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."


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Why Do We Face Trials? So That The World Can See His Spirit in Us

"And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?" (Genesis 41:38)

Joseph went through untold, incredible trials.

His brothers betrayed him.

They sold him into slavery.

He was stripped naked and sold as a slave to Potiphar

Yet through all the trials, from the outset, the Lord was with Joseph, and everything he touched prospered. (Genesis 39:2)

Potiphar made Joseph lord of his house, so that Potiphar was only aware of the food in front of him. Then Potiphar's wife made perverse designs on Joseph. He righteously refused, and yet was punished as though he had done her wrong.

In the king's prison, Joseph continued to receive favor:

"But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison." (Genesis 39:21)

From the prison, he interpreted dreams, and the butler who was restored forgot to tell Pharoah and others about his trial.

Then came the moment, two years later, when the butler remembered Joseph, not just a dreamer now but an interpreter of dreams, and brought his fame to Pharoah's attention.

Pharoah summoned Joseph, who interpreted Pharoah's dreams and advised him about how to deal with the coming famine upon the earth.

And there, Pharoah then declared: "Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is."

Of himself, Joseph was nothing, and he even declared that he himself did not interpret dreams:

"And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace." (Genesis 41:16)

Not just the answer ot the dreams, Joseph gave Pharoah an answer of Shalom, of consummate peace.

Joseph had experienced God's favor in spite of all the hardships, hardships which no one could have overcome on their own in their own efforts.

It was clear that God had been with Joseph, and this witness was unmistakable for Pharoah, that he could declare: "Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?"

Are you going through trials now? Are you facing challenges which are not of your making? Have you been wronged, and therefore you are suffering accordingly?

Realize that God is setting you up. He is positioning you so that the world will know that God is with you, that He is blessing you. In fact, you cannot help but be blessed and be a blessing, because Christ is in you, your hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27)

Don't feel lost or abandoned because of trials you face now. Now that He is working in you so that the world can see His spirit in you.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

For Victory Over Sexual Immorality, Let the Love of the Father Inside You

Sexual immorality is a problem in the world, and even in the Body of Christ.

This matter needs to be confronted with the grace and truth of Christ Jesus.

Interestingly enough, Pastor Joseph Prince of Singapore released the entire video for one of his sermons:




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vx3AgKmlQE

I have watched this video a few times. I wanted to break free of internal sexual demands.

The sexual issues I struggled with, however, were not taken care of very well. They did not go away, as I had hoped they would, from watching the particular sermon above. It's interesting, too, because in this sermon I find that the pastor does not stress the power and glory of God's grace to help us all overcome these failings which all of us fall into.

I suppose that it is just as well that I differ with Pastor Prince on this matter. No one should be so keenly attached to one pastor and everything that he preaches. All of us have to grow in grace, even those who preach God's Word, especially those who preach God's Word quite well.

Pastor Joseph Prince makes a lot of comparisons and discusses sexual dynamics. He praises women and denigrates men sometimes--jokingly, of course, but sometimes it irritates me.

He also stesses extensively that single people should seek the blessing of getting married. That really bothers me--and that imposition is not scriptural. There is no reason for anyone to feel inadequate, lacking, or "less than" if they remain single.

Paul the Apostle said it best:

"Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman." (1 Corinthians 7:1)

and also

"Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife." (1 Corinthians 7:27)

It's beautiful to be celibate. It is beautiful to be single! I wish that Pastor Prince and other ministers around the world understood this revelation. I am not sure why so many do not convey this truth.

At any rate ...

In his sermon about Victory Over Sexual Immorality, he does not talk about "The Love of the Father." Yet those who struggle with temptations: pornography, masturbation (self-starting), fornication, multiple partners, adultery--fall into one of the three categories outlined by John the Beloved:

"15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:15-17)

They are indulged, engaged in "lust of the flesh". They go for the lust of the eyes, and they have this pride of life, to feel like big shots in a world full of small people seeking to make others smaller.

Also, Pastor Prince's preaching in the above, to abstain from sexual immorality, stresses the following points:

1. Restraining yourself for sexual pleasure in the confines of marriage, which is more pleasurable
2. Avoiding fornication will make you smarter and sharper
3. Refraining from sexual immorality will give you greater spiritual expression --- Here, Pastor Prince wisely, wonderfully points out that Joseph, the son of Jacob and savior of his brethren and the Israelite nation, started interpreting his dreams after he refused Potiphar's wife and her perverse advances.

These are all great points.

However, these incentives do not entice or motivate people to abstain from fleshly lusts. If people think they can't have something better, they will settle for what is available. 

Let's return to what John the Beloved, the Disciple whom Jesus Loved, had to say in his First Epistle.

Why do people seek the lust of the flesh?

"The lover of the Father is not in him."

It's worth pointing out that Joseph the patriarch knew his Father's love--both his earthly as well as his heavenly Father.

He experienced God's favor throughout his life, especially when he was reduced to nothing, stripped naked, and sold into slavery:

"1And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmealites, which had brought him down thither. 2And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian." (Genesis 39:1-2)

Now that's AWESOME! That is God's love!

Joseph knew and believed in God's love for him.

Therefore, he could reject Potiphar's wife:

"There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9)

God the Father was blessing and fulfilling Joseph in so many ways long before all of this!

God was good to Joseph! 

God was blessing Joseph, watching out for him the whole time!

It's the goodness of God, the grace of God that leads us more into His holiness, and away from the world's sinfulness:

"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;" (Titus 2:11-12)

This is the grace that sent God's Son to die for us, to be punished for all our sins, to take us from death to life, His life (Colossians 3:4)

Grace, God's unmerited favor helps us to "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts"!

When we know the love of the Father, when we allow His love to overflow into us, all that dead, boring, ugly, destructive stuff falls away.

Imagine what would happen if we started telling young people: "Daddy God is madly in love with you. He is madly in love with you, declaring your righteous, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:3-6)

He is in love with you, even if you engage in some strange sexual perversities. The more that you see how much he warmly, richly loves you--the less you will engage in other perversions, whether sexual or otherwise.

"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)

When boys know that they are prized and loved by their Heavenly father, they won't try to find that love and acceptance in one-night stands. The same is true for girls.

They need to know the love of the Father, and they need to know that that warm, rich, satisfying love is already waiting for them. They just need to allow that love in!

Pastor Prince's most important revelation in the midst of these very personal, difficult, painfully intimate struggles?

"Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." (1 Corinthians 6:18)

and

"10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." (1 Timothy 6:10-11)

So what is going on for those caught in a cycle of sexual sin?

Pastor Prince delivers the problem perfectly!



If you do fail?


"1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1)

There is no condemnation! Jesus took all the condemnation for us! Therefore, even when we sin, fall, or fail, God's love does not go away! His grace never stops flowing into our lives. When we start relying on our efforts--whether to fulfill lusts or to abstain--we are set free!

No condemnation! We are accepted, fully loved and embraced in the Beloved!

There you have it.

The more that people understand how loved they are by God, why would they settle for the petty, temporal trash of one-night stands, empty sexual escapades, and shameful loss?

Final Reflection

The answer to sexual morality is not found in telling young people "Wait for marriage. It will be worth it." That does not work.

Why do these lusts in our flesh continue to tug at us, draq us into their net, whether we are young or old?

We do not know the Love of the Father. We have not allowed the Father's love into us.

Why do we not know the love of the Father?

We do not understand the Finished Work of the Son.

The answer to sexual immorality is divine intimacy. The answer to unhealthy desires is to know how much God the Father desires you.

If you feel like you are lacking something, look and see how much you Daddy God supplies to you--freely! (Romans 8:32)

If you think that your sins, your lusts and pride have separated you from the Father, consider that nothing can separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39)

Don't focus on overcoming the sin. Be overcome by the Father's love for you!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Not Sexual Needs, But the Need for God's Unconditional, Everlasting Love

Psychiatrists often talk to patients about their "Sexual needs."

Something is really wrong here.

People do not need to have sex. Men and women can live highly functional, fulfilling lives without jumping on someone.

Of all the creatures on earth, human beings can choose not to have sex. They can refrain from reproducing.

Man's greatest need is unconditional love. Not sex, but love!

Consider what John said to his readers in His First Epistle:



"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)

What is of the world, according to John?

16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:16-17)

What the world has to offer, the pleasures, the contentments which we seek from the world, are simply not enough!

They don't last. We need something eternal, for that is what we were made for!

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world [lit. eternity] in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

So, we need God's eternal LOVE!

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (Jeremiah 31:3)

and

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

and therefore:

"38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

Now, what is God's love, precisely? How does the Bible define it?



"9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9)

Love is about God sending his Beloved Son to the world. We live because of Him, and we love through Him!

Then the definition becomes clearer:

"10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

God sent His Son to be our Mercy Seat, where our sins are paid for forever!

Because of Jesus' Finished Work on the Cross, we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:21)

This righteousness, this blessed status of being fully and forever justified before God, means that we can know and believe in God's love for us.

Because of this righteousness, we can rest assured that God will never be made at us again (Isaiah 54:9)

This is what man needs.

He does not have sexual needs. He needs unconditional love, and that love can only be provided by God through His Son JESUS!