VIDEO Tyrants: Too Big To Jail?

God’s Call Our Response

 

“Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge. The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come; now their confusion is at hand.”

– Micah 7:3-4

The perversion of justice and truth is at hand.

The great offenders that dwell in high places proceed to invoke and sow seeds of evil and deception. Their sinister ways and strong delusions proceed undaunted by the smoke that surrounds them, yet their masks are falling off.

In the minds of tyrants the ends justify the means. In their quest to build the perfect omelette they thoughtlessly break a multitude of eggs. They are our greatest security threat.

They bruise and sorely wound the weak and the powerless. They are deplorable in God’s eyes.

Too Evil to Be Set Free?

Thankfully, it is yet the day of grace. Despite our evil deeds, we can be made white as snow. We must repent and be converted and abstain from the appearance of evil in all its forms. The healing balm of mercy extends beyond the depths of our depravity.

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” – Isaiah 55:7

The Opportunity of a Full Pardon

God has made all mankind in His own image and did so of His own good pleasure. We are restless in our falling away from God and are called to return unto Him. We either repent of our sins and submit to His authority or be as those who choose to remain estranged. I know I’m undeserving of even the slightest portion of grace and mercy. God is longsuffering and willing to forgive our many transgressions and depravities for Jesus’ sake alone. In the day of evil I will cling to the Lord Jesus Christ who is willing and mighty to save even the greatest of sinners.

“God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

 

by AJ Castellitto

http://barbwire.com/2017/06/30/too-big-to-jail/

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Taking Shortcuts

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

Sipping her tea, Nancy gazed out her friend’s window and sighed. Spring rains and sunshine had coaxed a riotous expanse of color from a well-groomed flowerbed of lilies, phlox, irises, and evening primrose.

“I want that look,” she said wistfully, “without all the work.”

The work of following Christ is difficult, but the reward is a full, joyful life now and forever.

Some shortcuts are fine—even practical. Others short-circuit our spirit and deaden our lives. We want romance without the difficulties and messiness of committing to someone so different from ourselves. We want “greatness” without the risks and failures necessary in the adventure of real life. We desire to please God, but not when it inconveniences us.

Jesus made clear to His followers that there is no shortcut that avoids the hard choice of surrendering our lives to Him. He warned a prospective disciple, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). To follow Christ requires a radical altering of our loyalties.

When we turn in faith to Jesus, the work just begins. But it is oh-so-worth-it, for He also told us that no one who sacrifices “for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age . . . and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29–30). The work of following Christ is difficult, but He’s given us His Spirit and the reward is a full, joyful life now and forever.

Father, I will find the strength to do the work You have for me to do, only as I rely on Your Holy Spirit. Help me, please, to be sensitive to that today.

Most things worth doing are difficult.

By Tim Gustafson 

INSIGHT:Although the Holy Spirit is spoken of throughout the Bible, two particular portions of Scripture offer us a wealth of insight about this wonderful Person—John 14–16 and Romans 8. In His Upper Room Discourse with His disciples (John 14–16), Jesus says the Spirit is a gift from the Father who has come to be our Comforter/Advocate (14:16–17). This Helper is also described as the “Spirit of truth” who takes up residence within each of God’s children so that we are never abandoned (vv. 17–18). In John 16, our Lord adds that the Spirit will convict the world and point us to the Savior, while guiding us into truth (vv. 7–14). In Romans 8, Paul reinforces these ideas by saying that the Spirit is the source of our life (vv. 2, 11), the evidence of our new relationship with our Father (vv. 9, 14–16), and One who intercedes for us when we pray so that our prayers line up with the Father’s purposes (vv. 26–27).

In what area of your life do you need the Spirit’s presence and guidance? Bill Crowder

A Mighty Servant of God

Ephesians 4:17-24

To become God’s mighty servants, we must decide whether we will base our life on His priorities or the world’s. The two are incompatible.

Before salvation, people typically live according to whatever the flesh desires, indulging themselves with food, entertainment, and material goods. Promoting self-gratification, our culture maintains that everyone is the center of his own universe and can decide what is right for himself.

Scripture teaches the opposite: to put God above all else and “regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Matt. 6:33; Phil. 2:3). So how do we give God top priority? Jesus says it means loving Him wholeheartedly, denying ourselves, and following Him (Matt. 16:24; Matt. 22:37-39). That includes generosity. Instead of encouraging us to acquire money and possessions, He teaches that giving brings far more blessings than receiving (Acts 20:35).

How can we know we are becoming spiritually stronger? First, we’ll be less attracted to the ungodly practices of our world and will yearn to be more like Jesus. Next, we will start replacing ungodly habits with activities that please the Lord. Then, we’ll begin to comprehend some of the deeper biblical truths and apply them in our life. Finally, our spiritual discernment will improve. With the Spirit’s help, we will more easily recognize unrighteous ideas and behavior.

Do you want to become mighty in spirit? If so, spend time in the Scriptures learning what is important to God. Then ask Him to transform you into the person He has designed you to be.

Always Rejoicing

“Rejoice evermore.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

Most people think that John 11:35 (“Jesus wept”) is the shortest verse in the Bible, but our text is actually even shorter in the original Greek. In one sense, these two two-word verses complement each other—because Jesus wept, we can rejoice evermore. Christ died that we might live. He became poor so that we could be eternally rich. When Christ rose from the dead and met the women returning from the empty tomb, He greeted them with the words “All hail” (Matthew 28:9). The actual Greek was the same word as “rejoice,” and surely His victory over sin and death provided the greatest of all reasons for the world to rejoice.

The contrast between suffering and rejoicing is present throughout the New Testament, with the former typically preceding and bringing in the latter. Its first occurrence is in the closing verse of the beatitudes: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you . . . for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12). The final passage, when the sufferings of the saints are all past and Christ comes to reign, the multitude sings in heaven, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come” (Revelation 19:7). In that great day, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4), and all the redeemed will, indeed, rejoice evermore.

Therefore, we can live our present lives in the light of our future lives, “as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10). The apostle Paul exhorts us to “rejoice in the Lord alway” (Philippians 4:4), and Peter says that, loving Christ, we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). HM

“Is not the Lord gone out before thee.”

Judges 4:1-23

Judges 4:1

That sentence, “the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord,” comes over and over again so often that it seems to be the only invariable fact in their history. Would not such words frequently occur in our biographies if they could be fully written?

Judges 4:3

When we read of Israel crying, we know that deliverance will come. Prayer has mercy at its heels.

Judges 4:4

God uses all classes and both sexes for his work. In this case a man plays a very secondary part, and two women share the honour. One strikes the first blow, and the other the last. Although women do not go out into public preaching, or to fight in the open field like Barak, they can do much at home with the tent-pin of personal address, and in society by encouraging the soldiers of the Lord.

Judges 4:5-7

The Lord has not only leading strings to draw his people, but fatal cords with which to draw his foes whithersoever he wills.

Judges 4:9

He had not faith enough to go alone, and therefore, though he won the battle, he had not the honour of the victory. We lose much when we lean upon an arm of flesh. At the same time he showed a noble spirit in entering upon a conflict in which another was to receive the chief honour.

Judges 4:10

Many good men only need a call from some brave leader, and they will rally to the standard. God has his ten thousands in our Israel yet. O for the man and the hour! Rather, O for the Lord’s own Spirit to call us to the combat!

Judges 4:11-13

Little dreamed he when he sallied forth in his pride that he was being lured to his destruction. Some trust in horses, and some in chariots, but vain are such defences against the Lord of hosts

Judges 4:14

The word of Deborah sharpened the sword of Barak. Holy women often encourage the Lord’s ministers.

Judges 4:15

The Lord did it, Barak was but the sword in his hand.

Judges 4:16

God’s sword never misses one whom he means to smite. This is fatal news for the impenitent.

Judges 4:17-20

This instruction was very like the shameful custom which is so common, for servants to be ordered to say, “my mistress is not at home,” when she is in the house all the time. Let not Christians borrow lying habits from heathens.

Judges 4:21

This would have been a dastardly action had she been moved by motives of gain, but as an act in which she became the executioner of a man condemned of God, and the slayer of the great enemy of her adopted country, her conduct is rightly praised. The patriotic heroine recognized in the fugitive the enemy of her God and of his people, and her eye had no pity, neither did her hand spare him.

Judges 4:22

So the proud tyrant was disgraced as well as killed. Somewhere or other God has feeble instruments who will be made wise to put down error, and drive a nail through the head of false doctrine. O Lord, arise and plead thine own cause.

 

O God, be thou no longer still,

Thy foes are leagued against thy law;

Make bare thine arm on Zion’s hill,

Great Captain of our Holy War.

 

As Amalek and Ishmael

Had war for ever with thy seed,

So all the hosts of Rome and hell

Against thy Son their armies lead.

 

By Kishon’s brook all Jabin’s band

At thy rebuke were swept away;

O Lord, display thy mighty hand,

A single stroke shall win the day.

 


O glorious hour! O blest abode!

I shall be near and like my God;

And flesh and sin no more control

The sacred pleasures of my soul.

 

My flesh shall slumber in the ground,

‘Till the last trumpet’s joyful sound;

Then burst the chains with sweet surprise,

And in my Saviour’s image rise.

 


Sleep not, soldier of the Cross!

Foes are lurking all around;

Look not here to find repose:

This is but thy battle ground.

 

Up! and take thy shield and sword;

Up! it is the call of heaven:

Shrink not faithless from thy Lord;

Nobly strive as he hath striven.

 


To the God of all creation

Let us sing with cheerful voice

In the Rock of our salvation

Let us heartily rejoice.

 

In his presence let us gather

With glad hearts and thankful lays,

And to God, our heavenly Father,

Show our joy with psalms of praise.

 

He is King among all nations,

God above all gods is he;

In his hand are earth’s foundations,

The strong hills and rolling sea.

 

He created land and ocean,

He with beauty clothes the sod;

Let us kneel in deep devotion,

Bless our Maker and our God.

 

The Tongue Is Like a Snake!

James 3:8

When I was a boy growing up in Oklahoma, I loved snakes! In fact, I had a whole collection of snakes—rat snakes, corn snakes, king snakes, garter snakes, boa constrictors, Burmese pythons, and reticulated pythons. I even had several very poisonous snakes, such as the spotted, brownish-yellow copperhead that was once a part of my collection.

Poisonous snakes behave very differently from non-poisonous snakes. Non-poisonous snakes such as boa constrictors or pythons can be domesticated, and even held and stroked. But this isn’t the case with poisonous snakes because they are nervous by nature and easily agitated. They are restless creatures, ready to strike at any moment.

Because poisonous snakes are so vicious and nervous, they are almost impossible to domesticate. If you try to loosely hold or stroke a rattlesnake or a copperhead as you might do with a boa constrictor or python, you can be sure that you’ll be bitten!

The venom depositories situated just above the fangs in the head of the snake are loaded with deadly venom. When poisonous snakes inject their razor-sharp fangs deep into a victim, they push down into his flesh, which causes the venom to pump through the victim’s flesh and into the bloodstream. Once the venom is injected, the snake lets loose and slithers away. Meanwhile, the victim is left to suffer as the poison begins to eat away at his flesh or paralyze his nervous system, often producing death.

The reason I am writing so much about snakes is that this was exactly the picture James had in mind when he wrote James 3:8. This verse says, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” When you understand the full meaning of the Greek words used in this verse, it powerfully depicts the problem of the tongue. It compares the tongue that is not controlled by the Holy Spirit to a ready-to-strike, nervous, and poisonous snake!

James begins by saying, “But the tongue can no man tame….” Pay careful attention to the word “tame,” because this word accurately describes how impossible it is to control the tongue without the help of God’s Spirit! The word “tame” is from the Greek word damadzo, which is the word that means to domesticate, to subdue, to tame, or to bring under control. It is the same exact word used in Mark 5:4 when talking about the demoniac of Gadara. Mark 5:4 tells us that this man was so wild, so frenzied, and so out of control because of the legion of demons that resided within him that “… neither could any man tame him.” This word “tame” is the same Greek word that is used in James 3:8 to depict the difficulty of taming the tongue!

Let’s look at the full meaning behind the word “tame”—the Greek word damadzo. Not only does it mean to tame, but it was also used to describe animal trainers who were experts at capturing and domesticating the wildest and most ferocious of beasts, such as lions, tigers, and bears. Normally these animals would maul or kill a person, but these skilled trainers were able to take the wildest animals and domesticate them, even turning them into house pets. The fact that this word is used in Mark 5:4 to describe the demoniac of Gadara strongly suggests that wild animal trainers had unsuccessfully attempted to subdue and tame the demoniac. This demon-possessed man was so ferocious that those who could domesticate the most ferocious of beasts were unable to subdue and tame him.

Now James uses this same word in James 3:8 to describe the tongue! By using this word, he lets us know that the tongue is as hard to subdue, tame, and domesticate as is a ferocious wild beast! In fact, the tongue is so hard to subdue that James goes on to tell us, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil….”

The word “unruly” is the word akatastatos, describing something that is restless, such as a nervous, poisonous snake that is poised and is ready to strike. Because the tongue is so unstable and restless, its behavior is almost impossible to predict. It is like a snake that may appear to be docile but is actually just waiting for a victim to come along in which to inject its venom. This is precisely why James goes on to say, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

The words “full of deadly poison” come from the Greek word thanatephoros, which is a compound of the words thanatos and phero. The word thanatos is the Greek word for death, and the word phero means to bear or to carry. When these two words are compounded into one, as in this case, the new word means death-bearing. Like the poisonous snakes described above, the tongue is depicted as an instrument that is full of death and poison. It is also unruly—unpredictable, listless, nervous, easily agitated, and ready to inject its venom.

 

An interpretive translation of James 3:8 could be as follows:

“No one can successfully tame or domesticate the tongue! It is listless, nervous, easily agitated, and ready to strike. Like a poisonous snake, it is nearly always poised to strike and to deliver its load of deadly venom.”

Have you ever said anything to someone that was so sharp, it sounded like you were attacking him? Afterward when you thought about what you said, were you embarrassed by your behavior? Were you shocked to realize that you could say something so ugly and derogatory? Did you have to create a recovery operation to fix the mess you created with your words of unkindness?

We are all guilty of saying ugly things from time to time simply because we all have tongues! James asserts that this “tongue” problem is a universal dilemma. The only way our tongue can be subdued, tamed, and brought under control is if we submit it to the control of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says no man can tame the tongue, but the Holy Spirit is well able to tame the tongue once it has been submitted to His sanctifying power!

You don’t have to be embarrassed by unruly words that come out of your mouth any longer! Neither do you ever again have to let your lips inject venom into another person. By committing your tongue and your mouth to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, you give the Holy Spirit the authority to penetrate this realm of your life with His power and control. He will help you keep a tight rein on your mouth so you can keep from saying things you will later regret!

Why not stop right now and submit your mouth and tongue to the Lordship of Jesus? Then ask the Holy Spirit to pervade this part of your life and help you bring it under control. The Holy Spirit is standing by, ready to help you subdue that restless, unruly tongue!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am submitting my tongue and my mouth to the Lordship of Jesus Christ today! I am unable to control my tongue by myself, so right now I deliberately make the decision to ask You to invade this area of my life with Your power and Your control. I confess that I need Your help, Lord; I can’t do it on my own. Please help me learn how to overcome in this area of my life.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I boldly declare that my tongue is subdued, tamed, and brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. My lips speak words of kindness; my mouth releases praise; and I am known as one who says encouraging and helpful things to other people. My words are seasoned with grace, and my lips are constantly giving thanks to God! This is what my tongue speaks because it is submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Do you relate to this teaching about the tongue being like a snake that occasionally strikes and injects deadly venom into its listeners?
  2. Have you ever had the experience of saying things you later regretted—but by the time you came to regret those negative words, the damage was already done? Were you shocked as you thought back on the ugly things you said? Did you ever go back to that person and ask him or her to forgive you for acting so unlike Jesus?
  3. When are you going to submit the control of your tongue and mouth to the Lord? Why don’t you take a few minutes right now to get on your knees and consecrate this part of your life to Him?

The only way our tongue can be subdued, tamed, and brought under control is if we submit it to the control of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says no man can tame the tongue, but the Holy Spirit is well able to tame the tongue once it has been submitted to His sanctifying power!

 

To Know The Will Of God

Recently I was having breakfast with a businessman who mentioned the fact that he had been offered a very attractive business opportunity which would mean a significant increase in income, but would necessitate a move to a city in another part of the world.

 

So he asked me, Dwight, how do I discern the will of God?” Good question!

 

You may want to ask yourself the following questions as you seek to determine the will of God:

  • Am I putting Gods desire ahead of my own?” (Matthew 26:39b)
  • Will it help me to love God and others more?” (Mark 4:19, 20)
  • How does this action relate to my personal involvement in fulfilling Christs Great Commission?” (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Will this help me lead a more holy life?” (1 Peter 1:14-16)
  • Will this course of action increase my personal knowledge of Christ?” (Philippians 3:7, 8)

Before we can discern the “unknown” will of God, we need to be sure we are obeying the “known” will of God. Basically, the “known” will of God is to obey:

 

The Great Commandment: “Love God with all your heartsoul andmind,” which always translates into obedience to His Word. (Matthew 22:37, 38; John 14:21)

 

The Great Commission: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” which translates into a life of loving service with a view toward people knowing Christ and growing in that relationship. (Matthew 22:39; 1 John 3:16)

 

QUESTION: Are you at the present time actively pursuing the “known” will of God? If not, my guess is that perceiving the “unknown” will of God may prove to be a formidable, if not an impossible task.

 

 

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