Sunday, October 27, 2019

Church Is Warned

Church Is Warned
October 28, 2019
Isaiah 29:13  ". . . .Because this people draw near with their words, and honor me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from me. . . "

The Lord is clear that He wants all of us, not just our money or time. He cares not for your money or time; He cares for your heart. In fact, He wants all of you, your hopes and dreams and fears and worries and pain and joy. He wants your heart, most of all, and nothing else matters after that. In Revelation, He even says He would prefer we are cold if we are not hot, for Him, meaning He would rather have us not attempt Christianity at all, if our hearts are not in it. He said if we are lukewarm Christians then He would vomit us out of His mouth.  While this seems harsh, strong even, this is how He feels. Apparently, being lukewarm gives Him a bad reputation among non-believers. He has always been this way.

In the Old Testament, He spoke through Isaiah, against His own people.  He said that they served Him in name almost perfectly, reciting everything correctly, just like they were taught, however it was all just lip service. He warned them that this would result in "woe." While "woe" does not seem especially scary, it the Bible it is akin to physical and spiritual death, the ultimate of punishment, with eternal damnation. He said their lips praised Him perfectly, but their hearts were far from Him and we going to bring about "woe."  And this is the same as in the New Testament, when the Lord says He would spit us out of His mouth for being Christian in name only, nothing to back it up.

It takes a lifetime of service to Him to back it up. I've seen famous people make a life-turnaround into finding Jesus and serving Him in the most public declaration possible, only to fall away after being so overt. I've also see many people serve Him on the mission field for the first half of their adult lives, then throw it all away living like the pagans they attempted to meet with Jesus. I've seen countless Christians in church, but never fully give their hearts over to the Lord, knowing there is a good chance they are still going to hell.

Praising the Lord is not enough, confessing Jesus as the Son of God is not enough. It takes dedication and service to prove it, backing up all the lip service with self-sacrifice. You can tell someone you love them, but they only know you love by how you demonstrate it. This is the same with the Lord. But we have a problem in our churches today. We dummy down the Scriptures, so as to not offend anyone, after all, we don't want them to feel condemned. If you have to cushion Scripture and deliver it in a non-offensive way, then you've take away its power to change someone's life. In church we do a disservice in not fully allowing people to be offended.  If they are never confronted with what the Bible calls sin, then they are allowed to attend church all the way to hell. The Lord warned against this, He said He would bring "woe" to people like this, those who refuse to turn their hearts toward Him fully.  But is it their fault, if we allow them to attend church but never challenge them to give their hearts over fully to Him?  The lukewarm Christian  will be vomited out of the Lord's mouth, but it is the modern church that is keeping the warming light on.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Is 3:11, Is 5:20, Is 29:11-16, Rev 3:16

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Will Be Glorified

Will Be Glorified
John 12:28  "'Father, glorify Your Name.' Then a voice came out of heaven: ''I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.'"
October 21, 2019

The Lord is all powerful and worthy to be praised. the Lord says very clearly that if you will not praise Him, then He will have the rocks cry out in worship. Worship, however, is not always standing there and saying, "worthy is the Lord." That is the passive manifestation of humanity's song. Aside from standing there and making the declaration, it is not an action-style concept of worship. An active-style worship is dedicating a sacrifice to Him, significant works or gift, something costly to the giver. But what is more than active-style worship is the Glorification of the Lord. Glorification of the Lord is an active situation, in which the Lord's physical power or might or redemption is displayed. Either it is a direct manifestation of the Lord's power over something, or revelation of the  Lord's power and might in someone's life.

Several examples of this might include closing the mouths of the lions when Daniel was thrown into the lion's den. Another example is when Daniel's friends were thrown into the fiery furnace. The Lord spared them and the Lord was glorified. Other scenarios in the Bible include time and again when the Lord rescued the children of Israel from the hand of a formidable foe. There were plenty of times when a powerful army was standing against the children of Israel but the Lord caused them to prevail. It was, and is, a situation in which no explanation can be given to science or man's own effort, but only in the physical manifestation of the Lord's power at work. The Lord was glorified when Jesus was crucified and then risen from the dead, a miracle that only can be accomplished by a display of the Lord's power and might. 

Jesus prayed that the Lord would be glorified in what was about to transpire over his pending death. The Lord replied from Heaven that His name was already glorified but that He would glorify it again, meaning it was of no problem to continue in the miracles of His own plan. The Lord had no intention to prove Himself only once, but again and again in people's lives. The Lord did not stop when He pulled the Israelites out of slavery through Moses and He did not stop when David triumphed over Goliath and He did not  stop when He rose Jesus from the dead and He has not stopped today. His goal has always been to continuing glorifying His name, through the demonstration of His power. The Lord delights in bringing His power in place to overcome the frailty of humanity. 

The Lord's name will be glorified through the demonstration of His power and might. In your own situation, it may seem a difficult road, an obstacle that the Lord can be glorified through, but the Lord would say that despite your understanding of the outcome, the Lord will be glorified.  It is not a matter of if the Lord can be glorified, that is a given. The Lord WILL be glorified and He delights to do that time and time again. Whatever your facing right now, it will be brought to completion and when it is over the Lord's name will be glorified. This is an opportunity, not to pray that He will be glorified in what you are facing, but an opportunity to thank Him in advance of what He is about to do, whatever it looks like. It also works on the reverse. If you refuse to glorify the Lord, then He will come against you and make sure He is made known.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Ez 28:22, Dan 5:23, John 12:1-30, John 15:8 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

This Day

This Day
October 14, 2019
Psalm 118:24  "This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

There is a famous Bible verse written to music, that we call can quote, but we may use it at only one type of moment. It comes from Psalm 118 and is believed to be written by King David, and written in song-style to music even from the beginning. The verse reads, "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." When we hear that verse, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the Lord's blessings on a sunshiny day or is it a phrase meant to uplift the soul of the singer, in the midst of adversity?  You can sing those words when this go well and you can sing those words when you are in the midst of trouble and you're trying to encourage your heart to keep on going. 

We know we are to give the Lord thanks in all things, but what was King David referring to when he said he would rejoice in this day? Did David mean this exact moment, the one for each immediate breath? If you read all of Psalm 118, you see that David is actually praising the Lord for the Lord's enduring faithfulness throughout David's lift, even when David himself was not perfect. David references a rescue from an enemy, he references having had blessings, he references being disciplined, and he references the future day of Salvation. The psalm starts out with David's life but then transitions into the life of Jesus, being the stone that the builders rejected now becoming the corner stone of Salvation. 

The progression in the psalm is about all of the Lord's participation in David's life with the culmination for the need of a Savior. It completes with the finality of Salvation for David, as if it has already taken place through Jesus. Jesus was still hundreds of years away from David's own physical death, but David rejoiced in the day of Salvation for himself as if it was now fully realized and complete.  The psalm is fully about the participation of the Lord in David's life, from beginning to end, not just about the experiences David was enduring. Every day is the day the Lord has made, that is a given, but the rejoicing comes with and from the Lord's participation of it. The gift for rejoicing is the Lord's presence and action in today, not the adversity or blessing that comes from today.  The gift for rejoicing comes knowing the Lord is working in and through and with you throughout all of it, with the full intent of bringing you to His side in the end, redeeming every situation and experience. 

When David was rejoicing about this day, he was rejoicing in the good, the bad, the ugly, and then the redemption and completion of it all. The end result of every Christian's life is eternity in Heaven with Him. All that happens in a life will eventually become irrelevant once Heaven is attained. Each day for rejoicing in the good or the bad or the ugly is one step closer to Heaven, one step closer to perfection and union with the Lord.  In all things the Lord is working and moving in your life, leading you with the intent to usher you into His full presence someday. But so often we fight or resist today, when it is the bad or the ugly. We want only the blessing and salvation, but the Lord would say it is not about what happens in the day at all, regardless of what happens. We aren't rejoicing in the actual day, but in how the Lord designed today for our lives and for our good. It does not matter what happens, it matters that the Lord is working in and through it; that is the reason for rejoicing. 

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Ps 118, Rom 8:28

Sunday, October 6, 2019

New Knowledge

New Knowledge
October 7, 2019
Romans 9:15  "For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.'"

The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change and He is not new. His character is steadfast and He is truth. These things are not debatable, however, are you fully aware of who He is? If you think you know, truly know, who the Lord is, then you're shorting yourself and limiting God. It is an easy question to ask a child what they learned new at school today. The child did not actually learn anything new, the child just came into the knowledge of what was. But, it was new for the child. Learning new things as a child is a daily occurrence, but how about as an adult? We may be forced to learn something new at work, but do you force yourself to learn new habits, new concepts, new skills? How about with the Lord. Did you learn anything new about the Lord today, not that there is anything new about the Lord, but new to you?

There are angels assigned to fly around the Lord continually, in the throne room of Heaven, and each time they pass around Him and His glory, they discover something new about His majesty. But they are not looking directly at Him, rather covering their eyes from the blinding light. We've become so casual with the Lord that we've made Him into a man to have a conversation with, rather than a God to worship. We cannot digest the magnificence of who He is, so we bring Him down on our level so we can understand Him.  Once we've drawn Him down to size, then we've limited Him to how big and how wonderful and how amazing He could truly be to us. If we've limited Him, then there is nothing new to learn about Him. There is nothing new to the Lord and your relationship with Him, unless you keep Him on His throne and make concerted effort to expand your knowledge and understanding of Him.

The Lord is like a gleaming diamond, illuminating light from all His facets. But that is too bright for many of us, we shield our eyes from all the reflection. We do not let all the facets of the Lord permeate our lives, we cover them up and limit God. We know God, we've known God for so long that we are tight and close. Not so. You cannot learn all there is to know about God. You cannot understand all there is to understand about the Lord in a human lifetime. If you are not growing in your knowledge of the Lord, then you've limited Him and you are limiting your life.

Paul writes that as Christians, our responsibility is to grow in the knowledge of the Lord daily. Most people understand Paul to be addressing new Christians, and even if he was then so be it. If coming to the full knowledge of the Lord takes more than a hundred lifetimes, then 15 more years of knowledge ahead of someone else is still barely at the beginning line. You are not even close to knowing who the Lord is, even if you've learned about Him the last 60 years. Your job is to stay humble and learn something new about the Lord everyday. Your job is not to fully understand Him, but learn on a daily basis. What did you learn new about the Lord today?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Col 2:1-7, Rev 4