Monday, October 21, 2019

What Can The Righteous Do? Be Established in His Righteousness

"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3)

David writes: "If the foundations (of society) are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

The answer: Remain established in His righteousness:

"In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isaiah 54:14)



In this verse, "oppression" and "terror" refer to political tyranny, not just spiritual oppression.

The world may get darker and darker, but ...

"But the path of the just [righteous] is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Proverbs 4:18)

Even during the Ten Plagues, when one plague brought utter darkness on the land of Egypt:

"They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings." (Exodus 10:23)

This light was the Divine Light, since a natural light could have been produced by the Egyptians, as well.

Returning to David's Psalm, David does not ask this question "What can the righteous do?" as if there is no answer.

He provides it right away:

"The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men." (Psalm 11:4)

He is still very much on the throne, governing in the affairs of those who believe on Him.

In fact, to those who seek to undermine the foundations:

"The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming." (Psalm 37:13)

David the continues:

"The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth." (Psalm 11:5)

Yes, the Lord examines us, knowing that we will measure up, trusting in Him to see us through. The tough times reveal the perfect work which He has accomplised in those who believe in Him. Abraham was tested in Genesis 22, and demonstrated the fullness of faith!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Grace is License to Sin? What?!

It shocks me to great end that people continue to claim that grace gives people license to sin.

They just do not know, do not understand how great God's grace really is.

They don't see, know, realize, experience, receive how great God's grace really is.

Grace is a person -- Jesus!

Do people really think sin is all that great?

Honestly, the way that people talk about grace, as though it is a license to sin, it would be as though the Prodigal Son who came back to the Father, who would receive all the blessings and promotions of the Father, would then turn around and ask "Can I go back to eating pig food?"

Seriously?!

"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." (Psalm 34:8)

God is really good? Yes. Sin is tempting? Yes, but it's a lie.

From the serpent beguiling Eve, and then Adam going along with her fall, to the present day, Satan and the fallen world that Adam corrupted have lied to children of men, telling them that what God is, what He has to offer is not good enough.

And yet His grace superabounds in our lives, especially when we fail! (Romans 5:20)

How about this?

"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (Psalm 16:11)

Grace is license to sin?

That's not what the Bible says, either!

"11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:11-14)

And of course:

"1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein." (Romans 6:1-2)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What It Means to Know and Believe in His Love



"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)

For a long time, I didn't understand the difference between "to know that God loves you" and "To believe that God loves you."

Aren't they basically the same thing?

No.

"To know" stands in opposition, as in "not knowing."

Many people simply do not know that God loves them. They think that God is angry with them, or that His love for us is dependent on what we do, as opposed to what He is doing, or more importantly what He has already done through His Son.

"To believe" means that you stay confident in God's love for you, even when things are not going your way--so it seems.

When it seems that God is not on your side, He is very much on your side. When it seems that everything is falling apart all around you, you rest in the faith that He is holding everything together for you.

"And he is before all things, and by him all things consist [are held together]." (Colossians 1:17)



Thursday, August 15, 2019

Peter Wanted to Build Tabernacles -- Jesus is Our Tabernacle

"Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias." (Matthew 17:4)

Peter wanted to put Moses, Elijah, and Jesus on the same plane.

The Law-Giver and the Law-Restorer, however, do not compare with the one the Law-Writer, and the Law-Fulfiller, Jesus!

God the Father responded to this unthinking suggestion from Peter:

"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." (Matthew 17:5)



Not the Law, not the Prophets, but the Man and the Glory Jesus Christ -- We are called to hear Him!

And what was the first thing that Jesus said after His transfiguration?

"Arise, and be not afraid." (Matthew 17:7)

This point is really touching, because the very "arise" is literally "be risen."

Jesus brought them up!

While so many of us want to do something for Jesus, like Peter who wanted to build tabernacles, the truth is that Jesus wants to serve us.

In fact, He came to tabernacle over us!

John writes:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, ) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)



"Dwelt among us" is literally "tabernacled among us."

Jesus is our covering, and He wants to dwell with us.

For those who believe on Him, He also dwells within us!

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." (John 15:4)

and then

" For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Jesus is our tabernacle. Let Him cover you. Let Him protect you!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

God Mourns Even More When the Evil Perish

"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11)



Throughout the Bible, in the Old Testament and certainly in the New, God is presented as one who is slow to anger:

"The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." (Psalm 145:8)

God does not rejoice in the destruction of the wicked, of the evil people in the world who defy His love and reject His grace.



"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

There is great sorrow in the destruction of His creation, who reject His will, who spurn his love.

The contrast cannot be better seen than in David's response to the death of two sons.

The first, born out of wedlock to Bathsheba, begins with David's determined prayers to for his young life:

"And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. 16David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.  ...  (2 Samuel 12: 15-16

Despite his most fervent prayers, the baby died. David learned that his child had died, and this is how he responded:

"20Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat." (2 Samuel 12:20)

Unsurprisingly, his servants were surprised at his calm, restored demeanor.

David answered:

"22And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? 23But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:22-23)

Even though David had fasted, prayed, begged for God to deliver his child, and even though God ultimately did not restore the child but allowed the child to die, David could be restored to a sense of peace. Why? "I shall go to him."

David knew that he would see his son again.

But what about with the death of Absalom?

This son, who had betrayed, slandered, and rebelled against his own father, enough that he would have happily slayed him in the fields of battle, the same son who would rape David's concubines before all the nation of Israel; iof this same son David would say:

"Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom." (2 Samuel 18:5)

Such grace David had accorded to his son, who did not deserve it in the least.

When he learned of his death, at the hands of the very mighty men to whom he had order not to kill his son, David mourned with great outcry:

"33And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2 Samuel 18:33)

The mourning was loud, unrelenting for David. Why? Because his son was not only dead, but lost forever, damned. Such a loss could never be recovered.

Indeed, our Beloved Jesus died for all the sins of the world (1 John 2:1-2).

He died for us while we were still sinners, lost creatures who did not know where we had come from, nor who realized how much God so loved us (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:11).

God mourns when the evil perish, for they, part of His glorious creation, will never be able to repent.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Jesus Desires Us!

"I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me." (Songs 7:10)



Many Christians know "God loves me."

But do you really know?

Paul never claimed to have claimed a full understanding of God's love for him.

He deliberately corrects himself in a number of his epistles.

Consider this example:

"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (Galatians 4:9)

It's not about knowing God, but rather about knowing that He knows you!

Check out what Paul had written prior in the same epistle:

"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:20-21)

Notice that the Son, Jesus gave Himself for Paul, and in turn He gave Himself for us.

Yes, indeed, we belong to Jesus, those who believe on Him, and He desires us!

He longs for us! He has set His love on us.

This revelation is part of the crucial growing in grace, growing in knowledge of the LORD!

Paul wisely prayed this fundamental understanding for all of us!



"14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Make this prayer your prayer today! Jesus desires you!

Monday, August 12, 2019

God Doesn't Just Pardon, He Abundantly Pardons

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7)

This is one powerful passage!



Many of us, even those who are saved, seem to think that God is stingy when it comes to grace.

He forgives us a few times, but then when we cross that line of transgressing against Him, then He's going to whack us!

But the verse makes it clear that God keeps showing favor, blessings, pardon upon us.

The original Hebrew for "abundantly pardon" includes the word "rabah"

The word means "very much". but it also means "multiply".

He pardons on top of pardoning!

Here's the breakdown of the word in Strong's Concordance:

Strong's Concordance
rabah: multiply
Original Word: רָבָה
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: rabah
Phonetic Spelling: (raw-baw')
Definition: to be or become much, many or great

Here is the first mention of the word in the Bible:

"And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." (Genesis 1:22)

The word "multiply" in the above verse, both times, is "rabah."

The last mention of "rabah" in the Old Testament occurs below:

"I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased." (Zechariah 10:8)

Just like in the first mention of the verb, "rabah" appears twice as "increase".

Isn't that like our wonderful, loving Father?

He does not just pardon, but His pardoning increases, multiplies!

And why? Because of everything that Jesus did for us at the Cross!

This verse provides fully how God's grace multiplies in our lives, even when we sin, fall, fail:

"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" (Romans 5:20)

God doesn't just pardon ... He abundantly pardons!

The Youngs Literal Translation brings it out beautifully!

"Forsake doth the wicked his way, And the man of iniquity his thoughts, And he returneth to Jehovah, and He pitieth him, And unto our God for He multiplieth to pardon."