Monday, September 25, 2017

His Life Guides Our Life

We are not set free through our own efforts.

If we were able to set ourselves free, then we would never be in bondage to begin with!

"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)

We are set free by Someone Else.

If He has set us free, then why not allow Him to guide is in turn through every other part of our lives?

"And let the peace of God (lit. Christ) rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." (Colossians 3:15)

Before Paul writes about Christ Jesus' peace guiding us, He reminds us who our life is:

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

So, if He is our life, does it make sense for us to try and figure things out in our lives, as though God is holding back from us, or that He does not want us to be guided by His peace?

Of course not!

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)





And

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13)

For the last two months, I have not held a steady job. At one point two months ago, I panicked so greatly, as though I had to strive, struggle, and figure out what I wanted to do next in my life. The whole future seemed like a black whole, or a nebulous question mark.

Where am I going? What am I supposed to do?

Even as I write the above question out, another Scripture comes to mind:

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6)

He is the way!

There is no reason for me to fret about what directions I need to take or next steps I need to make:

"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (Isaiah 46:10)

and

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." (Psalm 37:23)

There is no reason for me to fear or worry about my future. He has already prepared the way for me, just as He ensured that Jacob and his family would be saved--and through him all the world would be saved through Jesus Christ!

"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:" (Genesis 12:2)

and

"13And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. 16And Jacob awaked out of his sleep ..." (Genesis 28: 13-16)

I trust Him to take care of me, because He said that He would.


It is not my job to figure out the way that I need to go. It's my responsibility to see more of Him--the Way, the Truth, and the Life--and allow Him to lead me.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Rahab The Harlot was Righteous! But How? By Faith!

Rahab was a harlot, which in today's langauge means that she was a prostitute.

Yet for God, righteousness is never based on what we do.

It's all about believing on Him!

"And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)

Righteousness is all about faith, trusting God and His Word, not our flesh and our efforts:

"Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:4)

Let's not forget God's promises to us through His prophet Isaiah:



"14In righteousness shalt thou be established:
...

"17No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54: 14, 17)

Righteousness is not something that we create, but rather something that God establishes us in. We receive it!

Consider in the 17th verse that God tells us "Their righteousness is from me."

It's not our own. In fact, our own attempts to create righteousness or to do righteousness are a double failure:

So, how was Rahab the harlot righteous?



Consider what she said to the Israelite spies who entered Jericho!

"And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." (Joshua 2: 9-11)

Let's look at the powerful testimony of this woman of faith!

She knew that God had given the land to the Israelites.

She heard and believed what God did to the Red Sea, and He destroyed the heathen kings in the Promised Land. She also affirms the pre-eminence of the LORD!

But there's more:

"12Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: 13And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death." (Joshua 2: 12-13)

She not only belived in the One God, but believed Him to be gracious!

In other words:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

So, let us review.

Abraham was made righteousness because he believed in the LORD. Abraham took God at His word that He would bless Abraham and make Him a mighty nation--that the Dragon Slayer who would crush the head of Satan would come and redeem all mankind (Genesis 3:15).

Rahab believed in the LORD, too, recognizing His mighty deeds and the good works that He intended to do for Israel and for the world.

Notice, therefore, that we are not made righteousness based on anything that we do, and our righteousness is not removed from us based on anything that we do.

It is a gift!



"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)

Then:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

And of course, the writer of Hebrews identifies Rahab as faithful!

"By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace." (Hebrews 11:31)

AMEN!

Do You Esteem Your Woes Greater Than Your Savior?

"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)

God our Daddy (Romans 8:15) gave up His Son for you and me.

Yet so many of us look at our circumstances, are difficult decisions, our hard times, and even our sins and failures.

We esteem what we have been through or what will face as greater than what Jesus did for us.

Do you really think that God does not care about what you are going through?

Check out how much our loving Father knows about us:

29Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.31Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10: 29-31)

He knows how many hairs we have on our heads!



Check out how well He keeps close to us, too!

"O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off." (Psalm 139:1-2)

There is nothing that is hidden from His view, and our concerns are very much His concern!

Peter reminds his readers to see our Loving Father as fully invested in caring for us, too!

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Do not think that the concerns you face, or the hardships you are facing, are of no importance to God. Do not think for one second that the challenges before you are too great for your loving Father, either:

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:27)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Enemies Will Gather, But By God's Grace They Will Fall--For Your Sake

Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake." (Isaiah 54:15)

The last verse of Isaiah 54 speaks of "No weapon formed against you shall prosper."

But we also have to recognize that our enemies, our opponents will gather together on their own. They will "surely gather".

That is a double intensive statement, literally "gather gather" in Hebrew.

Expect it, folks--there will be bad people who join together to oppose you.

But ...

"Not by me".

Never, ever think that when there are many voices, forces, opponents to you--that they have come from God.

That is why we must be established in righteousness--not just believe in it, not just think about it, but know and believe without a doubt that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

There's greater victory which comes to those who are attacked, who find evil forces gathered together against them:

"Whoever gathers against you shall fall"

They will not win, beloved. They cannot win--and we cannot lose:

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8:37)

and

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

Why will they fail?

"For your sake."



Because Our loving Father, our Daddy God, cares for us!

"Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name." (Psalm 91:4)

and

10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Anne Graham Lotz: Still Foolish and Slow of Heart to Believe the Gospel

Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of celebrated pastor and evangelist Billy Graham, has often declared that God is going to judge America. I have vehemently criticized this diminution of God’s grace, especially how she disregards the power of Jesus’ blood, which cleanses us of our sins forever (1 John 1:9). Lotz once claimed that God was hiding from us because of America’s many sins, and that judgment was coming! Click here for my full remarks on her warped, misplaced theology.

Why does Anne Lotz have lots of judgment coming out of her mouth and pen?       


Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz said she is learning to forgive herself after dealing with guilt and self-blame stemming from the death of her husband, Danny, back in 2015.

This is a startling admission from an evangelist. God so loved—not condemned—the world, that He sent His Son (John 3:16-18).

Lotz needs a reminder of what the Gospel is!

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)

In Christ, we are justified from all things. We are forgiven from all our sins. There is a judgment to come, but it will be for those who did not believe on Jesus. It will have nothing to do with individual sin, since all sins have been paid for at the Cross.

Neditate on this profound yet still disputed truth about God’s grace—Jesus died for all sins for all time:

13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (Colossians 2: 13-14)

Where were your and my trespasses when Jesus died on the Cross? They were all in the future!

Yes, the Blood of Jesus covers all sins, and to this day Jesus our High Priest Forever serves as our Mercy Seat (1 John 2: 1-2).

Paul identifies something else nailed to the Cross with Christ Jesus: “the handwriting of ordinances that was against us”, i.e. God’s law. God’s Law, the Ten Commandments, was not bad, but we are in that sin has fully corrupted us-and we need complete redemption (Hebrews 8:8; Galatians 3:13)



God provided us a death from God’s law through His Son Jesus:

4Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. (Romans 7: 4-6)

Following from Lotz’ misunderstanding of the Gospel, no wonder there are many Christians in the United States who still labor, mired in guilt. And for proof of this fatal misunderstanding, look no further than Anne Graham Lotz’ latest blog post:

…Forgive as the Lord forgave you.   Colossians 3:13
Guilt is our friend. If you are like me, it’s a friend you don’t want showing up on your doorstep.  But, more than likely, without it you and I would go on in wrongdoing until becoming dominated and defeated by it.

WHAT?! Guilt is NOT a friend!
Jesus did not die on the Cross for us to hold onto guilt or shame!

How many passages from the Old and New Testaments should I list to blast this evil lie?!

Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. (Isaiah 54:4)

And

For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.” (Isaiah 61:7)

And

“There is now therefore no condemnation in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1)

Lotz fails to quote Colossians properly:

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

As Christ—our anointed, glorified Savior—has forgiven us, so do we forgive others. We do not forgive ourselves. Our forgiveness has been paid for at the highest price: the blood of God’s own Son. We have great glory in the full gift of righteousness granted to us, which God our loving Father invites us to keep receiving (Romans 5:17).

What about Lotz’ charge that guilt keeps us from sinning? That is completely unbiblical:

For 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; (Titus 2:11-12)

And

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4)

We should not be surprised that people preach condemnation when they in turn feel condemned.


Lotz’ misunderstanding of the Gospel is a travesty. Evangelists must declared the Gospel to its fullest, and not fear the reproach of men (Romans 1:16; 6: 1-3). At least we know why Anne Graham Lotz has preached condemnation and retribution, completely out of line with God’s Word: she is like many Christians, still “foolish and slow of heart to believe” (Luke 24:25) concerning God’s grace and truth.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hey Solomon, A Righteous Man Was Found! His Name is Jesus

"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

Solomon wrote this verse in the waning years of his reign.

His wealth still rivals the wealthiest billionaires of our time. The gold, the riches, the fabulous wisdom he possessed impressed kings and ueens from all over the known world.

Yet even had to admit that there was not one just man, not one righteousman on the earth during his reign.



Then in the fullness of time, Jesus came:

"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Galatians 4:4-5)

And

"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" (1 Corinthians 1:30)

In fact, we all received His righteousness at the Cross!

"17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)" (Romans 5:17)

and

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

God Justifies the Ungodly Through His Own Son

"5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5)

God is identified as a He who "justifies the ungodly."

Isn't that powerful?

Isn't that wonderful!

God is the business of justifying all of us, for there is no one good--no, not one (Psalm 14:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20).

In fact, our Daddy God predicted that our first parents Adam and Eve, would sin against Him:

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:" (Ephesians 1:4)

and

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8)




We need to stop acting as though we have any righteousness of our own, whether our behavior or our attitudes, to make us OK, or that we can be godly in any action we engage in:

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

and

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54:17)

Notice in the last part that God announces "Their righteousness is of me."

I need God's righteousness. I have none of myself, for man is ungodly of himself.


But thank God that He is a justifier!

"6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." (Romans 5:6)

and then

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Waiting for God's Provision? Meditate on His Promises

"And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. 63And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.64And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel." (Genesis 24: 62-64)


In a previous post, we read how God not only provided the sacrifice to offer in place of Isaac, but after those things, Isaac's future had been born.

In Genesis 24, Abraham commands his servant to seek Isaac's bride, Rebekah.

The servant blesses God many times over for leading him to find the gracious Rebekah, who in due course supplies all things for the messenger and the camels.

Now, what about Isaac? What was he doing all this time? Did he go on a striving hunt to find what he needed?

Not at all.

When he first meets Rebekah, what was Isaac doing?

"Isaac went out to meditate in the field."

When you need answers, when you need something from the Lord, do not become impatient and rush to rely on your efforts.

Meditate on God's promises, and let His Word guide you!



"Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word." (Psalm 119: 148)

and

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:8)

and also

"38Now 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." (Luke 10: 38-42)

Notice that Jesus praised Mary, who sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.

If we are waiting for God's provision, meditate on God's Word, and allow Him to lead and to bless you!