You can never go wrong with Andrew Murray. This one did not disappoint. The good news is that you can get it free from the Gutenberg Project online. We have all been called to good works, and each one of us, from the feeblest Christian to the great men and women of faith, all must work the work God gave us to do. The good news is that it is never in our own strength, unless we choose it that way. “Waiting on God/Working for God” is a great reminder of what our purpose here on earth is, and who has graced us for this work. I highly recommend to every Christian. The language is not modern and may be harder to wade through, but Mr. Murray’s writing style is simple and right to the point. I give it 5+ stars, I loved it! This is a read again book
I received a copy of “The Kingdom Lights” from the author, Steven VS, in exchange for an honest review. This book is intended for Middle grade to Young Adult. It is a good fantasy, with steampunk elements, including floating cities and magic. I really enjoyed this book. The characters are fleshed out and likable, quite a few interesting new “species” for me. If you are a parent that doesn’t want your children to read anything with magic, then this one isn’t for you. Absolutely no swearing, no sexual content, but there is fighting and “monster” type things used in battle. I give it four stars, I really liked it. Though the story had a clear beginning and end, I am hoping there will be more of these books.
Revelations 12:11 (Weymouth New Testament), “But they have gained the victory over him because of the blood of the Lamb and of the testimony which they have borne, and because they held their lives cheap and did not shrink even from death.”
It is clear in Revelations that two of our weapons against the enemy are the blood of the lamb and our testimony. The blood washes away our sin, protects us from evil, and made us as right as God, so now we can boldly come into the throne of Grace and we have authority over every power of the evil one.
Why would our testimony be a weapon?
Romans 2:4 (NIV) “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
When we share all the good things that God has done for us, what He has brought us through, we are showing His kindness, some translations say “goodness.” This leads hearts to repent, taking them out of the enemy’s camp and bringing them home to the Father.
Psalm 8:2 (Darby Bible Translation), “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established praise because of thine adversaries, to still the enemy and the avenger.”
Other versions say “silence”, “destroy”, and “put an end” to the enemy and the avenger. Our testimony is praise to God. Our only form of praise isn’t song. Whenever we share God’s goodness, we are glorifying and praising who He is.
Satan is trying to keep people ignorant of WHO God is.
Hosea 4:6 (ISV), “My people are destroyed because they lack knowledge of me. Because you rejected that knowledge, I will reject you as a priest for me. Since you forget the Law of your God, I will also forget your children.”
Our testimony tells people who God is! They may have heard that God is vengeful, that He makes us sick, that He sends disaster to judge people, but our testimonies of His mercy, His healing power, of His forgiveness shows who He really is.
We all have a testimony. If you have accepted Jesus as your savior, you have something to say.
We just need to remind ourselves of all He has done for us, for all that He is going to do, in fact He already did it all, we just have to accept it and stand on His promise.
Then, tell someone. In fact tell everyone!
I received a free copy of Meritropolis from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review. I really liked this dystopian story. The writing is an easy style, the characters and likable, and the storyline is good. Residents of Meritropolis are judged by their merit score. Those of lower scores are not afforded the privileges and rights of those with a higher score, but life is hard for them all. This is clearly going to be more than one book as the story isn’t finished. It does end in a good place with a clear resolution to a problem, but is also left open ended for more. I will definitely read more from this author. I give it four stars, I “really liked it.” I can recommend for teens and up, no swearing, or sexual content, but there is fighting and some violence.
At the time of this review Meritropolis is free on amazon, kindle version.
James 3:17 (NIV), “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
The world has a totally different idea of wisdom than God. The world see’s wisdom as intelligence and knowledge. In fact the Encarta Dictionary uses these definitions: good sense, wise decision, accumulated learning, opinion widely held, ancient teachings or sayings. I can right away see problems with all of those definitions! Good sense, we all need some of this, but if it isn’t based on the Bible, it isn’t good. The same can be said for a wise decision, if a decision is based on the world’s view of what is wise, the motivation will be greed, or lust, or it will be based on flawed thinking. The Bible tells us that knowledge puffs up, or gives us a “big head” so accumulated learning will only fill our heads with knowledge that we won’t be able to apply to our lives in any meaningful way. Even knowledge of the Scriptures without Godly wisdom will not profit us. Any opinion widely held is changeable. For example at one time people thought that eating the potato would kill you, and that the world was flat, need I say more? Lastly, ancient teachings can be wise, if they line up with God’s word, otherwise they are still opinions of man that happened to be spouted off years ago.
God tells us that wisdom from heaven is first of all pure. Godly wisdom isn’t motivated by anything other than love. Next, from our verse in James, we see that it is peace-loving and considerate. This kind of wisdom isn’t putting “self” first. It doesn’t have to have its own way, or demand its rights. It thinks “more highly on the things of others.” Wisdom from Heaven is submissive. I know we Americans tend to hate that word, but only because we don’t understand what it means. Submission simply means being “under a mission.” I am under the mission of God. His mission is to bring everyone to the saving knowledge of His grace. I submit to that mission. If we are using Godly wisdom there will be fruit, we will show mercy to others. God is merciful. He never gave us what we deserved, but only what would bring us to a place of fellowship with Him. Finally, this kind of wisdom is impartial and sincere. It can’t be faked. The world is full of people who see themselves as wise. They spout off information, statistics, and opinions and expect us all to be wowed by their greatness, which is neither impartial nor sincere. You can’t fake Godly wisdom, ever. Godly wisdom’s purpose isn’t to impress anyone. It’s purpose is to further God’s Kingdom here on earth.
How do we do that?
By showing God’s love, His goodness, His mercy, and forgiveness. We “make peace.”
Matthew 5:9 (ISV), “How blessed are those who make peace, because it is they who will be called God’s children!”
Luke 6:35-36 (NIV), “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. ”
So, maybe you aren’t feeling too wise right at this moment. Thankfully, God has an answer for that as well.
James 1:5 (NIV), “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Proverbs 2:6 (KJB), “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
Ecclesiastes 2:26 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God’s sight. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.”
I think it is safe to say that the way the world thinks to acquire wisdom is through learning, and through osmosis. We, on the other hand, as Children of the Almighty, receive wisdom from God. It is a gift. We can’t earn it, but that doesn’t mean that we just sit and wait for God to deposit wisdom into us either. God always has a part for us to play. One of the ways that God imparts wisdom into us is through His word. A great place to obtain Godly wisdom is in the Proverbs. He also uses sound teaching. We need to know God’s word and how to apply it to our own lives. This is wisdom.
Why do we need wisdom? And what do we do with it?
Proverbs 11:30 (KJB), “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”
Daniel 12:3 (NIV), “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Proverbs 3:35 (NIV), “The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame.”
It takes true wisdom just to get saved. Human wisdom won’t allow our hearts to accept salvation, it stops the whole message at our head and because it simply doesn’t make any human sense, we reject it as impossible. “God would die for me? No way! I don’t have to earn it, there has got to be something wrong with this way.”
I Corinthians 1:21 (NLT), “Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.”
Godly wisdom loves, it saves souls, inherits honor, shines like the brightness of heaven.
So, get wisdom! It’s important, but make sure it is the wisdom from Heaven.
Proverbs 4:5 (NASB), “Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.”
Thank You for the opportunity to show Your love today. Holy Spirit, direct my path, bring me to divine appointments, to people who need Your love. I will speak of Your goodness and I will represent Your love and care. As I go about my day, I will constantly be in fellowship with You, so I will radiate Your love to everyone I come in contact with. It will be Your love, so I will not be phony or fake. I will work hard at my job, honestly earning my wage and blessing the person I work for. I will not be lazy or apathetic. I will not disregard the authority You have placed over me. I will live and work in such a way as to glorify Your Holy name and I will do it all in Your strength today.
So bet it. Amen.
Hebrews 11 is known as the “Hall of Faith” where Paul goes through a long list of those who walked in and lived by faith. Forget the Red Carpet, the Packer Hall of Fame, and Forbes 500, I want my name on that list.
Hebrews 11:39- 12:2 (ESV), “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
They lived in such a way as to get their name in the Hall of Faith, but never saw the manifestation of those promises during their lives here on earth! Yet all were faithful until the end, they finished the race, crossed that line. I love the part where Paul tells us that God has provided something better for us. We have the shed blood of Christ, the restoration of our relationship with the Father, we have His wonderful grace, and we have the Holy Spirit. We will cross that line seeing the promises fulfilled, or we will be raptured out of here while moving towards the prize with everything we have, if we hook up with Him, if we allow the Spirit to work in us and through us.
Those Old Testament saints weren’t perfect. They messed up. For some of them, that is what disqualified them from obtaining. Moses didn’t get to walk into the Promised Land because he allowed his anger to take over at the rock. So why does he still get his name listed among the others? Because Moses, like the others, was consistently faithful, sure they had their moments, Sara laughed instead of believing, but God says that faith pleases Him. He is not looking at those few times when our faith is shaky, He is looking at the times when our faith held strong.
Hebrews 11:6 (KJV), “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
God knows our human weaknesses. That’s why He sent His Son. Moses didn’t live under grace, but under the law. Thank God, we live in grace. But, just like each and every one of those listed, we all have a choice. Grace doesn’t mean that we sit back on a padded chair and wait for God to hand us everything on a silver platter. We have a responsibility to “run the race”, for some of us it will be a full out sprint, for some a persistent plodding ahead, and for others it may be both. This race isn’t won by going the fastest, or by crossing the finish line first, Jesus already won that prize. Our race is won by simply getting to the end. Persevering, enduring, until the end. Our race can’t be won by sitting, stopping, or God forbid, turning around.
Hebrews 10:36 (NIV), “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
Romans 2:7 (NIV), “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”
Our persistence in doing good gets us to the finish line and God is encouraging us to seek the glory and honor in this. Some seek fame and fortune here in this life; we need to seek the immortal fame and fortune only found in the Kingdom of Heaven. We can’t lose heart.
Galatians 6:9-10 (NASB), “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
We are promised a harvest if we don’t give up or give in, if we don’t back down or sit down. I learned the hard way that when I start to feel “burnt out” it’s not because I have worked so hard, but because I haven’t pressed in. I let my work get ahead of my relationship. If we are working and listening to the Holy Spirit, He gives us rest and peace. He tells us when to speed up and when to slow down, when to give it all we’ve got and when to be still and quiet. He is faithful. We never have to do any of it in our own strength. In fact that is where “burn out” comes from, trying to do it on our own, and just like some of those Old Testament saints, we won’t see the promise, it’s not possible. Their stories are put there for our example. Every time they did their own thing, things fell apart. We have Ishmael because of that very thing. Israel consistently sinned by trying to do their own thing, or what seemed right to them, and even worse by copying what the pagan people around them were doing.
This race isn’t for the week of heart. Take courage in the promises of God! In Hebrews 12, right after the Hall of Faith, Paul encourages us to do just that.
Hebrews 12:12-15 (ESV), “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;”
Lift up those hands! What a promise. I love that God doesn’t tell us to wait for the lame parts of our body to be healed. He tells us to straighten our path so that the lame parts will be healed on the way. How do we straighten the path?
Picture a race in the natural, some are short, some are marathons, but they all have one thing in common, there is a designated path, or track. Now, think about the runners on that path. Those runners have the finish line on their minds and in their hearts and as soon as that whistle blows they are headed straight for it. How ridiculous would it be for one runner to spot the handsomest brown eyed baby sitting in his stroller and stop to do some baby talking with the handsome little man? Or another runner to notice all the garbage strewn about the side of the track and stop to pick it up? Picture a marathon in your mind and think about how foolish it would be if a runner noticed how far ahead some of the runners were in the first minute of the race and gave up?
We cannot let ourselves get distracted! And I promise the devil will throw every distraction in front of you, every stumbling block in his arsenal. So we need to make our path straight. Put on those blinders. Set your faces like flint, Paul says. (Flint is a type of stone, it is used to start fires by causing sparks to fly). We need to allow God’s word to light our path so that we can see any obstacle on the track. When you are running, even the smallest pebble can cause you to turn your ankle. Or think for a minute of all those cartoons as a kid with the slippery slide on the banana skin. We need to see what’s in the path so we can hurdle over or go around, or if the object is too big, we do what Jesus said and command the mountain to be moved.
Paul also warns about the root of bitterness. There are many ways that bitterness takes root, but one root comes from trying to do things in our own strength or getting the cart before the horse. If what we are doing isn’t really what God has called us to do, or He has called and we took off without preparing the way with prayer and talking to Him, we can get disappointed and even bitter by the lack of results, or what we may see as a lack of appreciation. We tend to look at those others in the race as I mentioned before, and they may look like they have lapped us four or five times, and we get jealous and bitter. We each have our own race. We are not racing against each other! Ever. It isn’t a competition. In fact you get farther ahead when you help others along the way. When we see another runner stopped or slowing down, we encourage them, remind them of the prize.
The greatest part about this race is that we already know the outcome. We win. We get the gold medal; we stand on the podium and hear our national anthem, the Song of Heaven. Our victory is sure. I hear stories from my husband’s sisters that he never wanted to play unless he knew he could win. In the natural we call that poor sportsmanship, but in the Kingdom of God, it’s called FAITH!
So I want to be on that list. I want someone to say of me, what John said to these believers,
3 John 1:3-4 (NIV), “It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are WALKING in the truth.”
Even better, I want to hear this from the Father.
Matthew 25:21 (NLT), “The master was full of praise. “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”
Luke 19:17 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English), “He said to him, “Excellent, good servant! Because you are found faithful with a little, you shall be a ruler over ten fortress cities.”
So run, walk, or crawl, keep moving forward. Keep pressing in. Grow that relationship with God. Listen to the Holy Spirit and accept the Grace that God has given us all to abound in good works.