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Yes, God is Jealous

In Bible Study, Love on July 2, 2010 at 6:02 am

24For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Does this verse offend you? Oprah Winfrey famously (or infamously) said that this verse “did not feel right” to her because it was contrary to her idea of a loving God. Indeed so much so that she then abandoned rules and doctrine (and is now deep into the New Age, which will be addressed in a later blog in more detail). So what does this mean? In today’s society, jealousy is often seen as only a negative characteristic. A jealous person can be seen as one who is always suspicious of another, uncertain or insecure. Yet the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, one of the entries for ‘jealous’ states: “Solicitous to defend the honor of; concerned for the character of.” So which is it for this Bible verse? We can find more confirmation in Scripture.

Looking at the verse in context, Moses was addressing the children of Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. And he informed him that he would not be joining with them because of a sin he committed. The punishment God handed down to him was that he would not be able to finish the journey he had started 40 years earlier. Moses then gives this grave warning to his people:

21 Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance: 22 But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land. 23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.

In fact for the entire passage, Moses stresses to Israelites not to worship false idols. As he closes his exhortation he mentions his own punishment and says that The Lord was angry with him for their sakes. He understood that he was being made an example so they could see how serious the matter was. God wants our full devotion. He wants to be our top priority. Just as a husband wants to be the primary recipient of his wife’s affection, so to does God want to be the focus of our lives. The idols of the pagan world are no different in their allure than the idols of today whether they be money (or pursuing it), sexual immorality, celebrities, our children, greed, laziness or just being self-centered. To come to Jesus Christ, we must be willing to lay that all aside and give Him our all. That is what God wants. That is where the jealousy comes in.

If we spend most of our time thinking about, planning and doing things that satisfy our own desires while spending little time for The Lord, are we truly making Him our God? If a wife spent most of her time talking about another man and making plans to see him, would her husband be wrong for feeling jealous? If he has a pulse and a half-decent marriage he most certainly will! This is the jealously Moses was speaking of. God wants our devotion because He wants a truly loving relationship with us. It is not a negative thing nor is it wrong. The only thing that is wrong is when we profess to be Christians but do not give this level of devotion. We have to overcome our own ungodly lusts, our own person agendas, our own bad habits and surrender it all to Christ Jesus our Savior. Jesus, being God in the flesh, made the same point when He preached on Earth:

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment

If we are giving all of our heart, soul and mind to The Lord then it will show in our behavior. It will show in the time we put into prayer, Bible Study and church attendance. It will show in whether we make our homes Godly homes. It will show in whether we share the Gospel or let those we know are lost and headed for hell continue in darkness. It will show in the loving feelings we have for Jesus Christ. Fortunately when we slip in these areas we are not alone. For those saved in Jesus Christ, we are 100% guaranteed entrance into the Promised Land. If you belong to God, He will come to you and chasten you to bring you back on track. And His Holy Spirit will convict your heart to know what you are doing is wrong so that you can repent and return to the narrow path. So let’s be thankful for a jealous God who loves us so much that He watches our every step to keep us close to Him. And let us be jealous for His Word and for His Gospel and for those we encounter that they may know him too as a member of the Bride of Christ, which is His Church.

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Bible Verse of The Day — God Wants Us All in Heaven

In Bible Study, Inspirational, Love on March 9, 2010 at 8:02 pm

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

What a wonderful promise that we have in this epistle of Peter. At times we wonder why the wickedness and sin in the world continues to flourish and thrive. We see those who promote sinful living doing well. And we wonder when is God going to come and judge the world! Well hold that thought and consider how loving, kind and merciful our God is. The more time it takes for God to bring in the end-times and judgment, the longer everyone has to find salvation in Jesus Christ. God is suffering a sinful world with the hope that more sinners will acknowledge their sin and look to Christ Jesus as their Savior before it’s too late. He is giving more time out of love for us. For a non-believer, consider this a blessing. God is letting you know that He does not want you or any of the worst criminals, despots or tyrants in the world to die in their sins and suffer eternal punishment. His Will is that “ALL should come to repentance” (emphasis added).

There is no set “VIP List.” No matter what your past is. No matter how vile your sins, they can all be cleansed by the blood of Christ shed on the cross. The Apostle Paul was hunting down Christians and approving of them being murdered for their faith. Yet he became one of the greatest missionary and preachers of all time. Despite his horrible past as open enemy of Jesus, he was forgiven. In Isaiah’s first chapter The Lord tells us: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;..” The Hebrew word for “reason” implies that we can be corrected or made right. It’s the justification that God wants to give us that can make the sinner who is filthy with her wrongs, clean again. But most importantly, The Lord shows us that He wants this. He invites us to eternal life. He does not want us to suffer and is not sitting back waiting with baited breath for the day He can smite the Earth and destroy every last heathen. His Will is that all should believe and be saved. For a believer, this is encouragement! Knowing this beloved, instead of counting down the days until Judgment, count yourself blessed to have more time to share the Gospel with your loved ones, friends and strangers alike. For those close to you who seem like they’ll never listen or ever believe, just remember, God has invited them. Plant the seeds of the Gospel and let the power of God to salvation in Christ do the rest. And maybe, you will see someone who was branded a “lifetime sinner” become an eternal child of the King. After all, that’s exactly what your Father in Heaven is waiting for.

Tim and Pam Tebow – A Family Worth Celebrating

In Family, Love, Political Issues on February 6, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Biblical Princples

Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

The news of Tim Tebow’s ad during Super Bowl Sunday has become a national debate. Tebow has been one of the most outspoken Christian athletes of this past generation. He has repeatedly honored God and Jesus Christ our Savior in the midst of all his accomplishments on the football field. And now in a commercial set to air this weekend, he is taking a stand for the lives of unborn babies.

As many know by now, Tim’s Mother, Pam, when pregnant with Tim, developed a life-threatening infection while working as a missionary to the Philippines. Although her doctor advised her to have an abortion, she decided to have her baby and the rest is history. And now the commercial, which will tell this story in 30 seconds, is causing many pro-choice and “pro-women” groups downright furious. CBS has been receive a barrage of protests and petitions against it.

There are so many sad aspects to this drama. For one, Tim lived out this situation personally. So many news outlets are acting as if he just decided to take on the abortion issue and got a commercial. He and his mother know this from a personal standpoint. Secondly this is still America. Last time we checked freedom of speech still exists. Why shouldn’t he or anyone else be able to get commercial time if he or the company making the commercial has the money to pay for those super-expensive timeslots (and CBS being a private company has the right to air whatever commercials they choose by the way)? We have soldiers dying and risking their lives to protect these rights. It’s not the time throw them away.

Finally, it’s great that someone is standing up for life who’s in the public eye. And not just because they are “conservative” but because they are Christian. Tebow has stated that he wants to use his sports career to serve as a witness and testimony to the Gospel of Christ. I applaud him for that. And this is not a Carrie Prejean who was a virtual unknown until the Miss America pageant) situation. Tebow has been one of the most famous football players at one of the biggest sports schools in America. He has the intense glare of the media on him for the past three years and has not wilted.

When one takes such a strong stand for Jesus, please believe that. And what is behind that? A strong Christian upbringing. The Tebow family have been dedicated to Christ and urge you to see the fruits of the parents work. On his father’s website, you’ll see the entire family history and what they’re doing now. The Lord commands parents to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). And the Tebows have certainly done that. And looking at Tim his fruits are showing that he’s willing to endure criticism and professional backlash for his stand. And I applaud him for that. The theme of the commercial “Celebrate Life, Celebrate Family.” And in this day and age, those are two celebrations that are sorely needed.

U.S. Abortions Hit the 50 Million Mark

In Bible Study, Love, Political Issues on January 27, 2010 at 8:40 am

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In some of the most disturbing news in some time, America has passed the 50 million mark in the number of abortions performed. While we often hear how difficult an issue this is for our society, in the eyes of God and for the Christian it’s not difficult. When a woman is pregnant, she has a child inside of her. A human life. From the moment of conception. And thus ending that life, is killing another human being. The Lord stated: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). God cherishes life and certainly cherishes the life of the unborn.

God loves us so much that he inspired David to record his love for us before birth:

Psalm 139:1 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether…
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

The Lord thinks about us so much, we cannot even count the times. That is love. He spent time creating every part of our body, recording them before we were even formed in the womb. We are wonderfully made by Our Creator who wants us to grow and know everything about us.

And that is our example. We are supposed to love and care for others whether they are family, friend, neighbor or enemy. Many people who criticize the Bible, love to show the Bible’s alleged “cruelty” by quoting the “eye for an eye” verse. But let’s look at that verse in its context:

Exodus 21:22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

What this passage is in reference to is an Old Testament law for when someone violently attacks a pregnant woman and kills her child as a result. Is that a crime that should be taken lightly. When we read news stories about a woman who is one month pregnant being brutally attacked and murdered and both she and her baby perish, do we ever doubt that the killer should be charged with double homicide? No. We demand it! Why? Because two lives were ended. We all know it. And such an act demands justice. Now if you have been involved in an abortion this is not a condemnation. It’s a call to repentance. The Bible is clear that all sins are equal, so no one sinner is any better than the next. But we receive that forgevness through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Abortion is not only the killing of a life, it was promoted in America as a tool of racism and genocide. The following are quotes of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood and the Negro Project. By reading this, the agenda of the abortion movement in America should be quite obvious:

“The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922.

“Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need … We must prevent multiplication of this bad stock.”
Margaret Sanger, April 1933 Birth Control Review.

“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.

“The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order…”
Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922.

“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.

Inspiration, Prayer and Hope in Haiti

In Importance of Prayer, Inspirational, Love, Uncategorized on January 15, 2010 at 6:40 pm

With all the tragic news coming out of Haiti since the earthquake, there is good news as well. Christians and Christian groups among all denominations are pouring in aid and prayers for the ailing nation. And from athletes to actors, to nurses and school children, the world in general is stepping up and donating money and time to aid the people who have been stricken by this catastrophe. One thing we must not let up on though is prayer. As the military and relief workers finally start to make it into the country there are still people hurting. There are still children starving. There are still entire families buried alive under rubble. Hearts are broken and being pushed to the limits by affliction. Even if you struggle for what to say to God for these people, remember this

“…we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. ´╗┐Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

Here is a prayer for them:

Dear Heavenly Father, Creator of All things, you have a purpose in everything you do and we submit to your perfect Will. Today we pray for the nation of Haiti.

We pray for those who have lost family and friends in the earth quake. Please comfort them and give them reminders that there is still hope, joy and comfort in you.

We pray for those who have been injured or who are sick. Dear Father, please touch their bodies. We know that all things can be done through your Holy Spirit and we pray for their physical healing.

We pray for the children who are lost, confused and frightened. Please let someone find them and take care of them until they are reunited with their families.
We pray for the souls of those who have passed. That they knew Jesus as their Savior and are with you in Heaven.

We pray for those who are still alive, that they call out to you and find you. That they keep their spiritual strength and faith as it’s being tested more now than ever.

We pray for the soldiers, aid workers, diplomats and volunteers who are being so courageous and compassionate to go down and assist the Haitian people. Please keep them safe, healthy and fed so they can be strong for the days and weeks ahead.

Heavenly Father we also pray for the world that is watching this crisis. Please continue to touch the hearts of people worldwide so that they will continue to donate funds to help assist the relief work in Haiti. And help people who have the means to keep spreading the word to others and raise awareness that this will be a long-term relief effort and requires long-term assistance.

And finally Lord God we pray for those who are watching who are unsaved. Who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Let people realize that as you wrote in your Word, life is a vapor. We don’t know when we may be the ones in a catastrophe, hurt, missing or dead. Our lives are precious and nothing we can take for granted. And even moreso for our eternal lives. Let people know that there is a God, who is real, and loves us. And you proved your love by sending your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. To take a punishment so that no matter what happens, we are secure for eternity to be with you in Heaven.

We thank you and pray for all these things in the most precious Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Are You Suffering? Then Cry out To God

In Bible Study, Importance of Prayer, Inspirational, Love on January 8, 2010 at 2:33 am

Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

A dear brother in the faith sent this verse to me last weekend. The great irony is that he is the one who has a loved one who is very ill at the moment. Reading it just moved me. Such faith in such a hard time. The power of God’s Word is amazing! We must remember that in our service, worship and work for The Lord our God, that He is here to deliver us. This is not a one-sided relationship. God is with us every step of the way. The Bible tells us we will indeed suffer afflictions. And that we should rejoice in them. Look at how David opens the Psalm

1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
It is a call to praise! Not just occasionally, but continually. Like the love of a mother that pours of her as he holds her newborn child, we too should let our heart, mind and words overflow with praises of our Lord. And in our afflictions we will be sure to remember Him. We then read:
4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. ….
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles

When we have a consistent relationship with The Lord, we have confidence to go before His Throne in our difficult times. Again we see the loving relationship at work. David “sought” The Lord and was heard. They looked unto him and were lightened. The poor man and the righteous cry out and The Lord hears and saves. Just like the sleeping mother hears the whimper of her infant The Lord will rush to His children to lovingly tend to their every distress.

So yes Christian, we can look for healing, blessing and restoration from God. So again I say, rejoice! The Lord Almighty loves His children and whether we are suffering from illness, emotional pain or just struggling to make ends meet, we can pray for deliverance from the situation. The Lord answers all prayers in accordance with His Perfect Will and will deliver us in the way that is best for our growth and refinement.

So when things seem hopeless and when life’s problems and trials have pushed you to the breaking point, it’s a perfect time to get on your knees for private prayer time to worship The Lord, rejoice in your salvation and pray for the solution that His Word promises. The Lord will never leave us, never abandon us and never forget us. Jesus reinforced this to His Disciples before His Ascension to Heaven:

and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.