A word of encouragement from a sojourner for Truth

Archive for July, 2011

Does God answer ur prayers

Psalms 66:19 But verily God hath heard me ; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.  66:20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.  
U should experience in ur life periodic visible tangible answers to prayer. The God of the universe is not so caught up with the big picture that he does not attend to the intricate needs expressed by his children in prayer. He is the great I Am. That means he is the very present God. Further he is present in ur moment of need. However if ur his child n ur outside his will he will not give u pleasant experience but will chasten those who r his.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent   
That gives us confidence as his children. However when We obey him n walk in his grace We can have confidence that he is our father n will bless us We his children.
I John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.  3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.  3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.  

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God is enough

Psalms 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;  63:2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.  63:3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.  63:4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

Note the psalmists simple faith in God. He cries elohim you r my God. This refers to the triune powerful mighty one true God.
Only he can be the rock, defense, high tower for David.

Note he states he will seek him early. Literally this means “seek in the morning”. Figuratively it recalls that David made seeking God the first matter of importance in the day. Is God what u seek early when u first wake. David cries out, longs for God with his whole being.

Note where he is. It is not as if he is in a dry n thirsty land. That is where he is. He longs for water, he longs to be in the sanctuary. He desires that peace he has had in the past that he has seen in the sanctuary. Fellowship w God n fellowship w Gods people find sweet resonance in the soul. God created people to need people. It is the only thing God said was not good in the garden; that man should be alone. He did not say aloneness was sinful for this happened before sin. He said this needs improving. God created n made improvement not as correction but as obvious growth. He created creatures n seeds n commanded multiplication to the filling of the earth. That resulted in improvement through expansion n obedience. Likewise just as God did right he does right n created us to need fellowship w him n fellowship w others. Do u long after God?  Do u seek fellowship w God m man? Or r u content to dwell thirsting in a dry land?
David chose to feast on the far n marrow of worship that he loved better than life. Not to attain something but to bless, praise, joy, at night when he could not sleep n during the day while distressed n fleeing from his enemies. David praised God n rested in the shadow of his wings. The share of Gods protection is better than life because w/o his protection, provision n Passion life is not worth living. Why should we worry about life as long as we have Gods love, power n presence? God is enough.
Some think the last part of the psalm as added later. Maybe n maybe not. His conclusion seems to be God will deal justly w my enemies. He is enough. None r powerful or mighty like him. So I will not fret over their pursuit of me. I will pursue MY God as long as I live.

Misconceptions n collateral damage

Jas 1:15  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth
sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
The devotion for today may take some people back a bit.
Many misconceptions about God, salvation, what he guarantees and what he does not guarantee exist across Christendom. For example many people believe that God
will give all believers the same rewards in eternity. In other words all that God has is mine and yours. In a sense that may be true because of the access we
have to God and his eternity once we are there. However God declares
1Co 3:15  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer
loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Further he states that we will be judged, not for entrance into heaven but for reward, 2Co
5:10 
Some rewards are general in that all get them and other rewards are specific and only certain ones receive those rewards. Eternal life shows the example of a general
reward to believers. Joh
10:28  A martyr’s crown
shows a specific reward to a specific group.
Rev 2:10  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast someof you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Another great misconception that believers have concerns things that are broken in our lives because of sin.  Often I hear believers say that God forgives and fully restores your brokenness once you’re saved. I submit he may and he may not. You might think he has to restore all things to us in this life. Let’s investigate. First let’s look at a person pre salvation. The thief on the cross that later gets saved had been a public menace and sinner before salvation. He was nailed
to the cross because of his sin. When he got saved did God remove all the consequences of his sinful past? Yes and no. Yes all of his sins were forgiven and he was no longer accountable to God for them. No, God did not take him down from the cross. God is not obligated to do that. He may and he may not. He did,
however, receive him into Paradise with Christ upon his death.
Luk 23:43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Another example of brokenness that God does not obligate himself to remove can happen after salvation. King Saul served as a good king until politics, power and pride got a hold of his life. He disobeyed God in several points and it cost him a reward that would have been his eternally. 1 samuel 13:13)  And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. (1 Samuel 13:14)  But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath
commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
 This reward also affected his life here on earth. He lost the kingdom. He was a broken and defeated man for the
remainder of his life. You may say that is true because he did not repent. I concur.  Much of the collateral damage could have been lessened had he repented. However repentance does not guarantee a removal of the consequences of my actions and the brokenness that they have caused.
 Heb 10:26  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for
sins,
 king David sinned through adultery and covering of his
sin even with the death of Uriah. He repented as we see in Psalm 51. However the judgment of God remains upon the house of David.
2Sa 12:10  Now therefore the sword shall never depart from
thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
 Does God sometimes then remove the consequences when he forgives the sin or at least
restore the lost and broken parts in this life? Sin and accountability are forgiven. Fellowship can be restored however the witness, and relationships of this
life bear the scars of the sins committed until our redemption is full in eternity.
1Co 15:54  So when this corruptible shall have put on
incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Full Joy

Joh 15:11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Joy comes from a confidence in God not a temporary experience. Jesus did not say he came to make our joy full. He said he came to give us his joy in order to fulfill our joy. Without his joy our joy more like happiness waxes and wains according to circumstance.

Mat 2:10  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The wise men had followed the star and experienced joy at theleadership it afforded. When it disappeared they went to the king seeking the Christ child with their best wisdom. However when they saw the star and knew the leadership of God once more they had joy. This joy was based on the visible manisfestation of the leadership of God. Albeit supernatural and experiential when they were not experiencing it they troubled in heart and sought information by other means.  We, often experience joy that is short lived. Christ knew this and that is why he came to give us his joy and that it would fill up the gaps in our joy that are temporary and come and go with circumstance. Further if we have his joy, confidence and hope in Him, then we are partakers of the eternal God. He is eternal and his Joy is eternal. It outlasts, endures through, and overcomes the greatest of our dilemmas. That is why Paul could say from prison:

Php 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

This joy described by Jesus abides and does not leave the believer. So why does our joy wax and wain? I submit that the joy of the Lord is as Nehimiah declared:

Neh 8:10  Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

The Joy of the Lord strengthens believers and should be a constant within their lives. The joy has direct correlation with the confidence and submissiveness we have to the truth and our faith in God. Do we believe no one, nothing in heaven or earth, can best our God?

Joh 10:29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Do we believe that no matter what we face; he stays with us through the trial? Do we accept that nothing in the world can happen to us that catches God off guard? Do we know that he supplies our needs, working in our behalf and best interest even when we cannot see, sense or feel his presence?  Joy comes from the knowledge we have of our God. It involves a decision to reject inferior knowledge from our human perspective to accepting the superior truths we know about God.  When that knowledge comes to us through teaching alone it may be somewhat weakened. However when we know it experientially then we have even more cause to joy and hope confidently in our God.

Rom 5:3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

(Romans 5:4)  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

When we understand that God has greater plans for us than the present suffering of life; or when knowing our reward that comes futuristic for us does engender hope and courage for the battle.  What, you may ask, do we do about the need we have for stepping stones for the moment? God gives confirmations along our journey. These small answers to prayer work like steps to a goal. We must recount those blessings over and over. They are not just for the immediate purpose or answer they served. These answers serve a purpose for the future encouragement while we watch God work out the big picture of his plan.

Further the encouragement he has given in the past serves as a reminder of the future answers he shall give. In other words, he was faithful yesterday, he is faithful today and shall be faithful tomorrow. Such encouragement can also be gleaned from other’s experience.

One great example of course would be the testimony of the gospel. When one person got saved and they shared that good news someone else gleaned a blessing from another’s personal experience.

Likewise the testimony of those who saw miracles and valid answers to prayer, faithfulness of God over ages and even centuries should encourage us when we are tested.  I encourage believers to read the bible and glean that blessing from others.

Joh 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Another encouragement I see that believers can experience which will strengthen their joy and confidence in their God comes from the reading of the lives of believers throughout history. Furthermore testimony services where believers share their God moments and just around a table with friends encouragement and strengthening of our joy can fully be known.

Finally realizing the largeness of our God, finding experience in our tribulation which grows our hope and confidence in God, learning of the victories of others through Bible study, Christian history and testimony are great ways but not the limit of our confidence and joy in Him.

The fact that God provides victory through the experience of our trial and strength in our weakness brings encouragement and joy strengthening experiences.

(2 Corinthians 10:13)  But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

Then the fact he secures the rewards we earn through the trials of this life against all that could or would destroy gives us confidence in his abilities to take care of us now.

(1 Peter 1:6)  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

(1 Peter 1:7)  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

(1 Peter 1:8)  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

(1 Peter 1:9)  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Amazingly if we can trust him for eternal salvation and rejoice in that truth we can trust him for present trials and future events.  Such confidence provides joy for the journey that none other can supply. It does not mean we wont be sad, or experience struggle for even Christ wept.

Joh 11:35  Jesus wept.

However it means we can rest assured that our God is bigger than our trials. He has more resources we can imagine. He supplies these to his children in ways they cannot imagine. Finally he stays with us during the trial, will reward us after the trial, and will in the present give us strength to endure, overcome and escape when necessary. All this and more give cause for joy to be full and complete because he is God and there is none beside him.

Isa 45:5  I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

The Joy of the Lord is the quiet confidence that he could overcome the storm on Galilee while the apostles feared.

The Joy of the Lord is the courage of spirit that allowed Christ though he wept charge death and retrieve Lazarus Spirit and Body in resurrection.

The Joy of the Lord is the secure reward that allowed Peter to serve God and even experience death upside down on a cross for the cause of Christ.

The Joy of the Lord is the settled assurance that allowed Paul to say from Prison for believers to rejoice.

The Joy of the Lord is the comfort that overcame the grief of the Thessalonians at the death of their beloved ones knowing that Christ’s return is sure and their loved ones will come with him when he returns.

The Joy of the Lord equipped Caleb and Joshua as they buried their friends for 40 years.

The Joy of the Lord gave Abraham long vision by faith in the completion of God’s plan for his life; the nation of Israel; and ultimately the Messiah coming to bless all mankind…….. and this is just the beginning of knowing the joy and confidence you can experience to the full in Christ Jesus.

Interesting facts

Jesus is called the bread of life – He was born in the city of bread.  Bethlehem in the Hebrew means city of bread.

He is said to be the son of God and he is also God the son.

He is the firstborn from the dead and the only begotten son of God or the Uniquely Born son of God.

His first miracle was turning water to wine. His last drink offered to him before he died…sour wine mingled with gall. The last taste he had in his mouth was the sour wine from the sponge.

His last drink with his disciples was the fruit of the vine, or wine at the last supper. His next drink with his believers in eternity will be the wine at the marriage supper of the lamb.

John sees him as a lamb slain standing before the throne of God.

He became the sin offering so we might become his righteousness

He gave up his riches to be made poor so we could be made rich

He was king of king and lord of lords yet he was buried in a borrowed tomb.

He had no place to lay his head in his life yet he was buried in a rich man’s tomb

The offering given for his presentation at the temple was the poverty offering yet he created all and owns all.

His job growing up was working in a carpenter shop and he died hanging on a wooden cross.

He was not a sinner yet he died for other’s sins.

He owned no home on earth yet he promises to build homes for the local church in eternity.

He had no water pot to draw water yet he offered the woman at the well water that would make one no longer thirsty.

He touched the dead, and the lepers yet never broke the laws of man or God,

He did not need salvation yet is our salvation.

He did not get saved in order to be baptized yet requires us to be baptized as an act of righteousness after we have recieved salvation.

He was born in a stable and laid in a manger among animals, and strangers and promised he was the bridegroom and would have offspring. Yet he never had an earthly father or children.

He could hear the thoughts of mankind yet did not address every thought he knew.

The sentence or crime accused against Jesus was blasphemy and they who accused him of this sin committed this sin themselves.

How is it that to touch the ark of the covenant meant death, to see God physically with the eye means death, and yet the wicked men who crucified Jesus, beat him, spit upon him, plucked out his beard yet did not die.

Jesus who is creator became less than angels to save us who are below angels yet were above angelic hosts before the fall and one day after exaltation will judge angels.

The twelve apostles will judge the twelve tribes of israel sitting on twelve thrones. Yet who is the 12th apostle he did not exist at that time Jesus said this promise. Also their names will be inscribed on the city of the New Jerusalem.

The Ark of Noah saved and yet condemned man kind. Jesus saved and yet condemned man kind.

Adam sinned and sin passed upon all mankind because we are born in the 1st adam genetically,

Christ, Paul calls the second Adam. Just as in the 1st adam all are sinners all people who are born into Christ have freedom from sin.

Christ had to be born of a virgin in order to not have an adamic sinful nature.

If Genesis 6 is speaking of the cohabitation of women and angelic beings then these offspring would be born without an adamic sin nature that must come through the human father and they would be in a body not under the law of sin and death just as Jesus.

The flood came as a result of the judgement of God upon the wickedness of mankind and the imaginations of man were wicked continually,

Men do not go to hell because they are sinners but because they reject the free gift of salvation that comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Men do not go to heaven because of their good works but because of what Jesus did on Calvary in bearing their sins and purchasing their sin debt. Thus faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone only provides forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

The sin of adding to the word of God does not exclude a man from heaven but does bring him into condemnation of his physical life and takes away his place in the holy city. He therefore will live outside the city.

People in eternity may all be equal in the since that there is no difference between jew and gentile and male and female nations will be recognized.

National identity is unique to eternity as well as the tree of Life that bears twelve manner of fruit and they will be for the healing of the nations.

In eternity there will be space and time.

In eternity there will be location and distance.

In eternity there will be a hierarchy of power and authority although there will be no sin.

There will be seasons in eternity even though folks think that there will be no time.

Although Jesus and God will be the lights of the city there will be day and night outside of the city and seasons.

Are you a believer who practices a lifestyle Atheism

7/25/2011 by Thomas Ayres

(Exodus 17:7)  And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

 

Many of us say by profession and testimony in church that God has saved us and we are headed to eternity with him yet our outward living does not depict the life of a believer. Now I am not talking about those who call themselves Christians and are blatantly living in sinful practices. I am however, speaking about how we act as children of God.

Complaining, fear, distress, doubt are just a few of the ways we act atheistically as believers. We by profession say our life is in the hands of God but by our daily fearful doubting and our complaining over our life station we sound like we do not entrust the God of the universe with our lives and the events that surround us.

Dr. Joseph Aldrich states: “Make no mistake about it, the “practical atheist” is a Christian—but he lives with little or no confidence that God is in control of the details of his life. Like ancient Israel, he dares ask, “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Ex. 17:7).

Worry, panic, despair, pessimism are permanent residences for the practical atheist. Not acknowledging that his pain-filled days are days of the Sovereign Lord’s making, he has no predisposition to rejoice and be glad in them. The Christian injunctions “Take no thought for tomorrow; don’t worry about what you will eat, wear, or drink. Don’t be concerned about your life’s length. Your heavenly Father knows you have need of these things” are to the practical atheist nonsense, though they are the logical attitude of one who truly believes Jesus’ reminder that God is aware of and controls the details of our lives.” [Discipleship Journal : Issue 29. electronic ed. Colorado Springs : The Navigators/NavPress, 1999]

Right now I would like to ask you a question. Are you saved, a believer in Jesus Christ? Have you confessed he is the son of God, and God raised him from the dead? And have you called upon him for the free gift of Eternal life? [Rom 10:9,10,13] If so how does your life show your Christianity? How does your speech betray who you are to the world? Does the world see and hear that your words and your works show forth the grace of God, faith in God that is unshakable and a peace that is unfathomable? Or do you confess Christ with your lips but your actions are more of a practicing “Atheist”? In otherwords, if your life and words do not present the life of a person who truly believes why would anyone want what you have inside?

 

1Pe 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Can We trust him?

hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.  3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear……   6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  (Heb 11:1-6 KJV)  Can you trust God? Is he trustworthy enough to hold your eternal soul against the judgement of God’s wrath and Justice? Of course we can. We can trust God for our salvation. The fact he made the sun, moon, stars, flung them into space should be enough evidence we can trust our eternal life with him. Further since he arose from the dead by his own power we know we can trust him for our eternity. However, may I ask, can we trust him for today? Can we trust him for our tomorrows? Can we trust him who takes care of us to take care of those we love? Of course we can. You may ask how is it then that trouble comes our way? That is a great question. trouble comes because we live in a fallen world damaged by sin. We call that circumstance. trouble can also come because we break God;s natural laws. For example if I stand in front of an oncoming truck then I pay the consequences. We call that foolhardy. Then there comes trouble to us when we are in sin. That too is foolhardy and comes due to us breaking God;s spiritual laws. We call that punishment. However not all trouble comes as circumstance, or consequence, or from breaking natural or spiritual laws.Sometimes like the man born blind whom Jesus said he and his parents did not sin to cause the blindness but said instead that the blindness was for the glory of God. We call that Grace. So can we trust God for all these situations of good and bad, trial, punishment,growth, grace or what ever the issue?Of course we can. We do so by faith. We are born by faith in to Christ. We are to live by faith and work by faith. So just to say it once more, God is trustworthy for my eternal life, my daily life and all my tomorrows.