Surely the Lord GOD…

“Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” Amos 3:6-8 (KJV)

Amos was a contemporary prophet with Isaiah, Hosea, and others.  It is not known if they all knew one another or not, but I would not be surprised if they did.  They were burdened for their people.  I want us to think about these words written by Amos.  Like most of the prophets of God no one wanted to hear what they had to say, but a prophet of God has a mandate from God to speak the word of God, whether anyone will listen and hear or not.

Trumpets were used in Jerusalem for various reasons.  Warning for which the prophet speaks above.  Calling assemblies.  Calling the tribes together, and they would give a distinguishing sound for each purpose; and the people recognized and knew which sound was for what.

Warning was what the prophet Amos was giving.  He was the sound of the trumpet.  There is a time to be afraid.  The time for the people of God to fear is when we get away from God, because we no longer love Him, His Son, and no longer hear and do His commandments; in that order.  Hear what Jesus the Son of God, God the Son; our Savior says about this…

If ye love Me, keep My commandments. John 14:15
If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. John 15:10

It is not good for the child of God to fear; but when we get away from God, loving Him and His commandments, then we had better fear, be afraid, and get on our knees in repentance; then we can get up and face the wicked world without fear.  We can know that God has it all in hand.  We will know that the evil, and calamity, afflictions, injustices, lack of peace, are all in His hands, and that He will work it all out for His glory and our good.

We can know too, that everything that God will do, or is doing His prophets will will be speaking forward to His people.  Besides that; most of what God; if not all of what God is doing in the world is revealed to us through the written book called the Bible.  There is no new word from God.

People of God… It is best that we fear God, or we will fear everything else.  When we fear God, we will fear nothing else.

God has made a way for us to enter His holy, righteous presence; and that is through the death of Jesus His Son on the cross, His burial, and resurrection.  You have sinned against holy God.  Receive His gift of salvation, and come into His presence.

The Roar from Zion

Many times looking at Scripture, even looking at the prophets of the Old Testament we get a rather gloomy picture of Judah and Israel.  However, gloom and doom is not the total picture.  We must see from the beginning to the end, and that is why God gave us the Scriptures and His only begotten Son.  He does have a purpose, and an expected ending.

Today we hear from the prophet Joel…

“The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”  Joel 3:15-17

To those who love this old earth, and all its ways the above verses sound gloomy, and believe me, if you do not know the LORD God, then it will not only be a gloomy day for you, but it will be your doom as well.

One of the things we can learn from the Bible is that God will have people know that He is the LORD God of hosts.  That is what He is working toward today.

The following is the study note form The Prophecy Study Bible page 939…

“3:15-16  The earthquake and blackout seem parallel with events described in Zechariah 14:4-5, which describes an earthquake that restructures a valley near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  This remodeling of Jerusalem will be accompanied by signs in the heavens, as God powerfully defends and vindicates His people Israel.”

Get ready.  Jesus is coming soon.

There is chaos, pain and sorrow in the world today; but through Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection there is hope for the future.  Hope in this life, and then, eternal life with Him.  That “Roar from Zion” will be the voice of the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” the returning Christ Jesus.

Knowledge is the Answer

The move of our society and culture which we live in is that science is the answer for all our ills, or problems, even our sicknesses.  Is science the answer?  If we are to understand things then we must learn; and learning gains us knowledge, and knowledge is science.  If I am wrong tell me.  Does the word “Science” not mean “Knowledge” or “Know”?

What we need to know, however, is not the intricate workings of the universe, our world; but God; the One who created the universe and all that is in it.

Today we will look at the word of God spoken to and through Hosea, a prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  His ministry was during the ministry of Isaiah (Read Isaiah 1:1 and Hosea 1:1).  The Jereboam mentioned is the second Jereboam, not the first king of the Northern Kingdom.  Hear the word of the LORD…

“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away. Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest. Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Hosea 4:1-6 (KJV)

Who among you have a time with God, where you spend time in His word (Not a devotional reading), His word, where He speaks with you, you pray for understanding and knowledge, and you reach an understanding with Him concerning what He says?  It appears to me sometimes that people professing to know God are ignorant of His word.  There are many who profess Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and some who do not, who believe phrases such as “The Lord helps those who help themselves” is a Biblical reference.  It is not.  What about the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”?  It is not found in Scripture either.

When we hear things such as this it is no wonder that professing Christians, due to ignorance, are relishing a life of sin, just like the rest of the world.

This ignorance is what Hosea is speaking of, and what the LORD is warning us about in His word through the events of the Northern tribes, and that of Judah in Isaiah.  The phrase “Ignorance is bliss” comes to mind as I write.  Ignorance is not bliss.  It is doom for any people who choose to remain ignorant about God, His word, His ways, His Son, and His redemption available because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus His only begotten Son (John 3:16).

Truth, mercy and the knowledge of God are necessities for the child of God. Ignorance is why there “Swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood” in any land; including the United States of America.

Get out of your ignorance and get into God and His word.  Knowledge is the Answer through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Better than Beasts

God reveals the kingdoms of men as beasts of the earth.  Beasts like a “Lion with eagle’s wings” (7:4),  “a bear… with ribs in its mouth” (7:5), “a leopard, which had four wings on its back…” (7:6); then, a fourth beast “dreadful and terrible”.  These beasts represent human governments which the LORD was showing Daniel would come on the earth.  None of these beasts are pleasant characters.  Yet, human government is a God given institution.

These governments of men, are all a precursor of God’s greater rule and kingdom, which is yet to be fulfilled.  Hear these words from Daniel which God gave him in the same vision…

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 (KJV)

The kingdoms of men (Human government) of any kind is not sufficient to bring peace, protection, health, or wealth to the world.  The governments of men will fail and eventually fall.  Yes!  Even the United States of America will fall.  Not a pleasant thought to this citizen of the U. S. of A. for over 60 years; but for us not to realize this is futile, and mere dreaming.  There is only one nation which God has promised will be forever (Jeremiah 31:35-37), and that is the nation of Israel with the heir of David as King.

That may just be the reason so many nations, and people hate the Jewish people.  That hatred is futile too.  It will lead to your ruin.  That King is King Jesus.  He is the Son of Man, Son of God, and God the Son.  He is the one who the Scripture is speaking of above.  He is the Christ the Son of the Living God.  One day every knee will bow before Him.  It is best to do it today rather than later.  It is your salvation if you do it today.  To wait for that day will be your eternal condemnation.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

When you come to Jesus Christ and trust Him as your Lord and Savior the governments of men or the Beasts of men pale in comparison; you then will realize and know that one day every nation and king on earth, will bow before King Jesus, and call Him Lord.

Hard Hearted and Hard Headed

I must admit; I have been accused of being “Hard headed”.  I may have even been accused a few times of being “Hard hearted”, and at times I would probably agree that I can be both.  But I do pray that never toward God and His Word.

I have personal Christian convictions; not preferences which I will stand on til death if I must.  If that is hard headed, then so be it.  I can also be hard hearted; at least seemingly to others; in my actions and words toward people. I really do not intend to be.  If I am not hard at times I will weep, and seem weak.  I have said these things to point you toward some verses in Ezekiel, and God’s word to him concerning his message to the captives in Babylon.  Hear the word of the LORD…

‘And He said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto Me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted. Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. Moreover He said unto me, Son of man, all My words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.”  Ezekiel 3:4-11 (KJV)

I have meant in no way to put myself along side this man of God, the prophet Ezekiel.  Ezekiel was a captive in Babylon along with the others of Judah.  He was a prophet in captivity with his people, and was to preach to them; to call them back to God while being held by the enemy.  His purpose was to call them to repentance and to GOD.

The Lord GOD was telling him that this was a hard hearted, hard headed people, and He was going to make the prophet so as well; only to stand against the ungodliness of the people.  In the people they were refusing to hear the word of God, even after seeing the word of the LORD fulfilled by their city being overthrown, their king taken captive, his sons killed before his eyes, and them dragged against their will to Babylon.  Now, Ezekiel was to prepare them for the years ahead.  Captives in a foreign land; and they were not going to listen to God “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto Me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.”

When Christians are captive in an evil society we must hear the word of God over the words of men.  When we refuse to hear the words of judgment, and only listen to the words of promise we refuse it all.  The words of judgment are also words of promise.  If God said it; it will come to pass.

Let us; those of us who call ourselves “Christian” or “Born again” be hard hearted toward those who reject the word of God; and be hard headed for the word of God, loving God more than we do things or people.  If we care more for what people say or think of us, than we do God; then we are loving people more than we love God, and His Son Jesus.  Do you love Jesus Christ and His word more than you do the thoughts of humankind?

You better change your heart and mind.

If You want to be Encouraged, Motivated, or Strengthened in Faith; Do not read this

“They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? When they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers’ bosom. What thing shall I take to witness for thee? What thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? What shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? For thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee? Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment. All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth? All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it. The LORD hath done that which He had devised; He hath fulfilled His word that He had commanded in the days of old: He hath thrown down, and hath not pitied: and He hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee, He hath set up the horn of thine adversaries.”  Lamentations 2:12-17 (KJV)

Now that is a rather odd title; don’t you think?  I have noticed something about many post.  Not only those I share, but others too.  When we write of the judgment of God coming on His people or the sorrows we can have because of refusing to hear God’s word there are fewer people who read it.  We all like to be “Lifted up”, “Built up”, and these kind of words do not suit us.

We are looking at Lamentations.  The title of this Bible book is rather sorrowful.  The Jeremiah Study Bible says in its introduction:

“Lamentations is often called the most sorrowful book in the Bible, written by the most sorrowful author — Jeremiah — known as the weeping prophet (Jer. 7:29; 9:1, 10, 20).

Jeremiah was sorrowful due to the waywardness of his people; the Judahites and Israel.  They had strayed from God, His word, His way, and turned to their own ways.  They rejected the warnings of the prophets of God, and accepted the lies of the positive thinkers.

This book of the Bible was written following the final deportation of the people of Jerusalem to Babylon, the destruction of the city, its wall was down, the temple destroyed, and all the pieces of the temple had been taken to Babylon.

One thing the Christian of today needs to realize is that God will always do what He says He will do.  If you do not find rest and comfort in that then, you need to know God.  He has made that possible through the death, burial and resurrection Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son. When you are His child through New Birth in Christ you will be saved for all eternity; but not without sanctification.  You may have to think about that one for a while.

The LORD hath done that which He had devised; He hath fulfilled His word that He had commanded in the days of old: He hath thrown down, and hath not pitied: and He hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee, He hath set up the horn of thine adversaries.

Corrected in Measure

The people of God. Jacob and his descendants are never without the discipline [correction] of God.  That correction shows, in fact, that they are the children of God.  The same is true of those who are genuine Christians; those who have been regenerated through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

That correction is not for destruction, but a guided, blessed comfort, rest, peace which is indescribable by mere words.  Let us hear from the prophet Jeremiah…

But fear not thou, O My servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. Fear thou not, O Jacob My servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished. Jeremiah 46:27-28 (KJV)

After giving a declaration from God of the demise of Egypt for their treatment of Jacob/Israel the LORD God gives a word of comfort to His people.  Here we see that promise “Fear not…” once again.  This fear not is for the people of God who are descendants of Jacob; yet we as Christians can rest in this promise as well, because we can get assurance from it that God does know how to deliver His people in all days and all ages.

Hear what Peter, the New Testament apostle of Jesus Christ wrote…

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished… 2 Peter 2:9

He is speaking of the deliverance of Lot from the destruction of Sodom, yet the word holds true for us all.  We can trust God with our future.  We can trust Him with our health.  We can trust Him with our finances – but that does not give us license for frivolous spending or waste.  Frivolousness in anything will be judged.  Be wise.

For the child of God; He does not correct for destruction, but for deliverance, freedom, rest, comfort and peace.  Find rest, forgiveness and peace with God through  Jesus Christ His Son who died on the cross as the atonement for our sin, was buried, and bodily arose from that grave; and is forever alive giving us fellowship with God.

Heart or Lip?

It is a sad thing when the heart of God’s people grow cold toward Him, His word, His ways, His Son Jesus, and His Spirit.  That was a very prominent thing in the land of Israel and Judah.  They had grown away from God.  Still maintaining their worship ritual, without  heart for God; giving Him only “Lip service”, but their hearts were far from Him.  It would do Christians of 2017 and beyond to hear the prophets of the Old Testament, because these words apply to all God’s people when it comes to our worship, and devotion to Him.  Now, hear the prophet Isaiah…

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? And who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? Isaiah 29:13-16 (KJV)

For Christians one of  the easiest things to do is stray.  Stray away from time with God, and you will begin straying away from fellowship with His people, and worshiping together.  You will stray away from prayer. When that happens you will get into sin, that you thought you would never be part of.  Then, the Lord does a work in your life; you might call it a trouble, trial, even a sorrow so deep it causes grief and pain of heart; God is getting your attention; asking the question, “Whom or what do you trust?”  Sometimes these trials may come when you are walking with God.  Maybe to check your faith.  Remember Job.

Those who pay “Lip service” with out any heart for God are those to whom Jesus spoke of…

Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

I fear that there are far too many people who are boasting of a relationship with God that they do not have. You may be one.  You claim to be Christian, but you only pick up your Bible on the way out the door for worship or Bible study.  The rest of the week you give no thought to God, His Son or His word.  You live your life, your way, and stomp on all who get in your way.

By the work and grace of God, when you are God’s He will always bring you back to Himself.  To love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself. None of us can love God except through the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  He is the one who spoke those words in red above, and though not in red, He spoke through the prophet Isaiah the words of Isaiah.

If you call yourself “Christian”, then stop just giving Him “Lip service” and give Him your heart.  Jesus also said,,,

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45

What is in your heart?

 

Catch the Foxes Which Hinder a Good Marriage

Catch the Foxes

Song of Solomon 2:1-17,

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  Song of Songs 2:15 (KJV) Also see John 10:10

With there being deceptions and lies concerning marriage and love in our society and culture it is needful, even necessary for the Church of Jesus Christ, and every individual Christian to stand firm on God’s definition of Marriage, and His meaning of love.

It is my conviction that the Home and Marriage is the beginning or the end of a Nation or a society of people.  When marriages fail so will society and nations.  “As goes the home/marriage; so goes the nation.”

There are hindrances to a good marriage.  These can be the children, and the job, or career, school activities, failure to build your marriage and home upon the foundation of Christ and His word.

So what can be done to keep a marriage strong.  Let us look at four ideas from Solomon’s Song of Songs;

  1.   Be sure; even make it a habit to praise, and adore and admire one another verbally (vv. 1-3).
  2.   Be sure to make yourself accountable to one another, and to another; who is not of the opposite sex; so as to maintain a holy lifestyle (vv. 4-7).
  3.   Be sure to make time for one another… Have some alone time.. Go to the “clefts of the rock” and get away together (vv. 8-14)
  4.   Be sure that within marriage you have a sense of belonging… “I am my beloveds, and he is mine”
  5.   This is an addition to the original post… Make God the primary Person of your marriage.

You are not your own.  You are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ must be the bedrock of your marriage and home.

I was running short on time this morning so I wanted to share this with you.

Consider the Work of God

Days of prosperity often cause us to be joyful.  Prosperity is not always dealing with gold, silver, precious jewels, fine homes and fine cars.  Prosperity can just as well mean, a place to live, protected from the elements; food on the table, clothes on your back, and a wonderful family who loves you; and realizing every day that God in heaven loves, and keeps you.  That is the best of prosperity.

Adversity – troubles, sorrows, pains, family troubles, health troubles, financial hardships, all of these come to us all at some point in life.  I want us to see what the wisest of men; and one the most prosperous (in material wealth) had to say about both prosperity and adversity…

“Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 (KJV)

We out always see, to look at; to inspect the work of God.  In order to do so one must see the work of God.  Do you see the work of God?  First consider yourself as a work of God.  Look in the mirror.  That image you see is in the image of God.  Your body is made up of a very intricate system that works keeping these tents, moving, seeing, working, breathing, heart beating, legs moving, arms and  hands busy.  Consider.  No one can make straight what God has made crooked.  We must consider that what has been made crooked can be straightened by God Himself.

In these verses we can see that both prosperity and adversity have a place in God’s plan for humanity.  Both are a work of God.  They are opposite of one another, and so that we might not be able to know what lies ahead in our lives.  We plan, we can save money, but no one knows what is coming tomorrow.  Not even the wealthiest of us.  The wealthiest man or woman in the world could pass into eternity before the sun sets this evening.  Their wealth cannot prevent it.  The same is true with the poorest of men and women.

“Consider the work of God….”

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. John 6:29

The One whom God sent is Jesus Christ His Son, God the Son, and He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again for you and me that we might have fellowship with God, the Creator of all things.

Every Word of God

“Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”  Proverbs 30:5-6 (KJV)

First of all look at the phrase  “Every word of God”.  Not just one, not just a few; not even, “Just the important ones” or “The Ones in red”; but every word of God.  “Is pure” and there is no other greater word than the word of God.  It is holy.  It “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  It is good for doctrine, reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.  If that is not pure, then nothing is.

The One who gives us His word is “A shield” to all who put their trust in Him.  Trust means our whole confidence.  We trust Him in life when everything around us is collapsing.  When our health is failing we trust God to know what lies ahead, and we keep believing He knows best for us; and we keep plugging along.  When the storm we are going through does not see, like it will ever subside, and the waves seem to grow in intensity, we keep believing, trusting.

In those times we do not add to His words for comfort.  We do not believe things such as “God helps those who help themselves”.  Contrary to what many so called Bible believing people think, that is not Biblical.  It is not mentioned one single time.  It teaches us the opposite.  “God helps those who cannot help themselves” and that is really all of us.

In order be be made well you need to be sick.  In order to be saved you need to be lost.  Jesus said,,,

They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mark 2:17

Do not twist God’s word to suit your ideas.  Fit what God says in your life by believing what He says, and leave it that way; except to put it to work in your life.  It will make a difference in the way you view yourself, others, and the whole world.

Forsaken for a Moment; Honored with Glory

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, O You that inhabits the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You: they trusted, and You did deliver them. They cried unto You, and were delivered: they trusted in You, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him. But You are He that took Me out of the womb: You did make Me hope when I was upon My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from the womb: You are My God from My mother’s belly.” Psalm 22:1-10 (KJV)  Please read all of Psalm 22.

I can remember the first time I read this with my eyes open by the Spirit of God.  It was a moment of awakening, and I remembered when Jesus spoke these words of the first verse as He was hanging and dying accursed on the cross of Calvary.  See Matthew 27:46, and  Mark 15:33-34.

Though these words were penned down by David, the “Sweet Psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1) they were spoken by God from the ages past when he determined from the foundation of the world to send His Son Jesus to bleed and die to pay for the redemption of mankind.

Every time I read the gospels and especially of the trial, judgment, beating, humiliation, and nailing of Jesus to that cross I find myself weeping.  To know that the Almighty God; the All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Present and Immutable GOD could love me.  For many years following my salvation, coming to Jesus as my Lord and Savior I questioned His love for me.  I even doubted it at times; but in the not too distant past I came to realize His love so deep, so marvelous, so powerful, so consuming, that I no longer question, neither do I doubt God’s love for me or anyone else.

How much does God love the world?  How much does God love you?  So much that He gave the best He had to save, to redeem  us, to call us to Himself.  He gave us His Son, His only begotten Son.  His holy Son.  His Son Jesus was without sin–without spot or blemish; and He willingly laid down His life for our sin.

Now the question is;  What will you do with Jesus?

Answer if You Know

There have been plenty of sorrows, pains and trials in my life; and in the lives of people I know and love.  I am sure most people reading this and all who are not would admit to having their share of trouble, pains, and sorrows in this life.  No one goes through life without them.  Even Jesus had His.

Today I want us to hear what God says to Job, and it comes to us as well…

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, and brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?” Job 38:1-11 (KJV)

Job had lost all that he had except for his life.  He was still breathing, his heart was beating, but he was suffering. When his three friends came along and sat with him quietly, I am fairly certain that he was somewhat comforted; then, they had to open their foolish mouths and start talking.

Something the Christian must remember is that the words and thoughts of men, friend or otherwise, without knowing God, His word, His wisdom, and His Son are many times; as with Job’s friends; without much merit.

Job got what He asked for from God; and when God showed up Job got quiet.  How do you answer the above questions which God asked?  All I could answer is “I was not there. I do not know.”  Job’s silence is pretty much the same answer.

Next time I want to question God about “Why?” something happens I think I will endeavor to remember these words from God to Job.  They are for me too.

A Loud and Bitter Cry

Esther is a book which does not even mention the name of God; the GOD of Israel; the LORD God of hosts.  Yet when you have eyes to see, and ears to hear you will see Him fully at work in the lives of His people and the nations.

There are protests/riots in our nation.  This is a cry for help, but it has the appearance of a cry for help to the wrong place, for the wrong reason, and the wrong way.  These riots of late are signs of anarchy, not freedom, and can become very violent, and destructive.  I want us to look at a man, and an event in the book of Esther which; even though He is not mentioned by name; talks with God through his faith,  and courage…

“When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; and came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.” Esther 4:1-3 (KJV)

The king Ahasuerus of Persia had appointed a Hebrew hating man, Haman, to the second seat of authority.  Had given him the authority to destroy the Hebrew people.  Haman was a man who had a long hate relationship with Jewish people; even sense Samuel killed Agag (1 Samuel 15).

There is the very mistaken thought being promoted in this wicked world that “Hate is a learned behavior”.  Let me tell you that genuine love is a learned behavior.  Have you ever watched a newborn baby.  They are solely about themselves.  They want fed.  They want changed.  They want what they want and they want it now.  You will not like that thought, but it is the truth.  A child must be taught to love; it is not natural.  Lust is natural.  Love is supernatural and comes solely from God.  That one is free of cost; but may cost you much.

There is a way of getting things done for good and God’s glory.  Mordecai did what any God loving Jew would do.  It is what any God and Christ loving Christian must do to in order to affect change in a wicked society, culture and world.  We must tear our hearts; make loud and bitter cries of help to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and plead with God to intervene in His power and glory.  When you read through the book of Esther you will find that God does protect the Hebrew people, fulfills His word.  Because He loves His people.

Pray for God to move.  First in your own heart and life.  Confess your sins.  Repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The change will begin in you and me.

Open the Book

In order to know the words, the acts, and purpose of a book one must open that book.  It does not matter if the book is historical, study, a novel of fiction, historical fiction, etc., educational that book must be opened.  Even an e-book must be opened to know its contents.

The Bible, the word of God, is no different in that way.  A lot of Christians say they believe the Bible, yet they rarely if ever open it.  In their homes it is a decoration on a bookshelf or on a table, but is never picked up and opened, except maybe on Sunday as the pastor opens it to read, and they might follow along.  How can a Christian grow without opening Scripture?  Growth would be a non-event in such case.

Hear from the book of Nehemiah…

“And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”  Nehemiah 8:5-6 (KJV)

This event for Nehemiah took place following the return of God’s people; after seventy years, from Babylonian captivity, and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall.  The people’s only access to Scripture was through the scrolls, and usually read by the priests and prophets of their day.  That is no excuse today.  Not too many people have or can legitimately say, “I do not have a Bible, neither do I have access to one.”  There are millions of copies of God’s word throughout the world.  Most people; if they want a copy they can get one.

At any rate look at what happened when Nehemiah opened the book.  Out of respect for the Word, the people stood up. It does not say they were asked to do so.  It does not say that anyone motioned for them to do so.  It simply says, “…All the people stood up”.  Then we are told they heard Nehemiah bless the LORD, and they answered “Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands, bowing their heads, and worshiping with their faces to the ground”.

O for the respect, reverence for the word of God from God’s people today.

I have attended many worship services where the preacher asked people to stand in reverence to the word of God.  Nothing wrong in that.  I do believe, however, if we the people had a real reverence for the word of God, when anyone in a meeting opens the word of God in our midst we ought to stand without a prompter.  The prompter should be the opening of the Book.

Most of all: be sure you open, read, and study the Book for yourself.  And notice how through the Spirit of God He will read you too.

Preparing to Rebuild the Temple

These events take place following the 70 years which Jeremiah had prophesied (Jeremiah 25:11).  Ezra is God’s man for returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple which was razed by the Babylonians and carried many captives of the land away.  Ezra had been faithful to God and His word through all the time of his life in that culture.  Hear the word of the LORD concerning these things…

This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. Ezra 7:6-10 (KJV)

I want us to keep in mind that today the temple of our Lord is His people – those who have believed and received the grace of God through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  Sometimes even this temple needs a rebuilding.  We can let sin carry us away from God, His Spirit and His word; but He is never away from us.  If there is any rebuilding to do it starts with God doing the work in us, calling us to repentance, forsaking our sin, and coming back to what we believe in Christ.

Consider the following verses from Paul’s epistles…

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, to do it, and to teach it to others.  Let us as the temple of God be as committed, devoted and faithful to the LORD as was Ezra; and follow Jesus faithfully.

Trusting the LORD

“And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 32:6-8 (KJV)

Hezekiah was a king who was pleasing to the LORD and walked in His ways.  When the Assyrian army taunted, and spouted hateful rhetoric at them the king of Judah called all the captains over the people to gather at the gate of the city, and spoke to them with courageous and encouraging words, because of his trust in the LORD God of Israel.

For all of us there are fearful situations.  That is where faith in Christ comes in.  When we trust Him for our salvation what is there to fear.  Are you aware that to perish in this life without God is the greatest tragedy that can happen to you?

The LORD God has made a way of salvation.  That is through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  When you trust Him there is no enemy, or weapon that comes against us that we need fear.  We can say with the apostle Paul…

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galations 2:20

No matter what you are facing in this life today God will deliver you.

The Stirring of the Enemy

Does God have his hand on the dealings of and with His people, and even the wicked of the world?  A short, but true answer is “Of course He does”.  You will believe that if you believe God and His word.  If you do not believe it.  Guess what?  Does not take a whole lot of guessing.

When the people of God walk with Him through faith there is not a need for worry or fear.  The enemy will stay away.  Mostly out of fear because of who you know; and Him knowing you too.  However there is a negative side – we have not banned the word “Negative” have we?  Hear what is written in 1 Chronicles…

“And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.” 1 Chronicles 5:25-26 (KJV)

Remember what I shared in yesterday’s post from Proverbs about our ways pleasing the LORD?  That fits right in with the theme of today’s word.

When we turn our hearts and backs against the LORD, His Son, His Spirit and His word then we can expect to find ourselves plagued by enemy attacks.  Do not get me wrong; I know that when things are going well between you and the Lord the enemy will attack too.  When the enemy attacks as in the above verse in Chronicles God uses it to drive us back to Him.  The enemy will attack us when we are right with God to distract us from loving God, and His word.  That calls for much prayer and discernment.

Those of us who truly love God know when we are walking with God or not.  When we are walking with God the fruit of the Spirit is evident in our walk in life (Galations 5:22-26).  You know when you are not right with Him too, because there will be no love, no peace, no joy;  your heart and mouth will be filled with vulgarity, rudeness, bitterness and anger; these things will proceed from you mouth.

If the enemy is stirring against you God is calling you to repent.  All it takes is to say something simple from your pleading heart… “Lord help me.”  He will hear and He will deliver you.  He has mad that possible through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ; the God-Man, God the Son.

The Approaching Enemy

Are you fearful?  Does it seem as though the enemy is coming in around you? Do you feel surrounded by your troubles, trials, and fears?

Sometimes we all have them, and we deal with them the best way we know how, but often, the last thing we do is seek the Lord.  We need to remember, always, that He is not a spare tire, which we only use when we need it.

There was a prophet in the land of Israel who was in touch with God.  He even told the king of Israel where the Syrian [enemy] camp was located, and they would defeat the Syrians.  The Syrian king gave orders to find Elisha, but the prophet was not fearful; however the young servant of Elisha was afraid.  Hear the words of Elisha to the young man…

“And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.’ 2 Kings 6:16-17

Fear is an often mentioned topic in Scripture. I have heard said, that the phrase “Fear not” or “Be not afraid” or other similar ones are used 365 times from Genesis through the Revelation.  If so that would be one for each day of the year.

The story of Elisha and his servant is a marvelous one.  It is an encouraging event in Biblical history which has fascinated me, and others for many centuries, and millennial.   In the servants fear God opened the man’s eyes so that he could see that God was with them.

The child of God need never wonder in doubt about the presence of God.  God sent His Son Jesus.  He is called Emmanuel meaning “God with us”, and this One went to the cross as the atonement for the sins of mankind; so that we might always be in the presence of God.

Are you fearful today?  Look into God’s word.  Believe God and His word.  Trust His Son Jesus for salvation.  Turn from your sin to Him.  He is with you.

In looking at this event I thought of the Proverb which says…

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  Proverbs 16:7

Please the LORD by coming to His Son Jesus.  He is the Son of God, God the Son.

Troubler of the Land

Are there any people or any one person who is the problem when a country, or land is troubled, and plagued by drought, famine, hunger, poverty, or disasters?  Do these things just kind of happen?  I think there are a lot of things we need to consider.  One is, does that nation or people group call themselves a people of God? Do they claim to live by the laws of God?  In the case of which we look at today the answer to those last two  questions is “Yes!”

Let us hear from God’s word…

“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.”  1 Kings 18:17-20 (KJV)

Because of the godlessness of Ahab and Jezebel, and their leading the northern kingdom of Israel into rebellion against the LORD God, Elijah had prayed for a period of no rain.  It was a 3.5 year period without rain.

That poses the question; “Who is really a troubler of a land or country?”  The answer to that question with a Biblical answer is the one or one’s who depart from God’s law and His word.

Elijah was accused by the king of being the troubler, but Elijah turned that back around telling the king, “…You and your father’s house have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and have followed Baalim”.  They departed from the living God, to follow a fake God, who had no power, no life, nothing to give, but destruction.

Who troubled Israel?  The one’s who departed from the word and law of God.  Who troubles our land?  The one’s who have departed from the word of God, and the law of God fulfilled in His Son Jesus Christ.

Let us return to the LORD our God with all our  heart.

The Consequences

“And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? Thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” 2 Samuel 12:7-12 (KJV)

David was a shepherd boy when God revealed to him that He had chosen him to be the next king of Israel.  Anointed by the prophet Samuel and by God he had a heart for God, and he loved the word of God, and His way.

David was a man, however, with many of the temptations that plague the rest of us.  He was now the king, was still at home when he probably should have been with his men on the battle field, and he had an unguarded moment.  “Unguarded” in his mind.  Distracted by his authority, his power, his kingdom.  It happens even to the best of men when they drop their guard.

Nathan the prophet confronted David with a sheep story (2 Samuel 12:1-6), and David was furious about a man stealing a poor man’s sheep.  Nathan being God’s messenger says, “You are the man.”  He had taken another man’s wife; killed the man, and now David the king was going to pay a price.

Here  is food for thought for the rest of us:  There will be a payday someday, for all the sins we have done.

There is forgiveness for our sin through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son; but more times than not there are still consequences that come from that sin.  David’s children went bad.  A sword of death came against David’s family.  There was grave and grevious bitterness, anger in the family.

No one of us are without consequences for our sin.  Our call in those consequences, suffering in them, is to grow in the LORD and be faithful every day after, and through them all.

What in the world is going on? Catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, terrorism, nuclear threats. Is God trying to tell us something? Yes.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Hurricane-IrmaWhat in the world is going on?

Hurricane Harvey drops 33 trillion gallons of rainfall on the U.S. Experts say the floods are a once-in-a-thousand-years event. Now Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida. Historic, sustained winds of at least 185 miles-per-hour. Devastation in the Caribbean has been catastrophic. Experts say Florida and other American states could face the same.

At the same time, Mexico experiences the worst earthquake in a century. Record-breaking floods are devastating Asia. Half of Bangladesh is reportedly underwater. 100,000 homes have been destroyed. Forty million people face severe and potentially life-threatening food and water shortages. Russia is preparing to mass upwards of 100,000 troops on the borders of three NATO countries for a massive series of war games that some fear is a prelude to war in Europe. The genocidal slaughter continues in Syria. Terror attacks are occurring around the globe. North Korea threatens to…

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What We Want

Many times we people – all who were made by God in His image and likeness want what we want, and we want it now.  Nothing has changed since the Garden of Eden, and the fall of Adam and Eve; at least in the matter of our wants.

When it comes to leadership of kings, presidents, or despots we all have our own idea of who or what we want to lead us.  The same was true in the day of the Judges, and God raised up a judge and a prophet by the name of Samuel.  He was a man who had the heart of God, and was jealous for God; and by that I mean he did not want the people to trust anyone else but God; neither did he want anything else for himself.

The verses we look at today are of when the people decided they wanted a king… “Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” was their cry (1 Samuel 8:5).  “Like all the nations” is the key phrase which should cause us to see the ire or Samuel.  They wanted a king so they could be like the surrounding nations.  Hear the word of the LORD…

“But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:6-9 (KJV)

Sometimes God gives us what we want, even when He knows what it will do to us.  Sometimes God gives His children a million dollars, and they end up losing it all because they did not have the wisdom to know what to do with it; but they wanted it.  Sometimes God saves the life of a child gravely injured in an accident, but the child is alive only not living on his/her own strength; they got what they wanted.

In the case above the king that was chosen was to show them the manner of king that would reign over them, and that would be Saul.  Saul turned his back on God.  He eventually hated even David a shepherd boy who would be God’s appointed king, and of whom Jesus Christ would be an heir to the throne.

My heart and mind has determined that I want what God wants for me; and I will be perfectly content and at peace with that.  What about you?  It can start by calling on the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son for salvation.  Do so today.

It Ain’t Over Yet

Sometimes we people of the human race do things we do not exactly want to do, or like to do to survive.  Abraham left the Promised Land of Canaan when famine came, and Hagar came back with he and Sarah (Genesis 12:10-20).  Look at the heartaches, and sorrow that has brought on us all.  We all do some things for which we are ashamed, and God forgives and delivers us who trust Him; but often not the consequences of our bad behavior, and actions.

The book of Ruth in the Bible is a very precious story of history and lineage of king David, and our Savior.  Let us look at the first five verses…

“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.” Ruth 1:1-5 (KJV)

The events of Ruth – beginning to end – take place during the early part of the book of Judges.  Remember that the judges were given by God to the people of Israel after they had become disobedient, rebellious, and began worshiping foreign gods – which were not gods – and when they would be troubled by plague, disease, famine, etc. then they would call on their God; and He would send them a Judge to deliver them (Judges 2:16).  Certainly showing the love, mercy and grace of God.

Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion went to Moab; a foreign land near by, and they were a unholy bunch of people; ones associated with the curse Balaam because they were fearful of Israel, and their God.  So they sought to curse them.  You can read about Balaam in Numbers 22-25.

When we leave the place the Lord has promised us we will always be a hazard to people around us.  Consider this.  Elimelech probably went to Moab for his family; at least that was his reasoning.  The country of Moab was rich and green, and Israel was in drought and famine.  This wayward journey cost him his life, and the lives of his two sons.

This  is a story of God’s love and grace.  When we as Christians mess up, sin against God, and leave our promised position God is not finished with us.  He sees the bigger picture.  We only see the brush strokes; the aches, the pains the sorrows; and we can rest assured that God will get us where He desires us to be.  It may be costly.  It will be worth it.

The story ends with Ruth a Moabite woman; Naomi’s daughter in law in the Promised Land, and marrying the kinsman redeemer.  There is redemption for all who will come to faith in Jesus Christ a descendant of Ruth – a Moabite – who became a faithful follower of YaHWeH [Jehovah].  Jesus is the ultimate Kinsman Redeemer having died on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and rising from the grave alive forevermore.  Believe Him and you too will live.

 

When GOD’S Children Go Astray

There is too much false teaching going around.  Teaching which says to us everyday… Live the way you want to, do your own thing, do not worry about it…  God is a loving God.   He does not judge.  He loves.

If a confessor of Jesus Christ can live in sin, and live without shame, guilt, or condemnation; or the judgment of God; then that being is not a child of God.  God works in His children; correcting, instructing, convicting when we sin.  And if we sin, and refuse to repent; that is, change our minds toward Him; then there will be judgment in accordance with that sin.

Hear what the Spirit of God says in the book of Judges…

“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.”  Judges 2:11-13 (KJV)

Every Christian today loves the positive promises of the Old Testament; but very often forget about the warnings, and the judgments on the people of God.  If you will genuinely read the Scriptures and hear what God says you will be able to see and hear what God expects from us… To love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  Israel; in the verses above turned their backs on God to foreign gods, which were no gods; just wood, and stone.  And we think we live in a civilized and god-fearing culture and society.

Many professing Christians have turned to the worship of Baal, by accepting other religious gods and believes; trusting more in our technology, medicine, finances, and global unity.  Then they begin following the godesses of Canaan [Ashtaroth], in immoral, filthy behavior; acting more like animal beings, than the One who created them.  The writer of Psalm 115 and 135 says, “They that make them are like unto them; so is everyone that trusts in them”  115:8, and 135:18.  Become like what you worship if you will, but I pray you choose Jesus the Son of God, God the Son.

If you are in sin, and are convicted of its wrong Jesus is waiting to receive you back; to cleanse you, and restore you to fellowship with Him.  If you feel no remorse or guilt for your sin; maybe until now, then call on the name of Jesus, He died on the cross for you, was buried, and He rose again; He will hear you and forgive you, and cleanse you; and give you the new birth that is only through faith in Him.

Something from the New Testament to remember…

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:6-8

Turn to the Lord, believe His word, and live by it.  Cleanse your heart.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

Check Things Out – Pray

Making decisions involving others is not an easy task.  There are people out to take advantage of you, to get all they can get from you.  The Great and Awesome God who has made all things gave us a mind and heart to use, but we do need help at times.

I want to take  us today to an event in the life and leadership of Joshua and Israel after they had conquered Jericho, been defeated by Ai due to their sin, conquered Ai after dealing with the sin in their midst.

There was a tribe of people from Gibeon who were inhabitants of the land of Canaan, and tried to deceive Joshua into believing they were from a land outside of Canaan.

“Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: and these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” Joshua 9:11-14 (KJV)

These Hivites had heard of the victories of Israel on the other side of Jordan; the defeating of Sihon and Og.  They were frightened for their lives, and practiced deceit to win their lives.  Not any different than many people today.  “Whatever it takes”  we will often do to save our own lives, and that of family.

The sentence of the verses above I want us to focus on is verse 14…

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

Joshua and the leaders took their word, their food, as a gift of assurance that they were from outside Canaan.  Had they prayed, and asked the LORD’S counsel the outcome would have been much different.

These Gibeonites would eventually be found out; made servants for Israel; and would be a pain, sorrow, and thorn in the side of the people of God.

When it comes to dealing with others; making deals, promises, and such we ought always go to God in prayer first.  Prayer should not be the last resort; it should be the first thing we do when making decisions of life’s importance.

Jesus said…

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

Pray.  Seek God’s counsel.  Always.

Great and Awesome GOD

What happens when we do not fear God?  Do we really want an answer?  I will answer it.  We will fear everything else, and be crippled by that fear even though there is only a perceived notion, or a shadow in the darkness ahead.  BOO!

This is something the LORD has been revealing to me for the past few years.  If I fear God, there is absolutely nothing I need to fear.  If I do not fear God, then I will fear every thing, every dark shadow around me.  I have noticed the “Fear not” passages and the “Do not be afraid” ones too.  The Almighty does not desire that we be fearful, and when we are walking with Him there is nothing to fear.

Hear what the LORD says to the children of Israel when they were near to crossing into the Promised Land…

“If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; the great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid. Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a Mighty God and Terrible. And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.” Deuteronomy 7:17-22 (KJV)

If you will notice verse 21 (you will need your Bible to figure that out) says, “Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.”  The phrases “Mighty God and terrible” are translated “Great and awesome” in the NKJV.  I have always love the word “Awesome”.  I think it is greatly overused.  There is no one individual I know that is “Awesome” – except Jesus my Lord and Savior.

God’s instruction to the people was not to fear the people of the Land they were about to enter.  He is the Great and Awesome GOD.  There is none like Him.  There is none beside Him.  Anything man has made and declared a deity is set for destruction.  GOD is set forever.

The Psalmist has written…

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” and  “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” Psalm 56:3, 11

Yes there are fears that will come our way, but the Christ honoring, God fearing believer will turn that fear to faith, will trust and believe the LORD is with us; and not fear what lies ahead; neither what is behind us.

This kind of faith comes through the faith of Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.  If you have not trusted Him you have much to fear; not the least of which is being outside the will and way of God.

An Uprising

“And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And He hath brought thee near to Him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?” Numbers 16:8-11 (KJV)

Korah, Dathan and Abiram were family in the tribe of Levi, and the children of Israel journeyed through the wilderness, out of Egypt.  The family of Aaron was appointed as the family of the priesthood, and these Levites were caretakers of the “Holy articles” of the tabernacle.  Yet, at least these three raised a ruckus against Moses and Aaron and GOD.

This is one sad, but too often repeated in the Biblical history, as well as throughout world history.  People who are not content with their God given place in service and life.  That is where wars and strife come from (James 4:1-2).

Look at the leadership of Moses.  He states the case for what it is.  It is a rebellion against the LORD (v. 11 in the text above).  These were God’s people, going God’s way, doing God’s will; and yet there was discontent, jealousy, and bitterness.  All those things are against God.

As Korah gathered the congregation together against God, Moses and Aaron “…The glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation” (V. 19).  The LORD had appointed Moses and Aaron to their positions of leadership, and the other Levites to their positions.  It is a dangerous thing to challenge God, and His appointments, and/or His authority to do so; then to question the authority of those He  has placed in authority.

Moses plead with Korah, Dathan and Abiram (vv. 8-9), to change their heart and mind; but to no avail.  Moses and Aaron fall on their faces before the LORD (v. 22), and plead with God for the congregation, and God’s mercy upon them.

All who would separate themselves from the uprising, and the three men would be spared the event that was about to happen.

Because they refused to repent the judgment of God was about to fall.  Hear the words of Moses to the men and the congregation….

And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. vv. 28-34

We all need to consider these words which are from God.  This by no means even hints at toleration of evil and godless leadership; especially within a Congregation of Christian people.  Neither does it allow for false teachers who preach contrary to the content of Scripture, or of Christ Jesus.

Let us be content with our calling and place in life.  Let us do our part, and not even desire the office of another.  If we could we might want to ask Korah, Dathan and Abiram about the reality of God’s wrath and judgment.  I think they would agree with…

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of  the living God”  (Hebrews 10:31).

You do not need to perish.  Realize you have sinned, that God sent His Son Jesus to die for you; that He was buried, and that He rose again from the grave, and that He eternally lives giving life to all who believe Him.

 

 

Set Apart

“For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”  Leviticus 11:44-45  (KJV)

Let me be honest with you.  I have never been real fond of Leviticus.  I read it, and it blesses my heart and soul, but my flesh really despises it; and that is as it should be.

It is verses as the above which mark me, maul me, and make me cringe.  I love the fact that the LORD is my God; because there is no other; but the word “Sanctify” is a catchy one, an almost demanding one.

To sanctify something is to set it apart as holy.  You hear that word “Holy”.  That is what God’s people are to be; sanctified as holy; holy unto God, and there is no holiness in me.

The apostle Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…

“I beseech you therefore… that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…”  Romans 12:1

I fall so often in this matter.  I am so grateful for the love, and grace of God shown through the cross; the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus prayed for you and me when He prayed….

“Sanctify through Your truth: Your word is truth.”  John 17:17

Will His prayer be answered?  Most definitely.  We who know Him are sanctified, set apart as holy unto God.  Do we make mistakes?  I have not met a perfect person yet.  Every morning I wake up the first person I see is in the mirror, and I know he is not perfect.

I just thank God, His Son Jesus the Christ, the Holy Spirit and the word of God for their work in me.  I thank Him for His work in you, and all my brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world.  He is working on us; making us more into the image of His own dear Son.

You are Set Apart.  You are sanctified, and being sanctified.  It is a daily work of grace in the Spirit of God.  Remember to participate in that sanctification by attending a Bible believing, Christ centered Church today.  It is the LORD’S Day.  Give it to Him

Glory

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

The book of Exodus begins with the word “Now” (Exodus 1:1), and is a recap of what has taken place at the end of Genesis – the family of Jacob goes into Egypt, and the family increases greatly while there.

The Bible is not a book so much that tells us about ourselves, or how to live;  it does that, but that is not its purpose.  The book we call the Bible is about GOD our Creator, Sustainer, Provider, our Strength, our Sword (or Defense), and He is definitely our Song.  That is nowhere more evident than in God’s deliverance of His people from bondage and slavery.

There is a phrase used throughout the Old Testament “They shall know that I am the LORD” and sometimes it uses the words “You shall know…” and “…the LORD of hosts”.  The prophecy of Ezekiel uses it at least 63 times.  The phrase “…Shall know that I am the LORD” is used at least five times in Exodus (6:7;  7:5;  14:18:  16:12;  and 29:46).

The One who made us all desires that we know Him and that we know He is the LORD of hosts.  He desires that we have a personal relationship with Him.  He desires that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:29-30), and in loving Him we will love others (Mark 12:31).  For no one is being honest who says, “I love God”, and then they hate their neighbor (1 John 2:9;  4:8, and 4:20).

What does the title “Glory” have to do with Exodus and all this other stuff?  God’s glory.  His glory is radiated through His temple.  Flesh of man cannot reside in the presence of God.  Even Moses even had to leave, because he could not bear it.

The glory of God rest in His tabernacle.  Ultimately the Tabernacle is in Christ Jesus.  The glory of God was and is in Jesus Christ His Son; and that glory resides in those who trust and believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God.  The Lord is driving out the flesh in us so the glory of God is seen.

If you are still in darkness then come to the Light.  His name is Jesus the Son of God, God the Son.  The Personification of the Glory of God.

The First Day

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5  (KJV)

The First Day of September.  I am back from a time away.  It is good to be back with those of you who have been touched in some way by these post.

First days are good days.  They are filled with excitement, encouragement, and sometimes even fear; for us at least.

Considering the words of God above it was the beginning of all things that you and I know.  The world that we see.  The world that we know could not be seen and known apart from God creating them; including you and me.

My prayer for you today is to have a day filled with God, His grace, His mercy, His love; and I pray that if you do not know Him that you will call on the name of the One who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose again.  His name is Jesus the Christ; the Son of God, God the Son. Our Creator (John 1:1-5).

O that all who know Him would surrender to Him, know His word, His will and walk in His way.  Will you today.