Posts Tagged ‘ Faithfulness ’

Let the Waters Rise …

In all things, seek the wisdom of God, and get started at Proverbial Thought!

I am a fan of Mikeschair, and I have posted about their music before over here.

When many preachers and teachers talk about God assisting people, they like using the stories of Jesus walking on water (John 6) and calming the sea (Matthew 8, Mark 4, Luke 8). These are stories that show God’s power and sovereignty over creation, therefore showing His power and sovereignty in your life.

One verse I have always enjoyed since reading it many years ago is Isaiah 43:1-3a (ESV):

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Knowing we have a Savior, One who can control our circumstances, who sees our brokenness, hurts, and fears, who saw our hopeless state of sin and rebellion against Him and sacrificed Himself for our forgiveness, we can follow Him in confidence and hope!

Let the Waters Rise – Mikeschair

Don’t know where to begin
It’s like my world’s caving in
And I try but I can’t control my fear
Where do I go from here?

Sometimes it’s so hard to pray
When You feel so far away
But I am willing to go
Where you want me to
God, I trust You

There’s a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

I will swim in the deep
‘Cuz You’ll be next to me
You’re in the eye of the storm
And the calm of the sea
You’re never out of reach

God, You know where I’ve been
You were there with me then
You were faithful before
You’ll be faithful again
I’m holding Your hand

There’s a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

God Your love is enough
You will pull me through
I’m holding onto You
God Your love is enough
I will follow You
I will follow You

Ohhh

There’s a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

Ohhh

His Love Never Fails with Passion

Get over to Proverbial Thought for some wisdom!

Recently, while listening to the song “One Thing Remains”, I was reminded of several things in general and one thing in particular.

The general things are easy:

  • We may face many things that may seem or are to big for us to handle, but God is always there loving us.
  • We may face things that terrify us, but God is always there loving us.
  • We may feel like no one in the world understands or loves us, but God is always there loving us.

What if I Stumble?

The thing that really hit me this time was how much God loves us … when we really mess up.

We may be forgiven, and we may be growing ever more like our Lord Jesus Christ. However, sometimes we stumble. Sometimes we outright disobey. Sometimes we walk into situations we know we should not.

Sometimes, we revert right back into our old selfish, prideful, arrogant, perverted mindset and do things our own way.

And God is always there loving us, calling us to repentance and grace.

What was accomplished through Christ on the cross at Calvary still covers our hapless, unthinking, uncaring, snubbing, defiant, sometimes unintentional sins.

Because His love never fails.

One Thing Remains – Jesus Culture (at Passion)

Your love never fails it never gives up
It never runs out on me.
Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love never fails, it never gives up
Your love
Your love.
Never gives up on me.
And it’s higher than the mountains that I face
And it’s stronger than the power of the grave
And constant in the trial and the change
This one thing remains.
Yeah.
Higher
And it’s higher than the mountains that I face
And it’s stronger than the power of the grave
And constant in the trial and the change
This one thing remains.
Your love never fails it never gives up
It never runs out on me.
Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love never fails, it never gives up
Your love.
On and on! Come on!
And on and on and on it comes
Yes, it overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid, this one thing
Remains!

This one thing remains!
Your love never fails it never gives up
It never runs out on me.
Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love never fails, it never gives up
In Death! In light! We sing!
In death! In light! I’m confident and covered
By the power of Your great Love!
My debt is paid! it’s nothing that can separate
My heart from Your great love.
Your love never fails it never gives up
It never runs out on me. sing it!

Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love never fails, it never gives up
Your Love!
ON AND ON AND ON!
And on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
This one thing! Remains!
Your love never fails it never gives up
It never runs out on me.
Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me!
Your Love
It’s Your love!

Another Adulterous Wife and the God Who Loves Her

Once again, I remind you to get some wisdom from those inspired by God’s wisdom over at Proverbial Thought.

There was a man who was called by God to speak out against the wrongs and injustices in his nation.

He spoke out against the nation turning away from God to follow its own lusts. He spoke out against the rising violence. He spoke out against the rise in crime. He spoke out against the rise of disrespect for parents. He spoke out against the lies of the government leaders as well as the religious leaders. He spoke out against the partnership of those leaders with different religions and hostile governments.

While this could be someone from any moment in the past fifty years in pretty much any part of the world, you probably already guessed that this person is in the Bible.

The First Adulterous Wife

Hosea was told by God to take a wife who was little more than a prostitute. Even though Hosea and Gomer had three children together – a son, a daughter, and another son – Gomer began to live and sleep with another man.

When things began to go badly for Gomer and she found herself on the auction block as a slave, God told Hosea “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” (Hosea 3:1) Hosea essentially paid his entire savings to buy his adulterous wife from prostitution and slavery.

The message was and is clear: Just like Gomer, Israel had sinned by turning from God to the false gods of other nations. They neglected their relationship with God, they neglected their children and parents, and they neglected common decency.

God’s punishment for these sins was exile. But God loves His people.

He brought the nation, at that time divided in two, back to the Promised Land as a united people.

Beyond that, and this is where the Christian Church comes in, God sent His own Son as payment for the sins of not only Israel but of the whole world! In essence, God sacrificed Himself in payment for the sin we are all guilty of committing: worshiping anything other than God!

Another Adulterous Wife

If only those who believe the truth of God sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins never strayed!

If you look around our world today, especially within the Western World of Europe and North America, there is much corruption.

Leave governments out of this. Except for the mini-nation of Vatican City, national governments are not of God. He may have established the governments of the world for this time (Romans 13:1), but they do not govern the matters of God. They govern the matters of people. (Regardless of what most of the world and the Conservative Right say of the United States of America, it is not a Christian nation.)

Read the newspapers and watch the news on TV. Hardly a week goes by without hearing of some sex scandal, controversy, or fraud from some church or denomination. Many congregations, leaders, and denominations choose to work more with governments and other religions than with other congregations, leaders, and denominations. Many compromise their beliefs to appease the masses, the government, other religions, or simply passing fads or ideas.

Looking around today seems to show a Church which has left its Groom (Christ) to have relations with those who do not believe in or even mock the God of the Universe.

God’s Love

Even with all of the sins the people within the Church of our Lord continue to commit, He still loves her.

His Bride continues to allow many sins to be committed in His name, but I think there are good reasons He has not brought the same judgment on the Church as He did on Israel.

For starters, His faithful are still loving the least of these and showing God’s love.

Among those who rob God are those who give more than their fair share.
Among those who compromise their bodies are those who remain chaste and pure.
Among those who compromise their beliefs are those who remain steadfast in faith.

Secondly, God holds back His wrath because of His promises.

He has promised that His wrath was poured out on His Son.
He has promised that His wrath is not for His faithful.
He has promised that He will wait until He separates His faithful from the world.

Lastly, God holds back His wrath because of His love.

If God is not willing that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9), would He not give us time to repent, to choose His love in our hearts?

Hear the Truth and Turn

We each, in our own time, sin against God, yet He so desires to be with us that He died on a cross for our forgiveness and waits to destroy the world until His proper time.

As Peter said:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
2 Peter 3:10-15

Let us not worry about the sins going on around us in the name of the Lord. Instead, let us focus on our own relationship with God. In the process, God working in our lives will either cause guilt leading to repentance or guilt leading to further sin.

In any event, we are to remain pure to God to the glory of God.

Love Is An Act of Faith

Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little  love. — Erich Fromm (1900-1980)

There are so many things in my life which I could have achieved up to this point. There are so many things in my life which I could have done up to this point. There are so many things in my life which I could have experienced up to this point.

I have not achieved many of the things which may have been achievable. I have not done many of the things which I might have done. I have not experienced many of the things which I could have experienced.

And I would not change a thing.

For starters, I may yet achieve, do, and experience many of those things. I do not know, and frankly I do not much care. I am aware of some of these things, but there is no point dwelling on them longer than a moment or two. (“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34)

The things most cherished in my life are those for which I had to sacrifice. I gave up time, resources, and possessions to help others because I love them.

As James said:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James 2:14-26

Jesus explained that “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” (John 14:21) In Matthew 25:31-46, He explained what this looks like. It is those who put their faith and professed love into action by feeding the hungry, caring for the stranger and needy, and visiting the lonely and imprisoned.

The great thing about our Lord is that He teaches by example. God sent promises throughout the Hebrew scriptures to send a Savior. We were told that “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 1:9, only slightly out of context!) He demonstrated this faithfulness and love through a miraculous birth, preparing others to hear Him by raising up a faithful witness (John, the baptizer), throughout His ministry by doing all of the things He said those who love Him would do, and going to a crucifix to die to take the punishment for our unfaithfulness. A few days later, He even conquered death and the grave by rising again and offering a hope for everlasting life to those who believe in Him. This is the gospel message. This is the good news. This is the good word. This is the truth.

As Paul said:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Philippians 2:5-13

If you truly have faith, you will love others. It is not only commanded, but it is a direct outgrowth of a connection with God. Christians should be the most loving people on the planet. A failure to love is a failure to walk with God. Fortunately, God came to help all of us who fail constantly!

Responses to Christmas: Temple Knights

We have now looked at how Jesus’ parents, the Innkeeper, and some shepherds responded to the birth of Christ. Today, some prayer warriors meet the infant (and this will be longer, because the passage is 20 verses long):

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:21-40

These are two people who have spent the majority of their lives praying. One lived a very righteous life, and the other secluded herself in the Temple to pray continuously.

Simeon “was waiting for the consolation of Israel,” and to see “the Lord’s Christ.” His entire life was about waiting on the Lord – God’s humble servant, if you will. His entire life was dedicated to glorifying God.

Anna went from tragedy – losing her husband relatively early – into a life dedicated to God, 24/7 prayer and fasting. She never left the Temple, so her social life must have been rather limited.

Something fascinating about these two is that the moment they saw the baby Jesus they knew they were looking upon the face of the one who could save Israel and all of humanity. It was instantaneous. Further, this little baby had not even done anything of note (of which they knew, such as the immaculate conception … the virgin conceiving a child without physical interaction with a man), yet Simeon and Anna were ready to die. As Simeon said, “you now dismiss your servant in peace.” He knew he would not die without having seen the Lord’s Christ, and he was content – nay, overjoyed! – to have seen this tiny baby.

Sometimes, when reading this story from Jesus’ infancy, I hear Anna start singing “Let’s Here It for the Boy” when seeing Jesus! Silly, I know, but it at least helps me grasp her excitement!

Do you get excited about the Lord’s Salvation? Can you contain your excitement about all the things God has done and will do? Are you prepared for His Encore, the Second Coming? Are you able to discern His presence? Would you have been able to recognize the child as the Savior of the world? Will you recognize Him when He returns?

We do not necessarily have to hide ourselves away in a temple or monastery to pray 24/7, and we certainly do not have to be perfectly righteous in our own right. Christ took care of that part through His death and resurrection. We do have to be willing servants. I have to be. You have to be.

Seeing Courageous

As I mentioned on Sunday …

YOU NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Courageous is the fourth movie to come out of Sherwood Pictures of Sherwood Baptist Church. It has the theme of men taking a stand as fathers and husbands to raise up strong families and prepare the next generation for life and faithfulness to God.

Four police officers are also close friends. Javier Martinez, a latino struggling to provide for his wife and two children, becomes one of their friends as well. After tragedy strikes one of them, it results in the Resolution: a promise before God and family to everything they can to live godly lives to impact the next generation (to sum it up very poorly).

This movie is full of action, romance, violence, and camaraderie. It will make you laugh, pull at your heart-strings (those jerks!), knock you down emotionally, lift you back up, and encourage and embolden you. It is rated PG-13 for violence (chasing bad guys, a shoot-out, a gang initiation) and drug content (seeing baggies with powder and pills). I would suggest many more mature children can see this movie, but I would also suggest parents use wisdom and see it first to decide for yourself.

Courageous is by far the greatest movie to come out of Sherwood Pictures to date, and it is now one of my favorite movies. (The other three, if you are unaware, are Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof) The Kendrick brothers are great at working the Gospel message into these films, the acting gets better all the time, and they definitely had a larger budget with which to work this time! This movie is sure to punch you in the gut and then dust you off and lift you up. I laughed, laughed until I cried, cried for sorrow, cried for joy, and wanted to cheer and praise by the end of the movie.

I will say it again …

GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

And like I asked last week, see where your heart is and how important God is in your life. This movie will help!

Rediscovering God with Down Here

I had to post about one more thing today:

I got to hear Down Here’s song “Let Me Rediscover You”, and it is pretty sweet.

You might be able to find the video at this link:
http://www.hearitfirst.com/artisthome.aspx?f=artisthome&artist_id=2276&name=downhere

Let Me Rediscover You

Your spirit hovers over my waters
Your love burns longer than the sun
The skies of thunder echo your wonder
Your praises can’t be over-sung

The whole Universe is witness
To only a part of what you’ve done

So let me rediscover you
And breathe in me your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
Oh, let me rediscover you

You see my weakness, my pride, my blindness
You wield your power through them all
Of all the mysteries, still, the greatest to me
Is that you’re faithful when I fall

How can I say I know you
When what I know is still so small?

Let me rediscover you
And breathe in me your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
And let me rediscover you

Let me cry “holy, holy, holy”
(holy, holy, holy)
Let me awaken to your majesty
(waken to your majesty)
And see a glimmer of your glory
Let me abide in you

Let me rediscover you
And by your grace I’ll follow through
Reveal to me the God I thought I knew

Let me rediscover you
And breathe in me your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
And let me rediscover you

Oh, let me rediscover you
Tell me of the God I never knew
Jesus, let me rediscover you.