September 19, 2014
Originally posted on tricklesoftruth:
For God so Loved the World
John 3:16 (Amplified)
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
When I see images of space with its vastness, huge nebulas, stars and galactic composition it just amazes me that in contrast to all of this we are but less than a speck of dust in the scope of it all. Yet, for some reason, the Awesome, Almighty God that created it all loves and delights in us. He even loves us beyond the scope of our understanding and if that were not enough, He gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins. I’m not sure the true depth of God’s love even begins…
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September 18, 2014
1 John 2:18-22
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
Antichrist among Us
An antichrist spirit is that which denies and abides not in the Truth. Those who are in Christ know the truth and embrace who they in Christ through obedience and faith. Many of us have been concerned about the Antichrist that is coming, but the scripture is warning us that his spirit is already here among us. The scripture says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” This suggests that the spirit of antichrist in our very midst and assembly. Now don’t construe that just because someone doesn’t embrace your particular doctrinal beliefs or stay with your group that they are antichrist. This goes beyond that. This touches those that may have an outward confession or appearance of a Christian, but in their hearts they deny that Jesus is the Christ. In their hearts they have not been joined and made one with Him. Those who are in Christ will find their identity in Christ for they are of the same Spirit as He. They no longer are seeing Christ as separate, up, out and away from them. They are coming into the identity of who they are in Christ and who He is in them. It is a mindset and revelation that we are in Christ now. While we may be absent from Him in body, we are present with Him in spirit.
One thing that trials and testing do is they prove the substance and spirit of a person. If we do not truly possess Christ and find our reliance and life in Him, we will not be able to stand the test. We may go to church, serve on the board and sing in the choir, but if Christ is not in us, then we are only living a religion and not a reality. The proof of a child of God is seen in the fire. It is when they hold fast their faith even when all of natural reality speaks and testifies against it. They are born of the Truth and the Truth abides in them. They live out of that reality. It is not based on their understanding, their goodness, or their knowledge; it based on the substance of Christ in them. In that faith they stand, even to the yielding up of their natural life. This is why the scripture says in 1 Peter 1: 6-9 “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”
It is he who denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and God’s only Son that is the antichrist. When we deny the Son, we deny the Father as well for by One we know the Other. If we fail to embrace that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life then we are of an antichrist spirit. We are conditional believers who will forsake the faith when we perceive that God has not met our conditions or expectations. Those in Christ are unconditional believers that are sold out. They will follow Christ to the end no matter what the cost. Our faith is not conditional upon our circumstances, our understanding or what we feel. It is based on an inward knowing of Him who abides within us. The knowing is so great that even death does not move us from it, because in Him we have the assurance of Life everlasting. Outside of Him what do we have but the assurance of death and judgement? You who are in Christ know this Truth because you have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things. You may not think that you do, but the One who knows all abides in you.
If this word moves you at all to question your faith then come to the Lord in true repentance and embrace Him in faith. Ask Him to come into your heart and remove every spirit in you that has opposed Him. Don’t carry with you the outward appearance of a Christian; possess the inward reality and assurance that can be yours through your commitment to Christ in faith. You can possess that inward peace and assurance that you are His.
September 17, 2014
Lord, You Mean Everything
Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
What is our level of commitment today in our walk with the Lord? What does He really mean to us in terms of our life plan, our goals and where we are going and what we hope to accomplish? In the above scripture we are seeing Paul lay out his mission statement and his life plan before us. Does ours sound anything like that? Paul says in the next verses 15 and16, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” He says if you want to be perfect then try this goal on for size. Even in all that Paul had committed of his life to the service of the Lord and even through all that he endured he didn’t say I’m there yet,” but I’m running with all my might.” He lost all affections for the things of this world. He was spiritually minded and heavenly visioned. He so desired to experience the depths and the riches that Christ alone could provide, everything else paled in comparison. I believe Paul wanted to so identify with Christ that in the sharing and partaking of the sufferings of Christ and the conformity to His death, he might experience and lay hold of the resurrection life. That resurrection life was so much more than just dying, going to heaven and experiencing the resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ. He desired to experience the resurrection out of the dead things of this life. What holds us back from experiencing the fullness of life right now if it not the death that works in us? And what is the power of death if it is not sin. The resurrection out of the dead is the resurrection out of the sin and death that works in our members.
Paul says in Romans 8:10-11, “And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness, But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” We may live in the natural realm and as such so much of our energy, thinking and identification is with the things of this world. I believe Paul was saying turn around from the world and look at who you are in Christ. Look what He has provided for us and where He wants to take us. ‘The things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.’ Paul is telling us here in Romans 8 that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you and I. What is the implication of what He is saying? If we are dead to the flesh, then there is Spirit Power of Resurrection Life at work in us to raise us up in the power of His life. I believe Paul ran and lived his life to lay hold of that resurrection power and life even in his natural life. If he didn’t fully realize it then he carried and ran with that vision right into heaven and into the arms of Jesus. There is a high calling of life and power in Christ that we should yearn and long for. So many of us complacently wait for heaven as the end in itself. Paul wasn’t running that hard just to get to heaven. He had a greater vision and higher calling; he pressed for the high calling that is in Christ Jesus. Again, in Romans 8:19-23 I believe he gives some insight to this calling, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.” The first fruit partakers of this liberty and redemption from corruption will be the administrators of its glory and life to creation. There is coming a day of restoration when all of creation is going to be set free from the bondage of sin and corruption. We who are in Christ should be travailing and groaning within to be free from the bondage of this natural man that we may experience the coming and the presence of Christ within us. Don’t let the realm that we live in now hinder the vision of what you are becoming and living your life for. If we truly live in Spirit life, the natural body and life just facilitates that in this earth, but we should already be living in the light of God’s eternal plan and not just our natural life span. The implications and fruit of how we live our lives carries on into eternity. As many as are perfect or spiritually minded want to catch the vision of God’s highest for us.
In conclusion Paul gives us gravity by saying, don’t look behind you at what you have or haven’t been. Don’t live in past condemnation or victories, but look ahead at what is before you. Set your eyes on Christ and the high calling that is in Him nevertheless wherever it is that you have thus far attained be faithful to walk in the light of the truth that you have and understand the high calling that Christ has called you too.
September 16, 2014
Practical Application for a Holy Life
Colossians 3: 1-3
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ. In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ. Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.
We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God. We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that. We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried. We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections. It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”. It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind. The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application. Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming, 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life? The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh. It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must. We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is. These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature. We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ. We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up. Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.
These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on. God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with. Verses 12-17 instruct us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship. The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ. If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing. We are still living in the same old unredeemed man. Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ. That speaks so much more loudly than words. Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give. When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence. It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of. God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.
Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance. A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons. Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are. Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ. We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.
September 15, 2014
Originally posted on tricklesoftruth:
Lift Up a Standard
Matthew 6:13 (NLT)
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
All of us have had strongholds and weaknesses in our lives in which we were prone to sin and perhaps still are. When we came to Christ we found the truth of Ephesians 4:8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Jesus suffered and died to break the power of the enemy over our lives. He bound the strong man of the house (satan) and loosed the captives held in sin and bondage. That was you and I. Romans 6:22 says, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” And Romans 8:2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ…
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September 12, 2014
Does the Lord come up Short?
The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”
Have you ever believed God for something and just felt so sure that He was going to fulfill a promise to you and then it didn’t come to pass as you thought it would. You sit there thinking where did I miss it? I was so sure I was hearing from God.
As I was sitting here meditating on what to write this morning my eyes fell upon the above scripture which I had printed out and clipped to my office organizer as a reminder of a promise that I had believed for.
We had lived in the same home for about twenty-seven years and although our house was adequate and our kids were raised, it still seemed crowded with our businesses. The stairs were becoming somewhat of a problem with the wife’s health and the fact was Sharon especially, was ready for a change. I had just retired and was struggling with a new business that was costing me more than it was making.
Being the conservative person that I am, it was hard to rationalize trying to buy a bigger house at this point in life, let alone knowing how we would pay for it. One day though I was stirred to faith and I set down with the newspaper and just looked at some homes. One in particular rather struck me and so I shocked Sharon one day by saying let’s just go look at some houses. The particular house that had struck my fancy was a new home, beautifully built and Sharon really liked it as well. The only small glitch was that it cost about $500,000 dollars, but what is that to God, right? Now there was no way in the natural I could see clear to have this house, but we began to pray and believe God. Somehow that faith really began to take hold in both of us and God just seemed to keep giving us little confirmations along the way. We would go out there and pray about it, over it and dream about it. We would just praise God and thank Him for it. Our faith was strong as we spoke as if we already had it, even when we could not see the means for it. At that time no miracles came to pass and one day it sold, only we weren’t the buyers. We couldn’t believe it. I would look over at that verse that I had clipped there and say, “God, didn’t you tell me that Your hand was not short to bring your word to pass? We even went by that house sometime after the other occupants were living there. We were even so bold as to go up and ask them if they liked the house and if they were planning on staying there? Perhaps God just had them house sitting for us for a while, but the daughter that we spoke too assured us that they were happy with the house and planned on staying there.
We gave up on the idea of the house and decided we would probably just remain stuck where we lived and make the best of it.
A little later down the road we were blessed with a wonderful gift. My parents, who are so precious and giving, received some income from an investment they had made some years prior. They passed some of that blessing on to us by giving us enough to finish paying off our home that we were currently living in. Now we were pretty much debt free. That is a great feeling.
It was probably about six months to a year later that we were driving home from a delivery for Sharon’s business and she spotted a “for sale” sign on a beautiful home. I had remember admiring it on occasion when we had passed by it, thinking what a great view they must have of the city. Being the woman of action that she is, Sharon called our good friend in real estate to see if we could look at the home. I don’t believe I was with them the first time they went through it but she came home loving it. It had a beautiful yard, and an incredible view. The house would provide us with the room and the distinction we needed for our businesses and it didn’t have all the stairs that Sharon would have to go up and down all of the time. It had so much of all that she had desired in a home. When I saw it, I liked it as well, but it was a pretty substantial investment. We put our home on the market and when we were about to put our offer in, two other parties were about to put there offers in as well, but then withdrew them till they knew if the homeowners would accept our offer. We came to an agreement and purchased the home before we had sold our other one. At least it was paid off and even though we had some expenses such as utilities and such, we didn’t have another house payment. This one was about twice what our other house payment had been. We moved in around the middle of December and that winter was rough. My business was dead and we had a lot of expenses, but God was so faithful to see us through.
A little over a year later, the Lord had increased our business and we have so enjoyed this home. It is so much more than we had ever imagined and we know, without a doubt, that it has been though God’s provision. We have come to realize that this house is so much better for us, in many respects, than the first house would have been. God had His time, but He came in a different door than what we were looking at. He so often does. We can never put God in our box or limit Him to our understanding. He is so much greater. Everyday we thank Him for what only He could supply and do. “And the Lord said to us, “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think.
We have lived in this home for ten years now and have never missed a payment due completely to God’s faithfulness not only to provide for this home, but to sustain it. Everyday is a miracle and testament to His goodness and faithfulness, even in trying times. I don’t know how many times I have uttered through these years, “Only God”.
September 11, 2014
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2 The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. 3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; 5 make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, 6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands, Let the mountains sing together for joy; 9 let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
Let All the Earth Exalt Him
What a wonderful Psalm that exhorts us not only as God’s people, but the whole earth to enter into jubilant praise and worship of God’s greatness and salvation. He has not only revealed Himself to His people, but unto all the nations He has made His salvation known and revealed His righteousness. We have beheld His love and faithfulness not only to natural Israel, but to spiritual Israel as well.
Which of us could truly step into the presence of our awesome God without going prostrate in the light of His glory, power and majesty. Often it is only in the midst or true worship and praise that we touch the hem of His garment in such a way that we experience the richness of His love and presence where we get such a revelation. I have had times when the revelation of His love and grace upon my life has brought me to tears as I meditate upon the richness of His love and presence in my life. How can I honor, appreciate and magnify Him enough for the riches of His grace throughout my life. When I meditate upon all of the times He has forgiven my sin and unworthiness, He has saved me and protected from serious harm or death, He has healed my body, been my provision and blessed me with wonderful family and friends. When we really start to count our blessings we will be blown away by how much God has done for us. How tragic that we in the earth treat the Lord as common and take Him so much for granted. He is like the loving parent that poured out His very life for our blessing and benefit. We are so often like the spoiled children who don’t appreciate Him for all He has done, but only complain because we don’t have more or because everything doesn’t go our way.
This Psalm captures the spirit of worship and adoration that should be resonating in our hearts every day. When the earth truly gets a revelation and vision of its Lord all the peoples, the creatures and the very elements of the earth itself shall sing together for joy. How marvelous and wonderful is our Lord who loved us and redeemed us. It must be in Him that we live, and move, and have our being. This same God who created the magnitude of the universe and all that is therein personally loves you, knows your name and wants you to be part of His family. We know it in our minds, but do we truly comprehend the gift we have been given in Christ, who we are and what we are becoming? It presses the boundaries of our natural minds to comprehend the mighty God that we love and serve.
In the light of all that He is, let us not be silent in our praise, worship, singing, thanksgiving and adoration of our God who is so worthy. No wonder in heaven it is not silent, but always resounding with praise to our God. When we get a revelation Him, how can we be silent? How can we not praise Him, sing to Him and worship Him? He is worthy, oh so worthy. Listen to what it is like in the throne room of God from Revelations 4:2-11, “At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” 9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11″You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things,
and by your will they were created and have their being.””
Take the time to meditate today on how great and wonderful your Lord is. Think upon all the times that He has moved upon your life and those around you. Take the time to truly love Him, appreciate and worship Him for who He is. We often regard our precious Lord far too lightly. A lot of us don’t even take a moment to thank him for our food. In our prayer life, far ahead of all of our request and petitions, should be our praise and worship. Take the time to climb up on Daddy’s lap and just love on Him today. He is special beyond measure and how can we ever appreciate and express our love for Him enough? Oh for the day when all of the earth will praise Him, sing a new song and shout to His glory.
September 10, 2014
So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us.
Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.
Kindness and Severity of God
Today’s passages come from two totally different aspects that represent both the kindness and the severity of God. Even in the severity of God, He is working to bring all things to His purposed end. He is able to deal with His people in whatever means are necessary to accomplish that purpose. Our faith and obedience to Him or the lack of it often determine our choice in this process.
In Romans 11:13-24 the apostle Paul teaches this, “13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
We see then that the severity of God has worked to our salvation and our being grafted into the tree of God’s family and people, but it will also work to the ultimate reconciliation and restoration of natural Israel. Then we two branches will become one spiritual Israel unto His glory. Even within our lives now we see both the kindness and the severity of God. We love His blessing, but He also gives of His correction because Hebrews 12:4-12 reminds us, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, 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 our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No 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.
12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Within the severity is contained the same love as in His kindness. We often reap what we sow and bring upon ourselves the need for His severity, but even in that severity it is to lead us to repentance and turn us back to Him. God’s severity is not His first course of action and with great longsuffering He often forbears our sin and rebellions. Romans 2:4 speaks of how God desires to deal with us, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? We are most often the ones that forsake our own mercy and provoke the severity of God.
This doesn’t mean that our sin or failure brings on all of the trials that we go through. Often it is these trials and tribulations that are most likely to cause us to keep our eyes and attention fixed upon Him. God’s sternness is to those who fall away, but His kindness is to you provided that you continue in His kindness.
September 9, 2014
Lean on Me
1 Kings 18:21
Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, [even] upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so [is] Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.
Through the exodus of Israel out of Egypt we can easily see the type and parallel of our spiritual deliverance out of the bondage of sin and the world. We see how the Passover lamb and the blood applied upon the door post of Israelite homes was a type of the blood of Christ being applied to the doors post of our hearts when we trusted in Him and His blood to take away our sins. We saw the Red Sea as a type of our baptism into Christ. As we walk out on the other side of Egypt into a new life, we find ourselves there in the wilderness, our supply and dependence is no longer in Egypt and Pharaoh, but in God alone. Pharaoh was that type of the god of this world, satan, who does everything he can to hinder and prevent our deliverance and salvation, but God is greater and the things satan intends for evil, God can turn to good. Satan continues to come to us, as he did to Jesus in the wilderness, seeking to bring us again into bondage, submission and reliance on him.
This parallel and type continues to carry through in our scripture for today. It is interesting that the Word refers to the world and satan a bruised reed. It reminds me of Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. ” These were the words that God spoke to satan after the fall in the Garden of Eden. The woman is a type of the Church with her seed bruising the head of satan and satan bruising the heel of her seed. Romans 16:20 says, “And the God of peace shallbruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you. Amen.” From this we can see that we are the seed of the woman and through Christ, satan is bruised beneath our feet. So why would we want to trust again in this “bruised reed”? Why do we want to put our dependence in a defeated foe and in that which is passing away? The Lord is warning us not to lean on this bruise reed, because as surely as we put our trust back in the natural things of this world it will end up piercing through our hand. One of the greatest pitfalls and the place where Israel grieved God the most is when they were being tried and tested, they wanted to go back to Egypt. It is an ironic thing that people would rather go back and live in bondage and slavery rather than have to exercise faith in what they can’t see and what is not familiar to them.
Recently we talked to a soldier that just returned from Iraq. He was relating to us that the mentality of many of the people is they would rather have Sadam back than to have freedom and liberty from bondage and fear. He said their reasoning was that even though Sadam was evil and did many terrible things, they knew what to expect and they were use to the way things were. That holds true a lot with people being unwilling to let go of this world and all of the fear, bondage and slavery to sin that it brings to us. We would often rather continue on in this natural way of life because it is all we have ever known rather than put our dependence in God. We can’t see freedom. It is like faith, it exist to liberate us into a higher dimension of life, but because we can’t see it and always understand and quantify it we want to lapse back into our former way of living, even if that is bondage.
God is calling us to, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7). In much the same way we in America are willing to sacrifice our lives for the freedom we have come to enjoy and live in, God wants us to have that same type of commitment to our faith in Him and in His Word. We in America enjoy the highest standard of living of anyone one in the world. We experience freedom and riches that most of the world can only dream about. This is a type of what we have in Christ. It was even said of Moses that he had such a revelation of God, “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. (Hebrews 11:26).” When we really catch the revelation of what we have and who we are in Christ we realize that even the downside of trials and reproach is greater riches than what the world can only offer us on a temporary basis. Let our confidence, hope and joy be found wholly in Christ and His Word that is able provide all that we need and beyond. Let us lean wholly on Him, ‘who is able to meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory.’
September 8, 2014
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24″Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25″Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Sweet Spirit whisper into my heart,
Move through every part.
Dear voice of God, instruct me in my way,
Even help me as I pray.
Gentle Spirit Breeze,
Move me how You please.
Living in what is pure and true,
Moving and having my being in You.
Mighty Spirit of fire and power,
Transform me in this final hour,
Expression of God in me,
Instrument to set creation free.
Spirit manifest and Christ revealed,
Jesus break this final seal.
Bring forth your life from this broken earth,
Bring to maturity this second birth.
Spirit that raised Christ from the dead,
Join us now in the fullness of the Head.
Make our body of one mind,
That, which we travail for, let us find.
Spirit of God and power in me,
There is no longer me, but only Thee.
You are the righteousness, by which I stand,
I am the expression of Your hand.
Spirit full of love and grace,
Cause me now to see your face.
Beholding only You as I walk my course,
You are my everlasting power and source.