God gave the children of Israel His 10 commandments. There was no wiggle room. Yet, the Pharisee’s added to them through their own interpretations. Jesus pronounced woes on them in Matthew 23. Verse 3 says that Jesus spoke to the multitudes, “…whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.”
Verse 28 was another scathing rebuke which says, “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” That is a perfect picture of a rebellious heart.
What do you say you do, but in fact your life does not match your words? I am always challenged by 1 John 2:6. It says, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
How did Jesus walk? He was compassionate. Many of His miracles were rooted in compassion. One who harbors unforgiveness in their heart may appear righteous on the outside, however their heart is hard and they are not compassionate.
Jesus died to give us forgiveness of sins. I love Psalm 103:12. I straddled the Equator lines of north and south in Ecuador—they meet. David’s use of words always takes me back to that experience. It says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” The east and west never meet!
To rebel against His command to forgive AS we have been forgiven, leads to spiritual barrenness and lack.
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Let me unpack the word premeditation. The Lord spoke to Joshua about setting up cities of refuge. Joshua 20:2-3 was the reason. Verse 3 says, “That the slay who kills a person accidentally or unintentionally may flee there; and they shall be your refuge for the avenger of blood.”
It clearly stated that the opposite of premeditation was accidentally or unintentionally. Disobedience can only fit into the category of premeditation. In truth, I have never in my life connected disobedience with premeditation until the Holy Spirit spoke them into my heart.
What is unforgiveness? It is disobedience to God’s command. Here are two Scriptures. Ephesians 4:31-30 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
As I typed this, the Holy Spirit stopped me on the word tenderhearted. Hebrews 3:13 says, “…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hiding sin in our heart not only hardens it, but it keeps us bound in deceitfulness. Saying, “I’m fine” yet harboring unforgiveness toward another is deceit in capital letters. Here is a question to ask yourself. Do I have any hardness of heart towards another or circumstances?
The second scriptural command is Colossians 3:13 says, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you; so you also must do.” “Must” is the key word in a command if we are going to obey it.
How do we develop an art to something? I would say that we practice until it becomes second nature to us. I had a startling moment the other morning. I was praying for two folks who are at odds with one another. The Holy Spirit interrupted me as I was praying for them. It was still dark, but I got up and wrote His words in my notebook.
How do they strike you? The art of rebellion is premeditation. Let me unpack the word rebellion first. Our definition comes from 1 Samuel 15:23. The words were spoken to king Saul because of his disobedience to do the Lord’s command.
The Lord had told him to utterly destroy the Amalekites. Saul was to enact the fulfillment of God’s declaration in Exodus 17:14. It says, “…I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”
King Saul’s disobedience was rebellion against God’s word. Why did he disobey? He was a man pleaser. When he was caught in the act, he shifted the blame onto others. Read his words carefully and assess your own life through them.
1 Samuel 15:20-21 says, “…I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people…” Have you ever blame shifted to get yourself out of hot water? Blame shifting is a man-pleaser tactic. Paul said something in Galatians 1:10 that we need to endorse. It says, “…For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”
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Back page snippet: Resentment becomes a bitter pill when swallowed. How do we turn our first resentful feeling into a next thought that will glorify the Lord?
John 8:31-32 says, “…If you abide in My word, you will be My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Know, in the Greek, means to perceive, understand, recognize, gain knowledge, realize, and come to know. It is recognition of truth by personal experience.
Ephesians 3:19 Amplified says, “(That you may really come) to know (practically, through experience for yourselves) the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge (without experience); that you may be filled (through all your being) unto all the fullness of God (may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself)!”
Walking with the Holy Spirit is a moment by moment journey. The second we veer off His path of truth, He will instantly check our heart. When we constantly ignore Him, our senses will become dull, insensitive, and inattentive to His promptings.
Beware! The enemy of our soul is seeking ways to entrap each one of us and to discredit our testimonies of Christ IN us. We must stand our ground through His truth. It alone has the power to defeat ALL of satan’s lying spirit lures! I encourage you to read your Bible daily for understanding and implement it. Let’s be an example of Jesus to others.
The faith of every born again child of God is under siege. Our bag (heart) needs to be filled with smooth, proven stones from God’s word. These are verses that we can pull out and use to whack the fiery dart lies to death before they can take another breath!
Here is our militant stance. Nahum 2:1 is so relevant to us right now. It says, “He who scatters has come up before your face. Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen your flanks! Fortify your power mightily.” I’ve always wondered why the last part doesn’t have an exclamation point. I put one in when I quote it.
Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Beware! Take note! Walk circumspectly!
2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” There is that word again—truth. It is all through Scripture.
Jesus’ priestly prayer took place just before He went to the cross. John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” The true test of a disciple is that they live in the truth of God’s word. It is the truth that has been our experience and continues to monitor and direct our lives that sets us free and keeps us free!!
David took smooth stones. He knew from experience that only certain stones would hit their mark. Jesus spoke, “It is written,” when the devil tempted Him. What proven truth do you have to stand in when you face unprecedented situations?
I am extremely saddened and distraught over recent news of strong believers falling away from God’s truth that they used to teach! They have been in my life a long time. Then the Lord moved me or them and we were not around each other anymore.
I had been on short term mission trips with them, heard them speak, and been to their homes. They preached the gospel, their walk exemplified Jesus, and they bore teaching responsibilities.
How then shall we live in these perilous times? Be aware! Stay alert! Resist! We are bombarded with fiery dart lies. It seems that satan has ramped up his assaults. 1 Peter 5:8-9 were Peter’s tried words. He went through satan’s sieve. His words were intensely tried in the fire.
He said, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” It is essential that we read God’s word daily for understanding. We also need accountability—those ‘watchers over our soul’ that will call us into account if we veer off.
David said something that is really key in prevailing over our enemy. Saul wanted him to use his armor. David put it on, but it was too heavy and he couldn’t walk in it. In 1 Samuel 17:39 David said, “…I cannot walk in these, for I have not tested them…”
He knew that he had tested his sling. He recounted to Saul the things that the Lord did for him as a shepherd. Verse 36 says that he killed a lion and a bear, and, “…this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them…”
Here was his tried, tested, and proven way. Verse 40 says, “Then he took his staff in his hand, and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the book, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand…” All rather by rote actions.
Do you recall the words to the hymn, “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” written by Louisa Stead? Verse 4 starts with, “I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee.” Why did she write those words? She watched both her husband and the little boy he was trying to save drown.
She had proven the Lord was faithful in her relationship with Him in the past. The chorus starts, “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er.” She leaned on the truth about Him that was proven throughout her life. When the new need presented itself, she knew immediately where to turn.
Continuing with Isaiah 41:10 it says, “…be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” We forget these truths when we are controlled by the devil’s lies. Just as Jesus did, we can sling God’s word-stone against the lie and it will be overthrown.
That is what David did with Goliath. Goliath was throwing out defiling words. In 1 Samuel 17:45 David said, “…You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God…whom you have defied.”
Verse 49 says that David took out a stone from his bag, “…he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead…” Verse 50 says, “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him…”
Do you have stone verses in the ‘bag’ of your heart? We are instructed by God to hide His word in our heart. That way it is ready when a fiery dart lie is lobbed at us. We don’t give it another thought, but we quote God’s word to prevail over it and kill it in its tracks.