For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling—if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:1-10, NRSV)

For weather we are with the Lord or here in our earthly dwelling our goal os to please the Lord by living the life He has set before us. And our aim is to please Him. We do not live by what we can see, but by the faith that He has given us.

So walk by faith and cling not to your own understanding but trust in the Lord.

Testing God?

Posted: 2017/04/25 in Biblical, Devotional, Easter
Tags: , , , ,

Then Gideon said to God, “In order to see whether you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said, I am going to lay a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said.” And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let your anger burn against me, let me speak one more time; let me, please, make trial with the fleece just once more; let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew. (Judges 6:36-40, NRSV)

So God was sending Gideon off to undertake the task, and Gideon needed a sign that this was actually God.

So Gideon said make the fleece wet and the rest dry in the morning from the dew, and it was so.

But this was not enough, now Gideon wanted the ground wet and the fleece dry from dew!

But God still did it.

So is it ok to test God?

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle. (Genesis 32:22-32, NRSV)

Jacob wrestles with a man from the time he laid down until daybreak. And the only way the stranger could defeat him was to strike his hip socket and put his leg out of joint. Even then Jacob held on, and would not let go until he was blessed and given a new name.

How long would we hold on?

How long would we wrestle with God?

You see God wants us to follow, but He also likes us to be in full contact with Him. To let Him know we are involved.

Would we hold out to get His name?

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:19-31, NRSV)

When it was evening that day…

So if you read the first 18 verses of John 20 you will see what day it is. The day Jesus rose from the dead. Mary Magdelene was at the tomb and told the disciples what had happened, Peter and John went to see and went home. Then later that night the 10 disciples are locked in a room. Judas is dead, and Thomas is nowhere to be found. He is out while the others cower in fear. But when the 10 do see Thomas they tell him what happened and he wants nothing more than what the 10 got. To see the wounds. Becuase they did not acknowledge Jesus until He showed them His hands and His side.

But when Thomas sees Jesus, Jesus tells him to put his finger in His hands and his hand in His side, but he doesn’t. He simply proclaims, “My Lord and my God!”

But does he have to see Him to believe He rose from the dead?

Because as they great line from the Santa Clause goes, “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.”

Jesu because we see something doesn’t mean it is real or true. I have seen a lot of magic tricks, David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. Did it actually disappear? I don’t believe it did, it was an optical illusion.

And I’ve never seen Jesus or God, but I believe they are always there for me.

So don’t be unbelieving, but believe!

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. With the LORD on my side I do not fear. What can mortals do to me? The LORD is on my side to help me; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in mortals. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! They surrounded me like bees; they blazed like a fire of thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly; the right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we beseech you, O LORD! O LORD, we beseech you, give us success! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 118, NRSV)

There is a story that the center verse of the Bible is on Psalm 118. Because Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible and Psalm 119 is the longest, it would make sense that the center would be in Psalm 118. And the story goes that there are 594 chapters before Psalm 118 and 594 chapters after Psalm 118 and added together that gives us 1188. So the middle verse is Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in God than in man.

This is not true, but that is a great verse to remember, because men and women will let you down, but God never will. So trust in God.

Walls

Posted: 2017/04/21 in Biblical, Devotional, Discipleship, Easter
Tags: , , ,

Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality,  but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:34-43, NRSV)

God shows no partiality. We were all sinners saved by grace, we need to see God in our fellow man. As I read this passage and the tag line that goes with it on the Milestones Ministry Taking Faith Home sheet, I thought about the old DC Talk song Walls. We need to work are taking down the things that separate us and focus on what unites us. God is the uniting factor that sought each of us before we were worthy to be in His presence.

So remember everyone is welcome to the throne, and let us see God in our neighbor and help them see the love God has for them!

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4, NRSV)

We have been buried with Christ and raised with Christ, so we can not think about earthly things but must cast our thoughts to heavenly things.

We must think about the tings that God has for us and follow after them. So do not worry about earthly things but focus on where God is calling you!