For I am God, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:22)
“I am the LORD, and there is no other;
Besides Me there is no God.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me;”
As we embark on this last leg of our journey I am praying that the Lord has spoken to each of you and your life has been impacted. I pray that you heard the Holy Spirit speaking into your life and that they were not just academic lessons. As I would sit with the Lord I would be so amazed at all the Scriptures He would bring to my mind. It was kind of like building a bridge, each piece had to be put in place in the proper order in order for the structure to hold firm and to transport people from one side to the other. That is exactly what the Word of God does! God laid a firm foundation and then chose to use His chosen people to build upon that foundation with their very blood. He wanted us to develop relationships with each of these patriarchs and be challenged to walk according to His plan regardless of the challenges we faced. He built a bridge so we could cross from this side (earth) into heaven and then be residents, and rule with Him in the New Heaven and New Earth. As always, I am overwhelmed by this truth! He is always with me now but I will physically be with Him for eternity! “My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (Psalm 84:2)
One thing is very clear, each and every testimony of the Lord’s love and mercy and grace and faithfulness and steadfastness were all received because God’s love changed the lives of those we meet in Scripture. And, they walked it out in love and surrender. Let me give you an example to help you understand what the Spirit is showing me. When Moses was born he was hidden so he wouldn’t be killed. He was raised by the Pharaoh's daughter and educated with the best education possible. He lived in the Pharaoh’s palace while the rest of his people were enslaved in Egypt. Moses was preserved because God had a plan for his life. The midwife that helped raise him was his biological mother, even though the Pharaoh and his daughter weren’t aware of it. She made sure he knew his history and God’s calling on this people. As he grew he saw the injustice in how the Israelites were being treated and he tried to “save” some of them but ended up committing murder and having to run for his life.
Fast forward 40 years to the desert and we find Moses tending sheep and resigned to the fact that he had blown it and would never be used by God. He then met God in the burning bush and he actually resisted God’s call because he was totally empty of any idea that he was capable of carrying out God’s plan. And that was exactly why God chose him. He was empty. He was surrendered to whatever God had decided for his life. There was no “fight” to be a vigilant and try to change things by his own power. Moses knew that he couldn’t do anything but pray for his people to be delivered from their slavery to the Egyptians, it was in God’s hands alone, not his. He had plenty of time to do that while he tended his sheep in the desert. God had changed Moses and he was now the person God could use. Moses’ heart was changed to an intimate love for the Lord, trusting Him to work things out and he had peace in that.
My dear friend, I hope you have begun to also realize this life changing truth. That is really what every one of these letters has been about. Many people read the Book of Revelations to try and figure out when it will be. They love to take the scrolls and bowl judgments and explain what they will think will happen by using today’s technology. Personally I don’t think that is what the Lord intended for us to do. I personally believe that many circumstances and happenings will be supernatural. These are also signs revealing Scripture to help us understand the times, and, as always, man will obviously try to control and stop the situations but there will be no stopping what the Lord has planned. We should be focused on the Lord, Himself, and His love in warning us of the sin in our lives that if we don’t repent, we will not only endure the wrath but be sent into the Lake of Fire for not loving Him and being obedient to His plan.
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:14-22)
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:” “The Amen,...” Amen means faithful, and we will see in this statement of the Lord, that He quickly tells us that. But it is important to note that when used at the beginning of a sentence is also means “truly or verily”. In many of the accounts of Jesus teaching we will see in our translations that it will state “truly, truly” or “verily, verily”, when what He actually said was “amen, amen”. He repeats it twice to get our attention. He wants us to “listen up” and understand that what He is going to say is true and He will bring it to pass because He is the faithful One! “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 emphasis mine) “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) Do you REALLY believe that with all your heart? If so, our response is “Amen to the glory of God”! Yes, truly, truly that is the facts, it is exactly as God has said and He will bring it to pass in His perfect timing! I cannot see it, I cannot even fully understand it, I don’t know when but I BELIEVE it with all my heart that the Word of God is true! When the Lord ends His words in “amen” it means “so it will be”. Is that what you truly believe when you say amen to His word? Amen is coming into agreement with God in what was said, in other words, standing on the promises of God and walking it out.
Word of warning here, we are not talking about taking a promise of God and claiming it over something that God has not intended it. That is not glorifying God. Yes, God wants the best for each and every one of His children, but only He knows what the best is for each one of us. I’ll share a short testimony here to help you understand. When I became sick I assumed God would heal each infirmity. As I prayed, worshipped and was in the Word for months and asking Him to show me anything in me that was out of alignment with Him, I was praying one day and the Holy Spirit spoke into my spirit and said “I am not going to heal you. I will use your weaknesses for my glory.” That was exactly what the Apostle Paul experienced. “Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9) Was Paul’s pain and tribulations felt any less because of the Lord’s words? NO! But he knew that the Lord would ALWAYS keep His promises and that He would give him the strength to walk through each and every situation and others would see and understand it could not be Paul’s strength. God would receive the glory because they would see that a greater force was at work. Without the Lord’s strength the apostle would have surely died several times, but that didn’t happen until God’s plan was fulfilled in his life! “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Like the Apostle Paul, I immediately had peace that this was God’s plan for me. In time His plan unfolded. During this time, a well-meaning friend told me that the reason I wasn’t healed was because I was under attack from the devil. Remind you of Job’s friends? When I told her what God had shared with me as to why I wasn’t healed I could see in her eyes she didn’t believe me. That response is not unusual, many people will tell that you didn’t hear Him correctly or you are giving up. Believe me I had not given up, I wasn’t dead yet! But I was surrendered to His plan, regardless if it was my desire. What they couldn’t understand was that the Lord had also told me that He was going to use me so that He received even greater glory than He had in the previous ministry He had given me. And I have seen His “Amen”, His faithfulness every day as He leads me in this new season. He has opened up a way that thousands can be reached to hear of His faithfulness, His love and His sacrifice for them! All I can say is “Amen”! So be it!
What does God use for people to really see Christ in us? “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-10 emphasis mine) Let me ask you a question? How do you react when you meet tribulation or a problem? Jesus uses these situations in us as a witness of His glory! “and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5) This verse is as true for you and me as it was for the Apostle Paul!
“the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:” Jesus’ life is the epitome of a testimony of being faithful. All we need to do is read the Word of God and we see His faithfulness. Even though He was God, the Apostle Paul shares with us a VERY important truth you and I need to wrap our minds around. “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,” (Philippians 2:6 emphasis) This is humility! Without humility being faithful becomes vanity and is not counted as righteousness. Jesus is our model and we never see Him prideful or boastful. His faithfulness comes out of a heart of love and submission to His Father!
So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” (John 8:28 emphasis mine) “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:30 emphasis mine) “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” (John 14:10 emphasis mine) “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38 emphasis mine) “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” (John 17:4) Messiah, Emmanuel, which means “God with us” has clearly laid out the narrow road we are to walk to be in alignment with the Father. There is no other path which leads to eternity with the Lord!
“true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God….” a witness testifies of the exact truth, no presumptions, no personal opinions, no personal bias, pure facts, the truth and nothing but the truth. Truth has to be based upon facts so there must be a foundation that can’t be altered or moved. It cannot “omit” any aspect or it will crumble and become worthless. Jesus’ testimony is a true witness because He was there and He is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:1-4) Jesus was the “logos” spoken word and He is God. “Then God said,...” (Genesis 1:3) When God spoke Jesus was the Word that brought it into being. God created out of chaos. He wants to take the chaos of our lives and apply His Word, Jesus, to bring our lives into order! He wants to create something beautiful out of the messy chaos of our lives that will bring Him glory. That can only be done through His Son, Jesus Christ. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
There is also other testimony or witnesses that God spoke through to confirm this truth from the very beginning. The account of creation was written through Moses by the Holy Spirit and recorded in the Book of Genesis. Listen to the words written in Proverbs, “From everlasting I was established, from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills I was brought forth; while He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world. When He established the heavens, I was there, when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed, when He set for the sea its boundary so that the water would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth; then I was beside Him, as a master workman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the world, His earth, and having my delight in the sons of men.” (Proverbs 8:23-31) “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)
‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.’ This church is also void of the Holy Spirit but instead of pretending they are alive, or still being active in trying to look like they are serving God, they are filled with apathy. And apathy cannot be redirected. They have become spiritually dead and nothing phases them. They do not get excited about the Word of God nor do they have a passion for helping others. They are going through the motions. How many of us have just “gone through the motions” at some point in our lives? Are you still there? Are you truly spiritually alive?
I am reminded of the men walking on the road to Emmaus. Jesus met up with them and they didn’t know who He was. They invited Him to dine with them and He opened their eyes to see it was really Him and then vanished. Their words are so precious and should be our words when we read the Scriptures. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32) The Holy Spirit gives us revelation of the Word of God and opens up our hearts to apply it to our lives. These believer’s hearts were cold! They didn’t desire holiness. They didn’t have a passion to love the hurting or feeding the poor. They didn’t have a hunger for the Word of God!
As I was reading the Bible this morning I was in Psalm 27 and the psalmist, David, spoke something that really resonated in my heart. “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14) We never plan to become discouraged or walk away from the Lord but all of us, in some way or another, will allow circumstances to define our reality and the way we live our lives. Before you say this doesn’t apply to these believers I would encourage you to listen carefully to the Holy Spirit. They may not have been “discouraged” in the way you and I think but something lead them to turn to wealth to replace the place that Jesus had in their hearts. While money in itself is not evil, money that holds our heart and it becomes our focus becomes the “root of evil” that replaces God in our lives. The Lord was not being cruel when He told these believers He would spit them out of His mouth because of their lukewarmness, He was trying to shake them out of their self-imposed imprisonment! He loved these people but He knew they had lost their way. Circumstances were defining who they were instead of them allowing God to define who they were in Him! My dear brothers and sisters, is this you or someone you know? Sometimes the circumstances of life become overwhelming, especially if we allow them to take our eyes off of Jesus! Psalm 27 is filled with great spiritual wisdom that will guide us so that we don’t get sidetracked and move off the narrow road that God has called us to walk. I really encourage you to take a moment and read this Psalm, I promise you will be filled with encouragement and may find some new prayer verses for your life!
The Apostle Paul instructs us in the Book of Romans how a heart of love for the Lord responds to God’s Word. ”Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:10-15) Remember the apostle’s words to the church of Corinth? “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) These believers weren’t even pretending to walk out any of these things the Apostle Paul warns us of!
True love cannot be manufactured, it comes through the Holy Spirit and revolutionizes our hearts and our minds. Our eyes are opened to see what the Lord sees when we look at people or circumstances. We develop a heart of compassion because we are seeking God’s will and not our own. “The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.” (Psalm 25:14 emphasis mine) That change, which can only come from the Lord, will produce a hunger that cannot be quenched! “May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine.” (Song of Solomon 1:2) His Word brings life to me! Nothing is sweeter or can compare to being in the presence of the Lord! “Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers.” “We will rejoice in you and be glad; we will extol your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you.” (Song of Solomon 1:4) We desire His life to be our life! “My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh which lies all night between my breasts. My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.” (Song of Solomon 1:13-14) He is our Comforter and His sweet fragrance will be a sweet aroma that will be evident in our lives because there is an intimacy with Him that cannot be broken!
‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,’ (Revelation 3:17) Wow! This statement alone should wake us up to see the difference between what the Lord sees and we see. Society today has really been greatly influenced by consumption. We just don’t have one TV in our homes, we have many and they are BIG! Almost everyone carries a cellphone and the majority have more than one computer and tablet. Cars, trucks, boats, water vehicles, timeshares, vacation homes, multiple houses, designer clothes. Don’t have the money for these items? No problem! Take out a loan or get several credit cards to run up the debt without any idea of how you will actually pay for these items!
Today’s generation is really no different than any other generation. Each generation has it’s own standard of wealth and what that looks like. Anyone who has studied any history knows about the lavish lifestyles of the Roman Era. It’s no different today, maybe just some different looking opportunities to indulge ourselves. This presents us an opportunity to look at our own lifestyles and ask the Lord what He sees. Questions you might ask yourself are noted here to help you get started. What would your reaction be if your financial situation suddenly changed for the worse? Remember, the Lord has nothing against money but He does have much to say in His Word about how that money is used. A possible test question might be, if you suddenly could not longer send your child to their current school and they had to attend a school with less financial resources and the kids weren’t able to buy designer clothes, etc., how would your children respond? How would you respond if you could no longer drive a new model car but had to buy a used vehicle that didn’t have all the bells and whistles? Would your children, or yourself, be embarrassed? Would your current friends still be your friends if you had to move to another less affluent neighborhood? If it is truly the Lord’s blessing, and not your own doing, that has produced wealth, are you using that money according to the Lord’s principles? These questions test the intent of our hearts. Even if we are spending some of our income to help others, the Lord wants us to really see our own hearts regarding where our true treasure lies. This is exactly what the Lord is doing to this group of believers because He loves them!
“I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” (Revelation 3:18) So how do we buy gold from the Lord? Scripture has many references to God’s refining fire. Without surrender and obedience to God’s plans we will never be in a position of going through God’s refining fire. There are many churches today that teach that once you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior that your life will be easy. Nowhere in Scripture can that teaching be found. The Holy Spirit wrote through the Apostle Paul that a true believer would gladly give his/her life as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) What is easier is that you are not walking alone and always have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26) “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13) The Holy Spirit will ALWAYS point you to Jesus! And the path that we are to walk is no different than the path that Jesus walked while on this earth. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
The narrow road is very unfamiliar to us because there truly are not many people on it. The narrow road is walking in holiness, the separated life the Holy Spirit leads us in as taught in the Scriptures. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love” (Ephesians 1:4) We don’t know the way or how to even get on it without the Holy Spirit’s guidance. That is the first step of refinement, surrender to the Lord’s ways and not our own ways. That only comes through prayer and reading His Word. The Holy Spirit will speak directly to the circumstances of our lives as we sit with Him each day and allow His Words to wash over us. I personally can testify that He will guide you to the place of employment that He has selected for you. It may not be the place you would choose to work or the position you think you want, but if it is His leading, it will be worth it. You will grow in ways you cannot imagine. I’m not saying that job will be a breeze, it may be the biggest challenge you have ever faced. That is His refining fire! You will have to be totally dependent on Him to lead you each step of each day. You will be stripped of the things in your life that have brought you defeat and pain. You will learn His ways! “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
The next verse that the Apostle Paul shares in this passage is another one of those life verses that we need to memorize. “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3) Being teachable is hard for many of us, pride gets in the way because we don’t want to admit that we don’t know something. Pride is our biggest downfall! “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2) “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23) What is the outcome of our surrender? "But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) Listen to God’s heart concerning you, "Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.” (Isaiah 55:3) “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11) Consider the life of the Apostle Paul as he penned these words from the Holy Spirit. He didn’t want us to be deceived about the seriousness of our walk with the Lord. There is a price to pay. That is why the way is less traveled. Can you truly say that you are living this verse, or strive to live this verse? "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20) A surrendered and obedient heart is the reflection of this verse, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
As I was typing this the Holy Spirit reminded me of the Church of Smyrna that was being persecuted greatly and the Lord said they were rich! “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” (Revelation 2:9) Why were they rich? They loved not their lives to the very end! They had a hunger and thirst for Jesus! They trusted Him and leaned on Him regardless of the circumstances of their lives. “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10) Jesus didn’t teach a message of poverty but He warned us many times in Scripture that we were to store up treasures in heaven. That comes with a price. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) I believe that Jesus described that walk most clearly in these passages, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:24-26) Remember what He was saying when our Scriptures are translated “truly, truly”? It is the truth, it is the only way and Jesus is the One who will bring it to fruition in our lives if we are surrendered to Him.
“I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see”. (Revelation 3:18) The believers in Laodicea are the opposite of those in Smyrna. The Lord is clearly showing us that we have a choice of how we will live our lives, one path leads to life and the other path leads to death. These believers are on the path to death but He loves them so much that He is “blowing the trumpet” to warn them of the danger they have placed themselves in. They are barren, they do not have any good deeds to show. Their EARTHLY wealth has become their god.
Do we even really know what the TRUE riches are that the Lord speaks of? “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” (Ephesians 2:4) Are you rich in mercy? “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,” (Ephesians 3:16) Do you possess the riches of His glory? His power can only be received through the Holy Spirit! “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4) Wow, do we practice this towards others? We expect God’s kindness and tolerance and patience for ourselves but do we treat others with His kindness so that He can lead them to repentance? “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33 emphasis mine) Yes! The Holy Spirit leads us into all wisdom and knowledge of God. “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” (Ephesians 3:16-20) “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,” (1 Timothy 6:18) “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5) “The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)
Have you ever watched a video, or been fortunate enough to watch in person, the process for metal that is being refined? It is heated to an extremely high temperature and the metal is placed in the furnace for a specified time for the impurities to begin to separate from it so it will be made pure. The master refiner will then take the metal out and look at it to see if it is finished. What is he looking for? His reflection! When the metal is completely purified it will reflect his image. This is exactly what God does with His people who have submitted to His Word and committed to walking the narrow path. “A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.” (Isaiah 35:8 emphasis mine) It is not an easy walk but it is the safest one that you will ever take! The trouble is that most people look at it from an earthly standpoint and do not want to suffer hardship, they want to live like everyone else and take the easiest road, they want to be “happy”. In the accurate translations of the Bible you won’t find the word “happy” except in the book of Proverbs, and I only found one instance of that word being used. If your translation uses happy in its verses I would suggest that you seek an accurate translation for your Bible. Once you do that you will find that you will view Scripture in a whole new way, the way that God intended for you to understand what He said.
From the very beginning God didn’t say “if” we should encounter problems, He said “when”! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;...” (Isaiah 43:2-3 emphasis mine)
God is asking us today, have we submitted to His refining fire? Don’t rush by this question, it is critical to where your eternal home will be! Why would Jesus tell us that we would become rich after the refining process? First of all, when all the impurities, or dross as it is called, is removed the object becomes pure and anything that is “pure” or without “impurities” is much more valuable. It can withstand extreme circumstances and not fall or collapse. A person who has been purified reflects the image of God and is assured that he/she is an heir to the throne! There is no kingdom that compares to the Kingdom of God and we become joint heirs! Does your life reflect to whom you belong?
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10 emphasis mine) Our filthy rags are removed and we are clothed in garments of salvation when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Do you remember the Scripture in Zechariah about Joshua the high priest? “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by. And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.” (Zechariah 3:1-7 emphasis mine) “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.” (Isaiah 30:18)
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil,” (Isaiah 1:16) “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) When we enter into a covenant relationship with the Lord we begin a life of learning to live and walk in complete transparency. Why? Our lives are to bring glory to the Lord in everything we do. Whenever we sin it is a direct stain on our testimony. Because we will not be perfect before we receive our new bodies in the New Heaven, we will sin or miss the mark at times. But that is to be the exception, not the normal way of living. While the blood of Jesus has cleansed us from all sin, we are the ones who are to personally walk it out every day. He is with us, but He will not do it FOR us! White signifies purity and that is what our lives should be growing into.
Why would Jesus tell them to anoint their eyes with eye salve? If someone is blind they are without sight, physical sight. Jesus is talking here about spiritual sight. Because they have taken their eyes off the Lord God Almighty they are spiritually blind. They need to have their eyes anointed. Anointing brings healing. The application of eye salve is a physical picture of demonstrating a healing of an infection or problem of the eyes. Eyes are the window to our souls. What we see, how we talk, how we walk, our spiritual walk can all be seen through our eyes. Is it any wonder that Jesus would use this analogy? Jesus is the Healer and wants to apply the Holy Spirit’s anointing into their lives so they will clearly see as He sees! He also desires to do that in your life and mine today! “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:18-23)
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:19) “and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:5-8 emphasis mine) "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19) "Yet even now," declares the LORD, "Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning;” (Joel 2:12) Jesus is speaking the same words to us today as His Father spoke to the children of Israel in days past, "Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31) Jesus is asking us the same question today. For those who say they are the Lord’s but are walking according to the patterns of the world, why would we choose death over life? We are not promised tomorrow. If the Holy Spirit is showing you things in your life that need to be repented of, please do so now and don’t wait! He is knocking at your door! Our response should be, “I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4) When Jesus delivers us from our fears He is delivering us from the circumstances in our lives that control us to walk in opposition to Him. Hallelujah! “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) The REAL “fear” we should possess is to fear to hurt the One we love, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20) Who do you invite to your home to share a meal with? Friends. Friends around a table sharing a meal, laughing together or sharing each other’s struggles is a picture of intimacy. No wonder the Lord uses this analogy, it is one we can very easily identify with. When I think of the Lord dining at my table, I immediately think of His promise to us of what it is like to dine at His table! “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:5-6)
Have you truly ever thought about the balance of this relationship with the Lord? What do we have to offer Him? Our sin, our filthy rags, our stubbornness, our pride, our defeats, our heartaches, our addictions, our instability, do I need to go on? Yet, He created us to have fellowship with us, intimate relationship even though it would take the death of God’s only begotten Son to become all of our sin and redeem us. He was the ONLY way that we could ever stand in relationship with Him! “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14) “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,” (Colossians 1:13)
And here He is, again, standing at the door knocking, inviting these believers, and you and me, to open the door of our hearts to Him so that we can be sanctified and set apart for Him! I really feel compelled to share the rest of Psalm 23 with you and pray that you will read it as if it was the first time you have ever seen it. “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:1-6)
“He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3:21) “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:4-6) ”fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4) “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
There is a key word in verse 21 that we cannot ignore. Do you know what that word is? Overcame. Once He began His ministry on earth He had to overcome obstacles every single day. We read of His being tempted in the desert by Satan after 40 days of fasting and praying. We see the Judean religious leaders hate and attempts to stone Him and kill Him. Even His own disciples, though they “loved” Him and followed Him did not spiritually understand anything He was doing or teaching! We see His disciples sleeping when He asked them to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane before the soldiers came to arrest Him. They all abandoned Him when He was “on trial”. Peter hid himself to watch some of it but he was nowhere to be found when Jesus was taken to Calvary to be hung on the cross. The Apostle John was the only one who was with Him until the end.
Many of us act like the Judean leaders in challenging His commands and not being willing to be obedient to God’s covenant ways. Oh, we act like we are intelligently questioning but the enemy is using us in the same way he was using the Judean religious leaders. They wanted to be in control and to make the rules! Many of us may even appear to be following Jesus but if truth be told, we have no spiritual insight. The difference between the disciples and us is that when Jesus was resurrected and appeared to the disciples they were willing to obey His command to stay together and pray. I don’t believe they really understood what they were waiting for, Jesus had already given them the Holy Spirit but they were told to wait for empowerment. And they waited. This time they did not fall asleep or desert Him. And what they received not only changed them but changed thousands of people! The tongues of flames gave them a supernatural power that came directly from the throne of God! Their lives were never the same. And, guess what? They had to overcome daily the same trials and tribulations Jesus faced while on earth!
They were spiritually filled and warned the believers of the apostasy they were hearing preached. They instructed them to immediately remove them from their assemblies. They warned them what would happen to them if they followed any of the false teachers or prophets. My dear friends, every one of those warnings are applicable to us today. If you are tolerating false teachers and prophets in your congregation or adhering to apostate teachings, you too will experience the same fate as those in Scripture!
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:22) Do you have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying?
Abba Father, I am so deeply touched this morning as I finish this series of warnings to the seven churches! My spirit grieves as I witness Your warnings fall on deaf ears. It is the pastors, teachers, apostles and prophets who are the messengers of the apostate teachings today! They claim to be from You but they are not, they are wolves in sheep clothing and the sheep are being led to their deaths. Thank You that You do have many speaking out in Your name to “blow the trumpet” and “sound the alarm”. I ask for the Holy Spirit to touch each one who reads any of these seven letters and that their ears to opened to hear the warnings! Open the blind eyes to see the death traps that the enemy has laid to lead them onto the broad path of destruction! I am overwhelmed, again, by Your intense love for us! Your Word speaks LIFE! But even our Bible translations have been corrupted to lead the reader astray. I finally understand Your word when You say that Your Son will need to come again quickly or even those who were truly saved will also be deceived! The presence of evil is so strong in our society but the majority are asleep and cannot spiritually discern it!
Thank You that You continue to warn us of the impending deception. But most importantly, I thank You that You speak truth and show us the way to eternal life in Your kingdom, the Kingdom of the Living God! Oh how I long to be standing face to face with You! I thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You that You have never given up on me but You continue to teach and discipline me so that I do not stray from Your ways. I pray that You will be glorified through these letters. May many come to know You as Lord, that is why You truly came, not just to save us but to become our Lord and Master. A loving master who will lead us in paths of righteousness that will glorify You and bring others on our journey with You.
Thank You that You have allowed me to hear Your voice and communicate Your heart of love to Your believers. Strengthen them and may they be encouraged to overcome through Jesus Christ who supplies our every need! You are my life and my very breath. I love You with all my heart! All this I pray in the blessed name above all names, Jesus Christ my Lord, amen!