Who Do You Love?

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is One LORD. Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

“This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. Men shall be lovers of their own selves. . .” (II Timothy 3:1-2a).

The dichotomy between these two verses is a chasm so deep and wide, it cannot be crossed. Who do you love? That is a question that is as profound as it is conscience rending.

Who do you love? Do you love your wife, your husband, your children (not everyone does, you know). Do you love your neighbors, your community, your State, your Country? Do you love God?

Who do you love most? The commandment through Moses is to love the LORD our God with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our strength. That is loving with everything in our being. Loving that way is self-sacrificing, self effacing, self denying. It is being willing to lose one’s life for the sake of Christ, the LORD (cf. Luke 9:24).

The Apostle’s Epistle to Timothy speaks to a different love, the love of self. Loving one’s self most will lead to being “covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy” (II Timothy 3:2b). Loving one’s self will not lead to self sacrifice, self denial; rather will lead to one seeking by any means to save his life. Loving one’s self is ego centric, self promoting, self centered, and self preserving.

In his Epistle to the Philippians the Apostle says it causes him to weep for those who walk in self love, saying “they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:18b-19).

Self love is carnal, immature, undisciplined, and promotes only personal gain. This is the antithesis to the Gospel of Christ. The Apostles set forth through their lives and Epistles the true message of love:

“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live; yet, not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

“That I may know Him, and the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (Philippians 3:10).

If any man love God, the same is known of Him” (1 Corinthians 8:3).

Who do you Love?

This is a question we would all do well to give some serious contemplation. The answer to this fundamental question may well re-orient our lives and set us on a new course. It is a probing question that only the Holy Spirit can fully resolve in our hearts. Be exhorted to spend some time in prayer on this all important matter; meditate upon it, and find your answer. Your destiny awaits.

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Are You Vexed?

“For that righteous man dwelling among them in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (II Peter 2:8).

Vexed: to torture, pained, tormented, tossed, toil

We live in a crazy world where up is down, in is out, round is square, bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter (cf. Isaiah 5:20). Sometimes it is maddening. One is hard-pressed not to be very vexed.

Solomon said, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

We can look around at others, but are we vexed at our own peccadilloes? Those small, annoying sins like white lies, bad thoughts, envies, jealousies, lusts, anger and just plain disgust with the way things are.

The Apostle said of himself, “O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). Who hasn’t quoted that verse a time or two?

Being vexed could be cause for depression, even despair. But being vexed can also be a good thing. It can be motivating, inspiring even. What if you are so vexed, you just can’t stand it anymore and it just drove you to your knees, to prayer, to crying out to God for change, for healing, for deliverance?

In answer to Paul’s own desperate “wretched man” cry, he said, “I thank God, through Jesus Christ our LORD!” (Romans 7:25a). Yes, Jesus is still the answer.

Lot was a righteous man living in Sodom, (yes, that wretched place). where his soul was vexed daily with the unlawful deeds of the wicked. God sent angels to rescue him and his family, “For the LORD knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished” (II Peter 2:9).

The Psalmist cried to the LORD, “Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am weak; O, LORD, heal me for my bones are vexed” (Psalms 6:2). Vexed to the bone. That is deep vexation of soul, bones and marrow. Aren’t you glad we have a merciful Savior, Who hears and answers prayer and the cries of our heart?

The Gospels and Acts are filled with stories of those who were vexed. Jesus and the Apostles met every need (Matthew 15:22; 17:15; Luke 6:18; Acts 5:16). Jesus is the answer to every vexing thing.

When Israel was vexed by their enemies, God raised up a deliverer: Prophets like Moses and Joshua; Judges like Samson and Gideon. Are you vexed? This time is your time. God is calling you. There is a mantel for you (I Kings 19:19); an anointing for you (I Kings 19:15-16), an impartation for you for such a time as this.

“Arise, shine; for Thy Light is come and the Glory of the LORD is risen upon Thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people; but the LORD shall arise upon Thee, and His Glory shall be seen upon Thee. And the Gentiles shall come to Thy Light, and kings to the brightness of Thy rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3).

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Father!

“Behold, what manner of Love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the Sons of God. . .” (I John 3:1).

The love of a father for his child is a wonderful thing to behold; but “behold, what manner of Love the Father has bestowed upon us.” That is a wonder of all wonders.

We pray to God, yes; He is our Creator, He is a Sovereign LORD, He is Master of the Universe; yes, indeed; but He is also Father! Jesus said, “After this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. . .” (Matthew 6:9). Jesus did not say, pray, Oh, Great Creator; oh, Sovereign LORD; oh, Master of the Universe; but pray “Our Father!”

Abba! Father!

“And Jesus said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). Daddy, God, as you will.

“For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).

“And because you are Sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6).

In the darkest night, in the most fiery trial, on the edge of the knife, or sword, or peril; on the storm tossed sea, when tormented by loss, when you cannot see the harbor, call to the One, Who alone is near, cry from your heart, Abba! Father!

God is a Father to the fatherless; a defender of the poor, afflicted and needy (cf. Psalms 68:5; 82:3). He preserves the life of the stranger; and provides relief for the widow (cf. Psalms 146:9). Our Father is good to all who come to Him for succor, help and strength. He is by nature Good.

“. . .Grace, mercy, peace from God, our Father and Jesus Christ, our LORD” (1 Timothy 1:2). This is the salutation of Paul, the Apostle, in his Epistles which carry so much grace to us as we read the letters concerning grace, mercy and peace in the Gospel of Christ; all coming from the Father of Light. All coming from the Love of the Father Who gave so freely His Only Begotten Son to redeem us from our sin and reconcile us to Himself.

Yes, “Blessed by God, even the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).

Yes, Blessed be His Holy Name. Our God, our Father, Who loves us with an everlasting love. The One Who astounds us with love, calling us His Sons through His Only Begotten, bringing us to Glory.

Father, Father, we adore Thee. We exalt Your Holy Name. We give thanks and praise before Thee, giving honor to Your Fame. Oh, we Love You, none above You, calling us Your Holy Ones. All because of Your great love, calling us to be your Sons.

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The Tyranny of Evil Powers

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Tyranny: N. Cruel and oppressive government or rule

The “rulers of the darkness of this world,” the “spiritual wickedness in high places” are plotting, scheming, devising nefarious ways to kill, steal and destroy the people of God, the saints in the Kingdom of Righteousness; the saints who serve under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We all at one time had our part with these powers of darkness as the Apostle declared in his Epistle to the Ephesians: “In time past we all walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Thank God He “has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).

The contrast between these two Kingdoms is stark. One is a tyrant, cruel and oppressive, seeking to control every aspect of our being; the other is a loving LORD and Savior, setting us free from slavery and bondage to the liberating “inheritance of the saints in light” (Ephesians 1:12b). One is a Kingdom of wickedness and evil; the other is a Kingdom of righteousness, justice, freedom and peace.

“Stand fast, therefore in the liberty wherein Christ has made you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). Take your stand, resist the evil, “be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). “Stand in the evil day, and having done all, keep standing” (Ephesians 6:13b).

Always remember, our wrestling is not against flesh and blood. Christ and the Apostles did not wrestle against Roman Caesars, not Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, Galba, Vespasian, Domitian, Antoninus Pius, Hadrian or Marcus Aurelius. None. As cruel and oppressive as they were, no; the wrestling was not against flesh and blood. There was a spirit working in them that was a tyrant of evil power that oppressed the Spirit of Christ and made war with God and the saints.

Set in this worldview, we can have a clear perspective. We can live separate from this evil system in this evil day. We can live in a separate Kingdom that shall overcome the present evil because we have already overcome by faith through the finished work of Jesus on the Cross, with His triumphant Resurrection and Ascension into the heavens “far above all principality, and power and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21).

“Far above. . .every name that is named.” Pick any name of any tyrant in the history of the world, from any era, or age up to our present day; Jesus has been given a greater name. Jesus has been given a “name above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the Glory of God the Father” (Philippians 9b-11).

Oh, what a wonderful salvation, deliverance, and liberation we have from the tyranny of evil powers. It truly is as Jesus declared it to be: “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Hallelujah!

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The God of Truth

“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are Judgment; a God of Truth and without iniquity; Just and Right is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

The words of the Prophet, were written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to proclaim to all the Majesty of God, the God of Truth. Just and Righteous is He.

It is incumbent upon us the people of the God of Truth to do as the Prophet Samuel spoke to the people: “Fear the LORD, and serve Him in Truth with all your heart; for consider how great things He has done for you” (1 Samuel 12:24).

Serving the God of Truth in Truth is to put away from us all idols, all graven images, all other gods. It is as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “Put away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25). Serving the God of Truth in Truth is to honor God with our words, our deeds, our affections, and with the thoughts and intentions of our heart,

The God of Truth desires Truth. King David wrote: “Behold, you desire Truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom” (Psalm 51:6).

The Psalms are full of references to the God of Truth. It enriches the soul to be so inspired with His Word.

“For the Word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in Truth” (Psalms 33:4).

“But as for me, my prayer is unto Thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time; O, God, in the multitude of Thy mercy hear me, in the Truth of Thy Salvation” (Psalms 69:13).

The God of Truth expressed Himself in His Law. The Psalmist wrote: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy Law is the Truth” (Psalms 119:142). “Thou art near, O LORD; and all Thy Commandments are Truth” (Psalms 119:151).

The God of Truth gave His ultimate expression in His Beloved Son who said to the Disciples and indirectly to us all: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Yes, Jesus is the God of Truth. He has come to us in the “Spirit of Truth” (John 16:13) “to guides us into all Truth.” We now abide in the Truth and the Truth abides in us.

As expressed by the Apostle John in his Third Epistle “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in Truth (III John 1:4). Oh, what joy it must also give the Father, the God of Truth, when we give honor, glory, worship and praise to Him alone, and walk in Him Who is all Truth. To Him be all dominion forever. Amen.

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Divine Power, Divine Nature

The Apostle Peter wrote to us in his Second Epistle: “His Divine Power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness [Mystery of Godliness 1/24/21], through the knowledge of Him Who called us to glory and virtue. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 1:3-4).

In these two verses written by the Apostle are contained some of the most powerful truths of the Gospel you will ever read in all of Scripture. We want to focus on two of these truths: Divine Power and Divine Nature.

Divine Power: (Gr. Theios Dunamis): Godlike, Divinity, Exceeding Godly Miraculous Force, Ability

Divine Nature: (Gr. Theios Phusis): Godlike Genus, Constitution, Germination, Growth

In these two truths we have all we need for life and godliness. These two truths give us understanding of the Divine Life through the knowledge of Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus are manifested, or revealed the Power and Nature of Divinity.

For the Believer these truths bring us to a revelation that what the Apostle Peter stated in Matthew 16 is true, “You are the Christ (Messiah, Anointed One), the Son of the Living God.”

How are we to live life? By Divine Power.

How are we to be godly? By Divine Nature.

Divine Power and Divine Nature are the two aspects of life in Christ by which we come into the glory and virtue of Godliness. Not only so, but by which we are able to escape the corruption that is in this present world through lust.

This is no ordinary thing. This is a supernatural, powerful, miraculous ability to live a godly life in Christ by becoming a genus of another kind, or a “new species of being” (see II Corinthians 5:17).

The Nature of the New Creation is Holy, Righteous, Godly, Loving, Forgiving, Full of Grace, Merciful, Humble, Kind, Virtuous, Patient, and Powerful (cf. II Peter 1:5-7).

The Theios Phusis is ever reproducing by continuous germination. This germination is continually producing new life; and continuously producing or bearing fruit. It is a Tree of Life that has all we need for life and godliness and from which we may freely partake.

As Born Again Believers we now live in a new Reality of Divine Life: Divine Power and Divine Nature. This is what the Father has freely given us in the Son, by the Holy Spirit. What a wonderful salvation we have been given by His marvelous Grace. Are you ready for your great escape?

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The Secret Place

“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalms 91:1).

Secret Place: Place of covering, protection, hiding, privacy

Every believer needs a personal place and space with the Most High God for communion, fellowship, prayer, meditation, contemplation, refreshing, renewing, and restoration of the soul.

This is a dwelling place in the Spirit. It is continual and a contemporaneous abiding in grace, mercy and peace.

Jesus said, “When you pray, enter into your closet and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father Who is in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret shall reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6).

Although our abiding is continuous in the Spirit, we need a focused, set apart time with the Father for personal edification and comfort in the love of God.

Jesus, Himself, spent long hours in prayer with the Father. He got alone with the Father in the mountains, and on occasion spent all night in prayer to God (cf. Luke 6:12). Jesus set the example for us and exhorts us to pray always and not lose heart (cf. Luke 18:1; 21:36).

We need covering and protection from “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4); “the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11); and “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-21a). We need a hiding place, whether a “cave of Adullam” (1 Samuel 22:1); escaping the casting of stones (John 8:59; or in a basket (2 Corinthians 11:33); as David, Jesus and the Apostle Paul in these passages; we need to be covered and protected by the Almighty in our secret place.

We need a place for privacy and personal devotion, shut in with the Father. We can unplug from the world with no distractions, interference, or static; complete solitude, being alone with God for communion, words of wise counsel, direction, inspiration, vision, discipline, instruction and revelation of Christ Jesus, our LORD. We can be alone with the Father for intercession, prayers and supplication for needs in the Body of Christ, for lost souls, and nations.

We need the secret place for the sake of our families, both natural and spiritual; for greater love, unity, reconciliation, and peace.

Guard your secret place and hold it in highest esteem and let nothing hinder or take you away from this precious place of abiding under the Shadow of the Almighty, in the secret place of the Most High.

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Your Savior Is Your Judge

“For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father” (John 5:22-23a).

It is a great comfort to the believer in the LORD Jesus Christ to know that the same One Who is our Savior, our LORD, is also our Judge. The same One Who justifies the believer by faith as Savior, is the same One Who will declare the believer righteous in the Day of Judgment as Judge.

In the Day of Judgment the believer will find “Grace, Mercy and Peace” from God, our Father, and Jesus Christ, our LORD (cf. 1 Timothy 1:2).

For the unbeliever this happy circumstance will not be, however; rather there will be “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:27).

Why this unhappy state for the unbeliever? The unbeliever, by refusing to believe in Christ as Savior, has forfeited the only hope, and only remedy for obtaining eternal salvation for his soul. The unbeliever is left, not to be freely justified by grace through faith; but to justify himself by his own righteous deeds before a holy and sinless Judge whose only standard for righteousness is sinless perfection. This self-righteous justification is an impossibility before a Righteous Judge, for every man is born into sin from our father, Adam.

Jesus clearly set forth in John 3 the terms and conditions for salvation, stating “God so loved the world He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus made the further declaration: “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but, that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes on Him is not condemned; but, he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the Only Begotten Son of God. This is condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:17-19).

Your Savior is your Judge. He Who saves us by His death, declares the believer righteous by His life. His righteous decree and divine order is sealed forever in the Courts of Heaven.

The Savior and Judge will make a mighty declaration in that Day; yes, “the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the Voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. For as the Father has Life in Himself; so, He has given to the Son to have Life in Himself. The Father has given the Son authority to execute Judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Marvel not at this. For the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear His Voice. They shall come forth! They that have done good, unto the Resurrection of Life; and they that have done evil unto the Resurrection of Damnation” (John 5:25-29).

Friend, this is the plain and simple Gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, believe in the only sacrifice for sin God, the Father accepts as an Atonement for sin, the blood of His Only Begotten Son, “the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

One day you will stand before the Judge of all the earth to give an account of your life. Make sure right now that the Judge before Whom you will stand is also your Savior. Peace.

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Beware the Snare, the Net, the Pit

“Beware, beware, beware says the LORD. This is an evil day of evildoers with seducing spirits, with deceptive hands, and deceitful hearts, who try to catch you with their traps, their nets and their pits” (cf. Hosea 5:1-3).

Beware of their traps, their snares: their honey traps and money traps.

Beware their nets: their internets, their dragnets, and networks, spinning webs of deceit.

Beware their covered pits causing many to fall. Pitfalls that cause many a harm to so many a man.

Beware their merchandise promising paradise, and a pair of dice promising merchandise; and round and round it goes.

“For man knows not his time; as fish that are taken in an evil net, and as birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in a evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them” (Ecclesiastes 9:12).

Walk with the LORD, your God, you sons and daughters of The Most High.

“Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence” (Psalms 91:3).

Say, “The wicked have laid a snare for me; yet, I erred not from Thy Precepts” (Psalms 119:110).

Yes, say, “Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we are escaped” (Psalms 124:7).

Oh, LORD, “Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity” (Psalms 141:9).

The Psalmists, the Prophets, the Apostles have spoken. Let us keep ourselves in the love of God. Let us walk in His ways. Let us keep to the straight paths. We must all put on the armor of God. The LORD has spoken and He will keep us in all our ways and set us at His own Right Hand.

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The Greatest of These Is Love

THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling symbol.

THOUGH I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

THOUGH I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.

LOVE suffers long, and is kind. Love envies not. Love vaunts not itself; is not puffed up.

LOVE does not behave itself unseemly; seeks not her own; is not easily provoked; thinks no evil.

REJOICES not in iniquity; but rejoices in the truth.

LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

LOVE never fails. Whether there are prophecies, they shall fail; whether there are tongues, they shall cease; whether there is knowledge, it shall vanish away.

WE know in part, and we prophesy in part.

WHEN that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

WHEN I was a child, I spoke as a child; I understood as a child; thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

NOW we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

NOW abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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Saint Paul the Apostle’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, KJV

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