JUDGMENT!

JUDGMENT!

 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.— Judges 2:11; 3:7; 3:12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1

So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. —Luke 7:30

            It is surely true that God is love (I John 4:8). God loves, but God also hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19). God is also compassionate, merciful and patient (Psalm 86:15; II Peter 3:9). But God’s Holy Spirit “will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:  about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:8-11). Judgment is not only coming upon Satan, but also on all who follow him, doing his will (II Timothy 2:26).

            Warnings of judgment are clear in the Book of Judges. Again and again the people did evil in the sight of the Lord.   He was patient, but then His patience ran out and He brought judgment upon them. Did they learn their lesson? It appears just briefly. They called on the Lord for deliverance and the Lord was merciful and gracious to them and delivered them from their enemies. But it did not take long for the people to do “what was evil in the sight of the Lord” again. The Israelites wanted to do “as they saw fit” or “what was right in their own eyes.” They did not want the Lord to be their King (I Samuel 8:7).

            We need to heed the warnings today. This corona virus is being used by God to get the world’s attention.   Look how one little germ has impacted the world! God can bring one nation against another in judgment, but He can also work through a germ to bring judgment on the whole world. Some might ask if this is a judgment from God. Why wouldn’t it be? You don’t think each nation on this planet has done evil in the Lord’s sight again and again and again? Is there any nation on this planet that wants Jesus as King? No! Just like the Israelites did not want Him King over them, so the nations of the world do not want Him as King over them. They want to do what they see fit or what is right in their own eyes.

           May this be a wake-up call for many because there is coming a time when “the kings of the earth, the nobles, the commanders, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of Their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?” (Revelation 6:15-17). Nobody will be able to withstand His judgment and all who do not know Jesus will be “thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. And if anyone was found whose name was not written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15). Those who do not know Jesus are in eternal danger right now—“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” and “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever rejects the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:18, 36). The call is to trust Jesus now! You do not know when you will draw your last breath. Today is the day of salvation.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYZw0dfLmLk&t=37s 

Dear Father I am so grateful to know Jesus. Thank You for drawing me to Him. Now may I gratefully and thankfully live for Him in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QANH8MWuyaE

THE LACK OF WITNESS AND DISCIPLESHIP RESULTS

THE LACK OF WITNESS AND DISCIPLESHIP RESULTS

And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. —Judges 2:7-14

            So all the days that Joshua was alive the people serve the Lord. They did so until all the elders that outlived Joshua died as well. Then after all Joshua’s generation was gathered to the Lord “there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them.”

            How did that happen? What was missed that one generation served the Lord and then the next generation “did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.” Did not know the Lord! Did not know the work He had done for Israel! In one generation! Apparently what did not happen was that witnessing of our Lord and discipleship in the Lord did not take place with the next generation.

Have we learned our lesson from this in America as a nation?   I think not! As a nation we have forgotten— “My Country Tis of Thee” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_HXqetzyb4   We are not remembering— “America the Beautiful” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3SPjk1ktRQ  Oh, may we return and see!— “Battle Hymn of the Republic” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2LZ9cVRkDw  May we once again as a nation see His glory!   Oh, that this next generation would know Him! That means this present generation needs to be faithful in witnessing and discipling the next generation. Oh, may it be so!

Dear Father may You be pleased to once again have mercy on us and extend Your grace to us. We do not deserve your grace. We deserve judgment, but might You be please to extend grace and mercy to us that we would be a Lighthouse of Truth and show forth Your glory. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus. Yes, may You be pleased to do a new thing in this nation and may I be and do my part for Your glory. So be it!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-1fwZtKJSM

FEAR NOT DEATH!

FEAR NOT DEATH!

After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being 110 years old Joshua 24:29

            Death… comes to us all! Adam died.   Noah died. Abraham died. Joseph died.   Moses died and now Joshua died.   And you and I will die.

            Today many people are fearful that they may get this corona virus and die.   Listen, about 150,000 people die every day across this earth. How much do you hear about that? Here’s what I read—

  • 151,600 people die each day
  • 6,316 people die each hour
  • 105 people die each minute
  • Nearly two people die each second
  • 55.3 million people die each year

            I am reading that there have been almost 32,000 deaths worldwide from the corona virus. Yes, it is a new virus and yes it is serious and yes it kills. But so do so many other diseases, hunger, car accidents, drugs…   If the media mapped out all these happenings I wonder what the anxiety level would be for many people.  

            Death is always near. You and I could die at any time and it does not take a virus to do it. It is interesting how the fear of becoming sick from this virus has gotten so many people’s attention at the moment. Since the possibility of death has gotten your attention, deal with the real problem— your rebellion against the God who gave you life. When you know Him you do not have to fear death. It is said of Jesus—– “Now since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity, so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15). We need not fear death if we truly know the Lord Jesus Christ. He has defeated death— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6khv6pGkw&t=3s

            Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13). Call on Jesus today to save you and you need not fear death again!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMsMiluCUUI

Dear Father thank You that I never need fear death because I am safe in Jesus and I have eternity ahead of me with Jesus and all who love Him. Oh, that I would encourage others to trust Him that they too would not fear death, but know life in Him… forever. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus. So be it.

OUR GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!

OUR GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!

Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. —Joshua 21:45

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x8TZiwPGa0 (one of my favorite songs!)

            Ever have a parent make a promise to you when you were a child and then did not keep it? Ever have an employer make a promise and then did not keep it? Ever have a teacher that made a promise and then did not keep it?   Ever have a relative make a promise and then did not keep it? Ever have a friend that made a promise and then did not keep it? Ever have anyone make you a promise and then did not keep it?    Did you ever make a promise and then did not keep it?

            Men fail us at one time or another and we fail others at one time or another.   But God never fails us…NEVER! We can trust Him fully to carry out His promises.   His carrying out of His promises may not be in our time, but He will bring all His promises to pass… all of them!   Trust Him with His promises to you.   They will happen…

            Oh, we should be so grateful to know our Lord Jesus. One of the greatest promises that will come to pass is that we will be with Him one day. This was His desire for us— “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24). Wow!   Jesus wants us to be with Him and see the glory He had since “before the creation of the world.” Brother and sister if that does not bring joy to your heart, nothing will? The promise is that we will be with Jesus. That is His desire for us! Do we truly desire to be with Him? Oh, may that be the case!

            So, whatever you are going through today keep your focus on His promises.   They will come to pass. No circumstance, no person, no nothing can keep that promise from happening (Romans 8:35-39). Praise God! He is the only One who keeps His promises 100%. Oh, may we learn from His example and keep our promises as well— “it’s better that you don’t promise than that you do promise and not follow through” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).  Keep your promises!

I am so grateful Dear Father to know that You always keep Your promises. Now, may I trust You fully even when things do not make sense, even when I don’t see how things are working out, even when the darkness caves in all around me— help me to wait on You. Yes, help me to wait on You in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus my Lord. So be it!

BE A FRIEND OF SINNERS!

BE A FRIEND OF SINNERS!

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” —Luke 5:27-32

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipwEtvWL_3c

           Is this the pattern we follow when someone responds to Jesus to follow Him?   Matthew responded to follow Jesus and the first thing he does is gathers all his peer friends together in the presence of Jesus. Can you imagine if this was the typical action of those responding to Jesus?   Think of how the gospel would be heard by many!

            Do we make the mistake of encouraging those who decide to follow Jesus away from their friends and peers? Of course there is the balance of not being yoked with them (II Corinthians 6:14), but Paul said “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. I was not including the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a verbal abuser, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat” (I Corinthians 5:9-11). We are to associate with the lost and not isolate from the lost.

            The longer a person is following Jesus the greater tendency there is for being around those who know Jesus and a lesser tendency for being around the lost if we do not keep the biblical focus. It is more comfortable being around those following Jesus where we are accepted. Being around the lost and communicating the gospel to them will surely bring about rejection of that message, but that does not alleviate the responsibility we have to bring the gospel to them. This is expected of us (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). To not do so is disobedience.

            Jesus gave us the example and was called the “friend of sinners.” How fortunate are we that He is? Otherwise you and I would not have heard the gospel from those who follow Jesus’ example. Not let us continue following that example to be a friend of sinners—- for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then can they call on the One in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:3-15). Oh, that we would have beautiful feet! 

Dear Father may I be a “friend of sinners” knowing that is where I came from before You drew me to Jesus. Be please to work in and through me to draw others to Yourself.   May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!

BE FISHERMEN!

BE FISHERMEN!

Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. —Luke 5:3-11

            They had fished all night and had not caught even one fish! How many times did they cast their nets only to pull them in with nothing in them? All that work, all that labor, all night long for… nothing. Hear the defeat in Peter’s voice— ““Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!” And yet Peter, at Jesus’ word, responded— “But at your word I will let down the nets.” 

            All night long and had caught nothing. Then at Jesus’ word and their obedience in casting out the nets again, “they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.” They went from catching nothing all night to one cast of the net at Jesus’ word and they “signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.” From no fish all night to one cast and then catching an abundance of fish— all at Jesus’ word.

            Peter realized something about Jesus in that moment and he was “astonished.”   This so impacted him that he confessed his own unworthiness to be in Jesus’ presence. Peter said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  This is how Peter saw himself in the presence of Jesus. How did Jesus respond to Peter? Did He say to Peter, “Yes Peter, I know that you are a wicked, wretched sinner?”   No, instead Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Peter and his partners “brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”

            Jesus knows all things about all men (John 2:25) and yet he still loves all men (John 3:16). He called us to follow Him. He called us to be “catching men.” Oh, may we be faithful in this. But we can only be faithful in catching men if we are not first faithful in fishing for men, trusting Jesus to guide us to the “catch.”

Dear Father please help me to be a faithful fisherman and may You be pleased to work through me to catch men to Yourself. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus because I cannot do this on my own.

LEARN YOUR LESSON AND DO IT!

And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. —Luke 4:42-44

            Jesus was in a desolate place by Himself, but He was not going to stay there.   He was sent with a purpose and that purpose was to “preach the good news of the kingdom of God” in other towns.

            God has given us purpose as well. We are to be witnesses and make disciples “in all the world.” Right now we might feel like we are in a “desolate place.” And we are to a large degree isolated and not around many people because of this corona virus. Did we take it for granted the gift of people’s physical presence? Do you long to be in the presence of people?  

            Our Lord God Almighty works through situations like this in many ways. But the questions are— How is He working in our own life? What does He desire to teach me in and through this? Will I be different on the other side of this as I apply what He desires me to apply or will I return to the status quo with no change?  

            Jesus did not stay in the desolate place. He did not stay isolated and nor will we. This will eventually pass, but then what? For Jesus He left the desolate place to “preach the good news of the kingdom of God in other towns.” This is why He was sent and He was being faithful to that purpose. Now, when we leave the “desolate place” and are no longer isolated, will we be more fervently seeking to accomplish the purpose for which we were saved (Ephesians 2:10)? Will we be more passionate about it?

On 9-11 planes hit the World Trade Center buildings that were a wakeup call for this country, but also for the church. Did it work? Didn’t seem like it. Well, here is another wake up call for the world, nations (including the U.S.), individuals and the church. How will we respond after this passes? Will we learn the lessons our Lord would have us learn or will we just go back to “business as usual?” Be assured that our adversary, the devil, will be pushing his agenda through this and after this. Be on guard (I Peter 5:8) and be about or Father’s business.

Yes, Dear Father, may I learn what You want me to learn through this and then apply to my life what You desire me to apply. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus my Lord. So be it!

OUR HOPE IS IN THE LORD!

OUR HOPE IS IN THE LORD!

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He was hungry. The devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” Then the devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.  “I will give You authority over all these kingdoms and all their glory,” he said. “For it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish.  So if You worship me, it will all be Yours.” But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” Then the devil led Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down from here.  For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You carefully; and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” But Jesus answered, “It also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. —Luke 4:1-13

Jesus was hungry and the devil knew it and so designed a temptation in that area. Satan tried tempting Jesus to PROVE He was the Son of God by turning stones into bread.   There is no way Jesus was going to follow the lead of Satan and He quoted a higher calling than physical hunger.   He said that “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone”’ and the parallel passage in Matthew He adds “but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We are to listen to God and not to satanic temptations in the areas of physical appetites.   Is God speaking to me in some area of physical appetites where I am being tempted?   Will I listen to what God is saying to me in that area or give in to the temptation of Satan? Here are some areas of physical appetites: gluttony, sexual immorality of any kind, drunkenness, drug use…

            Another area where Satan tempted Jesus and does so with us as well is with positions of power. There is fallen nature tendency to want to rule over others and not serve them.   Jesus mentioned this in Luke 22:24-27 where “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.  Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.  But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.  For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” We are not to look for power positions. Instead we are to be servants in whatever position we find ourselves in. May this be the case for each of us!

            Lastly, Satan tempted Jesus with proving He could have His life preserved.   Jesus would not cave to Satan’s temptation. He knew who He was and that His life was already preserved forever, being the Eternal Son of God. So we also need to remember this. Brothers and sisters, no virus, no demon, no famine, no nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).  We are safe in His hands to live the life expectancy that He expects us to live, that He planned for us to live according to His purposes. So let us not fret about the circumstances we find ourselves in. 

Dear Father I am so grateful to know I am safe in You regardless of what happens in or around my life. Now may I encourage others toward You that they may know this as well. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!

SEEK HIS FACE!

SEEK HIS FACE!

So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD. —Joshua 9:14

            The Gibeonites knew they were in trouble and would be destroyed by the Israelites as the Lord commanded. So they deceived the Israelites into thinking they were from a distant land and not one of the nations the Israelites were to destroy.   “And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them” (Joshua 9:3-15). Before doing this they “did not ask counsel of the Lord.”

            How about us? Do we ask counsel of our Lord before making decisions? Do we seek to make decisions according to His Word, according to His desires, according to His will (Matthew 6:10). Or do we just do what we think we should do with the information that is given to us, the information that we have. Do we truly look to the Lord with the decisions we need to make?

            What about today? It is another day and there will be decisions to make.   How will I make them? Have I spent time with the Lord today? —“The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will” (Isaiah 50:4).  This is how I need to start my day. I need to hear from my Lord. I need to be prepared by my Lord. I need to be ready to comfort, encourage, preach and teach others. I need to listen and learn and look to Him as I serve.   Oh, may I do so today and for the rest of my life,.

Dear Father may I wait on You each day and expect the counsel I need from You to live and serve in each day for the rest of my life.   May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus— all for Your glory!

GROWTH

GROWTH

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. —Luke 2:52

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8-lxkTC47g           

Wow, to think that the Lord of glory took on a body (Hebrews 10:5) and went through the growth process of any ordinary person.  Yet He was far from being any ordinary man (John 5:18).  Still, we are told that Jesus, just like people do, grew mentally and physically.  But Jesus also grew “in favor with God and man.”

            Hopefully we are growing in wisdom.  These days we are in will help us do that if we have the right attitude and desire.  Our world is being affected by this corona virus.  Brothers and sisters we need the wisdom from God and His favor, His grace, to wade through these days and be affective for Him and helpful to others.  May our Lord give us favor with man as we seek to serve Him and people.  May we seek our Lord in these things and be faithful to His desires for us.

Dear Father we need Your favor, Your wisdom and favor with man to serve You in these days.  Please help us to be sensitive, not only what to be, but also how to serve others during this time.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.