Friday, July 29, 2016

The Enemies of the Lord

Your enemies roar in the midst of your congregations. . . .
Psalm 74:4

And David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD!’
And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD has put away your sin;
you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have given
great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme. . . .’
2Samuel 12:13–14

The “enemies of the LORD” to which God, through Nathan the prophet, was referring were not foreign nations.  They were Israelites who refused to believe that God had chosen David to be king and that He had revealed to David that Jerusalem was the place where all Israel should come to worship.  David’s tragic sin with Bathsheba made those rebellious Israelites confident that they were right not to believe David and were right to speak evil of him and his “revelation”.  For committing this crime against God’s people, David and his family suffered for the rest of his life.
May God save us from ever committing a sin that would make God’s enemies, His stubborn and rebellious children, feel justified in refusing the truth that He has shown us.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

“We See Not Our Signs”

We see not our signs.  There is no more any prophet:
neither is there among us any that knows how long.
O God, how long shall the adversary reproach?
Shall the enemy blaspheme your name for ever?
Psalm 74:9–10

In our time, the body of Christ and the world are both in poor condition.  The precious name of Jesus is greatly scorned by the world, and the miracles and gifts of the Spirit which should be the norm among God’s people are rarely seen.  “We do not see our signs.” as the prophet said of his day, the signs that Jesus said would be among those who believe:

Mark 16
17. These signs shall accompany those who believe: In my name, they’ll cast out demons; they’ll speak with new tongues;
18. they’ll take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it won’t hurt them; they’ll lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

A body of Christ without power is a joke to this world.  The world is emboldened to blaspheme the name of Jesus and scoff at the gospel when God’s children lose their power and start preaching a “word only” gospel.  “The kingdom of God”, Paul said, “is not in talk, but in power.”
The prophet who wrote Psalm 74 knew why his generation did not see their signs: God had withdrawn His power from His people, and the prophet desperately wanted God to bring it back: “O God, why have you cast us off for ever?  Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?” (Ps. 74:1).
Let us seek God for a restoration of His glory among His people so that the name of His Son Jesus will again be feared and respected by men, and so that we might be healed and be true witnesses for Jesus.  Without God’s miracle-working power, none of that can happen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

God’s Laws

The day is yours, the night also is yours.  You made the light and the sun.
You set all the boundaries of the earth.  You made summer and winter.”
Psalm 74:16–17

The “law of Moses” was God’s law, not Moses’.  God gave it to Moses; Moses did not write a single line of it, and Israel was preserved in peace when they obeyed that law.  Likewise, the “laws of physics” and “laws of the universe” are God’s laws.  God created this universe and the laws that are in it; the universe did not make its own laws.  And it is held together by the laws He instituted for it.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Greatest Gift

O bless our God, you people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard
who holds our soul in life, and suffers not our feet to be moved.
Psalm 66:8–9

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.
He that believes in me shall live even if he dies,
and everyone who is living and believing in me will never, ever die.
Do you believe this?’
John 11:25–26

The most desired, and desirable, object in all creation is life itself.  Every creature in every realm loves it.  However, “nobody can keep his own soul alive” (Ps. 22:29).  And so, to keep forever the most precious gift in all creation, we must ask mercy from the One who gave us life to begin with.  And He has told us how to keep it forever: believe in His Son and walk in His Spirit.  “For if you live after the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13).
What a precious promise!  The gift of life – forever – if we will but walk in the righteousness, peace, and joy of God’s sweet Spirit!  Nobody but a fool would turn down such an offer.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

“Never Thirst Again?”

From a sermon by Pastor John
June 30, 2016

Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everybody who drinks this water
will get thirsty again, but if anyone drinks the water that I’ll give him,
he’ll never thirst again.  No, the water that I’ll give him will become
within him fountain of water, springing up into eternal life.’
Jesus, in John 4:13–14

I used to think that the above words from Jesus meant that those who drank the water he gives would never again feel any thirst at all.  And I wondered what was wrong with me, for I was constantly “thirsting” for more of his water.  But thankfully, he let me know that the water that he gives doesn’t quench your thirst for him and his water of life; rather, it quenches your thirst for anything else.  Jesus’ water creates thirst for more of what Jesus is handing out, and removes from our hearts the thirst for anything else!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

God Is at War with Death

From a sermon by Pastor John
June 30, 2016

God is at perpetual war with death.  Death is an enemy, Paul said.  “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1Cor. 15:26).  And do you know how God fights death?  It’s not by railing against it, or shooting guns.  Every time the Spirit moves on you, God is fighting with death.  The life of the Spirit is the victory over death!  Every time you feel the Spirit, God is conquering the death that is in your flesh.
God doesn’t fight like people fight.  Peace is His weapon; joy is His weapon; truth is His weapon.  Every time God heals somebody, He is overcoming death; He’s fighting, and He’s winning.  It is no wonder Jesus said, “He that believes in me shall never die.”  Even if you “fall asleep in Jesus”, you will rise again.  “He that is alive and believes in me shall never die.”  People may say you’re dead, but you will not be dead.  
We feel it when God is fighting.  We are blessed when the battle is raging.  It’s “joy unspeakable” for us when God is overcoming death.  Every time God speaks to you, He’s fighting against death, and He’s winning in you.  That’s where God’s warfare is, in the Spirit, and when you feel His joy and peace, the Spirit is winning.  If you stay in the Spirit, you win with it.  Solomon said, “In the pathway of righteousness there is no death” – none.  Stay on that pathway!  There is no death in the holy Ghost; “the Spirit is life, because of righteousness.”
Let’s praise God and cheer Him on!  Win, God, Win!  Let Him win in you!

Monday, July 4, 2016

“Like Those Who Dream”

O God, you have cast us off; you have scattered us;
you have been displeased; O turn yourself to us again.
You have made the earth to tremble;
you have broken it. Heal the breaches thereof, for it is shaking.
Psalm 60:1–2

Believers have divided themselves today, and have done so for a long time, by joining different sects offered to them by Christianity.  They are “the earth” that God has broken into pieces.  Christianity is His curse for the rebellion of their fathers against His Son and His Spirit.
If and when they repent of their rebellion against the Spirit, God will heal the breaches He has made.  And the healing will happen like this: God will open His people’s eyes to see the beauty of life in the Spirit, and He will cause their hearts to desire it so much that they realize they will have to leave Christianity and its division behind in order to have it.
When God does this, when He restores His kind of love to His people, they will love one another too much to tolerate any divisions; they will “remember Zion” and long for it.  They will at last recognize the voice of their Shepherd lovingly pleading for them to “Come out of her, my people, so that you do not participate in her sins, so that you do not receive of her plagues.”  And when they obey that voice and come out of Christianity, they will come together, and be so amazed and happy that they “will be like them that dream” (Ps. 126:1).  In other words, their dreams will have at long last come true.

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Friend

It was not an enemy that reproached me;
then, I could have borne it.
Neither was it one who hated me that puffed himself up against me;
in that case, I would have hidden myself from him. 
But it was you, a man my own equal, my guide, and my acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company.”
Psalm 55:12–14

The cruelest blow Jesus ever received was delivered by a friend.  The greatest crime ever committed against him was committed by someone who did not hate him.
Be careful what decisions you make.