Never Under-Estimate What God Can Do Through You!

 

A Bible Commentary –  Haggai 1:13; 2:1-19

We see in the Scriptures that God uses different people in different places, over different periods of time, for different purposes.

When Solomon was king of Israel, he built a beautiful temple in Jerusalem.  People from all over the world came and saw this wonder.  The Jewish people treasured the Temple because it was the place where God dwelled with a man and the place where they WORSHIPPED Him.

But as time went by, the nation began to turn from God, turning towards gods from the surrounding nations.

Civil war broke out and the Nation of Israel split into two kingdoms.  The Northern Kingdom (Israel) rapidly went downhill and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) followed close behind but at a slower rate.  The result of this turning away from God was Judah’s captivity by Babylon.  When the Babylonians came in, they destroyed the Temple that Solomon had built for God.

70 years passed, then God moved Cyrus of Persia to allow the Jews to return to their homeland.  About 50,000 people went back to Judah and when they arrived, nothing had changed.  Everything was in shambles.

Immediately, the returnees set about to rebuild the temple and re-laid the foundation during a great celebration; but then came opposition.  The Samaritans (who hated the Jews) didn’t want to see the Jews prosper, so they kept hitting back at them until finally, they stopped rebuilding the Temple altogether.

As the years passed by, slowly but surely, Jerusalem came back to life.  Homes were built, stores were opened, commerce re-established, fields planted, crops harvested, and life began to resemble something of a normal pattern, BUT there was a problem.  The Temple foundation still lay in ruins, overgrown with weeds.  Every time the Jews passed it, it stood as a reminder of their failure to take care of God’s house.

This situation remains for 16 long years.  Finally, God sent a prophet named Haggai to wake the people up.

From what history reports, Haggai’s ministry lasted only over a span of 4 months (Hag. 1:1; 2:1,10, 20).

We don’t know where he came from, we don’t know his lineage, his family – all we know is that he has come out of exile in Babylon with Zerubbabel.  God had a purpose for him after 70 years in captivity, and God had only 4 months for this man to minister.

And the effect of his ministry?

In just 24 days after his message, we see the people (led by their leader Zerubbabel and Joshua their high priest) started work again and reconstructing the Temple of God (Hag. 1:14-15).

THE WHOLE NATION turned around and completed God’s task because one new man spoke on His behalf.

This leads right into my title: Don’t Under-Estimate What God Can Do Through You!

GIVE TO GOD THE SMALL THINGS –

Fred Craddock, professor, and New Testament Emeritus says, “We think giving our all to God is like taking a $1,000 bill, laying it on the table and saying, ‘Here’s my life, Lord.  I’m giving it to You.’  But that’s not how it works!

God sends us to the bank to cash $1,000 bill – for 50 cent coins.  Then He asks us to give 50 cents here, and $1,00 there; to teach a Sunday school class, volunteer you help a hospice, or just clean up the sanctuary.”  The Small things!

So the question is – are we as prepared to be used by God?

  • It’s good to pause and think – what has God been calling you to do?
  • Does God expect anything from me?

What’s wrong with the people of Israel?

They’ve returned to their homeland Jerusalem more than 16 years earlier (586 BC, from captivity in Babylon).

  • They actually started rebuilding the Temple after their return with all good intentions.  [We all start out with good intentions, don’t we?]  But the work was suspended because of conflict with their Samaritan neighbors (Ezra 3-4).
  • They refused to let the Samaritans work on the Temple, the animosity grew, and the Samaritans fight back.
  • As a result, the work was halted and nobody bothered any attention to the unfinished work for another 14 years.

When God is out of mind, He’s out of your life.

The people had gotten indifferent about re-building God’s house.  They build “paneled houses” (1:4) for themselves.  It wasn’t a lack of resources; they have the time and the means to do it.  It was a lack of heart.

The Bible tells us where your treasure is for there your heart is also.  You can call it apathy, or being lukewarm, or just being lazy.  Whatever it is, God is neither in their mind nor in their lives.

So what’s the result of the God- absent life?

READ 1:6, 9-11

[6] “You have sown much but you harvest little”

Because the people had pushed God out the center of life, they were now suffering in every other area.  They had fields without produce, action without satisfaction. and labor without profit.  These occurrences appear to be a correlation between the blessings of life and our worship of God.

Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33 (AMP),  “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.”

When our priority isn’t right, then we’ll see it in our lives, the fruit of our labor.

We can read a similar message given to the prophet Malachi.  The people had drifted away from God and no longer bringing their tithes and offerings into the storehouse – the Temple of God.

And God says in Malachi 3:10-12…

WHY WOULD GOD DO THIS?

He allows us to suffer the results of our wrong choices in life to wake us up, convict us of sin, and to lead us to repentance.  The longer they put it off, the longer they deprive themselves of God’s blessing.

Let’s stop procrastinating when God shows us what is right and good.  By putting it off, you’re just delaying God’s BLESSING in your life!

It’s interesting to note that God told them what they were thinking (1:2), “This is what the LORD Almighty says”

God not only knows the situation, He knows what you’re thinking!  He knows the condition of the heart!

So when God speaks to you and me, during the reading of His Word in the Bible, He’s addressing a NEED He sees in us.

A thought came to me, about the time when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women at the well in John 4.  He was able to tell her of five husbands, and the woman said, “I can see you are a prophet.”  And when the conversation ended, she ran back to her village crying, “I can see a man that told me all that ever I did!”  The woman came for the water, but that wasn’t her greatest need.  She needed the LIVING WATER, and Jesus spoke to her need!

When God speaks through the prophets in the OT, He’s addressing the NEEDS of the people directly.

God was telling the people in Haggai’s time the real cause of their misery in life.  It pays to listen attentively to God when we are moved by a message.  We find this phrase repeated again and again (1:2. 3. 5. 7. 13; 2:1…):

“This is what the LORD ALMIGHTY says; the word of the Lord came through…”

Today God is doing the same thing – He is constantly speaking to us!

It may come as COMFORT, a WARNING, a word of WISDOM.  God is addressing a NEED in you, in me, or as a church.  And the result is the same – our heart is being stirred.

Being “stirred,” that’s the work of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter!  Taking the Word of God and showing it to us, convicting us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).  

So when God speaks, listen!  Don’t listen to – rely on, a sermon for someone’s sake.  The LORD says repeatedly, “Give careful thought to your ways” (1:5, 7; 2:15).

This is the right response to His Word.  Ponder carefully – to think about; reflect on, consider especially a matter soberly and quietly – and respond to Him.

1:12 says the “whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the prophet Haggai because the LORD their God had sent him…”

  • They recognized it as a message from God, not from Haggai, not man’s suggestion.

This one decision – to heed God’s Word – changed them completely!

You may have been indifferent to 14 years, it really doesn’t matter.  What’s important is to take note of what God’s saying to you and act upon it.  It might just be a simple decision, but you need to MAKE IT!  Procrastinate and you can find yourself still in misery for another 14 years.  “Someday” is the devil’s tool to keep us from growing in the Christian life.  It’s not a lack of resources, it’s a lack of a heart.  Many Christians know what’s right and good, BUT…just couldn’t…wouldn’t act to doing it.

There’s a legend that’s worth repeating because it contains an important truth to this study.  *[See CREDITS]

Satan held a passing out parade at the spiritual academy.  During the day he questioned 3 of his evil spirits.  To the first, he said, “When you get out into the world, what are you going to say to the people?”

“Oh,” the evil spirit replied, “I shall tell them there’s no God.”

“That’s no use,” said the devil, “Creation tells people that there is a God.  Not many will believe you.”  Then he said to the second evil spirit, “And what are you going to tell the people?”

“I shall say that there is not going to be a judgment,” was the reply.

“That’s not much use,” answered the devil.  “Conscience tells them about judgment.  Not many will believe you.”  Turning to the third evil spirit he asked, “What about you?”

“I shall tell people that there is a God and a judgment to come,” answered the third evil spirit.  “But I shall add there’s no hurry.”

“Excellent,” said the devil.  “Many will believe that!”

People believe that there’s no hurry about accepting Christ, turning to God and putting things right.  The truth is – the time is running out fast, and the time to respond to God’s voice may just be now.

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CREDITS:

Legend Story:  “There Is A Legend” – June 18, 2007, Sermon Central.com; Mark Sutton, Missions Today.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP)

Photo/Images:  Google Image Search.

Dictionary:  Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary – To “ponder”

 

Sizing Up the REAL ESTATE Market – PART ONE

“LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION”  Why Location Matters in Real Estate.

Sizing up the HOUSING MARKET

It is the real estate agents’ mantra: Location, location, location.  You’ve certainly heard the phrase enough and may wonder what inspires agents to say the word three times. In a nutshell, the phrase means that “identical homes can increase or decrease in value due to the LOCATION of the property.  It is repeated three times for emphasis, and the number one RULE in real estate, though it is often the most overlooked.”  [See footnote [i] ].

GOD’S HOUSE is being built and we have a choice to make on whether we want that HOUSE to be established here or somewhere else.  What are the VALUES?

God isn’t obligated to live in what He hasn’t built.

And, we can GUARANTEE God will move in following His plans…We can GUARANTEE His presence in our house if we follow His blueprints.

HOUSE RULES –

This HOUSE must be established and built with the concept of AUTHORITY:

#1.  AUTHORITY is God’s Word.

#2.  AUTHORITY is our conscience.

#3.  AN AUTHORITY figure is delegated authority.

Until we understand AUTHORITY and respond correctly to AUTHORITY this HOUSE is vacant.

HOUSE MANNERS –

We’re not going to see God move into this HOUSE until we begin to operate completely with House Manners.

These MANNERS are the direct opposite of how we have been taught by our culture.

We must LEARN to regard one another in the house after the Spirit rather than after the flesh.  What if your future is wrapped up in someone you DON’T like?

We are to RESPECT one another.

That means we treat each other better than the world says we should.  We settle issues face to face–we don’t sweep them under the rug by avoiding one another.

THE BIBLE gives very clear instructions on how we deal with our brothers and sisters in Christ:  Heb. 10:25; 1 John 4:7; Prov. 17:17; Heb. 13:1; Phil. 1:3 to name just a few.

We RESTORE each other or handle each other with GRACE (‘favor’), knowing that the day will surely come when we too will need Grace extended.

MODEL HOUSE –

We must recognize that we NEED more room, that the present structure will NOT handle a habitation.

HABITATION requires a firm foundation.  There will be no expansion if the house is weak in the WORD, weak in WORSHIP, etc.

A MODEL HOME is furnished and REQUIRES…

  • A bedplace of rest.
  • A table – place of communion.
  • A lamp – illuminate of the WORD.

HIS HOUSE MUST COME FIRST!!

PARADE OF HOMES –

The parade of HOMES must stop.  We must find our assigned house.

There will be times we don’t like the smell of one particularHouse, but we must understand that we are the safest in our assigned house.

Others may laugh at our house, but if we are in our assigned house, we’re connected with FAVOR!

We must BUILD THIS HOUSE and bring attention to and keep our focus on His name!

The Housing Market “Crash”

Before 2009, most of us didn’t recognize there had already been a CRISIS in the Housing Market for the last two decades.  We had been asleep for most of it because for the most part…it didn’t affect us… personally.  I think we’re just now waking up to the fact that something went wrong,

To EXPLAIN, I need to take you to a ‘REAL ESTATE REPORT’ that I found in the Old Testament.  This REPORT demands that we must live our lives differently to get different RESULTS.

This REPORT demands a response!

TEXT:  Haggai 1:2-11 (NIV)

[2]  This is what the LORD Almighty says:  “These people say,  ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.'”  [3] The the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:  [4] “It is a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains in ruin?”  [5] Now this is what the LORD Almighty says:  “Give careful thought to your ways.  [6] You have planted much, but have harvested little.  You eat but never have your fill.  You put on clothes but are not warm,  You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”  [7] This is what the LORD Almighty says:  “Give careful thought to your ways.  [8] Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD.  [9] “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little.  What you brought home, I blew away.  Why?” declares the LORD Almighty.  “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.  [10] Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.  [11] I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”

HAGGAI begins his message by quoting a popular expression of the people, “It’s not the time to build the Temple.”

Though surrounded by the hostile opposition of their neighbors and the lack of financial prosperity, they keep DOING what they’ve always done.

They are so SELFISHLY INDIFFERENT to the LORD that they keep devoting ALL their time, energy and attention to keeping up with the Jones and in so doing…they SURVIVE paycheck to paycheck, become CONTENT in famine, and bed down with drought in the land, never stopping once to consider why they’re in the condition they’re in.

And the Real Estate Market collapses!

HAGGAI painted a vivid picture of their ECONOMIC and SOCIAL distress with the results and repercussions of the FACT that they had left GOD out!

When we leave God out of our own lives, He may still BLESS us with the ‘STUFF’, but we won’t be able to fully enjoy it.

  • You’ll have a DEGREE, but still can’t find a job.
  • You’ll get a RAISE at work, but still, find yourself broke.
  • You’ll buy a HOUSE but can’t afford to eat.
  • You’ll get your CHILD, but that child will wear you out.

Over the years of my life, I’ve found TWO things that are directly proportional to my PRIORITY LIST on giving to the House of God:  HARVEST and LEVEL OF SATISFACTION–the ability to find a stress free life rather than a turmoil-filled life which I’ve found directly related to the place of priority of the things of God has placed in my life.

“Is it then the right time for you to live in luxurious homes when the Temple lies in ruin?”  (verse 4).

HAGGAI points to the REAL ESTATE bust and it devastated the people.

God quits working with and FOR the people and begins to work AGAINST the people.

Maybe you’re thinking it’s BAD LUCK or a downturn…so you’ve been calling on, PRAYING to God.

Well, PRAY all you want!  Cry all you want!  Claim promises all you want, but until you adjust and correct your PRIORITIES…God is working against you!!

But “if God is for us who can be against us?”  BUT if God is AGAINST us who can be for us?

I keep hearing the news that the housing market reports that the people are saying, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.”

We have bought into A LIE.

We have just accepted the idea that we can’t rebuild the HOUSE of the LORD in this generation.  Everyone is too busy, too lazy, too apathetic, it has to be convenient, it can’t be more than 50 minutes, don’t take nights, you can’t have revival in this generation, you can’t find committed people in this day and age, you can’t expect loyalty from this generation,,,AND, I DECLARE THE DEVIL IS A LIAR!

HAGGAI 1:12-14 –

GOD is calling to the Zerubbabel [s] and the Joshua [s] in our churches.

THE CALL IS NOW for God-fearing people to get up, wipe the sleep from your eyes, and shake off the APATHY.

Make Him more important than your job, your house, your vacation, your social status, your comfort, your clothes, and your love life.

ELEVATE HIM AGAIN!

THE CALL GOES OUT for us to find those who are TIRED of living in famine.  Find those who are TIRED of the RAT RACE and the lack of an encounter with the living GOD.  Let’s join forces as God’s people and BUILD HIS HOUSE!

WHY?

Because He is God.

But also because as we do so, He comes back within our midst and DECLARES HIS PROMISES!!

[CONTINUED IN PART TWO:  Sizing Up the Real Estate Market]

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS & FOOTNOTES =

Footnote [i] :  Home Buying – What Location, Location, Location Mean In Real Estate? by Elizabeth Weintraub – Updated January 28, 2017.

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search – Advanced Setting.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV);  Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

Your BREAKTHROUGH Is Here!

BLOG TEXT: MICAH 2

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A SHEEP GATHERING

MICAH’S DECLARATION:

Micah declares to the people of the day that the JUDGE was coming, referring to God!!

And God was angry because of widespread SIN of Idolatry and…covetousness, abuses, lawlessness, among other things.

And this isn’t just referring to the nation’s leaders, but to everyone who had cultivated a heart of acceptance to do evil in the sight of God.

The CULTIVATION Effect –

In Genesis 2:15, Adam’s job in the Garden was to “tend and keep”–or “cultivate and guard” what God had provided.

To CULTIVATE is the effort a farmer makes to ensure that he will produce a bountiful crop.

If a FARMER is lazy, if he fails to cultivate the ground, to do nothing to promote growth, nature will follow its course and the farm begins to degenerate.

If we don’t “guard” our hearts; we get lazy in reading and meditating on the Word of God, spiritual weeds (lies, excuses, rebellious spirit, lawlessness) will crop up and choke out any spiritual growth (fruit) that should be developing.

And in the place of SPIRITUAL FRUIT, we begin to nourish (cultivate) our fleshly heart, and sin gets a hold of our thoughts and we wind up at the wrong destination.

In place of FRUIT, SIN will reign in its place and our heart will begin to degenerate.

Proverbs 4:23-26 begins with this:  “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life”  (v. 23).

Apathy can let down your guard…

We are often guilty of pointing a finger at our nation’s leaders, our elected politicians, while at the same time being somewhat complacent–apathetic– on what’s tolerated by society–  “Hey, I don’t support “X, Y, Z”, but I don’t want to be judgmental. There’s nothing I can do or say, so why bother.”

It might become THE LAW of the land, but as true believers, we don’t have to roll over and play dead–forget who we are in Christ JESUS.

What is about to happen isn’t going to be a pretty sight!

So God declares through the Prophet some pretty heavy things that were going to happen from their neglect, their laziness, for what they were doing to the people and for their sins!!

What ever they had taken, God was going to take from them!!!  This also refers to their impending captivity to Babylon.

The whole scene is not a pretty sight

Then in Chapter 2:12-13, the scene abruptly shifts to the LORD’S restoration–A “BREAKTHROUGH”!

I think we can all agree, before we were born again, our lives were under JUDGMENT because of our SIN!

Romans 3:23:  Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.

If we are honest with ourselves, some of us did some pretty ugly things we’re not proud of.

We can look back and remember, some of us were pretty messed up.  Because of that, our SIN brought the JUDGMENT OF GOD on our lives.

Romans 2:5-6:  [5] “But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  [6] For He will render to every man according to his works.”

Romans 6:23:  “For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Then JESUS came into our lives and changed the course of everything!!!  Whether at the time, we weren’t aware of what just happened to us spiritually.  It still happened!!

RECOGNIZING THE FIVE “R’s” AND MORE!

We were REDEEMED, RECOVERED, RECLAIMED, RELEASED, RESCUED…brought back, purchased, delivered, dis-imprisoned, emancipated, liberated, loosened, set free, SAVED by the Precious Blood of JESUS!!!

1 Peter 1:18-19:

[18] “You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold.  [19] But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”

JESUS is our Savior, our liberator, our salvager, our salvation, THE MESSIAH!!

TRANSITION TO THE BREAKTHROUGH (verse 12):

In the book of MICAH, the people, as well as the leaders of the land, were under THE JUDGMENT of God.

Then, all of a sudden in Verse 12, a transition…a breaking through the Mist of Deception takes place.

BREAKTHROUGH-Sunset-Picture-800x533
THE BREAKTHROUGH IS HERE!

It is kind of like SALVATION–

First, you are not saved, then in a moment, you open up your heart to receive Christ and confess Him as Lord.

In that moment…YOU ARE SAVED!

Here in chapter two of Micah, we have the JUDGMENT OF GOD, and then all of a sudden, there’s RESTORATION to those that have survived (“overcomers”) all the ugliness and had been broken.

BREAKING THROUGH THE SHEEP’S’ GATE–

Micah 2:12-13 (N.L.T.) – RESTORATION:

[12]  “Someday, O Israel, I will gather you; I will gather the remnant who are left.  I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen, like a flock into pasture.  Yes your land will again be filled with noisy crowds!

[13]  Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile, out through the gates of the enemy cities, back to your own land.  Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.”

GOD CAN RESTORE!

God restores, renews, rebuilds, recovers…heals, cures, mends, retouches, refreshes and revives.

He RESTORES LIVES,

He RESTORES HEARTS,

He RESTORES MINDS,

He RESTORES RELATIONSHIPS & FRIENDSHIPS,

He RESTORES FAMILIES & MARRIAGES.

I think we all know and can give many testimonies that GOD is a GOD who RESTORES!

Jesus has the POWER of RESTORATION (verses 12-13)

In the text, there’s a remnant of God’s people spoken of in their land (foretold captivity), but they were broken, wounded, hurt people who were spread out over the land and…the prophet Micah declares to them that God would restore and gather them all together again.

“I will bring them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in the middle of a pasture, they will be so numerous that they will make a lot of noise.”

This is a perfect picture of RESTORATION & HEALING.

The basic understanding here is God wants to restore & heal those who have been BROKEN OR HURT AND WOUNDED!!

As we go to Verse 13, there is something very deep-seated that needs further study.

BREAKTHROUGH!!!

As I studied and meditated on this verse of Scripture, the more I read it, the more powerful it became.  The “Breaker” has come up before them; they have broken up; and…they have passed through the gate and are gone out through it.

It’s like the image I used of the Gathered Sheep in a pen, excited to burst through the narrow gate.

DELIVERANCE!!!

It is a picture of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, sudden and aggressive!  God broke down the gate of their captivity and lead them out of bondage.

It is a picture of deliverance, not conquest.  It’s not just breaking thru a barrier (the obstacle in the way) to get to the other side.  BUT…to BREAKTHROUGH; removing all other obstacles to keep them moving forward…then MOVING FORWARD!!

It’s a picture of being confined, like in prison, and all of a sudden the prison gate was blown open and set the prisoners free!!!

THE OBSTACLE?

And the OBSTACLE which was the gate was removed so they could get out; keep moving forward.

Without getting too heavy here, the basic understanding is God will remove any and all obstacles to get us where we need to be.  It is telling us today that God is the “BREAKER”.  That God is a God of BREAKTHROUGH!!!  He will remove those things that stand in our way of progress.

The Enemy Will Try to Put Obstacles In Our Path…

Satan will try to stop what God wants to do in our lives.  But God the Breaker, the God of Breakthrough, can and will clear a path to overthrow everything that stands in the way that God wants us to accomplish.

I don’t know about your circumstances, but I do know that in my Christian walk with God, when I need a BREAKTHROUGH, He will keep me moving forward.  And He can do the same for you.

We Need Some Breakthroughs Right Now…

#1.  For Our Churches–for souls to be saved and a supernatural move of Holy Spirit to touch the lives of His people.

A BREAKTHROUGH so spirit moved, that it couldn’t be refuted, challenged or denied; you knew, that you knew you were in the Presence of God.

#2.  We need a BREAKTHROUGH of the Holy Spirit Fire!

th_FIRE-1Like the AZUSA STREET REVIVAL.  It began with a meeting on April 9, 1906, led by Wilbur J. Seymour, the one-eyed 34-year-old son of former slaves.  [See Footnote [ii]].

A BREAKTHROUGH so awesome, that men and women would rise up to any occasion and do the work the Lord has called them to do!!

#3.  We need a BREAKTHROUGH in our VISION…

To look further than we’ve ever gone before.  To enlarge, to stretch, to lengthen, to strengthen and not hold back.

A VISION that goes beyond our borders–“Jerusalem” first, then Judea, Samaria…and the World!” (Acts 1:8 – paraphrased). 

This not only applies to the CHURCH as a corporate body, but also as an individual Christian.

You might need A BREAKTHROUGH in your VISION because right now, it’s dull and blurred.

You might need A BREAKTHROUGH so that you can clearly see what God has called you to do.

You might need A BREAKTHROUGH from apathy, indifference, and worst of all…LUKEWARMNESS.

We need a PHYSICAL BREAKTHROUGH!

Some need a FINANCIAL BREAKTHROUGH!

God wants us to know according to the words in Micah,  We don’t have to remain in the sheep pen…in the negative place we’re at, that He can give us BREAKTHROUGH!

God doesn’t want us to stay in captivity to any negative situation we find ourselves in.  He wants to BREAK down the gate and set us free–keep us moving in that direction.

THE GOD OF BREAKTHROUGH –

According to verse 13, God would clear a path for mankind and make a way to Himself.

Thank You Father for Your Son Jesus! 

God makes a way for us to be brought to Himself through His Son Jesus.  Thank God for His wonderful, awesome, amazing grace.

If you are reading this today, right where you are, JESUS wants you to experience A BREAKTHROUGH in your life.

You see SIN has the POWER to hold you captive.

But JESUS has a greater POWER TO SET YOU FREE FROM CAPTIVITY.

He wants to forgive you of all your sins, and come into your heart today.

If you will give Him your old life, He will give you a new one!!!


CREDITS & FOOTNOTES:

Footnote [i] : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azusa-Street-Revival

Photo Credits:  Google Images and computer storage/personal Pictures [“fire”].

Bible Translations Used:  Amplified Bible, except where noted in the Text.

 

JESUS Loving the Unlovable

REVELATION 3:19:

JESUS is talking to a church and saying,

“Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them].  So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude]”  ~ Amplified Bible.

I seldom hear about the CHASTISEMENT OF THE LORD from today’s pulpits.  In fact, I don’t remember ever hearing about God’s discipline for people in the church.  But it is an issue that all Christians should learn about, and sooner or later, most of us will probably discover what it is to be chastened of the Lord.

The Purpose for Chastening is…?  

“The Lord has chastened me sorely, but He has not given me over to death”  (Psalm 118:18).

The PURPOSE is not to destroy but to LEAD to repentance.

“…You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; bring me back, that I may be restored, for You are the Lord my God.  Surely after I was turned [from You], I repented; and after I was instructed, I penitently smote my thigh.  I was ashamed, yes, even confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth [as a nation]”  (Jeremiah 31:18-19).

And to RESTORE God’s blessing.

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct,  O Lord, and teach out of Your law (Word)”  (Psalm 94:12).

I must admit, I’ve never been fond of the idea of spanking–on the receiving end, or the giving end.  Probably because as a kid I received quite a few spankings.  And by the way, hiding under my parents bed to escape punishment never worked [It doesn’t work for God either.].

Mom would have an ever-present tree switch nearby, and would shout to me in my hiding,  “If you don’t come out right now, the punishment will be much worse!”

Looking back now, I recognize that the discipline of my parents was necessary in keeping me out of trouble–and in many cases to spare me from greater pain and suffering.  Of course back in those days, because of my immaturity, that reasoning wouldn’t make sense to a youngster.

Furthermore, I realize now what my parents went through during those years.  I too experienced the same in the raising our three children– the ordeals of correcting–not because my parents dislike us, but because they love us.  I don’t think my children understood that reasoning either while growing up, but its application was the same never-the-less.

That realization reminded me of God’s word in The Letter to the Hebrews– 12:9-11:

[9]    Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live?

[10] For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.

[11] For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. 

God’s Word Exposes the Church’s Hypocrisy…

 “I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold or hot. Would that your were cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing, and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked”  (Revelation 3:15-17).

Though JESUS has just exposed church hypocrisy, and has implied that many are pretending to know Him, yet don’t, His reasons are not because He hates them for falling in such a state but because He deeply loves them; He wants to come into their lives.

He reminds the church that He is impartial, always consistent while confronting and discipline.  That is the way GOD treats everyone He loves when they get off course, and believe me…I have certainly gotten ‘off course’ during my 42 years of Christian Life.

Proverbs 3:11, 12:

My son, do not despise or shrink from the chastising of the Lord  [His correction by punishment or by subjection to suffering or trial]; neither be weary of or impatient about or loathe or abhor His reproof.

For whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

[Other Scripture to meditate on:  Hebrews 12:5-11; Job 5:17; Psalm 39:11; Proverbs 15:10]

JESUS’ Harsh Assessment…Revelation 3:19.

His harsh assessment of this particular church wasn’t for the purpose of driving them away from Him, but rather serve to put them on notice–YOU MUST BE ZEALOUS–they must be “HOT” (verse 16) and “REPENT” [changing your mind and attitude].

God Wants What Is Best For Us–

He wants us to have SPIRITUAL LIFE, not death.  All this language, the language of LOVE;

–  it’s the treatment of LOVE

– it’s LOVE rebuking, chastising, and exhorting.

JESUS wants to see you restored.

For this very reason, He will discipline us who persist in sin; will even deal out correction if we show signs of APATHY or SPIRITUAL INDIFFERENCE.

“Spiritual Indifference”:

Indifference robs a church of its MAXIMUM WORSHIP POTENTIAL-

It shows itself through…

…NEGLECTED ATTENDANCE…PREPARATION…PARTICIPATION…

Enthusiasm to Worship King of kings, Lord of lords, the Almighty living God will be missing (Psalm 122:1).  Violation of God’s Word will rob the brethren and yourself of EDIFICATION in the body of Christ (Hebrews 5:11-12).

Our interest must increase for our worship to be a blessing– “I don’t get anything out of worship.” — Are you putting anything in?!

AGAIN, Revelation 3:19, [The New Living Bible]:

“I continually discipline and punish everyone I love, so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God.”

“I Hear You Knocking…”

Picture of Door by Sarah Langova
Picture of Door by Sarah Langova

Since I’m a product of the 50’s, and  remembering listening to the music of the day on my old Silvertone Radio, the Fats Domino song rang out in my ear.  Although the rest of the lyrics certainly don’t fit the topic, the title certainly does.

“I hear you knocking but you can’t come in”

Revelation 3:20:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and be [will eat] with Me.

JESUS IS THE DOOR! – John 10:7.

Restoration is Made…

What a telling image Jesus gives.  JESUS pictures Himself standing outside the DOOR of the repentive heart.

So often this famous verse is used to invite UNBELIEVERS to accept Jesus into their lives.  And of course, that is the message.  BUT the fact that He needs to ask to be let into the hearts of supposed Christians found in the church of Laodicea is a horrible assessment of their condition.

They, like the unbelievers around them, need to repent and welcome Him to come in and take control of their lives–to RESTORE the relationship they once demonstrated

Proverbs 15:10 says,  “The HEART knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.”

Psalm 39:11:  “When with rebukes You correct and chasten man for sin, You waste his beauty like a moth and what is dear to him consumes away; surely every man is a mere breath.”

Indifference Robs A Church!

Robs it of what?  Of its MAXIMUM WORSHIP  POTENTIAL.

It shows itself through neglected attendance, preparation and participation.  My ENTHUSIASM to worship will be missing (Psalm 122:1):

“I WAS glad when they said to me,  Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Violation of God’s Word will always ROB the brethren and yourself of EDIFICATION: The meaning “edification” in the sense of “being built up, strengthened in one’s faith” [Expository Dictionary of Bible Words].

Our interest must increase for our WORSHIP to be a blessing;

“I don’t get anything out of worship.” — Are you putting anything in?!   [ [i] Referenced].

While Christ is Knocking at Our Door…(3:20)

He is directing some of us to knock at Him; “knock and it shall be opened.”

He will certainly hear our voice and open the door to us.  He will not be DEAF to our voice, nor bar the door, nor keep us standing in the hallway, nor send us empty away.

Christ’s Church When He Comes…

The body (the church) will be found in different circumstances then, as well as now, and with many kinds of knocking; yet in all, it’s the same earnest desire on His part to be let in.  He will not force the door; but still wants to be let in.

Don’t find yourselves repeating the lyrics to a song that was popular in the 50’s: “I hear you knocking, but You can’t come in!” How much you will lose out on!

In His Absence…

—  NO outward prosperity,

—  NO riches,

—  NOR numbers can compensate…

IF HE IS KEPT OUT–all is sadness, and leanness, and poverty.

IF He is admitted, ALL IS WELL…

—  HAPPY is the church where Christ is daily feasting…

—  HAPPY the soul in which He has come to live…and who, is in daily communion by Faith and ENJOY the TASTES the Bridegroom’s LOVE!.

“I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.”

 

 

 

 Reference:  [i]  www.bibleanswer.com/indiffrn.htm

Bible Translation Used: Amplified except where noted.

 

 

The “PERFECT HATE” Point-of-View

Psalm 139:19-22 (AMP):

[19]  If You would [only] slay the wicked, O God, and the men of blood depart from me–

[20]  Who speak against You wickedly, Your enemies who take Your name in vain!

[21]  Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate you?  And am I not grieved and do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

[22]  I hate them with perfect hatred; they have become my enemies. 

To do a study on the theme of PERFECT HATE, I had to ask myself definitive questions before beginning:

1.  WHAT IS “PERFECT HATRED”?

2.  WHO AND WHAT SHOULD WE HATE AS TRUE BELIEVERS OF JESUS?

3.  WHY SHOULD WE HATE?

4.  WHAT IS THE NATURE OF WHOLESOME, PERFECT HATRED?

5.  DO WE HAVE IT?

6.  HOW CAN WE CULTIVATE IT?

IS “HATRED” ONLY FOUND IN THE PSALMIST?

God Himself claims He HATES the wicked:

“The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong”  (Psalm 5:5 NIV).

You might be thinking to yourself, “Yeah, but that OLD TESTAMENT!  How about Scripture from the NEW TESTAMENT?”  If that’s what you’re thinking, let me point to you what God says in The Book of Revelation:

[6] Yet you have this–in your favor and to your credit–you hate the works [the “deeds”] of the Nicolaitans [what they are doing as corrupters of the people], which I Myself also detest (hate).  [15] You also have some who in a similar way are clinging to the teaching of the Nicolaitans [those corrupters of the people], which thing I hate.” ~ Revelation 2:6, 15 AMP.

GOD HATES SIN…the Doctrine promoted by the wicked!

Who are the “wicked” Nicolaitans?  According to Harper’s Bible Dictionary, the Nicolaitans (ni-koh-lay’i-tahns), were a religious sect in Ephesus and Pergamum whose members made it a practice of eating food sacrificed to idols and for sexual license.  In other words, the idea to get across to other church members, was the perpetual...”It’s okay! Things are changing in the world and everybody has accepted these practices as a new standard in society.”  

BUT…does GOD HATE the “doer” of the deeds?  And what does the word HATE actually mean?

THE WORD “HATE”:

The word HATE is a strong word.  In the Greek language, the word is miseo, means to hate, abhor, or to find utterly repulsive.  It describes a person who has a deep-seated animosity, antagonistic to something or someone who he finds to be completely objectionable.  Not only does one loathe that object, but rejects it entirely.  This isn’t a case of DISLIKE; it’s a case of actual hatred.

“If GOD Hates something…then so do I” –

“Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow”  (James 1:17 NAS).

GOD also commands us to HATE the sinfulness of this world”:

“[Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality”  (Jude 23 AMP).

EVERY TRACE of wickedness of this world should be an abomination to us.

WE ARE TO HATE…YET WE ARE TO HAVE A DEEP-SEATED LOVE:

“God So LOVED the World that…”

Does our sense of WRONG proceed from LOVE?  Does our disapproval of any evil express LOVE?  Is there a HATRED that we should avoid as Christians?

8432828-opened-magic-book-with-magic-lightLets go to the WORD of GOD for some answers:

Anyone who hates (abominate, detests) his brother [in Christ] is [at heart] a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding (persevering) within him  (1 John 3:15 AMP).

Works or doings of the flesh (human nature without God), found in Galatians 5:19-21,  are not only listed by the apostle but he point-blank mentions “those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (verse 21).

THERE IS “RIGHTEOUS LOVE”/”WICKED LOVE”:

We all know that bible verse found in John 3:16.  But does our sense of WRONG proceed from LOVE?  Does our disapproval of any evil express our inward LOVE?

The Perfect UNVALENTINE:

LOVE or HATRED Displayed
LOVE or HATRED Displayed

I can remember when I was in elementary school many years ago on Valentine’s Day, we were to exchange Valentine cards to every fellow student.  My mom would sit down with me at the kitchen table and asked me to decide which cards would go to each individual.

Now it became evident, that the heart cards…the ones that said “I LOVE YOU” would go to special individuals.  Okay, special girls in my classroom.  But when it came to certain individuals, my feelings were much different.  I would ask my mom, “Do I have to give them a Valentine’s card?  Can’t I just give a UN VALENTINE’s card?”  My mother’s explanation to a child, who based their entire life on feelings, good or bad, like or dislike, that everyone would receive a VALENTINE CARD!  There wasn’t such a thing as a UNVALENTINE CARD, so I went along with mom’s suggestion–love it or hate it!

“Love for God and Righteousness is godly, Love for the World is Ungodly” (Tim Hayes)–

“Do not LOVE or CHERISH the world or the things that are in the world.  If anyone LOVES THE WORLD, love for the Father is not in him”  (1 John 2:15).

“O you who LOVE the Lord, HATE evil; He preserves the lives of His saints (the children of God), He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked”  (Psalm 97:10).

“The reverent fear and worshipful awe of the Lord [includes] the HATRED of evil…”  (Proverbs *:13).

“The opposite then of LOVE is not HATE…the opposite of both HATE and LOVE is APATHY”  (Tim Hayes)–

“Caring intensely is both LOVE & HATE; the opposite of caring intensely is not caring at all”… and can be an apathetic heart.

GOD HATES THE NATURE OF SINNERS: 

God hates the nature of sinners because He cares about the obedience and the holiness on His creation.  He HATES the way they respond to the world; the very fabric of what they do, why they do it, and how they think.

The HEART ISSUE Comes Into play…

A SELFISH and WICKED HEART hates a man–seeks to destroy him in deed or with words.  Whereas a RIGHTEOUS HEART hates and man seeks his welfare.

What makes HATRED right or wrong is the heart that it springs from, not the hatred or love in and of itself.

THINGS WE SHOULD HATE WITH “Perfect Hate”:

I’m not going to look at what man says “perfect hatred” is or isn’t.  I’m going to search out then answers from God’s Word…the truth of the matter in what we should HATE:

Psalm 101:3 – “I will set no base or wicked thing before my eyes.  I hate the work of them who turn aside [from the right path]; it shall not grasp hold of me.”

Psalm 119:113 – I hate the thoughts of undecided [in religion], double-minded people, but Your law do I love.”

Psalm 119:163 – I hate and abhor falsehood, but Your law do I love.”

Psalm 139:21 – “Do I not hate them O Lord, who hate You?  And am I not grieved and do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

1.  LOVE others by sincerely seeking their welfare…as you LOVE, you HATE.

2.  HATE everything about the wicked…that comprises them, makes them tick, counting them your enemies while hating even the garment spotted by the flesh (Jude 23).

3.  SEEK NOT the lukewarm, “the middle ground” of sinfulness, for that is APATHY.  For GOD will spew (“throw-up”) you out (Revelation 3:16).

4.  RETURN to your FIRST LOVE…and your PERFECT HATRED, as Jesus speaks to the Church at Ephesus:

Revelation 2:4-6 Amplified Bible–

BUT I have this [one charge to make] against you; that you have left (abandoned) the LOVE that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].  REMEMBER then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove you lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.  Yet you have this [in your favor and to your credit]: you HATE the WORKS of the Nicolaitans [what they are doing as corrupters of the people], which I Myself detest.

Does Our HATRED Correspond from Our Hearts?

If we HATE without the LOVE grounded in our hearts, then it can’t be “perfect hate”.  

Our response to the HATE ISSUE in our theology, should underly God’s PERFECT HATE.  It should rest on two specific qualities:

1.  HOLINESS.

2.  JUSTICE.

So you and I…and all humanity, may choose to follow in God’s standards; hating anything that hates our Lord and Savior or His standards, set down in His Word–Scripture.

Our response?

As God’s children, we need to mirror our Father’s attitudes toward evil and evil doers (Psalm 26:5), idolaters (Psalm 31:6), the “false way” (Psalm 119:104), falsehood…double-minded people (Psalm 119:113).

Our prayer, when in doubt of showing HATRED in our life–“Is it really PERFECT HATE?”– should be as the psalmist:

Psalm 139:23, 24:

“Search me [throughly], O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there is any wicked or hurtful [*uncaring] way in me in the way everlasting.”  – *(my word).

 

The God Who Made the World Wants to be Known

THE TEXT:  Acts 17:24-31 (NIV). [24] “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  [25] And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.  [26] From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  [27] God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.  [28] For in Him we live and move and have our being.  As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’  [29] Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by man’s design or skill.  [30] In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.  [31] For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed.  He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” How Can GOD Become Known? 4183279204_f5cd4d9110His creation is but one way.  The starry universe, planet Earth, plant and animal life, birds and bees, the human body, the birth of a baby:  ALL OF THESE AND MORE…speak loudly and clearly that GOD exist and is the Great Creator! If it takes someone to build a simple dog house [The “Big Bang Theory” didn’t build it], then to look around you–to see the starry, starry nights, it couldn’t have just happened… not without a Creator GOD! But there are other ways GOD reveals Himself to mankind.  Someone said:  “It is illegal to read the Bible in the public schools of Illinois, but a law that requires the state to provide a Bible for every convict!” So don’t worry, kids, if you can’t read the Bible in school, you’ll be able to when you get to prison! We Believe in the Book! The Book I’m referring to is the BIBLE–the Word of God. GOD’s Word not only reveals who GOD is, but also motivates us to live for Him!  My studying, my detective work in Scripture daily, is what makes my day!  His Word, by the Holy Spirit, inspires me to write this blog: The WORD Detective.  It brings joy to my heart which in turn makes me want to SERVE the Lord.  I WONDER WHY? GOD is constantly revealing Himself through His creation, through His Word, and in all kinds of ways:  music, giving, kindness, all through people!  And He does this for one main purpose:  HE WANTS ALL PEOPLE TO BE SAVED IN JESUS! THE GOD WHO MADE THE WORLD NO LONGER OVERLOOKS IGNORANCE: “Such [former] ages of ignorance God, it is true, ignored and allowed to pass unnoticed; but now He charges all people everywhere to repent (to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence to their past sins).    Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead”  (Acts 17:30, 31 AMP). WOW!  Pick out some specific words in the verses as I did: “but now…all people everywhere”; “repent”; a “fixed day” ahead; Jesus will “judge righteously”; God has given and made plain for all to see, “credible evidence” and “conviction,” “assurance” because of the risen Savior.  See if you can see some words that might influence others. “We’re Not Stupid, you know”– My wife and I were visiting my mom in a rest home in Georgetown, Texas five years ago.  Mom had Alzheimer’s disease, and dad couldn’t take care of her the way he wanted.  We were waiting in the lobby for dad, to take him out for dinner, when my wife noticed there was a group of people playing Bingo in the dining hall.  She took a stance behind an elderly lady seated at a small table, when a number was called out:  “N-3, N-3”.  Dianne leaned over the lady’s shoulder and said softly,  “I believe you have that number on your card,”  pointing to the place on the Bingo Card.  The lady looked my wife right in the eye, and at that point, instead of saying “Thank you”, she loudly exclaimed,  “I’m not STUPID, you know!” Walter Heller, a leading American economist of the 1960s, an influential advisor to President Kennedy said one time: “While I was speaking to the Denver Independent Banker’s Association, one of the bankers suddenly hollered out, ‘You’re stupid!’  Well, that may be true, but you don’t like it publicly acknowledged.  Five minutes later, I tried to keep my composure when he said the same thing.  I noticed a slight slur in his voice.  So I was ready for him the third time when he said, ‘You’re stupid!’  I retorted, ‘Yes, and you’re drunk!’  He replied, ‘Yes, but tomorrow I will be sober and you will still be stupid.’ I believe that many Americans aren’t to bright.  How can a person living in America the Beautiful, not believe in JESUS– where there are so many churches and so much preaching of Christ on TV? There is a point, when God will no longer overlook ignorance.  It’s beyond me how anyone living in this country and most parts of the world, where anyone could say, “WHO’S JESUS?” Ignorance and Apathy–What is the difference?  I don’t know and I don’t care. Many people don’t know about JESUS and don’t care to know about JESUS.  BUT THERE IS A TIME WHEN GOD WILL NO LONGER OVERLOOK IGNORANCE AND INDIFFERENCE.  And I think, we’re living in that time! “NOW IS THE TIME!” Right now, in the communities we are living in, now is the time for people to believe in JESUS and become a follower of His.  A time for people to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Matthew 7:21: “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.” Are we GUILTY of not doing as JESUS tell us to do recorded in Scripture?  That is a rhetorical question.  We are ALL GUILTY.  It’s relatively easy to say, “I believe in Jesus,” but it could be a different matter when it comes down to the “doing it”; what we know He wants us to do. YES, It’s Time! It is time people quit playing IGNORANT.  I’m confident in saying that many people in America believe in JESUS but…they just don’t want to commit to Him in any form.  Probably because they’re having too much fun right now where they are in life.  They may fear, by making a public confession of faith in JESUS …the FUN MAY END!  But that’s when the real fun begins! THE GIVEN PROOF--(verse 31): “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he raised him from the dead”  (KJV). GOD’S WORK CONFIRMS HIS WORD:  What Word? In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. GOD CONFIRMS HIS WORD WITH ANOTHER PROOF:  What’s that?  Why are we here today? Further Evidence– It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ that PROVES… the God who made the world we live in today.  One writer put it this way:  JESUS predicted His own resurrection; the Old Testament prophesied it; the tomb was empty; the grave-clothes were vacant; many people saw the resurrected Christ–looked on His face; touched Him, heard His voice, saw Him eat. The disciples lives were changed forever, as my life was changed forever when I became “born-gain” in 1972.  The RESURRECTION was the central message of the early church and still is today!. Men and women today are testifying to the risen power of Christ (or should be), that transformed their lives.  I love Old Hymns as some of you faithful readers of my blog know.  I use the lyrics of the music to illustrate a Biblical truth (you can add the tune in your own heads). Alfred Ackley wrote a song with a practical example of how God wants to be made known in the ‘right now!’:

He Lives

I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;

I know that He is living, whatever men may say;

I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,

And just the time I need Him  He’s always near.

He live, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!

He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.

He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives?

He lives within my heart.

“Why is it thought incredible, by any of you, that God raises the dead?”  (Acts 26:8):

3231335447_3cabb27f65

If God, who made the world, who flung the stars into the sky, who made planet earth keeping everything together, He can make you and me...why should anyone think it’s incredible that He could raise JESUS from the dead?

photo7

The GOD who made the world, does raise the dead; He raised JESUS and He will raise us from the dead while giving us eternal life through our faith.

The EMPTY Tomb
The EMPTY Tomb

BELIEVE IT… STAND ON IT…TRUST IT!

Believe  it with ALL your heart.

PREACH IT…TELL IT…LIVE IT!

IT’S TRUE!

The GOD who made this world wants to be made known.  He no longer overlooks our ignorance and has PROVED HIMSELF CONVINCINGLY.  Now is the time, if you haven’t already made the decision to follow Him.  For a time is coming…and then, it will be too late to repent.