Mo Matter What, Who, When, Why, How or Where…God Can Be Trusted!

bible2a“No Matter What, Who, When, Why, Where, How…”

Are you are a believer in Christ? Then you need to read and reread the book of Job because you need to know the God you serve and His and your adversary. This is not just a well I will but it is a book that YOU MUST devour until you understand each and every character’s profile but mostly your own and God’s!

Beloved, when you are faced with afflictions and situations that seem ‘out of character’ you will be like Job asking the proverbial question: WHY?  As you wander the book of Job you will unearth this question more than once. Job’s friends have been saying he has sin in his life.  Yet Job has been saying to his friends God Knows All. Job 31: 4 “Does he not see my ways and count all my steps?” God cannot, nor will He ever lie. That is why he can trust God.  Although he has been through the fire and continues to feel the heat, one thing he knows is this: God knows all and therefore no matter how bad life has become and how despondent he is over this strange set of circumstances he will not walk away from his belief that God is God and He knows the reason; this is true EVEN IF WE OR JOB NEVER DOES!

Job knows this about God: He cannot, nor will He ever lie. That is why he can trust God.  Although he has been through the fire and continues to feel the heat, one thing he knows is this: God knows all and therefore no matter how bad life has become and how despondent he is over this strange set of circumstances he will not walk away from his belief that God is God and He knows the reason; this is true EVEN IF WE OR JOB NEVER DOES!

If we fail here, Satan wins.  

God has, as one author noted, “locked himself in” to consistently adhere to the laws He has established and that is why we can trust Him. He cannot lie, change, break a promise or allow his power to be stopped. His word cannot be broken, annulled, and he cannot sin. All of these are true about God and that is what Job is clinging to even as he wonders what all of this is about. We too face these same dilemmas.

James reminds us that when we are in a trial to ask for wisdom and that is what Job is doing. This is where the rubber meets the road and we must decide: will I trust God or not. Ask yourself: Has God been faithful in the past? Then you can trust that he be faithful now and as well in the future.  If we can say yea and amen to this we can know for certain that at some point in time God will end our suffering, our pain or our dilemma. And if perhaps we need to know, He will also reveal its purpose. May you be encouraged to know that as Job wondered you may as well. But, even in his wondering, he still trusted God. You can as well.

 

 

Me, Insomnia and God

1peter 2 insomnia2Psalm 17 and 1Peter 2:

Peter said we are “living stones.” Even “living stones” experience insomnia; such as when the roar of the heavens and flashes of lightning blow across the landscape. What do you do in those hours as you wonder what the new morning will provide? Although the psalmist most likely was not lying awake in a thunderstorm, he was using his precious nighttime to listen to God and do some self-reflection.  How about us? Do we spend time in the night hours reflecting and allowing the Illuminating Holy Spirit to do his work? If we listen we might hear well done OR we may hear him whisper you grieved me and quenched my work within you. It is at that time that we are to apply Peter’s wise counsel: “abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” These are our natural appetites that appeal to our sinful nature and proving we are double-minded as James says.

Thus, we see why the psalmist said: “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” Yes, we purpose and we did that yesterday and the day before and will do it again tomorrow. We are a fickle people who often need this time of self-reflection to see our conformity to this world and why we need the transforming power of the Word to renew our minds. And it must be a daily, moment by moment struggle but we can begin with that purpose as we submit to the Lord.

Beloved, like this living stone, let’s make conscious decisions to do some self-correction much like a sailor does out on the water.

Are We Being Transfigured/Transformed?

Jesus chose mark 9 earley unveiled2three disciples out of the 12 to accompany him to the mountain top. Each would later draw strength from this as their message of encouragement to others.  Peter, the denier would later write: “we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” And John would write: “we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father…” James would draw strength as he faced the sword of Herod. God gives us these mountain top experiences as His powerful picture that the goal is not the cross but only its path to glory.

Why did Jesus reveal this to just three of his disciples? Perhaps because he knew that soon Peter would deny him; James would be beheaded, and John would be the one chosen to write the Revelation of the Transfigured Christ. Recently a precious friend left his earthly dwelling and now sits at the feet of Jesus. As I pondered this I considered this thought: Jesus’ Transfiguration has given each of us  a glimpse into what awaits each believer at death which is comforting for those that are now grieving but also a picture of what we can become even now as we reach our mountain top with him.In addition, Paul gave us a glimpse of what will happen at death:  1Co 15:52 in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. Did you grab that thought? We will all be changed just as Jesus was changed on that mountain top and forever changed these men’s lives.

But until then we must return to the valley but are reminded that it is a process as Paul reflected: “And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another,” And now the crux of the whole purpose! We return from the mountain top so that we may reflect God’s glory before the world that we inhabit day by day.

Only the transfigured Jesus has the power to change us from the inside out for He is the Messiah, and why we are to “listen to Him.”

PhotoCredit: christianity.about.com

 

Lone Wolf or Member of the Flock? 1Cor 12

ImageRecently in a conversation about church attendance a person noted that she is a “loner” and has been all of her life. She does not require nor does she need to be a part of a group and especially church. Then today in reading for this assignment I came across a blog written by another person who is also a “lone wolf” and finds/believes that he is sharper and more wise alone than with a group. Let’s see if either of these are biblical standards according to our reading in 1Corinthians 12.

First and foremost our standard is the lifestyle of our Savior. He continually said “follow me” and included from the entire spectrum. In doing so each disciple was able to use his gifts to enhance the entire group. For example, Andrew had the gift of finding people. John had the gift of tenderness. Matthew had the gift of accounting and details. The life of a hermit or a ‘lone wolf’ was a foreign concept to our Lord and it was as well to Paul but unfortunately there were some “lone wolves”  in the Corinthian camp.

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Secondly, what then is the purpose of each member and their gifts? As a believer we are all blessed with the indwelling Holy Spirit who graciously shares with the Body of Believers varieties of gifts, varieties of ministries for one reason: to build up or edify the Body and to glorify God. A question then arises. How can the Body be fully functioning or edifying or glorifying if there is one member missing?

Third point Paul is making is that there is no gift that is better or lesser than another. In fact,  just as the gifts are diverse so the ministries are different and the activities are diverse but they all come from one source: The Holy Spirit.  David Guzik writes: “The purpose of the manifestation of the Spirit is to benefit the whole church family, not just a particular individual.” All are needed, all are manifest and all bestow great honor upon the Body. In fact, Paul writes: “those members that seem to be weaker are essential, and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity.”

Precious Ones, there are no ‘lone wolves’ in the church–only members of the flock! You are endowed with a precious gift to be used. These gifts are God’s treasure box being opened and poured out upon the church. It is God’s way of allowing us the privilege of sharing and expressing and receiving God’s love from one to the other. So now the question remains: are you using your gift(s) for Him?Image

Remember this rule: If feel less qualified you are listening to the lie out of the mouth of the enemy for that quenches the Spirit. The Holy Spirit has graciously given to you His blessing for one reason: to glorify God. Go forth and share!

Are You Ready?

ImageFinishing up the Book of Romans with this post:

September is here once again and with it many new Bible Studies are beginning. One of the details of being a leader in this arena is getting people to know one another and what better way than to give them a nametag. We might think of Romans 16 as Paul’s collection of nametags.

Some trivia to get us started:  “This sixteenth chapter is neglected by many to their own loss. It is by far the most extensive, intimate and particular of all the words of loving greeting in Paul’s marvelous letters. No one can afford to miss this wonderful outpouring of the heart of our apostle toward the saints whom he so loved—which means all the real Church of God!”[Newell] In other words; don’t skip this chapter!

 Paul’s requests: Ten times Paul uses the phrase “in the Lord” or “in Christ.”  One time he uses the phrase “commend and receive” regarding Phoebe. Fifteen times he uses the word greet in regards to the many he has met on his journeys throughout Asia.

Paul’s purpose: Paul wants this church to know who these people are and we are the recipients of this information as well. [Imagine heaven here!] Paul wants each one recognized for who they are and their contribution to the kingdom work. Secondly, that the Roman Church may praise and pray for how the Lord has used each one. Although we do not know these people personally, they are imprinted upon our memory as we ponder the descriptions of each. Take note of the descriptions he uses for them and struggle to pronounce their names for they were real people, thus honor them in this way. They are “in the Lord,” or they are “in Christ.” They are fellow workers or laborers, hard workers, compatriots (fellow countrymen), dear friends, good friends, approved in Christ, and one is the first convert in Asia! Two were fellow prisoners with him and well known among the apostles. 

As Paul closes this precious letter to the Romans he thinks he is coming soon but we know from the book of Acts that God will change that timetable. As Paul began so he ends: Rom 1: 7 “Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Rom 16:25 “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ,…” [Rom 1:16 “ For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”]… through Jesus Christ, be glory forever! Amen.”

Three questions: Are you ready to greet, commend and receive new people into your fellowship? Are you ready to proclaim the truths of Romans to those who will visit this week? What is one truth you carry away from this study in Romans? Are you ready to dive into 1Corinthians? Follow me as we journey to the most heathen city in Asia at the time of Paul. Come and learn how to live in a society much like our own. It will be relevant! Are you ready? Image