THESE WORKS

What would you think, if in passing, you were to ask me, “What are you up to now-a-days?”, and I were to answer, saying…

“Oh, just testifying to the Truth,

“bringing a sword to the world and

“turning sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers.

“I am working at fulfilling the Hebrew and Judaic law and that of their prophets, and

“calling sinners to righteousness.  

“I am bringing fire upon the earth and to creating a lot of division.  

“I guess you might say I have been busy working at saving the world”.  

 WHICH WORKS?

It is interesting that Jesus commanded His disciples (Christians) to do the works that He has done and even greater works than these.  We are to continue in His mission, using His methods and His ways. (John 14:12, Matthew 10:1)

It can be a bit confusing, but He promised us that He will be with us, in His authority, giving us direction and even giving us the words we should use.  (Matthew 28:16-19, Luke 21:15, Luke 12:12)

WHY DID JESUS COME INTO THE WORLD?

“For this purpose I have been born, and for this I have come into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”  This, too, is our calling!

 TO TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH

John 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born, and for this I have come into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”  This, too, is our calling!

TO BRING A SWORD

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to TURN A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A PERSON’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.”  This, too, is our calling!

 TO FULFILL THE LAW

17 Do not presume that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.”  This, too, is our calling!

TO CALL SINNERS

17 And hearing this, Jesus *said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  This, too, is our calling!

TO SAVE THE WORLD

47 If anyone hears My teachings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”   In a very real sense, This, too, is our calling, by lifting the Name of Jesus, telling others and leading them to Him

TO CAST FIRE & BRING DIVISION UPON THE EARTH

49 “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I came to provide peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather to create division;  This, too, is our calling!

 

WHAT HE REALLY MEANT, WAS…

John 14:12 Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

I have heard so many preachers and bible teachers try to justify or explain away these Words of Jesus because they just cannot fathom the gentle and sweet ‘dashboard Jesus’ saying such things as we find in the verses cited.  These same confused preachers really get tied in a knot over John 14:12.  They will begin their commenary of teaching it with, “what this really means is…”.

Jesus said what He meant and meant exactly what He said.  We need to get over it and get on with it.

CONTEXT

The year is now 2021.  A recent president of the United States has declared that America is no longer a Christian nation.  Postmodernism is a term used to describe this new paradigm.  Our churches are practicing a new version of the Gospel of Jesus Christ often described by a “3-line motto” which can be seen across the spectrum of churches in America:  “Gather, Grow, Give” or “Love each other, Enjoy Jesus, Share Him with others”, etc.

These mottoes are an attempt to describe the church and its ministry to the watching world or to the ‘church shopping Christian’.  But, if these mottoes or labels are supposed to describe Jesus and His Church, they fail.

Jesus’  purpose in coming to earth was not to teach a social gospel, create a ‘family life center’, to make you a better you or to shake up the existing religious institutions.  Jesus was on a specific Mission from God the Father as is reflected in the foregoing Bible verses.  Jesus confirms that He is on His Father’s mission,, in John 5:19,  “Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in the same way.”

With this in mind, can you, in your most vivid imagination, see Jesus announcing “mother’s morning out”, “cookies and campfires for kids”, “fishing with fathers and sons”, “financial workshops”, etc?  You might say “what’s wrong with that?”.  I would respond that there is nothing wrong with these activities, but, they have nothing to do with Jesus Mission and our calling to that mission.

THE BOTTOM LINE

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.”

FACING REALITY

Everything Jesus has done is IN THE CONTEXT of what God the Father said. But, the world, both Christian and secular worlds seem to have decided that Jesus is exclusively a gentle little lamb.  But, if you make a closer inspection and take an honest look a what the Bible says, you see a different picture:  Jesus is both the Lion of Judah and the Sacrificial Lamb.  He is both careful with His words and brutally honest.  He is both gentle and forceful.

THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE

If you came home and saw your house on fire, knowing your family was inside, what would you do?  Would you politely suggest everyone might want to step outside or would you take immediate action, sparing no effort or words to alert everyone to the immediate danger and move them to safety at any cost?

Likewise, God’s creation is perishing because of lack of knowledge of Him and Jesus is doing what is necessary to save the world.  We may not always understand His words, His methods or His ways, but it would be prudent to observe, listen, think and obey Him.

The world has long held a misconception, a distorted view of God.  We have made Him into a “kinder and gentler” image which we would prefer.

Jesus is setting that record straight in order to save the world from itself.

SO, WHAT ABOUT JESUS BEHAVIORS?

Most who have read this far, should have been shocked by the opening paragraphs of this article, but, that is EXACTLY what Jesus said and did.  These are EXACTLY the behaviors of our Savior.  Jesus’ words and behaviors are the perfect balance of love for this world coupled with rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness  This, too, is our calling!  

His words and actions must be kept in context, lest we misuse them, ourselves.  Read John 3:16 again, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.”

Jesus’ words and behaviors are the perfect balance of love for this world coupled with rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness.  This, too, is our calling!

WE ARE IN AN END DAYS WAR

We are locked in the eternal Spiritual struggle.  Millions upon millions of souls are at risk.  We cannot fight and win this battle using our own means, methods and ways.  It is urgent that we return to Jesus, to His methods and His ways.  It is urgent that we have the mind of Christ at all times and in all matters.  Anything less ends in defeat.

If you dispute or dismiss the idea that God’s ways may seem strict harsh or unfair, remember, God sacrificed His own Son for you.  That seems strict, harsh and unfair.

Jesus willingly gave up His own life for this Cause which also seems strict, harsh and unfair.

And, if God did not spare the natural branches (His own Jewish / Hebrew people), how will you stay secure in this Cause without following Him?  Does this also seems strict, harsh and unfair?  Perhaps.  But it is the only way!

WE MUST GET THIS RIGHT

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  We cannot fight this war with conventional earthly method, means or way.  WE MUST GET THIS RIGHT in our minds and do this in real-time!

This is the only way, for it is written.  This will shake the very foundations of your life, your church and the world!

  • TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH
  • BRING A SWORD
  • FULFILL THE LAW
  • CALL SINNERS TO REPENTANCE
  • SAVE THISWORLD
  • CAST FIRE & BRING DIVISION UPON THE EARTH
  • WHAT HE REALLY MEANT, WAS (John 14:12 )Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

From one Christian to another:  Time is short.  His return is near.  It is time each of us, individually and collectively, to really pick up our cross and really follow Him.  Now!  Today!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

(Contact me and let’s get to work, together!)

whitestonefellowship1@protonmail.com

 

PS:  Just in case you were wondering.  The Bible is clear:  I am not talking about us saving ourselves.  No one can earn their way into the Kingdom of Heaven by what they say or do apart from Jesus.  Our salvation and place in heaven is secured solely by God’s Grace and through our faith in Jesus.

How we act, that is, our words and our behaviors are a reflection of our attitude.  And our attitude, our mind set, must be the same as Christ.  Philippians 2:5  exhorts us to “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

Your attitudes and resultant words and behaviors are what will free you or will limit you.

You will overcome because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of your testimony, and that you do not love this life even when faced with death.

JUST LIVE WITH IT

Galatians 5:16I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (17)For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

(25 )If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

WHAT DOES IT SAY?

Walk in the Spirit” translated literally says, “I walk, in an ethical sense: I conduct my life, live according to the Spirit of God; to make the best use of my opportunities” so that I am not consumed or pursuing lustful or selfish, self-centered matters.”

It is vitally important to take notice and understand what it means that the Spirit and the flesh are ‘contrary’ to one another.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

To “walk” in the Bible is often a metaphor for practical daily living. The Christian life is a journey, and we are to “walk” it, that is, we are to make consistent forward progress. The biblical norm for all believers is that they walk in the Spirit: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”.

The statement that “the Spirit and the flesh are ‘contrary’ to one another”, besides meaning they counteract or repel one another, it literally says the Spirit pushes down on or through the flesh, “so that you cannot do the things you want to do”.

This carries the idea of being double-minded, and, James (1:7)warns that a person “ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, (8)while being double-minded, as they are unstable in all their ways.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

Again, it is vitally important to take notice that the Spirit and the flesh are ‘contrary’ to one another. In other words, they counter act or repel one another “so that you cannot do the things you want to do”. Unless you correct this state of affairs, you are inert and basically, ‘good for nothing but to be trod under foot of man’, as Jesus puts it.

Secondly, and here is where it gets tricky, we are basically back to the principal of “Binding and Loosing”, and this is KEY!  (words in parentheses are my notes; words in brackets are footnotes at the bottom of this page)

Matthew 18:18Truly I say to you, whatever you [r] bind on earth (*the flesh)[s] shall have been bound in heaven (*the Spirit); and whatever you [t] loose on earth (*the flesh) [u] shall have been loosed in (*the Spirit) heaven.

(19) “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth (*the flesh) about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them [v] by My Father who is in heaven (*the Spirit). 20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” 

BINDING AND LOOSING – A SERIOUS MATTER. The Bible says that whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven; in other words, once a matter is bound in heaven, then it will be manifest on earth. It is a covenant with God and is a serious matter. God is saying that if you are going to enter into a covenant agreement with Him as His disciple, the standards of such a covenant are “high as the heavens are from the earth”, and the discipline necessary is impossibly strict, in the flesh, and can only be done by way of the Spirit of God, and the commitment is for life.

When you make a “causal statement” such as, found in James 4:13, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” (14) Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. (15 ) Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that”, you are, in essence, making a VOW.

(Notice I said C-A-U-S-A-L, not casual. A statement of intent to do or create something)

When you make a statement with your mouth, it is as if you are making a vow before the Lord. (A spoken word, made “by the living voice” is translated as “Rhḗma”, from Strong’s concordance #4483, /rhéō, “to speak”) – a spoken word, made “by the living voice”.  See John 15:7).

This is an important point.  It is important enough that Matthew 12:36 warns usthat for every idle (careless, useless, lazy, barren) word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. (37) For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” So, Matthew 5:37 instructs us But make sure your statement is, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil origin.”

Now, back to making a CAUSAL statement of a VOWAn idle word, by definition from the Bible, is a word that is careless, lazy, and useless. It comes to nothing except ridicule and humiliation and as the Bible states, by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

BINDING a word, to make it “useful, active and productive”, YOU MUST WALK IT OUT (i.e., “do it”) in the flesh (on earth) by way of the Spirit of God.

WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Finally, I will attempt to draw a word-picture as an illustration of this profound Truth.

SCENARIO 1.

Assume you are standing on earth, praying or speaking (vowing) a Rhḗma word. God hears your words or ‘vows’ or prayer from heaven and answers you, opening the way for its accomplishment.

But supposing you fail to act on God’s answer to that word, it remains idle, useless and barren, the result of a careless, lazy word; and by this you will be justified, or you will be condemned!

Can you see the importance of every word that proceed out of your mouth?

SCENARIO 2.

Assume you are standing on earth, praying or speaking (vowing) a Rhḗma word. God hears your words or ‘vows’ or prayer from heaven and answers you, opening the way for its accomplishment.

Assuming you act on God’s answer and you and you “WALK IT OUT” (i.e., ‘you do it’) and it is accomplished. The result of a carefully spoken word; and by this you will be justified!

Ephesians 2:10  ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

Now, when you read or hear that “All things are possible for him who believes” perhaps you will believe! Matthew 21:22And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.”

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS: For anyone who immediately begins to pick these verses apart with a “Yeah, But” excuse, I am truly sorry for you.

This is the plain Truth. JUST LIVE WITH IT!

[r] 18 I.e., forbid
[s] 18 Gr fut. pft. pass. tense
[t] 18 I.e., permit
[u] 18 Gr fut. pft. pass. tense
[v] 19 Lit from

https://www.gotquestions.org/Spirit-walk.html

REALITY CHECK

Is the TRIBULATION of the current social and political unrest, chaos and uncertainty getting to you? Having trouble getting things done? It could be a problem with your ability to focus, or it could be an early warning sign of a deeper problem.

IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT BE DECEIVED. All things which you can see and touch on this earth, originate and are emanating from the “Unseen world” of the Heavens. This includes this Time of TRIBULATION we are currently experiencing.

2 Corinthians 4:18 “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old gained approval.

3 By faith we understand that the world has been created by the Word of God so that what is seen has not been made out of things that are visible.

1 Timothy 1:17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. “

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Colossians 1:15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: 16 for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.”

A GREAT DELUSION

There is both A Great Delusion and A Great Deception at work.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 That is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved.”

11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”

Do not trust your natural mind or your natural abilities to struggle against the things of this age, that is, things of this increasing time of the TRIBULATION.

THE BATTLE WITHIN AND WITHOUT

Galatians 5:17 tells us that the desires of our “Flesh” (i.e., or mind, will and emotions – our psyche, or our ‘soulfulness’) work against the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God, Who dwells within us works against our natural mind, our will and emotions; the Bible tells us that our “Flesh” and the Spirit of God, which would dwell in you as a Christian, are in opposition to one another, and this unseen conflict keeps you from doing whatever you want. Galatians 5:17

So, ask yourself, “Do I constantly struggle with or am I prone to participate in”

      • sexual immorality, carousing, impurity, indecent behavior, whether it is physically or a constant mental obsession
      • idolatry, obsession with luck, witchcraft, horoscopes, charms
      • hostility, strife, outbursts of anger, dissensions, factions
      • jealousy, selfish ambition, envy,
      • drunkenness, excessive drinking or drug use

and things like these? The Bible forewarns us of this. I am taking notice for myself, and I am telling you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (inherit: Will not take part in, will not inhabit, will not have any right to)

The Bible goes on to teach that if you are “led by the Spirit of God”, you are not under “the Law”, that is external controls and condemnation for past actions.

You see, the manifestation or “the fruit” of the Spirit of God, when He is actually dwelling in a person, is manifest through an attitude and a behavior which demonstrates

      • love,
      • joy,
      • peace,
      • patience,
      • kindness,
      • goodness,
      • faithfulness,
      • gentleness,
      • self-control;

Again, the Bible teaches that these manifest actions are the results of the Spirit of God dwelling in and controlling your “Flesh” (your mind, your will, your emotions, i.e., your psyche) and effectively abrogate any and all effects of “the Law”, that is the external controls and condemnation for past actions.

You see, and odd as it may sound, those who actually belong to Christ Jesus “are crucifying and continue to crucify the passions and desires of their Flesh”.  (This takes the hard work of prayer and seeking and appropriating the freedom Christ has given us.)

This crucifixion’ results in what the Bible calls FREEDOM.  Free to think and act and to submit ourselves to the decisive and effective power of God which would emanate from Him through our lives.

So – How do these things I have discussed, connect?  What do they have to do with one another?

 1.  What we see (the visible things) come from what we cannot see (the invisible things).

 2.  The Great Deceit and the Great Delusion

 3.  Evidence which reveal whether you are “Controlled in the Spirit of God” or you are “Controlled by the Flesh”.

The visible political and social war of Conservative ideals which are based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible VERSUS the reemergence of Marxism/Communism and a One World Government, is the product of a Spiritual War that has been raging since the beginning of time.

This war is being waged by the great dragon, Satan, by means of deceit and lies and God has sent a great delusion upon those who do not believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Whether you are part of the problem and are being deceived or whether you are part of the solution of God’s Plan can be determined by your attitude and behavior – no matter what you say, what you do speak the truth.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

(PS:  This was hard to write, because I am convicted of these things.  Please, pray for me and I will pray for you)

2 Corinthians 10:3 “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses

4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5 We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

7 Do you look on things on the outward appearance? If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, have him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so too are we.”

WHAT SHOULD I DO IN THIS TIME OF TRIBULATION?

Our task, our duty and our allegiance is to Jesus Christ, alone!  The warfare we now face, takes preparation, discipline, diligence, steadfast commitment and ACTION! 

It is unlike any conflict or war you have ever fought or have thought about fighting.  THIS IS A SPIRITUAL BATTLE being played out on planet earth.  The root of this Tribulation Period is in the Heavens and our battle must be fought there, first!

I have, to the best of my ability, with diligence, spelled out what I read in the Bible as Jesus’ stance and instruction on what a Christian’s response should be to attacks on their person, their property, their freedoms as well as threats of terror.  I have posted these articles on my website, on my blog site and on various social media platforms.  

I am hearing responses such as:

“The Church of Jesus cannot afford to simply be passive, it must stand for biblical truth.”

“Your remarks of pacifism are like Baal worship.  We have a responsibility to defend ourselves and fight for our freedoms.”

“Christians have a right to fight back.”

Based on these replies, I apparently I am not properly communicating the plain and obvious Word of God.  I apologize.  Please, let me try again.

I.   I AM NOT ADVOCATING STANDING IDLY BY TO BE SLAUGHTERED

II.  SECONDLY, I would like to state that, in case of emergencies or crises, I have stored some extra food supplies, water, dry goods, “implements for defensive measures” and means to buy or sell or barter.  I am not a fool.  We have seen how crisis and panic causes people to act, so I am trying to be prepared for any eventuality.  And, yes, I get angry at what I see happening to our Nation or world and our way of life.  

Supplies of food, water and money may help in the short run, but they aren’t going to save me.  Getting angry may be a natural response, but it will not help me or save me.  As I have said repeatedly, government is failing us, politics have failed us, educational systems are failing us, technology is being used against us, medicine can’t save us, so, my question is now, and always has been:  

WHAT SHOULD I DO in response to this Tribulation which now encompasses me?  What can I do?  

I have written and posted about this Ad Nauseam, but once again, here is what the Bible tells us:

Luke 21:14-19, says, So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. “But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. “Yet not a hair of your head will perish. “By your endurance you will gain your lives.”

Matthew 24:4247. says, “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 For this reason you must be ready as well; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. 

45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household slaves, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

III.   Examples of expected result of Service and Obedience to God in Tribulation:

2 Corinthians 11:23-27 says, “Are they servants of Christ?—I am speaking as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent adrift at sea. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”  (The Apostle Paul’s response to threats and ‘terrorism’.)

IV.  Scriptural description of our “WEAPONS”:

  • Ecclesiastes 9:18 tells us, “Wisdom is better than weapons of war.”
  • Isaiah 13:5 tells us,  “They are coming from a distant country, From the farthest horizons, The Lord and the weapons of His indignation, To destroy the whole land.”
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, says,  “For, though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,  and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 
  • 2 Corinthians 10:7 tells us, You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, have him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so too are we.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:3. says, “We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry.  In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.  We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed.  Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.”

Isiah 54:17  says,No weapon that is formed against you will succeed; And you will condemn every tongue that accuses you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 51:20-23 says, You are My war-club, My weapon of war;  And with you, I shatter nations, And with you, I destroy kingdoms.  

 “With you I shatter the horse and his rider, And with you I shatter the chariot and its rider, 

“And with you I shatter man and woman, And with you I shatter the old man and youth, And with you I shatter the young man and virgin, 

“And with you I shatter the shepherd and his flock, And with you I shatter the farmer and his team, And with you I shatter governors and officials.”

Jeremiah 50:25  says, “The LORD has opened His armory  And has brought out the weapons of His indignation, For it is a work of the Lord GOD of armies.

V.   RECAP – 

The reason we don’t understand the Biblical instruction and requirements on our response to the Tribulation which is besetting us:

  1. You are looking at things as they are outwardly. (2 Corinthians 10:7)

Our weapons are described as:

  1. Wisdom is better than weapons of war. (Ecclesiastes 9:18)
  2. The weapons of His indignation.(Jeremiah 50:25)
  3. The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh.(2 Corinthians 10: 4)
  4. The weapons of our warfare are divinely powerful. (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Designated use and purpose of our weapons:

  1. The weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack.
  2. The weapons of righteousness in the left hand for defense.
  3. For the destruction of fortresses
  4. We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, 
  5. Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
  6. we are ready to punish all disobedience.

The origin of our weapons:

  1. The weapons of His indignation.

You and I say we believe in God, but do we BELIEVE HIM?  When Jesus said, “Come to me”, Would you have gotten out of the boat with Peter and walked on the water?

We say a lot of brave things, but, now it is time to do them.  It is time for obedience to Christ Jesus, because doing things your own way can be fatal.  Taking matters into your own hands can be deadly.

We have put our hand to the plow of the Gospel and if you take your hand off that plow, now, or look back now, you will find yourself LEFT BEHIND!

Our task, our duty and our allegiance is to Jesus Christ, alone!  This warfare takes preparation, discipline, diligence, steadfast commitment and ACTION!  It is unlike and conflict or war you have ever fought or thought about fighting.  THIS IS A SPIRITUAL BATTLE being played out on planet earth.  The root of this Tribulation is in the Heavens, and our battle must be fought there, first!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

AM I REALLY SEEING WHAT I THINK I AM SEEING?

WHEN DOES THE 7 YEARS BEGIN?

THE SONS OF OUR FATHER

SONS OF YOUR FATHER

MATTHEW 5:43-48 – SONS OF YOUR FATHER

v43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven;”

WHAT DOES IT SAY?

Once again, “Jesus is turning the world right side up” in its thinking, using the Law of Moses (the Torah). Jesus is taking one teaching of the Law, at a time, and is saying, “I have come to fulfill the Law and to show you” the one and only way to successfully navigate this world in order to be made ready for the next world, which is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus began His ministry saying, “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand.”  His command and warning is resonating in these teachings. He is saying, in these most profound revelations of Truth, that how you think and believe, (which, naturally, results in how you behave) are the keys to eternal life. The first and foremost Truth is believing on the One whom God has sent: Jesus.

Jesus is saying that it is not enough to simply think a certain way. You must believe with an unwavering and unmovable certainty of the Truth. This requires faith which is full of the substance of the Truth and certain of the thing hoped for, and then is manifest as the proof of things not yet seen.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Jesus is telling His listeners (readers) that they although have been loving the lovable, the friendly, the relative, those with whom you live in peace, it is not enough; because they have been hating those they consider to be an “enemy”, those who are unlovable, unlovely, not-so-friendly those who cause discomfort, are considered a threat of strife or war.

But, Jesus says, “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven”.  This can be one of the most difficult things to understand and to do without the right understanding.

First things first:   Jesus is speaking to Jews and to His Christian Disciples, and  these Truths are meant for His disciples (followers), present and future.  Anyone can listen to Jesus, but, not everyone can hear and understand what He is saying.  Anyone can attempt to apply these Truths to their life because the Truth is universal.  But, a person cannot live the Truth without Christ Jesus because Jesus is the Truth, bodily. (John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”)

Secondly, “sin” is THE obstacle that causes you to separate yourself from the presence and love of God.  Sin is rebellion toward God and to His Word, and it is THE obstacle to entering the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God.

Notice that the keys words here are “Love” and “Hate”.  Remembering that these words of Jesus, these Eternal Truths are written

          • TO THE CHRISTIAN,
          • ABOUT BEING A CHRISTIAN AND
          • FOR THE CHRISTIAN,

So, 1 John 4:20 tells us that “If someone says, “I love God,” and yet he hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.”

Again, 1 John 3:15 says, “Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

Simply put, God is Love.   Hate is not of God.  If these two coexist in the life of a Christian, you will stumble. If they persist in the life of a Christian, there is a deeper and darker problem embedded in your soul.

Additionally, you must “know the enemy or more correctly put, know who and what is the enemy. The Bible tells us “who is the enemy.” 

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

You can and must understand (1) Who the enemy is, and (2) How to withstand and overcome the enemy.  This is done only by way of the indwelling Presence of God (The Holy Spirit).  Anything less should cause you grave concern about your life now, your effectiveness in the Kingdom work, and perhaps, even your eternal security.

WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Will you take the time and apply the discipline necessary to prepare and equip yourself?  It will take submission to Jesus as your Lord and savior and, you must study to become equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16)

Remember, one of the hallmarks of a Disciple of Christ is that you will be able to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Just doing this without know WHY and HOW is works without faith.

Additional resources for your Journey:

(This video study series is from The Fuel Project and has over 37 informative, helpful and eye-opening lessons)

Let’s Gird up!  The enemy is at the gates!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS:  Jesus is moving us from engaging the world in “wordly matters” and leading us to serve Him in His Father’s Mission.

This is what these teachings do:  They move us into His Kingdom, doing Kingdom matters in preparation for His return.

BEWARE – IT’S A TRAP

MATTHEW 5:38-42 – IT’S A TRAP

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘EYE FOR EYE, and TOOTH FOR TOOTH.’ 39 But I say to you, do not show opposition against an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other toward him also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

WHAT DOES IT SAY?

Many contemporary and postmodern Jewish teachers will argue that these verses were never meant to be a means of retaliation, retribution or revenge, and instead were meant to maintain social and legal justice and equilibrium. But, the Bible, the Torah and history show otherwise.

Jesus is equally clear that an “EYE FOR EYE, and TOOTH FOR TOOTH” were like-kind compensation based on retaliation, and it is evil. This is why He says, do not show opposition against an evil person”, comparing this law of retribution to evil. So, it is no wonder Jewish teachers were making volumes of excuses and alternate explanations as to the meaning of this Law.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The expression “lex talionis” is a Latin word meaning “retaliation” and comes from the first compilation of the Roman law, written in 450 BC and known as the Twelve Tables and written: “If a man has broken the limb of another man, unless he makes his peace with him, there shall be like for like, talio esto.” Different legal documents of the Ancient Near East sorts three kinds of retaliation that pattern the logic of the lex talionis, that is to say, based on a substantial restitution. The first is restitution in kind for someone’s property that someone else has damaged. To Rothkamm, this is a civil talio.

The second is an identical and equivalent retaliation that affects a bodily part of the perpetrator who has bodily harmed his victim. To Rothkamm this is a criminal talio.

Finally, there is what he calls the vicarious talio, which consists inharming or killing a relative of the perpetrator because the latter has harmed or killed someone’s relative. This solution is obviously violent and unfair since it ends up harming an innocent who is strange to the conflict.

Jewish law (The Torah) with all the subsequent additions, meant exactly what it said. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”, and if you live by this law, you shall die by this law. There is never fulfillment or satisfaction of this Law. It breeds resentment, sorrow, hatred and the continuing need for revenge.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

Christianity should not reflect the culture of the world around it because Christianity is “Counter Cultural” and her mission is to influence and change the culture to reflect the image. Person and mind of Christ Jesus. Therefore, this teaching and these verses are exactly that: COUNTER CULTURAL, reflecting the image and mind of Christ Jesus.

Jesus, first reveals and then teaches the Eternal Truth, which has always been in existence, “do not show opposition against an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other toward him also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. “

A contemporary or postmodernist is likely to argue that Jesus’ teaching makes no sense whatever. But, then again, Spiritual matters are Spiritually discerned, so they are foolishness to the natural man or woman because they do not have the Spirit of God within them.

It is unfortunate that many, if not most, churches are no longer COUNTER to the current culture, instead, they are teaching you to mirror the culture as an attempt to appear relevant, thinking their relevance will attract them to the Truth. Another word for that is “Pandering”; the postmodern church is pandering to the current culture in order to appear relevant. It does not work.

God is calling people out of the world’s culture of false images, deception, and atheistic or religious humanism which promulgates fear, resentment, greed and ultimately, death, disease and destruction of the human soul.

WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Jesus says to Christians:

“Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other toward him also.
40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak also.
41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

DON’T

Don’t surrender. Surrender is a trap to draw you away from God.

Don’t pander. Pandering is deceitful and it makes you a liar.

Don’t shrink back. That is cowardly and God takes no pleasure in that.

DO

DO 10 Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

DO 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

DO 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

DO 14 Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all,

DO take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

DO 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The “bottom line” is that the “power of our strength” comes from Him.

It is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, Who gives you and me a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.  The eyes of our hearts have been enlightened, so that you and I can know the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance in us, His saints, so you and I can know the boundless greatness of His power toward us who believe.  This is in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (Ephesians 1:17-19, paraphrased)

IT IS A TRAP of Satan, to lure you away from His Holiness and from His and to snare you with evil thoughts of retribution and sin thereby rendering you exposed and ineffective in the Kingdom.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

LET’S DO IT FIRST – THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT

 

 

God Provided.  But, the Israelites still had to get up, go out, bend down and pick up the “mana”, put in their own mouth and eat it! 

And, so must we.

 

 

Exodus 16:4  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, so that I may test them to see whether they will walk in My instruction. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” 6So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, “At evening you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt; 7and in the morning.

I remember, early in my career as a salesman, how my colleagues would talk about all they were going to accomplish, thanks to the big company they worked for.  They would talk about how much they were going to sell, how big a business they were going to build, how much money they were going to make.  They always seemed to have a big plan, complete with details.  They talked about it all the time, and studied their plan daily.  But, very few ever accomplished anything close to what they promised.  They would do what was convenient but never what was required.  Then, when year-end conventions came around and accomplishment awards were given, they would stand, gazing at those who had said very little in public about what they were going to accomplish, but, in the end, those getting ther rewards, had actually DONE what needed to be done, to win the prize.

The president of our company must have heard what sounded a lot like bragging from those who only did what was convenient, and I assume he was tired of hearing their empty talk. So, he gave a speech he titled, “JUST DO IT, then talk about it”.  It became one his favorite speeches, and he gave it often.  He would love to say, “Just do it, and do it, and do it, and do it, until you can’t do it anymore.  And when you’ve done what you said, THEN TALK ABOUT IT!”  I thought it was great advice, and I did my best to DO IT that way!

Now-a-days, I am still hearing and reading remarks and memes about what people are going to do.  But now, it’s from us who are Christians, and it goes something like this:

“God’s got this.  (Just sit back and watch)”

“Stop worrying. Relax. We win in the end”

“God is still on the throne”

“Were “good”.   We are in God’s Hands”

“God’s in control”

“It is 100% God winning the day.”

All these remarks are true, and they are great reminders – but, all-to-often, nothing changes.  So, I have t ask, “Why do we just keep gazing into the sky and waiting”?

The problem is, what is being said seems more like wishful thinking than marching orders or a battle cry.

Look at Exodus 16 again:

  • v4  ”Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you;”  
        • In other words, “GOD’S GOT THIS” – He is doing His part.
  • and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, so that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.   
        • In other words, WE HAVE A PART TO PLAY IN GOD’S PROVISION – I.E., WE MUST BE OBEDIENT AND DO WHAT HE SAYS – this is our part.
  • v5  On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”
        • In other words, WE HAVE TO FOLLOW GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS AND EXECUTE HIS PLAN, HERE ON EARTH
  • v6  So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, “At evening you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt; 7and in the morning.  
        • In other words, AFTER GOD HAS DONE HIS PART AND WE HAVE DONE OUR PART, WE CAN THEN TRUTHFULLY, CONFIDENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY SAY,

“God’s got this”

“Stop worrying. Relax. We win in the end”

“God is still on the throne”

“You are in God’s Hands”

“God’s in control”

“It is 100% God winning the day.”

Again, in the New Testament, we are reminded (reprimanded):

Acts 1:10 “And as they (Jesus’ disciples) were gazing intently into the sky while He was ascending into heaven,, then behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them, 11and they said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

In other words, STOP JUST STANDING THERE AND GET ABOUT DOING WHAT I HAVE JUST TOLD YOU TO BE DOING:  

Jesus was clear (Matthew 28:16-19)

  •  Go, therefore,
        • In other words, “GO”
  • and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you;
        • In other words, “DO”
  • and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
        •  In other words, when the Works are finished, and we have DONE what HE has told us to DO, then, we can TRUTHFULLY, CONFIDENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY SAY,

“God had this. all along”

“Stop worrying. Relax. We won”

“God is still on the throne”

“We are in His Hands”

“God’s in control”

“It is 100% Jesus”

Jesus teaches on making ‘vows’ or statements about what you are going to do.  It’s interesting and helpful.  Read it?  (click here)

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

I SWEAR IT!

Have you ever heard the idiom, “cross my heart and hope to die”?

Simply put, it is sort of a vow that someone is being truthful.  For example, I did lock the door-cross my heart and hope to die!  This phrase most likely originated as a religious oath based on the sign of the cross; it is generally accompanied by hand gestures such as crossing one’s hands over one’s breast and then pointing the right-hand skyward.  Sadly, there may be more truth to this idiom than one may realize.
 

MATTHEW 5:33-37 – “I  VOW”

v33 “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ 34 But I say to you, take no oath at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, nor by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. 36 Nor shall you take an oath by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. 37 But make sure your statement is, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil origin.”

WHAT DOES IT SAY

The Torah taught that if you made any vow or promise or told others you would do something, it was the same as telling God you would do it.  In contemporary terms, “your word became your bond”.

Jews were notoriously guilty of common swearing especially when making vow, for which our Lord particularly reprehends them, and warns his disciples against.  They swore by heaven, by earth, by Jerusalem, by their head, their own writings, adding a false sense of importance or weight to their vow and avoiding using the name of God in the vow in order to avoid profaning the Name of the Lord.

Jews would also swear by the prophets, the books of Scripture, the Temple, the altar, the lamb, the Temple’s chambers, the Temple’s dishes, the sacrifices on fire, the moon, stars, the sun, their hair, their beard, and on and on.  

The use of all these names gave the Jew an excuse to avoid filling their vow.  And, with so much swearing it was impossible not to profane God.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN

The word “Vow” here, literally translates to perjure oneself or to swear an oath falsely which is closely related to the 9th Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” which means to “give false testimony” against a neighbor;  It is also tantamount to taking the Name of God in vain.  Either way, it was a very serious matter.

What is crystal clear, however, is that whether you are lying or taking the Name of God in vain, you are sinning and the consequences of being separated from God, as we have already discussed, can be dire. – Isaiah 59:2.But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU

There is a distinction you must make between sinning, (in this case by making “false vows”) versus your sins being covered (forgiven) by the “sacrificial Blood of Jesus” – that is, being saved by God’s Grace through faith in Jesus.  

You can be certain that surrendering your life to Jesus, repenting of your sins and by confessing Jesus as Lord, that you will be saved and are forgiven, and you are “washed clean”.

The Bible teaches, however, that there is a difference  between repenting of those sins and continuing to practice those sins (without restraint or remorse).

Galatians 5:19-21  “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 You can read https://whitestone2020.com/2020/07/17/sin-no-more/ for more on this, but for now, just know that God is not mocked.  He understands your heart, which is “more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?  The Lord searches our heart and tests our mind and will deal with each person according to his or her own intentions, your ways and the results of your deeds.”  (Paraphrase of Jeremiah 17:9-10)

Jesus finishes His teaching with the admonition with, Just make sure your statement is, Yes or No’ because anything beyond that is has questionable and evil intentions.

WHAT WILL YOU DO?

This important teaching of vows, honesty and honoring God, is just one more reminder that “unless your righteousness far surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

You and I can find real peace, security, genuine power and can live forever in the Presence of God, if we will 

“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the Law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may achieve success wherever you go.   This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will ]achieve success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:7-9

We tend to remember:

  • 10% of what they read.
    • 20% of what they only hear.
    • 30% of what they only see.
    • 50% of what they see and hear.
    • 70% of what they say and write down.
    • 90% of what they DO

You have seen it, you have read it, you have heard it, NOW, LET’S GO DO IT!

Your Brother and Friend, 

Mike Young

DID GOD REALLY SAY THAT?

MATTHEW 5:31,32 –  SAY, WHAT?

v31 “Now it was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY IS TO GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery

WHAT DOES IT SAY

The language in these verses is so plain that very little more need be said, except perhaps to comment that we should not be lulled into complacency by the brevity of this verse.  This may be THE VERSE that will save a marriage and leads to a lifetime of peace and security – for some of those who read it and/or share it.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN

(The following explanation in quotes is an excerpt from the got questions.org website.). 

First, in order for a divorce to be granted, there had to be a problem related to “indecency.” Verse 1 reads, “If then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her . . .” (ESV). The Hebrew phrase used here was generally a reference to sexual indecency such as adultery (Leviticus 18:6–18) or indecent exposure (Deuteronomy 23:14). Jewish leaders would long debate what was considered “indecent,” but the original wording clearly referred to indecent sexual behavior.

“Second, a formal divorce certificate was required: “He writes her a certificate of divorce [and] gives it to her” (verse 1). A husband could not simply express his desire to be divorced and move on with his life. He was required to provide a written legal certificate, which would have required witnesses to the event.

Third, the divorced couple was no longer to live together: the husband “sends her from his house” (verse 1). Living together as an unmarried couple was not acceptable, and a divorced couple was considered unmarried.

Fourth, the divorced woman could remarry another man: “After she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man” (verse 2). The text does not explicitly teach the woman must remarry, but neither does it prohibit a divorced woman from doing so. In that society, a single woman would have had few other options than to seek another husband or to return to her father’s household.

“Fifth, the divorced spouse could not later remarry the first partner, if that partner had remarried: “Her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again” (verse 4).

The New Testament teachings regarding divorce offer additional insight into this topic. Jesus reminded the religious leaders that God never intended divorce: “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning” (Matthew 19:8). The “beginning” refers to Adam and Eve as one man and one woman in lifelong marriage—God’s original design.

Jesus also taught that sexual immorality was one legitimate reason for divorce: “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery” (Matthew 5:31). The apostle Paul added, “A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:10–11). Another instruction is also provided for Christians with an unbelieving spouse: “If the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances” (1 Corinthians 7:15).

Though divorce was not part of God’s original plan for marriage, sinful humanity demanded it, and the Mosaic Law addressed occasions when it was permissible. Jesus and the New Testament teachings affirm the original intent of marriage as being a lifelong relationship between a man and woman while specifying limited occasions when divorce is acceptable. “  (End of excerpt)

Although there may be times when divorce is acceptable, according to the Bible, (1) the results of divorce are still the acts of selfish and sinful men and women who are in rebellion against God and His plan for their lives (2) and, it is destructive.  The pain and damage to the family, can go on for generations

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU

I can remember a day, as a young boy, when divorce was socially unacceptable, it was at best, a social embarrassment, and at worst, a divorced person was somewhat of a social  outcast.  What I didn’t understand, at the time, was why a young child of a divorced mother would be shunned.  The hurt and resentment that was being planted in my psyche which would plague me for decades.

Society at large and Christians in particular have discarded God’s Word as their Guiding Principal, and as the divorce rate in America has climbed to 50%, the damage being done to future generations in incalculable.

(NOTE:  The following are excerpts are from “https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/how-could-divorce-affect-my-kids/  website)

  • Life expectancies for divorced men and women are significantly lower than for married people (who have the longest life expectancies). 
  • One study found that those who were unhappy but stayed married were more likely to be happy five years later than those who divorced.
  • The health consequences of divorce are so severe that a Yale researcher concluded that “being divorced and a nonsmoker is slightly less dangerous than smoking a pack a day and staying married.”
  • After a diagnosis of cancer, married people are most likely to recover, while the divorced are least likely to recover, indicating that the emotional trauma of divorce has a long-term impact on the physical health of the body.
  • Men and women both suffer a decline in mental health following divorce, but researchers have found that women are more greatly affected. 
  • Some of the mental health indicators impacted by divorce include depression, hostility, self-acceptance, personal growth and positive relations with others.

While virtually every child suffers the lost relationship and lost security described above, for many, the emotional scars have additional, more visible consequences. More than 30 years of research continues to reveal the negative effects of divorce on children. Most of these measurable effects are calculated in increased risks. In other words, while divorce does not mean these effects will definitely occur in your child, it does greatly increase the risks. The odds are simply against your kids if you divorce.

Research comparing children of divorced parents to children with married parents shows:

  • Children from divorced homes suffer academically. They experience high levels of behavioral problems. Their grades suffer, and they are less likely to graduate from high school. 
  • Kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile.
  • Because the custodial parent’s income drops substantially after a divorce, children in divorced homes are almost five times more likely to live in poverty than are children with married parents.
  • Teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse, than are those from intact families. 
  • Children from divorced homes experience illness more frequently and recover from sickness more slowly. 
  • They are also more likely to suffer child abuse. 
  • Children of divorced parents suffer more frequently from symptoms of psychological distress. 
  • And the emotional scars of divorce last into adulthood.

(End of excerpt)

Additionally, statistics show that once divorced:

  • Second Marriages: 60 percent will terminate with a divorce as the result.
  • Third Marriages: 73 percent will terminate with a divorce as the result.

WHAT WILL YOU DO?

(These are 2 real-life examples of people who made decisions about marriage and divorce)

I.  My wife and I were on a cruise ship in one of their specialty restaurants waiting for our meal to be served, when the restaurant manager, a lady, came by our table to greet us.  She asked if we were celebrating any occasion.  We told here we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.  The lady smiled broadly, congratulated us and asked “How did you do it?  How did you stay married for 50 years?” And laughed, as if she was communicating humor.  I assumed she laughed because so many people get divorced.

My wife, Betty, look at this lady and answered, very matter-of-factly, “Just never get a divorce.”  The lady laughed out loud.  But, when she saw my wife was not laughing, she turned serious and asked, “Really?  What do you mean?”

My wife proceed to briefly explain what the Bible says about marriage and divorce and why ‘sticking with it is worth it’.

The lady responded with, “I don’t know if I could do that.  You see, I have been in a relationship for 10 years and things aren’t working out, so we are thinking about splitting up.”

My wife asked, “You’ve been married for 10 years?

The lady answered, “Well, no, noT married.  But, we have been living together.”

My wife answer with, “Well, when you start wrong you won’t finish right.  A commitment of Marriage is an agreement, that can help you get past the tough times.  God wants you to be happy and happy in a marriage.  I’m sorry you are having a hard time.  God can help you through this, if you would like.”

The lady appeared nervous at this point, thanked my wife and said she need to attend to the other diners, and excused herself.  It seemed as if this lady had made her choice.

II.  I was out for a walk around the deck of this cruise ship one morning when I notice a couple sitting, drinking coffee and talking at one of the deck tables.  I recognized them as a couple I had seen at breakfast before we boarded the cruise ship.  They appeared to be in their early thirties.  The man had been loudly and publicly berating the woman for eating too slowly at breakfast, telling her that she would make them late boarding the ship.

I stopped and greeted them with a ‘good morning’ and they smiled and responded.  I initiated some light conversation by asking them where they were from and other small talk.  I discovered they were on their honeymoon.

I congratulated them and told them that we were celebrating our 50th anniversary.  The man remarked, “I hope we can make it that long.  What is your secret?”, he asked.

“Do you really want to know?”, I asked.  They both said yes, enthusiastically.

I sat down with them and said, “My wife and I were married in our teens.  Sometimes we would argue over small things – like you guys did at breakfast this morning.”  They both looked surprise and embarrassed.

“It’s normal to argue from time to time.  But, our marriage wasn’t going well after a few years.  We argued more and more, to the point we were drifting apart.  Then, through circumstances, we turned to God for help and we found the direction we needed.  It gave us a security and a sense of peace that got us through tough times.  Now, here we are 50 years later!

This couple agreed that what they wanted was a way to find peace and security.  I told them how to come to Jesus.  They were obviously grateful and thanked me.  I left the table, honestly feeling humbled.

It seemed, like the lady in the restaurant, they too, had made their choice.

So, what about you?  What will you do when faced with similar circumstances?  What is your choice?

I pray for us all that we have the courage and the conviction to decide to follow Jesus and find our peace and security in Him.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS:  If you have been through a divorce, just remember, there is hope for healing and restoring.  Although it is not always easy, it is always worth it.  What is done is done, and the future can be bright with opportunities and hope of peace, secuity and prosperity for your soul, in Christ!  Please, make the right decision.

GRACE


χάριτί – chariti

Grace:  A gift or blessing brought to man by Jesus Christ; favor, gratitude, thanks, a favor, kindness.

It was the bottom of the ninth inning, the score is 4 – 1 in favor of the away team.

Little Johnny, of the home team, watches the next pitch cross the plate – the umpire cries, “STEEEEE-RIKE”! The count is now 3 balls, 2 strikes, with two men out and the bases are loaded.



The hefty twelve-year-old pitcher rubs the baseball with his bare hands, adjusts his cap, leans forward and eyes the catcher for a signal. The batter, eleven-year-old Johnny, takes a couple of slow, rhythmic practice swings and eyes the gap in between center field and right field.

  The pitcher winds up and fires a fastball dead center to the catcher’s mitt.  Johnny sees the gift of a fastball and doesn’t hesitate.  He throws his weight into his swing and connects with the baseball in the sweet spot of his bat – CRACK!  The ball soars toward right-center field, up, up and away it sails, over the fence for a grand slam home run! The home team wins 5 – 4 and the crowd goes wild!!



Johnny is so excited he runs straight to the dugout to the congratulations of his team.  A few minutes pass and the umpire reluctantly calls Johnny OUT for running out of the baselines. The crowd is stunned, moans and calls the umpire ‘unfair’. But, to no avail. The game would end in a tie.

You see, even your best efforts can go unrewarded if you don’t finish!

*I just now, read this story to my wife, Betty. She looked at me like she had bitten into a lemon! “Ewwwww. That’s awful! That’s depressing. I don’t like that at all.”

I agree with her, it is awful and depressing – and dumb!

So it can be with God’s Grace.  It is not enough that God extends His Amazing Grace to us if we don’t respond to Him, the results are awful and depressing.

There is a “cheap grace” being preached in some churches now-a-days. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it this way, 

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.  Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism, without church discipline, Communions without confess.  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

“Cheap grace” costs nothing, it is easy to do and has little lasting value.

God’s Grace, on the other hand is costly but the results and permanent, eternal and AMAZING!

Now, The Rest of the Story,,,

Johnny’s coach and team plead with the umpire to change his mind. Still, to no avail. His call stood.  Johnny was called out and the score is 4 – 4.

Then Johnny, with a sad expression, a tear in his eye and cap in his hand, humbled himself and admitted to the umpire that in his excitement he had forgotten the ‘baseline rule’.   “I am out”, he admitted.



Johnny turned to his coach, the team and the people in the stands and said, “I messed up. Don’t blame the umpire. Blame me. I am sorry.”



The ump glanced at the away-team coach. The away-team coach looked at his players. The away-team, in unison, cried out, “Aw come on ump! Give ‘em a break! Let him run the bases!!”

The crowds in the stands stood to their feet and applauded for both teams as Johnny rounded the bases. The home team won the game 5-4 with an asterisk, because GRACE matters!

Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

What should be our response to God’s Amazing Gift of Grace? The Bible says, That we should walk in His Works”.

GOD’S GRACE is His gift to you and to me.  But, there is a response found in the Bible that tells us how we get from where we are to “there”:

 1.  YOU MUST BELIEVE:

Romans 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
      5″ For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. 6But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”
8 “But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

10 “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness…”

2.  YOU MUST CONFESS

Romans 10:10 “…and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

3.  YOU MUST REPENT

Matthew 4:17. “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

4.  YOU MUST RECEIVE

Hebrews 4:16 ”Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

5.  YOU MUST FOLLOW

Matthew 16:24  “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

6.  YOU MUST OBEY

Matthew 14:23. “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

Matthew 8:51. “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”

Matthew 7:21. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

7.  YOU MUST GO

Mathew 28:18. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

“Cheap grace” is like a gift that goes unopened and lies dormant beneath the Christmas tree.  That would be sad, and like Betty said, “Ewwww. That’s awful. That’s depressing!” 

TAKE THE GIFT AND OPEN IT! NOW, REJOICE!

Let’s all receive God’s Gift of Grace and live amazed!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

THE BUMMER LAMB

Every once in a while, a ewe will give birth to a lamb and reject it. There are many reasons she may do this. If the lamb is returned to the ewe, the mother may even kick the poor animal away. Once a ewe rejects one of her lambs, she will never change her mind.

These little lambs will hang their heads so low that it looks like something is wrong with its neck. Their spirit is broken.

These lambs are called “bummer lambs.” Unless the shepherd intervenes, that lamb will die, rejected and alone. So, do you know what the shepherd does?

He takes that rejected little one into his home, hand-feeds it and keep it warm by the fire. He will wrap it up with blankets and hold it to his chest so the bummer can hear his heartbeat. Once the lamb is strong enough, the shepherd will place it back in the field with the rest of the flock.

But that sheep never forgets how the shepherd cared for him when his mother rejected him. When the shepherd calls for the flock, guess who runs to him first?
That is right, the bummer sheep. He knows his voice intimately.

It is not that the bummer lamb is loved more, it just knows intimately the one who loves it.

It’s not that it is loved more, it just believes it because it has experienced that love one on one.

So many of us are bummer lambs, rejected and broken. Go to almost any church in your area and you can find scores of these lambs. People show up, shake hands at the appointed time and then leave after an hour or so of religious lectures, entertaining music and announcements – having been alone in a crowd.
The pastor will greet a few with a brief head nod and a smile and then after doing this ‘pastoral public relations duty’ he goes to hang out with his favorite “sheep” away from the flock. The other lambs, inwardly, hang their head and think, “Oh, well. Maybe someday”.

Why should any child of God have to settle for this?

“Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?

“You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.

“Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.

“They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.

“My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.”’

“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;

“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So th shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”’”

I know that Jesus is the good Shepherd and that He cares for our every need and holds us close to His heart so we can hear His heartbeat. I know that the broken are deeply loved by the True Shepherd, but, until that day when we are with Him, those who take on the name of “pastor” have a covenant duty, to care for His Sheep!

May God Bless and strengthen you faithful shepherds who watch over, care for, love and feed His Flock, day after day – caring for even the most needy and least lovely.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

(adapted)

Experience God’s Will

Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Have you heard this ‘funny definition’ of Insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.”  I guess it is sort of funny, but because it bears so much practical truth, it’s really not that funny, especially if you are struggling with an issue. Sometimes it seems, the harder we try, the worse it gets. We might have success for a while, but then we slip back into the same old patterns. We try to lose weight, or we try to stop a habit, over and over and over, we keep using the same old methods, and nothing changes, permanently.

But, since “there is nothing new under the sun” what NEW thing can you expect? That “there is nothing new” has been said by a lot of different people, as sort of a sigh of resignation. But the phrase actually comes from the bible. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.”

So, how do I change what I am doing if it is all anyone has ever known or if it is what people have always done? And, it is what everyone is always teaching? And the results are always the same?

How can change what I know, so I may KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD’S WILL? Again, the Bible says to “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The 1st Life Truth:  To know and Experience God’s Will for your life is to DO RIGHT as a constant of your life.

The 2nd Life Truth: To know and Experience God’s Will for your life is to BE TRANSFORMED BY RENEWING YOUR MIND.

If you really want to know and experience GOD’S WILL for your life, you have to know it won’t come easy. The farther you want to go with God and the more you want to know of God, the more it will require of you.

– WARNING –

ONLY THE MATURE AND SINCERE SHOULD PROCEED BEYOND THIS POINT

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.

The word “transformed”, here, comes from the Aramaic Greek in the bible, ‘metamorphoo’ from which we get the English word, metamorphosis. It more literally means to ‘change into another form, or transfigure’. It means to become something you are not so you can be conformed to the WILL OF GOD. (Sounds like something from a science fiction movie, doesn’t it?)`

Renewing your mind is a renewal, a renovation, and a complete change for the better. It is synonymous with a new birth; a regeneration, referring to God’s act of causing the sinner to pass from the death of sin into spiritual life in Christ.

This renewal of your mind is a continuous process through which you become more fully Christ-like, in which process you are a worker together with God.

To KNOW GOD’S WILL for my life, I must

(1) DO RIGHT as a constant in my life, and

2) Undergo a metamorphosis. I must become irreversibly transformed by the renewing of my mind.

Are you kidding? Are we saying I have to DO this to KNOW GOD’S WILL for my life?

The answer is, YES. A thousand times, YES! You can no more KNOW and EXPERIENCE GOD’S WILL for your life without

      • intending to DO RIGHT as a constant in your life and by

      • BEING TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND

than you can think without a brain, see without eyes or walk without legs and feet.

Anything less than DOING RIGHT as a constant in your life, and BEING TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND is just a good try at the same old thing you’ve always done. It’s insanity.

Before we move on to the next Truth, I can just hear someone asking these two questions:

(1) Are you saying I have to DO something in order to be saved? (The answer to that is NO. Salvation a free gift of God. We are saved by His Grace through our faith in Christ. Not be works)

(2) Are you saying I have to be ‘perfect’ to know God’s Will for my life? (The answer to that is NO. We are told to strive toward ‘perfection in Christ’, “be perfect even as I Am perfect”. And God’s perfection or maturity is our aim. But, we will stumble, so we have the provision of confession, repentance and God’s forgiveness to see us along our way. But, our heart’s desire is to attain to God’s perfection.

In fact, read 1 John 1: 8-10, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

1 John 2:1-6, continues, saying, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;  and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;  but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:   the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

Please hear me when I say that this is not a lecture or a sermon. It is not a platitude or an experiment in spiritual matters. THIS IS THE TRUTH. WE WOULD DO WELL TO TAKE HEED.

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD’S PERFECT WILL IN YOUR LIFE:

  • DO RIGHT as a constant in your life

  • BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that you may prove what THE WILL OF GOD IS, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Click this text for the next article, we will see what and how the Bible says we shall DO RIGHT and BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF OUR MINDS.

It is a discipline. Very few will attempt it. Fewer yet will finish and succeed. But the few who do will KNOW AND EXPERIENCE THE WILL OF GOD IN THEIR LIFE. An experience unparalleled in this lifetime.

Until then, let’s Remain in His Grip!

Your brother and friend,

Mike Young

Knowing God’s Will

It is recognizing and continually doing God’s Will in the course of my life that determines the outcome of His Will for my life

Do you ever wonder about “The Will of God for your life” or for your life’s circumstances?

I frequently hear people say “I want to know the will of God” when making important or difficult decisions or trying to find their way out of difficult or trying situations.

I often hear people finish their prayers with “IF it be your will” as sort of a polite guess.  You get the sense that a person who prays this way is saying, “I really don’t know Your Will, God, but, here’s what I think” as if we can bring God to our point of view.

Or is it a reluctance because the person praying feels like they are imposing on God?

I see some folks wearing a rubber bracelet or sporting a sticker which reads “WWJD?(What would Jesus do?) I guess that is supposed to make us stop and think about what He would do before we make important decisions or misbehave?

My experience has been that most people, including MOST preachers, are not ready to give a definitive answer to this all important question for their lives: “What is God’s Will for my life” or in this situation?

The phrase “the will of God” and “God’s will” is used a total of twenty-five times in the Bible (“The Authorized version”).

The frequency of the use of a word or phrase in the Bible potentially tells us is the importance or uniqueness of that word or idea communicated by that word or phrase.

But, regardless of the frequency of this phrase, I would say that the “Will of God” is a pretty important idea.

Here is a novel idea, “why not use the Bible to decide what God says about GOD’S Will and go with that”?

Here are four instances of the twenty-five occurrences of the phrase “God’s Will” from the Bible where the Bible clearly explains God’s Will:

        • 1 Peter 2:15 “For such is the will of God, that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

        • Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

        • 1Thessalonians 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;”

        • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Do you want to the see the power of God’s Word and His Spirit work for good in your life? Does using these three verses sound too simple? Well, you can expand on these verses. But, just try these for a start.

        • DO RIGHT.

        • RENEW YOUR MIND TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD AND ACCEPTABLE AND PERFECT

        • ABSTAIN FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY.

        • IN EVERYTHING, GIVE THANKS

Interesting, huh? God’s Will produces a life that is RIGHT, GOOD, ACCEPTABLE, PERFECT and produces THANKSGIVING. Isn’t that what you want for every circumstance in your life?

Think about it.

Also, it is almost impossible to escape from these three ideals in your daily living.

Let’s look at the first requisite for God’s Will in your life: DO RIGHT.

We are constantly faced with the opportunity to DO RIGHT. The choices usually come in the form of a temptation, whether mild or severe.

“Should I clean up my mess before I leave?”

“Should I buy that new car?”

“Should we go to church this Sunday?”

“Should I take the petty cash for my personal use?”

“Should I pay what I owe or spend my money on something I would enjoy?”

“Should I carry on that flirtatious relationship, even though I am married?”

We somehow have the idea that “God’s Will” for my life is unique for MY needs or wants.

It is recognizing and continually doing God’s Will in the course of my life that determines the outcome of His Will for my life.

God’s Will for my life doesn’t just kick in when things get tough or when I need something. God’s Will for my life is a constant.

Another way of looking at God’s Will for my life is that I wouldn’t need to ask (“what is God’s Will for my life) regarding the various circumstances if I have been doing His Will for my life all along. That is, have I been DOING RIGHT all along?

Here’s another great example: A friend asked me and my wife if she should continue dating a certain man she had met because she wasn’t sure of God’s Will. She says she is looking for a husband.

We asked her to tell us about this man. Turns out this man is married (separated) from a difficult and unfaithful woman with whom he has children.

“So” I said, “he is a married man, fighting with his wife and dating around in front of his children? And you have been dating this man? And you want to know God’s Will regarding this matter?”

In other words, do you want a life that is RIGHT, GOOD, ACCEPTABLE, PERFECT and produces THANKSGIVING? Isn’t that what you want for every circumstance in your life?

To which she replied, “Yes, but, I am lonely”.

Yeah? That can be tough. But, the question isn’t ‘how do you feel today’ but DO YOU WANT GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE?

1. (Let’s) DO RIGHT.

(Click here for more on KNOWING and EXPERIENCING GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE...

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Mike and Betty Valentines 2018.jpg

THE GREATEST VICTORY

THE GREATEST VICTORY

Jesus tells the *Churches, that until the breaking of the 6th Tribulation Seal, they must OVERCOME. This term, “OVERCOMES”, is used 7 times in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26, Revelation 3:5, 12, 21)

*(Note: “The Churches” referred to by Jesus are the Followers of Christ – You and Me)

DO AND BE

The following are the verses from Revelation which tells us, The Church, what we are to DO and to BE while we wait for His return.  (This is what we are to DO with what we know and in preparation for His return.)

1.  THE VERSE: Revelation 2:7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
To him who overcomes, Jesus made these promises – but what does this “Overcomer”, overcome?

OVERCOME: We usually think of overcoming in dramatic terms of overcoming sin and in spiritual warfare, but here Jesus is speaking of overcoming coldness of heart and lack of love marked by leaving their first love of Jesus.

THE PROMISE: I will give to eat from the tree of life: The promise for these “Overcomers” was a return to Eden, a restoration to God’s Presence, and eternal life. This was meant, first in the eternal sense of making it to heaven, which was no small promise to a people threatened with the removal of Jesus’ presence.
It is also meant in the sense of seeing the effects of the curse cancelled in our own lives though Jesus’ redeeming act of love.

2.  THE VERSE: Revelation 2:11 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

OVERCOME: He who overcomes: Those who overcome the threat of persecution, and the presence of persecution.
We might say that we overcome by our close association with Jesus, but, it is that very association that brings both persecution and salvation. Jesus is the ultimate “Overcomer”, as He says, In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

THE PROMISE: Shall not be hurt by the second death: Those who overcome by the power and presence of Jesus within them, will never be hurt by the second death. The second death is hell, the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14 and 21:8). Though Satan will threaten and attack your life, Jesus promises His “Overcomers” that death is conquered for them.

THE VERSE: Revelation 2:17 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

OVERCOMES: To him who overcomes: The one who overcomes this spirit of accommodation to false teaching and living will receive hidden manna. This is God’s perfect provision, the true bread from heaven (John 6:35).

THE PROMISE: And I will give him a white stone: In the ancient world, the use of a white stone had many associations. A white stone could be a ticket to a banquet, a sign of friendship, evidence of having been counted, or as a sign of acquittal in a court of law. Jesus may have any one of these meanings in mind, but at the very least we know that it has the assurance of blessing.

THE VERSE: Revelation 2:26-29 ‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father and I will give him the morning star. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

OVERCOMES: He who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end: Even when there is the immoral and idolatrous influence of a Jezebel, Christians can overcome and keep Jesus’ works until the end. We must not become overly discouraged at immorality and idolatry around us, even among Christians. God’s work will still go on through His “Overcomers”.

THE PROMISE: To him I will give power over the nations: Jesus promised that His people will reign with Him. Here, there is a special promise to those who overcome the threat of immorality and idolatry. To them, Jesus offered a share in His own kingdom. “The word for ‘rule’ (Gr. poimanei) means literally ‘to shepherd.’ Their rule will not be simply that of executing judgment, but also that of administering mercy and direction.”
Jesus offered them a reward greater than the kingdom. He offered them the reward of Himself, because He is the Morning Star (Revelation 22:28).

THE VERSE: Revelation 3:5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

OVERCOMES: He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments: Jesus identified the “Overcomers” with those few names who have not defiled their garments (Revelation 3:4). These “Overcomers” would wear white garments, received from Jesus.

THE PROMISES: Jesus explained the absolute necessity of this being clothed by God with His garments of purity and righteousness in His parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22:11-14).

Real righteousness is receiving God’s covering instead of trying to cover ourselves. Adam and Eve tried to cover their own sin (Genesis 3:7) but God provided them with a covering that came from sacrifice (Genesis 3:21).
“I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life”: By this, the “Overcomers” were assured of their heavenly citizenship. In the ancient world, death or a criminal conviction could blot out the name of an ancient citizen from the city’s book of the living, which was the city register.

But I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels: This was an amazing promise. It simply makes sense that we should be willing to confess the name of Jesus, but it is amazing that He would not be ashamed to confess us!

THE VERSE: Revelation 3:12 ‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

OVERCOMES: He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar:

THE PROMISE: “Overcomers” were told that they would be as a pillar in the temple of My God. Pillars were pictures of strength, stability, and dignified beauty.
He shall go out no more. The “Overcomer” would have a place of permanence and stability with God, in contrast to an uncertain place in this world.
I will write on him the name of My God… I will write on him My new name: The “Overcomer” also received many names – of God, the New Jerusalem, and the new name of Jesus. These names are marks of identification because they show who we belong to. They are marks of intimacy, because they show we are privileged to know Him in ways others are not.

THE VERSE: Revelation 3:21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

OVERCOMES: To him who overcomes: Jesus’ promise to the “Overcomer”, even at Laodicea, showed that we don’t have to be Christians who are compromising and lukewarm. If we are, we can change and become one of Jesus’ overcomers.

THE PROMISE: I will grant to sit with Me on My throne: Those who overcome the battle against indifference, compromise, and self-reliance, receive a special reward. They enjoy a place with the enthroned Jesus (as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne).

THE VERSE: Revelation 21:5 “And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.
8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

OVERCOMES: Jesus is telling you and me, His Followers, that WE Must “Endure to the end”.

THE PROMISE: We shall “Overcome” and we have the Victory!

Jesus tells us the can know the “seasons”, so now we know WHERE ARE WE IN HIS “TIME”!

Peter validates, in Acts 2:14-21 that “the beginning of birth pangs”, that is the breaking of the tribulation Seals one began in AD 1 – and the successive breaking of seals two through five have been ongoing to this day – We are now seeing the Breaking of the 5th Tribulation Seal and the Church must Endure to its completion.

With the coming day of the Breaking of the 6th seal we will see…

  • Jesus’ return ‘in the sky and gather His elect from the four corners of the earth’
  • God will seal the 144,000 from the Tribes of Israel
  • The Church Raptured and all Believers will be standing at the Throne of God, clothed in the white robes.
  • God’s succeeding Judgments poured out on earth
  • Jesus and His armies defeat Satan.

WHAT IS NEXT? (click link)

Jesus is telling you and me, His Followers that WE Must “Endure to the end”, WE must “Overcome”. We are now in those days!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

THE GREAT SQUEEZE

“What do you get when you squeeze an orange?”

Answer: Orange juice

“What do you get when you squeeze a  lemon?”

Answer: Lemon juice

“What do you get when you ‘squeeze’ a Christian?”

Answer: Whatever is “inside them”

God chooses to use the stress of trials in our lives to develop perseverance. We know that because the book of James 1 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds”. This is the same phraseology as found in 1 Peter, interestingly—“because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

God uses the stress of trials to prove the quality of our faith which results in praise, glory and honor of Christ., in 1 Peter 1:6. says, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, verse 7, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”

God uses distress to purge, purify and refine us and to give us understanding in these Last Days. Daniel 12:1, says, “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; 10 “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.”

Jesus has told us these things would occur.  Pandemics, anarchy, terrorism, diseases, wars and threats of wars…

the 1st Tribulation Seal  –  Global conquest and political intrigue

the 2nd Tribulation Seal –  Wars and Rumors of War

the 3rd Tribulation Seal  –  Famine

the 4th Tribulation Seal  –  Death

the 5th Tribulation Seal  –  Martyrs, persecution, Anti-Christ, falling away

WE ARE BEING SQUEEZED – WHAT IS COMING OUT OF YOU?

The stress of these days are part of God’s plan, in order:

        • To give us perseverance
        • To prepare us as His Bride for His return
        • To prove our faith
        • To purge, purify and to refine us
        • To give us insight and understanding

Take heart, friends, and pray that the fruit of the Spirit will pour out of you and out of each one of us,as we wait for His return!!

HE IS COMING SOON!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Truth for Life, Pastor Alistair Begg:  God’s Faithfulness in Affliction, Pt 2, November 23, 2020