Tuesday, August 28, 2012

That You May Believe

John 14:29 - And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.

That you may believe. This what Jesus is all about. Believing...in Him...that we might have life and more abundant life. That we would be free from our sins. That we would take hold of the greatest gift available to man...Jesus Himself.

That you may believe. From Genesis to Revelation it has been told to us that we might believe. We have seen Jesus in the sacrifices and feasts of the Old Testament. We have seen a type of Jesus in Adam, Moses, Noah, Joshua, David, Jonah. He is seen in the personages of prophets, priests and kings. He is seen in the feasts and sacrifices, articles of the temple, the temple itself. Even parts of the early tabernacle, the colors and materials, symbolize who Jesus is. That's why it's all about Him.

That you may believe. All that the disciples saw Him do, speak, how He acted or reacted were for the benefit of any who viewed Him...that they would believe...and carry this message to others and carry on His story. Become His disciples, even today.

That you may believe. The Bible has events and stories of people and places and wars and good and evil to show us how to live. To show us how God operates in people's lives, how He orchestrates our lives, how even bad things can turn into good for those who trust in Him.

That you may believe. I consider today's lifestyle and the way things seem to be deteriorating in our world. Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 24 what to look for...that we may believe when it happens. That we may believe in the One who gave His life that we might be saved.

That you may believe. Again, the entire story of Jesus came about that we may believe. If our hearts are open to receive, to understand, to soak in all that He has told us, shown us, promises us, He is so willing to become our Savior. But salvation only happens when we give up our own strength and allow His strength to work through us. When we do, then we may believe that all He has spoken is true.

Jesus often told us He spoke the truth...that we may believe. He told us He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. His truth sets us free and sanctifies us. His truth can abide in us forever by the power of the Holy Spirit (because that same Spirit will reside within us and therefore will never leave us or forsake us once we have received Him and continue to follow Him). He is truth and grace.

God had a plan. His plan was Jesus...His Son, but also Himself. He showed Himself to us, He chose to write a story about Himself, a great autobiography known as the Bible. A book that describes all He can be for anyone who chooses Him.

This Book is Jesus, the Word of God. It shows what happens to those who choose to come and receive His gifts of grace, mercy and salvation...and also what happens if we do not...a hard truth. It has shown us the flawed people God used...how we are all flawed, and how He will use all our flaws for good. How He cleans up our imperfections and adorns us with robes of righteousness. How our dark lives can be made bright through our receiving of Him. How our unhappiness or turmoil can become peace.

That you may believe. The Book. The accounts. The people, the wars, the good, the evil. The miracles. The birth, the life, the death of Jesus. All pointing to one thing...abundant life in Christ Jesus. That you may believe.

John 20:30-31 - And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Monday, August 20, 2012

He Changeth Not

Psalm 100:1-5 - Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. 

Praise Your name! Praise You for Your grace and mercy upon us, that Your arms are ever extended to all to come to You for that grace and mercy. How is it You put up with us day to day?? You changeth not! Your loves remains the same for all...and so does Your judgment to those who do not choose You. You are about goodness and mercy...and judgment. We will never be good enough, but You have made a way for that through Your Son, Jesus. Praise You. It's all about You, always.

All the things going through my head Sunday morning. I didn't really feel like going to church but didn't know why. The devil's ploy, no doubt. I couldn't concentrate on wanting to ready myself to meet with God at church. Mind was aflutter. Hard to shake it off. Sunday school seemed flat. Should I just go home? No, people will think I'm sick and I'll have to explain myself!! It feels like a full moon... Ach!

Then came worship and the tears flowed. I still don't know where that all came from. I knew it was all about You. I just knew. And then the sermon...it IS all about You! You as much as shouted it in my ear...even before I knew what the sermon would be about..."It's about ME, Laurie. It's about ME. No matter what happens, no matter what is going on, it's about ME. Stay focused on ME. Friends will come and go, or those you trust or admire you will find are not perfect and can hurt, too. It doesn't matter. It's about ME."

The sermon! Our worship is not just in the music but in all we do in our lives that pleases Him. What we do to honor Him. When we are in His will. When we lay aside our feelings (like I struggled with earlier) and begin and stay focused on Him.

How I desire one heart within our church, that we worship in one accord. How I desire we all act as though we are lesser than the next person. All parts of the body are necessary and play important roles. Can we all show humbleness to one another? It's not about us; it's about Him. It's about what He desires we do. If we enter into worship, in spirit and in truth, He will be there. Are we still a disjointed people in our church? Are we getting any closer to being something other than what we've been and becoming closer to what He desires? 

Where was all this coming from?? Father God, You watch from Your heavenly throne. What must You think? Sheep straying, needing that Shepherd to guide us. Lips flapping, tongues clacking, each of us  making disagreeable noises... Forgive us all Lord. And keep our eyes focused on You. Let us try harder not to judge others. Let us love instead. Let us take the scowls off our faces when we don't like something we see or hear or when something doesn't go our way. Let us see through Your eyes. Help us Lord.

In the days ahead it will be even so much more necessary to praise Him. The more we praise the more He gives. I'm not just praising here to say I've done my share of praising for the day because it's my responsibility. I'm praising because it's what I feel in my spirit. All He has done for me; all He is doing; all He will do. Lamentations 3:22 says Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. His compassions never fail...He changeth not! His love covers us.

Sorry if this all sounds so disjointed! I know He knows what I mean... It's all about Him.

Again, praise Your name, for Your mercy endures forever. Thank You for that mercy. And thank You for the undeserved grace Jesus brought/bought for us. You bore all the sins of the world past, present and future, for me. And You did it for all who choose to follow You. And You search the hearts and minds looking for those who WILL worship You in Spirit and in truth. All the praise, honor and glory belong to You, Lord God.

Psalm 113:3 - From the rising of the sun to its going down, the Lord’s name is to be praised.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Your Will Be Done On Earth

Matthew 6:10 - Let Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

I prayed this the other day. We have an election coming up in November. Sometimes I get a little anxious thinking about the outcome and then have to remind myself (constantly) that God is in control. He will place the man in power that will carry out the next phase of His plans for this country and the world. We cannot place our trust in a man, unless He is THE Man!

I'm certain of this...some day people will begin to truly wonder what is happening to us. And one of two things will happen. Either there will be a rush to the churches and a lot of questioning as to what is going on, or there will be a lot of confusion, fear, even anger...and a turning from God. Whatever happens, I believe we will be seeing God at work, preparing the Way for His return. In the process He will be attempting to draw all men unto Him.

And we have the choice to make...seek God for His protection, through salvation in no one other than Jesus Christ, or attempt to set things straight in man's own way. Fists will be shaken, scoffers looming at those who believe and trust in the Lord. There will even be a falling away of some who have trusted in the Lord only to see trouble brewing. Oh, Lord, let me have the strength in those days to continue my walk with You, to not be shaken but be proven through Your strength. My name does not mean victorious for nothing!

As we pray for His will to be done, we must realize that it could be rough for us. We might have to succumb even more to what Jesus experienced...hatred, persecution. That's why we must have this relationship with Him now, so we are built up in our strength (...rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:7). He will carry us through. We must be found absolutely faithful to Him in those days...those days when the road becomes narrower and narrower and fewer and fewer people are on it. (“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it." Matthew 7:13)

Heavenly Father, continue to build us up in our faith. Continue to lead us down the true path of victory in You. Thank You for Your call on our lives for salvation and continue to open the eyes of the blind each day, Lord God. Unstop the ears of the deaf. Make the lame to find the narrow path that they might walk upon it.

We can be so sure of our salvation if we just receive Christ into our lives. Its an easy commitment to make: Lord, it is my desire to know You and Your wisdom right now. It is my desire that You cleanse me of my sins. I repent of the life I have lived without You. I ask for Your forgiveness. I thank You that You are a living God, full of mercy to those who seek You. You give us greater wisdom of who You are when we are determined to seek You. You hold the keys to our future. Thank You for showing me the right and narrow way.

Proverbs 30:4 - Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Acts 9 - As [Saul] journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one... And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 

I'm so struck by this story of conversion. It was instantaneous. Saul saw as the world saw. He was totally blind to the truth of Jesus. He persecuted Christians for their beliefs. So God had to physically blind him to make a point..to get him to the place of believing, to a place of humility and then raise him up! The light [of Christ] shone around him from heaven! That's what happens. I think of the man born blind. This man did not know how he was made to see but he knew that he once was blind but now he saw...and a certain Man did it.

Here's Saul. He was now made blind but, three days later, he was able to see again. And he changed completely. The Lord gave him a new name too, Paul. Saul meant asked or prayed for. Despite the meaning of Paul's name--small--he would become a prolific speaker and preacher because of this impressive conversion experience. God can use the small and insignificant people or things... (Even though I am untrained in speech, I am not in knowledge...2 Corinthians 11:6)  He may have been small in stature, but he also considered himself of no account without the wisdom from above. He also knew where he had been and where he now was--a giant step forward. Just goes to show where we can come from nothing but when used of God we are great in His eyes.

There are many people in the world this has happened to and still yet to come. When nothing looks possible, that's when it's most possible for God. He can take the most obstinate person and make a change. That impressive change is to glorify God because others will say, What in the world happened to the old so and so! People will take notice. They might even listen to the newfound beliefs. I sort of wish this had happened to me...I've changed but not so impressively. Rats!

God's timing is perfect. When all seems hopeless for this situation or that or this person or that, if your faith is as small as a mustard seed, and if you plant seeds yourself, if you follow through in prayer, your Saul could become a Paul! 

A friend gave me a delightful little homemade gift one day which I framed. It's a reminder, both of a discussion we had and a great declaration we can make. It says:  Call those things which do not exist as though they did. It is the last part of Romans 4:17.  I pray for a voice! In a way it would be I my own Saul/Paul conversion. (Although I've heard my voice on tape and think how it might be best for me to keep my thoughts on paper!)

The Lord declared a lot of things. In Christ we can do the same. If it's in the Bible, it can be. The Bible, the Word, Christ...can be all things to all people. He can transform. Here are a few declarations:

Genesis 1 - And God said...and it was good.
Isaiah 42:8-9 - I am the LORD, that is My name...Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.
Psalm 81:10 - I pray, open my mouth wide and God will fill it. (This is for me!)
Proverbs 16:3 - I commit my actions to the Lord and my plans will succeed.
Ephesians 2:10 - For I am God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do.
Philippians 4:13 - I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Empty Altars

Philippians 4:6 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God...

Are the altars empty in our churches? Have we gotten to a place of such comfort and complacency in our lives we feel we do not need to seek God for His wisdom for our needs/lives? Do we rely on the prayers of others to accomplish that? Are our altars at home just as empty?

It has been a discussion among a few that we as a church need to be asking the people in our church to freely come to the altar and seek God directly. Don't wait to be asked; go at any time. Let our pride go and know that each of us is pretty much in the same place somehow in our lives...in need of answers from the Lord. We all need to know, although it should be a given, that no one will judge (or shouldn't) because we are a needy people, as much as some don't want to think so.

We don't need to go through prayer partners to be prayed over weekly. We need to be going directly to the Lord with our petitions, supplications...and just sitting at His feet listening intently for His words for us. Oh, we can agree in prayer (where two or more are gathered in His name...) but seeking God first is always the best thing. And seek Him for "whatever" with thanksgiving...always with thanksgiving.

The thought in some churches is not to make anyone uncomfortable. It's easier to cover up a person's need for prayer by saying something like "whatever your request is, come for prayer" instead of addressing a specific need or sin. I suppose that's okay. But there's something about coming forward on one's own, standing, kneeling or lying prone before the altar to seek God for the prayers we have.

Oh my, how God wants us to come directly to Him. How would our lives be transformed if we did that? Might we see more results or hear directly from Him regarding our situation? I understand how praying with someone is our responsibility and how sometimes it's nice to hear actual words where God can be silent. There's nothing wrong with seeking prayer from someone. And there's nothing wrong with receiving a word of knowledge from someone either. But it should not be a replacement for our Almighty God. Seeking man's intervention is not anything like having Jesus as our Mediator. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus... (1 Timothy 2:5 NKJV)

An altar is where we worship God. It is where we bring our sacrifices and offerings, lay our troubles down. We bring ourselves to Him. We sacrifice ourselves to Him. We worship Him there. It's where we come to the Lord fully trusting He hears our prayers, as He says He does. It's trusting His will will be done in our situation...whether it's how we imagined it or not...and still continuing to trust.

Have you gone to your altar today? Have you sought the Lord wherever your altar might be? Have you set up an altar? Remember, we are the Temple of God if we have received Christ. Within that temple there is an altar...it goes wherever you do. What does going to the altar, wherever you might be, do:

Philippians 4:7 - ...and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Need answered prayers? Need peace? Need wisdom? Need Jesus? Go to that altar and seek Him.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Snuggling In

Jeremiah 23:24 - Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord. 

Yesterday was a rainy day up nort'! (Northern Wisconsin in "Wisconsin-ese.") A day of reflection, books, cribbage, quiet, and even an electrician...listening to the rain beating down on the roof of the cabin. 

My friend Carol and I remarked how though we had nothing to do, no place to go, didn't want to venture out in the rain, but rather stay snuggled in our comfortable clothes, coffees in one hand, books in the other hand, in our comfortable appointed chairs, we could be content. And because of the quietness, the presence of the Lord was even greater. Not that we needed to actually think of Him or speak His name. It was just that sense that He was there. We sensed Him just in watching the rain.

"How much better can it get," she remarked. And that so true. We need this quiet time in our lives, away from our house and the activities of the day to get refreshed. I felt a spiritual refreshing taking place. Not that I don't sense God's presence at home...but this is a remote quietness...without the daily routines and responsibilities. A time, as it were, to snuggle in with the Lord.

Who can understand this? I know He is wherever we are. But this is special. A true quiet time with our Heavenly Father. We were, and still are, each both closed in with and delighting in our Lord. He surrounded each of us as we did our own things. Then...we joined together with Him to rejoice again in our activities together...eating (which we're good at), cribbage (which we're also good at), relaxing, talking, even praying together as the Lord led.

Heavenly Father, again I come to You rejoicing in Your company. I rejoice in being snuggled in with You yet another day and allowing the quiet to help our senses feel Your presence. We praise You and bless You, Lord.

We are thankful that because Your Spirit is in us we can always experience Your presence. Lord, You are so great...and greatly to be praised. 

Psalm 139:7, 8b, 10b - Where can I go from Your Spirit? ...(Wherever I am,) You are there. Or where can I flee from Your presence? ...Your right hand shall hold me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Breeze in the Trees!

Romans 8:38-39 - For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

I saw the breeze in the trees early this morning. I sensed the rains a'comin! And the next thing I knew they were upon us. I am in the northern woods of Wisconsin with a friend. We are enjoying God's quiet beauty and each others' company...and our own time of cribbage Olympics, as Carol says!

Heavenly Father, I thank You for this day. I thank You for the dark, gloomy skies and the rain that is pouring down. I thank You for the distant thunder that may come. I see the breeze in the trees and know You are showering us with Your love.

Thank you for Your presence this day, Lord God. Thank You for Your provision and  for a comfortable hideaway away from the storms of the day. Thank You for a quiet day of reflection of who You are and can be in our lives. Thank You that You wrap us in Your warmth and keep us sheltered.

Refresh us Lord like You refresh with rain. Renew our spirits and let our hearts become like the sun that we know will shine again tomorrow. 

You never leave us or forsake us! You are with us in all storms of life, just like You are in physical, refreshing storms. Your rains wash us clean of impurities. Wash us today, O God. Let our hearts be purified and filled with joy overflowing, like a rain gauge on a railing!!! You ARE our Living Water.

We praise You, O God, for Your wondrous creation. We praise You for Your goodness and Your love. We are indebted to You for our salvation, the greatest gift one could ever receive. We worship You for all that You have been, are and will be, for the promises in general and those promises specific to our each of our lives. Although we can't possibly understand all that You do, we are confident and rejoice that Your will is Your will and it WILL be good!

Thank You again for the refreshing rain and a day in You.

In Your precious name I pray, Jesus, amen.

Psalm 104:33-35 - I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord. ... Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our Foundation

Our Foundation

2Timothy 2:19 - Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

We all know what foundations are. The meaning of the word is: the act of founding; a basis upon which something stands or is supported (Webster's).

All things revolve around God, if you don't already know that.

If we look at the world, God brought about the act of founding, in His act of creation. He also was the foundation of this nation. He is to be our foundation. Upon His foundation we stand secure, in life, in death. He was, is and is to come. His Word should be the foundation upon which we learn how to live, how we conduct business, deal with people, worship Him, know His Son. It should be our standard.

Are we perfect? No. But we have the means to righteousness through Jesus Christ. Our flaws and imperfections and sins can be covered by Jesus' atonement for our sins. If we sin, we have only to ask for His forgiveness and He will forgive. It is the foundation of these truths that make us His children.

I'm still thinking about Jonathan Cahn's book and DVD series, The Harbinger and Isaiah 9:10 Judgment. There are way too many occurrences that have happened to Israel thousands of years ago and what happened here on 9/11. Way too many to be considered coincidences.

If the Bible and God are to be our foundation, we should be able to see how what transpired in biblical history can show us what our present and future will bring.  We are truly seeing God at work today.

God is always at work, even in the little things that go by unnoticed in our daily lives, things we may never know about. But He's setting stages all over the world to put His plans in motion. The ultimate goal is for people to see Him as Sovereign Lord of all, One who knows the beginning from the end, who knows what is best for us, who attempts to interact in our lives every day. He's not some overbearing God who only wants us to do for Him because He says so. He has given us a choice in following Him. But for those who do, for those who listen, take heed, actively seek Him and obey Him, those He will bless.

Yes, He wants us all to worship Him...because He is the Sovereign God. He's not some ego maniac. He wants only what's best for us. He's like the greatest Father we could ever want. He will provide all we need...not necessarily all we want. He will protect us from our enemy. He will keep us safe and He will allow us to live forever in glory with Him...providing we seek Him, live for Him. Yes, there are provisions for this eternal life.

It is necessary to be in relationship with His Son. It is important to have the Holy Spirit  in our lives that we may learn, may see, may understand the deeper things of God. That only commences with receiving His Son. It's the infilling of the Holy Spirit upon this receipt. I can truly say I know how I felt the day I allowed Jesus to enter into my life. It was a real feeling that took weeks for me to find out what it was I'd felt. Oh happy day!

This relationship  with Jesus/God is our foundation. It all starts there. We can read the Bible or go to church but until one sits alone with the Bible in hand (open!) and sits and listens for the words of the Lord, we are not experiencing the Lord. He's still some idea somewhere out there that we cannot see or touch. But if we have this foundation, His presence is with us continually. He walks beside us.

I've had very moving experiences where I knew that I knew Jesus was holding me. He'd be taking me deep into the recesses of my memory, bringing up old hurts, then letting me experience the pain one more time before comforting me in such a way that I knew He was healing me and I not longer needed to cling to the hurt or guilt. He has also been strength in difficult times when I knew the people around me had been placed there by Him.

This is one reason why He should be our foundation. His healing power. His strength for any difficult situation. We live with stuff that we hide or cover up because it's hurtful or embarrassing or shameful. Thank God He wants to forgive those things. And He is right beside us when something unexpected happens. That foundation of strength.

Our foundation...that solid footing under us. That belief system that is a sure thing. That solid rock we can stand upon surely. That is what Jesus can be for us, what He is for those who have gone through a true face to face meeting with Jesus. I can't tell you the peace in the midst of all that's going on in this world. I am secure in Christ.

On the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, the old hymn goes. I think there is a time coming when it will seem as though the world is in this sinking sand. Those, however, who have the rock, the foundation beneath their feet will not sink. It will not take away the stuff that's happening. We will still have to go through stuff, but our faith will hold us up. And the Lord will deliver us from it all.

It's hard to know if my faith is strong enough, but I have sensed lately that I am placing more faith in the unseen. I'm feeling a bit stronger that God will provide. I think we still need to prepare to some degree for disaster, when we begin to see things happen in today's Israel. It will be our clue that God is planning something big. Better to know that now. Have that firm foundation beneath our feet now than to scramble on unsteady rocks or sink in the sand of uncertainty.

Matthew 7:25 - ...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. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Deliver Me

Psalm 6:4 - Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake! 

Back to the Psalms!

Deliver me. David's words to God for the trouble he was encountering. Save me. My bones are troubled. My soul is greatly troubled. How long?

We can all relate to David. We all have sins, to be sure. We can be greatly troubled by our own stuff of life, as well as troubled by what is happening in the world, if we care. We might cry out for deliverance from whatever it is that causes us distress. Although we have Jesus, we will not be completely without trouble. Sometimes we feel weak...and that's when our cries should be to God. How long? Our strength is in Him. He is the answer.

Prayer requests come through weekly at hour church. Sometimes for healing. Sometimes the sale of a house. Sometimes for a job and God's provision until one comes along. Any of these things can be considered an enemy of sorts. David had an undefined enemy for which he cried out, how long, O Lord? Deliver me.

David made a statement, one that I had to read over and over. Verse 5: For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks? I saw it to mean that he, David, loved the Lord, worshipped Him and if death was near it would only remove the ability to do so--the ability to be thankful for all He's done. David was weary with groaning, filled with grief, desirous that his troubles would be over, that his heart would be done with the grieving so he would be able to worship with all his heart, in gladness.

I don't believe for a moment David ever stopped praising and worshiping God. In our human weakness, though, we do grow weary at times. That's when we need to just say to God, thank you--for whatever way you are building me up through this, for knowing exactly when I will see the breakthrough I'm needing. I'm trusting in You.

After weeks of news from around the world, my heart has become slightly troubled. Not to the point of total distress, but where I think, how long, O Lord? How long will this continue? When will YOU bring the end to it all? When will You return? We have to admit there is more sad, frustrating or infuriating news than good. That's what makes news, riles us and stirs us up. There is definitely a double standard, probably from either view point. Evil is becoming the new good and good is taking the back seat. Good is intolerable. Evil is tolerated. But praise God...there will be an end...a good end.

It's a sign of the times. Those days spoken of in the Bible. Evil will only get worse and good will languish. Evil will overtake...for a time...and then evil will be met with Good and will be overtaken once and for all. Funny, though, how people don't get what evil is. Our greatest enemy is satan although not many see it like that. He is permeating society in the act of tolerance of what is not good. He is commonplace and just not recognized anymore. And he's gaining ground. But praise God again! Jesus has overcome the enemy.

Aren't there days when we wonder how long it will be before we are delivered from something that troubles us? The troubles in the world, for instance. When will all this angst subside? Or closer to home...maybe it's an illness. Could be a relationship that isn't going the way you thought. Perhaps a decision that needs to be made that could cause hurt feelings. Or maybe just something you've longed for, something you've asked God about, prayed about, and all you desire is His strength in the ability to do...

In the end of all his vocal commiserations, David remembers God hears and receives his prayers. We cannot stop praying--it's part of our worship. Ask for retribution--in a godly way. Lord, let the enemy be ashamed and troubled (v10). In other words, bring an end to this situation, Lord. Let right prevail and wrong fail. If our personal trouble is our enemy, it's brought on by him who only wants to see us languish and weaken. When we are troubled we can experience disillusionment. However, we are strengthened in our weakness if we hold on to Jesus Christ. Banish the thought, remember His promises and know a end will be near. 

He does hear us as we cry out to Him. We feel weak and yet His Word tells us we are strong in Him. Contradicts? I don't think so. It could be we just are impatient. We aren't waiting on His time. We aren't trusting in Him. For me I cry out for a voice. I have such a desire for my written words to be spoken. I'm a quiet person of sorts and maybe this is my voice, although I know God equips us for whatever He desires we do. Maybe I'm missing opportunities. There are times when my tongue feels like it is stuck to the roof of my mouth. Forgive me, Lord, if I am missing something! Shall I be content with mini-opportunities? Will those mini-moments add up someday? Through it all, though, I will worship You.

We might all have those how long moments. In the grand scheme, I wonder when will the world's eyes be opened to God? When will they listen and actually hear? When will what should be right become right again? When will the Lord return to end all this...so that our enemies would be ashamed and greatly troubled? Remember, the enemy can also be those who do not believe, who do not hear.

Unbelievers are all over the world. They are next door, at work, in our own homes, even in our church. When they refuse to see the power of God at work, when they scoff at the great words He has given us. When they don't believe a relationship with Him is necessary in this life. When they believe all they have is what they can see, touch and smell today. One day those things will be gone and they might be among those ashamed and troubled for not believing what God has shown us. This world is a vast wilderness of unbelievers.

There are some who see what's happening, who try to be the voice, like John the Baptist, the one crying out in that wilderness. Those wanting others to realize what God is trying to show us. Some hear, some do not. Some will be ashamed and troubled one day. Deliver me. Let my voice be heard, Lord. Open my lips to speak. I know the consequences...lost relationships and scoffers. But I also know what the truth is. I stand behind Your Word, O God. Lord, how long?

Psalm 6:8-9 - ...the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD has heard my supplication...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Lord's Return

Habakkuk 1:5 - Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it.

I read the above scripture this morning. It's a good word for us. You know how I have written about God being in control of all things, even though we don't see it, how He sets all things in place like a puzzle. Someday He will put in that last puzzle piece. Like the words of the Bible, prophetic fulfillment...things must take place, will fall into place, for the fulfillment of the Lord's return.

For thousands of years we have heard Jesus is returning and we've not seen it. Some have placed dates on when He would return, and they were so terribly wrong. Remember a thousand years to God is as a day. Since creation He has been putting together that puzzle. This first must happen in order that this will and so on. You can't take one puzzle piece and place it haphazardly in the puzzle if it does not have another one to connect to. 

There will be skeptics...they are also called scoffers, those who roll their eyes at the truth. The Bible tells us this will happen. The Bible is truth. There will be wars and rumors of war. We see this happening. While I'm not the best person to write about prophetic events, and I may not be as in tune with world events as others, I think when something big happens I will know it. I sense things even now and wait for the other proverbial shoe to drop!

I read a news article the other day. It's been one I have anticipated and looked forward to for a while. It's been written that before the Lord returns, a new Temple must be built...in Jerusalem, the City of God, Israel's capital, the place where Jesus will return. I have read the new garments and utensils used within the Temple have been finished. The article I just read is entitled: Jewish Home MK calls for a Third Temple in Jerusalem and says that although there has been a plan for years to rebuild, that plan could be in motion shortly. For additional information, check out this link: Temple Institute

Even if we are wrong and we don't see His return in our lifetime, I am grateful to have been a part of all that is transpiring, to first be called by God to become a follower, to gain wisdom and discernment that He provides and to be able to see and identify that God's hand is working things out...all things work together for good...even if we have to go through difficulties in our lives. Those difficulties strengthen, and draw (or should) us closer to God.

If a person understands scripture and can relate it to what is happening around us today, we can see how all this is putting puzzle pieces together in God's eternal puzzle. He has so got it so all figured out. It's exciting even in the midst of probable disaster. If we are called His people we will be taken care of, we will be given strength to endure.

There WILL come a new world order (Revelation 13:16-17). There WILL be one charismatic man who will be the head of it (Daniel 7:8). He WILL be the anti-Christ, who is satan (1John 2:20), and he WILL profane God's Holy Place, the Temple, by proclaiming he is the Messiah (Daniel 11:36). (2Thessalonians 2:3-4 - Let no one deceive you by any means...the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.) I've known for a time that the anti-Christ will be middle-eastern, probably Islamic. Does this give one a sense of what we have to look forward to for our future? Do we see a rise in this culture across the world? A good reason to know what the truth of God's Word says and Who Truth is and what He proclaims.

When this happens, there will be seven years like we've not seen before. And after those seven years Jesus will return to fight one last time before reigning for 1,000 years on earth with His people, called by His name, before reigning eternally in Heaven where there is no war, only peace, no sickness, only perfect bodies, where we will see the Lord face to face. 

Often God tells us to open our eyes, minds, ears and hearts to receive the words He has spoken. "Let no man deceive you..." If we don't know His Word we will be deceived. And one evil man will cause deception; he will cause one to scoff, he will cause the truth to be twisted. Will? Is!! I know there is a blindness in this world today that causes some to think everything will be just fine. Some day it will not. And for some it may be too late.

The word is out there. People are trying to bring the message...the same message that has been brought from Genesis to Revelation. There is a God who desires your allegiance...a personal one. He desires your heart so you will be spared in the last days. He desires hearts devoted to Him, not scoffers. He has laid out the source of all truth in His Word. He has sent His Word to us in the form of Jesus, who is also known as THE Truth. To avoid the disaster that is to come, follow the Way, Jesus.

Look around and see that God is doing something...in order that you might take notice. What's the worst thing that can happen? We give our lives to Christ and live with a peace in our hearts and confidence, that even if He doesn't show up in our life time (depending on our age!) we have become His, despite what the world wants to believe, and our eternal life is secure. To coin a very old phrase, better safe than sorry.

Acts 13:38-41 - "Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin...Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: "'Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.'"