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The War Within You

October 22

"Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul..."
1 Peter 2:11

"which war against the soul..."

Is it exaggeration to say that our fleshly lusts actually war against us? Well ...if you're addicted to anything, you know you're in a war against your soul. If you're addicted to drugs or cigarettes, just try stopping them and you'll see what a warfare you're involved in.

Is this a war we can win? That depends on how you deal with it. If you try to gain victory by your own wisdom and strength there's no way you're going to win the battle. If you should happen to win in one area, it will be replaced with something else.

"For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh
nothing good dwells;
for to will is present with me,
but HOW to perform what is good I do not find.
For the good that I will to do, I do not do;
but the evil I will not to do, that I practice."
Romans 7:18-19

Only God has the power to overcome that which rules against his people.

See what Jesus SAID he came to do:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to preach the gospel to the poor;
he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed..."
Luke 4:18

Take this passage and pray it every day. ASK him to heal your broken heart. ASK him to deliver you from what you are captive to. ASK him to set you free from what oppresses you.

ASK. And believe.




Do You Sometimes Think God Should Do Things Differently?

October 21

"Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are his judgments
and his ways past finding out!
For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?"
Romans 11:33-34

Oh the lack of understanding that is found in a person who thinks God should do things differently.  When tempted to think that God is missing it in some instance or that he should do differently in some circumstance, a person needs to come back to realizing who God is.

Below see a visual demonstration that will drive home this point. Bookmark this because it should be seen again and again to refresh our minds of the nature and majesty of God. After seeing this again I'm left with thinking I need to repent in sackcloth and ashes! Every human being should see this. If you agree, forward this and share it with others that they too might be touched by the wonder that is our God.




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His Rebukes Are From A Heart Of Love

October 20

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my soul shall be joyful in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."
Isaiah 61:10

Sometimes life just gets you down. Yesterday the Lord showed me something unpleasant within myself and it put a huge damper on my day. Even though I worked through it before him successfully, I was kicking myself for thinking I was right when in fact I had an entirely wrong attitude.

Then I read this and the light went on. Yes truly, in spite of my struggles, I HAVE been clothed with the garments of salvation and I HAVE been given a robe of HIS righteousness, and he IS in the process of adorning me with the jewels befitting a bride.

When I finished my daily reading in the Old Testament, I went to the New Testament only to find that today's passage is this:

"...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross..."
Hebrews 12:1-2

Yes, Father, for the joy set before me I WILL endure the cross, and I WILL set aside the sin which so easily ensnares me, and I WILL run this race with endurance. And how can I thank you enough for shining your light on the imperfections within me - NOT for the purpose of making me feel bad, but to bring me through to repentance which will add another jewel for this bride.




Only God Can Prophesy - And He Does

October 19

Context:
The Jewish people were in exile in Babylon, which was later conquered by Persia, and the prophet Jeremiah had foretold that they would be there for 70 years. After the 70 years, Cyrus the king of Persia gave the edict that they would be allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple, and he personally financed the work.

150 years BEFORE this edict, the prophet Isaiah had foretold this, calling Cyrus BY NAME.

"Thus says the Lord to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held,
to subdue nations before him
and loose the armor of kings..."
Isaiah 45:1

This prophecy was uttered by Isaiah who ministered around 690 BC. He specifically mentions Cyrus by name --- 150 years BEFORE Cyrus's reign which was around 540 BC.

vs 4 and 5 :
"For Jacob my servant’s sake,
and Israel my elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
there is no God besides me."

Ezra chapter 1 and Nehemiah chapter 2 tell the story of Cyrus's decree and the provisions he made for the Jews to return to Israel to rebuild their Temple.

There are many prophecies throughout the Scriptures. Many about the Messiah. Many about Israel. Many about "the last days."  The Bible is the only "holy book" containing prophecies, because God is the only one who can predict the future.

"Remember the former things of old,
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times things that are not yet done..."
Isaiah 46:9-10



Believers Appointed To Afflictions

October 18

"...that no one should be shaken by these afflictions,
for you yourselves know that
WE ARE APPOINTED TO THIS.
For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you
that we would suffer tribulation,
just as it happened, and you know."
1 Thessalonians 3:3-4

We are APPOINTED to afflictions?

Yes indeed, because that's where we grow.

You could not learn unconditional love unless there were someone hard to love. You could not learn patience if your prayers were always answered quickly. You could  not experience the "peace that surpasses understanding" unless you experienced it in impossible circumstances. You could not learn long-suffering unless there were an affliction that lingers on and on.

These things are VERY precious in the sight of the Lord. Here is where we can learn of him, and here is where we can please him with unshakable faith.

"...that the genuineness of your faith,
being MUCH MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD that perishes,
though it is tested by fire,
may be found to praise, honor, and glory
at the revelation of Jesus Christ..."
1 Peter 1:7

There is consolation in this chapter in Thessalonians too. He ends the chapter by pointing us to the coming of the Lord:

verse 13:
"...so that he may establish your hearts blameless
in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."

Do not envy the wicked who prosper. The only happiness they will ever have is the happiness they experience here.

Our fate is just the opposite. The only pain we'll ever endure is what we endure here.

Heaven is eternal joy.

Earth is boot camp.






Who Can You Turn To?

October 17

"This also comes from the Lord of hosts,
who is wonderful in counsel
and excellent in guidance."
Isaiah 28:29

Wonderful in counsel. Excellent in guidance...

If you were sick, would you go to a doctor or to a mechanic?

It's a no-brainer, isn't it? But people in need of guidance, in need of direction, in need of counsel, will go to anyone BUT the One who is the source of these things.

When you are in need, go to the Lord. He truly IS wonderful in counsel. He has far more wisdom than a psychologist trained in psyco-babble. The Lord has far more wisdom than your financial counselor. He has far more knowledge of your life than anyone else, and he will give you the correct guidance you need. Is he interested in the mundane topics in our lives? Yes. He is. You can take these things to him - take ALL things to him.

Don't go to him last. Don't wait until you say "all we can do now is pray." That is an insult to him. Go to him FIRST. Give to him the trust he deserves.


It Starts With Just Flirting With Sin

October 16

"This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord,
that you should no longer walk
as the rest off the Gentiles walk,
in the futility of their mind,
having their understanding darkened,
being alienated from the life of God
because of the ignorance that is in them,
because of the blindness of their heart;
who, being past feeling,
have given themselves over to lewdness,
to work all uncleanness with greediness."
Ephesians 4:17-19

"who being past feeling..."

I once had a married friend who was beginning an affair with another man, and I spoke to her about it, asking how she could do such a thing. Her response was that she felt a lot of guilt the first time, but that afterwards she felt less and less guilt as time went on and now just didn't feel guilty at all.

She was "past feeling." Her conscience became seared. I saw it with my own eyes.

"...having their own conscience seared with a hot iron..."
1 Timothy 4:2

This was an example to me as I watched as she was given over to a debased mind.

"...and even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,
God gave them over to a debased mind..."
Romans 1:28

Don't think it can't happen to you if you're flirting with sin, any sin. Eventually it won't hurt your conscience any more - when the Holy Spirit has left you.  Don't try it. Don't flirt with it.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your Holy Spirit from me."
Psalm 51:10-11

Take heed that you be not deceived and lured into something you would not have wanted to be attached to.

"Repent therefore and be converted,
that your sins may be blotted out,
so that times of REFRESHING
may come from the presence of the Lord..."
Acts 3:19







It's All About Revelation

October 15

...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory,
may give to you the spirit of wisdom
and REVELATION in the knowledge of Him,
the eyes of your understanding being ENLIGHTENED,
that you may know what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints...
Ephesians 1:17-18

It all comes by revelation, and NOT by human reasoning. If you've tried to understand God, or to understand His Word and find you cannot, there is a reason for that. You are trying to do with your human resources what only the Spirit of God can do.

It's all about REVELATION.

"Jesus answered and said to him,
'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah,
FOR FLESH AND BLOOD HAS NOT REVEALED THIS TO YOU
but My Father who is in heaven.'"
Matthew 16:17

ASK the Lord to REVEAL his Word to you. What you do not understand, set aside for now. Let him reveal himself and his Word to you as you read it (the Bible) prayerfully. He WILL reveal it, gradually more and more, as you sit before him. Put the time in. It's worth it. It's beyond worth it.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ASK of God,
who gives to all liberally and without reproach,
and it WILL be given to him."
James 1:5

These are great promises in the Word of God. Receive them, meditate on them, believe them, and he will do the rest.





Sowing And Reaping

October 14

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked,
for whatever a man sows,
that he will also reap.
For he who sows to his flesh
will of the flesh reap corruption,
but he who sows to the Spirit
will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."
Galatians 6:7-8

The reason people don't "get" this is that oftentimes the reaping does not happen immediately; so people go their merry way not realizing that they WILL reap from whatever they sowed. If I touch a hot stove and receive a burn, I will learn that touching a hot stove will harm me, and I won't touch it again. But the laws in the spiritual world are somewhat different. The results of our actions can sometimes come only later. The bottom line, though, is that they WILL come.

This principle works also to our benefit. Our prayers and the works we do out of love for God and man WILL bring results.

"Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
bearing seed for sowing,
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
bringing his sheaves with him."
Psalm 126:5-6

Be encouraged therefore. Do not lose heart, but press on. The results will surely come.


From the daily devotional at Along Emaus Road


When It's Over

October 13

"The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,
the scepter of the rulers,
he who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke,
he who ruled the nations in anger,
is persecuted and no one hinders.
The whole earth is at rest and quiet;
they break forth into singing."
Isaiah 14:5-7

As we watch the approaching great Tribulation and seek again and again to inform and warn the people who for the most part are asleep and unaware, our message is hard and foreboding. Jesus said of that time that it will be more devastating than anything that's ever happened on the earth before. It will be world-wide and only a remnant will survive it.

"For then there will be great tribulation,
such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time,
no, nor ever shall be."
Matthew 24:21

But there is a day coming when the Tribulation will be over and the Lord will have put down the evil rulers of this world. The whole earth will come into rest and quiet, and the peoples will break forth into singing as Jesus establishes his earthly Throne in Jerusalem and rules in all righteousness.

HOW we look forward to that day!


His Judgments Are Right

October 12

"And in that day you will say:
'O Lord, I will praise you;
though you were angry with me,
your anger is turned away, and you comfort me.'"
Isaiah 12:1

I have known the anger of the Lord. And I have known his mercy. The judgments of the Lord are right, and his mercy endures forever.





vs 5-6:
"Sing to the Lord,
for he has done excellent things;
this is known in all the earth.
Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!"



The Angel of Light

October 11

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
And no wonder! For Satan himself
transforms himself into an angel of LIGHT.
Therefore it is no great thing if HIS MINISTERS also
transform themselves into ministers of righteousness,
whose end will be according to their works."
2 Corinthians 11:13-15

How does Satan transform himself into an angel of light?

Through deceit. Through convincing man that the loving God surely couldn't mean the hard things he has said.

His methods haven't changed since he first tempted Eve to doubt God. He LIED about God, saying to her that what God said is NOT TRUE. (Genesis chapter 3)

Satan doesn't present himself as an agent of darkness. He makes sin attractive and convinces people that what God said about it isn't really true.

Jesus said of Satan, "When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is A LIAR and the father of it."
John 8:44

When the disciples asked Jesus what would be the signs of his coming, he said to them all the things we've heard so many times now, that there would be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes famines and pestilence (diseases). (Matthew chapter 24)

But that's not the first thing he said. The first thing he said is, "take heed that no one DECEIVES you." The FIRST thing to watch for is deception.

Obviously the characteristic of deception is that the one deceived doesn't know he's deceived. So how can we avoid it?

Two ways:
1. by thoroughly knowing the Word of God so that you can spot anything or anyone whose enticing speech contradicts what God has said in his Word.
2. by praying not only for protection from deception, but also to be shown any areas you're deceived in without realizing it.

If you do not take an active stand in these two ways, you'll be a sitting duck for deception and you'll never even realize it.


Choose Your Weapons Wisely

October 10

"For though we walk in the flesh,
we do not war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds..."
2 Corinthians 10:3-4

We have a vicious enemy who is committed to destroying us. He is behind every foul, rotten thing that happens in this world. He is a supernatural being who can see things we can't, and who has power above ours.

Does that mean we are sitting ducks for him? For most - yes.

For the few who know the Scripture's prescription for confronting this evil being, no. It's "no" for those who use the teaching of the Word of God rather than trying to use human reasoning and human methods to fight the enemy.

When something bad happens, do you "try to make it better" using your human efforts? Have you noticed that that doesn't work?

Confronting a supernatural enemy using the weapons God has made available to us makes all the difference in the world.

So what ARE the weapons?

Knowing and applying the Word of God, accompanied by fasting and prayer. Notice that these are what Jesus himself used when he walked the shores of Galilee.

Will that always change the circumstances?

Not always. More often than not it will change YOU. God uses the hard things of our lives to develop us, to mature us, to get us to establish right priorities.

Jesus still had to go to the cross. But that one act changed the eternities of many, many people. Paul still had to remain in prison. But while in prison he wrote a large part of the New Testament.

What we can be SURE of, is that God WILL turn every situation around to the good for those who love him and follow what he has prescribed for us. (Romans 8:28)

Don't waste your trials and tribulations. Follow the methods your creator has provided and your life will be changed.



We Are Ambassadors

October 9

"For we walk by faith, not by sight.
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather,
to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:7-8

There aren't too many people who would be "well pleased" to die.

When I see the heroics people go through to prolong their lives, I'm frequently mindful of the saying "if heaven is such a wonderful place, why do people try so hard to avoid it?"

Only someone who has been with the Lord and who has filled himself with his Word can have the mindset that eagerly looks forward to being with Christ in heaven. Paul, who saw heaven, says:

"Eye has not seen,
nor ear heard,
nor have entered into the heart of man
the things which God has prepared
FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."
1 Corinthians 2:9

Heaven is a very real place where very real people live. If you have a loved one who has gone there, be comforted in knowing that that person is NOT DEAD, but very much alive - living in a very wonderful place.

But just as heaven is very real, hell is too.

vs 11:
"Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord,
we persuade men;"

It's the reason we care so much about those who aren't yet saved. It's the reason we reach out to them. It's the reason I write these devotionals. Oh Lord, touch unsaved hearts and bring them in I pray.

vs 20:
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ,
AS THOUGH GOD WERE PLEADING THROUGH US:
we implore you on Christ’s behalf,
be reconciled to God.




When Good Is Evil and Evil Is Good

October 8

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20

In America those who speak out on it are called haters, homophobes, right-wing fundamentalist fanatics and many, MANY other names are called on those who speak of the Word of God as though God meant what he said.

Today, anything goes. God, they say, did not create the universe, it "evolved." Why? Because if they were to acknowledge that God created it, that would be to admit the natural consequence of that -- that we are not free moral agents, there is a God to whom we must give account.

In America an unborn child is not a child but a fetus, something society has a "right" to murder. And murder they do -- more than 60 million murdered babies whose blood cries out to God.

In America not only do the immoral demand "rights," they parade their sin with pride. If anyone dare express what God has to say about it, they can be punished by society and incur great loss. So the sin is now good, and expressing that it is sin is now called evil.

vs 24
"Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble,
and the flame consumes the chaff,
so their root will be as rottenness,
and their blossom will ascend like dust;
BECAUSE they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
and despised the WORD of the Holy One of Israel."

The fire is on its way and the flame will consume them like in Sodom. We're in a period of reprieve right now, but it's only temporary - to give people more time to repent and turn to the Lord.

That judgment will come there is no doubt because ...it is the Word of God that says it.

And his Word is true.


The Many Lost -The Few Saved

October 7

"But even if our Gospel is veiled,
it is veiled to those who are perishing,
whose minds the god of this age has blinded,
who do not believe,
lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,
who is the image of God, should shine on them."
2 Corinthians 4:3-4

When you care so much for people's salvation, it's hard and extremely painful to realize that the many will NOT be saved. Their minds have been blinded.

"Therefore Sheol (hell) has enlarged itself
and opened its mouth beyond measure;
their glory and their multitude and their pomp,
and he who is jubilant, shall descend into it."
Isaiah 5:14

The MANY, the FEW:

"Enter by the narrow gate;
for wide is the gate and broad is the way
that leads to destruction,
and there are MANY who go in by it.
Because narrow is the gate and hard is the way
which leads to life,
and there are FEW who find it."
Matthew 7:13-14


The Pillar of Fire and Cloud By Night Will Again Be Over The Temple Mount


October 6

"When the Lord has washed away the filth
of the daughters of Zion,
and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst
by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning,
then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion,
and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day
and the shining of a flaming fire by night.
For over all the glory there will be a covering."
Isaiah 4:4-5

I just love the way that the Word of God continues fresh every day. Though I've read this passage many times, yet I never noticed before that when the Lord comes to establish his Kingdom on earth, the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day will again be visible as it was in the former days of Israel's wandering in the wilderness. WOW! What a wonder it will be to see it!


He Comes Beside Us And Comforts Us

October 5

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble,
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

We are not alone in our trials and tribulations, for it is there that we experience God in depths only experienced through suffering. And the depths of comfort we receive from our God in those times, we later are able to comfort others with.

This makes Christianity stand out from all other religions. Our God is real, he is alive, he cares, and he demonstrates his care for us in very personal ways. It's not book knowledge, it's a living relationship with the Creator who truly loves us.

So if he loves us, why does he let us suffer? Because suffering matures us and shows us what really matters; it helps us to get our priorities in right order. But, as in the "Footprints In The Sands" picture, we do not go through it alone. His footprints are always beside ours. And sometimes ...he carries us.


That Wonderful Time To Come

October 4

"Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the Lord's house
shall be established on the top of the mountains,
and shall be exalted above the hills;
and all nations shall flow to it."
Isaiah 2:2

It's so wonderful to know that after all the violence, the pain and trauma and heartache experienced in this world, there will come a time when the Messiah most definitely WILL come and will bring peace to this broken world. We know that this prophecy is still future because there has never yet been a time when all the nations have flowed to the mountain of the Lord, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It also shows that the Temple Mount will belong to the Lord, the God of Jacob, the God of Israel, and NOT to another god.

vs 3:
"Many people shall come and say,
'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us his ways, and we shall walk in His paths.'
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem."