Speak of the devil…. Nah….

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,”
Ephesians 6:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.6.18.NASB1995

This verse hit me. The enemy of GOD and all His Children. The leader of the fallen angels. The devil. Satan. Lucifer. Old Scratch. He’s out to get us. Me. You. Any and every person. He only wants to win, and he can’t do that when we pray. I really like the way The Message presents the verse.

“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
Ephesians 6:13‭-‬18 MSG

https://bible.com/bible/97/eph.6.13-18.MSG

We are not on our own anymore! When we accept the Gift of Salvation from our LORD Jesus Christ, it’s like painting a bull’s eye on our backs. But see, here’s the thing. Satan may have painted on that bull’s eye, but we have a mighty shield to protect us! Not only has GOD assigned His angels to watch over us, but we have the Holy Spirit on our side. We have GOD’S Word and we have prayer. How’s this for a mental image: if you are leaning against GOD, your back is against Him and the enemy can’t even see the target! If he does get in a shot, we know it can only penetrate us and do damage if we aren’t protected.

Bottom line: Pray. Pray while driving to work or school. Pray while cleaning the house and cooking the meals. Pray (silently) for the person in the store or restaurant who is helping you. Pray before you go to sleep and pray when you wake up. Pray while walking. Pray while waiting. Mess up the enemy’s day! Go through your day with a high hedge of protection from the LORD.

It doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen. In fact, it will spur the enemy to try all the harder to hurt you and discourage and destroy you. So why pray? It will keep your mind where it belongs, on Jesus, and on what is to come – not what’s happening here. It’s the only way to live.

Fear, or Freedom

“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
Matthew 10:26 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mat.10.26.NASB1995

In a 1956 sermon on Matthew 10:34, Martin Luther King Jr. explained, “Peace is not merely the absence of tension, but the presence of justice.”

Though the wicked is shown favor, He does not learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the LORD.”
Isaiah 26:10 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/isa.26.10.NASB1995

Pray, people. Pray for each other. Pray for people you don’t like. Pray for that person who is determined to be a thorn in your side. Pray for our nation, and pray for the world. That’s it. Just pray.

Who’s in Charge?

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Matthew 16:21‭-‬23 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.16.21-23.NLT

Are you looking at life like Peter was? I know that for the majority of my life, that’s how I’ve seen and done things. Strictly a human view, and not waiting for God’s view. Too impatient. I still find it difficult to slow down enough in my thoughts to consider what God would think or want. Who’s in charge of your life? If you consider yourself a Christian, like I do, a follower of Jesus Christ, should we be saying “Get away from me, satan!”?

What are you facing today that you need to pray about and wait for God’s leading? Where are you looking at things from the human view, from our human feelings, instead of leaning on the LORD? When do you need to say, “Get away from me, satan!”?

Love God, then yourself. It’s the only way.

What Am I Doing???

It’s your responsibility to lead yourself well by knowing exactly what you’re good at, what bothers others about you, and what your blindspots are. So ask someone today:

1) What am I good at?

2) What is holding me back?

3) What are the blind spots in my life?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalms 139:23‭-‬24 NASB1995

What am I doing to add value to my family, my team at work, my friendships?

Jesus said to the disciples “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:13‭-‬17 NASB1995

If you are are a Christian, you know that Jesus is God. As God, He is immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible. As man, He is subject to everything that we feel and experience. He felt the weight of responsibility to obey and satisfy His earthly parents just as we do. His ministry was a huge responsibility, to teach His followers the Truth. He experienced hunger and thirst. He got hot, and cold, and was physically uncomfortable. He knew His “job”, and didn’t shirk from it. He spent hours in prayer with the Father, leaning on His relationship with Him to clarify what to say, where to go, what to do. He knew what He was good at, and He wasn’t above doing the lowest jobs. (Think: washing feet) I think He talked to His disciples and listened if they had any criticisms about Him. I don’t think Jesus had any blindspots like we do, and even though we know that He was perfect, He still suffered.

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 NASB1995

The bottom line is this. When you are struggling with these questions of what am I doing, what am I good at, what is holding me back, and what are my blind spots, take council from someone who will honestly help you, and pray. Jesus has experienced everything we have, plus more. He has the answers!

“I Need Thee Every Hour…”

It’s almost as if Daniel is praying for us today:

“I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.” Daniel 9:4‭-‬6 NASB1995

If God is Sovereign, if He already knows and sees all, why pray? BECAUSE He is Sovereign. We pray to adjust our thoughts and desires to HIS thoughts and desires. The greatest kings and Prophets pray for God’s will to be done, not theirs.

“So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3 NASB1995

What we are in secret when we are in prayer is who we really are. Pray out loud, humble, fervent, passionate, HONEST. Prayer is not about me or you, it is about God.

“Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing MY sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting MY supplication before the Lord my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, ….” Daniel 9:20 NASB1995

Daniel owns both his sin and the sin of his people. His prayer is full of his confession. The closer we get to God the more we realize how much we are a sinner.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8‭-‬9 NASB1995

In praying and acknowledging our sin, we acknowledge how much we need God. Every day, every hour, every minute.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35‭-‬39 ESV

As Daniel continues his prayer, it strikes me how relevant his words are to us today.

“O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” Daniel 9:18‭-‬19 NASB1995

He prays one prayer, that God be glorified. His answer came through the angel Gabriel. He said to Daniel:

“At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision. Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.” Daniel 9:23-24 NASB1995

Daniel knows that his people (the Israelites) have neglected following God’s command to rest every 7th day and every 7th year, when the land and animals and people are not to labor but to live on the fruits of their labor from the past 6 days and years. These are the Sabbath day and year: every 7th day, every 7th year, is to REST. These are LITERAL days and years, so he knows that the angel Gabriel is referring to that, and 70 sets of 7 means 70 years × 7 or 490 years.

“So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” Daniel 9:24‭-‬27 NASB1995

In verse 25 is the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, which refers to the decree to Nehemiah to rebuild the Temple and the city of Jerusalem that was signed March 5, 444 BC (Nehemiah 2). The 483 year period commenced, and on March 30, 33 AD it ended with the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, 490 years to the day from Daniel’s prophecy (Luke 19:28-40). This prophecy shows that God’s Word is absolutely true and accurate. All of history and the world’s leaders are under His control. His timing is predetermined, accurate, on target, impeccable, carefully calculated. Gabriel also gives us information on the end of this earth as we know it, by speaking of “the prince who is to come”, the antichrist. In verse 26, he tells the ethnicity of the antichrist. He will come from the region of the Roman empire. Right now we are in the interim period between the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the coming of the antichrist.

When God’s countdown resumes – and although we don’t know exactly when that will occur – the antichrist will enter into, or reinforce, a covenant with the Jewish people to rebuild the Temple and resume sacrifices and offerings. This will begin the Tribulation, and will last 3 1/2 years, then the antichrist will desecrate the Temple and rule the remaining 3 1/2 years until Jesus returns.

With all of this coming closer to fruition every day, it is essential to know the Messiah personally! Do you? Are you telling the people you love?

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12‭-‬13 NASB1995

The next event on God’s calendar is the rapture!

Prayer for My Country

I confess I have borrowed this prayer from Daniel 9:4-19, and adapted it to my beloved America. I do not mean to mock Daniel’s prayer; it is entirely sincere and heartfelt. The prophet Daniel is much more eloquent than I (not that God cares). We need to all pray for our country and her leaders.

O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our presidents, our legislators, our leaders in all areas and all the people of the land. Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day – to all the people of this country, the citizens of these United States, those who are nearby and those who are far away, because of our unfaithful deeds which we have committed against You. Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our presidents, our legislators, our leaders in all areas and all the people of the land, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against You; nor have we obeyed Your voice, the Lord our God, to walk in Your teachings which You set before us through Your Word, the Bible. Indeed all the world has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; for we have sinned against You. Thus You has confirmed Your words which You had spoken against us and against our leaders who led us, to bring on us great calamity; for there has not been done anything like what has and is happening in our cities. As it is written in Your Word, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of You, the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your Truth. Therefore the Lord has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all Your deeds which You has done, but we have not obeyed Your voice. And now, O Lord our God, Who created this mighty nation, under GOD, and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have been wicked. O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from our country; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, we, your people have become a reproach to all those around us. So now, our Lord our God, listen to the prayer of Your servants and to our supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the Republic which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your country and Your people are called by Your name. AMEN.

LOVE IS / IS NOT:

1 Corinthians 13: What is Love?

Love is not jealousy; a burning desire to have what someone else has, or resentment. Those things are an absence of love. When I have to win, and the other person has to lose, is jealousy. Resentment shows in how we respond to other’s success, just as much as how we handle our own.

Love is not bragging, boasting, or publicizing our own success/accomplishments. When we are full of arrogance and puffed up with self importance, we aren’t able to love others because all of our focus is on ourselves. Have you ever known someone who is truly humble? When someone is humble, you cannot humiliate them.

Love is not acting unbecomingly, it is not rude, or discourteous. It is kind and considerate, it is polite. Love is tactful, saying Please, thank you, excuse me. Do the little things.

Love is not self-seeking; it is not selfish. It is self sacrificing. The root of all problems is selfishness, so love is to be empty of ourselves and to look out for others over ourselves. When we allow ourselves to be provoked (i.e. irritable, sharp, prickly, touchy, grumpy, and quick to take offense), these show our failure to love. They are triggers to anger and a temperamental “blast off”, as opposed to a righteous anger or irritability (remember Jesus running the money changers and those turning His Father’s House into a place of business out of the Temple?) We must be at peace with God to prevent this.

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Don’t keep track of grudges and resentments! Love lets the past die, it absorbs the wrong. Good friends are good forgivers. Let it go. Choose to forgive. “I distinctly remember forgetting it.” – Sarah Barton, founder of the American Red Cross Ultimate forgiveness is shown by Jesus and His sacrifice. Knowing we were yet sinners, He left Heaven to die on the cross for our sins. For your sins. For my sins!

Love is not happy with sins or lies. It doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness. Love has boundaries. It is based in God’s Truth. Love doesn’t rejoice in it’s own sins. What of our entertainment choices? Our relationship choices? Are we leading other people into sin through those choices? Love supports the truth, and the TRUTH doesn’t change. It is the same today as it was yesterday or 2000 years ago, and it will be the same tomorrow, and it will still be the same in 20,000 years.

“When love is present, nothing else is needed.” Love is essential to anything I do. Without love, I’m just making noise. Remember this truth – No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. There is no real sacrifice without real love, true love, which is Agape love. This Love is produced ONLY by the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ, Who the church is based on. LOVE personified, the Cornerstone of the church.

Love rejoices with the truth; Love bears/carries, protects, supports, covers or shelters all. Love is everything both for us AND for others. In Genesis 9, when Noah’s sons realized their father was naked and they covered his nakedness without looking at him, that is Love. Real Love offers shelter and protection for our shortcomings and our faults without focusing on them.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NASB

Love believes – not in a gullible way, and not overly suspicious or cynical. Love is encouraging. It takes the best view of people and holds on to it, for as long as it is possible. Love believes in second chances. Love remembers that God isn’t finished with us yet!

Love hopes and doesn’t give up. It has desire with expectancy and it is realistic, but in the dark days it holds hands with Hope. When you get discouraged because life is overwhelming and everything seems to be falling apart, read the end of the Book. I love reading Revelations, because we win!

Love endures and will hold on until there is absolutely no hope left. It is patient and persevering in all circumstances. Love perseveres, it holds on, it endures.

Paul is saying to the Corinthians: “What LOVE is, you are not.” Will we be like the Corinthians, without Love, or will we search Scriptures and study to be more Christ-like and loving outside of ourselves and our own selfishness?

LORD, be with us, Your people during this unprecedented time. Help us all to not just hold on to Your promises, but give us the courage to live your Love and the Truth. Amen.

References: 1 Corinthians 1:26, 29; 4:7, 4:18-19, 8:1; Philippians 2:3, 5-8; Acts 17:16; Romans 4:8; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Hebrew 10:17; Matthew 18; Romans 5:8; 1 John 5:9; Proverbs 10:12; James 5:20; 1 Peter 7; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 15:13; John 13:1

Last Hour

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior…”

1 Timothy 2:1‭-‬3 NASB

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is Righteous, you know that everyone also who practices Righteousness is born of Him.”

1 John 2:18‭-‬23‭, ‬28‭-‬29 NASB

WOAH. Last days? Antichrist?? Last hour?? Am I a Bible thumping, stand on the street corner, wear a placard to announce “The World is Ending!”…… Chicken Little? You know who Chicken Little is, right? In case you are unfamiliar, Wikipedia ststes “it’s a European folktale known in Europe as Henny Penny. It is a cumulative tale about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end. The phrase “The sky is falling!” features prominently in the story, and has passed into the English language as a common idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.”

John is not crying out “The sky is falling!” but he is warning us that it could, at any moment, in the form of our Saviour returning for us. He doesn’t mean for us to run around like Chicken Little, screeching that the world is ending. He warns us to be aware of who it is that we are following. If they do not embrace Jesus, the Son of God, then we are to reject following that person. It’s difficult, at times, to know what to believe, or rather, what someone else believes. As Christians, it is up to us to make sure that those around us understand how critical it is to test those leaders, and ensure that those leaders confess the Son as the Christ. Words alone don’t cut it. We have to look at actions. My Dad used to say, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.” Truth. It is our job to pray for our leaders with entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority.

We are in the last days; approaching the last hour. Are you ready to face your LORD and your GOD?