★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…SACRIFICIAL ★

Christians around the world are celebrating for today is a great day!  “HE IS RISEN!!”

I have always found the context of when this phrase was first heard very interesting.  Luke 24 opens with the morning after Passover and the woman rushing off to the tomb where Jesus was laid to rest with spices they prepared to give Him a proper burial.  But to their surprise the stone was rolled away and the Tomb was empty.  Luke‬ ‭24:4-7‬ ‭(NLT) picks up that… ‬‬

“As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.””
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Today we celebrate that GOD IS…SACRIFICIAL! Romans 5:8 (NLT) says:

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

I love what Phillip De Courcy said about the death of Jesus…

“Jesus died because God purposed it!”

Good Friday is so good because God gave up His ONE and ONLY Son to pay the debt that I would never have been able to.  And to think it was God’s plan!  John 3:16-17 (NLT)

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”

Thank for His willingness to do that for us.  But His sacrifice does not stop with Jesus, but in ‭John‬ ‭14:16-17‬ ‭(NLT) Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be sent for our benefit:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”

The Holy Spirit lives with us know, guiding and directing those who have professed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!  I love this quote from Robert Morris!!

“The Holy Spirit wants to pull the curtain back so that you can begin to see God more clearly.”  From the YouVersion reading plan ‘The God I Never Knew’ by Robert Morris.  (https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/15944)

I think that is what so many people are missing out on today is a clear understanding of who God is!  I did a bible reading plan with my wife called “Lent: Remembering the Life of Jesus.”  (https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/18136).  Each day they challenged the reader to write down an attribute of God.  And it has been great, as we are quarantined due to the Coronavirus virus, it has given me time to get “Back to the Basics“ of who God IS.  I will say once I wrote down the obvious 20 attributes, I found that I had to dig in a little harder and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal so of the more subtle attributes that may not be so readily apparent without His revelation and without reading the Bible.  So for the foreseeable future, I am going to share what my pursuit of allowing the Holy Spirit “pull the curtain back so that I can see God more clearly.”  I want to encourage you to share in the comments what you get each day and to share some attributes that you have found in your personal study.

I will close with this final scripture showing the sacrificial nature of God from Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)…

”But He [Jesus] was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.  He was beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed.”

Thank you God for sending Jesus so that I may have right standing with you.  Thank you Jesus for dying the most unimaginably painful death that any ever has before and since that dark day!!  May we all follow in your SACRIFICIAL example!

Happy Easter!!

★★  Want more?  ★★

If you are disconnected from your church as a result of Covid-19, I would encourage you to watch this Easter message from this weekend called… “The Seven Truths of Easter” – Robert Morris.  He reveals how each of the seven phrases Jesus spoke on the cross represents a life-changing truth.

★ Thought for the Day – He is Risen Indeed! ★

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS… GENEROUS ★

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…SACRIFICIAL ★,  we talked about how God sacrificed His Son Jesus for us which lead me to springboard to the next attribute that…

Do you see God as GENEROUS?  I think many people may struggle with this because the enemy has used Tithing and church capitol campaigns as a wedge to push people away from the God.  This post is not about us Giving to the church although that is important but rather how God wants to give to us.  Let’s start off with James 1:17 (NLT)

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

I have shared in the past about how far from God I was through my teenage and early 20s and now walking with God for 22 years I can see how He was with me even though I wanted nothing to do with Him.  After my parents divorced at the age of 5, my mom worked hard to raise the 3 of us on a chambermaids salary on her own.  Things were always very tight but in looking back I see how God provided for us with some opportunity to make extra money or an unexpected gift or rebate check.  Somehow we always made it though there was always more “month than there was money.”  I did not know it then, but my generous heavenly was taking care of me long before I ever bowed my knee to accept Jesus as my Lord and savior.   This has been so even into adulthood as well.  I remember when I first heard Deuteronomy 8:18a (NASB) a light bulb went off and confirmed once again how phenomenally blessed I have been…

“But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth.”

It’s funny the things that “just pop in your mind.”  As I was thinking about this post and how God has been generous in the past, I started thinking about Luke 11:1-4 when Jesus gave a model prayer to His Disciples that is commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer” which says:

I purposely found the King James Version as this is the translation that I learned this powerful prayer in!  The part I was specifically thinking about is…“Give us this day our daily bread.”  God is so generous that after Jesus modeled that we should glorify the Father and prioritize His will, the very next thing He addresses is our needs — “Our Daily Bread.”  And then in just a couple verses later, Jesus says in Luke 11:9-13 (NLT)…

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 

“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion?  Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”

We must persevere in prayer and if we do how much more will [our] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”  As we discussed yesterday, Good Friday is the Day that everything changed for us that God lavishly gave up His Son as payment for our debt, and once we accept Jesus as our savior, we also receive the Holy Spirit which further illustrates God’s generosity.  In the YouVersion reading plan ‘The God I Never Knew.’  (https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/15944)  Robert Morris gave this great explanation of all that Holy Spirit does for us:

”The Holy Spirit is a person; He is a Spirit; and He has a soul.  He intercedes for us and through us.  He hears, speaks, teaches, and guides us into truth.  He glorifies Christ, reveals Christ to us, and brings all of Christ’s words to our remembrance.  He shows us the things to come, knows the deep things of God, searches all things, and reveals all things.  Where He is, there is liberty.  He inspired the writers of the Bible.  He reveals the Son to us.  We are convicted by Him, born again by Him, led by Him, filled by Him, and sealed by Him.”

Amen?  God is so generous that not only did He sacrifice Jesus, but also has given us the Holy Spirit to live within us every day!  All I can say is Thank you God!!!  I will close with this one additional scripture on the Generosity of God which is found in Ephesians 3:20 (NLT):

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

Every good an perfect gift comes from God!  All that I have is because of Him!  My hope in eternal life!  My wife, daughters, my home, my job…EVERYTHING!!

God is able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think!” 

 

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Back to the Basics – The Unsung Hero of the Trinity – Part 2 ★

$ Building Your Money Muscle $ – For posts on Handling Our Finances God’s way!

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS… MERCIFUL ★

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…GENEROUS ★, we talked about how God generously sacrificed His Son Jesus for us and gave us the Holy Spirit to boot!  Today we are going to unpack how…

I shared in the past ★Back to the Basics – Validity of God’s Word ★ that many people find the Old Testament confusing, and question how can the God who seems to be doling out vengeance left and right, be the same God who is all about love in the New Testament.  Truth be told, it is hard to see how God could be considered merciful but He is, the problem is a lack of understanding and knowledge of the Bible.  People cannot wrap their minds around the reality that God is both just and merciful!  In the sermon called…”I’ll Arrange It,” Robert Morris said:

“God Is … Just and Merciful.  These seem like they are contrary but they are not. 

Justice: Giving someone what he deserves.

Mercy: Not giving someone what he deserves.”

When I think about justice and mercy, the role that a  Judge plays in trying to keep the letter of the law and simultaneously offering leniency as warranted.  To start the defense of God as vengeful, I thought I’d start off with an Old Testament passage from King David, a man after His own heart.  In Psalm 103:10-11 (NLT) he said:

“He [God] does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.  For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.”

And then in Psalm 86:15 (NLT), David said:

“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”

There are many other passages in the Old Testament that show the merciful heart of God but I thought I would switch gears and share just one from the New Testament.

As I believe Ephesians 2:3-5 (NLT) says it all…

“All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.  But Godis so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”

“But God.”  The most powerful two words in the Bible when combined  together. We were deserving God’s justice and wrath,  But God intervened on our behalf and sent Jesus to allow His mercy to flow out to us when we believe in His Son!  Though I deserve death and to be sent to hell, God did not give me what I deserved!  Instead through the death of his son, I am made right in his eyes and I am grafted into the family of God!  Thank you God for your mercy!

 

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★Thought for the Day – Sweetly Broken ★

 

Check out the sermon called…I’ll Arrange It,” Robert Morris in which he explains how God is fully merciful and fully just at the same time

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A PROVIDER ★ 

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…MERCIFUL ★, we talked about how even though God is just, He is also merciful!  Today we are going to see that GOD IS…PROVIDER…

Today is a special day for our family!  Prior to the Coronavirus, most people dreaded April 15 as it was the filing deadline for IRS.  For us, this day is the anniversary of an amazing answer to prayer.  On April 15, 2006 my wife and I went to a Couple’s Breakfast in which the topic was “Reaching for Financial Freedom.”  At the time, we has credit card debt, student loans, a minivan car payment and a ridiculously large mortgage payment we could barely afford.  After hearing the husband and wife speakers speak on the provision of God, we prayed that in one year’s time we would be debt free.  Exactly one year later, we were on a flight to Texas having that prayer answered!  As a result of leaving NJ to TX we were completely debt free (excluding the mortgage).

Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

This verse has always brought me great comfort that that the creator of the universe is mindful of me a mere mortal (see Psalm 8:4-8).  In the time of unprecedented chaos and uncertainty, it is so comforting for me to know that my Heavenly Father will provide if I will trust Him.  In my Wednesday morning Bible Study (that we are now conducting virtually), we are reading the Old Testament book of Malachi.  In Malachi 3:10 (NLT) it says:

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple.  If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you.  I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!  Try it!  Put me to the test!”

My whole life God has provided for me even when I far, far from Him!  After I came to trust in Jesus in 1998, tithing came natural to me and I have seen move in so many ways!  This morning I received a notification that the Coronavirus stimulus check had been deposited into our bank account which “coincidentally” is the 13 year anniversary of us moving here from NJ!!  God’s timing is perfect in so many ways, and I just love how on a day when so many have to pay the IRS, God orchestrated that we would be blessed with the check on our anniversary of His greatest provision.  God is a provider and a promise keeper!  Just trust in Him!

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Thought for the Day – God Owns It All! ★ 

★ Thought for the Day – Where Does Money Come From? ★

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A DADDY ★ 

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…PROVIDER ★, we talked about how God is is a provider and that it okay to put Him to the test.  If we will be faithful to bring the tithe  He throw open the “floodgates of heaven” and pour out so much blessings we wouldn’t know what to do with it!  Today it seems appropriate to tie together that God is a provider and that…

There is nothing greater in the world then to hear my daughters still call me “Daddy,” even now in their teenage years.  It is such an endearing name of affection that invokes a sense of connection and deep love.  Jimmy Evans said

“Our God is the greatest Daddy in the World!”  

He showed that love for His children by sending Jesus to bridge the gap that sin created so that we could be reconnected to Him.  Through Jesus we have that connection and can call upon God not just as the Father in Heaven but as our Daddy!  And our heavenly Daddy gave us an amazing gift by giving us the Holy Spirit.  I love this quote from Robert Morris:

“The Holy Spirit wants to pull the curtain back so that you can begin to see God more clearly.”  From the YouVersion reading plan ‘The God I Never Knew.’ (https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/15944)

I think that many people are missing a clear understanding of who God is!  My wife and I did a bible reading plan called “Lent: Remembering the Life of Jesus.”  Each day they challenged the reader to write down an attribute of God.  I highly recommend the reading plan to discover who God is!  And if you have not figured it out already, we are in a series that is the fruit of my efforts called “GOD IS” Once I wrote down the obvious 20 attributes, I found that I had to dig down a little harder and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal so of the more subtle attributes that may not be so readily apparent without His revelation and without reading the Bible… For instance, Romans ‭8:15-16 ‭(NLT)‬‬ shows us that we can call God “Daddy”….

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”

“Abba,” which in Aramaic is a word derived from baby-language and is translated to mean “Daddy.”  So the Apostle Paul is making the connection that through our relationship with Jesus we can call God our Daddy!  This is really a beautiful reality that unfortunately many people do not see God as,  whether that is because their earthly father was far from a good daddy or maybe because they have been hurt by a pastor or a church. The key is that you should never allow a bad experience here on earth to change our view of God!

This is also very special to me because of a song called “Abba” by Jonathan David Helser which was repeatedly in my playlist at the time my Mom passed away.  My Mom had her first stroke back in 2010 (which completely changed her life).  Since 1,500 miles separated us, we would have weekly phone calls in which I would often share things with with her from what I was reading in the Bible or what I learned from the sermon on the previous Sunday.  After the stroke, the Holy Spirit gave me many opportunities to sow into her spirit the love that God had for her.  In fact, the weekend before she passed away from a second stroke, I “just so happened” to be in NJ visiting her and had a very special moment with her in the courtyard of her nursing home.  I say “just so happened” because God was so kind to arrange it that I be there in NJ just days before it was “her time” to go home to be with Him.  As we sat in that courtyard and the sun warmed our faces, there was a gentle breeze and this lyric from “Abba” played over my Ipod…

          “Abba, I belong to you.” 

Or another way to say it, “Daddy, I belong to you.”  My Mom was close to the end, but our heavenly Daddy allowed me through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to use this song and “to pull the curtain back so that she could see God more clearly” to remind her that He loved her and was with her through this weakened state.  I will never forget that moment and I will always be thankful for the gift that my Daddy gave me to be there because just 2 days later my Mom was reunited with her Heavenly Daddy!

Just know regardless of what anyone here on earth has done to you, all you have the  do is look to God who is “greatest Daddy in the World!”  

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Thought for the Day – Fully Known ★ 

★ Thought for the Day – What Difference Does a Daddy Make? ★

Here is the post that I did in memory of my Mom that talks more about that day in the courtyard called:

★ Thought for the Day – Tribute to My Mom ★

 

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS… GRACIOUS ★

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A DADDY ★, we talked about how through what Jesus did on the cross for you, we now have access to God like never before, we can call Him “DADDY!”  Today we are going to see that…

Though this oftentimes is used synonymously with merciful, being Gracious or extending GRACE, is very different. 

Mercy IS NOT RECEIVING what you DESERVE.   

Grace IS RECEIVING what you DON’T DESERVE.   

I know I am not worthy of the gift of salvation and yet God sent His Son to die for my sins even though I was living in complete rebellion from Him!  One of my favorite verses on the grace of God has to be from Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-9‬ ‭(NLT)‬‬

“God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

No matter how hard I may try “to be good,” or “do good deeds,” I can never earn salvation – IT IS A FREE GIFT!  Romans‬ ‭3:22-24‬ ‭(NLT) echos this point:

“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.  And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.  For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in his sight.  He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.”

NO ONE is perfect and ALL of us have fallen woefully short of the mark is what God desires. So instead of trying to earn our salvation, we should just accept the free gift and work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12).  We are all on equal footing and as Acts 15:11 (NLT) says:

“We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” 

Regardless of what we do, nothing is beyond God’s ability to forgive, no matter “how unforgivable” we may feel that it is…It is by the UNDESERVED GRACE of God that we are saved!  There is nothing we can do to make God love us anymore or any less!  

I will close this “Grace Challenge” to all of us that Jimmy Evans made in the sermon called: ”The Glory of Grace”:

 

★★ Dig Deeper ★★ 

★ Thought for the Day – Is There Such a Thing As a Free Lunch? ★ 

★ Back to the Basics – Does God Play Favorites? ★ 

”The Glory of Grace” sermon by Jimmy Evans 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…OMNIPOTENT ★

In yesterday’s post  ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…GRACIOUS ★, we talked about how God’s grace is available to anyone who trusts in Jesus as their savior and that it God shows no partiality in lavishing us with His grace.  Today we are going to see that GOD IS…OMNIPOTENT…

I love what Randy Alcorn said in his book “90 Days of God’s Goodness”:

“In my experience, most Christians lack grounding in God’s attributes, including His sovereignty, omnipotence, omniscience, justice, and patience.  We dare not wait for the time of crisis to learn perspective!”

I could not agree more, the whole reason why we read the Bible is to learn about the greatness of God so that when the storms of life hit, we will be prepared and know that we can trust Him!  Before we move on talking about the Omnipotence of God I wanted to share this illustration about the Holy Trinity that I saw in a class at my church. 

Isn’t that so powerful?  I have always struggled to explain how the Trinity, but just as H2O is the same chemical that can exist in (3) different states, and have (3) different purposes, so it is with The Trinity that they are (3) separate individuals with (3) distinct functions.  So as we discuss attributes of God with scriptures and quotes that may be more centered about Jesus or the Holy Spirit just know that the Trinity is God in (3) persons.  In the post called ★ Back to the Basics – The Unsung Hero of the Trinity – Part 2 ★, I shared how The Holy Spirit is part of the Triune or Trinity; comprising of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit who are all omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (ever-present always). 

In the next 3 days we will unpack these (3) attributes.  Today is all about how God IS all-powerful!  NOTHING is too difficult for Him!  Psalms‬ ‭147:5‬ ‭(NLT)‬‬ proclaims:

“How great is our Lord!  His power is absolute!  His understanding is beyond comprehension!”

There are so many verses in the Bible that describes this at length, like Isaiah 44:24, Romans 1:20, Hebrews 1:3.  But as I was reading in the Book of John I saw this attribute of God on display.  It was when Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication and…

“The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and He is more powerful than anyone else.  No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”  John‬ ‭10:24-29‬ ‭(NLT) ‬‬

I love the certainty of Jesus words: “[God] is more powerful than anyone else.  No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”  No matter what virus, or economic hardship or adversity we may face can ever take us away from the hand of God!  I will close with ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭(NASB) ‬‬with the testimony of Jesus to the omnipotence of The Father:

“And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””

★★ Dig Deeper ★★ 

★ Back to the Basics – The Unsung Hero of the Trinity – Part 2 ★

★ “Back to the Basics” – Whose Body Are You A Part Of? ★

 

 

 

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…OMNISCIENT ★

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…OMNIPOTENT ★, we talked about how the Holy Trinity are (3) distinct individuals — God the father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each with their own specific functions BUT yet are still the same God.  Each being omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (ever-present always).  Today we are going to see that…

In these crazy times of sheltering-in-place orders, endless newscasts of COVID-19 infection/death rates all around the world and the uncertainty of the future, isn’t it great to know that God IS all-knowing!  Even though the world has been completely blindsided by this pandemic, NOTHING is a surprise to Him!  Psalms‬ ‭147:5‬ ‭(NASB) says:  

“Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.”

As we scramble to make sense of this, God knowledge is infinite and though He is not the author of this chaos, He is the ONE who can use all of this for good.  I am very critical of the media and their approach to reporting that “If it bleeds, it leads” in the priory of the news segments but I love the final one which typically is uplifting and life affirming.  Through this pandemic people have rallied to help one another and we have seen the extraordinary efforts that the medical profession and first responders are doing day after day for total strangers!  Incredible!  Romans 8:28 in action!

It is no doubt that these are strange days, as one bleeds into the next and there is a total lack of understanding of this virus and ambiguity of what is the correct course of action to “re-open the country her in America” but as the nations of the world are in utter confusion, I draw comfort in the words of Isaiah‬ ‭40:13-15‬ ‭(NLT) in which ‬‬the prophet of the Lord gave this defense of how there is no equal to the knowledge of God, look at these questions:

“Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?  Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?  Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?  Does he need instruction about what is good?  Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?  No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket.  They are nothing more than dust on the scales.  He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.”

If we could truly grab the omniscience of God, and truly trust that He is ALL-KNOWING then I believe that we would have peace that surpasses understanding, and casting aside our anxiety and fear of the future as we have (see Philippians 4:6-8).  In the message “The Three Truths of Palm Sunday,” Robert Morris said:

“Fear not…Don’t let the enemy run away with your mind.”

Have you ever gotten into a downward spiral of negative thoughts, that seem to have a stronghold on your mind that things well never get better?  Well that is because we are in a war with an unseen enemy (see Ephesians 6:10-12).  Satan wants to “run away with our minds” and convince us that ______ (fill in the blank) will never change or get better but he does not know the future and is insignificant compared to God the Father, the creator of the universe!  I love what Randy Alcorn said in his book “90 Days of God’s Goodness”:

“Satan remains under God’s authority at all times.  The devil is nowhere close to being omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, or in any other way on God’s level…Satan is a lion, yes, but a lion on God’s leash.”  

That is awesome!!  Though times look dark, there us always hope, trust in the ONE who knows it all.  Jesus said in Matthew‬ ‭10:29-31‬ ‭(NLT)…‬

“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin?  But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

Why do I worry?  God knows what I need.  He knows EVERYTHING about you and I as Psalms‬ ‭139:1-4‬ ‭(NLT) says: ‬‬

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.  You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.”

God knows all and is in control!  Just trust in Him!

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…OMNIPRRESENT ★

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…OMNISCIENT ★, we talked about how God is all-knowing and that we can trust in Him regardless of circumstances.  And the day before that we covered that GOD IS…OMNIPOTENT (all-powerful).  Today we are going to see that…

Out of the (3) “Omni’s,” I think the OMNIPRESENCE of God is the hardest one one to grab hold of.  Dictionary.com defines OMNIPRESENT as being:

God IS EVERYWHERE!  God is not CONSTRAINED to time.  He exists in the past, present and future simultaneously!  Which means that NOTHING escapes His sight!  Proverbs 15:3 (NLT) says:

“The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping His eye on both the evil and the good.”

And Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT) says:

“For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, He will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”‘

And then Jeremiah 23:24 (NLT) says:

Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?  Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord.”

I love that reassurance that God is always with us regardless of whether we feel like He is.  God has been with us even before we were born, see Psalm 139:7-16 so in these fearful times, knowing the God is omnipresent is so comforting to me.  I love how Robert Morris put it in speaking about God the Holy Spirit:

“The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, which means He can be everywhere at all times, helping everyone.  Isn’t it comforting to know the Holy Spirit gives us access to God who has the answers to everything?”  From the YouVersion reading plan ‘The God I Never Knew.’  

Since God is everywhere, knows everything and has all the power we should trust Him with all that we have!   

 


★★ Dig Deeper ★★

I highly encourage you to read the YouVersion reading plan ‘The God I Never Knew’ by Robert Morris for yourself.

To read more posts about the Holy Spirit click here.

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A WAY-MAKER ★

In yesterday’s post  ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…OMNIPRESENT, we talked about the third “OMNI” that God is known.  Unlike Omnipotent (all-powerful) and Omniscient (all-knowing), we discussed how Omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time) is a little more challenging to grasp for our finite minds BUT regardless of our comprehension we should be comforted nonetheless because the God of the Universe is EVERYWHERE!  Today we are going to see that..

Like the rest of the world, as a result of the Coronavirus our family has been attending church “virtually” for the past 5 weeks now.  This past Sunday we worshiped to “Way Maker,” (https://youtu.be/iJCV_2H9xD0) and though we have been singing that song for months now, the truths that are proclaimed speak directly into the current pandemic.  In case you have been living under a rock here is the chorus to give you a sample:

Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are

That is WHO the God of heaven and earth is!  HE IS a Way maker — Miracle worker — Promise keeper — and a Light in the darkness!  We have all had to find “our new normal” whether that be attending classes online, or homeschooling our children or working from home or perhaps finding ourselves unemployed as a result of the “world-wide” shut down!  Today I wanted to share these promises declared in this anthem song (which are also all through scripture) as I think we need to be reminded in this time of fear and uncertainty that God CAN and WILL make a WAY no matter how bleak the current circumstance.  It’s funny I first heard the song performed by Leland, but when I went to iTunes yesterday it seems that every major Christian artist has a version (over 30 covers!)  There is a part in the worship experience where you can just feel the Holy Spirit take over and pour out His love.  The lyrics are:

I have had this song on repeat in my playlist!  It is like God is trying to refresh and remind me that regardless of what I may think, see or feel, the reality is…the OMNIPRESENCE of God IS THE TRUTH and REALITY that I MUST STAND ON.  Nothing is impossible for God.  He can make water come from a rock, (not once but twice — See Exodus 17:5-7 and Numbers 20:6-11), He can bring dry bones come back to life, (See Ezekiel 17:1-14), and resurrect what was dead and bring hope to a hopeless situation, (See Mark 5:21-43, Luke 7:11-17, John 11:1–44, John 20:1-23).

Before His death, Jesus said in John 14:6b (NLT):

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through me.”

As a result of Jesus death and resurrection has opened unlimited access to the Way-Maker of heaven.  When we put our trust in Jesus, EVERYTHING CHANGES!

Change.  Right now we ALL want change?  We want things as they we B.C. — BEFORE COVID-19.  What are you looking forward to getting back to?  School?  Date nights?  Maybe getting back to work?  I was watching the news the other day about protests that are breaking out all over the country about the shelter-in-place orders and was shocked at this sign:

Isn’t that crazy?  I just gave my youngest daughter the clippers with a No. 4 clip and I’m good for another month!  Hahaha!

I was just watching the sermon “Looking Forward to Normal” this morning and Steven Furtick made the point to not be excited to “get back to normal” but rather we should “look forward to normal.”  Let this time change us, because:

“Faith looks forward.”

You know what my constant prayer through this pandemic, God may you get the glory for the end of this pandemic and may there be revival throughout the whole world.  That God would fulfill the promise of Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)…

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

God WANTS to DO ABOVE and BEYOND ANYTHING we can imagine in whatever our “new normal” is.  I believe if we would stop scrolling on the Twitter feed of the latest death rate and instead start feeding on the WORD of God, our ANXIETY level would DECREASE and our faith and our PEACE would INCREASE!

I will close Isaiah 43:19 (NIV) speaks of the Lord’s promise of victory in which the prophet proclaimed:

“See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

I truly believe that God wants to something new with each of us during this time of unprecedented stillness and inactivity.  The question is, when things “get back to normal,” will you be the same or will you have been changed as a result of TRUSTING God in these dark times?

 

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

 

★ “Back to the Basics” – Pursuit #2 – What Are You Feeding On? ★

 

Here is another anthem song called “RATTLE!” to add to your playlist by Elevation Worship based on Ezekiel 37:1-14.

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A HEALER ★

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A WAY-MAKER ★, we talked about that regardless of what I may think, see or feel, the reality is…the OMNIPRESENCE of God IS THE TRUTH and REALITY that I MUST STAND ON.  Nothing is impossible for God.  Today we are going to see that…

It’s amazing what a profound affect music can have on you whether to bring joy or encourage or comfort.  Without realizing it, music can the tell the story of our lives or at least have the ability to transport us back with the first chord or lyric.  Those who know me, know what a significant part it has of my life.  When I started to write this post, I immediately thought of the song “Healer” that Kari Jobe released back in 2009.  I instantly fell in love with these lyrics that gently reminds us that Jesus is our great physician!

If you passed right over the link, I highly recommend that you listen to “Healer,” perhaps even as you read this post.  Let the truths in this beautiful song wash over you and encourage you.  As so many are facing the fear of COVID-19 whether young or old, this particular attribute of God, more than ever needs to heralded.  Psalm 103:2-3 (NLT) says:

“Let ALL that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me.  He forgives ALL my sins and heals ALL my diseases.”

And then in Psalm 147:3 (NLT) it says:

“He [God] heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds.”

God is our Heavenly Daddy that we can call out “Abba Father,” (See Romans 8:15-16) and go to Him with all our infirmities.  He desires to heal us completely – mind, body and spirit.  I shared with you about the significance Romans 8:15-16 and the song “Abba” by Jonathan David Helser in the post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A DADDY ★ when God ministered to my Mom right before she passed away from her second stroke in 2016.  And as I mentioned in the opening of this post, to this day I cannot listen to that song without being transporter back to that sunny Saturday in the nursing home courtyard in Cranford, NJ.  The same is true for “Healer,” which was the song I played on my iPod over and over in the ICU when my Mom had her first stoke back in 2010 (just months after Kari Jobe released the song interestingly enough).  There is something about worshiping the God that activates our faith and stirs up hope in hopeless situations.

In 2010 when the doctors told my siblings and I that even if our Mom survived, she would most likely be paralyzed and unable to speak due to the severity of the brain bleed.  Well God supernaturally moved and my Mom defied the prognosis; not only did she not pass away, but she was able to walk (albeit with a walker) and was able to speak (although it was diminished).  We were blessed to have our Mom for another 5-1/2 years because GOD IS A HEALER!  In the post ★ Day 03 – Reason for the Season – Let Hope Arise ★, I wrote about this experience and shared this quote:

“In Scripture, however, hope is void of uncertainty.  In fact, certainty is at its core, because it rests in the stability of God, His character and His will, which are unwavering.  Biblical hope, then, can be defined as, “the confident expectation and desire for something good in the future…Hope is essential to our faith.” From the YouVersion Reading Plan ‘121 Advent.’ (http://bible.com/r/KR)

Hope is essential to our faith.”  All through the Bible there are examples of God miraculously healing people.  Some of the greatest stories about Jesus in the Gospels are about the miracles He performed.  Just one representative verse that comes to mind is Matthew 4:24 (NLT):

“News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to Him all who were sick.  And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed — He healed them all.”

HE HEALED THEM ALL!”  God is able to heal anything!  And He desires to partner with us.  James 5:14-16 (NLT) instructs us:

“Are any of you sick?  You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.  Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well.  And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

God is greater any virus.

God is greater than disease.

God is greater than depression.

AGAIN GOD IS A HEALER!  That healing however comes in many forms, it could be supernaturally or through medical professionals or it could be by bringing the person home to heaven.  In 2010, the healing came supernaturally for my Mom but in 2016 God chose to heal / deliver her through “bringing her home.”  That of course is not easy for those who remain behind, but we must keep in mind that we all have a 100% mortality rate.  For believers, death should not be feared as the Apostle Paul said: “to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”  (See 2 Corinthians 5:8)  Though I miss my Mom, I draw enormous comfort that she is in the loving arm of her Heavenly Father who has COMPLETELY healed her of ALL the pain and suffering she was in.

I will close with this beautiful proclamation of faith that the Prophet Jeremiah offers us in the book that bears his name.  Jeremiah 17:14 (NLT) says:

“O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved.  My praises are for you alone!”

Amen?  May this prayer come true in your life….

Abba father, Daddy we come to you boldly in faith that if we (or anyone we know) are afflicted with any disease or virus or any other infirmity would be completely healed.  Lord we ask for COMPLETE healing that astounds the Doctors and will allow for YOU to be glorified and YOUR miracle working power will shine through.  Please heal us however you see fit.  In Jesus’ name we pray!  Amen.

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Thought for the Day – What does God’s Love Mean? ★

★ Thought for the Day – STRENGTH FOR THE STRUGGLE ★

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A FRIEND ★

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A HEALER ★, we talked about that God desires to heal us completely – mind, body and spirit.  regardless of what I may think, see or feel, the reality is…the OMNIPRESENCE of God IS THE TRUTH and REALITY that I MUST STAND ON.  Nothing is impossible for God.  Today we are going to see that GOD IS…A HEALER…

Depending on your upbringing, church affiliation or lack of exposure to God, this attribute will either resonate deeply or not register at all. For those who fall in the last camp, my prayer is that by the end of this post, even if you do not think of God as a friend, you will at least see that He desires a friendship with you!!

Psalm 139:17-18 (NLT) says:

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered!  I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

Isn’t that beautiful?  Do you hear the intimacy and love in the tone?  From Genesis to Revelation, the love of God is poured out on the pages of the Bible which clearly illustrates His desire to be our friend.  Romans 5:6-11 (NLT) gives a very clear example of this:

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  BUT GOD showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.  And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.  For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son.  So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

As a result of my relationship with Jesus, I am a friend of God’s!!  Thank you Jesus!  The same is true for you!  When we started this post, I posed the question if you considered God a friend or not.  After reading this post I pray that you feel the Holy Spirit tugging on your heart to accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for you.  If you would like to learn on how to develop a relationship just check this post called ★ Thought for the Day – I Hate Religion and I’m a Christian… ★.

 

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

I did not include this in the body of the post, but I figured you were wondering what song would I choose for this attribute of God… So here it is:  Delirious? – What a Friend I’ve Found (Friend Forever).

★ “Back to the Basics” – I Hate Religion and I’m a Christian…Part 2 ★

 

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★Back to the Basics – GOD IS…HOLY ★ 

Yesterday I had this whole post written and then it completely disappeared, so I had to rewrite it from scratch causing me to miss the deadline to post this.  Maybe that was a good thing?  On the rewrite, much more was added.  So…In the post two days ago ★ GOD IS…A FRIEND ★, even if you do not think of God as a friend, He still desires to be your friendship with you!!  As a result with our relationship with Jesus, we are automatically friends of God!!  Today we are going to see that…

I have always thought about the holiness of God like a pristine white shirt and how every time I wear one and eat spaghetti with red sauce, I always get one tiny red spot on it!  This is without a doubt trivial, BUT that shirt is ruined because of that tiny red stain.  That is how I see sin and God’s Holiness, not even a tiny bit of sin cannot be tolerated!

All through the Bible the holiness of God is clearly shown.  I think that the Torah, (the first five books of the Bible), especially highlights this attribute.  The second book of the Torah recounts the deliverance of the people of Israel from 400 years of slavery.  In Exodus 15, Moses and the people sang a song of deliverance about their new-found freedom.  In the middle they ask this rhetorical question, Exodus 15:11 (NLT) says:

“Who is like you among the gods, O Lord — glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders?”

It is so important to pause and take inventory when God moves in our lives and acknowledge how glorious, how awesome and great He is!

Deuteronomy 23:1-14 is a fascinating passage of scripture in which God instructed His people on how to worship and conduct themselves within the community.  Those who defile themselves must be separated from the camp because of what Deuteronomy 23:14 (NLT) says:

“The camp must be holy, for the Lord your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies.  He must not see any shameful thing among you, or he will turn away from you.”

Isn’t that beautiful?  So long as the Israelites keep themselves and the camp holy was God was close, protecting them from their enemies. But if He even saw one thing than God would turn away from them.  That is a key differentiator between God and us, there is zero compromise with God when it comes to holiness.  In Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7 God says (4) times that His people must…You know when God repeats something (4) times, you best listen up!!  These words were recorded thousands of years ago and they are just as true for us today.  How do i know this?  Well I am glad you asked.  The Apostle Peter made a call to “Holy Living” in 1 Peter chapter 1.  He starts off in verses 13-14:

“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control.  Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.  So you must live as God’s obedient children.  Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires.  You didn’t know any better then.”  1 Peter 1:13-14 (NLT)

Part of winning a battle is a good plan of attack.  Peter gives some good advice.  I love the direction to “PUT ALL YOUR HOPE IN THE GRACIOUS SALVATION,” the key is to do our part.  We need to be on the offensive: ready the word, maintaining boundaries from relationships or patterns of behaviors that could cause us to drift from the path or backslide into the past.

In 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT) he continues raising the urgency:

“But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.  For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.””

Did you catch the Leviticus quotation?  “You must be holy because I am holy.”  I love the synergies of the Old and New Testaments.  Some people believe that since it was before Jesus, that the Old Testament is irrelevant but so much of the New Testament is built on the foundation of the Old Testament.  So Peter tells us BE PREPARED, BE HOLY and then in 1 Peter 1:17-20 (NLT) we are to BE THANKFUL:

“And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites.  He will judge or reward you according to what you do.  So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”  For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.  And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.  It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.  God chose Him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.”

How amazing is that last sentence?  God chose Jesus to be our “ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days He has been revealed for your sake.”  Regardless of what horrific report the nightly news offers on a continually loop, God is in control, He Holy, and He loves more than we can ever imagine!  You just need to make the choice that you will pursue holiness.

 

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Back to the Basics – Does God Play Favorites? ★

★ Back to the Basics – Just Believe! ★

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…COMPASSIONATE ★

In yesterday’s post ★Back to the Basics – GOD IS…HOLY ★, we discussed that as a result of God’ Holiness, as His followers we must “BE HOLY” because He is holy and cannot not even associate with a hint of sin.  That is why Jesus sacrifice is so important!!  Today we are going to see that…

I like to start off these posts with Old Testament examples of the attribute we are spotlighting.  There is a passage that comes to mind:

Psalms 145:8-9 (NLT)

“The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  The Lord is good to everyone.  He showers compassion on all His creation.”

I so love that the God who is over all the world has such attributes and thoughts towards us.  How beautiful is that…God “showers compassion on all His creation.”

All through this “GOD IS…” series we have been looking at the attributes of God.  The one constant has been how incredible it is that God sent His ONE and ONLY son Jesus to earth to die on a Roman cross to pay the ransom as a result of my sin so that ALL could be saved.  This is what the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) testify to.  God knew we could never do it on our own so He sent a replacement me to pay our debt — talk about compassion!

Here’s a fun fact for you: The Gospel of John covers the last year of Jesus’ life, while  Matthew, Mark and Luke cover first (2) years of Jesus’ ministry.  Did you know that there are very few things that are covered in all (4) Gospels?  In fact, there are only (4) stories in common:

  1. The Death of Jesus.  (Matthew 27:45-56, Mark 15:33-41, Luke 23:44-56, and John 19:28-42)
  2. The Resurrection of Jesus.  (Matthew 28:1-20, Mark 16:1-20, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-10)
  3. The Feeding of the 5,000.  (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-20, and John 6:1-15)
  4. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16 and John 1:33)

Throughout the gospels it says that Jesus “had compassion on them,” or “was moved with compassion for them” regardless of whether he was tired or not, Jesus made time for those in need.  One particular instance was in Mark 6:34 (NLT) which says:

“Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.  So He began teaching them many things.”

This is how the day started that lead to Jesus “Feeding of the 5,000.”  One more fun fact, that was the number of men feed, in reality it was probably more like 15,000 to 20,000 when woman and children are considered.  This is such a widely known miracle but for me it always comes back to context.  In the the book of Matthew, the story is located in chapter 14.  Verses 10-14 (NLT) really shows the compassion of Jesus and gives the backdrop of the events of one of the greatest miracles:

“So John [also know as John the Baptist — The cousin of Jesus], was beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.  Later, John’s disciples came for his body and buried it.  Then they went and told Jesus what had happened.  As soon as Jesus heard the news, He left in a boat to a remote area to be alone.  But the crowds heard where He was headed and followed on foot from many towns.  Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

Jesus was trying to get to a solitary place to mourn the death of John the Baptist but instead He spent the day healing the sick and preaching to the masses.  Isn’t that amazing?  Had Jesus not had so much compassion to lay aside His grief over the loss of His cousin, the miracle of the “Feeding of 5,000” men never would have happened!!  Thank you, Jesus, for your compassion to sacrifice everything for us!

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Thought for the Day – What’s Rubbing Off On You? ★

“This is Significant” by Steven Furtick…about understanding why we go through the storms.

 

 

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…AN ARCHITECT ★

In yesterday’s post ★Back to the Basics – GOD IS… COMPASSIONATE ★, we discussed that throughout the gospels it says that Jesus “had compassion on them,” or “was moved with compassion for them” regardless of whether he was tired or not, Jesus made time for those in need.  He showed how much compassion He by feeding the 5,000 while just having heard that His cousin John the Baptist was beheaded.  Today we are going to see that…

This one hits close to home as this is what my profession is.  This may surprise you or perhaps you never thought of God as an architect, but I assure you after this post you will see that the Bible does substantiate this claim.  For the past 6 weeks I have been doing the Monday thru Friday Bible Studies virtually to overcome the physical distancing that we must all adhere to.  On Friday’s we are studying 1 Chronicles which is not the typical “go-to” book to do a Bible Study but all scripture “is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16).  I remember when I read 1 Chronicles 28:19-20 (NLT) recently, I was quite surprised to read that:

““Every part of this plan,” David told Solomon, “was given to me in writing from the hand of the Lord.”  Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work.  Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.  He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.””

I had not remembered that God not only designed but wrote done all the plans for the original Temple for Solomon to build from!  God was the architect of the Temple that His people worshiped Him, not a human being!  That’s pretty incredible!

Another book of the Old Testament that is shied away from, is the Book of Job which follows a man who had to endure the worst tests any person had to go through (other than Jesus).  If you have not read the book recently, I would encourage you to dig into it. The composition of the book has a series of speeches / complaints from Job and then rebuttals from (4) different men about WHY this happened to Job.  The book then culminates with God giving Job an audience in which He challenges him with these questions…

““Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell me, if you know so much.  Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line?””  (Job 38:4-5 NLT).

As an architect myself, I know how much design and effort is put into a set of construction documents for a single building let alone all of creation!!  God is the “MASTER” Architect who created all that we see in the Universe!  Wow!  And through His creation we can know that God is real.

And if that were not enough, in Hebrews 11:10 (NIV) is also shows that God is the Architect of Heaven as well…

“For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

This of course is Heaven that Abraham was looking forward to.  You can see that God is an Architect – He can design Temples, lay out the foundations of the world and design a Heavenly City that one day we will all enjoy as a result of trusting Jesus as our Savior.  So why did I choose this attribute of God?  Well it is not just because I am an Architect, though I enjoy a well-designed project and love when you walk through the final product and realize that people will inhabit the spaces that just a year ago did not exist, except on paper (or in this digital age, the Revit BIM Model…Hahaha!)  But the true reason is that everything that is naturally found was designed by God.  Since I have been quarantined in my home for the past 6 weeks, the only activity outside the house besides grocery shopping is going on walks.  Each night I walk for 3 miles and enjoy God’s handiwork.  It is reassuring to know that no matter what the adversity or situation is, NOTHING is impossible for the God that designed the ENTIRE UNIVERSE!

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Thought of the Day – What are You the Architect of? ★

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…UNDERSTANDING ★

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…AN ARCHITECT ★ we discussed that everything that is naturally found was designed by God and that no matter what the adversity or situation is, NOTHING is impossible for the God that designed the ENTIRE UNIVERSE!  Today we are going to see that…

I shared this in the post ★ Thought for the Day – Understanding is a Three-Edged Sword ★, 6 years ago, BUT it is still relevant today and thought it would be great to start off with:

“Understanding is a three-edged sword.  Your side, my side, and the truth.”  J. Michael Straczynski

The key to understanding people in every situation is seeing all edges of the sword…meaning there is your side, their side and the truth.

The more you can learn about a situation, the closer you will get to the sweet spot of understanding what is truly going on.  If you are open to gaining knowledge from all perspective the the more likely you will achieve true understanding. It’s a process that takes time, a listening ear and a willingness to see things from another person’s point of view…Failure to do so will certainly result in a lack of understanding and could result in conflict.  Now that 6 years have passed, I would like to believe that I have developed a greater level of understanding about life and my interpersonal relationships whether it be co-workers, friends, my wife or two daughters but alas I am still a work in progress. Better but far from perfect…as last night showed me.  I lost my temper with my daughter over her questioning the need to still having restrictions after they lift the shelter-in-place restrictions. We are now on day 46 of the self-quarantining, and willingness to listener her side was in short supply which resulted in hurting her and subsequently me apologizing once I had cooled down.  Now while this type of behavior is the exception now instead of the norm, I was saddened that I had not applied the very attribute that I was going to be unpacking the next day. Ugh!  Perhaps that was a reminder that I need to ensure that daily depend on God and do what Ephesians 4:23-24 (NLT) instructs:

“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

It is going to require submission to the Holy Spirit, and effort on our part to pursue the things that pleases God so that we can become truly righteous and holy which I believe will lead to a greater awareness and understanding of others.

As we discussed in previous posts God is all-powerful, all-knowing and ever-present so there is nothing that is unknown to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful that NOTHING is unknown to the Trinity.  We serve a God who knows everything that we struggle with and all our hopes and desires we have.  Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT) is a bedrock verse to stand on.

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Jesus did what we could not, not only did He face every trial we go through, He sacrificed Himself so that we can confidently go to God and have access to The Father’s grace and mercy!!  I will close with this final thought from James 1:5 (ESV) says:

“If any of you lacks wisdom [or understanding], let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

God is so good!  He gave us Jesus and gave us the Bible to show us how to interact with others.

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★ Re|Engage – Understand ★

★ Re|Engage – Conflict ★

“Backseat DJs” by Steven Furtick 

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…A SURGEON ★

In yesterday’s post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…UNDERSTANDING ★, we discussed that God gave us Jesus and the Bible to show us how to interact with others and if we will renew our minds daily, we can grow in our understanding of the world and those who are in our sphere of influence. Today we are going to see that…

I wonder if you are thinking, “A surgeon…where is he going with post?” But I assure you God is indeed willing and able! God promised this through the prophets Hosea, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel that He would give us a new heart!

Hosea 10:12 (NLT) is a passage in which God was pronouncing His judgement because of Israel’s sin, and gave this instruction:

“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and shower righteousness upon you.’”

God wants to perform heart surgery with each of us in order to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes it means that the “spiritual jackhammer” needs to be used to break up any hardened hearts we may have. ‭This is such a powerful Old Testament illustration of what Paul describes in his Epistles that we need a circumcision of our hearts, (see Romans 2:25-29) but I am getting ahead of myself!

Let’s continue is our journey of the Old Testament and land at Jeremiah 31:33-34 (NLT), where God promises to turn sadness to great joy:

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

In this passage God is reassuring the people of Judah who are in exile as a result of their sin, that He will restore them and surgically write His instructions on their hearts. I highlighted that text to spotlight this phrase that Robert Morris made the point in the sermon called “God’s Greatest Desire,” is one of the most repeated phrases in the Bible.  He discussed that all God desires is to have a close relationship with His people. It is interesting to note that in the Book of Jeremiah, the phrase “They will be my people, and I will be their God” is mentioned (7) times, more than anywhere else any other book!!

Our final example supporting this inconspicuous attribute of God. The prophet Ezekiel was a contemporary of Jeremiah prophesying to the same people about the love God has for the people of Judah even through they were being disciplined for their sin.  In Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NLT) it speaks to the promised heart surgery that God will do for His people:

“And I will give you a NEW HEART, and I will put a NEW SPIRIT in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.”

Isn’t that powerful?! What a BEAUTIFUL PROPHECY! Unlike Jeremiah, Ezekiel was with the people of Judah in exile so I am sure this Word that God spoke was comforting to him as well. I have another fun fact for you…Circling back on the phrase “They will be my people, and I will be their God;” the Book of Ezekiel has (6) mentions; so between Jeremiah and Ezekiel God says the same thing (13) times! I wonder if it is stated so many times because God wanted His people to know how much He loved them, and regardless of the circumstances of captivity that they were in, God wants to bring them back into relationship with Him! The same is true for us today!

Now you may be thinking this is great and all but I am not an Israelite and all these passages related to them and that time period. But Romans‬ ‭2:28-29‬ ‭(NLT) ties it all together:‬‬

“For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”
‭‭
Thanks to Jesus the prophecies from Hosea, Jeremiah and Ezekiel have been fulfilled! We are made right by accepting Jesus into our hearts and trusting in Him as our Lord and Savior. I will close with this last passage that will put a nice bow on this attribute. Hebrews 10:15-16 (NLT) says:

“And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For He says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.””

If that sound familiar, it should, the author of the New Testament book of Hebrews is quoting Jeremiah 31:33! I love God’s Word and the absolute synergies that exist between the Old and New Testaments! GOD IS SURGEON, BUT it only will happen if we will open our hearts, allow whatever hardness to be broken up, allow God to write His law on our hearts so that we can enjoy the new heart He wants to give us! If you have not trusted Jesus as your savior I would encourage you not to wait another day!

If you are ready to make that decision, here is a prayer you can say to accept Jesus as your savior:

God take this broken, sinful person and change my life. I confess I have made mistakes and acknowledge that I am in need of a Savior. I want a relationship with you. Please forgive me. I believe that Jesus came to die for my sins and that He is the bridge that brings me to eternal life with you forever. Today I accept the free gift of eternal life and know that I can never do enough good deeds to earn that salvation. In Jesus Name I pray! Amen!

If you earnestly prayed that prayer you are a new creation, (see 2 Corinthians 5:17!) God will honor that prayer of surrender and will do incredible things in your life!

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★ Thought for the Day – What is Your Download Speed? ★

★ Thought for the Day – Audience of One ★

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…SUFFICIENT★

In the last post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…  A SURGEON ★ we discussed that God wants to do heart surgery on His people so that we become more and more like Jesus through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  Today we are going to see that…

So once the heart surgery is done, now we must walk out the Christian life which is not devoid of hardship, whether it as we all have been going through with the plague that has shut down the world!   In the post ★ Thought for the Day – Value in Weakness? ★, I shared that my life verse if from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT) which says:

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need [other translations say “sufficient”].  My power works best in weakness.”  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

This passage is powerful but unless you understand the back story, it is difficult to understand how powerful it is.  In the preceding verses, Paul talked about being blessed by being “caught up to the third heaven” where God is and “heard so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell,” (see 2 Corinthians 12:1-3).  Then the Apostle Paul gives the explanation of the significance of my life verse…

“That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it.  I will boast only about my weaknesses.  If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth.  But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God.  So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.”  2 Corinthians 12:5-8 (NLT)

As a result of being granted this vision, Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh” to prevent pride from welling up inside.  It is unclear exactly what that may be, but Galatians 4:12-16 gives some insight to what that “thorn” might have been as he mentioned during his initial visit to the Galatia Paul had a “bodily ailment” in which he told them at the end of verse 15 that:

“I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible.”   

Three times Paul asked for the “thorn in the flesh” to be removed and yet it was not. God’s answer was…“My grace is all you need.”  As believers in Christ I am sure I know what you answer will be to this question, but really think about your answer to this question…

The kneejerk reaction is “yes of course,” but it’s not easy to be afflicted with a physical ailment, financial hardship or ______ (fill in the blank) praying over and over waiting for a change but what happens condition Even though David Guzik had this commentary on 2 Corinthians 12:9…

“God would show His strength through Paul’s apparent weakness.  To do this, Paul had to believe that God’s grace is sufficient.  We really don’t believe God’s grace is sufficient until we believe we are insufficient.  For many of us, especially in American culture, this is a huge obstacle.  We are the people who idolize the “self-made man” and want to rely on ourselves.  But we can’t receive God’s strength until we know our weakness.  We can’t receive the sufficiency of God’s grace until we know our own insufficiency.”

I love that last statement that “We can’t receive the sufficiency of God’s grace until we know our own insufficiency.”  Do you receive that?  I know that difficult but that is why Paul gave this instruction in Philippians 4:6 (NASB)…

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

God wants to hear from you.  He loves us and though we may not like any other answer but “yes,” BUT we must trust that HE KNOWS what is best for us.  In the case of Paul, who arguably is one of the greatest voices for the Christian faith (other than Jesus of course), was told no in order to prevent him from becoming proud.

So in closing the loop, I wanted to swing back to my theme verse, and close with this final thought that if we want to experience this attribute of “Sufficiency,” we must accept God’s Grace and understanding that when we are weak, if we go to the power source, we will receive all that we need because He is strong!

Will you trust in His sufficiency? 

 

 

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★ Thought for the Day – The Storms of Life ★

 

★ Thought for the Day – Overwhelmed or Overcoming? ★

 

★ Thought for the Day – Fair-Weather Faith ★

 

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…AN INTELLIGENT DESIGNER ★

In the last post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…SUFFICIENT ★ we discussed that there is value in weakness, because when we are weak, God is strong.  Today we are going to see that…

Sooooooo much can be said about this attribute!  In my initial “Bible thumping” I found these passages that you can read on your own:

Genesis 1:1-31, Psalm 19:1, 24:1-2, 90:2, 102:24-27, 104:24, 139:14, Nehemiah 9:6, 1 Chronicles 29:11, Isaiah 40:28, Isaiah 44:24, John 1:3, Acts of the Apostles 17:24-27, Romans 1:20, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 11:3, Revelation 4:11, 21:5

I may cover some of these but this post would be way too long to cover in detail.  This post could a controversial one depending on where you fall on the theory of evolution versus intelligent design.  It may be come to you as a surprise but I believe that The Big Bang is true!  God spoke and “BANG” everything was created!

It’s true, just look at Genesis chapter 1 verses 3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24”God said…and then there was…”  The whole creation account can be found in Genesis chapter one and then 4 verses into chapter 2.  If you haven’t read it or haven’t read it lately, I would encourage you to brush up on this well known but critical story.  Now if you looked at those 6 verses you may wait what about Adam and Eve?  Well interestingly enough though in verse 27 we are told that:

“God created human beings in His own image.”

It is not until Genesis 2:7 (NLT) that we learn “how” humans were created, not from God speaking BUT… 

“…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground.  He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.”

In the message “Tear the Roof Off”, John Gray made the point that in all of creation, God spoke and then it was, but in the case of man, God “formed” him and then “breathed” life into Adam!  We are not some cosmic accident, but a deliberate, intentional creation from an intelligent designer!  But how do I know this?  Well I am glad you asked.  Psalms 19:1 (NLT) says:

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God.  The skies display his craftsmanship.”

I find it to hard to look up in the sky and see the brilliant colors of a sunset or the gentle swaying of a field flowers or the rhythmic cadence of the ocean tide as laps against the shoreline and not give pause and acknowledge the handiwork of God!  And in Isaiah 40:28 (NLT) says:

“Have you never heard?  Have you never understood?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.  He never grows weak or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.”

Growing up I remember thinking about what would happen if I never woke up, would I just cease to exist or is there an afterlife?  Is there really a God who created all that I see?  Even if you don’t believe in God, I guarantee that at some point in your life you have asked that question for yourself.  One of my favorite scriptures that states this clearly is Romans 1:20:

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky.  Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities — His eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

Every person has a “God-shaped hole” in their heart and look for the answer to the question “How Can I Know that there is a God?”  You know it is kind of interesting that evolution is not a fact but a theory, one which has been around for over 160 years and yet it has still not proven but creation illustrates that there is an intelligent designer and according to the Apostle Paul in Romans, we have “no excuse for not knowing God.”

Speaking of the Apostle Paul, I was just reading Acts17:22-23 (NLT) when he was reasoning with the men of Athens in the Areopagus:

“So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines.  And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’  This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.”

Can you imagine worshiping in a shrine “To an Unknown God?”  I love what he said next in 17:24-27 (NLT)…

“He is the God who made the world and everything in it.  Since He is Lord of heaven and earth, He doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve His needs — for He has no needs.  He himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need.  From one man He created all the nations throughout the whole earth.  He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and He determined their boundaries.  His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find Him—though He is not far from any one of us.”

God’s greatest desire is to draw people to Him and as a result of His creation, we see a sign of His existence with every sunrise and sunset!

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

Check out the message called: “How Do I Know There Is a God?” by Robert Morris in which he explains why it’s important to have a correct worldview and how we can confidently know there’s a God.

★ Thought for the Day – Accidental Existence? ★

★ “Back to the Basics” – God’s Mysterious Plan Revealed ★

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…SIGNIFICANT★

In the last post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…AN INTELLIGENT DESIGNER ★ we discussed that The Big Bang is true!  God spoke and “BANG” everything was created!  And that every person has a “God-shaped hole” in their heart and at some point, they look for the answer to the question “How Can I Know that there is a God?”  That answer is found in creation which illustrates that there is an intelligent designer.  Today we are going to see that…

I bet that 8 weeks ago if you were asked: “what is significant,” you probably never would have said finding toilet paper or antibacterial wipes on the supermarket shelves.  Or that a date night dining in a restaurant and hitting a movie would incredible to be able . Oh, how life has changed for thousands and thousands of people around the world as a result of COVID-19.  As our resiliency is being stretched to its limits the new significant event is re-opening of the country here in the United States. Texas for instance has started phase 1 of trying to “return to normalcy,” but my chief concern and prayer has been that as we transition from the shelter-in-place quarantine state we have been in, that this nurse’s sign is not prophetic since many areas including where I live have not reached the peak.  Today marks DAY 55 since my family and I have self-quarantined, so like everyone else I too would love to go out on a date with my wife and get back to living but we are being cautious as this is a critical decision which should give us pause especially since the news is reporting that many states that have started re-opening are seeing a spike in cases.  Even though the state is starting to “re-open,” our family is keeping the shelter-in-place status quo.  I consider this virus and the decision of when, and how to reopen the country to be quite important, but I would like us to refocus and consider what truly is significant.  Many things are believed to be significant, BUT only God truly is.  EVERYTHING else pales in comparison to our Father! If God did nothing more for us other than sacrificing His Son to rescue is from the punishment our sins deserve, He would still be worthy of our devotion and worship!  The key is to have the right perspective.  I love what Psalms 86:10-13 (NLT)

“For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.  You alone are God.  Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!  Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.  With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.  I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great.  You have rescued me from the depths of death.”

And Psalms 150:1-2 (NLT) says:

“Praise the Lord!  Praise God in His sanctuary; praise him in His mighty heaven!  Praise Him for His mighty works; praise His unequaled greatness!”

God is sufficiently great, worthy of honor and praise and far surpassing any other thing or person who is considered noteworthy.  Once we understand the significance of God, we can then shift our viewpoint.  I will close this post with one of the best verses on perspective is Philippians 4:8 (NLT):

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

David Guzik had this commentary on Philippians 4:8:

“Much of the Christian life comes down to the mind. Romans 12:2 speaks of the essential place of being transformed by the renewing of your mind and 2 Corinthians 10:5 speaks of the importance of casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. What we choose to meditate on matters.  What Paul describes here is a practical way to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

When we magnify or place a greater significance on anything or anyone other than God, we set ourselves up for failure and invite the enemy in to wreak havoc in our life as the mind is the battlefield.  If your thoughts are NOT true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, or admirable than we MUST kick those thoughts to the curb and only “think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

 

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★ Thought for the Day – True Shalom ★ 

★ Thought for the Day – Annihilating Anxiety ★

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…LOVING ★

Let me start off by wishing all the mothers out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!!  And for those of you like me who don’t have a mother any longer here on Earth, I pray God’s comfort on you on this difficult reminder of that fact.  For the women trying to be a mother, I pray that the Lord would open your womb right now In Jesus name we pray!!  Amen!

In the last post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS… SIGNIFICANT ★, we discussed that when we magnify or place a greater significance on anything or anyone other than God, we set ourselves up for failure and invite the enemy in to wreak havoc in our life.  Only God is significant and so we must fix our thoughts on Him!  If your thoughts are NOT true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, or admirable than we MUST kick those thoughts to the curb and only “think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Today we are going to see that… 

It seems only appropriate that we cover this attribute on a day in which we celebrate the first woman in each of our lives that gave us unconditional and the closest example we have to what God’s unconditional love looks like.  After all, Genesis 1:27 tells us that

“So God created human beings in His own image.  In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”

So the love that Mother’s have for their child(ren) is a displaying the attribute that we will unpack today.  Like in the post about God being an INTELLIGENT DESIGNER, there are a ton of passages on this attribute!  The Bible is a God’s love letter to His people.  All throughout the Old and New Testaments we can see the heart of God for His people.  Here is just a fraction of passages that I was looking at initially…

Joshua 1:9, Psalm 23, 86:15, 117:2 Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:22, John 3:16-17, Romans 2:11, 5:8, Romans 8:39, Ephesians 1:3-5, 1 Peter 5:7, 2:9, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:16-17

Psalm 86:15 (NLT) seems like a great place to start to unpack this today’s focus:

“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”

Contrary to what Satan would have you believe, the God of the Old Testament IS NOT distant, judgmental or waiting for us to make a mistake so He can punish us.  Instead Lamentations 3:22 (NLT) says:

“The faithful LOVE of the Lord never ends!  HIS MERCIES NEVER CEASE.”

And no discussion of God’s love would be complete with mentioning the MOST POPULAR New Testament passage in John 3:16-17 (NLT)…

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Satan though tries to tell us the opposite that God is out to get you and that if you become a Christian that you will have no more joy or fun BUT I can attest that prior to being saved, I was hopeless and very lost indulging in every dark and sinful pleasure that was put before me.  I am now 22 years along the path of following Jesus since I trusted Him as Lord and Savior, and it is still the BEST DECISION I ever made!  I am living proof of the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10:

What I find amazing is that Jesus came to provide this and also show how much God loved us!  Romans 5:8 (NLT)

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

He willingly died for me and for you so that we could fully experience His love and receive eternal life!  What a Loving Father we have!!  1 John 4:16b-17 (NLT) gives further testimony:

 “GOD IS LOVE, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.  So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”

As I close, I will say it again, from the opening verse of the Old Testament to the final one of the New Testament, EVERY PAGE displays this attribute of Him…“GOD IS LOVE!”  And that love is so

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Nothing can separate us from the loving arms of God who spare nothing to show us that love.  He has sacrificed His Son for us and given the Holy Spirit to live with us!  So today will you turn to Him and believe that GOD IS…LOVING?!

 

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

“How Do I Know God Loves Me?“ by Robert Morris.  He shares how we can confidently know God loves us, even in the midst of pain and suffering.

★ Thought for the Day – Tribute to My Mom ★ 

★ Thought for the Day – What Does The Love of God Mean? ★

★ Thought for the Day – 5 Truths That Will Change Your Life! ★

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS… FORGIVING ★

In the last post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…LOVING ★, we discussed that NOTHING can separate us from the loving arms of God who spare nothing to show us that love.  He has sacrificed His Son for us and given the Holy Spirit to live with us!  Today we are going to see that…

I must start off by asking for your forgiveness since it has been 6 days since the last post…hahaha!  Today’s attribute dovetails beautifully with our last post because God’s love is eternally intertwined with His forgiveness.  As is customary, let’s start in the Old Testament with Psalm 86:5 (NLT) that spotlights this reality:

“O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.”

God is not out to get us, rather He is “ready to forgive” and is “full of unfailing love” if we will just repent and turn away from our sin.  Look at the end of the verse again, who is God’s forgiveness for?  “For ALL who ask for His help.”  Another passage from Isaiah 55:6-7 (NLT) says:

“Seek the Lord while you can find Him.  Call on Him now while He is near.  Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong.  Let them turn to the Lord that He may have mercy on them. YES, TURN TO OUR GOD, FOR HE WILL FORGIVE GENEROUSLY.”

Isn’t that encouraging?  These passages are in the Old Testament shows that God’s desire to forgive you and I has existed for thousands and thousands of years!  He is just waiting for us to turn away from the temptations of the world SO He can GENEROUSLY FORGIVE US.  But we must CHOOSE NOT to take the bait that the devil sets before us!  And if we do, we must humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness!!  Let’s flip over into the New Testament and look at what the Apostle John instructs in 1 John 1:9 (NLT)…

“BUT IF we CONFESS our sins to Him, He is FAITHFUL and JUST to FORGIVE us our sins and to CLEANSE us from ALL wickedness.”

There is a direct connection between confession and forgiveness.  When we will go to God in humility and turn from our wicked ways, He WILL cleanse us.  And the vehicle for us today is through His Son Jesus Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) tells us about the Great Exchange that is available:

“For our sake He [ GOD ] made Him [ JESUS ] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 

When we accept Jesus as our Savior and believe that He died in our place, OUR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS is placed on Jesus and HIS RIGHTEOUS is transferred to us!  WOW!  However, the enemy of souls will do anything and everything to thwart that transaction from happening because Satan hates God and hates us because we are the apple of God’s eye (see Genesis 3:15, Psalm 17:8, Proverbs 7:2, Zechariah 2:8).  Ephesians 4:32 (NLT) shows us that we ought to extend forgiveness to others:

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Thank you, Jesus, for being the conduit for us to become right with you!!  I have had this beautiful song on repeat of late that so captures the incredible the significance of God’s forgiveness called “Holy Water” by We the Kingdom:

Your forgiveness
Is like sweet, sweet honey
On my lips
Like the sound of a symphony
To my ears
Like holy water on my skin

I will close with the MOST UNBELIEVABLE STATEMENT in the entire Bible from Luke 23:34 (NLT)…

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.”

Every time I read this verse, I am always astonished with the Jesus’ selflessness that while “soldiers gambled for His clothes,” and He hung on the cross dying, Jesus prayed for God to forgive His executioners!!  Just amazing!  So much can be said on all that God has forgiven in my life, I could spend the rest of my life trying to express my gratitude and it will never be enough!  It truly is “sweet, sweet honey on my lips!”  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you God for your forgiveness!  You are a good, good Father!

 

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Thought for the Day – 5 Truths That Will Change Your Life! ★

★ Thought for the Day – How Many Licks to Forgiveness ★

★ Re|Engage – Forgiveness ★

 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…FAITHFUL ★

In the last post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…FORGIVING ★, we discussed that There is a direct connection between confession and forgiveness.  When we will go to God in humility and turn from our wicked ways, He WILL cleanse us.  And the vehicle for us today is through His Son Jesus Christ.  Today we are going to see that…

This attribute of our Heavenly Father is covered quite extensively in the Bible, here are just some passages which I will cover some of but I would recommend you read them nonetheless…

Deuteronomy 31:6, 32:4, Psalm 86:15, 117:2, James 4:8, Hebrews 10:23-24, 13:5-6 Matthew 28:20, Philippians 1:6, John 6:37, 40, 15:7, Romans 8:28-29, Isaiah 49:15-16 

First off, I would like to start with Deuteronomy 7:9 (NLT) which Moses wrote:

“Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God.  He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands.”

Do you know any one who as soon as they say “I’ll call you tomorrow” or “you can count on me to show up to some event,” you know for a fact you’ll never hear from them or see them as they promised?  I have a few people like this in my life who I know do not intentionally mean to let me down but yet they do. I almost plan on not hearing from them or seeing them and then if they follow through, I am pleasantly surprised. Not this may seem like a trite comparison, but I love what Moses testifies about God that He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands.”  God more faithful then our mother or father or best friend on this earth, He keeps His word for a 1,000 generations!!  Isn’t that awesome?

Hebrews 10:23 (NLT) also speaks of the faithfulness of the Father:

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.”

There are some action words in the passage that I think we really need to take notice off…We must hold tightly without wavering!”  This of course is easier said than done but true nonetheless.  God did not make us robots, we have a choice to trust the faithfulness of God or to reject Him.  So, if we want the promises, we need keep hold of our own faith. There is a song that came to mind instantly as I started working on this post called “Faithful God” by Zach Neese which has brought me such comfort through many dark days.

If I call, will You come
When I cry, do You hear
I believe every tear
Is caught up by a faithful God
So I will cry until You come
Cast my cares into Your arms
I can’t see past this storm
But I’m counting on a faithful God 

Faithful God
You hold my life secure
All my days are Yours
I believe
My God is like a fire defending me
Faithfully

Isn’t that beautiful?  Every time I sing these lyrics, I feel my faith increase.  I will close with Romans 5:8 which says that:

God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” 

This singular act shows His faithfulness to keep the covenant that He made with us that nothing will ever separate us from Him and that He will never leave us or forsake us as Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5 reminds us.  All our days are God’s, He is like a fire defending us…Faithfully!  We can count on Him.

 

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Thought for the Day – The Lord is Near ★

★ Thought for the Day – How important is Jesus? ★

★ Thought for the Day – Confidence IN WHOSE You Are ★ 

 

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★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…SPIRIT ★

In the last post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS…FAITHFUL ★, we discussed that God’s faithfulness can be counted on, and that He will never leave us or forsake us.  All our days are God’s, He is like a fire defending us…Faithfully!  Today we are going to see that GOD IS…SPIRIT…

A lot can be said of this fact that God is THREE persons in ONE.  God the FATHER, God the SON, and God the Holy Spirit.  In fact we started off a 3-part series called ★ Back to the Basics – The Unsung Hero of the Trinity – Part 1 ★, in which I shared this quote that seems appropriate to start off with…

“The Christian who neglects the Holy Spirit is like a lamp that’s not plugged in.”

So today’s attribute that GOD IS…SPIRIT is near and dear to my heart and my prayer is that by the end, you will see how important He is to be a part of your life as well!  Today in America, the church is celebrating Pentecost, which for Christians is best known in Acts 2:1-41 when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the 120 believers in Jerusalem.  This was in fulfillment of what Jesus promised to the disciples in Luke 24:49 (NLT), which happens to be the last recorded Words of Jesus:

“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised.  But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

But for Jewish people, Pentecost which is the 50 day after Easter, is known for another reason…

“Did you know that Pentecost is a Jewish feast that celebrates Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai?”  Robert Morris

It is also known as the Feast of Weeks or Festival of Harvest (See Leviticus 23:15-21).  The Ten Commandments which is outlined in Exodus 20:1-17, was given to the people of Israel to be guide them as they were going to go to the Promise Land.  The Law as it was known, outlined how His people could approach God and what He desired but the Old Testament is filled with stories of how they failed epically to please Him so that is why Jesus was sent to do what we could not.  In John 14:17 (NLT), Jesus said:

“He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.  The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him.  But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.” 

God through His Holy Spirit lives with us!  I love this truth by Robert Morris

“Because of the Holy Spirit, instead of being held to the impossible standards of the Old Testament law, we can now walk according to the law of love Jesus speaks about in Matthew 22:35–40.  This is good news because we cannot live righteously without the power of the Holy Spirit.”  From the YouVersion reading plan ‘The God I Never Knew’ by Robert Morris.

Many Christians are living a powerless life as a result of not getting to know the “Unsung Hero of the Trinity.”  The Holy Spirit is A Comforter, A Helper, A Friend, An Advocate, A Teacher and A Guide.

John 4:24 instructs us…

“For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

And then in Romans 8:14-16 says:

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.  Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”

As a result of the God’s Spirit, we have access God the Father and are His children!  Almost 2,000 on this day we received the greatest gift anyone could hope for, the Spirit of God who is the vehicle to help us to live the overcoming life.  I will close with one more quote from Robert Morris about the significance of this day!

“The day of Pentecost was the first time since the Fall of man that the Holy Spirit empowered men to live righteously.  We know Jesus’ death and resurrection have put us in right standing with God, but the Holy Spirit actually empowers us to live according to that righteous position.”

I would highly recommend you check out this YouVersion reading plan called ‘The God I Never Knew’ by Robert Morris.  It truly is life changing!  And more importantly, get to know the Spirit of God!

★★ Dig Deeper ★★

★ Posts that are All About the Holy Spirit ★

★ Thought for the Day – All About the Big Ten ★

“Spirit Comes, Church Goes” by Joakim Lundqvist as Word of Life Church in Sweden.

 

 

 

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