HATE EVIL & CLING TO WHAT IS GOOD, GODLY

HATE EVIL & CLING TO WHAT IS GOOD, GODLY

The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. —Acts 9:31

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8Qby8TKLME This is how the early church grew stronger and then by the Holy Spirit’s encouragement the early church also grew in numbers. They had a proper fear of the Lord. “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13). “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil” (Proverbs3:7). The person who truly fears the Lord is going to “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

http://biblehub.com/romans/12-9.htm Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him” (Luke 12:4-5).

Can an individual or a local church grow spiritually without the fear of the Lord? Are they hating evil and clinging to what is good?

Dear Father, please help me to have a proper perspective on Who You are, who I am and Your desires for me. May I flee evil, hate evil and cling and love what is good according to Your Word. May it be so in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

PERSECUTION

Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains. As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” —Acts 9:1-6

Yes, Saul set out to “destroy the church” (Acts 8:3; Galatians 1:13). There are those today who seek to do and will seek to do the same today in all parts of the world. America is beginning to see this start here as well http://www.wnd.com/2016/06/courts-say-living-by-christian-faith-illegal/.

We are in spiritual warfare and Satan will seek any avenue he can to destroy the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. He used a highly religious man, Saul, to attempt to annihilate those who followed Jesus and Saul believed he was doing God’s work. Later Saul who became Paul gave this testimony that “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief” (I Timothy 1:13).

The spirit of anti-Christ has always been around since Satan rebelled. There are times when severe persecution breaks out and then there are times when it is more calm— just as it was in Paul’s day (Acts 8:1; 9:31). But, as we get closer to the end of this age persecution will become more intense world-wide. Satan will know his time is short and his fury will increase.

As the Lord Jesus Christ impacted Saul’s purposes and plans and drew him to Himself, may we also be praying that the Lord would impact persecutors today and draw them to Himself. As He does so, may these former persecutors become the greatest proponents of the gospel of Jesus Christ! May it be so! But, beware…

“Why would so decent a man have such a blot on his otherwise stainless record? The combined factors that affected Aurelius’s thinking reveal much about the causes of religious persecution in every civilized age. Aurelius the persecutor makes an especially interesting study because his intolerance was the result not of crude barbarism, but sophisticated political thinking infused with religious fervor. He had moral and ideological grounds for his policy of extinction toward Christians. It is well worth examining what made Marcus Aurelius, philosopher, humanitarian, and social reformer, a great persecutor.” http://www.libertymagazine.org/article/marcus-aurelius-enlightened-persecutor

We may be entering such an era here in the U.S. Surely so if we continue down this present slippery slope…

Dear Father, may we be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ regardless of what is happening in this world. Thank You for our home in Heaven and we surely look forward to being there!

FAITH COMES BY HEARING

The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. —Acts 8:28-35

“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ” (Romans 10:17). “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” II Corinthians 4:3-6).

Somebody was faithful in getting the gospel of Jesus to us so we could hear and God “made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” Now the questions are— Who have I shared the Good News with lately? Who have you share the Good News with as of late? May we yield to God’s desire that we share the Good News about Jesus with someone today. May it be so!

Dear Father, help me to be sensitive to the person or persons You desire me to share the gospel with today. May it be so in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

TRUST HIM IN/THROUGH TRIALS!

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. —Job 1:20-22

I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain. —Job 7:11

I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain. —Job 10:1

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him… —Job 13:15

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. —James 1:2-8

Loss of a business, loss of a child, loss of your health, loss of your spouse’s support.,. any loss brings heartache, brokenness, emotional sadness and a ripping of the emotions. But we must understand that for the follower of Jesus Christ there is purpose in it all.

You might not understand any of it in this life, but will you trust the Lord God Almighty through it all? Do you really believe that God is good, that God is love? He is and we can trust Him. Glory will reveal the purposes we do not understand now. Wait on Him… rest in Him… We will see Him soon. Take courage in the fight dear follower of the Faithful One— take courage…

Dear Father, help me to run the race You have laid out for me. May I keep my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. May it be so!

MOLDABLE

“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God. —Job 1:20-22

Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. —Job 2:9-10

How would you respond if in moments you lost all your wealth, all your children, the support of your spouse and your health? Would you be bitter? What would your attitude be toward the Lord God Almighty? Job understood that anything he had was given to him by the Lord and just as the Lord gives to us, so He can also take it away. That is His prerogative and “Job did not sin by blaming God.” He understood this— “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”

Jesus told us we would have trial in this world (John 6:33). So why does this surprise us when they happen? All of us will have difficulties in this world to some degree. The Lord seeks to work through this fallen world’s trials in our lives to build us up, not to tear us down. Much of this depends on how we react to the trials when they come. Will we grate against them or allow them to do the work in our lives that the Lord desires? May we be sensitive to His workings…

Dear Father, may I be yielded clay, pliable and moldable. Not like set concrete—unyielding and unmoldable. May it be so.

FAITHFUL IN OPPOSITION/PERSECUTION

But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. —Acts 5:29
“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.” —Acts 5:38-42

Let me ask a couple questions— When was the last time you received opposition for speaking about Jesus? Have you ever received opposition for speaking about Jesus? Are you engaged in the spiritual battle?

The followers of Jesus were told not to speak in the name of Jesus, but they said, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. They we committed to sharing the good news even if it meant physical harm. How committed are you and I? May we be faithful to His call!

Dear Father, may I be faithful to what You desire of me and may I be so in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power. May that be the case today and for the rest of my life!

BE HOLY!

How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too. —Acts 5:9

Do we understand the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man? Have we understood the purity of God and the utter disgustingness of sin before Him?

In the context of the verse above, Ananias and Sapphira thought they could agree to lie before the Lord God Almighty without ramifications, but they both “fell down and died” because of their conspiring to lie together against Him (Acts 5:5, 10). Think of it! The lied and died!

So many people have a hard time understanding why God dealt with people the way He did in the Old Testament era. This is because of their lack of understanding of the holiness of God. Sin, all sin, will be dealt with one day and the fact of the matter is this… all sin and sinners not under the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ will be judged forever in Hell. Think judgment on people was serious in the Old Testament? Well think about how serious it is going to be for everyone who has not trusted the Lord Jesus Christ! It is an eternal death, called the 2nd death (Revelation 20:14; 21:8).

People cannot lie to God without His knowledge of it. Nor can they sin in any way without His knowing of it. Those sinning against Him mentioned in I Corinthians 11:30 ended up sick and some of them died! Indeed, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). So, the Lord God Almighty says, “Be holy, because I am holy” (I Peter 1:16). May we be so… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWndDW_271g

Dear Father, may I live holy as You have called me to. This is my desire in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power.

ENJOY!

O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them… —Acts 4:24

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11).

Let us put our “hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (I Timothy 6:17). We went for a “sunset cruise” on the lake last night with another couple in Christ. It was a beautiful night as the moon rose from the clouds and shone brightly on the water. A gentle breeze brushed against us but it had warmness to it. The water was almost flat. Yes, that was enjoyable and the Lord God Almighty created that for our enjoyment— a little taste of Heaven!

Do we take enough time to enjoy what our Sovereign Lord has created for us to enjoy? Let us not be too busy to have joy in the creation He created that we could enjoy!

Dear Father, thank You for Your creation. May I take time often to enjoy what You have created and may I learn from Your creation as well. May this be so in the authority of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

CAN’T STOP TELLING!

But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” —Acts 4:19-20

Is the above verse the cry of our heart as well? Are we at the point where “We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard?” Is the Spirit of God stirring you to speak about Jesus, bearing witness to Him? This is the call of Acts 1:8. We are to be witnesses of the Lord Jesus. May that be the case in our lives even when opposition arises.

Dear Father, may I be faithful in sharing the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus. Oh, that I would do this in His authority and by the power of the Holy Spirit. May it be so!

WANTED: GODLY LEADERS!

For the entire twelve years that I was governor of Judah—from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of the reign of King Artaxerxes—neither I nor my officials drew on our official food allowance. The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty pieces of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way. —Nehemiah 5:15-15

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Nehemiah hated evil, feared the Lord and would not take advantage of the people. He would not put heavy burdens on the people as previous governors did. For 12 years neither Nehemiah or his officials drew on the official food allowance.

Oh, that we would have government officials that fear God, that hated evil and would not take advantage of the people. It seems so many that are in government positions suck every dime possible from the tax-payers and demand even more. Who are they really looking out for? Themselves or the people they are supposed to be serving?

There is no doubt that the Lord God Almighty put it on Franklin Graham’s heart to travel to each state to call the church to be praying for America and also for those following Jesus to go into all the world which includes this “cultural area” called government. We know from God’s Word where this world is eventually heading, but will the church do its part while it is still on this planet. Will we followers of Jesus be salt and light in every area of this world or just those places we feel comfortable in.

I was talking with one of the guys at the State Prison where I volunteer. He said, “It was time for him to move from the area of prison where he is living to reach more men with the gospel in other parts of the prison.” All the guys where he lives have heard the gospel and he seeks to share with those who have not. Listen to what this man is saying. He is willing to put himself in a more difficult situation to reach men with the gospel. He is talking about areas of the prison where there are gangs, drugs, sexual perversions— things that will be every day part of his life— and he is doing this for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Where he presently lives is “comfortable” according to prison standards. What about you and I? Will we be like this man? Will we be like Nehemiah? Will we seek to serve the Lord even in uncomfortable situations or do we seek to live the comfortable Christian life without difficulties?

Dear Father, may I go where You desire me to go and do what You desire me to do. May this be done in the authority of Jesus my Lord and in the power of the Holy Spirit.