Persistent Unfaithfulness

What an unpopular subject! Warning a nation that has run amok:

Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.” ~ Ezekiel 14:6b NKJV
“The word of the Lord came again to me, saying: “Son of Man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it…” ~ Ezekiel 14:12-13 NKJV
“And I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I set My face against them. Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,” says the Lord God. ~ Ezekiel 15:7-8 NKJV

No matter how much God loved His people, Israel, He eventually had to turn them over to their own depraved lusts and rebellious minds.

What about America?  Does any of this apply to our nation?  Despite what is currently taught in our public schools and universities, I believe our nation was founded on the same Biblical laws set down by Almighty God for His covenant people, the Israelites.  As long as our people held God in esteem as a nation, I believe we were blessed with God’s favor on many fronts; plentiful natural resources, educational and technological advancements, wars won, and a per capita quality of life that leads the world.  Our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee individual freedoms (including religious freedoms) that are second to none.  Many nations around the globe have copied our national model.

So why, after this much blessing, does our nation turn its back on God?  Just look at the ancient history of Israel for the answer.  It is all there in the Old Testament.  Israel turned away from God to worship idols and practiced abominable acts such as child sacrifice to those idols.  Legalized abortion in the United States is just as abominable or more so in the sight of God.  Our abortion laws have caused more loss of life than Israel’s child sacrifice to the idol Molech in ancient times – over 60 million since 1973 Roe vs. Wade, according to U.S. Abortion Clock.org.

Don’t be deceived.  God doesn’t change.  He pleads with His children to repent and turn back to Him before it is too late.  Now is the time to repent as a nation and humbly seek forgiveness.  This requires a change of heart at the leadership level.  Yes, God punishes the people of a rebellious nation by the actions of its leaders.

Take 1 Chronicles, Chapter 21 for example: King David decided to take a census of all of his subjects (actually, just the men).  This angered the LORD, who gave David three choices of punishments.  David chose what he must have thought was the lesser, of three days of death across the land.  God sent a plague that killed 70,000 Israelites.  God showed mercy and stopped His angel of death just prior to wiping out the City of Jerusalem in order to give David a chance to repent.

How many chances has He given us?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Otherwise, according to Wisdom in Proverbs 1:27b-30:

“When distress and anguish come upon you, then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD, They would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.” ~ NKJV

Invisible Army

Perry Stone claims that an invisible army greatly influenced the election of Mr. Trump as President of the United States in 2016.  Just who is this army?

2bNow teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 3Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. ~ Apostle Paul in 2Timothy, 2:2b-3 NLT

Christ’s Invisible Army should be visible, but in America, it is difficult to recognize these days.  What would it look like if we could see it?  I suppose the army would consist of good soldiers.

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Hmmmm … is there a teaching somewhere in God’s Word about this?

Well, Paul goes on to say:

4Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer (Jesus) who enlisted them. 5And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand these things. ~ 2Timothy 2:4-7 NLT (italics added)

Have soldiers in Christ’s Invisible Army used verse 4 as an excuse to let this nation decline into immorality and godless shame?   Good Christian soldiers are not ashamed to pray for America, or even to possibly:

15Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17This kind of talk spreads like cancer. ~2Timothy 2:15-17 NLT

So Christ’s Army should not look like an apostate church.  It would not spew forth wicked argumentative speech (like reality TV); or believe that “anything goes” or that “all forms of religion lead to God” (New Age).

1You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2For 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. 3They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! ~2Timothy 3:1-5 NLT

One would hope so!

 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24A servant (soldier) of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. ~2Timothy 2:23-26 NLT (italics added)

We have religious freedom in this nation (so far) and do not suffer persecution for our faith as do our brethren in other parts of the world.  Yet I hear that more believers in America are afraid to share the Good News than those across the seas who are losing their heads for not denouncing their faith in Jesus.  Believers in the United States need to become Christ’s Visible Army.  That means:

10Willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen. 11This is a trustworthy saying:

If we die with Him, we will also live with Him. 12If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us. 13If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is. ~2Timothy 2:10-13 NLT

Who are we, Church?  Are we visible or invisible?

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Divine Wilderness

A wild, empty, or remote area (wilderness) is what most people rarely frequent.  Wilderness is mostly inhabited by untamed animals that thrive in a mysteriously desolate, yet awesomely beautiful place.  It is a place without highways; crisscrossed randomly by well-trodden game trails.  When I meet with my Heavenly Father in such a place it morphs into a Divine Wilderness.

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Ramon Crater at Negev Desert, Israel

I must come alone.  But I will not be lonely, as the Holy Spirit will be there with me.  In fact, He is my guide – just as Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to pray.

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, ~ Luke 4:1 KJV

Jesus was always our perfect example in every aspect of His life in the flesh:

  • He always retreated from others when He prayed.
  • He sought isolated places to be alone in prayer with His Father; often ending up in the wilderness just like Abraham, Moses, and John the Baptist.
  • Multitudes followed Jesus into the wilderness and He spoke The Word to them.  He fed them out there – bread and fish (about 5,000 men plus women and children).
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.      ~ John 6:33-35 KJV

Since I am a night owl, my wilderness is located somewhere in the far distant gloom of night.  It’s sometime between midnight and four a.m.  Others speak of morning devotions and I have never been successful finding time with God in the morning (I’m talking crack-of-dawn morning).  But while others sleep, I become unfettered to the cares of this world.  I am free to be alone with my Father with no interruptions.  Mind you, I am not saying that I have made every appointment – far from it!

But that is my weakness, not His.  He awaits in perfect faithfulness to me while I am wasting all that Divine Wilderness on nothingness.

“Father, forgive me for not making our time together the highest priority each night.  I am often absent when I should be searching Your Word nightly in the Divine Wilderness of Your love.  Thank You for patience toward me, and for giving me another chance to work on this, as I need Your Wisdom and Presence to recharge my soul every night so that I can shine for You every day.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.”

No matter what time of day or night, are you spending time alone with your Father in His Divine Wilderness?  If not, will you join with me in re-dedication to daily devotions?

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Pray for Ourselves

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Do we forget to pray for ourselves?  Most believers have a prayer list that includes the lost, the sick, the dying, the hungry, the poor and needy; but where do we ourselves fit into that list?

Shockingly, when I thought about this recently, I realized that I have not prayed for myself in some time.  I do not mean praying for forgiveness of sin, or coming to God in prayer with a repentant heart.  No, I mean, I forget to pray for my own needs on a regular basis.

So what?  Here is the thing: my relationship with my Heavenly Father suffers.  He wants to do many good things for me, but first I must ask.

A very strange thing happened about four months ago.  I was in a church service on the birth date of a family member and responded to the altar call at the end of the service.  I went forward for prayer that God would bless me and that God would open doors causing astonishing things to happen in my life.

Within a few short months that same relative was diagnosed with cancer and asked me to visit during the cancer treatments to lend support.  I did go; and we have basically been supportive of each other ever since; but I did not make the connection at all that this may be God’s answer to my altar call prayer.  Probably because it was a door that I least expected that God would open.  Only recently did I connect the dots to the birth date of my relative being the same date that I went forward to pray for myself in church.  So the take away for me is that when I pray mostly for others and not for myself, I am very far from knowing God’s plan for my life or His calling upon me.

Praying for myself will draw me nearer to God – not praying for others (although I believe that intercessory prayer is truly His calling upon me).  I cannot be led by the Holy Spirit to know God’s will for me unless I draw closer to Him in this manner.

Frankly, I am astonished at the rapid changes in my life in just the past four months – and all I did was pray for myself.  If we ask God to open doors of His choosing, it’s a pretty good bet that He will give us a very important job.

For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” ~ Acts 13: 47 NIV

Ultimately, if we answer His calling, and walk through the open doors of His choosing, each of us really needs prayer to be equipped to perform God’s will.  So let’s not forget to pray for ourselves.  Amen brethren?

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The Crying Days

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Everyone has them, and most of us just want them to end.  For me, that is not happening; so I am left with a journey I call “living through the crying days”.  At least I am not traveling this road alone.  Jesus fights my battles for me when I think to ask Him, and the Holy Spirit consoles me as the tears flow.

Whether illness, grief, loneliness, or unwelcome burdens – sometimes one can only cry.  Our Heavenly Father knew this, of course, before He even created the cosmos.  He lovingly created tears for all broken-hearted souls.  The ancients collected tears in bottles as highly prized keepsakes.

Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle, are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know, for Elohim (Supreme God) is for me. In Elohim will I praise his word: in Yahweh (Self-Existent; Eternal; Jehovah) will I praise his word. In Elohim have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O Elohim: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before Elohim in the light of the living? ~ Psalms 56:8-13 RSB  (Parentheses added)

The act of crying has a bad rep in many circles.  “What good does it do?”  “Just buck up and take it on the chin!”  “Crying doesn’t solve anything!”  But God’s Word is clear:

The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah in 713 B.C. that Hezekiah would soon die.  Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed for mercy:

And Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of Yahweh to Isaiah, saying, “Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith Yahweh, the Elohim of David, thy father, I have heard thy prayer, and I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.” ~ Isaiah 38:3b-6 RSB

So Almighty God not only added fifteen years to the life of Hezekiah, but He vowed to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of the invading Assyrians and to fight the battle for them.  Wow!  Hezekiah hadn’t even prayed for that!

Our God is SO GOOD!  He promises to one day create a new heaven and a new earth.  There will be no more crying days.

And Elohim shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. ~ Revelation 21:4 RSB

Today there are reported over 900,000 believers martyred every year on this earth.  These are Crying Days, folks.  Don’t hold back on the prayers or tears for our persecuted brethren suffering for their faith in Christ; for our nation in peril; and for those lost and on their way to eternal outer darkness.  These crying days are the last days before Christ returns.  Pray tearfully for the sick, the dying, the poor and the needy.  Remember to love one another as He loves us and in the words of Jesus, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  Few of us are called upon to make that level of sacrifice, but prayer changes things.  Sincere prayer can even change the will of Almighty God, as we have seen in the case of Hezekiah.

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for meeting our every need with your tender Spirit of love and truth; for hearing the prayers of your church; and for noticing tears of the humble being shed during sorrowful days.  We look forward in faith to victory in the Only One Who Fights Our Battles For Us – our Savior and Redeemer, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus The Anointed One.  In His Holy Precious Name Above All Names, Amen.

I pray that you are encouraged by God’s Word as you are living through your own crying days – whatever they may be.  God bless you, and thank you for following importantstuff.live.

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Unity|The Great Mystery

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Skyline of downtown New York, New York, USA

Today much of humanity is praying, hoping, and working for peace and unity.  There are many proposed solutions to global unrest; but unity continues to remain a great mystery to most of our world’s leadership.

Unity comes in many forms and shapes.  It is often tagged with titles including peace, freedom, or social reform – just words.  If anyone could solve the Middle East Crisis, avoid a dreadful WWIII, or somehow conquer pestilence and famine; that person would be worshiped as a god by many.  This will actually happen at the end of days during The Great Tribulation, according to Bible prophecy, but what does God’s Word say about our global divisions now?

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. ~ Ephesians 2:11-13 NIV

Yes, it is God’s miraculous gift to man who is the answer to all forms of unrest and human division – His name is Jesus Christ (Yeshua in the Hebrew), our Messiah:

For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2: 14-22 NIV

I love the fact that Paul makes it clear that we, too, are mortised right into the walls and foundations of God’s temple.  We will never be separated or divided again, as long as Jesus is our Lord.  That is true unity.  No peace treaty; no two state solution; no “barrier, the dividing wall of hostility”.  In Christ’s kingdom, we will have not only one global government but also a global economy that function perfectly in unity; because we will finally have Jesus, our King of Kings to rule with an iron hand against the current chaotic world view of divisive power and greed.

Paul goes on the say in Chapter Three:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles … Surely you have heard … that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation …This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 3: 1-6 NIV

I can’t make this up, people.  God’s Word is infallible and tells us His almighty solution to man’s sin problem without all the complexity of political deception.  The answer is simply Jesus.  Christ is God’s gift to redeem both the Jews and the Gentiles.  What a crying shame that the world is still unbelieving and nation is still against nation when Jesus already settled this over two thousand years ago at the cross!

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~ Ephesians 3: 16-19 NIV

So how does being “rooted and established” in the power of God’s love for us bring about unity?

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. ~ Ephesians 4:1-5

So it is the unity of the Spirit that holds us together like mortar glues together the stone walls of God’s temple building.  Then why do divisions persist with the church?

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. ~ Ephesians 4: 14-16 NIV

If we stop chasing after the world but speak the truth in love, we will grow spiritually and experience God’s gift of unity.  God’s solution to global crisis is Jesus. The love of Jesus makes all people fit together perfectly into God’s plan for reconciliation.  Through faith in Jesus, we become one family and no one is excluded if he or she simply believes that Jesus is the true Son of God who gave Himself up to be crucified for man’s sin.  There is no other Name under heaven whereby we shall be redeemed or have eternal peace.

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Please don’t fall for the talk-talk-talk which produces no unifying solutions to world or national problems.  God has already provided the true solution in His Son, Jesus.

Do you feel lost and alone?  Or perhaps confused over world events and how they relate to you?  Does fear, guilt or shame rule over your life?  Are you tired of “looking for love in all the wrong places”?

If so, ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your life.  The Holy Spirit will enter your heart and live there forever.  He will guide you in all ways of holiness and righteousness in the eyes of God, the Father.  You will once and for all be reconciled to a right relationship to God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

For he says, “In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2 NIV
This is why it is said: “Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”              ~ Ephesians 5:14

Unity does not have to remain the great mystery to you.  Be saved by the grace of God by faith in Jesus.  It is so simple and requires only a sincere act of confession.

If you are a Christ believer, you can have victory over church divisions by growing in grace the way God intended.  His Spirit power lives within you – just tap into it with prayer and daily study of God’s Word.

May your walk with Christ be guided by His Living Spirit and thank you for following Importantstuff.live!

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