February 22, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO TALK WITH ME

EXODUS 33:9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses

It is difficult for someone like me who was raised by good, Godly parents, who knew the Bible and taught me the Bible, to imagine what it would be like to not be able to just talk to God whenever and wherever I want to. We have unobstructed access to God the Father anytime we want because of the blood of Christ. Here in this verse, Moses, needing to speak to God, entered the tabernacle and the presence of God entered in the form of a cloudy pillar. The Bible says that the cloudy pillar of God’s presence stood at the door of the tabernacle.

So much to say to this. I trust you know that, as a Christian, our body is the tabernacle of God. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit descends into our hearts. Revelation illustrates that Christ literally stands at our hearts door and knocks, much as God was standing at the door of the tabernacle. So our heart’s door is literally the door to the tabernacle. God is now not in Cloudy Form, God dwells in us in Spirit Form.

In Moses’ day, God only dwelled in the holy of holies in the back of the tabernacle because there was so much sin present with the people. Today there is still sin present when God’s people show up at the tabernacle. They even get upset sometimes when the preacher preaches against sin. Little do they understand how much God hates sin. But we are blessed that our sin has been covered by the blood of Christ, so we can now go boldly to the throne of Grace, and request presence with God our Father.

I said all that in explanation for me to be able to say this. God entered an earthly tabernacle in cloudy pillar form just to do one thing. To “talk with Moses”. God loves to talk to us. He loves to spend time with us. God longs to be wanted by His children. God just wants to talk with you.
If you are running errands driving in your car, He wants to talk with you. If you are lonely and feeling misunderstood by people, God is ready to talk with you. It is a bit hard to believe someone as important as God would want to talk to comparably very unimportant people like us. But He does. Because Moses showed to talk with God, God showed up to talk with him.

May I challenge you today? Show up to talk with God. Get up a little earlier, take less time on lunch break, or go to bed a little later. Just because we are spoiled and have easy access to Him, there is no excuse to make such little effort to spend time with Him. He is willing to talk. He is wanting to talk. He is waiting to talk. God is Standing there at the door of your tabernacle, just waiting to be invited in. By the way, it is great to let God know the things going on in your life, but remember it is far more important to hear what God has to say to you, then it is for Him to hear what you have to say to God.

February 21, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO SHINE THE LIGHT ON MY HEART

II Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

 

Don’t you love the Word of God!  (I am aware that grammatically you should not start a paragraph or sentence with a contraction, but I just wanted to.)  Before God explains what He is able to do, God explains what He has already done. Just in case there is a part of you that is going to doubt what God is getting ready to say, God unloads this little statement. “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness.” BOOM! So there was an infinity of darkness with no light whatsoever, and with just a word God created light. He made something out of nothing. But is that not what God always does? He makes something out nothing.

Erase six tell us that not only did God create and shine light where there was none, God also shined a light in our hearts. At just a few inches in diameter, our heart is minuscule as compared to the universe. I mean if God could shed light on billions upon billions of square miles, I guess He could shed a little light in our hearts.

Before we move on, let me point out something. You cannot control light unless you can create light. To be able to shine light, you must be able to provide light. If there is nothing to shine, then there is no shining. So God creates light, and God controls that light.

What is the light that God has shined on our hearts? It is the knowledge of God’s glory. You see, you and I cannot comprehend the Glory of God. For us to comprehend that, we will need God to shine that light on our heart. Whenever you or I sit in a church service, and we feel the precious Sprit of God moving among the people, that is not explainable in a book. That is not something that you can describe to an individual that doesn’t know the Lord. It’s just something that you sense because God has enlightened our heart with the knowledge of His glory. I cannot shine that on someone else. That must come from God. Just like God created something out of nothing in space, God creates something out of nothing in our heart. God put something there that does not exist until he creates it.

When God shines on our heart, that changes everything. It begins to bring humility. It begins to provide peace. It begins to change your attitude and our spirit. It begins to bring kindness when others treat us unkindly. It begins to create forgiveness in our heart where we used to hold a grudge. It creates meekness where pride used to be. It creates love where bitterness once had domain. You may be reading this and have a number of things you would like to say. Maybe something like the fact that you’ve had too much turmoil happen in you life to  d able to change your mind. Maybe there has been too many wrongs done to change the ill feelings that you have. Well I am here to tell you that God was able to create the sun, moon, and stars to light up the world. I think He can probably change your heart.

If you will notice two words in the last phrase of the verse that makes a huge difference. It is the words “to give”. God says that He will be happy “to give” you the light and the knowledge that you need. No cost to you.

So here it is. Today, may I encourage you to simply pray and ask God to shine on your heart today. Ask God to give you more knowledge of His glory. Ask God to allow you to see more of the face of Jesus, so that the people you meet will see more of Jesus in your face.

February 20, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE READY TO FORGIVE

Psalm 86:5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

I hate to admit this, but when I am hurt by someone, I eventually get to the point that I forgive that person and desire to move on. My temperament cannot take tension with someone very long. But I cannot say that I am always “ready” to forgive immediately. I might need to calm down, think things through, or let my anger subside. This verse says that God is always “ready” to forgive. That means that it is God’s first reaction. It is natural for Him. It means that God is forgiving and as it says in the first part of the verse, He is good. In fact, God is so good, that immediately after we sin, He is ready to forgive and forget. Amazing!

I have found in my life, that my problem is not that God will not forgive me, but that I will not forgive myself. We sometimes can beat ourselves up, dwell on our own failures, and continue to let the past ruin the future. In fact, let me put it this way. Maybe you are not “ready” to forgive yourself for some failures. Maybe you are not done making yourself feel bad for it. Maybe, without realizing it, you are trying to make yourself do some kind of penance for it. Maybe if you hold onto the guilt, eventually you will feel you finally deserve some relief from it. Maybe if you dwell on these failures, you will not have to move on in your life where you might possibly commit further failures. Maybe if you dwell on this mistake, you won’t commit further faults. Bless our hearts. We can be very complicated and confused.

The problem with this is that IS ready to move on. God is ready to forgive. God does want you to move on to other things. God has great plans for you. God has great opportunities that He has foreordained to intersect with your path. God has some victories that He wants you to experience in your Christian walk. God has some huge blessings that He cannot wait to bless your life and family with. God has sweet and precious promises that He wants to remind you of in your daily quiet time with Him. God is excited about the future. He is ready to move forward. The only thing that could ruin all this is your sin, but God was instantly ready to forgive you for it the moment that you repented. But sadly, you are not “ready”.

May I lovingly urge you today to realize that God is good although our flesh is bad. God is ready to forgive although you are not ready to forgive yourself. Although you have made many mistakes, God has plenty of mercy. All you have to to is call upon God. Draw nigh to Him and He will draw nigh to you. God is ready to forgive.

February 19, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO POUR OUT A BLESSING

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Remember the “if and then” principle. Here it is again. God says if we do what He tells us, then He has made a promise. God says if we will be faithful to give into God’s storehouse, then God will pour blessings on our house. There are some really good principles given in this verse. I don’t know about you but I want to make sure I live in a way that can allow God to bless my life to the greatest degree. Let’s look at a few things in this verse.

1) Notice God says to “bring” the tithes to the storehouse. That means it is important for us to be present in God’s house, and when we are there to be faithful to bring To God what He deserves.
2) Notice God says “all” the tithes. Giving to God is one thing but God expects for us to give all that He deserves. The first fruits are what He has asked for. Not the leftovers.
3) Notice God says “mine house”. Each of us should understand that the church does not belong to us, and the church is not controlled by us. We are to operate the church according to Biblical principles, and there are leadership positions that God has ordained in His Word for a church to structure itself after. But this is God’s house, not ours.
4) Notice God says “meat” in His house. So we do not have to be vegetarians. I just had to throw that in there.
5) Notice that God is so serious about this promise that He has issued a challenge for us to prove Him on this one. This means that God knows how important this is for us. This challenge should be motivation to make us do this. God knows if we do, that we will immediately realize how wonderful it is to experience the blessings of God. He also says “prove me now”. Don’t hesitate, don’t think about it, just do it immediately. You don’t want to go another day or take another step without honoring God with the first fruits of your income so that He can pour out blessings upon you.
6) Notice that God said that He would open the windows of Heaven. Can you imagine the resources that God is speaking of here. I mean we are talking about heaven. A place that is beyond our wildest imagination or comprehension. God is going to open the window to every resource That Heaven has to offer in order to pour blessings upon us. Being faithful to give to the Lord opens heaven to us. WOW!
7) Notice that God says that He would pour “you” out a blessing. It is personal. The “windows of heaven” tells us that there is plenty, but the word “you” tells us that it is personal. God has something special set aside for you. That means God keeps track of what each of us does and gives, to and for Him. And God rewards and blesses each of us accordingly.
8) Finally, God says that the blessings that He will pour out are so great that we will not even have enough room to hold it. That means it is beyond our capacity. It is bigger than us. God blessings cannot be stored in a barn, invested in a bank account, or park in a garage. Gods blessings are things that we cannot explain, we cannot list, and we cannot wrap our minds around it. It is just too much for us. Our lives and our minds are just not enough room to receive it. Do me a favor today and just think about that statement.

I am persuaded that He is able to pour out a blessing to me!

February 17, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO KEEP ME FROM GETTING BURNED

Isaiah 43:2 …… when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Sometimes we find ourselves going through deep waters, but sometimes we find ourselves in the fire. I might be wrong but I see going through the fire to be a bit more intensive than going through the water. I would see going through the waters as a “trusting” experience, but going through the fire can be a “trying” experience. I believe when we go through the waters we learn much about God, but when going through the fire we learn much about ourselves. You don’t really know how valuable something is until it is tested in the heat. In I Corinthians 3, God puts it this way: “12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”. So God wants our “trying“ experience to end up being a “trusting“ experience. He wants us to not just come through it, but to come through it as gold.

Now just so we understand the verse, we are told that we shall not be “burned“, and the flame will not “Kindle“ upon us. In the Hebrew, to be “burned” means to be consumed, but this word “kindle” means to feed. When you throw sticks into a fire, not only are those sticks consumed but those sticks are what feed the fire and to make it grow. You see, every time you and I are consumed by our problems, burdens, and trials, the fire grows in our life. We feed it. It continues to take more, and it continues to get bigger. God says that you do not have to be consumed with the fire, and you do not have to be used to make it grow. It will not feed off of you. Fire has to be burning something in order to continue to be a fire. When there’s nothing to burn, the fire is extinguished. God is saying here that not only will the fire not absorb you, it will not even agitate you.

Of course you and I read this verse and believe it is probably making reference to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. If you remember when they were thrown into that furnace that would go beyond anything we understand today, that not only were these men not burned to death, but they were not burned at all. The fire did not absorb them, and it did not even agitate them. The Bible says they were literally walking around in the furnace. Dear friend it is important for us to understand today that the things that happen in our life not only do not have to ruin us, but they do do not even have to ruin our day!

Has there been a fire in your life recently that ruined your day, or that ruined you? I am persuaded that God is able to keep me and you from being burned.

February 16, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO KEEP MY HEAD ABOVE WATER (part 2)

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

I first want to deal with the fact that the verse says “when” we pass through the waters, not “if”. If you are the kind of person that gets very discouraged every time you have to face some deep waters, then you will be discouraged much of your life. God offers no avenue in life where an individual can be exempt from passing through deep waters. Let me remind you that you will pass through those kind of waters if you’re Christian, and if you’re not a Christian. Being saved or not being saved does not keep us from facing that. The big difference here though is that God has made a promise to His children that when they do go through that, He “will be with thee”. What a difference it makes when He is with us. My mind is reminded of a hymn that we sing, “No, never alone, No, never alone. He’s promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone”. “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” Where we go, God goes.

The second observation I want to make is the significance in the word “waters”. May I remind you in Genesis chapter one that God created water. In verse 2 the Bible says “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”. Then in verse seven it says that God “divided the waters”. And then in verse nine we are told that God gathered the waters together into one place. All that to say this. God created the waters, God cut the waters, God collected together the waters, and believe me God can still control the waters. And if He lives in us, and where we go He goes, then we have nothing to fear. Why? Because if the waters cannot overtake God, then they cannot overtake us, because He lives in us.

Thirdly, God promises that the waters would not overflow us. This word in the Hebrew literally means to “drown”. No notice here that God did not say that the waters would not flow. God did not say that the waters would not get high. God did not say that the waters would not get rough. God did not say that we would never have to struggle, swim, or get uncomfortable. God just promised that we would not drown. I guess we would have to ask Jonah, or Paul, or Peter, or many others about that. But I think I would like to center my questions to the children of Israel. If anybody passed “through” the waters, they did. If anybody crossed over without being drowned, they did. If anybody ever doubted God, they did. And yet. With walls of water surrounding every step, God took them “through” on dry ground.

I wonder why they doubted God? I wonder why we doubt God? Sometimes we focus so much on the water, instead of focusing on the God who controls the water. I am persuaded that He is able to keep my head above the water!