I Samuel 2:6-7 ” The Lord brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts.”

This Scripture shows the sovereignty and omnipotence of God.  Deuteronomy 32:39 says, ” See now that I Myself am He!  There is no god besides Me.  I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of My hand.”   God’s rule and power is autonomous and always perfect.  And what you might see as a real dichotomy in this verse, know that only God is aware of everything from beginning to end…only He knows every detail, backstory, and nuance…but most most importantly, only God can see around the corner.  Meaning, His eternal plan and purpose for each one of us is only for our good and His glory.

I John 5:4-5 ” For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Jesus forged the way for us to be overcomers. In John 16:33 He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” And so when we are born again, receiving new spiritual life, we are no longer held in the grip of the the world-view, man-centered selfishness, greed, violence, and self-glory of today. So through our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we too can be victorious…for in all things we are more than conquerors! (Romans 8:37)

Titus 2:1 ” You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”

Both Titus and Timothy were young Pastors that the Apostle Paul was mentoring. His letters to them are called the “Pastoral Epistles” where he stresses the need to always speak, teach, and personally practice sound doctrine. In I Timothy 1:10 Paul writes to Timothy warning him about false Teachers, “and whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God…” We could all then take a lesson from Paul’s sage advice to Titus and Timothy. We must be very vigilant to keep the Gospel Message about the Kingdom of God and salvation through Christ true, pure, and uncorrupted…whether we’re speaking, teaching, or walking in it.

Revelation 22:12 ” Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

Before John wrote this in the Book of Revelation, before Jesus told His disciples that, ” the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:27), and even before the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, scribed, “See, your Savior comes! See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him.” (Isaiah 62:11) The time of Christ’s Second Coming was already determined. And when Jesus does come back, each person will stand before Him to have their works examined and He will reward accordingly… in this life and in the hereafter.

Daniel 3:17 ” If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hands, O king. But even if He does not…”

As Believers, we know God can heal, deliver, and perform miracles…but what we are praying for may not be within His divine plan. We then need the kind of faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had…the kind of trust in God that even if they were not rescued in the way they had in mind, their confidence in Him would not falter. For in the end, we will be ultimately rescued on the Day of Resurrection…or as Daniel 12:1-2 tells us, “But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the Book – will be delivered.” Lord, help us to have that kind of “even if He doesn’t” kind of faith!

Deuteronomy 4:2 ” Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.”

Across the Bible, from the Old to New Testament, we hear God giving the commandment to not expand on nor remove His Word from what He’s given us in the Bible. (Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelation 22:18-19) But despite that, we still have the audacity to think we need to make it more “Politically Correct” for modern times. “Every Word of the Lord is flawless.” (Proverbs 30:5) and He doesn’t need our help tweaking it to make it more palatable or inclusive. No, our job is to fear God and obey His Word, not rewrite it to fit our whims…or sins.

Hebrews 3:12-13 ” See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

We live in very evil times and we need each other to be that “Plumb Line” of Truth in order that we not be deceived by the cunning duplicity of the world.  For the sin in the world is crafty but subtle, never over the top, to raise red flags.  It takes concepts which sound good and right in part, but then twists them ever so slightly that unless you are familiar with God’s Word it would almost sound Biblical.  This type of worldly sin doesn’t ask for outright rebellion on your part…it just wants you to question what you once professed and accepted as God’s Truth and instead relegate it to historical lore.

Luke 2:49 ” ‘Why were you searching for Me?’ He asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s House?’ “

The twelve year old Jesus had traveled with His parents and a large group of people to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, but was somehow left behind in the journey home. In their desperate search, His parents found Him days later in the Temple debating with the Teachers of the Law. When Jesus asked them these questions He wasn’t doing it out of disobedience…it was more out of surprise or amazement …something like, “Where else do you think I’d be?” For to this young Jesus He was simply being about His Father’s business. Something that had been planned before the beginning of time and assigned to Him solely. For Jesus had been sent to earth as the only one who could perfectly accomplish His Father’s Will.

Hosea 11:1-2 ” When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from Me.”

The covenantal relationship God had with His people was one of unspeakable love and tender mercies on His part.  He loved them as only a Father could love his children…in a close and intimate relationship.  But just like toddlers, as soon as they gained some independence, they started testing out their autonomy.  And the louder God called to get their attention…sadly, the further they wandered away.  Or as Hosea 11:7 laments, “My people are determined to turn from Me.”  

Psalm 31:14-16 ” But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love.”

Before I drew my first breath, my days were numbered. “Man’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” (Job 14:5) So are all the changing events of my life…they are all in God’s hands, so like David, my dependence needs to be in Him alone. And there in His Presence, I can bow down humbly…grateful for His deliverance into everlasting salvation, His kindness, and His mercy. I place all my days in Your hands, O Lord, do with them as You see best. Amen.

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