Monday, May 31, 2010

Seeing Through God's Eyes

Proverbs 29:18 - Where there is no vision, the people perish...

I made a comment the other day that a friend commented on. I didn't realize it would be considered profound...well, maybe not profound... What I said was "I just cannot separate anything in life from God anymore." I just see His hand everywhere, in nature, in life circumstances, in illness, in world situations.

I got to thinking about this the other morning and the thought immediately ran through my head that this is seeing through God's eyes. And I was amazed at the immense privilege that is. What a delight and what sorrow at the same time. Think about it, He created all things and all things exist even today because of Him. We need to "see" that and grasp it with our entire being. It changes how we view a lot of things.

Where does that vision come from? It comes from the Word of God. Through His Word we find out God's character, His likes and dislikes. We learn the truth of who He is and we learn what truth is. We begin to see through His eyes, as it were. That's wisdom. And isn't wisdom and knowledge seeing? Isn't it comprehending?

I'm sure I don't see everything that way but with the way things appear these days I pray I DO see things more clearly through His eyes, even to the point of weeping like I'm sure He does.

I've heard from a few sources that we may see something happen this summer. I don't know if that means here on our land or elsewhere. I also don't know how it will come about, through natural disasters or manmade but I've heard that God's hand will be in it. We need to see--understand--that. Some speculate it might be a war involving Israel. I wonder if that should happen would the United States feel the effects, especially if we withhold our support for this extremely important nation in God's eyes?

And that's just one thing. On a more personal level we are to see all people through the eyes of God. That may be the hardest thing our human nature can do. We see what's on the outside and make snap judgments without trying to see through God's eyes. He does not see the outward appearance but the heart as 1Samuel tells us. 

Seeing through the eyes of God gives us perspective that sometimes we don't have through our normal vision. Seeing through the eyes of God helps us to see, discern, some things we don't always want to. It shows us the truth and, boy, if truth doesn't hurt sometimes. 

I'm thankful that as the days wear on truth is ever growing and I comprehend more through the eyes of God. He has created this world and everything in it. He holds the key to the riches of wisdom, strength, power, love, salvation, those things that hold no candle to the things in this world. Not everything will be seen through rose-colored glasses. There will be good and bad. Just because something does not affect our lives in our own little world, doesn't mean we should not look that direction and see, to understand. I believe one way or another it will affect us. This world is an intricate web of God's.

I'm thankful for a great many things: my health, family, education, spiritual beliefs and strengths, obviously my salvation which leads to the knowledge of these most important truths. Pontius Pilate once asked, "What is truth?" Truth stood before him and he didn't recognize Him. We can be thankful when we see Truth, recognize Him (it) and receive Him (it).

I desire to see things through God's eyes even if it brings sorrow because then I would realize God's pain over what devastation has taken place to the once beautiful works (all things) of His loving hands. We are called to share in His sufferings... Through His eyes you will see what truth is. There are many scriptures about being blind and Jesus healing blind people. When we are "right with God" we lose our spiritual blindness too. "I once was blind but now I see." We then gradually begin to see through the eyes of God...both the rejoice and to mourn.

This world is changing very quickly. If we don't understand what is happening and can't see it throughGod's eyes, we WILL perish. But seeing through God's eyes gives us hope for our future. We can see the beginning from the end, maybe not quite to His depth and undoubtedly not exactly how He sees it, but we will have a sense where we are headed. These are exciting times even though trouble could be ahead of us.

Matthew 13:16-7 - But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

By My Spirit, Says the LORD

Zechariah 4:6 - So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. 

President Obama attended the G-20 summit in London awhile back. A friend sent an article from a British newspaper (unidentified) stating he came with an entourage of 35 vehicles, four speech writers and twelve teleprompters. In addition to Air Force One he had a helicopter and a "fleet" of identical decoys. His limousine is reinforced with the highest quality protection devices. "It is, marveled one reporter, a sort of mobile panic room. The Guardian called it the 'ultimate in heavily armored transport.'"

The last paragraph of the article states: "The president is entitled to all the security, communications and support he feels necessary to do his job but surely, when we're trying to project a more restrained, humble image to the world, the president's huge retinue could be scaled back to something less than the triumphal march from 'Aida.'"

Imagine feeling the need to have that sort of protection day in and day out. I'll tell you, I would not want to be in that position, to be fearful of my life... I thank my God He is the protection I need. This is what we can all have if we so desire. His strength and power is greater than any armored car. 

He is also all the strength we need for any circumstance. I'm still learning about this! As a child of His, He will give us just what we need at any given time. We need not be fearful of our lives. When we have accepted Him we are redeemed. He may not always seem to be there, but He is. Sometimes I believe He pulls back when we need chastening. He needs us to muddle through something when we try to do it in our own strength. He pulls back so we realize we have gotten out of His will and we need Him...and He waits for us to call on Him once again. 

My sister-in-law and I were talking yesterday about what could happen to us when we get to the point where we might be shoved aside because we're too old to be granted medical help. We were considering the great care our mother-in-law has been given after heart valve replacement. Amazing. Well, we got to thinking about how God will take care of us. She has known people who died at just the right time...God's perfect timing...or they were thankfully stripped of all inhibition because of their illness where they had once been proud about appearance. God is faithful.

Well, SIL and I got to thinking about how God will take care of us. She has known people who died at just the right time...God's perfect timing...or they were thankfully stripped of all inhibition because of their illness where they had once been proud about appearance. God is faithful. 

Look at the life of Jesus. Look at how He handled the threats against His life. He didn't run from them, but He managed to escape, sometimes just slipping away in a crowd, until the time was right to be arrested because it was the time His Father chose for His death. 

God will take care of us if we allow Him. He will be there for us. We do not need the protection of the world. We do not need the world's security. If we are faced with lack of good healthcare, we can complain all we want, but God will provide in some way. Yes, it's of concern to us; I personally don't think it's so much a concern about what we may not have in the future, but the concern is how government wants to take over. It's just wrong. As Glenn Beck said the other day, "Look to God and live." 

If we choose to look to God and live, we can claim these promises:

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him...[and] the angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him, who shelters him all the day long; and he shall dwell between His shoulders. (2Chronicles 16:9, Psalm 34:7, Deuteronomy 33:12

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

God is Faithful

1Corinthians 10:13 - God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you the way out so you will not give in to it.

I'm convinced that we go through cycles where we seem to flounder even in our walk with God. We might not know the next step to take. We walk aimlessly as though all direction has been lost. Where's that spiritual GPS we had the day before? How did it get turned off? Or we think we've misplaced it entirely. 

Sometimes I believe we can get too caught up in something and it becomes a work. There are times when we just need to step back and review what we've done. Or sit quietly and let a refreshing take place that will help us connect again with our spiritual GPS.

I'm feeling a little like that for some reason. Do I sit and listen or do I try to make something happen? Oh, that feeling that I must be doing or I'm not effective or I'm out of God's will. To be honest with you, I don't like this all.

But then Jesus did so much. He was constantly about His Father's business. Maybe that's the secret...His Father's business. His distractions were not quite like ours. Boy, we have become a world of distractions. How do we turn them off?

We are told not to let the things of this world infiltrate our lives but stay tuned into God. He is the one who holds all the keys to all we need. Where's the discipline? How much do we need to have? I know I should know the answers but sometimes I get into a funk for some reason. I don't track the same way and that frustrates me. Am I out of God's will or am I resting in it?

Today I call out for clarification. Today I call out for His voice. I have been "laid up" for three weeks with a badly sprained ankle and received another doctor's report....three more weeks in the clunky old boot. I can get around but it's just not the same as having full freedom. So, I've been feeling sorry for myself. And that's not right. I should be looking at the bright side and wondering what God is up to? What do I need to learn through this?

One of our pastors humorously asked the other day, "How can we pray for a healing for you if you don't do what the doctor says?!?" After another twelve hours of struggling with rebellion about this, I have succumbed to three more weeks in the boot! I have no doubt that was a light reprimand from the Great Physician Himself! And I'm smiling. I'm rejoicing. He likes to see His kids in that type of humor!

I have no need to be sullen about all this when there are so many others dealing with other issues. This is nothing compared to other things. Shake that off and start talking to the Lord! God is faithful. He's always got something up His sleeve. There's a purpose in all things. And we are called to just trust in God for everything. So, it's time for me to heed those words.

I'm thankful that He will let you get to a point where you finally start seeking His wisdom and will...again. I'm thankful that although we are tempted (to feel sorry for ourselves when we really shouldn't) He will draw us out of that place. His Spirit speaks our ours. When we acknowledge we've heard, He is always quick to respond. Your spiritual GPS will be back to normal. 

Ephesians 5:17-20 - Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Come as LIttle Children

John 1:50 - Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these."

Come as little children. I can't get this phrase--no, command--out of my head. What does that have to do with this scripture? Hopefully you'll see my connection!?

Jesus was just beginning His ministry. He was gathering His disciples. Nathanael had been told that Jesus, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, had been "found." First, Nathanael questioned how someone from a seemingly unassuming town like Nazareth could be considered! Isn't that just like God...taking the small things and making them great. All Jesus did was come in humility; no fanfare, no hype.

Second, I have to wonder at how we speak sometimes! They said had "found" Jesus. We always seem to take credit for our findings. Isn't it just more likely that God puts people, ideas and circumstances in our paths? We are told we don't "find God" but that He reveals Himself to us?

So, Nathanael first questioned the validity of who Jesus was until Jesus told him something only he would have known. Then he believed. He let go of preconceived ideas and believed. 
This is what I'm finally getting at! That's like a child. They hear from the voice of authority and believe. They don't question--in the beginning.

God is our Father, so we are little children to Him if we have "found" Him and now seek Him. Children are called to obey their parents. Parents teach and nurture us as we grow.

Come as little children... As our Father, God wants to us to be obedient. He wants to nurture us that we might grow spiritually and that can only happen when He has revealed Himself like He did to the early disciples, then seek Him and enter in to His presence. Little children are the small things that He can make great, if we are willing to become those small children.

More than once are we asked to do this. 

Luke 18:16 - Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
Matthew 18:1-5 - At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. 

Shake off the thoughts and attitudes we've picked up along the way. We've learned as children from earthly parents but when we come to the Lord we need to come again, be born again actually, as little children, and learn anew in a more glorious way, in a way we are unaccustomed to.

I heard something the other day about how we have stopped listening to the voice of Authority and have become our own authority. That's a sure way of getting ourselves into trouble. Look at the world...

My children, come and seek Me. Come as a little child to hear My voice. I have important things to tell you. I have wisdom to share. I have revelation knowledge for these times. This information will strengthen you. It will open your eyes to things you've not known or experienced. My Spirit longs to be one with your spirit. Come, as little children, to the knee of your true Father. I AM is calling you. I AM is longing for you. I AM your Father. My love is everlasting and greater than you can imagine. I will never leave you nor forsake you when you become My child. Reach out and take My hand. Walk with Me. Listen to Me speak. Be refreshed in My presence. Drink of My living water. Eat of My daily bread. Let Me heal your wounds and your spirit. Come to Me, little children.

Like Nathanael, shake those ideas that "nothing good could come out of Nazareth." Those thoughts were formed prior to knowing the truth of who God is. Let God show you something that only you can understand that you might believe as a little child. He is the Truth that sets us free from more than our sin but also from the lies of the noisy voices around us.

1Peter 1:13-14 - Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Look Up

Psalm 42:11a - Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? 

It saddens me to think we've come this far as a nation only to have it slip out of our hands. We know through the Word of God that nations come and go. I believe they do because they do not hold God in high esteem. Take the nations in the Old Testament days which did not worship God but their own gods. They may have grown great but were taken down in time. Hmmmm. We once were great; will we be taken down?

I can't say it enough how a nation has to have God as it's Source. And so do we.

I've been watching 
America, The Story of Us. It brings me to tears sometimes to see the mettle, physical strength and pride of our forefathers. They cherished their freedom,

fought for it and worked for it. They were proud of their accomplishments. But they also had a strong sense of faith in God.

The episode I recently watched was about the building of New York City and the development of industry, how we have learned from our mistakes and began to make changes for the betterment of life and living and working conditions. There was always someone who had the knowledge and determination to bring about something useful, from the man who determined to assemble the Statue of Liberty, to Carnegie's steel and Edison's light bulb. Even when crime became a problem, there was someone to step in to bring about a positive change. They moved forward.

The Statue of Liberty, I'm sure we all know was sent to us as a gift from France who helped us in our battle for independence against the British. The people who arrived on the shores of our country then came not just hoping for a new found freedom through this nation but to find a place to live and work. They did not have much to start out, but they worked to build a nestegg.

How different it is today. We seem to be moving backwards. Change is not as much positive. Yes, there are those who still have pride in their jobs and have worked hard to build businesses, but there are others just wanting a handout. At the same time there are those who aren't satisfied with just enough and use others, even destroy others, by stealing from them for their own greedy gain.

In the beginning of our growth as a nation I believe we were proud of our accomplishments. We were determined and believed that there was an Almighty God to rely on in all of our struggles. What has become of these people?
Tuesday Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest said: God does not keep a man immune from trouble; He says - "I will be with him in trouble." It does not matter what actual troubles in the most extreme form get hold of a man's life, not one of them can separate him from his relationship to God.  But we need to be in that relationship. There's the clincher. This goes for man and country.

Chambers went on to say that 
Tribulation is never a noble thing; but let tribulation be what it may - exhausting, galling, fatiguing, it is not able to separate us from the love of God. Never let cares or tribulations separate you from the fact that God loves you... This is good news! ...Logic is silenced in the face of every one of these things (tribulation, anguish or famine). 

I just cannot separate anything in life from God anymore. I see Him everywhere. I know others feel the same. He is such an integral part of life. If it weren't for Him we'd not be here experiencing life as it is. He was with us when this country was founded, but I fear He is backing away a bit until we come to the realization we need Him once again.

We are seeing God in action, if we can recognize it. It is exciting, despite the trouble we can sense ahead. He is able to do anything…anything. What looks like a mess to us He sees clearly. When we don't understand how good can come out of something, He knows exactly what He's doing. That takes faith. Faith in believing what we don't see…in our own lives and in the world.

We have built this country with our own hands through, I believe, the strength of God who always wants to bless those who believe in Him. Our beliefs are not strong enough anymore. Oh, there are many who still look to God, but the eyes of others need to be opened and perhaps with a bit of tribulation God will chastise us. He will cause us to look up.

Psalm 42:11b - Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's That Simple

John 3:14-15 - As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

I was watching Glenn Beck the other day. And I was still thinking about the simplicity of how we can come into relationship with the Lord. How in the world can this be??? I'm not putting Glenn Beck in the same category with Jesus by any means, but I truly believe he understands the importance of God in our lives.

He made a statement about us as American citizens in the midst of this roiling sea of delusion, confusion and lies. He said we seem to be looking for some difficult solution. Sometimes the most obvious one is the simplest. Where are we headed? What does the future hold for our children if we don't come up with answers now?

It's the same way with God. We have stopped coming as little children, with a lot of faith and trust, to Jesus. Instead we think we have to strive to get there. We have to make it so complicated that it seems impossible for some. Could that be why there are many who don't make that choice because they've tried so hard to be good and do good and fail because that's our nature? Yesterday I mentioned that we can't work for our salvation; we just receive it.

If we come with an uncomplicated belief, as little children, that Jesus (and only He) saves, it's only as simple as calling out to Him with a true heart. He will hear you and know if you are being true. If you are, there's nothing stopping Him. And then you will notice a change take place. So will others.

Glenn Beck, talking about our nation and what he foresees as our future, said this generation needs to teach the truth to our children about this nation and the principles by which it was formed, the hearts of the founding fathers and their focus and dedication to God. There is a connection between God and country that I cannot even attempt to explain. But slowly truth is being covered up. God is being removed and we are being fed lies that we can live without Him. It's not just up to the Church to lead us to Him but it's up to the parents to show them. That means we have to know Him.

Beck brought up the story of Moses when he led Israel out of captivity and into the wilderness. The Bible tells us, in a nutshell, Israel complained at one point so much God sent serpents in their paths. These snakes bit people and many died. They "came to their senses" and admitted to Moses they had sinned against God so Moses prayed to God for them. (They were too afraid to approach God on their own.) God told him to make a serpent of bronze and put it on top of a pole! He then was to tell the people that if they looked up at that serpent they would live. Seems like a pretty strange thing for God to request, but look at the simplicity of it...just like He asks us to do, 
look up and live

Don't look to the government, to people who don't have the same power as God. God/Jesus is the great I AM, the name above all names. Acts 4:12 puts it this way: Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Look at those words, no other name under heaven. Not our government who we might see as bringing us to some time of trouble. But God...can see us through difficult times, if we believe.

Beck later said: "The message of this story [of Moses] was 'look to God and live.' There are going to be a lot of answers [concerning what we need to do to fix this country]. A lot of them will be complex. Don't dismiss the simple one. It's not about you, it's not about me. It's really about our children and their freedom. Freedom to look to God to live." Sometimes that's the simplest thing to do, yet we don't recognize it. We try in our own strength, with our own wisdom, to come up with an answer. Sometimes we just frustrate ourselves doing that. The answer is God. He is not the author of confusion (1Corinthians 14:33).

We need to know what truth is. It's that simple. Do we live believing the lies of our enemy or do we look to God? Do we believe the lies of those in power in our country or do we search for the truth? We need to know the truth. We find the truth when we receive it through Jesus Christ, when we put our trust in the God of this universe, just like our founding fathers. Simplicity. He is the I AM ( for everything you need).

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Remember Me

Remember Me

Luke 22:19 - Do this in remembrance of Me.

Pastor Paul Hanson once again had a great sermon. He talked in detail about the meaning of communion. Most of what he said I'd heard before but there were a couple things that hit a spot in my spirit that were like no other words I'd heard.

He talked about how when we share communion we are sharing something in common...a common belief...that Jesus died for our sins, that all our needs can be met. When we partake in communion the bread and wine (or juice) are a reminder of what He has done for us. That is shown in Luke above.

He talked about the meaning of bread. It represents Jesus' body. His body took on the stripes, bruises and afflictions of all mankind. He bore our griefs and sorrows and was wounded because of our sins. (Isaiah 53:4-5).  And because of that when we come into relationship with Him, those stripes have become our healing. Healing in so many ways. Think about it, as He was offering up communion with His disciples, He broke the bread. His body was broken for us.

Pastor Paul then said something I'd not heard in quite this way: when we are not in relationship with Jesus only part of us is living. 
The physical and mental parts of our bodies are alive, but our spirit is dead. In Christ it comes alive! The spiritual part is the most important part anyway because when our physical and mental parts die naturally, our spiritual part will continue eternally. It will remain eternally in heaven or hell depending upon the choice we make in this life to choose or not choose Jesus.

He brought up something else: that on the day of final judgment all people will stand before God. The deeds of all people will be judged; no one is exempt. He basically said the deeds, both good and bad, of those 
who have received Christ as Lord and Savior will be as if they did not exist because they were covered by the blood of Christ. The deeds of those who did not receive Christ will be recognized and judged. 

Imagine...all our sins will not even be recognized. When we come into a truly heartfelt relationship with Christ all our sins are forever forgotten. Unfortunately, satan continues to bring them to our memory to try making us feel guilty for something for which we've been totally forgiven. But...the door has closed on our sins, past, present and future, even if...when is more like it...we fail in our day to day life. It's hard to fathom the great mystery that once we know for a fact that Jesus' blood has covered the doorposts of our hearts we are considered guilt free...for life. (This does not mean, however, we are to carry on in an intentionally sinful life like before.)

So, it's the blood, Pastor Paul went on to explain, that has washed away all our trespasses. The Lamb of God whose blood was shed through His sacrifice on the cross is like the blood of the Passover lamb in the Old Testament which was applied to the doorposts of the Jewish homes. Those people's lives were spared when death came barging into the homes taking all the firstborn sons in Egypt. For us today, that blood, once we have received it by faith, covers the doorposts of our hearts and saves our spirit from death.

Our sins are forgiven as far as the east is from the west, no questions asked. That certainly doesn't sound like captivity, does it? The claim that "religion" is bondage just is not true. There is freedom in Christ. Freedom from sin and death. Freedom. It's all about Him; it's all about His body, His blood.

Jesus told us Himself He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). All the laws, works and things we think we must do to receive forgiveness, and fail at doing because it's our nature, are no longer necessary when we have asked Jesus to come into our lives and redeem us. He came so we would not have to work at salvation, only receive it. It's that simple. His body sacrificed, His blood shed for us. Let us remember that.

1Corinthians 11:26 - For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Peter's Transformation

2Corinthians 3:18 - But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Peter was one of the most difficult, hard headed, stubborn, impetuous, outspoken men. But God...had a marvelous plan for him. I marvel at that because it shows how He can transform anyone. When God got hold of him and tweaked him he was changed. Where once he questioned Jesus, as a man who thought he knew it all, now he spoke exuberantly yet humbly  about His Master and Savior.

I think of the times Peter spoke too soon, out of place or without thinking and stuck his big, old foot in his mouth. Jesus even rebuked him a couple of noted times (Matthew 16, Mark 8). His faith was shaky and Jesus even called him satan one time, meaning that Peter had allowed satan's power to enter in.  He spoke out of misunderstanding when he did not think it right for Jesus to wash 
his feet. He even, in the worst imaginable act, denied Jesus prior to His crucifixion...after denying he ever would. How weak we all are. 

But Jesus knew something so wonderful about Peter and knew what he would be capable of long after His life on earth came to an end. I'm so glad He does that with us too. He knows what we are capable of doing and if we just take the time to listen so that we might hear His instructions it will be accomplished.

Peter was chosen by Jesus. He walked and talked with Him. He walked on water, he healed a lame man and a beggar, and no doubt countless more. He was with Him at His transfiguration. Despite his Simon personality he would become Peter, a rock of firmness, in time. God eventually used Peter's negative, natural, strong convictions for His glory...after Peter had humbled himself.

Simon means "to be heard." Names were important in those days. Usually children were named after an event or memory of a particular child's birth. No doubt God had a part in naming Simon. He already knew what plans He had for him. Simon would be heard someday when he boldly preached the Gospel.

But first he would encounter a man named Jesus and would be groomed to become what Jesus changed his name to mean, "rock." There was a reason for this name change. He was to be Jesus' main man, as it were. He didn't know it and maybe if he would have he might have gotten a big head about it. Peter had to be chastised again and again, much to his dismay. He had to learn to subdue himself and not be so brash and outspoken so Jesus could do a work in him. That's what he does with us. 

Jesus knew what Peter's future held in store. He would do as Jesus prompted him: Feed my sheep. Later he would be heard as he preached with a totally different character what he had learned sitting at the feet of Jesus. He just had to learn the hard way how to submit, to realize it was not just about him.

Peter hesitated in his faith at first but later when Jesus was gone he stepped up to both his names, actually. Not only was he now strong and stable, like a rock, in his faith, but he now was now being heard as he preached with gusto his belief in Jesus Christ. After he had gotten several doses of humbling, gotten through the humility of his denial of Christ, been tested, he was ready to move ahead. He'd been trained by the Master. 

Peter was willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of the Gospel. He'd been rejected, persecuted and imprisoned, like Jesus. He also was crucified; however, he asked to be hung upside down because he did not consider himself worthy to die in the same manner as Jesus. How he had changed. When we have changed so drastically, like Peter did, people notice. And God can have His way.

You can see the change in the words he wrote in his books. I'm sure Peter looked back and recalled his own words and foibles. And he also remembered the look of love on Jesus' face in the midst of his mistakes. He was, after all, now Peter, the rock, once called Simon. Transformation... He was still that outspoken man but now he preached with great abandon about salvation in Jesus alone, love, peace, encouragement...and submission...all with joy, despite his suffering. He got it at last! He had arrived!

I hope a day comes when I have changed that much. We all have some natural "quirks" that God has given us. In the natural they may not be the best thing to have, but through God they may be the most magnificent characteristics.

Romans 12:1-2 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Arrival

Colossians 1:27 - To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

How is it that some people let the seeds of understanding be eaten by birds, or let the soil go untreated so that the seeds cannot take root after God has arrived in their lives?

What does it truly take when God has reached out, placed His hand upon their life and sealed them for His works and plans...and willed the knowledge of who exactly Christ can be in our lives...but they still turn their back on the only Person worthy of their attention and love? What is it that grows so big and strong in their heart that they cannot give up the world much less themselves for the sake of One who gave His life for the world? Who could do that and why would they? I can't imagine the rejection Jesus must have felt then and still feels today.

I'm convinced its those who are so totally wrapped up in what they perceive to be "the life." It's all about what the world says we should the Bible states. Timothy 3:2 is an example of this: 
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy...

It's all about understanding the greatness of this mystery of salvation, about being able to fathom to what depths and heights Christ went to for mankind and to be able to picture Him bloodied and bruised all for the sake of each one of us. He'd have died just for you...He'd have died just for me. Who else can any of us claim would do that for us... in this world?

How can life in this world be more important than the love of Christ...especially when it can be in us just by asking? Oh, I know this is the way of the world and I realize there are some who will not bow their knee to any authority but their own. I'm sorry those people don't want to know the goodness of the other side of Christ.

I've heard some say Christianity is a crutch. It's far from that. The Bible tells us that
 the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who have been saved it is the power of God (1Corinthians 1:18). I would much rather know that I have God's power on my side, especially knowing how talented He is in His creation alone! He becomes the foundation of the most important life we have and that's eternal life. Who cares what the world thinks? Many in the world have not yet experienced God's saving grace. They may think they have it but if there is any animosity, any denial about what the Word of God states is truth, they aren't there yet. They haven't arrived. There's always hope, though. A sincere prayer to God to make Himself known is all it takes. He will heal that mind that denies the need for Christ in their lives, daily, in every aspect of their lives.

If we don't meditate on God on a daily basis, we've not arrived. If we aren't actively seeking Him, we're not there. We need to let Him speak to us. We need to let Him show us who He is. We need to ask Him with a hungry heart to reveal Himself. Nothing will never be the same after that. Being raised in the church doesn't count; going to church every week won't work either. It's wrapping our hearts around what Jesus has done and being ever so thankful for this that will. If we don't think about Him it can't happen. 

When we are able to sacrifice our own ideas, goals and time to be like Christ, we have achieved that one thing He desires the most. That's when we honor Him. That's when He looks at us with pleasure and says well done. That's when we are on the right road. Not when our work is more important, or our hobbies or leisure time, but when we are doing something we don't necessarily enjoy doing, taking some of our own precious time to do it and knowing someone else will be pleased.

Do we love ourselves more than we love others? How would Jesus have answered that about Himself? Did He love Himself more? Did He ever say He was too busy to speak to someone, to heal someone else, to be compassionate to yet another? Did He ever take a vacation? It was hard for Him to turn people away. Yes, He had to occasionally because, like all of us, He needed to rest. And when He rested it was to regroup with His Father. But His days were filled with people, teaching them, sacrificing His time for them, healing, prophesying. And the only thing that was ever about Him was how He could save others. He knew in time He would be sacrificing His life for everyone. Can you say you would sacrifice one afternoon of doing something you really, really want to do to be with or do something for someone else? I hope there's not a catch in your spirit....

When have we arrived? When we have gotten beyond ourselves and have allowed God to work through us, to sacrifice of ourselves. That's the arrival.

1John 2:16, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rapture ?

Philippians 3:10 - that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. 

There is a term not everyone is familiar with if it is not preached. It is not formally mentioned in the Bible but through phrases and ideas it is described. There are a few views on this by those who believe there will be a Rapture of the saints of God near the last days. These are just my ponderings on the subject, okay?

What is this Rapture? It is the catching away, a removal, of those who have given their lives to Christ. Rapture is defined as
 the state or experience of being carried away or to catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force). It is believed it will happen prior to the last days before Christ returns, before the time of great Tribulation here on earth...a time many today believe we may be close to, of which we are seeing the births pains. 1Thessalonians 4:17 - Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together.

Others believe it will happen sometime during the Tribulation, others after all the troubles in the world are coming to an end and Jesus returns. I get more confused about when it will be the more I read or hear about it. I think there may be various views in our own church, although I think they tend to believe we will be caught away. And I've vacillated in my thinking. I probably will again!

The Bible tells us we can fall prey to lies in the last days, even the staunchest Christians. Although this rapture idea is not a salvation issue, thankfully, there is no doubt in my mind we should be prepared for whatever might occur.

We read about the difficult times the followers of Christ well as Christ. Why should we have it any different? Some might say that life on earth is our suffering but if that's so it ain't that bad that I can't get through it! I get frustrated, anxious, angry. But I get over it till the next time. The suffering we have in this life is part of our taking up our own Cross each day.

Maybe this 
fellowship is in how we live our lives now during difficult times. Surely it is something we must do. Maybe it is how we will react if we see the last days before Christ returns? One can look at it this way...many have gone on before us and did not see the last days... Many have been martyred for their belief in God and many have lived relatively peaceful lives. Only God knows where each of us truly stand "in Christ" and how we carry our Cross. Do we carry it during illness, loss, hardships? And how do we do?

The other thought I've had is that if we all have been taken away, who would be here to carry out God's work? We are to be the light of the world that others might see God through our behavior, our words. If we are not here, then what? Where's that Cross?

I think I'm beginning to fall into the category of those who will see some very difficult times, much worse than what we know now. That's the mid-tribulation rapture. It will definitely separate the wheat from the chaff. It is said that there will be a falling away of many. Although this can happen at any time, this would be the perfect time. Those whose faith just didn't cut the mustard...or better yet, the mustard seed of faith just wasn't there.

There is a great Tribulation ahead of us, one that is far worse than anything we've seen already. Even what appears to be happening in this country that causes many to be upset will be nothing compared to the last days' Tribulation. I'm not convinced we will not see some of the suffering ourselves.

We certainly have a ways to go as individuals and especially a Church (in general) to meet the high standards God has set. So many churches lay claim to "Jesus loves you" only teaching and doesn't speak of His great and awesome judgment for fear of losing their congregation. I pray I will not be part of that kind of church...ever. I'd rather hear about how we must reverently fear God. I'd rather hear the fire and brimstone teachings that are the truth of God's Word. If we attend church and never feel convicted we aren't learning anything. If we aren't taught the truth we will never change. 

Oh, some will walk away from hard messages. The hearts of all people need to be changed. We need to be fed the meat of God's Word, not forever be nourished on milk. Yes...come as little children, but grow to maturity in the truth of the Word of God. Amen??? 1Corinthians 13:11 - When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I've mentioned before that there are still so many mysteries that need to be revealed about God's Word. We will never uncover all of them. This is where our trust in Him is vital. 

The Rapture, like I said, is not a salvation issue. I'm still out with the jury on this one. When I read what the Bible says it sure sounds clear to me that we will be removed from all disaster. Who wouldn't want to bypass the really hard times the world is going to face some day? However, we can take on complacent attitudes with that sort of thinking. I suppose for some their lives right now can be considered difficult. What is considered a difficult? I think everyone's idea of that would be different. I could say at times my life is not easy in some areas. But it's not as bad as others. How bad is bad? Can't answer that. Does our definition have anything to do with the way we look at a situation and handle it? I suspect it does. The fellowship of His sufferings...taking up our Cross.

The important thing is to keep the wisdom coming...the meat of God's Word. Continue to worship God and learn His nature. Stay tuned in to Him rather than the world where the lies are floating about and easy to take in if you don't have a solid foundation in the Way, the Truth and the Life of Jesus Christ. Jesus will return and we must be ready to go with Him, as individuals and the Church. We are clearly not ready. And we do not know the day or hour He will return (Matthew 25:13).

This is a hodge-podge of thoughts, I agree. From coming as little children, sharing Christ's sufferings, taking up our own Cross, the Rapture, the Word... If anyone knows for a fact the true answer, I'd be happy to listen! 

1Thessalonians 3:3-4 - that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In Him

Ephesians 1:11 - In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will...

 In Him. It's all about Him. It's not all about us but about how we are spiritually grafted into the lineage of Christ. We have, after all, Jewish ties, Jewish roots since Jesus was a Jew! A wild olive tree is grafted into a good one that has lost its ability to produce quality, fruit-bearing trees, and we are grafted into the Jewish heritage to produce a body that is in one accord. This is contrary to the idea that a good plant should be grafted onto a wild one. It shows how God's grace is extended to us through salvation "in Jesus Christ.Romans 11:5 - this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Many Jews still do not accept Christ as their Messiah. Back in those days some of the good branches were removed from the good tree to allow for the wild ones. That was God's plan. He chose Gentiles to stir up the Jews. The good olive tree in the Bible is symbolic of Israel. We know the roots of any tree are where it's strength lies. The wild olive branch (Gentiles) is grafted into the good olive tree's root. That root symbolically is Jesus Christ! We, being not of the heritage or lineage of Christ must be grafted in. So, it's all about how we enter in to relationship with Christ! We become "in Him" when we enter into that relationship, when we are grafted in to the lineage of Christ. Romans 11:17 -, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree

Christianity does not replace Israel as some religions try to say. This also brings up the question when Jesus returns, what religion will there be? I don't think it will be Christianity. Jesus was a Jew; it will be His religion...if there even is a religion. I think it will be just one people in one accord, worshiping one Man. That's why it's not about a religion but a relationship...with Him, in Him.

In Ephesians Paul tells us how we were chosen by God before the foundation of the world. We are predestined to adoption into His family. It is He who seeks us and draws us to that perfect place of knowing a time when we willingly acknowledge Him in our lives. If we have been given that opportunity, we should take hold of it or we miss out on a lifetime of so much.

In Him...we have redemption through the blood of Christ. In Him...we are shown the mystery of His will. In Him...we are gathered together in one accord that we may share the inheritance of the heavens. We are set apart to receive spiritual blessings according to His good will. Praise God!

When we trust
in Him and receive Him all these things are given to us through our relationship with Christ. Our relationship is in Him. When we hear the truth of who He is and believe in Him His Holy Spirit is our guarantee until Christ returns. We remain a purchased possession. We don't automatically receive this right but we are given that right when we receive Christ. It's being "in Him."

We may obtain the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. We can know the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance and the exceeding greatness of His power.

In Him...we have been made alive like Jesus is alive, resurrected from our old sinful selves into the growing image of Christ. We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus! We have been brought near to God through Christ. He has created one new man in Him, taking all who were separated from Him and bringing us together with His own, Gentiles one with Jews, wild olive trees with good, that we might all be reconciled with Him.

This is all part of the great mystery. God has it all planned out. Amazing. Hidden from the beginning of time until Christ's appearing, teaching, preaching, good news and gift of salvation for all mankind. All part of God's eternal purpose accomplished through and in Christ. Being grafted into this great inheritance.

Ephesians 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.