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Thursday, September 25, 2008

OUR INHERITANCE

ECCLESIASTES 11:5
"As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand (willingly share) for thou kn0west not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."



We are unaware of so many things; even how we are made, much less the way of the spirit, which is an eternal entity for each of us. Believers have the Spirit of God joined within our being.
This verse says we do not know the works of God regarding so many things. But, as we grow deeper and deeper into the things of God He reveals His dealings and desires to us; to our spirit, through His Spirit. Spirit to spirit, if you will. It is God who maketh all.



He has made precious promises to those who are His. In Romans 8:17 He says that if we are children, then we are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if we suffer with Him, so that we may be glorified together. SUFFER? This is part of the package? Yes it is. Each of us, in our own way and bearing our own cross, whatever that may be, will be glorified with Christ as we continue the suffering He bore while in a human body like ours. It was His Spirit that dissapeared into the mountains, on the sea shore, and in the garden, away from the crowd, that cried out to the Father, His Father and ours, for strength, grace, wisdom, endurance and relief from the pain. We must do the same in our hours of trial. We live in the natural, surrounded by material things, and yet we desire and yearn for our spirits to become one with Him. We grow and mature through the process. Nothing that is of God, and this process is, goes to waste. It has great eternal effect.



As Believers in Yeshua we claim to be kings and priests in His Kingdom. Then we get a priests inheritance. As the Children of Israel were given their lands and possessions distributed by God when they entered the Promise Land, the Tribe of Levi's, the Priestly Tribe inherited God! Numbers 18:18 says, " And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I AM THY PART and THINE INHERITANCE among the children of Israel." Is God enough? Do we desire to also have a portion with the others? Are we jealous at their worldly holding and inheritance? This is what it is boiling down to in these last of the last days. Is God enough?



As the markets, pension funds, IRA, and federal, state, and local governments scramble to find money somewhere, anywhere, are we satisfied to know that we are children of the Great King, and that He is ours?



Jeremiah states our lot well in this hour of turmoil. In Chapter 3: 22-26 we can depend upon these verses and promises; " This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."



Our Father, the LORD, promises that He is our portion; He is our inheritance! It is good to quietly (not easy for me) to wait upon Him. He will withhold no good thing for those who call upon and depend upon Him. He is good!



We have great confidence and promises. Look up! Our redemption is nigh! Like an old war bond from days gone by we are being cashed in! Psalm 16:5 states, as does Romans 8:17 that, " The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup; Thou maintainest my lot."



Can Lehman Brothers, Meryll Lynch, Bank of America, Fannie May or Freddie Mac beat that promise!! HE IS OUR INHERITANCE! What a wonderous thought!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

WHO'S SIDE?

King David was a man annointed by God to be King of Israel. While just a young, ruddy shepherd the Prophet Samuel through the Spirit of God picked the least, smallest, youngest son of Jesse to be King in Saul's place.



Years passed. Anyone who has studied the Book of Kings and Chronicles knows the journey David had to pass through before asscending to the throne. It was a long, difficult, uncertain journey from a human perspective; but not from God's. We receive promises as children of our great King who is the Creator of all things in heaven and earth. The human, fleshly side of our being wants delivery of the promise the next day, or shortly thereafter. We want the promise now and lots of it!



If we are students of Scripture, we begin to realize that along with the promises there are roads to be traveled. I believe there are times of immediate, absolute deliverance during times of crisis. I believe in deliverance from sickness if God so wills. I also believe promises we receive as His children that influence our livelihood, our calling, and our effectiveness for His Kingdom are a process; sometimes in short order, but usually long term. We change in ways we do not realize as we allow His Spirit free reign in our lives.



1 Chronicles 12:16-18 has stuck with me this week. I wrote down the verses this past Friday while reading. It says:



" And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David. And David went out to meet them, he said, "if ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon and rebuke it." Then the Spirit came upon Amasal, who was chief of the captains, and he said, "Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: Peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers: for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captain of the band."



Men from only two tribes come to David's aid? And this is the annointed King of Israel? Where were the other ten tribes? Being called and annointed of God is not an easy calling. Friends and family seem to thin out the deeper one goes into their calling. At least this is the way I interpret the lessons of Scripture. King David is an excellent example of this concept. As one grows, learns God's ways and dealings, and matures in stature with Him we can expect the road to be a lonely one; but eventually an effective one if we yeild to His workings in our lives.



Things promised seem to be off into the distant future. What was promised seems a far off dream. But underneath the surface spiritual issues, things we cannot perceive in the natural realm, are being dealt with. We have no idea the effects our obediance and prayers have in the eternal, spiritual realm; which, by the way, is the real realm. Our bodies are but clay. They are temporary and will return from which it came. But our actions while in these bodies have eternal consequences.



I have experienced thus far a friend or two along the way who only want to talk of the things of God. Not the Cowboys, not the Yankees, not American Idol, but GOD! The road is a lonesome one if we wish to seperate and not worry about fitting with and going along with the crowd. But like the ones from the Tribe of Benjamin and Judah, the rewards of following the leading of the Spirit of God eventually will reap glory, honor and peace; both here and now, and in eternity.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

ECONOMIC WOES

God has said that if a nation pleases Him that He will make it the head and not the tail among the nations of planet earth. I think we have some problems in that regard!



This past week has been a roller coaster ride for the markets; particularly with the banking and financial institutions. This weekend the candles are burning late into the night in Washington, D.C. as the leaders try to figure a way around what God has brought to our nation.



Late into the night I have watched the financial channels ( not a habit!) to try to get a feel for what is happening and the depth of the issue. Here is what I, a simple man on the street have figured out in regard to our situation ~



It is estimated that the "bail out" package being given to U.S. banking system may be 1.5 Trillion dollars when it is all said and done. That is 1,500,000,000,000!



What is this equivalent to? Hurricane Katrina cost the US taxpayer and economy 100 billion dollars. This was several years ago. Still, there are an estimated 10,000 homes with a large red X on them that means they are condemned, waiting for money for repair, or to be torn down.



1.5 trillion dollars equals an economic Katrina in America that mirrors this storm striking 15 major metropolitan areas. This economic storm equals a hurricane Katrina striking and destroying:
- Seattle, WA
- New York, NY
- Washington, D.C.
- Baltimore, MD
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Detroit, MI
- Philidelphia, PA
- Miami, FL
- Ft. Myers, FL
- Houston, TX
- Dallas, TX
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, MO
- Raleigh-Duram, NC
- Nashville, TN



100,000,000,000 dollars of destruction on each of these metropolitan areas, with tens of millions of citizens, divided into 1,500,000,000,000 equals fifteen US cities. A major disaster for the banking system and the US economy.



Another comparison would be taking the average home value of say $200,000. Destroy 72 million homes and the families in them. 72,000,000 homes dissapear overnight; that is the mess we find ourselves in.



Bankers, businesses, brokerage houses and the US Government scramble this weekend to find buyers. Foreign buyers. We have truly become the tail, not the head. Brother David Wilkerson gave a description of a vision he had years ago of judgment on America. The market would fall 1,000 points (which it did in two days this past week), a plan would be worked out to where everything seemed to return to normal, then sudden panic from no where strikes and the whole system crashes. This is the next boot to fall from heaven.



But we, as children of the Almighty need not fear. When the feeling of panic strikes, we must assure ourselves in the promises of our Father. Promises and admonition from Him to fear not, for He is with us, do not dismay, He is our God. He will strengthen us, He will uphold us, He will cover us with His almighty arms. The flood will not overcome us, the plague of Egypt (the world) will not come into our house. As darkness covers the earth, there is light in the land of Goshen! We are His, He is ours, Praise His Holy Name!




One will put a thousand to flight! That is us as individuals trusting completely upon Him. This is a promise from our Father. As we go through the fires, like the three Hebrew children, we will not be burned. These economic fires will only burn off our bonds, like the fires in the furnace in
Babylon burned off the bonds of the friends of Daniel. The lions den will either take us to heaven or reveal the power of our Father; we win in either case!



Set your minds on things above, where God is. Not on things on this earth. As the old spiritual songs says, This Earth Is Not Our Home! We are strangers and pilgrams here for a short season to show the world the faithfulness, love and mercy of our Father.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

GOD-LOOK AND BEHOLD!

ISAIAH 63:13-16


He led them through the deep, as a horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble. As a beast goes down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest, so did You lead Your people; to make Yourself a glorious name.



Look down from heaven, and behold from Thy habitation of Thy holiness and of Thy glory; where is Thy zeal and Thy strength, the sounding of Thy bowels and Thy mercies toward me? Are they restrained?



Doubtless Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: Thou O LORD, art our Father, our Redeemer, Thy name is from everlasting.



A few days ago I was led to this verse and suddenly I was not so ashamed of my feelings. There are times in our walk with Him when we may feel that He Himself has forsaken us. We feel dry, dusty, and forlorn in our spirit. We know this should not be; but like the Psalmist, we can cry out to God and tell Him just how we feel about our situation. This has a cleansing effect. Cries like the prayer in Isaiah are not a new thing God has never heard from His people! Scripture is full of people just like us who have had these seasons. Even Christ cried out that He felt forsaken, if just but for a moment. Doubtless, this is a sign of growing and maturity in our walk with Him.



We can unashamedly ask Him where are His mercies toward us. We can ask if He has grown ignorant of us; are we forgotten in our situation. At times, He seems to restrain deliverance when we think we need it most. As a elder minister friend of mine recently said, " God does not trust to many of His children to severe trials and tribulations because He knows that most cannot stand up under the pressure..." The trials of Job and King David are unique and not many of us experience these things in any great measure. The stronger the trial, the stronger the maturity.



In a secular sense, what I am trying to say is that unless one has been through such things, and come out on the other side still dependant and leaning upon our Father, they do not have much to say, other than quoting a few passages of Scripture and then talking about the latest NFL Football game as if that were more important. Henry Ford in years gone by that he did not want an executive in his company unless they went through bankruptcy of their own business and tried and tried again until they succeeded.



Are the eternal lessons we are in the process of learning any less important? One thing I know, without Him life is useless. His creation is beautiful, the soft summer breezes in the cool of the day, the beautiful sun rises an sunsets are a beauty to behold and admire.



But without Him, life is fruitless. How does fruit come to maturity and grow into what it should be? It goes through varying seasons of dryness, times of rain, sunshine and moonless nights. Strong winds blow away everything that will not produce a good harvest. Our lives are similar.



I have a grapevine I planted three years ago and I pruned it back strongly this year. What was 10 feet tall was only 1 foot tall this winter. Like my grapevine, I have seasons like this when the Father gets out His pruning hooks and clips away; in a violent manner, it seems to me, when the pruning season arrives. But, as I walked past the grape arbor this evening the grapevine is half again the size it was last year! Beautiful, deep green leaves. Outside wildlife seek shelter under its branches to find shelter when it storms and shade in the heat of the day. Right after pruning, it looked dead; my wife was horrified when she saw it. But look at it now!! I feel the same way in my spirit during and just after my pruning seasons!




In the most recent pruning season of my soul, I cried with the Psalmist in Chapter 80:14-19 -



"Return, I beseech Thee, O God of Hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine: And the vineyard which Thy right hand hath planted, and the branch which Thou madest strong for Thyself. "



" It is burned with fire, it is cut down; They perish at the rebuke of Thy countenance. Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, upon the son of man who Thou hast made strong for Thyself. So will we not go back from Thee: quicken us, and we will call upon Thy name. Turn us again, O LORD, God of Hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."



The key to our experiences in the season of pruning, trials, temptations and uncertainty is first to cry out to Him in total honest. What a cleansing affect this has in our spiritual being! He knows what we are thinking anyway so we might as well go ahead and get it over with. Remind Him, most importantly that we are HIS! We are His handiwork, we are His children, we are His workmanship.



God describes Himself as a quickening Spirit. I cry QUICKEN ME, O LORD. Cause Thy face to shine. And I shall be saved.




Deuteronomy 32: 9 says "the LORD'S people is His people: Jacob is the lot of His inheritance." We are His, He is ours. As an added benefit, we have a Heavenly Father who is the most excellent, caring, watchful teacher and gardener in the universe.



I am reminded of a song I heard as a child that was sung in church. It is called IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL:




Oft times the day seems long,
our trials hard to bear;
We're tempted to complain,
To murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear,
To catch His bride away,
All tears forever over,
In God's eternal day.
~CHORUS ~
It will be worth it all,
when we see Jesus;
Life's trails will seem so small,
when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face,
all sorrow will erase,
so bravely run the race
till we see Christ.
Sometime the sky looks dark,
with not a ray of light;
We're tossed and driven on,
No human help in sight;
But there is one in heaven,
Who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem,
Just go to Him in prayer.
Life's day will soon be o're,
all storms forever past,
We'll cross the great divide
To glory safe at last;
We'll share the joys of heaven,
A harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished,
We'll lay our burden down.
Truly, it will be worth it all; when we see Jesus! Have a great Sabbath thinking upon Him.