Christianity 201

April 15, 2018

May We Be Discontent to Live in Sin

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Today we’re introducing a writer who is new to us. Sarah Jo writes at Blind Insanity. This is really part testimony and part teaching. I appreciate her transparency. To read this post at its source, click the title below.

Worship in Deed

[Friday] night, I went to a worship concert.

It was wonderful to worship with so many believers of Jesus. But as I looked around the auditorium, seeing so many hands raised, I was reminded of what Samuel said to King Saul:

“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

Saul chose to disobey God’s commands, but he tried to cover up his disobedience with excuses. Obviously, God did not stand for his excuses, because He could see Saul’s heart. There was no excuse for Saul’s sin. He should have bowed before God right then and there, but he chose to stand in his sin.

Almost everyone at the concert raised their hands and sang praises to Jesus, but I know that so many of them choose to stand in their sin on a daily basis. They make excuses for their actions, so they worship God in vain, because they worship with their lips, but don’t bow down their hearts and surrender their lives to His leading.

How can I know that people are living in sin and rebellion against God? Because I am no different.

I believe in Jesus. I love Him. But so many times, I sin, and that, knowingly. I have the willpower to resist sin and do the right thing, but I still choose sin. By the grace of God, my guilt draws me back to Jesus, again and again, and He gives me grace upon grace. But His grace and His Holy Spirit are changing me; making me more like Him, teaching me what it means to be holy, and giving me the strength and will to follow.

I am only accountable for my actions and the condition of my heart, but I see a need for every professing believer in Christ to live a holy life before God.

Without Christ, righteousness is impossible, but anyone who has Jesus has put on His righteousness. Through Him, they are made righteous, and through His Holy Spirit, they are given the strength to live a holy life; to live in a way that glorifies Him. That means that, what would be seen as normal, and even “healthy,” by the world, should not be present in our lives.

Every form of sexual immorality, gossip, lying, hatred, drunkenness, cheating, and any other sin should no longer have dominion over us. That is not to say that we won’t struggle or that we won’t stumble, but we should grow to the point where we don’t fall into that sin again. And we should humble ourselves before God on a daily basis; asking Him for the strength to resist sin and live for Him.

We need revival in the Church. Revival starts in the heart, and it should produce good fruits that bring glory to Jesus Christ.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will show forth Your praise. For You desire not sacrifice; else would I give it. You delight not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:15-17)

Abba, we need You to step into our mess and bring us to our senses. May we be discontent to live in sin. Teach us to be holy as You are holy; to be examples of You in word and deed. Please continue to shower Your grace and mercy over us, and may it be Your love that brings us to our knees and shapes us into the men and women that You intended us to be. Thank You for listening when we speak, and never forsaking us.
I love You, Jesus.

Amen.

February 13, 2018

Being Prepared: The Armor of God

by Russell Young

Paul admonished the Ephesians to put on the full armor of God. (Eph 6:1017) Armor is not needed when the battle has been fought and the victory has been won. There is nothing left to fight or to resist. Armor is needed to offer protection so that injury or death can be escaped. It was needed for the person engaged in battle and was prepared before the event. The implication is that believers must do battle and that they need to be properly prepared for it. The armor that Paul depicted was not that needed to fight against another person, however. It was meant to enable the believer to stand strong against “the devil’s schemes when the day of evil comes.” For some that could be today. The confessor is not invincible and unless he or she is fitted for proper defence, destruction may result.

Paul referenced his vulnerability and that of the Corinthians when he sated, “If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Cor 2:10─11 NIV) He did not want to be “outwitted.”

Peter also addressed the need to resist the devil. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Pet 5:89 NIV) If Peter was admonishing believers of his day to be self-controlled and alert and to endure the suffering caused by Satan, his caution applies to believers today if they are to avoid being “devoured.”

Before his crucifixion, Jesus had to fight against the devil and his own desires because he knew the pain that was coming. (Lk 22:4246) If he had not gained victory over his flesh committing to its death, humankind would remain dead in their sins; Satan would have won. However, the Lord did not only suffer at his crucifixion, but also during the days of his life on earth. The writer of Hebrews has recorded, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Heb 2:18 NIV) “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” (Heb 5:7 NIV) This “death” does not refer to his petition before his crucifixion, but the death that submission to sin would have brought him during his life on earth. He was human and sin would have resulted in death.

Some proclaim that the battle has been completed and that the victory has been won. Such teaching has lulled the church into a state of apathy, failing in personal and corporate discipline. Victory comes through faith (1 Jn 5:4) in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57); however, faith is not just a possession but a practice. It is for this reason that armor must be worn. Practicing faith when being attacked demands a firm stand. Satan is deceptive, a liar and a murderer (Jn 8:44), and is yet able to bring about a confessor’s destruction. (Gal 6:8; Phil 3:19; 2 Thess 1:9)

Many have been deceived into laying down their armor. Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature reaps destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit reaps eternal life.” (Gal 6:78 NIV) The Lord cautioned his listeners not to be deceived by those who will come in his name, claiming to be him (Lk 21:8), and Paul cautioned about the hollow and deceptive philosophy that depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Col 2:8)

The Lord taught that only those who do the will of his Father would enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt 7:21), and Paul taught that all would face judgment for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Cor 5:10) From the time of Eve, the devil has endeavored to deceive the children of God and to bring about separation from their Lord.

The full armor of God needs to be put on in order to resist the devil’s evil schemes. The belt of “truth” girds the believer from deception, the breastplate of righteousness covers and protects his or her heart, the gospel of peace allows a person to flee from antagonistic situations, while the shield of faith–persuasion concerning God and his Word—allows the believer to deflect Satan’s lies and schemes shielding him or her from injury or death. As well, the hope of salvation (1 Thess 5:8) is the helmet that motivates for perseverance through the trials and persecutions that might otherwise weaken and lead the believer to his or her defeat and destruction. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God which can keep the believer strong in the face of deceptive teaching and evil temptations. While the full armor of God protects, strength depends on the enabling power of the Spirit and the believer Is reminded to be constant in prayer seeking the Lord’s help when it is needed.

The battle is still being fought and the believer needs to enter the fray fully equipped and ready to fight if he or she is to overcome and find a place in the New Jerusalem. (Rev 21:7)


Author Russell Young lives in Canada and is the author of Eternal Salvation: Really? available in print and eBook in the U.S. through Westbow Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble; and in Canada through Chapters/Indigo.  His column appears here on alternate Tuesdays.  To read all of Russell’s contributions here at C201, click this link.


 


 

April 30, 2017

Joy in Testing

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

by Russell Young

James taught that believers should “consider it pure joy” when they face trials. (James 1:2 NIV) “Trials” in this passage is derived from the Greek peirasmos which means “a putting to proof (by experiment (of good), experience (of evil), solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity: -temptation, X try.” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary) In essence he is saying that Christ-followers are to take calm delight in the opportunity given to prove their faith because through proving their faith they develop perseverance and perseverance produces maturity. That is, working through trials engenders maturity.

At first glance the thought of having to face testing is something that is not welcome. Who wants their peace and comfort removed, even temporarily? The truth is, however, that testing develops spiritual strength and confidence in the Lord. It also refines the skills needed to gain victory over temptations, provided that the one being tested perseveres to the end.

There is a challenge to the concept of eternal salvation present in James’ proclamation. That is, if a person’s eternal salvation was accomplished at confession of faith, how could faithfully persevering through trials benefit him or her, and if benefit could not be derived, how can joy be found in needless discomfort or pain?

Jesus taught that you must be born again if you are to have any hope of gaining God’s eternal Kingdom. (Jn 3:3) New birth is the production of a baby, not a mature adult. Being “born again” means a new beginning with the indwelling presence of Christ as the Holy Spirit. It is Christ in the believer that is his hope of glory (Col 1:27), but the born-again believer is still a spiritual baby. There are many basic or foundational teachings (Heb 6:1─2) that are needed to nourish the infant, however the writer of Hebrews has recorded: “Anyone who lives on milk (the foundational teachings) is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Heb 5: 13─14 NIV) Teachings about righteousness are the ‘meat’ of the gospel and strengthen those who use them because they help believers learn to distinguish good from evil and through perseverance prove, demonstrate, or reveal their faith through righteous practices.

Why are trials considered to be “pure joy”? Why should the person undergoing trials accept them with an attitude of calm delight? Faith is not proven to God or to oneself through easy living. It is not developed in times of peace and comfort. Peter spoke of the inheritance to come for the faithful but states that “though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come to prove your faith-of greater value than gold, which even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Pet 1:6─7 NIV) Faithfulness, having been proven, will result in a person’s glorification. Those who do not faithfully persevere will not be found in God’s eternal kingdom. (Mt 10:22)

“Faith” means ‘persuasion’ and although most come to Christ having been persuaded of God’s reality, their need, and his life-saving ministry for them, their persuasion is often not sufficient to enable perseverance through difficult trials and the proving of his faithfulness. Persuasion in these regards is gradually built or put on through experience and trials.

After releasing the Israelites from captivity in Egypt, the LORD took them on a circuitous route to the Promised Land through the desert “to test their faithfulness to him.” (Ex 15:25 NLT) Given their inexperience with him the Lord was not about to put them under trial or testing early in their journey. He said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” (Ex 13:17 NIV) They needed to be victorious in trials and to learn of him if they were to become strong and committed to honoring him. The journey to the Promised Land could have been completed in eleven days but took forty years. Moses reminded his people, “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your hearts, whether or not you would keep his commands.” (Deut 8:2 NIV) The life journey of the believer, even today, is a testing of his or her faith so that the Lord might know what is in their hearts. The reader is reminded of Jesus’ proclamation as recorded by Matthew: “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name and drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you (was not sure of, you had not proven faithful) Away from me you evildoers!’” (Mt 7:21-23 NIV)

A life lived free of concern for evil and lacking repentance concerning its practice will have eternal consequences regardless of deceptive teachings that promote otherwise. God will not be mocked! The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament and the believer’s understanding needs to reflect that reality. It is through his mercy and grace that the Father through his Son has provided means for accomplishing his righteous requirements. (2 Pet 1:3) The believer should count perseverance through tribulations as opportunity to prove his or her faithfulness and commitment and should find joy as they gain victory through the trial of the moment by relying on the enlightenment, leading and power of their Savior. So, count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds.



Russell Young is the Sunday contributor to Christianity 201 and author of Eternal Salvation: “I’m Okay! You’re Okay!” Really? available in print and eBook through Westbow Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble; and in Canada through Chapters/Indigo.

9781512757514

To read all of Russell’s contributions here at C201, click this link.

July 14, 2016

Past Tense, Future Victory

We return today to a multiple-writer site we visited last July, Inspire A Fire. The writer for this one is April Dawn White. You can click the title below to read this, with pictures, at source.

Victory Perspective

The invisible battle of trust, is the biggest battle I face.

When I find myself wondering in my wandering, I return to these stories of God’s faithfulness. I can trust God has already won the battle on my behalf.

I love how God uses past tense grammar to describe a current or future victory.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Joshua and Jericho

See I have delivered Jericho into your hands.” (Joshua 6:2, NIV)

Joshua stands before a small city fortified with tall walls. Assessing the giant walls, God said, “See I have delivered Jericho into your hands.” I wish I could see the look on Joshua’s face at that moment. Queue the climatic music. Staring up at the walls, did he have a look of skepticism or determination? Before God offers an unusual battle plan, He assured Joshua, “I have delivered” this city into your hands.

Joshua entered into battle from the stance of victory.

Moses’ Commission

See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Exodus 23:20-31 (NIV)

Moses led a million march–a motley crew of former slaves, out of Egypt through the Red Sea towards freedom. God in is mighty way parted the Red Sea and the people marched right through toward freedom. Before the split, God assured Moses, “I am sending an angel ahead of you…to a place I have prepared.”

With Pharaoh and the entire Egyptian army closing in behind, Moses walked in a stance of victory on dry ground as he crossed the Red Sea.

Gideon’s Call

Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” (Judges 7:15, NIV)

A chapter before, the Lord finds Gideon hiding from the enemy. Now God has called him to fight. Before God issues an unusual battle plan (by the way, most of God’s battle strategies are unusual) He assures Gideon, “The Lord has given” the enemy into your hands.

Gideon enters into battle from a stance of victory.

We can learn from Joshua, Moses, and Gideon. These men faced insurmountable circumstances, yet they entered into battle from a stance of victory.

Before God issues an unusual battle plan, for our lives we can rest assure He has already prepared our future and delivered the victory.

What battle are you facing?  The victory is already yours. Go get it.


A song which fits this theme well is one we haven’t previously featured here. Enjoy “The Battle Belongs to The Lord” by the band Petra.

July 3, 2016

The Need to be Victorious

•••by Russell Young

The Lord has revealed that those who “overcome” will inherit the New Jerusalem and the promises that apply to it. (Rev 21:7) Since this is so, it is important to be among the overcomers.  There are a lot of assumptions and presumptions made about exactly who the overcomers or victorious are and how they achieve that state.

Many rest their hope of victory solely in that which the crucifixion of Christ has accomplished for them and assume no responsibility for any contribution for their victory.  This understanding is often referred to as God’s “sovereign grace.” Such thinking will lead many to eternal disappointment.  Paul has written that he was straining ahead and pressing on toward the goal; he did not assume victory as having been completed through the crucifixion of Christ. (Phil 3:13-14).  Although there are many other relevant passages that deal with the need to be led, to follow, or to do God’s will, the Lord admonished his listeners that they had to stand firm to the end in order to be saved. (Mt 10:22)

In his revelation through John the Lord told the seven churches that they were to be victorious in maintaining their love for him ((Rev 2:4), in remaining faithful even when facing death (Rev 2:10c), in remaining true to the teachings of holiness (Rev 2:14), in not tolerating false teaching (Rev 2:20), in living -making their practices meet the requirements of God (Rev 3:2), in obedience and perseverance (Rev 3:10), and in passion for him (Rev 3:15). These teachings did not only refer to the church as a unit but to the individuals who comprise the unit. At the end of Revelation, he stated, “All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” (Rev 21:7, NLT)

Peter warned his readers about wandering back into sinful practices.  “And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before.  It would have been better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and reject the command they were given to live a holy life.” (2 Peter 2:21, NLT)

Further, the Lord said, “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” (Mt 13:41, NIV)

Believers have not been relieved of participation in their deliverance or salvation.  They have been commanded to “work hard” to achieve God’s kingdom.  Those who fail to “work out” (Phil 2:12) their own salvation may not make it.  “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (Lk 13:24, NIV) “Effort” and “working out” are not passive acts but demand commitment from the believer.

Christ has won victory over death and Hades, but that is his victory.  Through it, he claimed right to determine who would be judged fit for the heavenly kingdom and the presence of God.  The fate of all humankind rests with him.  Because the keys are his, he will be the mighty judge and all honour will belong to him.  For the redeemed person to share in his kingdom he or she must obey him in this life. (Heb 5:9)   The Lord can win the victory for him or her.

Victory cannot be achieved without commitment and without clinging to the Lord who is the believer’s power for victory.  There is yet a life to be lived and a death to be lived.  Christ declared that since John (the Baptist) many have been trying to “force” their way into the kingdom and told them that the law would not disappear but that the least stroke of a pen would not drop out of it. (Lk 16:16) He also said that he came to fulfill the law (Mt 5:17) and he will do that through his presence in the believer (Col 1:27) as they obey him (Heb 5:9)

Each person has a part in victorious living.  It is not sufficient to just let Christ remove the stain of sin by his sacrifice as achieved at the point of redemption through a single act of faith; holy living must be practiced.  The Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3) but not life and godliness itself. The words of Christ at the end of Revelation were: “Blessed are those who wash their robes (“do his commandments”, KJV), that they might have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” (Rev 22:14, NIV) They must be victorious.

August 20, 2013

Smith Wigglesworth

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:48 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

“If God has any type of hall of fame up in heaven, Smith Wigglesworth is definitely going to be in it.”

~BibleKnowledge.com

First, let’s deal with the obvious distraction: Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947) would be a great name for a character in a children’s story. Okay, done. In truth, the man was a great pioneer of the Pentecostal movement who believed in the limitless power of God.  You can read more about his story at Wikipedia. His many books are still in print as are a number of themed books which deal with his various teachings on scripture, faith, healing, healing, prophecy, etc.

Smith WigglesworthGreat faith is the product of great fights
Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests
Great triumphs can only come out of great trials

“The secret of spiritual success is a hunger that persists…It is an awful condition to be satisfied with one’s spiritual attainments…God was and is looking for hungry, thirsty people.”

There is a fruit of the Spirit that must accompany the gift of healing and that is longsuffering.

You cannot help distresses coming. They will come, and offenses will come, but woe unto those that cause offenses. See that you do not cause offense. See that you live in a higher tide. See that your tongue cannot move.

Is salvation and healing for all? It is for all who will press in and get their portion. The word can drive every disease away from your body. It is your portion in Christ, Him who is our bread, our life, our health, our all in all.

If I read the newspaper I come out dirtier than I went in. If I read my Bible, I come out cleaner than I went in, and I like being clean!

I can get more out of God by believing Him for one minute than by shouting at Him all night.

God has given us much in these last days, and where much is given much will be required.

There are four principles we need to maintain: First, read the Word of God. Second, consume the Word of God until it consumes you. Third believe the Word of God. Fourth, act on the Word.

BibleKnowledge.com,  aChristian.com, MyBibleQuotes, World of Quotes, Good Reads, Holy Christian Life, The Life Experience,

Here’s a longer quote I found online. At first it seemed rather quaint, and the punctuation is a bit unclear, but I’ve developed an appreciation for this man’s style:

”A dear woman was marvelously delivered and saved, but she said I am so addicted to smoking, what shall I do? ”

Oh,” I said, ” Smoke night and day,” and she said, ” In our circumstances we take a glass of wine and it has a hold on me.” ” Oh,” I said, ” Drink all you can.” It brought some solace to her, but she was in misery.

She said, ” We play cards.” I said, ” Play on! ”

But after being saved she called her maid and said, ” Wire to London and stop the shipment of those cigarettes.” The new life does not want it. It has no desire. The old is dethroned.

A clergyman came. He said, ” I have a terrible craving for tobacco.” I said, ” Is it the Old Man or the New? ” He broke down. ” I know it’s the Old,” he said. Put off the Old Man with his deeds. One said, ” I have an unlawful affection for another.” I said, ” You want revelation.” Seeing God has given you Jesus. He will give you all things. He will give you power over the thing, and it will be broken, and God broke it. ” Allow God to touch thy flesh.” Now He has quickened thy spirit. Allow Him to reign, for He shall reign until all is subdued. He is pre-eminently King in thy life over thy affection, thy will, thy desire, thy plans. He rules as Lord of Hosts over thee, in thee, through thee, to chasten thee and bring thee to the perfection of thy desired haven.”

So where would Wigglesworth fit into today’s church environment? One writer puts him in the Word of Faith movement — he is definitely most Charismatic — but I believe that was a different climate than the prosperity preaching we associate with Word of Faith today. The same writer believes that Wigglesworth advocated for a holiness which is both unattainable and not Scriptural, but again, none of can claim to know the dynamics of the spiritual walk of another. So for some of you, this is a good place to end today; but if you want to explore that article further, you can link here.

January 21, 2013

To Come or To Go — That is the Question

Today’s piece is from Harlen Wall. When we asked for permission to use this, Harlen also wrote his own introduction:

Who am I? A Jewish Bible Teacher. Inspired by G-d, I composed this message for my weekly newsletter, which is distributed via email to a group of Christians and Jews (comprised of my students and those who attend my weekly Shabbat service along with friends and family).

The reason I put the dash in G-d is out of reverence for His Holy Name. Who am I to think I can comprehend who G-d is –and the “dash” reminds me of His infinite and transcendent Unity (Oneness) that is above space and time.I should NOT be casual when I write the Holy Name of G-d or refer to Him. Jews are taught to have reverence for His Holy Name.

Here is today’s reading:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them (2) and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.” EXODUS 10:1-2

I only wish to make a very simple and concise point in this week’s message. Sometimes, less is really more! Most English Bibles translate the word bo as go as in “go to Pharaoh.” But the Hebrew word is best translated as, and properly rendered “come.” There is a big difference between coming and going, especially in this context. There is a very important lesson in this verse. Hashem (the LORD) is telling Moses to come to Pharaoh because He (G-d) is already there waiting. This idea is dazzling in its simplicity but profound in its depth.

G-d is telling Moses to come. Not only to come to Pharaoh but to come to Him (G-d) since G-d is already there waiting for him. In truth, it won’t be Moses that will confront Pharaoh. It will be the G-d of Israel, the G-d of Heaven and Earth. Moses just has to show up and realize that it’s not about him. It’s not about what he can do or say. He doesn’t even have the natural gift of persuasive speech. In fact, the Torah tells us that Moses is C’vad Peh (heavy of speech). It’s not about Moses in any way. It’s about what the LORD can do and will do in and through Moses.

This is, in many ways, the most difficult lesson for us humans to learn. Many of us invest decades upon decades of our lives in proving to the world that we’re worthy of respect and deserving of recognition. We make every effort to convince others that we’re intelligent, beautiful, “strong,” wise, and powerful. It’s both ironic and sad that we often spend our entire lives seeking honor, only to find out in the end, that’s it’s not even about us. It’s only about what the LORD can do in and through us. It’s not about us. It’s all about Him. This reality can be liberating and troubling at the same time.

The totality and essence of the human experience is “coming to G-d.” He’s always waiting “there” for us, in every situation. G-d is not telling Moses to go to Pharaoh. He is really saying “Come to Me. I’ll be here waiting for you. I’m already there.” He is saying you will not defeat Pharaoh if you “go to him.” You will defeat Pharaoh (despite your many weaknesses and flaws) if you come to me. Moses could not defeat Pharaoh and the Egyptian forces on his own merit or strength. He could only succeed by coming to G-d and allowing Him to fight the battle. A war is never won. It’s merely received.

It’s not just the word bo that is mistranslated. There are many Hebrew words that are mistranslated in Christian/English versions of the Torah. Perhaps the most glaring error is the very name of the LORD that is given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Hebrew word is “E-hi-yeh,” which is translated in most bibles as “I am that I am.” This is not the meaning of the word and falls short of what the original Hebrew language reveals to us. To render the word as ‘I am That I Am” is to miss the point and the underlying message to Moses, Israel, and ultimately the entire world.

In truth, however, the word is a verb and means “I shall be” as in I shall be there. G-d was revealing His Essence to Moses and at the same time assuring him that he would be there with him when he approached Pharaoh. The name of G-d and his essence is that he will always be there (waiting) even before we get “there” (even when it seems like he’s not there or we can’t see him or feel him). He was also revealing to Moses that He would be with the children of Israel in their exile and all their trials throughout history as well.

We must always remember this lesson that G-d taught Moses. And we must always remember the meaning of His Name. We must know with complete certainty that the LORD is always there waiting for us in every situation. Instead of going to confront our enemies or going to confront or deepest fears or going to defeat HaSatan, we must make the decision to come to G-D instead. The victory is always received when we come to the LORD. And we must joyfully accept that the victory is His. Not ours. It’s not about us. It’s ONLY ABOUT HIM.

But the choice to come or go is ours.

~Harlen Wall

January 9, 2013

Nothing Formed Against Me Shall Stand

Isaiah 54: 17

Weapons made to attack you
    won’t be successful;
words spoken against you
    won’t hurt at all.

My servants, Jerusalem is yours!
I, the Lord, promise
    to bless you with victory. (CEV)


“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord. (NASB)


 No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
    and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
    and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”  (ESV)

God's Got My Back

Time and time again, scripture records instances where forces came against God’s people bent on their destruction, and the odds against them seemed incredible, but God’s people triumphed.  One blogger has created a scripture medley of such instances here. (I was going to leave it to you to link, but many don’t and I really wanted to record these here; the text is King James.)

David and Goliath

I Samuel 17: 48-51: “And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.”

Samson Slays a Thousand Philistines

Judges 15: 14-17: “And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramath-lehi.”

King Hezekiah and 185,000 Assyrians

II Kings 19: 35-37: “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esar- haddon his son reigned in his stead.”

Mordecai and Haman

Esther 7: 9-10: “And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.”

Elijah

II Kings 1: 9-10: “Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.”

Ahitophel

II Samuel 17: 21-23: “And it came to pass, after they were departed, that they came up out of the well, and went and told king David, and said unto David, Arise, and pass quickly over the water: for thus hath Ahithophel counselled against you. Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan. And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.”

Paul on the Island of Melita

Acts 28: 3-6: “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. 5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.”

King Saul

I Samuel 31: 1-6: “Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchi-shua, Saul’s sons. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armour bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armour bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armour bearer, and all his men, that same day together.”

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Daniel 6: 22-24: “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocence was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.”

The Cross at Calvary

Luke 24: 6-7: “He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

Be Strong in the Lord

All of this today is serving as introduction to a new song from Chris Tomlin’s new album, Burning Lights; the song is called Whom Shall I Fear but is also known as God of Angel Armies.   (Static images alternative video here.)  This is a faith-building song that is really easy to learn.  We are not promised protection from every hard thing a fallen world can bring, but when forces arise to destroy us we have the promise that greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (I John 4:4)

February 8, 2012

Ten Ways to Love


I wanted the above list to be the feature of today’s post here, but also wanted to share with you a short devotional that appeared post-Super Bowl at Daily Encouragement.  This both a reminder of God’s sovereignty and a reminder that even technology offers us ways to find a new analogy to explain aspects of the Christian life…


“The Victorious Outcome”

Note: Today’s illustration may not connect with non-football fans or international readers but has an important spiritual application.

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8,9). “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

In America our national sports interest turns to football throughout the fall and winter culminating in the “Super Bowl” that many of us viewed this weekend. Most had a favorite team they were hoping to see win the game. If you’re that kind of fan did “your team” win?

Having lived for nearly eight years in New England I’m sure I have many very disappointed friends up that way! But I also expect to see several New York friends this week like Dominic, who attended the game and is very pleased at the outcome. Some are excited, others disappointed. That’s the nature of competitive sports: the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.

Let me share a story today: Imagine that your team is in the Super Bowl but you have to work and can’t watch the game, so you record it intending to watch it later. But as you leave work someone spills the beans and informs you that your team won the game. You are thrilled to hear this but you still decide to watch the game even though you know the outcome. However you quickly find yourself stressing out as you watch the game play-by-play. You must mentally pause to remind yourself, “This is only a recording, my team wins!”

Spiritual application: Life is like that. As God’s redeemed children, on the basis of Scripture we know that we are on the winning side. May God give us grace not to stress out in the “play-by-play” of life, worrying about finances, health, world conditions, safety, loneliness, work, home, death, things people do to us, and all the other things that can cause worry. In placing our trust in Christ we are “obtaining as the outcome of our faith the salvation of our souls.”

Ultimately this victory is assured on the basis of Christ’s finished work. We don’t have to wait to celebrate the victory; He wants us to enjoy victory right here and now. Peter, who had seen Jesus, wrote to second generation followers who had not seen Him but had a faith relationship like us: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” Remember, Jesus came so that we “might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly”! (John 10:10)

Paul, who also came faith in Christ following the resurrection wrote: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  It’s a great truth for every one of us. This absolutely reliable source informs us, “We win!” Paul is writing to the Roman believers and here in chapter eight he comes to a crescendo in his thought.  The context of “all these things” includes just about all that can go wrong in life, most of which we have never experienced (Romans 8:35).

Every word is rich with meaning but let’s consider just the phrase “more than conquerors.” This actually translates a single Greek word “hupernikomen.” This word is linguistically known as a “hapax legomenon”, a term used for words that occur only once in a body of literature (in this case the New Testament). In fact it’s so rare that it’s possible that Paul devised it to express his thought.  Brooksyne tells me that I make up words as I preach so I can understand such a theory.

It is actually a combination of two more familiar words; “huper” from whence we get “hyper” and nikao from whence “Nike” gets its name. “Nikao” is often translated “overcome” and is found most frequently in Revelation. I like to compare translations and I suppose for this verse I’m most blessed by the rendering in the NASB which states “we overwhelmingly conquer.”  Now let that bless your soul today, fellow overcomer!

That is what we are, through Him who loves us, and today I urge you to drink deeply from the spiritual reservoir we have in Christ. Even in the midst of your present trial declare, “I am more than victorious through Him who loves me!”

Hide this truth deep in your heart.  Many struggle, but God’s eternal Word declares that what really matters has already been taken care of.  “We are (present tense) more than conquerors.” Is Jesus Christ your Saviour and Lord today?  Ultimately this is the only thing that matters in winning the one thing in life that really does matter.

  Father, we recognize that we are overcomers because we are children of God.  The battles we conquer and the ultimate victory we attain in our lifetime is wholly because of the power of Christ at work in us. We are more than conquerors through Jesus who loves us and gave His life for our sins.  Thank you for the inexhaustible supply of Your grace, power, and provision for our salvation and our steadfast walk with You in the ensuing battles of daily life.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

January 12, 2012

Strength of Character

Anyone who can’t find Biblical encouragement and devotional material online isn’t looking very well!  Today we dropped by the devotional site of Campus Crusade For Christ International…

Be Strong in Character

“Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete” (James 1:2-4).

A friend of mine had been very successful in business, but after he became a Christian everything seemed to go wrong. Problem after problem seemed to plague him. Yet he never seemed to be discouraged or defeated.

As we counseled together, he assured me that there was no unconfessed sin in his life. So I rejoiced with him that God was preparing him for a very important responsibility in His kingdom. That is exactly what happened. He is now the director of a very fruitful ministry for our Lord. The problems and testing served to help equip him to be a better ambassador for Christ.

If you are experiencing difficulties in your life – physical illness, loss of loved ones, financial adversity – remember the above admonition from God’s Word. Be happy, knowing that God will work in your life to accomplish His holy purpose.

You can decide how you will respond to problems and temptations – you can either become critical and cynical, or as an act of the will, by faith, you can choose to believe that our sovereign, loving God is allowing this to happen in your life for your own good and for His glory.

Even the hairs of your head are numbered. “His eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9, KJV). He is tender, loving and compassionate, concerned about your every need.


Bible Reading:

James 1:5-12

New International Version (NIV)

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

 9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

 12Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

 


 

Today’s Action Point: When difficulties and temptations enter into my life I will – as an act of the will, by faith in God’s faithfulness to His promises – rejoice and be glad, knowing that He is always with me and will never forsake me. As I trust Him and obey Him, he will supernaturally turn tragedy to triumph, and He will change heartache and sorrow to joy and rejoicing. I will trust Him in the darkest night of circumstances.

 

…and found not one, but two devotional readings to share with you…

Nothing You Cannot Do

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”(Philippians 4:13, NLT).

What would you give for the power to live a truly holy, fruitful life? Strangely enough, it is yours for the asking. If your problem is timidity in witnessing, God promises to help you share your faith with others: “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (2 Timothy 1:7).

If it is victory over temptation, He reminds us that temptation is not a sin; it is only in the yielding that it becomes sin.

If you need victory in your thought-life, He promises to allow no tempting or testing above that you are able to bear – and that certainly includes your thought-life (1 Corinthians 10:13). You are invited to “cast all your anxiety upon the Lord, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

If it is forgiveness you seek, He offers it freely. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

In short, you have no burden, no problem, no need that is too big for our Lord to handle. “Ye receive not, because ye ask not,” He reminds us.

If your need is for physical healing, know that He is able to heal you if it is His will. If His answer to your prayer is no, thank Him for the sure knowledge that His grace is sufficient in the midst of pain and suffering. Acknowledge His sovereign right to be God in your life, whatever the cost may be. “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him to help you do it and He will” (Psalm 37:5).


Bible Reading:

Philippians 4:6-12

New International Version (NIV)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for Their Gifts

 10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.


Today’s Action Point: I will begin this day – and every day – by committing everything I do to the Lord and expecting Him to help me. I will remember that I can do everything God asks me to do with the help of Christ, who gives me the strength and power (Philippians 4:13).

September 1, 2011

Spiritual War: Rules of Engagement

Renown pastor and author Jack Hayford:

…The darkness is deepening — but the Word of God sounds a trumpet blast of faith inspiring promise: Where sin abounds grace much more abounds!  It is the grace that flows from the cross and the grace the graced that flowed to each of us who have met the savior there. And it is also the same grace filling and overflowing each of us who open to those overflowing “streams of living water” that is available to every believer who will receive that full endowment of the Holy Spirit, Jesus prophesied. It is the “river” that provides power to live for Christ to grow in the Word and prayer and power to follow the Kingdom’s King — Jesus — as He leads us to “stand therefore” becoming equipped for battle.

In His name, by the Word of His promise and the blood of His cross through which he triumphed over the authority of all dark powers, let us learn and apply His triumph. Those are the grounds and His power in the Spirit is the way. Applied in prayer in simple faith made bold through the truth it can — and will — pierce like a sword, cut through the bonds of darkness, and release the lost from shame, futility, enslaving addiction, sickness, and eternal loss.

~Jack Hayford, Penetrating the Darkness (p.13)

 

September 23, 2010

We Are The Redeemed, We Are The Ones Who Are Free

This song by Steve Fee’s band is a little hard-edged compared to other worship songs here, but I really do love the power of this song. This isn’t an original video, but I really like the “in your face” lyrics; in fact, this is exactly the CGI I would do for this song.

Yeah we shine we shine the light of God
And when we speak we speak with words of love
And when we dance we may get a little wild
‘Cause we’re the people of God
Yeah the people of God

And when we sing we sing the angels’ songs
The ones they’re singing around the throne
Yeah yeah we worship the King
With ev’rything that we are
‘Cause we’re the people of God
Yeah the people of God yeah
The people of God yeah

We are the redeemed
We are the ones who are free
And we belong to Jesus
We are now alive
And in this world we will shine
And we belong to Jesus

And now is the time for the people to rise
Lift up a shout ev’rybody cry out
Raise your voice shout out a noise
Dance a dance of joy

Where the Spirit of God is freedom reigns
So come on come on
Throw off your prison chains
We’re liberated by a King
Only freedom remains
For the people of God yeah
The people of God yeah

We’re living in a kingdom that will never end
We’re living in the power that defeated sin
So come on ev’rybody
Let your praise begin
Jesus is alive and He’s coming again

(Yeah we’re) going into all the world
We’re carrying the light of Jesus
And we shine we shine in the darkest place
We shine

© 2007 Louie Giglio | Steve Fee