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Saturday, December 27, 2008

COURAGE and DESIRE

" I would have fainted unless I believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." (PSALM 27:13,14)



What is this courage we are told to have? Apparently it is important for anyone who believes in God and wants to please Him. The admonition to have courage is mentioned throughout the Bible. It says that without faith it is impossible to please God; I have also noticed the frequency of the courage that is a requirement to please Him. A few examples ~



"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He is the One who goes with you, He will not fail you, nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)


Joshua 1:9 says " Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage: do not be afraid and do not be dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with you wherever you go."




Given the political climate in our nation and the world today, the wars, the economy, the violence and so forth, anyone who wants to withstand the onslaught will need all of the courage they can muster. We have many enemies that seek the failure and embarrassment of anything or anyone who takes a strong stand for the God of the Bible; the God of Israel.



In Joshua 10:25, Israel faced known and unknown enemies, as do we. We need a "Joshua mindset" and speak, believe, and pray as he did - "Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all of your enemies against whom you fight." The enemies were destroyed outright; ours will be also if we take courage and fight. My present enemies may be health issues, debt, job insecurity, lust, unbelief, lack of strong faith, alcohol or drug abuse, an unsaved loved one or spouse and more. Anything that keeps me from dwelling in the peace and security of God or that ruins or interferes with my relationship and effectiveness with God is my enemy. God promises our victory; my part in the process is to believe, to stand, to be strong and have courage in Him.



God told King Solomon if he obeyed His commands he would prosper. He admonished Solomon to " be strong and of good courage (1 Chronicles 22:13) -dread not, do not be dismayed at what may arise." Those instructions in these uncertain times apply to you and I. "...do not dread or be dismayed at what may arise."


King David also admonished his son Solomon, " Be strong and of good courage, and do it; fear not nor be dismayed; for the LORD God, even my God, will be with you; He will be with you; He will not fail you, or forsake you, until you have finished the service of the house of the LORD." (1 Chronicles 28:20) I take these scripture to heart and apply them today, because -
* I am a Believer.
* I am a child of the living God.
* He does not change.
* He dwells in me and I in Him.
* I am His house on this earth and in this vessel of clay.
Like Solomon, He will not fail me, nor forsake me, until I have finished the service He has for me in this house in which I live!


A critical part of my job while living in this house of clay is to walk in strength, courage, and faith in Him; believing and acting on His promises to me through Scripture. We are in a land where we are strangers and Pilgrims. Many unexpected things are on the horizon. But, God instructed the Children of Israel, as He does us, to "see the land, what it is, whether there be cities or tents - strength or weakness - tents or strongholds - fat or lean - watered or barren - be of good courage, no matter the condition...." !


No matter the condition we must have confidence, courage, and comfort as we fight in the land we are entering in the coming days. What is this courage spoken of? I have found five main interpretations in Strong's Concordance, this courage spoken of is:

1. to seize upon Him
2. to burden myself upon Him
3. to fasten upon Him
4. to fortify myself on Him
5. to be urgent about the matter, to behave self valiantly in my belief in Him and His goodness toward me.



As usual, the enemy of my soul arises and whispers, " you are not really His!" or "you have upset Him greatly and He does not hear you now" or "your desires and your request are not pleasing to Him..."


I try to settle this matter, this mental and spiritual warfare immediately. First of all, Jesus said the devil was a liar and the father of lies. Jesus said He would never leave me nor forsake me. He said He is with me always. God is not a god like the gods of this world; His ears are not hardened that He cannot hear, His eyes are not dim that He cannot see. He even knows the desires and intents of our hearts. So there you go! The enemy is a liar!



God said He would give us the desire of our heart if we pray according to His will. If He is the desire of our heart, everything else pales in comparison. All we desire is more and more of Him. He is the desire of my heart. If we have Him, what more do we need? The desire of my heart? On occasion, I need a spiritual heart transplant; He is a specialist in that also!



1 John 5 says our confidence is in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us; And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him. We must have courage to enter and make our request. We must have courage, confidence, and faith. If we lack any of these things that are pleasing to Him, all we need to do is ask Him to provide them for us.


He is our Father. He desires truth in our inward parts (Psalm 51:5). In our inward parts He will impart wisdom. What is wisdom? To fear God, that is the beginning of wisdom (Job 28:28 and Psalm 51:6) As the days grow darker and great darkness falls upon the earth, we will, like King David, desire Him in the night, yes, with our spirit within us we will seek Him early (Psalm 111). He hears every prayer.



We can boldly say " For this is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death. (Psalm 48:14) Our victory is truly in Jesus. Fear not! For He is with us! Be not dismayed, for He is our God. He will strengthen us, yes, He will help us; He will uphold us with His mighty right hand!


Oh victory in Jesus,
Our Saviour forever,
He sought us, and He bought us,
with His redeeming blood-
He loved us before He knew us,
and all my love is due Him,
He brought me to victory,
with His redeeming blood!!
Have a wonderful Sabbath thinking upon Him.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

HubbleSite - NewsCenter - Hubble Finds Carbon Dioxide on an Extrasolar Planet (12/09/2008) - Release Images

CLICK ON BLUE TYPE; IT IS SAFE! jrpeacher mtzion@hughes.net



HubbleSite - NewsCenter - Hubble Finds Carbon Dioxide on an Extrasolar Planet (12/09/2008) - Release Images


I wonder what these heavenly beings look like from our home in the Heavens? Can you imagine having a view of something like this from your front or backyard there? Forget lake front home on a golf course or in a private community here on planet earth!! The heavens truly declare the glory of God! Such a mind to create such things is beyond human comprehension! Such wonder, such glory, such grace! What a Father we have!! Have a blessed Sabbath and ponder the marvelous grace of our Father who created everything that exists; both in this world and the next. This world is temporal, the next is eternal. He has placed eternity in our hearts.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fruit of Righteousness

To put it pure and simple, righteousness means doing what is right.


What are the results of doing what is right in all areas of our life? Isaiah 32:17,18 puts the answer in a short and simple manner ~


" The work of righteousness (doing what is right) shall be peace,
and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.
And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation,
and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places."



I will keep doing what is right in every area of my life. These promises from God are as steadfast and as sure as the fact that water is wet! Feed the poor when we see them, pray for and visit the lost, lonely, and sick. Give God's work a portion of what we have.


On occasions when the enemy tries to get a foothold and gain ground, and he always will try, we can show him the door and tell him that there is no place for him in our home or in our life.


Our destiny is now, and will forever be, reaping our promised reward for the works of righteousness ( doing what is right) .
PEACE,
ASSURANCE,
QUIETNESS,
PEACEFUL DWELLINGS
AND QUIET RESTING PLACES They are promised from our Father.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

LOVE AFFAIR

How does Jesus see those that are His? From the heavens, looking down on this troubled planet, He has His own who are being formed by the Father into His bride.



Clean, spotless, victorious and washed in the blood of the Lamb. His blood cleanses from all sin and wickedness. Although I do not feel like this, I am sorry to say, most of the time while I battle issues that arise daily, this does not change the fact or my position in Him.



While reading last evening I came upon chapter 4 in the Song of Solomon. The love affair between Christ and you and I can be seen in this beautiful passage. No matter our feelings, our doubt or fear at any given time, this is how Christ, the Great Shepherd of His sheep sees us as a body of Believers, and as individuals:



" Behold, thou art fair, my love;
behold thou art fair, you have doves eyes within thy locks;
thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead."


"Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn,
which came up from the washing; (washing of the word)
whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them" (we are fruitful)


"Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely;
thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks." (we have a Christ centered mindset)


" Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury,
whereon there hang a thousand bucklers,
all shields of mighty men." (the armour of God that is ours)


" Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins,
which feed among the lilies." (His word sustains and nourishes us daily)


" Until the day break, and the shadows flee away,
I will get me to the mountain of myrrh,
and to the hill of frankincense." (in this present darkness, our prayer, which is a sweet incense to God, sustains and gives hope and comfort)


" Thou art all fair, my love;
there is no spot in thee." (wonderful words from Christ to us!)


" Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse,
with me from Lebanon; look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon,
from the lions dens, and from the mountain of leopards." (He is our refuge and help in these dark and dangerous places.)


" Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse;
thou hast ravished my heart with one look of thine eyes,
with one chain of thy neck." (this is how He sees us!)


"How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse!
how much better is thy love than wine!
and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! (our daily prayers of thanksgiving and praise to Him give Him much pleasure)


"Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb:
honey and milk are under thy tongue;
and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon."


" A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse;
a spring shut up, a fountain sealed." (There is a secret place, or should be, where we meet the Bridegroom where no one else is allowed, a place of intimacy for our Loved One.)


" Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits;
camphire with spikenard, spikenard and saffron;
calamus and cinnamon,
with all trees of frankincense;
myrrh and aloes,
with all the chief spices;" ( all of our various trials, grief, victories and prayer in this life add to our spices and incense to Him, they all serve a purpose and have an aroma that is only experienced in the heavens, the spiritual world).


" A fountain of gardens,
a well of living waters
and streams from Lebanon." (there is a river that flows from the throne and its streams, of which we are a part, bring great gladness and glory in the spiritual part of our being, to others, and to God.)


" Awake, O north wind;
and come thou south;
that the spices thereof may flow out.
Let my beloved come into His garden,
and eat His pleasant fruits." (The winds of adversity that blow into this secret place spread the sweet savor to a lost and dying world. There is nothing to fear, we are His garden, we produce His fruit, it is all for Him!)



JESUS, LOVER OF MY SOUL - Charles Wesley - 1740
Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high;
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
O receive my soul at last!
Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, Ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head,
With the shadow of Thy wing.
Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen,
cheer the faint,
Heal the sick,
and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name,
I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin am I,
Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

REMEMBER MERCY

Today I read blogs and hear sermons from many regarding the coming judgments upon the our nation and the world because of sin and rebellion against God. If I were to mention God's mercy I fear I would be chewed up and cast aside because of the anger and bitterness that is coming from many circles.



Yet, there is a side of our God that many will depend greatly upon in the coming days; there is a prayer of King David that says in judgment, remember mercy. Untold millions will come into the Kingdom, not because of being whipped into salvation or cajoled or convinced, but because there will be absolutely no other place to go for comfort and salvation. This too, is a way of God. He is boxing many into a corner to where the only sane decision they can make is to realize their mistakes, repent of their sins, and accept that He is LORD of all.



The mercies of God are not mentioned just a few times in Scripture. In just one Book of the Psalm's mercy is mentioned 26 times (Psalm 136)! To make my point, the passages of Scripture below give an example of how extensive and all encompassing His mercy is in regard to a sinful and fallen creation:



For I have said, Mercy shall be built up forever; Thy faithfulness shalt Thou establish in the very heavens. (Psalm 89:2)



O satisfy us early with Thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)


For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting: and His truth endureth to all generations. (Psalm 100:5)


The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. (Psalm 103:8)


But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and it is righteousness unto children's children. (Psalm 103:17)


Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever. (Psalm 106:1)


O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever. (Psalm 107:1)


For Thy mercy is great above the heavens; and Thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. (Psalm 108:4)


O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34)


I hear quite often of the glory of the LORD coming down. What brings this event into our lives? Scripture gives some guidelines. In 2 Chronicles 5:13 it says, "It came to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth forever; that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD.



The LORD inhabits the praise of His people.



Additional passages to confirm the everlasting mercies of God:


Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23:6)


All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. (Psalm 33:18)


But I have trusted in Thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. (Psalm 13:5)


Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy. (Psalm 33:18)


Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever. (Psalm 106:1)


O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever. (Psalm 107:1)


For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and truth endureth to all generations. (Psalm 100:5)


Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. (Psalm 36:5)


But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. (Psalm 52:8)


But I will sing of Thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. (Psalm 59:16)


And unto Thee, O LORD, belongeth mercy; for Thou renderest to every man according to his work. (Psalm 62:12)


But Thou, O LORD, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (Psalm 86:15)


Quite a profile of the mercy of our Heavenly Father! And these are just some of the descriptions of His character in that regard. I never want to get so comfortable in my self that I resort to, or fall into the trap of condemnation of others. God has been merciful to me more times than I will ever know. I must do the same to others. Not merciful of sin, but of the enslavement and darkness of those who are the prisoners of sin. Christ came to set the captives free. He set me free from the darkness into His light.



This is my mission, prayer and great hope in the coming days-
" My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation is from Him.
He only is my Rock and my Salvation;
He is my defense; I shall not be moved."


"In God is my salvation and my glory;
the rock of my strength and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times:
ye people, pour out your heart before Him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Who Is Like You?

Deuteronomy 33:27-29 says that the eternal God is our refuge and underneath us are His everlasting arms. Can we claim these promises? On the authority of Scripture, we can.



Galatians 3:29 says in God's kingdom "There is neither Jew nor Greek (gentiles), there is neither bound nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. "



The qualifier here is if you are Christ's. We are not our own; we have been bought with a price. Even Mary, the earthly mother of Christ had a realization of this when she prayed in Luke 1:54,55 "He (God) has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy."



Being a servant of the Almighty is a good position to be in. Underneath us, upholding us in all of our life are His everlasting arms. The verses in Deuteronomy continue to promise that He will thrust out the enemy from before us; and He shall say, "Destroy them." We are always confronted with enemies of one form or another. It can be debt, health, unbelief or other issues. Anything that stands between us and God I consider to be an enemy. All issues that interfere with doing His will is an enemy. He has promised to say "Destroy", and I take Him at His word.



He also promises that we will dwell in safety and the fountain of Jacob will be upon a land of corn and wine, and the heavens will drop their dew. Jesus said if we believe in Him that our of our innermost being will flow rivers of living water.



The verse concludes with " Happy art thou, O Israel: Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD; the shield of our help and the sword of our excellency! Our enemies will be found to be liars and we will tread upon their high places."




I have personalized these verses, and they read as such:
The eternal God is my refuge,
underneath me are His everlasting arms;
He will thrust out my enemies from before me and shall say "Destroy them!"



I will then dwell in safety and my fountain will once again be upon a land of corn and wine and His heavens will drop their dew.
Happy am I and who is like unto me, a person saved by the LORD,
He is the shield of my help and the sword of my excellency.



My enemies (doubt, fear, debt, anger) shall be exposed as liars and I will tread upon their high places (their former places of strength in my life).





No matter the difficulty, and there are many, we will come out of this thing winners and victorious in God!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In A Hurry?

The second book of Samuel, Chapter's one through four give an amazing glimpse into the character of King David. This is important because Jesus is given the title as the son of David; He will also sit on the throne of David when He returns.



As we know from Sunday school lessons as children, King Saul was jealous of David and sought to kill him for quite a number of years. Although anointed as the new King of Israel, David did not fight Saul. He did everything he could to make amends. I am sure he prayed that Saul would repent of his ways and become the king that he should have been.



When Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in battle fighting the Amelekite's, David wept bitterly when he heard the news. The man who brought David the news of Saul's death spoke boldly that he was the one who ran the spear through Saul. David was angry that one could so easily kill a man that was anointed of God to be King. David had this man put to death. Earlier in King Saul's life he was instructed to slay all of the Amelekite's in battle and Saul disobeyed; thus, an Amelekite was instrumental in ending his reign. It may take years for our disobedience to God to catch up with us, but as sure as the sun rises, it will. Saul never repented of his disobedience, he made excuses. We are blessed today that we have an Advocate with the Father in Christ Jesus.



After Saul's death one would think that David would immediately declare that he is king over all of Israel. Scripture records that asked of God where he should go and he went to Hebron. He was king of only the Tribe of Judah. The other 11 tribes, under the direction and encouragement of one of Saul's generals anointed one of Saul's sons king over them, Ishbosheth.



David stayed in Hebron for over 7 years! He did not fight against the other tribes. He did not push the issue, although by all rights he could have done so. After all, he was the anointed one. This shows patience, grace and love for his brothers. He had confidence that after years of avoiding Saul's rage against him, and now having to reside in Hebron for years, that God would have His way in His time.



David played the peacemaker through it all. There was violence and discord all around but David encouraged himself in the LORD and trusted His timing and His ways. All throughout the first 4 chapters of 2 Samuel a picture of a man who was totally dependant on God appears. He did not push his agenda. He played the peacemaker and respected both the people under his direct rule, and he gave great deference to those who were uncertain as to who should be king over all of Israel.
In God's time, it all came together and David's kingdom was established and is even today, and for eternity, will be the throne of David.




I have not been so with God. I have been anxious to do what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted to do it. In my spirit I could feel that the door was closed for a season, and I would push with all of my might to force it open; much to my dismay at a later date. I have not always been patient, kind or gently with my brethren, but rather very inpatient and not always so kind.



If I am to grow in the grace and knowledge of the LORD, I must remember King David and his lifestyle as mentioned in 2 Samuel. As a child of God, should I get angry with those who refuse to see me as such? Do I lash out at those who do not see things as I do? Or, do I have patience, compassion and love for those who are lost and question what is the correct path to take?



The graces of God do not come easily. At times, we will feel so boxed in, as King David must have felt in Hebron while the other 11 tribes were serving and doing their own thing. But in God's time, after we have learned from our experiences while isolated and seemingly alone, His will and His way in His time will be revealed.
He is with us through the process.



King David acknowledged God in all things during his reign. When he sinned, he speedily repented. When it was time to wait, he did not act in haste. When he was punished for his actions against the Almighty, he did not complain but sought mercy and forgiveness.



David's example is a good one to emulate. God's graces working through a person and the trials, temptations, patience, and turmoil are what produced the beautiful psalms of thanksgiving, praise and worship that give us so much strength and courage and confidence today.



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

HIS WAY

Many times in life I've tried to dance around the laws of God, thinking that I was different in some way. Surely He understood and would make exceptions for me.



If I would have instead paid attention to His ways as revealed in the Bible much pain and suffering would have been avoided. The Children of Israel are our example. The Apostle Paul says what is recorded in scripture is an example of God and His ways.



The Book of Deuteronomy records God's blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. These spiritual laws are irreversible and written in stone. Nothing will change them. Like me, the Children of Israel tried to make skirt around the issue and make things happen of their own power, skill and will.



Several of the curses of operating in this fashion were that the heavens above would become brass and the earth beneath would be iron. My prayers would not be heard or answered and whatever I sowed into the earth would not produce fruit.
I would flee from my enemies seven ways and be removed from the land into foreign kingdoms that I do not know. There would never be any settling down or place of happiness. Enemies would arise during this troublesome journey and I would not be able to stand, fight and be successful; I would just flee. This is what happened to Israel during their troublesome history in the Bible and in recent history.



For a few examples of this fulfillment of the curse for disobedience; in A.D. 70, as we know, General Titus of the Roman Legion burned and sacked the Temple. In fulfilment of Christ's prophecy, not one stone was left upon the other. The only remaining relic of that great Temple is the outer wall, called the Western or Wailing Wall.



Most Jews were removed from the land and sent to nations that they did not know, and they served other gods. They fled from before their enemies more than seven ways. Still, like many, they made valiant attempts to resettle the land and cause things to return to normal. But, all attempts to circumvent and reverse the words of God will always fail. It is an exercise in futility.



Still, many attempts were made to reverse the rulings from the heavens. In 135 A.D. according to Dio Cassius, 50 fortified cities and 985 villages in Judea were razed to the ground and destroyed. Some 600,000 Jews were killed in the battles. The entire city of Jerusalem was ploughed under and a heathen statue sat on what was once the Temple.



Still, for an additional 200 years, although Israel was renamed Syria-Palestinia, when it looked like they may once again become established in the land in some manner, after the Roman Empire imploded, a new ruler named Constantine the Great established anti Jewish laws. Jews were excluded from teaching, holding any office, or the ability to own property. They were forbidden intermarriage with non-Jews and no new Synagogues were allowed.



After hundreds of years of valiant attempts by Jews, the laws of blessing and curses were not reversed. Under Constantine the Great, the first Christian Ruler of the Roman Empire, Jews who refused baptism could suffer the loss of property, torture or death. (365-439 A.D.)



In 624 A.D. the remaining Jews in Israel ( now called Syria-Palestinia) formed an alliance with the Persians and were successful in battle. There were possibly 150-200 thousand Jews left of an original 1 million. Then, the Persians betrayed the Jews and left them at the mercy of the Byzantines. Then, the Crusaders almost liquidated the entire Jewish population in their effort to Christianize Jerusalem, while they were fighting the Arabs (Muslims).



Jews who had escaped the turmoil over the past 2000 years were persecuted in the lands to which they fled. There were pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, the Inquisition's in Europe, and finally the Holocaust of the 1930' and 1940's. God's word will never be circumvented. His judgments are sure.



As tragic as the results of disobedience are in severity and long lasting results; the blessings for obedience are just as sure. Blessings are also written in the heavens. God's thoughts toward Israel and all who obey Him are good. This way also does not change. It is as sure as the judgments. We have a record of the judgment; now for the promises for repenting and obeying. Here are just a few-



The earth will once again see and know that we are a special and chosen people; separate from the world and called by the Name of God. As we strive to obey, our enemies will flee from before us and we will be blessed when we go in, and when we come out. Blessing will overtake us as we live for and obey Him.



He has determined from the foundations of the earth and heavens to have a holy people; not a holy people to ourselves, but a people to and for Him. A people from which He can display His pleasure and goodwill to the lost and dying. It is the way He has chosen to reveal Himself to the nations. We live, act and breathe to bring Him pleasure, not pleasure for ourselves.



As the Apostle says, "I am dead in Christ, nevertheless, I live, and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God."



He desires to set His children high above all of the nations of the earth. Blessings will come to us and overtake us. He longs to do good to not only Israel and His children, but to all tribes and tongues who obey His commandments.



But, He will not change His ways. The history of the Children of Israel are the example given. All attempts to "dance around" the issue are futile.



As the final struggle between His kingdom and the kingdoms of the world come to a climax, His time to favor Zion has come; both physical Zion and spiritual. Both together operating as one, in One.



As we walk in obedience, the earth will once again see and know that we are a special and chosen people, called by the Name of the LORD.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shadow Praise

"Then commanded Belshazzar (King of Babylon), and his servants clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning Daniel that Daniel should be he third ruler in the kingdom. On that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain..." (Daniel 5:29,30)



How temporary praise and honor from this world is. The Apostle Paul in the New Testament told us the things that occured in the Old Testament were recorded for examples and for us to pay attention to and learn from them. They are records of the ways of God. Our actions should be in accordance with these examples. They are to be remembered and followed along with the life and teachings of Christ.



The punishement happened to King Belshazzar after his royal court brought cups and items from the Holy Temple to drink from them during his evening of revelry. This act of defiance and arrogance against the One true God resulted in his death on that very night.



How does our society treat the holy things of God? Is there a healthy fear regarding His Word and instructions? Why do most think that they are exempt from the same punishment as King Belshazzar? Why do most seek and strive for the golden chain, robe of scarlet and power and wealth of the world? This incident in the Book of Daniel was given as warning to those who seek glory and prestige from the world, instead of from God.



What good did the gold, robe of scarlet and a third of the kingdom do for Daniel? What good would it do for us if we received such a gift from the world? The kingdom of Belshazzar fell that very night. The king was pronounced dead the next morning. This is how severe the punishment can be for treating the things of God lightly.




In 1 John 2:17 we are admonished to love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, for the things of this world-
1. The lust of the eyes
2. The lust of the flesh
3. And the pride of life
are NOT of the Father but are of the world. And the world passes away and the lust that is in it, but the Word of God stands forever.



The world passed away for King Belshazzar on that eventful night. His praise, gifts and recognitioin of Daniel were only a shadow. His kingdom was destroyed, his wealth gone, and his life ended.



As I start this new week after the Thanksgiving Holiday, I go to work with this story from Daniel in my thoughts. I will do what is required of me on my job, I will receive a pay check (hopefully!) for my work, and I will remember that the praise, glory and honor of this world are but a shadow when put proper context with the things that are eternal.



Love God, and keep His commandments; this is the whole duty of man.