Hangin' Out With God

Getting up close and personal with God through knowing and believing His Word

The Lord Giveth; The *Devil* Taketh Away. — May 8, 2017

The Lord Giveth; The *Devil* Taketh Away.

JOB COVERIt’s been years since I focused an article on my book about the Biblical book of JOB. My original book was only 53 pages, with an online appendix of more detailed explanations about some points. However, I’m now in the process of moving that online appendix into the printed book (in preparation of a new edition that the publisher will offer on Amazon later this year), and I thought it might me a good time to offer some of the material again as a regular post on here. So today I’m posting the “Introduction” and “Chapter One” of the book.

Now, let me begin with this word of warning:
The following book is radical. It will force the reader to take a long, hard look at what he genuinely KNOWS about God, as compared to what long-held traditional doctrines and translations have TOLD him about God. If you let yourself become offended or frightened by what you read in the first several pages and quit reading, you’ll lose out. Only by reading to the end can you fully understand the powerful truth that’s related here.

I’m not the only Bible teacher who knows these truths or who shares them. However, in the whole scheme of things, there are very few of us, and as a result, there are millions of people the world over — both Christians and non-Christians — who have a sadly impaired understanding of this book.

So as you begin, be prepared to think and pray — and to be set free to move up to a new level of relationship with the Creator and Lord of the universe. (If you’d rather not have to think and pray right now, you should read something else.)


THE LORD GIVETH – THE DEVIL TAKETH AWAY: Looking at Job Through Jesus

(Copyright © 2010 Sandra Conner)

INTRODUCTION

Years ago, a seasoned Bible scholar stood before a class of eager young men and women who were training for ministry in the Kingdom of God. He asked a simple question, which shocked some, challenged others, but held the attention of all. The question: “How Christlike is your God?”

I never knew this man personally, and I learned of his challenge to this group of budding ministers only a few years ago. But it touched a very deep chord inside of me, because during my 40 years of ministry, the one over-riding desire in my heart has been to teach in such a way that I could help people see the truth about who God is and what He feels, thinks, and desires. I learned at the beginning of my ministry that there is only one way to understand God as He really is, and that is to understand Him through Jesus Christ — not through my own thoughts and experiences — not through the doctrines of various denominations or cultures — only through Jesus Himself.

St. Paul, in writing to the church, expressed his deep concern — to the point of fear — that the young Christians were being drawn away from looking to Jesus Christ as the only clear and true representation of God and His will in their lives. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve, through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3).

I experience the same fear for people today. There are so many teachings, translations, traditions, and doctrines (inspired by that same serpent) that have taken scriptures out of their context as part of the entire Word of God and twisted them in order to explain God according to man’s limited understanding and experience. Man has tried to make God like man — rather than looking at Jesus Christ and staying focused on Him until man becomes like God.

The Lord has had me teaching these truths for decades now, and with respect to the book of Job, I have seen these truths set hundreds of people free from their false ideas of God as some ogre who can’t be understood, and who is just waiting to slap them down with some horrible problem or torment. The Lord dealt with me for years to get these truths into book form, and I lagged in my obedience. Finally, He managed to convince me that I was overdue in that obedience and that He was sorely disappointed. Needless to say, I got this book together in record time.

An editing friend of mine, after reading it, said to me, “You sound rather combative in several parts of the text.” My answer: “Yes, I am combative, because this is a war. I’m fed up — and God’s fed up — with people believing things about Him that are not true. I’m at war against the lies of the enemy that have become embedded in the Body of Christ over generations. This is no time to be tentative or wimpy about what’s being said here.” I’m grateful beyond words for all the people who have realized a new, fear-free relationship with God through these truths, and I offer the book here on this site in an effort to help even more.

Now back to the question I mentioned at the beginning of this introduction: “How Christlike is your God?” It is my prayer that this simple question will serve as the standard of measure for every sincere Bible teacher when evaluating any and all subject matter relating to God and His Word. And to that end, I have dedicated this book.

CHAPTER ONE: REALITY OR MYTH?

It’s a well-known, well-worn story. In fact, it’s safe to say that most people in the world have heard it at least once, and often repeatedly:

In the early days of human history, there lived a man by the name of Job, who was “perfect” and “upright,” and who served the great Superbeing of the universe faithfully. The devil went before this Superbeing one day, and Superbeing decided He’d like to prove to the devil just how much greater He was than His adversary, so He picked on Job and decided to use him to prove His point. He taunted the devil with these words, “Have you considered my servant Job — how good he is and how faithfully he serves me?”

The devil knew Job was faithful, and he could see how much Superbeing loved Job, so he did a little taunting of his own. He challenged the Superbeing with the accusation that Job served Him only because he was blessed. The devil dared the Superbeing to take away Job’s blessings and inflict him with pain and grave loss – just to see if he would still be faithful.

Superbeing took up the challenge and, insisting that he would be proven the winner in this contest, he gave the devil free rein to do anything he wanted to do that would hurt Job — except to take his life. In effect, He said, “No matter what you do to him, he will still serve me. You’re free to do anything you want except kill him, and I’ll prove to you that he will still be faithful to me.”And in the end of the story, Job is proven faithful and receives multiplied blessings for proving the Superbeing right and the devil wrong.

Wow!   What a story!   The superpowers of the spirit realm seeking to glorify themselves – taunting each other over which one had the most faithful followers. And subjecting those followers to severe, heart-rending trials in order to prove their boasting true.

Yes, it’s an amazing story, but it’s not a unique story at all. It is exactly like the ribald stories told of gods and goddesses throughout Greek and Roman mythology: You know Zeus, Jupiter, Poseidon, etc. — the powers of the heavens vying with each other for glory and using their subjects like pawns on a game board to prove one deity more powerful or more glorious than the others.

These religions are replete with tales of how their “gods” treated their subjects in exactly this demeaning way. They made sport of them in order to manipulate each other and feed their own pride.

Wait a minute: Was Job dealing with a god just like those of the Greeks and Romans?

If Bible readers believe the story of Job as it has been incorrectly translated and handed down traditionally through several generations, they would have to answer “Yes.” They would have to believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Jehovah – Jesus Christ – is just as selfish and capricious as the deities of the Greeks and Romans.

That being the case, students of the Bible are then faced with a very unwelcome question: Is this traditional story of Job and the kind of God it portrays a true story, historically accurate and trustworthy — or is it just another myth?

The answer is simple, yet complicated. The “true” story of Job is indeed a “true story.”

But this story that has been incorrectly translated from the original language and then handed down for generations is another entity altogether. Made up of one part fact, one part mythology, and one part man’s endless effort to make his God out to be just like himself, it is nothing but a myth.

Are you afraid to read further?  Don’t be. You’ll be glad you kept going.

At this point, many readers will close this book and never look back. Those readers will relegate the author to the long historical list of heretics and continue to walk in the fantasy of the Job story they have always been taught. It’s the story they are comfortable with. As long as they hold to that story, they don’t have to study the Word of God more closely or think deeply and seriously for themselves about what kind of God they have.

But, more importantly, those readers who fail to give themselves a chance to learn the truth will continue to suffer the loss and destruction that are inevitable when people believe lies about God. Because in their failure to understand the truth about this story, they fail to understand their God.

He is a God who has victory for them over the evil in this world. But they also fail to understand that the same devil whose lies were accepted by man at creation is also the one who has added the lies to this story. He is the same devil who inflicts evils on human kind; and it is of paramount importance to him to keep men believing that these evils come at the will of their own God.

And herein lies the crux of the matter. The majority of people who consider themselves Christians on the earth today don’t actually know their own God very well. They know what other Christians have told them. And many of them believe what their own imagination tells them. So they frame God with their own understanding rather than with the revelation of the Spirit of God Himself or with the mind of Christ.

But somewhere deep down inside many of those Christians is a nagging little question that keeps coming back to ask of the traditional Job story, “What’s wrong with this picture?” Or if the spirit is really brave, it will sometimes even ask, “Is this really the kind of God I want?” Or braver yet: “Why is my God an inflicter of pain and suffering when I would never do that to the people I love?”

HERESY!  The cry goes up immediately when such questions are given their rightful place. It’s the cry of so many who consider themselves “watchmen” of God’s reputation. As soon as anyone asks a question – or offers some answers – that might cause them to have to reevaluate what they have been accepting for generations, these “watchmen” cry out against it, instead of giving the Lord a chance to renew their minds.

So only the spiritually brave Christian will continue into the deeper channels of this book. Only those who want to know in their own hearts that they have asked those necessary questions and found the answers for themselves. But for those few who are brave enough to continue past this point, the rewards will be worth it.

As much as the church likes to sweep such questions under the rug, the truth is that they do exist. Many Christians manage to beat these questions down until they convince themselves that they really do accept this kind of God. They convince themselves that a Father who deliberately inflicts hurt and pain on them can actually coexist with the loving, merciful, healing Jesus they met in the New Testament. But the naked truth is that those questions still exist — and rightly so.

Because rather than those questions being the result of heretical thinking and rebellion against God and His Word, they are actually the promptings of His own Holy Spirit inside of us, trying to get us to put forth the effort to find out for ourselves what kind of God we have.

And it doesn’t really take all that much effort. It requires no superior intellect to see that there’s nothing holy about the kind of behavior attributed to God in this story. The very word holy carries in its meaning the essence of being “perfect in goodness and righteousness.” Such capricious, self-centered behavior as that portrayed by the traditional teaching of God in the story of Job cannot fit that definition. Furthermore, there is no faithfulness in that kind of behavior. And the Word of God makes it quite clear that, second to holiness, God’s primary nature is best described in the attribute of faithfulness.

Even those people in the world who desire no relationship with Jesus Christ generally accept the fact that a god of any religion is expected to be better in character than his subjects. And, particularly where Christianity is concerned, a poll of thousands of people who do not even attend church regularly, will show that the vast majority of those people, when they hear about God or think about what He might be like, expect Him to be extraordinarily good and trustworthy.

They hear Christians talk about their God as a loving father, so they expect that He would act in accordance with that identity. They expect that He would never be guilty of any acts of molestation or abuse. And, in truth, those people, who have no God of their own, when they consider whether they need a personal God, are positive they would want one who is kind, compassionate, honorable and dependable.

But then they hear the church tell the story of Job — in the old traditional version — and they recognize that the God in this story is not what they thought God was at all. Sometimes, they even decide that they already have enough problems in this life, and they certainly don’t need a God who will inflict more pain and suffering upon them.

More than one Christian who has tried to witness to an unbeliever has been challenged with this problem. Those Christians are asked why an unbeliever should consider that his life will be any better if he comes into relationship with a God like the one commonly depicted in the story of Job.

Reverend Kenneth Copeland, of Fort Worth, Texas, has shared the story more than once of a Japanese minister who came to the United States many years ago to attend Rhema Bible Training Institute in Broken Arrow, OK, under the ministry of Copeland’s mentor, Kenneth Hagin. Copeland says this minister told Reverend Kenneth Hagin that, after WWII, the Japanese people were open to accepting the Christian God of the United States because He was the God of the nation that had defeated them. They believed their own gods had failed, so they wanted to learn about the God of the Christians.

The Japanese minster said, “But when we studied it out and researched it a little bit, we couldn’t figure it out. All we could find out was that your God would make you sick and take everything you had away from you – and every time you tried to serve Him, He’d knock you back down on your face. So we didn’t want him. So we just kept on serving our old dead gods, knowing it wasn’t any good, but we were in the habit of it.

“But when I heard someone preach what you folks are preaching, I got over in the New Testament and read it for myself, and I found out that all that junk we had heard wasn’t in there. When I found out that God is love and that Jesus of Nazareth loved me without any reservations, even when I was a sinner, now that’s the God I was hunting for all the time.”

At that point, the man and his wife accepted the Lord, came to the United States to be trained for ministry, and went back to Japan to win the people of their own nation to the Lord.

One of the most troubling facts about erroneous stories from the Bible being told repeatedly for generations is that the world then picks up those stories and repeats them. They may not believe the Bible per se, but they believe that Christians believe the stories are true – which means that they believe their God is like the God in the erroneous stories.

The odd thing about that situation is that unbelievers seem to be able to recognize immediately that there is something seriously wrong with the picture portrayed by those stories. One excellent example of what often transpires in the minds of unbelievers was depicted quite accurately in an episode of a very worldly television cartoon series entitled South Park, produced by Comedy Central Productions.

Now, the author of this study of Job is not suggesting that the South Park cartoons are acceptable fare for recreational TV viewing. However, viewers of the series have noted and commented specifically on the fact that one particular episode accurately described their personal reaction to the traditional story of Job. And that reaction is worth noting.

In this episode (“Cartmanland,” Air Date: July 21,2001), one of the young characters, a Jewish boy named Kyle, has renounced his faith because he feels he has suffered so much pain and injustice that there cannot really be a God. While he is lying in a hospital bed because of an injury he has sustained, his parents come into the room and talk with him. When he learns they want to tell him a story from the Bible, his reply is that he has had enough of the Bible. It hasn’t gotten him anywhere, and he doesn’t want to hear anymore.

His parents insist that he will feel differently when he hears the story of Job. They relate the story this way:

“Job was a great man. He was blessed with ten lovely children, a wonderful wife, and many friends.

“He was a godly and a good man and fed the poor. He was the most upright and honorable of men and every day he praised God.

“But one day Satan went up to heaven and talked to God. … And God said to Satan, Have you seen Job? He is a great man, and he praises Me every day.

“But Satan said, ‘Oh yeah, he only praises you because you gave him so much. If you didn’t give him those things, he would curse your name.’ To which God said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll show you, Satan. I’ll take those things away from Job and he will still praise my name.’

“And so God had a bunch of barbarians come in and slaughter Job’s ox and donkeys and murder all his workers. Then God sent his fireballs from the sky and killed his sheep and the rest of his employees.

“And then, as Job’s sons and daughter were eating, God sent a mighty wind to collapse the house and crushed and killed them all.

“Job was terribly upset, but he fell to his knees and said, ‘The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,’ and he praised God’s name.

“So then Job got painful sores all over his body. He was in terrible, miserable pain all day every day, but he still kept his faith. God said to Satan, ‘See, I told you. Job still praises me. ‘”

Kyle’s reply is, “That’s the most horrible story I’ve ever heard! Why would God do horrible things to a good person just to prove a point to Satan?”

His father answers, “Oh … uuh … I don’t know.”

To which Kyle responds, “Then I was right …. There isn’t a God.”

Now, some people’s response to this conversation will be to say that the cartoon version says that God Himself did all those things to Job, but what the Bible really says is that Satan did all of them — at God’s invitation. Which means???

If God invited Satan to attack Job so unmercifully, when He could have kept him from doing so, that makes Him just as guilty as if He had executed the blows Himself. And where the Christian mind is sometimes so set in tradition to the extent that it is willing to accept this picture of God, the unbeliever’s mind is still open and free to recognize clearly that it is God who is the real perpetrator of harm here. And why would that unbeliever ever want to submit and subject his life to such a God?

If the body of Christ is ever going to win the world to Jesus Christ, they must find a way to help that world understand that the God they see in Jesus is the one and only God, the God to whom they can turn for salvation. Which means that the church is going to have to learn the truth about the God of Job.

So, if this story as it’s traditionally told is a myth, what is the real story? In the remainder of this book the true story of Job and his God will become clear. And as it does, the reader will find that Jesus meant exactly what He said, when He promised: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

~~~

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! — February 13, 2017
Daily Post Prompt: Simple — January 27, 2017

Daily Post Prompt: Simple

HEALING HAND - DARK SEPIA - FEATHEREDThe simple truth is that God loves you. The Creator of the universe – the one who created you – loves you beyond a level that words can describe. He sent Jesus the Christ – His own son – to live the perfect life that none of us could live in our own strength. And when He had fulfilled the perfect life of obedience, Jesus then took all of our disobedience onto Himself — and the curse which came on us as a result of disobedience — and died in our place.

But that’s only half the story. Because He rose from the grave with brand new life, which He had paid for by His sacrifice. And the Word of God guarantees us that when Jesus the Christ came out of the grave, we came out with Him as far as God was concerned. And if we will simply accept the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf – by accepting Him as Lord of our lives – we will step right onto that state of righteousness and eternal life that He bought and paid for. (Ephesians 2: 4-6; Colossians 1:15, 18-20).

Yes, the simple truth is that man does not need any “religion” that gives him a bunch of rules and regulations that he must obey in order to “earn” some kind of peace in the life after this short earthly sojourn. All the “religions” of the world tell man that he must somehow manage to “measure up” to some kind of mystical standard in order to have a chance at life after death. And some of those “religions” require man to accomplish major feats of warfare and brutality against others in order to have a chance at eternal bliss.

But, dear one, the great truth is that Christianity is NOT A RELIGION.  It is simply a Father and His family. Father God, with His first son Jesus Christ, and all the brothers and sisters who were conceived and born into that same family by receiving Jesus Christ into their lives and making Him Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 3: 13, 26-29).

We are the desire and the delight of the God of the universe, and despite what some religious dogmas and traditions try to teach, that same God loves you more than you can possibly understand, and He wants to bless you with every conceivable blessing at His command – if you will simply believe it and receive.


 

To take part in the ‘Simple’ challenge, visit here.

 

~~~

A Valentine Meditation — February 14, 2016
Epiphany: You Don’t Have to Be a Christian to Call On Jesus — January 6, 2016

Epiphany: You Don’t Have to Be a Christian to Call On Jesus

Epiphany is a celebration by the Body of Christ of the revelation of Jesus Christ to the gentiles — all nations of people who are not from His own Jewish heritage. On this day, we often celebrate the arrival of the wise men from the east, who came many miles, following a great sign in the heavens, to worship Jesus as the Lord of the universe who had come to earth as a man to redeem His creation from their own sin and its curse. The following article is an edited version of one I posted a few years ago, but I feel it says what is in my heart on this special day of celebration. I hope it blesses you, even if you read it when I originally shared it. It comes to you with my wish that you will have a continuous revelation throughout this new year of Jesus Christ and all He wants to be for you and your life.


JESUS ON DONKEY - WIKIPED.“Here comes Jesus!”

“Jesus of Nazareth is coming!”

“Do you see Him yet?”

“Here He comes!”

“Here comes Jesus!”

Excitement was rampant, and cries of “Hosanna” filled the air. Shouts of joy and triumph could be heard for miles along the road, and people rushed to lay palm branches and their personal garments as a carpet of welcome. Jesus of Nazareth was coming to Jerusalem.

This carpenter-teacher who had journeyed among them for nearly three years, teaching them, healing them, feeding them, forgiving them, raising their dead. This miracle worker, this wise man, this man who was gentle enough to draw crowds of children to his side yet bold enough He would soon drive money-changers from the temple with a whip — this man whom many claimed was the prophesied Messiah of Jehovah — this man was coming again to Jerusalem! I’m sure, had we been there, we would have heard the message repeated over and over again for miles: “Here comes Jesus! Here comes Jesus!”

We in the Christian world celebrate that event on one special day out of the year, and we call it Palm Sunday. We have special services and some of us wave palm branches in the air to commemorate the day that is often referred to by church historians as Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But that event happened over 2000 years ago. One could say it’s all history now; it’s been said and done;  it’s over.

But not so, my friends! I am thrilled beyond words to be able to tell you that Jesus is still coming to anyone and everyone who would like to receive Him. He’s a living, vital, right-now Jesus. He is the I AM (The self-existent one who causes all other things to be; the one who is and becomes whatever He desires to become — Hebrew definition). And the great I AM desires to become everything that His creation needs.

Jesus of Nazareth is alive today, and He’s still loving people, teaching people, feeding people, forgiving people, delivering people, healing people and making  them whole. And, yes, He’s still raising people from the dead. He’s the same Jesus who fulfilled the words of the ancient prophets by riding  into Jerusalem on a donkey that day.  He’s the same Jesus who worked myriads of miracles for the people. He’s the same Jesus who went to the cross to pay for the rebellion and sin of all the human race.

He’s the same Jesus who rose from the grave and took His throne as Lord of the universe. He’s the same Jesus who promised that if we would call on Him and receive Him as Lord, He would freely fill us with His own eternal life and with power to serve Him. He’s the same Jesus who promised that after our life of service to Him on this earth, we would move on to Heaven and live with Him forever. No questions —  no if’s, and’s or but’s. No struggling to get there, no sacrifice, no hard work, no price to pay. Jesus did the work. We receive the benefit.  And the Word of God,  Hebrews 13:8, says “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.”

So I can tell you confidently: “Here comes Jesus!  He’s coming to you today! He’s coming because He sees your need; He sees your trouble; He sees your sorrow; He sees your pain; He sees your desperation; He sees your hopelessness; He hears your questions; He hears your confusion; He hears your private crying. He’s coming to you because He loves you.

Did you know that you don’t have to be a Christian for Jesus Christ to love you? Sometimes we who call ourselves Christians tend to flock together so tightly that we become almost like a clique, and the rest of the world feels as though they can’t break through the wall to become a part. But my message to the “rest of the world” today is that you don’t have to become a part of the “clique of Christianity.”  All you have to do is get to know Jesus, the real person.

And did you know that you don’t have to be a Christian to call on Jesus? That’s right. Jesus isn’t listening just for the call of the Christians. Certainly, He’s attuned to their cries and He rushes to their help when they need Him, but Jesus the Christ is listening — intently — for the cries of all the millions of  His creation in this world who don’t know Him at all. His heart is waiting expectantly for their voice to call out His name. And He’s ready to answer that call swiftly. He’s ready to come home with you at any time.

When Jesus walked the earth, He was often found in the homes of those who were not active believers. People whom the scriptures refer to as “publicans” and “sinners” found that Jesus was more than willing to spend time with them and teach them the truth about God — and show them God’s love by healing their sick and delivering those in demonic bondage. In fact, He often received hateful criticism from the religious leaders of His day because He gave Himself so freely to those who did not have a relationship with the true God. But Jesus’ response was simply that His main reason for coming into the earth was to find those who did not know Him and offer Himself to them.

Zacchaeus was one such man. (His story is told in the Word of God, the book of Luke, chapter 19.) Although technically a descendant of Abraham, Zacchaeus was chief among publicans — which means he made his living working for the Roman government, collecting taxes from his fellow Israelites — and, by his own admission, cheating them. He had heard about Jesus, but he was no believer. However, he was curious, and as Jesus passed through Jericho, right before his entry into Jerusalem on the donkey, Zacchaeus, a short man,  climbed into a tree so that he could see and hear Jesus easily. Jesus called him down from the tree and invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house.

Zacchaeus recognized Jesus as the Messiah and opened to Him his home and his heart. We know that he invited Jesus in with his whole heart, because, after spending only a short time with Him, Zacchaeus voluntarily confessed his sin of cheating and promised to make restoration of everything with interest. Jesus did not ask Zacchaeus to do so. The man simply opened his heart to Jesus, and a changed nature was the result.

So, I will say once more: You do not need to be a Christian to call on Jesus. No matter what religious tag you wear — including that of “Atheist” —  that tag will not keep Jesus from coming to you if your heart is reaching out for Him and inviting Him in. What will happen to that religious tag after you meet Jesus? Who cares?  I can guarantee you — without qualification — that if you ever meet the real Jesus, you won’t care.

Here comes Jesus!  He’s coming to us today — Christian and non-Christian — He’s coming. With words of comfort and reassurance to destroy fear — with delivering power to destroy the yokes of the devil — with healing and wholeness for body, mind, and spirit — with wisdom and direction that leads to successful solutions — with the power of His Holy Spirit and all of the anointing for service — with eternal life to overcome death once and for all and forever.

Jesus is coming!  He’s coming to you!  Right now! Open your heart to Him and let Him meet all of your needs today.

~~~

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jesus_entering_jerusalem_on_a_donkey.jpg

Smile …. Jesus Loves You! — June 17, 2015
What Are You Worth? — December 19, 2013

What Are You Worth?

STAR, WISEMAN, FROM FB“Long lay the world in sin and error, pining, ’til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”  (‘O Holy Night’ by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure)

These words are familiar to most of us as part of a Christmas carol — a song we hear only during the month of December each year and then put away with all the other Christmas trappings.  But this song, especially this particular line, has so much to say to the human race beyond “Merry Christmas.”  The enormous revelation contained in these lines is a vital and eternal truth that affects the daily lives of every man and woman born into the world.

After the human race’s rebellion against their Father God, the whole world lay in deep darkness and the death grip of sin and its resulting curse. Even man’s intellect had become twisted — a prisoner of error and vain imaginations. The souls of human beings had absolutely no concept of their value or of the unfathomable love for them still in the heart of their Creator.

They were confused, afraid, tormented by the evils let loose in this world by their own sin.  They were without escape, without hope. Until HE came.  God Himself — who had created them, born their betrayal, but loved them beyond it — offered HIMSELF in payment for them.  He purchased their freedom from their own self-made dungeon with the only source of payment rich enough to be acceptable — Himself.

Only then did the human race realize their true value.  Only then did the human soul begin to get a glimpse of its own worth.  Only then did man begin to understand how truly immeasurable — how priceless — his very existence.  Only then did any of the human race experience truth and love.  Darkness fled.  Ignorance fled.  Fear fled.  Death fled.

With the appearance of Jesus Christ, to fulfill His appointed work of pouring out His own blood to release men from their own sin, light burst through the darkness and revealed the value of the human soul in all its glory — as surely as a bright light causes the facets of a diamond to burst forth in shafts of light that reveal its value for all to see.

 “… He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”

HE has appeared!   FOR YOU!   And He didn’t come with the expectation that we would celebrate that coming only once a year.  No, He came so that we could understand how precious we are to Him every single day of our lives.  When we’re good; when we’re bad; when we’ve got it all together; when we’re confused and going under for the umpteenth time. He came when we were totally rebellious and unlovable, and that says it all: it says you are the most important thing in the universe to Him

So don’t wait until next Christmas to think about His coming.  He comes to you continually.  He comes to whisper love words and life-giving truth.  So today — right now — open up your heart anew, and let your soul reach out and receive the revelation of how priceless you are to the God of the universe!

 

~~~

 

~~~

Along The River — April 20, 2013

Along The River

Exif JPEG

The sun is playing hide and seek with clouds
Along the river.
The clouds are gray, but friendly, soft, and free
Along the river.

I move unhampered by the flirting breeze
Along the river,
Breathing deeply of the moistened earth
Along the river.

Quiet now invades my mind and soul
Along the river.
I’m letting go of tumbling, troubled thoughts
Along the river.

My past recedes; my future quiet rests
Along the river,
And water speaks to waters deep within,
Along the river.

I sit and contemplate historic days
Along the river:
The generations served by this same stream
Along the river.

And sense that I belong to something great
Along the river:
A part of something bigger than myself
Along the river.

And far beyond my power to understand,
Along the river,
An elemental knowing I am known —
And I am loved —
By the Creator of the river.

~~~

 

 

Friends In High Places — February 4, 2013
Touched — November 27, 2012

Touched

Have you ever watched sunlight caress a mountain? It moves over it slowly … steadily … possessively … eventually spreading its light and warmth into every possible crevice. It rests there as long as possible … moving away unwillingly … continuing to stretch itself … reaching out with little lingering fingers of light … trying to maintain contact as long as possible. That’s the way God touches those He loves.  Let Him touch you today.

You Are Loved — April 18, 2012
For Love Of The Father — February 10, 2012

For Love Of The Father

. . . but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” John 14:31

When Jesus speaks these words, “that the world may know that I love the Father,” He is explaining to His disciples the reason that He’s agreed to become the sacrifice for man’s sin. Until the real truth of these words sank into my heart during a time of meditation one day, I had always believed that Jesus had been willing to go through the terrible crucifixion and separation from His holy Father just because He loved me so much. I had thought His love for us, the people He had created, had compelled Him to that cruel cross.

But this verse forced me to come face to face with the truth. It wasn’t love for us that caused Jesus to pay the awful price; rather it was His love for His Father: “That the world may know that I love the Father . . . even so I do.” It was the Father’s love for us that caused Him to send Jesus. But it was Jesus’ love for the Father that caused Him to obey and carry out the plan. Indeed, love for the Father instigated and controlled absolutely everything that Jesus, the Son, did. We were the fortunate recipients of that beautiful obedience, but we were not the cause.

Most assuredly, as God, His love for us moved Him to compassion, but His love for the Father moved Him to obedience. He spoke and acted, not out of His own compassion, but only as He felt the Father speak and act in compassion. He tells us that repeatedly during His ministry. Because He was determined to be a continuously obedient vessel, He never acted or reacted because of what He saw or felt personally, but because He felt the Father’s leading and wanted to please Him.

That truth seems so simple, but when it finally settled deeply in my consciousness, it brought me to a new level of enlightenment concerning Jesus and what moved and controlled Him. Not only did I see Jesus in greater revelation, but consequently I was confronted with a greater understanding of what it means for me to be “like Jesus.” I realized more than ever that being like Him was much more than obeying commandments, walking in forgiveness, loving people, and reaching out to meet their needs in the power of God. Those endeavors are, to be sure, part of the Christ-like character. But the overriding requirement for being Christ-like, indeed the very root of Christ-likeness, is love of the Father.

Love of the Father must be our primary reason also for doing or refusing to do anything. Certainly, the right words and the right actions will get a job done or solve a problem many times. But speaking or acting because we believe it is what Jesus would do, or even because we love those whose needs we are trying to meet by those words and actions, never makes us one with the nature of Jesus. No, beloved Christian, only a passionate, all-consuming love of our Father God will bring us fully into oneness of nature and character with Jesus.

When we love the Father so much that we live to please Him, even hunger to please Him, we have truly entered into the nature of Jesus Himself. When no circumstance and no person moves us to action, but rather the leading from our Heavenly Father, Whom to please is more important than life itself, then we will have come to that place where Jesus is truly living His life in us.

Then the world will “know that we love the Father, and as the Father gives us commandment, even so we do.” They will see the same love of the Father that they saw in Jesus – a love that leads us to an obedience so supernatural that it compels those watching to turn to a God Who merits such a love.

Dear Christians, may it be our constant prayer that the love of the Father will be our only motivation in every facet of our lives from this day forward.


%d bloggers like this: