How Does God’s Word Describe God

Today’s Text: I Chronicles 16:29   (The following text is taken entirely from the scriptures)

Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!  (1 Chron. 16:29 nkjv.)

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth (Ps. 8:1 niv.)! I delight in You, the King of glory. You are strong and mighty in battle (Ps. 24:7–8), and Your kingdom is built on righteousness and justice (Ps. 89:14). You have given all authority to Your Son Jesus (Matt. 28:18), the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). Jesus, I rejoice that at Your name, every knee will bow—both in heaven, on earth, and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10–11).

Almighty God, there is no king like my King. There is no god like my God. All the nations are but a drop in the bucket compared to Your power and might (Isa. 40:15). Your reign extends from human events and the change in seasons (Dan. 2:21) through eternity (Dan. 7:14). The powers of death, sin, and hell are no match for You. I can’t help but sing and shout for my King. You reign (1 Chron. 16:31)!

To look upon Your face in all Your fullness would mean certain death (Ex. 33:20). Yet You allow me—laden with sin that I am—to enter into Your presence through the blood of Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:16). And as I approach Your throne, I am enamored with Your beauty. The grandeur and splendor of Your presence astound me.

My heart trembles at the thought that I am privileged to enter into the courts of the almighty God who reigns above the heavens and holds the destiny of earthly kingdoms in His hands (Dan. 2:21). So I build a throne of worship and praise for You to take Your rightful place (Ps. 22:3)—in my hardships (James 1:2); in my successes (Ps. 115:1); in my thoughts (Col. 3:2); in everything I do (1 Thess. 5:16–18).

Your holiness describes Your beauty. You are perfect in all Your ways (Deut. 32:4), devoid of all evil (Ps. 5:4) and unrighteousness (Ps. 92:15). There is no one like You (Isa. 40:25). Jesus, You are the manifestation of God’s beauty (Isa. 4:2). The beauty of this world reflects the essence of who You are. Lord, let Your beauty be upon me (Ps. 90:17).

Only those with clean hands and a pure heart may enjoy Your presence (Ps. 24:3–4). Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit so that I may have the power to be holy just as You are holy (Lev. 11:45).

The one thing I desire is that I may dwell in Your house all the days of my life, to behold Your beauty, and to seek You in Your temple (Ps. 27:4). “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (Ps. 84:10 niv.). As I see You in all Your beauty and splendor, I fall in love with You all over again.

So I pledge my allegiance to You my King and join the four living creatures surrounding Your throne who cry, “Holy, holy, holy/Lord God Almighty,/Who was and is and is to come!” (Rev. 4:8 nkjv.).

Michael

Reconciled

Today’s Text: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Thelma Jo Sterling is sitting up and talking.  The Lord be praised.  But the coma has left some loss of memory and confusion.  Keep her in your prayers as she progresses.  Also remember Stephanie Johnson (Rob’s wife) in your thoughts and prayers.  She suffered a miscarriage this week in Kentucky.  Those of you who have suffered the same know how to pray. 

In a world of so much pain and disappointment, it is good to know we work to make it better as stated in this text. 

The key idea in this text is reconciliation. Because of his rebellion, man was the enemy of God and out of fellowship with Him. Through the work of the Cross, Jesus Christ has brought man and God together again. God has been reconciled and has turned His face in love toward the lost world. The basic meaning of the word reconcile is "to change thoroughly." It refers to a changed relationship between God and the lost world.

God does not have to be reconciled to man, because that was accomplished by Christ on the cross. It is sinful man who must be reconciled to God. "Religion" is man’s feeble effort to be reconciled to God, efforts that are bound to fail. The Person who reconciles us to God is Jesus Christ, and the place where He reconciles us is His cross.

Another key idea in this section is imputation. This is a word borrowed from banking; it simply means "to put to one’s account." When you deposit money in the bank, the computer (or the clerk) puts that amount to your account, or to your credit. When Jesus died on the cross, all of our sins were imputed to Him—put to His account. He was treated by God as though He had actually committed those sins.

The result? All of those sins have been paid for and God no longer holds them against us, because we have trusted Christ as our Savior. But even more: God has put to our account the very righteousness of Christ! "For He has made Him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).

Reconciliation is based on imputation: because the demands of God’s holy Law have been fully met on the cross, God can be reconciled to sinners. Those who believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior will never have their sins imputed against them again (Ps. 32:1-2; Rom. 4:1-8). As far as their records are concerned, they, share the righteousness of Jesus Christ!

Enjoy the day and look kindly on those around you.

Michael

No Easy Life

Today’s Text: Exodus 16:1-21

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks." That wise counsel comes from American preacher  Phillips Brooks.  When he spoke those words to his Boston congregation, perhaps he had the people of Israel in mind, for whenever the going got tough, the Israelites began grumbling and talking about returning to Egypt.

It was one thing for the Jews to stand by the Red Sea and joyfully sing praises to the Lord, and quite something else to trust God in their daily wilderness walk. They were no different from God’s people today. Life is still a school, and the painful experiences of life teach us some of the most important lessons. What are you struggling with right now?  What is your desert? 

What you need is not your way but more power.  Power equal to the task.  No, power greater than your task.  So take whatever preys on your mind today and pray for power beyond the problem.  Pray to be more that strong enough.  Above all, don’t just pray for an easy answer or way out!

I meet today with our FEMA case manager.  We have served two families and they have completed their relocation process.  We remain with one and this will require more power and effort.  Pray for them.  And remember Thelma Jo.

Michael

Separate but Not Isolated

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 7:6-14

In Scripture, separation is not isolation; for if believers are isolated, how can they be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:13-16) and influence others for the Lord? Believers can be separated from sin and to the Lord and still be involved in the normal challenges and activities of human life.

Abraham was allied with some of his neighbors in Canaan and together they defeated the invaders and rescued the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 14); yet Abraham never lived or worshiped as his neighbors did. Jesus was the "friend of publicans and sinners" (Matt. 11:19), and yet He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" (Heb. 7:26). Jesus had contact with the real world and its people but He wasn’t contaminated from that contact. True biblical separation is contact without contamination. We’re different from the world but not odd. When you’re different, you attract people and have opportunities to share the good news of Christ; but when you’re odd, you repel people and they slam the door on your witness.

We must not overlook the parallel between Israel and the church. All who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ are "chosen in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4). This salvation came to us "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy" (Titus 2:5).  Like Israel, the church is God’s chosen people and His treasured possession, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:5, 9); and like Israel, we are called to be a light to the lost world (Matt. 5:14-16).

Remember Thelma Jo today.  She is making slow progress but progress.  Remember Mark, Linda and Barb.  A special thanks to everyone who helped with the Weaver house.  The debris is cleared and Carroll will keep it for gardening as long as his health holds.  I loved Taylor’s testimony Sunday.  God is raising up good people.

Michael

Thanksgiving Not Judgment

Today’s Text:  I Corinthians 1:9

In this passage of thanksgiving three things stand out.
     (i) There is the promise which came true. When Paul preached Christianity to the Corinthians he told them that Christ could do certain things for them, and now he proudly claims that all that he pledged that Christ could do has come true. 
     (ii) There is the gift which has been given. Paul here uses a favorite word of his. It is charisma which means a gift freely given to a man, a gift which he did not deserve and which he could never by himself have earned. This gift of God, as Paul saw it, comes in two ways.
     (a) Salvation is the charisma of God. To enter into a right relationship with God is something which a man could never achieve himself. It is an unearned gift, coming from the sheer generosity of the love of God. (compare Rom 6:23).
     (b) It gives a man whatever special gifts he may possess and whatever special equipment he may have for life. (1Cor 12:4-10; 1Tim 4:14; 1Pet 4:10). If a man has the gift of speech or the gift of healing, if he has the gift of music or of any art, if he has a craftsman’s gifts upon his hands, all these are gifts from God. If we fully realized that, it would bring a new atmosphere and character into life. Such skills as we possess are not our own achievement, they are gifts from God, and, therefore, they are held in trust. They are not to be used as we want to use them but as God wants us to use them; not for our profit or prestige but for the glory of God and the good of men.
     (iii) There is the ultimate end. In the Old Testament the phrase, The Day of the Lord, keeps recurring. It was the day when the Jews expected God to break directly into history, the day when the old world would be wiped out and the new world born, the day when all men would be judged. The Christians took over this idea, only they took The Day of the Lord in the sense of The Day of the Lord Jesus, and regarded it as the day on which Jesus would come back in all his power and glory.

Our case is settled.  Jesus has ruled us free.  What we do with that freedom is the source of our thanksgiving.  Make God proud.

Michael

A View of Heaven

Today’s Text: Revelation 21:1-8

Sorry for missing the last two days.  Thelma Jo Sterling had surgery for an aneurysm and ran into trouble at the close of the process.  She had to be put into an induced coma.  The neurologists will meet with the family today and try to give answers and a prognosis.  I am headed up soon.  Please pray for mercy and God’s will.  With Bill’s death so recent, it is a double blow for the family.

The first heaven and earth were prepared for the first man and woman and their descendants. God had readied everything for them when He placed them in the Garden. Unfortunately, our first parents sinned, ushering death and decay into God’s beautiful world. Creation is in bondage and travail (Rom. 8:18-23), and even the heavens "are not clean in His sight" (Job 15:15).

God has promised His people a new heaven and earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22). The old creation must make way for the new creation if God is to be glorified. Jesus called this event "the regeneration" of the earth (Matt. 19:28), and Peter explained it as a cleansing and renewing by fire (2 Peter 3:10-13). Bible students are not agreed as to whether the old elements will be renewed or whether the old will be destroyed and a whole new creation ushered in. The fact that the Greek word translated new means "new in character" (Rev. 21:1, 5) may lend credence to the former explanation.

"No more sea" does not mean "no more water." It simply indicates that the new earth will have a different arrangement as far as water is concerned. Three fourths of our globe consists of water, but this won’t be the case in the eternal state. In John’s day, the sea meant danger, storms, and separation (John himself was on an island at the time!); so perhaps John was giving us more than a geography lesson.

But the most important thing about the city is that God dwells there with His people. The Bible gives an interesting record of the dwelling places of God. First, God walked with man in the Garden of Eden. Then He dwelt with Israel in the tabernacle and later the temple. When Israel sinned, God had to depart from those dwellings. Later, Jesus Christ came to earth and "tabernacled" among us (John 1:14). Today, God does not live in man-made temples (Acts 7:48-50), but in the bodies of His people (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and in the church (Eph. 2:21-22).

In both the tabernacle and the temple, the veil stood between men and God. That veil was torn in two when Jesus died, thus opening a "new and living way" for God’s people (Heb. 10:19). Even though God dwells in believers today by His Spirit, we still have not begun to understand God or fellowship with Him as we would like; but one day, we shall dwell in God’s presence and enjoy Him forever.

Michael

We of Little Faith

Reading Text: Mark 6:30-34; 53-56

Jesus took His disciples to a secluded place so that they might rest after their labors. He wanted to discuss their ministry with them and prepare them for their next mission. As Vance Havner has said, "If you don’t come apart and rest, you will come apart." Even God’s Servant-Son needed time to rest, fellowship with His friends, and find renewal from the Father.

But the overzealous crowds would not leave Him alone. They followed Him to the area near Bethsaida, hoping to see Him perform some miraculous cures (Luke 9:10-11). In spite of the interruption to His plans, the Lord welcomed them, taught them the Word, and healed those who were afflicted. Having experienced interruptions many times in our own life and ministry, we marvel at His patience and grace!

Find some quiet time today.  Alone.  You could use it.

Michael

Leaven in the Lump

Thursday’s Text:  Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43

The younger generation state that they like Jesus but they don’t care that much for the church.  If we are to reach them, we must use the wisdom Jesus offers here about living in the kingdom.

Throughout the Bible, leaven is a symbol of evil. It had to be removed from the Jewish homes during Passover (Ex. 12:15-19; 13:7). It was excluded from the sacrifices (Ex. 34:35), with the exception of the loaves used at the Feast of Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-21). But there the loaves symbolized Jews and Gentiles in the church, and there is sin in the church.

Jesus used leaven to picture hypocrisy (Luke 12:1), false teaching (Matt. 16:6-12), and worldly compromise (Matt. 22:16-21). Paul used leaven to picture carnality in the church (1 Cor. 5:6-8) as well as false doctrine (Gal. 5:9). Sin is like leaven (yeast): It quietly grows, it corrupts, and it "puffs up" (1 Cor. 4:18-19; 5:2; 8:1).

Satan has worked hard to introduce false doctrine and false living into the ministry of the Word of God. From the very early days of the church, true believers have battled false doctrine and hypocrisy. How sad it is that some churches and schools that were once true to the Word have turned from the truth to fables. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" is sound counsel (1 Thes. 5:21).

The kingdom of heaven began with the sowing of the Word of God in the hearts of men. Much of the seed did not bear fruit; but some was fruitful. Satan opposed the work of God by sowing counterfeit Christians, by encouraging a false growth, and by introducing false doctrine. It would seem that Satan is winning! But the test is at the end of the age, not during the age.

Hold fast!  Michael

Right Ideas about God

Tuesday’s Text: Psalm 139:1-2;23-24

What we think about God and our relationship to Him determines what we think about everything else that makes up our busy world—other people, the universe, God’s Word, God’s will, sin, faith, and obedience. Wrong ideas about God will ultimately lead to wrong ideas about who we are and what we should do, and this leads to a wrong life on the wrong path toward the wrong destiny.

In other words, theology—the right knowledge of God—is essential to a fulfilled life in this world. David contemplated God and wrote for us a psalm whose message can only encourage us to be in a right relationship with Him.

This chapter teaches us that we cannot deceive God, escape God, or ignore God, so is it sensible to obey God.  Right?  But there are those who still prefer to oppose God and dispute what He says about them in His Word. David called these people wicked, violent, liars, blasphemers, and rebels, and he grieved because of them.

God also grieves over sinners—the Father does (Gen. 6:6), the Son does (Mark 3:5; Luke 19:41), and so does the Spirit (Eph. 4:30). Yes, it is difficult to love rebellious sinners and still hate their sins, but we need more "holy hatred" in this day when blatant sin is a popular form of entertainment.  If we don’t see sin for what it is, it can easily infiltrate our lives.

You and I cannot be right every time and each of us is right in our own eye.  We need God’s eye, Spirit and Word revealing the truth about our heart and our lives.  Only then can we stand with a clear conscience before God.

Michael

Does the Spirit Have You?

Wednesday Reading

Romans 8:12-25

It is not enough for us to have the Spirit; the Spirit must have us! Only then can He share with us the abundant, victorious life that can be ours in Christ. We have no obligation to the flesh, because the flesh has only brought trouble into our lives. We do have an obligation to the Holy Spirit, for it is the Spirit who convicted us, revealed Christ to us, and imparted eternal life to us when we trusted Christ. Because He is "the Spirit of Life," He can empower us to obey Christ, and He can enable us to be more like Christ.

But He is also the Spirit of death. He can enable us to "put to death" (mortify) the sinful deeds of the body. As we yield the members of our body to the Spirit (Rom. 6:12-17), He applies to us and in us the death and resurrection of Christ. He puts to death the things of the flesh, and He reproduces the things of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is also "the Spirit of adoption" (Rom. 8:14-17). The word adoption in the New Testament means "being placed as an adult son." We come into God’s family by birth. But the instant we are born into the family, God adopts us and gives us the position of an adult son. A baby cannot walk, speak, make decisions, or draw on the family wealth. But the believer can do all of these the instant he is born again.

He can walk and be "led of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:14). The verb here means "willingly led." We yield to the Spirit, and He guides us by His Word day by day. We are not under bondage to Law and afraid to act. We have the liberty of the Spirit and are free to follow Christ. The believer can also speak: "We cry, Abba, Father" (Rom. 8:15).  First, the Spirit says, "Abba, Father" to us (Gal. 4:6), and then we say it to God. ("Abba" means "papa"—a term of endearment.)

There is no need for the believer to be defeated. He can yield his body to the Spirit and by faith overcome the old nature. The Spirit of life will empower him. The Spirit of death will enable him to overcome the flesh. And the Spirit of adoption will enrich him and lead him into the will of God.

Thank you for your patience.  I had a surgical procedure yesterday to remove some spots on my face.  A little painful but better safe than sorry.

Michael

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