Monthly Archives: March, 2015

You Don’t Know

“Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.” – Job 10:8-12 [NIV]

You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.” – Job 30:21

“You have become cruel (NLT) – basically saying God changed toward him.

1) God does not change

Malachi 3:6a says, “I am the LORD, and I do not change.” (NIV)

Job realized that God was gracious, kind, and his Creator

But thinks God changed because of his situation.

2) God does not think like us

“’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the LORD. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’” – Isaiah 55:8 [NLT]

“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalm 139:16 [NASB]

3) We cannot understand everything

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11 [NLT]

“I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.” – Ecclesiastes 8:17 [NLT]

“God’s riches, wisdom, and knowledge are so deep that it is impossible to explain his decisions or to understand his ways.” – Romans 11:33 [GW]

“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5 [NLT]

4) Ask – Show me Your ways

Moses said to God, “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.” – Exodus 33:13 [NLT]

“Now show me Your glory” (v. 18)

I want to KNOW YOU

I want to SEE YOU

I want to BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

Psalm 103:7, the Psalmist writes,

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” [NASB]

God’s ways must be MADE KNOWN.

  • He MADE KNOWN them to Moses
    • Ways – Intimate Relationship
    • Know God (Hosea 6:6)
  • To the Israelites He taught them by His actions, but his words were concealed. The relationship wasn’t the deep relationship like that He had with Moses.
    • Works – Observation – What God does
    • Parting Red Sea / Water from Rock / Walls of Jericho

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

– Jeremiah 29:13 [NASB]

Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:8a [NLT]
“I long to look on the face of the One that I love
Long to stay in Your presence, it’s where I belong”

(Jesus Culture “Show Me Your Glory”)

Download You Don’t Know Outline

Flat Tire

The other day I had a flat tire. I was so very blessed to have a handful of people come to my rescue. It is always a blessing when there are too many hands to do a job. As we pulled the spare tire out of the car to use for a temporary solution, it became clear right away that the spare tire was flat. Good grief?!? Here’s a tire that has one job—to be ready for when a flat tire occurs – and it was flat.

Thankfully one disciple stepped up to get the spare filled with air so I could be on my way. But in the time waiting, I considered the flat tire and its failure. It had one job. Only one job. Failure. It reminded me of something we need always remember – nothing is 100% reliable except for God and His Truth. He never fails. His love never fails (Psalm 136). His Word never fails (Isaiah 55:11, Matthew 24:35, Luke 1:37).

People will fail you again and again. They might not always be on time or they might not show up at all. People may break promises or break your heart. People will lie. People will fall short. Spare tires will be flat. Cars won’t start. The money might not get deposited. The promised raise may not come. But with God, all things are sure and true. Today remember that through all the twists and turns in life, one thing remains – God. He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). He doesn’t leave (Deuteronomy 31:6). He keeps His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9). How awesome is our God!

Acts: Proclamation

[Acts 8:26-40]

Peter and John were proclaiming the Good News. It disturbed people and they were put in prison. Annas the high priest and Caiaphas questioned them. They spoke of Jesus and the salvation only possible through Him. They were commanded to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

They responded:

As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” – Acts 4:20 [NIV]

  • “We cannot stop telling” [NLT]
  • “We cannot stop talking” [GW]
  • “There’s no question – we can’t keep quiet” [MSG]

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

1) Obedience

Told to “Rise and go toward the south” (v. 26) “he rose and went” (v. 27)

2) Spirit Led

Ready to listen to God’s instruction – an angel of the Lord said (v. 26)

3) Specific Instructions

Spirit said go over and join this chariot (v. 29)

4) Concern for Others

Concerned about others understanding

“Do you understand what you are reading?” (v. 30)

5) Wait for the Open Door

No I need help – BOOM – DOOR OPEN

Begins with Isaiah passage and then speaks about the Good News of Jesus (v. 31)

6) Don’t stand in the way

What prevents me from being baptized?

Nothing (v. 37-38)

7) Don’t miss a beat

Spirit of Philip is carried away

His service is done – Onward and upward (v. 39-40)

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

How the Mighty Have Fallen

In 2 Samuel 1 we read about the death of Saul and Jonathan at the hands of the Philistines. David is told this news and he lamented. He writes this long lamentation that says “how the mighty have fallen” three times (vs. 19-27). It is such a beautiful collection of words as a tribute for these men. As I read through this passage, it is easy to see how David wanted to honor these men; however, it also can serve as a reminder—“How the mighty have fallen.”

No matter how strong we are on our own, we will fall. No matter how much we achieve, we will fall. No matter how high up the ladder we climb by our own human standards, we will fall. We will fall. But that’s not the end of the story. It’s only a small smidgen of life. God has promised us life and life in abundance (John 10:10). His Word says that if we believe in Him, we will have everlasting life (John 3:36). We may fall but we will rise with Him. On His shoulders He carries us home (John 6:40).

You can trust in the promises of God for He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). He is true. He is the Promise Keeper. Each of us will fall again and again, but with each sin we are covered by the blood of Christ. Each of us will one day breathe our last breath, but that last breath of air is not the end. Oh how the mighty have fallen— but oh how the children of God will live forever with Him rejoicing together, singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8 NIV).

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” – John 5:24 [NLT]

What is Truth

Matthew 27 / Mark 15 / Luke 23 / John 18-19

 Pontius Pilate – Roman Governor –Procurator.

  • He was in charge of appointing the high priest and controlling the Temple and funds.
  • He had full control of the province.
  • He had full powers of life and death as he could reverse capital sentences passed by Sanhedrin.
  • He had a bad reputation with Jews and Samaritans.
  • He was guilty of slander, robbery, violence and murder – and at least twice was called to account by the Roman imperial authority.
  • Because people threatened Pilate, that they would inform the emperor that Pilate hadn’t eliminated a rebel against Rome, Pilate went against what he knew was right. He didn’t do the right thing.
  • He was later removed from his office for unnecessary and brutal treatment of his subjects.
  • Pagan historians only mention Pilate when mentioning his authorization of the death of Jesus (Tacitus).
  • Historians documented that Pilate was forced to commit suicide during reign of Gaius (AD 37-41).

 1) DISCOVER THE TRUTH – What is Truth?

Jesus told Pilate, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth” John 18:37 (NIV). The question that Pilate and many others have asked is “what is truth?” (v. 38 NIV). The Bible mentions the word “truth” over two hundred times. God revealed truth to us through Jesus. Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is “the way and the truth and the life” (NIV).

I believe absolute truth is God’s truth. The Bible is God’s Word and God’s Word is Truth. The Bible says that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), which therefore means that He speaks only what is true. The Psalmist writes “Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth” (Psalm 86:11a NLT). God is the source of all truth. I believe Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” and I believe that Jesus is infinite, living Truth.

When we read the garden scene in Genesis 3, it is quite clear that God presents absolute truth with regard to this tree of knowledge of good and evil to Adam and Eve. Satan challenges God’s truth, and deceives Adam and Eve into questioning what God says as well. Even today, Satan attempts to get us to challenge God’s Truth, to ask “did God really say” when we encounter His Truth. God’s Truth does not change; though we may attempt to misrepresent or skew His Truth, it still remains as Truth, as absolute reality. We can choose to accept His Truth and live by it, or to deny it and live as a fool, lost and wandering in search for another alternative which just is not there.

Some people believe that there is truth and it can be found through science and logic. Anything claimed of God that has no scientific or logically basis is not seen as being true. Other people reject the idea of absolute truth and believe that what may be true for one person is not necessarily what is true for another person. Truth is what we make it to be and we each will find our own truth. That means one person can claim God to be God and that is seen as Truth for that person. Another person may claim that there are three gods and that is truth for that particular person.

Many people will spend their lives asking the same question as Pilate, and will never get the true answer because they are seeking for answers in the wrong place. I cling to the promise found in John 16:13, “But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (NIV). Only through a relationship with God, as a result of Christ’s redemption and the working of the Holy Spirit are we able to understand Truth. If only Pilate realized that he was speaking to the Truth, he would have seen the answer was right before him.

Truth is God’s Truth

Jesus is God’s Truth – John 1 says Jesus is full of grace and TRUTH.

God’s Word is Truth (John 17:17) – We find truth when we read & study the Bible. We need the belt of Truth in place (Ephesians 6:14)

We are to correctly handle/explain God’s Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

To be a disciple of Christ, you must continue in His Word and you will KNOW the truth and the truth will SET YOU FREE. (John 8:32)

 Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true. – John 18:37 [NLT]

Every child of God knows the truth as Jesus, and is on the side of truth, and stands by it.

Pilate avoided the truth:

  1. Tried to get out of the situation?                             Sent Jesus to Herod (Luke 23:6-17)
  2. Tried to get someone to side with him?
  3. Tried to put responsibility on someone else – Told Jews “judge by your own law” – a mockery (John 18:31)
  4. Tried to escape – offer to release “criminal” (John 18:39)
  5. Tried to washed his hands – though it didn’t cancel guilt (Matthew 27:24)
  6. Tried to compromise – Had Jesus flogged (John 19:1-3)
  7. Tried to appeal to sympathy – Shall I kill your King? (John 19:15)

All this despite Pilate never having doubt of Jesus’ innocence – 3 x’s said NOT GUILTY!

2) DOING THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN IT COSTS EVERYTHING

When you know the Truth – then you must make a choice – what will you do with the Truth?

James 1:23-24 speaks about person who stares in the mirror and walks away, forgetting what he looks like. The mirror becomes useless after you walk away from it. James was saying that if we simply hear the word but don’t act, it’s useless just like the mirror.

St. Augustine said, “Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it.”

Right choice could mean

          Social Rejection / Career Loss / Public Ridicule

“Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth” (Psalm 86:11a NLT).

Here’s my heart, Lord

Speak what is true

Here’s my life, Lord

Speak what is true

As an Angel

In 1 Samuel 29, we read of Achish telling David that he is “blameless in (his) sight as an angel of God.” Those are some kind words for David. Even so, the Philistines were going off to battle, but they didn’t want David to go with them. They were concerned that he would become an adversary if he accompanied them.

In verse 3, we read, “I have found no fault in (David) to this day” (ESV). Though “the lords do not approve” Achish recognized David as “honest” and “found nothing wrong” (v. 6 ESV). David was a man with a good reputation. He was trusted by those who knew him.

Today consider the words one would say about you. Would people say you are honest? Would people find any fault with you? Would they speak kind words? We are to please God rather than man (Acts 5:29). As we live a life pleasing to God – obeying His Word and following His will, we too will be on the receiving end of kind words. People will take notice as you rebel against the world, as you live differently than what the world says. Stand up for the truth and you will stand firm.

“And Achish answered David and said, ‘I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’” 1 Samuel 29:9 [ESV]

Share Alike

When it was time to go to battle against the Amalekites, there was a group of people who were exhausted so they stayed back. I can certainly understand exhaustion. Sometimes I barely can find the energy to swing my legs over the edge and rise in the morning due to my health. This group was “too exhausted to follow David” so they stayed behind.

After the battle, they returned with the spoil. Those who went off to fight did not want to share the spoil with the others who stayed back. They didn’t feel those who failed to show up to fight deserved anything. The only thing they considered acceptable was for them to take their wives and children. No more. But David stepped in. He reminded each of them that God gave them everything.

Some people do more than others. It’s a fact. Some people are equipped to do more. Some people are more gifted in some areas than others. Some people are in better health or have the finances to do things others aren’t able to achieve. Each of us is to do our part as if we were doing it all for the Lord. At the end of the day, we each must remember that everything the Lord has given us. We are blessed to be a blessing. We should never cling to it all like it was all ours – share alike. To God be the glory.

“But David said, ‘You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us.’” – 1 Samuel 30:23 [ESV]

Acts: Persecution

Acts Series: Persecutions

… everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12 [NIV]

Bold Speech + Truth = Persecution

“When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.’” Acts 7:54-60 [NIV]

We must obey God rather than men

Apostles had to appear before Sanhedrin to be questioned by high priest. Reminded them of orders to not teach in name of Jesus. Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than human beings! (see Acts 5:29)

— GOD DELIGHTS IN OUR OBEDIENCE —

Standing Ovation from Jesus

“’Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” – Acts 7:56 [NIV]

Stoning of Stephen = Spread of Persecution = Spread of Gospel

“Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.” – Acts 8:1 [NLT]

— GOD USES EVIL FOR GOOD –

Blessed are those Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit Me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” Matthew 5:10-12 [MSG]

What to do when facing persecution:

BE SUBMISSIVE

Acts 4:3 Peter and John were arrested – didn’t fight back

“Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.” – 1 Peter 2:20 [NLT]

BE SPIRIT-FILLED

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 [ESV]

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NASB]

BE BOLD IN TRUTH

“Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time – Ephesians 6:19b [MSG]

Acts 4:24b-31 [ESV] “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.’

 Download Lesson Outline

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

Understands and Knows

Paul said we should not boast in anything but in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31). God’s Word tells us that if we are wise, not to boast in our wisdom, if we are rich or strong, not to boast in our riches or strength. Instead, in Jeremiah it states that we should boast that we understand and know God.

In a world that puts so much emphasis on our knowledge and degrees, on our wealth of possessions, on our looks and our popularity, God tells us that we should only boast in Him and our desire should be to understand and know Him. In Hosea 6:6, we read that we are to know and love God. There is great emphasis on knowing God, but many people misunderstand what knowing God entails. Even the demons know about Jesus—but they don’t have an intimate relationship—they don’t follow Jesus. It is one thing to know of Jesus Christ; it is very different to truly know Jesus—to believe in Him, to trust Him, to follow Him.

Today is a great day to get closer with the One who created the Earth. Remember He desires that you know and love Him more than offerings and sacrifices. He wants an intimate relationship with you, and that alone is the only way you can come to a deeper knowledge and love for Christ. Dig deep into His Word. Drown yourself in prayer. Treasure your time with Him.

“Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.’” – Jeremiah 9:23-24 [ESV]

Seek and Find

In Jeremiah we read: “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (29:13). How awesome?!? If you seek God, you will find Him. Yet people so often are seeking and not finding God. Why? Because they are not seeking wholeheartedly.

God has promised that if you seek Him, He will be found. God searches your heart and He understands your plans and thoughts—so He knows if you are seeking Him, if you are truly seeking Him with all your heart. If you are seeking Him, and you are seeking Him with all your heart, you are going to find Him. And when you find Him, you will want nothing more than to know Him more, to be in His presence, to experience His glory.

When I look around, I often see people investing a great deal of time and effort trying to search for answers, for riches, for comfort, for wisdom. Today ask yourself who or what you are seeking in life. What or who has your focus? If you seek Him, He will be found by you. That’s a promise.

“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.” – 1 Chronicles 28:9 [ESV]