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And we Wonder Why?

There have been times in my life that I, too, have wondered why God allows some things to happen. I have come to understand more as I have raised children and watched them grow to be their own persons, like myself, they all must learn by making their own choices. Many of us older saints know what it feels like to see our grown children and other family members stray toward the pleasures of this world and sometimes shun us because of our hard-earned, strongly held, Biblical beliefs and lifestyles. And just as we ignored our parents when they tried to share the whys for not becoming such close friends with this evil world, they ignore our warnings. Sadly, too many of us must find out for ourselves I guess.

I have come to the conclusion that all I need do is continue to work on me and pray for God’s work in the lives of my loved ones, as I do my best to be a better example than I may have been in the past and love them and pray for them no matter what. God’s timing is always perfect!

There is a gospel song that I have been hearing for some time now that brings me to tears every time I hear it. Tears as I remember some of those times in my life when I have asked God to leave, and tears as I watch others do the same. I thank God for leading the writer and I thank the writer for obeying God. My heart aches for God and how He must feel since our country, even some of His children, have ‘asked Him to leave.’ Over the history of this world we see where God’s children have time and time again chosen this world over Him and He always steps back and lets us face our own consequences for doing so. Usually they are very dire consequences, sadly.

You Asked Him to Leave

by Wilburn and Wilburn

 

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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in God's Love

 

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The Seed of Hope in the Promises of God

As we take a look at just a few of the very many promises God gives us in His Word, I am led to share a few words on the subject. The Bible is filled with the precious promises of God to His children. In fact, there are as many as 30,000 different promises recorded in Scripture. They are simple and sure! Because of who God is, His Word can be trusted!

A promise is the pledge to another to fulfill a specified act. Scripture memorializes God’s promises: by God to His children in John 14:13 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”, by God to Jesus in John 13:3-5 “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.”, by one individual to another in Nehemiah 5:12 “Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.”, and by a believer to God in Ecclesiastes 5:4-10 “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God. If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” Christians are invited to claim God’s promises related to forgiveness, heaven, the Holy Spirit, answered prayer, guidance, comfort, and protection.

While the promises of God are given to all believers, they do carry a few stipulations, and rightfully so! God’s children must humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s will, and turn from evil in order to receive God’s promises – 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Oh how our country so needs to go to their knees and claim this promise! The fulfillment of God’s promises is directly related to the obedient responses of God’s children. There is great hope in the promises of God!

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2016 in God's Love

 

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The King of Glory

Temple Priests’ Prayer for Sundays

Psalm 24

1 The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

Verses 1-6 We ourselves are not our own; our bodies, our souls, are not. Even those of the children of men are God’s, who know him not, nor own their relation to him. A soul that knows and considers its own nature, and that it must live for ever, when it has viewed the earth and the fulness thereof, will sit down unsatisfied. It will think of ascending toward God, and will ask, What shall I do, that I may abide in that happy, holy place, where he makes his people holy and happy? We make nothing of religion, if we do not make heart-work of it. We can only be cleansed from our sins, and renewed unto holiness, by the blood of Christ and the washing of the Holy Ghost. Thus we become his people; thus we receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of our salvation. God’s peculiar people shall be made truly and for ever happy. Where God gives righteousness, he designs salvation. Those that are made meet for heaven, shall be brought safe to heaven, and will find what they have been seeking.

Verses 7-10 The splendid entry here described, refers to the solemn bringing in of the ark into the tent David pitched for it, or the temple Solomon built for it. We may also apply it to the ascension of Christ into heaven, and the welcome given to him there. Our Redeemer found the gates of heaven shut, but having by his blood made atonement for sin, as one having authority, he demanded entrance. The angels were to worship him, Hebrews 1:6: they ask with wonder, Who is he? It is answered, that he is strong and mighty; mighty in battle to save his people, and to subdue his and their enemies. We may apply it to Christ’s entrance into the souls of men by his word and Spirit, that they may be his temples. Behold, he stands at the door, and knocks, 3:20. The gates and doors of the heart are to be opened to him, as possession is delivered to the rightful owner. We may apply it to his second coming with glorious power. Lord, open the everlasting door of our souls by thy grace, that we may now receive thee, and be wholly thine; and that, at length, we may be numbered with thy saints in glory.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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“Rhoda, Fragrant Rose”

Acts 12:13-16

13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

So, God sent His angel to free Peter from prison, and I must say I am always awestruck when I read the part that Peter slept soundly while in chains between two soldiers. What strong faith he must have had. As I read that the angel of the Lord “…smote Peter on the side, and raised him up…” I can’t help but think, “How could he be sleeping through this so soundly that the angel had to smack him on the side and say wake up, let’s go.” I am not sure if I could have such strong faith in such dire circumstances, but I digress. 😉

We see in the above Scripture that Peter went straight to the house of Mary and knocked on the door and the damsel Rhoda (whose name means rose) came to answer his knock. I can so relate to Rhoda. In her great excitement that Peter was outside the house, she forgot to open and let him in. I can see myself doing the exact same thing, “Oh, Peter, it’s you!” Shut the door and run to tell everyone, “Our prayers are answered. Praise God! Peter is at the door!” I, too, would be so elated that God had so quickly answered our prayers and that Peter was safe, I must run and tell everyone! I like to imagine God smiling down and chuckling at Rhoda’s reaction. Well, they thought she had lost her mind, and they even said maybe what she saw was his angel – it was a common Jewish belief that every Israelite was given a special guardian angel who looked like him. There they were praying constantly, crying out to God, all in one accord, for God to intervene. Yet when they were told that He had answered their prayers, they did not believe? Ahh, our humanity… Peter continued to knock and they finally opened the door and were astonished, at first. I am sure as they welcomed him in and listened to him recount how God delivered him from the jail, they praised and thanked our great YAHWEH.

Rhoda lived about 43 A.D. during the first Christian persecution of Herod Agrippa, the grandson of the infamous Herod the Great (Matthew 2). She was the maid of John Mark’s mother Mary, in whose home the small congregation in Jerusalem often gathered to pray. On this night, they had prayed long past midnight for the release of Peter from prison. Since James, the brother of John, had already been put to death, the young church feared the same fate for Peter. While they were passionately praying, Rhoda heard a knock at the gate and ran to the door. She immediately recognized Peter’s voice when he spoke to her. But, as we see above, in her excitement, she forgot to open the door. She left Peter standing outside the closed gate. She ran, bolting into the room and interrupted those praying, and with great excitement she announced that Peter was standing at the door. Rhoda never doubted whose voice she had heard. She was terribly excited but not surprised that God had heard their pleas. Unlike the others, who had to open the door and see Peter with their own eyes, Rhoda had faith great enough to know that God would answer their prayers, even in the most unexpected way. The mundane tasks assigned to her as a household servant did not keep her from experiencing the joys of being a part of kingdom business through her genuine, believing faith.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in God's Love

 

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Enter Evil

Illuminated parchment, Spain, circa AD 950-955...

 

Okay, we know how God created Eve out of Adam’s side and placed her in the beautiful garden paradise to be Adam’s help meet. Everything was provided for them and they walked and talked with God daily. They were pure and innocent until – Enter Evil!!

This entry will show the character of the serpent and what he may have looked like, and the consequences he and Adam and Eve would face because of their actions. It will include the first time God commanded wives to submit to their husbands. I will also give suggestions as to how Eve could have done differently, and how we can avoid giving in to temptations today. Let’s have some fun and do a little imagining as well.

Genesis 3:1-3 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3. but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it (note for later), lest ye die.”

I believe the snakes in the Garden were very beautiful to look upon before God cursed them. Do you really think that Eve would have stopped to talk with a slithering, hissing snake as we see them today? I also believe that he had legs giving him the ability to walk around instead of sliding along on his belly. Envision with me, if you will, that crafty creature leaning on one elbow against a tree, his feet crossed, with his tail waving hypnotically from side to side as he entices the first woman.

“Hey there Eve,” His words rolled smoothly off his forked tongue. “Why don’t you stop in the shade of this tree and chat for a while? You’ve got nothing better to do. By the way, did you know that God lied to you when he said you would surely die if you eat from that tree over there? He knows that if you eat that fruit ‘your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil'” (Genesis 3:4, 5)

Remember, he was the most subtil of all the beasts the Lord had made. The Hebrew word for “subtil” is aruwm (aw-room) which means cunning (usually in a bad sense), prudent, and crafty. Satan’s single goal on this earth is to tempt us away from God. He uses his cunning nature to suggest doubts in our minds. He got Eve to doubt God’s goodness. He, ever so slyly, hinted that God was stingy and selfish because he did not want Adam and Eve to share in his knowledge of good and evil.

Now imagine what Eve’s response might have been, “Hmmm, you know, not only did he say we must not eat of that tree, but he said we are not to even touch it. How dare he keep such a lovely fruit from us? How could he deny us to be just like him? It is just not fair.”

Eve took that evil deceiver’s bait, hook line and sinker. Feeling cheated by God, she told her first lie! As I noted in the verses above, she added that God said they were not to touch the tree. This is what God actually said in Genesis 2:16, 17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17. but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” I do not see anything there about them not touching the tree.

Oh, I just had an epiphany! Maybe when Adam told Eve what God said, he added, “Do not even touch that tree!” because he already knew the woman well enough to know that her curiosity might get the best of her, so he wanted to scare her into obeying. Hmmm. Okay, it is just a joke!

Moving along, Eve was tempted and gave in, and she gave Adam of the fruit and he did eat. He must have thought, “she ate it and she is still alive, so what could it hurt?” We know what happened next. Their eyes were opened and they were ashamed and hid themselves from God when he came looking for them. I am sure God already knew what they had done and why they were hiding, but they needed to come to God and be held accountable.

When God confronted Adam he blamed Eve, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Genesis 3:12) God turned to Eve and asked, “What is this that thou hast done?” She blamed the snake, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat”. (Genesis 3:13) It is very easy to justify our sin by pointing to someone else, but God knows the truth.

Because of his perfect moral character, God had to respond by punishing the guilty parties. He dealt first with the snake: Genesis 3:14, 15 says, “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: 15. 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.” I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to the “enmity between thee and the woman” part. I hate snakes.

Eve was next: Genesis 3:16 “”Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Hebrew for sorrow used here, “thy sorrow and thy conception” is itstsabown (its-tsaw-bone’) meaning worrisomeness, i.e. labor or pain.

For “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” the Hebrew word is etseb (eh’-tseb) – toil; pang; labour; grievous. I gave birth to both of my girls naturally, and I can totally say, that my labor was all of those things. I must interject that God is very kind in that as soon as the labor was over, so was the pain. I was immediately in awe with the precious gift of life that I was blessed with each time.

The first time that God put woman under submission to man: “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee”. I used to think that this meant that woman would desire her husband, but there is much more to it than that. The word desire used here in Hebrew: tshuwqah (tesh-oo-raw) – stretching out after; a longing, from the original word shuwq (shook) – to run after or over; overflow. Woman will have a desire to run over her husband, but he will rule over (have dominion over; reign over) her.

SIDE NOTE: Saying that husbands shall rule over their wives in no way means that gives husbands the right to abuse their wives in any way.

I believe Ephesians 5:22-33 explains God’s plan for the husband/wife relationship best:

“22. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 . For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

“25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26. that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. 27. that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30. for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”

“31. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and the two shall be one flesh. 32. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33. Neverthless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

The word Submission is often misunderstood. It does not mean being trampled on like a doormat. Christ submitted his will to his Father. When we follow Jesus’ example, we are honoring him. As we submit to God, we become more willing to obey his command to submit to others. In the marriage relationship, both husband and wife are called to submit. The wife willingly follows her husband’s leadership in Christ. The husband puts aside his own interests in order to care for his wife.

Submission is usually not a challenge in homes where both spouses have a strong relationship with Jesus, and they are both concerned for each others’ happiness.

I believe it is now time to see how God chastised Adam for his part in this fall from grace. Genesis 3:17-19 “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18. thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19. in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Wow. What more can I say?

Eve should have literally run from that serpent in the garden instead of taking up a conversation with him. In giving him her attention, she allowed herself to be led astray, and she forgot about all that God had given her. She began to focus on what he had forbidden instead of being thankful for his blessings. When we start to dwell on what God does not let us have, that is when we get into trouble. Instead, we must think of the many blessings and promises he has given us and be thankful for them.

Paul gave some great advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore. 17. Pray without ceasing. 18. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in God's Love

 

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