Monday, December 2, 2019

Great is His Name

The incarnate Son of God was manifest to restore humanity to the place that God had originally intended. All that Adam was before he committed treason and forfeited the dominion and authority that God had given him over creation, was God's goal of the restoration of man. The Apostle Paul tells us, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. " (Romans 3:23) This means that not one human being could ever satisfy justice for Adam's transgression. So God Himself would be the only candidate that could fulfill such an incredible undertaking.

The Apostle John tells us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) and "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." (John 1:14) The angel Gabriel announced to Mary, "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:31-33) and so it was, Deity and humanity came together. The Word was conceived in the womb of a woman, became flesh and His name is JESUS.

The Apostle Paul tells us, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:5-11)

Because Jesus willingly gave up His sinless, perfect life for every man, woman and child, "God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name." In other words, God the Father has super-eminently exalted Jesus, has given Him the highest position above all else and there is no other name that can be compared with his. It stands alone! Hebrews tells us, "having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." (Hebrews 1:4) These things are very important for all believers to understand because not only is the name of Jesus above every other name, His name carries with it all authority in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. This means that every created being in those three realms must bow in submission to His name.

We may be quick to say "amen" to this, but the possibilities that surround His name are beyond our understanding. Basically, in His name, He has given the church (believers) "carte blanche" to all the resources and promises of God. The good news in this is, all believers have been given the legal use of His name so that, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." This mean the devil, every evil spirit and every demon. We see this played out in the ministry of seventy other disciples that Jesus sent out, "Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." (Luke 10:17) Let us take note that this was before His resurrection and the exaltation of His name. So think how much power and authority the believer has today in His name. Honestly, it is almost incomprehensible.

God did not do this for Himself. He made this tremendous, stupendous investment for the benefit of all humanity and now is made manifest through the church (all believers). He made this investment so that all who would believe upon the name of Jesus would have the liberty to use His magnificent name to meet their every need and also to enforce what Jesus' death and resurrection has secured, especially the power over the enemy. However, all of these things that the name of Jesus provides for the church do not manifest simply because the Bible reveals these things. Faith must be released through the believer and then the believer must act upon his released faith."But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." (James 2:18)

So let us remember this; God the Father has bestowed upon Jesus honor, glory, power, all authority and has "seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Ephesians 1:20-23) Glory be to God!!!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Thankful In All Things

Thanksgiving Day, in the United States, is a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving was celebrated nationally in 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." As a federal and public holiday in the United States, Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. According to historic accounts, this feast lasted three days, and it was attended by 90 Native Americans. It was first and foremost celebrated as a religious observance of the blessings of God upon the early settlers.

Although the colonist did not call the celebration Thanksgiving, it was the first corn harvest proved successful by the new colonists. After being plagued with sickness and death, there was definitely something to be thankful to God for. So, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag Chief Massasoit. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. The meal, most likely, did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations. Today, in the United States, Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday of the year.

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance. Instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Although turkey has become all but synonymous with the holiday, it may or may not have been on the menu of this inaugural feast in 1621. According to the National Turkey Federation, today, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat some type of foul, whether roasted, baked or deep-fried, on Thanksgiving Day. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, a variety of vegetables and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is also a common Thanksgiving Day activity. Communities, especially churches, often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate. Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States.

Although these things may have some redeeming qualities, there are two main thing (although there are more than two) that have certainly twisted the observance of Thanksgiving Day in the USA. One has been working for decades to either downplay or eliminate altogether many of the traditions that have been a part of American history and culture for centuries, the National Education Association (the public school system). The other began Thanksgiving Day 2014. Unfortunately, since 2014, most department stores and retailers have permitted greed to erode this day of giving thanks to become a day of making a profit.

Although there has been a departure in the United States of the true meaning and reason for celebrating Thanksgiving, and although there may be some who disagree that Thanksgiving was a religious event, believers should never let any sector of society deprive us of celebrating Thanksgiving from its original roots, celebrating the wonderful works of God. The Apostle Paul tells us, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Believers are to maintain an attitude of gratitude. We should always remember what the Lord Jesus Christ did for humanity. The fact that He left the glory of heaven to take on the form of a man (Philippians 2:5-8), becoming sin with our sin and sick with our sicknesses (Isaiah 53:4-6, 10), should cause every believe to be extremely thankful and to greatly rejoice. To rejoice is a spontaneous, unsustainable feeling of jubilance; a feeling so strong that it finds expression in some external act, clapping, dancing, shouting. It means to be exceedingly joyful.

Even in our prayer time believers are to be thankful, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6) "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men." (1 Timothy 2:1) So, during this festive holiday, let us truly offer the Lord the fruit of our lips from hearts of thanksgiving, how great and wonderful He is. Let us give Him thanks for the wonderful blessings that He has given and continues to give. May the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fill you with thanksgiving everyday...

Monday, November 18, 2019

Life In Him

The apostle John had a particular reason behind writing what we see in the gospel according to John. (Keep in mind that although John did the writing, the Holy Spirit gave the inspiration). We read, "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:30-31) Please note, "that believing you may have life in His name." The word life is the Greek word "zoe" which means "life in the absolute sense; life as God has it; that which the Father has in Himself and which He gave to the Incarnate Son to have in Himself." This is the same quality of life that Christians are to experience their entire time on planet earth. With that said, let's look a little deeper into the gospel of John and see repeatedly what Jesus Himself says concerning His mission of revealing the Father's will, nature, character, purpose and plan.

First, Jesus is by Himself and He has an encounter with a woman of Samaria at Jacobs well. At the end of His conversation with her, His disciples return to Him and urge Him to eat, but look closely at Jesus' response, "Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." (John 4:34) Notice Jesus' mission, " do the will of Him who sent Me.." So whatever we see Jesus do or and whatever He says, He is revealing the Father. Next, we see Jesus healing on the Sabbath which causes the Jews to be filled with indignation so severe that they sought to kill Him because He healed on the Sabbath. Again looking at Jesus' response to the Jews, we see, "Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel." (John 5:19-20)

Notice that Jesus does not initiate the things that He does, "...the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do..." Jesus only does what the Father Himself does. He only does the Father's will. Not only does Jesus' actions perfectly reveal the Father's will, but they are also proof that He is from or that He has been sent by the Father. Again, we see, "But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me." (John 5:36) "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." (John 6:38) "...I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him."(John 8:26) "...I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things." (John 8:28)

Now let's look at another very important key in the life and ministry of Jesus. "And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." (John 8:29) Not only does Jesus perfectly reveal the Father's will and nature, but everything that He does and says pleases the Father. Next, we see Jesus having an encounter with the Jews. Look at the words that Jesus speaks to them. "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." (John 10:37-28) Jesus again, is pointing to the works that He does as the work of His Father. Finally, Jesus says something that should awaken every Christian from the slumber of doubt. If one cannot believe that He is the Christ, the Savior, God the Son, the Son of God, then the works that He does should bring one to understand that the Father is in Him revealing Himself through the works that Jesus is doing.

The fact that Jesus perfectly reveals the Father's will, nature, character, purpose and plan is the most crucial point of knowing the One and only Living, Almighty God and Father, especially to one who accepts Christ as Savior, confesses His Lordship from their mouth and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. Of course this takes faith. Unfortunately, many Christians are taught and trained to believe the opposite. Once again I want to exhort us to let the Word of God assault and destroy all the thoughts, argument and perceptions that exalt themselves above the Word of God. In other words, let the Word of God prevail mightily in our lives and we will find that in doing so, we will truly experience "life in the absolute sense; life as God has it; that which the Father has in Himself and which He gave to the Incarnate Son to have in Himself." . 

Monday, November 11, 2019

That I may Know Him

One of the greatest things that a believer has an open door to, is knowing Jesus personally and moreover intimately. The Apostle Peter exhorts us to, "but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." (2 Peter 3:18)  The Amplified Bible says it this way, "But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah). This is very important for all believers if we are to replicate the ministry of Jesus as revealed in the gospels, which we are called to do until Jesus returns. Look at the conversation that Jesus had with his disciples shortly before His departure from earth to return to heaven. 

"Jesus said to him, (Thomas) "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him. Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves." (John 14:6-11)

Christ is the way, the truth (reality) and the life concerning all aspects of the Father. To know Christ is to know the Father. By studying the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, we will see clearly that He perfectly reveals the Father in all matters. If Christians fail to believe this truth concerning Christ as the one who perfectly expresses the Father's will in all matters, they will continually be overshadowed with doubts which means they will always struggle with issues that are clearly the Father's will concerning things such as healing, deliverance, provision and so on. Although, Jesus, through His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and glorification, has already set people free, which is especially true for all believers, many will say, "I believe this" yet doubt neutralizes what they say they believe.

While the entire Bible reveals the Father, much of His will, nature, character, purpose and plan remained hidden or a mystery until the the advent of Christ in whom these were perfectly revealed. The Apostle Paul tells us, "In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself." (Ephesians 1:7-9)

The writer of Hebrews states that Christ reveals the Father in all matters in this way, "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Look closely at verse three, "Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person..." A more literal translation of this verse would read, "Jesus Christ is the radiance or exact reflection of the Father's glory as well as the exact representation and reproduction of the Father's nature and character." So, with this in mind, we must conclude that the Old Testament, as well as the Epistles, cannot be properly interpreted without a clear understanding of what Jesus both taught and demonstrated in His life and ministry. No one ever revealed the Father's will, nature, character, purpose and plan perfectly in every way until Jesus Christ.

Without having a clear understanding of the relationship that Jesus and the Father had, the faith to carry on His ministry will be nonexistent and believers will simply proclaim nothing more to the world than a lifeless, powerless religion. Not only this, but, believers will never have enough faith to act on this next verse, which belongs to every believer, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12) Notice, Jesus says, "...he who believes in Me..." Though He is addressing the apostles, He did not say that this only applied to them but, "he (anyone) who believes in Me." He tells us this but it is contingent on the early part concerning our full understanding of His relationship with the Father. Therefore, ""If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also...He who has seen Me has seen the Father."

I pray that you take some quiet time to consider these truths concerning Christ's relationship with the Father and how it is in Him that the will of the Father is perfectly revealed. Although some of these truths may be somewhat difficult for some to comprehend, do not lose heart. Jesus said, However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth..." (John 16:13) By leaning on the guidance of the Holy Spirit concerning these truths, the doubts that have kept you from living in a totally victorious life will begin to wane and faith with begin to rise. May the Holy Spirit be permitted to guide us all into all truth as we "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..

Monday, November 4, 2019

What Are You Building On

The first place that we must start in building any theology or doctrine in the church, must come by-way-of carefully observation of the life and ministry of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Any theology that does not find itself built upon the foundation of Christ, will not clearly express the will of the Father, God. The Apostle Paul tells us, "According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

This verse clearly shows us why we have so much "differences of opinion" when it comes to the various doctrines in the church today. Unfortunately, in much of the church, we can find numerous doctrines in which Christ has been either minimized or He has been completely ignored. To use any part of the New Testament to build a theology without building upon Christ first, would be like a Christian attempting to form a theology of salvation through the Law of Moses. Although the Law of Moses is God's Word, the Law itself cannot be understood or taught properly without Christ being considered. The Law does not save people, only faith in Christ can. The Apostle Paul  confronted the church at Galatia due to this very problem. He says, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified." (Galatians 2:16)  

So before we dig into the"Good News" of the New Testament, I would like to propose a challenge to you, the reader, concerning our topic. Did you ever notice while watching a Major League Baseball game or an National Football League, football game on television as the camera pans through the crowd of fans that their is usually at least one fan that is holding up a sign that references a particular verse of scripture? You know what verse I am talking about don't you? Why of course, it is John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." This verse of scripture is probably referenced more than any other verse of scripture in the Bible, so let's honestly consider what it says; "For God so LOVED the world..." Love is God's most potent characteristic and for Christians to fully grasp this, they must step away from the natural type of love that every person has and look at the God kind of love.

"Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]..." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP)

This is agape. This is the love that emanates from our Heavenly Father to a world filled with people under a system influence by Satan. Although "all have sinned" the love of our Father is greater. Now let's look at the next verse in John's Gospel. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. " (John 3:17) Take note, Jesus did not come to earth to condemn, we were already under condemnation, but to save. The word "saved" in this verse means to deliver, protect, heal, preserve, to make whole. Oh, what love. So, when considering how God sees you, it is not through the eyes of disappointment, but of surrounding abounding love. His love toward us is not contingent on what we do or don't do, it is simply because He chooses to love.

So, if you let it, the Word of God will begin to assault and tear down much of the unbiblical theology that has been taught by faithless teachers who have inoculated Christians with doubt, fear, unbelief, insecurity, unworthiness, inferiority, shame and guilt. Why? "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) Therefore, I am confident that the Word of God will grow your faith and give you a correct perspective of God's true nature, that of Love. So, do not build your life on the sands of theology and doctrine built on religious law and principles by man, "...but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God."(Matthew 4:4)

Monday, October 28, 2019

So, What About Job?

One of the statements that believers make concerning the life of Job is, "It was God's will for Job to suffer." When looking at the Book of Job, the first thing that we must understand is that the Old Testament revelation of God is incomplete (Ephesians 1:9, Colossians 1:26). We must also understand that Jesus Christ alone completely reveals the will of God in all matters. (John 5:19-20, 14:7, 9) Also, a careful examination of Scripture clearly revealed that sin and Satan are the actual causes of all the bad things happening to humanity through man's constant rejection and rebellion toward God.

The thought behind Job's condition is that although God may not have directly caused all the bad things that happened to Job (Job 1:6-19, 2:7) it must be His will because He let Satan have his way with Job. This type of thinking creates serious error concerning the true nature of God. It indicates that God uses or lets Satan attack people for some mysterious divine purpose that only He knows; that God operates in any way He desires even if it contradicts His Word; when God allows something to happen, whether good or bad it must be His will and therefore what happened to Job was God's will. Just because God permits something to happen, in Job's case, many terrible things, does not mean that it is God's will. We must understand that all the bad things that happen on the earth are clearly not God's will. If they were then we would have to blame God for all of the sin, injustices, losses, tragedies, pain, destruction and even demon activity because it must be His will. Honestly, to think like that is nothing more than a demonically influenced view of God, it is flat out Anti-Christ. So why did these things happen to Job?

First, we need to consider Job's statement after the terrible things happened him, "For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me." (Job 3:25) The Apostle Paul tells us in his second letter to Timothy, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) Notice that Paul tells Timothy that he is dealing with a spirit of fear. A spirit of fear is not from God but from Satan. How do we know this? The Apostle John tells us, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18) and "And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16) As we see, God is love not fear.

Paul tells the church at Ephesus, "Nor give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:27) Job gave the devil an open door to attack him through a spirit of fear in the areas that Job feared and dreaded. Notice that both accusations and attacks against Job were limited. "And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD." (Job 1:12) and, "And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life." (Job 2:6) It is quite apparent that Job was dealing with fear and dread of losing certain things but not everything, such as his own life. Therefore, Satan was not permitted to take his life.

Also, to show that Job (and I might add his friends) had no idea why these things were happening, they did exactly what Adam and Eve did when they were confronted with their sin (Genesis 3:12-13), they looked for someone or something to blame. (Job 3 - 31) Finally, a young man named Elihu spoke up and corrected Job and his three friends for playing the blame game. Let's look at what Elihu states, concerning the true nature of God. "Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding: Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to commit iniquity. For He repays man according to his work, and makes man to find a reward according to his way. Surely God will never do wickedly, nor will the Almighty pervert justice. (Job 34:10-12)

There are some things that Elihu point out that are very important to grasp. Elihu considers what is taking place to be wicked and God does not cause wickedness. Next, he reveals that God repays or permits things to happen to people based on their works and their ways. Finally, Elihu says, "Nor will the Almighty pervert justice." God is just and responds accordingly toward man in every situation because He shows no partiality. (Romans 2:11) In other words, every person either meets or fails to meet the conditions that God has established and by this they receive the reward of their actions good or bad. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul gives us a great example of this. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." (Galatians 6:7-8) The words may be different but the principle applies throughout the entire Bible and will continue throughout the history of man until Christ returns.

Next, Elihu says, " As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress." (Job 37:23) Look how these words describe the true nature of God, "...He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress." The word oppress in this verse means that God does not afflict, depress, browbeat, deal with harshly, hurt, ravish or weaken. We can certainly all agree that Job was experiencing all of these things, but they were not God's will for Job.

Finally, we see at the end of the Book of Job his repentance (Job 42:1-6) which took away the devil's place in his life and placed God in the position of authority over his life. We also see the true nature of God (Job 42:10-17) that of blessing. Unfortunately, many believers who truly love the LORD, have been trained to accept bad things happening to them as God's will, which causes serious doubts concerning the true nature of God and reduces the full redemptive work of Christ to nothing more than the born again experience and then muddling through life here on earth until one dies.

There are several reasons why so many Christians think this way. One, being a lack of true Bible faith not being taught or preached, mostly due to a lack of faith among church leaders. If Christians leaders would put faith in the integrity of God's Word, teach and preach it to the church, the world would see the true nature and power of God in the church and run to Christ for the abundant life that is only through faith in Him. So, what about Job? "Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters...Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days." (Job 42:12-13, 16) PTL...   

Monday, October 21, 2019

Blessed Beyond the Curse

Exodus , which is the dispensation of the Law or the Law age the lasted for 1500 years. During this time God gives man a greater revelation of Himself. Not only does He reveal Himself through a visible manifestation of a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud (Exodus 13:21) and as a Law giver (Exodus 20:1-17), but one of the greatest revelations that God had given to man during this time, is that He reveals His very nature to him (Exodus 34:5-7) This is very important to understand because the LORD does not change (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8) The Apostle Paul tells us that the purpose of the Law is to show a sinner their guilt before God and stops them from justifying themselves (Romans 3:19), it brings the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20) and it defines sin (Romans 7:7). The Law does not give the knowledge of or define God, but only sin.

God sets up a temporary system to deal with mans sin (Leviticus 1 - 7, Hebrews 9 - 10) but we see something revealed that shows us God's true nature even though the Law had been given. In Deuteronomy 28:1-14 we see that God is the one who blesses not the one who curses or causes bad things to happen. However, in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 it seems to indicate that God does cause bad things to happen to His people. This is where many people have learned to believe that bad things come from God. After all God does not change and bad things are happening to His people so it must be true for today also. But let's take a closer look at what the Bible reveals.

"But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:" (Deuteronomy 28:15) The first thing we need to note is that this does not say that God will cause all of the curses to come upon them, but the curses are a result of their decision to disobey God, sound familiar doesn't it (Adam and Eve). The curses would come upon them due to their CHOICE to disobey. It was the same thing that happened to Adam when he chose to disobey God and become the slave to sin and Satan. The same principle that applied to Adam also applied to Israel. However, God in His true nature of being merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, gives Israel the principle to live in His blessings and not the curses of sin and Satan.

"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

All Israel had to do was choose God rather than sin and Satan to live a blessed life on earth free of bad things happening to them. However, if we look through Israel's history we see that they repeatedly rejected God and became slaves to sin which opened the door for Satan to have his way with them. Remember, Adam had forfeited his perfect life and all his authority to Satan and in doing so took himself out from under God's freedom and blessings to become Satan's slave. It was the same for Israel. They did not choose God's authority, protection and blessings to flow in their midst which would bring health, wealth and long life (Deuteronomy 28:1-14) but chose to reject God and let sin and Satan have their way bringing curses and ultimately destruction upon them. We see this very thing occurring throughout Israel's history as recorded in the Bible (Deuteronomy 28:15-68 the curse for disobedience)

We must see things from a correct perspective. God created man in perfection and gave him choice. It was man who chose to reject God and accept Satan as his master and all the evil that came with it. It was Israel that God chose and wanted to bless. It was Israel who chose sin (Satan) to rule over them through their rejection (disobedience to) of God. God does not choose bad things to happen to man, He permits them to happen because He will not encroach man's will to choose. If man chooses sin and Satan then he will reap the destructive nature of that choice. However, if man chooses God, he becomes a benefactor of all the blessings that God has promised, it is just that simple.

There are many believer that might say, "I am a believer and I did not choose this sickness, disease, financial problems, etc. so it must be God's will." However, when you look closer you will find that a statement like this is made due to one of two thing. First, many believers let their body and soul have rule over their life and therefore open the door for sin and Satan to exploit them. The other is because many believers live their life in a natural type of faith that every person has. It is called sense knowledge faith or mental assent. It means that ones faith is based on ones mind and or senses, that is, seeing is believing, (John 20:24-25) and not revelation faith that emanates from the heart (recreated spirit) that is, believing that you have received even though there is no tangible evidence (John 20:29, Hebrews 11:1) These things prevent believers from understanding the fullness of redemption which God has provided through Jesus Christ.

For many believers, redemption has been reduced to accepting Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior for the purpose of eternal life only, rather than seeing that redemption has completely restored man to what Adam was and had before the fall. This can only be realized through faith in Christ and in the integrity of God's Word. When believers come to realize that bad things do not come from god they we begin to understand that they no longer have to live in defeat nor will they have to live a life constantly trying to defeat the devil, because he is already defeated. (Colossians 2:15) They will rest in the LORD because their faith has brought them to know that it is "God who ALWAYS leads us in triumph in Christ..."