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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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You gossip and slander,

Pour out lies and deceit,

Betraying, Bad mouthing, Backbiting,

Double crossing, Double dealing,

And a whole lot of smearing.

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You’re a false teacher,

a false prophet,

a false preacher,

and a dumb, dumb dog.

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Respect is earned,

And you’ve earned NONE.

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You’re washed up,

a-has been,

And you’re officially done.

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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


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