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.