The Overcomer’s Zeal

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.30.2018” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 65 in our devotional series, God’s Promises are Sure!

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Revelation 3:21).

In the River. On the Bank.

Living an “in the river, on the bank” lifestyle is nauseating to God. In the same way lukewarm water turns most people’s stomach when drunk first thing in the morning, a lack of full commitment nauseates God’s spiritual sensibilities.

God can work with those who hate Him. He came to save those who were hostile toward Him. Jesus, in due season, died for the ungodly. God can work with those who love Him and keep His commandments. These people have been transferred from the kingdom of hatred and darkness to the kingdom of love and light.

However, some people halt between two (spiritual) opinions or lifestyles. They who are comfortable with a form of godliness instead of surrendering all, make it difficult for God to work with them. Pride characterizes their thoughts and deportment. They do just enough to feel connected to Godlike things, but do not go all in.

When You Have No Zeal

For these folks during the Laodicean church era, Jesus provided the following antidote: “Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude]. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.” (Revelation 3:18–20, AMP).

God wanted to give His people faith that worked by love and purified the soul (like fire), the righteousness of Christ, and spiritual eyesight/discernment. Further, He wanted to give them a relationship with Himself. If they would simply heed His entreaties to repent and allow Him into every aspect of their lives, He would dwell in them and feed them the Bread of Life continually.

Empowered

Overcomers are special to God, because it was for this purpose Jesus gave His life. He came to find the lost and save us. Jesus came to show us the right example so we could follow in His footsteps. He came to empower all to live above sin by simply taking hold of His strength and serving Him according to all He commanded.

Those who overcome pride, self, doubt, and sin will soon function in the fullness of their authority. Jesus promised a position in His future throne of glory in the same way He now occupies His position in His Father’s throne. It does not get any better than this!

God is preparing a place for all who will trust Him in all things. We are now a kingdom of royals and priests before God, but then the manifestation will be known. He will give us everlasting vigor, judgment, and authority. We will have crowns and new names written in our foreheads. He will give us final rest. As I said, overcomers are special to God, because it was for this purpose Jesus gave His life. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.




The Overcomer’s Truth

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, January 29, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.29.2018” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 64 in our devotional series, God’s Promises are Sure!

“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” (Revelation 3:9).

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” (Revelation 3:12).

The Truth

Love reigns when truth reigns. Do you see the correlation? The Bible says that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. It also says that God is love. Therefore, when the One who is the epitome of truth and love is reverenced and His words are explored for the purpose of having a living connection with Him, those who do so will experience revival and reformation. Yesterday, we took a brief look at the Philadelphian church era and God’s promise to keep those who obey His command to persevere. Today, we will continue the thought.

Imagine a time when the dry forms of false religion and deception blew through the church and religious persecution held sway. Imagine a time when the Bible was not accessible to common people. Rather only the religious leaders, the ones who deemed themselves the only sanctioned purveyors of truth had access. Imagine the darkness that would overtake society and the church.

Lifeblood

Now imagine a time when stalwart men and women would stand and protest the heavy-handedness. They rejected the unholy hierarchical structure, and lack of love. They refuted the supplanting of truth by those same self-assigned religious leaders.

Imagine them as they experienced the power of the gospel in their own languages. What was it like to search the Scriptures for themselves? Imagine a time when God’s people could experience the Word, which had been under lock and key for so long that every word read and applied now felt like water to a thirsty soul.

Pillars In His Presence

In many ways, this was the experience of the Philadelphian church. Love began to reign, because truth began to reign. They were not without their challenges. However, Jesus promised that if they continued to excel in their love for truth, one another, and commitment to the truth, they would become immovable pillars in God’s presence.

David said: “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10).

Promise of Jesus to Those Who Love Him, and Those Who Hate Him

Jesus reiterated the promise He has made so many times before, that He would write God’s name upon all overcomers, which signified their redemption and eternal marriage to their Creator. Jesus also promised that He would humble those who did not know Him, before the feet of His children.

There are many times that those who hate love, disrespect God’s people, and cast us aside like chaff, but God promises that those who endure until the end will be exalted. We do know that even though God promised to humble our enemies, that only He is worthy of holy worship. So when some Bible translations use the word worship in this context, they mean to give deference and honor to. Joseph’s family showed deference to and honored him when He was exalted in Egypt. King Solomon was honored and showed deference to by all kinds of rulers, wealthy people, and common people, because he represented the wisdom of God on the earth.

Fixed Forever

Ask God to make you an overcomer. Ask Him to help you continue the search for truth and perfection in love that the ancient Philadelphian church did. Then, continue the journey to reformation, which the early reformers started but many of us have abandoned.

If you do so, God promised that you will be a permanent fixture in His presence, be finally vindicated before His enemies, and be given a new name that matches the character of Christ in our lives. Let love reign. Let truth reign. Become an overcomer, by God’s grace.The mouth of the Lord has spoken.




Endurance: The Overcomer’s Bypass

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, January 28, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.28.2018” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 63 in our devotional series, God’s Promises are Sure!

“Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one can take away your crown.” (Revelation 3:10–11, NET).

Victory Now

Sometimes life throws curveballs at us. They may catch us off guard, but our heavenly Father neither slumbers nor sleeps. He sees and measures each trial before He allows it to hit our spiritual house.

More than that, Jesus, who has endured more suffering and more trials than any other human being ever will, offers His victory to bolster our faith. In the King James Version of the Bible, our theme text says that those who keep the “Word of [His] patience” will be kept when the last great testing time is unfurled upon the earth before He comes. I love how the New Living Translation states the verse. “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing…”

Our lesson for today is simple: God promises to protect the faith of those who keep His word, or command to persevere, no matter what. Then He makes an additional promise, which we will unpack further tomorrow. He said, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12).

You Will Overcome

This promise means so much. Among the many jewels to gather is the fact that by making a promise to overcomers, He is revealing the fact that people will overcome. Do not dismiss my last statement as obvious rambling; it is not. There are so many who feel like we will continue to fail, that it is encouraging to know that Jesus makes His promise as a foregone conclusion. People will overcome! Overcomers will be rewarded! Those who will be rewarded with the name of God written upon them, are those who have allowed Jesus to keep them through every circumstance in life.

Cash in on the promise, dear friends. Keep His word and let Him keep you, until He returns with His reward. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.




Routing Gout-Diet Changes Can Lessen This Painful Condition

Did you know that treating hypertension with a special diet may prevent gout? The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet has been long supported by the American Heart Association as a way to help avoid heart disease. The DASH diet is high in fruits and vegetables and low in salt, sugar and red meat. This diet is low in compounds called purines which break down to form uric acid.

Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. It is a joint disease that causes extreme pain and swelling and according to recent studies, gout has risen among Americans over recent decades due in part to our “Western” diet.

Gout is caused by excess uric acid in the blood. Sharp pointed crystals of uric acid concentrate in the joints, like the great toe joint, and causes inflammation, swelling and pain.

Now, here is where the DASH diet helps hypertension and decreases gout: The DASH diet recommends low animal protein known to have high purine levels and also encourages individuals to have a high intake of fruits, vegetables and vitamin C which helps the body eliminate uric acid.

So there you have it! (Like you didn’t already know this.) The DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, low-fat dairy products and whole grains. It is low in salt, sugary drinks and red and processed meats. People on this diet were less likely to develop gout than those who ate a typical “Western” diet.

Studies seem to support the fact that patients who ate a diet high in meat producing purines and therefore high in uric acid, also have elevated blood pressure or hypertension. The DASH diet may be a good option for patients with gout who have not progressed to a stage that would require medication to lower their uric acid levels or who prefer to avoid taking drugs altogether.

 

 




The Overcomer’s Secret Identity

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, January 25, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.25.2018” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 60 in our devotional series, God’s Promises are Sure!

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Revelation 2:17).

One Answer

When religion and politics get married, they have evil babies. When people worship human leaders as gods, and even God’s people mix truth with error, the enemy gets honor. These things buffeted the church during the Pergamus era.

How could God manifest His power in His people who were under such an insidious attack? With the same power He called the worlds into existence and keeps them in place, He makes holds promises for those who would receive them by faith.

Coming Crisis of Conscience

I think it appropriate to mention that we are living during a time when religion and politics are courting. They will soon be married. From the mouths of leaders who otherwise lack moral leadership we are hearing religious chatter, under the guise of country building.

From other leaders who seem to be conscientious, yet do not espouse truths God has revealed for our times, and are willing to amend the U.S. Constitution to include mandates regarding how we worship (or don’t worship) God, we hear very similar rumblings.

Politics has overrun the church. Politics seeks to settle disputes that have buffeted the children of Abraham since He took Hagar and they had a son. This, without regard for the prophecies that identify how these challenges would pan out. Truth and error have been mixed among the churches in the eradication of Protestantism in 2017, which has now become the poster child for division instead of the necessary revolution against error it was.

The Challenge Now

Our lives often go through similar cycles. Our challenges require us to evaluate truth, and whether we will embrace it, despite the strange mixture between truth and error we encounter.

Will we be faithful when we want to tell a little lie in an attempt to save ourselves from punishment? Will we put on our Christian masks and come to church, with no intention of allowing God to transform us, while our hearts are joined with the world? Will we love God or play fast and loose with the devil in our conversations, entertainment, how we relate to the poor, sick, and hungry? It’s a lot to think about, but God is with all who are willing to live for Him.

You, Re-named

God promises the power of overcoming to those who trust in Him without reservation. He promises that He will miraculously feed and satisfy our souls with the everlasting bread of life. He will honor His faithful people with acceptance, immovable position in His kingdom, His righteousness, and an everlasting name that is even greater than sons and daughters (Isaiah 56:1-7; 1 John 3:1-3). He will write His name in our foreheads. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.




The Overcomer’s Protection

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.24.2018” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 59 in our devotional series, God’s Promises are Sure!

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Revelation 2:11).

What Would Help You?

What kind of encouragement might you need if you lived in an era when persecution, torture, and death were the unfortunate story of the day? Could you find hope when you could reasonably expect that many people you know and love in the faith, along with you, would suffer death because you love God?

God made a promise to the church in Smyrna during the Age of Martyrdom. His faithful followers loved not their lives, even to the point of death. This promise stood in the face of evil Roman oppressors like: Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Decius, Valerian, and Diocletian. Though they persecuted God’s people, He promised that if they remained faithful, though they might lose their mortal lives, He would raise them at His Second Coming. They would receive the reward of which Jesus was worthy—immortality. Their death at the hands of persecutors would represent a peaceful rest, and God would raise them incorruptible. When they rose, they would see their King’s face and have His name written in their foreheads.

This One’s For You

As the trials of God’s faithful increase, please know that this same Jesus, who made exceeding great and precious promises to the believers in Smyrna, promises you that the second death will have no power over you.

He that shall come, will come very soon, and those who sleep in Jesus will rise from their dusty graves to meet all of God’s faithful saints. By God’s grace, we will be caught up to meet Jesus and take a miraculous flight beyond Orion and be ushered in through the gates into the kingdom of God. Troubles won’t last always. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.




The Overcomer’s Diet

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.23.2018” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 58 in our devotional series, God’s Promises are Sure!

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).

“Eating” to Live

There’s a whole lot of eating going on, but so few feel satisfied. Many eat belly-busting delectables, rich foods laden with salt, fat, and chemicals. Some drink hundreds or thousands of empty calories daily, and feel unsatisfied.

God has provided incredible nutrition in fruits, nuts, grains, vegetables, and the foods prepared from them in the healthiest ways. Unfortunately, too many accept the counterfeit, where their health is concerned, and pay the price.

Empty Calories

When I think of this spiritually, it brings to mind when God said, “Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods. Pay attention and come to Me; listen, so that you will live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the promises assured to David” (Isaiah 55:1–3, HCSB).

For whatever reasons, the church at Ephesus (from our theme text) seemed to subsist on worldly counterfeits that could not satisfy their hunger for righteousness. They lost focus and began looking for love in all the wrong places. After they had been giving valiant effort to resist false teachings and teachers, they lost their zeal, like some spouses do once they are no longer in the honeymoon phase of their marriage. God promised that if they would simply return their hearts to Him, He would give them access to Tree of Life.

Come Back

In the same way Adam and Eve were distracted and lost focus of their love for God, we often do the same. We are zealous, faithful, patient, and loving for a time, but sometimes just lose steam and begin seeking satisfaction in ways that cannot fulfill the soul’s hunger; looking for love in all the wrong places.

God is saying, that if we will return our hearts to Him, and begin to eat and drink of Him and His Word, we will one day reach forth our hands and eat from the Tree of Life from which Adam and Eve lost access. We will be ushered into the portals of heaven when Jesus comes, and eat from the tree whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. We will have received the satisfaction for which millions have searched for thousands of years since Adam and Eve sinned. Give your all to God, and this will be your reward. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.




The Overcomer’s Secret

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, January 22, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.22.2018” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 57 in our devotional series, God’s Promises are Sure!

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4–5).

Teachable Moment

If you want to be an overcomer, ask God to teach you how to love Him. If you want power over addictions, rage, insecurities, listlessness, depression, or lust, ask God to teach you saving faith in Him. Saving faith in Jesus, and the Father who sent Him, along with Godlike love are the keys to overcoming every inherited and cultivated tendency toward evil.

Yes, there will be trials.You will need to strive against temptations. Yes, you will face persecution, but Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The Power in the Promise

It is the overcoming principle that I would like to underscore today. Jesus made a promise to all of us. His promise rests upon His divine power over the devil. The promise also rests on His victory over the devil as He depended upon His Father’s strength to be victorious over temptation, and all of the authority of the throne of God.

His promise is that if you want victory over all sin and worldliness and wish to have prevailing faith, believe in Jesus, the Son of the living God. Jesus has already overcome in your behalf. He stands ready to give His victory to you if you will only believe. As we have said so many times before, this brand of belief is no mere assent to truth. It is not simply cognitive agreement with what is obviously true. The overcomer’s victory is the kind of belief that transforms our lives in submission to God’s will. When we are born of God, we have the seed of God living in our lifestyles and mindsets. That seed is cultivated and flourishes to bear fruits of righteousness, and others who will follow our example to also bear fruit.

Shine On

God’s promise to those who believe in Jesus and have the seed of God living in us, is that we will become overcomers and reflect His image perfectly in a dismal world so others can see our good works and be inspired to follow the same path God has given to us. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.




Count On Forever

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, January 21, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.21.2018” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 56 in our devotional series, God’s Promises are Sure!

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17–18).

Consistency In Every Point

I absolutely love, love, love consistency (especially in good things). Can you tell? By God’s grace, we have consistently brought you the Word of God for years. One of the things I thank God for pretty regularly is that He is dependable. I know that the sun will be in position everyday I awaken. I know His Words are still as true today as they were when He first gave them to us. I know His promises are sure. I know that truth is still truth and lies are still lies. God is not fickle. He does not blow with the winds of change. Our God is stable and reliable. He’s good like that!

When Jesus taught during His historic Sermon on the Mount, He gave special attention to the consistency and persistency of His law and the teachings of holy prophets. He began this part of His discourse by demonstrating how shallow human interpretations of truth are. Especially is this the case with those who are self-righteous.

In a two-part description, Jesus taught that while we might think sin or righteousness are manifest by our actions, our actions are really a symptom or outgrowth of our thoughts. One with impure thoughts cannot actually keep a pure precept, in God’s estimation (the only estimation that counts).

Heart Work

If I slander my brother or sister in my thoughts, or harbor anger against them, I am as in danger of judgement as the murderer, even if I don’t physically kill either of them. If I look at a woman and begin to lust after her, whether I grope, have sex with, harass, or have a forbidden liaison with her or not, I am guilty of trampling the seventh commandment, which enjoins sexual purity even among single people. Since God’s law is to be written in our hearts, keeping or trampling of the law is done first in the heart, and may also be manifest in our words and actions. This is deep, isn’t it?

The Jesus haters (we all have them), had a habit, due to their affinity to holy appearances, of quizzing Jesus regarding the law and the rest of the Scriptures. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, struck at the root of their evil surmising. In case anyone present at the time was confused about His teachings, He made it abundantly clear that He did not come to destroy even the least little stroke of a letter in the law or prophets, until or unless it be fulfilled. If heaven and earth still remain (I told you God is consistent), so will the law and the prophets, until or unless they are fulfilled.

Shadows Give Way to Fulfillment

And, Jesus kept His word on this. He ever established the words that were given by inspiration of God; and even when certain elements were indeed fulfilled, He did not negate them. Jesus embraced and taught the truth related to the Old Testament system of intercession and sacrifices, until they were fulfilled at His death, when type met antitype. The sacrificial system was fulfilled in Christ. The shadow now gave way to the genuine article, Jesus Christ Himself.

When hundreds of Messianic prophecies were fulfilled at various points in His life and ministry, they remained as teaching tools for the generations to ponder until the Second Coming. The Ten Commandments, which are a transcript of His character and foundational to His government, continue as the consistent revelation of truth and righteousness. Love for God and humanity are a manifestation of the commandments, and will continue throughout eternity.

Why? Right will always be right. Wrong will always be wrong. How will we judge between the two without those ten holy words (commandments)?

We’re Still Here

As far as I can tell, heaven and earth remain; therefore, God’s Word remains as truly as it always has. God keeps His promises. You can trust Him to continue to do so. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.




Restore Me

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Audio Link: https://www.spreaker.com/…/r…/thoughts-in-worship-01-17-2018

This is devotional thought number 52 in our devotional series, God’s Promises are Sure!

“He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).

God loves you. He loves you, not because you have been good to Him or you’ve done something to impress Him. He loves you because it’s in His nature to love, and He created you for His glory and eternal companionship.

Restoration Explained

Notice what the Bible says: “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1–6, NLT).

This is how the Old Testament makes a similar point: “The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:7–9).

Restoration Planned

Now that we have made it clear that God loves you, we can take it a step further. Since we have done a number on ourselves by choosing to sin, the One who loves us dearly enacted the restoration plan because He is righteous.

Do note the principle of God restoring us for His name’s sake. What does that even mean?

Before we get to that, read this similar reference: “For thou art my rock and my fortress; Therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me” (Psalm 31:3).

The Lord is gracious enough to protect and guide us as He continues the work of restoration. He keeps us safe (spiritually) as He transfers us from the kingdom of darkness where we had no choice but to do wickedly, into the kingdom of light where we receive power from the Spirit to please Him in all things (just like Jesus).

Restoration Now

He does all this because He loves us, and for the sake of manifesting His honor, reputation, and character. He promised that He would restore all who surrender to Him. For the sake of His good name, He pledges to do just that and make of us a holy nation and a royal people who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light.

God never comes up short on His promises. Submit to Him and watch Him do wondrous works in your life. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.