The Personal Wilderness 

“(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” – Numbers‬ ‭12:3‬ ‭

Did you know that scripture records Moses as being the meekest man on earth, but he didn’t start out that way. In fact one of his first actions after stepping into the knowledge of his call was to kill a man in anger. He defended the beaten Israelite by striking down the Egyption that beat him, causing Moses to have to flee into a personal wilderness. In this personal wilderness Moses found his wife and spent 40 years tending his father in laws sheep while his self and pride was stripped away and he learned to be a humble selfless obedient servant of God.

Only once Moses himself had learned these lessons in his personal wilderness season, was he then qualified and commissioned by God to lead others through their’s, where they would have to learn the same lessons.

The Israelite’s spent 40 years in the wilderness learning the necessity of laying down self will for obedience to the will and wisdom of God, but Moses had to do it twice. Once for Himself to learn and then again to lead others in the learning of it. At times on this journey the Israelites would come to challenge Moses or the decisions that God had led him to make. They often proclaimed that they were just as holy as he or just as qualified to lead because they were all in this wilderness together, but what they failed to realize was that this was not Moses’s first wilderness, however it was there’s. Furthermore, they didn’t see the reality that Moses (having already gone through his own wilderness) did not have to be in this wilderness with them but was there in humble sacrificial obedience only to help lead them through their’s. In this did Moses have to endure two wildernesses while they only had to endure one.

This is a very real reason why scripture tells us not to envy spiritual leaders, teachers, and ministers. They can’t teach what they haven’t experienced for themselves, therefore must they endure great personal wildernesses that most don’t see in order to learn the lessons required to be able to lead others through their corporate wilderness that they do see. Not only are ministers held to a higher weight of accountability in eternity, but true called of God leaders also endure greater trial in this life for the sake of learning the deep lessons of God that they might transfer them to those that God entrust unto them. This wilderness college is God’s method of testing, training, and equipping those He desires to use. 

The wilderness is where you try everything your way and see how it doesn’t work, until you surrender to try it God’s way and see that it’s the only way that works. It’s where your independence is lost and dependence on God is gained. It’s where you learn to hear God’s voice, trust, and obey it. The first time Moses ever heard God speak was in his own personal wilderness, that by the time he had to lead others through their’s he was well versed in seeking, hearing, and obeying that he not act of his own will and lead them astray from God’s. 

Don’t try to get ahead of God and skip your wilderness or you’ll end up spiritually killing people instead of saving them. Before his personal wilderness Moses was rash, prideful, ambitious, arrogant, and he killed a man. After his wilderness he was the meekest man on earth and saved a nation. Don’t get ahead of God. Don’t forsake small beginnings. Don’t forsake the wilderness. 

“For who hath despised the day of small things? …” – Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭

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A Seed in the Dark

29136110_10211610570521620_256729960721416192_nI sealed a bean up in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel for 2 weeks containing enough water to germinate the seed. I insured that this little bean received no light, not even from a crack under the door. It was well hidden in a dark closet, and sealed up tight.

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

The Holy Spirit waters us in the dark seasons of our life, having only this, we have all we need. So sometimes it is in the darkest places that we seem to have the greatest growth. Yes, it is mysterious to us, but that’s God.

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” – Job 11:7

He is so good to bless those dark days. The bean that was given all the same things in it’s sealed bag but was kept in a place guaranteed to receive sunlight did not even begin to grow a root, and barely enlarged in size at all. That was to my surprise. I did not expect the bean in the hidden darkness to grow in leaps and bounds while the bean receiving abundant light and protected moisture, barely changed.

How baffling to my mind. My hypothesis was wrong. What I have seen in this was perfect to encourage my soul and hopefully yours. When our source of growth is continually coming from the Spirit of God (HE is watering us), we can actually grow even more in dark seasons, than we did in the sunniest circumstances!!!!

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)” – John 7:37-39

Prayer: Thank You God, for the dark seasons that grow us even more than those filled with sunshine and expectation. Much to my amazement, You work so differently than man can fathom, but You are God and I am just a little seed being watered by my father.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a seed of wheat fall into the ground, be burried, and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” – John 12:24-25

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” – Psalms 91:1-2

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon the rock.” – Psalms 27:5

Submitted by Amelia Barr

AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?

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“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” – ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭4:1-9‬ ‭KJV‬‬

So often I hear words with this exact attitude in many people today… am I my brother’s keeper? Selfishness of this sort has no concern or care for their fellowman. The world we live in today is the downhill spiral of this very attitude that thinks only of their own welfare and not of others. I stare into the very depths of this darkness day in and day out and what comes out of me is a cry! A cry for mercy from the LORD GOD and a cry for a shaking and an awakening that will cause us to seek the LORD GOD again for the Salvation from this darkness! For the darkness today in this world is much the fault of the church not being the Church. For this darkness of selfishness has largely crept into the churches today in the form of covetness and idolatry. I find it so prevalent in the church that there remains such little concern for the salvation of others, or the thought that “they will make their own decisions, perhaps they don’t want Salvation”. When the fact remains that anyone once they become aware that they are dying wants to live. The problem is that they don’t really know that they are dying nor do they care to know. But as the Church it is OUR JOB TO TELL THEM, and the HOLY SPIRIT’S job to show them.

But what of the church?

Has the physical blessings of God clouded our spiritual minds with pride, selfishness, and envy? Has covetness and greed and idolatry created a less than concern for others? Or an “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Attitude not only a lack of concern for your brother, but a hatred and jealousy of them because one is more blessed than you? God responded to Cain with a very simple explanation of what caused Able to have God’s favor as opposed to Cain…Able was pleasing to the LORD. Cain only brought unto God what pleased himself, but Able brought that which pleased the LORD. That was the difference between the two offerings. God even tells Cain, giving him the opportunity to obey by offering GOD the right offering, but instead of Cain humbling himself to obey, He exacts vengeance upon his brother causing a curse to fall upon himself. So we see that obedience brings blessings and rejecting obedience brings a curse.

Today as I observe the condition of the world I see it as a direct result of the church NOT being the Church walking in direct obedience to Christ the King in doing that which is pleasing to HIM! And for that I cry all the more… LORD JESUS REVIVE US AGAIN to be the living sacrifices by obedience to YOU LORD that the world may see YOUR GLORY and that YOU may receive the reward of YOUR SACRIFICE, a holy people set apart unto YOURSELF serving YOU, doing that which is well and pleasing in YOUR SIGHT!

So if in any area of your life, you find yourself in disobedience to GOD, by displeasing HIM with offering unto HIM that which pleases yourself, then Repent and obey. If you find yourself given to pride, covetness, greed and idolatry by the spirit of selfishness, hatred, or envy…repent. If after carful reflection you observe yourself obedient… then intercede for your brother who is not.

Will you walk in darkness after having received the Light? Will you walk along blindly after having received your sight? My Holy Spirit has equipped you to fight this good fight, but how can you fight if you reject the Light?

“Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”‭‭ – John‬ ‭9:3-7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“I healed you that I might send you! For MY GLORY TO BE SEEN THAT I AM THE MESSIAH THE CHRIST YOUR KING! Now GO AND WASH AND COME FORTH SEEING! That others may see My glory and know ME as KING!
Now that you see ME, don’t let ME out of your sight; Keep your eyes only on ME and keep fighting this good fight!
This love empowers you, giving you purpose to fight the good fight of faith that others may see the Light!
Endure to the end; for those who love and obey Me are they whom I send!”

Submitted by Heather Wright

Rejoice in Other’s Blessings and Envy Not

envyAre you angry at God for blessing your neighbor differently than he has blessed you? Has your envy of their blessing so clouded your judgement that you can’t see the blessings that God has bestowed, and is still bestowing upon you?

This evening I was telling my two girls, “girls, when I was at Walmart I saw a really good deal on some shirts, but I could only find them in AJ’s size, so I got a couple.”… Then my oldest interrupted before I could even finish the entire story. She angrly demanded to know why I did not get her something. She didn’t know that I had actually picked her a new pair of cute new headphones, but I never had a chance to bring that part up,  given the anger in the moment and the cloud of envy hovering overhead about the shirts AJ had gotten.

So given it was the drive home, God put it on my heart to use this as an opportunity to teach them something about these things. Not revealing to KayeLee (my oldest) about her blessing, the new headphones, yet. So I spoke to them on this and told them, “You can’t be angry at your neighbor for the blessings they’ve been given, just because you were not blessed in the same way. AJ is your neighbor, your blessings are not always going to be given at the same time or in the same way, but when you truly love your neighbor, you will automatically be blessed when you see them blessed. Don’t let the devil shift your focus, his only goal is to bring envy and division. Be happy for your neighbors blessings, and remember that God blesses you in different ways, so thank Him for those and be happy for their’s. Your love for them aught to make you happy for their blessings.”

They understood the lesson, apologies were given, and forgiveness extended. When we got home, I asked KayeLee if she understood everything and learned from the lesson how to respond when AJ is blessed differently then her, she said yes. I then gave her the headphones I had purchased for her that she did not even know I bought, because she had been so focused on steaming about AJ receiving the shirts, that she had not given thought to the possibility that I had gotten her something else. She assumed she had gotten nothing and this was a false assumption, all because it was not the same as her sister had received.

She was happy about her gift, and regretted pitching a fit about what she thought was “her missing out” on a gift when AJ received hers, only because they were different.
Our blessings are not the same as our neighbor, and they are not always granted at the same time as our neighbor. We can trust the timing of our blessings and even be grateful when they are different from our neighbor. Love them, and be glad of their blessings, don’t forget all of the ways God has uniquely blessed you too. Trust God that He knows what you need WHEN you need it, and when the devil aims to tempt you with the lie that your neighbor’s blessing is better than yours, hoping to make envy rise up in you and create division, remember that he is a liar, and instead be glad of every blessing your neighbor receives. Envy is a distraction from our own blessings from God. In His unique love to us as individuals among his children, He often blesses us differently from one another.

“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – Hebrews 13:5

Submitted by Amelia Barr

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

My Trust Is In The Lord, So That I Rest In Troubled Seas

boat_church_ministry_storm_pastor1“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.” – Psalms‬ ‭28:7-8‬ ‭

It’s a peaceful place to truly trust in the Lord. To know that when you are weakest, His strength is poured out on you all the more. When accusations, lies, slanders, plots, attacks, and manipulations rise up against you, you need not worry, for the Lord Himself defends His own in impossible ways. There is a sweet assurance that for those who walk in righteousness, no weapon formed against them will prosper, that for those who are called all things will work together for the good, and that those who carry God’s anointing also carry His favor. Though they be the most fought, they are also the most defended. As long as they stay the course and put their trust in God, He will be their shield and buckler until their purpose has been fulfilled in that they can say (as Paul did), “to live is (beneficial to the cause of) Christ, and to die is gain (to me)”. In all things, I am content, for I trust in the Lord. Ever will I sing His praise, for the joy of the Lord is my strength. I will not fear what man can do to me. The Lord is my defender and God always has a plan. Therefore will I sing, “though all of hell assail me, praise be to my King, for He alone is sovereign, He knows what He is doing.”

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.” – Psalms‬ ‭28:7-8‬ ‭

“He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.” – 1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:21-23‬ ‭

Praying For Both The Persecuted And The Persecutors

img_5346I posted the word titled “The Damnation Of Hatred” Friday knowing in my Spirit that something very bad was going to happen this weekend. I could feel it, and it didn’t take much time in prayer before the Lord revealed that the Devil’s plan through what he was going to do, was to plant and spread the seeds hate and bitterness in the heart of believers. Now as the details of the Christian hating atheist lead church massacre in Texas over the weekend begin to surface, I am seeing exactly that.  News threads, article comments, and social media are abuzz with bitterness and all out malice over this horrific act.

Now understand that I am in no way siding with the atheist on this, I am however, siding with Christ who said that we have to pray for those who persecute us.  Believer, remember that the atheist is already damned (John 3:18), but if you let his hate transfer to you and take root in your heart then the devil will have succeeded in damning you both (Matthew 6:15). This is why Jesus says to be angry, but sin not (Ephesians 4:26) which means not to speak that anger out in words or act upon it with evil actions nor to let it stay in your heart but rather to release it through prayer. You do that by praying for the life changing salvation of those who have fallen into the enemies snare and are being used by the devil to the damnation of their eternal soul. Darkness cannot be overcome with more darkness, when you allow your heart and thoughts to be darkened by the darkness manifesting through others, then you only aid in spreading the darkness and the kingdom of hell on earth. Yet when you choose to let the light of the selfless love of Christ shine through you in the darkest of places then and only then is the darkness stopped in it’s tracks and the Kingdom of God is spread on earth as it is in heaven. This is why Jesus commanded us to, love, bless, and pray for our enemies no matter what they have done. By doing so you not only spare your own soul, but may in-turn aid in the saving of others by inciting faith, without which it is impossible to please the Lord (Hebrews 11:6). So with that being said. I will leave you today with the words of Jesus Christ, and a repost of Friday’s word and warning as it was laid on me by the Holy Spirit of God.

“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. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:11-14‬

“But I (Jesus) 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; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:….” – Matthew 5:44-45

“For as many as are lead by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” – Romans 8:14

Click Here for Original Post : The Damnation of Hatred 

The Damnation of Hatred 

November 3, 2017 / Marandia Wright / Edit

Hatred sends people to hell. Jesus said that if you hold any hatred or bitterness toward anyone in your heart for any reason then you cannot be saved, you are not His child, and you will not come into His Kingdom with it. Let go of all hatred so you can pick up your cross and follow Christ. You can’t carry both. To pick up one, you have to lay the other one down. Choose to lay down the one that will damn you to an eternity in hell and insight others to join you there. This is serious. It’s a matter of your soul! God is love and love cannot come into a heart that is already full of hate. You cannot serve two masters. God will not share His glory with an other, nor will He reside in a hate filled heart. Choose Ye this day whom you will serve, Self or Selfless Love.

“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 ‭

“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” – Mark‬ ‭11:26‬

The Truth That Sets Men Free

the-risen-christ“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” – Ephesians‬ ‭6:14‬ ‭

The most under noted article in the Ephesians 6 Armor of God is probably the belt of truth, yet it is the very thing on which everything else hangs. The belt literally ties everything together and secures it in place. So what is it? It is truth and Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life, no man can go to the Father but through Him. Therefor this breastplate of righteousness that is connected to the truth comes only because of Jesus.

However it goes deeper. The belt is not for looks, it’s not a symbolic piece, it has functions and one of it’s main functions concerning this righteousness that is attached to it, is to hold it in place. Sure you can always choose to take it off willingly if you desire to expose yourself to the wilds of the enemy, but you don’t have too and if you don’t, you won’t loose it because the belt secures it (keeps it in place). So let’s look deeper into the belt.

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” – John‬ ‭14:16-17‬ ‭

The belt of truth and the Spirit of truth are one in the same. Jesus told His disciples that the Spirit of truth was the comforter and then later in verse 26 reveals that it is the Holy Spirit.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” – John‬ ‭14:26‬ ‭

So if the Spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit then why did Jesus tell His disciples that this Spirit of truth that the world had rejected already dwelt with them but later would be within them? Because if Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life, then the Spirit of Truth, even the Holy Spirit, is quite literally, Jesus’ Spirit.

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” – Galatians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

Therefore, because of what Jesus did, we can receive His Spirit within us which changes us into sons and daughters of God and gives us dominion over all the powers of the enemy, thusly it is by this power (the power of the Holy Spirit unto sonship, or grace) that we not only obtain righteousness but it is by the same power or grace that it is held in place, unless we grieving the Holy Spirit choose to take it off.

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – Ephesians‬ ‭4:30‬ ‭

The late Leonard Ravenhill often said, “I do not teach that once receiving the Holy Spirit it is impossible to sin, (free will remains) but I do teach that it is possible not to. It is possible not to! God said that there is no temptation that He has not made a way of escape from. He has made a way through the unmatchable unlimited overcoming power of the Holy Spirit, which is grace! Yet this grace only comes by faith, therefor you must believe that it can before it will. It is possible not to sin but you have to believe that the blood of Jesus made this way before God will send the grace (the Spirit of His son) to empower you to not only put on His righteousness, but keep it on. That belt of truth will hold the breastplate of righteousness in place but you will only be given it by faith, faith in this truth. The truth, the way, and the life, that is to say: the truth that shows you the only way to be raised in newness of life, bearing the peaceable fruits of righteousness, without which no man shall see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

So do you believe? Do you believe that the blood overcomes sin? Do you believe that God is stronger then the devil? Do you believe that He really has made away out of every temptation? Do you believe that when Jesus told the woman at His feet to “go and sin no more”, He with that commandment made a way to obtain it? Do you believe that all power, authority, and dominion belong to Christ? Do you believe that His Spirit lives in you and grants you that same power, authority, and dominion as a joint heir with Christ Jesus? Because Jesus shed His blood to set you free, to give you power over sin, authority over the enemy, to sanctify you by the spirit of grace (the Holy Spirit) granted because of the blood. Therefor, if you do not have faith in the power of the blood to do this, you will not receive the spirit which empowers you by grace to do it. Therefore, the grace only comes by faith.

So what is the truth that sets men free? It’s the truth that you CAN be set free, free from sin, totally free, because whom the Son sets free is free indeed! Do you believe? Because you have to believe! It will only come by faith! Don’t let the devil steal your faith! If you believe, you will receive, and if you receive, you will achieve, for that is the power of God unto us through Christ Jesus our Lord! Gird yourself with this truth and you will be able to stand against ALL the wilds of the devil.

“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. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans‬ ‭8:11-18‬ ‭

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” – Romans‬ ‭6:1-7‬ ‭

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” – Hebrews‬ ‭10:26-29‬ ‭

God’s Working On You

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” – Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭

Isn’t it encouraging to be reminded that God won’t give up on you? I think every true believer has those moments when they feel like they aren’t progressing as fast as they should. They know that God has a purpose and a plan for them but they just don’t understand it or their place in it yet. They want to, but there are things for the Holy Spirit to teach them first and there is a timing to it all as well. Yet we feel the disappointment of being both slow learners and impatient students so we think that God must feel the same way.

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” – Psalms‬ ‭103:13-14‬ ‭

The truth is that God is very long suffering toward all men, and His eager children most of all. He knows our hearts and our frailty, which is why He takes His time with us. He must work the ground of our hearts, He must plant the seeds of righteousness, He must pluck up the weeds planted by the enemy, He must prune, cultivate, and grow us, well before He can bring forth a harvest of good fruit in us. Yet one thing I know, He is a good husbandmen (vineyard keeper). He knows exactly how to get the workmanship of His hands to produce the best and the most abundant fruit possible. We need only to trust Him and patiently allow Him to do is good work in us. 

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭

Even in the painful pruning seasons of our life when things are being cut away and it seems from all outward appearance like we are being viciously attacked, yet it has its purposes in causing us to bring forth more abundant fruit in the fruiting season.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭

We do have a part to play in not allowing the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches (materialism) (Mark 4:19), idols (1 John 5:21), willful sin (which causes you to give lordship of your vineyard over to an other master) (Hebrews 10:26-31, Romans 6:16), or a lack of time spent abiding connected to the root of David (which is prayer, worship, and communion with Jesus) (John 15:6, Romans 11:16-23) will cause you to wither producing either bad fruit or no fruit at all (which is just as bad) that you be cut down and cast into the fire. For who wants a vineyard full of useless trees? 

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” – John‬ ‭15:5-6‬ ‭

Yet as long as we have made Jesus the husbandmen of our vineyard, that is to say, the master of our lives and we keep Him as such, ever pursuing to obey Him, serve Him, love Him, and grow closer to Him, then we will. Even when we don’t feel like we are, we are. For we can rest assured that He who began a good work in us will continue until it be complete if we have but the faith to stand. In the meantime, simply have patience, seek Him, listen to Him, trust Him, abide in Him, and grow. So no matter how slow, frustrated, confused, downtrodden, unworthy, or unable you feel, know that God is still working on you and pursue. Don’t give up on Him and He won’t give up on you. Stay the course.

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:22-25‬ ‭

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭

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 ‭