Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mary, YHWH did know

Read Luke 2 the account of Jesus's birth. v 7 "There was no room for them in the Inn".
Did not God the Father know that Mary, who has called "blessed among women" was giving birth in a Barn?
What if there was room at the Inn, who would miss out on the events? There are also other people in our drama of life, and they have their part to play as well.
The angels "who long to look into such things" (1Pet1:12c) may have difficulty in fully enjoying the scene, the shepherds wouldn't know that something amazing was happening, they of all people, wouldn't be allowed into a private birthing room.
The Maji may have had their safety compromised if they even found Jesus, as they were following a star not the "Best Western" Hotel Guide book.
Joseph who could sleep without distractions under the stars so that when he dreamt, he could respond quickly and leave to go to Egypt.

What was Mary's response?
She treasured up all those things and pondered them in her heart.
Mary a mother, and blessed among women with all the trials and hardships of her day can remind us that being "blessed" is not the same as "having life easy".

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Above All Else....the pathway to Holiness

"A noble man make noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands" Isaiah 32:7-9

So how do we do it?

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

24 Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.

27 Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

The call to wisdom urges me to work from the inside out and set as upmost importance.

1 thoughts; guard my heart, for it is the wellspring of my life.

2 words; pay attention to my words,

3 plans; fix my focus on the way ahead,

4 actions; pay attention to what I pursue.

I enjoy the lines verse 26 " Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm"

They engender a confidence that the choices we make are significant that we can carve out a future, build hope that we can make wise decisions and sound judgments for our lives.

Lets keep to straight paths verse 4 "I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths". and "This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him". Matt 3:3

This verse causes me to see that the choices we make can make it easier for us to see God in Action in our lives. In I Peter1 :13 we get the preparation phase to living a Holy, God centered life. "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. So When is Christ revealed? Maybe like Zacchaeus, he repented, reformed and Jesus said of him "Today Salvation has come to this household" What Zacchaeus needed in order to repent, was to receive God grace and make a God centered choice to "make his path straight".

[Luke 19:8-108But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." 9Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."]

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Secret Things of God

Deuteronomy 29:29
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

1 Corinthians 2:7 (Amplified Bible)

7But rather what we are setting forth is a wisdom of God once hidden [from the human understanding] and now revealed to us by God--[that wisdom] which God devised and decreed before the ages for our glorification [to lift us into the glory of His presence].

1 Corinthians 2:9-11

9However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"(See Isaiah 64:4)

10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:
16"For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (See Isaiah 40:13)

The next chapter talks about church growth and divisions and how to we are to grow with God's wisdom which is freely given to us. We can be knowledgable, God's way, to understand God's power at work(1 Cor 2:4)

1 Corinthians 4:1&2
1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Further Fun with God :readings on Wisdom
Collosians 5 references
James 4 references
Revelation 4 references

The secret things of God is His wisdom that we may follow all the words of the law.
It can be done!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

So what are "Living Sacrifices"?

Romans 12: 1-2 ; I John 5

I have realized that to test and work out what the will of God actually is, takes being a living sacrifice, something has to die...continually. It can be our way of thinking and believing or our actions.
There is much activity in getting to know our Fathers will for our lives on a daily basis. Paying attention to Him and how He operates gives us insight on how we are to live our lives.

Maybe we are interfering with the way God meant things to be, for example a friend of mine who breds dogs was having alot of difficulty with "delivering the pups" of a particular specialized breed. As one pup after another died, he realized in his pain that he needed to reconsider continuing with the specialized breed.

An altar is a slaughter site, and a sacrifice is usually bound and dead. Sacrifices and Altars are messy.We, on the other hand are to be bound to the Living God by keeping His commands and being alive to Christ. I don't think God minds mess! It's a means to bless!

Who would knowlingly destroy the work of God ?

Romans 14: 19-20 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.

Romans 15:5-6 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Phillipians 2:1ff
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Unity of: heart and mouth, mind & purpose glorifies God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We can easily destroy the work of God by holding onto our preferences, whether it be food or an activity.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Perspective on the "valley of the shadow of death"

This time, Lets look at David. I wonder what the "valley of the shadow of death" really meant to him? We can recite the verses of Psalm 23 in the calm and security of our living room but chances are the valley he was referring to was his experiences in the Valley of Rephaim. The Philistines (Deuteronomy 3:11 ff talk about a people of giant stature) came to raid the Valley, it was also the place of the Cave of Adullam where David and him men hid from King Saul.

Here are some references to give context::

2 Samuel 5:18; 2 Samuel 5:22; 2 Samuel 23:13; 1 Chronicles 11:15; 1 Chronicles 14:9

Giants came to kill them in a valley. David must have felt nervous to say the least, he had to keep calm and steady himself in a tight situation like this one. But he did not fear evil, he may have drawn strength on the previous victories in the Valley of Elah where he killed Goliath. Each battle won gives us hope and confidence for the next.

Location! location !location!

Ever think of the valleys mentioned in the bible?
Here is one that makes an interesting study. I came across the Valley of Achor years ago but only recently did I connect it with the sin of Achan where he and his entire clan were stoned to death. Here we see a place where sin was judged becomes a resting place and a door of hope.


References: Achor /Trouble

Joshua 7: 24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today."
Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor [i] ever since

Isaiah 65:9-11

9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah those who will possess my mountains;
my chosen people will inherit them,
and there will my servants live.

10 Sharon will become a pasture for flocks,
and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds,
for my people who seek me.

Hosea 2:15

15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor [a] a door of hope.

There she will sing [b] as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Books of Works and Book of Life

I am reminded of Revelation 20 where at the Great White Throne," the books are brought forward, then the book of life is opened. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books......each person was judged according to what he had done. If anyones name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire".

1 Cor 3 :12- 13 Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw,the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work.

Many books of works v's one book of life
Remember is God is watching, taking notes and will present you with all your works at judgment day. You may have plenty of books recording your good works but only those whose names are found in the book of life will not be thrown into the lake of fire.

Wood hay and stubble burn easily, all are dead material.
God tests and tries us as one purifies gold and silver, better to be in hot water now with God than later without Him!
On that note... have a great day

Amos the "burden bearer"

The Oracles Against the Nations:

  • Damascus --- 1:3-5 Threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth
  • Gaza --- 1:6-8 Took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom
  • Tyre --- 1:9-10 Sold whole communities of captives to Edom, disregarding a treaty of brotherhood
  • Edom --- 1:11-12 Pursued his brother with a sword stifling all compassion
  • Ammon --- 1:13-15 ripped open pregnant women in order to extend his borders
  • Moab --- 2:1-3 Burned the bones of the King of Edom
  • Judah --- 2:4-5 Rejected the law of the Lord, have not kept his decrees and have been led astray by false gods
  • Israel --- 2:6-16 Sell the righteous and poor people for money and p0sessions, they are oppressive and immoral, and prosper on the misery of others.
Though other surrounding nations are judged first, Amos warms up his audience to hear what God thinks about the people he was sent to warn - Israel.

In Matthew 7:3 we are told that its easier to see the speck in another's eye that it is to see the log in our own. The people of Israel could easily nod with approval at the judgments placed on everyone else and then cried "oops" when the truth came home to roost.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

job or Job (the tried, tested and true guy)

The value of perspective: What is magnified in my life today, right now?
My fears, disappointments, failures, or commandment number 1 " Have no other gods before me" ?
Is God bigger than our personal boggy man? Ask a veggie tale expert, they know the answer, though I suspect we know also!

Its been a rough day on the job front. I need the patience of Job!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gods kindness leads us to repentance

    Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. Jonah 2:8

    Romans 2: 4
    Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repent ([a]to change your mind and inner man to accept God's will)?

    What do I cling to?

Jonah - the prodigal prophet!

Jonah grew up near Nazareth at the village of Gath Hepher, and lived about 800 B.C. or a little after during the reign of Jeroboam II, the king of Israel (2 Kings 14:25). Jonah was therefore a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel, whose predecessors were Elijah and Elisha. Hosea and Amos would likely have been Jonah’s contemporaries.

His previous message was one of restoration of boundaries to Israel, now he was called to preach against a city and its wickedness.

Jonah may have been as gentle as a dove, as his name implies and spitting "hell fire and brimstone" was way out of his comfort zone.

Also, He didn't want to preach repentance and for God to offer forgiveness to the undeserving nation of Ninevah.

    But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." Jonah 4:1-2

    4:4 But the Lord replied, Have you any right to be angry? Jonah doesn't answer but sulks and waits to see what would happen to the city.

    God gives him shade and provides a vine, then he takes it away, Jonah's reaction is one of seething anger - he wants to die. Through this God shows Jonah that He has compassion on the people of Nineveh, people who don't know their right hand from their left.

    Holding onto anger is a stumbling block to offering forgiveness. When I am feeling like Jonah I need to remember what God asked Jonah "What right have I to be angry"

    2 Corinthians 2:7-11 gives us great insight into forgiveness. If you don't forgive, Satan will outwit you and you open the door to his schemes.

    "7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs".

Tarshish is a well known port

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jeremiah 23

I was intrigued by the interactions between Jeremiah and the other prophets from Jerusalem and Samaria. The prophets were prophesying lies and proclaimed to the people what they wanted to be the truth - all in the name of God, of course.God says of the prophets if they had stood in HIS council chambers, He would have told them what He purposed and they didn't need to make up "stuff".

The truth of this invitation verse 22 & 23 radically changed the way I perceive and receive God's His word and advice for real time living.

"But if they had stood in My council, then would they have caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, says the Lord and not a God afar off?"

I encourage you the next time you need clarity and understanding, present yourself to God and stand before Him in His council chamber. Standing before God gives you a sense of alacrity, an urgency and readiness to hear His word and apply it to whatever situation you're facing.

How do you listen to God?