Archive for November, 2012

You Better Listen: God is Speaking

November 28, 2012

In the post Spiritual Earthquakes, it was shared that you must see to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. Why? You will receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken – quake proofing your life. Conversely, those who do not listen and comply with what God is saying will not receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Since so much is riding on your response, You Better Listen: God is Speaking.

I submit the most important message about Spiritual Earthquakes is that God speaks to us. The notion that God speaks to us is intriguing, exciting and mystifying to many people. God speaks to us through His Word, His Spirit, His People, and His Circumstances.

His Word

By Word, I mean Jesus God’s Son. John 1 tells us the Jesus is the Word who with God in the beginning and through whom all things were made.  Hebrews 1:1-2 “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” The Word of God is also written for us. That is the Holy Bible. Do you want to hear God speak to you? If you do, you must read the Word of God.

His Spirit

In John 15:26, listen to who Jesus told the disciples who would speak to them. “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”

His People

John 15:27 Jesus also tells the disciples “And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” Being a follower of Christ, I must emulate what He did and what His disciples did. Since God told the disciples who walked with Him that they, in conjunction with and like the Spirit, must also testify about Him. It is in our testifying about God that people hear who He is and what He can do.

This assertion is also reiterated in Romans 10 where Paul quotes Isaiah and Psalm when he says, “For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”[a] 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”

That voice is God’s voice through His Spirit and His People. Moreover, I John 5 tells us “We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

 His Circumstances
I could pick any circumstance to say God is speaking to us. I could talk about Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, Tsunami’s in the East, Earthquakes and the like. The Word is filled with circumstances where God was speaking to people. One such circumstance was when Abraham’s servant was attempting to fulfill his master’s request for him to find a wife for Isaac in Genesis 24. What about God speaking to Pharaoh and all the Egyptians through the plagues in Exodus. Another is in Jonah 1 where Jonah wanted to do one thing, but God wanted him to do another. God blocked or closed every door. Yet another is in Mark 4:35-41 where Jesus calms the storm. Do you think Jesus would have had to say a word to you about who He was if you were in the boat?
I John 5:5 God asks “Who is it that overcomes the world?”  God also answer “Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” You Better Listen: God is Speaking.

Spiritual Earthquakes

November 27, 2012

From Pompeii’s Mount Vesuvius to Great Chilean Earthquake, man has long known the power of earthquakes. Earthquake which is also known as a quake, tremor or temblor is the result of a sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust that creates seismic waves, or a series of vibrations induced in the earth’s crust by the abrupt rupture and rebound of rocks in which the elastic strain has been slowly accumulating. Earthquakes have long been around. At http://earthquake.usgs.gov, one can see a real-time map of earthquakes occurring across the world. At the time of me writing this post, the chart below shows the most recent quakes.

Time Magnitude Location
2 hours ago 5.3 Alamagan region, Northern Mariana Islands
6 hours ago 5.6 Seram, Indonesia
18 hours ago 3.6 Southern California

Source: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/

In college, I really enjoyed the study of the earth. I teetered back and forth about changing my major to geology, my own vocational earthquake. There are also a series of vibrations induced in your life by the abrupt rupture and rebound of hopes, dreams and expectation in which the mental and emotional elastic strain has been slowly accumulating.

God creates both physical and Spiritual Earthquakes. While at church on Sunday, Pastor Benson spoke from Hebrews 12 where the focus of the sermon was Warning: Do Not Refuse God’s Unshakable Kingdom. Listen to the text.

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Essentially, Pastor Benson was explaining that the writer was speaking to the Hebrews about the challenge they were facing about turning back to Judaism. He spoke about the warning they had already received – the earthquake at Mount Sinai. While there was evidence of previous quakes, the writer of Hebrews proclaimed the greatest Spiritual Earthquake ever. This will be when God says “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens” God will destroy the not only the earth but the heavens. This shaking will be the final filter of God sorting out those who chose to demonstrate faith in Him. Those who did not refuse to listen to God accepting Christ as Savior and Lord and thus inheriting eternal life – a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

Why are there Spiritual Earthquakes? There are Spiritual Earthquakes because we don’t listen, more importantly, honor God with our actions. That’s what happened at Mount Sinai. God speaking is not the sole reason. It was that the people rejected God. As we see in Hebrews 12:17, rejecting God leads to God rejecting you. God is speaking to us to have us enter into His kingdom that is quake proof. Listen to God!!!

Commit to Thanksliving

November 25, 2012

In the post God prefers Thanksliving over Thanksgiving, it was submitted that while God clearly wants man to be thankful He wants man to live in light of his thankfulness to who God is and what God has done for him. I first learned of term Thanksliving from reading famed commentator Matthew Henry. It was clear in the response of Hezekiah and the invalid that God does not solely listen to what we say. He also considers what we do. When they do not line up, we hear the call from God to Commit to Thanksliving.

When one is able to Commit to Thanksliving, we see a change in the person’s life. We see a physical life change that evidences a spiritual change. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” When Christ works in our lives, He expects, no demands that we change. How? That our focus becomes His focus. Our priority becomes His priority. Our purpose becomes His purpose. In Ephesians 4:22-24, Paul tells us “22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Furthermore, Paul tells us in Colossians 3, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Living according to anything less than that is only Thanksgiving. We can draw further conclusions about Christ’s call for us to Commit to Thanksliving from the woman who was supposed to be stoned in John 8. After asking her where were her accusers and had she been condemned, Jesus said “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” When Jesus forgives our sins, He expects us to live a life committed to following and honoring him. Another example is found in Mark 2 with the paralytic. 

God’s mandate for those who call Christ Lord and Savior is to Commit to Thanksliving.

God prefers Thanksliving over Thanksgiving

November 24, 2012

Emotions are strong, but they soon wear off. I remember playing football. Guys would get excited, get amped, get pumped up for the game. After the kickoff and one got hit in the mouth, emotions changed. Commitment and courage had to take over. At that point, the person hit in the mouth had to decide whether or not he would play aggressively or passively. He had to decide whether he would take the game to them or allow them to continue taking the game to him. The emotional player who really was pumped up had a choice. Do I remain committed or do I, in a small unassuming way, give in to the crowned conqueror.

We have the same choice as the player or any other person. Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, now that Black Friday has consumed what vestiage of Thanksgiving that remained after the gluttony of turkey and deserts, we must know that God prefers Thanksliving over Thanksgiving. It is clear that God wants us to be thankful. I am in no way asserting that God does not want us to be thankful. The Word is clear about that, but the Word is more lucid that God prefers Thanksliving over Thanksgiving.

Let’s take Hezekiah for example. Isaiah 38, 2 Chronicles 32:24-26 and 2 Kings 20:1-11. Let’s take a look at Hezekiah’s song found in Isaiah 38

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:

10 I said, “In the prime of my life
must I go through the gates of death
and be robbed of the rest of my years?”
11 I said, “I will not again see the Lord,
the Lord, in the land of the living;
no longer will I look on mankind,
or be with those who now dwell in this world.
12 Like a shepherd’s tent my house
has been pulled down and taken from me.
Like a weaver I have rolled up my life,
and he has cut me off from the loom;
day and night you made an end of me.
13 I waited patiently till dawn,
but like a lion he broke all my bones;
day and night you made an end of me.
14 I cried like a swift or thrush,
I moaned like a mourning dove.
My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens.
I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!”

15 But what can I say?
He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.
I will walk humbly all my years
because of this anguish of my soul.
16 Lord, by such things men live;
and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health
and let me live.
17 Surely it was for my benefit
that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.
18 For the grave cannot praise you,
death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit
cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise you,
as I am doing today;
fathers tell their children
about your faithfulness.

20 The Lord will save me,
and we will sing with stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
in the temple of the Lord.

What was Hezekiah so happy about? Hezekiah had become ill and was at the point of death, but he prayed and God spared his life extending it by 15 more years. That’s what the song is about. You would think that God saving his life or ours would be motivation beyond thanksgiving. Sadly, that is not true. Listen to what the Word (2 Chronicles 32:24-26) said about Hezekiah “24 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25 But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah.”

Hezekiah was about thanksgiving but not thanksliving. It was easy to write a song about thankfulness, but it was much more difficult to die to yourself living as God wants and not how he wanted. How dare Hezekiah to be proud against the Lord after God saved his life. He, unfortunately, is not alone. Let’s go to John 5:14 where we have the invalid who had been in that condition for 38 years. He wanted to be healed at the pool, but he was never able to get in. Jesus told him “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” He did and was healed. Rather than honor God with his life. Jesus found him later sinning. Jesus said “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Jesus was letting us in on how responding to Him in pride may result in us being cut off from a life with Him in eternity.

We see Hezekiah and the invalid respond to God in pride. They know they received a blessing, but as time went on, their hearts became proud forgetting God’s grace and mercy through their healing. We would think that we would honor God for His grace and mercy toward us but those two and Jeremiah 17:9 let us know that we all are full of pride. Those who live in pride means they are the object of their choices not God. Proverbs 11:2 tells us “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” This is what Jesus meant when He told the invalid something worse may happen to you. The disgrace one will feel of being eternally rejected by God is worse than any illness or sickness one has in this life.

From these brief examples, I hope you see that God prefers Thanksliving over Thanksgiving.  Commit to Thanksliving

Beyond Salvation, I Am Thankful For…

November 22, 2012

In the post True Thanksgiving, Jesus Christ was recognized as the reason for us to be truly thankful. Acts 4:12 communicates that God says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” While salvation from the wrath of God and being united with God is the greatest gift, there are many other gifts in which we should be thankful. Beyond Salvation, I Am Thankful For…

I am thankful for my family, immediate and extended. While no one has a perfect family, it is a blessing to have those who love you because they do. I have to start off with my mother. More than any other person on this earth, she epitomizes Christ’s love for me. She loved me me with agape love which is unselfish love of one person for another without erogenous implications. She sacrificed for me as a child and even now as a man who is close to half a century old. My wife is right there with my mother, but she has help me learn more about the love of God/Christ more than any other person on this earth. While my mother epitomizes, my wife personifies the love of Christ. Her humility, sacrifice and forgiveness has softened me over the years. There were times that her character was used to chisel me into who God wants. It’s been a slow process, but both have been patient with me over the years. My kids, my brothers, my sister, and both of my dads – yes my step-father and father are blessings to me. One more shout out for my big brother who has always been there. For that, I am thankful.

Jesus is the one who sticks closer than a brother. I have a number of men in my life who are like brothers. We all have different relationships, but it leads to Christ-like character in the end. Do you know what it is like to be able to acknowledge your faults, failures and sin to another brother but still be loved? If you don’t, it is a sheer blessing. All of you know what it is like to be loved just for you. When you don’t have to be pretentious, it is a beautiful thing. That’s what the brothers of the Lord are like for me. When I am wrong, they call me out. When I need help, they help me out. For that, I am thankful.

I am thankful for all the students, past and present, who allowed me to live out God’s purpose in our lives. In fact, one of my students recently sent me a message on facebook letting me know that he still remembered the lesson I began each year off with. The mini-lesson was “The Law of the Harvest”. You reap what you sow; you reap later than you sow; you reap more than you sow. He stated that he remembered that after all these years. More importantly, it guides him. When I shared that with another of my students who works in the same building as I, she just laughed and began to tell a few others around about it. I am sure I have fallen short of proclaiming the gospel to many students, but by God’s grace and mercy, there are some whom I shared with who have received Christ years after. Resoundingly from men and women, one thing I consistently hear is that they knew I loved them. For that, I am thankful.

I am also thankful for health, a job I love, a home that more than meets my need, a host of electronic devices that allows me to communicate with you. I am out of town using my cell phone as a hot-spot. I can write you using the internet off my phone. This is the Dick Tracy stuff I heard of growing up. I am thankful for inventions that have advanced our lives. I am thankful this morning.

For me, it’s not about the eating today or the games that will air. It is about being with family and communicating with friends. Of all the days of the year, this is when relationships really matter regardless of who you are, where you live or how much you possess. We are all on the same field. We want to express our thankfulness for those whom we love.

Not everything will be rosy today. Inevitably, there will be challenge, hardships and trials today, but remember this command, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  God bless you today.

True Thanksgiving

November 21, 2012

True Thanksgiving springs from the greatest gift ever shared with mankind. The greatest gift man has known or will ever know is Jesus Christ. Why? Jesus is the only one who can save your soul. Acts 4:12 confirms my assertion. There God says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  Saved from what? 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. Matthew 25:46 The eternal punishment is the consequence of our sins. Romans 6:23 tells us “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Knowing the state of our condition, God gave the psalmist insight into what He was doing for all who trusted in Him.

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

The people were to enter into the house of worship with thanksgiving. Why? Once more, the Word says “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Recognizing that God is good with extending his love forever to those who are trusting or faithful to Him. That is True Thanksgiving.

Have you trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord? If you have, offer this as True Thanksgiving as you gather with friends and family. If you are alone, offer True Thanksgiving to our Almighty God for His greatest gift Jesus Christ through whom we have salvation. Stuart Townsend expresses his True Thanksgiving  in his song “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”. Take a listen and give thanks.

Acting Justly In Everyday Affairs

November 19, 2012

In the post God, You Created Me to Do What?, Michah 6:8 served as the backdrop for the post. To remind you, God says in Michah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. From that post, we also learned that to act justly is defined for us in the Word of God.

Isaiah 1:17 –  learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Jeremiah 22:3 –  This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

The word used for “justly” in Michah 6:8 is mishpat (Strong’s H4941). It is translated as:

1) judgment, justice, ordinance
a) judgment
1) act of deciding a case
2) place, court, seat of judgment
3) process, procedure, litigation (before judges)
4) case, cause (presented for judgment)
5) sentence, decision (of judgment)
6) execution (of judgment)
7) time (of judgment)
b) justice, right, rectitude (attributes of God or man)
c) ordinance
d) decision (in law)
e) right, privilege, due (legal)
f) proper, fitting, measure, fitness, custom, manner, plan

All that to say, that mishpat means to do no unrighteousness when judging. It simply means to do what is right according to the Word of God. To do what is right and just, we can take ques from Isaiah 1:17 and Jeremiah 22:3. Both verses require us to seek justice which is to ensure those who make decisions are right in their judgments. Those verses also require us to attend to the oppressed, fatherless and widows. Essentially, we are to seek the rendering of right judgments for those as well as any person who is in the position least to defend themselves.

For me at work, this translate into how do I treat students and how do I allow others to treat students. The student whose parent never calls or never comes to the school should get the same consideration and treatment as the student whose parent is always there spreading sunshine with his/her presence or presents. We know this is a challenge. Psychologically, people tend to oil the squeaky wheel, but that does not make it right. God’s values communicated through His Word makes it right.

During our past presidential election, values espoused in the Word of God were misaligned by both parties. On one side, you have the intent to define marriage and to stop abortion. On the other side, you have caring for the poor, needy and the elderly. As I told one student who asked me how I voted, I shared with him that both parties pollute God’s values with their own sinfulness. While I have no bearing on the healthcare, tax cuts and other economical decisions, I can make sure that we make decisions appropriately for our students. I can make sure that I am not biased toward those whose parents are engaged and involved. I can make sure that I attempt to right wrongs that fall within my sphere of control. I can take a turkey to the parent who I called last week about a behavioral issue. That parent cried out “we are struggling over here. Can you help us with something for Thanksgiving.” That may seem small in comparison to the deficit, tax cuts, energy policy, or any other heralded causes purported by government officials, but it matters to that family. It matters to eat. It matters to know someone is concerned about you.

It matters to God which is why he says “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Today, someone will need you to act justly for them. Acting Justly In Everyday Affairs is what God requires of us. What will you do today to meet God’s expectation?

 

 

God, You Created Me to Do What?

November 18, 2012

The meaning and purpose of life has been a continual pursuit throughout time. Some people find the answer to God, You Created Me to Do What? Those who find out their purpose find it in Jehovah and Him alone. This could really be a very deep and lengthy post; however, I am not going to go that far. I want you to pursue the matter for yourself. For, I am convinced that I my purpose has been revealed to me by my Almighty and Sovereign God. The question at hand is have you?

I want to provide you a few verses that will challenge our perspective on the meaning of life. It will challenge the American Dream. I admit that I still struggle with aspiring to parts of owning a home, raising kids, establishing financial security and retiring to live a life of comfort and convenience. That may be a by-product of living, but is not why God created you, so let’s answer God, You Created Me to Do What?

First, we see in Ephesians 2:10 who we were created to be. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Michah 6:8 tells us a portion of the good works.

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Isaiah 1:17 – 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Jeremiah 22:3 – This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

What is right? Psalms 34:14 tell us that doing what is right is to “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” This takes us back to Isiah 1;17 and 3 John 1:11 11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

Here are a few other verses that define what is good and acting justly through mercy and humility.

Leviticus 25:17 – Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.
Ezekiel 45:9 – ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have gone far enough, O princes of Israel! Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Stop dispossessing my people, declares the Sovereign Lord.
Hosea 12:6 – But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.
Amos 5:24 – But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
Zechariah 7:9 – “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.

Our purpose is to pursue God and seek to evidence His character in the manner in which we interact with man. The next time you are fuming with another person, remember to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Yearning For Your Love – Don’t Keep Runnin’

November 16, 2012

I want to offer this disclaimer. I am sorry if you will be offended by me mixing this-worldly song to illustrate a truth for us all. Yearning For Your Love is a song by the GAP Band. This song came out in 1980. It’s about a man who wants to get serious with a woman who will not commit to him. Imagine that. My how times have changed and tables have turned. Regardless, The GAP Band’s song is indicative of one who has committed his love to another, but the other person has not reciprocated that same commitment. At the end of the song, the refrain, You can’t keep runnin’ in and out of my life, repeats over and over.

The Almighty God continues to call man to Himself. Like the desiring love in the aforementioned song, God wants us to make a commitment to Him. He does not want us to run in and out of love with Him. He does not want us to be with him when it is convenient and absent when it is challenging or hard. He wants what He gives. Remember what He told Moses in Exodus 34:5-7? If not, “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord.And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” As my wife worked out this morning, I heard God say I am Yearning For Your Love – Keep Runnin’.

Immanuel, God with us, has come to be with us to love us; yet, we Keep Runnin’ from committing to Him. We are told to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” in Deuteronomy 6:5. Have you loved the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength? I know I fail miserably at that command which is why I am so grateful for God’s continual love for me. One verse that really encourages and excites me is

2 Timothy 2:11-13

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

In that, I hear God saying He is Yearning For Your Love – Don’t Keep Runnin’. Will you turn to the Lord to love Him with all your heart, soul and strength? Join me in responding to God.

Bitterness in The Day of the LORD

November 15, 2012

Over the past week, I have written a number of posts about bitterness. If the Lord leads, I will write a little more about the impact of bitterness in our lives; however, I am lead to tell about Bitterness in The Day of the LORD. The Prophet Isaiah proclaimed the Day of The LORD in chapters 13 -23. I want to share a portion of what Isaiah stated in chapter 13 about The Day of the LORD.

See, the day of the Lord is coming
—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—
to make the land desolate
and destroy the sinners within it.
10 The stars of heaven and their constellations
will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened
and the moon will not give its light.
11 I will punish the world for its evil,
the wicked for their sins.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty
and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

In addition to Isaiah, Peter provided greater insights into The Day of the LORD.

2 Peter 3:10-12

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. (NIV)

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? (NKJV)

Lastly, God shares final thoughts about The Day of the LORD in Revelation. Specifically, Revelation 8:10-11 shares more about Bitterness in The Day of the LORD.

10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—11 the name of the star is Wormwood (Bitterness). A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

There are a multitude of perspectives over the meaning of a great star. I will not attempt to get into that today. We do know that  “wormwood” is a bitter tasting plant. As a symbol, it is taken from the Old Testament: In Deuteronomy 29:18, God called a rebellious heart a “root that bears gall and wormwood” (“gall” also denotes “bitterness”). In Proverbs 5:4, it is said that an adulteress is bitter as wormwood. In Jeremiah 9:15 &  23:15, God told Israel and its prophets that He would feed them with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. In Lamentations 3:15, Jeremiah expressed concern that God had filled him with bitterness, with him being drunk with wormwood. In Amos 5:7, God said of Israel, “You who turn justice into bitterness (wormwood).” Additionally in Amos 6:12  “But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness—wormwood”.

Further in Jeremiah 9, “13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their fathers taught them.” 15 Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have destroyed them.”

The bitter water represents that bitterness of heart which accompanies rebellion from God resulting in spiritual death as expressed in Revelation Rev. 16:9. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. Today, we face the same choice. Will we glorify God in our struggles or will we pursue our own ends. If we focus on the I instead of the E, we too will drink the bitter water that accompanies rebellion which results in spiritual death.  Jeremiah 10:10 tells us “But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.”
All who fail to honor Him will experience Bitterness in The Day of the LORD.