"One Who Sows Discord Among Brethren"
Who can abide a troublemaker?
The first thing that comes to mind is how chaotic, mischievous, and disagreeable Dathan, Abiram and Korah were amongst the children of Israel, all because they envied Moses and Aaron. Of their evil the scripture says,
"When they envied Moses in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord, the earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, and covered the faction of Abiram. A fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked." (Ps. 106:16-18)
When it comes to the seven things we've reviewed so richly this week - or any evil or wicked thing, actually - our God doesn't play. He hates these particular traits and everything spawned from them. But deliberately "sowing discord" among those marked by His power in cohesive relationship seems to take the cake.
Troublemakers are moody, divisive, and totally given over to fleshly appetites. No matter what is done or said to them, they stand heartily against the principles and edicts of God because, as scripture also declares, the flesh is "at war" with the Lord.
So What's the Solution?
Do you know someone like this? Caught up in a web of contention and malcontent? Clothed in scheming and gossip and lies? If so, please know that they do not need your anger or your rebuke... THEY NEED PRAYER.
Suppose you were in a similar circumstance, friends - would you want to be ostracized or delivered? Shunning these people won't accomplish anything positive, even though it's the natural reflex of our emotions. Prayer, however, will open up the heavens on their behalf, and evoke the Presence of God to surround them and warn them and advise them of solutions to their trouble. That may be all we can do for a hardened individual bent on sowing discord, but that at least should be done. First and foremost, it will please God and show forth His character within you. But also critically important - it just may save their lives.
Let's respond to hateful attributes the way our God responds to them - prayerfully and with love. If you've sown discord among brethren or you know someone who has, please pray along with me for God's mercy and forgiveness:
Holy Father, You see and discern all things; You know me from the ground up. Lord, I'm asking for Your forgiveness of me for sowing discord among brethren. I'm sorry. I bow the knee to Your Spirit of peace and command my flesh to be silenced, in Your Precious and Holy Name. I want to sow harmony among my fellow man from hence forth. And Father, for those I know who have sown discord among brethren I ask for Your mercy and forgiveness to envelop their lives. Please cause Your Spirit to pierce the veil of contention surrounding them and bring repentance and order to their circumstances. I remand myself and them to Your custody, dear Lord, and I cover us all with the precious Blood of Jesus. In Your Holy Name I pray and thank You. Amen.
God bless you all for reading along with this series. We have enjoyed your company and been blessed by sharing our hearts in Jesus with all of you. Until next time, may God richly increase your coffers always.
Pastor Sharon =0)
"A False Witness Who Speaks Lies"
Whereas a lying tongue is indicative of those simply having no care or regard for truth, "a false witness who speaks lies" implies deliberate perjury to harm another. Pitiful creatures, indeed, are those who swear false oaths against others.
Today's topic reminds me of the kangaroo court the wicked Pharisees conducted to falsely condemn Jesus. In jealous froths, they even resorted to blasphemy in efforts to condemn the Lord - accusing Him of being "of the evil one" in healing and delivering souls of maladies by the thousands. Absolutely pathetic, isn't it?
God's heart breaks at the thought of those who would purposely build a foundation of lies attempting to shipwreck the good name of others, while simultaneously grasping, scraping, and even stealing and murdering to obtain their own so-called "good name".
No regard for justice. What a horrid joke!
Has anyone reading this post ever committed such an act? We've all lied at one time or another, certainly, but if the specific intent of your lies was to do harm to another, and your desire now is to be cleansed of the sin of bearing false witness, please pray this heartfelt prayer along with me:
Merciful Father, I am sorry for every lie I've ever told; I am especially sorry for bearing false witness to deliberately harm another soul. I repent of that act and every time I have committed it. I ask Your forgiveness of me for every sin I've committed against You, and I ask You to wash me clean with the Blood of Jesus, as only You can. Father, please fill every void in me with Your Spirit of Integrity, and fill my spirit and mouth with Your truths from here on. Lord, please let my mind be likened to Christ's mind in all things; in Jesus' Name I pray and thank You. Amen.
God bless you, friends.
Lord willing, Friday: "One Who Sows Discord Among Brethren"
"Feet That are Swift in Running to Evil"
Folks salivating at the sight of trouble have no regard for life or peace.
When I was only a youngster, my mother told me never to run towards a fight at school, but always away from it. She admonished that one never knows what fights might yield... "You could be standing around and catch a bullet," she'd say. Ma's words could always raise my eyebrows and capture my attention. Believe me, I had the perfect mother for me.
Over the years, I've seen the horrid effects on lives savoring atmospheres of conflict and wicked device. The "agreement" with evil they run to ultimately devours them. Surely, this grieves the heart of God and moves His emotions to hatred of such acts. After all, He wants us to run to Him - with good intentions and Godly expectations in league and alignment with His prosperous plans. He desires we abstain from even the mere appearance of evil.
Which way are you running? What truly attracts you?
Be honest, friends - do you get excited at the thought of an argument or bitter emotional or physical conflict arising between others? Does mischief and mayhem float your boat? Or do you "want out" of their harmful clutches?
If you seek restoration to peaceful, right-standing with Jesus, running toward His will for you in all things, please pray this prayer of repentance with me:
Merciful Father, the thrill for evil is gone. I want to get away from its grasp; I choose to reject the "lust for trouble" that's shackled my feet. Please forgive me, and restore my heart and hands and feet to their true purpose in You; for I know that I was created to love You and all of Your ways. I was created to abstain from the very appearance of evil. So, Lord, I submit to Your desires for the restoration of peace in me, in Jesus' Holy Name I pray and thank You. Amen.
Lord willing, on Thursday: "A False Witness Who Speaks Lies"
"A Heart That Devises Wicked Plans"
In my opinion, no matter how colorfully patterned, spiders are ugly creatures. Spiritually speaking, their webs are indicative of deception - "wicked plans" always involve some form of it.
Think about the most wickedly devised plan of all - that of satan to steal dominion of the soul of mankind and the earth - deception was the engine that drove it. While it's true that obedience from Adam or Eve would have destroyed his entire offensive, the overall scheme was an abomination to God.
All who "lay in wait" to launch wicked plans birthed from even more wicked hearts are in league and alliance with the enemy. Cain was "of that wicked one" when he conceived in his heart to slay Abel. In jealous animosity, the Pharisees "plotted" to do away with Christ.
Scripture plainly states, "the wicked plots against the just and seeks to slay him." Nearly all such plots and schemes are formulated using some form of deception. Simply put, lies are the key device of the enemy and all those who follow him. Like a sac of eggs yielding millions of tiny spiders, deceptive plans burst forth and cover the heart of the deceiver with crawlers and feelers of trickery and deceit.
Disgusting, isn't it? Such malicious cruelty and harm fly in the face of God's loving, holy thoughts toward us expressed in Jeremiah 9:11. Wicked plans are the exact opposite of Abba's compassionate, positive nature; so, understandably, such things He hates.
What About You?
Beloved, have you ever planned harm against another? To God, the sin of planning is the same as the sin of executing, because it's what's going on in the heart that counts with Him. Scripture says the "devising" is what He hates because, to Him, if you hatch it in your heart, you've done it.
If that's the case or has ever been the case, there is a way to be freed from the wages sin carries: repentance. It's a sweet word, actually. It's an open door to freedom in Jesus He died to provide to you and me. Through a prayer of sincerity, all you must do is release those evil plans and turn your back on the hatred that spawned them. Whatever the reason, cause, or circumstance behind it, giving the situation over to God is your best answer; laying down all cruelty and malicious, evil intent.
Friends - whether you've plotted or been a target of the enemy's wicked plans - if starting with a clean slate is your desire, please pray these prayers openly and honestly with me:
Dear Father in Heaven, please have mercy on me. I ask Your forgiveness for every wicked device I have planned or executed against anyone, ever. I remand to Your custody the hurtful intent of my heart and its pain. I ask You to forgive me and heal me of deception and all deceptive plots, in Jesus' Name. I pray Your restoration over my heart, mind, will, and emotions and ask You to heal the hearts of all those I have wounded through evil plans, devices, or actions; in Jesus' Name I pray and thank You. Amen.
Father, by Your power, I also choose to forgive all those who have devised and/or exacted wicked plots or plans against me. I remand them to Your custody and ask that You cover them with Your unconditional love and forgiveness, in Christ Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
God bless you, friends.
Lord willing, next: "Feet that are Swift in Running to Evil"
"Hands That Shed Innocent Blood"
From the murder of Abel to the stoning of Stephen, hands that shed innocent blood are an abomination to the Lord.
Although no man "took" Christ's life, those who perpetrated evil against His innocence are accursed forever and will one day stand guilty before the Living God. We know from scripture that the blood of the innocent literally cries out to God for justice. All wrongs will be righted, all injustice vindicated and questions answered in the coming Day of the Lord.
God is a God of righteousness, mercy, and justice. He delights in executing these things throughout the earth, the Bible says. So it is critical that we go before God regularly seeking His thorough examination of the issues on our hearts towards ourselves and others. Much of the evil committed against others is birthed from self-loathing. Therefore, it is also critical that we allow God's exposure of diseased areas in our thinking so that He can deliver us from all envy, strife, and wicked intent.
Jealousy is the spirit of murder, and just as a lustful look constitutes a lustful act, jealousy towards another constitutes murderous intent. Did you know that? Without God's exposure of these things, there can be no change.
More Innocent Bloodshed
The innocent blood of Christians is shed daily throughout the world, simply because they've taken a stand for the cause of Christ. Those who faithfully hold to the precepts of God in this day and age will one day face persecution to the point of death; it's inevitable. The blood of the martyrs continues to cry out to God for justice and, make no mistake, friends... justice will be given to every one of them, for our God is faithful.
He makes an accurate accounting of injustice every day, and misses nothing of the sacrifices made by His children. Full justification, vindication, and reward awaits them, never fear; for indeed it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
Friends, if you've ever shed innocent blood through literal acts or through harboring hatred and jealousy in your hearts, I ask you to join me in this prayer of repentance:
Father, this day I repent of all jealousy, malice, or unjust anger held in my heart towards You or anyone. In Jesus' Name, Father, I ask that You please secure my heart to Your righteous holdings in all of my thoughts, opinions, imaginations, and desires that in no way will I ever choose to hold jealous or vengeful thoughts against those innocent of accusation. I wholly submit and remand my heart, mind, will, and emotions to Your custody, and I ask that You guide me in all ways pleasing to Your heart. In Christ Jesus' Name I pray and thank You. Amen.
God bless your day, beloved!
Lord willing, next: "A Heart That Devises Wicked Plans"
"A Lying Tongue"
Scripture says a liar hates the one he lies to, and his flattering mouth works ruin. (Prov. 26:28) Did you hear that? Liars hate the very ones crushed by their lies.
I asked the Lord what He meant by that proverbial truth, and He told me that lies are literal acts of hatred.
Who was the first of humankind deliberately deceived by satan's lying tongue? Eve. The serpent beguiled her with lies, and she ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; a sinful act for which all of creation is still paying a pitiful price. No wonder the Eternal God hates a lying tongue.
Let's face it - lying is dangerous territory, because all who practice lying are in league with the enemy. That wretched creature, Christ says, is the father of lies, adding that when he lies he speaks his native tongue. How awful!
Lies are the antithesis of Christ, aren't they? They are His exact opposite, because He literally IS TRUTH. Christ Jesus is light; lies are darkness. Jesus is Good; lies are evil. Drinking regularly the toxic elixir of lies warps, deforms, and twists all Godly perceptions into dimmed, demented folly. Like a dog chasing its tail, liars go round and round in a constant biting, scraping confusion - never getting a true view of their past or their future, and smelling only the stench of their lies.
As a child, I greatly struggled with lying until my mother took me aside one day and said very firmly, "if you are going to keep telling lies, then we can't be friends." It was the first honest-to-goodness 'wake-up call' of my young life. I was shocked into repentance by her words, for she was my very best friend, and I knew it. So, as a "practice", lying and I parted company. Did I ever tell another lie? Sadly, yes; but I no longer practiced lying, you know what I mean? I stepped aside from using it as a default. I denied it the embrace of my bosom because I valued my mother's embrace more... and God knew it. He knew exactly what to have her say to me, God bless her obedient heart!
God's wisdom in my mom also applies to His relationship with us. For if we embrace lying and its hatred, we can no longer be friends with Christ. Light has no part with darkness; therefore, our tongues must be cleansed by "Truth" (a.k.a., Jesus) and His forgiveness. They must be transformed by His unconditional love, which is ours through sincere repentance.
If you've struggled with lying - as I once did - please join me in this prayer of repentance:
Father, in Jesus' Name I repent of the sin of lying and ask that You cleanse my tongue of its caustic effects. Please wash me in the purifying Blood of Jesus, and grant healing to those I've lied to; heal me also, Lord, of the fear attached to lies. I cast all fear to Hell's abyss in Christ's Name, and I fill the void with Your perfect love and faith, as counters to fear. Shower me, head to toe, with Your Spirit of TRUTH from this day forward, Father, and grant me Your integrity and upright Spirit. In Jesus' Name I pray and thank You. Amen.
Abba's blessings to all.
Lord willing, next: "Hands That Shed Innocent Blood"
"A Proud Look"
The Lord once showed me a vision of a gathering of large groups of leadership in His Body. All those called to His Five-Fold Ministry were present, sitting on stands resembling bleachers. His eyes panned the crowds and led me to a certain section of believers - to me, a truly impressive bunch - arrayed in white. "These are My Teachers," He softly said, with satisfaction beaming on His face. Being a teacher myself, with God's fabulous call on my life, I welled with the first of the seven deadlies, thinking myself in pretty superior company, until the Lord uttered the next sentence:
"Teachers are the ones who struggle most with pride."
BOOM! CRASH! BANG! went my puffed-up heart and my egoistic assumptions. Just standing there, I had proven the very truth of His words until the moment that pride - dreadful and hideous - caught up with me!
The Lord was trying to teach me what was, perhaps, the most critical and valuable lesson I would ever learn:
"Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)
Hmm... a haughty spirit - that's the "proud look" our Father is talking about. The look of self-absorption and preoccupation - solipsism is a big word for it - but, plainly stated, it's a deceptive, disgusting, inordinate esteem of "self" the Lord cannot stand.
"Me, Me, Me"
Pride is NOT self-sacrificing. Rather, it is hopelessly taken with its own ways and opinions. It is impatient, demanding, and grievously "entitled". The look of a 'proud' man or woman is fearful, angry, and grossly immature. Pride is unyielding in its crusading accusation and self-promotion yet, secretly, unrelenting in self-loathing and self-abasement.
Therefore, the Lord not only hates "a proud look" because of its disturbing effects on others, but also because of how it heinously imprisons all souls embracing it to an endlessly seething chasm of deception.
"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts." (Psalm 10:4)
"When pride comes, then comes shame..." (Prov. 11:2a)
"In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride..." (Prov. 14:3a)
"A man's pride shall bring him low..." (Prov. 29:23a)
The Lord once told me that love is not love unless it is sacrificial.
Pride and its regretful holdings blocks the flow of God's love. Pride is an enemy of God; it's what the enemy of God embraced and what solely changed his form from one of radiance and benevolent beauty to one of hateful envy and vengeful wickedness.
Pride is a rapist and a robber more deadly to our lives than the strongest poison. It is devious and evil in all its endeavors... well worthy of hatred from Almighty God.
Humility, the Healer
Humility heals the wounds formed by pride's slings and arrows. Many times I have dropped to my knees, asking for its nourishing salve. Friends, if you struggle with pride, please join me in this prayer, placing all of your sins at the feet of Jesus the
Christ and making room in your hearts for His sheltering forgiveness and
deliverance from all pain, bondage, and pretense of pride:
Merciful Father, in the sweet Name of Jesus, I repent of pride in all of its forms and ask You to free me from its strangle-hold on my life. Please wash me clean in the Humility of Your unconditional love, and enable me to turn my back on all demons of self and selfish holdings. I love You, Lord, and in the Name of Christ Jesus I
relinquish all character and meaning and purpose of pride. I ask that You fill all voids in me with the Blood of Jesus and with Your Cloak of Humility that, in wisdom and humbleness of heart, I will grow and serve You, submitting to Your will over me all the days of my life. In Jesus' Name I pray and thank You. Amen.
God bless you, beloved.
Lord willing, next: "A Lying Tongue"
"These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren." (Proverbs 6:16-19)
The God of all flesh is the God of love, my friends. Not only this, but He IS Love.
With that in mind, imagine the extent of true damage emanating from the moral depravity of seven things scripture cites as drawing God's hatred! To generate hatred from Love itself is to venture into evil itself, for God despises evil and its darkness. Indeed, the scriptures declare that He Himself IS "Light" and, in Him, is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
It's been on my heart to begin a series of devotional posts on this passage of scripture, exploring in the depth and detail God's Spirit places on my heart just why and wherefore God hates these seven things:
A Proud Look
A Lying Tongue
Hands that Shed Innocent Blood
A Heart that Devises Wicked Plans
Feet that are Swift in Running to Evil
A False Witness Who Speaks Lies
One Who Sows Discord Among Brethren
May our Mighty God prepare your hearts and minds for what Holy Spirit would have you receive of His truths, beloved. God keeping us, after each post in this series, we will offer a prayer of confession and repentance that our hearts will be restored to right standing before God Who is the Righteous and Holy King of Every Universe, in Jesus' Name.
God bless you, and we look forward to "seeing" you here as the series begins! Amen.