Today's Nuggets

Dec. 31, 2015

Revelation 22  (NASB) from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.

“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he *said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”

10 And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and [i]from the holy city, which are written in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

“There will no longer be any curse” This really is the entire story of scripture from Genesis to Revelation, the story of Bible is the story of the end of the curse of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden it says in Genesis 3:14-18:

The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat
All the days of your life…16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children;Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.” 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. 18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

The curse of sin and disobedience affected both mankind and all of creation. Romans 6:23 says:  For the wages of sin is death…    

 In Deuteronomy 30:15-20, God gave the nation of Israel the covenant of the law, a way for them to live in the blessings of God as opposed to the curse of sin.

15 “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him  

Unfortunately, neither the Israelites, or any person can live in obedience to God.  Romans 3:10-12,23 says:  as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

From the beginning, God had a plan, another way to overcome the curse of sin and reconcile man to Himself and restore creation. In Genesis 3, God said to the serpent: I will put enmity
Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”  John 3:16 says:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. The full verse of Romans 6:23 says:  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Because Jesus Christ came and paid the price for our sin all who are in Christ now can live above the curse of sin. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.       In Christ we are no longer subject to death, we have eternal life. In this time the world, creation still lies under the curse. That’s why there are difficulties, trials and tribulations, evil and disease. In today’s text we are told that when Christ returns all of creation will be restored to the way God intends.      There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them…

We live here in this finite physical realm. We are subject to time. Today we mark the end of the year we call 2015 and tomorrow we begin the year 2016. God is not subject to time in the same way. He is eternal, He says: “ I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”     Though the time of Christ’s return, the time that all of creation will be restored to its original design, is a time in our future, in God’s time, in eternity when Jesus was on the cross He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30) The redemption of sin, the reconciliation to God and the restoration of all things is complete in the heavenly realm.

Until the return of Christ, He says we are to live and pray this way: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  He says:  “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end…  Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.     The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

Post script:

Thank you to all of you who read “Nuggets”, I hope you have been blessed. It’s hard to believe another year has come to an end. I am amazed by what God has done, adding to my family of readers.  I Know that this has been a very difficult year for some people. I know it has also been a great year filled with blessings for some. One of the greatest blessings we have in Christ is to have an intimate relationship with I Am. I Am is one of my favorite names of our God. Only He, I Am can be all things to all people. He can be comfort and peace for the hurting, healing for the sick, provision for the needy and joy unspeakable for the who rejoice. Our God will meet each one of us exactly where we are and provide exactly what we need.

Just like He did, providing fresh manna for the Israelites, in the wilderness, God will faithfully provide a fresh revelation from His word for each one who will seek it.  That’s my hope and prayer each day as I sit with the Lord and write “Nuggets”, I pray that God through His word and the Holy Spirit will provide fresh revelation to His people who seek it.

As we begin 2016 I hope you will be blessed in God’s word and His revelation for your life. I plan to once again follow the daily readings in the One Year Bible. This is something I have done every year since the late 80’s. One of the amazing things about God’s word, the Bible is that while it is unchanging, Jesus says:  For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.(Matthew 5:18), God’s word is also living, Hebrews 4:12 says:  For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.   

No matter how often we read God’s word, there is newness, freshness and life for our need every day. I hope you will join me as we journey together in God’s word in 2016.

Blessings to you all in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Dave 

 

Dec. 30, 2015

Revelation 21 (NASB) from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb…

22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 says:    Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.     Making all things new is why Jesus left His place in heaven and came to earth as a man. He lived a sinless life and gave His life as a sacrifice to redeem, reconcile, restore and renew all things, both man and creation to God and His will.

Surely the description of the coming new heaven and earth is not something that should make people fearful. The text says:  “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”    The description continues, saying:   I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Here is the key for those who are believers. When Jesus was here on earth He preached the gospel. He said:  "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15)   "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17)  When He sent out His disciples He told them:    "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 8"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give (Matthew 10:7-8)   Jesus message, when He was here on earth was that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus taught us to pray:   ”Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”        In Christ all things are made new. When Jesus was on the cross He said:     "It is finished!" (John 19:30)

“It is finished” Jesus fulfilled and completed the work and the will of God the Father. God is eternal.  He exists outside of our finite time. He is the  “Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." There will be a time, in our finite time when this world will pass away and there will be a new heaven and new earth, a place that is described in today’s text.     We who believe are called to live in the kingdom now and forever. In Christ we should live victoriously in the heavenly kingdom even now on earth.  We should live now in this reality: and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,  and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;

In verse 8 of today’s text there is a list of those who will not inherit the promised kingdom of heaven. It says: But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”   Look at the beginning of the list. The cowardly, some translations say the fearful and the unbelieving, are at the head of the list. Jesus message, when He spoke of the kingdom being at hand, was that we should repent.

 Repent is defined as:  ·  1 :  to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life ·  2 a :  to feel regret or contrition b :  to change one's mind

In order to live in the kingdom, both now and forever we need to repent. It is not though only our sinful actions we need to repent of, we also need to change our mind. We need to repent of the way we think and believe. We need to stop being fearful and unbelieving. In Mark 11:24 Jesus says:  “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”  That’s kingdom living. It doesn’t mean that we will get things we ask for selfishly. It means that if we pray as Jesus taught us to pray: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, if we pray that way, repent and believe, we will see the realities of heaven manifested here and now on earth.

Just before He left this earth, Jesus spoke these words: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)  

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

Thank You Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, it is finished. You have indeed made all things new. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. It is here now. Forgive me for my unbelief, help me Holy Spirit, to change my mind, to believe. Empower me to walk in the fullness of the power and evidence of the kingdom as You declared:  These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;  they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.   Amen.   

 

Dec. 29, 2015

Psalm 148 (NASB) from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills; Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins; Old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people, Praise for all His godly ones; Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the Lord!

 

The psalmist exhorts everything to praise God. He begins speaking to the heavenly realm. Every time we are given a glimpse into the heavenly realm in scripture we see there is indeed eternal praise around the throne of God. Isaiah 6:2-3 says: Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory."    Revelation 4:8 says: Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,' who was, and is, and is to come." So indeed the angels and the heavenly host do continually praise God.

The psalmist then moves on to elements of creation, the sun, the moon and the stars. He says:  Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created.  He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away. In Job 38-41, God speaks to Job listing the many things which are obedient to Him. He says: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding…“Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, 11 And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’? 12 “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place, 13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth…       In Romans 1:20, Paul says that creation is a testimony of God.      For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.     Indeed creation praises God its creator.

The psalmist continues though with the living creation.     Praise the Lord from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills; Fruit trees and all cedars; 10 Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and winged fowl;        I remember a time when my family was going through a difficult time, among other things my daughter was in the hospital in Philadelphia for an extended period of time. My wife and I would spend many days and nights there with her. I remember early one morning I went outside to get some sunshine and air. There amidst the concrete, the roads, the buildings and the traffic were a few trees and a small patch of grass. As I sat there feeling overwhelmed and despaired about the circumstances, I heard a small bird. It was singing the most beautiful and cheerful song. That bird taught me a lesson I will never forget. It didn’t complain or despair that other birds had entire parks or vast areas of trees and meadows. It simply lived its life in obedience and praise of God right where it was, singing joyfully to God in the midst of the noise and the harshness of man’s creation.    

Indeed all living and breathing created things, on land, in water and in the air, live in obedience to God, their creator. They live to give Him praise and honor and glory. We alone, of all creation, have a choice of whether or not we will be obedient to and praise the God of creation. The psalmist continues his exhortation:  Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth; 12 Both young men and virgins; Old men and children. 13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people, Praise for all His godly ones; Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the Lord!     There are lyrics to a song by Phillips, Craig and Dean,” Come Now Is The Time To Worship”, which say:

Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are, to worship.
Come, just as you are, before your God.
Come.

One day every tongue will confess
You are God.
One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now.

Creation has no choice but to worship and glorify God. We should learn the lesson of creation, the lesson of the small songbird in the city, we should praise, worship and glorify God, not only for the good things He has done for us but simply because He is God. God loves us and all of His creation so much that He sent Jesus, His Son to redeem, reconcile and restore all things to Him.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights!  Praise Him  Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth;  Both young men and women; Old men and children.   Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!(Psalm 150:6)   Amen and Amen.

  

Dec. 28, 2015

Revelation 19 (NASB) from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.” And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying,

“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

Marriage of the Lamb

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The Coming of Christ

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

 

Over the past few days and even weeks, we celebrated the Christmas season, a time to, as much as our culture allows, celebrate the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born a baby, like any other baby, vulnerable and dependent on others. Even this baby has become offensive to many. In our culture we celebrate the lives of many people, some good and some villains. Yet this baby is offensive.

How then can we expect that when we speak of Jesus return it will not be offensive to many? The Jesus who will return is no longer the vulnerable baby born in a stable. Neither will the Jesus who returns be the meek and mild humble servant, the one who willingly went to the cross, sacrificing Himself to redeem and reconcile man and creation to God. When Jesus returns, He will return as “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

The vision and the images John saw and describes may not completely accurately tell us how things will look in the physical realm. It is difficult to describe spiritual things in our limited finite understanding and language. One thing that we see though every time there is a description of a scene in heaven is praise and worship of God. Today’s text says: “I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God;  because His judgments are true and righteous”; “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”  And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.”  Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

Philippians 2:10 says: “at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth” God created every person with a free will, an ability to choose and make decisions about how they will live, what they will believe. When Jesus was born the shepherds and the wise men believed the word of God they had heard and they sought, found and worshipped the child who would be king. Herod on the other hand chose not to worship Jesus, his efforts to find Him were fruitless.

Jesus says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  (John 14:6), that too is offensive to many. Each one can choose. On the cross, as Jesus paid the price for all sin He said: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). The cross too is offensive to some. Each one can choose.

Every person, even the agnostic or the atheist believes in something regarding this life and how and why we are here. Everyone believes something and because of that belief, in their life, they serve that belief system. In Joshua 24:15, Joshua is leading the nation of Israel and he presents them with a choice. He says:           If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”         We too, everyone, has a choice, if it is disagreeable, offensive to serve and worship the Lord, the one who came as a baby, lived as a man, died for our sins, was resurrected and sits at the right hand of God the Father, you can worship the god of your own choosing. But, like Joshua,  as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

In this time Jesus says:  Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)      

Today’s text says:     Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Jesus knock is the invitation to attend the marriage supper of the lamb. Each one can choose. There is another supper spoken of in today’s text, the great supper of God. It’s your choice.

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God;  because His judgments are true and righteous, Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Amen. Hallelujah!”

Dec. 27, 2015

Proverbs 30:33 (NASB) from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

For the churning of milk produces butter,
And pressing the nose brings forth blood;
So the churning of anger produces strife.

There are many types of strife we can produce as we allow anger to churn. Some of them appear in the list of deeds of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-20.      Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery,      enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,       21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Medical science also says that anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and that sort of strife is unhealthy and contributes to many diseases and infirmities. So there is good reason, both naturally and spiritually, for us to learn to appropriately deal with anger. In Ephesians 4, Paul is giving instruction on how believer should live together, how they should relate to one another. Verses 25-27 say:    Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.

There are several things we can take from those verses. First we need to understand that anger itself is not sin, or how could it be said “Be angry, and yet do not sin”?  Jesus Himself showed anger in Matthew 21:12-13, And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He *said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”   God’s anger is also shown toward sin and unrighteousness.

 Ephesians 4:26-27 says:  Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. It is the holding on to our anger, the churning of our anger, which causes strife and allows the devil an opportunity. The opportunity the devil takes when we hold onto and allow our anger to churn is to cause, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, along with bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness.

The first thing we need to recognize about our anger is what we are angry about. Are we angry at an offense against God’s righteousness and holiness as Jesus was when He drove out the merchants and money changers? Or are we angry about an offense against ourselves? If the offense is against us personally then we need to remember Jesus instruction to the disciples when they asked about forgiving, in Matthew 18:21-22.          Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

There are countless wrong ways for us to respond inappropriately to offense, leading to strife. There are primarily three  proper ways we can respond.  The first we have already looked at, it is to respond to offense with forgiveness. The second thing we can do is part of the context of today’s Proverb text. Proverbs 30:32 says: If you have been foolish in exalting yourself
Or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth. The psalmist says: Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing…(Psalm 141:3-4)  In truth though, it is not that we should say nothing, the hand and the guard over our mouth are to keep us from speaking without thinking, remembering:    “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21)  When we do speak it is important that we speak as it says in Ephesians 4:25.  

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. It is best that we not speak to quickly, that we take the time to process and to forgive before we speak, but to say there is nothing wrong or to say nothing at all can also be dishonest, a falsehood. We need to as Paul says, lay aside falsehood, including holding on to what is wrong and speak the truth. Earlier in the Ephesians 4 passage verses 15-16,  Paul says:

 But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

In order to speak the truth in love, love must first be established in the relationship. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, helps us to understand what truth based in love is like.     Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The ultimate measure of love is this: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.(Romans 5:8) Christ died so that we could be reconciled and restored to God. Our love and the truth we speak should also be for the purpose of reconciliation and restoration, both to God and to each other.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit forgive me if I have allowed anger to churn, causing strife. Show me, Holy Spirit, any bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness, any, enmities, jealousy, disputes, dissensions, factions that I have allowed in my life and relationships. I desire and choose to walk in forgiveness as You said Lord Jesus, unlimited forgiveness toward others. Help me to put my hand over my mouth and to guard my lips, controlling my tongue, knowing the power of life and death is in the words I speak. May I speak truth when I speak, truth in love. May my life be a testimony of Your love, a love that is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.     Amen.