We’ve all been there. We’ve known our weaknesses since we were children. We’ve struggled with temptation for as long as we can remember. We’ve given in, struggled to avoid it, or done our best to resist it. We’ve wrestled with it because of parents, maybe teachers, or even God. However, somehow the temptation Continue reading
Category Archives: Thoughts On God and His Word
Are you aware that God’s intention for us was a sinless life, one that was righteous and holy? His desire was a spiritual relationship untainted by anything but goodness and blessing. If you check out the first few chapters of the book of Genesis in the Bible, you’ll see that man didn’t understand that. Eve was deceived by the “father of lies,” Satan. She shared the deception with her husband, Adam. They fell under the serpent’s age-old tactic of creating doubt about God’s goodness. Sadly, they believed his lies, and since then, there was only one person in all of mankind that has been able to fulfill God’s intention for a sinless life. His name is Jesus!
The Good News is that Jesus made it possible for each human being to take what He was able to do, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and make that gift their own. Jesus came to Earth with us in mind. Everything He did, He did on our behalf. He chose to not sin. He chose to lay down every part of His life for us, despite the fact that He had no need. He was sinless!
Meditating on the book of Matthew, I came to the third chapter. We find Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, parked in the desert, dressed in camel hair and eating locusts and wild honey. I’m sure many came to gawk at this unusual man who is pointing out the need for mankind to repent (to think differently, or to reconsider in the Hebrew.) John’s cry reaches the area surrounding the Jordan River, and once the people hear his message, their hearts are touched, and their lives changed.
As they understand what they’ve become, and surrender to the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Joshua, they step into the water that separated the desert from the Promised Land. Their lives are changes as a result. Their hearts are again open to God, and they are ready to hear, understand and receive all that God has in store for His people!
However, John is made aware, by the Holy Spirit, of the religious leaders that are coming to be baptized in the Jordan. John is able to know their hearts, which have little desire for repentance. Most have an ungodly desire for an outward show, which has the appearance of righteousness. In the Hebrew righteousness means equity (fairness, justice or impartiality) ~ or justification (the action of showing something to be right or reasonable.) So these men were not fair, just or impartial. They had no intention of showing John, or his call to repentance, to be right or reasonable.
As a matter of fact, John calls them a “brood of vipers!” How would you like to be called a nest of snakes? But John was aware that their hearts were not surrendered to God. Their agenda was to control the people by focusing on God’s Law, which He gave for direction and guidance, as well as all of the man-made laws they added over time to satisfy their own agenda! They saw themselves as untouchable since they were the children of Abraham! John saw their true intentions and told them that God could raise “children of Abraham” out of the very stones if He wanted! He added that there was destruction ahead if they didn’t change their ways and begin to bear Godly fruit!
God hates deception! His greatest enemy is Satan, the father of lies! These religious leaders were focused on deceiving the people, and God was using John to make His point! But God’s mercy is also great! Despite the rules and regulations that had multiplied over the years, God’s heart was for the true repentance and salvation of His people! And so, Jesus enters the scene.
John knows who Jesus truly is ~ the long-awaited Messiah! He hesitates to baptize the only perfect human, knowing his own need to be baptized by Jesus. But Jesus says, “Permit it to be so now, for this is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” This is God’s grace and mercy at work in His Son! This perfect God-Man is standing in the gap for every human being that has ever been born into this world, each one tainted by the inheritance of sin that passes from generation to generation. As Jesus enters the water, He repents on behalf of each one of us. He expressed sincere regret for OUR wrongdoing; our sin. He never needed to do this, but He, the Father and the Holy Spirit are present at this great event ~ the baptism of the only perfect human for the sin of every imperfect human being ever born.
The process of redemption continues as Jesus obeys His Father. And so, each of us, must stand in agreement with all that Jesus did for us! We begin with repentance. We tell God that we are sorry for all that we’ve done to separate us from Him, and we don’t want to do those things any more. We look to all that the sinless Son of God did on our behalf, and we receive His great Gift of salvation ~ through Jesus!
In the days ahead, we will continue this journey through Matthew. This former tax collector ties together the Old Testament prophesies, and the unfolding physical presence of our Messiah on Earth. Join me as we meditate on the great mercy and amazing grace of Almighty God!
After a seeming lifetime of belief in God, I was stopped short one day as I read this verse in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith (Hebrew: moral conviction of religious truth, the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (NIV) I always believed that He existed, but I had somehow missed the rewards part. How could I have overlooked that part of the verse? For years I had embraced the mindset that salvation from my own sin was reward in itself. On this day, however, I was reminded that there is more to the salvation that my Savior provided than an escape from Hell.
As I became convinced of God’s consistent love, truth and grace as it is reflected in His Word, I was able to develop a deeper relationship with Him, and better reflect His Image to others. This portion of the verse made it clear that my pursuit of God, my desire to truly know Him, carried rewards. Some may call these rewards blessing, favor, or promises from God. Whatever term you use, God is the One doing the rewarding. We do nothing but seek Him… not for the reward, because intimacy with God is reward enough, but because we want to respond to His love for us.
This is not about working to earn salvation. That is impossible! This is about a loving God who doles out gifts that cause us to smile and know that He loves us. He is the One who is pleased when His Creation wants to know Him. He is the One who rewards those who truly believe Him and His Word. He loved us while we were yet sinners, according to Romans 5:8, so how much more does He appreciate those who have received His plan of salvation and become His children!
When we really want to please God, we find out what His Word says and then believe and DO it! Jesus paid for a great many things by His death and resurrection. Healing, for instance, was never needed before Adam and Eve made the wrong choice in the Garden of Eden, so Jesus restored divine health with the stripes He took on His back.
God always wanted a prosperous and healthy life for His creation, so don’t believe for a second that God would give you something less than wholeness in your body. James 1:13-15 says, When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (NIV) So, if that “something less” shows up, surrender it to the God who heals, and watch Him do what He does best… create, sustain and restore life as we walk with Him. He created the universe with His Words. We do the same with our words. so speak His Word to remind yourself, and those around you, of all that Jesus redeemed in that ultimate act of love for humanity… for you! That undeserved love is just one of God’s rewards.
Remember, God always tells the truth. His very essence is righteousness and holiness. “God is not a man that He should lie.” (Numbers 23:19, KJV) So let’s trust Him when He tells us He wants to reward (Heb. ~ deliver, give, pay recompense) us, and be thankful as His blessings flow our way in every area of life. Have faith (Heb.~persuasion, conviction, belief) in God and His goodness! It’s what really pleases Him!
To those of us who say we are part of God’s Family, what will our focus be for Jesus’ birthday?
I asked one of my grandchildren the other day what they would be giving Jesus for His special day and there was silence for awhile. Then I shared the Truth of His great sacrifice for us, that God is the consummate gift-giver, and has been since He created this Earth and everything in it! As God’s kids, we are stamped with that same spiritual DNA. He wants us to share with those He’s placed in our lives to bless and encourage them. Sometimes, He creates those “divine appointments” that introduce us to another for a moment or a period of time. Most often He wants to use one of the gifts He’s already given us to help the other. Sometimes He wants Continue reading
This is a tough post for me. I have prayed about it and grieved over it. There is an ache in my heart, and it is for the Body of Christ. I feel this ache in my very bones… Many of you, even those that I love dearly, may not agree with what I am about to share, but I plead with you to hear me out.
There is an oppression I am feeling in this month of October. I hear the echo of a time long ago; Continue reading
Feeling like God isn’t listening? Like Isaiah, we may feel God is ignoring us or is angry with us, but when we look past our feelings, we see His heart, full of love for each of us… always ready to save, to hear, to heal and forgive. Consider Isaiah’s words…
By definition, ” an extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence or injury.” This word has been used to describe Continue reading
There are many of us who agree with the truth about our country, spoken by people like John Voight. See http://www.staged.com/video?v=x4u. His courage is astounding in light of Hollywood today. But what are we, “the people,” doing about it?
Talk is cheap. I’m sure there were many in Germany who discussed what was taking place in that great country, before the Holocaust. I’m sure they sat around their living rooms, or over the dinner table, talking about the latest news. But their lack of action resulted in the downfall of that great society and the death of millions of God’s chosen people!
We cannot say, “It cannot happen to America!” We cannot fathom a country as great as ours being undermined by the very people we’ve put in power over us! Unfortunately, when you remove Almighty God, who is the nation’s foundation, from the hearts of its people, you leave the foundation, and everything it stands upon, vulnerable to attack. That’s where we are today… stripped of the Godly society that is our heritage, we’ve undermined our own nation! Little by little we’ve allowed our freedoms to be altered. How did this happen? Because we didn’t take action to stop those little changes. Maybe we didn’t vote. Maybe we voted for the candidate that was going to give us everything-for-nothing. As if THAT has ever worked!
Some of us think we are “entitled” to receive. WHY? No matter their country of origin, our ancestors worked hard to establish and defend our country and its freedoms. THEY were entitled! Just because our ancestors founded this country, doesn’t mean we don’t have to work hard to maintain what they established. And IF we learn anything from those who founded this country it is that NO HUMAN should have a say in everything we do… especially not the group who make up our government!!! That’s why our forefathers LEFT England!!! FREEDOM is our nation’s heritage!
Let’s not be foolish enough to think that those freedoms cannot be wiped out by a government that is no longer, “…of the people, by the people and for the people….”
President Lincoln was standing near the site of one of the bloodiest battles of our nation… a battle which helped change the course of our nation’s history… when he spoke these words. What would he say about our government today? How proud would he be of those we’ve elected… those who ignore our desires and carry out their own agenda? Are we a democracy in name only?
So I challenge you to read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. At least read the Preamble to each one and the speech that Abraham Lincoln made famous in November 19th, 1863 as he addressed the residents of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Read them and see that the problems of our founding fathers were not very different from our own… Man still falls short of the glory of God.
It seems we have two choices. Drift, without thought or action, into a socialistic government meant to numb the minds and the will of the people OR turn back to the truths and values that made this country great… and to the God who already came to secure the freedom of every individual!
It’s God’s will for us to be free… in every area of our lives! Free from those things that hold us back, free to become all that He has created us to be… FREE TO BE ALL THAT WE DREAM OF BECOMING!
He sees us accomplishing SO much to help those who are our family and friends, our neighbors and countrymen. He never wants us to rule over each other, but to work with each other to do what He has called us to do. His desire is freedom and blessing… and it is available through the sacrifice of One… God’s Son, Jesus.
So. do we want to return to our sofas and watch as our country is stolen from us, numbed by the thought that we can’t change anything? OR, do we want to reawaken the passion that stirs in the blood that we inherited… the blood of our ancestors that is deeply rooted in the soil of this country we call “Home?”
Let’s NOT lose this subtle and underhanded war… this insidious battle for the life of our nation! Let’s fight to keep our nation what it was created to be ! Let’s get on our knees! Let’s speak out! Let’s change our actions! Let’s cherish, and use, our right to vote! Let’s never look back and say, “We should have…!” Let’s restore this great country called the United States of America!
So, men and women, let’s unite once again! Let’s turn back to the One who made all freedom possible! Let’s turn back to God… He is NEVER too late!
Let’s not live with regret… it is always too late…
“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NIV)
Have a need? Talk to God. He has riches we may NEVER be able to comprehend in our flesh. But, once you become His child, His desire is to provide for your needs, according to HIS provision! And His provision is without limit!!!
If we don’t believe that He has our best interest at heart, then why do we run to Him when nothing else has helped? If we don’t believe every part of God’s Word, then why would we believe any part of His Word? What right do we have to exclude any of His Words from HIS BOOK???
Usually, when we miss concepts or ideas in any book, we’ve either not read them, not understood them or deliberately ignored them. So, let’s be honest with ourselves about how we approach God’s Word in its fullness. If we only believe what we want out of His Word we will never receive all that He wants to give to those of us who are His kids! Ultimately, we dishonor all that Jesus did to restore ALL things for God’s children!
In our daily life, if we order something on the internet, don’t we expect it to come to our delivery address? We may go to the front door every day or listen for the sounds of a delivery truck. We may track it online to see where the package is in the delivery process, but we are anticipating the delivery of that thing because we trust the manufacturer and have faith that the delivery truck will deliver!
Consumers look for and get what they need or want. The manufacturer wants a consumer to order their product, that’s why they create it. They see a need and fill it. They see a want and fill that. Why would God, who is the ultimate Giver, offer truths and promises in His Word that He KNEW we would need… even want… and then not deliver on those promises?
Where did we get the idea that He is mean and nasty and unkind? The fruit of His Spirit is love, joy, peace patience, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness and self-control. That fruit doesn’t include mean, nasty or unkind. God’s Word says that He is love. Since when is true love mean, nasty and unkind?
SO, let’s remember that God wants to supply our needs, but He also wants us to expect that provision and to receive it when it comes. He loves us and expects us to believe the truth about Him, not the lies that His enemy has chosen to spread. And if we have believed those lies, then we must ask God’s forgiveness. We must separate ourselves from the devil’s lies! We must go to the Source of all good things… God Himself… to supply our needs and the desires of our heart! He loves us and wants to help us… ALL the time!
Take Him at His Word. It is ALWAYS true… And that’s what I believe!
Many of you have heard the verse from the Bible found in Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Sounds funny right? How can joy bring strength, even if it is from the Lord?
Well, to really understand, we have to know what was going on in the life of Nehemiah. He had been given permission by the king that he worked for to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city. Jerusalem’s enemies were spending lots of time harassing Nehemiah and the men with him. As the building process was nearing completion, the leaders of these opposing factions wanted to meet with Nehemiah. He saw through their charade and knew they wanted to harm him, so he refused. Their purpose was to halt the building process, but Nehemiah asked the Lord to strengthen his hands to finish the job. (Nehemiah 6:9)
There were also prophets and other important people in Jerusalem who were trying to deceive Nehemiah because they were working for the enemies of Israel. But Nehemiah did not listen to anyone but the voice of God, and so he finished building the wall.
Once done, a census was taken and then they gathered together to hear the reading of the law of Moses. Everyone who could understand, men, women and children listened that day. And when they heard and understood it, they all wept because of what they heard. But Nehemiah, and Ezra the scribe, told them NOT to weep or mourn for the day was a holy day, dedicated to the Lord. Then Nehemiah said to eat and drink and share with others. He ordered them NOT to grieve because the joy of the Lord was their strength!
And so they went away rejoicing!
Are your times with the Lord times of sadness because of your need for repentance or times of JOY because you see and receive God’s goodness, favor and grace? As God’s children, we will never be strong without God. Because of His words, His gifts and His provision through Jesus, we are free from all that would keep us from God. Therefore, we can rejoice and know that His strength is ours. His joy, the joy that we have knowing that Jesus paid it all, gives us strength. Not just the strength to go on, but the strength to move mountains!
So the next time you feel sad, take that thought captive according to II Corinthians 10:5, and turn your sorrow into joy… on purpose! Let everyone know that you stand in the strength of God, knowing that He’s got it covered, and rejoice! Dance, sing, laugh and leap for joy… the Lord’s joy is your strength!
And that’s what I believe…