To Debate Or Not To Debate

To debate or not to debate, that is the question. Should you go into long and lengthy discussions about biblical topics? Searching the scriptures to find verses, passages, and chapters that support your theories or doctrinal beliefs. Taking large amounts of time to divulge into all kinds of controversies, arguments, doctrines, and disagreements within the church as a whole.

What does the Bible say about these things? It is great that in everything you can turn to the Word of God, the Bible to find answers for almost every question, even this one. It is of great profit to deeply study the scriptures, it is profitable for your body, mind, and soul

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

But to use the Word of God as a tool or even as a weapon to win arguments, show yourself right in a debate or a discussion, is not the way the Lord Jesus uses scripture. Neither is that the purpose the Lord has given you the Word of God. It is for your benefit, it is for your spiritual growth and maturity that you should study, not a weapon to bludgeon your brother.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your Word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11

But there are many in this time of increased lawlessness and rebellion that desire to learn all they can of the Bible to increase in knowledge. They puff themselves up in their great learning and arrogant speculations and assumptions compiled by all kinds of different human reasonings and popular beliefs. Yet they do not have the Spirit of God, neither do they have understanding or wisdom.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. 1 Timothy 1:3-7

Be watchful and sober-minded, keeping a close eye out for those who try to stir up arguments, and controversies about many ideas and biblical questions. They are not serving our Lord and Savior but themselves. They cause nothing but disharmony, strife, and divisions. Seeking to be the big man on top, proving themselves to be right. To have a great comeback, to be the winner of the war of words and a victor in every contention.

But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11

There is nothing wrong with discussing scripture for the purpose of instruction, correction, and teaching the truth of the Word God. Many more live in darkness and need to hear the way to come into the light. This in fact is what we are called to do. But it must be done with gentleness, love, and compassion for one another. To build up the weak, heal the hurting, convict the sinner, and bring to Christ the contrite and humble of heart.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

As the Apostle Paul instructed several times to steer clear of such people. To avoid those who are darkened in their understanding, unreasonable, unappeasable, and lovers of self. 

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:17-20

What Are The Seven Churches

Have you ever wondered what the purpose of the Seven Churches spoken in the book of Revelation? Jesus speaks of the Seven Churches and gave John a message to write to them. These are the seven kinds of churches that dominate the world, not only then but now as well, and the people that dwell within them. He has a message for you in these letters just as He had a message for each of them. 

Depending on where you stand in your faith, trust, and obedience to the Lord He has compliments, rebuke, a call to repentance, warnings, and a reward for steadfast faithfulness to Him. If you were to point out a church that claims Christ, it could be put in one of these 7 categories or churches.

As I survey each church briefly, make an honest examination of your own heart and your own ways. God has given everyone a chance to repent and obey His commands. He even writes them on your heart so you know what is good and what is evil. The question is what will you do? Follow what is evil and what is prevalent on the earth or will you do what is good and upright in the eyes of God to follow and obey the Lord.

These are not in order as they were written down, but laid out from the best, the holiest church to the worst, the most corrupt church. (Not a biblical order, just the order I put them in.)

1 Church of Philadelphia – The Chosen Church

“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:8-13

The people of this church have been chosen by God to be His faithful followers. They are chosen and He has opened a door to Heaven for them that no one can shut. Because of their steadfast faithfulness and the truth they proclaim the Lord will even cause the wicked to come and fall at their feet knowing God loved them.

They will be kept from the hour of trial, great will be their reward and great privileges will be given to them that He will give to no other. They would be the holiest and godliest of all the churches.

2 Church of Smyrna – The Spiritually Rich Persecuted Church

“I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.  

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:9-11

The people of this church are spiritually rich and faithful to the Lord and His Word. Though they may be poor, go through many struggles, beatings, taunted, and even are slandered by those who are false believers or are the servants of Satan who seek to silence and kill them. They will endure brief suffering but God has no rebuke for they are righteous and true even to death. They will receive the glorious Crown of Life and their destination is Heaven.

3 Church of Ephesus – The Loveless Church

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 

Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”  Revelation 2:2-7

The people of this church are very involved in the local church, perhaps for their entire lives. May it be in ministry, leadership, helping in different ways in the community through the works of their church, or doing many different works and zealously doing good deeds. But they have forgotten their first love, Jesus, and to be loving, the most important command.

They have accomplished many good works yet have begun to do them without love but out of duty or a sense of status. They may have fallen into legalism and following the letter of the Law without considering the more important thing, God’s heart and the Spirit of the Law, which is to love one another.

God calls them to repent, turning back to love one another and put their focus on Jesus. Those who conquer, they will have their place in the paradise of God, Heaven, and their portion in the tree of life.

4 Church of Thyatira – The Half Good Half Evil Church

“I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 

I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am He who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 

But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. 

The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Revelation 2:19-25

The people of this church are either very good and righteous before the Lord or very evil. Yet they dwell together. The good people in this church are faithful to God and continue to grow in their faith, holding fast to what they have been given. The wicked in this church have completely given themselves over to sexual immorality, the worship of idols, and all kinds of hidden depravity. God has given the wicked time to repent but they refused. He will punish them severely with sickness and death because of their evil deeds.

But to the righteous and their faithful endurance in the face of such depravity and temptation, they will be given a place of authority and rule with the Lord Jesus Himself.

5 Church of Laodicea – The Deceived Church

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 

The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:15-20

The people of this church are wealthy and prosperous in the eyes of the world. They have all the good things this world has to offer and they are prominent and puffed up with pride. They do not depend on God for anything but their own wealth, abilities, accomplishments, and arrogance. Little do they know they are filthy, poor, and wretched in God’s sight, and He is about to spew them out of His mouth to destruction.

But still, God will reprove and discipline a chosen few, those who are His, who have been called by His name to repentance. Those who conquer, repent, and follow Him will have the great right to sit upon His throne with Jesus himself, just as Jesus sits on the throne with the Father.

6 Church of Sardis – The Church of False Converts

“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 

Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.  

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:1-6

The people of this church have heard the Gospel and the Word of God preached to them many times. They have verses memorized and can spout them at a moments notice, but they have not taken them to heart.

They believe that they are truly saved, but they are dead wrong. The fruit of their lives is spoiled and this is proof that their faith is lukewarm, apathetic, blind, and worthless in the sight of God.

They may be a Sunday Christian. They attend church every Sunday, praise God with their lips, claim to have faith, but have no deeds, and the rest of the week live as they please. They are neither on fire for God or totally against Him.

Claiming to love Him, they do not practice what they preach. They have one foot in the church and the other in the world. They ride the fence.

God is still calling them that they may repent. A few will, those who do will be clothed in white, for God says, they are worthy. God says, their names will not be blotted out of the book of life. Which it seems that the rest of them will have their names blotted out.

7 Church of Pergamum – The Adulterous Pagan Church

“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 

Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:13-17

The people in this final church seem to be the worst of them all. They have turned the church into a farce, a mockery, adulterous, and full of idolatry. Not at all what the Spirit called the church to be.

Their church is full of hidden pagan practices, secret or open sexual immorality, and open idol worship throughout. Where secret evil is both hidden from the eyes of the world and exposed and at the same time.

They have changed the traditions of God and the worship of Him into following and adhering to the traditions of man and worshiping dead saints, statues, religious items, and hold to the doctrines of demons.

In the same breath they claim they worship God and give him thanks, but they practice all kinds of evil. Even to the point of proclaiming they are the true church, the only way to God, and follow Him in the right way.

God calls them to repent and the few that do overcome and conquer, He will give to them a special reward. Giving them hidden spiritual food to eat in the midst of being starved of the true Word. They will be pure and receive a new name that no one else can know, and a place promised in heaven.

Please examine yourself and take an honest evaluation of what church you are in and the dangers that lay within. Determine to be one of those who are faithful to the Lord even in the face of persecution, temptation, trial, and even if you are surrounded by utter wickedness. Do as the Lord commands and repent, follow, and obey Him in everything, and great will be your reward in Heaven.

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” Isaiah 55:1-2

“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:12-13

From Darkness To Life

If someone close to you were to be on their deathbed, knowing that at any moment they would pass from life to death, they called you close so they could give you some instruction or words of wisdom. Do you think it would be of the utmost importance? Yes, I think it would.

Think of this, the last words that Jesus spoke to His disciples were one of His most important instructions ever to them.

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Consider this carefully, this was His last instruction to His disciples, how important should this be to you, if you are His disciple? 

Especially in these dark days that you live in. Especially in these last and frightening days, when there is not much time left for the souls who reside on this earth, for those who live in darkness and walk around in the way they don’t even know leads to death and destruction.

God has taken His place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods He holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 

They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. Psalm 82:1-5

There is no greater work, no more important command the Lord Jesus has given you. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” To spread the knowledge of the love of God, the mercy of God, the grace of God, and the forgiveness of God to the lost, broken, hurting, and destitute, who wander around in their own sin and darkness. This is adjacent to God’s greatest commandments. 

And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:35-40

Jesus loves everyone and does not want them to perish, even those who crucified Him. Because their eyes had been blinded and their ears covered. He asked that they would be forgiven.

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on His right and one on His left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:33-34

His heart is close to the blind, deaf, hurting, and lost that wander around in the darkness. I pray that the Lord will cause your heart to be broken for the lost and hurting. I pray He will give you a sense of love and urgency to seek to save those who are lost. To those who don’t even know that they are on the path that leads to destruction.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14

In whatever way the Lord leads you to share the Word of God, the Bread of Life (Jesus), the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are lost, do it. 

As a follower of Jesus, you have been given gifts and talents, and you have been placed exactly where God wants you. He has done this for the express purpose that you would seek to save the lost and encourage the weak and burdened right where you are and with what you have been given.

May you use every resource you have been given to do the work of the Lord, for the sake of Christ, and for the sake of those who desperately need to know the love, mercy, and grace of God. 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:23-25

Oh, the joy and gladness there will be in Heaven when you are found to be responsible for the sowing or harvesting of the seeds of Salvation, the power that breathes life into those who were dead, that turns one soul from death to light from darkness to life!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 

For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:2-6

Extend Your Hand

Love one another, share with those in need and encourage those who suffer in this time of heartache, pressing, waiting, and peril. In this time of evil, rampant wicked behavior, and lawlessness. Unlike any other time in history, your brothers and sisters in the Lord desperately need your helping hand, kindness, compassion, and love. So many are desperate to know that they are not alone.

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Hebrews 13:1-3

In these days of lack, desperation, and lonely endurance everyone in the body of Christ must step up and do what the Lord has called us to do. Those who see must make it known and those who hear must share what they hear. God has called us to lift up each other in love and compassion, whether it is a helping hand, a mouth to speak the truth, feet to move, a heart to feel or a shoulder to cry on. 

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:4

Give back to others what you have been given by the Lord. This is the reason God gives you a gift, that it may be shared. Extend your hand to the needy, your ear to the hurting, and your heart to those the Lord leads you to. With hands open and hearts full giving without expecting anything in return. Pour it out on those who are in need. Even to your enemies. You never know what great work the Lord has planned for them. 

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 8:35-36

It truly is not the things of this world that have importance. But it is the soul of man. Everything on this planet is temporal and will pass away in time. But the soul will live on through eternity. Love your family, your neighbor, the stranger, and your enemy, you may be surprised to find out the impression you have made on others, a ripple effect that reaches into eternity. 

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38

Who knows who the Lord has chosen. Who knows what divine appointment He will give you and the soul you may save from death and despair, the soul you may have a hand in saving from eternal destruction. That one person you show kindness, love, and compassion and speak the truth of the love and forgiveness of Jesus may turn a dead lost soul to a living and saved one. 

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:7-10

God’s Purposeful Pruning

Some days you may find yourself, asking yourself, “why is this such a struggle,” “why do I feel like I just can’t do anything right,” or “why can’t I just escape this!” There is a whole list of questions you may ask “why” when you are going through a hard time or walking through the storms of your life. Can you relate to what Job said?

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said: “Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. That night—let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months.” Job 3:1-6

Understand that there is a reason for the pain and purpose of suffering. As followers of the Lord you know this, but many times you forget when you are in the moment. I have been there many times.

Your sight is clouded or even blinded and it feels like it is the end, like you are just “Done!” But the Lord is there with you. Call out to Him and He will take your hand and help you through. He will make sure you get through this struggle.

I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. Psalm 16:8-9

Why does the Lord do this? He does this because He loves you, and because of His great love, He must cut off those things that keep you from conforming to His image. Those things that keep you walking in sin and the ways of this world.

Yes, God is making you into His image. But it is painful. Also, be comforted in this one thing, dear brothers and sisters. If God is pruning you, making you more like Him, you are His Son or Daughter. What a wonderful reassurance and comfort to the soul that is!

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. John 15:1-4

So abide in the Lord Jesus Christ and allow Him to do His work. Without Him, you can do nothing. His work and pruning will cause you to bear fruit and good deeds the Lord has prepared for you to do. What a true blessing that will be when He uses you for His glory because of the pruning. 

No longer will you be like you used to be, walking around in the dark, but walking in the light and ways of the Lord. Using that fruit to give life to others.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in Him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. John 15:5-6

It is a very sad state of affairs when a person learns of God and starts to follow Him, but when the pruning comes they resist Him and instead of it creating health and vibrance, they separate themselves from the vine, from Jesus, and wither and die. 

Do not resist the Lord but abide in Him and you will be made vibrant and full of life. Because of His great love for you, you will be filled with His love and His joy as well.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:7-9

Keep moving forward in your faith in the Lord in every situation, obey His commands and you will abide in the vine who is Jesus. You will bear fruit. This is proof of your salvation and the pruning itself is proof that He is your Heavenly Father. Just think, all things in your life have a divine purpose.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:10-11

Creating Beauty From Ashes

Very often the will of God for your life is not what you expected it to be. Though you may have made an incredible mess of things in the past and you may think you have wasted all that time walking down your own path. 

Yet God knew where you were going. He knew what you would choose. The rebellion, sins, and mistakes, but He also knew that you would eventually run to Him for forgiveness and purpose in your life. You would run and hold on to Jesus with all your heart.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Psalm 139:1-6

He had divine plans and purposes for everything, the good, bad, ugly, and really ugly. All your destructive ways, horrible decisions, mistakes, and missteps. He has used them all to craft and mold you into who you are now, and His future plans for you are beautiful. 

The pain, rejection, abuse, and horror He amazingly turned from misery to glory, and a testimony that gives every credit to the Lord. For without Him and His hand in your life you would be a goner. 

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” Psalm 16:2

He knew your heart, He knew the strength He would make out of your weakness. He would use it all to turn the ashes of a lost life into beauty.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; 

To comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3

Just like the man born blind from birth was not blind because of anyone’s sin or anything anyone did good or bad. But he was born blind and suffered 40 years in this way that the Glory of God would be displayed by the hand of Jesus. 

As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 

We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 

Having said these things, He spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then He anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. John 9:1-6

You as well will shine forth His glory because of His mighty hand upon your life. Your scars will be your testimony. Your story will be your declaration to all those who hear. He brings forth beauty out of ashes, and He wants to do that very thing for those you will touch as well.

God’ Law Reigns Supreme

Be patient, be genuine, be bold, yet loving to others who don’t understand what you are doing for the Lord, He is with you, and will guide your words and steps. Be bold and tell the truth, even if those who hear it don’t like it. God will uphold His servants, He will be pleased with those who obey His commands, and who act and speak with truth. The Lord will honor those who do what is good and upright.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:9-13

Patience is not a weakness but is strength. Genuineness is not arrogance, but integrity. Boldness is not condescending but is truthful, and love is not bashful, but fearless. 

In this world that we live in there thrives a masquerade of impatience, disingenuous, self-centered, and shameful behavior that has been covered by a mask. A mask of pride calling such behavior good, when in fact it is evil. Then from under that same mask, it calls out to that which is good and calls it evil. The Lord will repay such ones who call evil good and good evil and who are wise in their own eyes.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! Isaiah 5:20-23

The Law of the Lord will reign supreme in its judgment over all people. If you speak out for what is good and right, if you speak against what is evil and wicked, it is not you who are judging, though the wicked may say so. But it is the Lord who is judging and His Law that in the end will bring such judgment to pass. Such truth could change someone’s very soul.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11

The Ten Commandments and the precepts of the Lord were all written for the sinner and lawbreaker. They were to teach you what is right, to turn away from sinful and wicked behavior, and to do what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord.

Those who refuse to listen to the law of the land and those in authority over them will suffer punishment, that is for sure. They will have to stand under the heavy hand of the law.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Romans 13:1-4

If you rebel against the law, you rebel against God and have refused to obey and follow Him. You then will be found to be in the rebellion of God’s call to repent for your sins. If you refuse to turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and abandon your sinful lifestyle. You will suffer much greater punishment. 

You will sacrifice your very soul, seeking to have your life, and to do it your way, you will sacrifice your eternity. Listen and obey, turn to God, and repent of your sins before it is too late. Before your time on earth runs out and before the full weight of the Law of the Lord is upon you. 

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38

The Lord, He is God

The Lord He is God, He is almighty, all-powerful, awesome, and Majestic, He has no equal. There is no one like Him, no one even comes close to His majestic glory and power. No one even has any wisdom, knowledge, or understanding at all compared to Him. You are utterly nothing before His spectacular presence! He who created all things with a word will not be underestimated, misconstrued, or misrepresented. 

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Job 38:1-3

And the Lord said to Job: “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” Job 40:1-2

Who are you to question God and who are you to tell God He should be doing this or that. Were you at creation? Were you with Him in all His glory calling out into nothing and crafting creation out of the void?

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38:4-7

He stretches His hand out and places the planets into place. He pulls at the galaxies that He has crafted and shapes them as He pleases, spreading them out across the universe, and guides every creature that creeps upon the earth.

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?” Job 38:31-33

He has control of all things, even to the inward parts of the mind and the heavens.

“Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the water skins of the heavens’ when the dust runs into a mass and the clods stick fast together?” Job 38:35-38

“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold. From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away. His young ones suck up blood, and where the slain are, there is he.” Job 39:26-30

Nothing in all creation can move Him, nothing can push or persuade Him to move out of position. With power and authority, He sits upon His throne with everything and everyone under His feet.

“Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him. Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you.” Job 40:10-14

Yet He is tender, loving, and merciful to those who will humble themselves before Him. He is intimately concerned for His beloved child and will pursue them with discipline that you may turn your faces to Him to listen and obey. 

Be like Job and humble yourself before Him. He is worthy of all praise, honor, glory, and worship. Meditate upon Him day and night, and give Him praise and worship. Worship Him in all His glory. For He holds you in the palm of His hand and nothing can snatch you away from Him. 

Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

Depend Only On The Lord

Fear the Lord and let Him be your dread! Who is your God? He is the One who watches over all the earth and sees every action, thought, and motivation of man. He is the One who spreads His hands out and touches every point of our galaxy even out to the end of the universe. He occupies and sees it all. He holds together every molecule and each and every atom. Why should you fear man who can do absolutely nothing in comparison?

And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Revelation 14:7

Obey the Lord in all your ways, fear Him, and bow before the King of Glory. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be worried or be anxious about what they are in fear of. The wicked flee when no one pursues. You are in the hands of the Lord. You have been given many promises that He will keep, for He does not lie, nor does He break His Word. 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand Isaiah 41:10

The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

Keep yourself from all wickedness and from being influenced by their evil schemes and pursues. Resist them continually, seeking to do good in exchange for their hatred. 

They are constantly looking for ways to pull your focus away from the Lord and from doing what is right.   But their temptations are like vomit, their enticement is as rotten fruit, they are putrid in the sight of the Lord’s servants. 

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil. Psalm 36:1-4

When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. Proverbs 4:12-16

Walk with the Lord day and night, continually in His sight and in the uprightness of your heart. He will be your guide, to keep your steps sure and on a firm foundation. He will not let you slip. He will comfort and uphold, keeping the security of your heart and soul in complete harmony with Him, giving you peace in the storm. 

He is your strength, confidence, and assurance in the face of uncertainty. He can not lie, He can not fail, and He never makes a single mistake. Trust, depend and follow Him, He will never be found unworthy. 

For the Lord spoke thus to me with His strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 

But the Lord of hosts, Him you shall honor as holy. Let Him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And He will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 

And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.” Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in Him. Isaiah 8:11-17

Nothing Hidden

God who dwells in the heavens, who rules and reigns with complete supremacy and sovereignty, who is in complete control over all things, He is the one with complete authority. His reign and sight reach to the farthest edge of the universe and there is nothing that goes unnoticed, there is not one atom that can escape His sight. A hiding place is like a beacon and pitch black is as the midday sun.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:7-12

The righteous are held in His hand, they are guarded by His armies, guided by His Spirit, and never will they be put to shame or cast down. Though the wicked hate you, tear, scratch, and rip at you for all your goodness. Lashing their evil tongues to try to defame and ridicule you. The Lord will protect you under His wings surrounding, keeping, protecting, and upholding His loved ones.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 

He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. Psalm 91:1-6

Yet the wicked do not see, they do not understand who God is, and the protection He has placed upon His children. Nor can they even comprehend it. In their twisted and wicked minds, they have already claimed victory. In their vile version of wisdom and craftiness, they completely believe they will get away with it all. They think they will never have to stand accountable for anything.

Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.

Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. Psalm 73:12, 18-20

You see and understand that everything that happens is by the very Word of the Lord and is allowed by your God for His ultimate purposes and plan. Though the righteous will suffer and die in the flesh, the spirit is saved and rewarded in everlasting glory.

He upholds the righteous and will preserve and protect. Though it seems that the wicked rule and triumph, a time will always come when the Lord will cast them down and then the righteous will shine like the sun, like radiant stars in the heavens! 

The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Matthew 13:41-43

Seek the Lord in all your ways, seek righteousness, goodness, and seek to obey His laws and precepts in all your ways, God sees and will reward. Don’t look, worry, or be upset at the outward prosperity of the unrighteous. Though they seem to prosper their end is sealed, their place is set. Though the world hates you, the Lord your God will guard and protect. He will bless and reward greatly for every good, selfless, and sacrificial act. 

The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. 

If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the Lord. O Lord, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. Isaiah 26:7-12