Persevering Faith

Yesterday I received an email from Samaritan’s Purse. They have set up 14 hospital tents in Central Park, helping 66 patients. Franklin Graham said that he had never seen anything like it.
 
Samaritan’s Purse has been rushing to help victims in national disasters for 50 years. Right now they also have their hospital tents set up in Italy. Franklin’s statement is an awakening.
 
I was reading in Lamentations last night and had to stop. I’ve read it each time I read through my Bible. However, to read it in this time of the C virus, puts it in a whole different light for me. I’m reading it as though it is the world, not Jerusalem. It is ripping my heart apart.
 
I had a dream early this morning. The last words I heard before I woke up were, “broken hearts affect the whole body.” We could interpret it as the whole body of Christ. We could also apply it to a heart fragmented by painful circumstances. Both would be true.
 
Francis Schaeffer wrote a book years ago called, “How Should We Then Live?” Some are in panic, some in unbelief, but how should an authentic follower of Christ live in this time?
 
We should be about our Father’s business. Ephesians 5:16-17 says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
 
We know His will is to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all men should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
 
We are to persevere in our faith with thanksgiving no matter what our circumstances are. We are to pray for unbelievers to come to know and accept Jesus as their Savior.
 
We are a living testimony of God’s love and redemption. A thankful heart is like medicine, affecting every aspect of our being. We are faith-spreaders. Our faith is a light that shines in the hearts of those around us. Matthew 5:16 says to let that light shine. I encourage you to ask the Lord what He wants you to do right where you live because He is at work worldwide.

Sheltering In Him

Yesterday I began reading the book of Lamentations. I was startled. The wording sounds like our worldwide crises. If you change words like enemies and persecutors to the Corona virus, it sounds similar.
 
Lamentations 1:1 says, “How lonely sits the city that was full of people!” Our streets are deserted compared to how they used to be. Verse 2 uses the words ‘dire straits’ which fits our times.
 
No matter what our situation is, we can shelter in Him. He is our Impenetrable Rock! Yet there are folks around us that don’t know the Lord. Here is a letter I’ve written to each of the neighbors I have met in my senior mobile park. Feel free to adapt it and use it for those you know.
 
*Since we are sheltering in, I’m not able to come over to personally visit. I have been thinking about the dire straits predicted about the Corona virus. However, I have news I want to share with you that isn’t on the news.
 
Though this virus is deadly and spreading worldwide, Jesus can be our true Sheltering Place.
 
I think of the verse in Psalm 91:1. It says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” This to me is a picture of His protection.
 
It reminds me of a story I heard of a prairie fire. The farmer was walking through his fields that had been destroyed. He was dejected and absentmindedly kicked a charred mass. To his surprise, a bunch of little chicks scattered. The momma hen lost her life to save her chicks.
 
The Bible says that Jesus gave His life to save us from our sins when He died on the cross. One day, we will all die, because it is the way of man. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
 
Though the TV news is fear-producing, the great news is that God is not willing that any should perish. We are all made in the image of God to live forever. When we accept the good news of Jesus’ death for ourselves, we will have everlasting life with Him.

An Overcomer’s Three P’s

Procrastination entangles and impedes. It leads to slothful thinking. However an overcomer diligently puts these three P’s to work: purposeful, proactive, prepared.
 
Ephesians 2:10 says that the Lord has prepared good works for us to walk in. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says that our eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it entered our hearts to comprehend and grasp the things that He has prepared for those who love Him.
 
If we are to walk as the Lord walked, then we need to be ready at all times to do His will. What is His will? His will is that all men would be saved. A fisherman needs to have his nets prepared. If there are holes, he needs to get them mended. He needs to call his fellow fishermen to help. Fishing with a net is a team effort.
 
We are living in unprecedented times. Do you have your net prepared to catch fish? I’ve been asking the Lord to show me how to reach others with the gospel while we shelter in.
 
The disciples had fished all night and caught nothing. John 21:6 says, “And He said to them, Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of the fish.”
 
Since we are sheltering in, prayer is the right side of the boat. It is first and foremost in the work of mending our nets, and gathering effective partners. Prayer precedes the fruit (fish) that follows.
 
Isaiah 40 3 is speaking about John the Baptist. It says, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
 
John the Baptist was a herald. John 1:29 says, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
 
Father, no one can come to Jesus unless You draw them. There is no salvation except through Jesus. You know all that is going on in our world. We are asking You to help us prepare our nets for a mighty catch. Show us where to cast out nets, and who to partner with. You are not willing that any should perish. We are asking You for world wide revival, to grant Jesus the nations for His inheritance. 

Inner Programming Part Two

Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” We may not qualify as young, but it applies to us as well.
 
What do you need to cleanse in your life? Verse 1-3 says, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways.”
 
I want us to think about the areas of our heart that are not strong in the Lord. What blocks wholeheartedness? What entangles you in your walk?
 
That is where inner programing comes in. It is God’s word hidden in our heart that keeps us from sin. Verse 15 says, “I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.”
 
Let’s take fear. Why do we fear? Often it is because we have taken our eyes off of the Lord, and our circumstances seem overwhelming. We are facing a world wide crises. That can be very fearful. Life as we knew it changed drastically. We don’t know what the future will hold.
 
Think about it though. We never have known what may happen in the next moment of our lives, but the Lord does. It is prudent at this time to reprogram our hearts. We do this by focusing on verses that assure us of God’s presence. We use them to corral our fear-filled thoughts, stabilizing and grounding them in truth.
 
The first verse of Fanny Crosby’s hymn is: Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine. O what a foretaste of glory divine. When fear seeps in, boldly say: I will trust in You! That is our statement of faith. We are acknowledging that the Lord is Faithful and Trustworthy. Psalm 56:3 says, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” The ‘I will’ is the catalyst to inner programming.

Inner Programming

After Manasseh died, his son Amon, reigned two years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. 2 Chronicles 33:23 says, “And he did not humble himself before the Lord, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself…” Amon’s servants killed him.
 
Amon’s son, Josiah, was eight years old when he became king. 34:3 says that he began to seek the Lord. When he was 12 he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places. He broke down all the Baal altars and made dust of them. He ordered the temple to be cleansed and repaired. The Book of the Law was found. When they read it to Josiah, he tore his clothes. Verse 27 were Huldah the prophetess’ words to him from the Lord. It says, “Because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I have heard you, says the Lord.”
 
Josiah restored true worship. He kept the Passover. 35:18 says, “There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept.”
 
34:31 helps us see how inner programming works to affect our actions. It is a heart set to please the Lord. It says, “Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.”
 
Daniel had inner programming. He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself long before any temptation came (Daniel 1:8).
 
Inner programming starts when we accept the Lord as our personal Savior. We enter into His everlasting covenant. We are saved by grace through faith. It has nothing to do with us except heart belief (Romans 10:9-10).
 
Renewing our mind is synonymous with inner programming. It is a discipline that helps to keep our heart tender and humble before the Lord. He uses it to direct our steps into His ways. Ephesians 4:23 Amplified says, “And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind (having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude).”

Manasseh

Manasseh was Hezekiah’s son who became king when he was 12. In the book of the kings it said that he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood. 2 Chronicles 33:3 says that he rebuilt the high places which his father had torn down. Verse 7 says that he put idols in the temple Solomon had built.
 
Verse 9 says, “So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.”
 
The Lord sent the Assyrians to put hooks in his nose. They bound him with bronze fetters and carried him off to Babylon. Verses 12-13 should encourage us to never give up on an unbeliever.
 
“Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.”
 
What a picture of God’s redemption. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
 
The Lord had to humble Manasseh before he would humble himself before the Lord. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
 
Humility is absence of pride. Uzziah was a great king. He followed the Lord wholeheartedly. Then, pride became his downfall. 2 Chronicles 26:15-16 says, “…he was marvelously help till he became strong. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up to his destruction…”
 
Be aware of prideful thoughts which will become prideful actions. James 4:6 says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Don’t give up. Continue to pray for the unbelievers in your life, and in the world. May they will cry out to Him and humble their hearts. No one is exempt from His love because Jesus died for all.

Be Aware Of Hidden Pride

In the Chronicles of the kings, there were evil ones who did their own thing. They led their people into sin. There were good kings who did right in the eyes of the Lord. Very few finished well because of pride.
 
Solomon started well but turned aside. 1 Kings 11:6 says, “Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord.”
 
Asa started well, but made a treaty with an evil king instead of seeking the Lord for deliverance.
 
Jehoshaphat faithfully served the Lord, but in the end he allied himself with a wicked king.
 
Joash was seven years old when he became king. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He was tutored by Jehoiada the priest. He set his heart and repaired the temple. He did not end well.
 
Here is a warning for us. Galatians 3:1 Paul said, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth…” Verse 3 says, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”
 
Proverbs 4 has great admonition for us. Verse 20-21 says, “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”
 
Verse 23. Guard your heart. Verse 25. Look straight ahead. Verse 26-27 says, “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left, remove your foot from evil.”
 
Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones.”
 
Evil is doing anything in our own strength, being wise in our own eyes, or departing from the Lord by NOT depending on Him first. Here is a governor verse in my life. 1 Samuel 12:21 says, “And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing.”