Archive for November, 2013

God’s Faithfulness and Love Does Endure to All Generations

November 30, 2013

It is not often that I feel compelled to share response to various posts that I have written. Today is one of those days. Make no mistake about it, I am not claiming I did anything. This is all about God and how He connects His handiwork. On November 28, the post on Thanksgiving was submitted. On November 29, His Faithfulness was the following post submitted. In His Faithfulness, it was offered that our hope is that God’s faithfulness continues through all generations. The Hebrew word for faithfulness is ‘emuwnah (em·ü·nä’) which means firmness, fidelity, steadfastness, steadiness. Those are all attributes that we have an extensive yearning. His Faithfulness satisfies our need to have one committed to us. If you want to never be forsaken, trust in Jehovah through the Lord Jesus Christ. While this is a big and constant struggle, God has given us example after example of His faithfulness. The fact that I am still writing you this morning is one example of His Faithfulness. Bless His Holy Name. Hallelujah.

Unknowingly, one reader of the blog had responded to post on Thanksgiving on November 28 at 11:41 p.m. I did not see the person’s response until this morning. How apropos are the words I used to respond to this person this morning. The following indented text is how that reader chose to respond to the Thanksgiving post.

Today, I thank God for being faithful to all 4 generations of my family that has been blessed to come together during this holiday. As I sit here in the Mississippi delta with my grandparents, my parents and my daughter, I see concrete evidence of God’s faithfulness. God kept my family through the Jim Crow South, the Great Depression, recessions, sickness and losses. In spite of the challenges, God’s love and faithfulness to them reminds me that the same God who’s kept them is also keeping me! Praise God! God’s faithfulness and love does endure to all generations.

My intentions this morning were to go to the Word to extract examples of how God had indeed been faithful which should impact our Thankfulness. God had a better plan today as He always does. He had me to read the reader’s response to the post. I am confident that He wanted me to share the reader’s response to you as an example of how faithful God is to His Word and His people.

Now, this is when it gets even more interesting. Again, I want you to understand this is not about me but about God. It is about how God uses us in His work which is really exciting and gratifying. You have read the reader’s response. The reader talks about what God has done to demonstrate His Faithfulness in reader’s own family’s history. In fact, the reader communicated that four generations were present during their Thanksgiving family gathering. Four generations being gathered together is enough to give praise to God, but the reader listed hardships that the family had endured such as the Great Depression and Jim Crow South. The reader’s conclusion was that we are still here, and it is because of God. Hear the reader’s words affirming that message again “In spite of the challenges, God’s love and faithfulness to them reminds me that the same God who’s kept them is also keeping me! Praise God! God’s faithfulness and love does endure to all generations.”

Now, let me take this another step. This reader is one of my former students who also became a teacher who taught at two schools in which I have served. The reader understands my faith in Christ. Independent of my faith, God has honed and refined the reader’s faith too. We can see that from the reader’s response about God’s Faithfulness. What is so amazing to me is that God has reproduced Himself physically in the reader’s four generations and with my daughter and son. He has also reproduced Himself spiritually in reader’s family and in mine. The reader is a believer and so is my daughter. All of us are examples that God’s Faithfulness and Love Does Endure to All Generations.

Remember what God said to Abram in Genesis 12? Well, if not, here it is.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

From that generation to the present moment, we should know that God’s Faithfulness and Love Does Endure to All Generations. The bible is full of examples generations of people being blessed by God’s faithfulness and love, and our lives are too. What are your examples of God’s Faithfulness in your life. Wouldn’t it be great to compile and publish a list of examples the proclaim who God is and what God has done?

His Faithfulness

November 29, 2013

It has been often stated and often heard that people want most that which they either can’t have or have the least. There is no wonder that all of us crave faithfulness from those whom we hold most dearly to us. Whether on sporting teams, gangs/mobs, business partnerships, friendships, marriages or any type of human interaction where relationships are valued, loyalty or faithfulness is highly esteemed and in many cases demanded.

We are so accustomed to people not keeping their word or their promises that we crave that faithfulness like an addict in a rehab facility. Our desire to have faithfulness is synonymous many of man’s perpetual quests, but it is a futile pursuit. Proverbs 20:6 says, “Many claim to have unfailing love,    but a faithful person who can find?” In Psalm 12:1, David said, “Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.” Based on those texts and many other examples from the Word of God and our lives, finding a faithful person is as easy as grabbing a bead of oil between your fingers.

In the post Thanksgiving, I found the elixir or amalgam to meet the need of our deep desire for faithfulness. The whole premise of that post was to express Thanksgiving to God for who He is to man and what He has done for man. In doing so, I found another reason to worship God. I found another reason to be excited about following Him. Listen to this short ye(em·ü·nä’t powerful verse.

Psalm 119:90 – Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.

Bound in the one verse is a demonstration of God’s faithfulness not only to man but to creation as well. God established the earth and He causes it to endure. I don’t have enough time to go into the scriptural connections to God not only redeeming man, but He will also redeem creation. Look at Romans 8 as an example of creation and man being regenerated.

Our hope is that God’s faithfulness continues through all generations. The Hebrew word for faithfulness is ’emuwnah (em·ü·nä’) which means firmness, fidelity, steadfastness, steadiness. Those are all attributes that we have an extensive yearning. His Faithfulness satisfies our need to have one committed to us.

If you want to never be forsaken, trust in Jehovah through the Lord Jesus Christ. While this is a big and constant struggle, God has given us example after example of His faithfulness. The fact that I am still writing you this morning is one example of His Faithfulness. Bless His Holy Name. Hallelujah.

Thanksgiving

November 28, 2013

In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.[18] Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, and has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well. We know the day will be filled with many a families spending time together eating, joking, lying, playing, watching games, shopping and many other activities. Undoubtedly, today is also a time to be gluttonous with favorites like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. Along with a foray of eating activities are all those amazing Black Friday shopping deals, which used to follow the holiday but are now practically overtaking it, but there is so much more to Thanksgiving than just food and shopping.

It is time to revisit and remain at our religious roots. Long before Plymouth Rock or America, God called for people to give thanks to Him for who He is and what He has done as a part of our worship of Him. True Thanksgiving can only be rooted in honoring the one true Almighty God, Jehovah. Nehemiah 12 tells us “46 For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the musicians and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.” Psalm 95:2 “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”

Perhaps Psalm 100 captures the fullness of our Thanksgiving in a full yet succinct way.

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.

We are directed to bestow Thanksgiving, praise and honor on God for generations. That is those before us and after us are to be engaged in demonstrating Thanksgiving to the Almighty God. NOTE: Thanksgiving is not reserved for one day out of the year. God deserves Thanksgiving on a daily basis for His person and His provision.

1 Chronicles 16:3434 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 108:4 4 – For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 119:90 – Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.

What do those verses reveal about who God is? HE is Good. HE is Love that endures forever. HE is Faithful to all generations. Those qualities and attributes allow me to write to you today. I am a part of what God talked to Moses about in Exodus 34 and Abraham about in Genesis 12. Both of which deserve a read too.

Thanksgiving is about the Almighty God who is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Honor Him today beyond giving thanks for the food you eat, family you have, and safety in travel. “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

A Disciple’s Criteria

November 25, 2013

In the post Eternal Losers, I declare that Eternal Losers are those who do not believe and follow Jesus as He says in Mark 8:35. We see in the text below from Mark 8 that Jesus establishes A Disciple’s Criteria among the people of the day and his disciples. This was after Jesus had performed two miracles and begun to tell His disciples that He must suffer in order to bring about God’s will. (Isaiah 53:3-12).

Jesus identifies three points of A Disciple’s Criteria. Let’s read the text and see.

Mark 8

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

deny in the Greek is aparneomai (ä-pär-ne’-o-mī)
1. to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone
2. to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests
In denying oneself, you acknowledge that you have no rights and that your desires are to be subservient to those of the triune God. It is not that you do not have wants and desires, but it is yielding those to what God desires. When they are in conflict, it means to put them aside in efforts to pursue God’s interests or desires instead of your own.

cross in the Greek is stauros (stau-ro’s)

  1. a cross

    1. a well-known instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the Phoenicians; to it were affixed among the Romans, down to the time of Constantine the Great, the guiltiest criminals, particularly the basest slaves, robbers, the authors and abetters of insurrections, and occasionally in the provinces, at the arbitrary pleasure of the governors, upright and peaceable men also, and even Roman citizens themselves

    2. the crucifixion which Christ underwent

According to the Blueletter Bible, the cross is where crucifixion is metaphorically used of the renunciation of the world, that characterizes the true Christian life; Gal 6:12, 14; Eph 2:16; Phl 3:18. The judicial custom by which the condemned person carried his stake to the place of execution, was applied by the Lord to those sufferings by which His faithful followers were to express their fellowship with Him, e.g., Mat 10:38. Guzik rightly claims that Jesus makes deny himself equal with take up his cross. The two express the same idea. The cross wasn’t about self-promotion or self-affirmation. The person carrying a cross knew they couldn’t save themselves. “Denying self is not the same as self-denial. We practice self-denial when, for a good purpose, we occasionally give up things or activities. But we deny self when we surrender ourselves to Christ and determine to obey His will.” (Wiersbe) Denying self means to live as an others-centered person. Jesus was the only person to do this perfectly, but we are to follow in His steps (and follow Me). This is following Jesus at its simplest: He carried a cross, He walked down death row; so must those who follow Him.

follow in the Greek is akoloutheō (ä-ko-lü-the’-ō)

  1. to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him

  2. to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple

After Jesus shared about His cross, Jesus tells each disciple to deny himself and take up his own cross and follow Him. Those who are prepared to lose themselves in this way show that their soul is saved and that one day they will be owned by Jesus in glory. Matthew Henry says, “Whosoever will come after me for spiritual cures, as these people do for bodily cures, let him deny himself, and live a life of self-denial, mortification, and contempt of the world; let him not pretend to be his own physician, but renounce all confidence in himself and his own righteousness and strength, and let him take up his cross, conforming himself to the pattern of a crucified Jesus, and accommodating himself to the will of God in all the afflictions he lies under; and thus let him continue to follow me;” as many of those did, whom Christ healed. Those that will be Christ’s patients must attend on him, converse with him, receive instruction and reproof from him, as those did that followed him, and must resolve they will never forsake him.

We must follow Jesus according to A Disciple’s Criteria because Jesus says it is the only way that we will ever find life. “35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” A true disciple must lose his life in order to save it. Jesus simply provides A Disciple’s Criteria to ensure clarity of His expectations.

A Disciple’s Criteria is what we must adhere to in pursuit of Jesus. Are we denying ourselves, taking up our crosses and following Him? If so, we are considered to be a disciple of Christ whose soul will be saved.

Eternal Losers

November 24, 2013

In the post What Can a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?, the notion that we cannot purchase salvation was presented. Another notion presented was that we should not pursue the things of this world because when we die our soul would be required of us. I have to admit that I would enjoy having enough financial capital that I could purchase what my loved ones wanted as well as what I wanted. Jesus never promised me my wants, but He did say “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 In actuality, it is not my job to meet my needs. It is my responsibility to use the mind, energy and opportunity God provides to meet my needs and possible wants.

Our challenge is trying to remain balanced in satisfying our wants. Our, no my, wants usually revolve around comfort and convenience not necessities. Often an imbalance exists where the pursuit of things leads us down the road of seeking after money for those things. We want to sleep good, look good, ride good, and feel good from a surplus of money. While extra is not bad, it is our focus that creates the problem. In Mark 8, this is what Jesus was speaking of as he addressed the disciples and those around.

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.

In contrast to meeting our temporal needs and wants, Jesus pits our choice for the temporal versus the eternal. Eternal Losers are those who have not prepared or invested in eternity. What we eat, drink, wear, drive and live are not eternal values. The means to an eternal life is losing your life in the her and now for the cause of Christ. Jesus says it plainly in verse 35 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Our focus should be Jesus who is the gospel.

Eternal Losers are those who do not believe and follow Jesus as He says in Mark 8:35. It is also confirmed in 2 Thessalonians 1:8 where Paul says, “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” God’s gospel must be accepted, believed, and obeyed (1 Pet. 4:17). Its divine command is for absolute surrender to God through the peace made by Jesus Christ. Ligonier Ministries. I just asked my son why wouldn’t someone follow God. He said, “Because they don’t care, don’t believe or they don’t want to follow God. Wow, the simplicity of those statements sum up what Eternal Losers are.

One is a loser because he/she does not win something. Without adherence to the gospel, one loses out on salvation of his souls. Salvation from the penalty of sin. We lose out on being justified which is being seen as righteous in the eyes of God. We loses out on becoming united with God and friends of God. We remain enemies with God. As an introspection of what Eternal Losers experience, Steve Clay wrote “we are asking them to consider that God is the object of the longings of their naturally rebellious and deceitful hearts. In application to our own hearts we are acknowledging the same. Faith, not works, is the means by which we come to know God, taking Him at His word that the end of our pursuit for pleasure, safety, meaning, and life will only be found in Him. Our precious Savior died to this end, that He might bring us to God. Considering this gospel reality reorients us to a different view of heart change, one that makes Christ the center, because we love to behold His glory, rather than a duty-oriented approach that centers on self. The gospel is God—He is the good news. To live with and enjoy Him is essence of life.”

If your heart and decisions toward God has not changed, you might be an Eternal Losers.

What Can a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?

November 21, 2013

What Can a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul? This question jumped, no leaped off the page at me last night during Wednesday night service at Southwest Christian Fellowship. It is verse 37 of Mark 8. note: this quote is the 1984 version of the NIV. The current version on the link has a gender neutral rendering. Now that that matter is out of the way, I want to get back to the question.

As I stated, What Can a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?, leaped off the page last night. At that moment, I knew that it was the topic of today’s post. The difference today is that there is not the usual flow of thoughts that relate to the post topic. It is just that question. That means I will be writing about this verse again. When we think of that question, references of Psalm 49 has been presented. Listen.

“5 Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me– 6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? 7 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him– 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough– 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay. 10 For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. 12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. “

Those verses speak to the adage that “we can’t take it with us” referencing man cannot take his possessions, namely wealth, with him when he dies. It is invetable that almost all of man will die. The exception are those who have already not tasted death before entering heaven and those who will be living during the rapture/return of Christ. If we can’t take wealth with us, it can’t keep us from death either. If money can’t keep us from death, God asks the question What Can a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?

Again, we will discuss further later, but today is about pondering What Can a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul? God will require payment for our sins. Either God will accept the payment of your sins with your soul, or you can trust in Jesus Christ for the salvation of your soul. Mark 8:38 says, “38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

What Can a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul? is still reverberating in my mind. I am so broke that I can’t spell rich, so I know that I cannot rely on my wealth for I am bankrupt both spiritually and financially. I know that I need Jesus for salvation and everything else. Do you? What Can a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?

CORRUPTED or CLEANSED

November 19, 2013

The first time the word CORRUPT appears in the bible is in the book of Genesis. Its subsequent appearance follows the fall of man, Adam and Eve’s disobedience., which ushered sin into the world creating disunity between God and man. The Hebrew word for CORRUPT is shachath (shä·khath’). It means to destroy, corrupt, go to ruin, decay. Dictionary.com defines CORRUPTED as 1.guilty of dishonest practices, as bribery; lacking integrity; crooked: a corrupt judge. 2. debased in character; depraved; perverted; wicked; evil: a corrupt society. 3.made inferior by errors or alterations, as a text. 4. infected; tainted. 5. decayed; putrid.

The obvious question is what caused man to become destroyed, ruined or decayed. Genesis 6:5 says, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” Man’s wicked or evil nature manifest in man’s desire to live outside of the will of God. Simply, man decided to disobey God. Adam and Eve had been given one directive to not violate, but they, just as we can’t, could not remain faithful to God. When we decide that God is not A Faithful God Who Does No Wrong, our fall begins. In the instances where man’s CORRUPTED nature is revealed, it is related to man serving or worship himself or some image rather than the one true God. That is idolatry which God hates. “Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.” Deuteronomy 27:15

The curse is that man and his descendants move further and further away from worshiping God in his disobedience. Matthew Henry wrote of the matter when he described man’s CORRUPTED nature. “Take away conscience and the fear of God, and men become beasts and devils to one another, like the fishes of the sea, where the greater devour the less. Sin fills the earth with violence, and so turns the world into a wilderness, into a cock-pit. 2. The proof and evidence of it were undeniable; for God looked upon the earth, and was himself an eye-witness of the corruption that was in it, of which before, Gen. 6:5.” In Genesis 6, we see God’s response to our wickedness or evil. God pronounces judgement to destroy man just as He does in Deuteronomy 5:7–9.

As He did with Noah, God always preserves a remnant of people who worship Him for Himself. From Adam and Eve’s fall, God has provided for man after man’s disobedience. His provision is to bridge the gap caused by our sin. Adam and Eve hid from God after sinning. We run away from God during and after sin. God pursues us. While sin makes us CORRUPTED, God makes and pronounces those who trust Him CLEANSED.

We see this in Peter’s address in Acts 2

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Call of God should not be ignored. When it is, that man/woman is doomed because he/she has not responded to the call to be CLEANSED for his/her CORRUPTED nature which we have seen here meets God’s judgement to destroy man.

Are you CORRUPTED or CLEANSED?

A Faithful God Who Does No Wrong

November 18, 2013

When the world comes crashing down on us, it is plausible to ask why. It is natural and carnal to assign blame. It is detestable to accuse and blame God for doing us wrong. Not only is it shameful to blame God for doing wrong, it is habit-forming. Ultimately, it will disconnect us from God.

In his book, The Attributes of God, A.W. Pink wrote “In Scripture He is frequently styled “The Holy ONE”: He is so because the sum of all moral excellency is found in Him. He is absolute Purity, unsullied even by the shadow of sin. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Holiness is the very excellency of the divine nature: the great God is “glorious in holiness” (Exo 15:11). Therefore do we read, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and can not look on iniquity” (Hab 1:13). As God’s power is the opposite of the native weakness of the creature; as His wisdom is in complete contrast from the least defect of understanding or folly; so His holiness is the very antithesis of all moral blemish or defilement…God Himself singles out this perfection, “Once have I sworn by My holiness” (Psalm 89:35). God swears by His “holiness” because that is a fuller expression of Himself than anything else.”

What we believe about God will dictate how we respond to Him. Actually, that is true about anyone but even more so about one whom we can’t readily see, hear or touch when we are blaming Him. I have said it before, and I will say again now that the character of God is not a matter up for vote. I hope the portion of Pink’s book encourages you to believe more about God’s character than when we are tempted to blame God.

If not, let’s turn to a text that has surfaced over the past few posts. In Deuteronomy 32:3-4Ligonier Ministries states that this chapter provides the first instances in Scripture of “Rock” as a name for God (vv. 15, 18, 30; there is a similar image in Gen. 49:24 using a different Hebrew word). Suggesting God’s steadfast faithfulness and permanence, the term is common in the Psalms and other poetic passages (Ps. 95:1; Is. 44:8).

Deuteronomy 32:3-4.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.

In contrast to our blaming God, here God proclaims that He is first rock that which is firm and stable. His work are perfect. Perfect meaning complete, whole, entire, sound. What is complete or entirely in accord with truth and fact? God says He is. All His ways are just. Just meaning right in judgment, justice, ordinances. The KJV says, “a God of truth and without iniquity.” He is faithful who does no wrong. Since He does no wrong, He can’t sin. He can’t do wrong. To boot, God says, He is “upright and just.”

We have to believe that God is faithful, perfect, upright and just or that He is a liar. Which do you believe? Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40 Do we want to see God work or do we want what we want? God is faithful to Himself and His Word; therefore, He is faithful to His promises. Not only so, God does no wrong. The next time you are tempted to blame God when something goes awry in your life please remember that He is A Faithful God Who Does No Wrong.

 

On the Firm Foundation

November 16, 2013

Wow, what an incredible two days I have had this past Thursday and Friday. First, God encouraged me to have my mind right – that is focused on Him. While not all things have been peaches and cream or gone down smoothly, I have experienced love, joy and peace among the other Fruits of the Spirit. The bottom line is that I have lived the past two days On the Firm Foundation.

From days of old, Christ has been that Firm Foundation. We hear God’s proclamation of that in Isaiah 28:1616 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” Christ Himself proclaims that He is indeed the one on whom your life should be On the Firm Foundation. Let’s hear what Jesus said in Luke 6

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Christ draws a parallel or shares an analogy of building a house. The one who builds his house on rock, that is a firm foundation, house stood in times of the flood. In contrast, the one who built his house on the ground without a foundation house collapsed and was destroyed when the torrents struck his house. Like I said, life has not been easy this week, but God has shown me that focusing on Him and His kingdom has provided me complete joy and fulfillment. I have shared Jesus with students and parents alike. I have shared Jesus with my children. More importantly, I have shared Jesus with my own heart and mind. It is that reservoir that most needed filling.

I see the wisdom of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:10-1110 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” When I attempt to focus on my personal wants or outcomes at work, I feel deflated and frustrated. Those are ends with no means whereas Jesus is the means and the ends or the ends and the means to get there. I don’t know if you understand what I am saying or not, but I know that this week has been fabulous because I have really been in touch with God. I have heard Him speaking to me and leading me all week. This is the life of one On the Firm Foundation.

I leave you with more words from the Apostle Paul in relation to establishing a Firm Foundation. In Ephesians 2:18-20, God says that it is in Jesus “18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Jesus is the cornerstone of that Firm Foundation, but it is being considered no longer a foreigner and stranger but fellow citizen. It is being included in the family of God that makes me blessed, that fills my soul with joy and peace. I am a citizen of God and a member of His household.

I am standing On the Firm Foundation. How about you? Have you relied on Jesus as Lord and Savior? Have you realized that it is only through Jesus that you are considered right and righteous in the eyes of God? If you lay your life on your intelligence, strength or riches, you will be wiped out when the torrent of God’s accountability strikes your life. On the contrary, we are given insight as to the blessing of the one who trusts in Christ.

Jeremiah 9:23-24

23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Stand On the Firm Foundation!

The Lord is Not Slow

November 14, 2013

With the passage of time and advancement in technology, many traditional processes are now merely instantaneous. Take the remote control for televisions, stereos, set-top boxes. We used to have to get up to turn the channel or station. How about warming your food. My grandmother was extremely reluctant to use a microwave as opposed to the oven or stove to warm up food or water for tea or cocoa. Almost no one writes letters anymore with the advent of email. The U.S. Post Office is being challenged as its primary business is suffering. Not only are people not writing letters in the volumes of the past, people are paying many of their bills online. Many things of our lives move fast.

We want everything to move fast. In my job, those who supervise me want results, and they want them now. I admit that student performance has not been meteoric. The last time we saw that it led to a national debate on the pressure to have students perform well on testing. That pressure, mixed with money for achievement, led to the largest cheating scandal in public school history. One that we know of at least. We exhibit that urgency in mostly everything we do. We want it, and we want it now. When it does not happen in those quick time intervals, we call that person or process slow.

As Peter encouraged those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours, I want to encourage you through other Words Peter shared. Peter said, “The Lord is not Slow” I will admit that God does not move at our speed. God does not move according to our time-table. Because to the speed of our society and the desire to have what we want as soon as possible, we view God through the wrong lens. First, we don’t control God. God is God. We are not. He is not subject to our whims and wants. God is self-existent. He existed before time began. He is not bound by time as we are. God has all power and is not bound by any law of physic, nature, or person. It is those aspects of His character that baffles us.

One example is clearly seen with one of my students. He talked to me about how I handle anger. We talked about how God has helped me over the years deal more effectively with my anger. The next week in school. He asked to see me. GENIE1He simply said, “I asked God to help me with my anger, but I am still getting angry.” His expectation is indicative of our wrong view of God. He is not a genie who is there to respond to our every request instantly. That, in part, is what Peter was addressing in 2 Peter 3. He was telling the people not to be fooled into thinking that God does not fulfill His promises. He wanted them to know that God’s Judgement Day was indeed going to happen. He wants us to know the same.

“3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

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 done in it will be laid bare.

The people were wanting the return of Jesus to happen in order to deal with the occurrences of the day. We learn from Ligonier Ministries that Peter’s Christian readers must realize that the apparent delay of divine judgment is a sign of God’s forbearance and mercy toward them, particularly toward the believers in their midst who have been confused and misled by the false teachers. The repentance in view, for the sake of which God delays judgment, is that of God’s people rather than the world at large. God is not willing that any of His elect should perish (John 6:39).

“Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Peter shares that what appears to be a delay at best and a failure to respond at worst is God actually waiting on all those who are predestined for salvation to have their opportunity to be save.  We should know that God is faithful. Deuteronomy 32:4 tells us that “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Numbers 23:19 tells us that “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, He is just waiting to further unveil His plan and to further bless His people. Know Him, Trust Him.