Wed, January 12 The Berean Daily Verse and Comment
And Jesus spoke to the masses in parables…
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER Before Jesus interpreted this parable about the Sower, He drew His disciples away from the crowd.
They said to Him,
“Why do You speak to them in parables?”
Jesus answered them,
“To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matthew 13:10-17). ———
Matthew 13:3-9 The Voice
[This next sermon series, the third of Jesus’ five Mosaic-like sermons, is filled with parables or stories with a deeper meaning about the kingdom of heaven.]
3 And so Jesus began to teach. On this day, He spoke in parables. Here is His first parable:
Jesus: Once there was a sower who scattered seeds. 4 One day he walked in a field scattering seeds as he went.
Some seeds fell beside a road, and a flock of birds came and ate all those seeds.
5 So the sower scattered seeds in a field, one with shallow soil and strewn with rocks.
But the seeds grew quickly amid all the rocks, 6 without rooting themselves in the shallow soil.
Their roots got tangled up in all the stones. The sun scorched these seeds, and they died.
7 And so the sower scattered seeds near a path, this one covered with thorny vines.
The seeds fared no better there—the thorns choked them, and they died.
8 And so finally the sower scattered his seeds in a patch of good earth. At home in the good earth, the seeds grew and grew.
Eventually the seeds bore fruit, and the fruit grew ripe and was harvested.
The harvest was immense—30, 60, 100 times what was sown.
9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear. ———
Jesus’ first parable to the multitudes concerns a sower and his limited success in receiving fruit from the earth.
Recognizing the context and audience reveals that this parable was a rebuke of the nation.
It testified of the citizens’ inability to receive “the word of the kingdom” (verse 19)—the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
It aptly describes what John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles experienced in the first century.
They saw within the people some interest—and even some willingness—to repent (after a fashion) and to be baptized, but there was little depth because their hearts were so far from their King.
In three out of four scenarios in the parable, the ground produced nothing of value.
Only the good soil—“he who hears the word and understands it” (verse 23; emphasis ours)—bears fruit.
All the types of ground receive the Word, but God prepares the soil only of some.
The masses lacked ears to hear, despite claiming Abraham as their father.
They looked for a messiah who would improve their political condition while leaving their religious system and moral state unchallenged.
We see this even within the context of the Parable of the Sower.
The critical factor is whether the “ground” heard and received the “word of the kingdom”—that is, whether God had given those hearing the Word the means to respond properly.
In Jesus’ explanation of the parable to His disciples, He refers to the multitude before Him when quoting Isaiah 6:9-10:
“Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”
The people to whom He gave the parables were fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.
They were living proof of the truth in this first parable—they could not receive the truth.
In contrast, He had prepared His disciples to hear and respond properly.
They were the good soil that would yield an increase (Matthew 13:16-17; see John 15:1-17). — David C. Grabbe ———
Let us each prepare the soil of our hearts so that we may receive the FULL GOSPEL MESSAGE of our Lord into our hearts, that His seed of Truth may germinate and can grow within us!
The first Person we should consult, in order to properly divide and discern the Word of Truth, is the Holy Spirit…
UNDERSTANDING HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT ACTS AS A HOLOGRAM
If you take a piece of film and expose it under a laser’s light you get a holographic (three dimensional) image.
Likewise when we study and meditate in God’s word, before we begin, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate it, to give us the understanding we need to to give us wisdom, direction and guidance in our life.
Without that illumination of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is just ink on paper.
So each day, as we read and meditate in God’s Word, let us remember always to ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the scriptures for us and to apply its principles and truths to our lives, and to our daily circumstances.
12 Jesus speaking: “I have so much more to say, but you cannot absorb it right now.
13-15 The Spirit of truth will come and guide you in all truth.
He will not speak His own words to you; He will speak what He hears, revealing to you the things to come and bringing glory to Me.
The Spirit has unlimited access to Me, to all that I possess and know, just as everything the Father has is Mine.
That is the reason I am confident He will care for My own and reveal the path to you.”
It has always been my experience that the Bible is its own best commentary; if when reading the scriptures there’s a certain area you may not understand, then take that scripture and put it on your “God shelf” and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate it for you and give you understanding.
Very often, the Holy Spirit will explain one passage of scripture by directing you to another passage, as the Bible always is its own best commentary.
Fri, January 7
by Inspiration Ministries
“’Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ […] Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.”
— Acts 8:30-31, 35
An official from Ethiopia was returning home from Jerusalem. Clearly a sincere seeker, he was reading a passage from Isaiah but did not understand the meaning.
At that moment Philip, who was following the leading of the Spirit, approached him.
The man admitted that he needed help understanding what he was reading. Philip responded by preaching Jesus, “beginning at this Scripture.”
After hearing Philip’s teaching, the Ethiopian understood and believed.
The passage made sense. Acting on his belief, he asked to be baptized (vs. 36-38).
Many people are like this Ethiopian. They read Bible passages, yet don’t understand.
These are moments to remember the spiritual dimension of the Word and why we need a spiritual approach.
We need to pray and ask God for discernment. Ask the Spirit to open our eyes spiritually, give us revelation, and lead us to mature believers who might give us insight.
Paul illustrated these principles when he wrote,
“The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God.”
These spiritual truths can seem like “foolishness” to our minds because the deeper things of the Bible “are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Have you ever struggled to understand a passage from the Bible?
Are you not sure what the words mean?
These are times to pray and ask God for discernment.
As He leads, seek the insights of mature believers who can help you understand.
Father, I seek spiritual discernment for Your Word and revelation from You. Give me a clearer understanding. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Now that the Christmas holidays have come to a close, for 2021, and we’re starting a new year — 2022…
As we find ourselves taking down the holiday decorations and packing them away for another year; and as we are setting that once beautiful and sparkling Christmas tree, filled with all the holiday ornaments, out on the curb, do we also find ourselves packing away our Christmas cheer?
What about our Christmas spirit — you know, that extra cheery, smile and holiday attitude that causes us to be nice to everyone around us, that holiday “Joy to the World ” vibe that we embraced for the season, are we also packing that away too?
So of course as the season winds down there may be an extra rush to dispense with the festive spirit; but the more I think about it, the more I realize how much better things might be if we all kept that Christmastime cheer with us throughout the year.
During this holiday season, some of us possibly found ourselves giving money to the poor, volunteering with our church, praying with more intensity, and spending more time with friends and loved ones.
But once the season is behind us, and the overwhelming joy we all felt in remembering our Savior’s birth begins to recede, why is it so many of us are also packing away our Christmas cheer and charity to others?
Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone, like Charles Dickens’ Scrooge, would “honor Christmas in our heart, and keep it all the year?”
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”
— Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Mon, January 3
A RETURN TO THE EVERYDAY
by Diane M. Houdek
No matter how much we try to extend the holiday with traveling and vacation time and a last party or two, there comes a time when we need to return to our daily activities and responsibilities.
School starts up again, work beckons, and we have to bid farewell to Christmas once again.
It can be refreshing to reclaim the space that was filled with the Christmas tree and other decorations.
We forsake the Christmas cookies and boxes of candy for healthier food choices in the new year.
If we’ve traveled to visit family, we return home, put away the suitcases, finish vacation laundry, and settle into our lives.
Mary, Joseph, and Jesus traveled a great deal during the first years after the birth—back and forth to Jerusalem, a sojourn in Egypt, a return to their home in Nazareth.
And in later years, Luke’s Gospel tells us, they traveled on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where Jesus was separated from his parents and found conversing with holy teachers in the temple.
Perhaps we’re a bit relieved that Christmas is over for another year. But perhaps we discover that something has changed in us because of an encounter, a gift, a new insight into the meaning of the incarnation.
We can keep a little bit of that with us through the coming year and let it bring light and peace to our everyday lives.
Our journey with God doesn’t end with the Christmas season.
I was reading in Exodus 34 this morning, and verses 6-7 caught my attention:
Exodus 34:6-7 New King James Version
6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” ———
I have always believed that there is a ripple effect regarding the sins that we commit that affect not only us, but those around us, including our families.
The question is, could these sins also have a negative effect on our DNA that affects future generations?
The above scripture, in verse 7, would seem to indicate that would be true.
To begin with, let’s take a look at how our genetics work:
GENESIS AND GENETICS
Adam’s DNA September 12, 2011 Answers to Questions, Bible/Science
According to the Bible, Adam was created in God’s image approximately 6000 years ago.
Now that we are beginning to understand DNA, we can determine Adam’s DNA; and by understanding Adam’s DNA, and how it relates to us, we can make some significant progress in understanding who we really are and how we fit into the Kingdom of God.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (KJV)
So, Adam became a living soul, the first living soul. This means that he necessarily had all of the human genetic variations in his DNA.
Everyone, including Eve, came from Adam’s DNA.
(Note: If the Bible proclaimed that the first human were a woman, the Bible would be in error since women do not have the Y-Chromosome, without which man could not have been formed from the woman’s rib DNA. This is why it is called the Bible.)
Every human being has two sets of genes, one from their father and one from their mother.
These genes are generally dominant or recessive. If you get two dominant genes, that trait will be dominant.
If you get two recessive genes, that trait will be recessive.
If you get one dominant and one recessive gene, that trait will be dominant.
This means that Adam had one dominant and one recessive gene for each trait; so, in effect, we know Adam’s DNA and we have an idea what he looked like: he had dominant genetic traits.
Humans have approximately 22,000 genes and combinations of these genes give us variation in physical appearance such as eye color, nose shape, foot size, etc. These genes also affect our abilities and personality.
So, we know that Adam had all human variation in him and therefore one dominant and one recessive gene for each of the genes.
Based on current understanding of dominant traits, we can be reasonably sure that Adam had unattached earlobes, dimples, was right handed, had a widow’s peak hairline, and curly hair. All of these traits are dominant traits.
This is all very interesting, but, now we need to get into the spiritual:
Adam embodied all of humanity, including Eve and you and me.
Please read this one very carefully, the key word here is “them”:
Genesis 5:2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.(KJV)
So, all of humanity was created on day six.
Adam was formed and given life after God’s rest, Eve was formed and given life shortly thereafter, and you and I were formed and given life in our mother’s womb. This is why God said to Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee . . . (KJV)
When Adam sinned, he became corruptible and took on the sin nature.
Since Adam embodied all of humanity, we all went down with him and also took on the sin nature.
Part of this sin nature is the corruption of our genes in the form of mutations.
Today, every generation has approximately 70 more genetic mutations than the previous generation.
These mutations can result in deformation, disorders and disease; genetic mutations are never good.
This is a bit discouraging, but we have the promise that in a twinkling of an eye, our DNA will be restored to the day 6 splendor. This is good news, this is the Gospel.
I Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
I Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
I Corinthians 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (KJV)
My dear friends and children, we have gone through much here on earth, but our future is very bright: We have the hope of being redeemed and restored to our original , day six, self. ———
So getting back to Exodus 34:7, how exactly do the sins of the father affect the children, down to the third and fourth generation?
It is my belief that it is passed down through our DNA, and that when we do sin it has an adverse effect on our DNA, and that corrupt programming gets passed down to the third and fourth generation. ———
HEALING AND DELIVERANCE MINISTRY
CAN A CHRISTIAN HAVE A DEMON?
Generational Curses Have you ever seen a family where the father has a problem with uncontrollable anger, his son seems to have been ‘handed it’, and the grandpa had the same problem?
Or have you noticed that not only do you suffer from something such as persistent irrational fears or depression, but your mother and your father also suffered from it as well?
There are many people today who are living under bondage that the sins of their forefathers have brought them under.
Exodus 34:7, “…keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
Lamentations 5:7, “Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne (been punished for) their iniquities.”
This is beyond learned behavior; many children learn to be messy if their parents are messy.
This is a spiritual bondage that is passed down from one generation to another.
Some symptoms of a generational curse is a continual negative pattern of something being handed down from generation to generation.
Often people who are adopted end up with the same characteristics as their birth parents, not because they were around their birth parents to learn how they behaved, but because they inherited their spiritual bondage.
Some common symptoms of generational curses are family illnesses that seem to just walk from one person down to the next (cancer is a common physical manifestation of a spiritual bondage), continual financial difficulties (they continually hit roadblocks in their finances), mental problems, persistent irrational fears and depression.
Anything that seems to be a persistent struggle or problem that was handed down from one generation to another may very well be a generational curse.
THE PURPOSE OF A GENERATIONAL CURSE
I believe the reason God would punish the future generations with the sins of their fathers, is because of God’s bitter hatred for sin.
He would require somebody who practiced witchcraft to be put to death (Exodus 22:18).
He knows that one of the most prized possessions you have, is your children, and therefore it makes sin a lot harder to commit when you realize that you are not the only one that is being punished for it, but also your own children are going to pay the price for your foolishness.
That’s what I believe is the reason behind generational curses. The whole human race fell thanks to Adam’s sin for that matter.
THE PRICE FOR GENERATIONAL CURSES HAS BEEN PAID!
The good news is that once you accept Jesus, the transference of bondage stops from your ancestors by means of generational curses.
You can no longer receive spiritual bondages in this manner from your parents once you accept Jesus!
Christ was made a curse, so we can be freed from the curses that sin (both our sins and those of our forefathers) has brought us. Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”
Once you become a child of God, no longer will the sins of your forefathers cause curses to transfer into your life:
Jeremiah 31:29-30, “In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.”
So why are there so many believers who seem to be living under a generational curse?
This has puzzled me before I understood how it works too.
What may need to be dealt with though, is any bondage that was already passed down to you before you came into covenant with God.
The legal grounds are certainly paid for on the cross and therefore broken.
The only thing left to do is cast out any spirits that have gained entrance before you accepted Jesus.
NON-BELIEVERS ARE STILL AFFECTED
Even after Jeremiah 31:29-30 makes it clear that believers are redeemed from generational curses, the next chapter in Jeremiah (32:18) clearly says,
“You show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them—the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts.”
Apparently, generational curses are still in effect, but for who is the big question.
Ezekiel 18:2-3 tells us, “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, says the Lord God, ‘you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.'”
(Note: This is referring to those who are in covenant with God, which includes ONLY born-again believers, not the rest of the world.)
Obviously, generational curses are alive and well in the lives of those who are outside the new covenant with God (non-believers).
‘TRIGGERING’ THE EFFECTS OF A GENERATIONAL CURSE
It is possible for demons to enter a child before he accepts Jesus, then remain dormant or hidden in that child’s life until some time later in his or her life when it manifests (or makes itself known).
Sometimes when a person heads for the ministry, it seems like the devil kicks up his ugly heels and causes havoc for that person.
Other times, a line of fear runs in the family tree, but isn’t manifested in a person’s life until they get themselves involved in something fearful, such as watching a demonic movie.
All of a sudden, the spirits in that person’s life “come alive” so to speak, and make themselves known.
They were there all along, but just now they have come out into the open.
The solution is to cast them out.
If you have involved yourself in any sin or opened any doors in your own life while ‘awaking’ or triggering the spirits, then it’s important that you clear up any legal grounds (or strongholds) that you gave the enemy in your own life relating to the bondage.
For example, if you have seen a demonic movie, and it seemed to have triggered spirits of fear in your life that were handed down to you, then it’s important to repent for going to see such a movie before trying to cast out any spirits.
It’s also possible that you picked up the spirits from such a movie without them even being there in the first place, and/or added to spirits that were already inside you.
It’s always a good idea to clear up any legal grounds or strongholds in your own life before casting spirits out.
I believe unforgiveness is a great way to ‘trigger’ generational spirits, so I would be on the lookout for any bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart as well.
A common sight is when a spirit of cancer is running down the family tree, and I believe bitterness is a great way to trigger those spirits.
Unforgiveness is a serious sin that blocks the forgiveness of your own sins (Matthew 6:15), which creates ample legal grounds for the enemy in your life.
Unforgiveness in itself puts us into the enemy’s hands (Matthew 18:23-35), say nothing about awakening any evil spirits in us already!
THE CURSE MAY BE CANCELED, BUT THE DEMONS MAY REMAIN
Just as other demons don’t automatically leave at the time of salvation… neither do the demons that you get from your ancestors automatically leave you either.
Let’s say that you accept Jesus at age 15.
Because you were born a sinner and outside of God’s covenant, you were still living under the curses handed down to you and demons can enter you through those curses.
Once you’ve accepted Jesus, those curses are broken automatically, but often the demons that entered in before you accepted Jesus still need to be cast out.
In other words, the curse is already broken, and there’s no need for you to break any generational curses.
But the demons who entered into you through those curses before you accepted Jesus may still need to be cast out.
That’s why it seems so many believers are living under generational curses, when the Bible makes it clear that we have been freed from any curses handed down from our forefathers!
My parents have almost perfect health, well into their 60’s, while it seems the family tree has many health problems that have been handed down from the forefathers.
My parents seem almost immune from the health problems in the family tree!
Sure, they take care of their bodies, but they also believe that they have been freed from the curses handed down in the family tree, and since no demons have entered them to take advantage of those old curses, they were freed from the effects simply by standing on what Jesus had done for them on the cross!
On the other hand, if demons have entered you through curses handed down to you before you became a Christian, then those demons may need to be cast out.
Demons often don’t leave on their own accord, and when they don’t, the remedy to get rid of them is by casting them out.
There’s a neat story in Mark 9:17-27, where Jesus deals with what is almost certainly a generational curse (verse 21).
Notice that Jesus didn’t have the boy confess the sins or iniquities of his ancestors, He cast out the demons that entered in through the curse.
That’s how I believe we are to deal with the effects of a generational curse; since the curse has been broken, all there is left to do is just cast the demons out that entered into that person’s life back before they became a Christian (before the curse was broken).
CONFESS WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY YOURS!
We know that our generational curses have been broken in Jesus’ name, but I still like to verbally confess what is going on and what is rightfully ours anyways, because there’s power in our verbal confessions, and it helps us to realize that we are set free, and also lets the enemy know that he’s in trouble!
Here’s a great sample confession prayer you can use to do just that:
In the name of Jesus, I confess the sins and iniquities of my parents (name specific sins if known), grandparents (name specific sins if known), and all other ancestors.
I declare that by the blood of Jesus, these sins have been forgiven and Satan and his demons can no longer use these sins as legal grounds in my life!
In the name of Jesus, and by the power of His blood, I now declare that all generational curses have been renounced, broken and severed, and that I am no longer under their bondage!
In the name of Jesus, I declare myself and my future generations loosed from any bondages passed down to me from my ancestors. AMEN!
ANOTHER FACTOR TO CONSIDER
There are other things that can ‘seem’ like generational curses, but aren’t.
Perhaps the most common is if there is an ungodly soul tie formed between you and one of your ancestors, that can also allow for the transferring of spirits.
There is more to learn on this subject in the teaching on Soul Ties.
IGNORANCE: ANOTHER SOURCE OF BONDAGE!
I also believe that some people can live under what SEEMS like a generational curse, simply because they believe it’s still in effect!
We need to know that it is NO LONGER in effect, and we have been FREED from any generational curses we used to live under!
Jesus makes it very clear that we can be held in bondage to sin through ignorance (John 8:31-36), and I believe the same is true with bondage to generational curses.
IN A NUTSHELL
To wrap it up in a nutshell, I don’t believe Christians can live under generational curses… but I do believe they can be affected by spirits that have entered through those curses before they accepted Jesus.
Just like many people’s past actions, before they came to Christ, have landed them in demonic bondage and caused them to pick up demons.
Those demons are not automatically shed at the time of salvation, they often need to be cast out.
The same is true with demons that enter in through generational curses (a doorway to demons).
How you deal with a spirit that has entered through a generational curse is very simple:
Mark 16:17, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils…”
Let us learn about the Spiritual Authority that Jesus has given us over demon spirits, and by faith, we can command those spirits to leave you in Jesus’ name!
If you can’t seem to get them out, try prayer and fasting, as Jesus clearly stated, some demons won’t come out unless you have a higher level of faith that only prayer and fasting can bring you into (Matthew 17:19-21).
If you are facing heavier bondages, it is recommended to seek deliverance through a man or woman of God who is knowledgeable and working in the ministry of deliverance.
Before seeking out a deliverance through another person or minister, I recommend reading the teaching on Seeking a Deliverance.
ANOTHER TYPE OF GENERATIONAL CURSE
The type of curses handed down as a result of an ancestor’s sin is automatically atoned for on the cross, providing we don’t hide the sins of our forefathers in our hearts (holding sin in our hearts is never a good idea – whether it’s ours of the sins of our ancestors).
But there’s another kind of generational curse that is handed down, and it’s a spoken curse that takes a toll on future generations as well.
We can see this kind of curse in action in Genesis 9:24-25, “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.”
As the Bible goes on to say, this curse ended up affecting an entire nation!
I believe these kinds of curses may need to be renounced and broken.
If you are unsure of whether a curse should be broken, I recommend breaking it anyways, just so you know it’s broken.
It doesn’t hurt to break a curse that’s already been broken.
Here’s a sample prayer you can pray that you can use to break yourself free from spoken generational curses:
In the name of Jesus, and by the power of His blood, I now renounce, break and sever all curses that have been handed down to me from my ancestors.
In the name of Jesus, I now loose myself and my future generations from any bondages passed down to me from my ancestors!
Again, if a curse has landed on you and has been broken, it still doesn’t mean you are delivered from the spirits that entered in through that curse.
You may still need further deliverance to have the spirits cast out that took advantage of the curses handed to you. ———
The first necessary step for us to receive healing and/or deliverance, from demonic oppression, is that we must have a teachable heart and we must be willing to examine the scriptures and be taught by them, as Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 10:5-6,
“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” ———
As we look around us today it would seem that our country is going to hell in a handbasket.
Whereas graft and corruption have always existed in our government, the fact is they don’t even try to hide it anymore. It’s obvious and it’s all up in our face.
As believers, how should we respond to this?
The article I’m posting below, I think, should give us some direction in that regard.
Listen to Daniel’s lament as he prayed before the Lord for forgiveness, for his sins and for the sins of the nation:
Daniel 9:1-11 New Living Translation
Daniel’s Prayer for His People 9 It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians.
2 During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years.
3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes.
4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
“O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands.
5 But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations.
6 We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land.
7 “Lord, you are in the right; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us, including the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel, scattered near and far, wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you.
8 O Lord, we and our kings, princes, and ancestors are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.
9 But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.
10 We have not obeyed the Lord our God, for we have not followed the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets.
11 All Israel has disobeyed your instruction and turned away, refusing to listen to your voice.
“So now the solemn curses and judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured down on us because of our sin. ———
Let us each take our cue from Daniel, and let us truly lament before the Lord and be sorry and repent for our sins, as individuals and also as a nation, for all of us have missed the mark and have sinned against the Lord.
Let us do as God tells us to do and 2 Chronicles 7:14,
“That if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray; turn from their wicked ways and seek my face, then I will hear their prayers in heaven and I will heal their land’
True repentance is a slow ongoing process, dealing with each sin in our life as God reveals them to us.
Total and utter destruction of each sin is what is required.
This means that we must truly be sorry for our sins (we must repent, which means change the way we think) in order to obtain God’s forgiveness.
What sorrows have you known?
Have you experienced the death of a loved one, a ruined life, or regrettable mistakes?
If your heart is grieving, turn to God for comfort and assurance. He hears your cries, tears, and disappointments.
The Book of Lamentations was read publicly each year to remind the Jews that their sin had caused the destruction of Jerusalem.
Lamentations also recorded both the faithfulness of God and the repentance of His people.
Sin brings punishment. But sorrow, confession, and repentance bring healing and wholeness.
The Book of Lamentations, though unfortunately not one of the most popular or often-read books, conveys one great truth.
History belongs to the forces of righteousness, not those of iniquity.
Many truths emerge from a serious study of this book.
Notice several of them.
A society or nation that “sells out” will deteriorate and eventually perish. The roll call of great people and great civilizations affirms this truth.
Popular speakers and writers refer often to Rome, but this great empire was only one of many to flourish and then fizzle.
One who reads history sees this recur with regularity.
Another truth assures us that all is not hopeless.
Those who anchor themselves by faith to God and his purposes have resources to meet any crisis.
A third message from this great book comes directly from the life of Jeremiah.
When the crisis comes, wise people listen to God’s messengers.
Jerusalem could have escaped the heartbreaking misery she experienced if the king and people had been willing to heed Jeremiah’s advice. ———
Thur, December 30
BIBLICAL LAMENTS: PRAYER OUT OF PAIN by Michael D. Guinan
We have such structures and models available to us in the prayer of our Scriptures.
The loss of lament has been costly; we have much to gain by recovering it.
“At a certain time, a country was under attack by an assortment of Middle Eastern peoples. The crisis was acute and its leader called all the people to prayer.
This general description sounds painfully similar to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but, in fact, the time in question was about 850 B.C.
The country was the biblical kingdom of Judah. The enemies were from Ammon, Moab and Edom (today all part of Jordan).
The leader was the Davidic king, Jehoshaphat, and the prayer he called the people to was a lamentation prayer.
”We are powerless before this vast multitude that comes against us. We are at a loss what to do, hence our eyes are turned toward you” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
Lamentation is a prayer for help coming out of pain, and it is very common in the Bible.
Over one third (50 or so) of the psalms are laments.
Lament frequently occurs in the Book of Job:
“Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11).
The prophets likewise cry out to God, such as Jeremiah does:
“Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable…?” (15:18) and
Habakkuk: “…my legs tremble beneath me. I await the day of distress that will come upon the people who attack us” (3:16).
One whole book, Lamentations, expresses the confusion and suffering felt after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
We find something similar in the New Testament as well. People who are afflicted cry out to Jesus for help. Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, shouts out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” (Mark 10:47).
Jesus himself laments to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane,
“Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me…” (Mark 14:36).
In his agony on the cross, Jesus makes his own the words of Psalm 22,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me…?”
Despite its wide-ranging presence in the Bible, we Christians have by and large lost touch with this dimension of prayer. It is something we need to recover.
WHAT IS LAMENTATION?
When we feel blessed in life, when we experience goodness and wholeness, we turn to God in praise and thanksgiving.
But what happens when we experience just the opposite?
What happens when we are overcome by the presence of chaos, brokenness, suffering and death, or by a sudden sense of our human vulnerability, as in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania?
When we hurt physically, we cry out in pain; when we hurt religiously, we cry out in lament.
Lamentation can be described as a loud, religious “Ouch!”
To begin with, the laments we find in Scripture are addressed directly to God:
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” (Psalm 130:1)
and “My soul, too, is utterly terrified; but you, O Lord, how long…?” (Psalm 6:4).
In more modern terms we might say,
“I call to you, O Lord, and all I get is your answering machine!”
We take our cries directly to the top. God, however, seems very far away,
“O my God, I cry out by day, and you answer not; by night, and there is no relief for me” (Psalm 22:3).
We ask heartfelt questions:
“How long, O Lord? Will you utterly forget me?” (Psalm 13:2),
which implies: I am at the end of my rope, and I cannot hold on much longer; and,
“Why, O Lord, do you stand aloof? Why hide in times of distress?” (Psalm 10:1),
which implies: “I do not understand what is going on; this makes no sense.
How long? Why?” These are not requests for information, but cries of pain.
The afflictions of the speaker(s) are described in broad, stereotyped ways with which all sufferers can identify:
”…heal me, O Lord, for my body is in terror” (Psalm 6:3);
loneliness and alienation —
”My friends and my companions stand back because of my affliction…” (Psalm 38:12);
danger and mistreatment by others —
”O Lord,… save me from all my pursuers” (Psalm 7:2) and
even aging —
”Cast me not off in my old age…” (Psalm 71:9).
Finally, the ultimate affliction is physical death —
”For my soul is surfeited with troubles and my life draws near to the nether world” (Psalm 88:4).
All of these are manifestations of the realm of chaos and of brokenness invading and pulling our lives apart.
THE ROLE OF ENEMIES
Lamentations often speak of enemies. At times these are enemies from outside the community, also known as “foreigners” or “the nations”:
“O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple” (Psalm 79:1).
At other times, it is an enemy from within who schemes and plots against the psalmist:
“I hear the whispers of the crowd…as they consult together against me” (Psalm 31:14).
On more than one occasion, the psalmist suggests to God things to do to these enemies, which are known as the so-called “cursing psalms”:
“So now, deliver their children to famine, do away with them by the sword….May cries be heard from their homes” (Jeremiah 18:21-22);
“All my enemies shall be put to shame in utter terror” (Psalm 6:11);
“Happy the man who shall repay you the evil you have done us! Happy the man who shall seize and smash your little ones against the rock!” (Psalm 137:8-9).
It is fairly obvious that as Christians we are not all that comfortable in speaking our pains, our doubts and our anger before God.
Lament leaves us more than a little uneasy.
Unlike the Jewish community (think of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, speaking his pain and confusion to God), we have lost a certain sense of lamentation, and this has been, in the words of one scholar, “a costly loss.”
What might we gain from a recovery of lamentation?
ACCEPTING LAMENT AS AN ACT OF FAITH
First, we feel, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and we might think, “I should not feel this way! I am losing my faith!”
Lament corrects a false, naïve and overly rationalistic view of faith.
In the Scriptures, faith is not simply an intellectual assent to some statement about God.
It is the trusting of our entire selves to God.
At times, we do experience God’s absence; we do feel alone and confused, and we doubt.
Doubt is not opposed to faith; despair is.
We see this in the case of the father who brought his son to Jesus for healing.
When Jesus encouraged the father to have faith, he replied,
“I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
Even St. Paul tells us he was “perplexed, but not driven to despair” (2 Corinthians 4:8).
In despair we give up on our relationship with God.
Doubt, on the other hand, is a sign that our faith is alive and kicking; it is part of the rhythm of faith itself.
Lament is not a failure of faith, but an act of faith.
We cry out directly to God because deep down we know that our relationship with God counts; it counts to us and it counts to God.
Even if we do not experience the closeness, we believe that God does care.
Even if God seems not to hear, we believe that God is always within shouting distance.
In the Scriptures, God does not say, “Do not fear, I will take away all the pain and struggle.”
Rather, we hear, “You have no need to fear, since I am with you” (e.g., to Isaac, frightened of the Philistine king—Genesis 26:24;
to the anxious Moses being sent to confront Pharaoh—Exodus 3:11-12;
to the disciples when they see Jesus walking on the sea—Matthew 14:27) and together we will make it.
What Was Lost: Seeking Refuge in the Psalms We will survive, yes, even death itself. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, our security can be shaken, and our faith as well. Perhaps it is not lamenting, but the failure to lament that expresses a lack of faith.
Secondly, in lamenting we cry to God, “Why, O Lord?” Our suffering is so big; it does not make any sense; it lacks meaning. The desire to find meaning is a strong one.
After the attacks on the World Trade Center, a photo made the rounds on the Internet showing what seemed to be a face (or a skull) visible in the smoke pouring out of the towers. Could this be a sign that this was the work of the devil? Others appealed to the predictions of Nostradamus and some of the superficial religious explanations of prominent media preachers to make sense of what had happened.
In our search for meaning, we can be tempted to look for cheap and easy answers. Lament teaches us that there are indeed things we do not understand; in fact, we cannot understand. God does not say, “Do not fear; you will understand everything and have all the answers.” Our human mind can take us only so far. At times we can do no more than speak our confusion to God, and lament tells us that we should do no less.
Thirdly, we feel against people who hurt us, personally or as a nation, “Happy the man who shall seize and smash your little ones against the rock” (Psalm 137:9), and we think, “I should not feel this way; it is against charity.”
Lament counters a false, naïve and overly romantic view of charity. Charity does not mean that everything is lovely, that we never get upset, that we sit around holding hands and saying how wonderful everything is. This is unreal.
Negativity, injustice, hatred, brokenness are part of our lives and part of our world. In the face of this, we can have an instinctive feeling for retaliation in kind, for returning hatred with hatred. I do feel pain, hurt and anger, but these are not a good basis on which to act. The fact that I feel a certain way does not give me permission to go out and dump my negativity wherever and on whomever I want. Lament suggests that it is all right to express our uncensored feelings before God.
ACKNOWLEDGING OUR PAIN
In this light, the “cursing psalms” make sense. They have often been a particular stumbling block. We need to recognize, first, that they are clearly spoken out of great pain and distress. The feelings are really in the psalms, and at times they are really in us.
But, second, the psalmist does not say, “I am going to go out and smash his little ones against the rock!” We do not, as it were, take things into our own hands. We say rather, “God, this is the way I feel; I leave it to you.” And God has never been known to rush out and do everything we ask when we are angry. We let God deal with it, and in the process, we get the feelings out of us; we can begin to respond more reflectively, more constructively.
It is true that Jesus’ example teaches us to pray, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)—an attitude found also in some parts of the Old Testament, such as Exodus 23:4-5 and Job 31:29-30. This is indeed the direction in which we hope to move, the direction we want our actions to reflect. But our feelings may not always be there—at least at first.
Again, the feelings are real and will not go away, and if we do not recognize them and deal with them constructively, they will go underground and pop up later in destructive ways. Lament is a constructive way to deal with them.
It is often noted that almost all of the lament psalms (Psalm 88 is an exception) end on a sudden turn to praise (e.g., 6:9-11; 22:23-32). Scholars have offered various explanations for this, but from the viewpoint of prayer, the meaning seems clear. It is only after we lament, after we face and express the pain and negativity and get it all out, that healing can begin. In more theological terms, we can say that it is only by facing and going through death that we can come to new life, to resurrection.
The structure of lament tells us that it is possible to praise too soon. The psalmist takes the time to let all the pain and anger out before the praise can set in. Perhaps it is not lamenting, but the failure to lament that expresses a lack of charity.
RECOVERING THE POWER OF LAMENTATIONS
It is true that we have lost a healthy sense of lament in our personal prayer life. We have lost it as well in our communal, liturgical life. Almost the only remaining context in which lament is formally acknowledged is the funeral liturgy, but here too it is possible to give lament short shrift.
Some years back, after the changes in the rite of funerals, a family I knew lost a child in a boating accident. A lot of pressure was brought to bear to “celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection, to rejoice in his birth to new life.”
About a year later, their suppressed grief almost tore the family apart. Again, we must not deny honest pain, nor jump too quickly from loss to acceptance and skip over the lamenting process. Christian faith does proclaim a message of hope, but death and grief are still real.
Perhaps other situations exist in which some form of communal liturgical or paraliturgical lament would be appropriate: after a painful experience of divorce; in a religious community after dear members choose to leave; when missionaries depart for home after years of service in a foreign country; for victims of clergy abuse on the path of healing; in a neighborhood taken over by drug dealers; in a community hard hit by HIV and AIDS; in a community devastated by natural disaster (fire, flood, earthquake, tornado, hurricane); for people after the experience of rape. Or when terrorists attack a country and many lives are lost.
Perhaps we are discovering that, as a nation, we have been more traumatized than we initially thought; there may still be lamentation work to do.
How helpful it would be if we had some structures and models to allow us to express and acknowledge our grief, our pain, our confusion and our anger; to offer each other strength and support in difficult times; to help us, individually and communally, move forward with the task and challenge of life and to help us discern what is a good and proper response to any situation.
We have such structures and models available to us in the prayer of our Scriptures. The loss of lament has been costly; we have much to gain by recovering it. ———
God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives…
God leaves it up to us to choose, according to our own free will and volition, whether we are going to spend our lives on Him (following Him) or on ourselves, following after our own personal desires and ambitions, with no regard for His plan and purpose for our life?
Yet it is that very nature and attitude (which all of us have, which we have inherited from Adam) that is the very nature of what sin is, that we choose to do our will with no regard to God’s plan and purpose for our life.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all.
Ephesians 1:7-11 The Voice
7 Visualize this: His blood freely flowing down the cross, setting us free!
We are forgiven for our sinful ways by the richness of His grace, 8 which He has poured all over us.
With all wisdom and insight, 9 He has enlightened us to the great mystery at the center of His will.
With immense pleasure, He laid out His intentions through Jesus, 10 a plan that will climax when the time is right as He returns to create order and unity—both in heaven and on earth—when all things are brought together under the Anointed’s royal rule.
In Him 11 we stand to inherit even more.
As His heirs, we are PREDESTINED to play a key role in His unfolding purpose that is energizing everything to conform to His will.
Take Up the Cross and Follow Him 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
1 John 2:1-6 The Voice
[The word “sin” has virtually disappeared from modern conversation. Afraid of sounding judgmental, we call sin something else—a mistake, an addiction, a tendency, a bad decision—and ignore it as normal and natural behavior. But John is calling the church to a radical holiness where those in the church will regularly remember their sins and seek God’s forgiveness. Each sin, small and large, injures us or someone else; it imprints on our soul, makes us imperfect, and separates us from the perfect God. If we confess our sins to God each day, then He will purify our hearts and draw us closer to Him.]
1 You are my little children, so I am writing these things to help you avoid sin.
If, however, any believer does sin, we have a high-powered defense lawyer—Jesus the Anointed, the righteous—arguing on our behalf before the Father.
2 It was through His sacrificial death that our sins were atoned. But He did not stop there—He died for the sins of the whole world.
[John is affectionately addressing this letter to his “little children,” and he is writing to help them avoid sin and the pain and guilt that come with it.
The glamour of decadent lifestyles devoid of God is often advertised as the epitome of joy and freedom.
But what are often conveniently left out of these portrayals are the agonizing consequences of such destructive lifestyles.
Meaningful pleasure comes not when we are enslaved by the empty promises of the world, but when we are living in loving obedience to God.]
3 We know we have joined Him in an intimate relationship because we live out His commands.
4 If someone claims, “I am in an intimate relationship with Him,” but this big talker doesn’t live out His commands, then this individual is a liar and a stranger to the truth.
5 But if someone responds to and obeys His word, then God’s love has truly taken root and filled him.
This is how we know we are in an intimate relationship with Him:
6 anyone who says, “I live in intimacy with Him,” should walk the path Jesus walked. ———
LEAVING EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW JESUS by Greg Burdine
The story has it that Mark Twain loved to go fishing, but he hated to catch fish.
The problem was he went fishing to relax, and catching fish ruined his relaxation, since he had to take the fish off the hook and do something with it.
When he wanted to relax by doing nothing, people thought he was lazy, but if he went fishing he could relax all he wanted.
People would see him sitting by the river bank and they would say, “Look, he’s fishing, don’t bother him.”
So Mark Twain had the perfect solution: he would take a fishing pole, line, and a bobber, but he wouldn’t put a hook on the end.
He would cast the bobber in the water and lay back on the bank. That way he could relax all he wanted and he would be bothered neither by man nor fish.
Mark Twain is like a lot of Christians I know. They have their pole in the water, but there is no hook on the end. They are not fishing; they are relaxing.
Jesus called men who were great fishermen to follow Him.
He said, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17).
From this invitation, we uncover a simple truth that I will expand on.
Jesus calls people to Himself so they can influence others.
THIS IS A COMMAND Jesus is not asking for volunteers. He has made a command. This is not a question.
It is in the imperative tense. And notice that this is not a command to a work but to a Person.
He calls them to a continuous walk with Him rather than to a single act toward Him.
THIS IS A SACRIFICE To follow Jesus means you leave everything else.
They left everything they’ve known – all the security, family, and business- to follow Jesus.
It is interesting to note when they obeyed, one pair left their occupation, the others left their father.
THIS IS RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP A person must leave all behind to follow Jesus.
A radical message with a radical call resulted in radical obedience.
This seems negative, but it actually is a positive teaching, that the power of Jesus’ Word overcomes the power of even family ties and financial stability.
God may not ask us to leave our jobs or families, but we must be willing to abandon everything to follow Him.
THIS IS A TRUST They left what they were doing and embraced what God was doing wholeheartedly.
THIS IS ‘REPENT & BELIEVE’ IN ACTION When they heard what Jesus wanted them to do they immediately obeyed and acted with faith.
They put their futures and the livelihood of their families in His hands.
To follow Jesus shows you trust Him with your future.
Jesus said He would make them ‘fishers of men.’
He promised a lifelong learning and growth process.
Jesus chooses teachable people. It is no accident that He chose unsophisticated, unlearned fishermen. What an unlikely start for world conquest.
THIS IS A CHOICE Men or Fish?
We were created with a desire to influence others.
We want to make a mark. We sometimes worry about the ambition that burns within us.
We want to be somebody and do things, but it is not always easy to sort out how much of this is selfish and how much is Christian.
Jesus addresses each of us and our ambition:
‘Do you want to make something of your life, to have a life that is useful? Follow me!’
In light of this, think about the following questions:
What does Christ expect me to leave behind to follow Him?
What sacrifice of personal achievement, wealth, or position does Christ ask me to make?
What prevents me from following Jesus immediately and wholeheartedly?
What must I do to eliminate these hindrances in my life?
This episode in the life of Jesus is a shortened version of what happened.
It is actually the conclusion of a day-long experience.
Luke 5 tells the miracle leading up to this moment.
Four Fishermen Called as Disciples 5 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.
7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.
And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”
11 So when they had brought their boats to land, THEY FORSOOK ALL AND FOLLOWED HIM. ———
THE FOLLOWING STORY COMES FROM THE ABOVE PASSAGE:
Clarence Darrow was a very successful U.S. lawyer. He was not a Christian, but had among his friends a young minister.
One day Darrow asked his minister friend, ‘Would you like to know my favorite Bible verse?’
His friend said, ‘Indeed I would.’ Mr. Darrow said, ‘You will find it in Luke 5:5.
‘We’ve toiled all the night and have taken nothing.’
He added, ‘In spite of my success that verse seems to sum up the way I feel about life.’
No matter what one does in life, no matter what position he may obtain, no matter what he might come to own, if he leaves God out, the time will come when life itself will rise up and mock him with the word nothing… nothing! ———
Sun, December 26 Daily Devotionals by Inspiration Ministries
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.” – Matthew 2:1 NIV
Imagine deciding to follow the star. It was one thing to study that star, to search ancient records and speculate about its path and purpose.
But to these Magi, that was not enough.
They felt compelled to leave their home in “the east” and travel hundreds of miles westward to follow the star and prove their theories were correct.
It was a massive commitment.
Following their studies after months of travel, they arrived in Jerusalem.
Then, insights provided by Herod’s scholars pointed them toward Bethlehem where they saw Jesus along with his parents.
Overwhelmed, “they bowed down and worshiped,” and presented Him with treasures they had brought (v. 11).
It had been the journey of a lifetime, but they were rewarded with a life-changing encounter.
These Magi joined men and women throughout the ages who had left everything behind to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:21-22).
Others would leave everything in other ways.
The shepherds would need to leave their flocks to see the baby Jesus.
For some, following Jesus would involve a life of surrender and sacrifice.
For many, it means leaving personal comforts to go to faraway places and laying aside their plans and personal desires.
Following Jesus means leaving everything else behind – your past and future.
Make Him your highest priority. Trust Him to provide meaning to your life and meet your needs and guide you. Follow Jesus.
Prayer Dear Lord Jesus, I am Your disciple. You are my Lord. I will leave all to follow You. In Your name, amen.
So God promises that when we are saved, our house (family) will follow…
Let us hang our faith on this promise!
Here’s the backstory to what happened prior to Acts 16, verse 31:
Acts 16:25-34 New Living Translation
The Philippian Jailer Saved 25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.
26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations.
All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!
27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself.
28 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
30 Then he brought them out and asked,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied,
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”
32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.
33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds.
Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.
34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. ———
SALVATION BEGINS WITH FAITH
Paul and Silas’s answer to the Philippian jailer’s question is the essence of salvation;
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”
This verse raises two questions:
1. What does it mean to believe, and
2. What does it mean to be saved?
Belief includes but is MUCH MORE than just an intellectual assent!
Belief includes the idea of TOTAL reliance, trust, dependence, and submission of oneself to Christ, as both LORD (King, Master) and SAVIOR of their life.
(HE CAN’T BE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER… BOTH LORD AND SAVIOR)
TO BE SAVED IS TO BE DELIVERED
We are delivered from the very presence of sin and evil (Satan and hell) and will be delivered into the very presence of God (Christ and heaven).
“…to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 5:8
“I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW you have eternal life.” — 1 John 5:13
So the way we receive this new life is by faith — believing that we are sinful, that Jesus died for our sins, that His death was in our place, and that His payment for sin is fully acceptable in God’s sight.
Faith can be summarized in the following acrostic:
F. A. I. T. H. = Forsaking All I Take Him
And in verse 31b, the promise goes on to say that “your entire household will be saved.”
Your Family’s Salvation — So the jailer was the first to be saved; and then by him assuming spiritual leadership of his family, by being the first to repent and to humble himself before God; and then by him being the first to ask for forgiveness and a change of life, he set the pattern for the rest of his family.
And so by his example, the rest of his family was also won to Christ.
In the same way, every believing father has the responsibility to set the example of spiritual commitment, and to teach his family all he knows of following Christ. ———
Mon, December 20 The Spirit Filled Believer Written by Dick Mills
YOU AND ALL YOUR HOUSEHOLD
“They shall come back from the land of the enemy…your children shall come back to their own border.” — Jeremiah 31:16-17
One of the most encouraging words from the Lord we have been hearing throughout the length and breadth of this land is:
“All the children are coming home; those who have been away in the land of the enemy are going to return to their own border.”
It is hard to describe the gladness, joy, and peace this God-breathed message of assurance brings to distraught parents.
GATHER AND BRING THEM IN
When the ark was finally all in readiness, just before the great flood descended, the Lord spoke these words to Noah:
“…Come into the ark, you and all your household…” (Genesis 7:1)
We are hearing these same words today:
“A flood of tribulation and persecution is coming. Get your family together and bring them in.”
When Israel was alerted to get ready to move out of Egypt, each family was instructed to sacrifice a lamb to cover their household.
Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb whose blood is sufficient to cover our entire family.
One of the features of the last-day move of the Spirit of God is family salvation, family restoration, and family unity.
If your children are away from home, you can take comfort from this passage in Jeremiah 31:16-17 which assures you that they will return.
In the parable, the prodigal son came home. The modern-day prodigals are going to do the same.
Just as chickens come home to roost and cows come back to the barn at the close of the day, so our children will return to us before the final darkness descends.
We are hearing this word all over the world. Believe it and be encouraged!
Source: The Spirit-Filled Believer’s Daily Devotional by Dick Mills ———
Well to begin with, contrary to popular Christmas tradition, the Bible does not use the terms “three wise men” or “three kings” to describe the travelers who went to see Jesus after his birth (see Matthew 2:1).
NOTE: The term “Wise Men” in Greek is magos, and can be translated “Oriental Scientist,” most likely having been influenced by the teaching of the prophet Daniel.
Because of Daniel’s great wisdom, and because he had successfully pleaded for the lives of the wise men who had failed to interpret the king’s dream (Dan. 2:24), Daniel came to be highly regarded among the magi (saving many of their lives!), so we’d certainly expect that the magi learned much from the Prophet Daniel about the one true God, and because so many Jews remained behind in Babylon after the Exile, refusing to go back to Jerusalem, they intermarried with the people of the east.
This makes it all the more likely that Jewish messianic influence remained strong in that region, even into New Testament times.
The Bible says that the Magi brought three kinds of gifts:
Gold (a gift for a king/royalty); Frankincense (prayers); and the Myrrh was used as an embalming oil).
Speaking of the wise men: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.
And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
There may have been several kings or wise men in the group (which is likely), and this must have required a caravan of up to 60 camels or more (soldiers, servants, supplies, gifts).
In God’s sovereignty, these gifts probably proved useful in Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt, paying for their expenses, and this escape was made necessary because Herod ordered the execution of all male children, two and under in or near Bethlehem.
King Nebuchadnezzar sought the cream of the crop for his own private council (Dan 1:3-4), and “Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah” (Dan 1:6).
Daniel’s title was “Rab Mag” or “Chief of the Magi” (Dan 5:11), so he must have left some historical records of his writings for the Babylonians, and remember, they were also historians.
One such writing may have been Daniel chapter 9, where Daniel refers to the appearance of the Messiah, and goes into very specific detail about the timing of the Anointed One’s appearance (Dan 9:21-26).
We know from Scripture that Daniel was a man of prayer, and he naturally wanted to know when things would be restored, so Gabriel answered Daniel’s prayer (2 weeks later) and told Daniel not only where and when the Messiah would come, but when He would be killed (Dan. 9:25-26).
The magi or wise men recognized the fact that Daniel’s point of reference was not Babylon but Jerusalem (Dan 9:16), so for the wise men, it was not a guessing game.
They had to have accurate information to go on or they’d have missed Him.
And then there is the oral tradition or story (that was given before Noah’s flood) that we can read in the Stars (something Satan took and corrupted into astrology).
God is the one who originated this message in the stars, which every ancient civilization has a record of.
This message or story in the Stars tells of how God would send the “Seed” of the woman (Messiah) to judge and conquer evil; starting with Virgo (a virgin who gives birth to a child), who then judges and conquers evil in the world and comes back as Leo (the lion of Judah).
The fact that these constellations, in the sky (and the message or story they contained) were created by God is evident in the fact of how God speaks of them in the Book of Job.
Job 38:31-32 New Living Translation
31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars— binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion?
32 Can you direct the constellations through the seasons
or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
The fact that God created these constellations and their corresponding message is evident in the fact that God named them, as He also authored the story or message that can be seen in them.
THE MESSAGE IN THE STARS
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. ———
And in Romans we read the following:
God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” ———
SAT, December 18 The Winning Walk by Dr Ed Young
FOLLOWING THE STAR
“And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.” -Matthew 2:12
We know very little about the Magi, those Wise Men who saw the star in the East.
Thousands of other people could have seen that star, but these must have been visionary individuals who did not want to miss the moment.
They scanned the heavens when most of us only see our feet; they focused on the extraordinary instead of the commonplace.
And not only did they see the star, they acted upon what they saw, making the arduous journey from Persia to Jerusalem.
They were indeed wise. And I believe the epitome of their wisdom is seen in the last two words of our verse:
“they went back ‘ANOTHER way.’”
In other words, they met Jesus and they worshiped Him, they gave Him gifts, and they went home by a different route.
A true encounter with Jesus will do that.
It will change everything about you.
When you worship Him and surrender to Him, you will leave the presence of Jesus by a new – and different – way. ———
Our absolute trust and reliance upon Jesus is the Solid Rock upon which we build the foundation of our faith…
I touched on this the other day in how Jesus is both the Aleph and Tav in the Old Testament, and the Alpha and Omega in the New Testament, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
In my morning devotions the other day, I ran across this scripture, where God says to Moses:
The Angel and the Promises
20 “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.
21 Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him.
(NOTE: it is very significant that He says “My NAME is in Him,” as it relates to our praying in Jesus’ name in the New Testament)
The reason why the word Angel is capitalized is because this is Yeshua that is being spoken of.
There are several times in the Old Testament where the Living Word appears and it is called a Theophany.
The apostle John emphasizes this when he begins his gospel account.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3)
The apostle Paul also affirms this truth in the book of Colossians.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible….And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15-17)
The Lord Jesus Christ was present at the beginning of creation—He was and is our Creator.
His pre-existence is further affirmed by His many appearances documented throughout the Old Testament.
Theophany is a theological term that refers to an encounter with God prior to Christ’s incarnation.
What particularly got my attention was the statement “My Name (authority) is in Him” (v. 21), which shows that this messenger, this Angel of the Lord, is none other than “the Living Word” Himself; and with the promise of His presence and protection comes the warning “obey His voice,” for the Lord is a holy God who cannot dwell in the presence of sin.
Obedience is the evidence of reality of the covenant relationship.
The Angel of the Lord “encamps around those who fear Him” (Ps 34:7).
The reason why I’m bringing this up is because when Jesus tells us (in the New Testament) to pray in His Name, He’s not talking about some hocus pocus magic, like click your heels three times and you get what you want.
When Jesus was speaking to His disciples about His departure, after the resurrection, He said the following:
22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, WHATEVER YOU ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME He will give you.’
Praying in Jesus’ name is praying for things that will honor and glorify Jesus.
Saying “in Jesus’ name” at the end of a prayer is definitely not a magic formula.
It means that, as ambassadors (God’s representatives here in the Earth) for Christ, that we are standing in obedience to Him and in His authority, in order to facilitate God’s will being done here in the Earth as it is in heaven.
If what we ask for or say in prayer is not for God’s glory and according to His will, then saying “in Jesus’ name” is meaningless.
Genuinely praying in Jesus’ name and for His glory is what is important, not attaching certain words to the end of a prayer.
It is not the words in the prayer that matter, but the purpose behind the prayer.
Praying for things that are in agreement with God’s will is the essence of praying in Jesus’ name.
As God’s occupational Force, here in the Earth, we are to complete the mission that Jesus started, and we are to do it in the way that He demonstrated.
When the Bible says that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father, the scriptures are letting us know that Jesus’ work is FINISHED (at Calvary’s cross), in that having offered up propitiation for our sins, He has prepared the way and has done EVERYTHING necessary for us to go out and complete the work that He began.
And so as God’s occupational force in the Earth, this has to be our daily confession:
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Jesus is the Rock on which our faith is built, and faith in God (our willingness to take risks and step out in obedience to His Word) is the means by which we are to navigate through the storms of our life, here on Earth; and without that Faith the Bible says it is impossible for us to please Him (Heb 11:6).
So once again this gets us back to our original point, that Jesus is both the Author and Finisher of our faith; and He is both the Foundation and Anchor that allows us to weather any storm!
In his book, Six Hours One Friday, Max Lucado tells the story of how he and his boat survived a hurricane.
An old sea man gave Max the advice to take his boat to deep water, drop four anchors off each corner of the boat, and pray that the anchors held.
Max survived that storm, but he says that he learned an important lesson, all of us need an anchor that will hold during the storms of life.
That anchor is our faith. What have you put your faith in?
How important is it to have faith?
Where do we find a faith strong enough to make it through the storms of life?
Peter knows how important faith is and he gives us a great picture of faith, a faith that we can anchor deep with, and a faith which will hold us during the storms of life.
1 Peter 1:3-12 The Message
A New Life 3-5 What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus!
Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!
God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.
6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime.
Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.
When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.
8-9 You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing.
Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.
10-12 The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing.
The Messiah’s Spirit let them in on some of it—that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory.
They clamored to know who and when.
All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselves—through the Holy Spirit—the Message of those prophecies fulfilled.
Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this! ———
When Peter wrote his letter, things were changing.
In the beginning of the first century church, the government remained unconcerned about this new religious sect, and as the church grew, the constrictions of the government increased.
Peter is writing to a people who are finding it increasingly difficult to live their faith.
Even today it is not easy being a Christian, but we must find a way to live our faith without compromise.
Sooner or later the storms of life will begin to blow and then the question becomes will the anchor of faith hold.
If our faith is set upon the things of this world, then our faith will perish.
Countless kingdoms have come and fallen, economies have been built and destroyed, and nations have been established and vanished.
All that is left of some of those kingdoms are the ruins you can see in a museum.
Only the kingdom of God has remained constant in the past two thousand years.
Our faith is to be set in heaven, and not on the things of this world. That is the only way that we know our faith is imperishable.
Jesus is our example in all things related to life and ministry. . .
“So let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Fri, December 17 Worthy Brief
WHERE’S FAITH WHEN YOU NEED IT?!?!
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” — Romans 10:17
I could tell you about countless difficult and drawn-out circumstances over which we have tried to stand firmly in faith until they finally came to pass.
Sometimes we made it and sometimes we were weak and began to doubt.
But God mercifully came through for us on most of these things, despite our lack of strength to stay faith-ful.
There are some things in our lives that take a lot of prayer and a lot of faith to overcome. But why is it so hard sometimes to stand in faith for those things?
D.L. Moody spent many hours praying for faith.
He once said, “If all the time I have spent praying for faith was put together, it would be months.
I thought that someday faith was going to come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not come.
Then one day I read in the 10th chapter of Romans,
“So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
I now opened my Bible and began to read God’s Word and faith has been growing ever since.”
Much of what we believers describe as ‘faith’ has nothing to do with Biblical faith.
Our faith must not be based on emotion, or want, and not on the latest exciting conference or revival.
But it must be centered on God’s Word, on Yeshua (Jesus), His death and resurrection, His salvation.
The Living Word is the eternal, everlasting love of God that has been poured out upon our lives.
Let’s read, hear, apply and live the Word today, and we will grow strong in faith!
Are we paying attention to the signs of the times that Jesus warned us about that would mark His return?…
Jesus said very clearly that no man knows the exact day nor the hour of His return, and that only His Father in Heaven knew this; but He also emphatically said that we should recognize the prophetic times and season of His return, which are given to us in the scriptures.
In Matthew 24:32-35, Jesus warned His disciples,
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” ———
I just recently ran across this article and found it interesting.
THE FIG TREE (ISRAEL) REBORN 1948 by Gabriel Ansley
Parable of Budding Fig Tree Confirms Christ’s Return AD 2028 Click on link below:
“The days of our lives are 70 years; And if by reason of strength they are 80 YEARS, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is SOON CUT OFF, and WE FLY AWAY” (Psalms 90:10)
One day the disciples asked Jesus:
“What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).
In answer to this question, Jesus spoke a parable of the Fig Tree, which combined with Psalm 90 and the rebirth of Israel in AD 1948, now gives us the YEAR of Christ’s return – AD 2028.
PROPHECY IN PSALMS
After Jesus resurrected from the dead, he met with his disciples and explained to them:
“These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that ALL THINGS MUST BE FULFILLED, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and IN THE PSALMS, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45).
Do you see Jesus confirmed there were prophecies in the PSALMS concerning his First Coming?
Well, make no mistake about it, there are OTHER prophecies in the Psalms, unfulfilled, concerning his Second Coming! And Psalm 90 is a HUGE one, which you will soon see!
PARABLE OF FIG TREE So here now is Jesus’ parable of the Fig Tree in answer to the disciples asking him when the “end of the world” would arrive:
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when its branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near: So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:32-34)
What?!?! What is this about?
What “generation” shall not pass away before Christ returns?
The answer is in the parable!
It’s the generation that sees the FIG TREE put forth its leaves!
Listen, in a parable things always represent other things.
For example, in Jesus’ parable of the sower, the “seed” represented the “Word of God” (Mark 4:14), and in his parable of the tares, the “tares” represented the “children of the wicked one” (Matthew 13:38).
FIG TREE = ISRAEL
So what does the “Fig Tree” represent in the parable of the Fig Tree?
It’s the nation of Israel!
How do we know?
The Bible clearly tells us:
“I (God) found ISRAEL like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstfruits on the Fig Tree.” (Hosea 9:10)
Therefore, Jesus was saying in his parable of the fig tree (and I’m paraphrasing) …
“The generation that is born the year the nation of Israel comes back on the map again will not all pass away (die) before my Second Coming occurs!”
What’s fascinating about this parable is the fact that when Jesus uttered it, Israel was still a nation!
They were just under Rome’s control. In other words, through this parable, Jesus was actually prophesying the destruction of the nation of Israel!
And sure enough, around AD 70, that happened — Rome destroyed Jerusalem.
So WHEN did the nation of Israel STUNNINGLY and AMAZINGLY come back on the map again?
So the people born in the year AD 1948 are the final generation! They will not all die before Jesus Christ returns!
LENGTH OF GENERATION Ok, so all we need to know is the Biblical length (years) of a generation of people, and we can add that number to AD 1948 and this will be the OUTSIDE DATE for Christ’s Second Coming.
So is this in the Bible?
Well, remember me saying there are prophecies in the Psalms, concerning Christ’s Second Coming? Well, here it is:
“The days of our lives are 70 years; and if by reason of strength they are 80 YEARS, yet is their strength labor and sorrow, for it is soon CUT OFF, and we FLY AWAY” (Psalms 90:10).
This verse tells us 80 years is the average age of a generation of people.
Therefore, the outside date for Christ’s return is AD 1948 + 80 = AD 2028!
What’s even more fascinating is that Moses wrote Psalm 90 over 3,000 years ago, and even though he lived to be 120 years old, today, 80 years is the average life expectancy of human beings worldwide!
THE RAPTURE Oh, but there’s more! Did you notice the “soon cut off” and “we fly away” words written in the Psalms 90:10 verse above, after the 80 year generation was mentioned?
The Bible tells us the Antichrist’s time will be “cut short” or “cut off” at Christ’s return — 42 months.
And during Christ’s return, a small righteous remnant of saints will “fly away” up into the air to meet him in the clouds to escape the global firestorm of God’s Wrath.
Friend, these words in the Psalm 90:10 are almost certainly prophesying of the “flying away” that will happen to the saints (elect) at the end of the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation reign, when his time will be “cut off” at 3.5 years, 80 years after AD 1948 — 2028 END!
CONCLUSION So there you have it … Christ’s parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24, along with the length of a generation in Psalms 90 go hand in hand in confirming Jesus Christ’s rapturous return “immediately AFTER the Great Tribulation” in the year AD 2028! ———
Now listen to this interview with Ken Johnson, a biblical scholar and expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Apocalypse of the ESSENES! Dead Sea Scrolls 2025, 2032, 2068 PREDICTIONS | Dr. Ken Johnson
(Pay particular attention to 53:15, where they talk about the final Year of Jubilee before Christ returns and the possible significance of the Year 2025)
Click on link below:
The years 2025 – 2028 are just around the corner, and obviously I think we’re in the ballpark here, in terms of prophetic indicators that we should probably be looking at.
And finally this is God’s invitation to all of those who are seekers of Truth in these last days. . .
Isaiah 55:1-7 New Living Translation
Invitation to the Lord’s Salvation 1 “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink— even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk— it’s all free!
2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.
3 “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.
4 See how I used him to display my power among the peoples. I made him a leader among the nations.
5 You also will command nations you do not know, and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey, because I, the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious.”
6 Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.
7 Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. ———
Tue, December 14 Worthy Brief
WAKE UP — THE ERUPTIONS ARE HERE!
“Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you! Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.” — Zephaniah 2:2-3
Mount Semeru erupted last week killing dozens of people in Indonesia, and this reminded me of a story that happened in the late 1800’s when witnesses of a volcanic eruption believed the end of the world had come.
It was 1883, Captain Sampson of the British navy witnessed one of the greatest volcanic eruptions in history which took place in Indonesia.
The eruption was so powerful that its shock waves traveled around the world seven times.
The volcano shot miles of debris into the atmosphere which fell to earth as far away as Madagascar – over 2000 miles distance.
Captain Sampson wrote in the ship’s log:
“I am writing this blind in pitch darkness. We are under continual rain of pumice-stone and dust. So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered … I am convinced that the Day of Judgment has come.”
These men witnessed something extraordinary, and it caused them to ponder the inevitable question — Is this the end?
What was the crew thinking and feeling as they were deafened by the massive explosions, and blinded by the clouds of smoke and ash?
To them, it must have been as if the sun had become like sackcloth!
Did this experience change their lives? Were they now powerfully aware of how fragile life is?
Did they suddenly begin to examine what their lives had consisted of up to that moment?
Imagine yourself in that boat as these events are taking place. Now picture yourself at the present moment … are you thinking about what your life has been about, or what it is now?
Are you thinking about what it could be??
Wake up. Recognize that eruptions are already taking place, and these are the Lord’s warnings to this sleeping world; warnings that His return is NEAR!
We are privileged to be witnesses and participants in the most extraordinary times as the end of the age draws near.
But God is looking for people who are awake, who are wise, who understand the signs of the times, and who know Him … so they can do exploits and can shine like stars in a darkening world– will you be one of them?