A Soft Answer and Love vrs Anger and Hate

imageWe are living in a time where people look on the first as a weakness, and the second as a strength. However, the Bible says of a soft answer, that it TURNS AWAY wrath, and commands that we love and that we exhibit kindness, gentleness, forgiveness and tender heartedness.

Likewise the bible also says of anger, that it rests in the bosom of FOOLS, and that we need to STOP being ANGRY, let go of wrath, and to forgive, even as many times as we are offended! We are clearly told that hatred makes everything worse while love covers all offenses.

It makes me sad that this is such a time where anger and hatefulness is somehow looked upon in a young man or woman as a trait of strength. That bitterness is an acceptable way to “show them you are right”, and that somehow that is wise. That holding a grudge is a reasonable “reminder of what they did to me, so I won’t forget!!”

….But, grace, how you love receiving grace, you just don’t practice showing grace. Well, this is not a strength. This is hypocrisy. It also reveals that the love of God doesn’t abide in you. Because it can’t, if you hate another. In actuality your anger and hatred of others is your rebellion of the fulfillment of the law (which is love.)

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” – Psalm 37:8

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” – Matthew 18:21-22

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” – Proverbs 10:12

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” – 1 John 4:8

“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

“Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” – Ecclesiastes 7:9

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

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:8

Submitter by Ameila Barr

Stand For God, No Matter What

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

Romans 12:18 tells us that “when possible, we ought to try to live peaceably with all men“, yet in Matthew 10:34 Jesus tells us how rarely that will be possible when He states that He comes “not to bring peace, but a sword” (or conflict). He goes on to explain that to truly follow His voice and serve Him will put us at odds with even those of our own household. In 2 Timothy 3:12 we read the assurance yet again that “ALL who will live Godly WILL suffer persecution.” In all these attacks, oppositions, and hardships we are to love and pray for those that persecute us, yet still stand firm in faith to what the Lord has spoken to us. In other words, love men no matter what they say or do but never the less, choose God’s side. 

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” – Acts‬ ‭5:29‬ ‭

Even in situations when men of great authority came against the instructions of the Lord to the Apostles, though they did not physically fight or become arrogant or violent, they did not submit either. For often times to submit to men puts you at odds with God and to submit to God puts you at odds with men. The ungodly being prideful, arrogant, domineering, and led of another spirit, will always seek to force God’s people to act out their will, which will always be in opposition to God’s will. When this happens, choose God’s side! 

Remember that when you stand before God on the day of judgment those people will not stand with you. You will stand alone before the Lord and give an account for what you did. We will not be allowed to point our finger at anyone else, we will be judged by what we ourselves did or didn’t do, no matter the reason we did or didn’t do it. So in all things, obey the Lord, no matter who tells you not to. Love all men, pray for all men, but obey God. If the early New Testament church submitted to the will of men in opposition to the will and word of God, there would be no church today and we would all be lost. Determine today to stand on God’s words, no matter the cost. Walk in humility and love, but take God’s side, and stand. For if we don’t, even against those of our own house holds, then we are not worthy of Him. How much more so then in the face of strangers. 

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – Galatians‬ ‭1:10-12‬ ‭

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” – Matthew‬ ‭10:32-38‬ ‭

Be Fruitful and Multiply

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” – Genesis‬ ‭1:28‬ ‭

Be fruitful and multiply! This is the first commission given to man upon his creation by God. It remained his commission until Christ came and through the miracle of the rebirth, man who has already been born of water unto a physical birth and given a physical commission, was then through Jesus able to be born again of a Spiritual birth unto a spiritual commission. 

In essence the second commission was the same as the first, “be fruitful and multiply“. However, while the first commission was physical, the second was spiritual. That is to say, that the first was to be fruitful and multiply physically for the purpose of taking physical dominion over the earth, but the second was to be spiritually fruitful and multiply spiritually for the purpose of taking spiritual dominion over the earth. 

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬ ‭

Therefore in order to effectively multiply (or grow) the spiritual family of God then we must be fruitful, for what is fruit but the reproduction of the tree, and what is Christ but the very tree of life by which we may obtain eternal life? 

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John‬ ‭14:6‬ ‭

Christ being the first good tree bore good fruit which then planted the seed of righteousness into those who believed His words and teachings. As those seeds grew into mighty trees themselves (metaphorically speaking), He then commissioned those trees to “be fruitful and multiply“. 

Again I point out that the fruit is the reproduction of the tree. Therefore, if the seed of truth and fruits of righteousness that Christ bare are received into the soil of your heart by faith then you will grow to be a mighty tree planted by the water (the Holy Spirit) and after a season of maturing, will produce fruit which will then (through the faith it stirs up in others) be planted in others and grow them into mighty trees producing the same fruits of righteousness. This is how the kingdom of God is reproduced and grown. This is how the land is taken, subdued, and dominion manifested.

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” – Hebrews‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” – Philippians‬ ‭1:9-11‬ ‭

“Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:19-20‬ ‭

So what exactly are these fruits that one who has had the truth of the word of God planted in their heart by the Holy Spirit through faith in the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ? (As depicted in the parable of the sower) This fruit that Christ bore that caused others to have faith in His testimony by seeing the fruit of it manifest in His life? The same fruit that Christ expected His followers to bare that others might see and believe in the life changing power of His grace? The fruit that Christ Himself said that if you do not have then you are not His regardless of what you say for it is the evidence of planted and cultivated faith?

“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.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:22-24‬ ‭

So choose today to believe Christ’s words and teachings. All of them. Let them take root in your heart and by faith in it, He will send His grace to cause that seed to spring to life, grow, mature, then finally become fruitful and multiply. 

The first commission was given to establish physical dominion of the planet, while the second commission was to establish spiritual dominion of it. Yet in both cases the dominion was already given by the decree of God, but the spreading of seed and baring of fruit was the way by which He had designed (or commissioned) it to be made manifest. So no matter how many other ways you try to make it happen, God’s way is the only way it will work. So get before God, ask Him to plant His truth in you, receive it in faith no matter how much it contradicts your logic or pride, let Him cultivated it in you, prune you when necessary, and produce the fruits of righteousness. When you come to bare the fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, genteelness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance through grace by abiding with Christ in prayer, devotion, communion, and worship, you will see it begin to be reproduced in others as disciples are drawn unto you and Christ commissions you to go forth, “be fruitful and multiply“. You see, the testimony of the fruit being produced in your changed and victorious life is the evidence that stirs faith in the power (or grace) of the life changing blood of Jesus Christ. So if you want to be useful in the Kingdom of God, victorious, full of dominion and fulfill His great commission, then you first need to seek God, humble yourself, submit, and and allow Him to cultivate these fruits in your life until you bare them freely and faithfully. There is no shortcut, this is how God has commissioned it to work.

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

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 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. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” – John‬ ‭15:1-8‬ ‭

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

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 ‭

Impressing God

“When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” – Matthew‬ ‭8:10‬ ‭

This is by far one of my favorite passages for the sake of one simple word, “marveled“. Jesus marveled? What could possibly astonish and impress Jesus so much that He would marvel at it

Rewinding a few verses we see the story of the centurion. Upon reading this account there are several things that stand out about this man who causes Jesus to marvel. For one he was not of the Jewish people, in fact he not only was a gentile who were not commonly educated in the Jewish faith, but he was actually an officer of the Roman occupation. That is to say, he was the enemy of Jesus’s people and had physical dominion over them. Yet he humbled himself to come and ask Jesus, a man who was under him in physical authority, to help his servant.

This reveals 3 major things about the centurion. The first is that he cared for his servants, he was a man of compassion. The second thing it shows is that he was a humble man, willing to humble himself for the sake of helping (not himself but) someone else. He openly sought out the least and the lowly of his Society and showing great reverence and respect honored Him publicly as Lord. Thirdly and most importantly, though the centurion had physical authority over Jesus as Romans did over the Jews at that time , he acknowledged Jesus’s spiritual authority over not only him but all creation, both seen and unseen. This is what caused Jesus to marvel and these three elements are still what impress God today. Humility, selflessness, and faith.

 “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” – Matthew‬ ‭8:5-10‬ ‭

Jesus Is Still Coming

getreadyYesterday I was expecting company to come over in the evening, so in the morning as I was doing my normal cleaning I noticed some cobwebs that had collected in the corner and some dust that had settled on the ceiling fan. These were both things that had slowly developed over time, because of this I had become somewhat blinded to it. I didn’t notice it before because it had settled in gradually causing me to barely notice it until, becoming accustomed to it being there, I was blinded to it. However, when I knew a friend was coming I began to look at my house through their eyes. How would they see it? What would they notice? Then I saw it and it had to go.

In that moment the Lord spoke to me and said, “you see, this is why it’s important that people be reminded that I am coming.” He was right! We allow things to settle into our hearts, minds, and lives gradually. A little thought here, a little compromise there, a little distraction, a lack of prayer, a little bitterness, a little pride, a little selfishness, a little lie, a little sin, a little dust building up on the ceiling fan (metaphorically speaking).

The devil takes joy in weaving these things into your life conspicuously, piece by piece like the cobweb in the corner, and we often times don’t even realize it’s there because we aren’t looking for it. Sometimes we do see it but think, “I’ll get rid of that in a little while but once we put it off, we forget and become completely blinded to it because now we are accustomed to it’s presence and easily overlook it. Oh, but when we are reminded that someone is coming soon, that Jesus is coming and that he will see every hidden corner of our spiritual house then we stop and start to look at it the way He will, and we begin to see what He will see. Then we notice things that we have previously been blinded to. Then we get motivated to clean out the junk, shake off the dust, and kick out the cobwebs. Then we wake up and get it done.

This is why Christ warned so often for us to remain vigilant and ready, always preparing and awaiting His return. One of the main reasons that the church at large is asleep today when it should be working and preparing is because it has stopped expecting Christ’s return and very few pastors and watchmen are still reminding them of it. I knew exactly when my friend was coming over and how much time I had to get my house in order, but no man knows the day or the hour that Christ will come, so get your spiritual house in order now while you still can. No one is promised tomorrow, today is the day of salvation and now is the acceptable time. Their will be no more chances when you stand before God, there will only be you giving an account of the chances He already gave you. Jesus is still coming and rather you believe it or not won’t change it, it will only change how prepared you are for it when it comes. Wake up, clean your spiritual house, trim your lamps with oil, stay awake, and watch, for the bridegroom cometh.

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” – Isaiah‬ ‭55:6-7‬ ‭

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew‬ ‭24:42-51‬ ‭

“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” – Mark‬ ‭13:32-37‬ ‭

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

When God Looks Away

How-to-Pray“Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:… – Habakkuk‬ ‭1:13‬ ‭

God is Holy, Righteous, and Pure. The prophet Isaiah tells us that sin separates us from God but Habakkuk goes further to express that God is so pure that He can not even stand to look upon sin. Therefor when we choose to commit sin God turns His face away from us, He will not even look upon us.

“Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?” – Psalms‬ ‭88:14‬ ‭

This is why when Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world and bore our iniquity, the skies darkened and He cried out just as David did in his Psalm, “Father, why has thou forsaken me!” That is to say, “why have you turned your face from me?” Just as the world in all it’s sin had done to Christ because He had no sin, so the Father did to Him also when He took our sin upon Himself. For God cannot bare to look upon the ugliness of sin, much less when it was placed upon His beloved Son, this perfect and spotless Lamb of God.

“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 ‭

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” – Matthew‬ ‭27:45-46‬ ‭

Now I want you to ask yourself something. If sin caused God to turn His eyes away from Jesus who was baring the sins of others, how much more will He turn His eyes away from you when you willingly choose to sin? Many times we cry out in our troubles and ask God if He sees our plight? If you are living in open willful sin, the answer is no. He’s not looking at your woes because your sins have caused Him to turn His face from you. You see, “the wrath of God” in most cases is simply this. That because of your sins God has turned His eyes away from you and the devil, knowing this, has rushed in to wreak havoc while the Shepherd is not looking.

Now we know that this is somewhat metaphorical because God is all knowing, however remember that when it says that God has turned His eyes away, it means that He is choosing to not look at what He knows is happening. Because He is just and He must do what He says He will do whether He wants to or not for God cannot lie.

On a larger scale then that of our own personal sin, we see that this biblical truth also applies to nations. We see over and over in scripture that when a nation turns it’s face from God and His righteousness (and toward sin), God turns His face from them, dark days arise, and the enemy rushes in like a flood to overtake them. Again noting that the wrath of God on a nation is the same as on an individual and often comes simply as a removal of His protection. He just turns His eyes away,  and as soon as He does, the devil runs in and they finally begin to see what cruel master (that old devil) the servants of sin really serve (John 8:34).

So in short, the humble truth is this. If you want your prayers heard, if you want God to fight for you, if you want God to be attentive to your plight, if you want the promises of God to manifest in your life, if you want His favor, protection, and provision, then you must first repent, lay aside your sin, seek His will, His words, and His ways, and walk in them. It’s just that simple. In this, we find that when God looks away, it’s actuslly a merciful warning to cease our straying and begin praying.

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

“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 ‭

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

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