Monday, February 27, 2012

Life is in His Word

Psalm 119:129-144

Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul observes them. The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

Jesus said, "…if My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" John 15:7

Much of the reason why our prayers are so timid or our prayer life is so cold is directly related to our time spent abiding in God’s word.

I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.

A longing desire doesn’t come from our absence for the Word. As a matter of fact, our longing only comes from our continued exposure of our spirits to the Bread of Life.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, After Your manner with those who love Your name.

One can only appeal for a personal touch from someone that he knows intimately.

Establish my footsteps in Your word, And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts.

Establishing ones footsteps is a bit more than skipping through, running through, or sitting down. Footsteps are only established intentionally. The establishment of footsteps indicates that there is a firm direction.

What does established footsteps bring? Victory over sins dominion; the heavy handed oppression of angry people; the deep hunger to follow His lead. How does a life like that sound?

Is it worth the exploration?

Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes. My eyes shed streams of water, Because they do not keep Your law.

Grace upon grace! Up to this point that prayer is saying that if one abides in God’s word good things come about. Here we take the next step to discover that in God’s pleasure with His tender child, He shines upon him and warms within him the deeper desire to know more fully God’s Word.

Such is the deep, unbridled joy of the one who is praying that a grief arises for what he sees in those who don’t know the blessing of abiding.

( Take a few moments with the remaining thought of this wonderful message. As you drip down the thoughts, speak to Jesus as if these words were penned by you just for Him)

Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments. You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness. And exceeding faithfulness. My zeal has consumed me, Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words. Your word is very pure, Therefore Your servant loves it. I am small and despised, Yet I do not forget Your precepts. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth. Trouble and anguish have come upon me, Yet Your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; Give me understanding that I may live.

Monday, February 20, 2012

God's Call to a Higher Life!

Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor. He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.
  Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take now with you one of the servants, and arise, go search for the donkeys.” He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.

So begins our introduction to one of the future kings of God's people, the nation of Israel. One of the son's of an insignificant family which was from one of the smallest least significant tribe of the nation.

The story can be found in total by reading 1 Samuel chapters 9 & 10.

Saul is told on one ordinary morning that his father wanted him to select one of the family's servants and begin a search for some of the family's donkey's that had escaped during the night.

They began their search in their own neighborhood and then their own town. They found no signs to the donkeys so they traveled to the next county. County after county their search rolled into multiple days. Saul became concerned that his father would begin to worry about his son far more that the missing donkeys and suggested that they should turn back toward home.

The servant happened to remember that there was a “man of God” living in just the next town before them and that this man of God had been rumored to be able to tell people every detail of their lives and to find lost things and lost people.

Saul determined to try one last thing before turning back for home.

Here is where everything gets interesting.

The night before Saul and his servant arrived in the town, Samuel, the man of God, had been told by God that there would be a man coming the next day and Samuel was to anoint this man as the King of Israel.

I encourage yo to read the entire account. For now I want to focus on on specific application of this story.

Saul got up on that ordinary morning and was assigned an ordinary task. The ordinary task became burdensome due to the difficulty in completing his mission. The long days turned into fractured purposes. BUT. God had a greater purpose for this ordinary story.

So what about your ordinary day and your ordinary tasks? Would Saul have turned around had it not been for his servant companion?

I am telling you that there is a God who has a design and purpose far greater than you have yet discovered! Far greater than we can ask or imagine is what the scripture says our God has in store for those who love him!

Don't turn back to your ordinary day, your ordinary tasks and responsibilities or your ordinary life! Accept God's invitation to the greatest adventure of your life!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Angels in Heaven Long To See What God Has Done For Us

You may recall what the Word of God says about the fall of the angels who rebelled, along with Lucifer, against the Almighty God. 

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,  seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.  It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.1 Peter 1: 10-12

Grace is a deep fascination and mystery to the angels.  The only thing that the angles have seen is that wrath of our God toward those who rebel.  The mystery deepens with the totality of what our God has done for us.  It is wildly out of every expectation in the heavenly realms.

God bridged such a huge gulf in His gift to mankind.

Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 
Psalm 85:10

 The bare truth is that we too have rebelled. The gulf between our rebellion and God's love is astronomical.  Scripture compares our righteousness or filth, stinky rages yet God has joined together righteousness and His peace.  He has connected, in the heavenly realms, truth and His love.  

Things so foreign to each other yet God found a way to meld the disparity together.  This mystery is confounding to the created beings that surround God's throne.

 But Jesus said, “ The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Luke 18:27

Jesus told us that God does impossible things.  We just fail to believe Him!

Sunday after Sunday, week after week, year after year God's redeemed gather together each week for what we call "worship services".  Do you think, from what you experience each week, that God's people really understand the deep, deep mystery of what even the angels long to understand?

Our worship should be wild!  We should be blown away about our God to the point that we couldn't stand sterile singing called "worship" and passionless messages called the "good news"!

We have little control over others but we do have control over ourselves.  Allow God to open up His marvelous mysteries to you and prepare yourself to go before His throne!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Kingdom of Heaven is Not What Many Suppose

Jesus never said, "someday when you leave this earth you have heaven waiting for you".  Contrary, He painted quite another picture:

He (Jesus) presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.”

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.” Matthew 13-31-35

Heaven is pictured as a growing or expanding thing for each individual.  Further, He directly addressed the issue of heaven when religious leader tried the challenge Him.

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:20-21

I am currently reading a book by A.W. Tozer  title "Knowledge of the Holy".  He makes the following statement that I can't get off of my mind.  "the true God is everywhere and He is nowhere".

Omnipresent is a word that has been used to illustrate the everywhere present concept.  Unfortunately the message delivered with the modern day message of omnipresence is that God is in our "everywhere".  This world is not His.  This world has yet to be redeemed and, therefore, is unholy.  Furthermore, this world and this universe is His creation and like a carpenter creating a bench to sit on that carpenter is never a part of that bench (his creation).  He remains above and separate form his creation.  Likewise, our God is above and separate from His creation.  

 It is critical for us to link these thought together at this point.  Jesus said, heaven is in your midst.  God is  everywhere present in heaven and heaven is everywhere that the created universe is not!  Like the carpenter, He has effect and influence on His creation but is not influenced or bound by it!

If you are redeemed, it is now your choice where you choose to dwell.  You may continue to dwell within His creation and be pressed upon on every side or you may choose to live, by faith, within His kingdom.  The blood of Jesus qualifies us for citizenship.  As a matter of fact, scripture tell us that we have been (past tense) with Jesus in the heavenly places.  It is now simply left for us to choose where we will live!