“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray." -- Matthew 18:12 & 13
This is a marvelous picture, isn't it? It reminds me immediately of the lengths to which Christ went to save me.
To me, the spectacularly cool part about the scripture verses from Matthew and Luke is that we know Christ did not only "risk" His life to save us, as depicted here... Rather, Jesus the Christ, that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, in truth gave His life for the entire lost world to be reconciled to God. Hallelujah!
He came to the earth to seek out the lost as Luke 19:10 says, and He pursued the separated, straggling state of mankind until we were no longer lost to the Father, but found! Hallelujah! THAT'S what Jesus did!
If it had not been for the Lord, saints... where would we be?
I know that I would be lost in the desolate caverns of Hell, strangled and tormented constantly by the torturous chains of my own sins. BUT JESUS' LOVE FOR ME and His all-consuming desire to please the Father (Whose plan salvation was in the first place) did not allow death to catch me. He literally snatched me from its treacherous claws, placed me gently around His loving shoulders, and joyously carried me back to safety. HALLELUJAH! Amen.
What has the Lord put on your heart today that reminds you of how He saved you from death? Whatever it is, beloved, be SURE to thank Him for it. REJOICE IN IT. Worship and sing praise to His Holy Name no matter where you are; indeed, even thinking praises to Him in your heart will abundantly bless Him, for He can read every beat of our hearts wherever we are.
BLESS HIS PRECIOUS, HOLY NAME. AMEN!
So many times we can't understand (much less express) the way we feel given the circumstance that surrounds us. We just know we don't feel good. Although going by our "feelings" or being led by our emotions isn't something we should do, God understands how negative emotions can drag us down; He understands our need to be comforted.
We are advised by His Spirit to comfort ourselves and each other regarding our "Blessed Hope", which is the certain return of Christ Jesus. We are asked to seek God out for comfort from buffeting trials and tribulations, resting assured that "in Him" we will have Peace.
God does not condemn us for needing a helping hand of guidance and sympathy and compassion from Him when times get tough - and that's often. He is "the God of all Comfort", and has pledged Himself to wipe away all of our tears for eternity at the soon coming return of the Lord.
Wrap your arms around brothers and sisters needing encouragement and comfort today. Call them, email them, or go visit them for a while. Most of all, PRAY FOR THEM that God's Mighty Hand of comfort and refreshing be upon their lives to restore their JOY and give them what they truly need from His heart of blessing and love.
Don't hesitate to throw yourselves at Jesus' feet or to wrap your arms around the Lord and just cry. He understands. He will comfort you.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
God will give you the courage the face the inevitable exposure necessary to advance in relationship with Him. He will strengthen and grant you the humility necessary to hear and receive truths about yourself your flesh doesn't want to hear. He will not leave you to your own devices, nor let you ultimately fall. Stumbling is one thing (and He can keep you from that also), but utterly falling is another. As long as we are willing to meet Him even half-way in His desires to change and elevate our lives, Holy Spirit will open our hearts to humility, conviction, correction, and release of those things hindering our freedom, clear thinking, and resolve to show God's unconditional love to all those we encounter.
Beloved, there is no such thing as "losing face" before God. He already knows absolutely everything about our grossly-flawed flesh. Abba only desires to bring us out of the fear of accountability and denial of our own issues. He wants us to embrace repentance that we will be totally exonerated before Him and advance rapidly in the freedom He has prescribed for us.
I've learned first-hand that God will also enable you to trust His unfailing, unfaltering love of you through the times you must come into personal accountability to Him, so He can bring radical change and deliverance to your life. He'll bring you safely to the crossroads where you must choose between embracing pride/resisting change, or embracing His humility/welcoming change. He'll love you through all of that, and He will enable you to continue loving yourself.
Let Jesus deal with you, beloved; cast all your cares upon Him; know and believe that He won't hurt you. He only desires to affect change in us for our certain good, so that we will not ultimately fall.
"For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world - through Him - might be saved." (John 3:17)
In my opinion, today's scripture verse is just as important to our "knowers" as its famous predecessor, John 3:16; most everyone knows that verse by heart.
What highlights today's verse is that its message speaks pointedly to what so many people - saved and unsaved - believe in their hearts about God. They believe He is angry with them; they believe God condemns them for their sins and wants to throw them into Hell. To the contrary, this verse shouts the truth that Jesus was sent to earth as SAVIOR 2,000+ years ago.
Seems like a no-brainer until we do something for which even we have trouble forgiving ourselves. . . then the facades come down, and the ferocious demons of condemnation scale our emotional walls and go for our throats. So many precious lives believe the woefully accusatory, damning lies of the enemy that say God won't hear their prayers or even acknowledge them because they've got "too much sin" in their lives.
WRONG! I curse those lies in the powerful Name of Jesus the Christ. Hallelujah!
No News to Jesus
Beloved, FATHER GOD ALREADY KNOWS HUMANITY IS GROSSLY SINFUL. That's the whole reason behind Him sending Jesus to suffer, bleed, and die for us in the first place. None of us can impress or impact Him with pristine accounts of righteousness at any time without the cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus expunging our records and pleading our cause before Yahweh!
Christ came to save us, NOT condemn us. Period. Why? Because God is head-over-heels in love with every one of us as His most precious and unparalleled creation.
"But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
His very breath birthed each of us into existence, and He is ALWAYS willing to do everything necessary for us to realize we are loved and highly sought after. God is on a rescue mission concerning us, my friends; He is NOT an executioner.
He's waiting to reconcile. He's waiting to FORGIVE, not condemn.
He loves you... He loves me... and He alone is mighty to save. AMEN.
"Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)
There is soon coming a time in our beloved America when calling upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be forbidden. Believers will have to steal away to worship Him and call upon Him silently in their hearts or face severe repercussions and even death. Are you ready to meet the Lord in peace?
If not, I ask you to reread the plea of today's scripture with a solemn heart, and prayerfully consider what I'm about to say.
Now is the time to call upon the Name of the Lord. Dearly beloved, give your life to
Jesus. While it is called "today", as Hebrews says, respond to His tugging on your heart and ask Him to save you. He will never reject a sincerely repentant heart. If you are already saved, ask for a deeper walk with Him that you will be enabled to withstand the pressures and censures of the coming days. Those in His eternal ark of safety (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) will be covered by His blood and enjoy His protection.
God's arms are outstretched, and He is listening for your call every minute... every hour of every day. He is full of mercy and unfailing love for us all. Also, He knows everything we've ever done, anyway - why try to hide our deeds from Him? Why sidestep His gentle entreaties? Unchecked sin eventually kills... why not come to Jesus in sincerity and live?
Father God, I pray for all those reading this post right now and all those in need of Your saving grace, that the light of Your salvation will come to them and overtake them in mercy, forgiveness, and supernatural cleansing of their souls from sin, in Jesus' Name.
If you want to be saved, dear friends, please repeat the following words in the sincerity of your hearts:
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I believe You are that Savior. I believe You died to accomplish my reconciliation with God and that God raised You from the dead. I ask You to please forgive my sins and come into my heart today as my
Savior and Lord, forever. In Your Precious Name I pray. Amen.
Friends, if you prayed that prayer and meant it, you have been received by God into the Family of Christ and are saved! Congratulations, and welcome to the Ark of Safety!
Tell someone as soon as possible about the salvation that's been birthed in you (and
feel free to drop us a comment here at Glory Shield so we can celebrate with you)!
"Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king, and he reigned 55 years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. ...So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel." (2 Chron. 33:1-2 & 9)
As a matter of course in casual conversation, the Lord won't allow me to refer to Manasseh as "Israel's most wicked king", even though scripture basically describes him as such.
That's because of the mercy God showed Manasseh when he earnestly repented after the king of Assyria took him captive with hooks and chains. As scripture describes it:
"Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God. ... So Manasseh rested with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house." (2 Chron. 33:12-13 & 20a)
It's also because, to our God, sin is sin is sin, and no transgression ranks "worse" than any other. Period. The lawbreaking jaywalker is just as much in need of repentance and cleansing as the ax murderer, in God's eyes.
God accepted Manasseh's humbled, sincere entreaty and restored him. That's that.
And you know what, Saints? THANK YOU, JESUS that's that because of what it means for you and I; for no one sits in a sinless, ivory tower before the Lord. Regardless of the kind or level or frequency of sin, it always separates us from our Holy God, and we all stand guilty, in desperate need of forgiveness and cleansing - from the teller of fibs all the way to the serial rapist.
All it takes is sincere repentance to be completely restored and reprieved of utter doom and desolation in eternal separation from God. Manasseh did it, and God rewarded him for it. He received his humble entreaty and brought him back to his kingdom. How GLAD it must have made Hezekiah on the balconies of Heaven to receive the good report of his son's repentance before almighty God!
For me, the best part of this story is that what God does for one, He'll do for all. No matter what the sin, beloved, the Lord's hand is outstretched to you today and every day, asking you to sincerely repent. Turn to God and be restored, for He will abundantly pardon. He did it for Manasseh and, surely, He'll do it for you.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
Beloved, don't be afraid or ashamed of repentance, or the need for it. Don't let your desire to "appear clean" before God keep you from confessing sins and giving God a clear shot at rejuvenating your heart.Hyssop
He knows all of our sins, anyway, doesn't He? We can't fool Him, and we should never try to deceive ourselves.
The first thing I do when I go before the Lord is ask Him to examine my heart in all things. Whatever I have to let go by His power I will let go; whatever repentance I need I will not fear, no matter how it makes me "look" or feel towards myself or others.
Receiving that truth and incorporating that lifestyle is critically important to a clean, pure, powerful walk with God. Repentance, therefore, is something we must take seriously and do with care, every day. Don't bum-rush God with your prayers of repentance... He wants to know that you're willing to be made fully aware of your sin, that you take sinning against Him seriously, and that you reverence the importance and power of repentance, most of all.
When He knows this is true of us, our God will readily pardon, cleanse, and exonerate us from all sin. Our wholeness is just a heart-felt confession away with the honest recognition of and repentance from sin.
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You." (Psalm 51:7-13)
I've got some questions for you...
What matters most to you - who you are or what you do? To you, are they synonymous terms?
One of the priceless truths Jesus has revealed to the Body of Christ is that whatever can be taken away from you is never your true identity.
Your career and any "work of your hands" can be taken away from you. Material
possessions and hobbies and people ALL can be taken away. Even loved ones will
ultimately leave you in death, and you will ultimately leave them also.
So, what's the answer then to the identity question? With death so pervasive to our existence, what on earth is there that can't somehow be taken away?
"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the Only Wise God be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen." (1 Tim. 1:17)
The Godhead and our relationship with Them can NEVER be taken away. God is
eternal and immortal - He will not fail us in death. To the eyes of sinful flesh He is invisible - He cannot be attacked or even comprehended by the flesh! He cannot fail us, nor can He leave us, or be taken away from us!
Therefore, in GOD is where we are to place our identity! In God and God alone.
When we are saved, we become sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, baptized into the family of Christ by His shed blood and redemptive plan... THAT is "who we are".
"... for God has said, never will I leave you, nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5b)
(Originally published July 26, 2013)
"And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!" (Isaiah 30:18, AMP)
Friends, we truly do dwell beneath "the friendly skies" of God. Each day is new in the Lord and filled with His mercy and favor. God looks favorably upon us. He has hope
for further transition to righteousness for His children, and He holds amazing LOVE and desire for the repentance of sinners.
The Lord is not wrathfully considering our condition, He's patiently loving us through it. He greets each day with joyful expectation for fellowship with His creation. Those who come to Him daily make His heart glad. Those who come to Him bi-weekly make His heart glad. Those who come to Him monthly make His heart glad! Notice a pattern here?
God is overjoyed to see us WHENEVER we set our hearts to "come in" to His Presence.
But, in truth, He's saddened for us when our visits are sparse, because He holds in His magnificent hands a gift for us each and every day! He longs for us to come in to Him to receive it for our own benefit and growth!
In Him we have a constant ally. In Him we have an inextricable Friend.
Our Father is angry at "sin", but is head-over-heels in UNFAILING LOVE with every
last sinner. He died for sinners, remember? If you don't know Him, come to Him contritely and you will receive full pardon for your sins. If you do know Him, come to Him boldly, for your inheritance is secure among the saints who dwell at His Throne.
Our God is a Giver, not a thief. He is a Lover of every soul, not a hater. Most of all, to His beloved creation He is the Ultimate Friend - never an enemy. We really do dwell
under friendly skies!
(Originally published July 24, 2013)
photo credit: Vince Alongi via photopin cc
Friends, when God speaks over us prophetically, He is making us aware of His will for us.
God's will being manifested in our lives ALWAYS DEPENDS ON OBEDIENCE from us and from those involved in our life's promises.
If things with us don't turn out as God has spoken, it's always due to disobedience
somewhere along the line - either directly from us or from those involved in His
plans for us - it is never God's fault. There is no fault in Him.
If we and all those involved in God's promises and directives embrace His ways in 100% obedience, every single promise God has made will come to fruition in our lives, for He is Faithful and cannot lie.
Many people don't understand that God is not going to mow us down with His plans... He'll simply tell us what they are and lovingly urge us to align ourselves with His will to bring them to pass in our lives.
Remember that relationship is always a two-way street; there's God's part and there's our part. God will always keep His part, but whether or not the promises make it from Heaven to manifestation on earth ultimately depends upon our decision to obey Him. The scriptures are rife with examples of this truth in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and many more.
Determine within your hearts today to dust off those "old" prophecies and allow Holy Spirit to renew your hope! Align yourselves with all of God's will concerning them and declare them in the heavenlies, beloved; then watch God honor your obedience in faith, believing!
When we trust and obey God, HE WILL BRING EVERY DETAIL OF HIS WORD TO PASS!
(Originally published July 22, 2013)