Call of God Monday, Feb 22 2016 

Lord, be with us as we study your Holy WORD. Open our spiritual eyes and ears that we might hear and know your WORD for us today. That the bread of life that Christ is might become a part of who we are in you, LORD. In Jesus’ name.

Now Uzziah was one of the ancient kings of Judah that we find written about in the second book of Chronicles chapter 26. He began to rein at the age of 16 and he reined 52 years. His dad’s name was Amaziah and his mother’s name was Jecoliah. The name Uzziah means “My Strength is in Yahweh.” Amaziah means “Yah has been Mighty.” Jecoliah means “Yah will Prevail.”

Like his father, Uzziah did what was right in the sight of the LORD. Zechariah taught him to fear the LORD and as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. Now Uzziah was a warrior who won many battles with the help of God. He had success in farming, building cities, towers, and the building of vast armies. He provided them with shields, spears, helmets, coast of armor, bows and slingshots. We was well known throughout the land.

But then after he became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He went into the temple and did the job of a priest. THIS WAS NOT HIS CALL.

He became angry when asked to leave. While he was raging, leprosy broke out on his forehead. The priests led him out willingly. King Uzziah had leprosy until he died.

Each of us when we are born are given a gift. If we listen to the LORD, we will be called to use that gift in our journey through life. But if we seek to go our own way there will be dire consequences. We must heed the call of God and that right early, otherwise we will find we hate our job, that it is a burden, unfulfilling, and just plain not “right” for us. In order to be “right” with the LORD we have to follow his call on our lives whatever that might be.

It reminds me of the verse, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all else will be added unto you.” And too the verse, “Seek the LORD with all your heart and lean not unto you own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.”

Advertisements

Forgiveness of God Wednesday, Feb 17 2016 

Forgiveness is not just something we have, it is something we do.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[g]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Dear Friend, it is my sincere hope that you will forgive me for all of the things I have done or said that hurt you in the past. As in the LORD’S Prayer, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” May we, as Christian brothers and sisters forgive one another in Jesus’ name.

Romans 13:7-9King James Version (KJV)

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Forgiveness is a free gift that God gives each of us. But it isn’t something we have and keep and hoard, it is to be re-gifted. It is to be used. Make your forgiveness a verb instead of a noun. Not something you have but something you do.  God Bless you.

Love of God Monday, Feb 15 2016 

Love of God

 

Understanding the “Love of God” comes directly to us through the scriptures. The more you read the scriptures, meditate on the WORD, the more you begin to see and understand God’s love for you.

Let’s begin with prayer: Father, we come before you in adoration and love to learn your will and way. We come to know more of you, LORD. Teach us to be grateful for your presence in our lives, for your love for each one of us. We know you have numbered every hair on our head, LORD. We know we are that precious to you. Open our spiritual eyes and ears to what you want us to know. In Jesus’ name.

Romans 8:38-39New International Version (NIV)

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We need to be “convinced” just like Paul was here. We need to know the love of God in our hearts, in our minds, in our very souls. We need to know that absolutely nothing can separate us. He is our God, our Father, our Creator, our LORD, and our King.

Titus 3New International Version (NIV)

Saved in Order to Do Good

3 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Because of God’s love we have been changed. These changes make it possible for us to live eternally with Him both now and in the world to come. We are saved in order to do well. We need to remind one another. This same love with which God has adored us through gentleness, kindness, goodness and mercy, we are to be obedient to his example toward one another. They will know we are Christians by our love.

1 John 3:16-18New International Version (NIV)

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Here once again, we are reminded of our call to love your neighbor as yourself. It is the original commandment only here we are held to an even higher standard. It is no longer philia (warm friendship) but rather agape (love for everyone). We are to love even our enemies. Love becomes transformed from a noun to a verb here. It is no longer something you have it becomes something you do.

 

2 Corinthians 13:11-14

Final Greetings

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.

14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

What a wonderful promise, that God would be with us and in us. Paul has prayed for the Corinthians here but God meant it for us all.

 

Battle of God Monday, Feb 8 2016 

Battle of God

As Christians, we often find ourselves failing at our battle against the enemy. We pray and ask God, “Why are you not here when I need you the most?”

Our text today comes from Deuteronomy 20 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

The officers shall say to the army: “Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it. Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.” Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.” When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over it.

10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.

16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy[a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.

19 When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?[b] 20 However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.

From this text we learn that it is God who fights for us to give us victory but not ourselves. Jesus is the captain of the troops. We are Christian soldiers. The army is the church. The officers are pastors. The city is our stronghold. (fill in your sin here). The Hittitites, Amorites, canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites represent pride, lust, greed, gluttony, laziness, wrath, and envy.

The seven deadly sins are not deadly because they are unforgivable but deadly because they are the strongholds that keep us from the peace of God. Our enemy the devil keeps us bound in these sins until we declare all-out war.

The next text is from Joshua 6New International Version (NIV)

6 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”

When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there.

12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.

15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted[a] to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”

20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:

“At the cost of his firstborn son     he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest     he will set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.

The city of Jericho represents our strongholds. (fill in your sin here). Now you may think you don’t have any strongholds but 1 John 1says “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Once again, the battle is God’s. The Israelites that marched around the city represent the church. The seven priests with seven trumpets represent our confession. The ark represents our faith which we carry with us. Please notice the “rest” at night. Once you declare war on your strongholds, confess your sin before God, ask Him to fight the battle for you, you can sleep like a baby. The shout represents our declaration that we will serve God and him only. He is our bulwark. God is a god of details. Notice the six days and on the seventh day victory. This represents the Sabbath (rest, peace, victory). The silver and gold represent the fruits of the spirit: Galatians 5:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Notice that the LORD rebuilds the city. If we refuse to give up our strongholds we cannot have the benefits of His redemption. If we allow bitterness to entangle our hearts we will never come into the fullness of the riches of Christ our LORD. Notice also the foundation set is Christ. Joshua prophesied the coming of Christ. “Unless the LORD build the city it is built in vain.” i.e vanity/pride. The battle is Gods. Glory to Him.

 

Study of God Saturday, Feb 6 2016 

Each time that we read our bible we find out more about the Creator of the Universe. We begin with a prayer “Lord, help this study to reveal more of you. Help me to understand the manifold riches of your grace. Enrich my mind with more knowledge of you, Lord. in Jesus’ name.”

Take for instance the beginning verses of John 4:

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

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

We learn that Jesus made disciples by using disciples he already had. Even now the disciples of God are called to make new disciples (Matthew 28:19).

We see the sufficiency of God to whatever task He sets out to do.

We see the call of God. The call was specific. He went to a specific place for a specific purpose.

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

We see a specific direction i.e. through Samaria. To a specific place: Sychar which means “end.” During the time of Christ there were three provinces in Western Palestine: Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria was in the middle. Most Jews would bypass this area and it was not regarded as part of the holy land at all.

This specific plot of ground was a part of God’s provision to the Israelites for water. We see Christ “resting”. Many times in our own ministry we will be called upon to wait on the LORD, to rest in Him.

He came at a specific time. This was the time when it would be the custom for the women who carried the water to come and draw their daily fresh supply of water. As Christians we are to come daily to the WORD to be refreshed and find rest.

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

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

He came for a specific person. He called on her for a specific need. He calls on us for a specific purpose.

But notice here that the woman questions Him. It is the proverbial “Why me, LORD?” Her concern seems to be that she is a lowly Samaritan. It reminds me of Moses who had difficulty speaking and yet God called him to give his commandments to the Israelite nation. You see, God uses the weak to show himself strong. How about you? Has he called you to a task? Are you asking, “Why me, LORD?”

He called me to a task just this morning: to write this post. The task may seem daunting but the sufficiency of God will lead us through to the end.

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

God is a giver of gifts. He has answers for us. If we only knew Him better, we could ask and he would give us “living water.” The living water of God represents all of Him: His WORD, His Spirit, His love.

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

This is classic human nature to question our call. When he calls us to a task, we begin with questions, “Who are you to tell me? How could I possibly do that? ” We make excuses about why we can’t do it. We mistrust our ability or rather His to do whatever the call might be. Here he has nothing to draw with. The task is too difficult i.e. deep well. Where on earth will you get this “living water”?

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

This tells us of the majesty and power of God. It tells us of His whole purpose in coming not only to the woman at the well, but to all mankind: He comes that we might have “eternal life.” (John 3:16)

It tells us of the sufficiency of Christ. He is “solo Christo”: all we need to be anointed. He alone is our source. The word “Christ” means anointed one but the anointing isn’t just any ordinary anointing but rather  a “smearing”.  He gives us His Spirit which is able to teach us all things. He gives us His Love which is the gift of Himself that we are to share with one another. (1 John 3:1)

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

Here we see the yearning that every heart has for what Christ has to offer. It is human nature to want to make our lives easier both for ourselves and for those we love.

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

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

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

He has full knowledge. The truth of God is what He is offering her. He knows her past, her present, her future. Already he has acknowledged her worth just by speaking to her. But here he goes deeper to affirm her. This is why it is so important to “speak the truth.” This is our example of how we should communicate with God. Tell him the truth when you pray. Tell him your concerns. Instantly, he knows your heart. It is obvious from her past that she has been seeking “love” i.e. five husbands. When we read the WORD God reveals to us things about ourselves. He may rebuke, correct, or admonish us. (2 Timothy 3:16)

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

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

Here he has drawn out of her the question he has been seeking. Does “where” we worship matter? But as is his custom he answers this question and drills even deeper and answers the unspoken portion of her inquiry. He expounds on the “truth”. He divulges knowledge that affirms that he knows her custom, her history and his knowledge of her future and the future of the entire world. He tells her the whole purpose of man i.e. to worship God. He tells her how to worship. He tells her about God: What he is like, what he wants, how he wants it.

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

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

She tells him that she knows there is to be an “anointed one” that will teach us all things. The anointing of God is for all Christians. The declaration of God is that “He is. And that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)