Friday, May 30, 2014

The Glory Belongs to Him

Isaiah 42:8
8I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images.
God gave Isaiah a description of what Jesus would do when He came to earth. In that, God made it clear that NO ONE is above Him. NO ONE else can have His place. And certainly, NO ONE else is to take His glory and praise. When you thank someone, are you thanking God for them and for moving on your behalf through them? Are you giving God the glory that He is due? The apostle James noted that every good and perfect gift is from the Lord. So no matter what earthly vessel handed it over, it is God who released it to you. Therefore, keep the praise in perspective. Understanding that what you have is because God blessed you not because you did it is essential. If you were able to do by your own hand, you would've had it long ago. When you start praising and worshipping things more than you worship and praise the God who gave them to you, you have resulted in idolatry. When you prefer to do the will of people rather than the will of God, then those people have become lord over your life and you have attempted to replace God with them, which means you have resulted in idolatry. When you are praising images which could be anything you are putting your hope in rather than God, you have resulted in idol worship. It is a slippery slope and easy to do. But when you become aware of it, sincerely confessing it to God and asking for His forgiveness and turning away from the behavior is essential. When you decide that something or someone is more important than giving God His glory and praise, God can either hand you over to it and really let it be your god for a time or He can simply remove it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Do You Know Who He Is?

John 10:24
24Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."
The word says it was winter time and the Feast of Dedication. The NKJ Study Bible gives the background of the Feast of Dedication as actually being Hanukkah which is celebrated among the Jews in December. It goes on to say that the feast is the celebration of Judas Maccabaeus and his brothers' victories over Antiochus Epiphanes who was the king of Syria. The feast lasts for eight days and a candle is lit for each day in observance. Jesus was out on the porch of the temple not even in the temple before being surrounded. But they kept Him outside in the winter to ask Him who He is. By this time Jesus had shown them many miracles and given many parables but they still could not see and could not hear as He said in Matthew 13:14. They wanted Jesus to tell them plainly. But see, He had by His works and His teachings. Saying, "Yes, I am the Christ" would not have changed their hearts.
The revelation of who Jesus is has nothing to do with Him saying it. It has everything to do with Him showing you and you recognizing it for yourself by God's revelation to you. In order to be a follower of Christ you have to believe and acknowledge yourself who He is. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines believe as to have a firm conviction of something: accept as true. Remember Jesus asked Peter and the other disciples, "Who do men say I am?" Then He asked Peter directly, "Who do you say I am?" And Simon Peter's confession of faith in Matthew 16:16 "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to Him in Matthew 16:17 "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."  Now John 3:16 could've been quoted here but it is the importance of the conversation and interaction with Christ. Your confession of faith in Christ is personal and not just based on your sitting on a pew in church every Saturday or Sunday. There are many who warm pews that still do not recognize Jesus just like the Jews on the porch of the temple. In Matthew 28 every believer in Christ is given the charge to help bring others to Christ. It is done by your testimony. A testimony is an eyewitness account or your own story of who Jesus is to you and what He has done for you just like Peter. Jesus said His sheep will know Him. Do you know who He is?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pray for the Government

Psalm 144:8
8Whose mouth speaks lying words, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
God showed me this scripture as I was reading this morning. God then directed me to do research on the swearing in process. Just as God had pointed out to me last year about "Acts of God" which appears in many contracts for hotels, airlines, etc, stating that some things are out of their control and the organization recognizes there is a greater force other than them, so He has shown me today another process. A blessed nation, which the United States is as we discussed earlier this week, also has a judicial system which swears in officials by the raising of the right hand and the accountability stated is to God. Again, this country was founded on Christian faith. So the raising of the right hand means an oath. Even the U.S. military has an oath that in the end, makes them accountable to God. Why is this important? God is the one each official ultimately answers to because the U.S. again is founded on the principles of God. Abram, before God renamed him Abraham, created an oath. It started in Genesis 14:22-23. It's the first time tithe is seen in the Bible as well but that is for another day. The prophet Isaiah who prophesied the coming of Christ was given a description of who Christ is in Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,  Prince of Peace." So again, the government ultimately answers to God and everyone in the government answers to God. What does this mean to you? Because the government must answer to God, you must pray for government leaders just as you do your pastor. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul talks about praying for leadership. That leadership includes those that lead this country. Because the decisions they make and the things they do make them and us accountable to God. Denying God at the highest level of decision making means everyone under that decision maker falls under it. Don't believe it? King Saul, the ruler of a kingdom didn't adhere to the command of not taking any plunder from the Amalekites and not to salvage anything. He feared his soldiers more than he feared God did it anyway and for it God's judgment was that he would lose the kingdom. And nearly 500 years later, God's people were in danger of being destroyed by Haman the Agagite, a direct descendant of the king of the Amalekites which is why God placed Hadassah on the throne, who became Queen Esther as the counter measure.  You may not like this but when the founders of the U.S. took possession of this land, they like Joshua, took possession with the understanding that God would be the ultimate ruler of the land. So as many who attempt to write God out, the entire country answers to God. So pray for the government leaders.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Heart Issue

Luke 9:56
For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them. And they went to another village.
Before Jesus went into a Samaritan village He sent messengers ahead announcing His arrival. If you know anything about the relationship between Jews and Samaritans during that time then you will know they did not associate with one another at all. The Samaritans did not receive Jesus because He was determined to go to Jerusalem. The disciples James and John were astonished. Their response was to punish the Samaritans because they were thinking based on other factors. But Jesus said no and simply moved on. Jesus' message was and is all about love. So they did not want to see Him, fine. Jesus also knew that in due time either they would accept the message of Jesus or reject it. The choice was theirs but they could not say He did not attempt to enter. If Jesus was not received at the time of their death, then that would be handled by God accordingly.
The same goes for you. Jesus gives you opportunities to receive Him through His messengers. Those messengers are the men and women of God He chooses to send. If you do not receive the message, then that messenger is simply to move on. They have more work to do just as Jesus and the disciples did. if the messenger was obedient in delivering the message of Jesus yet you choose not to receive and act on it, then it is not their fault. Their hands do not have blood on them. If God sends you with the message of Jesus to another, there is no need to beat them over the head or argue them down. If the person does not want to receive Jesus, simply move on. It's hard to do sometimes because it may be your own blood family who has rejected Jesus or someone you know. You cannot force feed someone who will not open their mouth to eat the bread of life. The person has to want Jesus for themselves. It's a heart issue.  He gives us all time because He loves us. You and I just don't know how much time we have which is the real twist. A life can be gone in a blink of an eye with no time for a deathbed confession which Jesus does accept.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Blessed Nation

Psalm 33:12
12Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
The world looks at Israel as a blessed nation because their entire history has been based on them being the people of God. The world sees the United States of America as a blessed nation. Guess what? That blessing is not based on being a super power as all would believe. How can one be a super power unless God allows it? The blessing comes from this country being founded on a nation under God. The founders of this nation were Christian.  The founders of this nation wanted everyone to know, "In God we trust." The founders of the nation created in our pledge, "One nation, under God"  The founders of this nation understood that for them to be blessed in a new place, they must remember that God is Lord. What about those who do not recognize our God as Lord? They are still being covered and benefiting because they are in a land who pledged to make God its Lord. In Joshua 1:3 God said to Joshua, "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses." In the NKJ Study Bible translation of the verse it says, "Treading upon the soil symbolized acceptance of property ownership; handing your shoe to another symbolized the transfer of land. The transaction bound the new owners to the law, the land and the god of the region." 
Just above in verse 10 the word states, "The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect." Are you wondering if God can do that? He sure can.  Egypt thought it was going to recapture those that God set free so they could once again prosper. Did God not destroy them for going after the people of God? He did it to Ephraim. Ephraim hosted the descendants of Esau. They had been destroyed. They had planned to rebuild and to be greater than they were before.God let them know that no matter what they attempted to do that He would knock it down. Babylon thought it was going to continue in its arrogance and riding on the backs of God's people. God destroyed Babylon. God always has the last say.