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I really like the challenge: are we willing to suffer for righteousness?

There is a way for us to stand up for righteousness TODAY without having to suffer one bit. If the original apostles were willing to suffer for righteousness, how much easier it should be for us to stand up for righteousness and not suffer!

CALL TODAY—THIS MORNING BEFORE THEY VOTE! CALL YOUR SENATORS AND URGE THEM TO VOTE “YES” TO THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT. Call more than once.

Otherwise, this issue will be left to the states. If this happens, the godless judges—most of whom are not voted in or out—will chose that so-called “homosexual marriage” will be the standard of the land. This will unleash all kinds of social confusion and evil, and harm.

~~

I Kings 2 (NKJV)
26
And to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to Anathoth, to your own fields, for you are deserving of death; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and because you were afflicted every time my father was afflicted.”
27
SO SOLOMON REMOVED ABIATHAR FROM BEING PRIEST TO THE LORD, THAT HE MIGHT FULFILL THE WORD OF THE LORD WHICH HE SPOKE CONCERNING THE HOUSE OF ELI AT SHILOH.

NOTE:
I see what happened to Abiathar as a pivotal verse.

Note that though Abiathar helped Adonijah to become king that God is not judging Abiathar because of that, that is not why Abiathar is kiled.

God is judging Abiathar because of His word of judgment to Eli the priest.

Apparently, Abiathar was a son of Eli, the priest in I Samuel, chapters 1 through 4.

GOD SEES AND REMEMBERS EVERYTHING.

GOD WILL WIPE AWAY EVERY SIN IN OUR LIVES AND NOT REMEMBER THEM if we repent and receive forgiveness.

But we must RECEIVE THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS to be forgiven, to be saved from our sin and the deception within ourselves.

What did the house of Eli do? Read the following verses from I Samuel below and see.

~~~
I Samuel 2 (NKJV)
22
Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
23
So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people.
24
No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress.
25
If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” NEVERTHELESS THEY DID NOT HEED THE VOICE OF THEIR FATHER, BECAUSE THE LORD DESIRED TO KILL THEM.
27
Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
29
Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’
30
THEREFORE THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL SAYS: ‘I SAID INDEED THAT YOUR HOUSE AND THE HOUSE OF YOUR FATHER WOULD WALK BEFORE ME FOREVER.’ BUT NOW THE LORD SAYS: ‘FAR BE IT FROM ME; FOR THOSE WHO HONOR ME I WILL HONOR, AND THOSE WHO DESPISE ME SHALL BE LIGHTLY ESTEEMED.
31
Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.

GOD IS HOLY, and truly keeps a record. The ONLY way to escape the reality of the judgment of righteousness is to, by faith, truly repent and accept a righteous sacrifice in our place. There is no other way.

YET, NOTE THAT ELI’S SONS WERE DISDAINING THE VERY OFFERINGS THAT GOD COULD HAVE ACCEPTED AS SUBSTITUTE FOR THEIR SIN. Note that the OT offerings were pictures of Christ (shadows of the true substance of the true sacrificial offering of the Son of God according to Hebrews 10:1).

In reality, the sons of Eli were disdaining Christ Himself! It reminds me of I Corinthians 10:4 –
“For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

The sons of Eli were disrespecting God’s offering and God’s authority.

WORSE, THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT GOD’S AUTHORITY TO THE PEOPLE AS PRIESTS ACCEPTING OFFERINGS ON BEHALF OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE.

But, they chose to persistently and deliberately disrespect God Himself.

Eli, their father, had some sobering words for his sons in I Samuel 2, verse 25— a good challenge for us today:

“ ‘BUT IF A MAN SINS AGAINST THE LORD, WHO WILL INTERCEDE FOR HIM?’ NEVERTHELESS THEY DID NOT HEED THE VOICE OF THEIR FATHER, BECAUSE THE LORD DESIRED TO KILL THEM.”

And look at what God Himself says through the prophet about this in I Samuel 2, verse 30:
“BUT NOW THE LORD SAYS: ‘FAR BE IT FROM ME; FOR THOSE WHO HONOR ME I WILL HONOR, AND THOSE WHO DESPISE ME SHALL BE LIGHTLY ESTEEMED.’ ”

Also, note the solemn promise of judgment on the house of Eli from Samuel the boy who was becoming prophet:

I Samuel 3 (NKJV)
13
FOR I HAVE TOLD HIM THAT I WILL JUDGE HIS HOUSE FOREVER FOR THE INIQUITY WHICH HE KNOWS, BECAUSE HIS SONS MADE THEMSELVES VILE, AND HE DID NOT RESTRAIN THEM.
14
AND THEREFORE I HAVE SWORN TO THE HOUSE OF ELI THAT THE INIQUITY OF ELI’S HOUSE SHALL NOT BE ATONED FOR BY SACRIFICE OR OFFERING FOREVER.”

~~
I WONDER HOW MUCH I HAVE BEEN INFLUENCED BY THE SINFUL INDEPENDENCE OF THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE. I WONDER HOW MUCH I, AS A CHRISTIAN IN AMERICA, DO NOT RESPECT GOD’S AUTHORITY AS I SHOULD.

This fits directly in with Acts chapter 5 where Ananias and Sapphira his wife lied to the Holy Spirit. This shows that the sin of deliberate and persistent pretense is offensive to God – it is disrespecting God’s authority.

And they were killed by the Lord for it. And this occurred in the NT church! Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

~~
This makes me think of Psalm 125, which is one of the “Songs of Ascents”. These were songs sung on the way to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is on a high mountain, and the only way to reach it was to climb up the mountain. They sang worship as they climbed.

There is a spiritual lesson there.

Psalm 125 (NKJV)
5
As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them away with the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel!

This is a basic truth: If we are committed to receiving and thinking evil—which will lead to doing evil—then God will let us have our way. If that is what we want, then God will hand us over to our desires.

Sounds like Romans chapter 1 to me.

This ties directly into Proverbs 16:25 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

~~

In all ages, sin is deceptive and always leads to death. In all ages, God is gracious and willing to forgive. What is in my heart—what is in your heart—is the key to what will happen to us?

~~

The only way out is to depend on the Spirit of God to equip and enable us to focus on the Lord Jesus and obey Him. We alone can choose to focus on Jesus and obey Jesus—but we cannot do it without the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5 (NKJV)
16
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

May we be willing to suffer ridicule and unpopularity for the Lord Jesus like the original apostles. BY DEFINITION, THEY COULD NOT OBEY THE LORD JESUS LIKE THIS WITHOUT SPIRITUAL PURITY. AND THE PERSECUTION ONLY DROVE THEM CLOSER TO THE LORD JESUS.

I have met people who have really suffered for the Lord in other countries. Persecution can be very difficult, and it is not glamorous. But… the glory of God rests on His people in greater measure when we stand up for Jesus and are willing to suffer for it.

P.S.
CALL TODAY—THIS MORNING BEFORE THEY VOTE! CALL YOUR SENATORS AND URGE THEM TO VOTE “YES” TO THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT. Call more than once.

Vance


1 Kings 2:1-3:2

As I began reading today’s Old Testament passage the Words of Jesus came to my head:

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. (Mat 5:29-30)

The words, “value,” and “purpose” flooded my mind as I read the two chapters. God’s purpose for David was to subdue Israel’s enemies (be fruitful …multiply …subdue …have dominion). Solomon’s purpose was to build up God’s kingdom. The purpose of God requires people who are committed to that purpose even if they don’t know they are. Joab, although he was a man who conformed to the God’s purpose for Israel under the kingship of David, he was not a man committed to God’s purpose as Israel moved to another level, moving from a kingdom of war into a kingdom of peace. As long as David’s purpose conformed to Joab’s commitment to David, Joab was loyal. But when that commitment needed to be transferred from David to God, Joab would not, could not follow.

Because there were men who were in leadership position who conformed to David’s purpose, which was God’s will, but not to Solomon’s purpose they had to be cut off—“if your right hand offend thee, cut it off.” There are people in our lives who conform to the purpose of God by “accident” for a period of time yet are not committed to God’s purpose. As we move from level to level those people and the things that so easily beset us the ones we have grown familiar with, who and what may have helped us achieve our purpose at one level, cannot come with us as we go to the next

Judas was needful for Jesus as one of the twelve as long as Jesus’ ministry on the earth lasted. However, when it was time for Jesus to go back to the Father, just as Jesus’ purpose on the earth was to end, Judas’ purpose, the betrayal of Christ, would come to fruition, Judas could not go into the next level. Judas had conformed to the Will of God, but he had no commitment to the Will of God.

What we commit to and what we conform to is determined by the “value” we give to the Word of God. If what we value goes against the Will of God, then we conform to God’s will until we get what we value. It is only when we Commit to the Will of God that we gain what is truly valuable. That commitment will conform us to His will instead of us trying to conform His Will to what we value which will fail: whether in the long or short run.

Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
(Mat 21:42-44)

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Listening to the end part of the OT reading today just reminded me once more of God's wrath, judgement and our position (now) before Him. The portion relating to Shimei in particular is a strong reminder in my view:

42 So the king sent for Shimei and said to him, "Did I not make you promise by the Lord and tell you of danger, saying, 'You will know for sure that on the day you leave and go anywhere, you will die'? And you said to me, 'What you have said is good.' 43 Then why have you not kept the promise of the Lord? Why have you not done what I told you?" 44 And the king said to Shimei, "You know in your heart all the bad things you did to my father David. So the Lord will return your sin upon your own head. 45 But good will come to King Solomon. The throne of David will keep its place before the Lord forever." 46 So the king told Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he went out and killed Shimei.

When I read this, I initially thought it was a shade unfair. Ok so Shimei had been warned of the consequences of his actions, but the judgement being carried out in some ways seemed somewhat harsh given the guy returned. I initially assumed it was only meant if he left the city on the run so to speak. The fact that he returned, knowing that death sentence hung over him, implies that either he had assumed the same, or he was mad and willing to accept that outcome, which makes little sense to me given the circumstances. But what it really made me think about yet again, is how much more God has laid a similar death sentence judgement on our lives also (for what many perceive to be just living a 'good' life! if you get my drift), and how we have so little comprehension of how big a thing that truly is. I wonder what Shimei would have said, if Solomon having pronounced the judgement to him, said, "Oh but it's okay - you don't have to die after all, I'm going to let my son die in your place, and let you go on living your life as normal"!! Because for us, that's what it has come down to - and it's just so sad that even as Christians I think we can be rather blase about our salvation. Having received it, whilst grateful, some of us think that somehow its our right, and we're okay now so we don't need to really take stock of our lives any more. And while I'm not a big "once saved, always saved" fan, I do think God expects us to continually be aware of what He has done for us, and not just sit back in proud arrogance of 'our' faith, and 'our' salvation.

You can probably tell after all that, that this is an area He has been speaking to me about a lot lately. And I have to say initially I didn't think I had any problems with my attitude, but over time, did come to recognise that I was literally under a death sentence which although removed, still carries a judgment which I will yet undergo with Jesus, and I cannot afford to thus become complacent about my standing before Him. That's why I contended in one of my earlier posts that Pride has to be one of THE biggest problems within the Body and it's really no wonder given how it managed to bring down the magnificent angel "who was the anointed cherub that covereth;" Eze 28:14.

Truly loving how each of us here gets a different spin on each of the passages, and thanks again to Mike for provoking thoughtful topics! Have to think more about today's one :)).

Yes, we are called to suffer. The Word of God says that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. IITim3:12

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