Here are some notes from Bill’s prayer meeting on Wednesday. I added a bit mainly because forgiveness is such a major part of my Healing classes. I have found over the years, for myself as well as those I teach it is of such importance in our relationship with the Lord, we need to be reminded of and ponder it from time to time. We all struggle with the concept and frequently believe we HAVE forgiven, when in reality we have not. Psalm 68 says “if I regard iniquity in my heart, He will not hear me.” So think about it, especially now that we are so close to a new year…
"Our willingness to forgive shows the world Christ. 1)It is not a normal action, forgiveness/lack of is of our flesh, it is not a once for all deed and we need a lot of grace to do it. 2)you haven't forgiven if the deed is a topic of conservation or comes to mind frequently. 3)are you pondering revenge or justice? 4) does it occupy your mind and thots too much and you can't get rid of it? 5)Do you get annoyed or irritated at the mention of them? 6) Do you avoid that person? 7) Are you secretly delighted at their misfortune? 8) Do you feel like a victim? 9) Are those around you tired of hearing about it?" To really forgive, starts in the heart/mind and then the will. Five ways you can know you are/have forgiven them...1) first thot about them isn't what they did to you. 2) you would gladly assist them if they needed it and you could do it. 3) can you think positive thots about that person now? 4) Does your heart want to hurt them? 5) have you stopped keeping a record of wrongs and looking for them to fail? Keeping your focus on positive things for and about this person will be a great help to you...and to them.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I think we will look in more detail at God’s primary names, the names we first looked at two blogs back. We talked briefly about His name Jehovah, Yahweh and Adonai. We can now talk about them with a little more detail. JEHOVAH is God’s redemptive name…Isaiah 12:2 says this, “The Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song. He is also become my salvation. “ After sin entered the human experience, it was Jehovah who sought the sinner…as Redeemer, Jehovah revealed His holiness and His just demand for righteousness on the part of His creatures. Let’s look at Adam ad Eve, the parents of us all. Understand, their sin did not take God by surprise…I Peter 1:20 tells us God had the salvation plan already worked out…I Peter 1:20 tells us His plan was formed “before the foundation of the world.” He knew they would not obey Him even though He gave them instruction NOT to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” or they would die. They ate and they died, spiritually. I often wondered where Adam was when Satan was taunting Eve. Was He there? I ask that because God held him responsible and made him the head of the human race, and God said Adam sinned knowing what he was doing. But, the plan was prepared and God spoke it to them and us in Genesis 3 Jehovah was prepared to redeem His now fallen children and their descendants. You may wonder as I have, why did He create them knowing what they were going to do. The rest of Scripture seems to indicate that He wanted a people of His own, to love and care for and to worship and fellowship with Him. He was willing to do whatever needed to be done to make that happen. BUT…He wanted them to love and obey Him of their own free choosing, because they wanted to. He is a wonderful Father.
Up until the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God made Himself known to Israel as ELOHIM…THE STRONG, FAITHFUL ONE. But to Moses and the Jews in Goshen, He was JEHOVAH-ELOHIM, Maker, Redeemer, used to speak of His relationship with man. He has the RIGHT of being our creator, He has MORAL authority over us, He has the right to govern us, power over our human relationships. His rights over us are shown clearly in the book of Ruth…Boaz showing himself to be Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, as God is our kinsman-redeemer. We have a responsibility to be obedient to Him and respond to Him in the way He has laid out for us in Scripture.
JEHOVAH-YAHWEH, the holiest of God’s names. This is the great “I AM.” This is the self-existent One. Israel spent 400 years in Egyptian bondage. While there, most if not all of their knowledge of God was gone. When He led them out to the wilderness, He took them to Sinai where He had them encamp and He taught them who Jehovah was. He taught them that He was Holy. He gave them over 400 laws that would govern all their living conditions. He taught them they were to be a special, separate and peculiar people. He was a Holy God who hates sin, all through all the Old Testament, He could not compromise, He must judge, using His name to Israel, Jehovah. In His dealing with Pharaoh He was their Redeemer and Creator. He had to judge Pharaoh and He did! He laid down he moral law to them, telling them the price of disobedience was judgment as laid out in the law. Ad they became more and more disobedient, God allowed them to be overrun by their enemies and taken into captivity, their cities destroyed and temple in ruins.
ADONAI is a beautiful name, it means Lord, Master, Sovereign and primarily refers to Him and His relationship to us as our Master. We CAN become His bondservant…our choice. In bible times a servant who had served his term, had come to love his master and desired to stay with him and would stay voluntarily. In exchange for his loyalty, obedience and service, the Master would provide him with everything he needed. This is the relationship Moses had with God as did Joshua, calling Him Adonai. The Master had the right to expect absolute obedience and in return made every provision for the bond-servant. Studying the Names, attributes and character of God is like examining a fine, exquisite diamond. The various hues and points are all beautiful but when you put them all together, you see a jewel so fine it has tremendous value to the one to whom it belongs. So it is with our God!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Last time we looked at the three primary names of God, Jehovah…Yahweh…Adonai. His character and perfections are recorded for us in Galatians 5:22-25. If you want to know what Christ was like…there it is; love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. They are referred to as the Fruit of the Spirit and we are to be working toward the same character qualities in our lives. You will notice it is “fruit” of the Spirit, not “fruits.” Not plural but singular…we are to attain to ALL of them!
This time let’s look at His attributes…He is SOLITARY, He as a Triune or three-part God, never had a beginning. Let that sink in for a moment! He always was and always will be. The Triune God had no need of any one else, He was fine as He was. But, at some point in “time”…(eternity is timeless)…they decided to create. There were angels before there were humans, they existed in Heaven with God. They wanted beings that they could fellowship with, love, care for and provide with a relationship with Them. But make no mistake, He did not need us, He wanted us for Himself, to decide for themselves to love Him back and have full and complete harmony with Him.
He is INFINITE. Always was, is, will be, with no time constraints. Can you think ahead to ‘forever?” I have no problem thinking backward to eternity past, but for some reason, I can’t think forward without thinking of “an end.” There is none when it comes to God and guess what? We too are eternal…if we know Christ as our personal Savior we will live with Him in the Heavenlies forever, John 14. If we have no personal relationship with Christ, we will live without Him eternally. Think about that, forever apart from God with no hope of change. Pretty ugly thought isn’t it!
H is OMNISCIENT. He knows all there is to know about everything. Wow! And the best part, He is willing to share that knowledge with us. Now we will never “know it all…”but there is much He can teach us by the power of the Holy Spirit in us, if we are willing to let Him. When the Scripture says we “can have the mind of Christ,” I Corinthians 2:16, it means exactly that. We can learn by reading, thinking, praying, absorbing and applying the Scripture to our lives what God has for us to know. Can you imagine anything more glorious than being made capable of thinking as God thinks. One of my favorite verses is Colossians 1:9, “Enable me to see things from Your point of view.”
He is SOVEREIGN. Do you remember Harry Truman’s famous plaque on his desk, “the buck stops here.?” Well It REALLY stops with God!!!! We may not realize it in this life, but it is true and in His time, all things will be the way He wants them. No one argues with the Queen of England…neither will they argue with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They may do as they please now, but a day is coming when that will no longer be an option. He will exercise His Sovereignty in full and set up His Kingdom.
He is OMNIPRESENT. He is everywhere at the same time. How? I have no idea, but the Scripture says it is so, and that’s it for me. This is one of my favorites…He is IMMUTABLE….He never changes. If you think about that, it can be very reassuring. As He was long ago, He is today…and will be tomorrow and all the tomorrows. If He “tells” you something, He does not change His mind. He says, “I am the Lord, I change not.” Malachi 3:6. It also makes His promises more precious…He will do what He says…no matter what! He is HOLY. What is Holy? The very presence of God sanctifies and makes us holy, as we submit our will to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us…we take on His Holiness. Glory! He is GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. I think we all know what these attributes are. Grace is an internal quality of kindness and gentleness,especially in the face of adversity. Mercy is a quality I dearly love…working with inmates for so many years, along with their wives and moms, mercy was called for many times and in large quantities. There are some criminal acts that are especially abhorrent to me…but not to God! He had to grant me the ability to tap into His mercy and show it in just the right proportions. There have been times when He has literally “blown me away” at His graciousness to me and enabling me to cope with difficult situations. He is JUST. This one fascinates me because I learned the difference between “fair” and “just.” God is not always fair…but He is always just. He cannot be any other way, it is pat of His character. At times I have asked Him about what I considered an unfair situation…through the Word, He showed me He is never wrong, He knows the hearts of people involved in the situation, and He knows the end from the beginning. I learned to rest in that knowledge. And I guess best of all, He is FAITHFUL…HE steadfast, an anchor…He is there…always and forever. He is an awesome God and I for one am glad He made us and loves us now and forever.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Jesus Himself told us not to worry about our lives, what to eat, our health, what we’ll wear…He said His Father takes care of the ravens and clothes the flowers so how much more will He do for us since we are of such value to Him. That’s very good advice straight from the teaching of our Lord. I love the portion in Luke 12:32-34, “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have, give to the poor, provide yourself money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Of course that is excellent advice, but not at all easy to put into practice. I always considered myself the world’s greatest worrier, God took a lot of time working with me to get me to quit it…and I still fall back into the pattern, especially with funds. But, I can say without hesitation, in 35 years he has never let me down. There have been many, many rough spots but when they were over, I could look back and see the lesson learned. And when I really gave it some serious thought, I’d realize He could not have taught me that particular lesson any other way. I can be hardheaded at times!
I think we get the mistaken notion that things should go well all the time. If we are in good, solid fellowship with the Lord everything should go smoothly. Not! Probably, life would be boring if it was the same all the time, I don’t know since mine is always changing. That is one of the lessons I learned, change…it’s a good part of life. I know people that cannot handle change at all, desperately try to keep their entire lives the same…same vacation place, same restaurants, same routes to and from places…any kind or suggestion of change throws them for a loop. I have no idea why God wants us to be able to handle change, I suppose it is because change is the norm. But even at best, change is unsettling and we tend to worry and fret. We second guess ourselves about everything including where we are with the Lord. And usually it is not what we think at all. One of the things I have worried about is “am I doing enough” for Him…don’t ask me why, but there it is. Fruitfulness is important to me, but in my calling, hard to see. The Lord taught me long ago, that’s really not my business, it’s His. My part is to “tell” and His is to apply. Fruitfulness is really faithfulness in God’s! There is a verse in Romans that says this, ‘it is required in stewards (servants) that they be found to be faithful.” Not successful, especially by the world’s standard, but faithful. Do what God has asked you to do, the rest is His work. In taking that to heart, the worry syndrome should be greatly reduced shouldn’t it? Struggling and pondering our paths are all part of our learning process…the struggle helps us understand the outcome is not of us, but of Him. Our pride wants to take credit, we like to think our own abilities gain a good result. Not true…dependence on the Lord causes us to realize we are NOT sufficient in ourselves, and He makes it clear in His Word He will not share His glory with another!
Another thing to keep in mind about worry is this: be careful how and when you make decisions. Tired, too busy, changing circumstances or an emotional time. Good decisions are made slowly, with considerable thought. And sometimes God would have us wait with patience, with full trust in Him…very hard to do and takes a good bit of practice. But it does get easier as He gives you more opportunity to exercise your patient trust. I said it before, here I go again, He has never let me down. I think the verse that has sustained me the most, is a familiar one, Romans 8:28, “We know that God makes all things work together for good for them who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” I have seen some very bad events be worked out well for a child of God…very unexpected and out of the ordinary, but for the good. Then you KNOW He is working for you, because He loves you very much. Look at Psalm 34…fret not thyself, fret not thyself, fret not thyself…good advice.