“As were the days of Noah…” #7

In this day to day study, discovering the light of Christ who has come into this world, way before His birth on Christmas morning,  once again the theme of: ‘darkness- but the Spirit of God was there- then God brought light…'(Gen. 1:1-3), is continually unfolding in His-Story, the Bible.

The darkness unfolds in Genesis 6:5,6: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

Could it be that God had changed His mind about man because man had ‘changed his mind’ about God?

What were the world conditions like in the ‘days of Noah’? Scripture states that physical appetites were important (Luke 17:27), and that there was great advancement in technology (Gen 4:22), it was a time of materialism (Luke 17:28), and  there were attitudes of tolerance and uniformitarianism (Hebrews 11:7). Thoughts and actions about God were ‘care-less'(2Peter 2:5, Jude 15), and there was disregard for the sanctity of marriage (Matthew 24:38) and also the Word of God (1Peter 3:19). In the days of Noah there was an increase in violence (Gen 6:11,13) and in sexual activity outside of marriage (Gen. 4:19, 6:2).

There was a question brought to the Lord, 2 days before facing death on the cross from His disciples that went like this:

“Tell us,…what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3. Jesus answered them, “Be careful that no one misleads you-deceiving you and leading you into error…”(Matthew 24::4),”For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famine and earthquakes in place after place;”(Matthew 24:7), “All this is but the beginning – the early pains of the birth pangs- of the intolerable anguish…”(Matthew 24:8, Amplified Version).

O my, this is darkness to be sure, but I believe it is very important for us at this time to hear the remaining words that Jesus had to speak to His followers:

“And the love of the great body of people will grow cold, because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity. But he who endures to the end will be saved…” (Matthew 24:12,13).

And after listing more ‘signs’ of this day, Jesus says: “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the very doors. “Assuredly, I say to you…(Matthew 24:32,33,34), But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”(Matthew 24:37).

Maybe now, after looking at the state of the earth during the ‘days of Noah’ God’s conclusion makes some sense:

(Gen. 6:7), “So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and the birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

‘But, the Spirit of God was there, and God said, “Let there be light…”‘ from our general theme we see and are amazed: in Gen 6:8 we read,  “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Amazing grace, seen here for the first time in the Bible is what brought Noah to salvation- just like us, as Eph. 2:8 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith…”

And Noah was given a big job to keep him busy! A job for the next 120 years constructing an Ark, along with preaching the message of repentance before the judgement, in which only his wife, sons and their wives responded to and ‘got on board’ with, so to speak!

So, you are wondering, “where is the light in this story?”

The light, is in…the Door. Gen. 6:16, “You shall make a window for the ark, …and set the door of the ark on its side…”

You see, there is only One Door. And just like Noah and his family, we need to walk through that One door as well, at such a time as this.

‘Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. …I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:7-9.

Yes, it does seem a bit narrow minded, but the picture is drawn, there was only One way in that Ark, and that was through the Door. We must hear these words today:

“I am the way , the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6.

We are in the ‘days of Noah’! Oh, how we need to decide to walk through The Door! God has grace in His eyes for you.

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Again, through the darkness God shines Light…#6.

In Genesis 1:1-4, we learn that ‘in the beginning God created…the earth was void  with darkness…and the Spirit of God was there, and God said “Let there be light.” This just seems to be the re-occuring theme in the Bible, and also, in our own lives as well!

Genesis 4 was a dark chapter – Cain killed his brother Abel. A picture of the ‘seed of the serpent’ crushing the heel of the ‘seed of the woman’. Cain’s punishment? He was now “cursed from the earth, which has opened her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”Gen, 4:11.

Make no mistake, from the beginning we can see quite clearly that human life is sacred to God!

Cain receives his punishment (Gen. 4:11-15), “then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD” (Gen 4:16), and the Bible puts it simply in Proverbs what life was like for Cain and his descendants,  “The way of the transgressor is hard!” (Prov. 13:15).

However, on a side note, the ungodly line of Cain is recorded for us in the next few verses and we discover something absolutely fascinating! In the 7 generations that are listed in Gen 4:16-22, we discover that descendants of Cain, the son of Adam, built cities, made tents of cattle, created musical instruments and played them and, even devised objects of bronze and iron!

And according to the Bible, the very first “city” (Gen 4:17) was built by Cain-the first generation after Adam! So much for hundreds of thousands to millions of years for the evolving of man from stone age to civilization, (that happens to be taught as fact in public schools and museums from evolutionary teaching.) The Genesis record reveals that civilization was accomplished in a short time by the descendants of Adam.

Kids, this is how we can say and mean, “I have more understanding than all my teachers For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients because I keep Your precepts.” (Ps. 119:100,101).

Now for some light from the last two verses in Chapter 4: “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth. “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD.” (Gen 4:25,26).

And for even more light – chapter 5 in Genesis, appearing to be one of the dullest chapters in the Bible, there shines like a beacon of Light! Pastor Chuck Messler has taught for years a most wonderful study on this chapter in entirety however, I plan to keep it simple. Basically, we can see now the ‘seed of the woman’ through men that ‘began to call on the name of the LORD’, but what is the best-is we can actually see ‘the Seed of the woman’ – Jesus in this ‘seemingly’ dry list of names:

“Gen 5:1, “This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.”

I will list the names and their meanings in order, leaving out the fact that each was now created  in the image of their father Adam, (Gen. 5:3), now  in the fallen state, in which each died. Here is the list:

Adam, which means… ‘Man’.

Seth, means …………….’Appointed’.

Enosh means……………’Mortal’.

Kenan………………………’Sorrow’.

Mahalalel………………….’The Blessed One’.

Jared………………………..’Shall Come Down’ or ‘Descending’.

Enoch……………………….’Preaching’

Methuselah……………….’His Death Shall Bring’.

Lamech……………………..’Despairing’.

Noah………………………….’Comfort’.

These names are listed 3 times in the Bible, Gen. 5, 1 Chronicles 1:1-4 and Luke 3:36-38. These names are important. The message of Light in Gen. 5: “Man Appointed Mortal Sorrow – The Blessed One Shall Come Down, Preaching, His Death Shall Bring (the) Despairing Comfort.”

All I can say is, ‘Selah’ , pause and think about the wonderful word. It is true,

‘And God said, “Let there be light. And there was light.” Gen 1:3.

A song? Yes! “His name is Jesus, Jesus. Sad hearts weep no more. He has healed the broken hearted, opened wide the prison doors, He is able to deliver evermore!”

We all have opportunity to  turn to the light. If you haven’t, perhaps today is the day…

Amen to the most fascinating Book ever! Jesus – the name above ALL names!

Warning: There is blood in this story.#5.

Since God is often misunderstood, it is so important to read the whole of ‘His-Story’ to see the true picture. So, right from the beginning after the fall of man, God made it clear that there would be conflict between the ‘seed of the serpent’ and the seed of the woman’.

And Jesus spoke to us as well, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

And how quickly this conflict manifests itself in the life of Adam and Eve after the birth of their first-born, Cain and their second-born, Abel. (Gen. 4). We read in Gen. 4:2-5, Living Bible:

“Abel became a shepherd, while Cain was a farmer. At harvest time Cain brought the Lord a gift of his farm produce, and Abel brought the fatty cuts of meat from his best lambs, and presented them to the Lord. And the Lord accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. This made Cain both dejected and very angry, and his face grew dark with fury.”

And we understand, that perhaps God had revealed the necessity of ‘substitutionary’ sacrifice from the beginning when He had provided coats of skin for Adam and Eve. Cain being a ’tiller of the ground’ would have had to go to Abel for a lamb. Perhaps Cain would not accept this and became ‘care-less’ about the ‘fear of the Lord’, so he brought his fruits from this now ‘thorn-cursed earth.

The Bible tells us that “It was by faith that Abel obeyed God and brought an offering that pleased God more than Cain’s offering did. God accepted Abel and proved it by accepting his gift;” (Hebrews 11:4).

Cain became bitterly angry and his ‘face grew dark with fury.’ He did not go to God, but…
God went to him:

“Why are you angry?” the Lord asked him. “Why is your face so dark with rage? It can be bright with joy if you will do what you should! But if you refuse to obey, watch out. Sin is waiting to attack you, longing to destroy you. But you can conquer it!”( Gen 4:6,7. Living).

God gave Cain opportunity to ‘turn around’, to repent. Be he rejected it.

What happened in that field? “One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were together there, Cain attacked and killed his brother.” (Gen. 4:8, Living).

Perhaps Cain and Abel talked in the field and Cain accused God of ‘favoritism’ and his brother of ‘self-righteousness’. Perhaps the argument became so heated that ‘Cain attacked and killed his brother.’

1John 3:12 tells us, “We are not to be like Cain, who belonged to Satan and killed his brother. Why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing wrong and he knew very well that his brother’s life was better than his. So don’t be surprised, dear friends, if the world hates you.”

We can see clearly here that God sought Cain in mercy, but because he was not moved to ‘turn around’ and ‘change his mind’, it led to…hatred and murder. Abel was an example of ‘the seed of the woman’, those who are brought into the family of God through faith in Him. And Cain was an example of ‘the seed of the serpent’ those who knowingly and willfully set themselves against God. And Abel died violently at the hand of the first ‘seed of the serpent’.

“But the Lord said, “Your brother’s blood calls to me from the ground. What have you done?” Gen. 4:10, Living. And everyday we witness this conflict.

Aren’t we all praying for the injustice being done to an American Pastor at this time, Pastor Saaed, being persecuted and imprisoned and hated in an Iranian jail? It may look like Satan is winning, but He is not. Satan’s final defeat is awaiting the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, and He is coming back real soon.

The promises:”…  and though Abel is long dead, we can still learn lessons from him about trusting God.” (Hebrews 11:4).

“…and to Jesus himself, who has brought us his wonderful new agreement; and to the sprinkled blood which graciously forgives instead of crying out for vengeance as the blood of Able did.” (Hebrews 12:24, Living).

The blood IS the good news: “But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin. (1John 1:7. Living).

It’s the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from EVERY sin! The blood that was shed on the cross…we must turn to and give thanks for…it cleanses EVERY sin. What a merciful God is He! Praise Him for His merciful love today, for He, Himself has said, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33, exclamation point, mine!)

The end of the story given at the beginning!#4

To think, that after the fall, God would put the promise in the curse. It’s all there. God is the author of the 66 Books of the Bible by His inspiration to many men over the course of many years over a long period of time – but the message is one, it’s Jesus!

Even in the curse, written in Genesis chapter 3, is the gospel -the good news of Jesus Christ.

After the fall, the whole of creation was affected. Originally Adam was appointed dominion over the earth, but since Adam was to begin to die,  his dominion, well…”we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs” (Rom. 8:22), “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly…”(Rom. 8:20).

So the curse unfolds, but not only is Satan “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9), but he is probably the most deceived himself thinking that he now had the woman as an ally or friend – well, think again Satan,: (it bothers me to even capitalize his name.)

‘ So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between your seed and her Seed;'” (Gen. 3:14,15).

So, there is a battle. Not only are most women enemies with snakes, there are enemies  between  the seed of the serpent, all those who willingly and willfully set themselves against the Seed of the woman, those who are in the human family who are brought into right relationship with God, through faith, children of the Father.

Here’s the picture, since we all know that women do not have ‘seed’.  Seed comes from the man, women have eggs. But, in reading this first book in the Bible we are brought all the way to Luke chapter 1 where a virgin, whose name was Mary was visited by the angel and the angel said to her,“Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; …and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33).

But primarily, the Seed of the woman is Jesus. He is here, in the curse against “that old serpent called the Devil” (Rev. 12:9). The gospel is here in Gen. 3:15:

“He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

We are not without hope! From the beginning we see our Deliverer! Yes, we have the curse of man – struggle, sorrow, grief and pain. Suffering, thorns and thistles, and sweat, until our dying day when ‘to dust we return’ (Gen. 3:19), but the victory is here, the promise is given – Jesus will ‘crush Satan’s head’.

And we see the bruised heel when we see Jesus on the cross, but we also see that Jesus took all the curse of man on Himself as well …when we stop to look:

Jesus came and was a man of sorrows and He was ‘acquainted with grief’ and pain, (Is. 53:3).  Jesus wore the thorns of the curse as a crown (Mark 15:17), and He sweat, laboring in prayer, drops of blood for you and me (Luke 22:44), and God brought Him into the ‘dust of death’, prophesied about Him on the cross:  “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.” (Psalm 22:15).

Jesus bore our curse for us, so that those who believe, have hope – it’s recorded at the end of the story! We have hope of eternal life, and the promise,

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4.

And for all of this, we can ‘Rejoice always’ and ‘Give Thanks to the Lord!’

The curse was brought upon by man, BUT GOD made a way! Thank you Jesus!

“Where are you?” God has provided a Lamb…#3.

Where are you?” are the words that God had for Adam when he was hiding from the presence of the LORD God among the trees in the garden. (Gen. 3:9).

They were hiding because Eve was deceived to eat the fruit from the one tree they were to leave alone, and Adam chose to eat to be with his girl, so to speak, and the next thing you know…Adam and Eve were hiding.

God didn’t ask Adam, “What did you do?” or “How could you have done that?” No…

God simply asks, “Where are you?”

We all know how Adam answered! “…it was the woman you gave me who brought me some, and I ate it.” (Gen 3:12, Living Bible). And we also know how the woman answered, “The serpent tricked me.” (Gen. 3:13, Living).

How can we be angry at God for the mess in the world? Have people forgotten the story? They aren’t seeing the real picture. Don’t they remember what God did?

“Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” Gen 3:21.  This was after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, and knew they were naked and  covered themselves with fig leaves! Have you ever felt a fig leaf? They went hiding amongst the tress in the garden clothed with fig leaves. O my! Now they were guilty, afraid, and UNCOMFORTABLE!

We must remember what God did: “Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”Gen. 3:21.

Instead of leaving Adam and Eve in their scratchy fig leaves and suffer for their disobedience, God clothes them in Lamb skin! Now, THIS is  love!

Just as it says in His word, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation(the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.” 1 John 4:10.

If we never understood that ‘God so loved the world…’, we can get a glimpse of it right here:  For God so loved us, (the world, John 3:16). that when He saw that we were a mess and had blown it, (yes, all of us have; Rom 3:23 reminds us of that truth,) He took care of all of our failures, weakness and sin and offered up His Son, of whom it was said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29).

You see, Moses came with the Law, but Jesus came ‘full of grace (favor, and loving kindness) and truth.’ John 1:14. Yet He said Himself, when He was talking to the multitudes, “Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law and the prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo, but to complete and fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17. Amplified).

I’m sure it was hard for them to come out of hiding and then to witness perhaps two little animal friends being killed to ‘cover’ or atone their nakedness. From the beginning, God wants us to know, that only God can provide this ‘covering’, and that “it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”(Lev. 17:11).

Yes, Adam and Even had to suffer, in that they now had to survive in a fallen world, as you and have  to do each day. But can you hear the Lord? Perhaps these were His words while He was taking off those fig leaves:

(As in the old hymn),  “…thy strength indeed is small; Child of weakness watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.” And perhaps, when He was covering them in the skin of, (perhaps a Lamb),

He spoke: “Jesus paid it all…”

And I wonder if Adam and Eve sang in their hearts something similar to us,  in response to His great love: “…All to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain – He washed it white as snow!”

“But God is so rich in mercy; he loved us so much that even though we were spiritually dead and doomed by our sins, he gave us back our lives again when he raised Christ from the dead – only by his undeserved favor have we ever been saved – …And  now God can always point to us as examples of how very, very rich his kindness is, as shown in all he has done for us through Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 2:4,7, Living Bible).

“In Him…” – Jesus the gift always!(#2)

“In Him was life…” John 1:4.

‘In Him’… but maybe for some, you don’t feel that closeness to God. You might not understand ‘in Him was life…’, especially in this world with so much darkness.

And the darkness has been from the beginning- it’s there in the 2nd verse in the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors.” Gen. 1:1,2, Living Bible). THIS  is the beginning of the good news right here, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters!” God is right there! God is right here. And “then God said, “Let there be light.” Gen. 1:3.

And we are reminded that during all of this, in John 1:2, that “He was in the beginning with God.”

Can you see the gift, right from the beginning? Even if all you ever read are  three verses in the Bible, the Immanuel WAS there  in the beginning, and He IS here now! The Spirit of God hovers over our darkness, and God speaks light. (It is so hard to talk in the right tense about God, because He was and He is and He is to come!)

Anyway, ‘God said, “Let there be light. And there was light.” Gen. 1:4.

“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  This is what we are told in John 1:5. But perhaps this Thanksgiving, a light is lit in your heart and mind. Perhaps this year these words mean something: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John1:4.

Maybe God has allowed some darkness or deep loss in your life. Maybe there is just nowhere else to turn. There is a gift with your name on it, and the gift is all wrapped up ‘in Him!’ And it is tied up in a scarlet thread, the precious blood of Jesus.

It doesn’t matter how you feel or how far you are, God’s desire is that ‘all should come to repentance.’ No one is excluded from this ‘all’.  And even sometimes, even though we are ‘in Him’ we walk as if we AREN’T.

“He isn’t really being slow about his promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way. But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent.” (2 Peter 3:9, Living Bible).

This thanksgiving, let’s give ourselves a break, and stop fighting and take off those boxing gloves, so to speak, against God and let us surrender it all to Him. Then our hands and our hearts will free to receive…to receive the only thing that is really ‘free’ here on this earth, and that is… the gift of life in Him, Jesus.

This Thanksgiving be thankful that He is very, very patient and kind:“Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to him, so he can show you his love; he will conquer you to bless you, just as He said. For the Lord is faithful to his promises. Blessed are all those who wait for him to help them.   O my people…, you shall weep no more, for he will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. He will answer you.

Though he give you the bread of adversity and water of affliction, yet he will be with you to teach you-with your own eyes you will see you Teacher. And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a Voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” Is. 30:18-21. Living.

There might be darkness and chaos, but the Spirit of God is hovering over you, saying, ‘this is the way…His name is Jesus. His love NEVER fails! Now that is life and light-it’s a gift you will never regret receiving!

 

“Seeing Jesus each day before Christmas…#1

I write for the children, young and old, in this microwave, fast-paced world-to take a moment to see Jesus. We must remember that the rewards are huge:

“But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him.” 2 Cor. 3:18, Living Bible.)

‘Becoming more and more like Him’ sounds like a huge reward for spending time seeking and finding Jesus. God will be pleased, and if we become more and more like Him, I think those around us might be pleased as well!

Thinking of Christmas coming soon – seeing Jesus begins way,way back – back to the beginning,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” (John 1:1, NKJV). But to simplify the meaning of all this, here is what the Living Bible says, “Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God.” (John 1:1, Living).

Jesus said in the very last Book of the Bible, ” I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Rev. 22:13).

Seeing Jesus is seeing God! He has always been! And “all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:3.

Our Creator was Jesus.

However, we understand that the Bible teaches that there is one God. We read in Is. 45:19, “I am the LORD, and there is no other.”

And in Is. 45:21 we read, “And there is no other God besides Me.” And God tells us in Is. 45:22, “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth!” (I think that means everyone), “For I am God, and there is no other.” We are to ‘hear’…“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord,” Deut. 6:4. We must understand that the word ‘one’ is a compound ‘one’! The Tri-une, Three-in-one God was introduced in the very first verse of the whole Bible,

“In the beginning God…” Genesis 1:1. You see, the original word ‘God’ is Elohim. ‘El’ means God, but the ‘im’ part in Elohim is a plural ending meaning more than one! God lets us all know in the first verse in the Bible that He is  Tri-une or ‘three in one’.

We can marvel that He was with God in the beginning and that all things were made through Him, and now these words really bring Him near,

“And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” John 1:14, or from the Living Bible, “And Christ became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness and truth.”

The KJV says that He ‘tabernacled’ with man…’ And you see, there was a pattern given to Moses in Exodus for the Tabernacle and it was covered with badger skin. Very plain, ordinary and common was the outside of this Tabernacle. And Jesus was just a man, plain and ordinary on the outside. But on the inside? The pattern for the Tabernacle was filled with gold and silver and fine embroidery and precious stones – and yes, Jesus on the inside,

He was the presence and the substance and the Glory of God!

And that is why it is so wonderful to see Jesus in our everyday, because then we can “behold His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.

And the prize? Well, the Bible tells us that, “of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace…” John 1:16. All I can say is, we can be a beautiful people if we remember that we have received His grace!

Go out with joy and be led forth with peace…

Hymn for my day: “What a friend we have in Jesus!”

When it is good to be ‘passed over…’

There are times in this world where we feel like we are ‘least’, and there are times when we find ourselves as ‘last’. There are times when we don’t force ourselves over others to ‘get ahead’ – but God has given us vision.

And the view that He has given us, is Jesus.

And somehow, we have the strength and courage to … wait. And we hear His word speak, “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage. And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” Ps. 27:14.

This is hard because everything keeps moving so fast all around and it seems that everyone has possession of great things and that we have possession of nothing! But that is not true! We may feel like we have been ‘passed over’ in this life – but Jesus makes it quite clear,

that ‘in Him’ we have possession NOW of what we need most – life now , and life forever and ever! Somehow, in the whirlwind, the Holy Spirit quiets all that is inside, and begins to sing an old song : “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Suddenly there is stillness that quiets our anxious hearts, saying, “Be Still and know…”

(and His voice is heard so clearly), “I assure you,” He speaks, “most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words – who listens to My message – and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. “

“And he does not come into judgement – does not incur sentence of judgement, will not come under condemnation – but he has already passed over out of death into life.” (John 5:24, Amplified).

We may have been ‘passed over’ at times in this world, but Jesus himself reminds us what we’ve really been ‘passed over’ from – judgement, condemnation and death! We’ve been ‘passed over’ out of death …

and into life!”

There is always reason to ‘give thanks to the Lord,’ for HE IS GOOD! Giving thanks this Thanksgiving that we’ve been ‘passed over out of death into life!’ (John 5:24).

And Jesus, He knows what it’s like to ‘passed over’: “Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus – Let Him be your example in humility – Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained;

But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity] so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.

And after He had appeared in human form He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of [the] cross!

Therefore [because He stooped so low], God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knew should (must) bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:6-11.

We’ve just got to keep our vision – may our vision be Jesus.

 

‘In everything’ give thanks? even in and after the storm?

Rejoice ‘always?’ As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16‘In everything’ give thanks?  As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Yes, and we are approaching a time  to put together some beautiful food and gather around our beautiful families and/or friends, and perhaps put on some special and perhaps ‘beautiful’ clothes, and fix up our houses to be a bit more ‘beautiful…

but there have been storms. (And for some, not physical storms, but emotional ones!) There is a lot of destruction. Where did the beauty go?

We can’t see anything at times, except tears and loss and  broken hearts. And our hearts become ‘troubled’.  But God…

But God, Who is ‘good’ (Ps. 73:1), Who is the ‘same yesterday, today, and forever,’ (Hebrews 13:8), ‘Who gave His only Begotten Son’, (John 3:16),  to ‘as many as did receive Him and welcome Him’, (John 1:12), Who became ‘human flesh and even lived awhile amongst us’ (John 1:14) – it is He that has told us, “Do not let our hearts be troubled, you believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God,

believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me.” (John 14:1).

Could it be, that the beauty- even in tragedy, (in which there is no beauty to see with our  eyes), is in…

‘believing in and adhering to and trusting in and relying on JESUS?

‘Our present help in times of trouble’ (Ps. 46:1) comes on the scene, and we noticed them like never before,  and we even feel them – His arms of love. And they came through a kind word, or some practical help, or just a hug and a smile.

And we suddenly discover the ‘beauty’ of receiving His love.

Then He speaks, and His beautiful, simple words seem to satisfy, even when there is nothing to satisfy, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). All of a sudden there is ‘beauty’, and it is in ‘the hearing’.

It is always easy to notice the beauty in the food, or the clothing or the shelter,and even in people,  so to speak -but after great trial, often times, the beauty is destroyed – and our eyes are forced to see…

that, perhaps, true beauty is,… believing in Him.

And just as a momma would rock a distraught child on her lap, she would sing. (God tells us to ‘speak in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs’, (Eph 5:19). So we will let Him come and comfort our broken hearts and sing: “His name is Jesus, Jesus. Sad hearts weep no more. He has healed the brokenhearted, open wide the prison doors, He is able to deliver forevermore…”

and as we choose to  ‘believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on Jesus’ (John 14:1, Amplified Bible), no matter what the view is ‘outside’ He’s gives us a song to sing, in thankfulness to Him, “Beautiful, Beautiful, Jesus is beautiful. And Jesus makes beautiful things of my life. Carefully, touching me. Causing my eyes to see,

that Jesus makes beautiful, things of my life.”

“May we never cease to pray for those who are suffering at this time. May we pray that God does this work in every hurting heart, drawing each and every broken heart to Himself. May we pray that each of us discover the ‘beauty of Jesus’ this Thanksgiving, no matter what He has allowed in our lives,  and discover  as well, for each of us personally and those we invest time praying for, that – ‘He is able to deliver forevermore!’ And in that deliverance, the sad, teary eyes will be wiped away, and the beauty of Jesus will bring a deep and triumphant, inner joy!

In Jesus Name, Amen.”

manna for the moments of ‘tug of war’…

Tug of war? Yes! It is going on every minute in our hearts and minds. And the sad part is, ‘out of the abundance of our heart, the mouth speaks’,(Matthew 12:34.)

You and I both know all about this. We all have an ‘old nature’ that we were born with, much like a ‘roaring tiger’ that often times ‘gets out of its cage!’ This nature is known in the Bible as the ‘flesh’. “But whenever a person turns (in repentance) to the Lord the veil is stripped off and taken away.” 2 Cor. 3:16. Something new happens when we receive the Lord,  we ‘see’ the power for the ‘new nature’ of God. And we see that we don’t HAVE TO let the ‘ol tiger’ out of the cage -but still, oftentimes, it does!

God gives us provision to lock that ‘ol roaring beast’ (or otherwise, the flesh) in a cage, so to speak – but He doesn’t take that ‘ol nature’ away! My only comment to this, is…’Lions and tigers and bears remain in us…

“oh my!”

Well, the provision is NOT good works. We can know that because in John chapter 3, a man who was ‘very good’ by human standards came to Jesus at night with questions, and Jesus Himself  instructed him, (Amplified version), “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see – know, be acquainted with [and experience] – the kingdom of God. (John 3:3).

God doesn’t look at our ‘good works’ the way we think He does. The Scriptures are quite clear about this: “…our best deeds or rightness and justice – are as filthy rags or a polluted garment.” (Is. 64:6).

Jesus tells us quite simply, the ‘good work’ that we must do in the eyes of God,”This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:29).

“But, how does this put that ‘ol roaring beast behind bars and locked up?” you and I ask.  Even after believing in Jesus, there is a tug of war…

“For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the (Holy) Spirit, and the [desires of the ]Spirit are opposed to the flesh, (that human nature without God,) for these are antagonistic to each other…” Gal. 5:17. That ‘ol beast seems to keep clawing his way out?

BUT GOD gives us provision,“But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and make no provision for [indulging] the flesh – put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature – to [gratify its] desires (lusts). (Romans 13:14. Amplified.)

And God even provides more insight to victory, “But I say, walk and live habitually in the (Holy) Spirit – responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh – of human nature without God. (Gal. 5:16, Amplified).

The provision is there. We simply need to HALT and seek first the Kingdom of God. We need to bow our hearts to the Lord and pray, “Father ‘lead me not into temptation and deliver me from evil, for Yours IS the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever'(Matthew 6:13). ‘Your love never fails'(1 Corinthians 13:8). And a ‘bruised reed You will not break and a smoking flax You will not quench'(Matthew 12:20). ‘Help me!’ (Psalm 119:86). Yes, we give thanks to You Lord, because You never give up on us, never, even when we have given up on ourselves. Our hope is always in You. Looking to You IS our victory!  In Jesus name, Amen.”