Who Will Govern?

ISAIAH 9:7 NLT
7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule
with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of
Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

This is the question we must face, both as individuals and as
nations. Who, or what, will be our “king?” Who will be our
“supreme court?” (By “supreme court” I do not mean a group of
people who meet in a building, but the final authority that we
base our ideas, principles, and actions upon.)

We have a choice. We can choose Jesus Christ and His Kingdom of
Love, Light, and Life. Or we can choose selfishness and
darkness and death.

Whenever we reject Jesus and His Word from ruling over us,
whether as individuals or as a nation, we choose darkness.

I do not advocate any religious control over government. What
we need instead is people in government who know the truth and
will speak and act in truth and not out of self interest. We
need people in secular government who are submitted to Jesus as
their Lord and are willing to live and govern with His love for
mankind, instead of acting in self interest.

MATTHEW 6:10 NLT
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.

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Read The Bible

1 TIMOTHY 4:13 BBE
13 Till I come, give attention to the reading of the holy
Writings, to comforting the saints, and to teaching.

HEBREWS 4:12 BBE
12 For the word of God is living and full of power. . .

There is no substitute for the basics.

The words of God recorded in the Bible are containers. They
contain ideas from God. They contain life. When those words
enter us through our eyes, ears, or our thinking, they impart
life and faith.

Even if we don’t understand everything, we are still receiving
a deposit of life from the Word.

JOHN 6:63 NIV
63 . . . The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are
life.

Many Christian believers are weak in their faith simply because
they do not take in much of the Word of God.

If you spend hours each day listening to, watching, and
thinking about the news and views of the world, but you only
listen (half-heartedly) to a twenty minute sermon on Sunday —
you should not be surprised if your faith is weak and the
influence of the world is great in your life.

The choice is yours. Yes, you are busy, but you can, and do,
make time for what you think is important.

Fortunately, today there are many aids we can take advantage
of. You can read the Bible online, and be reminded each day by
an email. You can obtain recordings of Bible translations to
listen to while you drive or exercise or work.

“But what should I read? The Bible is so big.”

All of the Bible is instructive and worthwhile. However, the
New Testament, and specifically the letters to the Church, is
written directly to us and is most applicable for us today.

If you want to get acquainted with the Lord, read the four
Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I would recommend
starting with John. Mark is the shortest.

If you want to understand redemption and what has happened to
you as a result of receiving Christ, and how to live in
victory, then you need to read the letters in the New
Testament, which are all the books except the Gospels I just
mentioned, and the book of Revelation.

Always remember that the Bible is faith food. So if you want
your faith to be strong, you need to feed it on the Bible. It
does not matter if you feel any different, for faith is not
something that you feel. Faith is of the spirit, not of the
feeling realm.

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God Is A Genius

ROMANS 11:33 KJV
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge
of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past
finding out!

ROMANS 11:33 NLT
33 Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches
and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to
understand his decisions and his methods!

AMOS 4:13 LB
13 For you are dealing with the One who formed the mountains,
made the winds, and knows your every thought; he turns the
morning to darkness and crushes down the mountains underneath
his feet: Jehovah, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is his name.”

JEREMIAH 10:12 LB
12 But our God formed the earth by his power and wisdom, and by
his intelligence he hung the stars in space and stretched out
the heavens.

ISAIAH 28:29 NIV
29 All this also comes from the LORD Almighty, wonderful in
counsel and magnificent in wisdom.

PSALM 147:5 NIV
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has
no limit.

PSALM 104:24 LB
24 O Lord, what a variety you have made! And in wisdom you have
made them all! The earth is full of your riches.

Just because you can’t figure out any way out of a situation,
does not mean God cannot.

God has all knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.

He has the ability to create everything you see, and everything
you can’t even see, just by speaking a word.

If we were able to measure God’s intelligence, we would find
that it is perfect and complete. There is nothing God does not
know.

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Should Christians Use Their Imagination?

2 CORINTHIANS 4:18 NKJ
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at
the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen
are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Many Christians are afraid of using their imagination, equating
it with evil. But God surely had a reason to make mankind with
an imagination. Once, as I was thinking about this, the
question came to me, “Why did God create man with an
imagination?” I do believe He is the Creator, don’t you? And
God did make man with an imagination.

When I asked God if there was any scriptural support for using
our imagination, it occurred to me to look in Hebrews 11. As I
began reading the chapter I was shocked at what I found, even
though I had read it many times before!

Right in verse 1, faith is defined as “. . .evidence of things
not seen.” I thought, “If it is something you can’t see, then
it has to deal with the realm of the imagination.” People would
say we were believing something that is just imaginary if it
couldn’t be seen. In fact the dictionary says imagine means: to
form a mental image of (something not present). What could more
closely describe the Bible definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1!

By this time I was excited, but the chapter was just beginning.
Time and again, I saw that people in this chapter had used
their imagination; that they had “seen” what was not visible to
others. I began to realize that faith is linked with
imagination like wet is linked with water. The two are
inseparable.

Then I began to understand why the devil had stirred up such a
fuss over this subject. No doubt one main reason the devil
inspired eastern religions to utilize the imagination was to
muddy the waters and make Christians afraid it might be wrong.

As I read of Abraham I thought of Genesis 15:5 where God told
him to “count the stars. . . So shall your descendants be.” If
God wasn’t telling Abraham to use his imagination, I don’t know
what He was telling Him to do!

So be Biblical without fear. Take what God has said in His
Word, and imagine it that way in your life!

2 CORINTHIANS 10:5 KJV
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth
itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into
captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

We must cast down imaginations that do not agree with God’s
Word, and keep and nurture the ones that do.

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Why Do Bad Things Happen?

JOHN 10:10 NKJ
10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and
to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they
may have it more abundantly.

Bad things happen to people because the devil is out to steal,
kill, and destroy everyone.

So unless humans understand and appropriate the redemption
accomplished for them by Jesus Christ, and resist the devil’s
thoughts and works, bad things will happen.

God cannot be blamed for any bad thing that happens, because He
has provided a way all people can be protected from the devil’s
attacks.

It is like we were drowning and God has thrown us a life
preserver, but if we choose not to receive His life preserver
and use it, then we cannot blame God if we drown.

We can learn from observing the life of Jesus Christ, who was
Heaven’s perfect representative, that bad things do not come
from God. Jesus fed the multitudes, healed the sick, rebuked
deadly storms, and loved people. Not once did He do anything to
hurt anyone. This should establish clearly that God our Father
is not responsible for the bad things happening to people.

God is our answer, not our problem; our Helper and deliverer,
not our enemy.

God does not desire bad things to happen to anyone, and He is
not responsible for any bad thing that happens.

Then, who is responsible? The truth is that we, human beings,
are responsible. Yes, the devil is behind all the evil that
happens, but he cannot operate without our cooperation. Human
beings have authority on earth, and it is only through our
wrong choices that evil is allowed to operate on earth.

Sadly, the church has not understood this as clearly as it
should have. So many often repeat lies such as “the Lord gave,
and the Lord hath taken away.” That was said in ignorance by
Job, for Scripture clearly says it was satan who brought the
evil that robbed Job (Job 2:7).

Job did not know what was happening in his trial, but we can
read the story and see that all the bad happening to Job was
the result of what satan did. And satan does not work for God,
but is rebelling against Him.

Bad things happen because our Creator gave us freedom to make
choices, and many people have been making wrong choices.

Bad things happen because mankind has turned away from God,
rejecting Him and His loving ways. We fell for the devil’s
lies, and turned against God. The only way to stop bad things
from happening is for us all to turn back to God.

Bad things happen on earth because mankind has allowed the
devil and his ideas a place here. And the devil is encouraging
people to make wrong decisions in every way he can.

But we can’t really blame the devil, because humans have free
will to choose what we do. We can choose to do right and resist
the devil’s temptations to make wrong choices. Unless some
human being decides to give the devil a place, he cannot do
anything on earth. Also Jesus redeemed us by His blood,
defeated the devil for us, and gave us authority to stop him
through the Name of Jesus.

The people of the world are in the darkness of ignorance. They
have not understood the truth. For example, life and death is
in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), but most people
are ignorant of that and always speak negatively, then wonder
why negative things happen to them, not realizing it was
because of their own words, which opened the door for the
devil.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:4 NKJ
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not
believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,
who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Many people are blinded to the truth, even those who are
children of God. Jesus said truth would set us free if we would
live in it (John 8:31-32). Just hearing the truth is not
enough. We must act on it in order to be free from bad things.

Why has God allowed this situation on earth to go on, with evil
happening? Because it allows the universe to see clearly the
results of rebelling against God. It also allows God’s children
an opportunity to overcome evil and to walk in love, so we can
grow into more Christ-likeness.

So while it may seem now that God is guilty in allowing evil to
continue, it is actually God’s mercy in allowing humans more
time to turn to God, and also allowing us to see the results of
following the devil instead of God.

If you still think God should be faulted for allowing humanity
to experience so much pain, you are judging prematurely. God
has promised in the end to make everything right. He will wipe
away every tear and take away all pain and sadness, so that it
will be as if it never happened, except for the lessons we
learned.

Why hasn’t God stopped evil? Because He is raising a family,
and it is His desire that we, His children, learn how to stop
evil. He defeated all evil at the cross, and gave us the
authority to stop it in His Name.

After Jesus defeated the devil completely, He left him loose
here for awhile so we could practice resisting him. If the
devil still has any place of influence, it is because we
Christians have not done our job completely.

So, while God’s long-term plan will exclude all evil from His
creation, He is allowing it to continue for a period so His
children might have opportunity to understand it and overcome
it (Romans 12:21, Revelation 3:21).

Part of the Good News of Jesus is that He has defeated the
devil and stripped him of authority over us. Now, by the grace
of God and through the blood of Jesus we can walk in freedom
and victory over all evil. As we do so, nothing shall by any
means hurt us (Luke 10:19).

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God Is Not Angry With You

ISAIAH 54:9-10 ESV
9 “This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the
waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have
sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke
you.
10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but
my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of
peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion
on you.

Isaiah 53 foretells the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The
following chapter, Isaiah 54, speaks to those who are redeemed
by that sacrifice of Jesus and so are under the New Covenant.

It is a lie of the devil that God is angry with you! Because of
what Jesus accomplished you have a covenant of peace with God.

The message of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant is clear: God
loves you!

Yes, God knows about all your mistakes. You have sinned and
fallen short of perfection. You are not alone! The Bible says
we have all fallen short (Romans 3:23). We all need God’s
forgiveness and help.

But it is important for you to realize God loves you like a
good parent loves their child, even when the child does wrong.

God is there right now, listening and waiting for you to call
on Him for His help. God has already forgiven you. Now you just
need to reach out to God and receive His forgiveness so you can
be free from the burden of guilt and shame that has kept you
from fellowship with God.

2 CORINTHIANS 5:19 ESV
19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,
not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to
us the message of reconciliation.

EPHESIANS 1:7 ESV
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness
of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

No matter what your past has been — no matter how terrible you
have been — no matter what you have done — God still loves
you and desires for you to turn to Him. This is the reason
Jesus died on the cross, to show you the greatness of God’s
love for you, and to make a way for you to be forgiven and not
separated from God any longer.

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Are You In Trouble?

JAMES 5:13 NIV
13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone
happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

The Greek word translated as trouble in this verse means to
suffer trouble, be afflicted, or to endure hardship or evil.

The best thing anyone facing trouble can do is pray. You don’t
have to know how, just pour out your heart to God and discuss
the situation with Him.

We are tempted to do many other things: cry, complain,
criticize others — but Scripture says we should pray when we
face tough problems.

Notice it does not say you should ask everyone else to pray for
you. It says you should pray.

There is nothing wrong with having other people pray for you.
But there is something wrong with expecting others to pray,
while you never pray.

By praying, we do not mean begging God for help. God loves you,
and always desires to assist you.

What is needed is not twisting God’s arm to get Him to help.
Usually a part of the answer is God getting us quiet enough for
long enough so He can speak to our hearts and show us what
needs to be done.

Sometimes we have missed it, and that is why we are in trouble.
Other times, we may face trouble just because we live in a
fallen world. But always, when we are in trouble, we need to
know God’s direction as to what to do.

Discuss your situation with the Lord. Lay it out in detail.
Often just telling Him honestly about the situation will cause
you to realize what should be done. Pour out your soul to the
Lord, but also wait in His presence with thanks and praise. Let
your heart and mind get quiet. Let God’s peace overcome your
turmoil and worry.

God tells us that if we will draw near to Him, He will draw
near to us. This is why you should pray. You need God’s help.
He has the wisdom and knowledge to get you out of the trouble
you face.

Direction may not come the first time you determine to seek God
and pray. You may not seem to get the answer while you pray.
But know this: God is working, and the answer is coming. So
keep praying. Keep on drawing closer to God. Help will come.

JOHN 16:33 NIV
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have
peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I
have overcome the world.”

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Bad News

PHILIPPIANS 4:8 NKJ
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things
are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy —
meditate on these things.

The devil wants us to feed on bad news. God wants us to feed on
good news. Which will you choose?

Bad news promotes fear. Good news promotes faith.

We live in a society addicted to news. What we get is mostly
entertainment packaged as news, designed mostly to keep you
watching, not to actually inform you of truth. Through it the
world offers its views designed to manipulate your thinking and
believing.

Our news program’s most glaring fault is that they leave God
out. God is at work around the world. But when do you ever see
a report on the good things God is doing?

Commercial news programs, of necessity, focus on sensational
and bad news items, simply to keep people’s attention, so they
can sell products through advertising, and stay in business.

What is the result of feeding in all this bad news? Does it
make you feel better? Does it encourage you? Does it make you a
better person?

As a citizen you do have a responsibility to be informed on
some issues. But most people can do so without spending
significant amounts of time each day.

Many people spend hours each day listening to the “news” yet
find no time to read the Bible, or listen to teaching that will
build their faith and improve their life.

We are in a fight of faith. The devil is out to diminish, or
even steal our faith in God. How smart is it for a Christian
believer to spend time allowing the enemy to fill their ears,
eyes, and thoughts?

1 TIMOTHY 6:12 NKJ
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to
which you were also called and have confessed the good
confession in the presence of many witnesses.

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Love Evidence

JOHN 13:34-35 NKJ
34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you
have love for one another.”

True followers of Jesus are different. They are marked by
divine love. They do something which is impossible for “mere
men,” they walk in divine love.

1 CORINTHIANS 3:3 NKJ
3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife,
and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like
mere men?

This verse shows that believers can be carnal, or ruled by
their senses and natural mind, but all believers are capable of
showing divine love.

The truth is that we need to be born again so we can have God’s
love in us. Then we will be able to love others as Jesus loves
us. The people of the world are not capable of this.

ROMANS 5:5 NKJ
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has
been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given
to us.

Even though we have the love of God in our hearts, we still
have to choose to allow it to control our actions and reactions
toward people. In this, as in every area, we must look to the
Lord for His help.

The love we are to show others is the kind of love God has
toward us. It is a giving love, and a forgiving love.

This love desires the best for others, but goes beyond just
desiring it, for it is willing to do what is necessary to make
good happen for others.

This divine love is evident when you would rather allow
yourself to be hurt than to allow someone else to be hurt.

When people see this love manifest through our lives, it should
cause them to say, “That’s not normal!”

That’s what Jesus was talking about in John 13:35, that those
who are His disciples would stand out from the crowd because of
the divine love being demonstrated through their lives.

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God Is A Perfect Parent

MATTHEW 7:11 NIV
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good
gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in
heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

God is primarily a parent — and a good one, too — the best.
Better than any earthly parent by far.

I used to think of God primarily as a judge, someone watching
to see if I did anything wrong so He could punish me.

But that is not what the New Testament reveals to us.

Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father. . .”

That is the primary way we should relate to God, as our Father.

Only once in the KJV New Testament do we find the phrase “God
the judge,” while the phrase “God the Father” is found thirteen
times. Eleven times we find the phrase “God our Father,” but
not once do we find “God our judge.”

A good father will combine being a friend and also being a
trainer. He will be tough when necessary, for the good of the
child.

That’s the way it is with God. Yes, there are some things He
has told us not to do — but they are all for our good, because
He knows there will be bad consequences if we do them.

We can be confident God is always playing the part of being a
good parent to us. He is always trying to help us, nurture us,
and encourage us. God is for us — not against us.

And, even when we do wrong and get in trouble — God is there
to help us — not to condemn us. He is our perfect parent.

We must realize that everything God does is for our benefit —
not His. God is raising a family. He is training us and
encouraging us to grow up. Our destiny is to be like Jesus
Christ.

Children are not afraid of good parents, because they are there
to nurture and help. However, a good parent will punish wrong-
doing — not because they want to hurt their child — but
because they want to train them so they can mature and do well
in life.

The primary desire of every good parent is to see their child
grow up, to become a mature, responsible, capable adult.

This is also the desire of God for His children. His desire is
that we grow up to become mature like Christ.

This requires a certain amount of freedom and responsibility. A
parent cannot forever shelter children and expect them to
mature properly. God wants us to learn to love, just like
Christ did.

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