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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Like A Child



Luke 18:17  "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."



Pic from freephoto.com

Child-like faith is spoken of in scripture as a prerequisite for gaining entrance into the kingdom of God.  The word "kingdom" evokes images of castles with moats and perhaps an obligatory dragon.  It denotes property, assets-- a physical reality that is obtainable.  This was part of the difficulty that the Jewish people had with Jesus.  They were awaiting a Messiah who would usher in the literal physical kingdom. They wanted a warrior on a stead, not a prophet on a donkey. The use of the word kingdom here has a deeper meaning.  It speaks of coming under the kingship of God-- this is about submitting to His authority in a child-like manner.  Imagine a father gathering up his child to go and run some errands with a promise of a treat before they return home.  The child's mind is not occupied with the details of the trip.  Does dad have enough gas in the car?  Is he able to do what it is that he is attempting?  Does he know where to go?  Does he have enough money?  I wonder if he knows what he is doing?  Our Father knows every detail of the road ahead and He is more than well-equipped to fulfill what He has spoken.  Trust Him with child-like faith, come under His kingship and know that He has your best interest at heart.  Our obedience is not directly proportionate to the balance in our checkbooks.  Many saints of God have suffered need and martyrdom in their service.  The teaching of prosperity, at any cost, is shallow.  When you stand before God will you say, "God I did what was best for me," or "God I did what was best for Your kingdom?"
Patti 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Zephaniah



Zephaniah 1:1 fixes the authorship and date of this book, “ The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah.” The name Zephaniah means, “The Lord has hidden.” His ancestry is traced back four generations to Judah's King Hezekiah, who witnessed the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel by Assyria in 720 BC. This book was written in approximately 630 BC, one hundred years after the siege by Assyria. The Assyrians were a fierce warring people who would decimate captured lands by polluting the fields and destroying everything in their path. They would seek to destroy societies by intermixing with the conquered peoples to dilute their religion and social identity. Judah became polluted with pagan worship, rituals, and magical arts of diviners who practiced the astral religion of Ashurism.

Today Christianity is being invaded by secularism. Like the fields that the Assyrian armies would pollute with salt and seed with weeds, it is growing among us and killing our society. It is not radical to set your mind on living the way that God has asked us to live. As we accept secular society's mores we are being assimilated into it. Romans 12:2 instructs us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” In Exodus 19:5 God says, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine”(KJV). By definition in order to be peculiar, we must be different from the ocean of worldliness around us.

The theme of this book is the wrath of a loving God, this truth is illustrated in Zephaniah 2:1-3, “Gather together, gather yourselves together, you shameful nation,before the decree takes effect and that day passes like windblown chaff, before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’s wrath comes upon you. Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger” (NIV).

Lord, in Jesus name, I pray that you show each of the pollution of secularism that has permeated our lives. Lord, please give us the Grace to repent and be cleansed of it. Father, it is so easy to fall into practices that are not pleasing to you without even realizing it. Thank You for Your mercy and compassion. Please make us peculiar to You and an ensign to the world of Your love and desire for its redemption. Thank You that You love each of us regardless of our sin, although You desire for us to lay it down and come to You as a child. Lord please heal us, heal our land, heal our hearts. We need You. Lord, I love you. Amen.

Patti

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

As The Stars


Ephesians 2:8
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."



 

The current popular definition of grace in Christianity is "unmerited favor," while this definition is true, it barely scratches the surface of the implications of grace.  It is very easy to slip into legalism in our Christian walk, the result of this is the feeling that we somehow deserve grace because of our statute keeping.  It is only by God's grace that we are able to consider obedience.  Abram enjoyed a grace relationship with God well before the Ten Commandments were given.  Abram's relationship with God was based on faith, not performance.  This is not to say that we can live any way that we please and rely on grace to cover our intentional sin.  This is about relationship.  If you love and cherish a relationship with another person, you will be faithful to them because of your love, not due to a fear of retribution.  God wants that relationship with you.  The pull of sin on our lives is like a driving current, but we can swim against it.  God knows this, and He has given us His grace in order that we might be able to overcome our sin nature.  Just as Ephesians 2:8 tells us, this grace is not of ourselves; therefore, we have no reason to boast or be proud.  God's grace extended to the sinner, which we all are, is unmerited favor.  It covers the entire spectrum of all of our lives Christian and non-Christian alike.  His grace created us and sustains us and it is calling us to Him.  So much of Christianity is as Colossians 2:21 describes, "Touch not; taste not; handle not." Grace allows us to, ". . .taste and see that the LORD is good. . ." (Psalm 34:8).  By faith, Abram come Abraham received this promise from God, "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies" (Genesis 22:17).  By God's grace and faith we have or can become part of that promise.

Patti

Monday, February 6, 2012

Never Too Late


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.”  NIV



Didn't anybody ever tell him
 That he was precious and so dear?
And in all the troubles that befell him
God would ease his every fear?

It's never too late
To call God's name
It's never too late
For you to change

The world is dying
We need God's love
Our hearts are crying 
to Him above

Please hear us
We're calling out to You
Please hear us
We're crying out to You

We need Your love

Our children are dying 
We're crying out to You
The world is dying
We're crying out to You

It's never too late
If you're still breathing
There's still time

Has anybody ever told you. . .

Original song lyrics Patricia Paige Harrison  08/24/09

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