Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Don't Blame God for Your Misfortunes

"And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. 12It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. 13And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust. 14And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there." (2 Samuel 16: 11-14)

David was a great poet, shepherd, fighter, leader, king ...

But he was a bad father. He did nothing when one of his sons raped his daughter Tamar.

Another son, Absalom, took matters into his own hands.

Instead of dealing with both sons, David did nothing.

The same thing happened with a third son, Adonijah:

"And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom." (1 Kings 1: 6)

Probably out of guilt or a sense of inadequacy, David did not discipline his children.

Proverbs teaches otherwise:

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

David was not imparting grace and truth to his children.

Later, Absalom would "steal the hearts" (2 Samuel 15:6) of the people of Israel, so that he could lead a stunning rebellion against his own father.

This post, however, does not dwell on David's bad parenting.

Let us rather displace the lie that somehow the LORD was intent on punishing David.

God is not in the killing business. He does not anyone to perish, but rather be set free from sin and death:

"Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?" (Ezekiel 18: 23)

Because of Jesus, God is not in the cursing business:

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:" (Galatians 3: 13)

Looking back at David's dilemma--he had to flee from Jerusalem briefly, but he met support and sustenance from many.

Yes, Shimei of the tribe of Benjamin threw stones and dirt at David ....

But all of these terrible happenings were NOT Gods' fault!

Yet notice how God still blessed David and enabled him to retake the throne which God had already given him!

Final Reflection

In the face of misfortunes, never think that God is suddenly against you. David kept the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem, a picture of Jesus as our propitiation for our sins (1 John 2: 1-2).

Let us rest in the truth that He is for us, not against us (Romans 8: 31). Where even under the Old Covenant of bulls and goats, David was restored to his throne despite his own failures.

Today, under the perfect blood of Jesus--and we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2: 4-6)--we need never wonder if He is on our side. If there are misfortunes, they may result from our own poor decisions, but let us not blame God.

He is for us!

Monday, May 30, 2016

The New Covenant is an Acquired Taste

"No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." (Luke 5: 39)

When it comes to wine, yes indeed the old is better.

The context for the above verse, however, is not about wine, but rather about the Old and New Covenants:

"And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. 37And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." (John 5: 36-38)

There is no mixing the old and the new.

Either we must live under the Old Covenant completely, which ministers death and a complete need for His grace and life, or we accept the New Covenant, in which He provides all things for us.

When it comes to the covenants, or the ordering of God's world and His relationship with us, the Old kills, but the New grants us  His life and blessings:

"“And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

“7But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?" (2 Corinthiams 3: 4-8)

and also

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

"8For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:" (Hebrews 8: 7-8)

Notice that God found fault with the Old Covenant and has ushered in the New through His Son Jesus (Hebrews 9: 15).

In spite of the greater  glory of the New Covenant, Jesus teaches that going from the Old to the New is not easy.

Adam and Eve were tempted to know good and evil for themselves. The Israelites wanted to defeat the giants on their own. Even when God gave them the land, they refused to rest. Martha preferred to serve rather than be served, and yet Martha's sister Mary had the better part (Luke 10: 42)

The New Covenant is an acquired taste for us, as we grow more in His grace and less in our efforts.

To rest is real labor for us, and yet were called to enter into this rest, where we believe in Jesus and his great caring for us (Hebrews 4:11)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Jesus Is Present to Heal--Everywhere!

"And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them." (Luke 5: 17)

Notice that Jesus was "present to heal them."

Jesus has the power to heal.

He has the power to heal us.

He heals.

It's not dependent on where, but who.

Consider Jesus' healing ministry in John 9:

"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9: 1-3)

Notice that Jesus speaks about "The work of God." He does not get caught up in "whose fault is it?"

If we want to lay blame simply on whose fault it is, start with Adam, and the fall of man which followed.

Also, notice that healing is based on Himself, not where.

Isaiah prophesied Jesus our healer:

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." (Isaiah 53: 4)

The King of the Jews--and our Great High Priest--fulfilled and continues to fulfill this prophecy today:

"4And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. 16When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." (Matthew 8: 14-17)

Notice "Himself" took our diseases, Him who is ever-present (Hebrews 13:5)

Now, back to the account of John 9:

 4I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." (John 9: 4-7)

Jesus our life and health, is ever-present to heal you, wherever you are, whatever your condition may be!

Don't worry about trying to be in the right place. Jesus is your healing, ever present to heal!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Let us Praise Him, for He Lives in Us

"In the courts of the LORD'S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD." (Psalm 116: 19)

This is the last verse for Psalm 116.

We are invited to praise the LORD for all the good that He does,

For all the good that He IS!

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John 4: 16)

We are His Temple. We are His courts today, because He loves us:

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"  (1 Corinthians 3: 16)

and then

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6: 19)

We are in His courts and in His Temple, because He lives and dwells in us!

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)

Praise the LORD!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pay with Vows of Thanksgiving!

18I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people," (Psalm 116: 18)''

If there is one oath for any of us to keep before God, it is that we believe on His Son!

"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16: 16)

Jesus allayed the demands and concerns of the Israelites during His earthly ministry:

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6: 29)

So, what really can we give God? He gives us life, and all things pertaining to His life in us:

"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" (2 Peter 1: 3)

and

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8: 32)

He is doing all the giving.

What is left for us to pay?

"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." (Hebrews 13: 15)

Friday, May 20, 2016

We Thank Him, and Ask Him for Help

"I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD." (Psalm 116: 17)

Why do we thank God?

Because He is good to us!

"O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." (Psalm 107:1)

His grace, His goodness, is never-ending.

Thanksgiving from us is the new sacrifice that we give to God, because Jesus was the final blood sacrifice, and His blood cleanses all sin, rather than merely atoning for sin once a year:

"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" (Hebrews 10: 12)

The blood of Jesus is--present tense--better than anything spilled from an animal:

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9: 11-14)

His Blood is perfect!

His blood cleanses us forever!

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1: 7)

and

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2: 1-2)

Jesus is in the Helping, Saving business. Let's call upon Him in our time of need:

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4: 16)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Servitude for God: Freedom from All Bondage

"O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds." (Psalm 116: 16)

What does it mean to be a servant of the Lord?

For many, they believe that they must toil and strive, work as hard as they can to do things for God.

In fact, we have an account when one of God's most ardent followers tried to serve Him:

"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 40But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Acts 10: 38-42)

Martha was too busy trying to serve God, and yet she was not serving Him.

Mary rested at His feet and received His Word.

Mary served the Lord Jesus.

As we receive the Word of God, we are set free from bondages, error, and lies:

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8: 31-32)

What is servitude to our Lord, then?

Allow Him to set you  free, and to have His life abundantly! (John 10: 10)