I STAND IN AWE OF YOU

Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? - Exodus 15:11

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! - Psalm 33:8

God

Colossians 3:22-25 – Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

This morning as I am reading and studying the end of Colossians 3, a few things going on this morning. As I read I read I hear at the end of the house my wife also listening to a sermon about speaking on that as Christians, we are not to be focusing on the things here on earth, but on the things above.

Today, many still want to break free of many things, currently in this world it has to do with color and race. A very heated topic and debate indeed! But this cane be overcome in Christ when we all focus on Him above. For we are all made in the image of God, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, yet many do not see this, and that is either because they do not know Christ, or they may know of Him, but not intimately! You can how a basic knowledge of something or someone, but if it is not intimately and with great purpose, we greatly miss out on the purpose of relationship.

So this is what I was reading in Matthew Henry’s commentary this morning.

Servants must do the duty of the relation in which they stand, and obey their master’s commands in all things which are consistent with their duty to God their heavenly Master. Not with eye-service,
as men-pleasers—not only when their master’s eye is upon them, but when they are from under their master’s eye. They must be both just and diligent. In singleness of heart, fearing God—without
selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise, as those who fear God and stand in awe of him.

There are too many who have stirred up the past of man, the abuses of man, those who think the the word of God is archaic and needs to be “modernized”. God’s Word is God’s Word, it is HIS authority and headship we are commanded to come under. It does not matter what descriptive word you want to use, but God is master, King, Lord, etc. and we are to be obedient subjects to Him.

Anyway, as I was finishing up this was in the end of the paragraph that caught my eye and heart, and immediately drew to memory the song “I STAND IN AWE OF YOU”. So I wanted to share with you this intimate moment and encourage you, that if you are going through a trial today, look to Him in awe and worship! If you are having a bad day at work or school, look to Him in awe and worship! If you are having a problem with your children, parent, or spouse, look to him in awe and worship! If there is anything else that you are going through, causing you to focus or feel on anything in this world, STOP! and look to him in awe and worship!

I am including a link to the music on youtube as well as the lyrics below, so that you too can stand in awe in Worship!

I Stand In Awe of You – Sovereign Grace Music

You are beautiful
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above
And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You
You are beautiful beyond description
Yet God crushed You for my sin
In agony and deep affliction
Cut off that I might enter in
Who can grasp such tender compassion?
Who can fathom this mercy so free?
You are beautiful beyond description
Lamb of God who died for me
And I stand, and I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise…

#ToGodBeTheGlory

THE RIPPLE EFFECTS OF SMALL THINGS

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

Oscar Wilde

It is so difficult on where to start this morning as this is not only much to say, but more importantly much to perceive, give great attention of thought to, and especially meditate on. I must apologize ahead of time for my rambling thoughts, and it is my prayer that God would straighten this in your minds as you read for His glory.

Many times we think that we come across things by chance or luck, yet do not think it to be providentially or in Sovereignty place by God. If that is the case, then I dare say we have much of God yet to be known and missing out on many opportunities to know Him.  But before we get any deeper, I challenge you to think about; have you ever given thought to your thinking or your thoughts? I say all of us don’t and here’s why.

Many scientists have tried to quantify how people think and there are sciences that are dedicated to thought and behavior sciences, but quantifying thoughts has always been elusive. With that said, these are not “facts” but scientific opinions to kind of help with where I am going. I am not trying to deceive you, but prove a point. Ready? For sake of argument I am going to use a nice even number, 60,000. That is the middle of the road that some scientists believe how many thoughts (between 50,000-70,000) the average person has per day. Now if we divide that by 24 (hours in a day) that is 2500 thoughts per hour, and divide that by 60 (minutes in an hour) that’s 41.67 a minute, divide that by 60 (seconds in a minute) is .6945 thoughts per second. One of the fastest response times recorded was that of a human sprinter. From the sound of the starting gun to reaction time was 150ms  WOW!

Okay, I know, to the point already!

So the point of all of this is since we do not give much purposeful thought, capture one tiny piece of it, and meditate on it, I dare say we think very little of our sins against a Holy God either, right? I mean, after all, why would we want to waste our time on something like this? Because we greatly sin every day and they have eternal consequences! This all started because I have been reading and studying Genesis chapter 3, the greatest sin, the greatest most heinous crime ever committed and continues to be committed each day, and begin to see even more how great the value of Christs’ blood is, how much grace and mercy God gives us every moment of every day! Here in Genesis many think only one sin was committed but the eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Oh dear reader, go, read Genesis 3:1-14 and ask God to give wisdom! Study other books like commentaries or listen to sermons on the subject for they are many! Like our federal headship of Adam and Eve, we give little no no thought to our many sins, not just a few, M-A-N-Y!!! sins Do you hear God calling us like He did them in the Garden of Eden?

Where are you? What have you done? Of course these questions are rhetorical to God, but should drive our wicked sinful hearts to our knees in repentance! There should be many tears that would flood our homes, and if sackcloth and ashes were still a thing in America we would be buried as Achan and his family were in Joshua chapter seven, where all of Israel stoned them and burned them with fire for not obeying God. We belong to each other, we need each other, and our actions affect one another (1 Corinthians 12:12). Achan’s sin had a profound impact on the whole community as our sin today affects the entire body of Christ! In our ignorance we follow man and not Christ as the Apostle Paul rebukes the church in 1 Corinthians chapters 1 and 3. Are we getting the point yet? And just because the word sins is plural, let us not be a prideful modern day pharisee in Luke 18:9-14  by saying something like “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, pedophiles , unjust in my social media posts, a user of pornography, or even like those around me, for I am far more superior. I fast twice a week from all worldly things and yet do not worship you all of the time; I give tithes of all that I get, although reluctantly and in a non-cheerful manner”

Friend, it would do us VERY well to humble ourselves quickly and take heed the admonishment that the Apostle Paul gives in 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” This is so important. so crucial to not only diminish our sinning, but more important how to wage war against our sin and strive for holiness in our living a God honoring life. The Apostle Paul eve repeats this again in Ephesians 6:12-18:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.

Reader, Christ is coming again soon! Much sooner than we think! This time he is no coming so graciously against sinners as He did in the Garden of Eden, this time it is for Judgment, the question is, which side of the battlefield are you on? If you are Christs’, do not fool yourself by letting your guard down or be so foolish as to say you are without sin, for we ALL are, and we are told to confess our sins that we might be cleansed from ALL unrighteousness, and if we say we have no sin, we make Him out to be a liar and the truth is not in us; 1 John 1:9-10.

My prayer is that we all take this way more seriously than we do, but strieve not in the flesh, for it is weak. Seek the Holy Spirit to give supernatural power against sin, for it is far greater a foe that we give credit to, and we too are weak like Adam and Eve without God.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

Be Still!

Prayer is when you talk to God;
meditation is when you listen to God.

Author Unknown

I have touched on the subject in past writings and think I am going to go back to it and this time go a lot deeper. The problem that has been proposed to new Christians and even those who have been acting like Christians for some time is “How do I know what God’s Will (for my life) is?” Now I put the for my life in parenthesis because there is the basic will of God for all Christians lives and then is a called will of God beyond those of the general call such as a Pastor or teacher of the Word of God.

So in the opening quote of this devotional, we see listed two very important points of God’s will for the Christians life, one of which we do a whole lot more than the other. The other point we need to clarify when we are talking about God’s will is we need to look at it from the standpoint of duty or of service to Him. Not that He “needs us” but He desires us to worship Him, glorify Him, make Him known to the world in which we live in. Also, when thinking about it as a duty, do not think of it as work or a menial task, something taken lightly, that would be sinful and disdainful towards God. Rather look at you as the adopted child of God that you are, you have been called to work in the King’s court and all of duties assigned to the King’s servants are of great importance and God honoring; both to God’s glory as well as the child of God’s daily living and survival as well. Sometimes spending a lot of time in the presence and glory of  God, is known as the Shekinah glory.

https://www.gotquestions.org/shekinah-glory.html

Now some of you who know me might think I am off my rocker and have switched to the word of faith movement, I assure you, I have not, and the link above clearly spells out what I mean by God’s shekinah glory. People who spend a great deal of time with God show evidence of it, not necessarily because they talk a good Christian walk, but because you can see they spend time in the Word of God often and you see what the Bible calls the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-25:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

So again, the opening quote speaks of the two what I would consider the most important duty of new as well as seasoned Christians, and that is prayer and meditation, and both of these need serious and humble attention if one truly wants to do God’s will. One of the jokes I have heard is “God gave man one mouth and two ears for a reason… To listen twice as much as he talks!” and there is A LOT of truth to that saying. Now I will leave the praying part up to you, but will give this one suggestion, don’t go to God with a laundry list of what you need, for He already knows the all situations in your life, and secondly, don’t try playing “Let’s make a deal”. But do talk to Him as your Father who has great care for you and your life, pour out your heart, cry your tears of sincerity, for He again knows. The part we are going to focus on the next two weeks is meditation (remember, listening) to what God is telling us. Here is the plan and the breakdown I am planning on using and comes from a section of the wonderful book by Puritan Pastor and writer Thomas Watson titled “The Saints Spiritual Delight” and you can either download a copy or read it for free over at Monergism books, a GREAT site for solid Christian writings and teachings. So Thomas Watson speaks in great detail the importance of meditation and what we should be focused on all the time, and that is God the Father, Christ the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

He starts out by saying “the subject-matter of meditation: what a Christian should meditate upon. I am now entered on a large field, but I will only glance at things; I will only do as the disciples did: pluck some ears of corn as I pass along. Some may say, Alas, I am so barren I do not know what to meditate upon. To help Christians therefore in this blessed work, I will show you some choice select matter for meditation. There are fifteen things in the law of God which we should principally meditate upon.” Here are the devotional / lessons for the next two weeks at least.

  1. ) Meditate on God’s attributes
    a) Meditate on the Holiness of God
    b) Meditate on the wisdom of God
    c) Meditate on the power of God
    d) Meditate on the mercy of God
    e) Meditate on the truth of God

  2. ) Meditate on the promises of God
    a) The promises of remission
    b) The promises of santification
    c) The promises of renumeration

  3. ) Meditate upon the love of Christ.
    a) It would make us love Him again
    b) It would cause out eyes to flow with tears for our Gospel unkindness
    c) It would make us love our enemies
    d) It woule be a means to support us in the case of Christ’s absence

  4. ) Meditate upon sin
    a) Meditate on the guilt of sin
    b) Meditate on the curse of sin

  5. ) Meditate on the vanity of the creature

  6. ) Meditate on the excellence of grace
    a) Grace is precious in itself
    b) Grace makes us precious to God
    c) Grace is the best blessing

  7. ) Meditate upon your spiritual estate
    a) Meditate about your debts
    b) Meditate about your will
    c) Meditate about your evidences

  8. ) Meditate upon the small number of those who will be saved

  9. ) Meditate upon final apostasy

  10. ) Meditate upon death
    a) Meditate on the certanity of death
    b) Meditate on the proximity of death
    c) Meditate on the unvertanity of the time
    d) Think seriously that dying is done but once

  11. ) Meditate upon the day of judgment
    a) Meditate on the solemnity of this trial
    b) Meditate on the universality of this trial
    c) Meditate on the impartiality of the trial
    d) Meditate on the exactness of the trial
    e) Meditate on the outcome and consequence of this trial

  12. ) Meditate upon hell
    a) Meditate on the pain of loss
    b) Meditate on the pain of sense

  13. 13) Meditate upon heaven

  14. ) Meditate upon eternity
    a) Meditate on eternal punishment
    b) Meditate on eternal life

  15. ) Meditate on your experiences
    a) Has God not provided liberally for you
    b) Has not God prevented many dangers
    c) Has not God spared you a long time
    d) Has not God often come in with assisting grace
    e) Has not God vanquished Satan for you
    f) Have you not had many remarkable deliverances

It is going to be kind of a lengthy, yet very profitable journey, one of which I am excited and yet nervous at the same time. I do not know about you, but times of growth are great for me, but sometimes can be painful too. For their may be sins that we have not discovered about ourselves or have covered for a long period time that rotten flesh has covered and needs to salve of the Gospel to properly heal. So I hope you will be sure to check back each day for the journey and growth in learning about true Christian meditation and the importance of this God given duty!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WRITE THEM!

History is a story written by the finger of God.

C.S. Lewis

Recently I turned a year older and with that more mature age also comes more opportunities to become more forgetful or absentminded. One of the things we can learn to do to help overcome being forgetful, is to write things down. Even throughout the Bible God has commanded people to write things down, so they would not forget. Can you imagine what kind of a mess the Bible might be today if man did not obey God and write it down, and it had been spoken by mouth only all of these years, there would be quite a bit forgotten and left out.

King Solomon, the wisest human king in all of the Bible even taught his children (as God did us by having the Holy Spirit inspire certain men to write down His Word) by writing it for their generations to know. They did not yet have the whole complete story of God as we do today, and we should be thankful and grateful to God that we do!

Writing things down is only the beginning. We must also meditate upon (meaning giving much thought) what we have read and many times it is more valuable and profitable to read smaller portions of scriptures that to overindulge, especially if we are not writing it down. Writing it down also gives us references points to look back to. Maybe it was a sin that God gave victory over, maybe it was spiritual growth, maybe a word of comfort or encouragement that got us through some rough times. But again… WRITE IT DOWN!

Proverbs 3:1-3 – My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.

If we read, meditate, think about God writing this to us, when we take our time, it is a powerful Word and promise. Where there are commas, we should take as much time as needed to let God speak to us. So for example, verse 1- My son, (pause). If we have read our Bibles much, studied, prayed, meditated much could be written about these two words alone. For me, I hear God telling me, His adopted child, these exact words of wisdom that He gave Solomon to his children. My son shows that He possesses me as His! I now have a relationship where I can trust Him who has called me His own, and the greatest promise that comes to mind quickly is Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” NEVER, let ne be more clear on that N-E-V-E-R EVER will He leave or forsake those who are His! MAN what a promise!

Next part of the verse he tells his child what to do. One thing that just came to mind (thank you Father) and most of us probably do not even think about is actions or lack there of. We who have children, and have asked them to clean their rooms or some other chore, what usually happens? Okay, in a minute, or I’ll do it later, okay. Then they forget! When we are to do something there is always an outcome, good or bad. Ever experienced someone’s wrath when you were supposed to get milk on the way home and no one had any for breakfast the next morning? Yeah, me neither 😉 But the author (which by the way is ALWAYS the Holy Spirit) says “do not forget my teaching,” (pause again).

If we were to speak this out, would you think any one part be more important than the other? Like DO NOT, forget… or do not FORGET… For stubborn people like myself, this is what I see… DO NOT FORGET MY TEACHING. Oh dear reader, how much do we forget and for so many reasons! I have spoken with my wife numerous times and challenged us both to how much time do we spend with God, individually and collectively? Have you seriously asked yourself that question? I can tell you from YEARS of personal experience, that you will NOT learn from or enjoy God if you DO NOT SPEND TIME WITH HIM! (emphasis added). We are the ones who have forgotten, we are the ones who forsake, not only His commandments, but Him! We treat God like He is some modern convenience that we can pickup and put down whenever we need Him, but for many Christians it is only when they are in trouble, or “God, do this for me and I promise…”, or maybe to finally win that multi-million lottery. If the Word of God does not satisfy you, nothing meaningful and long term ever will either. For the things of this world come and go, moth and rust destroy, and grow strangely dim. Yet, God… everything about Him is as the day when He first created, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

As if all of this is not enough in the first sentence, God uses a conjunction (not sure what He calls them, but that is what our English teachers taught us 😉 God says, BUT (which means to pay attention as I am joining it to something of importance) let your heart keep my commandments. Again, depends on where you might need to place some emphasis on the word(s) to drive the point home. Again we can see the importance of an intimate relationship when the writer uses words like heart and keep, and what are we to keep? His commandments! Now stay with me a little longer as we are just about done. I just want to stress the importance of the heart metaphorically. In Hebrews 8:10 it is written – For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. You might be thinking “Well that’s all well and good, but that is a promise for the house of Israel.” Not so fast… It very well be a promise for Israel, but we must not “forget” the other promise, “never will I leave you or forsake you.” God repeats this same promise again in Hebrews 10:16, but let us look at the entire context starting at verse 9 and ending at 17. Hebrews 10:9-17

Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Now we do not have time to unpack all of this together, and have showed you some basic tools on getting to the meat of what God is telling and showing us, but we have to be a part of the relationship, and must be our first priority! If not, our other relationships will fail as well, and that should not be too hard to notice, nor where the problem lies… with us. Let us repent of our sins on how we have treated God, seek His forgiveness, and make it the TOP priority of having Him in our lives in ALL things. Why? Go back to the top of our opening scriptures and look at some more of His promises to His children 😉

#ToGodBeTheGlory

CHRISTIANS ACTING OUT – PART 2

If men's religion prevails not to conquer and cure the wickedness of their hearts, it shall not always serve for a cloak. The day is coming when hypocrites will be stripped of their fig-leaves.

Mathew Henry

The first part of this is taken directly verbatim from the Merriam-Webster Website

The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks.

The Greek word took on an extended meaning to refer to any person who was wearing a figurative mask and pretending to be someone or something they were not. This sense was taken into medieval French and then into English, where it showed up with its earlier spelling, ypocrite, in 13th-century religious texts to refer to someone who pretends to be morally good or pious in order to deceive others.

Many people who falsely profess to be Christians knowingly and intentionally carry around and play the part of a hypocrite, and sadly for many of years has carried over into the church. Many have become infectious with this great sin because we do not spend time with God! We do not pray as we should, we do not study as we should, we do not examine ourselves and confess the sins the Holy Spirit shows us and God’s Word tells us about ourselves, and that my friends is the worst of all the hypocrites! In all honesty, we all have hypocrisy in us in some way, shape, fashion, or form. Now that does not make it right, and I believe God allows some to help keep us humble, kind of like the Apostle Paul and the thorn in his flesh. However, we should not be wearing this as a badge of honor, we like Paul should be begging, crying out to God, to have our flesh crucified and our spirits buffeted by the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 12:4-6 –
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It’s part of the deal of being a Christian under the conforming and transforming power of God and His grace and mercy, it is part of the deal I am afraid, and we should lovingly praise and thank God that He is so merciful to us in that He could kill us instantly for such a sin if He wanted to. I mean if God killed both Ananias and Sapphira for grieving the Holy Spirit by lying about the sale of their land and keeping part of the money, how much more does the hypocrite deserve death a thousand times over!

The point is, let us become humble, loving, graceful, merciful as God has been to us. We are not judge and jury over others, and if we are about our own responsibilities, we will find that we do not have any time to worry about others sins as much as we do. Remember from Part 1, do not be a log inspector of your neighbors eye and be more of a speck inspector of your own.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

CHRISTIANS ACTING OUT – PART 1

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? - Mathew 7:2-4

Jesus Christ

Oh my oh my!!! Which thread to being unraveling this morning! One of the most sorrowful things I have ever heard this side of heaven as a Christian is people will not come to church because it is full of hypocrites! OH HOW SAD AND TRUE THIS IS AND SHOULD NOT BE! I promise if you were to think about and examine ourselves daily as we are commanded to do, and were honest with ourselves, it would not take long to smell the stench of hyprocrisy on our pristine worldly “Christian” image. Oh how we love to me speck inspectors instead of log lookers! Do you think I am kidding? Look at the following and see if any of this describes you? Again, examine your life, your actions, your attitude, and especially think about how you show yourself to others. Sure, the world is going to accuse us and condemn us, but what about our Christian brothers and sisters, the ones we will be with for eternity? The world should not be our primary concern, for the world hates us (the Christian) and loves its own.

Romans 2:19-24 – And if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

As if this is not enough to start to make us feel ashamed (and I pray it does Christian, because many of us need to be broken and thrown down off our high horses!) This is from my study time this morning and oh what conviction it brings we we ask God to show and reveal our many sins to us. Ask and ye shall receive!

1 Peter 2:1 – So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

One simple yet so powerful, so convicting sentence that consists of only 15 words!

The beginning of the sentence we are commanded (actioned with a verb) to do something, we are to put away, but not only that, in other areas of scripture, we are to continually strive against and to crucify our flesh and sins, and the only way is by the power of the Holy Spirit, anything less will not do and is more than likely hypocrisy. Look at the Apostle Paul’s words asking a the question…you who…do you? I promise you Christian brother or Christian sister, we sadly DO DO THIS! How do I know, well, based upon statistically data alone, by people who willing participated in Christian survey’s and said how much time they spent in the Word of God or praying, or worshiping God, it is a pretty good indicator to make an assumptive guess. However, I have also seen it with my own eyes, because I have seen and I know me! I also know that I have been the speck inspector and not looking at my own log.

But but but…. Yeah, truth hurts, doesn’t it.

Hate looking at and loathing your own sins, don’t you? You hate not being able to maintain your own little perfect life that you “think” you have control over but don’t. You find it easier, maybe even take great joy in pointing out the faults in others all the time because you don’t want to deal with you! But God… He does!

Let me give you a small, but crucial piece of advice if I may. If this is you, REPENT and fully submit your life to Christ whom you profess now, and be NOT like the world, but whom God is trying to make you to be, and that is molded in HIS IMAGE!

In the verse in 1 Peter 2:1 the Holy Spirit makes God point VERY clear as He inspired the Apostle Peter to repeat the word all three times and then conjoining each point with the word and four times. However, even before this verse, back in Chapter 1 of 1 Peter verses 15:16 he says “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Holiness this side of heaven is NOT perfection and is not possible this world, but we still strive in the Spirit of God by submission to Him, to desire to be holy, to be obedient, and that the world will know that we are Christians not by our words or even by our actions, but how we carry ourselves in our conduct overall. So many Christians today miss these crucial points because we are too busy being like the world! We slander other Christians because we are the perfect Christian, but they are not. They are the ones that envy, we do not, and they are definitely the slanders, because such words would never leave our holy lips. HOGWASH!! And this is what the world sees when it comes into the church, people acting just like they already act, so therefore they automatically think they are a Christian because we are all the same!

Does this not concern you? Does it not make you sad or mad that you and I act this way at times? Dear Christian, I do not say these things lightly or to condemn, rather to encourage us to run to the cross, run to those whom we have offended and to confess our sins one to another, so that we might be healed and the body as a whole strengthened! That is my hope and prayer, that we would repent of our worldliness, we would correct one another in grace and love, that we would be accountable, that we would sharpen with the Word, that we would burn with a passionate fire of the Holy Spirit within and say no to sin and foolish decisions and that God would grant great revival in the church for His glory. That droves would go out into the world and preach the Gospel, and thousands would be saved by Him, and that the number of Gentiles that only He has Sovereignly appointed to be saved would be so that Christ would return for His bride! God’s will be done, but we in the mean time, we too are commanded in many things to be about the Father’s business.

Are you?

#ToGodBeTheGlory

MENDING FENCES

Good fences make good neighbors.

Robert Frost

The quote above is most famously given credit to Robert Frost, but it actually comes from an old 17th century proverb. And what is the purpose of a proverb, to teach wisdom!

This weekend I watched my human daddy go it alone wrestling with my new kennel and trying to get it finished. The weekend before he got frustrated, angry, hurried and started pulling and tugging to unroll the chain link fence to my kennel and ended up damaging it and needed to repair it to keep it functioning it properly. Fences have many functions and purposes; some are low, and some are high, some are metal and some are wood, some are decorative and some keep things in or out. And when I think about fences in the Christian life, two things come to mind.

1) Those who are Christs’, He is their protection, their fence if you will, we are His sheep and He is our great shepherd. However, there is also a great enemy lurking about, looking to snatch away the weak sheep from the flock that they may be devoured, and unfortunately it happens from time to time. It is not because the shepherd did not protect the sheep, but the sheep did not eat or like to eat sheep food. Instead it settled for the things of the world which made the weak sheep lazy and lethargic, thereby making them easy pray.

2) These fences remind me of times when neighbors although separated for whatever reason, maybe like back in the days of the Old Testament, kept the property properly divided and the animals separate one flock from another, they served a purpose. Unfortunately, over time, these fences became too divisive, and the enemy has used them to make man greedy or even more secluded from his other neighbors, so again, they are easy pickings for the enemy. This is why fences need mending.

So why is this important, and how does it pertain to the Christians life? Well, first we need to define the word mend.

To mend something, means to be free from faults or defects, such as to improve in manners or morals, to be reformed. To be corrected or set right, to be put into good shape or working order, to improve or strengthened, to restore health, to be atoned for. Do these words not describe exactly the reason why Christ came to earth, to be an atonement for man, to make right and mend the broken relationship that sin caused between God the Father and Man. That Christ came to heal and cure the sickness and sin in those who repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in him.

This is the point of what James is trying to say in his epistle. Confess your sins one to another, pray for one another that you may be healed (mended). Like we discussed yesterday, when prayer is fervent, it is effectual, when prayer is meaningful, sincere, in love for God and for His truth, done in obedience and in the Holy Spirit, it avails much, and more than we know.

For to be truly healed, truly reconciled, man does not have the power to do so for himself and needs God.

We needed God to send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to do His Father’s will, and that was to reconcile sinful man to His His Holiness and Righteousness. Christ blood shed atoned for the sinners sins, in that He was the propitiation, the perfect sacrifice acceptable by God for man to be not only reconciled, but Christs’ Righteousness imputed to us through being adopted into the Kingdom. Let us not also forget the Holy Spirit, the one who renewed us by removing the hardness and hatred towards God, the vile enmity the separated us. He who removed the heart of stone and gave us a heart of flesh, being renewed, invigorated, new eyes to see and ears to hear, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that call that tells all who are weary, to come, and He will give us rest. That reconciliation, that mending, is the best thing that could ever happen to a sinner, and that is why we too need to be fence menders. To show grace, mercy, and love to those who we have wronged and sinned against. To forgive and learn how to forgive, and in doing so, we will love our neighbors as ourselves.

So you have some fences that need mending? Do you harbor hate towards another, a grudge you have been holding on to for far too long. Is pride keeping you from being mended by God and mended to your neighbor? If so, confess these things, let them go, give them to God, for life is too short to continue heavily in these sins. Let us truly be reconciled one to another, for if we truly are is, we will be spending an eternity together in His glory, so we might was well get used to enjoying the blessing now.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands
As darkness pulls the strings

From the song Slow Fade by Casting Crowns

I am going to warn you ahead of time, there is going to be an attempt at A LOT of terminology this morning to hopefully giving us a greater insight as well as learning about one of the greatest gifts, yet least used gifts, giving to His children. Probably too early for this, and not enough coffee, but here we go!

Let us first define clearly some of the words we are going to use as their definition can at times be wide, but this time will be narrow and fine pointed.

Hate – To express or feel extreme enmity or active hostility; to hate someone with great intensity.

Sin – An offense against religious or moral law. An often serious shortcoming; transgression of the law of God; to commit an offense or fault.

Practical – Of, relating to, or manifested in practice or action : not theoretical or ideal; being such in practice or effect. Capable of being put to use or account.

Discern – To detect with the eyes; to detect with senses other than vision. To recognize or identify as separate and distinct. To come to know or recognize mentally. To see or understand the difference.

So why these words for our foundation? Well, today, we want to learn (or learn more deeply) to see things as God sees them, and we can begin to do so if we use the greatest gift outside of salvation in Christ, and yet so few Christians do or pray for, and that is the gift of discernment. Now all people, in general (unless there is some major mental capacity of not being able to understand) were created to know the basics of right from wrong, and more importantly (hopefully) reinforced those values. For example, studies have been done in villages and tribes who did not know God or His Word, yet knew it was wrong to kill or steal, and their laws were much more strict and immediately enforced compared to western culture!

So today, we want to not only see with our eyes, but feel within our Spirit, what sin is against a Holy and Righteous God, and why it should matter. This is also one of the proof positives of the true Christian, and the fruits that are shown to others that they are God’s (You shall know them by their fruit).

Now in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 6, my heading says in about the middle, “Practical Warnings”. Remember from our definitions above, practical, and warnings should be pretty self explanatory. What we are about to get into is some of the harshest language in all of the Bible, must of which is clear to understand to the eye, but we want to discern with a heart like God’s!

Proverbs 6:12-19 –

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

The emphasis will be on verses 16-19, but I included 12-15 because it shows us who does such things and to stay away from them. You know ” Do not be deceived, Bad company corrupts good morals” 1 Corinthians 15:33

So it starts 6 things God hates, and all seven are an abomination to Him! Now if God hates, that cannot be good, and is a hatred that many of us cannot even begin to fathom because we do not have a proper view of His attributes of Holiness, Righteousness, Justice, and Judgment. Many think of God as love first, that He just sweeps sin away like some mystical maid cleaning up something like spilled milk. A true Christian could not possibly see sin in such an arrogant an dim manner! We should hate sin, our sin as He does! Yet, we hate others sins more than our own and pass judgment on them more than ourselves, and this should NOT be!

So what does this abomination mean? Something regarded with extreme disgust and hatred; loathing. Basically beyond just mere hatred.

So God inspires the writer of this proverb to go right for the jugular (metaphorically of course) to show us the reader one of the top things God hates; haughtiness – pride. The definition of haughty is – Blatantly and disdainfully proud : having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior. Yet the author uses eyes right behind haughty, telling us when we not only look down in disdain, pride, and arrogance, we are judging others. Don’t we Christians do a lot of that? People might not be as spiritually superior as us so we do not associate with them? 

The others are pretty self-explanatory, but still deeply think and meditate on them, praying that God will give us deeper discernment on these matters of our hearts, for they hinder us greatly from loving and ministering to others!

The last one says “One who sows discord among brothers”. What does discord mean?

Discord – A lack of agreement or harmony; active quarreling or conflict resulting from discord among persons or factions. Some synonyms include; disharmony, division, schism, strife, disunity.

Now this is where discernment (great wisdom from above) is greatly needed in the church. Why? Because people assume when others come into the church, that automatically qualifies them to be called brethren (a brother or sister in Christ). The Apostle Paul even gives warning in Galatians 5:14-15 – For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

May this give us ALL something to think about and pray about, that God would again give us wisdom from above, to use the discernment He wants His children to use, and let us honor Him by using this great gift in our lives to see ALL sins, not just these 7 (although they are very serious) to be honest with ourselves and ask for the Holy Spirits help to rid ourselves of anything that is impure and give them up for God’s glory. And in return, may He gives us a happier life in Him and less of this world!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.2 And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. - Habakkuk 2:1-3

The Prophet Habakkuk

I have written these past few days on Psalm 1, and spoken of both the blessed person and that who is wicked. This morning as I was reading some commentary on Psalm 1, I came across some interesting points to help drive these points home, and hopefully give you, the reader, some things to ponder for your own walk with God. We are going to look at two different viewpoints from two different prophets, Habakkuk mentioned in the opening quote, and from Elijah in 1 Kings. I will use Habakkuk to set the stage and Elijah and Psalm 1 to bring it all together.

Have you ever finished watching the evening news with all the violence and injustice in the world and in frustration asked, Why isn’t God doing something? Why do the wicked and the dishonest people prosper. Why do they get elected to the White House? Well, that is not a new feeling. A prophet named Habakkuk felt that way around 620 B.C. and wrote a book about it.

Habakkuk’s name means to “embrace” or “wrestle.” As is usually the case, his name has something to do with the message of the book. I think it relates to the fact that he was wrestling with a difficult issue. If God is good, then why is there evil in the world? And if there has to be evil, then why do the evil prosper? What is God doing in the world? We discussed a similar thought coming from the Israelites in Zephaniah 1:12. They said God did not do good or evil. They thought God was not involved and so continued in their sin. Habakkuk is one of the good guys. He fears God and does what is right, but it is getting him no where. (Taken from Bible.org – https://bible.org/seriespage/8-habakkuk)

Here is also an outline we can use as we read for ourselves the Book of Habakkuk.


Title (1:1)

Habakkuk’s First Complaint: Why does the evil in Judah go unpunished? (1:2-4)

God’s Answer: The Babylonians will punish Judah (1:5-11)

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint: How can a just God use wicked Babylonia to punish a people more righteous than themselves? (1:12;2:1)

God’s Answer: Babylonia will be punished, and faith will be rewarded (2:2-20)

Habakkuk’s Prayer: After asking for manifestations of God’s wrath and mercy (as he has seen in the past), he closes with a confession of trust and joy in God (ch. 3)
(https://www.biblestudytools.com/habakkuk/)

So how does all of this matter between the Book of Habakkuk, Elijah, and Psalm 1? Patience dear reader, patience!

So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. 43 And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” – 1 Kings 18:42-22

Two things I would like to point out in these verses in 1 Kings. The first being at the end of verse 42 “And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.”

Not only did this prophet know what it took to be alone and away from the world and the problems therein, but Christ Himself, the GREAT Prophet, Priest, and King do likewise. Many times He would seek to get away to be with and commune with His Father (and ours who are truly saved), should we not be doing likewise if we are following Christ? The prophet Elijah also submits himself humbly. Not only did he bow his knees, but put his face between his knees. Could it be that he was so ashamed of his sins and that of his countrymen Israel? If so, when we seek God, should it not be the same for us, that we humbly submit and not hide our sins, rather our faces from He who is Holy?

The other part I want us to see and mediate upon is that at the end of verse 43 and the first part of verse 44 “And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

It has been said that at times, the number 7 mentioned in the Bible is referenced as that God is communicating the idea of divine completeness, perfection, and wholeness by means of the number 7, and I do believe this one of those times that God used Elijah to teach his servant how to look for God, wait on God, and that things happen in God’s timing.

Okay, great! So how does all pertain to Psalm 1?

Well, as we saw the past couple of days the compare and contrast of the blessed man and the evil man, we can conclude the following. The blessed man knows God for that is from whom all blessings flow, and he desires to spend all his time with God, not because of worldly blessings, but spiritual, whereas the wicked man is not interested at all in the things of God, but the things of the world are his false god.

2) In both Habakkuk and 1 Kings, we see there are times of properly questioning God, seeking His will and wisdom in what is going on in His creation, and waiting on His timing in all things, especially when it comes to; reading, knowing, and understanding His Word.

Let us learn from these two prophets and see what it means to truly be blessed by God! Are there times of struggle, doubt, fear, anxiety, anger, disappointment, regret, etc. You bet!! But I dare say it is because we do not know God, trust God, spend much time with God, pray to God, etc. For it is these doings that bring peace by God, through God, and for our comfort. So the question still remains, are you spending time with God during these difficult times in the world today, or do we start out in frustration like Habakkuk did? Thankfully there is daily grace and mercy, that we can turn from our doubts and fears because of the world, and trust God, who is Sovereignly in control.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

THERE IS NO TRY, ONLY SUBMIT

THERE IS NO TRY, ONLY SUBMIT

This attitude of complete submission and complete trust is of course the key to working out our own salvation in fear and trembling and is the mark of a truly spiritual Christian.

John F. Walvoord

For many of us in the world, we live lives of modern convenience, and by this I mean, anything within (and sadly many times beyond) our means, in that we can have something whenever we want it. You want this style of clothes, you go to that particular store and try them on. You want this particular type of car, you go to that kind of dealership. You want to eat that particular style of food, you go to that restaurant.

Unfortunately that is how many treat the church, and worse, Christ today.

The majority of churches in the Western culture greatly vary in their teachings, worship, doctrines and beliefs from one another. One has this style and method, and another completely the opposite. Not that this is necessarily bad in and of itself, but we try church until we find something that fits our lifestyle rather than submitting to God for our lifestyle to change. After all, that is what Christianity is all about, us being changed from the fallen sin of the world in us, being made back whole again to the image we were created in, HIS!

Being a Christian is about being like Christ, and one of the greatest lessons He teaches is that of submission. That of laying our lives down for others, submitting to His will and not ours, dying to self, picking up our cross daily and follow Him. Yet, few of us actually do, and have you ever wondered why? My take is this, we love too much of the world and everything in it! I have said it in recent posts, but think it is well worth not only repeating, but memorizing these verses.

1 john 2:15-16 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.

Don’t believe me that is a large part of our problems as Christians, then here is a very simple test, but it is going to take complete honesty and transparency on your part. If you want to share your results with others and encourage them to take the challenge, then do so.

Here is the challenge. For three consecutive days (longer if you so choose, but three days) keep a journal of everything you do and account for as much time as possible. So if you know you slept 8 hours, then 6 the next, write it is such. How much time you spent in leisure (and break it down specifically); social media, watching tv, playing sports, working out, etc. Now here is the difficult one! Write down how much time you spent with God. How much time reading His Word, praying, worshiping, maybe listening to Christian music thinking of Him, praising Him. This will give you an idea of how much time we submit to the world and not to Him, and when we are yoked to the world, we are not in submission to Him.

In the John’s first epistle he writes to the church, he repeatedly uses a specific word 16 times to remind the church what they should do, and that word is abide, which is a verb, one that is to be acted upon. This is where the rubber meets the road, are we truly followers of Christ, or like the things of the world, are we just trying Him out. Taking Him for a test drive to see if He will fit into our lifestyle and when convenient. This is NOT Christianity, and sadly, this is how many churches treat God.

Christ did not die so we could have more of the world. Christ died that we may be saved from our sins in the world, that we would submit to His ways by following Him. The scripture quoted in 1 John chapter 2 should be a wake up call to many of us in our slumbering of the world, cause great alarm and repentance, and to seek first the Kingdom of God in our lives. Two things are sure, 1) Our days in this world are numbered, and one day judgment will come. 2) He will not tarry for every and come back quickly. This should give us enough cause and concern to be about the business of the Gospel and quit loving the world with out time, talents, and treasures.

#ToGodBeTheGlory