Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Orchestration of God

God working with Peter
Israel had always been the chosen people. After the ascension of Jesus Christ, there was no longer a distinction between Jew(Judean) and Gentile. The new church of God began to emerge. It wasn't until Acts 10, however, that this was fully realized, when Peter, a Hebrew was invited to a Gentile home to minister the Word about Jesus Christ. 


In the early records in Acts it is recorded that some of the Judeans (Jews) in Jerusalem were not too happy about all that had occurred in Jerusalem and a persecution of the new Christians started. During the events following the persecution in Acts 7, Peter traveled out from Jerusalem to visit the new Christian Judeans. His travels were filled with the operation of the gift of holy spirit operating all nine evidences of the gift which profited the new believers.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 For to one (referring to the profit to God’s people) is given by the Spirit (God inspires or energizes each of these listed) the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit (God), dividing to every man severally as he will.
First he traveled to Samaria and helped Philip. These people were half-Judeans (Jews) and not looked upon with great respect by the Judean elite. As God worked in Peter along with John and Philip utilizing all nine of the tools of the spirit, people were set free and in turn were endowed with the same power.


Later we see Peter travel to Lydda where there is a man named Aeneas who was crippled. Aeneas asked for help and Peter explained the real deal about what Jesus Christ had done for his life and he told him to get up! He did! Nothing spooky about it! Just simply explaining what was really true!


Next we read that Peter was called up to Joppa to help a wonderful woman who had died. Peter knew what was available to her in that he had been in almost a similar situation with Jesus Christ when he raised Jarius’ daughter. Great working of miracles and healing resulted because of the dynamics of the gift of holy spirit within Peter. He was able to do that because of God’s tools of word of knowledge and wisdom and believing that he utilized and was strengthened by. Probably all nine of the manifestations of holy spirit were in operation.


Peter stayed in Joppa for a while after that. Interestingly enough, he stayed with Simon the Tanner, a man whose profession of handling dead animals was considered unclean by the Judeans. This shows how Peter was growing past former legalisms and distinctions. God continued to teach him as he moved closer (spiritually, as well as physically) to God’s original intention through the ages (recorded in Acts 10).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Success!

Job was perfect and upright and eschewed evil according to God (Job 1:1, 8, 2:2:3). A lot of challenges hit him all at once but through it all Job maintained his righteousness. (Job 27:5-6) His friends who thought they knew the why's and wherefores became 'miserable comforters' as they tried to dig out sin in Job's life. Job stayed steadfast. He was a good man(God says it 3 times in the first couple of chapters of Job) who didn't deserve all he got, but he didn't condemn himself. He just didn't understand some things. There is an adversary in this world and it was him who tried to take Job out. The adversary is not named directly very many times in the Old Testament but  most of them are here in Job.
What God says about Job in 42:7-11 is very telling.
And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
When adversity hits too often we condemn ourselves and that is unproductive and an impediment. Condemnation keeps us out of the throne room. God is all good and he knows our frame and that is precisely why we have a savior who came to expose destroy the works of the devil( I John 3:8). We have access to the throne room of God.
1 John 3:20-22 For if our ❤ condemn us, God is greater than our ❤, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our ❤ condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
Believing is the key to pleasing God. The Message has an interesting version of Hebrews 11:6:
It's impossible to please God apart from faith(believing). And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.
Often there are  things that we don't understand.  It is where we go first for the answers that determines the results we get. God is ready willing and able to answer us 'liberally', we just need to ask. How could anything be simpler! God  will direct us to the appropriate path to take. Going to God first in anything, be it finances(lessons in Genesis regarding  Joseph are the cutting edge of financial advisement), health, relationships, goals etc, insures success!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Did God Really Say......?

In Genesis 3, we can read about the greatest deception of all times. In a slinky, slimy move, the oldest deceiver of all times displays his favorite tactic, preying on the desire for truth. “Did God really say?” By complicating the simple truth of God (who, by the way is the originator of truth!) the deceiver got Eve (and Adam too!) to disobey God by doubt. Ole Eve could have summoned God in a minute to have that question answered.  Instead she went for the big ‘?’ and it was downhill from there.

Ever since, the big deception has been “Did God really say?” It is prevalent today all over the world, in the highways and byways of life, in homes, in schools, government, politics and it is especially prevalent in religion. People historically have tried to reinvent the truth along the way by adding, subtracting and changing God’s original intent and Judaism was no exception.

Looking at the apostle Paul’s background in the Judaic traditions and oral law it is quite easy to see how the Hebrew of the Hebrews was significantly deceived and his loyalty to God was misaligned to produce atrocity and persecution to the disciples of Jesus Christ in that day. He was loyal (yes!) committed (yes!), bold (yes!) and yes, he thought what he was doing was right with God and proud of it too!  He was blinded until the light of the revelation of God’s plan through the ages was revealed to him in the life of Jesus Christ and what his life represented, the way to God’s heart.

The loyalty, commitment, and boldness remained in Paul but he got off his ‘high horse’ and humbly accepted the truth of God:
Acts 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the son of God.
This caused quite a stir among his former friends.
Acts 9:23b The Judeans took counsel to kill him.
The Greeks were not much better:
Acts 9:29b they went about to slay him.
He went to Jerusalem and the disciples of Jesus Christ were at first were afraid of him but a wonderful man named Barnabas helped by standing up for him and people heard what had happened to him.

Today the name of Jesus Christ still causes a reaction.  God’s heart in what he accomplished for every believer is beautifully set forth in Paul’s great prayer in Ephesians 1:17-23. (NIV2010)
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Soft Heart

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy ❤ with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 
A tender heart is a powerful asset. It takes diligent effort to keep it that way. Life is full of friction.  Friction causes calluses to form if we don't actively watch over what we allow in our life.

There is a great record in Mark 6:42-54(NIV2010) recording an incident with the disciples shortly after the miraculous feeding of the 5000.
They all ate and were satisfied,  and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he (Jesus Christ) was alone on land.He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their ❤❤ were hardened. When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there.  As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus.
It is hard to believe that after just seeing fish and bread multiply to feed so many people that terror could set in so easily. Fear, worry, doubt, and negative thinking blind hearts to the power of God. Fear and terror are everywhere knocking at the door; it is just the way the world is.

Guarding one's heart is a multifaceted task. It involves identifying, being courageous, not falling into the heresy of secular human love, focusing on giving and helping someone else, communicating honestly and in some cases drawing a line as well as many other actions. Maintaining a daily relationship with God via His Word and utilization of His spiritual tools in the gift of holy spirit, make this job simple and uncomplicated.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine ❤; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Paul

The apostle Paul was a unique individual who actually penned much of the New Testament Word of God in the first century. The book of Acts was recorded by Luke and is a history of the changes that took place as the first century church grew and matured. Paul was a significant contributor to its growth. We read about speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost as well at 4 other instances where people exhibited this manifestation, but it was Paul who revealed the other ways of operating the gift of holy spirit in the church such as interpretation and prophecy and how to correctly conduct fellowship meetings without confusion. This starts in I Corinthians 12:1
Now concerning spiritual gifts (spiritual matters), brethren, I would (strongly desire) not (absolutely not) have you ignorant. 
This means that God does not want us stupid about spiritual things. This expression ‘would not have ye ignorant’ is used 6 times in the New Testament. There are 6 things God wants us to be smart about. These things God is adamant about us knowing:
1. Romans 1:13 (the desire of the gift ministries to bring forth fruit from God)  Men and women will serve as God's ministers in specific areas under the umbrella of reconciling others to God. God knows each individual personally and can utilize an individual's unique abilities and believing to accomplish the ministry of reconciliation.  It is God that energizes ministries on his timetable to whom, about what, where and He gives the increase. God is first and foremost sovereign in our lives. He is the prime mover and energizer. We are not called by a denomination, reformer or saint. Paul was called by God, not by Peter or the Jerusalem church. 
2. Romans 11:25 (mystery of Christ in every believer regardless of Judean or Gentile) It doesn't matter whether you are male or female, old or young, American, Chinese or Russian.
3. I Cor 10:1 (Old Testament legacy of the anticipation of the Messiah) A key to understanding the Old Testament is understanding that the spirit of God was upon certain ones and was conditional. They looked for a day they would receive more.  Today in this administration the gift of holy spirit is in us and we can't lose it. It is by our free will choice whether we utilize it.
4. 1 Cor 12:1(spiritual matters) This includes the gift of holy spirit in every believer, gift ministries, including operations, diversities and administration) All life is spiritual and spiritual knowledge exceeds sense knowledge in clearly understanding life.
5. II Cor 1:8 (commitment under pressure) In chapter 2 Paul says we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. God is our grace and sufficiency. He always provides a way to escape the things in this world that attempt to pull us down by utilizing our spiritual abilities.
6. I Thessalonians 4:13(our hope of the future and eternal life)
God evidently thinks these things are very important and the Pauline epistles fully instruct us on these matters and they are important to be understood.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reality


On the road to Damascus as recorded in Acts 9, Paul found the 'way'.  The way to God is through His son Jesus Christ and that is exactly who Paul encountered. Jesus Christ is actually the topic of the whole word of God starting way back in Genesis 3:14-15 when God declared there would be a promised seed to counteract the effects of the evil that was introduced into the world at that time:
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Paul hadn't understood the truth about Jesus Christ. He  understood there would be a coming Messiah in true Judaic understanding, but he didn't realize that Jesus was the Christ. It was by God revealing that to him he came to know and accept the person of Jesus Christ and all that he represented.

Up until that time Paul's life was zealously headed in a different direction. By the revelation of Jesus Christ , Paul was introduced to a new way of life that abounded with thankfulness, grace and giving. Webster defines 'reality' as the state of being actual or real. Paul in the change that he underwent found what was real. His life became real.

So many things attempt to define our lives. God is real and he, being in charge of the universe has set the best way. His son was an actual, real human being whose life could have been redefined a number of times. Because he stuck to the plan, we have real life today John 10:10 style:
Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved (kept safe). They 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 10:6-10 NIV2010)
On our path through life, we have choices. Our direction becomes clear when we choose Jesus Christ. Then and only then do the scales drop from our spiritual eyes and reality comes into focus because of the truth God established in His son. No other name can do that for us. He has stood in the gap for us and now we have total access to the Father in that name.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend and we got to talking about respect and the current culture. He made a statement to me t...