Archive | December, 2019

The Serpent And Your Feet

17 Dec

The Serpent and Your Feet…

One of the earliest prophecies of redemption occurs in Genesis 3. The Lord says to the serpent: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between her seed and your seed, and he shall crush your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The words have several fulfillments, from the natural relation of snakes and people, to the enemy’s war with Jesus. But it also applies to you as one of Jesus’s people. The enemy will seek to strike your feet.

In other words, the lowest part of your life, the part that is most connected to the earthly things. That’s where you’re most vulnerable – in those areas of sin and of the flesh. But any wise person who walks among snakes takes precaution to cover their feet, to put on boots.

So be wise, address those parts of your life that are vulnerable to the enemy’s bite; your weaknesses, and your inconsistencies. Cover them up with the righteousness of God. For if the enemy cannot strike at your feet – there’s nowhere else he can. But in Jesus, you still have the power to crush His head.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:20

Today, take time to cover those parts in your life that are vulnerable, fill in that gap, and strengthen that weakness.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Great End-Time Holy Day Redemption

16 Dec

The Great End-Time Holy Day Redemption…

The sacred Hebrew year is a prophetic picture of the age. It ends in autumn with the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and The Feast of Tabernacles – all linked to the end of the age.

The autumn is the time when the fig tree puts forth its full harvest of figs. The autumn is also the time the olive tree brings forth its olives. The Fig Tree is a symbol of Israel. The Olive Tree, in Romans 11, is a symbol of the Church.

So what do we see? In the Hebrew year, the time of the fig tree’s blossoming and that of the olive tree, overlap and are joined. What does it reveal? The blossoming of the church is linked to the blossoming of Israel.

In other words, the purposes of the church can never come to fruition without Israel and the return of the Jewish people – nor can Israel find its fulfillment without the church.

So pray for the redemption of the Jewish people, and bless the nation of Israel. For when they come in, so too will come the redemption.

He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name. Psalm 111:9

Take time to pray for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people – for their survival, their blessing, and their redemption.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Power Of Our Words

14 Dec

The Power Of Our Words…

Grandfather always said be careful with what you speak because words can be very powerful to gladen the heart and to hurt. The real problem is they can never be taken back…

Our words are very powerful. Apart from the redeeming work of Christ we will only do harm with our words. We need wisdom from above to use our words wisely. Our words also reveal the state of our hearts.

Time and again the Scriptures address the tongue. Did you know that James devotes an entire chapter to controlling the tongue? When we consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:34 we see why the tongue is given such extensive treatment. How we handle the tongue is a great indicator of our hearts before God.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Matthew 12:34

Our words give us away. In James chapter 3 we see that the tongue has power; that it is by nature hypocritical; and that it can only be transformed from above.

Most people want to be heard. What better way to be heard as a believer than to be a teacher of the gospel? Yet, James urges us to consider the power of the tongue. We must not be hasty in propelling ourselves into a position where the tongue is constantly used. It is powerful and as such will incur a “stricter judgment.”

Control the tongue, control the man or as Grandfather would say, engage your brain before you engage your mouth.

James argues from greater to lesser in verse 2. If one can control their tongue then they will be able to control the rest of the body as well.

As illustrated by the horse (verse 3).

As illustrated by ships (verse 4).

Big things come from the tiny tongue.

As illustrated by a wildfire (verse 5).

Words can build or destroy so use them wisely.

Better than anything else the tongue displays the state of our hearts.

Humanity alone cannot control the tongue. If James left us here this would be a miserable message: the tongue is a deadly poison that no man can stop.

Thankfully, we aren’t left to ourselves.

The powerful tongue can be used for great good or great evil. Apart from redemption it will only tear down and destroy. Perhaps better than anything else the tongue reveals the “already” but “not yet” of Christian sanctification.

The tongue can worship or curse (verse 9-10a).

This hypocrisy should not be the case (verse 10b-12).

James is not saying that they are unbelievers because of their hypocrisy. Note that he says “my brothers”.

What he is saying that such duplicity is inconsistent with a life redeemed by Christ.

Believers ought to be growing more consistent in their speech.

We must know the source of the tongue’s redemption: Redeemed speech only comes from godly wisdom being imparted to us. Worldly wisdom will lead to a tongue infused with bitterness that will show itself through bragging and a denial of truth. Godly wisdom will lead to pure and peaceable speech.

Worldly wisdom is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic:

Shows itself in bitter envy and selfish ambition that is accompanied by bragging and a denial of the truth (v14).

It leads to “disorder and every kind of evil”.

This type of wisdom and speech is our default position.

Godly wisdom comes from above.

Characterized by all that is pure and peaceful.

It leads to peace.

This type of wisdom only comes from God’s redeeming grace. The type of wisdom and speech that governs our life displays the work of God in our hearts. Where our speech and wisdom is worldly we see that the earthly, unspiritual, and demonic is the governing authority. Where our speech and wisdom is characterized by purity and peace we see that something “from above” has taken root and is spreading through our lives.

Grandfather was correct, our speech and the type of wisdom that governs our lives displays the state of our heart.

What does your tongue reveal about your heart? Are you increasingly maturing in your speech? Or do you find your tongue a “restless evil” that you cannot control? Grandfather’s solution was to control your tongue.

James has taught us that apart from Christ, such an exhortation is impossible. Redeemed speech and wisdom only come from the work of the Redeemer. Let us cast ourselves on the mercy of our Redeemer and pray that He will continue His work of overthrowing the demonic words that occasionally flow from our mouths.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Never Ending Banquet

13 Dec

The Never Ending Banquet…

There’s an old Twilight Zone episode where a criminal dies and wakes up in a mansion, the paradise of a lifetime. A man in a white suit appears to grant him his every wish. Whatever the criminal wishes, he gets: money, women, comfort, success, luxury.

But finally, it begins to drive him crazy. He turns to the man in the white suit and says, in effect, “I can’t take it anymore. Please, let me go to the other place” He’s asking to go to hell. The man in the white suit replies, “But this is the other place.”

There’s a biblical truth here: A life of joy and contentment is never dependent on what you have around you – but what you have inside. It’s not your life that will make a joyful heart – it’s your heart that will make a joyful life. It’s never about getting what you desire, it’s about changing your desires to the will of God.

Proverbs 15 says that a heart of righteousness produces a never ending banquet. Surrender your life and desires to the will of God, and your life will become heavenly, even now.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Surrender your desires to God and allow Him to change them to His perfect will.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

On Suffering

12 Dec

On Suffering…

Grandfather says we often think of suffering as something that happens to us apart from God’s rescue plan. Nothing could be furthur from the truth and James 1:1-4 helps us see that it is part of God’s redemption. The pressure that we experience from various trials actually produces in us growth into Christ-likeness. Through a joyful trust in God we are able to overcome our trials.

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 1-4

In 1967 Joni Eareckson Tada dove into the Chesapeake Bay. Having misjudged the depth of the water Tada emerged forever changed. She would from this point forward be a quadriplegic, living her entire life in a wheelchair. Tada has written extensively of her experiences. She has been an inspiration to everyone. She is a living picture of our text in James 1:1-4. She models joy in the midst of suffering. Furthermore, she shows that God often has a good purpose in our suffering. On one occasion Joni even discussed having her wheelchair in heaven.

Where does that type of joy come from? Ultimately, we know the answer to that question is that such joy can only come from God. James helps our answer to that question become more specific.

Notice that James 1:2 does not say, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, if you experience various trials”. No, it says, “…when you experience various trials”.

Suffering is part and parcel of the Christian life.

This truth prepares us for all types of suffering.

God is sovereign over all the “various trials”

By telling us that we will suffer the Lord is giving us grace. It keeps us from going into shock and asking foolish questions when suffering comes upon us. When we know that suffering is part of God’s plan we will be better prepared to trust His sovereign goodness. We are reminded that God knows that we are going to suffer, but He also knows that our suffering has a purpose.

Verses 3-4 give us the reason why we should be joyful in the midst of trials.

The furnace of suffering reveals our approval before God

In verse 2 James refers to our suffering as a trial.

In verse 3 he calls it “testing”. The word is one that refers to the act of proving the worth of something.

The furnace of suffering produces endurance

The furnace of suffering results in our greatest joy; namely conformity to Christ.

The fact that “endurance must do its complete work” helps us see that God will finish His work. Believers will endure these trials, for our good and His glory.

Our response to suffering matters Our joy and our cooperation is important as we respond to our suffering

We will all face seasons of suffering, believers and unbelievers. Yet, none of us will experience the full weight of suffering as Jesus experienced it. He experienced suffering so that He could ultimately redeem our suffering. Through Christ suffering can actually become a means to joy.

What is your response to suffering? It reveals something about our hearts. Do we trust in the goodness of God? Is our faith one that is strong enough to endure the furnace of suffering? If you are suffering know in this season that God is inviting you to trust His goodness. If you are not in a season of suffering this is the time to develop a robust theology of suffering. Then don’t be surprised when God calls you to use it.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

House Of Broken Branches

12 Dec

House Of Broken Branches…

From ancient times, God promised He would raise up the fallen tabernacle of David. The word in Hebrew for David’s “tabernacle” is “sukkah.” What is a sukkah? It’s a dwelling specifically made of broken branches.

In Romans 11, the apostle Paul speaks of the Jewish people as branches broken off from the Olive Tree. Thus, the Jewish people who turned away from Jesus, though they are the natural branches, they are, for a time, broken off. But in the end times, God took those broken branches from all over the earth and gathered them back together in Israel. And through their broken lives, He built a tabernacle, the reborn nation of Israel, a sukkah made for His return.

The Lord loves to build with broken things, to recycle, to restore, and to redeem – not just sukkahs, and not just nations, but lives. The same God of Israel, the God of broken branches, is the one who will take all the broken things of your life and use them all to build something beautiful – if you let Him.

Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. Hosea 6:1

Lift up to the Lord anything in your life or in those around you that is broken. Seek the restoration, healing, and redemption of the broken branches.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Fresh Way

11 Dec

The Fresh Way….

In Hebrews 10:19-20, it’s written – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Yeshua, Jesus, by a new and living Way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is – His flesh.

In the original language the word for “new” in a new and living way is fascinating – prosphatos. It literally means “newly killed” or “freshly slain.” When these words were penned, Jesus’s death was already decades in the past – yet His work is called “freshly slain.”

It is now 2000 years later, and we still read “freshly slain.” What is the way that gives you access to enter God’s presence? The freshly slain way. If you want to truly enter God’s presence and receive His true blessings, then you must see your salvation as freshly slain – in other words – as though the Lord died and rose for you and washed your sins away just the other day, or even this morning.

Live in the newness, the freshness, the wonder, and the joy of a freshly slain salvation – and you will boldly enter and dwell in the most holy of places.
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14

Today, live as if Jesus just died for you today – as if you were saved from hell, and given the blessings of forgiveness, new life, and heaven today.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

In His Service

10 Dec

In His Service…

One of the Greek words used in the New Testament to speak of a minister of God is the word “doulos.” “Doulos” means “a servant,” “one who is bound,” “one in submission,” “one in subjection.”

Most believers want to minister for God and fulfill their callings. But how? The word doulos reveals one of the most important truths. If you want to be a minister of God, you have to do so as a doulos. In other words, you have to be a servant – you have to be a doulos, one who is bound, one who is in submission, one who is subject.

It means you have to live in submission to His will. It means you have to choose His will over yours, put aside your wants for His desire, your plan for His purpose. It’s when what you want and what God wants are not the same thing – that you prove yourself as His doulos, His servant.

If you love the Lord, then submit your life to Him. And that is the one the Lord will use mightily as His minister, the one who is truly His doulos.

Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will. Psalm 103:21

What’s in your life that you may want, but isn’t God’s will? Give it to Him today. Submit to the Lord’s will and be His doulos.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Prophetic Generation

9 Dec

The Prophetic Generation…

The University I attended, as most secular colleges tended to be, was hostile to the faith and was very spiritually dark. Many professors and students despised the Gospel. I would never go there without taking along a pocket Bible.

I can remember standing in the hallway, taking out the Bible, and opening it up to the Word. And it was like standing in the darkness and opening up a book filled with rays of light.

As we watch world culture becomes increasingly hostile to our faith and to the ways of God, should we fear? No. Because the darker it gets around us, the more brightly and powerfully in the darkness we can shine.

The key is, don’t hold back the light, but shine. Just as my Bible never seemed as powerful as when I opened it up in a largely hostile environment, and just as a candle never appears as bright as when shining in the darkness – so if you will stand strong, you too, in the end times, will shine like the stars.

Don’t give in to the darkness today. Don’t go along with it. Don’t accept it. But commit to being a light to shine into it.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

Neos vs Kaheenos

6 Dec

Neos vs Kaheenos…

There are two words for “New” in the New Testament Greek. The first is “Neos,” which means new in the sense of order, as in an event which comes after another. But “Neos’ is not the word used for the “New” Covenant.

That’s a good thing – because if neos was the word used, then the New Covenant would only be new because it came after the Old Covenant – and then, after a while, after a few centuries, it wouldn’t be so new anymore.

But the word used for the “New Covenant” is the Greek word “Kaheenos” which means “new or fresh by nature.” In other words, it’s not the New Covenant because it comes after the Old Covenant – it’s the New Covenant because its nature is newness – it’s the Covenant of Newness.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been in it for one day, ten years, or fifty years – it never gets old, thus you never have to get old in spirit either. Just keep going deeper in it – and you’ll always be new, just as the New Covenant is always Kaheenos – always fresh – always new.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Roman’s 6:4

Today, get renewed in the newness of His Word, of His love, and of His joy. Get new again in the Covenant that is always new.

Walk daily with God at side!

Love always,

Ed