Continue live a godly life in faith to please The LORD!

Scripture:
Therefore, brothers, just as you learned from us how you had to live in order to please God, and just as you are living this way now, we ask you — indeed, united with the Lord Yeshua, we urge you — to keep doing so more and more. – 1 Thessalonians 4:1

Observation:
Paul continued in his letter to Thessalonica to point out things that related to their personal interactions. He instructed them to keep on living as he had taught them earlier, and he encouraged them to continue doing so more and more. His point was that their lives should always be oriented and conducted so as to please The LORD.

Application:
If you are a serious student of Scripture, then you should be fairly well acquainted with this teaching as well as most of the others, if not all, by Paul, John, Peter, James, Jude, Luke, and most importantly Messiah! If you are a casual student of Scripture, then you had best take heed of Paul’s admonishment given to us here. He had taught this congregation to live a life pleasing unto The LORD, and this can only be done by faith. For it is impossible to please him without faith, (Heb. 11:6).

Learn to read the Bible much and often, for it contains all of the necessary instruction to live the life Jehovah designed. Once you’ve read it, then practice it by doing what it says. Then once you’ve done it, continue to do so just as Paul spoke here. Consistency in application is the key to success in living a life well pleasing to The LORD. You will err from time-to-time, but the thing is to never quit trying and applying.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for your word today. It was a short and sweet message about fighting the good fight and pressing on to win the race. This life is not about accumulating things or receiving accolades, but it is about living daily in the manner that you prescribe. Help me to continue pressing forward, putting the past behind, not worrying about the future, and doing what you have given me to do. May your will be done, not mine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Working to please Adonai not man!

Scripture:
For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. – 1 Thessalonians 2:4

Observation:
Paul wrote a short letter to the church in Thessalonica to encourage them and let them know how much he and the others with him missed that church and longed to see them whenever they were able. In his letter, Paul wrote that when he and his company were among them, they spoke the truth of Adonai’s word. They spoke the truth because it was their purpose to please Adonai and not people. Their hearts’ motives were pure and were examined alone by Adonai.

Application:
When we speak to others, are we speaking the truth? What drives us to share with others about The LORD Yeshua HaMashiach? Is it out of love for Him and seeing His kingdom grow? Or, is it out of vain ambition for self-gratification and self-aggrandizement? Elsewhere in the Scriptures, Paul spoke of those who preached Jesus for the sake of the gospel and those that did to try and hem him up, but he didn’t care why they were preaching so long as Yeshua was preached!

We must ensure that when we speak to others about Messiah that it is for the sole purpose of pleasing the Father, Adonai! We must never proclaim his greatness and salvation for personal gain. For when we do so, we will reap the appropriate reward. The Scriptures make it crystal clear that The LORD rewards each person for their works, whether good or evil. The correct response will be meted out. Therefore, let us be about the work of the evangelist and share the good news of salvation in Messiah with both Jew and Gentile. Adonai said that his will is for all people to come to repentance and that Messiah died and rose again for the sins of many.

Messiah told us to pray to The LORD of the harvest to send laborers into the fields white unto harvest. Well guess what; you are one of those laborers! Any of us who are disciples of Messiah are called to such! We have no excuse for not sharing the good news of salvation! Let us do so out of our love and gratitude for the Father saving us from a demon’s hell and giving us eternal life in Messiah! What say you?

Prayer:
Father, thank you for being so gracious and merciful that you saved me from eternal death and separation from you! You spared me from a demon’s hell because another disciple of Messiah was humble, obedient, and willing to share the good news of salvation with me. Thank you for sending your Spirit to court me and woo me to you through Messiah. Now, LORD, help me to do likewise and continue to share and spread the good news of salvation with the lost and spiritually dying of this world. The time draws near when the end shall come. You said that you would not contend with man forever. As it is your will that all would come to repentance, they cannot do so unless they hear the truth of the word from someone who knows it and is sent to share it. This is why you stated that blessed are those who bring good news! I pray that your will be done, not mine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Do you take your work for Jehovah’s kingdom seriously???

Scripture:
And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work. – 1 Chronicles 28:9-10

Observation:
David neared the end of his life. He assembled all Israel before The LORD and him to present Israel with his successor, Solomon. As he recounted the days of his service to The LORD and Israel, David informed Solomon of the necessity to worship and serve Jehovah with all that he was and to do so with all sincerity, and to take the work of leading The LORD’s people seriously. Finally, he told his son to be strong and to do the work for which Adonai had chosen him.

Application:
Among all the advice and instruction David gave to Solomon in that discourse, the part that leapt off the page at me today and knocked on top of my head was the command, So take this seriously. These words remind me to re-evaluate the purpose of my being and the purpose of my mission. What am I here on the earth to do during my short stay? Am I doing what The LORD chose me to do? Am I serious about completing the mission, or is this a game to me?

These may seem like trite and trivial questions to some, but to me, they strike at the very heart of who I am, what I am, and what I am doing (supposed to be doing) in this life. The LORD called all humanity to repentance and salvation, but not all respond. Of those wooed by his Spirit, many heed the call and come to salvation, but they resist his Lordship! Of those that heed the call and submit to The LORD, they are the ones he can use to work in his kingdom and fulfill the promises he spoke through the ancient prophets and apostles. Those in the latter group are the ones who take their work and relationship with The LORD seriously, remain strong by grace from Jesus, are equipped by the Holy Spirit, and DO THE WORK to which they were called.

I am at a junction in life where taking inventory of me and the path I am on is required. 48 years have passed for me on this earth as of this year, and many of the tasks set before me remain unfinished. Today, The LORD speaks to me directly from his written word via illumination from his Spirit and informs me it is high time to re-evaluate my sincerity in total pursuit of Him, his kingdom, and his righteousness. This life is not you or me, but it is about HIM! I do worship The LORD, but am I doing so with wholeheartedly and with a willing mind? Thus, I am beginning to seek him anew in order to find him more deeply and more intimately.

As Solomon was chosen to build the Temple, I was chosen as a watchman on the wall to proclaim and declare the TRUTH of Holy Scripture in order that the lost may come to Messiah and be found! I was chosen to proclaim and declare to the saved the TRUTH of Holy Scripture that will equip them to do every good work for the kingdom’s and gospel’s sake!

What are you called to do? Are you doing it? Are you doing it with all that is in you? Do you take it seriously? Join me in seeking the Father and his grace that we may finish the race set before us! Upward and onward!

Prayer:
Father, LORD of heaven most high, you are to be praised and worshipped above all! Your name is great in the earth as it is in the heavens! I bow before you in humility and admit that I have not done all that you have asked of me. I have at times not taking the mission seriously as I should have. There has been much slack at time with periods of “activity” mixed therein, yet the mission remains unfinished. I know that the entire mission will not be completed until Messiah returns and stands on Mt. Olivet and assumes his rightful place atop the throne of David in Zion! Until that time, though, I have worked to which you assigned me that must be done. Equip me, strengthen me, and guide me to the finish. I will take my mission seriously and do the work with all due diligence! Your will is to be done, not mine, and to that point I submit myself to you and your Lordship! Forgive me and correct me as needed. Teach me and guide me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jehovah Still Shows Grace, Compassion, and Care for Israel.

Scripture:
But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. – 2 Kings 13:23

Observation:
As Elisha neared death, Aram continued to oppress Israel and reduced Israel’s army to almost nothing to prevent them from retaliating. The king went to the prophet for advice, who told him to take arrows and beat the ground. The king beat the ground thrice with the arrows, so the prophet told him that he’d defeat Aram only three times instead of complete victory had he done it more that thrice. Elisha died, and Hazael, king of Aram, never relented from oppressing Israel all through the king’s reign; however, the LORD loved and cared for his people and gave Israel victory over Hazael’s son, Ben-Hadad, thrice as prophesied.

Application:
We see to this day that the enemies of Israel want her dead and gone. The Iranians are renown for their statements of hatred toward Israel in that they want to annihilate Israel and push her into the sea until she is no more. The problem for Israel’s enemies is that the LORD promised on oath to give the land of Canaan to the patriarchs and their descendants forever. Because the LORD is faithful and never retreats from his promises, he has, is, and will continue to uphold, defend, and have compassion for the chosen people of Israel. He didn’t allow ancient Israel’s enemies from destroying her, and he is not about to let her modern enemies do so either. Sure, there will be death and loss across Israel as was foretold by the ancient prophets, but the LORD always has a remnant for which he returns, those who truly love him! Keep an eye on the Middle East and watch Israel defeat her enemies as the mighty hand of the LORD provides for them. He is loving, gracious, compassionate, and concerned for Israel.

The beauty of the situation is that the LORD is both God of the Jew and the Gentile, and he has and is calling sheep not of the fold of Israel into the flock. Jesus prophesied such and continues to fulfill this mission, for salvation comes first to the Jew and then the Gentile. Fortunately, Jesus tore down the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile and created one new mankind in him through his sacrifice and resurrection. Because we know that the LORD is faithful to Israel and is the same forever, we can be reassured that he is loving, gracious, compassionate, and concerned for us as well. He is Creator and wants all mankind to come to repentance and be a part of his royal family. Oh taste and see that the LORD is good! Once you do, you’ll never want to go back to the evil ways of sin. Trust in the LORD and serve him faithfully.

Prayer:
Father, may your name rise above all others and be glorified more than all! You are the righteous King who sits in heaven with earth as your footstool. You rule and reign in the affairs of men whether they like it or not. When I read this passage today, I could feel your love for Samaria and Israel despite their continual rejection of you under the various kings who caused them to sin against you through idolatry and other violations of your Law and word. Nevertheless, your love for them, as promised to the patriarchs, was evident them and is still so today. As we reflect back upon the 6-day War of 1967, we see that your mighty hand provided victory over six of Israel’s enemies as they fought them on all fronts from all sides! You demonstrated not only your love and care for them but also showed the world that you are still supreme! May your will be carried out in the world to its completion. Thank you for loving me and caring for me as much as you do for your chosen people of Israel. I trust in you for everything. May your will be done in my life too, not mine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Don’t Get Excited Just Because a Prayer Isn’t Answered Immediately; Praise God If It Is!

Scripture:
He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over. – 2 Kings 2:14

Observation:
Elisha followed the prophet Elijah from town to town, all the way across the Jordan River. Along the way, Elijah kept telling Elisha to stay at each town to which they came, but the younger refused to leave the elder. At each town, a group of prophets approached Elisha and asked him if he knew that the LORD would take Elijah away from him, to which he replied in the affirmative. Finally, when they reached their ultimate destination, the elder asked the younger what he could do for him. Elisha replied that he wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to rest upon him after he was gone. Elijah said that if Elisha witnessed his departure, then his request would happen. Elijah was taken away in a fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses into the heavens. As he sped away, his cloak fell to the ground, and Elisha retrieved it. When Elisha returned to the Jordan River to go back the way he’d come, he struck the water as Elijah had done. He then asked where the LORD was in anticipation of seeing the water part a second time, so he could cross over on dry ground as before. He watched the river part, and he crossed on dry ground.

Application:
When I read this passage, I hear the prophet questioning where the LORD is, but it’s not really a doubt or lack of faith. Elisha had witnessed his mentor do some radical things (miracles) along their journey. Just witnessing the very departure of Elijah would have been a terrific moment! Can you imagine travelling with a close companion, who is then carried out of sight into the heavens aboard a fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses?!? I don’t believe for a second that Elisha questioned the presence or the power of his God, Jehovah. He expressed his faith by grabbing the cloak of his mentor, striking the water as his mentor did, and returning home by the way he came. He may for a split second have wondered why the water didn’t immediately part, but it did! His faith was reassured and cemented by this miracle. (An interesting note is that Elijah’s last miracle was the same as Elisha’s first!)

I will not lie. There have been times when I have asked where the LORD is. I’ve had my moments where I prayed for something, and it didn’t happen just when and how I thought it should. Such a thing can unnerve some people or at least rock them spiritually a bit. Let me also state that the LORD does and will answer prayer. He may not answer them immediately, as he did for these two prophets of old, but he does nonetheless. For this reason, Jesus the Messiah taught us to pray in this manner, “Ask, and keep on asking. Seek, and keep on seeking. Knock, and keep on knocking. For the one who asks will receive. The one who seeks will find. To the one who knocks, it will be opened.” We can’t give up hope or stop praying. Keep the faith. Continue to P.U.S.H. – Pray Until Something Happens! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t have enough faith simply because there was no immediate answer to prayer. The LORD himself taught us otherwise! Therefore, don’t get all bent out of shape if this happens. Be patient, and remember the words of the LORD to David, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Prayer:
Most gracious, loyal, loving, and righteous Father, may you be praised above all! Your majesty is indescribable! Thank you for building up my faith and encouraging me to continue on even when things don’t go exactly as I expect. You taught us to pray with persistence and to do so boldy before the throne of grace. You moved mightily in the lives of the prophets and apostles, and you still do so today. You are the same forever and don’t change. So why would you not continue to perform them and be the God of miracles? You wouldn’t! Help me to be an encourager to those who struggle with not seeing your hand move in their lives immediately. I used to be one of them; I know. There are those moments when I have an occasional flare-up, but you relieve the situation sooner or later. I have nothing to fear, and there is no reason for me to doubt your faithfulness. You told Moses that you are the faithful God. You’re true to your word, which never comes back void or not having accomplished its mission. Thus, I put my whole trust in you, the waymaker! May your will be done, not mine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Scripture:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. – Philippians 2:3-4

Observation:
In his letter to the Philippian congregation, Paul noted many things for which he was grateful concerning them and their generosity toward him and to others in general. He admonished them to pursue serving others and keeping themselves pure and blameless before others. In this way, they would remain above reproach. Among his warnings, he advised them to do nothing out of selfishness or conceit. Instead, they were to remain humble, value others before themselves, and to put the interests of others above theirs.

Application:
This passage, and letter, is a huge indictment against the American church in this day and age. In the land of the free and home of the brave, there has been and still is a land of plenty, flowing with milk and honey! Because of this wealth and freedom, the people of this nation, despite their generosity to others, have allowed pride and vanity to take hold like a tick on a dog’s ear. Even people in the body of Messiah have succumbed to the ways of the post-modern world in which we live.

Christians are beginning to forsake the very foundations of the Scriptures in pursuit of personal pleasures and world gain. We now allow homosexuals in our pastorates and positions of authority. Homosexual marriages are condoned in various denominations in the name of love and grace, to wit they are an abomination. Divorce rates among Christians are at rates paralleling those in the world. The world has embraced the philosophy of open arms to all and anything goes!

Whereas Paul advises us to put the interests of others before ours, it not to say that we cower to the pressure destroying our culture and way of life. Jesus taught the golden rule of treating others the way you want them to treat you. This is how you go about putting others’ interest above yours. If we merely step aside and allow evil to become good and good become evil, we are complicit in the destruction that engulfs our lives. No, we must learn to serve our fellow man for the sake of the gospel by spreading the good news of Jesus the Messiah and the truth of his Word. We work to please the Father, and LORD of our Messiah, not mankind or ourselves. While at the same time, we must ever remain on guard and be ready to defend our faith and give an explanation of why we believe what we believe. Even Nehemiah had his workmen building the walls of Jerusalem with one hand and a sword in the other.

Jesus the Messiah served those around him in everything from turning water into wine to healing the sick and raising the dead! He even went so far as to allow himself to be arrested, tried, convicted, and executed but finally resurrected in order that he may fully display the heart of a servant and the work required of one who serves others to the ultimate end without ever compromising who he was or what he believed!

This is the life that Paul tells the Philippians and us to emulate. Prefer others and do nothing to promote yourself. It’s not about us but all about him! We accomplish this feat by loving the LORD our God with all our being and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Therefore, keep yourself balanced with periodic checkups from the neck up! Be willing to lend a hand and help others but without compromising your faith or giving into temptation! Stand true to Messiah, others, and yourself. Let your word be your bond. Remember that we are in this world but not of this world!

Prayer:
Father, LORD God Almighty, he who sits between and is enthroned between the cherubim, thank you for the truth of your word. Your Spirit brings its truths alive in me and helps me to learn the right path to follow. I’ve not always been the most humble servant or obedient child, but I am still learning and practicing the ways you prescribe for us in your word. I take your word with great care and utmost sincerity. Please continue to show me the way to remain humble and all the while continuing to serve others in whatever capacity you want. I don’t want to be like the world that says one thing and then does another. I want to be a man of my word and keep my integrity intact. May only your will be done, not mine. As you lead, I’ll follow. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me past, present, and future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Take all commands from the LORD; do nothing without his direction!

Scripture:
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. – 1 Kings 18:36

Observation:
Three-plus years earlier in the narrative, Elijah prayed and the skies dried up over northern Israel. The drought led to nationwide death and famine. It also put a price on the head of the LORD’s prophet! Near the end of this famine, the LORD told Elijah to present himself to Ahab and announce that the rains would return according to the word of the LORD. He encountered Obadiah, a faithful follower of the LORD, and told him to have Ahab gather all the prophets of baal and asherah, so the LORD would prove himself supreme before the people of Samaria. The story unfolded with two sacrifices presented to each deity, one to baal and one to the LORD. The only sacrifice consumed was Elijah’s, which had been doused with gallons of water and still burned up including the water that overflowed around it! Elijah, however, asked the LORD to show the people that he had done all this only at the LORD’s command.

Application:
The first thing we need to examine in Elijah’s prayer that day are the words, let it be known today that you are God in Israel. These words define the whole of Elijah’s actions that day in challenging the prophets of false gods to prove whose deity actually was supreme! Without setting this base, there was no point in going further. There would have been no purpose for a wanted man to come forth publicly and expose himself to arrest, trial, and execution. Then the prophet asked that the LORD demonstrate his supremacy in order to show the pagans that he was indeed a servant of the Most High and did this according to the LORD’s command only and not of himself. He’d have to have been mad to attempt this in his own power.

The moral of the story is that we need to ensure that if we are embarking something that it is ordered and commanded of the LORD. We risk incurring the consequences of actions that we employ that have not been directed of the LORD. Could you imagine what might have happened to Elijah had he just gone off on his own and challenged all of Israel? Think back to Abraham and Isaac when they lied to foreign potentates about their wives being their sisters! They suffered for that. Think of Joshua when he made a treaty with the Gibeonites when God said to not do so and to wipe out the people of Canaan! Israel still pays the price for that disobedience to this day!! If the LORD says move, then move! If he says park it for a while, then stay put! Be led of the Holy Spirit; don’t try to lead him!

Prayer:
Father, most wonderful and glorious One, you alone are worthy of glory, honor, and praise. To you alone be all these things, you who doesn’t share his glory with another! Thank you for loving me and not giving up on me! Thank you for leading me and showing when to turn left, right, and to stay down the center. Thank you for showing me when to move and when to stay put! Many times in the past I’ve launched out on my own only to fall on my face and embarrass both your name and mine! I want to take all direction from your Spirit and be sure that all endeavors taken are ordered and ordained by you! Your will be done, not mine! In Jesus’ name, Amen.