Patience – Necessary

Jeremiah 25:11, “‘This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.'”

2 Timothy 2:24-26, “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Not Done Quickly

Counseling Luther to move more temperately, Erasmus judged that ancient institutions could not be quickly changed and would yield more easily to persuasion than condemnation. We can agree that Luther, not Erasmus, “understood the times,” and still appreciate the truth Erasmus stated.

Benjamin Rush disgustedly resigned after he repeatedly failed to get needed medical reforms through Congress for the Revolutionary Army. John Adams begged him to stay and fight the abuses from within. “Patience! Patience! Patience!” Adams said. “The first, the last, and the middle virtues of a politician.” Wasn’t the wicked Iago correct when he said, “How poor are they that have not patience. What wound did ever heal but by degrees?”

By it’s very nature, success in spiritual work is as elusive as the missing link. Workers feel they may as well plough the seas as to plant gospel seed in human hearts. The work of integrating faith and practice demands such firm, dogged efforts that many seek easier toil elsewhere. Spiritual work takes time – fast-profit entrepreneurs need not apply.

Courtesy of Speaker’s Sourcebook of New Illustrations by Virgil Hurley copyright © 1995 by Word, Incorporated. Used by permission.
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Applicable Quotations

A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains. – Dutch Proverb

Adopt the secret of nature: her secret is patience. – Emerson

He that can have patience can have what he will. – Franklin

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. – Rousseau

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Praise The Lord – Imperials

With all that is going on in the nation AND in the world today, this song from the late 70’s is every bit as relevant today as it was back then. I hope you enjoy this rendition with Russ Taft leading the vocals.

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Joy For All Taking Refuge In Him

There is one thing that a Child of God can always rely upon with their Heavenly Father; HOPE and ASSURANCE! His plans for the world may appear to be harsh, yet He is always thinking of ONLY the best for those Whom He calls by name! Remember that when you look around at the situations in the world then realize and remember, our Home is NOT of this world!

Psalm 2_7-12

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Patience – A.W. Tozer

Aiden Wilson Tozer (April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963) was an American Christian pastor, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. Self-taught theologian. Fearless preacher. Gifted writer. Man of the inner life. A.W. Tozer, called by many a “modern-day prophet.” Observing contemporary Christian living, Tozer felt the church was on a dangerous course toward compromising with “worldly” concerns. He was a man who was obsessed with the glory and the holiness of God and making it known to others.

James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NKJV)

If He put tribulation before you and said He will give you patience by giving you a little trouble along the way, wouldn’t you take a little trouble? You say, “Lord, I want all my highways paved.” The Lord says, “I’m sorry, I can’t accommodate you. I’m going to let you run over some bumps occasionally, so you will have patience.” You do not like the bumps, but you like the patience, and if you want the patience, you will have to take the bumps. And what is patience but experience?

What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them until such time as God delivers us from them. We must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly.

a.w. tozer quote 3

A.W. Tozer Website:
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Patience – Example Of

Joshua 14:7, “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart.”

1 Corinthians 15:49, “Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”

2 Peter 3:11-13, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

An Elusive Virtue

In 1404, twenty-five-year-old Lorenzo Ghiberti won a commission to build and adorn a pair of bronze doors for the north side of the baptistery in the cathedral of Florence, Italy. He took twenty-one years to design and cast the masterpieces, dividing the doors into twenty-eight New Testament panels. They cost $550,000. The donors then asked him to make corresponding double doors for the baptistery’s east side. This endeavor took twenty-seven years and featured the Old Testament in ten panels. He spent forty-eight years on just two projects, but his time and effort left artistic masterpieces for generations to admire.

Building spiritual lives challenges us to a perseverance that defies even Ghiberti. The free will, prejudice, stubbornness, and pride that mocks God are all obstacles to change and growth. The life produced by the Spirit in the Word seldom comes easily or quickly. People are never as easy to mold as bronze and wood. Although a skilled craftsman can predict how basic elements will react under given stimuli, the spiritual leader never masters the moods and reactions of people.

Courtesy of Speaker’s Sourcebook of New Illustrations by Virgil Hurley copyright © 1995 by Word, Incorporated. Used by permission.
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Applicable Quotations

Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength. – Anonymous

There is one form of hope which is never unwise, and which certainly does not diminish with the increase of knowledge. In that form it changes its name and we call it patience. – Bulwer-Lytton

It is not necessary for all men to be great in action. The greatest and sublimest power is often simple patience. – Bushnell

Patient waiting is often the highest way of doing God’s will. – Collier

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Be Patient, God Is Not Slack

2 Peter 3:9-10, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”

2 Peter 3:11-15a, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–. . .”

James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Patience. Patience is one of the hardest virtues and it has been sometimes jokingly stated you never want to pray for patience for you will get more obstacles and tribulation than you ever bargained for!

patience - wisdom wp

But patience is many times the price of spiritual wisdom. Patience DOES take practice and as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.”

With everything going on not just in our country, but in the world and prophetic words coming out of the woodwork like there is no tomorrow, I want to center this lesson on another important area of patience and especially for all true Christian Brothers and Sisters.

In this time we are living, we definitely need to be walking in the spiritual gift of discernment and listening to the Holy Spirit’s prodding as to what is right and from God our Father, and what is false and misleading.

The Apostle Paul told us in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” This is great advice, unfortunately many who claim to prophesy will share verse 20 alone and yet Paul wrote us under inspiration of the Holy Spirit a complete thought. We have, like the noble Bereans, a responsibility in what we accept into our lives as God’s Word.

spirit-and-wordA verbal word given as coming from the Lord by way of prophetic utterance will NOT contradict anything in the written Word of God. The Bible is our ‘go-to’ source of confirmation and it is our responsibility to be aware of what it says or at the very least to search it that what we receive is truth; God’s Truth.

There are many who have a reputation of giving prophetic words that come to pass, but there are equally as many, if not more, who, for whatever reason are stating that their words, or dreams or visions are from the Lord and they sorely miss the mark. Especially those that give specific times that they state God is going to accomplish something. When I hear dates, months or even years for specifics, I am right away suspicious and head to the Scriptures to see if their utterances match up with examples in the written Word of God!

God DOES warn and reveal spiritual secrets to His children, but He does so in the order and way He already established and informed us to follow. There are an untold number of examples of God’s Word to His prophets in the Bible; patterns and examples in which to follow that reveal the way the Holy Spirit relays information through His designated prophets.

Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”

God is faithful to keep His Church, His children informed, BUT, we have to be wise and KNOW when it is our Father speaking to us through others and when it is the motivated hopes and desires of man, himself.

I love to use the example of Noah as a man who heard from God and was not just obedient but patient concerning God’s Word as well. The Apostle Matthew wrote, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” – Matthew 24:35-39.

Noah building wpIn Genesis chapter 6 through 8 we see the story of Noah and his obedience to God in constructing an ark. Many believe it took 120 years for Noah to build the ark yet that is not what the Word says. It says Noah preached for 120 years. He was about 500 years old when he started building and about 600 when God shut him and his family in the ark. Never-the-less, the point I want to make is that in the beginning when God instructed Noah on what to do, God never revealed to Noah, at least as recorded by Scripture, the timeline for when the events God spoke of would take place. Noah was obedient, but more importantly He patiently waited on the Lord as he worked. All the while, God watched as the world of Noah’s day became even more and more corrupt.

Noah was obedient, patient and full of faith that God’s Word would come true and he was reward for that obedience, patience and faith. He stands today as one of the greatest men of faith recorded in the written Word of God.

If we consider Noah as a prime example, especially as we are expectantly awaiting the imminent return of Jesus Christ, we need to remain obedient to the Word He has given us and wait patiently, though expectantly for His appearance.

Much of this other stuff going on around us is important and impactful on our daily lives, and yet in the greater scheme of things our motive and obedience should be very clear. Christ’s return is OUR ark of salvation. His Word is clear about the season, not in the natural such as winter, spring, summer or fall, but in the season of events that is going on in the world around us. By these signs we KNOW that His return is imminent, but it is still happening as a “thief in the night,” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

It is our job, our mission, just as it was in the days of Noah, to continue to preach and spread the Word of God. It doesn’t matter if the world considers us to be “nuts” or not, it is the obedience to the Lord that is important and we are to remain patient, and that patience shall translate into faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6. We please the Lord through our faith by being patient yet obedient.

Don’t be distracted by everything else going around us. But as the Apostle Paul stated and I reiterate, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.

Pray about the Words that others speak as coming from the Lord, search the truth in the written Word of God, not to disprove them, but as the Bereans, to make sure that what you accept IS the Word of God. The greatest deception of the enemy is to get our eyes off of Christ, especially in the realm of religion, and to get our eyes and focus on those things going around us.

god is spiritRemember this; the Holy Spirit is alive and well and active today in our lives. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise and He will ALWAYS urge us to stay spiritually focused on Christ Jesus. The world and the events in the world will take it’s course just as God informed us and revealed to us. We already know that. God is aware of the details, let’s remember the importance of why we were saved, to spread the Word of God and to make disciples in all nations.

We each have unique gifts and prophecy is a spiritual gift, but it is not to be taken OR given lightly. Whenever any of us speaks, “thus sayeth the Lord,” there is a huge responsibility that goes along with that. Pray seriously about what you hear and remember this important point, anyone who says they are relaying what the Lord has shown them or given them, whether in word, dreams or visions, if it does NOT come to pass, it is NOT from the Lord, pure and simple.

We are human and we have natural tendencies, but as those who have been chosen to walk a spiritual lifestyle, we need to focus our eyes on the spiritual and less on the natural. There are those in the church-world with proven use of their spiritual gifts, but there are many that for whatever motive or reason, are using the turmoil of our time to speak as from the Lord. God will work in the lives of these people as only He can, but our responsibility is to make sure we test the spirits and confirm the spoken word to God’s written Word.

Be steadfast, be obedient, be patient and walk in faith. God Bless!!

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The REAL Gift of Christmas

John 1:1-4, ‘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. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”


I could end this little commentary right here. But I won’t.

God created us in His IMAGE/LIKENESS to have a relationship with Him just as He has with the Word. When the Father sent the Word, His Son, into the world in the form and image of mankind, it was to restore what His whole intent and purpose was in creating mankind in the very first place, to have a relationship with His Creation.

You may argue and say it was to “SAVE” us and redeem us. The truth is, those are the avenues, the tools He used in His vast wisdom to bring to us into a relationship. The Angel told Mary as was prophesied:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:23.

This was the true key to why Jesus Christ, All-God and yet, All-Man was born into this world.

With all the seasonal hoopla that goes on during this time of year, INCLUDING the “religious” hoopla, do not forget the SPIRITUAL reason behind the Birth of our Savior. To bring us, in His fulfilled mission to a place where we can KNOW and RELATE to God, Almighty, our Creator and Father!

Remember the words of Jesus Himself; meditate and contemplate them and let them become a part of your very being, your very life:

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” – John 14:6-10.

This is the very reason why the enemy of our souls targets relationships. If he can destroy relationships, then what are the chances of you ever having a relationship with our very Creator?

This Christmas season, I implore you to seek the ULTIMATE relationship, the one that is the very reason for your being, and the One in which any and all relationships will succeed. Jesus IS the reason for the Season, but the purpose of His coming within this Season is to have a relationship with God Almighty our Heavenly Father through which all other successful relationships shall flow.

May you all experience the joys, the wonders, the awesomeness of having a relationship with the ONE Who created you solely out of His love for who you can be!

Merry Christmas!!!

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Faith Beyond Believing

“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” – Romans 8:24-25.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1.

Now, before you get the wrong idea, this is not about my cancer or treatment, though in truth it is only one of the things that we ALL face in our day to day lives. 2020 has given the world a real wake up call and with the earth groaning as well as the people of the world, it is time to take stock of our corporate vision, especially as the Church, the Body of Christ.

Many of you who follow me, already know my teaching on the differences between mere believing and an eternal faith. It is a stage, a level of difference that MUST start with believing but also must mature into actual, spiritual working faith.

In essence, this lesson is going to be on vision, on sight, on what you see and perceive and what you NEED to KNOW as truth! 2020 has caused many of you, my loved ones and friends to have to exercise and practice your faith in the Lord, God Almighty. All over the world, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, earthquakes galore in places rarely known to have them. Devastating forest fires requiring major evacuations with homes utterly destroyed. We have witnessed and are in the midst of the worst corruption probably since the days of Noah. It is blossomed in our Nation and in other countries of the world and it is not hiding in the dark anymore! Yet, for those of you who ARE children of the Living God, you have seen His hand displayed in your lives and are able to move forward with renewed hope and promise. This doesn’t mean there isn’t pain or agony, but the spiritual hope overcomes the natural pain and allows us to move forward in the Holy Spirit.

The best statement, one of the best Scripture verses ever penned is by the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” This is a short yet utterly profound statement and you can meditate and think on this for a long time, over and over again. NOT sight! Something much, much greater. Sight is a natural sense given to man to perceive what he is looking at; yet at the same time, it is a weaker sense, for you can not always rely on what you see, and in essence there are things that you do not, or will not be able to see with only your natural sight!

This is why spiritual renewal, spiritual rebirth is so important. We are NOT JUST natural, carnal creations. We were created of the stuff of stars, the earth, yet we became LIVING beings when God Almighty breathed within us the breath of His life! (Genesis 2:7).

We became part of the earth, but we were always meant to be a part of God, our Heavenly Father. It was only sin that separated us from Him on a spiritual basis and yet, to assure man his free will to love God truly and sincerely, and knowing fully well ahead of time that man would sin, the Father had a plan, an awesome, extremely wise plan that would allow man to come back into the spiritual relationship that God desired of His created children! With that relationship would also come the ability to transcend the lower carnal and natural senses and rise into the benefits of the more supreme spiritual senses.

So, what do YOU see going on around you? Do you see only the chaos, troubles, corruption and earthly destruction or are you also able to see the workings going on behind what your natural eyes see? We HAVE been given a road-map, a guidebook as it were, the Holy Bible. Each day, each week that goes by, we see more and more things opening up within the Holy Book that we might not have identified in the past because the timing just wasn’t there yet. But God, as our Father and Teacher has left us with knowledge and instruction and has promised that as we get closer to His planned end of natural time, our knowledge, both natural AND spiritual would increase and be revealed. If you read and meditate on His Word, you will notice that we are right in the midst of that even now!

We all know the famous Scripture of Daniel 12:4 where the Angel told Daniel, “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” This describes knowledge in general, but it also confirms what Isaiah wrote concerning spiritual knowledge as found in the passages of Habakkuk and Isaiah, especially the last part of verse 9 of Isaiah, “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9b, Habakkuk 2:14).

What do YOU see? Are you looking only with your natural eyesight or are you seeing the spiritual depth behind what your eyes tell you? I want to share with you a dream my youngest adult son shared just about a week ago concerning what is going on in our nation and as he prayed, he asked the Lord about some of what was evident to all and how was He the Lord going to work it out.

Jason had been reading the Word and praying and as many of us have done, he asked the Lord some “whys, and how” when it came to the Lord’s hand and especially in the National crisis the U.S. is facing at this present time. This also goes hand in hand with all the other things that the year 2020 has dropped in our laps, so to speak.

What Jason said the Lord showed him was an old console television set with the 4×3 picture instead of the fancy ones we watch today. On the screen, he could see the corruption and lies, the chaos, not just in the Nation but in the world. He saw fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, lives torn asunder and politicians and media moguls making obvious misleading statements. He acknowledged to the Lord, that yes he did see that, but, Lord, “where are you?”

The Lord spoke to his heart and told him, you are seeing what the world wants you to see but the picture you are seeing is on very minute part of what is going on in the whole world. Jason stated that the next thing that happened is that the sides, top and bottom and DEPTH of the picture grew larger and larger in his eyesight until the portion that had appeared on the screen was no more than a pinpoint. Jason said it was like looking at a little island surrounded by a vast ocean of activity.

Then he said the Lord started to clarify the surrounding edges that reached out beyond what seemed like and infinity and in the midst of all going on in the world, the Lord showed him multitude upon multitude of angels warring and fighting against demonic forces, fallen angels that were in possession of corrupt men’s lives and wills. The Lord showed him that what he was now seeing was NOT what the world wants man to see, but the Lord was revealing the truth of what is going on behind the veil of the natural. It effected him greatly and I reminded him of another account in the Word of God.

In the account found in 2 Kings, we see Elisha revealing a similar thing to one of the servants; “And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:15-17.

Anyone who has been walking with the Lord for a while will KNOW, not just believe, but actually KNOW that our Sovereign and Righteous God Almighty has NEVER left His Throne of His seat of power! We don’t always have to rely on what our eyesight is telling us in front of our eyes for our spirit WILL reveal to us the TRUTH of what is going on behind each and every circumstance.

God has a purpose and a plan and always had and it has always had a time-limit, an expiration date, as it were.

God’s plan has ALWAYS been to have a Creation that would love Him for Who He is and not just for what He can or will do for us. What He does for us is based on a spiritual Love, Agape, that transcends any mere natural love. He is also very well aware that some will accept that plan and His will to fulfill that and that many will reject it. Yet, we, as His children need to remember that His DESIRE is that none should perish and so as obedient and faithful children we should pray and love accordingly as well, desiring that none should perish even though knowing that some are going too by their own free will.

Times like this, when you KNOW what is going on behind the scenes in the natural are the perfect climate AND opportunity to present the Gospel of Love and Hope to not just those who may be lost right now, but also to those who are allowing the fears of what they see in front of them cause them doubt which hinders their ability to move from mere believing into the maturity of having a spiritually knowable faith.

As Christians, Brothers and Sisters who FOLLOW after Christ Jesus, we need to remember AND to remind ourselves that no matter our natural age or even how long we have been born-again or spiritually reborn, we are all on a personal and private journey led by the Holy Spirit within us. This is why it is so important, no, so VITAL to encourage one another and to sound out to one another the great blessed HOPE that we ALL have in Christ Jesus.

This lifestyle journey takes PRACTICE, it takes exercise, to remind ourselves sometimes daily that it isn’t always about what we see in front of us, but what we know to be truth behind what our natural eyesight tells us. We NEED to remind ourselves that no matter what WE desire an outcome to be, God is always and has always been in control to fulfill His plan for the ultimate Redemption of those He calls His sons and daughters, heirs with Christ Jesus!

In closing, do NOT lose hope, keep believing in the KNOWLEDGE that our God and Lord, our Heavenly Father is in total and absolute control! That is mature, spiritual faith that transcends, goes beyond, believing!

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Are We There Yet?

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

“Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” – Philippians 3:12-16.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” – Philippians 3:20-21.

Anyone who has ever been on a road trip during vacation, either with children or as a child themselves will be able to relate to what I am about to say. You already know that life is a journey; it is a road we travel, whether willingly or not, we are all on that road and our Heavenly Father has destined each of His creation to journey on that road.

As Christians, students and disciples of Christ Jesus, we know that our Lord is in the driver seat. This is not necessarily so with those who have not accepted His Lordship. To us, however, He is the Ultimate Parent, our Heavenly Father and we have surrendered our lives to His driving, if we are truly Christians. This is what makes us so different, spiritually, as opposed to religiously, with the rest of the world. We KNOW Who is in the driver’s seat!

When we embark on this journey, it is as if we are on a vacation to an exciting destination and the anticipation and awe can be overwhelming. Just like children on a road-trip, we are excited by all the sites and sounds, the different locales that we pass by, for everything is fresh and new to us. It was just a few months before my 17th birthday when I embarked on this wondrous “road-trip” and the excitement in my life was palpable. The girl who is my wife now was there and she can remember how I was. It was her brother whom the Holy Spirit used to open my eyes to this new and wondrous life. However, this is not a recollection of my life, but rather an observation on how we ALL have felt when we first start out on our new spiritual journey!

Any parent can relate to this excitement. How the children are keen-eyed and struck by all the things that they don’t necessarily get to see in their everyday lives. That excitement, depending on the person can last a while depending on their personality and the perceived awesomeness of the new situation.

But like many natural road-trips, as the time marches on and the miles go by, soon the surroundings start to take on a routine familiarity. The newness starts to wear as tiredness and even boredom with the sameness starts to sink in. We’ve all seen it and to a degree we have all experienced it.

No matter the road you travel, and I personally have traveled all over the U.S. and the lower Provinces of Canada, and I can attest to the fact that sooner or later, all the roads and highways seem to appear the same with very few exceptions. This is usually when the drive, the journey itself, becomes rather routine and mundane and to a child, when the excitement starts to wear off, boredom sets in.

This is when that familiar phrase, a question really wrapped in a disguise, starts to rear its head to most parents; “Are we there yet?”

Now about this time, I can just imagine the smiles popping up on your face as you read this for you all know just how true this is! As a parent, we all KNOW that sooner or later, this question is going to break forth. It’s just a guessing game as to how long it will take for the children to ask it. But you as a parent KNOW it is coming, sooner or later!

Now in the natural, a wise parent will have things prepared to occupy the time of your children when that boredom of the surroundings does kick in. It could be books, coloring, etc., though now days with the technology, it could be movies or games played with onboard monitors facing the back seats.

Keep them occupied until you arrive is the goal of any and every parent on an extended road-trip. Well-meaning assurances of “We’ll be there soon,” help for a time. Inevitably the question will come forth from the children again, “Are we there yet?”

Some parents know that the real question or comment lies just below the veil of that thinly disguised question. “I’m bored,” or, “I’m tired of the same old thing,” are the real statements behind the simple question. So it is with us spiritually. Think about it, don’t just take my word for it. How many times have you stated to our Heavenly Father, “Are we there yet?” When in actuality the real statement on your heart is “I’m bored,” or, “I’m tired,” or even still, “I want something exciting to do.”

Yet with an inordinate amount of patience and love, our Lord and Father will speak to our hearts, “It’ll be soon, but just keep busy with what I’ve given you until then.”

A lot of times, that’s when the idea of leaving our comfort and familiar surroundings behind start to flood our minds. We soon start to dwell on what we have left behind rather than the excitement of the destination that so recently held our focus. Many times, this is when the enemy of our souls tries to gain a foothold. His favorite tool is doubt and/or regrets. You see, all of us on this spiritual road-trip have a past. That is in actuality what we have been saved from.

Consider this when you read the Scriptures above penned by the Apostle Paul. Paul was complicit with no less than the murder of many Christians. If the past weighed heavy on anyone, it had to have been the Apostle Paul. Yet, through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, not to mention His Grace and Mercy, Paul penned those famous and often used verses to encourage others on their journey through life, to ever look forward and NOT dwell on the past, or in other words, where they had been! Because the journey itself MAY be long (not always, necessarily), it is important to keep our heart AND mind (our spirit) focused on the prize, the real destination!

We truly do HAVE things prepared for us to occupy our time productively until we arrive at our true and ultimate destination. The Lord has promised to give us gifts, things to accomplish, but also the ability or equipping to use those gifts He has given us. In the natural, it wouldn’t be very wise or productive to take along a stack of coloring books for your children and not supply them with the colored pencils or crayons with which to be able to draw. So it is with our Lord with each of us, His children on our “road-trip.”

When you think of it on a spiritual basis, when the sites around us lose their appeal and excitement, when the road on this pilgrimage seems to become “stale” and common-place, isn’t that when we are able to fully appreciate the “gifts” given to us and start to use what the Father has given to us to occupy until we arrive at our destination? As long as the world around us holds excitement and awe, we aren’t even a bit interested in the “gifts” our parent has prepared for us for the journey. We are too enamored with the sights and sounds of the world going by around us.

Spiritually speaking, there is nothing wrong with us asking the Lord, “Are we there yet?” when it is an indication of our “boredom” with the world and the things of the world. It can show that we truly ARE looking forward to our ultimate arrival at our TRUE Home, the Heavenly Kingdom with our Father. When we can arrive at the point in our journey where we are “tired” of the world and all of its trappings, when the world and its temptations no longer hold sway or excitement in our lives, then we can truly begin to occupy our journey with the things the Father has prepared for us to do.

The thing is, as a child of the Lord’s, we may not know just how long our journey is to be, but when we have come to the point in our lives when we can truly TRUST and KNOW that the Lord is the One in control, the questioning of “Are we there yet?” can be one of excitement that we are getting close to the destination rather than just “boredom” with our surroundings.

I know that as long as the Lord has a plan to use each and every one of us in our individual capacity, that the journey will continue until the appropriate time of our arrival Home. The difference between our Heavenly Father and our natural parents is that He will always understand the yearning and excitement we develop as we get closer to our ETERNAL destination!

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Principalities, Powers and Rulers of Darkness

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:10-13. (Bold emphasis added).

I am not one who believes in demons behind every bush. I’m sorry, but I won’t give the enemy that kind of credit, BUT, the truth is, there ARE spirits that are influencing lives of those around us every day. This does not mean that every bad action or circumstance is spirit-caused, but we DO need to be aware there is evil at work and it is becoming more and more blatant as the time of the Lord’s return is approaching.

Sometimes, we as Christians just do NOT give enough credit to the carnal fallen nature, because if we can blame something else, then we can feel as if we are not responsible. It reminds me of the former comedian, Flip Wilson when he used to say in his comedy acts, “the devil made me do it.” In reality, too often times it is NOT the devil or his minions but rather our own selfish desires and wants that cause us to do things that are far removed from God’s Commandments!

However, with that all being said, there are attacks that are becoming more prevalent due to spiritual forces and influences and they definitely USE those who retain a carnal, selfish and self-centered desire to have what they want no matter who it hurts or at what cost.

Sadly, when we are unaware of these forces, they can take us by surprise and catch us off-guard, but when we are aware of what is at work, maintain an intimate relationship with the Father through the Lord, Jesus Christ as empowered by His Holy Spirit, we are usually not caught so off-guard and in fact are prepared for these onslaughts, at least to some degree or another.

One avenue the enemy has ALWAYS exploited and even appears to be accelerating in, is the area of families. The devil has always known that if he can divide families, he can initiate destruction and this has been his motive since the very first family. Adam was created first and was meant to not just be the “priest” of his family, but its protector, its supplier of all things, material, ideological and theological. He was to honor and cherish his wife and kids, not to lord it over them, but to guide, nurture and instruct them. It was only when he allowed his wife Eve, in conjunction with the wily and manipulative devil, disguised as a serpent, did the order that God had established become divided and destroyed. The consequences introduced the devil’s true intentions into the world in the form of murder and destruction.

Now before you get the wrong impression, I am NOT blaming Eve as many do, but rather, I am blaming Adam! We have no idea just how long Adam walked with the Lord in the Garden before God chose to give him a help-mate, soul-mate. The fact remains is that Adam walked and talked with the Lord and was given great responsibilities and great blessing to carry them out. In the end, it was Adam, who was created to spiritually cover Eve, who yielded to her words and ultimately the temptation of the serpent.

Jesus, Himself spoke very openly and blatantly about the devil’s intentions and motives and those who CHOOSE to follow in the devil’s footsteps; “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” – John 8:44.

Destruction, isn’t that truly what murder is? To destroy something and remove it from existence must seem like the ultimate power to him. What greater destruction than eternal murder? The enemy of our souls KNOWS that his time is limited. He was created as one of the most intelligent of God’s creations and so he is NOT stupid nor ignorant, BUT, his greatest downfall is and always has been his pride in himself. He is very much aware of the fact that God, his Creator has put a time-limit on his antics and that HIS very destruction is nearing, so what better motivation to destroy as many other souls as he can before his own eternal demise!

As we move closer and closer to the time of Christ Jesus’ return, not just to gather His Bride, but also to rule the world for a millennium, the enemy and his fallen comrades have stepped up their onslaught against God’s creation, no longer just hiding in the shadows as they once used too. Families will ALWAYS be the primary target.

In the 1980s, the divorce rate in the U.S. was about fifty percent. Today it has actually gone down to about forty-two percent, but the reason is that more couples are deciding on a civil, non-marriage lifestyle rather than to get married with the chance of divorce. Actually the divorce rates of those who have been married twice has steadily increased and those who have been divorced at least twice and are in their third marriage has increased exponentially.

There are more people living together in what is considered a civil union rather than a religious or spiritual union than ever before. The incidence of mixed or blended families has increased drastically and it is considered close to twenty percent of families where kids share parentage with their siblings. It is no wonder this generation is growing up either without hope or future prospects or feel entitled and due for their state of being. The world and not just the U.S. is RIPE for demonic and spiritual influences to abound.

Now I’m going to make a confession; this chapter in Ephesians is one of the favorite of many, many Christians, because of the Scripture I quoted in the very beginning and for the analogy of the armor of God, which is quoted by so many Christians. I have used this chapter in various forms myself in my teaching and preaching in the past, but I always looked at it in at least two parts, until this morning! As I was preparing and praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance on what to say about the principalities, powers and the rulers of darkness, as I always do, I started with the first verse to get into the context.

Now without going into detail, my family is going through some spiritual warfare in many areas, familial and medical and though my wife and I have had many years and much experience in trusting in the Lord and not relying on what our eyes alone see going around us, other family members haven’t had the luxury or benefit of our years of experience and sadly, some things just have to be learned with the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

But when teaching on what I have put down as the title, it was done in the sense of recognizing and realizing where a lot of problems stem from. Then I read what was leading up to my main subject; something the family is experiencing right now. I found it very enlightening and in truth had NEVER put the two parts together in a combined teaching, but sometimes, situations identify themselves in the light of Scripture and the truth is revealed fully in a new light!

We talk about our real battle when we go through things. We talk about the armor of God to defend against attacks of the enemy, but there is a whole paragraph that is identifying specifics that lead up to the REASON for relying on the armor of God and the TRUTH of God’s Word!! I truly believe now, it is because this is the battle that has been raging from day one with Adam and Eve through to where we are at this moment in time!

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” – Ephesians 6:1-9.

Everything leading up to our necessity for being able to IDENTIFY our true enemy, the ability to stand in the face of attack and the armor we rely on to withstand those attacks is listed in the very first paragraph of chapter 6. You will notice that the Apostle Paul addresses the family unit AND those responsible for it and yes that INCLUDES employees AND employers and their responsibilities! All the attacks, all the battles we fight, stem from the very thing the enemy of our souls has wanted to destroy from the very beginning!

Now those of you who know me and follow my teaching know I am very adamant about the characteristics of the spiritual life being all about ACTIONS as compared to just feelings! Love, Godly love is active. It is NOT reliant upon how we feel about the subject being loved but upon our trust and obedience to God and His Word. So it is with other spiritual characteristics. For instance, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” This speaks of the commandment to HONOR father and mother which promises long life if followed. This commandment does not say, AGREE 100% with everything your parents say, but to obey them IN THE LORD! Honoring is an action that demonstrates trust and gratitude as well as giving respect when due. This is done in the Lord and as unto the Lord! But this comes with a caveat. You have to know the Lord and His ways because you do NOT obey your parents IF they are NOT following after the Lord. Just because they are your parents does not mean they are morally or spiritually right and, you will NOT be God’s child just because of your parents. You WILL stand or fall on your own relationship with God as Father. If your parents are godly, you follow them then, for that is right and honorable. If they are not, YOU DO what is godly and honorable. Ultimately it all comes back to you, individually. You do what is right, honorable and holy before the Lord. If your parents are godly and follow the Lord, (even amidst mistakes), they deserve your honor and in the long-run, it is beneficial to you.

Now parents and especially fathers; “do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Now I know there are some that would love to end this and change the comma after the word wrath to a period. However, this is NOT the case. This is a WHOLE sentence and thus a commandment of the Lord! Do not provoke, do not incite or stimulate, or do not stir up to wrath or anger your children, BUT, a big, big but, therefore or however, bring them up, instill in them, teach, stimulate them in the training and admonition, advice, counsel, guidance of the Lord! In other words, you teach them the ways of the Lord and how God handles things and not the ways that the world dictates.

Now the same thing goes for employees and employers for we ALL must work and be accountable to someone. A true employer is running a business, sure, but if he is a godly employer then he is running it like a father runs his home. The employee, though he is getting paid in some form, he is obedient and honorable towards that employer as if the employer were the parent. In the same way the enemy wants to destroy the family, he will look to destroy and employee – employer relationship for the running of the home, and especially in this day and age, is dependent upon that smooth and honorable relationship.

In closing let me remind everyone of this fact; division is not of God. Yes, Jesus stated that He came to cause division and there would be division, but that was due to one fact and one fact alone, either you place Him as the Head of your household or you do not. When He IS the Head then and only then is no division! (Luke 12:53). Jesus was NOT condoning division, only that He came demanding total surrender to Himself or there WOULD be division!

I want to leave you with the words of Jude as inspired by the Holy Spirit. He explains where divisions truly come from:

“These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” – Jude 1:16-21. (Bold emphasis added).

You will know where the divisions and the attacks are from. They do not come from those who seek to do God’s will, but from those who refuse to acknowledge the truth and only want what they want, no matter who is in the way. If you see yourself in this battle, the enemy is from “out there” not from the one standing next to you and the ONLY way to win this battle is to recognize the enemy and put on the proper battle gear!

One last thing, the fighting will sadly increase as the enemy knows his time is getting shorter. That means, that we will have to be prepared all the more and we will have to have one another’s backs. If we are to stand, we are to stand together as the united Body of Christ!

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