“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!

“God is Faithful”

God is faithful to keep His promises

Ezekiel 15 to 18 In the NT, Jesus told parables about things or people. He said people will hear yet won’t perceive. Ezekiel also used parables so the people would listen to God’s Word and perhaps glean a truth for life.

Parable: #1 In the branch parable, we see a branch full of life thrown into the fire. Life without God is like the fires of hell. #2 In the unfaithful bride parable, we see a rags to riches story. God takes us from the gutter and bestows his blessings, yet the world’s lure is always at the doorstep of our heart. Be on guard! #3 In the parable about the eagle, we see that God raised Nebuchadnezzar, who deported the people to Babylon, leaving a vassal king who swore to honor the king in charge. Yet, the vassal grew impatient and soon rebelled. Eccl 5:4 “When you make a vow, do not delay in paying it.” #4 In the parable of the two sons, we see a family whose lives mirrored the NT story. The younger was restless and disrespectful of his father. Seeking his inheritance, he left and walked the world. The older son served his father but with an ungrateful heart. The younger returned and sought reconciliation, but the older remained unforgiving.

God had blessed Israel, but she was unfaithful. Yet, like the prodigal’s father, God was always waiting to restore the relationship because He is a covenant keeper, and unlike us, His covenant is everlasting. [Ezek 16:60]

God is El Roi!

God will be with you

Isaiah 43 to 45 Do you feel the overwhelming presence of the unknown before you? Do walk as on hot coals because the enemy has come calling to frighten you? Does he who is evil remind you of your past to keep you in his grip? Precious one, know this truth: do not fear, for He has paid your redemption price from the slave auction block of sin so that you may know He is God, and there is no other.

No matter what lies in your path, you can be assured of His presence whether you are facing the tossed waves of the Red Sea, the fiery furnace as in Babylon, Hagar’s wilderness, or the barrenness of Naomi.  Lift your head and see; the pool of water is before you so that you may know “El Roi,” the God who sees me. He promises that whatever lies before you is in His sovereign control. Just as God asked Hosea to pay the redemption price for Gomer, God has paid the redemption price for you through the death of His Only Son. Step out and believe His promise: “you will hear a word spoken behind you; “this is the way, walk in it, whether you are heading to the right or left.” [Is 30:21]

What is on Your Wish List?

what would you answer God if he asked that same question

1Kings 1-4 Elijah has been God’s voice in the northern kingdom. He has not seen one righteous king but some righteous people. As his ministry comes to a close he seeks to turn King Ahaziah back to the Lord, but because he would not, Elijah reminds him that he will die soon. Ahaziah refused to seek Yahweh and dies in his sins. Even though Elijah has faced the wickedness of men, God has used him as His messenger.

Where is God using you?

In 1Kings 19:19 Elijah’s successor, Elisha, is chosen and Elijah reveals to him that God is taking him home to heaven.Elijah asks him an important question:

What can I do for you?  

2Kings 2:9 Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of the prophetic spirit that energizes you” In some ways, this reminds us of the same question posed to Solomon by God. 2Ch 1:7 “Tell me what I should give you.”  Solomon asked for wisdom and discernment and God was pleased. “Because you requested wisdom and discernment so you can make judicial decisions for my people over whom I have made you king, you are granted this and riches as well.

What would be on your list if that same question was asked of you? 

Proverbs 7: How to raise a wise child

Proverbs 7 is an instructional manual

Prov 7 “Instruction Manual”

Recently an author wrote to young men/women about life after high school. It was interestingly similar to an instructional manual and could have come right out of Proverbs 7! To the gals: If a guy calls you at 2 AM to “hang out,” he is not boyfriend material! To guys and gals: go to church, not just because your parents instructed you to do it, but because it is there that God speaks, and you need to hear his voice. Now is the time to strengthen your relationship with God and follow his plan. To guys and gals:  keep your morals and standards high. The author asked: Will it be challenging? Absolutely! Will you feel like the minority? Absolutely! Should you change to fit in? Absolutely not!

It is not a sin to be simple, but it is a sin to not grow from simpleton to maturity. “But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.” [Heb 5:24]

Be careful of becoming the fool:  “Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways – do not wander into her pathways; for she has brought down many fatally wounded, and all those she has slain are many.” [Prov 7:25]The warning is clear. “when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full-grown, it gives birth to death. Do not be led astray” [James 1:15]

Are you the parent of a simpleton because of their age or because of their naiveté? Increase your parenting skills.

From Angst to Peace

Jesus paid it all

Psalm 50 and 51 Our world is in deep trouble, yet the world says it will give you peace and security. The world lies, and if we love the world, we are not of God. [1John] Instead, we are worshiping the creation more than the Creator.[Rom 1] Jesus, God’s Son, has paid our debt and even though the world is striving to do the right “thing,” it lacks the one thing He desires: a humble spirit and a repentant heart. Without the sacrifice of our Savior, we remain indebted. But, thanks be to God that Jesus paid our sin debt.

In the OT, people brought animal sacrifices to the Tabernacle/Temple, and the High Priest would acknowledge such and pray for the individual. As temporary forgiveness, it had to be repeated over and over. On the cross, Jesus said, “it is finished,” and the veil in the temple was rent in two from top to bottom, opening the way to God. Now we can confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace. [Heb 4:16]Today we offer our bodies, alive, holy, and pleasing to Him, which is our reasonable service for all He has done. [Rom 12:1].

Are you still walking around with the sin label, or are you set free?

How do you feel about rules?

Rules are given for a purpose

Exodus 22 to 24 God has set down the laws for a perfect society, and He starts with laws that men are to keep and the consequences for breaking those laws. The people had just said they would obey all that God has said, but that will be short-lived, and so this is why God wrote these. His attention to detail is so that they people have a benchmark to follow. Next, God institutes the three feasts that are to be held with directions for all males to be in attendance.

Two chapters entailed these directions that men may know how God will determine their integrity. Now God moves from the social justice theme to the promise of the angelic messenger to go before them in their travels. “Take heed and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my Names is in him.” [Exodus 23:20] Why is this important? It is because they had lived ‘under’ slave masters who determined all their rules and regulations. Now God will show them the difference between what is holy and unholy, what is sanctified, and what is impure. The purpose is to set them apart from the nations around them and be the guiding light of the gospel to the pagans they will encounter.

God has given us His “rule” book that ensures we will be blessed if we obey. How do you feel about God’s Rules and will you obey them?

God’s Promise

God promises our destiny

Daniel 10-12 Interestingly, God met both Daniel and Paul away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Both men had a group of friends with them, but only Daniel and Paul saw the vision. Both felt their strength fade away because of the power of the vision. Both listened to the voice, and both were given the wisdom to understand.

Paul needed to know Jesus, whom he had been persecuting. From that encounter, he would travel the world, telling all who would hear about Jesus. Daniel, on the other hand, had a robust relationship with God, but many questions. God came because Daniel did as James said: “if you lack wisdom, ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach.” [James 1:5] At the end of this encounter, Daniel was told the answer but then to seal it up for the time had not yet come for it to be revealed.

Yet, God had one more promise to Daniel. He would leave this earth and go to his rest just as the Hebrews author said. [Heb 4:9] Daniel may have had unanswered questions still, but the angelic figure gave this octogenarian a tremendous promise:

“But you should go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will arise to receive what you have been allotted.” [Dan 12:13]

God offers that same promise to you if you have yielded your life to Him. The question is can you claim that same promise?