Friday, January 29, 2010

Be Holy, for I am Holy

Leviticus 11:44,45 For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Happiness, not holiness is the chief pursuit of most of the world today including those whom name the name of Christ. The life of happiness is pictured in movies, books, magazines and on TV programs as a life worth pursuing and in achieving this so called happiness, it will be more than likely acquired, at the expense of others. This crowd wants Jesus to solve their problems and carry their burdens, but they don’t want Him to control their lives and change their character. Eight times in the Word of God the phrase “Be holy, for I am holy” is written and yet passed over it as if it were never there.
Have you ever thought that personal holiness is the most important thing in the world? To God holiness is not a luxury, but a necessity! “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:14) Yes, God wants His children to be happy as we would want our children to be happy, but true happiness is a life of holiness. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

The book of Leviticus was written for the priests and Levites in ancient Israel but the lessons are not limited only to them, but to us today as well. “Be holy, for I am holy” is also in the New Testament I Peter 1:15,16 says, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Jesus said that we should live by every word that He has given us, Matthew 4:4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Leviticus tells New Testament Christians how to appreciate holiness and appropriate it into their daily lives. C.S. Lewis said, “How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real is irresistible.”

True holiness is a commitment in the highest form to our God, knowing that He is committed to us to always be holy. We should be encouraged to live a life that is  wholly, completely, and totally, consecrated to Him. Holiness is a deeper relationship with Christ that enables us to live a life that is set apart for Him having a heart that is set on fire to the glory of God.

Friday, January 22, 2010

But for the Glory of God

John 11:l-4
Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Have you ever considered that your suffering is a gift from God to you, “but for the glory of God?” I knew that the suffering of Jesus was a gift to me personally but hadn’t actually thought very long on the idea that my suffering was gifted to me by my Lord and Savior. It is hard to think that suffering is a gift when you are in the midst of the suffering.
Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was very sick and in that message they included a word so important to us whom suffer, “he whom thou lovest is sick.” The sister’s of Lazarus were hurting for their brother and wanted Jesus to be there for him. Jesus did not come to Bethany immediately but tarried awhile before coming to them. Mary and Martha both said to Jesus, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” 
He knew Lazarus was sick and that he had already died before He even came to Bethany. What was His purpose in waiting to come to Lazarus and to Mary and Martha? “But for the glory of God” is what Jesus told His disciples. Jesus allowed Lazarus to die so that God would be glorified in Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead.
What a great gift the Lord gave to them in their suffering. In the sorrow of death, and there is immense sorrow and suffering in death, the Lord, Himself, came to them in love, to whom He loved, and raised Lazarus from the grave. 
We may never be healed in this life from our suffering, sickness, financial ruin, or from death but will it be said of you, “They suffered, ‘but for the glory of God’  in their life and in their death?” Is your suffering a gift from God to you to bring glory to His name? Why else are we here, but to glorify Him!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Book of Esther

Esther 1:1-9
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)  That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,  In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.

And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;  Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.b, c  And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.  And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.  Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.

The Royal Banquet
Esther lived during the Persian period of world history from 483 to 473 B.C.  The name Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name given this king, his Persian name was “Khshayarsha” and “Xerxes” represents his Greek name. The Persian King is referenced 175 times or more in the book of Esther but the name of God, the mention of God’s Law or any prayer worshiping Him is never referred to. This could raise some question to why was God’s apparent absence so evident in the book of Esther. We know that God’s sovereignty prevailed in saving the Jews and if He desired to be mentioned in the writing of this book, He could have moved the author to do so.  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23:19
Shushan the palace or Susa was the winter residence of the king of Persia which was a fortified palace or citadel built above the city for protection. In the third year of his reign, King Ahasuerus, gave a banquet for all his princes and attendants, the army officers of Persia and Media, and the nobles and princes of the provinces surrounding him. The main theme of this banquet was to display the great riches and glory of his majesty and splendor to all his guests. Such hangings of fine linen were arrayed against marble columns, and couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of marble, mother-of-pearl, and precious stones.
Beautiful golden goblets differing one from the another with royal wine in abundance was provided for all attending this great banquet. The tradition of the king in drinking has been stated that every time the king lifted his vessel, all in his presence would be required to lift their glass and drink with the king; but, there was given different instructions at this time that all should do according to every man’s pleasure. They were given the freedom to drink as much or as little as they pleased according to the word of the king.
Thoughts: Though God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, His hand is seen in the saving of the Jews. God’s character and attributes are revealed in His eternal purpose and plan for Israel whether or not His name is ever written down. May we never forget that God, through the merits of His own reputation and integrity, moves in His providential care for the eternal benefit of His people. Psalms 121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 
Great riches were displayed in Shushan the palace in the presence of the people of Persia and outlining provinces as an attempt to bring glory and majesty to King Ahasuerus; but, there is only one King that deserves such glory and majesty, only one King worthy of praise and worship, only one King entitled to honor, reverence, and exaltation, He is the KING, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Which Road Are You Taking?

Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah. Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant. Psalm 143:1-12

The Christian walk is often a topic that is quite popular among believers these days but with this topic comes many questions. Some of us are prone to lead not follow God and since He wants us to follow Him, He therefore has a particular road or path He wants us to take. Is it wrong for a child of God to question the path God has chosen for them along with the pitfalls and perils of life? With these many questions, does our attitude and approach to God determine the out come of our crying out to Him?

In the Word of God, we find the Exodus generation grumbling, complaining and blaming God for their circumstances and hardships which actually were the consequences of their own disobedience. There is another group of people we read about throughout Scripture that fervently cry out to God for help, especially in times of immense suffering.

Two questions the children of God asked continually in the midst of their trials: “When will you help me?” and “Why don’t you help me?” The best way to explain these pleas from the heart is the word “perplexity.” You realize God has brought you to a certain point in your life and you feel as if He has just stopped working in you and through you. He knows all about your situation and yet He does not respond. You cry out to Him fervently but He does not rescue you. This is perplexity, a dull throbbing pain that does not go away entirely once you have walked in it’s midst.

Where are you now? Are you on the road that the Lord has brought you to or are you struggling with taking another road? Jesus asked the disciples in John 6:67, “Will ye also go away?” Will you also go another road or are you willing to walk the road prepared for you? Most of us desire to see God do great things in our lives but, are you willing to walk the path that God has for you so He can mold you and develop you to accomplish His divine purpose?

We may never understand the reasons for our unique walk with God which often makes the road much more burdensome, but to know that we can walk a deep intimate walk with our Lord on a road meant only for us is the ultimate purpose in this life. I pray you stay on the road that God has placed you on and endure like a mighty solider on this road to the glory of God until the end.