Life With A Foolish Spouse

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, August 2, 2015

Today’s Scripture:
“Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.” (1 Samuel 25:3).

Simple Observation:
This week, we will focus on a seldom-mentioned woman; her name was Abigail. As our theme text highlights, there was a stark contrast between Abigail and her husband, Nabal. She was a beautiful looking woman, whose character was equally lovely. She was a sensible and discerning woman, but her husband was evil, rude, stubborn, and ill-mannered. In fact, Nabal’s name actually can be translated, “fool.” If you read the entire story of Nabal and Abigail, you will notice that his name certainly suits him (more about that later this week).

Life Application:
Ladies! What do you do if you wake up every day with an evil, rude, stubborn, and ill-mannered husband? Does the Lord require you to submit (different from being oppressed) to a man who does not love you like Christ loves the church? Let that question settle in. I am not crazy enough to offer my own advice on this, because I do realize that this is a complicated question that many God-fearing women have to answer daily, on their knees in prayer. If you or someone you know needs encouragement and power on this point, notice what your All-Powerful God (blessed be His name), has to say about it: “In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands.” (1 Peter 3:1–5, NLT).

Notice here what the Bible is not saying: It is not saying that men have the right or authority to be evil towards our wives. The Scripture does not say that wives are to do anything contrary to the Word in order to satisfy the whims of an evil husband. The Scripture is not saying that you should endanger you lives with violent men. However, the Lord your God, ladies, is saying that if you should find yourself in the situation of lovely Abigail, He is able to so perfect your character, like so many other holy woman in the past, that you could be the one to lead him to Christ. It’s amazing to me how many men and oppressed women actually think that women cannot fully represent God, simply because they are women. Yet, this is a prime example of the fact that God has given wives who are under trial with their husbands, a ministry cut directly from the cloth of Jesus’ ministry. He was patient under the fiercest trials at the hands of those who were supposed to have loved Him most. When they reviled Him, He did not return the favor. When they scorned Him, He advocated their forgiveness. When they falsely accused Him of wrongdoing, He let the Father judge between them. The same power that was available to Jesus is available to us today.

A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, there are so many women out there who want to live holy lives, but their husbands make it difficult for them. Will you please strengthen these daughters of yours? Will you give them the same beautiful character qualities that you gave Abigail? Will you help them lead those men to you, and assume their rightful positions as priests of their homes? Please keep your daughters safe. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Favoritism’s Fallout

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, July 26, 2015
Based Upon Genesis 37:3

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.”

We are continuing our exposé of the lives of stellar Bible characters with the story of Joseph.

Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, born of his favorite wife. Jacob had two wives and two baby mamas—what a complicated life. Not only does the Scripture demonstrate the unholy favoritism Jacob showed toward Joseph, but it also states that he actually loved Joseph more.

I am not naïve enough to think that parents do not sometimes struggle with the temptation to favor one child over others, or even be more drawn to said child, because of certain desirable traits or common interests. Neither am I naïve enough to believe that there may not be times that a child may, themselves, show a special love toward the parent, which might draw that parent’s heart in a special way, but principled parents must beware. All of our children are special gifts from God, whom he has given us as an inheritance. The Bible says it this way: “Look, children are the heritage of Yahweh; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them. They shall not be put to shame when they speak with enemies at the gate.” (Psalm 127:3–5, LEB). We are to: “Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, AMP). The Bible also says concerning the prophet Jeremiah’s story: “Then the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4–5, AMP).

This morning’s thought is very simple: Understanding natural affinity and all that I stated in the beginning, parents of principle need to be especially vigilant to guard their affections in a way that does not show partiality. Parents are to value each child’s unique, God-given contribution. We are to recognize the divine calling on each of their lives. Parents must surrender our feelings and thoughts concerning our children to God, lest we do to them what Jacob did in his family. If you read his entire saga, you will discover that he drove a wedge between the children, which could have ended tragically, but the Lord saw all that was happening and protected dear Joseph from death. While it is true that the elder brothers did mostly hate Joseph, the Lord blessed in the situation to where they were able to come full-circle and face their errors, and repent. Would you want to divide your children, foster envy, and even facilitate the untimely demise of any of your children? I certainly hope not. Let us all pray for God’s help and peace to love our children equally, and direct their minds to their Creator, to live according to his example.

Fixing The Breach In The Wall

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, July 16, 2015
Based Upon Nehemiah 4:19

“They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.”

God’s people were finally free from Babylonian captivity. Through much opposition, they were also finally able to rebuild the temple of God due to the favor the Lord had shown them through king Darius. Nehemiah, the son of Hacaliah considered the entire situation of those freed from the captivity. He realized that the walls of the city were still in ruins. The gates had been burned to the ground, and it was a reproach. This is not what God intended for His city. This is not what He intended for His people. They were to be a light set upon a hill that could not be hid. They were the repositories of light and through disobedience, their candles flickered.

This troubled Nehemiah. As Isaiah, Daniel, and Moses had done on different occasions, Nehemiah began to entreat the Lord, confessing his sins, and the sins of the people. He wanted the Lord to reveal Himself and make good on His promise to turn away their reproach, if they would only repent and turn to the Lord.

God granted Nehemiah’s prayer. He gave him favor with King Artaxerxes, and the project to rebuild the wall of God’s city of peace began. The next fifty two days would prove to be arduous. When some of Israel’s enemies heard that they were attempting to repair the wall, they made fun of them, saying that if a fox stood atop the part of the wall they had completed up to that point, it would come tumbling down. Also, while there was yet a breach in the wall, they sought to ambush God’s people to arrest their progress. What they did not understand was that the Lord blessed the work, and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

With godly wisdom, Nehemiah assembled every worker in a certain order. The workers were divided into two groups. One group would continue to build, while the others stood with weapons, ready for battle. Every man was prepared, whether he was building or guarding the work, each had weapons for battle.

“Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner. Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;” (Nehemiah 6:1-5). In spite of their enemies’ attempts to stop their work, Nehemiah and the others successfully rebuilt the walls at Jerusalem. “So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.” (Nehemiah 6:15-16).

Do you know that there is a breach in the great wall of God’s Ten Commandment law? He has given His people, those upon whom the ends of the world are come, the work of repairing it. When we draw near to Him in repentance as Nehemiah did, He will equip us with His whole armor that we may be able to stand against the attacks of Satan. With the Bible as our sword fully drawn and sharpened, we are to allow the Lord to defend against the enemy.

Do you know that there is a breach in the great wall of God’s Ten Commandment law? He has given His people, those upon whom the ends of the world are come, the work of repairing it.

The breach in God’s law is our forgetfulness of worship. It is our spiritual amnesia concerning the seventh-day Sabbath, which the Lord said to remember. His day is holy and cannot be transferred to another. Therefore, the Lord said if we return to the holiness of His word by feeding the hungry, giving clothes to the naked, and otherwise caring for the destitute and disadvantaged from our hearts, He will show us favor.

helping hand

“Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 58:9-14).

As in the days prior to the Babylonian captivity, the Lord never intended that His walls be broken down. His will has always been for His people to dwell in the light and live above reproach.

It is our privilege today to seek His face, as did Nehemiah, and receive the light concerning our part in repairing the breach. As we return to honoring the Lord as the Creator of the universe by remembering His holy seventh-day Sabbath, His favor will become evident in our lives. We will be instrumental in repairing the breach.

Remember The Victor

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Based Upon Habakkuk 3:1-2

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by evil that you could hardly take it anymore? Have you been tempted to think that the Lord has allowed the enemy to triumph over you? Does the burden of Satan’s constant attacks make you feel like giving up? Learn a lesson from the seldom-read prophet, Habakkuk.

Habakkuk was in a state of despondency because the enemies of God seemed to triumph. It seemed like they had unfettered ability to oppress God’s people and His cause. After inquiring of the Lord, and receiving counsel as did Job in the midst of his distress, he began to evaluate God’s resume. He said that He had heard of the mighty works God had performed for His people of old, and longed to see the same mighty works in his day. He wanted the Lord to be vigilant over the wicked, yet merciful to His own people.

As Habakkuk recounted the incredible acts of God, he spoke of the power God had over the land, air, and rivers of water. He spoke of the command God demonstrated over the sun, moon, and stars. He recalled the fact that the Lord has dominion over even the mountains, which have stood for millennia. They all tremble at the voice of God. Likewise, His enemies trembled when He has appeared to vindicate His people. “Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly.” (Habakkuk 3:13-14).

As the Lord has vanquished His human enemies, He has utterly defeated the enemy of us all. The Bible says that the promised seed, Jesus Christ, would crush the head of the serpent, and certainly that is the case. At Calvary, the Lord struck the enemy with a deadly blow. Over the devil’s weapon of death, the Lord emerged victoriously. The devil thought he could keep our Savior in the grave, but early one Sunday morning, Jesus arose as the absolute victor over the grave, hell, and death.

Whenever you feel taken advantage of by the devil, recount the mighty works that the Lord has performed in the past. Remember His works of old and be encouraged. Ask Him to strengthen your faith making you His faithful follower. One day, sin and sinners will be no more. God’s people will finally experience ultimate rest, and we shall reign forever with the Lord. Until then, praise His holy name.

“When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” (Habakkuk 3:16-19)

Grace Today, Everyday

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, July 13, 2015
Based Upon Hebrews 9:13–14

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13–14).

When you have an opportunity, read Lev. 16:6, 16; Num. 19:9, 17, 18. There you will find a brief description of sacrificial blood being shed and applied in the Old Testament economy.

I love how the writer of Hebrews quickly, and aptly applies the Old Testament lesson of sacrifices to our day. In those times, the Lord gave very specific instructions concerning the sacrifices and ceremonies that were to occur in order for the people who applied them by faith to be forgiven and cleansed from all defilement. We were all born in sin, therefore, we needed a means through which our connection with God could be restored. The Old Testament system was a training ground that pointed to, and represented Jesus Christ, who was the True Sacrifice needed to reconcile us to God.

The simple lesson for us today is that the Lord thought so much of us that He made provision for us every single day. From the time Adam sinned and He covered Adam and Eve with coats of skins, until this day, when He accepts the perfect substitution of Jesus, there is provision. If a moment ever passed when Jesus was off His square of mediation, intercession, and empowerment through the Spirit, we would all be destroyed! He never slumbers; He never sleeps. He ever lives to make intercession for us. Here’s the kicker: If we accept this blessing of covering by faith, we are safe from the penalty of our sins. But, if we habitually choose the momentary pleasures of sin, we will receive the consequences thereof, and that simply would not make sense. If God is so gracious to make daily provision for us to live in harmony with Him, would it not, at the very least, be a respectable thing to thank Him and accept the blessing? More than this, acceptance of the blessing affords us the privilege to live in the eternal bliss of God’s presence where sin, racism, classism, sexism, poverty, illness, malice, strife, and death will be eradicated and never rise again. Why not accept and thank God for the blessing of this precious gift today?

How God’s People Make It

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, July 12, 2015
Based Upon Revelation 12:17

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

For thousands of years the devil has been on the warpath. At every turn, by any means necessary, he has tried to overthrow the government of God. He sowed the seed of doubt and discontent in heaven, to the point that one-third of the angels defected and were thrown out of heaven. The fact that the dissenters were cast from heaven is good in one way, but it does not seem very good to us. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12). His wrath against the Lord, whom He could not overpower, has manifested itself in agitating and persecuting human beings, especially those who love God. He started in the Garden of Eden by leading Adam and Eve down the slippery slope of sin. Throughout the course of years, he has continued his relentless rampage, because he knows his time is short.

Bible prophecy speaks of a twelve hundred and sixty year period of time that the dragon, that is the devil, severely persecuted the people of God, signified by a woman. There has never been a fiercer time in terms of religious persecution and bloodshed. The number of saints that died at the hands of so-called religious leaders will never be surpassed. During the period between 538 A.D. and 1798 A.D., the blood of God’s people stood as a testimony of His ability to triumph over the devil. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11).

holding hands Bible prayer

As time progressed, the blood of faithful saints, who died because of their faith, became as seed springing up to produce a special group of believers. The devil is particularly angry at these people because of their peculiar focus. Like the Jews of old who were faithfully led by God’s prophets and kings, these are a chosen people. The Bible calls them the remnant. The group that arose from the same heavenly fabric as those persecuted unto death, have a mission to the world. The mission is to prepare people, in the last days, for the judgment of God and Jesus’ soon arrival. This is why the devil is making war with them. He wants to stamp out all residue of holiness from the earth. The fact that these dear ones keep God’s commandments while the majority of the world says it is not important disturbs the devil’s plans, especially since they teach others to do the same. The fact that they have the spirit of prophecy demonstrates that they are truly God’s people, and this does not make the devil any happier (Revelation 19:10). His anger is unquenchable.

It is our privilege to remain close to the Lord through His word. In these days, we have the opportunity to be a part of the remnant of believers. We may demonstrate our love for God by not ignoring His commandments, and receiving the gift of prophetic understanding and utterance, with thanksgiving. Since he is a defeated foe, we need not fear the devil. If the Lord is on our side, we cannot fail. Pray that the Lord will help you understand what it means to be a special remnant in these days, and He will certainly answer.

In Faith Crises, Tarry A Bit

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, July 9, 2015
Based Upon Acts 1:1-8; 2:1-4

“THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 1:1–8; Acts 2:1–4).

At a critical time in the church’s early development, they stood at the edge of something far bigger than they could have even imagined. Some were still reeling from the effects of Jesus’ crucifixion, trying to understand why He allowed Himself to be trampled by the enemy. Others were ecstatic that He had risen on the third day, just like He said He would. Many others were looking forward to the time He would finally establish His kingdom on earth, defeating Roman rule. And others continued to harbor hurt feelings related to their campaigns to be first in the kingdom. Now, how do you prepare a motley, dejected bunch of followers, who have deep-seated feelings of resentment, and possibly even animosity for one another? It would require a miracle of God’s grace, and laser focus on the mission, of their Master.

There are times in our lives when we experience similar crises of faith. There are times that even among our brothers and sisters in the faith, it appears that we have irreconcilable differences. There are times when one group of believers is absolutely right about important issues, and the other group is wrong, or vise-versa. There are times when whatever is causing a schism, are not necessarily the issues themselves, but our heart condition towards others relating to whatever we are passionate about. In times like these, we, like the early believers, require a miracle of God’s grace, and laser focus on the mission, of our Master. But, how?

I am not smart enough to give a set of guidelines to answer such a conundrum. However, Scripture says that when the early church traveled that road, their Lord commanded them to tarry.

They were to tarry in Jerusalem to await the infilling of the Spirit on a level the world had never before experienced. Though they had proud people among them campaigning for the highest seats in the kingdom, they were to tarry. Though they had religious and cultural chameleons in their midst (Peter would be checked on this later), they were to tarry. Though they were confused about the kingdom, the timing of its arrival, the nature of its constitution, and their mission, they were to tarry. But, for what and what purpose were they to tarry? And, what would be their reward for their patience in God’s presence? The Bible says that the people of God were unified in their wait. They were all awaiting the same Power, which their same Master had commanded, for the same purpose of saving lost souls all around the world. The reward was a mighty, rushing, engulfing, move of power in the Spirit! Somehow, their obedience to tarry, and with expectant faith being willing to receive power, garnered unimaginable results—thousands of lost souls were saved through the unction of God’s Spirit.

If you find yourself in a crisis of faith, or among fellow believers who seem to have irreconcilable differences, our Master’s command to all of us is to tarry, receive His power, and move through the final paces of His mission. If you want a detailed description of how this all works, I am incapable of providing it, but rest assured that if you are willing and obedient, the Lord will do the same for you, that He did for the early believers. Now, tarry, receive the Holy Ghost in last-days proportions, and complete your Master’s mission, to the end that we can all get off this crazy planet and be with God.

Fire Power

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Based Upon Psalm 50:3-7

“Our God approaches, and he is not silent. Fire devours everything in his way, and a great storm rages around him. He calls on the heavens above and earth below to witness the judgment of his people. “Bring my faithful people to me— those who made a covenant with me by giving sacrifices.” Then let the heavens proclaim his justice, for God himself will be the judge. Interlude” (Psalm 50:3–6, NLT).

What an awesome display of God’s holiness! Under the divine unction of the Spirit, the Old Testament writer gave us a sneak peek into the judgment, which accompanies the appearing of our soon coming King. After millennia of doubting dissenters have foolhardily attempted to splice and dice the Word of God, at the appointed time, His voice will be clearly heard by all. And, being a God whose holiness stands in such stark contrast to even the miasma of our earthly atmosphere, His effulgent light will ignite the air around and before Him! He will not keep silent, and fire with cataclysm will signify His approach for judgment.

We have seen similar displays of God’s power before. When Moses was soon to embark upon the grandest time of his ministry, to lead the Children of Israel out of Egyptian captivity, the One who called and equipped him for service, called to Him from a burning bush. This bush was ablaze with God’s glory, yet neither it, nor Moses were consumed (Exodus 3). Following the Exodus from Egypt, Moses was welcomed into the Mount with God to experience His beauty, and receive the Ten Commandments with the sanctuary blueprint. Even with all the thunderings, lightnings, proclamations of God’s character from the heavens, Moses was completely safe and covered in God’s righteousness, so much so, that his face reflected the extreme brightness of God and needed to be veiled when he came back among the people (Exodus 33-34).

Two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, also experienced the fire of the Lord. Contrary to their calling, they offered strange fire before the Lord’s presence, and the fires of condemnation burst forth from the Lord and destroyed them (Leviticus 10).

If God is a Consuming Fire, and He is, His igniting essence can either be the cause of our destruction or the source of our Light. What makes the difference?

I could cite many more instances of the fire of God in action on the earth, but here’s the point: If God is a Consuming Fire, and He is, His igniting essence can either be the cause of our destruction or the source of our Light. What makes the difference? In the presence of God’s fire, those who have cultivated a love for Him by faith are purified, refined, warmed, and illuminated. Conversely, those who have cultivated rebellion in their hearts will be utterly destroyed by His presence. When He appears at His Second Coming, all earthly elements will melt with fervent heat, to be sure, but all those who have learned to relish in His presence, will be guided by His divine light through the portals of Orion to the heavenly city of God.

Deliberate Delusion

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, July 3, 2015
Based Upon 2 Thessalonians 2:11

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Romans chapter one speaks of ungodly people who rejected the true worship of God in exchange for worshipping created things. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:21-23, 28).

Such will be the case in the final hours of the last days. As men and women everywhere have opportunity to love the Lord and His truth, some will choose not to. Some will not be satisfied with God’s holiness and will choose false worship. It will be clear that it will not be enough to merely know what truth is, but we will need to accept and love the truth. Only the Lord can put this within us. As with the new covenant, the Lord will have to inscribe the law of love upon our hearts. He will have to teach us to appreciate the word, commandments, and Jesus Christ to the point that we would rather die than sin against Him.

During the time of this world’s greatest test, the Lord will reveal Himself in ways that we have never seen. He will make Himself known to the point that no one will choose evil ignorantly. All will deliberately choose to worship the Lord or follow the majority down a path to destruction. If we choose not to receive a love for the truth, the Lord will allow our decision to run its natural course, and we will have no insulation against the final deceptions of the enemy.

We are all preparing now for the decision we will make at the time of the final crisis. As the Lord allows certain tests to come into our lives, we practice making decisions that will one day determine our end. We can choose to be faithful by the grace of our God, or yield our will to the enemy. It is the small momentary decisions that provide the momentum of our lives. I pray that I will choose the Lord, every opportunity that I have. How about you?

Victorious Exodus

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Based Upon Revelation 15:2, 3

“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”

The story of the exodus has so many encouraging applications. When God sent Moses to the evil Pharaoh to tell him to set Israel free, it was indicative of our deliverance from sin, and God’s victory in the end times. Just as the Pharaoh had God’s people in slavery, the devil has enslaved the entire world. Just as the Lord employed a seemingly protracted process to deliver them while utterly vanquishing Pharaoh, He has employed a process through Christ to save us from sin, utterly defeating the devil. Just as the Lord was able to preserve His people during the plagues that fell upon the Egyptians, He will preserve His people during the seven last plagues.

“For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:12-13). “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4). When the Lord had completed His deliverance of the Israelites, they rejoiced. “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” (Exodus 15:1-3).

Likewise, upon our final deliverance from this sinful earth, God’s people will rejoice. “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” (Revelation 15:3-4).

In the last battle for supremacy, the devil will institute the mark of the beast, signifying his defiance of the holiness of God and His prerogatives. Those who are in love with Jesus and live for Him will be kept faithful. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11). It is indeed a blessing to know that the same God who kept His people Israel during the Exodus is more than able to preserve His people through the closing events of the last days. One day soon, we will sing the victory song.