I’ve given some thought about how difficult it has been for the people of the world during these changing days of pandemic.
This Coronavirus has the world shut down. No matter what you feel about it whether it’s aggressive and deadly and something to avoid at all costs or whether you think it’s “Corona Bologna,” we are all affected by it because it’s here and affecting us all.
In these times we need to press on with our lives. And press into our relationships with Jesus.
We need to live our lives for the glory of God.
With our political leaders saying we must do this and do that like wear masks, stop going to stores and restaurants and places of worship I’m wondering what will be next. We should be understanding that this is a new shift in the spiritual war. Ephesians 6:12…
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:12 NLT
Pressing into the word.
As I was reading earlier this week in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, in chapter 28, vs 1 thru 14 talks about the Israelites blessings that we receive in obedience to God. They are God’s chosen people.
As Moses continues to prepare the people of Israel to enter the Promised Land, He tells them that if they do what the Lord tells them to do, they won’t have to search for His blessings. On the contrary too, if they fail to follow after God they will suffer consequences.
When I read this I say that’s exactly what I want!
I want to see my family blessed.
I want my location and vocation is that be satisfying to me.
I want to see my cupboards full.
I want to experience stability and spiritual intimacy.
I want to see the work of my hands blessed, to have a daily routine that’s fulfilling, and to know that my future is secure.
I can hardly believe any of you would say anything different to that, but Yes and Amen!
Read along with me in Deuteronomy 28…
1. ‘’’But If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world.
2. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God:
3. Your towns and your fields will be blessed.
4. Your children and your crops will be blessed.
5. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed.
6. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed.
7. “The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven!
8. “The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. 9. “If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do.
10. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.
11. “The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops.
12. The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them.
13. If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.
14. You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them.”
Deuteronomy 28:1-14 NLT
Here’s what I see in these verses.
Vs 3 first, you’ll be blessed, or happy, wherever you are.
Vs 4 future generations will be blessed; God extends your vocation
Vs 5 provisions are made for those who follow
Vs 6 life is changed from mundane to magnificent
Vs 7 victory in battles
Vs 8 a secure future
Vs 9 saving the Best for last, the Lord promises spiritual intimacy and stability to those who follow Him!
The key is in following and obeying all of the Ten Commandments. !?!?
To get the victory that brings blessings, you’d have to do it all.
James 2:10 says…
“For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.”
If Israel chose not to walk in God’s ways, there was a different scenario played out…
Now in the next 8 or so verses, the writer explains the curses of disobedience under the law.
15. “But if you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you:
16. Your towns and your fields will be cursed.
17. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be cursed.
18. Your children and your crops will be cursed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be cursed.
19. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be cursed.
20. “The Lord himself will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and abandoning me. 21. The Lord will afflict you with diseases until none of you are left in the land you are about to enter and occupy.
22. The Lord will strike you with wasting diseases, fever, and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew. These disasters will pursue you until you die.
25. “The Lord will cause you to be defeated by your enemies. You will attack your enemies from one direction, but you will scatter from them in seven! You will be an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.”
Deuteronomy 28:15-22, 25 NLT
None of which bring favor in the world or happiness personally.
Vs 17 their children and future generations would feel the unmistakable effects of the curse. Like being broken up scattered across the world.
Vs 18-20 being in persecution, rebuked and hated, even destroyed, because of their wickedness. Moses allowed the people to act out in sin for a season. And sinning is fun for a time until it catches up to you.
Hebrews 11:25 speaking of Moses says…
“He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.”
Hebrews 11:25 NLT
If we are honest – We all have tried at one time or another, to go our own way, but no one beats the rap.
If you choose to go your own way, the curse will catch up with you. Guaranteed!
So, what does a close walk with the Lord look like?
The Apostle Paul writes about this in Galatians 5.
If we are living by the Spirit’s power, we can see positive fruit in our lives…. and so can everyone around us! But, the opposite is also true, not living for Christ you plainly exhibit…
Your sinful nature, front, and center for all to see!
And there isn’t any hiding it from those closest to you, your family, who live behind the walls of your house with you.
Starting In Galatians verse 16, Paul writes about the struggle we all face. I think it’s even more so today as the world’s morals are compromised around us, where right seems wrong and wrong is acceptable in the mainstream media’s eyes. We are being forced to drink the d-evil’s way of doing things. With Christianity being attacked on all sides, in every way possible, we must decide if we are willing to swim up-stream against the flow.
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.”
Galatians 5:16-18 NLT
So we are in a battle! Aren’t we?
I mean if you aren’t feeling pressure against you from the enemy, ask yourself, why?
Are you both going the same direction?
I mean really, if we are not feeling it pressing against us, maybe we are going in the same direction?
Paul continues laying out the Christian’s self-check list…
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19-21 NLT
Reading this list it’s pretty clear here. Of all these listed you’re bound to find yourself in a few. Or even all, at times?
I don’t know – maybe it’s just me?
But Paul writes the reverse of the sinful nature of man here too!
Here are the visible traits that Spirit centered life exhibits…
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
What kind of fruit are you producing today?
Let me say this, we are not under the law of Moses any longer. We live under the grace and mercy of Christ Jesus who hung on a Cross for our sins. His redemption comes to His followers, just as His condemnation to those who refuse to chose to accept His gift of salvation.
But in these times of darkness in this world, we have a choice to be followers after living a Spiritually full life! No matter what the world is doing around us.
Look here in vs 24-25…
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
Galatians 5:24-25 NLT
You know your life is an open book, a tree, as described here.
In Mathew 7:16 Jesus said,
“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”
Matthew 7:16-20 NLT
No matter your opinions on the hot touchpoints in America. The media’s right or wrong. We must choose who we will be! For our own health. For our families. For our friends. Who or what will we stand for or against will be clear to EVERYONE, by the fruits they see in us!
Let me ask you, what kind of fruit are people seeing in you today?
You might be far away from your spiritual center that you once had with your relationship with Jesus? or just a little ways away right now?
Or maybe you’ve never asked Jesus into your heart yet?
If you want to come closer again; or ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to come into you life; you can do it right now, by praying after me….