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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sowing the Wind (and other devotionals)



Sowing the Wind

They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.

—Hosea 8:7

In the early twentieth century G. K. Chesterton wrote, almost prophetically, "You may talk of God as a metaphor or a mystification . . . but nobody protests. But if you speak of God as a fact, as a thing like a tiger, as a reason for changing one's conduct, then the modern world will stop you somehow if it can."

When people are angry with God, they are often angry with God's people. This is because they are being convicted by the Holy Spirit as a result of their sin. Jesus said, "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers" (Matthew 5:11).

If we are true followers of Jesus, we have to stand up for what is true and not be intimidated by what others say. Great men and women of God who have been used throughout history to change the course of human events have stood up for what is true. William Wilberforce was one of those people. He was a parliamentarian who would have had a very successful career in politics, had he pursued it. Instead, after his conversion, he dedicated his life to eradicating slavery in England. He succeeded, resulting in its abolition in 1807.

Government isn't able to solve the problems we're facing in our country. There is a place for government. But we have to call on the name of the Lord. We have done our level best to remove Him from our classrooms, from our culture, and from our courtrooms. We have sown the wind. The Bible says those who do that will reap the whirlwind. As philosopher George Santayana pointed out, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
~Greg Laurie~
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To him who overcomes I will give the privilege of sitting down with Me on My throne, as I also have overcome and have sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:21 WNT)

We all have resurrection Life if we are joined to Christ as Resurrection, but there is something more than that; there is resurrection power, which carries us eventually (if it has its full outworking) to the Throne, and not all will come to the Throne. It is: “to him that overcomes.” Caleb, like Paul, and Paul, like Caleb, stood against the more general course of things amongst the Lord’s people. The majority were content with going so far as to the inheritance, possessing so much, and there staying and settling down. An unfinished course, a curtailed spiritual advance, an accepting of something less than what God had appointed and intended. The majority took that course, but Caleb was never content and he stood against the majority just as he had always stood against a majority that did not represent God’s full mind....
Spiritual leadership always involves loneliness. That is the cost of it. The overcomers will always be, so far as the larger Christian world is concerned, a lonely company, having to go on, with few able to follow. Caleb could not accept the popular voice, his heart was too set upon the Lord. He wholly followed the Lord, not the popular and general standard of Christian life. We may say that Caleb was the very embodiment of all that God meant the whole people to be. When you see Caleb you see what God wished all Israel to be, but all Israel did not come to the standard of Caleb. But the Lord gets in a Caleb the satisfaction of His heart. The Lord realizes His full thought in a Caleb, in the same way as He does in a Paul.

~T. Austin-Sparks~
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Now, what do you think of my religion?

(George Everard 

A rich lady once asked a very faithful pastor to call upon her, and when he was seated in her drawing-room, she began to relate to him all her good deeds, and how much she had done for the poor and the suffering. It was a long story, and the catalogue of her virtues and good works was quite overwhelming. 

She had such a high opinion of herself, and her ways and doings, that she never doubted but her pastor would think her a very paragon of Christian excellence. So, very confidently she closed up her narration by putting to him the question, "Now, what do you think of my religion?"

She had a reply very blunt and straightforward, and certainly not the one she expected.

"Madam," said he, pointing to his hat on the table, "you have no more religion than that hat!"

Now you may be far from the open, glaring self-righteousness of this lady, but it may be equally true of you, in God's sight, that you have "no more religion than a hat!" Your religion may all turn upon self. There is a secret dependence upon your own character, upon your freedom from vice, upon your moral conduct--that mars whatever is good about you.

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'  
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 18:10-14
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Ten thousand foul sins and vices burst forth and turn earth into a Hell! 

(George Everard, "The Curse Removed!"

"There shall be no more curse!"
 Revelation 22:3

What a sad history our world has had! Ever since the tempter set his foot on earth, all the fair beauty and glory that pertained to man have well-near utterly perished!

Cursed is the ground for man's sake--thorns and thistles spring up apace! And far worse, man himself becomes as a thorn or a brier--instead of adorning the paradise of God.

Hatred and envy and evil passions of all kinds stir him up to immorality, violence, cruelty and murder.

The image of the righteous, holy God is lost.

Ten thousand foul sins and vices burst forth and turn earth into a Hell! 
Selfishness, pride, jealousy, oppression--bringing misery and confusion into all the relationships of life.

And the soul of man, once the palace of the King of Love--becomes the cage and dwelling-place of unclean spirits!

Oh the terrible weight of the curse which since the Fall has rested on man! Oh the woe and the wickedness which have blighted that which was once holy and fair and beautiful! The crown has fallen from our head--woe unto us that we have sinned!

But Jesus Himself bore on the cross, the penalty and the curse that sin merited--and now He gives in its place an everlasting and unchanging blessing!

There shall be a new Heaven, and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. God shall wipe away all tears from men's eyes. Sorrow and suffering, pain and death, shall no longer burden the earth.

"There shall be no more curse! They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there! And they shall reign forever and ever!" Revelation 22:3-5
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Our Convictions Our Defense


A person of conviction has become convinced, by either evidence or argument, that his beliefs are true. Today, most men and women would rather live by preference than conviction. They choose to believe something based on certain conditions and circumstances. When the situation changes, so does their loyalty. In other words, a lot of people vacillate on issues that require a firm resolve.
Contrast this wishy-washy approach with the mindset of the great men and women of Scripture. Despite many years of unfair treatment, Joseph never wavered in his commitment to godly principles . As a result, he was in the right place at the right time to ensure Israel’s survival (Gen. 50:20). Daniel, another righteous man in an idolatrous land, earned the trust of foreign kings by standing firm in his beliefs (Dan. 1:20). When his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego also refused to compromise their beliefs, they influenced a king to recognize Jehovah as the one true God (3:29).
As these biblical heroes show, godly convictions can withstand the changing winds of opinion and the persuasive arguments of opponents. If we are grounded in the Word and trust what God has said, we can stand firm in our beliefs. Confidence breeds the courage to remain strong amid conflict.
Instead of following your own preferences, choose to live by godly conviction. The Bible has much to say about the most important aspects of your life. See if God’s principles and promises hold true. Through prayer and study, allow Him to firmly root you in solid biblical convictions.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~



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