"Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin. Who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice." (Isaiah 30:1-2)
Those who want to live by grace (living by God working in and through their lives) characteristically depend upon the counsel of the Lord. Correspondingly, they have a burden to warn against worldly counsel, which undermines, or substitutes itself for God's counsel. "'Woe to the rebellious children,' says the LORD, 'Who take counsel, but not of Me.'"
Everyone needs counsel consistently. We all need to find valid guidance and direction through the opportunities and challenges of life. The Lord is to be our constant resource for such counsel. "This also comes from the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance" (Isaiah 28:29). The counsel of the Lord is wonderful; it is excellent! In fact, when Messiah would come (Jesus, the Christ), one of His descriptive title names would be "Wonderful Counselor" (Isaiah 9:6). This wonderful counsel of God comes to us through the word of God. "Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors" (Psalm 119:24).
Consequently, those who turn elsewhere for counsel are rebelling (at least, inadvertently) against the Lord. "'Woe to the rebellious children,' says the LORD, 'Who take counsel, but not of Me.'" Our God of grace wants to counsel us down His path. He wants to teach us to live by His wisdom and His provision. When we are formulating our plans, He wants us to allow His Spirit to direct us through His word. The only other option is to lean on the counsel of the world: "who devise plans, but not of My Spirit… who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice." God strongly warned His children of the vanity of seeking the worldly wisdom of Egypt. "You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; let now the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from these things that shall come upon you" (Isaiah 47:13).
The church world today frequently turns to the contemporary speculations of man. The wisdom of man is a vain help. We would do well to consider Isaiah's clear warning. "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help…who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!" (Isaiah 31:1).
Lord Jesus, my Wonderful Counselor, forgive me for the many times that I have turned to worldly counsel. I see that such a choice interferes with Your work of grace in my life. Please remind me day by day to seek all of the counsel I need through the Holy Spirit unfolding the wisdom of Your word, Amen.
Cite This Page: (explanation of citations)
Hoekstra, Bob. "Isaiah Warning against Worldly Counsel," Day by Day by Grace. Blue Letter Bible. 19 Mar 2004. 14 Sep 2016.
Our identity in Christ is first and foremost one of newness. We are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Identity is defined as "the collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known," so our new identity in Christ should be recognizable both to ourselves and to others. If we are "in Christ," that should be evident, just as being "in the world" is equally evident. A further definition of identity is "the quality or condition of being the same as something else." In the case of our identity in Christ, our lives should indicate that we are the same as Christ. The name "Christians" means literally "followers of Christ." In our new identity in Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6), but we are reconciled to God (Romans 5:10). This new identity completely changes our relationship with God and our families, just as it changes the way we see the world. Our new identity in Christ means we have the same relationship with God that Christ has-we are His children. God has adopted us as sons. We are able to call Him "Abba! Father!" (Romans 8:15-16). We are both joint heirs (Galatians 3:29) and friends (John 15:15) of Christ. And this relationship is even stronger than those we have with our earthly families (Matthew 10:35-37). Instead of fearing God as judge, we have the great privilege of coming to Him as our Father. We can approach Him with confidence and ask of Him what we need (Hebrews 4:16). We can ask for His guidance and wisdom (James 1:5) and know that nothing will take us from Him (Romans 8:38-39). We also rest in His authority and respond to Him with trusting obedience, knowing that obedience is a key part of remaining close to Him (John 14:23). The family of God encompasses a vast body of believers who strive together to grow closer to God (1 Corinthians 12:13). It's a family that is stronger for the gifts of each person in it (Romans 12:6-8). Members of this new family seek the best for one another (1 Corinthians 10:24), encourage each other (Galatians 6:1-2), and forgive each other (Matthew 18:21-22). Each member has a specific role, but the roles are acted out with respect and grace (1 Peter 5:1-5). Most of all, we respond to each other in love-not the feeling, but a selfless, conscious act of sacrifice, which is reflective of the agape love of the God who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20). We are no longer citizens of the world but apart from it (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1). We understand that we are a part of a heavenly, God-ruled kingdom. Things of the earth no longer draw us (Colossians 3:2). We don't fear or over-emphasize suffering on earth or the trials we face (Colossians 1:24; 1 Peter 3:14; 4:12-14), nor do we place importance on things the world values (1 Timothy 6:9-11). Even our bodies and our actions reflect that our minds are no longer conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2) but are now instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:13). And our new kingdom perspective means we understand that our enemy is not the people around us but the spiritual forces that endeavor to keep the people from knowing God (Ephesians 6:12). All of this is the ideal-the character of a mature follower of Christ. One of the greatest blessings about our identity in Christ is the grace we're given in order to grow into the spiritual maturity that truly reflects our new identity (Philippians 1:6). Our lives in light of our identity in Christ are filled with a heavenly Father, a large, loving family, and the understanding that we are citizens of another kingdom and not of this earth.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
In examining grace and good works, we are again seeing that God's grace is not only His willingness to forgive us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but it is also His resource for shaping and using our lives as believers.
God desires that we become amply engaged in good works, to glorify His name in the edifying of His people and the reaching of the lost. Although we are not saved by good works ("not of works, lest anyone should boast"-Ephesians 2:9), we are saved unto good works ("created in Christ Jesus for good works").
Our hope of abounding in good works rests upon the gracious working of God on our behalf. First, He remakes us through new birth in His Son: "created in Christ Jesus." Then, He continues to work on us. We do not shape ourselves into an instrument that the Lord can use. God willingly takes that responsibility upon Himself. "For we are His workmanship." God wants to shape our lives like a work of art, thoroughly crafting us in relationship to His purposes for each of our lives.
God's gracious work extends beyond new birth and subsequent fashioning. He even prepares the good works in which He wants us eventually to be engaged: "Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand." Think of it. The Lord has already arranged the acts of service in which He intends for us to be occupied! Then, why are we not always involved in such good works? The answer is related to this phrase: "that we should walk in them." We do have a strategic responsibility in this process. We are to humbly and dependently walk with the Lord Jesus every day.
Jesus addressed this matter. "Then they said to Him, 'What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent'" (John 6:28-29). Exercising faith in the Lord is what brings us into the workings of God for our lives. This involves believing in His plan, as revealed in His word. This includes trusting that His will is best for us. This comprises walking in reliance upon Him, allowing Him to guide us each day into the appropriate good works. Such a response brings service empowered by grace, as seen in the early church. "And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:33).
Creator of heaven and earth, I thank You for creating me anew in Christ Jesus. I praise You for Your ongoing work in me. Please shape me into an instrument You can use. Lord, forgive me when I am irresponsible through self-will or self-sufficiency. Lord, I want to humbly and dependently follow You each day, in the light of Your word, Amen.
Blue Letter Bible https://www.blueletterbible.org/devotionals/dbdbg/view.cfm
Isaiah 33:21--Isaiah 33:21
Broad rivers and streams produce fertility, and abundance in the land. Places near broad rivers are remarkable for the variety of their plants and their plentiful harvests. God is all this to His Church. Having God she has abundance. What can she ask for that He will not give her? What want can she mention which He will not supply? "In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things." Want ye the bread of life? It drops like manna from the sky. Want ye refreshing streams? The rock follows you, and that Rock is Christ. If you suffer any want it is your own fault; if you are straitened you are not straitened in Him, but in your own bowels. Broad rivers and streams also point to commerce. Our glorious Lord is to us a place of heavenly merchandise. Through our Redeemer we have commerce with the past; the wealth of Calvary, the treasures of the covenant, the riches of the ancient days of election, the stores of eternity, all come to us down the broad stream of our gracious Lord. We have commerce, too, with the future. What galleys, laden to the water's edge, come to us from the millennium! What visions we have of the days of heaven upon earth! Through our glorious Lord we have commerce with angels; communion with the bright spirits washed in blood, who sing before the throne; nay, better still, we have fellowship with the Infinite One. Broad rivers and streams are specially intended to set forth the idea of security. Rivers were of old a defense. Oh! beloved, what a defense is God to His Church! The devil cannot cross this broad river of God. How he wishes he could turn the current, but fear not, for God abideth immutably the same. Satan may worry, but he cannot destroy us; no galley with oars shall invade our river, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.
Morning and Evening
Charles H. Spurgeon
November 24, 2015
JOHN 17:24God the Father had the plan of salvation worked out before He even created the world. Most of us would not have created the world and man if we knew the heartache and terrible sacrifice it would cost. But God is not man. In His judgment (which is the correct judgment) the prize was worth the cost.
We were chosen in Christ before the world began. The Lord did not choose us by our merit, but solely by our acceptance of Christ which His foreknowledge allowed Him to do before the foundation of the world. In the strictest sense, we were not personally chosen, but Christ was chosen and all those who are "in Christ" partake of His being chosen by His Father. Just as we are the beneficiaries of the covenant between God the Father and His Son Jesus, so we are chosen because we chose God's chosen, i.e. Christ. The Father would no more reject us than He would reject Jesus because we are accepted by the Father through Christ.
None of us can claim that we are without blame in the sight of men because man looks on the outward appearance (1 Sam. 16:7) and all of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23). But the Lord looks on our born-again spirit which has been regenerated in Christ and He sees us holy and without blame.
If you look at any color through a red glass, that color becomes red. The same thing would happen if you looked through a green glass. Everything would become green. In a similar way, God looks at us through Christ and everything in our life becomes covered by the blood of Jesus. We are holy and without blame before Him because of His love expressed through His Son.
Andrew Wommack www.awmi.net
"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
Jesus is praying for all believers to be one as He and the Father are one.
This goes far beyond what many promote as unity today. Paul besought the Corinthians to "all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1:10). This is God's standard of unity.
This oneness among believers is what Jesus said would cause the world to know that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the greatest tool for evangelism that the church has. The only way that Christ's body will be one as the Father and Jesus are One is through God's kind of love. No wonder Satan tries to get believers to go at each others' throats. We spend billions of dollars a year on evangelism through television, radio, conventions and crusades, yet, the world is not evangelized because the body of Christ is not united in love.
There is very little unity among believers today. This has occurred over thousands of years and it probably won't be fixed over night. We must strive towards unity but not be overwhelmed by the problem. All Christians have already been joined to each other through the body of Christ, and God the Father sees us all as His children. All divisions among Christians are made by man, not God. For a brief period of time, the church enjoyed unity on earth. Regardless of what strife and division has occurred, all believers are still one in Christ and will live in perfect oneness throughout eternity. We are now one in Spirit. We just need to experience that unity here on earth.
"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven" (Mt. 6:10).
Good morning all, As I came across this reading this morning, I felt compelled to share it with you. We are quick to say what we don't have, or what we need, or what needs to be done...
But when we think of it in a spiritual context, I think these are some of the questions we should ask ourselves.
How much owest thou unto my Lord? Has He ever done anything for thee? Has He forgiven thy sins? Has He covered thee with a robe of righteousness? Has He set thy feet upon a rock? Has He established thy goings? Has He prepared heaven for thee? Has He prepared thee for heaven? Has He written thy name in His book of life? Has He given thee countless blessings? Has He laid up for thee a store of mercies, which eye hath not seen nor ear heard?
Then do something for Jesus worthy of His love. Give not a mere wordy offering to a dying Redeemer. How will you feel when your Master comes, if you have to confess that you did nothing for Him, but kept your love shut up, like a stagnant pool, neither flowing forth to His poor or to His work. Out on such love as that! What do men think of a love which never shows itself in action? Why, they say, "Open rebuke is better than secret love." Who will accept a love so weak that it does not actuate you to a single deed of self-denial, of generosity, of heroism, or zeal!
Think how He has loved you, and given Himself for you! Do you know the power of that love? Then let it be like a rushing mighty wind to your soul to sweep out the clouds of your worldliness, and clear away the mists of sin. "For Christ's sake" be this the tongue of fire that shall sit upon you: "for Christ's sake" be this the divine rapture, the heavenly afflatus to bear you aloft from earth, the divine spirit that shall make you bold as lions and swift as eagles in your Lord's service. Love should give wings to the feet of service, and strength to the arms of labour. Fixed on God with a constancy that is not to be shaken, resolute to honour Him with a determination that is not to be turned aside, and pressing on with an ardour never to be wearied, let us manifest the constraints of love to Jesus. May the divine loadstone draw us heavenward towards itself. Amen
References: Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The Blue Letter Bible
Many Christians remain stunted and dwarfed in spiritual things, so as to present the same appearance year after year. No up-springing of advanced and refined feeling is manifest in them. They exist but do not "grow up into Him in all things." But should we rest content with being in the "green blade," when we might advance to "the ear," and eventually ripen into the "full corn in the ear?" Should we be satisfied to believe in Christ, and to say, "I am safe," without wishing to know in our own experience more of the fullness which is to be found in Him. It should not be so; we should, as good traders in heaven's market, covet to be enriched in the knowledge of Jesus. It is all very well to keep other men's vineyards, but we must not neglect our own spiritual growth and ripening. Why should it always be winter time in our hearts? We must have our seed time, it is true, but O for a spring time-yea, a summer season, which shall give promise of an early harvest. If we would ripen in grace, we must live near to Jesus-in His presence-ripened by the sunshine of His smiles. We must hold sweet communion with Him. We must leave the distant view of His face and come near, as John did, and pillow our head on His breast; then shall we find ourselves advancing in holiness, in love, in faith, in hope-yea, in every precious gift. As the sun rises first on mountain-tops and gilds them with his light, and presents one of the most charming sights to the eye of the traveler; so is it one of the most delightful contemplation in the world to mark the glow of the Spirit's light on the head of some saint, who has risen up in spiritual stature, like Saul, above his fellows, till, like a mighty Alp, snow-capped, he reflects first among the chosen, the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and bears the sheen of His effulgence high aloft for all to see, and seeing it, to glorify His Father which is in Heaven.
Reference: Charles Haddon Spurgeon : Morning and Evening
Blue Letter Bible
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed
hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him."
Second Timothy 1:7 says, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." First John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." These scriptures may look like they are contradictions to Jesus' statement here; however, they are not.
There are two kinds of fear. The American Heritage Dictionary defines fear as "a feeling of alarm or disquiet caused by the expectation of danger, pain, disaster, or the like; terror; dread; apprehension." It also defines fear as "extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power."
It is this reverence or awe that God's Word teaches saints to have towards God. Hebrews 12:28 says that there is a godly fear with which we are supposed to serve God and thereby implies that there is an ungodly fear that is not acceptable in serving God.
Satan has always used this ungodly dread or terror to torment godly people. Those who have been born again should have no dread or terror of God unless they are planning to renounce their faith in Jesus as their Savior. We have a covenant that guarantees us acceptance with God (Eph. 1:6), as long as we hold fast to our profession of faith in the atoning blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
For an unbeliever, the fear of the Lord is a great deterrent from sin. However, for those of us who have received the grace of God, it is His goodness that causes us to fear him and depart from sin. His goodness is awesome!
Today's Devotion was taken from Andrew Wommack Ministries Website. http://www.awmi.net/
Today is a special day. There will be no text, no Scriptures, no pictures. Just the Love of God shed abroad on all Mankind.
Please click on the link Provided and prepare yourself to be thoroughly Blessed!
Breaking The Spirit Of Mammon
Michael Stanley, 55