Goodbye, 2018!

As I sit here and think about the Year 2018, I can’t help but wonder about the faithfulness of God. He has truly shown Himself to be the God of Justice, and He has vindicated me in ways I would never have imagined. He has shown me up front and personal about how sin destroys and the consequences it brings through situations and circumstances that were far beyond my control. He has taught me strength, patience, and wisdom. He has carried me and upheld me by His victorious and righteous right hand.

My God continues to show Himself as the God of the Impossible and has shown Himself to be my Protector and my Hope. The Lord has been my Song, the Sweet Melody I can sing in the calm, the storm, the day, the night, times of sorrow, and times of joy; and as I go into the year 2019, I can’t wait to see what God has in store.

HAVE A VERY SAFE AND BLESSED NEW YEAR TO ALL MY BLOG READERS AND NEIGHBORS AROUND THE GLOBE!

Much Love To You All, Linda A. Knowles

“Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s loving devotions we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” -Lamentations 22:21-23BSB

Advertisements

My Darkness Turned To Light

Those who leave God and His ways have abandoned the very God who created them.  King David spoke of meditating on the law of the Lord, that the commands of God were his delight.  He pondered on the law of God all day long.  We are to be careful to keep from making a practice of any sin, whatever sin it may be which would easily entangle us.  When we keep ourselves pure and holy before God and walking uprightly before God,  and obeying His commands, that is evidence of our love for God.  If we love God, we’ll obey Him.

He turns our darkness into light.

When we are putting our faith in God, we are trusting in Him, and we can stand on the promises of God.  God is faithful, and He proves Himself to be true.  God is who He says He is, and God does what He says He will do.  His words are certain, and when His Word goes out, His Word does not come back void.  His Word goes out and accomplishes the purposes it was sent forth to do.  We can depend on His Word, and we can delight in His Word.  Anyone in direct opposition to God will find that God is contrary to them.

“If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins.  I will send wild animals that will rob you of your children and destroy your livestock. Your numbers will dwindle, and your roads will be deserted. And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me, then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins.  I will send armies against you to carry out the curse of the covenant you have broken. When you run to your towns for safety, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be handed over to your enemies,” (Leviticus 26:21-25NLT).

God opposes those who are proud and haughty, but He gives grace to the humble and those who truly delight in Him and His ways.

PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are my Light and my Salvation.  You have turned my darkness to light.  Just as You are a light for me, be the Light for those who are discouraged and fill them with the strength and boldness they need that only comes from You.  I ask that You be my Guide and instruct me in in the way I should go that I might not fall into any trap set by the enemy of my soul.  Grant me the opportunity to be a light for You in this dark world and give me opportunities to serve You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” -Psalm 37:4NLT

  

YOU DUMB, DUMB DOG

“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” -Isaiah 56:10

You Dumb, Dumb Dog!

How stupid can you be?

While you are basking in tithes and offerings,

Your sheep live in poverty.

.

You refuse to preach against the sin

That holds the sinner bound,

While you stomp and trample all over God’s grace,

As you play the glory hound.

.

You’re a lousy watchman,

And you fail to sound the alarm.

You bring your people to spiritual death,

And you cause them spiritual harm.

.

What’s worse is you know

that you bring your people to destruction,

But you’re indifferent and neglect the things of God;

And to your sheep,

You’ve become their most gigantic obstruction.

.

You cozy up with your practice of sin,

You Dumb, Dumb Dog,

And you cannot figure out your mask has fallen off

And exposes you for what you are;

You are nothing more than a total fraud.

.

You’ve played favorites,

And you’ve taken bribes;

You’ve been bought out,

And the outcasts you’ve pushed aside,

While you coddle the woman named Jezebel,

Who tears through the church raising Hell.

.

You’ve twisted the Word of God,

Making the Word of God taste like cotton candy,

Staggering around like a fool

as if you’re drunk on Brandy.

.

You gossip and slander,

Pour out lies and deceit,

Betraying, Bad mouthing, Backbiting,

Double crossing, Double dealing,

And a whole lot of smearing.

.

You’re a false teacher,

a false prophet,

a false preacher,

and a dumb, dumb dog.

.

Respect is earned,

And you’ve earned NONE.

.

You’re washed up,

a-has been,

And you’re officially done.

.

Written By Linda A. Knowles

Your Choice: Rebellion or Humility?

“But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the Lord appeared. Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting, and the Lord said to Moses, ‘Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.’ And they fell facedown.” -Numbers 16:42-45(NLT)

Let’s begin with this:  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious.  The problem is in the motive and intention of that ambition especially when mixed with greed.
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram had seen for themselves the benefits of the Egyptian priesthood -Wealth, position, leadership, prestige, influence in politics, and the like.

Rather than understanding that God Himself chose the Levites, they decided to go against Moses as shown in the account in Numbers 16:1-3(NLT), “One day Korah son of Izhar, a descendant of Kohath son of Levi, conspired with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, from the tribe of Reuben. They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the Lord, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?'”

Korah and his followers felt they should be upheld like the Levites.  They wanted the power.  They were greedy and wanted to appoint themselves.  Moses had done nothing wrong.  The Levites had done nothing wrong.  Moses and the Levites were doing the task God had called them to do.  They were doing what God had anointed them to do.  The Levites were responsible for the spiritual leadership and the teaching of God’s laws.  It wasn’t that the Levites and Moses were held above everyone else. They simply were set apart from the rest of the people and were consecrated to God for His service.  God raised them up to positions of leadership for the great nation of Israel.  Korah and his followers did not recognize that.  What they saw was what was in it for them.  They wanted what the Levites had.  They wanted the position Moses had.  They were greedy and failed to realize that God is the One who appoints people to leadership.  Korah and his followers’ greedy ambition was not godly; it was downright evil.

Moses’ ambition was to do what God wanted.  Moses’ ambition was to serve God.  Moses did not have the ambition to control people or lord his leadership over others.  Moses simply was a servant of God, that God called out in order to lead the children of Israel.  He was devoted to God.  Moses’ ambition was a good ambition.

There is no room for greed when you are aservant of the Most High God.

In this passage (Numbers 16:8-11NLT), Korah’s motives are exposed, “Then Moses spoke again to Korah: ‘Now listen, you Levites! Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the Lord’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them? Korah, he has already given this special ministry to you and your fellow Levites. Are you now demanding the priesthood as well? The Lord is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him?'”


God doesn’t play games, and His desire is that the Body of Christ understand that all parts are necessary.  We are called to use our gifts and talents.  God has anointed each of us for a particular position or place within the body.  It’s not about us.  It’s about God and where He has put us at this place in time.  We are not to be like Korah and his followers, trying to overthrow others out of their position because we are greedy for power or envy another’s position as leaders.  Leadership is ultimately about servanthood.  Each of God’s children are servants of the Most High God, and we are to conduct ourselves in accordance with the Word of God.

What are your motives for desiring a position of leadership? THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE YOU ARE MODELING FOR WHETHER YOU KNOW IT OR NOT. That point cannot be emphasized enough. What example are you setting for others around you?  You do not have to have the position of pastor or teacher, parent, or some other authoritative position.  There is someone always watching what you say and how you conduct yourself.  This is why it is so important to make sure we are right with God so that those we model for do not stumble because of us.  We must be living what we preach and teach.  We cannot live our lives in a state of rebellion.

Don’t be like Korah and those who followed his example of rebellion.  It didn’t end well for Korah and his followers as recorded in Numbers 16:28-35(NLT), “And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.’  He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned.  So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel.  All the people around them fled when they heard their screams. ‘The earth will swallow us, too!’ they cried.  Then fire blazed forth from the Lord and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense.”


The line has been drawn in the sand.  Will you choose to serve God or will you choose to live in opposition to God?  Might I suggest you choose to serve God and to do so wholeheartedly?  Complacency and indifference toward God is not acceptable nor pleasing in the sight of God.

Live your life to influence others for God.
Don’t let the world influence you.
 

For those who choose to serve God and continue to live for Him, they will live a life of blessing and enjoy true joy and peace that comes from God alone.

Rebellion will only cause you problems, and rebellion will only bring about the consequences of sin which is destruction.   Remember it is not a title or position that elevates you.  When you walk in a spirit of humility before God, God is the One Who will lift you up.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time,” (1 Peter 5:6).  

PRAYER Heavenly Father, there is no one like You for You are the Eternal God who reigns in majesty.  My desire is to please You in all that I do and say so that I might be able to influence others for You.  Help me to always remember that there is nothing worth losing my soul for, and help me to stand firm that I don’t let the world influence me.  May I constantly be reminded that You require me to walk humbly before You, to love mercy, and to act justly because that is good.  Father, let me be a beacon of light for You in this dark world.  Teach me Your ways so I might not rebel like Korah and his followers, and let me be able to lead others to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

One Act of Revenge



Later on, during the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat as a present to his wife. He said, ‘I’m going into my wife’s room to sleep with her,’ but her father wouldn’t let him in.  ‘I truly thought you must hate her,’ her father explained, ‘so I gave her in marriage to your best man. But look, her younger sister is even more beautiful than she is. Marry her instead.’  Samson said, ‘This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.’ Then he went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and he fastened a torch to each pair of tails.  Then he lit the torches and let the foxes run through the grain fields of the Philistines.  He burned all their grain to the ground, including the sheaves and the uncut grain.  He also destroyed their vineyards and olive groves.   ‘Who did this?’ the Philistines demanded.   ‘Samson,’ was the reply, ‘because his father-in-law from Timnah gave Samson’s wife to be married to his best man.’  So the Philistines went and got the woman and her father and burned them to death.  ‘Because you did this,’ Samson vowed, ‘I won’t rest until I take my revenge on you!’  So he attacked the Philistines with great fury and killed many of them. Then he went to live in a cave in the rock of Etam.  The Philistines retaliated by setting up camp in Judah and spreading out near the town of Lehi.  The men of Judah asked the Philistines, ‘Why are you attacking us?’  The Philistines replied, ‘We’ve come to capture Samson. We’ve come to pay him back for what he did to us.'” Judges 15:1-11(NLT)



Don’t be like Samson.  He began with one act of revenge and one act of revenge after another occurred.  Letting any emotion control you is dangerous, but in Ephesians 4:26-27(NLT), the Scripture states, And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” 

Anger, when left unchecked, will play on every other emotion.

One act of revenge done out of anger, spite, and jealousy can cause a ripple effect.  If you get revenge, then the person may retaliate against you due to that person being angry.  Then you will want to seek revenge again if you don’t deal with issues of anger, spite, and jealousy that had the best of you when you initiated the first act of revenge.  Be careful not to sin in your anger.

First, those who have a short fuse make for bad company. Second, jealousy’s apparel doesn’t look good on anyone, and thirdly, why are you acting like you are a child on the playground misbehaving and hurting others out of spite?  

Stop the nonsense, and grow up.



Linda A. Knowles

Truth Will Protect You

LYING


.
“May integrity and honesty protect me,
for I put my hope in you.”
Psalm 25:21(NLT)
.


.
Since God is the God of Truth, He expects His children to be truthful.  If you lie and you get caught in that lie, you lose your integrity.  Integrity once lost is very difficult to get back and that’s if you get it back at all.  How would anyone trust you again if you choose to lie instead of telling the truth?  Since God says in His Word, “Do not lie,” why would you deliberately disobey what God says in His Word?  The truth will always protect you because the truth will stand the test of time.  The problem is when one chooses to lie.  Lies are always exposed.  When you do your part in telling the truth, God sees your faithful obedience to Him and His Word, and God will protect you.
.
REFLECTION:  “No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others,” (Psalm 25:3NLT).  Disgrace will always come to those who choose to practice sin.  Maintain your integrity by preserving truth, by speaking truth.  Don’t set out to lie or deceive others.  Prove yourself to be a trustworthy person.  Lies and deceit will always destroy unity and cause division amongst the children of God.
.
Integrity and honesty are your friends.  When you are honest, you will say that the Lord is right and that you shall walk in His ways.  When you have integrity, you shall consistently walk in His ways and set your face like stone determined to do His will and obey Him.  Those who lie and deceive are disgraced because their sins of lying and deceit have brought them disgrace.  Those who trust in the Lord and put their hope in Him will not be disgraced.  God will preserve those who are faithful and live in truth.
.


.
PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are the God who expects faithful obedience to You and to Your Word.  You expect Your children to speak the truth.  Lord, help me to walk upright before You with a spirit of humility and to always walk in truth.  Teach me how to maintain my integrity, and show me how to walk in holiness as You are holy.  May Your truth be my shield and my guard.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
.


.
Linda A. Knowles
.


“Don’t lie to each other,

for you have stripped off
your old sinful nature
and all its wicked deeds.”
-Colossians 3:9(NLT)

Grieving The Holy Spirit

HOLY SPIRIT

 

I found myself in Acts 5:1-11, a passage I couldn’t get away from.  Lately, I’ve thought a lot about what it truly means to grieve the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is so holy that He shrinks back at the slightest sin.  If we viewed sin as the Holy Spirit does, we would be more cautious in behavior and in words.  For me, when I look at the story of Ananias and Sapphira, I can see how serious sin is in the eyes of God and His Holy Spirit.

 

Amongst the believers, no one lacked anything because the believers were helping those within the body of Christ also called “The Church,” taking care of each other when they saw those in need.  In Acts 4:34-35, we can see it states, “There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need,” using Barnabas as an example (Acts 4:36-37) who had owned and brought the money to the apostles.  In Acts 4:32, it states, “All the believers were united in heart and mind.  And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.”  In this passage, we see the believers helping those in need in any way they were able.  As God had blessed them, they were blessing others.  It was up to each believer as to what they could do with the money from the land they had sold.  They could have done what they wanted with their property as well as their money, and it was up to each believer to decide how much each would give or what each would do with their property.

 

Now that brings us to Ananias and Sapphira…  Just like everyone else, they had a choice as to what to do with their cash and possessions.  But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property.  He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount.  With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest,” (Acts 5:1-2 NLT).

 

Sapphira and Ananias, instead of being upfront and truthful, conspired together to deceive the Church.  The sin was not in them wanting to sell their property.  The sin was not in them keeping back part of the money.  The sin was the deceptive masquerade they put on before the Apostles and the Church.  Acts 5:3-4 states, “Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart?  You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.  The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished.  And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away.  How could you do a thing like this?  You weren’t lying to us but to God!’”

 

The Holy Spirit exposed Ananias’ deception.  We can see this by the words given to Peter to speak, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart?  You lied to the Holy Spirit…  How could you do a thing like this?  You weren’t lying to us but to God!’”  If we don’t have God’s approval, then we have absolutely nothing.  The Spirit of the Living God does not approve of deception in any way, shape, fashion, or form.  We need to always remember that “Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.”

 

The consequence of Ananias lying to the Holy Spirit can be found in Acts 5:5-6, and it states this, “As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died.  Everyone who heard about it was terrified.  Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.”  That’s how serious a matter it is when one deliberately chooses to set out to deceive his/her brethren, when one deliberately chooses to conspire with another or others to do evil, when one chooses to sin rather than doing what is right before the eyes of God.

 

Sin is transgression of God’s law.  ALL sin is transgression of God’s law, and He is not impressed with posturing or masquerades or pretense.  In the presence of the Living God, everything is laid bare, fully exposed.  He commands truth and holiness.  God doesn’t have suggestions, but He does have commands.  We are to follow those commands as outlined in His Written Word.  Love for God is keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.

 

What happened to Sapphira?  I wonder if her response to Peter would have been different had she known what happened to her husband, but Scripture states Sapphira didn’t know what happened.  Acts 5:7-11 says, “About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  Peter asked her, ‘Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?’  ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘that was the price.’  And Peter said, ‘How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.’  Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.”

 

I know these are rather sobering thoughts, but as I have been thinking about this for the last several days, I find myself humbled and in awe of God who has given us His Word so that we might know all we need to live a life pleasing to Him.  Our God is very merciful and compassionate, but our God is the God of Justice, the God who demands honesty in the innermost parts.  It’s not enough for those attending places of worship to have ambitions of being a disciple of Christ.  Either you are a disciple of Christ or you’re not.  You cannot have it both ways.  God is not impressed with pretense, hypocrisy, or showmanship.  If you are putting on a show simply to keep up appearances or just to gain the approval of man, God will eventually strip off your mask.  You cannot expect to be blessed when you are living a life of disobedience to God.



REFLECTION:  “Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness,” (Matthew 23:28).  Who are you when no one is watching?  Are you living two lives –one life in your place of worship and another life outside of your place of worship?  Being Christ-like is a lifestyle, not an act of showmanship.  When you go before God, do a deep self-examination, letting God show you if there is anything within you that offends Him.  Let Him show you if there is anything you need to repent of.  This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it,” (Isaiah 30:15).  Repent of your wicked ways, turning to God, and have Him cleanse you from your sins.  It is only in surrendering to God that you will find rest.  God is your Savior, and when you submit to obeying Him and walking in His ways, that is where you will find liberty.  When you confess and repent of your sins, you have this assurance found in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are the God of Truth, and You are the God of Justice.  Lord, I’m sorry for being pretentious, for caring more about gaining approval of men instead of seeking Your approval alone.  I’m sorry for grieving Your Holy Spirit.  Father, I have sinned against You and You alone.  Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.  Have Your way in my life, and come reign in me.  I’m truly sorry for sinning against You.  Please don’t cast me away from Your Presence because I am nothing without You.  Wash me clean with the Hyssop of Heaven and I shall be made clean.  Please forgive me, and have Your way in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles



“But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.” -Isaiah 63:10

Let The Holy Spirit Guide Your Lives

Galatians 5.20


“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” -Galatians 5:16



Yes, you are a new creation in Christ, but just because you are a child of God does not mean you will not have issues, problems, or struggles.  Your sinful nature is in direct opposition to the new nature given to you by Christ.
As a child of God, you have the Holy Spirit living within you, and the Holy Spirit will lead and guide you.  However, the sinful nature will war against the desires the Holy Spirit has given you because the sinful nature wants to do evil.


REFLECTION “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NLT). You are under no obligation to do what your sinful natures urges you to do because the Holy Spirit empowers you to live a pure and holy life before God.  Every day is a choice to submit yourself to God to live in accordance with His Word.  Therefore, since you are in Christ, you no longer live by the dictates of your sinful nature.  Now you are letting your mind be controlled by the Holy Spirit, and because you are letting the Holy Spirit have His way in your life, you are being led by Him.  When the Holy Spirit convicts you letting you know something is wrong, stop what you are doing and listen to Him.  It is important to be aware that if you compromise on one sin, it will be easy to fall into one sin after another.  You will not be able to show a life of victory in Christ if you continually compromise and give into temptation.  Keep your eyes open to what the Spirit has to show you and keep your ears open to hear His voice.



PRAYER Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth.  Help me to learn from You what You want me to learn.  Let me sit at Your feet to hear You speak.  I ask that You continually fill me with Your Spirit to overflow so that I might be able to do Your will and carry out whatever it is You ask me to carry out.  Thank You for guiding me this far, and I pray that You continue to guide me as I follow Your ways.  Help me to remain steadfast in You so that I will not compromise.  May I always seek Your truth and walk uprightly before You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles


“Keep watch and pray,

so that you will not give in to temptation.
For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
Matthew 26:41 (NLT)

Being Tempted Is Not A Sin



“The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him..” -Mark 1:12-13 (NLT)



Psalms_119-11



Temptation always comes, and while being tempted is not a sin, giving in to the temptation is a sin.  The Word of God goes so far as to say that if we are tempting someone that is sin as well and states, “…Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting,” (Matthew 18:7 NLT).  We are never to use someone’s weaknesses against him/her to tempt him/her to commit sin against God.  In other words, look out for the best interests of others and encourage them to progress in their walk with God.
.
We are not to rejoice when someone trips up and falls into temptation.  We are, however, to spur each other on, not play on the weaknesses that the other has.
.
With all that being said, Jesus gave us an example of how to handle temptation and what we should do when faced with temptation.  We are to respond with “It is written,” which is why it is so important to daily be in the Word of God studying, thinking about the Scriptures, applying the Word to our lives, and hiding God’s Word in our hearts in order to combat temptation and to live a life pleasing to God. 
.
Let’s look at how Jesus handled temptation:
“Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.  And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’  Jesus responded, ‘The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” -Luke 4:9-12
.
Jesus made it very clear for us to know that the devil is the father of lies and no truth can be found in him, and that is recorded in John 8:44 (NLT), which states, “He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
.
The devil twisted the Scripture to tempt Jesus when he said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!  For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.'”  Jesus knew the Scriptures well and knew Satan was twisting the Scriptures.  God does protect, and that is truth.  God will command His angels to watch over and guard us;  However, we are not to take the promises of God lightly nor should we ever be so careless in thinking that if we jump off a building that God will keep us from going splat on the ground.  Jesus, rightly dividing the Word of God, gave us this clear demonstration of how to wield the Sword of the Spirit when we’re faced with temptation.  Jesus responded by saying, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.'”  


REFLECTION:  “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You,” (Psalm 119:11 BSB).  Do you have daily time reading and studying the Bible?  Do you truly know the Bible?  Do you walk in obedience to the Word of God?  The bible is not a buffet where you can choose what you like and what you don’t like.  You need the entire counsel of God, not just some of His counsel.   The Word tells you how live a holy life, tells you everything you need to know to inherit eternal life, and the Word of God teaches you how to handle temptation, and instructs you as to what God has given you to overcome whatever may come your way.  “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15 NLT).  As a child of God, hiding God’s Word in your heart and clinging to His truth will help you in your life. However, it is absolutely vital for you apply the Word of God to your life, to live the Word of God out loud in your life, not just when temptation strikes. It is not enough to be exposed to the Word of God. It is not enough to read the Word of God. You must be applying the Word, and you must be living out the Word in every aspect of your life. You must be obeying God’s commands especially if you claim to love God and claim to be His child.  When you truly know the Word of God, you will know when half-truths come your way and know if someone is twisting the Scriptures.  Hide His Word in your heart so you might not sin against Him.


PRAYERHeavenly Father, You are the God of all Truth.  I ask You to help me remain steadfast in You, to keep my feet from slipping.  Lord, teach me Your ways and Your truth.  Help me to always rightly divide Your Word.  May I always hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles


“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.” -Isaiah 50:7 (NLT)

Time To Check In Our Baggage



WORRY-ANXIETY



Is being anxious a sin?  Yes, it is.  Anxiety is as much of a sin as lying, stealing, cursing, bitterness, resentment, and anything that satisfies the lusts of the flesh.
*
Anxiety and Worry are synonymous.  If you are anxious, you are worried, and if you are worried, you are anxious.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary characterizes anxious as “extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency:  WORRIED, resulting from or causing anxiety: worrying.”
*
The Scriptures speak about being anxious.  Anxiety involves lack of trusting in God and lack of putting our faith in Him.  Anxiety will make us focus on our problems, trials, and circumstances; Anxiety doesn’t allow for us to look to God first and foremost.  Anxiety, like any other sin, will wear us out and drag us down into the muck and mire, wallowing in ourselves.
*
Jesus has a most awesome prescription to handle anxiety.  This is what His prescription is and is shown to us in Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT), “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”
*
Did you see that?  Jesus is not asking or suggesting.  He’s not making a recommendation.  Jesus has just given a direct command.  In a nutshell, He has just told us to come to Him (HELLO HE IS WELCOMING US TO THROW ALL OUR ISSUES ON TOP OF HIM), all of us who are weary and carry heavy burdens. Let’s take Note Jesus’ commands to us:  (1) Come to me, (2) Take My yoke upon you, (3) Let me teach you.  And if we follow those commands, look at the promises:  (1) Jesus will give us rest, (2) He’s humble and gentle and will show us what to do, and (3) He will give us rest for our souls, (4) Jesus doesn’t topple us over with manmade rules and manmade traditions.  His commands are not burdensome and what He tells us to do and gives us won’t weigh us down.
*
Jesus also said to us as shown in Matthew 6:34 (NLT), “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Even the Apostle Peter urges and tells us to, “Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you.”  Anxiety comes with a whole host of emotions.  If we’re anxious, we will end up being scared, and if we end up getting scared because we’re anxious, then we’re going to end up being sad.  If we end up sad because we are scared because we’re anxious, we’re going to end up confused.  If we end up confused because we’re sad because we were scared because we’re anxious to begin with…  Well, we can see where this is going…
*
bag-man7
We end up looking like this gentleman in the photo to the right -weighed down by multiple suitcases, unable to barely take a step, and when trying to take a step land on our faces because the load is too much to bear.
*
Christ is our Yokebearer, and He can handle whatever baggage we have to give Him.  He is the Lord who is Savior and the One Who Has Redeemed Us.  Our God is the One Who Delivers Us from all our troubles (Psalm 34:19), and there is nothing like giving it all over to Him.  Part of surrendering our lives to Christ is trusting Him in all things, to trust His love and His heart for us.  He is looking out for us.  He is the One who tells us, “Come to me.”
*
When we shift our focus back on to God and begin to praise Him, we will find our cares lifting as we surrender our anxiety to Him.   As we continue to praise the Lord and lift our voices in song to Him, we will find all the things of this world become so insignificant in His presence.  The Lord Your God never slumbers and never sleeps, and He is the Shepherd of our Heart!


“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)


TIME TO CHECK IN OUR BAGGAGE
Heavenly Father, You have been the Shepherd of my Heart.  You always take care of me. You have not forgotten me because You, O LORD, have engraved my name in the palms of Your hand.  I confess my sin of anxiety before You, O LORD, and ask that You forgive me as I am giving all of my cares and concerns to You right now in Jesus’ name.  I thank You that I am able to look to You, knowing You are my Redeemer and Deliverer, trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross who shed His blood that I would be healed and set free.  Thank You for being my Yokebreaker.  Help me to always put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that my soul need not be downcast because my hope is in the Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Linda A. Knowles


“To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness,
they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted
for his own glory.”
(Isaiah 61:3 NLT)

Jealousy And Selfish Ambition Bring Disorder.

JEALOUS 1

“For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” -James 5:16 (NLT)

Jealousy comes about when you don’t appreciate what you have.  When you lack gratitude for what you already have and allow yourself to covet what your fellow brother or sister in Christ have, you are being ungrateful and selfish, and you are sinning against God.  When jealousy takes root and you covet what others have, you put yourself in competition with others who aren’t even competing with you, others who may not even know you’re jealous of them.  When you allow yourself to be jealous of someone else’s talents and abilities, you are comparing yourself to another.  Instead of allowing yourself to be jealous, focus on being grateful for what God has given you and how He designed you.  Use what He gave you to bless others, and allow your talents and abilities to progress in growth by using them for His glory and for the furtherance of His Kingdom…  If you allow yourself to be jealous and covet what another has, you will not have peace of mind, and you will end up miserable, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones,” (Proverbs 14:30 NLT).  

Godliness with contentment is great gain, and when you mix godliness and contentment with thanksgiving for what you have, jealousy will be squashed.  Don’t even give it a little room.  Like any other sin, jealousy needs to be confessed and repented of to God.  Renew your mind by the reading of His Word, and apply the Word when jealousy arises.

Remember you were designed to be unique, created with purpose and design by God.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made complex.  Be thankful for what you have which has been given to you by God -talents, abilities, food, shelter, and the like.  See yourself as God sees you -worthy and valuable and costly, all because of what Christ did for you at Calvary. 

Don’t give the devil a foothold.

Linda A. Knowles 

ZACCHAEUS DID WHAT HE HAD TO

“He entered Jericho and was passing through.  And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.  And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all grumbled, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’  And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'” (Luke 19:1-10)

REPENTANCE 8

Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, and he did whatever he had to in order to see Jesus.  In his case, he ran ahead and climbed a tree because Jesus was soon to pass by that way.  Jesus took notice of Zacchaeus and his heart because Jesus knew the heart of man. 

WHY DID JESUS WANT TO GO TO ZACCHAEUS’ HOME?

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.  But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:23-25)

No one had to tell Jesus what the heart of men was like.  He knew their thoughts and their ways.  While no one else sees the heart of another, Jesus did and still does.  Our Savior didn’t need to be told, and even in Jeremiah, the prophet noted what the heart of man is like: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  BUT Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ heart, and Jesus called out to Zacchaeus who was in the tree.  Zacchaeus HEARD JESUS CALL HIS NAMEPROMPTLY OBEYED JESUS, QUICKLY CAME DOWN FROM THE TREE and RECEIVED JESUS JOYFULLY because Jesus was coming to his house.  Zacchaeus wanted to hear what Jesus had to say and responded to Jesus’ message.  Note these words of the passage, So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.”  Zacchaeus RECEIVED Jesus joyfully.  Because the message of Jesus made a difference in Zacchaeus’ life, we can see the result of Zacchaeus’ changed life and his repentance.  It took an act of genuine repentance on Zacchaeus’ part.  Zacchaeus not only received Jesus, he also turned from his wicked ways, made restitution giving back more than he took in cheating people, and had a change of thinking.  In that act of repentance and in the act of Zacchaeus changing his wicked ways, Jesus brought salvation to Zacchaeus and his household.  The evidence of Zacchaeus being saved was demonstrated.  How you live before God matters.

REPENTANCE 7Claiming to have a relationship with Christ is more than words.  Having a relationship with Christ means daily communing with Him, and loving Christ means obeying His commands, being faithful and loyal to Him no matter what the cost.  Having a relationship with Christ means having a heart of contrition and repentance, receiving Jesus and His message, turning from your wicked ways, and changing the way you think so that your thoughts are aligned with God’s thoughts.  Having a relationship with Christ is about laying down your will and your ways and walking in the ways of God, following the example Christ has set for you.  Having a relationship with Christ means laying down your life for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, concerning yourself with mercy and justice and faithfulness, and walking humbly before Him.  Saying you follow Christ without your life matching your words means nothing.

While you have breath there is a chance for repentance, changing your ways, and changing the way you think.  Take an example from Zacchaeus and his attitude before Jesus.  Zacchaeus didn’t just speak words of contrition.  His words of contrition were backed up by his actions, changing his ways and turning from his wickedness, gladly receiving the message of Christ.

“Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples, and He told them, ‘If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it.  What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.’” (Mark 8:34-38)

REPENTANCE 2One day each individual will have to stand before the God the Creator of all things, and each will be called into account for every idle word spoken and every action taken.   So what will you do with what you know about Jesus?  Who do you say Jesus is?  Will you accept or reject Him?  What you do with Christ is a matter of spiritual life and death, and what you do with Christ will determine where you will spend life after death.  Don’t miss out on eternity with God by rejecting the only means of salvation God provided through His Son Jesus Christ.  Choose life with Christ.  Living a life truly sold out in devotion to Christ is worth it.

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles

 

 

 

Temptation

TEMPTATION 3

I wish people would stop putting themselves in temptation’s path.  It’s bad enough that temptation will find you, but why make it easy for the temptation to try to take hold by stepping in front of it?  It is one thing if the temptation comes to you, but to willingly throw yourself in its path is just foolish;  that would be like stepping into oncoming traffic expecting not to get run over.  Why give yourself the opportunity to find out whether or not you can handle it?  Why give yourself the opportunity to fail?

Let me just make one thing very, very clear:  BEING TEMPTED IS NOT A SIN.  The sin is when you take temptation’s bait and then commit the sinful act.

“…BUT I’M STRONG I CAN HANDLE IT”

When I have heard people make this statement, “…But I’m strong.  I can handle it,” I cringe EVERY single time.  For me, personally, I know that if I come to the point of saying “I can handle it” that’s when I know I cannot handle it and usually means to slow down, get a grip, and know the only reason I’m able to take anything on IS BECAUSE OF GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE.  I’m reminded pride comes before destruction and haughtiness before the fall.  For any of us to think we are standing strong is when we need to be careful, and to think we cannot fall is faulty thinking.

What are you entertaining?   The Scripture says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  That means, Folks, we can bring our thoughts under control.  We do not have to entertain sinful thoughts.  If sin actually showed itself to us in its actual appearance, rather than dressing itself up deliciously tantalizing, we would run clear in the other direction.

I can only speak for myself so I will.  Back in the middle of March of 2017, God had spoken to me about certain shows that were absolutely off limits and that He no longer wanted me to watch.  In keeping with honesty, my response to God was not one of enthusiasm, and it sort of went like, “Okay, God.”  The shows weren’t helpful nor were they beneficial, and most definitely, the shows would not help me at all in my spiritual growth, so television is never on during the day except at night to watch a family show.  I was confronted by God who gave me a command, and I chose obedience.  HOWEVER, I NOTICED WHEN I TOOK THE FIRST STEP OF OBEDIENCE, God removed any desire I had for those shows I previously watched.

It is amazing how God will fill you with the strength you need to carry out whatever command He has given you.  He knows when you are ready, and He knows exactly how to get your attention.  He deals with you on the level you are at.  Just as God dealt with me, He can deal with you.  He can reach you right where you are at your point of need.

In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, it states, We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.  We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

Do you struggle with temptation or a particular sin?  Then you need to ask yourself what you’re entertaining.  Whatever it is you are putting into your mind will affect you if not soon then later.

Do you want to draw closer to God?  Any show you watch that is not pleasing to God is definitely not going to be beneficial to your spiritual growth;  if anything, whatever you are taking through your ears and eyes,  may stop you from progressing in God and eventually finding yourself off to the wayside and/or separated from Him.  Your thoughts will not align with God’s thoughts unless you are spending time in the Word of God.

It is of great importance to read the Bible in order to have a storehouse of Scripture in your mind to combat carnal thoughts.  The Psalmist declared, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  For each carnal thought you have that opposes God and His Word, there is a biblical truth to combat each one.

Have you been rejecting the prompting of the Holy Spirit?  Do NOT say God has not spoken to you nor complain that He is silent when you haven’t opened your Bible to study or read it and if you are resisting the prompting and conviction of the Holy Spirit, and in Romans 8:12-14, it clearly states, Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.  For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Will you choose to obey God and be led by the Holy Spirit, or will you live by your sinful nature and its dictates?

Choose you this day whom will you serve.

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles

“Make Me Like Wax”

MAKE ME LIKE WAX

Written By Linda A. Knowles

October 2003

CANDLE 1

Make me like wax before the fire,

Softened and easy to shape.

Though my flesh roars out

for acts and crusades of rebellion,

May my spirit always yield

and submit to your ways.

Though purification

from selfishness and pride,

wrongful ways and sinful attitudes

may inflict temporal pain,

cleansed me as You did Isaiah

when the coal touched his lips

so I may be with You

from everlasting to everlasting.

May I continually strive

along your paths of righteousness

and seek out Your ways

that I might not become calloused

and lose First Love.

About That Worship…


HEART 1As children of GOD, our lives are to be a living and pleasing sacrifice. Worship to GOD is not just singing a song to HIM because anyone can sing, but a life lived out to HIM that flows out of wholehearted devotion and obedience to GOD from an inward transformation is worship.


“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

-Romans 12:1


“Do not present the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and present the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.”

-Romans 6:13

How you live will show whom you serve.

 

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles

Be Careful For Those Dark Corners Where Sin Is Allowed To Dwell

JEZEBEL’S WEB

Black Widow

The widow weaves her web so steadily,

Each silk strand in its place,

That dark corner that will ensnare,

Those simpletons in her space.

*

She’ll go against the Word of God,

And set the trap in place,

And there so obvious are her victims hung

On each and every strand that’s strung.

*

Her web expands in width and height,

The depths not truly known;

But each and every single strand

Holds those known and unknown.

*

She spun them in her silken web and slowly drains their blood,

Her victims with eyes sunken and ashen faces,

So pale from her unloving embraces,

But she cradles her human slaves,

Now bound by her vicious silken strands.

*

You see her web has stretched so far and wide,

Her dungeon blackened and damp;

And fools go down into her place,

To find themselves dying in disgrace.

*

Be careful for those dark corners,

Where sin is allowed to dwell,

Where transgressions are celebrated,

Where lies are free to swell.

*

Be careful for the black widow,

Who would try to claim your soul,

For the wickedness that is her,

Her name is Jezebel.

*

Written By Linda A. Knowles