Friday, August 31, 2012

The coming kingdom

 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them.  For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.  On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.  Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.  Luke 17:20-33

Jesus wanted the Pharisees to know that putting a time and place on the coming kingdom of God was going to be virtually impossible.  He gave two examples, the first being Noah. The people were continuing to lead lives filled with normal activities right up to the time Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and the people were destroyed.

Second is the example of the people in the days of Lot. Once again, normal activities were going on and everyone was involved with their lives but when Lot left Sodom, destruction by fire rained down from heaven and they were destroyed. 

In the case of Noah, God had reached the point where he was sorry he had created man. There was sin everywhere and the people didn't care. Only Noah and his family were saved, because of their faith and loyalty to God.   In the case of Lot, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had become perverted with sexual immorality and God decided to destroy them.  Lot escaped that destruction by leaving, but remember Lot's wife! (That's the warning of Jesus' message.)

Look closely, because Jesus is giving a clue about his return. "It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed." When it happens, don't go back for your worldly goods. Jesus makes it so plain there will be no need to hold on to anything from this world. Your money and your possessions will be immediately worthless, and will be of no use in eternity. 

Then the real lesson of Jesus for the Pharisees and for us, "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it."        Have a great weekend. God bless.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Family of God (Guest Post)

Guest Post today. Our thanks to Christian writer and servant of God, Wendy Mclain. You are eoncouraged to visit Wendy's website at

The Family of God    by Wendy McLain

Your promises are faithful your promises are true,
 You shine your Light into our lives and show us what to do!

 You guide us through the Word of Life and speak unto our heart,
 And every word you give us from our mouth we will impart!

 We live to bring you glory; we live to bring you praise,
 We stand upon your faithfulness and walk in all your ways!

 We serve You with a joyful heart; with gladness in our souls,
 That we are all like-minded is a wonder to behold!

 This alone is proof enough that you are El Shaddai,
 The Maker of the Universe; Creator from on High!

 Each unique creation of human life you gave a name,
 All so very different; yet in You we are the same!

 We live to bring you pleasure; we delight in all your laws,
 For they are not a burden but reveal to us our flaws!

 The Spirit, He transforms us, making us anew,
 Creating in us righteousness in everything we do!

 For it is not our own desire which dwells within this shell,
 For we are now your abode to seek and go and tell!

 Of what it is You’ve done in us, because of Whom You gave,
 Your sacrificial Son! The Lamb of God be praised!

 Thank you Lord for taking us and making us your child,
 Keep us ever in Your way that we not become defiled!

 Work through us, Your desire, as we submit to You,
 And lead us in the work You have designed for us to do!

 Forever keep us in Your hand and never let us go,
 And help us Lord to trust in you for this is what we know,

                                     We who live our lives FOR You, Your promises are true,
                                  One day soon we’ll see Your face and ever live WITH You!!

                                                Praise the King's Holy Name!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When God makes a promise

The children of Israel had been promised a land that flowed with milk and honey. Knowing the history of their captivity and slavery, and the miracles of God which were evident in their escape, would make a person think they were ready to receive the land. Then they got in the way of themselves.  

Numbers 13 tells the story of Moses sending men to explore the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. Each of the twelve tribes was represented by one of its leaders being selected to be a scout, and to bring back a full report on what they saw. Those twelve men were in the land for forty days with instructions to bring back a description of the soil, the people, the cities and their fortification, and everything of importance.  

After their journey they came back to Moses and Aaron as well as the entire community to let them know what was ahead.  They reported that it really is a magnificent country. They brought some of the fruit they had gathered as proof. Their description of the land was so great they, too, described it as a land flowing with milk and honey. But the people there were powerful and the cities were surrounded by protective walls. Even the people there were huge. Their men were strong. 

Caleb was a man of encouragement when he told them, "We can certainly conquer it.  Let's go quickly and take it."  But there were some who were not so convinced of their ability to achieve victory.  They used phrases like, "If we go up against them we will be defeated. They are so much stronger than us."

The Bible describes the latter group's assessment by saying these men spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites.  They kept reminding everyone about those giant people  by saying, "We felt like grasshoppers when we stood next to them." 

So what would you do?  Would you go in and fight for the land, thinking of the rewards of victory, or would you grumble and complain about the enemy and how big they were, not to mention the fortification of their cities? In the Bible story, the count was 10 against and 2 for taking the land.  Joshua and Caleb were the only two of the twelve than could see victory on the horizon.

You need to read Numbers 14 to see how the story turns out. The point I wish to make is this: All this squabbling about their impending defeat versus their victory, and the conflicting reports from the leaders of the twelve tribes, and only two of them mentioned the obvious. This was the Promised Land. It was called the Promised Land because God had promised his people it would be theirs. 

What about the promises God has made to us?  The disbelief and quarrelling of the Israelites should be an example to us. If God promised the land, then he fully intends to make good on that promise. There may be battles, setbacks, problems, and difficulty constantly facing us, but if God makes the promise, he keeps the promise. We will continually have those among us spreading  discouraging reports. Trusting in God and remaining faithful and loyal to him, is the only way we will reap the rewards of his promises.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paul prays for power

We've written before about the two prayers Paul prays for the Ephesian Christians. Today I want you to look closely at the second of those prayers, recorded in Ephesians 3:14-21.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 

Notice in the prayer, there are several specific things Paul prays for these people.  1. We can be strengthened with power on the inside.  2. That we can know the indwelling of Christ.  3. That we can be rooted and established in love.  4. That we may be filled with God's fullness. 

The strengthening Paul is praying for will not be accomplished by lifting weights or running sprints. It's a power which is IN us and which has its origin in the glorious riches of God.  If there were ever a verse that shows the success of Christian living is not by our own ability or intellect, but rather from God's own riches given to us, this is it. And Paul also lets us know the key to having this inner power is prayer.  If you haven't asked God to strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, it's time. 

God wants to be real to you. That's why Paul continued to pray that we may know the indwelling of Christ, by faith. Further, God wants to dispel any and all doubts that detour our faith and the Bible is telling us here, he does that by residing inside us.  Not only that, his presence in us is the basis for us being "rooted and established in love. "

In the final segment of Paul's prayer, he prays that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. When we are that "filled with God," there is no room for anything more. Not our self-righteousness, not our pride, not even our elevated position or popularity. It calls for total and complete dependence and trust in God for us to be filled with his fullness. 

Paul closes by saying that God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or even imagine, through his power working in us.  It's no wonder that Paul final statement in this prayer is a statement that gives God the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. I pray that Paul's prayer will be answered in you and in me.