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Saturday, December 19, 2009, 8:09 PM
Movies come out about global destruction every season. In these doomsday movies a disaster of unimaginable propitiations threaten earth and a man or team of men who with courage and science and good scripting save us all. We are fascinated with the apocalypse, and we await the auspicious date of doom be it Y2K or 2012 or some other global catastrophe. Doomsday may be imminent since we live under the shadow global warming, nuclear disaster, even annihilation.
The Bible says there will be an apocalypse, and a post apocalypse; a time where there will be a new heaven and a new earth, the old will pass away, (Revelation 21:1). No doubt that the new heaven and new earth will be far superior to the old. No one knows if any of us will live to see the days of Great Tribulation like in the movies but many of us have our own personal ordeal. Do not worry, instead consider God’s offer.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10 NIV
Whatever your personal disaster the almighty God of heaven and earth loves you and sees you. The highest mountains are weak compared to Gods love. His love will never erode or crumble; it is not affected by the forces of nature or our universe. His love is above our disaster and reaching down into it to demonstrate to us his compassion.
The opposite of apocalypse is peace, and God offers us a “covenant of peace” through Jesus. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Paul’s Epistle to the Romans 5:1). A covenant is a contract, or promise; and that the God of heaven and earth makes a contract is the most solid promise there ever could be. His promise of peace will stand high after the mountains are dissolved. Our part of the covenant is “Faith,” we must trust in Jesus. Jesus came to rescue us from the personal individual apocalypse of eternity without God’s love. He came to deliver us from death and to give us eternal life. He bought that deliverance by his own blood on the cross for us. We may never have peace in this world and may experience disaster but we will have something far better, “Peace with God.”
If you are suffering through a personal tribulation then accept the promise of peace that God offers through Jesus.
Father God, I am powerless to fix this disaster.
I come to you in weakness, please give strength to my faith,
And I ask for deliverance, from my life and my sin.
I know Jesus came to bring peace, in my soul and with God.
I know his death on the cross pays for my sins,
Those sins have robbed me of peace with God
I accept Your covenant of peace through Jesus.
I trust Jesus as my Savior from this life.
I will obey You Father God, even though trials come.
I thank you for the peace You give me.
Thursday, December 17, 2009, 3:13 PM
Often people hurt us. Some who hurt us should love us but hurt instead. Maybe our own family or loved ones or even our parents are the ones who hurt us. My alcoholic father died a violent death when I was nine. My Mother was mentally ill, (bi-polar), and spent my childhood in her own world, and I stayed in foster homes while she went to the mental ward. I hurt, but I know there are many people with deeper pain and darker scars. I find comfort in this verse.
“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalms 27:10 NIV.
There is big meaning and the little word “will” in this verse. God is not a God of “maybe,” but the God of “I Will.” This says that God will definitely receive us, the decision is made there is no need to contemplate it he “will” receive you.
You could define the word “receive,” but here the poetry of the Bible overrides. This “receive” is the picture God with open arms ready to embrace. It is God inviting us to be his forever house guest. It is God holding our hand in genuine affection.
When those around us do not find anything in us to love know that God does. When those who should treasure us refuse to then God treasures us. When we feel like a rag even the trash can rejects God will receive us.
Whether intend or not hurt still happens. We live in a world of imperfect people- in fact sinful people. I am sorry to use that word but it is the one that fits. Though some people are bad we all are sinners. We all do wrong. “There is no one that does right, no not even one.” (Romans 3:10). We may be victims of many sad wrongs but we ourselves are guilty of others.
The marvel is that even though we are bent on doing wrong God still loves us. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this that a man lay down his life for his friend.” (John 15:13). God in the Son willingly gave his life to pay the punishment for our sins that have hurt others and the sins of those who hurt us. His resurrection shows we may be free us from sin’s power. God’s love expressed in Jesus’ sacrifice for you can become the foundation to rebuilding damaged lives and souls.
Jesus calls us to come to him. I have found an ongoing path of healing by coming to the Lord and being received by him. One can only receive what comes, If we do not come to God then God can’t receive us.
A Prayer for Healing
Loving Father, Thank you for loving me.
Thank you that Your love is so much greater than any other.
I admit my sins have kept me from knowing your love.
I know you sent Your Son to pay for my sins by his death on the cross.
Forgive my sins and rebellion.
I invite You into my life.
I receive you and Your love now today.
I trust You to be my Savior forever.
Fill me with your Spirit of love and healing.
Thank You Lord.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 1:55 PM
“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding than silver.” Proverbs 16:16.
Wisdom can be defined as “good sense” For the believer wisdom is more; it is, “Knowing the heart of God in a matter and acting in accord with it."
We should “get wisdom,” and “choose understanding.” It doesn’t just happen. We must choose wisdom, and apply effort to get it.
How do I “get” wisdom?
There is much wisdom in the Bible therefore choose to read it daily to search for personal wisdom.
Read the life of Jesus, who even as a child “grew in wisdom and stature.” (Gospel According to St. Luke 2:52); and was testified by his contemporary the martyr Stephen, “to be known to be full of wisdom.” (Acts of the Apostles 6:3).
God is the source of wisdom and gives it to those who ask. “If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (Epistle to St James1:5).
To respect God and his laws are the foundation of wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. But fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7).
Wisdom requires humility and is never found in the proud or arrogant. “With pride comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2.)
Wisdom is better than gold for many reasons, for one- wisdom last longer; wisdom was with God before creation and will be with us for eternity.
We all have many troubles and search for answers. Let us seek personal wisdom through prayer and search the “scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”, (1st Epistle to Timothy 3:15). I hope you find the wisdom you need.
PS. read my expanded article at www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/48196...
Monday, December 14, 2009, 2:29 PM
If God loves the church why do Christians suffer? If Jesus came to bless why do I have hardship?
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The Apostle Paul in Romans 8:18 NIV
If ever there was a Bible verse that says there is reason to hope in trials this is it.
The early church suffered greatly; outcast, poverty, fed to the lions, crucifixion, and more. Paul the apostle was persecuted, he was outcast, and flogged, stoned, beaten with rods, castaway at sea, and imprisoned unjustly, abandoned by friends and supporters, and afflicted with an incurable ailment he dubbed the “thorn in the flesh,” and finally a martyr’s death. Yet, he states these “sufferings not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Paul was intellectual and he said “I consider,” this great thinker came to a great conclusion, “look beyond this life.” We should focus on heaven and God’s purpose and not our problems. Heaven is the home of God who is infinite. So His Heaven must also be infinite; infinitely beautiful, immeasurable, joyous, safe, peaceful, abundant, etc.
Can anyone be assured of going to heaven? The Bible says “YES.” “These are written to you who believe in the name of Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13.) The Bible teaches that faith in Jesus alone gives eternal life. Jesus became the substitute for our punishment and judgment because of our sins. His resurrection gives proof of victory over sin and judgment. To trust in Him is to receive eternal life, heaven and glory.
To “compare” is to note differences and similarities. The difference between our suffering and God’s purposes are so infinitely great that there is no comparison. If you measured your troubles in inches the measure of God’s Glory in us would be light years. Paul is saying, “God’s glory in us is so great I just can’t ponder it.” God wants us to trust Him. In the Bible God always rewarded trust, the deepest test asks deeper trust which brings fuller blessings in this life and beyond, so don’t compare- trust.
Who understands God’s Glory? To see God’s glory meant death in the Old Testament yet He is revealing it in those who have faith in Him. God is working in our lives, we may have a problem with temper or lying and yes, God is gently working on those things but this “glory” is much higher than character improvement. All you can say is, “it is so much more it is not worth comparing.”
No matter what trial you face you can endure testing with hope. Our present afflictions are only for a time. This life is not all, maybe it is just a shadow of the truth. Our loving Father is making us ready for a greater reality; He is making us ready for Himself, heaven, and for Glory.
Friday, December 11, 2009, 6:05 PM
My friends I did not write a meditation today but instead I have written a current events feature and posted it on another site. It is an open letter to one of our popular sports heroes who has fallen from grace. I hope that in it he may reflect on his life and eternity. It is my prayer for his salvation as well as all others. you can read the letter at;
You may have to cut and past it in your browser.
I hope this letter may be read by many who are seeking answers to life. If you know any who are searching prayerfully forward it to them.
Thursday, December 10, 2009, 2:57 PM
Our times are full of trouble, and many people are oppressed. Some are oppressed in liberty others in spirit. The troubles each one of us faces are myriad and range from finical to health to bereavement to ageing to inner peace. We seek shelter in bank accounts, insurance policies, pills, weapons and relationships; but these shelters fail us or even betray us in league to the very troubles we seek to hide from.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10. Those who know your name will trust in you. For you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9, 10. NIV.
We think of a “refuge” as a place where the boundaries are walls that keep out danger, like a wildlife refuge where hunters are not allowed. The word “stronghold” brings up a picture of a fortress with thick and high walls.
When believers suffer and you may ask, “Has not the Lord ‘forsaken’ them?” A refuge is not an off switch. A ship that comes to a harbor does not make storm end, the storm continues but the ship finds safety in the harbor. We who believe in God still have troubles, but in the troubles we have a haven. We flee to Him during the times of trouble, and we find The Lord is a “stronghold.”
What does it mean to “know your name?” To know someone’s name is to have familiarity with them, even privilege. If I know your name I can call it in a crowd and you alone will turn and look. To know God’s name is to have a relationship with God. This is His purpose in creating us, and in relationship we find refuge.
Knowing God brings us to “trust” God; we can’t come to God without “trust.” As a Christian I believe that we come to God trough faith as an act of trust in the person and work of Jesus. He is the entrance to God. His own words are. “I tell you the truth, I am the gate, for the sheep,” Gospel of John 10:7, NIV; and “I am the gate, whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come and in and go and find pasture.” Gospel of John 1:9, NIV.
God wants us to seek him. To seek something is to search, and look with all our mind and energy focused on finding the thing. That God does not “forsake those who seek” suggest to that God rewards us for seeking Him. To seek the Lord is not to read an article or say a prayer or attend a meeting once in a while. To seek the Lord is an ongoing thing. We must keep on seeking the Lord. It must be a life style, a daily discipline, it may include meditation, prayer, community, and scripture study.
The problem most people have is that they want God their own way. They come to God during a crisis and say, “Ok, God I’m here now I want you to do such and such.” We must come on His terms, after all he is God, He is the Supreme, All Powerful, All Knowing, Ruler of Heaven and earth, and we are only His creation. When you begin to dictate to God you are trying to become God. He doesn’t like that, the first commandment is, “I am the Lord your God you shall have no other Gods before me.”
A refuge can be many things such as a shelter an asylum, or a harbor. God offers these and more- He is these things. When we put our hearts and lives in God’s hand we find shelter for our deepest selves. Making the Lord our stronghold has an effect, namely you become acquainted with the Lord. Perhaps this is the reason we have troubles because it drives us back to our Creator and God. If you feel you need shelter for your soul then seek God, he will not forsake you.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 11:21 PM
People use his name as a curse, and speak it with disgust. Ask any group what they think of him and you risk riot. Yet to millions his name is the very expression of God’s love. What is it about the very name of Jesus that gets people so angry?
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.NIV.
This quote is by the Apostle Peter during one of his trials in a Jewish court. The events are recorded in Acts chapters 3 and 4. I recommend reading it to understand Peter’s statements in context. Rather than to rationalize a miracle Peter leverages the trial to focus on Jesus; saying it was in his name the miracle of healing was performed. He could have said it was of God or anything else and gotten off without trouble.
Ancient Romans persecuted the Church not because Christians believed in one God while the Romans believed in many but because the Christians proclaimed salvation is in the name of Jesus alone. The attitude of antipathy has not changed. In our age of toleration you are expected to tolerate anything except the doctrine that salvation is in Jesus alone. I wonder why?
We love the little baby Jesus born in a manger to a couple of homeless underclass oppressed people. We love the Jesus suffering on the cross as a martyr for his teachings. We love the story of Jesus’ resurrection in defiant victory that empowers his followers, but we can’t stand the idea that we get saved through Jesus alone.
Is the teaching that Jesus alone is the way of salvation what people find offensive? Is it the things he said like, “I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)? Is it the idea that we need to be saved at all what bothers us? Since if we need to be saved it suggest we are sinners or guilty, and that God is not happy with us.
Maybe people want their own salvation. People want to earn salvation by good deeds, good citizenship, good works, and proper voting record. We do not like the God who says that even our finest deeds are not good enough before His absolute holiness.
Dose the angry reaction to Jesus’ name prove him right? Perhaps our objections are too difficult to deal with so we act out in resentment toward the one who points to our sin, guilt, and need.
Maybe it is not Jesus but His followers? He attracts a common class of people- sinners who need salvation; then they become the saved who tell everybody that you can be free from guilt and fear of God and death by coming to Jesus too. I have to admit as a former pagan idolater I am one of those. I was a searcher for Truth; I adopted various faiths and teachings and I considered Jesus to be a curiosity of history and just another “add on” to my religion. But none of my religion or observances gave me peace and I continued to search. I found Jesus to be “Way the Truth and the Life.” I realized my efforts did nothing to erase a single sin or give the slightest relief from guilt. It was when I accepted Jesus’ claims and received salvation in him that I found freedom.
If you have not come to Jesus do so now and you will know what a joy his name can mean to you.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 12:32 AM
After some reading in my Bible I came to this beautiful and encouraging verse from Psalms.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalms 34:18 NIV.
We all know people who are struggling or maybe we ourselves are facing loss and difficultly. But "The Lord is close..." His presence is not distant; it is not like the Lord is standing off in a corner or finding something else to do while we hurt, like some people do when they know we are depressed. He sees our hearts with compassion, and understands our hurts and loss. It is like His heart sees our heart with all knowing love.
Some of us experience a broken heart at different times in our lives, as when some sudden unexpected loss, or emotional defeat occurs. Others carry a broken heart all through their lives. I can honestly say I never recovered from my father's death when I was nine, or the experiences of being raised by my manic-depressive mother. Even after 44 years I still struggle with the discouragement caused by these issues. I agree by my experience with the verse, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted." I find He is with me in so many little ways, I just need to stop and wait to see Him. When I look I find his hand held out to me.
I don't know which is worse a broken heart or a "crushed spirit." I see a crushed spirit as the feeling of giving up, or the hurt of so many defeats that you can't start again. I often feel like a failure, these feelings have followed me all my life. I am comforted in knowing that The Lord Saves. There is something of value in our experiences, there are lessons we learn; there is a purpose, He is doing a mighty work in and through us. We sometimes do not recognize that "saving" at the time but we can count on it. The Lord saves "those who are crushed in spirit." As we go through a dark time we can count on the promise of this verse and the truth of God's character that He is close to us and desires to save us through the times of hurt.
This verse requires a relationship. I hope you have called out, and come to Him and made the Lord your Lord and entered into a relationship with the Him.
May you know the Lord and his comfort today and always.
Sunday, December 6, 2009, 9:56 PM
Does God love mankind? How would you define an all loving God? Where is the proof of an all loving God?
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7, 8. NIV.
These are the words the radical theologian Saul of Tarsus, also know as Paul the Apostle, about 2,000 years ago. He studied under the Great Gamaliel, learning the most conservative doctrines. He led the opposition to the Christian faith, yet he became a convert and it’s most vocal advocate ever. He clearly believed in the God of the Old Testament yet saw God as the God of Supreme Love. He argues in support of a loving God is in the letter to Christians living in Rome. One should read the entire letter to understand these statements in context.
When it comes to love we humans love the beautiful, noble and worthy. If it lacks outward beauty we seek something intangible within to admire. The daily news is evidence that the nature of man is not beautiful, but evil. Man has a problem- a wicked nature. We used to call it “sin,” but being sinners we don’t like the word “sin” so we call it something else, a disorder, or an illness; which implies we can fix or cure it. Yet generations of medicine and science has failed to expunge the nature of sin and its power in our private lives. If we could fix this problem we will fix war, famine, health care, poverty and all other evils. We try to fix sin with programs, rules, laws and efforts; but they are no better than the flawed humans who devise them.
But God loves us even in our sinful, evil, and wicked ways, and so addresses this sin issue. He begins with our most basic need- forgiveness. This means our sin must be taken away, and the threat of punishment removed. It is in full view of our wickedness that God makes a way, for it says, “while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Before we were redeemable God redeems us. He does what we can’t do. He sees our need for salvation and forgiveness and since we can’t attain it ourselves God makes the full provision for it. He Himself pays for our sin and erases the threat of judgment forever. God didn’t wait for me to become righteous or good and this is great news because I never could be.
Only the Messiah can deliver us from sin; and the death of Jesus on the cross as our substitute for punishment succeeds. Only Jesus’ death is ratified by God and endorsed via the resurrection. His death is the ultimate expression of love. Whatever my sin is I can be assured of God’s love for me since He already demonstrated it on the Cross.
God loves the unlovely, He shows it by the supreme sacrifice which proves that God is the God of love. If you have not come to God then do so now, confess to Him that you have sinned, acknowledge that He died for you, and receive the gift of salvation. Then you will know the God of Love.
Friday, December 4, 2009, 5:13 PM
Often we hear the quote that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and I am sure it is, but should I fear a loving God?
"He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them." Psalm 145:19 NIV.
We are created with a package of needs, some physical or emotional and some spiritual. I think our physical and emotional needs point us to the spiritual. Our yearning may be the hunger for God expressed in desire. Someone once said we all have a "god shaped void in our hearts" and we try to fill that vacuum with all kinds of things. We fail to see HE is the Fulfilment of our desires.
The idea of fearing God is troubling, I want a cuddly doting grandfather type of God; but the God of the Bible is not like that:
- He is overwhelming.
- He is all powerful.
- He is all righteous.
- He is all just.
- He is all present.
- He is all knowing.
- He is all holy.
I would be a fool if I did not have a reverential fear of such a powerful God, and if I have sinned and offended the All Powerful God I have something to fear in His wrath.
Fear can have many sides. It may cause us to hide, or cause us to work hard to overcome a challenge. To fear something dangerous, like being in a burning house, is good because you to act- you flee, and save your life. There is an example in the Bible of a man who acted in fear of the Lord. Abraham was given a difficult task by God and in obedience to God he set about to fulfill this task; Genesis 22:12 comments that Abraham's obedience was identified as fear of God. So to obey God is to fear God.
Yet God rescues. He "hears their cry." It is awesome that the Creator and Master of the universe who holds all things together hears the ache in my heart. He who commands armies of angles listens to the longing of my deepest thoughts. God who arranges the stars in their place sees my pains. He hears our cry and saves us. As a Christian I read the words, “He saves us,” and feel joyous peace. God sent his Son, Jesus, to pay for the sins that put me in debt before the judgment of God. Jesus made that payment in full by his death on the cross. I by faith have received God’s offer of free salvation, (free to me but costly to Him). This salvation is the action of a loving God, not a sentimental cherub in the sky.
Has the fear of the judgment of your sins put a barrier between you and God? He wants us to come to Him but we don’t dictate to God the terms of coming. He established that the way of fellowship is through his Son Jesus and the atoning work of Jesus on the cross for us. Come to God through Jesus, cry out to him and accept his terms of salvation, and you will find He is the fulfillment of your desires.