember that Jesus also warned us that the devil comes as an angel of light; pretending to be that which is of God outwardly while inwardly, is anything but. Therefor Jesus tells us to judge all ministers by their fruits. Not by the size of their congregation, for Jesus only had 12 followers while Hitler had millions. Not by their gifts, for the bible warns that the antichrist (and often those operating with a spirit of antichrist) will work in signs and “lying” or “counterfeit” wonders. Not by their smooth words and flattering lips that tell you to stay as you are, for the kingdom of God is the power to be changed into something far better then what you are and could ever have imagined or hoped to be. This is the fruit, or evidence that God has truly touched the life of a man. God never changes, but everything He touches does. Scripture says that God is an all consuming fire and everything that real fire touches is changed into something new right down to the Adam! If there is no change then it has not been touched by real fire but possibly a false fire. It might have the look and sound of fire but has no power to change things like real fire does. This is why Jesus said to “judge them by their fruits” to see if they really be of God. Examine their lives and see what they are producing, because the devil can counterfeit congregations, he can counterfeit gifts, he can counterfeit charisma, but the one thing that the devil can not counterfeit is a holy life.

“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” – 1 Peter‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭

You can rest assured of this, God isn’t as concerned with making you happy as He is with making you Holy, nor is He trying to build a bigger church, but rather a better church. Don’t be led astray by the smooth words of men who have sold their soul to hell for gain and now intend to sell yours for prophet, as Balaam did. Jesus says to repent, turn away from your sins, touch not the unclean thing, and then He will receive you. He also says that no man who remains in his sins, unhumbled, unrepented, and unchanged will enter the kingdom of heaven. There will be a great many people burning in hell who will be quite surprised to not only be there, but to meat there pastor there also. Search your heart and ask the Lord if it is pleasing unto Him and if it is not, then submit and repent. Then search your pastor’s life as Jesus commanded us to and see if it is pleasing to the Lord and if it is not then pray for him and run for your life.

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” – Romans‬ ‭16:17-18‬ ‭

“But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭11:12-15‬ ‭

“For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue. Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee. But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” – Psalms‬ ‭5:9-12‬ ‭

Backed By A Greater Power

“One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.” – Joshua‬ ‭23:10‬ ‭

I was asked recently to explain the anointing and a visual came to mind. I said, imagine that a prison guard stands in a dorm of 50 inmates and tells them to go to their bunks and nothing happens. Now imagine the exact same scenario only this time there is a swat team standing behind the guard ready to enforce those words. Being backed up by this greater power, the guard says, “go to your bunk” and now something happens. They will move voluntarily because of the greater power standing behind those words, or they will be moved involuntarily by that same power. The guard used the same words and took the same actions, but when there was no power greater then their own backing those words and action it had no effect. However, when those words and actions were backed by a greater power, then breakthrough came. This is why it is the anointing that breaks the yoke and not merely words, rituals, or routines.

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:20‬ ‭

The anointing comes by way of obedience which is the evidence of true faith. It comes by way of seeking the Lord and leaning not on your own understanding which is the evidence of true faith. It comes by way of prayer and fasting which is the evidence of true faith. It comes by way of selflessness and humility which is the evidence of true faith. In other words, it comes by way of Faith. Faith in who and what God is, and also in what He says.

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

If you believe that He is God, that He is all knowing, then seek Him and listen. If you believe that He is unmatchable, that nothing is too hard for Him, that nothing is impossible for Him, then stand up in prayer and obedience and take the land! If you believe that the same power that raised Christ from the dead (which is the power of the Holy Spirit of God – aka grace) lives on the inside of you, then step out and share it with someone. For what you have freely been given, you are commanded to freely give. Believe not only in what He is, but also in what He tells you, and act upon it and the enemy will tremble and flee, knowing the greater power that backs up your words and actions. 

“One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.” – Joshua‬ ‭23:10‬ ‭

The Humbling That’s Coming

American-Flag-Storm-Dark-900God is love, but true love is just. True love does not favor, it is no respecter of persons, it is fair and righteous. True love corrects that which is wrong and protects that which belongs to it. God fights for your soul because He loves it. He corrects your prideful flesh because it is the enemy of your soul. All the desires of it therefor are meant to destroy you, therefor whatever means are necessary to destroy it and humble you in this life that you might be saved from the judgment of the next is a worthy effort, however unpleasant.

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” – Ezekiel‬ ‭18:23‬ ‭

God does not enjoy wrath. As many of us have heard our own parents say when correcting us, “this hurts me more then it hurts you”. So does judgment grieve the heart of God. Nevertheless, it would be better to spank a child that keeps running towards a busy highway until he be humbled into obeying your words not to, then to allow him to continue to his own sure demise. In the same manner does God have to resort to wrath when the prideful refuse to heed His warning and not only continue running full force to their demise, but also take others with them.

In this we see many times that God has had to bring harsh judgments upon a nation and a people. So desiring is He to save their eternal soul from the judgment of eternal torment and destruction that He allows a temporary judgment to befall their flesh.

You see, you are in a war. At the end you will be given over to the one you served in this war. Whether that be to God for eternal reward and glory, or the devil for eternal damnation and torture, for you have chosen your side. Though God does not enjoy doing so, sometimes His greatest mercy is to give you a taste of that war in this life that you might truly see the character of those that lead it.

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

War is an ugly thing and the forces that provoked that war are the same forces that provoke your soul to sin unto damnation as a weapon of warfare against your creator and Father who loves you. Yes God enacts wrath, but it is not who He is, it is only what He does. Not because He wants to, but because He has to. So when we force His hand and wrath comes, we can be assured that it hurts Him more then it hurts us, for He loves us more then we love Him. This is why, through it all, His hand is stretched out still. If you will but humble yourself and take it.

“Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together; The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts. Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed. Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke. Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm: Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” – Isaiah‬ ‭9:11-21‬ ‭

 

This Little Light Of Mine

light up

We have all heard or have sung this old hymn in church at some point. I have always loved this song and it is one of the few songs that has stuck with me through all of these years. For those who are not familiar with this song or may just need a refresher, here are the lyrics:

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, shine, shine. Let it shine!

Everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine.
Everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine.
Everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, shine, shine. Let it shine!

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, shine, shine. Let it shine!

All up in my house, I’m gonna let it shine.
All up in my house, I’m gonna let it shine.
All up in my house, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, shine, shine. Let it shine!

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, shine, shine. Let it shine!”

Although, it is such a simple and short song, it actually has a strong and powerful message within it that most overlook; for God created light. In Genisis 1:4 it says:

“And God saw the light, that (It was) good and God divided the light from the darkness.”

As Christians, we have to separate ourselves from the darkness (darkness being sin) and be the light. We have to allow the light within us to outshine the darkness of sin that is sadly taking over the world around us. God gave us not only the precious gift of life, but he gave us His Holy Spirit to dwells with in us in this life. In John 1:5 it says:

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

God made us in his image and with that being said, we are all meant to play an important role and carry out God’s works and acts of kindness. Not with selfish intentions of gaining wealth, popularity, or any other worldly gifts, but simply for the reason of wanting to be as Christ. Know that if those self centered thoughts begin to creep in, it’s the darkness trying to extinguish your fire.

The devil will try to stop you from carrying out what God has called you to do. He will try to discourage you, throw obstacles in your path, and he will even use some people in your life to come against you. Anything and everything the devil can do, he will! But the good news is that you have the gift of the Holy Spirit (the light) to illuminate through the darkness! Imagine yourself being in a pitch black room and you have a flash light. As soon as you turn the flash light on a beam of light comes out and pierces through the once pitch black room. Spend a part of your day everyday with God and keep the battery charged! That way, you can go into the world and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter how dark it is out there because you bring the light without. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus said:

“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.”

Basically, in these Bible verses, Jesus is saying that our Heavenly Father lives within us, and when we go out and spread His word, live like Christ, and allow our light to shine, no darkness can prevail because our Lord Jesus is the most powerful, He is almighty.

Let’s look deeper at the verse of the song that states : “All up in my house, I’m gonna let it shine.” Yes, your house is a very important place to serve the Lord! Because, if you are not living righteously behind the closed doors of your home like you are at Church.. something in your life needs to be reevaluated. If you are living righteously, there is no need to contain your light in just your home, go out and spread it! Someone out there is lacking knowledge and truth! Share with them the wonderful and powerful things that the Lord has done for you and let them see what the power (grace) of God can do through you. Be the light!

Submitted by @ Laken Richard

 

They Cry Peace When There Is No Peace

Woman Praying by Tree_smaller“For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭6:13-16‬ ‭

Here lies a warning to those that fail to warn against both sin and the consequences of it. Time and time again we see God sending a prophet with an unpopular message, willingly choose repentance of sin or be forced to face judgement for sin. Yet this voice of truth crying in the wilderness is always that of the few being drowned out by the many who cry peace, peace, when in reality there is no peace.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭

God is ever trying to drive His people to repentance and all too often those who claim to speak for Him are speaking against Him and causing His people to error. God warns of judgments for sins in order to show us the dire need for repentance before the sentence is enacted. Therefore, when a preacher, evangelist, prophet, or anyone contradicts that message by telling them that all is well when all is most definitely not well is worthy of hell because not only have they errorred but they have also caused others to error or remain in error when God was trying desperately to remove them from error.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” – Isaiah‬ ‭5:20-21‬ ‭

Never allow the devil to entice you to make people comfortable in their sin or you will be guilty of the greater sin. Yes God points out sin, yes God rebukes, corrects, and warns, and yes He loves you enough to send someone to try to save you from your own choices and actions knowing that you will hate and likely reject them. Likewise, yes the devil tries to justify your sins, yes the devil flatters, yes the devil lies, and yes the devil will send someone to try to make you comfortable in your current sinful state that you ignore the mercy of God’s warnings and remain unchanged unto judgment. Beware less any man or demon in hell deceive you. For I tell you a truth, the days are dark and the time is short, repent and seek the Lord while He may be found, less judgment come upon you and you be found unaware, unprepared, and unrepented.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” – Colossians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭

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

“Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, and brake it. And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way. Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also. Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭28:10-16‬ ‭

Pick Up Your Sword And Fight!

hqdefaultI am so thankful that the power of God’s Spirit living in us, His plans in our lives, and His purposes for those plans are not changed by our emotional reasoning. The power of God is not altered by emotion, because He doesn’t change. Even though our emotions sometimes resemble a roller coaster, God remains steady.

God’s power and His plans are very much alive, and are unaltered by our “feelings“. That’s comforting to me, as I can often “feel” doubt, worry, and fear. Shame on me for allowing these “feelings” in, when I do. However, when this does happens, the devil plays on such emotions, and he twists them in such a way that they might lead my thoughts that day. But, God is steady and His power is not altered by these feelings, or the devils lies, and I am reminded again that at one word of my Father, the devil has to run.

I’m not letting the devil lead. I’m kicking him out before he even starts today. We have to fight back, but remember that it is not a physical battle. So if you dropped your sword in battle when you were distracted by your emotions, pick it back up now. It’s not over.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places . Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:11-13

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

Submitted by @ Amelia Barr

The Power Of A Peculiar Priesthood

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

In the times before Christ, God had set up a priesthood. There were priests who were given jobs, task, and authority to do God’s work, to have access to His Word, to minister to the people, to pray and commune with God, to cleans that which was unclean, and so forth. Then above the priest there was a high priest. The high priest was the only one who, on the day of atonement, could take the blood of the sacrifice into the Holy of Holy’s (an archetype for heaven) and bring it to the mercy seat (a model of God’s thrown) to make atonement for the sins of the people.

Now all of this was done as a sort of prophetic play enacting what actually needed to be done to bring true atonement but could not be done because the real mercy seat (or thrown of God) is in heaven and no sin can inter heaven. Therefor, no man or priest was ever able to bring the blood of a worthy sacrifice to the true mercy seat, to enact a real and lasting atonement. Until Jesus, that is, the first man in the history of man, since the fall of man to die without sin. (1 Peter 2:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 3:5)

Therefore, Jesus became not only our pure and spotless sacrifice for sin, but He also became our everlasting high priest, taking the blood of His own sacrifice into heaven and into the thrown of God where He has made atonement for the people once and for all. But it doesn’t stop there! Now that the temple of our bodies has been truly cleansed by the blood of Jesus and made Holy by this act of atonement, He then, (as He promised) ask the Father to send us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us! So that now, by receiving His Holy Spirit we are made joint heirs with Christ and children of God! Where before the authority of God rested upon the priest and kings, now as join heirs with Christ we all walk in the authority, power, dominion, and commission of the priest and kings to commune with God, walk in holiness, minister His words to others, heal the sick, cast out Devils, and take the land!

“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” – Revelation‬ ‭5:9-10‬ ‭

Jesus did a pure and perfect work as our high priest that we might in turn be empowered to do pure and perfect works as priest of God in this earth. Do not trample underfoot the blood of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and deem it an unholy thing by denying the overcoming power of it against the enemy in all his forms and vises (Hebrews 10:29). Jesus’s victory was complete and without fail! There is nothing He can not deliver you from, nothing His blood can not remove, and nothing His Spirit cannot overcome! He sees all, knows all, and can deliver from all, if you will just believe. Do you believe? Do you really believe? Believe.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 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 ‭4:12-16‬ ‭

Prayer Brings The Rain That Brings The Change

Latter Rain“And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” – Mark‬ ‭4:26-29‬ ‭

We can labor, we can sow, we can till, we can row, but seeds simply will not grow until the rain come. No seed will germinate without water. Jesus likened Himself and all those that would follow Him to a seed in John 12:24 when He says that the seed has to both die and then come back to life so that it can bare fruit. That dry dead seed is buried in the ground even as Christ was buried in the tomb, and we through faith are buried with Him in baptism and through the crucifying of the flesh. However, it doesn’t end there! Now the seed needs to be raised in newness of life that it might be transformed into a new creation baring fruit that the creator be glorified and others might be fed by it even as Christ was raised from the dead on the third day! But what does that seed need to bring life to it in this dead and buried state? Water! Living water! A rain! A spring! A well! A river! And what do all of these things represent in scripture? The moving of the Holy Spirit of God for it is the power of God that brings life giving, life changing resurrection power, and none other!

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” – Romans‬ ‭8:12-14‬ ‭

Prayer is a showing and releasing of faith, the rain represents the sending of the Holy Spirit of God to bring grace, which is the power of the Holy Spirit of God that gives life, by which we are made new, changed and bare fruit. This is paralleled by the invisible power that causes the seed to spring to life, grow, and produce fruit once it has been touched by the rain.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭

Jesus also tells us in “The Parable of the Sower” (Matthew 13) that sharing the gospel with people is like planting a seed of truth in their hearts. He even tells us the different issues in the heart that will hinder the seed, showing us the express need to sometimes take the time to first “prepare the soil” to receive the seed by laboring to remove (or repent of/forsake) some things from that ground/heart. Yet as all good gardeners know, you could plant all the seeds you want and work the ground with all your strength but those seeds are still going to lay dormant until the rain comes.

“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” – Psalms‬ ‭127:1‬ ‭

So what brings the rain? Prayer! Prayer brings the rain. We see throughout scripture that prayer moves the heart and Spirit of God! Therefore, prayer is the key that opens the doors of heaven when they’ve seemed to be locked up for so long.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.” – 2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14-15‬ ‭

If you’ve claimed the territory (faith), labored to prepare the ground (repentance), planted the seeds (the word), yet still have not seen the harvest (fruits), then pray for rain! Pray for God to send His Holy Spirit to pour out like rain on these dead seeds in this dry and thirsty land and cause life to come into them! Pray fervently! Pray faithfully! Pray sacrificially with weeping and fasting! Pray like you’ve never prayed before and the rain will come! The Holy Spirit of God will pour out upon the seeds you have planted and you will begin to see them spring to life as the grace of God (which is the power of the Holy Spirit) flows through them, changing them, growing them, and causing them to bare fruit unto the glory of God the Father!

Pray, pray, pray, and call for rain! Pray for the living water that Jesus so often promised He would send, yet every single time He gave the promise He gave it with a condition. Every time He offered it, He said, “if you ask Me, I will give”. You see, that’s why prayer is required! You have to ask Him to send it! Upon you, upon others, upon the land. Pray, cry out, send the rain!

“You say, where is the God of Elijah? I say, where are the Elijah’s of God?” Leonard Ravinhille

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

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” – Matthew‬ ‭9:38‬ ‭

“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” -Leviticus‬ ‭26:3-4‬ ‭

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren….And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 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,…” – Acts‬ ‭1:14, 2:1-4‬ ‭