Friday, September 30, 2016

The Church

Christ’s vision for His church is revealed in Revelation in special and intimate detail.  There are seven churches in Asia identified in Chapter 2, which portray the church through the ages, including now. This is prophetic and apocalyptic or revealing language.  The churches are represented by seven golden lampstands. The church is to be the light in the darkness, but the darkness is coming. For every church there is good news and bad news.

The Church of Ephesus brings the lesson why a church is only as strong as its love for Christ.  This church was dynamic, doing many works, but had lost its first love. Christ tells it to remember, repent and repeat its first works.

Smyrna was the suffering church, teaching us how to have everything when we have nothing. They were poor and persecuted in Rome. Jesus admonishes them to be faithful and fearless. He will reward them in their imprisonment and suffering.

The church of Satan’s City is Pergamos, teaching us how easy it is to have the world enter it. Compromise identified this church as paganism reigned. Yet, they still held fast to His name and doctrine. However, they tolerated evil. Sound familiar to today? He tells the overcomers to separate themselves and clean up the mess.

Thyatira teaches not to tolerate immorality while trying to be faithful. They were loving and patient, but there was the cancer of sexual immorality in the church.  This church represents the middle ages where pagan unholiness mixed with the church.  They were promised to rule and reign and be raptured if they repented and overcame.

In Sardis is found a church that dies. Why? Because it was dead on the inside. They were the church of the “nominal Christian.” They were not being watchful or vigilant. He tells them to be vigorous in faith. They are admonished to be virtuous and repent. The church died from relying on past reputation, and losing track of its own spiritual condition of falling asleep.

Now comes Philadelphia or faithful church. It was the city of “brotherly love,” mentioned seven times. Pure living with right doctrine kept them strong in faith with weakness. This means they knew they needed God to lead them. This brought them big opportunity with an open door to the world around them. This church represented the church here between 1750 and 1925 when we started a spiritual decline.


The last church of Laodicea closed its door in the face of the Lord. It is lukewarm and compromising. It is a time of political correctness and fear of offending anyone. Does this sound familiar? Yes, it is our church today. It is not only compromising, but also conceited. They think they are rich, but they are poor in every way. Pride and arrogance brings judgment. This is a “Christless” church. God is standing at the door and all we need to do is open it and let Him in. But we are nailing the door shut in every way we can to allow all faiths and religions to be equal. We must repent and turn around. We must open the door to the Lord of the church so that He might give His true riches to us.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Counselor


Jesus is described in Isaiah 9:6 as “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”  God is alive and well in the Spirit of Christ among us. He is abiding with us and in us, Immanuel. “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me” (Psalm 16:7).  In Psalm 73:24 we read, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you take me into glory.”  God is our Holy Counselor and we must listen and heed Him first and continually, with thanksgiving on our lips.

Jehoshaphat King of Judah, when speaking to the King of Israel regarding war said, “First seek the counsel of the Lord” (1 Kings 22:5). Good advice. People speak from emotions and intellect. Listen to God when Job tries to tell Him how to run the world, “who is this that darkens my counsel with words, without knowledge?” (Job 38:2). The Psalmist says, “Do not walk in the counsel of the wicked”  (Psalm 1:2).  Solomon in Proverbs teaches that, “Plans fail because of the lack of counsel” (Proverbs 15:22).  He is telling us as Isaiah the Prophet does, “All this comes from the Lord Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29). In fact all of Wisdom literature in the Bible, Job, Psalms, Proverb, and Ecclesiastes, tell us “that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs (9:7).

Jesus tells His disciples before He ascends to heaven that, “He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of Truth…This same Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send you will teach you all things” (John 14:16, 17,26).  He said, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me” (John 15:26).   Jesus tells them that unless He goes that the Counselor will not come, but when He does, He “Will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment in regard to sin” (John 16:7). Aren’t you glad that God sent this Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to not only be with you, but to be in you?


We must seek counsel from the Lord and pray before doing anything. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and gives us life-sustaining counsel.  If you do anything in His name, you will be safe.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”  (James 1:5).

Are you lacking wisdom on how to persevere and stand under the trial? I certainly am. I am glad that God gives generously without finding fault. I want to seek him first in trials. However, there is a conditional statement that goes with this promise of God. “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:6-7).  This is pretty strong language, but not asking in faith is not asking at all. How often do you ask for something and you are just not sure about it?  I work in a hospital where there are people in health crises.  Often I hear people say when asked about their hope and God’s healing presence, the answer is, “I hope so.”  This is not spoken in faith but doubt. The Hope we have as believers, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19). Our anchor holds even when we slip. God’s timing and ways may not be ours, but like His word, “It will not return to me empty (void), but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

Proverbs 1:9 tells us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Fear is respect and trust in Him and His Word. He is able do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine Ephesians 3:20 tells us.  Trust that He hears and He answers our prayers. I will end with a great doxology of trust and faith from Jude 24.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore, Amen.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

In the Middle of The Night

“In the middle of the night,” is a thought that congers up fear and sleeplessness. It might bring regrets and sweats and move to turn on the light. I suggest that the latter is the real solution. “God is light and in Him there is no darkness” (1John 1:5).
Job was a troubled man brought down by Satan with God’s OK. The onslaught was to teach us all who is in control. “Who gives songs in the night?” (Job 35:10). God gives songs in the night. This was the title of one of my favorite late night Christian radio shows.  Beautiful and meditative music played, along with Scripture reading by the renowned baritone voice of Bill Pierce.

The Psalmist reminds us, “On his law I meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). God’s word never returns void, it always accomplishes its purpose Isaiah 55:11 reminds us.  Psalm 91:5 tells us “You will fear the terror of night.” Isaiah teaches that, ”He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing” (Isaiah 5:10-11).

In speaking of heaven, John the “Revelator” says, “the city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there” (Revelation 21:23-25). 

Cast Your Cares, is a gospel song by Tim Timmons with staying power (In The Middle Of The Night Lyrics - Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics
In the middle of the night
When worry finds me
In the middle of the fight
When strength is gone
In the middle of a fire
When fear is closing in
You are, you are my song
You’re my hope when hope is gone

So, I will cast my cares on you the almighty
I will cast my cares cause you are good
I will cast my cares on you cause you love me
You love me
Oh, oh because you love me

Oh, Oh
Oh, Oh, oh

In the middle of the night
When worry finds me
In the middle of the fight
When strength is gone
In the middle of a fire
When fear is closing in
You are, you are my song
You’re my hope when hope is gone

So, I will cast my cares on you the almighty
I will cast my cares cause you are good
I will cast my cares on you cause you love me
You love me
Oh, Oh, because you love me
Oh, Oh, because you love me

God of glory
You are able
Through your power
To be faithful
God of mercy
Every moment
You are near to me (2x)

So, I will cast my cares on you the almighty
I will cast my cares cause you are good
I will cast my cares on you cause you love me
You love me
Oh, Oh, Oh because you love me
Oh, Oh, Oh because you love me

So in the middle of the night
I will pray with confidence
In a middle of a fight
You are greater still
In a middle of a fire
You’re love is holding me
You are, you are my song
You’re my hope when hope is gone.
Place in body part

Place in body part

Yes, god is our confidence in the middle of the night, because He loves us. Cast your cares on Him when you wake in the middle of the night.