God’s Visitation-Part 1 Thursday, Jun 1 2017 

I’d like to begin this post with the story of how Israel got its’ name:

Jacob Wrestles With God

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[f] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[g] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[h] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Here we have an example of a historical fact. I-sra-el, or “I struggled with God.” It is also an example of a visitation from God. One of many throughout the bible that I would like to now bring to your attention.

Another instance is Moses and the burning bush:

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

Now here we have another instance of God’s Visitation. I will continue in Part 2.

God’s Anchor Tuesday, May 16 2017 

As we begin this study of God’s Anchor I’d like you to turn in your bible to the book of Acts, which is a record of the acts of the Apostles of Christ. It is in the New Testament. It is the first book after the four gospels. Now go to the 27th chapter beginning in verse 13. We have here the story of “The Storm.”  Just as in life, the story begins where “life is a breeze”. We see here in the first verse of this story, “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity”; so far in the story things are going pretty good. If you know how the weather works on this earth, you know that a “south wind” is warm and a “gentle south wind” is even better. In order to move forward on the sea in a sailing ship you need the wind to blow. Back in the day of Paul, the people of that era did their business primarily by ship. It was their most rewarding form of transportation. So, as the story goes, “opportunity knocks.” They see their chance. And they take it. It says in the text, “So they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.” Now the word “Crete” means carnal or fleshly. You’ll notice that at first they “sailed along the shore”. This is like what our Christian life is like when we first get saved. Many times, God calls us away from our old life. Some of us, unsure of our bearings continue to hang around our old friends and continue to pursue fleshly and carnal pursuits.

But the Holy Spirit frequently sends us a reminder of our calling. As the story goes, “Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island.” Putting on our weatherman’s hat again, we know that winds from the northeast are “cold” and “harsh”.

 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.” When we are first saved it can be difficult to pull away from “the world”. Many people flail. Change can be scary.

As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor[b] and let the ship be driven along.” We may even try to hold our old life together as it is falling apart. Cauda means tail. It is when we are at the “end” of our old life that the enemy attacks the hardest because he does not want to lose us. He lies to us about our destiny. He uses fear as a weapon against us. Syrtis means quicksand. “They lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along.”

“We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” He steals our hope. He seeks to kill and destroy our new life. He blinds us to the truth. You see sailors use the stars to guide their ships. But when you cannot see the stars you flail, and the storms of life keep raging on.

  “After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.” The truth comes out. Paul had warned them not to sail. Do we listen to our spiritual authorities in Christ? Or do we go on about doing things the old way? The truth is that everyone dies, “only the ship will be destroyed.” But we shall be saved. This is the encouragement of the gospel.

Do we anchor ourselves to this earth and just flail along?

“Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” Do not be afraid.   “Keep up your courage.” “Have faith in God.” “It will happen just as He told us in His Word.” “We must run aground on some island”. i,e, pay the consequences of our actions. But we and our household shall be saved. This is the end of the story but the beginning of a new life in Christ.

 

God’s Day Tuesday, Apr 11 2017 

Some believe that everyday is God’s day. When defined as a set 24 hours, this is certainly true, but I’ve been pondering the fact that we know that God lives outside of time and yet he does everything within its’ proper time. This blog post just might blow your mind as I take you to a place you may have never been.

You may have never thought about this in exactly the way I intend to spell it out to you here. Oh, I know, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

But I also know that, ” with the LORD a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day”,  2 Peter 3:8  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.

So imagine for a moment that you could understand the concept of one day stretching out into a thousand years. This is one of those impossibilities that is possible with God. Just like the camel through the eye of the needle.

I can’t help but think that God takes great musings about this pondering of His awesomeness.

Back to “a day”. The best way to understand this is back at the beginning. Genesis 1:4-5

God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Here we see exactly what God is doing. It is the essence of who He is that comes out so clearly. God “sees” what is good and separates it from darkness. Only God is good. Mark 10:18 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. ”

Why do I attempt to explain God to you? Every attempt I make fails miserably. I digress at every turn unable to put forth the meaning my mind so eagerly clings to in this expansion called “today”.

The point I’m trying to make is that every day is important, valuable, priceless, irreplaceable, unwavering in its’ capacity to glorify the God of the universe within the actions of His called and beyond the circumference of His chosen. We cannot contain all that God’s “Day” encompasses.

Only God can truly know his day and what it will be. Will it be full of gentleness, meekness and peace; absent of any need or want or worry? Or, will it be a “Day of Reckoning”? You decide.

God’s Breakthrough Sunday, Apr 2 2017 

Now before you flog me and have me crucified hear me out. I’m writing you to tell you the truth about God. So many of you don’t even believe there is a God. If that is you then this post is for you.

If you do believe there is a God it will be okay for you to read this post because it just might help you to see God from a new perspective. Each person has there own perspective about God and who He is and how he operates. Maybe you’ll identify with mine.

“There is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

Almost since the beginning of time, man has sought the answer to who is God?

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6

Please don’t just skip over this verse because in it are the keys to the kingdom. God is telling us exactly who He is.

First he is the great “I AM.”  Exodus 3:14

Second he is the “Way”. Jesus said this to his disciples to reveal his true identity.  John 14:6

Third he is the “Truth”. It doesn’t say that he is truthful, although He is truthful. It says He is the “Truth”. He is the living breathing truth in each of us. When you are full of truth you are full of Him. The truth isn’t just something you speak, although it is that, it is a goal, a purpose, a “Way” of living. It is your whole focus.

The Scriptures are full of times Jesus said, “Verily, Verily, I say unto you.” That is like saying “Very truthfully, I say unto you.” There is no greater truth than Christ and him crucified. The facts of his life are the truth of your salvation. He is your salvation.

Fourth Jesus said, “No man comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6 Again He is telling you who God is and how He operates. He operates through Christ. And when you are “in Christ” you have God in you by means of his Spirit.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

He says, “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD.” Romans 14:11

It does not say just “Christians”. It says “every knee”.

He says, “I am God Almighty”. Genesis 35:11

Fifth, He is the Life. This life he speaks of is eternal, everlasting, unending, for..EVER.

He says, “I am the Alpha and Omega”. Revelation 1:8

He is.

He is God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Ghost. We are made in his image; body, mind, and spirit.

” We are his workmanship.” Ephesians 2:10

“We were made to worship Him”. John 4:23

When God breaks through and reveals himself to you, it is no small thing. See how he revealed himself to Saul on the road to Damascus.  He says, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me.” Acts 9:4.

 

God’s Way Saturday, Mar 11 2017 

Lord, Thank-you for the eternity you have placed in my heart. Thank-you, LORD, that you: teach me your way everlasting, are a light unto my path, are the way, are the truth, are the light. Thank-you for your presence, LORD.

Thank-you for the flaming sword that guards the way to life eternal. Your way is holy and righteous. Direct me to do what is right. Make straight paths for my feet. May my deeds bring you glory, Father. Help me to settle matters quickly with my adversary. Bring sound judgment here. Bring me your heart of compassion. Give me food to feed your sheep. That none should perish in my path.

Thank-you for your Spirit that teaches me all things.

I receive your free gift of salvation. I receive you.

I will seek you early in the morning. Come to the garden. I hunger for you. You are life.

Glory, Jesus, to your name. I cry out to you. I lift my heart, my hands, my life. On my knees, I pray. I am secure in you. You are Most High. In you there is mercy, enduring mercy, forever. Your Way is right. I worship you.

I enter into your rest, LORD. I accept your peace. I accept your terms. I accept your promises. I accept your will. I accept your plan. Thank-you, for being my God. Jesus, have mercy on me. You are perfect in all of your ways. You are holy. You are the name above all other names.

God’s Energy Sunday, Jan 29 2017 

After winter comes spring.

People in Christ have new life. Just like the cactus flower they have new beauty and new fragrance. Spring brings new sounds: Chirping of new birds, the trickling sound of water moving as the snow melts away.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”

That is how it is with us when we are converted.  All things become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

We have new energy.

Philippians 4:13

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

We have new life.

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

He was the first to live the resurrected life.

Colossians 1:18-20

18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;

20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

God’s Path Wednesday, Jan 25 2017 

Getting around from place to place these days is a lot easier than it used to be. As we all know, the shortest distance between two places is a straight line. This is true in the physical world and in the spiritual world. Walking in the Spirit means walking the “straight and narrow”. There is no wavering or wandering off of the path. If you are following more than one leader you become inconsistent and easily get “off course.”

Getting off course can cost lots of time and energy.

Remember how it took 40 years for the Israelites to make it through the desert? Have you ever looked at a map of the area? From the bird’s eye view, it is hard to even imagine how it could possibly take so long.

The Spirit of God is not only a disciplining parent but also a demanding coach who pushes us to our limits and requires our lives to be disciplined. Although we may not feel strong enough to push on to victory, we will be able to accomplish it as we follow Christ and draw on his strength. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13. Then we can use our growing strength to help those around us who are weak and struggling.

Remember this is true in the spiritual and in the physical world.

God said it through the prophet Isaiah this way:

Isaiah 40:3-5 Isaiah 40:3-5New International Version (NIV)

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.[b]
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

God said it through the book of Hebrews this way:

Hebrews 12:1-13

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Whatever doesn’t line up with your calling, faith, convictions, and purpose you eliminate from your life. Eliminate it from your actions, words, and thoughts. In other words, “don’t go there.”

When you walk in the Spirit, everything lines up; your actions, faith, life and heart. Because of this you become good, upright, pleasant, and prosperous. Both you and the world see the change. You become the shining light that gives the example for good for others to follow.

God’s Revelation Tuesday, Jan 24 2017 

If you go in your bible to the very last book in the bible you will find the book of Revelation. In the very first chapter of the book, in the very first verse it states where the revelation comes from… Jesus Christ and the purpose of the revelation…to show his servants what must soon take place.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I love getting a heads up on stuff. I mean isn’t it easier to handle a situation if you know what is coming?

In the morning, I listen to the weather report so that I know what to wear and what to expect for the coming day or week. I listen to the report of a meteorologist. This individual is an expert on the weather.

There is no better prognosticator of what is about to take place than Jesus Christ himself when it comes to the kingdom of heaven.

In the first three chapters of the book of Revelation you will find the letters to the seven churches.  In each letter he reminds the reader: “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

When what you are saying is important you usually begin with, “Listen up! Everybody!”

This message is for all of us.

Proverbs 1:5 New International Version (NIV)

let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—

His brother admonishes us to listen and do what He says.

James 1:22 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

We are the sheep of His pasture.

John 10:26 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

God himself tells us to listen to Him.

Luke 9:34-36 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

My Brother Sunday, Jan 15 2017 

I have two brothers, one older and one younger. I also have three sisters, two older and one younger. Growing up, we were the epitome of sibling rivalry. My oldest sister could bake like a baker and the other older sister could sew like a tailor. My oldest brother was skilled at bikes and cars. I was the perennial student. My youngest brother was a lover of dogs and a consummate hair puller. My youngest sister was happier and cuter than all of the rest of us put together.

There are two all important questions we must ask ourselves: the first is “Who is my brother?”, and the second is “Am I my brother’s keeper?”.

When Jesus was teaching one of the things he said was, Matthew 12: 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

The answer to the second question comes from the book of Genesis 4: And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

This is what God did: 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto me from the ground.

11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

12 When thou tills the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that finds me shall slay me.

15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore, whosoever slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

So, Cain became the first nomad, the first “wandering Jew.”

Another place that tells us we are all brothers is in Malachi 2: 10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?

God’s Victory Friday, Jan 6 2017 

Have you ever noticed how if it isn’t one thing it’s another? You just get one thing fixed and another thing pops up. It seems we are always under testing and trials.

Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Have you ever noticed that when you make the decision to turn your life around and do the right thing that the devil seems to double down on you and to push every one of your buttons? He does not want you to be nice.

Jesus didn’t say you “might” run into a “little” trouble; he said, “You will” have trouble.

That is why it is so important to be “In Christ.”

Psalm 21:1 The king rejoices in your strength, Lord.
    How great is his joy in the victories you give!

Psalm 60:12 12 With God we will gain the victory,
    and he will trample down our enemies.    

Proverbs 11:14 14 For lack of guidance a nation falls,
    but victory is won through many advisers.

So this isn’t just true for individuals.  It is also true for nations.  You can always tell if you have a great leader if you’ll look at his advisors.  We certainly want our nation to be victorious.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]

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.

This is not only true in life but in death.

1 John 5:4-5 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

So “In Christ” we overcome “all” of our trials, troubles, and tribulations right up to and including our own “second” death. Our victory is in God.

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