Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Choose Life’

The Heart of the Father

Only a spectator shall you be {yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High} as you witness the reward of the wicked. (Psalm 91:8) {Part One}

    Verse eight is a continuation of the Truth offered in the previous verse.  There will be many who fall (”a thousand …at your side and ten thousand at your right hand”); there is an inevitable “reward of the wicked”.  Our loving and compassionate and life-giving Father desires that all would be saved and redeemed through the righteousness that Jesus purchased for us:

The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises… but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish. But that all should turn to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Who wishes all men to be saved and (increasingly) to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the (divine) Truth.  (1 Timothy 2:4)

For I have no pleasure in the death of Him who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore, turn (be converted) and live!  (Ezekiel 18:32)

Because of the character of the Lord, love is His focus; the manner in which He wants to deal with His creation.  Throughout His Word, His letter of love to us, when He speaks of rebellious, sinful people He cautions and exhorts them to turn from their evil path and live in His grace.  He counsels them to choose life in Him (Deuteronomy 30:19). Through His prophets He gives warning concerning the end result of turning away from Him.  And always there is a message of hope attached to a turning back to the ways of the Lord – a return to covenant results in forgiveness and blessing.  He was long-suffering toward the fickleness of Israel and their cycle of disobedience, always extending to them a way back into grace.

But there is an inevitable end result to the stubborn refusal to honor God; the creation turning its back on the Creator and presuming to do life without Him. The word “reward” in verse eight does not indicate positive outcome!  It is the Hebrew word “Shillumah” which means “retribution” or “recompense”.  Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gives the following definitions:

Recompense – Requital; return of evil or suffering or other equivalent; as a punishment.

Retribution -Repayment; return accommodated to the action

The “reward of the wicked” then is suffering, punishment; repayment in kind for evil, sinful, rebellious action; reaping what you sow. And it grieves the heart of our Father.

There are so many reasons why men turn from their own rebellious, selfish path and turn to receive Jesus as Savoir.  Some preach a hell to shun and a Heaven to gain.  Fear of eternal punishment certainly grabs the attention of many. (And when they turn, they also discover His love). Some preach the love of the Father calling men to repentance (2 Corinthians 5:18-the ministry of reconciliation”) and many respond to that message in faith, and that is certainly the manner in which God desires all men to know Him:

 The Lord appeared from of old to me [Israel], saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Some have their faith walk jump started through witnessing signs and wonders at the hands of believers. Some have a direct revelation from God calling them to serve Him and take their rightful place in His family. Some simply observe the fruit in the lives of believers and want that for themselves. Our Father is love and that is what causes Him to use whatever message and messenger He can to call His wayward children back into righteousness. He sends prophets, evangelists, preachers and teachers.  Through His Holy Spirit indwelling each member of the Body of Christ, He encourages, exhorts, and witnesses to the unbelieving world.

All of the blessings found in Psalm 91 are such a rebuke of Satan’s ploy to steal from mankind the benefits of knowing and serving God. What a sharp and disturbing contrast between the lovingly cared for child of God and the inevitable cursed life and evil outcome for those who choose not to receive the Lordship of Christ. It’s hard, emotionally difficult, to read through the Old Testament prophets and see the results of sin and the terrible end that awaited the rebellious.  And if it hurts our sensibilities to read it, imagine what it does to the heart of the Father.

Over and over again throughout His Word our Father calls all people into His care.  The stark contrast between walking in darkness and walking in His light and love is there for all to see. When we see and understand these things, praise, continuous and heartfelt praise, is due our loving Father!

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Knowing, Honoring, and Cherishing God

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. (Psalm 91:7) {Part Two}

God does not reveal Himself as wanting to be intimately known if we could not achieve it. He does not, like an unfair, unjust taskmaster, develop a long list of unreasonable requirements which we could never fulfill. That’s Satan’s misrepresentation of Him! Like a loving parent raising up children, our Abba (Mark 14:36; Galatians 4:6) shows us the right path to take, the correct way to think, speak, and act, and the manner in which He is to be known and understood. With extraordinary love He grants to us:

…a spirit of wisdom and revelation {of insight into mysteries and secrets} in the {deep and intimate} knowledge of Him. (Ephesians 1:17)

Because being intimately known, and therefore honored and cherished, by His children is the desire of God’s heart, the enemy has thrown many roadblocks in our way. Satan’s aim is to distort Truth, disrupt progress, and diminish God’s standards and revealed will in our lives. Those who buy into those tactics fall by the wayside- a thousand at our side and ten thousand at our right hand. When you entertain the idea that God is unknowable and unreachable, that we can never truly interact with Him and hold conversation with Him, you are listening to the enemy’s lies and not attending to God’s Word or His Spirit. When we accept the world’s view of the inevitability of troubles to be dealt with, calamities to endure, and sorrows to bear up under, we are not permitting the Word to readjust our thinking and acting. When we explain away Scriptural Truth as “not for today” or really only spiritual concepts not valid in this physical realm, we give away His established blessings and reject the full life Jesus accomplished on our behalf. And we fall victim to unbelief in the integrity and the power of God’s Word.

There are obviously some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you {with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel} and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah) {into something which it absolutely is not!} (Galatians 1:7)

From Genesis to Revelation God extends to mankind the Truth that He wants to be known, and known intimately. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that ability has been given. Our part in this relationship with our Creator is to seek after Him as our “first and vital necessity” (1 Chronicles 28:9); to give Him, His Word (Jesus), and His Spirit first place in our lives; to cherish Him as our very reason for being; to love His Word as our most precious possession; to daily honor Him with time spent in His Presence (getting to know Him and to recognize His voice); to imitate Him “…and follow His example}, as well-beloved children {imitate their father} (Ephesians 5:1)

Then no false gospel, no teaching contrary to His Word, no thoughts contrary to Gospel Truth will compromise or diminish your faith walk. The blood of Jesus, which won our salvation, and our testimony of our Father’s goodness and loving-kindness will define our days. And while many in your life might fall short of this blessed life in Christ:

A thousand… at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand….

Standing firmly, with resolve and absolute trust and confidence, on God’s Word, that tragic falling short will not come near you.

Two Powerful Words – “For then…”

For {then} He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. (Psalm 91:3)

Strong’s Concordance details the full impact of this third verse of Psalm 91.  According to the expanded meaning of the words, the verse would read:

“For then He will snatch away (defend, preserve, recover and rescue) you from the snare (the spring net, the net spread for a trap) of the fowler (someone who traps or snares you) and from the deadly (calamitous, mischievous, perverse thing) pestilence (plague, destroying disease).

The Message Bible – That’s right – He rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.

New Living Translation – For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.

Why attend with such detail to these words? Because here is such a clear picture of what God wants to do and be in a believer’s life. There are so many Christians who love the Lord, and will be with us in Heaven, who do not take Him at His Word in this; who do not fully expect such protection for their lives.  They attend more to what their eyes see, what their ears hear, and what their body feels than to God’s revealed will, His faithfulness to His promises. They are not settled in their hearts, without reservation, that what He has said He will accomplish on our behalf as we follow Him in faith and take Him at His Word.  Those reassuring words at the beginning of verse three, “For then”, speak of God’s Self-appointed responsibility in our covenant relationship. He is true to His Word; His Word is Truth.  It must be our standard, our plumb line, our constant expectation.  The heart of faith says, “Our God has said it. I believe it and receive it.” When that is true, we please our Father (Hebrews 10:38). When we attend to His promises to us with an absolute conviction that He means what He says and says what He means, when we rely on and trust in the Word’s  “own inherent power” (Colossians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:5), we are operating in kingdom reality.  See what Paul says to the Thessalonians:

For our [preaching of the] glad tidings (the Gospel) came to you not only in word, but also in [its own inherent] power and in the Holy Spirit and with great conviction and absolute certainty [on our part]… (1 Thessalonians 1:5) {Emphasis mine}

Great conviction and absolute certainty” that when God says, “For then” and “Surely” our response is always “That and only that is what I expect in my life.”

  Throughout His Word God establishes expectations that will bring blessings when obeyed and calamity when ignored.  Deuteronomy 28 is a catalog of blessings you can be assured of or the curses that will befall you, depending upon your attention to His commandments:

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)

Then follow the blessings we can expect to see (verses 3-13), followed by that all powerful word, “BUT”.  Verses 16-45 are the woes and miseries that will accompany the rebellious, faithless decision not to obey, not to honor, not to give Him first place in a life.  God’s provision of protection and blessing is contingent upon his people’s obedience.  Both in the old law-established covenant and the new Spirit established covenant, it is our faith in His Word, and our obedience to it that ushers in the blessings. Our Father, then, as He does so often throughout His Word, gives us the choice:

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live.  (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Choose life.  How do we choose life?  We resolve that God’s Word defines us completely.  We are in His protective care because He says so!  When any situation confronts us that would seem to compromise that Truth, we simply speak forth the solution, the antidote. God delights in His children taking Him at His Word and refusing to allow anything else to compromise that standard.  A faith stand will not be denied every blessing that is ours in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). The safe place to be, the hiding place, is in our understanding that God’s Word absolutely defines us, protects us and shelters us, and is our absolute reality. We see to the faith end, He sees to the protection.  No compromise!

Psalm 91,Verse 1 – (Part Two)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty {Whose power no foe can withstand}.

Now we come upon the promised result.  When we purpose to dwell in His secret place our lives and our future are stable and fixed.  This stability and fixed foundation are ours when our faith is in our God; when we purposefully place ourselves in His care.  He assures us that this is so.  Always be spiritually attuned to the Truth that all Scripture is God speaking to us.

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction… (2 Timothy 3:16)

For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it {to do so – it never came by human impulse} but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)

God promises these results as we lean on Him and trust absolutely in His care. Our work is faith in His Word, in the “great and wonderful and intense love” He holds for us (Ephesians 2:4), and in all that Jesus accomplished on our behalf. His work is to see to the fulfillment of His promises. We “shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty”.  In other words, He is your covering, your safe place.

over everything the glory will be a canopy.  It will be a shelter and a shade from the heat of the day and hiding place from the storm and rain.  (Isaiah 4:5-6)

Protected here, no enemy can harm us for there is no foe, no hindering force that can overcome the power of our God.  The Greater One lives in us (1 John 4:4) and sees to our well-being. There will be attempts to unsettle us, but our faith in His covenant promises and His faithfulness to His Word is the overcoming force.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has delivered from the hand of the adversary.  (Psalm 107:2)

When we dwell in God’s secret place, when our faith holds us there, no enemy can get through His defenses to harm us.  I once heard a preacher speak of this verse in Psalm 107, emphasizing the last word.  “Let the redeemed of the Lord say SO!”  “So, you think you can harm me??”  “So what if disease is going around? It can’t come near me.” So what if a storm is trying to overcome me?  I will not be moved!  I am safe in my Father’s care.” “So what! You can’t intimidate me! You are no match for my Father.  In fact, you have no power here. You have been defeated.”  When you’re saved and you’re secure and you know it, no weapon will prosper against you. (Isaiah 54:17).  That is your heritage, your security, your right as a faith-filled child of God.  And while to many this seems too good to be true, according to the Word of God this place of refuge in His care defines our days.

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord (and His Presence) shall be my dwelling place. (Psalm 23:6)

Psalm 91, Verse 1 – (Part One)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty {Whose power no foe can withstand}.

A story is told of Smith Wigglesworth – used of God to preach and heal – that reveals so much about the “secret place of the Most High”.  A visitor knocked on his door one day carrying a newspaper under his arm. Wigglesworth welcomed him in, “but that,” he said, pointing to the newspaper, “must be left outside.” Life in the world and life in the kingdom of God are so unalterably opposed. (James 4:4)

The extraordinary, life-affirming promises of Psalm 91 begin here – dwelling in the secret place and remaining stable and fixed there. Recognizing there is a decision to be made daily of where our allegiance lies, we purposefully determine our placement.  And if our placement is in the Lord, He guarantees that we have chosen the only secure location.  Our reliance is in the Lord and not in our own ability or the world’s attitudes and standards.

 I have given and delivered to them Your Word (message) and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world {do not belong to the world}, just as I am not of the world… (John 17:14) {Emphasis mine}

People of faith make a daily choice to either be nestled (cocooned) in God’s secret place or to permit the loud and intrusive strains of worldly issues, daily concerns, and conformity to societal attitudes (Romans 12:2) to color and compromise their walk in the Spirit. All of the comforting and powerful promises of this Psalm begin with the stipulation – live here. Fix yourself in the care of the Lord here. Determine that this is your dwelling place.

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ [give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved, [and this applies both to] you and your household as well. (Acts 16:31) {Emphasis mine}

 The Lord of Hosts – regard Him as holy and honor His holy Name {by regarding Him as your only hope of safety}, and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread {lest you offend Him by your fear of man and distrust of Him}. (Isaiah 8:13) {Emphasis mine}

We must meet those conditions in order to expect God to fulfill the promises and establish the protections that follow.

 If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I Am the Lord Who heals you. (Exodus 15:26)

In both verses, Exodus 15:26 and Psalm 91:1, we have our part to play – indeed, a significant role. “If you will…” God says, “then I will.” Your faith in God and in His Word is what secures the promises. When your trust in God is compromised by also attending to the problem in front of you – you are visiting the secret place, not dwelling there. You are demonstrating your fear of circumstances and distrust of God and His Word. When you accept negative events and concerns as an inevitable part of life on earth, all the while asking for your Abba’s help (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6) – you are visiting the secret place, not dwelling there. Let not what your eyes see or what your ears hear have the ascendancy over what the Word of God tells you is true. Let your physical sight take second place to your heavenly sight. There is a brand new way of looking out over your days when you dwell in the secret place, rather than visit.

Our Father expects His maturing children to live in the reality of His promises to us.  Psalm 91 offers a clear understanding of what life in Christ looks like as we honor our Father through faith in, and obedience to, His Word.

Dreams- From Half-Formulated to Fully Realized – Part Two

Kenneth Hagin has preached often on this story of the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20-22). He readily asserts that his ministry for the Body of Christ, given to him by the Lord, was to preach and teach faith, and throughout his decades in the ministry, that was his focus. He has said that the Lord told him that if anybody anywhere would put the four steps this woman took into practice, they would receive what they were asking for. We have already covered steps one and two – “See it” and “say it”. But there is more to this faith walk than seeing and saying.

Do it – The woman with the issue of blood could have spoken continually concerning her faith to be healed, but until she then acted on that faith, on her spoken assertion, her words were useless. Saying, “If I only touch the hem of His garment” but not acting on it, her medical condition would remain unchanged. Once you have that sure knowledge that God is willing this dream to be – act. Act on the direction of the Holy Spirit.

James 2:17 – So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up) by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead)

James 2:24 – …a man is justified (pronounced righteous before God) through what he does and not alone through faith {through works of obedience as well as by what he believes.}

This woman’s faith was followed up with action; it is through the action that the faith can be seen.

Receive it

Mark 11:24 …whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will {get it}

Notice that for this step, faith is also the determining factor. In faith we realize the God-given dream in our hearts, in faith we speak forth the Word believing that God will bring it about, in faith we act on those spoken words as led by the Spirit, and in faith we “carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36). Believe that you have received. The Word defines faith as:

The assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things {we} hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality {faith receiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses}. (Hebrews 11:1)

This step is perhaps the one which is the most alien and frustrating to those who have years of practice in daily trusting in the five senses – all of us! It is this step that causes many to say, “This speaking forth faith simply isn’t working for me! I’ve seen it work for some but it’s not working for me.” Realize here that in speaking those words, your words are coming to pass! Speaking doubt and unbelief is establishing that particular reality that “this faith stuff” doesn’t work for you. How do we remedy that?

God has given us everything we need to overcome the perceived difficulty in this business of receiving the promises for ourselves. First, His Word. How you view His Word is of paramount importance in this process of walking and living in the Spirit. He tells us of its “self-fulfilling power” (Isaiah 61:11). He tells us that His Word is “alive and full of power… active, operative, and energizing, and effective” (Hebrews 4:12). He tells us that He watches over that Word to perform it in the lives of those who speak It forth in faith (Jeremiah 1:12) and that His Word never returns to Him void without accomplishing the thing for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:11). He also tells us that while the Name of the Lord is to be revered and feared and worshipped, He holds His Word in even higher estimation!

You have exalted above all else Your Name and Your Word and You have magnified Your Word above all Your Name! (Psalm 138:2)

Now the choice to believe is yours. God has given us that choice. His exhortation to us is to choose life in Him (Deuteronomy 30:19), but you choose! The authority and reverence with which you receive His Truth will determine your success in this step of receiving all that He has promised. To honor God by believing that what He says He means, is to be a consistent recipient of the promises.

Further, He has given His Holy Spirit to be received as our Guide, Teacher, Advocate, Enabler, Strengthener (John 15:26), and to reveal to us His purposes and plans for our lives (John 16:13). He has sent Jesus, His Beloved Son, to reconcile us again with Him and to restore the relationship that was lost through Adam’s actions. How we receive all of this Truth determines how we receive our full inheritance in the kingdom of God.

A Continual Feast

Proverbs 15:15 – … he who has a glad heart has a continual feast.

I have, in previous writings, written a description of the offices of the church I attend. As a teacher at the associated school I would have occasion to walk through that area and was inevitably touched by the atmosphere of peace that prevailed there. Praise music was softly playing, ministry and prayers on behalf of those seeking counsel was taking place – the entire purpose of the office area was to honor and reflect God, and the result was extraordinary, tangible peace.

Your home, your days, can give evidence of this same peace. A peace that speaks the Truth that God is here and in full control, that Jesus, Who is our Peace (Ephesians 2:14), is Lord over your life, and that God’s Holy Spirit establishes our moments in this peace “that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7);  peace that reflects the absolute certainty of new creature status:

…the {previously moral and spiritual condition} has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come.(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Unwavering confidence, unshakeable peace, and a completely altered perspective are the intended outcomes of this “new creature” status. For our new life in Christ is established on “precious and exceedingly great promises” (2 Peter 1:4). Numbers 6:26 defines peace as “tranquility of heart and life continually“. According to our Father, according to His Word, that continual tranquility of heart and life is not only possible, it is our inheritance, our expectation, as His children.

We have a role here. That “peace that passes all understanding” is not automatic. We are to search for, seek eagerly and pursue “peace (harmony, undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions and moral conflicts (1 Peter 3:11). We are to assume, faithfully accept, that this peace is ours. We are to reject outright anything that attempts to destroy that peace and diminish the Truth of our Father’s Word. We are to tune into the Holy Spirit Whose ministry on our behalf produces peace. He always points us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace (John 16:13-14), Who tells us:

Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. {Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.} (John 14:27)

When we “do not let…stop allowing…do not permit” we are choosing God’s life, God’s Truth, and God’s promises to “ garrison and mount guard over our hearts and minds” (Philippians 4:7). We are determining, resolving, that the Word of God overcomes anything that the world, the flesh, and the devil throw our way.

We are God’s family as believers in Christ, the Messiah, who are watching for the soon return of our Lord. Let every moment reflect His Person and His peace. Whatever you are facing this day, because you belong to God, and because He wants to bless you and do you only good – let there be peace.

“Since He may come any day, it is well to be ready every day.” A. J. Hudson

His Banner Over Me is Love

There can be no clearer demonstration of God’s love for us than His willingness to die for us, and then, having risen, coming to live in us.  We have inherited, through His love, “in accordance with the riches and generosity of His gracious favor” (Ephesians 1:7) all of the blessings of the Kingdom.  He lavishes upon us “every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence)”, He makes known to us “the mystery of His will” (Ephesians 1:9), “the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]” (1 Corinthians 2)

There was a popular song several years ago entitled “God is Watching Us From a Distance”!  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Nothing could be closer than the Lord!  More caring, more deeply loving, more intimately involved in all of the issues of our lives. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we are guided into “the whole, full Truth” (John 16:13), we are enabled to hear “whatever He hears from the Father” and we are privileged to hear “things that are to come [that will happen in the future]”.

When the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, He will take you by the hand and guide you into all the Truth there is.  …He will take from Me and deliver it to you… (John 16:13, 15Message Bible) [Emphasis mine]

When we begin to understand the full purpose of the ministry of the Holy Spirit we realize how greatly loved we truly are.  We are the adopted children of God (Galatians 4:6); we are “well-beloved [by God Himself]” (Colossians 3:12); we are heirs of God’s grace (1 Peter 3:7), and the Holy Spirit was given to us to reveal all of these blessings to us.  He is here on our behalf to grow us in faith and grace and reveal to us all that God has provided.

He is here to be known intimately.  His friendship and His mentoring will bless your days and cause you to be the very best you can be in Jesus.  Stepping over into His care and guidance will guarantee success, peace, wisdom, and fulfillment.  He yearns to accomplish the good and perfect will of God in your life.  Choose this day to submit to His loving, tender, and powerful ministry.

God’s Word on the subject:

Song of Solomon 2:4                            1 Corinthians 2:9-12                                      Ephesians 1:7-8

The Dark and the Light

One of the first things that my husband, Jim, said when he was born again was, “I never realized that I was lost until I wasn’t lost anymore.”  Profoundly simple but powerfully reflective of the basic truth and promise of the Gospel – that which was lost is found (Luke 19:10).   The Truth that God is everything He says He is invades the darkness of the souls of the lost; those who never realized that in this world you must choose. A light finally shines for them.  John 1:5 tells us:

And the light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it].  [Emphasis mine]

The darkness brought into the world through sin and a selling out to Satan hides from God and from everything that is ultimately for our benefit, blessing, and fulfillment.  Proverbs 4:19 says that the wicked walk in deep darkness and don’t even realize what they are stumbling over.  “The road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker – travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.”(Message Bible) And our Lord further reveals the desperate state of those who are unreceptive to God’s love and to the light that love brings:

Matthew 6:22-23 The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light.  But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness!

From the very beginnings of time our Father has brought light to darkness:

Genesis 1:2-3The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep.  The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the water.  And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.

That same Genesis moment occurs in the life of any man or woman who abandons their lost state for life in the Lord.  Like the turning on of a light switch in a darkened room, there is awareness, understanding, and revelation.  1 Peter 2:9 says that we have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light:

to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.  (Message Bible) [Emphasis mine]

With his words upon being born again, Jim began his testimony of the goodness of God, and of the reality that unless and until you choose the life that our Father extends to you, you are a lost soul, still groping around in darkness.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Proverbs 4:19             Isaiah 9:2             Matthew 6:23

John 1:5                      John 12:35            James1: 17

1Peter 2:9

The Last Bastion – Part One

From Father one morning:

“You must keep your eye on Me – your heart on Me – always.  You have allotted Me a certain time slot, and then given the rest of the day over to former things.  Why step away from life in Me to entertain life in the world?  This is the last bastion – let it fall.   The woman you desire to be is hidden in Me – that self-confident and spirit-controlled woman.  You are allowing yourself to be robbed. Step up into your fulfilled self.  From this moment forward – all that had perished in misdirection, misunderstanding, and poorly defined identity – all is restored, recreated, refreshed, redefined, refined.  See yourself as I see you.  Accept nothing less.  Your future in Me hinges on this willingness to allow Me to transform your moments.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines “bastion” as “a fortified position, a stronghold”.  Through the years of my faith walk there have been many moments when the Holy Spirit pointed to a particular issue or lingering idolatry in my life, leftover remnants of my life before Christ, and instructed me concerning the need and the method to be rid of it.  Once, early on in my faith walk, His light shone on the Beatle albums that I had been collecting and treasuring over the years.  I was clearly led to throw them all in the trash – and the collection was quite extensive!  When I share this story and the Holy Spirit leading with others I am asked why I didn’t sell them rather than destroy them.  The answer of course is, “Because that’s not what the Holy Spirit directed me to do.”  It was not just a matter of removing them from my home in whatever manner I chose, it was the recognition that this particular idolatry needed identification in my life as trash; it was a heart issue.  Some would call that foolish and some would turn that into doctrine and say, “Well if He asked you to do that, I had better do that too.”  The trash was where my albums belonged because they represented idolatry in my life.  God’s Holy Spirit carefully tends and lovingly guides each one of us.  This is not a one size fits all.

It profoundly matters to God what we fill our heart with.  He is a jealous God on our behalf (James 4:5).  He knows how we are made for He made us; He knows how Satan has attempted to diminish or destroy our faith walk and He has the perfect antidote in each case; He knows the potential people each of us can be and how to help us reach that level of maturity and accomplishment and complete peace.

The Message Bible so very beautifully expresses today’s Scripture (“God’s Word on the subject”):

The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.  We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.  Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

2 Corinthians 10:4-5