My beloved brethren in Christ and The Mystical Order grace and peace be unto you. I trust that you had a great night and you allowed the Lord to speak to you. This is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Proverbs 18:19 for our scripture reading and pray that the Lord will speak to us.
19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
This verse deals with two things that we should always try to avoid:contention and offense. As Christians, we should not allow offense to separate us from our brothers and sisters, since this reveals pride in our hearts (Proverbs 13:10). If we have a problem with someone, we are to humbly try to work it out. If we will lovingly consider the other person, the Lord will give us the grace and wisdom to work out our problems. Contention comes when we refuse to humbly deal with the conflicting issues in our flesh.
We are not only told to avoid offences between us, but we are also warned not to become offended with God about anything. We read this account regarding John the Baptist in Matthew 11:2-6: “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
Jesus knew that because John was in prison, he began to doubt the promises of God. Even so, the Lord has no criticism toward John and He commended him as a great prophet. I’m sure that John began to think thoughts such as this: “If Jesus was really the Christ, why has He not done a miracle to get me out of this prison? I was preaching repentance and paving the way for His ministry, so why has he abandoned me?” Jesus told John’s disciples to tell him that he would be blessed if he did not become offended with Him. Did John receive this message, or did he allow offense to come into his heart?
We have another story about two of Jesus’ disciples who were also thrown into prison for preaching the gospel, but their story turned out differently than John’s (John had his head chopped off). When Paul and Silas were chained in prison, they took a different approach. Instead of allowing fear or doubt to overcome them, they began to sing and praise God. The prison could not hold them; because an earthquake came and loosed them (Acts 16:20-26). They did not allow their “chains” and “pains” to cause them to be offended with God.
When we are tempted to become offended with God, we block the way out of our prison. John had his head cut off, but Paul and Silas were released. The secret to being released from our prisons (financial, mental, emotional, physical, etc.) is to stay in a place of rejoicing in Him instead of blaming Him. We are not to praise Him for the problems, but praise Him in the midst of them. He will bring us through, and we will come out victorious!
Let us pray
Dear heavenly Father, we thank you for the many blessings You have given us. Lord, we never want to become offended with You. Help us to realize that it is the devil who is bringing us the problems in our lives and it is You Who will make a way for us to overcome him. Help us to remain in a joyful attitude even in our trials and tribulations, knowing that You will bring us through victoriously! Lord, we also ask that we will be able to resist all contention with any brother or sister in the Lord. Let us love them with Your love. Lord, we humble ourselves to You knowing You will take care of all our troubles when we honestly give them to You and yield to Your ways. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.