TODAY’S DEVOTION (THURSDAY 17TH AUGUST 2023)
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” Revelation 14:12-13 NKJV
WELCOME TO THE 229TH DAY OF OUR YEAR OF SIGNS AND WONDERS
It has been signs and wonders galore indeed, for all who live a life of faith. God will always do wonders in your life if you have the faith. That faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of the LORD. It does not come by following sorcery or divination but by hearing the word of the LORD.
That is why when it comes, it gives you miracles without sowing seeds, deliverance without raising altars or dedicating anything, breakthrough without redemption of first born, exceeding grace without tapping into any grace from a preacher, amazing answers to prayer without using salt, water, oil, candle, incense, prayer clothes, and any of the deliverance inventions.
We have been hearing His words and we have been seeing His acts. Those who hear his words and do them, will see His acts made manifest in their lives. The mercies of the LORD will be their portion, and if they commit any sin and repent, they get times of refreshing from the presence of the LORD.
It is a new day from the LORD and we give Him thanks!
Slowly and surely, we are getting to the end of the year. This is the 8th month of the year; it is our belief that before it ends all that the LORD has promised us will come to pass. This month alone will be a month of fresh beginnings of new grace and truth dimensions we are yet to touch in Christ.
It is important to understand that, the ultimate vision of God for mankind has been to grant us rest from the days of adversity. That is why Heaven is a place of peace and rest. We who are born again are assured of eternal rest in Christ Jesus after this life. Rest has been God’s vision for mankind.
That was the revelation God transmitted to the generation of the nation of Israel that left Egypt – a revelation that generation could not assimilate. The Bible says, God transmitted that revelation for over 40 years but they could not assimilate. It is a revelation that when you assimilate, you will no longer live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God!
YES, THOSE WHO WILL ENJOY HIS REST, MUST NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD!
If you read the Bible carefully, you will realize that the reason God struggled with the nation of Israel, from the day He brought them out of Egypt, to the day they were carried away Captive into Babylon and later wiped away from their land until 1948 when they became a Nation again, was to give them rest from the days of adversity.
The book of Hebrew puts it this way;
“Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:6-9 NKJV
This scripture made it clear that it was rebellion and disobedience that prevented Israel from entering into God’s rest. They hardened their hearts when they heard His voice. They could not live by what proceeded from the mouth of the LORD.
The same forces are working against many of us today and preventing us from entering into God’s rest for our lives.
The nation of Israel could not enter under Moses, neither could they enter under Joshua. The forces of rebellion and stubbornness stopped them. Under Moses they could not withstand the revelation and doctrine that would have given them rest.
There is a lot we can learn from them.
For instance, if you read the book of Exodus chapter 19 to 20, you will see what they did at Mount Sinai when God came down on the mountain to reveal Himself to them. Instead of requesting for grace to hear and see Him, they rejected the release of GOD’s glory that came directly to them and requested that Moses alone go up there, hear God and then come down to speak to them.
THAT WAS WHEN THE STANDARD OF A GO-BETWEEN OR INTERCESSOR WAS RAISED.
God was dealing with Israel on behalf of the Nations of the earth. They were our representatives. They were forming a pattern for us all. So whatever decision God took that day was taken on behalf of the human race. It was never God’s original intention for man to speak to another man on His behalf.
God’s plan was to have direct communication with every one of them and by extension every man; when other nations would be ushered into His redemptive plan. So, what they did that day altered the plan. That is why we now have apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and teachers. But the vision still remains, to bring people to the place of knowing GOD for themselves.
That is why a successful preacher in God’s sight, is he or she who has achieved this original vision of GOD for mankind. It is not necessarily those who gather the largest crowds or the smallest ones. Ministry success in God’s sight is not about numbers, name, or money, but about the fulfillment of His original vision for mankind by our hands.
I have come to discover that the greatest harmony among men is built when all men hear from God directly. There will be so much unity that disagreement will be alien to them all. But the rebellion of Israel and resistance to God’s glory the day they requested that God speaks to them through Moses, distorted this communication plan of God and created the office of a go between.
The root cause of disagreements among us, even believers, is that we all hear from different sources. Not one God, but sadly claim to be hearing from one God. If we are all hearing from one GOD, why the confusion in matters of doctrine and all that? Why the lack of oneness?
For instance, if a husband and wife both hear from the one and only true God directly, they will live in perfect harmony. Oneness will not be something they will struggle with.
If a pastor and his members both hear from the one and only true God directly, the Church will enjoy perfect peace – hearts will be so united that it will be impossible to disagree on anything.
Division, except when dealing with a mixture of light and darkness, has never been the vision of GOD. Wherever you see division in God’s kingdom colors, know that there is a mixture of light with darkness and that God is trying to separate the light from it.
GOD WILL NEVER ALLOW DARKNESS TO REMAIN MIXED WITH HIS LIGHT.
He will never allow falsehood to be mixed with truth. He will never allow false churches to be called true churches or false prophetic anointing to be mixed with true prophetic anointing. There will always be a divinely supervised division when that happens.
God’s perfect plan was for Him to be speaking to each and every one of us individually. But what Israel did that day at Sinai changed everything because they were God’s standard for the human race as earlier stated. Hence, they could not enter His rest for their lives.
There are two reasons why God’s rest is far from many; the first is, they allow their lives to be mixed with darkness, the second is rebellion. If your life is mixed with religious darkness you will never come into God’s rest. At most, you will be having relief, by what the preachers will be doing in your life.
So, Israel could not enter God’s rest under Moses due to rebellion. Also, under Joshua and subsequent spiritual leaders of Israel, they continued in the same resistance and ended up completely losing God’s rest for their lives.
They resisted every prophet and judge who attempted to pin them to the ways and will of God for their lives, complained against every instruction and direction from the LORD, lusted after strange things, worshiped other gods, committed sexual immorality, etc.
No one will live their Christian lives that way and enjoy rest from God. No one will mix their lives with such sinful living, persistently, and not see sorrows as the harvest. If they go to prophets for prayers, they will only have relief and not rest. Rest comes when we live right.
The Bible says what Israel did, became our example, and that God had it written down for our admonition. That is why preachers who cut off the Old Testament from their preaching are not helping us at all; they are indeed doing a great work for the devil, because what they are cutting off was written for our admonition.
The early church actually, taught Christ concealed in the books of the Old Testament.
THEY TOOK THE LESSONS OF WHAT HAPPENED TO ISRAEL SO DEARLY AND LIVED THEIR LIVES ACCORDINGLY.
Paul the Apostle of Grace put it this way;
“Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Corinthians 10:6-11 NKJV
From the Life of the nation of Israel, we can understand that if you see God rebuking, instructing, chastising, directing, revealing Himself to, or assigning a preacher to a person or people, the vision is rest from the days of adversity. It is to bring mankind into His rest for our lives – both in this life and the life to come! Our devotional text this morning says;
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
The essence of the Christian life is to cultivate and maintain a walk and talk with God, that keeps His word without drifting from faith in Christ Jesus. That is the patience of the saints. The vision is to give us eternal rest from our labours or sorrows. That brings us to the revelation of the days of adversity.
There are two days of adversity in the life of a man. There are earthly days of adversity, full of earthly sorrows in time. There are also eternal days of adversity, full of eternal sorrows in hell fire, and finally in the lake of fire.
GOD WANTS US SAVED FROM BOTH!
Now, when it comes to earthly days of adversity, God will sometimes allow us to face hardship or chastisement, in order to build our faith or purge us of sin and filth, so that we can achieve the purity that is required to escape the eternal days of adversity. However, these kinds of divine dealings, only happen when we make up our minds to live a life that resists sin, Satan, and the evil and corrupt system of this world.
There is also an aspect of days of adversity that comes upon us as we live godly in a wicked world.
We must all understand that no one can live a life that resist sin, Satan, and the evil and corrupt system of this world without spending most or all of his days on earth in adversity, or in the difficulty of living in a corrupt society. That is why the Bible says;
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:12-14 NKJV
This scripture tells us that we will not have it all bread and butter when we decide to live right. It also tells us that evil men and impostors will not diminish, but will grow worse and worse as we get to the end. It is their growth that will make those who want to live godly to suffer persecution.
Some of the evil men, are the false Christians among us, while impostors are the heretic teachers and false prophets and ministers of the gospel with the covering of true men and women of GOD among us.
Additionally, an evil man is he who twists and perverts the straight ways of the LORD, and an impostor is simply a deceiver. Both class of Christian men and women have one trait. They preach Christ, or practice Christianity, but without the Cross! They both believe in forgiveness without repentance.
They’re responsible for the birth of a Church generation, that does not resist sin, Satan, or the evil systems of this world. A generation that builds and maintain friendship with the world – an enmity with God!
Friend, a child of God who dodges the adversity of living true to God in this life, has ignorantly accepted the adversity that God reserved for Satan and his angels in the next life! The reason for that is simple; he or she will live a Christian life that is in harmony with the will and ways of sin, Satan, and the evil and corrupt systems of this world.
He will end up sacrificing the eternal on the altar of the earthly.
A generation that sacrifices the eternal on the altar of the earthly or seek the earthly at the expense of the eternal, will never be free from the days of adversity, especially in the life to come.
If you know the severity of God, you will realize that it is better for the saints to go through any adversity here on earth, than to sacrifice it on the altar of earthly comfort or prosperity. They that sow to please the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption. That has not changed!
It’s my prayer that God use these truths to improve our walk and talk with Him, in Jesus precious name. Amen!
MAKE THIS SCRIPTURE AN ADDITIONAL MEDITATION FOR THE DAY;
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5 NKJV