Monday, December 9, 2019

He Is A God to Me, Because He Has Forgiven Me of All of My Sins

I used to wonder if God was on my side.

I wondered, not sure if God was going to come through for me or not.

This lack of faith was quite disconcerting for me, I must say.

For the longest time, I used to believe that God was present to me only if I was thinking about Him.

But that is not how it works.

He is a God to me because of what His Son accomplished at the Cross.

God is for us not because of anything that we have done, but because of everything that He has accomplished at the Cross.

Consider the elements of the New Covenant:

"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)

WHhy is God a God for us?

It's all in verse 12?

"I will be merciful (more accurately, propitious) to your unrighteousness, and your sins and iniquities I will remember no more."

God has put away all our sins, and He did this through Christ Jesus!

For the longest time, I was convinced that God's presence in my life depended on my feelings, depended on my thoughts.

I had to feel a certain way, or I had to make sure that I was thinking about God all the time. It's insane that I had such overwhelming destructive thought processes, but that's the torture and pain that I went through.

Today, I recognize, I see Jesus, alive and full of love for me. I see God my Father, alive and full of love for me. I recognize today that He has been actively caring for me, caring about me all this time.

I so limited God. I did not see how rich, how good, how wonderful He is.

Jesus, thank you for the love that you have for me. Thank you, Father, that You are a God to me! Thank you that you have always been there for me, no matter what is happening. I cannot thank you enough.

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)

This "if" is not a conditional "if" based on something that we must do. It's a statement from one logical affirmation to the next.

God is for us! Therefore, who can be against us? Who indeed? Exactly,

Friday, November 22, 2019

Perfect Peace Based on the Gift of Righteousness

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3)

I was very troubled in my mind today. Very troubled.

I had all this knowledge of God's Word. I knew that He had made me righteous. I knew that He was working behind the scenes.

And yet, this sense of unrest simply would not leave me.

Then I remembered the above verse: Isaiah 26:3.

For the longest time, I used to believe that that verse meant that I had to make that I was always thinking about God. If I lost my focus in some way, then God would not keep me in "perfect peace".

Well, first I had to learn to recognize that God is everywhere, and that I cannot be separated from Him:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

So, He will never leave me. He is not going away when I sin or fail. After all, God made it very clear: "I will never leave you ..."

So, what does it mean to have our "mind stayed" on him?

The word "stayed" in the original Hebrew will give us a clue: "samak".

The first mention of "samak"?

"And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him ..." (Genesis 27:37)

Corn and wine speaks of the Holy Communion, and with the communion we celebrate Jesus' death on the Cross.

The second mention of "samak"?

"And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock. "(Exodus 29:10)

The placing of hands on a sacrificial animal is a type of Christ Jesus taking our sins.

To have our mind stayed on Him, then, speaks of being established fully in His righteousness (Isaiah 54:14, 17), that Jesus completed a perfect work in taking away all our sins at the Cross, and that there is nothing more that we must do to be in Him.

This perfect peace is based on the Gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17), righteousness which comes from the perfect work that Jesus did at the Cross:

"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)

We have perfect peace because Jesus did a perfect work in washing away all our sins and granting us His righteousness! There is no longer any need for me to do, be, or think a certain way so that God will be OK with me.

I will never be punished for my sins. God will never be angry with me nor rebuke me ever again! (Isaiah 54:9)

I can have perfect peace with Him, because Jesus did a perfect work!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Through Christ Jesus, We Receive Our Life as More Than a Prey

"And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest." (Isaiah 45:5)

I have read this passage a number of times in different devotionals.

There is always one thing that is left out, that is missing in many of the discussions on this verse:

This event took place under the Old Covenant, under the blood of bulls and goats which could never cleanse sin, but which could atone for sin until the fullness of time would come (Galatians 4:47).

Jesus is the Perfect Sacrifice, the propitiation for all the sins of the world (1 John 2:1-2)

We are not under an Old Covenant, but under the New Covenant.

He is our God, and we are His people. We do not seek great things for ourselves, that is certainly true, because ... He is already blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:6)

The name of the scribe whom Jeremiah is speaking to, Baruch, is taking down a prophecy for Jeremiah.

Baruch was really hard up at this point in the history of the nation of Israel:

"Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest." (Jeremiah 45:3)

Baruch had every reason to feel down. Israel was beseiged by the Babylonians. Those who were still alive were going to be taken captive to Babylon very soon. The city of Jerusalem was going to be burned to the ground, and the Temple was going to be destroyed.

Yet God promised Baruch that his life would given to him as "spoils" wherever he went.

Today, in Christ Jesus,  we are  more than mere spoils.

We have been redeemed from sin and death!

"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)

And in Christ Jesus, we are not just barely getting by!

"31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He 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 8:31-32)

In fact, we are called to reign in life with Him (Romans 5:17)

Let us also never forget the promises which Christ Jesus has fulfilled for us through the Cross:

"14In 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)

We have His righteousness today. In fact, we are made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Baruch received comfort that he would receive his life as "a prey." In Christ Jesus, we receive life and that more abundantly (John 10:10) and eternal life (John 3:16).

Indeed, we receive our life as more than a prey, because of Jesus!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Noah Was Perfect and Protected; Job Was Perfect, Yet Persecuted -- Why?

"These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:9)

"1There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." (Job 1:1)

I have placed these two verses next to each other for a reason.

We have two clear figures, men of God, who are revered in the Old Testament and even mentioned in the New.

Noah was spared the great suffering of the world, and God used him to build an ark, save mankind and the animal kingdom.

Job, on the other hand, suffered greatly. God allowed Satan to trouble Job. He lost everything, everyone, until the very end.

What's going on? Why was Noah protected and Job persecuted?

They were both "perfect", or "tamim" in God's eyes, were they not?

"Noah was perfect ..." This does not speak to moral perfection, but physical perfection, in that he was fully human, not adulterated with the genetics of the "sons of God" aka "Bene Elohim" (Genesis 6:1-4)

That same word "perfect" describes Job. He was fully human, too. God could interact with them as His creation.

But then differences clearly emerge.

Noah was "just", righteous.

He had found grace in God's eyes:

"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." (Genesis 6:8)

In contrast, what do we read about Job?

"He was upright."

In the original Hebrew, "upright" translates the word "yashar", which speaks of good conduct on the outside. In fact, Job even feared God and avoided evil.

And yet ...

Job did not find favor in God's eyes. He was not righteous.

Job had not found grace. Noah did. Noah depended on God, believed in Him, i.e. "walked with God."

Noah was righteous. He believed in God.

Job was merely upright. He trusted in his own efforts, and spent much of his efforts covering for his children:

"5And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually." (Job 1:5)

Good works do not save us. Good behavior does not protect us.

Only God's grace protects us, His goodness secures us.

God does not want us depending on our efforts, but resting in His word.

That was God's plan from the beginning:

"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."(Genesis 2:15)

God provided everything. He wanted to bless man, and allow man to just receive His goodness:

"The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men." (Psalm 115:16)

God wants us to believe on Him and receive from Him, not achieve on our own, grieving His heart. In fact, we cannot live apart from Him, for God Himself brought us to life with His own breath!

Noah walked with God, believed on Him, depended on Him.

Because Noah believed, He was righteous!

And because Noah believed, God formed a covenant with him, a covenant of peace and protection.

"But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee." (Genesis 6:18)

and also

"And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;" (Genesis 9:9)

God did not establish a covenant with Job,, and He could not because Job did not believe in Him. He was afraid of God, sure, but Job did not trust in Him, did not see Him as a good God from whom he could draw all things. 

In fact, Job did not start walking by faith until the very end, after he had suffered greatly, reduced to the end of himself, where he could do nothing more but ... believe and receive:

"1Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

2I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

3Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

4Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

5I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

6Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (John 42:1-6)

And let's not forget that when Job "repented", or rather rested, felt sorry for his wrong beliefs, but more importantly he "rested", he stopped striving, and started believing in Him!

And with that, God turned Job's captivity!

"10And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:10)

So, what does it all come down to? Why was Noah perfect and spared, while Job was perfect yet persecuted?

Noah believed in the LORD, that He is good, and he received God's grace (cf. Genesis 15:6)

And with that, Noah was righteous!

And righteousness opens up manifold blessings to us!

"Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked." (Proverbs 10:6)


"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)

Note that in Isaiah 54:10, God speaks of "my covenant of peace", which will not be removed from us--a covenant just like the one which God made with Noah, with Abraham (Genesis 15, 17). This covenant is enacted because of righteousness!

And this righteousness is not our righteousness, but His!

"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)

No tyranny, no terror can afflict us because we are established in His righteousness

In fact, today, we can rest in God's favor, in God's grace, because we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Beloved, you do not have to fear or wonder why Noah was protected and Job was persecuted. Today, when you believe in Christ Jesus, you receive His righteousness--and keep receiving it! (Romans 5:17), which in turn causes you to reign in Life and be freed from sin, destruction, and death!

You need not fear enduring the troubles of Job, but can rest in the gracious protection and favor of Noah--because of His righteousness!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Bread and the Wine: Holy Communion

"5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

I have been taking the Holy Communion on a greater basis. Sometimes, I remember what Jesus did for me more than once a day.

With the Bread, I say:

Jesus was:

  • Broken

  • Beaten

  • Bruised

  • Bloodied

  • Bashed

For my Blessing.

With the Wine, or the Cup that I drink, I say:

This is Your Blood.

The Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant.

The Blood that speaks better things than the blood of Abel.

The Blood that cleanses me from all sin and all unrighteousness.

There is such joy, such pleasure when I take communion. Jesus truly is the Bread of Life!

The Communion is indeed the way of escape for every trial!

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

What Pleases God: Believing in Him, and Coming to Him

"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)

This morning, I was meditating on a very powerful question, and a very powerful truth.

"How can I please God?"

Why? Because He so pleases me! He has ravished my heart in a way that is just unprecedented in my Christian walk.

"Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck." (Songs 4:9)

Before, I did not think that He was present unless I was thinking about Him, manifesting Him through my efforts, my thought-life. Such a drain, such a burden that was for me!'

He is actively loving us, and in fact our Loving Father has been loving us when we weren't even paying attention!

"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)


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

and also

"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. 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 4:9-10)

And of course:

"Herein is love perfected among us, that we may boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)

God our Father sees us just like Jesus, for we are in Christ (Ephesians 1:6) and Christ is in us!(Colossians 1:27)

I could not help sharing how much He loves us - how much He loves me!

So, I am so brimming over with His love, I ask "God, how can I please you?"

Then Hebrews 11:6 came to mind.

"Without faith, it is impossible to please God."

We have to have faith -- We have to believe in Him:

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

Now, we need to believe that He exists.

We also need to believe that God is a rewarder. Indeed, He wants to provide more good to those who diligently seek Him.

What does that mean? I struggled with that phrase for a long time. Was I supposed to "look for God"? I mean, is He not everywhere, and ever-present? Does He not comfort us with "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"? (Hebrews 13:5)

There is another verse which talks about seeking God's face, too:

"When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek." (Psalm 27:8)

What does "seek His face" mean? Many commentaries render this Hebraism to mean "Seek His presence." Well, waht is that supposed to mean? Once again, is He not ever-present, ever-available?

Then I read the New Living Translation of Psalm 27:8:

"8My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”

"Seek His Face" means "pray to Him", or "come talk to Him."

God rewards us when we come to Him, when we pray to Him, when we talk to Him!

That is exactly what God was looking for when He had created Adam and Eve to begin with! He wanted us to come to Him, to fellowship with Him, to depend on Him!

In Hebrews 11;6, we read "He that cometh to Him ..."

In this verse "come" is literally "proserchomai". Here is the full exposition on this Greek word:

proserchomai: to approach, to draw near
Original Word: προσέρχομαι
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: proserchomai
Phonetic Spelling: (pros-er'-khom-ahee)
Definition: to approach, to draw near
Usage: I come up to, come to, come near (to), approach, consent (to).

This verse made me think of Genesis 45:4, in which Joseph invites his brothers "Draw near to me."

But this verb "draw near" ("Nagash" in Hebrew) appears sooner than that in the Old Testament:

"And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" (Genesis 18:23)

In the first mention of "Draw near", Abraham comes to God asking Him to spare the righteous in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Notice that Abraham believes that God exists, and that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. God answered Abraham's prayers every time he asked.

Would that Abraham had asked "If there is ONE righteous, will you spare the city for that one?"

At any rate, what pleases God?

That we believe He exists, and that we come to Him! That we ask from Him, that we come to Him, toalk to Him, call on Him in 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 14:6)

God wants us to come to Him.

God wants us to depend on Him.

That's what pleases Him -- Not what we can do for Him, but that we let Him do for us!

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?"


"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?


"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."

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:

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)


"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!