And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. (2 Kings 5:10-12)
God’s word is often contrary to the wisdom and emotions of men. The fury of Naaman reflects a heart yet unwilling to yield to the simple instructions of God’s word. Only when the sobering words of his servants prevailed did he dip seven times in the Jordan. When he followed God’s word instead of his own desires, God healed him (read 2 Kings 5:13-14). Do not fight against God’s word in preference of your own feelings. If you do, you only hurt yourself by refusing God’s word and the blessings that come by obeying Him.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23)
Jesus Christ is preeminent over all, having been given “all authority…in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). We all live under the authority of Christ; both the lost and the saved. The question to ask yourself is whether or not you are respecting His authority. The answer is not hard to ascertain; it is found in whether or not you are humbly obeying Him. Jesus rebuked those who called Him “Lord, Lord” while disobeying what He said (read Luke 6:46). There is no blessing for acknowledging Jesus as the head of His church while violating His revealed word. Whatever we say and do must be in harmony with His authoritative word (read Colossians 3:17). Honor Christ and His authority today by carefully following His word.
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
The apostle of Christ presents this truism to emphasize the Christian’s new life in Christ: We are all slaves to what we choose to obey. When you became a Christian you presented yourself to God to serve righteousness; you are no longer to be a slave to sin (Rom. 6:6-7, 13). Being a Christian does not make you immune from sin. If you choose to practice sin you will die, for “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The Christian walks “in newness of life” and puts away the old person of sin (Rom. 6:4-6). Each day, be a bondservant or slave of Christ by obeying Him and serving righteousness. The result of your holy life will be God’s gift of “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:22-23).
“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die. (John 12:31-33)
The crucifixion of Jesus “cast out” Satan, that is, “through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). Sin’s sting was defeated at the cross. We take comfort in this great truth! It emboldens us to endure when we are tempted because we know the devil does not wield power beyond our ability to withstand and overcome in Christ. When you are tempted to sin, recall that Christ has “cast out” the ruler of this world. Use the way of escape He provides (1 Cor. 10:13). Refuse the devil’s temptations and walk with Jesus.
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Daniel 4:34-35)
As the world convulses with terror, tyranny and torture; as enemies encroach and forces break the calm with threats of suffering and death – We are comforted in knowing that God Almighty continues to rule in the kingdoms of men. He is sovereign in heaven and on earth; His will prevails. Those who do not honor the “Most High” will be brought down in God’s good time. And, those who honor the King will receive honor from Him. Let no one think he can withstand His mighty hand or call into question His intents and purposes. Let all the earth fear and “keep silent before Him” (Hab. 2:20); Let all the saints honor and praise His name.
To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains. (Isaiah 40:18-19)
The true and living God is incomparable. Whenever men craft images and deify them, they do it to their own demise. Hindus construct images of gods and goddesses big and small, and adorn them with flowers, oils and ornaments. Roman Catholics object to this, yet they fashion images of Jesus for use in their rituals and prayers, as if they hold some sacramental virtue. God does not command us to form images of Him or use images to represent Him. He reveals His presence and power in the universe He created. Of the heavens He said, “Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things” (Isaiah 40:26). Take time to look up and see all that God has made: “There is none like Him, none can compare, no god His equal, no prince His heir. Lift up your eyes and see His great might.”
Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Luke 13:23-24)
Nearly everyone who believes in heaven also believes they are going there. But, Jesus said the truth of the matter is very different. He said access to salvation is “narrow” and entrance into it requires one to “strive” (to strenuously endeavor). Salvation is not an accident; it is the result of faith’s deliberate submission to the will of God. Nor is salvation a whim; you must want to be saved to such an extent that you will strive for it. Put away every sin and live upright before God and men. Do the will of the Father who is in heaven and you will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21). Do otherwise, and you “will not be able” to enter.
Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. (Titus 2:15)
God’s charge to the gospel preacher is to declare “the whole counsel of God”, and to do so “in season and out of season” (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 4:2). Most of the time people like to hear words that “exhort” (encourage, comfort or even entreat). But, not nearly as many are eager to hear words that “rebuke” (to show a fault, censure). Yet, both must be done to fully preach the word of God. Let us be willing to be exhorted and rebuked, knowing that exhortation from God’s word helps assure our faith, while its rebuke helps us repent of sin. Do not blame the messenger if you dislike the exhortation or rebuke that comes from God’s word. Look inward and purify your heart to receive all God’s word says.
Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?” And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him. (Luke 22:63-65)
The willingness of Jesus to endure humiliating injustices showed His determined self-control to accomplish human redemption. Submitting to the Father’s will means we will undergo whatever hardship comes our way and endure whatever obstacle arises in order to be faithful and true. What an amazing example Jesus sets for us to follow as He humbly accepted the reproach of sinners. He endured this and so much more so that we can be saved from our sins. Today, follow His example of complete surrender to do God’s will.
And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (Mark 5:18-20)
After Jesus healed the demon-possessed man named Legion, he longed to continue with Jesus. Instead, Jesus urged him to go tell others of the great blessings he had received from the Lord. God still has compassion on the broken-hearted and those weighed down by sin. He is ready to free your soul from the bondage of sin and rescue you from the spiritual chaos it causes in your life. Make today the day you go to Jesus for God’s compassion and salvation (read how to be saved in Acts 2:36-41). If you have already received God’s forgiveness, then tell others of His great compassion. Tell the good news to others so they can also be saved by Jesus!