Archive for March, 2014

(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– God is angry with the wicked every day. – Psalm 7:11

– This is your wickedness.  Because it is bitter – because it reaches unto your heart. – Jeremiah 4:18

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just wipe out wickedness in the world once and for all?  Wouldn’t our lives then be no trouble at all, and evil would never befall us again?  There would finally be the world peace pursued by so many prophets, poets, and politicians alike – for so long?  However, if it were all so easy, wouldn’t our human intelligence and inventions have eliminated evil by now?

If you’re reading this right now, you may already be asking yourself questions about the lead verse. Maybe one such as: “If Christ is the Prince of Peace, then where is the peace (Isaiah 9:6)?”  Perhaps the query is, “Why do bad things always seem to happen to good people (Isaiah 57:1, Daniel 9:5-14, Mark 10:18)?”  Or, “If He is angry with the wicked daily, why isn’t He doing anything about them?”

Well, He is.  However, our Father handles wickedness from heaven with long-suffering, and the mercy He abounds and delights in every morning we are able to wake up (Exodus 34:6, Lamentations 3:22-23, Micah 7:18, 2 Peter 3:9),  How often does man deal with evil the same way, with such patience and much pardoning?  How often do we want someone to get what we think they deserve?

God is always ready to pardon, if we return to Him when we err and go astray.  Our Father is gracious and merciful – being slow to anger and of great kindness (Nehemiah 9:17).  It means every evil work or wicked act is not going to be met with heavenly discipline.  If God did punish us each time we messed up, who among us would be able to stand the pain for very long (Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3)?

Still, some just can’t stand letting others get away with the evil God seems to permit freely.  They can have attitudes of  “I have to do something about this matter here on earth – because it does not seem to matter very much in heaven.”  Many movie and TV show story lines these days seem to be centered on characters seeking vengeance.  This is never wise with God (Hebrews 10:30-31).

However, maybe this is you.  Have you ever thought, “Where is this loving God I hear about?  Where is this God of justice?  Everyone who does evil is good in His sight – why He even seems to delight in such people sometimes.”  Or, “God’s law is slack and His judgement never goes forth.  The wicked surround the righteous – therefore, wrong judgement has to be proceeding from heaven.  I must fix it.”

There is never anything new to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  Some felt like this in Biblical times (Malachi 2:17, Habakkuk 1:4).  However, projecting the wickedness problem on others is not the solution.  It is easier – for it keeps us from pointing the finger of fault at our hearts.  But – God did not fashion them to be wonderful.  If He had made perfect hearts, He never would have had to sacrifice Christ.

Our hearts were designed to be desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  So we would not foolishly trust them (Proverbs 28:26). So we could not pave our own path to heaven – proclaiming our own goodness or innocence as the way to get there (Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 2:35).  So we would have to get there how God designed before this world began (Titus 1:2).

Next Sunday:  Why the road to heaven is narrow (Matthew 7:14), why the righteous scarcely get saved (1 Peter 4:18), and where we can err and go off course so many times along the way – even as Christians.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. – Acts 1:3

– Every path begins with passion. – Gainesville, Florida city motto

It was God’s passion and love for man from the very beginning – to sacrifice Jesus on the Cross for our sins.  To put us on our passing and planetary path to eternal peace in heaven; promised to us all before this world ever was (John 3:16, Titus 1:2).  Christ didn’t quit or give up because things got too tough during his time on earth – for he knew the effort was for something greater than himself.

The same goes for Christians.  Steve Jobs said whatever we choose to do – has got to be something we are passionate about, or we will not have the perseverance to see it through (Matthew 10:22).  It has to purposed and persistent – despite problems, despite pain.  It is a blaze of belief which has to be continually stirred up inside; but controlled on our tongues (2 Timothy 1:6, James 3:5-6).

If we are not passionate enough to choose serving God and His Word each day – the only other option is the goods of this world (Joshua 24:15, 1 Corinthians 10:21).  A lack of passion for one thing generally produces passivity.  We start doing things just to pass the time.  This births boredom, apathy, and idleness.  It develops an atmosphere of such.  It is a sin much like Sodom’s (Ezekiel 16:49).

We are neither overly hot or cold about anything – just kind of lukewarm about life … or the Lord in general.  This is an extremely dangerous path to be on for any believer (Matthew 7:13, Revelation 3:15-16).  Any devil-may-care mindset puts us on a crash course with said devil.  Satan is always waiting in the wings to catch us in his web and snares of sin again (1 Timothy 3:7).

A distant or disinterested Christian cannot be passionate – or a disciple.  Just as it was with Paul, Satan is a constant thorn in our side to buffet us (2 Corinthians 12:7).  The devil gives us the daily desire to depart after the world again.  Just as Paul dealt with – just as Demas did (Philippians 1:23, 2 Timothy 4:10).  The first thing we are to be passionate about is repenting (Revelation 3:19).

Otherwise, we’ll just keep repeating the behavior of our old man – no matter how hard we “try” not to (2 Corinthians 5:17).  However, we cannot be truly passionate about anything for God as He planned, unless Christ was placed in our hearts to begin with (John 3:3-7, Romans 5:5, 2 Corinthians 4:6).  If not, we are still trying to follow a passionate path – without such passion within (Ephesians 3:16-20).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– You compass my path and my lying down – and are acquainted with all my ways. – Psalm 139:3

– “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?” says the Lord.  “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” – Jeremiah 23:24

One of my favorite scenes from any move is the one in “Groundhog Day”, where Phil Connors and Rita (Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell) have just sat down at a booth in the Tip-Top Cafe.  February 2nd has been relived by Phil so many times now in Punxsutawney – he offers up some information he has gathered about her each day.  It is very personal, and she is a little scared as to how he knows so much.

His only real contact with her so far, has been as the weatherman for the Pittsburgh TV station where she is the producer.  It has been purely a professional relationship to date.  In this scene, Phil has just walked Rita around the restaurant, pointing out all the regulars to her, then reeling off information about each one – like he has known them all his life; not from just visiting one day a year.

As soon as they sit down, Rita says, “Do you know about me?”  Phil replies, “I know all about you.  You like producing, but you are hoping for more than Channel 9.”  Rita interrupts him as if this is common knowledge. “Everyone knows that,” she says with a soft smile.  Then a far-away look appears in Phil’s eyes.  His voice quiets as he starts recalling the rest of much deeper things he’s found out:

“You like boats, but not the ocean.  You go to a lake in the summer with your family.  There’s a long wooden dock with a boat-house, with the boards missing from the roof – and a place you used to crawl underneath it to be alone.  You’re a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones.  You’re generous.  You’re kind to children and strangers.  And when you stand in the snow, you look like an angel.”

“How are you doing this?” she asks.  Phil repeats he keeps waking up over and over in Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day, and there is never anything new.  A little bit later, Phil tells Rita the exact time their cameraman will come through the door; writing down what he will say word-for-word.  Just prior to this, Phil says to her, “Maybe God isn’t omnipotent – He’s just been around so long He knows everything.”

However, God is omnipotent – there is never anything new to Him (Ecclesiastes 1:9, Ecclesiastes 3:15).  Our Father is familiar with all our ways – from the delivery room unto death – counting our every step from the cradle to the grave (lead passage, Psalm 139:16, Job 31:4).  If we should have a secret hiding place like Rita, where we go to be alone – He knows the location, when we go there, and why.

God knows if we are suckers for French poetry or French fries.  If we prefer “Rhinestone Cowboy” over real rhinestones – He will be aware of this as well.  If we are generous as Rita was to people like children and strangers, He knows if our charity is from pure hearts being continually regenerated by the Spirit within us (Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:22).  Or if it’s fake, feigned, and hoping for some favor from Him.

Every thought, every idea, every musing – coming into our minds is manifest to Him – as well as what we might be imagining to do with such thinking (Ezekiel 11:5, 1 Chronicles 28:9).  If our outward ways and words should appear righteous to others – God will know by His Word how dirty, wicked, and hypocritical our hearts may still be; like the Pharisees (Ezekiel 33:31, Matthew 23:25-28, Hebrews 4:12).

Yes, all our ways, wants, and worries are continually known to our Father.  Foods we like eating, clothes we like wearing, and books we like reading are known to Him.  All the TV shows we love viewing, and every website we like visiting, are always before His eyes.  The Lord may even love singing along with our favorite songs.  Sleep is a stranger to God – our daily guide unto death (Isaiah 40:28, Psalm 48:14).

Each single hair on our head is numbered and known by Him (Matthew 10:30).  The Almighty knows word-for-word everything we will ever say – before such speech gets to our tongues (Psalm 139:4).  Our nights shine as days to God – dark and light are both alike to Him (Psalm 139:12).  Our needs are known from above – before we ever know we have need of them below (Matthew 6:8).

If this is not enough to believe God is acquainted with all our ways, we have a long way to go in understanding who He is.  We all have presumptuous and secret sins we don’t even know about – but He does (Psalm 19:13, Psalm 90:8).  If we ever feel we can fool God, or feign our faith, we’re not very wise. If we ever act as if anything is evading His eyes – we have ourselves a ready recipe for evil.

Remember when Rita asked Phil, “How are you doing this?”  If Phil was able to gather so much personal information about her in such a relatively short time – just imagine how all-inclusive His is.  God knew us before the womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  Each time we stand or lie down, He knows (Psalm 139:2).  All the new places we may move to in life – God knew them all before we were born (Acts 17:26).

Remember when Rita was a bit scared of Phil’s knowledge?  It is far better to fear and be scared about the Lord’s knowledge of us now (Psalm 36:1) – than not be spared later when we meet Him.  When He judges our secrets by Christ according to His gospel (Romans 2:16),  When the hidden things of darkness, and the counsel of our hearts on earth, is made manifest in heaven (1 Corinthians 4:5).

How are we going to respond on that day if He asks us why we tried to conceal a matter we should have confessed (1 John 1:9)?  “Oh, I didn’t think You saw that.”  How are we going to answer if He asks us why we acted all righteous and religious, when in the presence of others – but had some rage issues with Him in the seeming privacy of our homes (2 Kings 19:27)?  “Oh, I didn’t think You heard that.”

If we spent our lives drawing near to Him with our lips, while our hearts drifted daily between the world and Word (Matthew 15:8)  – will we say, “Oh, I didn’t think You knew that” when questioned?   Remember, everything God does is perfect without any iniquity – (Deuteronomy 32:4).  This means all of creation has to be manifest before Him continually (Hebrews 4:13).

What if God misses things, makes mistakes, or takes breaks?  What if we are giving account to Him on that day – and He asks, “When did that happen?” What if we ask Him why something did have to happen, and He said “I don’t know?”  If God does is not acquainted with all our ways from birth to death, how will He be qualified to judge us – or the world when the time comes (Romans 3:5-6)?

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