Sunday, September 19, 2010

Measure Up to the LORD – (because he won’t measure down to you…)

NIV Matthew 11.1-24

John the Baptist was in jail and sent some of his disciples to see if Jesus was the one they were looking for. Jesus told them what was happening and told them to go back and let John know what you hear and see. John’s disciples had first-hand knowledge of what Jesus was doing. They left to report back to John and then the LORD began to give a testimony about John the Baptist and himself and the coming judgment of those who did not repent after the miracles that the LORD performed.

Two (2) Points I want to make here:

1- Doesn’t matter what you do or how you perform in your service to the Lord - you will never measure up to some people’s expectations – being more concerned about meeting the LORD’s expectations will help you get over this!

2- Be concerned about measuring up to the LORD’s expectations and that you respond properly to the things you hear and see!

Jesus said, we didn’t dance to your tune! You expected X and got Y. Because you got Y, you came to the wrong conclusions about us. We need to make sure we reach the right conclusion regarding who Jesus is. Like I have said in the past, your eternal zip code depends on it! There are some people out there that you will never measure up to even if you were the greatest human being born of man like John the Baptist or Jesus Christ - God himself! But know this: “Wisdom is proved right by her actions (children)!” Someone once said “The proof is in the pudding?” Jesus said in Vs 4 – “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” You can’t argue with success! If you don’t dance to the tune that some people play or don’t respond in the expected way, after they sing a song – well… they can be hard on you. They had nasty things to say about John the Baptist and Jesus. The judgment can be harsh when you don’t perform to their level of expectation. If you are feeling bad about what some people think of your performance, ask yourself one question: Am I trying to win the approval of men or God? The Apostle Paul wrote that about himself to the Galatians 1.10. If you are truly serving the LORD, after perhaps the initial rejection by men, when you come back to your senses you will have solace that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about your performance.

Many people think that God operates in a particular way, as they conceive of him in their minds, based on their imagination. We can be assured the Lord’s judgment will not be measured out according to our expectations or imaginations. Vs 20-25. We truly should be concerned about measuring up to his expectations. Judgment will be based on what he has done “miracles that were performed” (mentioned 3x’s, see verses 20; 21; 25) and not on what we expected him to do.

Here is a small part of what Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary:

Matthew Henry – On Matthew 11

II. That what Christ said concerning John, was intended not only for his praise, but for the people's profit, to revive the remembrance of John's ministry, which had been well attended, but which was now (as other such things used to be) strangely forgotten: they did for a season, and but for a season, rejoice in his light, Joh_5:35. “Now, consider, what went ye out into the wilderness to see? Put this question to yourselves.” 1. John preached in the wilderness, and thither people flocked in crowds to him, though in a remote place, and an inconvenient one. If teachers be removed into corners, it is better to go after them than to be without them. Now if his preaching was worth taking so much pains to hear it, surely it was worth taking some care to recollect it. The greater the difficulties we have broken through to hear the word, the more we are concerned to profit by it. 2. They went out to him to see him; rather to feed their eyes with the unusual appearance of his person, than to feed their souls with his wholesome instructions; rather for curiosity than for conscience. Note, Many that attend on the word come rather to see and be seen, than to learn and be taught, to have something to talk of, than to be made wise to salvation. Christ puts it to them, what went ye out to see? Note, They who attend on the word will be called to an account, what their intentions and what their improvements were. We think when the sermon is done, the care is over; no, then the greatest of the care begins. It will shortly be asked, “What business had you such a time at such an ordinance? What brought you thither? Was it custom or company, or was it a desire to honour God and get good? What have you brought thence? What knowledge, and grace, and comfort? What went you to see?” Note, When we go to read and hear the word, we should see that we aim right in what we do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Psalm 8 - "When I consider your heavens... His name is truly majestic!"

NIV Psalm 8.3-9

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?.... O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"

If you're going to take time to consider anything today - consider the LORD's heavens. They are his. You should be truly amazed the LORD in mindful of you. He has care and concern for you. Don't think you're not included and that his care and concern is for everyone else. His name is truly majestic! Continue to fight the good fight of faith!

Monday, September 6, 2010

How Big is Your Sandbox? Where Is the House?

How many of you have ever played in a sandbox when you were little? How many of you have ever been to the beach? Have any ever been to a desert? Maybe you participated in desert warfare training or war in the desert? Do you remember the Cosmos series on PBS? How many Carl Sagan fans do we have out there? Didn’t you just love to hear him say “.… billions & billions…” I personally didn’t care for him… must have been his personality or lack-there-of. How many stars do you think there are in the sky at night? Trick question… they are always there – you just can’t see them in the daylight. Have you ever had the opportunity to go star watch with someone who knew what they were looking at? Recently I did with my good Brother Dr., Br. John Connors, Esq. While he was giving me a general tour of the universe, I asked him if he had ever had a chance to look up at the stars at night with the aid of night-vision-goggles (NVG’s)? I told him the dark areas in the sky, that appear starless, actually are absolutely filled with stars. He found that interesting and he indicated to me, in his polite fashion, he was not totally surprised. NVG’s magnify the available light ~10,000 x’s. A star on a clear night will give off 1 millilux of light. 1000 milliux = (1) Lux or (1) Lumen per/sq meter. So when viewing a star with NVG’s you would get 10 Lux/10 Lume of light. A good tactical flashlight may provide 200 Lumen of light. In comparison, the moon, on a clear night, will give you 100 Millilux. The sun – 50000 Lux. When you fly at night, there is only one major problem with NVG’s – you only get a 30 degree field of view, and you need about 180 degrees of view to provide depth perception. God made us so that we needed about 180 degrees of view… to get “the big picture.” When I was “Born Again” on June 20th 1977, I had a 30 degree field of view of my Savior. He brought me into the light so that I could see. I could see my sin, my shame and my need to acknowledge what he had accomplished for me when he died on that cross. He was very bright, so I had no problem seeing him for who he claimed to be. Field of Depth is an essential part of our bio-mechanics which enable us to view the whole picture. Generally the greater the level of light the finer the detail of an object when can see. Remember Brother Paul prayed for the Ephesians - Eph 3.17-19 that they - “…. would have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ… and be filled with all the fullness of God.” Sounds like he was praying they could get a greater field of view and gain greater depth perception! I hope we all can get a greater understanding of the LORD and of His workings. I am so grateful he has the power to do what he has done and he continues to work-out in us through the power of the Holy Spirit his good pleasure as we cooperate with him in partnership.

NIV Isa 66.1&2
This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?”

NIV Colossians 1.16, 17
“For by him (Jesus Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities: all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

JOB got into some discourse with God, and God did some cross-examination. He asked some interesting questions. The questions he asked showed how limited Job’s abilities and understanding truly are -

NIV JOB 38.12,19, 31-33
“Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place…” v12
“What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?” v19
“Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? v31
Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? v32
Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up [God’s] dominion over the earth? v33

NIV Isa 40.26
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

NIV Psalm 147.4-5
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

There is a study quoted by by Australian astronomers, I paraphrase:
There are 70 Sextillion stars in the viewable universe – that’s 70 with 22 0’s after it. That's the total number of stars in the known, universe, according to a study by Australian astronomers. Dr. Simon Driver said: “It's also about 10 times as many stars as grains of sand on all the world's beaches and deserts.” He said there were likely many million more stars in the universe but the 70 sextillion figure was the number visible within range of modern telescopes. The actual number of stars could be infinite he said. The universe is so big light from the other side of the universe "hasn't reached us yet," The Age newspaper quoted him as saying.

Cut & Past this address:
Works Cited: 1355 29082010

NIV Isa 40.26
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Cut & Past this address:

Works Cited:1650 04092010

Man is Limited –

If I asked you to think of as many names as you can in 60 seconds you would come up with ~#25 names. Let’s be generous; say you could come up with 100 names in 60 seconds. Multiply that X’s 60 minutes X’s 24 hours X’s 25,500 days (Number of days in 70 years of life) = 1.3TT 1,342,908,000,000. That is the number of names you could come up with if you had the ability. (Understanding) One “trillion” - that’s a 1 followed by (12) ZERO’s. It’s a number we can understand since it is often linked to the National Debt. Don’t forget you still need to add another (10) Zeros to that number to reach the approximate number of “known” stars.
I did a little looking around. I could not find anything definitive on the number of stars that have been named. I think I saw 2000-4000?? I am not sure that some of those were named by Numbers – e.g., N-15? We really lack creativity. In comparison, God knows the number of stars and calls them each by name. I may be speculating here but, I don’t think He is using numbers for names.

NIV Psalm 146.3-6
“Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save…. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the LORD who remains faithful forever…”

NIV Psalm 147.4-5
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

Cut & Past this address:

Works Cited: 1408 29082010

I had read that it is estimated there are over 100 BILLION Galaxies!

NIV Psalm 147.4-5
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

NIV Gen 15.5
He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

There is Good & There is Evil – There is God (Good – o)& there is Devil (D+ evil)
The God who made the heavens and the earth has a plan for man. When God makes a promise, the devil is there to try to thwart it!

Case in point:


NIV Genesis 15.1-6
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. But Abram said, “O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Remember what Dr. Simon Driver said:
It's also about 10 times as many stars as grains of sand on all the world's beaches and deserts. God indeed had a plan!!

THE THWART: The Enemy of God tries to prevent Moses from his mission on leading the Jews out of Egypt:

NIV Exodus 1.15-22
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
Conclusion: The LORD had His way!

THE THWART: The Enemy of God tries to prevent Jesus from fulfilling His Salvation Mission to the world:

NIV Matthew 2.16-18
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.

Conclusion: The LORD has his way!

What do you think the enemy is trying to prevent today?

REMEMBER: ONLY GOD CAN CREATE LIFE – and ever since he formed man from the dust of the earth and women from man’s side he has been using his creation to fulfill his promise to Abraham. So with that is mind – what part do you play in God’s Promise to Abraham? The enemy has always wanted to stop it and he continues to this day to thwart it! Pharaoh and Herod are long gone; they have been insidiously replaced!

NIV Isa 66.1&2
This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?”
The LORD is saying take a good look at all that I have done. Do you see anything that is that I had not created? What were you hoping to be able to do for me? What do you think I could possible need from you that I cannot provide for myself? I submit – there is nothing we can offer to build for God that he cannot provide for himself. I feel comfortable with stating the only thing we have to offer him, with his help and with our cooperation, are souls. Eternal Souls - which he can influence. Eternal Souls - which he can indwell with his Holy Spirit. Those souls, like Moses and Jesus that lead and saved His people, will be the next leaders in the Kingdom of God that will lead others to salvation fulfilling his promise to Abraham. If you will – Here is the House you will build for me!

NIV Isa 55.9
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Conclusion: Let us be comfortable with putting our trust and confidence in the LORD. He is capable. He calls the stars by name. The earth is his footstool! Where is the house??

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fight the Good Fight - Never Surrender!

A young man in the Lord stopped by my home the other day. Like many of us, he had a struggle surrendering himself to the Lord. I truly mean it when I say, it was great to see him alive in Jesus Christ. How I felt reminded me of what the Apostle John said in 2 John 2.1-4 “It has given me great joy to find some (means not all) of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.”

To him I would say - I know it pleases the Lord, when we take his hand, get up on our own two feet and truly begin to walk with him and in him. He carries us for a while in his arms - sometimes in an ambulance; sometimes in a wheelchair. You know when you have something that’s valuable (your faith in Jesus Christ) when you have to fight for it! Be encouraged – “Fight the good fight of faith!” NIV 2 Tim 4.7

I will leave you with this final verse of scripture and final thought - NIV Jude 22 “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” It is true that God wants all men to repent and be saved. It is true that he has commanded us all to be his witnesses and to teach them to obey everything he commanded. I believe this verse demonstrates that our approach to them with the salvation message should not be a “one size fits all” approach. To be effective, we need discernment from the Holy Spirit in order to know how to reach out to them. This will take some practice! Make yourself available - ask the Lord for the gift of discernment - and let the LORD use you. Blessings -