LIFE OR DEATH

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CHOOSE BLESSING …

…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live… – Deuteronomy 30:19, NASB

God desires that you live in blessing in every area of your life. He’s given promises in His Word and established a plan for you to live in total victory. He promises to give you the answers, but you have to be the one to decide to obey His voice. You have the final choice, so choose life and blessing!

Every time you choose to obey the Word of God, you are choosing blessing. When you put God first in your life; when you walk in love toward others even when it’s difficult, you are choosing blessing. When you turn away from ungodly influences and when you give to others, God will pour out His blessing on you in return. Start today and do what you know to do. Obey His Word, and His blessing will overtake you! You’ll rise higher and higher and live the abundant life He has for you.

JESUS CAN IDENTIFY WITH YOUR PAIN

Leviticus 2:4 – ‘And if you bring as an offering a grain offering baked in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.

Private pains, deep hurts, shameful addictions. You may think that nobody understands what you are going through, but God does. He can identify with all your pains and is able to help you. (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15)

In the Old Testament, the grain offering brought to God speaks of Jesus’ life on earth. The fine flour, which the grain offering is made with, is flour that has been pounded, ground, beaten and sifted through to get it consistently even and fine. Therefore, it typifies the humanity and sufferings of Jesus.

One of the ways the Jewish women prepared the grain offering was to bake it. The baking done in the depths of the oven speaks of the “hidden” sufferings that Jesus went through. I believe that Jesus faced sufferings that we cannot fully understand. Even as a young boy, He must have gone through sufferings that prepared Him to die for all humanity at the cross. And during His ministry years, it must have grieved Him when time and time again, He found unbelief not just in the people around Him, but even in His disciples.

Jesus also suffered at the hands of men—slanderers who misunderstood Him. Once, the Pharisees insinuated that He was born out of wedlock because His mother was with child before she married Joseph. (John 8:39, 41) That scandalous remark, probably not the first, must have hurt Him.

Consider also the temptations He faced. There were not only three. God’s Word says that He was tempted for 40 days! (Luke 4:2) Not all the temptations were recorded. Those 40 days must have tried Him sorely.

What do all these mean?

My friend, Jesus went through all those temptations and sufferings for you, yet He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15) There is no temptation or suffering that you are going through that He cannot identify with. So come to His throne of grace today and receive His superabounding grace to face and overcome those trials in your life!

IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO OVERCOME ALL THINGS

2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.

1 John 2:13 I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.

Revelation 3
5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name

Grace, which can be defined as God’s richest at Christ expense, does not mean that we do nothing and God does all things.  It’s our responsibility to use our faith, which God gives a measure of to every man, to obtain the promises of God and believe and stand on them until they are manifested in our lives and circumstances. Jesus told us clearly that works follow belief in Mark 1616 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

Jesus told us also how we can fail in many ways in not doing our part  in Luke 8
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.
14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

We are not to neglect the use daily of faith and prayer for ourselves, our loved ones or others as Jesus never did. And he stated in Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.32    But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Remember God has provided everything we need in this life & in the life to come—forgiveness, healing, deliverance, & prosperity. God is so good!

ARE YOU STRUGGLING FINANCIALLY?

‘…all these things shall be added unto you.’ Matthew 6:33KJV

Pray: ‘Heavenly Father, Your Word says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” You are well able to take care of my financial situation; You know what needs to be done. Direct my steps (Proverbs 3:5–6). Help me to remember that Your resources are meant to flow freely from the place of abundance to the place of need (2 Corinthians 8:14). I believe You have a financial plan for my life, and when fear of the future threatens to overwhelm me, I will hope continually and praise You more and more (Psalms 71:14). As You walk with me through this crisis and I stay focused on You, You promised to keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Forgive me for worrying. I cast all my cares on You right now (1 Peter 5:7)… I don’t have to bear these burdens on my own… I lay them down and receive Your divine rest (Matthew 11:28). You promised to supply all my needs (Philippians 4:19); that it’s Your good pleasure to give me the blessings and benefits of Your Kingdom (Luke 12:32). You told me not to worry about anything and instead make my requests known to You with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6–7). I know You’ll take care of tomorrow because You’re Jehovah–Jireh, my provider (Matthew 6:34). You know what I need and when I need it… You’re the God of more than enough (Ephesians 3:20). Thank You for meeting my every need, and for the sense of peace and security You’re imparting to me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.’

WHAT YOU ARE CONSCIOUS OF WILL MANIFEST

1 John 4:4 – You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

If you have been to a circus performance or watched one on television, you would be familiar with the act involving a lion and its trainer. But have you ever wondered why, besides holding a whip, the trainer would arm himself with a stool and point its legs toward the beast?

The whole idea is to distract the lion. You see, as powerful as the beast is, it can be immobilized by distractions. If this man-eater is not distracted from time to time, it might just decide to maul the trainer to death!

The devil is like the trainer. He knows that you have God’s power inside you because the Lion of Judah is in you, and “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”. So what the devil tries to do is immobilize you with distractions.

For example, he may bring to your attention a pain in your body to distract you. And you find yourself going to a few medical journals or the Internet to find out more about the symptoms. You also decide to consult more than one doctor. And because you know of someone who has the same condition, you talk to him about it.

In the end, you are distracted by the pain, the symptoms, your findings, the doctors’ reports and your friend’s experience. And you find it hard to believe and focus on God’s Word about your healing. You have become immobilized, powerless and fearful.

So the devil’s trick is to get you to focus on your condition. When you are conscious of the symptoms in your body and your findings, you will see sickness manifest. But God wants you to focus on who you are and what you have in Christ. When you are conscious that you are the healed in Christ, you will see healing manifest.

My friend, what you are conscious of will manifest. So be conscious of Christ, who is all the power of God inside you, and you will see that power manifest!

FEELING FORSAKEN

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? —Matthew 27:46

In his book The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis records an imaginary conversation between a senior devil and a junior devil as they discuss how to properly tempt a Christian. The two devils desired to destroy the believer’s faith in God. “Be not deceived,” the senior devil says to the junior. “Our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human . . . looks round upon a universe in which every trace of [God] seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

The Bible gives us many examples of people who acted with faith despite their feelings of abandonment. Abram felt that God’s promise of an heir had gone unheeded (Gen. 15:2-3). The psalmist felt ignored in his trouble (Ps. 10:1). Job’s troubles were so great that he thought God might even kill him (Job 13:15). And Jesus from the cross cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). Yet in each instance God was shown to be faithful (Gen. 21:1-7; Ps. 10:16-18; Job 38:1–42:17; Matt. 28:9-20).

Although Satan may try to tempt you to think you are forsaken, God is always near. He never forsakes His own. “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ ” (Heb. 13:5). We may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid” (v. 6).

Lord, although clouds and darkness sometimes shroud me, I know that You are close by my side. Thank You.

God is always near in spite of our fears.

OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IN CHRIST

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: – Matthew 22:8-14

In this time, it was customary for the host to provide their guests with wedding garments to wear to the wedding. It was an insult of the highest degree to refuse to wear the clothing provided since the guests were brought in directly from the highways and streets. The wedding garment speaks of the righteousness of Christ that God so graciously provides for all who accept His invitation into the kingdom. It must be put on by both good and bad (Mt. 22:10).

Right standing before a holy God is not to be achieved in keeping the law but in humble trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. No one, who is trusting in his own righteousness, can have the benefit of Christ’s righteousness. The righteousness that gives men relationship with God is the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, and it comes freely through faith in Jesus Christ.

The way we obtain this righteousness is by putting faith in what Christ has done for us. When we place our faith in Christ, then the righteousness that Jesus obtained by His faith becomes ours.

Through faith in Jesus, we can receive the very righteousness of God as a gift. God’s righteousness is infinitely more in quality and quantity than man’s puny righteousness. No one can ever be justified in the sight of God based on his own righteousness which comes through acts of holiness. One must have God’s righteousness which only comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Paul said in Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” This is “the righteousness of God.”

RIGHTEOUSNESS DEPENDS ON GOD, NOT ON SELF

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. – Matthew 21:23-24; Mark 11:27-33; 12:1-2; Luke 20:1-9

This parable was given in response to the religious leaders rejecting Jesus’ authority. Through this parable, Jesus reveals God’s rejection of the Jews in response to their rejection of His Son. Jesus is showing that those who do the will of God are actually the ones invested with God’s authority.

These leaders had a form of godliness like this second son, but they were not doing the will of God. The publicans and harlots had no form of godliness, but when confronted with the preaching of John, many of them repented and began to do the will of God like the first son in the story.

These religious Jews, who sat in the seat of Moses, disqualified themselves from being God’s representatives here on earth, because of their hypocrisy and hard hearts. Even the publicans and harlots, who repented at John’s preaching, were ahead of them. There is no sin more frequent among religious people than that of self-righteousness; that is to honor the Lord with the mouth when the heart is far from Him.

These sinners were entering the kingdom of God ahead of the very religious Jews because they knew they were sinners and they put their faith in a Savior. One of the deadliest things about religious self-righteousness is the deception that we will be saved because of our good deeds. We cannot save ourselves regardless of how good we act. Who wants to be the best sinner that ever was sent to Hell?

THE OVERFLOW OF YOUR HEART …

…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks – Matthew 12:34, NKJV

Have you said something recently that you wish you hadn’t? The Bible says that your words reveal what’s going on inside of you. If you go around speaking negative words of defeat, putting others down and complaining all the time, it’s a sign that you need to refocus your heart and mind. It’s a sign that your “overflow” is polluted.

Our bodies work a lot like a computer. What you put on the hard drive of your heart will show up on the monitor of your mouth. The good news is that you can reprogram your mind the same way you can reprogram a computer. The Bible says that our minds are renewed—or reprogrammed—by the Word of God. The more you read and study His Word, the more it will transform you from the inside out. Start today by asking the Lord to reveal anything in your heart that needs changing. Make Him first place in your life. Fill your heart with the good treasure of God’s Word so that blessings come out of your mouth. Let the overflow of your heart be filled with faith and expectancy, and you’ll see God’s hand of blessing in every area of your life.

CHRIST YOUR WISDOM GIVES YOU GOOD SUCCESS

1 Corinthians 1:30 – But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God…

It is believed that there has never been a wealthier king than King Solomon. God gave him wisdom that not only made him wise in matters of justice, but also brought him gold and silver. (1 Kings 3:12–13)

According to a report by the Illinois Society of Architects in 1925, the cost of Solomon’s temple in terms of existing values would have been about US$87 billion! The priests wore garments costing more than US$10 million! These amounts only cover what Solomon spent on the temple and not his personal assets.

We can go on talking about the riches of King Solomon, but the Bible tells us that there is one greater than Solomon. (Matthew 12:42) His name is Jesus, and He is the most prosperous Man who ever lived and who will ever live.

If there was a need to feed the hungry, He simply multiplied whatever food was placed in His hands. On one occasion, He multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000 men, not counting women and children. And incredibly, there were 12 baskets full of leftovers. (Matthew 14:15–21)

If any of His own faced lack, it was not long before abundant provision flowed to them. Once, when His disciples caught nothing after a whole night of fishing, He merely spoke a word of command and schools of fish obeyed, swimming toward His disciples’ boat so that they received a net-breaking, boat-sinking load of fish. (Luke 5:1–7) In another incident, He provided the money for the temple tax, even if it took a fish to bring it to them! (Matthew 17:24–27)

My friend, this same Jesus has become for you wisdom from God. If you are a businessman, with Christ in you, you have wisdom that is greater than the wisdom of all the world’s business gurus put together. And if you are a student, Christ in you will manifest wisdom that is greater than all the wisdom of the brilliant minds in the academic world.

Beloved, believe that because Jesus, God’s wisdom, is in you, there is no reason you cannot prosper today, and astound the world in the same way Solomon did!

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