Day 16 - "Stand Firm"

                As we continue looking at the charge, Deuteronomy 10, 11 give us more requirements as we think about what it means to live for Jesus. If we call ourselves Christians, then our lives should be demonstrative (serving as conclusive evidence of something; giving proof) of scripture. One of the biggest misconceptions in the church today is that many feel that going to church equates the Christ-like life. So for one hour out of a 168 hour week, the quota is fulfilled. Another misconception is that the life in Christ means something that happens after we die. Many Christians believe hope, peace and the joy of the Lord come when they die. Then they say there will no longer be fear or worry etc. but scripture has told us not to be afraid or worry when we are alive. They look to the future promises but miss the present. They also miss the restoration of the past while they wait for Beulah Land. If we are to call ourselves Christians then this means we are passionate about living for Jesus Christ. A life in Christ means we will follow His ways, His truths and His life. Since there is no other way to God (John 14 No one comes to the Father except through me) then our lives should represent loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. In order to do this we must follow His word.
                Deuteronomy 10 and 11 are powerful chapters that describe a life devoted to God and the results of that devoted life. 10:12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” Today there is very little fear of the Lord. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” If there is no fear then there is no knowledge. Since the word of God is our wisdom and instruction there must be a lot of fools these days as many do not accept God’s instructions. Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Many are not even thinking about life after death nor are they preparing for it. Remember we are talking about people who call themselves Christians of which many use that term loosely as it means anointed followers of Jesus Christ. It does not mean attenders of church as so many are confused about. We are told to Deuteronomy 10:20 “Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God.”
                So why do we love God and serve Him faithfully and obey His word? We do this because that is what we are told and because he has given us this promise, which does not only mean eternal life but blessings in the present life so much so that we do not fear anything or anyone, not even death itself. Deuteronomy 11:8 “Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 9 and so that you may live long in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” This is the land of the Christian and all that goes with living in the Promised Land. If we refer to the New Testament we are talking about the kingdom of God remembering that this only happens under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Since many are not following the word of God or fearing Him we are missing that anointing but that is not how it is supposed to be.
                There are conditions on all God’s promises, which for some reason many skip over. This explains the desolate condition of the church but this is how it should look. For example here in Deuteronomy 11:13 “So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.” This is the blessed life Moses was talking about when he said choose life or death blessings or curses. If you want to see this laid out, look at Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26. This sounds a lot like what Jesus talked about in the verses about asking. (yesterdays blog). As I said before, this is such a foreign concept in the church today that many even deny it as scriptural because they cannot even fathom it so they ignore the verses, which shows us the extent of the missing Spirit in the church.  
                As always we are given a warning so that we will not disobey. Deuteronomy 11:16 “Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” I do not know about you but I want to get back to the good land so that my children can live long in that land.
                Now this is what we are looking for. Joshua was also told this before he crossed the Jordon to take the land. Deuteronomy 11:22 “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.” Did you see that clarifying word “if”? If we do follow by loving God, walking in obedience and holding fast to him, no one will stand against us. They failed the first time because they did not believe in God but saw themselves as weak. They were saying that God would not keep his word nor did he have the power to defeat their enemies. Rightly so they died in the desert except for Joshua and Caleb who had a different spirit. Numbers 14:24 “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” We are being defeated because we are not holding fast to the word of God nor do most believe in the power that is available to all who believe. Instead of taking the land under the power of God, man has decided to do it in his own strength and this has now left the church in it’s desolate state. (See Daniel, Matthew and Revelations for more information on the abomination that cause desolation that has set up in the temple)
                We have been warned about this ahead of time. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” This is happening right now as many have already been deceived. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” I hope this verse jumped off the page. God sends them a powerful delusion because they refused to love the truth and be saved. Right now the church is under this delusion.
                Church it’s time to wake up before God wakes us up. The good news is “the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming”. Continue to ask for discernment in this area and then repent. Ask God to reveal himself to you through his word. Lots of people are reading but are not seeing and continue on the path to destruction. Many read the bible but do not believe the words. It is not just another book; it is the very word of God, so stop treating it like that. It is not just a nice story that happened t some disciples, it the plan for all who have laid their lives down to follow Jesus.
                I leave you with Paul’s exhortation to stand firm. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”