There are three letters that make us know that an action is in progress, that it is continnual. ING... running... jumping... swimming... believing...
Believing God is an action that must and always be continuous for the action to be effective. Once we stop believing God, all the lions and tigers and bears start crowding our thoughts, which leads to fear.
Fear is of Satan.
Gen 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, You stay here with the ass. I and the boy will go over there that we may worship and may return to you.
Fascinating passage. God had just asked Abraham to sacrifice his son by his beloved wife Sarah, to put him on the altar as a burnt offering.
Fear could so easily have engulfed Abraham. So often we tell God "Your will, not mine, LORD." Then when God asks us to do something, we say... "Um, I know I didn't hear You correctly, LORD. I think you actually meant this and such." Or we tell God that we've decided to do something else altogether. Sometimes it may take a month, or a year, but those who really love the LORD will come to the realization that God literally meant what He said and we must do what He says.
What we so often forget is that God can do what He says He can do. He is the Creator after all. He is in control, if we let Him be in control. Things actually do turn out a lot better when He's director of our feet rather than an observer of our path.
Abraham did not say, "Uh... wait a second God. You just gave me this boy 15 years ago. He's the promised one to me and now you want me to do what???"
No. Abraham knew beyond any doubt that God would provide the sacrifice. He would follow through with the sacrifice exactly as God asked. He had the knife in his hand to slay his son and suddenly an angel cries out for him to stop.
Can you imagine Isaac's relief? Can you imagine the burgeoning joy that floods Abraham at the realization that he would not have to follow through with the sacrifice of his son. I do not know if Abraham thought that God would bring the boy back to life, of if Abraham thought that God would give him another son, or if he knew that God would stay his hand at the last minute. I do know, though, beyond any shadow of doubt that Abraham knew he and Isaac would return down off Mount Moriah, back to his men and the donkeys, for this is what he said before they ascended the mount.
That is Believing.
But, that is not the end of the story. Because of Abraham's believing and because of his unquestioning obedience both in deed and in thought, God blessed him.
Gen 22:16 And He said, I have sworn by Myself, declares Jehovah, that on account of this thing you have done, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 that blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the shore of the sea. And your Seed shall possess the gate of His enemies.
Blessing follows obedience. It always has. Perhaps God asks the impossible of us, but He never fails to provide what He asks. Time, talent, money, children, family... God requires many precious things from us, and He is fully trustworthy with them. He never fails. He always prevails. Have faith in God... Have faith in God.
Is there a power greater than that which raised Jesus from the dead?
Revelation 4:11 tells us that the LORD is worthy to recieve all honor, glory and praise. No other was found to be worthy. The Lamb who was slain was found worthy. All things were created by Him and for His great pleasure.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that our faith (belief) brings Him pleasure, without no one can please Him. It is a simple thing, yet so hard.
It is easy to believe there is God. He created the heavens and the earth in all their glory. The universe is vast beyond our wildest imaginings, but the Bible tells us that it can be measured by his hand's breadth. A newborn's cry is a testimony to God's presence for He created life. His signature is in the stars for He named each one of the billions of billions of stars. Just look at some of the photos that the Hubble Telescope takes. The dogwood's flower gives testimony.
But to believe God. That is harder to do. When you don't "feel" the presence of God, how do you know He's there?
That is when we must go with what we know rather than our feelings. I love to remember the times we have had together and to draw my comfort from those things He has done for me, from the fact He has never failed me, ever. I know He will fulfill His promises because of all the promises He has already fulfilled. He made the sun stand still. He made the wet bottom of the sea dry as toast. He cause it to rain, and He caused the rain to dry up. He raised Jesus from the dead.
That kind of power flows through Him and yet, He is mindful of me. He knows my name and how many hairs are on my head and the number which are gray and the number which are brown. It matters not to Him how many wrinkles I have, for He has taken me Just As I Am.
Is there a power greater than raising Someone from the dead? Perhaps it is the power of changing lives, the power of forgiveness, the power of mercy, the power of grace. Without those, Jesus would not have needed to be raised for He wouldn't have given Himself as sacrifice.
Psalm 5:11 But let all who put their trust in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever, because You cover them. And let those who love Your name be joyful in You
Such simple words and yet they hold all the comfort of a snuggly quilt and a warm, cozy fire complete with hot cocoa and a purring cat on the lap.
God's asks a lot of us. We can't see Him. We can't touch Him. Why should we believe Him, trust Him, have faith in Him?
Because He said so.
If that isn't enough, then there is plenty of evidence that He is real, that He does exactly what He says He'll do, and that He answers our prayers, that He loved us enough to die for us. There is no greater love than that, except He also loved us enough to rise from the dead. He is alive, back from the dead and that, my friends, is a feat great enough to silence the most scornful voice.
Considered thoughts from Gina Burgess at 1:30 PM
I was hunting down promises fulfilled by God and ran across this interesting article. What I found is a treasure trove of concise prophecy that Jesus fulfilled that He could not possibly had control over unless He was truly the Son of God, and was absolutely the Messiah! Check this out...
Now that you have seen this comparison, you must answer this question, “What will you do about Jesus?”
Thank you Biblical Prophecy Resource Center for fleshing this out so succinctly!
|The Messiah must...||Prophecy||Fulfillment by Jesus|
|Be born in Bethlehem||Micah 5:2||Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7|
|Be adored by great persons||Psalms 72:10-11||Matthew 2:1-11|
|Be annointed with the Spirit of God||Isaiah 11:2, 61:1||Matthew 3:16; John 3:34; Acts 10:38|
|Be hated without cause||Isaiah 49:7; Psalms 69:4||John 15:24-25|
|Be undesired and rejected by His own people||Isaiah 53:2, 63:3; Psalms 69:8||Mark 6:3; Luke 9:58; John 1:11,|
|Be plotted against by Jews and Gentiles together||Psalms 2:1-2||Acts 4:27|
|Be betrayed by a friend||Psalms 41:9, 55:12-24||Matthew 26:21-25, 47-50; John 13:18-21; Acts 1:16-18|
|Be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver||Zechariah 11:12||Matthew 26:16|
|Have his price given for a potter’s field||Zechariah 11:13||Matthew 27:7|
|Be forsaken by His disciples||Zechariah 13:7||Matthew 26:31, 56|
|Be struck on the cheek||Micah 5:1||Matthew 27:30|
|Be spat on||Isaiah 50:6||Matthew 26:67, 27:30|
|Be mocked||Psalms 22:7-8||Matthew 27:31, 39-44|
|Be beaten||Isaiah 50:6||Matthew 26:67, 27:26, 30|
|Be thirsty during His execution||Psalms 22:15||John 19:28|
|Be given vinegar to quench that thirst||Psalms 69:21||Matthew 27:34|
|Be considered a transgressor||Isaiah 53:12||Matthew 27:38|
|Be buried with the rich when dead||Isaiah 53:9||Matthew 27:57-60|
|Be sought after by Gentiles as well as Jews||Isaiah 11:10, 42:1||Acts 10:45|
|Be accepted by the Gentiles||Isaiah 11:10, 42:1-4, 49:1-12||Matthew 12:21; Acts 10:45; Romans 15:9-12|
Thank you Biblical Prophecy Resource Center for fleshing this out so succinctly!
Considered thoughts from Gina Burgess at 11:05 AM
I was reading about and comparing the New Jerusalem with the Millennium Jerusalem something quite startling occurred to me. There is a distinction and very definite distinction between the Wife of Jehovah and the Wife of the Lamb.
It goes back to Israel committing adultery with other gods. This broke the marriage contract Israel had with God which is found in Deuteronomy. This adultery which broke the covenant wasn't just a one time, fling... It was a constant thing. It was extremely degrading and embarrassing to the One True God, because it declared to the surrounding nations that He was a cuckold. And Israel was different, she "paid her lovers". Ezekiel describes this extensively in 16:15-34. Isaiah tells us that God didn't divorce Israel right away, he separated from her as a punishment to bring her back. He withdrew the blessings and rain didn't fall etc. But Israel continued to embrace other gods and Hosea tells us that this produced illegitimate children "children of whoredom" Hosea 2. Then in Jeremiah 3, we see the bill of divorcement. Actually, the book of Jeremiah shows the unrepentant Israel and why the bill of divorcement was necessary. Ezekiel and Hosea also describe the punishment. The punishment was to stop Israel from sinning with idols. The punishment was necessary because Israel broke the marriage contract 16:58-59, and showed no signs of repentance. In fact the book of Hosea is the surface story of God and Israel. Please note when you read Hosea’s story that the adulterous wife forgot her Husband, God said He would allure her. He also would betroth her in faithfulness.
Therefore, despite the punishment, there is hope for Israel... there is a call to repentance Jeremiah 3. But to no avail. God didn't divorce Judah... to do so would have made Jesus illegitimate. He suffered Judah's harlotry until she rejected Jesus, her own Son. So now we have a situation that continues today. Israel and Judah are still in punishment. What makes it exceedingly worse for them today is the clear evidence that Jesus is God's Son and is the Messiah. They continually reject this evidence which heaps more punishment upon them. God promised to give them back their land, which He did. Yet, they still reject.
In Jesus day, they had the opportunity to become sanctified but rejected it as a nation. Individuals believed and were saved and entered into a new marriage contract as the Bride of the Lamb. But the nation rejected thus the Woe curse and the scattering and the destruction of 70AD.
Hosea tells us of how God will woo back His wife. V 14, He will "allure her into the desert and speak tenderly to her". Several places, one being Matt 24, Israel is told when you see these signs "flee into the mountains". All their needs will be provided for... food, water etc. and this is basically when Israel finally turns back fully and wholly to God and calls him "my husband", not "my master" Hosea 2.
Now, compare Gomer a soiled wife with the Bride of the Lamb in 2 Corinthians 11:2, being presented as a "pure virgin to Christ" and in Ephesians 5 "the washing of water with the Word, that He might present the church to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing...holy and without blemish." To me, this describes the sanctification process; a continual process of emersion in the Word of God, being conformed by it and cleansed by it. It is the actual maturing of the Bride. She was betrothed as a baby and had to grow in her understanding as a whole as well as in numbers "until the fullness of the Gentiles is in..."
Now, here is another distinction. In John 3, John the Baptist called himself "a friend of the bridegroom". I had always wondered about that. Then Jesus says John the Baptist was the greatest of all, but the least of these is greater than him. How can that be? The only way that could be is if John the Baptist was the last of the OT prophets and not a member of the Bride herself. And the only way this could be is that John the Baptist died before Christ rose from the dead. This draws a clear distinction down between the OT saints and the NT saints or rather the church, the Bride of Christ.
So why the sacrifices? Because before the Millennium, the marriage between the Messiah and His Bride takes place. Revelation 19. This does not mean that the blood of Jesus does not cover the Millennial saints. It does. But ONLY after they receive their glorified bodies. They have to go through the sanctification process, just like the church did. They are human and subject to sin. Everyone will live at least 100 years (Isaiah 65). The unbelievers dying at that age and the believers will continue to live until the 1000 years is finished. God is holy and for Him to reside in the Temple amongst flesh and blood with sinful natures, these humans must be sanctified. God accepts His wife back with a deep love and tenderness, however, it is in her human state, she must be sanctified to live with Him...In His presence. We don't have God as an earthly presence now in the same manner that He will reside in the Temple during the Millennium. The blood of Jesus sanctifies and justifies us before God, but as a human I cannot stand in front of God (1 Corinthians 15). Once my physical body has passed on and I am renewed, refurbished in the spiritual realm, washed clean with the only perfect and acceptable sacrifice that will satisfy the holy law of God, only then may I stand in front of God. This is why the OT saints had to wait in the "holding tank of Paradise". The blood of Jesus was needed to make them "righteous in spirit" to enter heaven and the presence of God.
Considered thoughts from Gina Burgess at 10:00 AM