A Word of Encouragement!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:6,8 NIV

We know why Moses had to encourage the children of Israel. They were afraid of change and Moses was no longer going to be with them. But he reminded them that The Lord would always be with them and they were not to be afraid.

Those words ring very true today. We need to be strong–strengthened daily by Holy Spirit, determined to move forward knowing that God is going before us and He will never leave us.

Whatever the challenge or obstacle that attempts to get in our way of obeying God and promoting the Gospel, confront it–head on–with love and know that whatever The Lord has put on our hearts to do, He is faithful to see it completed.

So move out–in faith–very courageous and determined–to get it done.

 

An Old Song That Needs Singing!

“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:2-4 NIV)

For those who believe God is not speaking to us today, read His Word. This first stanza of a song, sang by Moses just before his death is yet relevant. In fact the entire song is relevant, but too lengthy to re-write for my purposes–today. The stanzas following the focus passage remind the children of Israel of their wrong doing, how they have forgotten God and all He had done for them, what was going to happen to them, and they needed to turn back to Him.

The message of the song is yet true, today–right now–for all who think they belong to God, yet will not obey and live according to His Word.

We look at the violence and foolishness of the world and complain, wondering why things are happening the way they are. We only have to look into God’s Word to get understanding.  And within His Word, He has reminded us, “with all of our getting, get understanding.” To say there is nothing new under the sun would be redundant since I’ve already expounded on that recently, but let me reiterate this one point. Nothing that happens in our universe is a surprise to God since He knows our nature and we–as human beings–have not changed.

We witness His greatness in doing marvelous things for us and forget as quickly as He did it. We cry unto the Lord when things are going bad and we are in despair and He hears and delivers us–always making a way for us to do better and as soon as we get out of one rut, we create another when we turn away from Him–again.

How many times must we repeat the lesson in order to pass the test? From looking at this passage of the song, we will repeat the lesson until Jesus returns, since we don’t have the wisdom or at least don’t exercise the wisdom God has given us. We cannot live any way we want to live and expect God to bless us individually or as a nation. We cannot receive His blessings and then turn away from Him, expecting Him to overlook our contrary ways. Yes, we are saved by grace–the unmerited favor He showers us with, but His grace is not an excuse for us to live in opposition to His Word.

It is because of His grace that we should desire more than ever to want to please Him, living our lives in alignment with His Word–not in opposition to it. We–who Believe–know we cannot adhere to the dictates of mere mortals and turn away from God’s Word for we know–He will avenge Himself and nations upon nations will see what He does–withholding His protection from an unbelieving, unworthy nation of people who dare to defy Him.

The prediction of what happens to rebellious people given then in this song is still relevant to those who refuse to turn back to God. Their end has been established–destruction by nations that were never intended to rule over those who Believe God. “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them” (v. 35).

“Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth” (v.1) It’s time we proclaim the name of the Lord and acknowledge that He does no wrong, but He will allow wrong to happen to us when we are living wrong lives. His works are perfect, even when we don’t understand, He is still God–our God–who is wonderful in all His ways!

On Whom I Will!

“And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19 NIV)

I love the fact that I am not God! And what’s even greater–you are not God! God says, He will cause of His goodness to pass in front of us, He will have mercy on whom He will, and compassion upon whom He will–not as we decide out of our own superiority complexes and arrogance. There, I said it–we don’t get to decide what God wants for others–He does!

What’s great about God’s mercy and compassion–shown to whoever He chooses–is His non-discriminatory practice for all who are obedient to Him. God doesn’t care what our ethnicity is, our skin color, our religious practices, our economic status, our educational level or to whom we’re related–unlike some of us. We tend to think that because we belong to a specific denomination or practice a specific form of religion that we’re the only ones who have a right to access heaven. Wrong!

The only way anyone gets to God into heaven is through acceptance of Jesus Christ and the work on the cross. That’s it! “No man comes to the father except through the son.” There are no other qualifiers to get into heaven than this.

So, when we–us, mere mortals–attempt to be play God and try to beat people over the head with our beliefs–we’re wasting our time. If we’re not saying what God says, we do err.

Going to church doesn’t get a person into heaven–but it’s okay to go.

Tithing doesn’t get a person into heaven–but it’s a good thing to do.

Being baptized doesn’t get a person into heaven–but it’s okay.

Speaking in tongues doesn’t get a person into heaven–but it’s gift from God to use as we will.

We don’t even have the right to “call people” into ministry, but some try and make messes of the person’s life and those they attempt to minister to.

God is God–and He can choose whom He will, to do whatever it is He wants them to do–and He doesn’t need our permission or approval. So, we with our limited knowledge of anything need to stop saying who God will use based on our limited understanding of who God is. He’s God–He knows more than any of us will ever know and He knows the outcome of what He wants before anything is ever started!

Okay, now aren’t you glad I’m not God? I am! If I was God, the world would be in a bigger mess than it is, because quite frankly, I’d rid the world of all who hate and create evil and chaos without any consideration of mercy and compassion. And if the truth was told, you would do the same thing. Thank goodness He’s God and we’re not. At least now, we all have a chance to get things right before Him.


Let’s Keep It Simple!

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” (Acts 15:19,20 NIV)

All over the land, especially in America, church leaders are shaking their heads, trying to understand why their buildings are not filled to overflowing (depending upon the size of the building). The biggest problem for most churches is this: the leadership and the people would rather beat people up about The Word, than Teach them The Word.

A number of people visit a church and find some interesting reason to listen to a sermon, but before the service is over, they are assailed with the “rules” and are humiliated because they don’t understand the rules. How can they know “the rules” of anything before they have been taught? And why must people make the rules so rigid that no one wants to adhere to them?

There is a better way to win lost souls and James provides us with the perfect method in this verse of scripture. Let’s encourage them to live a sin-free life, not worshiping idols, and teach them how to receive God’s best in their lives. Let’s keep it simple and draw others into the love of Jesus Christ–pointing the way by what we do–not what we say.

To be honest–those who profess to know Christ, but yet don’t know how to live the life they profess before others–keep more people out of churches than they draw into the churches. When we do not live what we say, we are hypocrites and Jesus has warned us that we’ll get to end and hear, “depart from me you workers of iniquity–I never knew you.” What a heartrending statement to hear! This demonstrates the difference from those who “think” they are living according to The Word and those who “know” they are living according to The Word.

Let’s make evangelizing simple–live it, promote it, teach it, and glorify God in all you do! Let your light so shine, filled with His glory, that others will seek you out, wanting to know–why and how you can smile, and never be discouraged on this journey called–life!

The Winning Team!

“So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the LORD’s side, come here and join me.” (Exodus 32:26 NLT)

Everyone wants to play on the team that wins–we see it in all the sports!

The Superbowl–headed for Disneyland.

The World Series–wherever they go.

The NBA Champions, The NHL Champions, any sport where it’s played, people would rather be on the winning team!

There are two major league teams we must choose in life–The World’s Team or God’s Team!

Although it might appear that the World’s Team is winning–the winner is never announced until the end of the game.

The end of the game has not yet arrived, but it will soon and I want to be on the Winning Team–That’s God’s Team!

The playbook has already announced the winners–those who endure to the end–and when that announcement is made–“welcome to eternity” I want to be there, received by Him who loves!

Are you on the Winning Team? It’s not too late, make a decision to day to receive God’s best for your life and join us in the celebration of our Risen Savior! He chose you before you were born to be on His team, now choose to play by His rules.

Proclaiming His Name!

“For I proclaim the name of the LORD; Ascribe greatness to our God!” (Deuteronomy 32:3 NASB)

What’s in a name? The power to pre-destine one’s fate or not!

Many people give their children all sorts of names without thought as to how that name may play a part on the child’s future. Throughout the bible, we see specific names given to people because the names actually meant something specific. That is certainly true for the name of our God.

Without getting into a list of all names by which He is known for all He does, I’ll just briefly discuss–the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord–one who takes responsibility for others–who actually determines what they do and how they do it.

Jesus–The name above all names and by which every knee shall bow before the end of this journey called life.The name by which people can be healed and delivered. The name by which we are assured all of our prayers are heard and answered.

Christ–the Savior of mankind, the One who was obedient unto death so we could have life and that more abundantly.

So, what’s in a name? Lordship–giving Him control over all we do and say, Advocate and Mediator between us and the Father who is the One who determines all things, and the Savior of our souls.

Jesus–The Word–God who came down to earth in the likeness of man to prove to us that we can live in obedience and reap the rewards of obedience. God wrapped Himself in flesh and demonstrated the importance of blood-flow and blood-covenant and willingly gave Himself for us–a disobedient, rebellious people who have yet to understand His greatness, and He loves us anyway.

Jesus is Lord of all and He only is worthy of our praise and glory as He is One with the Father. Hallelujah! For the King of Kings and Lord of Lords–our Risen Savior–who gives us victory in every area of our lives when we are obedient.

Because of Him–we are saved, healed, delivered, victorious, on our way to our mansion, living an abundant life with all of our needs met and successful with everything we do. Glory to God in the Highest! There is none like Him, no other name by which man can be saved from himself! What an awesome God!

And though there are many other gods people worship, there is only One who created all that was ever created and without Him, nothing was created.

The only Wise God who knows all things from the beginning to the end; He knows our thoughts before we do and loves us so much, He sent His Spirit back to earth to guide, comfort, and counsel us at all times. No one can love us like Him! And no other god can do what He does! Our God is awesome! He can move mountains on our behalf and reestablish valleys without anyone’s permission and do all things well. Praise The name of Our Lord!

None Like Him!

To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him “(Deuteronomy 4:35 NASB).“Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:39 NASB).

In this conversation with the Children of Israel they are reminded of the God of Heaven, how He remembered them because of their fathers with whom He had a covenant, and to make sure they knew that the other gods, had done nothing for them or anyone else.

This powerful reminder is just as relevant to us–spiritual Israel–as it was then. We need to be reminded from time to time of how great God has been, is and will be. No matter what we create or set up to worship–we are reminded there is none like Him. He is the God of Heaven and earth. He is the God who brought us back into relationship with Him through His willingness to die for us. He is the One who allowed us to experience Him first-hand through many trials and tribulations and He brought us through them all. He is the One, the only One who loves us enough to keep giving us chance after chance to get things right, before He returns.  How great a love is that? Of course He can do no more than what He is because He is Love. 

Be very careful in worshiping anything created by man or mankind himself. They are limited in what they can do and absolutely nothing we make with our own hands (or digitally) can ever do what God does. We need not get so caught up with achievements that we forget God. None of our technology has been created without Him since it is He who inspired all things created and without Him, nothing has ever been created.

People (who don’t know God) want to blame God for all the ills of the world, but they must first look to themselves and see if they have been willing to hear God. When we can hear God speak to our hearts and then to our minds, we can discover–cures for illnesses and means to convince others to obey Him so there won’t be unrest and confusion in the land. We know how to “ask God” for things, but do we know how to listen for His response. He has said, He will withhold no good thing from us. Finding a cure for illnesses is a good thing--He is not withholding the information, we are not hearing Him. Establishing peace in a world of unrest is a good thing–He is not withholding the means, we are not hearing Him.

None of the statues, or beads, or crystals or anything else we worship or use in worship will ever change anything. There is no candle that holds power. There is no piece of jewelry that holds power. There is nothing in the land that holds power other than our faith in Him who can and will do all things well. There is none like Him who can get the job done. It’s about relationship, not religions or religious observations! It is our faith alone that moves Him–not tears or emotions–to doing what He does in response to our communications with Him. Prayer is communication with God, but for most of us, it becomes a one-sided conversation. Stay quiet long enough to hear what He has to say. After all, He took the time to hear you. No, there is none like Him.

Father, in the name of Jesus, thank You for hearing and answering our prayers. Thank You for taking the time to respond to us on a level we can understand clearly. Thank You for reminding us, through Your Word that there is none like You and there never will be. We give You all the praise and glory for You are the only One worthy of it.

He Will Do It!

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19 NIV)

I’m beginning to think that the reason many people do not believe God or in His existence is because they tend to think of Him in “human” terms.  They try to bring God down to man’s level of thinking, giving Him some of man’s attributes, and then thinking God will respond to situations like man will. They do not understand that God is Spirit and therefore not subject to the limitations of man–physically, emotionally, or mentally. Hallelujah!  I’m so glad He is not like us!  We are so fickle-minded, we change what we do and think in a heartbeat.  We lie to one another, seldom keep promises; especially to children and then we wonder why our lives are such a mess.

God won’t lie to us because truth and integrity are part of His attributes.  He won’t change His mind because He has no need to do so.  He can see far beyond what we can even think and He has already determined how things should be and the consequences of our actions. What He does, is for our good.  Every good parent wants only the best for their children and they plan for their children’s future. God is my “Daddy” and I know that His plans for me are designed to prosper me and not to harm me that I have a future with hope and a promise fulfilled (Jeremiah 29:11 paraphrased).  What He says, He means–He will not change His mind about what He speaks.  What He promises, He will make sure it happens.  When we receive His promises is entirely up to us--when we obey!

God is love!  Love has no desire to harm or disappoint or discourage.  Love comforts, chastises, encourages, motivates, inspires, and holds onto us even when we don’t deserve it.  That’s love!

Hold onto His promises, obey His Word, and watch how He works.  Whatever He has promised, He will bring it pass.  He will do it!  Hallelujah!

 

Blessed or Cursed?

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV). 

Many people do not like to be reminded of what is said in Old Testament scriptures and actually attempt to discredit much of which is said.  While I will not enter into a debate about it, I will point some things out that have come to pass, just as The Word said it would. 

I have always considered Deuteronomy 28 to be the book of blesses and curses, simply because the first 14 verses talk about how God will bless us.  And then from verse 15 through 68, we are told how we become cursed–through disobedience.  Notice there are far more scriptures relating to how we’ll be cursed than how we are blessed. 

And then are those people who would attempt to discredit a person’s ability to “choose” to believe God.  We see in this verse–that we have always had a choice–to be obedient or disobedient.  We choose life or death; blessings or curses by our obedience or disobedience to God’s Word.  Now for those who don’t believe God exists, that’s a choice, too. But for those of us who profess an unwavering belief in God and His Word, we are accountable for what we do–we should all be walking in the blessings of the Lord. 

The bottom line for me is simply this:  If I am obedient to God in “all” He says (love Him and love others), I will be blessed and everything I put my hands to shall prosper.  If I choose to disobey (hold hatred against others and create chaos and confusion by my words or acts), then I can expect my efforts not to do much of anything, but be cursed. I get it!

I choose life and prosperity and being blessed over being cursed.  What about you?