HOW DO I HANDLE THE TRUTH?

II TIMOTHY 2:24-26: “The Lord’s slave must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, tolerant. Let him give guidance with humility to those who are in opposition—perhaps God may grant them a change of mind, leading to the knowledge of truth. Then they may regain their senses and escape the devil’s snare, in which they had been held captive by him to do his will.” TLV

OBSERVATION: How do I handle the truth? As believers in Jesus Christ, entrusted with the word of truth, how do we act toward those who disagree with us, or take an active and angry stand against this truth?

To know the truth is a great responsibility. We are responsible for how we handle the word of truth, and we are responsible for our attitudes as we share the truth. We do not come to this responsibility because of our superior intellect or understanding. We have been entrusted with this responsibility because we have become recipients of God’s saving grace. We are not masters of the truth. In reality and essence we are servants of the truth, and of the One who alone is the truth.

This acknowledgment leaves no room for pride or arrogance. In fact, apart from God’s grace, and without the Holy Spirit, we are totally incapable of knowing or understanding God’s truth!

  • “These things we also speak—not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Ruach, explaining the spiritual to the spiritual. Now a natural man does not accept the things of the Ruach Elohim, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:13-14‬ ‭TLV‬‬

This is why Paul exhorts Timothy to manifest the following qualities in his stewardship of the truth – able to teach, tolerant, humble, and willing to give guidance. There is no place for angry discourse for one who holds the truth of God’s Kingdom. Anger has to do with fear. Fear is tied to our insecurity. And insecurity is the absence of truth. If we know the truth there is no need to be fearful or angry. Truth should lead us to patient intercession and discourse. Truth is our freedom to love as God loves, with mercy and grace.

  • “Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭TLV‬‬

Some may think it arrogant of the believer to claim that he knows the truth. It is not something that he has discovered due to his superior intellect. It is something that has been freely given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a gift that is given with a call of stewardship. Our goal is never to use the truth to prove we are right. Our goal should always be to share the truth so that others too may be set free into the glorious liberty of the sons and daughters of God!

  • “…perhaps God may grant them a change of mind, leading to the knowledge of truth. Then they may regain their senses and escape the devil’s snare, in which they had been held captive by him to do his will.”

The world may despise us for God’s truth. We may suffer persecution for this truth. Yet, we must entrust this battle to the Lord and be willing to lay down our lives and our egos in our stewardship of the truth. Jesus prayed to the Father in His High Priestly Prayer,

  • “I have given them Your word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. “Make them holy in the truth. Your word is truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” John‬ ‭17:14-18‬ ‭TLV‬‬

If people become angry with us when we share the truth, let us turn the other cheek. If they try to harm us with their actions and their words, let us bless them and pray for them, as Jesus has called us to do. May we be like Stephen, who, although being stoned for the truth, looked up into heaven and cried – “…Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Remember, it was the same Paul who is writing these instructions to Timothy that stood and witnessed these very words from Stephen.

As the anger and rhetoric of a midterm election begins to swell, what will my testimony and demeanor be? Lord, help me to quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, but always ready to answer with the truth – in love!

In Jesus Name!

Posted in II Timothy | Leave a comment

ARE YOU USING YOUR GOD GIVEN GIFTS?

II TIMOTHY 1:5-7: “I recall the genuine faithfulness within you, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure it is within you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and self-discipline.” TLV

‭‭OBSERVATION: Am I using the gifts God gave me? This is the question Paul was asking Timothy when he exhorted him to fan into flame the gift of God which was in him. This gift was both imparted and consecrated through the laying on of hands. It was the manifestation of the Holy Spirit living through Timothy’s life. And Timothy had begun to let the flame diminish in his life.

Paul reminds Timothy that his heritage was one of faithfulness. This faithfulness in fulfilling God’s calling in his life was something that was modeled for him from a young age in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Paul affirms – “…I am sure it is within you as well.” So what happened to young Timothy? Why did he start putting his gifts on the shelf? Why had timidity begun to impact his effectiveness?

The answer is – LIFE!

Can you remember when you were young? You and I were going to change the world! We saw the injustice. We sensed the cry of the afflicted. We felt the pain of those marginalized by society. This was going to change on our watch! And then – life happened. Day by day, inch by inch, this passion began to wane as we faced the uphill struggle of life and the ongoing attacks of the enemy. As believers the enemy cannot completely defeat us. However, he can get us to lose heart.

When we lose heart in life we begin to lay down our faithfulness. This is not only our perseverance, it is our basic trust in the Lord. Faced with unwon battles, and disappointments, our natural tendency is to take the pathway of least resistance. If engaging the gifts God has given us has brought on this struggle, perhaps it will lessen if we put them on the shelf. After all, our passion was just the idealism of youth. It is time to be realistic and recognize our limitations and settle in life.

To each of us who have felt this way the words of the Apostle Paul cry out…

  • “…fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and self-discipline.”

God has not given us a spirit of timidity or defeat. He has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. He has given us gifts of mercy and grace, special talents and abilities, and the promise of His victory if we persevere in Jesus Christ. We may have lost a few skirmishes, but the battle belongs to the Lord! It is time to stoke the flames of our life and passion and realize that it is never too late to engage the gifts in our lives that the Lord has given us!

What gifts am I sitting on? What gifts have I simply put on the shelf out of discouragement? What flame needs rekindling? Even for those in retirement this call sounds forth with great passion and urgency. We should really never retire in the Lord. We should rather be reenlisted into the passions of our heart. With the added time, and with the years of wisdom, some of the greatest threats to the kingdom of darkness are those whose hair has turned gray, but their hearts are aflame with color!

Lord, I sense a prophetic calling in this reflection. It is a calling to my own heart to stir up the gifts that You have given me. It is a calling to anyone who reads this to stir up the gifts that You have placed in them. It is a call to shake off the fear and timidity that life has tried to place upon their shoulders, and take up the mantle of love, power, and a sound mind! It is the call to engage in the work, calling, and dreams the Lord has given them.

It is a call to fan the flame of life once again!

Lord, young or old, we all can grow cold. Reignite our hearts with Your passion for the lost, our world, and Your Kingdom.

In Jesus Name!

Posted in II Timothy | 1 Comment

CAN WE VOTE IN A UTOPIA?

ISAIAH 65:24-25: “And it will come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,” says ADONAI.” TLV

OBSERVATIONS: What will usher in an earthly Utopia? What is an Utopia? It is man’s desire for a place or environment where everything is perfect. Even though the word was not coined until the 1500’s, it has been man’s dream since he lost this blessed gift in the Garden of Eden. One has wisely said, you never appreciate something so much until you lose it.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, and as one who upholds the Bible as the inspired Word of God without error, I too look for Utopia. It is a common theme and promise of the Bible that the Lord will one day restore the perfect world that Adam and Eve lost, and that we find out of reach due to our sin. In our best efforts, and even within our redeemed lives, it seems out of reach.

Yet, the believer’s hope for Utopia is not founded on our actions. It is founded solely upon the actions of God. God loved this broken world so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins, and by His resurrection He established the pathway for our full restoration. This is not only speaking about our salvation, it is speaking about the full redemption of the world back to its created order.

  • “For I consider the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of the One who subjected it—in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans together and suffers birth pains until now— and not only creation, but even ourselves. We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Ruach, groan inwardly as we eagerly wait for adoption—the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:18-23 TLV

Isaiah writes of this blessed day when God’s creative order is restored. It is a day when all striving, hatred, and sin will be laid to rest. This will not only restore mankind, it will restore all of His creative order. This is the blessed hope of the believer in Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is not only our Savior, our Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, our Healer – Jesus Christ is our soon coming King! The day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

However, this does not mean that everyone will automatically be saved. All you need to do is read the last two chapters of Revelation to understand that this is not the case. Only those who place their faith in Jesus Christ will take place in this blessed Utopia!

  • “Then He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will freely give from the spring of the water of life. The one who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But for the cowardly and faithless and detestable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars—their lot is in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” The Revelation 21:6-8 TLV

So what should believers do now? How do we live in the tension of a broken world and the promise of Utopia? Our chief call is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who do not know Him. As sinners saved by grace, we know that only changed hearts can both change the world – and inherit the new world! It will not be a government or a political party that ushers in the new world. Only Jesus can bring Utopia into our hearts, our homes, and our world! He is our only hope!

Is there any practicality to this position, or is it merely walking on the clouds? There is great practicality to it. As we are facing midterm elections in our nation, how does this understanding affect the way we vote?

If there is no perfect person, no perfect political party, and no perfect position – should we simply sit at home and pray? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

The only thing it takes for sin to gain a foothold is for righteous people to do nothing. We must pray, vote, pray, and act! How? We must carefully choose the candidates and positions that align best with our Biblical values which will create an environment that will allow us to share the Gospel freely!

  • “Therefore, first of all I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made on behalf of all people— for kings and all who are in authority—so we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and respectfulness. This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. He desires all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 TLV

Lord, this morning, let me be encouraged and comforted by the promise of Your Utopia that is coming through Jesus Christ my Lord. At the same time, let me be diligent to pray for all people, for all our leaders, and for men and women who align themselves with the truth of Your Word. May they receive Your favor and be elected to office. May I be found as a peacemaker, striving for the best world possible, as I wait for the King of Peace who alone will bring the world we all hope for – His Eternal Utopia!

  • “This He will reveal in His own time—the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or is able to see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:15-16 TLV

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Isaiah | 1 Comment

WHAT IS MY GOAL IN LIFE?

I TIMOTHY 1:5: “Now the goal of this command is love from of a pure heart and a clear conscience and a genuine faith.” TLV

OBSERVATION: What is my goal in life? As a follower of Jesus Christ, what am I aiming for? As I look back at my life I can see that the target has changed dramatically. And even though I believe I now have it in focus, I must daily remind myself what is important.

When I was a young believer, called into the ministry, my goal was to know as much about the Bible as I could. I combed the Scriptures, developed my own underlining scheme, and filled my Bible with personal notes and references. I will never forget the time I thought that I had lost my Bible. I felt like the world was going to end. What would I do without all of my notes? It was time to re-evaluate my goal!

When I began to pastor my first church, my goal was to have an answer for every question, and a teaching for every occasion. I would spend hours preparing messages making sure that I had every doctrinal point verified and backed up by Scripture. The only problem was, the minute I thought I had the subject in hand mastered, someone would tell me what I was lacking in my presentation. It was time to re-evaluate my goal!

I then began to focus on Scripture memorization. Rest assured, none of the above disciplines, including this one are bad within themselves. The issue is when they become the goal and not simply a tool in achieving our goal. With Scriptures memorized I used to do a version of the “Bible Answer Man” with our youth. I enjoyed this time of fielding even their wildest questions, until I realized that it was more for my pride than their edification. It was time to re-evaluate my goal!

During a period when I was out of pastoral ministry, I went through a time of wilderness wandering. I wondered if the Lord would ever open up another door and opportunity for me to serve in the ministry. It was then that I heard the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit in my heart – “Son, will you seek Me even if you never serve again in the ministry?” I was so busy seeking ministry opportunities I had failed to cultivate my personal devotional life with the Lord. Once again, it was time to re-evaluate my goal!

Since that day I have laid all these other goals on the shelf and exchanged them for the goals outlined in this simple instruction that a wise Apostle Paul gave to a young pastor named Timothy.

  • “Now the goal of this command is love from of a pure heart and a clear conscience and a genuine faith.”

I realized that this was not a journey to find a group of character qualities. Rather this was a life’s journey in knowing God. It is the invitation to a lifelong adventure of sanctification, becoming more like Jesus. And the focus is on the internals, not the externals. It is not what we are doing, it is what we are becoming. Our goal is, and always should be, to become like Jesus Christ in love, a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. Paul writes to the Romans,

  • “Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30 TLV

My daily time of devotional reading, worship, meditation, prayer, and journaling (L.I.F.E.) is not about expanding my Bible knowledge, it is about expanding my heart. Each year I read a new version of the Bible without any notes or annotations. I come to God’s Word with an open heart each day and ask Him to speak to me what He is saying for the day. I am learning more about the Lord, and more about myself every day. I have not arrived, but I am enjoying the journey so much more.

Lord, thank you for calling me to become conformed into the image of Jesus Christ my Lord. Holy Spirit, lead, guide, teach, and transform my heart each day so that I truly can grow in love from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith.

In Jesus Name!

Posted in I Timothy | Leave a comment

THE SPIRIT OF ENTITLEMENT…

II THESSALONIANS 3:7-13: “For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, for we did not behave inappropriately among you. And we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but worked night and day with labor and hardship, so as not to burden any of you. It wasn’t that we had no right, but rather to offer ourselves as an example for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that some among you are behaving irresponsibly—not busy, but busybodies. Now such people we command and urge in the Lord Messiah Yeshua to work in a quiet demeanor, so they may eat their own bread. But as for you, brothers, do not grow weary of doing good.” TLV

‭‭OBSERVATION: What is a spirit of entitlement? It is the attitude that I deserve something without working for it. In our present culture this attitude is running rampant in the minds and hearts of many. We look to the government and the church as institutions that owe us something simply because we exist.

Over the years those in government and those in the church have begun to cater to this growing spirit of entitlement. You can see it in the way politicians campaign for office, and in the the way churches try to attract visitors. We approach both with a soup line mentality, our bowls ready, and our hands open to receive. And it does not seem to be getting any better. I seems like a stupor has settled over us.

As we approach another election cycle in America we can see how far we have fallen. Candidates today are calling for the government to offer everything free to its citizens, from free tuition, to free healthcare, even a free base living wage – all provided by the government. And many Christians are falling prey to this deceptive web. What would Paul have to say to us in this day. Exactly what he said to the Thessalonians,

  • “For even when we were with you, we would give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that some among you are behaving irresponsibly—not busy, but busybodies. Now such people we command and urge in the Lord Messiah Yeshua to work in a quiet demeanor, so they may eat their own bread.”

My beloved Grandfather was born in the year 1900. He was born before both World Wars, the Great Depression, Social Security, and Medicare. He left an abusive home when he was just 13 and learned the trade of tool and die making. He worked hard all of his life and never accepted a handout. And when he retired he continue to work, every day, helping others by fixing their broken items, assisting them with their yard work, or anything else he was able to do. My grandfather taught me the importance of work, and the reward of a job well done.

When I was 13 I began to think about cars. I would buy the current car magazines with the money I earned by washing cars and mowing yards. I knew I wanted to have my first set of wheels when I turned 16. So, I did what every young teenager would do. I asked my Dad if he would buy me a car when I turned 16. To my surprise and disappointment he said NO! He could have afforded to do so, but he told me if I wanted a car that I would have to buy it myself, pay for my own insurance, and buy my own gas.

My initial thought – ‘THAT’S NOT FAIR!”

This was the best thing my Dad ever did for me! With the work ethic that my Grandfather taught me, and the wisdom of my Dad, I began to work from the age of 14 on. I landed a job at a local restaurant and worked and saved my money until my 16th birthday. My Dad helped me by co-signing for a small car loan, as I almost was able to pay off the car with the money I saved. I payed for my car, car payment, and insurance. When I discovered how expensive this was, it forced me to look for a better job. And I kept knocking on the door for a better job until I landed it. Without this desire, and without the work ethic and wisdom of my Grandfather and Father, I could have slipped into a spirit of entitlement.

The spirit of entitlement robs an individual of their self worth. God has created us to work. In the Garden of Eden the Lord instructed Adam,

  • “Then ADONAI Elohim formed the man out of the dust from the ground and He breathed into his nostrils a breath of life—so the man became a living being. Then ADONAI Elohim planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there He put the man whom He had formed…Then ADONAI Elohim took the man and gave him rest in the Garden of Eden in order to cultivate and watch over it.” Genesis‬ ‭2:7-8, 15‬ ‭TLV‬‬

Adam did not just sit under a tree to be served. The Lord provided for him in the garden, but even before the fall into sin, Adam’s job was to cultivate and watch over it. Adam was given a job before he was given a wife. Eve was created as an equal helper for Adam to fulfill the work the Lord had given them. Work is a sacred trust that fulfills both man’s dignity and God’s calling. When the government or the church does not understand this, when they try to lure people by the things they give away, when freebies replace opportunities, they become complicit in robbing mankind of its God given dignity.

Our Constitution was written on the premise of our Declaration of Independence,

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

If you read the United States Constitution, and our Bylaws (and I encourage everyone to do so), you will find that the pursuit of happiness did not mean the right to leisure. What did it mean? The pursuit of happiness refers to the right to own property. When this was written the majority of Americans were farmers. The pursuit of happiness connoted the right to own property and work this property for one’s benefit and the benefit of their family. It was the freedom to work and experience the dignity that only a job well done can bring.

Before we ask for more handouts we need to ask where these handouts will come from. Socialism works well for a short period of time, until the money runs out. In my business experience I have witnessed large companies who were in financial trouble buy a smaller successful company as a way of shoring up their sagging bottom line. Things would improve for a short while as they siphoned money out of the successful company. Yet, they never put any money back. When the money ran out it was not just one company that failed, but two. And many more jobs were lost in the process.

Our culture is heading right for the cliff of moral and financial collapse unless we wake up and return to the our true pursuit of happiness. The Bible teaches us the same principle. The Book of Proverbs is full of exhortations against laziness and entitlement, while upholding the virtue and value of work. I remember as a young boy hearing the words of the late President John F. Kennedy who said,

  • “Ask not what your nation can do for you, as what you can do for your nation.”

We have sadly lost the impact of these words.

It is time to do some serious personal and Biblical introspection! We have a mid-term election that can determine whether we as a nation move further toward entitlement or the true pursuit of happiness. As Christians we need to pray, and we need to also intercept the spirit of entitlement in our life together as the church. We are always called to offer a hand up, not simply a hand out. Someone has wisely said – “Give an man a fish, and he will be hungry again. Teach a man to fish, and he will feed himself for the rest of his life!”

It is time we teach people how to fish! This is the Biblical and Christian thing to do!

In Jesus Name!

Posted in II Thessalonians | Leave a comment

HOW TO OVERCOME FEAR…

ISAIAH 36:18-21: “Beware that Hezekiah does not mislead you by saying, ‘ ADONAI will deliver us.’ Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, when did they deliver Samaria from my hand? Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their country out of my hand? So will ADONAI deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” But they were silent, and did not answer him a word, for the king’s commandment was, “Do not answer him.” TLV

OBSERVATION: What do we do when fear strikes? We all face fear in our lives. Fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of calamity, and the list could go on and on. And as believers, it is not simply a matter of quoting a Bible verse. To overcome fear we must understand the nature and the source of fear. Fear has both an emotional and spiritual component. And unlike many struggles we face in life, fear also has an insidious aspect to it. Fear is the direct work of the enemy trying to cripple us from growing in Christ and engaging in the will of God for our lives.

Hezekiah was a godly king who had restored the nation of Judah to the true worship of the Lord. He was not perfect, but he had removed many of the idols and high places that were a continual stumbling block to the children of Israel. Hezekiah, and the City of Jerusalem, found themselves in a precarious situation. The King of Assyria’s army had surrounded their walls, and the Chief Advisor began to shout out threats to all those who stood guard upon the wall. He attacked the very foundation of their strength – their trust in the Lord!

This is where we see the insidious nature of fear. I don’t believe that there is an evil spirit behind every struggle we face in life, but there surely is when we struggle against fear. This is why Paul told young Timothy,

  • “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7 NKJV

Paul was not simply talking about an attitude or emotion, he was talking about the insidious work of the enemy and his emissaries. The power, love, and sound mind that we are given in Jesus Christ comes through the indwelling work and power of the Holy Spirit. The crippling effect of fear comes from the spiritual forces of darkness. This is the nature and source of fear.

To overcome fear we must engage in spiritual warfare., and we must be captivated and transformed by the perfecting love of God!

There are normal fears in life that we all experience. I am not talking about these momentary and passing fears. The fear of getting on a roller coaster, only to be replaced by the joy of the ride, is a normal experience of fear. What I am talking about is the crippling and faith stealing work of the enemy in our lives. This is the fear we must overcome. This is the fear that tries to steal our faith and limit the power of God in our life. So how do we overcome this kind of fear?

I don’t believe it is by shouting at the enemy. In fact, I like to give him as little attention and recognition as possible. I know his crafty plans, and I will not fall for entering into dialogue with him. The Chief Adviser of the King of Assyria (a type of the enemy), wanted the guards on the wall to enter into dialogue with him, and in doing so to begin to shake with fear. They did not speak, under the command of King Hezekiah. What they did to was turn toward the Lord in humility and fervent prayer!

The first thing we need to do when fear strikes is to place ourselves humbly under the mighty hand of God!

  • “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” I Peter 5:6-11 NKJV

Notice, it does not say to resist the enemy by entering into a shouting match with him. It says to resist him by running in faith under the mighty hand of God, crying out to the Lord in fervent prayer, and holding up the shield of faith until the battle is won! It is all about Jesus, not about us. Our victory is in the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. Our testimony is – “Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world!” The battle has been won on the Cross of Jesus Christ. There is no need to negotiate with anyone. We but need to run under its full provision and care!

The second thing we need to do is begin to be perfected in the love of Jesus Christ. This is the purpose we were called, justified, and are in the process of becoming partakers of His glory!

  • “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30 NKJV

If God is love (I John 4), to become like Him is to grow in and be in a continual process of being perfected in His love. The more we grow in the love of Christ the less we will have to deal with fear. Why?

  • “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:15-19 NKJV

This week I woke up with an irrational attack of fear. The Lord has been leading me into some new areas of discipleship and direction. As I meditated upon these I was attacked with that all too familiar whisper – “What if it doesn’t work?” I faced fear again straight in the eyes and it was right after I had read may devotional verse for this day. I knew I had only one choice – to keep silent, to run and position myself under the might hand of God, and to ask for His empowering love to overflow in my life. As I did the fear lifted and these thoughts filled my heart.

Dear one, if you are reading this and find yourself being crippled by fear, know that you are not alone. We all face these attacks in our life, and it is not because we are weak in our faith, or we have failed God. It is solely because we belong to Christ and we have an enemy who is trying to destroy God’s purposes in our life. Don’t engage the enemy. Engage Christ through faith. Raise up your shield of trust in Jesus and stay there under His mighty hand. Stand on His promises steadfast in the faith and know that He has won the battle. The Cross is our victory. When you place yourself under the rivers of His perfect love both fear and the enemy will flee!

Lord, thank you for your overpowering victory in my life through Jesus Christ my Lord. May every one who reads these words be ushered into Your Grace, Mercy, and Love!

Goodbye fear!

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Isaiah | 1 Comment

CAN I REALLY FORGET THE PAST?

PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua.” TLV

OBSERVATION: Have you ever tried to forget the past? It really isn’t that easy to do. In fact, it really is not possible at all. In our human condition we hold a repository of memories, both good and bad. We remember our past victories, and we remember our past sins. So how are we to forget the past as Paul calls us to do in these verses?

While it is not possible to forget the past, it is possible to cease living in the past. This speaks to both our purpose and our perspective. Paul defines both of these for us in these verses from Philippians.

First, let’s look at our perspective. Paul says, “…But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead…”. While we in all honesty cannot wipe the past from our memories, we can choose where to put it in our priorities. Paul chose to put it behind him. This means that he made a conscience choice not to rehearse or focus on his past. To do this would only lead him back into a cycle of guilt and defeat. Paul chose to change his perspective.

We too can choose to change our perspective. We can focus on God’s Word, the wonderful things He has and is doing in our lives, and the promise of our eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus. When we begin to look at life through the promises of God our whole perspective on life changes. This is a battle, but it is a battle that we can win in the Spirit through the power of Jesus Christ!

  • “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but powerful through God for the tearing down of strongholds. We are tearing down false arguments and every high-minded thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah—”. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 TLV

The enemy will always try to get us to focus on our past sins, failures, and hurts. Yet, we can take these thoughts captive, we can tear down every thought that is not in agreement with God’s Word. How do we do this? By proclaiming the truth about God and about what He has said about us! We overcome our past by the word of our testimony and by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11)!

Once we put our past in perspective, we must cultivate our new purpose. We must engage each day in our divine calling in Christ Jesus.

  • “I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua.”

What is this high upward calling? It is to become like Christ!

  • “Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say in view of these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:28-32 TLV

Our purpose is filled with promise! As we change our perspective, and as we engage in our divine purpose, God is powerfully active in our lives. He redeems our broken past and works it for His ultimate good. Day by day we find our lives being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We stand before the Lord completely justified, graciously loved, and fully accepted in Christ. When the enemy tries to stir up our past, we have an advocate who rises to defend us – Jesus Christ our Lord! And we have the assurance that God will continually provide all of our needs according to His riches and glories in Christ Jesus!

When I was a child I would earn money to go to Disneyland. In those days you purchased a ticket book. The rides were classified by letters. The best rides required an “E” ticket, and rides like the horse trolley an “A” ticket, with everything in between. You only received three “E” tickets, so you had to choose wisely. Yet, in the Kingdom of God we have received a booklet of endless “E” tickets. When we look inside the pages of Scripture we are fully assured,

  • “For in Him all the promises of God are “Yes.” Therefore also through Him is the “Amen” by us, to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 TLV

So, when you have an “E” ticket, why focus on the “A” ticket of the past! Our call is to put the past in perspective and focus on our purpose. As we look forward the past seems to grow farther and farther in the distance, and its hold loosens its grip! We don’t want to be like Lot’s wife who looked back. Her life became an unproductive pillar of salt as she focused on what she was to leave behind. We cannot change our past, but by God’s grace, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live in His fullness as we focus upon our high upward calling of God in Christ Jesus!

Lord, this morning, I choose to look forward! I choose to put and keep the past behind me and to engage in Your purpose for my life!

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Philippians | Leave a comment