Sunday, February 27, 2011

Orphans and Widows

“Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

James 1:27

Looking after widows and orphans in their distress is a pivotal part of walking out my faith in this life.  The helpless and hopeless must be my focus as well as keeping myself unstained by the world.

We often judge Christian greatness by how many people came to know Jesus because of our testimonies.  But how many people came to know Jesus because of the widows and orphans for whom you cared?  The Gospel is not a list of facts which upon acceptance provide you with a pass to Heaven.  The Gospel is the good news that Jesus reached down to you in your desperate need and provided a way to you to escape the eternal consequences of your sin.

Every man is in distress like a widow or an orphan and Jesus reaches out  to look after him with the only provision that makes a difference.  Jesus gives eternal life to the eternally dying.

When you look after the needs of someone in distress you display to the world a perfect picture of the work of Jesus.  You will be blessed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

God Destroys Nations?


“The Lord your God is the One who will cross ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will drive them out. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, as the Lord has said.”

Deuteronomy 31:3

The unbelievable foolishness of not recognizing God as the Supreme being in all existence is hard for me to grasp.  God is not some nebulous force that floats out there somewhere.  He is living and active and has been, over the centuries involved even in the destruction of nations. 

Since God is the same yesterday and today and forever would it not be reasonable to assume that God Himself might be materially involved in bringing down a nation that has turned away from Him?

Jesus restored the sight of the blind, but He also blinded the eyes of those who could see.  For example, when He was about to be stoned and He walked right through the crowd and escaped their untimely intent.  The problem with the United States today can be almost totally attributed to blindness.  Our leaders can’t see the danger that lurks just ahead.  Even the most educated of them are oblivious to the terminal danger that will overtake us in the days just ahead if we don’t drastically change course.

The personal lesson for me is this:  I must pray that God will open my eyes  to see that which I can’t see because of my own blindness.

“Lord open my eyes and let me see again the path you want me walking today.  Let me see the danger and hear Your voice of warning and direction.  Let each step I take be one closer to Your heart.” 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Who is Babylon?

“For this reason her plagues will come in one day-
death and grief and famine.
She will be burned up with fire,
because the Lord God who judges her is mighty.”

Revelation 18:8

What country is or will be this Babylon of Revelation?  If we are still hundreds or thousands of years from the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy then it will only be for those who are alive then to discover.  But if the time is near now then we might want to consider what country is prophetically called Babylon.

Some have said that it is Iraq, since that is where Babylon was when it was in it's glory.  But seemingly only the location fits the description of that country today.  For years I have heard speculation that Babylon in this passage is the United States of America.  Most of the descriptions fit nicely.

We sing God bless America when trouble comes and ban Him from every part of our lives when things are going well.  We are serious traffickers in corruption, vice and sex in the world.  We are the main source of evil and demented movies.  We kill hundreds of thousands of our babies each year before they are born.  But we steadfastly look for the ten righteous men so that God will not rain fire down upon us like He did with Sodom.  The only problem with that is that we have no Abraham pleading for us with God.  Sure there are righteous people among us, but earlier in this chapter God clearly warns the believers in Babylon to flee so they won’t be punished with the rest. 

The question then for us is this:  Am I where God wants me to be?  If I am then I must trust God to deliver me from the fire or by the fire!  I am not here to avoid problems.   I am here to glorify God and live my life as He directs.

There is no record of Lot calling for Sodom to repent.  But we can still proclaim repentance as the only appropriate response for our nation today.  If we don’t repent we will be destroyed like all nations down through history that turned to sin and away from righteousness.  If we are Babylon of Revelation 18 we can still proclaim repentance because, as we know there are men and women turning to God every day in these increasingly difficult times.

Life is short.  Either Jesus is coming soon, or I am going soon!  Be ready and about His business when He comes or you go!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Horses in Heaven!

Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness.

Revelation 19:11

The true meaning of this verse is profound.  I will save until another time an attempt to delve into it’s truth.  But for now I would like to simply remind you that according to this verse there are horses in Heaven. 

I am not known for being a "horse lover," but I have owned a couple of horses during the course of my life.  I think it is well worth recognizing that horses appear to have been created for the purpose of providing useful service to men.  A bunch of wild horses is beautiful and even majestic, but in the scheme of things there is nothing they provide for the rest of creation that is useful.  But a "broken" horse is perhaps the most useful animal in all of God's creation.   Transportation, farming, war, and even recreation are all appropriate venues for the domesticated horse.

So in some ways horses are like people.  A man running wild is of no use to anyone and in fact can be dangerous and even destructive.  But a "broken" man is most useful to others and even to God Himself.

When God reigns in your life and lets you know the direction you should take, let Him have His way with you.

Someone will have to help me find the scripture that supports the fact that "all dogs go to heaven."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

God Speaks Through Jethro!

"You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you. You can't do it alone.”

Exodus 18:18

Jethro's advice to Moses is simple common sense, but the amazing thing is why God Himself did not suggest the same thing to Moses.

Never forget that common sense is not always the right thing to do. Common sense always says don't try to walk on water, but at the command of God we throw common sense to the wind and step out of the boat.

In this case however God apparently approved of Moses’ father-in-law’s common sense correction to what Moses was doing as judge of the people's disputes.

I believe this is one of those, “God uses the human order of authority to speak to His children” situations.  I believe that Jethro was used by God to speak these words to Moses.  Many years ago, when I became an adult I realized that God had used my father to speak to me when I was a child and that God still used my father to speak to me as an adult.   My father would frequently express opinions or advice that ultimately proved to certainly be a Word from God!

Listen for the Voice of God at all times and in every situation.  I believe God speaks much more often than any of us hear Him!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bride or a City?


Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."

Revelation 21:9

When the angel told John that he was going to show him the Bride, the wife of the Lamb there appeared not a Bride, but a City. The description is of a City. Can it be that the Bride is a City or does the picture of the City have a profound symbolism?

I have always thought that the New Jerusalem is simply where the Bride lives, that is heaven. If I were to declare that I was going to show you the Queen of England and all you saw was Buckingham Palace you would be at least disappointed and perhaps deceived.

There is no description of God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit in the Bible.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it would take more than all the words that have ever been created to even begin to describe a member of the Trinity.  It would be like trying to describe a beach when all you have is a dozen grains of sand.

I believe what John is describing in Revelation 21 is not the Bride herself, but the Glory that surrounds her.  The beauty and Glory of the New Jerusalem comes not from where it is and how it was built, but rather from who is there.  There will be radiant glory from the Bride.

Don’t forget the children’s game that includes a profound eternal declaration.  The game is hide and seek and the declaration will soon be said by Jesus Himself, READY OR NOT HERE I COME!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

God With Us!

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:
Look! God's dwelling is with humanity,
and He will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God.

Revelation 21:3

The most amazing thing about this verse is that it says God will be with us instead of we will be with God. It is a good thing when a man fellowships with God, but it is a good thing from God's point of view when He can fellowship with me.

In a relationship of fellowship there is complexity of sharing. Each side gives and receives, but may only be aware of receiving. The giving part of the relationship is usually an outpouring in response to what is being or will be received. You stand amazed that One who can meet out such immense blessings is willing to focus on you! So why do I even need to be aware of the blessings God receives from human beings who love Him? It is because the greatest times of temptation come when I feel no blessings from God. In a human relationship the knowledge that I am blessing the other person is essential during times when the communication of fellowship is hindered. It is then that I remain true to the relationship without the normal nurturing.

Believe it or not, God wants, desires and even needs you! I do not understand that reality because I am but human, but I know that God is seeking my heart to be close to His.

Friday, February 4, 2011

He Speaks My Name!

A sharp sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty.

Revelation 19:15

Do you remember the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Frankly, it is completely backwards from reality. The truth is: “Sticks and stones can only break my bones, but words can totally destroy me.”

Words do their work deep inside the human heart. Hurtful words fester and poison the heart, but loving words heal and bring strength and extended life to any man or woman who hears them.

When Jesus goes to war His sword comes right out of His mouth. What is more powerful than God’s Word? The Word of God can create form out of void, beauty out of ashes, and life from death. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. If Jesus speaks a Word on my behalf I am swept into the eternal Glory of the presence of Almighty God. If Jesus speaks a Word of denial directed at me I am forever lost in the abyss of Hell.

“Dear Lord, all I ask today is that You speak my name with love in Your heart. Lord, help me never to speak Your Name without total honor, praise, glory and love in my heart for You. Your greatest blessing to any man or woman is when you speak his or her name with Love! You uttered the existence of light and it was so. When you speak my name the whole Cosmos pays attention.”

Listen today for the voice of God speaking your name!