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Tag Archives: God

Difficult Trust

       Trust is not something that is only experienced on the mountain tops but also in the valleys. Joshua, who had presumed that one with God was a majority, wanted to go into the promised land and take the possession; but unfortunately Moses had been convinced by the ten spies that came back worried about the size of those who lived in the promised land. Moses was Joshua’s authority and authority is established by God. Now here’s the thing, God was disappointed with their fear filled decision to not enter the promise land. They failed to trust the LORD’s ability to deliver the promise land into their hands. They must have forgotten how He had brought them out of bondage, they must have forgotten how the Egyptians were destroyed by the unseen power of God. “They” being everyone except Joshua and Caleb. So God commanded Moses and the all the Israelites to 40 years of wandering in the desert. If I were Joshua I would have wanted to scream out, “I wanted to go in, why is my opportunity going to be postponed 40 years just because everyone else lacked the faith to move ahead?” But Joshua never said a word, he never complained, he never argued, he never accused Moses or the other spies of causing him undue hardship, he just trusted God’s presence to be with him those 40 years in the desert  He learned from Moses all he could, he supported Moses, he learned from Moses’ mistakes, and he learned from Moses’ dealings with the Lord. He stood in the tabernacle even after Moses went home for the evening and there he learned that wandering in the desert was valuable. 

As I look at the United States and the next four years, I want to be like Joshua. Not prone to complaining and bickering about every bad decision our leaders make. But learning and growing in the presence of our God and trusting He is able to take me through these difficult times. I hope I can learn that my desert wanderings are valuable to my future faith in the God who is able. Let Him ever be praised and may we ever be thankful that no matter who leads it is He who is in control of everything. Amen.
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Light In Darkness

In 600 BC Israel was captured by Babylon and while this was not the best of circumstances for the people they had to determine how they would proceed into this dilemma. Because the customs and mannerisms of the Babylonians were a stark contrast to the Israeli moral and spiritual culture they were left with a tough decision, what would God want them to do as captive people in a foreign nation? The Babylonians were persuading them to come and enjoy the benefits of the city hoping they would eventually lose their identity and spirituality as the people of Israel. False prophets were telling them not to venture into the city and to maintain their rich spirituality by avoiding the Babylonians as much as possible, this would be difficult and dangerous. It would make sense because the Babylonians would force on them laws and dictates they were not accustomed or allowed to obey. But God spoke through their prophet Jeremiah that He desired for them to both go into the city and enjoy its benefits while maintaining their moral and spiritual convictions. He explained that Babylon would eventually be judged but for now the people of Israel were to live life to the fullest – build houses – have children – take wives – plant gardens etc… Jeremiah 29:7 Tells the people they are to seek the welfare of the city where God had sent them into exile, and pray on its behalf, for its welfare because as the city does well so will you. 

We live in a time and place where often it seems it would be simpler if God would just give us some little island where only followers of Christ could live without interference from society that opposes such. A place where prayer in school and public forum would not be lambasted by atheist who desire only to dismantle our belief systems, a place where our faith could be spoken openly and freely and love would just flow continually amongst us, and place that was excluded from laws that allowed for beliefs we did not hold.
America is full of moral conflicts that constantly interfere with our “Christian” beliefs and walk. Hot topics like abortion, homosexuality, and public prayer are always in the mix of subjects that are influenced by our justice system and those in political power. Wouldn’t it be better if we could just defect to some unknown area of the world and colonize where there is less chance of spiritual compromise? But what if God intends for us to seek the welfare of the city where we are at? What if God wants us to both enjoy the benefits of these circumstances and pray specifically that this society we live in prospers even though we disagree wholeheartedly with how it functions, morally and spiritually? Even in bondage the people of Israel were to be the light in the darkness, and even in times where we feel our nation is full of darkness we need also bear light. It is a tightrope we walk, living in the world but not being of the world. It is my prayer that we as a nation of people will prosper, that we will not lose our spiritual or moral bearings in the process, and that being light in the darkness we may draw to Christ those who need be saved. Amen.

Spoken Word

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.
The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. Psalm 37:30-31

Do you ever wonder what the world would be like if but only those who stood in the righteousness of Christ Jesus would speak wisdom? I don’t know if we can even begin to understand the fullness of power we have been given by the words we utter. God created everything by speaking it into being and in creating us with the ability and authority to follow likewise. We too can create or destroy based on the words we choose to use. There is great power in the binding and loosing by speaking thus and so. We who are in Christ, having the Holy Spirit,are also endued with authority in the spirit realm that often goes without ever being tapped into because we are so absorbed in matters of the flesh.

Oh that we could trust the words of those we know personally, those who serve in governmental authority, those who own and operate businesses, those who serve alongside us in ministry, if only those who proclaimed Jesus as Lord would speak wisdom and justice our world be so much more relevant to the King of Kings and so much more pleasant a place for us to live too. I love this word just because it speaks of our discernment – you cannot speak justly if you don’t judge correctly. This gives credence for the need to know a perfect standard by which to judge. The LAW of God needs to be inscribed on our hearts in order for us to be able to judge justly. The fact that the law is in our hearts shows our admiration and determination to hold to the standard that never fails. What I love about the Word is that it was never intended to only be memorized and kept but memorized and lived. It is the application of God’s word that will cause our pathways to be lit and afford us a life’s walk without slipping.

Lord I pray today that we who are called by Your Name would speak faith filled words of wisdom and justice over this nation. That we would use Your standard as our measure to govern our personal lives and to judge those things of which we speak. Keep us Lord from slipping any further than what we already have as a nation of people and hold us to the path of righteousness for You namesake. Amen

Be Doers of the Word

There is a pattern in scripture that points to the application of God’s Word in our lives…Jesus said his mother and brothers were those who done what he commanded…also blessed are they who not only hear the word but do it…James says be doers of the word not hearers only…Paul says much the same. The pattern is clear that the word of God is to be more than just a set of memorized scriptures, that we have learned in the Hebrew and Greek translations.

There seems to be a division that shows a sharp contrast between the hearing of and the doing of God’s word. Let me be clear, it is not enough to hear only. What if you told your child “do your homework” only to come back an hour later to hear your child say “I memorized what you said, you said do your homework”. Obviously the child heard what you said but your demand was not to memorize your words but it was to accomplish a task. Now don’t get me wrong here we need to have God’s word hidden in our heart but just not so deeply that it never appears in our actions.

When I stand before God, draped in the robe of righteousness that was bought by the blood of Jesus – forgiven – cleansed – His grace glistening off every aspect of the salvation I am perfected in,; I want to have a confidence that says the seed He sowed in my life was to His glory. I want to be able to say because you loved me enough to die for me, I did my best to live for you. I really believe with every fiber of my being that what we learn from God’s word should translate into our living.

Let me encourage you today, be Jesus to someone…speak words of life into someone’s heart, pull someone out of the pit where they have fallen, change a flat, feed a hunger, contribute to a cause, find a need and meet it with the love you have been shown. Yes being Jesus is sacrificial, it will cost you time, money, and maybe even emotional transference. The rewards however of following Jesus are magnificent and eternal. I am often taken aback when I read scripture at how few people actually followed Jesus after they considered the cost. I wonder are you a follower or just a fan?

Reckless Abandon

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:3-4

We can all relate to the understanding of something being better than something else. I like jelly filled donuts better than plain donuts, I like hot coffee better than cold coffee, I like chocolate milk better than hot cocoa, I like steak better than veggies, I like hand held razors better than electric shavers, I like Toyota better than Chevy and this could go on all day. I think the idea of liking something better translates very easily most of the time, but to like something better than life? It is a theme that can be seen throughout the Bible in the lives of those who knew the real Life Giver. Based on the love that God has for humanity is it any wonder that life would be considerably less valuable apart from Him?
Paul understood this probably as good as anyone, when he penned the line “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. He had written to the Philippians with the hope that they would grasp the gravity of knowing the relationship with Christ is better than life itself. One thing I want to point out here though, is that there must be a heavy emphasis placed on knowing Christ in the here and now, otherwise to die is not gain.
The psalmist too places a heavy emphasis on the relationship and his experience of the God who loves. Here we see that a life lived in the love of God is one that is reflective of that love. The psalmist glorifies God with his lips – we can presume that means that he sings praises but let’s not exclude the thought that he guards his mouth to say only those things that would bring God glory. It doesn’t stop with praise in words either, this psalmist says it carries over into a physical adoration by the raising of his hands in praise of the name as well. That word “name” sticks in my craw because it declares that the psalmist is personal in his worship – he acknowledges the name of God.
I enjoy my faith because there is a great freedom in the ability to run headlong to the One that loves me and embrace Him in worship. This a a concept that cannot be grasped by those that live in the confines of rules taught by men, or people afraid of what others might think of their reckless abandonment of those rules. There is nothing forced and there is not a comfort zone that cannot be dismantled in the process of a worshipper meeting with their LORD. If you have found the love of God then you know it is better than life itself and no amount of words in my vocabulary can make it any clearer. May we all praise His Name and enjoy our doing so all our days of life. Amen

IF

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.” Deuteronomy 28:1-3

The conditions of promise are set here again in the word IF. IF, is so powerful a word because it is an individual choice whereby a national blessing is held in the balance. The conditions for the blessing are clearly stated (if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God)
First let’s look at whom the request is given, YOU who know the Lord, as your God. This is not a condition given to a godless people who have never known the voice of God but instead to those who are His.
Faithfully obey is the condition of importance; for what good is it to hear if we are not going to obey and further what good is it to obey if we are not going to obey in faith filled consistency . The ingredient that brings to life our obedience is faith – for without faith it is impossible to please God (it is also impossible to be obedient without faith). It occurs to me that disobedience in this instance is more than rebellion and seeking of self-satisfaction but it is also a lack of respect for God’s word and a denial of His authority in our lives. If we who desire an America where God is on the throne, where His kingdom rule reigns, then it must first be established in the hearts of His people to be obedient to that rule.
It cannot be an obedience that comes out of fear or simply the desire for blessing that we are found to obey, but rather out of love for our Lord God. Obedience that obeys only because of what fears or expects to earn is not really one that has understood God’s grace nor does it relish in the love of the KING – it performs because it expects a payoff. If God wanted that kind of obedience I doubt there would be any reason for us to be given choice. We could have been carefully designed robots without any desires apart from God’s commands if he would have wanted such, but we are not; because His desire is that we would choose Him over this world. So out of love for the voice we hear and in faithful consistency do we obey.
Yet, there is still a promise for us to contend, and what of it? We as Americans know what it means to be set high above all the nations. I recently read that what we throw in our garbage disposals each day is better than what 75% of the remainder of the world would know as nutrition. Our army undoubtedly the bravest and best equipped in technology and weaponry throughout the world is second to none. Our freedoms and privileges show us to be a nation set apart from all others and vastly superior in personal wealth and education. We are the melting pot of all races and creeds of people; a true experiment in a democratic society; but is the experiment failing? Yes, I like you know this superiority of ours greatly diminished in these past few years, and while we continue on, almost unfazed, by the obvious reductions in every area and the decreased freedoms we once knew, we have to ask is because we have stopped obeying the God we claim to love? Is it that God’s promise is no longer valid? Let’s be real here, God’s words cannot be broken – John 10:35. His promises are as true today as they were thousands of years ago. The issue with America begins in our hearts it is based in our love for God, or rather our lack of love for God.
I believe that as it was with Abraham when he begged for God to remove his wrath and not to destroy Sodom if only ten righteous could be found – it is also today with America. If God could find those committed to the righteousness He has bestowed on us by way of Christ Jesus, those who were in fact obedient to His voice because of the love we have for Him – America too would be spared. But will He find those committed to the righteousness He has bestowed on us? It is the IF in the condition of a promise to be fulfilled, an individual mandate to honor the God we claim to love by aligning ourselves in a faithful obedience and the promise of national blessing. I pray we will love the Lord with a heart that disciplines itself to the voice of God, that we will be found to be faithfully obedient. Amen

The Confession That Heals

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16
There are three types of people in the the world 1) close companions those who love you no matter your condition, they are the people that see your flaws but love you anyway. They are the ones that read you, they correct and rebuke you, (it hurts you to fail them) and they never back away from wanting God’s best for you but they love you even if you don’t choose Gods best. You know you can confide in them because they look out for you. 2) Then the are those people that I like to call the forty inchers. Forty inchers are people you need to keep arms length away and for me that’s forty inches. They like what you like, laugh when you laugh, they also laugh when you cry. They have the same agenda as you but they don’t desire for you to succeed instead they desire that they succeed. They want your plans, your dreams for themselves, they want your life because they see how God blesses you. Remember these people are not you friends in Christ. 3) last but not least is what we will refer to as allies. They are folks that only align themselves with you because you have the same enemy. They don’t care for you because all they want is to beat a common foe.

There are very few of those close companion type people. I’d be surprised if anyone expected to find even two of the close companions in your entire life. Close companions are the only ones worthy of confessing your faults to. They are the only people who want you to succeed so bad that they will take your confession and weep with you over the failures you have faced. They will laugh with you as you laugh. We too ate those who are commanded to pray for one another and in such manner does healing come. Healing here is both physical and spiritual and it comes because we confess our trespasses with one another and we pray for one another. I believe that pride and fear are the two greatest barriers to restored health. Pride, because we want people to hold us in high esteem and we cannot stand the idea that someone might know our Weaknesses. Fear because we are so afraid of how harshly we would be judged by those who call us friends. For us to be effective we must be able to love without condition, we must be able to see our friends weakness and have compassion on each other. We must realize none of us are perfect and we all need close companions to sure our wounded souls with. I pray that we who are neighbors and friends would be to others as we desire them to be to us. I want God’s best for you each. Amen.