Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hallelujah from the Psalms.

Psalm 22 is the prophetic insight into the crucifixion. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” gives way to “praise” in verse 22. “Hallelujah” shattered the gloom of grief and the darkness of despair. “Hallelujah” flowed from the lips of Jesus as He praised His Father for the victory over torture and death. “Hallelujah” is the believers’ anthem of praise for the resurrection of Christ Jesus. 
There Jesus is depicted sharing the reality of His victory with His people. Hallelujah comes from ‘halal’ Jewish word for praise and ‘Jah’ means God. This word resonates throughout Scripture, and particularly in the Psalms. In this collection of 150, the psalm 22 about the crucifixion and resurrection leads the ‘Halal’ chorus. How fitting it is that they would point to the words which would flow from the lips of Jesus.
In the next verse we are invited to agree with what Jesus celebrated. ‘You who fear the Lord, praise Him; all you of the seed of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you of the seed of Israel.’ Then, in verse 26 it says that those who seek the Lord shall praise Him and live forever. 
Christians have countless reasons for echoing the many ‘Hallelujahs’ found in the psalms. Psalm 56:4a ‘In God, I will praise His word in God I have put my trust…’. Do we honestly express a “Hallelujah” for the 66 books of the Scriptures? Within this library of God and from Him to us, we can understand Creation and Humanity and the chaos caused by Sin and Satan. More than that, we read of the Lord of Heaven coming to redeem repentant sinners, overthrow sin and death at the cross, offer a new start in life and journey with us to His glory. Psalm 119 is the psalm of praise for God’s Word and its influence within a life.
Those who have heard Handel’s majestic ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from ‘The Messiah’ know the thrill it gives to the heart and mind. Handel tapped into the very essence of the Psalmist’s heart and expressed it with grace and power. It gives expression to how those with faith in and experience with Christ Jesus feel about the Lord and Saviour.  To quote the Psalmist again ‘I will praise the name of God with song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving’ (Ps 69:30). Those who know the transforming grace given by Jesus, His forgiveness, His peace and His promises, cannot help but sing His praises. We may be tone deaf, flat or melodic and exuberant but what the Lord hears is our heart. In turn I believe it makes us sound awesome in the ears of God the Father when we sing praises to God the Son.

The Psalms begins with the word ‘Blessed’ and closes with the word praise. In between are the experiences of God’s people across time. They are confronted with opposition, frustration, enemies, failure, catastrophes and demonic assaults. These are intended by the Devil to shatter God’s promise of being the ‘blessed’ person. What unfolds in the believer’s experience is the faithfulness of God in and through all those moments of pain and confusion. 
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Sure, we will wrestle with many issues throughout life but we tie ourselves to His unchanging grace and eternal Word. That is why we have hope. That is why we can sing “Hallelujah” even as tears flow, for God will not forsake us. The Psalmist even asked Him to collect his tears in a bottle and record them in Heaven’s book (Ps 56:8). I think it was so that later God would vindicate the Psalmist.  This caused the writer, David, to exclaim “In God will I praise (Hallelujah) His word” (verse 10).
The final five Psalms form a quintet of Hallelujahs. What a crescendo we enter into as we read them as a testimony of God’s faithfulness, the believer’s testimony and the declaration
of Faith. “Hallelujah” is proclaimed 20 times. I like to think that number represents 2x10. Two points to testimony and ten expresses God’s perfect order within His world. Are the closing 20 Hallelujahs the Psalmist’s overwhelming testimony and conviction to God’s perfect sovereign rule within a believer’s life? What do you think?

Copyright Ray Hawkins Sept 17 2017.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

God's library

Libraries are a fascinating place. So many words hiding behind covers, so many areas to explore. So much wisdom waiting to be found and stories to enjoy. When I visit a library I’m reminded of the quote from Ecclesiastes 12:12 ‘of making many books there is no end.’
When I look into the Book of books I notice that God has His own library. We have a list of some of the books in His keeping. We are aware of some of them from Revelation 20 where it says that on Judgement day He opens the books. One is the book of life, another the one about works and others unnamed. Would one of them be what Malachi 3:16 refers to as God’s book of remembrance? That recorded the names of those who feared the Lord met together to encourage each other. Why? For they lived in godless times.
There is also a book Daniel mentioned as being sealed up for it had God’s knowledge of History’s climax. Is it still a closed book? The answer is found in Revelation 5. The only person worthy to open it was Jesus. He alone had stood the test of righteousness on earth even when He took upon Himself the Sin of the World at the cross it couldn’t break His righteousness. Jesus smashed sin and death’s power.
How is that relevant to you, to me? It means everything. For we are told in Psalm 139 that the Lord God has a dossier on each of us. Imagine that, the good, the bad, the rotten and the sweet He has recorded about us. Even Jesus said that for our unfruitful, barren worthless words we will give account (Matthew 12:36). If that was all that the books contained we are men and women without hope. We may as well eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.
How fortunate we are to have in our library the Bible. For it says, in the words of Jesus “Be of good cheer”! How is that possible? Because, He has the power to blot out certain sections the Heavenly Father has written about us. Imagine that. Heaven’s library books about us can have wipe out applied. What power can erase, cover, smudge, blot out my falling short of God’s standard? What can remove those unfruitful words? Colossians 2:14, ‘Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.’
That’s an awesome declaration. That book has a nail through it. It also has blood stains covering our offenses against God. How did that come about for you, for me, personally? It isn’t automatic. It came to be because you knew you were under God’s wrath and judgement. What could be done by any of us to rectify the problem, placate God’s anger? Only one thing, the unblemished life of Christ who came to solve our problem by standing in our place of judgement. He took our sin and suffered our judgement and showed by His resurrection that He succeeded in His mission.
But, how did His achievement on your behalf, my behalf become ours personally? The importance of this is realised in a statement by Jesus. His disciples had come back from ministry to various villages. They had wonderful stories to tell about their conquest of the demonic forces. Jesus told them of an even greater reason to be thrilled. ‘Rather, rejoice because your names are written in Heaven’ (Luke 10:20). This took place when we made a deliberate choice summed up in Peter’s words to his people. ‘Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…’ (Acts 3:19). Our names were added into a book called ‘The Lamb’s Book of Life’ (Revelation 13:8. 21:27). 
Now it is possible for us to know the smile of God over us. Now we can rejoice in and be humbled by the Psalmist’s words about our new relationship. ‘How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them.’

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Dead People follow Christ.

It begins with a wrestle between wills in the spiritual equivalent of Gethsemane. Do I allow my will to die so that Christ’s will for me will prevail? The trouble is, I know when Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane it lead to the cross. This is where Jesus wants to take me. Here is the implication of His invitation “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me!” Remember Jesus’ closing words at Calvary, “Into your hands I commend my spirit!” That is what I do when I take up my cross.

In essence, this taking up of Christ’s offer of discipleship is inseparable from Salvation. Such a spiritual commitment is expressed in the drama of baptism by immersion. Unfortunately, for some, being saved and becoming a disciple are two distinct experiences. Saved but stagnant, attending services not obeying commandments; lookers not followers; absconders not learners. Such folk are alive and active in their own will but indifferent to Christ’s call.

Disciples exhibit two phrases Paul expressed. One is: “I’ve been crucified; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me with Christ, and the life which I now live, in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for mw’ (Galatians 2:20).

Second one is: ‘I die daily’ (1 Corinthians 15:31b). Can you make a list of that to which your ‘Gethsemane’ calls you, if not daily, at least sometimes?

Those verses point to this reality: To be a disciple is to take up one’s cross and follow Christ. That then implies that only those who have been crucified, therefore dead to their own sovereignty, can be disciples. It is only such ‘dead servants’ who can be fruitful to the Father (John 15:4-8).

Christian discipleship begins with a cross and ends with a crown. Death to self-will, self-importance, to self-centredness allows Christ’s love, life and liberty to take root. The path Jesus walked in His humanity He blazed for us to follow. Fortunately, He keeps us company all the way.

Take up your cross.

The Lord’s insistent command,
“The cross is waiting your hand
Should you want to come, follow me,
You need to know the touch of Calvary.”

How can I the cross define?
Unseen, yet it rules my mind.
Jesus in Gethsemane
Portrayed the cost vividly.
There He prayed fervently
“Father, Your will be done!”  

 To carry my cross is my choice,
Faith’s obedience to His voice.
Ignore the cross, you walk alone. 2
 the Lord only chooses to own
Those who are identified
With Him, the Christ crucified.

 The cross is the Lord’s glory,
The centre of the Gospel story. 3
Christ’s life changing victory
O’er Satan, sin and death’s misery
Becomes our personal testimony
When we share His Calvary.4

1. Matthew 26:39. 2. Luke 14:27.  3. 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24.  4. Galatians 2:20.

©Ray Hawkins 13 August 2017.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Scandals in the Bible.

Scandals fill our news network constantly. Disgrace and shame follow in their discovery. Reputations suffer and the family name is sullied. There isn’t any honour in being associated with scandals or is there?
The Greek word ‘skandalon’ which gives us our English ‘scandal’ actually means ‘stumbling block.’ The New Testament uses it to tell the effect the Bible story has in the minds of society when it thinks of Christians. The following brief scandals of faith which cause the non Christian world to stumble Christ’s followers wear with honour. Sure, the cost is high and reputations, ambition and income suffer. However, disciples weigh that in the light of the cross and eternal truth and count the price as nothing.

The scandals begin from the very first words of the Bible, ‘In the beginning, God created … ‘ and it was done in six days. This offends evolutionists with their billions of years and they throw verbal ‘stones’ and unsubstantiated theories to smear Creationists, who often have superior scientific degrees.
This is followed by the opposition to the Biblical basis for marriage in Genesis 2. This has been discussed on previous blogs. Opponents to marriage as being between a man and a woman stumble and crash in disarray on this foundation for the most intimate of relationships.

Staying in Genesis is another frustrating rock of offense that won’t go away. The verifiable and worldwide flood of Noah and the Ark fame. Fossils from all around the world and from the depths to the mountain heights tell of this cataclysmic event. Once again it undermines their uncountable years of death and decay as a series of gradual events. Believers in the Biblical account are vilified and often overlooked in their professions.
Perhaps the greatest and most offensive sense of offense centres upon the One who is the reason for the Bible, the JudeoChristian faith, Jesus the Christ. It isn’t about His Sermon on the Mount, or His good deeds. No! It is because of who He is, why He came, what He did and promise.

Jesus claims to be the One promised in the 39 books of the Old Testament. He is the descendant of King David. He is the Son of Man, the Messiah promised. He is the Son of God, Emmanuel through the virgin birth. Pointers from the Old Testament are verified in the Gospel accounts as taking place in this Man of Galilee. That’s too much for some to handle.
Most offensive however is the Calvary event. The cross arouses such anger, disgust or denial that people have rampaged to silence or destroy those who believe the crucifixion. The cross says that no one is good enough for God. It says there is no other way to be acceptable to the Holy Creator. The cross vindicates the words of Jesus and cancels out the blasphemy charges against Him. For the resurrection declares Him righteous and He is able redeem all those who put their trust in Him.

For Israel the cross is a stumbling block and for Gentiles it is foolishness. For believers the
cross is the Almighty’s wisdom which discredits Human efforts to deal with sin. It is also the power of God by which He transforms the spiritually dead into new life. By Christ’s risen life He can take a person out of the spiritual realm of Darkness and into Christ’s kingdom of light. In accepting the crucified and risen Lord guarantees forgiveness, cleansing and reconciliation with God. Jesus is an offense because He offends our pride, our goodness and our deeds as not able to impress the Heavenly Father.

The final scandal of the Christian Faith is Christ’s insistence that He will return to complete His mission. His first coming was for our salvation. His second coming will be to reign and to judge which scares those who live without Him. Is it any wonder that those who are offended, scandalized by and stumble at the Gospel try and reduce it to myth, carve up its historical integrity or penalise the disciple.
The Bible is a scandalous book which transforms the believer into being a citizen of Heaven. It is a scandal which can never be silenced. It is a scandal over which unbelief causes people to stumble, yet it is a rock on which believers rise to greater heights. As Romans 9:33 says: ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.’

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Where Marriage was created.

The sexual debate has gone full circle from Caesar's time to now. When the Church began its entrance into Gentile territory it faced a sexual minefield. Rome's attitude to sexual relations was in stark contrast to that upheld by the Judeo-Christian faith. How did the Christian faith take on the challenge? 

By paying a high price in its commitment to the Scriptures Jesus believed in. By an understanding that marriage had links to the Creation of Adam and Eve. Believers showed a better way in their marital relationship and its impact upon the children. I don't read of Christians holding protest marches but rather being vilified for their stance and power of debate. The cross triumphed over the sword and the arena by the faithful witness even unto death.

Why would people once happy with a free and easy, unrestrained sexual taste remove themselves from that scene? Why would they be willing to be scorned by those once considered friends? Because the came to understand that marriage was more than sex and having legitimate heirs. Behind it was a spiritual dimension that only the Creator would explain much later. This reason undergirding marriage has for many Christians and church goers been neglected, or worse still, debunked.

Genesis tells us that the Lord created Adam first and from his side made Eve. How ridiculous! We all know it is the woman which gives birth. Why would the Creator stretch our credibility with Adam producing Eve? This isn't only recorded in Genesis 2:21-25 but by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:13. It is only the Scriptures that tells of the reason and it is twofold. One is that when a husband and wife come together in the sexual act they become one flesh. This is why the Bible is so strident against promiscuity. It is also the same reason as to why same sex relationships will never be valid  in the Lord God's sight. 

The other reason is that Eve being formed from out of the side of Adam pointed to Christ and the cross. Jesus is the redeemer. He is also the One (and the only One) from whom the Church could come. The significance of the spear into His side is for forgiveness, yes, but more so for the creation, birth, forming of the Church. That is why the Church is likened to a bride. It takes us back to the Creative act of God in Genesis. Therefore when a person was converted and realised the call upon his or her life a new mindset based upon the Bible developed.

Within this new realm grew a desire to honour the Lord and Saviour. To do that required making a commitment to live a life pleasing to Him. There are many verses in the New Testament explaining the difficulties but determination in living such a life. Too many disciples of Christ have too little understanding of the lifestyle required as pleasing unto their Lord.

Let us stand our ground as to why the Christian concept of marriage is best for our society. we don't have to be rude, crude or derogatory towards other views. However we may need to develop a mindset which will endure various forms of opposition. The best answer is in many ways is being muffled by relationship breakdowns of church goers. What is needed by non-Christians to see is a fulfilled, interesting, growing and enjoyable marriage between a man and a woman who seek to honour Jesus. Let it be your!

Ray Hawkins 13.8.2017
The devotional 'From Eden with Love is about Marriage. It is available from Christian bookshops and as an ebook.
You can get it from me, the author, also.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Marriage, ministry, Mutual responsibility

Lately there has been much discussion about women in ministry. Alongside of this has appeared wife abuse. This blog would like to take you along a path in relation to husband and wives in Christian ministry. When Adam was created God gave Eve to him to be the man’s help mate. There wasn’t any intention of competition or inferiority. God’s principle inherent in that relationship still exists and should be best expressed within the marriage of a minister and his wife. It is called 'one flesh.' That has no emphasis on rank but on oneness and finding each one's differences woven together for mutual strength and honour.  That is a challenge to both. How well do I release my wife to fulfil the Lord’s calling upon her life? Do I have any idea what her gifts and abilities may be? How well am I sustained and encouraged by my 'help-mate!'  

In 1 Corinthians 9:5 there is a snippet concerning the Apostle Peter. It regards to the unsung role of an apostle’s wife. The Apostle Paul wrote, ‘Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?’ Why would Peter have Mrs. ‘Peter’ accompany him on at least some of his ministry ventures? Once again the silence of Scripture intrigues and teases the imagination. The macho apostle in a male chauvinistic world was uninhibited and unashamed to have his wife by his side. What Peter wrote about wives and husbands in 1 Peter 3:1-7 was it out of personal experience. Could he have been showing appreciation of a ‘one flesh’ relationship within ministry? It must have motivated him (with her encouragement?) to see converts separated by their faith woo and win their spouses to the Lord. His advice is still relevant.

There is another couple within Scripture about whom we know a little more and yet not enough. Aquila and Priscilla stand out as a wonderful, faithful, energetic couple. Something which has aroused some commentary responses are the occasions when Priscilla is given precedence over her husband. Again we do not know much about their relationship or up-bringing. We do however gain insights about their team ministry. It wouldn’t be far from the mark to say they were comfortable with each other’s role. Neither would have felt threatened when the other was mentioned first in despatches. How different it has been with some others in the Christian ministry.

The male ego is often fragile while at the same time lapping up the ‘crumbs’ of public applause. Sometimes an immature personality is unsettled or jealous when his wife receives accolades for  exercising her gifts and abilities. The attitude of Diotrephes (3 John) can be rampant within the minister’s house as well as with a local congregation. Where, O where, is the beautiful Biblical incentive of ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others’ Philippians 2:3, 4. In the context of a minister’s relationship with his wife and her expressions of ministry surely the same rule applies.

Proverbs 4:5-9 is about Wisdom. This information can be so easily applied by a minister to his wife. There is great benefit to him personally and therefore to his ministry in treating his wife as Proverbs explained Wisdom. The word ‘Wisdom’ has been change in the following passage to ‘wife.’ ‘Do not forsake your wife, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you… Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honour you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendour.’ Such an outlook releases the wife to express her gifts and abilities with the husband’s encouragement and pride. The consequences of all this trust is to enrich her life and expands her love, respect and admiration for her man. The testimony of such a mutual ministry and relationship is a wonderful attraction and a strong challenge. 

When asked what has been my greatest asset in ministry I unhesitatingly reply, ‘My wife!’ Mary has been my help-mate in every area of my life and ministry. From a human perspective without her I could not have had our fulfilled and successful ministries. She has been God's gift to me!
Ray Hawkins August2017.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Picture hidden in Words.

Many words have a story woven within them. Discovering that story, picture gives a deeper meaning or nuance to what it says. Whether the word is poetic, symbolic, or even jargon each ultimately points us to something tangible and literal. When Jesus spoke about Himself as ‘the door’ we understand it as a metaphor, a picture expressing something. The same applies to Jesus being ‘the Rock.’ There is only one way into the presence of the Father and therefore Heaven. That is through Jesus as Lord and Saviour. There is only one sure and certain foundation on which to build your life. That is the Word of God.

Some are trying to make people who take the Bible seriously, therefore with a literal understanding of the text as intellectual ‘cavemen!’ Others want to make the plain statements of Scripture as either relevant only to the ancient past, or fantasise into something quite different to what it plainly says. That is where supporters of same-sex marriage linger. Marriage has no meaning outside of the Biblical explanation and, dare I write it, the literal symbolism behind the literal union of Adam and Eve. That points to the literal relationship between Christ and the Church.

The Bible was meant to be read and understood. Then it was expected to be adopted and lived out in relationship, service and worship. Habakkuk was commissioned to write his vision so as to ‘make it plain on tablets, and so a runner may read it’ (2:2). As the apostle Paul wrote about speaking that it is only beneficial if it is understood. Sure, there will be many layers to what is written or said because there are various levels of intellect. But, they are meant to be grasped or searched out. The parables of Jesus are a case in point. There is the very obvious message that would lodge within the ear and have an impact. Then, there is the deeper side to the story waiting to be delved into. Both lead to a literal understanding of the Lord’s intention and teaching.

When it comes to certain facets of Scriptural terms and stories in the Old Testament critics are quick to use them as literally ridiculous. The serpent enticing Eve to take the fruit is one of their chief criticisms. Is there a literal answer. Yes. Revelation 12:9! There the answer is presented. The serpent is none other than ‘the great dragon…the Devil, Satan.’ A literal spirit being. A story in the life of Israel in the wilderness concerns the healing of those bitten by serpents. They had to look to the pole Moses had made on which a moulded serpent was placed. Those who looked towards it when bitten were healed. Centuries passed before the meaning was given. Jesus said it pointed to the Son of Man being lifted up, John 3:14. That still wasn’t clear and later Jesus added Himself into the mix. In John 8:28 and 12:32 He said He would be the one lifted up. The cross explains the event in Numbers 21:4-9. The symbol pointed to the literal.

People want to explain away Biblical teaching which conflicts with their views, especially in morals and science. The non-Christian has no reason to accept the Biblical teachings on these matters. It is a different matter for Christians who believe Jesus is the Son of God, Lord, Saviour and the one before whom all will bow. Christ’s views are for us to check-out, understand, adopt, apply and defend. That is a costly exercise as Christians in the sciences have found. Expose the fundamental fallacies of evolution and you are ‘blacklisted’, ostracised. Defend the literal six days of creation and you are ridiculed. Uphold the veracity of the worldwide flood of Noah’s day is to be considered out of step with the facts. Yet the facts speak of a worldwide flood which in turn the evolutionists refuse to debate or consider.

To take the Bible seriously is to enjoy the richness of its words. The awesome symbolisms of the Tabernacle and its sacrifices, the beautiful poetry of the psalms, the metaphors of the Gospels, especially John’s, all take the reader to some unchanging truth, especially about Jesus. As Jesus said in John 5:39 “they speak of me!”

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why God is Deaf!

“Why doesn’t God (if there is a God) do something? The world is in a mess and He sits on His throne somewhere watching. Can’t He hear the cries of people in pain? Isn’t He unmoved by domestic abuse? When was the last time He ‘zapped’ someone for paedophilia? So people wave an accusative finger and hostile words towards Heaven.

However, could it be that the reverse is the actual fact? God has spoken! It is we (or many of us) who are deaf, or at best, we exercise selective hearing.

God as Creator has spoken to this world through His artistry in the sky. The hearing impaired claim it is a chance thing. Such an attitude puts ‘plugs’ in the ears of the soul when God has a word to say. What may that have been? Judgement in the form of a worldwide flood is coming. Self-indulgent perverted and violent relationships drowned out the warnings. It also made them ‘blind’ to an escape plan from the flood. Noah’s Ark was the Judge of the whole Worlds’ act of mercy. Only eight (8) grasped it, went into the ark and rode out the judgement.

Time after time the Lord God Almighty has spoken until (with respect) He lost His voice. He has spoken in sign language through the religious system of sacrifice in the Jewish worship. The sophisticated people of today would call it animal cruelty and fail to discern the significance of substitution and the penalty of death. Through specially selected men and women the Lord recorded His plans, pleasure, promises, punishment and power. It wasn’t illiteracy which prevented the words being read. It wasn’t then and isn’t now. The underlying reason for not at least perusing the Bible is so a person can claim innocent through ignorance. That hasn’t a chance of holding up before the Great White Throne of Judgement. Ignorance is fed by self-righteousness which sets its own rules and demotes what God has recorded as so out of date with today’s wisdom.

In one final ‘shout or scream’ the Father in Heaven summed up all He could say by commissioning His only Son Jesus to be the final Word! He spoke and people liked what He said, when it was served with bread and fish. When Jesus mentioned righteousness and truth, honouring the Father and caring for others selective hearing took over. Jesus became a bore to the hierarchy, a threat to the tyranny of Rome whilst the people became upset because He didn’t meet their expectations. So, they crucified Him. That was mean to stop the Voice of God. That was so they could still curse The Father in Heaven for being a ‘do nothing God.’ It backfired! God the Father’s voice in His Son Jesus became even louder. Three days after the crucifixion came the background music of an earthquake which has shaken the spiritually and morally deaf, the blind, the mute, the ignorant, ever since. “He is risen!” “He is Lord!” Hear Him!”

God has sounded out, spelt out, signed out His intentions. He has informed us now and once for all His offer of redemption, forgiveness, relationship behaviour and morality based upon His righteousness and word. Society, family and relationships are paying the price of thinking they know better. There is still an opportunity to change for the better. That requires an openness of the ear, the heart, the mind and the will to know and do what God has already said. Not to heed His word is to invite into our realms moral confusion, the tyranny of the perverse and the desperation of the hopeless. God has spoken to us! His final word is summed up in the Christ of Calvary. Hear ye Him!
Ray Hawkins July 23rd 2017.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Zodiac Reclaimed

‘The Heaven’s declare the glory of God … day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.’ These verses from psalm 19 are beautiful but. Are they meaningless? The psalm goes on the say ‘there is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.’ I have to admit I haven’t heard their voice. Am I deaf? Blind?

Did I missed something? Yes! In Genesis 1:14 the record says God put the lights in the sky to be signs and for seasons. This means much more than simply Summer through to Spring. There is a story woven somewhere, somehow in the sky. When creation took place, in far fewer years than the billions being mooted, Humanity could see that story. Since the flood of Noah’s time, two things have happened to that story I the stars. One, the Heavens keep expanding. A scientific reality and Biblical testimony (Job 37:18. Isaiah 40:22. 42:5. 44:24. 45:12. 51:13).

It is remarkable the amount of references to the stars in the book of Job. How did he know that his Redeemer lives? That He would stand upon the earth and Job would see Him, even after Job’s death. (Job 19:25-27). Surely, psalm 50:6 sums it up, ‘The Heaven’s proclaim his (God’s) righteousness.’ What a shame the human heart has sullied it. That helps us understand why the Lord God raised up a nation with prophets to record His program and purposes. Even then the contest between God’s revelation and the perverter of Scripture (and the story in the stars) was unrelenting. Still ongoing.

The second is the corruption of the story. It has been turned into the ‘Horoscope’ which I would write as the ‘Horror-scope!’ The account of Babylon’s foundation and history (Genesis 10:6-20. 11:1-9) bear witness to the corruption of God’s story in the sky. Why would anyone or thing want to do that? Because God spelt out His redemptive plan before it was committed to tablet then parchment and books. The spiritual power behind Babylon didn’t like it because it revealed his doom. He wanted to usurp the Messiah and remove God from His throne. Read Isaiah 14:12-15. 47:8)

In Job 38:32 this ‘story in the stars’ is called ‘the Mazzaroth.’ The Study Bible by Bullinger has a whole section on this matter. There is far too much to include in a blog. I’d like to highlight the following: He has recorded the Redeemer’s role. I’ve put alongside it some verses I considered relevant. This story is connected with Israel and the promised Messiah.(The Church, the Body of Christ on earth was the Lord’s surprise and masterstroke, Ephesians 3.Romans 16:25-26)

The 1st book in the story of the stars. The Redeemer’s first coming.

Virgo.             The prophecy of the promised seed                     (Genesis 3:15. Isaiah 7:14.)

Libra.             The Redeemer’s work                                            (Matthew 20:28 John 3:14-21.)

Scorpio.          The Redeemer’s conflict.                                      (Psalm 91:13. Psalm 22.)

Sagittarius.   The prophecy fulfilled.                                           (John 12:31-32. Matthew 27.)

The 2nd book in the story of the stars. The Redeemer’s work and results.

Capricornus. The prophecy of deliverance.                                                 (Isaiah 53).

Aquarius.      Results of His work given.                                                       (Hebrews 1.)

Pisces.            The results of His work enjoyed.                                            (Hebrews 2.)

Aries.              The promised deliverance fulfilled.                                       (1 Peter 1.)

The 3rd book in the story of the stars. The Redeemer’s second coming.

Taurus.          The prophecy of coming Judgement.                  (John 5:22-30.Revelation 20)

Gemini.         The Redeemer’s reign in glory.                              (Psalm 24. Revelation 21-22)

Cancer.           The Redeemer’s possessions are safe.                 (2 Peter 1.)

Leo.                The prophecy of triumph fulfilled.            (The Lion of Judah. Revelation 5:5.)

Our faith isn’t in the stars. It is founded upon the Sacred writings Jesus believed in and held as inspired. We stand on the ground Jesus ‘paved’ for His apostles with ‘The Comforter … He shall teach you all things, and bring to remembrance, whatever I have told you.” (John 14:26. 16:7-15).

©Ray Hawkins July 16 2017.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Relic or Revelation?

When Jesus said the Bible’s purpose was about Himself how did the listener's take it? Did they think He was being rather 'bigheaded,' facetious or impertinent? We'll never know! Perhaps the context of John 5:31-47  makes it plain that Jesus was issuing a challenge about the veneration of Scripture and their hostility toward Him. Such a reverence of their scrolls unfortunately didn't translate into believing what was written. It is easy to treat the Bible as a nice religious relic rather than a vibrant revelation. The Lord confronted His opponent on this point when He said, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me." Jesus is no relic. Jesus is vibrant through His Spirit and Word to all who are alive to Him!

The word ‘testify’ in 5:39 presents us with a picture of the Law Court's witness stand. Here the 39 books of the Jewish faith are under oath and must declare its corporate as well as each books purpose. The readers (spectators in the courtroom) perhaps could sense the rise in tension by the implied offer. "Do you want to ask me, 'where are you mentioned' in those holy scrolls?'" Why the silence? Was it because they really didn't want to know. So many people are similar to that even now. Happy to ask questions but not interested in hearing the answer lest it unmasks their ignorance or unbelief.

After the resurrection two disciples received the greatest exposition of the Scriptures ever shared. On the Emmaus road Jesus talked with two disillusioned disciples. What was the theme? Luke 24:27: ‘Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures.’ (emphasis added).  For a follower of Jesus Christ there could be no greater delight than to get to know the Lord with clearer, deeper understanding. When the Lord left them a very telling comment was shared between the two, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32). If such flames were roaring within more of the hearts of disciples there would be less frozen, frost-bitten and frigid believers. It is the 'burning heart' which knows the Lord and expresses His warmth in moral and ethical relationships as well as spiritual stewardship.

The Lord allowed no selection about what to accept of the Bible's testimony. It is a 'package deal!' Throughout the four Gospels Jesus verbally and textually struck down 'selective shoppers' who were merely wanting a spiritual bargain. You cannot elevate Jesus as Lord, Saviour and Emmanuel and at the same time say He had limited understanding or adapted  words to the people's culture. Such nonsense is refuted by His statement of speaking only what His Father told Him to say.

What then are some insights gained about Jesus between Genesis and Malachi? He is the promised one, born of the virgin. Genesis 3:15/Isaiah 7:14. He is the Passover Lamb Isaiah 53. (plus the other sacrificial testimonies). He is the Creator, the I Am, (Exodus 3:14. John 8:58). He is the Promised heir of David to sit upon the Davidic throne. (Psalm 110:1 Romans 1:3). He is the person before whom all will bow. (Isaiah 45:23/Philippians 2:10-11). He is the Lord who returns to rescue His people. Psalm 2. Zechariah 14:4./Acts 1:11-12. Revelation 19.

As the 39 books were written to testify, so too the Gospels. John 20:31: ‘These are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.’

The same testimony is valid for today. ‘The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus.’ Acts 8:34–35.
Ray Hawkins July 9 2017.

This is my latest Devotion. Due for release shortly. Stay tunes!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

What's in a name.

Diotrephes who must rank as the example par excellence of Ego leadership in its rawness. He appears, not very favourably, in the New Testament letter of 3 John. Is there a clue to his spiritual condition in his name? In former years when people were converted from paganism they changed their names. This was an indication of belonging to a new Lord and going to a new destiny. Diotrephes kept his old name. It meant ‘nourished by Jupiter’ the ruler of the Roman pantheon of gods. What we read about this man tells us a lot about the source of his spiritual nurture. Whether he was a new man in Christ or a fraud only the Lord knows. However, it would appear that his past allegiance, belief system and family history overruled Biblical lifestyle and spirit.

Nowadays we don’t usually need to change our names when we are converted. This is the beauty of living in a nation influenced by the Christian faith. We do however need to ensure where our spiritual nourishment comes from. We also need to cut any ties that link our history with the occult. That evil distorts how we view God's call on our life and service. Psalm 139:23–23 — ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’  The worry is that within those called to be leaders there lies a latent ‘Diotrephes’. This creature of the soul is itching to spring up and dominate. To keep this carnal ‘creature’ under control requires all the power of the cross and searchlight of  God's word.

Diotrephes loves to be first. If we are honest with ourselves we all have similar tendencies. However there can only ever be one who holds first place in the Church. ‘He (Jesus) is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy’ (Colossians 1:17–18). Deny the Lord this right and immediately self-will stirs. Unseen, yet always nearby, the forces of Darkness will fan self-will into an ego inferno. Too many local fellowships have been reduced to spiritual cinders by egotistical warring parties whether in pulpit or pew.

Diotrephes had powerful lips that spoke malicious words. He aimed to alienate his followers from the apostle John and others. Was it envy or fear which motivated such opposition? Would his true spiritual condition be unveiled in the presence of this apostle? Unless we are in a right relationship with Jesus Christ we will feel threatened by the person who is. The fragrance of the Lord within offends and causes aggressive reaction in those whose odour is of the flesh. Diotrephes could have been a man mighty in the Lord’s service, but he squandered it through an unsanctified attitude. Lust for power and a destructive mouth can never edify the people of God.

The apostle urged his readers not to imitate what is evil but what is good. Why? ‘Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God’ (3 John 11). This referred to an ongoing condition stretching over time and not merely an uncharacteristic lapse. Had Diotrephes once ‘seen’ the Lord as the gospel was presented to him? What had crept into his life and found opportunity to kill his vision? Jesus promised the pure in heart would see God. This leader must have allowed the impure to impair his spiritual eyesight. Jesus warned: ‘The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness, how great is that darkness (Matthew 6:22). Spiritual eyesight has its slow loss caused by the glaucoma and cataracts of faithless and immoral living. Unless treated it blinds with devastating spiritual consequences.

We look to the Lord by faith to be saved.  We need also to continually look to the Lord to combat the diseases of the spiritual eyes. Jesus calls men and women out of spiritual darkness and desires them to walk in His radiance.  It is essential for congregational leaders to have good eye-sight. Only then can they keep their eyes focused on the Lord. When this happens the local Body of Christ enjoys harmony, testimony and effective mission.

 Ray Hawkins July 2nd 2017.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's dangerous in the Temple.

Who said Jesus was meek and mild? Meek yes, in its true meaning! Mild, not a good word to use about Him. He was and remains passionate for that which is pleasing to the Father and beneficial to His disciples. People also like to major on Christ’s love and bandy it around as a panacea for everything – even a cover for personal misbehaviour. It is more convenient to ignore the fact that Jesus is also our Judge.

The Lord Jesus created a unique Fellowship when He was crucified and resurrected. The Holy Spirit gave it breath on the day of Pentecost. This body of people comprises the Church –the Body of Christ on earth. For Jesus, we who belong to Him through faith in Him and a transformed life by the Holy Spirit are precious. In fact, the New Testament describes us, individually and corporately as ‘His Temple.’ The term actually means ‘the Shrine’ – the inner sanctum of the temple, the Holy of Holies. This is exciting, beautiful to the mind and at the same time, dangerous.

‘If any man defile the Temple of God him shall God destroy (defile); for the Temple of God is holy, which Temple you are.’ 1 Corinthians 3:17. Jesus is very passionate about the Temple – both the literal historical one and His spiritual one. Remember what He did to those traders who abused the courts of the temple by their making it a den of thieves. In righteous anger, and for the honour of His Father’s name Jesus overturned their tables, fashioned a whip and drove them out. Do you think He will do anything less to any who abuse His spiritual temple?

History records depressing illustrations of the desecration of Christ’s Body! Not all of it from opponents of Christ. Too often ego driven, self-opinionated, ambitious and self-righteous individuals have defiled what Christ holds as precious. Their salvation status may not be in question, but they will be ashamed in Christ’s presence. As they stand before His judgement set – the Bema – His presence will consume what they imagine is worthy of a good report. Read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.

In the New Testament are written instructions, advice and warnings to prevent us, any of us, from defiling Christ’s Temple. This applies both to the individual as to the local congregation. Such instructions are a chilling warning to all, but especially to those in leadership. The Lord Judge of all the earth isn’t interested in what wealth, fame or materialism you have accumulated. He searches the heart. He weights your deeds in the light of His Word, His character, His calling and the health and treatment you, I, have given to His Temple.

To lacerate, fracture or poison the spiritual Body of Christ on earth, or any of its members brings ‘defilement’ upon self. That is the spirit of Diotrephes’ (3 John 9-11). If there is a dispute that cannot be resolved it is better to weep, walk away and but pray for those by whom you have been hurt, and undoubtedly hurt them also. The account of Ananias and Sapphira is another troublesome story. Acts 5 details this as a warning not to play fast and loose with the truth, stewardship and ministry. I wonder how many funerals would be performed each week if the Lord still did this. Maybe on occasions He does, but only He will know that. Better not to take the gamble for you will lose if not now, when you and the Lord are face to face.

There are so many blatant and insidious ways to defile that which Christ loves or has designed. None of us will be one hundred percent innocent. However, we can be one hundred percent repentant and make restitution where possible. Read 1 Corinthians at least and read how they defiled their worship, relationships and Scripture. From envying, strife and division to Communion disorder and ungodly lifestyle the ‘whip of the Lord’ must have been itching to crack! Those in leadership are under a heavy burden to set the tone as well as honour, cherish and protect the ‘Body of Christ.’ Hebrews 13:17 is a good summary. If they are not worthy of this trust, pray for them as you seek out one who is (1 Peter 5:1-6).

Paul’s advice to Timothy to ‘guard that which has been committed to you’, is still relevant for us. Guard our mind, guard our tongue, guard our relationships, guard our worship, guard our faith and guard the honour of our Lord and His Temple. Guard it graciously, mercifully and biblically.

© Ray Hawkins June 25th 2017.
[Next week the spirit of Diotrephes - read 3 John. 'What's in a Name)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Judas in the pulpit.

The after shocks of Judas’ betrayal must have been immense. Strange how we are not told the way the eleven disciples coped with it. The anger, the self recriminations for not being alert to him and personal disappointment at being duped must have caused turmoil. Were they realising how difficult it would be to ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you?’ Did the teachings of Jesus seem so much harder? 

When you meet the disciples during the time Jesus was in the tomb they’re huddled together in the upper room. Fear held sway. Such fear would be compounded with uneasiness because of Judas’ betrayal and suicide by hanging. The thought of being seen in public didn’t have much appeal. In the letters of John and Peter we can read and thereby understand how they ultimately won the inner wrestle. Doing what the Lord commanded. The power of knowing, showing, expressing and receiving from fellow disciples Christ’s love! 

The traitor’s spiritual descendants of darkness still breed. When a spiritual descendent of Judas infiltrates a congregation he or she is often undetected. Being cunning thieves of various hues it is sometime before they are unmasked. Chaos and hurt then bursts upon the Church and gossip runs rampant in the Community. The urge to find an ‘upper room’ and hide far from the accusations, innuendoes or shattered dreams of people is strong. The soul’s urge is to lash out on behalf of self and for others thus betrayed. Its force can be overwhelming. Wrath and revenge surge even as the Holy Spirit reminds about loving the enemy and leaving God to be the avenger.

Jesus over the period of His teaching warned His disciples about infiltrators. Men would appear to be the ‘goods’ yet be either self– obsessed or Satan possessed. In Matthew 7:15 is the description of false prophets being ‘ferocious wolves in sheep’s clothing.’ In John 10 the Lord again highlights the sad truth that His flock will suffer thieves, robbers and wolves. What is our defence against such intruders especially when they have the outward appearance of a sheep or shepherd? You must protect your people with the rod and staff of God’s Word. There can be no smoothing over of the mauling mayhem inflicted. Pious words about forgiveness don’t solve the problem either.  Dealing with the aftermath of scattered, torn, frightened, disillusioned believers requires more than that. The wolves must be confronted and removed. The healing of the wounded and mauled requires grace and patience. The ointment of God’s word must be skilfully and tenderly applied. Worship must take on a distinct therapeutic nature under the Sovereignty of Christ. The biggest battle will take place in the Pastor’s and Elders' hearts. They would have suffered personally whilst having empathy with his people. They also carry the weight of the grieving flock before an inquisitive community. Fortunate the  minister and Elders who stand with and surround each other with prayer, wisdom, a listening ear and grace.

The emotional and spiritual conflict can only be won on the knees. It will require many kneeling times as the leadership struggles with the wounded, the grieving and the inquisitive. The congregation must come together around the Lord’s Table: share their hurts and struggles: find God’s healing and hope. Only through this enabling will the members take Communion without bitterness. The healing of the wounds takes place as pastor, Elders and people share honestly with the Lord. There must be a candid yet merciful openness before the Lord. A willingness to apply His specific word to their situation will guard them from revenge. Love for the Lord Jesus will empower them to pray that the Judas will find repentance lest he spent eternity in the outer darkness.

What made the difference with the ‘Eleven’ so they could go and face the world? When the risen Lord Jesus came into the upper room and said ‘Peace’ victory was happening. As leaders and members there are times when you need Jesus to come into your ‘upper room’ and breath ‘Peace.’ There He breathed upon them the Holy Spirit. Oh how vital it is to be refreshed, renewed, empowered and enveloped by Him. Only then will we move from the 'upper-room' into a sceptical world with the reality of the cross and the grace of Christ Jesus.

 Ray Hawkins June 18 2017.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Life's Hills and Valley's

Cradle Mt. Tasmania.
The Nation of Israel was on the verge of entering the land promised to Abraham 470 years approximately before. In the book of Deuteronomy Moses gives some snapshots of it. Listening to it must have stirred the hearts of the people. The land was in sharp contrast to that from which they had come, the furnace of Egypt. Canaan was a good land, flowing with streams and with springs and underground water. The land had hills and valleys and fruit trees, pasture and minerals.

There were, however, certain obstacles and conditions to be faced before they could successfully possessed their promised possession. The land was occupied by godless and depraved Nations intent on keeping Israel out. Wandering throughout the land were also wild animals as we read about from David’s encounter with a lion and a bear. The Lord through Moses gave the people a strategy for victory. In one word is was ‘Obedience!’ By being faithful to the Lord’s commands, judgements and statutes the nation would prevail. Disobedience meant failure.

The historical experiences of the Nation can be transferred to the international and spiritual identity called the Church. We are called out of the ungodly world scene to live a lifestyle in sharp contrast to that of the World. When a person hears then heeds the call of Christ to take up their cross and follow Him it sounds idyllic. Sins forgiven, heaven beyond death’s horizon, a transformed life with purpose, hope and fellowship excite and bless. Then we face opposition, often from family and friends. Then from out of our soul the equivalent of the wild beast emerge to terrorise and make us doubt. There wouldn’t be a disciple of Christ who hasn’t felt the tread of sins past or the breath of guilt and shame producing a sense of unworthiness. How are these slain or chained? Through the grace of God, knowledge of His word, deliberately sharing them with the Saviour so that He can deal with such ‘creatures of the soul!’

The intent of the opposition is to turn our attention away from worship and fellowship with the Lord to the uncomplicated but ungodly life before salvation. Psalm 73 is a record of this temptation. It also offers the steps to refocus.

The mention of hills and valleys associated with the land is instructive. Once again they have their spiritual counterparts within the Christian life. For us the important hill is that of Calvary. There our redemption was secured. Included in what the Lord Jesus achieved for us was our own death. We have died to our old life and destiny. We have died to the impossibility of keeping the Mosaic Law. (Romans 6. Romans 7:1-6. And Galatians 2:19-20). Within our walk with the Lord He will bring us to experience the Mount of Transfiguration where we discover new dimensions to our Lord. These two lead us to a mountain where He has a challenge for us. Matthew 28:16-20 expresses the challenge by the word “GO!” We are not told the how. We are simply given the command. It is out of our circumstances, personality, training, abilities, and maturity that we are to seize opportunity to share our faith in Christ.

Mountains and hills mean that valley’s also exist. Reading the Old Testament reveals quite a number of them. Each has its spiritual and moral relation in our walk of faith. It is in the valleys the reality of our trust in the Lord becomes evident. The valley of Achor was where Israel failed (Joshua 7 is the account and its aftermath). However, when dealt with God is able to turn failure into testimony through repentance according to Hosea 2:15. As disciples of the Lord we will fall over and the ungodly will laugh at the ‘mud’ which covers us. There isn’t any value in denying it or ignoring it. When we apologise to the Lord and accept His discipline, He washes us though His poured out life and intercession. Then He lifts us up and gets us on the narrow way again. Our testimony is not of being perfect but of being forgiven. We boast not of our goodness but of Christ’s grace. Other valleys we will walk through. The Lord wants to turn them from tears to triumph, from conflict to conquest. The final valley we will face is of course recorded in Psalm 23. For a Christian it is a valley to pass through but not alone. The Good Shepherd walked it first and has promised to walk it again with His people, His ‘sheep.’

In closing, the wonder associated with the physical land and its spiritual foreshadowing is this promise. ‘The land that you are crossing over to occupy is a land…that the Lord your God looks after. The eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.’ Deuteronomy 11:11-12.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Demolishing the Devil's game-plan

In the Garden Satan commenced his ‘game plan.’ Distort God’s word plain and straightforward word. Cause a person to doubt that God means what He says. Destroy the relationship between the person and his or her Lord through unbelief leading to disobedience and into despair. That’s all wrapped up in a three letter word – sin!

The 39 books of the Old Testament record time after time how successful this approach has been. Fortunately, there were those who stood true to the revealed word of God, although they messed up in their personal lives. Then came Jesus! As the Second Adam He faced the full force of the Devil’s master plan. How did Jesus as the Second Adam prevail? By correctly interpreting, quoting and applying Scripture. “It is written” was the Son of Man’s sword which sent the Devil sulking to ‘lick’ his wounds.

Yahweh has spelt out His masterplan. The Devil doesn’t want you to read it, believe it or share it. He uses everything in his arsenal to deafen a person to God’s word. As soon as the early Church began its outreach with “It is written” the Devil tried to deface the message and offer either alternatives or adversaries to crush it. The book of Acts is an account of the conflict. Perhaps the most succinct book in the New Testament revealing his infiltration and perverting is Jude. Revelation 2 and 3 also tells a similar story. What promises victory? Summed up in the phrase “that which has been delivered once and for all (time). That is, the message of the cross and the person and victory of Jesus! Righty dividing and applying God’s word confronts the half-truths, misquoting and outright lies of the deceiver.

However, those who belong to the Lord have a personal responsibility necessary to ensure victory. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ‘Though we walk in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical, but they are mighty before God for the overthrown and destruction pf strongholds. [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (Amplified version).

What Eve, then Adam failed to do in Eden continues to be a challenge for their descendants who follow Christ Jesus as Saviour and Lord. That is, lead every thought and purpose captive by obedience to Christ and His word. I find this a constant challenge. Whether it is pride, pleasure, ignorance or indifference I will sometimes be led on a detour from doing what God’s word says. I then find that my spiritual ‘arm’ is lead’ and my stamina as the Lord’s soldier had evaporated. Getting off the detour, taking refuge in the grace of the Lord and accepting His discipline is the only way to tackling the Devil’s strategies. We are only overcomers by being faithful to the Overcomer, Jesus! We can only be faithful through knowing His word and growing in His grace. We will ever only thwart the Devil’s game place when we are people of sincerity and pure motives and speak the word of God in Christ and in the sight and presence of God. (check 2 Corinthians 2:17)

Remember as servants, we are accountable to the Master. As soldiers, the Lord of Hosts will inspect. As saints, our relationship to the Redeemer will be scrutinized. As witnesses to the game plan of the Lord our defence and promotion of it will be evaluated.

Our prayer must include “Lord, teach me your word. Lord keep me faithful. Lord, stand with me so that I will stand true to you!”