September 23, 2014
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
“When He Came to His Senses”
We all have an inheritance of the Father. We all have been given the substance of life, breath, health, gifts and abilities. What have we done with what Father has given to us?
We take Father’s gifts so lightly and often don’t even acknowledge or appreciate what we have been given. He gives us loved ones, parents, grandparents, wife, children, grandchildren and friends. Do we take the time to value, appreciate and sow back into the lives of those who have loved us and sown into us?
As long as life is going well, we so often get caught up in its flow and busyness. We become self-absorbed with our own life and interests while neglecting the ones we say we love and hold dear. Suddenly we wake up one day to find our life in ruins. Everything we cared about and that is truly meaningful to us is suddenly gone. Only then, when it is often too late, do we come to our senses and realize our foolishness and neglect.
The prodigal son is not unlike many of us. Like him, many of us have only focused on our success, our pleasures and our fulfillment. We have not planted the love and attention our loved ones have needed and longed for. Suddenly we find ourselves bankrupt and in famine. All our substance has been spent on that which has not produced real life and fulfillment, but only temporary gain. As we come to our senses perhaps we finally realize our true treasure was in those we took for granted and neglected. We used up all of the grace and love they had until there was no more for them to give. Now they’re gone and our concern has come too late.
Every day we are planting, either seeds of life or seeds of death. One day we will reap the harvest of what we have sown in our daily living. Take care the seeds that you plant in your life for they will bear fruit and you will reap a harvest either good or bad, either life or death.
Let us take a lesson from the prodigal son and come to our senses before it is too late to turn our life around and preserve that which is most precious to us. What is it going to take for us to come to our senses?
September 22, 2014
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.
Joseph makes this statement in Genesis to his brothers who had sold him into captivity in Egypt. What would have appeared to the outward man to be a shipwrecked and cursed life, God was using to train the man that would be the salvation of his people and many others as well.
How is your life? Maybe it seems anything but blessed. Trials and tribulations may be old familiar friends. Outwardly your life may look like the tabernacle in the wilderness, covered with badger skins, very ordinary looking to the world without. The question is, “what is God working within you?” How is He preparing you for your destiny and are you partnered in faith with Him as He prepares you for “this day”?
Joseph couldn’t have possibly understood the entire calamity that touched his life. Most people would have become very disillusioned and even bitter against God. We see in Joseph a calm faithfulness. The dignity and stature of his life wasn’t dependent upon his status or circumstances it was in knowing who he was and in knowing his God. How many lives and stories have missed a great ending because people gave up and lost their faith? All Joseph had was a few dreams and an upbringing that had taught him about Jehovah. There was a connection of faith in God that Joseph never let go of even in the worst of times.
We must lay hold of the truth that Joseph found. What others may have meant for evil God meant it unto good. It is all leading us to “this day” when our purpose is realized and we are brought forth to fulfill the purpose of God in our lives. You may already be at this point or you may still be in the process. Everyday of life has a purpose, even if it is just enduring in hope and faith. Know that God has a destiny and purpose for each one of us. Our life is about finding that purpose and fulfilling it in God’s time and His way. We can only know that and realize it as we walk each day with the Lord and pursue His will for our lives.
Be like Joseph and don’t lose hope. Hold fast even in the darkest of times, because it is always usually darkest just before the dawn.
“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24)
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.