How Hot Is Hell?

It’s starting to get hot here in Arkansas.  Yesterday’s high temperature was in the 90’s but it felt even hotter.   Last weekend my family and I were camping at Gilham Lake, and I was in the sun longer than I should have been, fishing, playing, and swimming with my girls.  At the end of the day, I felt terrible.  My face was burning hot, and I felt like I had heat exhaustion.  My wife said I looked like I had a 2nd degree burn on my ears.  I laid down to go to bed and I just didn’t feel good.  I had a cold bottle of water on my chest to cool me down and another cold bottle of water to drink.  I thought I needed to go to the doctor, but I laid down and prayed that God would make me feel better and that I would be alright.

Have you ever felt this way?  Did you ever get too much sun and just feel terrible?  Maybe some of you have had heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  I can’t imagine what hell will feel like, but I wonder if that is anywhere even remotely close to what hell will be like?  Probably not, hell will probably be much more intense, and it lasts forever, for eternity.  There will be no relief from it. 

What perplexes me is when people say they don’t care if they go to hell or not.  WHAT!  You don’t care if you go to hell?  You must not understand what hell is?  That scares the hell out of me, people that (think) they willingly want to go there.  Elon Musk, I would submit that he is not as smart as people give him credit for.   Or maybe he is too smart? 

Elon Musk

@elonmusk

Replying to

@Almisehal

Thank you for the blessing, but I’m ok with going to hell, if that is indeed my destination, since the vast majority of all humans ever born will be there.

5:57 AM · May 9, 2022·Twitter for iPhone

Elon Musk on Twitter: “@Almisehal Thank you for the blessing, but I’m ok with going to hell, if that is indeed my destination, since the vast majority of all humans ever born will be there.” / Twitter

The Bible says there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  People in hell will be in so much agony that they will gnash their teeth down. 

Mark 9:42 But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe and trust in Me to stumble [that is, to sin or lose faith], it would be better for him if a heavy millstone [one requiring a donkey’s strength to turn it] were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]! It is better for you to enter life crippled, than to have two hands and go into [g]hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44 [h][where their worm does not die, and the fire is not put out.] 45 If your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]! It would be better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell, 46 [i][where their worm does not die, and the fire is not put out.] 47 If your eye causes you to stumble and sin, throw it out [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]! It would be better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm [that feeds on the dead] does not die, and the fire is not put out.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

We just had someone die in our family.  My Sister-in-Law’s Father-in-Law and we weren’t sure of their salvation.  We are questioning ourselves, did we do enough.  Did we talk enough about Jesus?  Did we shine our light?  I believe that people can be saved through the loss of others, so I pray that his death is not in vain. I pray for people that do not know Jesus Christ as their savior.  I pray that someone will be sent into their lives to set an example to at least plant a seed so that God can do the rest. 

Hell according to the Bible

Heather Riggleman 2021 says “Hell is a place of sorrow and torment. This truth is seen throughout the Bible in the Old and New Testaments. The Bible clearly and explicitly teaches that hell is a real place to which the wicked/unbelieving are sent after death. Hell is this infinite and eternal death which we have earned because of our sin. Christ talked a great deal about this subject. He describes “Gehenna” as a place where “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48). He spoke several times about weeping and gnashing of teeth for those who are “cast into outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30). He also gives the parable about inhabiting a “place of torment” (Luke 16:28). Jesus spoke about hell more than anyone else in Scripture.”

Heather goes on to say “As of right now, whether or not you believe in God—you are still experiencing His blessings. Even if your life is less than ideal. Even if you are sick, poor, or suffering in some way. You woke up this morning to the blessing of His breath in your lungs. He is ensuring your needs are met. If you’re alive and living on this planet, you have already benefited from God’s grace and goodness. Every sinner, saint, atheist, agnostic, and doubter have all received His gifts of being alive, witnessing God’s hand-painted sunsets, the breath in their lungs, or the love of a parent. Everyone has benefited from the goodness in this world that God not only created but provided. He’s given you free will and in Him, you live, move, and have your being—mind, body, soul, and spirit.”

“Hell was created for the rebellion of Satan and the angels that followed him (Matthew 25:41Romans 6:23). Scriptures indicate God never intended Hell and the lake of fire for mankind but that is where all will go who choose not to put their faith in Jesus Christ. The most important question is not where hell is or even when it was created but how to avoid going to hell. We avoid hell when we choose to believe in Jesus Christ—the One who died to pay for your sins and all who choose to put their trust in Him.” (Heather Riggleman 2021)

When I started out writing this article, I certainly didn’t mean for Heather’s article to take over, but her article is so good. 

And finally, how do we insure we don’t go to hell? 

“One day each of us will stand before God and Jesus will say, “Depart from me for I never knew you.” After God’s judgment, seated on the ‘great white throne, (Revelation 20:11), anyone whose name is not found written in the book of life [will be] thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). God has been patiently waiting as He does not want any of His children to perish. We can avoid hell by choosing to love God—by accepting His plan of salvation (Mark 1:15).”  (Heather Riggleman 2021)

Here is a link to her entire article.  What Does the Bible Say about Hell – Location and Description (crosswalk.com)

Hell is real and it is a place of constant sorrow and constant torment.  It’s a place I don’t want to go.  And anyone that wants to go there, quite frankly, scares me.  It’s hard for me to believe they even have a clue as to what they are talking about.  Don’t be like Elon Musk and believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ who died for you and me, so that we don’t have to endure the agony of hell. How hot is hell? I don’t know and I don’t want to find out! However, I do know that the rich man wanted a drop of water to cool his tongue. Luke 16:24 “And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in severe agony in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things [all the comforts and delights], and Lazarus likewise bad things [all the discomforts and distresses]; but now he is comforted here [in paradise], while you are in severe agony.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)  God Bless You! 

Trust in God’s Plan

I was asking God for some guidance while fasting and praying and I opened my Bible up to Genesis 45 and this is the message God wanted me to read:

First let’s start with Joseph’s back story:

Genesis 37:1“Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.

This is the account of Jacob’s family line.

Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”

His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.

Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”

“Very well,” he replied.

14 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.

When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”

17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”

So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”

21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.

23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels[b] of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”

31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”

33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”

34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.

36 Meanwhile, the Midianites[c] sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.” (Bible Gateway NIV 2022)

And now to the reading that God led me to:

Genesis 45:1 “Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a]

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.” (Bible Gateway NIV 2022)

Can you imagine getting sold as a slave by your own brothers?  Or having them plotting your death?  I know I can’t.  Joseph’s brothers first wanted to kill him but changed their minds.  However, they did dip his robe in blood and told his father he was dead.  What a deceitful thing to do.  But God had a plan!  

Has plan was for Joseph to go be an advisor to King Pharaoh and to protect his family from the famine.  Trust God’s plan even if it looks dire and hopeless.  God has a plan for each of us, we have to have faith and trust him.    

IS God Real?

I struggled with the title of this devotion.  I went back and forth between three titles, God Is Real, Is God Real and another one, but every fiber of my being KNOWS that God IS Real!

The reason God laid this devotion on my heart is I saw a post on Facebook.  I can’t remember the group I was in.  I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me back to that post, but someone wrote God is not real in the comments, and it broke my heart to think that there are people out there that don’t believe in God, that deny his existence, that deny him.

And there may be someone in this room that hasn’t accepted Jesus into their lives.  I pray that if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you would ask Jesus into your heart before it’s too late.  There is a lot going on in this world right now.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow.  You could die in a tornado, there could be a Hurricane, or flood.  We are having wildfires.  You could die in your sleep.  You could have a heart attack, or a stroke.  You may not make it home from this event.  I may not finish this devotion.  If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus.  I implore you to ask Jesus into your heart and accept him as your personal savior before it is everlasting too late.    

I am not bragging.  I give all the glory to God.  But I have heard God (the Holy Spirit) talk to me and I have felt the Holy Spirit’s presence.  Have I seen God, no I haven’t, but that’s where faith comes in.   

Now I don’t always do what the Holy Spirit wants me to do, but I have heard the Holy Spirit talk to me and you guys may have too.  I was coming back from (you guys can fill in the blank) fishing on Highway 88E and there was a truck broken down on the side of the road and I passed the vehicle, and something told me to turn around and go back, turn around and go back.  And I had to ask for forgiveness for not doing what I was told.  The Holy Spirit told me to stop drinking and I stopped drinking alcohol about three years ago.

And I’ve felt the Holy Spirit.  You may have felt the Holy Spirit in church or when you are praying, or during singing church hymns.  The last time I encountered the spirit I was praying.  It seems like Manuela’s whole family had COVID and her sister’s father-in-law is in (was) ICU with COVID pneumonia and not doing very good at all and Manuela was talking to her sister and her sister didn’t know what to do so she told her to pray.  So, Simone said she prayed, and we are not sure of Simone really believes in God, so she prayed that if you’re real God show me a sign, and the next day Berndt’s health improved.  So I was praying for God to heal Berndt and not only would you be performing a miracle and saving Berndt’s live but you would be possibly saving other lives by proving that you are real and you do perform miracles and the Holy Spirit started at the top of my body in my arms and went down my back and in my spine and stayed there for a little bit and ran down my legs and I was just thanking God for the gift of the Holy Spirit and it felt like goosebumps but they were inside my body and it lasted for a two or three minutes. So don’t tell me God’s not real.         

1 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]?” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]!” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench [subdue or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit.”  Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

Acts 20:28 “Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ [the ever-living Lord who has] risen from the dead, [as the prophesied King] descended from David [king of Israel], according to my gospel [the good news that I preach], for that [gospel] I am suffering even to [the point of] wearing chains like a criminal; but the word of God is not chained or imprisoned! 10 For this reason I [am ready to] patiently endure all things for the sake of those who are the elect (God’s chosen ones), so that they too may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it the reward of eternal glory. 11 This is a faithful and trustworthy saying:12 If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we deny Him, He will also deny us;13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful [true to His word and His righteous character], for He cannot deny Himself.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

John 3:16“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because [b]he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him]. 19 This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the [c]darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned. 21 But whoever practices truth [and does what is right—morally, ethically, spiritually] comes to the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are—accomplished in God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence on Him].” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022) 

Men, and women we are here to praise and worship God, thank God, and spread the good news of Jesus Christ so that they would not perish but have everlasting life.

We are the apostles, Hebrews 3:1 says “Therefore, [a]holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, [thoughtfully and attentively] consider the Apostle and High Priest whom we confessed [as ours when we accepted Him as Savior], namely, [b]Jesus;” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022) 

Matthew 28:16“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

Is God real?  I know I am not supposed to use explicit language especially at church, but you darn right God is Real!  I’ve experienced things that you cannot explain happen to me.  I’ve had friends and family members experience miracles.  I’ve heard of miracles.  Neil Taylor is a walking example of a miracle.  Just look at our prayer chain.  There have been many examples of answered prayers and miracles on our very own prayer chain.  We see it over and over again and I would submit that if God doesn’t heal someone, then it was his will.     

God heals people.  He saves people.  He moves mountains. 

There is a song by Jon Reddick called God Turn it Around and the Bridge goes like this: 

He is Healing Someone, He is Saving Someone, God is Doing Something Right Now, Right Now, He is Moving Mountains, making a way for someone God is doing something Right Now, Right Now.

There’s another song called Too Good to Not Believe by Brandon Lake, listen to that song when you have a chance.

It pains my heart to know that people deny the good news of Jesus Christ!

I’ll leave you with this quote: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and un-prayed for.” Charles Spurgeon

Go talk to someone about Jesus, plant a seed and let God do the rest.  Romans 10:13 states “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022) God Bless you! Just Believe Please!  Before it is too late!    

No Storms In Heaven

I would say natural disasters are intensifying, God is pouring out his judgement on us. 

Today on earth, the storms seem to be intensifying.  In December 2021, a tornado traveled 227 miles on the ground 200 miles in Kentucky with a death toll of at least 70 people.  In 2020, we had so many hurricanes we had to start the Greek alphabet over naming them. 

The Bible says there will be earthquakes in diver’s places.  We are having a record number of natural disasters including devastating wildfires.  On March 30, 2022, the USGS lists 50 earthquakes over 2.5 magnitude in the past day and 21 tornadoes in the last 14 hours according to Tornado HQ site by Hayley (2022).  And as of this writing on 30 March 2022 there are 604 wildfires in 19 states of the United States that have burned 404,797 acres of land according to 2022 Fire, Weather &Avalanche Center.  You don’t think God is pouring out his judgment on us for turning away from him, from taking him out of our schools etc., etc.?  See below Bible scripture:    

Matthew 24:1 “While Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, and said, “Tell us, when will this [destruction of the temple] take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?”

Jesus answered, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in My name [misusing it and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age]. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble].” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

But there is good news, there will be no fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and storms in Heaven.  There will be no more sickness, disease, and death in Heaven.  There will be no more wearing a mask or getting a booster shot.  There will be no more fear in Heaven.  No one will steal your identity in Heaven.  Heaven will be perfect.   We won’t even need the sun in Heaven because the glory of God will illuminate it, see Bible scripture below:

Revelations 21:22 “ I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all] and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to give light to it, for the glory (splendor, radiance) of God has illumined it, and the Lamb is its lamp and light. 24 The nations [the redeemed people from the earth] will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring into it their glory. 25 By day (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed [in fear of evil]; 26 and they will bring the glory (splendor, majesty) and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing that defiles or profanes or is unwashed will ever enter it, nor anyone who practices abominations [detestable, morally repugnant things] and lying, but only those [will be admitted] whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

Oh, how we long to be in the presence of our almighty Lord and Savior!  Bur until then, comfort each other with these words; see Bible scripture below:

1 Thessalonians 13 “Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death], so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life]. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again [as in fact He did], even so God [in this same way—by raising them from the dead] will bring with Him those [believers] who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are still alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede [into His presence] those [believers] who have fallen asleep [in death]. 16 For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the [b]archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (raptured) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord! 18 Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words [concerning our reunion with believers who have died].”  (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

Until Jesus returns comfort each other insuring them that Jesus will indeed return and if we believe in him and have a relationship with him and have repented from our sins, we will be with him for eternity. 

God Cleans Up Our Mess (God Is Faithful)

Have you ever noticed how God cleans up our messes? (God Is Faithful) We make mistakes every day, but God.  There’s those two words again, But God!  I have written an article titled But God already.  It’s true though, as soon as you think something is impossible, God is there to perform a miracle But God!  God is faithful!   

In Genesis, the first Book of the Bible, there God is fixing our humanly mistakes.  First, we see Abram tell Pharaoh that Sari is his sister.  Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, technically Sari is Abram’s half-sister, but Abram and Sarai were being deceitful and didn’t want Pharaoh to know that Sarai was his wife, see Bible text below:

 Genesis 12:10 “Now there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to live temporarily, for the famine in the land was oppressive and severe. 11 And when he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “Listen: I know that you are [c]a beautiful woman; 12 so when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me [to acquire you], but they will let you live. 13 Please tell them that you are [d]my sister so that things will go well for me for your sake, and my life will be spared because of you.” 14 And when Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s princes (officials) also saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken [for the purpose of marriage] into Pharaoh’s house (harem). 16 Therefore Pharaoh treated Abram well for her sake; he acquired sheep, oxen, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord punished Pharaoh and his household with severe plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this that you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her and go!” 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him on his way, with his wife and all that he had.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

Abraham thought that Pharaoh would think Sari was so beautiful that they would harm him to get to Sari, but he should have had faith that God would protect him.  God did make a covenant with him promising to make him a great Nation.  But God was there to clean up the mess and make it right ensuring that Abram and Sari didn’t do anything to jeopardize God’s redemptive plan to bring the birth of Jesus Christ into fruition.    

We see another mess:  Sari tells Abram that he should sleep with her maid Hagar, because Sari thinks she isn’t able to give him a child and so Abram and Sari take matters into their own hands and Abram sleeps with Hagar, has a son named Ismael which means God hears.  This was not the son that God had in mind when he promised Abram to make him a great nation, see Bible text below:    

Genesis 16:1 “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne him any children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “See here, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. I am asking you to go in to [the bed of] my maid [so that she may bear you a child]; perhaps I will [a]obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to Sarai and did as she said. After Abram had lived in the land of Canaan ten years, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian [maid] and gave her to her husband Abram to be his [secondary] wife. He went in to [the bed of] Hagar, and she conceived; and when she realized that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress [regarding Sarai as insignificant because of her infertility]. Then Sarai said to Abram, “May [the responsibility for] the wrong done to me [by the arrogant behavior of Hagar] be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, and when she realized that she had conceived, I was despised and looked on with disrespect. May the Lord judge [who has done right] between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Look, your maid is entirely in your hands and subject to your authority; do as you please with her.” So, Sarai treated her harshly and humiliated her, and Hagar fled from her.

But [b]the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, on the road to [Egypt by way of] Shur. And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where did you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.” The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Go back to your mistress, and submit [c]humbly to her authority.” 10 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” 11 The Angel of the Lord continued,

“Behold, you are with child,
And you will bear a son;
And you shall name him Ishmael (God hears),
Because the Lord has heard and paid attention to your persecution (suffering).
12 
“He (Ishmael) will be a wild donkey of a man;
His hand will be against every man [continually fighting]
And every man’s hand against him;
And he will dwell in defiance of all his brothers.”

13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are [d]God Who Sees”; for she said, “Have I not even here [in the wilderness] remained alive after [e]seeing Him [who sees me with understanding and compassion]?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi (Well of the Living One Who Sees Me); it is [f]between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son; and Abram named his son, to whom Hagar gave birth, [g]Ishmael (God hears). 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

Again, they should have waited for God’s plan, but they didn’t have enough faith that God was going to come thru with his promise.

Abraham must not have learned from his mistake, because he tells Abimelech that Sarah is his sister not his wife again deceiving him.  Is Sarah his sister?  Sarah is his half-sister, but they were being deceitful.  It seems Abraham’s faith wasn’t strong enough to trust that God would protect them, see Bible verses below: 

Genesis 20:1 “Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the Negev (the South country) and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he lived temporarily in Gerar. Abraham [a]said [again] of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So [b]Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took [c]Sarah [into his harem]. But God came to Abimelech in a dream during the night, and said, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken [as your wife], for she is another man’s wife.” Now Abimelech had not yet come near her; so he said, “Lord, will you kill a people who are righteous and innocent and blameless [regarding Sarah]? Did Abraham not tell me, ‘She is my sister?’ And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this in the integrity of your heart, for it was I who kept you back and spared you from sinning against Me; therefore, I did not give you an opportunity to touch her. So now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live. But if you do not return her [to him], know that you shall die, you and all who are yours (your household).”

So Abimelech got up early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things; and the men were terrified. Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I offended you that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me what ought not to be done [to anyone].” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What have you encountered or seen [in us or our customs], that you have done this [unjust] thing?” 11 Abraham said, “Because I thought, ‘Surely there is no fear or reverence of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she actually is my [half] sister; she is the daughter of my father [Terah], but not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 When God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This kindness and loyalty you can show me: at every place we stop, say of me, “He is my brother.”’” 14 Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen and male and female slaves, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him [as God commanded]. 15 So Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; settle wherever you please.” 16 Then to Sarah he said, “Look, I have given this brother of yours a [d]thousand pieces of silver; it is to compensate you [for all that has happened] and to vindicate your honor before all who are with you; before all men you are cleared and compensated.” 17 So Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, and they again gave birth to children, 18 for the Lord had securely closed the wombs of all [the women] in Abimelech’s household because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

Now the scene changes and we see Ishmael do something that offends Sarah.  The Bible says Ishmael mocks Isaac and they throw Hagar and her son, Ishmael out of their camp to fend for themselves in the wilderness, read the Bible verses below:

 Genesis 21:9 “Now [as time went on] Sarah saw [Ishmael] the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, [b]mocking [Isaac]. 10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.” 11 The situation [c]distressed Abraham greatly because of his son [Ishmael]. 12 God said to Abraham, “Do not let it distress you because of Ishmael and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her and do what she asks, for your descendants will be named through Isaac. 13 And I will also make a nation of [Ishmael] the son of the maid, because he is your descendant.” 14 So Abraham got up early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her [d]away. And she left [but lost her way] and wandered [aimlessly] in the Wilderness of Beersheba.

15 When the water in the skin was all gone, Hagar abandoned the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away, for she said, “Do not let me see the boy die.” And as she sat down opposite him, she raised her voice and wept. 17 God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy from where he is [resting]. 18 Get up, help the boy up, and hold him by the hand, for I will make him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the [empty] skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

20 God was with Ishmael, and he grew and developed; and he lived in the wilderness and became an [expert] archer. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

What I find very interesting about this is that God provides for Ishmael and Hagar, even promising to make Ishmael a great nation.  Again, God is providing and cleaning up our humanly mistakes.

Now we could argue that God knows everything, and he does!  And that all these things needed to come to pass.  Ishmael being born so he can become a great nation providing lineage and that God would bless all the women and open their wombs allowing Abimelech and his wife and maids to have children.    

As humans, we make a lot of mistakes. We can count at least three things that Abraham and Sarah did that could have potentially ruined the plan of Jesus Christ being born, Jesus Christ’s lineage coming from Isaac (Abraham’s son) But GOD made sure that our humanly mistakes didn’t ruin everything.

Has God saved you from yourself?  He certainly has saved me from myself.      

But God

We see quite a bit of prophesies in the Bible unfolding right before our eyes.  It is an interesting time to be alive to say the least, BUT GOD.  I can’t stress that enough BUT GOD is still on his throne and has a plan.  God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow.

Revelation 6:6 “And I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius (a day’s wages), and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not [f]damage the oil and the wine.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

With the way inflation is rising, this could come to fruition sooner than later. 

Matthew 24:4 “Jesus answered, Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in My name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age]. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble].”  (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

I would say we are definitely in the beginning of “birth pangs”, wouldn’t you? 

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did sharing it with you God Bless You!

Sick and Dying World (Sin is Taking Over the world)

First, the Razorback basketball team was playing Kentucky yesterday, when I had the peace and quiet to work on this devotion.  The girls, 6, and 8 were with Mom at a birthday party.  I was tempted to turn on the game, but I knew this was the only time to get finish up this devotion and work on the Sunday school lesson, so I prioritized my work and I put God first.  We have a tendency to let the world get in the way. 

We live in a sick and dying world.  One of the news headlines from Tuesday was that a Father Allegedly Tells Son, 4 to Shoot while in McDonald’s Drive Thru. 

Four-year-old boy fired a gun at police officers on the instruction of his father

Father brandished gun at staff at McDonald’ in Midvale, Salt Lake City, Monday

Police were removing the man from the car when they saw gun pointed at them  

An officer was able to swipe the gun to the side as the child opened fire at them

Another headline read Mental Issue Raised in Boys Body in Freezer Case in Vegas

The more outrageous the headline the more clicks.  The more money generated on these websites.  It’s about how many clicks or how much traffic they can generate on their sites or how many people read their stories and the gorier the story the better in this sick world. 

Just look at what is infiltrating our minds:  Just take a look at the TV shows that are popular today:

Shows like The Bachelorette, the Bachelor, 90 day fiancé and Naked and Afraid and yes there is a series called Evil.  What are we polluting our minds with?  And what are we allowing our kids to watch on the internet?

We become what we watch, garbage in garbage out right?  It’s the same with what you eat.  You are what you eat.  I mean look at me.  I’m turning into a fish.  It’s the same with what you feed your mind. 

 Should a Christian watch TV, R rated movies, PG-13 rated movies (Mark Ballenger 2015)

 “Game of Thrones,” the “Big Bang Theory,” or soap operas? Should Christians watch anything on TV other than low budget, cheesy Christian movies that play too much slow, epic music throughout every scene of inner turmoil the main character goes through? To most of us, it seems “Christian entertainment” forgot the “entertainment” part.

So what’s a Christian to do who enjoys watching TV? Chuck the TV out the window? Suck it up and just watch “Fireproof” and other Kirk Cameron specials until reading through the genealogies and ceremonial lists found in the Old Testament begin to look like a better source of fun? Perhaps there’s a better way.

What Christians Watch on TV is What Matters

Rather than making sweeping statements that watching any television show or movie is sinful unless they are “Christian,” it’s important to note that the Scriptures do not condemn means of communications but rather types of content.

All joking aside, there is great danger to the Christian who is watching hours of sinful images on TV every day, day in and day out. Throughout the pages of Scriptures there are warnings to guard our eyes and to be careful about what we watch (Matthew 6:22-23Psalm 119:37Exodus 20:4-5)

According to verses like Matthew 6:22-23, the reason we must be careful of the content we watch is because what we look at is what we let into ourselves. All humans know from experience, sinning can simply start with what we see. When a man sees too much of a woman’s body, when a person sees that dessert, or when a shopaholic sees the signs for a huge sale, the desire to indulge in sin grows the longer we stare at the tempting image before us.”

But I think there are certain TV shows and movies we as Christians can watch, shows about fishing, cooking, and cooking fish. There’s also Christian movies we can watch on Pure Flix.

It seems it easier to cuss, smoke, drink, lie, cheat and steal nowadays in this sick and dying world, but as children of God, we are held to higher standards.  We need to try and live God pleasing lives and shine our lights with the intent of leading lost souls to Jesus Christ before it’s everlasting too late.   

The world is dying right before our eyes, so what are we supposed to do about this?  We could just turn the TV off, and read our Bible’s, fast and pray, go to church, and surround ourselves with Godly people.

We need to reach this sick and dying world.  We need to shine our lights in everything we do.  We need to reach out to the lost.  The people that don’t have a relationship with Jesus yet, before it’s everlasting too late. 

We need to hand out donuts at the gas station, we need to flip pancakes for the young men and women on Prom Night morning. 

We need to have Youth Night, reaching out to the Youth before it’s too late.

We need to have more kid’s camp.   

We prayed for a revival to break out in this country.  We need a revival.    

So what is the answer?  The answer is on the sign “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, look full into his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” 

We need Jesus to come back and gather the church and save us from this sick and dying world.  Why hasn’t Jesus already gathered the church, because there is more work to do.  There are more donuts to pass out at Kess’s corner.  There are more pancakes to flip for the young men and women on prom morning.  There are more brother hood breakfasts to have.  There’s more kids camp to have.  There is more Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames to have.

So more specifically what are we to do while we are waiting for Jesus’ return?

 Philippians 3:20 “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

So what are we to do in the meantime while we wait on the return of Jesus Christ?                       1 Thessalonians 14 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Wherefore comfort one another with these words”. 

Jesus is coming back, we may not know the hour

 “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25:13

 “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning” Mark 13:35

What else are we supposed to do while we wait? 

Philippians 1:5. “For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” 

We are supposed to wait, continue working and comfort each other with these words.

 1 Thessalonians 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Are People Even Following The Bible Anymore?

I receive prayers daily, and I do my best to share them on Facebook and even on a group at work that I stumbled upon, actually that God led me to and here is today’s prayer:

Dear Lord,

This world is quickly trading your truth for a lie and calling it the truth. I pray that I would reject the lies in this world and would live to chase after your truth. I pray that I would pursue righteousness always so that I can know you more, lead my family to also walk in your righteousness.  Lord, you are all that matters in this world.

In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

Sadly, the world has turned away from God.  I remember in school we used to say a prayer every day before school started.  And sadly, now they don’t, in fear it would offend someone.  We have become so politically correct.   

Do churches even preach out of the Bible anymore?  If they did, they would learn that marriage is between a man and a woman, not a man and a man or a woman and a woman.  That is not how God designed marriage.   

According to Genesis 2:20 “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

In Genesis 2:20 God wanted Adam to have a helper a help meat so he caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and Eve was created from man to be his helper or help meat. 

 Matthew 19:3 Says “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

If this offends someone that, let it offend someone, but this is what the Bible says and I believe the Bible.  I don’t take anything away from the Bible and I don’t add anything to the Bible.

The Bible also says this in Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

Abomination is a strong word meaning “a thing that causes disgust or hatred and their abomination of indulgence”

But then again it seems like the world has turned away from what the Bible says. 

I don’t look forward to the month of June anymore.  The symbol of the rainbow has become the symbol of sin, instead of it’s biblical promise that God will not flood the earth again. The rainbow that was once a sign of the covenant or promise between God and Noah has been made into a mockery of sin, see the scripture below:

Genesis 9: 11 “And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

About two years ago, our church was searching for a pastor and our church was adamant that all the candidates meet the qualifications set forth in the Bible:

1 Timothy 3 saysThis is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

  3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

And in our search of a pastor many were disqualified after the first verse the husband of one wife. 

We wanted to please the Lord in our pastoral search.  It ended up taking us 1.5 years to fill the position and we are extremely satisfied with the person the Lord blessed us with.

I was on the search committee, and I was naïve when the search started, I thought we would meet a few times and, in a month, or two we would find someone, like qualified pastors just grew on trees.  We met regularly for the 1.5 years and prayed intensely.  The entire church prayed, and we certainly didn’t want to divide the church either.   

But I started questioning what is taking so long?  Was it something we were doing wrong?  Were we not praying hard enough?  Why was it taking so long to fill the position?  All the while, the Lord was making sure to fill the pulpit every week.  It was such a blessing; we never went without someone filling in.  The Lord reminded me to have faith and patience and that his timing is perfect timing, just like with Abraham when God promised to make Abraham into a great nation. Abraham had to wait on God’s perfect timing.

The person we hired is young and I believe the Lord was preparing him for the position.  We were looking in different states interviewing people from all over, and the person that the Lord sent us lived 6 miles from our town, so he and his family are local.  It turned out so well.  And we stuck to what the Bible says and found someone that meets all the qualifications of a pastor according to the Bible and we are truly blessed. 

However, it seems like the Bible is just a guide in today’s society and the world is not following it and that is scary!     

Being Offended is Just the Bait of Satan

I am paraphrasing an excerpt from a book I am reading called The Bait of Satan by John Bevere (2014)

The author, a pastor goes on to tell a story about a young man, a fourteen-year-old that was on fire for the Lord.  He was in his youth group, and he volunteered for everything.  He even went on a missions trip with them and witnessed to almost everyone he encountered. 

He would pray for hours on end and the Lord revealed many things to him and he was sure to share this with others, everything he shared was a blessing.  He knew he was called into ministry. 

The author goes on to say that he invested time into the young man.  However, there was just one problem, he had too much confidence in himself, and the pastor knew he would go through a breaking point. 

A few years go by and, he moves, and the author begins to travel full-time but still stays in contact.  When the man is eighteen, his father gets an incurable cancer.  However, the young man and his mother fast and pray, believing his father will be healed, getting others to join them praying and fasting.  Thankfully, his father gave his life to Jesus six months earlier. 

However, his father’s condition worsens, and the pastor’s wife calls him telling him the news of the young man’s fathers’ condition.  The pastor drives all night arriving at their house at 4 am.  He ministers to the family and leaves a few hours later.  The young man still confident his father will make a miraculous recovery.  However, his father passes away and when the young man calls to tell his friends of the news, they are sobbing, not because of the news of his father passing away, but of the news that the young man’s best friend has passed away due to an accident. 

The young man lost his father and one of his best friends in the same day.  “The shaking had begun.  He was bewildered, frustrated, and numb.  The presence of God had seemed to have eluded him.”

Just a month later, on his way home, the young man came across an accident that just happened.  He knew emergency medical training, so he stopped and assisted.  Everyone in both cars were his close friends and two died in his arms. 

The author says his young friend had reached his limit and he spent three hours in the woods praying and crying out to God.  “Where are you?  You said You would be my Comforter, and I have no comfort!” 

He thought that God had turned his back on him, but this was the first time his own strength had failed him.  He became angry with God.  His offense was with God, not anyone else.  He asked why had he allowed this to happen?  “Lord, I’ve served You and laid many things down to follow You” he prayed “Now You have abandoned me!”   He believed God owed him something for all he had given up to serve him. 

The author goes on to say that many have experienced hurts and disappointments in their lives some more extreme and some less extreme.  And many become offended with the Lord, and they believe He should take into consideration all they have done for Him.  “They are serving Him for the wrong reasons.”  “We should not serve the Lord for what He can do but rather for who He is and what He has already done for us.”  He goes on to say “those who become offended do not fully realize how great a debt He has already paid for then to be free.  They have forgotten from what manner of death they were delivered.  They see though natural eyes rather than eternal.” 

The young man stops going to church and starts a whirlwind of drinking and hanging out with the wrong crowd, partying, and going to bars wanting nothing to do with the Lord.

However, he can only keep this up for two weeks, his heart becomes convicted, but unwilling to take this to Lord.  The author says a year goes by and through several incidents he can still see God working in his life.  He approached God in a different humble way. 

The trail was finally over, God showed him that he never left him and was still by his side.  His spiritual walk was restored and “he learned to put his confidence back in God’s grace, not in his own strength.”

The pastor says he kept in touch with the young man and a year and half later he told him things he had seen in himself that he never knew was there.  “I was a man without character and shallow in all my relationships.  I was raised by my dad to be strong outwardly, a self-made man.  I could never have grown the way God wanted me to.  I am thankful the Lord did not leave me in that condition.” 

The author goes on to say that “a lot of shaking occurred in his life; Self-confidence was eliminated.   But this young man had the foundation that Simon Peter had, and it could not be taken away.  Instead of building his life and ministry through pride, he is building by the grace of God.” 

“Offenses will reveal the weakness and breaking points in our lives.”   The pastor goes on to often say the point we think that we are strong is actually a place of hidden weakness and it will remain hidden until a storm blows away the cover.  “The apostle Paul wrote, For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3, emphasis added)

And finally, he finishes “We can do nothing of eternal value in our own ability.  It is easy to say this, but having this truth deeply rooted in our being is another matter.

The Bait of Satan is an incredibly revealing book in that it teaches us to not be offended by people, that it’s truly the devil that is offending us.  This is what he strives for, he wants us to leave our church that God has planted us in.  He wants us to be offended and fight with our neighbors.  And aren’t we all neighbors?  Being offended is just the Bait of Satan. 

Live With Purpose

It doesn’t matter where you work.  If you work at McDonald’s, Star Bucks, U.S. Motors (Nidec), or the Forest Service.  You are there for a reason and you should look forward to getting up in the morning and going to work because we don’t really work for these companies I just mentioned.  They may sign our paychecks (do they do that anymore?)  They send our pay electronically into our bank accounts.  But we work for Jesus Christ.  And I am talking to myself here.  There is someone at your work that you need to talk to, or witness to.  There is a reason you are there.  You may hate it there but stop running from it.  I don’t believe in coincidence or luck.  God placed you there.  Get up in the morning with purpose and attack the day and see who you can impact, who can you witness to? Who needs to hear your testimony today?  Is there someone that is hurting at work?  Have they let you in? 

Yes, there are people that I just don’t get along with at work.  But is God testing me and you?  I’m reading this book called The Bait of Satan, John Bevere, 2014 and here are some excerpts from it:

“Holy Spirit, enable me to live in Your power so that when God, my Father, is testing my heart that seeks after His heart and not the insecurity of a man [or woman] who seeks to take matters into their own hands.”

 Or this excerpt, “Test my heart with obedience, Lord.  I am committed to seeking only Your judgment and mercy, not my own.”

 Or what about this one?  “Make me like a Samuel who refuses to judge others but chooses to serve them instead.”  Do you know how hard that is?  But we are supposed to be Christians and we are supposed to have Jesus Christ inside of us. 

“Holy Spirit, empower me to serve Your appointed leaders and not to judge or correct them.  It is not my word of correction that is needed; it is Yours.”

Is this striking a chord with you?  Because it is with me.  I really must look at myself in the mirror now.  But wait there is more: “Father according to Your Word, You have set me in the body just as You please.  I am in the place where You want me, and I will not allow the devil to uproot me through the trap of offence.”  In other words, if someone offended you. 

“Father allow me to become a mature tree in whom you delight rather than one that is uprooted for its lack of fruit.” (Luke 13:6 – 9) 

Every time you take control of the wheel of life and you move from one job to the other or from one church to another.  You could be messing up a plan that God has for you.  Let God drive the car!      

Every single one of us has purpose in life.  There is a reason we work at the job we work at.  Every person in your life is in your life for a reason.  The people in your family are there because God put you and them there.  There is a reason for every person you work with. 

Before we run from one job to another or one church to another, be in prayerful support if you should leave that job or that church and listen to the Holy Spirit before making rash decisions.  Yes, I am talking to me.  And finally, “My delight is in the law of the Lord.  I will mediate upon Your Word day and night” (Ps. 1:1-2).  If you are praying if you should leave a job, or church and it feels like God is not answering you, then perhaps his answer is No.  Be in prayerful support for all important decisions. 

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it.  I love you.  God Bless.