Archive for March, 2016

TRUST: False Religion is Worthless

March 31, 2016

In 1 Samuel 8, we see Israel asking God for a king to lead them. God shared that asking for a king, a mere man, to lead them was a rejection of Him. He warned them that it would create all kinds of problems, but they wanted a king any way. We have heard the saying ‘as the head goes, so goes the body’. In this context, the manner in which the king led determined the plight (blessings or discipline) of the nation.

Sorry, I just had to put the Word here from 1 Samuel 8.

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

We remember from Jeremiah 1 that the time the prophet spoke for God was from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile. Josiah was known as a righteous or good king for leading the people toward proper worship of God whereas Jehoiakim was the converse of that. By failing to led the people properly, Jehoiakim allowed the people to relapse into idolatry; thus the worship of God was compromised and adulterated through idolatry. We know from Exodus that God said, ““You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,“ TRUST: False Religion is Worthless

Forsaking God in worship of other things, people or gods was a recurring theme for Israel as it is with us. We are quick to forsake God. Whenever we forsake God, He will take action. Remember, TRUST: God Disciplines those Who Forsake Him. Like us, the people at the time of the passage in Jeremiah 7 forgot that or failed to acknowledge it.

A. R. Fausset, commentator, wtote that “The Jews falsely thought that because their temple had been chosen by Jehovah as His peculiar dwelling, it could never be destroyed. Men think that ceremonial observances will supersede the need of holiness ( Isa 48:2 and Micah 3:11). The triple repetition of “the temple of Jehovah” expresses the intense confidence of the Jews (see Jeremiah 22:29; Isaiah 6:3 ). God’s rejection of their ways and actions reveal and convey TRUST: False Religion is Worthless.

Any attempt for man to reach God is religion. Man, in and of himself, is unable to reach out to God. Man is sinful; God is perfect. Man is stained by his perversion and disobedience. God is holy. Remember, Jesus said, ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Without God reaching out to man to account for and cleanse man of his sins, man had no hope of having a relationship with God. God is about relationship not religion especially when it is rife with man’s false worship.

Look at your worship. Are you trying to worship God on your own terms and not His? Are you establishing the manner and means in which you will worship God despite God outlining what is acceptable to Him. Like in any relationship, there is a love language that must be followed. When it is not, the relationship is severed. This is what was happening  Jeremiah 7. God was telling the people you can’t come to me in any kind of way. You must worship me and me alone in the manner which I have prescribed. God is saying TRUST: False Religion is Worthless. Dig into the word to find out how God desires for you to worship Him. In doing so, you reap blessing not discipline.

 

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TRUST: God Disciplines those Who Forsake Him

March 30, 2016

Over and over, God has told us and shown us that TRUST: God Disciplines those Who Forsake Him. How does one forsake God? By failing to put our TRUST in Him. When we do so, we, whether intended or not, place our trust, faith or confidence in someone or something else. TRUST: In Idols and be Turned Back in Utter Shame reminds us of that fact as well as TRUST: In the Name of the Lord and Rely on God. Like the Israelites, we continue to fail to TRUST in Him.

Fear is the primary reason we fail to TRUST God. The other is pride which fear may be a function of. The notion of pride says that we have it or that we simply refuse to TRUST in God out of stubborn disobedience. Either way, TRUST: God Disciplines those Who Forsake Him. By that, I mean those whom God, Jehovah, is their God. If you claim to have surrendered your life to Jehovah, God expects you to TRUST Him and follow Him.

We see this clearly in Jeremiah 1 where God pronounces judgement on Israel because they continue to trust in things and people, namely idols and Egypt. Listen to what God tells Jeremiah in chapter 1 – 16 “I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.” We know from Exodus that God said, ““You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,TRUST: God Disciplines those Who Forsake Him.

God had told Israel that you will be disappointed by trusting in Egypt for help as you were with Assyria. In Isaiah 30:3, God also told them “But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.” Again, God said, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,” (Isaiah 31:1)  Furthermore in Jeremiah 2, God told them 

17 Have you not brought this on yourselves
    by forsaking( the Lord your God
    when he led you in the way?
18 Now why go to Egypt
    to drink water from the Nile?
And why go to Assyria
    to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wickedness will punish you;
    your backsliding will rebuke you.
Consider then and realize
    how evil and bitter it is for you
when you forsake the Lord your God
    and have no awe of me,”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

To remind you about Assyria, “16 At that time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria for help…19 The Lord had humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the Lord. 20 Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but he gave him trouble instead of help.” (2 Chronicles 28:16-21TRUST: God Disciplines those Who Forsake Him.

Now, God gives Jeremiah the Word against His people for forsaking Him.

Jeremiah 2:36-37

36 Why do you go about so much,
    changing your ways?
You will be disappointed by Egypt
    as you were by Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place
    with your hands on your head,
for the Lord has rejected those you trust;
    you will not be helped by them.

Israel would be disappointed and dejected. God says that they would leave that place with hands on their head conveying deep emotional hurt or mourning. Why do we needlessly bring ourselves such negative experiences and emotions? Isn’t it easier to just TRUST God in the first place? If He is our Lord, we eventually have to get back to the place of TRUST in Him anyway. God would prefer to bless us, but He will discipline us to get us back to trusting in Him rather than things and people. The mere fact that He disciplines to bring us back to Him should give us enough reason to place our faith in Him. TRUST: God Disciplines those Who Forsake Him.

Will you trust Him today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: Jesus is Alive

March 28, 2016

Out of honor and respect for God, I did not write anything yesterday because we all should have looked to Him on Easter. Now that the official day is over, I want to say that God expects us to TRUST: Jesus is Alive.

For those of you who went to church yesterday, I am sure that you heard a message revolving around Jesus coming out of the tomb. Here are a few verses that I read Saturday in preparation for Sunday.

Matthew 28:6-7
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Mark 16:6
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.

Luke 24:6
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee

All of those verses give an account and testify to TRUST: Jesus is Alive. Had Jesus not risen from the grave, He could not offer us life after death. 1 Corinthians 15 is a great passage to support this truth. There we learn, “21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.“Because He defeated death, we can have victory over death because of Him. We learn in the same passage ““Death has been swallowed up in victory.”55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

TRUST: Jesus is Alive. As a testament to that fact, I am here and have been here for the past 32 years interacting with Him through the Holy Spirit. While Easter is vitally important, the celebration of it can be misleading. The truth is that the Triune God expects us to celebrate the resurrection of Christ daily by living in obedience to His Word. In response to His disciples question about showing Himself to them and not the world, Jesus said,“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 14:23-24)

Previously in John 14:15, Jesus said, 15 “If you love me, keep my commands.” God commands us to spend time with Him daily to develop our relationship with Him through Christ Jesus. How many of us read the Word daily? More than that, how many of us obey what we read? Do we make excuses saying God knows my heart? What about praying? Do you commune with God as He says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray continually” In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us “33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Furthermore, right before He was crucified, Jesus modeled communion for the disciples. In Luke 22:18-20, Jesus said “18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” In 1 Corinthians 11:24-26

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” When questioned about the greatest commandment, “37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38) The greatest command that He has given us is to love Him. We know if you love Him, you will obey Him. Jesus creates a circle or cycle that is perpetual. Love then obey. Obey then love.

Our love and obedience is measured by our TRUST in God. What we believe drives what we do. If you don’t think something is safe, you will not engage or indulge whether that is food or a command. If we do not have a strong, sound and unwavering handle on TRUST: Jesus is Alive, we will not obey Him. This is why I believe the greatest action of man is to TRUST God. Remember, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”Hebrews 11:6 Faith or TRUST in God operationalizes the relationship and promises God. We see this in Jesus’ conversation with Martha about the death of her brother Lazarus. “25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:25-27)

Just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, God raised Him from the dead; therefore, we must TRUST: Jesus is Alive. Remember Jesus said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”  John 6:29 Let us just believe, please God and be blessed.  TRUST: Jesus is Alive. 

There is something coming your way today. I don’t know what it is, but it will require us all to believe in Jesus. Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: In the Name of the Lord and Rely on God

March 26, 2016

In the post TRUST: In the Name of the Lord our God, I shared that David conveys the choice that we all have in life. We can either trust in things/people, or we can trust in the name of the Lord our God. The theme continues today in Isaiah 50. Here God tells us to TRUST: In the Name of the Lord and Rely on God.

There isn’t a need for me to offer much commentary today on the passage below. All I can tell you is that I was falsely accused yesterday of a very serious allegation. Praise God that He immediately emboldened me with confidence. Fear did not seize me. In fact, I did not know how the circumstance would end, still don’t, but God told me to TRUST Him. In fact, God has been telling me that every since I could hear Him speak more than 30 years ago. God’s message has remained the same – TRUST: In the Name of the Lord and Rely on God. Several people tried to come to advise me, intervene for me and help me, but God, like a shot of adrenaline, gave me confidence and power by TRUSTING in Him. I had to rely on who God is and what God can do to serve as my help in that moment. As I said, I still have to as Monday is coming or some other day after that. It does not matter the day or circumstance. God’s expectation is still the same for all who call Him God, Lord and Savior – TRUST: In the Name of the Lord and Rely on God.

Whether our hardships or suffering or God ordained or the result of our disobedience, the primary point in the passage below is captured in verses 10-11. It reflects the choice we all have. We will either TRUST: In the Name of the Lord and Rely on God and be saved, or we will trust in whatever and experience torment. Isaiah delivers God’s question – who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant? God has message for the obedient and disobedient. Light for the obedient and torment for the one who tries to provide His own light. God is condemning trusting in yourself and refusing to trust in Him. I will TRUST: In the Name of the Lord and Rely on God. As such, I can go on in peace not fearing what Monday will bring if Monday should come for me.

10 Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
    who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
    and rely on their God.
11 But now, all you who light fires
    and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
    and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
    You will lie down in torment.

 

Isaiah 50
This is what the Lord says:

“Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce
    with which I sent her away?
Or to which of my creditors
    did I sell you?
Because of your sins you were sold;
    because of your transgressions your mother was sent away.
When I came, why was there no one?
    When I called, why was there no one to answer?
Was my arm too short to deliver you?
    Do I lack the strength to rescue you?
By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea,
    I turn rivers into a desert;
their fish rot for lack of water
    and die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens with darkness
    and make sackcloth its covering.”

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
    Who then will bring charges against me?
    Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
    Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
    Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
    the moths will eat them up.

10 Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
    who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
    and rely on their God.
11 But now, all you who light fires
    and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
    and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
    You will lie down in torment.

TRUST: In Idols and be Turned Back in Utter Shame

March 25, 2016

I Googled the word “idol”. American Idol was the most returned results. Next was the wife musical artist responding to one of the judges on American Idol about forgetting her husband’s name. Dictionary.com defines idol as an image of a deity other than God and worshiped as such.

Idols abound in our society as they have in every other generation. God was aware of our propensity to TRUST in idols rather than Him. He told man in Exodus 20 not to have another god before Him nor to make a god either literally or figuratively bow in worship to it. God says that He will punish the children of those who TRUST in idols rather than Him. In fact, God equates TRUSTING in idols rather than Him as hate towards Him.

Despite that, He continues to invite us to follow and TRUST in Him. Remember the call in the post TRUST: Listen to the King of Kings.

Isaiah 42:16-17

 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
    along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
    and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
    I will not forsake them.
17 But those who trust in idols,
    who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’
    will be turned back in utter shame.

God tells us in Isaiah 42 to TRUST: In Idols and be Turned Back in Utter Shame. The primary reason is that TRUST: Whoever Trusts in the Lord is Kept Safe. When we fail to TRUST in God, we are relying on some idol. This pits God against man since man will not depend on God or worship God as the only refuge and salvation.

What idols may be present in your life? How has money, popularity, position, faired when you or a loved one faced a critical illness? How have they faired when you are troubled by some circumstance as peace evades you. Get rid of them! Throw them out! God is calling you to not TRUST: In Idols and be Turned Back in Utter Shame.

TRUST: Listen to the King of Kings

March 23, 2016

Beginning in the Old Testament and ending in the New Testament, God conveys that He is King of kings. Let me establish who is truly the King of kings. Revelation 19:16 says, “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords” That is a specific reference to Jesus Christ who serves as the basis of TRUST: Listen to the King of kings.

We know in Exodus 20:3  God tells us “You shall have no other gods before me.” 1Ti 6: 1Ti 6:15 tells us that Jesus is the only ruler and King of Kings. Because Jesus is the King of kings, He commands and demands TRUST from all who call Him Lord and King. As such, this is why God says TRUST: Listen to the King of kings.

There are all sorts of people clamoring for your attention and your allegiance. Let’s face it; we all are self-centered, so all of us are trying to get you to do something we want you to do. A person’s actions are either aligned to God’s or they are not. If the person’s actions or his call for your action is congruent with what God outlines in His Word, that is the one to listen to. If not, that person should not be given the time of day.

2 Kings 18 tells us about Hezekiah, a king of Judah. Of Hezekiah, the text tells us “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.” Hezekiah is an example for us to look to observe TRUST: Listen to the King of kings.

In Isaiah 36-37, we learn that Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.  Sennacherib rhetorically asked Hezekiah on what are you basing this confidence of yours? He knew that Hezekiah based his confidence on the LORD just as the text in 2 Kings told us. Despite that, Sennacherib kept telling Hezekiah and the people of Judah not to trust in the LORD, their God because the gods of other peoples had not spared them from his hand in conquering them. Isaiah, the prophet of the LORD, delivered a Word to Hezekiah. God, the King of kings, told Hezekiah through Isaiah  “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’” (Isaiah 37:6b-7). 

Later in the passage, we see God, who keeps all of His promises, deliver on it. ”

36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.

38 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.

The Basis of TRUST is rooted in who God is, His character, and what God can do, His power or works. Hezekiah knew who God was. He knew that God was the King of kings; therefore, Hezekiah did not falter in trusting in God when He and his people were threatened. We all will face circumstances in this life that are beyond our abilities and control. We have to place our faith in someone or something. God has already commanded us to have no other god before Him. It only makes sense for us to trust and obey Him. This is why I am encouraging you to be like Hezekiah and TRUST: Listen to the King of kings.

TRUST: Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt

March 21, 2016

In the post TRUST: Is Your Strength, I shared God’s admonition about trusting in man or things. Despite God’s admonition given by Isaiah, the people continued to struggle with the notion of trusting only in Jehovah. Truth be told, we too are still struggling with investing our faith in the one true God, Jehovah. Despite all the evidence from nature, the Word of God, and lives all around us, we have a penchant for trusting in idols – man or things. God loves us, so He continues to warn us. We see it in TRUST: Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord.

Ah!, Alas!, Ha!, Ho!, O!, Woe! Any time we see any word followed by an exclamation point, we know it is an expression of emotion. It is an interjection.Woe, in the Hebrew, is the word howy (hōh’ē ) which pronunciation rhymes with boy. Dictionary.com defines woe as an exclamation of grief, distress, or lamentation. In reality, God is warning even threatening any man who trusts in Egypt, a multitude of chariots, or in the great strength of their horsemen. God’s expectation is for man to look to the Holy One of Israel, or to seek help from the Lord, Jehovah “the existing One”. 

TRUST: Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt. To remind you, it is not that Egypt at that time was so bad, but it was that Israel was forsaking God. It was true that Israel had many chariots and that their horsemen had great strength. That was not the problem. The problem was that God’s people, Israel, put their TRUST or faith in Egypt rather than Him. Israel, as well as we, should know that “… God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:1-3) God had already established that He was the one true God. He has proclaimed it then demonstrated it to them. Of all people, Israel should have remembered the songs they sang as God delivered them from bondage. “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea”(Exodus 15:1). Nevertheless, we forget almost immediately what God has done in our lives.

In Isaiah 20, God says “Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame.” On the contrary, God says, Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:5) This is why God gives the warning TRUST: Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt. God knows that those who trust in Him will not be ashamed while those who do not will experience shame for trusting in people or things that can do nothing. To refresh your memory of that fact, review the post TRUST: Not in Humans who cannot Save.

God does not want you to be disappointed. God does not want you to be at odds with Him, but if we fail to trust in Him, we put ourselves in opposition against God especially if we call ourselves followers of Christ. Throughout the Word of God, we see God pursuing those who fail to trust in Him. He is not punishing them but disciplining them just as a father disciplines his children. God’s desire is for us to be in fellowship with Him. If we don’t trust Him, we are not in fellowship with Him because the Word says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

TRUST: Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt. Do not rely on people or things that cannot save or help you. Live a R.A.D.I.C.A.L. Life where you Rely And Depend In Christ As Lord. Trust Him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: Is Your Strength

March 19, 2016

I have shared multiple times that God commands us to put our faith or trust in Him. If He has to command it, we know that we are not prone or apt to trust Him. In surveying the history of Israel and my own life, I see moments of peace and prosperity followed by a waywardness from God. God then allows a hardship, trial or adversity to draw us back to Him. It is only in those moments that we truly seek Him for help. We are lulled to sleep in the blessings thinking that we don’t need Him, but we need to remember TRUST: Is Your Strength.

In the post TRUST: Tell the Next Generation, God encouraged the parents to tell the next generation of His mighty works, so they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. We see that same theme surface in Isaiah 30 where God is speaking to the people about their obstinance or their stubborn refusal to trust in Him. 

Isaiah 30

15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
    Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
    Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
    at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
    you will all flee away,
till you are left
    like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
    like a banner on a hill.”

18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!

That text is an indictment of the people of God who continually chose to pursue worthless and powerless allies rather than depending on God. Where are we doing that now in our lives? Listen to what God told them.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.

Our salvation and strength is found in trusting Him. Of those and of us, God says, “You would have none of it.” We don’t repent of our sin of trusting in people and things rather than God. Because we don’t trust in God, we don’t experience salvation and strength; yet, God says, TRUST: Is Your Strength.

When one does not have strength in the physical sense, it is a result of the load being too much to bear or muscles being over worked by the load. The load of life is too much for us to bear without God’s intervention. This is what God is telling us – TRUST: Is Your Strength. Our strength comes from trusting in God and having him attend to our needs. He promises to meet our needs and carry our burdens. When God is allowed to do what He promised, He always delivers and man is at rest in His salvation whether that be of the soul or of the circumstance. In either case, God has promised to take care of it for us, but we must surrender it to Him.

TRUST: Is Your Strength. I challenge you to search the scriptures to find a single instance where the people of God trusted Him where it did not lead to a position of strength for them. What are you facing now that is a load to heavy and burdensome for you to carry? Is it your finances, job, relationship, health, or the like? In Jeremiah 32:27, God says, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” God is asking us that same question now. Our response to that question reveals what we believe about God. God says TRUST: Is Your Strength. Trust Him today.

TRUST: In the Lord Forever

March 18, 2016

From hearing our cries to being our sole salvation, a myriad of reasons to TRUST God has been provided in posts on www.defranklin.wordpress.com. The Word of God is replete with many more, but I am here to give us another reason. In Isaiah 26:4, we are told to TRUST: In the Lord Forever.

Trust in the Lord forever,
For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength (NKJV)

Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
He humbles those who dwell on high,
    he lays the lofty city low;
he levels it to the ground
    and casts it down to the dust.
Feet trample it down—
    the feet of the oppressed,
    the footsteps of the poor. (NIV)

For the follower of Christ, TRUST: In the Lord Forever is not a suggestion. It is an imperative. Despite that, Isaiah details more reasons to trust God that are rooted in The Basis of Trust which revolve around the character of God, who He is, and the wonder/works of God, what He is able or can do.

Isaiah had already told us to TRUST: You will Keep in Perfect Peace. Because God will keep us in perfect peace, Isaiah tells us to TRUST: In the Lord Forever. Furthermore, Isaiah tells us for in the Lord is everlasting strength or that He is the Rock eternal. He is that which we can stand and not falter or fail. We see who God is in the text. He is everlasting strength, and He will keep the one who trusts in Him in perfect peace. More about His works or what He is able to do is also addressed in the text.

The imperative to TRUST: In the Lord Forever is augmented by other examples of the power of God i.e. the wonders and works of God. We are told in the text that God humbles those who dwell on high. People who are elevated in position are humbled by God. In present and past history, we know of powerful people or people in high positions that have been humbled. Immediately, I think of Nebuchadnezzar who was the feared king of Babylon but was reduced to living as a beast or wild and mad man eating grass until he humbled himself before God. GoliathSennacherib, and Pharaoh are all examples of why we student TRUST in God and not men. God tells us in Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

In regards to the city of man, God tells us in Isaiah 25:12 that “He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low; he will bring them down to the to the ground, to the very dust. In Ezekiel 26:11, God says, “The hooves of his horses will trample all your streets; he will kill your people with the sword,and your strong pillars will fall to the ground.” From Jericho to Jerusalem, we know that God has destroyed cities. His point is that we should desire the ultimate city of God as our dwelling as opposed to trusting and living for some earthly place that will be destroyed.

TRUST: In the Lord Forever is not just an imperative for now. It is forever. God wants you to trust in Him not other people, places or things. God desires and demands your TRUST. Will you have faith in Him now and be blessed, or will you continue trusting in man and things. TRUST: In the Lord Forever . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: You will Keep in Perfect Peace

March 17, 2016

All over the world, we see conflict happening. Of course, there is the conflict that we hear about in the Middle East. In the U.S., we hear of the conflicts revolving around politics, race and religion. In my school, I have met with students this week about their desire to have peace because of conflicts with best friends, teachers, and death in their families. One of the most desired yet elusive experiences is peace. This is why I am posting TRUST: You will Keep in Perfect Peace. 

What exactly is peace? How does one obtain it? Where is it found? For me, I have to go to the Word of God to establish the definition. In our text today, Isaiah 26:3, the Word says,

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you. NIV
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You. NKJV

First, we learn that peace is not ours to possess but it is given by God. The you in the text is God. We learn this by reading earlier in the passage. In fact, we see there is a conditional promise of peace extended to man. God will keep us in peace. Not just peace, but perfect peace.

The Hebrew word for peace used here is shalowm (shä·lōm’) which means quiet, tranquillity, contentment. It does not mean the absence of hardship, trials or difficulties. It is a state of mind that supersedes fear, anxiety and worry. We know that is true from Philippians 4:6-7 as well as other examples in scripture where people were under seige; yet, they were at peace in the midst of being attacked whether physically, emotionally or ideologically. Jesus is the ultimate example of that. 1 Peter 2:22-24 tells us

“He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

If you were to look at the text in Hebrew, perfect peace is actually written shalowm shalowm. It is sense of double peace. It has been said that perfect peace is a place for God to keep us. Peace with people or friends can be taken away by them. As we have already said, peace in the world is not ours to determine, but God says He promises to keep us in shalowm shalowm i.e. perfect peace. TRUST: You will Keep in Perfect Peace

The promise is based on a condition though. What is the condition? That those, anyone, whose mind, way of think, the framework of one’s thinking, is stayed on you. Stayed is to lean, lay, rest, support, put, uphold, lean upon. One of the most poignant examples of this is in Matthew 14 where Jesus is walking on water and Peter asked Him if it is you command me to come to you. Peter began walking on water to Jesus, but he lost his focus as he began looking at the storm around him and not Jesus. When Peter did, he began to sink. He cried out to Jesus again, refocusing, and Jesus immediately reached out to him saving him. Look at Jesus’ reproof of Peter after that. Jesus said, ““You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”” Jesus too was saying TRUST: You will Keep in Perfect Peace.

Do you want to be kept in perfect peace or double peace? God says for you to trust in Him. You should have faith that He will keep not only His promise of peace but you in it. When I thought I had lost a relationship with my wife, God said, “Trust me and obey” The result -perfect peace before I even knew the outcome. When I lost over a third of a million dollars, God said, “Trust me”. The result – perfect peace. When I was told that my cholesterol was so bad that I might die, God said, “Trust me”. The result – perfect peace and still here with a healthy heart 15 years later. When my wife miscarried several times and the hope of children seemingly with those, God said, “Trust me.” The result – perfect peace and the blessing of two children later. When I lost my job, God said “Trust me.” The result – perfect peace – many encouraged in their faith because I trusted in God. They saw my peace. The result – more time with my kids and wife, a teaching job where my students had high growth, and then another administrative job. When my children are going through challenges as adolescents, God said, “Trust me.” The result – perfect peace – I am fasting and praying for them believing that God’s Word is true. He has a plan and a future for them – one to prosper them and not harm them. One that is filled with hope. I am trusting in God with my children because that end has not come, but He has given me His Word, the lives of other saints and my own as proof positive that TRUST: You will Keep in Perfect Peace.

Will you TRUST Him with your life or challenge? If you do, He promises perfect peace. Trust Him and be blessed.