Sunday, January 26, 2014

                     God_ A Tender, Loving Father

      We often don't realize that God truly is a father to us, just as if we were children!  Do you picture a 4 year old asking his parents whether they'll have enough money food and clothing for the next week or next month?  Why of course not!  They trust that their parents will have food and shelter for them every day!   So if children trust in earthly ,and sometimes failing parents, do you think it's possible for us to trust our Almighty Father for all our needs? I would think so! We are tempted to think that we're only responsible to ourselves.      But we have a heavenly Daddy in heaven that will provide for our every need, if we just trust in Him!  Consider this text:  Matthew 6:25-34 says, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more thank meat , and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they show no, neither do they reap, nor gather in to barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they: Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you , That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the filed, which today is, and tomorrow is cast in to the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto. Take therefore not thought for the morrow for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
      So when we worry that our needs won't be taken care of, we're just as odd as a 3 or 4 year old anxiously asking their parents, 'I'm scared that next week we won't have any house or any food left!'
  Can't we trust all those earthly needs to Jesus? Jesus invites us to lay all of our burdens on Him! 1  Peter 5:7 says, "Casting all your cares upon Him for He careth for you."  Notice it doesn't say, 'Cast some of your burdens on Him,'  NO! It says ALL of your cares!  That means your rent, your insurance, food bills and every other earthly need!
    Don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean that we can sit around and wait for God to drop the money we need on our laps.  But what it means is, is if we do our part, God will do the rest!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

   A Reflection of His Character

When we go out on a clear night, when there's a full moon we often say,'Oh the moon is shining brightly tonight!' 
But wait a minute! 
Does the moon itself produce the light? 
 Anybody who knows a little astronomy knows that that isn't true!  So where does the light of the moon come from?  
From the sun!  
The moon is merely a reflector of the sun's brightness.  
     When part of the earth is faced away from the sun, (which is called night), about half the time, the sunlight goes to the moon, and then a little light is shed to the earth! 
      So what spiritual lesson can we learn from this?  We know that is not in ourselves, to be bright and shining to this dark world! If the sun weren't around, there wouldn't be any way the moon could shine!   So without Jesus, we couldn't crack one beam of light to others!

    When we try to force ourselves to be good, that doesn't work!  We have nothing good in ourselves!  But we have a Savior that truly is righteous.  So the only way we can be righteous, is by opening the door to our heart, so that our Savior can work in us. It's that simple! 


             This reminds me of the text in II Corinthians 4:5-7,
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
So why is has God given us so much spiritual light?
So we can give it to others!
Just as the moon doesn't hesitate to give the earth light, so we must freely and happily share what God has given us!
So let's decide to simply be an instrument in the Lord's hands, and let Him shine through us so that the world only sees Jesus in us!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

    What is the Kingdom of God?

   I have heard this phrase so many times in the Bible, but I really didn't know what it really meant.   To understand what the Kingdom of God is, we must first understand what a kingdom is.
     So what exactly is a kingdom?   Websters 1828 Dictionary says,
 "1. The rank, quality, state, or attributes of a king; royal authority; sovereign power; rule; dominion; monarchy 2. The territory or country subject to a king or queen; the dominion of a monarch; the sphere in which one is king or has control."
So a kingdom consists of a ruler, a jurisdiction, and subjects.
In the Kingdom of God, who is the ruler?
What is the jurisdiction?
The whole universe.
Who are the subjects?
Us humans, (and all the beings on the other worlds)
So we see that the kingdom of God definitely has some differences from worldly kingdoms.
For one, earthly kingdoms rise and fall, but praise God,God's kingdom  never falls!
Also the kingdom of Jesus is governed by a totally different way,
Worldly kingdoms hold the allegiance of their subjects by force,or by fear of punishment;
But the kingdom of God has the allegiance of its subjects through love!
We obey Him because of the love He has shown us in giving His Son to buy us back.
Let's look at some texts of what the kingdom of God is.
Luke 17:20-21 says,
"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here: or, lo there: for behold, the kingdom of God is within you." 
What in the world does this mean when it says that the kingdom of God is in you?
You might think,'Oh that doesn't make any sense!'
The kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom where it's set up at some location. It consists of us as the loyal subjects and Jesus as our king in our hearts! Isn't that wonderful? It's that simple! All we need to do, is accept the invitation for Jesus to come and work in us!  
Revelation 3:20 says,
"Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with Me."
  Another beautiful thing is, that to become a citizen of God's kingdom, we aren't a citizen just because we were born in it, as in earthly kingdoms, but by voluntarily surrendering our 'old man' in exchange for Christ by baptism!  But just as in earthly kingdoms, we must show that we are worthy citizens by following the laws of God's government!  However, we don't gain favor of God by being good! We accept the righteous life that Jesus lived as our own!
So let's decide to have Jesus live in us and for us to be His loyal subject!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

         To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice Part II

    God had told  Samuel the night before, that Saul had not obeyed God and as a result, God rejected him.
   So with an aching heart, Samuel had to reprove Saul for his disobedience.
   1 Samuel 15:13-15 "And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.  And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God and the rest we have utterly destroyed."
   Notice that Saul excused himself by saying that they spared the animals.  But in reality, Saul was the one to command that the animals be spared. How often do as sinful humans always want to cast the blame of our sin on someone else!
    Then Saul said something totally different,"I have sinned for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.  Now therefore I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again me that I may worship the Lord."  
    Saul totally changed his tune, because he feared that if Samuel rejected him, he would lose the people's allegiance which he so much coveted.   Had he been truly repentant, he would have made public confession that he was wrong.   But sadly he loved his position of authority more than he loved God.
    Do we consider it more important what people think about us than what our our Lord thinks of us?  When we do that, we are worshiping ourselves rather than God!  
   When you think about it, when Saul spared the animals for sacrifice, he had lost the true meaning of sacrifice.   Every sacrifice represented Christ's sacrifice for us and repentance on the part of the offerer. 
    This shows that if we go to church, pay tithe and do all the right things,yet if we don't come with penitent hearts, it avails absolutely nothing to God!
  Isaiah 1:14-17 says,"Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.  And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when you make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.  Wash ye, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."
What the Lord wants
 from us is not dead formalism, but He wants the true evidence that we are His by 
showing true love to others by willing service!
If all the 'good things' we do are not actuated by love to the Lord, and the good deeds are only done because we want others to praise us, it is absolutely useless!
All the good works that we do are only evidence that we love Him. Those works do not justify us in the sight of the Lord.

Monday, November 25, 2013

        To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice  Part I

This week, I've been reading about Saul, and how Samuel instructed Him to go and wipe out all the Amalekites and all their animals as well. 
    This was Saul's last chance to see whether he would obey God, or would seek his own way.  But sadly, He failed the test.  Instead of obeying fully, He took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and the best of the livestock alive.
  Yet God, through Samuel had made it very clear that he was to spare nothing, because their cup of iniquity was full.  
    When Saul had won the war, his heart swelled with pride, so to heighten his triumphal return, he spared Agag the king of the Amalekites. Saul and the children of Israel attributed the victory to their mighty king instead of to the Lord. 
   Saul reigning as the king, was the vicegerent of the Lord. But when he refused to follow the Lord's directions, He was misrepresenting the Lord.  
   That makes me think how important is when we are in high positions of authority, that we always represent our Lord rightly!   People will look to those who are in high stations, so if we stray from the path of righteousness, we will be held accountable for their errors as well!
    James 3:1 says," My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."
    Another lesson we can learn from Saul, is that one tiny sin we lead to another and another and another, until we are completely in control of Satan!   Because Saul had so many people fighting for him, and won such a brillant victory when he rescued the people of Jabesh-Gilead from the Ammonites, he gradually turned from being a humble, teachable man,into a proud and self-sufficent ruler!  
    How sad! How careful we must be not let one little sin that we cherish, destroy us!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

                               Unreserved Surrender

Why do we need to give ourselves into the Lord's Service?  Consider this text. It's full of deep meaning. Romans 12:1,2 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
   There is certainly a ton of 'meat' in this passage, so let's just start at the first few words.  'I beseech you therefore' First of all, we see that this uses the word, therefore.  Therefore shows a conclusion of a matter, so we must look in the previous chapter to find the true context of the passage were're reading, (after all, the Bible originally, wasn't separated into chapters and verses).
  Let's back up to Romans 11:33 it says, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller?  Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and  through him, and to him are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
     So now we see that Paul is saying that in light of how great God truly is, it only makes sense that we serve Him!
   Next word after therefore is,   1.'brethren', after that we read the phrase 2. 'by the mercies of God", and 3. 'living sacrifice'.
Three things:
1. Brethren
2. Mercies of God
3. Living Sacrifice
So it's a bit like this:  Brethren + Mercies of God = Living Sacrifice
In other words, if we are truly brethren in the faith, and we truly appreciate what God has done for us, we will unquestionably sacrifice this life of sin for a life of unreserved surrender!
The last part of verse 1:    "which is your reasonable service"
This means that isn't too much to ask to give up ourselves to His service because of all the things God has done for us!  It shouldn't be too much to ask!
 Micah 6:6-8 says, 'Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He that shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?'
  In other words, the Lord doesn't want our stuff, He wants you and me.  He wants willing obedience and service from us because we love Him, not because we're obligated to do so.
   We are not to come before the Lord with all the stuff that we are giving to Him, thinking that we are worthy of His favor, simply because of the dues we are paying to Him.  Instead, we are to come unto the Lord empty, just waiting for Him to fill us up with His Spirit and willingness to do what's right!
 I'll talk more on Romans 12:1,2 next time. :)