and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sliding Down the Stairs

       The cars were driving a normal speed which meant the roads weren’t icy.  The newspaper lay on the snow by the tree but was at risk of getting wet due to melting snow.  Since I decided to be nice and bring it in for hubby, I shoved on my ‘quick run outside’ shoes and stepped out onto the cement stairs.  The second both feet hit the stair, they both slipped off into the air and I went sliding down all five steps on my butt- unable to stop until I hit the ground.  Not embarrassing at all in front of all the cars going by!!!

       The only lesson I can conclude from this mishap is that looks can be deceiving.  It looked like the stairs were just wet, but in reality they had a thin sheet of ice on them which caused me to slip.  So maybe I’ll have a few bruises and be a little sore, but I think that’s easier to get over than current deception slipping into the church.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see if they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1Jh. 4:1
Know this also, that in the last days grievous times will be at hand. 2Tm. 3:1

       Who are false prophets?  For some reason the first thing that always comes to my mind is those who predict future things that turn out to be false.  The Bible indicates it is more anyone who says they are speaking for God when they are not.  There are many pastors, teachers, know it all Christians, television personalities that claim to speak God’s Word to us, but it is twisted, taken out of context, full of worldly values/ beliefs/ wisdom, or completely off.  We must know the Word and know the God of the Word so that we will not be deceived.

Here are some things to watch for so that we don’t slip on that black ice and get hurt:

every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God… (v.3)  (Jesus- He was human  Christ- He is God  Jesus came born of woman)

For men will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters (empty pretenders), proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection (hard hearted, unsociable, unloving), unyielding (stubborn), false accusers (slanderer), without self-control, savage, despisers of good (oppose goodness or good men),

traitors, reckless (rash, reckless), puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having (the appearance) of godliness, but denying the power of it; even turn away from these. For of these are those who creep into houses and lead captive silly women loaded with sins, led away with different kinds of lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the full knowledge of the truth. (v.2-7)

these also resist the truth, men of corrupt mind, reprobate (unproven) concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further. For their foolishness shall be plain to all, as theirs also became.Yea, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and seducers will go forward to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (v.8-13)

       Lord, open our eyes to see and know that which is of You and that which isn’t.  Let us not be deceived out of lack of knowing the Word or too much trust in man.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Greatest Day

       For the past year and a half, I have been in an intensive Bible study of the book of Revelation- in four parts with one repeated.  They include related Scriptures from all over the Bible on numerous topics found in John’s book.  As a result I have read many of the applicable verses over and over again; so it is with wonder that the Holy Spirit took this very controversial passage and brought out something that imo is far more remarkable.

For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we watch or sleep we should live together with Him. 1Th. 5:9,10

       The terminology here is interesting.  Sleep usually implies death- sleeping in the grave.  It does not contrast life with death, but rather watch or death.  Still, it is what comes after that made me think for a long time.  So whether we Christians (Paul wrote this book and was writing to Christians) are watching or sleeping, we should live together one day with Jesus.

       Do you get how amazing that statement is?  One day we shall live with the God of all creation, the One who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One who gave up where He was to dwell as a helpless, mortal baby that could do nothing for Himself.  All powerful to least powerful.  For us.  So that He could redeem us by taking our sins on Him as He died on the cross for us.  So that we could be forgiven.

He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree… 1Pt. 2:24
For He has made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us… 2Cr. 5:21
looking for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify to Himself a special people, zealous of good works. Tt. 2:13,14

       Jesus came to redeem our lives and the world.  One day when the work of redemption is complete, all those who intimately know Him and are intimately known by Him will live together in unity with peace and joy in a world where sin, sickness and moral filth will never be again.  Best of all is that the greatest Love of our lives will be there and we will gaze into His eyes, be held in His tender but strong arms, and feel the warmth of His love as we dwell with Him forever.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth… … And there shall in no way enter into it anything that defiles, or any making an abomination or a lie; but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Rv. 21:21,27
One thing I have desired from Jehovah, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah… Ps. 27:4


       THAT will be the greatest day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Comfort over Blessings

       It doesn’t seem like any of us would choose to lose out on blessings, but I think we choose it simply by remaining in our comfort zone.  We are comfortable going to church if we can sit in the same seat speaking only to the people we know.  We are comfortable being a Christian as long as we don’t have to tell others about the Jesus we love.  We are comfortable helping out on Sundays, just don’t ask us to help during the week- I mean, we work too, don’t you know?

       It’s more comfortable for us to sit back or give to others to do the ministry work instead of stepping out of our comfortable, safe lifestyle to do a new thing for God.  It’s easier for us to just give God a little of our time than to press in and exert more effort to know Him.  Or perhaps subconsciously we don’t want to know Him more than we do because then He might expect more from us than we want to give.  Obedience to His will would require uncomfortable forward motion.

       We tend to see the Hebrews coming out of Egypt with judgmental eyes, after all, if they saw such great miracles, how could they lose faith, not believe, complain, or want to go back to Egypt.  I am as guilty as many who do that.  And yet, I am a few weeks late doing what the Lord wants me to, of course with valid excuses!  Comfort, safety, not venturing into the unknown…  missed blessings for me and others. L  We NEED to step out of our comfort zones.

comfortable safety
And they said to Moses, Have you taken us away to die in the wilderness because there were no graves in Egypt? Why have you dealt this way with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Did we not tell you this word in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, so that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. Ex. 14:11,12

comfortable supplies
And the sons of Israel said to them, O that we had died by the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Then Jehovah said to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from the heavens… Ex. 16:3,4
And the mixed multitude in their midst lusted with great lust. And the sons of Israel also turned and wept, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic. Nm. 11:4,5
Take the rod, and gather the assembly, you and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes. And it shall give forth its water, and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock. So you shall give the congregation and their animals drink. Nm. 20:8

comfortable consistency
And they pulled up stakes from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the soul of the people was very discouraged because of the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water. And our soul hates this light bread. Nm. 21:4,5

comfortable religious devotion
They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made them a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, These are your gods, O Israel, who have brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Ex. 32:8

Their continued complaining and lack of faith caused negativity toward the God who freed/ saved them.
And you murmured in your tents and said, Because Jehovah hates us, He has brought us forth out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. Where shall we go up? Dt. 1:27,28
(even after seeing promised land)
And all the sons of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron. And the whole congregation said to them, Oh that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or, Oh that we had died in the wilderness! And they said to one another, Let us make a leader, and let us return to Egypt. Nm. 14:2,4

“Why did you allow this to happen God?”  “Why don’t You fix this?”  “If You loved me…”

Blessings abounded but went unappreciated.
   -miracles and salvation from bondage (Ex. 3- 15:19)
   -manna from heaven and quails from the air (Ex. 16)
   -water from rock (Ex. 17:6; Nm. 20:11)
   -defeat of the Amalekites at Rephidim (Ex. 17:8+)
   -shoes, clothes that didn’t wear out or feet that didn’t swell (Dt. 8:4; 29:5; Nh. 9:21)

       Perhaps the Hebrews never meant to displease God but were just uncomfortable with their new reality.  It is easier, after all, to continue doing what is always done.  But oh, the blessings they lost that way.  Our comfort can cost us blessings too.  Lord, give us the boldness and faith to step out of our comfortable lives…

You are always with us.  We can do it!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Php. 4:13

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Slowly into Slavery

       Are we free?  We have so much and can do so much in this country.  Think of all our freedoms: what we believe, eat, drink, buy- where we work, worship, live, go to school- how we live, transport ourselves, spend our free time- who we marry and how many children we have…  There once was a man named Jacob who brought his family- all 66- to live in a foreign country where his son was living (Gn. 46).  They were given a fertile land on which to feed their herds, lived a prosperous life and grew into a nation (Ex. 1).

And there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are many and mightier than we. Come, let us deal slyly* with them, lest they multiply… Ex. 1:8-10

       All was going well for Jacob’s descendents when a new king/ pharaoh came who didn’t acknowledge Joseph or what he had done for Egypt.  Since the people were multiplying so much, the new king feared the Israelites would try to take over the country and this fear lead him to bring the people into bondage using ‘worldly’ wisdom, slyness or deception which began with forced labour under overseers to keep them occupied and humbled and ended with the murder of male babies and harsh slavery.

       I often wonder if we are truly free, or if we can keep our freedoms only if we live within the confines of socially acceptable morals, values, beliefs and actions.  We must buy this, we must act this way, we must watch this…  We are in bondage to our possessions (need more- fix more- more to clean- replace), cell phones and constant connection but only surface relationally, the need to be more and do more, succeed as society deems success, etc.  So we haven’t truly left our bondage behind.

Don’t let the world slyly keep us there through deception, flesh and lethargy.

Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin. Jh. 8:34
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? Rm. 6:16 ESV

       Then we became born again, a new man (2Cr. 5:17; Ep. 4:24; Cl. 3:10) and yet we continue to act the same: spend our money, keep attitudes and values, watch same shows, play same games, same sluggish morality, etc.  In fact, ‘the world’ can’t see much of a difference between us and them- except for the judgmental attitudes we often display.  Oops!  But as the Israelites were called out of Egypt into God’s promise, so we are called out* of the sinful world and its bondage. (*church- ekklesia- a gathering of those called out)

We are called out of the bondage of our old lives, but into the new life given by Jesus Christ through His blood.  Buried with Him.  Alive to God through Him.

Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father; even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rm. 6:4 (Dead people can’t sin)
knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. Rm. 6:6
Likewise count yourselves also to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rm. 6:11

True freedom only comes through giving up our present bondage and completely surrendering ourselves to Almighty God, trusting in Him to do right by it.  Only then can we be completely free.

Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
Jh. 8:36

*many translations read wisely, but the word chakam here is in the hithpael form which in the BDB dictionary means: to show oneself wise, deceive