Do Not Be Offended By Me.

I heard a challenging message on the life of John the Baptizer and specifically when he was in prison and about to be martyred. The main verse that captured my thoughts is from Matthew 11:6 in this drama of John’s life. He has lived his life far differently than any other man in total dedication to God. He is the one of Malachi’s prophecy to proclaim the coming of the promised Messiah and make the nation of Israel ready to receive Him by repenting of their sin and believing in HIM, so that Israel can finally experience the Davidic promise of “Heaven on Earth,” the Kingdom Come, the prophecy of Daniel and all the prophets, the personal reign of the God-Man, Yeshua haMashiach, from Israel’s capital, the Zion of God, Jerusalem. BUT it did not happen the way he, John, or they, believing Israel, thought it would!

John not only suffers in prison but he is viciously beheaded out of pure hatred and vengeance. Jesus is cruelly crucified!

Matthew 11:6 Jesus told the John’s disciples to tell him, “Blessed is he who is not OFFENDED by Me.”

Maybe today God has not lived up to your expectations. He has not done things the way you thought He should. Think of the hundreds and maybe thousands of people coming to be healed by Jesus only to be saddened and surprised that He had left the scene. Would they not wonder why He left healing some and not others?

Jesus tells us today, “Don’t be offended by Me.” We must remember that His ways are not our ways, yet His ways are perfect. We must believe that He will keep His promises. He will save all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He will reward the faithful beyond imagination. He will rule and reign upon this present earth. Jesus will return and we who believe with Him.
Don’t be offended with God and His ways. Trust Him. His promise is to conform us into the image of His dear Son, our Savior, the God-Man, the LORD Jesus Christ.

He does not promise us comfort or wealth or health. He does not promise to deliver us from pain and suffering. In fact, He does promise that our days will be filled with tribulation. He promises us that all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer! Paul tells us that the way into His glorious coming Kingdom on Earth is through Suffering. Acts 14:22 Peter teaches us in his epistles to prepare for it. Jesus tells us to “rejoice” in it.

Jesus, the Disciples, the Apostle Paul and thousands, even millions of faithful believers throughout history have suffered immensely and immeasurably for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not deliver them. Many yet to come will not be delivered from martyrdom.

Are we better than they? Do we deserve God to do things differently just because we think we have a better plan?

NO, my friend. Do not be offended with the LORD because of the way HE has planned to work in your life and all of life to bring about HIS sovereign will. GOD is GOOD all the TIME and all the TIME, GOD is GOOD.

I highly recommend a little book that was suggested to me. It is the story of John the Baptizer, “The Man in the Third Cell” by Gene Edwards. Get in on Amazon, new or used, it is a short 90 minute read, and worth the time.

‪#‎suffering‬

BLESSED BIRTHDAY JESUS!

ForGiven

JESUS, The WORD Made Flesh

Anyone who receives HIM, by His authority they become the children of God,
anyone who believes in His Name!
And He was not born of blood or the will of the flesh or the will of a man, but of God!
And the WORD became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we beheld His glory, the glory of the ONLY Begotten of the Father,
full of Grace and Truth.

The GIFT, the PRIZE, and the Judgment Seat of Christ

Each One will Give an Account

Each One will Give an Account

As a believer in Jesus Christ I have eternal life, period. Praise the Lord. It is a free GIFT received by faith alone, not works. I did not earn it and I do not deserve it, but by God’s grace it is available to all who will believe in, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. The faith formula is so simple that even a child can receive it. In fact, it is this kind of faith that does receive the gift of eternal life. There is no theological education required,  no promise of faithfulness on our part. BELIEVE in Christ and you will RECEIVE his Eternal Life freely, with no strings attached.

Jesus saves all who believe in Him, our past, our present and our future (body, soul and spirit). When I believe my spirit is “born again.” The Holy Spirit regenerates my dead spirit. I am now alive in Christ. As I live the Christian life and submit to the Holy Spirit I experience salvation from the Power of sin. He is saving my soul daily as I walk in newness of life. In the future, at the resurrection, my body will be saved. This is guaranteed by Christ’s down payment of the Holy Spirit. I will receive a new incorruptible body like the Lord Jesus’. Yes I will be saved completely, body, soul and spirit. What an incredible gift!

Once saved we are reminded NOT to sin. Paul asks rhetorically in Romans 6, “now that we are saved from eternal death should we keep on sinning since grace is all abounding?” The answer is, “Of course not!” But the problem is we DO sin (1 John 1:8). This is why most of the Scriptures were written, to exhort believers not to sin and the consequences of sinning against our heavenly Father, our crucified and risen Savior Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The Apostle John tells us that he wrote his first epistles so that we would not sin, 1 John 2:1. The New Testament is replete with exhortations and challenges for us to remain faithful to Christ, to abide in Him, to hold to our confession of faith in Him and to persevere to the end. The reason for these exhortations is because there is a PRIZE to be won, an inheritance to be realized, and much that can be lost.

This Prize consists of glory and honor with Christ (Romans 8:17) and “reigning with Him” in the Millennial Kingdom (2 Timothy 2:12), called the “Sabbath Rest” in Hebrews 4:9-13. It can also include the receiving of “Crowns” for faithfulness. Most of all, it means hearing the Savior say, “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the JOY of the LORD.” The opposite of winning the PRIZE is to suffer shame and loss (1 John 2:28, 1 Corinthians 3:15) and being disqualified from the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

The GIFT is free and the PRIZE is earned. Both are attained by faith, The Gift by simple faith without works, and the PRIZE by persevering faith that works. (Compare Romans 4 and James 2)

The PRIZE will be determined/revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. ALL believers will appear before this BEMA Seat and it is here that we will be “recompensed, paid back, given our just wages” according to what we have done in our flesh, whether good (faith/obedience) or bad (without faith/disobedient). (1 Corinthians 3:10-17; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10; James 2:11,12)

Yes siree, little children, there is a Day of Judgment for all believers. Peter reminds us that “judgment begins in the house of the Lord.” God is just! He will not destroy the wicked for their sin and wink at our sin committed after we have been saved from the wrath of God by the Blood of Christ. He disciplines us while we are living this “Christian” life so that we should live holy, but if we do not respond and continue to rebel there is a final judgment for us as well, The Judgment Seat of Christ. “If we judge ourselves correctly (NOW), we will not be judged (for these things LATER). 1 Corinthians 11:31

SO, how do we prepare for the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is a serious matter and one that should consume our daily living. Our God is a “consuming fire.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. “And there is nothing hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

  • BE SERIOUS about the Christian Life. Be a disciple maker. We are ambassadors of Christ and He is holding us accountable for our representation of Him, whether good or bad.
  • BE DILIGENT about living an obedient life. Obey the Scriptures. This is the will of God.
  • Have a CLEAR CONSCIENCE. HOW? 1. Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21, Hebrews 13:17). 2. Avoid deliberate/willful sin (1 Thessalonians 5:22) 3. Confess sin as soon as you are convicted (1 John 1:9). 4. Make restitution if possible (Matthew 5:23, 24).
  • COVER your many unknown and unconfessed sin by being Christ-like in acts of mercy (Hosea 6:6) by being forgiving (Matthew 6:12-15), by being loving (1 Peter 4:7-8), by being merciful in judgment (Matthew 7:2) and by caring for others by meeting physical needs (Matthew 12:1-18, 2 Timothy 1:15-18) and their spiritual needs (Matthew 9:9-13, James 5:19-20).

I can’t speak for you, but I know that I will need a lot of “extra” mercy at the Judgment Seat of Christ. In my rebellion there are many sins I have not confessed and have subsequently forgotten them. Jesus will not forget. In my fleshly ignorance I have sinned and not even known it. I’ve said and done things that have injured others and I am oblivious. These will be revealed when I stand before the One with whom I have to do. I will need mercy. There will be NO excuses.

So, if I want mercy then I must be merciful now to others. I need to remember to be careful in my judgment of others now, because it is by this same standard that Jesus will hold me accountable on that great and terrible day.

The Bema Seat is where all believers will give an account for their faith and faithlessness, for obedience and disobedience. God is just. Our God is an Awesome God. If the righteous are scarcely saved, what will be the end of those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Get Ready Now because “Here comes the Judge!”

Here is some suggested reading for more study besides your careful study of the Scripture.
“Reign of the Servant Kings” and “Future Destiny, the Future Reign of the Servant Kings” both by Joseph Dillow
“The Judgment Seat of Christ” by Samuel L. Hoyt
“The Kingdom of God Visualized” by Ray Baughman (Abe Books)

The Faith Cycle – How to endure in faith

Hope & Faith

Hope & Faith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Enduring Faith is a prolonged attitude of faith under pressure.”

This is the faith that “pleases God.” It is the kind of faith that He will REWARD both now and in the age to come. (Hebrews 11:6) Most of the epistles address this kind of faith. The faith that Christians are to have. A faith that takes effort, even determination, on our part. This is a faith that “works” and will “save” us at the Judgment Seat of Christ (James 2:12 – 26).

James 1:3-4 …knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have [its] perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing the WORD of Christ.

Enduring faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Hearing implies obeying. When we do what God says in His Word we are walking in and by faith.

There are two English words used to translate the Greek word pisteuo in the New Testament, to believe and to trust.

Enduring faith begins with BELIEVING God’s promises. That is, I understand the promise of God in its context and I accept God’s revelation as true. An example of this kind of faith is Abraham as illustrated by Paul in Romans 4:16-25. Faith is based on the sure Word of God. God’s Word is the foundation of faith.

I then TRUST God’s Promises (pisteuo – to put confidence in). In the Old Testament the word is the Hebrew word Betha – confidence in, with a sense of well-being and security. Hasa – to take refuge in, is also translated with the word Trust.

To trust God means I commit my situation honestly to God. I tell Him how I feel in an attitude of respect. I tell Him what I want and why I want it. And then, I promise to praise His Name in the Assembly.

Psalm 4:4-5 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your TRUST in the LORD.

Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for you, LORD, only make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. 18 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people, 19 In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of You, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.

Philippians 4:6 – Being anxious for nothing but in everything with prayer and thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
In this process of faith I must reject feelings of unbelief due to circumstances, because I cannot control my feelings or circumstance, but I can control my attitude with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 62:8 – TRUST in him at all times; you people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Psalm 56:11 – In God I have put my TRUST; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 9:10 – And those who know Your name will put their TRUST in You; For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Proverbs 3:5,6,7 -TRUST in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. (Don’t do it your way!)

Psalm 145:18-20 – The Lord [is] near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The Lord preserves all who love Him.

Having put my confidence in the Lord I then HOPE in God’s Promises. To HOPE is to anticipate a Divine response. (An eager expectation, favorable, confident expectation). Bible HOPE is not “wishful thinking.” It is a confident expectation that God will do what He has promised in His Word to do.

Hebrews 11:10 Abraham’s HOPE was in the Lord because “he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” He was not looking to his own earthly contentment but to the much greater contentment of an eternal reward promised by God.

Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you that HOPE in the LORD.

Psalm 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted in me? You HOPE in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

My eager expectation is tempered with patience. Therefore I must WAIT upon the LORD patiently.

Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes WAIT upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

Psalms 130:5-8 I wait for the LORD, my soul does WAIT, and in his Word do I hope. My soul WAITS for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel HOPE in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

What am I waiting for? I am WAITING for God to fulfill His promise, His way. In waiting I allow God time to do His will. He may need to alter the situation I am in. He may rescue me out of the situation. Or He may guide me through the situation giving me the wisdom to endure it.

Jesus is our supreme example. He waited upon the Lord when He went to the Cross and endured the suffering and shame of it. Remember God did not deliver Him from the Cross and that cruel, unjust death, but He delivered through the Cross. He was perfected in His role as our Eternal High Priest and glorified because of it.

Hebrews 5:7 – 10 Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. And He was declared by God a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Micah 7:7 Therefore, I will look unto the LORD; I will WAIT for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and WAIT patiently for him: don’t worry about or fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.

Psalm 40:1 I WAITED patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

Faith is an enduring process. I must ENDURE in God’s promises by maintaining the cycle of faith while under the pressure of the situation.

James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we glory in our afflictions also: knowing that afflictions produce endurance; and endurance produces proven character; and good character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us; because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Abraham, the father of faith, is again our example.

Heb 11:9,10 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Heb 11:13-16 These all died in faith, without receiving the promises, but they saw them from a distance, and were sure of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were foreigners and only temporary residents on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are looking for a homeland. And truly, if they had been thinking of the country from which they came, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

How about you? Will you endure in faith no matter what circumstance you find yourself in? Will you TRUST in the Lord, believing His Word confidently assured that HE will deliver you? Is your HOPE in the Lord? IF so, WAIT patiently for HIM to “work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Endure to the end. There is a great reward!” Hebrews 10:35-36

“Don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done the will of God you may receive what was promised.”

Pastor Dan Carfrey taught me this “faith cycle” many years ago. It has been a blessing to me and I pray it will be to you until we see Jesus.
Jeffrey Hawkins