Monthly Archives: November 2019

Only Repentance Brings God’s Blessing and Favor

It seems here like God is telling Jeremiah not to pray for the people. He is not forbidding prayer for their repentance but merely prayers trying to forstall the disaster God was going to send. We should always pray God gives repentance to sinners but Jeremiah was being told God had already made up His mind He was going to hand the people of Jerusalem in Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon because they refused to repent of sin and listen to God’s messengers.

Later on in the book of Revelations this passage is quoted again,

Whoever has ears, let them hear. “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people. (Revelation 13:9-10)

God’s timeless message throughout old and new testament is “Repent” and “turn from sin to the Lord”

The culmination of all Scripture points to Jesus Christ who came at God’s appointed time in history to give himself up as a final sacrifice for sin. [See Titus 1:2-3 and Galatians 4:4-7]

We are called to turn from our sins to follow Him! Salvation is a gift that must be received by faith and we show we have faith when we turn from evil ways and seek Him for the forgiveness of sin and the new life He wants to give us.

We see repentance is turning from sin to serve and follow Jesus Christ, [Mark 1:15, Psalm 34:14, 2 Corinthians 5:15]

Man Made Plans Vs God’s Plans and Pride Vs Humility

Here we find an interesting story. Adonijah self promotes himself to be next king, in place of his father David. We see several ways he went about it, one being, he promotes himself. Secondly he is very selective of who he invited. It says “but he did not invite Nathan the prophet,” and will pause there just to highlight this for a moment. Why would he not invite Nathan the prophet? If his desire had been within God’s will then he would certainly have had Nathan’s approval. After all the prophet was like a very spokesperson for God. So we can probably safely assume that Adonijah may have figured Nathan may not have sided with his plan.

When it comes to us though we can also ask whether or not we go about making our plans kind of this way also at times. Do we seek godly advice and counsel before we do this or that? Ultimately we should consult God’s Word to see if what we intend to do lines up with the Lord’s general will and principles. Yet we should also be open to hearing what other believers that live according to the principles in God’s Word would have to say.

If we have doubts that a course of action may be frowned upon by other believers, and we would not share our plans because we fear that other believers may not agree our plans are right or Biblical, then there is an indeed possibility our plans are not God’s plans.

Of course we can be certain any plan that involves violating one of God’s principles in His Word is not God’s will. Yet another safety measure we have is other believers to help us too.

Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance. Proverbs 20:18 –

Yet we should not just get advice from anyone. We must discern whether or not the source of advice is good or not.

The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful. Proverbs 12:5 –

See also [2 Chronicles 10:13-14, Psalm 1:1]

It is most assumably the case in Adonijah’s case that he left Nathan the prophet out of the picture because he knew the prophet would not approve.

Also we see Adonijah makes another mistake, he exalts himself and promotes himself. He does not let God put him up as next king but he tries to self appoint himself.

Jesus taught “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. [Matthew 23:12]

Solomon ends up being king though. God’s plan still manages to unfold as it was supposed to and in the end Adonijah was humiliated and eventually forfeits his life by another scheme that backfires on him.

Dont Let Doubt Swallow Your Shield Of Faith

In the game of Zelda, there was an enemy called the Like-Like. If it ever got ahold of Link, the protagonist, it would swallow him up and eat his magic shield. He needed this shield to block some of the stronger attacks by enemies in the game. If he lost it in the Legend of Zelda, he would have to purchase a new one at a shop.

Yet doubt can be very much like this. The like like did not do a significant amount of damage to him aside from swallowing hus shield and making him more vulnerable to other enemies attacks. Yet doubt can cause us problems to. In Ephesians 6, faith is likened and metaphored to be like a shield

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Ephesians 6:16 –

But lets first understand who faith is rooted in. Faith is not merely faith in faith, but rather faith in the unchanging solid character of God.

For example, let’s suppose you have fallen and sinned, and the Enemy comes at you with arrows of condemnation and accusation!

“Look what you did! How could you call yourself a Christian and fall in that way? Can you really believe God could love you after you have done that! God probably does not want you anymore, after all you fail him too much!”

Faith as a shield though would raise itself to say “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)

Faith would say “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:10 –

And “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

John 6:37 –

Faith says “Yes I know God has every justifiable reason to abandon and forsake me. Yet I choose to believe Him who promised to never leave me pr forsake me. And I trust Him to forgive me as underserving as I am, because He said He would if I confess and turn back to Him!”

Doubt would love to whisper, “But look at how many times you fall and fail the Lord!”

But behold, “Though the righteous person may fall seven times, they rise again” (Proverbs 24:16)

What about when we cannot fix our own ailing sickly hearts that are so pulled toward sin, or some gross dreadful vice. What about when our wills cannot will to change yet we know we are in a dreadful place.

Shall we not raise the shield of faith and pray “Lord, ‘Create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

Or “Lord, your Word says in Philippians 2:13 that ‘It is God who works in you both the to will and act according to his good purpose’ so Lord do as your Word promises, for I cannot change my own sickly heart that is ‘deceitful beyond all things’ (Jeremiah 17:9)

These are some examples of how our faith is so indespenible. We cannot live the Christian life without it!

Blessed Forgiveness

The Psalm starts by telling us how wonderful the forgiveness of God is, then concludes by saying “Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit”

But let’s talk about that last phrase, “In whose spirit is no deceit”

Lets put it this way, we have all heard the term “Get honest with yourself” and that is usually used when people need to be honest they have a problem.

But we must be honest with ourselves and God we do have a sin problem. All of us do!

1 John 1:8 says “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

We must be honest with both ourselves ans the Lord we have struggles and do sin, and are bent in that direction. Yet it does not stop there, 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Confession is more then just saying, “Lord sorry I sinned” but it is agreeing with Him about the nature of sin, it being wrong and understanding it leads us no where good.

Saying “Sorry” and not being really sorry does not do anything. Yet when we can truly come to the Lord and acknowledge we have done wrong and have a tendency to do wrong, we can start receiving His cleansing and help to live differently.

1 John 1:10 says “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:8 and 1 John 1:10 are similar but different

Vs 8 says in the present tense, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”

Vs 10 is past tense, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

In verse 8 we acknowledge that our hearts and present state is still so far from perfect or sinless. Vs 10 we see our past track record too is far from sinless and perfect.

The truth is even if we have walked with Jesus for a long time and grown so much, we never outgrow repenting or confessing our faults and sins. We will never reach a point where we can say

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?

Proverbs 20:9 –

And if we think we have gotten to that point, we have been deceived. Only Jesus Christ could say that. We should though grow and though we won’t be sinless, the goal of the Christian life is to sin less and less.

Why Suffering Does Not Have The Final Say

Why Suffering Does Not Have To Turn Out Bad.

“Frustration is better than laughter because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3-4)

Now it may seem here God’s Word is telling us we are going to just have to be miserable if we follow him. Far be it from that! Yet there is growth that takes place for us spiritually more in struggle, hardship, and suffering then in ease comfort and prosperity. The point is, the foolish in mind only sees good times as God’s goodness but look at hardship and suffering as just a hassle or bad thing.

James 1 gives us a different set of eye glasses and lenses to look at suffering through. He says “The testing of yoir faith produces endurance, endurance must finish it’s work so you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.”

Jesus never promised an easy road or a easy life. He promised the contrary “In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)

He offers us peace and joy no matter what we face. We do not have to let bad circumstances break us or define us or make us miserable.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Often we are tempted to be foolish and only want God’s blessing of good times, but we forget that God’s trials He allows are just as much a blessing from Him also. Why? Because God’s character as a good heavenly Father does not change- even if His methods vary in our lives, His character is always doing or allowing what He does from a place of love, knowing that we need these things to help us grow and become stronger.

We see in Lamentations some powerful truth,

For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land, to deny people their rights before the Most High, to deprive them of justice— would not the Lord see such things? (Lamentations 3:33-36)

Lamentations gives us a view into the character of God, namely that He does not allow suffering or afflict needlessly, or for the fun of it. Sometimes we may view our troubles as some kind of cruel joke and be tempted to think God is amused at bringing down suffering on us. That is a lie from Satan though. God is not capricious or cruel or sickly delighted in causing pain.

Let’s examine a few reasons pain does exist.

One, we live in a world where people are in rebellion toward God and reject His principles and laws by which to live. We have people who take advantage of others. We know of stories where someone drove drunk and killed someone from reckless carelessness. We have people who lie, cheat, steal. We have people who treat sex as just a cheap thrill for an evening and unwanted pregnancies or diseases result often. We have people who become addicted to various vices and addictions. We have crimes of all kinds and sin thrives in this wicked broken world that God will eventually judge.

Secondly, suffering can come from our own poor decisions. Not always, but we always must examine ourselves and ask whether or not we may be reaping comsequences from patterns and decisions we made, (See Galatians 6:7)

Thirdly, sometimes suffering happens merely from choosing to follow the Lord in a society that wants to rebel against Him. In that case, we get to suffer in a way that brings honor to God. It is a badge of true discipleship to Christ to take the blows and beatings and persecutions of a wicked society and remain faithful to Christ. This is good evidence we are following the footsteps of Christ whom it was said

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25)

Christ Jesus suffered so much to grant us the ability to receive forgiveness and eternal life. And therefore, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,

(Philippians 1:29)

It’s not that we should look for suffering or just try to find it, it will come naturally on it’s own as Christians. Yet when it does, we do not have to be taken out by it or shocked, or suprised!

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Now lets examine what God is doing in us as a result of suffering, regardless of the source it is coming from or reason it came, we can still claim Romans 8:28 “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” whether it is caused by others, or just life, or even if it is our fault, we can still grow, learn and get to a better spot if we cooperate.

What God wants to do is grow our faith and deepen our love for Him and others:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9)

What is the benefit of growing? Well once we pass the tests we go through, we come out better, stronger, and more stable then before. Also, at the end of these earthly lives we will be received into eternal happiness with our Lord Jesus Christ!

Idols That Provoke God’s Jealousy

Today’s Sermon, Idols That Provoke God’s Jealousy!

He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. (Ezekiel 8:3)

The idol was making God feel uncomfortable in His own temple and was driving His presence away.

And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.”

(Ezekiel 8:6)

This idol the people were worshipping appears to either be in or around the very temple God had wanted to dwell in among the people. Yet they had made it so God felt uncomfortable being in the very temple that He chose to be his residing place among the people.

Earlier on Solomon had worked hard to create the first official temple to represent God’s dwelling place among the people of Israel. We see the account of this in 1 Kings 9

When Solomon had finished building the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, the Lord appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. The Lord said to him: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’”

1 Kings 9:1-9

As modern believers we may look at these old testament Scriptures and wonder what they have to do with our lives. Well for starters, as believers truly redeemed by the blood of Christ, we are as a people the temple. We are not a building of literal stones but people who are commited to the Lord God and made new by His precious blood shed for us on the cross. We are called to be the temple.

For one, believers are collectively the temple of God’s Spirit

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

Paul was addressing the group of Corinthian believers as a whole to address the issues they were having. There was “quarrelling, competing, and lawsuits taking place among these believers”

But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:6-11

Paul had to remind them of who they truly were as believers and that God had saved them from all sorts of immoral lifestyles. He reminds them they are called to live differently now and not live in any of the ways he lists here.

Secondly Paul reminds them that as believers, they are as individuals God’s temple. Meaning, each of us who have been saved and born again, the Holy Spirit now lives in us as individuals also.

Paul had to address a matter of incest in the early church of Corinth that was being overlooked, brushed aside and by some even applauded. He warned them that to sin in that way was to defile God’s temple.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

As individuals we too have a responsibility to get rid of everything in our lives that would make God feel uncomfortable in our daily lives. We are the temple and we cannot make God uncomfortable in His home in our lives.

Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

1 Corinthians 10:18-22 –

To share devotion with the Lord with an idol is to “provoke the Lord’s jealousy”- and this applies with any sin really. We are either going to be commited to follow Jesus Christ who died to forgive our sin, or we will serve our sins, but we cannot do both at the same time.

Paul uses the ancient Israelites as a historical example for the point he is trying to make.

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did —and were killed by the destroying angel. (1 Corinthians 10:5-10)

Lets go back in Scripture to see how the Israelites did this, and we need look no further then the golden calf incident.

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

Exodus 32:5-8 –

The strange thing that Aaron said after he made the golden calf and built an altar to it was “Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord”

Yet the key thing to realize is that God is jealous and is not ok with divided lotalty. There will be times we too could in a modern way be guilty of this sin of we are not careful. For example, we may attend church on sunday, and some may go to a mass service during the week- yet during the rest of the week if we are living in sin or not repenting of what we do wrong, mixing religious activity each week does not absolve or erase lack of obedience that we are engaged in the rest of the week.

No! We must be all in. Jesus is either Lord of all, or nothing at all. We cannot just give him a day that we will serve Him, but He wants our whole hearts and lives to be under His control.

Slow To Get Offended

Anybody can be easily offended. Yet being slow to get angry, irritated or offended is a fine art indeed. People who are easily offended or irritated are not strong people because in order for them to have a good day or be happy means everyone must do and say whatever they would like.

Life will always have the contrary, certain people that do not like you, say what you want, or do things as you would like for them too. If you get easily upset by this then you will always be at the control of other people’s actions, choices and words to determine how you feel in your life.

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

[Proverbs 19:11]

When Our Idols Get Spotted

The prophet in this story pointed at the sinful altar of Jeroboam. Jeroboam got angry and tried to have the prophet arrested.

The truth is an idol or sinful altar does not have to be a literal stone statue or stone altar like here. It can be anything that God would in His Word call sin, and when someone points it out as such and one gets angry and often very negatively reacts- that is the idol.

As human beings when we set up idols of the heart, things we desire to do or cling to that we know God forbids, – we are worshiping that as an idol.

No one likes having their sin pointed out. Its hard to even accept criticism even when it is gently done and the person doing it has good intentions.

We should ask ourselves on occassion if there is anything that we are failing to let go of and rid ourselves of that we know God is not pleased with. If we can identify it and realize it for the nature of what it is, we should prayerfully ask God to give us strength, yielded heart and courage to get it out of our lives, so we will not hinder our progress in the faith and stunt our spiritual growth. If we continue to persist though and get complacent about it, if we are truly believers saved by His grace, the Lord may severely discipline us until we are forced to let go of it.

He wants rather we cooperate and fully obey so it does not come to that.

If we are not truly children of God then He wont really discipline us. He disciplines those who belong to Him but those who cling to sin and rebellion will come under the final judgement of the whole unrepentant world.

Hope In Hard Dark Times

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. (Psalm 112:4 –

Make no mistake, in this world we will have troubles, as Christ Himself warned. He said “In this world you will have troubles, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)

We can have joy knowing God is working all things together for our good as we see in Romans 8:28.

Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.

Psalm 97:11-12 –

No matter how dark life can seem we have reason to indeed “Praise his holy name.”

Growing Progress

When we first are born again, we receive a new nature (See 2 Corinthians 5:17)

God takes away our heart of stone, and gives us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26)

Yet the problem we still face, our sin nature is still with us. Our bodies are not fully redeemed from sins power. Our spirit is made alive, but our bodies still crave sin and our sinful nature still is with us. Yet we now have the power to do what is right, but there is a continual struggle.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 8:23-25 –

So we at the moment Christ saved us, have then a desire to obey God and follow Christ, but we will still struggle along the way with the pull of sin from our earthly bodies and of course our will, mind and emotions often (The soul)

But our spirit is alive with Christ. Our souls through the sanctifying work of grace with each year become more so delivered from sin.

Soul is our will, mind, emotions- these things can too fight against us because we are of course before we knew Christ, so used to our old patterns of thinking, believing, and doing things.

An analogy for this is a young woman who police found few years ago. She was a victim of severe abuse and neglect but she was kept outside with the dogs all her life and when the authorities found her. She barked like a dog. She walked on all fours like a dog and thought she was a dog.

She is not a dog but a human being. But imagine how long it would take professional help to retrain this young woman to act like a woman, not a dog.

As sinners, we were so long in our old ways it takes the Lord a lot of time to peel away our old manner of things and ways and retrain us to live totally differently.

We are “New creations”- we are new in our identity but often fail to always act out this new nature we have become partakers of. As a result, we fall still, stumble, and in some moments fail to act like Christians. Yet, as we grow and progress, we should be growing to reflect Jesus Christ more so in how we think, speak and act.

People who are younger in the faith may get discouraged and hard on themselves. Yet the process of spiritual growth and maturity takes years and a lifetime.

So we must continue to practice our Script that is found in Scripture. The more we take God’s Word and principles and let these shape our lives, the more and more we will be transformed into the fullness of our true identity!

As we grow over years we will see the wonderful results and how far the Lord has brought us!