VIDEO 𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐝𝐞

Dec 7, 2016

 

A reminder that we all enter this world by being granted the gift of grace. It is up to all of us to find our place, to use those gifts always for the greater good and fight the force of evil and tyrannical rule. To at times go against the masses and stand up for the rights that build the stronghold of bridges to enable others to cross to the other side. A beautiful and moving story that also questions the moral and ethical code of just how far in the name of science do we go, the danger of the unknown to be faced on the “other side”. Yet, the endless possibility that can lead to further exploration and ability to save more lives, for those “blue babies” of both animal and human, to which we are in gratitude that were “turned pink” by the mastery of hands, the likes previously unseen of Dr. Vivien Thomas and .Dr Blalock.

 

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Finding Waldo

The [Ethiopian] asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Acts 8:34

Waldo is the cartoonish star of “Where’s Waldo,” a now-classic best-selling children’s book series. Waldo hides himself in the crowded scenes on each page, inviting children to find where he’s hiding. Parents around the world love the moments of sweet discovery when their children’s faces signal they’ve found Waldo. They also enjoy the occasions when they’re invited to help find him.

Shortly after Stephen, a deacon in the early church, was stoned to death for proclaiming Christ (see Acts 7), widespread persecution broke out against Christians, causing many to flee Jerusalem. Another deacon, Philip, followed these fleeing Christians into Samaria, where he proclaimed Christ and it was well received (8:6). While there, the Holy Spirit sent Philip on a special mission to “the desert road.” It must have seemed a strange request given the fruit his preaching was producing in Samaria itself. Imagine Philip’s joy, then, when he met and helped the Ethiopian court official find Jesus in the pages of Isaiah (vv. 26–40).

May we be prepared to share Christ as the Spirit leads us.

We too are often given the chance to help others “find Jesus” throughout the Scriptures so they may know Him more fully. Like a parent witnessing the joy of discovery in their child’s eyes and like Philip helping the Ethiopian find Jesus, it can be exhilarating for us to witness the moment of discovery in those around us. As we go through our days, may we be prepared to share Christ as the Spirit leads us, whether they are people we know well or those we meet even just once.

The biggest work a Christian can do is to find his friend and introduce him to Jesus Christ.

By Randy Kilgore

Danger of a Hardening Heart

Hebrews 3:7-11

The Hebrews who left Egypt had concrete proof of God’s existence and commitment to them. Yet when the time came for them to claim their promised land, they hardened their hearts against the Lord and refused to believe He would give them victory over the people living in Canaan. So they rebelled, resisting Joshua and Caleb’s pleas and coming up with justifications for their disbelief.

God responded with harsh discipline: 40 years of wandering in the desert until those adults who resisted Him were dead (Num. 14:33-36). Because He considered the lesson about their resistance and discipline so important, the Lord reiterated it in the New Testament (Heb. 3:7-11). He didn’t want people to repeat the Israelites’ mistake of hardening their hearts against Him.

The way to a hardened heart is gradual. It begins with unbelief—that is, hearing but not accepting all or part of God’s Word as true. Instead, a person rebels, choosing to manage his or her affairs without the Lord. This involves ignoring the conscience or justifying unscriptural behavior; eventually, the heart becomes so calcified that the individual is no longer affected by the whisper of God’s Spirit.

It is dangerous to persist in choosing our own way. Not only does the Lord discipline those who rebel against Him; He also withholds opportunities and blessings. If we take seriously God’s warning not to harden ourselves against Him, then we must choose to be obedient. Over time, as our heart grows more tender and receptive, we’ll find that we are unable to make a wrong move without being convicted by the Spirit.

God-Hardened Hearts

“For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Joshua 11:20)

One of the most bitter complaints of critics against the Bible is its portrayal of the severity of God, especially in His command to Moses to destroy all the Canaanites. “When the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them” (Deuteronomy 7:2). This seems more severe than ever when we read in our text that God Himself hardened the hearts of the Canaanites so that Joshua could destroy them.

But the notion that God is merely a kindly grandfather figure is a self-serving figment of man’s sinful imagination. The New Testament reminds us that “our God is a consuming fire” and “the wages of sin is death” (Hebrews 12:29; Romans 6:23), and God doesn’t change. “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).

As far as the Canaanites were concerned, God had given them 400 years to repent (Genesis 15:13-16), but each new generation had gone further away from God than the one before, and they were practicing (as archaeology has revealed) every form of debauchery known to man. It was an act of mercy by God toward all those who would come in contact with them in future generations to decree their destruction now. They had already irrevocably hardened their hearts toward God, so God now hardened their hearts against Israel. Thinking they could destroy God’s people, they only hastened their well-deserved end. HMM

“Be sure your sin will find you out.”

Joshua 7:16-26

Joshua 7:16

It was a business not to be delayed. The sooner sin is found out and put away the better. Nobody would rest long if he knew his house to be on fire, but sin is a far worse evil than the devouring flame,

Joshua 7:17, 18

Achan may at first have laughed at the idea of his being detected, but when the tribe of Judah was taken, he must have felt ill at ease; when the Zarhites were taken, fear must have seized him, and his terror must have been extreme when at last the lot fell on his father’s family. By some means sin will be brought home to the guilty individual, and what will be his horror when the finger of God points directly at him with a “thou art the man.”

Joshua 7:19

Joshua urged the criminal to confess. His detection was certain, and he gave him the wisest counsel a judge can give to a condemned man, namely, to do his best to justify God in punishing him by acknowledging his fault.

Joshua 7:21

He saw, he coveted, he took, he hid, he was detected, convicted, and condemned. See here in brief “the Sinner’s Progress.”

Joshua 7:22

What use could buried gold and garments be? The man was foolish as well as wicked. Illgotten goods are not true riches.

Joshua 7:25

This terrible punishment may have been the more needful, because at the outset of their history in Canaan it was necessary to impress the people with the fact that God would not be trifled with, but would have his laws respected.

Joshua 7:26

Let this heap of stones be a monumental warning to us. Have we any hidden sin within our hearts? Are any of this household indulging evil passions or following wrong courses in secret? If so, be sure your sin will find you out. The only way of escape is a penitent confession to God, and a believing cry to the Lord Jesus for pardon.

 

Sins and follies unforsaken,

All will end in deep despair;

Formal prayers are unavailing,

Fruitless is the worldling’s tear;

Small the number

Who to wisdom’s path repair.

 


If, lurking in its inmost folds,

I any sin conceal,

Oh let a ray of light divine

That secret guile reveal.

 

If, tinctured with that odious gall,

Unknowing I remain,

Let grace, like a pure silver stream,

Wash out the accursed stain.

 

The Rank and File Of Satan’s Kingdom

Ephesians 6:12

I realize that many people tend to think that screaming, yelling, screeching, stomping, and shouting are required to defeat the devil. However, these actions will accomplish nothing if those same people are not living a consecrated and holy life.

It is simply a fact that if we have deliberately or by negligence allowed sinful strongholds to secretly remain in our lives, then we have left gaping holes through which Satan may continue to insert his schemes into our lives. Negligence in dealing with these secret places may give Satan the very loopholes he needs to orchestrate our defeat!

This business of spiritual warfare is serious! We must do all we can to shut every door to our souls through which the devil might attempt to access our lives. Because this issue is so serious, we would do well to pay attention when the Bible offers us information about the enemy of our souls. The devil has destroyed too many Christians who were ignorant of his devices!

In Ephesians 6:12, the apostle Paul presents a divine revelation he received that describes how Satan’s kingdom has been militarily aligned. He writes, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Notice that at the top of this list, Paul mentions a group of evil spirits he calls “principalities.” This word is taken from the Greek word archai, an old word that is used symbolically to denote ancient times. It is also used to depict individuals who hold the highest and loftiest position of rank and authority. By using the word archai, Paul emphatically tells us that at the very top of Satan’s kingdom are powerful evil beings that have held their lofty positions of power and authority since ancient times—probably ever since the fall of Lucifer.

Paul goes on to tell us that below principalities is a second group of evil beings he refers to as “powers.” This word “powers” is taken from the Greek word exousia, and it denotes delegated authority. This describes a lower, second-level group of evil beings—demon spirits—who have received delegated authority from Satan to carry out all manner of evil in whatever way they desire to do it. These evil forces are second in command in Satan’s dark kingdom.

Continuing in his description of Satan’s rank and file in descending order, Paul mentions “the rulers of the darkness of this world.” This amazing phrase is taken from the word kosmokrateros and is a compound of the words kosmos and kratos. The word kosmos denotes order or arrangement, whereas the word kratos has to do with raw power. Thus, the compounded word kosmokrateros depicts raw power that has been harnessed and put into some kind of order.

This word kosmokrateros was at times used to picture military training camps where young men were assembled, trained, and turned into a mighty army. These young men were like raw power when they first arrived in the training camp. However, as the military training progressed and the new recruits were taught discipline and order, all that raw manpower was converted into an organized, disciplined army. This is the word Paul now uses in his description of Satan’s kingdom. What does it mean?

It tells you and me that Satan is so serious about doing damage to the human race that he deals with demon spirits as though they are troops! He puts them in rank and file, gives them orders and assignments, and then sends them out like military soldiers who are committed to kill. Just as men in a human army are equipped and trained in their methods of destruction, so, too, are these demon spirits. And once these demons are trained and ready to start their assault, Satan sends them forth to do their devious work against human beings.

Paul makes reference to this dispatch of evil spirits when he writes next about “spiritual wickedness in high places.” The word “wickedness” is taken from the word poneros, and it is used to depict something that is bad, vile, malevolent, vicious, impious, and malignant. This tells us the ultimate aim of Satan’s dark domain: These evil spirits are sent forth to afflict humanity in bad, vile, malevolent, and vicious ways!

Satan uses all these evil forces in his attacks against mankind. Nevertheless, we believers have far more authority and power than the devil and his forces. You and I have the Greater One living within us! As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we are loaded with heaps and heaps of raw power, for the Church has no shortage of power, nor is it deficient in God-given authority. We have more power and more authority than all these evil forces combined!

What we lack is order and discipline. We must learn to see ourselves as the army of God and to view the local church as the training center where we are taught to do God’s business. Then we must heed the call of Jesus and be dispatched into the dark world to preach the Gospel and to drive these evil forces from people’s lives. We must buckle down and begin to view ourselves as the troops of Jesus Christ!

Being organized and disciplined includes living a holy and consecrated life. There is no room for slackness in the life of a real Christian soldier. To deal with these forces that are being dispatched to destroy us and the world around us, it is required that we walk with God and listen to the voice of His Spirit. We must gird up the loins of our minds and fill our thoughts with the Word of God. Satan’s troops are serious—and if we’re not serious about our contest with them, it will only be a matter of time until they discover our weakness and strike with all their force to bring us down.

Determine to see yourself as a soldier in the army of God. Don’t allow anything to remain in your life that would hinder your fight of faith. Be disciplined, committed, and organized. Take advantage of all the weapons described in Ephesians 6:13-18. Then get ready to witness the awesome demonstration of God’s power in your life as you prevail against Satan’s rank and file!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me start seeing myself as a mighty soldier in the army of God. You have provided every weapon I need to prevail against the enemies that come against my life, my family, my business, my friends, and my church. I want to stand tall and firm against the wicked plots the devil tries to exert against people’s lives whom I love and need. Holy Spirit, give me the power and strength I need to successfully resist every attack and to drive all dark forces from my life and from the lives of those close to me!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I live a holy and consecrated life! There is no room for slackness in my life. I am serious about serving God as a real Christian soldier. I do everything that is required for me to walk with God and to hear the voice of His Spirit when He speaks to me. I am very serious about winning every conflict with evil forces. Because of my strong commitment to this fight of faith, I am more than a match for anything the devil tries to throw at me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. What did you learn by reading today’s Sparkling Gem?
  2. Do you see yourself as a soldier in the army of God?
  3. Do you view your local church as a place for you to be trained, taught, and disciplined in order to become a better Christian soldier?

 

On Leading A “Blameless” Life

  • But Dwight, there is no way you can stay in business without shading the truth.
  • The sign on the condominium announces, “75% Sold. I happen to know that the figure is 40%. The owners are highly visible Christian businessmen in the community.

The Scriptures correctly indict the human race in observing, “All men are liars.” (Psalm 116:11)

 

So, what is the standard for believers who domicile, socialize and make their living in a world of liars? Answer: To be “blameless”:

 

The righteous man leads a blameless life… ” (Proverbs 20:7)

 

In this context “blameless” is defined as:

 

(1) INTEGRITY: That is, there is congruency between what you verbalize and what you practice: WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. No one can point the finger at you and legitimately cry, “Hypocrite“!

 

(2) SIMPLICITY: “My heart is not haughty, O Lord, nor my eyes lofty; Neither do I concern myself with great matters nor with things too profound for me.” (Psalm 131:1)

 

Over the years I have observed that maturing Christians are continually taking steps to simplify their lives rather than allowing them to become increasingly complex.

 

As Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.

 

(3) INNOCENCE: Jesus talked about the virtues of childlikeness: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

 

Are not simplicity and innocence trademarks of children? The more complex our lives become, the more we are inclined to loose our innocence.

 

QUESTION: How would your lost associates describe your life?

 

As phony? Inconsistent? Fake? Or as Authentic? Real? Genuine?

 

How you answer that question defines whether or not you are in fact a righteous person as evidenced by your blameless life.

 

 

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