“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving...” Psalm 26:7
Vol. 18, No. 6 June 2009
The opposite of despair is “hope.” We must not let despair take hold today or it will wipe us out. Hope is what the Spirit of God gives to His people. Hope is what keeps us going even when we have run out of ideas and direction. We must never, never, never despair of God’s blessings here, or we forfeit all hope and expectation.
I am one of those people who fight against despair. I don’t think I fight against depression or despondency, but when it comes to despair, sometimes it is overwhelming. Without the Word of Truth there isn’t much that any of us can do, so I am constantly asking and looking for a word of encouragement to feed me with “hope.” Jesus Christ is our hope. We don’t find it any place else. We don’t hope in things or people, but in Jesus Christ. He doesn’t just give us “hope,” but He gives us Himself. Jesus is our HOPE. When we have Him filling our being, we can let go of despair or anything else that drags us down to Satan’s level, and we are lifted up to a realm of victory.
Yes, all of this is by faith believing. But you see faith gives us an expected end so we don’t have to keep going through the same vicious attack time and time again.
Psa 33:18-22 (KJV) “Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; (19) To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. (20) Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he [is] our help and our shield. (21) For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. (22) Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.”
Defeat of the Righteous
2Pe 2:6-8 (KJV) “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; (7) And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (8) (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed [his] righteous soul from day to day with [their] unlawful deeds;”
This is the story of righteous man who was defeated. You see, there are the righteous who overcome and there are the righteous who are defeated. This is a warning to us who are righteous.
Lot was a man whose righteous heart was vexed daily from the society in which he lived. All that he saw and heard brought defeat into his life.
Abram had left his home land and gone into the land of Canaan. His father and nephew
Lot went with him. Abram left Ur of the Chaldees because the city was immoral and condemned by God. So Lot knew what he was doing.
The house of Terah was one of idol-making according to Joshua 24:2-3. Abram told his family that God had spoken to him to move and begin living a separate, godly life from everyone else. Lot never heard this call from God; he merely followed his uncle Abram because he thought it was the right thing to do. And God called him righteous.
From Genesis 13:5-6 it seemed as if affliction was tolerable until God began to bless these families. You see, prosperity changes the way we see life. God had blessed them so much that they couldn’t live together any longer in harmony.
Verse 7 says there was much strife. The problem seemed to be with Lot because he would not deal with the workers. Lot had not learned that righteous living was more honorable than unrighteous living. Everything that Lot possessed came from Uncle Abe, but Lot didn’t care. Abram realized he could not live with the strife, so he suggested a separation. Remember, Abram was the only household that was godly; yet Lot didn’t see it that way. He would rather forfeit the fellowship with his godly uncle than forfeit his own success. He cared more about his material existence than his spiritual protection. His concern for possessions exceeded his fear of God.
If we keep reading, we see that wealth and power were more important to Lot than living a consecrated life away from worldliness.
Today the Lord has laid before us two ways: the world and the promises of God.
Lot choose the world because it had blessings, glory and pleasure that could not be experienced in the now by serving the Lord God. After a person has served the Lord for any length of time, the world begins to look pretty good again. One who has lived in self-denial sees the opportunities the world offers as quite enticing and begins to feel as if it is acceptable to compromise righteousness. Scripture tells us that Sodom & Gomorrah looked just like the garden of Eden, or the land of Egypt where there were limited pleasures. How many today in the church can’t tell the difference between the garden of the Lord and the world? What have we done since righteousness was first accounted to us? Has our conscious become that calloused? Have we forgotten Egypt is a land of oppression and harshness while the Garden of Eden is the joy of the Lord’s Presence?
Have you chosen the world with its pleasures? God never forces you to go His way. He waits for you to make the choice. Will you, like Abram, choose Canaan; or will you, with Lot, choose the world with it pleasures?
“And Lot journeyed east.” This tells us that Lot moved toward Sodom – not in it, but on the outskirts of it. Remember, he was righteous. God knows no one commits sin and falls in a single day. We get closer to sin a little at a time. Lot probably justified himself by saying there would be water for his herds closer to town. Lot was tired of the sacrifices and the hardships of country living. Even though he was prospering, he wanted more relaxation, more entertainment and more ease of living with all Sodom’s modern accommodations.
If you as a believer love the pleasure of sins in the world, then eventually you will be right in the middle of it. :If If your heart and eyes are already inclined toward the things of the world, it may be only a matter of time before you succumb to temptation.
Are we like Abram dwelling where God has told us to, or like Lot, making our own choices because of the comforts of life?
At first Lot probably thought his being a righteous man would save him because he was not actually living in the world. Isn’t this the way we reason with ourselves about compromising our stand for righteousness. If so, we are mediocre, lukewarm Christians – we are not a part of the world, but we are not a part of the Kingdom either. The reality is that lukewarm Christians are so close to the world that they cannot be picked out of the world because there is no difference between their walk and the world’s.
Is it not so that we as believers are supposed to be different from the world, yet do we know those who of the Kingdom of God? If you think you are not yet a part of Sodom because you have not apostatized, let me remind you of Lot. Taking that first step toward Sodom led him to end up in Sodom, all because he chose the pleasures of the world with its wealth and comforts. A person too close to the world cannot help becoming defiled.
IF YOU HAVE BEGUN TO PUT SOME DISTANCE BETWEEN YOURSELF AND OTHER CHRISTIANS, CARING MORE ABOUT YOUR POSSESSIONS, THEN YOU ARE FAST APPROACHING YOUR SODOM. The pleasures of the world must be resisted.
Did Lot know about the conditions in Sodom? Yes, he had the knowledge of the Sodomites.
When war broke out among kings, it appeared Sodom and Gomorrah lost; but Lot lost too. By now Lot was living in Sodom, so he met impending danger head-on because he gave in to the pull of the world.
We must recognize that a person whose conscience has been violated over and over gradually gives in to the world’s pleasures. God is not dealing with our one-time sins; He is dealing with the sins in our lives that keep happening over and over and over. When a craving infects our inner man, each time we give over to that sin, the craving for it increases.
God had not failed to give Lot ample warning concerning the future. After this hostage siege Abram came to the rescue. God will do all He can to warn you to repent and to return to Him, even as He did Lot. By this time, however, Lot had become so defiled that righteousness no longer mattered. God has been calling us to repentance, to discipleship, to holiness. God’s love is overwhelmingly sufficient to warn us – He will even chastise us and scourge us to get us to listen. He will never let you go willingly. Unfortunately, Lot didn’t care – he went right back to Sodom after his rescue.
By Genesis 19:1 Lot had been elevated to being a judge of Sodom. He not only had the prosperity, the power, but now he had the position. This is the way of sin. It promotes us until we are consumed by it. Yet God still makes a way of escape, though not without tremendous cost.
This time, angels of God came to Lot’s rescue. He had no testimony left. His sons-in-law wouldn’t listen. His wife left reluctantly. [I am so blessed to have a son who lives the life of righteousness. I don’t feel like I am anybody, but even when my son disagrees with me he still follows, not blindly, but in righteousness.]
We have too many half-hearted Christians today clinging to both sides, while trying to help the world and its people while they themselves have no testimony, no power, and no authority to persuade anyone to come out from among them and separate from the world because they themselves won’t do it.
Why did God ultimately decide to save Lot? Because of the prayers of his uncle who implored God. Lot was saved as by fire, but he lost everything. Lot lingered! This was the revelation of his heart. Perhaps Lot was saying, “I finally have everything I ever wanted, not I can sit back and enjoy the life of leisure. I can eat, drink and be merry; doI really want to give all this up?”
God was merciful to Lot by sending an angel to lay hold of him, so Lot escaped with his life. Today, we have so much; we don’t think we can give another dollar to the work of the kingdom. We can’t give another hour for the sake of others. We can’t worship the Lord and pray because we have to keep building up our lives for the future. Yet impending danger is before us. If all your hope is being built upon this world, then let the world save you. But if you are building your life in Jesus Christ, no matter what it costs you, then you will be saved with great glory
Luke 17:32 “Remember Lot’s wife.” She craved the life she had developed. There was no real righteousness in her. The gaze of her eyes revealed where her heart truly was. How many of us are betrayed by our inward feelings? Do you keep looking for something better? All who love the world will stand as pillars of salt just like Lot’s wife became.
We spend so much time and effort and finances to give our children all they want. But we should be giving them what they need. And they need Jesus Christ developed within their inward man, separated from worldliness and godlessness. The road is long and hard; but if we pay attention today to the things that have eternal value, we will finish our course with joy and receive a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ with grace and glory.
. . . My calling as a pastor
Pastor’s Journal 2008
Jun. 6: “A sound that can be heard in the spirit realm. A clash that awakens My people. It is My voice declaring deliverance and victory from those who have sought Me out and have waited for My Glory. Yes, I will come to you in a glorious way that surpasses your understanding and comprehension. Listen and you will hear Me.”
Jun. 7: “Transition from the old to the new takes time. It is uncomfortable to the flesh but the outcome is greater strength and wisdom and life abundant. Keep yourself in Me at all times. I am in control and know what you have need of. My hand of blessing is upon you.”
Jun. 9: “In the day of delusion and great deception I will continue to bless those who walk upright before Me. I will honor those who honor Me. I will keep them from all harm if they will not turn from My ways and My direction. Here is salvation for those who come before Me in repentance and brokenness, calling out to Me in time of need.”
Jun. 14: I believe You are saying we are not to concern ourselves with who is president. The corruption will continue to grow worse and more evil. We are to know and look to You alone for our help and support if we are to overcome the evil and find our rest, assurance and peace at this time. Let nothing move us, O Lord, but Your Holy Spirit.
Jun. 16: “I can do more than you ask or can think. Do not believe I will allow My work to go undone or be left to its own direction. I can use anyone to meet the need. Remember, what I start I finish; and I provide everything that is needed in the midst of the work.” “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.” (Lam. 3:21)
Jun. 19: For the Word of God is powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing asunder the soul and spirit. It softens the soul and develops the spirit so that the soul will submit to God’s authority, allowing the spiritual man to mature and rule in the image of Christ.
Jun. 24: “I am still preparing My Bride. I am still speaking instruction but many don’t want to believe it is I. They are convinced by the enemy it is natural feelings that will not come to pass. Do not allow the passivity of life to cause you to stop believing that My Word will be performed over you. The blessings are still available, but they must be received. There is still direction that must be adhered to. Follow Me no matter what you feel or sense. It is I!”
Jun. 27: There is an increase in joy. It is exceeding joy. As I understand the purpose of suffering, I experience more and more joy. This is triumphant glory within. It causes me to rejoice more and more in You and I am eternally grateful for all that I experience.
Jun. 28: “You have sufficiency for all things that you ask Me for: the church, the people, your family and life.”
Jun. 29: “I am not telling the people what to do any longer. It is part of the process of maturity. Teenagers need to be reminded over and over, “Don’t go there.” When people grow up they must make decisions that reflect their life. Those who can do this are maturing. When you still ask Me, I will tell you and answer, but I wait for those to ask for decisions or directions that reflect My will.”
God or Money?
1Ti 6:6-12 (KJV) “But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
Sometimes the motives of our hearts are tested, like when things get financially tough and the strain tempts us to be selfish towards God, and others. The Lord knows the depths of our hearts when it comes to the love of money, so at times He will allow circumstances to arise that will cause us to have to make decisions that prove where our hopes rest. Will we be faithful? Will we compromise and then justify our actions?
Mat 24:12 (KJV) “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
The scriptures speak of the trying of our faith being more precious than gold. Right now, gold is the most sought after substance on the earth, even more than the currency; yet the trying of our faith is still more precious. Like the prodigal son, sometimes we need to just stop what we are doing, order up our thoughts aright, and ask ourselves, “What am I thinking?” Do I trust God or not? If we can’t trust God with the natural things, how can we trust Him with the spiritual things? The truth is that we need to realize what is really going on in our hearts.
1Sa 15:22-23 (KJV) “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams. (23) For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.”
The Lord knows that if our hearts are taken away to anything except His will for our lives, we will be deceived and become slaves of the very things we have chosen to love in His place. Along with that slavery will be the realization that we are not able to function in our God-given destinies. This is not just a penalty from God; it is the result of our decisions. Let’s stop the blame game, own up to our actions, and make things right. It is time to settle this question within our hearts. Will we serve God, or money?
What is Revival?
Revival is war between the Spirit and the devil.
A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God!
You cannot revive something that has never had life, so revival, by definition, is first of all an enlivening and quickening and awakening of lethargic, sleeping church members.
Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the Presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin, and a hunger for His Word.