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“Our nation right now is receiving its final call to repentance, just prior to a great judgment! I believe America stands at the brink of an economic and social collapse.” David Wilkerson

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  He will judge everyone according to what they have done.” Romans 2:4-6

Bargaining with God

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“Are we but fish, to be caught and killed? Are we but creeping things that have no leader to defend them from their foes? Must we be strung up on their hooks and dragged out in their nets, while they rejoice?  Then they will worship their nets and burn incense before them! “These are the gods who make us rich,” they’ll say. Will you let them get away with this forever? Will they succeed forever in their heartless wars?” Habakkuk 1:14-17 TLB

Habakkuk is telling God that he feels worthless. He feels that they are just fish caught in the net. We are going to be killed and hung out to dry. After that they will worship their nets and you will not receive any glory for what is happening. The nets are their gods who make them rich. Will you let them get away with this forever? Will they succeed forever in their heartless wars? How easy we try to bargain with God. We say, “God, it is not right what you are doing, I have a better way.” Our enemies are going to turn against you. They are not going to recognize You in this process.”

Have you ever done this; I have many times? I find myself telling God that I know how it should be done. I am giving God directions on how He needs to answer my prayers. I have this logical argument. It makes great sense to me, and I sure that it will impress God. He probably never thought of that before. We are constantly coming before God with our arguments, thinking up new ways as to why He ought to do a certain thing a certain way. “Lord if you do things my way, you will get all the glory and the world will know what you have done.” Remember that God sees the future and He knows what is best for us. I have prayed about things that I felt was right and the best for everyone. Then after God answered my prayer it was nothing like I felt it should be, but it was right for everyone. “I stand silently before the Lord, waiting for him to rescue me. For salvation comes from him alone.  Yes, he alone is my Rock, my rescuer, defense and fortress. Why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come?” (Psalm 62:1-2 TLB)

God is in Control

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“How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.” Habakkuk 1:2-3

God is in control. He is the Lord of all nations. He is Lord of those who believe in Him and He is Lord of those who don’t believe in Him. God is Lord of all. God created the world and He is still in control of His world. At times God blesses His people with persecution. He blesses them with opposition. He blesses them with suffering. He blesses them with chastisement. He blesses them by putting them in prison. He blesses them by taking away their lives sometimes. At times we have a difficult time understanding that God would bless us with trouble. We need to remember Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Habakkuk had a problem understanding what God was doing, just like us today. In this book God is telling Habakkuk that He was going to send a great army to destroy their enemy, but in order for this to happen Habakkuk’s people would be destroyed also. What is happening in our world today is terrible and we see people sick and death everywhere. Our hearts are burdened and we pray as Habakkuk, how long God is this to go on. When are you going to answer our prayers? I am like Habakkuk in that I don’t quite understand what God is doing with this virus, but I do know that no matter what happens God is in control.  

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” (Matthew 5:24-25)

We are the Light

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“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

Sunday, I had to run some errands. As I drove down the road, it was strange. All of the church buildings were closed. Even the church we attend was closed. God spoke to me and told me that His church was not closed, because His church has nothing to do with a building. The true church of Jesus Christ will never close. “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16:18) We are the church, God’s chosen people, and we are the light of the world. In this time of trouble, we need more than ever to be that light. We are going through a very dark time in our world and more than ever the world needs our light shining in the darkness.  “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16) Even after we come out of this time of trouble, we need to still be the light of the world; the building is not the light.

“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

The Return of Jesus

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“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

God is leading me to move away from our study on Hebrews for a short time. For a long time, God has been telling me that Jesus is returning soon. With what is happening in our world with this virus, I believe that God is showing us that we need to get right with Jesus, because we don’t have long.

The last days are getting closer. I know that people have been looking for the return of Jesus for over 2000 years. I have no prediction of when Jesus will return, I just know that it must be soon, because our world is falling apart. It is not just our nation, it is the entire world. It is even nature. Nature is even looking for Jesus’ return. The weather has gone crazy and it is not the so-called climate change of earth to blame and there’s nothing that we can do about it. It is all up to God. We think that we are gods and we can take care of everything. It’s the old story of Adam and Eve. They wanted to be like God.

“The hearts of the people are fickle; they are guilty and must be punished. The Lord will break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars.” Hosea 10:2

God will punish sin. Some of the churches of our day are telling people that God will not punish anyone because He loves everyone. Open your eyes and look around, God is love, but He is a just God and someone must pay for our sins and that person is Jesus Christ. In these last days if we don’t look to God for our help and return to Him, we will face the punishment of God.

“And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” Revelation 12:11-12

What are we to do as we live in these last days? Just as this scripture tells us in Revelation, we are to be victorious by the blood of Jesus Christ and our testimony. We are to rejoice that we are covered by His blood. The reason for our world’s problems is that Satan has come down in his anger because he knows that his days are few and he will be completely defeated. We have the victory!

The Book of Hebrews – Superior to Angels

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“And God never said to any of the angels, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.” Hebrews 1:13-14

An amazing truth from God’s word is that the believer has been elevated to a position that is far superior to the angels. At the time of salvation, we were raised and seated with the Lord Jesus in Heaven. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6-7). This is a past tense event. We are raised and seated with Him in Heaven. Our citizenship is in heaven, this is where we are and where we belong. Many of us look to the time when our physical bodies will be reunited, but the reality is that our spirits are united already and we are seated in heaven with Christ Jesus.

Yes, Jesus Christ is superior to angels, but the angels have a job to do in the kingdom of God. Before we move on to chapter 2 in Hebrews, we need to have a short course on angels. Both the Old and the New Testament make clear that angels are creations of God. While they may have distinct privileges and even extraordinary powers, they are by no means divine. Angels reside in the heavenly assembly and are part of the throng worshipping before the throne of God. The Bible indicates that angels are messengers of God and they carry out His purpose. The angels’ function as witnesses of major redemptive-historical events, such as the birth of Christ. They are agents of God’s justice. After the fall, God placed an angel with a flaming sword at the boarder of the garden of Eden to keep Adam and Eve out of the Garden. Angels are very important. In the next few devotions, we are going to dig deeper into angels.

The Book of Hebrews – Jesus the Creator

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“He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.” Hebrews 1:10-12

The angels did not create the earth, for they too are part of creation. Jesus Christ is the Creator, and one day He will do away with the old creation and bring in the new creation. Everything around us changes but Jesus Christ will never change.

This earthly world is the staging area for what is to come; eternity. It is hard to imagine that one day the world as we know it will come to end. It won’t happen by global warming or nuclear holocaust as the media has suggested. It will happen by fire as fulfillment of the scriptures. This world and all material elements of the universe will be dissolved and done away with, melting in the intense heat. What will remain are the things that cannot be burned up.

The reason this earth will one day be destroyed is that it too was corrupted with the fall of mankind. Sin destroyed creation as God intended it to be. What we see has been ruined by the decay of sin. “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:19-22)

Jesus dealt permanently with the issue of sin, forgiving it and conquering it on the cross. And yet we are still waiting to see the physical reconciliation of the earth back to God;  just as we are waiting for our physical bodies to be redeemed. In the same way, creation is waiting expectantly to be restored to its rightful place; a paradise created by Jesus. For this to happen, all traces of sin must be gone, which is why the earth will be destroyed and a new one created in its place.

He Book of Hebrews – Fruit of the Spirit is Joy

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“You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” Romans 1:9

I am writing this on Sunday morning. We are at home because of the coronavirus. There is no church service that we can attend in person, but we just listened to one on television. It was a good message, but being with other people is much better. I have been saying for many years that the church is just a building and we should get out of the building and be the true church. We have our chance to show people what the church is all about. It is about showing people the fruits of the Spirit, especially the joy. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:22-25) As believers the fruit of the Spirit has been deposited in our born-again spirits. The fruits listed are Jesus’ character and His nature. “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect; so, we will not be afraid on the day-of-judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” (1 John 4:17) By living after the Spirit instead of the flesh, these fruits will be evident in our lives. It will overtake us; it will overflow out of us and it will be apparent to everyone around us. We don’t have to wake up moaning about the day ahead, instead we can wake up and look forward to life because Jesus lives inside us. We can then show the world what the Church of Jesus Christ looks like.

The Book of Hebrews – Why the Joy

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“You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” Romans 1:9

The reason He was anointed with joy far above anyone else is because He loved righteousness and hated wickedness. How do we have the joy of the Lord in our lives? We must love righteousness more than we love sin. If you live in sin you may be happy for a season, but happiness and joy are not the same thing. The joy of the Lord is peace and contentment. It is having the joy no matter what is happening in your life.

 Jesus’ love of righteousness compelled Him to destroy sin and lawlessness in one act on the cross. This is where our joy of the Lord comes from. Then he freely offered this righteousness to mankind. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now through Christ we are holy and blameless. “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” (Colossians 1:19-22) Do you have the joy in your life? If not, then all you need to do is accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. “Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” (Romans 4:8)

The Book of Hebrews – The Joy of the Lord

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“You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” Romans 1:9

The thing that I remember most about church as a child was that you had to be serious. Yes, the work of God is serious business, because it depends on where you will spend eternity but can’t we have fun serving the Lord, can’t we have the joy of the Lord. “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” (Isaiah 61:3) When Jesus ascended and entered the heavenly glory, He was anointed for His heavenly ministry with the oil of gladness. “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11) Yes, serving Jesus is a joy not something to always be sad about, but something that we need to shout with joy about. We need to show others this joy and peace that we have in our lives.

 Jesus was anointed with joy. This means he was happy, glad, approachable, caring and let’s face it; Jesus would have been a blast to be around. I feel sure he walked around with a smile continually on His face. He probably hugged and kissed His disciples every morning. I know He made them laugh, feel special and loved. He saw the crowds come to him and had compassion on them. He would stand from morning to night teaching, healing and blessing them. Jesus drew people to Him because He was so full of life.  They had to find out what it was about. He was like no one they had ever seen before. I know that I have the joy of the Lord in my life and it gets better every day.