Secret Societies and God – John 3:19-21

Darkness HATES the light

19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Liberating Light

Jesus said, “…I am the light of the world…”.  EVERYTHING that Jesus did was done in the presence of a great cloud of witnesses.  This was give great honor and glory to God.  Jesus frees us from the bondage of sin.  Sin tries to get us to hide what we are doing, for fear that others will see it and will judge us (or, in many cases, become witnesses when we are prosecuted for our crimes).

There is a difference between privacy and secrecy.  The marital relations between married people is to be practiced privately (it is the non-God approved physical relations among humans that are [generally] performed secretly…).  Passwords are to be private, because others shouldn’t know them (whereas hacking for passwords is done surreptitiously).  There are many other examples where things are considered private, but not secret.

When we operate in secrecy, we don’t wish anyone (even God!) to know what we are doing.  Even in the military ranks of most nations, there is a need to keep information compartmentalized because its public knowledge could possibly compromise a nation’s security.  But to keep something secret is something else.  If a military plan is created where its contents will not be made known to the highest members of military command, that usually indicates that it is not good.  God has NEVER once said in the Bible that “the end justifies the means”.  On the contrary, God expects holiness and righteousness to reign and rule in our lives, and if there are consequences, then God will take care of them.

Jesus exposed the deeds of darkness.  He never once engaged in them, for He WAS light.

Danger of Darkness

Darkness provides the veil and cloak of secrecy that evil so greatly desires.  Evil does not want to be seen.  It is much more effective working from the shadows, out of the public eye, where it can steal, kill and destroy.  Darkness becomes a place where people begin to justify what they are doing.  Because the light of truth is not revealing the nature and origin of their plans, many people don’t even realize that they have given over control of their lives to darkness.  Their fear keeps them in bondage, and they grow even more evil as the very voice that prompted them to do something in darkness is now condemning them and threatening them with it.  How terrible it is to be caught in the cloak of secrecy!  For when the truth reveals what has happened, the destruction and ruination that follows is inevitable.

Evil Exposed

Light exposes the evil in darkness.  By its very nature, light provides the resource necessary to reflect the nature of something.  And human beings, in their carnal nature, are salacious and gossipy creatures, greatly desiring the next morsel of impropriety and humiliation in the lives of others.  For some reason, this makes people feel good about themselves.

Everything that we do should be done in the light of truth.  If there is any doubt as to whether or not something would be perceived as inappropriate or damaging, it should be discussed with trusted, respected, Spirit-filled people who can ascertain if a decision or direction would cause harm to someone.  In every case, application of light into a dark area will cause the truth about circumstances to be illuminated and exposed.  It is better to expose something before it happens rather than deal with the consequences of it after it happens.

Tantalizing Truth

People have been lied to and deceived for so long and with so much, that ANY revelation of truth is received and embraced.  Since human beings were created in the image of God, we desire truth, even though our sin nature desires what it wants, which is to be ignored by truth and the light.  Otherwise, it cannot have its way.

Glory to God

Secret Societies DO NOT bring glory to God.   They clothe their actions in secrecy, in an attempt to make members feel as though they are special, because they have secret knowledge and support from their likewise-sworn members that ALL others (who are excluded) do not.  This is a divisive tool, used by the enemy of our souls, to divide us so that we can be more easily conquered.

Under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, Paul the Apostle penned these words:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

The information in the Bible is freely given to anyone who wants to learn (it costs money to print Bibles, so they may not necessarily be “free”, but anyone with access to the Internet can access the Bible for no additional fee).  The manual for most secret societies is closely guarded and members swear that they will not show it to others.  How can God be given glory if the deeds of men are done in darkness?

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

If you would like a more in-depth analysis of the compatibility (or lack thereof) of Christianity (discipleship in Christ) and Secret Societies, please take the time to read the analysis performed by the Christian & Missionary Alliance on the subject.

Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I shining light into the world, or cloaking it with darkness?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have brought Light into the world.  Help me to be light for You.  Shine Your glory through me, that others would be attracted to the light like moths.  I pray that Christ would be so apparent in my life that His character would be winsome to all who see You working in and through me.  Father, give me the strength to turn from any darkness in my life.  This may cause me financial, emotional, and relational distress.  I pray, Father, that as I turn ever more in alignment with You, that You would deal with all of these other issues.  Help me to seek you with abandon, that nothing would come between You and me.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

…Not of the World – John 17:15-19

Walk In The Same Manner As Christ – Sanctified By The Word Of God

15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Powerful Protection

Jesus’ prayer for us as believers wasn’t that God would remove us from the world, but rather that we would be protected from the evil one – Satan.  God has a plan that is unfolding every second of every day, and we are a part of that program.  We are Plan A of His plan – to reach everyone in every nation with the love and message of the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ.

In order to do that, we need some divine assistance.  Jesus recognized from His own testing that we need to be protected from Satan.  As Jesus’ disciples, we are not greater than the master, but rather suffer the same way that He did.  James did give us some advice on how to overcome the testing of the enemy of our souls:

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We tend to forget that first part, and go straight to the second part.  When we do that, it is like picking up an unloaded weapon and pointing it at someone who can see that the chamber is empty of a bullet.  We have a responsibility to first submit ourselves to God.  Let us do so, for we are not citizens of this world, but of Heaven.

Otherworldly Origin

Too often we become entrenched here in the world.  Like Lot, we pitched our tents towards Sodom, and the next thing we know, we are sitting in the City Gates, fully part of the culture that we have been sent to confront.  Our confrontation should not initially be with words, but with actions.  We are ambassadors for Christ, citizens of Heaven, just passing through.  We need to remember that so that we do not begin to look and act like the people that we have been sent to minister.  Otherwise, our ability to minister will be greatly impacted.

Paul said that he became like the people he was preaching to win many, but was not under the law.  When people see that we identify with them, they are more likely to listen to the message of Christ.  Is it not easier to minister to someone who is greatly grieving if we ourselves have experienced a similar loss?  Do we not then have the compassion and empathy towards their situation to be able to say, “I’ve been there.  Let me tell you what helped me through this…”.

Sacred Sanctification

Jesus’ desire for us was that we would be sanctified.  He desired that our character be conformed to the character of God.  He wanted us to live our lives in a way that properly reflected the righteousness that He would soon give up for us so that we could be reconciled to the Father.  Personal holiness is not required for salvation, but it should be a desire of every believer, for we wish to emulate the life and character of our teacher and savior, Jesus Christ.

Sovereignly Sent

Jesus asked the Father that He would send us out into the world just as God sent Jesus.  To be sent, we must first be made alive in Christ by the Holy Spirit of God indwelling us.  We are then tested by God.  Next, we are to be filled with the Spirit of God as He comes upon us mightily.  Walking in the gifts of the Spirit that God provides to us, we are sent out to minister to others and do God’s work in His will.

Truly Transformed

When we yield ourselves to God, He will conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  We will shed the things of the past, and embrace the things of the Spirit and our future as we look forward to returning to our true home, Heaven.  Transformation through sanctification is a blessing that every believer should embrace.  In the same way that we expect a college student who has taken courses for the last four years to pass their exams and graduate, we also should be applying what we learn so that we too will properly use the education that God has provided to us for the purposes of glorifying His name and bearing His image properly to others.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  To the world, do I look more like them or more like Jesus?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You test me day and night.  Your word convicts me, and I desire to embrace the changes that You want to make in my life.  Give me the strength and wisdom to let go of the past, and to embrace the present.  Help me to apply the lessons that You teach me in Your word so that I will live a life worthy of the calling that I have received.  Help me to be light and salt to this world, and to use every available resource that You provide for Your purposes and not my own.  Give me the ability to yield everything to You, for You already own it, and want me to voluntarily see this truth and embrace it in my heart.  Transform me that I may be more useful in Your kingdom, and help me to do all that You desire so that I may hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when I next see Your Son, Jesus Christ, in glory.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Order vs. Chaos – 1 Corinthians 14:26-33

God Infused Order Within Everything In The Universe

26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

Crazy Chaos

Paul was addressing the use of the spiritual gifts in worship in this passage.  The children of God were eager to use their gifts, but their eagerness tended to cause chaos when they gathered together.  Rather than build up the body, the gifts were causing chaos through cacophony.

Imagine a busy airport with everyone talking to each other.  The noise would have been deafening and confusing.  Or imagine being in a room with two hundred televisions, all set to different broadcasting stations, all at the same volume, all at the same time.  It would be nearly impossible to focus on just one of them with so many other streams of visual and audio information bombarding us, each demanding that we pay attention to them.

Chaos would be the rule.  The author of chaos and confusion is Satan.  God is truth, and the truth does not seek to cause confusion, but clarity in thought.  Truth takes the chaos and puts it into order.  Chaos can drive us crazy.  Truth pulls us out of the maelstrom and places us upon the solid Rock of Jesus, where the buffeting of chaos cannot touch.

Power in Peace

Paul attempted to address this with order in worship.  By limiting the number of people speaking at one time, it would be possible for the body to focus on what was being said, and that would result in the body being built up.  When the body is built up, working together in harmony, and focused upon the singular goal of yielding themselves to the Holy Spirit, order comes out of chaos, and the power of God is manifested through his people acting in unison.

Sovereign Signature

While we might say that these things are good for us as we relate to one another, what about the rest of creation?  Did God deem it proper to include order in the rest of creation? How about the things that exist outside of the physical universe?  Let’s take a look at the universe first.

The Golden Ratio

There is a special number, a ratio, that appears to exist in just about everything.  From the way that DNA spirals, to the way that plants’ leaves grow on the stalk, to the spiral arms of the galaxies, to the formation of crystals, and the spins of subatomic particles, there is a commonality in all of it.  The number is known as the Golden Ratio.  You can see it everywhere you look.  It appears in all of nature.  It is believed that the Golden Ratio may play a part in the human perception of beauty.

God left us a huge clue in both visually observable and non-visually observable (that which is too small to see with the naked eye) nature of all things.  God left us a signature that everything was created with purpose, and that it was the result of an ordered, intellectual pursuit rather than just random happenings.

Hierarchy of Angels

Paul clues us in to the structured order of ranks of angels, in this case, fallen angels:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The Trinity

There is structure in the Trinity.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God, yet each one has purpose and responsibility within their relationship to each other.  The following is not an exhaustive list of this order, but a very primitive overview to show that there is order within:

  • The Father oversees and judges
  • The Son creates and redeems
  • The Holy Spirit indwells, empowers, exhorts, consoles, convicts, counsels, exalts and points us to Christ

Each are co-equal as God, but each have different assigned roles.  And in this, there is great order and unity.  There is no dissension in the Trinity, only unity and order.

Course of Collapse

Careful observation of nature shows that there is another order.  There is a universal tendency for all things to move from an ordered state to an un-ordered state.  In other words, all matter moves from order to chaos.  Iron, in the presence of water, will always rust.  Rust, without some extraordinary measures, will never “degrade” back into pure iron and whatever other elements are released.  Bodies decompose after death.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if we poured chemicals into a vat, and slowly the chemicals interacted and formed a new body!

God has designed the universe to have universal, observable laws.  Laws like gravity, inertia, mathematics, and truth.  Each of these, without outside interference, will always give the same answers when they are probed.  Two plus two will always equal four, all things being equal (no outside interference).  Matter is attracted to planets (as opposed to being repelled by them).  An object in motion will stay in motion if there are no other forces exerted upon it.  We accept these as laws, and rely upon their very dependable, repeatable nature.

Imagine what would happen if the Earth no longer orbited the sun.  Imagine what would happen if the laws of inertia and gravity were nullified.  Imagine if gases, like our atmosphere, were to suddenly and without notice, change temperature and volume, with no discernible pattern.  There would be pandemonium and chaos.  Our world, and everything in it, on it, and above it, would be in constant flux.  We would be in constant panic, perishing left and right, with no ability to control or predict how the very things that we rely upon to live would contribute to our eventual, and very swift, destruction.

Love and the Law

If we look at the Law of God, the Law that God gave Moses for the people, each of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship with others – our interactions with God and each other.  Whether it is obedience to God, or righteous conduct with others, these Commandments should guide our interactions.  Each of them is based in love.  In (agape*) love, there is peace and harmony.  This brings order into our lives.  Love fulfills the law because the law is designed to point to Love as the principle that governs perfect order in the universe.  Love brings order to chaos, and provides the right environment for the flourishing of relationship and conduct between us all.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Does order or chaos occur when I get involved?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are glorious in all of Your ways.  Please help to bring order to my chaos.  Teach me what I can do to help stand strong in the waves of difficulty that occur when the enemy sows discord and anarchy in people.  Keep me strong, and guard me in all my ways.  Help others to see Your love through the order that occurs when disciples of Christ act in unison.  Help me to be a part of order rather than chaos, and to be yielded to the Holy Spirit as Your Son, Jesus Christ, was yielded to Him when Jesus walked the Earth nearly two thousand years ago.  Thank You, Father, for instilling order in Your creation and Your commands, that I would have structure and stability in my ways.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


  • The word agape is one of four Greek words that describe love (agape, eros, philia, storge).  This type of love has three defining characteristics – it is unconditional (no strings attached), sacrificial (requires that the giver make personal sacrifice over self to show love to another), and volitional (an act of the will, not emotion).  This is Godly love – love that is born from the desire to see another person prosper, grow, be nourished, and succeed ahead of our own selfish desire.

The Dangers of Deception – Proverbs 26:18-19

Satan Is The Father Of All Liars And Deceivers

18 Like a maniac shooting
flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”

Just Joking

Have you ever been angered at what someone did, and their response was, “I was only joking!”  The good news is that this isn’t a new phenomenon – this has been going on for millennia!  The phrase “I was only joking!” is born out of the inspiration of the one who instigated the situation in the first place.  It is born out of desperation to justify the actions in the mind of the person responsible, as well as an attempt to pacify the anger in the intended recipient of the actions.  It is little consolation for the pain, heartache, and anger that result from the damaging situation that has just occurred.

Dangerous Deception

No one likes to be deceived.  There is an inherent desire in each human being to know the truth, and be told the truth.  Even when society and culture places snares all around us with the false promise of “happiness”, the moment that people take the bait and compromise themselves, the very people who placed the snares are the very first to point the finger and impugn their victim’s character, applying labels to destroy their reputations.  The motivations for doing this are many, too many to discuss here.  Some of the more obvious and insidious motivations are that people are looking for salacious headlines, they are trying to destroy a political opponent, or possibly even are out for revenge in vengeance.

Deception is very dangerous.  When discovered, it breaks the bonds of trust that we share with each other.  It makes it harder to develop trust with others in the future.  It sets up a stage where the economic potential of people can be adversely affected.  Deception undermines the unwritten rules of societal interaction.  And the very act of deception is born from a self-serving desire to manipulate the circumstances of others in order to gain a more favorable advantage in those circumstances.

While there are some people who actually receive great pleasure from the ability to deceive and rejoice in the consequences that others find themselves when they believe the lie, most people in their core feel shame once they have deceived another.  The writer of this Proverb likens the person deceiving as a maniac who randomly shoots flaming arrows of death.  That is a powerful word picture!  Only a maniac would shoot arrows, let alone flaming arrows of death, randomly into a crowd.  Deception affects more than just the person or persons who are the intended target; it affects the lives of everyone around them, and potentially, the lives of people who the targets will interact with in the future.  Deception does not only change the circumstances of the victims, but also of the perpetrator.

Satanic Source

Do not be deceived: it is Satan who is the father of all who lie and deceive:

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Deception is the application of the art of historical revisionism, i.e., lying.  There are many forms of deception:

  • The exclusion of facts necessary to make a good judgment concerning a situation and that falsely and adversely affect the true nature of the situation
  • The alteration of existing facts to fit a particular narrative so that it favors a particular person, entity, or cause
  • The fabrication of information that does not have any basis in fact whatsoever
  • The promotion of an alternative “truth” to salve our own conscience – the art justifying our actions

There are many more ways to deceive.  The Bible says that we are so evil, we invent new ways to sin.  And when the scholarly and lawyer-like ones among us look at a list, sometimes our very first inclination is to look for loopholes in the wording to see if there is a way we can get away with it and still adhere to the letter of law while murdering the spirit of the law.  And in even that, the Bible proves true when it states:

10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Eventual End

The eventual end of deception is that we obscure the truth, and in doing so, reap the rewards of what we have sown.  Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.  He is the embodiment of truth, and in truth, there is no deception.  Truth sheds light on all that is evil, wrong, wicked, and deceptive.  The continued practice of deception will eventually cause us to have a seared conscience – a state where we are no longer able to recognize that some action we are taking is evil.  Those who lie and deceive do not have the truth in them, and they will eventually face judgment before the white throne seat of God.

But thanks be to God in Jesus Christ!  For He has overcome, and in His very public death, burial, and resurrection, through a perfect life, died for our sins so that we could be reconciled to the Father.  If you are caught in deception or deceptive practices, turn to God, confess your sin, and seek the help of The Lord God Almighty who does not desire that anyone perish, for Jesus has been sent to pay our penalty for sin.  Turn to the One who can save you, forgive you, redeem you, and change you through His great and mighty Spirit.

While there is breath, there is hope.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I engaging in deceit in any of my dealings with others, or even myself?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are holy, and no sin will be permitted in Your presence.  Even now, we cannot look upon Your face, for we would surely perish if we did.  Thank You for Your love, grace, and mercy that You pour out into my life each and every day.  I know that I don’t deserve it, but I am grateful for it.  Show me, Father, where there is deception in my life.  Forgive me for my sin, and help me to do what is right in Your eyes.  Restore my conscience to a sensitive level, that I would know immediately when I am in danger of sinning against You.  Give me joy instead of sorrow, and help me to live in truth rather than the bondage of lies.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The First and the Last – Isaiah 44:6-8

The Lord God Almighty Is The Only God That Exists

6 “This is what the Lord says-
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come-
yes, let them foretell what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

First and Final

The Lord God Almighty is the Alpha and the Omega.  He is the first and the last.  Israel’s King and Redeemer declares that He is the one and only God.  And He declares that He knows no one else who is like Himself.  God has the unique perspective to see through the lens of holiness, righteousness, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence to rightly see all that can be seen.  And He has declared that there is no other God but Him.

This is especially important because many people have declared that all paths lead to God.  Their understanding of God is marred through the veil of sin, their own preconceived desire to see God as they want to see Him, and the ever-present influence of Satan, the father of lies, to distort God’s character, motives, and purposes into a pretzel of misunderstanding so as to mislead any who refuse to seek God for who He truly is.  Any who seek God must do so on God’s terms, and not their own.

When we seek God on our terms – trying to speculate who God is from who we believe God should be, rather than taking God at His word and seeing Him through His unbiased and unvarnished perspective, we produce, at best, a distorted view of who God is, and allow ourselves to impose our own morality, judgments, and character upon Him.  God, however, desires that we know Him for who He truly is, and provides us with a record of history that clearly demonstrates His character through His interaction with people and His creation.  God provides us with the big answers about Himself that cannot be found through observation, so that we can focus on actively participate participating in close relationship with Him, rather than always question who God truly is in our hearts.

True Test

God has drawn a line in the sand.  He has laid down the gauntlet and provided the litmus test to determine if there is another God.  And the test is remarkably simple.  Since God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, He and He alone knows the end from the beginning.  He has divinely seen all that will ever occur.  He is able to know the outcome of all things because knowledge of all things is His very nature.

The test to any who would claim to be God is to predict the future.  Is there anyone out there who claims to be God, or know of another God than the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, YHWH, The Great I AM, who can rightly predict the future PERFECTLY and without fault?  If so, make your predictions now.  Let us see if they hold true.  Predict about the near future and the far future.  No one up to this time has been able to be right ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the time, except the Lord God Almighty.  No one can see the future, except for the One who created all things, knows their true nature, and has seen the end from the beginning.

Many will claim that they can predict the future, or have intimate knowledge of what will come.  And to be sure, some of those predictions will come to pass.  But the challenge laid down by The Lord God Almighty is to be right ALL the time, every time.  And here is a clue – if anyone else makes predictions, The Lord God Almighty will certainly change the outcome to ensure that they don’t all come to pass.  He is sovereign over His creation, and none can rightly claim what He has done as their own work, and get away with it forever.

We are Witnesses

The Lord God Almighty again tells us to not be afraid of people who claim there is another God apart from Him.  He has proclaimed and foretold of Himself and other things from the beginning of time.  The disciples of Jesus Christ (and any who believe God, and through that believe belief, are now declared righteous) are now a cloud of witnesses to the world which suppresses the truth, glory, honor, and character of God through their wickedness.

God then asks a rhetorical question:  Is there any God but Him?  His witnesses will attest and affirm that there is none.  And He Himself declares that He knows of no other.  Since God is Truth, and He cannot lie, He is the perfect witness to His own character and nature.  Let us rejoice in the revelation of His goodness, love, grace, mercy, and holiness as declared in His holy word.

If there is anyone who declares that God is someone other than whom the Bible reveals Him to be, let them come forth with their god, and the writings and revelations of their god, and see if their god can truly, accurately, consistently, and without any failure predict all that is to come.  And if that god fails to rightly predict all things in the future, let that god be abhorred, rejected, and any method of worship to it be abandoned.   And if a God is able to rightly predict everything (because He is sovereign over His creation), let Him be the one that you worship, adore, obey, and revere.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  What are my prerequisite tests for determining and confirming who I believe God to be?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You and You alone are able to accurately, consistently, and without fail, predict all that will happen in the universe every time that You open Your mouth.  You are truth personified, and there is no wrongdoing in You.  You cannot fail, because Your character, power, and glory will not allow for that to occur.  By Your very nature, You are unable and incapable of being wrong in anything You do or say.  Let my heart rejoice in Your immovable, immutable, and perfect character.  Let my joy in You be my strength, and may I reject any false god and prophet who claim to be You, but are wrong even once.  Give my heart discernment, and show me Your wondrous ways.  Help me to remember Your perfect holiness in times of trial, and let me not be deceived by any spirit, but rather test the spirits as Your servant John has declared.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Fire-Breathing Dragons and God – Job 41:12-34

Myths Are Often Based In Fact

12 “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
its strength and its graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its outer coat?
Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?
14 Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
ringed about with fearsome teeth?
15 Its back has rows of shields
tightly sealed together;
16 each is so close to the next
that no air can pass between.
17 They are joined fast to one another;
they cling together and cannot be parted.
18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light;
its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
19 Flames stream from its mouth;
sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke pours from its nostrils
as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
21 Its breath sets coals ablaze,
and flames dart from its mouth.
22 Strength resides in its neck;
dismay goes before it.
23 The folds of its flesh are tightly joined;
they are firm and immovable.
24 Its chest is hard as rock,
hard as a lower millstone.
25 When it rises up, the mighty are terrified;
they retreat before its thrashing.
26 The sword that reaches it has no effect,
nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
27 Iron it treats like straw
and bronze like rotten wood.
28 Arrows do not make it flee;
slingstones are like chaff to it.
29 A club seems to it but a piece of straw;
it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
30 Its undersides are jagged potsherds,
leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
31 It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 It leaves a glistening wake behind it;
one would think the deep had white hair.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal—
a creature without fear.
34 It looks down on all that are haughty;
it is king over all that are proud.”

Tantalizing Tale

Just when you thought you had seen everything, God decides to throw you a curve-ball.  Many people believe that dragons are merely folklore, stories to scare and entertain children, and the product of the imagination of overly bored fantasy writers.  If we believe the Bible, and that everything that is written in God’s word is truth, then we have an interesting dilemma – what do we do with Job 41?

Let’s take a closer look at the description of the Leviathan.  Perhaps we have written off a myth and lore a little too early as the delusional fantasy of bored writers?

Amazing Armor

The Leviathan has two coats of armor – an outer shell of something that God is calling shields.  Is it possible that the outer armor of the Leviathan are scales that are so thick that they are of a size, thickness, and hardness to be called shields?  Although the Bible doesn’t say exactly what the inner armor is, dragon’s skin has been said to be so tough, that spears, arrows, and swords could not penetrate it.  In folklore, only “magical” weapons could pierce it.

The shields (scales?) are so tightly connected, that not even air can get between them.  It is rumored that the scales of dragons are so tightly connected that it is nearly impossible for any weapon to pry between them to even attempt to pierce the inner skin.

Fiery Foe

One of the most powerful, and compelling, features of the dragon is the ability to breath fire.  Here in the Bible, we are told that Leviathan snorts out flashes of light, and that its eyes glow.  This might have been written off as an interesting optical feature, for other creatures can produce light.  But the Bible records that smoke pours out of its nostrils.  Additionally, flames stream from its mouth, and its breath will light coals on fire.  This is not merely some interesting optical phenomenon – it is fire coming forth from the mouth, and the smoke and light of the eyes are evidence of it.

Strangely Strong

The skin of the Leviathan is like a millstone – extremely strong and resistant to anything that might attempt to pierce it.  Even swords, arrows and spears are like hay against it.  This is no ordinary skin.  Nothing in the time of Job made by man could even touch it, let alone pierce it.  This very well could have been the second layer of armor mentioned.

Powerfully Protected

With two layers of armor – scales and skin, breath of fire so hot that it ignites coals, and powerful strength, what more could it need?  God gave it just a bit more.  It’s undersides are like pot shards – extremely jagged and sharp.  It leaves a wake as it moves, churning up the sediment below, but also boiling the water with its breath.  And it has a mouth ringed about with fearsome teeth.

Fearless Foe

Any who would come near the Leviathan would tremble with fear.  This was no ordinary creature.  God indicates that the Leviathan had no equal – nothing was as strong, powerful, dangerous, beautiful, graceful, or fearless.  The dinosaurs were large and ferocious.  But they were no match for the Leviathan.  Apart from flying not being mentioned by God in this passage of scripture, the Leviathan has every characteristic that was ever written about the fire-breathing dragon.

Superstition or Amazing Creation?  The Bible says it really existed.  We should believe what God has to say in His word.  What other interesting gems of intrigue are buried in the Bible?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When presented with information in the Bible that challenges my preconceptions of belief, how will I choose to respond?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are Wonderful Creator of all the universe, and everything in it.  Thank You for making the Leviathan, a creature of renown whose legends remain even today.  Your creativity and expressiveness in Your creation is beyond my ability to comprehend.  Help me, Father, when I am presented with truths in Your word that may conflict with my understanding of You, Your word, and reality.  Help me to accept Your word as truth, and to realign my thoughts, attitudes, and opinions to align with Yours.  Give me the grace to struggle with concepts that challenge my perceptions, and help me to come around so that I would embrace Your truth in every facet.  Father, You have taught me in Your word that we cannot cherry-pick what we want to believe, but rather that everything You say is truth, and that the truth would set us free.  Set me free from the bondage of lies, misinformation, and feelings that obscure Your truth.  Give me a heart of wisdom and discernment, that I would be able to let go of that which is false, and embrace all that is true.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Combat Training with God – 1 Timothy 4:1-5

Not Everyone Who Claims To Be Of God Truly Is

1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

Deceived by Demons

It would appear that many today have abandoned their faith to listen to the teaching of demons.  They seek to enslave the people of God by placing restrictions upon them that are not required of God, and thus leading them into bondage.  This does not bode well for the people of God, who are looking for good shepherds who will protect, feed, and care for the flock.  Great care and discernment must be used to recognize the dangers of allowing leaven to be introduced to the bread.  We must remember that a little leaven will affect the whole lump of dough, causing every part of it to be infected and affected.

Lauded by Liars

These individuals who are wreaking havoc among God’s people are those who refuse to love the truth, and so have been given over to a great delusion so that they would believe the lie.  They themselves become very skilled liars, seeking to deceive any that they can.  Lies become their trade, and they perfect their craft using their skills to get dishonest gain.  Scripture says that their consciences are seared as though they have been burned by a red-hot iron.  What could drive a person to such a place?  The only conclusion is that they never did know who God was, and therefore could never really trust Him to be alongside them in their trials and difficulties.

Powerful Prohibitions

Some of the prohibitions listed by Paul are reminiscent of the ones that we have read about in cults.  Several of the more recent cults have forbidden men and women to marry.  Only the leader of the cult can marry women and have relations with them.  These cults have a tendency to fall apart.  Nevertheless the damage is already done.  Additionally, they restrict the types of food that people can eat and beverages people can drink.  Everything that God has created is good for consumption (with some exceptions that could kill or hurt us).

God’s Goodness

When God created the Earth and everything in it, He declared that it was good.  It was the fall of Adam that brought the curse of sin, and the sacrifice of Jesus as a man hung on a tree and declared to be cursed to break the power of the curse of sin.  Now, everything is good again. People can now live their lives with the power of sin broken in ways that will honor and glorify God through submission to the Holy Spirit.

Paul has said that all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.  It is up to the children of Almighty God to have discernment in choosing the things that are profitable rather than the things which are merely lawful.  Either way, all of these things have been declared by God to be good.  We need not worry about what we put into our mouths.  For it is what comes out of our mouths that defiles us.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I being a Berean and vetting what I hear from people against scripture before believing it?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Your Son Jesus Christ was sent to us to free us from the bondage of sin.  Help me to have a wise and discerning spirit so that I will not become entrapped by sin and the teachings of demons into a state of bondage ever again.  Guide me to Your word every time someone tells me something, and especially when it does not sound right.  Give me a heart of wisdom and may I seek You and Your counsel to verify all that I hear before I believe it.  Give the will, the time, and the ability to research these things so that I can be firmly convinced in my heart that what I hear from people who claim to be from You are truly from You and speaking Your truth.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Love of God- 1 Corinthians 13:5-6

Love Seeks The Betterment Of Others

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Don’t Dishonor

Paul, in his famous treatise of love, provides insight into what can be gleaned from love by highlighting what love is not.  Love does not dishonor others.  Love believes the very best of people.  This is not to say that we don’t take reasonable precautions when interacting and trusting others; love does its best to seek the welfare of everyone:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Self-Seeking

Love is not self-seeking.  It is always other-seeking.  It seeks the welfare of our neighbors first.  The acrostic JOY helps us to remember our place in life:

Jesus
Others
You

It is only when we have our priorities straight that we are able to see clearly.  Self-seeking people are unable to see the priorities of life correctly, because they are blinded by their desire to fulfill their own needs and desires regardless of the injury to their neighbors.  This blinds us to reality.  We are told to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things will be added to us.  Provision by God is a natural extension of His love for us when we are providing for the needs of others.  God again reveals His character when we engage in it ourselves.

Steady State

Anger can be a useful tool.  It is a proper response to injustice and unrighteousness.  But because of the fall of man, we take anger to new levels.  We become angry for many reasons, but mostly because we have a perceived unmet need.  Our expectation of outcome is not met, and many times in selfishness, this displays itself as anger.  Think about the responses that any one of us would have in the following two scenarios:

  1.  You are walking along a crowed street in a strange city you have never visited before.  A person you have never met before walks up to you and says, “I hate you!  You are mean and don’t care about me!”
  2. Your spouse (or someone very close to you) walks up to you and says, “I hate you!  You are mean and don’t care about me!”

Most people in the first scenario would probably look quizzically at the person and in their inner voice say, “That was weird…”  But in the second scenario, there is a higher expectation of behavior from that person due to an established relationship, whether it is an accepted cultural expectation of behavior, or an expectation of behavior due to a cultivated relationship.  It would most likely cause emotional distress.  What is the difference?  Both people said the same thing.  It is our expectation of outcome that changes our emotional reaction.

We can choose how we react to situations, as shown in the above scenarios.  God chooses to wait to be angry for a while, giving us every opportunity to come to Him and make things right.  Even when we were sinners, Christ died upon the cross for us.  He had the view of eternity in front of Him always.   This assisted Him in being able to make such great sacrifices, and should encourage us to do the same.

Faithful Forgiveness

Paul goes on to say that love keeps no record of wrongs.  God, in His loving character, moves our sin as far from the East is from the West.  When we keep track of who has done what to us, we are in effect not allowing the grace of God to penetrate our hearts for what we have been forgiven.  We are, in effect, holding these wrongs against the other person.  This is not to say that we excuse bad behavior, but that when we choose to forgive someone of their sin, we don’t hold it against them.

In the same way, we should be prudent in how we exercise our judgment.  If the 16-year-old likes to party (it’s nearly impossible to control the behavior of children every second of every day), and shows poor judgment in how he/she lives life, it is unwise to provide him/her with the keys to the family car.  You still love them, you forgive them, you just don’t permit them to endanger themselves or others by providing access to privileges that require great responsibility to exercise safely.

Eschew Evil

Love does not delight in evil.  To do so would be a public endorsement of it.  In the same way, we don’t wear swastikas nor joyfully put our right arms out and publicly say, “Heil Hitler!”,  even in jest.  We don’t laugh at the misfortune of others in an effort to demean them.  God has a revulsion to evil, a true and deep hatred of it.  He despises evil.  In the same way, as our hearts become attuned to His through the washing of the word, we should have that same hatred of evil.  And while we must have compassion on those who engage in evil acts (remember Stephen’s cry to God to forgive the attackers who were stoning him to death), it is perfectly alright to hate the evil acts themselves.

Triumph in Truth

Instead, we should rejoice with the truth.  Love recognizes truth and is comfortable in it.  Love is a reflection of truth – the very nature of reality as it should be, rather than as it is.  Each of us view life through filters.  The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  It rightly sees things as they are, rather than as we think they are.  Only God, who is perfect, it able to truly see everything the way it really is.  And when we walk in love, a defining character trait of Almighty God, He reveals Himself to us in a greater way, and helps us to see things from His perspective.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I walking in Godly love?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You constantly display Your love for us each and every day through Your mercy, grace, and compassion.  You seek us when we stray, and woo us to You through Your kindness.  Help me, Lord God, to walk in Your love. Show me how to love You and others in the same way that You love me.  Give me a heart of compassion, mercy, and grace.  Help me to rejoice in the truth.  Remove the scales from my eyes that I would see clearly.  Guide and guard my heart in all things.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Character of God – Matthew 28:11-15

God Does Not Deceive

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Honor in Honesty

The guards who had witnessed the angels opening the tomb that held our savior first did the right thing: they told the truth to the chief priests.  This is interesting, insofar as they were Roman soldiers, and should have reported this to their commanding officer.  While the Bible doesn’t say why they went to the chief priests first, it is a fairly goo assumption that the presence and power of angels at the tomb both enthralled and frightened them. It is most likely that they sought to understand what they had experienced, and sought out the experts in this area, the chief priests.  God does not like deception, but honors those who tell the truth.  The guards, fearing for their lives, went to the priests first and did what was right: they told the truth.  And what an interesting story came out of that meeting.

Paid to Perjure

Imagine the surprise of the guards who went to the chief priests of the Jews with their story.  Imagine being told that you were believed, but that you needed to cover up the truth.  Not only that, but a large bribe was provided to ensure that you perjured yourself.  And not only were you asked to perjure yourself, you were told that you needed to admit that you had failed to complete your duties (in this case, sleeping on the job)?  This was unconscionable, and could have caused the soldiers to lose their lives.

Not only were they asked to falsify their account, they were asked to say that they were incompetent, and that a bunch of unarmed fishermen were able to somehow overcome them to be able to steal away the body.  Although corruption may have been occurring, it was coming from the very highest ranked people who were charged with teaching and modelling God’s law – the chief priests.  Jesus rightly called them a brood of vipers, and whitewashed tombs with dead men’s bones inside.

Corrupted Collusion

The soldiers were promised that if the report of their false story were to come up to the governor, they would satisfy him as well.  Imagine being a soldier and being told that your Commander-in-Chief would be bought off.  Perhaps it was the money or the disgrace, but the soldiers did what was asked of them.  And Paul rightly condemned this type of behavior:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness

Jesus said that these people were of their father, the devil, and that they spoke his native tongue – lying:

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I honoring God with my speech?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have shown us Your character is perfect through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help me to remember this when I am placed in difficult circumstances and asked to do what is wrong.  Give me the courage to stand up for the truth, and to accept whatever consequences come from it.  Guard my heart as I stand for You.  Prepare me to be a holy vessel, set apart from sin and dedicated to You.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Justice of God – Isaiah 59:14-15

The Lack Of Justice Displeases God

14 So justice is driven back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

The Lord looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.

Justice Jilted

Evil people seek to position themselves as far from justice as they can get.  Their works demand justice, and they seek to thwart the righteous by escaping what they deserve.  Darkness hates the light, and justice has a tendency to restrict evil from its effects.  Evil would prefer that justice turn its eyes away from their works so that they would not reap what they sow.  In that, those who are tasked to ensure that justice is meted out are threatened or outright bullied into submission, driven back from its rightful place in society.

Righteousness Rejected

Once justice is displaced, the people reject righteousness, because their love grows cold in the darkness of the wickedness that grows in the vacuum.  The only path to success when righteousness is rejected is to embrace evil.  The righteous will stand at a distance, for wickedness will turn its full force of anger and vitriolic hatred towards anyone brave enough to approach the wicked.

In the United States of America, as long as a person agrees with the wicked societal and political positions and stances that are prevalent, regardless of the person’s past indiscretions, they are left alone.  But when any deviation from that worldview is presented, the people who once shielded them become their biggest critics and cry out for their humiliation and destruction.  Labels of hater, bigot, hypocrite, and many others are relentlessly spoken about that person, until their character is fully assassinated.

Yet we are called to display God’s character.  In Jeremiah 29:7:, God calls the righteous to pray for and seek peace and prosperity wherever we are:

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

Truth Trounced

As this turning towards evil progresses, truth is attacked as well.  Moral relativism gives birth, and truth can no longer be heard, because, after all, what is truth?  Truth is rejected by those who prefer the power that historical revisionism provides to them.  If you can change what a person believes about the past, you can skew how that person views future events.

Take, for instance, the viewpoint that being of a specific race (color of skin caused by hereditary genetics) somehow magically makes a person “underprivileged”, “oppressed”, “victimized”, “downtrodden”, “targeted”, and any other number of emotionally charged words; it will have a tendency to affect how a person views events.

Predator and Prey

The innate need for unity in purpose forces evil to destroy that which cannot coexist with its ideology and worldview.  Truth and lies cannot commingle.  Those who live in lies despise the very thing that exposes their actions for the evil practices that they are.  Truth and righteousness are then hunted down and extinguished by the unrighteous, so that they will not be reminded of evilness within them.  Wicked people seek to salve their conscience, because their conscience conflicts with their goals and agendas.  Or, as we have seen with the LGBT community, it is not enough to merely tolerate the differences of opinion in viewpoints – everyone MUST agree with and publicly endorse their viewpoint, or be destroyed for their “insolence” in rejecting “the enlightened view”.

Almighty Annoyed

God is never pleased when the vehicles that He created to display His character, honor, and glory refuse to act in the manner for which they were created.  God is greatly displeased when Truth, Righteousness, and the shunning of evil are sought out and destroyed for doing exactly what they were meant to be doing – displaying Almighty God’s character and His love, mercy, grace, and righteousness.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Are we suppressing the truth with unrighteousness?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are very patient with us given the state of the world today.  Your word says that Your mercies renew every morning, but there will come a time when You can no longer be found.  Father, work in the hearts of those whose evil predisposes them to shun Your light.  Help their hearts to break over their sin.  Show them the price that needed to be paid in order to redeem us to You.  And guide each of us towards truth, justice, and righteousness.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

 

God the Son – Colossians 1:15-20

The Supremacy Of God The Son

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Invisible Image

Jesus was sent so that the invisible would be made visible.  Jesus has said,

“And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form,”

“If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

“…Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

Jesus came not only to bear witness to the truth; to seek and save the lost; but also to display His Father to all through Himself.  Through the submission of Jesus to the Holy Spirit, He was able to display His Father through His words and actions.  Jesus displayed relationship with the Father as well as the Father’s mercy, grace, righteousness, and justice.  We get a clear picture of God the Father through God the Son.

Righteous Resurrection

Jesus was the firstborn among creation.  He was the first person to experience resurrection in its fullest.  Although other people were brought back to life from the dead, they eventually died again.  Jesus has died, and was resurrected as the firstborn of creation.  He has taken His place at the head of creation at the right hand of God.

Creator’s Command

There was nothing created that was not created by God the Son, Jesus Christ.  He spoke everything into existence that was created, whether it was invisible or visible.  Jesus created Satan and the heavenly host.  He created the sun, the moon, the stars and the Earth.  He created Adam and Eve, and even now, He knits us together in our mother’s wombs as we are created through childbirth.  Everything that is created was created by Him and for Him.  And God the Father gave Jesus all of creation, with the Earth as His footstool.  He has won it back from Satan’s control through His perfect life, death, and resurrection.

Supremely Sovereign

Jesus holds all things together.  He is rightly the head of the Church, for He founded it. He again was the firstborn through resurrection so that in all things, Jesus Christ is declared sovereign over all.  There is nothing in the heavens or on Earth or below the Earth that Jesus is not sovereign.  He rules from Heaven, and awaits the time for God the Father to reveal Him again to the world.  His second coming will be as lion, though He first came as a lamb. All things will be completed when He arrives again.

Resulting Reconciliation

Jesus chose to put aside His glory and majesty to show us the Father, and to reconcile us to the Father.  All things will be reconciled to Him since He has paid the price to have them reconciled.  It is through His perfect, sinless, shed blood that we are reconciled.  He was the perfect and final sacrifice for all sin.  Jesus has rightfully restored what Adam lost.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Are we remembering the sacrifice that Jesus made to reconcile us to the Father as we live our daily lives?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are glorious to behold.  You have shown us Yourself through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  I am grateful that You love us so much to have sent Your Son to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Remember me this day, Father.  Help me to keep in mind the great and terrible sacrifice that Jesus made to reconcile me to You.  Even now, as I pray, You have given me this opportunity to come before You to praise You, present my concerns to You, and experience relationship with You, all because of the blood of Jesus Christ.  May I never forget what it cost You to bring this about.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Worshiping God – Psalm 51:17

Worship God in Truth and in Spirit

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

Spiritually Spent

The attitude of our heart is very important in Worship.  Worship is not only about praise, but also about humility in brokenness.  When we go to worship God, we need to do so in truth and in spirit.  Worship originates from our desire to commune with God on His terms.  David shows us that we should come to God with a spirit of contrition when approaching Him after we have sinned.

When our hearts are not right, our worship isn’t right either.  Even when we overcome great odds, and we are at a spiritual peak, we need to be careful that we approach God with humility and reverence.  But David was in a spiritually dark place.  He had molested Bathsheba; he tried to get Uriah, her husband, to have relations with her, so that her pregnancy with David’s son would be covered up; and when Godly Uriah did not follow David’s instructions, David had him murdered at the hands of his enemy.  Yet David was a man after God’s own heart.  He always came back to God.

Hygienic Hands

In Psalm 24, David notes that clean hands are required to come before God.  His hands were covered in the blood of murder and molestation.  David realized that he wouldn’t be able to worship God correctly until he had been cleansed of his unrighteousness.  In our modern society, grace appears to be emphasized over holiness, rather than in balance with it.  Perhaps if more time was spent policing our behavior than leaning on God’s grace when we mess up, we might have a better handle on the holiness of God.  And while God is merciful and graceful, we are told that we shouldn’t sin to bring more grace to bear upon us.

Healthy Heart

David also noted that we need a pure heart.  When we humble our hearts toward God, He will lift us up.  He will restore the joy of our salvation.  He will tenderly bring us back into right relationship with Himself.  And He will draw close to us.  It is then that we can properly worship God in Truth and in Spirit.

A Qualifying Question

So let’s ask ourselves a question:  When I come before the Lord to worship, am I coming with clean hands and a pure and humble heart?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, forgive me of my sins.  It is in brokenness of spirit that I come before You.  You are Holy, Holy, Holy, and cannot stand sin and unrighteousness.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.  Renew a steadfast spirit within me, that I will shun evil and love Your commands.  Help me to overcome my sin nature that I may greatly desire righteousness and truth.  I fail all the time, Lord God, but You are faithful to forgive and seek to restore me.  Help me to be more mindful of my actions, thoughts, and speech, that I would live in the positional righteousness that You have provided for me.  Show me my sin, for it blinds me to it.  Help me to overcome it, for I am more than a conqueror in Christ.  This I ask in the precious name and blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Truth of God – John 14:6

Truth and Lies Cannot Commingle

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Lethal Lies

Jesus declared Himself to be The Truth.  It is not just a state of being; it is a title:

  • the way (Greek hE hodos)
  • the truth (Greek hE alEtheia)
  • the life (Greek hE zOE)

In each of these, the word translated “the” is meant to signify a specific item, rather than a general item (such as, “a [one of many] way[s]”, “a truth”, “a life”. etc.).  This was done by the Apostle John to illustrate a specific truth – that Jesus, being God, embodies these specific characteristics that no other person can claim – they are singularly His.

In contrast to these, Jesus clarified that anyone who does not belong to God the Father belongs to the devil:

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Historical Revisionism (a.k.a., untruthfulness) distorts reality and not only detracts from the image of God (for we bear the image of God, being created in His image), but is now associated with murder!  Jesus links these two together here and makes an implied statement – Truth leads to life, and Lies lead to death (the murder of [The] Truth)!

Walk in the Way

Jesus, providing direction for any who would be His disciples, provided this very specific direction:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

As a three point direction, this is most interesting:

  • deny yourself (Greek aparnEsasthO heauton, an imperative command – Renounce [Die to] Yourself!) – An act of death to self and being made alive in Christ (“I am The Life”)
  • take up your cross (Greek aratO ton stauron autou, an imperative command – Take up the cross of you!) – Bear up under the burdens of sanctification (trials and tribulations – be an image-bearer of The Truth through hardship – “I am The Truth”)
  • follow me (Greek akoloutheitO moi, an imperative command – Follow me!) – akoloutheitO means to walk alongside, shoulder to shoulder, step for step, in harmony with the other person (“I am The Way”)

Failure to Follow

When we akolouthei Christ, we demonstrate to the the world that The Lord Jesus Christ is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life.  The Full Armor of God starts with the Belt of Truth.  In the Roman Soldier’s armor, the belt held everything together.  In the same way, Truth holds everything together.  When we fail to walk in truth, EVERYTHING falls apart…

The Qualifying Question

So, let’s ask the question – Am I walking in The Truth?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have provided us Your Son as our guide and example, for Jesus has said that if we have seen Him, we have seen You.  You are beautiful beyond description, and being in Your presence fills me with awe.  Examine and try me, and see if there is any wrongdoing in me.  Purge me of anything that does not conform to the image of Your Son, that I may walk in Truth and Righteousness.  Help me, Father, to be a better image bearer of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that all the world would see You on display when they look at me.  Help me to discard anything in my life that would even have the appearance of evil, that no one may claim that You are evil.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Perspective of God – Isaiah 1:18 (ESV)

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord: “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

“Reason together” is very interesting.  It is a meeting of the minds.  In our culture, it could be defined as, “let’s get together and discuss the matter.  You present your perspective, I’ll present mine, and we’ll meet in the middle somewhere.”  But that isn’t what is going on at all.  God is TruthGod is Perfect.  And a perfect and absolutely truthful God who knows all things is inviting us to see things from a correct perspective.  Although He sees our perspective (flawed as it is by our inherent sin nature which blinds us to the truth), He offers His perspective and beckons us to move to where He is to see things rightly.

Have you ever noticed that when you change your perspective – you move perhaps a step to the left or the right – that some things take on an entirely new meaning?  Have you ever seen an optical illusion, where if you move a little one way or the other, you see it for what it really is, but when you stand in just the right place, your brain fools you by filling in the gaps as it tries to define what it believes to be the truth?  It does this by using false, 2D perspectives in conjunction with interpolated depth perception (the ability of the mind to make rational calculations on what something should look like by comparing it to what appears to be a nearby known object of reference).

Take train tracks going in the distance.  Do the rails really get closer to each other the further away the rails are from us?  Why do they appear closer to each other then?  Our brains take what our eyes see and then creates a modified image using clues from other things around it to find meaning in what we see.  The brain has an internal mechanism that looks for meaning everywhere and in everything it sees.  Do you ever see bunnies or cars or birds in the way the clouds are formed?  Are the clouds really those things?  This is because God has given us the ability to intrinsically recognize intelligent designThis is why God can say that no one has any excuse for not recognizing that there is a God by looking at His creation. Since we are able to see that pattern (intelligent design), that ability permeates into other areas of our thought processes.

God offers a very wonderful opportunity to see the truth by pulling back the curtains on sin and righteousness and even time itself.  We are created beings, and as such, are bound at this time by the effects of the physical world, including TIME.  Rushing around, we are scarcely aware of the bigger picture, because time creates an interesting illusion – that it will always be around, and that there are immediate, temporal consequences for our actions.  It also fools us into thinking that when immediate consequences do not occur, that nothing bad will happen.  This illusion can guide us into being its slave, rather than helping us to use it for God’s purposes.  Timing is everything, right?

So, let’s take a step back and see the magic trick exposed.  What happens when we take a look at something through the lens of ETERNITY?

  • Justice is served.  How easy we get riled up when people do terrible things to us.  But God, being a just God, has ensured that justice will be served.  The Bible says that God can not be mocked, and a man reaps what he sows.  However, the transgression, in God’s eyes, has already been paid for.  Jesus bore the sins of the world, every sin for every person ever to exist – in the past, present, and the future – on the cross.  The lawbreakers (those who reject Jesus’s payment for our debt to God from sin) go to Hell (the Lake of Fire), and those who accept Jesus go to be with Him in Heaven.  Regardless, JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED. You can forgive the offender now.  The debt has already been paid.  In God’s eyes, since He sees the end from the beginning, He saw it as paid for even before the universe was created; and all of the lawbreakers are already in His jail, the Lake of Fire.

That was just one.  Take some time today, and with the Word of God, and the Lens of Eternity, what else do you see that you haven’t seen before?

A short prayer of preparation:

Our Father in Heaven, You are so good to us.  In our blindness, You offer sight.  You pull back the veil of darkness that clouds our vision and reveal wonderful new things in Your law.  You call us to draw close to You and to see things from Your perspective, a true and unvarnished perspective that transcends time and creation.  Guide us this day in Your perfect light, and remove the darkness that hides the true nature of reality.  You and You alone can see what is, what was, and what will be, and we desperately need Your help to navigate this life as we are crippled by our sin nature.  Blessed is Your name, that You seek us, redeem us, and keep us.  Your glory is beautiful to behold; may we bask in Your light, and be enlightened.  This we ask in the name of Your Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?