All praise and adoration unto the Lord God and to Christ Jesus his only begotten Son. Keep us O Lord from all wrong thoughts and intentions in everything that we do. Lead by the Holy Spirit into all truth. Amen.
12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-13)
One must take care that one’s motivations are always pure before the Lord. All vanity and pride must cast away from your way of thinking. Be pure in thought, words and deeds always.
Wrongful thoughts of the heart lead to wrongful actions.
14 And Jesus called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy,slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:14-23)
Good works must be accompanied by good intentions.
It could be that you and another person are doing the same thing and yet only one stands justified before God. You see a blind child trying to cross the road and you help him out of pity. Then, we have the other person, who too sees a blind child also trying to cross the road but helps him only to gain the admiration of fellow street walkers. The average person on the street would like that you both help the blind kids out there. However, the Lord God knows the human heart and its secret intentions. The person who had no pity but only wanted fame out of this good act had done in essence what’s called as dead work, spiritual dead work in the eyes of God.
You’d be rewarded for your act of kindnesses towards the blind kid but the person who desired selfish fame won’t be rewarded by God. As to when you’ll receive your reward, it could be any time as per God’s will. Even if you might remember a past good deed that you did with good intentions which is not yet rewarded, do not feel low as God will surely reward you for that on the Day of Judgement.
8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:8-15)
All praise and glory to the Lord God Almighty the Father along with our Lord Jesus Christ in union with His Holy Spirit. None other is worthy of worship and adoration. To you be the praise forever. Amen.
A warning that Christians in this age still need to follow is that they keep away from idolatry. That means absolutely NO WORSHIP of idols. Anyone who indulges in this sin risks going to Hell and getting punished on Judgement day as well.
“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)
Even an image can be the same type of snare as an idol. The glory of God doesn’t dwell in idols and images. More so, false gods are an abomination to all those who profess faith in the Lord Jesus.
Now just because someone doesn’t have an actual idol doesn’t mean the temptation of idolatry is not there. Loving your car, bank balance, art collection and also your favourite celebrities more than God is the same as the vile sin of idolatry. You must never love your talents in anything more than God. In fact anything in your life that takes the place of God is idolatry. So get rid of every form of idolatry which is in your heart. The below verse confirms this:
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
A believer in God might wonder, why is this warning being given as I only worship the Lord God? To answer that, I’d say that anything that you love more than God is idolatry and in the end times idolatry will still be there so one must keep away from it. Even in the New Testament this wicked sin remains condemned forever. You can refer to the following verses:
- Little children, keep yourselves from idols.(1 John 5:21)
- Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.(1 Corinthians 10:7)
- Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.(1 Corinthians 10:14)
- But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works. (Revelation 2:20-22)
- The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. (Revelation 9:20)
- But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Also, the Anti Christ (also called as the Beast) and the false prophet who are opposed to the Lord God will use the image of the Beast to obtain adoration. The Holy Scripture’s openly curses and condemns those who worship the image of the Beast mentioned in Bible prophecy.
And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” (Revelation 14:9-11)
And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. (Revelation 19:20)
Right from Genesis to Revelation the Bible keeps warning us against being idolators. Even in the end times idolatry will still exist and the Devil will use it so that the Beast receives the worship that belongs to God alone. No wonder we are called to keep away from idols and images if we truly are to honour the Lord God of Heaven Earth.
Suggested prayer: O Lord God forgive me of any form of idolatry that I may have knowingly or unknowingly indulged in. To you belong all worship, glory and adoration and no other. Forgive me for every time when I loved my riches, talents, friends and relatives more than you. I ask pardon for every instance where I considered anything more important in my life than you the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Also, I repent of all worship and adoration of false idols and images that I gave homage to. I resolve to follow your Son Jesus Christ and believe in the Gospel. Cleanse me of my sins and lead me by your Holy Spirit everyday. Amen and Amen.
A man or a woman in lust is highly bothered about oneself. Such is the selfishness that seeking pleasure becomes the sole criteria of life. Immoral pleasures are the dark roads these people travel. They know not the cruel monster that hides in the shadows of sexual immorality. Outside the light of God’s loving kindness, they choose the prison of self-deception. This prison goes deep into the depths of stupidity. And many in the world cheerfully drag themselves into this. However, this prison of self-deception is not there for too long.
There are two things to consider; the physical and the spiritual consequences. A person is lust is always trying to hide his or her sexual immorality under the false assumption that what is kept secret goes unpunished. Well, that depends on what that person’s definition of secrecy is. The bad news for such people is that there is nothing secret in the eyes of the Lord God. Let’s check on the spiritual consequences first. He is aware of every sin and will surely judge at one’s death and also at the Final judgement. Think of it as getting judged not once but two times spiritually. Not a judgement of words alone but actual everlasting punishment in Hell and in the Lake of Fire. One word about these punishments; forever. When the fires of Hell burn the soul that lusted after sexual perversions, all self-deception goes away. No wonder, as pride goes before a fall.
To speak about the physical consequences there are various diseases passed on between adulterers and fornicators. Even medical science insists that to reduce instances of sexually transmitted diseases one must stick to only one partner. Yet, people throw caution to the wind and think they are exempt from the consequences. Such is their stupidity because they choose to ignore abundance of cases of AIDS, gonorrhea and the like which was transmitted due to prostitution, one night stands and whatever form of perversion. Then we have the social consequences of being found out. Many presidents who engaged into immorality today are out their presidency due to it. These have thrown away their legacy which takes years to build for a few minutes of deception. Reminds me of how Esau despised and sold his birthright for the sake of some food and never ever got back his supremacy. There was then an infamous case of how a sportsman cheated on his pregnant wife by engaging in perverse sexual relations with over a dozen women. Yes, over a dozen. And then the wife filed such a divorce case in which they not only got divorced but the sportsman had to pay a very huge amount of his earnings to her. Besides, he lost out on many advertisement deals and till day is not able to play his sport like in his earlier days of glory.
But as always, there are some people who are way too cunning to work out their lust without any physical consequences apparently. Well, their safe passage will soon run out as they won’t go to heaven if they choose not to repent of their lust. So they will have to face the evil spiritual consequences of their vile immorality for sure.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality,nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
So if you’re prone to lust or if you are struggling with lust here is what you should keep in mind so that you live a holy life:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:1-6)
A few words of wisdom about the dangers of sexual immorality and lust:
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer made the observation that when lust takes control, “At this moment God…loses all reality… Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.” What a world of wisdom there is in this statement! When we are in the grip of lust, the reality of God fades… This is what lust does! It has done it millions of times. God disappears to lust-glazed eyes.” – R. Kent Hughes
“Our eyes, when gazing on sinful objects, are out of their calling, and out of God’s keeping.” – Thomas Fuller
“Passion is the evil in adultery. If a man has no opportunity of living with another man’s wife, but if it is obvious for some reason that he would like to do so, and would do so if he could, he is no less guilty than if he was caught in the act.” – Augustine
“No sin that a person commits has more built-in pitfalls, problems and destructiveness than sexual sin. It has broken more marriages, shattered more homes, caused more heartache and disease, and destroyed more lives than alcohol and drugs combined. It causes lying, stealing, cheating and killing, as well as bitterness, hatred, slander, gossip and unforgivingness.” – John MacArthur
Prophecy has always been a part of the will of God. Even before Jesus formed the church there have been prophets sent by God. Prophets were those who gave messages from God especially about the future concerning blessings and judgements.
The Lord doesn’t want to hide prophecy. He wants people to know what he has planned out so that they can be secure in him.
Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.(Amos 3:7)
Jesus said, “So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time”. (Mark 13:23)
So pay attention to true prophecy because it will give you hope.
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain,and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
(2 Peter 1:19)
Biblical prophecies were always due to inspiration by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures themselves attest to this.
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)
So a true prophet is to be heard and prophecy is to be acknowledged positively. Its very important to always check if the prophecy is consistent with the Bible. Otherwise it could lead to deception.
Now only a false prophet would say there’s no Judgement day at all and you realize that the Bible clearly speaks of Judgement day. So would you do then? I’d reject the false prophecy of no Judgement day and then denounce the false prophet if he persists in that perversion of truth. I will also reject any prophecy that says that pay so and so amount of money to guarantee your salvation. Because the Bible says “believe in Lord Jesus and you will be saved” but it doesn’t say pay money for salvation.
However, sometimes instead of discerning prophecy by the scriptures people use a wordly approach. They simply ignore prophecy or act like sceptics. Scepticism is not a substitute for discernment. Also labelling every prophecy as false without even checking may cause you to miss being part of a great move of God.
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19-21)
People have got into trouble because they have either rejected or ignored prophecy. Due to legalism in certain churches, only prophecy that comes from the top leaders is considered valid while other people who gave prophecy are told to keep such things to themselves and repent of their ‘sins of pride’. By such standards of legalism, great prophets such as Daniel, Isaiah etc wouldn’t be heard if they were on earth today just because they are not ordained religious leaders. Yes that’s the logic of legalism though it always claims to ‘defend’ the faith. So even legalism is a bad way to interpret prophecy.
Sometimes there’s outright rejection of prophecy and sure enough disaster and death follows. The ancient Israelites most of the time rejected the call to quietness and trust in the Lord and instead they kept worshiping false gods. Though they sometimes did heed the prophets and repent of idolatry, they later back tracked on prophecy and they rejected it.
What followed next was the defeat of Israel by various kingdoms. Israel cried out for relief and God forgave them and did restore them. However, their heart was not fully with God. So, God again sent his prophets to them. Yet they didn’t listen to prophets who spoke of God’s sovereignity, love and mercy. They kept sacrificing not just animals but even fellow humans and kids to false deities!
Due to this, severe judgement arose from God with the result that an evil and sadistic empire known as Babylon attacked Israel like a ravenous wolf tears up its prey on a dark winter day. Empires such as it spread terror where they went and even more in Israel. Most Jews then were either killed or exiled over to far off lands, with only the poorest of the poor left to tend the land of Israel. The glory of Israel was dimmed out due to their repeated rejection of prophecy. Even to this day Israel never experiences true peace and security. Please don’t think that God has forgotten about them. There’s Biblical prophecy about them and Jesus reconciling in the future. Amen.
Now not every rejection of prophecy brings instant death. Sometimes you just miss a brilliant opportunity to improve yourself or others in the mental, physical and spiritual without much effort. You miss a time of God’s favor and then replicating the benefits yourself would otherwise take years of self discipline to achieve or even be unachievable by human standards.
If Peter wouldn’t have given heed to visions related to Cornelius the Roman and Gentile then the church today would never open its doors to people who are Gentiles. (A person who is not a Jew is called a Gentile by the Jewish people). God never intended salvation through Jesus be only limited for the Jews but rather also to everyone else who believes in the Gospel. Peter’s reaction to this prophecy changed the future for many Gentiles yet to be born. Thus we see that a positive response to genuine prophecy affects both the present and the future dramatically.
Prophecy can sometimes be very time specific, so avoid an indefinite delay tactic in discerning. Write down or make a recording of the prophecy you got. Make note of the time, place etc. Then simply pray in the Holy Spirit and remember the words of the Bible. Ask the Lord for wisdom on this. Have hope in Christ!
I remember an incident when a man in a room where people were gathered for prayers got a shocking revelation. It was that a young woman among them secretly had hidden poison in her bag and would commit suicide later. The prayers were slowed down and after some discerning he made known the prophecy to all over there. That woman started panicking and others in the room found out that she indeed had poison in her bag. After being found out, nobody started a blame game on her. Instead they prayed for her and with her. This woman with much tears repented of her desire to kill herself and is still alive today. Just imagine for a moment that the person who recieved the prophecy decided not to bother about. That woman wouldn’t be alive today.
Here are a few scriptures to reflect on which pertain to prophetic blessings, warnings, affirmation of prophecy and discernment as well :-
1) I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come,scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?” (2 Peter 3:2-4)
2) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it. (Revelation 1:3)
3) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
4) And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)
5) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (Matthew 24:6)
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
If there is too much of bitterness and wrath in you then its not a good thing. Malice in your heart for too long can end up hurting you emotionally.
Forgiveness is the cure to that!
Now when you forgive it doesn’t take away the fact that you were wronged. Its only that you have decided not let the evil done to you end up controlling you.
You might feel you are giving away your right to justice. Not actually, your right to justice remains but that part will be handled by God for sure. Remember at the Final Judgement, all those who are still in their sins will be judged severely and permanently.
On your part, forgiving the person who hurt you keeps you away from judgement.
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Luke 6:37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.