Archive | August 2018

Isaiah 1:5-6 ” …Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart affected. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness – only wounds and welts and open sores…”

Why do you persist in rebellion?  Great question, right?  We stubbornly continue down paths of disobedience and willful defiance against God…knowing full well, it’s only hurting ourselves.  And if we think about it…most of the injuries we receive are self-inflicted because of the foolish choices we make.  Jeremiah 30:17 says, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds declares the Lord.”  Disobedience causes unsoundness within us.  But God wants to come and restore us back to health…returning us to wholeness and peace.

Leviticus 26:13 ” I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.”

God is reminding the Jewish people of how He had miraculously broken off the oppressive state they had endured by the Egyptians.   How He had lifted the heavy yoke from their neck of subjugation, submission, and servitude…which then empowered them to stand in an upright posture, with heads held high.  God had broken off the yoke of slavery and set the Jewish people free.   And just as God liberated them…Jesus has come to free us from the bondage of sin.  For it tells us in Galatians 5:1, ” It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  When Jesus comes into our lives,  the bonds of sin are broken…the yoke of guilt and shame are lifted…and we too are then able to walk free with our heads held high.

Matthew 8:14-15 ” When Jesus came to Peter’s house, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on Him.”

It says Jesus touched her and she recovered.  It was through that gentle touch, Jesus spoke volumes…He voiced love and concern for her…and He spoke health and healing into her body.  And it was out of a grateful heart, the woman got up and  served Jesus and the rest of the men.  Now, you may have never been raised up out of a death-bed before, but the same grateful heart this woman had should be yours.  Why you ask?   In Romans 5:8 it tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   So in a way you’ve also been raised up from a death-bed…for you were once dead in your sins.  But through God’s great love for you, a way was made.  And Jesus touched you and made you whole…so how can you be anything but grateful?

II Chronicles 19:6-7 ” He told them, ‘Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality, or bribery.’ “

King Jehoshaphat was appointing judges for the land…wanting them to realize the seriousness of their positions and the influence they would have over the people.  His admonition against bias and prejudice is repeat, I found, within the Oath of Office for the Supreme Court Justices –  the highest Court of the land in the USA.  The oath reads as follows,   ” I,_________, do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as________ under the Constitution and Laws of the United States; and that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.  So help me God.”                                        May the fear of the Lord direct them.

Hebrews 10:32-33 ” Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.”

The incident happened this Summer while extended family of mine were on vacation.  My niece’s  teenage son observed a group of teenagers encircled around a little boy…shoving him roughly from one teen to another…all the while taunting him.  He felt compelled to step in, so he quietly  walked up, put his arm around the boy and asked what they were doing to his little brother.  He stood there, firmly telling them to stop and leave… using his sheer size as intimidation…until the gang broke up and moved off.  As this young man got done recounting this story to me, I asked him why he thought kids bully others.  His insight I thought was remarkable.  He told me kids who bully are filled with anger and hurt, and they take out that pain on others.  I can dare say as adults,  we all fall into two camps…either we were once bullied as a child…or we were that bully.  But now with Social Media, the cruelty that can be inflicted by those just wanting to be mean is enormous.  As school starts for the year, have a discussion with your kids around the dinner table about bullying…all that it encompasses…and how it feels to be bullied.  That just because someone else is cruel doesn’t mean you have to join in.  And that being a good friend and loving one another will make a difference.

I John 4:1-3 ” Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.”

The Apostle John was warning of false teachers infiltrating the early Church with their deceptive ideas…for they were denying the key fundamentals of Christianity…that Jesus Christ came to earth taking on human flesh – that He was all man and all God.  He also warned of their denial of the resurrection – that Jesus was crucified, buried, but rose to life on the third day.  So why should we be so surprised today when we hear preaching  that just don’t sit well with us.  Those same false teachers are alive and well and preaching a “type” of Jesus to the masses.  But this corrupted concept of Jesus isn’t true, and doesn’t line up with the Word of God.  And if we’d look at the many religions around the world, we’d see many that deny Jesus and His deity all together.  But as John explains…the litmus test is simple.  Test everything you hear against the Word of God… evaluate for yourself to determine the truth… Listen carefully to the Holy Spirit within.

Psalm 105:2 ” Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.”

Everyday we should be celebrating the many blessings from God…for He does things far beyond the bounds of what we think, expect, or can even imagine.  Genesis 18:14 goes further to ask, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  But I heard an interesting sermon the other day challenging the idea of just what a blessing was.  Do we thank God only for the good things we have, and that happen to us.  Or do we praise Him also for all the difficult, uncomfortable, and bad things that come into our lives?  How do we know that something meant for bad can’t suddenly be turned around by God for good?  For what we see as affliction, can become the way to deeper holiness and sanctification in our life…or what appears to be a difficult situation may turn out to be a godsend in the end.  This gives new meaning then to the song “Count your many Blessings”…for we need to praise God for everything that comes into our lives…the good, the bad, and the ugly.