Where is God?

God is in heaven

Ps 115 For centuries men have asked: Where is God? Yet we need to ask: how often are our eyes focused inward and not upward? The psalmist begins by saying that it is not to us, but the Lord, we are to bring honor and praise. When you think about the name of the Lord, what comes to mind?

  1. Ex 15:3 He is a warrior, and the Lord is His Name
  2. Psalm 68:4 the one who rides on the clouds, the Lord is His Name
  3. Ex 17:15 Moses built an altar, and he called it “The Lord is my Banner.”
  4. Gen 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord provides.”
  5. Acts 4:12 there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.

We revere and call upon His Name, His lovingkindness, and faithfulness (which is new every morning). The world asks, “Where is God?” Men asked Jesus that question on the cross. They scoff and sneer, but God is where God has always been—in heaven where the scoffers will never set foot. It is there that those who revere and fear Him will find their place of refuge. It is where He who holds the universe in the palm of His hand sits undisturbed, his throne unshaken, and his purposes unchanged. it is there that He hears our cries and our prayers.

Where is God? He is in heaven where He has always been. Do you know Him?

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Will you go to Heaven?

rev 21 heaven2aRevelation 21: John had reminded the reader to be an overcomer or a conqueror because the reward is beyond description and the loss is irreparable. What do we have to overcome or conquer? It is the sin of the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life.

Standing and hearing that it is done, his mind may have swiftly been taken back to the first images of these 7 churches that John knew and ministered to or even further back to the Garden of Eden. What blessings await the conquerors are the very ones God would have showered upon Adam and Eve had they obeyed to not eat of the tree of life.

Once forbidden, a conqueror will be given permission to feast upon that very tree. Because Adam and Eve ate, hanging over their head was the second death. But you who are conquerors will never have to fear the death that will forever separate you from God.  You will not only feast on the Tree of life but also be nourished with the hidden manna as you listen for your new name being called by God.  Instead of being fearful when you hear God calling you will answer: “Here I am!”  Adam and Eve had tried to cover themselves with fig leaves but God will cover the conquerors with white clothing; the garment given to those who are righteous.

Adam and Eve plunged all of humanity into sin yet Jesus paid the price of their decision. We who are conquerors will stand by seeing our name in the Lamb’s Book of Life; be a pillar in God’s temple and sit with Jesus on the throne.

Beloved, heaven is indescribable but it is only for the conqueror. Are you one?

 

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The Singing Saints Pt 1

harp-rev-14-2aThe heavenly choir “were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one was able to learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth.” [Revelation 14]

Julie Andrews’ song echoes in our heads: “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” One day it will not the hills but Mount Zion of God will be alive with the sound of music. The choir of the 144,000 sealed by God will be heard singing a new song before the throne. They will be accompanied by the harpists playing their harps reminiscent of the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah. That choir celebrated joyfully with songs of thanksgiving and songs accompanied by cymbals, harps, and lyres. [Neh 12] The difference being that this song is sung by those purchased and preserved. They are the professing choir of virgins redeemed from the earth and are now rewarded for their faithfulness and purity. They had heard the Lamb say “follow Me” and they did.
The Shepherds of old heard the choir of heavenly angels as they sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased” as they proclaimed the Messiah’s birth. What song will you sing for the Messiah king?

 

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Is Our Heart Broken?

romans 9 broken heart2Perhaps you know of someone, like I do, who shared his kidney “just because” it was as he said.,..the right thing to do. He stepped up and offered a kidney to save another whose life hung in the balance.  But here is the question: what if  God said you could give your salvation to someone who is in need—would you like Paul be willing to spend eternity in hell so they could spend eternity in heaven?

Thankfully we know that for certain that we are redeemed and sealed and our salvation is secure–and this would not be a possibility but there still is that question: would we be willing? What does our response say about our heart?

As Paul continues to pour out his heart to the unbelieving Jew his heart is literally broken as he knows what lies before them if they do not repent. So it is with us who have unbelieving loved ones, friends and those across the world that are following false religions seeking to earn their place in paradise/heaven. But, is our heart as broken as Paul’s? Does it send us to our knees praying diligently for them daily because we know they are seeking eternity on their own terms and they will with all certainty fail? One day they will only hear “I never knew you” from the lips of the Savior because “they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works.” In contrastthe one who believes in him will not be put to shame.

May we earnestly not only contend for the faith but pray for those who are walking in darkness.

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Chapter Two: From Heaven to Earth

ImageToday as part of our year’s reading of the NT, Psalms and Proverbs,  we begin the study of the book of Acts. Of all of the NT authors, Dr. Luke is by far the most complete as to the life of Christ here on earth from his announcement to his ascension. In Luke we find Christ in the living walking breathing man; in Acts we find Christ’s living active Spirit (Holy Spirit) indwelling each believer. In Luke Jesus presents himself as the suffering servant; in Acts he presents himself through the suffering yet rejoicing servants. In Luke Jesus tell the disciples: You are witnesses and in Acts Jesus tells them you will be my witnesses. Luke covers about 30 yrs of time from the announcement to the ascension of Christ and in Acts about 30 yrs from Jesus’ ascension to Paul’s two year imprisonment in Rome. Thus in just two short books we will cover a span of 60 yrs—for many a person’s lifetime–of what transpired as the church began its ministry. In Luke we walked beginning from Nazareth and ended up in Jerusalem. In Acts we begin in Jerusalem and end up in Rome.

As we begin this journey with Luke there are some notable things of which we need to take notice:

In Luke 24: he, that is Christ, opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures, in Acts 1: he [Christ] presented himself alive with many convincing proofs so they could visualize the scriptures.

In Luke 24: it stands written that the Christ would suffer and would rise from the dead on the third day, in Acts 1: as proof that this was fulfilled, He was seen by them over a forty-day period

In Luke 24: repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem and in Acts the disciples are anointed with power to accomplish this by being his witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.”

In Luke the disciples see the risen Christ; then he vanished out of their sight. In Acts the risen Christ was with them 40 days; then was lifted up and a cloud hid him from their sight.

In Luke “Didn’t our hearts burn within us while he was speaking with us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us?” But in contrast, in Acts: they excitedly began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

No angels are present when Christ reveals himself to the disciples in the upper room but in Acts: suddenly two men in white clothing stood near them. There is a saying that goes like this: You can be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. In Acts we see them gazing heavenward and two men are sent to guide them back to earth. That is perhaps why the two angels reminded them: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven.” Translation: you are to be His witnesses until he returns so why are you wasting time gazing at the clouds? He will be back but the work is still unfinished. Get Busy!

And thus now as His witnesses we are to long for his appearing but until he comes back we are to be busy about the Master’s business. So the question as we begin this week is this: where is our focus—on heaven or the earth where the work must begin and end.

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I AM is coming soon!

ImageThe entire Bible from Genesis to this last chapter points out the earnest desire of God—that we dwell with Him and He with us.  This last chapter brings to the conclusion our devotional thoughts of Revelation. The last vision opens to the marvelous expanse of Heaven which Jesus said He was going away to prepare for us. As in the Garden a river flowed from Eden to water the orchard, and from there it divided into four headstreams. In heaven there is a river of the water of life flowing unimpeded from the throne down the middle of the street. The tree of life once forbidden and guarded after the fall by “angelic sentries who used the flame of a whirling sword to guard the way to the tree of life” is now not only freely producing fruit but is available for all to pick and enjoy. No more curses, no more separation. When God calls “Where are you?”  we will answer here am I, and join in conversation with him just as Adam and Eve did prior to the fall. We will now walk with him freely conversing as He did in the beginning. There will be no more day and night but the Lord God will shine upon us forever and ever and ever and ever. Oh Beloved are you ready to experience this?

And what will we be there? 22:3 says we will be servants, absolutely devoted to Him and worshiping Him, able to see His face unlike what God told his servant Moses: Exo 33:20 But he added, “You cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live.”

 God closes this marvelous vision and tells John, unlike Daniel who was told to seal up the vision, to leave this vision opened so that we may know and be prepared for what is ahead. It is to be read and read and read again. Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, the root and descendant of David, the bright morning star, speaks and reminds the reader: Look! I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy expressed in this book.

How awesome heaven will be for those who have chosen Jesus as their Savior, their Messiah. May you be blessed because you have “read the words of this prophecy aloud, heard and obeyed the things written in it.” Beloved —the time is near!” Are you ready?

Picture: DailyLifeVerse

 

 

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Camping Out With God (2Cor 5)

ImageOne of the things I never learned to enjoy is camping. I wish it were not so as everyone tells me how great it is, but truth be known, this author remembers the lengthy list of things you must pack such as  lanterns and a sundry paraphernalia and of course the tent.  Once there you get settled only to realize that the camping time has drawn to a close and you have to repack and move on. Unfortunately, my grumbling sounds like I need another lap around the wilderness just like the Israelites of old.

Paul uses the analogy of tenting to explain our life in this earthen vessel. He says beloved, it won’t be forever. I am sure the Israelites thought so too when they set up the Tabernacle. It was there for good, right? Wrong! God has a sense of humor and a way to get us to enjoy camping out with Him. He moves the light and the cloud and off we are again, packing up the Tabernacle and our tents to move on to another place. So too it is with our “tabernacle/tent” of our earthen vessels, this vessel, this outer man that is decaying day by day. Within we are new creation but our outer man is declining, frail and vulnerable as we said. But one day God will say it is time to fold up this earthly tabernacle and move on to the new destination and that is heaven where He is. Once there we will be outfitted with new camping gear and it won’t be that made with hands nor will it be temporary but eternal.  

Until then, what is on God’s camping agenda for us? Vs 9: please Him; vs 11 persuade people to be reconciled to Him; vs 20 be His ambassadors; vs 21 be His righteousness before those whose minds are veiled and are perishing; 1Thess 4:2 walk and please Him; 1John 3:22, obey his commandments; Col 1:10 walk worthily of the Lord.

What should be our motive? Paul says it is the love of Christ that constraineth us and we are no longer to live for ourselves but for Him who died for us and was raised—just as the scriptures said. 1Cor 15:3-4 “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.” Christ’s death accomplished the do’s and don’ts once and for all by paying for our sin and making us righteous.

So are you grumbling and groaning in this mortal “tent” like me? Take heart, I am sure Job , Noah and Enoch felt the same way along with a score of others. We won’t be on this earthly journey forever. One day we will see that the light and the cloud have moved and it is time to pack up our tent and head on to the new destination; heaven. Until then, let’s all learn to enjoy camping out with God and pleasing Him.

 

 

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Soar Like the Eagle!

ImageA good question to ask oneself might be: Where am I today in my spiritual walk? Have I stopped to thank God for His many provisions of blessings?

 In Psalm 102 we find that the psalmist is “in the pits.”  The psalmist  visualizes life alone, life without hope. “I am like an owl in the wilderness;”  bereft of friendship and like a ruin that has been abandoned;  like the solitary bird on a rooftop, alone and separated from company.  In sharp contrast, in Psalm 103 he is soaring like the eagle, the bird that commands the heavens with its ability to fly to the heights of the clouds and descend with a crescendo to capture its prey, in control over others. C.H. Spurgeon wrote: Renewal of strength, amounting to a grant of a new lease of life, was granted to the Psalmist; he was so restored to his former self that he grew young again, and looked as vigorous as an eagle, whose eye can gaze upon the sun, and whose wing can mount above the storm. It is in this time that the psalmist reflects how blessed he has become because of the Lord’s provision and protection.

In reading this psalm reflect on the word “all” and count the many ways that God has touched your life. As a pastor and poet, H. F. Lyte did just that and wrote a famous hymn “Praise, My Soul, The King of Heaven.” The first stanza sums up his thoughts as he reflected in his time of prayer and praise:

 Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Take time today and ponder the many blessings that God has placed before you. “God’s blessings… include forgiveness of sins, healing from sickness, deliverance from death, enrichment of life, satisfaction, and rejuvenation.” [Constable].

Ponder the eagle as a picture of rejuvenation. The eagle mates for life, builds his nest at the very tops of trees, remains strong and lives the longest of any bird, often to 38 yrs. The eagle remains vigorous, symbolizing power, freedom and transcendence, meaning that they surpass and exceed in superiority to the end of their lives. “Likewise God enables His people to remain spiritually vigorous until death.” [Constable]

Where are you today in your spiritual walk? Stop and meditate upon this psalm today and be renewed like the eagle.

 

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