“Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” (Psalms 94:16 NKJV)
Through out history God has asked men and women to stand up for that which is right, truthful and most importantly Biblical. Often times in our current political and cultural climate it is not popular to stand for anything that would even remotely show respect for God, Jesus Christ and the Word of God. Over the past few decades there has been a systematic effort to dismantle the religious fabric of the nation. At the same time there are those who have determined to stand for truth no matter what the cost. The cost often times is public ridicule and even public humiliation.
I am convinced like never before that it is the role of the Church to stand for truth. A truth that is rooted in the Bible. A truth that is not afraid to speak up for the helpless, affirmed and disadvantaged in our society. I am not promoting a social gospel, but rather a gospel that is always redemptive in it's purpose. A gospel that is not bound to any political position, but is bound to the need for all men to know that God loves them enough to give His son for their sin.
As the church, we can never forget what really matters, not what matters to us, but what matters to God. To Him every life is precious, worth saving and able to be transformed from a life of darkness into His glorious light. King David reminds us in Psalm 97:9 "For You, Lord, are most high above all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods." When any society denies the existence of God, or at the very least wants to remove God from the public discussion, then we have limited the discussion to what man thinks, believes and determines to be relevant and right. Once again God's word warns us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12 NKJV)
Let us "RISE UP" and stand for what matters to God, and remember that Jesus is for us!
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV)
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3–5 NKJV)
There is nothing as reassuring as the knowledge, and yes the reality that God's mercy is sufficient to administer a grace that is assuring us of a divine inheritance. I love the words that Peter uses to describe that inheritance, "incorruptible" can not be contaminated by man, and "undefiled" because it has it's origin from God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So much of what we see in this life eventually fades away, but not the promises of God, especially our inheritance. "Reservation" I have mine in heaven, how about you? I wait with daily anticipation for the revelation of Christ in these last days, Lord come quickly!
“Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.” (1 John 2:24–25 NKJV)
The first time I heard the Gospel was as a young boy listening to my Dad preach. The message was clear, concise and convicting, and yet I didn't receive it. Years later I would come to faith in Christ, having understood my need for a Savior who could free me from a life of sin. But as we all know life can begin to dampen or even dilute the effect of the Gospel if we allow it to. That is why the "abiding" in the word of God becomes even more important in maintaining a consistent walk with the Lord. Today like at no other time we need to "abide" in the Father and the Son. For you it may require a fresh and new beginning in your life, that can come through a personal relationship with Christ. He is waiting for you to call on Him.
EZRA 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.
Ezra was preparing to lead God's people to Jerusalem so they could rebuild the Temple and once again worship the true and living God. In preparation he knew that there were some crucial elements, but what is most fascinating was his previous decision to make sure that the Levite Priest had been selected so that the Law of God would be followed. Then, here in chapter eight Ezra makes a proclamation for a fast with some specific things in mind. The fast is always a time of consecration of oneself before God. But, for Ezra it was for the purpose of humbling and seeking God for the right direction for their lives. Not only for their lives, but also for the lives of their children. Ezra understood that the will of God was not always for the immediate circumstance, but also for the future.
Could it be that we, as God's people should "humble" and "seek" God for the "right way for us" as well? It is so easy to seek worldly council and information only to discover in the long run that it is at best lacking and short sighted. When we seek God with sincerity of heart and mind, then He is to be found. In finding the way of the Lord, comes the will of the Lord, and with the will of the Lord, comes a new life in the Lord.
“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion; May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions. Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. Save, Lord! May the King answer us when we call.” (Psalms 20:1–9 NKJV)
Here in Psalm 20 David reminds us that the Lord does hear our prayers and that He can answer in a variety of ways.
This brief chapter is a royal psalm; the king was about to go to war, but before he did he stopped to pray in the sanctuary, where he was joined by the congregation who interceded for him. Having rehearsed the intercessory prayer of the people for their monarch who was praying for victory, the king expressed the assurance he had received from the Lord for an overwhelming victory.
Let me outline a simple break down of how David's petition is developed.
Lord defend me
Lord help me
Lord remember me
Lord grant my heart's desire
Lord fulfill my petitions
Lord save me
Never forget that God is interested in and desiring to invest in the development, growth, maturity and protection of His people.
1 Corinthians 10:13 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
I'm reminded that temptation is not a sin, but if yielded to it can become sin. Just as Paul reminds us this is not an uncommon situation that we all deal with. Immediately after His baptism Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He was tempted for forty days and forty nights. The writer of Hebrews reminds us of a very important fact regarding temptation.
Hebrews 4:15 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
One of our natural tendencies is to blame others when we yield to temptation. In fact, some people even try to blame God, but He is never the source of temptation. James 1:13 says, “He Himself does not tempt anyone.” Satan is the ultimate tempter. He even uses other people to lead us astray. However, we can never claim that Satan or anyone else made us sin because we are the ones who chose to yield to the temptation.
Dr. Charles Stanley has some important facts dealing with temptation. False ideas about temptation We know that any area of captivity can carry additional consequences.
1. Temptation is not a sin. Jesus’ experience clearly demonstrates this. He was tempted yet never sinned (Matt. 4:1-8). We don’t always have control over thoughts that enter our minds, but we do have a choice to hold onto the thought or to let it pass.
2. We don’t fall into temptation. The enemy doesn’t push us into his trap, nor do we accidentally fall into it. Although we may be prompted by the devil or influenced by others, the decision to step out of God’s will is our own.
3. The Lord isn’t displeased when we’re tempted. He knows temptations will come, and He wants us to see them as alarms that warn us to watch where we’re going.
4. We can’t always run from it. Sometimes fleeing from temptation is the best option, but sometimes running away is impossible. We must build our defenses, so we won’t yield to the tempter.
An important aspect of resisting temptation is recognizing and guarding our weak spots. First, we need to make absolute decisions regarding what we will not tolerate in our lives. Then we should rely on God’s promise to put limits on our temptations (1 Cor. 10:13). And finally, we must seriously consider the consequences of yielding.
“As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.” (Psalms 18:30–33 NKJV)
Whatever you my be dealing with today, trust the Lord to lead you because
(1) His way is perfect
(2) His word is proven
(3) He is a shield of protection
(4) He is the only true God
(5) He is a rock on which I can stand in the storms of life
(6) He gives me strength
(7) He guides me in the right way
(8) He gives me the ability to run and not grow weary
(9) He allows me to rise above my circumstances
(10) These are just some of the things He can do for you!
How could I ever doubt that God is for me and not against me in my time of trial.
Eccl. 1:9-10 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.
While doing my devotions this morning I read the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, and was reminded that though we see advances in science and technology, the Lord "is the same yesterday, today and forever." His message of forgiveness, redemption and cleansing from sin, though an ancient message is God's reality for us today. Yes history repeats itself, and yes the message of God's love and forgiveness is repeating itself at this point in man's history. The question I asked myself was simple, are we listening to God's message, or are we allowing the message of man to drown out the message of God. Lord Jesus speak your message of salvation louder, and with great clarity to this time in history. Amen!
While taking a break from studying this morning I happened to watch the news as they were talking about NASA's New Horizon's flyby of Pluto. As a boy in grade school I was fascinated with outer space and wondered what was beyond that small distant planet of Pluto? As an adult I now know the answer to that question that I had all those years ago.
"Deut. 10:14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it."
As man explorers the farthest reaches of space, what they will eventually discover is that God exists beyond anything than man can reach apart from a loving and saving relationship with Jesus Christ.