“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving...” Psalm 26:7
Vol. 20, No. 2 February 2011
Everything is catching up with us. The past, the present, the future are all before us, and we are having to pay the price. One thing that the Lord tells us is not to worry about the future, but what about the past? We are living in the results of what has been. We must walk in forgiveness, consecration, devotion and humbleness of mind in order to maintain a stable mental attitude. We are not just to sit idly by and say “C’est-la-vie,” meaning “Such is life.”
The preacher of Ecclesiastes tells us Ecc 1:9 “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” So we don’t have to be surprised at anything that happens to us in this day. We have a Lord and Savior Who is aware and conscious of our days and our nights and Who cares about it all.
Deu 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations”
God cannot lie, so we don’t have to worry about what will be or what has been. But we do have to keep covenant with Him and obey His commands if we want to remain under His care and protection. That is what abiding in Christ is all about. You don’t just say you believe, but you live a life that reflects not only what you say you believe but also who you are in Christ Jesus.
May the blessings of the Lord rest upon this throughout this whole year, having a confidence that God is with you.
Luk 17:20-37 (KJV) And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: (21) Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (22) And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. (23) And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. (24) For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. (25) But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. (26) And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. (27) They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. (28) Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; (29) But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. (30) Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (31) In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. (32) Remember Lot's wife. (33) Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. (34) I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. (35) Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (36) Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (37) And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
Jesus told us the kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar, nor when someone says, “Here it is or there it is!” WHY? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.”
He went on to say to his disciples, “The days are going to come when you are going to be desperately homesick for just a glimpse of one of those days of the Son of Man and you won’t see a thing. So people will say to you, ‘Look over there!’ or ‘Look over here!’ Don’t fall for any of that nonsense. Because the arrival of the Son of Man is not something you go out to see. He simply comes.”
Then He explained that in the same way you know the whole sky lights up from a single flash of lightning, that’s how it will be on the Day of the Son of Man. But first, it is necessary that much suffering take place and many turn from Him because of the suffering.
Everything is going to be just like it was at the time of Noah – everyone will be acting normally, having a good time, right up to the day Noah went into the Ark. They did not suspect a thing until the flood came and swept everything away. What are the normal things that take place? Ordinary occupations and enjoyments of life! Although the world is precariously (unstable) wicked, it is not the wickedness, nor the worldliness nor their unbelief and indifference to the things of God keeping them unprepared. That is already here as a warning.
It was the same in the time of Lot – people had good times and business as usual, right up to the day Lot walked out of Sodom and a firestorm swept down and burned everything to up. That’s how it will be – SUDDEN & TOTAL – when the Son of Man is revealed.
When the Day arrives and you are out working in the yard, don’t run back in the house to get anything. And if you are in your car driving down the road, don’t turn around and go back home and pack a suitcase. REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO LOT’S WIFE. [What happened?] When she refused to let go of life on her terms, she lost everything. But if you let go of life on your terms, you will get life on God’s terms.
This is a warning against the lingering reluctance to part with present treasures which keep some from departing out of a burning building, in hopes they can save something. Lot’s wife looked back and became doomed. Her heart was still in Sodom, in the world; and just the “look” was enough to destroy her.
On that day two men will be fishing – one will be taken, and the other left. Two women will be working in the same kitchen and one will be taken and the other left.
His disciples said to Him, “Where Master?” The answer: “Watch for the circling of the vultures.” They will spot the corpse first. The action will begin around my dead body.” [Bride and Lamb]
I believe His disciples where asking, “Then where do we turn or go?” This means wherever the body of Christ is gathered together being prepared, that is where you are to be!
WHAT TO FLEE:
1. Flee fornication (1 Corinthians 6:16-20) There is more to sex than mere skin to skin. Sex is as much a spiritual mystery as a physical fact. He tells us “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue any kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us lonelier than ever – i.e., the kinds of sex that can never make us “become one.” Sexual sins are different from all other sin because we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, the bodies that were made for God-given love, to become one with another. Our body is a sacred place; it is the place of the Holy Spirit. God has paid a high price for you, so you do not have the right to live any way you please. The physical part of you is not a piece of property. God owns all of you. So let people see God in and through your body.
2. Flee the desire for evil (1 Corinthians 10:1-6)The example of Israel was of being one under God’s direction. They all experienced the same things. They all had the same God and needed to keep the commands of God. But when God became displeased with most of them, He struck them down in the desert. Why did God tell us about this? So that we would not desire evil as they did. They all drank from the same rock – and that rock was Christ. The church today has experienced the same Christ, but what does it mean to most? During these difficult and temptation-filled times, most are living in defeat; and God is not pleased.
3. Flee Idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:7-11,14) Don’t become idolaters just because you are not experiencing the Lord the way you have in the past. The same thing can happen to us that happened to them. We must continually be on guard so we don’t turn our Christianity into a time of entertainment and partying. Don’t be sexually promiscuous – 23,000 deaths in one day. Don’t ever try to get Christ to serve you. These people did and God launched poisonous snakes against them. Instead, continually ask how you can serve Him. Do not stir up discontentment (murmuring), and be careful to flee idolatry.
4. Flee Temptation (1 Corinthians 10:11-13) Do not get caught up in wanting your own way as they did. It seems temptation and idolatry are linked together. We think we are not idolatrous, but then we look at our temptations. What must we have? What controls us? With what are we tempted? Learn to live with what you have. Remember all that is written for us, including the warning signals so we don’t have to miss what God does. We are now at the end of history. But do we believe it or will we daily continue to live like everyone else? We can still mess it up, so don’t be naïve and self-confident. None of us is exempt. Any of us can fall flat. So we must forget about self-confidence. Instead, cultivate God-confidence in every aspect of your walk. There is no temptation that comes your way that is beyond what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down and He will never push you past your limits. He is always there to help you come through. So when things are more difficult than usual, REJOICE because you are being counted to endure and overcome.
5. Flee false fellowship (1 Corinthians 10:14) One paraphrase of this verse tells us to get out of the company of those who want to use God to get what they want – flee as fast as you can. This generation hasn’t done that.
6. Flee love of money (I Timothy 6:10) A devout life does bring wealth – but that wealth is the riches of being yourself before God. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. In fact, many lose their footing in the faith because even after waiting on the Lord to show them how to live, they don’t live according to His instructions.
7. Flee these things (1 Timothy 6:11) If you are a person of God, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE FROM ALL THAT IS OF THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL. Pursue godliness, righteousness, faith, love, patience and meekness. This is a life of wonder and steadfastness. Run hard and fast, laying hold on eternal life which is the life to which you were called. Don’t give up one inch of that life. He will be faithful to the end and just in time to let you know He is Lord. Guard this treasure you have been given. Guard it with your life.
8. Flee vain & profane babblings (1 Timothy 6:20 & 2 Timothy 2:16). Avoid talk-show religion that brings confusion from so-called “experts.” People who get caught up in excessive talk will miss what God truly wants.
. . . My calling as a pastor
Pastor’s Journal 2010
Feb. 1: “Your relationship with Me will grow stronger as you identify with the struggles of life. Nothing is easy in itself. But in Me there is wisdom and strength to endure the greatest obstacles. You will come through a changed man. “
Feb. 2: “Rejoice in this, though now for a short time you are distressed by various trials so that the geniuses of your faith more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire – may result in precise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:6-7).
Feb. 8: “The thief comes not but to steal, kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. The thief when found must restore sevenfold.”
Feb. 10: “Abide in My rest and you will have the assurance of direction for the day.
Feb. 26: “Another time of testing is drawing to a close. Now is the time of action to fulfill My plans for you. This is what will strengthen you for the battles that will come. In Me with the new creation there will be breakthroughs and the people will rejoice when they see My hand guiding. Don’t despair over the people but be encouraged that I am in control.” Peace will follow you and you will flow in my faith for you. In all that you do there will be joy and fulfillment of My will.”
Feb. 15: “You honor me with your love and I honor you with my life.”
Feb. 18: “A dearth is coming. There will be many shortages and high costs. The difficulties will bring my people together and reveal their love for one another. My witness will be seen among you, and my provision will be with you.”
Feb. 27: “I will continue to be with you. I will not withdraw My Presence from your life because you will continue to stay in the secret place and follow Me. I will see you through the most difficult of times that are coming. You will get to know Me more than ever and find My peace and joy through it all. And nothing shall separate you from My love.
Time to Worship
(Hos 5:1-6 KJV) “Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor. (2) And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all. (3) I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled. (4) They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD. (5) And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. (6) They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.”
Matthew Henry, with his commentary on Hosea 5:1-6, points out the condition of the hearts of God’s people. Although they thought they were seeking God, their hearts and souls were far from worshiping Him:
Hos 5:1-6 (MHCC) “The piercing eye of God saw secret liking and disposition to sin, the love the house of Israel had to their sins, and the dominion their sins had over them. Pride makes men obstinate in other sins. And as Judah was treading in the same steps, they would fall with Israel. By dealing treacherously with the Lord, men only deceive themselves. Those that go to seek the Lord with their flocks and their herds only, and not with their hearts and souls, cannot expect to find him; nor shall any who do not seek the Lord while he may be found. See how much it is our concern to seek God early, now, while it is the accepted time, and the day of salvation.”
“There is nothing new under the sun.” People are still the same today as they were long ago. God loves His people, and only He knows best how to save us. When God rebukes us, it is for our benefit. He could destroy us anytime, so why would we think that there would be malice in His motives? Our humanistic conclusions and misunderstandings of His ways stem from a root of selfish pride and rebellion that still holds a part of our hearts captive. The freedom from those adverse conditions can come as we surrender our hearts to know the Lord and to worship Him in a deeper way.
Joh 4:22 (KJV) “Ye worship ye know not what:…..” Joh 4:24 (KJV) “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
One definition of the worship of God is reverence, i.e., the type of honor or respect that is felt or shown by the profound giving of adoration and of awe. Reverential worship of God is lived out as respect to the desires and commands of the One Who is being admired or respected. Worship in spirit and in truth is heartfelt love and relational adoration of God, along with voluntary diligence to practice that which is pleasing to Him. The deeper the love and adoration grows, the more extravagant the devotion and obedience becomes. Worship in spirit and in truth is to know God and to grow in loving Him, not just to know about Him.
Hos 4:6 (KJV) “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
God has not changed His mind. As it is written in the Old Testament, and the New Testament, His desire is the same: Deu 6:5-9 (KJV) “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (8) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. (9) And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Mar 12:30 (KJV) “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
Loving God with all is not about formulas or procedures. But how can you tell when it is enough? You will know. For example, when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they all knew it. When we were born again of God, we all knew it, and we still know it. It is a growing relationship between you and God. It is time to worship the truly worthy One.
Next course from Christian Life Educators Network
March 10-12, 2011
Paul: The Man by Dr. Ronald E. Cottle
This is part one of a two-part study of the life, conversion and travels of the Apostle Paul based upon the biblical evidence from Acts and certain Epistles. It also includes an analysis and overview of several of Paul’s letters. These are studied chronologically.