23
Oct

Romans 12:9-21

Posted by: admin   in Romans

As you consider these words you can recognize that they present attitudes and conduct that is surely not in conformity with those of the world.  As you consider closely, carefully, you can see that in most of them they are actually the opposite of the pattern and attitude of those who conform to the ways of the world.  But I want you to see more than just the contrast between these and the ways of the world.  First of all I want you to recognize that as My servant Paul admonishes the believers to offer their bodies as living sacrifices and to be transformed by the renewing of their mind that he urges them to do this because of the mercy that I have bestowed upon those who truly believe in My Son.  Recognize that when you consider what mercy has been bestowed upon you that you will be motivated to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, and you will desire to have your minds renewed so that you can be transformed, that is changed from the pattern of this world to the pattern of My Kingdom.  I want you to take note that the underlying motivation of your heart, of your life, then becomes the desire to please Me, to do My will.  And this desire is what enables you to follow the pattern and to embrace the attitudes that are presented here in this portion.  It is only when you regard yourself as a living sacrifice, and when you are being transformed by a renewed mind that you can live this way.  As you are challenged by the pressures that come from the old nature and from the world, it is the willingness to please Me above all other considerations that will enable you to do what is so different and so opposite from what the world does.  You see when it declares not to take revenge that the words are added “on the contrary”, and you will be able, willing, even determined and pleased to do what is contrary to what the world does.  The world seeks its reward in the satisfaction of personal interest, in the fulfillment of fleshly desires, of immediate satisfaction.  Those who desire to please Me, as it declares here, are joyful in hope even though what they hope for is not immediately fulfilled.  They are also patient in affliction because as living sacrifices they are willing to suffer what Paul declares in another place is a comparatively light and momentary affliction, in order that what glorifies Me may be accomplished.  And those who live in this way are faithful in prayer because they are truly dependent upon Me and not upon the world, and not upon their own human efforts and natural powers.  If your heart is truly moved by My mercy, the pattern presented here will prove to be the outworking of that motivation.

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23
Oct

II Chronicles 20

Posted by: admin   in II Chronicles

You might be quick to judge and criticize Jehoshaphat for his inconsistency, for in this portion you see him acting with great faith and utter dependence upon Me in the face of a great crisis.  And you see that his faith is based upon his turning to Me and seeking My Word, for he confesses that he and his people do not know what to do in the face of the threat of the great army that is coming against them.  Nevertheless he declares “Our eyes are upon You.”  And you see how his faith influences all of the people and how it is rewarded with an amazing victory.  But are you not amazed that after all of this and after the rebuke of My servant the prophet for his aligning himself with wicked Ahab that he once again enters into a venture with his wicked son Ahaziah?  You see how that as I judged his alliance with Ahab with disaster and defeat, I also judged his alliance with Ahaziah.  But I want you to notice a great difference in the conduct of Jehoshaphat, for as in the face of the threat of the army coming against him he turned to Me, sought My help, humbled himself before Me, received and obeyed My Word, yet in the case of his alliance with Ahab he disregarded My Word even though he requested it.  And in the case of his alliance with Ahaziah, he did not even seek My Word or enquire of Me.  Now I challenged you not to be so quick and ready to criticize Jehoshaphat, for have you not with more revelation, with greater manifestation of My grace, even with the witness of My Spirit within you on occasion have been as inconsistent as Jehoshaphat?  Have you not in times of distress sought Me, received My Word, humbled yourself before Me, obeyed what I have said, and received the blessing?  Have you not at other times chosen your own way even though My Word has declared that you are not to lean upon your own understanding but to trust Me with all your heart and acknowledge Me in all your ways?  And have you not in such times of disregarding My Word not experienced even the full measure of the consequences of that disobedience only because My mercy is greater than all of your sin?  But recall that My Word declares that these things were written for your instruction so that you may be warned and corrected from going your own way.  And you see clearly that your potential for doing this is no less than that of Jehoshaphat.  So let his life and My dealings with him be both a warning for you to avoid your own way and an encouragement for you ever to seek My way.  Just as surely as you see the consequences of both choices in the life of Jehoshaphat, so shall you be warned and kept more and more from the inconsistency represented in him, and also encouraged towards the faith, submission, and obedience also represented in him.   

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23
Oct

I Kings 22

Posted by: admin   in I Kings

You may wonder as you read the words of this portion why My true prophet did not appeal to Ahab to repent of his ways, and why he did not rebuke and correct Jehoshaphat for his alliance with Ahab.  I want you to understand first of all that it was plain from the beginning, even before My servant Micaiah was called upon, that Ahab was not at all concerned about My will.  I have told you in My previous words on this portion that his heart was totally committed to his own will.  So when this is the case, there is no place any longer for repentance.  It was for the sake of Jehoshaphat and others who might take heed from seeing the words of Micaiah coming to pass and thus turn their hearts to Me, that these words were uttered.  But you notice that even though Jehoshaphat requested to hear My Word, that when he heard it, it did not provoke his heart to change.  And thus I want you to see that when the heart of even a good man, one who on the whole sought to follow My ways, is compromised, that it is hard for such a person to turn back.  And you see that already before this battle at Ramoth-gilead that the heart of Jehoshaphat had been compromised.  For if this was not so would he not have removed the high places that allowed his people to continue in idolatrous practices?  Also would he not have avoided aligning himself with the wicked Ahab, declaring that he was as Ahab, his people as Ahab’s people, his horses as those of Ahab?  Once his heart had been compromised, Jehoshaphat’s had also become dull and unresponsive to the affects of My Word, even though he had requested to hear it;  yes, even though he recognized the difference between the words of the false prophet and My true prophet.  In all of this that you see recorded here there is only one man who remained steadfast and faithful to Me and to My Word.  Yes, even though it caused him to be opposed by the king, even though it caused him to be ridiculed and abused by the false prophet, even though it resulted in his imprisonment and being placed on only bread and water, Micaiah stood faithful in the face of all these things.  But even so it was not just to Ahab and to Jehoshaphat that he testified to the truth, for consider that he added, “Mark my words all you people”.   It was not just so that his words were proven true in the case of Ahab and the outcome of the battle, but also that they might bring conviction and repentance to My people who had also strayed greatly from Me.  So you see that even in the midst of strong rebuke and great judgment, My mercy is extended to those who might consider from the fulfillment of My Word how they ought to respond and turn to Me.  And in addition to having you appreciate this very important work of mercy that continues even in the midst of great judgment, I would also have     you consider the terrible cost of a will unalterably set against Mine, and a heart, even of a good man, that has been compromised.   

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