AN ARMY VICTORIOUS IN BATTLE – The Church…


Ephesians 6:14-20 – “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints —  19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”  NKJV

I am convinced that God is raising up a New Breed of Spiritual Warrior in our times.  They will be filled with compassion, but they will be Warriors extremely sensitive to the voice and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Spiritual Warfare is a reality that cannot be divorced from the Church or our Christian walk, in today’s world.  The apostle Paul understood that the battle rages in that unseen world, but he also knew and taught that it is vital that the Church and Christians learn how to use the weapons of warfare and understand the devices of the devil and God’s divine strategy on Earth! 

Have you ever wondered why the Church local, often seems so vulnerable to the attacks of the devil?  Let me capsulize it this way:  “You don’t put armor on wounded soldiers, infants or children.”  Remember the caution or objective Paul addressed in Ephesians 4:13, “…’til we all come into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God to a PERFECT MAN…”  An army that is strong and effective only entrusts armor to the most healthy and well-trained not the weak and wounded. 

Spiritually, the Church needs the “Man or Woman of Armor” to step forward.  Who is this?  This is the person who is consistently led by the Spirit of God.  The simple reality is that people who are led by God’s Spirit manifest God’s power! 

The Church is sometimes weak because we have been willing to send children and the wounded into battle rather than those of full stature who are adorned with Spiritual Armor.  If you study the Bible and history you realize that, in a very real sense, God’s Kingdom rests in the hands of Fragile People!  No, God is not fragile, but we are.  We are flawed vessels and dare not fail to remember that.  Additionally, if we do not know what is required how will we ever be what has been declared and do what is required?

There are characteristics of the Triumphant or Victorious Army I would like to consider:

  • The Victorious Warrior waits for a Certain Sound.

In Paul’s statement of 1 Corinthians 14:18, I believe the implication is Do Not go into battle Until you hear a Sure Sound! 

  • The Victorious Warrior depends on Definable Leadership.

Look around and ask, “Where are and who are the generals in the Church today?”  It is important that the troops know why they are dying in battle and maintaining a total confidence that their leaders are getting their marching orders from God.  It is imperative that the vision is presented clearly so that everyone knows what is at stake.

  • The Victorious Warrior depends on the Strategy of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Victorious Warrior requires Adequate Resources.
  • The Victorious Warrior must exhibit Proper Discipline.
  • The Victorious Warrior or Army Must provide a place of healing for the Wounded Warriors.
  • The Victorious Warrior or Army is built on Trust.

Unfortunately, we have factions in the world of Christendom that are warring against each other rather than warring against principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness.  Your Brother in Christ is not your enemy. 

There is no Spiritual Armor to fight brothers in Christ who hold a different understanding of some things spiritual.  When we fight among ourselves, we become weak and defeated.  We have to learn to Trust.  The flesh will make mistakes and human beings will come to wrong conclusions but if we trust Christ in Us, we can trust the Holy Spirit to lead us into All Truth! 

What is at stake?  Eternity!  When I visit a church or am invited to speak, I always look for “Who is truly in Charge.”  Why?  Because I want to know if man is in charge or if God is?  What is at stake?  Abundant Life!  Jesus said in John 10:10that He came to give us Life and that Life would be Abundant.  Much of the church world is devoid of government and order and our independence sometimes relegates us to a weakness that results in unnecessary defeats. 

According to the Bible, God’s People are Heirs of the Earth.  (Romans 4:13, 18; Galatians 3:29).  No, I do not mean a takeover by Christians but that we, as believers, are to Live a Bold Witness in our generation. 

We must recognize the real enemy and attack any force that withstands or seeks to delay the purposes of God on this earth.  We must wage war against anything that seeks to disqualify Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone.  We must wage war against anything that seeks to disjoint or prostitute the Church Jesus is building.  We must make the Voice of the Church heard again in the world!

If you are a Wounded Warrior call the Medics do not attempt to conceal your wounds and hide behind masks.  If you are still a child or a teenager spiritually, run to those who can mentor and equip you for service.  If you are healthy, whole, and equipped spiritually refuse to complain and become engaged in the War.  The Medics should focus on the Wounded. The Fathers are to teach the Children.  The Warriors are to Prepare for Battle. God has and is developing a Mighty Victorious Spiritual Army! 

God bless you richly is my prayer and desire!

WHAT DO YOU SEE WHEN YOU SAY CHURCH?


1 Peter 2:9-10 – “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”  NKJV

Without getting too detailed, the Greek word for out is “ek” and the word translated called is “kalesantos”.  The Greeks put them together to form another word “ekklesia” which means, Called Out and refers to an assembly or gathering of people that have been called together.  That is the Church.  It is a gathering of people not a building per se. 

Jesus spoke to Peter in Matthew 16:18 and said, “…on this rock I will build My church…”  We, believers, are the “called out” or Church of Jesus Christ.  But what do we see or think when we say the word Church?  When we hear the word Church what is the mental imagery or descriptive term that comes to mind.  I believe that is important.

When we talk about the function of the Church, we refer to it as a Body. When we talk about responding to God in praise and worship, we call it a Temple.  When we focus on fellowship and relationships within the Church local, we call ourselves a Family.  If we speak of the Church as it relates to God’s Government and Kingdom, we call it a Nation or a Holy Nation.  When we focus on our tenets or beliefs, we call it the Household of Faith.  When we speak of the spiritual battles, we encounter we call ourselves an Army.  Therefore, what we see or think when we say Church is important.  It identifies Focus, Function, Ministry, and Purpose.

The Old Testament Prophets spoke boldly regarding the conditions of our generation.  Their prophetic utterances often addressed the circumstances or conditions of our lives at this particular moment in time.  There is an incredible declaration found in Amos 3:7 which tells us that God will do nothing that He does not first reveal to His prophets.  That would indicate it is important for us to grasp what the prophets have declared and follow the directions given by the Holy Spirit through them.

  • Micah’s cry was for Justice and Mercy and continually urged God’s people to pay careful attention to the Will of God.
  • Zephaniah’s prophetic message was Restoration and a Pure Language [Zephaniah 3:9].  Remember God’s action at the tower of Babel and the confusion of the languages.  This prophet spoke of a time when God’s people would hear a Pure Sound that they would recognize, know, and understand.
  • Haggai called God’s covenant people His Signet Ring, His Standard, and His Witness to mankind. [Haggai 2:23]
  • Zechariah foretold a time when the nations would come to the Anointed Places of Worship. [Zechariah 1:14-17; 2:11]
  • Habakkuk instructed us to write the vision and publish it.  [Habakkuk 2:2]
  • Malachi gave details on how to finance God’s Plan. [Malachi 3:8-12]. Then he prophesied of Family Restoration both natural and spiritual.  [Malachi 4:6]

Those are just a few of the prophetic directives from the ancient prophets.  The prophets Joel and Ezekiel had a message that was somewhat different.  Joel warned of War [Joel 3:9].  Of all the Old Testament prophets Joel saw most clearly the connection between a spiritual outpouring from God and the power to wage war against evil on the earth.  Joel’s prophecy spoke of the releasing of the Holy Spirit powerfully upon all flesh enabling God’s people to both prophesy and wage spiritual warfare. 

Ezekiel saw a spiritual Army [Ezekiel 37].  It is my conviction that God is raising up an Army of spiritual warriors in our time and as we near the end it will become more powerful and numerous.  Both Joel and Ezekiel envisioned a time when God’s Church would both Hear God and wage Warfare with His Word!  They spoke of and foresaw an Army that was Mighty and Victorious in Battle.  If we need anything today it is for the Church to become the Army of God and pull-down strongholds.

May the Lord help us to hear and heed the voice of the prophets and make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit as soldiers in the Army of the Lord in this generation!

Blessings as you go through this wonderful day!

THE PRESENCE OF FEAR INDICATES FAITH…


1 John 4:18 – “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  NIV

1 John 4:18 –There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love.”  TLV

Fear is faith in something, albeit not God!  Fear is misapplied trust and renders the person powerless and paralyzed who is trusting their own ability rather than the Power and Promises of God.  Fear has torment and is an indication that the love quotient is weak.  Fear is an expression of doubt and question. 

Fear comes when we question our own ability to overcome that which we are facing.  We question God’s truthfulness and power to overcome the problem with which we are confronted.  However, the presence of fear is an indication of faith but misapplied and misdirected faith.  It is faith in the power of the devil more than the power of God.

There are several principal kinds of fear. There are several Hebrew words in the Old Testament translated fear.  In the New Testament, there are several Greek words frequently translated as fear.  I want to list three kinds of fear and hope to help each one to see how we can transform fear into love and love into trust and trust into faith and faith into seeing the fulfillment of the promises of God in our present situation.

First, there is Reverential Fear.  That is a wholesome and godly fear that is necessary for our relationship with God.  It is actually awe and respect for God’s majesty and holiness.  It is a godly reverence that trembles at the very thought of displeasing God.  Not because we are afraid of punishment but desirous to not displease our heavenly Father.  We desire to properly and adequately manifest and represent Him to the world.

In Psalms 19:9, David speaks of a fear that is clean and pure.  In Proverbs 1:7 we discover that godly fear is the beginning of wisdom.  It is the kind of fear that enables humans to respect God’s authority and obey His commands with joy.  In Psalms 2:11 we read, “Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.”  In Proverbs 16:6 we read, “by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”  Therefore, this fear is powerful and helps us stay focused on God’s Person, Purpose, and Power.

In fact, the Bible indicates that Jesus feared.  Hebrews 5:7 – “Who in the days of his flesh, when He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears…was heard, in that he feared.”  This word translated fear indicates reverence, awe, and respect.  It was not a cringing cowardly hiding fear but a fear that knit His heart with the Father in holy reverence.

Second, there is Constitutional Fear.  Not the American Constitution but the fear that is necessary for the preservation of the human race.  It is a normal God-given emotion.  God built within each of us an instinctive alarm system to protect us from impending danger.  This type of fear is necessary for our protection and the preservation of life.  I heard about a preacher who was ten minutes late for a preaching appointment.  When he arrived, he apologized to the congregation and said, “The traffic was heavier than anticipated.  I decided it would be better to be ten minutes late than to be several years early in the next life.”

That reminds me of the story of a young man that got a job at the local zoo.  His boss told him that one of his jobs was to clean the lion’s cage.  He said, “No sir, I’m not going in no lion’s cage.”  The boss informed him that it was mandatory to keep his job and besides that, the lion was tame and would not hurt him.  The young man said, “He may be a tame lion and might not hurt me, but he could cause me to hurt myself.  I am not going in that cage.”  He paused a second and said, “I was raised on milk too, but now I eat meat.”

Third, there is Carnal Fear.  This is a senseless dread and nagging anxiety that can paralyze and torment a person.  It is always evil at its core.  The Greek word carries the idea of an unhealthy, destructive kind of dread.  There are many examples of this type of fear in the Bible.

It was seen in Adam after he had disobeyed God.  He hid himself because he was afraid.  It was seen in the Children of Israel when Joshua and Caleb tried to convince them to leave Kadesh-Barnea and enter the land of Canaan.  In Numbers 14:9 they were instructed to “not fear the people of the land” but they did.

Carnal fear is slavish, and some people wake up in the night trembling because they know that one day they will die and fear death.  Hebrews 2:15 tells us about those who, “through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  Godly fear rests in the promises of God but Carnal fear is tormented by the unknown and unseen.  The Psalmist in Psalm 23 declares, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…”  The Promise of the Presence of God dispels ungodly carnal fear.  It rests in Him!

Fear expresses faith but unless it is Godly Reverential Fear it is expressing faith in the threats of the devil and the inadequacy of human flesh.  Godly Reverential Fear rolls all its cares and concerns on the LORD and says, “I Trust You!”  Father, I ask that you touch each one today and grant them access and entrance into Godly Reverential Fear and dispel all Carnal Fear from their lives.

May the LORD bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS…


Romans 5:1-11 – “Therefore, having been made righteous by trusting, we have shalom with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 2 Through Him we also have gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and boast in the hope of God’s glory. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in suffering—knowing that suffering produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Ruach ha-Kodesh who was given to us. 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Messiah died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man someone might even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. 9 How much more then, having now been set right by His blood, shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him. 10 For if, while we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also boast in God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”  TLV

I recently saw a meme that read: “Everybody’s a Christian until it gets biblical.”  I thought, wow!  That speaks to the mentality of many in today’s world and church.  That reminds me of a conversation in a movie some thirty years ago.  A bumbling inept desk-jockey FBI agent told another FBI agent that he was working undercover.  The 2nd agent asked, “Who made you undercover?”  The 1st said, “I did.”  The 2nd said, “It doesn’t work that way!  You can’t make yourself undercover!” 

What’s my point?  That seems to be the logic employed by too many in the church today or in the world today.  That is particularly true regarding entertainers and politicians, but it is not exclusive to them.  It is far more pervasive than I am comfortable acknowledging. 

For many, in today’s world, being a Christian has nothing to do with the Blood of Jesus Christ.  To them, it is simply a confession and a measure of repentance but has virtually nothing to do with Jesus Himself and His work on the Cross.  They resemble the FBI agent in many ways.  I remember hearing a person, when asked how they became a Christian say, “I was born that way.”  They did not say, ‘born again’ but ‘born.’  Meaning they had always been a Christian because it was a family heritage.  Basically, they made themselves a Christian apart from the atoning work of Jesus.

People following that mindset make themselves out to be their own god.  They establish their own form of righteousness and their own definition for the requirements for entry into heaven.  Sadly, everybody is not going to heaven. 

I have talked to people who like the idea of being a Christian, but they have zero interest in living in any semblance of obedience to the Word of God or living in faith.  They do not want to change.  When I received Jesus, He changed my heart and the want to was taken away.  Couple that with my desire to please Him and learning that it was incumbent on me to walk in obedience, I changed!  But none of that would have happened without the shed Blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross in atonement for my sins.

Being a Christian is not something you become based on your personal standards regardless of how morally right they may be.  Being a Christian begins with the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He is God. 

Being a Christian is confessing our sins.  It is acknowledging our inability to present a sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of our sins.  Being a Christian is repenting of our evil godless ways.  Being a Christian means we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. Becoming a Christian is through faith alone.  It is not by works.  It is not by second party sacerdotal intervention nor infant baptism.  It is an absolute lie of hell that a person can be born a Christian.  We are born again but when we are born naturally, we are not Christians. 

We are not okay just because we deem ourselves as good as the next person.  Being a Christian is not something we decide we are for convenience sake it is having our sins forgiven and living in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  What I have presented is not an exhaustive look at salvation but it such be sufficient to reveal that Nothing, but The Blood of Jesus can cleanse us from our Sins.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!

SILENCE IS NOT ALWAYS GOLDEN…


Ezekiel 33:7-9 – “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. 8 “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. 9 “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.” NASB

I do not want to be political in my devotional, but I have to ask is it always right to be silent?  A time back, I became aware of a ‘racy advertisement’ out of Colorado that used beer and sex to promote the Affordable Health Care Act.  It’s been a few years back but still speaks to today.

The picture was of a young woman with a guy standing beside her and the caption was “Let’s Get Physical OMG, he’s hot!  Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control.  My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers.”  I got insurance.  Now you can too.  Thanks, Obamacare!”  Am I, as a Christian supposed to ignore that immoral nature of that and not speak out in condemnation of that kind of advertising?  I Cannot!

In fact, I find that on more than one occasion in the Bible God considered ‘silence’ as being complicit in the action.  If you will recall when Moses was commanded to ‘speak to the rock’ and with Aaron standing beside him in anger he smote the rock.  The rock was a type of Christ and God did not take Moses’ disobedience lightly nor did he take Aaron’s silence as his brother committed this act lightly.  They were both Banned from entering the Promised Land.  Therefore, I have to wonder if I would be guilty and complicit if I remained silent while this type of action is taken on behalf of a government program! 

Regardless of whether God would hold me guilty with those who did this my repulsion for this type of encouraged declension morally is more than I can tolerate.  I don’t care what political party you identify with, hopefully, you identify with God first and foremost and are appalled at this.  It is time that we speak out against evil no matter where it originates and with whom it originates.  My purpose is not to be political in a devotional, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to so touch our hearts that we are deeply troubled by the apparent depravity of our country in allowing this and encouraging this. 

There are times when I believe that we as Christians must rise up and Speak and Express our Revulsion to some things.  This kind of public behavior is one of those for me.  I pray to God that as America where the motto on our money is still, “In God We Trust” that we unite in prayer for revival in this land.  If this is an indication of where we are morally then we are in deep trouble as a nation.

God bless you as you go through your day!

THE ONLY TRUE FREEDOM…


John 8:31-36 – “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.  36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”  NKJV

You can be in chains and not be a slave or be without bond and be enslaved.  Chains do not determine Freedom.  The heart and mind do!  Unfortunately, nothing we do will eradicate human bondage and men will enslave other men against their wills in the natural.  I can only imagine the physical, mental, and even spiritual torture that being captive brings.  My heart breaks for anyone who has endured that condition either as a prisoner of war, a human slave against their will, a hostage, or anything of the like. 

I know two men who although captives, were never Enslaved in their hearts and minds.  One was a Japanese prisoner during WWII and escaped the other was held in Hanoi by the Vietnamese and endured years of horrific inhumane torture and abuse.  Both professed that their faith in God and belief in the Word of God kept them Free though in chains.  They were and are examples of True Freedom!

The only True Freedom is through the shed blood of Jesus and the Grace of God.  If we receive the forgiveness of sin and are born again we experience True Freedom.  A person that is thusly free can be imprisoned, chained, and otherwise enslaved physically but they will Never be a Slave in their heart or mind because the Son has set them free!

Today, in America, we still celebrate our Independence, and yet multiplied thousands are still enslaved in some form.  Enslavement of the mind is possibly worse than being enslaved in the flesh for if a person’s mind is captive the attitude and actions will reflect that condition.  Breaking free and living life to the full is virtually impossible because the mind is in chains to wrong thinking, victimization, and false premises.  But if we receive the Freedom that Jesus came and brought we CANNOT be enslaved.  Remember, if God is for who can be against us or as a friend always says what difference does it make who is against us if God is for us.

God bless you and BE FREE in Jesus. 

I AM PRAYING BUT NOTHING IS HAPPENING…


Habakkuk 1:1-4 – “The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw. 2 How long, O LORD, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. 3 Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. 4 Therefore the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.”  NASB

I can hear the pain in the words of the prophet of old.  He is praying, preaching, and warning but nothing is happening.  God seems to be a million miles from him and his world around him crumbling.  I can hear the depressions, frustration, and anxiety in his words and confess, I have felt that way before. 

I felt like Elijah after his confrontation and victory over Jezebel and the prophets of Baal.  He sat under the juniper tree wallowing in his plight and complained to God, “I did what you said, and now it’s just me… Nobody cares, so let me die… Woe is me!”  God spoke to him, “Get up and quit wallowing in your self-pity.  I am still God and will act in My time and My way.  Your job is to do what I say.  You are not responsible for the outcome or attitude of others.”   God quickened my heart and I repented before Him and, in His time and His way, the victory came or is coming! 

I love the response of God to the prophet that begins in v 5 and God says, “Open your eyes and look around.”  When we do that.  When we really open our eyes spiritually, we are often Astonished and Awed by God’s ways and works. 

I love the statement in the latter portion of that verse, “Because I am doing something in your days – You would not believe if you were told.”  We must shake yourself and come out of the doldrums and tunnel vision of our on immediate reality to see what God is doing.  We should remember that He (God) sees the end from the beginning, and we can only see the beginning from the end.  He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.  He is infinite but we are finite.  He is unlimited but we are limited.  He is God the Creator of Everything and we are the created. 

It is like the little lady talking about faith saying, “If God tells me to jump through a hole in the wall it is my business or responsibility to jump and His to make the hole in the wall.”  The key is GOD Telling us not us deciding to jump.

Yes, our world is troubled and terrible things are happening all around us.  The genocide of abortion, the despotism that is bringing chaos to the world and misery to millions is a reality.  The darkness of sin seems to be growing stronger and stronger and evil men are waxing worse all the time.  Yet, God is still God and greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.  With God, all things are possible, and we are in God. 

There is a shaking happening and perilous times are upon us but at the same time there is a harvest and an awakening in the Spirit realm that is mighty and awesome.  We simply need to allow the Holy Spirit to Open our Eyes and enable us to see beyond the natural into the supernatural. 

When you have been praying and nothing seems to be happening, remember the words of the angel to Daniel, “We heard you on the first day…”  Hold the words of 1 John 5:14-15 near your heart, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”  NASB

Do not lose heart and do not give up!  Weeping may last for the night, but joy and victory are coming!   

God, bless you richly is my prayer!

THE OTHER SIDE OF GOD…


Nahum 1:1-3 – “The oracle of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2 A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.  3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” NASB

Most of us would rather talk about “God is Love” rather than “God is a Consuming Fire.”  We like the Mercies of God, not the Judgments, and rightly so.  No one wants to be judged or punished.  We want mercy and forgiveness and that is the ultimate heart of God as revealed in both the Old and New Testaments.  I have often said, “God is more willing to give pardon than we are to receive it.”  In that I mean, He is always looking for a way to restore, and sometimes we are too full of pride to truly repent and submit ourselves to Him in humility, repentance, and faith.

This is an incredibly interesting prophecy for it deals with a city that repented when Jonah preached to them of impending destruction.  Now, this city has drifted back to its former state and God’s patience has worn thin.  If we only had this book of the Bible to understand who God is, we would not see Him as He really is but only as a vengeful being with the power to crush mankind like a bug. 

When I read, “A jealous and avenging God is the LORD…”  I tremble.  When I continue reading and hear, “The LORD is avenging and wrathful…”  I am terrified.  When I read, “The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.”  I want to find a hiding place, but quickly realize there is none. 

Who are the enemies of the LORD immediately becomes my question and quest to discover so I can avoid being among that number?  He becomes that image many have of God that He is “carrying a big stick and just waiting for us to step out of line so He can beat us over the head.” 

That image of God prevents the one adhering to that concept from every developing a loving and learning relationship with Him.  We dare not become too visible and certainly would never want to get too near out of paralytic fear.  When we read, “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” we become hopeless.  What if we are the ones deemed guilty and guilty, we are for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”?  What do we do?  Where do we turn?  Where is our Hope?

Thankfully this is not the only reference concerning God in the Bible.  We do need to understand His Power and that at a word He can cause the sea to become dry, the clouds obey His command, the soil and cities of the Earth are under His power.  Nothing escapes His eye and there is no place to hide from His presence.  So, if we align ourselves with the devil directly or indirectly, intentionally, or unintentionally and allow our devices to become a scheme against God Look Out!  We sometimes fret over the lack of obvious judgment for the wicked and those who openly oppose God and His people but take heart God promises or warns that whatever anyone schemes against Him will come to nothing. 

Nineveh was informed by Nahum the prophet that though they were strong and full of themselves they would be cut down to nothing.  They had been known for generations as a might people but soon would find their name no longer mentioned in awe and they would be cut off.  Then, the prophet slips in a word concerning the Coming Messiah in v 15, “Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace!”  

That was a word of comfort to the Jewish people and to all of those in generations to come who Believe!  The wicked will not prevail but God will and in Him we will ascend to the mountain of God and worship in His Holy Hill.  We should fear the LORD with reverential fear and know that there is another side to Him beyond Judgment.  He is also the God of Mercy!  He longs for us to COME TO HIM!

God, bless you as you rest in His presence and peace.

WHO IS JESUS???


Hebrews 1:1-4 – “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.”

In John 1:1-5 we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  That was the apostle John’s description and definition of Jesus and here in Hebrews, the writer echoes the same thing with a direct application to you and me about who we are, our hope, and our manner of life.

The Bible reveals from Genesis through to Revelation that God is a speaking God!  He talks, He speaks, He uses words to convey His message, ministry, and purpose.  The writer of Hebrews addressed the truth that God had used the prophets of ages past to speak to man and reveal His plan and purposes.  He then reminds the readers that, in that present time the Last Days, God was speaking again through Jesus.  

But who was or is Jesus?  To many of that day, He was merely a carpenter’s son, a Jew, and some even recognized Him as a prophet but not all recognized Him as the Son of God and Messiah.  Yet, if His message is to resonate and have transforming power in our lives we must recognize and receive Him as Messiah, the only begotten Son of God, and Savior of the World.

Hebrews declares that this Jesus was appointed by the Father as ‘heir of all things’ and ‘creator of the world.’  He is described as the Light or the Radiance of God’s Glory and the exact representation of the Father in His nature.  He is the giver and sustainer of life and ‘upholds all things by the Word of His Power’.  Notice it did not say the Power of His Words but the Word of His Power!  He is more than Words! 

He came for the purpose to seek and save mankind, to provide Himself as a sinless sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and redeem mankind from the ownership of the devil.  Once He completed that task of purification He sat down at the right hand of the Father and was Lord of All. 

Romans 14:11 quotes Isaiah 45 and declares of Jesus, “…every knee shall bow… and every tongue shall praise God.”  Philippians 2:10refers to that same prophetic utterance and says of Jesus that He has a name exalted above all names and that one day at the name of Jesus Every Knee will Bow and Every Tongue will Confess that He is Lord! 

Isaiah 9:6 identifies Him as the coming one upon whom the government of God will rest, and His name will declare God’s Glory.  He is Emmanuel.  Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  Who is Jesus?  He is the sinless Son of God who came and gave His life a ransom for you and me.  He is Messiah! 

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  He invites us to Come!  He invites us to Call Upon Him!  He invites us to Enter into the New Birth through repentance and confession of sin.  It is by Grace through Faith that we become New Creations transformed from darkness into His marvelous light.  We are invited to depart from a life of sin and enter into a life of righteousness and enjoy the peace that the world cannot give and cannot take away.  We are invited to enjoy Abundant Life and in that have Eternal Life in and through Jesus.

Who is Jesus?  He is the Savior waiting for you to call.  Who is Jesus?  He is the healer waiting to restore you to health.  Who is Jesus?  He is your provider wanting to open heaven’s windows for you and pour out blessings beyond your ability to contain.  Who is Jesus?  He is the one who loves you enough to die for your sins.  Who is Jesus?  He is Savior.  Your savior and my savior.  He is the Light of the World.  He is JESUS!

God, bless you as you embark on today’s leg of life’s journey in Jesus!

DON’T DO RIGHT IN THE WRONG WAY…


Philemon 8-16 – “Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper, 9 yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you — since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus —  10 I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, 11 who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. 12 I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, 13 whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; 14 but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. 15 For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”  NASB

No matter what Paul thought of slavery he recognized it as a legal reality in his day and always sought to do right with a right heart and spirit.  The matter was Philemon, a believer’s slave or servant, Onesimus.  Paul had encountered this slave while in prison and Onesimus had ministered to Paul giving him immeasurable comfort and blessing.  Now Paul addresses the matter with Philemon and asks him to “do the right thing”.  Paul does not instruct him to free this slave but to DO WHAT IS RIGHT and that expresses confidence in God to move on the heart of this fellow believer in a positive manner.

Notice, Paul says, “…though I have enough confidence in Christ to Order You to do what is proper, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you…”  He did not come at Philemon with his gospel guns blazing as we are too often do but based his appeal on LOVE!  The love of Philemon for Paul, the love of people, and more importantly Love for God. 

Paul did the right thing the right way and, in that appeal, opened the door for the Spirit of God to move on Philemon’s heart and everyone could rejoice.  Had he demanded Philemon release Onesimus, Philemon might have done so because of his respect and love for Paul but there would have been a door open for a root of bitterness to spring up and resentment could have taken root.  Paul took the path of Love and Respect and appealed based on Love and Right.

He identified the service Onesimus had provided.  He identified the conversion of Onesimus to the faith.  He addressed the fact that the slave was a runaway and, in that condition, and attitude was of no value to Philemon but as a result of his spiritual experience he was now more valuable than ever. 

Paul acknowledged the legal rights of Philemon in this matter and although he wanted Onesimus to stay with him he informed Philemon that “without his consent”, which recognized the legal rights, he would do nothing.  Then he appealed for Philemon to now regard Onesimus, not as a slave but a brother in Christ. 

Paul could have said, “Slavery is wrong and encouraged Onesimus to continue his desire to escape.”  He could have but instead, appealed to Philemon and Onesimus to Do the Right thing the Right Way.  This is not about slavery and its rightness or wrongness, it is about Love, Respect, and Honoring others.  It is about Loving God to the point that in all things and at all times we seek to Do the Right Thing in the Right Way! 

There is much more that could and should be said on this matter but hopefully, this will challenge your hearts to consider those things you do and consider why you do them.  Right is right, but right done in a wrong way or with a wrong attitude can be as destructive as wrong.  God help us to do right and be right in our attitudes as well as our actions!

God, bless you richly is my desire and prayer!