Thank You Jesus!
Everyone, there is a little voting page on the FNS that Iíd like you to visit to let me know what you think. Here it is at http://pub40.bravenet.com/vote/vote....1875195&cpv=1. Weíll be done with this book in several weeks and, I just wanted to remind you all that, in the new format, I would like to take requests for topics. Gather your thoughts and send them in to me. Also, you can now go to http://www.nailscarred.net/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi to engage each other about matters of God and the FNS. You get to have on screen identities and the whole nine. I hope to see you there soon.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)
10 A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. 11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. 13 Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (KJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Yes, there is a good reason for starting here in Ephesians. There is something that the writer of this book and each one of us is guilty of. In order to learn what he is teaching us, he had to go down paths apart from God. He could have chosen instruction over experience. Still, he chose experience and found out that what he sought after was not all it was cracked up to be. This passage in Ephesians tells us how to be securely nestled in the boundaries God has placed us in. It encourages open lines of communication with God and steady preparation and thoughtfulness in all that we do. It also points out the key to our success. That key is having Faith! When we choose to go for experience over the instruction of God, we are without our faith and are defenseless against attack. Furthermore, to take an even closer look at faith, it is obvious that faith must be Active!!! I donít know how many times I have said this before but, there is a difference between faith and Active Faith. Paul describes it as a shield (the one the Romans used). Why is that? The importance is in the fact that it must be deployed properly to be of any use to the barer. It canít just simply be there and work for you. You have to employ it and put it into action. Even more, when it is joined together with the properly deployed faith of another, it becomes more formidable than two apart. Without properly deployed faith, we are like fools that labor to build houses without God. It is in vain. What use is saying you have faith if you will not use it in battle? You get saved. God gears you up as a Christian. There just happens to be a war on against Satan and his minions. Now what? What use is it? Do you think that your commander is not going to send you out into battle? Your shield will be tested in battle, which is life. It will either be proven and successful because you have made it active and properly deployed it or, it will have been left to drag on the ground and you, alone, will suffer all of the mighty blows that you never had to experience. Donít choose experience. Itís only fun in the beginning. Even God has shown us that sin is a blast. Thereís lots of fun in it. The catch is that it passes quickly and surprisingly and then thereís trouble. More than that, He has shown us that thereís a way to avoid the snare of flashy sin. Itís by Active Faith!
Hebrews 11:4-31 (KJV)
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
Follow your training and you will come home alive! Go out to battle, which is life, with your own plan on what youíre going to do, and youíll soon be another corpse of a Christian ďwant-to-beĒ. Youíll be a cause for the world to mock God and say that He is powerless and that His children are nothing. Without properly deployed ďActive FaithĒ, every other thing you do for God is POWERLESS IDOLATRY!!! You ARE NOT plugged in to the Living God!!! Also, your shield must be properly orientated in relation to God, so that, like the Roman solders of old, you can link your shield together with another and, together, and by God, stand against all of the blows of Satan in righteous victory. Do not lower your shield for a minute. Satan likes nothing more than to see hapless Christians that have faith and no clue of what to do with it! All throughout Godís Word, He shows us about stepping out on Faith. God even leads each of us personally. When those times come, that we must stand against blows that could crush our spirits. We will feel them. Never the less, God, by our Faith in Him, which if it is being made active, will preserve us and lessen the pain. There is pain and suffering that we will endure. There is also pain and suffering that we never have to feel if we stick to our training. Now, I am sure that for all that I am saying here, there are those that will read what I say and just brush it off. Youíre thinking, ďNot Me. I always have my armor on right.Ē You are the fool that is dazzled by the flash. The writer of this book was, himself, dazzled by the flash and he thought he knew what he was doing too. He eventually admitted to his foolishness of wanting to experience all that there was to experience. We are like moths drawn to a flame and are soon to be burned up by our lusts. We want the flash! We want what looks good. We want what we think everyone else will envy us over. We want our little trophies to show off. We want what is exciting and has all that flash. The funny thing about flash is that it ALWAYS burns up quickly and NEVER returns again. You will always be left empty going for the excitement! I thank God for friends like my friend Karen that reminded me of that very fact today. Iím not in that position but someone I care a great deal for seems to be and now I know what to pray about for her. Now, having looked into my own life and the battles God has placed me in, I better understand what chapter seven is all about. You will too if you will test yourself and accept Godís instruction. Now, I know better why this chapter says that it is better to be in mourning than in laughter and excitement. It says that it is far better to be the hum drum Christian that makes up in righteousness what is lacking in excitement than to be the Super-Star that everyone loves to be around. It is better to be slow and steady led of God than to be a false face of excitement thatís really inner emptiness and only last an instant. I donít know about the rest of you. As for me, I am more aware than ever that God has orchestrated my days that I should be in the very place that I am in and also the time that I am. He knew how I would react and how I would feel before He ever placed me here. He knows the same for each of us. I implore you. Have your shield of faith deployed well or your other provisions will rot around you. It is the only way that you will still be able to stand though all other things buffet you. So, even as the world is black around you, your Active Faith in God is your help. All else, that is done another way, is rooted in unrighteous pride and is idolatry. Without properly deployed Active Faith, your worship is not of God. If it is not of God then, it is of Satan and you had better repent and pray for Godís mercy that He might also grant you His grace and restore the years that the locusts have eaten away in your life.
Proverbs 11:2 (KJV)
When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
Proverbs 15:33 (KJV)
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
Proverbs 19:20 (KJV)
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
Whatís your choice? Who are you going to be? So, with all that being said, letís get on to this chapterís verses. This chapter would warn us against the flashy things of life. In the last chapter, we learned that we need to look to God for the measure of our worth. Proper measurement facilitates proper alignment of our hearts with the Heart of God. Just to touch on it once more, Active Faith, in all regards, is paramount!!! Without Active Faith, there is no peace to be had. You are open to constant aggression like stagnant non-flowing water is open to infestation. Without Active Faith, donít look for God to order your steps and give you Peace. If you trust that sitting on your butt and doing nothing is going to get you into heaven; go ahead and trust that sitting on your butt is going to bring you peace too. One way or another, youíll see. Where there is no Active Faith, there is no righteousness. Think about it. No one is righteous as we are told in Godís Word. God counts our Faith as Righteousness and we know that faith without works, inactive faith, is dead! There is no salvation without the faith that becomes active and brings you to confession of sins and repentance from your sins and toward God. Moreover, truth is a luxury to those without Active Faith. Truth will always be sacrificed on the altar of self without that faith. Worse yet, replacing truth will be delusionment and a skewed vision of yourself and the world around you. Without the shield of active faith to keep the blinding wind from dropping your sights, you will turn your vision to whatever feels right and can be assumed as truth at that moment. As far as the Word is concerned, if you paid any attention to that, youíd already have your shield up. How can you have trust in the Word without your faith?!?!?! Just as inactive faith is dead, unfaithful acts are damning. You end up walking into a world, which is at war, and youíve left your shied on the kitchen floor. You have TROUBLE! When you are well armored, you can stand tall like one of Godís children despite your circumstances. In this way, you can stand against any and all afflictions, lusts, and temptations. You can be tempted with a kingís ransom in riches. You can be showered with complements and the most fantastic proposals of physical pleasure. People can mock and reject you. You can be the butt of jokes and the target of vicious attacks. You can suffer heartbreaking loss. Still, God will preserve you in His Peace that is beyond our understanding. God will never let us suffer a blow that we cannot, in Him, withstand. God will, in like manor with Christ, use our bruises to further His kingdom. For this reason, while in our armor, we can count it all joy! Have Active Faith!!!
1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. 2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
1 A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume. In the same way, the day you die is better than the day you are born. 2 It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while there is still time. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. 4 A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool thinks only about having a good time now. 5 It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool! 6 Indeed, a fool's laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
Stop and read that first verse again. Remember how we talked about having a good name before. Now, I did go through this book prior to embarking upon this study. Only, I didnít remember this at all. Iíll tell you, God really works in all kinds of ways to help teach us things. He took those simple words from that movie I told you that I saw and made me to realize some things He had been trying to teach me. Now, it all comes out right here. Why do we say praise His name? Itís not because there is any special power in His name. God could tell us that His name is Junebug and it would be no more or less powerful. Whatís powerful is what stands behind that name. Itís the reputation that makes a name what it is. In the same way, when your time comes to die, itís not the nature of your death but the life youíve lived behind it that marks you. We should remember this reality. The problem is that man is egotistical and does not want to remember his own limitations. Thatís why we go for the flash. We want what does not remind us of the order of God that we are only here as a vapor. We donít want the power we think we have to be wrested away from us. As a consequence, we search high and low looking for what is exciting, whatís new, and whatís all the rage. Itís better to be in the reality of the bounds that God has placed us in. Remember that smelting pot we also talked about in the past. God cannot refine you and draw the sin out of your life if you are too busy being tickled by the things of this world and jumping all around in the pot. You have to be still if you want to know that He is the Lord. God is not going to be found in the things that are flashy. Do you know what happens when you choose those things that seem exciting on the outside, but are not from God? You push aside His blessing that He had waiting for you and pick up an old festering dung ball painted to look good and drenched in perfume. You might as well be spitting in Godís face and telling Him that He doesnít know what Heís doing, because, what He has to offer is not what you want. It does not matter if you are of poor health, in jail, suffering an addiction, lonely from singleness, or desperate for money, God makes a way for you to be successful in Him and only in Him. You must have Active Faith in Him and seek to be within His will for you. If you go for things outside of His will just because they are flashy and exciting, you are in SIN!!! REPENT!!! Turn around and go back to God! So what if they see you as being boring, too serious, no fun because you wonít sin alittle, if you are told that youíre not worth someoneís time, if youíre pushed away or not accepted. Is it not God that is Greater?!?!?! Canít God give you greater, even in your down times, than what could be gained any other way? Things that flash burn out quickly. Theyíve got snap-crackle-n-pop then, * POOF *, itís all gone!!! Make your choices by the instruction of God and not the experience of now. I promise you, though the experience offered now may seem greater, the outcome is far worse than youíd care to know. We have a Father in Heaven that sustains us. We donít have to fall into the trap of the world that ďitĒ must be bigger, faster, newer, sexier, and more expensive. We need to do the things of old. Obey God. Make faith active. Stay alert by way of constant communication with God through and in the name of, that is to say in the reputation and likeness of, Jesus Christ, our sinless example. So, what do we really want in life? Do we simply say that we want to follow God, like the man that approached Jesus but was unwilling to leave his wealth behind, or, are we content and eager to be slaves to Christ, trapped within the bounds of Godís Love and ready to serve Him in Love? You canít serve two masters. Choose well. The reward for the seed you plant today will be fruit tomorrow. Good or bad, it what you planted.
Proverbs 3: 5-18
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. 13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. 14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
(Insert Circumstances Here) ÖÖ. But GOD!!!,
[This message has been edited by ISDAMan (edited August 18, 2000).]