Victory over our enemies is the reward God has for those who seek him. We have a continual battle each day that does not waiver and does not cease. If we are not warring against our mind, we are against family, or friends, and other humans. It seems that our wars never end. The bible teaches us that we have different types of battles, but that the victory is ours (1Cor15:57). Some of our battles happen away from home; at work, school or church, and our enemy is not carnal (Eph6:12). So, no matter the reasons for us engaging in war and battle our enemy is the same. He; the enemy, does not rest. The bible tells us that he lurks around us like a roaring lion seeking to whom he may devour (1Pt5:8). So, how do you know if you are in a battle? There are several signs that identify’s a spiritual battle is going on, and one of them is a sudden feel of lose or troubles. Also, attacks of physical danger, illness, increase temptation, feeling of overwhelm or fear, and deep confusion are signs of war.
1 Chronicles 15:17 17 But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.
God promises that we have the victory in Christ and that though we will have troubles in this life we are more then conqueror’s (Ro8:37, Jh16:33). Now, King Asa had just come victorious from battle and was feeling pretty good. But, the battle that he was coming to was going to be more difficult, so God sent him a prophet to encourage him. This battle that he was going to engage in was not like the one he had just finished winning with flesh and blood, it was a spiritual battle in taking down idols at home. His family and friends got involved with idolatry and lifted high places. The people of God knew how God felt about idols because of the 10 commandments; the 2nd commandment in Exodus 20:4, and yet they continued to set them up. King Asa made the decision to bring the idols down at home and went throughout Israel destroying them and he even took down his mother’s idol and removed her from her position as queen. Yet, a high place remained; to which King Asa neglected to bring down, and it is a reminder that high places may still exist in our lives that we may not be ready to bring down. The symbolic significance of high places are those things that the highest place in priority in us; our children, job, relationship, homes and ourselves.
Sleeping is a natural state of the mind that is altered by the conscience. After a long day of activities the body is in need of rest, and sleep is that whine down state. But, too much sleep can be hazardous to ones health the National Sleep Foundation states that more than 9 hours of sleep can lead to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that leads to too much sleep, Parkinson’s, anxiety, infections and gastrointestinal disorders. Quality sleep is good for a person, because the bible states that God gives rest to his beloveds (ps127:2). In fact, the bible teaches us that we can rest assured, because God sustains us (ps3:5-6). For some falling asleep is difficult and in order for them to alter their conscience they may need to trick their mind in order to fall asleep. For example, they might need to drink a sleepy time tea or play a soft music in order to fall asleep. Sleep is associated with idleness, because movement of the muscles and being active deters it. In the context of the family of God we cannot be idle or asleep (2tes3:7), and we learn this from our active people in church.
“To the angel[a] of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b] of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
This letter that was sent to the angel of the church in Sardis was written to the pastor of the church. This church was known for its activities and programs and what seemed God seeking people. It was the first church in Asia and the biggest for the Sardian people. The church was dying without being conscience of it. During this inclination to death of this church, there were those that had maintained their livelihood. And, so the Lord Jesus admonishes them to wake up! and strengthen that which remains. Within the process before one dies the alter of ones conscience becomes evident. Luke mentions a young man who while he was in a room well lit with candles fell into a deep sleep and fell through a window after Paul was teaching for hours (Acts20:8-10). The young man died, but Paul brought him back to life. One of the evidence found in one who is falling into a sleep mode in a church is their unfinished deeds, and maybe this young man who fell through the window was board and had stopped working for Christ. Just having faith is not enough, that is unfinished deeds, there needs to be other steps that one must take in order to finish what he started. Paul tells the church that we need to finish what we have started in Christ (2Cor8:11). The Lord Jesus tells this church at Sardis that unless they wake up he would come to them like a thief; that is take what they had away from the. So, the little knowledge or experiences you have with God have to increase, else they will die.
The dead cannot praise him. Praising God is unique with every individual. No one can copy your worship style, it is a trait that is uniquely embedded into ones DNA. We were created to give him praise (Is43:7). We are his most precious creation. Genesis says that God was please after he created man and all creation (ge1:31). Each time God looks down from heaven and sees man; you, it uplifts him and turns him from his wrath. In fact, when God was about to obliterate man in the times of Noah, the bible records God looked and saw one man Noah which changed his mind from what he was about to do (ge6:7-8). Whether we open our mouths to worship God or in silence pray, he is magnified and is fanned with glory. But, if one was dead that is the end of fanning glory to the everlasting King.
For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today;
parents tell their children about your faithfulness. 20 The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord.
Hezekiah was a young king, but was terminally ill and was sentenced to die. God had sent Isaiah to inform Hezekiah of his departure and that he was to put in order his house. And, the bible states that once Hezekiah heard the news from the prophet he turned to the wall where he was laying and bitterly wept. Hezekiah understood this concept that God is in need of worshipers as mentioned by Jesus when he spoke to the Samaritan women (Jh4:23), when he said that the Father is in need of worshipers to worship him in spirit and in truth. If Hezekiah died he felt that God was going to miss out on his worship. David shared this idea of the importance of praise from the living, he said ” What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?”(ps30:9). Nothing should hold you of from praising God, and in fact Peter tells us that we need to show of his praise, because we are a holy nations (1Pt2:9). Your peculiar form of worship brings a smile to God’s face, don’t stop!
We all find ourselves fighting battles that arise unexpectedly or expected. Whether, it is a family ordeal, a work problem or spiritual battles come and some we lose and some we lose. But, because most of the times battles catch us unexpected, we put up the dukes and fight without planning or thinking. Without thinking that the battles are the Lords, we engage or run, kind of like in the story of David and Goliath, where we find the king helplessly trying to find a man who will beat the giant, but David knew that the battle was the Lord’s (1Sam17:45). Seeking the Lord in times of battle is how we fight our battles. God has a reputation of being a might warrior whom has never lost a battle, and when the battles are to big for us we turn our trust to him and he will fight. Just like in the times of king Hezekiah when the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem (Is37:5-7) God assured him that he would take care of it. Our battles are not too big for the Lord. He goes before us treading down our enemies and preparing victorious moments for us, and many times we do not even recognize that it was him. God tells through Moses the people that he will fight for them (ex14:14).
Joshua 24: 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow.
Joshua begins reminding the people of Israel all the victories that God had in advance done for them such as calling Abraham and giving him countless seeds and lands, delivering the people out of Egypt and out of bondage. God had turned the curses from Balaam into blessings for the people of Israel and delivered them from the hand of destruction. Without, the people asking or thinking about it God went ahead of them making a way for them and bringing their enemies down for them. So, Joshua brings all to a stop and encourages the people to throw away all their idols reminding them all that God had done in advance; because he is faithful, and questioning them who will they serve (Josh24:14-16). The idea that God goes before us taking out our enemies and preparing our victories is amazing. Isaiah tells us that God will go and make the crooked straight that he will break the bronze gates for us (Is45:2).
By God’s grace we are provided everything that we need to survive. God has commanded that everything that lives submit themselves to our survival. So, if one needs a job God provides. If one needs a car, He provides. It does not matter ones need or walk of faith God provides. God’s name of provider is YAHWAH YIREH. In fact, Jesus said that God provides for the plants and animals (Mt6:28-29, ps104:14). One of the favorite verses that speak about God’s providence is Philippians 4:19 ” And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus “. Solomon understood that God’s providence is for sure but it can whither away (Prv30:8-9). Through God’s daily providence we find no reason or excuse not to thank him and recognize that he is real. It is one of the ways everyone we find our way to God, by his providence.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
But, what if there is more? What if God’s there is a greater providence then our daily bread? There is it is the supernatural aspect of his providence. So, God’s providence has two aspects the one is our daily bread and the other is his supernatural providence. Take for instance in Matthew 17:27 Peter tells Jesus that the tax collectors were requesting taxes from Jesus, so Jesus sends him to the lake and fish, and from the first fish he caught he was to pay. In that urgent moment where if Jesus did not pay the tribute those who were against him would have stumbled, God’s supernatural providence came through for Jesus. God comes through in a strange way; not in the common way we normally see him, that requires urgency or it has purpose. Such a way as in the Old Testament where this prophet who borrowed an ax to cut a tree and it fell of its handle and into the water. Elisha in 2 Kings 6:4-6 caused the ax to float in the water returning it to the prophet. The disciples were sent to preach and because of that they were going to be provided supernaturally to their needs. When we take heed to God’s call he promises to take care of all our needs in a supernatural way (Mt6:33).
What do we normally do when our world is turned upside down? Who do we question, God? In fact, the majority of us at some point or another during the tribulation we direct or indirect question God as to why those tumultuous moments. No one wants hard times, and if we had the chance; of which some do we get to run even though we would still not be able to escape. Luke tells us in Hebrews 12:8 that if we do not undergo hard times or discipline we cannot be his children; God’s children. We should not be too surprised when hard times come, I mean who isn’t, after all we are not all that different (1Pt4:12). When God wants to shake us up and call unto our attention he does so in many ways especially with tribulations and trials. Paul tells us that we should rejoice in trials, because they produce patience (Rom5:3-4). Hard moments come no matter what, and we cannot escape, but it is preferably that we stand.
Acts 8:1 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
Back in the times of the early church since a great growth out broke, many of the members we getting content and were not out reaching to neighboring communities. So, God allowed a critical persecution to erupt to the point that we noticed the death of Stephen and the rise of Paul the persecutor. The members of the church could not stand the persecution and so they fled preaching the gospel everywhere they went; except for the apostles. And, so I questioned why did the apostles not leave the city, were not they too persecuted? The apostles learned first hand not to run when they were persecuted for the cause of Christ. They saw when Jesus stood up face to face after healing a man who was invalid and laid near a pool to the religious and conquered (Jh5:16-18). The disciples also saw when the religious people confronted Jesus about he claiming that he was the bread of life and that they needed to eat it if they wanted to enter to the kingdom of God (Jh6:41-44). Jesus set an example of still standing after the persecution when he mentioned John the Baptist as a reed in the desert (Mat11:7-9). The promise that tribulation or hard times is secure (Jh16:33), but if we stand they will pass.
The art of making feel people guilty has been used since the beginning of time. Throughout history we have read and heard of stories of people made to do things using this art of guilt. Guilt is the feeling of wrong doing that a person realizes after it is done. It is an innate feeling placed there by God when we are being packed into an embryo. In the spiritual battles we face, Satan uses the false guilt, which is the feeling of wrong doing even after we have repented and have been forgiven, to continue to make us feel unworthy. But, the bible tells us that our sins though they are red as scarlet they will be made white as snow(Is1:18). It tells us that God takes our sins and casts them to the deep of the sea (Mic7:19). The feeling of guilt is ever present in us, but it is up to us to listen to it. We can become callous to it, which is what is happening in today’s day and age.
12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
Now, God knows that this mechanism of guilt is in us and that we have become masterful in tuning it out, so he set some ordinances for sacrifices towards it. But, before anyone could offer sacrifices they had to ad heed to their conscience’s guilt(Lev4;27-28). Sometimes we sin or make mistakes unconsciously and we offend, and it is not until we recognize and accept that we have done wrong that the blessing will return. These people whom Jesus spoke about intentionally covered their ears and closed their eyes against their guilt. The purpose of guilt is to draw us unto God for healing and that of the conscience (He10:22). Once the conscience is healed then the rest the of the body receives healing.
As Christians we cannot live without each other. Surrounding ourselves with people of faith is vital to the survival of our faith. In order to maintain a healthy relationship with God we need to have a growing relationship with those of the faith. The bible teaches us that we are members of the same family and that of God (Eph2:19). The relationship we are to carry out with those of the same faith needs to be the same as with our biological family. Jesus displayed this same type of relationship with his brothers when his brothers and mother were inquiring of him as in Matthew 12:46-50 and he told the listeners that those who do the will of the Father are his siblings and parent. Being part of the family of God is highly regarded by God. In fact, the psalmist says that God sets the lonely in family and that of great families (ps68:6, 107:41).
Luke22:7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
The time of Jesus’ ministry was coming to an end and he was going to go the way the scriptures had prophesied. Isaiah said that he (Jesus) would not have any form and that he was going to be reject and despised filled with sorrows; and it pleased the Lord to bruise him (Is53:5 &10). The last supper initiated the hardest thing Christ was going to go through to save man kind. Jesus sent two of his disciples to prepare the place for the supper. The owner of the building was some how forewarned that his facility was going to serve a purpose for the Messiah and so the time was now. Jesus was going to leave his disciples physically forever, but still was going to be with them. So, he told his two disciples to follow the man with the jar of water, and go where he would go; to the upper room. That jar of water was for the washing of the disciples feet it was an act of Christ that the disciples needed to practice in remembrance of him (Jhn13:14). Jesus was going leave his disciples, but he was going to leave to actions to which going to freshen their memories of the Lord. The washing of the feet is a symbol that reminds us Christ in you (1Cor1:21-22). Each time the disciples would wash each others feet they would see Christ in them.
Gods’ people should not get into the habit of worrying about their own things. There are so many promises that God will provide for us and he will supply to our needs. There are about 2000 verses that speak about money in the bible and most of them speak about God providing for us. For example, The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children (Ps 115:14), and “The lions may grow weak and hungry but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Ps 34:10). And, my favorite “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Ph 4:19). So, as believers in Christ we should not be worrying about our providence in fact Jesus said that we should not take no thoughts about what we should wear, eat and everything else, because our Father in heaven knows our needs (Mt6:24-26). We don’t preach the gospel of prosperity because they focus on putting emphasis on gains, but we focus on God’s providence and not worrying about it.
Jeremiah 33 :1Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
2 Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name;
3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
So, when God tells Jeremiah to call upon him and that he would show him great and mighty things, it was towards his people and not just towards his circumstance. The promise of restoration was for God’s people, but Jeremiah was to pray for it. The people were in devastation and defeat, there cities were burned, the families were separated and taken into captivity. God had a plan to restore them and the time was at hand, but Jeremiah needed to take some action. The voice of Joy and gladness was going to be heard again (Jer33:11) in the city. There was also going to heard a little praising God. The land was going to once again be covered with fresh pasture where Pastors were going to able to bring their cattle and feed them, kind of like the church(v12). The call to prayer in these rough days is raised again, God’s people need to pray more earnestly than ever (Zac8:20-22).
One of the components of the human being is the soul and such is probably the most important and hardest to take care of. That’s right to take care of the soul is the hardest to look out for, because since we cannot see it we neglect to even think about it. One would think to take care of your life because it is the only one you have and yes we need to take care of it, but life is something that goes back to God and so it will not suffer perdition (Ecc12:7). And, your body, well that needs to be taken care of otherwise it will deteriorate and go back to dust, but whether you take care of your body or not it will go back to dust because it is corruptible; and Paul tells us that it must be redressed with incorruptible (1Cor15:53-54). The bible tells us that the one thing we need to guard is our soul, because from it the issues of life come out (prv4:23).
27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
So, why guard your soul? After all, it is where all your emotions and feelings are stored, and we can always go and see some sort of therapist to put us back on track. At the soul level is where all the learning takes place, so when Solomon tells us that we need to vehemently guard our hearts (soul) it is because those learnings will become an integral part of our lives(prv2:10). The soul is the storage place where all the memories, sounds and life events are stored. And, Jesus said that those things that he speaks to us in the dark; referring to the soul, we should speak proclaim them from roof tops. His words speak to our soul and they register there(Jhn6:63). But, when we do not listen for the souls edification the words slip away and Satan will remove them (Mt13:19). Now, Jesus said that we should not fear man, because they cannot kill the soul, and that the only one that can kill the soul is God. James tells us that it is through the word of God that we can become saved (Jms1:21) and that if we can through the same help convert a sinner their soul can be saved as well (Jm5:20). The fact is that soul can be put to suffer want (prv19:15), and it can also be healed. The soul can be spoiled by others (ps35:12:13) with the ways they treat and react towards us. God’s sole interest is in saving a soul and not so much into your life because it is his and your body because it is going back to dust.