Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What does God care about purity?

Neh 12:30 The priests and the Levites purified themselves; they also purified the people, the gates and the wall.

Why does the ruler and creator of the universe care at all about purity? This is a valid question and one that requires much more thought and reason then my little blog may be able to devote but I will do my best to chip away at such a monumental pondering.

We must understand why we are created to be able to answer this question. In the book of Genesis we see the love and care of God both in the creation and in dealing with Adam. We see God walking in the midst of the garden in perfect fellowship with Adam and Eve before the fall and giving them all they desired...all the significance, security and happiness.

God and man lived in harmony until sin entered the world. God made us as free beings because love to be real must be volitional. It wasn't until Adam and Eve rejected God and His perfect will and desired to be a God that the curse of sin entered the world. We desired to rule and reign in our own lives and rejected the relationship that God had ordained. Now, God had every right to leave us in despair and bring harsh judgment to each and every one of us but God loves mercy over judgment.

Joh 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

From that dire moment in the garden God has been bringing us back into His fold. God does not need our fellowship but desires us to walk with Him. In Jesus Christ the fullness of God is made known to us and to each, by his or her own free will, will either receive Him or reject Him. Under this dispensation of grace we are given ample opportunity to be like Adam and Eve and to walk in the Spirit of God or to walk in the spirit of this world which is a rejection of the love and mercy of God. We will either rule and reign in our own lives to our own peril or we will allow God to rule and reign in us to the glory of Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.

The Christian life is as Paul describes it full of:

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

It is full of this when we allow the will of God to be made real in our lives. There is no clearer gospel message then what Jesus said in Mark:

Mar 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Repent - turn from sin, self and Satan's rule in our lives and turn to God.

Believe - Have faith in the message of the Bible and in Jesus Christ for giving Himself for you.

This is not a one time thing but a process of living...when Christ shows you something that is impure, as in the sermon on the mount, the repent from the way you were ruling and reigning and believe God. The word believe and obey are synonyms as we see in John.

Joh 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Why does God care about purity? Because He cares for us and desires to have fellowship with us. Even if I was a man of unlimited mercy and you continued committing serious heinous crimes against me we cannot have fellowship. Thank God that one day there will be no sin or strife but perfect peace in Him, for those that have received Him and are His children. But to those who reject His mercy and grace they will give an account for the things they have done in God's creation and dispensation of grace.

Rom 2:5 But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God's righteous judgment is revealed.
Rom 2:6 He will repay each one according to his works:
Rom 2:7 eternal life to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;
Rom 2:8 but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth, but are obeying unrighteousness;

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Judgment and the Love of God

As I was thumbing through a book that I have all but worn out, this passage hit me like a ton of bricks. So many times we get caught up in "getting people saved" and lose our focus on what God truly desires. I hope and pray that this feeds your body, soul and spirit.

The time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God . . . —1 Peter 4:17

The Christian servant must never forget that salvation is God’s idea, not man’s; therefore, it has an unfathomable depth. Salvation is the great thought of God, not an experience. Experience is simply the door through which salvation comes into the conscious level of our life so that we are aware of what has taken place on a much deeper level. Never preach the experience— preach the great thought of God behind the experience. When we preach, we are not simply proclaiming how people can be saved from hell and be made moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God.
In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out— it is the sign of the love of God. Never sympathize with someone who finds it difficult to get to God; God is not to blame. It is not for us to figure out the reason for the difficulty, but only to present the truth of God so that the Spirit of God will reveal what is wrong. The greatest test of the quality of our preaching is whether or not it brings everyone to judgment. When the truth is preached, the Spirit of God brings each person face to face with God Himself.
If Jesus ever commanded us to do something that He was unable to equip us to accomplish, He would be a liar. And if we make our own inability a stumbling block or an excuse not to be obedient, it means that we are telling God that there is something which He has not yet taken into account. Every element of our own self-reliance must be put to death by the power of God. The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power. (Taken from the May 5 devotional My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers)


Friday, December 19, 2008

What is it time for?

When the last american idol champion won many people on the stage, in the audience and at home shed tears for such a victory. When Philly beat our the Rays many people were in tears and parades were planned for the victors. When Barack Obama won the presidential race and gave his victory speech with hundreds of thousands watching many were moved to tears. The shortest verse in all the Bible is one of the most profound, it is found in John 11 and states "Jesus wept".

Is it our due time to weep over the things that so moved Jesus? How about sin in all its perverseness? How about so many people living in bondage to the enemy yet not knowing it? How about the church goers that trust in their confession or religious routine? How about family and friends that are bound for an eternity in hell? How about humanities pride against a loving, merciful and holy God? How about those that have embedded pains that have never been examined and healed? How about our own lives in light of what God has called us to be?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Partakers of the divine nature

God created the first man, Adam, to be in relationship and fellowship with Him. God created Adam to be fully reliant upon God and to come and eat freely from the tree of life (Gen 2:7-9) but man desired differently. Adam, through the temptation of satan, disobeyed God's direct command and the entire universe was plunged into sin. This bent or desire to be our own god and run our own lives, apart from God, has been handed down to each person and each person had sinned against a holy and righteous Creator (Rom 5:12). This worldly system is now so ingrained in each of us we can barely see what God first created us to be.

2Pe 1:1...To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
2Pe 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
2Pe 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust (emphasis added)

Thank God it did not end in that awful scene of rebellion in the garden but that God loves mercy more than judgment. Since that fatal day in the garden of Eden God has been calling a free willed people back to Him and is still calling those who will receive Him. Christianity is not some sort of ruled based rigid religion whereby you pay homage to God and must do as He says or else...No it is a love relationship with God almighty that we might walk with Him in the midst. That we might escape the corruption of the satanic world system (2Cor 4:4) and become partakers of all that God has for us in the divine nature.

Is the world crucified to you (Gal 6:14) or does it fascinate you? Do you hate sin or embrace sin? Or are you like Asaph the psalmist as he cried out:

Psa 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. Psa 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hope, perserverence and devotion

Chloe Mary Mildred was born on December 10 at 11:32 a.m. and weighed 9 lbs 2oz. She will start growing immediately in both stature and understanding of the world. She has so much to learn...the rain was falling outside our hospital window and so I thought it an opportune time to explain the complexities earth's ecological system which I think she grasps well. There are things that I want her to know and understand then there are things I want to become a part of her...not knowledge but true wisdom.

Rom 12:12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,

Out of the 31,103 verses in the Bible this is the one the has spoken to me today. After Paul loads us up with 11 chapters of doctrine he gets to the application part of our faith and our "reasonable service to God (Rom 12:1)". Each continual action in the verse is part of our everyday Christian life. I pray for my new little girl that she will find much joy in the hope of all that is our Triune God. I know that she will face obstacles and trials in her life and I pray that she will be patient and perservere during those times of molding and shaping her more into the image of Christ. And I pray that she will have such a close relationship with God that she will be in prayer continually, devoted to the One who not only created her but that loves her much more then I ever will.

This is also my hope and prayer for the Bride of Christ...in this uncertain period of history where historical changes take place on a daily basis we have the Rock of Ages. It reminds me of one of the great hymns that was written in 1837 and has needed no changes in over 160 years because it is anchored to the Truth which is Jesus Christ. At the time the writer of the hymn had just started it and gave it to a brother in the church whos wife lay dying. It is reported that this little hymn gave her great comfort in the agony of her condition.

My Hope is Built

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.


On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,

Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,

Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What was Noah's focus?

Sometimes when I read the stories of people in the Bible I like to think of myself in that specific situation. I like to put a little "flesh and blood" on the Bible characters and ponder what it would have been like standing in their shoes.

Noah has always been of utmost interest to me because of one verse in the book of Genesis:

Gen 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.

Now God did not ask Noah to do a small task but to do something that had never been pondered. God asked Noah not only to build an ark but to believe that God would fill it with the animals and sustain all aboard during a great time of judgment. Now what do you think during this time was Noah's focus?

Everyday Noah would get up, eat his cheerios and go out to continue building this ark. Through all the scorns and sneers Noah continued and not only did he continue but warned the people of the coming judgment. He was one of the least successful men in all the Bible having a maximum of 7 people come to Christ through his ministry yet day by day Noah did as God commanded (as it is noted thrice in Gen 6:22 two times and Gen 7:5).

What kept Noah moving forward day by day as the world grew more and more corrupt? How did he handle the ridicule and attacks on both him and his household? Do you think his kids ever doubted what God had said to Noah and if so how did he cope with their doubts? Building an ark is hard work, do you think after hitting his thumb for the fiftieth time and pulling out the sixth splinter of the day he wanted to give up?

Hebrews gives us a glimpse of what kept him going day after day for 120 years:

Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

In reverent fear...What was Noah's focus? Reverence and fear of an unchangeable, all powerful, grace filled God that was worthy of his life and obedience. Today, God is calling like minded people to do the same...the question is do you have a reverent fear of God and if so are you willing to obey?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jesus is returning the week of March 28, 2009

I don't know how I didn't see it clearly before but after doing the figuring and the exegeting of the major prophetical books it is plain to see eschatologically that Jesus will return in March of 2009 and most likely on the 28th day. He said we wouldn't know the day or hour but that doesn't mean that we cannot know the week or month or year. It seems as if we have about 4 months left to serve Him and to be ready for the trumpet of the Lord to sound and for all those in Christ to be caught up to be with Him.

Most will know that I am being facetious and not setting a date but my point still stands: How would you live if you knew that He was returning in four months. Would your concerns be centered on the here and now or on the eternal? Would you worry about storing up treasures here on earth or would you be diligently seeking the lost that you know would spend eternity in hell and torment? Would you be pleading with friends, family and strangers to come to Christ for forgiveness before they come to Him in judgement. As it is written...every knee shall bow.

I am writing this blog to plead with 3 different types of people

  1. Those that are serving Christ so that their flames may be fanned and they may serve with more energy, delight and diligence and so I leave you with this scripture from Paul:

    1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
  2. Those that have a religion or even that go to church on a regular basis but do not have a real relationship with the Creator of the Universe and the maker of all that is and will ever be, I leave you with a Word from Jesus Christ

    Rev 3:16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
    Rev 3:17 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
    Rev 3:18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
  3. And for a few of those that have never really stepped inside the Church of Jesus Christ and have no sense of their danger I leave you two scriptures.

    Mat 16:26 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Heb 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty,
    Heb 2:3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,