Thursday, 22 September 2022

The Excellency of Christ

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

      The excellency of Christ in its fulness, cannot be described by any human resource because a finite mind can only find words within its realm of understanding. Therefore explaining the excellence of an infinite Christ is outside of our ability to fully demonstrate the perfection of Christ's holiness and divinity. However, this should not stop us from asking the Holy Spirit for revelation knowledge to receive within our capability the understanding of who Christ is and be able to do our best to describe His divine excellency. 
      The fulness of Christ will only be known when we stand before Him in eternity. Perhaps we can get a glimpse of the eye-opening awe of Christ with this example. When the Queen of Sheba declared her amazement of Solomon's wisdom, it was after she had ditched her preconceived ideas because of the things she had heard. 2Chron. 9:5 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 6 I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I had not heard the half of your great wisdom! It is far beyond what I was told. When we meet our Saviour Jesus on that glorious day, our words will be, " I had not heard a trillionth of what was told."
      Prov. 30:5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. This proverb says that every word of God is pure. Well, Jesus is the Word, and He is pure. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word was God! Everything that exists was made by Him. John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. The miracle for our hearts to understand is that this Word became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. John 1:14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. There is so much to take in, but there it is, Christ the perfect and excellent one, chose to come and live among His created beings.
      Man's downfall is when we treat Jesus like one of the boys and compare Him to ourselves and the standard of forthrightness that is exhibited in our world. When we do this, we no longer have the ability to be awe-struck by what is presented as who Jesus is. Yes, we all have that cinematic picture of Him healing the sick, casting out devils, and for the grand finale, raising the dead while looking beatific and in a constant state of meditation. This portrayal of Jesus Christ is our interpretation of what we think God in the flesh would act like. This self-created image gets in the way of who He truly is. He is God in the flesh. Col. 2:9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. How can this eternal mystery be accurately explained to a society that thinks God is an old man floating above them somewhere?
      When Jesus was confronting the Sadducees who were supposed to have a basic understanding of God, the Lord said plainly what the problem was and the same problem exists today. Matt. 22:29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. The lesson that Jesus was trying to explain was that knowing the Word of God and understanding God's power is the first key to being in a position to hear God and having our hearts open to a relationship with Him. 
      The religious leaders of the day had studied the law of God their whole lives, only to demonstrate that they understood very little of God's love and holiness. Jesus who was the excellency of God was walking amongst them in the flesh, and they had no insight as to who Jesus was even though they were waiting for the Messiah to arrive. Mark 8:18 You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all? The religious rulers who continually searched the prophetic laws, could not see the incarnate prophecy fulfilled in front of them.
      How do we overcome that same spirit manifesting today that stumed the Pharisees? Many are like the Sadducees and the Herodians, who seemed to have a form of Godliness but were not able to see Jesus the Lord. We tend to be floundering in religiosity. 2Tim. 3:5 Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. How do we break through that religious spirit and grasp the power of God's eternal life at work within us? The Apostle Paul who wrote much of the New Testament was wrestling with the same issue and found himself wanting to know the depth of Christ's excellency and the power of His resurrection. Phil. 3:10a I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. It seems this is the prayer we need to pour out of our hearts to break through the spirit of complacency. Oh, that I might know Him!  
      Thank God there is grace through our Lord Jesus who keeps us from falling into complete stupification and reprobation. As we walk and do our best to know the excellency of Christ, we can be assured that God has us in the palm of His hand. Until we are living with the Lord in eternity, grasping how perfect Jesus is will be a constant pursuit. In the meantime, God will keep us in the covenant He gave us through Christ. Jude 1:24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. It's all Jesus and all grace. That is all we have. Amen! 

Thursday, 15 September 2022

No Monuments For Jezebel

Proverbs 1:16 For their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed blood.

      How true this proverb describes Jezebel. Prov. 1:16 For their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed blood. She was invigorated by evil and fast to shed blood. What an empty legacy she ended up with at the end of her life. All that Jezebel left was a sin-scared nation. She had promoted the evilest activities that would cause suffering within Israel for years to come. 1Kings 21:25 No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the LORD’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel. Jezebel, with king Ahab's help, led the nation in worshiping Baal, Ashtoreth and Molech. These false gods required the sacrifice of children, often the first-born male child who was sacrificed by fire. The evil spirits behind these false gods were merciless and unsparing when it came to the protection of children and the elderly. We may be seeing a glimpse of those evil spirits at work today in a similar way in that the elderly and children are abused and exploited for the sake of convenience and perverted proclivities.
      Jezebel was a psychopath who enjoyed the suffering she promoted and had no empathy for anyone. Her death was as violent as the creed she had established during her reign with Ahab. 2Kings 9:33 “Throw her down!” Jehu yelled. So they threw her out the window, and her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. And Jehu trampled her body under his horses’ hooves. At the end of her loathsome life, all that remained of Jezebel was the stench emanating from the dog's and hyena's droppings that were scattered over the fields they roamed in. Jezebel had been eaten, digested, and defecated throughout the lands she had willingly caused abominations to become the custom of the day. 2Kings 9:37 Jezebel’s corpse will be like manure on the surface of the ground in the plot of land at Jezreel so that no one will be able to say: This is Jezebel. That was Jezebel’s epitaph - if stepped in, she was something to be scrapped off of one’s shoe.
      God has a way of making His point very clear to those who would treat children with evil intent. If it is better to be strapped to a millstone and drowned at the bottom of the sea, for causing a child to sin, what will the penalty be for killing children out of selfishness, convenience or bent beliefs? Matt. 18:6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. 
      No Saints, there are no monuments for Jezebel nor for those who adhere to her ways. It is interesting that lately, the monuments of those who were responsible throughout history for the inhumane exploitation of children, the abuse of the elderly, and racist slave practices have been taken down, thrown away, destroyed, or relocated to dark musky rooms for the time being where fungus, mole, spiders, and cockroaches make their dwellings. 
      Leaving a righteous legacy is what the Lord would like us to do. Someone might say, "But I am only an adherent at a local church." If anyone is in Christ, their inheritance is assured for eternity because Christ's rich legacy is infinitely established and accepted by God the Father. 1Cor. 3:9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. Giving our hearts to the Lord results in our salvation and gives us a holy legacy worth having and living in. Remember that what you do in Christ, is eternally valued by God our Father. Col. 3:23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24  knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. 
      There may not be any monuments made of marble, plaster, or cement raised to celebrate our righteousness once we leave this earth, but there is a blessing far greater than what man claims to be monumental. We who are in Christ and live in the Lord's goodness will be able to offer our crowns to the Lord in thanksgiving for what He has done. The crowns of righteousness, life, and glory that we receive because of what Jesus did on our behalf will reflect how perfect our Lord and Saviour is. 2Tim. 4:8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. James 1:12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 1Pet. 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 
      These crowns will be the most monumental trophies of our lives. They will have demonstrated the faithfulness that God had toward us in helping us be faithful to Him. All because of the finished work of the cross and the love that Jesus has for us. Jesus demonstrated His love by volunteering to be sacrificed on the torturous cross so that we would have an inheritance with Him. Oh, what a Lord we serve. As God reminds us 2Kings 9:37b So that no one will be able to say: This is Jezebel. or - Jezebel is not worth remembering, however, those who love the Lord and remain faithful will be remembered and have an eternal inheritance that we will live in forever. Amen!

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Trivial Things

Proverbs 21:4 The lamp that guides the wicked — haughty eyes and an arrogant heart — is sin.
      
      1Kings 16:30 Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him.
      Ahab was an evil king who ignored what the Spirit of the Lord was saying to the nation of Israel. God's laws and directions had simply become a trivial thing that Ahab nonchalantly shrugged aside like it was the remains of yesterday's dinner. This attitude resulted in a problem for Ahab when he inquired of Baal for help, and of course, the false god Baal did not come through for him and left him in need. Like many people today, Ahab could not connect, understand, or fathom how to approach God which resulted in Ahab accepting counsel from Jezebel, thus causing him to fall into deeper problems. 
      When a person knowingly walks in sin and treats sin as a trivial thing, they lose their reassurance of faith, righteous courage, and spiritual intuition. When anything goes wrong in their life, it becomes an excuse to blame others for all the problems they themselves have created. Choosing to reject God, and to disregard all that God stands for, is choosing death for the foundational basis of one's life. Talk about a dead end. This proverb indeed declares that when wickedness is our guide, our hearts will dwell in arrogant sin. Prov. 21:4 The lamp that guides the wicked — haughty eyes and an arrogant heart — is sin. 
      Ahab's arrogance was so entrenched that he not only blamed his problems on others but also blamed them on the prophet of God for what Israel was going through. Ahab was blind to the fact that he himself and his governing practices, were the reasons Israel was in the grips of God's punishing drought. 1Kings 18:17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is this you, the cause of disaster to Israel?” Elijah sets Ahab straight as to who was causing Israel to go through judgment and punishment. 1Kings 18:18 “I have made no trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the LORD and have worshiped the images of Baal instead.
      When evil becomes a trivial thing in our life, it is time to get on our knees and bow our heads and hearts, while crying out to God for mercy and a new revelation of God's holiness. It would be prudent of us to ask God for His help in reawakening the first love and dedication we had for the Lord when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour on His terms. Rev. 2:4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 
      If we become insensitive to sin, then what happens to our families, brothers and sisters in the Lord who are looking our way for encouragement in choosing the Lord's righteousness for life? We are all epistles read by men. What are the pages of our testimony saying concerning the holiness of God? Will those who read our hearts simply say, "Well, if he doesn't care what God says, why should anyone else?" For us to treat the Holy Spirit's ministry of convicting our sins as a trivial thing, is arrogance and vexation to God's heart.
      This scripture verse may be short, but what Jesus says is explicitly clear. John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. There it is. If we love the Lord, we will obey what the Lord says to do, and adhere to His directions in life. The best part of this command is that Jesus will help us keep it. How good is that? We can ask God to help us obey His word. What an amazing grace Jesus has procured for us who love Him and walk in His light. 1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Notice that the light we are to walk in is not our interpretation of what we want that light to be. We are to live in the light that Jesus says brings fellowship and agreement with the Lord Jesus through His cleansing blood. 
      Most of us are familiar with someone who has fallen away from the Lord and ruined their life because they treated the conviction of the Holy Spirit as a trivial thing. They stopped obeying and hearing what God was saying to their hearts, resulting in them falling into sin's merciless grip and losing so much. For those who have repented and come back into relationship with God and obeyed His word, they will tell you that they carry a lot of scars from their time of rebellion and that the whole mess was not worth the pain they suffered. Is there salvation for those who crash and burn their lives? Yes, absolutely there is, when true repentance emanates from our inner being, there is forgiveness and restoration through Christ.
      Christ's sacrifice is that powerful and able to cleanse the worst of sinners who ask for forgiveness. Why lose everything through rebellion to learn that sin and iniquity are not trivial things? The wages of sin is death, and that law has not changed since the first sin in the Garden of Eden. Don't be an Ahab by looking for life through dead and false gods. Choose Christ who is life, and He will do more than save your life, He will give you a life worth living. Amen!

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Whosoever Will

Proverbs 3:23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.
     
      Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. The word whoever takes in a whole lot of people and nationalities. The Lord generously invites whoever is inclined to approach God or is even thinking about getting to know God. We are invited to accept His invitation to embrace the love God has for everyone by accepting His Son Jesus, as their Lord. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Do you qualify as - whoever? Then you are welcome to believe and accept God's gift of salvation.
      Some people think they do not deserve the love God has for them or have the right to ask the Lord for help because they see themselves as - only a .... or just a.... They say things like, "I'm only a waitress. I'm just a labourer. I only collect bottles," and so on. The self-judgment of "I'm just a..." is reinforced by their feelings of unworthiness. The Lord made sure that all people, like the priest, the temple workers, and the whosoevers of the world were included in His covenant. Yes, even the woodcutters who supplied wood for the sacrifices in God's temple were acknowledged by God's law. Neh. 10:34 We have cast lots among the priests, Levites, and people for the donation of wood by our ancestral families at the appointed times each year. They are to bring the wood to our God’s house to burn on the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law. Lots were cast among the people, as well as the Levites and priests. That's right, the everyday people were included in God's righteous plan for service.
      Lev. 6:12 The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. How could these law-abiding ministers perform their duties without the woodcutters? Everyone is welcome in the work and ministry within God's kingdom, and we are to do what we do as unto the Lord. Col. 3:23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Everyone has a God-given purpose to fulfill, even the crop-pickers, street-sweepers, and sanitary rubbish collectors are all on God's list of whosoevers, and they are eligible through the blood of Jesus Christ to walk in friendship with God.
      If salvation had been left up to the human race to become successful, the caste system of life's rankings would most likely be enforced. The majority of the population would not be able to even think of approaching God. We would all have to jump through burdensome hoops created by class structures and invented by fallible men and women who would cause us all to fall flat on our faces. We would end up forever struggling in the trenches of despair. Look at all the cults that are available in this world. They show us the mess that arises when mankind takes over the rules and regulations as to who can have access to salvation. We find out very fast that our flesh dispenses punishment much faster and uglier than God does. As Anaïs Nin says, "We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." We are flawed, through and through. Therefore, God steps in and offers true salvation through Christ who eternally works for the well-being of all mankind and all the - whosoever wills. Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
      It is after a person receives Christ, that their moving forward in life begins to open up to the realm of eternal possibilities. Prov. 3:23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. The whosoever becomes a known person in God's kingdom. The whoever now has a name intimately known between God and that soul. Rev. 2:17b To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. Suddenly, just a waitress, or only a store clerk, becomes a king and a priest in the Lord's kingdom fulfilling their purpose in Christ rather than existing in the social standings of the world. Wow, what a transformation from being - just a .... and only a woodcutter, to a soul in relationship with Almighty God. What a miracle salvation is when looked at through the Lord's paradigm.
     Whenever man tries to improve the state of the human condition, the task becomes difficult because the foundation that man is building his improvements upon is unstable. When God enters the picture and brings His righteous redemption into our hearts, the amelioration of the human condition excels exponentially because God gives us true life. With the Lord at work within our hearts, we become more than a whosoever. We become sons and daughters of the most high God. We step into our roles of kings and priests ministering unto the Lord. We rise out of the mundane stupor of just being a self-declared nobody to the reality of someone God wants to spend time with.
      The Psalmist rightly said in his wonderment of God's interest in each one of us. "What is man that God is mindful of him?" Psalm 8:4 What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? For God to take such an intense interest in our existence, and to sacrifice His only Son for our eternal lives, there has to be something of extreme value that He sees in the creation of each one of us. The amazing thing is that God's love for us is not based on what we bring to the table because the Lord has already set the table before us. We are to show up at the Lord's table and enter into all that He has for us. The Love of God, and His amazing grace, which is available to whoever wants what God has for them, can receive it by saying, "Yes, God, I want your gift of eternal life through Christ, our Lord." Amen!