Category Archives: Justice / Judgment

The Lord Is My Rock, In Whom I Find Protection

Psalm 18 is a psalm of David, a man after God’s own heart. He sang this song to God on the day God rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. This psalm encourages us that we can count on God’s help to overcome those who persecute us. The victory will not always be with a sword, but sometimes it will be and we will need to wield it properly to defend ourselves and God will help us. We can find refuge in the Lord.

I love you, Lord;
    you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and he saved me from my enemies.

The ropes of death entangled me;
    floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave[a] wrapped its ropes around me;
    death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
    my cry to him reached his ears.

Then the earth quaked and trembled.
    The foundations of the mountains shook;
    they quaked because of his anger.
Smoke poured from his nostrils;
    fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
    Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
He opened the heavens and came down;
    dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
10 Mounted on a mighty angelic being,[b] he flew,
    soaring on the wings of the wind.
11 He shrouded himself in darkness,
    veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.
12 Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him
    and rained down hail and burning coals.[c]
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded
    amid the hail and burning coals.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
    great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused.
15 Then at your command, O Lord,
    at the blast of your breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
    and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.

16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
    from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
18 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
    but the Lord supported me.
19 He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me.
20 The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
    he restored me because of my innocence.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
22 I have followed all his regulations;
    I have never abandoned his decrees.
23 I am blameless before God;
    I have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
    He has seen my innocence.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
    to those with integrity you show integrity.
26 To the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
27 You rescue the humble,
    but you humiliate the proud.
28 You light a lamp for me.
    The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
29 In your strength I can crush an army;
    with my God I can scale any wall.

30 God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
31 For who is God except the Lord?
    Who but our God is a solid rock?
32 God arms me with strength,
    and he makes my way perfect.
33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
35 You have given me your shield of victory.
    Your right hand supports me;
    your help[d] has made me great.
36 You have made a wide path for my feet
    to keep them from slipping.

37 I chased my enemies and caught them;
    I did not stop until they were conquered.
38 I struck them down so they could not get up;
    they fell beneath my feet.
39 You have armed me with strength for the battle;
    you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
40 You placed my foot on their necks.
    I have destroyed all who hated me.
41 They called for help, but no one came to their rescue.
    They even cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer.
42 I ground them as fine as dust in the wind.
    I swept them into the gutter like dirt.
43 You gave me victory over my accusers.
    You appointed me ruler over nations;
    people I don’t even know now serve me.
44 As soon as they hear of me, they submit;
    foreign nations cringe before me.
45 They all lose their courage
    and come trembling from their strongholds.

46 The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
    May the God of my salvation be exalted!
47 He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
    he subdues the nations under me
48     and rescues me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
    you save me from violent opponents.
49 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
    I will sing praises to your name.
50 You give great victories to your king;
    you show unfailing love to your anointed,
    to David and all his descendants forever.

It is obvious that David experienced real persecution and fear for his life. Yet still he tried to live according to God’s instruction. He refused to reject God. I am greatly encouraged by David in that he consistently turned to God at his lowest and most difficult times in his life. His faith was greatest when his situation was most urgent.

Many of us face true persecution or other trials and difficulties. We must never turn away from God because of our circumstances lest we perish, but when we trust in Him and serve Him we will not perish even should we lose the earthly battle. God made a way for us to be reconciled with Him through the death of Jesus Christ. When we accept Jesus as Lord and savior, believe He died for us, was buried, and rose again, and repent from our sins asking God to come into our hearts as Lord we find salvation through Christ.

—-

Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

the way with scripture - for posts, medium 2

Submit To God’s Will And He Will Direct Your Path

Genesis 29 continues while Jacob is on his journey escaping from his brother Esau and seeking his uncle Laban to find a wife from his own people, one that does not practice the detestable worship of the Hittites as did the wives of Esau. God revealed himself to Jacob in a dream in Genesis 28 and Jacob committed to following and serving God.

We see that, with God’s help, Jacob had no trouble finding his uncle immediately upon arriving in the land. God clearly appears to be guiding the events to help Jacob. God keeps His promises, and the blessings of God are real and significant.

29 Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east. He saw a well in the distance. Three flocks of sheep and goats lay in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well.

It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well. Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, “Where are you from, my friends?”

“We are from Haran,” they answered.

“Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?” he asked.

“Yes, we do,” they replied.

“Is he doing well?” Jacob asked.

“Yes, he’s well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock now.”

Jacob said, “Look, it’s still broad daylight—too early to round up the animals. Why don’t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?”

“We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,” they replied. “Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.”

Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her father’s flock, for she was a shepherd. 10 And because Rachel was his cousin—the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother—and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncle’s flock. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he wept aloud. 12 He explained to Rachel that he was her cousin on her father’s side—the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban.

13 As soon as Laban heard that his nephew Jacob had arrived, he ran out to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story, 14 Laban exclaimed, “You really are my own flesh and blood!”

Jacob submitted to God in Genesis 28. In fact, he gained an appropriate fear of God, recognizing the authority of our Lord. When we submit to God, He will direct our paths and when we seek to live out our lives according to His will and His plan instead of our own, He will enable us to succeed.

Each of us should consider… “Have I truly submitted all of my life to God? Do I trust Him in the outcome, even if it is not what I want or ask for? What areas am I holding on to, insisting it be according to my will instead of His?”

Another aspect we must consider as Christians is that we should, like Jacob, have an appropriate “fear” of God. He is not just a loving “grandfather” with no opinion of right and wrong in our behaviors. He is a just and holy God… a father… who is going to hold us accountable for the right and wrong that we commit through our thoughts, actions, and inactions. He does so because He loves us and He knows what is best for us. We should let that appropriate fear help to guide us in our submission to Him as we would an earthly father.

—-

Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

the way with scripture - for posts, medium 2

Timeless Wisdom of Solomon

Proverbs 10 is so timeless, so relevant for today that it needs no introduction. Pray that God would allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten and guide you to understanding the message here. Try not to hurry in reading this but pause and reflect after each thought. Ask yourself “How does this apply to me?” and “How does this apply to our nation or the world?”

10 The proverbs of Solomon:

A wise child[a] brings joy to a father;
    a foolish child brings grief to a mother.

Tainted wealth has no lasting value,
    but right living can save your life.

The Lord will not let the godly go hungry,
    but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.

Lazy people are soon poor;
    hard workers get rich.

A wise youth harvests in the summer,
    but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.

The godly are showered with blessings;
    the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.

We have happy memories of the godly,
    but the name of a wicked person rots away.

The wise are glad to be instructed,
    but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.

People with integrity walk safely,
    but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.

10 People who wink at wrong cause trouble,
    but a bold reproof promotes peace.[b]

11 The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain;
    the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.

12 Hatred stirs up quarrels,
    but love makes up for all offenses.

13 Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding,
    but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod.

14 Wise people treasure knowledge,
    but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.

15 The wealth of the rich is their fortress;
    the poverty of the poor is their destruction.

16 The earnings of the godly enhance their lives,
    but evil people squander their money on sin.

17 People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life,
    but those who ignore correction will go astray.

18 Hiding hatred makes you a liar;
    slandering others makes you a fool.

19 Too much talk leads to sin.
    Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

20 The words of the godly are like sterling silver;
    the heart of a fool is worthless.

21 The words of the godly encourage many,
    but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.

22 The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich,
    and he adds no sorrow with it.

23 Doing wrong is fun for a fool,
    but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible.

24 The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled;
    the hopes of the godly will be granted.

25 When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away,
    but the godly have a lasting foundation.

26 Lazy people irritate their employers,
    like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes.

27 Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life,
    but the years of the wicked are cut short.

28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness,
    but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.

29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity,
    but it destroys the wicked.

30 The godly will never be disturbed,
    but the wicked will be removed from the land.

31 The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice,
    but the tongue that deceives will be cut off.

32 The lips of the godly speak helpful words,
    but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.

It is easy to skip through these quickly with a smirk and a recognition that they are true and wise, but fail to apply them personally in your own life. I encourage each of you to read through this more than once and pause on each thought, seeking God’s wisdom to enlighten you on how to apply it to the specific situations in your  personal life and the lives of those around  you.

A few comments regarding verse three that may not be obvious:

The Lord will not let the godly go hungry,
    but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.

Verse three refers to more than food and physical hunger. We know there are righteous people who are physically hungry. Solomon is referring to “craving” or strong desires. The wicked will never have enough to satisfy what is missing, because they refuse to seek God, which is what they need. No amount of physical stuff can fill the emptiness they feel with the absence of  God in their life. Conversely, the godly will be satisfied in their relationship with God even when they do not have enough to eat.

—-

Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

the way with scripture - for posts, medium 2

O Lord, Hear My Plea for Justice. Listen To My Cry For Help.

Psalm 17 contains another faithful  and heartfelt prayer from David to God. David had enemies that were stronger than him, but turned to God and relied on Him for protection. David had many times in his life when he fought his enemies, but he also relied heavily on prayer and on God.

O Lord, hear my plea for justice.
    Listen to my cry for help.
Pay attention to my prayer,
    for it comes from honest lips.
Declare me innocent,
    for you see those who do right.

You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night.
    You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong.
    I am determined not to sin in what I say.
I have followed your commands,
    which keep me from following cruel and evil people.
My steps have stayed on your path;
    I have not wavered from following you.

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
    Bend down and listen as I pray.
Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
    By your mighty power you rescue
    those who seek refuge from their enemies.
Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.[a]
    Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Protect me from wicked people who attack me,
    from murderous enemies who surround me.
10 They are without pity.
    Listen to their boasting!
11 They track me down and surround me,
    watching for the chance to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart—
    like young lions hiding in ambush.

13 Arise, O Lord!
    Stand against them, and bring them to their knees!
    Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!
14 By the power of your hand, O Lord,
    destroy those who look to this world for their reward.
But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones.
    May their children have plenty,
    leaving an inheritance for their descendants.
15 Because I am righteous, I will see you.
    When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.

David’s prayer is as relevant today as it was when he first prayed it. There is much wickedness and evil throughout the world today, as in days long ago. The face of wickedness and evil may change, but the true enemy remains Satan and the failure of people to recognize and submit to the one, true God.

I invite you to pray with me…

God, please stand against the evil around the world and bring them to their knees. Rescue the righteous from the hands of the wicked. Open my eyes, ears, and heart to listen to your guidance for how you want me to make a difference in defeating evil and protecting the righteous. In all things, not my will but your will be done.  Amen.

—-

Please share our devotionals with your friends and family and visit our website at www.HearingFromJesus.org to see more.

the way with scripture - for posts, medium 2

Harsh Judgment Awaits Those Who Reject Christ

Jesus speaks about the judgment of unbelievers in Matthew 11:20-24. He indicates that there are different levels of judgment in hell as He elsewhere in scripture indicates about heaven as well. He refers to the wicked people of Tire and Sidon being “better off” on judgment day than those of other cities like Korazin and Bethsaida where Jesus personally performed many of His miracles.

20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God. 21 “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. 22 I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.

23 “And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.[a] For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. 24 I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you.”

For those to whom He clearly reveals Himself as God, there is a higher punishment when they reject Him. Those of us who are exposed to the gospel in our country or in our churches will have no explanation other than outright rejection of God if we refuse to listen and hear Him. Judgment will be harsh.

Do not let anger or bitterness separate you from God. Do not let suffering in this world separate you from God, but rather let those things draw you closer to Him as you seek comfort and protection.

Each of us will come before God and face judgment. None of us is promised a tomorrow in which to get right with God. We must seize the moment in time that God has given us and seek Him wholeheartedly now, repenting from our sinful and selfish behaviors and choices and following Jesus.

To delay to risk living a pointless and selfish life now and eternity separated from God in hell.

—-

Please share our devotionals with your friends and family and visit our website at www.HearingFromJesus.org to see more.

the way with scripture - for posts, medium 2

No Condemnation For Those Who Belong To Christ Jesus

Many in the world and in the body of Christ focus on God’s love and then use that as an excuse to remain in sin and choose not to repent.

“I was born this way. Since God is love, He would not make me to  be drawn to drunkenness or homosexual behavior or adultery or unrighteous anger or gossip or lying (and so on…)  and then judge me for it.”

This line of reasoning is a rationalization (a.k.a. excuse) to remain in sin. One could use this misguided rationalization to excuse any sin. That is not consistent with God’s call for us to turn from our sin, repent and seek Him wholeheartedly.

We are all born inherently sinful and must ultimately make a choice as to whether we will embrace and accept “our sin” or reject it and work to overcome it through Jesus Christ. Some are drawn more to one sin vs. another, but all sin is offensive to God.

Love is one important aspect of God’s character. His character also includes righteousness, holiness, and justice.  God is holy and righteous and calls us to be the same. There is a necessary judgment for our sin as we fall short of God’s perfect standard. But because God loves us so much, He came in the person of Jesus Christ, lived a perfect life both fully man and fully God, and then died on the cross for our sin.

All we have to do now is accept His grace, His offer of salvation… by accepting Jesus Christ as lord and savior. When we truly do this, our lives change and we become more like Him and less like the world. We turn away from our sin and change our behaviors and thoughts.

[Romans 8:1] So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

[2 Peter 3:8-10] But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

God has given us, as followers of Jesus Christ, the task of reconciling people to Him and sharing the good news of the gospel.

[2 Corinthians 5:18-21] 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,[e] so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

—-

Please share our devotionals with your friends and family. Help us to share the good news of the gospel!

the way with scripture - for posts, medium 2

Trust In The Lord for Protection

Psalm 11 reminds us to trust in the Lord for protection. We can take comfort in knowing that God is in control always.

1 I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! 2 The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. 3 The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” 4 But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. 5 The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. 6 He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. 7For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.

We do not need to hear personally to know that the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked punished. We know this will be true because God’s word says so. It may not happen the way we want it to in this world, but all shall face God’s judgment when they die. Most will find they were not prepared and will suffer for eternity apart from God.

Be not discouraged because of trials and struggles. Instead look to God through Jesus Christ for hope and joy and for protection.

—-

Please share our devotionals with your friends and family. Help us to share the good news of the gospel!

the way with scripture - for posts, medium 2