Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Desire to be Faithful

22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: 23 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart: 24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day. 25 Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.  –I Kings 8:22-25 (KJV)

I often wonder how many people actually stop and consider what God would have them to do with their lives. Is this a consideration? It is up for discussion? Is it even on the table? For countless people, the answer is no. Many people either do not know or do not care that the Living God has a deep and personal interest in them. There are those who believe God exists, but that He is unconcerned with us personally. The Word of God teaches otherwise. The Bible demonstrates God has an interest in us and He is concerned with us on a personal level. Have you even gone somewhere and you had to take a number a wait? When your time came, they did not call your name, but they called your number. In God’s eyes we are not numbers, for God knows us by name. God’s desire for us is that we walk before Him and live in His blessing. 

Think about that for a moment; what is our desire in regards to God? Do we desire to be faithful to God in all aspects of life? Do we comprehend the magnitude of such a challenge as this? Following God’s will and being faithful to Him is something to be taken very seriously.

The Bible shows us a man named Solomon, who was King in Israel, acknowledged his need to be faithful to God. He recognized and understood the gravity of the situation. Moreover, when he completed the Temple and dedicated it to God, he prayed and worshipped God for His mercy, and Solomon asked God that the people might dwell in His blessing. What is the desire of our hearts? Is it to live life our way, or is it to live for the Lord and be faithful to Him? When our desire is to be faithful, rest assured God will honor our request.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Call to Repentance

Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.  For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.  -Jeremiah 7:4-7 (KJV)

God made it clear to His people that a change was needed in their lives.  It was a challenge for them to amend their ways and their doings.  If they would, the result would be remaining in the land of Israel.  They would be victorious over those who sought to destroy them.  This message of repentance was delivered by Jeremiah to religious people going in and out of the Temple.  The problem was they were trusting in their heritage and religious experience to get them in right standing with God.  What places a person in proper standing with God?  It is having received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  These were a people whose hearts were in need of regeneration.  They went to the Temple and worshipped, they boasted about their heritage as the people of Israel, and yet their hearts remained far from God.

Jeremiah warned them not to trust in lying words.  The people were not being taught the Word of God by the priests.  The priests were watering down God's Word down by telling the people they what they wanted to hear.  The last thing that we should preach today is that people are fine just the way they are, for they are not.  What is needed is a heart changed by the power of Jesus Christ.  Only then can a person be in right standing with God. 

The priests were putting great emphasis on the Temple, telling people that this was their security and as long as they had the temple they were all right with God.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  They came to find out later on that their strength did not rest in the Temple, but in God.  In 587 BC the Temple was torn down by the Babylonians, and in succeeding years, after the exile, it was rebuilt.  Recall what Jesus said about the Temple during His ministry on earth.  The Bible says in Matthew 24:1, 2, " And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

These words were fulfilled In AD 71.  The Romans came in and destroyed the city of Jerusalem and tore down the Temple, and it stands in ruins even today, with only the Wailing Wall remaining.

Our hope is always in the Lord.  Everything else is temporal, but God is forever.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

True Wisdom Comes From God

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.  -Proverbs 3:7 (KJV)

The book of proverbs is devoted to teachings about wisdom.  We learn what wisdom is, how we attain it, keep it, and apply it.  Anyone can sit and hear sound teachings, but not everyone will follow them and put them into practice.  You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.  We can lead people to the wisdom of God, but we cannot force anyone to apply its truths to their lives.  We reject the wisdom of God at our own peril.  Countless people have found this out too late.  Now is the time to get right with Christ and begin applying God’s Word to our hearts and lives.  Hear it, apply it, live it, and ask God for help each day. 

There is a recipe for success in life.  These truths are applicable to anyone, anywhere, and at anytime.  Verse 7 of chapter 3 says to be not wise in our own eyes.  This means to be careful about thinking we are wise when we are basing our wisdom on the ways of the world.  True wisdom comes from first trusting Christ and submitting to His will. 
As we grow in the grace and the knowledge of God, we become wise.  Furthermore, if we live long enough and keep in the faith we become even wiser.  This is a daily walk of humility with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I know many people who I believe are wise in the Lord.  However, these folks would never say they are wise nor would they boast about their wisdom.  Anytime we begin to boast about ourselves we are being wise in our own eyes.  The wise man focuses on Jesus Christ, does not take his eyes off of Him, and he then walks daily in Holy Spirit power and the wisdom found in God’s Word.  He is taking time daily to commune with God and soak up the truths of God’s Word.  The challenge for us in proverbs is to become a sponge for God’s wisdom.  Soak it up, hold it, and then when squeezed let this wisdom flow toward others. 

The wisdom of God only comes from God and what He has said.  People will say they do not need godly wisdom and they will do what seems right to them.  Doing life our way, without God, and what seems right to us is a recipe for bitterness. 

Do you know what I think we become like when we live life without God and His wisdom?  We become like a big block of cheese left sitting out on the counter.  We become harder and harder the longer we are exposed to air.  We get a little mold on us too.  That cheese needs covered in order to get better and improved with time.  The wisdom of God leads to the rich, full, abundant life Jesus promised.  The living water of the Holy Spirit flows through us so we do not become dry and sorrowful.  We grow and get better with age, for we have put on Christ, covering ourselves daily with the truths of God’s Word.

God bless you today.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Christ Invaded Our Personal Space

 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.  -John 16:28 (KJV)

Jesus stated for us His mission in John 16:28.  “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world.”  God was not contented to watch us from a distance and neither was He willing to have us keep worshiping from a distance.  That is why the Word, which was God, became flesh and dwelt among us.  God came to us; the Lord came up-close and personal.  He invaded our personal space with His divine presence.  

Do you understand about personal space?  This is that invisible line we draw around ourselves and we become uncomfortable if anyone we have not given permission gets inside.  When we have conversation, we keep a certain distance.  Should someone who is usually not allowed invade our personal space we become uncomfortable.  Certain people have access.  These include spouse, our children, parents, and close friends.  Truth be told, we are kind of funny about personal space.  Have you ever been talking to someone who has no concept of this?  They get too close when they speak to you.  This is known a “close-talker.”  You find yourself wanting to back away from such a person. 

In Jesus Christ, God the Father invaded our personal space.  Jesus stepped inside the circle and we do well to let Him in.  Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me.”

All this time people have thought the Lord was too high and holy or too busy for them when all the while He has been standing at the door of their hearts and knocking, wanting to come in.  Welcome Jesus into your heart, for therein is life and life eternal.  

God bless you today.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Wonderful Faith Principle

25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.  -John 16:25-27 (KJV)

Something I love about this passage in the Bible is the faith principle it demonstrates.  God calls us to seek Him, for we will find Him.  No one can do this for us.  Each one of us must seek the Lord for Him or herself.  We can pray for people, and we should, and God will honor such prayers, but anyone who ever came to faith in Jesus Christ did so by his or her own free will.  The Lord will not force you to follow Him and be His disciple.  Choose not to receive Him and walk away, then that is your choice.  God will keep drawing, keep convicting, but He will let you walk away if that is what you want.  Countless people reject Christ, but they cannot say exactly why.  Consider these common excuses:

-I do not have enough faith.  This is not an excuse.  If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

-I do not understand the Bible.  People have been using this as an excuse for a long time.  My question always is, “Have you taken the time to open your heart to the Lord and let Him open His Word to your mind?”  When we do this, God’s Word comes alive for us, and we begin to comprehend it in ways we would not have thought possible.  

-You cannot prove God exists.  This is where faith comes in.  God’s Word says in II Corinthians 5:7 that we walk by faith, not by sight.  The skeptic says you cannot prove the existence of God, but I say you cannot disprove Him either.  In fact, for those who receive Christ and open their hearts to the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, God proves He is real, and He continues to do so.  The evidence of God is all around us and the evidence is overwhelming.  

Remember the words of our Lord that God loves you.  Recall Jesus said in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  God knows when we are hurting, and He knows when we are down.  Jesus came to lift us out of the pit of sin and despair and to set our feet on solid ground.  You are special to the Lord, and He loves you with a genuine and pure love.

God bless you today.