2 Samuel 19:11 “King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests: ‘Say to the elders of Judah, "Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house, when the word of all Israel has come to the king?”’”
Christ is king. Christ is Lord, whether you choose that or not. He always has been; he is now, and he always will be. The Lord of heaven and earth—nothing can rob him of that. Nothing can put him on the pedestal or take him off that pedestal. He is your Lord whether you serve him or not.
I love the fact that when we read these books that Paul wrote — Philippians, Colossians and Ephesians — that he takes a moment in every one of those books just to talk about the grandeur and the majesty of Christ. He began all things, and he’s through all things. He created all things, and nothing exists without him. He will reign throughout all eternity. Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is — not becoming, not being made — Lord. Hallelujah!
The question then is where is our loyalty? Where is our worship? Are we ambitious for his kingdom? Are we living a life as our Lord and king desires for us? Are we in alignment with his heart and desires?
How often does an Absalom arise in our life? The Bible talks pretty extensively about when Absalom conspired against King David. Absalom sat at the gate, and he took people who had a complaint against the king, and he told them, “Oh, if only I were king, I would hear this complaint.” In other words, “He’s leaving you in your pain. He doesn’t care about you.”
If we’re not very careful in our pain, an Absalom will come along and whisper, “Jesus isn’t listening to you. Why don’t you try this instead?”
If you’ve followed this voice, if you’ve become lost following an Absalom instead of the true king, turn back! Turn yourself over to the lordship of Christ. Allow his authority to be demonstrated in your life. Acknowledge the true king and bring him back into your house.
In his description of the armor of God, Paul calls the Word of God “a sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). The Bible, then, is not just a book; it is a living Word activated by the Holy Spirit. And it is a weapon to use in spiritual warfare. As the writer of Hebrews says, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The devil is the father of lies, but the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth” (see John 16:13). And when he speaks the truth through the Scripture he has inspired, the deceptions of the devil are revealed. Think about it. When Jesus himself was tempted by Satan, what weapon did he use? Scripture, of course. Every time the devil offered him something the Father did not intend for him, Jesus countered with a teaching from the Word that showed it would be wrong for him to take the bait (see Matthew 4:1-11). And the devil had to retreat! We, too, can use Scripture against the devil when we are tempted.
There is no way to overstate the power of God’s Word in the heart, mind, and life of a believer. God works in mysterious ways when we hear or read his Word. When we take time to read and meditate on Scripture daily, a supernatural wisdom is imparted into us. When we speak it to the devil, he knows he is getting nowhere with us.
Beyond that, knowing Scripture can keep us from error. As our culture drifts from its Judeo-Christian moorings, it becomes more and more important that we know and obey biblical teaching. It’s the antidote to the devil’s deceptions.
God spoke to every believer through Joshua when he said, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
Through the study of Scripture, God will impart within us all the wisdom and strength we need to achieve his will for us. So read Scripture. Meditate on it. And memorize it, especially verses about God’s power and his victory over the devil.
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
Today Satan is attempting to get the church off its message of the centrality of Jesus Christ. Satan desires nothing more than to turn God’s people off their message and one way he does this is by riling up Christians over a political issue until it consumes them. When this happens, the issue soon becomes all one can talk about and Jesus is no longer the consuming concern.
There are issues that God’s people must care about, but not to the extreme that the heart is opened up to bitterness and unchristlike activity. We must be able to pray without a disturbed spirit. Jesus insists that we allow nothing to rob us of his peace. Indeed, he commands that we enter and stay in his rest: “God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it” (Hebrews 4:1, NLT).
This is not a political statement. Rather, it is a warning to Christians not to get entangled in the growing bitterness of today’s politics. The testimony of Jesus is that we can be in this world yet not of it. This means we don’t take part in its spirit or pull. The fact is, this is how we become a testimony of hope in a world without any. When some anxious person asks us, we can answer in faith and confidence, “Jesus is my hope and peace.”
Jesus must remain central in our hearts, minds and activities, not policies or politics. Though those things are important, they can rob us of our central concern, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our confidence as Christians is that we know all nations will come under the authority of our Lord Jesus.
All around us the world is breaking down. But we see Jesus! We see him in all our present trials. We see him standing with us in our pain, our suffering, our crises, all things.
Most of all, we see Jesus getting all things ready for his coming. Hallelujah!
Paul expressed concern for the church of Jesus Christ when he prayed, “May God reveal to you not just the past greatness of Christ but his present greatness.” Here is his specific prayer: “That you may know what is the hope of His calling … what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” (Ephesians 1:18-19).
We have a great reverence for Jesus who walked on this earth, turning water into wine, feeding the multitudes and healing the sick. And we believe Jesus can forgive our sins and relieve our guilt. We believe he can provide us with peace and joy and even give us eternal life. But too few of us know Jesus as God of the natural world we live in. We often don’t recognize him as Lord over our everyday affairs, as God of our home, our children and marriage, our job and bills.
When Jesus was called upon to heal his friend Lazarus, he faced limited faith. “When Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died’” (John 11:32). The passage goes on to show that Mary and her friends had faith only to the point of death. “Some of them said, ‘Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’” (11:37).
It is no wonder there is so much commotion in the lives of so many of us Christians. Why such grieving and mourning? It is because we don’t believe Jesus can resurrect what seems dead. We don’t believe he has a life-giving plan for us or perhaps he is too late. Things are too far gone.
Beloved, Jesus has never been more willing to show his resurrection power than he is right now. It is not enough to love, serve and worship Christ only to the point of hopelessness. Why don’t we trust him when all hope is gone? Scripture says we have been provided the very same energizing, resurrection life that is in Christ: “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
The Holy Spirit dwells in you to bring forth the present greatness of Christ. Believe in him!
Satan cannot shake or test the faith of any child of God without the Lord’s permission. Simply put, God has a purpose and plan behind every trial that Satan brings to our lives. Jesus gave a warning to the apostle Peter: “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31).
The Word makes it clear that Satan’s main objective is to destroy the faith of those who serve Jesus. But many believers find it astonishing that the Lord granted Satan access to Peter in order to test him.
Most Christians remember Peter’s boast about his own faith: “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (22:33). What Peter says here may come across as spiritual boldness, but in truth it represents a fleshly audacity that the scriptures warn against: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
When Peter was questioned about his faith, rather than boldly declaring his allegiance to Jesus, he denied that he knew him. And then, in panic, he ran from the scene of his denial. However, this once fearless disciple, now broken and anguishing over his failure, was never for a moment on his own. Jesus had proclaimed earlier, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail” (Luke 22:32).
This is one of the most encouraging verses in all of Scripture. Jesus was telling Peter here that no matter what he faced, no matter what he would go through — including his denial of Christ — his faith would not fail!
Just as he has done throughout history, Satan demands God’s permission to sift us today. He wants to attack our homes, our marriages, our children, our health, our jobs and careers, our very belief in the Lord. But be assured, God has not forsaken you — and he never will. Indeed, right now he is saying to you, “I will never leave you. Lo, I am with you, even to the end of the world.”