The Scriptures tell us that influence is a powerful thing. As humans we can be influenced for good or evil. I have known people who fit both categories. Call it, “hanging around the wrong crowd” or “running with the wrong crowd,” or even “misery loves company.” People are influenced by those they associate with. I have known people that greatly messed their life up by simply choosing the wrong company. A young man that I went to High School with, lived in the same town, we played basketball, Baseball and football together. In his senior year in High School, he ended up in prison because he accepted a ride on a Friday night with others. Things went really bad; a store was held up and a man was shot. This young man would have never done this on his own. He spent quality years in prison because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Bible does tell us that evil communication corrupts good manners.
One of King David’s sons; Amnon had a friend named Jonadab. Jonadab empowered Amnon with suggestions, when lived out caused a grievous sin to be committed. He raped his sister and this sin soon afterward cost him his life. Again, Evil communication corrupts good manners.
I have known many individuals that listened to the wrong voices and later suffered greatly because they did things that brought shame and reproach. It is so critically important that we allow good influences into our lives. We have to make hard choices and purpose in our hearts that we will not allow things or people to influence us negatively. The Bible tell s us that Iron sharpens iron. It has been said that if we want to be successful, hang around successful people.
Eve was negatively influenced by the devil and lost paradise. Resisting temptation to do evil requires watchfulness and diligence. We must purpose within our hearts not to defile ourselves just like Daniel did. Sure there were those that went along to get along. Daniel made a stand to not defile himself. As Christians we have to make good decisions and purpose within our hearts that we are going to do that which is right. That means that we will not entertain suggestions and ideas that are contrary with the Bible.
Joshua said, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Joshua challenged the people to make up their minds, don’t be double minded or unstable. Make a Choice, Make a Consecration and move forward.
Paul said follow me as I follow Christ. Certainly, He influenced numerous individuals. He was determined to forget things left behind and reach forward unto worthy goals.
Paul influenced Aquila, and Priscilla, Silas, Timothy, Titus, Philemon. Even while in Jail for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, He influenced the Philippian Jailer and the Philippian Jailer and His Family heard the Gospel, Repented and were baptized that very night. Influence is a powerful thing. Jesus said we are the salt of the earth. Salt flavors, enhances, and preserves. In other words Salt has influence. Don’t lose your saltiness. Make good decisions and be faithful unto God. Walk humbly and He shall sustain you.
Paul influenced many for Christ. Let us do our best to love people and influence them to serve God. We will rejoice when we do so.
Hebrews 6: 1 ¶ Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
In Part 1 we saw that the very first foundational Doctrine of the True Believer is Repentance from dead works. We have all sinned and have come short of the Glory of God. We found that the only way we can begin building a spiritual house is by repenting of our sins. Except we repent we shall perish. In Repentance we turn towards God.
The second foundational doctrine is faith towards God. Every thing of God comes through Faith. Without Faith it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11: 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
The Scriptures Tell us that it takes faith to please God. It also states that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. When we seek God for answers and needs the Bible tells us that God is faithful. He is pleased when we trust Him and call upon Him. He really desires to bless us and help us in all of our infirmities.
Faith towards God causes us to call upon Him and pray unto Him. When we cast all our care upon Him it is a show of faith that we are seeking His will, His guidance, His mercy, His strength, His grace. Oh how we need him. We live by faith, We walk by Faith. Faith in God causes us to triumph over evil and causes us to be over-comers.
Faith towards God causes us to have a good report just like the patriarchs of old. Faith towards God empowers us to go forth and do good works. Faith without works is dead. Faith towards God causes is a Shield and a Breastplate of armor. Faith moves Mountains.
Faith towards God caused Daniel to Pray regardless of the threat of the Lions den. Faith towards God caused the three Hebrew young men to stand up against idolatry and the threat of the fiery furnace. Faith towards God caused Peter and the Apostles when threatened, not to preach in the Name of Jesus, to respond, we ought to obey God rather than man. They kept on preaching and healing in that Marvelous Name of Jesus. Faith towards God caused the Apostle Paul to keep pressing on Preaching, Evangelizing, and witnessing in every city. Even in the face of many perils and much pain and imprisonment, Paul said he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith towards God caused Abraham to go and offer up his son because he knew that God was faithful that promised. Faith towards God caused Moses to reject Egypt’s treasures and pleasures. Faith towards God caused Abel to offer a sacrifice that was pleasing towards God. Faith towards God caused Enoch to walk with God in a day of compromise, when other sons of God were walking away from God, Enoch stayed close to God. Faith towards God caused Joseph to hold on to his dream. faith towards God caused Noah to move with fear and build the ark that saved himself and his family.
Just like these, faith towards God is how we walk, how we talk, how we live, what we do and how we respond. Faith is all about action. It is being a living Epistle read and known of all men. faith causes us to produce the fruit of the Spirit and go about doing good unto all.
A believer in Jesus Christ is active and not passive. A believer in Jesus Christ stands firmly in His or Her Faith. They are building a spiritual house. They are about their father’s Business. The resist evil and overcome evil with good. Faith in Jesus causes us to obey His word and become hearers and doers of His Word.
Jesus marveled over the Faith of The Centurion. He marveled over the faith of a woman that pressed through the crowd just to touch His Garment, for she said within herself, If I can just touch His Garment, I shall be made whole…and she was.
Have faith in GOD. Faith towards God brings us a good report. Faith towards God keeps us humble and in submission to God. Faith towards God causes us to obey the word of God by repenting and confessing our sins. Faith towards God causes us to obey His Word and keep His Commandments.
In the Bible we find men approaching Jesus with tough questions. These questions were well thought out. Some of these questions were designed to attempt to trap Jesus so they could uses his answers against Him by saying that He was in disagreement with the Law of Moses. These men asked with an agenda, they were not curious, they were not seeking God for answers, they were not trying to come to a better understanding, they simply had the motive to justify themselves. Their motive was to explain away or excuse their condition and their belief. What is in the hearts of men that we feel that we must justify our actions and beliefs even at the sake of violating known ethics.
Luke 10: 25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbor as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?
This man knew the answer. He knew what was right, he knew what was expected. Fair balances, Equity, and Righteousness was expected by God regarding His People. This lawyer simply wanted to be selective in his application. He wanted to justify himself.
Men often caught in a weakness, point fingers in every direction but themselves. It has been stated that when we point a finger at others three more are pointing back at us. The blame game is played. Men begin to justify themselves and not take responsibility for their actions and behavior. In the Garden, God asked the man Adam what he had done and immediately Adam said, “The woman You gave me…” He was blaming God as well as His wife. When God asked the woman, Eve said, “The serpent…” Since God was the creator of all things, she was blaming God and the serpent. Again we find that sin is often explained away in order to justify itself. Cain, Adam and Eve’s son murdered their other son, Abel. Cain was self willed and disobedient and he attempted to justify himself and expected God to accept his offering even though it was not right and he knew it was not right. In his anger of being rejected he ignored the admonition of God to simply repent and do what was right. In stead he willing to justify his wrong when out and slew his brother.
Because of the nature of sin, man can never justify himself. All have sinned and have come short of God’s Glory. There are none righteous, no not one. All we like sheep have gone astray.
The Bible tells us of two men that went to the Temple to Pray, one was a Publican and the other was a Pharisee. The Publican fell upon his face and began to ask for mercy. He admitted that he needed forgiveness and Pardon. He needed a changed heart. He admitted guilt, he confessed his sins and asked God for Mercy. The Pharisee, in an attempt to justify himself, began t tell God how good he was. He stood upright and said, Lord I thank you that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust adulterers or even as this publican, I fast twice a week, I tithe of all that I possess. Jesus responded that the Publican that admitted guilt and was sorrowful for his sins left there that day justified.
Justification only comes from God. If we attempt to justify ourselves we will deceive ourselves as well. The Bible gives us the direction for us to humble ourselves and seek his face and repent of our sins. That is the only way that Justification can come. It doesn’t come to the Proud or arrogant, or disobedient. It comes by admission that we need a Savior. The only Savior of mankind is Jesus Our Lord. He is the Way, The Truth, and The Life.
Faith in Christ Jesus and His Redemptive Works, Justifies us and saves us from wrath. Abraham was justified when his works were in agreement with God. Rahab the Harlot was justified by her Faith and Works. When we repent of our sins, are Baptized in His Saving Name, Jesus, and Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, we too are Justified. It does matter what you do and how you live. You can go though life and on the day of judgement and attempt to justify yourself or you can become submissive and obedient to God and let His works Justify you.
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Paul was saying that these Corinthians who were once deep in sin, were now justified by their faith and their response of obedience to the Gospel.
I have recently been teaching a series on being an over-comer. It is a truth that God’s People are to be over-comers. The Word Overcomer means to prevail, to Triumph, to gain the victory, to make advancement. It is going forward and making forward progress. We can’t be over-comers in a survival mode.
God told the Children of Israel to go forward. That certainly applies to us as well. If there was ever a time that we must go forward, it is today. We are not called to survive but to endure unto the end. Endurance means we are in the race for the long haul. The finish line is the object and passion. This means that we are come come out victorious over all enemies that come against us. There are enemies of the Gospel, Enemies that war against the soul, enemies within and without. The only way to prevail and be victorious is to determine that we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ that loved us and gave himself for us.
In his writings, the Apostle Paul made it clear that he was determined to finish the race. He had one prize in mind and that was to be crowned with the crown of righteousness. The only way we can achieve this wonderful, victorious prize is to finish our course. Paul’s course brought him pain and suffering, it brought him persecution and imprisonment. It brought him beatings and stonings. It brought him perils of every thing imaginable.
Jesus said in this life you shall have persecution, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world. As believers we have to endure hardness, persecution, chastisement, temptation and a multitude of afflictions, however, we have the victory through Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you to be faithful, be steadfast, be determined to win the victory. Walk humbly with God and he will bless, comfort, and strengthen you. He is a very present help in trouble. He is faithful that promised and will never leave nor forsake you. He will be with you. Be not weary in well doing. Hang in there. Keep the faith, for God has called you and chosen you and ordained that you be an over-comer.
We must overcome the world as Jesus did.
We must overcome the flesh as Jesus did.
We must overcome satan as Jesus did.
Jacob was given a name that meant supplanter. Deep down inside there was a competitiveness within Jacob that made him a fighter. He spent his life struggling to stay ahead or at least even with his brother. He seemed to come behind in his fathers eyes in comparison to Esau. The Scriptures tell us that Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob. Let me say that all Children are different. Jacob and Esau were twins, born by the same parents, minutes apart, raised by the same parents, yet these boys turned out entirely different. Esau was a hunter, an outdoors-man and Jacob was a home body that didn’t take up hunting or fishing.
My Oldest son has twins and it is fun to watch them interact with each other. All Children are unique and deserve the guidance, nurturing and same love from both parents. Parents need to mentor their Children and raise them up to serve God and walk with him. Children are Precious and as a Grandfather I love and enjoy our Grandchildren. They make my heart smile.
Jacob seemed to live up to his name, Supplanter, Trickster, Huckster, and was willing to do whatever it took to get ahead. He was no slacker. He was not content being the second born even though it was just by minutes. In that day there was a custom that the eldest received the Birthright which entitled him to a double portion of the inheritance and also made him the leader of the family. Jacob deep down desired to have that privilege and it really didn’t seem to matter to Esau because one day he agreed to sell his birthright for a bowl of beans. He was starving from being out in the woods and taking no game and had returned home and smelled that aroma from a distance. Jacob capitalized on the situation and traded Esau a bowl of beans for the Birthright. The Bible tells us that Esau despised his birthright. In the eyes of God Esau thought so little of the Privilege and inheritance that he swapped it to gratify the flesh. That did not automatically make it a done deal. Jacob had to someway get Issac to confer the blessing upon him and not Esau. Rebekah and Jacob used deception to obtain the birthright and blessing from his Father.
Aren’t we glad that God our Heavenly Father delights to bestow the blessing upon us. Our decision and attitudes do have a bearing on His Covenant and Blessing upon our lives. We are to live honestly and walk worthy of the vocation. If we have a desire for the Things of God, He will bless us. Even the Bible tells us to covet Spiritual Gifts that should be used to edify The Church. Coveting things of others is a grievous sin, but God really does want us to desire Spiritual Things and we do not have to flimflam our way in order to receive them. He delights to Give us Good Things. We are to ask in order to receive. We are to seek in order to find. We are to knock for doors to be opened.
While Jacob did receive the Birthright and did go on to Receive the approval and blessing of God, he did have to change his behavior and way of doing things. He was desperate and facing Esau that he had not seen for many years. The last he saw of Esau was the anger and hatred in his brothers eyes when he found out that Jacob had received his blessing.
Jacob was alone and all of a sudden in his night of desperation, he saw a man which was The Angel of The Lord. A wrestling match ensured. Jacob could not gain the advantage but he did hold on. He wrestled and held on until the break of day. This Heavenly visitor said let me go for the day breaketh. Jacob said I will not let you go until you bless me. Jacob was tired of flimflamming his way through life, he needed a change and it was there that he prevailed and God blessed him and made him a prince, for he Prevailed. His name was changed. His way of doing business changed. He walked with a limp from that time forward. When We prevail and seek God for the Changes we need in our life we will prevail if we hang on as Jacob did. We have to be persistent. We have to seek Him until He rains righteousness upon us and Changes us form the hurtful way we have lived. The Things of God do not come without a struggle. The Rich Young Ruler gave up so easily. His Possessions were more important that even the thought of Eternal Life.
Change can and will come, but we have to struggle our way to victory. You have to pray and endure until the blessing comes. You may be in a great battle right now. Hold on and Pray, seek God earnestly, with all your heart. Make good choices and His Blessing will come. Jacob did Prevail with God but his own heart was broken again and again by his deceptive sons. I guess it did not exempt him from receiving what he had sown. Jesus said if we live by the sword we will die by the sword. A man or woman does reap what they sow. Jacob deceived his Father and later his sons and even Laban his Fahter in Law deceived him. Jacob was changed of his deceptive ways of trying to get ahead and became a very honorable man and was blessed of God. That change came when he became honest with himself that he needed a change an only God could change his nature.
God Bless You in Your Struggles it is worth the fight.
The Scriptures tell us that many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. That’s a pretty good batting average if you ask me. “The Lord delivers him out of them all.” All means every valley has an end. All means every heartache has a healing. Every trial has a victory awaiting. Every disappointment has blessing awaiting. All means that there is no problem too big for God. All means that He will do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think. All means that every battle, every struggle, every sorrow, every suffering has a reward from God. He truly delivers us from them all. God helps us in our infirmities. He is a very present help in the lives of those who trust and obey Him. Jesus said, “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” It is a good life living for the Lord. I am glad to know that my Redeemer is faithful and True. He is our shepherd that watches over us and leads us in the right paths. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, we do not have to fear because God is with us. He has assured us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He restores our soul as David said. Do you believe? Do you Trust Him to help you? Will you call upon Him?
A believer avoids some tribulations simply by disciplining himself / herself and living the Christian life. That’s why the Apostles tell us, “let no man suffer as a evil doer.” If we do evil we should expect a certain amount of problems to come our way. Sin has it’s wages and they are costly.
In life there are many set backs. Things get in the way of the best thought out plans. However, we need to recognize that God is faithful that promised. His promises are real. His promises are genuine, His Promises are True and Faithful. His Word is immutable, trustworthy, dependable. He watches over His Word and brings it to pass. Not one dotting of the i or the crossing of the t will ever fail from from His Holy Word.
The scriptures are trustworthy and dependable. The Word is backed by God Himself. It cannot and will not fail. Even Solomon in dedicating the The First Temple said that not one promise has failed of all that He promised to do. Surely, God is faithful that promised. In this world of men promising this and that, they often make promises that they have no intention to keep. They always have excuses and reasons why they could not perform what they promised. We have a God that cannot lie. It is impossible for God to lie.,, He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. His Word establishes Righteousness, Peace and Joy. His Word produces results. We know that the worlds were framed with the Word of God. God said let there be… and it happened. His Word is Creative and Alive. Praise our God for His Blessings upon our lives.
Blessed be the Name of The LORD> IN JESUS NAME!
Chapter 2: 1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
We recently began studying the mind of Christ. The preceding weeks we studied the importance of our thought life.
Today we will continue to examine the scriptures concerning our thoughts and how they have a bearing on our relationship with God and will ultimately determine our destiny. The scriptures tell us; “As a man thinks, in his heart so is he.” In other words he actually becomes or carries out what he thinks about. If we think on evil things we become evil. If we think of good things we are likely to do good. The Scriptures admonish us to do good. Jesus was a man anointed with the Holy Ghost that went about doing good. He healed the sick, He was compassionate, He gave hope to the hopeless, sight to the blind. He was full of good works.
We know that in the days of Noah that men’s thoughts were only evil continually. The condition of men’s souls was polluted with violence and evil. Man corrupted himself and was drifting deeper and deeper into sin. He lost his convictions and morals. God was grieved in his heart and was sorrowful that he had made man upon the earth.
As Christians we are responsible for our thoughts. As a man thinks, in his heart, so is he.
The Apostle told the Galatians that be was travailing until Christ was formed in them.
Galatians 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
Some view Christianity as a mental belief in his existence and what he did for us, but it is much deeper than that, it is being transformed into His likeness and image. We were by natural birth made in the image of God through the First Man, Adam, but we are Spiritually transformed after the Last Adam, which is Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus said, we must be born again of the water and the Spirit or we can not see nor enter into the Kingdom of God.
Being a Christian means being Christlike. Christ formed in us. Taking on his Divine Nature and likeness.
He is our example.
If we ever needed a good example, we need it today. In a world filled with confusion, hatred, strife, turmoil, we have his example to pattern ourselves
His words, his testimony, his record, his example gives us a clearly defined path in which to walk.
He suffered many things at the hands of sinners.
Criticized, Mocked, Lied upon, falsely accused, betrayed, rejected, victimized, called names, scorned, there was a multitude of sinners that were contrary to His Purpose and Agenda. The Pharisees were always trying to trip Him up. They plotted and schemed against Him. He endured the sufferings and pain. He endured because their was a greater prise before Him and that was the redemption of lost humanity that needed a Savior.
- To be like Jesus means we follow his example and allow His Divine Nature to govern us.
1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
- To be like Jesus means we obey His Commandments.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
- To be like Jesus means we summit to Him.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
- To be like Jesus means we identify with Him.
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so
we also should walk in newness of life.
Being Like Jesus means that we do not seek our own…We seek the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.
Being Like Jesus means that we follow Him as our Shepherd and Trust Him and Submit ourselves to Him in all things. He sometimes leads us through the Valley of the shadow of death, but we will not fear because He is with us each step of the way. Many are the afflictions of the Righteous but the LORD delivers us out of them all. I am glad to know my redeemer lives and has all power both in heaven and in earth. What a Mighty God we serve. He is unique. The One True God and Everlasting Father.
Blessed be the Name of The LORD. IN HIM I MOVE, I BREATH and HAVE my being. The Bible exhorts us to consider Him. To set our affections upon Him. To Glorify God in our body and in our spirit because both belongs to Him.
The Word Christian means to be Like Christ. Christ was the manifestation of the One True God, The Creator of Heaven and Earth. God literally descended and visited man for the purpose of Reconciliation. When man could not save himself from the clutches of sin and death, The Almighty God manifested Himself in Flesh. The Great Eternal Spirit, The Great and Everlasting God became a man and walked among man to show us the way and help us become what we could not on our own. The scriptures are clear, man is a sinner and is lost without God. Man is deeply mired in the results of sin and this is evidenced by hatred, anger, greed, arrogance, stubbornness, selfishness, rebellion, bitterness, evil of every thing imaginable, lying, suspicion, doubt, drunkenness, the list goes on and on. Sin has flooded the world, there is no culture, no Nation, No race, No creed that sin hasn’t revealed it ugliness. The Good News is that Christ came into the world to save sinners.
1 Peter 2: 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
The Apostle Peter states that we were called. The Calling of God is without repentance. He calls but many do not Heed the call, this is why Jesus said, that many are called but few are chosen. The calling of God is the Greatest calling of all. We are called to come out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We are called to come out of the world and called into separation from a live of sin and selfishness. We are called to go about doing good just like He did. Jesus had a mission and that was to give beauty for ashes. He went about doing good, He healed the sick. He liberated the captives. His ministry was a ministry of good works. We too as followers of Jesus are to go about performing good works.
Being a Christian means we are to walk in the world for Him. We follow in His steps and practice the things He did.
Mt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Ac 9:36 ¶ Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Being a Christian means we are Hospitable, Kind, Merciful, Compassionate, Loving, and Filled with His Spirit. We go about doing Good in Jesus Name.
1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
What a Great God we have. To know Him is to Love Him. He is Creator and Redeemer. He is the Almighty, All Knowing, incomparable, One True God. David said, “The Heaven of Heavens can not contain Him.” He is bigger than the World He created. All things were created for Him and by Him were they created.
I love the Prophecies that declare His Greatness, His Power, His Love and Mercy for mankind. From the very first man and woman in the Garden of Eden where sin was introduced to the human race, we see a God that is involved, a God that cares, a God that doesn’t wash his hands because of man and his failures. All have sinned, there are none righteous, no, not one. Even though sin has done it’s horrible damage, even though sin has devoured and ravaged the lives of numerous individuals, God is Gracious and Merciful. In the Garden, God did not abandon man, when man’s shame and guilt for disobeying God’s Command not to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree. When man tried to hide from God, God made Adam and His wife, coats of skins. An innocent animal died to cover the shame of what man allowed in his life. God was and is involved and will have a Glorious People for His Great Name.
Isaiah lived about seven hundred years before the Messiah came. He had many wonderful revelations about the visitation of God. He said “A Virgin would bring forth a son”. His name would be called Immanuel. Isaiah said, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulders. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah had a great revelation of God and His workings with man.
Isaiah, also revealed that the Messiah would have an exchange program. He said that The Messiah would give…
Beauty for Ashes. Only God can take the charred ashes of what used to be and make something beautiful out of it. Ashes are the remnants of what used to be, something that has been destroyed and consumed. Hopes, Dreams, Plans, Potential, Usefulness, that has been destroyed by the fires of the enemy. The Lord has taken destroyed people and made them beautiful. That is what the Lord has done. Beauty for ashes is what God Gives in His Exchange Program.
The Oil of Joy for Mourning. Mourning speaks of brokenness, sadness, gloom, broken hearts, hopelessness, despair, devastation. Sin has brought it’s sorrow upon the human race. It has spread it’s sorrow and destruction and brought hopelessness to people without number. Isaiah said that The Messiahs exchange program would give The Oil Joy in place of mourning. Oil is symbolic of The Holy Presence of God. It means the anointing, a change, wealth, healing. It is God that gives Joy for sadness.
The Garment of Praise for the spirit of heaviness. The spirit of heaviness speaks of uncertainty,the foreboding feeling of gloom and doom, it speaks of a lack of direction, a lack of confidence, no peace, a heavy burden. God gives a garment of praise in place of the spirit of heaviness. This garment speaks of thankfulness, worship, victory, it speaks of triumph. God does this for us in His exchange program.
These Words spoke our Savior.
Matthew 11: 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Notice Jesus invites you to take His yoke instead of the heavy yoke you are carrying. He invites you to given up your heavy burden and identify with Him. As you learn to walk with Him and Trust Him, You will be Blessed. He will place a robe of righteousness in place of the filthy rags of self righteousness and human failures.
In life we are faced with many choices. Growing up we choose what we would like to become, what kind of occupation, what kind of home we would like to live in, what kind of automobile we would like to drive. Through the years our taste and preferences most likely change. I saw a two paneled cartoon years ago about a long haired, bearded, character from the sixties, he was decked out in the less than casual apparel of that day, and he was thinking peace symbol. It was obvious what he represented and what his objectives were. The next panel showed the same man, now twenty years later and he is with short hair and clean shaven with a business suit and tie. He is now thinking of a Mercedes emblem instead of the peace symbol. The caption said what a difference twenty years makes.
It was obvious from this very short but thought provoking cartoon, that this man had changed some things in his life. In doing so he made choices that no doubt changed his apparel, his clothing, his looks, his passions and even his attitude.
It is true that we do make choices and decisions, and with time our choices hopefully will become more responsible and for the best. The tragedy with some is they are in a rut and always stay in that condition, because change for the better means you have to apply yourself, and make better choices.
I am glad for a God that helps us in our weaknesses. A God that is faithful and true. A God that makes us into His likeness and image.
By nature man is disobedient. Because of the sins of one man, (Adam) all were placed under the bondage of sin. The scriptures tell us the lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us. The sin is disobedience or rebellion. What is in man even from childhood that causes us to be disobedient? Deep within the nature of humanity is the inherent nature to resist. Men are guilty before God. There are none righteous, no not one. All have sinned after the similitude of Adam.
Jeremiah asked a question to Israel and also applies to us as well, let’s read it.
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
The Ethiopians skin is nature just as the leopards spots, but also deep within man is that nature to disobey.
Only God can change the nature of man, but man must recognize his need and confess his sins before God.
The scriptures admonish us to choose whom we will serve. We must choose to submit to him.
Joshua a great leader of Israel that led the children into the land of promise that GOD promised Abraham and his descendants, made this challenge to his people. Choose you this day whom you will serve, you can choose the gods (idols) that their fathers served before the flood or they could choose the gods (idols) that the nations before them served, or they could choose to serve the Lord. In reality we do serve someone.
We are blessed when we choose to serve the Lord. The Creator and Savior of the world.
Joshua said that as for him and his house they would serve the Lord. As believers we have to be committed to him. We can not hope to serve Him half heartedly. Jesus said that we must worship Him with all our hearts, souls, mind and strength.
Serving God is a choice, a daily choice involving, prayerfully making the right decisions. The calling of God is a vocation, not a vacation. A vocation is calling, an occupation, a commitment, especially if we are to be successful.
Jesus said he was about His Father’s business.
Let us submit ourselves unto the Lord.