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Hello, Beloved...

How nice of you to drop in and visit my page. It's actually not really about myself, but about the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a place you can come, should you find time, and find encouragement and free resources for spiritual growth. I pray you will be blessed and provoked to follow on to know the Lord intimately yourself. Seek HIM and HIS Face for HE alone is WORTHY!! He alone is lovely! Most of what is written on this blog is written by myself, during my study time with the Lord unless otherwise stated. If it's otherwise, the author's name will be included.

God is our refuge, a very present help in trouble. Psa 46:1


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Monday, July 21, 2008

Resisting God

There was a man, Hezekiah, king of Judah, who began his reign as a godly king. He had grown up with one messed up childhood, if you think about it. For many years, he followed after the Lord. However, in his later years, he made a serious mistake, inviting representatives of the Babylonians into his palace and showing them the treasures he had, which they would one day come after. When Hezekiah became ill to the point of death, he prayed for deliverance, and God had spared his life.

2Ki 20:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.

He had been king for a while, several years, and had enjoyed victory under the leadership of the Lord. The Lord had wrought great deliverance for Israel from the Assyrian armies that came against them. He had given Hezekiah wisdom to lead this nation in the right path. But Hezekiah did not want to die. When God said it's time, Hezekiah said no, Lord, I've done right, what was good in your sight, and cried for the Word of the Lord to him was you must die. He had a boil on him that was infected, and poisoning his system. From what I've read researching this, a boil is like an infected ulcer, and back in the time of Hezekiah, could be complicated by leprosy, like it was in the case of Job. Ulcerated sores that show up on man's skin, full of infection. This is like the plague of boils God sent on Egypt. It reminds me of sin.

As I read this, it occurred to me that as a Christian, God says everything you are, everything you want, everything your carnal nature desires, it has to die so I can raise up the life of My Son in you. Hezekiah, if he'd died at this time, would have went out in the will of God. But he resisted this, and afterward gave life to something that would destroy many of God's people. A son, named Manasseh.

God heard Hezekiah's pleas and healed him, but there was something born of Hezekiah afterward that would not have been had he accepted the word of the Lord and not prayed against it. He fathered a son, Manasseh, who would later have the prophet Isaiah sawn in half and cause the nation of Judah to spiral out of control with sin, wickedness, and many of the saints would be slaughtered. Manasseh would be one of the most wicked kings to rule over Judah. Hezekiah also acted very unwisely in allowing these Babylonians access to the nation's treasures. Isaiah comes to Hezekiah with a word from the Lord.

Isa 39:6 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.

Isa 39:7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

Consider how Hezekiah responds to this warning. He is not repentant. He does not go to the Lord to intercede on behalf of his sons and grandsons. No. He says well, good is the Word of the Lord, at least I'll have peace in my time. How selfish. I ask you, will God allow someone with that spirit in heaven? Hezekiah has always been preached as a godly king, but listen to him at the end. Selfish. Makes me wonder. As I look at Hezekiah's life, and see how great a start he had with the Lord, I wonder about his end. I don't want to start great and end up lost and betraying the Lord. He was told that his sons, and that includes grandsons, would be castrated and taken captive and what does he say?

Isa 39:8 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.

Well, the Lord's Word is good, it's fair, and at least there won't be trouble in my days. Did he have problems staring his sons in the face? What about Manasseh? This one grew up to do much evil to God's people. Perhaps he thought it was better than some of his siblings got. The Scripture tells us in 2 Kings 16:3 that his father, King Ahaz was an evil man who burnt his sons in the fire as a sacrifice to Canaanite gods.

Hezekiah had a boil, an infection in his body that was killing him and God said he had to die. Set his house in order. Much ado is made over God's mercy to this man, but I've heard very little about the tragedy that would come to Israel and his own house hold, including the prophet Isaiah, because this man lived 15 more years. Compare this with our carnal nature, and self will-surely an infection in us that has to be dealt with. Nothing good comes from self will, or carnal living-not in the kingdom of God. When God says that self will of ours has to die, we must listen to Him and agree with Him. Who knows what will be birthed in our lives and how it will affect others around us if we do not heed the Lord. Hezekiah prayed a prayer that clearly resisted God's will. When we get a clear word from the Lord and we don't like it, God help us remember Hezekiah and not try to pray our way out of it. Because he lived 15 more years, he sired a son who caused a bloodbath in Jerusalem. He had prophets of God killed, and many innocents. The Scripture says he shed innocent blood. That means little ones. He was a very vicious man, who ultimately ended up finding mercy from God. This is a very thought-provoking story and I pray we consider it carefully.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Don't Despair

Jesus ministered on this earth in human flesh for 3 1/2 years. He had 12 men following Him, listening and learning from what He showed them and told them. At times, He had many more following Him. The word "disciple" means pupil, or student. They saw Him work miracles, they saw Him calm violent storms out on the raging sea. They watched as He reached out and touched the lepers-which was unthinkable to the carnal mind. They saw Him embrace children, whom the religious establishment had no time for. They saw Him deliver people from life long bondage, from sickness of all kinds, and they saw Him speak the name of a dead man and watched him come forth out of the tomb, alive and well. They saw Him treat the people with kindness, and respond to the challenge of the religious with truth that cut so sharply they wanted to kill Him.

They heard Him pray and it so stirred them up, this intimacy they heard when He talked to His Father, they longed for this kind of relationship as well. They wanted to know how to pray that way. They saw Him challenged and baited and provoked again and again, and every single time He responded with wisdom, truth and an unmistakable authority. They watched demon spirits plead for mercy from Him. He commanded the winds and waves, the unclean spirits, and by the power of His Word, things happened. Miracles were wrought. Life was spoken into death. The life of God inside of Him lit up the world for those around to see the truth. His message was one of repentance, purity, compassion for others, loving others and loving God. He taught about mercy and justice, and truth and grace. He taught about forgiveness and kindness and warned against hypocrisy. He taught the people in parables to illustrate spiritual truths. It was soon evident to all who could see the God He taught about and revealed was not the same God the Pharisees spoke of. They totally misrepresented this great God.

In spite of the crowds pressing Him, He still had time to go out of His way to Samaria and wait to meet with a little woman who was looking for something meaningful, who had a longing in her heart for the reality of God in her life. She was considered less than a dog by His own people, but He made a trip special to see her and minister to the cry in her heart for Truth and a whole town came out to hear Him and believed on Him. They saw Him stop a funeral procession and raise a woman's only child from the dead. He ministered to the poor, the needy, the helpless, and never asked anything in return except to give God glory. He never tried to build a reputation, a ministry, or make a name for Himself. His agenda was God's. He prayed, He heard from Heaven, He walked in the Spirit, and by His own admission credited the miracles and works done by Him as done by the power and life of the Spirit of God in Him. They saw Him grant to them power to work miracles as well. He sent them out in pairs and instructed them to carry the message of the kingdom, and heal the sick. They came back rejoicing because the spirits were subject to them and He warned them pride caused Satan to fall from heaven. He gave them authority, and power over the enemy's power, but reminded them that is not where their joy should be. Their names were written in heaven-that is what they were to rejoice over.

They saw Him get angry and drive the covetous, the dishonest, those using the House of God to make a dishonest buck, out. They saw Him cleanse the temple of unclean things and people. They watched Him weep and grieve over the city of Jerusalem and the people.

The disciples saw and learned and heard a lot of things in the 3 1/2 years they were with Him, traveling in the ministry of the kingdom of God. With everything that happened, they could have built a large following, a rich treasury, and a famous ministry, with a great reputation of being able to do what the Pharisees and Scribes could not. The disciples recognized He had power, unmistakable, unimaginable power of God, and wanted Him to put down the Roman rule over them and liberate Israel from their control.

He was never caught unprepared, He never displayed frustration or unbelief. He never wounded someone with a thoughtless word or deed. He was always in control because He was always subject to the Father. He was born dead to this world and to His own self. They traveled in the company of this Man, and He became their security. He became everything to them. Time and time again He pointed all back to the Father, but they were focused on Him. They had Jesus with them, and He supplied all their needs. They had left their careers, jobs, families, to go with Him, to follow Him and He took care of them. They lacked nothing. They were constantly learning, for He was constantly teaching. They had a head knowledge of the Lord and He knew it had to get in their heart.

During our Christian life, we spend time from the beginning learning Him, loving Him, and of coursing falling down and making mistakes, and having to repent and be cleansed. We love the Word, we love the fellowship, we pray, God answers and we are thrilled. But there comes a time, after all these things, the message of the Gospel began to turn ominous to the disciples-not to the crowds. Jesus began to speak of three things that the disciples were unaware of before: He would have to suffer rejection, betrayal, and He would have to suffer death at the hands of wicked men. There was a cross involved in this Christian life, and there would be the Holy Spirit given to take us there.

He is a great and mighty God-and self doesn't want to accept that it has to die, that it has to be denied. This kind of Gospel will often cause those who love Him and are struggling to please Him and live right to fall in to despair. God says "Don't despair, I'm with you. Just trust Me. I'll get you there."

Consider this great God who through the power of His Spirit led wild animals to an ark, subdued their animal nature so the predators did not prey on the other animals or the family of Noah inside that ark for almost an year. Consider how His Spirit moved on a black, empty void out in space and called forth a planet-earth. Consider how this Great GOD lovingly molded a human being out of a pile of dirt. When He blew into Adam's nostrils the breath of life every member of his body began to function correctly. There was no war, no division, everything worked exactly as God intended and made it to. When we have received the Holy Ghost the Lord said He would send-and He did, when we receive Him and are filled with Him then we will function and walk and move and live like we are designed to by the divine nature within us-as overcomers. Jesus set the pattern and He said greater things shall you do because I go to my Father. Greater in quantity, not quality. He is able to do exceeding, abundantly, above all that we can ever ask or think.

The enemy would cause us to despair over our failures, our sins, our weakness. But God says don't look to yourself, look to ME. Look away from yourself, look higher! I'm here! I love you, I made you, and I can perfect you. Don't despair, just trust Me!!! He already knows our failures and weaknesses and HE doesn't despair over them. When He begins to show these to us, it is we who can start to fret and worry and become depressed over ourselves. We look at how Jesus walked and how He lived and ministered to others, never seeking for self, always pointing others to God, and we KNOW to have this life and this type of a heart it has to be God doing this in us for it is not naturally in us to be this way. No, it is the opposite of what we want to do. But praise the Lord, He knows, and HE saw it all along, from the time we first bowed our knees to Him, He knew us. He didn't despair over our failures and weakness, no, He just began to draw us to Himself, His Word, His presence, to prayer, and it's as we see and learn Him that we begin to see ourselves. He loves you, and He will not fail you. He is well able to bring you into this sacrificial life of Christ where yourself is emptied out and His divine life is flowing in and through you to those around you. Then, others will not see you, or me, but they will Jesus in us, our hope, and their hope of glory!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Unqualified Witnesses

This is an excerpt from "My People Are Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge" by Kathleen Maples

2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.

2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Beloved, have you ever considered what the Lord means when He calls you Beloved? In the Greek, it is the word "Agapetos" and it means favorite, worthy of love, clearly and well loved and much loved, dear to the heart. May we pause a minute and meditate quietly in our hearts on that? In the New Testament this word is used to describe divine and Christian love toward each other and from God toward us. He is telling us something very important here, and I pray the Spirit of God will give us hearing ears to understand this. If you read all of Chapter 3 in 2 Peter, you understand that Peter has just described how the judgment of God will consume this earth with fire that will melt even the atmosphere and the planets.

He's described the unbelief that grips people's hearts, deceiving them into believing God will not judge their sin. This is the error of the wicked-they simply do not grasp or believe that God will judge them for their sin. This applies to us, as Christians as well. When I saw this, it was because HE showed it to me. I had to repent, too. People sit in churches for years, they amen the preacher, they sing the songs of praise, they lift their hands, they read their Bibles some, they pray some, they hear the Word of God taught, and that is the extent of their Christian experience. They are satisfied with that. Occasionally they will get convicted by a Word, weep and cry some at an altar for about 4 or 5 minutes, feel better about themselves, and are satisfied things are ok, and they would tell you if asked, that they keep the commandments of God as best they can. They would say they know it is wrong to disobey God and do not do so. But have we considered carefully and examined ourselves as we are exhorted to do? We aren't as obedient as we think we are.

God has been dealing with me about these things, and has sent me a solid confirmation of these things, through several messages preached by BH Clendennen. What I write here is the result of God dealing with me, personally. But I see the need in the church, as well. HE said in Luke 24:49 "Tarry until you be endued (clothed, infused with, covered with, filled with) power from on High." Acts 1:8 says we will receive power when the Holy Ghost comes upon us to be witnesses to Him throughout the world. Witnesses. That word means someone who sees and knows something firsthand. They get their revelation from the Lord Himself, they do not depend on the preacher. They seek the Lord. They know Him, or they are learning to know Him, for there is so much to know about HIM we could never know it all. In the Greek this word for witnesses is "martus" and it means martyr. It is one who has given their life up for Him, literally or figuratively. They have exchanged their old life for His new one. They do not live for self-but have yielded themselves for Him, to Him, to live through them. How can we represent Him accurately if we don't know Him? I know I sound like a broken record. These are not suggestions, but commands. If this is not our walk, and our life with Him, we are not being obedient. We don't have the strength to reject ourselves and crucify ourselves, that's why we must have the Holy Ghost. God knows that, but we need to know it. Saying it is one thing, recognizing the need is another. But when will "Get around to it"? I have been guilty of this-knowing my lack, knowing my need, just struggling along, knowing that almost mythical "someday" God will get me there. But there comes a time, when He is dealing with us, we need to stop and consider carefully the consequences if we don't walk in the light He is shining-the only alternative is to be overtaken by darkness. We can't hem and haw and make excuses and expect Him to just wait on us forever to get our act together. We can't get it together without HIM.

The church world has come to re-define some of the terminology of the Bible, for we've come to believe the word "witness" means to share the Gospel with someone-but by definition, you can not accurately share what you do not personally know to be true-in this case, Jesus Christ. That requires a sacrifice of our time, alone with Him in the prayer closet, in His Word, learning Him, feeding on Him, being filled with His Spirit and THEN we can be true witnesses of Him. We've come to think of conviction as a bad feeling for having done something wrong. In reality, to be convicted is to be found guilty of violating God's law. Without repentance, there is only judgment left. Ephesians 5:18 says "Be filled with the Spirit" and the word implies a continual filling, not a one time thing. Stay filled with the Spirit is what He is telling us. If we are not tarrying, waiting, seeking and praying, and learning Him, and being filled with His Spirit, baptized by the Holy Ghost and fire, we are disobedient and unqualified witnesses.

Peter has reminded us how the Lord doesn't want anyone to perish but these things are coming and we see the signs of their approach happening all around us. The scoffers are scoffing, the ignorant are willfully ignorant, refusing to consider the truth, but the Word of the Lord is still forever settled in heaven and cannot change. Toward the end of chapter 3, Peter, knowing by the power of the Spirit that such thoughts and such knowledge of what will happen will be a tool of the enemy to incite fear in the heart of the believer, he reminds them to be alert, and remember they are beloved of God, and must grow in grace and follow on to know the Lord for themselves. It's in knowing HIM that we find this peace and security. To mature we need to eat the Word and pray for understanding. If we do not understand how this Word of God applies to us, we cannot profit from it as God intends. As we do this on a regular basis, we grow, we mature. The more we see and learn of HIM the more we will hunger for Him. As John said, I must decrease, and He must increase. Before there can be an increase of His life in me, I must empty myself of self-and to do that I need the help of the Holy Ghost. I cannot do this myself. It is vitally necessary that we KNOW HIM for ourselves.