Saturday, August 08, 2020

God's Friends Act Like They Are Not

Two kinds of people in this world and sometimes you cannot tell them apart.


Genesis 20:1-5 Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar. While living there as a foreigner, 2 Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace.

3 But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, “You are a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married!”

4 But Abimelech had not slept with her yet, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5 Didn’t Abraham tell me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘Yes, he is my brother.’ I acted in complete innocence! My hands are clean.”

After the destruction of Sodom in the previous chapter of Genesis, Abraham is on the move again, we don't know why he moved or if he was in God's will but I have to wonder if maybe he was too close to Sodom and he couldn't bear the sight of the destroyed city and the family and friends that he lost. 

We do know that when he moves his insecurities come out, the last time that he moved was to go to Egypt during the famine that was in Canaan, that trip was the beginning of a lot of trouble that continues today.

You would think that he would have learned from the very serious lie and the extreme consequences. In his attempt to save his own life he jeopardized his promised son and his promised future including the lineage of the Messiah. 

It seems odd that he would be so insecure when he has such a personal relationship with God and such amazing promises. But it is a blessing for us to see that God's people have never been a perfect people that didn't mess things up.

The Bible makes it clear that there are two kinds of people in this world and sometimes you cannot tell which is which.

Abraham the troublemaker

Genesis 20:11 “I thought, ‘This is a godless place. They will want my wife and will kill me to get her.’
Abraham and Sarah didn't learn from the previous time that they told this same exact lie, King Abimelech looks more like God's friend than Abraham or Sarah, but God is gracious and steps in. God is the only one that can fix this mess and protect the lineage of Jesus.

The integrity of the king turns out to be far greater than Abraham imagined, his lie about Sarah and her willingness to go along with it caused a lot of trouble and tarnished the reputation of God's people.

How could the promised Messiah come from Sarah if she belonged to Abimelech? We can make a big mess of things with our little lies, the little half truth that Abraham and Sarah told had huge consequences that they never dreamed of.

Abraham the peacemaker

Genesis 20:17-18  Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants, so they could have children.  18  For the LORD had caused all the women to be infertile because of what happened with Abraham’s wife, Sarah.

Genesis 21:22-24  About this time, Abimelech came with Phicol, his army commander, to visit Abraham. “God is obviously with you, helping you in everything you do,” Abimelech said.  23  “Swear to me in God’s name that you will never deceive me, my children, or any of my descendants. I have been loyal to you, so now swear that you will be loyal to me and to this country where you are living as a foreigner.”  24  Abraham replied, “Yes, I swear to it!”
Abraham got right with God and he was restored to his position of ministry and blessing to those around him. He couldn't be a blessing when he was busy being a troublemaker. When we fall away from God and lose our peace with him we also lose our ability to fulfill God's desire for us to bless others.

It would have been very easy for these two powerful men to become enemies but they were able to have a peaceful relationship. First Abraham prayed for his new friend and later he made a peace treaty with him.

God's word shows us that the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise of an heir wasn't dependent on Abraham's success. Abraham put the promise in jeopardy, from a human point of view, several times. 

God's people have never been a perfect people and many times we act like we aren't his people. It is important that we look at the overall direction of our life instead of dwelling on the individual mistakes that we make.

Thank you Lord for using me despite my tendency to follow my old sin nature. Help me to overcome my fight against the world, the flesh, and the Devil so that I can be a blessing to those around me. I will only be successful with your intervention.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Extreme Giving

Do you give from your surplus or is it a true sacrifice?


Habakkuk 3:17-19 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD!

I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

Habakkuk chapter three doesn't make sense to anyone that has not established a personal relationship with God. If your circumstances are as bad as Habakkuk was facing would you have any reason to rejoice in tribulation? Would you be able to trust God's plan and purpose for your life?

Trusting God when it doesn't make sense is probably the most difficult when it comes to giving away a portion of what you have when you seem to have so little or when it isn't clear how much you will have.

In the Old Testament law God's people were required to bring a first fruit offering to the temple. This offering required a level of trust because you were giving a sacrifice at the beginning of the harvest before you knew how much you would earn. (Leviticus 23:14)

This idea of giving before we get is very foreign to us, we want to give after the paycheck or the bonus comes in, but the Bible teaches that our giving should show that we trust God to take care of us regardless of our financial circumstances.

Give Sacrificially

Mark 12:43-44 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
Jesus told his disciples that the poor widow at the temple was the best giver that day while he was in the temple. Her gift was a true sacrifice that created a financial struggle that none of the other people experienced that day.

Looking back at Habakkuk's situation, the country was in full economic collapse, their wealth had disappeared, the ability to provide for their families was destroyed and the possibility of having a meal on any given day was bleak.

Giving sacrificially requires that you give until it hurts, your giving should make you a little bit uncomfortable, and your lifestyle should be affected by your giving. Is your giving really a generous sacrifice? If you are only giving from your surplus then what happens when the surplus is gone?

Give Joyfully

Deuteronomy 26:8-11 So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and powerful arm, with overwhelming terror, and with miraculous signs and wonders. 9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey! 10 And now, O LORD, I have brought you the first portion of the harvest you have given me from the ground.’ Then place the produce before the LORD your God, and bow to the ground in worship before him. 11 Afterward you may go and celebrate because of all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household. Remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration.
In the teachings about the first fruit offering they didn't just drop their offering in the collection box and walk away. Their offering was given joyfully with a testimony about the one that provided the offering.

We give our money cheerfully to the things that we are passionate about, it doesn't matter what your interest is, you will spend money easily on those things that you love the most. You will have to be careful not to spend too much on those things.

What do you treasure so much that you can effortlessly give money to? Do you give as cheerfully to God as you do to your earthly pleasures?

Give Graciously 

2 Corinthians 8:2-3  They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.  For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.
When you give your time, treasure or your talents to God it becomes part of God's grace to others. God didn't bless me so that I can accumulate the blessings and keep them to myself, I have been blessed so that I can introduce the people that I bless to my loving God who provided for me.

When God's people share their blessings we fulfill our mission here on earth, our blessings help bring charity, good works and justice to our hurting world. Our giving will help us be better ambassadors for our Savior who was the most extreme giver.

I need to be faithful to give even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD!

RELATED ARTICLES
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow: An Analysis (medium.com)
What Was The First Fruits Offering? (gotquestions.com)
Doxology (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Doxology

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.


Video: The Doxology | Anthem Lights ft. Selah

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow


Psalms 72:19 Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen!

Ephesians 1:3-4 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

1 Peter 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,

Praise Him, all creatures here below


Psalms 22:27-29 The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the LORD. He rules all the nations. Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust.

Psalms 66:4 Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.

Psalms 148:5 Let every created thing give praise to the LORD, for he issued his command, and they came into being.

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host


Psalms 103:20-22 Praise the LORD, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! Praise the LORD, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise the LORD.

Isaiah 6:2-3 Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!”

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost


Father


Ephesians 1:14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Son


Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Holy Ghost


Ephesians 1:14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Jesus, Friend Of Sinners

Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers.


Video: Casting Crowns - Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand
Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of thieves
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
No one knows what we're for only against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost 'cause and I was the outcast
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet
Best Friend Ever
Luke 15:7  In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

Monday, July 06, 2020

Who Is Your Friend

You need the best friend possible and he needs to influence your life.


Genesis 18:1-4 The LORD appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2 He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby.

When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground. 3 “My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. 4 Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet.

It wasn't all that long ago that Abraham didn't know the true, living God but when God said go Abram trusted him enough to go. That was the beginning of Abraham's imperfect journey of faith, a trip that would take him to Haran with his dad, to Canaan and then to Egypt, a journey that was full of important lessons along the way.

It has been a bumpy road but Abraham has grown in his relationship with God, his love and fellowship with him has grown deeper and more intimate through the years, so much so that Abraham has became known as a friend of God. (James 2:23)
Because friendship is awesome. It’s always dangerous, because he or she who walks with the wise will become wise, but the companion of fools will eventually suffer harm. Your friends will influence and possibly determine the direction and the quality of your life.
-Pastor Andy Stanley
Having the right friends is too important to ignore, so important that your parents may have forbid certain friendships or they may have moved to a different neighborhood just so you would have different friends.

We will see in Genesis eighteen and nineteen that friendships are powerful and have tremendous influence on your life so you better chose wisely.

Abraham is a friend of God

James 2:23  And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.
There are so many people in our Bible that God had a personal relationship with but Abraham is the only one that the Bible tells us was God's friend. (2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23)

Abraham was a rich man and had many servants, when three men came by his tent in the heat of the day, he could have continued to rest in his tent but instead of having somebody else tend to these guest he ministered to Jesus and the two angels personally. (Genesis 18:1,22, 19:1)

Abraham ran to them and offered hospitality (Hebrews 13:2), he bowed down in humility and after they came to the shade trees outside of his tent, he served them quickly and gave them his best food. (Genesis 18:6-8)

After the meal, Abraham receives a revelation directly from the Lord about the destruction of Lot's hometown, the wickedness of Sodom had grow so bad that God is going to destroy it. Abraham has already been involved with helping the people of Sodom physically by going to war and now he will intercede spiritually.

As a friend of God, Abraham was trusted with God's thoughts, and as a result of knowing God so intimately he knew how to pray for the world and intercede for the lost people of Sodom. (Genesis 18:22-33, James 4:8)

Lot is a friend of the world

Genesis 19:15-16  At dawn the next morning the angels became insistent. “Hurry,” they said to Lot. “Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out right now, or you will be swept away in the destruction of the city!”

16  When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the LORD was merciful.
You might think that Lot would make some changes in his location after he was saved by Abraham. We don't have any indication in the Bible that Lot or the rest of the people of Sodom were thankful for Abraham's actions on their behalf. (Genesis 14:1-16)

Lot setup his tent near Sodom and eventually he moved into town and setup household. This doesn't seem to be a mission trip, we don't see any evidence that Lot had an influence on his own family, much less the rest of the city.

Lot's depraved state is seen in his offer to give his daughters to the evil men of Sodom that were trying to get to the angels. This is quite a contrast with the fact that Abraham would soon offer his son to the Lord. (Genesis 22:1-24)

Lot's family was so involved with local society that they were unwilling to leave, his wife had to look back, and not too long after that his two daughters got him drunk and had sex with him just because there were not any other men around their new neighborhood. (Genesis 19:30-38)

Jesus is a friend of sinners

Luke 12:37-38 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.

Revelation 3:20  “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
Jesus waits at the door and draws your attention to answer his call because he wants to be your friend for this life and for eternity. Jesus wants to fellowship with you at the table, there will be the greatest feast that has ever been prepared right after we get to Heaven and he wants to serve you. (Revelation 19:6-10)

Jesus is as devoted to you as the shepherd that gives his life to save a lost sheep, he loves you so much that he will allow his reputation to be stained to get you from the darkest places, and he will celebrate when you return. (Luke 15:1-32, Mark 2:13-17)
Proverbs 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
Jesus came to earth to be your BFF so that you could have a peaceful relationship with his Father, this friendship should be full of joy and hope for this life and for eternity. What better friend could there possibly be? (John 15:13-15)
RELATED ARTICLES
Find Peace With God (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
Is It Okay To Call God My Friend (crossway.org)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Don't Substitute God's Best

God is patient when our hearts cling to something less than his plan and purpose.


Genesis 17:1-2  When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.  I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”

Genesis 17:15-19  Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah.  16  And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.”

17  Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?”

18 So Abraham said to God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!” 19 But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant.

The journey of faith that Abram and Sarai have been on ever since they left home in Ur has been a gradual revelation of who God is and what he expects of them. Earlier we saw that God revealed himself as his shield and great reward that is far better than any protection or provider that this world has to offer.

In today's scripture God reveals a new name for himself to encourage Abram and Sarai to keep on believing in the promises that still don't seem to be coming true. God wants Abram to know him as "God Almighty" that has the power to come through with his promises despite the circumstances and the delays.

God shows his power and sovereignty by giving Abram and Sarai new names. We should remember that the one that gives out the names is exerting power over the one that is being named. We see this principle when Adam names all of the animals and we also see it happen when the Babylonians gave the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to three of the Hebrews that they captured.

Almighty, sovereign God is still in control and the promises are still on the way despite the fact that Abram already has a son and he is very fond of him, Abram is okay with Ismael being the fulfillment of the promise, but God has bigger and better plans and he won't accept a substitute.

Ishmael represented man’s effort to fulfill the promise of a son, Abram didn't know that the son that God planned to miraculously give him would be the beginning of the lineage that would lead to the promised son that we call Jesus.

We are so willing to help God out and come up with something that isn't what God intended, something inferior, something that we can figure out instead of waiting for the miracle.

This point is so well stated in the Expositor's Bible Commentary for Genesis chapter 17:
Full of life and interest in everything, daily getting deeper into the affections of Abram, who allowed and could not but allow his own life to revolve very much around the dashing, attractive lad. So that the reminder that he was not the promised heir was not entirely welcome.

We are familiar with this state of mind. We wish God would leave us alone. We have found a very attractive substitute for what He promises, and we resent being reminded that our substitute is not, after all, the veritable, eternal, best possession. It satisfies our taste, our intellect, our ambition; it sets us on a level with other men and gives us a place in the world; but now and again we feel a void it does not fill.

We have attained comfortable circumstances, success in our profession, our life has in it that which attracts applause and sheds a brilliance over it; and we do not like being told that this is not all. Our feeling is Oh, that this might do! that this might be accepted as perfect attainment! it satisfies me (all but a little bit); might it not satisfy God?

Why summon me again away from domestic happiness, intellectual enjoyment, agreeable occupations, to what really seems so unattainable as perfect fellowship with God in the fulfillment of His promise? Why spend all my life in waiting and seeking for high spiritual things when I have so much with which I can be moderately satisfied?

For our complaint often is not that God gives so little but that He offers too much, more than we care to have; that He never will let us be content with anything short of what perfectly fulfills His perfect love and purpose.
We have a perspective that Abram didn't have, he didn't have the panorama view that we have from Genesis to Revelation, God's plan and purpose make no sense to Abram but God is patient with him.

We love to be in control and we love to help God out when things look difficult but God reminds us that he is El-Shaddai, the God Almighty, he is more than enough to come through with the best even when we are satisfied with far less.

Thank you God for being so patient with us when our affections and desires are not your own.
RELATED ARTICLES
God Wants The Best For Us (faithgateway.com)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Who Will Be Denied?

Jesus set the example for us by denying himself.


Matthew 26:31-35 On the way, Jesus told them, "Tonight all of you will desert Me. For the Scriptures say, 'God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there."

33 Peter declared, "Even if everyone else deserts You, I will never desert You." 34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, Peter--this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know Me." 35 "No!" Peter insisted. "Even if I have to die with You, I will never deny You!" And all the other disciples vowed the same.

Mat 26:75 Suddenly, Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know Me." And he went away, weeping bitterly.

You may not know it but we are constantly making choices that prove our allegiance to God and his purpose and plan. God will not impose his will on us but despite the freedom that we have God is always in control.

Peter didn't like Jesus words, he felt insulted that Jesus would say these things, certainly their friendship with Jesus for these past three years proved their loyalty. So he declared his allegiance and all of the others agreed but they all failed as Jesus predicted.

They were in a situation that few people in America will ever deal with. Most of us won't ever be a part of the persecuted church, we won't have to be so radical with our faith, we won't have to make a decision that is so huge but we still fail daily.

We are still very likely to deny Jesus in the little things that we tend to dismiss or not realize.

To deny Jesus implies:

  • that I am contradicting him, that I am in opposition to his teaching.
  • that I refuse to acknowledge him and his claim that he is the Promised Messiah.
  • that I reject him as Lord of my life, refusing to be his subject or slave.
  • that I am embracing my sin nature and my wisdom instead of putting on the mind of Christ.

To deny myself implies:

  • that I need to forbid myself from participating in some of the "pleasures" that this world has to offer.
  • that I will refuse to put myself in charge and that I will choose to give him control.
  • that I am willing to follow Jesus even when it is painful or humiliating, 
Just like Peter, we take the easy way out, we don't realize how serious a simple little denial can really be. It doesn't seem like a big crime at the moment but later the remorse is usually way bigger.
Mark 8:34-35 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.

35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.
Crowds of people that had a shallow relationship with Jesus were invited to step in close with the disciples, Jesus lets them know that he wants a deeper relationship. He let's them know what is required to have a real, life saving relationship with him.

To follow requires that you make a choice, you must choose to allow someone else to direct your life, somebody else must control your attitude, your view of the people around you must change, how you treat other races, you must exhibit the fruit of the spirit and be forgiving and kind to those around you.

The life of a winner in this world will be a loser in the next so it is important that I make the right decisions each day. I must give up my self-centered life of rebellion against God (loses his life) for the sake of Christ and the gospel so that I will find everlasting communion with God for eternity.

Jesus made it possible for me to escape death so I should use my life for his glory.
RELATED ARTICLES

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

In Christ, I Am

Accepted, secure and significant.


In Christ, I am accepted …


John 1:12 — I am God’s child.

John 15:15 — As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1 — I have been justified.

1 Corinthians 6:17 — I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 — I have been bought with a price, and I belong to God.

1 Corinthians 12:27 — I am a member of Christ’s body.

Ephesians 1:3-8 — I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.

Colossians 1:13-14 — I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.

Colossians 2:9-10 — I am complete in Christ.

Hebrews 4:14-16 — I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

In Christ, I am secure …


Romans 8:1-2 — I am free from condemnation.

Romans 8:28 — I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.

Romans 8:31-39 — I am free from any condemnation brought against me, and I cannot be separated from the love of God.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 — I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.

Colossians 3:1-4 — I am hidden with Christ in God.

Philippians 1:6 — I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.

Philippians 3:20 — I am a citizen of heaven.

2 Timothy 1:7 — I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

1 John 5:18 — I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me.

In Christ, I am significant …


John 15:5 — I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine and a channel of His life.

John 15:16 — I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.

1 Corinthians 3:16 — I am God’s temple.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 — I am a minister of reconciliation for God.

Ephesians 2:6 — I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.

Ephesians 2:10 — I am God’s workmanship.

Ephesians 3:12 — I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Philippians 4:13 — I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Praise Him - Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!



Video: Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir - Psalm 150

Psalm 150:1-6 Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! 2 Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!

3 Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! 4 Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! 5 Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals.

6 Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! Praise the LORD!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Rejoice In Tribulation

The circumstances of this life should not alter my view of God's goodness.


Habakkuk 2:14  For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD.

Habakkuk 3:1-2  This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk:  I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy.

Habakkuk 3:17-19  Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,  18  yet I will rejoice in the LORD!

I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!  19  The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

Habakkuk has been struggling with God in the first two chapters of his short book. He has shown us that we should wait on the Lord and decide that we will trust him to take care of us for this life and for eternity no matter what the circumstances look like. When we come to know God in this way our natural response to God is to worship him.

As God answered his prayers, Habakkuk grew in his awareness of the glory of the Lord and his knowledge and control of every detail, his view of God grew so much that he compared it to the waters that fill the seas.

God's glory is also known because people have been talking about it and writing books about it for thousands of years. Habakkuk is amazed at the great deeds that God has done for his people because he has read the books that Moses wrote and he has heard a lot of stories that have been passed down about God's power and glory.
Exodus 7:5  When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”
In spite of God's superiority over the man made gods of Egypt they still didn't acknowledge him as the one true God. It is incredible that God's glory was denied even in the grandest display of his power in sending the plagues to Egypt.

We tend to blame the Pharaoh for Egypt's troubles but it has occurred to me that the people of Egypt didn't show any signs that they were willing to turn from their little gods any more than Pharaoh was.

Habakkuk knows that God has used his power to benefit his chosen people in the past and he hopes that he will do it again. He knows that the only power that is sufficient to save is the same power that has been proven in the past. But he also knows that God won't always use his power to end our suffering.

We say that God is good when things are going our way but sometimes his blessings come to us in disguise. We usually pray for the difficult times to go away, none of us like for anything to be tough, but what if those difficulties are the very thing that God is using to send blessings your way?

When God judges his people it is for their benefit even if it doesn't feel or look like it is.
God's Judgment Is Like:
  • A thunderstorm that is seen approaching over the tops of the southern mountains (Habakkuk 3:3-4);
  • A plague from which no one escapes (Habakkuk 3:5);
  • An earthquake that terrorizes the nations and shakes the mountains (Habakkuk 3:6);
  • A desert wind that blows down the Arab’s tents (Habakkuk 3:7);
  • The overthrow of enemies in battle, whether by armies or by the spectacular intervention of the forces of nature (Habakkuk 3:8-9);
  • A flood that sweeps everything away (Habakkuk 3:10);
  • An eclipse of the sun that leaves the earth in darkness (Habakkuk 3:11);
  • The triumph of a warrior who kills his enemies and saves his people (Habakkuk 3:12-15).
Bridgeway Bible Commentary by Missionary Don Fleming
Habakkuk knows that God is right to be angry but he knows that God is also merciful even in judgment. He knows that God is good even when there isn't any resources available to sustain us. There isn't any food available today and there isn't anything in the garden or in the pasture that will provide food anytime soon but that doesn't change the goodness and glory of God.

Because God always deserves praise and glory, Habakkuk will rejoice in these circumstances, he knows that his joy doesn't come from the abundance of things that he has or how easy his life is, he will rejoice because the God of his salvation is his delight. (Psalm 34:1)

Hard times can push you to new heights or they will destroy you. Your suffering will make you far better or far worse that you were before. Will you be better or bitter? Will suffering make you humble or arrogant?

I need to rejoice because God is using everything for his glory which ultimately leads to me spending eternity with him singing his praises for my undeserved salvation. I should not allow the circumstances of this life to alter my view of the glory of God and his unrelenting goodness to his people.
RELATED ARTICLES
God’s Zeal for His Own Glory (desiringgod.org)
Book of Habakkuk (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)