Uncompromising

In my recent daily Bible reading, I have spent some time in 2 Chronicles 17-20, reading of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.  In a long line of kings of Israel and Judah, a long line of men who failed to follow the Lord, Jehoshaphat did better than most. He sought God, followed His commandments, removed high places and Asherim from Judah. He sought to be like King David, and be a man with a heart for God. He did much good as the king of Judah.

Yet a key passage for me was 2 Chronicles 19:2-3:  And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you. Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God.”

What I see here is that God’s standards are uncompromising, and since He is Holy, those standards are of the highest possible order. Even in the case of a good king like Jehoshaphat, a man sincerely trying to seek and obey the Lord, there is a rebuke at the beginning of 2 Chronicles 19 for his actions in militarily supporting Ahab, a wicked king of Israel. Jehoshaphat’s reign was one of reform and turning to the Lord, especially in times of trouble. The Lord delivered Judah for her enemies, but at the end of 2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat again displeases God in his alliance with Ahaziah of Israel. God “broke” the ships they readied to go against Tarshish. When Jehoshaphat died, Jehoram succeeded him and killed all his brothers, I assume to secure his throne against possible contenders. Was this the fruit of Jehoshaphat’s wicked alliance with Ahaziah? I think that is a distinct possibility.

One can see in these chapters in 2 Chronicles a man trying to live for the Lord, trying to lead his nation back to the ways of God. Yet he stumbled at times and incurred the Lord’s displeasure. Given how the kings of Judah before and after Jehoshaphat behaved, you would think the Lord would cut him some slack. But God’s standards are uncompromising because He is Holy. We cannot please Him with half measures or going almost all the way for Him. Close might count in horseshoes, but it doesn’t get the job done with the Lord.

Not surprisingly, I find the story of Jehoshaphat points to Christ and our need for Him. Romans 8:1 talks of there being no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He meets the standards that we cannot, that men and women have never been able to meet. Even good men like Jehoshaphat or King David, who was a man after God’s own heart. It is humbling to stand before a God who is Holy, who will not compromise His Holiness and requires holiness from all who stand in His presence. Humbling to know that while we cannot meet His standards, He sent His Son who could and did meet them on our behalf so that we can stand in Christ before the Father and He will not see us but Jesus in us.

As we live in this troubled world it would be great if we could lead like Jehoshaphat, seeking to reform things and turn others back to the Lord as well. But we will fall short in our efforts because of who we are, and due to the fact that only Jesus in His Second Coming can truly make things right and keep them that way. In the meantime, let us be strong, bold and uncompromising in the Lord. Let us be strong and bold in knowing that His grace will overcome our failings.

We can do nothing but bring the news of Jesus to the world that desperately needs it. Nothing but let Him use us for His purposes in obedience to His will. The Lord requires nothing but we behave as faithfully as did His Son as He walked to His death on the Cross. As we cannot walk in such a way, He graciously provided the means for us to walk in Christ instead.

But that is enough for us to do in a situation that requires an uncompromising standard of performance and behavior that we are unable to meet.

 

Stewards of Grace

I tell you, with a grieving heart, that there are right now in this nation laymen, ministers and ministries that have been given up by God. These are those who have been deceived by lying spirits, having been warned time and again by the Holy Spirit and by prophets of God to repent and humble themselves. They became engrossed with self: they started to fornicate with wood and stones, becoming builders of temples and memorials to self-achievement; and they rejected a life of brokenness and humility. They forsook the prayer closet for their interests and the works of their own hands! They recklessly squandered God’s money, God’s faith, God’s time and God’s power.

From across this nation I hear from praying, sanctified people the same thing I hear from my heavenly Father. Those who are walking with God, living in the Spirit, instinctively sense that God has discovered and that He deplores all the abominations in the church, in the pulpit, in preachers and in some popular ministries.

Not all are corrupt, thank God! There is a growing remnant of repentant saints and ministries who have returned to righteousness and prayer. But the true body of Christ must pray for divine wisdom to discern those who have been stripped of spiritual authority and unction. Growing numbers of praying Christians now share the very grief of God against all the compromise and mixture with the world, and their hearts cry out that God will deal with it soon. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt He is about to do just that! If God can bring Babylon down in one hour, He can certainly clean up the mess in His temple in a moment.

Most of the modern stewards who have been stripped by God of all spiritual usefulness are not as wise as the unjust steward – they don’t know it’s all over. They are not aware they have been stripped of their stewardship. But you can tell it is all over by the man-centered plans and schemes they introduce. The Lord’s interests are no longer paramount; the only thing important to them now is their next project. They finish one man-centered project, only to launch another, more spectacular than the other.

My heart cries out, “Oh, my blessed Savior, when will God’s people wake up and begin to discern that all this mad spending, building and worldly mindedness represents a squandering spree by Christians and ministries that have been stripped by the Holy Ghost and who are about to be called into account? When will God’s people quit supporting such foolishness? When will the true body of Christ wake up and cry out against it and say, ‘Enough!’?”

Are there no prophets of God left in the land? Are there no pastors left with enough Holy Ghost discernment and spiritual authority to wake up this people to the dangerous waste of our Lord’s resources? Sad, but true, some of the best-known national ministries today are beyond hearing God’s true Word. I am not their judge, but by their actions it is apparent some are beyond reproof, blinded by their own counselors, blinded by ambition, blinded by the gods of success and power.

Excerpted from David Wilkerson’s message on Stewardship from Luke 16; “A Cheap Cut-rate Gospel”

Words of Grace for Strength

Worldly pleasures and worldly attitudes have become pervasive in the “church” and too many “Christians” are more concerned with personal wealth and riches than growing in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This false word of faith prosperity gospel is led by self-centered men and women who seek personal wealth and personal glory, and through their false teaching the “church” has become enamored with programs, performances and prosperity and not discipleship, spiritual discipline and dedication to the Word.

We are living in the times prophesied by the Apostles Paul and Peter (2 Timothy 3:1-7, 2 Peter 2:1-3) wherein man’s base desires will cause him to turn in sin away from what is godly and good. When man worships self and wealth and not God. The scripture is clear on the end of these who turn their back on a Holy God.

Why is it that these false teachers or fallen teachers cannot see the error in the path they have chosen to walk? They have allowed the enemy, the  present power of this world to blind them by either their greed for power and riches or by their self-absorption. It is not exceedingly hard to stay on the right path when one is focused on Christ as the center of life. It is impossible to do so when He is not that central core focus of life. We can be blinded by the powers of this present world or we can eagerly pursue personal gratification. Either way, the fall astray into the false word is the same. And the solution, a refocus with a Christ-centered life, is the same as well. Trying anything else just leads to a deeper and farther fall.

The rapture of the True Church is imminent and we need to be sharing the love of Christ and His saving Grace with anyone and everyone who will listen. Friends, it is not too late to turn away from these false teachers and prosperity preachers and embrace the true doctrine of grace. We have a God-given responsibility as Ministers of the Gospel to speak the truth in love as good stewards of the message of Jesus Christ.

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “LOVE WILL COVER A MULTITUDE OF SINS.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11)

Without Excuse

As I understand it, God sends His wrath from heaven against sinful people because He created them with the ability to know the truth, but they suppress the truth. People have known about Him and His power since He created everything so those who suppress the truth are really without excuse (Rom. 1:18-20).

Consider those who lived in Judah during Old Testament Times. About 140 years before it happened, God told the Jews they would be taken to Babylon (Mic. 4:10). About 100 years before it happened, God told King Hezekiah Judah’s treasures would be taken to Babylon (Isa. 39:1-6). About 35 years before it happened, God told Huldah the judgment of God would fall on Judah (II Chron. 34:22-28). About 20 years before it happened, God told Habakkuk Babylon would destroy Judah (Hab. 1:5-11). And shortly before it happened, God told Judah Babylon would destroy them because they had ignored His words (Jer. 25:8-11). The Jews were given many chances to repent, but they didn’t do it so their destruction was their own fault because they chose not to listen.

Many people today have the same attitude that the people of Judah had. But instead of speaking through prophets like He did in Judah’s day, God speaks through prophecy writers, pastors, church members, family members and in many other ways. If they won’t listen, He will eventually decide that they have had enough chances. Then His judgment will fall and they will be without excuse.

As I see it, God is kind, loving, merciful, patient and full of grace. He is also holy, righteous and just: characteristics that require Him to deal with sin. He rules over this universe and He has told us how He wants us to live. To live any other way is sin. He doesn’t judge people without reason. He gives people many chances. Sinners can be forgiven, but only by putting their faith in Jesus and giving up their sins (John 14:6). If people choose to ignore this, He will be patient, but absent repentance He will eventually act and it will be their fault.

Also, as I see it, many people don’t want to hear Bible prophecy because the idea that a holy, righteous and just God will send judgment upon people, nations or the world scares them. Some may not be saved or they may have loved ones that are not saved and they prefer to ignore the fact that individuals, nations and the world are accountable to God. They would rather suppress the truth than to face the fact that they or their loved ones need to repent or God will eventually hold them accountable. It is especially scary when it is loved ones that are unwilling to repent. The thought of what might happen to them is difficult for kind-hearted people to think about.

Others don’t want to hear Bible prophecy not because it scares them, but because they don’t believe it, they are turned off by it, they are afflicted by self-righteousness, they have been disillusioned by false prophets, or whatever. They have reached the point where they prefer to hear what the god of their imagination says, than what the God of the Bible says. They prefer to heap unto themselves teachers that will tickle their ears. Those who do that are trying to silence God in their life.

Nevertheless, I believe God wants Christians to keep trying to witness to them. He loves them and He wants them to hear it whether they want to hear it or not. He wants them to have many chances to be saved whether they want them or not. Every time they are told about what is going to happen, how close we may be and what they need to do God is giving them a chance to repent, accept Jesus and go to heaven. If they choose not to do it, that is their decision. And they are not really silencing Christians or silencing God in their life, they are silencing themselves at the Judgment. When they stand before Him there will be no acceptable excuses for ignoring His will.

So keep watching, keep witnessing and respect your calling as a Watchman (Ezek. 3:15-19). In so doing, your heart is right with God whether others listen or not. If they listen, they will be saved and you have a crown. If they don’t listen, it is their decision and it is not your fault. Don’t think of them as though they are going to die in the future. Think of them as though they are already dead and God is really giving them a chance to live.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net