Offenses will come, and we are living in a generation that is particularly quick to be offended. Since this is the case, what will we do when we are offended or when we offend others? We must pray, forgive, ask for forgiveness, seek the Lord, and grow in the faith. If we do not forgive the offenses against us, then at minimum our witness can be depleted as we succumb to the trap and temptation of unforgiveness and bitterness. So many of us fall prey to this cycle in our families, marriages, businesses, and ministries. If there is an overriding offense, then any attempt to press forward without the release of forgiveness will almost certainly fail. Brothers and sisters, let’s identify an offense we are harboring as well as a offense that someone is harboring against and deal with both today!
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
It is time for leaders of the faith to stand up. There are enemies not just on the horizon or at the gate but in the camp. It is time for those who know the Lord to set the example of faithfulness in this life to demonstrate to everyone, particularly believers, that we can and must endure in the faith. We must be careful and discerning of the dangers and threats that are in our midst. Many would deplete our faith if they could, and the enemy will continue to deploy resources to make a ruin of our faith. Remember that it was faith, both in its fullness and in its utter lack, that caused Jesus to marvel during His earthly ministry. Arise people of the Lord and overcome!
So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”
1 Kings 18:20-24
Even when we are caught in a spiritual shipwreck we are still under God’s sovereignty. Even when we endure trials and hardships that occur when our counsel is ignored we must maintain the peace of God. Even when we don’t understand all the reasons and timing behind our shipwreck we serve a faithful Lord. Even when it appears that we are in an unexpected place where hope appears lost we are being prepared for the miraculous. Be nourished by the word of God and the promise that our trial will become our testimony. Jesus is no stranger to shipwreck, and Jesus is no stranger to the miraculous. It’s time to walk by faith brothers and sisters. Get up and go forward again in Christ with boldness and newness of purpose.
Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
The name of God is worthy to be praised! Jesus Christ has been given authority over all things and the name above all names. The Bible reveals who God is through His names in both the Old and New Testaments. Understanding this is an occasion for worship. Traditionally, names had more meaning than just a simple identifier. Names speak deeply to a person’s character, the context of their life, or their destiny – particularly when a name is bestowed by God. In the original Hebrew, Jesus means ‘God saves’. There is a message embedded in the very name itself. Knowing through living experience that the names of God speak to His character is critical. It can only come from relationship. In Genesis 1:1, God is Elohiym: the supreme and triune God. Do you know Him today?
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Christians are instructed to study the life of Abraham as an example for us. Of course, first and foremost we are to follow Jesus directly, but we should also look to how Abraham followed God in faith. God called Abraham out of his circumstances and his past and called him into a marvelous promise and a glorious future. Brothers and sisters, our past has no future. Our destiny is in the hands of God. We cannot afford to be limited by our background, circumstances, or conditions. God is calling us into greatness in this generation. Stand up in boldness for His glory, follow the Holy Spirit, and praise the holy name of Jesus!
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Now is the time to press in to the Lord and to rely on Him for protection. Without the covering of God and the blood of Jesus Christ we are vulnerable to the innumerable storms, trials, and temptations that we are currently facing in this generation. God is looking for people who will dwell in the secret place of prayer, receive the covering of the Lord, and proclaim with boldness the truth of the gospel. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are in a spiritual war. Not only that: we are behind enemy lines.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”