Joy is a state of mind. It is a condition of the heart. Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem. Israel had been exiled for 70 years because of their backsliding. The Babylonians had taken them captive, destroyed their Temple, demolished their walls, burned their city with fire. All that was left was the remnants of what once was. When Nehemiah felt burdened for the remnant of Jewish people still in the land and when he heard of their plight and poverty, he began to Pray and Seek God. He repented for his sins and the sins of his fathers and the whole Nation. Revival always begins with an admission of sin and guilt. Many want to blame this and that. Many want to point fingers at others and make excuses. Honesty comes into to play. Nehemiah became honest and included not only the sins of disobedience of his fathers, but also his own sins. When Nehemiah turned to God and humbly asked for forgiveness, God heard and began the process of revival.
The Scriptures tell us to humble ourselves under the mighty Hand of God and He will exalt us. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. The Publican went to the house of God and would not even lift his head. He humbly asked God to forgive him because he admitted his sin. The scriptures tell us that if we hide our sin, we will not prosper. We need to repent and ask God to forgive us and restore us. This is what Nehemiah did and God heard him and began the process of restoration.
2 Chronicles 7: 14 If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
What a Great Promise God has given to us all. Humility and repentance will cleanse us and begin the restoration process.
Nehemiah came to a remnant that needed to return to God in their hearts. What he saw was what sin had done. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Nehemiah saw rubble, ruins, disaster, poverty, fear, torment, everywhere he looks was despair. It looked impossible, but Nehemiah challenged the people of Israel to return to the Lord and when they began the re-building process, He reminded them that the Joy of the Lord was their strength. We cannot have Joy and sin in our hearts. We must be cleansed, and forgiven; then Joy will come in.
It is not time to be weak. It is time to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We need to serve the Lord with Gladness. We need to take off heavy burdens and put on Christ. He promised that He came that our Joy might be full and His Joy remain in us.
The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength.
Years ago, a politician sat before a Congressional Committee and said it depends on what the meaning of is, is. Is, is a statement of being, it means to be present or in existence, to be real and genuine. I am glad to know that God is.
He is Real, He is Genuine, He is on the throne and rules and reigns. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is the Almighty. He is Holy. He is righteous. He is sovereign. He is wonderful. He is counselor. He is the Mighty God. He is the Everlasting Father. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the everlasting and only true potentate, the King of Glory. He is the Creator. He is the Redeemer. He is The Savior of the world. He is the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd and My Shepherd. He is the Great Physician. He is the Only Wise God. He is the way, the truth and the Life. He is the Rock of my salvation. He is the King of Glory. He is the all-knowing, all powerful and omnipresent God. He is larger than the world. David said though I make my bed in Sheol, He is there. He is the door to the sheepfold. He is our exceeding great reward.
The Bible clearly tells us that God is. He is our refuge and strength, He is a very present help in trouble . He is merciful and full of grace. He is gracious and kind. He is the sinners friend. He is the Great High Priest that ever lives to make intercession for us. He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. He is Love. He is our help and shield. He is a strong and mighty tower and the righteous runs into it and is safe. He is faithful and will not allow our feet to be removed.
These are just a few of the definitions of is found in the Bible. I believe we can say God is. Because He is, we have hope beyond this life.
Truely, It is all in Him.
During the Recent controversy between Duck Dynasty Patriarch Phil Robertson and Various Corporations. Because of the recent public outcry, some of the Corporations have recanted their position and admitted they were wrong. I commend them for doing so, because in the beginning when some of these organizations began to “pile on”, they caused many including me to make a choice. I told my wife that I would not give business to anyone that denounced what Phil said. He was asked a question. He answered according to his faith and belief system. Every answer to a question is always subject to our beliefs, our convictions, our morals, our opinions and absolutes. Absolutes are what we view as Ultimate Authority. Christians view The Holy Scriptures as Absolute Authority. The Word of God is Final and Absolute Authority in the heart of a true believer. When we read the Bible, we do find strong rebuke and warnings. We find that some things are abominations in the eyes of God. Since we Believe Him and His Word, we too have to embrace His Teachings and Admonitions to repent and put off works of darkness. Even The Apostle Paul said that some things will not enter the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6: 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulters, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall enter the kingdom of God. 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.
We also find many other scriptures that tell us that God hates some actions and behaviors of some and commands all men everywhere to repent of their sins. Jesus said except we repent we shall perish. Sin is sin and sin must be dealt with and repented of. None of us can cast stones at another, because we have all sinned. We were born with a nature to sin. No one had to teach us how to sin, it was in our members.
Paul would be considered too direct and offensive in today’s society. Remember he was speaking to people that had been delivered and changed through conversion. Just like John the Baptist, he preached against sin. Some didn’t like what these men said. Some didn’t like what Stephen said in Acts 7. They stopped their ears and ran upon him like a pack of wild dogs. They resisted the truth preached to them. They gnashed him with their teeth, they stoned him to death. Some will come to the light and others will hate the light because their deeds are evil.
Let’s face it, many will reject the Truth and some will speak evil of the truth. It is the truth that will make us free. Only the Truth of God’s Word will liberate an individual and change our destiny. These men didn’t preach to rub peoples noses in it, he preached out of love. They preached to save souls and bring men to repentance. One of the problems we face in our world today is there are some that want to censor what Christians believe and say. There are those who want to broadcast and enforce their beliefs on others but they don’t want anyone else out there to have a say about God. The Bible tells us that God chose Preaching to save the World. How can men believe on God when they haven’t heard? Faith in God comes by hearing the Word of God. How can we hear without a preacher. Remember God chose preaching to save them that believe. Many want to censor what is being said. I do feel that what we say should be said in kindness, love and mercy, however, we cannot be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. If we are ashamed of Him He will be ashamed of us. If we deny Him, He will deny us. A very popular Television commentator even took a stand and said how wrong Phil was. I normally like what this commentator has to say, but on this He was totally wrong. Phil was asked a question and the question needed t be answered. Why is it that everyone wants to silence the Christian Voice. Watering down the Gospel will have no one. The Bible speaks for itself and will judge us all. If we are wise, we will listen and obey.
We must understand that Phil was most likely baited. Baiting has been going on for a long, long time. They did it when Jesus walked among men. The Pharisees, and Lawyers, known to be haters of Jesus, would often try to trick Him into answering a question that would place Him in disagreement with the Law of Moses. They stood in every meeting, listening, critiquing, and criticizing His every word and deed. They would ask Him questions to try and trap him. The motives of their questions were not because they were hungry for truth. The motives were, simply they hated Him for His words and Preaching.
These are my thoughts based on Knowledge and Faith in Jesus Christ. God weighs the spirits of men.
Influence can be used for good or evil. Jesus influenced Philip and Philip influenced Nathaniel. Jesus influenced Matthew the Tax Collector and He left his government job and became a fisher of men. Jesus in a short period of time influenced his Disciples and after His death, Burial and Resurrection, He baptized them with the Holy Ghost and Fire as prophesied and they turned their world upside down. They went everywhere influencing men and women to turn their heart to God and Repent of their sins. Their message didn’t stop at Repentance; they Influenced men and women to be Baptized in Jesus Name and Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Power of the Holy Ghost is given to influence our lives for the good. It reproves sin and guides us into all truth. The Holy Ghost influences us to live an overcoming life. We are more than conquerors through Him that Loved us and gave Himself for us.
He told his followers to Follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. Making is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight, there are no short cuts, Discipleship is a daily submitting ourselves to His will. Paul said, “I die daily.” That means every day he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. Jesus said that if we do not deny ourselves and take up our cross daily, we are not worthy of Him. Living for Christ is a daily walk. It is an ongoing seeking and praying and growing in The Grace of God.
A lady one day told me that salvation is free and I replied yes but Discipleship will cost you everything. The Lord told the Rich Young Ruler to go and sell all that he had and follow him and then he would have treasure in heaven. The only way to have true treasure in this life and in the life to come is to follow Jesus. Just as Jesus was led out into the wilderness to be tempted, we too will go through lonely places, difficult places, time of sorrow and suffering.
It takes a lifetime to make a saint of God. Rest assured He is doing a good work in us and is determined to complete it. Sometimes He allows us to follow Him in Suffering. Sometimes we follow in pain and sorrow, sometimes we follow Him through the Valley of the shadow of death as David said. In this life we will suffer tribulations, but Jesus told us to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. He assures us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be with us in through the fire through the flood and through difficult times. The Bible assure us that if we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him.
Turn your life over to Jesus, seek to do His will. The Bible tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of our heart. What this means is, when we really delight ourselves in serving Him, Submitting to Him, Surrendering to Him, we will be in alignment with Him and He shall direct our paths. When you are in agreement with God, it will no longer be about you, it will be about Him. “Not my will, but thine be done.”
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.
Psalms 100: 1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. 3. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves; we are the sheep of His Pasture. 4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him and bless His Holy Name. 5. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.
The scriptures admonish us the serve the Lord with Gladness. He and He alone is God. There is none like Him. He is the One True God. The Only Potentate and king of Glory. What a privilege it is to know Him. He is worthy of all praise. One of the greatest revelations of life is to know our Creator and Redeemer. Knowing Him is a great joy and Serving God is a privilege and we should recognize it as such. There is a state of mind that we need to bring into conformity with God’s Word. Serve Him with gladness, be thankful, Bless His Holy Name.
As believers we need to count our blessings. The Bible even tells us to count it all joy, even when we fall into divers temptations. We should rejoice and be glad that we can identify with Him. Things don’t always go the way we want them to, however, The Lord is for us and if God be for us who can be against us. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
Serving God with Gladness is a condition of the heart, a state of mind. Serving God with Gladness is not an option. We need to put off complaining and every negative thought. Serving God with Gladness is the key to victory. We need to resist the temptation to complain and murmur. We need to remind ourselves daily that We belong to Him. He is the Good Shepherd. He gave His all to us and we have a reason to rejoice. We have a reason to be glad. In this world there are many struggles and trials, however, we can be glad and serve Him with gladness. Don’t allow things or people to speak negative things into your spirit. Celebrate, Rejoice, and Be Glad, Be Thankful. He is on the Throne.
Genesis 1 opens with God moving upon the face of the deep. In Lesson 1 we discovered that Genesis 1 and the creation is a mirror of what happens in New Testament Salvation. For an individual to be saved, it will take a sovereign act of God’s Spirit moving upon the darkness, chaos, confusion, emptiness and waste to transform the human heart. Only God can create and change the human heart. In Salvation He transforms our hearts and makes us new creations in Him. Only God can change the desires of the heart. If God doesn’t move man has no hope. On the day of Pentecost God moved and filled that place with His Spirit. He empowered the believers in the upper room to become His witnesses. We need a move of God in our lives. That starts the process of Salvation.
In Lesson Two God Spoke. When He spoke things began to happen. As with Salvation, man needs the spoken Word of God to be saved. The Word testifies of a patient, merciful and Gracious God. The Word builds faith and gives hope and begins the process of creating us into His likeness. The Word is quick and powerful. The Word of God is Creative. It makes alive. It transforms and builds faith in God.
The Third thing we see is that God said let there be light. There is no life without light. Every living thing needs light. The Bible tells us that many will come to the light and there deeds will reproved. Light illuminates and reveals. Jesus gave us a parable about the widow woman that lost one coin, she lit a candle and swept and searched until she found it. Light was needed to find that which was lost. Man is lost without God. He is in darkness, but when light come forth, if man will approach the light and appreciate the light, he will be changed by the light of God’s presence. The Bible tells us that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. The Light of the Gospel has shined in our hearts to give witness that we serve a God that loves us and gave Himself for us. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was the light. Some approached the light and some refused the light because their deeds were evil. What are you going to do with the Light?
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 the laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
John 5: 28 Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming. in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, 29 And shall come forth; they have have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.
The Resurrection of the dead is a foundational doctrine of the Church. There is coming a day when all shall stand before him and shall be rewarded for their words, and deeds.
Rev. 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled awa; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
The Resurrection of the dead will come and there will be no hiding place for men. Many will seek to escape but there will be no hiding place. Some will cry out to the mountians to fall on them and hide them from the face of the one sitting upon the throne. The scoffer will be without excuse, the atheist will be without excuse. The idolator will be without excuse. The procrastinator will be with out excuse. There will be no opportunity to make things right on resurrection day. He is coming again. What a day that will be. The scriptures tell us that day will catch many unaware. He is coming in a day and hour that many will not be looking for Him. Surely every Knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. He will come back Paul said at the last trump. The trumpet shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise first and then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the Air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. This speaks of a comforting resurection. A resurection of the Saint of God.
There are different resurrections in the last days. A resurrection of Beleivers and a Resurection of non beleivers. The Bible says blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection. The Resurection is a Foundational Doctrine of The Church. We need to get ready against that day and hour. In other words we need to humble ourselves and submit ourselves unto God. His reward is with Him to give every man according to his works. He is the Righteous God. He makes no errors concerning our destiny. As Christians we need to live in a satte of preparedness because we do not know the day or the hour when He shall appear.
Men today, if they don’t want to face an upcoming event, they cancel, delay or pospone. In that day, there will be no option, no hiding place. We shall all meet the Creator and Redeemer, the Holy One that reighns. He will come again, and You will stand before Him and give account.
The resurrection of the dead is a powerful doctrine of the Church indeed. It talks about God raising us up to sit together in heavenly places. It is in reference to the Resurection of beleivers who are filled with His Spirit and Baptized in His name. They were once dead in sins and trespasses against God, but they they are raised up to walk in newness of life.
Let us Prepare ourselves and Hear Him say, well done thou good and faithful servant.
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!