Posts Tagged ‘God’


“Make everything according to the pattern I have shown you.”                       Ex 25:40 NLT

The second element that marked the building of the Old Testament tabernacle was excellence. God condemns perfectionism because it stifles our creativity and robs us of all sense of progress. And Jesus condemned those who gave to impress others. “When you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward” (Mt 6:2 NKJV). But if you think this means you can just offer God anything you feel like, you’re sorely mistaken. When it comes to serving, God wants you to aspire to excellence. God said to Moses: “And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze…And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (Ex 25:3-9 NKJV). Why did God ask for gold? Because He won’t accept anything sloppy or second-rate. Guess where Jesus sat when He went to church? Beside the treasury, watching people give. Luke records: “Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said, ‘this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has’” (Lk 21:2-4 NLT). So, give God your best!

http://theencouragingword.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/thoughts-on-the-tabernacle-2/


Our days are few, and are far better spent in doing good, than in disputing over matters which are, at best, of minor importance. The old schoolmen did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our Churches suffer much from petty wars over abstruse points and unimportant questions. After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion no more promotes knowledge than love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field. Questions upon points wherein Scripture is silent; upon mysteries which belong to God alone; upon prophecies of doubtful interpretation; and upon mere modes of observing human ceremonials, are all foolish, and wise men avoid them. Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether; and if we observe the apostle’s precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we shall find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business to take muc h interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings. There are, however, some questions which are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid, but fairly and honestly meet, such as these: Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind? Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Am I growing in grace? Does my conversation adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour? Am I looking for the coming of the Lord, and watching as a servant should do who expects his master? What more can I do for Jesus? Such enquiries as these urgently demand our attention; and if we have been at all given to cavilling, let us now turn our critical abilities to a service so much more profitable. Let us be peace-makers, and endeavour to lead others both by our precept and example, to “avoid foolish questions.”

http://www.crosswalkmail.com/ShareArticle.do?perform=view&articleID=ortwlmmqr&siteID=ivgnhzydngnycdfbkqtptyzcvkkcgmythhf&recipID=526889780


You’ve no doubt heard of “Black Friday,” the day after  Thanksgiving that features, along with countless sales, the more-than-occasional  trampling of shoppers by their frenzied peers.

In many ways, “Black Friday” has become a bigger deal than Thanksgiving. So  much so that many major retailers have announced that they are opening their  doors on Thursday.

The hope is that the possibility of buying something you don’t really need  for a little less than you would pay a few weeks later will help people work off  the turkey and pumpkin pie and get down to some serious Christmas shopping.

The problem is that it isn’t Christmas yet-at least not for Christians.

The weeks leading up to Christmas day are properly called Advent in Western  Christianity, from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.”[i]

Adventus was the Latin translation of the Greek word parousia, which the New  Testament most often used to refer to Jesus’ second coming. In antiquity,  parousia was usually associated with the arrival of royalty: the leaders of a  city went outside the city gates to meet the Emperor and escort him back into  the city.

Thus, for the Christian, Advent is about preparing to greet our King. And it  is a time for both looking back to Jesus’ first coming and looking forward to  His second coming in glory.

Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season, a time for reflection and  repentance. If we’re honest with ourselves, what Titus 2 calls “our blessed  hope-the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus  Christ,”-should provoke both joy and a bit of dread. It’s a time for asking  ourselves whether we truly are “a people that are [Christ’s] very own, eager to  do what is good.”

If this doesn’t put you in the mood for shopping, well, congratulations! You  are starting to “get” Advent.

The other emotion associated with Advent is yearning. Specifically, yearning  for God to fulfill His promises to His people and to set right what has gone  terribly wrong.

This yearning permeates perhaps the greatest of all Advent hymns, “O Come, O  Come Emmanuel.” It’s a paraphrase of parts of the liturgy dating back to at  least the Middle Ages. Each verse invokes biblical titles for Christ-Emmanuel,  Root of Jesse, Day Spring, etc.-and then rehearses why His people yearn for His  presence among them.

Another Advent hymn, “Creator of the Stars of Night,” which dates from the  seventh century, captures the season’s emphasis on both Christ’s first and  second comings. After expressing the yearning at the heart of the season, it  proclaims “Thou, grieving that the ancient curse, should doom to death a  universe, hast found the medicine, full of grace, to save and heal a ruined  race.”

It then goes on to say, “At whose dread Name, majestic now, all knees must  bend, all hearts must bow; and things celestial Thee shall own, and things  terrestrial Lord alone.”

There’s a lot going on in these hymns, which is why my colleague John  Stonestreet has produced a marvelous DVD and CD teaching series on the hymns of  Advent. It’s called “He Has Come,” and contains John’s “Two-Minute Warning”  videos, study guide by T. M. Moore, “BreakPoint” commentaries by Chuck Colson on  Advent, and a bonus CD with some of the great Advent hymns. We have it for you  at BreakPoint.org. I hope you get a copy for you and your family.

This year, Advent begins on Sunday, December 2nd. Embrace the season! But  whatever you do, do not let the culture define this most Christian of times for you.  That would be a truly black Friday.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/yearning-for-his-coming-advent-is-soon-upon-us-85076/#S1xpUUdKM7s7tWDs.99


“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16

Douglas Coupland is a best-selling author known for his books about cultural trends in America. In his book Life After God, he no doubt surprises his readers when he shares:

Now here is my secret. I tell it to you with an openness of heart I doubt I will ever achieve again . . . My secret is that I need God—that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love.

Amazing—an author who has admittedly bought into the godless secularism in our world has let his godless philosophy of life run its course, and at the end of it all he recognizes that something is missing. The unanswered longing in his soul leads him to admit that his “life after God” has left him barren and hopelessly in need. He calls it his secret because it would be almost scandalous in post-Christian America to admit that we do need God after all—the God who has been banished to the outposts of irrelevance.

I love Coupland’s candor. Life after God—or actually life without God—inevitably leaves us hollow and disappointed. And if someone like Coupland feels this way, you can bet there are a lot of others who feel the same—a lot of others who live and work where you live and work. A lot of others who just may be in your family or your circle of friends.

Well, those of us who live life with God have a secret as well. Our secret is that God exists (Hebrews 11:6) and is all He has promised to be (Psalm 145:13). That He is indeed the answer to our deepest longings (Psalm 34:9-10), and that only He can give us the motivation and power to give, to be kind, and to love (Philippians 2:13). And not only that, but that He gives us the wisdom we need to navigate life’s most complex and confusing problems (Colossians 2:2-3). He brings meaning to suffering and peace in the midst of life’s storms (Psalm 119:50). And most importantly, only God can wipe our slate clean through the death of His Son (Isaiah 53:5). Our secret is that God is all He promised to be!

So, when you feel discouraged that no one in your world has any interest in God, remember Douglas Coupland. It takes time for life to come to the disappointing end of itself when it is lived without God. And you never know who around you is coming to the same conclusions as Coupland. When they do, will you be ready to share your secret? Will they have seen enough of the reality of God in your life to want to listen to your secret? And will you have the confidence that your secret is without a doubt exactly what they need and the boldness to share it enthusiastically?

My wife tells me that I am not a good secret keeper—and in this case, that would be a virtue! Come to think of it, the fact that the gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16) should be on the tip of our tongues ready to be proclaimed whenever we get the chance!

I wonder if anyone who knows our secret was near to Doug Coupland when he shared his secret?

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Get alone with God and meditate on salvation. How do you know you are saved? What has He saved you from? Why are you thankful for your salvation?
  • If you had the chance to tell someone how to become a Christian, what would you say? Write down the essential elements of the message of the gospel. Then commit them to memory and look for a chance to tell someone your secret!
  • Take some time to read through the verses referenced above pertaining to your “secret.” How do these verses encourage you to share the joys of life with God?
  • Have you ever been ashamed of the gospel? If so, ask Jesus to forgive you and to replace your fear with boldness to tell people about Him.

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/the-secret-that-should-not-be-kept/


If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed —John 8:36

If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the spiritual part of our being never says “I can’t”; it simply soaks up everything around it. Our spirit hungers for more and more. It is the way we are built. We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.

God pays no attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His plan runs right through our natural life. We must see to it that we aid and assist God, and not stand against Him by saying, “I can’t do that.” God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring our “arguments . . . and every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)— we have to do it. Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individual natural life and win freedom into the spiritual life.

“If the Son makes you free . . . .” Do not substitute Savior for Son in this passage. The Savior has set us free from sin, but this is the freedom that comes from being set free from myself by the Son. It is what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20  when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .” His individuality had been broken and his spirit had been united with his Lord; not just merged into Him, but made one with Him. “. . . you shall be free indeed”— free to the very core of your being; free from the inside to the outside. We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus.

http://utmost.org/winning-into-freedom/


“Sing to the LORD a new song;   sing to the LORD, all the earth.”Psalm 96:1

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And yet, as human beings we tend to be creatures of habit even as we wish for different circumstances in our lives and in our world. As Einstein makes clear, however, there is only one way to change the circumstances we see in our lives:  If we don’t like the results, we need to change the equation.

The psalmist seemed to understand that when he wrote: “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD all the earth.” When will the whole world sing a new song? According to Jewish belief, that will only happen in the messianic times when the world reaches a state of perfection. In fact, Jewish tradition teaches that in the messianic era, an eighth note will be added to the seven-note musical scale. The music will be unlike anything that anyone has ever heard before! But this addition to our musical repertoire is more than just a change in human perception. It will be a reflection of a serious change in human behavior.

For far too long humanity has sung the same song. A song of war and sadness. A song of depravity and deception. We have sung dirges of hate and ballads of oppression. Yes, there have been high notes in history, and at times, even a great symphony. Yet by and large, our song has stayed the same with the same sorry chorus. History tends to repeat itself. But it doesn’t have to.

Friends, it’s time to change our tune. It’s time to do something different so our world can be different. And the changes start with us. Do you dance to a song of worry all day long? Try to tune in to the wavelength of faith. Do you walk to the beat of an angry drum? Try to slow the rhythm and sing a tranquil tune instead. An amazing thing happens when even one person whistles a happy, catchy new tune. Everyone around them wants to join in!

So “sing to the LORD a new song,” your new song, and soon others will be singing it, too.

http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/sing-a-new-song-3


In the third year of the famine this command came from Jehovah to Elijah: “Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.” So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab.

The famine was so severe in Samaria that Ahab had called Obadiah, the overseer of the palace. Obadiah was very loyal to Jehovah; for when Jezebel tried to kill the prophets of Jehovah, he took a hundred and hid them in a cave and kept them supplied with bread and water. Ahab said to Obadiah, “Come, let us go through the land to all the springs and to all the brooks, in the hope that we may find grass, so that we can save the horses and mules and not lose all of them.” So they divided the land between them, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.

While Obadiah was on the way, Elijah suddenly met him. As soon as Obadiah knew him, he fell on his face and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” He answered, “It is; go, tell your master: ‘Elijah is here.'” But Obadiah said, “What sin have I done, that you would give your servant over to Ahab to kill me? As surely as Jehovah your God lives, there is no nation nor kingdom where my lord has not sent to find you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he made each of the kingdoms and nations take an oath, that no one had found you. Now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, Elijah is here!’ As soon as I have left you the spirit of Jehovah will carry you to a place unknown to me, so that when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will put me to death, although I, your servant, have been loyal to Jehovah from my youth! Have you not been told what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of Jehovah, how I hid a hundred by fifties in a cave and fed them continually with bread and water?” Elijah answered, “As surely as Jehovah of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will show myself to Ahab to-day.”

So Obadiah went to Ahab and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. As soon as Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is it you, you who have brought trouble to Israel?” He answered, “I have not brought trouble on Israel, but you and your father’s house have; because you have failed to follow the commands of Jehovah and have run after the Phoenician gods. Now therefore call together to me at Mount Carmel all the Israelites and the four hundred and fifty prophets of the god Baal who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

So Ahab sent for all the Israelites and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. Then Elijah came to the people and said, “How long are you going to falter between worshipping Jehovah or Baal? If Jehovah is the true God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him.” But the people were silent. Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left as a prophet of Jehovah, but there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Let us take two oxen; let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, without lighting any fire, and I will dress the other ox and lay it on wood, without lighting any fire. Then you call on your god and I will call on Jehovah. The god who answers by fire is the true God.” All the people answered and said, “It is a fair offer.”

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the oxen for yourselves and dress it first, for you are many, and call on your god, without lighting any fire.” So they took the ox which he gave them and dressed it, and called on their god from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us.” But there was no voice nor answer, although they leaped about the altar which they had built.

When it was noon, Elijah mocked them, saying, “Call loudly, for he is a god; either he is thinking, or he has gone out, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened!” Then they called loudly and cut themselves, as was their custom, with swords and lances until the blood gushed out upon them. When noon was past, they cried out in frenzy until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was neither voice nor answer nor was any attention paid to their cry.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people drew near to him, and he rebuilt the altar of Jehovah which had been thrown down. Then around the altar he made a ditch that would hold about two bushels of seed. When he had placed the pieces of wood in order, he cut up the ox and laid it on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt-offering and on the pieces of wood.” And he said, “Do it the second time”; and they did it the second time. He said, “Do it the third time”; and they did it the third time, so that the water ran round the altar. And he also filled the ditch with water.

When it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Jehovah, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy command. Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that thou, Jehovah, art God, and that thou mayst win their hearts.”

Then the fire of Jehovah fell and burned up the burnt-offering and the wood, the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried, “Jehovah, he is God; Jehovah, he is God.” But Elijah commanded them, “Take the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape!” So they took them down to the Brook Kishon and there put them to death.

Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink; for there are signs of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel and crouched down upon the earth, with his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” But seven times he said, “Go again.” So the servant went back seven times, but the seventh time he said, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising out of the sea.” Then Elijah said, “Go, say to Ahab, ‘Make ready your chariot; go down, that the rain may not stop you.'” In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. And as Ahab rode toward Jezreel, Elijah was given divine strength, so that he tightened his belt and ran before Ahab to the entrance to Jezreel.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/The-Prophet-Of-Fire.shtml