Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Speak Truth

Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. ~ Ezekiel 3:16-19
In the summers of 2013 and 2015 I would wake up in the early morning hours (2:30-3:30 am) with an urgency to pray and read the Bible. This happened for many nights through out those summer months. I would get up and get my Bible and let it fall open wherever He wanted me to read. On several occasions it landed on the scriptures I shared above.
In the Bible I used most often I would mark the dates and times next to whatever I was reading and the title of this section of scripture is, "Ezekiel is a Watchman." I wondered why, I pray and asked, why. Why would God want me to read this over and over so many times. Well, brothers and sisters, we are also watchmen for the Lord. We are to go out and preach the good news and be that iron that sharpens our brothers and sisters. We are not to see sin and say nothing. (This isn't about judging others it is about sharing truth. Sin has already been judged by God and is clearly stated in the Word what it is).
Ezekiel was to warn the wicked that if they stayed in their sin and did not repent, "they would surely die." (vs.18) If he stood by and said nothing. Their blood would be required at his hand. Not only was he to warn the wicked but also the righteous. If he warned them and they choose to listen or chose not to listen he will have "delivered his soul."
“Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.” (Ez. 3:20-21)
We live in a world where no one wants to speak or hear truth. Everyone wants to feel good all the time and in whatever situation they are in. We humans want to hear about all the good things about ourselves. We want to hear, "You're only human so it is okay to do (enter sin here)______." It's not okay!
We who call ourselves believers should want more than anything to know and live God's truth. We will stumble, we will fall, and if left alone in whatever sin we find ourselves in without the loving, helping hand, praying heart of a brother or sister in the Lord - we just may not come out of it. The consequences for that sin we stumble into may be more than we can deal with - alone.
I share this with you because I have seen what sin can do to the life of believers, the life of the church, and to those looking in from the outside. It tears people apart. It puts a wedge between people and God. It, sin, does just what the enemy wants - kills, steals, and destroys us. I have lived those consequences and if it were not for a lady I met when I was about 19 years old, I may still be stuck there, in a worse place, and facing horrid consequences.
"Just as iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend." (Proverbs 27:17)
Today, hold on to truth. Look in that mirror of your soul and find those "sin planks" and get them out. Don't be afraid to call sin what it is. If we truly love our neighbor as ourselves, we want to see them on the other side. Don't let the moment pass when you can share the truth with someone. Don't allow their blood to be required at your hand because you didn't want to hurt their feelings. When my sister in the Lord tells me that I am heading in the wrong direction, in that moment it may sting a bit, but it proves to be that she loves me and wants to see me living the life God wants for me.
"But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house." (Ez. 3:27)

*This was written for a daily worship post for The Spirit In Me Facebook group.)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Fruit Of The Spirit: Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness (Part 5)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23(NKJV)

Don't you just love hearing a kind word from someone? Or maybe even just a kind voice speaking to you with respect. Unfortunately, it has become a rarity in the world today. We (in general) are on edge, irritated easily, lash out at strangers, and treat their loved ones like they don't matter. We are wound so tightly, due to stress, worry, illness, and a host of other things that steal our sleep and out peace. Some have a heaviness in their voice, a spirit of depression that you can hear even if they are just the person taking your order at the drive-thru. The enemy is killing the spirit of so many of us. The truth is, we allow him to. *OUCH* That has been a hard pill to swallow, but it is the truth none the less. We have the opportunity to choose how we will act, react, and feel every day. Every choice has a consequence, good or bad,

Kindness, goodness, gentleness go hand in hand. When you read this words what do they make you feel?

"Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." - 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NKJV)

Goodness brings to mind that that feeling a good tasty strawberry brings to your taste buds. A hug from a loved one. A kiss from my spouse. Last night as we were sitting outside watching the fireworks with my parent's he rubbed my feet (Praising God for a good man!).

"For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!" -Psalm 117:2 (NKJV)

Kindness, brings to mind when a friend, loved one, or stranger compliments me on something I struggle with. It brings to mind a smile from someone that lights up their face. A kind word spoken that makes my heart smile.

“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your gentleness has made me great."-2 Samuel 22:36 (NKJV)

Gentleness, Oh what a quality to have! A gentle voice that soothes hurt feelings. A gentle touch that soothes fear and relieves tension. A gentle look to calm the chaos that runs through our minds.

His merciful kindness, His goodness, His gentleness, all towards us. Undeserving, unmerited, unworthy of any of it, yet He willingly gives it to us. Give it = GIFT! Just like salvation, the ultimate gift. He extends so much more through His love for us. Can you wrap your mind around that!?

As humans our righteousness is like filthy rags. We withhold kindness, goodness, and gentleness almost daily. We are quick to extend judgement loudly, so everyone around knows just how bad that other person is. We are quick to expect all the good things from others but don't much feel like giving it first, possibly, we will give it in return. Imagine how our actions break God's heart daily as He looks upon those who claim to be His children, claim to love like Jesus, but instead live like foolish devil children. (Preaching to myself!)

We can't pick and chose which Fruit of the Spirit we want to apply to our lives. It comes as a package deal. You can't have one without the other. We need to be aware of our actions, reaction, thoughts, words that flow from our mouths (and fingers), our treatment of our loved ones and strangers, and our treatment of ourselves. What message do you want your life to speak to the world?

"And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." - Luke 6:31 (NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 NKJV
When you think of the word longsuffering, how does it make you feel? A bit apprehensive? I know it makes me feel a bit overwhelmed. To suffer for a long time just seems so unfair. We want what we want now, not later. We want people to hurry up. We want to have everything instantly at our fingertips. We are impatient and we tend to voice that impatience loudly.
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? ~ Romans 2:4 NKJV
God, waits and waits for us to choose Him. He is so patient and good to us. He wants none of us to perish. Even when we break His heart and willfully sin and turn from Him - He is longsuffering.
As God's children we are to share in His longsuffering. We need to love and be patient with people. We need to share what we know about Him and His love. Most of all we need to pray and listen for His voice.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
~ 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace (Part 3)

Read Galatians 5:16-26
Shalom. Peace. I believe we all want peace in out lives as much as we want love. No one likes to be in turmoil. No one likes constant fighting with others or with ourselves. This type of living saps so much energy from us. Of course, life will not be without conflict, but imagine having peace even when the tornadoes of life surround you on all ends trying to steal your love, joy, and peace. Satan's greatest mission is to steal from us, destroy us, and kill us - he can do this mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and ultimately it will kill us physically.
"Now may the Lord of shalom himself give you shalom always in all ways. The Lord be with all of you."~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16 CJB
How can we keep the peace? There are days I ask this question of myself so many times. There are just some people and some situations that make it so hard to maintain a peaceful attitude. (God forgive me and make me a peacemaker).
“How blessed are those who make peace! for they will be called sons of God." ~Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:9 CJB
Going back to how can we keep the peace. We need to think before we speak. "The tongue has power over life and death; those who indulge it must eat its fruit." ~Mishlei (Proverbs) 18:21 CJB. The tongue has the ability to make things worse or make things better. Sometimes making things better requires that our tongue stay still - quiet.
"The speech of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the speech of the wicked is a cover for violence." ~Mishlei (Pro) 10:11 CJB
"When she opens her mouth, she speaks wisely; on her tongue is loving instruction. צ" ~Mishlei (Pro) 31:26 CJB
Another way to keep the peace is to speak life. Speak with wisdom. Encourage. Inspire. Build one another up. Build yourself up instead of putting yourself down. If you need to correct someone do it in love.
"A wise person fears and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and overconfident." ~Mishlei (Pro) 14:16 CJB
Keeping the peace and being a peacemaker requires us to turn away from evil and stay focused on God. It requires that we be in constant communication with Him and learning from His Word. It requires love most if all.
Peace be with you all the days of your lives.