The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Obadiah 1:3
Edom was the nation that was started by Esau, brother of Jacob, who was the father of Israel. While Israel was traveling through the wilderness, the nation of Edom refused to let them travel through their land. Edom thought that they were all powerful and were the best. They felt that there was nothing that could be done to them. They were filled with extreme pride and God was beginning to challenge that pride.
Pride is something that can show up in a person’s life very easily. When things are accomplished and things look good for a person, usually pride shows up. The greater the success, the higher the level of pride of the heart can be.
Many great nations, such as Rome, had once thought that they were the best and the most powerful nation on the earth. They felt that no one could break them, yet, each one has been destroyed. America felt that it could never be attacked, yet was attacked on 9/11 by surprise.
In the same way an individual can be filled with a deceiving pride in the heart. It will often cause a person to think that he cannot fail or fall because of what he has done or where he is at. Pride will cause the person to think that he is invincible and that no one can pull him down. This will then allow for sin to be allowed in a person’s life.
It is deceiving because it is not true. God is greater than any person on this earth. God can set things up to bring a person down who is filled with false pride.
Even inside the church, this type of pride can deceive many. Leaders and churches often feel that they are the best and cannot fail. Yet, later ruin comes to them because they allowed sin to slip into their lives.
Allow God to search your heart and see if there is any pride deceiving you. Check yourself and see what you are proud of and whether it is allowing sin into your life or not. All that you have done has been done only because God gave you the ability.
I pray today that you will not allow sin in your life; that God will guide your heart to keep from being deceived by pride; that you will remain humble before God; and that you will keep your heart open for God to see.
“All of this I have told you so that you will not fall away.” John 16:1
Jesus has been telling the disciples about His having to die and go away. He also tells them about how the world will hate them and persecute them. The things He is telling them are not all of a beautiful rosy picture perfect world, they are of struggles and hard times that are coming. His whole purpose for telling them was so that they will not fall away when it comes.
People love to talk about the love of God and the blessings God provides. They will also talk about the power of God and His great ability to heal and rescue people and defeat the enemy. When they look at just these aspects of God and what Jesus said, things look very great. It looks like everything will go great and smooth, that there will be many blessings and God’s favor.
Yet, that is not what Jesus is saying. He tells you that there will be problems and trouble. In the very next verse Jesus states that there will come a time when people will think they are serving God by killing believers.
Jesus is promising trouble. If you forget to look at that, you may, like many others, fall away from Jesus when those troubles come.
When hardship comes it is easy to think that maybe you failed God and are getting punished, or that maybe believing in God is not the real truth and that maybe the world is right after all.
You are warned by Jesus before things happen so that you will not fall away. Jesus told you it would be tough, so that you do not question what is happening when it happens. These things are to build your faith and trust in God.
Who is in control? God. Do you really believe that? When things go bad or from bad to worse, do you still believe that?
Do not give up on God. Do not lose your faith in Him. Everything that happens is happening for a purpose to build you more like Jesus and to bring others to Jesus. Use those bad things as a testimony for Jesus. Do not let them cause you to fall away.
I pray today that you will trust Jesus in the bad times; that you will rely upon the power of Jesus; that you will not doubt Jesus; and that you will be made more like Jesus through all you go through in life.
“On reaching the place, he said to them, Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22:40
The disciples and Jesus had just finished the last supper together. They went to the Mount of Olives. Jesus had told them that one of them would betray them and He would get crucified. Now was a time for prayer. He tells them to start praying to not fall into temptation.
Jesus knew the troubles the disciples would be facing over the next few days. He would be crucified and anyone who followed Him would be severely persecuted. They would have to face the decision of whether to continue to stand with Him, trusting Him when everything showed not to.
He would be dead. Would they trust that He would rise again or give in to the pressures to not follow Him anymore?
This is where the time for prayer comes in. In themselves, they would not have the strength to overcome the temptation to deny Him. They would need the strength of God’s Holy Spirit in them.
It is no different today. You will go through times of troubles in which you may doubt God or turn from Him into temptation. The devil and the world will seek ways to get you to sin against God.
Long before that time comes, you should be in prayer asking God for strength to escape the temptation to sin. God will always provide a way out, then you must be willing to take that step. You must be willing to flee from all temptation.
Seeking God for help before temptation comes gets your eyes on Him first. When your eyes and thoughts are focused on God, you will be able to flee from temptation. You will not fall into temptation. Do not allow yourself to fall asleep and not prayer.
Keep your eyes and thoughts focused on God today.
I pray today that God will give you strength to not fall into temptation; that you will keep your eyes on Jesus; that God will reveal ways to avoid temptation; that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit; and that God will give you strength to flee all temptation.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
As Jesus is getting ready for His event with the cross, He gives some last words to the disciples. He makes the statement that Satan has requested to sift the disciples like sifting wheat. It appears that Satan has been given the permission to do so.
Sifting of wheat is a shaking to get rid of the chaff (shells) of the wheat. The chaff is worthless as a food and no one wants it. Satan is looking at the disciples and wants to shake them up and try to get rid of them.
In sifting wheat, the light chaff is blown away in the wind, while the heavier wheat falls back down to be used.
Although it is nearly 2,000 years later, Satan is still making the same request of believers today. There is, or will be, times that Satan is allowed to give you a sifting.
Everything that can go wrong will seem to go wrong. It will try to shake your belief in God. You may question if He is real. You may question if you are really a Christian.
Just like Simon Peter, you may fall and deny Jesus. Yet, you can, like Peter, get back up and serve God in a mighty way. Do not allow yourself to quit. Do not allow your faith in Jesus to fail.
Jesus already knows that there will be times when you will fail. He knows there will be times when you will deny Him. He is already praying for you for strength. Jesus wants you to get back up and strengthen others through your experience.
When you are going through the shaking, do not feel that you are a failure. It could be that it is just Satan trying to shake you up and destroy you. Look to God and remember His promises to you.
I pray today that your faith will not fail; that God will strengthen you in your times of shaking; that you will be able to strengthen others after the shaking; that you will continue to look to God and His promises; and that God will use you to build His kingdom daily.
“Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,” Luke 2:34
Mary and Joseph followed the Old Testament Law of bringing a new baby to the temple to be consecrated to God. They were bringing Jesus to the temple.
Immediately upon seeing baby Jesus, Simeon realized he was looking at the promised Messiah. This was the One all the prophets had talked about and Israel was looking for.
Now Simeon makes a prophecy about the future of Jesus. He will cause the rising and falling of many and will be spoken against. It sounds very good to hear about the raising of many people, but it is difficult to hear the rest of the prophecy.
Jesus would raise many people up to God because of their belief in Him. Many would be healed of many problems and sicknesses.
In addition, however, many would fall down because of Jesus. Many will not believe what He has to say. Many will turn away from following God. They would not believe that He is the Messiah and the One from God.
Since many will have unbelief in Jesus, they will also speak out against Him. Even though Jesus never does any wrong, many will hate Him.
People have not changed. Even to this day, there are people who believe in Jesus and those who speak against Him.
Years later, Jesus will tell the disciples, and now you, that they must be like Him. He also stated that what they have done to Him, they will do to His followers.
Today, as a follower of Jesus, you must be willing to tell others about Him. Some will listen and follow Jesus. Others will speak against Him, and against you because of your following Jesus.
You, just like Jesus, can be the cause of the rising and falling of many in this world. Are you being His witness today? Be willing to tell everyone you meet about Jesus. Do not be afraid. Some will follow, some will reject, but you will be doing what Jesus did. Give everyone a chance to accept Jesus.
Your destiny is to tell others about Jesus. Are you following your destiny?
I pray today that God will give you the words to speak to others; that God will strengthen you in your walk with Jesus; that God will draw many to Jesus through you; and that God will build His kingdom through you.
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” Mark 3:24
The teachers of the law had just came up against Jesus. They tried to state that Jesus was casting the demons out of people by the power of the prince of demons. Jesus points out that if that were happening, the prince of demons would lose.
The teachers were unwilling to look at Jesus for who He really was and tried to come up with a reason for His actions. They tried to explain away what was happening rather than accepting it.
Even today, many people try to explain away the miracles of the Bible, rather than accept them for what they really are. Scientists and doctors will come up with all kinds of reasons as to why a person was healed, when in reality sometimes it was a miracle by God.
Looking at the divided kingdom, however, many in the church can create division. Many people in the church demand that every person follow certain patterns of acting and worshipping to be a Christian or a member of the church.
One common area is in how to worship. Do you worship with old hymns or modern choruses? Do worship standing or sitting? Is it three or ten songs?
In this area, and many others, the Bible is silent on the details. God wants you to worship and serve Him with your heart as an individual and as a group.
If you demand a certain way of doing things and do not allow any room for any other way, you are trying to divide God’s kingdom. How many churches have fallen apart and split because of a disagreement in what color the new carpet should be?
Allow for the freedom to worship and serve Christ in the way God leads each person. Do not allow your house to become divided over a matter that really does not matter. Be very careful in what you demand of others. Make sure all demands are exactly what God demands clearly in the Bible.
I pray today that God will guide you in your worship and service to Him; that you will see the freedom that you and others have in Jesus; that you will not stop others in their worship and service to God; that you will not allow division in God’s house; and that God will divide and destroy the kingdom’s of this world that are against Jesus.