Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Inside the Cup

Joyful
The one thing that separates Christianity from every other world religion is that God came down and did for us what we could not do for ourselves. It's a complete dependance on the One who's name is the Word of God. It's a complete turn from ourselves to a mighty God who is able to save us, change us and call us by a new name. When we embrace Jesus we release the things of this world and our purpose and vision will be about glorifying Him in word and deed. When we turn to Him, he changes us from the inside out and the Holy Spirit comes into our frail and broken bodies and begins the amazing process of conforming us into the image of our Savior. When the Holy Spirit comes within us, our desires change. The Spirit begins to wage war against our flesh and our flesh against the Spirit and during these intense times of inner struggle our desire must be to glorify Him no matter how we feel and trust Him as He begins to change us from within.
It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31,32. The gospel of Matthew expounds on this verse with these words, "But go and learn what it means :'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Matthew 9:13
The Pharisees' loved their rituals and religious ceremonies, they focused on the outward appearance of their faith and neglected the inward renewal of their heart. They were more concerned with appearances than dealing with the inner secret sins, the sins that put their rituals and religious ceremonies above human compassion. They believed the lie that righteousness was to be acheived by their works and sacrifices alone. Their salvation was all about them. It was an acts of service based religion. It was a religion based on appearances. Jesus, put's it this way, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness. First clean the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. " Luke 11:39; Matthew 23:26 The people were more concerned with their outward appearances than with their inward morality.
I have found personally that it is much easier "to do" for the Lord than "to be" in the Lord and in His Holy Word. For when I am in the Word I am reminded of my need for Him to do what only He can do, to change me from within.
"I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance", What does this mean? This verse is directly linked to those who will likely oppose the message of Salvation. It will be the people, like the religious leaders, who do not recognize their need for a Savior. It will be people who replace their inner need of salvation with acts of service instead of repentance, which is a COMPLETE turn from self to God. Jesus came to save all who would come to repentance. When He stated that He came to save the sick but not the righteous, what He was saying was one has to realize they are sick to be saved. The religious leaders of Christ's day didn't recognize their need for the Savior. They trusted in their abilities and their ways and not in the way of repentance and inner renewal. Therefore, bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3:8
Post written December 13, 2010

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ


You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Even so Abraham believe God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. Galatians 3:1-6
The Galatians, which were predominately Gentile were being told by the Judaizer's that they must be circumcised to remain in right standing before God. That their faith in Christ did not justify them before God but their works, and to remain in Christ, they most adhere to the Law of Moses. Paul's letter to the Galatians was to counteract this heresy and further explain the finished work of Christ which was sufficient unto salvation.

I, like the Galatians, am guilty of falling for the temptation to make my justification about what I do instead of what Christ has already done for me. I recognized this within myself when the majority of my focus is about what I'm doing or not doing and in turn base my acceptance before God on my performance instead of rejoicing in His performance for me. I do this when I withdraw from God, as I have once again, yelled at my girls or failed to get up at the crack of dawn for a quiet time. I realize this when I become prideful over my accomplishments and despondent when I fail to perform. I do this when I concentrate on the speck in my friend's eye and yet fail to remove the log from my own eye. I do this when my identity is more based on my performance for Christ than on His covenant which has been cut and established by the shed blood of His Son. What do all of these temptations imply? They imply that I believe my SALVATION IS BY FAITH BUT MY PERFECTION IS IN KEEPING THE LAW. I'm saved initially by faith but I must sustain that which I've already been given by keeping the law. It's believing the lie that Christ's death was enough to get me in but not enough to keep me in. This my friend, is not the gospel. The gospel is all about Him, it has nothing to do with us. If we could obtain perfection by keeping the law, then Christ died needlessly and His death wasn't enough to justify us before God. It would also imply that we could be justified by God apart from Christ's finished work on the cross. In essence, we could work the works of God apart from Christ and his finished work. Does God care how I live?? ABSOLUTELY! But I live for Christ because in Him I am already approved before God NOT because I have to gain God's approval. It's out of my sincere gratitude that I want to die to myself so that I might live for Him. It's His Spirit within me that causes me to walk in His ordinances and leads me into a further appreciation for all He has done. I am justified before God because my sinful record became Christ's, and he suffered the punishment I deserved. Christ did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Matthew 5:17
So what was the purpose of the law? The purpose of the law is to lead us to Christ. It shows us our inability to keep perfectly the law and to yearn for the One who would free us from the bondage of sin and the law. It even now redirects us to Christ's finished work on the cross as we become conscience of our inadequacy to keep perfectly every letter of the law. Before Christ, it shows us a holy God and His standard of righteousness. The law focused on the outer man but Christ came to purify the inner man. The law was once written on tablets of stone but has now been placed within our minds and on our hearts as the promised Holy Spirit comes in to take up residency inside our frail and broken bodies. It's to show us that our adequacy before God is based on Christ adequacy for us and not our adequacy in ourselves. 2 Corinthians 3:5, Hebrews 8:10, 2 Corinthians 3:3, Galatians 3:24
But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7

When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. Hebrews 7:13

Our justification before God comes from faith in His Son and not by our works. Romans 3:28


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Work the Works of God

Running
"Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore, they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent." - John 6:26-29

To be honest with you, this verse haunts me. When I was a new believer it was hard for me to study the words of Jesus because it was so contradictory to what my mind had created Him to be. My mind created a loving, pacifist, who catered to the needs of all people. He spoke of things like loving your enemy, turning your cheek and pursuing a life a peace. I imagined Him to be a pushover that I could somehow pacify with my good deeds. You see when I began my walk with the Lord, I wanted all the benefits with none of the cost. I had the attitude of,"what have you done for me lately." I asked Him to come into my heart so I could go to heaven just in case He really was the one He claimed to be. I did this while continuing to worship the god of self. Like the people of Jesus' day, I wanted to make my salvation about something I was doing instead of just believing Him to be who He claimed to be and following Him out of my abundant gratitude for all He secured for me by becoming sin so that I could be declared righteous. What was the work they were to work? The work was to believe in the finished work of Christ that would soon take place on their behalf. Jesus wrapped Himself in humanity so that we could wear His robe of righteousness. He, who was rich in heaven, who spoke creation into being came down to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Jesus, who was before all things and in him all things hold together and have their being did not consider equality with God something to be grasp but humbled Himself, came down, lived under the same limitations you and I live under and did for us what we could not do for ourselves, kept perfectly every letter of the law. As if this was not enough, He then became sin, his flesh torn in two on the cross where He received and absorbed the wrath of God. The cross where every sin I have ever committed or will commit was placed upon Him. He took upon Himself the the full penalty of sin and the wrath that we deserved was placed upon Him. God poured out His wrath on His perfect Son, who was fully God and fully man.
How then can I make my salvation based on what I do, instead of, what has already been done on my behalf? You see, it was easier for me to trust in my ability to perform for him than to trust in and believe in the finished work of Christ. The root of my problem was unbelief. When he proclaimed in great agony "it is finished" it really was finished because it has everything to do with Him and not me. In the book, Because He Loves Me by Elyse M. Fitpatrick, she makes this amazing declaration. "We are, each one, more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, but more loved and welcomed than we ever dared hope. page 57
Why do I reveal this to you? I reveal this to you because we see in the passage above that the people of Jesus' day were doing the same thing. They heard about the miracles He was performing and they pursued Him out of their selfish ambition and to have their earthly needs met, full stomachs. (John 6:26). His miracles left no doubt that He was who he claimed to be and yet they still focused their attention on themselves and their desire to perform the works of God apart from God. They wanted the accolades, the acceptance, the following. They wanted full stomachs and a delectable life. John 6:14, tells us that the people saw the signs which He had performed and believed Him to be the prophet they could make king and deliver them from the oppressive arm of Rome. The chapter goes on to tell us the people believed they could take him by force and declare him king. Because they intended to take him by force, Jesus withdrew from the crowd. The people got in their boats and followed him to Capernaum. Which leads us to the verse above, John 6: 26-29."Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore, they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent."
They sought him but not because they believed him to be who he claimed to be but because he was meeting their physical needs. I also believe they sought him because they wanted to be entertained by his many miracles. They wanted an earthly political messiah, one who would bring them power, comfort and earthly security. They were looking for the King of Kings in his first coming and not a suffering servant. In the book, Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias states, "Before his record of this conversation, John had already described several miracles that Jesus had done. The first was the conversion of water into wine, in which Jesus revealed His power over the elements. Then John narrated two episodes of healing, in which Jesus showed His power over sickness. Following that, he relates Jesus' multiplication of a young lads's lunch to feed five thousand-His power of provision. Finally, he pens the well-known story of Jesus walking on water-His power over natural law. Capturing the beauty of the conversion of the water into wine, the poet Alexander Pope said, "The conscious water saw its Master and blushed." That sublime description could be reworked to explain each one of these miracles. Was it far-fetched for the Creator of the universe, who fashion matter out of nothing, to multiply bread for the crowd. pg 80. But don't we do the same thing? Jesus was the One who created all things! He was the One who created us in our mother's womb, who spoke and it was, who even now holds everything together and yet we marvel at the miracle and not the Maker, Master and Sustainer.
Also notice, they referred to Jesus as the prophet, merely a man blessed by the power of God, but not God Himself. This reminds me of the discourse between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus asks His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah , or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, " You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus responds, "Blessed are you Simon Peter because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 16:13-17.
So often, we allow the culture to define for us, who God is. We look to the culture to determine what we believe to be true about God. In essence, we look to the world and not the word.
We trust in things we can see and understand rather than the things we can't see and our minds can't comprehend. We get caught up in the current of culture and swept away. I think it is fitting that Jesus asked His disciples first, who do the people say that I am, instead of, who do you say that I am? I think He did this knowing that often times the culture defines for us our beliefs. I also believe He did this to commend Simon Peter for not conforming to the ideas and beliefs of the culture and to explain that unless God reveals to us the truth, we will confirm to the ideas of this world.
Let me ask an uncomfortable question, Are you following Jesus for all of the benefits and none of the cost? Are you following him only when it's convenient or meets some emotional/physical need? Or are you following Him in full assurance that He is who He claims to be, the Son of the Living God, who was and is and is to come? Are you following Him to gain His approval or because you already have His approval? Do you believe that in Him, you are freely loved, accepted, forgiven, made NEW?
It is my hope that as I share with you my inner wrestling to make my salvation all about Him and not about me that you are encouraged to press further into Him and ponder these amazing realities that bring freedom.
As always, please overlook ALL the grammatical errors. A lot of times, I am writing with four kids coming in and out and numerous interruptions.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Come Home


Then the Lord said to Jacob, "Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives and I will be with you." Genesis 31:3
Is the Lord calling you to go back? Is he calling you to stop running from your past and the sins of your youth and embrace forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation?
You see, Jacob fled his family because he had deceived his father, Issac, by pretending to be his brother, Esau, in turn receiving his brother's blessing from his blind father.
Jacob fled in fear of his brother's wrath for his brother had vowed to kill him. I believe he also fled out of shame because he deceived his father, Isaac to receive the family blessing. If anyone had reason to run it was Jacob but we see God calling Jacob home.
Can you relate? What are you running from? Is there a moment that comes to mind? A moment God wants to free you from. Is there a relationship the Lord desires to heal? He calls us to a life of reconciliation. A life of forgiveness. A life of total surrender to the One who has the power and the desire to heal us and restore us to Himself. He demonstrated this when he sent his only begotten son to the cross. God was pleased to make all the fullness of himself dwell within Christ and through him to reconcile to himself all things by making peace with us through his blood shed on the cross. Colossians 1: 19, 20
Jacob wrestled with God and was given the name Israel; which means one who struggled with God and with men and has overcome. Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But Jacob said, " I will not let you go, unless you bless me." Genesis 32:24-26
I've heard sermons preached that it was in arrogance that Jacob wrestled. I beg to differ; I believe he wrestled out of desperation. He held on. He pleaded with God to bless him no matter the cost. He wrestled through the pain, all the while, trusting in God for deliverance from his past. He wouldn't let go. My biggest fear is that my life would make no real eternal difference because of my disobedience and fear of going back to the places of pain with my God who has promised to be with me. I fear I could miss out on the blessings of God because of complacency. I believe Jacob felt the same way, years after stealing Esau's inheritance he wrestled with God for His blessing. He wanted God to bless the inheritance he had already received. Having just his earthly father's blessing wasn't enough for Jacob. He wanted his heavenly Father's blessing.
Why is it important to go back? Why can't we just run from our sins and pretend they never happened? Because Christ desires to free us from our sin. He desires to completely heal us from our past. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
You see un-confessed sin is bondage. It is a root that can become bitter. It is a weed in a garden that will over time choke out all the beautiful flowers the Lord has planted. If not pulled out by the master gardener this weed can take on many forms, bitterness, resentment, anger, jealousy, envy, strife, gossip, fear, self hatred, depression. It is so destructive that it can even cause us physical debilitating pain. But God calls us to a life of freedom. Therefore, whatever hinders a life of freedom must be exposed and pulled out. Are you ready to live a life of freedom? What is holding you back from coming home?
Wherever you go there you are but there is One who has the power to bring you home.
Post written and posted in February 2009

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Absorption


In 2009, wrote this post while Hannah, my middle child, was sick for the fourth time in a year with a high fever. I titled this post, Absorption, due to my overwhelming desire to take her sickness upon myself. This entry is also a fresh reminder of all Christ has done for us on the cross. He was born to die, to absorb our sin and depravity. He did this once and for all on the cross where every sin was laid upon Him. He wrapped Himself in the robe of humanity so that we could wear His robe of righteousness and live a life of freedom, for who the Son has set free is free indeed. He not only healed us but he raised us to new life. We have been called, chosen and freely forgiven. We were not only sick but dead in our sin and when He enters into our body through the Holy Spirit we are made alive in Christ and transformed into His image. For we have not been saved by the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood and the veil is Christ's flesh which was torn in two for us. 
Whenever one of my girls is sick, I'm consumed with wanting to do whatever I can to make them better. I was laying beside my Hannah on the couch as she was suffering from an extremely high fever. While on the couch stroking her head and feeling the heat radiating from her tiny body all I could think about was wanting to absorb the sickness so she wouldn't have to endure the pain. I didn't only want to cover her and care for her, I wanted to take her sickness upon myself. I wanted to heal her from the pain physically but more than that I wanted to absorb her sickness permanently. While closing my eyes and envisioning this transfer, Christ gently reminded me of why He came and what He accomplished on the cross. Seeing the Israelites sin and depravity He offered a way to cover their sin by sacrifices, burnt offerings and sin offerings. This is referred to as the Old Order or Old Covenant. These sacrifices and offerings were never enough to completely take away sin but it was just enough to temporarily cover sin. The Law's purpose was to show them their deprivity and the holiness of God. It was to convict their conscience of sin and open their eyes to their need for a Savior. The Law focused on the outer man but Christ came to purify the inner man. The sacrifices performed and required were God's way of reminding them of their inability to keep the Law. Jesus stated that He came not to condemn the law but to fulfill it, Matthew 5:17. If we could have kept the Law apart from Christ then Christ's death is nullified. You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6. Jesus, states in Mark 2:17, "It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." In this verse is Jesus glorifying sin? NO, His purpose was that one has to realize they are sick to seek a physician. His response was to the Pharisees' who trusted in their own righteousness and in their deeds. Those who thought their righteousness before God could be obtained by keeping the Law. The Law purpose then and now is to daily convict us of our sin before a holy God. To drive us deeper into Christ as He transforms us into His image. As we grow in the knowledge of our need for Him we fall more deeply in love with Him.

Here is what occurred to me, I love Hannah so much that my heart's desire in the midst of her sickness was to absorb her pain and her sickness not just to mask it or cover it temporarily with Tylenol. The giving of the pain reliever was a reminder of her sickness. As soon as the medication would wear off the fever would come back.I wanted a supernatural transfer to occur. I didn't want to take her sickness upon myself because I was obligated as her mom to care for her, I wanted to take it upon myself because of my unbearable love for her. As she was laying next to me, I wanted to absorb her sickness so I could endure it on her behalf. Although, I held her and comforted her it was not enough to take away her sickness and relieve the consequence of her being sick. But unlike me, Christ has the power to absorb our sin and free us from our depravity.
God referred to Christ in Isaiah as Immanuel, God with us. He provided a way for us to be made perfect through His suffering. The name Jesus means, the One who saves. You see, it was out of His great love for us, He came down to dwell among us to reveal to us the truth, wear the robe of humanity, fulfill the law by living a sinless life and then dying a sinners death as the final atoning sacrifice for sin. His desire was to absorb our sin once and for all, so that we could be made perfect though His suffering. His sacrifice is totally sufficient for our sins. We are not only covered by His blood but transformed into his image. He endured a brutal death where every sin I have ever committed or will commit was placed upon him. He took on the punishment and absorbed the consequence of my sins. He did what I could not do so that by His death I became who I was created to be, a woman made in His image and for His purposes. For before Christ entered into my sin saturated body I was dead. I have been made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit, raised to new life and called a new creation.
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.' Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired but a body you have prepared for me. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can NEVER take away sins; but He having offered one sacrifice for sins FOR ALL TIME, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting form that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:1-4, 5,11-14

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Eleventh Hour



Worshipping in Water-1

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches....


Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" Revelation 3:20-22



Then the LORD closed the door behind them...Genesis 7:16

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.
Revelation 4:1-3
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:1-11
And we have the word of prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:36-39
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ who has gone into heaven and is seated at God's right hand- with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. 1 Peter 3: 18-22
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way open for us through the curtain that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the DAY approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Revelation 1:4
Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Revelation 1:3
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Revelation 1:7
Since everything will end in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heavens and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 2 Peter 3:11-13
Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation. 2 Peter 3:15

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:12-13

New International Version, Key Word Study Bible




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

God's Promises to Israel

Expecting Sunflower-1
The LORD, will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail over His enemies. Isaiah 42:13
But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me." "Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me." Isaiah 49:14-16 In God's perfect timing He will pour out His Spirit to save Israel. He will reveal Himself, as mighty to save and intimate in His love for His chosen nation. "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn." Zechariah 12:10
The Gospels reveal Jesus in His humiliation and His suffering. After 400 years of silence, and as the nation was occupied by Roman rule, Christ the Messiah, comes to fulfill the prophesies of Suffering Servant, Lamb of God, Faithful Witness, Firstborn among the dead. "Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face. He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our wellbeing fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has tuned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers. Isaiah 53:1-7
God in His Sovereign love for His nation, Israel, is going to reveal Himself as eternally faithful to her. "But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen,: Thus says the LORD, who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you, Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; and you Jeshurum whom I have chosen. 'For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants; and they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water.' " This one will say, ' I am the LORD's'. And that one will call on the name of of Jacob; and another will write on his hand, 'Belonging to the LORD,' and will name Israel's name with honor."Isaiah 44:1-5
And you will know that I am the LORD; those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame. Isaiah 49:23
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nehushtan

Climbing <span class=
If you haven't read, Be Lifted High, please take a moment to read it before reading this post. This post is a continuation of Be Lifted High.
The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by the snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Numbers 21:8-9
This snake came to be known as Nehushtan. The Israelites worshiped the image of the bronze snake and burned incense to it. They worshiped what their hands created and the power of the image instead of the One who gave the image it's power. It was King Hezekiah that destroyed the adulterous image for the people burned incense to Nehushtan in the temple of God. For God never intended the image by which men are saved to be worshiped but only the One through whom we are saved. It was God who gave the image it's power and it was His grace that provided the means of escaping death. The image should have been a constant reminder of the Israelites sin in the wilderness and the consequences of their rebellion. But instead the image lured them further into idolatry.
What is idolatry? In the book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller gives us this definition of idolatry, An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of doctrine for their standing faith with God rather than on God himself and his grace. It is a subtle but deadly mistake. Page 131. Tim Keller gives us further insight into the meaning of idolatry when he states, "Sin isn't only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God." Talking about Idolatry in a Postmodern Age
We commit idolatry when we burn our incense to religion and moralism instead of to Jesus, who did what we could not do for ourselves. We nullify His death when we base our salvation on what we do, instead of what has been done on our behalf. We bow down to the false god of moralism when we trust in our good deeds and our ability to perform as the means of salvation rather than place our trust in Jesus, who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exulted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow in heaven, and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:6-11
This truth is what separates Christianity from every other world religion. It is because sinless perfection wrapped himself in humanity and did what we could not do for ourselves, shedding His holy blood for the forgiveness of sin. It was at His death that religion died and with His resurrection, death conquered and grace triumphant. W
hen we burn our incense to lesser things, we are in fact exchanging the truth of God for a lie worshiping and serving created things rather than the Creator, who is forever to be praised. Romans 1:25.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Be Lifted High

Hannah Barren Tree Climbing-1
The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by the snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Numbers 21:8-9

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:14-16

The Israelites became impatient in the wilderness. They spoke against God and against Moses. They complained about everything from food to personal safety. They detested the Lord's provisions and Moses' leadership, and in doing this, the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The Israelites repented of their sin and asked Moses to pray to the LORD asking Him to take the snakes away. Instead of taking the snakes out of the wilderness, the LORD provided the Israelites with a means of escaping death, this means of escape, a bronze snake, lifted high on a pole and anyone who looks upon the snake will be saved from the deadly bite of the serpent.
This takes me back to Genesis to the serpent's first hiss at humanity. "Did God really say, you shall not eat from any tree in the garden?" nay, "You will not surely die" and again " For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be open and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:1,4,5. Subtle whispers, luring promises and partial truths caused Eve to take the first bite and since the the fall, it has been the serpent that has been given the authority to bite the flesh of man and deliver the fatal bite of death. B
efore Eve's bite into the apple, the serpent had no authority to take life. But
because of Eve's unbelief and rebellion against God, the serpent has been given this authority. Eve chose the serpent over God and in doing so the Spirit God breathed within her died and with this death, all men died and were born into sin. 1Corinthians 15:31
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But just as God made provisions for Adam and Eve in the form of animal skins, where a sacrifice had to be performed to hide their nakedness, He provided a means of escape in the wilderness from the deadly bite of the viper. The viper He sent because of their grumbling and rebellion. But ultimately God provided humanity with the gift of Christ, the sacrifice of His Son. Christ, the One who spoke creation into being, and through whom all things where made, humbled Himself and came down to dwell among men. He did what we could not do ourselves. Through one man, death came into the world but also through one man, resurrection from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:31 Sinless, perfection lifted up on our behalf where He bore our sins. He was humiliated so that we might become holy and in His humiliation we have been set free from the power of death. When you look upon Him, lifted up on your behalf, and believe upon Him, the One without sin, the bite of the serpent has no venom and death has been conquered. He conquered the grave at the cross and His resurrection ensures the believer's life, for we will not all die but be raised just as He was raised. Look upon Him, the author and perfecter of your faith. Gaze upon His sacrifice and take hold of his provision. Believe in and trust in what He has done for you, for you could not do it on your own. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift from God. Ephesians 2:8
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

More in the weeks to come about the Israelites unbelief and the bronze serpent in the wilderness.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Idol of Comfort

Gracyn JI BW TREE-1
Because my comfort would prefer for me to be numb and avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become. C.S. Lewis Song - Brooke Fraser

We live in a culture that pursues the idol of comfort. Comfort at the expense of conformation. Conformation to the only one worth conforming to, Jesus.
We would rather conform to the world than conform to the image of our Savior.
Why is this? I believe conforming to Jesus will ultimately cost us our comfort. Comfort that we pursue and believe is right around the corner if only we had the right circumstances, children, house, husband, job, church, relationships, money, security, accomplishments. But even when we get the things that we've trusted in to bring us comfort we are left hollow, empty and confused.
We conform to the world and the ideas of this world so we can feel comfortable in the world, when in reality, the Lord has told us not to conform any longer to the things of this world but to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2. We are not to conform to the world because we are to be transformed to be more like Christ. How do we become more like Christ? We become more like Christ by the renewing of our minds in the Word of God. It is by the Word of God we are able to discern what the Lord's will is for our lives. His will takes us out of our comfort zone and ultimately transforms us to be good, acceptable and perfect. When we are in the Word of God our spiritual eyes and ears will be opened and His glorious light will shine into the dark recesses of our heart and reveal within us the things He desires to change. This dear one will bring discomfort. We, as children of God, will have to slay the idol of comfort and press through with full assurance that He who began a good work within us will see it through to completion. Confessing the sin that resides in the dark recesses of our heart and allowing the God of all comfort to comfort us so that we too can comfort others with the same comfort we ourselves have received.
It is the idol of comfort that threatens the process of transformation. It is when we pursue the idol of comfort at the expense of God's transforming work we become threatened by the feeling of being uncomfortable. Instead of being comforted, by the God of all comfort, we retreat and run to avoid the cleansing process that must take place. This cleansing process is also known as repentance. We would rather feel nothing at all than to feel the pain, loss and necessary change which comes from living a life of Godly sorrow and repentance.
If in fact, we allow ourselves to feel and our eyes to be open it will bring an inconvenience to our comfort. It will bring an overwhelming desire and a sense of urgency to reach out to a dying, desolate and lost world. It will make us uncomfortable in this world and the sin that is prevalent. It will cause something within us to stir and will bring us to our knees in prayer for a vision for our life and desperately wanting Him to use us for whatever His purpose. It will bring us to a place where we long to see Him, eagerly anticipating His return, for our eyes will be fixed on things above and not on earthly things. We will become more aware of the eternal and less aware of the temporal. We will see the world as it is, totally depraved without God. We will see ourselves in this same way for conformation to our Savior will bring us to the end of ourselves.
Are you pursing comfort at any cost? Are you bowing down to the idol of comfort at the expense of God's transforming work within you? Are you comfortable or comforted?

Post written October 2009

Monday, August 8, 2011

Abundantly Pardons

Mommy and Jozy-1

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will ABUNDANTLY PARDON. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways", declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts" Isaiah 55:6-9
For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:11-14
The verses above are often misquoted and in their misquotation the real meaning and passionate call to salvation is often missed. We use these verses to explain away the things we don't understand about life and God when in reality these verses are about the limitless love of God to a dying and desolate soul. I know it's not popular to use the words dying and desolate to describe the condition of the human soul without God but I can honestly say that during my college years there were moments I would have referred to myself this way. I believed the lie that there was no way the Lord could forgive me and while embracing this lie I covered up my sin and shame by living my life the way I saw fit with no regard to God. Depression has a way of bringing you to your knees and I am thankful that the Lord brought me to the end of myself.
Oftentimes, when we sin we turn away from God. For a long time, I did my best to silence Him because to admit there is a God I must also admit that I was not god. I didn't know what the Bible said but I did know that within myself I wasn't following some higher moral code. I sought answers everywhere but not from the One who was calling me unto Himself. The Bible tells us that He knew every one of our days before ONE of them came to be. Our story was written before the foundations of the world. Psalm 139:16 He knew every sin, every moment and yet He still chose us for Himself and for His purposes. His ability to redeem a desolate soul and His power to change our innermost being is all about Him and not about us and our ability to muster up anything from within ourselves. I have no ability within myself to muster up enough belief, faith or love apart from His precious Son living within me and doing the work for me and through me. For He knows how I was formed, he remembers that I am dust. Psalm 103:14 (More on this verse in a later post).
We see from the verses above that salvation is for everyone who comes to Jesus. God desires to ABUNDANTLY pardon our sins. He calls us, to seek Him, to call upon Him, and to forsake our sinful ways and thoughts and to accept His Son, Jesus as the final sacrifice and atonement for our sins. For it is by His grace that we have been saved not by our works. It is by His death that we receive life. Our minds can't comprehend nor can our human intellect understand a holy infinite God who loves us and desires to pardon everyone who comes to Him, believing that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6. According to the verses above, there is no room for penance or working for our salvation for only God pardons sin and He does so through faith in His son, Jesus. God doesn't pardon sin reluctantly but abundantly.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, who is now at work in in those who are disobedient. ALL OF US also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of the sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us ALIVE with Christ even when were dead in transgressions. Ephesians 2:1-4
I am a girl who is redeemed from the futility of life apart from God and made alive in Christ. I was once far off but have been brought near to God through the blood of Christ, for Christ preached peace to those who were far away and to those who were near. The punishment that brought me peace was upon him and by his wounds I am healed. Ephesians 2:13,17, Isaiah 53:5
Re-post written December of 2009

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Richest of Fare

Jozy in the Candy-1
"Come, all you who are thirty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. " Isaiah 55:1-3
What costs us nothing cost Him everything. We who have nothing are invited to come to the One who has everything. The One who is King over all creation humbled Himself and became nothing so that we could have everything. Jesus Christ; Who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross! Therefore, God exulted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:6-11
My self-saturated mind can not grasp God's infinite Grace. The Grace that screams, "it is finished!" And yet if it was anything less then it would be about me and not Him. God eternal, the same God who spoke creation into being, humbled Himself, came and dwelled among men, not as a king but as a servant. Not just a servant but the final atoning sacrifice for our sin. A man who knew no sin became sin for us and not just a man but God. Come, you who have no money, come buy and eat. Isaiah 55:1 What must I do to do the works God requires? Surely, I must do something. "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6:29
Come buy wine and milk without cost. Isaiah 55:1
We try and earn our way to freedom. The struggle within ourselves is to make it all about what we've done and yet Jesus tell us that it's work to believe in and trust in what He's already done on our behalf. Our wrestling is to die to self, to die to that within us that struggles for independence from God. To die to the flesh that screams, "it's about me and what I'm doing," as if what we do justifies us before God.
I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves of bread and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. John 6:26-27 . The greek word work for is ergazomai; it means in the sense to labor for, to earn one's food. The Complete Word Study Dictionary, Spiros Zodiates. We can't earn our salvation. We can't do enough to be justified before God apart from Christ. Our good deeds are worthless apart from Him. It's His Spirit within us that justifies us before God, we receive His Spirit when we trust in what He has done and ask Him to forgive us and come within us. Human nature never changes. Just as in Jesus' day so it is in our day, we want to work the works of God, independent of Christ. We want to have the benefits of Christ without the cost of belief and trust. We want the credit and the accolades and yet when we receive them, it's never enough to satisfy the deep longing and need within us that only Christ can satisfy. Why do you spend money on what is not bread and labor on what does not satisfy? Isaiah 55:2
Give us this bread that gives life to the world. Jesus declares, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. John 6:35.
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight on the richest fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. Isaiah 55:2
Lord, forgive me for my unbelief and help me to believe. Help me to take hold of every provision in Christ and strengthen my faith. Strengthen what remains so that I can bring You glory. Forgive me for thinking my salvation is about me and not about you. Forgive me for making it about what I do instead of what has already been done on my behalf. Give me freedom in Christ and save me from my wretched independence. I take hold of your provision, Christ and place my trust in Him. I cling to Him in my need and rest in His provision which has already been made on my behalf. I eagerly await His coming and the culmination of events when I will see Him face to face. Thank you Lord that I do not lack any Spiritual gift as I eagerly wait for my Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep me strong to the end, so that I will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called me into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 1Corinthians 1:7,8

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Gate

The Gate -1
"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
John 10:10
A little background, Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath. The blind man was brought before the Pharisees and teachers of the law for questioning. The Sabbath is the Jewish day of rest where no work is to be done. The Pharisees threw the blind man out of the synagogue for telling the truth that Jesus did in fact heal him on the Sabbath and that he was indeed blind from birth. After being thrown out of the synagogue, Jesus found him and asked him, "do you believe in the Son of Man?", to which he replied, "Lord, I believe".
Some of the Pharisees' followed him out of the synagogue, in doing so they ran into, Jesus who was outside waiting to confront their hypocrisy, He states, "For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." John 9:39. The religious leaders responded,"What? Are we blind too?" Jesus answered,"If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."
He goes on to say in John 10. "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a strangers voice." "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All whoever came before me were thieves and robbers ,but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd . The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. John 10:1-14
You see Jesus' audience was the religious leaders of his day and some of his followers. He was clearly stating who He was by claiming that He was the gate for the sheep. Jesus also states that He is the good shepherd. Jesus' sheep listen to his voice and follow him. They recognize false teaching, in fact, they flee from it! I wanted to mention the audience because Jesus in the above passage is quoting the Book of Ezekiel.
Let's jump back to the Old Testament to the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel lived during the time of the Jewish exile in Babylon. He was deported from Judah and taken captive to Babylon. All the Jews were living in captivity during the time of Ezekiel's prophecies. Ezekiel was written around 571 BC. 500 years before the birth of Christ. I want you to notice the woe of Ezekiel...Woe to the shepherds of Israel that only take care of themselves. Remember Jesus just healed a boy on the Sabbath. In fact most of Jesus' miracles took place on the Sabbath.
You see, Ezekiel, claimed that there would be a shepherd who would care for his flock unlike the religious leaders of his day and the days leading up to Christ. The Pharisees' would have known what Christ was claiming by stating that he was the shepherd of the sheep. They would have realized that He was claiming to be the Messiah. They knew the prophecy spoken but they refused to accept the testimony.
The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherd's take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
"Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I WILL RESCUE my FLOCK from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. For I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. He goes on to say, I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. Ezekiel 34:1-11, 16
Are we still refusing to accept the testimony of who Jesus was and is and why He came? Ezekiel's prophecy was about the the coming Messiah the true shepherd who would come and take care of the people. Jesus tells us plainly in His word that He is the only way and that He is the great shepherd of the sheep referred to in Ezekiel.
He shows us His heart in these verses. His desire to care for us. His desire to look for us and to heal us. His desire to hide us in the cleft of the rock to shelter us from the storm. We have a compassionate, Great Shepherd, who yearns to care for us. Jesus is still searching for His sheep. He is still tending His flock. He still comes after those who have wandered off. How are you going to respond to him today? In Hebrews Paul tells us, that "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
One Shepherd, One Flock, One King, All Nations!
"Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to LIFE, and only a few find it."
Jesus' words in Matthew 7: 13-14