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Monthly Archives : October 2017

Jesus In Hosea .. The Covenant Keeper …… October 22, 2017

     For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 
Hosea 6:6 ESV

     The book of Hosea is interesting in that God instructed the prophet Hosea to take a wife that He knew would be unfaithful to him. Hosea and his prostitute wife, Gomer, had three children and named each child with a name that reflected the broken relationship between God and His people Israel. The purpose in the book of Hosea is to illustrate the faithfulness of God in keeping His covenant even when His people were not faithful to Him. The book illustrates how God pursues and then redeems us from a debt that we could never repay. In the book of Hosea, Gomer represents Israel. In reality, it represents all who are the bride of Christ and the fact that we are prone to wander. We, as Christians, may be prone to wander, but God is forever faithful. With this truth it should cause us to passionately love God and not simply just know about Him.

For I desire steadfast love:
     Love without relationship will often end in rebellion. God’s love for us is without question, but our love for Him may not be as evident. In fact if we do not intentionally make the decision to love God, we will wander slowly away allowing other things to take priority. Remember this important fact…. love is a choice and not necessarily a feeling. Love can create feelings; but if you love only based on feelings, you will fall short of true love. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 ESV  When focusing on his commandments, remember also his teaching when He was asked, “Which commandment is most important?” Jesus answered, The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other greater than these. Mark 12: 29-31 ESV  You will only have this kind of love for God if you love him intentionally.

Not sacrifice:
     As Christians the greatest offering we can give to God is our lives lived intentionally for Him. Let this thought sink in. God gave His only Son as a sacrifice to pay the debt of our sins. How could
anything we offer up ever compare to his Son? When you feel you are giving something up in sacrifice to God, remember the sacrifice of God …. Jesus. The sacrificial death of Jesus means no more sacrifices are needed to pay the debt of sin, but instead we are to be living sacrifices. I appeal to you therefore, brothers by the mercies of God, to present you bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 ESV  If you live your life attempting to sacrifice by doing more good than bad in order to find favor and forgiveness from God, then you are failing. If you could succeed in this logic of forgiveness and favor with God, then it would make the sacrificial death of Jesus unnecessary.

Knowledge of God:
     God does not want your tradition or ritual living to be your understanding of Him. God wants you to know him relationally. As a husband and a wife grow to know each other in a marriage relationship, so God wants you to grow in your understanding of Him. God will not divorce us for He is faithful, and the example in Hosea makes this clear. When we wander away, God will brings His bride…. the Christian / Church back to Himself. Salvation is not based on our ability but God’s faithfulness to His word. To have a knowledge of God is to know He will never leave nor forsake you. To have a knowledge of God is to understand He loves you more than life…. remember Calvary? To have a knowledge of God,… real knowledge, will cause you to live for Him. That is the difference between knowing about God and knowing Him in knowledge as Savior.

 
     Always remember, you and I are the Gomers, and Jesus is the Hosea who purchased us by paying the debt that we could have never paid. Satan will sell you as a slave, but God purchased you with the blood of His Son making you free. For this I will bow down in worship and be eternally grateful, for I have been BOUGHT by the BLOOD of the LAMB of GOD!

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Daniel .. King of kings …… October 15, 2017

     The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings.”  
Daniel 2:47a ESV
     On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. 
Revelations 19:16 ESV

     One of the greatest delusions of our day is that everything is out of control. I have heard the question asked more than once, “if God is such a good God, why does He allow bad things to happen?” To this question I reply, “your are asking the wrong question.” The real question is, “why are you even here to ask that question?” Based on the logic as to why He allows bad things to happen, God would have destroyed Adam and Eve, and you wouldn’t even be here to ask that question. God chose to defeat evil and the consequence of evil by sending Jesus, His Son, to die for the sins of the world. This proves the value God places upon every life, that He would be willing to give His own life that we might live. So why does it seem that evil is winning? It’s not winning!!!!! God is merciful and has a patience that I cannot begin to understand but, He has His reasons. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, NOT WISHING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL SHOULD REACH REPENTANCE. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV  With this thought, let us evaluate how we should view the reality that Jesus is King.

 
How do you see God?
     Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who was not a follower of God, saw God as supreme over all gods and kings. He saw God in this light because Daniel, who was a devout follower, made it evident that God was real. How you see God will determine how you live. Do you see Him as King? A king rules over all things, and when he speaks, so it is decreed. Those who are under the rule of a king, hope he is a person of wisdom, mercy and compassion. God, as King, is more than words could ever describe, and he is worthy of all our worship praise and honor. The Christian who lives recognizing Him as such, will, as Daniel, affect the lives of all who observe how you live in respect to God as King.

 
All will see Jesus as King!
     One day the heavens will open, and, ready or not, the world will recognize Him as King of kings and Lord of lords. There will be no court to which to appeal nor a legal system that will intervene on anyone’s behalf. He is King and what He speaks will be the decree that will be. For those who are in Christ….GLORY!!!!!!!… but for those who are not…. eternal darkness and suffering beyond measure. I know the last part of my last sentence is not well thought of in this world today but it would be wrong for me not to tell the truth as warned by God. Hebrews 2:3 states, “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”…… JESUS ….. there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. ACTS 4:12 ESV  To deny that you need Jesus for salvation would be as telling God, “you wasted your Son’s life; I could have made it on my own.” For a person thinking this way, it will not go well for them in the the final judgement. Again, He is King and what he decrees will be.

     The bottom line is this: God does and will deal with evil, but the ultimate and final judgement has not yet happened. There is time for repentance and the salvation for a person’s soul to everlasting life, and that time is now. The King one day will speak these words to every one of us, “Enter into my rest” or “depart from me.”

 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Ezekiel .. Temple Resident .. October 8, 2017

     And I will give you a heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 ESV

     So many times in this world our hearts are divided into many interest, and it becomes difficult to focus on what is important. As Christians we need to have a single focus in life…. Jesus. In him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28 ESV We are to have no other gods, which occupy our life, our thoughts, or our actions. It is what we need to pray for, ask, seek, and desire God to do in us- to create a clean heart with undivided attention. Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit with in me. Psalms 51:10 ESV Every thing in life is a heart issue, for this affects how our relationship with God will grow or diminish in daily living. In order for us to live our lives for God, two things must take place: the removal of the old and the gift of the new.

The removal of of the stone heart:
     Nothing grows in a pile of rocks. Rocks only reflect the external temperatures. If the sun is shinning and beating down upon them, the rock radiates heat. If the opposite is true- freezing temperatures- the rocks will be cold and undesirable to be close to. In fact the “cold to the bone” feeling only brings pain. So rocks are controlled by whatever the circumstances are around them and so is a heart of stone. Stone hearts have only concern for themselves and have no interest in the things of God nor concern for others. Stone hearts are the result of sin and without the intervention of God will never be anything different. The removal of the stone heart is an action only accomplished by God, for God knows nothing grows in stone. So how exactly does God remove a heart of Stone? He forgives, and makes it possible for us to feel and understand that forgiveness. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalms 32:1 ESV When a person’s sins are forgiven, that person will begin to feel things as the result of the presence of God which pulverizes the heart of Stone.

The gift of a heart of flesh:
     A heart of flesh acknowledges the presence of God. This is the result of the Holy Spirit that lives not in the stones of the temple that you can see with your eyes, but the temple of our souls- that is our hearts. Do you not know that your body is temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV As temples of the Holy Spirit, we can speak into the lives of others concerning the good new of Jesus Christ. Stones could never do this, so this is a precious gift and blessing we have from God. We do not need to be controlled by our circumstances, “For he who is in you is greater than he who in the world.” 1 John 4:4 ESV The heart of flesh makes it possible to walk in relationship with God. We were made for fellowship with God, and may this be a reality in your life. If it is, give God much Glory for the great things he has done in your life.

 
Because of his Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Lamentations .. Is Faithful .. .. October 1, 2017

     The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV 

     The people of Israel had been defeated by the Babylonians as the result of compromise in their
worship of God alone. The book of Lamentation is filled with the cries of God’s people from this defeat, destruction, and captivity that they are experiencing. The bottom line of this book is incredible suffering without an end in sight, and the people lamenting… crying out to God. Think about this reality, ALL suffering in life today is the result of sin. In one’s life today a person can experience pain and sorrow that seems like it will never end, but there is hope. As long as a person has breath, there is hope because of God. By faith, even when God might not make sense, you can trust and have faith in Him. In the middle of all that they were experiencing, the people of Israel acknowledged these three truths.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases:
     God’s love is beyond our comprehension, for He loves us even when it doesn’t make sense for Him to do so. The captivity of the people of Israel was punishment not the absence of God’s love. The fact that he allowed this punishment, shows his love for them. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. Hebrews 12:6. ESV

His mercies never come to an end: they are new every morning:
     If a person wants to change the direction of their life, they must come to God in repentance of sin. David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, started his prayer of repentance in Psalm 51 with these words, “Have mercy on me, Oh God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” (1-2 ESV) We are given a promise in 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ESV) Friend, that is mercy! Mercy because Jesus himself took our punishment upon the cross and gave us not what we deserved but abundant life. (John 10:10)

Great is your faithfulness:
     For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:5 ESV ……. For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Psalms 117: 2 ESV God is faithful because he always does what he says. He revealed hundreds of years before Jesus came that He would send Him to  redeem us from sin and death. Jesus came, died in our place, and rose again. God also has told us that he will come again and then the judgement. God is faithful to his word. He has always been and will always be FAITHFUL!!!!

     In the world today there is much sin resulting in suffering. Not all suffering a person experiences is the result of sin, (example.. Job) but suffering is the result of sin. The word suffer did not even exist until sin. Daniel suffered with the rest of Israel as the result of the sin of a nation, but Daniel honored God even in captivity and suffering. One of the dangers that I am seeing today, is the open embracing of sin. If a people will not lament over sin in their life, they will soon lament over the consequence of that sin’s choice. Every choice in life has a consequence without exception. By faith a person who makes the choice to follow after the things of God has this belief. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV So the only thing that remains for today is the question, what will be your choice? My prayer for you and for myself is that we will ALWAYS make the right choice. The right choice is this as found in Joshua 24: 14-15 ESV Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him is sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in who’s land you dwell. “BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.” Amen

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Jeremiah .. New Covenant .. Jeremiah 31:31-33 .. September 24, 2017

     Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:31 ESV

     A covenant made between two people is a strong vow or promise that is never to be broken. Often the vows in a marriage of a man and woman are referred to as a covenant. A covenant is normally initiated by one and presented to another and upon agreement is consummated. Isn’t it interesting that in the New Testament the church is referred to as the bride of Christ? God has initiated every relationship between His creation and Himself. God so loved all the life that He had created that when His human creation sinned, causing separation from Him, He initiated a plan… covenant … to restore them back to Himself. In the Old Testament (Covenant) God wrote on stone the law of covenant required to restore a right relationship with Him. But as the covenant that was written upon stone could be cold and hard, so was the heart of man. So much so that God made a new covenant to be written where it could make a difference in the mind and heart at the same time. To have the law in your mind is eternal knowledge. To have the law in the heart is life. To have the Law in your mind and heart is eternal life. Jesus, the person by whom the new covenant would be established, was given by God and was God in the flesh to make eternal life possible.

The Law:
     God’s laws have requirements; and if those requirements are not followed or accomplished, there is a consequence….a sentence of death. The truth is, with our sinful natures, we will never be able to accomplish nor keep all the requirements. So why would God make for us that which is impossible to accomplish? It makes clear our need for Him to intervene on our behalf. God has never asked of us what He is not willing to do. This is why Jesus, God in the flesh, came and did for us what we could not do – accomplish the requirements of the law. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplish.” Matthew 5:17-18 ESV  In fact, when Jesus spoke of the law, He made us understand that the law is a heart issue. The LawDo not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14 ESV  The Heart…. Jesus said, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his HEART” Matthew 5:28 ESV

The Law in our minds and hearts:
     It was asked of Jesus by a Pharisee, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Matthew 22:36 ESV Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your HEART and with all your SOUL and with all your MIND. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 ESV  All this makes the point of the new covenant that was foretold in the book of Jeremiah… the law is a heart issue of loving God.

How to go from stone to flesh:
     As in Ezekiel, this is accomplished by God. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV  In short, it is a work of God, not your works. For by Grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

     God does not want a person to just know about Him; He wants a person to know Him from the inside out. He desires for us to have life abundantly as a result of his work accomplished on the cross. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV  Let me close with a passage from Romans that pretty much sums this up. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:1-8 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David.

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