Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8) As I was meditating on this verse this morning, I thought of ways I could be sober and vigilant to avoid temptation. Truly, the only way to be able to do this is if I stay in God’s word. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11) The more we are in His word, the more we will be able to be sober and vigilant. We’ll have Scripture fresh in our minds and available to meet our spiritual need of the moment. We’ll have filled our mind with spiritual vitamins to strengthen ourselves.

James says that it is our own lusts that entice us to sin. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:14) If a believer has been in the Bible and is drawing nigh to God, he will be able to be sober and vigilant when the devil comes as a roaring lion. But even when our defenses are down, our Heavenly Father pities us and knows what we are going through and He promises to help us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. (Psalm 103:13) God knows what we need and is able to deliver us. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations… (2 Peter 2:9) Because He knows and is able to deliver us, He goes to great lengths to help us. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13) (Emphasis mine)

Oh Christian, we don’t need to wallow in sin like the world. We have the ability to ward off temptation. Each time we are in the Scriptures drawing nigh to God, we are building up our defenses. Each day we should start by asking the Lord to protect us against the day’s temptations. Christ taught us this in His model prayer. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13)

As I am being sober and vigilant, I find that I am not so easily led astray. I’m aware of my surroundings and I do not place myself in situations where I know I will be tempted. I will not be quick to go out with unsaved acquaintances because I know that they will not have my spiritual interests at heart. Instead, I will ward off temptation and steer clear. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Peter 3:17)

My time from God’s word prepares me to be spiritually fueled for the day. I feel like I have armor on and am ready for battle. My thoughts are filled with the Bible and what I have gleaned. My thoughts are not on my troubles of the day because I’ve already shared those with the Lord and left them with Him. I also find that when my thoughts are not on myself, I am not easily tempted. There is nothing like a good pity party to get one focused on self and everything we lack in life. The lust of the flesh is aroused and bang! The roaring lion pounces and we are tempted to sin. But do not be discouraged, my friend, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) What lovely words those are! Thank You, Lord!

Dear God…
Please make my Morning Manna
Spiritually filling for today
Protect me from fleshly lusts
As I walk along the way

~Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. 

I have loved this verse for many years now. The Lord first gave it to me when I was going through some very difficult trials in my life. When God would speak to me through the Pastor’s messages, I did not like what I was hearing. I did not want to follow the guidance the man of God was clearly preaching. What he was preaching was too hard for me and I felt that it was too much to bear. Sometimes we look at our trials as a whole and get discouraged. This is what I did. I would look at the big picture, hear the preaching and think to myself that God didn’t know what He was asking me to do! Was I ever wrong!!

When the Lord gave Psalm 119:165 to me, it was as though He had reached down and hugged this child. He spoke to me through His word and said that if I love the Scriptures, nothing in it will cause me to fall or stumble. He would not ask me to do anything that would be bad for me. So, I obeyed the Lord through the preaching and did what was asked. The end result was one of great peace. All the fears I had of what might happen, never happened. I feared the unknown and feared what God would have me to do – all for nothing. The Bible assured me peace if I followed it and it was true!

I pray that you would glean from that testimony and apply it to your own life. I pray that you will see this verse as one that will bring life changing results to you. Let’s look at it and pick it apart this morning. The Greek word for “offend” is

H4383
מכשׁל מכשׁול
mikshôl mikshôl
mik-shole’, mik-shole’
Masculine from H3782; a stumblingblock, literally or figuratively (obstacle, enticement (specifically an idol), scruple): – caused to fall, offence, X [no-] thing offered, ruin, stumbling-block.

Noah Webster also defines the word in the same manner:

6. To disturb, annoy, or cause to fall or stumble. Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119.

What a blessing this is. God’s word will never bring you harm, my friend. You may hear some hard preaching and refuse to apply it to your life because you feel it is too hard or it will create problems. But God’s word says otherwise. The Scriptures are not offensive. He would never give us something that would cause us to stumble – It only promises peace.

You may be thinking that you already know this. But let me ask you this. Have you heard a message recently where the Pastor says “A Christian should not be  _______!” (fill in the blank)? Were you guilty of whatever it was he said you should not do? If you were guilty, did you stop doing it? Or did you shrug it off. If you shrugged it off, you are sinning. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:15) God’s man has been given to your church to feed you from the Scriptures so you can grow in knowledge and understanding, my friend. The Holy Spirit cannot do a work in you if you are not going to respond to the message God has laid on his heart. The ‘guilty’ feeling you have inside is the Holy Spirit acknowledging that what you have heard is an area that God wants you to work on. When your Pastor brings your name up before God in prayer, is he able to do so with joy or with grief? If it is with grief, the Bible says it is unprofitable to you.

We all have an area in life where we struggle. Why do we think that ours is unique and is just too great to give up? Don’t be angry with the Preacher for preaching God’s word. If you are, Psalm 119:165 cannot be a verse you can claim. Instead, submit to the preaching and allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in you. There is nothing that you are experiencing right now that you cannot overcome, my friend. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God promises peace and He gives peace. The only thing we have to do to obtain that peace is to be in His word. How hard is that? D.L. Moody once said, “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.” If things are going wrong and you are overwhelmed, look at your Bible life. I have met Christians who are going through tremendous trials but I would never know it. These Christians are in their Bible and applying it to their lives as they glean God’s peace.

Why struggle when you can have that sweet peace that only God can give His children? He waits to give it to you. Why ignore Him? Spending time in the word of God and yielding yourself to it produces that peace. Your trials may not go away but the Lord will give you that peace which is beyond understanding! (Philippians 4:7) These negative people seem to enjoy living this way – constantly defeated. Do you actually enjoy the unrest in your spirit? Do you actually want to continue to live with such a dark cloud over you? Maybe you are the kind of person who loves the attention you get because of it. Believe me, the only attention you are getting is from people who are in the same situation as you are. You are like a person who is drowning – you are looking to others who cannot swim to help you. Instead, you should be looking to others who can provide you with a life preserver!

You can turn yourself around, you know. Sure it will mean setting aside time to read the Bible and study it. Sure it will mean that you will have to apply what you learn and give up those sins that God places on your heart. Sure it will take an effort on your part, but wouldn’t it be worth it? If you’re miserable, Christian, it’s because you choose to be miserable. The sad thing is that you bring down those around you, too. You will have much to account for when you stand before the Lord. Wouldn’t it be easier to submit to God’s word today? Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalm 119:165)

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3)

LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. (Isaiah 26:12)

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~Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Everything changes around us. Styles, interior decorating, moral standards – but our spiritual lives should not follow the ways of the world. Churches are changing their services to accommodate the new generation. The old hymns, which make us aware of our sinful nature, are replaced with contemporary worship music which take our minds off our sin and make us feel like we are ‘right with God,’ when in actuality we are sinners in need of hearing how to get our hearts right with Him.  The bibles placed in the pews have been removed and you now read verses on the screen at the front of the auditorium – most of the time they are not even the King James Version. This discourages a person from looking up verses in the Bible to confirm what the preacher is saying!  How can one make sure he’s not being fed man’s opinion instead of God’s holy word?

The old paths have been forsaken, reader!  If these changes are for the better, why then are there so many ‘professing” Christians acting and living like the rest of the world? There is hardly a distinction between the saved and the unsaved today! Is it any wonder the negative feedback received when a lost person hears the word ‘Christian’? Hypocrisy in the church is alive and well because of all the lost people who have been allowed membership! The world has entered the church’s doors and brought with it every vile sin along with it!

We need to return to the old paths spoken of in Jeremiah!  These old paths lead us to repentance of our sin and to a right relationship with God. Anything else is a road laid by the devil – and you can be sure that this path is smooth, appealing to the eye and the lusts of the flesh, and will lead you to think that you are “spiritually OK” in God’s eyes. God still requires repentance and salvation!

The Old Paths

I liked the old paths, when
Moms were at home.
Dads were at work.
Brothers went into the army.
And sisters got married BEFORE having children!

Crime did not pay;
Hard work did;
And people knew the difference.

Moms could cook;
Dads would work;
Children would behave.

Husbands were loving;
Wives were supportive;
And children were polite.

Women wore the jewelry;
And Men wore the pants.
Women looked like ladies;
Men looked like gentlemen;
And children looked decent.

People loved the truth,
And hated a lie;
They came to church to get IN,
Not to get OUT!

Hymns sounded Godly;
Sermons sounded helpful;
Rejoicing sounded normal;
And crying sounded sincere.

Cursing was wicked;
Drugs were for illness;
And divorce was unthinkable.

The flag was honored;
America was beautiful;
And God was welcome!

We read the Bible in public;
Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house
To be called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!

Preachers preached because they had a message;
And Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY!
Preachers preached from the Bible;
Singers sang from the heart;
And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!

A new birth meant a new life;
Salvation meant a changed life;
Following Christ led to eternal life.

Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God;
Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord;
Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus;
And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!

Laws were based on the Bible;
Homes read the Bible;
And churches taught the Bible.

God was worshiped;
Christ was exalted;
And the Holy Spirit was respected..

Church was where you found Christians
On the Lord’s day, rather than in the garden,
On the creek bank, on the golf course,
Or being entertained somewhere else.

I still like the old paths the best!

‘The Old Paths’ was written by a retired minister who lives in Tennessee.

~Matthew 17:7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

Have you been touched by Christ? Don’t just automatically answer “yes” to my question. Reach deep down in your heart of hearts and answer truthfully … just between you and God.

Anyone you talk to who has ever received an absolutely wonderful Christmas gift can tell you who gave it to them, what Christmas the gift was given, and exactly how they felt when they opened it. Correct? The same is true with the gift of salvation. One knows when they receive this gift and when they received it. Everyone goes through the salvation experience differently, but everyone knows the gift they have been given.

The Father loved us so much that He gave us a Gift through His Son, Jesus Christ. The beautiful gift of salvation began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve first sinned. The gift arrived when Christ was born. The gift was fulfilled when He arose from the dead. And, finally, the Gift awaits us when we reach Heaven. Our faith will be made sight and we will be with Him for all eternity.

So, my friend, have you been touched by Jesus? If you have, then arise and be not afraid! We do not know what our future on earth holds – whether our country will survive the birth pangs of the end times – whether the Rapture will happen today or in 20 years. But one thing we know for certain – Christ touched us and we need not be afraid!

Stand out amongst the lost and rejoice! Give Christ the sacrifice of a thankful heart this Christmas. Let everyone you know hear you rejoice in the God of your salvation! Praise be to God in the highest!!!!

~John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Only the Son, Jesus Christ, can set us free what the bondage of sin! Only the Son, Jesus Christ, can set us free from eternal damnation in hell. Only the Son, Jesus Christ, has paid the price for our penalty of sin! No one else! There are not many roads to Heaven, my friend. The Word says that Christ is the only way.

~Acts 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

There is no salvation in Buddah, none in Allah, none in good works, and none in being a member of any particular church! There is not other way to Heaven but by Jesus Christ. One cannot save himself by doing good works. Your good deeds will NEVER outweigh your sin on justice’s scales? Why? Because even ONE sin will keep you from entering Heaven.

~Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

Death, both spiritual and physical, come to us because of one sin. We ALL have sinned, therefore, we all will go to Hell unless we are born again (John 3:3). It is only Jesus Christ’s blood that cleanses us from sin at the time of salvation – not Buddah’s, not Allah’s, not your own good deeds.

~1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Do not be deceived! Do not let man carry you away with their words. Use the brain that God has given to you and search His Word and learn the truth about salvation!

~John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

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~Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Just how important is God’s Word in our lives? If we take Luke’s passage, it seems that it must be very important because Luke says that we should live by every word of God. Who would know better than a physician like Luke? People today trust their doctors and follow their instructions impeccably. Why won’t they trust the Creator of the Universe’s words? It stands to reason that our all knowing God would know what to teach us, how to guide us down the paths of life, correct?

Let’s allow the Bible to speak to us today. The Word has been in written form for thousands of years. Scrolls and parchments were kept and preserved through the generations. Just reading the history of what Scribes had to go through to copy the Torah, one sees how it is not by chance and mistakes were not made in the Bible’s preservation. God spoke and man wrote down what the Holy Spirit told man to write.

Here’s what God’s own Word has to say about His words:

~1 Samuel 9:27 And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.

~1 Kings 12:22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,

~1 Chronicles 17:3 And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,

~Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

~Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

~Luke 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

Luke 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

~Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

~Luke 8:21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

~Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

~John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

~Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

~2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

~2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

~Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

~1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

~Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

~Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

~1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

~1 John 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

~Revelation 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Jesus Christ came to earth to speak His Word to us and to teach us about His Father’s great love. His Holy Spirit lives with believers and teaches us from the words that He moved men to pen. The Word of God has power to transform lives if we allow the Spirit to change us.

Those who do not believe that the Bible is God’s own Word miss out on one of the most wonderful experiences Christians have on a daily basis! It amazes me still to this day that I can ask God a question and He gives me an answer in His Word! His Word is living – it never changes – it is eternal.

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~Malachi 3:6a For I am the LORD, I change not;

The same God who created the heavens and the earth is the same God who will judge mankind at the end. The sins of the Old Testament are still considered sin in the New Testament. As well, they are still sin today. Don’t deceive yourself.

~Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.