Willful Disobedience

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of Grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine , I will repay.” And again, “the LORD will judge His people.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:26‭-‬31 NASB

We can know the truth, but sometimes in the moment (oftentimes?) the reality is that we think we know better and that what we are doing isn’t really a sin. Anytime – any time – we are willfully disobedient we sin. Did that strike a nerve? It did with me. I sin many times daily, but I don’t (usually!) consciously choose to do so. If I know the risk, and do it anyway, is that being willfully disobedient? If I choose badly, no, when I choose badly, especially in big decisions, my body immediately tells me. My stomach clenches. I get crazy butterflies….. or an angry swarm of bees….. in my gut. An indescribable ache starts up betweenmy eyes. Then when the error manifests itself and becomes obvious, my heart drops and fear tries to overtake me.

My fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in Your Love….. I could listen to this, and sing along with Josh Baldwin, all day, but right now, my heart is on the floor, and Mercy Me’s lyrics to Even If resonant within me.
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul. I know it, but I can’t feel it. I know to let God lead. His hands are holding me, no matter what. I know this, but right now I don’t feel it, and that’s on me. All He can do is offer. It’s up to me to accept His help. Amen.

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How WONDERFUL I Am

“Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” – 2 Corinthians 10:12 NLT

“God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.” – Matthew 5:5 NLT

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:1 NASB

“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” – Matthew 23:11‭-‬12 NASB

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10 NASB

There’s a definite theme here. It’s human nature (i.e. sinful nature) to elevate ourselves and to be selfish. We want to be liked, admired, lifted up…. and I don’t think it’s wrong, necessarily, to want that. It’s when we begin to believe that we are better than others, superior to them, that we have conflict with the LORD. Jesus was a perfect example of humility. He acknowleged the political government, and He paid His taxes when due (Matthew 17:24-27). When accosted by the the authorities, He acquiesed. He was respectful of His parents, and the Rabbi’s in the Temple. He turned the other cheek when ridiculed and spat upon.

BUT. He defended His Father’s House when He came in to find it being defiled by the moneychangers and the sellers of oxen and sheep and doves (Matthew 21:12-13, John 2:13-17, Mark 11:15-17) by driving them out of the Temple.

Individually we must humble ourselves and follow the example of Jesus. Even collectively – or maybe even more so than individually – we must watch ourselves to ensure we don’t adopt a “holier than thou” attitude. I know I’m no better than anyone on this earth, but sometimes my brain forgets and I begin to think maybe I am. That’s the enemy, whispering lies. I’m not about to go about telling people I’m humble, because I’m not. I try, and fail, constantly. Thank GOD for sending His Son to redeem me; hallelujah! In my perfectly imperfect self, I am only confident of one thing, and that is the Salvation of Jesus Christ. Through Him, I gain real, true humility.

Have you opened your heart to the Saviour?

Yes, I Alone –

“ ‘But you are My witnesses, O Israel!’ says the LORD. ‘You are My servant. You have been chosen to know Me, believe in Me, and understand that I alone am GOD. There is no other GOD — there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes I, am the LORD, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God,’ says the Lord. ‘From eternity to eternity I am GOD. No one can snatch anyone out of My hand. No one can undo what I have done. I — yes, I alone — will blot out your sins for My own sake and will never think of them again.’ ” Isaiah 43:10‭-‬13‭, ‬25 NLT

Is there anything ambiguous about this passage? No! He is GOD. THE God; the only God. Why do we insist on elevating other things to His rightful place? He is in control. Whatever I am anxious about, whatever is causing me pain, whoever is trying to harm me, wherever I am, GOD, the LORD, has it all in His Hand. He knows. If I know this, how can I purposely cause anyone distress, including myself through my doubt?

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 NASB

Lord, I cast all my cares to You. You know me so well. You know that even as I lay my burdens and cares down at your feet, I am reaching to pick them up again. Help me, LORD, to let go of those things that burden me; to trust You. I know You have my back. Why do I keep doubting?

Listen to Finding Favor sing their song Cast My Cares from the album Reborn.
When fear feels bigger than my faith
And struggles steals my breath away
When my back pressed up against the wall
With the weight of my worries stacked up tall
You’re strong enough to hold it all

I will cast my cares on You
You’re the anchor of my hope
The only One who’s in control
I will cast my cares on You
I’ll trade the troubles of this world
For Your peace inside my soul

Top Rule of Living

For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Matthew 7:2 NLT

That’s a lesson that we need to be reminded of, over and over, from the youngest age and on throughout life. We hear the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31) Do we apply it in our lives? It takes on a little more importance when they are learned together. Not only does how we treat others determine how we are treated, but we will be judged by how we treat them. As critical as it is to treat others with fairness and respect, keep this in mind also.

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:6 NLT

That is not to say that we should treat those people with disrespect or with loathing. I believe that we – Christ followers – need to be especially circumspect in our treatment of those whom we view as unholy. There’s a fine line between loving the person and hating the sin, and losing the love altogether to hate both. It’s easy to lose ourselves and fall in with them, and get our hearts trampled in the process. This is why it is so important to stay in fellowship with other believers.

“….. and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24‭-‬25 NASB

Love one another, but don’t focus so hard on the person that you can’t see what surrounds them. Do you see positive people and things, or are they surrounded by chaos and insanity?

“Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Matthew 7:20 NLT

Are you constantly comparing yourself to others? Do you feel the need to “win” by beating everyone around you? (This is so me…..) Our “fruit” doesn’t have a chance to grow or mature when we are busy trying to “one-up” each other, or “keep up” with others. My actions need to reflect my beliefs, and not be dependent on anyone else’s behaviour. How I treat others needs to based on GOD’s Word, not man’s, and how I view myself needs to be from the Father’s focus, not mine. If – when – I view myself properly as a child of the King, a Princess in the Kingdom of the Almighty God, it is far easier to view others with a benevolent spirit.

It’s a much nicer view than the alternative!

First, Last ….. I AM

This is what the LORD says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: “I AM the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like Me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim My purposes for you long ago? You are My witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!” Isaiah 44:6‭-‬8 NLT

This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer and Creator: “I AM the LORD , who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with Me when I made the earth?” Isaiah 44:24 NLT

Dealing With Being Single

God knows what we are going through.

Remember Jesus? He was a man, and He lived His life without a mate. I believe that He was probably tempted; after all, He was a man, and He must have been lonely at times…. and I’m sure the enemy made sure temptation was placed in front of Him, too. Mary Magdalene was probably a beautiful woman, and she was close to Him. It is debated whether Jesus was plain, or non-descript, or handsome, but I don’t think that is important (although I do believe He was probably amazing looking). His personality was magnetic; He was charismatic and commanding. I imagine Him as a man Who would draw both men and women to Him. How could He not be tempted? But we know He didn’t succumb to the temptations. He taught us – teaches us – that our Father cares for us enough to want the best for us. He also teaches us that we have to put the Father first, and that’s where it gets hard (for me).

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NLT

“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 NLT

That’s a pretty big statement from Hosea. The God Who created everything wants us, me and you, to know Him more than anything. When we actually take the time to study and begin to know our Father, we begin to know what real love feels like. I don’t like being single. I want to be half of a couple. Meanwhile, I need to listen to the words of Jesus and keep them in my heart.

“And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:30‭, ‬33‭-‬34 NLT

I don’t know if, or when, my Father will bring someone into my life to be a permanent part of it. I know that he must love the Lord and put Him first, and that he will want to treat me as his queen. Tall order, and one that only God can fill. Ruth Graham, a very wise woman, said “A happy marriage is a union of two good forgivers.” I don’t know that marriage is in my future, but I believe that her statement could also read “A happy relationship is a union of two good forgivers.” Whatever happens, I hold on to these words from the LORD:

“For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your GOD. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’ ” Isaiah 41:13 NLT

“But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD Who created you. O Israel, the One who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1‭-‬2 NLT

I know that whatever happens, whether I am alone or in a relationship, I will never be alone. The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY has called me by name; I am HIS. Are you single? Praying for a relationship? Hold on to His Words.

HOLY

A.W. Tozer said “Our image of God shapes what we value, what we pursue, what we don’t pursue.” That should initiate some soulful searching. What, exactly, is my image of God?

Who is God?

He is His Holiness (Tozier “The Knowledge of the Holy”). His main attribute, according to the scriptures, is that He is Holy. Holy Holy Holy; My Holy Name. In Ezekial 39:7, the LORD says My Holy Name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My Holy Name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.”

“And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His Glory.” Isaiah 6:3 NASB

Over and over, He refers to Himself as Holy, the Holy One, My Holy Name. The writers of scripture acknowledge that He is Holy and He is Glory: Psalms 99:5,9, 103:1, 111:9; Isaiah 40:5, 57:15; Revelations 15:4 “For You Alone are HOLY…”

“Then He [the LORD] said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is Holy ground.” ” Exodus 3:5 NASB

To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.” Isaiah 40:25 NASB

“I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am GOD and not man, the Holy One in your midst, And I will not come in wrath.” Hosea 11:9 NASB

The centrality of His Holiness is shown by His Son as He teaches us the way to pray in Matthew 6:9 –

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed – HOLY- be Your Name’, or as some translations say “may Your Name be kept Holy.

Holy is His Name, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. He is beyond words. We should be awestruck, in awe. when we see him for the 1st time. The biggest problem for humanity is the realization that God is Holy and we are not, but thankfully, Jesus took our unholiness and covers it with His blood, making us holy through His righteousness. Because of Him, we will stand blameless before the Lord!

“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.”
Jude 1:24‭-‬25 NLT

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the LORD!