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Isaiah 26:21 For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain.

Nahum 1:2 LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.

There are so many misconceptions about the One true living God. Based on the scriptures above, and other scriptures in the Old Covenant, there are so many people who still believe the nature of God is punishment, wrath, and vengeance. People believe if we sin, we should expect punishment from God in the form of a car wreck or our house being burglarized. If God is having a good day, He may be willing to throw us a blessing. With this misconception, no wonder there are so many atheists. If punishment is going to occur whether we serve Him or not, why choose to believe and serve this angry God?

Now, God did have a zero tolerance policy towards mankind’s sins in the Old Covenant because no one could pay the price for sins. Therefore, punishment occurred for sins unless a sin offering was made by the priest with the shedding of animal blood.

Today, we live under a New Covenant. The true nature of God is love (1 John 4:8). God’s love sent His Son Jesus to shed His blood for mankind’s sins (John 3:16). All the punishment and wrath for sins was poured out on Jesus (1 John 4:10). God’s not waiting to punish us every time we miss the mark. That punishment was received by Jesus. It’s through Jesus all of our past, present, and future sins have been forgiven (Col. 2:13, 14).

Since God’s punishment for sin was received by Jesus for our sakes, the only thing God has left to give us is love, grace, mercy, peace, wisdom, joy and all the good things in life. This is the God we serve. He is not holding a grudge and He is not counting our sins against us (2 Cor. 5:19). Let’s renew our minds and receive the true nature of God.

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8 provides a list on the way we should think. It’s important to think according to this list because how we think will determine how we speak and how we speak will determine what we experience in our lives (see Proverbs 18:21).

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

For instance, it tells us to think on things that are pure. If we spend our time thinking on things that are impure, we’ll eventually speak and act on those impure things. Those actions don’t honor God. If we think on things of a negative report instead of a good report, we’ll eventually begin to speak negatively about our lives or the lives of others.

We’ve been given power and authority with our speech, however, if our thinking is out of control then our speech will be out of control. If our speech is out of control, we can never experience God’s best.

Psalm 92:13 Those that are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.

As believers, it’s important for us to find a church home. Being planted in a church that God called us to causes us to flourish. We may be doing well now, but being established in a church will prosper us even more. 

We live in a time where people are saying, “I can be a Christian without going to church” which is true, but think of all the opportunities we’re missing. Not being established in a church causes us to miss out on a prophetic Word of God specifically pertaining to our lives. This Word is not limited to the pastor and his sermons, but it can be from other like-minded believers as well. 

We would miss out on an opportunity to serve in the Kingdom of God. Serving the Kingdom of God ensures us all our needs will be met (Matt. 6:33). 

Finally, we’ll miss out on an opportunity to be a blessing (Gen. 12:2). People from all walks of life, come to the church looking to be helped, restored, and encouraged. The pastor may not be able to reach everyone. There is something in all of us that can help those hurting people. 

The emphasis in this scripture is the word “planted.” If we’re going from church to church every other year, we’re not guaranteed to flourish. So, find a church home and begin to flourish. 

James 1:6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

If we’ve asked God to protect, provide, and prosper our lives, we need to trust that He’ll do that and not doubt. If we doubt, we display our lack of trust in God and our instability in the things we do.

We know we have doubt in these areas when we attempt to handle it ourselves. For instance, if we’ve asked God to protect us, but in lieu of the violence we’ve seen on the news, we’ve updated our security around the house, purchased numerous guns, and are paranoid when we’re approached by a stranger. Do we really believe that God will protect us?

Or, we’ve asked God to provide for us, but we can’t see how God is going to do it so, we get extra jobs, work longer hours, or cut back on the things we enjoy all to maintain our provision. If God didn’t tell us to do those things, we doubt God’s ability to provide for us.

Whatever we’ve asked for from God, let the how and when go, and believe it shall manifest.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

God loves you beyond measure. His love is infinite and it’s not predicated on our behavior. God loves you in spite of your shortcomings, past, or what we may do in the future.

Haven’t been to church in a while? God loves you. Haven’t prayed in a few years? It’s okay. God loves you. Did something awful and you don’t anyone to know? Don’t worry. God loves you. Have I mentioned that God loves you?

When we solidify within ourselves that God’s love is genuinely unconditional and everlasting, fear, stress, worry, depression, and guilt will leave our lives forever.

God loves us, therefore, He’s forgiven us and He’s not mad at us. God loves us, therefore, He ensures us that all our needs are met. God loves us, therefore, He answers our prayers. God loves us, therefore, He protects us. God loves us, therefore, He’ll provide comfort during this troubling time. God loves us, therefore, He provides wisdom.

Every blessing or promise is backed by God’s love. Receive it and don’t allow anyone to tell you differently.

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

There are so many people who believe God is tempting them with this or that, as if He’s testing our will power or our devotion to Him. This is a misconception in the body of Christ. God is not tempting us with that attractive man/woman, those expensive shoes, or that alcoholic beverage. These temptations are built-in sin tendencies the devil is trying to exploit.

We must identify our own temptations we’re drawn to and we must recognize when we’re being tempted. When we’re tempted, don’t blame God. Take the necessary steps to overcome that temptation.
1. Submit to God’s will above the temptation.
2. Rely on God’s strength inside of us to resist that temptation.
3. If we do fall into temptation, receive God’s forgiveness and understand there is no condemnation to those in Christ.

It’s not God. It’s our flesh. Overcome the flesh with the Word of God.

Ezekiel 3:10 Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.

God told Ezekiel to hear His Words and receive His Words into his heart. Obviously, God is showing a distinction between hearing and receiving His Word and there are benefits for both.

It’s important to hear the Word of God because that how faith comes (Rom. 10:17). The more Word we hear, the more faith or belief we have in His Word.

Although hearing God’s Word is important, it’s not enough. God’s Word must be recieved into our hearts. We can go to church and hear God’s Word for years, but still haven’t received it. We can read the Bible for hours, but still haven’t received it. To receive the Word of God means we’ve established it in our hearts as the Truth. Regardless of how it looks, people’s opinions, or historical facts, God’s Word is the Truth above anything else. 

To receive God’s Word is to eliminate the word “impossible” from our vocabulary because with God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:26). To receive God’s Word means to remove the concept of failure from our minds because we know all things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28). 

Learn to hear and receive the Word of God. It will make a positive impact in our lives and in our relationship with God.

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

People are hesitant when it comes to speaking in our heavenly language (praying in the Spirit). A lot of it is based on ignorance. People don’t want to feel silly because they feel like they’re speaking gibberish and they don’t want to be possessed by some unknown “spirit” taking over their bodies. All of this is far from the truth.

If we carefully read the Word of God, it tells us when we speak in our heavenly language; it’s a controlled language that only God understands (1 Corinthians 14:2). Regardless of what we see at certain churches, it’s not a language where we have to jerk, fall out on the ground, or have our eyes rolled in the back of our heads.

This language has benefits. When we speak in our heavenly language, we strengthen ourselves (1 Cor. 14:4), we obtain the wisdom of God in all areas (1 Cor. 2:6-13), and we keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 1:20, 21). The same way we can believe Jesus is the Son of God because it’s in the Word of God, we can believe we’re strengthening ourselves, obtaining the wisdom of God, and keeping ourselves in the love of God because it’s in the Word of God.

Don’t miss out. Use this heavenly language as an advantage in every area of our lives.

Genesis 3:5 For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Here is an interesting scripture where we can identify one of Satan’s traps to attempt to ruin our lives.

In the beginning, Satan ruined the lives of Adam and Eve by tempting them with the thought that God was hiding knowledge from them. The curiosity for additional knowledge ultimately led them astray from God’s Word and to their destruction. 
There is nothing new under the sun. Satan is still up to his old tricks today. With new discoveries in history and new theories, Satan is making some of us believe that the Word of God is not enough and there are additional resources that will lead us to the “truth”.

Some people will read books and listen to lectures that will intelligently contradict the Word of God. People become so fascinated with this new found knowledge until it makes them question the validity in the Word. This thought process can lead people astray from God’s Word, cause them to doubt, which will ultimately ruin their lives. 

I’m not saying don’t read books outside of the Bible or don’t listen to lectures outside of Christianity, but don’t let those things supersede the Word of God. Let God and His Word be true, but everything else a lie (Rom. 3:4). Don’t get fooled by the knowledge trap. 

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

As a born-again believer, we don’t have to compare ourselves with anyone else as far as holiness, righteous living, and acts of kindness. Sure, someone may read the Bible more than us, pray longer than us, and active in a certain ministry at church but, that doesn’t make them better than us.

If we get that feeling of not being where we want to be spiritually, don’t fret because inwardly, we’re being renewed day by day. This renewal is going to take some effort from us but, it’s not impossible. We should be spending more time with God now than we did two years ago. We should be more consistent in our church attendance now than we did in the past. Our temper should be more in control now than it was previously. Why? It’s because inwardly, we’re being renewed.

Let’s listen to the voice of God to help improve our inward development. It will allow us to have a more enjoyable life and we’ll better reflect the image of Christ.

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Scriptures of the Day

May 2017
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