WATCH OUT FOR WOLVES!

But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed. —II Peter 2:1-3

“The church only wants your money! That is all the church is after!” How many times have we heard that or maybe you have said that? It is unfortunate when people think this way, but they have probably been given a reason to think like they do as this brief clip declares… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofGQcpqTYFw. There are too many examples of people involved in ministry for the sake of “fleecing the sheep.” These greedy con artists give an opportunity for people to think the church “is only after your money.”

But, according to the passage above and many others, this is nothing new. It is so unfortunate, but there will always be false teachers seeking to line their own pockets while taking advantage of the sheep. Because of them, the way of truth will be slandered and “Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality.” These false teachers “will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them.”

So many people are led astray by false teachers. They sound so good, but even “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (II Corinthians 11:14-15). These false teachers are known by God and He “condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.”

Those of us following Jesus have been given the Holy Spirit and His Word to guide us. In Hebrews 5:14 we are told that “solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” We need to be faithfully applying God’s Word to life in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is then that we will understand what is true and what is not. Thanks be to God who gives us what we need to discern what is His and what comes from the adversary!

Dear Father, please help me to yield to Your Holy Spirit, Your Son and Your Word, applying Your truth to life. Yes, may this be so!

BE FAITHFUL!

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. —I Peter 5:2-3

Any ministry we are involved in, whether caring for the flock or any other type of work for the Lord, we are doing so not because of what “we can get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.” Think of it. Why do I do what I do? Am I doing it for something I get out of it or is it truly because I am eager to serve God?

Caring for the flock or any other ministry is a work “that God has entrusted to you.” He is the primary One you and I are accountable to. He is the One in which we are to “do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:22). It is a work that “the Holy Spirit has made you overseers” of (Acts 20:28). You and I should truly be concerned with being “faithful stewards of God’s grace” (I Corinthians 4:2; I Peter 4:10).

What spiritual gift(s), resources and abilities has the Lord God Almighty entrusted to you? Are you being a faithful servant with them? May it be so!

Dear Father, please help me to be a faithful servant, eager to serve You above all. May this be done in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus my Lord.

NEW LIFE!

Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. —I Peter 4:4

When a person truly trusts the Lord Jesus Christ their priorities change. Friends at the time do not understand and think it strange that you don’t want to the wild things you used to with them. A few years ago my sister ran into an old high school classmate of mine and told her what I was presently doing. The former classmate was shocked, understanding what I used to be like.

Other friends thought I was just going through a stage, a fad and that I would eventually return to my old self. Well, it has been 36 years and I have yet to return to my old self and I have no desire to. It is amazing what I thought used to be a good time— the worldly wild and destructive things I used to be involved in. The Lord Jesus truly gives a different perspective on life and why we are living and it is not “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (I Corinthians 15:52; Isaiah 22:13; Luke 12:16-21). I am so grateful for His showing me what this life is for and also for the expectation of being with Him in Heaven one day. What is better than that? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7683dAXXvFI

Dear Father, thank You from saving me out of the life I used to live and giving me new life in Jesus. Out of gratitude may I truly be and do what is pleasing in Your sight. May it be so!

THANKFUL

“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” —I Peter 3:10-12

How thankful are you and I today? We live in a country where we have great freedoms. Yes, they definitely are under attack today as there are those who always have sinister plans as they are moved by the adversary, Satan (II Timothy 2:26). But, we still are able to enjoy life and see happy days. We who love the Lord Jesus should not be “speaking evil” or “telling lies.” Instead, we are to “turn away from evil and do good.”

Part of the reason our country is in the mess we are today is because those following the Lord Jesus and are doing good have mostly shied away from the mission field of government. We end up having people in office who are speaking evil, telling lies and doing evil. So, we end up with the mess we have today.

The good news is that “the Lord watches over those who do right and His ears are open to their prayers.” We are also told that “the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” We have a rich history. Presidents from George Washington to the present have made Thanksgiving Proclamations. In those proclamations Presidents have called this nation to repentance, encouraged Americans to thank Almighty God for His blessing, mentioned gratefulness for His guidance and so much more http://www.whatsoproudlywehail.org/curriculum/the-american-calendar/thanksgiving-day-proclamations-1789-present. This link refutes the historical revisionists of our time. If more people would just read how Christian values truly have impacted this nation instead of swallowing the lies being communicated today, we would be much better off.

Presidents also called Americans to be thankful to God for the free speech and freedom to worship that we have in this nation. Also to thank God for the ability to help others in this world and to seek Him for His guidance, continued blessing and prosperity as a nation. Many of the Presidents quoted God’s Word in their Thanksgiving Proclamations. Yet we continually hear of students finishing first in their graduating class who are told they cannot mention God in their speeches— what hypocrisy— and this is all throughout the public sphere that people are being told not to mention God and His ways— hypocrisy!

We are at a sorry state in this country. If followers of Jesus Christ do not re-engage in this mission field of government, then this country definitely will continue to slide into the darkness that is engulfing our land. Is Jesus calling you into this mission field? Be obedient!

Dear Father, You have us in this world to shine for You whether You have us in a foreign land or in our homeland. For those You are calling to the mission field of government or any other field, may they be obedient. Thank You for where you are calling me… may I be faithful in Jesus!

JESUS IS THE CORNERSTONE

“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. —I Peter 2:6-9

Everything in the building is to be plumbed and level off the cornerstone. The cornerstone determines the rest of the building. So Jesus is to us, His church. Everything is to be determined from His perspective, according to His desires, not mine, not yours. Those of us that understand who Jesus is have “recognized the honor God has given to him” and have obeyed His Word. May we finish the race He has laid out before us faithfully!

But the majority, sadly, reject Jesus— “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” The passage above tells us that people who don’t trust Jesus “stumble because they do not obey God’s word and so meet the fate that was planned for them.”

I have often pondered how sorrowful it would be to spend an eternity without God in a place of torment—hell. I cannot fathom it and I am so grateful that I will not experience it because of what Jesus has done for me and because I trust Him. I have called upon His Name (Romans 10:13) and it is my hope that you have. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6khv6pGkw

Dear Father, I am grateful for Jesus being the Cornerstone. May my life be “plumbed and level” from His, doing those things that are pleasing in your sight. May it be so.

Proclamation

But the word of the Lord remains forever.” —I Peter 1:25

What or who can you fully and completely trust? Only God’s Word will remain forever and can be totally trusted. Yet so many people will not trust the Word of God but will trust in the word of man. I find it amazing how people will just follow what other people have to say and mostly without checking it out. God’s Word is the only foundation and measurement to discern what is true.

We will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the U.S. in a couple days. In a message I shared at the church I pastor I mentioned four of the Thanksgiving Proclamations of past presidents: Washington, Lincoln, Reagan and Obama. This nation is told again and again about the separation of Church and State— this is a lie and a revisionist’s history. Read the proclamations of the Presidents and then tell whether this is true or not. Words surely have meaning- http://www.whatsoproudlywehail.org/curriculum/the-american-calendar/thanksgiving-day-proclamations-1789-present

God’s Word will never pass away and it is exciting for me to read past Presidential Proclamations of those Presidents who quoted the Word of God. Yes, they were quoting from the Bible and never the Koran or any other “religious” book. This country surely was founded upon Christian values and there are threads in historical documents that prove this to be true. There have been and are many deceivers who are seeking to rewrite and miscommunicate our history, but it is written down for anyone to see. The trouble is… not many people will do this.

God’s Word remains forever and may the prayers of past Presidents of this nation be answered in this generation that national repentance and revival would take place. May it be so!

Doubt what I say? Then read the historical documents yourself.

Dear Father, may You be pleased to intervene in this nation in a special way that we could be a powerful and positive light in the world for Your honor and glory. With man this is impossible, but with You all things are possible. May it be so in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

PRAYER AND PRAISE

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. —James 5:13

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reHcKkKPPos&list=PLcHqC9YNzSaD-O-rkP9o8hDA9jJ_oja4l When going through difficulty are we likely to go immediately right to God with it? When we are happy are we likely to respond by singing praises to Him? These are the responses this verse above from James says we are to have. May it be so!

Our world is filled with hardship, but what would our world be like if all those going through hardship prayed to the Lord God Almighty? This is not what most people do though. The responses I have heard is that many blame God for their circumstances instead of calling on Him for help if they mention Him at all. Oh, that people would call out to Him when they are in difficulty.

When we are happy do we sing praises to Him? Are our hearts filled with melody toward Him? They should be as we understand that our Lord God Almighty is in control of all things? Let us respond appropriately to Him today as we go through this day!

Dear Father when difficult times come upon me may I look immediately to You for strength and wisdom. When I am happy may I lift up songs of praise to You. May it be done in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power.

LIFE IS SHORT, ETERNITY IS LONG!

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. —James 4:14

Life… is… short! Take a look at your own life right now. How old are you? Isn’t hard to believe that we are at this stage in our life already? We live a mere century if that. Yet it would take us millions upon millions of light years to travel our universe to even begin its exploration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaOCQCQGkEE

The above verse illustrates the brevity of our lives— it “is like the morning fog— it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPGrNvbS3Mk When we truly consider our lives— we are very small and our lives are very short! Yet our Lord God Almighty who created all this loves us and is deeply concerned and involved in our lives. His desire is that He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4) and is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).

Your life is short. His desire is that you turn from your sin, call upon the Name of Jesus to ask for forgiveness of your sin and to save you from your sin and to a relationship with Him. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Amazing that we can have a relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of all things— Jesus.

Dear Father, I am amazed that You who are so Grand and Awesome would even consider me. I am so thankful that You did. Now may I live a life of gratitude and be and do what You desire.

PUFFING ONESELF UP

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. —James 3:13-18

Here is a good portion of God’s Word to help us understand the motivation for which we do things. This also helps us understand why others do what they do. Are we serving with humility or from a bitter jealousy, selfish ambition and covering up the truth with boasting and lying? Wow! This is very clear… is it not? God’s Word tells us that these character traits “are earthly, unspiritual and demonic.” A person can be saying they believe in God all they want but if this is how they are acting then it is satanic and not godly.

I find it very interesting that those who are bitterly jealous and have selfish ambition also have a tendency to cover these up by boasting and lying. Boasting is to puff oneself up to look bigger or more important than what they are. Lying, well that speaks clearly of not being honest or not telling the truth. Clearly we can see how this would be “are earthly, unspiritual and demonic” and not from God.

What came right to mind this morning was President Obama, who claims to be a Christian, said this— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUiB-2n2vPM. What kind of person would say this to an organization that systematically murders children? There is only one answer— satanically motivated (II Timothy 2:25-26).

Dear Father, we pray for President Obama. He claims to know You, but by his actions he denies You. Be please to speak to his heart that he would do what is right in Your sight. That is what is most important. May it be so in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power.

DEEDS

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?… Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?… So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone… Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. –James 2:14, 18-20, 24, 26

People can say faith all they want, but that does not make it so! I can say I am a doctor, but that does not make it so. I can say I am anything, but that is not the case. The outward evidence of my life will give a good indication of whom and what I am. I can stand on a used car parking lot but that does not make me a used car. Or, a person can go to a church, but that doesn’t make him a follower of Christ.

Faith has outward evidence. Jesus said that “by their fruit you will know them” (Matthews 7:15-20). Fruit is the outward evidence of what a person is and without fruit a person can say they have faith, but they really do not. Faith and works go together and one does not exist without the other. It is a “dead” faith when one says they have faith but there is not external proof indicating this is so. Works or deeds do not save me but show that I am saved! May our faith be active and be giving evidence that we truly love the Lord Jesus.

Dear Father, may the fruit in my life be evident that the Holy Spirit is working in and through me and that I truly am a follower of Jesus.