BEARING FRUIT IN OLD AGE

BEARING FRUIT IN OLD AGE

“They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;they shall be fat and flourishing.”

(Psalm 92:14)

ORANGE TREE.jpg

There are many benefits to loving the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).  Immersing yourself in God and the things of God consistently (not just on Sundays) results in fruit bearing.  Your devotion to God will be reflected in the fruit you bear. 

They shall still bring forth fruit in old age.  We have been carefully planted (where we are) and cultivated by God to bring forth fruit.  We may experience trials, tribulation and even persecution during our pilgrimage; yet our faithfulness to Him will always be rewarded by His faithfulness towards us.  

An aged man or woman should be useful.  The wisdom that we have from years of Bible Study and spiritual experience is to be used for God.  God has spared us, given us length of days, so that we will be useful.  There are many, many people, saved and unsaved, who will be assisted spiritually because of your godly wisdom, counsel and prayers on their behalf.  You have only to ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you are needed.  

Length of days should not be spent on our own ease and enjoyment.  Virtues that God has developed within you should be used to influence your ‘community’ of family, friends and acquaintances.  Participation in either a ministry God has given you or within another ministry will bring about fruit bearing.  Advancing the work of the Lord is your objective.  Those trained in God’s Word through years of private Bible study are very useful in old age. 

The Lord tells us in His Word above that ‘they shall be fat.’  God forbid that we become fat as we age from lack of use within our calling.  Here, the words ‘they shall be fat’ means that they shall be vigorous (having the appearance of vigor and good health).  And flourishing!  They will bear fruit with no indication of decay.  Glory to God!

“Those that be planted in the House of the Lordshall flourish in the courts of our God.They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;they shall be fat and flourishing;To show that the LORD is upright:He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Psalm 92:13-15)

Selah.

GOD IS NOT MISSING

GOD IS NOT MISSING

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened,

and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

(Joshua 1:9)


At this point in time many of us are battle weary.  The daily challenges being presented to us when we walk out the door, or even by picking up the phone can be overwhelming.  I have two examples from my own life, one being last week.  I was on the phone with an insurance company trying to get information on extra medical insurance.  I called just to get an ‘Informational Brochure’.  What I got was a ‘specialist’ whose sole purpose at that point in her life was to get me to ‘sign up’ for medical insurance that would end up ‘costing’ us money.  Nothing I said diverted her from her ‘task’ (although I knew that there were, in fact, cheaper plans).  I listened to her lie, divert, ignore, and finally ”frustrated with me” (ha, ha, ha) she hung up.

The other example … has anyone else been experiencing ‘crazy’ drivers?  Driving, for me, used to be a pleasurable experience.  Going from Point A to Point B was no big deal.  Not any more.  We have to get ‘prayed up’ before we leave the driveway.  Besides the maniacs that are texting and driving way below the speed limit, there are those who, for some reason, like to smell your exhaust, and consequently drive as close as they can to the rear of your car without actually touching it.  I call these people “Frustrated Nascarers.”  But they also cause undue ‘stress’ on those they are following. 

So your nerves are shot because you haven’t been able to carry out normal daily activities because of everyday ‘challenges.’  Surely the enemy (Satan) is working overtime along with his demonic hordes.  The good news — God is not missing!  He is as close to us as a whisper to a loved one or friend.

One of the characteristics that makes a good soldier is being aware of his (or her) surroundings at all times.  Like watchmen on the wall, a good soldier sees beyond what his natural vision shows him.  He can almost ‘sense’ the enemies whereabouts.  Well dear saints, the enemy is all around us.  Keeping that in your mind is very helpful when within the midst of your daily routines suddenly what should be ‘normal’ becomes ‘abnormal.’  If that happens to a believer, chances are good the enemy (evil) is involved somehow. 

Train yourself to be alert and aware of your surroundings, by remembering who the god of this world is (Satan) your discernment will be sharpened and  ‘Praise God’ you will be less stressed and frustrated.  The NIV version of 1 Peter 5:8 tells us:  Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Other Bible versions state:  Be Sober and Watch!   Be Sober and Vigilant!  Be Sober and Self-controlled, Be Watchful! 

Again … train yourself to see spiritually what is going on around you.  Walk in the Spirit!

I love Matthew 28:20 where Jesus said, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” God is not missing!  He is with us even now, living within you (you are His temple).  Be aware of His presence and the graces and gifts He has given you to overcome the world.  Be alert and watch ... ask God to give you spiritual wisdom and spiritual eyes to see what is really going on.

Selah.                 

MATTERS OF THE HEAD / MATTERS OF THE HEART

MATTERS OF THE HEAD / MATTERS OF THE HEART

“And the Lord said unto him [the man clothed with linen],

Go, through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem,

and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry

for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” (Ezekiel 9:4)

Intercession is difficult.  Intercession drains us spiritually and physically.  Perhaps God has put someone in your heart to pray for, or perhaps He wants you to pray for the city/town in which you reside, or the nation in which you live.  You now have received a prayer burden from the Lord.  How much you engage in this burden is up to you.  But if the Holy Spirit has prompted you to pray, you should never enter lightly into the cause He has put before you. 

The matter in your head (reason to intercede) must become a matter in your heart (your spirit uniting with the Holy Spirit in prayer).  How we reason and what we feel emotionally are not separate entities.  When we go into intercession before the Throne of God we bring with us our reason (what our finite mind determines is the reason for the prayer) and our emotions (how our heart responds to the need).  A prayer lightly spoken will be lightly answered (if at all).

God wants us to communicate with Him.  He wants us to pour out (from the bottom of our hearts, so to speak) our prayers and petitions.  When you enter into intercession it is vital that you believe in God and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Your faith must be strong.  At the same time, we need to keep in mind what God thinks about sin.  It is an abomination!  A vessel full of sin with an unrepentant heart cannot truly expect God to answer prayers.  Sin is the sole reason that people are heading for Hell; sin is the reason there is so much suffering in the world (including sicknesses).  It is because of sin that you go into intercession.  Sin is responsible for the woes of mankind.  

Some saints never approach God in intercession.  They have no burden for the hurting body of Christ, or for the lost.  They have established their own standards of righteousness:  “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God”  (Romans 10:1-3).  We have all been called to pray ‘one for another.’  It is a gift, an honor and a privilege given to the children of the Almighty.   

God has called all of us in this critical time in history to pray, to remain impartial is not an option.  Today we heard about a bumper sticker someone spotted on a car in Virginia.  It read:  HEAVEN HAS A WALL, A GATE, AND A STRICT IMMIGRATION POLICY.  HELL HAS OPEN BORDERS.  I don’t know about you, but my spirit was angered and grieved when I heard this. “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shall not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15).  The Lord, Himself, told us not to judge anyone, for with what judgment we judge, God will judge us.  We are not to meddle in the affairs of others.  Our job is to go to our Heavenly Father praying for them.

Scripture tells us that right now Jesus is at the right hand of our Heavenly Father making intercession for us (His Bride).  “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).  Jesus our Lord and King prays for us.  Should we not be following His example by praying and interceding for others!  Listen to that still, small voice within you.  When you are called to pray for someone or for a situation (Godly cause), make this a matter of your head and your heart.  To be called to pray is a holy calling … don’t take it lightly.

Selah.         

WHO IS JESUS?

WHO IS JESUS?


“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying,

“Who do men say that I the Son of man am?”And they said,

“Some say thou art John the Baptist, some Elias;and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

  (Matthew 16:13-14)

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There is a parable that originated in the ancient Indian subcontinent called ‘The Blind Men and an Elephant.’  A group of blind men who have never come across an elephant before begin to form ideas about what the elephant is like based on where they have placed their hands on him.  One blind man may feel the trunk, another a tusk, or another the elephant’s side, you get the idea.  Each blind man describes the elephant based on his limited experience and each man’s description is different from the other.  (In some versions of the story, the blind men begin to argue over who is right, and they actually come to blows.) 
And so this parable has some truth in it when we compare it to our own ‘limited’ experience of who Jesus is based on, perhaps, where we attend church, with whom we fellowship, or how much time we actually spend with the Lord or in His Word.  Have you ever asked yourself why there are so many different denominations?  I was raised Catholic, attending a Catholic church and school, but I also went several times to a Quaker meeting (as my Father was a Quaker).  Since being ‘born again’ myself and Paul have attended many different churches including:  Baptist, Church of God, Assemblies of God, Disciples of Christ (I was office staff), Church of United Brethren, Church of Christ, Plymouth Brethren, Church of the Nazarene, Pentacostal churches,  evangelistic interdenominational, lots of non-denominational churches, evangelical tent services, home church groups, and then there was that little church tucked away in the woods of ‘boon-docks’ Georgia, where one very dark and spooky night, we entered into the building to hear men ‘screaming’ in unknown languages.  I fully expected to see snakes!  
Like the men trying to describe an elephant, denominations have sprung up throughout history based on ideas of ‘who Jesus is’ pulled from the pages of scripture.   Examples:  One major denominational group adopted its name from the practice of John the Baptist baptizing converts.  This denomination stresses conformity to certain rules of Christian conduct.  Jesus, to them, represents a Great Moral Teacher.  Another large group of denominations came about because of Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit (fulfilled at Pentecost).  They are known for operating in the gifts of the Spirit.  They see Jesus as a Miracle Worker.  Seventh Day Adventists take their name from observing the seventh-day Sabbath, which the Gospel shows that Jesus kept.  Jesus [to them] is the Sabbath Keeper.  Some denominations stress holiness.  To them, Jesus is Holy.
So, who is Jesus?  You can find the answer in Matthew 16:15-17.  “He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in Heaven.”
Of course, when we think about our Lord Jesus hundreds of words can be used to describe who He is, and sometimes when we are in His Presence there are no words.  But, in case someone approaches you and asks “Who is Jesus?”  The best answer might be what our Heavenly Father revealed to Peter.  “Who is Jesus?”  Jesus is …
Yeshua Hamashiach
(Jesus the Messiah)Selah.

SWIFT TO HEAR – SLOW TO SPEAK

SWIFT TO HEAR – SLOW TO SPEAK


“Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

(James 1:19)


Growing up there was an expression people used when your conversation was about to explode into slander or anger, “Bite your tongue!”  If you bite your tongue, you will notice immediately that you won’t be able to speak.  Biting your tongue will keep you from saying something that you should not say.  I don’t recommend you bite your tongue, but certainly remember this phrase next time you are tempted to enter into an argument. 

The Word tells us to be swift to hear.  Let’s think about that for a minute.  Swift to hear.  As Children of the Most High God we have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit.  One of those gifts is discernment of spirits.  But, I’ll bet that many of you, including myself, rarely use this precious and valuable gift.  Whenever someone is confronting you with anger or malice, there are evil spirits involved.  We are to be swift to hear!  Stop.  With spiritual eyes look at the situation in front of you and use your discernment. 

All of us can be influenced by evil spirits, they are all around us.  So, don’t be surprised if your spouse, your children, a close friend, or even a church member gets riled up and comes after you, with or without a cause.  Because we are children of the Most High, there is a spirit world hell-bent on controlling/affecting us.  Do you think that when Satan left Yeshua after tempting Him that he remained quietly in the background?  No.  The enemy came after Him in the harsh words of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the accusations that His miracles were from Satan, and later, when the very people He came to deliver cried out, ‘Crucify Him!’  I am sure there were thousands of demons influencing the people who attacked Yeshua.  If they came after Him, surely they will come after us.

DON’T REACT.  If you react when you are attacked, you are climbing into a boxing ring with evil spirits.  Guess what?  You won’t win.  Satan’s evil angels are highly intelligent, they have been in existence for thousands of years and they observe everything.  When you retaliate you open yourself up to more demonic attacks.  Plus, you open up your own spirit by taking the challenge to battle and before you can say ‘Jack Robinson’ (an expression in the 1700s used to mean a very short time), you will be pouring out of your own mouth sinful words.  Bite your tongue!

Answering back in anger opens your spirit up to wicked, evil presences that begin to influence you in your body, soul and spirit. 1st Thessalonians 5:23 – Tells us we are sanctified by God in our body, soul and spirit and are to be blameless.  Also, the Word of God tells us:  “Be angry and sin not.” (Ephesians 4:26)

SLOW TO SPEAK.  You have just been attacked in anger, or perhaps mocked; cruel words, soul-crushing words have pierced your heart.  Silently you should pray asking God for discernment.  He may reveal to you what evil spirits are influencing the individual who has just attacked you.  Pray for that person!  God has given you a great gift filled with His love for them, now pray with what God has shown you (in the Spirit). 

Of course, we all cave to the flesh sometimes and sin with our words.  But, when the words are aimed at destroying your spirit, then there is probably a demon behind the attack.  These malicious spirits influence your attacker often because of some ‘stronghold’ that has not been addressed.  There can be spirits of jealousy, anger, frustration, fear, pain, intolerance, a judgmental spirit, an antichrist spirit, even a spirit of Jezebel (very nasty).  Use your spiritual discernment, realize that this is a ‘spiritual’ attack and there is a good possibility the individual attacking is not even aware of what they are doing.  Don’t attempt to placate your own wounded ego with a quick or rash reply, you will only be throwing fuel on the fire.  Be slow to speak, if you speak at all. 

Remember:
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  (Proverbs 15:1)
“A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but he that is slow to anger quiets contention.”  (Prov. 15:18) 
“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.” (Prov. 29:22)
“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.”  (Eccles. 7:9)
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”  (Colossians 3:8)

Be swift to hear – slow to speak.  Remember, when our Lord spoke He was speaking words direct from the Father.  When confronted (attacked) He answered with Kingdom words, living-giving speech. 

Selah.

THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD

THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD


“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

But he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13)


In Matthew 24 we find Yeshua again prophesying, giving us signs which foretell the End of the Age.  Our Lord is saying here that iniquity (sin/unrighteousness) shall abound and the love of many will grow cold.  But whose love is He talking about?  Your love?  Your unsaved neighbors?  Your friends?  Actually, He is talking about the Church!  In the End Times the love believers should have for the lost will grow cold!  

There are three Greek definitions for the word love:  agape, phileo and philadelphia.  Briefly, agape is the love that God puts in our hearts for others when we are born-again (His love to be shed abroad to others), phileo is the love we have for a friend or to be very fond of someone, philadelphia is brotherly love (like the love you have for your brother/sister or there may be brotherly love among a group of like-minded individuals).

In the above scripture, Yeshua is talking about agape love.  The love that God has for us and us for Him; that agape being poured out and shed abroad to others when we share the Gospel to a lost world.

Agape, the love which has set apart and adorned the Church for so many years will grow colder, as the time draws near for the Return of Christ.  Agape, the love God gave us when we were born-again, the love we are to share with the lost, will grow cold.  Perhaps we will be so wrapped up in looking at our own situations in a panic-filled world, we will become  detached from the plight of those held in the grip of Satan.  Or perhaps, our sins will separate us from God blinding us to the Great Commission.  Agape love is poured out when we reach others for Christ through personal sacrifice.  Here what Yeshua has said to us: “A new commandment I give you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34, see also John 15:12-13; Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:13 and Ephesians 5:2).  

So what has caused us to lose our agape love?  Lawlessness!  A refusal to obey God and His Word.  We have become the lawless ones, tinkling cymbals, withered branches, with itching ears.  An example of this in Scripture is found in the warning to Ephesus in the Book of Revelation where we see that they left their first agape. They are commanded to repent in Revelation 2:4-5.  When the Church compromises, setting aside God’s standard of righteousness and holiness, no longer adhering to what He tells us to do in His Word, and instead sets up its own standards of righteousness and holiness, then the submissive love we should have toward God and men grows cold.

This coldness, this loss of agape because of an unwillingness to submit to God results in disobedience to God’s Word which births false prophets within the Church.“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:11).  While a true prophet of the Most High will always uphold God’s law (Deuteronomy 13:3-4; Isaiah 8:19-20; Romans 8:7), a false prophet is willing to compromise with God’s standard of holiness when it suits him.  Those following a false teacher will likewise slide into lawlessness, becoming separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-3).

Perilous times!  As representing the Church of Jesus Christ it is important that we strive not to lose the love, agape, that God has put into our hearts for the lost.  Yeshua warned us that many believers will grow cold in Matthew 24:12-13.  Today, as the pandemic continues to take thousands of lives, how many did not hear the Good News of Jesus Christ because our love (agape) had grown cold.  I believe we will be held accountable, there is a judgement for believers, we will stand before our Lord Jesus and give an accounting.  (Remember the parable of the Talents.)

Selah.  

THE END OF THE CHURCH AGE

THE END OF THE CHURCH AGE


“Keep yourselves in the love of God,

looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 21)


The Book of Acts gave us the beginning of the Church Age.  The Book of Jude shows us what the end of the church age looks like as we see within it the acts of the apostates.  The term apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia meaning defection, departure, revolt or rebellion.

Looking at the condition of the church worldwide we can see that we are well on our way to total apostasy.  This is unique to our era.  In Acts 17:11 we see a reference to what True Believers should look like:  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things be so.”  This is a scripture reference to the Bereans.  Several characteristics of the Bereans should hold true for us if we are Christ-followers.  First, they willingly received the Word of God from Paul and Silas.  Second, they examined what they heard, comparing what was said to Old Testament scriptures.  Third, they protected the Apostle Paul, realizing his importance in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And fourth, they continued to grow in their faith; after Paul left the Bereans, Silas and Timothy remained to shore up the good foundation he had laid.  

“Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall He find faith on the earth.”(Luke 18:8)

We are told in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 that there will be a falling away first, coming right before the End Times.  We are told not to be deceived.  Second Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.”  Saints, the falling away is here, so we need to assume that already seducing spirits and doctrines of devils are within the church.  False doctrines are engineered by demons, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2nd Timothy 4:3).

Believers will have an unwillingness to endure sound doctrine.  Keeping in mind that the false teachers will come from within the church, we need to be on our guard.  They are not led by the Holy Spirit but by their own fleshly lusts.  Behind their preaching and the basis on which they hold office is covetousness.  They will preach on things that will provide something that you carnally consider very desirable for your own well being.  But these liberties that they teach and preach will take you further and further away from the Truth, eventually causing you to deny Christ.    
The Word tells us that before the Return of Christ there will be a Great Falling Away.  The apostasia (defection/revolt) proceeds the End Times.  Saints, we are at the end of the Church Age.  Please, study to show yourself approved unto God, workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.  

Selah.  

NO BAG – NO BREAD – NO MONEY

NO BAG – NO BREAD – NO MONEY


“And commanded them that they should take nothing

for their journey save a staff only:

no script, no bread, no money in their purse …”

(Mark 6:8)


Many nations around the world are currently experiencing perilous times, the Greek meaning of the word perilous is ‘hard to bear.’  Perilous times can affect us one of two ways.  Either you will get caught up experiencing extreme stress coupled with fear, confusion, distress of mind which may manifest into physical and/or emotional problems.  Or, you will determine in your mind and your heart to follow your King through these perilous times leaning on Him to supply all your needs to the glory of God. 

Jesus called together his twelve ‘chosen’ disciples and began to send them forth two by two; giving them power over unclean spirits.

All the stress and turmoil (perilous times) we are seeing now ‘world-wide’ is the result of men’s sins and their refusal to accept God as sovereign.  Sin rules in the heart of an unsaved man.  An unsaved man, woman, or child is spiritually blind but believes they are right.  They have no ‘moral’ compass to guide their thoughts or actions.  They are full of ‘unclean’ spirits.  (Unclean spirits come about when people or a nation becomes impure.) 

Jesus then gave His twelve disciples further instructions.  Except for a staff, Jesus commanded them not to bring anything along with them as they traveled.  Why did He do that?  Because our Lord knew that those who are called by His Name would be provided for by their Heavenly Father.  All of us could probably testify to that Truth as God does provide for us in miraculous ways, but there is so much more …  

To walk in the supernatural requires total trust.  Jesus wanted His disciples to know what totally trusting God meant, so He commanded them not to take anything with them — no bag, no bread and no money.  Verse 9, Jesus went further and said, “But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.”  Protect your feet but don’t take extra clothing. 

In order to be used by God you need to detach yourself from things.  Your thoughts need to be immersed in God’s will for your life everyday.  It amazes me how much we can accumulate.  This accumulation of stuff bogs us down and keeps us from focusing on what God wants us to do.

When the disciples were called by our Lord they left everything.  Matthew 19:21 “If you will be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”  Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple.”  Luke 9:23 “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.”  These are hard sayings, especially if you are accumulating stuff for yourself, instead of using that money to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ (our primary duty).  

My sister, Catherine, has become a minimalist.  There are actually websites devoted to helping you down-size.  Ever since Paul and I spent years living in a small space (a motorhome, akin to a tiny house); we learned how to live with less, or I should say, we had just what we needed, no more.  During perilous times life will become increasingly difficult.  If we are freed up from the encumbrances (stuff) we have accumulated, stuff we have become ‘trapped’ into caring for (in some form or another), then surely hearing from the Holy Spirit and being about our Father’s business will be easier.

No Bag – No Bread – No Money!  God will always supply all your needs, get rid of those things you don’t need. 

Selah.         

THE 37 DAY SPEECH

THE 37 DAY SPEECH


“These be the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel

on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness,

in the plain over against the Red sea …”

(Deuteronomy 1:1)


It has been said that the fifth book of Moses (Moshe) Deuteronomy meaning ‘second law’ was a 37 day speech to Israel, who would soon be entering into Canaan (the Promised Land).  This was a new generation of Israelites who were not alive during the exodus and encampment at Mount Sinai.  So through speeches, Moses related to the people their history since leaving Egypt during which time they spent 40 years in the wilderness under the total protection and provision of God Almighty.

Moshe now stands and speaks on the eastern banks of the Jordan, readying his people for true independence and sovereignty in the new land.  Leading his people has not always been easy as the evil report of the spies and the national meltdown of spirit which resulted testify.  As God decreed, Moshe also knows he will not be entering the land with his people.  He assembles everyone with one purpose in mind to prepare Israel for the new era awaiting them across the river. 

Moshe stressed two things:  Israel’s unfaithfulness and God’s faithfulness.

Today, we also stand at a crossroads in our own lives.  Are we preparing ourselves to enter into our promised land (Heaven)?  Have we repented, admitting that we have not always followed the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we have also broken God’s commandments?  Have we become like unfaithful Israel allowing the world to ‘enter in’ to our mind and spirits?  The Word tells us For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begins at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1st Peter 4:17-19).

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.  (Jesus after having been beaten and tortured is being led to His death, listen to these … His final words before being hung on a cross.)  But Jesus turned unto them and said,Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For behold, the days are coming, in the whichthey shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills.  Cover us.  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”  (Luke 19:28)

If we do these things in a green tree (as children born-again blessed with peace and prosperity, capable of bearing fruit) what shall we do when the tree dries up (if we succumb to temptation, continuing in our sins, without repentance)? 

One Bible commentator put it this way:  If such sufferings alight upon the innocent One, the very Lamb of God, what must be in store for those who are provoking the flames?”

Moshe prepared the infant nation of Israel through a new set of laws to enter into their promised land.  He admonished them not to repeat the same mistakes and sins of the past and to keep diligently all the laws of God.  We (the Noah Generation) are in the position now of being raptured up into our Promised Land.  We see in God’s Word in the Old Testament, that a man-of-God spent 37 days preparing Israel to enter into their Promised Land.  God sent us His only begotten Son, Jesus, to prepare us through His Word.  We want to be fruitful vines, not dried wood. 

 We are now standing on the banks of eternity ready to enter into our Promised Land.  God, help us to repent of our sins daily, turn from our wicked ways, start obeying your commandments, and the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to follow wholly after you.

Selah.    

SOBER MINDED

SOBER MINDED


“But let us, who are of the day, be sober,putting on the breastplate of faith and love;

and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1st Thessalonians 5:8)


These are days one might call very stressful.  So much is changing rapidly before our eyes.  The pandemic certainly has changed everyone in some way.  Some people have become more compassionate, others meaner.  From my own observations one of the biggest changes I have noticed is that our youth (young people) have changed.  They have become ‘experts’ on everything.  They are opinionated, proud, overbearing, impatient, disrespectful, and in some cases bordering on sociopathic.  How does someone even deal with that?  Lies flow from their tongues as easily as they eat ice cream cones.  Even within the Christian community, we have heard horror stories of Christian youth in rebellion.  Cursing parents is not uncommon.  I am sure many of you have had at least one incident a week where someone you had to communicate with started getting ‘snippy.’  Or, maybe you were the one getting snippy? 

 Saints, we have been told that in the Last Days we are not to sleep as others do, but to watch and be sober (1st Thessalonians 5:6). The Greek word for sober in this scripture is nephomen.  Nepho means not only to be sober (not drunk or intoxicated) but it means to have presence of mind, temperate, havingyour ‘wits” (faculties) in control at all times.  Act rationally!

“But ye, are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1st Thessalonians 5:5).  Here the Apostle Paul is stressing consistency.  Remember who you are in Christ, children of the light, children who live in the day.  When we are sober minded our thoughts, words, and deeds will focus sharply on the task at hand.  The apostle’s metaphor is not a warning against alcohol but a call for us not to become fuzzy-headed in our thinking (just as someone who may be drunk).  A sober minded person is alert to the dangers of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. A sober minded person is not easily distracted by issues that pull you away from your calling or ministry, or from the responsibilities you have as a parent, an educator, an employer, or employee, etc. 

“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (v. 6).  In 1st Peter, elders are given admonitions on caring for the flock of God.  He is telling us to be alert, don’t sleep, watch, be sober minded; events, situations, problems are going to present themselves that are going to tempt you to ‘get into your flesh’, ‘lose it’, opening the door to sin and demonic activity.  WATCH AND BE SOBER.  Stay alert!  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith …”  

Don’t be held captive by the enemy’s devices.  When you are attacked a soft answer is required.  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.  The eyes of the LORD are in every place keeping watch on the evil and the good.  A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”  Proverbs 15:1-4. 

Being sober minded is also essential for clarity in your prayer life.”But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1st Peter 4:7).  If we get caught up in fighting with the demonic world that keeps trying to invade our spirits our prayer life will be hindered.  Sober minded means having clear judgment (presence of mind), keeping our self-control (temperate in all things), keeping our ‘wits’ about us (constantly alert and vigilant) and above all, and at all times, acting rationally as a child of God and as a representative (ambassador) to the King of Heaven.

Selah.