Category Archives: Spiritual

To see what is right

“To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.” Confucius

Is it?

Does the person who clearly understands the correct choice, yet chooses not to act is simply lacking courage?

Or is it something more?

Mark 4:19 KJV — And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

It is through the Word of God we find out what is right and what is wrong.

In Pilgrim’s Progress Christian and Hopeful discuss another man named Temporary.

Hopeful: What reason of his sudden change, and why do others backslide in this way? Christian: That is a good question. What do you think is the reason? Hopeful: In my judgement there are four reasons for it: First, though the conscience of some men is awakened, yet their minds are not changed. So when the feeling of guilt wears off, they naturally turn to their old carnal ways again. They’re guilty conscience causes them to fear hell, and the fear of hell begets their interest in heaven. But when the feeling of guilt is gone, the fear of hell vanishes and they lose their interest in heaven. So they go back to the old life for the fleeting pleasures of the world. Pilgrim’s Progress in today’s English by John Bunyan retold by Jamesh Thomas, Moody Publishers, 1992, pg. 145

Hopeful continues to give the other three reasons: fear of man, pride, hardening of one’s heart.

Not doing what is right,

or doing what is right,

are both choices.

Scripture is clear, we are to do what is right.

Proverbs 3:27 KJV — Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.

Not only is it wrong to choose sin, it is as wrong to refrain from following through on what is right.

Doing right, following God’s command to do good is not a seesaw for when we feel like it or reserved for those who do good to us.

We are not to play favorites, but rather do good unto all.

Galatians 6:10 KJV — As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Because Jesus is our example:

Titus 2:14 KJV — Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

For our choices reflect upon our Lord.

Matthew 5:16 KJV — Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

1 Peter 2:12 KJV — Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the truth and clear outline of right and wrong we find in Your Word. Lord, thank You for living in those things, showing us how to apply Your truth. Lord Jesus, please quicken my heart when I’m in error. Show me my danger that I might not sin against You either by doing wrong or by neglecting to do right. Thank You, Lord. 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 KJV Amen.

Don’t fight it

“Don’t fight it. Don’t fight the pain. You have to relax.”

Confused by these instructions, I had to turn my thoughts away from the physical pain of labor to the rest of my body, wondering the entire time how to make myself relax when hurting so much.

But after a few moments, I found I could relax.

It worked.

Choosing to relax made labor much more bearable, and it wasn’t too long before the pain was forgotten in the joy of our newborn.

Since that day, it’s a practical truth I’ve applied many times.

“Don’t fight the pain” is now something I try to live by, because I’ve learned pain is not my enemy.

What is my enemy is allowing anything to trick me into fighting rather than relying.

Proverbs 3:5 NKJV — Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

That’s not to say, I am silent about everything.

It simply means I try not to react, but rather to prayerfully respond.

And not just in the physical, but in the emotional arena as well.

When experiencing the pain of grief or disappointment or fear it’s unwise for me to fight the pain.

John 14:27 KJV — Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Instead, I need to be honest with the Lord, myself, and those around me, without attacking the parties I feel are responsible for the pain.

Only God has the right to judge.

Romans 12:19 NLT — Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.

And being honest without sinning is how we work through life’s trials.

Ephesians 4:26 KJV — Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Don’t fight the pain.

Instead:

Let God use it.

Learn to rest in God’s promises.

Lay yourself open before the Lord and humbly choose to focus on the Lord rather than the pain.

I still fall into reaction rather than response.

I have often fought the pain rather than trusting God.

But I’m doing it less.

For every time I choose not to fight the pain, I’m amazed by how God works in and through it.

It’s not easy, but it can be done.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness which has taught me so much. Lord, for the times I have chosen to fight rather than trust I’m ashamed and I thank You for Your forgiveness. Lord, help me to remember: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7 NKJV I want to walk in these truths and be guided by Your Word. Lord, thank You for all You have taught me and I know there’s so much more to learn. Thank You! May my life bring glory to Your name, Jesus. Amen.

Pride

How easy it is to fall into pride.

No matter the circumstance, there always seems to be something which tempts us to think better of ourselves than others.

The Bible warns against pride, and we see the consequences of it in both the Old and New Testaments.

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 9:23‭-‬24 KJV

1 Corinthians 1:31 KJV — That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Pride hides underneath many cloaks, but the evidence of it is a lack of love and respect for others.

This most dangerous foe: pride; sets itself up against all others, including God, when allowed to reign in our lives.

Recently, the Lord has been dealing with my heart and the pride which I had been blind to.

It reared it’s ugly head when a circumstance triggered in me both fear and some resentment.

At the time it felt like a battle within between what I knew was the correct choice, the proper response, and my emotions which were all over between panic and anger.

While walking through this, God brought the truth through the words of a friend.

“What’s my problem?” I spoke with frustration.

“The problem is you love yourself too much.”

Her words were truth and cut straight through all my excuses, all my reasons, all my emotions.

“You’re right.”

Humility, although difficult, is the first step to defeating pride.

The next was to seek God’s forgiveness and other’s, for in my struggle I’d reacted poorly to those around me.

Since then, I’ve been allowing the Word to wash me, seeking His truth, and requesting He reveal my heart completely, that every trace of pride would be dealt with.

It’s not been easy.

I’m ashamed to say I have allowed a great deal of pride to grow where I never realized it was residing.

But the part that hurts the most is where I’ve allowed pride to puff me up.

I allowed pride to keep careful track of others’ errors, their shortcomings, their mistakes, almost as if God needed a record keeper.

It wasn’t an intentional thing, but very subtle, because I know God doesn’t want me to keep such a record, ever.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I Corinthians 13:4‭-‬7 NKJV

It’s opposite of love and kills my desire to trust that person.

The worst part of pride is the way it taints my walk with God.

The arrogance God revealed to me was coloring my ability to surrender myself and my family before Him.

Some of this pride has been a habit of long standing and God is having to purify me in ways I didn’t expect.

I’m so thankful for His truth shining into my heart and dealing with me, no matter how painful or embarrassing.

It’s worth every bit of the discomfort.

I want to dwell with the Lord Jesus and be completely humbled before Him.

Proverbs 11:2 KJV — When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for dealing with my heart and showing me the ways of pride and arrogance in my life. Lord, I thank You for how You used things I never expected to show me the truth. Lord, continue to wash me with Your Word that I might be completely humbled before You daily. Lord, I have confessed my errors before You and Your forgiveness has been so sweet! Such beautiful gifts of mercy and grace You bestow! May my heart be chastened daily, that no speck of pride be allowed admittance. Let me be Your maidservant, without regard to anything save the joy of serving You. Thank You for Your blessings, Jesus. May my life bring glory to Your name. Amen.

Faith in the Word

Our family watched a movie called Play the Flute last night.

I’ve seen it before, but it was the first time our son had seen it.

When it was over we discussed it and something he said stuck with me.

“It’s about having faith in the Word of God.”

He went on to say he knew others who didn’t have that faith.

We discussed the importance of God’s Word as well as the costly price just to have it in our language.

I told him about William Tyndale and his passion for the Word.

As our conversation drew to a close, my heart was challenged.

Do I revere God’s Word as I should?

Am I passionate about it?

Have I given it the time and attention which something so profound deserves?

I feel there’s room for improvement.

Not only do I want to study, memorize, and meditate upon God’s Word, I want to apply it.

I want to seek answers from God’s Word, looking to Him for my plans, the standards I set, the measure I use.

If someone was to ask me if I believe the Bible, I’d respond quickly with a harty “Yes!”.

However, I know, I don’t always respond to God’s Word with that same quick “Yes!”.

I want to, but I’m still learning how to surrender myself before God in all things.

Things like:

Trusting God completely with our children, that He is using all things in their lives for good.

When suffering in one form or another, giving God praise and seeking His will for the circumstance.

Am I willing to surrender everything before God, including my physical abilities?

In my heart I have assurance that the Bible is God’s Word and I can rest in its truths to guide and direct.

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luke 9:23 KJV

I’m still learning how to put these truths into practice; still learning how to die to my flesh.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the wonderful gift of Your scriptures. Lord, thank You for showing me the error of my ways, where I need to have faith in Your Word and walk bearing my cross with joy. Lord Jesus, thank you for your patience with me, a slow learner. Please continue to hone my heart and help me see the areas that I need to surrender to You. Lord, thank You for Your truth and the many people who have given so much to translate the Bible throughout the Earth. Lord, thank You for teaching me to love Your Word and to hide it in my heart. I’m so grateful for Your promises and the blessings which come from applying the scriptures. Lord Jesus, I am picking up my cross today and following You, for there is no other way to Heaven and a fruitful life here on Earth. Thank You! Amen.

A few verses for encouragement

There are many scriptures which I find encouraging.

This group of verses teach me perspective and ignite hope.

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Isaiah 61:11 KJV

Whenever I look at the garden, I want to think on this verse and anticipate it’s fulfillment.

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: And all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
Psalm 22:27 KJV

In the chapter which so clearly describes Jesus, this verse, promising that all kindreds of the nations shall worship God.

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14 KJV

One day, the whole earth shall be full of the knowledge of God’s glory.

These scriptures encourage me to continue to focus on the Lord and His truths.

Some day, righteousness and praise will spring forth, the entire world will know God’s glory, and every kindred from every nation shall worship Him.

While I await the fulfillment of these verses, I’m blessed to be able to praise and worship God today.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your promises which brings me such anticipation! Lord, I know there are many things which must come, thank You for the hope of the future, the promise of salvation. Lord Jesus, please bring encouragement to those who are hopeless. Help their eyes be opened to Your Word and their understanding filled with Your truth. Lord, I am often amazed at how You use things in my life. You are so faithful. Your Word is truth. Your salvation perfect. Lord, let those who have been blessed by Your salvation say so. Let them be encouraged to follow You, each joyfully bearing our cross, recognizing that suffering is an opportunity for praise. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Other verses which I have recently added to this list are: Psalm 86:9, 98:2; Isaiah 11:9; Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 15:4.

“Made in the image”…

… “of God.”

Those words struck me as I listened to my Bible app this morning.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1:27 KJV

At times I’m too familiar with profound truth and I pass by without allowing it to time to steep.

Thankfully, this morning, God’s Word caused me to ponder.

Do I really understand what incredible gift God gave mankind when He created us in His image?

No other creation has this, just humans.

Being created in God’s image is an incredible gift, do I cherish it in myself?

Do I cherish it in others?

Have I not been heedless about my attitudes and actions towards others, disregarding they are made in God’s image?

With the damage of sin, which mars and twists what God created as good, it’s difficult to look on others and think, “They are created in God’s image”.

Misunderstanding, judgement, disgust, hurt, envy, and strife seem to come so much easier than respect and love.

No wonder God told us, from the beginning, not to sin.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Genesis 3:1 KJV

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Genesis 3:6 KJV

Even now, we easily become ensnared into evil through the work of the enemy and the desires of the flesh.

But God!

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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:16‭-‬17 KJV

God created mankind in His own image.

And it was good in the beginning.

But we chose sin.

So, God came as a man, to save all who would believe.

Wow.

People are sinful and God’s original goodness seems so scarce, but neither of these things change the incredible value God has placed on each and every human life.

We were created different from the animals.

We were created unique, even from the angels.

And my tiny understanding of God’s love for us should direct my attitudes and actions with regard to others.

Especially, since I was given the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus and as His follower, I have a responsibility to live in such a way as brings glory to God and the truth of salvation to others.

Not revering the creation above the Creator, but rather loving my Heavenly Father so much, that what He values I value.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for reminding me that all mankind is unique and created differently from any other creation. Lord, please continue to teach me how to value others, while still holding fast to Your truths and not falling into ignoring sin or passing it by as unimportant. Lord, You value Your people too much to allow them to do what is harmful and sin hurts us deeply, it separates us from You. Lord, please help me to have Your perspective, to understand Your will, and to walk with love and wisdom and truth. Lord, You alone, are our Savior and I praise Your holy name! Amen.

Which side?

As I was watering the vegetables this morning, I realized I’d taken sides.

For every circumstance, there are two ways to see it, for the follower of Christ.

One side is the perspective of the flesh, where pride, fear, doubt, and selfish ambition cause any of the these: a lack of peace, self-pity, worry, striving, envy, covetousness, anger, or even despair.

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
James 4:1‭-‬3 KJV

The other side stands in the truth of scripture and praises God, no matter the outcome.

Job 1:21 NKJV — And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Romans 8:28 KJV — And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we can walk through suffering or joy, disappointment or encouragement, tragedy or blessing with steadfast faith in Jesus and the salvation He gives.

Philippians 4:12-13 NKJV — I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We can cling to scripture and trust God.

Job 13:15a KJV — Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:…

Last night was a bit rough.

I had a migraine, my asthma was a bit troublesome, and my heart is hurting for others experiencing great difficulties, despite all this my heart sang a song from Sunday’s worship throughout.

It was still with me when I got up and went slowly outside.

It was as I praised God for the water, the garden, and our children who were doing my chores for me, that I realized I’d chosen sides.

Continually worshipping God had enabled me to see things through His blessings and hold to His truths.

Choosing to worship has meant choosing to side with Christ and resting in His direction, protection, and Sovereignty.

As I trust God for His plan for my day, I’m going to continue to praise Him.

What have you chosen?

I pray it’s trusting in the Lord Jesus with all your heart and worshiping Him through thick and thin.

Philippians 4:4 NLT — Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching me the blessings of worship and a heart stayed upon You. Lord, there are many who are walking through extreme trials and tribulations just now. My heart aches for the hurting. I know You feel even more than I. Please touch them where they are. Please comfort them in their sorrow and remind those who follow You, that this world is not their home, but You are preparing a place for them in Heaven. Lord, for those who have yet to know You, who have not chosen to follow, please shine the light of Your truth into their hearts and minds. Unshackle their thoughts from lies and unbind their hearts from the snares of the enemy. Please reach those who need You the most and bring them to Yourself. Lord, I know scripture is clear, some will always reject You and Your gift of salvation. How that must break Your heart, it does mine. Lord, thank You for dieing for each and every one of us. Thank You for loving us so much. May my life bring glory to Your name. I love You, Jesus. Psalm 122:1 KJV — A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Amen!

“Nice fronts, no insides”

This isn’t a facade, but rather a stunning cathedral in Chester.

Unable to attend church, I enjoyed being online Sunday morning and afterwards I enjoyed watching another service from a different church.

In his sermon, Pastor Bill Butterworth, “The Reality of Commitment” on Stonebriar Community Church YouTube page, tells a story about visiting a Holly Wood set.

Pastor Butterworth told of a moment when his driver encouraged him to go inside one of the buildings, and he quickly saw that once inside there’s nothing, just dry land.

The host of his tour, had spoken to Pastor Butterworth after re-emerging from the facade.

“Nice fronts, no insides.”

Pastor Butterworth said those words are ones he will never forget and they stuck to me as well.

It actually brought to mind two men in the Bible we studied in Sunday school.

And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Matthew 8:18‭-‬22 NKJV

These two men, in their own time, would have looked startling different, yet sadly, they are very similar.

First, we see a scribe, someone other Jews would pay attention to.

He speaks boldly.

Matthew 8:19b NKJV — ‘Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”’

This scribe sounds like a devoted follower, but Jesus’s response tells us something more.

Matthew 8:20 NKJV — And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

The disciples were there, so was a large crowd, Jesus had just commanded them to prepare to leave across the water, when up steps this scribe proclaiming he will follow.

But what is missing here is Jesus’s calling.

Jesus doesn’t respond to the scribe with a hardy welcome and an invitation to join, instead he gives a parable.

The missing piece comes when we look at how the scribe identifies Jesus, he called him “Teacher”.

He recognized Him as a person who taught, but not as the Son of God, therefore this scribe’s boast was hollow.

He may have looked extremely holy to those around him, but Jesus knew there was nothing on the inside.

The second man is a disciple, but for some reason doesn’t want to get in the boat and cross over with the Lord.

Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
Matthew 8:21 NKJV

Again, Jesus’s response tells us a great deal.

But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Matthew 8:22 NKJV

Luke records this slightly differently: “Jesus said unto him, ‘Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.'” Luke 9:59-60

Other passages in scripture clearly show Jesus being deeply moved by the death of someone.

In both cases He raises them from the dead. (Luke 7:12-15, John 11:1-44)

This seemingly callous response from our Lord Jesus leads us to see there was something lacking from this man.

Jesus’s response tells us invitation was given, but for some reason, this man was wanting to put off the call till a different time.

Neither gospel records more on either the scribe or the disciple.

One was a religious person who had the honor of copying God’s Word, not a small thing, and the other had the honor of being called by Jesus, but neither seem to have been anything more than nice fronts.

Which is sad.

Nothing on this Earth will last save the souls of people and the only soul which is allowed to enjoy eternal life is the one who puts their trust in Jesus Christ, surrendering themselves to His lordship.

Let us take the warning from these two men in the Bible.

We must do far more than look good to others.

Rather, we need to be thriving inwardly in relationship and obedience to Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 119:10-12 NKJV — With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this warning about hypocrisy. Lord, I don’t want to be a facade, I want to be as true inside as outside. I want to live a life of devotion. Please help me to walk with integrity, even when I’m alone. To be honest and humble within, admitting my sins and repenting before You. Lord, please restore those areas which I have allowed to slide, that I might not grow indifferent to Your commandments, but rather that I be faithful in all. Lord, thank You so much for Your Word, Your way, and most of all, Your salvation. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Always learning

As I was out doing chores this morning, I noticed the rising Sun lighting up this part of the yard.

The picture doesn’t do the reality any justice, so I walked over and snapped one of the flowers.

Everything about this was a blessing to my heart.

But it was the wire basket on metal feet that God used to teach me this morning.

That wire on metal legs was brought home by my husband and I remember asking him what it was.

“No idea.”

I stood staring at the mostly black object and tried to pray.

“Lord, please show me what Your plan is for this thing.”

It was well made and didn’t have any rust or missing pieces to the wire, but someone had spray painted some very bright colors on two sides, but not in any kind of attractive pattern.

It almost looked like it had been “too close” to someone’s graffiti project.

As I looked at, it the Lord answered.

A planter.

“Uhm…I don’t know how that’s going to work…”

The wire mesh wouldn’t hold potting soil.

However, I didn’t have time to deal with it then and we moved it out of the way.

Days later I bought some Rust-Oleum spray paint and put down a board to protect the ground from paint and the paint from grass.

Because I struggle with the fumes it took me days to paint the thing, but when it was done it was much more attractive.

As I’d painted the Lord had brought to mind some extra dark green chicken wire leftover from the coop and we had some hay as well.

Once I got the planter where I wanted it in the yard, I lined it with the chicken wire and then used a large amount of hay to line that, finally I placed inside the potting soil and plants.

And this morning, after faithful watering, I was rewarded by beautiful blooms.

I doubt this item was designed to be a planter, my guess is something for sports equipment, but it had been cast off and unwanted.

Yet, God had a different plan for this and it included a cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, and being filled with something beautiful.

The lesson being, God’s ability to transform.

It’s what He is doing inside my heart every day.

He shows me something ugly or an area I’ve cast off or something I’m not utilizing, He cleans it and places His beautiful Word inside and before long, I’m surprised by blessings I never expected.

I praise God for His wonderful works to transform those things damaged by sin back into beauty.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:1‭-‬3 NKJV

Jesus, I glorify Your holy name this morning!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your lesson this morning. Thank You for holding me in Your ways and teaching me through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Lord, thank You for Your patience with me. I confess that I have been less than easy to deal with lately. I have no excuses, only repentance. Please restore those areas where I have been stiff-necked and bring about healing that I might not sin against You again in that area. Lord, You know my struggles and You understand my fears. I give both things to You and thank You for Your patience with me. Lord, please place a guard over my lips, that I might not speak unkind things. Please place Your Word in my mouth. Thank You for healing my heart and helping me to be honest yesterday. Thank You for watching over me and admonishing me when I was being self centered. Thank You for Your lessons, may I always be learning daily from You. I love You, Jesus. Blessed be Your name! Amen.

Violence

Yesterday was a strange mix for me.

Not a mix of activities, but a mix of information.

Our history class had carefully told the horrible, but true facts of the acts of those who committed violence against the innocent in opposition to the Reconstruction after the Civil War.

I’d read a blog about bullying and the horror they had inflicted upon another.

My daughter asked me about the attack on the Ukraine: why was it happening?

Earlier, I’d read that very question as the title of an article from a news source.

A thread seemed to be the same throughout.

Those causing the violence felt completely justified in their behavior.

“How can anyone think it’s okay to hurt others like this?” my daughter asked.

And the Lord answered clearly for me.

“It goes all the way back to the beginning.”

Genesis 4:6-9NKJV — So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Murder of innocent people is a direct consequence of a life in rebellion against God.

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

The violence being distributed is horrifying and it’s understandable why our hearts are outraged at these abuses.

For the follower of Christ it is our responsibility to stand in prayer for others.

To recognize the real truth behind this kind of behavior and to remember we have an adversary.

1 Peter 5:8 KJV — Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Although, our attention is grabbed by the people inflicting these atrocities, the battle is not with them.

Ephesians 6:12 KJV — For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The spiritual battle is often overlooked, but the Bible makes it clear that the enemy is the one who steals, kills, and destroys.

As followers of Christ Jesus, we have hope for eternal life and a command to train up disciples in the truth of Scripture.

No time is more valuable for that than now.

Let us take up our cross daily, speak the truth in love, fulfill the calling to make disciples, encouraging, teaching, helping, and stand in the gap for the innocent, the helpless, and those who have yet to know Jesus.

Ezekiel 22:30 KJV — And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

May it never be so again.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your truth which helps us better understand why horrifying violence is carried out, it’s all the result of sin and the enemy of our souls. Lord, thank You that we know it will not always be this way. Thank You that You paid for my sin and saved me from living a life separate from You. Lord Jesus, it is so painful to know that people are hurting and killing one another, but I thank You for Your promises. Thank You for Your mercy, which stays Your judgement. Lord, thank You that we can stand in the gap for others. Thank You for Your helping the helpless, freeing the captives, and saving the lost. Thank You for Your scriptures which clearly outline not only the why of all this, but also what is to come. Lord, may our hearts remain steadfast, our feet not stumble, and our eyes see clearly, open our understanding through Your Word. Lord Jesus, I humbly lift up those who are being oppressed and harmed by wickedness. Please continue to save them and give those who stand literally in the gap for the innocent the courage and integrity they need to stand in the way of evil and defend those who cannot defend themselves. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your salvation. Amen.