All posts by words and signs

I serve Christ in many different ways. I love Him for who he is and what He has done for me. I would try to give other people the opportunity to find Him for themselves. Bring all things under submission to Him who fills all things and to who all things belong.

The Flatterer

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“With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.”    Daniel 11:32-35 NIV

Antiochus, uncle of Ptolemy, pharaoh in Egypt, had the power of Egypt  in his hands. Antiochus sought to use intrigue and flattery to cause the Pharaoh to be complacent about his situation. Antiochus gave the impression that he was protecting Ptolemy from political enemies, while at the same time strengthening his own position to take over the throne. Ptolemy is deceived. Throughout the negotiations both parties were contriving in their minds to come up with strategies to get the better of each other. Neither party was sincere.

Flattery is a mighty weapon in the arsenal of Satan. People who follow his devices are taken in and also use his skill to great effect. The more lifted up we are in regards to what we can do, the more vulnerable we are to the poison of this device. We all have inward pride which wells up really easily. We can turn encouragement into acclaim and then start to think we are someone special. Everyone is prone to this device. 

People who refuse God and reject His mercy of grace, will fall to this scheme. The unbelieving soul is wide open to the fiery darts of pride that the enemy shoots into our thought processes. The schemes of humankind come to nothing. As in this situation with the rulers of Egypt, God alone will decide the outcomes and His plans are never thwarted. 

But there are people who know God and have been redeemed by Him, who will resist this massive temptation and stay humble. They will fight these attacks by Satan, and firmly and surely overcome. “Those people who know their God will be strong and do exploits.” 

However, there will be wise people who will be overcome by the devils schemes, but only for a short time. They will make mistakes, stumble and fall. There is purpose in this. God intends them to be purified and made holy so that they will have the ability to stand in the end times for the glory of God. When we fall badly, we get a strong sense of our own corruption and God can turn this to good. It is so hard for us to look within and see our human corruptions. We resist the purifying work of the Holy Spirit, because it is too exacting and seems extreme to us. When we fail and fall, God can use our failure to understand our own weaknesses and total dependence on God. 

Our lives are our witness to the saving power of God. Others see it and seek the same forgiveness for themselves. But there are always the flatterers. People who want the power of God in their lives, but not His indwelling presence that resurrects the soul. There are always the “insincere” who have a type of godliness, but not the genuine power of God. 

Trouble is coming for this world and it’s peoples. Only those made righteous will be able to resist the temptations that are all around at the end time. The end will come, and only those made strong in the Spirit of God, will overcome. 

These verses must make us examine our own heart and test the health of our inner soul. 

Are we flatterers, seeking a place in Christian groups but having no genuine spiritual life.?

Are we going through times of difficulty or falling into sinful ways.?

Will we seek restoration and to walk in the Spirit of God in wisdom and uprightness.? 

Are we the insincere who are just identifying ourselves with “Christians” for selfish gain.? 

Are we being refined, purified and made spotless so that we will stand in that last great day.? 

None of us are able to overcome without a genuine faith that is sincere and knows God personally and up close in our daily lives. But those who have this sincere faith will resist all evil, all charlatans and all the flatterers. 

Ptolemy and Egypt fell to the king of the North, Antiochus. So did many others. Almost every place he set his heart on, fell to his schemes. Only a few were protected by God. Antiochus seemed to triumph, but when he came to the end of his conquests and mortal life, there was no one to help him. So it is with all who forget God and seek their own desires in this life. 

God give us the softness of heart to seek Him…

Humble Christians

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“But let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position;”  James 1:9

This phrase seems strange to the human mind. We wonder how a humble person could also be in a high position. “humble” and “high” do not go together.

Human societies all have some sort of hierarchy. The hierarchy is a method of keeping order and some kind of rule of law. The person in charge has authority and power to have this authority over the lower people in the social group. The leader can do and say things that have influence over others. The leader of the group is regarded above everyone else, and is able to hold on to power. The leader gets regard because they are seen as more important than everyone else. This is still true in the democratic system of government. This position opens the door for great pride and people pushing themselves for supremacy.

This uplifting of one above others causes so much trouble for that person.

The idea of an important, ruling person actively putting themselves down, is not a human trait. The concept of humility is not in the human psyche. Those who seek acclaim, strive for it and to get in the position of having authority over other lesser people. Some will say they are equal with other people, but in reality they are not. The working of human pride is in every soul, and we all seek exalted places in the scheme of things.

This Scripture tells us that the Christian who lives life in a humble way, not expecting or trying for position above others, is a blessed person. The humble heart is in a very good place to be and to live. God puts His most heartfelt workers in the low social place, because there, they will work effectively for Him. Christians who are lifted up, especially in this world, are living with danger. They will live in danger of their souls becoming contaminated and their motivations being unclear.

The Christian in the lowly place, who carries on regardless of circumstances and the effects of other people, is actually in the high position in the kingdom of God. The Christian who is most sensitive to their sins, and careful about their spiritual life, will be kept by God. Those who love Him and desire influence for Christ, will be rewarded. If doors shut and opportunities fail, or you are shut out of exercising your gifts for the Lord, do not be concerned, God will have something better for you.

Being humble does not mean hiding what you can do, or denying that you can do things. Indeed God requires that we make more of our gifts for His glory. The person who doesn’t bother with their gifts and doesn’t use them fully for God, looses out and gets no reward.

It is hard to live by faith. Trusting God for the future and for the fruit of the work you do for Him, is difficult. Many serve God and never know the outcome of what they are doing. In most cases, only eternity will tell, and we must trust God in this.

People quickly and falsely judge by sight, so we leave our glory to the God who has saved us and we rest on the truth that Christ will not allow us to utterly fail. Faith wholly trusts in God, and so we humbly serve Him in the light of His Word.

Look ahead

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“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”  Hebrews 11:24-27

How hard it is to look ahead. How impossible to live in the light of the heavenly kingdom, without a major change in our character and soul. We are earth-bound creatures still. We have the whole council of God in the Holy Scriptures- old and new testaments, and yet we find it so difficult to commit time to study the precious Word, that we would know God more. 

Moses had no such access to Scripture, and yet he saw the Lord and the coming kingdom. He had none of the written promises, and yet he believed so vehemently in the God of heaven, that he rejected the glories of the world of mighty Egypt and chose ignominy with God’s oppressed people. 

Moses made mistakes and committed great sins, but his heart belonged to God. He was brought up to embrace the many false gods of Egypt, but when he realised the truth of his heritage, he left the worldly glory behind to follow the true God who spoke to him. He spent years in the wilderness, trying to reconnect with himself and God and to try to find another way of life. God led him out from there to be a leader of God’s people.

Moses left Egypt in disgrace and knew he could never go back. He burned his bridges so that he would serve God alone. He turned his back on privilege and was counted with slaves and the rejected people of God. He left his wealth and prestige behind to lead the wandering people of God across the wilderness. His eyes were fixed on a future kingdom. Egypt would fail because it was a human empire based on power and oppression. The kingdom of God is found through the grace of God alone. There is no earthly privilege here, and the promise is hardship and suffering in this world. But to step for even a moment into the promised land, is sheer delight. 

Moses left all he knew in this world, for a land he couldn’t see. And yet he did see it through the eyes of faith. It is the same for every saint and follower of God. This is the mind set that God looks for and blesses. It is not a human attitude, but is found in those who seek God and put faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart redeemed and forgiven and His holy work is seen. Those who are in the kingdom of God see Him in the inner eye of the soul. As we read the Word of God and think on its message and meaning, we see Jesus more and more clearly. As we desire Him, so we follow and obey and adore. 

This is faith. Every Christian has this faith. Without it, we cannot please God. With it we can conqueror strongholds. With it we can turn our back on sin and self and live a life pleasing to God. 

Let us lift our eyes to see it….

The heavenly ones

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“as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven.”  1 Corinthians 15:48

What an amazing statement. As Christ the heavenly man is the perfect man and is exalted above all other beings in power and glory, so also His redeemed people. Living in this life, we are not yet made perfect. As we live on earth so we strive to enter into this reality, knowing it will only be realised when we step into eternity with Christ forever. 

We have not yet entered in, but eagerly desire the better things- the spiritual. The outward wastes away, but the inner person is renewed every day. We also wait for the mortal body to put on eternal life forever and our whole person is redeemed to God.

In Christ we have already entered in. The everlasting God dwells in eternity and sees all events as the perfect “now.” His people have always been His. Even as we have been born sinners, yet His grace has chosen us for righteousness. We do not see the completion of this in our dead spiritual state, and cannot comprehend His perfect perspective on the final reckoning of His love for humankind.

No one plucks Christians from Christ. We will certainly overcome, by His blessed grace. The price is already paid, and we are already free. 

But to our fleshly view, we are travelling on and getting older. We see events as a line of progress as we learn and grow and mature. God sees the end of a life from its beginning and nothing surprises Him. God knows those humans who are His. We endure to the end because of His grace. Our final victory is by His grace. 

The truth remains, so that we are encouraged and see who we are in Christ. We fight to overcome and pursue God in order that we will surely enter in. We walk in the confidence of the Holy Spirit as we put to death the works of our dead flesh. Without the subduing of the evil that continues to lurk in our own hearts, we will not have the spiritual strength to grow in grace and bear fruit. Faith and deeds are dependant on each other. Faith is the gift of God and works of kindness are the fruit of that faith.

May this be our strong desire as we face another year. 

May we seek more earnestly to spread the good news, that sinful people can be made new and enter into the reality of that heavenly kingdom… 

One thing and more

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The Scripture, any Scripture is not just one thing. If I take one verse from Scripture, it is tempting to take one thing out of it and focus on it, and overlook the other truth shown there. 

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.”  Matthew 12:20

We quote the first bit that brings comfort to us when we fail and fall, or regard ourselves as just limping along in life. Our strength and ability is severely damaged and worth only to be broken up for the fire, like kindling. Or a candle almost extinguished because the wax is all used up and the flame is about to go out. The love of Jesus does not finish off the weak or unable. He will mend the bruising and fan the failing light into flame. What a Saviour.! He is able and willing and will not act like the people of this dark world who blame and judge and condemn.

However this situation is only the case as we wait for the day when Christ will have gathered in all His people and He come again in the clouds of heaven to bring final and perfect righteousness. This world is not just or true, but one day that situation will be put right and the judge of all things will give the final verdict of destruction to all evil. 

Christ has already won the victory over sin and death and is working out the end of His will, which is the rescue of all those who come to faith through repentance. He is holding open the door of His kingdom until the last redeemed moral failure has entered in. Then the day of mercy will be over and the judge will rule supreme. All flesh will see His glory and many will weep because of Him. Justice will come for all and the nations will put their hope in Him. 

This Saviour is no easy push-over. He is no soft touch that we can use to make ourselves feel better. He offers salvation to all who come to Him in faith and He will never turn us away. 

But justice will prevail and there is a day of reckoning for the unbelieving heart. There is a day of judgment when the unrepentant person will face God’s justice and their own eternal loss. Wrongs will be put right because of Christ’s victory on the cross. Righteousness will prevail and all who love righteousness will reign with Him. 

All those broken reeds and almost extinguished candles will become whole and renewed by the power of the Saviour once slain and now triumphant in His victory. So we have the two sides of this Scripture- victory and spiritual life and the justice of God, which shall prevail. 

God’s record book

“Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.”  Psalm 56:8-9

Whatever causes our tears, however deep the valleys, God does not forget. This is our confidence in the holy God. That He does not neglect or downplay our suffering -this  is our comfort. It makes us powerful. When people turn against us they will run away when they realise we call out to the living God…

This is how we know God is our Father and total Saviour. As time goes by, the misery dissipates and the confidence and power grow. There is a way out of all trouble, and it is always the way of Christ. 

We do not need to keep remembering our hurt and sorrows, for God keeps them as records of our victories and triumphs. One day He will turn them into medals of honour, that we will wear with Christ and His honours. 

Christian, God is for you, no matter what you think or feel, and He bring you on and on to the eternal home. 

Lack of air

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Lack of prayer very quickly impinges on purity and holiness. We quickly grow cold and temptations start to appear attractive. We excuse ourselves and leave off the strenuous effort of being holy people of God.

“Pray without ceasing.”

This does not suit the flesh of our body or mindset. Yet the instruction stands. The pathway of prayer into the presence of God, should always be open. Our Christian walk with God is a constant communion with Him. When we fail and sin, we can immediately find forgiveness with God. When we are in need and are experiencing doubt, we have instant access to the presence of God, who keeps us.

Prayer is the fresh air of the Christian. Without constant prayer we die. The vibrancy of our Christian work and witness grows dim and becomes ineffective. Prayer is personal and powerful. A Christian with no prayer is impossible.

When we lack the practice of prayer we lack all power, assurance and love. We will not succeed in our walk with God if we give up and forget to talk with our Saviour and Lord. But the constant communion with the Holy Spirit of God will make us able and willing and full of strength to live for God. Prayer makes us holy. Prayer makes us willing. Prayer makes us just like Him…

Lack of air, neglected prayer….