Saturday, May 30, 2015

God of Both Testaments

Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭16-17 - And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 

There are many who question how God could be so judgmental in the Old Testament and in the New Testament loving.

I've heard many times in order to know evil you must see good. A precedent has to be made, a foundation laid. God did that. Life in the beginning was good, peaceful, the way it was meant to be, free from labor, hardship, tears, sorrow.  If Adam and Eve obeyed His command not to touch one particular tree, the life they first lived would be like that. One tree. But once we are told not to do, not to touch, not to taste, not to peek, aren't we tempted all the more to do it?!

God loved His creation but when sin entered into His plan He could have nothing to do with it because of His holiness. This is a concept we must understand...He IS holy....He is good. He always has our best interest in mind, but He also judges. We cannot enter into His presence, nor eternal life, without His help...through Jesus' gift of salvation. His desire is for us to seek His Son and receive that good life back, and as is proclaimed to all who receive His Son, in the end: ..."God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭4‬)  Sounds like what it was like "in the beginning."

There was only one command when God created all was directed to Adam and Eve in the verses above. Wonder where we got our pride? From thinking we could be as smart as God and falling for the lies of an evil serpent, a.k.a., the devil. So God had to switch gears, in time laying down more laws (commandments). He ushered those two, His created beings, out of a perfect world and ushered in His right to judge.

We are shown that if we disobey we will die...unless another requirement from the New Testament is met: 
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 
...that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creationold things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (John‬ ‭1‬:‭29, John‬ ‭3‬:‭3‬, John‬ ‭3‬:‭15-16, 2Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭17)

Old things will pass away. All things are new. New creatures, born again. God laid the good foundation in the Old Testament, it was transgressed. God showed His intolerance for disobedience. Later, after many years and examples of what God would do for those who were obedient and those who were not (blessings and curses), and in the New Testament He brought His Son, Himself, down from the throne and into the world to show Himself to the lost, to restore back to those who believed in Jesus, the good that was lost to evil sin.

Sin and disobedience has only escalated through time and has nearly gotten to the worst it can be, but not quite yet. It will get worse still. A sign that time is approaching quickly for the return of Christ. Each of us is guilty, no doubt daily. But if we confess our sins (to God, not man) He will forgive us. 

God of the Old Testament showed us His idea of a perfect life, the goodness He wishes upon people. He only has thoughts of good for us. When we, as a people, decided to disobey, we were given the judgment. The God of the New Testament made a way that we might be reconciled. Seek that Way. 

Romans 5:20-21 - ...the law (Old Testament) entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace (New Testament) abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Food Which Endures

John 6:26 - Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled."

I read two articles the other day on the same subject--state of today's church. I talked briefly with a friend about how more and more the churches today are making it very comfortable for people to be there. And then I read reviews about a church in a community in Arizona I was looking into. One 5-star review: Good coffee, good snacks and great people make this a good coffee spot. Ummmm...

One 2-star review: We were told it was casual ... Many of the females, young and old, were dressed in street clothes that inappropriately showed too much skin. ... They were dressed like they were going to a strip club. It quickly became apparent that people treat it more like a social gathering at a club instead of a church. We came on a day when someone from the bachelor was there with his wife. They were drawing names of females to meet him even though he's a married man. ... He said to ask his wife, that their sex life was great... If you don't take Christianity seriously, enjoy talking about your sex life to the masses, and are looking for a big giant social gathering, than yeah this is your church. I'll stick to the smaller ones who are interested in talking about God... 

If coffee and snacks and being comfortable and bringing society's standards into the church are the selling points, that doesn't work for me. Needless to say, I will not go to that church. I've said this before: the Church is not a place where we bring the world in; it is supposed to bring God to the world. It is not a place where we indulge in everyday activities but take our minds off ourselves and reverence God (which we should do everyday).

A church doesn't need movies or television miniseries' with study and guidebook,  "awesome" music to get one revved up and excited for the amazing, fun sermon, or a coffee bar and doughnuts. I'm not so sure this is what Jesus wanted (but probably knew would eventually happen...after all He knows the beginning from the end). What about an honest message straight from the Bible? We shouldn't need more than this Book.

Yes, Jesus offered food to over 5,000 people...but these offers were miracles to point to Him and that thing of substance He offered, after showing us what sin is, forgiveness of that and salvation, providing we give our lives to Him. He spoke the rebuking words above about seeking and wanting signs and physical food, but not so much the salvation, not so much the Man who offered it.

Listen to the words from an article I read called Maybe Christianity is Dying Because It's Boring Everyone to Death by Matt Walsh (a very good article). He was quoting C.S. Lewis: Enemy-occupied territory--that's what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you may say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. We have an enemy lurking. He disguises himself as an angel of light (2Corinthians 11:14) and many, including the elect, are being deceived. (Matthew 24:24) 

People, the Church should always be God-centered, not man-centered. We can enjoy going to church and being with church family and fellowshipping. But God needs to be the center. I've had lunch with believers after church and church continues in our conversation, not that we talk constantly about the Lord but He remains with us.

There is a righteous judgment we are allowed because the truth, not ours but of Christ, is being compromised or watered down. Somehow society has softened the Gospel message to make it more palatable. That is dangerous as many will believe God will ultimately accept all people. Sadly, people will die a terrible death without the truth. There is a reason sin is pointed out...we need to know. And we need Jesus. The immodesty in the church described above is just one out of a very many. We all have sin. We all need Jesus.

Churches which push comfort offer things that perish. Jesus offered Himself to all who would seek the offer of salvation only He can give...the food which endures. Look to Him for the promise of eternal life in Christ. 

John 6:27 - "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which
endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Is That Right?

1Chronicles‬ ‭13‬:‭2-4‬ - And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and if it is of the LORD our God, let us send out to our brethren everywhere who are left in all the land of Israel, and with them to the priests and Levites who are in their cities and their common-lands, that they may gather together to us; and let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we have not inquired at it since the days of Saul.” Then all the assembly said that they would do sofor the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

I listened to an old sermon by  evangelical writer and teacher, DeVern Fromke, a site of whose sermons someone from our church posted on Facebook. It was called Discerning God's Ways. Mind you, this was preached in 1981. It so spoke to today's Church and, of course, us.

I knew nothing about DeVern Fromke so I did a search and came across this which was not connected to the sermon I listened to, yet suggested the gist of the sermon: Fromke seeks to restore balance and bring the church back to viewing everything from God's perspective--not oursSpiritual growth and maturity in Christ is often hindered by wrong teaching and emphasis in today's ministry. This author desires to use his influence to help correct misunderstanding and wrong-centered teaching, in order that the child of God may grow and mature in the way God intended.

So in the scripture David sees a need...that the Ark be back in their land so they can worship in God as they once had. The Ark was where the presence of God resided. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. (‭Exodus‬ ‭25‬:‭21-22‬)

The Ark had been taken by the Philistines and eventually returned to their country when they believed it was bringing curses instead of blessings (because improper use). (1Chronicles14-16)

David calls for the Ark to be brought back from Kirjath Jearim in the northern part of Israel to Jerusalem. David believed that was its rightful place and all agreed. But as Fromke points out, just because all are in agreement doesn't make it right.

Today we have majorities and minorities in society. Often the majorities rule...but that doesn't necessarily make it right. We can see that in government, jury duty, the workplace, cultures and religions. As he also pointed out, sometimes a unanimous vote is secured just to be done with a thing!

So when a church or denomination sees a need, develops a plan, a vision for something and a decision comes about, it may not always be God's will. It seems good. And often if a vote IS taken, it may not be unanimous but a majority...and the majority rules. Not even unanimous...

David was right in believing it was good to have the Ark in its rightful place but it still didn't mean it was God's will...yet. God has His own time schedule. At the same time without this account we have no good lesson to learn and maybe it was God's plan! 

At any rate, we need to seek God first. We look to Him for the answers, not all the people, not others. Him alone. He will bring confirmation of the thing we desire to do. How often 
will a church step out to do because they believe they have heard from God? Like building a church...the stance that if we build it, they will come. They will stand in faith believing it will be in God's will. I've seen this turn into failure. It was not a confirmation of word received from God. It was man's will with the hope He will step in.

Later in chapter 14 we see that the Ark was being carried on a cart by cattle. It hit a rough spot and it looked as though the Ark would fall. A man called Uzza reached out his hand to settle it and was killed instantly by God because no one was allowed to touch the Ark. God's anger was placed upon Uzza. God has certain ways of doing things and while David's heart for this Ark was in the right place, by cart with cattle was wrong method...and he should have known this. Exodus 25:10-15 goes into detail. As Fromke states, the equipment was wrong! And how often do we use the wrong equipment: say or do the wrong things to achieve what we believe is right? God just might intervene and kill the plan.

We cannot rush God. We cannot step in and do for Him. We must wait for Him. We must seek Him until He gives us an answer. Sometimes we can do nothing. We wait for an answer or confirmation. When it's done God's way it is successful. Don't we like success?

In the end, said Fromke, this Old Testament story points to Jesus...the right Way. Through the right Way who is Jesus we receive salvation, learn truth and gain proper wisdom. Seek Him, seek His ways and while the road won't always be smooth, all will be well in the end. 

Psalm 25:12-13 - Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth. The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and 
He will show them His covenant. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Learning From Nature...a.k.a....Learning From God

Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. 
We can learn a lot from nature. God created all things and has an order to it. He is not a God of confusion. If we put our mind to it, we can learn a lot from nature and everyday things. Simplicity of His Word.

I was watching a Gambel quail family yesterday. It was wonderful to finally see four offspring running in line with their fast, little legs, after their mother. Where she went they were close behind. No doubt they were watching as she poked at the ground for bugs or seeds because they did the same.

Then papa flew up onto the wall. And mama followed. She would look down at the 3 1/2" babies. She came back down and they all ran to be behind her again. Then she would fly up on the wall again. 

I wondered why she would do this. Obviously she felt they were safe. I was as still as could be so as not to chase them away and observe...perhaps learn myself. (That meant no photos! Bummer.) Then it dawned on me, and I'm not absolutely certain this is the answer, that she was teaching them by example. There's no way their little wings could be strong enough to carry them to that height but she was showing them before they yet could do it. In time they would be the right size and strength to do it themselves and they would just do it.
Like we do...children watch and learn. So...why shouldn't children be part of church services? They don't understand but they watch and see and learn. The Bible tells us that we are to train up the child in the way he should go. I understand the church having trained individuals teaching at certain age levels. When I was a child, however, it was common practice to have children in church. Why the change? Jesus specifically stated He did not want His disciples to shoo away the little children but rather, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:14)
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (‭2Timothy‬ ‭3‬:‭14-15‬)

Oh, but things were different then. How much more? If we are more occupied with other things today because we have more things, is that a good reason to farm the kids off to someone else, to have more time for ourselves without the possibility of distraction from the kiddies?

And speaking of nature...We are also seeing man's struggle with the proper order of's ideas of what is right or wrong. Birds and animals instinctively know how to do things and they pass that down to their offspring. So how is it that man struggles with the male-female issue? The order of things. Is it because man, with his ability to think differently from creatures, believes there can be another way, that God's way can't be the only way? Somewhere the lines of communication got bolluxed up. But God's Word is the truth. 

Just a thought...

Deuteronomy‬ ‭6‬:‭7 - You shall teach them [God's commandments] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blessings, Hope and Trust

Jeremiah 17:7-8 - Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Oh, this so spoke to my heart yesterday morning after I laundered this tee shirt and took special notice of the scripture on the back. It fits in with what I wrote yesterday about drawing water, trusting in God, having no fear. This is what comes with the territory from our devotion to God. How often does one worry about money, jobs, war, government control, terrorists, children and home grown evil pervading our cities? Not everyone worries, but everyone should be aware because some day something will cause worry.

Those who trust in the Lord, who know Him, know His ways, know His goodness and judgment because of sin, need not fear. We will not be immune to the troubles of life, but there's that hope that when all is said and done, we truly will be in a better place. 

I was thinking yesterday about a young family. Good people, two sweet children. But they don't know Jesus like they should. Their world is all that goes on in their lives, their accomplishments, their children, their friends and parties. They are happy. But what happens if the bottom falls know, anything could happen in their lives, just like it could happen in ours. We don't know what tomorrow brings. And without God, it might be a horribly tragic event. 

Those who know the Lord have a foundation, like I said yesterday, like a tree planted by water. Nothing to fear as long as that water is there. Where do we get this water? We draw, like the Samaritan woman, from the living water which is Christ. He removes our sin so He can be our all. He cannot be our all without that recognition that we are sinners and He is our Savior. We then drink of His strength and there is no fear as long as we hold to the belief He is there for us and will see us through, not always out of, our circumstance. Praise Him. Praise Him. Praise Him. The song from a grateful heart. 

In the midst of our trouble we can still proclaim His goodness...yielding fruit of righteousness and witnessing. I will praise Him again.

Psalms‬ ‭91‬:‭1-6,14 - He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name."

Friday, May 15, 2015

Drawing Water

Isaiah 12:2-3 - Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; "For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation." Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Reading this this morning made me think of the story of the woman at the well, one of my favorite stories...among many favorites!

Today, with the things we hear or read in the news, we must be able to trust and not be afraid and that only truly comes in knowing this YAH...God, the one true God, Jehovah; strength, power, according to Strong's Concordance. 

Before I had read this in Isaiah were words of people walking in darkness, then seeing a great light. This Samaritan woman did just that as she was headed to the well to draw water. She walked in the darkness of her sin. If you know the story, she went late in the day when others would not be there because she was an outcast because of her sin. 

As for Jesus, did He just happen to be there at this specific time, late in the day? Wasn't it also true that Jews did not associate with Samaritans, much less women? Didn't He have a habit of meeting up with those deemed lesser than others? Those others would ignore, bypass, shun. This was no coincidence.

All part of God's plan! This woman certainly did not know she would be met by this Man. Little did she know she would meet the Light. Little did she know He would shine light on her sin, forgive her and show her that not only was He the true Light of the world but the living Water, better than that which she was coming to get. 

She had no clue her life would change that day. All because she was drawing water. And so often that's how it works. One day we are met by Him in the midst of our everyday life and the darkness fades because the Light so shines; He pours out the water of His salvation and we thirst no more. We no longer need fear, but trust in Him. He becomes that strength and song.

We need a bit of encouragement these days. We will need more as days continue. It's good to build up that strength now while we can, while we can grow to trust God in good times so when bad times hit, we have a solid foundation for our trust. Drawing water from a true source of strength will keep that song in our heart despite the circumstances of life. Will you keep your heart open for this Man? Will you allow Him to become your Light, strength and song? 

Exodus 15:2 - The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will exalt Him.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Glory of God

Psalm 97:1,6,9 - The LORD reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad! The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory. For You, LORD, are most high above all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods. 

I had the opportunity to spend a few days with my husband seeing some of the western part of our United States. If you've ever seen the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles, that's kinda what we did. We added taxi to it though! 

We flew to Denver and took Amtrak to Reno, a 24 hour trip which means we slept on the train. An experience I'm glad to have had but once is enough! We saw the foothills and then some of the Rockies. Magnificent. Once in Reno we rented a car to drive through the mountains to Yosemite National Park and on to Sequoia National Park the next day. We also touched a part of Kings Canyon National Park. The trees and mountains were outstanding. 

All I could do was look at this relatively small part of the world, in the grand scheme of things, and TRY to imagine God's greatness. It's like your mind shuts down because it just cannot be imagined. Our comprehension of all He is is so totally small. So it has to be by sheer faith we believe. 

I love just my yard and all the little things that grow and bloom and create beauty in small bits and pieces. My little corner of the world. But what we saw this past week was immense for us but still minuscule to our God. How big can He be!? I tried to dwell on how many trees there were. Then, how many leaves or needles on each. Impossible. I had to stop.

God is awesome. That word is thrown around to represent ball teams or people some idolize or even what we had for dinner, a play we saw or concert heard. I wonder if this word shouldn't be used to describe God alone?
For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. (‭Psalm ‭47‬:‭2‬)

The word awesome here is translated terrible. The meaning is: to stand in awe of, be awed; to fear, reverence, honour, respect. How do we truly feel about Him? Do we fear Him? Do we reverence Him? Do we give Him the honor that is due Him? How do we truly know if we are? Do we give Him any credit for anything at all? It's how we should feel daily about Him.

Here are a few things to ponder. Do not consider them lightly.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name—He is holy. (‭Psalms ‭99‬:‭3‬)
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. (‭Psalm‬ ‭145‬:‭6‬)
Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. (‭Psalm‬ ‭66‬:‭5‬)

These are only a few times His awesomeness is spoken of. I fear we take it for granted. We consider the things in our lives awesome...sometimes without considering Who made them all possible. We cannot comprehend the greatness of our God but we should set our minds and hearts on at least contemplating it and Him. After all, He is all things to us. He has given us life and given us nature to view to prove His greatness, that we might glory in Him and seek Him for ourselves. The key word is seek. Seek and He will open up our eyes to understand. Too much, you ask? Not enough. Look outside. Look at the awesomeness of this glorious God. Fear Him. Revere Him. He alone is holy.

Job‬ ‭26‬:‭7-14‬ - He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet the clouds are not 
broken under it. He covers the face of His throne, and spreads His cloud over it. He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke. He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm. By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Created to Worship

Isaiah 5:25 - ...For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.

I'm reading Isaiah. While I don't presume to understand all of the detail, there is an underlying theme. Isaiah prophesied to the people of Israel who had turned their backs on God, determined to live apart from Him. Despite words of warning, as is often said, they remained a stiff-necked people (God's own words). Enemies would overthrow them, there would be seasons of poor crops or destruction but they would not seek God. It was as if they shook their fists at Him. 

But God wasn't done with them...and He still isn't. Despite what we will probably see someday, Israel will bounce back. She is God's. His people reside there, still in a stiff-necked condition. In Isaiah a remnant is mentioned. There will be a small number who need God's warnings and once again look to Him. 

Isaiah prophesies a Child to be born of a virgin whose name would be Immanuel, God with us. This Child will bring peace to the people of this nation. He will form an everlasting government. We hear this all at Christmas. 

Despite these words, Israel continues, even to this day, to rebel against God. God poured out His wrath upon them in hopes they would look to Him once again. For all this His anger was not turned away... His love for His people, His nation never fails. His wrath is only for their good, like a father punishing a bad child, to hope they will stop being disrespectful and rebellious toward Him. They no longer worshipped Him. 

All this runs parallel to His love for us. Stiff-necked people. The Son prophesied. The Son who came. A remnant of believers. Each of us rebels against God. The words, For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still, are repeated five times in Isaiah. These words were not just for Israel but for us too. His hand is outstretched for all. This is a God of love. He sees our disobedience but will forgive in a heartbeat if we take that hand that we might no longer be separated from Him, like Israel. There will be a day when there will be a remnant even among today's people, those who have decided God's ways are greater than their own, those who truly humble themselves before God.

There is such a misconception that everyone will go to heaven because they, compared to others, are good people. But God says there is none righteous apart from Him. Just knowing of Him is not enough. No church can do the saving. It's coming alongside Him alone, daily, seeking Him. It's asking for His provision, His wisdom, His guidance instead of trusting in our own or someone else's. It's submitting our hearts to Him and knowing that we are nothing in this world without Him, who, after all, created us. It's getting to know Him so intimately we understand what the truth of His Word conveys. That only comes when we seek Him. Then we realize how lost this world really is without Him. I pray for God to give me an even greater heart for the lost.

We were not created to just live lives on this earth to glorify ourselves. We were created to worship God. I looked for scriptures that tell us we were made to worship Him. Nothing says that exact thing, but many words encompassing the idea. Here's just one example: ...“Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (‭Revelation‬ ‭14‬:‭7‬) If we believe, truly believe, truly take stock in the fact He has created us and there is no one greater, why wouldn't we...why shouldn't we? Oh, I so know unless one 
has an encounter like no other with this Child, the Son of God, who came to take away the sins of the world, my words are meaningless. I pray His Spirit would reveal this to those who don't know. The truth is, we are to worship Him.

“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...(‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭10‬:‭12‬). Money, bling, house, job, family...none of that comes before Him. But if we seek Him first, other things are added to us...not always in the material things. If we could understand this more fully... Only until we give of ourselves to Him... Worship Him...

Psalm 29:1-2,10-11 - Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, and the LORD sits as King forever. The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Two Laws

Romans 1:25 - ...who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 

The whole point of the Bible is to show us the way...the way we should go and the Way, who gets us there. We either believe what we are told or we don't. Right way, wrong way. Man's laws or God's. Choices.

In the Old Testament we are told we are to train up our children in the way they should go. We have one of two ways, two laws by which we live. The one of the world and one of heaven. The Bible and the words in it, to the world, are foolishness (1Corinthians 1:18). It says so! God says so. But we have made up our own laws. 

We see in more recent events those laws taking place on the streets of our cities. People demanding what they perceive is their right regardless of what the law says. There has been talk on how many of the people come from single parent families. Or families that are not well adjusted because they have chosen the wrong way of life. It's not about what we have or don't have; it's about what we do with what we do have, not letting it hinder our wherewithal to do WHAT IS RIGHT. We still have a choice to do right or wrong.

Oh boy. I started writing this morning before church. And what did pastor preach on...he started with Romans 1:25 above. Then Colossians 2:8 - Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

If things were done the right way, we would not have problems. God's way is not some impossible way to follow. It brings freedom for the soul and life. How much real life is there in being angry all the time and killing, looting, cheating or stealing? How much life is there in feeling as though ones going against the law is like a game? One of our church members got up before the sermon this morning and felt he needed to tell us not to let the enemy steal our joy. We can lose our joy if we allow the lies of this enemy or the lies of this world to take over. Do not fall for his lies.

So back to the two laws. The world is not as intelligent as some may think. God's wisdom is so much greater. If we believe there is a God, and He has done all He says, shouldn't we be willing to believe what He says will happen to us if He is not taken seriously? He has our future in His hands. That should be enough to bring us to a reverent fear of Him.

So, back to today's sermon, which wasn't what I was going to write about but, oh, how it fits right in! Regarding Romans 1:25. We either worship the creature or the One who created the creature. This is where I divided my notes into two sections... Man's way, God's way; worldly way; God's way. See a pattern? The two laws. Satan's way, God's way; pride or humility; death or life; lies and deceit or truth; foolishness or wisdom. Two laws, two ways of life. One is embraced by many, the other by a few. We have forgotten how to incline our ear to the words of truth. We have forgotten to pass them on to our children. Future generations will less and less know about this Creator and all His works. It will be generations of rebellious people. (Psalm 78:1-8)

Pastor brought 1Samuel 3:1-3 into his sermon. Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the LORD where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down...  Not only in those days, but today the words of God are becoming rare with little revelation of their meaning (truths). Eyes of the world have grown dim and the lamp of God is diminishing in our world. That is not good. 

The two laws...right or wrong, truth or lies, world or God, dark or light. When we start believing we can distort the truth of God's Word to fit our needs or our beliefs because they are less offensive, we have gone the wrong way. But if 
we walk in the light of Christ, we will know the truth and it will set us free. Mmmmm. Seek the truth, seek God. If you seek, He will let you find Him!

John may have written these words but I would bet God thinks the same way at times:

I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (‭2John 1:4, 3John‬ ‭1‬:‭4‬)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Seek for Wisdom

Matthew 6:33 - But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 

I got to dwelling on a thought this morning. Find that hard to believe!!! 

God tells us to seek and we will find. As our pastor said a few Sundays ago, if we chase after God, He will let us catch Him. This is what He wants, that we be in relationship with Him, in constant communion with Him, seeking Him in all things.

We are discussing the Book of Ecclesiastes in Sunday school. It's not the most uplifting book but it has an excellent message. It speaks honestly, of course, and about the reality of life. It's not that big a book. It's worth reading, more than once.

King Solomon wrote the book. It's about the vanity of life...or vanities! He asked God for wisdom above all things. God not only gave him wisdom but all the other things one could ask for...all things were added to him. But somewhere those things became things of the world and got the better of him. So as such a wise man as he was, how could this happen? He made a mistake. That mistake was going against what God warned him about. It's too much to go into...he made himself an idol, ignored God, and faced God's judgment. But...God is merciful if we see the error of our ways.

Ecclesiastes shows how he came out of the vanity of life. He shares with the reader the consequences and what to do. That's a wise man!

These are written as the main subject of each page of my Bible in this book:
Wisdom excels folly - everything has its time - a time for every purpose - two are better than one - enjoy what God gives you - the value of wisdom - wisdom strengthens the wise - fear God and enjoy life - time and chance happen to all - wisdom brings success - remember your Creator - wise words are like goods

As Ecclesiastes says often, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Several Bible passages refer to this wind: It goes toward the south and turns to the north and whirls about continuously. It blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. We do not know what is the way of the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:6, John 3:8, Ecclesiastes‬ ‭11‬:‭5‬)  The point is, only God knows. He directs the wind. It makes sense that we seek Him and He will, as He says, direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6).

Everything in life, according to Solomon, is vanity. Everything...unless God is the center of it. Another sermon from our pastor asked us to examine the motives of our heart. We may think we do good for a cause but maybe the motive is to point to ourselves, even ourselves to God, as if to say, Look at what good I've done. Everything is to be done in humility, without expecting recognition. The only thing that should matter is if we have done it out of love for our God, not self. And that means we must have this close communion with Him. That always comes first...not works to make God notice the good we've done (No one is righteous, no not one - Romans 3:10). 

The conclusion, therefore, is to seek God first. As Ecclesiastes says: Fear God and keep His commands, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

I pray often, but probably not often enough, for wisdom for the day. With that wisdom to know what God desires will come all those added to me things! I'm not looking for riches or fame or success in the world. My desire is success in my relationship with God. Out of that is a desire that others know the goodness of God too. I want to be assured of heaven as my final home. I want Him to be the focus and center of my every day.  Seek first the kingdom of God...

Isaiah‬ ‭33‬:‭6‬ - Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the LORD is His treasure.