Monday, June 26, 2017

Gomorrah Foreshadowing

Gomorrah Foreshadowing
June 26, 2017
Genesis 19:24 "Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah - from the Lord out of the heavens."

Sodom and Gomorrah were twin cities filled with vile and detestable people. Abraham's nephew, Lot, lived there with his family and the Lord determined it was time to destroy the cities, inhabitants included, because of their wickedness.  In short, the people were going to be killed because the Lord could stand the site of their sins no longer. Their sins had gone too far, and they refused to repent. The Lord's chosen method of destruction was fire from the sky. The Lord was willing to spare Lot and his family; he told them to flee, as the fire would be inescapable. Lot heeded the word of the Lord and tried to convince others it was time to leave the city as well. Lot attempted to be a messenger to his extended family, warning of the upcoming fire. No one believed him; no one believed in the Lord, and no one believed that fire would destroy them. They were all wrong, dead wrong. No one left the city. Fire, sure enough, fell from the sky and devoured the city with the inhabitants included. The instructions from the Lord were run, and don't look back; believe the word of the Lord and escape the fire. Lot escaped, barely with his immediate family. Lots wife, when escaping the city, looked back at it, not following the instructions fully. She died, too.

The tale of Sodom and Gomorrah are a foreshadowing of things to come.  The Lord has promised that some day there will be a lake of fire to consume all those whose sin is not atoned for, left unforgiven because they did not believe the word of the Lord, because they did not repent.  Hell will be a lake of fire for those whose sin has made them detestable to the Lord. There have been, and there will be, messengers who try to warn of the soon coming fire, but many will not believe the fire is for them or that there will be fire at all. Those who cannot escape the fire of Hell will be the very ones who didn't believe in it. And just like Lot's wife, there will be Christians who escape Hell, but during a second opportunity of Satan's temptation, they will look back, and be destroyed as well.

I don't know how the Lord brought the fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, maybe a meteor shower, maybe a volcano erupted. Either way, the Lord allowed them an opportunity to escape and yet they did nothing. The Lord has given everyone in the world an opportunity to escape the fires of Hell, but many, far too many, will not seize that opportunity; they will surely burn in the fire. I don't know how the fire will happen, but I don't need to know. All I need is to believe the Lord will keep His promises, destroying those who do not repent of their sins. Sodom and Gomorrah are a foreshadowing of things to come.

You have an opportunity to embrace the reality and make preparations to avoid the fire. You have ample warning and an escape route already in place. Warn those who may not know; plead with those who refuse; and try to persuade those who don't believe. And just because you have an escape route, doesn't mean you're in the clear yet. There will be an opportunity, a testing of the saints who want to look back, to still be consumed once you've started on the escape route. Like Lot's wife, you can and will be destroyed if you do not focus on what is ahead. While you may clearly have made your escape route ready, keep the path clear of obstruction, lest you get trapped by the coming fire. Warn those around you, your neighbors, your loved ones, even your enemies. A lifetime of burning in fire is completely avoidable, but it is coming for those not willing to be saved.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Gen 18:16-19:29, Rev 3:10, Rev 20, Rev 21:6-8

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Insecure Moses

Insecure Moses
January 12, 2017
Exodus 3:11 "But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?'"

Moses, the famous Moses, was not the leader everyone thought he was. After he grew up in Egypt as a prince, his mistakes took him far away from Egypt to herd sheep. He spent 40 years herding animals, and with a people group not his own. As he aged during that time, from 40 years old until 80 years old, his confidence level got knocked down. He had made it up in his mind to live out his days in a simple lifestyle, a small family, herding sheep in the desert. He wasn't a leader and he wasn't interested in becoming a leader. In fact, he lacked significant confidence in being a leader when the Lord asked him to step forward and lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses even begged the Lord to find someone else.

If you recount the discourse between Moses and the Lord, you'll find Moses turning down the job, trying to get out of it with every excuse possible. Moses had good reason to decline the opportunity, at least in his mind. Moses was insecure. Moses believed his self-talk, that he wasn't capable of meeting with Pharaoh and he wasn't capable of leading anything other than sheep. Moses didn't think he could do it. In fact, he knew he couldn't do it. Moses wasn't trying to debase himself, just realizing where his strengths probably were at that point in his life, in tending small sheep, not leading a nation of people.

The story ends well, as the Lord used Moses in Mighty ways. As it turned out, Moses did just fine; the Lord knew he could do it. The Lord knew what Moses was capable of, even if Moses did not yet realize it. The Lord knew it would stretch Moses, that Moses would have to rely on the Lord for help. That was OK with the Lord; it was part of His design. Moses was perhaps one of the greatest leaders of all time, and to think Moses tried to turn down the job. Moses could not get out of it; the Lord was determined to use Him, to do great things through him. Moses may not have been 100% capable and skilled for everything the Lord had for him on day one, but Moses was at least 100% ready to start. That's all the Lord was really asking him, to start, to step out and follow the Lord's leading. The Lord wasn't asking Moses to do it all in one day, the Lord was just asking Moses to be willing.

You and I like to turn down things the Lord asks of us. We reason we are not fully equipped for 100% success and therefore lack the courage or faith to start. The Lord does not care if you can do it on your own, He just wants to know if you'll have faith in Him, if you'll trust Him. The Lord has something for each and every one of us to do and He wants to know if you are going to continually turn down the job. Eventually Moses realized the right answer was yes. Eventually, you'll realize the right answer is yes, too. What is it the Lord is asking of you? Do you have enough courage to at least start?

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Exodus 2-3, Luke 10:2

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Advanced Provision

Advanced Provision
June 5, 2017
Matthew 17:27 "'But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.'"

No society is free from paying taxes. Every government finds a way to tax the people. Some taxes come in and out of style, but in the day of Jesus there was an interesting tax.  It was called the temple tax. There are several understandings of this so called temple tax, but the most logical was a tax imposed on the people by the Roman government, not by Jewish custom. The Romans realized how important worshiping at the temple was to the Jewish people, so it was easy money for the Romans, similar to a toll both on a highway. Jesus was said to be from His own kingdom so some questioned whether He did or did not pay a tax to another government. Jesus wanted to be in good standing in society so He was determined to pay the tax. He was not interested in making waves in that specific manner and wanted to teach us to submit to those in authority over us, no matter how trivial or foolish the  temple tax. Jesus still needed to come up with the money, though, to pay the temple tax.

Jesus instructed peter to go catch a fish, and the first fish that he caught he was to look into its mouth for a coin to pay the tax. The temple tax was two drachma, and Jesus said Peter would find a four drachma coin in the mouth of the fish, two for the the temple tax owed by Peter and two for the temple tax owed by Jesus. Interesting to note, though, how the Lord knew the fish would have it in its mouth. Jesus could have just made the coin appear, like magic, but He didn't work that way. Jesus knew the coin was at the bottom of the water, knew it had probably been there for a long time. Some suggest that specific coin wasn't in circulation any more, and hadn't been for maybe 100 years. But Jesus knew it was there, and Jesus knew the fish would have it in its mouth. Chances are, Jesus commanded the fish to retrieve the coin for Him. Peter did as the Lord commanded and so did the fish. The temple tax was paid in full. 

The Lord knows all history and the Lord knows what the future requires. The Lord knew how to come up with a four drachma coin in the heat of the moment. It is quite possible the Lord planned out the exact payment in advance, knowing there would be a tax and knowing it would be two drachma per person. If the earth is the Lord's and everything in it is the Lord's, then the four drachma coin was sitting in a savings account at the bottom of the lake, ready for the Lord to draw upon it when He needed it. 

You have need. The Lord knows your need; He saw it before you were born and He already knows how to meet that need. The Lord has prepared in advance the exact way to meet your need. He will either give you opportunity to earn for what you need or He will reach into His savings account at the bottom of the lake and pull up the exact sum at the right time. Your trust in the Lord, however, needs to be for His provisional timing, in His desired time, and with His desired method. I don't know where it is going to come from, but the Lord will provide when and how He decides to provide. You don't need to tell Him your needs; He already knows. Instead, thank Him for how He is going to provide for your need. Thank Him for the fish who retrieved the coin from the bottom of the lake.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50:9-12, Matthew 17:24-27, 1 Cor 10:25-26, Philippians 4:4-7