Archive for the 'Who God Is' Category
Is your family too busy for family Bible time? Feel like there are too many good shows on TV to take time to read the “Good Book”?
Consider some vital reasons to take the Bible down off the shelf, give it a good dusting, and open its pages. As part of ”grandma’s corner” now, I can speak with some wisdom of hindsight, which always seems to be 20-20. We still have two of four children at home, though, so this can very much apply to me as well!
1. If you’re a Christian blessed with children, it’s your responsibility to teach them in God’s word. We’ll look at Deuteronomy 11:19.
2. What should influence your children more – secular television & music, the internet, peers, or God’s word?
3. Abuse of the internet can be detrimental to teaching God’s word to our families. It’s also a place of easy access to pornography and the beginning of sexual addictions and broken lives, all because we haven’t taught our children to guard their hearts against Satan’s attack. Oh, my dear readers, we parents need to step in and grab the reigns once again by establishing a consistent routine of family devotions to avoid these pitfalls!
4. If you don’t read/study the Bible with your children, you will increase the odds of them growing up not have trusting faith in the Lord Jesus.
Romans 10:14 (NIV) says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
I realize that children don’t want to be “preached at” by their parents, but I believe they will listen to Scripture being read to them if you start this practice at an early age. You will, in effect, become your child’s first “preacher” of the word of Life, an immense privilege and responsibility! Oh, Mom and Dad, you need to “get on the same page” at pursuing this very important task. Don’t pass the buck, as it were, to your spouse. Both parents need to be active participants in this exciting venture with the family! Your marriage will find the way to blessing as a result! Men and women following Jesus in this way will never regret it.
5. God tells us in Deuteronomy 11:19 (NIV), when to teach His words : “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
I believe we Christian parents will be required to give an account to God about whether or not we obeyed this command of His and taught our children His word.
6. Big reason for a family Bible time: It will be a great substitute for liberal mass media that has invaded our homes. Spending hour upon endless hour with our eyes and ears glued to the TV was never God’s plan for His people, the church, especially in these last days! Do we want to be in the middle of another episode of blood & gore on TV, when Jesus comes for His church in the Rapture, or do we want to be doing things like reading His word, praying, witnessing to the lost, and helping those in need? So choose the path to let your light shine!
7. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV). “… ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
We must allow these words of Jesus to immediately spur us on to carving out time for personal and family Bible study, prayer, and witnessing! God calls us to take up the Sword of the Spirit (the word of God) in Ephesians 6:17. I believe we can through Bible study with our children, teaching them about who God is from its pages. This plan is about something so much better than some strict and stern other method enforcing our rules. Instead, family Bible study can be about teaching our children about the real meaning of life – having a redeeming relationship with the one true God who loves them. It’s about teaching them how to love and worship the LORD God – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – who made us and willingly gave His life for us on the cross, and now gives us a resurrection, even Promised Land, type of living that can free us from the penalty and power of sin, so that we and our children (whoever trusts in Christ) may live the life of freedom and holiness in Christ, by His life and presence!
Let’s ask ourselves: Can this life of submitting to the Kingship of Christ be learned by sitting on the couch night after night, taking in secular TV, with all of its foul language, blood and violence, sex, and immorality? I think not! From what I’ve seen, most of TV and family don’t mix. Let’s shut those TVs off! (I do love to watch Christian TV channels while I do my exercise routine, but we must not succumb to surfing the other channels.) There are a few good specials on sometimes, but as a whole, TV is a time-waster. If we are tormented by this, let’s take a bold stand and cart the television(s) out to the roadside for trash pickup! Then, we’ll be more open, as part of the body of Christ, to seek God with all our hearts…and teach our children to do the same!
In a July 29, 2011 post ”Jesus Feeds 5000; Will You Be Broken?”, I share how Jesus fed the multitude with bread. As parents and/or grandparents, we have the blessed opportunity to feed our children/grandchildren with the “Bread of Life”. Let’s not deprive them!
Do you need some words of encouragement as the holiday of Easter approaches? First, please let me pose to you a question? Is Easter-Resurrection Sunday still relevant to us in this postmodern world?
To help us answer that, let’s start by looking at who God is and what He’s like.
I remember when my children were still very young, I was in church choir rehearsal before our Easter-morning worship service. I had this very exciting word from God that I had just received a day or two before! Our choir director asked the group if anyone had a word from the Lord that they would like to share, something he rarely asked.
I know that the Bible is complete, and we can’t add to it, but God still speaks to us by His Holy Spirit as He applies His written word to our hearts. Ephesians 6:17 talks about the Sword of the Spirit, which is the “rhema,” or the spoken word of God. (Please see my post about that very topic: “Full Armor of God: Sword of Spirit.”)
I knew that I had to share from my heart what God had given me. That burning in my heart was like God saying, “You go, girl!” So I shared about 2 Peter 3:8. Please stick with me as I quote the passage, and then I’ll tell you the treasure that God spoke to my heart! Here’s the verse along with verse nine, a very inspirational quote coming from the heart of God!
8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:8,9 NIV).”
The Message, a paraphrased Bible by Eugene H. Peterson says it this way: 8 “Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.”
I see now that this passage is talking about waiting for the return of the Lord and possibly the rapture, but God used verse 8 that day to speak to me about His resurrection. Here’s the “Easter blessing” that God gave me and that I shared with the choir! We know that Jesus’ resurrection happened about 2000 years ago, and we might feel like it was so long ago that we can’t feel its significance as much for us today. God reminded me that since a thousand years is like one day to Him, those 2000 years that have passed since His death, burial and resurrection are actually like two or three days ago to Him. This makes His death, burial, and resurrection very relevant to Jesus. These are His crowning accomplishments, Jesus’ greatest miracles!
So we can celebrate this Easter, knowing that it’s very relevant and can be worth everything to us! Let’s live as if Jesus had just died on the cross for us, was buried, and rose again on this Easter weekend! That’s the attitude we should always have as we walk by faith in these end times. How’s that for relevance? In other words, God is timeless. What He does, especially for us, is always contemporary, current, and up-to-the-moment! Resurrection Sunday is of utmost relevance. He will bring everything into right focus, if we are seeking Him! Amen and amen!
Please leave a comment if this has helped you.
When Saul got up from the ground, his eyes were open, but he couldn’t see! His traveling companions led him by the hand into Damascus. Saul, thinking he was good up until then, even though he was probably the worst persecutor of the church, had really been spiritually blind. Now, as Jesus began to open Saul’s mind, showing him that He (Jesus) was God, Saul was afflicted with physical blindness. I wonder if he asked himself, “Why have I been so blind about Jesus?” Acts 9:9 says that Saul was without sight for three days, and did not eat or drink. This seems drastic, but was actually a reasonable result to having just seen the light of the Lord from heaven in His resurrected glory!
To briefly summarize, Saul ended up at the house of Judas (a different Judas than Jesus’ betrayer), to which Ananias was directed to by the Lord in a vision to go lay his hands on Saul, so that Saul could regain his sight. It’s very interesting that Saul was now at a house that belonged to Judas. Is this God’s way of saying that Saul would be the real replacement for the Apostle Judas, not Matthias, whom the apostles prayed and drew lots for in choosing a replacement (Acts 1:26)?
Paul does call himself an apostle of Jesus Christ in his letters to the church. God’s method of calling Paul was so much more exciting than drawing lots! It was also unmistakably God doing the selection and calling here! The Lord even said to Ananias in the vision, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake (Acts 9:15,16).”
The Lord had also said to Ananias in Acts 9:11, “Arise…and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying.” This was also the reasonable response on Saul’s part. He was praying. Wouldn’t you be praying…after seeing the Lord and being blinded by seeing Him?
When Ananias met Saul, he laid his hands on him and explained, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Then Acts 9:18-20 says, (18) “And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized, (19) and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, (20) and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’” Preach it, Paul! New Christian, don’t hold back. Go tell everyone you can about Jesus, and don’t ever stop!
The scales falling off of his eyes were, I believe, God’s object lesson to Saul and to us. The scales of religious blindness and self-righteousness that were held in place by Satan up until that day, were finally removed by God’s grace, a new concept in itself for Saul. Now he would be forever “seeing” and knowing the Lord Jesus, whom he had so persecuted!
The question I need to ask here is, “Are those same kind of scales on your eyes?” Has Satan been blinding you to who God really is? The AMAZING thing is that Paul, who saw Jesus as a bright light from heaven, wrote the following words in 2 Corinthians 4:3-6:
(3) And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. (4) The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (5) For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (6) For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
This same Paul (Saul),who under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote those words, is the same man who himself had been blinded and veiled from the gospel. He had been blinded by the god of this age (Satan), so that he couldn’t see the light of the gospel of Christ. But, God in His plan and mercy removed those blinding scales so that Saul could see the light of the gospel of Christ. After that, Paul never stopped sharing that glorious light! He went to his grave proclaiming Christ! After taking the Gospel (Good News of Christ) to the known world, he was martyred, or beheaded, in Rome.
Has God called you to give your all to Him, and to share Jesus with the world, no matter the consequences? There are crowns awaiting those who answer the call! Salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, but Christians who have lived faithfully will also receive special rewards or crowns after they get to heaven.
Crowns mentioned in Scripture:
The most important thing to remember about crowns is: The Lord Jesus wore a crown of thorns for us, so that we could one day wear a glorious crown to cast at his feet in honor! The Apostle Paul, having undergone a radical spiritual change, obviously will receive all of these crowns. What crown is awaiting you? They are only available to those who, first of all, trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!
Saul may have traveled about 190 miles, or at least a 5 day journey on foot, from Jerusalem to Damascus. As I’ll explain, he had a very important reason! Looking at his background, he was originally from Tarsus as a boy, but probably moved to Jerusalem (a 377 mile trip) when he was still a child or after his early, elementary years. In Acts 22:13, he says, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but reared in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated according to the strictest care in the Law of our fathers, being ardent [even a zealot] for God, as all of you are today.”
As a man, he was so zealous in his religion that he was doggedly determined to travel some 190 miles from Jerusalem to Damascus. It was his great hatred for those belonging to the Way (Acts 9:2) and especially his hatred for Christ Himself that were behind his religiosity and fervor! The evidence of his desire to destroy Christ’s followers is seen in the possible fact that he was traveling on foot those long miles, for when he saw the Lord in Acts 9:4, he fell to the ground, and not only he, but also those who were traveling with him fell to the ground (Acts 26:14)! It was customary for a traveler to carry his sandals on his journey and then put them on when he approached town, so that he would look respectable, since worn-out footwear was a sign of great poverty.
Saul was impelled to go persecute the Church, regardless of uncomfortable transportation. On the flip side, how far will you and I go to share the Good News of Christ? What difficulties are we willing to overcome?
This was not the loving Apostle Paul (his Roman or Gentile name) yet. He had quite recently witnessed (with hearty agreement) the stoning to death of Stephen. Saul was still breathing threats and murder against Christ’s followers! He was on his angry, little way to Damascus from Jerusalem after asking the high priest there “for letters from him to take to the synagogue at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them to Jerusalem (Acts (9:2).” Religion, up until now, had been Saul’s life! In Phippians 3:5,6, he says that he was “circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.” This is how Saul viewed himself before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.
Let’s look more closely at what happened to him on his journey to Damascus and how he changed afterward, for this same journey is where Paul began the very path of pressing “on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).”
Saul didn’t know it yet, until Acts 9:3, that Jesus had His own plans and agenda for him! In 9:3, the lights literally started to come on for Saul. As he was approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven (evidently brighter than any light he had ever witnessed) flashed around him. Proud, religious, pious Saul, a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, the cream of the crop, the zealous persecutor of the church, fell to the ground! Then Jesus spoke, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” I don’t care how zealous Saul was; when Jesus spoke, Saul listened! Notice that it was Jesus who spoke first. When it comes to our salvation, God is the first one to move. He puts a desire in our hearts for Him, and allows us to feel the emptiness without Him. It isn’t we that start it; no, God is the One who draws us to Himself. “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day (words of Jesus in John 6:44).” It’s all of God. Do you sense Him drawing you near? Accept His call on you and come to Him. He will save you! Hallelujah!
Saul answered, “Who art Thou, Lord?”
Jesus gave him the shocking answer that he had unknowingly been searching for all his life, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do.” Are you wondering who the Lord God is? He says to you, “I am Jesus!” He is calling you. Hear and receive Him into your life today! He will be your Savior and Lord, if you trust in Him, and His death for your sins, his burial, and His resurrection to new life for you as the only Way to heaven!
Please read the conclusion in my next post: “Faith: Saul’s Conversion – Acts 9, (Part 2)”.
In Part 2, we looked at how Jesus explained that He is the “I AM”, the name given to only God in the Old Testament. Here we’ll discuss how that truth has relevance for you!
As stated before from Hebrew 11:6, if you believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, (and also if you go on to believe in Jesus as God the Son) then you can receive Jesus into your life as your personal Lord (Master) and Savior. He will “reward” you with His presence as you seek Him. His presence is what makes life worth living and what makes life possible, for without Him there is no life.
He is the Creator of all things. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
Jesus said in John 8:24, “…for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” If you are not trusting in Christ, Jesus invites you to first believe that God is, then to believe that He is God the Son who came to bear your sins and die on the cross, be buried, and rise again to give you new life in Him. You can do this by accepting God’s free gift of eternal life as you place your trust in Jesus.
You may feel overwhelmed and wonder how you can have faith to do any of this.
Romans 10:17 says, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” You are “hearing” that word right now. You must decide today what you will do about it.
Here is what I did when I was coming to Christ: I relied on Jesus to give me faith. In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul says, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
So even faith is a gift from God! All each of us has to do is receive God’s free gift of salvation offered to us as we believe in what Jesus did for us on the cross.
If you already have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can continue to enjoy glorious fellowship with God, taking advantage of every opportunity to talk to and listen to Him in a daily time of prayer and Bible Study. Now practice His presence throughout each day…all because He is the Great I AM WHO I AM!
Please tell me if you have a personal relationship with Jesus, or if you would like to hear still more about Him. You can give me your input by adding your comment in the box below. I will, with God’s help, try to answer any questions that you might have.