It appears that our youngest son has fallen in love. He met a young lady a few months back and we have met her, had dinner with her a few times and have spent a weekend together. Now this may not be a big deal to many parents, but we know our son had really never been in a serious relationship up to this point. And our son has a very quiet and gentle personality, so he is not the most talkative person in the world. We also know and have jokingly advised him that in order to have a relationship with someone, it’s beneficial to be able to talk and communicate. It’s amazing, however, the transformation that takes place when you find that person that seems to fit you and you fall for them. Our son hasn’t told us that he has fallen for this young lady, but he doesn’t have to. You see, our son has never really been the affectionate type, but nowadays when he comes home, he loves on his mother more. He hugs me and seems to be the happiest he has ever been. My wife has talked about the noticeable change in his life. To us, he has fallen in love with someone, and his love and affections are being poured out on to us as well.
Let me ask you, have you ever fallen in love with someone? Shouldn’t what has happened in our son’s life happen in the life of every Believer who loves Jesus Christ? Our love for Jesus ought to be noticeable in how we love on the people who are around us. His love for her has been expressed in love for us. I think this is Biblical. If you love God, your affection for Him should be noticeably expressed on those around you. But is that happening in your life? Do you love Christ so much that those around you are reaping the benefits? If not, then why not fall in love with Christ again?
How is it that those who have been called to live in victory in Christ find themselves constantly defeated? I think that’s a great question and one we all should consider. Do you feel defeated today in your marriage or in your job or workplace? Do you feel defeated as a parent or in your finances? Sometimes health issues get the best of us and we can feel defeated and feel incapable of anything good for the future. You may feel defeated and you can’t put your finger on why you feel that way. The truth is, you are not defeated! How can you be described in Romans 8:37 as “more than a conqueror through Him who loved us,” and accept a false feeling of defeat?
Please listen, the devil wants us to listen to his lies that we are defeated. He wants you and me to base everything on how we feel in a moment of struggle and difficulty. Defeated people never get up from being knocked down, but as a child of God, you must get up because God placed His overcoming Spirit inside of you. Even death itself cannot hold you down and defeat you. Praise God! This is for you to live by the truth of God’s saving grace. You may feel defeated today, but there is victory in your future. You’ve seen the player who celebrates the win before the game is called, but for the true follower of Christ, you can go ahead and raise your hands because victory took place at the cross. Don’t buy the lies of your feelings, but humbly walk in the truth of the Gospel and the truth says “Get up, you are not defeated!”
Here’s something to keep in mind—you can’t successfully run from the presence of God, but many have tried. It said of Jonah after having received clear directions from God, “But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” —Jonah 1:2. God was not only right behind Jonah as he fled, but He was in front of Jonah and all around Jonah, in the wind and in the great fish. When you run away from God, you bring trouble wherever you go. You will bring trouble to work and trouble on the highway. When you run from the Lord and begin to live in a manner you know is against God’s Will, you bring trouble to your house and trouble to the Lord’s house.
This is for the child of God who thinks they know better than God Himself. You may be able to sleep in your trouble just like Jonah slept in the storm, but you will not sleep in the whale. It’s amazing to me that God didn’t just kill Jonah, but that tells us there is grace for the rebel runners. It would shock us to know how many live in the deep consequences of disobedience to God. I’ve been there and perhaps you have to, and it’s very likely you will come into contact with someone running from the Lord before you come into contact with someone who has the virus. In case you come into contact with a runner, unless they will hear you and turn back to the Lord, your only option may be separation. Make this note right here, not every difficulty and trial is a sign of rebellion. But if you have been swallowed by a difficult circumstance, you should examine yourself and also know there is grace for another chance. If the winds of trouble are stirring, it might be someone near you inviting God’s correction.
Jonah got a second chance to do God’s Will because the One true and living God is full of grace and mercy. We all have an option when God starts calling—receive the call and walk in obedience or rebel and run. Let me encourage you to put the way you feel on the ship and let them sail away, and let us do God’s Will.
At some point in your life you have to stop blaming others! This is a childhood strategy to deflect and remain safe and protected at the expense of anyone near by. And many adults blame others for their place in life instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. I’ve done it, and most likely you have too. The reality is there are some who have been raised in abusive homes and been exposed to horrendous acts that should by all rights be given a pass to place blame on others. The strategy of blaming started in the beginning in Genesis 3:12-13 Adam said, “The woman whom You gave [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the LORD God said to the woman, “What [is] this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Adam wasn’t blaming Eve. Adam was blaming God. Adam basically told God, “If you had not given me this woman, this never would have happened.” And it’s no different today—people still blame God, but the truth is, people make decisions that produce consequences that oftentimes are devastating and debilitating. Another truth is that blaming others will never change where you are right now. Adam needed to own his mistake and confess. It wouldn’t have changed his past, but it would have greatly influenced his future. Own where you are regardless of what and who has come against you. Don’t wallow in the past, but be lifted up by faith believing God has something good waiting on you. It was Adam’s fault humanity was expelled from Paradise, but it was God’s grace and favor to bring us back in through Jesus Christ who took the blame for our sins, so we could have an everlasting place in the Kingdom of God.
“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!”Luke 15:17
This was the turnaround moment for the prodigal son who had taken his inheritance, traveled to a far country, wasted all that he had been given, only to find himself at the very lowest place he could go. I have imagined over the past few days how long this young man had already been living in the pit of life. Life pits are everywhere and many are headed that way today and many have just come from that miserable place. You most likely will run into someone today. We can only wonder and speculate what it was that caused the young man to come to himself. It definitely had something to do with his memory, because he remembered how well his father’s servants were treated. He must have thought, “If I’m going to be someone’s servant, I want to be one of my father’s servants, because he treats them so well.” This young man was wearing rags and was starving to death and completely alone and at the most desperate place in his life—and that’s when he came to himself. What a moment! That should speak to us today. You don’t have to live in misery. You don’t have to stay where you are and keep doing what you’re doing. But you must come to yourself and start walking towards the Father. Just like the prodigal son’s father was daily looking and waiting on him, our great God and Father stares towards the far country expecting one of His own to come home. This is a good day for someone to come to their senses, as one version translates it, and start your way back home to God. Our Father will receive you with grace and mercy and with great joy!
Here is a great test of spiritual maturity, understanding and faith. Can you sing at midnight? Singing in the morning when all is well comes easy for most people because no conflicts have interrupted your day. Singing at noon time comes easy for the light of day is still shining and singing in the evening is not so hard when you see the love of your family. But we all will face a midnight hour at some point when no one around you is singing and dark and depressing circumstance have taken over. Most likely Paul and Silas sang in a dark cell with painful whelps on their bodies and bleeding from unwarranted wounds. They sang when no one else was singing. They sang because they had prayed and their song reached the throne of God. God was moved by their praise! You really can’t sing, no matter how beautiful your voice is until you can sing at a midnight hour. Why not start singing, even if you don’t feel like it and you may not understand the circumstances in your life? Why not start singing praise as a song of faith and trust in God? Why not start singing as an expression of unwavering devotion to God? Don’t let what’s happening in your life take your song of praise away! If you will sing your song of praise right now, God may shake the foundations of your situation and even give you a new song. Sing “My Deliverer is coming,” sing “Great is Thy faithfulness,” sing “Jesus loves me!” Sing!!!
It never fails that when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere someone gets in my way. It doesn’t matter if it’s driving down the road or trying to get through the checkout line at the store, and it has even happened when I’ve been in desperate need of the restroom. Can you relate? And so that is just the way life is, right? But there is also a greater reality to consider, and that is the possibility of God getting in your way. Not only will God get in your way, but we’re told that in Acts 16 that the Spirit forbid Paul to preach in one place and didn’t permit him to go to another place. Paul was stopped by God.
Acts 16:6-10 “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
Please don’t think that God is not still stopping people and forbidding people from going into certain places and doing certain things. And it wasn’t like those in Asia didn’t need to hear the gospel as much as those in Macedonia. But this speaks to the intentionality of God. God can get you to where He wants you by closing the doors and by a series of what may seem like frustrating events. From my own experience, God can grab your tongue and hold it at the beginning of the most important interview of your life to stop you from going a certain direction. From my experience, God can put the brakes on your plans to move to another city even after you’ve placed a down payment on the house you intended to live in just by speaking softly to you through the reading of His Word. God can stop you by speaking through the mouth of a complete stranger or He can stop you by troubling your spirit and keeping you up all night over a decision you’re about to make.
What this Holy Spirit intervention tells me is that we need to become very familiar with the Holy Spirit’s voice and grow in our relationship with Him. It also tells me that when I sense God is getting in my way, to not force the issue and ignore His prompting just to create my own disaster. We often run into walls that frustrate, but in the greater reality, those are heaven’s guardrails meant to get you headed in the right direction. God has a way He wants us to go and it’s always towards Him and never away from Him. This very moment your life is headed in a specific direction, as is the whole world. If you’re not going God’s way, you should expect His grace-filled intervention. When Paul was forbidden to go one way, He anticipated God sending him another way. Like Paul, wait for God to show you the way, and then walk in it!
Whose schedule are you on? James 4:15 says “Instead you [ought] to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” Are you making plans without including God? It’s possible that what you are planning doesn’t fit into God’s personal schedule for your life or God’s global schedule for the world. So many people had to postpone wedding and cancel vacations and relocate funerals and dip into savings because there was another major event unfolding we didn’t know about. You can say Amen, you know that’s true, but what about the future? One thing for sure is that you can make plans, but God’s scheduled events for you personally and globally are going to happen.
Make plans and include God and then be ready to reschedule, reroute, or cancel altogether. God is working mightily in this world and He did not allow His Son to die on the cross to postpone His scheduled events because of ours. Jesus was born at the absolute perfect time and crucified on the cross at the right time to the day and hour, and He is coming again right on schedule. Let me encourage you if you haven’t already, get on God’s schedule, because His is so much greater than ours.
The abundant life is not automatic! Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come to give life and to give it more abundantly.” You might think that if you have Jesus, you automatically have the abundant life, but that’s not true. It would be great if the abundant life was like the headlights on new vehicles that detect when to come on or when to dim. We live in a world full of things that are automatic, but the abundant life of God never has been and never will be. That is by God’s design too for whoever wants the abundant life, it is available, but just by praying a prayer for salvation is no guarantee you will live the abundant life. I believe most born again Christians meet the requirements for salvation by faith, but never qualify for the rich abundant life of Christ through complete surrender, unwavering devotion, and selfless seeking of God. We all struggle in this area and there are some who claim abundant life, but it’s only flashes of emotion.
So how do you know if you actually live the abundant life? It’s not by the smile I wear and it’s not by the possessions I have and it’s not by the confidence in my voice. Again, it’s not automatic. The abundant life comes by following the voice of the Shepherd and obeying His words. Now, one of the strongest supports that shows you are living the abundant life that comes from Jesus is when you begin to share it with others. You can have a good religious life and still fall short of the abundant life. Only when the life of God flows through you can you experience the abundant life that is always available, but never automatic. The thief is a master thief who cares less about your possessions, but he sets his eyes on the life flow of God. The moment you begin to tell others what our great God is doing in your life, that’s the abundant life in action and on display in your life. So, tell God you want His life to flow through you. And when it does, you will not be able hold it back, but you will tell it to everyone.
The Lord asked the prophets, “What do you see?” We don’t all have the same spiritual abilities, but considering the time we live in, this is still a timely question. It implies that we are looking and observing and pleading with God to open our eyes. You cannot afford to be spiritually blind right now for the sake of your family. We all have limited vision and the enemy does everything possible to block our vision. What do you see? Personally I see an unraveling of our society. I see anger and violence and divisions even in families because what we think and what we feel is greater than the love that has been cultivated. I see Christians who are more political than spiritual. I definitely don’t see everything, but I see a denial that we live in a lost nation turned away from Holy God. I see the attitude that somehow God is still going to bless us when our house is not in order. What do you see? I see a desperate desire to keep worshipping the idols all around us instead of our God who holds our breath. You may ask, cause I hear it in my spirit, “Do you see anything good?” Anything positive or uplifting? The answer is YES! I see opportunities of mercy for Gods people to get right with Him. I see we are in a short season of grace. I see fear that will be turned into faith and I see faith being purified by unbelievable trials. I see prayer closets filled with saints who have fallen from their first love renewed in their love for Christ. I see a Holy Spirit anointing coming on Gods elect to live and witness during the time of unparalleled evil and darkness. I see great things happening spiritually. I see the bride of Christ making herself ready to be joined to the bridegroom. But what do you see? Would you ask God to open your eyes as I do so we can see our enemy is inside the camp? Our vision increases with the time we spend in prayer and in His Word. Be blessed, the end of all things is at hand!