Total Pageviews

Monday, July 16, 2018

And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. (Deuteronomy 28:1)

God’s Provisions and Israel’s Failure
The Israelites witnessed great miracles from the hand of God in their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. But even with the mighty miracles seen with their own eyes they stubbornly resisted God's plan for their lives. There were conditions that would happen if they followed Him with a true and committed heart. In those blessings God would bless them in the city and the field. They would be blessed in child bearing, they would be blessed agriculturally, their herds of cattle and the young of the flock would increase. Their food would be increased and they would go out and come in blessed and without fear. The LORD would defeat their enemies. He would command the blessing of their barns and all they undertake. He would establish the Jewish people as a holy (set apart) people to Himself.

All the peoples of the earth would see they were called by the name of the LORD and be afraid of them. He would make the Jewish people abound in prosperity. He would send rain for their crops and bless all the work of their hands. They would lend to many nations but borrow from none. He promised if they served Him with a whole heart they would “be the head and not the tail.” He would do all these blessings for them if they faithfully served Him.

But if they rebelled there would be terrible consequences (curses). They would incur His anger at their rejection of Him, there would be famine, confusion, frustration, pestilence and wasting disease, fever, inflammation and fiery heat. There would be drought, blight and mildew. They would be defeated by their enemies, have boils, tumors and scabs and itch that would not heal, they would be oppressed and robbed continually with no one to help them. Their animals would be seized or slaughtered before their eyes. Their children would be taken and other nations they had not known would eat the fruit of their labor. What they would see would drive them mad. They would be carried off to other nations as slaves. For those left in the land their agriculture would not yield much and what grew would be devoured by locusts. They would be the tail and not the head (Deuteronomy chapter 28).

Unfortunately Israel chose to rebel against God and were scattered throughout the nations of the earth in God's judgment. However God in His compassion and mercy said even if they were at the ends of the earth He would bring them back to the land (Deuteronomy 30:4). He did so time and again during Israel's history especially regathering many of them after the Holocaust of World War II. The regathered Jews fought for their independence through 1947-1949, proclaiming itself as a sovereign nation again after nearly 1900 years of dispersion, on May 14, 1948. That same day Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia declared war on the new nation. The Israelis fought against all odds and won that conflict. As of this writing the nation of Israel has existed 70 years in the land, has fought four major wars against surrounding Arab nations (1947-1949, 1956, 1967, 1973) and have been victorious in everyone by the power of their Messiah Yeshua.

God's promise to Israel is that they will be brought back to their faith in Yahweh and their calling and mission in the future under their Messiah Yeshua. He will reign in Zion (Jerusalem) and restore the Jewish people to become a people set apart (holy). The whole earth will be redeemed during the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 23:3-8).

His promises to Israel and to all believers in Christ should excite and encourage us. There will be no more curses for Christ will rule the entire earth with a righteous rule (Revelation chapter 21). The Jewish people will be blessed above all nations. Yeshua's provision will overcome Israel's failure. What a promise. What a God. 


Monday, July 9, 2018

Set your affection on the things above, not on the things of the earth. Colossians 3:2
Sometimes circumstances bring emotional, physical, or spiritual pain. It is right to say these things should not be ignored. But sometimes it's easy putting our focus only on earthly measures instead of putting them on things above and trusting God to intervene in His own way and His own timing.
I laughed at a statement a pastor once made about how after people have exhausted every avenue to deal with a problem say, “Well, I guess we should pray” when that should have been the first thing they should have done.
Acquaint thyself with your God is a call to prioritize a life of intimate fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus made this promise; “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If we stay in Him, putting our trust and hope in Him alone, He will make our lives full of blessing, strength, peace of mind, encouragement and the promise that He is everywhere present. He is as close to us as the air we breathe knowing exactly what we are facing.
Job had that kind of faith. He was a very rich man who lost everything including all his children. On top of that his body became covered with boils. His wife, apparently in exasperation told her husband “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9) Job did not curse God of course and instead later made the amazing statement about Him, “Though He slay me yet will I hope in Him. I will argue my ways to His face” (Job 13:15). In all the terrible things that happened to him he kept his eyes on things above and his hope and trust in God.
Priority on keeping our mind on things above is of the essence if we are to have peace of mind in the times that try us or seem impossible to overcome. Who do we have in heaven except Jesus Christ who continually intercedes for us to God the Father (Hebrews 4:15)? Christ is above and above all things. He is our one and only priority.

Monday, July 2, 2018

When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of the firstborn was Joel, and the name of the second, Abijah; they were judges in Beer-sheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. 1st Samuel 8:1-3

A Parent's Pain

There are some Christian parents who have provided for the physical and spiritual needs of their children, teaching them to love and serve one another, and to observe the commandments of the Lord. Some of these parents have found their sons and daughters have chosen not to live a life of obedience to God. That can be very painful to a godly parent. The prophet Samuel was a parent that experienced that kind of pain. He served the Lord from the time he was 13 years old to an estimated age of 110. His sons, appointed as judges over Israel chose to go after money and gain through taking bribes and corrupting justice.

I have found that members of my own immediate family have chosen to make morally acceptable choices yet have refused to allow God to be at the center of their lives. It has been a great source of personal grief and sorrow to my wife and I. My family certainly wasn't taught to resist loving the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind yet that is how things have turned out for my children and grandchildren. Speaking to them about it, exhorting them to change, encouraging them to seek God in their lives have been met with opposition and at times open hostility.

What can a parent in this kind of pain do? Not giving up on God and loving their children where they are is a wise choice. And be ardent in prayer for them. I take time everyday to pray for my loved ones. I've been doing it for years without seeing change and I do get disheartened at times. But that doesn't mean the Holy Spirit isn't working in their lives. In my prayers for my loved ones I ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for me on their behalf (Romans 8:26) asking that He will deal with their minds and hearts according to His perfect will. I take solace in knowing the perfect will of God is being accomplished in their lives through Him.

The promises of God are true and steadfast. His Word tells us that the He fulfilled all the word He made to the children of Israel when He led them 40 years in the wilderness (Joshua 21:45). Other verses on God's faithfulness in keeping His promises you can refer to are Jeremiah 1:12, Ezekiel 12:28, Philippians 1:6 and Galatians 6:9 which tell us not to give up. While God cannot promise that our loved ones will definitely turn to Him He does exhort us to pray without ceasing (1st Thessalonians 5:17-18). 

A parent's pain for those choosing to walk outside the will and precepts of the Lord can be agonizing indeed but there can also be peace and rest as we remember just how faithful God is in His working in their lives. We can remember that He works every time we pray for them. He has given us all free will that works in our lives and the lives of our loved ones at times hindering godly decisions. But the Lord in His faithfulness not wanting anyone to perish (2nd Peter 3:9). 

He works through our prayers and He is faithful to His promises. His promises can also be a comfort to us and able to help relieve a parent's pain. If you are a parent in pain be encouraged in His fathomless Faithfulness. The wheel of God moves in His own timing but let us praise Him that it does move.


Monday, June 25, 2018

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29

Fulfilling Your Joy and Peace

It has been said, “The two most important days in your life is the day you were born and the day you find out why.” I've been a believer in Jesus since I was a child but I never experienced true joy and peace until the day I discovered why I was born. It was to worship and glorify God. True joy and peace came to me on that day.

I had been attending a men's church group when a video series called “Behold Your God” was presented to us. It was a twelve week series with a new video each week on rediscovering the attributes of God. An attribute can be defined as a quality, characteristic or distinctive property of being. Even though I felt I was a “Christian” for many years I had spent my life giving lip service to a God I did not fully trust and which I had made in my own poor and weak image. He was an idol. A weak God of my imagination. I had lost the connection to the God of the Bible; a God whose being and characteristics were mighty and beyond full comprehension.

I began to study the power and character of the One True and Living God and came to a new insight. I found a God who is eternal, holy, limitless, impassible (not governed or overcome by passions), all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present at the same time, full of love, capable of wrath to judge unrighteousness, full of grace, peace, and mercy, slow to anger yet mighty to save (Nahum 1:3), full of splendor and majesty. The list can go on and on.

I chanced to read two classics on the attributes and holiness of God, The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer and The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. Tozer's answer to experiencing the awareness of God's attributes is simply “reacquaint thyself with your God.” Acquainting myself with my God in His true Being drove me to my knees in worship. And that's when true joy and peace came to me for the first time in my life.

I take time every day to read the Word of God. I start in the Old testament and read through the New Testament reading a chapter a day. I find it is helpful for me to read with a commentary although that isn't necessary. I find it helps me in my understanding of the Word. I pray through a written prayer list. But before I begin I have a printed list of God's attributes I go over, thanking, praising and worshiping God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit for the Their unity, power and strength. I practiced worship every day until it got easier and easier. God is pleased with the feeblest attempts to know Him and to seek Him. As we take each day to do this He leads us into a deeper and more satisfying walk and establishes peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). For myself I've found my worship time to be my most fruitful. God said if we seek Him with all our heart and soul He can be found. As you do He can meet you where you are and become your fulfilling joy and peace.


Monday, June 18, 2018

And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Mark 4:39-41

Immanence of the Holy

The attribute of immanence means God is fully active within creation. The Sea of Galilee is known for its sudden and terrifying storms. They can appear almost out of nowhere. Jesus had been ministering there to the multitudes. When evening had come He boarded a boat and told the disciples to go across the lake to the other side. He immediately lay down in the stern on a cushion and went soundly to sleep.

When they were in the middle of the lake a ferocious storm blew up. While Jesus slept waves were breaking over the sides. The disciples were doing everything in their power to keep their boat from going under. Finally they woke Him and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” You can hear the accusation of Him in their question. After all, what did they expect Jesus to do, be awake when the boat sank? They were terrified.

What happened next terrified them even more. After Christ calmed the storm they were filled with great fear because of His act. Why were they so afraid? The storm was over. They were filled with great fear because they were face-to-face with the immanent Holy.

The holiness of God thrills some and others are frightened by it. Never is the holiness of God so evidently revealed in all its power and glory than in the books of the Law of Moses (Exodus through Deuteronomy). God disclosed His character, will and boundaries of approach in the laws He prescribed to Moses, the Levitical priesthood, and the nation of Israel. But He defined Himself in His only begotten Son. How do we approach such awesome holiness and perfection? With reverence and Godly respect, to be sure, but also with the knowledge of how many times Christ said of Himself “Do not be afraid.” Through wind and wave we can resist His holiness or become part of it (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Standing with Him through the storm we can behold His immanent holiness and power knowing He is Lord of all. In His holiness He is not only immanent in His creation but He is also immutable. He does not change in His nature, being or dependability. While He is Lord of all have you resolved He is fully Lord of you?


Monday, June 11, 2018

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)

Approaching the Holy

God is immanent. That means He is actively working within His creation. God is also Holy. He is set apart in His sanctity and is immortal, dwelling in unapproachable light (1st Timothy 6:16). He revealed His holy Person to the nation of Israel after He brought them out of their bondage of slavery by the Egyptians.

God's first revelation of His presence was to Moses in the burning bush. Overtime as God revealed more of Himself to Moses He displayed a holiness that was powerful and unapproachable. The holiness of God was shown in the design of the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting. God's presence filled a section of the tent with His Holy presence in a room called the Holy of Holies. Even the high priest was not allowed to enter that room except once a year to atone for the sins of the nation of Israel.

The way and means of approaching God now are different than it was under the priestly sacrificial system. Now through Christ the Holy of Holies has been opened to us (Matthew 27:51) giving us 'instant access' to God the Father through prayer, praise and worship. But we must never forget He has not changed at all in His holiness and perfection and must be approached with respect, reverence and awe.

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit communicate with believers through the 'quickening' of His Spirit to our spirits. God is still as real today in His love, interest, and interaction to us as He was to the children of Israel in Moses's day. The Law of Moses gave direction of how to approach a holy God through the offering of sacrifices for sins. It was a look forward to Christ being the complete and final sacrificial Lamb for sin and unrighteousness (Hebrews 10:1-18). For those of us who draw near to God through Christ we are sanctified and able to approach God instantly through the offering of His Son once for all perfecting for all time those who are being sanctified in Him. God has not changed in His power or holiness but is now approachable to all who come to Him in faith. In His holiness He gladly welcomes all who come to Him through His Son.


Monday, June 4, 2018

And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness (Exodus 16:2).

Talking About the Weather

Human nature never ceases to amaze me. We are never satisfied. During the winter we complain because it is too cold and during the summer we grumble because it is too hot.

I'm currently reading through the Book of Exodus. It is the epic story of grumbling. Moses and his brother Aaron were empowered by God to lead their kinsmen, the Hebrew people, out of 430 years of slavery to the Egyptians. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, refused to let God's people go. God brought 10 plagues on Egypt, each one progressively worse until Pharaoh finally drove the Hebrews out of the land.

There were 600,000 Hebrew men counted in the Exodus, not counting women and children. Bible scholars estimate there were probably close to 2,000,000 persons. Also included were herds and flocks of animals. The logistics of managing all of this was an incredible Job for Moses and could only be accomplished by God's help and power.

God led the people into the wilderness where He miraculously saved the Jewish people from an attack from Pharaoh and his army, drowning them in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:28). The people rejoiced at the power and might of God. The LORD led them further into the wilderness where the people immediately forgot about the might and power He had shown in their deliverance from the land of Egypt, not to mention His stopping the pursuit of Pharaoh's army. They complained against Moses that there was no water to drink (Exodus Chapter 15) and that they were going to starve because there was nothing to eat. God supplied quail for their meat and manna for them to eat (Exodus 16:13). He continued to meet their needs during 40 years of wandering in the desert where they continued to grumble and rebel against God and Moses.

The amazing thing to me as I read about the sojourning of Israel in the wilderness is throughout all the grumbling God continued His work with His chosen people. He did not give up on them. He was almost provoked to do so at one point because of their disobedience but the intercession of Moses on their behalf halted Him from doing so (Exodus 32:11).

God does not change. His love and faithfulness do not change either. They are eternally strong and never lose their power. His promises and care are holy and therefore perfect, even when we, like the Israelites, tend to grumble at what God is doing in our lives. He knows all things and in His wisdom He knows which is the best choice to lead us in. He may not reveal Himself as He did with Moses and the children of Israel but His immutability means He never changes. He is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17). Whether we grumble about the weather or what is happening in our lives He is already a step ahead of us, knowing our need even before we ask or think it. So the next time you hear someone complaining about the weather, take a moment to think of Moses and the God that sustained him and a nation through all of the storm and that He remains the same to guide and weather us through any storm of life we encounter.