Revealing Truth Today

Standing for the truth and sharing Jesus with others!

The Silence of the Lamb

He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

freely-10094-preview-973x649Jesus, known as the Lamb of God, endured the brutal physical torture that led up to His crucifixion; still, He opened not His mouth. He held His peace and remained silent.  But what about when He seems to be silent in our lives? Where do we turn? What do we do when we experience the silence of the Lamb?

By silence, I do not mean that we once heard His audible voice in our ears which is somehow being restrained. By silence, I mean that there’s an emptiness; like He’s not active or “speaking” in our lives. Of course, sin would be an obvious reason for His withdrawal and silence – but what about when we are serving the Lord with all of our heart? Why are there still seasons of silence when He feels a million miles away?

I write this blog post, not from a self-help guru viewpoint. I write from the depths of my soul. I write as one who knows how it feels to yearn for a gesture of hope, yet, to hear nothing but deafening silence. I write knowing what it’s like to hurt; knowing how it feels to be in a deep, depressing pit with no rays of light shining in. I know. In the pit, I cry, “Oh God, please don’t hide your face from me. Give me God, or I die!” Life is meaningless and empty apart from God. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God” (Acts 20:24 NLT).

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

I felt much like Andrew Murray, a preacher of the Gospel in South Africa.  One day, he was walking down the street and he suddenly fell with a gasp. Some that saw him fall, rushed toward him to check on him. The first one to get to him was a policeman. He lifted him up back on his feet and asked him, “What is wrong, why did you fall?” Andrew Murray said, “No, leave me be.” But the policeman insisted that he tell him what was wrong. Murray, realized he was going to have to give this policeman an answer. A tear came down his face as the onlookers were listening. He answered, “Just for a moment…  just for a moment, I lost the consciousness of the presence of God.” This caused him to physically collapse down to the ground. I recalled this account and thought, “Has this happened to me – have I lost consciousness of God?” Or worse – I feared that, maybe, God had lost a consciousness of me. But I knew that couldn’t be true.  His word says, I [the Lord] will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).  Still, the silence and feeling of being alone in this cruel world began to set in and I found myself with a sense of emptiness and hopelessness. My spirit was dry and almost barren.

Instead of wallowing endlessly in my grief and pity, I decided to take what little energy I had left, which had not yet been zapped by apathy and depression, and use it toward studying this topic. I knew that others had experienced such “silent seasons” in life and I wanted to learn how I could keep my head above water during this time of my life; during a time when my spirit inside longed for revival amidst a land of dead, dry bones. My prayers during this season were, “Oh God, restore unto me the joy of salvation”, and “Please, shine your face upon me and speak to me.” I needed reassurance from Him.

Right before this silent season, I had been noticing my prayer life lacked zeal. I recognized it but didn’t really know how to remedy it completely. I was in a pattern of praying before bed and usually when I was too tired to focus; therefore, my prayers became rushed, rehearsed, and repetitious with very little enthusiasm. Maybe I was to blame for my misfortune by ignoring this nudging to do something about my apathetic prayer life? Nonetheless, I found myself in a deep, dark hole filled with sadness, unfulfilled longings, and immense frustration.

Having endured so many setbacks in life, (chronic health issues, loss of our home, life-altering disabilities, emotional and spiritual wounds inflicted by certain individuals, family members being hospitalized,  loss of loved ones to death, etc.) I found myself becoming increasingly distraught and unable to take much more stress. Many things were stripped away and I was whittled down to the core of my being. It seemed life had turned out all wrong and situations kept going from bad to worse.  It all weighed very heavy upon me, and I guess I just folded under the ongoing setbacks and became apathetic, saddened and overwhelmed. It seemed God went silent and my hope was deferred.  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).

The more I thought about it, I recognized that God gave me the Bible as His word… so He wasn’t exactly silent. I also realized that He kept speaking to me in my dreams (see my post HERE) so He was still speaking then. But when I realized that His silence, otherwise, was an answer to my prayers – I felt a sense of peace. He knew all along what He was doing even when I didn’t understand. You see, I had been praying for God to give me a hunger and a thirst after righteousness (see Matthew 5:6). I also had been praying for a revival in my battle-weary spirit. Then I realized that His silence only made me long for Him more and more. I truly had a hunger and a thirst after Him, just like the Psalmist, who wrote, “As the deer pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1).

I recalled a quote by the Revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill, who said:

“There is no such thing as one filling with the Holy Ghost that’s going to last you from here to eternity. There are repeated anointings; there are times when God will withdraw himself and make you feel as though you are dropping into the nethermost hell. He’ll leave you alone to see if you’re going to struggle after his anointing or you’re going to go on in your own eloquence and ability. The Lord thy God is a jealous God.”

Finding Your Way In The Dark

“Trying to be happy without a sense of God’s presence is like trying to have a bright day without the sun.” ~A.W. Tozer

So, what do we do when we find ourselves in such silent seasons? Firstly, we must remember that if we are striving to please God, His silence does not mean His absence.  Also, let us remember that just because He isn’t speaking does not mean that He isn’t listening. Furthermore, it does not mean that He is mad or pouting, as we fickle humans so often do. After we realize that His silence is for a reason, and not to hurt us, we can find some sense of assurance.

darkLook at it like this: We orient ourselves to our surroundings when the sun is shining. When the sun goes down and it is dark, we orient ourselves by recalling how it was when the sun was bright and illuminating our path. When it is dark, we must often walk by faith and not by sight (see 2nd Corinthians 5:7). We must trust that the Lord has sure footing beneath us even though we can’t see it. Just because the darkness falls upon us does not make the sure path beneath our feet disappear, somehow. Just because we can’t see the path, for a season, does not mean that it isn’t there. We must simply go by what we know deep within and what we saw when the sun was shining. This will keep us on course and on the path that leads to life. We remember that it is His Word which is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (see Psalm 119:105). We find guidance through His word.

When God is silent, it feels so dark, lonely and sad. But we have to go on what we know to be true during these times. It’s not a sin to feel sorrow. God made us with emotions and we are not robotic. But remember this too; His silence is for a reason, only for a season – and it isn’t meant to harm us. Then, when the sun shines again, we will greatly rejoice! We come to a greater appreciation when we hear His voice speaking encouragement into our lives, once again. It is the most soothing feeling on earth!

Please Note:  I wrote what was on my heart in this blog, but have linked a few sermons, songs, and an article below that expound on this topic in an even greater way. I would highly recommend these resources as a source of help, hope and encouragement.

Article: When God Seems Silent (Read HERE).

See additional sermons and songs below. ↓ ↓ ↓

 

Sources:
sermonindex.net
biblehub.com
youtube.com
freelyphotos.com
gettyimages.com
churchm.ag

 

 

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Dreaming of Heaven

I had never seen anything quite like it. A blizzard – so intense that you could barely see your hand before your face. The furious wind whipped the snowflakes around in the sky. And the cold – it was so intensely cold as the freezing winds blew. Visibility was very low, but I noticed a clearing in the sky that cut through the downpour of snow. The dreary, gray sky turned into all shades of beautiful pastels. The sky was softly lit with shades of golden yellow, baby pink, and lilac.

Then, to my amazement, the sky seemed to animate. The fluffy white clouds billowed until they unfolded, as it were, to reveal an ivory staircase. Amidst this beauty unfolding before my eyes, I didn’t even notice the cold snow swirling around me. I was in awe and intrigued by what my eyes beheld. It was a jaw-dropping scene; but it was about to become even more awe-inspiring.

To my shock and amazement, I saw Jesus walking down the ivory steps toward me. It was as if time stood still. He didn’t look down at the steps as He walked, but His loving eyes were fixated upon me. He had a look of love upon His face that made me feel completely accepted and cherished by Him. The wind blew His hair and robe as He walked triumphantly toward me. Then, He began to speak.

He talked to me for a while, but I guess I was in such a state of shock that I couldn’t retain some of what He said. However, I vividly remember Him desiring for His children to never lose sight of Heaven. He advised: “Keep your minds on Heaven. Keep your eye on the prize and do not get diverted so easily. I want my children to be more Heavenly-minded and not lose sight of the Heavenly, eternal goal. Think of Heaven more often – in fact, think of it daily. Do not get too preoccupied or busy that you stop meditating on Heaven or lose hope. Never lose sight of this goal.”

And just like that – I woke up from this incredible dream. The timing of the dream was amazing. It came following an anxious night of worry and care; when in my grief, I cried out to the Lord to speak to me some word of comfort and hope. Although this was just a dream, I could feel His immense love. I knew that, somehow, this was meant to encourage me – and now, I know it was to encourage you too.

Image created on polyvore.com

 

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Faith & Imagination

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” ~Hebrews 11:6

For those of you who have checked out the Free Christian Resources section of this blog, you will know that I try to listen to a sermon every night before bed.  I find it encouraging to end the day in this manner. It also has a soothing, relaxing effect upon my mind, body, and spirit. God’s word is amazing and to hear it preached by anointed preachers is so uplifting.

I recently listened to an audio sermon by the late Paris Reidhead. I found it on SermonIndex.net and thought it was such an amazing, profound revelation on the topic of faith. I was so moved by this message that I decided to compile a short video (a little over 5 minutes in length) using excerpts from Paris Reidhead’s sermon. I could expound upon it, but I think he says it best. So, I will post the video so that you can watch it for yourself and grasp this amazing truth about faith and imagination!

 

I have attached the full audio sermon below. It is entitled, “Faith and Sight”.

 

Sources:
Biblehub.com
Youtube.com
Sermonindex.net

 

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NEW Free Christian Resources Page!

Hello to all of my readers! I am excited to announce my newly launched Free Christian Resources page! This page can be accessed on the right sidebar of my blog.  ——–>

It is my hope and prayer that this new page will be helpful to you in strengthening your walk with the Lord. Personally, I have found much personal/spiritual growth through some of the resources listed (such as audio sermons, etc.) and I wanted to share the joy! As the missionary Keith Daniel always says, it is important to not neglect your quiet time with the Lord. Have a time set aside daily where you focus solely on God, the reading and meditating of the Bible, prayer, worship, etc. I believe the resources listed will assist you in this.

Please feel free to share the new page with others if you wish; afterall, everything is free. I made a promise to the Lord a few years ago that I would never make money or ask for money from this blog. It is a personal conviction of mine as I do not want to put a financial stumbling-block in anybody’s way. Jesus invites all to freely come. That is why I wanted all of the resources listed to be free of charge.

Thanks to all of my readers and those who follow this blog. It is my sincere desire to bring encouragement to the body of Christ in any way that I can.

God Bless YOU!

Maranda M.

Revealing Truth Today 

 

 

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Shaming Christians Who Are Sick

I’m not sure how widespread it is – if it has reached epidemic proportions yet or just a few isolated cases. Am I referencing some plague or illness? No. I am referencing the shaming of Christians who are sick. It has happened to a few people I know – and it has happened to me. This topic must be addressed before such shaming becomes a proverbial “epidemic”.

Do I defend sickness? A thousand times, NO! I despise sickness with a passion. I am also a firm believer in God’s miraculous healing. I have seen too many real-life miracles for anybody to convince me otherwise. I have seen, firsthand, how God has saved the lives of my loved ones from the brink of death and how He has performed many supernatural miracles.

Nonetheless, we live in a fallen world and sickness strikes all of us – some more severely or more frequently than others. Furthermore, I am realistic enough to know that death happens to the good and bad alike. We will all die a physical death. But the shaming of Christians who fall ill… oh, it needs to stop!

The Shame

First off, allow me to explain exactly what is being implied by the word “shame” or “shaming”. You see, Christians who fall ill, have chronic illness, or mental illness will sometimes be chided by others. The “chiders” may mean well, but will often cause more harm than good. They make statements such as:

wps“If you had more faith, you would be healed.” (In other words, they are saying that you’re a “Doubting Thomas” and it’s your fault you’re not healed).

“If you would sow a financial seed, God would hear your prayers.” (In other words, they are saying that God responds to money more than faith).

“The reason you’re sick is because there must be some sin in your life.” (In other words, they are saying it’s your fault that you’re sick – you rotten sinner, you.)

“You’re supposed to be walking in divine health as a Christian – why aren’t you?” (In other words, they are questioning your salvation and teaching that Christians aren’t supposed to ever be infirmed).

“Just rebuke the devil and claim your healing – it isn’t God’s Will for you to be sick.” (In other words, they are saying you’re being disobedient to God’s Will and for you to “just get over it”).

On and on, the rhetoric continues. It has the propensity to make infirmed Believers feel downright awful about themselves. Then, the self-doubt and mental questionings begin, with thoughts such as:

“Is my faith truly flawed? I prayed and believed for healing and am still infirmed. It’s all my fault.” (This is where the seed of doubt and condemnation gets planted).

“Lord, I have given to the poor even though I am not well-off myself. But, the TV evangelist said that if I gave $1,000 I could be healed. I wish I could afford this healing.” (This is where false beliefs are instilled and a misconception of our Lord is formed).

“I’ve searched my soul and have asked the Lord to wash all of my sins away. I thought He did… maybe He didn’t. Maybe that’s why I’m not healed.” (This is where doubting God’s complete saving and delivering power begins).

“I was told that if I were a good enough Christian, I would be 100% healthy all the time and walking in divine health. Maybe I’m not even saved.” (Again, this deals with doubting God’s saving power – or His power, in general).

“I was told that it’s not God’s Will for me to be sick. Oh no! You mean I am out of God’s Will too?! I must be such a rebellious person. There’s no hope for me.” (This is where faith begins to cave in. The chiding from others doesn’t encourage faith; it discourages it).

When Sin Is Not To Blame

Do you see how chiding/shaming statements made to one who is infirmed can cause more harm than good? But who is right? Is the sick person truly to blame for their maladies? Let’s explore this further.

Can physical illness happen due to sin? Of course! There are examples of this in scripture (Ps. 38:3, Matt. 9:2, John 5:14, 1st Cor. 11:30) as well as in modern days. Look at the drunkard with a hangover and/or alcohol poisoning. Look at the homosexual who is stricken with HIV. Look at the prostitute with all types of STDs. Certainly, sin in a person’s life can cause physical and/or mental illnesses; but sin is not the only reason nor is it typically the reason why a God-fearing Christian would fall ill.

wpsbLet’s look at the blind man’s story found in the ninth chapter of John. Was he stricken with blindness from birth because he was a bad person or because his parents were sinful? Let’s see what scripture has to say:

“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:1-3). This needs no further elaboration. It’s pretty cut and dry what Jesus’ answer was.

Furthermore, let’s look at the story of Job. Remember, in the book of Job, how scripture refers to Job as a “perfect and upright” man? We see by this that his calamities (even physical ones) did not happen because he was a sinful man; nor did they happen because he doubted God or lacked faith. In fact, in the midst of his troubles, scripture says, “In all this – Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Again, we see that many bad things happened to a very good, God-fearing man.

Some of the Biblical patriarchs (Trophimus, Epaphroditus, Paul, Timothy, etc.) as well as Godly men and women throughout church history were infirmed. Some may have also dealt with mental anguish, at times. Charles Spurgeon, the man who reached thousands with the Gospel and was known as the “Prince of Preachers”, had physical and mental struggles. He battled painful gout and mental depression for a large portion of his life. The great hymn-writer, Fanny Crosby, was blind; yet, she wrote some amazing hymns which are sung to this day. Missionary, Amy Carmichael, was a Godly woman who opened an orphanage and wrote about her missions in India; yet, she was severely injured by a fall and bedridden for nearly 20 years. James Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, also struggled with severe health problems for much of his adult life.

Taylor once said, “I am so weak that I can hardly write, I cannot read my Bible, I cannot even pray, I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child, and trust.” He and others found that, through it all, God could be trusted. But, none of the aforementioned saints were infirmed due to lack of faith or sin. They were some of the most Godly, giving, loving people doing God’s Will; yet, they didn’t walk in “divine health” as is promised by so many nowadays.

How Much Did Jesus Charge?

Briefly, I wish to address this false idea – that if you give money to a preacher or ministry, that guarantees your healing. Two words… Money-swindler. That’s all they are; professional con artists. This deceptive idea is so wrong on so many levels that it’s laughable – no, it’s scary. I pity them on Judgment Day if they don’t change their ways of deceiving the people. Such smooth talkers are very convincing and skilled at what they do. They will twist scriptures around like a pretzel in order to gain money. Don’t fall for it.

wpsgAllow me to pose a question, “How much did Jesus charge to heal people?” If Jesus Christ didn’t charge people money to heal them, how could anybody else have the audacity to do so? Could you even fathom that Jesus would walk up to the blind man after healing him and say, “Okay, pay up!” Never! It isn’t wrong to give money to support those who are genuine and preach the Gospel – but the giving of money is not done as to barter a healing.

Finally, what about those who are poor, who can’t afford to “sow a financial seed” to some fraudulent “evangelist”? Are they not able to receive Jesus’ healing touch just as freely as the rich? Whatever happened to Matthew 10:8? Jesus said, Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Let us be careful to bear this in mind, lest we fall prey to deception and false beliefs.

(More on this topic HERE.)

 

Not By Choice

“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” ~Psalms 73:26

For some, it’s true – they manipulate others and seek attention through physical sickness. They’ve embraced sickness with both arms and are the type who love to complain and embellish every single ache or pain. Nothing is dealt with privately through prayer – it is all a big show and dance for attention. That is the sole motive – attention.

However, the vast majority of chronically ill individuals would much rather be well. The majority of those suffering will diligently seek healing through various means such as prayer, healthy eating, vitamins, exercising, etc. Most chronically ill individuals are trying really hard to get well. However, despite our best human efforts – sickness remains. This is not by choice. There is an inward battle which the chronically ill person fights that no one but God sees. Therefore, the chiding serves no good purpose since the attack upon their body was involuntary – not chosen, wanted, or embraced. However, God’s grace sustains.

What About Healing?

On his website, writer Don Stewart states: “Nowhere in the New Testament is perfect health throughout life considered the norm. Scripture never indicates that the people remained sick because they lacked faith to be healed. Neither does the Bible indicate that God heals those who ‘claim’ or demand it. In fact, people were healed according to God’s mercy. People have the right to ask God for healing, but the result is left up to Him.”

At the beginning of this blog entry, I stated that I am a firm believer in the Lord’s healing power. I have seen it, firsthand, where there was no doubt of God’s healing touch. And while I strongly believe in healing, I also find that not all of God’s children are healed instantaneously. There are different types of healing – some are gradual, and yes, some are instant miracles. Even though we don’t see it this way, even death is a form of healing to the Believer; for, you see – there will be no suffering when we are with our Lord. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (see 2nd Cor. 5:8). Furthermore, Christians are promised eternal reward (in Revelation 21) where there will be no more death, sorrow, crying nor pain. So eventually, whether in this life or by the way of death, the Believer does have the relief of healing to look forward to.

I would like to leave you with a quote by the late J.C. Ryle which seems to sum up my thoughts on healing. He said:

“The Lord Jesus makes no mistakes in managing His friends’ affairs. He orders all their concerns with perfect wisdom: all things happen to them at the right time, and in the right way. He gives them as much of sickness and as much of health, as much of poverty and as much of riches, as much of sorrow and as much of joy, as He sees their souls require. He leads them by the right way to bring them to the city of habitation…He mixes their bitterest cups like a wise physician, and takes care that they have not a drop too little or too much. His people often misunderstand His dealings; they are silly enough to fancy their course of life might have been better ordered: but in the resurrection-day they will thank God that not their will, but Christ’s was done.”

wpIn closing, let us remember not shame or blame those who are infirmed beyond their control; rather, let us bring our faith-filled prayers, love, support, and compassion.

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:35-40).

Helpful Scriptures

“The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” ~Proverbs 18:14

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” ~ James 5:14-16

“… and [Jesus’ disciples] anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” ~Mark 6:13

“… they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” ~Mark 16:18

I’m No Stranger to the Valley – by: Mike Bowling

 

Sources:
biblos.com
wikipedia.com
polyvore.com
facebook.com
youtube.com
web.ccbce.com
bibleencyclopedia.com
aksdaem.com
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God is Not a Man…

“God is Not a Man…”

What?! What exactly is this blog entry all about with a title such as this? While the title may pique curiosity, it is also a very true statement, given its intended meaning. So, let’s endeavor to explore this fact – and why all Christians should band together to acknowledge this.

Before we delve into this topic, allow me to explain what the title means and what it does not mean. As we go along in this brief study, you will see a comforting truth develop before your eyes – so please read this in its entirety.

Firstly, let’s cover what the title does NOT mean. In scripture, the Bible always references Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in masculine terms such as ‘He, Him, His,’ etc. God is Diety, but in the sense of masculinity, yes – God is ‘man’. So, when I say that God is not a man – clearly, I am not referencing masculinity or lack thereof, whatsoever.

Also, scripture teaches that Jesus took on the form of man. “But [he] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). We also find in John 1:14 this: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one as the Trinity. Jesus said, “…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” So yes, when Jesus came to earth – He was God in the flesh. He was also a man in the sense that He took on human form to come to earth.

A Comforting Truth

Now, let us discuss what the title of this blog truly means. A simple, comforting scripture found in Numbers 23:19 states: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

It’s that simple! God is not like sinful man who lies, sins, and makes empty promises. Oh, how we oftentimes wrongly compare God to mankind! People betray us, hurt us, and lie to us – but God is not like mankind that He would ever lie. Isn’t that a profoundly comforting thought?!

We also tend to err toward limiting God to only be able to perform practical things which any mere human could accomplish. Sometimes we forget how immeasurable God’s power really is. We tend to discount His abilities, His love, and His steadfastness – keeping up an invisible guard “just in case”. Yet, God is not like man that He would ever fail us! He will keep us and help us as we trust in Him.

A sad truth is that people can be very mean-spirited and downright crude. But, not the Lord. He treats His children with love, admiration, and great care – as the apple of His eye, so to speak. His treatment toward us and His character are never iffy. “Jesus Christ – the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Nonetheless, God is not just one-dimensional. He can be angered, grieved, joyful, wrathful, etc. As the late A.W. Tozer once put it, The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.”

Although God is Deity and the Creator of the universe, He is not so far off that He can’t be touched. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He knows every detail; such as the number of hairs we have upon our head and even when a sparrow falls (see Matthew 10:29-30). That’s why He is God and we aren’t. His ways are higher than our ways (see Isaiah 55:9), which is precisely why we can’t look at Him as a mere man who would be capable of making mistakes.

God is Trustworthy

God is not a man – He is God; and He cannot lie. Titus 1:2 states: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Most all of us have been guilty of limiting God’s sincerity, trustworthiness, and stability. Of course we live in a world full of tribulation, but the Lord said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” This doesn’t mean that we’ll never encounter difficulties; but God does promise to uphold us and to be our very present help in times of trouble. His grace is sufficient for us. People have the propensity to leave us and forsake us – not God. He will never leave us nor forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5). As His children, He does not forget us; just as a loving mother could never forget her nursing infant.

God is not like man that He should lie or betray our trust. He is completely trustworthy, loyal, and altogether wonderful. Take comfort from His word. Take comfort in knowing that you will always have One you can trust whole-heartedly.

Have you ever endeavored to know God more? I mean, to really know Him for who He is? Although His ways are higher than ours, we can still endeavor to know Him; to know His character, to know His voice. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). As the classic song written by Mosie Lister says in part…

“How long has it been since your mind felt at ease? How long since your heart knew no burden? Can you call Him your friend? How long has it been since you knew that He cared for you? How long has it been since you knelt by your bed and prayed to the Lord up in Heaven? How long since you knew that He’d answer you, and would keep you the long night through?”

Remember – God is not a man that He should lie. So-called ‘friends’ can betray us, people can be downright abusive to us without cause – but as long as we have the Lord by our side, He will keep us. Take comfort in trusting Him for today and all eternity! And remember, He is not limited as mankind is – put complete trust in Him!

Long As I’ve Got King Jesus

Recommended Audio Book

“The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer –  this FREE audio book is a classic on knowing God. Click HERE for link.

Sources:
biblos.com
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How To Survive Life with Your Faith Intact

“I know, perhaps, as well as anyone what depression means and what it is to feel myself sinking lower and lower. Yet, at the worst, when I reach the lowest depths, I have an inward peace which no pain or depression can in the least disturb. Trusting in Jesus Christ my Savior, there is still a blessed quietness in the deep caverns of my soul. Though upon the surface, a rough tempest may be raging, and there may be little apparent calm.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

Oh, the uncertainty of life; the constant feeling of vulnerability, and yes, even dread. Awaking from sleep each day apprehensively, not knowing what the day holds. Will there be sudden disaster today, sickness, a setback? Or will today prove to be calm, peaceful, and happy? One never knows. It is this uncertainty that seems to add a measure of sadness, uneasiness, and stress to life. When turmoil does arise, it only confirms and strengthens this inner dread. After a few years of this cycle, it tends to make life seem like less of a gift and more of a drudgery to endure. I suppose that’s just human nature… to become weary. Even the Apostle Paul had times when he despaired of life.

Paul wrote: “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us…” (2nd Corinthians 1:8-10).

Hard-hitting blows in life bring us low. But, even if we’re troubled on every hand, the Lord strengthens us so we do not perpetually distress. Life is perplexing, but He keeps us from despairing non-stop. God somehow provides respites along the way and a secret place to hide in prayer. We are somehow sustained through it all and our faith in God becomes our only source of survival. People – and yes, the enemy of our soul, persecutes us by various means. The ultimate, demonic goal is to make us lose hope, faith, trust, love, and commitment to the Lord. All Hell will break loose, at times, in order for the satanic powers to sabotage us and drive us into a deep pit. If such evil powers prevail, it will result in God’s children renouncing Christianity, giving up on prayer, losing their trust in God, and they will soon become completely hopeless. They may even take the enemy’s side in his hatred toward God. But know this, God is able to keep us from falling as we realize our complete need for depending upon Him alone. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy…” (Jude 1:24).

Even though we endure persecutions, afflictions, and tribulations, we are never forsaken. “…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). Our fleshly minds try to divert back to doubt, sin, unbelief, and a barrage of false thoughts. Such thoughts recycle in the mind and bring torment. We can only take them captive by God’s grace. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” (2nd Corinthians 10:5). No amount of positive thinking, will-power, or self-help books will drive the despair out of us when we are in the low points of life. It is God, alone, who (quite literally) keeps us sane.

Though the accuser of our soul taunts us and seems to get the upper hand, we are never God-forsaken. He will never leave us comfortless. “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). Though we are, oftentimes, cast down… we are not destroyed. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” (2nd Corinthians 4:8-9).

I will be the first to admit that I do not always handle stress and life’s disasters with the most grace. I become fearful, angry, and even downright despondent, at times. Although I understand that I am a work in progress, still, I get very frustrated at myself. I will think to myself, “Where’s your faith? Why are you despairing like this? You are such a phony!” But then, the Lord gently reminds me… though I fall apart, I always do so in His arms. I never leave God out of the equation. I may be kicking and screaming and reacting foolishly… still, at the end of the day, I look for Him and run to Him. In the worst moments of life when I find myself desolate and curling up in the fetal position… I find that I have curled up under the shelter of His wings. I do not say this to brag on myself, but to testify to God’s keeping power. He draws me to Him with a magnetic love and care which I find nowhere else.

Those times when I’ve cried until I’m numb and feel too devoid of strength to even pray – I trust. Hudson Taylor was a missionary to China who had his fair share of troubles. He once said, “I am so weak that I can hardly write, I cannot read my Bible, I cannot even pray, I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child, and trust.” I like that… I find that I can, at least, trust.

Surviving the setbacks of life is possible when we keep ourselves built up on the most holy faith. Elder Zac Poonen from CFC Church in India once quoted a saying that was known in the Indian Navy. It said, “The more you sweat in peace, the less you will bleed in war.” In other words, prepare spiritually when times are good – because they may not always be so. I find it of utmost importance to keep myself built up through the reading of God’s Word, the hearing of anointed sermons, singing praises and hearing them sung, prayer, and keeping God first and foremost in my mind at all times.

When life presents storms, I don’t always think clearly or react well. Nonetheless, when the storm passes, I find that my faith in God is still intact. I find Him to be more and more precious and trustworthy. My soul thirsts hard after Him. I must have God lest I die. The gates of Hell do not prevail against me – hallelujah! I want you to know this too. As long as you keep your communication line with God open, you are winning! We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

Although you may cry bitter tears, as long as they fall upon His shoulder, then you are winning over satanic devices which were meant to tear you down, destroy your faith, and pull you away from His tender care. Although deep fatigue sets into every fiber of your being from the setbacks of life and from fighting the good fight of faith – you still find yourself resting in Him; thus, you are winning! You are victorious even if you feel far from it; because God says so! Hear Him loudly proclaiming His love for you by His quiet comfort and care. As the old song says, “Though I walk through a valley with a heavy burden, I can feel the touch of His hand.” As long as we keep running to Him, we are winning and our faith is thriving!

“I Can Feel the Touch of His Hand” by J.D. Sumner & the Stamps Quartet

Video Song: “Master of the Wind” by Candy Hemphill Christmas

Audio Sermon: “Persecution, Affliction, and Tribulation” by Keith Daniel

Sources:

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sermonindex.net

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When It’s Time to Sleep

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” ~Psalm 4:8

Sleep – it’s something that the human body needs. After a long and tiring day, it is necessary to allow ourselves to rest and sleep for a few hours. Yet, there are those who do not find sleep to be restorative, peaceful, or satisfying. Health conditions, sleep disorders, nightmares, fear, worry… these are just some of the reasons why some do not enjoy their sleep.

I must say, this topic is near and dear to my heart because I have had minor sleep issues (off and on) my entire life. As a child, I would sleepwalk. I’d fall asleep in my bed only to find myself standing in the kitchen, somehow; not knowing how I got there. Needless to say, this left me feeling very disoriented and out of control. As a child, this was very scary and it caused me to fear bedtime.

Throughout my life, I have had very vivid nightmares, at times – never knowing when one would strike. After such horrific dreams, I would wake up with a sense of intense panic. Once again, this left me feeling disoriented, out of control, and dreadful of bedtime. I’d have to talk myself down and think to myself, “It’s okay – it was just a dream.”

Still, in more recent years, I have found myself dealing with insomnia; to the point that it could easily take me 4 hours (or more) to fall asleep. I share all of this so my readers will know – this blog on sleep doesn’t come from one who has had no troubles. I have full compassion on those who struggle with sleep. It’s something we must do every single night – and if it holds fear and dread, it only leaves us in constant torment.

The Cure?

“… he gives his beloved sleep.” ~Psalm127:2

If a person is living a life of sin and has an unsettled soul and guilt-ridden conscience, naturally, sleep would not typically be very sweet. But, what about the Christian – the one who loves and serves Jesus faithfully? What if the devout Christian has disturbed sleep?

Of course, there are medical and natural remedies to help one sleep. Nonetheless, such aids will not necessarily take away the fears, nightmares, and problems that arise with sleep. As the late pastor A.W. Tozer used to say – I’m going to give you some good, practical, “salty” wisdom that is down-to-earth. For starters, I recommend always praying before bed. This is the perfect time to repent of any sin present and to lay our burdens at Jesus’ feet, asking for His peace. In John 14:27, Jesus said, “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.”

Secondly, we must always make sure we are at peace with God and man. Romans 12:18 states: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you [so far as it depends on you], live peaceably with all men.” And Ephesians 4:26… “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” The hurt and injustices that blindside us will make it very difficult to sleep peacefully. Nonetheless, we have to put it in the Lord’s hands to deal with and trust that He will guide us and give us peace.

Thirdly, we must guard ourselves and what we allow into our minds. Proverbs 4:23 puts it like this: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We must never watch filthy movies, listen to worldly music, or read dark novels and expect to have deep, genuine peace or sleep. Even a passing commercial with violence will affect us negatively. Such imagery in the human mind is toxic.

Also, we must be very conscious of what we are dwelling on – even at the subconscious level. We must be very aware of what we’re allowing ourselves to think about. We can stew over many things and not even realize it… things such as fear, financial worries, health concerns, situations which anger us; the list goes on and on. Let’s remember Philippians 4:7… “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” And this scripture found in Philippians 4:8, “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Nonetheless, conditions do not have to be perfect for God to grant sleep. Remember the account in the 8th chapter of Matthew? Jesus was asleep in the boat even though there was such a powerful storm that the disciples feared for their lives! That is the definition of sweet, undisturbed, God-given sleep!

The Gift of Sleep

The late, great Spurgeon likened sleep to a gift. I would have to agree. Let us never take for granted peaceful, sweet sleep. As with everything, there is a healthy balance. Too much sleep can border on being slothful (see Prov. 20:13, 6:9-11, Matt. 26:45, etc.), yet, if the body truly needs sleep – Christ is there to peacefully grant us this gift with no guilt added. When sleep is needed, it isn’t self-indulgent nor wrong to sleep deeply; it is a gift.

In the 2nd chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had dreams and his spirit was troubled to the point that his sleep left him. This was obviously not a blessed occurrence; which further validates the idea of sleep being a gift.

C.H. Spurgeon

C.H. Spurgeon

“Sleep is the gift of God, and not a man would close his eyes, did not God put his fingers on his eyelids; did not the Almighty send a soft and balmy influence over his frame which lulled his thoughts into quiescence, making him enter into that blissful state of rest which we call sleep. True, there be some drugs and narcotics whereby men can poison themselves well nigh to death, and then call it sleep; but the sleep of the healthy body is the gift of God.” ~Charles H. Spurgeon

Helpful Scriptures

Proverbs 3:24 “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”

Psalm 3:5 “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.”

Psalm 91:5 “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day…”

Beware what fills the mind. Please click the link HERE.

 

 

Sources:

openbible.info

biblehub.com

godfruits.tv

youtube.com

polyvore.com

spurgeon.org

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Psychics & Mediums | What Does the Bible Say?

Convention centers, state and county Fairs , television, the Internet, on the telephone, in a shady little room of a hut – these are some of the places where people go to consult with a psychic. But, why? For what reasons do people seek them out? And, are they sinning by doing so? This may seem like a very obscure topic, however, the interest in psychics is growing. This isn’t something we can brush under the proverbial rug. We, as Christians, need to know what we believe and where we stand so we won’t get caught up in the fanfare of it all.

Many people, it seems, are becoming intrigued and fascinated by psychics and mediums. Curiosity drives them to act upon such motives. Some feel as if it will bring comfort if they can contact a deceased relative or know what the future holds. However, let’s take a closer look at this topic, in light of scripture.

A Familiar Spirit

“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.”  Leviticus 19:31

The Bible states that psychics/mediums possess a ‘familiar spirit’. But, what exactly is a familiar spirit? The original Hebrew definition for ‘familiar spirit’ means: “a necromancer, medium, wizard; one who chirps, mumbles, or mutters in the practice of seeking the dead for instruction.” This act is obviously not of God, and the spirit within them is demonic and evil.

Under the Old Testament Law, a man or woman that had a familiar spirit, or was a wizard, was put to death by stoning (see Leviticus 20:27). This shows how evil and detestable it was (and is) in the sight of God. He warns His people that any type of sorcery is forbidden. If one engages in such practices, they only defile themselves and become unclean in God’s sight. This still holds true, nowadays.

Again, the instruction to God’s people was proclaimed in Deuteronomy 18: 10-12:

“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord…”

The Demonic Counterfeit

Since the time when Satan was cast out of Heaven, he has been counterfeiting God’s works. Instead of consulting mediums, God’s people were instructed, rather, to hearken unto a Godly prophet which the Lord would raise up in that time (see Deuteronomy 18:15). So, we find that the medium was Satan’s counterfeit for God’s prophet. Likewise, seeking out psychics for peace of mind is Satan’s counterfeit of seeking God for peace of mind.

We now have the entire Word of God recorded in scripture – why would we need to look any further than God Almighty? He knows and sees all. As God’s children, we have no need (and hopefully, no desire) to seek out any such evil spiritists. Furthermore, we should not even allow such evils into our home – whether by means of television, Internet, or telephone. Don’t play with fire! Don’t allow entrance for evil spirits. So what if we get called names like, “narrow-minded, strict, or old-fashioned”?! At least we have a backbone and can stand up for righteousness by God’s grace. Let us not be fooled, for we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (see 2nd Corinthians 2:11).

We also read in 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-12, a prophecy about how the Anti-Christ will deceive people by his false signs and wonders; and it is in accord with the activity of Satan. “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Remember what we are taught in 1st John 4:1: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Satan’s counterfeit “joys” are pleasurable to the human nature for a fleeting moment and might even seem innocent and persuasive; but in the end, the victim is left with deep heartache, the hollow absence of peace, and eternal death (barring repentance).

It Didn’t End Well

So, what happens if somebody defiles their conscience and partakes in paranormal activity anyhow? Well, let’s look at the case of King Saul, in scripture. He started off well – he followed God and was king of Israel. However, after being disobedient to God in many ways, he was no longer able to hear God leading him through the prophets. He was desperate to have counsel due to the coming battle with the Philistines.

This was a crucial point in King Saul’s life. He could have recognized God’s absence and recognized that he brought this upon himself. He could have cried out to God, humbly seeking another chance. But no… King Saul takes matters into his own hands. This was the crucial turning point where everything unraveled.

“Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor” (1st Samuel 28:7). So, Saul disguises himself and goes, at night, to this medium at Endor. He brings along two other men with him. The entire account can be read in 1st Samuel 28; but suffice it to say that this encounter certainly did not bring Saul joy or peace.

This is what happened next:

“Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul’s sons. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.” (1st Samuel 31:1-6)

After King Saul was wounded, he proceeded to take his own life. He fell upon his sword; thus, committing suicide. We find that his disobedience to God, defiance against his conscience, consulting a medium, and eventual death are all a sad picture of how sin destroys a person. Sin, if tolerated, only seems to grow. Therefore, let us never accept anything evil – even if it appears harmless on the surface (i.e. a newspaper horoscope or watching a psychic on television). It didn’t end well for King Saul because he was in sin. Let us take extra caution so we don’t end up with a destroyed life and eternal torment.

The Good News!

Finally, let us briefly look at the account in the book of Acts, where a deliverance came, from such evil spirits:

“And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” ~Acts 16:16-18

What can we learn from this?

1.) The damsel was used to make gain [money] for her masters. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Psychics are in ‘business’ to make money. Don’t be fooled.

2.) The damsel who had a spirit of divination was demon-possessed.

3.) Such evil spirits can be cast out by Jesus’ name and His authority. That’s the good news!

Remember Proverbs 4:23: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” So, above all else, let us keep our hearts pure and undifiled.

Helpful Scriptures

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

2nd Chronicles 33:6 “And he [Manasseh] caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.”

Revelation 22:14-15 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without [outside] are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”

Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Also see: The Horoscope Deception

Sources:

biblehub.com

fotki.yandex.ru

polyvore.com

biblestudy.org

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