Friday, February 23, 2024

"Open And Not Ashamed"

"The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen." Psalm 98:2 

When the Lord made the provision for our salvation, He didn't do it in secret. He didn't do it behind closed doors. He did it openly before all to see. Jesus' death on the cross is our provision for salvation. He was crucified on a hill, not in a cave. He was crucified in the open, not inside the temple. He wasn't crucified on ground level but on a cross- lifted up so that even those who were in the distance could see it. 
He was crucified openly so that there would be no doubt as to what He did. He did it openly so that we would know that it was provided. He wasn't ashamed to be seen hanging on the cross for us. He did it openly as a reminder also. Should you ever doubt His love for you, should you ever wonder about the provision of salvation, just look at the cross. It is right there in the wide open for you to see. 
If everything He did for us was done openly, shouldn't we live our lives openly for Him? Should we be "undercover secret" Christians? I am not talking to my brothers and sisters who are in countries where you are being persecuted and martyred for the cause of Christ, and you have to be more "secretive" about your relationship with Jesus. I am talking to my brothers and sisters who live in countries where you have the freedom to live openly for Christ, but don't. We said earlier that He wasn't ashamed to hang on the cross for all to see because He loved you that much. Are you going to be ashamed to let others see that you love Him that much by living for Him openly? 
Have a great day. What Jesus did for you was done in the open, not in secret. He wasn't ashamed to love you and provide salvation for you so that all could see it. Are you ashamed to live openly for Him?
For further reading:
Mark 8:38
John 12:32

Thursday, February 22, 2024

"It Will Reclaim Itself"

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Romans 7:24 

There is one thing about nature that I have noticed, if left unattended it will always reclaim itself. You can take a piece of land and clear it but if you don't maintain it, it will go back to its original state. This happens with my garden each year. During the off season the grass and weeds take over.
This isn't just confined to nature; our souls will do the same. Once we receive salvation we then have to "work out our salvation". It isn't about a one-time trip to the altar. Daily we have to guard our hearts from the pull of the old man to "reclaim" itself. If we leave our lives "unkept" it will be noticeable- just like an unkept piece of land. Signs of the flesh will be seen. There will be no joy. Peace will not be evident. Love will give way to selfishness. And so on. If left unkept temptations will overtake us and we will find ourselves doing those things that we do not want to do. 
How do we do that? In order to keep my yard looking like a yard instead of a wilderness I have to work at it- constantly. I have to rake, pick up the limbs, mow it, pull up weeds, etc. It is the same with our lives. We have to "work" at it daily-- not just on Sundays at church. We have to read and study God's Word and apply it to our lives. We have to hide it in our hearts. We have to keep our minds renewed with God's Word. We have to pray without ceasing; seek first the kingdom of God; take up our cross; deny ourselves; put on the full armor of God. If we neglect those things that bring spiritual growth and change in our lives, it won't be long before it is evident. 
Have a great day. Nature will reclaim itself if left unattended. Our old nature will try to reclaim itself if we neglect our spiritual man. 
For further reading:
Romans 7:18-25
Philippians 2:12

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

"Seasons End When They Are Over"

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" Ecclesiastes 3:1 

There are seasons in our lives, not just in nature. Like the four seasons- spring, summer, fall and winter- each season brings its own characteristic. Spring brings new life. Summer is hot. Fall things begin to transition. Winter is cold. Each of the four seasons have to "run their course" before they give way to the next one. It is the same with the seasons of our lives. We want certain "seasons" to "hurry and change", but they have to run their course as well. 
I much prefer the summer season. My least favorite is winter, and I look forward to it being over. But winter is needful to the earth. In life I don't enjoy the seasons of testing and trials, (I much prefer the seasons of peace and prosperity) but they are needful. The point I am trying to make is, although we don't enjoy some seasons and try to rush them up and get them over with, we need to learn to be content in them. They are set to "run their course". They will be over when it is time for them to be over. They are not going to end until they have accomplished their full purpose. Joseph tried to hurry his season in the prison up by asking the butter to remember him to Pharaoh. It was two years later before the butler told Pharaoh about Joseph. His season wasn't over until it had "run its course". It came to an end when it had accomplished what it needed to do. 
We might as well stop trying to rush whatever "season" we are in-- it will end when it is the appointed time for it to end. In the meantime, be content in it and let it accomplish its purpose.
Have a great day. This season will end when it has "run its course".
For further reading:
Philippians 4:11
Genesis 40

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

"Feelings Driven Or Word Driven?"

"(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 2 Corinthians 5:7 

I woke up with another song repeating over and over in my thoughts again this morning. "I'm not moved by what I feel, I'm only moved by the Word that real." If we aren't careful it is so easy for us to walk/live by our feelings and emotions. We are "sense" driven people-- motivated by our own senses. (Seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and touching.) If I can't see it then it isn't real. If I don't like what I hear then I ignore it. If it doesn't feel good then I don't want to do it. If it doesn't taste to my liking then I won't eat it. If I am not allowed to touch it then I get angry. 
If you walk by your feelings you will go astray. Feelings are fickle. They are constantly changing. What made me happy yesterday doesn't today-- if you don't believe it, look at marriage and divorce. What made me cry in the past may not any more because I have hardened to that situation. What once appalled me, may be acceptable to me now. Our feelings change daily. You can wake up feeling great and on top of the world and within minutes be so distressed that you just want to die. 
As Christians we can't allow our feelings to govern, dictate and influence our lives. Are "feelings" a bad thing? No, God gave us our feelings. But our feelings have to be kept in check, sanctified and brought into submission to the Lord. They have to be ruled by His Word-- not allowed to rule us. Our feelings don't "call the shots". They don't tell us what to do and what not to do. They don't tell us what is and isn't acceptable. They don't make decisions for us. We can't allow them the "headship" in our lives because they are often "false". The Word of God is the determining, ruling factor in our lives. 
Every situation we face should be governed by and viewed in light of the Word of God-- not our feelings. The Word of God is Truth-- it is the only truth. It isn't fickle. It isn't up today and down tomorrow. It doesn't change with every wind. It isn't affected by circumstances. It stays the same day in and day out. It has always held steady- the same. It is the same in adversity and in victory-- it does not change. It is the same yesterday, today and forever. It isn't moved by feelings, by the economy, by trials, by tribulation, or by temptation. It is the same in the good times as it is in the bad times. Therefore, we have to be "moved" by the Word of God and let it hold us steady in all circumstances of life-- and not our feelings.
Have a great day. We can't be moved by what we feel-- feelings can be false. We have to be moved by the Word of God-- it's the truth. 
For further reading:
Psalm 119:89; 160
John 17:17
Romans 1:17
Matthew 24:35

Monday, February 19, 2024

"Defeating The Enemy"

"And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it." Nehemiah 4:8 

In context this verse is talking about when Nehemiah had gone to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city, and while they were working their enemies - Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, came against them to stop the work. (There is still an enemy who will try to conspire against us in the work of the Lord.)
That enemy is not Sanballat, or the Ammonites, or any of the ones that were named in this scripture. But it is the same enemy. It is the same enemy that conspired against Nehemiah, against David, against Daniel, Paul and against the Israelites. The real enemy who is behind the one who appears to be the enemy is the devil/adversary. He is the one who tries to stop the work of the Lord. He is the one who goes about seeking whom he may devour. He may come in many "forms"-- a wolf in sheep's clothing, an angel of light, a wicked king, a seductive woman, etc.-- but it is still him. 
How do we withstand and fight against this enemy? How do we keep him from stopping us in the work of the Lord? How do we keep him from side-tracking us and causing us to stop doing what we are called to do? The answer is in the next verse. "Nevertheless, we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them."
The first thing we do is pray to God. We call upon the Lord to defend, protect, advise, give us strength and wisdom. We bring God into our situation-- not think that we can handle it by ourselves. (The battle belongs to the Lord.) 
The next thing we do is keep an eye out for the enemy. How do we do that? Through God's Word. Ephesians tells us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the schemes and devises of the devil. That armor is Christ Himself-- it is the Word. When we are clothed with God's Word, our spiritual eyes are enlightened, and we see clearly the tactics and plans of the enemy.
How do we fight against the enemy who conspires against us in our work of the Lord. The answer is clear, Jesus summed it up for us-- "Watch and pray". 
Have a great day. The devil still comes to stop us from doing God's work, but he is defeated when we watch and pray. 
For further reading:
Matthew 26:41
Ephesians 6:11,12
John 10:10
1 Samuel 17:47