"God's love is meteoric,
His loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
His verdicts oceanic.
Yet in His largeness nothing gets lost; not a man, not a mouse slips through the cracks.
How exquisite Your love, O God! How eager we are to run under Your wings." (Psalms 36:5-6 Msg)
The woman with the issue of blood pressed into God's love for her with a "It's never or it's now" determination. She was desperate for a life-change.
Have you ever been in that place where you know if something doesn't happen ...it's over for you? She was.
I've been there a few times myself. In that place we have two options...press into God or walk away.
She chose to squeeze in. She had already wrestled 12 long years with this trial, this pain. She spent all she had in time, money, effort and even availed herself of ALL that physicians had to offer.
NOW was the time! She chose to press in and...
"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.'" Luke 2:10-11
Handel's "Messiah" is considered by many to be the greatest musical feat in the history of mankind.
Commissioned by a charity to produce a benefit concert, Handel wrote the Messiah in 24 days.
A musician said that someone trying to copy the Messiah could hardly do so in 24 days—that is the level of inspiration in which Handel operated when he wrote. WOWZERS!
Handel never left his house for those three weeks. His food trays remained untouched outside his door.
A friend who visited him as he composed found him sobbing with intense emotions.
Later, as Handel groped for words to describe what he had experienced, he quoted St. Paul, saying, “whether I was in the body or out of my body when I wrote it, I know not.”
"Do not be mislead: 'Bad company corrupts good character.' I Cor. 15:33
We're living in a day where good is being called evil and evil is OK if it feels good to you. You decide what's morally right and wrong. Never mind what God says is His standard of Holiness.
Three times God told His priests to give careful thought to an example He used to explain holiness and unholiness. (Haggai 2) In my paraphrase, God was saying if you are holy and touch something unholy does that unholy thing become holy? No. If you are holy and something unholy touches you does that make you unholy? Yes. Holiness is not infectious. Unholiness is infectious.
Let's look at it in another way. If you have a glass of pure water and add in a drop of salt; is the pure water now salty? Yes. If you have a glass of salt water and add some pure water is the water now pure? No. What about a bowl of fruit? If the bowl is full of good, healthy fruit and one piece has mold on it...will the good fruit make the...
Jeremiah was sent to God's kids with a message. It was not going to be an easy one to deliver. It was about an issue in their relationship with God that was not up to par. (Jeremiah 34-35)
The good thing they were doing was they had kept the words of their forefathers for generations to not drink wine, or build houses but instead they lived in tents, etc.
Without question they all honored their forefathers instructions obediently to the letter.
Here was God's problem:
You obey man's instructions but when I give you instructions you decide whether or not you want to honor Me and My words.
Ouch! Their toes were really getting stepped on.
What about our generation?
Jesus basically delivered the same message as Jeremiah: "These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules."
(Matthew 15:8-9) [Also see: Acts 4:19,5:29, I John 2:4 and John 14:23]
Wait...what? For real?
Have you ever felt like something was preposterous ...completely contrary to reason or common sense... utterly foolish?
And yet, you were being asked to believe it because someone said it was so.
One of my daughter's students is perpetually late for class. 40 days of school and late every day. During her parent-teacher conference last week she met with the mom and dad to talk about their child's progress in school.
She asked why their son was always late. The mom said, “No, she was early every day but she sat out in the car because she didn't know what time school started.”
What? For real?
800 kids are going into classrooms at the same time every morning. You sit in your car watching this procession and you don't know that it must be time for class? Preposterous!
The mother shared this with a straight face as though my daughter should believe what she said. Not in a million years was that a conceivable...
Many of us know this story well. Jesus tells His disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side of the lake. He was not joining them, so perhaps they thought He will catch another boat.
Our perceptions of what we think God is asking us to do…and the end result are often not even close to what God had in mind when He gave us the instructions.
It’s in the midst of THAT...that’s where your faith is tested!
Prior to this, in John 6, Jesus tested His disciples with a challenge to feed the crowd who had been with them all day. They failed that test. So, He showed them how to walk on in faith and get the job done. (6-14)
Now, it was time to test them again.
Did they learn from that experience watching Him demonstrate exercising faith in God?
This time He told them to get in the boat and cross the lake.
Simple instructions. A familiar trip. We can do this. Away they went.
Evening came. Then, the darkness of night. A strong wind...
"...a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." "...longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul." (Proverbs 13:12 & 19)
"O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory." (Psalms 63:1-2)
When we thirst for God a longing rises up from within. Nothing quenches a parched soul except His presence. As we drink deeply of Him, it is a tree of life to us. It is sweet to the soul and we are made whole spirit, soul and body.
David spoke of experiencing God's presence in the sanctuary. Today it's often thought that this sanctuary is the local church building. Not so!
Jesus didn't die for buildings. He gave His life blood to redeem fallen man. Once born again, we are His sanctuary, a temple made without human hands. A place for Him to dwell. (John 3; Acts 7:48; 17:24-25)
The sanctuary David referred...
I've always loved the imagery of the guys going down the road to the city of Emmaues. As they were "walking and talking," Jesus joined them and entered into the conversation.
Something amazing always transpires when we make time to "walk and talk." Hearts are softened, layers of "life" are shared, sweet communion and fellowship transpire.
Luke 24 records the "walk and talk" that Jesus had with these guys discussing the events that had just transpired in Jerusalem.
In my Holy Ghost imagination, I picture Jesus enjoying this conversation. Especially since He was a first-hand witness to all the events.
It was His death and resurrection they were in deep conversation over.
As they approached their home, Jesus made it appear as though He was going to continue His journey and leave their company. They were adamant that He must come and join them for a meal.
In the breaking of bread, (fellowship) the Scriptures tell us, their eyes were opened. They recognized Him. Then He...
Physical hunger is a driving force in our lives. It moves us to action.
However, when we don't feel well or go through a difficult trial we can lose our appetite.
Spiritual hunger works the same way.
Our born-again spirit man was created to hunger for God and His presence. When we are hungry for Him we seek time to be with Him.
When we go through painful situations or hardship (if we don't pay attention) we can lose our appetite for God's presence.
We become distracted and focused on "that." We may dutifully read our Bible or pray through our prayer list, but we do it listlessly and without passion as we've allowed the "trial" to take over our desire for Him.
Pharaoh was the food provider for the children of Israel when they were in captivity. God freed them and He became their provider. Each day He gave them manna. They were allowed to pick up all they wanted for that day. On the sixth day they could take enough for the 7th day, the Sabbath.
If they took more than they...
"Make room for us in your hearts." II Corinthians 7:2
Like a house with many rooms you have many of them in your heart.
Paul implored the believers in Corinth to make space for him in their lives.
He was making that request because He had previously written a strong letter exposing a situation they needed to address. It wasn't received well.
They took it as criticism and were offended. This opened the door for others to come in and discredit Paul.
Over time, however, the matter he wrote rose to the forefront and they saw how Paul had tried to spare them.
In the meantime, offense separated them. Paul was addressing this gap and asking them to open the door again.
Paul didn't regret the critique he had given. He did, in the sense that initially, they were hurt by it. His intent, however, was not to bring pain but to warn.
When God gives a warning it's not always for a reason or reasons you can perceive at the time.
God sees from such a higher,...