Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"BUY THE FIELD"



            It was a normal day, and I was going through my regular routine when it happened.  I heard the still small voice of God’s Spirit speak to my spirit.  It was only three words.  “Buy the field.”  Those words have been playing through my mind ever since, and I have been searching the Scripture.  I knew those words were meant to take me to another level in my Christian walk, but I knew they were also meant to be shared.
            In Matthew 13:44, Jesus said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field.”  This man bought the field and took possession of the treasure.  It was more important to him than all of his possessions.
            How important is the kingdom of heaven to you?  Most of us would say, “More than anything!”  But is it really more than our possessions, our comfort, and having our own way?  When our spiritual eyes are opened to see the kingdom of God, it is at that very moment we have the opportunity to possess this treasure, right now, right here in this world.  The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not it is worth giving up everything of this world to possess it.
            Living in the kingdom of God is not following a set of rules, doing a lot of good works, or coming up with a plan to ‘help God out’.  It is following the King of the kingdom.  It is following Jesus just as tangibly as His twelve disciples followed Him when He walked the earth clothed in human flesh.  How can we do that?  By allowing the Holy Spirit to live inside us, listening to His voice, then doing what He says.  Jesus sent the Spirit to be with us for that very purpose.  It requires surrendering our will to follow wherever He leads.  There is a cost to follow.  We die to self and live unto Christ.  Jesus never tried to hide the fact that there is a cost.
            In Luke 14:25-33, Jesus talked about the cost of following Him and living in His kingdom.  Let’s look at three of these verses.  “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he hath sufficient to finish it…Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?...So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (verses 28, 31, 33)  To live fully in God’s kingdom, we must forsake our own little kingdoms and the kingdoms of this world.
What has God opened your eyes to see?  What has He stirred your spirit to do?  Is it something He has spoken to you to give up or someplace He is leading you toward?  When you choose to follow Him in those areas, you are choosing to walk in the kingdom of God.
It may mean we have to give up something dear to us in this world before we can fully walk in His kingdom, because the kingdom of God is the sphere where the will of the King is carried out.  This world’s goods and our own plans often get in the way and need to be abandoned.  We can choose to draw back if we wish, but only full surrender will bring full joy.
Jesus describes the joy the man in the parable had when he found the treasure.  It had been hidden to him, but his eyes were opened and he gladly sold everything to have God’s kingdom.  Everyone does not gladly receive it.  Some hear of the kingdom and decide to go their own way.  Others come so far and then decide the cost is too great, so they turn back. But the kingdom of God is within everyone’s reach.  Whether or not we obtain it is our choice.
When Jesus sent out the seventy disciples two by two, He gave them these directions.  “And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.  But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
Notice Jesus spoke of the possibility of two very different responses.  But one factor remains the same - the kingdom of God is as close as your hand.  It is right there!  Some choose to live in that kingdom while others close their eyes to it and continue to live in darkness.
            Jesus said to count the cost before you buy the field. Living in the kingdom of God requires all we have.  It is not a sideline or add-on to our busy lives.  It is all or nothing.  We are either all in or all out.  We cannot be true disciples of Jesus on a part time basis.  We enter the kingdom as newborn babies, but we must press our way into the interior of this kingdom and not be content to play around the fringes.
            The other passage of Scripture that came to mind is from Proverbs 31:16-17.  It speaks of counting the cost, but it also shows us that finding the treasure is just the beginning.  After that, we start learning how to function in His spiritual kingdom at the same time we are living in this physical kingdom.  That is only possible with God’s Spirit in us.  Once we have the treasure, what will we do with it?  You don’t buy a field and let it lie dormant.  The woman in Proverbs 31 shows us that.
“She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.  She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.”  Notice this woman considers the field before she buys it.  She looks it over to see if it’s worth the price, if it will produce fruit, and she considers if she is willing to put forth the effort to work it.  She decides it is good and pays the price.  Then she works it, cultivating, planting, and watering it.  And it brings forth fruit, not just for her, but for her whole household.
The treasure in the field is worth the price.  So, we are back at this deciding factor: Are we willing to put forth the effort to make the field useful?  Our work is not over when we buy the field.  It has just begun.  The treasures of God’s kingdom are not to be hoarded for ourselves alone.  God is not pleased when we hide it in our hearts and never let it flow out into the lives of others.  We need to be sure to make good use of that which has been entrusted into our hands.
The whole plan of buying the field and living in God’s kingdom includes our salvation, but it also includes working in the field.  On our journey from here to heaven, we are to spend everything we have to sow and reap the harvest.  We have to freely give our time, money and talents to carry out the will of the King.  Jesus said, “freely you have received, freely give.”
He also said the harvest was ready for reaping, but the laborers were few.  He needs those who will give and give and give some more to see that the harvest is brought in, that not one soul is left out.
            If you have bought the field, what are you doing with it?  Does it produce just enough to feed you, or do you share the abundance with others?  There is a world full of people who need someone willing to work in the field and bring them to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. 
Has Jesus been drawing you to a certain work?  Buy the field.  Has He opened a door that seems too big for you to walk through?  Buy the field.  Has He asked you to let go of something that seems to be a good thing?  Buy the field.  Is He asking you to give more than you feel you can give?  Buy the field.  Buy the field and work it with all your heart.
Don’t leave the kingdom of God to walk in the kingdom of men.  Don’t stop following the King of the kingdom when the path gets rough and steep.  Because we are exchanging temporary blessings and rewards for eternal ones.  The price is more than worth it.


“…and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

“BECAUSE THE DAYS ARE EVIL”



            When I was a child, people seldom locked their doors, children played freely all through the neighborhood without fear, and murders were only heard of in the big cities, and that was few and far between. Times have changed.  We lock our doors and install security systems.  Children have to be watched carefully so they will not be abducted.  Murders happen on a regular basis even in small town neighborhoods. The places that used to be considered safe havens are no longer safe.  Because the days are evil, we have changed how we live, how we think and how we act in order to protect ourselves and to survive.
            We need to have the same diligence in protecting ourselves spiritually.  Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  In these two short verses, we are given a clear message of who we are to be, what we are to do, and the reason it is all so urgent.
            First, we are urged to walk circumspectly. We don’t hear the word ‘circumspectly’ very often anymore, but it simply means to walk carefully, cautiously and discreetly.  There are several characteristics that show up in the life of one who is walking carefully.
            The Amplified Bible says they live their lives with honor.  Those who have the Spirit of God in them have high standards of behavior because they have high standards of godly principles established deep within them.  We are so used to people flaunting their evil lifestyles, but true followers of Christ still honor and love Him enough to live respectfully toward His Word, themselves, and other people…even the people who choose evil over honor.  Honor and respect seem to be lost in our world, so we should be careful not to shift into that gear, like blending into traffic on a highway. Living life with honor may be abnormal in our culture, but it is normal among those surrendered to Jesus.
We also need to be careful to live our lives with purpose.  What do we want to have accomplished when we reach the end of this life?  We cannot wait until the end and hope it comes to pass.  We have to work closely with Jesus toward that goal on a daily basis.  If you set a goal to make a cake, you can’t just sit back and wait for everything to come together.  You have to gather the ingredients and then follow the directions before you will reach your goal.  Jesus guides us through life to give us the provisions for the work He has called us to do, but we must cooperate with Him, draw close to Him and listen for His voice.  Only then can we hear and follow His directions.  Although our primary purpose in life is to make the gospel known to everyone, there is no rubber stamped method to carry it out.  Jesus equips each of us with just what we need to accomplish our part.  There is a diversity of methods, but one main purpose - to take the gospel to the nations.
Courage is another character trait of one who is walking carefully in this world.  We must be bold and intentional about how we live our lives and share the gospel.  When God speaks to us through something we see in the Bible, we need to immediately obey.  It takes boldness to stand when we face opposition.  There is plenty of opposition in the world, but God will give us the boldness and wisdom to overcome.
The Amplified Bible also tells us that those who walk carefully and discreetly will be “shunning those who tolerate and enable evil.”  If we blend in with those who choose to live apart from the Word of God, we will find ourselves on a downward trend.   When we become like those who do evil, we have ceased to show them the truth by our lifestyle, and we have ceased to speak truth to them.  We cannot make a person change inwardly by forcing them outwardly, but we are not to partake of their evil deeds in any way.  Accepting sin is enabling the sinner.  Jesus was clear about sin and its wages.  He was equally as clear about His love for every person and His desire that all would be saved.
Another characteristic of those who walk carefully in these evil days is discernment.  Discernment enables us, by the Spirit of God, to see through a thing whether it is right or wrong, whether it will bring harm or good.  Have you ever felt a warning in your spirit about a certain situation or an alliance with a person, but you saw nothing that should make you feel that way?  That is how discernment works.  God shows us things we have no way of knowing on our own.  He doesn’t show us things about people so we can tell everybody else.  He may show us so we can avoid making a wrong choice as who to align ourselves with.  Or He may show us so we can help guide them to Him.  When we have discernment, we can make choices with our eyes wide open rather than in uncertainty and confusion.

Redeeming the Time
If somebody gives you money, you probably want to get the best value for whatever you exchange it for.  We are to do the same with the time God has given us by exchanging our time wisely for things of eternal value.  Misuse of time keeps us from reaching our goal of what we want to accomplish with our lives.  Also, if we use our time frivolously, we won’t hear God speaking to our spirits, and we can’t be obedient to a voice we haven’t heard.
The Amplified Bible says, “making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence].”  God gives us certain commodities to use in this life to accomplish something of value.  Time, money, and talents are definitely some of them.  Opportunity is also one of those commodities.  Opportunities come to us daily.  Every time we have an opportunity to pray for someone, share Jesus with them, or be in God’s presence to hear from Him, we need to take advantage of that opportunity.
My family and I often have opportunities to share with congregations, nursing homes, on the internet, and on television.  We seize those opportunities to proclaim the word of God.  But we also have opportunities to pray for individuals and share encouraging words with people one-on-one.  Every opportunity is important.  We can’t afford to miss them.
Years ago, I met up with a friend in the grocery store.  I hadn’t seen her in quite a while and was glad to see her.  She told me that the Lord had been bringing me to her mind, and she had been praying for me. I hugged her and cried.  I had been having some problems at the time, and it was so encouraging to know God had spoken to her to pray for me even when she had no idea what was going on.  I don’t remember what the problem was, but I do remember the faithfulness of God and one of His saints to lift me up in prayer.  Seize the opportunities that come up, no matter whether they seem insignificant or overwhelmingly significant, whether they are big or small.
Many opportunities are open to us.  We need to open our eyes to see them and set our hearts to redeem the time.  It’s time to start buying everything of eternal value that we can with our allotted time on this earth.
Before we leave this idea of redeeming time and recognizing the opportunities God gives us, let’s consider social media and the internet.  People spend many hours there, but what do we use it for?  I know there are a lot of bad things on the internet, but we don’t have to visit those places.  We have the power to take the opportunity some are using for evil and use it for something good.  Be careful what you read, what you post and what you like.  Recognize even the common opportunities that are right before us.
What will we do with the time we have?  What will we leave behind of eternal value?  Today is the day to seize every opportunity we have.  Life goes by faster than we realize. 
            The days are evil, so what we do matters.  Why is that so urgent?  Because someone needs to point the way to Christ.  Someone needs to live in such a way that others can have hope of a better life.  Someone needs to let others know there is a place of peace even in the midst of turmoil, freedom in the face of physical restrictions, and a way to fill the void that every soul hungers for.  We don’t have to keep struggling and failing on our own.  Jesus is the only One Who can satisfy our soul hunger.
Live life carefully and discreetly.
Don’t miss any opportunities to share Jesus Christ.
Use your time to ‘buy’ things of eternal value.

Because the days are evil.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

THE GODS OF THE EGYPTIANS



            Life can be a battle. We see evil vs. good, the devil vs.God, this world vs. the kingdom of God.  Nations battle against one another, and sometimes even families go to war with each other.  Does anyone ever win?  It seems evil wins in this world, but it doesn’t.  There is coming a day when evil will be destroyed and those who have followed Jesus through the battles of this world will stand victorious.  It may not seem so now, but we are promised that God wins and He will reward those who are faithful to Him.   
We probably all remember the famous battle between Pharaoh and Moses that is recorded in the book of Exodus. It must have looked like Moses was fighting a losing battle, but he knew better.  Pharaoh seemed to have the power, control, authority and manpower to win easily.  But things are seldom as they seem.  God had it all planned from the beginning.  Even the ending was already set, and it happened just as God said. 
            When Moses first approached Pharaoh to “let my people go”, Pharaoh asked, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.”  But after ten rounds, Pharaoh had gotten a chance to know the superior power of the God of the Israelites.  Each of the ten plagues sent against Pharaoh and the Egyptians was a direct conquest of their gods…one by one.  It was no accident.  It was designed by God.
            The first plague, turning the water of the Nile River into blood, was a show of power against the god and goddess of the Nile, Osiris and Isis as well as Khnum who was their guardian of the Nile.
            The second plague of frogs was against Heqet, the frog-headed goddess of birth.  It is said the Egyptians believed frogs to be sacred, and would not kill them.  But when Pharaoh sent for Moses to get rid of the frogs, they died and were piled in heaps causing the whole land to stink.
            The third plague was lice.  Moses was instructed by God to take his rod and hit the dust of the ground and it became lice in the land of the Egyptians.  This was a direct attack against the Egyptian earth god, Seb (also noted as Set or Geb).
            The fourth plague was flies.  It showed God’s power against their god of flies, Uatchit.
            The fifth plague was disease and death of their cattle. Hathor, the Egyptian goddess and Apis, their god, were both depicted as cattle.  They had various other gods who were associated with bulls and cows, such as, Ptah, Mnevis and Amon.  All these gods proved powerless before the God of Israel.
            The sixth plague came as boils.  To set this plague into motion, Moses was to take ashes from the furnace and sprinkle them toward heaven.  They became dust that caused boils to break out on the people and animals in Egypt.  The false gods and goddesses they worshiped remained silent and powerless to stop it.  Among them were Sekhmet, Sunu and Isis who were gods over health and disease, Thoth who was god of intelligence and medical learning and Serapsis who was an Egyptian god of healing.
            The seventh plague came as hail accompanied by fire that ran along the ground.  It could not be stopped by Nut, their sky goddess or Osiris, their crop fertility god or Set, their storm god or Shu, their god of the atmosphere and wind.
            The eighth plague was the coming of locusts that killed any crops that remained from the hail and fire.  This showed how powerless their god for protection from locusts, Serapia, was. They also worshiped Anuhis, guardian of fields and Nepri, the grain god.  None could stop the locusts except the Lord God of Israel.
            The ninth plague was a thick darkness that settled across the land for three days.  Even at midday, Ra, their sun god could not bring them light.  Neither could Horus, the god of sunrise and Tem, the god of sunset.  Even Thoth, the moon god, could not give them moonlight.
            The tenth and final plague was the death of the firstborn in Egypt.  This was a show of power against Isis, the protector of children.  But it was actually a conquest of all their gods combined.  Pharaoh himself was considered to be the greatest Egyptian god and ultimate power of Egypt.  There was nothing Pharaoh could do to stop the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 
After the Israelites had been delivered from the hands of Pharaoh, Moses recounted the whole story to his father-in-law.  Jethro said, “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.”  That battle was actually between the gods of Egypt and Jehovah, the Lord God above all.  No contest! 
Before the first plague and before every plague thereafter, Pharaoh was given an opportunity to repent and obey God.  But his heart was hardened more and more. God was not   finished until He had shown Himself above every god the Egyptians worshiped and trusted in.
            God will show Himself above the areas in which we deal proudly, too. Pride is an independent spirit, a sense of self-sufficiency that causes us to lean on our own abilities and beliefs instead of submitting to God.  Pride, stubbornness and rebellion refuse to depend on God.
            The Egyptians were depending on their so-called gods to protect them, provide for them, keep them healthy and bless the work of their hands.  They did all the right things to appease these gods and insure their success, but it was all futile.
            What are we depending on?  If our trust is in our retirement plan or bank account, our doctors, influential friends, our ability to provide for ourselves, our plans for the future, or anything else, we are trusting in gods that are totally impotent.  Our trust belongs in God alone.  Wealth can vanish in a moment. Doctors’ knowledge is limited. Our plans may or may not be realized. Our friends may not always be there, and we may lose our abilities.  These things are not wrong in themselves, but if we begin to put our trust in them and depend on them, God may begin to shake things up to cause us to look to Him.
            Where is our place of pride?  It is the place where we act independently of God, the place where we feel strong and capable in our own wisdom, abilities or provision.  When we act out of our own sense of control, we are acting out of pride.  God will deal with us in these areas, and we will either submit or fail.  He will show us that our “gods” are inadequate.  They may make us feel in control, but their false security will destroy us.
            Where is our place of humility?  It is in every area where we recognize our need for God and submit to His Lordship.  It is the place where we surrender our will to God and rely on His wisdom, power, ability and provision.  It is when we say “not my will, but Yours be done” and really mean it.  We will only win the battle when we relinquish our will to His.
            When God begins to deal with us in an area, He is giving us a chance to surrender our independence and become dependent on Him, the One Who has all power, wisdom and authority.  If we are determined to have our own way, He will deal more strongly with us so we will see our error and turn from it.  Why is God so persistent?  Because He loves us.  He is giving us the opportunity to live a life more abundant in an everlasting kingdom.  But a day will come, when He will cease to offer that opportunity if we continue to refuse Him.
Pharaoh was a powerful ruler and refused to concede to God.  If he conceded to that, he would have to give up his own glory, his self-sufficiency, his control, his reputation, all that was familiar to him, and all that he and every other Pharaoh before him trusted in.  He refused to concede and lost it all anyway.
Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], and whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].”  (Matthew 10:39 – Amplified Bible)
If we hold to the things (gods) of this world, we will lose the kingdom of God.  If we give up the things (gods) of this world for Jesus, we will gain the kingdom of God.  The two are so far apart, and yet, at the same time, we can live in His kingdom while we are alive in this world.  Jesus said we have to make a choice. The two cannot coincide in our hearts.   Our sense of duty or love cannot be toward both because they are diametrically opposed.
            Living in His kingdom while in this world means we will live this life in a battle between the world and the Spirit, but God is above the world and will show Himself strong on our behalf.
Are there any “gods” pulling you toward independence and pride?  Lay them down.  Jesus says we must let them go completely - our own glory, self-sufficiency, control, reputation, all that is familiar to us and what we have trusted in.  No god can stand before the Almighty God.  But we can choose to stand with Him.

            “Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7b


Monday, August 22, 2016

THE BODY OF CHRIST


What is the Body of Christ?  Just as a physical body has various parts, each with a different function, we all have different functions in the Body of Christ.  But they all work together with Christ as the head of the Body.  And Jesus leads each one of us by the Holy Spirit.  So, we become His hands, feet, voice, and every other part of the body that is needed to do His works.  As members of Christ’s Body, we are to carry on the work that Jesus did when He was on this earth.
At the inception of the Church, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, the apostles were working miracles and healing people in the name (authority) of Jesus. There were also signs and wonders done in His name. They were the body of Christ.  They had become His feet, hands, eyes, ears and voice to continue the same works Jesus did.  They operated under the power of the Holy Ghost given to them.
As people saw Christ at work through these disciples, they came to believe in Him and were saved. When these new converts were added to the Church, they became the same dynamic soul winners as those to whom they were joined. 
Lately I have been wondering about the church of today. When someone comes to Christ and joins himself to us, what does he become? I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that question, but we must answer it honestly if we want to see the Church rise up and become who God has designed it to be…the body of Christ through whom He carries out His will and His works and through Whom He shows His glory.
What does a new born-again believer look like a year after being joined to us? Has the fire settled down to a barely glowing ember or maybe even gone out completely; or has the blaze been consistently fueled by the Spirit of God? When the fire of the Spirit blazes in the heart of a man or woman, the Word of God will be spread all around. But have these believers become common church-goers who have learned the lingo and proper procedures accepted in our services?  Or are they more filled with God’s Spirit today than when they first believed?  Are they going forth as the Church to the world around them in the power of the Holy Spirit?  Are they doing the works of Jesus?  Am I? Are you?  What have today’s new believers joined themselves to?  What kind of example are we?
What did the early Christians join themselves to? What did their examples look like? Here is a glimpse of what the early Church looked like.
They were meeting daily from house to house to strengthen and exhort one another, and to seek the will of God. How often do we gather to pray together with other believers?  To join together in prayer for encouragement, healing, knowledge and direction?   Many times we have had the privilege to gather at a friend’s house just to share the Word and pray for one another.  Whatever our needs were we prayed.  As the Body of Christ, we need to bear one another’s burdens and watch over one another so we will not grow weary and faint. We can’t do that if we don’t know one another, or if we don’t share our needs for prayer with others.
Most people don’t even take time to attend church more than once a week, much less meet from house to house to serve one another and the Lord.  When we make these times of coming together a priority, God speaks, heals, gives direction, encourages, and sometimes sends out those who are called to a special work.  In Acts 13, we read of a group of believers who had gathered together. “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)  Their call was confirmed as they were gathered together in prayer, and they went out to do Kingdom work.  We need to meet together as the Church.
Their lives were built around the Church.  It’s wonderful to have a designated building in which the church can come together, but if that is lost, the Church is still alive.  The early church was not a building.  It was the living organism made up of multiple members of Christ’s body. They were the living church of Jesus wherever they came together.  Their focus was not on building a good, comfortable life in this world and ‘allowing’ Jesus to be part of it. The kingdom of God was their mission, their purpose and their priority.  Leaving their old life behind, giving their all to share the gospel with others, and taking care of the people of God was their interpretation of seeking first the kingdom of God.  What is our interpretation of seeking first His kingdom?  Whatever work God calls us to in His kingdom, we need to adjust our job circumstances and lifestyles to accommodate it.  These early Christians who “turned the world upside down” were ordinary people with jobs and families.  But they became extraordinary because they put God’s kingdom first. 
So, our focus is to be on Jesus.  We should look at everything we do from the viewpoint of God’s kingdom, His purpose and will. Our career should be less of a priority in our lives than God’s mission for us.  My husband has turned down more lucrative jobs in his life because they would interfere with the ministry we are called to do.  As a result, God has blessed us and we have no lack.  Paul, the apostle, was a tentmaker.  That trade lent itself to supporting him and letting him be flexible to go wherever God led Him.  He was a learned man who could have held positions that were considered much greater in the eyes of the world. As a matter of fact, he had held a very prestigious position before his encounter with Jesus.  But He had a mission from God and it took first place.  It was more important than any worldly pursuit. 
They were listening to the Word and studying the Scriptures. These [the Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)  They checked to make sure what they were being taught was in line with the Scripture.  We need to do the same.  In a day when there are so many false doctrines being taught, we need to search the Scripture for ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to His truth.  How much of what you know about Jesus is knowledge you received from someone else, and how much is directly from Him?  Learning about Jesus is wise, but learning from Jesus burns it into our souls and seals it in our hearts.
They followed the teachings of Jesus and His example.  It seems we are out of touch with what it means to be a real Christian, being part of the body of Jesus Christ.  It is a decision by an individual to leave everything behind, and to follow the teachings and example of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit within us.  What did Jesus teach?  Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  The words Jesus spoke and the example He set are His teachings.  Jesus’ taught humility and showed us by example.  He taught with words and example about denying ourselves, guarding against hypocrisy, how to handle money, suffering persecution and about forgiving.  And that’s just the beginning. His teachings don’t change to fit neatly into our culture.  Either we allow them to change us or we are not one of His disciples.
They gave what they had to take care of one another. We read in Acts 2 that many people sold their possessions to help those who were in need.  In 2 Corinthians 9, the churches that had plenty took offerings to be sent to those in the church in Jerusalem that needed funds.  And in James 1:27 we are told: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” What we have is to be used to help those in need.  But the Scripture is also clear that we are not called to support the lazy. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)  And Ephesians 4:28 says, “ The thief [who has become a believer] must no longer steal, but instead he must work hard [making an honest living], producing that which is good with his own hands, so that he will have something to share with those in need.” (Amplified Bible)  We are called to serve one another and be quick to share our blessings. God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others.
They shared the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit – They shared the gospel with everyone they met. When they were persecuted and scattered to other places, they took the gospel message with them. We are more likely to talk about whatever is most important to us, and following Jesus was their top priority. They followed wherever the Spirit led them and always shared the message of Jesus. Their lives were all about fulfilling the great commission to “go ye”. Wherever the Spirit led, they went.
So, I ask again, “What are new believers joining themselves to when they join our congregations? When they join themselves to one of us as an individual believer? Are they really becoming members of the Body of Christ to carry on the ministry as Jesus did? Or do they become part of an organization that knows little of Jesus personally?

“And he [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  Luke 9:23


“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Monday, August 1, 2016

"AND WHEN YOU PRAY..."

            When I hear a siren, I usually say, “Lord, please help whoever’s in trouble.”  Sometimes I even add, “and please help those who are trying to help them.”  It’s not just a habit, it’s a prayer. God hears His people when we pray and He will answer. He expects us to communicate with Him.  Jesus said “that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “be unceasing and persistent in prayer.”       
            Paul wrote to Timothy: “First of all, then, I urge that petitions (specific requests), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in [positions of] high authority, so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 - Amplified Bible)
We are to pray for all people – those who are brothers and sisters in Christ and those who are not. Then Paul zeros in on kings and those who are in places of authority.  We need to be praying for our national leaders, world leaders and all those who have positions of authority, whether great or small.
The reason they need our prayers can be found in verses 3-4. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”  God desires that every person be saved.  He also desires that everyone will come to a knowledge of the Truth. People we may never see face to face can be influenced by the prayers we pray for them. No matter how much authority they have, God’s authority is over them.
It’s interesting to note here that Nero ruled as emperor during the time of Paul’s writing. Nero brutally persecuted the church with unthinkable acts against them.  But it is God’s will that ALL come to salvation through Jesus and to a knowledge of the truth. That even included Nero and every other leader.
            Jesus taught in Matthew 5:44 to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”  Here again, we are to pray for everyone…even those who do evil to us.  That’s difficult to do sometimes, but we find strength and release when we do.  It keeps our spirits pure and opens a door for the offender to be saved.
            James encourages us to pray for one another in the household of faith. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God - it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].” (James 5:16 - Amplified Bible)
            We live in “perilous times”, and we need one another to help navigate through all the traps of the enemy.  It’s time we rise up as a spiritual army of believers in Christ and hold one another up through prayer. We also need insight from the Holy Spirit to know how to pray for one another.
We pray when we need a job, a house, healing for our bodies, for circumstances to be changed, or marriages restored. And I believe God wants to give us those things. But there is something deeper and more lasting God wants for all of us.
Here is part of a prayer Paul prayed for the people of Ephesus: “[I always pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may grant you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation [that gives you a deep and personal and intimate insight] into the true knowledge of Him [for we know the Father through the Son].” 
Paul knew something about revelation. He had a dramatic revelation of Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road.  Before that time, he knew only facts he had been told about Jesus and his preconceived ideas of who Jesus was.  But when he had a face to face revelation of Jesus – when Jesus pulled back the curtain and let Paul see Him as He is (His glory, majesty, power and Lordship) – he was never the same again.  Jesus IS Lord, and suddenly Paul saw that.  He said “Who are you Lord?” Jesus answered, “I’m Jesus, Who you are persecuting.” That revelation changed the whole direction of Paul’s life.  He never forgot it. And here he prayed for this to happen to others!
Paul also prayed that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened.  He knew something about that, too.  After he saw Jesus on the Damascus Road, he was temporarily blind physically.  Ananias, a servant of God, was sent to pray for him.  When he prayed, it was like scales fell from Paul’s eyes and he could see again.  It happened spiritually, too.  Paul had a clear understanding of Who Jesus is and his eyes were opened to see Jesus in the Scriptures. He gained spiritual enlightenment instead of just a head knowledge of the facts.
We need a revelation of Jesus Christ.  It’s not enough just to know some facts about Him.  We can have an ongoing revelation of Jesus as we follow Him through the various circumstances in our lives. We can come to know Him personally and experientially as our Savior, Healer, Deliverer, Provider and Lord. But we need to begin to pray this prayer for ourselves and one another.
Here’s another prayer from Paul. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [that is, separate you from profane and vulgar things, make you pure and whole and undamaged - consecrated to Him - set apart for His purpose]; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete and [be found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 - Amplified Bible)
            Paul prayed that they would be set apart. This same Spirit of power, wisdom and revelation will draw us away from the things of this world (of the flesh) to the things of God’s Spirit.  (See Galatians 5:16-21.)
            Jesus prayed this same prayer of separation for all His followers in John 17.  “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth.” (Amplified Bible)  If we want to know Truth, we will read God’s Word and ask His Spirit to show us what it means to us.  He will enlighten the eyes of our understanding when we do, and we can begin to work it out in our lives.
            In Acts 4, we read another type of prayer.  Peter and John healed a lame man at the Temple gate. They healed Him in the name and authority of Jesus.  So, when a crowd gathered, Peter and John preached Jesus to them. The chief priests and religious rulers came and arrested them. It frustrated and infuriated them to hear anyone preaching and healing in Jesus’ name.  They had just recently had Jesus crucified and thought it was all over. 
The religious rulers interrogated the apostles and commanded them not to preach in Jesus’ name anymore.  Then they threatened them and let them go, because the whole crowd had seen the man healed at the gate and they couldn’t deny it.
            Peter and John went to where the believers were gathered together and told them everything that had happened.  They told them how they had been commanded not to preach anymore in Jesus’ name.  But they all knew Jesus had commanded them to preach in His name.  So they prayed like this: “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:29-31
            They didn’t pray that the persecution would stop. Jesus had already told them to expect it. They understood they were in the world. They also understood they were not of the world. They were set apart. They understood the power at work against them in the world, and they understood the power at work in and through them by the Spirit. They prayed for power to stand and continue to boldly do the work of the Lord. And God gave it to them.
            Think about most of the prayers we pray.  Most are defensive.  Our backs are against the wall and we need God’s help.  And He is more than willing to help us, but God also wants us on the offensive.  He wants to do much more than just help us get by. 
He wants to:
·         Enlighten the eyes of our understanding – make the Scripture alive in our hearts
·         Give us a fresh revelation of Jesus and a spirit of wisdom
·         Set us apart for His purposes
·         Give us boldness to speak

If we begin to pray these prayers for ourselves and one another, I believe we will see dramatic changes in ourselves, others, our churches, our communities, our nation, and the world.


“The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

THE SECRET OF THE LORD

Who do you share the secrets of your heart with? Most of us save our secrets for those closest to us, not strangers or causal friends. We tell them to people who really know us and understand where we are coming from even if we get the words wrong, because they know our heart.
That’s who God shares His secrets with, too. Strangers and casual Christians will misunderstand what He is saying, but those who know Him will have understanding.
Proverbs 3:32 says, “For the perverse are an abomination…to the Lord; but His confidential communion and secret counsel are with the [uncompromisingly] righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him). (Amplified Bible) 
It is God’s desire to open the depth of His Word to us. “Whosoever will” can come to know His “confidential communion” and “secret counsel”. He wants us to know His secrets, the deep things of God, but He cannot trust them to those who are casual Christians.
Jesus shared the secret things with those disciples who were closest to Him. He shared things with them that others would not be able to comprehend. In Mark 4:11 He said, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.” It took the disciples awhile before they understood what Jesus was saying, because they had to get to know Him.
Progressively, we come to really know Him and learn to live in the kingdom of God.  But it comes on a spiritual level, not a natural one. We need to open our hearts to have spiritual encounters with God. It happens as we follow Jesus over a course of time, seeking His kingdom first. The disciples encountered Jesus’ healings, life choices, His character, and His teachings firsthand for three years.  Those encounters changed them into Christians – “little Christs.”
Immediately after Jesus called His disciples, He began to teach them. He taught them throughout His whole ministry. After His death and resurrection, He continued to teach them the things of the kingdom of God until He ascended into heaven. Then He sent the Holy Spirit to teach them ‘all things’. He is still teaching those who are teachable, who want to learn.  We can’t follow Him in physical form, but we can read of His miracles, character, life choices and teachings in the New Testament and allow His Word to transform us.
Spiritual encounters with God make a lasting change in us. Regardless of whether they seem insignificant or dramatic at the time, they will be life-changing because they are on a spiritual level, not a soulish one.
Our soul was given to us by God. Because of the fall, it is bent toward sin.  It is made up of three essential parts: (1) Our mind - how we think and reason things out, (2) Our will - our determination and the power we have to make reasoned out choices, and (3) Our emotions - how we feel and how those feelings cause us to react to things around us. Our emotions are volatile and change with circumstances.
Our mind, will and emotions can be for us or against us. They cannot always be trusted because they are fleshly, but God’s Spirit can be trusted. Jesus wants to take us beyond the soulish part. He wants us to rise above the natural and enter a depth where only his Spirit can take us. We cannot reason, determine or feel enough to get there.
Anytime we have a true spiritual encounter with Jesus, something changes in us for the good. Isaiah saw God in His glory in the temple. That was a spectacular encounter! And he was never the same. Several things happened during that encounter.  He saw his sin for what it was and knew he was doomed! He admitted it out loud. He received cleansing. He was called to be God’s spokesman. His life took a dramatic turn.
Every encounter may not be that dramatic, but it will be just as important. There were other times when Isaiah heard from God and delivered God’s message in a less dramatic way. It is always a turning-point when we experience God, even if it is as seemingly small as having a Scripture verse come alive in us during our time with Him. So when we have an encounter with God, something will change. He may show us our sinfulness so we can have it out in the open and finally deal with it. He may offer cleansing, breaking an obstacle that has been in the way of us going through with Him. He may encourage us and give us confidence so that we can go forward instead of sitting still. He may call us to a specific work. But whatever we experience in His presence will take us up another level. Soulish experiences are temporary, but spiritual encounters with Jesus are life-changing. He continues to call us to “come up higher”.
There are times we have to silence our soul so our spirit can hear the still, small voice of God’s Spirit speaking to us. We have to silence our minds from trying to reason everything out in our limited knowledge – His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We have to silence our will from choosing its own way – His ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:9) We have to quiet our emotions so we won’t act out of how we feel rather than according to what God’s Spirit is saying. 
All through His life on this earth, Jesus called people to Himself. And Jesus still calls us today to come. And there are a lot of secrets we can learn if we come when He calls.
He calls out, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  This is the secret of ceasing to strive to make things happen on our own and learning to rest in Him. But we must take the time to learn from Him. We may know it in an intellectual way, but we don’t have the secret of that truth until we come to Jesus and let Him help us walk it out.
He calls out, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38) That is the secret of being empowered, refreshed and satisfied by His Spirit. Once again, we know that on paper. But we need to come and drink deeply and often if we want to experience it. Many never learn the secret and live their whole lives looking for something to satisfy them.  Some say they “tried Jesus” and it just isn’t for them. But we can’t “try Him” on our level.  We have to move up to His.
He called out to Peter to come out of the boat and walk on the water…in the middle of a storm. It’s the secret of stepping out in faith and not drawing back in fear. He gives us boldness and authority. Not arrogance, but boldness that moves out with confidence in Christ. But we won’t trust Him enough to step out until we know Him.
He calls out, “Come and follow me.”  (Matthew 19:21) It’s the secret of choosing the path to life and following in His footsteps. Trusting His wisdom and His way over ours. Not accomplishing our goals but His.
He calls out, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”  (Mark 1:17)  In coming after Him we discover the secret of letting Him change our purpose from the earthly to the heavenly; from the temporary to the eternal. We can be benefactors to people who need this world’s goods, but unless we also give them the message of Jesus, it is only temporary. He wants our giving and our accomplishments to be on a much higher level than anything else this world has to offer.  Will we come?
Psalm 25:14 says, “The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.” (Amplified Bible) We have lost our reverence of God and His presence. We need to learn to “be still” in His presence and listen…to reverence Him and esteem His presence in our lives above everything else. We try to make that mystical and sensational, but it is not. It is a deep spiritual thing that comes progressively as we seek after Him. Those in Jesus’ innermost circle have that “sweet, satisfying companionship of the Lord”.
Along with that companionship comes a revealing of the deep meaning of God’s Word. “and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.” While we are lingering in His presence, He opens the treasure chest and begins pulling out the treasures in there. He shows us things that are hidden from the world and explains their purpose and meaning.
Have you ever had someone show you what was in their cedar chest? When they open the lid, it looks like a bunch of old junk. But they start pulling out items from their past and the pasts of their parents and grandparents, and they tell you the story of each one. They are no longer just old articles, but experiences. They come alive and have significant meaning. Have you ever been reading a passage from the Bible that you have read over and over again, but suddenly the words came alive in your spirit? That’s when God is taking those things out of the treasure chest and showing them to you. They take on new life and you begin to see things you’ve never seen before. You are drawing closer and closer to Him…getting to really know Him.
Psalm 9:10 says, “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”
The Hebrew word for seek means to “beat a path to, or to frequent a place.” We need to have our own beaten path into the presence of God. Trample down the weeds that have grown up between us and the presence of God and enter frequently. That is where we get to know Him, when we are alone with Him. 
We need church meetings, but there is no way we can get all we need there or from somebody else. Some things we have to get straight from Jesus. We need one-on-one time with Him. The more areas of our lives we allow Him in, the more deeply we become acquainted with Him and the more like Him we become.
In speaking to Cyrus, the king who God used to bring back Israel to their land, He said: “And I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, Who summons you by name.” (Isaiah 45:3)
He will do the same for us.
We can really know Him, and we will never be the same.
If we search for God’s hidden treasures, we will find them.



Thursday, May 26, 2016

IS THERE STILL TIME?


Second Chronicles 34 tells us part of the story of King Josiah. His kingly heritage included Hezekiah, a great grandfather who had a heart after God. Next was his grandfather Manasseh who was a cruel, evil king. He so thoroughly led the nation of Judah into wickedness that when he repented and turned to God, he was not able to turn the nation around. Then there was Josiah’s father Amon who was equally as evil and was eventually murdered by his own servants.  It was then the people made Josiah king of Judah.  He was eight years old.
Josiah broke the chain of evil and its consequences.  His young heart turned toward Jehovah and he eventually led the whole nation in that direction…something his grandfather was not able to do. We don’t have to follow the course set before us by our predecessors.  We can change the pattern of destructive behavior, just like Josiah did.  This is how it happened.
            When Josiah was 16 years old, he began to actively seek after God.  Someone in his life must have taught him about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and made a profound difference.  At the age of twenty, he “began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, the carved images, and the molten images.”  And he “cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.”
            Josiah got rid of all the idols and the places where the people were worshiping them.   He had such a passion to rid the nation of evil that he went out to oversee it himself.  When he finished the job, he returned to Jerusalem.
            Do we have that kind of passion to see our nation cleansed from evil, or for our hearts to be cleansed for that matter? It requires a zeal that is active, that is “hands on”. The Holy Spirit stirs our hearts, but we too often lack the passion that moves us to action, that compels us to abandon our comfortable lives to follow Christ.  So we settle back down in the course set by those who went before us walking in spiritual darkness.  We don’t have to do that.  But we have to change if we want to see change around us.
            There are times when a nation, a church body, or an individual needs to uproot idols and the places where they are worshiped; to rise up in holy zeal to destroy sin and the instruments of sin. It’s not a physical battle, but a spiritual one. It’s is not enough just to get rid of evil. We must rebuild within us that which is good and embrace Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 
            When all the shrines, temples, groves and idols were brought down and destroyed, Josiah began to repair the house of the Lord his God.  While they were cleaning out the temple, Hilkiah, the priest, found a book of the law that was given by the Lord to Moses.  He gave it to Shaphan the scribe.  When he went to report that the work was completed, Shaphan took it to Josiah and read it to him.
            Josiah tore his clothes as a sign of his anguish and mourning, and he acted immediately. He commanded Hilkiah, Shaphan and two other men to “Go, enquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in this book.”
            He saw the gravity of the situation for him personally and the whole nation.  He knew they had been sinning against God just as their fathers before them. After all the changes he had made, they were still far from following God. They needed more than a rebuilt temple.  They needed the God of that temple. They needed to keep their covenant with God. It was time to face the truth and remove themselves from the path of destruction their ancestors had set them on.
            If we will open-mindedly re-acquaint ourselves with the book of God, the Bible, we will see how far we are from following Jesus. Have we realized the sin of our own lives or our nation?  Will we do something about it, or continue in the same destructive path of unrighteous that leads us to worship idols of our own making instead of God?  There comes a time to make a decision to reorder our lives, break from the sins of the past, and walk in truth…according to His book.  It’s actually simple to read Jesus’ teachings and follow them once we are saved and have the Spirit of God inside us. We don’t have to answer for the sins of our progenitors, but we will answer for our own. 
            Josiah acknowledged his sin and the sins of the nation.  He had already come so far. But they were not keeping the law God had given to His people, and Judah was set for destruction. 
            The men Josiah sent to enquire of the Lord went to Huldah, a prophetess, who told them the nation would indeed be destroyed for their wickedness and willful defiance of the law of God.  But then she added these words. 
            “And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the Lord, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
            God blesses those who seek after Him, who turn from sin. He honors those who honor Him.  Josiah’s heart was tender. It was open to receive God’s Word, and it changed him and all Judah.  Once we step out to do what we know is right, God will give us greater revelation.  That revelation seemed to be too late, but God ordered a reprieve, an extension of grace, because Josiah the king had a heart after God.
            Josiah didn’t rest on what he had already done and stop seeking God. He had God’s promise that judgment would not come in his lifetime, so he could have just breathed a sigh of relief and stopped there.  The reason he went farther is because he loved God with all his heart and soul. He was willing to surrender his all to Him.
            Josiah took the next step.  He went to the house of the Lord and everyone in Judah gathered there.  Then he read all the words in the book of God’s covenant so they could hear them.  He made a covenant before God “to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book… And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.”  (2 Chronicles 34:31-32)
            So Josiah freed the nation from idol worship and taught them to serve the Lord God.  And for as long as Josiah lived, they did not depart “from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.”
            Is there still time for our nation? I believe so, if the people called by His name will stop following the pagan ways of those who have undermined the worship and ways of the One True God.  If we will get rid of all our idols and tear down the shrines where we worship them.  If our hearts will seek God above all else. I do not believe sports, social media, and some forms of entertainment are sinful.  But, sometimes I am amazed to see thousands of people at sports arenas, spending millions of dollars and praising their teams or at entertainment venues nearly worshiping the ones offering their talents. I am shocked by what professing Christians entertain themselves with, what they post on social media and how they openly live outside the teachings of Jesus.  Neutral things that are not sins in themselves, quickly become sinful when we put them above God. Even so, we may receive an extension of grace if we seek God with all of our hearts and follow His Word, destroying the idol temples and rebuilding the temple of God, inviting in the holy God of that temple.  We are His temple, both individually and corporately, but so many are defiled that God’s glory is not seen clearly in us.  His manifest presence in the earth is clouded by our sin.
            Is there still time for us as individuals? Yes. If we have a tender heart to seek God and are willing to lay down everything for Him. If we love His Word and follow Jesus’ teachings. But we cannot continue in sin, spurning the Word of God, and receive the grace of God.
Proverbs 13:13 says, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” [shall be in peace].  Josiah loved the Word of God and he and his nation were rewarded to live in peace.  But there came a time when Josiah died and the people returned to idol worship, leaving their worship of God behind yet again. The first part of Huldah’s prophecy was then fulfilled.
“Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” (2 Chronicles 36:14-16) They ran out of time.
Hearing the Word of God yet despising it and turning from it is dangerous to any nation or individual. Their destruction will be without remedy. The time will come when no one can step in to save them. It may seem now that God will not judge sin, but His waiting is because of His love and compassion for us. There will be a day when all sin and all sinners will be judged before a righteous God.  And the sentence will be just.  Only those who have been saved through the blood of Jesus Christ and live a life surrendered to Him and His Word will receive eternal life.

When there is no more time, there will be no remedy.

God is waiting.

The clock is ticking.