Sunday, April 26, 2020

Righteous, Dude!

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” – Romans 1:16-18

I believe there’s a connotation attached to the word Righteous that, at least in my heart, makes me feel unworthy to call myself righteous.  That connotation came about through the slang meaning of the word.  Merriam Webster puts it perfectly saying:

“Righteous is an old word living a double life: a marker of moral goodness, and undercover slang for "excellent." ... According to our evidence, righteous did not start out as a surfer term of the 1980’s, as many people assume.

In my head I can still hear the secretary telling the principle on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that Ferris “is a righteous dude!”.  I can also hear Wayne and Garth saying it was “totally righteous!” and talking about “righteous babes”. 

I’m disqualifying their meaning of the word and suggesting we Christians take it back!  Righteousness is a gift from God through Jesus Christ! It’s something to be proud of.  Yet with the meaning of it being so twisted to mean so many things, it’s hard to put it on and wear it. I mean, what will people thing if I tell them I’m righteous? Eh? The meaning of the word has been suppressed, just as Romans 1:18 states.

Why care so much about a word?  Because that word represents a lot of power, and many gifts!

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” – Romans 5:19

(Warning: I’m about to use the word BLOOD.  Don’t cop out on me when I use the word.  I know some folks see it as gross, and disgusting.  You just have to see it for what it is and you’ll love it. The BLOOD of Jesus was who He was in God, just as your DNA proves who you are and it’s in your blood.  He was God’s son, and the BLOOD proved it.)

By Jesus’ obedience to the cross, to shed His blood (there it is!) and His life for us, we were given the hope of attaining righteousness.  And yes, even being covered in righteousness!  When God looks upon me, He does not see the person I used to be.  He sees a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)  He sees the blood of Christ as my sin covering. (You’d have to study the old sacrifices to fully get why this is important.)

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” – Isaiah 61:10

And because of that covering, we resemble the Lord Jesus Christ! It makes us different in the eyes of God!  We are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” as stated in 1 Peter 2:9.

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:12

But even in that we should still be humble!  Our righteousness is NOTHING we can brag about ourselves, and I think that’s where the difference in the slang use of the word and the Christian use of the word lies.  We have it as a gift – given freely – never earned.  I’m not a righteous dudette because of something I did or the way I comb my hair or how I dress! 

For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. – Ephesians 2:7-9

The Bible talks of Gentiles and Israelites.  The Gentiles didn’t try to attain righteousness on their own, but the Israelites did.  They tried to keep 613 laws throughout their entire life.  But God’s word says they STILL did not attain righteousness.

“What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;  but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.  As it is written:  “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”- Romans 9:30-33

Now picture a world where God would give us righteousness because of our good works, our kindness, our gentleness, our love for others, our clean language.  Exactly how much righteousness could you have compared to someone else?  Would God give the same to you as He gave to the most corrupt person you know?  What would be the scale for earning righteousness?  Does 10 good works a year give you 10% righteousness?  

You see, the belief that the righteousness of God can be earned is flawed.  There’s no program to get you there.  There’s no diploma of righteousness to earn – or anyone worthy enough to give it on this earth!  Even with the 613 Levitical laws, no one attained it!

God grants us faith as a gift.  We can choose to believe in Jesus – or not.  That’s the free will He gave us that prevents us from being slaves to Christianity.  We become His children through faith, and our own free will to accept Jesus.  God does not want slaves – He want’s children.  And through faith we become as children to Him. (Again, remember the BLOOD makes you children!) And THAT and that alone makes us righteous.

What’s the big deal with righteousness?  For me it’s in one verse.  This one:

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availmuch.” - James 5:16

To be found righteous in God’s eyes, God who looks on the heart, you have an open portal to the maker and keeper of all things on this earth and beyond.  You have an open line to the God of the universe, the God of peace and understanding and all wisdom.  I dare say, I would not last a day without Him.  But, even if I didn’t last another day here with Him, I have eternity WITH Him.  Can you top that?  Nope! Righteousness is righteous, dude!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Sin - The Repercussions

“So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this [a]shall surely die!  And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.  I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!  Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. – 2 Samuel 12:5-9

2 Samuel 12 begins with the Prophet Nathan coming to David.  He was sent by God to talk to David about the repercussions of his sin.  David had taken the wife of Uriah in adultery while Uriah was at war, and then caused the death of Uriah and several others by having him killed at war.

Reading this passage this morning, God spoke to me about what He truly hated about this act.  It’s the same thing I believe He hates about every sin.  This sin hurt someone innocent.

Notice that even in David’s reply to Nathan, David sees the sin in the heart as “he had no pity”.  David didn’t recite a law not to kill another man’s sheep, but directed attention to the root cause.

Jesus spoke in Mathew 22:37-40 about the greatest commandments of all.  They’re not actions that God hates, such as adultery.  It’s the effect they have on others.  The passage reads: “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

These two commandments were the basis of all 613 laws given in the Old Testament, meaning if you follow these two – you won’t break the others.  At the core of both are one thing – LOVE.  Love is from the heart, and God looks upon the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Without love, you can do some terrible things, things that hurt those around you!  But with Love, the kind of love God demands from us, we can only do good by others. 

Friends, if God looks upon our hearts, shouldn’t we carefully examine the love we have for others?  Our lives are happier when we live as God has asked us to, instead of dealing with the repercussions our sins can create.

What was David’s repercussions into his own life?  The child born out of that adulterous night died.  God promised that “the sword would never depart” from David’s family.  Murder plagued David’s ancestry. His many wives were taken by other men – just as David had taken Bathsheba – and not secretly has he had done but in broad daylight.  Enemies were raised against his house.  It’s and eye-for-an-eye kind of punishment David received. 

What would eye-for-an-eye punishment be like in our own lives?  Think about that for a while.  Meditate on it.  If that troubles you, ask forgiveness from those you harmed and from God.  God is ready and waiting to offer mercy and forgiveness.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

“…but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Power of Self-Control

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control“ - Galatians 5:22

I am truly stubborn.  I don’t say that out of pride, but humility.  I’m stubborn in the worst way – the strong-willed child of God way.  I know to do good, and don’t do it.  What I often do is let my inner me overcome the me I want to be.

This morning I was reading in Judges how the Israelites moved into the Promised Land, and within one generation they turned to idols, and forsake God.  I sat here thinking, “How could they? What was it they saw in these idols that God did not give them?”  The answer was immediate. 

Rebellion feels good.  Admit it – that’s why most of us were troublesome in our teen years.  Even now, those tiny things we hide are our pleasures.  Sneaking the piece of chocolate while we diet. Taking a break from social media but checking it anyway.  Telling a lie just for the sake of telling it.  We love to rebel. It’s in our nature.

Jesus warned us that our will would get in the way of our work for Him.  Matthew 26:41 he said, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  The spirit He speaks of is with a small “s” – meaning our spirit – not the Holy Spirit.  While we’re willing to do good, our flesh is so very weak and inclined to sin.

There’s a battle raging inside every child of God.  It’s the battle of wills – God’s will for you, or your own will.  Paul describes it in detail in Romans 7:15-25 (NLT):
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.  But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.   And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.] I want to do what is right, but I can’t.  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.   I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart.  But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?  Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

I know that’s a brain twister when we first read it with 10 Do’s and 5 Don’ts, but Paul explains the battle inside so well!  The condensed version is this:  Yes, there’s a battle of wills inside us. But through the Holy Spirit given by Jesus Christ at salvation, we can be free from the chains of sin. That Holy Spirit gives us a fruit called self-control.  Self-control is our weapon against temptations. 

I used to pray that God would give me more love, the first fruit of the Spirit. But now I realize that if I have self-control, I can become a fruity Christian!  I am able to love when my nature wants to hate, make peace when I indeed want to lash out, be longsuffering instead of spiteful and grudgeful, be kind (even at Wal-Mart!), show good to others, be faithful to my God’s will, be gentle instead of rambunctious like a bull in a china store!  With self-control, I can be obedient to God’s will.

Lord, grant us an abundance of self-control! Holy Spirit remind us with that internal nudge when we are going off track that we have control – we just have to surrender, and choose to do what is right.  Remind us of the blessings, the fruits that can be born from our obedience in our lives.  And Father, thank you for your undying love and patience. Amen.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Receiving the Counsel of God

Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord." – Joshua 9:14

Joshua and the Israelites had defeated many of their neighbors as they moved into the Promised Land.  This caused fear to rise among all the nations that remained.  They had heard of the power of God, how the Jordan River was heaped up to stand while they all walked across on dry land.  They had heard how they defeated mighty armies and burned Jericho.

In a scheme to try to befriend them, men from Gibeon disguised themselves as travelers from far away.  They work old torn clothes, carried moldy bread and torn wineskins, and broken sandals to appear as if they’d travelled very far.  They spoke to Joshua and stated they had heard the work of God and how He delivered the Israelites and wanted to make a treaty with them.  They asked to be their servants, trying to find a peace treaty with Israel.  Yet, the Gibeonites were an idolatrous nation, a very large nation, and God had asked them to tear down all idolatry. 

What happens next changed the course of history.  Without seeking God’s wisdom, which knew the scheme these men had created, Joshua made the treaty with them.  Only days later as others in the camp had searched out the lands around them, they discovered these men were liars.  After swearing to them by the Lord God of Israel, there was no turning back on the treaty.  This treaty ended up putting the Israelites at war with the Amorites trying to protect Gibeon.

Friends, our God knows the future as history.  He knows every lie told, every obstacle in our future path.  Nothing in this life is more important that asking God for His will in our day to day decisions.  This is where the men of Israel messed up with Gibeon – “but they did not ask counsel of the Lord”. 

Let us never forget the great wealth of information God has regarding our lives.  He knows our life, our relationships, our health, our wealth, our past, our future, and more.  Let us never fail to ask Him to deliver us from the lies of mankind and the obstacles He already has seen.  When we make our own choices based on what we believe to be true, we risk more than we are aware. Our loving Father is just a prayer away. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

What Happened In Heaven The Day Jesus was Born

“For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  That is why, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said to God,
“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer.  You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin.  Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”
First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses).  Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect.  For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. – Hebrews 10:4-10

I’ve thought many times about how it must have saddened the angels when Jesus left Heaven to become a man.  With the many prophecies He would fulfill having already been written, His fate here was never a question.  I somehow pictured it as being like a son leaving for war, with all around Him crying.  It wasn’t until yesterday that my pastor led us to this passage in Hebrews that I saw exactly what was on Jesus’ heart when He was obedient to His calling, and left Heaven for us.
“Look, I have come to do your will”.  That’s the obedience of Christ to God’s prophecies.  He knew the animal sacrifices were not taking away our sins but providing payment for a debt with no end.  He knew that God was not pleased by our many burnt offerings, nor by our sin which just grew worse over time. 
“But you gave me a body to offer” Jesus said.  Jesus, the Heavenly Son of God, was given a body and born of a virgin just as the prophecies said He would be.  Born in Bethlehem, just as the prophecies said He would be.  Born in the lineage of King David, just as the prophecies said He would.  Born to a virgin, just as the prophecies said he would. 

It is blood that gives us life – both physical life, and new life in Christ.  And it was blood that took away our sins, even in the years of burnt offerings.  But the blood of Jesus, Son of God, was a unique tribute to be paid for our sins.  Unlike the blood of animals, Jesus’ blood was Holy, undefiled, God’s own blood.
the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7
and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” – Colossians 1:20
“And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [Christ] and by the word of their testimony” – Revelation 12:11
Jesus’ obedience to come to earth as our savior was anchored in His will to please God.  What was that will?  For us to be made “holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”  The perpetual debt for our sins was paid with the shed blood of God’s son on the cross.  Nothing else would do.  Nothing else could pay the full price.  It had to be the blood of the Son of God and Son of Man.  Through Him we are ‘reconciled’, which means restored relationship, coexisting in harmony.  Ephesians 2:14 says the Jesus is our peace because He broke down the wall sin built between us and our Holy God.
So my question to you is a simple one.  Are you willing to be obedient to Christ?  To overcome, you have to put faith in Jesus as the Son of God and  ask God for salvation. He never says no!  You’re never too bad or too old or too anything.  God’s answer is always YES to those that want to become His children because His love for us is that strong! It’s not based on what we’ve done, but on the fact that His Love trumps all sin!  Revelations says we overcome Satan by Christ’s blood and our Testimony.  That Testimony is simply not hiding the fact that you’ve accepted Jesus as your sacrifice and Lord.  Romans 10:9 says it all:  if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow’ – Isaiah 1:18

When you think of that baby in a manger, take your thoughts to the fact that His love was greater than His fear of death. His love for you was greater than His love for Heaven. His love for you was enough to change History, and integrate Holiness with Humanness.
Be at Peace my friends! We have a friend in Jesus, God's obedient son.

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Fear Factor .vs. The God Factor

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”  And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.” – Numbers 13:31-32

God sure knows how to get my attention! Laying in bed this morning saying my prayers over this day I became anxious about the work I must do this week.  I’m learning a new software development environment, a new language of coding that is about 40% like the old, and I just feel overwhelmed at times.  I can’t see the standard code I’m attaching my modifications to, and we have no data to look at.  It’s like getting dressed in the dark!

But God spoke.  “Be anxious for nothing, for God is with me.” That’s my mantra for this day, and this fear.  Yes, fear.  That’s all it is.  We all go through a trials not knowing the outcome.  We all know how that fear can weigh us down, and yes, it can indeed cause us to fail, or freeze in place to avoid failure.

In my morning reading I came to the chapters in Numbers where the Israelites, roaming from camp to camp in the wilderness had come to the promised land.  They had travelled many miles for this.  They’d walked through the dry red sea for this.  And my oh my, was it worth it!  When God sent spies into the land to size up it’s people and it’s growth and wealth, two mean came back with a cluster of grapes.  But – they had to carry it on a pole between them! ONE cluster of grapes.  Truly the land was “flowing with milk and honey” meaning it had luxurious growth form fertile ground to provide all they needed.

But there was one thing they saw that caused them fear.  The descendants of the Anak, which were giants.  Yes, true giants.  They were over nine feet tall and BIG!

Fearing for their lives, when they returned to camp the spies discredited the land to avoid war with the giants. They said the land devours its inhabitants, and that they were like grasshoppers to the giants that lived there. 

And then of course, as we all do when we’re faced with an obstacle, they turned to ask the question: Why has God put us in this place?  We all wonder the will of God when we’re challenged, when we’re afraid of the future. 

When Joshua and Caleb began to tell the truth, that the land was wonderful and that God would bring them through it because He delights in His people. 

You would think that would be comforting, but instead of relaxing into the idea of a land of plenty, they wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb!

The problem isn’t that they were afraid.  Fear is a natural emotion given to us to help us avoid danger.  But that same natural emotion can cause us to be less than God designed.  When we face our fears without adding God to the equation, we will always come up short.  Friends, we were not meant to go through this life alone!  That is why Jesus left us a comforter, a guide, His Holy Spirit! 

Fear is a two-sided coin.  It can prevent you from entering danger, but it can alos freeze you in your tracks and make you less than God intends. 

Consider the God Factor.  With God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27), but apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  Friends, unless you put your fears in God’s hands, and trust Him to walk you through this life, your fears and anxieties win out.  Ah, satan loves when we allow him to win by turning our thoughts to fear instead of God’s bottomless well of control over our lives. 

I know you’ve all heard it before, but it stands as a fact that needs to be recognized.  God’s Word says “Fear Not” 365 times.  Not 366, not 380, but once for every day of YOUR life.  Coincidence?  Oh honey, never is there a coincidence with God.  All things are done with purpose!   Fear NOT.  Trust God. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

About Those Hypocrites That Keep You from Church

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5

The Preacher when to see Farmer Brown one day, and said to him, “I want to buy a pig.”  So the farmer took him to the pigs and they began to look them over.  Farmer Brown pointed out the big fat pigs, and named their prices. 

But the Preacher said, “How much for that skinny runt there in the back?” and pointed to a pig so thin you could see the bones of his ribs!  Farmer Brown looked at the preacher and said, “Preacher, you don’t want that one! Look at him! You wouldn’t be able to get a good slab of bacon off him!  I need to work on him and fatten him up!  I’ve got much better pigs.” 

The Preacher said, “No, that’s the one I want.  How much?”  Farmer Brown looked shocked, and said “Preacher, what on earth do you want that one for?”  And he said, “I’m going to load him into the back of my pick-up and ride him through town and tell everybody that’s the kind of pigs you have! 

Farmer Brown said, “Well why would you want to do something like that?  You know that’s not true! That’s just one bad pig!”  And the Pastor said, “Isn’t that what you did?  I’ve got a few hypocrites in church that are working on getting right with God, but they’re not there yet.  And yet you stop going to church and tell everyone in town about the hypocrites!”

I must thank my pastor for that story.  He shared it just yesterday.  I’ve been on all sides of the hypocrite issue.  I’ve been one, I’ve hated the others, I’ve changed churches to avoid them, and I’ve stayed out of church because of them.  In 56 years of serving God, I’ve danced this dance to all the tunes!  So, when I tell you what I’m about to say, understand that what I’m saying comes from the wisdom God gave me in the struggles.

First, read that passage at the top of this blog.  None of us are without sin.  None of us can judge another.  And with the knowledge that our judgement will come back to us on Judgement Day, who would want to judge! 

Secondly, most pig farmers do have a few runts, and most churches have a few hypocrites.  Church isn’t for the perfected, it’s for the ones who desire to be closer to God.  Would you go to a doctors office and say “ewe! I can’t be here with all these sick people!” or would you stay and get a cure for your own disease?  Think about it.

When we make worship about the people instead of about God, satan wins, and the body of Christ is once again, split.  Don’t be that lame limb that is laying out of church on Sunday.  The Body of Christ needs you to be active, growing, thriving.  We all help each other become stronger.  Instead of looking at the hypocrite (those that are struggling to live up to who they should be) in disdain, consider how you might help God to change them.  Sometimes it’s just your life played out before them as a servant. 

And to any and all that I’ve let down through my sins, I apologize, and ask you not to look to me for holiness, but to God.  I’m a work still under construction, clay that must be molded and modeled by my Father.  But I don’t give up on Him and He certainly will not give up on me.   Don’t you give up on me either.  Much Love!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Serve Faithfully – Live Blamelessly

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life." - Genesis 17:1 (NLT)

Sometimes reading a different translation of the Bible can open your eyes to a new meaning of a passage.  I always accompany that difference with a quick study of the words used in Strong’s Concordance, which gives the meaning of the words in the verse, translated from the original Greek or Hebrew.  I would not recommend anyone to blindly read a translation of the Bible without backing it up with Strong’s.  I do know that many newer translations are created by groups of people who want to promote their denomination or way of thinking.  To follow God, we need to omit man’s thoughts and opinions.

The same verse reads as follows from the King James Version:
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect."

The rules given are simple, are they not?

I reviewed Strong’s to find the meaning of “walk before me”.  It is to walk with, using the same Hebrew word (H1980 halak) as used when God’s word says that Enoch and Noah walked with God.  It is to walk in favor, to not turn from side to side, but to stay with.  I remember trying to walk with my kids when they were little and holding their hands.  If they wanted to go somewhere that I wasn’t going, there was a tiny struggle.  I had to pull them back into where I wanted us to go.  Walking with God is a journey without a struggle.

Next I reviewed the word used for Blameless and Perfect.  Can man truly be perfect?  Can we give up the struggle of sin? 

The word used is tamiym, a Hebrew word (H8549) which means without blemish, perfect, upright, without spot, uprightly, whole, sincerely, complete, full.

The Bible calls Noah perfect in Genesis 6:9, and Job in Job 12:4, so it can be done!  Man CAN walk in a way that God sees as perfect.

Serving God faithfully and living blamelessly come down not to our abilities, but a decision we must make.  God does not require anything impossible for us.  Though both are indeed so rare that we would assume they are impossible, they are not!
God’s reward to those that will walk with him and choose to be blameless are endless!

Psalms 84:11 uses the same Hebrew word tamiym when it says:

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

It all does come down to a decision.  We either decide to be faithful and blameless, or in the absence of a decision, we are not.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Consecration to God

“Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and wash them with water.  You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest.” – Exodus 40:12-13

When I first read of God telling Moses they would wash Aaron and his sons, I thought it was more of a purification process than anything else.  This morning though as I read of them doing what God says in Exodus 40:12, I see it differently.  Verse 13 mentions Aaron’s consecration to God. 

Consecration is to “make or declare sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose”, which is what baptism is all about.  It’s making a public statement that you are dedicating yourself to the ways of God and have decided to follow Jesus. 

In Matthew 3, we read of John the Baptist (not his religion, but his occupation) baptizing believers.  Then Jesus comes to him to be baptized himself, and says in verse 15, “for thus is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”.  In doing so, Jesus represents the High Priest office, as Aaron had held. Aaron, in the office of High Priest, was the one to offer sacrifices and make atonement of our sins in the tabernacle.  But with Christ, the Son of God, the office of High Priest was to be taken by Him. This washing of water was an ordinance given like that given to Aaron and his sons to be washed.  

By being baptized, we present ourselves to God, and to our High Priest Jesus Christ We consecrate ourselves through this act of obedience to God, declaring our belief in Jesus Christ, and formally stating that we are God’s for a divine purpose.
There’s an old song called “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”.  The words summarize the meaning of baptism better than I ever could.  In summary it says:

I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Tho' none go with me, I still will follow,
No turning back, no turning back.
My cross I'll carry, till I see Jesus;
No turning back, No turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16