Friday, November 30, 2012
Revelation 19:5-7,10 - Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he [the Angel of the Lord] said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
The spirit of prophecy. Those words popped out. It fits right in with what's been on my heart all week. The Word of God. Jesus, the Word, who speaks to us through His Word, through His Spirit, to testify of Himself and reveal Himself to us from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. It's all about Him. He is what we who know Him testify of. And His Word testifies of Him and it IS the spirit of prophecy...of things to come, of He who is to come.
The rejoicing above was in response to the fall of Babylon. Today's reference to Babylon is considered the world view, an anti-God view. Those who do not seek God and His ways are part of that world. It's those who accept the ways of a "changing" society and align with it because it seems right and because the majority of people have. ...“Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! (Revelation 18:2) The world has fallen... The rejoicing was for the defeat of evil and the beginning of what peace was meant to be.
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities (Revelation 18:4-5).
We are called to come out from among the world. If we are true worshippers of Jesus Christ, we will want to come out. We will see what we are and have been, what we are called to be and who we are in Christ. We have no longer submitted ourselves to the lies like the world but to the truth. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:24-25) It's spelled out right before our eyes. It is prophesied. We are shown. We are victorious if we have come out of the world...and we will overcome the Day of the Lord which is yet to come.
I rejoice as those share these beliefs. That Day of the Lord will be a glorious day, to be sure. Glorious in that God's power and glory will be revealed. It will not be a pretty sight, however, when ...the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up—and it shall be brought low—(Isaiah 2:12). But those who know the Lord can be glad because they will not be a part of this lowering. It will be time, at last, when God will raise up His people.
All of creation, all of life, all we are here for can simply be brought very narrowly down to one truth, Jesus. Whether you rejoice at His name or cringe, it's all about Him. Life is in His hands. Death comes from one much lesser than Him. You either choose life or death. If one chooses to not believe and understand the things Jesus teaches, death occurs...no matter what one's church has to say about the afterlife.
Not all are headed for heaven, sadly. Not even those who think they are basically good people. It's not about us or our good deeds but about Christ alone. We are only accepted and victors when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. And that is the glorious thing. We cannot understand all the intricacies of God's wisdom, His ways, how He sets about to bring people to Him...but if you even suspect He is calling, respond. It is so worth it. It is life rather than death. And you will be among those who will rejoice with the great multitude.
All of creation, all of life, all we are here for is simply to become the testimony of Jesus. All the Word has to say about Him...the most important Book, the most important words...are the spirit of prophecy. The Book was written that we may know Him, not just of Him, but literally know Him. We can hear Him speak in those words. We can know His desires for us. We can know His promises. It's all about Jesus. When we choose to know Christ we will be filled with the Holy Spirit who will guide us in all truth.
One day there will be a great throng of people rejoicing. I doubt, however, that the great throng will be as great as the throng who will be mourning after they realize their choice was wrong. I am glad I will be among the throng rejoicing. As children of God we become a holy people, a royal priesthood, whom God raises up. Won't you join me?
1Corinthians 6:14 - And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Isaiah 9:10 - "The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars."
Our pastor has decided to show two DVDs on Wednesday nights. They revolve around Isaiah 9:10 which shows what happened to Israel before the time of Christ. The words spoken in the scripture were the heart of Israel which had been attacked and badly beaten down by their enemy. As Isaiah 9:9 states, the words came out of pride and arrogance. They would show their enemy just how strong a nation they were and that they would rebuild, bigger and better.
As Pastor stated, he is dismayed by how government will quote scripture, often without truly understanding what it means, out of context, just because it sounds good.
I'm writing about a subject I posted a blog on previously. You might read it before finishing this post. At the beginning of Isaiah 9 are words we so often hear at Christmas:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
You see, what Israel missed, we also as a nation, have missed. Isaiah prophesied that there would come a King, described above. We know that King to be Jesus Christ. If you notice the names He is ascribed, they fit all our needs. He is wonderful, can be our counselor if we learn His statutes. He is our mighty God and everlasting Father. He is also our Prince of Peace. His kingdom, His judgment and justice is just a heartbeat away. And once it comes it is eternal. What He says He will do, He will accomplish, as I mentioned yesterday (Isaiah 55:11).
Oh, how this is all so interconnected. God's Word is so powerful. Nothing was written that has no meaning. Nothing was written idly. Everything was written that we might KNOW. Know Him, know His truth, know His Word. So why are so many not getting it? Is the Church not preaching it? Are we not talking it up? Might it have to do with the same pride and arrogance Isaiah spoke about? That man often believes they are stronger and wiser than God, the Creator of this world, and can live without Him?
So let's see if I can put this into words! Isaiah prophesied about a soon coming King. He would be Israel's all in all. He would lead with His government and there would be peace. But Israel missed the point even though it was right there in those words that they heard in their temples. They missed it because they were looking for that political figure, a mere man, as I mentioned yesterday.
Why did Israel's enemy defeat them? They had turned their backs on God and He allowed their enemy to strike, hoping upon hope they would turn once again turn to Him. Verse 13 shows us this: For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. When Israel's enemy not only destroyed their buildings but also their land, they became proud and arrogant and decided to rebuild on their own, again, bigger and better. They chose not to seek God in their time of disaster. They did not look to Him for their strength and refuge. They looked only to themselves.
September 11, 2001 was a bit like Israel being destroyed, bricks falling and trees cut down (yes, there was A tree, one of significance). And our nation chose Isaiah 9:10 as their mantra, if you will, to show the people of the world that we would come out of this bigger and better; we would build a new building, maybe make it taller than before. These words were spoken by John Edwards, Tom Daschle, Rudy Guiliani, George Pataki, even President Obama. It was embedded into the very pages of American history. I remember hearing these words eleven years ago and thinking, that's pretty arrogant of us to say. I kept those words pretty much to myself at the time because I thought I would be looked upon as being unpatriotic, as anti-America.
Look at this: …We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken -- you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you… Who might have said these words? Words of defiance, pride and arrogance. Might you be surprised to know it was our President? Not apologize for our way of life?
Like Israel, we have shunned God. We are pushing Him out of schools, removing prayer in public, wanting to remove the name of God from government institutions, and crosses, Christmas trees and Merry Christmas from just about everything. And that doesn't include the societal issues we "embrace." So, was God trying to show us something on September 11, 2001? Was it a warning? Did we hear?
I really don't care anymore who thinks I'm nuts. God is able to do whatever He desires to get our attention. And He has promised judgment upon those who do not seek Him. This is not just a nation but all people.
Are we ready to turn back to God? Are we ready to make Jesus as our only hope? Are we ready to look to Him as Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Are we ready to let Him rule and reign as the King over our lives, to be our Peace?
God loves us so much…He sent His Son to be born, which birth we will celebrate (hopefully not so much with Santa Claus and endless presents) soon. When are we going to fully understand just exactly what Christ's birth was all about? When are we going to really get it? When are we going to seek God for these answers and seek Him for what He also gave His live for…that we might have eternal life.
God tells us that His anger will not be turned away, but His hand will be stretched out still (Isaiah 9:17c). Do you hear that? His anger will continue, but God…still loves us so much and will relent if we, as people and a nation, will turn our hearts to Him for the first time or return to Him. He loves us that much that He will forgive if we repent of our sins as individuals and as a nation.
Those words are repeated for extra measure. Can we get this?
For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 9:21, 10:4)
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Isaiah 55:11 - So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
As my prayers went out this morning, a truth came before me. All God wants is for us to speak the truth of His Word. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is mightier than the truth of His Word. There's not much too hard to understand about that.
Psalm 119 tells us repeatedly to meditate on God's statutes and delight in them because they bring life. The psalm also shows us that God's Word is: excellent, wonderful, established, trustworthy, freeing, settled in heaven, life-giving, comforting, righteous, good, hopeful, delightful, faithful, perfect, sweet, sure, redeeming, a treasure, great, salvation, everlasting, upright, pure, just...and truth.
We can be cleansed, blessed, unashamed, filled with rejoicing and delight, strengthened, given understanding and revived by His Word. Boy, if that doesn't sound like everything a person needs in life! And God is all we need.
We are to speak the truth in love wherever we are, for any situation, into any circumstance. Nothing but the truth. In our lives...as well as in the Church. The truth can be hard to swallow, can be narrow, can divide, but when spoken IT IS the power of God because it is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12).
My prayer is that I am emboldened to do this and that the Church would as well. Imagine if pastors across the nation would "fear not" in their preaching and speak without worrying about offense to those in the congregation. Isn't it the truth we need to hear? I've heard many say it wasn't until they heard the hard word that they understood; that they needed to hear that hard word, not just the gentle words. People need to be convicted of their sin. It's how they receive God. Isn't it possible that the very power of God would take over if there were no holds barred? Imagine.
On the other hand, we are also told to watch out for those who preach a false gospel. They claim they are of God but their hearts are far from Him. They teach the words of man. (Matthew 15) This is why we need to be in the very Word of God ourselves, to understand what He says that we are able to discern truth from lies. Let the Word teach us...
When God's Word is spoken it DOES not return void. That is powerful. It is what pierces to the very depths of our souls... And we are to speak His Word whether a person wants to hear or refuse (Ezekiel 2:7). And that's what I'm alluding to here. Let the absolute power of God's Word be the thing that does the work. Not my words, not yours, but His alone. As long as I speak His Word, I do my part. God will do the rest. But I have been obedient to share His truths.
I praise God that His Word is everlasting. They will not pass away no matter what happens in this lifetime, no matter what untruths are spoken by man, my God's Word is forever.
Psalm 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
Another year gone by and I am still thankful for who our God is and what He has done and will continue to do (hmmmm, He is, He was and is to be).
We have seen many within our church community and neighborhoods and friend and family going through "stuff" this year. Some are struggling with finances because of job losses, some are dealing with health issues. Others are wondering what in the world is happening in this world.
Although it seems my days are not so bogged down with troubles I know they could be at the blink of an eye. I am trusting God for all things in my life, knowing that whatever I may go through, He is beside me. There's no knowing how many times He has this past year saved me from something. And I'm thankful, even though I don't know, for all He has done for me this year.
We have no idea what life in the years to come will hold for us. That is why it is important to trust only in Jesus Christ. Man can wreak havoc in the world: In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. (John 16:33). I am most thankful for that.
The Lord is my Rock and refuge. He is the Voice in the storm that cries out for the winds and fury to cease. He reminds me to be still and know that He is God. He is the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. My future is in His hands because He called out to me one day and I secured my place in His heavenly realm. I am reminded of the scripture that tells us, Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands... (Isaiah 49:16)
I thank my God and Savior for all He promises in His Word, which promises are for all people if they choose to seek Him and secure those promises for themselves.
Though we are told we will have troubles in this world, His peace is the foundation of our lives. I truly believe if in the midst of our troubles we continue to praise Him and thank Him, He blesses us, and grants us greater peace.
I can honestly say I thank God for all I have experienced in life because it has strengthened me and enlightened me. Oh, there were some things I could have done without but now that I have Christ in my life, the good outweighs the bad!
I'm thankful for a faithful husband, good friends, a good church, the things I have, some of which I could do without! I'm thankful for my kitties. I thank God for the eye He has given me to see the beauty of His nature right outside my door. Every day I am reminded in some way of His creativity.
Thank You, Jesus.
1Thessalonians 5:18 - in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
I've said it before, the Bible was written for our knowledge. What has happened in the past will happen again in the future. It is for us to learn from. I praise God for that. I praise God for Israel. I praise God for the Lord Jesus Christ. I praise God for wisdom and understanding.
No doubt you are hearing about the attacks taking place in Israel. Maybe it means nothing because it's overseas and not affecting your life. But don't be fooled. It will affect all our lives because God is involved. It's all about Him; it's all about turning our backs on Him. Psalm 83 describes the lament of the people of Israel. They feared invasion by their enemies. But as we see at the end, they call on God, who is always in control, for Him to destroy their enemies.
1Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
2For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.
3They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
4They have said, "Come, and let us cut them off from being
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more."
5For they have consulted together with one consent;
They form a confederacy against You:
6The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;
Moab and the Hagrites;
7Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek;
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8Assyria also has joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot. Selah
9Deal with them as with Midian, as with Sisera,
As with Jabin at the Brook Kishon,
10Who perished at En Dor,
Who became as refuse on the earth.
11Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb,
Yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12Who said, "Let us take for ourselves
The pastures of God for a possession."
13O my God, make them like the whirling dust,
Like the chaff before the wind!
14As the fire burns the woods,
And as the flame sets the mountains on fire,
15So pursue them with Your tempest,
And frighten them with Your storm.
16Fill their faces with shame,
That they may seek Your name, O LORD.
17Let them be confounded and dismayed forever;
Yes, let them be put to shame and perish,
18That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD,
Are the Most High over all the earth.
The enemies in the psalm you may never have heard of. But you will recognize who they are today:
Edom - Palestine
Ishmaelites - Saudi Arabia
Moab - Palestine
Hagrites - Egyptians
Gebal - Hezbollah, No. Lebanese
Ammon - Palestine
Amalek - Arabs of Sinai
Philistia - Hamas, Gaza strip
Tyre - Hezbollah, So. Lebanese
Assyria - Syria, No. Iraq
Are you amazed at the past and the present in God's Word? It is said that her enemies will strike from the north, south, east and west. Make no mistake, however, in thinking God's people will be eliminated...or that anyone can come against God...or that the land of Israel will be conquered. Do not be fooled if you think that what happens in Israel will not affect the world. With a biblical understanding it is very clear, we are in what the Bible calls the last days. We can clearly see it if we open our eyes…and ears. People can try as they might to eliminate the very name of God and we might very well be persecuted for standing for Him, but in the end, God and His people around the world will be victorious against today's enemy.
Genesis 12:3 is a phrase we hear often: "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you..." God has allowed the tiny nation of Israel and the people of that land to be survivors. Don't you think her enemies throughout her existence would have been able to utterly destroy her by now if God had not had His hand on her? Read in scripture how she has time and time again been delivered out of the enemies' hands by none other than God Himself.
It would be to our advantage to stand behind Israel. Even if our country cuts ties with her, there are those God will continue to protect…those who stand behind Israel and her people…those who understand the connection between Israel and the world…through Jesus Christ.
I might add it is always our obligation to pray for our enemies. You never know who might turn their heart over to God and be saved in the process! It's sometimes hard to want to do this, but...
Matthew 5:44-45 - But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Matthew 5:17 - Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
I love how Old Testament words often are so prophetic. I love how Jesus shows in the New Testament how He fulfilled those words.
I was reading in Hebrews 10 this morning. It described how the law demanded constant sacrifices by the people to atone for their sins...yet those sins were never taken away. What was the purpose of hundreds of years of sacrifices? Verse one says the law of that day was a shadow of the good things to come (Jesus). The purpose was to show through Old Testament events and accounts who Jesus would be when He arrived to be the New Testament. Old Testament, Jesus concealed; New Testament, Jesus revealed.
It is also clearly pointed out that none of the sacrifices was ever enough or they would have ceased. Hebrews 10:4 - For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
But God...made a way, the Way, in Jesus Christ. By His blood and righteousness.
I'm going to switch from Hebrews 10 to Psalm 40 where the words were first formed in the mouth of David through his prayer.
Psalm 40:6-8 was quoted in Hebrews 10 as words Jesus would have spoken. I became absorbed in this psalm. The words quoted were: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, "Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart."
Granted David spoke these words in the psalm, but little did he know he would have been speaking of the Messiah that was to come. Of course we read them and it's obvious who he was speaking of. In the scroll of the book it was written of Him! Do you see it? This is not all new to me, but I am excited to share this.
Earlier in Psalm 40 David says: He (the Lord) set my feet upon a rock, established my steps, put a new song in my heart...because He heard David's cry for mercy. Sounds like what Jesus does to those to believe. David goes on to say that those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. And He does not require sacrifices and offerings but that we do His will when we allow our ears to be opened to hear the truth of who He is and allow His law into our hearts.
These, people, are words--no, a song--of salvation! From the Old Testament...words that speak of Jesus and the perfect work of salvation He alone gives. They are words that are encouraging and freeing. We do not need to work for any of this. We just need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and with the very depth of our heart and soul receive Him as our Savior. But it doesn't stop there. We then become disciples and do His work...HIS work, the works that are now deemed good.
Oh, how David continues by saying he is proclaiming the "good news" of God's righteousness. His lips cannot be restrained. This is Old Testament David speaking about Savior God, who has yet in David's lifetime come to become the last perfect sacrifice for all mankind. He is last sacrifice given for us all that we no longer need to work out our salvation through good works that do nothing because how much is really enough??
Today many still believe going to church is a sign of goodness. Some believe their philanthropic giving to very worthy, for sure, organizations will satisfy God's idea of goodness. Yes, we do good things in our lives, but when we do them in the name of Jesus, they are better. Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. I delight to do Your will, O my God. We cannot work out our salvation on our own. Jesus did it for us. We need only earnestly seek Him.
David calls out to God that His lovingkindness and truth preserve him. Lovingkindness...in that He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins because He knew we could never attain the perfect sacrifice on our own. But God...could, through His Son Jesus. The willingness of one Man to do this for the sins of all mankind. And nothing we could do of our own would be enough. Nothing.
Oh, I'm sure I'm repeating myself....
David goes on to admit that his sins were innumerable...greater than the number of hairs on his head. Might I add, greater than the sand on earth. How many times have we committed the same sin, no matter how great or small, repeatedly in our lifetime? Imagine the immeasurable number of sins, past, present and those yet to come. You can't, can you? But Jesus knows them all. And He will forgive us.
Psalm 40:13 - Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me! David's enemies were after him. We have an enemy too and he relies on our sins to botch up our lives. Let Jesus deliver from those sins. Let those who seek God rejoice and be glad for all He is wanting and able to do in the lives of those who truly do look for Him and learn His truths. He offers the hope of salvation. David unknowingly prophesied about that. David trusted in God, but knew not Jesus.
More than ever before this world needs to know that Jesus does save. Many will agree that this world is changing. Things we have little control of are happening in our own individual lives, too. Many in our country see that. I believe, well, I pray, in the next year or so even more will see the destruction that is coming...and how much closer, biblically, we are to Jesus' return. He does not require ongoing sacrifices to become a child of God; He only requires we seek Him and then are obedient to Him.
He desires that none should perish, although many will. For those of us waiting for His return, we pray that He come quickly...but it will be in His timing alone. More good news, there's still time to receive Christ. But I wouldn't wait too long.
Psalm 40:17 - But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Deuteronomy 10:17 - For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome...
This has been quite the week. While some of us, as our pastor said this morning, are not happy with the election results, there are some who are. It has been a week of reflection, introspection and prediction. I have been part of discussions on election results, the future of this country, who I am in Christ, the 10 Commandments, even the subject of Christian vs. disciple and where I fit in God's grand scheme, His will, for such a time as this.
It's important, first of all, to know what Deuteronomy 10:17 says...our God IS the God of gods and the Lord of lords...in all areas of life...from the smallest thing in my life to the biggest thing in this country or world...and universe. Everything begins and ends with God, something everyone needs to understand. And it's just as important to realize that if we are followers of Christ, we are disciples and it is our duty to help others understand the things of God, not that everyone wants to hear it!
It is up to us to speak the Word just the same, to show the relevance of knowing this great and glorious God. It is clearly the decision of hearers/readers whether they want to trust in the Lord or trust in man...or trust even in themselves. I just know Who I place my trust in because He knows the beginning from the end, He is the Life, the Truth and the Way. I count my time on earth as a stepping stone to a bigger and better life.
I blogged earlier how I felt even before I learned the election results. How the words came to me that no matter how it turned out, no matter who would be the leader of our country, it was God's plan and He is still in control. Hey, to be blunt, He can use anyone to cause His will to be done. ANYONE. We don't know what His plans are but they are for good and they will, in time, glorify Him. Those who put their faith and trust in Him, know this. We live by faith, not by sight...a lesson God may be trying to convey through this past election. Praise Him!
Today our Pastor, Rory Grooters, spoke on OK, Who is Your God Now? For those whose prayers were not answered regarding the election, do we put our trust in man, government, ourselves or do we put even more trust in our God, as we should? There are many who believe we got what we as a nation deserved in this election. And I don't mean that is a good way! God may be judging this nation...because we have turned our backs on Him. Of course many will laugh at this, but the truth is we have allowed society to dictate the needs of the people...no, the wants of the people.
We want instant abortion, alternative lifestyles, government handouts instead of work; we want whatever we want, the way we want it and we want it now. We want to go against what the Word of God says is proper living. Who cares anymore? It's an ancient book; it's outdated; it's so against what society wants. WANTS. What does God say? (There are those)...whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. (Philippians 3:19)
What does God want? Pastor Rory said He wants us to hunger for holiness and God (which is foolishness to many). When we have that all else will be given to us, the Word tells us (Luke 12:31). He wants us. He wants us to be holy because He is holy. He created us in His image. In His image! Does our image reflect that of God? He wants that none should perish but have everlasting life. But some want to feed their selfish desires in the world where moth and rust destroy over the things of God which will not perish. Oh, let me tell you, I believed that lie once myself. But the freedom that comes when the truth is made known. The truth will set anyone free. But there is still much I need to be free of myself...
Pastor said we either want real power (that comes from God) or impotence (which comes from man, or a king...leader). I'll take the all knowing, all powerful, ever present God, thank you. He has lasted a lifetime. How many leaders, kings or presidents have? He stands the test of time. The Ancient of Days. As pastor said: When dependency on government replaces God, we have a problem. Our problems are bigger than what government can do. We must look higher.
Where is your strength? Is your identity in who you think you have made yourself to be (when actually God gave you your abilities and strengths that you might glorify Him). Where do you place your trust? Can you honestly say government has taken care of all your needs/desires? Where will you go for help when things really get rough? When illness strikes, or you lose someone? Who is your hope? Can you say our government will be the answer?
My strength is in the Lord. My hope is in the Lord. The Lord is my refuge, my strong tower...all who run into it are saved. The Lord is the Rock of my salvation. It is He, my God, in whom I place my trust. I will look up beyond the seat of our government and straight up into the throne room of God for my needs. Will you?
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 - And now, ... what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Hebrews 3: 3-4,6 - For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. ...but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
No matter what anyone thinks, Jesus is always in control. No matter what we see transpiring in this world or in our own lives, He already knows the outcome. He's setting things in place for His plans to be worked out. His will IS being done.
As Hebrews 3 above says, He has been...and always will be...counted worthy...more than anyone else. If we could all understand this, but sadly many will not. He is not the first Person in many people's lives. He is not counted worthy as the One who gives us eternal life. All He has done for us should be so prominent in our minds and lives. It's sad so many will never get this.
He calls us daily. He then responds to those who answer His call. He IS worthy...to receive honor, glory and power. If everyone knew the power He has over sin and death... If everyone knew the power He gives to those who follow Him. If even WE knew the power we have...
The foundation of my hope and faith is in Christ Jesus. An old hymn says: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand... Without Jesus there is no hope. Period. Government can't help, insurance, doctors--even the best...only Jesus. He is the best.
One thing we should not do: harden our hearts if we are confronted by Him, if He is reaching out to us. If someone reaches out to share Him, do not harden your heart. He is the only hope we have. Neither man nor government will give us what we need most. Neither man nor government will secure our eternal life. In fact, we can be assured that man can suck the life right out of us.
Here's what Psalm 146:3-5 has to say: Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.
Our eternal life is secure in Jesus Christ if we want it, if we do not harden our hearts to His beckoning. It can be easy, even among believers of Christ, to shake a fist in the face of God when tragedy comes or difficulties arise. We can angrily say, Where were YOU, God, when this happened? It might just be He was right there. He wants us to trust that He will bring good out of any circumstance we find ourselves in, no matter what it might be or have been.
Do not harden your heart, either to His first calling to believe and follow Him or to the trials that will always be part of our lives. Cling fast to the hope we have in Him, Hebrews 10:23 admonishes. Listen for His call and answer it. If you have already done this then remember He is the hope in difficult times. Seek those you know who understand this and look to them for encouragement in Christ.
Hebrews 3:7-8,13 - Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, but exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
2Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
All the books of the Bible were written for this purpose. Inspired of God...the truth...to teach us His ways...to show us how we are to live...and I like the phrase "that the man (or woman) of God may be complete." I look at that in two ways. Because the Word teaches us all these things, what we do in life with this instruction book should glorify the Father. And...since Jesus IS the Word and was WITH the Word in the beginning, we are made complete when we enter into relationship with Him.
I felt led to read Deuteronomy 4 this morning. As I did I was once again amazed at how it fit right into an ongoing "conversation" a friend was having on Facebook with someone else. I won't go into any of that other than to say Jesus is the only Source of truth, instruction, wisdom we are to seek. Deuteronomy 4 pretty much explains that.
Granted it's Moses speaking to the Israelites as they were getting ready to cross over into the Promised Land. But if you look hard you can see Moses was a type of Christ. We are all lost until we know the Lord. He takes us from our sinful lives and crosses us over, if you will, into a new life in Christ when we submit and realize our sinful natures. We possess the land offered to us in the way of eternal life in Christ.
And what is required then? That we learn from the Word obedience to the Word of God. Although the people back then COULD have heard the audible voice of God, they were too fearful and asked Moses to intervene. For us today we can hear the Word and understand it in our spirits through the power of the Holy Spirit in us in Christ through reading the Word.
Verse 3 describes what the people then actually saw and could learn from. Today we have the accounts from Old and New Testaments as our examples. Deuteronomy 4 claims that those who observed and held fast to God survived because of their obedience to God and His statutes because they are their wisdom and understanding. Oh, how this is so for us even today and yet seems so hard to convey to others. Am I perfect? Again, I say no. I fail constantly. But God...forgives when we seek His forgiveness.
The people of Israel could have heard Your voice, could have listened to You speak, could have had a closer connection to You, could have learned directly from You, but they were afraid. You came to earth in the form of man, the Man Jesus Christ, to do the same thing, to live among us, to walk with us physically where before You would only have been a voice. You physically spoke to the people and testified of Who You were. You taught, as You instructed Moses to teach Your people in his day. This is all so incredible. How is it people are still afraid? Still afraid of the Creator God, our life, our provision, our protection in this world? And here we are a people again unable to see You physically but able to hear You through our spirits connecting with Yours when we submit to the first command...to love the Lord our God with heart, soul and mind and have no other gods before You.
Through Your Word, through Jesus, the Word of God, we learn what Deuteronomy 4 continues to say: Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children. How can we know who God is unless we spend time in His Word? That's why it was written. Churches can preach the Word but we can learn ourselves as well what the Word of God says. Just like a relationship with Jesus is personal, between me and Him or you and Him, our time in the Word is also personal.
God declared His covenant back then and commanded the people to perform the commandments He set forth. It's no different today. When we enter into a relationship with Christ the covenant with God is reestablished and He becomes our relational God again. There's no distance between us and God. And yet, as Deuteronomy goes on to say just because we cannot see God we are warned not to act corruptly and make images that would become our idols to represent Him. Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you...(make no) carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female...any animal...any winged bird...anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish. We are not to worship the sun, moon and stars. (Deuteronomy 4:15-19) Nothing but Him.
Seek the Lord your God with all your heart you will find Him. Turn to Him in times of distress and He will be there for you. Obey His Word, which is a form of His voice, be obedient to it, and He will not forsake you, destroy you or forget the covenant He made with you. Look back on His Word and see what He did for His people then. His judgment when they were disobedient, His forgiveness and mercy when they turned back to Him. Look back on His Word when He was only a voice...through Moses and the other Old Testament prophets. Then look back on His Word when God became flesh and walked among us, the Living Word, in the form of Jesus. The Word never changes. Never has, never will. It brings life to those who perish, if they desire to take heed.
See what God says in Deuteronomy 4 for yourself. It's a powerful chapter. Let the words set you free, like Israel was from their captivity in Egypt. Let Him lead you into your own personal promised land in Christ.
Deuteronomy 4:39 - Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.