The Cool of the Day

“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the Presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8).

Cool of the Day: (Heb. Ruwach/Yowm): The Spirit/Breath of the Daytime or Daylight

There is a blessedness to communing with the Lord in the Spirit, breathing in His Presence in the Light of His Word, meditating on the rich treasures of wisdom and revelation of His Glory and Majesty. There is a sweetness to the pastoral care of the Great Shepherd and His watchful eye upon us. It is deeply personal and special as no other bond; yet, as wonderful a bond as there may be with husband and wife, mother and child, father and son, siblings and the love of friends; the love of the Lord excels them all.

That is the great tragedy of Adam’s fall. You can sense it in the verse, from sweet communion in the Presence to hiding from the Presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden. Oh, the tragedy of sin in Paradise.

There are those in Scripture who sought to restore the bond of love with God. Such a one was Isaac.

“And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the South Country. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold, the camels were coming” (Genesis 24:62-63).

Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi, the well of the Living One my Seer, for Isaac sought to know the God of his father, Abraham, and the God of his mother, Sarah. Isaac teaches us to dwell by the well of living water, the fountain of the Living One who sees us and knows our sorrows and bears all our grief. Isaac sorrowed after the death of his mother, but the Lord brought Rebekah to him, “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (Genesis 24:67).

David was another who sought the sweetness of fellowship with the Lord and to drink of the fountain of living waters that flow from Him. It was more than natural water that he sought when he cried, “Oh, that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, by the gate” (II Samuel 23:15; I Chronicles 11:17). David longed for the true and living water from the well of the House of Bread, the True One who was to come from heaven and give living water to all who thirst (cf. John 4:10).

Therefore, whether at noontime, eventide, or morning, we can find our “cool of the day,” our Spirit and Breath time with the Lord in His Presence to listen for His voice and be inspired by His personal and tender care in the garden of His heart.

Are you hearing? Are you listening? Are you waiting? Are you longing for His Presence? It may surprise you that the Lord is waiting, listening and longing to be with you. Can you hear Him calling, “Where are you?” Are you running to see Him, or are you hiding? Sin in Paradise will cause us to do that. But thanks be to God there is a Redeemer. There is a Savior. There is a Mediator, an Advocate to bring us together in holy union and communion in the Spirit and Breath, the Cool of the Day with the Father.

Let me encourage you. There is a cool of the day for you. There is a special place in the heart of God for you. You are loved and longed for; you are greatly desired, more than you know. Open your heart to Him and find your true love in the cool of your day, right now.

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The Anointing Breaks the Yoke

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Assyrian burden shall be taken away from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing” (Isaiah 10:27).

Anointing: (Heb. Shemen from Shaman): The perfumed oil from the olive, ointment, fruitful, richness

There are burdens we bear and yokes we wear from the sins and iniquities of our old Adamic nature; but there is a burden bearer and yoke breaker graciously given to us by the Lord called the Anointing. There are metaphors used in Scripture for those who burden others and put them in yokes. The Prophet, Isaiah, used one of them, Assyria, who conquered the Northern Kingdom and continually threatened Judah, the Southern Kingdom, foretelling the destruction of the Assyrian yoke upon their necks by the Anointing.

The Apostle John identifies the Anointing as the Truth (cf. I John 2:27). Jesus said, “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). When the oppressor comes to tempt, to kill, to steal and to destroy we are not without defense; we have the Anointing, the Truth, the richly perfumed unction of His Presence to overcome the burden and break the yoke. Rather than carry the burden of the oppressor upon our shoulder and suffer the yoke of bondage upon our neck, we are set free and brought into “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (cf. Romans 8:21).

Anointing (Gr. Chrisma from Chrio): The Special Endowment of Oil, the Unction of the Holy Spirit

The Psalmist wrote and the writer to the Hebrews quoted the words: “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore, your God has anointed you with the Oil of Gladness above your fellows” (Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9). This prophetic word concerning our Messiah, Jesus, speaks to His exalted place above all men and the Anointing the Father has given to Him. From that exalted place at the Right Hand of the Father and having received the Oil of Coronation, Jesus graciously poured it out through the Holy Spirit upon “His Brethren”, (cf. Hebrews 2:12), the saints and members of His Mystical Body among all nations of the earth. As members of His Body, His Anointing flows down upon us and destroys the burden of every oppressor and breaks the yoke of bondage from off our necks. We are free! We walk in liberty! We live in Freedom!

The Anointing is a powerful unction working in you. You have been graciously given the Anointing that will guide you into all Truth and teach you all things. You will be enabled by grace to walk in the Truth and live no lie. You will speak the word of the Lord and withstand all who oppose. It is the Anointing that breaks the yoke, and it is the Truth that makes you free. He is the Son, and His Name is Jesus.

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Christ, the Intercessor

“Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, rather that is risen again, Who is even at the Right Hand of God, Who also makes Intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).

Intercession: (Gr. Entugchano, from Tugchano): To entreat, to confer with for favor or against

For the believer there is a great comfort knowing that the very One Who is our Judge, is the Very One Who pleads our case. The Very One Who justifies (cf. Romans 8:33) is the One Who intercedes for us in the Judgment.

The High Priestly work of Christ in intercession is not, however, a work solely by Christ apart from His Body, the Church. We who are in Christ and of Christ are made partakers of the ministry of intercession by the Holy Spirit of Christ abiding within (cf. Romans 8:26).

The Apostle in his Epistle to Timothy wrote: “I exhort, therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions (Gr. Enteuxis from Entugchano), and giving of thanks, be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior” (I Timothy 2:1-3).

There is a work of Christ in His Body that must be carried out for the sake of the Kingdom, for the sake of our peace, for the sake of souls, for the sake of our civil society in the world. The call to intercession is a call to all believers, not just a chosen few. If it becomes the chosen few, then there are multitudes of saints who are not listening or in tune with the Spirit, the Intercessor.

The Apostle Peter declares to us in his Epistle that we are all a “Chosen Generation, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a Peculiar People. . .” (I Peter 2:9). As that Priesthood, we are called to be intercessors as we abide in the Intercessor, our High Priest, Christ Jesus. Just as Christ is touched with the feelings of our infirmities (cf. Hebrews 4:15); even so must we be touched with the groanings of the Spirit in making intercessions for the saints.

Christ, the Intercessor: The Prophet, Isaiah, was sensitive to the Spirit and to the word of the Lord regarding the ministry of intercession and spoke of it to the people. In an amazing prophecy he declared, “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore, His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness sustained Him” (Isaiah 59:16).

Isaiah spoke further on the work of the Intercessor, writing: “Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul unto death; and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).

One thing of which we can be assured, Christ is making intercession; it is His ministry, and He ever lives to do so as a faithful High Priest of the people. The question is who is interceding with Him? The Spirit is searching for the one, the two, the small group, throughout the whole Body for the vessels through whom the Spirit can flow. Is He still wondering that there is no man to make intercession? Must He continue to do it alone? May it not be so.

Hebrews speaks to this matter declaring; “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost who come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Will you join in? Will you be touched by the Spirit to be that vessel of intercessory prayer, for those in authority, for families, for your community?

If you are in Christ, then know this: Christ, the Intercessor lives in you. May He be revealed in all our lives for His glory and the advancement of His Kingdom forever.

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Occupy Until I Return

“And he called His ten servants and delivered to them ten pounds, and said unto them, ‘Occupy ’till I come'” (Luke 19:13).

The words of Jesus were spoken in a parable wherein “a certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return” (Luke 19:12). There was an underlying issue with the nobleman, “his citizens hated him and sent a message after him saying ‘We will not have this man to reign over us'”(Luke 19:14).

Occupy: (Gr. Pragmateuomai from Pragma): To busy oneself with trade, business, matters, things and affairs

There is a message here for the saints, the Body of Christ, the Church, the believer. We serve a Master Who has given us the means and wherewithal to fulfill our commission and charge to conduct the affairs of the Kingdom, just as Jesus Himself did as He said to His parents, “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

The business, matters, things and affairs of the Kingdom are ours to attend; however hostile the situation may be. There are many in our environment today who are saying what those citizens of the nobleman said in their day: “We will not have this man to reign over us”. Christ is not a popular Lord in our world today. Jesus said to His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Nevertheless, we have been given our orders to “Occupy”.

There are many forces aligned against us: corrupt governments, false prophets, and the evil hearts and minds of fallen man. Regarding the latter, the Apostle says, “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). The Apostle James also wrote: “You adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

The Apostle Peter gave us this warning: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord Who bought them, and bringing upon themselves swift destruction” (II Peter 2:1).

Occupying in hostile territory is not an easy task, but nevertheless, it is necessary. The Kingdom has come, the will of God must be done in earth as it is in heaven. We are the servants of the Nobleman; we have a charge to undertake; a charge to which we must give an accounting to the Lord upon His return. There will, indeed, be an accounting and “to everyone who has shall be given; and from him that has not, even what he has shall be taken away from him” (Luke 19:26). Stewardship is important, being responsible for what we have been given is important and so will determine our eternal reward.

Occupy ’till I Return: How are you conducting your affairs of the Kingdom? Do you fear God? Are you being diligent and responsible in your duties? Don’t you want to hear those words from the Master, “Well done! You good and faithful servant” (cf. Luke 19:17a). Yes, it is time to occupy. It is time to advance. It is time to stand fast in the midst of opposition, persecution, trials and temptations. It is time to follow in the footsteps of our forebearers. It is time to continue and be faithful to the coming of the Lord.

The Apostles had to deal with Rome with its Caesars and their edicts. From the beginning to the present time there have been martyrs who in their service paid the ultimate price for their faithfulness. The enemies of God and Christ are not repentant, they are still saying, “We will not have this Man reign over us”. They are still raging and imagining a vain thing” They are still “taking counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed” (cf. Psalms 2:1-2). What shall we then do? Occupy! The Lord is at hand. His return draws nearer with every passing day. Occupy! “It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:2).

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The Bread of Affliction

“You shall eat no leavened bread with the Passover; seven days shall you eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for you came forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that you may remember the day when you came forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life” (Deuteronomy 16:3).

When Jacob led the Tribes into Egypt in the time of Joseph’s administration in the land there was little thought that although there was a temporary release from the ravages of famine in Canaan at that time, there would follow over 400 years of bondage and affliction at the hands of the succeeding Pharaohs ruling over them, thus fulfilling the dream given to Abraham:

“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And God said unto Abram, ‘know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation whom they shall serve will I judge, and afterward shall they come out with great substance” (Genesis 15:12-14).

Eating the bread of affliction as a remembrance of the day of deliverance was a fitting way of remembering and appreciating the salvation given by the hand of the Lord. Oh, what a day of salvation it was! A great day of judgment, deliverance, redemption and rescue from bondage for the people, the Children of Israel.

As we continue in these present days of trials and tribulations under oppressive governmental policies and continuous testing of our faith, let us hold fast our confidence in the faithfulness of our God and partake of the bread of affliction through our participation in the “afflictions of Christ” even as was experienced by the Church Fathers, of which trials the Apostle wrote to the Church at Colossae: “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body’s sake which is the church” (Colossians 1:24).

Eating the bread of affliction, the true bread from heaven, even the Lord Jesus, is a testimony to our faith and the steadfastness of our love for the Lord. The Apostle also wrote to the Church at Corinth concerning these things: “Our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation” (II Corinthians 1:7). We have been given a great hope of a glorious deliverance and great consolation of which we shall commemorate with the remembrance of Him by the breaking of the bread and eating of the Body of Christ in the joy and rejoicing of our hearts in the Lord.

The Apostle Peter also spoke of these things in his First Epistle: “But rejoice inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when His Glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:13).

In the coming season there will be many fiery trials and temptations which will test our faith and may cause some to stumble (cf. I Peter 1:6-7). But for those who will eat the bread of affliction and go through the tribulations to follow, there will be a great salvation and reward (cf. I Peter 1:9). Therefore, let us celebrate with a great remembrance our victory that is assured as we endure the times of testing in these days of our oppressors, and the corruption of justice in the land against the saints.

There have been many such times throughout the life of the Church and the enemies of Christ will continue to do so until they are taken out of the way “with the brightness of His coming” (cf. II Thessalonians 2:8b).

The bread of affliction is our daily bread in the Lord for “affliction and persecution arise for the word’s sake” and this is the law of the sower (cf. Mark 4:17). Therefore, let us eat the bread of affliction with fullness of joy, knowing that as we do we are partakers of Him of Whom we are and have become.

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Father Abraham Has Many Sons

“Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for a father of many nations have I made you” (Genesis 17:5).

Father (Heb. Ab): Father, Chief, Patrimony, Principal

Father (Gr. Pater): Father, Parent

What made Abraham so great that he would have such a tremendous promise from God to not only be a father in his old age, but to be literally “father of a multitude” in accordance with his new name? The answer is simple, his faith. Abraham simply believed God and became the father of faith, and the father of us all who are of that same faith (cf. Romans 4:16).

The Apostle confirms this in his Epistle to the church at Galatia saying, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached beforehand the Gospel to Abraham, saying ‘In you shall all nations be blessed’. So then, they that are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:8-9).

From the beginning of his calling, Abraham responded with faith. The Genesis account records that:

“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, ‘Get out of your country, and from you kindred, and from you father’s house unto a land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. I will bless them that bless you and curse him that curses you; and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed’. So, Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him. . .and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran” (Genesis 12:1-4).

The Book of Hebrews tells us concerning Abraham’s faith: “By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place that he would afterward receive for an inheritance, obeyed and went out not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Now that is faith and by his faith Abraham became the Father of Faith; and by it became the Father of Many Nations. Indeed, Abraham has many sons, whose sons are we.

So, the table is set, and the question is before us: How is it with your faith? Faith begets faith as a seed begets fruit with the seed in it which begets more fruit. The Faith of Abraham is as a Father begetting many children, who in turn have children and on and on it goes.

Be encouraged, you have been given a measure of faith (cf. Romans 12:3); and if you will take that measure, however great or small it may be, and believe it, and then obey and follow that to which that faith leads, you will be blessed of your Heavenly Father and prosper in that thing for which you believe. Do it and you will be amazed at what God, your Father, will do.

Abraham is the chief and principal example. He is our parent in the matter of faith. Study his life, follow his lead and walk out your faith in whatever God has called, even when you do not know in every detail what the end of your faith will be.

Just remember this: Father Abraham has many sons, and you are one of them, as are we, so just walk out your faith every day and just keep believing and obeying the Lord.

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The Remnant

“Except the Lord of Hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah” (Isaiah 1:9).

Remnant: (Heb: Shehar): The rest, remain, reserve, a remainder, the residue

It is interesting to juxtapose the writings of the Prophets and the writings of the Apostle Paul. The Apostle writes:

“Isaiah also cries concerning Israel, ‘though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved'” (Romans 9:27, cf. Isaiah 10:22-23).

The idea that only a remnant, comparative to the entirety of people, will be saved is not new. This question was asked of Jesus in His day. “Then said one unto Him, ‘Lord, are there few that be saved? And Jesus said unto him, ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able'” (Luke 13:23-24). In the context and text of this saying, Jesus says there is a time when the “Master of the house rises up and shuts the door” (v 25a); at that point it will be too late to cry to the Master to open the door. This happened in the days of Noah with the Ark. The door was shut and no one else could enter. Only those who were safe in the Ark when the door was shut were saved, i.e., Noah and his family (cf. I Peter 3:20).

In our world today, of all the billions, how many are truly in the Kingdom? Jesus said to Nicodemus “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom”. Then He said further, “except a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5). We enter the Kingdom through a restricted path and through a narrow gate. There are strict conditions for entering this strait gate. Jesus said it this way: “Enter in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go that way; but strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there are who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). How many today are finding their way through? One can only wonder. However, from these Scriptures we can clearly see the Remnant is real.

The Prophet, Joel, prophesied in his day “It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel 2:32). The Apostle wrote to the Romans: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13) quoting the Prophet Joel. Are you in? Are you a part of the Remnant, those who walked through the strait and narrow gateway?

With all that is in the world to distract us by the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes and the pride of life (cf. I John 2:16), it very well maybe we are as Eve was in the Garden allured away from the one strait and narrow command of God to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to being tempted when she saw that the Tree was “good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6). Indeed, even as the Apostle wrote: “I fear lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3).

There is a simplicity in the Cross, there is a simplicity to our faith, the solitary gate. It would seem simple, wouldn’t it? But, oh we are a stubborn lot, a rebellious people, and except the Lord had left us a Remnant, we would all be doomed to destruction. I pray you find your way through today.

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The Time of Our Testimony

“You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Testimony: (Gr. Marturion from Martus): A witness, a martyr, evidential, the Decalogue

Ecclesiastes tells us “To everything there is a season; and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die. . .” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a). The fullness of our time of living is the time of our testimony. It is our testimony that must withstand the judgment in the last day and that is the final verdict on our souls.

Jesus tells us the key to standing in the judgment is to receive the power of the Holy Spirit that will produce the testimony of Christ in our lives.

The Apostle confirmed this in his First Epistle to the Corinthians stating: “I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God which has been given to you by Jesus Christ; that in everything you are enriched by Him in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you”. (I Corinthians 1:4-6). The testimony of Christ in us is the witness to Christ to the world. That witness is the time of our testimony that shines forth out of our lives. It is that testimony that will either be accepted and believed or hated and persecuted in the world (cf. John 15:18: 17:14). It is also that same testimony that is accepted by the Father, the testimony of His Son in us.

The Apostle John experienced first-hand the rejection of the testimony of Christ by the world and the trials and tribulation that followed, as he writes: “I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the Isle that is called Patmos for the word of God, and for the Testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9). In the time of his testimony, he remained faithful to his witness to Christ to the rulers at Rome and we are the beneficiaries of that testimony.

The Apostle John was, indeed, an overcomer and could write accordingly: “And they overcame the accuser of the brethren by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death” (Revelation 12:11).

This is the time of our testimony. The Apostles and Prophets have gone before; but the same Holy Spirit that was given to them has been given to us. The same Spirit of Christ in power and the same promise given to them was written to us. The testimony of Christ is in His Body. We are the members of that Body, and the testimony of Christ has been confirmed in us as it was in them. Let us bear true faith and witness to Christ to the world as we allow the power of the Holy Spirit to be revealed in us as it was revealed in them. Let us continue the story, the Gospel, the Good News of our salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Be encouraged. We are not alone, the love of the Father is with us, and Himself will give testimony to His Son in us, as it is written: “Long time, therefore abode they, speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3). In the time of our testimony and witness Christ will be glorified and the Father will be well pleased.

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Rivals

“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come” (Hebrews 11:20).

There was a blessing on both Jacob and Esau from their father Isaac, but though brothers, they were rivals in life from their beginnings to their end and had to live separated as two nations (cf. Genesis 36:8; 37:1).

“And after that came his brother out and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel. . .” (Genesis 25:26). From the time of their birth and throughout their lives the story of Jacob and Esau is a story of rivalry, competition and the promise of blessing and inheritance. We would do well to study their lives to see the pitfalls of ambition, deception, vengeance, and rivalry.

It seems in life there is always a rival: that other, that one person or one thing that is always competing, a nemesis. We face it in all aspects of life: in relationships, careers, personal devotion and commitments.

Who, what is your rival? It is good when we can identify our rival, so we can face reality. Now facing it, how will you handle it? What will you do about it?

We must all now face the reality that rivalry has entered our lives as saints in our relationship with God. This is nothing new. It was the constant struggle with Israel throughout their history. The Prophets had to constantly speak against Idolatry which was a rival to the worship of the One True and Living God, the Almighty. Today, many of us have left our first love and have succumbed to the rival for our affections. The Church at Ephesus had to be chastened of the Lord and called to repentance for it: “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against you because you have left your first love. Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).

A Rival to Revival: There is a rival to revival that needs to be separated from our lives. Revival will come when the rival is sent away and our full devotion to our Lord is restored. Then there will be no competition for our time, energies, thoughts and dedication. We will be fully given to prayer, study of the word, service, communion, fellowship and sacrifice to God and to our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Idols will be cast down; holiness will prevail in our assemblies and the renewal of the true worship of God will be restored. This was the call of the Prophets, and it is the call of the Spirit in our time.

The Spirit of the Lord is dealing with our hearts because this truly is an issue of the heart. Rivals of the Lord are trying to capture our hearts and take over our thoughts. How many prayers are not being prayed because of it? How many acts of sacrifice are not being performed? How many souls are not being saved? How much intimacy is being lost because of a rival?

Jesus called His generation a “wicked and adulterous generation” (cf. Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:38). What would He say of ours? The same? But it does not have to be so; we can begin the change; we can see revival. Let us come and work together to remove the rivals.

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Words Matter

“I say unto you, every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment” (Matthew 12:36).

Oh, the reputations wrecked and careers ruined by careless words, either spoken or written, for which the penalty was devastating. Words matter.

The Apostle exhorts us to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). Words matter. Whether to tear down or to build up; whether to shame or to encourage; whether to blaspheme, or to honor and praise. Words matter, and there shall be an accounting, a judgment, a reckoning.

Words Matter: Jesus said, “For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). The Apostle in his Epistle to the Romans makes this point clear writing: “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). What is your confession? Your eternal salvation depends on it. Will you be justified, or will you be condemned?

Living by Words: “Jesus answered saying, ‘It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). Words matter. We live by the words that proceed from the mouth of God (see Matthew 4:4). Those rhemas (Gr.), those inspired words of life we receive from the Holy Spirit, those life-giving words received by the spirit within and heard with the ear and eyes of our understanding that challenge, that nourish, that comfort us and motivate us to press on in the midst of the stress and the trials. Those precious words that water our souls and feed us with our daily bread. Those living words of life and breath are the life source for soul and spirit and keep us in that eternal life that is in Christ Jesus.

One Little Word: Martin Luther (1483-1546) knew well the power of words as expressed in his familiar hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (1529). The third stanza reads: “And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us. We will not fear for God has willed His Truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure, one little word shall fell him”. Yes, many or few, or even one! Words matter.

The Prophets spoke the word of the Lord. In the Scriptures we have the word of God. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we have been given the word of Truth. Proclaim the Word, speak the Truth, share with everyone the words of Life. With your mouth make your confession, speak and be heard. Impact your world with your words everyday.

It very well may be as the songwriters sang: “It’s only words, but words are all I have to take your heart away”.

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