"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." Colossians 3:17, KJV

Praise the Lord

Welcome to In His Name, a devotional site where the Word of God is posted and explored. This site embraces the love of Jesus Christ, encouraging Bible study.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Greatest Testimony

“Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me,” John 5:39, KJV.

“You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!” John 5:39, AMP.

The importance of studying the scriptures is noted here in this very scripture. In this context, Jesus was speaking to those who question His true identity. Today, there are many who challenge Jesus’ identity although the Old Testament is available for research. The problem that exists is that no matter how much evidence you provide, they still won’t believe. And they wonder why certain things occur in their lives.

Not only is Jesus real, He’s alive. When He accomplished the mission here on Earth, he sat down on the right hand side of God (Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 10:12). In His absence from Earth, the Holy Spirit was sent to comfort. The Holy Spirit is our guide here and intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27) even so Christ Himself (Romans 8:34) as He is seated next to God.

What will it take for some people to believe and receive? Proof they say, yet reject the very Word that’s placed in front of them. It’s similar to when some are told of the danger ahead of them, but decide to proceed anyway. Many are warned about relationships that they should not be in, but they enter them anyway. Some are told of the chance they may be taking by traveling a certain road, yet go regardless. The examples can span a thousand miles, but some may never learn. Is this an example of a reprobate mind?

There is still hope because we can equip ourselves with the Word, which is the sword. We are to gain wisdom, and with our getting—understanding. As growing Christians, we must study and show ourselves approved. If we’re not studying, what are we proving except the fact that we own a Bible? What does that say? It could be collecting dust or serving a nice show piece when our “brothers and sisters in Christ” visit the house. Jesus instructs us to search the scriptures because that’s where we’ll find Him.

Let us take a look at the book of Isaiah 7:14, KJV, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” When I read this passage I thought of the name Immanuel. I know that Jesus is the son of God, but I was trying to figure out why Isaiah said His name would be Immanuel and He was named Jesus. Well, it didn’t take long to understand that Immanuel means “God is with us.” Isn’t Jesus with us? Furthermore, in Isaiah 9:6, KJV, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,” proves that He has many names. And how many names have we made for Him today? He is Healer, Comforter, Provider, and many more.

In chapter eleven of the book of Isaiah, there we will find more prophecy about His coming. Isaiah 11:1 speaks, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Of course Jesse is the father of King David which means Jesus belonged to this lineage. Many scriptures testify of Jesus before He ever arrived in human form. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God,” Isaiah 40:3. Confirmed in the New Testament, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” Matthew 3:1-3, KJV.

There are many scriptures that testify of His existence. I believe that God may have chosen to establish the world this way, speaking of Christ so that we’ll have the “evidence” needed to satisfy our human nature. He knows us because He made us. Just as if we were meeting someone in person for the first time and a description is given so that we could identify them, God did so for us. As we might say, “She’ll be wearing a pair of green pants, a blue sweater, a tan leather coat, and holding a red book in her left hand.” How could you mix that person up with another? It is so unique. So is Jesus Christ as he was described so many years before He arrived.

Search the scriptures…there you will find Him.

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Brother’s Keeper

“And Cain said to his brother, [a]Let us go out to the field. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.(A) And the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper? And [the Lord] said, What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground,” Genesis 4:8-10, AMP.

One of the most familiar stories in the Bible is of Cain and Abel, the first two children of Adam and Eve. Due to God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering and rejection of Cain’s, jealousy rose up in Cain against his brother. Jealousy so callously rooted, it incited him to murder. How often does that still happen today?

Crimes are committed, but yet many say that we’re ALL God’s children. Where did that come from that we’re all God’s children? “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” John 1:12, KJV. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” Romans 8:14, KJV. “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world,” Philippians 2:15, KJV. Notice the last scripture quoted, only the sons of God can shine as lights in the world. How can someone who rejects Him shine any kind of light? There is no light in him, only darkness. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not,” 1 John 3:1, KJV. So, anyone of the world does not know God, therefore, impossible to be His son.

Understanding that we’re not all God’s children, we who are His children hold an obligation of being one another’s keeper. When we see another doing well, we should not envy them. This is an opportunity to encourage. Notice what God said to Cain, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.” God knows all. When He asked Cain what he had done, He wasn’t asking because He didn’t know, He was asking because He wanted Cain to own up to what he had done. We are called to be honest about our actions. How can God forgive us if we never admit what we’ve done?

As humans, we are far from perfect, but love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). This means that once we begin loving one another, putting away covetousness, we can experience being perfected in love. Not that we will be become perfect, but that we are perfected. So, when someone needs a helping hand, don’t slap their hands away when you have it to give (Proverbs 3:28). Is that love? We must be willing to do His will. If God were to ask me, “Are you your brother’s keeper?” I want to answer with a pure heart, “Yes, yes I am.”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

On this day, I offer scriptures of meditation. It marks a day set aside to congregate with family and friends to give thanks unto God. Just as many other holidays that have been streamlined into secularism, this day too has been exploited. But as Christians, we must continue to keep God at the heart of everything that we do.

As this day is primarily celebrated in the United States and Canada, let us remember to give thanks everyday for our lives and those fighting overseas. I'm sure for many it is an opportunity to eat a large meal and plop down in front of the tube for some football, but it does go deeper. Consider those less fortunate and many of which this day may be the only day all month they get a hot, nourishing meal.

As I give thanks, I praise God for life, health, and strength. He has given freely to me. He has provided me with family, food, shelter, and transportation. But most of all salvation! Truly, the best gift of all is to be saved. I love you, Lord.

Let us give thanks…

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever,” Psalm 118:1, KJV.

“But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD,” Jonah 2:9, KJV.

“Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God,” 2 Corinthians 9:11-12, KJV.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,” Philippians 4:6, KJV.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ,” Colossians 2:6-8, KJV.

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving,” Colossians 4:2, KJV.

“Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen,” Revelations 7:12, KJV.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Protection of God

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD,” Psalm 27:1-6, AMP.

I will indeed sing praises unto the Lord! God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). When God inhabits, there shall He live. So, the more we praise, the closer He is. The protection of our Father I believe is felt very deeply in the lives of those who love Him. There have been times when I didn’t know what I was going to do about certain situations, or where I was going to turn, yet somehow God brought me through. In God bringing me through, this strengthened my faith evermore. My faith was already there in Him, but as He proves Himself over and over again, it continues to grow. And I live in expectation of what God is to do in the future.

In this psalm of David, the above passage imprints upon our minds the devotion God has for His children. It’s telling of how we trust in Him and of how He receives us, His children. I think of parents and children and the connection shared. There is a bond of trust that develops over the years, for most families. The child takes note of the parent’s caring ways. When food or clothing is needed, that parent makes a ways. In considering this, I am not oblivious that some have the unfortunate experience of family members who may have abandoned them. This is a case in point of why we must look to God as our example, not each other.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” It is important to be mindful that we are not to be fearful of those who can kill the body, rather the One who can destroy the body and soul in Hell (Matthew 10:28). This life is short; it doesn’t matter if you’re here one hundred years, that's still short in comparison to eternity. So, why not spend the time allotted serving God. He is the source of strength, the light that guides, and the door of salvation.

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.” To seek is to pursue, to race after, to actively search for. It is an opportunity of worship which ushers in the very presence of God. To behold the beauty of the Lord is to see Him for who He is. There is a reason why we aren’t to physically see the face of God until we leave this world. I consider that one reason may be so that we aren’t caught up on the outward beauty. When Jesus spoke on Earth, he stressed an emphasis on inward beauty. There wasn’t a criterion of how we must “look” to get into heaven, rather a conduct. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal,” Matthew 6:19-20, KJV. He spoke clearly of the intangible, those things that we can’t touch, such as love. Simply put, He examines the heart. In doing that, He covers, protects, and shows favor over our lives, shielding us from dangers seen and unseen.

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Left for Dead

“And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe,” Acts 14:19-20, KJV.

Many times in life we find ourselves in situations where we think we’re going to die, either emotionally or spiritually…and in extreme situations physically. And in some instances the devastation comes not from our hands, but by the hands of others. Many are completely innocent in matters that may leave them grasping for justice in the midst of a fallen world.

When I read this passage of scripture in its full context (Acts 14), I begin with a focus on the first two verses, “And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.” Take a look at the “unbelieving Jews.” They purposely stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against Paul and Barnabas, those spreading the Gospel. Isn’t this still happening today?

The truth is rejected and more often than that, those carrying the truth are pushed away. Isn’t it strange that when what we need the most comes in our midst, but it is discarded because of who is carrying it? We may ask God for certain things and then when He blesses us with that very thing, we turn up our noses because it didn’t come the way that we wanted it to come. I’ve heard of family members pleading to other family members, but the Word is not received because of the past they may have together. Well, in the case of the Jews mentioned in the book of Acts jealousy crept into their hearts. In the preceding chapter, Chapter 13, notice verse 45, “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” Sometimes people just want to make things hard for another. They find no real fault in you; it’s because of how God has blessed you.

Resentment grew up in the hearts of those Jews, jealous at how the Gentiles begged for the word they rejected. Crowds flocked to hear of salvation from the apostles, and the Jews with their hardened hearts gathered others to aid in their rebellion. Does this sound familiar when cliques are formed in school, at work, in families? It’s crazy that one family member or coworker isn’t talking to this one over this and another family member or coworker isn’t talking to another over that. The division starts small, but spreads like a contagious virus. Next thing you know there are family reunions within family reunions, etc.

The Word needs to be met with a receptive heart, but if it isn't we must still press forward. “And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” It is not our job to force the Gospel on another, rather deliver the good news of Jesus Christ. If they receive it, wonderful, if not don’t let your peace turn into wrath or anger because of it. Simply plant the seed and pray that it grows.

In Paul’s case, the anger rose up so violently in those who were “unbelieving” that they sought to kill him. Actually, they stoned him, hating him for his message from God. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28, KJV. What a testimony! Even when they tried to kill him, God has the final say. There was still work left for Paul to do and the enemy was not going to stop it. When you are in the will of the Lord, He has the authority to rise even above death.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Glory through Suffering

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,” Romans 8:17-18, KJV.

All around us there is suffering, famine, lack, and tribulations. We see those suffering from mental breakdowns, emotional stress, and spiritual deficiency. The challenges presented on a daily basis will either cause one to become stronger or collapse. God is not immune to the reality of this world, He knows it very well. He did not create the trouble, but He offers the peace. Many have blamed God for creating such an evil world, but what He has created, the enemy has perverted. And what the enemy perverts only occurs with the aid of those who were given free will—humans.

Each day may bring on a new challenge; some may be so small that it’s not even considered a challenged at all. Others appear as mountains which seem unmovable. But none of it occurs without the knowledge of God. Years ago when I meditated on the fact that God knew all the pain that I had been through, I was saddened. I dare to say that I felt a little betrayed. I couldn’t understand why God would allow certain things to happen to me. Then revelation came as I sought out His true character. He said that He will never leave me nor forsake me. For a minute those words didn’t justify how I felt. It almost sounded contradictory in my mind, until I got a hold of His peace that passes all understanding.

Although I thought my pain was bad, Jesus’ suffering was much greater. The hurt feelings and sting of loss from a loved one passing compared as nothing next to what He had to endure. I’m not just speaking of His physical pain, the anguish of being whipped all night long, but I speak of the emotional sting of rejection. Imagine His suffering for a moment…I mean really think about it, how many of us would be willing to endure so much? How many of us would be able to? So much pressure that He sweat drops of blood. Now that’s love.

If Jesus would allow us only a fraction of what He experienced, I doubt if any of us would be able to take it for very long. The pursuit of knowledge, the ultimate sacrifice, the free gift of salvation God offered…only to be thrown back in His face by some. It saddens me that it took so many years to really become serious about my salvation. But then I rejoice because He loved me that much!

What was I doing spending so much time in disobedience and so little time communing with Him? It was that I got wrapped up in the gifts He gave me and forgot all about the giver. I have to say these things as I know I’m not alone. Some may pretend that they have lived a saved life all their life, but the danger of that is calling God a liar (1 John 1:10). I know that I was wrong on so many levels in my past, but to admit it makes me free (John 8:32)!

So, when I think on the times of when I felt abandoned, God says don’t trust your circumstances, trust Me. When I feel like I’m all alone in the world, He reminds me that He is with me, even unto to the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). When I start shedding tears because I feel like no one understands, I mean truly understands, He tells me to do all that I do unto Him, not unto men (Colossians 3:17). When I feel the need to just go home…and be with Him, I am reminded of what Paul said, “For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity],” Philippians 1:21, AMP.

There is such a need for those who are serious about God to step up. Many are dying off and dying off young, it saddens me to know that there are those who still say, “I’m young, I’ve got time.” I understand more clearly with each passing day these words, “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near,” Isaiah 55:6, KJV.

Reference: Philippians 1:20-24

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Engrafted Word

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves,” James 1:19-22, KJV.

Focal Passage: James 1:19-27

“…let every man be swift to hear.” In God’s word are many pearls of wisdom. It encourages, teaches, and instructs. In this particular passage, we are called to be quick (eager) to hear (for faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God). So, this is why we should anticipate the voice of our Lord; “a ready listener” as specified by the Amplified version, to hear God’s holy word. To be quick in hearing means to unite with whatever the word of God teaches. It is that feeling of not being able to get enough of this good thing. It is having a ready ear to receive correction. When I pray, I ask God to forgive me for things that I’ve done knowingly as well as unknowingly. It does not matter if I’ve done some things one way all my life, if it is found in God’s word to be wrong I need to listen to correction. This is how the word of God becomes engrafted into our lives; to incorporate in a firm or permanent way—taking root in our hearts.

“…slow to speak.” Being slow to speak is to be careful of our words, listening to what is said or observing all facts before acting. This can keep one from behaving rashly or assuming something contrary to the actual facts. In this passage, James goes right into this by following with, “slow to wrath.” We are to not be easily angered. This does not mean that we will never get upset for even Jesus showed an emotion of anger (see Matthew 21:12), it simply means that our anger is justified and controlled. Be angry, but sin not. (Ephesians 4:26)

“…lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness.” Depart from works of the flesh (2 Corinthians 7:1, Galatians 5:19, Revelation 17:4). How can we honestly say we love God with our entire being and feel numb to the instruction of the Bible? When you seek God with your whole heart, then conviction will overtake that lustful desire to do things in opposition to His word. When we ask God to search and make us over, that’s exactly what He does. But one must be willing to “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”

In order for the word to be engrafted for any one individual, it must be received. But the reception must not be met with opposition. It must not be taken in grudgingly. It must not be received in a way just to be able to say “I’ve received.” The word must be greeted with acceptance in humbleness. How can the Lord forgive you for something that you don’t think is wrong? If someone feels that their lifestyle is okay although it is clearly against God’s word, what can He do with that? This world may accept many things, but God however will not allow sin into His kingdom. Do understand that it is not the sin alone that keeps you out of heaven (for all have sinned and fallen short), yet it is the rejection to be cleansed from that sin (the rejection of Jesus as Lord AND savior).

Jesus died providing us with unmerited favor which is grace. He died to reconcile the fallen man back with the Father. He died, offering a gift (Himself), worthy of glorification; a gift that is given out of a free expression of love, not costing any one of us a dime. But so often we’ll pay our way into Hell. God is not some colossal man standing with a book of rules to keep us from enjoying life. He is a gentle loving creator who wants only the best for us. He does not hover over us to chastise us when we make mistakes. He covers extending a hand to help us up when we fall. He is not a domineering force that keeps us from “having fun,” He loves us enough to warn of impending danger ahead. He loves us enough to tell us about the enemy and what has happened in Heaven. He loves us enough to give of Himself to save our souls. He loves us enough to tell us the truth!

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” A person is only misleading themselves when they hear the word, know the word, and never apply the word to their life. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain,” verse 26. This means that all of the “religious” activity is worthless. When the engrafted word is received in its very nature, it is implanted into the heart, bringing with it the fruits of the Spirit.

References: Romans 10:17

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When a Woman Loves a Man

When a woman loves a man properly, she will first know her worth. In knowing her worth, she will only accept men into her life that compliment the life she leads. In the life she leads, everything will point back to what she really wants. Is it of God or is it of the enemy?

Similar to when a man loves a woman, a woman must first love God. But what I’ve encountered and heard is that many are afraid of loving…again. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love,” 1 John 4:18, KJV. Going back to that place before the hurt, before the first love, where did the expectation lie? It was pure, it was innocent, and it was fearless.

When a woman loves a man, she will respect him as a man. She will not degrade him or make him feel “less of a man.” She will encourage him, lift him up, and most of all pray for him. Sure there are areas where we’re all weak, but that tells us what we need most. It is not the tearing down with words and definitely not with actions. A man needs to be built up and assured that the woman he is with has his back.

How can a woman have a man’s back still behaving like a little girl, stated more biblically, as a child? Have we not studied the 31st chapter of Proverbs? What is the definition of a Godly woman? Quoted below are notes directly from the Amplified Bible expounding on this chapter. It is insightful and thought provoking beginning from the 10th verse.

“It is most unfortunate that this description of God's ideal woman is usually confined in readers' minds merely to its literal sense--her ability as a homemaker, as in the picture of Martha of Bethany in Luke 10:38-42. But it is obvious that far more than that is meant. When the summary of what makes her value "far above rubies" is given (in Prov. 31:30), it is her spiritual life only that is mentioned. One can almost hear the voice of Jesus saying, "Mary has chosen the good portion... which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:42).
Proverbs 31:29 "Many daughters have done... nobly and well... but you excel them all." What a glowing description here recorded of this woman in private life, this "capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman" of Prov. 31! It means she had done more than Miriam, the one who led a nation's women in praise to God (Exod. 15:20, 21); Deborah, the patriotic military advisor (Judg. 4:4-10); Ruth, the woman of constancy (Ruth 1:16); Hannah, the ideal mother (I Sam. 1:20; 2:19); the Shunammite, the hospitable woman (II Kings 4:8-10); Huldah, the woman who revealed God's secret message to national leaders (II Kings 22:14); and even more than Queen Esther, the woman who risked sacrificing her life for her people (Esth. 4:16). In what way did she "excel them all"? In her spiritual and practical devotion to God, which permeated every area and relationship of her life. All seven of the Christian virtues (II Pet. 1:5) are there, like colored threads in a tapestry. Her secret, which is open to everyone, is the Holy Spirit's climax to the story, and to this book. In Prov. 31:30, it becomes clear that the "reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord," which is "the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom" (Prov. 9:10), is put forth as the true foundation for a life which is valued by God and her husband as "far above rubies or pearls" (Prov. 31:10).”

When a woman loves a man, she will have knowledge of who she is in God’s eyes and in turn that man will know that she is indeed a woman who will honor him all the days of her life.

Additional Reference: 1 Corinthians 13

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When a Man Loves a Woman

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love,” 1 John 4:7-8, KJV.

I often hear about the drama of relationships which is indeed very real. Many endure domestic abuse, emotional turmoil, and painful infidelity. And today I just wanted to touch on those areas as it relates to the woman.

It’s often challenging and tough to listen to a woman who has been physically battered. Many question how did she get herself in such a situation or why hasn’t she left? But can we begin with what got her there in the first place? Was it just that he said that he loved her or could it have been that he “showed” her that he does? Well, love is more than someone saying the words; love is a verb, an action in its true meaning.

When someone tells you that they love you, wait until you see that played out in action. Remember, you will know him by his fruits. Anyone can utter words and make them sound believable. Again, consider what happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Flowers delivered to the job or a trip to an island where one has never been to do not equate to love. A man taking a woman out to dinner and a movies or even going to church with her does not mean that he loves. Love begins and ends with God because He is love.

It is never easy to detach from someone who had you from “hello.” Are we listening to what he has to say or are we focusing on the kind of body he has? This kind of relationship begins and ends with lust. It’s the kind of relationship where a woman may say, “I just can’t get him out of my head.” And this is why he can say any and everything not worrying that she would ever leave.

When a woman gives herself to a man, she is in a sense marrying him. She receives that spiritually what he has to offer. If he has baggage from a previous relationship, that’s what she’s inheriting. If he carries insecurity in him from the last female, that’s going to soon become you. Souls are connected and united creating “soul ties,” ungodly links. Many may desire marriage, but not yet single. They still carry around with them what happened in the past, preventing breakthrough for their future. How can a person get married if they’re still hung up on somebody from the yesteryears? And those who do get married ending in a quick divorce, proves the truth of God’s words.

Infidelity can only occur if this person has made a commitment. I often hear, and used to say it myself, “He’s cheating on me.” How can a man cheat on a woman he’s not married to or has not made a promise to marry? Many play house by moving in together, sharing bank accounts, and co-signing for vehicles and wonder why the guy doesn’t go through with the initial promise of marriage….and it’s years down the road. Does he have reason to? And then some may ask why does a man cheat when the woman has so much to offer? It doesn’t matter if you’re not who he wants. He’s just confused or waiting for someone better to come along. When a man can’t make up his mind, why would a woman want him anyway?

Lastly, examine the offering of an ultimatum. It is detrimental to box a man into a corner of making a decision to marry. The Bible states in Proverbs 18:22, KJV, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” The responsibility is in the male, not the female. The favor over a marriage is stated clearly in this passage of scripture. If a man loves a woman, she’ll know that he does because the stress and all these other things won’t be added into the equation. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” God will not send someone that is going to trip you up in your walk with Him. So if God isn’t sending him, guess who is.

References: Matthew 7:15-17, 1 John 4, Matthew 6:32-34

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The New Normal

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you],” Romans 12:2, AMP.

What does this world has to offer? Absolutely nothing. What does God have to offer? Absolutely everything, including the world. The world as we know it is a place for us to reside, carrying out the will of God. It is also important to recognize that the world is not Heaven and that it has evil occupants. Understanding this we have to be careful not to love the world for we must love God. It is not profitable to love the world and then to love it so much we don’t want to leave it for this world will indeed pass away. Be not conformed.

Conformity to the ways of the world very easily produces complacency. When falling into complacency, we can become quick to accept tradition. In our time, it seems to be the “new” tradition. Fifty years ago, some of the things that are tolerated today would not have been accepted back then. Some change is good such as freedom for all regardless of the color of a person’s skin …and then some freedom disregard the sanctity of some things holy and sacred such as marriage being between a man and a woman. Be not conformed.

Today, it’s normal for people of the opposite sex to openly live together before marriage, and in some instances it is even encouraged. But can I say that the sin is not in living together, it is in sleeping together. There are many lines that the enemy will deceive you into crossing by suggesting one thing when it’s actually another. We are called to not be conformed to this world, but when we view these practices as okay that’s exactly what we’re doing. Isn’t it crazy to think that you’d never consider marrying a certain person, but find it reasonable to give yourself to them in the most intimate way? Be not conformed.

We are called to be transformed, changed, by the renewing of our minds. It’s important to not gloss over this verse just because it has been quoted so many times before. The dominating word here is transformed (changed). I found it to be difficult for a long time before I decided to live for Christ and not just say that I know Him. But when a genuine, personal relationship was formed it began with a decision. I had made up my mind that no matter what I was going to serve the Lord. I decided to keep myself out of situations where “oops” sins occurred. My mind was no longer complacent, no longer conformed, and no longer “accommodating,” it was changed.

When the mind is changed it is renewed…hence improved. It becomes better than what it was before. The new model outshines the old model. It allows you to see things more clearly. This transformation proves that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. How do we know what His will is for our lives? We have to know His word. And the awesome thing about it is that God’s word to us is never out of date. Just as it is stated in the book of Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun.

Reference: Matthew 6:19-20, Ecclesiastes 1:8-9

Monday, November 16, 2009

To Please Man or to Serve God

"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ,” Galatians 1:10, KJV.

Focal Passage: Galatians 1:1-10

This passage in Paul’s letter to the Galatians is one example of many which expresses his loyalty and dedication to Jesus Christ. It is one where I’m sure many can identify with, not just intellectually but also intimately. Lord, I praise You regardless of what others may say or think. And the sad part in the walk of a Christian’s life is to decide that God does not belong in certain places. Are we pleasing man or serving God?

Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father,” verse 4. I think about how awful it would have been if God was selfish, if God was greedy, if God was all these things that man makes him out to be…what a world this would be. Yet the very God that sacrificed so that we may live is not appreciated because of deadlines, board room meetings, and school plays. He is often kept out of office cubicles, break rooms at lunch time, and life altering decisions. Are we pleasing man or serving God?

I am surprised and astonished that you are so quickly [d]turning renegade and deserting Him Who invited and called you [e]by the grace (unmerited favor) of Christ (the Messiah) [and that you are transferring your allegiance] to a different [even an opposition] gospel,” verse 6, AMP. The times in life that call for loyalty, Christ is sometimes deserted. He patiently waits, hoping that we would call upon Him… for everything we need lies within Him. Oftentimes, comfort is found in things of this world that has no good end; other gods that will have you turning against the true and living God. Again, the subject of spiritual adultery arises, cheating on God and giving glory elsewhere. When we think we’re fighting the devil, sometimes we’re only fighting ourselves.

God is patient extending opportunity after opportunity for us to come to Him. “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near,” Isaiah 55:6, KJV. When that still, small voice says spend time with Me, the response may hurt Him to hear I’ve got more important things to do, not right now: phone calls to make, conferences to attend, reading to catch up on, or cleaning to do. I shudder to think what it would have been like if Jesus had reacted in such a manner in regards to the cross. Are we pleasing man or serving God?

As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed,” verse 9, KJV. It is a dangerous thing to deny any part of the Bible. If we believe in it, why make excuses in our individual lives? Many blame God for things He did not do, but slow to take responsibility for things that they themselves have caused. When the Bible is bent to conform to one’s style of living, then that gospel is no longer God’s. It is that “other gospel” Paul spoke about. We must conform to the Bible, not it to us. Even if a person in authority, a leader or a teacher, contradicts the Word of God, the Bible states let him be accursed.

“Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah),” Galatians 1:10, AMP.

We can’t fool Him, we can only fool ourselves…

Additional Reference: 1 John 3:1, 1 John 2:15-17

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grain of Mustard Seed

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you,” Matthew 17:20, KJV.

Mustard seeds are among the smallest of seeds measuring roughly 3mm in diameter. When Jesus spoke about faith, he compared it to this seed. He could have chosen from a wide array of seeds, but He chose the mustard seed. This should dictate to us how much power God entrusts to those who love Him. We must take Him at His word, even when our circumstance tells us otherwise.

Faith is in believing God at His word. When He said He will heal, trust that He will. When He promises deliverance, be patient and wait on Him. When He says that He will open doors no man can close and close doors no man can open, walk in confidence. God promised that He will not put more on us than we can bear. So the very fact that we go through things testifies that we can handle it. We have to keep our eyes and mind on Him, not man.

The main key here is focus. When we focus on our situations and problems, distraction is in control. I know this personally. It will drive one into missed opportunities, avoidable pain, and repeated cycles of failed lessons that could have been learned the first time around. When we focus on God, we trust God. When we trust God, we possess faith in God.

The mustard seed is known for more than just being small because a mustard seed doesn’t stay small…it indeed grows. It grows from being 3mm in diameter to that of a large tree. And note the time in which it takes to germinate, usually 3-10 days in relatively moist soil. It doesn't take long. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," Hebrews 4:12, KJV. And with the moisture of the soil, it relates directly to the seed of the sower with the seed falling on good ground. This would be cultivated ground, ground that has been prepared to receive.

When this tiny seed grows into a large tree, “the wild birds [a]found shelter and roosted and nested in its branches,” Luke 13:19, AMP. This faith provided a way for others. This faith held up others when they didn’t know a way for themselves. This faith is what God expects us to share with the world. We perched on someone else’s tree for a time, who will we allow to perch upon ours?

When we go through things, let us be good examples for God as we represent Him. For some people, our lives may be the only Bible they’ll ever read.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Seed of the Sower

And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear,” Matthew 13:4-9, KJV.

By the way side: Later in this chapter of Matthew, Jesus clarifies what He meant in the above parable, yet many still don’t hear, hence the meaning of the very parable He shares. Falling by the way side is a person void of understanding, lacking that ability to hear God’s voice. Remember, “My sheep hear my voice,” and in chapter 5 He tells us, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” He blesses those who diligently seek Him. But if we don’t diligently seek Him, the enemy takes away that which was sown. Consider many who go to church, week in and week out, yet have the same understanding (or lack thereof) of God. The preacher, pastor, teacher, minister, “sows” a seed into them, but it was never really received so the enemy had the open door in their lives to take which was planted.

Upon stony places: Jesus explains that there are those with no root in which the Word can grow. These are those that shout with joy at the word, but when trials and tribulations come they abandon the teachings given to them. As soon as a rough patch or terrible situation arises, the stony place people try to take things into their own hands instead of trusting God. Now, I’m not speaking of those who ask the Lord for guidance through their situation, this is in reference to those who do away with biblical principles. Those who may say, “I tried the Bible and it doesn’t work. I tried tithing and it does nothing for me. I do the right things, but I’m better off on the streets.”

Among thorns: Jesus tells about seeds that fall here are also those who hear the Word, yet riches are more important. This I relate to those who “sell out” because the money or clout appears to be more profitable. The glitz and glamour of earth means more. The very place where He tells us not to store our treasures upon yields no fruit because the greed chokes the Word out from them.

Into good ground: Good ground is soil that is willing and ready to receive. This is where cultivation has occurred as the ground has been tilled and prepared. These are those who hear the Word, receive it, and apply it to their lives. This ground protects the seed, soaking up rain from heaven which allows it to grow.

When God’s Word is sown, how will you receive?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shaking the Tree

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit,” Matthew 7:15-18, KJV.

What is a false prophet? Well, let me begin with the meaning of the word prophet. It is commonly defined as a person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of a god is expressed. This can be the true and living God or it can be a false god, as they have messengers too. Back in the Old Testament, Exodus 7:1-2, KJV, we are told what prophet means. “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.”

Moses was as a god because he received the word directly from God. Aaron was the prophet, simply delivering the message. So, when Jesus warned us to beware of false prophets, He was warning us to be wise (as serpents) because there are many who come in sheep’s clothing. Coming in a manner that appears to be innocent and docile, very meek and unassuming, but inwardly they are “ravening wolves.” The nature of a wolf is to hunt down prey. They attack and at times travel in packs, gaining momentum with each opportunity to destroy. Be weary of those whose words to you are contradicted by their attitudes to others; the Lord says you will know them by their fruits.

Fruits, this is our produce. What is being produced daily in our lives? What are we saying to others with our actions? It is clear that many proclaim salvation, yet display damnation. It is disheartening that some speak righteousness, but carry out wickedness. It is necessary to be on guard, because so many are falling “by the way side” due to these false prophets.

It is easy to say that people make mistakes, which indeed we all do, but that does not give a free license for anyone to dress in the clothes of prophet, and haven’t had the stain of sins washed away, which is salvation. When God says to come to Him with your whole heart, He means it. He doesn’t deserve what’s left over from the other gods one may serve. He knows when we’re being honest, not forfeiting the struggles we face. He understands and deals with us individually. But He also tells us that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit and a corrupt (crooked, immoral) tree cannot produce good fruit.

Our life's book is being recorded, day in and day out, and we must consider our ways. Examining the man in the mirror, what kind of fruit are you bearing? If God shook the tree of those bearing good fruits planted in Him, would you fall out?

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them,” Matthew 7:19-20, KJV.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Place of Refuge

“This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us],” Hebrews 6:18, AMP.

Refuge is a shelter from danger or trouble; a safe place. God is our refuge! He is our place of shelter in the midst of storms. When we experience troubling times in our lives, we must seek safety in God. We should surround ourselves with Christian friends and family. We don’t run to the clubs for help—if we’re in the Lord. What solace is there? We don’t sprint to the liquor store—what comfort lies within? We don’t bed hop in hopes to alleviate loneliness, what kind of company awaits there?

Many do seek comfort in those things, but where is the lasting healing? What rest can you find when the problems follow you from place to place. It’s never solved because it’s masked with temporary fixes; something to ease the pain for a few short hours, if even that long. But how does one feel when they finally confront those demons?

As Christians, we cry out to the Lord, praying not only for ourselves but on behalf of those who aren’t able to pray for themselves. How many people prayed us into receiving salvation? It is our responsibility to love our neighbors, and not just the ones who are on our side. You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy;(A) But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,(B) [a]To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike], Matthew 5:43-45, AMP.

Refuge is a place where we rest in knowing that everything is going to be all right despite the circumstances. And for me that place is definitely in God. When I’m void of understanding to why others may mistreat or disrespect me, I go to God. When I cry and my heart aches, I go to my place of protection. When others don’t comprehend my love and devotion for Christ or His love for me as they mock and ridicule—I go to the shelter for it is the only place where I’m totally free from hurt, harm, and danger.

Additional References: Isaiah 4:6, Jeremiah 16:19, Psalm 91

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wise as Serpents—Harmless as Doves

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves,” Matthew 10:16, KJV.

Jesus’ words are timeless as He’s the same today, yesterday and forever. I am reminded that it’s not by accident that we meet those in opposition to the faith. It is actually to be expected. I understand more that “stumbling blocks” in the disguise of people are meant to make one fall. Again, I recall that we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Jesus warns further into the seventeenth verse, “But beware of men.” This is the same lead of Paul’s letter to the Philippians in chapter 3:2 as it read, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers...” There are many who allow themselves to be used by the “spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Jesus calls us to be wise as serpents. Why as serpents? Genesis 3:1, AMP, “NOW THE serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden?” Notice that the serpent knew God’s word. He knew God’s word and was sly enough to manipulate Eve into thinking with the flesh. When Jesus said to be wise, that can also mean to be intelligent, keen, sharp, aware, knowledgeable, “be not deceived.” He wants our ears to be open to hear. “My sheep hear my voice.” Sheep are lead by their shepherds. Those who have ears let him hear.

But I celebrate when God speaks in my spirit, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you,” Matthew 5:11-12, AMP.

I find clarification that the joy is not in their wrongdoing; rather the joy is in the triumphing. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight,” Luke 10:19-21, KJV

So our defense when we are mistreated is to be harmless. We are not to react the same way the world acts towards us. It can be challenging at times, but remember who you are representing. Be gentle, meek, faithful, exhibiting those fruits of the Spirit. Our salvation is sealed and the enemy hates that to all ends. If he can get you out of the will of God, he’ll try to lead down a path of destruction.

References: Hebrews 13:8, 2 Chronicles 36:16, Ephesians 6:12, John 10:27, Matthew 11:15, Galatians 5:22-23

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Veil

“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” 2 Corinthians 3:14-17, KJV.

I remember my past, thinking on the years I spent in darkness. The moments of justifying my sins, I lived in complacency. I knew then deep inside those things that I did was wrong, but willingly convinced myself that I was “all right” because there were others worst off. But then conviction came and engulfed my entire being. I no longer just thought about Christ and His goodness, I wanted to securely be apart of His divine plan and to help bring others into His kingdom.

When I say that I spent years in darkness, God still loved me even when I didn’t obey. God still showered His blessings over my life, even as I didn’t deserve. And to recall these things, I would truly be a fool not to be fully committed to His will now.

Let me share something with you. I was in the gym earlier this week and saw a woman who had burns on her face and on her hands. My heart went out to her as I immediately lowered my head and praised God. I thought about how she will have to live the remainder of her life with those scars. I thanked God not only for sparing me, but I thanked Him that I have the mind to do so. I asked God to strengthen her as I can only imagine the pain she must have gone through…and may still have to endure. It makes one grateful over the “little” things we may take for granted. But if I was in my old ways, with the veil over my mind, I may have been overly concerned with how it happened, why it happened and when it happened. Not thinking of praying or praising, I probably would have just “felt sorry for her.” Thank God for I know I’ve been changed.

A veil is a covering that masks. It keeps you from seeing what’s really there. With the lady I saw at the gym, I could have run millions of scenarios in my mind of what may have happened. But that’s not who she really is. A veil prompts you to “make up” an alternate reality because you’re blinded from the truth. That’s what satan does. He attempts to turn the truth into a lie. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them,” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, KJV.

I pray that many will come to Jesus so that they can be saved. I pray that God will convict hearts and minds unto righteousness. For without the conviction from the Holy Spirit, the veil remains. We have to understand that we need God and that we need Him now more than ever. People are dying everyday, yet many still dismiss it as random acts of violence. I pray that many will receive the message of salvation for it is not the bible according to Renee; it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Corinthians 4: 5-6, KJV.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Reprobate Mind

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them,” Romans 1:28-32, KJV.

I briefly touched on this yesterday, a reprobate mind. This is referring to a person who has rejected God and in turn He has allowed their sins to take control. They are given over to a mind to do those things which are not good and decent. For this cause are they filled with desires to do things fulfilling to the flesh. He's giving them exactly what they want; in this is their freewill to choose those things. Hence, the moral conscious has been deleted.

God has good reason to impose this upon those who reject His existence. Consider the world in which we live, every thing testifies of God’s existence. Instinctively, a person knows that there is a greater being than them. The sky was not made by man. The trees and plants aren’t manmade. Even the very air that we breathe cannot be produced by man. The animals, are they not made by God? But many say it’s the Big Bang theory. Yes, there was a moment when these things came into existence and it started with God! He spoke ... and Bang!

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things,” Romans 1:20-23, KJV.

Can you imagine… if you could only imagine a fraction of how God feels when He sees such things? To be reduced in such manner. They “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever…,” Romans 1:25, KJV. The scripture goes on to state that because of this, God gave them over to vile desires. “…for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet,” Romans 1:26-27, KJV.

Why are there such things going on in this world? Why are we forced to defend the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman? Why are we called to pray for the world? Why are we depended upon to intercede on behalf of others? It’s because people have allowed the enemy to run their lives. When you say no to God, guess who you’re saying yes to.

Additional Scripture: James 2:19

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Fool’s Heart

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good,” Psalm 53:1, KJV.

A fool is defined as one who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding. They lack the sense to discern spiritual things. “But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated,” 1 Corinthians 2:14, AMP.

A fool rejects the things of God, making worldly effects and images their god. Falling prey to idols made in this world. But Jesus told us, His kingdom is not of this world. So why do so many sell out to it, yet proclaiming to be Christians? “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate,” Titus 1:16, KJV. Not stumbling in ignorance, but fully aware of the truth, yet rejecting it, gravitating towards the mass. “Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it,” Matthew 7:13, AMP.

The Bible says a fool is corrupt and has done abominable iniquity. What is abominable iniquity? It is undeniably detestable or disgusting evil, doing no good. When God is rejected, one is turned over to a reprobate mind. This is a mind that is condemned to do indecent things, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh wallowing in self-indulgence. I will expound more on this tomorrow.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction,” Proverbs 1:7, KJV. Wisdom is to know the Lord, and to reverence Him is the beginning of knowledge. Respecting God for who He is opens the door for understanding. Remember when Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him because they didn’t know what they were doing? Many reject God, so they’ll never know what it is to be saved. They’ll never understand. God’s word applies at all times. But He does not force Himself on us giving us free will to chose. So when choices are made, there’s no one to blame other than one’s self for the outcome. God is a patient God and He waits…wanting us to come to Him not out of force, but because we have made the decision to willingly serve Him.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

An Affirmation for Conduct

“Only be sure as citizens so to conduct yourselves [that] your manner of life [will be] worthy of the good news (the Gospel) of Christ, so that whether I [do] come and see you or am absent, I may hear this of you: that you are standing firm in united spirit and purpose, striving side by side and contending with a single mind for the faith of the glad tidings (the Gospel). And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of [their impending] destruction, but [a sure token and evidence] of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God,” Philippians 1:27-28, AMP.

God anointed Paul to write these words. Praise the Lord! I’m ever so mindful that he is writing to Christians in a spirit of encouragement to keep the faith. It is a declaration of how we are to conduct ourselves as representatives of Christ. I more now than I have in the past, consider my statements. And even then when I say something that I think is questionable, I think on how God may view it. I’m so glad that I’m at a place where I know that I need Him every day of my life.

Our conduct not just in public, but behind closed doors dictates what we truly believe. It must be a manner of life that is worthy of the Gospel. Worthy is being honorable or admirable. Think about when choosing a mate, you wanted somebody who carried themselves in a way that reflected you in a positive light… I would hope. You would desire a person who you would be comfortable taking home to meet the rest of your family. You would want someone worthy to be a parent to your children. Right? Well, that’s what Christ desires for us, to be worthy of being called a true Christian. We ought to serve Him with our whole heart.

As we are on this journey, we are to stay in the faith…not in fear. “And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries…” Don’t let anyone intimidate you into thinking you are not of a certain caliber to deliver God’s word. You’ll here a naysayer challenging your confidence in our Lord, but He will give you the words to speak. I don’t know everything in the Bible, but I talk about it every chance I get. I never went to theology school or took ministerial training, but I am led by the Holy Spirit. I welcome His presence in my life and believe that I will come to know even more years from now as I am on this Earth. I try not to concentrate on what I don’t know, rather on Who I know.

And when we stand firm in the faith, it makes others think. They may never tell you, but they consider, if even for a moment, their end. It offers the reality of their condition. They may choose to ignore it at times, but a Christian’s faith is a constant reminder to the world that there is life after death.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Whole Armor of God

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesians 6:13-18, KJV.

As we understand that we are not wrestling against people, instead against spiritual wickedness, our fight does not come without gear. God has provided us with the necessary tools to overcome. He made provisions on our behalf because He knew that we would need them.

Ponder the scripture above. Paul provides a literal description of what we are to do while we are in the body. “Having your loins girt about with truth…” Truth is a theme throughout the entire Bible. Remember back in the book of Proverbs when there were six things named that God hates? Lying fell in two of those categories. The truth is what makes us free. Think about it. When something is held back from another, how liberating is it when that secret information is released? Many will say, “Whew, I’m glad I got that off of my chest.” There’s a reason for that. It is so important to be honest with one another; it creates a healthier way of living.

“Having on the breastplate of righteousness…” What does it mean to be righteous? The definition is stated as adhering to moral principles, the principles of right and wrong. So many are lacking morality, yet desire to be treated right by others. The problem is that there is a lack of conviction to reciprocate. Righteousness does not start with the next person, it begins with us.

“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace…” Notice here that it states feet, not stomach, not arms, but feet. This means that we are to carry that Gospel of peace around with us, prepared at all times. It’s not to be left on our shelves when we leave home. It’s not to only come out when convenient, it’s a lifestyle that we are to carry around with us at all times, especially outside of the church walls. I say this because we are being fed in the house of God (which we should be feeding ourselves at home too), but the remainder of the week is for us to share what we’ve learned with others. The Word is not to be placed in a hiding place, particularly since we live in America, “the land of the free.” Listen to what Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16, KJV.

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked…” It takes faith to fight the enemy. When he comes at us with words that are contrary to God’s Word, we have to extend our shield of faith which embodies complete confidence in Christ. This means that no matter what the circumstance, we have to surrender all to Him. Not confidence in our families, although they may love us, but in our Lord who is able to deliver us from any situation. Think about it, your sister, brother, mother, or father may want to help you out if your stranded in a another state or even a different country, but they are only human. You may need someone right then and there. Who would you call upon? For it is impossible to please God without faith. This is particularly important to take notice of because the word impossible and God are almost never used together.

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” Salvation that gift offered to us by God which seals our fate in Him. And Paul uses the term helmet, a covering for the head. This means to protect your mind. The battle begins in the mind. We are to keep our minds stayed on Thee. We are to take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God that has power in it to defeat our enemy. We cannot win in our own strength because we are not fighting human beings, but we must adorn ourselves with the weapons of spiritual warfare.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” Our prayer life should be on every occasion, giving God His proper place in our lives. I remember telling a friend that saying “Jesus,” is the shortest prayer I know. This could be for me or for another person. Are there times when you are caught off guard? You may find yourself faced with an impending accident. Do you have time to say a prayer? If I call out, “Jesus!” or even think of calling Him, but can’t. He knows why and that I am calling Him…I have a spiritual connection with Him. He is everywhere. I believe I’ve reached Him in the Spirit because His Spirit lives within me.

References: Hebrews 11:6, Timothy 4:9-11, Hebrews 4:12