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Standing on the Faithful One

“For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.” Psalm 33:4

Image result for standing on a rockIn the beginning, God said, Let there be–and all of Creation sprang forth. The Word of God spoke light and life into existence. More importantly, the Word of God has sustained, does sustain and will sustain all that He made–without question about whether He can or will.

God is faithful.

The work He began, He is and will see to the end, unswervingly [Philippians 1:6]. As the Psalmist says, God’s law is perfect and His statutes are trustworthy, His precepts are right and His decrees are firm [Psalm 19:7-9].

Law–that system of rules and regulations that govern word and deed. The world’s system is imperfect–it is flawed and lacking. But God’s law is flawless and complete. And He carries out His perfect law without fail.

Statutes–God’s laws in writing. Again, the world’s written laws are unreliable, even corrupt. People of prominence or those with connections in authority leverage their position to gain immunity. Lawmakers themselves often violate the very laws they write and expect their constituents to uphold, but find loopholes to escape the consequence. But God’s Word, His written decrees, are trustworthy. We can depend on God to always do what He said He would do–whether it be heavenly blessings for repentance and right-living or whether it be consequences for sin.

Precepts–thought and behavior regulators. The world’s patterns of thought and behavior don’t align with Our Creator’s design and are, therefore, incorrect. But God’s thoughts steadfastly transcend our own [Isaiah 55:8]. And He constantly desires to restore right thought and behavior patterns so that we may have life to the full [John 10:10; Romans 12:2].

Decrees–legal orders. The world’s authoritative orders are inconsistently meted out and enforced. As such, decrees can be whimsically reactive. They also tend to peter out over time. Not so with God. When He commands, the command faithfully stands. He is not wishy-washy that He should change His mind. He does not show favoritism that He should enforce the command with some and not others. He does not forget or lose interest or need to change His commands to accommodate for some new development in world history.

In all His ways and in all His words, God is faithful. He adheres, unwaveringly, to the truth of His nature in all things.

As we are made in His image–while we cannot ourselves make perfect laws, statutes, precepts and decrees–we can faithfully stand on the ones given to us in loving wisdom by our God who is right and true.

Are you faithfully standing on God’s Word?



A Rubber Resolution?

“And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished;” Exodus 34:6-7a

Image result for measuring tape on woodGod is faithful. That is, He is constant, steadfast and resolute. He sticks unwavering to His purposes and promises.

Faithful is a good trait. Yet in this day and age, where bad is called good and good is called bad [Isaiah 5:20], God’s faithfulness is exactly why many choose to turn their back on Him. In general, people want God to be faithful in His love, goodness, kindness, mercy and grace–as long as it applies the way they expect it to, satisfying each of their desires. But they don’t want Him to be faithful when it comes to His sovereignty, justice and holiness, for example. Because justice means that there is a moral law that we each must adhere to, and that there are consequences if we don’t.

In our self-as-god mentalities, we want to be our own sovereign and determine what is just for our situation–especially if it means opposing God’s holy precepts to fit our perceived needs. In this way, we are not being faithful–steadfast and constant–as God must be.

With God, who is transcendent, moral compliance is black and white–no shades of grey. Either we have forgiveness of sins or we don’t. Either we behave in godly ways or godless ways. Either we glorify Him with our lives, or we dishonor Him. Either we obey or we disobey. It’s like building a house with a rubber band for a ruler, stretching the measuring stick to make it say that the boards are the right length even when they’re truly not. And if every board is slightly off from the true measure, the house will never stand!

Consider that the opposite of a faithful God is one who is careless, cold and corrupt. One who is dishonest, fraudulent and negligent. One who is undependable, unscrupulous and untrustworthy. But these are all words that describe unfaithful human beings. These are the marks of sin in our world, not the hand of God.

God is faithful, we can depend that He will always forgive the repentant sinner. We can trust that He will maintain the seasons, days and years until He renews and restores His Creation [Genesis 8:22]. We can rest assured that He will keep His promise never to destroy the earth again in a worldwide flood [Genesis 9:11]. He was faithful to send His Son, Jesus, to carry out the plan of redemption instituted from the advent of sin [Genesis 3:15] despite the rampant unfaithfulness of human kind in every generation since. And He will be faithful, when the time has reached its fullness, to send Jesus to gather us home [Matthew 13:32 & 24:36].

God is infinitely and eternally faithful. And we are made in His image. We were made to return His faithfulness–to be steadfast in our love for and faith in Him. Do you?

We were made to reflect His constant love and forgiveness to others in our lives. Do you?


Everywhere Here

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:7-12

Image result for hiding in shadowsGod is omnipresent. He is everywhere here. There is no place where He is not, no place where we can step out of His presence or hide from Him. And why should we want to?

It is the sin in our lives, the guilt and shame when we recognize that He is holy and we are unworthy, that lead many to try to run away from the presence of God. But it’s like running on a treadmill–though miles and days and years may pass, running from God gets us nowhere good, fast. We find ourselves still bound by the same guilt and shame of the same sin, still seeking to hide ourselves from God’s presence but still having to face Him all the same.

So what about the adage: Where sin is, God cannot be also? Doesn’t that mean that there are places where we can hide from God? That we can bury ourselves deeper in the muck and mire of sins and God will never be able to look on us again. Not so. This adage is not a scripture verse, but rather a pithy distillment from a sermon taken out of context. It is the message that sin separates us from God [Isaiah 59:2] twisted to an inaccurate point.

A more accurate scriptural statement would read: Where sin is, God is not embodied. Though He does see us in our sins, He is not embodied in the temptations that lead us to sin [James 1:13-15]. He does, however, envelop us in that everywhere-here-omnipresence even while we are still blatantly sinning [Psalm 139:11-12], indiscriminately doling out love and grace and mercy so that all may see Him and come to a saving faith in Him [Matthew 5:44-45].

Because as long as we have this life, the Lord may be found, His salvation accepted [Isaiah 55:5-7]. And being omnipresent, He is everywhere here with us so that when we seek Him we find Him right beside us. And so that when we turn in repentance to give Him our hearts, He is right there to accept us–to redeem us–and to make us clean and whole. No lines. No waiting. No crossing the world on fire and waves to find a distant, impersonal God.

Do you know the God who goes with you? Have you met Him? Have you called out to Him and made Him your closest friend and constant strength?


The Creation Testimony

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

landscape sea coast water nature rock waterfall cliff iceland terrain body of water skogafoss mountains robust water feature wassefall dramatic photoGod is omnipotent, that is, He alone is almighty or all-powerful.

And in His eternality and infinitude God always has had, does have and will have all power. Not only that, but right from the beginning of human history, these truths have been self-evident. The Creation itself testifies to the power of God. Who else can speak anything into existence let alone speak everything into existence out of nothing?

No one!

Who else can set the cosmos in motion and explain the science behind it thousands of years before human beings could discover the truth of it? [Check out God’s Word–it’s in there.]

No one!

As the created, the evidence of God’s power in the Creation should call to the eternity within us. It should prick our hearts and minds to want to get to know Him. Not just to know about Him, but to actually form a personal relationship with our loving Creator. Yet many choose to harden their hearts against Him instead. They ignore the clear signs that God exists, that He loves us and that He has a purpose for each of our lives. They prefer self-as god and defer authority to no one.

But when instead we allow the evidence to return our thoughts to God, then we must get into His Word to get to know Him. There we will find the greater testimony of God’s infinite and eternal omnipotence.

Who else can pay the wages of sin and conquer death, hell and the grave so that we can have eternal life?

No one!

To whom else will every knee from every nation bow? And who else will be confessed as Lord and Sovereign of all by every human tongue?

No one!

Who else can make all things new?

None but our Creator God, His Holy Spirit and His Son Jesus Christ. To whom we should attribute all glory and all power forever. Amen.

Have you taken the time to acknowledge God’s power in the Creation? Have you taken the step from seeing His power to acknowledging Him alone as all-powerful God?



From The Student Question Board: How Many Sins Are Too Many? Is There a Specific Number of Sins that Will Disqualify You From Heaven?

“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Romans 5:20b

Image result for infinite loveGod is infinite. In every way. He is not bounded in by anything.

In the long war between God and Satan, God is patient, not wanting any human being–who are the apple of His eye [aka the central object of His affection]–to perish [Psalm 17:8; Proverbs 7:2; Zechariah 2:8; 2 Peter 3:9].

Yet in the midst of God’s infinite patience, sin increases. Every minutia of sin manifests and grows. Arrogance, abusiveness, disobedience and ungratefulness increases [2 Timothy 3:2]. Exchanging God for self increases [Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14]. Wickedness, evil, greed and depravity increases [Romans 1:29].

But God’s grace is boundless.

There is no amount of sin that can disqualify you from God’s love. And if by grace through faith you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are forgiven. Period.

That’s fantastic news! Because we all sin every day, we all fall short of the glory of God in every way [Romans 3:23].

But there is a caution.

If we can’t out-sin God’s grace, then why not just keep on sinning and asking for forgiveness? Paul wrote to the Roman Christians who were struggling with this very question. The answer? By no means! In other words–absolutely not!

As forgiven believers, we died to sin just as Christ died for our sins. And we live in God’s freedom. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace, [Romans 6:12-14].

It’s like quitting smoking because you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, getting healed, and then continuing to smoke. Smoking destroys our health, just like sin destroys our spirit man. People who have been healed from cancer, are best advised to live a healthier life so that the cancer doesn’t move back into their bodies. And Christians are called to come out of the culture we live in and be Godly so that the destruction of sin doesn’t move back into our lives [2 Corinthians 6:17].

God’s mercy is infinite, just as all of Him is infinite. Sin is limited by human imagination, ability and longevity [or lack thereof]. Choose this day which one will shape your eternity. Finite sin, with even more limited moments of pleasure that lead to death and rejecting God, therefore bringing eternal condemnation [James 1:14-15]? Or infinite mercy, with abundant life now and forevermore [John 3:16]?


God’s Not Tinker Bell

“For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship–and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17:23-25

Image result for hear no evil see no evilBorn of a baby’s laugh and sustained by a child’s faith. When children stop believing in her existence, she begins to fade, until–wait, that’s Tinker Bell. Not God. God is self-sufficient. Unlike Peter Pan’s fairy, God exists whether people want to believe in Him or not.

And many do not want to believe in God, because they don’t want want to have to admit that they’ve been wrong–even though this truth would free them. And because they certainly don’t want to give up control of their lives–even though it would bring them great joy.

Our understanding of who God is and what He desires for each of us only serves to elevate us. Whether or not we take the time to get acquainted with or honor Him does not diminish His existence in any way. He is no less God. He has no less authority. He is no less holy and good just because someone refuses to acknowledge Him, or chooses turn away from Him, or decides to disobey Him.

For just as He is and has always been, God will always be. People, on the other hand, disappear in a heartbeat [Psalm 37:2, 90:5, 102:11 & 103:15; Isaiah 40:6; 1 Peter 1:24]. Unlike God, we have a beginning and an end. And in the short span we exist in between, we need things outside of ourselves to sustain our life.

Perhaps the one commonality that we have with God, in this sense, is that we exist whether others want to acknowledge us or not. This is the bit of eternity in each of our hearts [Ecclesiastes 3:11] that cries out against inhumanity. When people suffer at the hands of fellow human beings, when slavery is rampant and genocide looked on with indifference, the eternity God sowed in our hearts begs to be seen and heard. I am here whether you choose to recognize me or not.

In the story, when children stop believing in fairies, Tinker Bell fades away. Peter Pan encourages everyone to clap to show that they do believe, and she comes bounding back to uproarious applause. But just as being ignored does not erase my existence, so no amount of fame and ovation can sustain it. One day, my end will come.

And God will keep on keeping on, more constant than the North Star that He created. People can choose to disregard the evidence in the world and refute His Word, but that does not dethrone Him as Sovereign of all. We can’t ignore God into nothingness.

He doesn’t need us, but He loves us. And we need Him. As human beings, our greatest need is to recognize our sin and reconcile our hearts to God. Have you?


The Advocate and the Adversary

“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:23-26

Image result for helping handJesus, the incarnate [meaning in the flesh] Son of God speaks to His disciples here, reminding them of His true three-in-one nature. He and Father God act in one accord. Those who obey Jesus, do so out of love for Him–a love which is reciprocated by God the Father and God the Son both. Both Father and Son together come to indwell the obedient believer. And God the Spirit–sent by the Father in the name of the Son–quickens our minds to remember Jesus’ words.

All three infinite persons of the Godhead work together in our finite heart–if we just live through faith.

The Holy Spirit is called the Parkletos here, or the Paraclete. A paraclete is someone who literally comes to stand alongside. The Greek word means Advocate though it is often translated Counselor, as in legal Counsel. But in the mind of the New Testament believer, the word carried a much broader term than defense lawyer. The Counselor was a Helper to those who were in trouble with the law.

It’s no coincidence that John calls the Holy Spirit the Advocate. Besides the Judeo-Roman implications of being in trouble with a court of law and the human difficulty with upholding the Law of Moses [aka the 10 Commandments, et al; Romans 8:3], we need a perfect mediator to make peace with God [Romans 5:1; 1 Timothy 2:5]–Jesus Christ and the Spirit sent in His name by God the Father.

If all this scriptural connectedness isn’t enough, we need an Advocate because Satan is the adversary. Literally–Satan means adversary. The enemy of God. And we also were God’s enemies before accepting Jesus as Lord of our lives [Romans 5:10; Ephesians 2:12; Colossians 1:21; Titus 3:3].

Paul explained it like this. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out [Romans 7:18]. Everyone one of us is born with a sin nature that naturally rebels against God. We can either recognize this sinful nature and ask forgiveness [aka repent] or we can refuse God’s grace–Father, Son and Spirit–and continue to live the way that we see fit [aka keep rebelling].

Have you invited the Advocate to stand alongside you? Or do you still walk in the ways of the adversary?