Guest devotional – please read and share

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:36)

The Greek word for ‘escape’ is ‘ek-pheygo,’ meaning TO FLEE OUT OF. It is the same word that is used in I Timothy 6:11, “But thou, O man of God, flee (escape) these things…” Flee what things? The context gives quite a listing: strife of words, whereof cometh envy; strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men, supposing that gain is godliness, the love of money, etc. Then it says, “FLEE THESE THINGS,” escape out of the snare of these things.

2 Tim. 2:22“Flee also youthful lusts,” All of the over-desires of the flesh so prevalent in youth, for they must have this, and that, seeking to satify self. The driving passions of the flesh of youth which can seemingly only be subdued with the passing of time and many disciplines of life, until we realize how empty it all is, and our sense of values change. Is it possible to pass through the midst of all this, not touching that which would defile? YES! By the help of the grace of God, as our prayer rises to Him continually. He can keep us from lingering in the midst of temptation, and from being sidetracked into involvement with these things. Jesus, “In the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from (out of) death, and was heard in that He feared (for His piety.) (Heb. 5:7).

The Biblical thought of escape, or, to flee out of, does not hold within it the thought of ‘escapism’ in the sense of not having to face up to the test, but rather, to pass through it uncorrupted, and thus OVERCOMING IT. The Word of God does not teach ‘escapism’ whereby one avoids facing the testing, but that we pass through it without being corrupted by its negativity. We flee out of the corrupting influence, to follow after that which is pure and holy. God will enable His worthies to pass right through the midst of trouble and not be harmed.
by David Wilkerson

God’s desire for His people is that their greatest joy be the sound of His voice.
“He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” (John 3:29). Our greatest joy should be, “I heard His voice! I stood alone, waiting, and I heard Him speak to me!” In the Song of Solomon, we can hear a last-day bridal love duet. The bridegroom beckons His betrothed to hide away secretly with Him: “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice” (Song of Solomon2:14). Then later in the Song, she responds, “It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me . . . my love, my dove” (5:2). To those whose hearts have grown cold, who can no longer hear His voice, God has promised to give a new and tender heart if they repent and turn to Him in faith. A hard heart is not terminal—that is, if you want to change! It is not something God did to you; rather, you did it to yourself by shutting out God’s Word. Here is your promise: “And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:18-20).
And, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you; and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
      ‘True Israel’                    Psalm 24:22
Text:  “Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.”
                                                                         Psalm 24:22.
“Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only (the Jewish Nation alone), our upon the uncircumcision also (the Gentile Nations also)?  For we say that faith was reckoned unto Abraham for righteousness.  How was it then reckoned?  When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?  Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.  And he received the sign of circumcision (he was physically circumcised), a seal of the righteousness of the faith he had yet being uncircumcised (physically); that he might be the father of ALL them that believe, though they be not circumcised (physically); that righteousness might be imputed unto them also.”
                                                                      Romans 4:9-11.
Good morning, Christian member of true Israel!  Your faith is a God-given faith, a faith given by God as His free gift of grace to all those souls whom He elected to save before the very foundation of the world.  If faith be God’s gift to certain chosen people, then only those chosen of God to receive His gift will come in time to trust in Christ Jesus and the full Atonement Sacrifice He has made for us at a place called Calvary.  All those fully enabled of the Lord (former Jews and Gentiles) to place undying trust in Christ, can claim to be members of true Israel; children of God, according to His Eternal promise.  Hallelujah!
“For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, though the law, but through the righteousness of FAITH.  For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void (empty, useless), and the promise made of none effect.”  (Romans 4:13-14)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created (Spiritually regenerated) in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:8-10)
When the great apostle Paul sought to teach this above teaching, all Hell broke out in Jerusalem.  The Jews detested the Gentiles, and to seek to include the Gentile nations as members of the Lord’s true Israel was anathema to the crowd.  At the mention of the very word ‘Gentile’, the crowd began to riot, and Paul had to be taken into custody to insure his own personal safety.  (See Acts Chapter 22:, and especially note verse 21)
‘True Israel’ consists of all those whom the Lord has given His Divine gift of faith to believe (trust) in Christ Jesus, His Son, and the full Atonement Sacrifice He made for ‘His people’ at the Cross on Mount Calvary.
“And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou (Joseph) shalt call His Name Jesus; for He shall save HIS PEOPLE from their sins.”  (Matthew1:21)
The apostle Peter also received great opposition when he revealed the fact that the Gentile Nations were included in the promise of God for Eternal Salvation.
“And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the Word of God.  And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision (the Jews) contended with him, saying, Thou went in to men uncircumcised (Gentiles), and did eat with them.”  (Acts 11:1-3)
However, after Peter revealed the vision that the Lord God had given him reference the Gentile Nations, and their full admission, by faith, into the true Israel of God, they glorified God and held their peace.
“Forasmuch then as God gave them (Gentiles) the like gift as He did unto us (former Jews), who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?  When they (the apostles and brethren) heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”  (Acts 11:17-18)
Circumcision of the flesh profits nothing in Spiritual terms.  The Spirit of God must circumcise our hearts (entire inner being) and create us, in Christ Jesus, new creatures.             (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“For he is not a Jew (true Israel), which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; BUT he IS a Jew (true Israel), which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”  (Romans 2:28-29)
Verse 22. “Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.”  Now we can more fully understand the plea from the Psalmist, and apply it personally to our regenerate hearts. 
Thought:  When the Lord redeems us, ‘His people’ with the precious sinless Blood of His dear Son, our dear Saviour, Jesus Christ – all of our troubles become His focus of Divine attention, and He bestows His grace and His strength to help us overcome.

The Will of God

Doris Day sang a popular song entitled “Que Sera, Sera,” “What will be, will be.” At first glance this theme communicates a kind of fatalism that is depressing. Islamic theology frequently says of specific events, “It is the will of Allah.”
The Bible is deeply concerned about the will of God—His sovereign authority over His creation and everything in it. When we speak about God’s will we do so in at least three different ways. The broader concept is known as God’s decretive, sovereign, or hidden will. By this, theologians refer to the will of God by which He sovereignly ordains everything that comes to pass. Because God is sovereign and His will can never be frustrated, we can be sure that nothing happens over which He is not in control. He at least must “permit” whatever happens to happen. Yet even when God passively permits things to happen, He chooses to permit them in that He always has the power and right to intervene and prevent the actions and events of this world. Insofar as He lets things happen, He has “willed” them in this certain sense.
Though God’s sovereign will is often hidden from us until after it comes to pass, there is one aspect of His will that is plain to us—His preceptive will. Here God reveals His will through His holy law. For example, it is the will of God that we do not steal; that we love our enemies; that we repent; that we be holy. This aspect of God’s will is revealed in His Word as well as in our conscience, by which God has written His moral law upon our heart.
His laws, whether they be found in the Scripture or in the heart, are binding. We have no authority to violate this will. We have the power or the ability to thwart the preceptive will of God, though never the right to do so. Nor can we excuse ourselves for sinning by saying, “Que sera, sera.” It may be God’s sovereign or hidden will that we be “permitted” to sin, as He brings His sovereign will to pass even through and by means of the sinful acts of people. God ordained that Jesus be betrayed by the instrument of Judas’s treachery. Yet this makes Judas’s sin no less evil or treacherous. When God “permits” us to break His preceptive will, it is not to be understood as permission in the moral sense of His granting us a moral right. His permission gives us the power, but not the rightto sin.
The third way the Bible speaks of the will of God is with respect to God’s will of disposition. This will describes God’s attitude. It defines what is pleasing to Him. For example, God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, yet He most surely wills or decrees the death of the wicked. God’s ultimate delight is in His own holiness and righteousness. When He judges the world, He delights in the vindication of His own righteousness and justice, yet He is not gleeful in a vindictive sense toward those who receive His judgment. God is pleased when we find our pleasure in obedience. He is sorely displeased when we are disobedient.
Many Christians become preoccupied or even obsessed with finding the “will” of God for their lives. If the will we are seeking is His secret, hidden, or decretive will, then our quest is a fool’s errand. The secret counsel of God is His secret. He has not been pleased to make it known to us. Far from being a mark of spirituality, the quest for God’s secret will is an unwarranted invasion of God’s privacy. God’s secret counsel is none of our business. This is partly why the Bible takes such a negative view of fortune-telling, necromancy, and other forms of prohibited practices.
We would be wise to follow the counsel of John Calvin when he said, “When God closes His holy mouth, I will desist from inquiry.” The true mark of spirituality is seen in those seeking to know the will of God that is revealed in His preceptive will. It is the godly person who meditates on God’s law day and night. While we seek to be “led” by the Holy Spirit, it is vital to remember that the Holy Spirit is primarily leading us into righteousness. We are called to live our lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It is His revealed will that is our business, indeed, the chief business of our lives.
The three meanings of the will of God:

(a)Sovereign decretive will is the will by which God brings to pass whatsoever He decrees. This is hidden to us until it happens.
(b)Preceptive will is God’s revealed law or commandments, which we have the power but not the right to break.
(c)Will of disposition describes God’s attitude or disposition. It reveals what is pleasing to Him.

God’s sovereign “permission” of human sin is not His moral approval.

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