Monthly Archives: June 2018

The Wall Of Sin Destroyed

He long for her yes over the wall, he longed for her yet she hated him, and hedged him out with her hostility and sin.

He still loved her despite her ways, and he bore contempt from her and angry glaring gaze.

He bore the pain and an unjust death, he loved her to his dying breath. On the cross, he bore her sins so he could bring her close again. They said “Come on down from on the cross, save yourself if you truly are the Son of God” yet refused to prove his rightful name, so he could save her and make her his claim. He suffered sinners fury and angry eyes for those he saved- she was his prize. What was the reward of his suffering? Was it not his beloved? Those who once ran from him, sinned against him and rejected him in her faithless ways- so that she could be his treasure till the end of days. Forever his, and redeemed and love, that was why God sent His beloved Son from heaven above. Love so deep and costly that it was, for we benefit far more from Him then he could ever from us. Yet this is love and the humble heart of God, that he took upon himself His wrathful rod. To make us clean and close to Him, he suffered from us for our guilt and sin.

Jesus Christ is The Loving God who came to bring humankind close again and years and years he had patiently waited and had to see our sin. He came to enter this world at the proper time to redeem us from our truest crime. We all forsook him in our ways, yet He died for us at the end of His days. He suffered torment and was hung to die, but for a Beloved redeemed sinful race that had caught his eye.

It is written, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” yet some have said, “I must first be better and clean up my ways” – but throw that notion in to the wind, for no good works can erase our sin. He freely pardons and will graciously cast our sins into the depths of the sea. Turn to Him and away from sin, then he will give you newness in life and a fresh start again. You cannot atone by doing a thing, but surrender your all to your Loving King. A King who bore the griefs of peasants and lowly wretches- who did not use His glorious place of honor to keep himself too out of reach, yet humbled himself, lived among us and his ways he did teach. He at the end knew what he must be a sacrifice, because poor sinner, for your sin, death is the price. For all of our sins we earn God’s penalty- but he loved poor sinners who were so ugly. He saw his love displayed could make us truly lovely.

No one is good enough to barter with God- but the beauty of the Gospel is He wanted us for no reason in our own self or conduct. As a father pitied his children who cannot give him a thing- He gave us the garments of loving grace and put his love upon us like a gold ring. Can a man benefit God? No. Does God desire his creation? Yes. Does God delight in the lips of their adoration, certainly so, yet was it you or I that made God love us, then this is a resounding no!

Simple truth- God loved us not because we could, not because we were worthy but because He is filled with mercy, compassion and is benevolent.

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Idolatrous Ashera Pole Dancers, Unfaithful People, God’s Anger- God’s Mercy and Pursuing Love!

There was in OT times something known as an Ashera pole. It was a pole made that incorporated idol worship. The Lord brought the people of Israel out of Egypt and warned them not to adopt the Caanenite practices but to drive them entirely out with their idols and “Ashera poles”

Now let’s imagine for a second, God throughout the Bible is very clear he hates idol worship. The worship and trust of anything other then Him and elevating it to a place of god. That angers God probably just as much as if you found out, a person you were commited to and loved and were in a relationship with had a side little fiasco going on. What if you found out your wife had been smooching another man, or had set up a stripping pole in your living room? Or what if she was running a little prostitution business and this was going on in your room? This is a human metaphore for a much more broadscale spiritual lesson- Human beings and their sin and idols, provoke the Lord to great anger and cause His heart grief!

These people gave God grief upon grief and provoked him to anger. A lot of people say, “Well, God just seemed so angry in the Old Testament” but consider the analogy above. These promiscuous people God saved out of Egyptian oppression had a long history of forsaking God and his laws and whoring themselves with gods of the other nations. God gave them time to change their ways and number of times handed them over to their enemies saying

—-After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord. Because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites that came with him from Egypt, he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.’” The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is just.” When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.” (2 Chronicles 12:1-8)

Earlier on also in Judges we see a pattern:

——Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord ’s anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.” The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua. (Judges 2:11-23)

1.) God had been good to them, saved them from the Egyptian oppression hundreds of years before. He gave them a land that was good and they repaid him by ditching the relationship and running to the arms of idols and other gods. So they first of were unfaithfully paying God back with evil for the good that he did for them.

[So human nature- lets all be honest and own we have wicked tendencies as such if we let our sinful nature truly call the shots]

2.) They not only repaid God with evil, but that evil led them to idol worship and choosing things that were useless hunks of metal, wood, stone and wood to bow down to. (Note, many in our times may not worship literal idols but in the West, people do so much evil for green paper as one example. Our culture places more value on physical appearence and looking good then character so often. People worship many gods, self being often number one and many in our nation have forsaken the Laws of the Lord, (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.) Pride becomes a little god people elevate and set shrines for themselves to worship self. God hates pride as much as literal idol worship. Pride says “I am the best, I do not need anyone or God, I am most important and with my might and right hand make things happen. My will be done!”

Now lets look at a character in 1 Kings, he was quite a pole dancer —-

Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him. (1 Kings 16:33 -)

Ole Ahab was not a good guy. He was actually one, if not the most wicked of kings Israel had. One incident that truly sealed Ahab and his wife queen Jezebel’s fate was Ahab came across a vinyard he coveted that belonged to Nabal. Nabal would not sell it to him because he was commanded by God not to. So Ahab pouted over it. His wife Jezebel took notice and seemingly was the one who wore the belt in that relationship. As wicked as Ahab was, Jezebel was even more dasterdly I would say and had him under her pinky.

——His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?” He answered her, “Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. In those letters she wrote: “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them bring charges that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.” So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them. They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Then they sent word to Jezebel: “Naboth has been stoned to death.” As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.” When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’” Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!” “I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’ “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.” (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.) When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

(1 Kings 21:5-29 -)

There seemed to temporarily be hope for this evil king and he humbled himself and seemingly repented. Yet unfortunately Abab shows throughout his story that it was not lasting. The good news is true repentence and turning to Jesus Christ can remove our sins as far as the “east from the west” yet we must truly surrender, not partial like Ahab who eventually died for his sin.

The Israelites also kept on in sin too—

—-They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. (2 Kings 17:16-17)

“sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.”

Eventually God had had enough, and the Babylonians were sent against them and destroyed their city and deported them into a foreign land to serve them for 70 years. This was a very unpleasant time for the nation and the prophet Jeremiah who prophesied this would happen spoke the word of the Lord

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord , “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Jeremiah 29:10-14 –

This was both a message of certain judgement but also hope. It left the opportunity for these people to repent and still receive God’s forgiveness and restoration.

1.) The seventy years was set- often when people sin and the consequences come, they wonder why if they repented why they are still stuck in an unpleasant spot. Yet, there are consequences that often remain though forgiveness is certain when we turn back to the Lord and forsake our sins. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” This is guarantee for the believer that blows it and confesses “Agrees with the Lord his or her sin is sin and they did wrong” This is true for a non Christian who turns to Christ for forgiveness also “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved” and when someone believes the Gospel, and seees their need to be forgiven of sin and rebellion toward God, Christ saves them when they trust His sacrifice on the cross and raising from the dead to bring then cleansing and forgiveness. We as a result are called to follow!

It mean the consequences magically are erased. Yet, there is hope, when we turn back to the Lord and resume following him wholeheartedly, he can bring good out of even our failures!

Some may read this tonight and feel it speaking to them, yet I want to encourage anyone who does read this to turn to the Lord and not let guilt or feelings of unworthiness keep you from Him. The Word of God says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

No one of us is worthy of God. None of us can earn salvation or the love of God. Yet “God demonstrated his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)

God’s love welcomes us to come even though we are aweful left to ourselves, unfaithful and have sinned. His love wants to still save us and welcome us back!

God Showed No Partiality In Judging The Nation

God Evaluated The Entire Nation- the whole of them.

Often people blame the politicians most, and alot of time there is more pin the tail on someone else game going on but when God judged the nation of Israel, he played no favorites. He impartially called them all out.

“Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.’ There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice. “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. ”

Ezekiel 22:24-31

1.) The Princes

•There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her.

These rulers used their power and authority to do violence and abused their power!

2.) The Priests.

•Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean;

•and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

“Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things” – What does this mean though? They basically damaged the credibility of the Teaching of God by how they taught. They refused to make a distinction between “Clean and unclean”

Modern times a preacher or Bible teacher has a serious job. To present what the Word of God says and not elevate societal opinion over it. He is supposed to exalt God’s Word above his own opinion or preference as well. There are things that God’s Word says that challenge us all and at times we wont necessarily like it because it is challenging and convicting but we should still present it in it’s fullness so we all can grow by it. There are a lot of supposedly Christian churches today that do God’s Word diservice by neglecting what is taught that indeed is not popularly accepted in our culture. The priests in the time of Ezekial and Jeremiah and other prophets were sternly rebuked for failure to teach God’s law as they should have been. The nation as a whole suffered for it and was judged through being taken captive by Babylon.

3.) The Officials-

•Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain.

These leaders took advantage of people and did violence for unjust gain. Here in America or any country, greed can poison the hearts of people called to uphold law and justice. Political leaders and judges can be bribed. Law makers can let self interest and monetary gain affect their law making decisions. This all is corrupt and God indicted Israel for this very thing.

4.) The Prophets-

•Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken.

Those who were called by God to turn people from wrong gave themselves over to corruptness also. They “whitewashed” the sin of the people and made it look less serious then it was, and by means of false vision and lying and divination. They presumed to speak on behalf of God when he had not spoken or told them to.

5.) The People/ Citizens

•The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.

These people even with little more then just being ordinary citizens also were just as bad. They took advantage of another’s disadvantage, “The poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner” and “Denying them justice.”

Often as wrong as it is, there is a vulnerable people group that others see as easy to exploit, and the Lord took this sin serious throughout the Bible and also these people then were denied justice in courts- possibly because they were poor and from another place.

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. ” (Ezekial 23:30-31)

Jesus is the ultimate intercessor before God to atone for sin. Through knowlege of him we have escaped corruption and eternal death. However, on the smaller scale, those who genuinely are followers of Him should be praying for our nation- promoting His message and those who teach the Word should not treat it as trivial. The Word of God is serious on the nature of sin and the sacrifice that it cost Jesus to save us from living for sin and self. Many in this country say they are Christians- maybe half the population or at least a third may say this and go to church even. Yet the call is clear in following Jesus Christ- Jesus wants to be Saviour and Lord of all our lives, not just sections we are ok with him being Lord over. He wants all, or nothing- first place, or not at all. [I am refering to a type of Christianity so watered down and whitewashed by culture- that says “I believe in Jesus” but he has little or no say in their lives.] None of us are sinless but we should be commited and continually be growing!

The Confusion Between Teaching on Grace and Works

Many get confused with what the Scripture says when Paul writes “By grace you are saved, through faith and this is not by works so that no one may boast” then they read James where he speaks of “Faith without works is dead” and things like “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

James 2:24)

So people get the wrong idea that James is saying we can be saved by doing good things. No, James is saying that a mere belief in Christ that is not followed by obedience and living for him is not faith that saves anyone.

Metaphor/Analogy- I suppose in human terms we can use a few, 1.) A man prays for a job and is sure he can land a job at a certain place- and boasts of how he can get the job and secure it. Yet he sits on his couch and wont go there to fill out and application or give his resume. (Who does that on a very mundane ordinary life scenario)

Or suppose a young man has interest in a young woman and believes she likes him but chickens out and never goes out of his way to talk to her or pursue this interest.

We see how this does not make since in ordinary day to day life so then why do we assume that it works in Biblical terms of faith? Faith has actions that spring out of it. Faith moves to action. True salvation faith produces real change.

Surrender Doubts And Self Effort!

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” [John 20:27-29 -]

A fascinating passage itself because the disciple who was doubting soon calls Jesus, “My God”

Thomas wanted proof. Yet Jesus had shown many things to His disciples throughout his time with them that should have enabled them to believe. Yet this is so like us if we truly humble ourselves and acknowlege we can be just as much of doubters on somethings pertaining to what we hear from the Lord also. Often what we do not need is more signs or evidence, but to trust what He has already revealed. We can be weak though so often the Lord gives us confirmation and assurance. As Christians we do not really doubt God’s existence but we can often doubt how he sees us, if he loves us as much as the Word says, for the long haul of my Christian walk I doubted terribly if I had truly been saved in moments I had failed to live up to what the Bible called. In hindsight, I see how though God was holding me up and not letting go when I did not realize. And as a Christisn over these past 9 years let me say it has not been one smooth, mess free journey but have had my moments of failure, sin, shortcomings and plenty of moments where I did not play the part as well as I should have. However, over these messy 9 years I have seen God doing the amazing shaping and I am a work in progress but have indeed because of him progressed.

I wanted to share this because many younger Christians do struggle and often have doubts about themselves being God’s saved works of art! Yet as messy as we all can be, God is sculpting us. I’m sure you could ask many people who knew me years ans years if they have seen positive growth- and many might say “Oh if you knew him early on he was kind of a mess” but praise the Lord that He finishes what he begins and nothing about us has the power to excell forward but if we by His Spirit moving in us let Him work his will, then we can go to greater heights then we ever dreamed of! The key is “Yielding” not our personal “Elbow grease” because often our “Trying” stifles God’s working- the key to victory and growth is “Surrender”

Like a man who takes a car to a mechanic, “Hey car man, here let me help you with that” but mechanic says’ “Just give me the keys and stay back while I do the repairs”

Sure we have a part to play and this is “Trust and obey” but we must surrender to His power and presence and let Him do the heavy lifting! Thats the key!

Unforgiveness:The Thirst For Power

Abusing power for violence- Unforgiveness a life behind bars.

Many today may seek positions of power and want to rise to greatness- the problem that can easily come though from the fallen sinful heart is using power for personal revenge or violence. The Bible condemns this behavior. The Pharisees fit this bill quite well, so did the princes of Israel in Ezekial 22:6, as well as Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:10-23

“ ‘See how each of the princes of Israel who are in you uses his power to shed blood. (Ezekiel 22:6)

and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

[Acts 8:10-23 -]

There is a problem with all of us though, we are sinful – and any human being growing in power without yielding to a reverence and respect for God can easily become spoiled by desire to misuse power to his or her own unjust gain or personal revenge. In contrast, we see people who used there place of power for benevolent good such as Joseph in the book of Genesis. He forgave his brothers who had sold him as a slave years before and used his power to save their lives and their nation.

As Christians, whether small or great, well known or inconspicuous, God calls us to not misuse what position we have.

Vital key to Christian living is “Forgiveness”—we are called to

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. [Ephesians 4:30-32]

In order to progress in our walks with the Lord Jesus Christ we have to deal with bitterness and unresolved anger. It does not mean what others have done is right, or excusable, but first: We have been forgiven so much in Christ Jesus. And witholding forgiveness is not seeing how great our own sin cost Jesus who suffered sinlessly for us. Secondly, forgiveness entrusts God as superior judge of these people and puts Him on His rightful throne to deal with them as he sees fit to.

God is serious about sin far more then any human could be. Sin meant Christ suffered unjustly and lost his life because that was the only sacrifice that could make any of us forgiven. Also, we sin ourselves and have created pain and suffering for others in ways we may never realize and also grieve God when we sin, so to think we can be rightful judges of others sets us up to be hypocrites and tells God he is not smart enough to handle others who sin. That is dumb. God knows all, he sees their actions from the day they were born but knows also their motives, life stories, everything about them that may factor in here or there and he knows their struggles too. Not to say any of us are off the hook, but Christ hung so we would not hang.

But if a person does not forgive- Christ warns God wont forgive their sins. This does not mean it is not emotionally challenging and does not take time to fully seek God and find freedom from an unforgiving attitude- It infact does often involves pressing toward God in prayer and he changes our hearts as we do. Yet the concept here is just an adiment refusal to forgive. It enslaves here in this life and will condemn the unforgiving in the eternal state. Grudges must be dealt with and some spend a life behind bars being driven by desire of revenge. It is not worth it. People destroy those who may inadvertently hurt them presently because things from early on have been so sore in their hearts that they react in fury toward even people who are not original offenders. We all sin in many ways and step on toes but so often unresolved hurts from even childhood can haunt us in the present unless we allow Christ to set us free!

“Because You Ripped Open Pregnant Women To Extend Your Borders!”

This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not relent. Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend his borders, (Amos 1:13)

This no doubt is kind of a strange passage but think the text explains enough to conclude that the Ammonites were guilty of expanding at expense of murdering pregnant women and babies they carried.

Though to think how this may apply to our lives as modern readers, let’s search for the timeless truths. First we know that Ammon was guilty of violence toward pregnant women in Gilead to extend his borders. So self interest caused the guilty to become guilty of bloodshed for personal gain.

We also live in a society that has been plagued by a faulty notion, “The end justifies the means” and “If it is for the greater good of many then doing wrong toward some is justifiable.” Yet this treats innocent people as numbers and says “If we can help more people by wronging a handful then it is justified.”

However, God’s Word begs to differ. At the time of the Holocaust, actually more Germans were in favor of Hitler and he had won the masses with smooth elequant appeal. Many innocent Jews, Christians who tried to help them, infirm, and other groups of people lost their lives in the phony pretense of “Progress” and we see this now as a Historic atrocity but then they said what many say today “We are making progress” and “Moving forward”

There is a mindset in many in our time that see some people as interferences to what they deem to be progress. Some on college campuses as well as the country are of the mindset that the elderly and the people who cannot contribute much to society are hinderences to collective progress.

However, I see any such mindset as just as evil as what drove Ammon to kill pregnant women in attempts to expand. We have many who see unborn children as just masses of tissue and if a baby is going to be a nuisance to one’s personal happiness- there are many who say “A woman for any reason should be able to have her unborn aborted” Biblically these kind of mindsets are not “progressive” ideas, as many say its progress, rather it is only progress toward deteroration in a society.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. (Proverbs 14:34)

We also must impartially see there is sin in many groups of people. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people”

When it often comes to addressing this topic of society sins, you say one thing, often people feel guilty then quickly blame others.

To be fair, impartial and unbiased. Sin affects everyone in our nation. There are men who play a part in this also, and there are stories where a man wants to have his fun and games and pressures the woman he gets pregnant into aborting the child. Why? Because he does not want to man up and be responsible to help raise that child or have to pay child support. Such men also play a role to “rip open pregnant women” to “extend his borders”

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Can we say that American for a large part is not too unlike Ammon or ancient Caanenite cultures who God had Israel wipe out because they were an eye sore to Him? Unfortunately Israel did her own crimes and sins after she settled in the land and was exiled for 70 years as a result.

What can we conclude about us? If God was to call us all before him on trial and lay charges over every hidden work, motive, deed and thought in secret, how would you respond when he says “Give me a reason why I should allow you into my Heaven with me?”

What would you say? Because how we all answer that determines our eternal state.

This is no guilt trip dear friends but it is a sobering wake up call. This is not a political sermon though it deals with societal issues that have become politically bastions. On a personal self inventory we should all search our hearts and ask what motivates what we do, say, believe and all other outworking of our lives. For where the motive lies will give so much insight into why individuals say, do, act or believe things. Motives tell alot about the causes people deem worth pursuing also.

The Bible says that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”- Jesus

This is where actions come from too! So tracing it back to it’s root can identify the quality of the fruit. If we are doing anything from self centeredness, malice, or ill intent then no matter how good one thinks the cause is, [Whether truly good or bad] a good cause can be sullied by a evil motive, a bad cause can become more fowler from an evil motive.

So I have composed this not to be political but rather whoever may personal reaf my writings/ my goal is to provoke personal thought and individual reflection in my readers. We often try to target world problems with political reforms- but if you cannot first reform the heart of a person the best political solution remains only a cast for a broken limb that refused to heal. The cast only restrains further damage. A good law is necessary to restrain but has no power to heal. The Gospel though is God’s solution for what ails every human heart- sin. And you cannot take sin out of the World without removing the sin from the sinner. Yet Christ died on the cross to crush sin in the hearts of those who in faith turn to him and say “Lord I know I am messed up and sinful and cannot change on my own and need your forgiveness and power to live the way I ought!”

Shadow On The Wall

This is a cool little thing that happened when I was at work but never made mention of it till now. But was rolling back from break near the east wall of the office. To the west is glass windows and to the east is a wall. Yet stragely I was rolling past this wall back to my designated area when I saw what looked like a shadow on the wall that looked like stair steps. And someone had obviously had arranged something upon their desk that made this shadow upon the sun going down near the west window. Then recalled reading this few days earlier as a part of my daily reading plan

—I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’” Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered. Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?” Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?” “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.” Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz. [2 Kings 20:6-11]

The story hear in 2 Kings was King Hezekiah was sick and suffered the heavy hand of God from pride and not only this the city was under siege by the Assyrian army. So when Hezekiah humbled himself and entreated the Lord his fate was changed.

What happened was God had delivered Hezekiah and the city earlier from Senacharrib king of Assyria but Hezekiah like many of us can let victory tempt pride:

—So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them on every side. Many brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord and valuable gifts for Hezekiah king of Judah. From then on he was highly regarded by all the nations. In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.

2 Chronicles 32:22-26 –

We see though that Hezekiah even though he messed up turned to the Lord with a right heart by humbling himself. This is how we also must respond too when we goof up or sin. Hezekiah was a good king but was not without his sins, but here we see how his heart responded when he realized his error and he repented.

Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

Proverbs 24:15-16 –

Being righteous is not just doing right, but also there is a great deal to be said about how we respond when we blow it and fail. Do we make excuses and rationalize our sins away? Or do we own up and humble ourselves and say “Lord I sinned and was wrong”

Scorpions

Scorpions of the Bible-

And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. (Ezekiel 2:6 -)

He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. [Deuteronomy 8:15-18]

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

(Luke 10:18-19 )

Scorpions throughout Biblical literature were feared and not held in a favorable light. The scorpion has been mentioned in Deuteronomy as an animal that inhabited the desert the Israelites wandered through. It has been symbolic of the wicked and evil doer in the time of Ezekial the prophet to describe the nature of the people the prophet was dealing with and lastly Jesus refers to the spiritual forces of Satan as being like that of a scorpion.

Scientifically they are very fascinating animals. In fact, they will eat eachother provided one has an opportunity to do so. They often will grab prey with claws and then inject venom from a stinger attached to the tail they use as their most formidable weapon. When mating the male is not by any means safe himself since the female scorpion may sting him and devour him in his attempt.

Scorpions like snakes, reptiles of other kinds, arachnids and insects of other varieties are cold blooded. This means their body temperature is dependent on external sources of heat to be maintained for their survival. Thus they fair best in warmer climates that have a steady temperature that does not drop significantly enough.

The following picture is a “Israeli Palestenian Deathstalker scorpion” and may indeed be the species that Jews in the days of Jesus and Biblical times had come across.

In the article by Toni Staff, in the Israeli Times-

“The Israeli yellow scorpion, also commonly known as the deathstalker, is a highly venomous species common in southern Israel’s Negev Desert.While its venom is not lethal for adults, it can be deadly for the young, elderly and infirm.”

[https://www.timesofisrael.com/boy-hospitalized-after-stung-by-deadly-scorpion/]

Though possibly not fatal to be stung by a majority of scorpions, some species are very venomous and can prove fatal.

In the United States there is a species that can kill a human adult and is known as

The Arizona bark scorpion. Arizona has desert so it is one of a scorpions favorite habitats.

When we see all this in Biblical light we must realize Jesus is using the nature of the scorpion as a metaphor. Also so is the book of Ezekial. The rebellious untamed nature of sin makes it’s hosts unpradictable and hostile by nature. And as it says in the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter 5-

—-You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. [Galatians 5:13-15 -]

The Apostle Paul is warning people in the Galatian church that claim to follow Christ that they must put off the worldly ways they are succumbing to. He then gives us a list to discern whether we are acting in the renewed man or the old nature-

—So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:16-21)

What he then does is show us what we should be living like as people who claim to follow Christ.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:22-26)

We are not to behave out of fleshly ways and “Eat or be eaten” but rather behave as people remade again in God’s image to reflect His likeness and behave like the people of God, not wild animals. Human beings were created for more then survival and preying on eachother yet sin makes us by nature become like the wild beasts yet having no excuses to justify us in doing so! Christ died to redeem us from the ways of the Scorpion.

Power!

Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord , are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

1 Kings 18:37-38 –

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 5:17-20 –

James indicates that Elijah was just an ordinary man. Yet he did extraordinary things. How? Wasn’t Elijah super special and spiritual though?

Jesus taught in John 15 that the only way for any of us to be fruitful or effective is to “Remain in me”

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

John 15:5-6 –

He concludes by saying:

7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

John 15:7-17 –

Elijah was no more spiritual then any of us who know Christ yet he positioned himself to be used by the Lord. This is why we too should regularly develop a close relationship with Jesus Christ also. Pray regularly and feed on His Words, because the power is in Him not ourselves. Apart from Him we cannot obey as we ought, do good like we should or anything eternally significant. Elijah knew that he was just a vessel of God and regularly sought the Lord and had much alone time with God. So too we also are only as effectual as we allow God to pour into us!