Eagle Comparison

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“Throughout Scripture, the person who truly trusts God is compared to an eagle.  The eagle has some pests, one of which is a crow.  He’s always squaking, always causing the eagle trouble.  The truth is we all have a few crows in our life.  You may have an entire flock of them, along with a few chickens and turkeys, as well!  Certain people can rub us the wrong way; they can irritate us if we allow them.  We need to take a lesson from the eagle instead.  When the eagle is out flying, often a crow will come up right behind him and start to pester him, aggravating and annoying him.  Although the eagle is much larger, it cannot maneuver quickly.  To get rid of his pest, the eagle simply stretches out his eight-foot wingspan and catches some of the thermal currents, and he rises up higher and higher.  Eventually, he gets to an altitude where no other bird can live.  In the same manner, if you want to get rid of your pest, you need to rise higher.  Walk in love and dare to bless even your enemies.  In the long run, crows can’t compete with eagles.  You won’t see an eagle pecking around in the chicken coop with a bunch of chickens.  An eagle lives in high places, where he is close to God.  Moreover, when the storms come, an eagle doesn’t simply go through the storm.  No, he puts his wings out and catches a little more wind and he rises above it.  He’ll rise higher until he’s completely above all turmoil.  That eagle is not concerned about the storm he’s facing.  He doesn’t get upset.  He knows he has a way out.  God has given us His peace.  He’s told us to cast our cares on Him.  He said if we’ll just remain at rest, He will fight our battles for us.  Interestingly, the crow has to flap his wings tenaciously simply to fly.  He has to work constantly.  The chicken can barely get off the ground; no matter how much he flaps his wings, he’s not going far.  Yet an eagle merely catches the right wind currents and he’ll soar.  He doesn’t have to be like the crow, workin and straining all the time.  He just puts his wings out and rests in what God has given him, letting the winds carry him.  God is in complete control of your life.  He said He’d never leave you nor forsake you.  He said He’d be the friend that sticks closer than a brother.”

From Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen

 

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Beyond Belief To Convictions by Josh McDowell

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Beliefs shape values and values lead to specific attitudes and actions.

POSTMODERNISM BELIEFS

  • Truth does not exist in any objective sense
  • Instead of “discovering” truth in a “metanarrative”-which is a story(Bible) or ideology(Marxism) that presents a unified way of looking at philosophy, religion, art, and science-postmodernism rejects any overarching explanation of what constitutes truth and reality.
  • Truth-whether in science, education, or religion-is created by a specific culture or community and is “true” only in and for that culture.
  • Individual persons are the product of their cultures.  That is, we are not essentially unique individuals created in the image of God; our identities are defined by our culture.
  • All thinking is a “social construct.” In other words, what you and I regard as “truths” are simply arbitrary “beliefs we have been conditioned to accept a completely different set of beliefs.
  • Any system or statement that claims to be objectively true or unfavorably judges the values, beliefs, lifestyle, and truth claims of another culture is a power play, an effort by one culture to dominate other cultures.

Today’s culture propagates the view that “if it works, it’s right for you.”

Having convictions is being so thoroughly convinced that something is absolutely true that you take a stand for it regardless of the consequences.

Our faith must be grounded in the objective truth and relational meaning of the things we believe.

People can have deepened convictions and still be tragically wrong if the things they believe with conviction are wrong beliefs.

Believing in Christ and his Word will have a profound and relational meaning in each of our lives.

Three Fundamental Pillars of Christianity

  1. Christ’s deity and incarnation
  2. The reliability of Scripture
  3. The resurrection of Christ

The truth about Jesus Christ—that he is God who became flesh and lived among us—can unlock the secret to our identity.  And when we understand what that reliable Word means to our lives, we will discover our God-given purpose in life.  The Resurrection can provide us with such a sense of destiny that we can face life or death, good or evil, triumph or tragedy with a spirit of gratitude, optimism, and courage.

Truth is intrinsically, inescapably relational because it resides in and springs from a person who loves us and desires a relationship with us.  Understanding Jesus Christ as the absolute embodiment of truth means that:

  • Truth could not be subjectively created; truth is and comes from the objective, absolute person of Christ himself.  See John 1:17
  • Truth could not be relative and change from person to person, from community to community, because Jesus is the incarnation of the God who “never changes or casts shifting shadows” See James 1:17
  • All truth could not be equal because Jesus didn’t claim to be “a” truth, one that is equal to all others.  His claim was exclusive; he claimed to be the one and only truth, the only way to God.  See John 14:6 and Isaiah 45:5-6

Jesus Christ fulfilled 29 prophecies from the Old Testament in one day:

  1. Psalm 41:9=Matthew 26:49
  2. Zechariah 11:12=Matthew 26:15
  3. Zechariah 11:13=Matthew 27:5
  4. Zechariah 11:13=Matthew 27:7
  5. Zechariah 13:7=Mark 14:50
  6. Psalm 35:11=Matthew 26:59-60
  7. Isaiah 53:7=Matthew 27:12
  8. Isaiah 53:5=Matthew 27:26
  9. Psalm 69:4=John 15:25
  10. Isaiah 50:6=Matthew 26:67

10.  Isaiah 53:3=Matthew 27:27-31, John 7:5, 48

11.  Psalm 109:24-25=Luke 23:26

12.  Psalm 22:6-8=Matthew 27:39-43

13.  Psalm 109:25=Matthew 27:39

14.  Psalm 22:17=Luke 23:35

15.  Isaiah 53:12=Matthew 27:38

16.  Psalm 22:16=Luke 23:33

17.  Isaiah 53:12=Luke 23:34

18.  Psalm 38:11=Luke 23:49

19.  Psalm 22:18=John 19:23-24

20.  Psalm 69:21=John 19:28

21.  Psalm 69:21=Matthew 27:34

22.  Psalm 31:5=Luke 23:46

23.  Psalm 34:20=John 19:33

24.  Psalm 22:14=John 19:34

25.  Zechariah 12:10=John 19:34

26.  Amos 8:9=Matthew 27:45

27.  Isaiah 53:9=Matthew 27:57-60

28.  Daniel 9:24

What extraordinary lengths God went to in order to help people identify and recognize his only begotten Son!

The probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled in one person is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

The core of Christianity is far, far more than a set of true propositions; it is the news of “a God who is passionate about his relationship with you.”  God accepts you completely, and in spite of your sin he provides a way back to him.

God relationally:

  • Accepts you unconditionally
  • Loves you sacrificially
  • Understands you intimately
  • Relates to you continuously

What we experience in our human relationships significantly affects how we perceive and experience our relationship with God.

When you make yourself available to others and affirm, love, and accept them just as Christ has done for you, you are not only readying their hearts to relationally connect to God, but you are also becoming a one-of-a-kind living agent of the Incarnation.

Scripture is the means by which God has chosen to introduce and reveal himself to you so that he can enjoy a relationship with you.  God is so passionate about his relationship with you that he has personally—and miraculously—provided the inspiration of his Word, supervised its transmission, and repeatedly reinforced its reliability so that all those who have open eyes and open hearts may believe it with assurance and conviction.

Our purpose in life is to know God and become more and more like him.  God’s heart says, “I want a relationship with you.  And in that relationship I want you to know me and be like me.” God’s Word is the perfect lens to see—and then reflect—the divine nature of God.

Faith and Freedom

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Dog provides Example of Concentration

When Martin Luther’s puppy happened to be at the table, looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes, Martin said, “Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat!  All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope.”  Behold, the heart of the pious dog was also lacking in this, that he could not pray without thoughts.

Death Is Caused by Satan, Not by God

“The devil slays us all, for the scripture states that he causes death and is the author of death (John 8:44).  Satan put God’s Son to death.”…”Who would love our Lord God if He Himself had a mind to kill us?  He won’t be a murderer because He commanded, ‘You shall not kill'(Exodus 20:13).  If our Lord God wanted to kill me, it wouldn’t matter inasmuch as I can expect good neither in heaven nor on earth.  Besides, snakes, adders, toads, wolves, bears, lions-they all kill.  What am I to expect?  Everything that God makes He creates for life.  He created things that they might be, and He called into being things that didn’t exist, as if they did (Romans 4:17).  This means that life belongs to God’s purpose.  But death has been introduced into the world through the devil’s envy, and on this account the devil is called the author of death.  For what else does Satan do then seduce from true religion, provoke sedition, cause wars, pestilence, etc., and bring about every evil?”

Comforting Sayings

There are times when, for the sake of God’s Word, we must endure the hardship, anguish, and persecution which the holy cross brings upon us.  In such times we can rightfully bestir and strengthen ourselves with God’s help in such a way that we can be bold, alert, and cheerful, committing our cause to God’s gracious and fatherly will.  Thus St. Paul says, 2 Tim. 3:12, “All who desire to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted,” and Acts 14:22, “Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God,” and Philippians 2:12, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

Our cause rests in the hand of Him who distinctly tells us, “No one can snatch them out of My hand,” John 10:28.  Furthermore, the gates of hell shall not prevail against My church,” Matt. 16:18.  And Isa. 46:4, “Even to your old age and to gray hairs I will bear you.  I will do it, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”

It would be neither good nor prudent to take matters into our own hands because we could and would easily be defeated.

These comforting sayings are all true and surely do not deceive us: Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a great help in the trouble which besets us.” Sirach (Ecclus. 2:10), that wise man, said, “What man who has put his trust in God has ever perished?” And 1 Macc. 2:61, None who puts his trust in Him will lack strength.  Again, Psalm 9:10, “Lord, Thou hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.”

In any case, it is true that God gave up His own Son for us all, Rom. 8:32.  If that be true, why do we falter, or worry, or hang our heads?  If God gave up His own Son for us all, how could He ever intend to forsake us in less important things?

Truly God is very much stronger and more powerful than the devil, as 1 John 4:4 says, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

If we perish, then Christ the Almighty Ruler of the world Himself must suffer with us.  Even if this cause were to collapse, I would much rather be ruined with Christ than rule with Caesar.

Furthermore, this cause does not depend just on us, but there are many devout Christian people in other lands who make common cause with us and uphold us with heartfelt sighs and Christian prayer.

We possess God’s many encouraging promises and rich assurances.  In fact the entire psalter, all the gospels—yes, all Scripture is filled with them and they are by no means to be scorned but should be highly valued, such as Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”  And Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be of good cheer; do not despair and wait for the Lord!”  Furthermore Christ Himself says, John 16:33, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  This cannot be wrong—I’m sure of it—that Christ, the Son of God, has overcome the world.  Why do we tremble before the world as before a triumphant conqueror?  It is worth going to Rome or Jerusalem on one’s knees to obtain those words of Christ.  Just because we have so many such words we pay no attention to them.  That is not good.

Though our faith is weak, let us pray earnestly along with the apostles, Luke 17:5, “Lord, increase our faith,” and with the child’s father in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe: help my unbelief!”

Though the cause be great, He who has brought it about, who directs and guides it, is great too, yes, the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth.  This is by no means our cause, so why should we keep on tormenting ourselves over it or plaguing ourselves to death?

If this cause, this doctrine, be a mistaken one, why do we not recant?  But if it be a righteous cause—and as true as God lives and will remain in eternity, it is such—why do we make lies out of God’s many comforting, unchanging, and eternal promises?  He bids us be of good cheer and joyful, Psalm 32:11, “Be glad in the Lord,” and Psalm 145:18-19, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.  He fulfills the desire of all who fear Him.  He hears their cry, and saves them.”  And Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he cleaves to Me, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My name.  I will be with him in trouble, I will rescue him and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.”

Even though we worry and fret so much, such needless anxiety will avail us nothing.  We only plague and trouble ourselves and make matters worse.  God wants us to look to Him as our God and Father in Christ, to call upon Him in every time of need quoting Psalm 55:22, “Cast all your anxieties on Him for He cares about you” (1 Pet. 5:7), and as Christ Himself says, Matt. 6:31, “You should not be anxious.”

The devil and his cohorts can do no worse than slay us bodily.  They cannot touch our souls at all, as Christ says when He comforted His own, Matt. 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”

Christ, our dear Lord and Savior, died once for our sin, as it is written in Rom. 4:25 and 6:10, Heb.5:3 and 9:28.  Henceforth He will not die again for the sake of righteousness and truth, but rules as all-powerful Lord over every creature.  If this be true, as scripture continually testifies, what are we afraid of?

Though, if God so ordains, we ourselves might be destroyed for the sake of His Word, the Almighty and Merciful God, who in Christ has become our Father, will then be a kind and gracious father and guardian, defender and protector for our wives and children, our widows and orphans, and He will manage matters a thousand times better than we could if we were living.

Our forefathers and ancestors did not have this glorious, noble, precious treasure, namely, the true and pure understanding of the Divine Word, which, God be praised, we now have in ample measure.  Nor did they experience these days which have brought the Word to light again, just before Judgment Day.  This indescribable blessing has been bestowed upon us as a gift of God’s kindness and grace.  This very same God will continue to be God and Creator after we are gone, as He has been before us, and to the end of the world He will not die with us or cease to exist, as we of little faith imagine.  That is what Eli the priest thought when the Philistines had wrested the ark of the covenant away from the Jews.  He thought that all of Judaism with its priesthood and monarchy would come to an end.  When Eli fell backward and broke his neck, 1 Sam. 4:18, things were better for the kingdom of the Jews by far than they had been during his lifetime.  Again, when King Saul tragically stabbed himself after his country was defeated and three of his sons had fallen in the same battle, 1 Sam. 31:4, 9), what else could one conclude than that this would be the end of the kingdom of the Jews? But afterward, in the time of David and Solomon, it came to its greatest power and glory. When the priests had burned John Hus in Constance during the council in 1416, they were triumphant and took it for granted that they had really exalted the papacy.  But the pope has never been more despised than from that time on.

Thus we are ever firmly assured by God’s Word that after this wretched and fleeting existence, in which we are never safe for even one moment, there shall be an eternal and blessed life and kingdom.  Otherwise we would have to blot out the First Commandment along with the entire gospel and Holy Scriptures.  What would be the use of a God solely for this fleeting life in which they flourish best who have no God?  But if there is a God, as all devout and pious souls firmly and steadfastly believe and in which faith they live and die, then we shall not only live here for a brief time but also eternally in the place where God is.

The First Commandment places our children and descendants under God’s protection and providence, as God Himself says, “show mercy to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Exod 20:6).  We ought rightfully to believe these exalted and comforting words of the Divine Majesty.  Though our faith be weak, we nevertheless rely on God’s honor that He can and will do what He says and promises.

If God were to announce all this through an angel we would not cast it lightly to the winds and ignore it, as unfortunately we do when it is brought to us by the spoken Word.  But though we fail to believe it when it is preached, we dare not despise the prophets, Christ Himself, or the apostles, who preach to us in such rich measure and gently admonish us with words of consolation and encouragement and shower us with such words as, “Be glad in the Lord”; “Be strong and of good courage; do not fear”;  “Put your hope in the Lord; pour out your heart before Him”;  “Give thanks to the Lord”;  “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”; “The Lord is at hand.  Have no anxiety about anything,” etc. (Ps. 32:11; Deut. 31:6; Ps. 62:8; Ps. 107:1; John 16:33; Phil. 4:5-6)  If we distrust such abundant and divine consolation, we would not believe it even if it were announced by not just one but many angels.

It is certainly true that even if our adversaries would kill all of us—if God so decreed—we should not remain unavenged.  Before long, He who said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” (Gen. 4:9) would challenge them; He would pursue them and make the world too small for them.

Let us be calmly confident in this cause which has to do with God’s Word.  Christ, whose cause it is, will staunchly defend and uphold it against the cunning of the vile devil and the tyranny of the wicked and deceitful world.  For those who confess Him before this evil and adulterous generation and must suffer much thereby, Christ in turn will confess them before His heavenly Father and requite them for their suffering with the delights of eternity (Matt. 10:32).  God Himself says 1 Sam. 2:30, “He who honors Me, I will honor.”  Even if the waves of the sea are strong and huge billows rise up and roar furiously as though they would drown us, the Lord is still on high and has begun a kingdom as wide as the world, which He now rules and has decreed that it shall endure.  He is greater, yes, almighty, and He will accomplish it.  Amen.  There is no other way—if we desire to possess Christ, to live and to rule with Him in eternity, then suffering must first be endured.  Because this is so, why should we heed the rage and fury of such deadly powers, of whom Psalm 2:4 says God in heaven laughs at them and holds them in derision.  If the eternal and omnipotent emperor whose name is God and who lives to all eternity mocks and derides them, why should we fear them, or mourn and weep?  Truly, God does not mock them in His own defense.  He will always be the one dwelling in heaven no matter how they rage against Him.  But He mocks them to encourage us, so that we may take heart and bravely laugh at their onslaughts.  Therefore the only thing necessary for us to do is to believe and to pray most confidently in Christ’s name that God will give us strength, since He has erected His kingdom and this is His doing.  It is He who without our help, counsel, thought, or effort has brought His kingdom forth and has advanced and preserved it to this day.  I have no doubt that He will consummate it without our advice or assistance.  Because “I know in whom I believe,”  as St. Paul says (2 Tim 1:12), I am certain that He will grant me more, do far more abundantly, and help and counsel us beyond all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20).  He is called the Lord who can and will help in a wonderful, glorious, and mighty way, particularly when the need is the greatest.  We are meant to be human beings, not divine.  So let us take comfort in His Word and, trusting His promise, call upon Him confidently for deliverance in time of distress and He will help.  That is all there is to it; we have no alternative; otherwise, eternal unrest would be our reward.  May God save us from that for the sake of His dear Son, our Savior and eternal Priest, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

Finally he looked to God and asked, Have you lost your power?

And God looked at him and said, Have you lost your hearing?

 

The Greatest Story Ever Told: The Great Reconnection

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In a Middle Eastern land many years ago, where a beautiful river branched out to form four other rivers, there was a pristine garden.  Lush tropical trees and plants grew delicious fruit of every taste and texture.  A paradise of grasses and flowers under a canopy of clouds and sky painted a breathtaking canvas.  Musical birds and sparkling waterfalls produced a soundtrack of sheer delight.  It was perfection itself, the Garden of Eden, where the first man and the first woman lived in perfect harmony with each other and with their Creator, the trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  From the first moments of their existence, this first couple—Adam and Eve—enjoyed a close relationship with their Creator. They talked to him just as they talked to each other.  They walked with him in the Garden. They laughed together, sharing the delights of Paradise—reveling in the gazelle’s grace, the eagle’s soaring strength, the sparrow’s playfulness.  They communed with God as a dear Friend and loving Father, for they were a family.  And through this relationship they had everything they needed.  They had love because their love came from God.  They had joy because their joy came from God.  There was no hunger, greed, fear, or pain because God’s holy presence was felt all throughout the wonderful garden.  And God told Adam and Eve that the world was theirs to keep and that they were to fill it with a human family of their own.  For the God of love, their Father, wanted to shower his love on even more children and enjoy their company.  He wanted them to know him as their God and to love him as their Father.  But then something terrible happened.  A rebellious angel named Lucifer plotted in hatred to ruin the perfect family and world God had created.  Lucifer, who had been cast out of heaven because he wanted to rule his own kingdom without God, persuaded the first human couple that they, too, should rule their own world without God.  So he deceived them into believing that they knew better than God.  He convinced them to selfishly and sinfully choose their own ways rather than trusting in God’s ways.  He persuaded them to eat the fruit God had forbidden them to eat.  And so they sinned.  And their sin brought about a devastating effect on them…and on the world around them.  Adam and Eve’s sinful choice to reject God and his ways formed a dreadful wall—a wall of death—that separated them from their loving Creator and Father God.  Gone were their shared moments of intimacy and happiness.  Gone were the trills of laughter they enjoyed together.  Gone was their close relationship.  From that point on, God watched in grief and sadness as children—his children—came into the world he created without knowing him and feeling his love.  He watched them every moment of the day, but they could not feel his interest.  He saw them follow the sinful path of Adam and Eve that would keep every child, teenager, and adult from knowing and feeling his love.  The perfect and holy Creator, who knew no sin, watched as his sinful children separated from his very presence.  They were now disconnected from the only source that could sustain life and love and joy and peace.  He watched as his children had to suffer the agony of war and hunger, disease and heartache, which would last forever and ever.  The sin separated God from the cherished family he had created, and it broke his heart.  And at that moment when his heart broke for his children, he already knew how he would respond.  And this—though it is miraculous—is no fairy tale.  It is absolutely true.  God wanted so much to reconnect to his children and restore a relationship with them—with you—but God, being holy, could not relate to sin.  So he devised a plan.  He sent his Son into our world to become one of us—a child himself, a human baby—for you.  He who was God came to earth—in a virgin’s womb, as the prophets foretold, as the shepherds learned—to cancel the curse so you could know, so you could feel his love for you.  The sin of the first couple and your sin caused death, and the prince of darkness, Satan himself, held the power of death over you.  And there was only one thing that could cancel the curse of sin:  A sinless human had to be willing to sacrifice himself for you.  So God’s Son, perfect and sinless in every way, became human.  As the Bible records, ‘Only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had power of death.’  He did it all for you.  Though you sinned against him, he loved and accepted you.  That is the meaning of the Incarnation.  It shows you how much he wants a relationship with you.  And that kind of relationship is available to anyone who responds to his offer of a never-ending, always-with-you love relationship by believing and trusting in Christ as the Son of God, your Savior, Redeemer, reconnector, and friend.

Not the end, but the beginning, if you trust in the Incarnate One.

 

Lucado’s Thoughts On A Love Worth Giving

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God Loves You.  Personally. Powerfully. Passionately.  Others have promised and failed.  But God has promised and succeeded.  He loves you with an unfailing love.  And His love–If you will let it–can fill you and leave you with a love worth giving.  Patience is the red carpet upon which God’s grace approaches us.  The kindness of Jesus.  We are quick to think of His power, His passion, and His devotion.  But those near Him knew and know God comes cloaked in kindness.   God offers authentic love.  His devotion is the real deal.  But He won’t give you the genuine until you surrender the imitations.  That’s what love does.  It puts the beloved before itself.  Your soul was more important than His blood. Your eternal life was more important than His earthly life.  Your place in heaven was more important to Him than His place in heaven.  So He gave up His so you could have yours.  Jesus always knocks before entering.  He doesn’t have to.  He owns your heart.  If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does.  But He doesn’t.  That gentle tap you hear?  It’s Christ.  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”(Rev 3:20).  And when you answer, He awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.  Get your self out of your eye by getting your eye off your self.  Quit staring at that little self, and focus on your great Savior.  God will load your world with flowers.  He hand-delivers a bouquet to your door every day.  Open it! Take them!  Then, when rejections come, you won’t be left short-petaled.  Today’s thoughts are tomorrow’s actions.  Today’s jealosy is tomorrow’s temper tantrum.  Today’s bigotry is tomorrow’s hate crime.  Today’s anger is tomorrow’s abuse.  Today’s lust is tomorrow’s adultery.  Today’s greed is tomorrow’s embezzlement.  Today’s guilt is tomorrow’s fear.  Isn’t it good to know that even when we don’t love with a perfect love, He does?  How long must I put up with you?  Jesus’ actions answered His own question…Until the rooster sings and the sweat stings and the mallet rings and a hillside of demons smirk at a dying God.  How long?  Long enough for every sin to soak My sinless soul that heaven will turn in horror until My swollen lips pronounce the final transaction:  “It is finished.”  How long?  Until it kills Me.  We hide.  He seeks.  We bring sin, He brings a sacrifice.  We try fig leaves.  He brings the robe of righteousness.  And we are left to sing the song of the prophet:  “He has covered me with clothes of salvation and wrapped me with a coat of goodness, like a bridegroom dressed for His wedding.  Like a bride dressed in jewels”(Isa. 61:10).  When you speak truth, you are God’s ambassador.  As you steward the money He gives, You are His business manager.  When you declare forgiveness, you are His priest.  As you stir the healing of the body or the soul, you are His physician.  And when you pray, He listens to you as a Father listens to a son.  You have a voice in the household of God.  He has given you His ring.  Hope is an olive leaf–evidence of dry land after a flood.  Proof to the dreamer that dreaming is worth the risk.  At any step along the way He could have called it quits….When He saw the dirt floor of His Nazareth house.  When Joseph gave Him a chore to do.  When His fellow students were dozing off during the reading of the Torah, His Torah.  When the neighbor took His name in vain.  When the lazy farmer blamed his poor crop on God.  At any point Jesus could have said, “That’s It! That’s Enough!  I’m Going Home.”  But He didn’t.  He didn’t, because He is Love.  God loves you simply because He has chosen to do so.  He loves you when you don’t feel lovely.  He loves you when no one else loves you.  Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, but God will love you.  ALWAYS.  NO MATTER WHAT.

 

His Voice

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By Max Lucado

Once there was a man who dared God to speak.

Burn the bush like you did for Moses, God.  And I will follow.

Collapse the walls like you did for Joshua, God.  And I will fight.

Still the waves like you did on Galilee, God.  And I will listen.

And so the man sat by a bush, near a wall, close to the sea and waited for God to speak.

And God heard the man, so God answered.  He sent fire, not for a bush, but for a church.  He brought down a wall, not of brick, but of sin.  He stilled a storm, not of the sea, but of a soul.

And God waited for the man to respond.  And he waited… And he waited… And waited.

But because the man was looking at bushes, not hearts; bricks and not lives, seas and not souls, he decided that God had done nothing.

Do’s and Dont’s of the Old Testament

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From “How to read the bible for all its worth by Fee and Stuart.”  Keeping the following principles in mind may help you avoid mistaken applications of the Law while seeing its instructive and faith-building character.

  • Do see the Old Testament law as God’s fully inspired Word for you.
    Don’t see the Old Testament law as God’s direct command to you.
  • Do see the Old Testament law as the basis for the old covenant, and therefore for Israel’s history.
    Don’t see the Old Testament law as binding on Christians in the new covenant except where specifically renewed.
  • Do see God’s justice, love, and high standards revealed in the Old Testament law.
    Don’t forget to see that God’s mercy is made equal to the severity of the standards.
  • Do see the Old Testament law as a paradigm—providing examples for the full range of expected behavior.
    Don’t see the Old Testament law as complete.  It is not technically comprehensive.
  • Do remember that the essence of the law (the Ten Commandments and the two chief laws) is repeated in the prophets and renewed in the New Testament.
    Don’t expect the Old Testament law to be cited frequently by the prophets or the New Testament.
  • Do see the Old Testament law as a generous gift to Israel, bringing much blessing when obeyed.
    Don’t see the Old Testament law as a grouping of arbitrary, annoying regulations limiting people’s freedom.

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