God is God!

God is God

Acts 11 and 12 Beware…you are NOT God!

Incredibly since we began this journey in January, we have met men who think they can control life and all that pertains to it! In Exodus, we met Pharaoh, who said, “Who is this God that I should obey him. [Ex 5:2] and in Daniel, we met a blustering king who gave all credit to himself, not God. [Daniel 4:33] Now, fast forward to the NT, where the religious leaders think they can contain these Jesus followers/disciples through threats and death, but this “Jesus thing” keeps growing and taking over the whole world. Acts 12 reveals to us King Herod, who thinks he can stop what the religious leaders could not by killing the apostle James by the sword. When that brought glee to them, he imprisoned Peter yet an angel opens prison doors and frees Peter to go and preach the gospel!

All of these have either not known or have forgotten this principle: Isa 42:8 “I am the Lord! That is my name! I will not share my glory with anyone else.” And so Herod meets God:  “Immediately an angel of the Lord struck Herod down because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died.” [Acts 12:23]

God is God, and there is none other. Give Him glory and praise for if you do not, one day you will realize too late this principle: “at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth and confess Jesus as Lord,” [Phil 2:10-11]

The Resurrection Proves…

Jesus is God

Luke 24, John 20-21 Imagine being in the very presence of the risen Lord on that first resurrection day. Imagine being the first witnesses to his resurrection! The gospel writers note it was not the disciples but the women and the two on the road to Emmaus, to whom He revealed Himself.

The women came to anoint the body of Jesus and were blessed to find two angelic figures who asked them, why are you sad; He is not here; He has risen just as he said. Then two men on the road to Emmaus, one of whom was Cleopas, were given the very presence of the risen Christ. All were asked this question: Have you forgotten His words? Like the women and the two men, we are slow of heart to believe. When they realized that they were in the presence of the risen Christ, the women rejoiced and the two said did not our hearts burn within us? 

Jesus is the very God of the very God. As Paul reminded the Athenians, he is not a deity like gold or silver, an image made by human skill or imagination [Acts 17:24-29]. He said, and He did have the power to lay down his life and raise it again. The women and the two Emmaus walkers excitedly returned to tell the good news—HE HAS RISEN JUST AS HE SAID! 

Are you sad or rejoicing? Is your heart burning with the announcement of His resurrection?

“Wonder No More.”

He is risen

Mark 16 In the early hours of the first day of the week, the women who had stood at the cross came to the tomb. They “wondered” then and are still “wondering.”  As they walk to the tomb where they had seen their Master lain, they “wonder” again; who will roll the stone away. When Lazarus had died, Martha reminded Jesus that it was four days, and he “stinketh.” Did these women “wonder” if their blessed Master also, even after three days “stinketh”? They had seen Joseph and Nicodemus wrap Him with the 70 lbs. of spices, but they are undeterred in their quest to honor Christ. And so as they continue to “wonder;” they come upon the tomb with its entrance not closed but open! There sat a young man dressed in a brilliant white robe. Again they “wonder” as he reminds of that which they had dismissed or forgotten: “But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” [Mk 14:28] The young man tells them he has risen. Like when Jesus was alive, he says if you don’t believe my words come and see reminding us of what Jesus had said: ‘if you do not believe me, believe because of the miraculous deeds themselves.’ [John 10:38]

Today no longer “wonder” but believe. The crucified Christ is no longer on the cross. He is not in the tomb, “He has risen just as He said!” Look at where he was; then go forth to tell the world, He has risen from the dead!

Protect the Little Ones!

We must step up and protect the little ones

Matthew 18 The disciples wanted to know who was the greatest so Jesus took a little child and said, here is the true test of greatness: “become like little children,” or you will not ever enter the kingdom of heaven. Pride stands in the way of greatness. Be ye humble like this child.

And again, if you cause even one to sin, it would be better to be thrown in the sea with a millstone about your neck. Remember this; their angels stand before God, waiting to do His bidding. Beware! Remember, this is how the enemy works: “the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.” [2Cor 4:4] Therefore, do not aid him in his work. 

As was then, so it is today: the culture disdains its children; we must protect the little ones. Remember this warning: “The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it because they repented when Jonah preached to them—and now, something greater than Jonah is here!” [Matt 12:41]

Immanuel!

Jesus is Immanuel

Matt 1 and Luke 2:1-38 The 400 yrs. of silence have ended, and God’s plan is revealed through the gospel writers of Matthew, the Jewish publican, and Luke, the Gentile physician. Also, that we might know and believe, Paul the Pharisee turned Believer, wrote: Gal 4:4 “But when the appropriate time/the appointed time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” Both Matthew and Luke record the events surrounding our Savior’s birth, but long ago in eternity past, God’s plan was set in motion. He sent forth his Son born of a virgin to fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” [Is 7:14]

John the Baptist prepared the way by preaching a message of repentance and noted that Jesus was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. [John 1:35] Jesus is that perfect Lamb. John, the Apostle, records what that message was and is: 1Jo 4:10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Do you know Him?

God’s Silence is Broken—a Message of Hope!

God so loved...

“Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.” [2Tim 3:16, 17]

 Luke 1 and John 1:1-14 It has been 400 yrs. of silence since heaven spoke, yet in His perfect time; God spoke again that the people might know that His plan was still effectual and present, perfectly time just for you!

Years before Luke and John wrote, the prophet Zechariah had seen eight visions for a discouraged people to remind them that His love was everlasting and why He had been faithful to them. [Jer. 31:3] Fast forward 400 yrs., and God sends another message of love and plan to a discouraged people through a priest named (ironically) Zechariah as he ministered at the altar of incense. This Zechariah listens but questions, unlike the prophet Zechariah of 400 yrs. ago! Gabriel, the angelic messenger, says that you will be silent because you did not believe until God’s plan comes to pass. 

Do we question God’s plan when we hear His voice? Beloved, God loves so much that His plan is perfect, and His timing is perfect and He sends His message of love to you who may be discouraged today.   

“Do We Have a Daniel Heart?”

God is God

Daniel 7 to 9 Daniel has been in Babylon for a v-e-r-y long time. In that time, he has faithfully served kings as but first and foremost; he reverently continues to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Both Ezekiel and Daniel have visions as they stand by a body of water. They not only ‘saw’ but ‘heard’ the words of the vision. How blessed we are in this century to ‘see’ with heavenly eyes the future through these prophets and hear the meaning. God’s purpose is to know and understand that God is God and there is no other. Isaiah wrote: His deeds and plans are superior to ours, and yet He considers each of us as He orchestrates our day and our future. Again, just as Ezekiel, John, and Isaiah, Daniel fell to the ground as he recognized he was in the presence of God’s holy messenger, Gabriel.

As Daniel arose, the vision was so real that he fell to his knees in prayer. “O Lord, great and awesome God!” You are faithful while we have been unfaithful. You are righteous, but we are unrighteous. You are exalted, but we have been humiliated. Therefore, you were right to judge our sin.

 Daniel has recorded all of this so that we might recoil in our sin and exalt He who is the Lord God Almighty. Isaiah the prophet wrote: “seek the Lord while He may be found.” [Is 55:6]

Ezekiel’s Virtual Reality Tour

Join Ezekiel

Ezekiel 40 Docents help us to visualize what could have been or what will be when visiting a historical site. For example, Ezekiel has been a docent for the captives as a faithful prophet, and he has shown the elders and the people through drama why they are in Babylon. But like then, they and we want to know what lies ahead.  So it is time for God’s docent, the radiant angel, to take Ezekiel on a tour of the new Temple to be built, and we have a ringside seat on this tour.

If we were writing this today, we might say that Ezekiel will view this new Temple with all its glory through wearing virtual reality glasses. His tour begins on the mountain of God and he will see a glorious temple beyond description, for our God is glorious and majestic, and his structure will be just as He is. The captives have several years more in Babylon, but God has his men and His instructions ready for when the time is ready. Yet, history reveals that neither Zerubbabel’s Temple nor Herod’s Temple will be anywhere near this glorious, so we look to the future through the eyes of John. He tells us that there will not be a temple in the New Jerusalem, for the Temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb. [Rev 21:22]

Are you encouraged and ready to see God’s majesty in all His glory?

God’s Hidden Valiant Warrior

be strong and courageous

Judges 6-7 As our story opens, we find fearful Gideon hiding in a winepress, threshing his family’s wheat crop. At that moment, an angel of God appeared, telling him he was a brave warrior. Does God ever come to you when like Gideon? Gideon will soon be the brave warrior of fleeces and lapping water fame. But for now, he is hiding in a winepress to thresh his family’s wheat harvest because of fear.  Does that fit the description of a warrior? Warriors are supposed to stand tall, face the enemy, and be victorious, yet Gideon lives by fear. Gideon and the Israelites were living examples of the first part of this verse:  “The fear of people becomes a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be set on high.” [Prov 29:25] Gideon questioned the angelic presence;  if God is for us, why are we facing this? If God is near to us, why don’t I see or experience him?

Yet, Gideon is just the kind of person God is looking for so that the “one who boasts, boasts in the Lord.” [1Cor 1:31] The angel of the Lord told Gideon what lay ahead, but he needed more confirmation—not once but twice. God graciously answered because he wanted Gideon to cast off his former view of himself and rise to the occasion.

Perhaps God is calling you to a ministry or a challenge. Are you hiding in a winepress or stepping out so you can hear God saying: “I will be with you.”  

God Tests Balaam & Us

God tests our heart motives

Numbers 22  Just as we test metals to determine their worth, so God tests our hearts to know it’s worth, and as Paul prayed, so should we: That “our God will make [us] worthy of His calling.” [2Thess 1:11] Enter Balaam, the son of Beor, a false diviner whose worth will be proven. When the Moabite King sent a delegation, God intervened by asking Balaam,  “Who are these men?” Balaam kept up a dialog with God about them, and on the surface, it seems that he was obeying. However, as we see, Balaam fell headlong into the temptation of earthly riches, which was more potent than obeying God. Like many today, Balaam tried to appear righteous by his answer that he could not curse Israel, but his actions prove the opposite. Balaam sought ways to obey God and yet get the riches the King offered.

The last test came when God explicitly tested Balaam when he said: “if” these men have come to call you, get up and go with them. But Balaam didn’t wait for the “if” clause and instead got up and went.

Today God tests our hearts just as He did Balaam’s. Therefore, we must ask God for his wise counsel and we must stand firm.  God gives us tests to discern if we will obey His voice or our own.