Wednesday, October 31, 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. 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 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...even trying times. 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. It's 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? 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Conformed or Transformed?

Romans 12:1-2 - 1 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.

I've been concentrating on the difference between what the world believes and the totally radical concepts that Jesus taught. His views so go against the world's. That's why He was crucified. That's why followers are branded, as it were. Being in Christ and living in the world view do not mix. If the world view is more important, then a person is not in Christ. Hard words.

I'm sort of a perfectionist in some areas of life. I don't like making mistakes. I have beaten myself up over the silliest things. But I'm getting better at letting those foibles go and realizing I'm only human, that we all make mistakes. Some are just worse than others. Some are laughable.

One mistake we should not make is rejecting the One who created us. This is the biggest mistake. It's not laughable. Being conformed to the world view of life is a mistake. Being transformed by the truth of God's word IS our reasonable service. After all, the One who created us has the power to determine our eternal future. Do we want the world view or God's? Do we want lies or the truth? Or don't we care? Don't make the mistake of not caring.

Our reasonable service. 1Corinthians 6:20 tells us: You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. Christ died for our sins. It's only reasonable that we do our part to show our gratitude. We are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, to do His will, to share His love, have His compassion to those around us. It comes from His heart, not ours. World view (confirmation) is patting ourselves on the back, to show how good we are. God's view  (transformation) is it's done without thought to what reward we will get, what recognition, and possibly dying! If we are recognized, fine, accept it humbly. If not, don't get your undies in a bundle.

Jesus is truth. It is in His way we should walk. We are transformed when we allow His words (of truth) to penetrate our lives. Know Jesus, know what truth is. Eyes opened. Hearts submitted. Pride relinquished. Transformed.

I certainly do remember how I used to think. I remember how I used to feel that I could have more fun at parties with alcohol to loosen me up. I remember "knowing" if everyone does whatever, then it must be okay. How could God (yes, even then I thought about Him) punish so many? He wouldn't do that. We're all basically good people. Wouldn't the majority rule? Yes, I used the basically good line on myself. I remember believing quite the opposite of what I think today. I don't miss those old world views. I relish the fact that truth always wins out in the end. Truth is goodness. Lies are evil. When lies are exposed and truth becomes ingrained, it's hard to go back. Praise God for that.

Unfortunately we have an enemy who distorts truth, makes it look like it's a good thing. And there are many who fall into that trap. I've mentioned before God is not a tyrant and does not force us to be something we don't want to. When we voluntarily receive Christ, He does the work of making us better than we were...sanctified and holy in His sight...not necessarily a popular concept to the world...a concept that can cause us to be easily be rejected by those around us.

God is always trying to get our attention. If one incident fails, He tries another. What if Hurricane Sandy, like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, other disasters we've experienced isn't God's way of trying to reach out to us as a nation...or as others have said, the Church? Complacency in our walk with the Lord begins with each of us, but if our churches aren't preaching what we need to hear...about needs to change. No more milk toasty messages. God loves, but so does He judge.
If the idea Sandy is another one of God's attention-getters, maybe we need to humble ourselves. God is bigger than we are; He also brought this country into being. Maybe we need to think twice and consider the possibility of a God who is in control of everything. 

We are told to fear God, who has the power of life and death in lives, over mere man. Maybe it's time this country and the Church begins doing that. He's after our transformed souls. He's after a people who are truly devoted to Him. Without Him we are lost, including some churches.

... do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What can man do to me? (Matthew 10:28, Hebrews 13:6b)

Monday, October 29, 2012

God's Word

Zechariah 1:6 - But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors? "Then they repented and said, 'The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.'"

As usual, the words leapt off the page. All of the five verses previous to this were Zechariah receiving more of this word from the LORD directed to the people of Israel, God's chosen people.

These words, as I have often stated, are for us today too. Just because they are Old Testament scriptures for the Jewish people, they are for us too. The Old Testament, miraculously, by God!s hand, shows us from beginning to end who He is, what He desires and requires...and how to know the Word, who is Jesus. God's Word has been written for us to learn from. And what has happened all throughout the pages will happen again. The Bible is God's Word. His Word is truth.

This is why we need to know what is in there. It's why we need to have it in our hearts and before us at all times, like the frontlets the Jewish priests would wear: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (Deuteronomy 6:6-8) The priests literally wore little boxes (phylacteries) that held words of the Torah that His Word would forever be before them.

Oh, that more people today would do that. Not that we wear the words, but consume them, take them in, that they be understood, taken to heart, used as a tool for right living.  Taste and see that the LORD is good, Psalm 34 says.

These words above are saying: yet surely My words...the words spoken by the prophets (and included in the Bible)...God's words through these men...were spoken to admonish, prophecy and teach. They are forever words because the Word of God is timeless.

The people of Israel dismissed the words and as God had told them, the thing He had said happened, just as He said it would. Overtake here means to come upon suddenly. Don't you think if it happened then it will now? If we don't take His word seriously we could see what He has warned us about take place for us too.

I think we are seeing it all around us today. What will tomorrow hold? Just look at the Word to find out... It stands to reason that all God's words will some day be so clear. There are many today who see it happening. There are also many who don't.

It's by God's Spirit that these words are opened to us. This is truly one of the glorious mysteries of God. God's Spirit in someone isn't there to make one greater than another. It's a which anyone can have...through a relationship with Christ. That's all it takes!

When we heed the Word of God we are in His protection and provision. Will we be perfectly obedient? I wish I could say yes. But we won't be. We are still human with human frailties. If we were perfect we wouldn't need a Savior. Only He is the perfect, spotless Lamb of God.

God's Word repeatedly pleaded: "Return to Me." Will we as a people, as a nation or world return to Him? Here's His promise: ...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2Chronicles 7:14)

He will heal the land but He will heal the person too. He will heal the person first. That's the most important thing He'll do. He'll set your feet on solid ground that you will not sink in the time of trouble. He will be the Rock. He will set your future for you that no matter what transpires, you will be assured of a good end. God says He has good plans for us, to prosper us, not to harm us, to give us hope and a future, a future secure in the knowledge that we will live with Him forever in the peace we've always dreamed of, the only true hope for peace...that man cannot give.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Praises to God!

Psalm 98:1 - Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. 

Lord God,

Thank You for this day. Thank You for who You are in my life. Thank You for Your free gift of salvation, for Your shed blood on the cross...Your death for my life. For Your resurrection and Your living among us today.

Heavenly Father, forgive me of my insecurities and oh so many faults. I know in You I am Your new creation and yet still so in need of You. I have Your righteousness and holiness, not because I deserve them but because You chose to give them...and not just to me but for anyone who desires to be in relationship with You.

I thank You that only You can open the eyes of those who do not know You in ways unimaginable, that they might believe. I thank You for Your creativeness. Continue to soften hearts to receive You. Let us be able to see the need in others. Let us respond like You would. Let us be Your hands and feet.

You know, Lord, I am not arrogant about my relationship with You. I am unworthy, and yet You love me just the same. Thank You that's how You feel about others. I pray that we do not frown at the thought of someone not knowing You instead of feeling a desire they do know You. Give us compassion for their souls.  Forgive us, Lord, if we fail in this area. Forgive us as You forgive them because "they know not what they do."

Your name is holy. Your name is above all other names. No one is greater than You. You are high and lifted up. The train of Your robe fills the temple with glory. What a vision that is. Your name is beautiful. There is no other name but the name of Jesus. How I long to see Your face...that our faith will be replaced by Your face.

With that thought and vision in my mind, let Your kingdom come, Father God. Let Your will be done. We see this world in turmoil and see the anger and/or fear that is arising because people are not seeing the hope and change they had been looking for. You are the only real hope and change. Let all mankind put their trust in You, for only You are worthy.

Lord, provide for us today. Whatever our need might be, let us look to You for it. Sometimes our only need is to be in Your will...and all other things will fall into place. Hallelujah! Our need today may not be the need of tomorrow, but then You know it all; nothing is hidden from You. We can trust in You.

Let us call on You in every time of need. Remind us that we are who You say we are in You and that at just the mention of Your name, Jesus, our enemy must take flight from our presence. We are stronger than we know! We have power we cannot even yet imagine...let us use that power to overcome any obstacle thrown before us, including any temptation.

You alone, my God, are the King of all. Your power far exceeds the power of any man and only You, Lord, are to be glorified. I will trust in You for my life, my hope and, above all, my change. Continue to change me, to make me into exactly that person You desire me to be.

I will praise Your name forever.

John 17:11 - Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

He Who Has Begun a Good Work

Philippians 1:6 - ...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ...

We all have unsettling days. I've gone through a few and there will be more to come. Yet, I will praise the Lord. Praise Him for the work He is doing, although I don't see it. Praise Him just because I know that what He does is always for good, not evil. Praise Him that He is the Lord of all and all evil is under His feet. Praise Him because I am His child and if He cares about a small sparrow, how much more does He care for me?

I've heard people say they were in a spiritual battle. I know people within our church who are in the midst of difficult times with no end that they can see. But God...knows. I would never have thought I'd be in a spiritual battle. I wasn't so sure this wasn't just something man made up to disguise whatever it was they had no way of explaining. But one day you awaken and know in your spirit something's not right. But the spiritual battle means there's some great victory in the end. It's what we can hold on to till we are through it.

You question God: Why do I feel like this? Is it something I've done wrong? Am I out of your will? Have I even been in it? Are You, Lord, in any of this? And if not, why not? You begin to question yourself: Am I doing too much or not enough? Is what I am doing worthwhile? Am I qualified? You plead for answers and hear nothing.

Here's the thing: there is an enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. And no child of God is immune to his attacks. No one. He wants to undermine everything you do for God. He wants to whittle away at self-esteem, purpose, gifts. He wants to totally destroy you. And when you recognize this you have to tell him, in Jesus' name, he is not wanted and he must get out! And then you must remind yourself and this enemy who you are in Christ and what He has promised.

I've been battling fatigue for awhile. I've been battling a dryness in my soul. I've been feeling like God is distant. I've felt the Word has lost it's meaning. I try to read and it makes no sense...and yet when I hear a scripture it can bring tears of joy. Who can understand all this? Where do the blogs come from? Are they my mind writing or is God giving me the words? Am I writing truth or fiction?

In finally...finally...admitting this to a friend, she understood. It has happened to her. Was my pride holding back my feelings, wanting to only be seen as all together!? Was the reason I went home before going to Sunday service last weekend (in tears) part of this? Is this why I find it hard to get motivated? Even my blogs seem difficult to write. I have several sort of written but not really complete. Thoughts drift in and out but are never quite complete.

As my friend said, If you feel like weeping, weep. You don't know what intercession you might be in the midst of during it. But why do I not hear God; why do I not sense His presence? I feel so all alone. I feel lost. I feel like sleeping...

But God... Am I in my own what if, then moment, like Esther? But God... I know I'm a child of God. I know His promises for me. I know He will never leave me or forsake me. And here I am in this hole, a black emptiness surrounded by sleepiness...sometimes sleeplessness.

But God...and I took another look at the blog I wrote several days ago but only posted the other day. What I've been writing lately has come out of a heart in discord. I've been writing things that speak to my inner turmoil! Not just but God...but only God.

I poured my heart out to my friend in tears. Why am I going through this? Is this what a spiritual attack is? Her answers I already knew, but you tend to forget when you aren't tracking properly. One thought was God is getting ready to do something big. Another was what I'd heard and written about (many times) that can happen...God puts you through things to strengthen you...and when you come out of it, there's a change you would never have guessed was occurring (because you're sleeping through it all??). I thank my God He never slumbers nor sleeps!

But the thing to remember, what I needed to remember, is that I am a child of God. I am sealed by His blood. He began a good work and, by golly, He will see it to the end. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

My friend said I might be on the Lord's potter's wheel. He may be in the process of molding and shaping me. He may be wanting to work some things OUT of me...perhaps things I've clung on to for too long...or maybe wanting to work IN me. Insecurities, fear, doubt, pride...or the opposite of them. Hey, whatever it is, if I come out at the end of this internal battle with or without whatever, I WILL be praising God because I will know I didn't do it on my own...just like I write about.

But God, what if...then...ways of knowing He is for us and not against us. Ways to added trust in Him. Ways to put all confidence in Him. Ways to know that He stands all around you protecting just one more of His flock.

Lord, help me to hear and know without a shadow of a doubt that you are guiding my steps. Don't let me wander on my own. Pull me back when I go astray. Don't ever let me go. Strengthen me, open my ears to hear your voice more clearly. Show me when to act or when to speak and let me not falter or balk. Let my words be Yours, yes and amen. I don't want to do on my own. Thank You for my being able to admit weaknesses. 

Maybe some day I'll have another blog describing what I went through and for what reason. It's hard to see clearly now. I don't recognize my surroundings. I just walk one step at a time, praying He is alongside, guiding me and working that strength within me.

Isaiah 40:28-29,31 - Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. (And) those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. 

To that I say SELAH.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What If? Then...

Deuteronomy 31:6,8 -  Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.

This blog has been sitting, waiting for me to publish. Tomorrow's blog will complete it. Little did I know when I wrote today's blog (a few days ago) I'd be writing as a reminder to myself...

Beth Moore alluded to this in one week's session of Esther. If ___, then __. We can all fill in with our own what if, then statements. Take one concern in your life and what if it as far as you can. If it seems hopeless, if God is not the final word, you need to read on.

As we work through the Book of Esther, every once in awhile Beth hits on a point and we linger there to get the full impact of it. In the last study we were impacted by a what if...then statement. It's nothing new, just another powerful way of looking at it.

I periodically bring up but God statements. If we are followers of Jesus everything is about but God. We are born sinners, we all fail, not one of us is righteous...but able to change us, strengthen us, empower us, if we allow Him. Search but God in my blogs and you'll find several.

So in Esther's case it was when she realized the gravity of a situation where if she did not seek to see her husband the king the life of her people, the Jews...all of them..., would be killed. Yet, if she did go to him she was faced with another dilemma, that of possibly losing her own life by entering into the king's presence without his request...and divulging her identity as a Jew.

So then as a class we began a series of what if questions. They could apply to any of us in any situation. It comes when we are facing any difficulty. We either give in to it or we get through it. We overcome ourselves and face it...with God's help.

If fear is one of our greatest weaknesses the devil knows it and works to be sure it remains so. We all go through issues in life where we have very unsure moments. It may be the very common speaking in public. Oh, how I know about this. But on the other scale of the balance it might be an illness. It might be somewhere in between, like divorce or being the spouse of someone with a grave illness. Imagine the what ifs.

Sometimes these what if situations are what draw us to the realization we cannot do in our own strength, we need help. Our pride may have to go out the window. We have to make a decision how we are going to get through this. I wish I knew how often, really, a person is drawn to God because there is a sudden realization that we are not immortal. Or, in the case of divorce or possible loss of a child. How will we live without... What did we do wrong... What if, what if...

When we are in this sort of situation are we pointed to the only One who can really help or are we shaking our fist at Him for our situation? Do we want to trust a man or the One who created that man?

Remember who created us. Remember who numbers our days. Remember who holds our eternal life in His hands. Remember who desires relationship with us. Remember who has promises He will not break if we trust in Him. I will trust the Lord for my future. So whatever my what if might be, my answer will be then God (will see me through no matter what).

Again, little did I know when I reread this today I'd be speaking to myself! Praise God! Tomorrow will expand on this!

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Promise of Spiritual Blessings

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.

The Book of Ephesians is filled with promise. It was written by Paul, a man who considered himself the least of all men and chief of sinners. Paul persecuted the Jews and now he's preaching the good news of what Jesus did for him, how his life had changed in an instant on a road! How he was blinded by God but when his sight returned he saw truth, he knew truth, he spoke truth and he shared truth with others. We are all called to this sort of life.

I was blind, but now I see are words we've almost all heard. I was blind once. I had no desire to know God. If God was as good as He was made out to be, He would forgive me because I knew about Him. He wouldn't let me die in my sins. I wasn't as bad as the next person...and surely better (!) than others. I had my own life to live. Surely He'd understand...and that's that!

Jesus can take any person and change them in an instant. No one should think they are incapable of being changed or determined they will not. If it is God's will, it will happen. This is not to say that some won't allow the change to take place. This is one of those gray areas and mysteries we may never grasp. We have a choice. And yet God knows which will receive.

Ephesians listed all we receive as an inheritance when at last Christ enters into our world and changes who we are, from sinner to saint. And this is not bragging. These are not my words. This does not make a person better than anyone else. It is a result of being forgiven by Christ of all sin (all): 

Adoption, into His family of believers. One huge family...imagine Jesus, Paul, Mary and Joseph, forgiven prostitutes, murderers, thieves, liars, the disciples...all part of the family. Extraordinary men of history, not because of what they did, but because of what God did for them!

Acceptance. From the foundation of the world...He reached out, we received, and we were accepted.

Redemption. Redeemed by His blood shed on the cross. Who can make total sense of this? 

Forgiveness. Of sins. Not just one, but all. Those when we were ignorant of Him and all those until we die. Because He has granted us His grace. Just because...

Wisdom. He opens blind eyes and deaf ears that we might perceive the truth of who He is. Not the world's idea, the world's misconceptions, but the actual truth. 

Inheritance. What's God's is ours. The promise of hope and a future, spiritual provision, protection. A guarantee. Real change. 

Seal of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit of truth and power would come. We are sealed with this same Spirit upon our receiving of Christ. The same Spirit that empowered Christ can reside in us and allow us to do the same things He did...and more, Jesus tells us.

Life. Life eternal. We are dead in our sins until the day Jesus enters in to our lives. Dead. Dead. These are not my words! Dead. But Christ brings life, more abundant life, eternal life. Spiritual death becomes spiritual life. When physical death comes, we need not fear. Our future is secure. 

Grace. Only by His grace...unmerited favor. We don't deserve it...but God...extends just the same to those who want to receive. Extended to all. Denomination means absolutely nothing. It's all about Jesus.
Citizenship. Along with eternal life comes citizenship in heaven. God's kingdom, the mansion Jesus has prepared for all who receive.

And what does receiving Jesus do? The realization that we now do nothing on our own, that who we are is what God did in us. He uniquely created us in our mothers' wombs. We are His workmanship. It was by His hand. He gave us our personalities and talents. The lives we lived before Him We lived before would build our characters...that we would realize the mistakes we'd made and see the changes He's made. He uses strengths that came from difficulties. We were created in Christ Jesus. God's work...not that of our own.

HE created us that our works would be good. Not that we would be good because of OUR works. It has nothing to do with us and all to do with Him. So we can't boast about our accomplishments. In Christ if we boast, we boast because of what He did in us. There's a difference between boasting in ourselves and in what Christ has done in us. Truly a difference...

He plants a desire within us that we should walk in these good works. These works should be part of our lives...part of our devotion to the Lord...not devotion to what man will think, that pat on the back, that award, trophy, commendation. Our good works through Him will be accounted for eternally.

We can so easily look at people who have been delivered from alcohol or drugs or other addictions and say we have never been like that. But most of us are common people with common lives. We are just as sin filled, sorry to say. We carry pride and/or arrogance, lie, cheat, look first to our own desires over those of others. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ALL. No one is exempt. No one. It is pride and arrogance to think we can live our lives without Jesus! And that does not mean just recognizing His name and believing who He is and assuming He will forgive without our receiving Him, like I did.

No. It is only through a relationship that He forgives. It's only by letting go of that pride and arrogance and admitting our need for a Savior. Oh the people who will not allow themselves to hear this and believe they are good because of their church or their good works. It's personal. It's between each individual person and Jesus. And when it happens each one of us knows this truth. 

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your prodding and poking in my life, for Your protection and provision before I even knew You. I thank You You showed me what truth is. Thank You for making me alive because I once was dead in my sin. Thank You for purposing that I know the mysteries of Your will. You showed me who You are and what You do, how Your Spirit lives in me and works in my life. Thank You for opening the door, tearing down walls, allowing my eyes to see and ears to hear, for a heart of stone turned to flesh. Continue to work within me. Thank You for the wisdom of who You are. Thank You for my inheritance. Jesus, I pray for others to receive You, to realize what Your death really means. Extend Your hand to all. Holy Spirit, fill me to overflowing. Let it flow through me that I might be in Your will doing for You, extending my hands in the same way You did for me. That I would learn completely what sacrifice truly is. 

I thank You that You are rich in mercy to those who want to receive. You love us all with an everlasting love, but some reject that love. You alone raise us up that we might be counted holy and righteous in Your Your sight. What do we need to fear? Man can kill the physical body but not the spiritual and the spiritual body is what is most important. People's opinions are nothing over Yours. I am holy because You are holy, because You live in me and are working in me to perfect me. Thank You. Keep on working! Keep on perfecting. I have a long way to go...

Ephesians 2:7 - that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Every Knee Will Bow

Romans 14:8-13 - if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. 

Oh boy, have these words been coming at me a lot lately. They've been in the back of my mind for some time. I'm thinking it started with all the Obama/Romney ads. I don't watch a lot of them. Too depressing, too angry. I think I have a pretty good handle on right and wrong and although neither man is perfect, one man is definitely the better choice.

Whether we live or die, if we are in relationship with the Lord, we are His. A win-win situation. What precious words to those who understand.

Anyway...I was poking around on Facebook the other day and was curious about a certain site. I knew it was going to be one that I would not like because of the political views, but I had to see what "the other side" was thinking.

There was a photo of a Christian state representative. He was being raked over the proverbial coals for his Christian beliefs about evolution, Big Bang theory, etc. As I read one vitriolic comment after another about religion and what insanity it is to believe in God and for him to debunk the "facts" about science, the verse about every knee bowing came to mind.

Some day we will all know the truth. We don't know exactly how it will happen, but it will. Everyone will know...everyone. It saddens my heart to read or hear how God is mocked and scorned. But then, I was sort of there once. I believed in God and had nothing against Him; just didn't think I needed Him in my life.

My thoughts, truthfully and apologetically, at first were defensive. Like, who are you to question God?  Then next thought is, Lord, forgive them.... We all are ignorant and foolish until He shows us the truth. Only He can open our eyes, hearts and minds.

I thought of the amount of pride that will be brought down that day when every knee bows and tongue confesses to God. I picture a great darkness...that will turn into the greatest light when truth is revealed. For many, however, it will be too late. For many the bowing will come after they have denigrated God with the hardest of unwavering hearts. We all will stand before Him for judgment. I do not want a heart of stone.

It's a narrow road. It's getting narrower. I can see how this world is believing a lie. It hurts. It's frustrating that it's hard to find people outside of the Church with whom a solid, inspiring conversation about our Lord can be had. Really good, meaningful discussions involve the mention of the name of Jesus.

I read the scripture at the bottom after I wrote my blog. It seemed a good ending. There IS foolishness in the world today. I came from this very foolishness so I know it exists. It comes from the very same pride as mentioned before. Only God can change it. But we have opportunity after opportunity to let go of our foolishness. It's all about our choices. The message of the Gospel does seem foolish to some.

Lord, I ask for You to intervene in this world...even closer to home in our country, city, community, churches, homes. Open the eyes of understanding that many would recognize who You are, rejoice, receive and be grateful for the grace of God in their lives and their new-found wisdom and understanding of You. That when the day comes their knees will be bowed joyfully, not forcefully. Praise You, O Lord.

1Corinthians 1:18, 21 - For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rend Your Heart

Joel 2:12-13 - “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.

There are so many commands like this in the Bible that are just as important for us today as then. So many commands to turn back to God. Why is it so difficult to do?

We are doing the Book of Esther in Women's Ministries. A little background information is necessary: Israel had once again turned from God and He allowed His people to be taken captive by Persia (Babylon). As these Jews lived in Persia they, although probably not all, fell into the "pagan" lifestyle, further distancing themselves from God. After 70 years the then king of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their land. Some did, but some stayed.

Why Esther and her cousin Mordecai's family stayed I don't know. Perhaps Mordecai had a good job (at the king's gate) and chose to stay. He did, however, remain a godly man.

Further explanation: Because Mordecai retained godly principles, he refused to bend his knee to the king's right hand man, Haman. He bowed only to God. Because of this action and Haman's anger, a decree was suggested by Haman, and approved by the king, that all Jews were to be killed. Most likely it was God's purpose he and Esther be there "for such a time as this." For such a time as for God to show His love for His people that they might turn their hearts once again to Him. 

Things happen in the course of events even today that are surely meant to draw us back to God, to save us from impending illness or disaster, that His kindness and mercy can be shown to us. It happens individually or corporately. It can happen in A church or THE Church. It can happen in a country or the world. There's no limit to where He wants to work. But He's always at work attempting to open our eyes that we might receive Him, for the first time, or again. We might be seeing it happening around us right now.

To receive Him we are called to rend our hearts. In those days rending garments was what was done. They would tear their garments and put on sackcloth and ashes to show they were in mourning. They would openly grieve. They would fast. All part of the repentance. In Joel 2:14 it is asked "Who knows if He will turn and relent?" Who knows? Only God knows. Today the question might be who knows if God can turn this country around? We may be beyond saving. He may have decided it's too late and judgment will come upon us. But we can keep praying for an entire country's heart to change and turn back, like Israel. We can pray that our "king(s)" would return to God. Thankfully even if the country doesn't turn back, it's never too late for us as individuals. Circumstances around us may cause us to turn...

In Esther the same question was raised to her: Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Mordecai was posing the question whether she might be being used of God to save her people, that's why she was made queen...and it's something she could not let slip by. We each might be here for such a time as this. We might each be used by God to turn someone's heart to the Lord. It is our calling, after all, as followers of Christ.

Mordecai was rending his clothes and no doubt his heart. Would Esther stand up to what was clearly required of her? Another blog will explain this!

In Merriam's dictionary, as well as the Hebrew definition of the word, rend is pretty obvious: to remove from place by violence, to wrest; to tear (the hair or clothing) as a sign of anger, grief, or despair. To rend our hearts! To let ourselves know and feel the grief we have caused God for our lack of trust and obedience to Him in our own lifetimes. If we do this the healing will begin as He receives our heart-felt emotions. And the healing is so tender and peaceful. It happens when one receives Christ.

What God is requiring of all people is that humble and contrite heart and spirit to return to God, to seek Christ for salvation. He's looking for it within each of us as well as in this country. If we do this He will be beside us. When will we ever get it? When will people ever do it? Without Him we are nothing, can do nothing of true value. And yet...we are told the road is narrow...few will be on it.

Psalm 34:18 - The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gifts of God

Blessed  is  the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. (Jeremiah 17:7, Psalm 37:4,5)

We surely do not understand all the things of God, as a friend pointed out in Facebook post. Some things are only for Him to know. It is up to us to just trust Him. That trust in the Lord takes time to build up. We have to first know Him before we can experience how He works in our lives to the point of trust. 

How many times I've heard or prayed over someone regarding how we don't know what we would do without the knowledge of God and His presence in our lives. Circumstances might seem hopeless without Him. But with the intimate knowledge of Jesus, despite whatever we are going through, we know He is with us. His arms are outstretched for us or they are wrapped around us in comfort. His words from His own mouth, clearly written in the gospels, can be the greatest comfort, as are those of others in His Word that bring hope, comfort, joy and promise.

How I thank the Lord for His everlasting love toward those who seek Him. He will turn away no person truly seeking and desiring His presence in their lives. 

I am especially grateful for Him in these unsettling days. I'm grateful knowing He will be my shield and my strength. I know that no matter what I/we go through I am secure because of Him. I won't get out of going through difficulties but have a God who is bigger and will guide me through by His strength, His Spirit within me.

This is when we don't understand the how or why of whatever situation we are in (apart from what might be going on in the world that the Bible shows us is to be) and we just trust...and rely on His Holy Spirit to guide and remind us of the promises we have as children of God.

Oh, the fear that can strike the hearts of men without the faith, trust and hope Jesus brings. He will see us through.

If your heart is weary, fearful, seemingly without hope, ask Jesus to make Himself known to you. Ask Him to step into your life and take control because He knows best your need. He knows best. Period.

Trust in Him alone. He can set things in order in your life. He will heal old wounds, heal and restore broken relationships, repair the pain of rejection and unforgiveness. Again, we don't know how He does it but He does. Somehow He works in our hearts and changes them. He opens blind eyes. He gives understanding we could not have imagined. It is nothing we can do ourselves through self-help books or therapy! It is purely through the amazing, healing power of Christ. But we need to take the first step in wanting to receive this. 

What is "this?" All these gifts of God and more--all free through your receiving of Jesus Christ: eternal life (Romans 6:23); grace, sufficiency, righteousness (2Corinthians 9); wisdom, knowledge, riches, wealth (He knows what we truly need) and honor (2Chronicles 1:12); good and perfect gifts (James 1:17); rest for our souls (1Chronicles 22:9); peace (Leviticus 26:6); bread of life and living water (John 6:50-51, John 7:38) ; His Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9).

John 1:12-13 - But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

This Kind of Love

The kind of love I have to give is unlike any you've ever known. You cannot begin to know the depths of My love. You can know based on what I've done for you how I love you, but your human mind will never be able to comprehend the very depth of this love. And although I have loved you with an everlasting love, it's not just for you. I can love all people in the same way. There's no limit to My love. My love has no beginning or end, no height nor depth, no weight. It is eternal in size, shape and volume. 

I drew you out of the pit of your old life and brought you into Mine that you might have a hope and a future that is this eternal size, shape and volume, one that does not compare to this earthly life. 

Look around you. Do you like what you see in nature? Do you wonder at it all? This is a very small part of my way of showing My love for you. It may not seem small to you, but for Me it is miniscule. It is your daily reminder that I AM. I made these things for you...and for all...that all may behold My beauty, that all would have no excuse for not believing I AM. 

All My love is yours. It's about that trust that comes with knowing Me. It's about faith in Me though you cannot see. It's not about emotions but blind trust and faith. Hang on to that. 

It is said love is blind. If you are My child, I am blind to those things that you view as worthless or to those things others are quick to judge you about. I do not see your faults. I see you for the person I have created you to be. You are unique, unlike any other. There is no comparison. That's another one of those things that you are not able to see but must trust Me on. 

I, Jesus, love you! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Left or Right?

Isaiah 30:21 - Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.

So, you thought this might be about elections and political parties?? Well, that could be, too. If one really thinks hard about all of life, if one truly believes there is a God who is in control of all things, you can see all of life wrapped up in's all about right and wrong, left and right. It's all about which side of the fence we're on, about the road we take in life and staying on it. So, nothing here about political parties, even though it would fit just the same.

There is a narrow road we must walk if we follow God. We follow His truth. And often that truth is narrow. There's not much wiggle room for our own understanding. Narrow thinking? Yes, it can be looked at that way. Yet 1Corinthians 1:18 says: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. God's ways are not like ours and that's why we put our trust in Him alone.

Oswald Chambers said this in his Utmost for His Highest devotion today: When you are brought face to face with a difficult situation and nothing happens externally, you can still know that freedom and release will be given because of your continued concentration on Jesus Christ. Although Chambers was not talking about our life's path, somehow this seemed to make sense just the same as my prayers dwelt this morning on staying on the narrow road, no matter what life throw's at us, not turning to the left or right...and if we do our paths will be made straight. Like Chambers said: And nothing happens externally...if we are on the right and narrow path and we come across something to impede our progress, just wait, just trust.

At times we may have to climb over a rock to stay on our path. Hopefully that's when we seek Jesus' help to get over. Or maybe there's a deep crevice or pit on that path...look up to Jesus there too. Always rely on Him first over other possible solutions. Those difficulties are there to strengthen us...and to show us if we rely on Jesus during those times, no matter what is flung before us, we can know that our release will be given...He will see us through providing we trust that Jesus is in control, guiding our steps and keeping that path straight.

In other words, if you're on the right path and a boulder suddenly appears, don't decide another path will get you to your destination. You might have to climb that boulder. Same with a hole in the ground. You may just have to go into it to get out...don't veer off the path. If you do you will find other obstacles and maybe more. He's there to help, but you must remain on His straight path.

There are several scriptures that talk about our walk with the Lord. They speak of trusting in His way being right so the path will remain straight, knowing it will be a narrow path and not turning to the left or right, and if you do you will find rest:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls..." (Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 7:13-14, Deuteronomy 5:32, Jeremiah 6:16)

In the days ahead trusting in Him will be crucial. He is called the Ancient of Days. His days are without number. His old paths have stood the test of time because they are truth. He knows the beginning from the end. If we can't trust Him now it might be difficult to get in step or find that path later. We need to be in practice today.

Psalm 143:8 - Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Times and Seasons

1Thessalonians 5:1-11 - But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say,“Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

A reminder to all of us who might forget and become complacent. God is God. He does as He wills. He has shown us all throughout the Bible what happens to people in general or those He calls His children when He is put aside for our own pleasures.

He has written about His history and the history of His Son, Jesus. He has shown us what His purpose is. He shows us what sort of lives we are to live...humbly with Him, not thinking ourselves greater than another, what right morals are to matter what society wants to dictate. He shows us what we must do to be saved. And more importantly, why. He shows how our lives are to depend on Jesus for success and eternal existence.

If we heed these things, we understand the scriptures above. They are telling us what we need to be looking for. If God is God and His will rules, He can suddenly appear out of nowhere to bring an end to what we know life to be. We cannot be complacent believing life goes on and we always bounce back and where is this God Who has claimed for thousands of year's He will return?

God's time is not like ours. A day to Him can be a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. I wish I could go into more depth about this and the fact that it's been about 6,000 years since God created the world. (What? You mean it's not millions of years old? Some scientists are beginning to tell a different story...)

I wish I could go into a lot of detail about what are considered dispensations or a general state or ordering of things; specifically: a system of revealed commands and promises regulating human affairs (Webster). These specifically are ordered by God. We have been through nearly all of six of seven dispensations since the beginning of God's creation. So far they have been: innocence, conscience, government, promise and law. We are now in the sixth dispensation of grace. There is one more to come: kingdom. In each dispensation, man failed his responsibility. He turned from God and judgment was brought upon him.

If we are in the sixth and it's been about 6,000 years and there is only one dispensation to go, we must be nearing the end of time. Grace is the time of Christ, a time of apostasy, another time of failure and turning from God. It is a time, however, when He is available for our salvation. All this happens before the last dispensation, kingdom...when He returns to rule and reign on earth in perfect peace. The number seven in spiritual terms is perfection (see my last blog!). God created the world in six days but on the seventh, when all was good, He rested. He had completed His perfect creation. His kingdom to come will be perfection, the seventh dispensation.

But enough of that! Jesus can come soon, at any time. If we are not watching for His return we might miss out on it. What does that mean? Those who have received Christ and know He will return and are actively watching will be part of the grand return, with Christ (because we are not appointed to wrath). Those who are not watching, complacently living day by day, believing the words of the day of "peace and safety," will not be part of it...shall not escape what will happen next.

My brother-in-law, David, shared this the other day on Facebook: Just finished doing the dishes and all of a sudden every hair stood up on my body. In the Spirit I heard the Lord say, "I am coming soon, watch for me to descend on the Mount of Olivet; Har HaZeitim." Taking a deep breath. I'm both excited and confident that I am not watching for naught. (By the way, Har HaZeitim means Mount of Olivet in Hebrew.)

For the past few blogs I have been bringing up what we see happening in the world through physical attacks and politics (also attacks) and how it so looks like what the last days of the time of Noah looked like and what other prophets have said we will see. We cannot bury our heads in the sand. It is time to be watching. It's time to see the signs being played out before our eyes. More importantly, it's time we "get right with God," as Billy Graham would say. It's time to ask, "what must I do to be saved," if we are in any way concerned about the events of the day.

We do not know the day or hour Jesus will return. That's only for God to know. It could happen any time and we must be vigilant. If we are in the sixth dispensation with one to go, time is getting short. What say you? Will you receive Jesus? Or will you believe that your good works, your baby baptism or your church will save you? Only Jesus Himself can do that. He offered Himself 2,000 years ago for you. The offer still stands. What must you do to be saved?

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. ...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." (Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9-11)