Proverbs 21:1 KJV “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”
God has ultimate control over what all kings on earth can and cannot do. They may think they are in control but are not! Throughout scripture we see kings even those who came against God’s people who were doing exactly what God maneuvered them to do, sometimes to their own demise:
Proverbs 26:27 KJV “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.”
Remember when Pharaoh’s army went after the Israelites into the Red Sea? Remember how that turned out?
Exodus 14:23-29 KJV “And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,  And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.  And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.  And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.  And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.  But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.”
The same thing will happen to spiritual Egypt for their hatred of God and His people. The stage is already set. Encourage one another with these words.😃 Fear God! Not Pharaoh’s army.
Revelation 16:12-16 ESV “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called ARMAGEDDON.
2 Thessalonians 2: 9-11 ESV “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
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Proverbs 28:13 NIV “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
When a child misbehaves a loving parent will discipline them. We do things like put them in timeout, we take away their toys, we tell them they can’t go to the school dance, etcetera. We put them on punishment. We are trying to get their attention. We’re trying to get them to change their bad behavior. Why? Because we know if they do not change their present course it will ruin them further down the road. Is that not what is now happening to us? Worldwide it certainly feels like we are all on punishment. We can’t go to the school dance (or public entertainment events). All of our toys are being systematically taken away. We’re being put in timeout (quarantined). We can’t go outside and play with our friends anymore like we use to. Our joy has turned into gloom.😪
Have we not been grounded? Are we not on punishment? The next two questions can help you answer these questions but only if you answer them honestly: HAVE WE (the human race) BEEN MISBEHAVING? DO WE DESERVE PUNISHMENT?😢
Isn’t it an act of love for God to give people a WAKE UP CALL instead of just annihilating all of us?🤔
WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! WAKE UP FROM YOUR SLEEP AND REPENT BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!!
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Jeremiah 2:19 GNT “Your own evil will punish you, and your turning from me will condemn you. You will learn how bitter and wrong it is to abandon me, the Lord your God, and no longer to remain faithful to me. I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, have spoken.””
If I walk down the street and give the middle finger to everyone that passes me by what kind of reactions do you think I would get? Everything from cursing out to a beating. There’s a chance I might even get killed. Now if I do this to God, that’s right, if I repeatedly give God the middle finger all day long, what kind of response do you think I would get? Better yet if not only I, but if I and millions of other people gave God the middle finger🖕all at the same time, what kind of response do you think we would get? Better yet, if I and BILLIONS of people all gave God the middle finger every day, all day long, year after year, what kind of response do you think we would deserve? Some will say, “There is no God!” And I will say you just gave Him the middle finger 🖕again.
If God decided one day to give us the middle finger back could we handle it? Could we take it? Are we stronger than He is? Wake up people! Wake up from your sleep! You know why certain things are going on. Play dumb all the way to hell if you want to. Or better yet, repent:
Acts 17:30-31 “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed [Jesus]. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”
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Romans 12:3 NLT “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: DON’T THINK YOU ARE BETTER THAN YOU REALLY ARE. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
Proverbs 8:13 HCSB “To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I HATE ARROGANT PRIDE, evil conduct, and perverse speech.”
When we look at ourselves what do we see? A really strong Christian? One who really knows the Bible well? Or do we see a powerful prayer warrior? Do we see the world’s greatest charitable giver? Even if these things are true we only have them because of God’s power; His grace and mercy. So how can any of us boast?
If we really examine ourselves honestly don’t we see someone who needs more patience? Do we not see someone who gets too angry sometimes? Don’t we see someone who needs to be more loving? Don’t we see someone who is way too judgmental at times? Don’t we see someone who needs to be more merciful? Do we see someone who needs to tell the truth more often? Do we see someone who needs to be more giving? Do we see someone who needs to get better control over our lusts? Do we see a person who should spend more time in prayer? More time studying God’s word? More time sharing the gospel message with others? If what we see when we look in the mirror is a good person we have missed the boat. Jesus explains it this way:
Luke 18:9-14 ESV “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.””
Notice the guy who knew he had issues, who knew he was a sinner simply pleaded with God for mercy and was declared righteous or justified. The other guy had a good track record of works but a bad attitude. The tax collector’s track record wasn’t good at all but his repentant attitude was. So when we look at ourselves honestly which one of these guys do we look like? Do we think we have it all together like the Pharisee and put others down? Or do we see our own shortcomings realizing we’re no better than anybody else and beg God for His mercy? It’s easy to fall into the trap of pride like the Pharisee especially when you’ve kicked some bad habit, or you never had the addictions or bad habits others have.
PAUL THE LEAST OF ALL THE APOSTLES
One thing I find interesting about Paul the apostle is how he viewed himself. Even though he knew that Jesus had already forgiven him for his sins he still saw himself as least of all the apostles:
1 Corinthians 15:9 NLT “For I AM THE LEAST OF ALL THE APOSTLES. In fact, I’M NOT EVEN WORTHY TO BE CALLED AN APOSTLE after the way I persecuted God’s church.”
Paul kept it real. He knew he didn’t deserve his privileged office as an apostle. He knew that it was ONLY BY GOD’S GRACE that he did anything in the Lord:
1 Corinthians 15:10-11 ESV “But BY THE GRACE OF GOD I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though IT WAS NOT I, BUT THE GRACE OF GOD that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”
Paul wasn’t in competition with the other apostles. He credited God’s grace for his fruitful ministry. Do we have the same humble view of whatever we do in the Lord? Or do we think we deserve to be ministers of God because of what theologian schools we went to, (Acts 4:13) what pastor we studied under, (1 Corinthians 1:11-13) or how well we think we know the scriptures? (1 Corinthians 8:1-3 1 Corinthians 13:1-10)
When we look at ourselves what do we see, honestly? Hopefully we see a wretched human being in need of God’s grace and mercy. Hopefully we see someone who needs to repent. Hopefully when we look in the mirror all we see is people who need to be more like Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 ESV “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
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1 Corinthians 10:32 KJV “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”
Let’s look at a scenario: we will call our brother, “Brother Witness.” Why? Because our brother will give a witness for Jesus in a heartbeat. He has no problem talking to people about God. He witnesses at the grocery store, at the laundromat, on the bus, at work, etcetera. Brother Witness will pull out his gadget with his Bibles downloaded on it and have a Bible study anytime anywhere, and that’s a good thing. But brother Witness is still growing in his faith as we shall see.
In the past brother Witness would do something that puzzled people. Right after or while sharing the gospel with folks brother Witness would light up a cigarette. This shocked and upset some folks because all their lives they were taught that smoking is how you defile your temple. Some folks simply concluded, “He’s just another hypocrite.”☹️ This habit brother Witness had was ruining his witness for Jesus Christ and he didn’t even know it (at first). Instead of helping folks he was hurting them.
Brother Witness honestly wasn’t aware of what his smoking habit was doing to people. But then the Holy Spirit started working on him. The Holy Spirit began to convict our brother and show him the serious consequences of stumbling others. Brother Witness tried to defend his right to smoke at first even using scripture to do so like the passages mentioned below:
Matthew 15:11 ESV “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
Mark 7:14-23 ESV “And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Jesus said, ‘It’s not what goes into your mouth that makes you unclean but what comes out of it,’ right? Brother Witness took this to mean that smoking wasn’t bad and he had the right to smoke, he had the right to kill himself slowly. But brother Witness hadn’t yet learned and accepted other passages of scripture that state ANYTHING WE DO that causes offence or another brother to stumble into sin means we are not acting out of love. In fact we are sinning against Christ Himslef!
1 Corinthians 8:9-13 NIV “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?  So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.  When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, YOU SIN AGAINST CHRIST.  Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.”
The Holy Spirit kept on convicting our brother with more stern warnings. Then one day the Spirit asked him, “Do you love your pleasure more than you love the people you witness to?” “Do you love your pleasure more than you love me?” This broke brother Witness down. He fell on his knees and his face and started crying like a baby, sobbing, runny nose and all. He begged God to help him stop smoking not only cigarettes but weed too. Our brother knew he couldn’t stop on his own. He had tried but failed. He was also crying to God because he now knew the severe consequences of stumbling others, whether Jews, Gentiles, or the church of God.
Something different happened that day with our brother because lo and behold he actually did receive the power from God to kick both of his habits! What happened so differently that day? Our brother stopped making excuses, confessed his sin (Proverbs 28:13 1John 1:9), truly cried out to God for help (Psalm 86:5), and repented. Now our brother can be an effective minister for Christ; not causing offence, not causing others to stumble.
Causing offence to others and leading them into sin by our conduct is serious business to God. May we prayerfully and diligently seek the help needed to repent from all dead works. (Ephesians 5:11) My life is better since I confronted my sin and called it what it is: “SIN!” That’s right, the writer of this article WAS brother Witness.
Matthew 13:40-42 KJV “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom ALL THINGS THAT OFFEND, and them which do iniquity;  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
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