pratz

Your BREAKTHROUGH Is Here!

BLOG TEXT: MICAH 2

pratz

A SHEEP GATHERING

MICAH’S DECLARATION:

Micah declares to the people of the day that the JUDGE was coming, referring to God!!

And God was angry because of widespread SIN of Idolatry and…covetousness, abuses, lawlessness, among other things.

And this isn’t just referring to the nation’s leaders, but to everyone who had cultivated a heart of acceptance to do evil in the sight of God.

The CULTIVATION Effect –

In Genesis 2:15, Adam’s job in the Garden was to “tend and keep”–or “cultivate and guard” what God had provided.

To CULTIVATE is the effort a farmer makes to ensure that he will produce a bountiful crop.

If a FARMER is lazy, if he fails to cultivate the ground, to do nothing to promote growth, nature will follow its course and the farm begins to degenerate.

If we don’t “guard” our hearts; we get lazy in reading and meditating on the Word of God, spiritual weeds (lies, excuses, rebellious spirit, lawlessness) will crop up and choke out any spiritual growth (fruit) that should be developing.

And in the place of SPIRITUAL FRUIT, we begin to nourish (cultivate) our fleshly heart, and sin gets a hold of our thoughts and we wind up at the wrong destination.

In place of FRUIT, SIN will reign in its place and our heart will begin to degenerate.

Proverbs 4:23-26 begins with this:  “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life”  (v. 23).

Apathy can let down your guard…

We are often guilty of pointing a finger at our nation’s leaders, our elected politicians, while at the same time being somewhat complacent–apathetic– on what’s tolerated by society–  “Hey, I don’t support “X, Y, Z”, but I don’t want to be judgmental. There’s nothing I can do or say, so why bother.”

It might become THE LAW of the land, but as true believers, we don’t have to roll over and play dead–forget who we are in Christ JESUS.

What is about to happen isn’t going to be a pretty sight!

So God declares through the Prophet some pretty heavy things that were going to happen from their neglect, their laziness, for what they were doing to the people and for their sins!!

What ever they had taken, God was going to take from them!!!  This also refers to their impending captivity to Babylon.

The whole scene is not a pretty sight

Then in Chapter 2:12-13, the scene abruptly shifts to the LORD’S restoration–A “BREAKTHROUGH”!

I think we can all agree, before we were born again, our lives were under JUDGMENT because of our SIN!

Romans 3:23:  Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.

If we are honest with ourselves, some of us did some pretty ugly things we’re not proud of.

We can look back and remember, some of us were pretty messed up.  Because of that, our SIN brought the JUDGMENT OF GOD on our lives.

Romans 2:5-6:  [5] “But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  [6] For He will render to every man according to his works.”

Romans 6:23:  “For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Then JESUS came into our lives and changed the course of everything!!!  Whether at the time, we weren’t aware of what just happened to us spiritually.  It still happened!!

RECOGNIZING THE FIVE “R’s” AND MORE!

We were REDEEMED, RECOVERED, RECLAIMED, RELEASED, RESCUED…brought back, purchased, delivered, dis-imprisoned, emancipated, liberated, loosened, set free, SAVED by the Precious Blood of JESUS!!!

1 Peter 1:18-19:

[18] “You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold.  [19] But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”

JESUS is our Savior, our liberator, our salvager, our salvation, THE MESSIAH!!

TRANSITION TO THE BREAKTHROUGH (verse 12):

In the book of MICAH, the people, as well as the leaders of the land, were under THE JUDGMENT of God.

Then, all of a sudden in Verse 12, a transition…a breaking through the Mist of Deception takes place.

BREAKTHROUGH-Sunset-Picture-800x533

THE BREAKTHROUGH IS HERE!

It is kind of like SALVATION–

First, you are not saved, then in a moment, you open up your heart to receive Christ and confess Him as Lord.

In that moment…YOU ARE SAVED!

Here in chapter two of Micah, we have the JUDGMENT OF GOD, and then all of a sudden, there’s RESTORATION to those that have survived (“overcomers”) all the ugliness and had been broken.

BREAKING THROUGH THE SHEEP’S’ GATE–

Micah 2:12-13 (N.L.T.) – RESTORATION:

[12]  “Someday, O Israel, I will gather you; I will gather the remnant who are left.  I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen, like a flock into pasture.  Yes your land will again be filled with noisy crowds!

[13]  Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile, out through the gates of the enemy cities, back to your own land.  Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.”

GOD CAN RESTORE!

God restores, renews, rebuilds, recovers…heals, cures, mends, retouches, refreshes and revives.

He RESTORES LIVES,

He RESTORES HEARTS,

He RESTORES MINDS,

He RESTORES RELATIONSHIPS & FRIENDSHIPS,

He RESTORES FAMILIES & MARRIAGES.

I think we all know and can give many testimonies that GOD is a GOD who RESTORES!

Jesus has the POWER of RESTORATION (verses 12-13)

In the text, there’s a remnant of God’s people spoken of in their land (foretold captivity), but they were broken, wounded, hurt people who were spread out over the land and…the prophet Micah declares to them that God would restore and gather them all together again.

“I will bring them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in the middle of a pasture, they will be so numerous that they will make a lot of noise.”

This is a perfect picture of RESTORATION & HEALING.

The basic understanding here is God wants to restore & heal those who have been BROKEN OR HURT AND WOUNDED!!

As we go to Verse 13, there is something very deep-seated that needs further study.

BREAKTHROUGH!!!

As I studied and meditated on this verse of Scripture, the more I read it, the more powerful it became.  The “Breaker” has come up before them; they have broken up; and…they have passed through the gate and are gone out through it.

It’s like the image I used of the Gathered Sheep in a pen, excited to burst through the narrow gate.

DELIVERANCE!!!

It is a picture of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, sudden and aggressive!  God broke down the gate of their captivity and lead them out of bondage.

It is a picture of deliverance, not conquest.  It’s not just breaking thru a barrier (the obstacle in the way) to get to the other side.  BUT…to BREAKTHROUGH; removing all other obstacles to keep them moving forward…then MOVING FORWARD!!

It’s a picture of being confined, like in prison, and all of a sudden the prison gate was blown open and set the prisoners free!!!

THE OBSTACLE?

And the OBSTACLE which was the gate was removed so they could get out; keep moving forward.

Without getting too heavy here, the basic understanding is God will remove any and all obstacles to get us where we need to be.  It is telling us today that God is the “BREAKER”.  That God is a God of BREAKTHROUGH!!!  He will remove those things that stand in our way of progress.

The Enemy Will Try to Put Obstacles In Our Path…

Satan will try to stop what God wants to do in our lives.  But God the Breaker, the God of Breakthrough, can and will clear a path to overthrow everything that stands in the way that God wants us to accomplish.

I don’t know about your circumstances, but I do know that in my Christian walk with God, when I need a BREAKTHROUGH, He will keep me moving forward.  And He can do the same for you.

We Need Some Breakthroughs Right Now…

#1.  For Our Churches–for souls to be saved and a supernatural move of Holy Spirit to touch the lives of His people.

A BREAKTHROUGH so spirit moved, that it couldn’t be refuted, challenged or denied; you knew, that you knew you were in the Presence of God.

#2.  We need a BREAKTHROUGH of the Holy Spirit Fire!

th_FIRE-1Like the AZUSA STREET REVIVAL.  It began with a meeting on April 9, 1906, led by Wilbur J. Seymour, the one-eyed 34-year-old son of former slaves.  [See Footnote [ii]].

A BREAKTHROUGH so awesome, that men and women would rise up to any occasion and do the work the Lord has called them to do!!

#3.  We need a BREAKTHROUGH in our VISION…

To look further than we’ve ever gone before.  To enlarge, to stretch, to lengthen, to strengthen and not hold back.

A VISION that goes beyond our borders–“Jerusalem” first, then Judea, Samaria…and the World!” (Acts 1:8 – paraphrased). 

This not only applies to the CHURCH as a corporate body, but also as an individual Christian.

You might need A BREAKTHROUGH in your VISION because right now, it’s dull and blurred.

You might need A BREAKTHROUGH so that you can clearly see what God has called you to do.

You might need A BREAKTHROUGH from apathy, indifference, and worst of all…LUKEWARMNESS.

We need a PHYSICAL BREAKTHROUGH!

Some need a FINANCIAL BREAKTHROUGH!

God wants us to know according to the words in Micah,  We don’t have to remain in the sheep pen…in the negative place we’re at, that He can give us BREAKTHROUGH!

God doesn’t want us to stay in captivity to any negative situation we find ourselves in.  He wants to BREAK down the gate and set us free–keep us moving in that direction.

THE GOD OF BREAKTHROUGH –

According to verse 13, God would clear a path for mankind and make a way to Himself.

Thank You Father for Your Son Jesus! 

God makes a way for us to be brought to Himself through His Son Jesus.  Thank God for His wonderful, awesome, amazing grace.

If you are reading this today, right where you are, JESUS wants you to experience A BREAKTHROUGH in your life.

You see SIN has the POWER to hold you captive.

But JESUS has a greater POWER TO SET YOU FREE FROM CAPTIVITY.

He wants to forgive you of all your sins, and come into your heart today.

If you will give Him your old life, He will give you a new one!!!


CREDITS & FOOTNOTES:

Footnote [i] : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azusa-Street-Revival

Photo Credits:  Google Images and computer storage/personal Pictures [“fire”].

Bible Translations Used:  Amplified Bible, except where noted in the Text.

 

Hide and Seek

“Ready or Not, Here I come”– “But I’m Not Ready Yet!”

A STUDY IN 1 THESSALONIANS 5:

The blog-title for this POST came to me one morning, while remembering my childhood.

The past memories of growing up while living in Government Housing during the late 40’s, early 50’s.

What’s that have to do with a study in 1 Thessalonians?  Let me explain.

A Time of Celebration…

I had just returned from a Texas trip of celebration and joy.  My Dad had enjoyed his 100th birthday, along with a family reunion, and… three weeks later, he went home to be with the Lord.

So during the morning time of bible reading, it also became a time of reflection and memories of growing up in the San Diego area of California.

One thought lead to another as I laid the bible in my lap and closed my eyes, going down the proverbial “rabbit trail,” and finding myself at the end of the trail, as a 10 year old.

All the different games we would play in the neighborhood courts and protected front porches; Monopoly, Flashlight Tag, Kick-the-Can, Marbles in the nearby dirt alley ways.

No video games or “smartphones” to entertain us in those days.

When we got bored, our folks would calmly say, come “Go outside and play.  I’ll call you when to come in.”  Ouch!  But we did so, because that’s what all the kids did!  Sound familiar?

We could hardly wait for the opportunity while impatiently watching out the front door’s side window, waiting patiently for someone, anyone, to be the first outdoors:

“Hey dad…so-and-so is out playing, can I go out now?”

One game that every kid in the court and surrounding neighborhoods loved to play during the Summertime, was Hide and Seek.

The Game of “HIDE and SEEK” –

Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek

I loved playing hide and seek as a child.  Whether I was the one hiding, who didn’t want to get caught, or I was the one trying to catch the unsuspecting.

I remember that the seeker, or “it” as we always called him; who closed his eyes–count to 100, so everyone else could go hide.

Sometimes the seeker would close his eyes and then cheat a little–peep around and then you could hear him count,  “One, two, three, fourteen, fifteen, sixty-one and so on.”

Then you would hear him scream,  “Ready or not here I come!”  Four things I remember were always certain at that point:

#1.  He was surely coming.

#2.  He was coming when…He got ready.

#3.  He was coming whether you were ready or not.

#4.  And if you were not ready, then you would pay the consequences.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING READY- 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11:

The simple Hide & Seek child’s game, how that fun game parallels the second coming of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul exhorted the church in Thessalonica, the importance of being ready and the certain return of Jesus Christ.

(5:1-2a)  “BUT AS to the suitable times and the precise seasons and dates, brethren, you have no necessity for anything being written to you.  For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the Lord…”

THE CERTAIN RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST –

The Second Coming of JESUS is one of the most repeated teachings in all of Scripture.

And yet, the LIE EXISTS: “YOU HAVE PLENTY OF TIME TO GET YOUR LIFE IN ORDER.”

The Apostle Paul was well aware of this in penning the letter as he explained to his readers in the church.  They should be perfectly aware that JESUS was coming again.

Reminds me of a song sung in churches years ago,

CHORUS:  Coming again, coming again;

Maybe morning, maybe noon, maybe evening and maybe soon!

O, what a wonderful day it will be–

JESUS is coming again!

[Words and Music by John W. Peterson]

Not only did Paul tell them he shouldn’t even have to tell them again of Christ’s return, it should be obvious!

ILLUSTRATION:  A Tourist Driving Through West Texas.

991700f63d9427c720571a481bf68009While driving through West Texas, the driver stopped at a gas station to fill his tank with gas.  He happened to notice a piece of rope dangling from a sign labeled “Weather Forecaster.”

Being curious, the tourist asked the station attendant, “How can you possibly tell the weather with a piece of rope?”

“It’s simple, sonny,” the older man answered with a thick Texas drawl.  “When the rope swings back and forth, its windy, when it gets wet, it’s raining, when it’s frozen stiff, it’s snowing, and when it’s gone…tornado!”

There are some simple things that should be obvious without even asking.  The imminent return of JESUS is one of those things.

THE UNCERTAIN TIMING OF JESUS’ RETURN –

(5:2 b.)  “…as a thief in the night.”

The question is not “if” Jesus will return, but “when” will He return?

And Paul’s answer?  He’s basically saying, “No one knows.”  He describes the time of Christ’s return as a thief in the night.

Just as a THIEF plans his entry with uncertain timing when least expected, so will be the coming of the Son of God.

JESUS Himself declared in Matthew 24:36,  “But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

And He later said in Matthew 24:44,  “You also must be ready therefore, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

NOT BEING READY BRINGS CERTAIN JUDGMENT –

(5:3-5)  [3] “When people are saying,  All is well and secure, and,  There is peace and safety, then in a moment unforeseen destruction (ruin and death) will come upon them suddenly as labor pains come upon a woman with child; and they shall by no means escape, for there will be no escape.  [4] But you are not in [given up to the power of] darkness, brethren, for that day to overtake you by surprise like a thief.  [5] For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we do not belong either to the night or to darkness.

Paul refers to the Second Coming of Christ as the “Day of the Lord”  (vs. 2).

Throughout Scripture, the “Day of the Lord” was the designation of that latter time in history [Old Testament, Joel 2:31; New Testament, Acts 2:20]; God would pour out His wrath on the ungodly.

When the Lord Jesus returns–rapture His people–then soon after our Lord will begin to pour out His judgments upon the earth in a time which many refer to as the Great Tribulation.

The Tragedy of this day is that so many will be unprepared.  Not only unprepared, but actually deceived and actively deceiving others in the process crying out,

“PEACE AND SAFETY.”  Adhering to spreading the LIE… “YOU HAVE PLENTY OF TIME TO GET READY.”  

While thinking there is no real danger at all, when in fact, destruction is immediately upon them.

THE CONDITIONS OF WALKING IN READINESS –

(5:6-8)  [6] “Accordingly then, let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us keep wide awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard) and let us be sober (calm, collected, and circumspect).  [7] For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.  [8] But we belong to the day; therefore, let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corslet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”

Living Daily with an Attitude of Watchfulness (vss. 6, 7).

“let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us keep wide awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard…”  (verse 6).

As a SOLDIER is commanded to “stay alert” — “keep wide awake” — “WATCH!”, so as true believers, we too are commanded… to have an attitude of “spiritual awakeness” (gregario – Greek. word used).  

So must we as Christians!

Paul’s command to “watch” is in the present tense; meaning this must be a continual practice of the Saints (the true believers).  A matter of ATTITUDE.

A Roman soldier would be put to death for falling asleep on his watch.

The outcome could be just as fatal for the person not constantly looking for the return of Christ Jesus.

DISCIPLINE comes into play at this point.

LIVING DAILY WITH DISCIPLINE OF SELF-CONTROL –

Paul’s warning must not allow anything within our lives to influence our moral alertness…not anything!

Just like alcoholic beverages will greatly influence and inhibit a person’s abilities to focus–to make important decisions; sin (not the ‘drinking’ of spirits, but the results) will affect one’s ability to make moral decisions.  A person doesn’t become drunk with just one drink, but one drink can lead to two and then three.

Slowly, the person becomes drunk without noticing it and all of one’s senses become blurred, making oneself a danger to self and also others around them.

In the same way, if we do not control sin in our lives–not “watchful”–we soon are overcome by its effects and become oblivious to spiritual matters.  Therefore unaware and unconcerned about the imminent RETURN OF CHRIST JESUS.

As a drunkard who has passed out and oblivious to the world, so is the uncontrolled sinner who has spiritually passed out.  It takes daily discipline and self-control.

THE NEED OF HAVING DAILY PROTECTION – 

(5:8)  God’s Armor  “…let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corslet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”

As BELIEVERS, we are clothed “in Christ” as Paul describes in detail on many occasions in his letters to the churches.

In other words, what Paul is saying, that once we are SAVED…we are battle dressed with the Armor of God, and that ARMOR protects our spiritual organs–spiritual heart and mind.

What is A HAT?  What is its function?

A HAT can be used for decoration as an accent to an outfit; to dazzle those around you and just look good!

It may be used as RECOGNITION; for identification such as a policeman’s hat or a chef’s hat…

It might be used for PROTECTION, such as a football player, or like my Dad wore his Fireman’s Helmet.

The HELMET identifies us with our savior…

It identifies us with JESUS…

It reveals to the world who we want to be identified with…but it also identifies us on how we should be acting and living!

SPIRITUAL PROTECTION –

The ARMOR we are given as a believer in Christ protects us from the enemy who is always out to destroy us…from this evil and broken world…and protects us from ourselves, from the terrible decisions we sometimes make (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

The Blessings that should Come from Being Ready!

(5:9-11)  [9] “For God has NOT appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)…  [10] Who died for us so that whether we are still alive or are dead [at Christ’s appearing], we might live together with Him and share His life.  [11] Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.”

The PEACE of knowing, of always being READY for Jesus’ return is surely a BLESSING.

Therefore,you will look for Christ’s Coming with excitement and with expectancy instead of Fear and Dread.

THE COMFORT OF KNOWING…that you will be SAVED from the Wrath of God!

Quote:

“God’s people should plan for a VOYAGE of a thousand years, but be prepared to abandon ship tonight!”  ~ Joseph Bayly.

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CREDITS:

Photos– Photo Pin and Google Images.

Bible Translation:  Amplified Bible.

Commentary:  Bible.org – John Walvoord, “The Rapture and the Day of the Lord, 1 Thessalonians 5″; “how does the day of the Lord relate to the rapture?” – whenistherapture.com

DoubtFactor

The Doubt and Unbelief Factor In Christianity

JAMES 1:22-25 The MESSAGE Bible (MSG):

22-24  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other.  Act on what you hear!  Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

25  But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God–the free life!–even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action.  That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.

UNBELIEF –

DoubtFactor

Malcolm Muggeridge was a British journalist, author, media personality, and satirist. Also, during World War II, he worked for the British government as a soldier and spy.

Here is one of his noteworthy quotes I found at BrainyQuote–Malcolm Muggeridge:

“One of the peculiar sins of the 20th Century which we’ve developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity.  It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing.  The truth is much worse:  they believe in anything.”

I.  UNBELIEF –

Before giving a good working definition for UNBELIEF, let me give you a dictionary definition (any dictionary) of the word BELIEF:

An opinion or judgment in which a person is fully persuaded.

So Biblical Unbelief can be defined as “believing and acting based on my and the world’s lies instead of God’s Truth in His Word.”  [*See Footnote (i) ]

There Are Different Forms of UNBELIEF –

—  NOT believing God.

—  NOT believing God’s Word (the Bible).

—  NOT believing God’s way is the best way.

II.  UNBELIEF IS RELATED TO DOUBT:

DOUBT dwelt on, not confronted and challenged as displayed in 2 Corinthians 10:5,  will lead us into DOUBT:

5 “[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought captive and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ.”

Unanswered questions–doubt which not dealt with… can and will lead to unbelief.  

JAMES 1:8 calls it “double mindedness” which signals emotional and spiritual immaturity:

8 [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].

III.  UNBELIEF Affects Our Stability –

JAMES 1:6 (NIV):  But when he asks, he must BELIEVE and not DOUBT, because he who doubts is like a wave at sea, blown, and tossed by the wind.

Instability in the Christian life results in…

– Miss purpose.

– Don’t take risks and miss adventure.

– Miss seeing God work and grow closer to Him in relationship.

And at a bigger level, eternity and others lose –

Romans 10:13-14 (AMP):

[13] For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord]  will be saved.  [14] But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]?  And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard  And how are they to hear without a preacher? 

That said, there are QUESTIONS that arise in “double mindedness”–instability:

How can they call on the One they’ve not believed on?

How can they believe in the One Whom they’ve not heard?

And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Ultimately, God loses (Really)!!!

IV.  UNBELIEF hardened God’s work –

“And He [Jesus] did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief  (their lack of faith in the divine mission of Jesus)”  (Matthew 13:58).

Where DOUBT comes from –

ULTIMATELY:  Satan; the devil.  John 8:44 says, Satan is the father of lies.

PRACTICALLY:  The World – 1 John 2:15-17 – My Heart – Jeremiah 1:22.

FUNDAMENTALLY:  Not applying God’s Word in my life – James 1:22

* WEED ANALOGY – Destroying UNBELIEF and not letting it grow back! 

I use the term “weed analogy”, because of my enjoyment of working in the garden and fighting the constant invasion of WEEDS.  An enjoyment?  Yes, because I know if I stay at it, diligent in the doing, there will be a harvest of righteousness.

1.  PERSEVERE THROUGH IT!

Learn to recognize it–Get in the Word (your bible) daily!

Walk by FAITH applying God’s Word!!!  (Remember James 1:22).

Remember in your Christian pilgrimage to build up your FAITH – “…in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you”  (Romans 12:3).

FAITH grows – “Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow…”  (2 Corinthians 10:15).

James 2:22 – FAITH made complete.

Luke 16:10 – Faithful with little–faithful with more.

“MUSTARD SEED FAITH”Matthew 17:20

mustard_seedHe said to them [insert your name in place of “them”–“you”],  Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust].  For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, MOVE from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

2.  PRAY GOD WILL HELP YOU GROW –

In Mark 9:17-27, we see a desperate father of a demon possessed boy who asks Jesus,  “If you can do anything, do have pity on us and help us.”

Jesus replies,  “If You can do anything?”  “All things can be possible to him who believes.”

The father then replies,  “Lord I believe!  Help my weakness of faith!

3.  HOLY SPIRIT POWER –

The HOLY SPIRIT empowers me to radically believe and obey my heavenly Father.  I don’t have to let UNBELIEF kill me–what lies am I believing?

If I will “radically” believe–go out on a limb with trust–anything is possible what God can do!

Victory Over Sin–No More Bondage –

Romans 6:18, 22:

18  And having been set free from sin, you have become servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action).  

22  But now since you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life.

4.  WORD AND PRAYER –

“Those who do not believe do not pray. This is a good functional definition of FAITH:  Faith prays, unbelief doesn’t.”

God is so HUGE!!!

We are TEMPTED when we are in trouble.

Let’s live our lives trusting Him to do HUGE things!  You might have to climb out on a limb of FAITH to see the results of your faithfulness.

Tozer said, “Unbelief is actually perverted faith, for it puts its trust not in the living God but in dying men.”

Acting on our faith –

"Be an active doer"

“Be an active doer”

To act on what we hear, is not simply to try harder not to say, not complain or be anxious.

JAMES isn’t encouraging his readers to simply try harder to live right.

He is encouraging them [US] to do whatever they [WE] need to do in order to feed their [OUR] faith in their heavenly Father.

“But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience)”  ~ James 1:25

So we turn our ANXIETY over to JESUS Himself–our desire to grumble and complain (Boy, do I need to do more weeding in this area).

We hand over each day, our relationships, thoughts, and questions to God, moment by moment, allowing our FAITH in Him to become a living thing.


CREDITS, FOOTNOTES –

Footnote [i]: By Nate Herbst.

Photo Credits: “Mustard Seed” photo Escape to Reality.org and the balance of photos taken from Google Images.

Bible Translations: Amplified Bible except where noted.

 

 

 

 

inheritance

The “Someday” Mentality of Our Inheritance

THE BELIEVER’S INHERITANCE:

knowing-receiving-your-inheritance-by-andre-roebert

 

One of my favorite, all time HYMNS is “When We All Get To Heaven” by Eliza F. Hewitt and Emily D. Wilson.  The hymn was inspired by a verse in 1 Thessalonians (1 Thess. 4:17):

Chorus:  When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus,  We’ll sing and shout the victory!

What a glorious day that will be for those in Christ.  It’s an INHERITANCE to look forward to!  

And there are several New Testament verses confirming our spiritual inheritance, giving us continued HOPE in a confusing world.

Ephesians 1:11-14:

11  In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will,  12  in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.  13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,  14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our INHERITANCE UNTIL the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of His glory (New International Version).

Titus 3:7:

So that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life  (NIV).

Too Many of God’s People Have Settled Into a Someday Mentality–

Joshua 18:2-3 (Amplified Bible):

2  And there remained among the Israelites seven tribes who had not yet divided their inheritance.  3 Joshua asked the Israelites,  “How long will you be slack to go in and possess the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?”

“SLACK”:  fail, (be) faint, (wax) feeble, forsake, idle, leave, let alone (go down), (be) slack, stay, be still, be slothful.

“In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises”  (Hebrews 6:12 AMP).

Joshua’s Rebuke –

Joshua’s scolding of the people tells us that it was not a weakness or a failure on God’s part that they had not taken possession of their inheritance, but a slackness and slothfulness on their part.

Ephesians 6:13-17

Ephesians 6:13-17

Paul the Apostle put a great emphasis on the whole armor of God (Why put on the armor if there’s not a battle to be fought?).

It is to POSSESS that which has been promised to us, to take possession of our INHERITANCE!

“POSSESS”:  to seize, to rob, also to expel, to ruin–cast out, to impoverish, consume, destroy, disinherit, dispossess, drive out, (take) possession, seize upon.

Why do I say this should be our focus as Christians?  Because until we are in possession of our inheritance, we cannot help anyone else to receive theirs.

The Spirit of the Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the Half Tribe of Manasseh:

The spirit that God is looking for in this day and hour…they took their INHERITANCE on this side of the Jordan (Numbers 32:32).

The reason the three tribes were able to go ahead and fight for their brethren was, they had received their inheritance already.

MOSES and JOSHUA didn’t give the people of Israel their inheritance, God did!  Moses and Joshua were only instruments God used to bring them into their inheritance.

“JORDAN” = death.

Many Christians today have determined they have to cross Jordan–die before they can receive their inheritance.

7 Tribes = representative of the church.

They had not received their inheritance.  Not because is was not theirs, but because they were SLACK to go in and POSSESS it.

Too many of God’s people have settled into a “someday inheritance.”  But FAITH is always now.  Like these 7 Tribes, they’re waiting to cross over Jordan to possess their inheritance.

Somehow, we’ve come to believe, we have to die (or, be “raptured”–caught up) before we receive our inheritance.

Since when does the BENEFICIARY of the Last Will and Testament have to die to receive what the Will entitles him or her to?

It’s when the writer of the Will dies that entitlement occurs; to take possession of the contents of the Will.

You don’t have to die to get your inheritance…you just need to show up at the reading of the Will in finding out what belongs to you.

JESUS Was the Express Will of God for Us!

All of the riches of Heaven are contained in JESUS:

Hebrews 9:15-17 (NIV)

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.  16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it,  17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.

JESUS DIED to bring us into possession of our inheritance; to bring the kingdom of God to us (thy kingdom come, thy will be done).

Someday, Somewhere, Somehow…

Many of us were raised in the church [I wasn’t] with this idea, from our parents, from our pastor, through the songs and hymns when we remember:  “When we all get to heaven…” THEN…!

A SALVATION that told us everything was just on the other side of the river in glory; where the soul never dies, and one of these days we’ll die and fly and eat our pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye.

While I definitely believe in what’s available in heaven and I definitely believe there’s more to come, this someday mindset is a total contradiction to everything the Bible teaches.

The Bible doesn’t tell me I have to WAIT to have power until I die.  It says “you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

Galatians 3:29 English Standard Version (ESV):

“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

That means the COVENANT BLESSING that He pronounced on Abraham is mine NOW!

Deuteronomy 28:1-13 New International Version (NIV):

1  IF YOU fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2  All these BLESSINGS will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:

3  You will be BLESSED in the city and BLESSED in the country.

4  The fruit of your womb will be BLESSED, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock–the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

5  Your basket and your kneading trough will be BLESSED.

6  You will be BLESSED when you come in and BLESSED when you go out.

7  The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you.  They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

8  The LORD will send a BLESSING on your barns and on everything you put your hand to.  The LORD your God will bless you in the land He is giving you.

9  The LORD will establish you as His holy people, as He promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.  10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you.  11 The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity–in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground–in the land He swore to your forefathers to give you.

12  The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse on His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.  You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.  13 The LORD will make you the head, not the tail.  If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

No where in those verses do I read that MY BLESSING is waiting for me, on the other side of Jordan.

Tell your neighbor:

I love you and I don’t want to offend you, and if you want to wait till we all get to heaven to get BLESSED that’s up to you.  But don’t get mad at me, if I take mine now!

THE PROMISE LAND

Somebody has said, the Promise Land in the Old Testament is a type of “heaven.”

That can’t be true, because there are no giants in heaven.

I’ve come to the biblical understanding the Promise Land in the Old Testament is a type of THE BLESSING of God, belonging to us, which symbolizes our spiritual inheritance in Christ.

JESUS is the PROMISE LAND of the believer:

For as many as are the PROMISES of God, they all find their Yes

in Him [Christ].  For this reason we also utter the Amen to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God  (2 Corinthians 1:20).

How long are we going to be SLACK to POSSESS the land which the LORD has already given to us?

I believe I’ll take my INHERITANCE now!

inheritance


CREDITS and RESOURCES:

Photo Credits:  Google Search – Images

Word Definitions:  Online Dictionary, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

 

pic DAVID CRUMP.NEWS XMAS SPECIAL WORDS STEVE WRIGHT. CITY OF LONDON POLICE NEWLY DISCOVERED ARCHIVED PICTURES ON TRAINING TO APPREHEND BURGLARS ROBBERS PIC TAKEN OVER A 100 YEARS AGO 1907.

It’s Time For A Good Old Neck Stomping!

Bible Text: Joshua 10:24-25 (NLT)

24  Joshua told the captains of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.”  And they did as they were told.  25  “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men.  “Be strong and courageous, for the LORD is going to do this to all of your enemies.”

pic DAVID CRUMP.NEWS XMAS SPECIAL WORDS STEVE WRIGHT. CITY OF LONDON POLICE NEWLY DISCOVERED ARCHIVED PICTURES ON TRAINING TO APPREHEND BURGLARS ROBBERS PIC TAKEN OVER A 100 YEARS AGO 1907.

pic DAVID CRUMP.NEWS XMAS SPECIAL WORDS STEVE WRIGHT. CITY OF LONDON POLICE NEWLY DISCOVERED ARCHIVED PICTURES ON TRAINING TO APPREHEND BURGLARS ROBBERS PIC TAKEN OVER A 100 YEARS AGO 1907.

God says, it’s time for us to put our foot on it…

Someone who has been feeling down, somebody who has been feeling distressed, or disappointed, and confused needs to hear this message.  Somebody who has felt something so heavy in circumstance that it felt as though a foot is on one’s neck trying to choke the living daylight out of you; not killing you, but cutting off your breath, making it hard to breathe, taking the JOY out of your life.  We’ve all felt this way at one time or another in life.  Maybe right now.

But now is the time to change!  Hopefully, after reading this blog-study and reading the words in Joshua.

You will begin changing positions –

You are going from being under the circumstances to being on top of the circumstances.

From being under pressure, to being the one applying the pressure.  You are going to put your foot on it!

When you put your foot on it– it means you are in charge.  It means that you are on top of it, it means you are in control, it means that whatever it is you are facing right now… has lost its power to affect you, it means that you have won!

The FIVE KINGS in Joshua –

The FIVE KINGS mentioned in Joshua 10, can represent anything–

Represent financial problems, or marital problems, or physical problems, or spiritual problems.  It can represent debt, or sickness or even some personal problems like addictions–drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc.

Whatever it is, it’s time to put your foot down.

“And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with you”  (Romans 16:20).

AMEN!

Satan has already been defeated, and Jesus has stripped him of his authority and power.

“[God]  disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross]”  (Colossians 2:15).

The devil has NO POWER over my will…

NO POWER over my mind…

NO POWER over my spirit.

It doesn’t matter what the devil does, he cannot take me out of God’s hand!  That said…

Don’t make the tragic mistake–

To believe that the devil has no power; that Satan is weak and helpless, that is a tragic mistake.

The devil is defeated from a God perspective, but he is not dead.

While he cannot affect my standing with God, he can definitely mess with my circumstances, my emotions, and he can manipulate people and things.

He can attack through people, through sickness, through financial problems, through attacks on people I love.

It’s one thing to know JESUS defeated Satan and it’s another thing to see that manifested victory in my own personal experience.

I want more than just a revelation of how JESUS defeated the devil (I want that devil under my feet).

JOSHUA’S Message to His Captains:

Come near and put your foot on their necks.

Why the command for a ‘neck stomping’?  I believe it was to demonstrate that the victory was real.  It was personal, that the enemy was under their feet.  That domination over the enemy was being displayed.

Joshua said to those men, this day is your day.  Instead of running from it, crying about it and even praying about it.

Today, you’re going to put your foot on it.  (And when you do, you’re going to choke the life out of it!).

Waiting for God to Move In and Do Something?

Many times we find ourselves waiting on God; to move in some great supernatural way, and with one swipe, wipe out all our enemies.

But the truth is, to a large degree, God has done everything He is going to do until we do something.

SPIRIT GUT CHECK:  He has given us,  (His Word), (His name), (His Spirit), (the power of Praise), (the Armor of God).

2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

3  For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according in the flesh and using mere human weapons.  4  For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood],  but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds [nourished thoughts: The Word Detective’s insert].  5  [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

NOTICE that Joshua himself did not put his foot upon the necks of the enemy kings, but rather let his captains do tt.

This was to represent the fact this VICTORY belonged to every single Israelite; that every single one of them had defeated their enemies that day.

That means that you and I…

We have the AUTHORITY,

We have the POWER,

We have the WEAPONS (Ephesians 6:11-17).

Quit complaining about it and instead…PUT YOUR FOOT ON IT!  TAKE YOUR GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY!

Luke 10:19:  [Note: Insert your own name when you see the word “you”]

Behold!  I have given you [Mel] authority and power to trample upon serpents and [physical and mental] strength and ability over ALL THE POWER that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you [Mel].

Bringing the Enemy Out of Their Caves

We see Joshua and his men bringing out the FIVE KINGS from their hiding places (Joshua 10:3).

Before you get the VICTORY over that which has burdened you, robbed you, oppressed you, bring it out of hiding.

You have to admit it and identify it.  You have to quit pretending it doesn’t exist, or it isn’t that big of a deal, or that you can handle it yourself, keeping it hidden in a cave.

THINGS THAT CAN GROW IN THE DARK

Fungus growing into mushrooms in a cave

Fungus growing into mushrooms in a cave

The fact is:  Whatever you keep in the dark, grows, and intensifies and multiplies eventually bringing you into slavery–bondage–and if not dealt with–it will DESTROY your life.

Before you can put your foot down and stomp on it, you have to identify it.  Recognize it for what it is.  Expose it.  Get honest with God about it.  And HATE IT, and want to be rid of it.  I don’t want a “fungus” growing in my house, do you?

For twenty years I smoked a pack of cigarettes per day.  I told myself that I couldn’t quit! (No, I didn’t want to quit, because I loved it.)

I hid the evidence from my family; I wouldn’t smoke at home.  And yes, even lied about my tobacco addiction to my wife:  “It’s all the smoke from the office on my clothes and hair that you smell.”

And then one day, I put my foot on the neck of my addiction.  Literally.  I spoke out loud to that pack of cigarettes in 1983,  “I HATE YOU!”  Then I threw the nasty habit on the floor and stomped on it!  The desire was gone…forever.

You Will Never Quit anything If You LOVE IT!

—  You will never quit drinking if you love it.

—  You will never quit lusting if you love it.

—  You will never quit overeating if you love it.

—  You will never quit over spending if you love it.

—  You will never quit quarreling and arguing if you love it.

—  You will never quit holding grudges if you love it.

HOLY HATRED – Psalm 139:21-22:

21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?  And am I not grieved and do I not loathe those who rise up against You?  22 I hate them with perfect hatred; they have become my enemies.

In other words, David here was speaking of a hatred born out of love, his love for God was so strong, it made him hate the things opposed to God.

Your love for God must prove you to HATE the things that adversely affect your relationship with Him.  My FLESH may want to learn from a particular direction that it desires, but if it is harmful to my relationship with God, then my spirit man HATES that.

Before You Can STOMP ON IT, You Have to HATE IT!

You can’t tolerate it and conquer it!

You can’t stroke it and conquer it!

You can’t cover it and conquer it!

You can’t deny it and conquer it!

You have to HATE IT…Holy hatred and when you do…go after it to destroy it.

When you passionately hate it, not only will you want VICTORY over it, but you’ll want everyone to have victory over it (a “reformed smoker”);  You’ll want to destroy it!

I don’t know what’s in your life right now that you are fighting.

I don’t know how big it is, or small it is.  But IT’S TIME!  Time for you to put your foot on the enemy’s neck.

When you do, something supernatural is going to happen.  God almighty is going to FIGHT with you.

JOSHUA said to these men:  If you will just turn and fight your enemies, then God is going to fight with you and not one of your enemies will stand against you.

After putting their foot on the enemies’ necks…(Joshua 10:26)

JOSHUA took those FIVE KINGS and killed them on FIVE TREES till the evening so everyone could witness the VICTORY over the defeated foe.

‘If He did it for me, He will do it for you.  Here they are but they are dead now, they have no influence, no power, and no authority over my life.’ 

It is Time to Put your foot down on it –

It might be something like being STUBBORN (believe it or not, stubbornness is not a spiritual gift); it is an offense to the spirit of Christ.

Or, it may be something like being SARCASTIC.  The Bible says that our speech is supposed to be kind and gentle–suppose to minister GRACE to the hearers.

You may say:  Well I’m just telling the truth; I’m telling it like it is.  (Yes, but when you speak sarcastically, you’ve made the “truth” offensive and you become an instrument of offense instead of grace).

I have been guilty of this very thing.  When younger, even while teaching God’s word, I found myself in the cave of SARCASM.

I thought of it as a strength, not as a weakness in my character.  I’ve had to deal with it in my life by admitting it, exposing it, and then hating it.

God can help me conquer that area of PRIDE–self-centerness that raises its head occasionally…if, I put my foot down and stomp on it.

Achieving the Victory –

I don’t presume to know what (“it”) is in your life, but it’s time for you to get victory over it.

It’s time for you to have a good old neck stomping on whatever (“IT”) is.

 

VICTORY WON!

VICTORY WON!


CREDITS:

Exerts from “Put Your Foot Down” by Shelley Wilburn.org

Bible Translations used:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

Photos:  Google Search (Images); Photo Pin

 

 

rahab

Are We Living Our Lives In A Wall?

When God Tells the Story.

When God tells the story of setting aside a special nation, preparing the way for His Son in the Old Testament, He doesn’t hide the truth; the details are displayed openly for all to read and see.

The Family Tree.

God includes the LIAR, the COWARDS, the CHEATERS, the MESS-UPS, and the street-walker.  Character flaws are never a deterrent to God’s greater plan.

*[See Matthew 1:5 for Rahab’s inclusion]

stock-photo-chiangmai-thailand-march-reading-the-new-international-version-of-the-holy-bible-on-the-262562102

Living In Ancient Cities…

Often cities of ancient times are surrounded by thick, solid walls for protection against invading armies.  And as Christians, we sometimes build walls around our own spiritual lives for the same reasons.  We don’t want to get hurt or criticized by the outside world.  If we stay huddled together, never venturing outside the walls, except for well planned evangelism raids to the surrounding countryside; then bringing the assembled captives back behind closed gates in celebration of our own efforts.  “Oh Lord, it’s so hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.”

God’s Church was never intended to be a walled in community of believers; living inside a wall while peering out of a self-righteous window at the lost sinners; eagerly waiting for the next well planned raid into the outside world by our well-meaning church leaders.

Living In A Wall.

In ancient times, the heavy expense plus the consuming time to build solid walls for protection, led to an alternative city wall design we call a CASEMATE.

A CASEMATE

A CASEMATE

A casemate consisted of two thinner walls; parallel walls with an empty space between them.  It was faster and cheaper to build, and afforded the inhabitants extra living space.

In times of war, the space could be quickly filled with dirt and stones creating a thicker, solid defensive wall.

We too, have a tendency to use our church building as the “inner wall,” and our homes as the “outer wall.”  And in between?

A lot of dirt and stones in between to separate us from criticism, hypocrisy and self-condemnation.

The Conquest of Jericho (Text: Joshua 2:1-24): 

The reading in Joshua 2 suggest that a woman, by the name of RAHAB, was known as a prostitute and occupied her home on the outside wall.

“…for her [Rahab’s] house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall”  (Joshua 2:15 b. ESV).

The house of Rahab in the Old Testament is PICTURE

The familiar story in Joshua 2 brings to my mind a picture of a FULL CHURCH.  Can you imagine the great transformation that took place in-house of two spies, who brought her into a personal relationship with the God of Israel.

Her inn of iniquity became a house of prayer and worship and when the walls of Jericho fell, only her house remained on the wall; everyone within the house experienced salvation and her house was full!

How did this happen?  Could this happen to us in our own churches?  Are the principles laid down in this Old Testament Book be applied today, so we too, could have a full house at the coming of the Lord?

A Genuine Born Again Experience –

The Blood of Christ…

We have this pictured in this story by the SCARLET THREAD placed outside the window rahabof Rahab’s home in the wall (Joshua 2:18):

“Behold, when we come into the land, you shall bind this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall bring your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household into your house.”

All of the children of Israel had been told of the courage and faith of Rahab.  So in their daily march around the city (Joshua Chapter 6), must have taken note of the scarlet thread on the outside wall.

Rahab_PassoverI’m sure this was likened to the days of THE PASSOVER; this was a type of BLOOD on the door post.

There is POWER IN THE BLOOD!

There was enough power in this scarlet cord that two grown men hold on to its safety as they escaped from a sure death.

There was enough power in this scarlet thread to keep the walls of Jericho from falling on this house.

Rahab the harlot had a genuine born again experience.  No longer did she trust in the idolatrous gods of Jericho.  She had placed her new-found faith and trust in the God of Israel.

Is the church of today preaching, relying on, trusting in the POWER of the Blood of Jesus, or are the leaders of the congregation trusting in man devised programs and false doctrine?

A Life Lived In Holiness!

The day that Rahab TRUSTED the God of Israel would be her last day of harlotry.

The red rope [cord, thread]…

The red cord that might have stood for the house of sin, now, became a symbol of the CROSS.  Rehab’s everyday, ongoing business became God’s business.  Right in the midst of living in a wall, she had become a new creation in Christ Jesus, Saint Rehab.

Could churches today…hang a red rope outside the building, symbolizing the power that can happen by simply people grabbing hold?  How would the lost know of God’s saving grace by a simple, uncomplicated, red thread?

THERE’S POWER IN THE BLOOD!

A Passion for Souls!

Rehab’s heart passion was that of her family and friends.  One by one she compelled them to enter in.

It’s not enough that my church preach with the right doctrine.  That alone will not bring souls into the kingdom.

It’s not enough that church members live lives of holiness.  That will not fill up the church seats on Sunday.

THE FIELDS ARE WHITE

THE FIELDS ARE WHITE

The people of God’s Church must have a PASSION to win the lost!  The fields are white unto the harvest.  Where are the reapers?

A Plan of Hope!

The king of Jericho had no plan.  The doomed people within the city hung their heads over the wall while they looked sadly at their coming fate.  Their hearts were trembling from fear of the coming judgment.

Only Rahab had a plan!

Only Rahab had been given the promise of SALVATION.  Her house alone would be the ARK of safety.

As a Church, we have been commissioned by Christ Jesus to SHARE the good news of SALVATION with the lost.  We have a message of hope.  We, the church, know (or should know) the truth of Christ.

RAHAB’S HOUSE IN THE WALL

Rahab’s house is a perfect example of a perfect church.

When we, the Church, become as convinced of coming judgment, and as compassionate as Rahab was of the lost members of her family, we too will have a full church.

I’m disheartened, disappointed in hearing people in the body of Christ say, “Oh, I just love a smaller church!  It’s so much more friendly than a large church.”  Really? More friendly to who?

Can the Old Testament Church RENEW a challenge within our church walls to become the Church of God’s plan?

Remember again the cry of the Father:

So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full’  (Luke 14:23, N.L.T.).

 


Credits:

Bible History Daily – Rahab the Harlot Robin Ngd – 9/23/2013;  The Jericho Scenario – The Open Scroll;  The Sermon Notebook – Tearing Down the Walls; Bible Archaeology, Travel with Luke Chandler.

Bible Translations used: 

Amplified Bible, English Standard Version, New Living Translation.

Images used:

Photo Pin; Google Images

 

 

 

AN OASIS

Palm Trees In A Dry And Thirsty Land

A STUDY IN THE PSALMS–Psalm 92:12-15

The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the PALM TREE…(verse 12).

In preparation for this blog, if I were going to address how it is to “flourish like the palm tree,” researching the PALM TREE’S characteristics was important to the study.

ATTRIBUTES:

There are over 300 species of Palm trees, growing from 3 to 100 feet tall.  The DATE PALM produces over 300 pounds of dates annually.  That’s a lot of fruit.

Fruit of the PALM TREE

Fruit of the PALM TREE

When growing up in Southern California, there was always the presence of palms–along side beaches, front yards, landscapes, everywhere.  In fact, there are towns and cities named for the abundance of PALM TREES.

My wife and I went on our honeymoon to PALM SPRINGS California.  There’s even a town in the desert called 29 Palms.  An OASIS in the desert.

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HISTORICALLY, the Palm Tree has been called the REPRESENTATIVE TREE of Palestine, where it has stood through the years as a symbol of the land of our LORD.

At the triumphal entry of Jesus as He made His entry to Jerusalem before His death, people broke off palm branches and waved them in front of Him.

Looking at a picture given to us of the victorious Children of God, given to us by John in Revelation 7:9, he says among other things, that they were “clothed with white robes and PALMS in their hands.”

The Bible says in Psalm 92:12, the PALM TREE has several characteristics that gives us pictures in the life of the Christian.

#1.  THE PALM TREE BREAKS THE BANDS –

Unlike other trees, as the tree grows, it breaks the band surrounding the trunk.

In most other trees, bands placed around the wood when young, dig into the trunk.  I’ve seen pictures of an old clothesline wire wrapped around the tree when young, sunk deep into the wood as it appears to be strangling the life out of the tree as it grew.

While in Hawaii, wide bands are placed around the Coconut Palm Trees to prevent rodents from attacking the fruit; the “bands” are broken by the growth of the tree and periodically must be replaced in the groves.

The true CHILD OF GOD can claim victory through Christ–

We don’t have to continue in sin…

Romans 6:1-2, 6, 11-14;

1 Corinthians 15:57;

Romans 8:37.

#2.  THE PALM TREE WILL BEND–BUT NOT BREAK!

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Even in HURRICANE FORCE WINDS, the palm tree is able to withstand the storm.

And as the storms of life approaches, it causes many disasters for those not serving God.

But the child of God, like the PALM TREE will bend, but doesn’t break in the storms that will come our way.

#3.  THE PALM TREE IS A SURVIVOR–

Still Standing in the Storm

Still Standing in the Storm

Not only does the PALM TREE grow in the desert, it flourishes!

The roots go deep below the burning sands, finding moisture down deep below the surface, anchoring its stability in the bedrock.

“…and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that ROCK WAS CHRIST”  (1 Corinthians 10:4 NIV).

Although the HURRICANES we are familiar with come ashore to large populations and not deserts, the principles still apply–DEEP ROOTS.

As a child of God, we must go DEEP with God if we’re to flourish.

Without a deep tap-root, and only surface feeding roots…fibrous roots, it will do nothing but cause unstableness to the tree in the storms of life.

To go deep, we must live the Christ-like life:

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me”  (Galatians 2:20 King James Version).

To go really deep…we must fervently PRAY.  

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says,  “Be unceasing in prayer–praying perseveringly” (Amplified Bible).

So it is NOT theology, NOT psychology, but “kneeology” that encourages our deep rooting.

MANY CHRISTIANS today are not flourishing…

BECAUSE, they’re seeking nourishment on the surface only–running their ROOTS of life out laterally.

Shallow rooted believers look to the world for refreshment and come away still thirsty.

True Believers send their TAP ROOT deep in into the Word of God and prayer.

#4.  PALM TREES GATHER TOGETHER IN THE WILDERNESS–

One tree standing alone will never produce much shade in the wilderness’ hot sun.

AN OASIS

An OASIS in the Sun

 

But a group of PALM TREES gathered together, forms an OASIS–stay together and stand as BELIEVERS.

Orange and lemon trees can be found growing in the desert beneath the SHADE of the PALM TREES grouped together.

When we group together, as the church gathers together, we can provide shade for those who are spiritually weaker than ourselves.  That’s why HEBREWS 10:25 is so important in a dry and thirsty land:

“Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching”  (Amplified Bible).

Since “we are the church,” whether gathered together in a large building, or a private home, or in an underground meeting place in China, we are to gather together as an OASIS.

#5.  THE HEART OF THE PALM TREE IS ALIVE!

The life of the palm tree is on the inside.  Outward abuse doesn’t affect the life or quality of the tree.

Because the child of God has a life deep within the HEART (soul and spirit)–they are free from a sin nature.

Romans 6:17-18 NIV Bible:

“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become saves to righteousness.” 

Our lives as God’s children is seeded within us (2 Corinthians 4:16).

#6.  THE OLDER THE PALM TREE–

The Encyclopedia Britannica says this about DATE PALMS longevity:  “Palms are known to live as long as 150 years. Though their fruit production declines, with scared trunks visible, the fruit produced in the later years is often sweeter!

Though I don’t want to live to the age of a palm tree, I do hope and pray as I grow older, my FRUIT will still be as SWEET.

** [Biblical verses pertaining to FRUIT: Matthew 12:33; Luke 8:14-15; John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22-26.]

As Christians grow older, our fruit should grow sweeter.

The SCARS OF LIFE produce the fruit of holiness and the TRIALS OF LIFE conform us, prunes us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).

#7.  THE PALM TREE CAN’T BE GRAFTED–

I remember my father-in-law telling me about his small avocado ranch in Vista, California. “Root Rot” destroyed many groves one season, forcing him to make a difficult but necessary decision:  Sell the farm, or…he took the “or”.

He cleared the diseased avocado trees, planted lemon trees in their place.  But after a few years, lemon prices dropped below market cost, and another decision was undertaken.

He GRAFTED limes on to the lemon rootstock because limes were more valuable wholesale and citrus trees are compatible to graft.

HORTICULTURALISTS say, to GRAFT a palm tree is to kill it.  

THE PALM TREE, unlike the lemon and lime trees, is distinctive and unusual.  That’s why grafting kills it.

To GRAFT A CHRISTIAN into the world, kills one’s testimony and influence.  

As a true believer, the Christian is to be unique and easily distinguished from the world.

“I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren…”  (Romans 12:1-2).

#8.  THE PALM TREE IS AN EVERGREEN–

“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green”  (Psalm 92:14 NIV).

I have lived in the Evergreen State (Washington State) now for over 35 years.  Coming from Southern California originally, I have come to enjoy the evergreen trees that are in abundance and part of the landscape; seen from every home and automobile window.

EVERGREEN is a symbol of immortality.

The child of God will never die spiritually, having an everlasting life (John 3:16, 18, 36).

When I awake every morning, I give THANKS to my God and Savior that I am “planted in the house of the Lord”; that like the PALM TREE, my fruit is growing sweeter every day by the renewing of my mind daily (Romans 12:2), in Christ Jesus; that the Word of God will keep me fresh and green as the PALM TREE.

It is good to praise the Lord…to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night…How great are your works, O Lord, how profound are your thoughts!  The righteous will flourish like a PALM TREE, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon…  [Selected verses from Psalm 92]

I hope an pray that this blog has given you encouragement in whatever you are going through in life and a testimony to others around you.


CREDITS:

DATE PALM FACTS: Wikipedia the Date Palm; Encyclopedia Britannica.

PHOTOS:  Photo Pin, Google Search.