Put On the New

Friday, June 23, 2017, 7:51 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “To My Beloved.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 4:17-24 (NASB).

No Longer (vv. 17-19)

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Our walk is how we live our lives day in and day out. It is what we think, do, say and believe, as well as it entails our attitudes, perceptions, philosophies, values and morals. It is also our habits – rituals, traditions and practices. Our walk is not to be like that of the ungodly. We are not supposed to think like this sinful world, nor adopt their attitudes, values and practices. When we were blinded by sin’s deceitfulness, we walked in that way. We were under the power and influence of the evil one. But, now that we have been saved from our sins, that old way of living should no longer be a part of our lives.

It is futile (useless, fruitless) to live like the ungodly. When we were in slavery to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness. The outcome of those things is death (See: Ro. 6:1-23). We can’t serve two masters. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). We can’t live in the world of sin and follow Jesus Christ with our lives, too. These are in opposition to each other. In other words, you can’t walk left and walk right at the same time. They don’t parallel each other. Evil does not coexist with righteousness.

We also can’t walk in darkness and in the light at the same time. And, if we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), yet claim to have fellowship with God, we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). If we walk in darkness (in the flesh), we will die in our sins, i.e. we will lose our lives for eternity (Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25). And, if we make a practice of sinning, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God (Gal. 5:19-21). We can’t be open to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, in doing what he says, and in following his lead, if we are steeped in sinful rebellion against God, have our ears closed, and if we refuse to listen to what is truth, just because it doesn’t fit our lifestyles.

When we close our ears to the truth, and we choose to go our own way, instead, because we want to hold on to our sin, then we harden our hearts against the Spirit’s voice, and his promptings, and we end up becoming unfeeling and insensitive to the Word of God speaking to our hearts. We do this through a continual practice of resisting the Spirit’s voice, and giving in to willful sin time and time again. The more of this sinful world that we adopt into our lives and put into practice, the greater we become desensitized (numb) both to evil, and to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and urgings.

When an individual gets to the point of hardening his heart, via resisting the Holy Spirit, and choosing sin over God, as a regular practice of his life, it naturally flows that such individuals would then give themselves over to sensuality and the practice of every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. And, then, to top it off, they alter the gospel of Jesus Christ to fit their lustful and impure lifestyles so that they don’t feel guilty for their lifestyles of sin. And, this is why so many people today are preaching and teaching a half-truth diluted gospel message, so that they can continue in their sin, and still claim heaven as their eternal destiny.

So, what are some of these impure and sensual practices? They are not limited to just what is sexual in nature, but they include whatever is fleshly (worldly, unspiritual, ungodly). They include gossip, overeating (gluttony), self-indulgence in worldly pleasure, and being engrossed in the culture of our societies; lying, cheating, stealing, filthy language, and idolatry, as well as the viewing of pornography, watching sexually charged TV shows or movies, and extra-marital affairs (romantic or sexual), etc. And, it is not just the personal involvement with these sins which is wrong, but it is allowing ourselves to be entertained by them, and/or to give approval to these sinful practices in other people’s lives, which is what we do when we watch them.

Be Renewed (vv. 20-24)

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

So, what is the crux of the whole matter here? It is that, if we have been taught the truth that is in Christ Jesus, we did not learn Christ in the way of free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse, while claiming heaven as our eternal destiny. That is a false grace gospel.

The truth that is in Christ Jesus, which Jesus and his NT apostles taught, is that, with regard to our former way of living for sin and self, we are to lay it aside, reject it, and put it off. When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, to be lived to Christ and to his righteousness. Daily we take up our cross and follow (obey) Christ. Daily we, by the Spirit, are putting to death the deeds of the flesh so that we might walk in the Spirit and no longer gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Jn. 6:35-66).

Our old self, which is corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, should no longer be in control over our lives. We should no longer be enslaved (addicted) to our sinful passions and desires. Jesus Christ set us free from all that through his death on a cross, and via his resurrection from the dead. He delivered us out of slavery to sin so that we could become bond-slaves of his righteousness. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Ro. 6:1-23; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14).

Instead of still groveling around in the mud (filth, lewdness, immorality), we should be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. This is the working of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives, but we have to cooperate with that work via submission and obedience to our Lord, and to His Word. We must choose to leave our old lives of sin behind us to follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives (Acts 26:16-18; Jn. 10:27-30; 1 Pet. 1:13-16). And, we must willingly put out of our lives what is corrupting our minds and our lifestyles, and put on what is wholesome, pure and righteous.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and we are born again (born spiritually) of the Spirit of God, our old lives are put to death with Christ so that we might live our new lives, which are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our new lives are not supposed to be like our old lives, only maybe just slightly cleaned up. They are to be radically different! It is as if we were traveling west, and then we decided to travel east, instead. So, we do a U-turn, and we go the opposite direction. This is what takes place when we repent of our sins and when we choose to walk in obedience to our Lord. Our new lives are to be like Jesus.

We are not only made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, but we must live righteously. He not only purifies us and makes us holy, but we must walk in holiness. And, holiness means we live our lives separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being made into the likeness of Christ. Too many people who call themselves Christians reject this teaching by their lifestyles, because they are still practicing sin and they are entertaining sin in their minds and by the things they choose daily to take into their minds, and many are convinced that Satan still has power over their lives, and that they can’t say “No” to sin, but that is a lie! Jesus set us free! We just need to live like we are truly free, if truly we are in Christ Jesus by faith in him. And, we do this in the power of God’s Spirit living within us.

To My Beloved / An Original Work / November 14, 2011

Based off I Pet. 5:6-9; Eph. 6:10-20; Jms. 4:4-10

Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Put on His full armor in your fight
Against the enemy of your souls,
And resist him with all your might.
Take up the shield of your faith within you.
Salvation’s helmet – you put it on.
Put on the belt of truth,
And walk in the Spirit,
And you’ll not be ashamed.
Love your Lord Jesus; call His Name.

Call on your Lord and Savior, Jesus, and
Make Him Lord and King of your hearts.
Obey all of His teachings He has given
To you to follow in all His ways.
Repent of your sins. Return to your God.
Follow Him where’er He leads you now.
Humble yourselves in full
Surrender to His will
For your lives today.
Bow before Him, and humbly pray.

Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Obey your Lord in ev’rything, always
Keeping His teachings in your hearts near you.
Walk with Christ in ev’ry way.
Resist the devil. He will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and He’ll be near you.
Wash your hands you sinners
And double minded.
Weep and wail o’er sin.
With Christ, your new lives begin.

Arise and Speak

Saturday, June 17, 2017, 5:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “God Be with You till We Meet Again.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jeremiah 1 (Select vv. NASB).

Appointed by God (vv. 4-8)

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Alas, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because I am a youth.”
But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
“Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.

We read in Psalm 139:

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

And, we read in 2 Tim. 1:8-9 & Eph. 1:3-4 (respectively):

“Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

And, we read in 1 Pet. 2:9 & Matt. 28:18-20 (respectively):

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are all called (chosen, appointed) by God to a holy calling, which includes proclaiming and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and making disciples of Christ of people throughout the world. And, we, too, were called of God to this even before the creation of the world; even before we were formed in our mother’s wombs. So, we should not neglect our calling out of fear of what others may think of us, or what they might do to us, or out of complacency and apathy, thinking this is only for those God calls to be preachers or teachers. But, we should be purposeful and intentional in sharing the gospel so that others might hear, and so they may be saved before our Lord Jesus returns to judge and to take us home.

Pluck Up and Build (vv. 9-12)

Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
“See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant.”
The word of the Lord came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.”

The truth of the gospel of our salvation involves this plucking up, breaking down, destroying, and overthrowing, yet also building and planting. How so, you say? Well, the truth of the gospel is that we are all born sinners (Ro. 3:23), and we all, thus, come up short of attaining God’s divine approval in our own merit. Not one of us can earn or deserve our own salvation. So, Jesus died on a cross for our sins so that, through faith in him, we might be delivered out of slavery to sin, and so we might have new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

So, how does this take place? Well, first of all God draws us to Jesus, and then he gives us the faith to believe in him, but we have to take ownership of that faith and apply it to our lives. We have to receive Jesus by faith. And, this faith involves turning from our sins, and turning to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his will for our lives. When we believe in Jesus, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with him to newness of life, to be lived to him and to his righteousness. The old has gone, the new has come. We no longer live our lives to gratify our sinful desires, but by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are conducting our lives in accordance with the Spirit of God.

But, this does not mean we will never sin again, or that we won’t ever wander off the path and get off track, and need to be reminded of our calling and prompted to throw off those sins which so easily entangle, and the weight of all that is hindering our walks of faith, so that we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us that we should follow (run). So, sometimes God calls certain people to speak his words of correction and instruction to us, in order to get us back on track with God, and this involves, too, this breaking down of stubborn hearts, and the plucking up of what is causing closed ears, and the overthrowing of sinful behaviors and attitudes so that God may revive us, restore (build) us, and use us again.

A Fortified City (vv. 13-19)

The word of the Lord came to me a second time saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land. For, behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” declares the Lord; “and they will come and they will set each one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about and against all the cities of Judah. I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.

Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them. Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.

One of the ways in which God accomplishes this plucking up, breaking down, destroying and overthrowing of sinful behaviors and attitudes, stubborn hearts and wills, and blocked (stopped up) ears, which are unwilling to obey him, is via divine discipline and correction (judgment; reproving; scourging). He does this for our good, that we may share in his holiness, and that we might be trained (taught) by the discipline, in order that it might produce in our lives the peaceful fruit of righteousness (holiness, godliness, decency). And, this is a painful process (See: Heb. 12:1-11; cf. Rev. 2-3).

Sometimes God will use trials, tribulations and difficulties in our lives as his instruments of divine discipline and correction. Other times, if this is widespread, i.e. if a large percentage of his children are living in stubborn rebellion and/or complacency and apathy, he will use foreign powers or even our own nations’ leaders to come against us, and to war against us – God’s people, his saints – in order to revive and restore (build and plant) us. And, this is where much of the church, at least here in America, is today. So many have gone the way of the world and have gotten off the “straight and narrow” path of righteousness and holiness, and they have wandered off to follow after the flesh and the gods of this world. So, God is going to discipline them in order to bring them back to him.

These “kingdoms of the north,” in our world today, is an alliance of nations, CEOs of corporations, big banks, the Elite (wealthy and powerful) of the world, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, et al. They are called “The New World Order,” and they are definitely coming against the saints of God BIG TIME! They want to break down all which divides us as the people of the world so that we can all come together in unity – with one voice and one heart. They want us all to accept all religions as viable, and to tolerate (be lenient toward) sinful lifestyles. So, they are going after “religious extremism,” which, by definition, includes all those who are preaching the full gospel message. So, they are declaring the gospel, as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, to be intolerant, bigoted and hateful speech, although they have not yet, to my knowledge, said that directly, but it is implied over and over again.

Yet, we are not to fear their threats, but we are to rely on the strength of the Lord, and we are to keep on speaking, and not be silent, for our God is in control. They will fight against us, but God will help us through it all.

God Be with You till We Meet Again
Jeremiah E. Rankin, William G. Tomer

God be with you till we meet again;
by his counsels guide, uphold you,
with his sheep securely fold you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
neath his wings securely hide you,
daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
when life’s perils thick confound you,
put his arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
smite death’s threatening wave before you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

A Benediction

Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 7:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “God Be with You till We Meet Again.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jeremiah 30:23-31:11: (Select vv. ESV).

A Whirling Tempest (30:23-24)

Behold the storm of the Lord!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished
the intentions of his mind.
In the latter days you will understand this.

We are living in those latter days now. And, there are many storms and tempests blowing all around us. Some of them are literal storms, while others are outbursts and eruptions of a different kind (nature). Some are impacting the atmosphere associated with the physical earth, while others are influencing our surroundings on a more social, economic, religious and/or political sphere. And, both kinds of tempests can result in violence and destruction of property, and can cause loss of life and health and well-being. Some are literally storms of the Lord, which he generates, even though he may use human beings to carry them out. Others are allowed by God, because he allows evil to exist in this world, but he sets limits on them.

In context, what we learn here is that God first judged his wayward and rebellious people. He used wicked people, who were bent on the destruction of Israel, as his divine instruments of judgment on his adulterous and idolatrous children. And, then, when he had accomplished his purposes in the hearts of his people, he turned on their enemies, and he did to his people’s enemies what they did to Israel.

And, so it is again in these last days. God is judging and will judge his adulterous and rebellious children, i.e. his wayward church (See: Rev. 2-3), and he is using and will use the US government, their allies, the beast and the false prophet, as his divine instruments of judgment, but then he will turn on them, and it will be payback, and they will receive back in spades what they did, are doing, and yet will do to others. And, this storm is not far off, I believe. Although God uses evil and wicked people to accomplish his purposes in the hearts and minds of his followers, yet he still judges them for their evil deeds.

They Found Grace (31:1-6)

“At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”
Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
O virgin Israel!
Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines
and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant
and shall enjoy the fruit.
For there shall be a day when watchmen will call
in the hill country of Ephraim:
‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’”

Throughout history, the primary purpose for God judging his people, and for discipling them and scourging them, was to revive and to restore them, and to turn their hearts away from their idols back to God, to follow him in all their ways from that day forward. He also uses divine discipline as a means to holiness and sanctification, that we might bear much fruit for his eternal kingdom, and that we might yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness. And, this, too, is his grace to us, because he loves us so much, so he will do what is needed (necessary) in order to bring us back to him, because what we need is to be in fellowship with him and to be walking in his ways. God always wants what is best for us, and this is what is best for us.

When we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Jesus died, not just to free us from the penalty of sin (spiritual death/eternal damnation), and not just to give us the hope of eternal life with God. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace is NOT a free license to continue in willful sin against God. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars.

So, for those who have wandered off from the purpose for which we were saved, or for those who make a profession of faith in Jesus, but who never have truly believed in Jesus Christ, because they never did turn from their sins or follow the Lord in obedience, the call is to repent of your sins, leave your life of sin behind you, and turn to God to follow him in all his ways. He will revive and restore you, or he will save you from your sins for the first time. Concerning the adulterous, idolatrous and worldly church now, when he disciplines them in judgment, and he revives them, they will once again have the joy and peace of the Lord, and of their salvation, and they will walk in his holiness, and they will be his witnesses so that others can be saved.

A Straight Path (31:9-11)

With weeping they shall come,
and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back,
I will make them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble,
for I am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.’
For the Lord has ransomed Jacob
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.

When we sin against our Lord, and the Holy Spirit convicts our hearts, it should bring us to tears. Yet, we should not be sorrowful with a worldly sorrow, just because we got caught, or just because we got disciplined, but we should have a godly sorrow which leads to genuine repentance, i.e. to a change of heart and mind which results in change of words and actions. We should be humbled that God spared our lives, and that he cared enough about us to move us to repentance, and that he did not leave us floundering in our sins. We should be so grateful for his grace to us in bringing pain and suffering into our lives so as to motivate us toward his holiness and righteousness; and away from sin and rebellion, to walks of faith and obedience to our Lord.

Yet, when this time comes, and the church is scattered because of God’s judgments, and because of the severity of the persecution of the saints of God who are following the ways of the Lord, which may already be what is taking place in other parts of the world; and many are martyred for their faith and testimonies for Jesus Christ, many of us will be separated from each other, and we will not be rejoined until we are all with our Lord forever. So, for those who survive this storm, let this benediction be for you (for us).

God Be with You till We Meet Again
Jeremiah E. Rankin, William G. Tomer

God be with you till we meet again;
by his counsels guide, uphold you,
with his sheep securely fold you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
neath his wings securely hide you,
daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
when life’s perils thick confound you,
put his arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
smite death’s threatening wave before you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

Our Loved Ones

Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 5:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Be Strong and Take Courage.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jeremiah 31:15-22a (NASB).

Bitter Weeping (v. 15)

Thus says the Lord,
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
She refuses to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”

Do you have loved ones who do not know the Lord Jesus as Savior of their lives? Do you have people you care about in your life who profess to believe in Jesus Christ, but their lifestyles speak just the opposite? And, or do you have friends, neighbors or family members who have believed in Jesus Christ, who once walked with him in sweet fellowship, but have since fallen back into some of their old sinful patterns of behavior? If you do, there is still hope they will turn around, and will come to their senses, and will repent of their sins and trust Jesus, so we should never give up praying for them.

Do you, as well, have a burden for the part of the church, the body of Christ, who is living in spiritual adultery against her Lord, who is fleshly, sensual, worldly, and idolatrous; who is following after human desire instead of after the Lord? She partnered with the US government in an unholy alliance, which God forbids, and she turned the Lord’s house into a marketplace, which Jesus spoke strongly against (That is why he cleansed the temple). She incorporated the body of Christ and turned the church into a business of men, and she is marketing it just like any other business, and thus bases a lot of what she does after human desire, rather than after what God desires.

She gives honor to the government via a pledge (vow) of allegiance (fidelity) to the republic of the USA, via the singing of patriotic songs, and via the honoring of our soldiers who are fighting in all these other countries, and by trusting in the news media and believing their stories, without even testing to see if they are true. And, she gives honor to the world by making the church and the gospel more attractive and appealing so that the world will want to come to the meetings of the church. So, she entertains the world, and makes the church fun, comfortable, and non-threatening, as well as she dilutes the gospel to where it is no longer a narrow road but a broad path that just about anyone can travel, regardless of lifestyle or other beliefs.

And, yet she pushes God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – into a corner, and she does not give him the honor, respect, value, submission, obedience and reverence he so deserves. This Sunday we honor our earthly mothers who birthed us, but so many who call themselves Christians do not truly honor the ONE who gave them the breath of life, as well as who gave them eternal life. They do not honor the ONE who died on the cross for our sins, and who gave his life up for us to free us from the punishment of sin, and from slavery to sin, and to free us to now walk in his righteousness and holiness. Instead, they teach a gospel absent of death to sin and walking in righteousness. They teach a gospel which requires no repentance, obedience or submission to Christ, and they think it is ok for them to live in sensuality and to indulge in the flesh, and yet still claim heaven as their eternal home.

Because this fleshly, sensual and worldly church has pushed God into a corner, and has pretty much all but pushed the Holy Spirit out the door, she also rejects the Lord’s servants who do still hold to the tenets of the faith as taught by Jesus, and by his NT apostles. Even her leaders are being trained in how to “sift out” certain people with “strong convictions,” and in how to encourage them to “go someplace else” where they will be a “better fit.” And, many of them are even coming against the Lord’s servants by accusing them of teaching “works-based salvation,” even though they teach what Jesus and his NT apostles taught. Some even go so far as to accuse the Lord’s servants and messengers of hatred, bigotry, and intolerance, and may even refer to them as “dangerous,” too, because they preach the gospel.

This worldly and sensual church may not realize it, but they are under the influence (spell) of Satan and his many false shepherds (wolves in sheep’s clothing), who have deceived naïve minds into believing lies, rather than truth. They are being held emotionally and spiritually captive by clever manipulators of truth who say what itching ears want to hear. These false shepherds have convinced much of the church to unify with them in their marketing goals and objectives for the church, thinking they are obeying God, since the Bible says much about unity, although it is unity with Christ first of all, which then is what unifies us together as the body of Christ. They are convincing many of them to be like-minded with these “dogs” in ridding themselves of all which divides us as a nation, so that we can join hands and hearts with all the people of the world in singing “Kumbaya.”

In some places of the world, our government is even literally taking Christians captive, and is rounding them up like cattle, and is placing them in camps with horrible conditions where many of them will die off, if they are not killed first by all the bombs our nation drops on them. I believe this is coming to America, too, because this is all part of this New World Order beast conquering nations, peoples and the saints of God (See: Rev. 13). And, this should bring us to tears – all of this! We should grieve over the spiritual condition of much of today’s church here in America, and over what our nation (the USA) is doing to innocent people throughout the world, in the name of democracy, and we should lament over all the Christians who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Work Rewarded (vv. 16-20)

Thus says the Lord,

“Restrain your voice from weeping
And your eyes from tears;
For your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord,
“And they will return from the land of the enemy.
“There is hope for your future,” declares the Lord,
“And your children will return to their own territory.
“I have surely heard Ephraim grieving,
‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised,
Like an untrained calf;
Bring me back that I may be restored,
For You are the Lord my God.
‘For after I turned back, I repented;
And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh;
I was ashamed and also humiliated
Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
“Is Ephraim My dear son?
Is he a delightful child?
Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him,
I certainly still remember him;
Therefore My heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,” declares the Lord.

The encouragement here, I believe, is not that we should show no concern. We should (1 Co. 5:1-2; Jas. 4:8-10; Lu. 6:21). But, the encouragement is rather that we should not feel without hope. We should not be so caught up in lamenting over our loved ones, or over the worldly church, or over the persecution much of the church worldwide is enduring, that we forget that God is absolutely sovereign, that he is in control over all things, and that he cares about his children, too. We need to believe that our labors of love in the Lord, and our service in ministry, and in sharing the truths of the gospel of our salvation, and our prayers for the church and for our loved ones will be rewarded. We need to believe God for the salvation of loved ones, for the revival of the church, and for the strengthening of his persecuted saints.

What may look bad, from a human perspective, may be a blessing in disguise. I believe God will chastise his wandering saints who have been duped by master deceivers and manipulators, and in order to open their eyes to the truth, and so they will repent of their sins and turn their hearts back to God and truly honor him with their lives. Yet, this, too, is God’s grace to us. It is called “tough love,” and its goal is to bring his wandering ones back into pure fellowship with him, and also to get us ready for his return and for the consummation of our marriage to Jesus Christ, our husband. It is to purify us in heart and mind, and to restore them to God. God’s heart yearns for his wandering ones to return to him, for he loves his children, and so he will have mercy on them, but the mercy will come in the form of divine discipline and correction, but the results will be for our good.

Direct Your Mind (vv. 21-22a)

“Set up for yourself roadmarks,
Place for yourself guideposts;
Direct your mind to the highway,
The way by which you went.
Return, O virgin of Israel,
Return to these your cities.
“How long will you go here and there,
O faithless daughter?”

So, the counsel here for us is to turn our thinking (our minds) toward the way of holiness and righteousness, i.e. the way of the cross of Christ. We, as the people of God, need to get our minds away from the things of this world and its values, philosophies, attitudes and behaviors, and we need to fix our thoughts firmly on Jesus Christ and on his Word (the whole counsel of God). I believe God is also calling the body of Christ to come out from underneath this unholy union with the US government (here in America), and to return to Jesus as her ONLY Lord (head). I believe he wants her to also forsake following the schemes of humans for how to conduct church meetings, and to put her focus back on Christ and on the purity of his Word (his truth).

As well, I believe that we, as the body of Christ, need to get away from this diluted gospel which so many are following, and we need to read scriptures in context so we can see what the gospel is that Jesus and his NT apostles taught, rather than putting our trust in humans to tell us the truth. We need to know that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, and that faith in Jesus Christ means we now walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh, for if we live according to the flesh, it will result in eternal death, not life (1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 8:1-14).

Be Strong and Take Courage / Don Moen

Be strong and take courage
Do not fear or be dismayed
For the Lord will go before you
And His light will show the way

Why don’t you give him all of your fears?
Why don’t you let him wipe all of your tears?
He knows, He’s been through pain before
And He knows all that you’ve been looking for

Showers of Rain

Monday, April 10, 2017, 6:59 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Zechariah 10 (Select vv. NASB).

Ask from the Lord (v. 1)

Ask rain from the Lord
in the season of the spring rain,
from the Lord who makes the storm clouds,
and he will give them showers of rain,
to everyone the vegetation in the field.

What is a shower? It is a washing and a bath, among other things. It is water (rain) coming down from heaven. Water cleanses, and it refreshes. Water quenches our thirst, and it is necessary to plant life in order to give the plants the important nutrients they need to grow. We, as humans, need food and water in order to live. It is for our survival. When we are born into this world, we are born of water, from our mother’s wombs. In scripture, water is often used to symbolize the Holy Spirit and eternal life in Christ Jesus, given to us who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. When we are baptized physically upon faith in Jesus Christ, by immersion, this symbolizes our death with Christ to sin and our resurrection with him to newness of life, i.e. our new birth of the Spirit of God.

So, in a spiritual sense, if we ask the Lord for spring rain, during a season which symbolizes everything coming back to life, it could be that we are seeking him for salvation, after we have heard the gospel message of salvation from sin, and upon the Spirit of God convicting our hearts and drawing us to Jesus. We are, thus, seeking him for spiritual cleansing and for eternal and abundant life in Him. Or, it may be that we are going through a spiritually dry period in our lives, so we call upon the Lord for spiritual refreshing and renewal in the Spirit. Or, we may be asking for the Spirit of God to empower, strengthen, equip and encourage us in our walks of faith.

As well, we may have fallen back into sin, and so we have been going through a wilderness time in our lives when we have allowed the devil to get a foothold in our lives again. Our times with the Lord have fallen off, or else we are just going through the motions, because we know we are not living right. We know we are not walking in the ways of the Lord, and that he is not pleased with us. In fact, we are not pleased with us, but yet we continue because we have gotten trapped again or because we have given up hope that we can walk in victory. Been there. Done that. Not a good place to be.

And, so we call on God to deliver us from ourselves, although he has already done that, and yet we know we need to be rescued if we are to live. And, so we repent of our sinful ways, and we call on God to give us what we need to get back on the right path, and we ask for him to revive, renew and restore us. We need to be brought back to God in the sense that he is our ONLY Lord. We need to be refreshed in our spirits and to be encouraged once again in our walks of faith. We need to be strengthened in our perseverance, too, so we don’t give up again. We need the season of spring in our lives, in other words, when everything comes back to life, when the Holy Spirit is leading, instructing, comforting, counseling and strengthening us in the Lord because we are now listening to our Lord, and we are doing what he says.

False Dreams (v. 2)

For the household gods utter nonsense,
and the diviners see lies;
they tell false dreams
and give empty consolation.
Therefore the people wander like sheep;
they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd.

The problem today, especially here in America, is that not many people seem to be seeking God with all their hearts, and truly desirous of the pouring out of the Spirit on their lives in either genuine salvation, or for empowerment for our spiritual walks, or in revival. Too many people, including those who profess the name of Jesus, are living worldly lives, void of the power of the Spirit of God, still trapped in sin’s deceitfulness, without conscience, and with little to no desire or thought to change their sinful ways via faith in Jesus Christ. They think they don’t have to, in many cases, because their shepherds are telling them that God requires nothing of them.

Today’s modern gospel has nothing to do with death to sin, because that offends people, and it makes them uncomfortable. It does tell of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, and how he paid the penalty of sin for us so that we could go free from condemnation and have the hope of heaven when we die. But, they fail to tell people that faith in Jesus is not something we create out of our own imaginations. Saving faith is God-given, and it is divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives. When we are convinced of God’s will, we submit to that will, not resist it, or think it doesn’t apply to us.

Jesus didn’t die on that cross and shed his own blood for our sins just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, and that we might walk in the Spirit, in the ways of the Lord, and no longer according to our flesh and the ways of this sinful world. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).

Because these false shepherds of the people are not telling them the truth, but are feeding their minds with lies, and with what their itching ears want to hear, there are many people who believe they are saved when they are not, because they think they just bought fire insurance, but that they have no responsibility to keep their lives from being set on fire by hell.

But, God’s word is perfectly clear on this subject. There is no gray area on this topic. If we walk in darkness, but we say we have fellowship with God, we are liars. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. If we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity. But, if we walk in the light as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. If we lose our lives for Christ, i.e. if we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, we will live with him for eternity. And, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ forever and ever, amen (See: 1 Jn. 1:5-10; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; Gal. 2:20; Acts 26:16-18).

Bring Them Back (vv. 3, 6)

“My anger is hot against the shepherds,
and I will punish the leaders;
for the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah,
and will make them like his majestic steed in battle…

“I will strengthen the house of Judah,
and I will save the house of Joseph.
I will bring them back because I have compassion on them,
and they shall be as though I had not rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.”

God is angry with the shepherds (pastors, spiritual leaders, elders, Bible teachers) who are telling people lies and who are not giving them the truth. Why? Because they are leading people astray from their pure devotion to Christ, and/or they are presenting to them a false gospel which requires no death to sin, no repentance, no submission to Christ and no obedience to his Word. What this means is that they are leading people straight to hell by telling them what makes them feel good about themselves in this life, but which does not deliver them from slavery to sin, but which keeps them bound in sin and without hope, while believing a lie. So, God will judge them for this. And, he will deliver the people out from under their influence.

God has a plan, which is spelled out for us all throughout the prophecies of scripture, and that is his plan to judge this world in tribulation, but also to revive his church, to rebuild (renew, restore) his temple, the body of Christ, and to bring many to true faith in Jesus Christ before he returns for his bride. He will have compassion on his fallen people and on those who have bought into the lies of these deceivers (the false shepherds), and he will refine them with the fires of tribulation in order to get them to call on their God and to seek him with all their hearts; and for them to find their satisfaction and fulfillment in him, and in him alone. And, they will be as though they had never strayed from the Lord or from his pure word.

Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012

Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

Return Now

Friday, April 7, 2017, 2:42 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “No Less.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Zechariah 1 (Select vv. NASB).

Your Evil Ways (vv. 1-6)

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying, “The Lord was very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.”’ But they did not listen or give heed to Me,” declares the Lord. “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers? Then they repented and said, ‘As the Lord of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us.’”’”

I believe the Lord has a message for America, through this, that he would have me share, parts of which may be applied to other nations, as well, particularly to their close allies. I believe the Lord is saying that he was angry with our forefathers. We are not the Christian nation that many people in America think we are. Many of our forefathers were Freemasons, which is a false religion of sorts, and which worships a false god. Many of our buildings and statues in our nation’s capital are patterned after Roman, Greek and Egyptian gods and goddesses. So, our nation has been syncretistic from the very beginning. Our national symbols, in particular our Great Seal, with the All-seeing Eye of Horus and the unfinished pyramid tell the story of what our nation was and is about, and that is that we were to be instrumental in the transitioning of the world to the rule of the beast.

And, that has taken place and is presently taking place. What is prophesied in Revelation 13 is a reality in our world and in our nation today. The US government, in partnership with the institutional church, serves as Babylon, the harlot of Revelation 17-19, and she has gone throughout the earth murdering innocents, killing Christians, devouring and overtaking nations, confiscating property not their own, and covering-up their crimes against humanity with lie after lie after lie, which they proclaim to the American people as truth via the “fake news” media (Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.).

Our forefathers did not repent of their sins, to my knowledge, and thus they passed their sins on to future generations, who have continued in their wicked ways and in their evil plans. Not only has our nation and is our nation daily committing horrendous crimes against the people of this world, and not only do they cover-up those crimes with lies to the American people, but they have convinced the church to partner with them, and to promote government worship within the church via the pledge (vow) of allegiance (fidelity) to this evil government with hand over heart, via the singing of patriotic songs, and via the honoring of our military as our heroes.

So, God is calling out to his church in America, and he is asking that she return to him as her ONLY Lord (God), that she forsake her idolatry and her spiritual adultery, and that she come out from Babylon (the harlot), so that she does not share in her sins and in her punishment. He is saying that if the wayward church in America (and throughout the world) would return to him, that he would return to her, only many are not listening. They are not paying attention, for they feel licensed to continue in their sin without guilt and without remorse, because their spiritual leaders are lying to them and are telling them that God’s grace gives them such license, and that God requires absolutely nothing from them other than some generic humanistic faith which is not followed by any action, because none is required.

So, God is visiting and will visit our nation in judgment. He will do to our nation what he had purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds. Yet, the purpose of this judgment is to bring people to salvation from sin and to revive the hearts of God’s people who have wandered off to go back after their sinful and worldly ways. He is judging us in order to bring us to our knees in repentance so that he can revive and restore us, not as a physical nation, but as the people of God, in order to make us holy. And, in order that we might worship HIM ONLY as our God, and that we might vow our fidelity to Him and to Him Alone.

Exceedingly Jealous (vv. 12-17)

Then the angel of the Lord said, “O Lord of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” The Lord answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.” Therefore thus says the Lord, “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.”’ Again, proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”’”

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, with God-given faith, we are divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives, and so we submit ourselves to his purposes and will. Thus, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:17-24). When this takes place, the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell within our hearts and lives, and to empower us to live godly and holy lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). We then become members of Christ’s body, his church, and he becomes our husband, and we become his bride (Eph. 5:22-33). Our faith in Jesus Christ is, thus, a vow of fidelity to our Lord to serve him faithfully throughout our days.

So, if we wander away from our pure devotion to him, and we go back after our sinful ways, and we don’t listen when God rebukes us, and when he calls for repentance, then we are like the wife or husband who commits adultery against his or her spouse, but who does not repent. And, our God is a jealous God who longs for us to be his only, and for us to not follow after the gods of this world. He longs to have compassion on us and to have his wandering church return to him, their first love. He just asks that those who have not repented of their sins, who are still trapped in sin’s deceitfulness, to turn from their wicked ways and to return to him, and he will return to them, and he will revive, renew and restore (rebuild) them, his church.

Our Lord is not satisfied with us just mouthing words of faith in him while we drift back into our previous sinful practices. He is also not satisfied with status quo. He is not ok with us just existing under the name “Christian” while we wander far from him, or live to entertain ourselves, or if we are complacent about our present spiritual condition (if this describes us). So, he will exercise divine discipline in order to spur his wandering saints to repent of their wicked ways and to return to him, because his purpose in saving us from our sins was that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15).

So, if you are wandering away from him, and if you have not repented of your sins, I pray you will do so today, and that you will let him renew your heart and to make you into the image of Christ. Because of all that Jesus Christ did for us, in saving us from our sins, we should love him and want to serve him with our lives, and not just serve ourselves.

No Less / An Original Work / March 19, 2012

I can do no less than praise You,
Lord, for all You’ve done for me.
You died for my sins to save me,
So I would be set free.
I adore You! Lord, I praise You!
Jesus, Savior, King of kings!
You provided my redemption.
Your grace has pardoned me.

I can do no less than serve You.
Lord, Your witness I would be,
Telling others of Your love,
And why You died on that tree.
Tell of how You gave of Your life,
So from sin we’d be set free,
So we could worship You forever,
And live eternally.

I can do no less than love You,
Lord, for You have first loved me.
You gave of Your life so willing,
Because You cared for me.
Turn from my sin! Obey freely!
Live for You each passing day.
Read Your word, and follow Your lead,
Lord, as I humbly pray.

This House Lies Desolate

Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 11:23 p.m. – Throughout the day, I was aware that there were bad storms and tornadoes happening in various parts of the eastern USA, in particular in the southern states, and that more bad weather was coming yet tonight. I went to bed around 9:00 p.m., but I was awakened at around 10:30 p.m. by a storm that was brewing outside. The wind was blowing through the open window, and this is what awakened me. The Lord Jesus then put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” And, then I also heard in my mind the name “Zerubbabel.” I had just finished reading the book of Isaiah earlier in the day, so I suspected the Lord was leading me to now read about Zerubbabel, which then led me to the book of Haggai. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. So, I read Haggai 1 (NASB).

Rebuild the House (vv. 1-4)

In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come, even the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.”’” Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?”

Since Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God), died on a cross for our sins, rose from the dead, ascended back to heaven, and then sent his Holy Spirit to indwell the lives of his followers, the House of the Lord has been, and always will be those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, until Jesus returns. Collectively we are called “the church.” Yet, this is not to be confused with a physical building called “a church,” nor with institutions of human origin, nor with corporations under the federal government. In other words, now rebuilding God’s house, which lies in ruins, has NOTHING to do with restoring a physical building, or property, or any kind of physical structure or organization instituted of men (and women).

So, if the House of the Lord lies in ruins today and it needs to be rebuilt, what does this look like? Well, we are that house, so it has to do with our individual lives, and collectively we comprise the church, the body of Christ, so it also has to do with the church, as Christ’s body. So, what would it mean that we lie in ruins? Ruins are wrecks, devastations, decays and collapses. They are declines, deteriorations and a weakening. It means our lives are far from what they are supposed to be. It means we are not living what we say we believe, but we have fallen away from God’s design for our lives in saving us out of slavery to sin, and we have, instead, engaged ourselves in what is sinful, adulterous, idolatrous and in spiritual adultery.

Although it is certainly bad enough that God’s house lies in ruins, what makes matters even worse is that the people of God, his saints, are largely complacent about that fact. They are too busy building their own kingdoms and their own houses than they care about rebuilding (reviving) their own hearts and the hearts of others who have fallen away from pure devotion to Jesus Christ. Even though a vast majority of the church, the body of Christ, has gone the way of the world, and is following after the idols of men, instead of following their Lord in obedience, it appears that most people who call themselves Christians are not moved or grieved by this at all.

Consider Your Ways (vv. 5-9)

Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord. “You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?” declares the Lord of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.”

So, the Lord is calling out to his church, and he is saying, “Consider your ways.” What he is asking of his church is that we prayerfully and thoughtfully examine our lives (our hearts, actions, etc.) before Almighty God and in light of the teachings of scripture, and see if there be any wicked way in us. If there is, then we need to turn from the sin, allow the Spirit of God to revive our hearts, and turn to follow our Lord in faithful obedience, and in surrender to HIS will for our lives, from this moment forward.

As part of this heart examination, we must consider what we know of what scripture teaches and then evaluate our own lives by that standard (measurement). Most of us probably know already if we are living up to what we know God’s Word teaches regarding how we should live, but sometimes people suppress the truth through regularly ignoring the Spirit’s voice, and soon they become desensitized to all the evil which they are taking into their minds and hearts on a daily basis. So, a good measure would be Philippians 4:8 where we are told to think on what is true, pure, honorable, just, right, praiseworthy, etc. We should ask ourselves if what we are doing, watching, thinking, speaking, etc. is true, pure, right, etc. If it is not, then we need to cut it out of our lives, and we need to replace those things with what is pure, honorable, righteous, godly and holy.

In this way, we are rebuilding the ruins, because we are removing the decay and what is rotten and we are throwing out those things in the trash, where they belong, and we are building now into our lives what is pleasing to God, and what is fruitful for his kingdom, and what has eternal value rather than us working toward only what is going to pass away, such as houses that can be quickly blown away by a severe storm or a tornado. We can spend our lives working for and building what is only going to rot and decay or disappear, or we can spend our lives working for what is eternal, and for what makes a difference in our own lives and in the lives of other humans.

Reverence for God (vv. 12-15)

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the Lord. Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke by the commission of the Lord to the people saying, “‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord.” So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king.

If we do not obey the Lord, and if we, as his church, continue to go our own way, and to do our own thing, and to focus our hearts, passions, time and affections on what is only going to die off and disappear, while we ignore the spiritual condition of our own hearts, God will discipline (correct, judge, rebuke) us (See: vv. 10-11 omitted). I believe he is already doing that in many different ways, and that it is only going to get much more severe as we near his return. And, I believe this is because our God wants us to return to him as our ONLY Lord so that he can revive our hearts and restore us to a correct relationship with him, according to his design for our lives.

Then, when the church, which has strayed from him, has humbled herself before her God, and confessed her sins, and turned from them to follow her Lord, and to walk in his ways, he will restore and renew her. He will be with her in the work of rebuilding (transforming and restructuring) the lives of individual believers in Christ, and also the life of the church, as a whole. Our God will move in the hearts of his people in this rebuilding process, and he will show the way in which this needs to take place. And, he will empower and strengthen his people to do all that is necessary to forsake sin, idols and worldly ways, and to now walk in his holiness and in his righteousness.

Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012

Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”