The Watchers

“And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37).

Watch (Gr.): Gregoreuo from Egeiro: Keep awake, be vigilant

There are those who by the command of Christ Jesus are always on the alert, always looking ahead, always observing, being vigilant and aware of all that is happening around them; they are the watchers. To these very little comes as a surprise for they saw what was coming. They were prepared, they were awake, aware and observant as they followed the leading of the Lord.

Sadly, there are many who do not watch and fall into temptation (cf. Matthew 26:41); they become ashamed (cf. Revelation 16;15); they sleep and miss the visitation of the Lord (cf. Matthew 26:40); they suffer calamity when it comes upon them (cf. Matthew 24:43).

Blessed are the Watchers. “Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when He comes shall be found watching; verily, I say unto you that He shall gird Himself and make them to sit down to meat and will come forth and serve them” (Luke 12:37). The Lord is ever looking for those who are awake, vigilant, aware and ready for the appearing of the Lord. When He sees them, He brings His reward with Him.

The Watchers are the guards to the House of God, the people of God, the ministry, the Gospel. The Watchers guard against heresy, false prophets, false teachers, and those who come in to do harm to the Body of Christ. The watchers see the enemy, identify him and make him flee.

The Watchers watch for Souls. “So, you, O son of man, I have set you as a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore, you shall hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me” (Ezekiel 33:7). The watchers hear a word from the Lord and speak warnings that guard the souls of men from destruction and turn them from their wicked ways back to the Lord.

The Watchers watch for the moving of the Spirit. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning” (Psalms 130:5-6). The watchers wait, watch and then move in the Holy Spirit. They move according to the will of God.

The Watchers are the Gatekeepers. The watchers hear wisdom speak: “Blessed is the man that hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso finds me finds life and shall obtain the favor of the Lord” (Proverbs 8:34-35). Though we are not of this world, we live in the world and know what is going on in the Gates: the marketplace, commerce, the economy, media, government, politics, in the churches, schools, society, in the homes, neighborhoods, cities, States, Provinces, the Nation and the world. What do the watchers bring to the table? They bring wisdom as the salt and light in the earth.

Watchers Look for the Coming of the Lord. “Watch, therefore, for you know not what hour your Lord comes. Know this, if the goodman of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, be ready, for in such an hour as you think not the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 24:42-44). “But the end of all things is at hand; be sober and watch unto prayer” (I Peter 4:7). Watchers are in constant expectation of the Lord’s return. Their lamps are always trimmed and burning, they carry extra oil with their lamps when there is a delay (cf. Matthew 25:1ff). When the Lord tarries, the watchers tarry in prayer and intercession. They continually speak encouragement and hope to the faithful, warning, preparing, and helping the weak and vulnerable.

We live in perilous times (cf. II Timothy 3:1). It is incumbent now, more than ever for the watchers to arise. “What I say to you, I say to all, Watch!” (Mark 13:37).

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Called, Chosen, Faithful

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).

Called: (Gr.): Kletos from Klesis: Invited, an invitation

Chosen: (Gr.): Eklektos from Eklegomai: Select, Elect

Faithful: (Gr.): Pistos from Peitho: Trustworthy, True, Sure, Reliable

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John saw in a vision a Beast system which takes power in the earth and makes war with the Lamb. Those called out of the Beast system to align with the Lamb, the Ekklesia (called out), the Church, the Saints, the Elect, overcome the Beast by being called, chosen and faithful to the Lamb who as the Scripture says is “Lord of lords and King of kings”, our Savior.

The Called. There is a calling being made in the earth today. Invitations are being sent into all the earth by the Spirit of God for hearts that are open to hear, see, and say yes in response to the voice of the Lamb. As observed by Paul, the Apostle, “you see your calling, Brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called” (I Corinthians 1:26). It is the humble one who hears the calling of the Lord. It is the contrite one who knows his need for a Savior. It is the “poor in spirit” who are blessed, “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

The great counterweight to the Beast is the Lamb, and all those called to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (cf. Revelation 14:4).

The Chosen. Out of all those who are called, there are those that are Chosen, the eklektos, those selected for service, the Elect. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14), said Jesus. Furthermore, He said to His disciples, “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you” (John 15:16).

The Chosen are the ones upon whom the grace of God was bestowed and overtook, those apprehended by the Spirit of God, those constrained by the Spirit who speak as the Apostle spoke: “that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12b). “For the love of Christ constrains us, because we thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead” (II Corinthians 5:14). “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain” (I Corinthians 15:10a).

The Faithful. “Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:2). The crowning grace of the called and chosen is that they be found faithful, that they remain a true, reliable and trustworthy testimony to the grace of God that works in them, and to Him to whom they belong.

The Book of Revelation was given to John, the Apostle “from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5a). In the Letter to Laodicea John writes: “These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). It is clearly evident from the Scriptures that the True and Faithful One is Christ Jesus, our Lord. We, who are in Christ; we who are with Him, are the called, the chosen, and the faithful as we abide in Him and bear true witness to the Lamb in nature, spirit and Life.

Worthy is the Lamb.

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Signs, Portents and Omens

Signs: (Heb): ‘Owth: In the sense of appearing, a signal, as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence

Signs: (Gr): Semeion from Semaino: a mark, ceremonial or supernatural; a miracle, token, wonder

Living in this natural world with seasons, orderly orbits, laws of nature, births and deaths, we are caught off-guard by the unusual, the extraordinary, the sensational, the bazaar. There is an expectation with the natural mind, and any deviation therefrom is to be sought out and explained by scientific discovery.

Living in the spiritual world of faith in the unseen, the invisible, there is a ready acceptance of the unexplained, the mysterious, the phenomenal. The question becomes one of legitimacy and not that of the deceptive powers of evil.

Such is the question of signs, portents and omens. Legitimate signs have been with us from the beginning of creation:

“And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs (‘owth), and for seasons, and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14).

To Moses:

“And you shall take this rod in your hand, wherewith you shall do signs” (Exodus 4:17).

To Daniel:

‘He delivers and rescues, and works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions” (Daniel 6:26).

To Jesus:

“And in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and gloomy’. ‘O you hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky, but can you not discern the signs of the times?'” (Matthew 16:3).

To the Apostle Paul:

“Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:19). “Truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (II Corinthians 12:12).

To the Disciples:

“God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:4).

Signs and Lying Wonders. There have also been the deceptive works of darkness “whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders” (II Thessalonians 2:9).

Sorcerers, wizards, witches and demons have also been working in the earth by conjuring up wickedness through necromancy, familiar spirits, seances, and the arts of black magic deceiving the gullible by signs, wonders and telling fortunes to those with ready hearts to believe the lies.

Beloved, it is the end of days. It is the time for the coming of the Lord. We are entering a new era of signs, portents and omens. The words of the Prophets are coming to past. We see them being fulfilled in our time. We must be on our guard, however, for the “Prince of this world comes” as well (cf. John 14:30). He comes with “all power and signs and lying wonders” (II Thessalonians 2:9b).

The words of the Apostle are true, reassuring and comforting to our hearts in this hour. Let us take heed to them and abide in the Truth.

“We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, Brethren, Beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth. Whereunto He called you by our Gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or our Epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, and God, even our Father who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work” (II Thessalonians 2:13-17).

May the true signs, portents and omens from the Spirit speak to you in Truth and lead you in the Light. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

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Possess Ye Your Souls

“In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19).

Possess (Gr. Ktaomai): To get, acquire, own

As one reads the passage from Luke 21 in context the events and circumstances surrounding the words of Jesus portray the most trying trials, tribulations and tests of one’s core being, and the counsel of the Lord is patience for the sake of preserving the soul.

Possess Ye Your Souls: To possess the soul is to keep it under your ownership. We can keep the soul secure by our faith and our trust in the Lord and by being yoked in spirit to Him. One can lose his soul by selling it, allowing it to be taken over by others, or possessed by the Evil One which is the ultimate loss that has eternal consequences. “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26). From this we can clearly see that possessing our souls is in the end the ultimate triumph.

In Your Patience: “Let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing” (James 1:4). We do not have to look far to see the example we need when enduring the trials, tribulations and test of life. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy” (James 5:11). Maintaining our focus on the Lord, keeping our confession, controlling our emotions, submitting the keeping of our souls to the Holy Spirit, our Helper, surrendering our will to the grace of God are all valuable attributes to employ in the midst of all life’s storms.

In the time of His greatest trial in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus said to His disciples, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry here and watch with Me” (Matthew 26:37). Then Jesus went forward and prayed, “O, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39b). In the patience of waiting on the Father’s will, Jesus stayed in possession of His soul; then willfully He offered up His life as the Lamb of God, the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the whole world.

The writer to the Hebrews spoke directly to the issue at hand:

“Cast not away therefore your confidence which has great recompence of reward. For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. For yet a little while and He that shall come will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:35-39).

Beloved, let us take heed to the words of wisdom from the Lord. In our patience, we can possess our souls, even unto the saving of them in our times of testing and in the Great Day of the Lord to come.

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All Oppression Shall Cease

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).

Oppressed: (Gr. Katadunasteuo): To exercise dominion against by a ruler, authority, or might

Oppression comes from those in power, who exercise their might by coercive restrictions upon the people. It is an evil that is employed by tyrants, oppressive forms of governments, and most authoritarian regimes. In the spiritual sphere it is the power of dark forces, demonic powers under Lucifer, Satan, the devil, who oppress and exercise dominion against those to whom they have gained control.

In the 1843 Christmas Carol, O, Holy Night, written by the poet, Placide Cappeau, we find the faith-filled words, “And in His Name, all oppression shall cease”. No truer words have ever been penned.

From the days of the Pharoah’s of Egypt to the Philistines of Canaan, from the Amorites to the legions of Rome, oppressors have tried to exercise dominion against the people of God. Down through the history of the Church, oppressors of one stripe or another have sought to stamp out the embers of faith, to quench the fire and light of the Gospel and have violently opposed Christ and the saints who follow Him wherever He leads.

However, as we look closer into the arena of dominion, authority and power, we discover there are not only earthly powers there are also heavenly powers. There are dominions, realms and principalities and there is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God has come, it is being established on earth, and will be fully confirmed in power at the return of the King.

All Oppression Shall Cease. The Scriptures give us great hope against our oppressors. The Psalmist wrote: “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psalms 9:9). “Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble, you will prepare their heart, you will cause your ear to hear; to judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress” (Psalms 10:17). The time of oppression shall cease for the Lord shall be a refuge for His people and they shall take shelter in the shadow of His wings (cf. Psalms 57:1).

“The Lord executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed” (Psalms 103:6). The Spirit of the Lord is with us now. The same Spirit that was in Christ “who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil” is in us by faith. To us has been given the chosen fast “to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke” (cf. Isaiah 58:6).

We are the intercessors, the warriors of prayer, called to walk in the chosen fast of the Lord, to preach the Word, to live in the Kingdom and see it established in the earth, to tear down strongholds (II Corinthians 10:4), to live by faith, and believe the promises of God, to see the salvation of the Lord.

To those who are in Christ, all oppression shall cease. In Him we find our rest, we find our refuge, we find our peace. In Him we find our strength, our joy, our hope, our shelter in times of trouble. In Christ we overcome, we walk in victory, in triumph, in the Cross, in the Resurrection and in the Life. We are the Redeemed, the Chosen, the Elect of God.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. . .Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:1-2).

Lord, let your eternal Kingdom be established now on earth, even as it has been established in the heavens. Let all oppression cease and let your Spirit reign forever in our hearts as your people in the freedom of your love and the comfort of your peace.

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Treasures

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Treasure: (Gr. Thesauros): A deposit, i.e., wealth (literally or figuratively)

It is the heart, the seat of our affections, that determines much in our lives and is probably the single most determiner of our destinies. When by the grace of God, the heart is set aright, there will be a joining of good treasure and the heart, and the producing of that which is good will follow (cf. Matthew 12:35). A deposit of good treasure will be set upon by a good heart and the twain shall be together always.

Treasure, as a noun is both a place for storing things of value and the valuable things themselves. Therefore, you will often find a thing of value securely stored in a place called a Treasury, and one assigned to safeguard the treasure is called a Treasurer.

God has so placed His treasure, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6b) in His people and has caused this light of His glory to “shine in our hearts” and we now “have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us” (II Corinthians 4:7). He has furthermore given His Holy Spirit to safeguard this treasure in us until the glorious day of Redemption (cf. Ephesians 4:30).

To the Prophet, Isaiah, the Lord spoke: “I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who called you by your name, am the God of Israel” (Isaiah 45:3). Such rich treasures given to the Prophet are beyond all the wealth of men in the whole world.

To the Apostle, Paul, it was given to “speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (I Corinthians 2:7). And concerning Christ, he wrote: “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

So let men seek for riches, and wealth for the last days, but as James has written to us concerning them: Your gold and silver is cankered (corroded); and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh, like as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days” (James 5:3).

Jesus spoke the truth when He said, “If, therefore, you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:11).

Alas, it truly is a matter of the heart, isn’t it? “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” So, we must examine the heart and see what we find there. As we have said, it is the heart that determines our destiny. A surrendered heart to God will find its way to the “true riches”. A self-seeking heart will ultimately find its way to the vanity of the “unrighteous mammon”.

What is your treasure? Where is your heart? These are the issues of life. As King Solomon has written in his Book of Proverbs:

“My son attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. They are life to those that find them and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:20-23).

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Where Thieves Cannot Steal

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moths and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moths nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

Thieves (Gr) Kleptes: Literally thieves

Our Lord speaks to us of an impregnable place of security where there is no possibility of corruption or moth-eaten destruction of the social fabric of life. He speaks of a stable place where there is no moral breakdown of societal norms, no interruption to the joy and bliss of every soul dwelling in the Paradise of God. Every treasure is safe, every dwelling secure, every being perfect in the Presence of the Eternal, loving Father of Light and Glory.

The thought of investing into and laying up to this wonderful company of saints and angels would on the surface seem like something everyone would embrace and pursue vigorously. “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” would seem to be a slogan on everyone’s lips and embraced with fervor and passion. But, alas, such is not the case at all.

To our great dismay and in quite the opposite station we find ourselves in a world of hackers, scammers and malware planters; with viruses of all types; a world of impostors, con artists and “wolves in sheep clothing”. It is difficult to imagine trusting anyone without an endorsement from a faithful friend. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth” would appear to be the wisest of sayings in a chaotic world gone mad. The insanity of it all boggles the mind.

“Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15), the Commandment of Elohim is most relevant today, even as it was under Moses. You shall not be a thief. You shall not deceive, or take what is rightfully the possession of another, you shall not carry away for yourself what you have not received in honor, virtue, and righteousness by paying the just price, received by inheritance or by gift. To do otherwise is to be aligned with the world of darkness and the Evil One and all his minions everywhere.

Jesus addressed the issue of entrance into the heavenly kingdom, identifying Himself as “the Door of the sheep” (John 10:7b). Saying further, “All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them” (John 10:8). The false teachers and false prophets before the time of Christ were condemned as thieves and robbers who stole the truth of the Word of God from the people and practiced deceit. Jesus says, “I am the Door. By Me if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes not but to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:9-10).

There is a place where thieves cannot steal. Amidst all the chaos in the world, there is a safe place, a secure place, a heavenly place in the heart of the Beloved Son. In Him is no lie. He is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” and no one comes to the Father except through Him (cf. John 14:6).

Are you a thief? There is hope for you still. One of your own kind was there at Calvary, Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, at the Crucifixion of our Lord. This thief repented of his evil deeds and spoke to Jesus concerning His Lordship. The thief simply said, “Lord, remember me when you come into Thy Kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Jesus received his faith and confession and replied, “Verily I say unto you, ‘Today shall you be with Me in Paradise'” (Luke 23:43). The wonder of salvation for the lost sinner turned saint. The ex-thief now to steal no more, now to be entrusted with the riches of Paradise. Only God could do such a marvelous work of grace.

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New Day Rising

“And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun” (Mark 16:2).

The Spirit of the Lord is moving and speaking and showing by demonstration of signs and wonders that a new day is upon us. It is interesting that the greatest miracle in the history of man took place at a place of burial, a sepulcher. They went there expecting to anoint a dead body but encountered instead a glorious Resurrection.

“His anger endures but a moment; in His favor is Life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).

There is a new day rising in the Kingdom. Make sure you are among the early risers to greet it. If you do you will encounter the Resurrection Power of God. Miracles, signs and wonders are upon us. We have passed through the valley of the shadow of death. We have wept throughout the long night. Rise now and greet the new day and encounter the power of God.

“That I may know Him and the Power of His Resurrection. . .” (Philippians 3:10a) was the cry of the Apostle. It must be our cry, as well. In the new day rising you have your opportunity. Pursue Him with fervent passion. Rise early and pray. Rise early and worship. Rise early and seek His face.

“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6), so says the Prophet.

This new day rising is as a first day, a new moon, as first fruits in the time of harvest. It is a time for rejoicing, for celebration, and thanksgiving.

“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s Name is to be praised” (Psalms 113:3).

The sun rises upon all mankind from the East to the West, from the North to the South. “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My Name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My Name, and a pure offering; for My Name shall be great among the heathen, says the Lord of Hosts” (Malachi 1:11).

This is the witness of the Spirit, worldwide revival in this new day rising. Look for it, enter into it and be part of what God is doing even in our day.

“Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen” (Luke 24:5b-6a). A new day is risen. Let us rise and go out to meet Him.

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Bruised For Our Iniquities

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Bruised (Heb): Daka: Beat to pieces, break, crumble, crush, oppress, smite

Iniquities (Heb): Avon: Perversity, moral evil, faults, mischief, sin

There is a thought that overwhelms the soul when we meditate upon it, when the depths of it hit the heart that Christ Jesus was broken to pieces, crushed and smitten for my perversity, my faults, the mischief of my evil nature, for my sin.

Words like, “oh wretched man that I am” (Romans 7:24a); “woe is me for I am undone” (Isaiah 6:5); “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8); all were confessions and acknowledgments of the evil nature into which we were born. As David expressed it well, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).

Herein, therefore, lies the key to repentance; not that we have made a mistake, not that we did an evil deed; but that we were born with an evil nature whose propensity is to do evil continually. In this light there is no distinction between the evil man who does evil deeds and the evil man who suppresses them. Jesus was not broken in pieces just for the evildoer; but for all who are evil beings. Until we acknowledge this truth, we will remain unrepentant deceiving ourselves that we are not that bad. Perhaps it is, we just have not encountered the Lord as did the Apostles Peter and Paul, the Prophet, Isaiah, or King David. Acknowledging our evil being comes by way of revelation as we spend time in the Presence of the Lord of glory, in the fiery Presence of His holiness.

The words of Christ to the Scribes and Pharisees were a strong rebuke and came from the perspective of the Righteous One who knew all too well the evil that lay within the heart of the righteousness of man:

“Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whited sepulchers which, indeed, appear beautiful outwardly, but are within full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).

“Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess (lack of self-restraint)” (Matthew 23:25).

Of course, it was not the evildoers who condemned Christ to be crucified, but the very Scribes and Pharisees who were exposed by the word of the Lord.

Even so, Christ did not come to just expose the sin and hypocrisy of the self-righteous. No, He came not just to expose, but to redeem, to cleanse and to remove the iniquity; and for that He was smitten, crushed and beaten to pieces by the whips, the thorns, and the Cross.

There is one who testified to the truth. One “of the stock of Israel, of the Tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews and as touching the Law, a Pharisee. Concerning zeal, persecuting the Church, touching the righteousness which is of the Law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless I count all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:5-9).

Oh, the efficacy of His bruising. What Redemption, what cleansing, what transformation in the souls of men that was accomplished when Christ was beaten to pieces, crushed, smitten, bruised for our iniquities. Indeed, as the Prophet said, “and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5b).

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Reconciliation

“God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:19).

Reconciliation: (Gr.) Katallage from Katallasso: To mutually change, exchange, adjust, restore to Divine favor by atonement

How far does one have to go to restore a broken relationship of friendship, marriage, father to son, daughter to mother, priest/pastor to disciple? To mutually change, in heart, will, emotions with another? It is sometimes a tall mountain to climb, a wide divide to bridge, a rolling river to cross. Is it possible? God knows.

The Apostle wrote: “All things are of God, who reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:18).

Sometimes there is a need for a mediator and that Mediator between God and Man is Christ Jesus (cf. I Timothy 2:5). Christ is the great Mediator, the faithful High Priest, and we who are in Christ now find ourselves with the gift, calling and “ministry of reconciliation.” It is a burden placed upon us as intercessors to prayerfully intercede for the restoration and reconciliation of our brethren, our families, our friends and associates, our countrymen.

“Wherefore, in all things it behooved Christ to be made like unto His Brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).

What exchange, change, adjustment must happen for the reconciliation of which we speak to occur? Is it forgiveness? Sacrifice of rights? Laying down of ego? Repentance from sins? Restoration of Trust? Healing of wounded and broken hearts? What miracle of grace, what Divine influence on the heart, what faith to be birthed must spring forth for reconciliation to have a chance? The ministry of reconciliation is a work only the Holy Spirit can do as we let Him flow though us by our words, our prayers, our way of peace.

Is there a work of reconciliation needed in your life? Be of good cheer there is a way for it to happen. There is hope. It is possible. There are a few things we can learn from God and His act of “reconciling the world unto Himself.” I doubt your issue is that big. Firstly, He did not “impute trespasses against us”. Meditate on that for a while. Secondly, He had a mediator, His Son. Maybe there is someone you can call to help you get where you want to be. Thirdly, reconciliation takes two, it is a mutual commitment. It is a mutual exchange, change, adjustment and restoration. Pray for the other party to make it through to where you want them to be.

Do you need to be reconciled to God? One thing you can do right now is stop looking at your sin and fix your eyes on Jesus, your Mediator, who died for all sin, who as the Lamb of God, took away all the sin in the world (see John 1:29). Remember, reconciliation is mutual. God loves you. He offered up the life of His Son for you. Receive the free gift of forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation to Him.

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God” (II Corinthians 5:20).

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