Signs and Wonders

April 13, 2014

From the very beginning, Signs and Wonders have been at the forefront of man’s belief system albeit because of a deficit. Signs have been given as supports for man’s weak faith in the one true God who really needs no support. It is our lack of faith that gives rise to God’s grace in providing them. Remember in the signs Genesis 9

11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. …

16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Ligonier Ministries wrote that biblical covenants are usually certified by visual symbols; these include circumcision for the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17:11), the Sabbath for the Mosaic (Exodus 31:13, 17), and the Lord’s Supper for the new covenant (Luke 22:20). The Davidic covenant required none since David’s offspring were its visible token (2 Samuel 7:11–16). Often these signs were already in existence (e.g., the Sabbath and circumcision), but were given new significance.

When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses wanted a sign (Exodus 3:11-13). In this case, God’s sign to Moses was his actual leading the people out of Egypt. In Exodus 4, Moses continued ask God for signs about the Israelites believing that God sent him. Listen to why God says He even entertains providing a sign – “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

In John 4, Jesus, the ultimate authority and true judge, weighs in on the indictment of man’s faith.

46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

In this case, God’s purpose in providing signs resulted in belief or faith, but that is not the case throughout time. If we know the history shown over the bible, Signs and Wonders have been continually given to man that he might believe. While given, I, along with God and noted believers, are not convinced that it is still enough. Read to what Guzik writes about Jesus’ commentary about Signs and Wonders . Signs and wonders can lead a person towards belief in God, and can validate a heavenly messenger – but they can also have no effect on a person, and Satan can also use lying signs and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Signs and wonders from God are obviously good things, but they should not form the foundation of our faith. We should not depend on them to “prove” God to us. In themselves, signs and wonders cannot change the heart; Israel saw incredible signs at Mount Sinai and even heard the very voice of God (Exodus 19:16-20:1), yet a short time later they worshipped a gold calf (Exodus 32:1-6).

I don’t need to ask where you are in needing Signs and Wonders. We all want them because of the feebleness of our faith. Like the Israelites who came out of Egypt, we struggle to believe in God despite what He has done in our lives to authenticate who He is and what He is able to do. We always want Signs and Wonders. Let’s pray that our faith improves because God, the one true and almighty God, needs not substantiate who He is. He is ever-faithful and true. God keeps His Word; yet, we, who are faithless, relate to God as if He is is a man, that he should lie, and the son of a man, that he should change his mind. Has not God spoken and not acted or promised and not fulfilled.

Shame on us for desiring Signs and Wonders.

Spiritual Déjà vu II

April 10, 2014

In the post Spiritual Déjà vu, Spiritual Déjà vu works similar to cultural deja vu. It is experiencing something that you had previously prayed or asked God. As you know, we ask God for all kinds of things all the time. The fact is that we don’t do a good job of keeping up with what we ask God. I want to extend that notion to Spiritual Déjà vu II which adds words that God has told you to what you may have prayed about.

As I wrote Spiritual Déjà vu, the poignant example in the Word is Peter remembering what God had said about him denying him three times before the rooster crows. Below, I have included that reference as well as others. Read and remember.

Matthew 26:75

Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Mark 14:72

Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
Luke 22:61

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”

Matthew 27:63

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’
Mark 11:21

Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
Luke 24:5-9

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.

John 2:17

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.(A) Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

Acts 11:16

Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
The commonality in all the statements is that all who remembered are of the body of Christ. This should not surprise us, because before he died, Jesus told his disciples that “25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
The remembering or reminding is the work of the Holy Spirit. As such Spiritual Déjà vu II is a function of the Spirit of God working in our lives to guide us to God and toward godliness. We cannot ignore the Spirit. There are grave consequences for failing to take heed to what God says to us through His Spirit. The reminders are warnings or support structures designed to prevent collapses in our lives. When we fail to take heed, we are risking a great collapse.
Take it from one who has suffered two major collapses in my life. Like Peter, as soon as the situation played itself out, God, through the Spirit, spoke to me just as He spoke to Peter when he denied Jesus that third time. For the believer, that is one of the most defeating experiences. We imagine what Peter felt like, but I am here to tell you that those acts of disobedience have had significant impacts in my life. While God forgives, there are consequences that we must deal with – some last a life time. To borrow a phrase from a known injury lawyer in the city, One Call, That’s All. All it takes is for us to call on the name of Jesus in the midst of our situation. God will help us when we cry out for help. Stop, drop and roll. Do not move past go. Call on God and be saved, then, you will not be like Peter and Darron who experienced Spiritual Déjà vu II.

Spiritual Déjà vu

April 9, 2014

According to dictionary.com, the cultural definition of Deja vu is the strange sensation that something one is now experiencing has happened before: “I knew I had never been in the house before, but as I walked up the staircase, I got a weird sense of déjà vu.” From French, meaning “already seen.” I am not sure if you have experienced this phenomena before. I have, and it is sort of what I envision time travel would be like. 

That was the cultural definition. Spiritual Déjà vu works similar to cultural deja vu. It is experiencing something that you had previously prayed or asked God. As you know, we ask God for all kinds of things all the time. The fact is that we don’t do a good job of keeping up with what we ask God. Some of you are great a cataloging what you have inquired of God, but the reality is most of us don’t. How could we when we are told to pray continually in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Despite that, there are times when there is something really, really big that we pray for. It is so connected with our being that we will remember. This is the case in our text, John 4, today. Remember the royal official from The Man took Jesus at His Word. Well, if not, here is the text below.

46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

The royal official’s son was dying. No doubt that he would remember the prayer to save his son. He, like any of us, clung on to hope that his son would live. When he heard that Jesus was there, nevertheless that he was a Roman official, he sought out any help he thought he’d get in saving his son’s life.  His high  position did not preclude him from being humbled to beg Jesus for His help. God humbles us all. We demonstrate our humility when we come to God in prayer.

We know from Jesus’ response that the man did not come to him out of faith in who Christ is but out of hope for a sign/miracle. Jesus said to him “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.” In order to reach those for His Father, Jesus gives some signs/miracles. Jesus told th official to go his way that his son was healed. He complied. What else could he do? We know from the text that follows that he did not necessarily believe Jesus when He told him his son would live, but we do know The Man took Jesus at His Word because he did leave as Jesus instructed him.

In order to receive from God, we must do what He says. No matter how small our faith, God looks for some response of obedience or faith in us. Hear the Word of God:

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

This is the moment the royal official experienced Spiritual Déjà vu. He realized that this was the exact time Jesus told him that his son would live. Like the royal official, we experience moments of remembering what we ask God for. When we do, we experience Spiritual Déjà vu just as he did. Often, we fail to remember what we ask God, but God never forgets. He always remains faithful to us in hopes to draw us to himself into lead us to faith in Christ just as royal official and his family did. Jesus tells us the object of him answering prayer is to draw us and lead us to believe in Christ for the salvation of our soul. Have you believed? Have you experienced Spiritual Déjà vu? The purpose is for you to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who offers salvation of your soul just as He did and was for the royal official and his family.

The Man took Jesus at His Word

April 6, 2014

Today’s passage in John 4 is filled with condemnation and commendation. Jesus gives a view of what He expects for us while also showing what those aren’t true believers are like. The first condemnation surfaces in Jesus’ statement about a prophet not having honor in his own country. In doing so, Jesus was basically saying that those who were His own did not believe in Him; yet, there is hope for them and us presented in this story.

Like with us all, Jesus uses a challenging moment in life of a royal official to drive us to Himself. This royal official is said to be The Man took Jesus at His Word. In life, we all will be confronted with insurmountable situations. In today’s passage, this royal official’s son was dying. I don’t know about you, but there isn’t a situation that demands more belief i.e. faith than the life of your child. The question is will we take Jesus at His Word? If we do, we can be at peace. We may not get the response that we want, but we will get what we need to build our faith or cause us to believe. Let’s see.

John 4

43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.

46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

Jesus’ commentary about man was that “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.” Regardless of our spiritual claim, we all fall into that category. We must see to believe. It is unfortunate but true. I am sure this is why this story, in part, is included. While our need for signs is condemned, Jesus in the same passage recognizes The Man took Jesus at His Word.

There are certain promises that God has made to us. 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 reaffirms that. “18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” I want to get to the point where it is said about me that The Man took Jesus at His Word.

Will Jesus say about you that The Man/Woman took Jesus at His Word. Let’s work to ensure that our faith is strong.

 

Jesus declares to be the Christ (Messiah)

April 3, 2014

Debate, argument, fighting and/or murder has ensued over whether Jesus is the Christ (Messiah). Today, I want to present the same text from the post Bucking Tradition. In John 4, there are many things that Jesus addressed, but the most important was that Jesus declares to be the Christ (Messiah).

There is a lot of reading today because I don’t want you to be shortchanged. You can read it in less than 5 minutes, so do not turn away from the Bread of Life – John 4

John 4

New International Version (NIV)

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” There it is right there – Jesus declares to be the Christ (Messiah). While she considered it heavily, we know from verse 29 that the woman was still not convinced that Jesus was the Christ (Messiah); however, she went and told about her encounter with Jesus. She asked them the question of the authenticity of Jesus’ Messiahship? She, along with many others, came back to Jesus to find out about His declaration.

How have you responded to Jesus when He declared to you who He is? Have you walked away impressed but not convinced like the woman at the well. Did you go back to Him to verify your suppositions? What are you overlooking? The woman was surprised that Jesus, a Jew and a man, spoke to her. That was unheard of; yet, she did not fully embrace Jesus as the Christ (Messiah), but she came back to explore and answer her thoughts when Jesus declares to be the Christ (Messiah).

Where are you? Are you still wondering despite the declaration and the proofs that proceeded Jesus’ declaration? Look deeper into your life at the times where God through Christ and the Spirit has declared unto you who the triune God is.

 

Bucking Tradition

March 31, 2014

While Jesus was an ardent follower of God, there are many instances where Jesus is found Bucking Traditionfor the sake of the gospel. I wonder how many times have we turned our noses up at a circumstance or a person because of tradition. Traditions are ways of man. In Acts 5:29, Peter captures what should govern our behavior and interaction with man. Peter, along with other apostles, stated “We must obey God rather than human beings!

In that case, Peter and the apostles were told to not teach in Jesus’ name. In our text today, John 4, we see Jesus laying the foundation for what Peter and other apostles proclaimed in Acts 5:29. John 4 is an interesting passage that is full of interesting dichotomies. Jesus, in part, came to show that He was Bucking Tradition in order to accomplish what God sent Him to do – to give life.

In Jesus’ time, men did not talk to women in public. Because there was a deep distrust and dislike between Jews and Samaritans going back to the Babylonian exile, Jews avoided Samaria. Jews did not go through Samaria despite it being a more direct route to various places. In Jesus’ time, Jews did not talk to Samaritans. They especially did not talk to Samaritan women. Bucking Tradition, the Word says, “Now he had to go through Samaria.” Why did the Word say Jesus had to go through Samaria? Tradition said that salvation was of the Jews, but Jesus came to show that salvation was open to all. There was not a more poignant way to demonstrate that than for Jesus to talk to an unsavory Samaritan woman who not only did not have a husband at the time but had had multiple husbands before the man she was presently involved. If there was an ideal candidate to blow apart the stereotypical behavior, she was it.

The woman was so surprised that Jesus spoke to her. Here is her response. “The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” Jesus was Bucking Tradition for the sake of the gospel. Jesus was Bucking Tradition to show us there is no tradition or way of doing things that was worth following if it precluded someone from hearing about the Way, the Truth and the Life.

What customs or traditions are you holding onto that limits the gospel being preached by you if you proclaim Christ? Are there divisions that you are holding on to that God has erased in this one example to us that God’s love through Christ is open to all? Join Jesus in Bucking Tradition to proclaim the Gospel. Look at Jesus’ example and what it brought forth.

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

Jesus’ proclamation brought about believers. He was Bucking Tradition for the sake of the Gospel. How about you?

Rejection Hurts

March 30, 2014

We hear of the classic cases where a kid is the last one to be picked for teams. The new kid who comes to school and no one wants to reach out to him/her, or the person who is rejected from a job or audition. Rejection is defined as a refusal to accept someone or something; to discard as useless, unacceptable or unsatisfactory. I define it as declaration that one is not good enough, so we aren’t wanted. Regardless of how it is defined, most people know what rejection means. Moreover, everyone has experienced rejection in some form or fashion and knows that Rejection Hurts. It is often said that “Hurting people hurt people.” None of us enjoy having our efforts/standards declared unacceptable, and we so often go on the offensive when declared not good enough. We start hurting those who have hurt us. Through our words and actions we make it clear that we don’t think too much of the offender or anything about the offender either!

God was the first to experience rejection. First, satan was the initial being recorded in The Word who discovered all about real rejection. Through his rebellion he failed  to meet the standard that God expected of him, and so was cast from God’s immediate presence (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:11-19). Next up to reject God was Adam and Eve through their disobedience (Genesis 3:1-24). As a consequence of the fall of man, we were separated from God. Rejection Hurts.

It is true that God has rejected our sin, but it is not true that we are rejected. Romans 6:23, Romans 10:10-13. From the beginning, God continued to offer renewal and acceptance to Adam and Eve, David, Aaron and Miriam, and to us. Rejection Hurts in most circumstances, but one is normally able to recover and move forward despite the hurt that he/she experienced. That is true in life experiences as well as spiritually; however, there isone case of rejection that one never recovers. He/she is eternally damned for his/her rejection. Jesus tells us about it in John 3. Let’s hear it.

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

“but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Guzik writes Because Jesus is the man from heaven, there is a heavy price to pay for rejecting Him. If you reject the Son, then you receive the wrath.” With the term The wrath of God: “The word does not mean a sudden gust of passion or a burst of temper. Rather, it is the settled displeasure of God against sin. It is the divine allergy to moral evil, the reaction of righteousness to unrighteousness. ” (Tenney) Why is one eternally damned for his/her rejection of Jesus? Those who reject Jesus cannot offer a perfect sacrifice acceptable to God. As such, the wrath of God abides until it is satisfied by receiving the perfect payment Jesus made on the cross.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God has atoned for our sin and the consequences of our sin through Jesus. Rejection Hurts us as we continue in our rejection of Jesus as the atonement for our sin. By not accepting the gift of God, we remain responsible for accounting for our sin which we are incapable of paying other than with our souls being eternally separated from God. Now do you see that Rejection Hurts.

The Believer’s Confidence in God

March 27, 2014

Several days ago, my daughter, who is experiencing her first huge disappointment, sent me the follow in a text:

Life isn’t fair, but God is. He heals the brokenhearted and their wounds and bruises.
We may not know why things happen the way they do, but we can know God.

As I look around at others and myself, we all are under siege. Life besieges us. What does it mean to be under siege. I like the word picture I get when surveying dictionary.com’s definition. It says, “the act or process of surrounding and attacking a fortified place in such a way as to isolate it from help and supplies, for the purpose of lessening the resistance of the defenders and thereby making capture possible.

The image that comes to mind is a fort or outpost that is surrounded by the enemy. Those inside are cut off from their allies who bring them supplies of subsistence. If surrounded, none of those things can get to them. Once their supplies on hand run out, they are at the mercy of those who surround them. I am sure that their confidence in facing their enemy suffers mightily.

Unlike those soldiers, The Believer’s Confidence in God is the source of their strength. The general tenor of Psalm 62 expresses of confidence in God in the face of life’s difficulties. We all are challenged to think that our status, money, connections, intelligence, and other attributes are the key to us dealing with life. Psalm 62 repeats many of attributes of God that serves as The Believer’s Confidence in God rather than in himself. Let’s look at verse 7 which repeats of verse 1.

Psalm 62:7

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. (NIV)

In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. (KJV)

Salvation – the act of being saved or delivered from impending danger and harm, depends on God. Clearly, the psalmist is reminding himself and us that our salvation has nothing to do with what we or others possess. Deliverance, rescue or safety is an offering of God.

Honor/glory – splendor and majesty or value, depends on God. Again, the psalmist reminds himself and us that our respect, esteem, or distinction is a function of God bestowing it upon us. When we don’t feel as honored as we should, we need not get mad at the person. We must realize that whether that person recognizes you as a valued person or not has nothing to do with how God sees those whom He has chosen.

God is the rock of my refuge/strength. We are the object of the preposition. God acts upon us. Again, the psalmist credits his strength and refuge to God. He can’t endure or be sheltered without God.

Famed commentator, Matthew Henry, wrote “The more faith is acted the more active it is. Crescit eundo—It grows by being exercised. The more we meditate upon God’s attributes and promises, and our own experience, the more ground we get of our fears, which, like Haman, when they begin to fall, shall fall before us, and we shall be kept in perfect peace, Isa. 26:3. And, as David’s faith in God advances to an unshaken stayedness, so his joy in God improves itself into a holy triumph (Ps. 62:7): In God is my salvation and my glory. Where our salvation is there our glory is; for what is our salvation but the glory to be revealed, the eternal weight of glory? And there our glorying must be. In God let us boast all the day long. “The rock of my strength (that is, my strong rock, on which I build my hopes and stay myself) and my refuge, to which I flee for shelter when I am pursued, is in God, and in him only. I have no other to flee to, no other to trust to; the more I think of it the better satisfied I am in the choice I have made.” Thus does he delight himself in the Lord, and then ride upon the high places of the earth, Isa. 58:14.

When we take account of all that is said in this verse, we can only conclude that The Believer’s Confidence in God rests solely in God.  Psalm 7:10 -My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. Psalm 61:3 – “For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. ” Again, the psalmist speaks about his confidence in God who has already demonstrated in his life that The Believer’s Confidence in God How about you. Where does your confidence lie? To whom are you giving your trust?

The Priestly Privilege

March 22, 2014

Okay, this is going to be tough to try to get this post in a brief manner. In my limited understanding, all I can tell you is that it has been a joy reading all the related text seeing how marvelous is God. God weaves all sorts of ideas together in the faith to make a beautiful cornucopia of events that reveal His desire to have a personal relationship with man.

In the Old Testament as God established the foundations of the faith and Christ’s honored and sole position as the great priest. It is through Christ alone that The Priestly Privilege is extended to man. From Numbers 16, we know that the Moses and Aaron’s calling as priest were confirmed by God. When challenged, Moses responded by saying “The man he chooses he will cause to come near him.” Through Moses, God set forth the path for those whom He chooses – He will come near to God, but this is by calling or as it has been said by invitation only.

In Exodus 32, we see that the Levites, i.e. priests, demonstrated that those who consecrate themselves to the Lord He Himself will set apart for Himself to serve and sacrifice. The servant must be not only sincere and serious but courageous and zealous for God without respect to human relationships. The Levites are the precursor to the notion that if our relationships are more treasured than God/Christ we are not worthy of God/Christ. We too will receive the invitation to be able to approach God without consequence.

That being said, Moses lived and captured how the Levites and all who would ever follow God should relate to God – The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. This is The Priestly Privilege – To be able to come near to God to relate to Him.

Fast-forward to John 3. We see The Priestly Privilege lived and proclaimed by John the Baptist.

25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”

We can only receive what God has planned for us to have. God is the author of all that we receive. We seek all sorts of treasures of this world. I know. I am challenged with this daily, but I am reminded, as I was today, by the Spirit of God that The Priestly Privilege is the greatest treasure there is. In being able to approach God, a personal relationship is established and God demonstrates His acceptance of me. What could be greater than being accepted by God and able to approach Him about His plan for my life. After all, I can only receive what God has given me.

The writer of Hebrews confirms that The Priestly Privilege is by invitation only in verse 4 – And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was. Has God called you to draw close to Him? Do you have the privilege to approach the Throne of Grace to receive mercy and to find grace in your time of need? Trust Jesus as Lord and Savior and you will.

Fear of Exposing Your Deeds

March 20, 2014

I want to acknowledge that none of us wants to admit when we have erred. It takes a discipline person to acknowledge that he/she has made a poor, self-centered choice. More than that, it takes a disciplined and dedicated person to take steps to rectify the wrong that he/she committed. From confessing it to God then to the offended or hiding in our villainy, Jesus reveals to us in John 3 which path one takes based on who he/she is.

19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

I cannot leave this few verses. As I begin to read and move on, I am called back. Jesus simply stated that we are either one who loves the light, that Jesus Himself, or who hates the light. The one who hates the light wants to hide in his villainy. If asked, do you have a Fear of Exposing Your Deeds? The resounding response would be yes. Better yet, Jesus conveys that a verbal response is not needed to determine what one’s motivation is regarding loving the light. .

Jesus says that those who hate the light will not come into the light “for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” Let’s examine ourselves. When we are wrong, do we have a penchant to want to hide in our wrong or do we want to correct it?

  • Adam and Eve – went from loving the light to hiding from the light because of fear of light
  • David – acted in secret but God acted in broad daylight. He tried to hide too.
  • Achan – took devoted things of God and hid them only to be found out.

We see from those few examples that our natural human inclination is to hide or conceal our wrong. Like those, I too have attempted to hide my sin, but praise God that He has given me “… the Spirit of truth who guides me into all the truth. The are many other instances in scripture of where the conviction of sin leads man to seek the light. The spiritual, not natural, response is to acknowledge our sins and seek forgiveness.

If you have Fear of Exposing Your Deeds, you will hide in your sins. In 1 John 1, we, who profess to follow the light, see how we should respond. We run to the light to expose our deeds and to expunge our deeds.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

As I wrote several days ago, I encourage you to Come into the Light to eliminate the Fear of Exposing Your Deeds.


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