“He Calls Us His Own”

There can be no greater privilege than His sonship. But there is a responsibility that must be embraced if we want God to favor our life and ministry beyond our salvation, for His favor requires continuous surrender to His Lordship.

I have had many discussions with people on the question if Jesus can be Lord and not our Lord. Can He save us without being Lord over ALL of our life?

He is the Lord God of the Universe. He is who He is, whether we recognize Him as such or not. But to be Lord over OUR life requires our total submission to Him. His Lordship increases in our eyes and in our lives, even though He has never been less Lord.

I have found by my own life’s journey that the more I surrender in obedience to His Lordship through my personal abandonment of my rights to myself, and then to start trusting Him more deeply, the more I see who He is as Lord of the Universe, and as well, MY Lord and MY God.

This process leads to His objective for me, which is His favor and approval: “This is my beloved son” Years ago, my repentant prayer of rededication to God was, “Lord, I just want you to be proud of me again…” I began to realize that it is not what He is preventing that keeps His favor away from me, but rather what I was doing or not doing that prevented it.

“By whom we have received GRACE and apostleship, FOR OBEDIENCE to the faith among all nations, for HIS Name:” Romans 1:5

“Remember”

“And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10:21-22

Jesus was not kidding when he declared, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18)

He occupies the highest throne of authority! Remember:

He called a coin out of the mouth of a fish.

He stopped the waves with a word.

He spoke, and a tree withered.

He spoke, and a basket became a banquet.

He spoke again, and demons fled, sickness was healed, and even a battalion of soldiers collapsed instantly!

Economy, Meteorology, Botany, Food supply, Governments,… “All things have been handed over to me by my Father” (Matt. 11:27)

So when we pray, we need to remember just who it is that hears us! Taking all things He is and has done should stir a faith and peace in our valleys when we call out to Him!

So pray! Since God works, prayer works. Since God is good, prayer is good. Since you matter to God, your prayers matter in heaven. You’re never without hope because you’re never without prayer. And on the occasions you can’t find the words to say, just call on His name. He is near to the brokenhearted and they of a contrite spirit.

Going forward, when you spend your time with Jesus in prayer, just as with communion, do it in remembrance!

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;”

Colossians 1:16-19

Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3

To be “poor” in spirit is to be humble. To these is the power of the Kingdom entrusted. The Kingdom of Heaven out-powers and overcomes every other kingdom. Therefor those whom God chooses to be it’s ambassadors in the earth must demonstrate great restraint, selflessness, discipline, and obedience; all of which are byproducts of humility.

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” – James 4:6

Grace by definition is favor, power, and divine influence. It is the power of God’s own Holy Spirit manifested through those whom He has favored with sonship which influences them toward Holiness and the accomplishment of God‘s will in the earth. Yet we see that not everyone has the same measure of grace, (favor, power, divine influence). The Bible tells us that God gives more grace in relation to your humility because the more humble you are the more He can trust you to use this great gift to achieve His purposes, endorse His message, and build His kingdom, and not your own.

However, who gets what measure of God’s grace is not some preordained thing. Favor is not the same as favoritism. Favoritism is unjust and unfair and God is a just God. Favor however, is released when you show forth faith in what God says, humbling yourself to it. The more you act in faithful obedience the more He will trust you with greater and greater measures of grace. This is why the Bible tells us that we can “grow in grace”. Now we are not saved by our works, for without faith it is all fruitless. However true faith must produce humble obedience to God’s voice or else it is rebellion and the bible says that God sees rebellion as witchcraft. So we are not talking about faith for salvation here but a faith that grows from salvation. Jesus said that faith is like a mustard seed that starts small but grows into the largest of all herbs. The point was not how small the faith was but how much it could grow.

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” – Matthew 13:31-32

Understand that God’s love for us is the same from creation to salvation and for the rebellious and unbelieving, even to damnation. God’s love never changes, it is from everlasting to everlasting. However the measure of grace (power) that we receive from Him does. He simply trust more power to those who or more humble irrespective of race, gender, or genealogy. God is no respecter of persons, He loves us all the same and gives all the same opportunity. However He is a respecter of humility and pours out the power of the Kingdom upon it, knowing that it is less likely to be misused by those more willing to follow orders and function as part of the body rather then always trying to compete with the head of it.

“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

So then we see that we can grow in grace as we choose to have a more humble spirit. So how to we do that? There are many ways that the Bible instructs us to “humble ourselves”. God calls us all to do this yet only a few actually do, and those few that do are the ones He chooses to empower with mighty anointing and the greater gifts of grace.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:14

A few ways that scripture tells us that we can humble ourselves is confession and repentance, submission and obedience to God’s Words, trusting God’s will over our own, prayer, worship, fasting, selfless sacrifice, servanthood, patients, reverence for authority. In fact all the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22 are products of humility. You might say that humility is the good soil, faith is the seed, and grace is the fruit manifested in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

So let us pray, “Lord help us to recognize areas where we can humble ourselves by faith that we might be made fit to grow in grace. Help us understand when situations, trials, and tribulations arise that they are blessings in disguise allowing us opportunity to choose to react with humility that your grace may abound and your perfection shine through like a light on a hill in a dark place. Help us to see opportunities to show forth selfless love toward others and obedience to Your voice. Help us to walk in humility that the world might see you walking in us, because that is what true grace really is.”

A Peculiar Glory

girl-dancing-rainAren’t we so quick to despise the “ways” God chooses to supply us with the patience and those things that we so earnestly pray for that we lack? We pray “Lord give me patience”. “Lord give me wisdom.” “Lord sanctify me. I hate this flesh! Lord Give me a balance of emotional strength but give me compassion. Enable me to do your service. Make me like you Lord.” All of the things we pray for, because they really are important, and we do lack them.

It is God Himself who urges us to pray for these things. But, with every stripping away process, new mountain top, or multiple aggravations brought on by the things of this world, they make us weary. They make us cringe at the thought of what tomorrow’s means of learning will bring, we tend to shrug our shoulders, forgetting the whole reason. The beauty of every flat tire. The beauty of every moment we realized we really are so helpless without him. Without all of these planned out, as we see them “disasters” how could He teach us to wait, to smile, to love, to believe, to climb?

Can’t we see He is answering our prayers? He’s giving us every thing we lacked, all of which we prayed for. He is so faithful to us. We don’t appreciate His methods because we are so sickeningly greedy. We want the patience and wisdom and courage right now. We want faith that moves mountains but we’re too lazy to climb more than one stride. We forget that the process/es are very much a part of those fruits that we pray for. They are literally supplying the necessary ingredients that make up the perfect dish. Every single one matters as much as the other. That’s kinda encouraging right?

I pray that whoever is reading this knows, truly knows, that this trial or trials your experiencing are not permanent, but the fruit God gives you from them will be exactly what He chose for you. To bring Him glory in them, to praise Him in them, and most importantly, to make you more like Him.

…And He “will” perfect his work.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher then the earth, so are my ways higher then your ways, and my thoughts then your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many rebound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

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

Submitted by @ Amelia Barr

It Is Well

girl_reading_bible“Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.” – 2 Kings‬ ‭4:26‬ ‭

The context of this verse is truly remarkable, because when the story surrounding it is taken into account you realize that at this point the situation was most definitely not well, yet her faith was. Therefore the outcome will be accordingly.

You see, this woman had recognized the presence of God in this man Elisha and wanted to make a place for him in her home. She built for him an upper room, which in the culture of the day was a place of honor. Therefor, God rewarded her with a promise. In one year, she would bare a son.

God was faithful to His promise (as He always is), but one day the child fell ill in his father’s field and died. The woman did not scream, yell, complain, curse or blame God, or put on any public display. In fact she told no one, but simply laid the child in the upper room and pursued the presence of God on his behalf.

She told all that asked that “it was well“. All the while she pressed on as hard and fast as she could to find the prophet Elisha. Yet even when his servant called to her from a distance, asking if they were ok, still she replied, “it is well“. She would not speak against her faith! She would not speak to what was, but rather she spoke to what would be. She would not let herself even for a moment live in the fear and doubt of what was, nor would she allow it to be shown and spread to others, but chose in faith to plant herself firmly in what would be.

She knew that no matter how much the enemy fights and how bad it looks in the moment, God is faithful to His promises. She chose not to be ruled by her emotions but by her faith, therefore she could say “It Is Well“. She knew that what God had given her, even if the enemy comes and tares it all down and steals it all away, God who gave it is able to give it again, revived, renewed, restored, and more. Not only did she get her son of promise back, she got him with a testimony that glorified the manifest character of God Almighty and has built the faith of thousands for generations. All because she trusted the impossible power and faithfulness of God more then what she saw, heard, and felt. She stood in faith that God is more able to give then the devil is able to steal, that God is more able to heal then the devil is able to kill, that God is more able to preform miracles then the devil is able to crush your faith in them. She chose faith over fear and was able to say with all surety in the face of what seemed like udder defeat and betrayal, “It is well“.

She pursued God in faith knowing that He is faithful to fulfill His promises even if He has to raise something from the dead to do it. She was fully persuaded, therefor in the midst of what should have caused her emotions to overtake her, her faith was able to overtake her emotions and stand knowing that it will be well, therefor it is well. She understood that if all things work together for the good of those who love God in the end, then if the situation isn’t good, then it’s not the end. Keep believing and pursuing God! Even when the current situation isn’t well, if your faith is, then the outcome will be.

Don’t doubt, don’t give up, don’t loose faith for without it it is impossible to please God, and above all don’t turn on God, turn to Him and run to Him! Nothing is too hard for Him. If it’s not good, it’s not over, because God is good and His promises are yes and amen, if you don’t quit you win! So press on and press in and know that even if what you see, hear, and feel is not, you can still say, “it is well with my soul, for God will take what the enemy means to destroy me and turn it for my good if I only have the faith enough to speak life in faith and not death in fear!” When everything falls apart and doesn’t happen the way you thought it would or think it should, don’t turn on God, run to Him, pursue Him with all you are and let your mouth prove your faith! It maybe that He has a much grander plan then you did and this testimony is all part of it.

“Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.” – 2 Kings‬ ‭4:35-36‬ ‭

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

“And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” – Romans‬ ‭4:21‬ ‭

“(As it is written, I have made thee (Abraham) a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” – Romans‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭

Let Love Cast Out Fear!

praise-in-storm“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:16-17‬ ‭

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied that it was to love God more then anything with all that you are and to love others more then yourself. He explained that by doing this you will automatically fulfill (or obey) every law, commandment, and word from the prophets. Because God is love, everything He tells us to do is based in love, love for Him and love for others. Therefore, when we choose to love we will be as He is, (love) and we will do as He does walking in obedience, holiness, and righteousness that we might stand boldly before Him on the day of judgment knowing that we will receive the rewards of righteousness.

I say that we must “choose” to love because “love” is a choice. Lust is an emotion, selfishness is an emotion and emotions are flesh, but love is a choice because real love is Spirit; for God is love and God is Spirit. Therefore when we choose to love we choose God and when we choose not to we are choosing to reject the leading of the Holy Spirit. Think about it, we are commanded to love God, we are commanded to love others, we are even commanded to love our enemies, would God have commanded us to love if it was not a choice we could make?

We can choose to love, yet many choose not to because of fear. Fear is the enemy of love. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of rejection. Fear of disappointment. Fear of betrayal. Fear of abandonment. Fear of disapproval. Fear of failure. This fear causes a death spiral because the only way to gain someone’s trust is to act in perfect love that they will then trust your love enough to choose to return that love with their love and break the bondage of fear. So when fear hinders love someone must take the first step and choose to act in love rather deserved or not, and the more perfect and undeserving the love the more power it has to break the lies, bondages, and curses of fear.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:18-19‬ ‭

jesus-on-the-crossJesus took this first step. He endured the shame and agony of the cross to show His perfect, endless, unfailing, unimaginable, genuine, unbreakable, unfailing, love that the lies of fear might be defeated once and for all! This is a love we can trust and choose to love back! He proved it won’t abandon us, it won’t hurt us, reject us, betray us, or disappoint us! We can choose to trust (or put our faith) in this love because if He endured this much for us we can rest assured that He really loves and wants us. He chooses us! Therefore we can feel safe choosing to love Him and by His example we begin to see how we ourselves can help to break others free from the bondage of fear by loving them the same way He loves us. When we choose to love others even as Christ loved us, they begin to see that love is a choice, a choice based in trust (or faith) and someone has to step out and be the one that acts in undeserved love to start building the faith of others in love. It’s a chain reaction, Jesus started it and expects you to continue it. Don’t break the chain, keep it going!

“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 ‭

When we feel safe in someone’s love we want to abide with them, please them, and serve them. In this, we are no more slaves laboring to obey the rules of a hard master solely to avoid a judgment, but are rather are a loving bride desiring to commune with and serve her true love at every opportunity. In this we realize that, though the fear of God might get you to the alter, only the love of God will keep you there.

18a2Choose today to believe in what Christ endured to when your heart. That God did it to prove His love for you and desire to commune with you. Choose to lay aside the lies of fear, and trust (or put your faith in) that love and receive it, then return it. Return it to Him first, then show it to others also. In this you will abide in Him and He in you, for He is love and the world will know that you are His by it.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭

Don’t Kick Against The Pricks

Plowing with Ox 1“The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.” – Ecclesiastes‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭

Goads“, sometimes called “pricks“, are pointy nail-like spikes strategically placed near the hind legs of plow animals. You see, when working a field to bring it to harvest it is very important that the oxen obey the will of their master or else they will tear the field up rather then work it. This can destroy the harvest which is bad for both the master and the oxen since both await the rewards of the harvest. Yet it’s hard for the oxen to see and understand that far in advance of his current situation, but the master does and he knows how to get from plow to harvest. However, it requires that the ox walk a very straight and narrow path to plow, seed, and sweep the rows.

As you can imagine, it’s very easy for the oxen to get distracted, tempted by what seems like greener pastures, lazy, or straight up stiff-necked and rebellious and start moving off course from the path the master wishes him to walk. Knowing how destructive this is to the field and future harvest, the master fashions “goads” to help prevent this. The goads are placed in a manner that if the animal begins to turn or veer of course, he will get pricked in the hind legs. If he straightens out and gets back on course, there is no farther contact with the goad (or prick). However, if they fight harder to go their own way, the prick will dig deeper into their flesh and become quite unpleasant and even painful. Furthermore, some particularly stubborn animals might let their pride, or even emotions like fear, cause them to try to fight back by kicking against the pricks causing themselves great needless pain and scarring themselves up in the process.

Now that we understand what goads and pricks are, we can see why Ecclesiastes says that the words of the wise are like goads. They might go against and prick our flesh (pride, emotions, desires, self will, and so on) but they are meant to keep us on track that we might reap a great harvest and reward, and to keep us from tearing up God’s harvest fields by trusting in our own limited vision, understanding, or emotions.

Jesus tells us in John 16 that all truth comes from the Spirit of truth, which is the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, likewise all true wisdom. This is why the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, because when you begin to realize the pricks are there to goad you in the right direction you begin to walk in the straight and narrow of the wisdom of God’s plan and stop tearing things up trying to fight against it to walk in the lack of wisdom of your own.

Trust in the wisdom given you by the Holy Spirit of God. Trust it enough to seek it, to appreciated, and obey it. And when you find yourself receiving a prick to your flesh by the Holy Spirit because you have begun to bear off course, don’t get emotional, prideful, or fearful and fight against it! Be thankful and quickly correct your course and the pricking will cease!

Just like the master does not want his oxen to get pricked by the goads, nether does God want you to have to endure the spiritual equivalent of it. However, both the master of the oxen and God, having a plan for the provision of all, knows what has to be done to protect the field, the harvest, and the ox that is fed and rewarded by it. So trust His wisdom, He has an expected end for you and the harvest. Don’t fight His wisdom on how to get you there, and when your own thoughts begin to take over and you start to lead, rather then being driven and He pricks that flesh, take the warning with thankfulness and get back on course. Do not fight against the pricks! It’ll only make things worse.

“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” – Acts‬ ‭26:14‬ ‭
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Trusting God vs Trusting Self

on-my-knees“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.” – Hosea‬ ‭10:12-13‬ ‭

Roman’s chapter 8 tells us that all who are Christ’s are led by His Spirit. John 15 tells us that we must abide in Christ or else our fruit will dry up, wither away, and we will be cut off and cast into the fire. Herein, lies the reality of a victorious Christian life. Abiding in the presence of the King, tapping into the life giving, fruit baring power of God through daily prayer, worship, reading, communion, seeking, hearing, and obeying. By this does the grace of God flow out from the vine (which is Christ) into the branch (which is us) that we might produce the fruits of righteousness (which is obedience to the voice, word, and will of God). This brings life to us and others through the anointing backing up those words and actions with the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

The enemy of faith in God (faith that causes us to seek, trust, abide in, and obey the leading of His Spirit) is faith in self, which causes us to seek, trust, abide in , and obey the leading of the flesh. This is the struggle that wages war in our members described in Romans 8. It has been the root of every right and wrong action taken since the beginning of time. All the way back to the garden when God placed two trees in the midst of the garden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. One embodied trusting God unto life, the other embodied trusting self unto death. He set before us life and death, and told us to choose life, but we chose to lean on our own understanding and it led to death. It always does. Stop trusting in your own limited understanding, your plan, your abilities, your tree of knowledge. Humble yourself, crucify the flesh, trust in God, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and choose life. God is not looking for people that can lead, when men lead they lead others into a pit, He is looking for men who can follow. Only once you learn to humble yourself and follow, can you then be led out of the pit. This is the test of faith, this has always been the test and few are they that pass it. Choose ye this day. Choose to humble. Choose to follow. Choose life.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” – Proverbs‬ ‭14:12-14‬ ‭

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Matthew‬ ‭16:24‬ ‭

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

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19-20‬ ‭

Jesus’s Hard And Humbling Warning To The Church

14739“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew‬ ‭18:3-6‬ ‭

When this, “the millstone” verse is read or quoted, it is often used to illustrate God’s deep love for, sense of protection over children, and extreme distain for those who hurt them. While this application is surely true, when read within the context of the surrounding versus we see that he was actually speaking of spiritual children. That is to say, those who have just come to the faith and or new babes in Christ.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” – 1 Peter‬ ‭2:2-3‬ ‭

In this we see God’s great disgust for those who offend and discourage those that are young and unlearned in the faith. Saying that it were better for them that they had tied a huge heavy stone around their neck and drowned themselves in the sea. The fact that He used a “millstone” for this expression was no coincidence, for you see, millstones were used to “crush wheat” and wheat has always been used by God to represent His people. Don’t crush God’s tender wheat (young believers) or the very thing used to crush them will be what drags you down into the abyss. Furthermore, He is pointing out that it will have been by your own hand that you tied this thing to you and dove in, to your own destruction and damnation.

Yes offense will come, all who will live Godly will suffer persecution, but woe to the person that causes the offense. Especially when it comes from those who should know better. You see, if you go back to verse one of this passage, you will see that Jesus was actually talking to His disciples here. Therefor, the intended recipients of this message build upon the point that Jesus was making. He was saying that God is so greatly offended when those such as themselves, who are more established in the faith discourage and cause to stumble those who are younger through pride, envy, arrogance, jealousy, selfishness, selfish agendas, or lack of compassion and patients.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭

Sinners will sin, the world will offend, but woe if that offense comes from within. For the passage continues by stating that God deems it better to actually cut off a member from the Body of Christ then to allow it to drag the whole body to hell with it because of offense. (Which is to say, discouraging or being a stumbling block to others by way of causing offense)

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” – Matthew‬ ‭18:6-11‬ ‭

Do Not Muzzle The Ox

ce9ccb1ce618d4ac75238431756962e6“For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” – 1 Timothy‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭

Do not muzzle the ox. This is such a simple verse, yet it is so packed with meaning that it alone warrants it’s own study. It is first mentioned in Deuteronomy 25:4 as a law to insure that an ox being made to work a field would be allowed to freely eat of that field that he might keep his strength up and be rewarded for his labor. In this practical and literal interpretation of the original text we see God’s great care, concern, love, and mercy for even the lowly oxen plowing a field, and likewise all animals. Therefore, we can have faith in His even greater concern for us as Jesus stated that if not one sparrow falls from the sky without our Father knowing how much more does He care for us, for we are worth more then many sparrows.

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he uses this reality in a slightly different application by quoting this old law to express God’s desire for those who labor in the field of ministry to be supported financially by those they minister to. Hence the included phrase, “the laborer is worthy of his reward“. He was making the point that if God wants the lowly oxen to be supplied for, to maintain their ability to labor on and also as a reward for their labor, then how much more would He want the same for His faithful few laboring in the fields that are white for harvest?

However, I believe that there are even more applications then simply meeting the physical needs of a laborer to be gleaned from this compassionate and convicting verse. When looking at the ox as a type of laborer of God (or minister), and the corn as its source of strength and God ordained and supplied provision, I see God’s nature manifested in that He will not send His laborers out into the fields for harvest without providing them access to the power, strength, and provision to get the job done, which is the anointing, or favor and power of the Holy Spirit. It also implies that any who try to prevent them from using that provision and power to do the master’s work is in direct opposition to the word and will of God and is in danger of judgment and even a curse. In this, I see a “muzzled ox” as a type of silenced minister. One who had a job to do with the power, favor, and anointing of God to do it, yet they are not allowed to walk in the full strength and power of what the Lord has provided, usually for the greed of others trying to steal that glory (like the ox’s promised corn) for themselves.

I see this happen all to often. Someone whom the Lord has chosen, called, equipped, anointed, and sent being muzzled by family members, by society, by culture, by traditions of men, by doctrines, and by other greedy ministers, effectively robbing them of the reward of the souls ready for harvest that are falling to the ground uncollected for the masters store house. This is such a great sin because when the ox is muzzled, not only does the ox get neglected and begins to starve and weaken, but the field gets neglected also by proxy and the harvest is lost.

Believe me, this is not something you want to have on your hands when you stand before God on the day of Judgment. Do not muzzle the ox.

“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;” – Matthew‬ ‭9:37‬ ‭

“Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭25:4‬ ‭