Category Archives: Faith / Trusting God

Those Who Seek the LORD Understand All Things

Those who seek the Lord understand all things. Take time to read, consider and pray about each verse in today’s chapter of Proverbs. No matter how far I am in my walk with the Lord and how many times I read, I always find something, or many things that apply in my life and can serve as a guide to light my way… if I am humble enough to admit I need guidance and that Jehovah provides it and if I am willing to study and apply it in my life.

Proverbs 28

Warnings and Instructions

1The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.

2By the transgression of a land many are its princes,
But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.

3A poor man who oppresses the lowly
Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.

4Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But those who keep the law strive with them.

5Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the LORD understand all things.

6Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than he who is crooked though he be rich.

7He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.

8He who increases his wealth by interest and usury
Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor.

9He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.

10He who leads the upright astray in an evil way
Will himself fall into his own pit,
But the blameless will inherit good.

11The rich man is wise in his own eyes,
But the poor who has understanding sees through him.

12When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves.

13He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

14How blessed is the man who fears always,
But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

15Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear
Is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

16A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding,
But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.

17A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood
Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him.

18He who walks blamelessly will be delivered,
But he who is crooked will fall all at once.

19He who tills his land will have plenty of food,
But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.

20A faithful man will abound with blessings,
But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.

21To show partiality is not good,
Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.

22A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth
And does not know that want will come upon him.

23He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
Than he who flatters with the tongue.

24He who robs his father or his mother
And says, “It is not a transgression,”
Is the companion of a man who destroys.

25An arrogant man stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.

26He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.

27He who gives to the poor will never want,
But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

28When the wicked rise, men hide themselves;
But when they perish, the righteous increase.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Spiritual Warfare – The Battle Is Real

The most basic rule of warfare is perhaps that if you don’t realize or accept there is an enemy moving against you, you will most probably lose. If you don’t fight back with an effective strategy, you will lose even if you take on the enemy. If you don’t properly identify your enemy, you will develop the wrong strategy.

In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul provides us important guidance about the reality of spiritual warfare. Too often Christians dismiss spiritual warfare and focus only on the things we can see and touch. This leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. If we do not recognize the true enemy, we will struggle to win against him.

Ephesians 6:10-18

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Some key points upon which to reflect:

  • Our strength comes from the Lord, not ourselves
  • The devil is real and he has strategies he uses to lie, cheat and destroy. He will use more than one strategy against us.
  • Warfare does not always take place in physical world, sometimes it is in the spiritual world. Consider the book of Job.
  • Just putting on one or two pieces of the armor of God is not enough, we need to put on all of them.
  • Prayer and a relationship with Jesus is necessary! Jesus tells us to pray daily and to pray specifically to not let us yield to temptation, and to be rescued from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13
  • We are to stay alert and pray for others in addition to ourselves. Pray for those preach the gospel that they would preach boldly!

Let’s explore what it really means to put on the full armor of God.

Truth can simply be defined as the real facts about something. Surprisingly the world today proposes that truth is relative when it comes to God or how we live… “True for you but not for me”, etc. This is no more accurate than saying “If I do not believe in gravity, I will not fall off a ladder.” Gravity is true whether or not I believe in or accept it. God lovingly and in great detail shares truth in the Bible and reveals it in the world around us. There is absolute truth.

Righteousness is characterized by living consistently with God’s standards of morality, justice, virtue, etc. As God’s standard is Himself, it is a lofty bar. We will never achieve it to perfection but He is the standard and reference point none the less. We should keep our eyes on Jesus and seek help from the Holy Spirit to keep changing to be more like Him.

The peace that comes from knowing the good news is not a promise that we will avoid conflicts and trials, but rather an affirmation that when we have relationship with Jesus Christ we know He is with us in this life and that we have eternal life on the other side of this world. We can have peace through the mightiest storms.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1. In this context Paul reminds us that we must trust in God even when we are under attack by Satan. Just because we can not recognize how God is working in the situation does not mean that He is not there. We can be confident He is with us.

Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequence, which is death. It is not enough to know or acknowledge Jesus Christ. Even Satan and his demons do that. By asking and accepting Jesus into our lives and repenting from our sinful ways we receive salvation through grace.

The sword of the spirit, or word of God, is what Jesus Himself used to defeat Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11. We must know the word of God before the attack comes just as a soldier must train and be prepared before he goes to battle.

To be effective we must understand and use all of this equipment daily. It ceases to become “something we do” and becomes “how we do everything” in our lives.

Remember to heed Paul’s warning and guidance for prayer. The battle is not ours alone, but the Lord’s!

18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The River and the Tree of Life

The scene documented in Revelation 22 is wonderful. A crystal clear stream coming from YHWH and Yeshua waters the tree of life. There is no more curse, I presume associated with sin and disobedience, because there is no more sin and disobedience. YHWH is so bright, there is no longer a need for the sun and there is no more night. Whether that is literal or metaphorical, it speaks volumes. The LORD once again rules and lives among His people. What a scene to look forward to.

We also see another reminder, several in Revelation, that we are not to worship angels, but only YHWH Himself.

Revelation 22:10-10

The River and the Tree of Life

      1Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

      6And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.

      7“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

      8I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Seek the LORD When Facing Battles

Seek the LORD in regards to battles you face. Whether literal or figurative, battles we face can be very disruptive and intimidating. We should remember to seek the LORD on “if” and “how” we fight.

2 Samuel 5:17-25

War with the Philistines

      17When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to the stronghold. 18Now the Philistines came and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim. 19Then David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 20So David came to Baal-perazim and defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters.” Therefore he named that place Baal-perazim. 21They abandoned their idols there, so David and his men carried them away.

      22Now the Philistines came up once again and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim. 23When David inquired of the LORD, He said, “You shall not go directly up; circle around behind them and come at them in front of the balsam trees. 24“It shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then you shall act promptly, for then the LORD will have gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines.” 25Then David did so, just as the LORD had commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

By Our Deeds We Distinguish Ourselves, Whether Righteous or Wicked

It is easy to claim that we serve and obey YHWH or Yeshua, but it is by our deeds rather than our words that we demonstrate to others whether we are wicked or righteous. To claim we follow Yeshua means little if our actions do not reflect obedience to His instructions. As you read through Proverbs 20, I invite you to identify at least one or two verses to walk away with that are particularly meaningful for you to apply and learn from in your life today. Pray humbly for the Holy Spirit to reveal to you which ones are most important for you to take action on to change your behavior and / or attitude and in what specific situations.

Proverbs 20

On Life and Conduct

1Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.

2The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life.

3Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man,
But any fool will quarrel.

4The sluggard does not plow after the autumn,
So he begs during the harvest and has nothing.

5A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water,
But a man of understanding draws it out.

6Many a man proclaims his own loyalty,
But who can find a trustworthy man?

7A righteous man who walks in his integrity—
How blessed are his sons after him.

8A king who sits on the throne of justice
Disperses all evil with his eyes.

9Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart,
I am pure from my sin”?

10Differing weights and differing measures,
Both of them are abominable to the LORD.

11It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself
If his conduct is pure and right.

12The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
The LORD has made both of them.

13Do not love sleep, or you will become poor;
Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.

14“Bad, bad,” says the buyer,
But when he goes his way, then he boasts.

15There is gold, and an abundance of jewels;
But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.

16Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger;
And for foreigners, hold him in pledge.

17Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man,
But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.

18Prepare plans by consultation,
And make war by wise guidance.

19He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip.

20He who curses his father or his mother,
His lamp will go out in time of darkness.

21An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning
Will not be blessed in the end.

22Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.

23Differing weights are an abomination to the LORD,
And a false scale is not good.

24Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD,
How then can man understand his way?

25It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!”
And after the vows to make inquiry.

26A wise king winnows the wicked,
And drives the threshing wheel over them.

27The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD,
Searching all the innermost parts of his being.

28Loyalty and truth preserve the king,
And he upholds his throne by righteousness.

29The glory of young men is their strength,
And the honor of old men is their gray hair.

30Stripes that wound scour away evil,
And strokes reach the innermost parts.

Each verse reveals deep truth. Be careful and patient as you read so as not to read so quickly that you miss considering how you should apply it in your life. We do well to come back to Proverbs often and read through the whole book over and over, perhaps one chapter every day. It is a wealth of wisdom for how we should relate to one another and how we should approach our own lives.

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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.

Yeshua Will Return and He Will Defeat the Wicked

Yeshua came as a suffering servant and was sacrificed for our sins. When he next returns He will come as a conquering king. Do not think of Him only as a meek and mild, but also infinitely strong and coming to make war with the wicked. Spoiler alert, we know how it ends. He wins and so do those who are with Him. We should live with this knowledge in our heads on a daily basis. Whatever the world looks like now, in the end we win. Live like that today. Be bold and confident in our faith. Do not compromise with wickedness.

Revelation 19:11-21

The Coming of Christ

      11And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

      17Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”

      19And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

Doom of the Beast and False Prophet

      20And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

 

YHWH Does Not Promise Everything Will Be Easy

David knew he was to be king. YHWH had anointed him through Samuel. Saul finally died and David knew he would. So now, it should be all easy, right? Nope. Imagine the potential disappointment David may have felt when Israel raised up another king against him and he was only made king of Judah. There would have been potential for him to complain to YHWH or get frustrated or downhearted. He seemed to simply take each step as it came.

For us also, not everything will go as smoothly or as quickly as we like, even when YHWH is directing the outcome! Just because it is hard does not mean it is not what YHWH is calling us to do. He does not promise to make everything easy.

2 Samuel 2

David Made King over Judah

      1Then it came about afterwards that David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” And the LORD said to him, “Go up.” So David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.” 2So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. 3And David brought up his men who were with him, each with his household; and they lived in the cities of Hebron. 4Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah.
And they told David, saying, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.” 5David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, “May you be blessed of the LORD because you have shown this kindness to Saul your lord, and have buried him. 6“Now may the LORD show lovingkindness and truth to you; and I also will show this goodness to you, because you have done this thing. 7“Now therefore, let your hands be strong and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

Ish-bosheth Made King over Israel

      8But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9He made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, even over all Israel. 10Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he was king for two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. 11The time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

Civil War

      12Now Abner the son of Ner, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon with the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul. 13And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, one on the one side of the pool and the other on the other side of the pool. 14Then Abner said to Joab, “Now let the young men arise and hold a contest before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” 15So they arose and went over by count, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16Each one of them seized his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon. 17That day the battle was very severe, and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.

      18Now the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab and Abishai and Asahel; and Asahel was as swift-footed as one of the gazelles which is in the field. 19Asahel pursued Abner and did not turn to the right or to the left from following Abner. 20Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is that you, Asahel?” And he answered, “It is I.” 21So Abner said to him, “Turn to your right or to your left, and take hold of one of the young men for yourself, and take for yourself his spoil.” But Asahel was not willing to turn aside from following him. 22Abner repeated again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?” 23However, he refused to turn aside; therefore Abner struck him in the belly with the butt end of the spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died on the spot. And it came about that all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still.

      24But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and when the sun was going down, they came to the hill of Ammah, which is in front of Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25The sons of Benjamin gathered together behind Abner and became one band, and they stood on the top of a certain hill. 26Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the end? How long will you refrain from telling the people to turn back from following their brothers?” 27Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely then the people would have gone away in the morning, each from following his brother.” 28So Joab blew the trumpet; and all the people halted and pursued Israel no longer, nor did they continue to fight anymore. 29Abner and his men then went through the Arabah all that night; so they crossed the Jordan, walked all morning, and came to Mahanaim.

      30Then Joab returned from following Abner; when he had gathered all the people together, nineteen of David’s servants besides Asahel were missing. 31But the servants of David had struck down many of Benjamin and Abner’s men, so that three hundred and sixty men died. 32And they took up Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb which was in Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men went all night until the day dawned at Hebron.

The LORD’s Judgment Is Final; What He Says Will Happen

When YHWH tells you something He will make come to pass, you can trust Him. It may take longer than you like or take so long you start to doubt, but look to the example of David and wait patiently and faithfully on the LORD. He was anointed king and then resisted multiple opportunities to kill Saul, when he could do so claiming self defense! He waited for the LORD to deal with Saul because he was the LORD’s anointed. The LORD delivers in His own timing.

Let us also pause and reflect at this point that Saul’s downfall was driven by his disobedience to the LORD.  In 1 Samuel 31, we see Saul finally face his full judgment from the LORD.

Reflecting on both David and Saul while reading this passage creates a real contrast. There is one who was faithful through adversity and now has promise fulfilled to become king. The other was king and disobeyed and now the judgment is fulfilled to remove him and his sons.

1 Samuel 31

Saul and His Sons Slain

     1Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua the sons of Saul. 3The battle went heavily against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him. 6Thus Saul died with his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men on that day together.

      7When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, with those who were beyond the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled; then the Philistines came and lived in them.

      8It came about on the next day when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9They cut off his head and stripped off his weapons, and sent them throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10They put his weapons in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12all the valiant men rose and walked all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13They took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.