And I Saw God’s Glory!

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  Isaiah 6:1-3 (NIV)

[1]  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

[2]  Above him were seraphim, each with six wings:  With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.

[3]  And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

It’s difficult to know when reading passages of Scripture in the Bible whether God’s GLORY refers to His actual glory or to human recognition of it.  This is true, for example, when Scripture speaks of the earth being full of the GLORY of the Lord.

In Isaiah 6, we see the call and commissioning of Isaiah, the prophet.

We don’t know for sure, but we assume that Isaiah was in the earthly temple.  However, the temple described in verse 1 is the Heavenly Temple.

In the year King Uzziah died it may be like saying the year Pearl Harbor was bombed, in the year JFK was shot, or in the year the Bomb was dropped.  This was a time in the nation of crisis and change that the prophet came face to face with the King of Kings.

HOLINESS tells us that Jesus is the exact representation or image of God.  What many have lost is the holiness of God.  God has become “the man upstairs”, or “the God next door”.  Max Lucado said it well:  “Immanuel, God with us.”

In Jesus Christ, God came near.  Something of the awesomeness and greatness– His GLORY has been forgotten.  The church culture has so allowed the culture around us to shape the way we do things.  The customer satisfaction mentality has invaded our churches we have to be sure not to offend anyone– WORSHIP is all about them.

Here in Isaiah, we see that WORSHIP is all about God.

When we see and sing the words on the Big Screen in church or out of a hymn book, we need to remember the songs are all about Him.  When you read History in the Bible, you need to remember, it’s His story.  What Isaiah got was probably more than he bargained for in a worship service.

God’s High Position (6:1) – Beholding His Glory

[1]  IN THE year that King Uzziah died, [in a vision] I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the skirts of His train filled the [most holy part of the] temple.  [John 12:41]  (Amplified Bible).

Isaiah was reminded that God is sovereign.  When God showed up, Isaiah saw God high and lifted up.  He saw God in His greatness and holiness.  With everything that was happening, God was in complete control while sitting on His throne in heaven.

Here in Isaiah 6:1, looking at several different Bible translations, you can see Lord spelled in all caps–i.e., LORD; and others, Lord.  I just had to dig deeper here.

LORD (all caps or small caps) reflects the original term “YHWH”, while Lord (standard capitalization) is the English rendition of the Hebrew Adonai, meaning “to be”; “the Lord God Almighty, the sovereign or supreme one.”  It suggests that God simply is i.e., He possesses an underived existence; He is the eternal “I AM”.  This name became a special designation–emphasized in God’s relations ship to the nation of Israel.  [“LORD and Lord – What’s the Difference? by The Christian Courier] 

John 12:37-40 clearly tells us that Isaiah was seeing Jesus on the throne!

Isaiah saw God on the throne with His hand on the throttle in complete control.

  • When it says DISEASE–God is on the throne!
  • When the boss says you’re FIRED–God is on the throne!
  • When our children DISOBEY–God is on the throne!

Isaiah saw God high and lifted up, but he also heard the Seraphim cry “Holy, Holy, Holy”

THE HOLINESS OF GOD

The Holiness of God is, His being in a class by Himself with His perfection and greatness and worth.  All His perfection and greatness and worth are distinct and separate–we’ve been taught that HOLY means separate–His in a class by Himself.

HIS HOLINESS IS WHAT HE IS AS GOD THAT NOBODY ELSE IS –

His quality of perfection can’t be improved upon, can’t be imitated, and that determines that He is all of that and nothing is determined from outside Him.

Now when Isaiah 6:3 says that angels are crying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty”–the next thing they say is this:  “The whole earth is full of His”…and you might think “holiness” would be the next word.

But he doesn’t say holiness, he says GLORY!

Essentially, “holy”, essentially holy, and the whole earth is full of His GLORY.

I stab a definition here by saying the GLORY OF GOD is the manifest beauty of His holiness.  It’s the going public of His Holiness.  It’s the way He puts His holiness on display for people to apprehend.

Read the words from Leviticus 10:3:  God says He will be shown to be HOLY among those who are near Him and before all the people He will be honored.

I will be shown to be holy,” He says.  “And among ALL the people” — say it another way–“I will be glorified.”

The Worship Connection of His Holiness and Glory –

What on earth does all this have to do with our worship?

EVERYTHING!!!

If you divorce or separate God’s holiness from worship, all you have is entertainment.  Why start on time, why do things in order, why not distract others during the song service and preaching?  Because we should be focusing on the greatness of God!!!

WHY THE CROSS?

The cross was ultimately the result of God’s Holiness.  Sinful man can’t stand in the presence of a Holy God.  God took care of the ‘sin problem.’

2 Corinthians 5:21 (AMP)

[21]  For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

This God that’s HOLY and separate is the God we need to see in our worship–in our everyday living.

Isaiah’s Posture of Humility in God’s Glory and Holiness –

“Woe to me!  I am ruined and undone…”  (6:5)

To Isaiah’s peers, he was upright. a righteous man, a man of unmatched integrity.  AND then just one glimpse of God’s greatness changed his whole self-perception.

It took God to reveal his guilt, it took a picture of deity to reveal Isaiah’s filthiness–his sin.

Have you ever seen God in such a way that revealed who you really are?

Have you ever recognized that you are a sinner that’s separated from God without hope?

That’s what the VISION did for Isaiah.  It revealed reality to him–God sees us as we are, where we are in life right now!  He sees your heart!!

What happened when Isaiah saw this VISION of God?

CONVICTION –

“Woe is me!  I am undone and ruined.”

The Hebrew word for “undone”:  to come apart at the seams.  Isaiah was totally exposed for who he was before a holy God.

CONFESSION –

A vision of the holiness of God that brings true conviction of sin is always followed by the confession of sin.

I love Billy Ricks’ slant of this fact:  “Regardless of excuses, sin is a prison from which you can never be freed until you admit it’s your own fault that you were thrown in the slammer.”

CLEANSING –

Because Isaiah came clean he was made clean.  The cleansing power of God went to work on Isaiah’s behalf.

God is HOLY and also merciful.  When we confess our sins to Him, God goes to work.  He cleanses us with the Blood of Jesus (1 John 1:9).

What is the big deal about WORSHIP in Christian America today?

To me, it’s about seeing God in all of His manifested GLORY.  Let me break that down just a bit.  When someone says, “Look at the wind blowing outside,” and when you peer out the window you can’t actually see the wind.  What you see is the effect that the wind has on the objects it’s blowing on–the trees, a flag, a hat blown off one’s head.  So when God breathes, you can’t visibly see His breath, but you can see His GLORY manifested in your surroundings.  Just look around you!

In seeing God for who He is we can see ourselves as we truly are.  The church culture of today has so allowed the culture around us shape the way we do things.  The customer satisfaction mentality has infiltrated our churches.

Here is a heavenly worship service where Isaiah saw a fresh vision of God.  From this vision of God’s HOLINESS, Isaiah was inspired to pen words like Isaiah 40:8.

What churches and Christians in America desperately need is a fresh vision of God’s holiness and His Glory.  We don’t need a new revelation because all that God is and has for us is revealed in Christ Jesus.

We give God the GLORY!!!

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CREDITS

Commentary:  John Piper’s “What Is God’s Glory” at desiringGod.org.

Music Video:  “I SAW THE LORD” by Dallas Holmes – YouTube.

Images:  Google Image search.

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

Having A DEAF, DUMB, and BLIND FAITH

“Not another message about faith?”  YES!  And during the Christmas season, especially.

FAITH definition:  “Faith is not believing that God can; it’s knowing that He will.”

Application:  Walking by faith is being prepared to trust where we are not permitted to see.  FAITH allows God to do for us and with us what we could never do alone.

This Bible study in Luke, chapter 7,  begins with a Roman soldier’s faith and takes us inside TRUE FAITH showing how and what faith does in lives.

FAITH is deaf to doubt, dumb to discouragements, blind to impossibilities and knows nothing but success in God.

Scripture study:  Luke 7:1-10

At Christmas time, especially, faith is the highpoint from the event that happened so long ago in the small town of Bethlehem.  In this story, we find a Roman centurion who, though he was a Gentile, understood who Christ was and is.  And although this story of a “Centurion” is ancient history to us today, it would have been of special interest to Theophilus, a Gentile to whom this account is addressed (Luke 1:3).

The story is a significant one being this was a Gentile who exercised this faith that even Jesus would remark that this man’s FAITH was amazing.

Only twice in all of Scripture Jesus said to “marvel” or be amazed.  The other time was when He began His public ministry in His hometown of Nazareth and He was rejected by His fellow Jews–(Mark 6:6; Luke 4:14-30)  “He marveled (“was amazed’) by their lack of faith.”

The Centurion had a FAITH that was more knowing and sensitive than anything Jesus had witnessed in Israel.

What could be more horrible than to amaze the Son of God by one’s lack of faith?  What could be more thrilling than to amaze Him by one’s faith?  This centurion had amazing faith!

“Why was Jesus so amazed?”  A question I had to investigate.

WHAT ARE CHARACTERISTIC MAKES THIS MAN’S FAITH SO AMAZING?

Luke 7:1-2 (AMP)

[1]  AFTER JESUS had finished all that He had to say in the hearing of the people [on the mountain], He entered Capernaum.  [2]  Now a centurion had a bondservant who was held in honor and highly valued by him, who was sick at the point of death.

This man had an amazing faith that caused him to love across all barriers.

Jesus had just completed the teaching known to us as “The Sermon on the Mount.”  He now enters Capernaum, a city on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.

While Jesus is in Capernaum, He is approached by representatives of the Roman Centurion.  Centurions were commonplace during the Roman Empire and equivalent in rank to a modern-day army captain, normally in command of 1000 soldiers.

This particular centurion had a servant who was ill.  Matthew (8:6),  in his account of this incident, says, “a servant boy.”   Whoever this young man was, Luke, who was a doctor, said he “was sick and ready to die.”

If you’ve ever clung to a loved one at death’s door and felt they were slowly losing the battle, you must know this centurion’s awful sense of helplessness.

We are told that this man loved Israel, though it was not the land of his birth.

It’s also obvious in reading that this man cared deeply about his young servant which is very out of the ordinary socially and the crossing of racial and ethnic barriers when as a Gentile, he appealed to a Jew for help.

This man loved people not just like himself.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel particularly effective in loving folks who live outside the social barriers around me (eg. “skid row”, the homeless in tents on the city sidewalks…).

The second characteristic I noted of an Amazing Faith was that it caused this man to be excited and active in the work of God around him.  (vv. 3-4)

 

We need to understand that the Jewish elders had little love for the Romans in general and Roman soldiers in particular.  This Roman officer must have been a very unique individual for the elders to be willing to approach Jesus on his behalf.

The elders not only bring the man’s request but they vouch for their Gentile friend.  They argue that he’s a man of integrity he’s well-liked by the Jews, and worthy of Jesus’ help.

Verse 3 says,  “The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to Him, asking Him to come and heal his servant.  [4] When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with Him, This man deserves to have you do this [5] because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”

This man had given substantially to the building of a house of worship.  Gentile worshipers were barred from the Temple in Jerusalem but not so much with synagogues in the outlying areas.  The synagogue was a place that even Gentiles could come and listen to the word of God being taught.

So in that time and place, this centurion lived the major way that God was using to spread His light within the synagogue system, using his money, his reputation, and influence to build the synagogue.  The centurion consciously chose to participate enthusiastically by involving himself in what was most apparent in what God was doing.

In stark contrast, according to George Barna, a church statistician, adults who regularly attend church, 37% didn’t give a dime to a church in the last year [George Barna, How to Increase Giving in Your Church (Regal Books) p.20].

In this man’s marvelous faith, it caused him to approach Christ in great HUMILITY (vv. 6-7).

This passage reveals two essential components of the Christian FAITH–an understanding of who Christ is and an understanding of who we are in Christ Jesus.

Not only did this man display great love, but also his great humility.

In verse six we find,  “So Jesus went with him to his house.  He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to Him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.  [7] That s why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you…”

Before Jesus could reach his house, the Centurion sent a second representative to Jesus, to tell Him that it wasn’t necessary for Him to come to his house.  All because he was familiar with Jewish religious customs, he didn’t wish to put Jesus in a position of having to enter the home of a Gentile.

This Roman soldier, a man of considerable influence and power, was also uniquely HUMBLE and regarded himself as undeserving of having Jesus come under his roof, even felt unworthy of meeting Jesus in the street.

This soldier, unlike the Pharisees, doesn’t ask Jesus for a sign that he was who He said, he was.  This man doesn’t even ask to meet Him.

The third characteristic of this man’s remarkable faith might be summed up in this song–his willingness to trust Christ alone even before the Cross.

How much more do we have today but to TRUST in Christ alone?

Verses 7b-8 (NIV) –  [7b]  “But say the word, and my servant will be healed.  [8] For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.  I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes.  I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 

The centurion apparently realized the One who had the power of life and death; that could heal with a word, must be God incarnate.  And if Christ is divine, then he, as a Gentile sinner, must be unworthy to even meet Him.

All Jesus must do is say the word, and he believes that it is as good as done!

There’s no evidence that I could find in Scripture that this man ever personally heard Jesus preach, and yet he believed.  He made his request known based on what he heard of Jesus.

In verse 8, the word “myself,”–“also,” in other translations–we see that the officer saw a parallel between the way he commanded his soldiers with the way Jesus commanded diseases.

If this Roman, with very little spiritual instruction, had that kind of FAITH in God’s word, how much greater our FAITH should be!

In VERSE 9, we see the reaction of Jesus:

[9]  Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and He turned and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I tell you, not even in [all] Israel have I found such great faith [as this].”  (AMP)

This man’s remarks amaze Jesus, so much so, that they came from a Gentile.  He marveled at a Roman centurion, whose background and circumstances ought to have made it difficult for him to have faith, a man whose occupation prized being big, bad and tough, a man steeped in paganism, a man hated by the Jews because he was Roman.

Yet in spite of all the circumstances that went against him, here stood a man who was a perfect example of FAITH.

Almost as an afterthought, Luke adds verse ten,  “And when the messengers who had been sent returned to the house, they found the bondservant who had been ill quite well again.”  (AMP)

So how often have you displayed such faith?

We will never be perfect in our faith but we can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to enables us to incorporate the elements into our lives.

Back to the question:  HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU DISPLAYED SUCH FAITH?  If you’re like me, not very often.  And that’s a sin.  Because it’s God’s will that we all have amazing faith.  But all too often in our ‘business,’ we get so wrapped up in ourselves, we don’t show true care and concern for others.  Remember, true faith is “active”–not sitting around the fireplace talking about the unfortunate.  What startled and impressed Jesus were the characteristics that anyone like you and me can have in our lives.  Some think that “amazing faith,” is the ability to do the miraculous.  But miracles are something that Jesus can do anytime.

This Bible study in Luke should bring the understanding there are today those whose lives that would impress Jesus, because of their faithful godly lives.

The characteristics of a marvelous, amazing, faith!

  1. IT CAUSED THIS MAN TO LOVE ACROSS BARRIERS.
  2. IT CAUSED THIS MAN TO BE EXCITED AND ACTIVE IN THE WORK OF GOD.
  3. IT CAUSED THIS MAN TO APPROACH CHRIST IN GREAT HUMILITY.
  4. IT CAUSED THIS MAN TO BE WILLING TO TRUST IN CHRIST ALONE.

Through the POWER of God’s Word, and through our Savior Jesus, we can be people of amazing faith–someone whose FAITH is unselfish, unassuming, and unwavering, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves.  AMEN.

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CREDITS

Music Video:  YouTube video, In Christ Alone – Brian Littrell

Photo Images:  Google Image search

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

Various Commentary on Luke 7:1-10:  Sermon Central

JUDGMENT is Good! (Last in the series)

Micah 6-7

Corruption, it seems, is alive and well.  We hear stories of bribery in other parts of the world all the time–India, China, and Russia, typically repeat offenders–but it’s not something we expect to find here in the United States,  We’re better than that, right?  I’d like to think so, but that doesn’t stop people from making stupid decisions,  When people make stupid decisions, and over a lifetime of 76 years, I’ve made plenty–they have to face the consequences.

Nowadays, that typically means a trial in a courtroom, but in Bible times it meant something more harsh, like maybe fire and brimstone?

Usually, yes; that is unless you count the time that God brought Israel to court for immorality in the Book of Micah.

Let’s look now at the last two chapters in Micah.

Micah 6:1-8

These 8 verses read like a courtroom drama:  “Law and Order: Jerusalem Crimes”.

THE SCENE IS SET –

I can just hear a lawyer yelling this now–“God is demanding that the people explain their actions.”

At this point, the Israelites were extremely corrupt.

A REVIEW OF MICAH –

Chapter 2:8-9  (NIV)

[8] Lately my people have risen up like an enemy.  You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without care, like men returning from battle.

[9] You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes.  You take away my blessing from their children forever.

Chapter 3, God calls out the leadership specifically:  verses 1-3

In chapter 7, God lists more specifics!  verses 2-3

[2] The faithful have been swept from the land; no one upright person remains.  Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets.

[3]  Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire–they all conspire together.

So in Micah 6:1-8, the prosecution starts by asking the mountains and hills to listen.  They are the JURY!

[1]  “Hear now what the Lord says:  Arise, contend and plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.  [2] Hear, O mountains, the Lord’s controversy, and you strong and enduring foundations…”

The book of Luke in the Bible says that if we’re all silent the rock themselves will cry out in praise–so I don’t think it’s a reach that they could serve as a jury if asked by their Creator.

He then begins to list off what he has done, when it says in verse 5, God wants to make sure that the Israelites “know the righteous and saving acts of the Lord” (AMP).

What comes next is such a human action!  The people want to jump to the extreme!

They got from not listening to God’s Word at all to wanting to go overboard with burnt offerings, thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of olive oil and their first-born child (vs. 7)?

Really?  That’s a bit dramatic, don’t you think?  But this is how they thought!  They were like the criminal when, overcome with guilt, tells the cops to throw him in jail, and let him starve to death in a dark pit because he did something wrong.  And in my opinion, the Israelites deserved every one of those things.

They disrespected the creator of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  God would be well within His rights to simply point His finger and ZAP THEM with lightning bolts, or rain down fire and brimstone.

But He doesn’t.

In verse 8, God tells them what He wants:  That’s it!

Micah 6:8 (AMP)

“…to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God”

God doesn’t care about these huge outward displays of guilt.

He’s God!

He knows how you’re feeling, and whether your guilt is legit or not!

All He wants is for you to follow Him in all of His ways.  That’s the very definition of MERCY.

Going back to the courtroom for a moment…

This would be like the district attorney telling the judge, “We’ll drop all charges so long as the defendant comes back to us and does the right thing.”

What if in the military trials, with suspected terrorists, ended like that?  “Your honor, let this terrorist go free, so long as he promises not to do it again.”  That would never happen, right?

But God’s MERCY is so much greater than ours that we can’t really understand how far it really goes.

God promises that Israel will rise again!

That’s right–after all this, after the courtroom, the lawyers and the jury, God says, “It’s OK!  I’ll continue to bless you, and this is how.”

Micah 7:11-12 (NIV)

[11]  The day for building your walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries.

[12]  In that day people will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, even from Egypt to the Euphrates and from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.

So what does this mean for us today?  It means if you sin, if you do anything to disrespect God, to anger God, He doesn’t expect you to flip a little switch and become a SuperChristian to make up for it!

All God wants is for you to follow Him–the rest of it will take care of itself if you do that.

When you do sin–and let’s face it, it will happen–don’t wallow in self-pity and make absurd promises to God that you know you can’t keep.

Just be honest with God–admit you’ve sinned–and go back to following Him.

THAT’S ALL HE WANTS!

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CREDITS –

Credit:  Law and Order (1990-1991) Theme – Youtube video

Images/Photos:  Google Image Search – settings, advance search.

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

 

 

 

Getting Too Big For Your Britches

The origin of my title, ‘Too big for your breeches’ or ‘too big for your britches’, is an American phrase, and one I heard growing up during the “instructional” moments as a young boy.

If you are unfamiliar with the metaphor, here is one meaning of the phrase:

“Conceited; having too high opinion of oneself.”  [The New Roget’s Thesaurus]

It is first found in print in An Account of Col. Crockett’s Tour to the North and Down East, 1835, written by Davy Crockett:

davy_crockett_by_william_henry_huddle_1889

“I myself was one of the first to fire a gun under Andrew Jackson.  I helped to give him all his glory.  But I liked him well once; but when a man gets too big for his breeches, I say goodbye.”

THIS BLOG’S SCRIPTURE VERSES:  Jeremiah 45:4-5  New Living Translation (NLT)

[4]  “Baruch, this is what the LORD says:  ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted.

[5]  ‘ Are you seeking great things for yourself?  Don’t do it!  I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go.  I, the LORD, have spoken.”

This message from God was given by Jeremiah to Baruch in a time of great personal discouragement in the scribe’s life.

WHO WAS BARUCH?

baruch-serving-jeremiah-320x400According to Josephus, Baruch was a Jewish aristocrat, a son of Neriah, brother of Seraiah ben Neriah, and chamberlain of king Zedekiah of Judah.

Baruch became the scribe of the prophet Jeremiah and wrote down the first and second editions of his prophecies as they were dictated to him.  [ See Jeremiah 36:2, 32 ] – [See footnote [i] ]

Because of his background and current position to God’s prophet, it seems that his own personal aspirations had not been fulfilled.

Boy, I’ve been there before!

His DESIRE to seek great things for himself had met without success, leaving him dejected; passed over for promotion:

Jeremiah 45:3 (AMP):

“Woe is me now! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and sighing and I find no rest.”

It’s at this point that, through Jeremiah, God asks Baruch a soul-searching question:

V. 5:  “And you should seek great things for yourself?”  Seek them not!”

God’s WORD to Baruch is a strong message and play’s a role familiar in normal human life today, and yes, even in our churches–that, of having to take second place, having to play second fiddle to an already established assembly.

Considering all that Baruch was doing to make Jeremiah’s prophecies permanent by recording them for posterity, it’s not surprising that he seems to have expected to share at least some of the prophet’s rewards.

When realization set in, Baruch couldn’t hide his frustration, slipping into despair, “groaning and sighing”–whining all along, as he wrote down Jeremiah’s words from God.

Have you ever found yourself muttering while in service for God?  “GUILTY!”

Many people today, who profess FAITH in Jesus Christ, have been caught up in the COVETOUS spirit of the world in the “more for ME” or “great things for ME” philosophy.

The Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:10):

“Oh, that You would bless ME and enlarge MY border, and that Your hand might be with ME, and You would keep ME from evil so it might not hurt ME!”

Though God granted Jabez his request, his prayer was not a petition in behalf of anyone but himself.  No thought for anyone but himself!

Oh, how it would be good today for Christians to consider God’s admonition to Baruch “…seek not”.

Somehow, some way, we’ve lost sight of the motto “God first…Others second…Self last!”

Living in the last days…

This just might be my opinion, but in these last days, we should all strive, as children of God, to live on a plane much higher than our own selfish ambition.  In this materialistic generation, the tendency is to put both the youth and adults into slavery.

The Apostle Paul’s reproach in Romans 15:1-3 tells us…

[1]  WE WHO are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak;  [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others]  and not to please ourselves.  [2] Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].  [3] For Christ did not please Himself [gave no thought to His own interests]; but, as it is written,  The reproaches and abuses of those who reproached and abused you fell on Me.  [Ps. 69:9.]

Lets look at Scripture and do some COMPARISONS of the “great things” the world can offer WITH… the “greater things” God provides for His children.

FIRST, let me share some “GREAT THINGS” we shouldn’t seek:

  • Great Worldly Honor – 1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV):

[25]  “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”

rewarded-saint

Great Worldly Riches – Acts 12:21-23 (NIV):

[21]  On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 

[22]  They shouted,  “This is the voice of a god, not a man.”

[23]  Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Christians should NOT SEEK Worldly HONOR, RICHES and POWER to the neglect of one’s soul.

The things that the WORLD offers are but temporary in nature whereas the things of God endure forever!

“Yeah, BUT…I have needs as much as any non-believer,” you might be saying to yourself.

Even when thinking about the temporal things, the child of God is promised in being supplied with every need.

God really promises His children ALL of their needs?

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.”

Now, let me share the “GREATER THINGS” God has in store for us.

  • Far greater HONOR – 1 John 3:2 (AMP) and James 4:10 (NLT): 

1 John 3:2:  “Beloved, we are [even here ans] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He (Jesus) comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.”

James 4:10:  “HUMBLE yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”

“True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us” ~ Tryon Edwards.

  • Far greater RICHES – Romans 8:16-17 (NIV) and [See Proverbs 22:4]:

[16]  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

[17]  Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Far greater POSITION & POWER – Revelation 3:21 (AMP):

[21]  He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down besides My Father on His throne.”

Feeling “too big for your britches” lately?

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING–Get over yourself–get into God so that you can start living a LIFE bigger than you are and experience the BLESSING of God, so that you too can find your REAL value in the eyes of the LORD as Baruch did.

jeremiah45_5
GOD’S BLESSING FOR YOUR LIFE

 


Footnotes & Credits —

Footnote [i] :  Wikipedia – Baruch 

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search.

Commentary:  Enduring Word Bible Commentary Jeremiah Chapter 45.

Bible Translations:  New Living Translation (NLT);  Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV); English Standard Version (ESV).

THREE THINGS Zechariah says God Hates!

Finding the TRUTH
Finding the TRUTH

 

I’ve been collaborating with the Holy Spirit, finding key evidence in defining the REAL TRUTH for the world we live in today.  Not only did God show me “a truth”, but He showed me “THREE TRUTHS” in His Word while searching in the Old Testament.

Now I did find over 43 things God hates in the Old Testament and New Testament (6 found in Proverbs 6:16].  But I decided to zero in on the three mentioned in Zechariah and the TRUTHS that become undeniable to us and the people around us in our lives.

Zechariah 8:16, 17 AMPLIFIED BIBLE

[16] “These are the things that you shall do:  speak every man the TRUTH with his neighbor; render the TRUTH and pronounce the judgment or verdict that makes for peace in [the courts at] your gates.

[17] And let none of you think or imagine or devise evil or injury in your hearts against his neighbor, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, says the Lord.”

THREE UNDENIABLE TRUTHS:

THE UNDENIABLE TRUTH ABOUT MAN

1.  Man is a Sinner by Nature:

“Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all man,  [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power]  because all men sinned”  (Romans 5:12 AMP translation).

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me”  (Psalms 51:5 NIV translation).

Lost Sheep
Lost Sheep

“All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all”  (Isaiah 53:6 KJV).

THE UNDENIABLE TRUTH ABOUT SIN–

1.  Sin Is Appealing to ALL Men!

Ephesians 2:1-3 Amplified Bible:

[1]  “AND YOU,  [He made alive], when you were dead  (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins  [2] In which at one time you walked  [habitually].  You were following the course and fashion of this word  [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air.  [You were obedient to and under the control of]  the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving who go against the purposes of God].  [3] Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh  [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings].  We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind.”

There is a lot to absorb in reading the three verses (especially in the Amplified Version).  So here’s a suggestion I found that really brings home to each one of us; what Paul was trying to convey to the church in Ephesus:

I simply take a pen and run a light line through the word “YOU”;  “And you…”, “You were…”, etc.  And, I write my name above the word “YOU”.  So then, it would now read…“AND MEL, He made alive, when Mel was dead…and so on.  I think you get the idea.  It makes the thoughts more personal.

2.  SIN Alienates Man from God.

Isaiah 59:2  (New Living Translation):

“It’s your SINS that have put you off from God,  Because of your SINS, HE HAS TURNED AWAY and will not listen anymore.”

3.  SIN Produces Spiritual Death.

MAN is body, soul, and spirit.  We all will die one day, and when death occurs, the body (the outside, physical tent we live in), will decay and turn to dust. But the soul and spirit…that’s a different story.  ETERNAL DEATH or ETERNAL LIFE.

Romans 6:23  (AMP):

“For the wages which SIN pays is death, BUT the [bountiful] FREE GIFT of God is eternal life through  (in union with)  Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“God’s Big Buts”–

Pastor Kyle Hopkins [Website:  www.nvagchurch.com] gave a message one Sunday morning titled:  “GOD’S Big ‘Buts’; and there is definitely a “BIG BUT” in the above verse in Romans.

The words “BUT GOD…” when reading the Scriptures these two words signal a change, a contrast, or a clarification is coming next.  What follows this significant transition is intended to challenge our faith and change our life.

THE UNDENIABLE TRUTH ABOUT GOD–

1.  GOD Will Eternally Condemn the Unrepentant Sinner.

Luke 13:3 (New American Standard Bible):

“I tell you, no, but unless you REPENT, you will all likewise perish.”

Saying your sorry, versus “repentance”–the differences.

Luke 13:5:

“…unless you repent (change your mind for the better and heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), you will all likewise perish and be lost eternally”  (AMP).

THE PROMISE:

“You won’t be saved UNLESS…” is a strong statement by Jesus, the Savior of the world.  Saying “I’m sorry” is certainly a beginning when we slip and fall, but that isn’t what God wants to hear from us.

I remember my mother telling me when I was a child in rebellion:  “Just saying your ‘sorry’ about what you already knew was wrong doesn’t catch it UNLESS…you change direction!  It’s hard for me to FORGIVE if you are going to keep on doing it over and over again.”  Boy, was I repentant after those words.  I wanted my mother’s approval in everything I did.  Shouldn’t we have the same mindset as adults?

“Bring forth FRUIT that is consistent with repentance  [let your lives prove your change in heart”  (Matthew 3:8).

When we TRULY REPENT, the FRUIT of Repentance will be evident to others.

Evident FRUIT:

HUMILITY –  Claiming to others of your relationship with Jesus without the need to personally come to a moment of REPENTANCE, creates a feeling of PRIDE, rather than the HUMILITY characterized with our relationship with Christ.

Is your RELATIONSHIP with God characterized by HUMILITY, or are you lacking the FRUIT of REPENTANCE?

URGENCY –  When we come to a point of REPENTANCE, we must realize that our sins are not excusable.  There isn’t such a thing as a “little sin”; a “little white lie.”   If you’re thinking right now, “Everyone tells lies, everyday”; that in itself is a LIE that the great LIAR, the devil is given you!

True Repentance Leads to a Changed Life.

ADMITTANCE –  It is simple admitting that you messed up; tried to run things on your own and you FAILED!

GOD DESIRES THAT ALL SHOULD BE SAVED!

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV):

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but EVERYONE to come to repentance.”

The Message Bible says it this way:

“God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness.  He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the END because he doesn’t want anyone lost.  He is giving everyone space and time to change.”

Over my Christian life, I’ve prayed for SALVATION for friends and family, thinking:  “God, time is short.  When are they going to realize…?”  My expectation, my desires, become determined by my own ideas of tardiness on God’s part; not remembering GOD ISN’T LATE WITH HIS PROMISES!

A Simple Step to REPENTANCE
A Simple Step to REPENTANCE

GOD COMPLETELY FORGIVES THE REPENTANT SINNER!

“If we  [freely]  admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness]  and  [continuously]  cleanse us from all unrighteousness  [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]”  (1 John 1:9 AMP).

I love that old children’s Sunday Class song that was taught to me when I was young.  We ALL know the words I thing, but have we forgotten the GRACE that can flow through it to our lives as adults today?

JESUS love me!   this I know,  For the Bible tells me so…

Yes, Zechariah says to us, the three things that God hates;  BUT we need to know Jesus loves us!  For the Bible tells us so!