Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's Not About the Bunny...

Revelation 5:6,8,9 - Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne…the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb...And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

but it is about the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain. This Lamb had a name. His name is Jesus.

I saw something come across my Facebook page which said: It's Not About the Bunny.

There is an even greater "but" to go along with this.  But God...raised Jesus on the third day and He lives forever more, that mere man might know Him. No man could keep this Man down. The sins of all people past, present and future were nailed to the cross from which Jesus hung. There was no ooey-gooey chocolate or pastel-colored marshmallow bunny hanging there, no eggs to color and hunt for, no Easter baskets, only the most dreadful sight of an innocent Man who humbled Himself and gladly died for our sins.

Jesus is no longer on the cross or in the tomb but He has risen and He is alive and seeking those who will follow Him even today. He is risen and through His power He makes Himself known to mankind, waiting for yet another person to receive Him as their Lord and Savior.

Even in the Old Testament we hear of reports of raising on the third day. Jonah was in the belly of a large fish for three days and then spewed out to take a reluctant prophetic word of repentance to the rebellious people of Ninevah: Salvation comes from the Lord; Hosea spoke of the people of Israel, God's people, who should return to the LORD that He might heal them: After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence. And everyone knows the story of Lazarus whom Jesus Himself raised from the dead on the third day. All these are pictures of Jesus being raised, that rebellious people might repent so He could bring salvation and spiritual healing to all people and remove the nasty sin-covered grave cloths from our bodies…so we might live in His presence.

He was the Lamb that was slain for each one of us. He bore all our sins. It was His passion to do this. He died willingly for each of us, as sinful as we are. Those who have received Him are no longer seen by the Father as unrighteous, unholy sinners but as righteous and holy through the eyes of Jesus. Jesus' blood that was shed as the slain Lamb has covered our sins and weaknesses, healed our spiritual bodies and has given us a resurrected life as well.

Hallelujah to the Lamb. Only He is worthy of all our praises. One day every knee will bow and tongue confess Jesus as Lord.

Revelation 5:13 - Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"

Friday, March 29, 2013

Crossing Over

Matthew 16:24 - Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."

So, it's Good Friday. Jesus' crucifixion took place this day. What He did for us is unimaginable. He denied Himself. The pain He went through for us stiff-necked people! The sin of the world was upon His body and nailed on the cross. What He did for us…all He promised. "Forgive them, Father…"

I have been devouring Deuteronomy. I said yesterday I was stuck in it. But stuck isn't really the right word. Meditating is more like it. What I'm about to write is hard. I am exposing just a tiny bit of myself.

In Deuteronomy Moses is reminding the people of Israel who are just about to cross over the Jordan River and enter into the Promised Land what the LORD has done for them. There must be a reason why I'm hanging out here in this book! All He did for them…all He promised…freedom, forgiveness, promises, life, hope, a future…when…when…we receive Him and as He gave all for us, we give all to Him.

After cogitating on all this crossing over stuff something came in my email from Carter Conlon from the Times Square Church in New York City. It was an article that discussed crossing over the river! He suggested that many times people come to the river and peer over, afraid of crossing. They see all that can be theirs on the other side but are afraid of leaving what they've known for what they could possess. Remember, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." We are to give up the old us. If we are in Christ, after all, aren't we a new person? The layers must begin to come off to expose that new person. 

Conlon wrote: Jesus once told His disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16:12–15).

I'm just thinking here…perhaps I have not truly crossed over into my promised land. Perhaps I've been hanging out on this side of the river. Maybe I've been lingering on the shore of the river knowing there's more and better things on the other side but hanging out in the comfort I'm accustomed to. Believe me this is hard to write!! I know we never truly arrive at perfection here on earth. To think I've been one who is hanging on to this side of the river...ugh. And even before I read this article I was sensing there was a very powerful message in Deuteronomy for me…probably even for others.

I have undergone what seems a huge change lately. I left one church and started attending another. It was NOT my decision but God's. When I knew that I knew He was telling me, not asking me, but making it very clear it was time to leave and go "here," I knew I had to obey. It was a very difficult decision. I wept for days and asked the Lord for answers.

It's been a little over a month and I'm still learning the why's. Little by little I see how God was putting the puzzle together. He was showing me things for more than a year and I wasn't recognizing them. I only knew I was feeling out of sorts and yet I wasn't even recognizing that! Not until He planted "Go" in my spirit.

I don't know why I have been moved. It doesn't matter. I know it is God's plan and if I follow where He takes me it will be good. I already suspect there are things I need to learn, need to change and need to go through…as a friend of mine describes, anguishes of the soul. We don't want to go through them but at the same time they cleanse, they heal, the bring even greater freedom and reconciliation…and best yet, a closer walk with the Lord…more peeling of the layers and exposing more of Jesus.

I am so anxious to get started. I know I'm in for mountaintop highs and valley lows. I know the stripping will be painful but the gloriousness on the other side will be delightful.

What's even more exciting, more humbling than you can imagine, and not at all arrogant, is that Jesus cares that much about me to want me to do this. He loves each of us that much. He is so willing, as His death shows, to do this for anyone who will deny himself and follow Him…actually cross over that river, leave what we have known as comfort to possess that which He has for us on the other side.

I have no idea how this is going to be accomplished. I'm taking it a step at a time, a day at a time. I know if He is guiding me it will be good. I know there will be others beside me to encourage me, strengthen me here in the world, but Jesus will be doing His share spiritually.

Jesus crossed over, in a way, this day 2,000 years ago. He did it for us. If He could do it, so can we.

1Peter 2:21 - For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…

Thursday, March 28, 2013

At the Foot of the Mountain

Deuteronomy 4:11-12 - "Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness. And the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; you only heard a voice."

I'm stuck in Deuteronomy, but it's good. Moses is reminding the people of Israel what the LORD has done for them. Account after account speaks of freedom, disobedience, forgiveness, freedom and more disobedience and forgiveness. Our God is always there. He waits for us to acknowledge Him that we might have freedom and forgiveness. Yet there sometimes still is disobedience. Through all these experiences we develop who we are in Christ. But there has to be a beginning, where we have seen the Lord and experienced His forgiveness and our freedom.

We are all to share the account of our conversion. It is our testimony, like Jesus testified throughout His life about who He was, where He came from, what power He had.

As I read the scriptures above my mind went directly to my conversion. There was a mountain looming in my life. It seemed immense and I was at my wits' end as to what I could do.

About the same time my sister in law asked me to meet her and the family at church the next day. I hesitated big time until she said something that instantaneously brought tears to my eyes. I didn't realize it at the time but they were the words of God...coming out of the fire of my dilemma.

I relented and went to church the next morning not realizing I would meet Jesus face to face, receive Him, and the rest would be history...or my testimony. I heard Him call me as I sat in that service. I could do nothing but respond to that call. It was a matter of life (spiritual) or death (natural). Oh, I wasn't considering ending my life, but my life did change in a very special way that day.

Since then I have sought the Word. I have continued to hear the Lord speak through His Word and in my spirit. Mysteries revealed, love shown, encouragement received, sin and conviction revealed. All for good.

Have I been 100% dedicated to the Lord? Sadly, no. Have I given up on Him? Gladly, no. If I stray a bit, it doesn't take long for Him to rein me in. I know where my help cometh from. I know who my Source is. I know what lies ahead. I know where my main focus and devotion are to be. I know where unconditional love comes from. I also know I am nothing without Jesus. Without Him there is lack of peace.

We follow an unseen yet powerful God. He proves this through His invasion of our consciences, His ability to show us in our spirits, not our minds, those things that hold us within His grasp. He bestows upon us that peace...that truly does pass all understanding. We must heed these things. In relationship with God we will have that ability.

One might be at the foot of a mountain. It might be illness, depression, a bad relationship, drugs, alcohol, etc., anything that causes distress. All one sees is a very high, intimidating mountain. But Jesus Christ can be our Way. He will lead you in the proper direction, help you up the mountain where all seems good again. Oh, be certain that not all days will be at the top. There are valleys we must go through. They are there to strengthen us. But remember, He is also there in the valley with us (Psalm 23) to be our Comfort.

When we submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ, He shows us what His covenant with us is, we hear His voice and are convicted of wrongdoing. He reminds us where we have been and where we are headed providing we stay focused on Him. Like Israel having been led out of Egypt, we have been led out of this world by Christ's call. We know the changes if we took the call to heart. He reveals it to us.

Deuteronomy 4:35 - "To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

But the LORD...

Deuteronomy 3:26-27 - "But the LORD was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the LORD said to me: "Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan

Moses was a godly man; however, when it came time for the people of Israel to cross over the Jordan river to possess the promised land God had promised them, Moses was not allowed to go. He had angered the LORD...because the people angered him.

Forty years and one whole generation of Israel who had been told they would enter into their promised land had come and gone. They had grown weary of their travels, were disobedient to the God who was providing all their needs daily. They were thirsty and complained to Moses about this God. In his anger over their complaint Moses took it to God and bitterly complained about them. God said to speak to a rock and water would be theirs to soothe their grumbling yet again.

Once before these grumblers complained about water and God ordered Moses to strike a rock with his staff. Water poured out. This time, in his anger, Moses again struck this rock. Water did come, but at a price. Moses was disobedient...he needed only to speak to the rock. He had disobeyed God.

Sounds like a menial thing, right? But when God wants you to do something, you do it His way. His was is the right way. I was talking with a friend the other morning about how we sometimes feel we are not quite always right with God. Feel is the word. We can let our feelings get in the way. God doesn't call us to do something big every day. We hear His voice often as we read His Word, think about Him, meditate on His Word. But He doesn't always call us to just get out and do some huge thing every day. It's all the little things we do each day. I knew I heard from God when He told me to leave my church. That was a huge thing! I didn't want to! I didn't understand why until I started questioning Him. Why, why, why?? You will see this happen, and get this and know this...were the answers that came in time. All I could do is obey...and some day I know those things will come about.

But for Moses' indiscretion, however, he was not allowed into the Promised Land. Seems like a crushing blow. Although disheartened, Moses knew he had done wrong...and he went on to plead with the people, See what the LORD has done to me. Pay attention. This is as an example to you. You wandered 40 years in the desert because of your disobedience. Many of your people died. If you want to cross over to the land He has promised you, you must be obedient, that you might live. I wrote about this yesterday. Deuteronomy 4:1 - Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you.  

There is a reason we have a Bible, why God chose to inspire the men who wrote it...that we might know Him, His power, His commandments, His Way to eternal life, His right to determine what must be done to receive this eternal life. For Israel it was direct obedience to God who was with them, yet unseen. For us it is through Jesus Christ, who can be with us always, yet unseen, if we receive Him into our lives and obey what He tells us, which is the very heart of God, the very things He hears His Father tell Him. Jesus is God also and the Holy Spirit, once we have received Christ, will teach us things because He also is God. Oh, I love the mysteries....

When you seek the Lord and receive Him, you will see all He has done for you and what He will do as a result of your obedience. It is imperative to never forget where you have come from...what He has done to make positive changes in your keep His commandments, to know them and never forget them.

Deuteronomy 4:3-4, 9 - Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal Peor; for the LORD your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you. Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Confession From the Heart

Numbers 32:11, 13-15 - Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me... So the Lord ’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until ALL the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone. And look! You have risen in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to INCREASE STILL MORE the fierce anger of the Lord against Israel. For if you turn away from following Him, He will once again LEAVE THEM IN THE WILDERNESS, and you will destroy all these people.”

From captivity to freedom. The story of Moses leading the people out of Egypt to enter into a land God had promised them. There is so much to glean from this account. It is the story of salvation. It is a most vital story. Like Moses, Jesus leads us out of captivity. Moses is a type of Jesus.

We will never enter our promised land without receiving Christ, without obedience to Him. The promised land can be our paradise, through Christ. It has been discussed that Jerusalem, where Jesus will return one day soon, was the center of the garden of Eden. God started life in the garden, banished Adam and Eve from that garden when they sinned. We are all separated from God as a result of their sin. Jesus said on the cross to one of the other sinners, "Today you will be with Me in paradise," when this thief confessed Jesus and hurled these remarks at the other thief: Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. (Luke 23:40-41)
He offers that same paradise statement to each person who confesses Jesus as Lord. That promised land.

But as the scripture above states, we will not see the promised land without first following Jesus and wholly following Him. The wandering in the wilderness of the world will continue. The sinfulness of man will continue to increase. The anger of the LORD will continue to grow. The people will one day be utterly destroyed for their lack of belief in and obedience to God/Jesus.

We can confess Jesus in two ways. One is from our heart and one is from our mind. If confession is not from the heart it has no meaning. Nothing has changed. We have not crossed over to enter the promised land. God knows what lies in the recesses of both our heart and mind; nothing is hidden from Him. He knows... What we say, how we feel, react, live, is all taken into account. I picture God with a clipboard and checklist for each of us and He's making notes. (Now I know He doesn't need to really do that...) Our sin will find us out. Will we ever be perfect? No. But we must make a conscious effort to do as He says and not deliberately sin.

To inherit eternal life, Jesus tells is, to love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and all your strength (Luke 10:25, Matthew 22:36-38). This is the first have no other gods before Him. Confess your sins like the thief, confess Jesus as Lord...from your heart.

Numbers 32:23 - But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Relevant Teaching??

1Thessalonians 2:13 -  For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

Seems like relevance is a word being used the past couple weeks at church. I've mentioned time and again about how the Bible is relevant to today. Only thing is, it's not my quote! For those who know and take the time to know the Bible, we know relevance is everywhere. Our pastor, Terry Fischer at The Church in Wisconsin, said this one Sunday: I want to preach a very relevant I'm going to use the Bible! Oh, yes!

If we want to know what truth is we need to know God and we can find evidence of Him from Genesis to Revelation. From In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) to He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen (Revelation 22:20-21).

I wrote the other day about Jesus being His own the Word as the Word. The One who created the heavens and the earth, who came down from His throne and stepped into sinful mankind's world to show us who He was (and is and is to be) and that He would so lovingly redeem us if we would only believe, humbling Himself by becoming obedient to death--even death on a cross--enduring beatings, mocking, being spit upon, and piercing, all without complaint, without even one word to justify Himself...because He was not only the Son of God but God.

What's the relevance? That He, Jesus Christ, is the only true Way to salvation, righteousness, reconciliation once again with God our Father and the surety of eternal life. Oh, the relevance in that!

As Pastor Terry mentioned a couple Sundays ago, while the world was about their daily lives, doing what people do, Noah was about the only thing that, even if he didn't understand the why about what he was doing, he did anyway, in pure faith...he built an ark. Noah, like Jesus, was jeered by the multitude. Relevant? In today's world, yes. Anyone who wants to share the truth of Jesus and the Word of God gets jeered, or worse, persecuted. It is no longer politically correct to mention God's name in public or to see the signs of our faith.

These people are not focused on what God says, and will be like all those people clamoring to enter the ark when the rains come someday. They'll be pounding on the door for entry into security, hoping to be removed from their own torment just like those people while Noah and his family were in the safety of the ark.

Another blog awhile back was about the ark and the door. Jesus is that door. He is the safety we can cling to if we keep our hearts, eyes and minds focused on Him. He is at the doors to so many souls. He's knocking that they might receive Him. Receive Him that the security of eternal life would be so real and there will be no furnace of fire where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, or the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night...(Matthew 13:42, Revelation 14:11a). Imagine these people who did not listen to Noah, who mocked him as he built this huge boat, as he talked about the rain and flood to come.

Today this same story is relevant because it prophesies what it will be like in the last days when those who have heard Jesus knocking at their hearts but did not open their hearts to receive Him. What's the knocking? It's those preaching, teaching or discussing the message that seems like foolishness. Where is this God spoken of? How can we believe in something we can't see? Believing and receiving are action words. There is something you must first do in order to "get it."

John 12:48 - He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Seek and Find

Jeremiah 29:13 - And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 

A lighthearted blog today...but still with a message.

A few days ago I wrote about how our new kitten escaped confinement from a bedroom. She enjoyed her freedom too much to want to be cooped up for awhile to get used to the her new environment. She would have no part on that; she was just too bold.

Yesterday I was watching her play hide and seek with our older cat who isn't so sure he really wants a new best buddy. He hides, she seeks and always finds. Under covers, in shower stalls, under beds, behind furniture. She isn't just diligent in her seeking, she's fervent.

Of course the words seek and ye shall find popped into my head and thoughts of how God can seem hidden or distant from unbelievers. I mean, nearly nothing prompts them to think about Him on a daily basis. They go about their routines as if He does not exist, as if He doesn't have anything to do with daily lives.

So much for lighthearted!!! Anyway, no matter how Wilson hides from Treo she will find him. She diligently seeks him (to torment him). We are told that if we seek God we will find Him. Like Treo, look everywhere. Never give up. He's there waiting for you. You will find Him if you diligently seek Him. And might I add, seek fervently. You will find the mysteries of God there. A new life, a new world. It's amazing.

All Treo wants is a friend. Wilson doesn't know what he's missing. All Jesus wants is for us to realize He can be our Friend...and Savior, Redeemer, Counselor. And He is also our Judge and He always preached hard words, but for those willing to obey He is all things good.

Seek Him and you will find the gentleness and goodness of this Man balanced with the hard truths of who we actually are, what we actually should be and what will actually happen if we seek Him but choose not to believe all He has to say. For those who seek Him, His promises are true and just.

Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Foolish, Weak, Base and Despised

1Corinthians 1:26-29 - For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, but of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—

Not many wise, nor mighty, nor noble, but those those things which are foolish and/or weak or base, despised by the majority are used of God. Why? That He might be glorified. Oh, horrors, the pride in that statement. To the foolish perhaps, but not to God nor those who follow Him. Man's thoughts are not like His, His ways are not like ours. We are so totally ignorant until we realize just who He is, what He has done and what He can do in each of us.

The world view looks at the physical stuff, the strong people, the prominent or even rich, those who believe they are noble and believe that fame and fortune are what counts. God views that differently...and He uses those things the world looks up to to one day shame them.

I look at the current state of things in our country and know without a doubt those who believe we are headed in the right direction under our current leadership will find out what a mess we truly are headed for. And the despised thoughts against differing opinion will one day be put to shame. Some will come to their senses, some will not. Those things which appear to be so necessary to change what once was good, not perfect but better, will be brought to nothing.

All this to say that God will honor those who honor Him. The humble will become great and those who appear now to be great will become nothing, humbled. God will do the work of raising up and taking down, in His time. And that to show His excellence, His power and wisdom. To prove what He has shown us in His Word is truth...those things that few believe and follow because their desires, their lusts are for the worldly things.

But God...can change any person from a world view to a God view. Ones heart alone must be wanting to receive His wisdom, protection, peace, righteousness. Seems all so vain to some to look not to the things we see in front of us. But it is not when God is entirely able to give what we really need. And anyone may have righteousness but it comes at a give up worldliness to seek God's holiness. We will never attain 100% but He sees us through the very eyes of His Son and what He did for us if we give ourselves to Him.  

Nobody will be able to eliminate, annihilate, obliterate or utterly destroy all that God has set up. It's been about 6,000 years this earth has existed (eyebrows raised??) and 2,000 for Christianity. That certainly stands the test of time. It will always remain, even with the meager number of true followers there are. True followers are what He is seeking. Remnant believers who, through thick or thin, remain faithful to His call and His following.

The Church today for the most part does not look like the first Church anymore. There are false doctrines and a myriad of beliefs. In some churches anything goes. Come as you are, stay just as you are. No need to change, just say you believe in God, say a sinner's prayer, and believe there are many ways to the Father of Hosts, including your own way for just believing in God but not seriously following. The proud will be humbled...the wise shall be made foolish, the strong will be weakened...until the day when every knee will bow and tongue confess to the absolute truth of who Jesus is, was and forever will be.

The time is now to change, to take a stand, to be on the narrow road with just a few people united in their narrow beliefs...because narrow is the way, the Way. This goes for the Church too. Be the first to be last so that you might become the first. Take a humble stand and see where you can go.

But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. So the last will be first, and the first will be last. But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last. (Matthew 19:39, 20:16, Mark 10:31, Luke 13:30)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Words of Truth and Life

“Must I not take heed to speak what the Lord has put in my mouth?” not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. (Numbers 23:12, Mark 13:11)

Thank You Lord for the truth of Your Word. Thank You for the promises of the blessings to those who love You and keep Your commands, who do not fear what man can do. Thank You that no matter what happens, if our eyes are stayed on You it is You who protect us. Who can understand this? That even in our death from evil doing, illness or the end of our days we are in Your hands and the better part of our existence lies ahead.

Thank You for the words of the prophets that show us what You have done and will do. Future events that lie within the very words of Your Word! Balaam only spoke what You commanded. Let that be me. Let the Spirit of God come upon me. My eyes have been opened; open them more. I have heard Your words through reading (seeing)  Your Word; let me hear more clearly. I have seen in my spirit Your visions; let my spirit be more open to seeing. (Numbers 24)

Thank You that You are a God who cannot lie, whose words are truth and that includes judgment and justice for those who do not understand, see, hear. When You say something it will come to be. Your Word is filled with those things that will be. Filled with promises for those who seek You, Your Word, trust in You for their lives, are their Hope. But also filled with the promise that those who strive to do evil will be punished, even if they are not punished in their lifetime, there will be eternal punishment. 

A way has been paved and You are the Shepherd who leads His flock. You ARE the Way. Your ways are straight...and narrow. You guide us through and around obstacles. You are our strength. 

Like Israel, Your people, we who have been called by You, who follow You, trust You, call You our one true God (and there is none other like You), are Your disciples (and the sheep of Your pasture), we will stand in the end. Enemies may gather against us, chide us, persecute us, but You have said You would possess our enemies while You make us victorious! You remain the same and Your promise to us is forever: You will never leave us nor forsake us. 

I have prayed for years for a voice, Lord God. Let the Words that You put in my heart be spoken. It is not about those who like me but about Who loves me. You are the one who is to be exalted. Just as You bless those who bless Israel and You curse those who curse Israel, You will bless those who bless You and curse those who do not.

Heavenly Father, continue to open eyes around the world, but don't forget those nearest all of us. Let the wisdom and knowledge of who You are be revealed. Let the light and truth of Your words be life. Let the mysteries of who You are be a driving force. Let freedom in Christ cover in peace. You are our all in all. There is no guile in You. You bring real hope and the real future. We are only sojourners today in our physical life on earth. The real life lies ahead where many have already gone. 

Proverbs 11:27 - He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Am the LORD Your God

Leviticus 26:13 - I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.

Oh, people, how this so is what Jesus does for us. If Egypt is a type of the world and we walk in this world's ways, He brings us out that we will no longer remain in captivity of all that is wrong in the world.

When we are in confinement we feel oppressed. Jesus breaks the yoke that we might be free. When we are free our entire outlook is different, there is a lilt in our step, we can walk upright. There may be those around us burdened by the things of the world (even those who don't realize they are burdened) but we have no need to feel that way again.

Here's a story of freedom!! Granted it's not what you might expect, but I believe even in the everyday things we can see glimpses of God and what He will do for us if we keep our hearts, minds and eyes focused on Him. So, the story: A friend was telling me I should journal about something recently. Then I read this scripture and eventually related it to what she said.

We had two cats. One had to be put down. So that the remaining cat, Wilson, would have a companion  we decided to get another cat. We had been trying to observe the "rules" for introducing a new cat into the home. One rule is to have a separate room for the newbie for a time so both can become acquainted through sounds and smells under the door!?

The new little girl, Treo, did not like being confined (in jail as my husband says). I really can't blame her but it holds back the growling and hissing from the 10 year old. In an attempt to promote a little better opportunity to see and smell I opened the door about an inch and put heavy objects at the door to hold it in that position.

One morning I went to get her out of her "cell" and noticed immediately that the door was no longer only one inch wide. Oops. She escaped. She had full range of the entire house all night. She was as happy as a clam. As my friend chuckled about this I could see no humor in it at the time. Not when I was the one in the midst of all the hissing!! Well, the damage was done, no point locking her up anymore.

She was confined and felt oppressed. Now she runs when we approach for what I believe is fear she will become confined again. Her yoke was broken in her escape and she DOES have a lilt to her step now. She walks upright. Wilson may be burdened for a time, but she is not! He too will escape that burden when he realizes how good it is to have her around! Ahem. (Not amen but ahem!)

I pray that when my enemy approaches I will run from his grasp and that I will be reminded of all that Christ did for me, for who I am in Christ, that I now have the mind of Christ, am being made daily into the likeness of He who redeemed and saved me. He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.

Just as God was the one who took His people out of the land of Egypt and into the land He promised, Jesus will do the same for anyone interested today. He is the same today as He was in the past and will always be. This world changes, but He never will. He will give us all good things (not necessarily things we can hold in our hands but an even more special gift, that of Himself and His strength, peace, hope and more) if we just believe in Him and are obedient. His desire is that all be removed from their burdens of guilt and shame brought about by sin. His desire is to break the yoke of slavery to sin. His desire is for us, that He can give us great things, treasures. The greatest gift He offers is His Son, Jesus.

Ephesians 1:3-6 - 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, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself,  according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's Our Choice to Make

Psalm 33:4-5 - For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

These two verses cover a lot of bases. First of all it's all about God!

The word of the LORD is right. His Word is straight, upright, correct, pleasing; to be right, level, just, lawful and smooth, as Strong's Concordance tells us. Of course, one has to believe in His Word to start out, or be interested in learning from it. The Word of the LORD is His Word and His Word is His Son, the Word made flesh. And Jesus is truth.

His work is done in truth. There is no falseness in our God. He is all truth and honesty. He is, after all, Almighty God and why would He lie? That's what we have a devil to do, and he's good at it.

He loves righteousness. That's why He sent His Son to die for all mankind. His desire is for all to receive His gift of salvation. ALL. He wouldn't choose one and not another. We are all steeped in unrighteousness and sin. ALL. He would love to see all become righteous, through Jesus...only through Jesus. Jesus, the only Mediator between God and man.

He loves justice. He will not let those who do not receive the gift of His Son go unpunished. It wouldn't be fair. Yet there are some who will totally reject Him. So if one thinks that all people will go to heaven, they are mistaken, believing satan's lie. Remember, He is truth, His Word is truth, His work is truth. His Word shows us, if we search the scriptures, what happens to those who reject the truth of His Word...Jesus.

The earth is filled with His goodness. Goodness comes from God. He created this earth that we might see His goodness, know the wisdom and power of our Creator, be awestruck by it all, live in it and with it. But man chose and still chooses to believe he can be like God. If one sees poverty, oppression, death, destruction, it is not caused by God. It is a result of man making the wrong choices over so many years, with it escalating today, choosing self or stuff over God...being separated from Him. He does not want to see these bad things happening.

However, we can live amidst the trauma of this life with peace in our souls if we know that we know the God who created all things, including us. Created...not evolved. That revelation, that truth, will be revealed when seeking His Words of truth and by living an upright life in Christ, bearing the title of righteous...only because of Jesus.

It all starts with God and will one day end with Him. We are either for Him or against Him. We either worship Him or other idols/gods. Choose this day whom you will serve: God or gods, spiritual life or physical life (life or death), truth or lies. Remember, He is eternal, no beginning, no end, life started with Him, it will end with Him. But eternal life begins and ends with Him also! Praise God. He wishes none to perish but that ALL would have eternal life. It's our choice.

Psalm 33:11 - The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Word Is Near You

Psalm 32:3-5 - When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah  I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah 

Nearly every scripture has something to speak to us. Maybe not so much the "begats" or numbering or some chronicling! I've known for a long time, though, that even what we read one day will have another meaning the next time it is read. There is a message even between the lines and words that we don't know until God reveals them to us.

That is the very power of the truth of His Word. And taken into a heart and meditated on they bring life. His Word will not return void if one takes the time to read and take it in. His words are near you. If you hear His Words being spoken today, listen. If they elicit a move of your heart, respond. You are only a step away from the greatest gift given to man...salvation and forgiveness, which bring spiritual life.

In Deuteronomy 6 God tells His people that ...these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way; when you lie down, and when you rise up. Command may seem like a hard word, but when we are obedient it is an easy yoke. In this context command means to appoint, give charge to, send, as with a messenger, put in order. That definition alone speaks to a message between the lines. God appointed His words and those who hear and understand those words are then appointed to be sent as messengers to speak such words, words of life.

And order! His words bring order to our lives. God does not cause confusion; only the devil does with his deception. Things seem to fall into place nicely if we do God's will and do it His way. We can muck things up. He brings the order.

If our words are focused on the Lord, He tells us it is a sweet incense to Him...a form of worship. So our thoughts and our daily communication with Him is worship.

God truly means what He says all throughout His Word. Imagine the peace in this world if everyone believed in this amazingly awesome God, if everyone acknowledged their need for Him and rather than try to hide their sins (which are not hidden from the One who really matters) but confessed their sins, not to a friend, stranger or even a pastor/priest, but to God Himself that He might forgive them. Imagine. Bones growing old, His hand being heavy on us, vitality gone...all signs of life without God.

Life in Christ is a worldly yoke and burden removed. It is peace in a heart. It is freedom, life, joy, peace, contentment, fearlessness in times of trouble. Are we all there 100% of the time? Not necessarily. But the closer we draw to Him, the more His Words penetrate our hearts, the more we meditate on those words, the more we are at peace.

Meditate on His Word. Listen to the voices that speak them. Act on what you hear. His words are like living water, words that never cause thirst. They are like a garden fountain, a well of flowing water...water that comes from the wells of salvation (Song of Solomon 4:15, Isaiah 12:3). Our hearts can be like a well-watered garden, filled with His words.

Romans 10:8-10 - But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart"  (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that 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.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

And Then

Numbers 11:20b - "'...because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying,  “Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?”’”

Oh, Egypt. Israel was in captivity there for many years before Moses arrived and demanded Pharaoh let God's people go, not without a struggle.

Israel saw the miracles, experienced God's hand of protection upon them and were grateful for their release from slavery to the Egyptians. For awhile, anyway.

Israel, God's people. Egypt, the world. I've written many times about this. Us and them! How is it we, like Israel, forget so easily all that God has done for us...from Genesis to Revelation?

Here we have Israel being led by Moses, who is being led by the LORD, from a land of slavery to a land of promise and their freedom. The thought of that alone should have been exciting. Their journey an adventure knowing that the cloud that protected them during the day and the pillar of fire at night was their God. His presence was with them 24/7. But that excitement and knowledge seemed to have waned after a time. They arose and went when God's presence moved and they stopped when He stopped.

Some time into their journey came the dissatisfaction. They were no longer content with the routine of not knowing their next step and collecting manna each day. Their whining showed how they, might I use the same strong language as in Numbers, detested or abhorred God. ...because you have despised the Lord who is among you... Among you...

This was a true test in trusting God and following Him. Not knowing what each day held. For us it is the self-sufficiency of which we must let go. This is difficult sometimes. We as humans think we always know what is best, giving no thought to what God might think. Don't we believe He knows what's best? We are a rebellious lot...we cling to our Egypt and remember the good old days when we thought we had it better.

Israel whined about the good food they had despite their being slaves. Somehow they forgot about the treatment they received and could only think about their physical hunger and physical needs.

This past week as we listened to Jeremy Prochazka preach at The Church in Wisconsin on The Yoke Shall Be Destroyed Because of the Anointing, he brought up an "and then" statement. It was referring to Elijah's mantle of prophet being given to Elisha. It happens to us also. We are asked by God to do something, first to follow, then act. It must happen at the proper time. Elisha said to Elijah in 1Kings 19:20: And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said,  “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”

Like some, Elisha didn't hesitate. The anointing of God was upon him. He immediately turned from Elijah and sought to do as he said, which included giving up all that was seemingly important, and then returned to follow. It reminds me of times when men wanted to follow Jesus but only after they had said their goodbyes to family. Elisha did as he had said he would. Others go back to family and never return because the comfort level was greater there.

Elisha had twelve yoke of oxen. He was a prosperous man and he was being asked to leave it all behind because an anointing was upon his life. We have to free ourselves from any yoke that is upon us that interferes with God's will for us. The yoke is always a worldly thing, whether physical, mental or emotional. We know that each of us is part of the body of Christ, each with a gift that God has given us. I look at that as His anointing, whether great or small.

If God has asked you to move to another level in Him, to seek Him over the things of Egypt, He has also provided the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome...but sometimes you must make the first move...which is to just let everything go and follow. Is our Egypt too great; does it have too much to offer, so we think? Are the things we hold so dear just that, too dear? Might we ask ourselves why we left Egypt?

If we have been called to follow we will be called to make sacrifices, to let things go. It might not always be easy but what is on the other side of obedience will be. As Jeremy stated: the anointing will change us but it will also empower us to make changes. We must be willing to change, to let go of the yoke that holds us captive.

Jesus' yoke, He exerted, was easy and His burden light. He is the one who gives peace that passes all understanding. He is the one who makes us lie in green pastures. He is the tower we run into when our strength fails us. He is the cleft in the rock where we seek refuge in times of trouble. It is His hands which hold us, which have us engraved in them.

Which yoke do we want, the world's or His? Do we want to carry the burdensome yoke or allow His to carry us?

Isaiah 10:27 - It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Kid in a Candy Store!

Ezekiel 37:5-6 - Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: "Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD."

I think I was asleep and have been going through a time of awakening. I was becoming comfortable in my life in Christ, despite the deep seated desire to grow deeper in Him. As the days grow more ominous we know our strength must come from some place other than our selves and our resourcefulness. The only way to gain that strength is to go to the Source, which is Jesus.

Our church (The Church in Wisconsin) is being bombarded by several nights' worth of powerful, eye-opening words of a young evangelist, Jeremy Prochazka. Old truths have been brought forth as reminders of what being in Christ means. As one sermon leads into the next they are all connected by a fresh view and a common thread...the Lord. I feel like a kid in a candy store. So much to "look" into and take in, not that I haven't heard it before, but that I need to be reminded. That's what revival is. Dry bones coming back to life.

Jeremy started with the Church and how if Christ is in it that's what it's all about. And those churches which are doing it right by not watering down the Word or preaching man's version of the Gospel and are allowing the Holy Spirit full access, the Latter Will be Greater than the Past, as his first message was entitled. There will be a remnant in the end who will rebuild the Church to what it should be, who will be standing only on the truth of His Word...what it's all about.

These messages have touched me. Each one so far has struck a conviction, one that started probably a year ago when I was beginning to become dissatisfied with something I couldn't put my finger on...which culminated in one day just knowing God was leading me to make a change, a very big one, in order to go deeper with Him. That change moved me to a new church, a difficult decision but when God is behind it, a good one, of that I was sure.

The Church: it's not about the building but the people within it...if Christ is in the heart, He is in the home as well. He had no luxurious place to rest at night. It was whoever took Him in, or whatever rock was available to rest His head. This speaks corporately and personally, too.

All things that are not of Christ must be removed. There is a shaking going on. I have felt that there has been a sifting and when that is done the shaking within Church walls will come thereafter. Perhaps some churches have been sifted and are now being shaken, some are still being sifted. Is the Church, or ourselves, Christ-centered or not? Shake it out if it is not.

Again, I have felt complacency, but desiring more. Where I am now I don't think I can remain with all the people around me. That is good. Now three weeks later I'm really sensing I am lacking compared to them. Ah, but we are not to compare ourselves, which Jeremy brought up last night, and as I've heard before. And no one should compare in Church. It's where edification should take place if it is the church (any church) it claims it to be. If there's comparison, it's wrong.

We're at different spiritual levels and that's okay. It's that we want to reach the next level that is important. And it starts in a church that is of one accord, all wanting this same thing, no matter what level we're on. Shaking causes shackles to be broken and that equals freedom. We are all given a measure by Christ. If He has given us that measure, don't try to fix it. Go with it.

Jeremy talked about the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. Shaking of the Church isn't always bad but will produce good. You shake to stir things up, to open eyes, revive, restore, bring back together. Once the bones are shaken the flesh will reappear and growth will occur.

In his sermon on Controlled by the River Jeremy discussed Ezekiel 47:1-11. There was a vision of a man measuring the waters that flowed out of the temple. First they were ankle deep, then knee high, then to the loins until the waters were so deep they could not be crossed. These are like the depth of our spiritual walk with the Lord. And He is the Man measuring. When He moves, we move with Him, but never before Him. It reminds me of Jesus as our living Water. And it is about the Spirit of God which flows in us and directs us. Just keep moving when He moves into that deeper place with Him, beyond where you now are. Follow Him is all He asks and there will be healing and life.

If we get to a place where we can't grow anymore, He will move us. Oh, I saw it when I knew it was time to move from one church to another but this message was such confirmation. I'm sure more revelation will come! Hallelujah.

Monday night in his Conditions of Defeat and Conditions of Victory Jeremy talked about how we might go through seasons of defeat...early on, in the middle of our walk or the end. Sometimes the condition is based on those around us. If they are lax, so will others be. But if they are Spirit-filled and of one accord, it will stand to reason I will be also. And at the same time we must continue to realize that He has given each of us a measure, which I mentioned above. I cannot become frustrated that I can't "measure up" to the person next to me. Jesus has done the measuring; be satisfied with that.

In Acts the early day church all came together in one accord...all 120 people! They prayed and fellowshipped together and the Holy Spirit came upon them. They were then able to go out, with the full measure that Christ had given them and preach to all the world. And the Church grew in number. His Spirit, which stirred the waters in Genesis, stirred their spirits in that upper room. He moved and they followed, each with and in the measure He had given them. He does the same today...let our Church be as the upper room, filled with the glory of God, sending forth the people with praises of God and the healing power to save, increasing the remnant Church.

An interesting point brought up: Ezekiel 47...the first step forward into the river was only ankle deep. That's our first step of faith in our walk with God. In Acts the first healing that took place as the disciples went out to begin their preaching ministry was a lame man. His ankle bones and feet received strength! This was the lame man's first step of faith in trusting the mighty healing power (spiritually as well as physically) of God. He had to start somewhere, like we all do. And sometimes we need to get back into step!

Ezekiel 47:9 - And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Good Things

Leviticus 26:3-4 - If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 

  • If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways
  • walk in My statutes
  • pay attention to these laws
  • faithfully obey the commands I am giving you
  • fully obey the LORD your God
  • listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right
  • walk in all the ways I command you*

  • Then, will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land
  • give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land safely...I will give peace in the will chase your enemies and they shall fall by the sword
  • the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you
  • I will send rain on your land in its season... so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil
  • the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth
  • I will not bring on you any of the diseases...for I am the LORD, who heals you
  • I will be your God and you will be my people
  • that it may go well with you*

Just imagine. If all this nation did was believe in and seek the God who gave us all we have, who created this earth that we might enjoy it and it's goodness and abundance...and obeyed His commands, listened to Him and do what is right....all the other things would be granted to us.

These are only a portion of the if, then statements we can find. There are other if, then statements but I'd prefer to dwell on the positive today. It seems like our part of the deal has less boils down to obedience in seeking, hearing, obeying. God's end of the bargain is eternal goodness, safety, healing, abundance, love. All for the simple act of obedience to Him.

But we have a difficult time obeying. We always fall short. Our human minds have minds of their own sometimes! But again, if we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). That sets us straight again. Why is this so difficult to understand?

I think a lot about this nation of ours and think about the innocence there was when I was growing up. It wasn't pure, but technology sure did a number on it, opening up one door after another letting the purity escape. And we wonder why we struggle these days, why there is so much hate, destruction, death...self-centeredness.

Oh, Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. There have always been times of evil and perversion, but boy we had it good for awhile. Times do change.

It all boils down to our disobedience to God. Period. Imagine no terrorism, no market decline, no oppression, no disease. It will always be there because not everyone ever will be obedient to God. And we all will suffer for it.

There will be a day, perhaps sooner than later, when God will put an end to all this and many will eternally suffer the consequences. There's the negative in all this, the thing that could be avoided by believing, trusting and obeying God. We would have a very long way to go to make these changes necessary. We would have to change the twisted thinking that has become normal in society today. I know nothing is impossible with God but I can't see it happening. People will not do it on their own. There's too much stubbornness, pride, greed, haughtiness.

Am I being unfair, judgmental? I don't think so if I believe what God tells us. We are allowed to judge when something is so against God's will and commands.

Psalm 119:2 - Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!

*(2Chronicles 7:14, Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 7:12, Deuteronomy 11:13, Deuteronomy 28:1, Exodus 15:26, Jeremiah 7:23)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Psalm 16

Psalm 16 - Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.
O my soul, you have said to the Lord, 
“You are my Lord,
 my goodness is nothing apart from You.”
As for the saints who are on the earth,
 “they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”
Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god;
 their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
 nor take up their names on my lips.
O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
 You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
 yes, I have a good inheritance.
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
 my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me; 
because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
 my flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
 nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life;
 in Your presence is fullness of joy;
 at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

This is what those who are in unbelief are missing.

I put my trust in God alone. Man or government cannot provide the true hope, protection, provision. Only God can.

Man or government cannot provide the excellent goodness that God can when we allow our hearts, minds and souls to submit to Jesus Christ as THE Lord.

Yes, I am, through and in Christ, counted as one of the excellent ones. Excellence isn't your job, your money, your status, your stuff. It is Jesus Christ. It IS comforting to be counted as among the excellent ones.

As my hope and happiness in Christ continues to grow, for those who know not this Man of salvation, their sorrows will be multiplied...if we begin to see the unrest in the world continue. Their plans, schemes, desires and attempts at good works without Christ will be nothing.

Jesus is my lot, my portion, my hope. In Him I will prevail. Let my cup runneth over.

It is He I will bless for the wisdom He gives, my discernment.

Because I seek Him He stands beside me always. I may not always sense it but I can have confidence and rejoice just the same. I will have rest for my soul.

The path of life is the straight and narrow road He offers, the road less traveled. It is a life of real joy and those treasures only He provides...pleasures forevermore.

I will praise my God in all things. I will trust in Him and stand by Him. He is the Rock of my salvation, the Tower I run into for safety, the Hope for life eternal, my Strength in difficult times. Jesus is my all in all. Alpha, Omega, Beginning and End, First and Last. I'm glad I know Him.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Marvel at Unbelief

Mark 6:6 - And He marveled because of their unbelief.

There are many of us who wonder at the unbelief even today...those who don't see this nation and the world crumbling. Just because we have always gotten through the worst of times many think it will happen again. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Is there a connection between what happens in this world and belief or unbelief in God? Oh, you better believe that! And depending upon the amount of faith in God that happens, again maybe it will, maybe it won't.

To be honest, I hope we don't have to go through tough times, that things work themselves out. Wouldn't we all want that? I don't think I'm truly prepared for tough times. Many of us have lived in an era of the silver spoon. But think about it. It was because our parents worked hard after their parents struggled. Working hard is the key. Today that concept is fading fast with the idea that it is pointless to try at all if we are all "graded the same" in the end.

But back to unbelief. Jesus was in His own hometown doing miracles and healing and His own people were offended. They saw Him as the carpenter's son only. How could He be doing miracles, call Himself the Son of God? The word offend seems to be cropping up a lot these days, especially in regard to Christianity, or maybe if you want to narrow it even more, because of Christianity. How could anyone believe there is only one God and He created all things, and that He controls all things and that He would allow a distinction between heaven and hell? That He would dare separate the sheep from the goats some day and would dare to bring judgment on a world that has its own ideas how things should be done, that no longer believes God is necessary and to be looked up to or relied upon? How dare we?

The unbelief grows. And so does offense...those who are followers of Christ are an offense for saying they are saved, redeemed, holy because of Jesus Christ, the biggest offense, and because God says they are.

And I marvel at the unbelief of even those who call themselves Christians. I marvel at the Church because many will not stand even stronger for the Truth of Jesus Christ. I marvel at the watered down versions of Jesus being preached...all for the sake of not offending those who are in their sins or lifestyles which are abhorrent to God. And God's abhorrence is offensive. I marvel at the fact we have turned evil into good and good into evil. And just to be on God's side is offensive. The unbelief that what His Word says is truth is staggering.

This world, this nation, for the most part, continues to believe what they wish. The Word of God is scorned. Many think we are to be one with nature, equal with the trees, that nature is more important than the lives of humans, or that we are even one with God. Many laugh at the idea that killing unborn children because they are an inconvenience is murder. Others sneer at the idea that  lifestyles should only be what the Bible says they should be. All the unbelief. I'm sure Jesus marvels at it too.

The word marvel used in the description in Mark 6:6 means to wonder at, to be had in admiration; to wonder [with great wonder i.e.] exceedingly; to behold, look upon, view attentively, contemplate. I wonder at that! I half expected it to be some other definition I'd never heard before, a more negative form of marvel, certainly not exceeding admiration. But then this is Jesus marveling. He understood in His own way...and accepted it. He might even had had some thought of the future days in which we would be living.

Not so easy for me, or others to marvel the way Jesus did. We are frustrated with the unbelief because we know the truth...and the Truth.

The prophet Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet because of his love for God and His people Israel, and grieved over their unrepentance and stubborn nature. He knew, as many of us also know, that there will be a coming judgment and a great disaster that lies ahead for our nation and the world. With that will come much pain and death, bitterness and loss of hope. Those who know the Lord may not be totally removed from this, but we will know we have a this Jesus who marveled at unbelief.

Jeremiah made many statements regarding offense...based on this unbelief. Let me end with a few to think about. We should not, in the end, be surprised at the unbelief. We should not expect any less than what either Jeremiah or Jesus went through. Let's let Jesus marvel at it all. It is He Who will take care of it some day! Let us, however, grieve as Jeremiah did over those who are filled with unbelief and pray for eyes to be opened, hearts to be softened and wisdom to come as a result of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord.  Read these words and contemplate those days with these days; the similarity is amazing.

Jeremiah spoke the words of the LORD: To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the Lord is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it...they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.
And Jeremiah grieved: For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” because the word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily.
(Jeremiah 6:10, 7:26, 20:8)