Saturday, March 26, 2016


(Isaiah 35:10) And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 51:11-15
(11) And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
(12) "I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass,
(13) and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor?
(14) He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking.
(15) I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD of hosts is his name.

There is a day coming when Israel will be restored to God, and all they have endured of God's wrath, as well as the oppression of the nations who all come against them, will be turned around, and God Himself will comfort, secure, and forever wipe away their tears. These promises were to the nation of Israel. And God never fails to keep His promises. His promises to His church also assure us that there is coming a day when every tear will be wiped away from our eyes...all those who have come to know Jesus Christ, as well as the remnant of Israel, will in that day, find His everlasting salvation through Christ alone. Ultimately God brings all things together under Christ in the end (Ephesians 1:9-10). There will be an end. That is, there will be an end to sorrow and sighing and all things evil and everything that causes oppression, depression, anguish, and despair.

Revelation 21:1-7
(1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
(2) And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
(3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
(4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
(5) And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
(6) And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
(7) The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

There is a resurrection, and that only because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He was the only One able to save us. He alone was perfect, holy, and true. He alone was able to take on our sin, in our place, and fulfill all the righteousness of the law. Now He is risen. And those who trust in Him are risen with Him, even now in their stand before Him, with the promise of eternal life that no man can take away. No one is able to snatch us out of His hands. They would have to reach up into Heaven itself and somehow destroy the work of Christ, which can never be done. It is finished! Praise the Lord! What is risen in Heaven, is risen forever. It cannot be thrown back down to earth or undone because it is hidden in Christ Himself and His resurrection (Colossians 3:1-4). Our life is in Him, and it is there secured forever. So now we rejoice in that hope of glory, even as we suffer in our unredeemed fleshly bodies here below awaiting His return and that final redemption.

Romans 5:1-5
(1) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2) Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
(3) Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
(4) and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
(5) and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

This is why Christians for centuries would rather face unspeakable tortures and death rather than deny Him. This is why communists, socialists, fascists, and ISIS can never defeat Christianity no matter how many Christians they slaughter. This is why we face the tsunami of evil forces in this world right now and the blindness and the unspeakable craziness and do not give up hope and do not fear what is coming. If we are in His Word, we know what is coming. It saddens us, because we see their judgment and their horrible end is coming soon for them even though they are having their evil day now. Rather than give in to the anger and rage against them, we fight them with spiritual weapons of warfare, with truth, with prayer, with His love, with standing in the full armor of God against the evil day, because we are sure and firm in the finished work of Jesus Christ, knowing nothing they do can hurt us. They can't even take us out of this world unless the Lord says, "time to come home my child." It may appear they are winning but they are not. God's purposes will prevail. The enemy thought He was destroying God's plan in Jesus Christ when he crucified Him. But what he meant for evil God turned for good, and for salvation of the world...whosoever will. In the unspeakable evil of the Holocaust, which was a work of satan and his hosts, God brought forth the nation of Israel once again, in order to fulfill His promises of salvation to His chosen people in the end times, and finish the salvation and redemption of the world. Even now, what the enemy means for his unspeakable evil and terror, as we trust in God, He will use for good, to reveal Himself to mankind - as a Savior to those who believe in Him, and as a righteous judge to those who refused.

We have the hope of His glory through the power of His resurrection. We not only have that hope for one day in the future, but we have that living hope with us day by day as we walk this earth. That hope and that resurrection power lives in us. The more we let go of this world the more we realize it's power and the more power we have in our lives to stand against fear, against evil, and against all that would come against Jesus Christ. The enemies greatest weapons are his lies and deceptions, and fear. Once we have victory over these, there is not one thing He can do to us. This is true freedom. This is the freedom that comes through the power of His resurrection when He lives in our hearts.

Many people talk about a loved one living in their heart. "Aunt Mildred is not gone, she'll always live in my heart." But Aunt Mildred is not present, and she is not capable of giving you her spirit, and she cannot live in your heart, really. You may retain your memory of her and that memory lives in your heart. But when Jesus comes to live in our hearts, it is not His memory. It is not a mental thing or an emotional thing. It is reality. He gives His Holy Spirit to those who put their faith in His forgiveness through His blood, and in His resurrection for their justification. When He arose from the dead, He did not leave us alone in this world to make it ourselves, just on our own power. He gave us His own power. He gave us His Spirit to indwell us, so that just as He walked in this earth, relying on that power and on His Heavenly Father, we have the very same access and power. The very same Spirit in Christ that raised Him from the dead now dwells in every true born again child of God, enabling Him to overcome the powers of death in this world (Ephesians 1:11-2:9).

Don't place your hope in things that will fail you. The arm of man will fail you. Political leaders will fail you. Laws of men will fail you and be disregarded, broken, and changed. But there is One Who will not change, and Who knows all, and Who will do just what He foretold He will do, carrying out every promise and every Word to the end, until sorrow and sighing shall flee away, and all things that hurt will be destroyed.

It is only because of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior that we can rejoice in hope of the glory of God. That glory is our glory, and our hope, and our eternal promise. Praise the Lord! Come Lord Jesus!

If you want to know more about this salvation and are not sure you are going to Heaven, you can know. His Word assures us how we can know. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matthew 18:7)

skandalon (offense)
Thayer Definition:
1) the movable stick or trigger of a trap, a trap stick
1a) a trap, snare
1b) any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, (a stumbling block, occasion of stumbling), i.e. a rock which is a cause of stumbling
1c) fig. applied to Jesus Christ, whose person and career were so contrary to the expectations of the Jews concerning the Messiah, that they rejected him and by their obstinacy made shipwreck of their salvation
2) any person or thing by which one is (entrapped) drawn into error or sin

"He who gives the offense, and he who receives it, are both exposed to ruin." ~Adam Clarke

There are so many offenses in the world. We can even unwittingly be used by the devil, as Peter was, even though we love the Lord (Matt. 16:23). How can we ever be sure we are not offending another? It seems overwhelming to think about.

Recently someone offended me. That person did not have any awareness that they did so. Yet I had to struggle through the hurt feelings it caused, the bitterness that was rising up, the feeling that I needed to somehow be vindicated, etc. None of us likes to be talked down to. Sometimes it is more the tone of a person's voice, or even their body language, more than what they say. I seem to be a person very sensitive to those things. Too sensitive I'm afraid. It's my struggle. But perhaps even through this, the Lord has enabled me more to understand others and be more compassionate and sensitive to them.

A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. (Pro 18:19)

Let's try to remember what the Lord wants to accomplish when we speak to people and especially when speaking as a messenger of Christ. All it takes is the wrong tone or body language to become a tool of the enemy rather than a servant of Christ. Our hearts become like the walls of a castle and bricks of hurt and bitterness are so easy to build on top of each other, but so hard to tear down. It's the little foxes or offenses that spoil the vine or bring hard feelings in a church or on Facebook, or between friends or family.

This verse is referring to things that cause others to sin, specifically. We can try so hard to make someone see "the truth" or the "right" way of looking at our position, that we forget that we are representing Christ. We can build castle walls instead of helping them to see. What's our motive? To win an argument? To put them in their place? Or to bring them to see the love of Christ and His goodness and how He would have us do things? We forget love and mercy. We forget to be gracious. We forget compassion.

There are so many offenses in the church that go on unnoticed. People leave a church because of an offense and nobody knows why or understands. Maybe it was a harsh word spoken (or taken that way, whether or not it was meant), or maybe just a feeling they are not accepted and loved, or respected, or they even feel rejected, so they feel they cannot possibly receive from such, or find a place where they themselves can be useful in that church, so they go on, either looking for that somewhere else, or just altogether give up and stay home. You cannot tell that person he/she should not be hurt. Well, they are hurt, whether you think it is justified or not. They are left to struggle through it, to forgive, to try to go on, even though in your mind they may be hashing over something insignificant. To their hearts it was significant and unfortunately you cannot fix that by telling them they shouldn't feel that way.

Sometimes our hurtful words, our slighting another, our body language, or our neglect of people can cause them to sin. Oh yes, we are all responsible for our own sin, and as we stand before the Lord we will be judged alone for how we respond to others and whether or not we will take the offense to the Lord and act according to His Word through the grace and power of His Spirit in us. We must, however, be careful to not be the one causing that offense as much as it is up to us.

So Lord, what do I do when I find I am the one offended. In my flesh I feel like crawling up in my home and staying away, or reacting in anger and lashing out, hurting back. I need to protect myself. I feel like soothing my wound and justifying my bitterness. The enemy loves to feed it, as I hash it over and over in my mind, feeling all over again the hurt that it caused. It gets blown up out of proportion in my mind and emotions. How do offenses cause us to sin? It puts a wall between believers. I can no longer respect or receive from that person who hurt me, who will not see how they hurt me, and will go on thinking they are right, without considering how they made me feel. I can sin by going to others and talking about it, to try to find validation for how I am feeling. That will also cause them to look down on that person and take up my bitterness and distrust of them, maybe destroying the others' effectiveness for the Lord. A root of bitterness quickly grows in the body of Christ, and is like a cancer that eats away. The enemy loves it and uses it often to divide and destroy and isolate believers. It tempts people to put themselves first and their own needs above others. It tempts people to self-righteousness and pride. It tempts to gossip. It destroys fellowship with each other and with the Lord. It breaks communion with God. "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.'"(1 Pet 4:8, NKJV) . "Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins." (Prov 10:12, NKJV)

We may think it a little thing when someone is offended by our actions or words. We may think they should just get over it. But cancer also starts out as a very small thing in the body. It is undetectable at first. It may even take a long time to grow to where it is noticeable and even longer before any symptoms or pain is felt from it. But it is there and it will surely grow and do its damage and bring death if not dealt with. The earlier it is dealt with the easier it is to stop. It gets to a certain place where it is terminal, and the damage to the whole body results to it until it brings death. We must put a stop to it in our own hearts before it gets to that place. We must recognize the schemes of the enemy and not become his tool. We must be careful not to be a cause of offense for someone else and if we have been we must go to them and make it right, with a spirit of humility. People can tell if you are genuine or not. Don't think you fool anyone if you aren't. You may justify yourself for thinking you did your part, but you left the cancer to continue growing.

Some offenses need to be confronted as in Matt. 18:15-19. But some need to be overlooked, forgiven, and you need to move on. Yet the enemy loves to stir it up in your heart and make you go over and over and over it. So it becomes hard to do. We are tempted to tell friends so they take our side and make us feel justified in our feelings. The enemy would love that. All things are possible with Christ. I can do all through Him Who strengthens me. That includes forgiving. Because Jesus forgave me when I hurt others, even unknowingly, and because of His love for that one who hurt me, and His purposes in their lives that is far beyond my purposes, and because of His love for the body of Christ, and His love in me, I can forgive - when I look away from me and look to Him, when I see Him as my all in all. When I quit seeking "self" and seek His face. I see all from His perspective. His grace is sufficient for me. In my weakness He is my strength. Will I take God's side, or the enemy's? Lord, enable me to always take Your side, not my own, and not the enemy's! We can know that if there is vindication needed, that in love, the Lord is able to do that - His way. We don't have to take matters into our own hands. We can trust the Lord to work in hearts and minds, and in the end as we submit to the Lord, He is able to work. As we submit to humility in our own hearts, He is able to bring that to others also. There comes a point where you have to give room for God to work, and go on, trusting all in His hands.

I think of the strong dispute Paul and Barnabas - good friends - brothers in the Lord - servants of Christ - had with one another over whether or not to take John Mark with them (Acts 15:36-39). They separated because they could not agree. Apparently somewhere along the way the Lord worked in hearts, and brought reconciliation, because later Paul asked that Mark be brought to help and that he found him very useful (2 Timothy 4:11). Offenses come, differences come, disagreements happen, yet through all we must take them before the Lord, allowing Him to work in our hearts to bring us to see His heart and act according to His purposes and not our own. We must put others before ourselves, and think of them before ourselves. We need to see how serious it is to offend one of those whom Christ shed His precious blood for. Through Christ, we are able to surrender our hearts in sincerity to Him, forgetting ourselves, and taking up our cross and following Him wherever He will lead us. It's about pleasing Him and not offending Him, but trusting in Him. Lord, enable me to come to the place where I am more concerned about what offends You than what offends me!

If you want to know more about this salvation and are not sure you are going to Heaven, you can know. His Word assures us how we can know. Click here to read more.