The Word

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Every Christian must know the Word of God. It is the touchstone of every avenue of life and necessary for every step along the road that leads to heaven. There is no life without it and we dare not face death void of it’s comfort. A Christian without the eternal Truth is not a Christian at all.

It is infallible, without error and the unsearchable riches of Christ himself. The depths of its wisdom cannot be plumbed, and yet every Christian can understand it, because they possess the Spirit within.

It is indecipherable to the soul still dead in sins, and a closed book to the enemies of God. Even though they look for understanding, it cannot be found without the insight of the Holy Spirit. Religious movements have tried to keep authority over others by using its message in a twisted way, and have sought to dim the eyes of the reader, but still the light always shines through. Though the demons of hell should try to keep human eyes blind, the Word becoming flesh has the healing art and a single word will resurrect the darkened soul.

There is no other book, nor gospel, that can make the blind see, the deaf to hear and and the lame to dance. We must learn it, rehearse its truth and proclaim the forgiveness of sins to every soul on earth. As we preach its messsage, miracles will happen- the stony heart will become soft and the dull mind will reason and faith will set us free.

Why is it kept closed? Why do we not search its pages to find the risen Christ? How can we call ourselves lovers of God, when we are so pale and shallow?

As I take up my Bible, Lord let me grasp the heights and depths of its meaning and permit me to see my Saviour, Jesus. Then I will seek Him and He will take me into His eternal kingdom, and I will take His life to myself, and I will be made new.

 

 

 

Dwelling in His house

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Psalm 84:4 NIV

“Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.”

This is not just referring to the saints in heaven, but those who dwell with God every day, every moment. This is not the brick building that people go in and out of, but the constant fellowship with the Father. It is a spiritual place of being, where we know God and are known by Him. The Christian walks through the trials, disappointments and sorrows – all in the presence of God. This is dwelling, and a holy living…the attitude of heart and mind is constant praise and a joyful acknowledgement that we are truly blessed….

Psalm 24:3+4

“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart…”

To be in this place of being the beloved of Christ, we must seek holiness and pursue the perfection of God, even though we are still wrestling with sin in our lives. To accept that This is just the way it is, and I will never be perfect until eternity, is to side-step the issues and excuse my lack of desire to know Him. I need clean hands and a pure heart. I must seek these from God through prayer, and walk my life each day with the desire to be like Him.

1 Peter 1:6 “Be holy, for I am holy…”

Those who love the person of Christ will earnestly seek to be like Him, no matter the cost. However, to give up everything to Him, means gaining all spiritual blessings and many gifts, so all I really loose is my own sinful tendencies. I can ascend and will ascend that holy mountain of the Lord, because of what He has done in me, and the desire He gives His people to long for these joys.

 

Forcing my way…

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“…the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it.” Luke 16:16b

This is a magnificent picture of what happens when the gospel of repentance and faith is preached to people. When people see Jesus and the Spirit of God speaks to their hearts, there is salvation – That is, they are rescued from being spiritually dead.

Jesus is speaking about the prevalence of The Law and the Prophets in the Old Testament. God’s law will never pass away, and God’s holy commandments stand forever sure. We can never excuse ourselves from them, or leave them aside as irrelevant. God’s Law must be kept and revered. We, in our own strength, cannot and do not keep that Law, because we are sinful- sinners by nature and born into the world as dead beings. Our souls are insensible to Christ and unaware of the life of faith and communion with God. We have great spiritual need.

We are all condemned by that holy Law. We are all law-breakers, and law-haters, dead set on our own ways and the folly of our own hearts. We have no idea about the joy in the Lord or the peace of walking in fellowship with the Lord Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And yet, when the precious gospel is truly preached, people spring into life! They are humbled and so come to their only hope and find forgiveness and eternal life.

As Jesus himself preached and taught the people around Him, there were those who believed and were turned from their old ways and they marched forward into His way. What a glorious ministry…!

There is something lacking today. People are not coming to their Saviour and are not being revolutionised by the power of God. We try to convince them through apologetics; befriend them through love; and make the way seem attractive, but the effect is minimal. They are not convinced as they are held in blindness by the enemy; they want the friendship but definitely not Christ; they are momentarily affected by the attraction of Christ, but fall down at the challenge to repent….

What do we do now? Our churches are emptying, our basis of living is eroded away, many, if not most people reject church as irrelevant.

The key is in this verse… “The good news of the kingdom is being preached…” When people are confronted with their sinfulness, when they truly see that they are not good enough for God, or anyone else, the Spirit of God convicts their hearts and people see their need. It causes us all pain to realise this. We don’t like it. We try to scurry off to something more comforting…distracting…

We must call each other to face it.. I am guilty before God- I need to repent!! I must feel the horror of my sin, and seek the refuge of a Saviour’s love. Nothing else will do. Repentance cannot be left out of the process, and there is no forgiveness without repentance. The Spirit must work in me to feel and know my moral failure, and He must give me the desire to want to be forgiven. Without Him, there is no understanding of anything spiritual, because in myself, I am dead.

How to be forgiven? We preach the love of Christ on the cross, the holy God, who died for sinners, and paid the price of all their rottenness. The only Saviour, is JESUS – only He is able because of who He is. As soon as I see my fault, I turn to Him and ask Him to forgive me and take me in. There is no other way. There is no other salvation, apart from Christ.

The realisation and the turning to Jesus are the work of the Holy Spirit. As Christ is presented to people, and sin is identified, the Spirit shows us our need and we feel the debt we owe. The Spirit works in us so that we see the need of forgiveness and the need of a Saviour. All who will come, do come. There are those who still refuse, and cast their souls away for eternity.

This is a solemn ministry, and not to be taken on lightly. We must speak clearly and honestly, and not hide any inconvenient things we might think of as unattractive. Every soul must face their God and we dare not do so without Christ.

Maybe the days will yet come when we will have people forcing themselves in through the church door, seeking forgiveness and eternal life. We must hasten the day, and make our witness clear and show the Saviour and the salvation we all must possess.

May the good news be told out to everyone, and many will run to Christ and find their true life

Who is it?

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 Ezekiel 1:25-28

 Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings.  Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man.  I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

 Ezekiel 2:1-10

He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.

 He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them.  And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.  You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.  But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.

Can you see the sight?

A man, glowing, white hot metal. Brilliant light all around Him, impossible to look at with human eyes. Every colour imaginable was there – a radiance that emanated from His person.

The majesty speaks to Ezekiel. He gives Ezekiel dignity and a message to give to the Israelites. It is a difficult message, and Ezekiel has to tell it to a stubborn and rebellious people who always refuse to listen to God’s voice.

Ezekiel is to speak, weather they listen or not. He is not to be intimidated or bowed down by the rejection. Ezekiel must listen and take into himself what God is giving to him.

The message is a hard and searching one. It is a lament, words of mourning and promises of woe…. How will Ezekiel speak this to these hardened people?

 Ezekiel 3:1-9

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.”  So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.

 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.

He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them.  You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel  not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you.  But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate.  But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are.  I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”

 God’s servant Ezekiel, must be able to stand against the ill- will and bad feeling of the people who God wants to receive this message. The people are very stubborn, but God still wants to speak to them, and so His servant, Ezekiel, must be emotionally and spiritually prepared to confront the stubbornness and speak the truth. If hearts are hard, then the prophet’s resolve must be harder. If the arguments are fierce, then his speaking of truth must be straight and firm. If they terrify him, he must strengthen himself in the power of the Lord. This is a wonderful lesson for us all in the difficult culture we live in. The message of God and the power of the Spirit are sufficient for all circumstances. The love of a Saviour who died, to rescue us form the hardness of our own hearts is the overwhelming truth that prevails. He can melt any heart and forgive and redeem any sinful situation.

The challenge is to be obedient like Ezekiel and remain steadfastly by the truth of God’s word, as He sees it, not as we see it. This spiritual conflict will cost us, and we will not enjoy popularity and earthly reward, but many suffer isolation and ridicule, but our Saviour went before us and we will not fear. To enjoy the understanding of God’s word and to have fellowship with God, is surely worth all the sufferings of this life.

As we look at this amazing picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, we realize that what we see with our physical eyes, is not necessarily how it is. Those who look to Him with the eyes of faith, see the risen and glorified Lord who stands forever in power and authority over all situations. No one can touch Him. He alone is our motivation and source of what we say – nothing else, no one else. He can make the weak strong, and can correct the misconceptions we all have about His person. He alone plans the course of the life of the Christian, and He will bring all things to pass according to His perfect will.

We need not fear. We must be bold and strong, and stand in the strength of the Lord. We take to ourselves these self-evident truths, and go forward in his strength, confident in His blessed purposes and seeking out His glory always. b

Boasting

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Jeremiah 9:23-26
“This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh—

Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart. ”

What do we as human beings possess, that we could boast about? We imagine all sorts of gifts, abilities and talents- but they are not our own.
What does God say we should boast about? We can only take joy in the fact that we actually know Him… Nothing we have that is worthwhile, belongs to us, and to know The Lord is a treasure we can delight in.
You will not value this, if you do not know Him, as our natural tastes are not tuned to His beauty. But if you have come to know Him, you will know the deep joy of His love and power, and you will seek Him further. This is a bottomless ocean of absolute peace for all who seek Him.
The fruit of this is kindness, justice and righteousness- even in our polluted world.
If our love for God is only outward, we will not escape the punishment. God sees right through our hypocritical veneer and recognises the falsehood within our souls. Why be punished for avoiding something wonderful?!
No one can side-step this issue and no one will be exempt.

The nations of the world are not set aside for God nor is there anyone found in the most remote places who are dedicated to seeking purity and Godlikeness. Those who have the name of being God’s people, in reality are not and fail to turn from the inward sinfulness and follow God’s way.

But God reaches out to us in our avoidance of His Lordship and warns and entreats us to turn from folly.
Jeremiah 10:6 NIV
“No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.”
This God is to be worshipped and obeyed, and is trustworthy. He is not like us and holds all power, bound up with His great name.

The offer still stands for all who want real peace with God.

Away from it all

 

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God sets His people apart for His glory. We are not our own but are bought with a price, so dreadful that it meant the Father sent His only Son to die on a cross. That was the price of the payment for our sin. Sin is that serious and if we entertain it in our minds and hearts, it will ruin everything. It will take over, but in a way that we might not notice. Our hearts are naturally shaped for it and our mortal enemy knows that, and can manipulate our thoughts so that we end up justifying ourselves and therefore never repenting of our wrongness.

This is not God’s way and if we belong to Him, He will not allow us to stay in such a place. No one else can set people free from this trap. Only the Father can teach and release His children from this deadening grip of the enemy.

To get away from it all, is not a holiday, but a fight against myself. We use the weapons God has given us to throw off the sin that so easily entangles and break free from its chains. This is a daily conflict, but winnable through Him who loves us.

Some day we will really get away from it all and leave behind all the cares, temptations and woe, that surround us in this life.

For now, may we walk with Him and find victory every day in Christ…

More precious

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Psalm 119:65-72 NIV
“Do good to your servant according to your word, Lord. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”

The writer of this piece of scripture, is wholly concerned with the reality of God in the life of the Christian. All the events of life are seen in context with the longing for the heartfelt presence of the living God to be always known. The duties and labours we all must fulfil from day to day, are many and difficult, and to know the constant presence of God must be our desire and life-long purpose.
The writer is not concerned with those who would cause trouble in the mind and heart, but for the over-ruling of a Heavenly Father, who has provided all we need in His holy word.
The sufferings of life are only tutors to teach us the skills we need to live a life of faith and total devotion to God. The Father sends them to purify our motives and strengthen our resolve to follow Him.
The daily motivation to keep going is love of Him and love of His holy word.
May we bow before Him and seek Him…

Women who glorify God