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"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock." Matthew 7:24-25 In this fallen world, everyone is going to experience storms, and sometimes these storms can be devastating. Disease, death of loved ones, loss of wealth, rejection by loved ones, and the list could go on forever. Scripture says that Satan is the god of this world, that he gained this authority when he caused Adam to sin, and he is behind all the destruction throughout the world, and means to bring everyone down through the schemes he levels against each one. The Lord has not spared us from the storms of life, because he uses them to teach us, to sanctify us, to establish right priorities in us, and to grow us up to maturity. We know that we're only passing through, this is temporary, and we have heaven to look forward to. Jesus made the most important foundational statement - he said that whoever hears his Word and receives it, will not fall when the storms of life come. I remember, at the lowest point in my life, that I reminded him of that and asked how is it that I'm destroyed? He answered me that I was NOT destroyed! And he led me every step of the way to recovery and to health. My house did not fall. It shook violently, it was a category 5, but it did not fall, it COULD NOT fall, because it was founded on the Rock, which is Christ. On the other hand, Jesus said that those who are not built on this Rock, when the storms come their house will not stand. Some will give up on God, some will turn to alcohol or drugs or they will seek comfort in sin, in adultery, in illicit relationships, in people who Satan will be only too happy to use to bring them down. Their house will fall, shattered, their lives destroyed and they are left in bitterness, resentment, hatred, all that Satan intended to bring about - to their destruction. There are only two ways to walk through this journey, either your house is built on Christ, or it isn't. The choice is yours, God will not violate your free will. Either way, the storms are going to come and blow violently against it, because this is common to all. Those whose house is built on the Rock look back and wonder how anyone can make it without the Lord and the comfort and encouragement of his Word. We know that without it, we would have been done for. “Now If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator." 1 Peter 4:18-19 Our position in the world to come will be determined in the here and now as we walk with the Lord through our journey, knowing that he truly is the FAITHFUL Creator. All who are truly his will remain intact, and through their trials they will learn and grow and be brought to maturity. Then when the storm is past, they will be able to encourage others as they go through their own storms. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 If Christ is not the foundation of your life, you won't make it intact. You may think you're strong enough to, but Satan knows you and knows only too well your red buttons, where you're weak, how to destroy you. No, establish yourself in Jesus Christ and you will stand, no matter what.

“They looked, but there was none to save; even to the Lord, but he did not answer them.” 2 Samuel 22:42 He did not answer them… How do we reconcile the great mercy of God versus his refusal to hear someone? In this passage, the enemies realized they were done in - so in panic they turned to the Lord …but he did not answer. When a person has chosen to walk in darkness, in pleasure, in the insistence on “doing it my way,” there will come a time when irreversible judgment falls upon him, and it can be very severe. At that point, they may turn to the Lord in panic. Will he hear them? Maybe not. It depends …on repentance. The exact opposite of repentance is the statement, “I’m going to do it my way!” In other words, "I am my own lord!" When a person chooses to reject God so that he can run his life himself and achieve what he desires no matter what he has to do to achieve it, how can he think he’ll turn to God when judgment falls? It simply doesn’t work that way. “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will SUDDENLY be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Proverbs 29:1 But, you might say, when some reach the bottom, when they come to the end of themselves, some repent. Yes, the thief on the cross repented and was saved that very day. It all depends on the attitude. The thief on the cross admitted his sin and he acknowledged the justice in the penalty. In HUMILITY he turned to Jesus and the Lord received him. But what a terrible chance a person takes when thinking he’ll repent “someday.” This attitude rejects God for now, and insists on its own way. If in his own way he expects to turn around “someday,” it won’t work. You can’t walk out your life in self-will and defiance and then think you’ll go with Jesus when you die. To the one holding this attitude, the words he’ll say to God when he needs him …will fall on deaf ears. “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Proverbs 28:9 The words, “I’ll do it my way,” are the epitome of foolishness. It’s the insistence that one will run his own life with the determination that no one is going to interfere with that, not even God. This is the attitude of the reprobate mind. It’s not going to repent. It instead becomes hardened, seared as with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:3). Folks, it’s just not worth it. When you insist on your way, that attitude expresses the belief that your wisdom is greater than the wisdom of almighty God who created you. His Word throughout tells us that that is the way to hell. When the unrepentant sinner comes to the end of his life, he will find that his own wisdom that led him there is no match for the wisdom of the God he could have surrendered to. And then he will spend eternity …in deep regret. Imagine - regret …for all eternity. On the other hand, surrendering to God and to his Word is the narrow way that leads to eternal life. When a person surrenders to the Lord, a story begins in bringing that person to be the person he was created to be. God has created each one unique, as unique as your fingerprints, as unique as your DNA. He has a unique, personalized plan for you with the purpose of bringing you to the fulfillment and the joy found in maturity. No matter how terrible your past, the story of your recovery can begin today. It will be a great journey as the Lord brings situations into and out of your life as he molds you into that person you were created to be. You may have messed up your life completely, but upon repentance a whole new story begins. Your life may have been destroyed, but that can all change when you surrender to the giver of life. “The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked LEADS THEM ASTRAY.” Proverbs 12:26 Why does the Lord have to tell us this? Shouldn’t it be obvious? But no, the enemy will ARRANGE CIRCUMSTANCES to put us into friendship with the wicked, and there many go as lambs to the slaughter unaware that this is a setup. It isn’t for nothing that God repeats this throughout his Word. “DO NOT be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 Many fall into this trap thinking they can change the unbeliever, but more often than not it’s the other way around. Do not forget that we have an enemy whose goal is to destroy us. While you’re looking at the unbeliever with intent to change him/her, you are not seeing the enemy who brought this friendship together – not that he/she might be changed, but that YOU might be changed. So you ask, “Well wouldn’t the Lord be stronger than the enemy so that I can make it go my way instead?” And the answer to that is yes and no. Yes, of course the Lord is stronger, but the Lord has said to us NOT to enter into a situation like this, so if you do it anyway, you’re rejecting the Word of God and you’re on your own. As we journey through our time on earth, it’s hard to keep in mind that there is an unseen realm all around us, because we don’t see it. Derek Prince once said that if our eyes were opened to what’s around us, we would die of fright. Yes, it is THAT REAL. And what is in that realm is not passive. The demonic forces of hell war against us. They set up circumstances that are nothing less than plans to bring us to destruction. Many go willingly, because the enemy always draws people through one of two ways: 1. Through suggestion of something to be desired. 2. Through deception He will convince you that entering into a relationship with this unbeliever can be good. He’ll speak to your mind words of assurance and happiness ...but ...they are lies. And many fall for it, because they are not placing the Word of God above all, so they’re sitting ducks for deception. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 That is the realm we wrestle in. “Principalities and Powers” are names of specific genres of demonic forces. The hosts of wickedness are those who come to you daily trying to make you fall; through deceit; through pleasure; through suggestion of something good to come of it; by convincing you to make an excuse to not heed the Word of God. Satan will tell you that yours is a special case. But it’s a lie. It always has been, from the beginning: Indeed, his very first words in the account of creation were: “has God really said …?” ...This was the great deception carried out from the very beginning and which brought in the very first sin. (Genesis 3:3) If there is an unbeliever you’d like to be in a relationship with, do not make excuses to violate the Word of God. That’s deception. Just don’t do it. If you are already in a relationship with an unbeliever, seek the Lord with all of your heart for direction. First, confess your disregard for the Word of God which brought you into this relationship to begin with. It is sin. Confess it as such. Then take up intercession for that person. You can accomplish far more through prayer than through futile nagging. Withdraw from all arguments and simply pray. Above all, stay very close to the Lord so that the unbeliever doesn’t take you down with him/her, because this is an opportune setup for Satan to squeal with delight as he attempts to draw you down through this unbeliever. Don’t think you can out-smart Satan, because you can’t. If the unbeliever is a family member, the word is the same, withdraw from all arguments and pray with all your heart. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 But be willing to pay the price, for it just may cost you dearly.