Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. – Philippians 4:5-8
No matter what may be going on in your life today, you can choose to “rejoice in the Lord.”
Are your thoughts focused on your problems or are they fixed on God’s goodness? Are your lips complaining or are they glorifying God? This is a conscious choice. Are you struggling with anxiety? Fix your eyes on Jesus. And in everything give thanks. Whatever you need, whatever you are struggling with… present your request to God… with thanksgiving. If we practice this, God promises that we will have a peace that passes understanding. He doesn’t promise that we wont ever be sick, or feel pain, or face loss. He doesn’t promise to remove us from the struggle we are in. He promises to give us a peace through the struggle. This kind of peace can overcome adversity and pain, and loss, and heartache. It is a peace that transcends all understanding. And it is this peace that will guard our hearts and our minds. We have a very real enemy who is constantly firing lies at us: thoughts that seem to appear from nowhere… “you can’t make it through this… God doesn’t love you… just give up… it’ ok to dabble in this sin… no one will ever know… you’ve gone too far - God won’t forgive you… you are worthless.” These lies lead to confusion, depression, and hopelessness. They are from an enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. But in EPHESIANS 6:16 we are told to take up the shield of faith to quench these lies, these fiery darts. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we are told to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” So, make a choice today to “rejoice in the Lord.” Declare his goodness, his mercy, his kindness, his love, his steadfastness. Declare Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord! When the world around us is falling to pieces… because they have bought into the lies of the enemy… we look up and behold… God is good. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His mercies are new every morning. His love is everlasting. He is near. He is not far away. He is Emanuel “God with us.” Rejoice in the Lord! Again I say rejoice!
If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free - John 8:31-32
Yesterday I read the testimony of a girl who, at a very young age, decided she wanted to be a boy. As an adult, she made the decision that she would live her life as a man. She took hormones and transformed her appearance and lived her life as a man. She changed her name and dated women. And then the Father began to draw her to the Son… for no one comes to Jesus unless the Father draws them. And of course, as she was drawn to Christ – who is the light of the world, the light began to shine in the darkness and she began to be convicted about the life she was living. She faced many challenges from those within the church, many who simply rejected her outright. She was still attracted to women and liked living her life as a man. But finally, she reached a point… and this is the most important point… she reached a point when she knew she could not continue to reject who God had created her to be. God’s light shined in the darkness and revealed this rebellion and perversion. And she knew she had to make a choice. She decided she wanted Jesus more than her life as a man. She decided she desired Jesus more than her attraction to women. And that was the moment… the moment she made that decision, that the chains were broken. In that moment of surrender, the Holy Spirit moved into her life with the power to change. What has God put his finger on in your life? Of what has he said “this I require of you?” You will have to decide, do you want Jesus or do you want whatever it is that is holding you back. You will have to count the cost… for it WILL cost you to follow Jesus. But let me say this “taste and see that the Lord is good.” To dwell in his presence, to know his peace, to know the joy of salvation… it will cost you everything. But he is worth it. For He is the Truth. And He is the only one who can truly set you free.
With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil, Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:6-8
What a question Micah asks… how can I possibly approach God? First, Micah acknowledges that approaching God must be done in humility - to bow down before the exalted God. But how can I come empty handed… with what shall I come before the Lord? There is a recognition that there is no offering worthy of Him… no amount of sacrifice... not even if I should offer my own firstborn child. There is an acknowledgement of the sinfulness of his sin… we have nothing we can offer to make up for our transgression. So, what is the answer? How can we come into God’s presence and be restored? What does God require, knowing we have nothing to offer in and of ourselves? And to DO justly… what does that mean? To DO comes from the Hebrew word (ʿāśâ) meaning to press, to squeeze, to act with effect. There is an action that must be taken on our part that requires effort to accomplish… to accomplish what? Justly - (mišpāṭ) in the Hebrew, meaning to decide a case or a controversy, to execute judgement. The follower of Jesus should be concerned with “doing” or “acting” on behalf of justice. We should always act justly ourselves, but it is more than that. If we see someone being treated unfairly, we should take notice and act accordingly. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others took a stand against racial injustice, they were “doing justly.” Likewise today, when we see millions of innocent babies being murdered in their mother’s wombs and we speak out, we are “doing justly.” God is just and he is serious about justice. But He is not only just... He is love. Micah wrights we are to “love mercy.” We must not miss the importance of the word that is translated here as “mercy.” The Hebrew word is (hesed) and it carries great significance. Hesed is a covenant faithfulness, kindness, and loyalty. It is a completely undeserved generosity. It intervenes on behalf of others and comes to their rescue. It is so much more than we are capable of in and of ourselves. It is a divine attribute of God and is completely other than us and must therefore come from Him. God acts with hesed towards us… enters into covenant with us… out of kindness and undeserved generosity. Indeed He has already, according to his hesed, acted and intervened on our behalf. He has come to our rescue and defense. He sent his only Son as a sacrifice for us... the very thing we cannot do. Only the Son of God, the Messiah, the bread of life, the one who was and is and is to come... only he could truly manifest the hesed of the Father. Only He could take away the sin we were incapable of atoning for. We cannot “do” or “act” hesed… we can only receive it, embrace it, treasure it, and love it. Only God is capable of hesed, and if hesed is to flow in and through our lives to affect others… it can only come from Him. Oh, my friends, if you have ears to hear... and eyes to see... and hearts to receive... you will most assuredly love God's hesed. And it will change you.
Lastly, we are told to “walk humbly with our God.” If we encounter the hesed of God, this will be the result. The word “walk” comes from (yālaḵ) meaning to proceed, the manner in which we live our life. And humbly (ṣānaʿ)… meaning to keep close, to be at rest. Stop and think about that seriously for a moment.... to be at rest. To walk humbly with our God is to stay close to Him and to rest in his love… his hesed. To know you are loved, to know you are chosen, to know you are free from the bondage of sin, the penalty of sin, and the shame of sin... is truly a place of rest. And that state of being - that manner of living ones life, produces humility. The opposite of this “walk” is pride. Pride requires our own effort, it wears us down, it has to keep up appearances. Oh, but God’s way is one of rest… In Matthew 11:28-30 we read Jesus’ words “Come to Me all who toil and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
What does God require of you? To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. He has provided everything we need through His Son. He has made a way where there was no way. He has poured out his hesed, manifested through Jesus Christ. We have only to receive it with a thankful heart. What has he required? Only what He has already provided. What a savior! What a promise! If you have never surrendered to the hesed of God, you have only to call upon him now. Jesus said "no one comes to me unless the Father draws him" and "no one comes to the Father except through me." He made it perfectly clear when he said "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." You can experience God's hesed right now. If you will confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. The gift of eternal life is available to you right now. Call on the name of Jesus, for their is no other name by which you can be saved. He is God's hesed. He is life. No matter what you have done, his blood can make you clean. His hesed can remove the shame. What love (hesed) the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God.
May you experience the hesed of God today. May you rest in His love. And may you know the joy unspeakab found only in His presence. May it be so, in Jesus' name.
Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Make no mistake, we are at war. Wicked people have obtained control in high places and are under the influence of satanic forces. Yes, Satan is real and so are the angels that fell from heaven with him - they are called demons. He seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. Yes, he is big and scary and powerful. He is referred to as "a roaring lion" - "the accuser of the brethren" - "the father of lies" - "the prince of the air." And he hates you. If you think you can face him on your own, you are racing headlong into the jaws of death. Satan and his demonic minions bring with them sickness, confusion, death, discord, grief, depression, and destruction. Open the door and they will wreak havoc. But there is one greater than all the hosts of hell and he has already won the victory. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He holds the keys of hell and of death and his kingdom is forever. One of the key prophetic signs of the true Messiah was that he would have authority over demons. And when Jesus came, he wielded absolute authority over them. He healed the sick, brought sight to blinded eyes, opened deaf ears, and even raised the dead… all clear signs that he was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God. And he gave this power to cast out demons to his disciples. Matthew 10:1 tells us “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” And in the book of acts, we see multiple accounts of these men who had been given this authority moving into a position of offense rather than defense, taking the fight to the enemy. They are not cowering in fear, praying that these demons would leave them alone. No, they moved into their territories. They sought out those who were under the control of the enemy, preached the gospel, healed the sick, and yes… they cast out demons.
Today, we face the same enemy. And so, you may be asking yourself “what about us? What can we do against the demonic forces at work in our county, our state, our city, our homes, our lives and the lives of our children.. even our churches?” (Yes, they are there). What authority do I have? In Mark 16 we read Jesus’ words to the disciples… “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons”… the very first sign he mentions is “they will drive out demons.” Yes, I know, you’ve probably encountered the charismatic weirdos who go around claiming to cast demons out of everything and everyone. Their car won't start, so they open the hood and try to cast the demons out of the battery. Personally, I'd tend to group them with the flat-earthers. But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. These demonic strongholds are very real and they are increasing their authority and territory every day. Many in the church - many pastors - aren’t even born again. They are inviting the very demonic strongholds I am speaking of into their own lives and homes. Listening to ungodly relationship advise, aligning yourself with philosophies and theologies that are contrary to Scripture, dabbling in witchcraft, fortune telling, pornography, unholy images and ideas - these are treacherous territory. My friends, if you said some “sinner’s prayer” at some time and maybe even got dunked in a baptism pool or sprinkled by a preacher somewhere, don’t be deceived into thinking you are going to cavalierly stride across the pearly gates. Jesus calls us to “believe” in him… Look up that word (believe) in the original Greek some time. It means to commit to… completely, with fidelity. Satan and the very demons we are talking about “believe” in Jesus. They believe he exists… and they tremble. To be born again is to repent of your sin… that means turn away from it with godly sorrow and a contrite heart. And it means to lay your life down and say to Jesus “You are Lord of my life.” Ask yourself honestly... Is he Lord of your life? Or have you merely said a token prayer and continued on as lord of your own life? My dear friends, there is a very real devil and very real demons who want to lead you to a very real hell. If you have never truly surrendered your life to the Lordship of Jesus, please do so now - I beg you. He loves you. He died for you. And He is offering eternal life and freedom from the bondage of sin. Romans 10:9 tells us “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” And the first act of obedience in this life of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus is to be baptized. If you make this confession of faith, go find a follower of Jesus and ask them to baptize you. And finally, Jesus promises us that if we make this confession of faith, and follow in obedience, he will baptize us with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the Living God will come and dwell within us. And it is with that authority that we are empowered to face all the forces of hell. We can – yes, you and me – we can cast out demons. We can demolish strongholds, we can destroy arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we will take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. This is where we find the bloody trenches of spiritual warfare… the thoughts, ideas, and arguments that are contrary to God’s word. This demonic ideology says “whatever you want to do in the bedroom is ok” but God says to “keep the marriage bed pure." This demonic ideology says “get more stuff – you’ll be happy if you just have this or that” but God says “you shall not covet.” This demonic ideology says “it’s ok to kill a baby in the womb – it’s a woman’s right to choose” but God says “you shall not commit murder.” This demonic ideology says “homosexuality is ok – in fact, let’s celebrate it” but God says “homosexuals will NOT enter the kingdom of heaven.” This demonic ideology says “there are many paths to God” but Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through me.” Indeed, many of these demonic ideas have slithered into the church. 1 Timothy 4:1 tells us clearly that “in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” I have met with many pastors who are unwilling to speak out against sin. They endorse abortion. They allow homosexuals, fornicators, and adulterers to attend their congregations unchecked - when Scripture clearly says to expel such unrepentant people from among you. If you believe you can be a Christians and live an adulterous life… you have embraced the doctrine of demons. If you believe you can defile the very nature of God's creation with the perversion of homosexuality and be a follower of Christ… you have embraced the doctrine of demons. If you believe a woman has the right to murder a baby inside her womb… in the sacred place where God knits that life together… if you believe this is anything other than murder… you have embraced the doctrine of demons. If you have allowed these demonic ideas into your life, you must repent. Brothers and sisters in Christ, I beg of you to take this seriously. Chose this day whom you will serve. Renounce these doctrines of demons. Proclaim the Lordship of Jesus in your life. Fall on your knees and worship the one who formed you in your mother’s womb, the one who knit you together, and numbered your days. He will lift you up, empower you to fight, and equip you for the work ahead. There is no neutral ground - We are at war and there are no rusty swords on this battle field. God is raising up an army to assault the gates of hell… and the gates of hell will NOT prevail against us. This is the time to walk in holiness and purity, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Confess your sins… daily. Let repentance be like a cleansing rain in your life, keeping your faith clear and fresh and strong. Renew your mind with the Word of God. Search out and spend time with fellow fallowers of Christ - not token Christians - People who truly hunger and thirst for righteousness. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. And He will fill you with His Holy Spirit. He will lead you and guide you. He will give you words to speak from a wealth of wisdom you do not possess. He will put a song in your heart that will tear down strongholds. He will empower you to pray according to his will. Oh, my dear brothers and sisters. This is not the time to lay down and give up. Yes, the darkness is closing in. But we are the light of the world. Don't hide your light - let it shine! This is the time to rise up. This is the time to lay aside every sin that so easily besets us. This is the time to surrender all to Jesus and run the race as one who intends to win! This is the time to declare JESUS IS LORD! He is returning to judge the living and the dead. And He shall reign with justice and mercy. He will make all things new. And he will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
May it be so in your life and in mine. Lord, may your Kingdom come and your will be done, in Jesus’ name.
All the words of my mouth are just; there is nothing twisted or perverse in them. – Proverbs 8:8
Psalm 34:13 tells us “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” Our words, according to this proverb, should be “just” (ṣeḏeq) meaning what is right and true. Our words should not be “twisted” (pāṯal) meaning excessively lengthy and complex, difficult to deal with. Nor should they be “perverse” (ʿiqqēš) that which alters something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended. We are living in a time when the media, government, and trend-setters attempt to redefine the meaning of words on an almost daily basis. But when we “pervert” the meaning of words, we bring about confusion and are open to deception. But God’s word is steadfast. It is unchanging… just as He is unchanging. Matthew 24:35 says “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Words are not empty. They have meaning and power. God created the heavens and the earth by the power of His word. Scripture commands us to not use words lightly, but to make sure that they reflect the Holy Spirit who indwells in us. Guard carefully what comes out of your mouth today. Proverbs 18:21 tells us “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Speak life. Speak truth. Speak love.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14
There are two things you need to know about God. Before I get to that, it is important that you know to whom I am referring when I say “God.” I am not referring to the god of your imagination or some non-personal mystical higher power. I am not referring to the god many so-called Christians claim to serve… the one who seemingly turns a blind eye to sin. I am not referring to Allah (the Muslim moon god), or Brahma (the Hindu deity), or any of the other demonic entities who lead millions of souls to hell. I am referring to the Creator and sustainer of the cosmos, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who’s Spirit hovered over the waters, the God who said “let there be light,” the God who formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into his soul. I am referring to the One who was, and is, and is to come. I am referring to I AM.
Here are the two things you need to know about GOD: He is HOLY and He is LOVE.
Because God is Holy and we are not, we fear Him. Proverbs 9:10 tells us “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Isaiah the prophet recounts the terrifying vision of entering God’s presence in the book of Isaiah, chapter 6. Describing the scene, he tells of seraphim who are always in God’s presence declaring “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty.” Only a fool would fail to tremble at the thought of entering the presence of one such as this. Indeed Psalm 14 tells us “the fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” A wise person once told me “it is also a fool who knows there is a God and yet says in his heart “no, God.” Any attempt at religion, any strategy to draw near to God that lacks an understanding of God’s holiness is folly of the ultimate kind.
So, what of His love? 1 John 4:16 tells us “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” Notice is says “God is love” not “love is God.” The Beatles famously sang “all you need is love.” But in fact, the truth is “all you need is God.” If you attempt to define love apart from God, you will have a distorted understanding of love – a perversion. This perverted kind of love, excuses sin. It is devoid of holiness. Likewise, there are some who claim to be holy... they don't drink, they don't curse, they don't cheat on their spouse. But they are greedy, uncaring of others, judgmental, harsh and aloof. But God is love. His holiness defines his love and his love defines his holiness. The two cannot be separated.
Romans 5:8 tells us “God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And John 3:16 declares “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” My friends, before the foundation of the earth, God knew the wrong choices Adam and Eve would make, and he knew what it would cost him. He knew the wrong choices you and I would make, and he know what it would cost him. If you have heard some version of the gospel that tells you God doesn’t care about sin, you have heard a false gospel. If you think saying a "sinner's prayer" gets you a free pass to heaven, while continuing to live in sin, you are deceived. Likewise, if you have heard a version of the gospel that tells you that you have to somehow do enough good stuff to overcome the bad stuff… that God is mad at you all the time… that you had better try harder and do better or else… then you have heard a false gospel. Here is the truth. God is holy and he is very serious about sin. And he loves you enough to save you from that sin. He sent his own son to die for your sin and my sin. Jesus bore the penalty and the shame of our sin on the cross, and on the cross we see the perfect exemplification of God’s holiness and His love. For those of us who have repented of our sin (turned from it) and declared Jesus as Lord, we are comforted rather than terrified by God’s holiness. We are drawn to it. We glory in it. Indeed, we are clothed in it. And we walk in the reality of God’s love, having been made righteous by the blood of Jesus. And as followers of Christ, our lives should reflect these two things… God’s love and God’s holiness. This is the living way of the disciple of Jesus. These two things are the pillars of the children of God.
I encourage you to meditate on these two truths: God is Holy and God is Love.
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. -2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
Do you love the truth? Eternity hangs in the balance on your answer. Are you like Pilate who asked “what is truth?” I have encountered many who profess to love the truth, who do not. The truth requires that we embrace He who is the Truth. It requires that we embrace His definition of good and evil. Do you consider yourself to be “pro-choice” – calling good that which God calls sin? Do you consider yourself “woke” or “progressive” calling homosexuality good when God calls it sin? Do you delight in the diversity of sexual preference, gender neutrality, or “racial pride?” These things are a stench in the nostrils of God. Oh, I know, you aren’t supposed to judge. Really? 1 Corinthians 2:15 tells us “The person with the Holy Spirit makes judgments about all things.” No, we do not “pass judgement” on anyone. That is God’s business. But we are clearly called to stand for righteousness and proclaim the truth. Do you love the truth? Do you love the truth of your own inability to please God… the truth of your need to humble yourself before him… and the truth of his salvation, made possible because of the shed blood of Jesus? Do you love the truth? Do you love the truth enough to be true?... To let go of false pretense?... enough to “confess your sins to one another?... enough to forgive one another?... enough to love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you? Do you love the truth enough to lay everything at the foot of the cross? Do you love the truth enough to say “not my will, but yours be done?” Do you love the truth enough to show mercy to your neighbor, your coworker, your boss, your husband of wife, your parents, your children… yourself? Jesus said “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” Call on his name today. Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. Jesus, son of man, have mercy on me. Jesus, Son of God… have mercy on me. Do you love the truth? I pray that you do.
The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:5
When we attempt in our own efforts to produce the love of God, we cannot. It can only originate in Him, for He is love. And His love is able to love our neighbor as our self. His love is able to love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us. His love covers a multitude of sin. Oh, my friends, God’s love is powerful. It is life. And we can experience it, live in it, be saturated with it, and have it overflow onto others. I know this, because I have experienced it. I am experiencing it right now. As I turned my heart, my desires, my focus on Him this morning; He began to fill me to overflowing. What a blessed reality. What a complete freedom. Perfect love (and His love is so perfect) casts out all fear. Don’t focus on your sin or your shortcomings today. Yes, confess your sins and turn from them. But focus on His love. He loves you so much. He wants to wrap you in His embrace. He’ll keep you safe. He’ll give you peace through any storm. In His love, you can face the mountain of bills, your past mistakes, your current struggles, your difficult marriage, your wayward children, your responsibilities and obligations that seem overwhelming. In his love, you can face death without fear. The first commandment is Love the Lord your God. It is not some authoritarian dictate demanding that you bow to his selfish will. It is an invitation to enter into the realm of His love. I have tasted of His love and therein are rivers of delight. Come, my friends… taste and see that the Lord is good. Love the Lord your God with all of your being… it is the most blessed ecstasy. It is complete freedom and peace and joy. It is a taste, right here and now, of eternity.
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. – John 14:1
The word “troubled” used here is (tarassō) meaning: To cause one inward commotion, to take away one’s calmness of mind, to disturb one’s psychological stability; to disquiet, make restless.
Let’s face it, we live in a very “troubled” world. There is so much going on that can cause inward commotion. There are unjust leaders, lies that are promulgated, and evil people doing evil things. People who should speak up are silent, those who do are attacked, and those who should be given no quarter are promoted to positions of power. It is enough to disturb one’s psychological stability. But, if we put our faith in Jesus, we can say “it is well with my soul.” To “believe” in Jesus is to put your life completely in his care, holding nothing back. The Greek word is (pisteuō), meaning: To entrust one’s self to another with absolute fidelity. 2nd Timothy 1:7 tells us “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a SOUND MIND.” The term “sound mind” comes from the Greek (sophron) meaning: In one's senses, curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate.
Philippians 4:5-6 tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Are you troubled today? Are you feeling anxious, agitated, worried, or afraid? Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Entrust yourself to him. We are told 360 times in Scripture not to be afraid. And if our hope and our confidence is in Jesus, we have nothing to fear. May you know his peace today and rest in the knowledge of his love.
May it be so in Jesus' name
A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth. – 2 Timothy 2:24,25
What caught my attention this morning in reading this passage was… “if God will perhaps grant them repentance.” Is it possible that we, on some level, are of a mindset that repentance is in some way an offering from us to God ? Could it be that we have it backwards? The Greek word used here is (didōmi) meaning “of one's own accord to give one something, to his advantage.” God chooses to "grant us" repentance... of His own accord... for our advantage. In Exodus 33:19 God declares “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” And Jesus (the Way, the Truth, and the Life) said "no man comes to me unless the Father draws him." In the Sermon on the Mount, the first of the beatitudes is “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” To be poor is spirit is to become aware of one’s sinful state, to be aware of one’s inability to change that state, and to cry out for mercy. We live in a culture that says “you’re basically good.” But that is completely contrary to God’s word and it is contrary to the way of salvation. Until we become aware of our desperate need for God’s mercy, we cannot receive His mercy… and yet it is His mercy that causes us to become aware of our need.
The message God is increasingly stirring in my soul is a message of repentance. Just as John the Baptist preached “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” and Jesus, coming out of the desert, being baptized by John, began his ministry with the same message. Jesus, the King of kings, was in their midst. He was to establish his kingdom from the ground up, beginning with his disciples. For those of us who are followers of Christ (Christians), we are born again… into his kingdom. And our message of hope, our message of salvation, is a message of God’s Kingdom. And his kingdom is, indeed, at hand. He is coming again to claim his own and to judge with wicked. Our message is, more than ever: Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. If we are truly followers of Christ, if he is Lord and King of our lives, we will preach this message. And it is in the hands of God as to whom he grants that repentance. Many will reject it. Many will become angry with us for declaring it. But God has an elect. He has a chosen people from all nations.
So, to my fellow followers of Christ, I encourage you to share the gospel of the good news. I encourage you to live, move, and have your being in Jesus. I encourage you to daily commit ALL your ways to him and he will direct your paths. Let your light so shine before men... some will hate you for it, but others will be drawn to it. We must warn those God puts in our path of the coming judgement and the chance here and now to cry out to God, that he might grant them repentance.
If you have never yielded your life to the Lordship of Jesus, you can do it today. Romans 10:9 tells us “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” My friends, Jesus is returning to judge the living and the dead.
Are you ready?