“Soul Fasting” (Part One)

TRUE FASTING–

Is there a difference between REGULAR FASTING and TRUE FASTING for the Believer?  When pastors call for a church to fast during the year, do we understand the differences, or are there differences?  Is the idea of FASTING an Old Testament practice and not for todays Church?

Isaiah 58:3-12 NIV translation:

“Why have we fasted, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.  Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.  You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.  Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?  Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?  Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?”

A Bending Reed
A Bending Reed

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear, then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say:  Here am I.  If you do away with the yoke  of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will become like the noonday.  The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” 

GOD’S CHOSEN FAST:

I’ve been re-reading a terrific book written by one of my favorite authors, Mr. Don Nori: SECRETS OF THE MOST HOLY PLACE.  He asks a question that really caught my attention (pg. 175),  “Are you content to fast food, or is your desire to become God’s chosen fast?”

He goes on to say “Most of us know what the Scriptures call the true fast,” but few of us know the power and significance of this most unusual form of fasting.”

Now I don’t know “most Christians,” but I know I was unfamiliar with this form of fasting.   So, the Word Detective investigation into God’s Word began.

Over my Christian life, I’ve heard many times by different pastors who call for an annual “CHURCH FAST”; not a mandatory ritual, but a strongly suggested activity for a week or two in January.

Being a DIABETIC for over 56 years, ‘doing without food’ and adjusting my insulin wasn’t an option, so I just passed.  Now my actions might be an excuse or just a misunderstanding of the term FASTING, in either case I simply ignored the pastor’s request (I do pray!).

FASTING FOR WRONG MOTIVES:

In Isaiah 58:1-2, we can see the seriousness of the people’s self-absorbed religious practices.

[1] CRY ALOUD, spare not.  Lift up your voice like a trumpet and declare to My people their transgression and to the house of Jacob their sins!

{2] Yet they seek, inquire for, and require Me daily and delight [externally] to know My ways, as [if they were in reality] a nation that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinance of their God.  They ask of Me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God [in visible ways].  (Amplified Bible)

The people delight in the nearness of God; they thought of themselves as righteous–right with God.

THE PEOPLES PRESSURE (3-5):

In Verse 3, the people now voice their complaint in difficulty, though they were doing what the Law required.

Why have we fasted, they say, and you have not noticed?  Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.  (NIV translation)

The people present how they view their RELIGION.  They were observing the activities as laid down by the religious leaders (priests), even engaging in FASTING (Lev. 16:29; Zech. 7:5-6).  They thought their FASTING in and of itself was humbling before their Lord.

Their FASTING though, was thoughtless or done as an attempt to obtain a selfish conclusion.  It was employed only for RELIGIOUS SHOW or to engage God to act on their behalf (See Mt. 6:16-18).

THE ACT OF SELF-DENIAL IN OUR FASTING:

Self-denial is a process to draw us closer to God, allowing us to hear Him better.  The prescribed annual fast, the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29) was to afflict one’s soul for the purpose of mediation on the seriousness of one’s sins and the greatness of God in making ATONEMENT for them.  (See Footnote [i]).l

They saw FASTING as denying themselves of God so they might gain something worldly from God in return.  Neither FASTING nor REPENTANCE should be to get something from god in return.  REPENTANCE nor FASTING should be to get God to do anything.  They are expressions, the conviction that my ways are wrong and God’s ways are right whether He does anything for me or not.

Their FAST was simply an affliction of body, not an affliction of soul.

REAL MOTIVES BEHIND OUR BEHAVIOR IN FASTING:

VERSE 4 continues to lay open real motives behind the people’s behavior:

Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist.  You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.  (NAS)

The reason for their FASTING was to make their iron-fisted, controversial acts more successful.

Fasting was to be the cause for God to effect or enact their covetous desires.  When it became obvious that their FASTING wasn’t having the desired effect in their lives, they FASTED to know why not.

So God told them that the purpose of their RELIGION was to acquire more and not to improve their closeness, their relationship with Him, as it was originally intended.

VERSE 5 relays that their motives, their purpose for fasting focussed on the external rather than on the realization that they need to be changed:

Is such a fast as yours what I have chosen, a day for a man to humble himself with sorrow in his soul?  [Is TRUE FASTING merely mechanical?]  Is it only to bow down his head like a bulrush and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him [to indicate a condition of heart that he does not have]? Will you call this a fast and acceptable day to the Lord?  (Amplified Bible)

Because they had been focusing on their selfish ends (even their fasting) rather than a change of heart, attitude, and action…their prayers went unanswered.

The SACRIFICES of God are a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  If they call their bodily sacrifice alone a FAST, they were badly mistaken.

Bowing one’s head like a reed was a sign of humility; putting on sackcloth and sitting in ashes were symbols of FASTING and signs of submission. But unless they go hand-in-hand as an inward submission to God and turning away from sin, they mean nothing!

THE ABSENCE OF THE BLESSING:

During the days of ISAIAH, God’s people were not experiencing the Lord’s Blessing–His favor on their lives.

They went through the MOTIONS OF WORSHIP and couldn’t understand why God wasn’t noticing their religious efforts.  But while they were FASTING, they were also exploiting their workers and fighting among themselves (vv 3-4).

8222922317_2cce0295b3Isaiah condemned their HYPOCRISY and told them they needed to change.  If they would free the oppressed, share with the hungry, house the homeless, and clothe the naked, God would BLESS THEM with…

 

HEALING,

ANSWERED PRAYER,

GUIDANCE,

STRENGTH,

JOY!

RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY is no substitute for an OBEDIENT HEART.

THE PROPER PATTERN, 6-7:

FASTING is to let go of the normal and natural daily nourishment of this world in order to reach out and grab the empowering of God that is needed and to live righteously in this world.

In VERSES 6 & 7, we learn the desired outcome of FASTING:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:  to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?

-GO TO PART TWO TO CONTINUE-

Photo Credits by Photo Pin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vital Signs of Spiritual Health

The Text today is:  PSALM 26

THE NEW YEAR IS HERE!

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Have you heard the greeting, “Have a healthy and prosperous New Year!”?

Doctor’s Dilemma–

I couldn’t be a doctor today.  Besides the blood, needles and sharp scalpels…there’s all those sick people!  Sick people all day long!  How depressing!  You visit someone at a hospital…you get them well, and then they turn around and get sick all over again!  Even Jesus said in Mt. 9:12 –  “Those who are strong and well [healthy] have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick.”

DOCTORS see you at your worst and they hear all your aches, complaints, pains and physical ailments.  Just once, I would like to make a doctor’s appointment, sit down in the examining room…and, when he asks me what’s wrong, I say, “Nothing…I just wanted to stop by and cheer you up!”

MAKING AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE THE GREAT PHYSICIAN–there’s no waiting! :

This is what DAVID is doing–he’s going to the GREAT PHYSICIAN…getting a SPIRITUAL check-up…only to find out…that he’s spiritually fit!  DAVID has been taking preventative medicine for his soul.  He has found the sin remedy and applied it to his heart and life.

David was a man after God’s own heart.  He wanted to please GOD in everything that he did, just as we did when we were small and wanted to please our parents in everything we did.  Now like David, we didn’t always do it…but that’s what David always wanted to do.

Trusting God to Keep DAVID from “Back Trouble”–

How many of you reading this have had problems with your back?  The older I get, it seems, the more trouble I have.  Notice what king David said in Psalm 26:1 (b):  “…I shall not slide.”

“Backsliding” —

David knew, as long as he trusted in, leaned on, and relied on the Lord, GOD could keep him from sliding back into sin.  As soon as he started looking to his own strength…trusting in himself, he would soon have “Back Troubles”–he would start to slide backward.

“LOVING-KINDNESS” – Psalm 26:3 (a):

What did David see when he looked at GOD’s FAITHFULNESS to him?  It was evident, because he saw GOD’s LOVING-KINDNESS!

Has GOD been GOOD to you this past year?  AMEN?

You may have experienced tragedies…some hard times…some disappointments.  BUT…it could have been a whole lot worse.  If it wasn’t for GOD’s “loving-kindness”…His grace and mercy…the devil would have had a hey-day in your life.

When you’re SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY, like David, you will see the positive side of everything GOD allows in your life.

Walking in GOD’s Truth [faithfully]– 

Psalm 26:3 – “I have walked in Your truth [faithfully]” (Amplified Bible).

Compare this verse now, with Verse 1: “I have walked in MY integrity.”  As far as DAVID knew, walking the way he knew, his WALK should be equaled to his TALK.  I don’t know about you, but boy…do I need the Holy Spirit’s help in this area at times, and He certainly has conversations with me in this area.

DAVID didn’t do one thing and believe another…he practiced what he preached.  He could say with the Apostle Paul in Acts 23:1 – I have lived before GOD, doing my duty with a perfectly good conscience until this very day.”

BUT…some people can be walking in their own INTEGRITY–their character…BUT…still  not walking in GOD’s TRUTH.

Did I confuse you here?  Let me try to explain.  In their own minds, they might be doing what THEY THINK is right!  BUT…in GOD’s mind, they aren’t walking according to His TRUTH–His Word.  They might be justifying their own sins within their own conscience and mind.

In other words, they might not see that SIN as a sin.  There may be sin present in their lives without their acknowledgement.  That’s why DAVID adds in Psalm 26:3 – “I have walked in YOUR truth.”

The Importance of How GOD Sees Our Life–

It’s really not how WE see our life.  We may not see our symptoms of sin…but GOD does!  That’s why we need to go to the Doctor–he may see something we missed!

I’ve heard before, that men in particular,  refuse to go to the doctor after confessing their symptoms to their wives because…he doesn’t want to know for sure what the problem is…and his condition gets worse!

DAVID could say, “I have walked in Your truth”, NOT JUST in what I think is right…but in what GOD thinks is right.

There are many STANDARDS today for right/wrong–

PEER pressure sets one standard;

PARENTS may set certain standards;

SOCIETY may set certain standards of behavior;

RELIGION sets standards for conduct and belief.

That all said, there is only ONE STANDARD by which we will all be judged on…GOD’s STANDARD!  We need to say along with DAVID:  “I have walked in TRUTH.”

HOW TO STAY SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY – Psalm 26:4-5: 

[4]  I do not sit with false persons, nor fellowship with pretenders;  [5] I hate the company of evildoers and will not sit with the wicked.

DAVID tells us how he was able to stay in Spiritual Health–he separated himself from the ways and influences of the wicked.  Much of our sinful indulgences are determined by the company we keep–by outside influences.  That certainly doesn’t mean we should avoid all contact with non-believers.  How else can we give our testimony?  What the emphasis here is, association is different than “hanging out with” continually.

While it is true that our hearts are “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9)…it is the INFLUENCE of others that drives us to commit these sinful acts.

My mother repeated this phrase to my brother and I when we were young on several different occasions:  “SIN LOVES COMPANY”…AND…the easier it is to join in…commit to the sin…we want to justify it.

How many times have you heard, perhaps used the words yourself...”But everybody else is doing it!”  Not for DAVID!  He’s going to stay away from people who TURN THEIR HEARTS away from GOD.

Another Spiritually Healthy Key – 26:6:

“I will wash my hands in innocence, and go about Your altar, O Lord”

DAVID points out another vital sign of Spiritual Health– Hand-Washing!

David came to the HOUSE OF WORSHIP with INNOCENT HANDS!

Have you ever wondered…why do people stay away from church today?  Perhaps, it’s because of a guilty conscience.  And yet, what a better place to come, with guilty hands and receive cleansing!

A LOVE for God’s House – 26:8

Another SIGN of a Spiritually Healthy Christian is LOVE for God’s house.

Those who sincerely LOVE GOD, have a love for God’s house…and will be in Church regularly.  It’s one thing to shun evil companions (that’s “negative goodness”)…it’s another thing to shun GOD’S HOUSE.

One way to bring joy & fulfillment into your life is to do what DAVID did in 26:8:  “Lord, I love the habitation of Your house, and the place where your glory dwells.”

Why was this so important and special?

“That I may make the voice of thanksgiving hear and may tell of all your wondrous works”  (26:7).

TO DAVID, WORSHIP was a POSITIVE experience…not just NEGATIVE living (shunning the “bad and the ugly” company you keep).  He LOVED to go to GOD’S HOUSE, because there, he could proclaim in public, what GOD had done for him in PRIVATE!  Psalm 122:1 says,

I WAS glad when they said to me,

Let us go to the house of the Lord.

DAVID MAKES A REQUEST!

“Gather me not with sinners and sweep me not away [with them], nor my life with blood-thirsty men.  In whose hands is wickedness, and their right hands are full of bribes”  (26:9-10 AMP).

I like the way the Message Bible gives a mental picture:  “When it’s time for spring cleaning, don’t sweep me out with the quacks and crooks.”  

Being in sound Spiritual Health, DAVID can come to GOD with his requests.  David is saying, “When the day of harvest comes, GATHER ME in with the Godly.”

 THERE ARE 2 Types of HARVEST…WHEAT and the he TARES.

Harvest Time
Harvest Time

There are only 2 types of people – the LOST and SAVED.

Only 2 ways…GOD’S WAY and the DEVIL’S WAY.

Only 2 destinies…HEAVEN and HELL

Psalm 1:6:  “For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the ungodly  [those living outside God’s will]  shall perish (end in ruin and come to naught)” – Amplified Bible.

DAVID KNOWS …which harvest he will be gathered into.

GOD KNOWS…who belongs to His family…He knows your name, how many hairs on your head (in my case, there’s not much there to count)…the thoughts and intents of your heart.

WE CAN’T TELL the wheat from the weeds (“tares”)…BUT GOD KNOWS!

What lies ahead for David (and us)…IF we are Spiritually Healthy Christians?

26:11 –  “But as for me”  

David isn’t going to let anyone drag him down, ruin his Spiritual Health.  He knows the wicked are infected with SIN–Society calls it a “Social Disease”–but whatever you want to call it…it’s still SIN.  And DAVID is going to stay away from them.  He knows that it is GOD’S MERCY keeping him away from SIN!

HAVING A GOOD FOOTHOLD ON THE ROCK–

The Vital Sign of having a good foothold on the Rock unfolds in 26:12 (a):  “My foot stands on an even place” ; “I am standing in a safe place”– NOT on a “slippery slope”.

DAVID KNOWS that slipping on SIN will ruin his relationship with GOD.   So, David wants to stay away from slippery places; to stand on FIRM GROUND–there, in the midst of “the congregation will I bless the Lord” (26:12 (b).

Having a Healthy & Happy New Year Ahead!

How concerned are we for our health…Spiritually speaking?  EVERYONE wants to have good health this coming year, I know I do.  AND David points us in the right direction.

OUR PHYSICAL AILMENTS –  We should follow our Doctor’s orders.  So why don’t we follow the orders of the GREAT PHYSICIAN for our SPIRITUAL AILMENTS?  Might the diagnosis be as simple as...”self-denial”?

Let’s spend the New Year, as concerned about our PHYSICAL HEALTH, as we are about our PHYSICAL HEALTH.  AND…when we do…we might find out…THAT…our PHYSICAL HEALTH will improve too!

Our Destiny Is Clear!

Making Excuses For Bad Behavior

BREATHING A SIGH OF RELIEF:

After reading Chapter One in Romans this morning, I breathed a sigh of relief for one moment. Thinking, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not THAT bad!” 

I’m sure those in Rome, maybe even those who might be reading this blog study in The Book of Romans (Chapter 2:1-10), might be thinking… “Yep, others, sinners, unbelievers, backslidden people really, really, REALLY are bad…BUT not me.”  BECAUSE…

I go to church.  I’m good.  I give my tithes to God.  I’m certainly not one of them!  I’m a real good & moral and upright person!”

We are real good at making EXCUSES for our own BAD BEHAVIOR.

Have you noticed how easy it is, to see bad behavior in others, but really think the best about ourselves?

“For by grace given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him”  (Romans 12:3 AMP).

There Are Always:

1.  Excuses.

2.  Reasons.

3.  Explanations.

4.  Justifications.

AN EXCUSE:  (‘to grant an exemption OR to release from’.)

They are often OUR RESPONSE from conviction and confrontation:

–YOU are a GOSSIP!  (NO I’m not, I’m just trying to help.)

–YOU just LIED!  (NO I didn’t, I just stretched the truth a little.)

–YOU STOLE that!  (NO I didn’t, I just borrowed it for a time.)

Much of Our Potential Falls By the Wayside with EXCUSES.

So much of what God wants to do in our lives, disappears with an explanation of why it can’t happen.  It seems like the easy way out…the quick fix!  And yet, JESUS is looking for the man or woman who will RISE ABOVE…excuses, the reasons, the exemptions and the justifications:

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him”                (2 Chronicles 16:9).

King David’s Anointing to RULE & REIGN.

1 Samuel 11 opens with David at home…he sees a woman bathing, request her, commits adultery with her, a baby is produced…thus begins the cover-up.

Bathsheba was the wife of one of David’s mighty men…so the king recalled the man home so he might sleep with his wife to cover…

Then king David sends him back into battle with orders to put him on the front lines…where he died.  All of David’s detailed planning was to cover up…and for a time, all seemed to be going well.  It seemed as if he had covered his sin and continuing to RULE & REIGN; giving leadership and judgement in Israel as if nothing had happened.

Then suddenly and seemingly…out of nowhere, NATHAN shows up!

It’s EASY to become angry and judgmental at other people’s misgivings (sins) and very explanatory of our own.  That’s where the apostle Paul is in his opening of Romans 2…

He’s addressing the MORALIST, the person who thinks he’s okay with God.  Comparing himself with others, even though the Bible teaches us…

“Not that we [have the audacity to] venture to class or [even to] compare ourselves with some who exalt and furnish testimonials for themselves!  However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely”  (2 Corinthians 10:12 AMP).

Truly the MORALIST lives in a mist of hypocrisy.

NO ESCAPING GOD’S JUDGEMENT:

ROMANS 2:1-3:  [v.1]  “THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another.  For in posing a judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce].  [v.2]  [But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things.  [v.3]  And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgement and elude His sentence and adverse verdict?”

ROMANS 1 ended with a list of horrendous sins and yet it’s easy to look at them and the sinners that commit them…  But ROMANS 1:32 isn’t the KEY…because the ISSUE is not just outward, but it’s really inward!   You don’t have to do them personally in order to be guilty of them…all you really need to do is to APPROVE THEM!

This is where Christianity meets the HEART of a person.  It’s all about our own hearts; what we approve of (movies, television, homosexuality, politics, etc.).  “IT’S OKAY, I’M OKAY” philosophy.  “Society is okay with it, so I am too.”

THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD:

Notice ROMANS 2:2, it’s according to TRUTH!  God’s judgment doesn’t come…democratically by a vote.  God’s judgement doesn’t come…by popular opinions of the day.  God’s judgement doesn’t come…to others and not us.  It simply comes by TRUTH.

Denying Our Guiltiness.

In doing my investigation, in God’s Word this past week, I found 4 different ways that we conveniently AVOID our guilt:

#1.  We simply IGNORE them.  “I’m not guilty because…what I’m doing isn’t wrong.”

#2.  We make EXCUSES by renaming our sins.  The THIEF is now a borrower; the GOSSIPER is now a helper; “I’m not LEGALISTIC, I’m just living out my convictions!” (I know THAT excuse personally.)

#3.  We are BLINDED toward many of our own faults; not aware of them.  We don’t SEE in ourselves what we so easily pinpoint in others.  We ALL have ‘blind-spots’.

#4.  We quickly FORGET our wrongs.  We may have been aware of our sins at one point, but we quickly assume we’re Christians…God loves us and He will forget and since He does forget, we’ll let it go too.  That is not repentance!

TWO FINAL DESTINIES OF MAN (Romans 2:5-10):

In Trouble!

So the person that thinks they are OK with God because they live a good, moral, and upright life…is that person you?  If that’s what you think…you’re in TROUBLE!  Why? Because it is not enough to be just good.  We need to be PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS before God!  No security can be found in our GOOD WORKS, only in Jesus Christ.

Flip over in your bible to Romans 3:10:

“As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one.”

If you want to live by works, you’re gong to have to do it PERFECTLY.  God wants us to REALIZE… we are spiritually bankrupt!

If you are MORALLY SAVED, then you must be PERFECTLY MORAL.  But none of us, not one of us qualifies!  So God intervened…He entered into our lives.

JESUS came into the world and God the Father punished Him for the wrongs that we did!  The WAGES of sin and death…JESUS took that DEATH.  The GIFT of GOD is eternal life through…Jesus Christ our Lord!

EVERY OTHER RELIGION ON THE PLANET…

They tell us to TRY HARDER, WORK MORE, SERVE MORE, GIVE MORE…  Finally, you toss your hands up and say “I can’t do it anymore!”

The good news of the gospel is…?  GOD DID IT FOR YOU!  Jesus died and ROSE AGAIN from the grave and IF you put your FAITH, TRUST in Him, you don’t have to trust your MORALITY to save you.  YOU ARE TRUSTING GOD to live His life through you!

“I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God.  Who loved me and gave Himself up for me”  (Galatians 2:20 AMP).

But if you REFUSE…your heart gets unrepentant…instead of drawing closer to God, you treasure up for yourself more and more wrath and one day that treasure box will be opened.

“[7] So be subject to God. Resist The devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.  [8]  Come close to God and He will come close to you.  [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts”  (James 4:7-8).

The author of Hebrews describes believers as…

“But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him.  [39] But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery and are utterly destroyed, but we are those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul” (Hebrews 10:38-39 AMP).

SO, THE 2 DESTINIES OF MAN ARE CLEAR:

#1.  INDIGNATION; wrath, tribulation & anguish.  OR…

#2.  Glory, honor, and [heart] peace!

Those two destinies is why I saved verse 4 for last…

“Are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience?  Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to REPENT (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will?”

Here we have a PATHWAY to REPENTANCE…to the open door of change, the opportunity to have a REAL LIFE…God’s goodness!  I know that sometimes God gets a bad rap for being mean, distant, uninterested… but the Bible is clear, and in my own personal experience, I can attest to it…GOD IS GOOD!  ALL THE TIME!

AND so how can we DESPISE GOD’S GOODNESS?

#1-  We can DESPISE IT WHEN… God’s goodness is shown to others.

Our hearts become covetous & jealous seeing others BLESSED and we DESPISE God’s goodness in them and with those feelings, we are surely going to see fruitlessness in our own lives (Galatians 5:16-26)!

#2-  We can DESPISE IT WHEN…God’s goodness is taken advantage of.

This is where we think God is asleep or winks at our own sins.  And when judgement doesn’t come as we expected, hearts continue on the road to rebellion and rejection of God’s love.

“Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, the hearts of the sons of men are fully set to do evil”  (Ecclesiastes 8:11).

#3-  We can DESPISE IT WHEN…God’s goodness is extended to others.

GOD’S LOVE & GRACE goes out even to the most hardened sinner.  We can become impatient with God in demanding justice!

“TRULY GOD is [only] good to Israel, even those who are upright and pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well-nigh slipped.  For I was ENVIOUS of the foolish and arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked”  (Psalm 73:1-3 AMP).

#4-  We can DESPISE IT WHEN…God’s goodness is ignored.

Sometimes things are so heavy and hurtful in our lives, we actually have the potential to turn against God in anger.  “Why me Lord?”

Steps to Your Destination is Clear:

But the TRUTH IS that God’s goodness…(kindness & fairness); God’s forbearance…(temporary suspension of wrath); God’s longsuffering…(self-restraint, patience, putting up with); they are ALL tools that will lead you and I to REPENTANCE!  Our Destiny Is Clear!  STOP making EXCUSES on the way to your destination!