No Conditions on God’s Love

There are so many times in life when our faith is small, our desire to do good even smaller. Friends have left us and we find ourselves feeling washed up and alone. This is the time to remember that God puts no conditions of us. His love for us is steadfast and strong. We may be wallowing in self-pity, beating ourselves up and feeling unworthy of love, but there is God loving us anyway. Hosea 14:4 “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.”

God does not stay angry at us. He, better than anyone knows how we are made. Psalm103:14 says “For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” We are dust…think about that for a minute. We like to think a little highly of ourselves, but when we put it into perspective, we have no reason to brag. It was God who formed the first man and it is God who fashions each of us in the secret place of our mother’s wombs.

So, when you have those mess ups in life whether they are large or small, try to remember that God loves you, He is right there, He never leaves us and his love is not contingent upon our always doing right and being good. He already knew when you were born that you were going to have moments of failure. In another verse, we read these comforting words. Lamentations 3:22 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” God is always compassionate toward his children. Yes, we may need to be disciplined for something we have done, but it is always administered in love to grow us and show us more of his grace and mercy.

People who judge us and find us wanting probably has never taken the time to shine a light deep inside themselves because if they did they may find their own inner struggles due to decisions or actions they have made.
Just think about your own children, most of us at one time or another has had to discipline our children, sometimes pretty severely, but in doing that is it meant to crush them or teach them the error of their ways. In most cases it is administered in love, after all, they are our children and we want only good for them. Now think of that in relation to God. He created us, He has put His spirit into us and He sent his son to die for us. He most certainly will not abandon us in our hour of need or failure.

Scripture reminds us that Jesus intercedes for us. Yes, that is right, Jesus is praying for you. Wow, heart full. Jesus himself takes my name, my needs, my failures to the throne of God. How humbly and awesome is this? The enemy of our souls would have us question God’s love. He would rather have us self-focused listening to his lies telling us we are unlovable and unworthy, reliving everything wrong we have ever done or said. He cannot have our souls if we belong to Christ, so he tries to speak lies into our ear and get us inward focused. The next time you experience a failure of some kind remember these verses and let them be a soothing balm to your soul.

Romans 8:31-35 “What the, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died- more than that, who was raised to life is​ at the right hand of God and is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

So, do you understand, if you belong to Christ NOTHING, not even SELF can separate you from the love of God! Let that sink in and take heart friends, even if the world around condemns you, Christ does not. Repent and turn, he is still there with his love wide open and pouring all over you.

Yahweh Shammah

God has many names this is just one and it means “God is there,” meaning God is always present. Now, how many of us remember that on a moment by moment basis. God is present in this moment seeing and hearing all I do and say? I know there have been too many times that I have forgotten that the Lord was present with me and as a result, bad decisions were made. It keeps me honest when I remember God is right there with me in all I do. He does not take a vacation, or go to sleep. He is wide awake and watching, listening waiting to answer and help.

As a child, my life was always in turmoil. I did not have one of those fluffy great growing up experiences that most get to have. I did not get to live a carefree, have fun existence. Our home was always in an uproar, people always yelling, crying, getting into fights. Sad, but true. Because of my dad’s actions, our lives were a mess. His running around on my mother would have been enough, but the abuse we all suffered on a regular basis was overkill, or at least it seemed. A quiet night at home almost never happened. Yes, we were at church regularly. My mother played the piano and my dad would lead the choir, however, my dad had grown up in church but did not know the Lord at that time as his Savior. He was just going through the motions he had learned and was expected to. My mother was literally just trying to survive. She had to take shots to keep herself from shaking so bad when she played the piano. Yes, ours was a hard place to be.

Now I am not saying this in a complaining sense, oh no, I want to let you know that even when you are at your lowest, God is there. God was in our home, God was seeing and hearing and God was helping. Although my life was one of many tears, pain and hurt, God showed up daily in many ways. Through the kindness of neighbors, their words and actions. Through my grandparents who were rock solid in their faith and walk with the Lord. They were an extension of God’s hand to all of us and especially to me.
My grandmother put God’s word into my head and heart. She reminded me almost daily that God was with me, loved me and I could talk to him about anything, he cared. So, I did what she said. No matter how hurt I was, or how bad the thing I had to tell him, I trusted her word that he would listen and help.

I look back on that horrible time and I smile, yes, smile. I can see God in places and people that I was too young to recognize back then. I can feel him with me in my field where I would go to pray and pour out my heart and tears to him and I can feel him ministering to me, soothing my hurt and my heart. God does not always stop what is going on around us. As a matter of fact he often times sends it, not to break us into, but to bring us to himself. It is not always about us either, sometimes it is about another person involved. He alone knows his reasons and because he is God it is good. God never promised us an easy passage through life with sweet smelling aromas all around us. He has told us that we will suffer for him.
Philippians 1:29 “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

We are promised we sill suffer. But this is not because God hates us or wants to crush us. People tend to think that if something bad happens to them, God must not be anywhere around. He was on vacation and unaware of their plight. God is always present, always! In all the wonderings, misbehaving and wrong choices the Israelites made in the desert, he never left them. God lead them by a cloud during the day and by fire at night. He met and spoke to them, telling them what he desired they do and not do. Today God is not leading us that way, but if you know him as Lord then his Spirit lives within you, teaching, guiding, helping. We also have his word, the Bible which is living and active and powerful. It can still change lives today. When some bad thing befalls us or happens on this earth it does not mean God was not involved. God sends both the good and the bad upon the land.

Our best defense against our own rebellious hearts is first to pray, read our Bible and do our best to walk daily with him. The second is to remember that God is with us, at every moment of our day and lives he is with us seeing and hearing. We are never, ever alone. He is so close that you should feel is presence to the point that you can almost reach out and touch him. God is Sovereign, He is in control, He is always listening, He is always available any hour of the day or night. He is God, the only true and living God and nothing is too hard for him.

I am going to leave you with some verses to remind you that God is in control and you are never alone.

God is over it all. God is in everything. I pray that you remember as you walk this earth in good and bad times, in the right choices or wrong, God is with you. You are not alone!

Isaiah 14:24 “The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have purposed, so it will be; as I have planned it, so it will happen.”

Isaiah 46:9 “Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and no one is like Me. 10 I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will. I call a bird of prey from the east, a man for My purpose from a far country. Yes, I have spoken, so I will also bring it about. I have planned it; I will also do it.”

Jeremiah 27:5 ” By My great strength and outstretched arm, I made the earth, and the people, and the animals on the face of the earth. I give it to anyone I please.”

1 Timothy 6:15 “God will bring this about in His own time. He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords.”

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Joshua 1:9 ” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:5 “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Take heart friends, he is always with you, He is in control and He will see you all the way home to that beautiful place He is preparing for you!

2 Timothy 1:12 “For this reason, I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

Everything Has The Capacity To Praise

When I was a young girl I would go for walks with my grandmother. We would often walk up the hill behind her house winding our way to an old family cemetery. We would hold hands and talk while we walked, she pointing out flowers and trees to me, bending down to smell them and sometimes picking a few for her table. As we walked, smelled and picked she would say, “do you know why everything grows up?” Now I am sure some of you are thinking about gravity etc…but her point was not a scientific one, it was to point me to Jesus. She would say, “everything grows up giving praise and honor to the Lord in the way he has designed it to do so.” I was fascinated. My mind would run away with thoughts of flowers somehow praising God and what it must look like. Did they have tiny mouths I could not see? Were trees talking with really low voices? It went on and on.

Everything does have the capacity to praise him and yes even the trees, flowers, oceans, rivers, mountains, birds, insects and the list goes on. He, after all,l is the creator of it all. His fingerprints are all over everything in this world, you, me, water, grass, clouds you name it, he made it! I loved how she saw the world, I loved how she saw glimpses of Jesus in everything. He was on her mind all the time. I try to do the same, looking at his creation and remember who made it, who is over it, who keeps it. I too have told my grandchildren that very thing, that it all grows up in praise and adoration to the one who created it.

I was reminded of it this morning as I was looking through my Bible after my
Bible study. I came across Psalm 148. I had to read it and smile. I was instantly transported back to a simple time when a small girl held the hand of a dearly loved one and walked and talked in the sunshine about Jesus. Oh, what precious memories. I am going to type it all out. I want you to absorb it, think about it and maybe be drawn a little closer to your maker today, realizing that his handprint is on everything, He is worthy of all praise and He awaits yours. You have the capacity to do it, do you? Will you?

Psalm 148

1Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. 2Praise him, all his angels, all his heavenly hosts. 3Praise him sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. 4Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. 5Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. 6He set them in place for ever and ever: he gave a decree that will never pass away. 7Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, 8lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, 9you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, 10wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, 11kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, 12young men and children. 13Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. 14He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the Lord.

I say Praise The Lord! Worthy is The Lamb! Honor and Glory and Majesty are His! King above all Kings, Lord of Lords, Mighty in all His ways! I worship you the Creator of everything thing. You Oh Lord, are worthy of all my praise! My Creator, My Healer, My Salvation, My Redeemer, My Soon Coming King!

Let praise and worship become a regular part of your day because when you praise The Lord, everything looks and feels a little different. The worst day can be made better by praise. Suddenly you are recentered and your outlook a little brighter. Join all creation and give up a shout of praise to the only one worthy to receive it!

What Do You Look Like?

When I ask this question I am not talking about what is on the outside, I am asking you to look deeper inside and find out who you are. What are your virtues and characteristics that make you look more like Jesus than the world? Do you have any? The beauty that God wants is not that of a person well put together, fine clothing, perfect make-up, no wrinkles, nice full lips and so on, these are the things the world looks for. My grandmother used to say that “pretty is only skin deep and beauty is found inside.”

In Colossians 3:12-15 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Too many Christians walk around trying desperately to look and act like the world so that they won’t be found out, or they just do not see that our God, a holy God desires and calls us to more and different standards of the heart and mind. When we become a “new creation” in Christ things should look different for us. As the Holy Spirit comes into us and starts to clean us up inside there should be a noticeable difference in us and the attitudes, characteristics, and virtues of the world. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice, I want to look nice. I like to wear pretty things, have my make-up on etc. I am talking about the inward self, the one that dictates our actions and reactions to people and the world around us. What makes us tick?

Are you compassionate towards others plights? Are you kind and gentle when dealing with family, friends, strangers? Are you patient or do you get easily frustrated with people who do not conform to your desires or do as you think they should? Are you forgiving? I think the last one is probably a stickler for many. We want to feel justified in our anger and unforgiveness. We want to let that other person know we feel wronged. It is our right after all isn’t it? No, we are never ever given permission to hold a grudge or be unforgiving. We are told to forgive as Jesus forgave us, what, you do not think you have been that bad so you have not needed too much forgiveness? Not so my friend you are in denial!

Are you a thankful person, peaceful? Too often we get caught up in life’s rifts and try to shove our opinions down others throats just like the secular world tries to do every day on the news and radios and just in life. They are right you are wrong. If you do not think like them then there is something wrong with you. Our standards of thought and our actions should be dictated by what God’s word says, not even by how our hearts feel (Jeremiah 17:9) we cannot trust our hearts, and certainly not what the world thinks.

Are you a thankful person, not taking for granted the good things that may come your way and just your daily needs being supplied? Just because someone does not live at the level that you do either the same, higher or lower does not mean you are more special to God than the other person, or smarter or anything else. God gives and God takes away. God chooses who he will bless and who he will curse. Your life has been planned before you were born and maybe for some, this is your heaven. Something to think about!

God desires that we have all of these virtues, but there is one that is prized and more important than all the others and really without it you will not have those other virtues because this binds them all together. Do you “LOVE?” Love binds them into perfect unity. Love covers a multitude of sins, love motivates us to be peaceful, thankful, gentle, patient and on and on. Love is God’s heartbeat for us and love is what he wants us to have and put on display at every opportunity we have. Love for God first, family, friends, strangers, the cranky sales clerk, the hateful person in line, those less fortunate than us, even our enemies. Love, Love, Love.

When you look into yourself what do you see? Is love the extra heartbeat you hear inside that goes right along beside your heartbeat of life. Is love what wakes you up and drives all you do and say? Love acts, Love forgives, Love does not count the cost, Love helps and gives, Love waits and is kind, Love is patient, Love wins over everything! 1 Corinthians 13:8 ” Love never fails.” Love is beauty in action, Love inside a person instantly makes the person more attractive. Love shows itself in our faces and our actions.

Yes, I want to look nice while out roaming the world going about my daily activities, but more than anything I want to look like Jesus the one who has called me from the grave and saved me. I want his radiance to shine forth from my heart so brightly that shows up on my face. I want his beauty over the beauty of the world. When love moves us and motivates us all else will fall into place, we will find ourselves being more patient, forgiving, kind and so on. God’s beauty far outshines and outweighs the worlds. The world’s beauty eventually fades. There are not enough procedures and tricks to cover an aging body, eventually, the evidence that you have grown old shows up and sometimes because of all that we have done to try and prevent growing old, not being attractive can cause us to look even worse.

Well, I will leave you with this question: Who and what do you want to look like?

Don’t Be Cut Off…Assemble Together

Ephesians 3:16-20 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us., 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever Amen.

In these passages, we see that we have access to the power found for believers in Jesus Christ in the Spirit. The Spirit is able to strengthen us. We are told to be rooted and grounded and established in love. The next verse is what I want to focus on mostly, it reads: “may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” We as the body of Christ need to be together. We were not meant to be an island out there somewhere figuring it out as we go. We were are encouraged to assemble ourselves together and when we do there is power there for each. We are strengthened through the common bond of fellowship and prayers for one another.

When we are born-again we do not automatically think all pure thoughts, we don’t always stop doing those things that are un-Christlike. Have there been people so immediately transformed that their lives were a complete 360, yes, but few. Most of us it is a process of repenting, surrendering, learning and growing. The Spirit comes in when we are saved and starts the process of cleaning us up. Revealing and teaching truth to us. When we are with other believers we can see by example how we ought to live. We can listen to how God has strengthened and helped them and it grows and helps establish our faith. We see we are not alone in our struggles, our sin, our hopes, and desires, we are like minded. We also have others whose walks are further along than ours to help us and pray for and with us. WE NEED THE FELLOWSHIP WITH LIKE MINDED PEOPLE. If you continue to hang with the same crowd who are doing the same thing chances are you will not have an influence on them, however, they may keep you in a place of struggle. Do you stop loving them, no? Do you stop showing up to help them in time of need, no? But, you should separate yourself to the degree that you no longer regularly participate in things that are displeasing to the Lord.

In Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are int he habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

What Day is this passage talking about? That Day when the clouds will split, the trumpet will sound and the Lord himself will return to this earth to take His own and establish His Kingdom. We need to be ready, we do not know the day or the hour of his return. The scripture tells us that he will come as a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2) & (Revelation 16:15.) Are you ready?

What are you devoting yourself to that keeps you from getting with other believers? Where do you go when life gets overwhelming? Is your walk so self-centered that you just cannot bring yourself to church or is it that you feel you can go this life alone, you do not need others prayers, you prefer to hang with folks that you see as more fun? We were never meant to be an island, we need connections with like-minded people in our lives. Together we have power in our worship, in our prayers, in our walk, and in our faith.

Acts 2:42 “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Getting together is God’s idea. If it is God’s idea it is a great idea and there are reasons that he knows as to why we should gather together. I want whatever God wants for me. I tried going it alone once, I can tell you it ended really badly! Worst idea ever! I stopped asking for prayer, I stopped reading my Bible, I stopped worshipping with other believers, I stopped wanting to go to church. Why? My heart had left its first love and I was following it. When you are isolated and alone you are in grave danger of the enemy. Oh, he cannot steal your salvation, but he can torment your mind, whisper lies in your ear and you soon find yourself turning to listen. This warning in 1 Peter 5:8 is something we all need to keep in our minds, not out of fear, but as a reminder that we need to be strengthened and surrounded by God’s people, alert and not focused on self and worldly and activities. “Be alert and of sober mind. your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

If for some reason you have left the church or you have never committed to going, you need to! It is good for your soul, good for your growth, good for your faith and good for your spirit. My happiest times are when I am in church surrounded by like-minded believers worshipping the God who has saved me and called me his own, it really does not get any better than that! They are family and my heart is made better by being with them!

As we used to chant when I was a child… “try it you will like it, take a tip from me, I tried it I liked it…He is the victory.”

Blessings as you walk this earth, may your faith be strengthened, and your spirit made strong together.

Check Your Heart

So often we see people who have been raised in homes where the parents were faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Born again believers. Their steadfast love of God pours out to everyone they come in contact with especially their family members. This is great, but all too often the children grow up thinking that because their parents are Christians and they have been raised in a Christian home that they are Christians. Like somehow it rubbed off on them and nothing else is required. These people go about life with a false sense of being okay with God. Often times their lives certainly do not bear witness to a new man. They live just like the world going an doing all the things the unsaved do, or maybe they appear to be doing all things right. Here is the problem, God looks on our hearts. He knows, even when no one else does, he sees.

I understand how there are times when we ourselves do not have a solid faith of our own in Jesus Christ so we ride on the coattails so to speak of those in our lives who do. I myself did that as a child. I was living in a situation of abuse and I was confused and hurt most of the time. Although my parents went to church, ours was not a Godly home full of love, it was more a place to survive. However, my grandparents were Godly folks. Their walk and their talk matched up. I was particularly close to my grandmother. Her Christlike love for everyone she came in contact with poured into me. Although she was unaware of the abuse, she sensed that I needed extra love on a regular basis and gave it out freely.

When I was troubled I would go to her, ask her questions without really revealing my need to know why and she would always answer from God’s word. She would encourage me to talk to Jesus about anything and everything that worried me, so I did. It was when I talked to him that my riding on her coattails showed up. I would say things like, “God, my Mamaw says that you can do anything, my Mamaw says, that I need to forgive and love.” I did not know how to pray and ask, so I just told God what she had said and I believed she was right. But that did not save me. I needed my own relationship with Jesus. I could say all the right things, but I did not know Jesus for myself. I just had a head knowledge going on.

I can tell you that when I felt God tugging at my heartstrings one Sunday when I was about nine years old, I thought my heart would burst it was pounding so hard. I had been riveted by the message that day, staring at the Pastor even leaning in to hear good. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God was asking me to step out in faith and trust him with my life. Sweaty palms, fast heartbeat, knees knocking as soon as the invitation was given I went up. My pastor met me and leaned low and he said to me, “I knew this was your day, I could see it in your face.” He did not discourage my young heart, but confirmed what I already knew, Jesus, had called my name!

Has my walk and talk always been perfect, no it has not, but when it has been outside of what God says is good and right he has reigned me in, sometimes gently and at other times more severly, Always teaching and showing me the error of my ways and the sin that needs to be cleaned out. See, being born again is a supernatural work of the Lord, and when it happens you know it, your spirit bears witness to that change and believe me there is one. As we walk this earth our lives should mirror the life of Jesus as much as it can. We should bear fruit, spiritual fruit that is exhibited in our daily lives, no words needed.

Look at these verses and see if there is an Amen in your mouth to them. Ask God to shine a light deep into your heart and soul and reveal whether or not you truly know him as Lord or if you are riding on the coattail of someone in your life. Believing you are saved yet never accepting Jesus for yourself. Someone else’s faith will only get you so far in life, and will not get you anywhere in death! It does not matter how good you have been, how many committees you have sat on, how much money you have made, who you know, what you do, eat, read etc. It only matters that you have been born-again and know that Jesus Christ is your only hope. Do not risk it, if you cannot say with full assurance that Jesus is your Savior, then you need to repent and be saved. Ask him to save you and he will! Your mother’s faith or the faith of anyone else will not rub off on you and get you to heaven. You need your own personal relationship with the Lord.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentlenesses, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.”

Romans 10:9-10 says “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus, is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Romans 10:13 “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

I would encourage you, parents that you always teach your children that they themselves need to know Jesus, they need to hear the word, they need to know they are sinners, they need a relationship yours will not take them to heaven! My grandmother always said that I needed to know Jesus, she could help me, but He alone could save me. She shared her beliefs, shared scripture, told me all about her relationship and pointed the way. My heart was ready, He called, I answered.

Perfection

(Genesis-Leviticus)

Have you ever considered how truly perfect Jesus had to be? I mean we know that he was, we have heard and read that he was the Lamb without spot or blemish, the one who never sinned in all his thirty-three years.

What is the definition of perfect according to the worlds standard and our dictionary?
perfect -adjective 1. having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
ideal, model, without fault, faultless, flawless, consummate, quintessential, exemplary, best, best example, ultimate

perfect -verb 1. make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.

As you can see this is a pretty high standard to live up to. As we read through Genesis-Exodus-Leviticus we get a clear picture of the laws, methods of worship, sacrifices and all the other stuff the Israelites were to keep. The absolute holiness of the offerings they were to make. The animals had to be as perfect as they could get them. Certain animals for certain things. Even Aaron the priest had to be dressed just so, and his sons with him. The ark and all that went with it built to God’s specifications. There were serious consequences if things were not the way God said they had to be. God was teaching them about his holiness and that they were set apart from those around them who did not know their God. They were to keep the Sabbath holy, working six days and resting on the seventh. God left nothing to chance, every facet of their living was given a set of rules to follow.

It is too much to write, but if you have not read the Old Testament recently you should. These people struggled to live right and God himself was with them leading them and teaching them. Moses often spoke with God and told the people what God wanted and expected. These were high standards to abide by. If you did not live according to the laws given death was the answer to the problem in many cases.

So, here we arrive at Jesus, God’s son. The absolute most perfect sinless person to ever walk this earth. He was so perfect that he met every requirement necessary to die for our sins as a spotless lamb pleasing the God the Father. It was not that he came to earth for a few seconds and died, no he lived and walked this earth for thirty-three years. Sinless! I am pretty sure I cannot make it through a day without committing several sins. You? He grew up working beside his earthly father Joseph learning the family trade. He had brothers and sisters. He went to school and church. He laughed and ran with friends all the while “NEVER” sinning. Wow! I know it, I believe it, yet when I read through the long lists of you can do this, this way, but not that etc. I am blown away. My mind is just floored by how perfect Jesus was.

I know so many people who do not see how very holy God is. They say Jesus is my friend and he is, but he is still God. He is still Holy. He still expects us to live according to every word in this Bible. We are to model our lives after him in every way possible. How are you doing so far? Here is the thing, we cannot do it, we must be born-again. We must repent of our sin, turn from it and let Jesus be Lord of our lives. We must submit daily to his will and reject our own selfish carnal natures. When we get saved the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and starts the process of cleaning us up. Replacing those old desires with God desires. We are being sanctified by the precious spotless blood of Jesus. His righteousness now ours. When the Father looks at us he sees the blood of his son, his “PERFECT” son and we are accepted.

I don’t know about you, but that excites me. To think that my filthy rags are washed so white that the God of the Universe calls me his own, all because of one tiny drop of Jesus perfect sinless blood. I cannot be perfect, I do sin sometimes knowingly, yet God sees me as sinless. I no longer carry the mark of the condemned in my body, I bear the name of the one who died for me. His mark is on me and I am accepted. I can go freely to the throne room of heaven and speak openly with my God, I no longer need someone to do it for me. I need not fear death, because I know I am forgiven. I can freely approach the Holy of Holies and speak with God about anything. Goosebumps people, that is what I am feeling.

No, we are no longer under the laws, Jesus fulfilled all of that, but it is good to go back read through it and realize just exactly what Jesus did and who he had to be to buy our freedom. It is truly ‘AMAZING GRACE.’ On our own, we cannot, but when we are full of Jesus, we can, we are, we will and we do all those things needed to one day stand before the Lord and hear him say, “well done.”

It’s His Idea

I have been reading through the Bible along with my church. I am trying to be very intentional as I read, soaking in as much as my brain and spirit can, asking for the Lord to give me wisdom (far above my capabilities) to understand his word and apply it to my life. Reading the OT can sometimes be hard, it has so much in it, lots of names, descriptions and so on, but I want to get it!

Anyway, as I was reading through Genesis and Exodus I find myself to be in awe once again at the Sovereignty of God and his holiness. The thing I see throughout my reading is this, who you are and what you do is his idea! We want to take credit for our abilities as though we gave them to ourselves. Some have gone to school many years to get their Master degrees, PhD’s., Medical License and so on. We take great pride in our abilities to do what we do. We worked hard after all! Here is the thing, any ability, talent, drive to do in a certain area, artistic ability, a privilege you may enjoy all comes from God, it was his idea to gift you in a particular area, move you, place you, help you, guide you.

When he was writing your life so to speak, he already knew who you would be and when he would raise you up to where ever you are. You cannot take credit for your good fortune, your job, your abilities, nothing…it is all God.
In Exodus 25-40 we get a description and the instructions given to Moses for the building of the tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant, priestly garments, altar and so forth. These are very detailed in their preciseness. They not only speak of the Holiness of God, but just how he decides those he will gift for a certain task, and names them. Here is one of the many instances I took note of.

Exodus 31:1-6 “Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts–4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also, I have given skill to all craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you.”

God decided who he would gift with the talents they needed to do the work he wanted to be done. He gifted them and gave them all the ability they needed to carry out the precise instructions of building and fashioning all that was going to go into the tabernacle inside and out.
We can also go into the NT and see where God chose various ones and gifted them according to his purpose. So many today want to think they are driving their own bus down the road, going and doing, being and learning just because they chose to do it. If you have a desire to be a homemaker, a lawyer, a doctor, a pastor…keep going the list goes on and on, then it was God’s idea to put you where you are doing what you are doing.

Now knowing that GIVE HIM PRAISE! The God who knit you together and allows you to be born as already given you all that you need to fulfill your purpose on this earth. Even if you are not saved, you are still doing exactly what God designed for you. Some are given more smarts, more talents, and abilities than others, but that does not mean they are more special to God. Whatever He has called you to from holding a baby, praying for others, working in government, manual labor, computers work, again the list can go on and on, do it to the best of your ability as unto the Lord. ( Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father by him.” Nothing you do is wasted time, it is all in His time. Seek him and he will show you the path of life,’ your life’ and as you walk it out he will guide you all the way. And for parents, He has your children and He has a plan, you can trust him to complete it!

His Way

Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”

Isaiah 45:6,7 “That the people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.”

Proverbs 16:4 “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”

Job 12:10 “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

Psalm 103:19 “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.”
God is in charge! As we read these few verses it is very clear that God is over everything. So often we tend to forget that it is God that allows the things to happen on this earth whether good or bad, beautiful or evil. The devil is not and never has been in charge. He cannot do anything unless God allows it. People want to think that our world is out of control and to us it seems like it is. You hear of more and more terrible crimes and evils pervading our world on a regular basis. It seems at times people from the top office to the least office are off their rocker.

Our society has become a finger pointing, it is all about me and my wants society. People want to dig up all the old hurts and mistakes of everyone out there and parade them through social media to smear a person in some way or another. We have become a society of mudslingers. I think people have stopped looking inward at themselves to see if there is any sin in them. If you have not committed the same sin you are commenting on or complaining about in another person, or yours was not quite so bad, it is okay to throw them under the bus and think you are clean and smell like roses.

People we are all sinners, God is allowing what he allows for his end purpose. He is longsuffering and patient not wanting any to perish. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. ”
He is giving people time to take a deep long soul searching look at itself. Trust me when I say that all those who do evil and seem to get away with it here on this earth will one day stand before God and receive their just punishment. We want to see people fall now, we want to see their punishment be swift and firm, but we are not God. And although they may seem to slide by, even that is under the control of the Almighty. God is not surprised by any man’s actions.

Revelation 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

God is moving and working even when we cannot see it or understand it. Thin about it, it was his idea for Satan to go mess up Jobs world. Nothing our president does, nothing our government does, nothing our military does, nothing another country does is outside of what God is allowing; if he was not allowing these things, they would not be happening. Things were not smooth and easy in years past; all the way back to the beginning of time there was sin and evil. That my friend is why we needed a Savior! Not even the fall in the Garden of Eden was a surprise to God, it did not make him come up with a Plan B, it was His Sovereign plan all along.

Jesus is coming, I don’t know when no one does and if some guy is selling a book that tells you he does, do not buy it! We are told that only God knows the time, and it will happen when the last person God wants to be saved is saved, he alone knows who and when. But until then, we have to live in this world, but stay separate from it. Don’t climb into the pig pen and start slinging mud just because you can. Spend time looking inside yourself, asking God to clean you up. Allow His Holy Spirit to lead direct all that you do. And do not worry about what is going on, it will go on just fine without you losing sleep. And we are promised that on “That day” He will wipe all our tears away. There will be no more death’ or mourning, no crying or pain. (Revelation 21:4)

I and you need to focus on our walk with Jesus. We need to live peacefully loving one another. There are enough haters and accusers in the world, why not try to be His hands and feet to the people and let them see Jesus in you. God will take care of it all in due time. Make sure your walk it right and your heart fixed on Jesus. To be his means you need never be afraid to face him one day, you are covered with the blood of the Lamb, your sins forgiven and your name is written down in the book of life. Eternity with Jesus our Lord is your future! Wait patiently for His perfect plan and will to be accomplished in you and in this world!