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Showing posts from December 9, 2012

War

Do you wonder why God allows certain actions to take place on the earth? Do you ask the question, "How can anything positive be seen in the actions of war?" These are perplexing questions and Micah gives us insight into an answer for them.
Micah 4:11-12 states, "But now many nations are gathered against you [Israel]. They say, 'Let her be defiled, let our eyes gloat over Zion!' But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan, he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor."
From the nations perspective they are gathering to destroy Israel, a passion that is instilled in them by Satan himself. However, as indicated, they do not know or understand the purpose of God in their own gathering. He will use it to punish them, harvest and destroy them.
They are totally unaware of His purpose which will be accomplished by their own will. Albert Barnes in his notes on Micah says it this way, "God gathers them, not by constrai…

Rebellion

There is a great picture of rebellion in one verse of the book of Jonah. "But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord." (Jonah 1:3)
This is one of the most descriptive verses in the Bible. It begins with the word "but" which means something happened before that he didn't want to do. We know the Lord commanded him to go to Nineveh of Assyria and preach to the people to repent. Jonah didn't want to because this people had been destructive to his nation Israel. He knew God was compassionate but did not desire compassion for Nineveh's residents.
So Jonah "ran away" which is almost comical because how can you run away from the God who is everywhere present. He even had a destination; a place he felt would be safe for him to "hide." Tarshish is believed to be Tartessus in the sout…

Fear of Man

Here is one of the hardest lessons to understand. A person can fear another human more than he fears God. Strong warriors that have braved horrific battles cringe in fear of their ruler. Believers ask the question when faced with the thought of witnessing to a friend, "what will he think of me?"

We can look at  many great rulers and see how they manipulated good men through fear. These warriors were kept in bondage by their leader and it caused them to sacrifice their conscience. Think of all those who did terrible acts under the direction of Adolf Hitler. Read about the power of the Roman rulers. Of all fears, this one is the hardest to overcome.
But, what does break the power of fear of man? It is fear of God. "Fear of man will prove to be a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." (Proverbs 29:25) Faith in God is the overcomer of fear of man. See Stephen facing martyrdom and Joseph alone and in slavery keeping their faith in God.
Faith unbinds the soul f…

Pride

The very nature of this word is defined by the one letter that stands in the middle, "i". William Barclay, a well-known Bible commentator said, "Pride is the ground in which all the other sins grow, and the parent from which all the other sins come."
One of the simplest statements made in the book of Proverbs is this, "A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor." (Proverbs 29:23) Lot, Saul, Sampson, Herod, Simon the sorcerer, Diotrephes and I'm sure you can name others were brought low in their life as reported in the Scriptures. Each one lifted himself up and sought praise only to be destroyed by these thoughts and actions.
But consider the other end of the spectrum. Review the lives of Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, Zacchaeus, Stephen and again you can probably think of many others. They held their life in check. They did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord and were blessed because of it.
Pride is considered by many to b…

Secret Sin

Sitting in a room and watching two people over in a corner talking about something, laughing and whispering, wouldn't you like to know what they are saying? People walk down the street and pass by you, some are smiling, others are deep in thought, wouldn't you like to know what is going on in their minds?
We are curious about what is in the hearts and minds of others. Sometimes we are surprised by what comes out of our own hearts and minds. One thing is for sure, God knows the inner workings of every heart. In a message to the church at Thyatira where secret sins were being kept, Jesus Christ, the head of the church, said, "I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds." (Revelation 2:23)
Not only would Jesus Christ judge the deeds that were the outcome but he searched the innermost parts of their souls to find their beginning point. There is no hiding place for sin, no drawer in which it can be placed, no door behind which…

Reward

Is it worth being a believer in this time? Although we have not yet experienced the suffering that first century believer's did it may be coming in the near future. How will you do when it does come?
John the Apostle wrote down the words of Jesus the resurrected Lord to seven churches in Asia Minor (now called Turkey). In his message to Smyrna he expressed the Lord's concern for this church and emphasized the point that he (Jesus) knew what they were going through and what they would be going through in the future.
There was affliction, poverty, slander and persecution coming upon these believers. Three things would be encouraging for them to know at this point: one, their Lord knew about it and he also had experienced it even to death and then "came to life again" (Revelation 2:8) so resurrection follows suffering; second, they would "suffer persecution for ten days" (Revelation 2:10:b) so it would be a short rather than long period of time; and three, a &qu…

Vision-less

When a society loses its vision, its dream of what it wanted to be when first created, then that society falls into destruction. We see this played out in empire after empire from the days of Babylon to the days of German Nazism, Russian Communism, and the American dream. The people of Israel chose to have a king like other nations and move away from the Law that God gave to rule them and they went the way of other nations.
The famous verse that expresses this downfall is, "Where there is no revelation [vision], the people cast off restraint [perish]; but blessed is he who keeps the law." (Proverbs 29:18) The word "vision" is one that is commonly used of the revelation of God's will made to and through the prophets. These persons spoke of sin and penalty. They cried out about drifting away from God's Law and that judgment would come on those that drift.
There is a need for a higher teaching, one that is above us or else persons will take the law into their ow…