Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Compassion of Love

When people think of love, what comes to mind? One that strikes me is “Compassion” and I suppose in the teaching of Scripture that Jesus taught “Love your enemies”

We see him give a parable in the Gospels of the “Good Samaritan” and without knowing the history of this, Samaritans and Jews were enemies. So in the parable where the Samaritan had compassion on the man who fell into the hands of robbers and was beaten nearly to death- shows that the person who had compassion was someone who saw his enemy wounded and helpless on the ground.

Imagine a paradoxical and nearly contradictory set of emotions coinciding eith someone who treated you very bad, disowned you from their lives and treated you like dirt and then you find them beaten nearly to the point of death on the road. Are you moved to pity and compassion? Or do you say, “Serves them right.”

——On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:25-37

The Scripture says on many occassions “For the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”

That means as Jesus reiterates in his own word in his sermon on “Love your enemies” where he says

35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35-36

Get that? “Ungrateful and the wicked”

And who is wicked? We are by nature in sin, and God has compassion on the sinner! He will judge the sinner who never repents but in his compassion he is grieved even over calamities of the wicked. Imagine this: Your own son, or daughter whom you love one day gets to an age they say “I hate you, cannot stand you, I wish you were dead, and get out of my life.” And suppose you knew they truly saw you this way? But years pass and you on a drive see them on the road, nearly dead and with bruises all over and compassion wells up and you are in pain from just seeing it. Now sinner maybe thats how you need to see God whos son he sent to take your place because he has compassion enough to not wany to watch you suffer for sin here or in eternity

When the odds are against you, no problem if God is for you

The story of Hezekiah was about one of the few faithful kings there were. We see God act on his behalf because of his faith that showed in loyalty to God!

The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came up to Jerusalem and stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. They called for the king; and Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them. The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: “‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. But if you say to me, “We are depending on the Lord our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? “‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them! How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the Lord? The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’” Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.” But the commander replied, “Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the people sitting on the wall—who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?” Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death! “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went to Hezekiah, with their clothes torn, and told him what the field commander had said.

2 Kings 18:17-37

Sennecharib was no doubt a foe to be rekonned and he tried to cast doubt into Hezekiah’s mind that God would or could deliver. In times of seemingly insurmountable odds, like Sennecharib the devil will try to tempt the people of God to not think God can or is willing to come through. “If God really cared, why has he not responded to your prayers yet?” Or “Maybe God just is not able to help you here” but these doubts that arise from self or Satan are lies.

God wants us to faithfully obey him and trust him inspite of what may be going on all around us. When Peter and the disciples were on the Sea of Galilea they encountered a storm and Jesus was sleeping in the boat. They got so worked up that they woke him!

—-One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

[Luke 8:22-25]

With Jesus in the boat they had no reason to fear, because being that Jesus is the Son of God, God was not going to let the disciples or Jesus drown on the boat. Jesus had a mission to fulfill and he told them in advance they would go to the otherside of the lake.

When we look back in the story of king Hezekiah of Judah, we see his response of faith toward God.

——When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. It may be that the Lord your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.” When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’” When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish, he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah. Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the king of Cush, was marching out to fight against him. So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word: “Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.’ Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my predecessors deliver them—the gods of Gozan, Harran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? Where is the king of Hamath or the king of Arpad? Where are the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?”

2 Kings 19:1-13 –

—“Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’” Yet we see that at first glance things do not seem to improve, even after he hears word that the king of Cush was marching out to meet him. We shouldn’t let this make us think God’s prophesy failed yet it did not unfold as quickly as one may think if they heard this.

We see Hezekiah pray: “Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “ Lord , the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord , and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.” —- We see that Hezekiah first starts by presenting the letter and reminding God of who he is and in a form of praise and worship he intercedes. He is humble and acknowleges that he is powerless and no doubt the Assyrian king is formidable but brings to God’s attention that the king of Assyria has insulted God. Here is one thing that God seems to quickly stir over, defiant insults against Him. Goliath in the story of David fell dead because he boasted and mocked God and Sennacherib will also too as we will soon see. Hezekiah’s prayer also had a very key element, he was thinking of God’s honor——“So that the kingdoms of the earth may know, that you alone, Lord, are God.”

What unfolds after is the prophet Isaiah comes with a message from the Lord:

Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria. This is the word that the Lord has spoken against him: “‘Virgin Daughter Zion despises you and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have ridiculed the Lord. And you have said, “With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its junipers. I have reached its remotest parts, the finest of its forests. I have dug wells in foreign lands and drunk the water there. With the soles of my feet I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.” “‘Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone. Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up. “‘But I know where you are and when you come and go and how you rage against me. Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came.’ “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah: “This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “‘He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city, declares the Lord. I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’” That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king. (2 Kings 19:14-37)

Whatever the odds are against us, remember:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:31-39]

The Theological Romance!

The Theological Romance——-

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God —

John 1:11-12 –

God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

(Romans 11:2-6)

Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If 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. If 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, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider 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. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (Romans 11:11-23)

These are loaded truths and if I may paint a metaphore to help, suppose you saw in advance a woman that you had not met but you fell in love with her with forknowlege, this woman was who you would be with and marry. You think of her often, you grow to desire her more as time goes by and finally the day arives when your paths meet. Yet she knows you not? She falls in love with you for a time yet grows to doubt you are who you truly are, that you love her, that you are who you claim to be. She conspires against you and rejects you. How does this feel? You having loved this woman and grown to treasure her before you met and then she cannot see how deeply you loved her and still do love her. So it was with Israel as a nation, God chose her as his special people and guided them through the wilderness and set them free from slavery in Egypt. He continued to love her even though she forsook him for other gods, and worshiped the gods of the people’s around them. They grew to love the people and gods of other nations more then God who saw her as a delightful desert lily he plucked out of the hardships in Egypt and desert trials.

What is the Gospel? It is God’s love story about His original people who through betrayal deserted him yet through their rejection, In Jesus Christ, God had in mind since the foundation of time in mind to use her rejection- to pay for not just her sins, but the worlds by his death on a cross. His resurection from the dead. What Paul is saying is that God has not forsaken his original people but through her disobedience, salvation became possible for a people who were once not included as “God’s people” and nations, that were not considered loved of God!

Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the Lord their God, will save them.” After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the Lord said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God. “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ (Hosea 1:6-10 )

There remains now, one Gospel, for both the Jews and non Jews

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 –

Though one peoples were like one woman, the other people like another, yet by means of faith the “Church” the “Beloved of Christ” has become one woman made new from two peoples.

Persevere In Confidence

This has been for me a life verse for the season of life I have been in. We will face hardships in life and this was written to the early church, Jews, who had become followers of Christ, who were suffering for the faith.

The immediate context is “Persevering unto God’s ultimate salvation and promise of eternal life” because we by faith follow Christ, endure through this life because of our genuine faith.

Yet do think it has other applications not just eternally, but also, in this life, God has good plans and blessings he wants to give us as his people. Everyone of us! Though our lives will all look different, the Psalm says “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.

Psalm 31:19 –

However, God’s greatest objective is to do good things in us and through us. I do not think this though excludes great blessings he can give. Yet the greatest blessing he could give has been done, through Christ on the cross and his raising from the dead, for the forgiveness of our sins and new life.

God’s greatest blessings are spiritual, forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, the love, joy, peace and all good spiritual fruit described in Galatians 5. However, God wante to bless us with good gifts for this life too. He does not want us to forfeit the spiritual blessings just to have material or earthly gifts alone. Because the physical world is not permanent or our true home. Yet who is to say God has not in mind to give good things here in this life also? He often delays in some cases so we wont just get his blessing and not have grown in our spiritual maturity first.

Sometimes God for each of us can give us a specific word pertaining to his plans for our lives as individuals. They often can be hearts desires that are not wrong in themselves but can be if we idolize them. So God purifies us in waiting. He teaches us to treasure him above his gifts. And as Proverbs warns, “An inheritance too quickly aquired in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.”

God’s delays are not automatic denials, but a refining process to get what He desires- our growth and maturity, so that getting what we desire, wont lead us away from him by making it an idol of the heart. God is good though and “The Lord is a sun and shield, he bestows favor and honor, and no good thing does the Lord withold from the one who walks uprightly” (Psalm 84:11)

It does not say God will automatically give us everything we want but if he sees it is truly best for us, he will, and not in our time but his.

Goliath In God’s Way

Goliath had an ego larger then life and suppose if it was the 90’s you could say he was with the “Backstreet Philistines” and his band—of soldiers, they never lived to see a new release!

“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals! ” David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.

1 Samuel 17:36-51

-He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. [Goliath despised David because of youth, and thought since he was a young man he knew nothing- yet Goliath’s ego had blinded him so he could not see a younger man like David as having knowlege he did not, but David knew far more then Goliath did and so defeated him. David knew for one, Goliath stood challenging not him, but God. David also shortly before was annointed next king of Israel. If Goliath was going to succeed in killing him then that mean God was not able to keep His promise. David also may have seen that Goliath’s pride was a greater weakness then Goliath could ever see it was. —-Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18 )

David also went into battle refusing Saul’s armor and weapon. Often what the world deems as good strategy or plan is not how God sees it. David relied on God fully and not on the weapons of Saul that would have more encumbered him then anything else! We too often can get tripped up relying on strategy or even our knowlege of the Word when it comes to fighting spiritual battles or getting through life.

Yet though these are not unwise to have knowlege of, if we are not careful we can still put the trust in “Our” knowlege and not God’s hand to provide victory!

David infact wrote most of the Psalms says:

I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.

Psalm 44:6-7

David knew that he could use weapons but put no trust in his weapons but God’s favor. As Christians too we must not think our years of walking with the Lord, Bible knowlege, or anything about us guarantees us success but must in humility fully rely upon God to bring spiritual victory over sins we all often get challenged by, as well as outward problems that cause fear, worry, doubt or anything else, that like Goliath, stands in the way of God’s purposes for our lives. And his ultimate purpose is to make us more like Himself in character, the person of Jesus Christ, but he has specific goals for each of ourlives as individuals also!

Do not let your Goliaths rob you of victory in life! Goliath stuck out in a crowd like big nuisance but when we see that it is not our war, but God’s, that takes pressure of of us. We are called to cooperate in obedience with God but whether a besetting sin or fear or problem of some form we must ultimately see that God is even far more interested in His goals for our lives then even we could be, as Christians we may get frustrated with some hangup, sin or shortcoming- we may instead of receiving God’s involvement try to hard in our own power and struggle in too much of our own strength. As it was said of David, “He fights the Lord’s battles” so it is in our lives, “The Lord’s battle” and what battle does God lose? None! So if you see yourself as more responsible for the victory to overcome your problems within/ then you are squeesing God out and will see defeat. But trusting him to bring victory and letting His power do the heavy lifting by trust and surrender, you see mountains get moved.

Don’t Take What Belongs To God

Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.

Mark 12:15-17 –

Saw something fascinating in this tonight, Caesar’s portrait was on these coins, yet if you think of it, all human beings have been made in God’s image and like these coins belonged to Caesar so also people belong to the Lord God. We may worry about our loved ones, fret over what people do here and there, or this or that or the other- yet we must realize this: all people whether they realize it or not are God’s ultimate perogative to do whatever he wishes with.

As Christians, we are called to obey God ans his words and entrust all judgement to him. Let God do his job! We must do ours to honor, obey and remain true to him and allow his power to move us in accordance to his good design for us! When we do this we experience joy and freedom. God knows what is best for us and all we need in advance – He knows our needs and worries, and if we can resign ourselves to the will of God and accept that his will will truly be the best for us and that he wont withold good, what he sees as good of course, when we walk in faithfulness to him, we can relax and just let go of worry, stress and feelings that make us feel we have to have our hands on things we need to just let alone!

The Thorn That Brought Power

The Thorn That Brought Power!

or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 –

Paul was not a masochist but in essense what he grew to realize that this very pressing situation whatever it may have been, that he at first begged for its removal, became the instrument in which God removed more of Paul, so Christ could live more fully. When we have too much of us in us, we give Christ less availability to exude his full power! Eventually Paul grew to embrace what the thorn produced inside of him, that is, more of Gos’s power through Christ Jesus overflowing!

Before Paul was radically changed by God’s grace, he was head strong, intelligent, stubborn, prideful and a man with his many credentials, yet we read he writes later- “For whatever gain I now consider loss in comparrison to knowing Christ”

He came to learn how to tap into the power of Christ by being emptied of self! Jesus said this, “For whoever will save his life will lose it, but whoever loses it for my sake will find it”

Meaning: you want to truly taste real and great life with power, victory and purpose beyond your wildest imaginations it comes by emptying “I” out of it and embracing “Him” as central. Yet too often we sell ourselves short of our full potential because of fear God will do to us what will make us miserable! Yet we may suffer in life for certain, we can though like Paul learn to rise above this the more we allow Christ’s life to overflow us from the inside out and the results are incredible if we perservere!

Pharoah Lost His Firstborn Because He Sinned and God Lost His Cause You and I Did.

Find it interesting how in the story of Moses God told Moses to go save the Israelites from Pharoah and the Egyptians but he basically said “Oh and by the way I am going to harden Pharoah’s heart so he wont respond” and throughout the story the first few plagues it said, “And Pharoah hardened his heart” then after a certain number of catastrophies in the land of Egypt and on Pharoah’s household, it says “And God hardened Pharoah’s heart”

Romans 1 speaks of God giving people up to a reprobate mind. After a certain amount of resisting it is possible to harden ones heart so far God gives up on them- though its not to say we know where that is in other people’s lives and even our own but Jesus teaches about “Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” ans there comes some point where sufficient knowlege and God’s patience has been extended to try to reach people and they “harden their hearts”

Pharoah was hardened especially because of pride and in Egyptian belief systems, Pharoahs were considered to be the chief of the Egyptian gods. So we can see how this man let this go to his head. There were plagues and each of them challenged one of the Egyptian Dieties, and last God smote Pharoah’s own firstborn son. Since Pharoah thought he was a god and now suffers such a loss, it is also assumable Pharoah’s ego got a deathblow too, but he briefly consented to let the people go but then changed his mind to go after them and sealed his fate.

God gives an invitation through the message of Christ that He smites his own son for our sins so we can be set free from sin, slavery to sin that holds us captive in the metaphorical Egypt of sin. Slavery to fear and doing what is wrong but cannot break free from. These things destroy us, “The wages of sin is death” Romans says, and “But the gift of God is Eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”

Christ suffered death to put an end to spiritual plagues and often we suffer so much without realizing it pursuing sin. In the Law of Moses, in Deuteronomy 28, there is curses for disobedience and plagues that follow- yet if we only see this as an obsolete OT passage we lose sight of the bigger story. These Israelites even after they entered the promised land suffered these because they failed to keep God’s laws and decrees and eventually a foreign nation took them captive as a fulfillment to this passage. How does Christ fit in? He takes on the wrath of God for a Law that neither they could keep or we could, and by turning to him God’s justice is served by Christ’s death and suffering on the sinners behalf. God saved us by true faith in His Son’s Sacrifice and reaurection and then Christ becomes a law within us- he becomes our power to live the righteous life we cannot on our own. He moves our heart’s to love and enables us to be humble and do good. Yet this if because of a gift, not because we could earn or measure up. Pharoah suffered the loss of his son for his own sin, but God suffered the loss of His own son for your’s and mine.

Secrets In Suffering

Some of the hardest of trials we go through are the most glorious experiences in our walk of faith. Only because: in these times, it is as even God shares his secrets in the midst of suffering. This was the case with John, exiled on the Island of Patmos, and he there wrote Revelations. Paul who spent a large portion of his life in prison for the Gospel also partook in the secrets Christ revealed. Jeremiah who was “The weeping prophet” was told “Call to me and I will show you great unsearchable things that you do not know.” And these moments, glory moments they are, where in the midst of darkness all around it is as if God opens the window of heaven and draws the soul up to show them marvelous things.

Going Into The Deep

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

Luke 5:4-6 –

What I saw from this is Jesus challenging Peter’s approach to fishing. Jesus on one occassion says “I will make you a fisher of men” which means Peter would be an instrument by God to bring souls to Jesus! Yet he called him out into the deep, he will also do so with us if we truly desire to be more useful for His Kingdom. Christ calls for us to push into the deep, deeper love, deeper dependence on him, deeper humility and a deeper willingness to sacrifice much of what we want to gain what he wants to produce in us. Sometimes we may see our efforts to reach a lost and dying world as shallow efforts that seem to have left us saying “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing” and The Lord may have in mind to deepen his love in us, and bring us lower in sorrows, trials, hardships and losses so we may become even deeper in Him as a result and then by doing so He catches more fish through us. We often want ease and comfort and the paths pf least resistence but those times were we feel life is blowing against us, or the waters are rushing against our lives and problems drill at our hearts- he is doing good by mining gold out of us. He sends forth waters in the natural to wear a path through rock over time but the mighty rivers of the days of trouble burrow through the hard places in our hearts to create a way through us, he allows hardship to bear down on us but the after result is he brings forth gold from rocky places and makes us into caves that hold great spiritual treasures that were untapped before. He molds us into even greater vessels of His life so we can be of even greater service in His hands.