Month: November 2011

Revelation 22:9

*”But he said, ‘No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!'”

Jesus said in Matthew 4:10, “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” If we worship God in spirit and in truth, we cannot worship anyone or anything else. Anything we worship, other than God, is an idol. According to Webster, an idol is “an image used as an object or instrument of worship.”

God forbids us to make and worship idols. God says in Exodus 20:4-5, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.” We see we are not to make any image whether it is a statue or any likeness of anything in heaven or earth to worship them. But this is done today when people worship icons. People bow down and pray to these statues and painted pictures whether they be the supposed likeness of Mary the mother of Jesus or one of the many other dead people who are called saints. This is in direct disobedience to the command of God.

When I see people bowing down, burning candles, praying, and worshipping an icon image of a saint, my heart bleeds for them because they are putting their souls in jeopardy of being lost. We are warned in Colossians 2:18, “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worshipping angels.” We can loose our reward in heaven if we worship someone other than God. He is the only one we are to worship because He is a jealous God. God will not allow us to worship anyone else other than Himself. Revelations 21:8 tells us that “idolaters shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” We must only worship God and our worship must be in spirit and in truth if we expect to be with Him in heaven when this life is over.

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In those moments when you feel defeated and alone, it is sometimes very difficult to remember this promise. But it is also in these moments of brokeness that God’s love shines the brightest! Cling to this promise that you will never be abandoned, and hold tight to the faith that is being strengthened through all these times of heartache. And always remember that God always fulfills His promises!

A Childlike Faith

 

In Matthew 18, Jesus points out that faith is a responsibility. Childlike faith is not so much a character as it is the essence of what we do and what we bring to everything we strive for in the Christian life. Further, it means trusting, being humble, and not forcing your will upon others as the disciples were doing. This is not about innocence, but rather dependence. Children are dependent on us for their quality of life and the substance we provide. For us, this means we are to be dependent on Him and allow His empowerment to fill us. Do we become good examples and point to the Way, or do we cause others to stumble because of our misdirected ways? Because children are dependent, they must have faith that they will be taken care of. This is a perfect illustration of how we are to have trust and faith in our Lord.

Jesus sees the value of faith as paramount over anything else; faith is lifted up as the most important thing we have or do. Yet, all too often, we do not seek faith, but rather just what we can get. Jesus asks us to be the good child. A good child accepts his or her responsibility to the family to learn and grow. A child of God expresses humbleness and trust so he or she will be able to grow in faith and maturity (Psalm 130 and 131). Being childlike in faith and wonder is how we are to grow in our relationship to Christ. Being child-like, as in quarreling and running away, is not. A child is also to enjoy his or her childhood, as we are to enjoy our relationship to Christ. A spoiled child will not learn and grow in maturity as he or she should, and can even become a hindrance to others, just as Christians who refuse to grow in their faith can be. They bring a bad reputation to their church and to our Lord. We are not to aspire to human greatness, but, rather, godliness.

We are to evaluate who and where we are by His standards, not the world’s. Give God the room to work in you and others. Refusing to see His call, not loving others, and being full of pride are terrible things—not just for you, but also for those around you. This can and will distort our thinking and direct our actions toward the wrong objective. Childlike faith encourages humility and helps us realize who we are in Christ. Without humility, we cannot come to the Lord, because we will never admit our need, surrender our will, or be able to grow in faith. We will not be able to serve others because we will think they are unworthy, just as the people did toward that soldier’s servant in Matthew 8:5-13.

Faith is the foundation upon which we build our character; it supports the house where the Spirit can dwell and empower us. This is a fruit of the Spirit given to us as we grow and mature. It comes from being “conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29) Faith and our trust in Christ will be the quintessential aspects of applying obedience and growth in our maturity and character.

“For the Lord will be with you.”

  • “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'”

 

Jehoshaphat had prayed in confiding faith to God, and God answered by choosing a Levite, Jehaziel to give the message of God in clear, decided terms, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord. Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but the God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the ascent of Zig, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed, tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you” (vv.15-17). Who could doubt that this was the plain answer of God to the prayer of Jehoshaphat?

 

 

Are You Situated By The Water?

“3  He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

4  The wicked are not so,

but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6  for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.”

A tree is a blessing. It holds soil, provides shade and produces fruit. The godly are like trees, with root systems that go deep into the spiritual resources of God’s grace (v. 3). But sadly, many professing Christians are not like trees but are like artificial plants or cut flowers with no roots. They may be beautiful for a while, but soon they die.

A tree needs light, water and roots to live. We all have resources upon which we draw life. The question we need to ask ourselves is, Where are our roots? The person God can bless is planted by the rivers of water. We must be careful not to be like Christians who are dry and withered and depend upon their own resources. They are like tumbleweeds, blown about by any wind of doctrine.

To have the blessings of verse 3, we need to meet the conditions of verses 1 and 2. That is, we must first be separated from the world and saturated with the Word to be situated by the waters.

God desires to bless us, but we need to meet certain conditions to receive His blessings. We bear fruit only when we have roots, and we must draw upon spiritual resources to bring forth fruit in due season. To bear the fruit of the Spirit, we must allow the Spirit to work in us and through us.

In contrast to the believer, the ungodly are not like trees but are like chaff. They have no roots, produce no fruit and are blown about. The ungodly reject the Word of God and will perish without hope (v. 6). As Christians we must not reject the ungodly but try to reach them. God blesses us so that we might be a blessing to others. His Spirit helps us bear fruit that can help win the lost.

Are you like a tree or like chaff?

We need God’s resources to bear fruit. But where we place our roots is paramount. Only as we grow them deeply into the spiritual resources of God’s grace will we produce fruit. Make the Bible your spiritual resource. Delight in it and feed your soul with its truth. God can use you to help win the lost.

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and He will lift your spirit! Our Heavenly Father wants the best for us, and although we will go through hard times, He is the PERFECT comforter. Run to Him, lay your burdens down at His feet, and praise Him for His faithfulness!

 

*Psalm 94:19