HIS WAYS ARE DIFFERENT

Is.55:8-11 – “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

Our God is really different from anyone or anything we have ever seen or imagined. In today’s verses He points to creation to display the way He works in our lives. For example, who ever thought of water or rain? Who’s idea was grain and seed? All of creation points to the wisdom of our awesome Creator. Rain, seed, grain, and harvest, all of this is for God’s glory and our provision and enjoyment. In the midst of these displays are God’s incredible lessons. We may not be farmers in the traditional sense but learning God’s ways is how we receive our provision from day to day.

I always remember a book one of my mentors, Mike McIntosh gave to me when I first returned to New Orleans to start our church. It was a classic by Oral Roberts, A DAILY GUIDE TO MIRACLES. In this book Brother Roberts taught several things that really helped Parris and I as we started our church.

First he taught to look to God as our source of provision. That may seem really simple but it is surprising how often we look to the things God uses as our source. It wasn’t the ravens or the widow that supplied for Elijah, it was God who used ravens and widows.

Secondly, he taught about the importance of seeing our tithes and offerings as seeds that we were planting. I remember seeing that truth and it changed everything for me. I got it, there is a miracle in every seed.

The next thing I learned was connecting my giving to the things the Lord was involved in. First, I saw the importance of sewing into my church, my tithe was my basic seed. Next, I recognized my offerings were also a seed. I saw the importance of foreign missions as well as ministries like Mary’s Song.

I am grateful for that book my friend Mike gave to me and thankful for those lessons I learned from Oral Roberts. Read today’s verses again carefully, maybe you will begin to see the strange ways of the Lord.

GOD REVEALED – EVERY MOMENT EVERY DAY

Rom.1:20 – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

The Lord reveals Himself moment by moment, day by day, in all of our lives. From the infinite nature of the universe, to the intricate detail of a small flower; God’s glory is clearly seen all around us. Fallen man tends to ignore His magnificent display and create some other explanation for creation from their own minds. Paul said that people who ignore God’s shocking display all around us are finally given over to a reprobate mind. God’s glory is on display for all, some ignore it and others create idols in their minds to explain it. Paul says they are without excuse. R.C. Sproles describes this characteristic of fallen man in his comments on today’s passage.

“God has plainly and clearly shown himself to everyone. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen. The Latin word used for “clearly seen” is the root for our English word conspicuous; God has made his self-revelation conspicuous to everyone since the creation of the world. God does not pop a clue into history about his existence every three thousand years or so. Every moment since the dawn of creation God has been manifesting himself through the things that are made. God did not give us a world and just say, “Sit down and begin to think about where that world came from and reason from the cosmos back to God.” We are to do that, but it is more than that. Every second, God is manifesting himself through the things that are made so that his testimony to his nature is plainly evident.”

Creation is a signpost pointing the way to God’s glorious plan for fallen man. Once you are honest about His handiwork all around you, you will be drawn to read the scriptures. It’s in the written word that we see the greatest revelation of God and also see of our fallen condition. How is it with your soul today? Have you made peace with the Creator? This Creator is the same One Who became a man and suffered and died on a cross for your sins. Look to Him today. Call upon His Name. All that call upon His Name will be saved.

THE COSMOS EAGERLY AWAITS

MERRY THURSDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY.

Rom.8:19 “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.”

There is so much beauty to behold in the creation. Have your ever snorkeled in the pacific ocean? Or hiked through the Smokies? Watched the kangaroos and koalas in Australia? Been on the African safaris? I have done all those things and keep telling about God’s unbelievable creativity with creation. In reality it is a fallen creation that has been given the same blow that man was given. Creation also waits its redemption, in fact creation is eagerly awaiting, sighing, groaning and travailing together with us. Why is that? The cosmos will meet its final purpose when we will be revealed as sons of God. One could almost imagine that it is joining with us in spiritual harmony or dance. To all the earth lovers the best thing we can do to restore our planet back to where it was is to “become sons of God”. This is when all wrong is made right once again.

Matthew Henry puts it this way, “Indeed the whole creation seems to wait with earnest expectation for the period when the children of God shall be manifested in the glory prepared for them. There is an impurity, deformity, and infirmity, which has come upon the creature by the fall of man. There is an enmity of one creature to another. And they are used, or abused rather, by men as instruments of sin. Yet this deplorable state of the creation is in hope. God will deliver it from thus being held in bondage to man’s depravity. The miseries of the human race, through their own and each other’s wickedness, declare that the world is not always to continue as it is. Our having received the first-fruits of the Spirit, quickens our desires, encourages our hopes, and raises our expectations. Sin has been, and is, the guilty cause of all the suffering that exists in the creation of God. It has brought on the woes of earth; it has kindled the flames of hell.”

MacLarens Commentary mentions the great reversal in the earth, “Earth’s judgments will be reversed by that divine voice, and the great promise, which through weary ages has shone as a far-off star,-’I will set him on high because he hath known my name’-will then be known for the sun near at hand. Many stars will be quenched, but ‘they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament.That revelation will be more surprising to no one than to those who are its subjects, when they see themselves mirrored in that glass, and so unlike what they are here. Their first impulse will be to wonder at the form they see, and to ask, almost with incredulity, ‘Lord, is it I?’”

There is so much to look forward to yet so much to experience now as we walk hand in hand with the cosmos as we eagerly await our last redemption.

IN THE BEGINNING

Prob.8:23,24 – The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.

From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.

“In the beginning was the Word”, those are the striking words of the Apostle John as he began his gospel. One of the passages that he had in mind when he wrote those revealing words was today’s passage, “Before His works of old. From everlasting I was established, From the beginning”. In this passage from Proverbs, Solomon is personifying the wisdom of God, John calls Him the Word. Have you ever really thought about what this means? What exactly is the significance of Jesus being called the Word? The implications are quite stunning. Jesus is the Word of the Father. He is the Father’s idea of Himself. That means that every time we look at Jesus we see the Father. He is the radiance of His glory, the exact representation of His nature. Reading the Bible, seeing Christ in the scripture, causes us to see the Father and taste of His love. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on today’s verse.

“His eternity; he was begotten of the Father, for the Lord possessed him, as his own Son, his beloved Son, laid him in his bosom; he was brought forth as the only-begotten of the Father, and this before all worlds, which is most largely insisted upon here. The Word was eternal, and had a being before the world, before the beginning of time; and therefore it must follow that it was from eternity. The Lord possessed him in the beginning of his way, of his eternal counsels, for those were before his works. This way indeed had no beginning, for God’s purposes in himself are eternal like himself, but God speaks to us in our own language.”

So Henry is touching on the edge of holy ground. The Father’s idea of Himself, the wisdom and word of God, is eternal. Jesus is the eternal Son of the Father Who became a man to die for us. He became a man to die for you, to purchase you, and to love you permanently and unconditionally. To read His Word, to soak in His wisdom is to touch heaven. It is the place of forgiveness, recovery, and life. Step into His love today, eternity is just now beginning for all of us.

Groaning and Waiting

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Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Rom.8:23

 

If you stop for a moment and stay real quiet you may hear it. ‘You may hear what?’ You ask. The groaning; can you hear it now? Creation is groaning. It’s not a miserable, painful groan. It is kind of a groan of expectancy. It’s the kind of groan that mixes pain with joyful anticipation. Something really amazing is about to happen and creation is at a heightened state of expectancy. Many of us experienced something like this as children. Don’t you remember the painful, yet joyful, countdown as Christmas drew near? It’s coming was certain, the wait was part of the joy. That’s how it is today as we wait for the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. Just as we are waiting for Christmas we are really waiting for the real “Joy to the World’, that joy will burst on us suddenly just as His first appearance did. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on the groan that is all around us.

 

 

“Our sighs are sacred things, too hallowed for us to tell abroad. We keep our longings to our Lord alone. Then the apostle says we are waiting, by which we learn that we are not to be petulant, like Jonah or Elijah, when they said, Let me die; nor are we to whimper and sigh for the end of life because we are tired of work, nor wish to escape from our present sufferings till the will of the Lord is done. We are to groan for glorification, but we are to wait patiently for it, knowing that what the Lord appoints is best. Waiting implies being ready. We are to stand at the door expecting the Beloved to open it and take us away to himself. This groaning is a test. You may judge of a man by what he groans after. Some men groan after wealth-they worship Mammon; some groan continually under the troubles of life-they are merely impatient; but the man who sighs after God, who is uneasy till he is made like Christ, that is the blessed man.”

 

So we are waiting, we are waiting for Christmas but really waiting for something more. This time Jesus will not appear like a lamb, born in a manger. This time He will roll back the sky like a lion. His appearance is imminent, let the groan continue.

CREATION IS WAITING

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Psa. 104:27, 28 – These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season. What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good.

Some people act as if God set everything in creation in motion and then stays uninvolved, expecting us to run things or for creation to run itself. Than is not the way the Bible reveals our God. He is not only the originator of all things, by Him all things are held together. He has His hand on every detail of everything that is going on. Creation displays the glory of God and His very nature in sustaining it. That being true, His sons and daughters are in good hands. He watches over us and supplies all things for our benefit. The beauty in this; I am satisfied and He is glorified. Here is how Dick Mills describes this beautiful attribute of our Lord.

“God wasn’t finished after He created the world and all its forms of life. The Creator is also the One Who maintains. He makes; He also sustains. He is the author and finisher of our faith. This whole Psalm is a song of praise and Thanksgiving to the Sovereign Lord for His providential care of the entire planet. The Psalm could be a role call of created beings and things and how God watches over and provides for the beast of the field, the wild donkey. The birds in their nests. The cattle are cared for. The trees of the field are included. The stork is mentioned. Wild goats are on the list. The rock badgers are named. Young lions roar after their prey. The ocean is filled with creatures both small and great. The psalmist is overwhelmed by how manifold His works are. He jubilantly states, “Your wisdom has made all this and the earth is full of your possessions.”

If the birds, the badgers, and the donkeys are waiting on God, then what about me? Too often I have found myself taking matters into my own hands. The problem with that? If things work out I take the credit, if they don’t the tendency is to blame the Lord. The best place to be is the place of total dependency. Does that mean I do nothing? Absolutely not. I do my work as unto the Lord with all my ability and diligence. The difference? I am looking to the Lord and He is blessing the work of my hands. Ps. 37:24 – “Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land…”

CREATION CALLS

CREATION CALLING ME TO SEE FEEL TOUCH AND HEAR-

MERRY MONDAY-

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
Rom. 1:20

This last week I was able to visit my mom who lives up in the Smokey Mountains. She lives up at 4200 elevation and from her house one can see Mt Pisgah on a clear day. It is not uncommon to see a bear, elk or even a groundhog climbing up a tree like I just saw. Every year I try to go during blackberry season so my mum can make her famous blackberry cobbler. I have been walking her mountain roads for over twenty years. Even now my grandkids can’t wait to go up there to do the same. Why do millions of visitors travel up there, along with so many other people to see natural beauty? Because the glory of God speaks to us, almost as if He is yelling out to us! I believe that the sky, stars, oceans, animals and mountains know that soon now Jesus will plant His Brazen feet back here once again. Each one of them have been doing things that are unusual. I can only pray that I stay “INTUNE” with His voice. One would have to be deaf not to hear, see, breathe and feel His beauty. Barnes said, “Being understood, His perfections may be investigated, and comprehended by means of his works. They are the evidences submitted to our intellects, by which we may arrive at the true knowledge of God.”
All this beauty is “not the parent” but is the “interpreter of our faith in God”. All the inner and outer revelation of God serve to compliment each other. What will you interpret today when you walk out into your world? Sometimes our lifestyle alone makes it extremely hard for God to get our attention and by the time we do hear Him he is yelling! haha—I pray you will open your hearts wide for our God is loud. His voice is the sound of many waters. Let me speak words of hope and life today. Whatever you may be facing allow Him to show you His bigness. Allow yourself to be wrapped up in His love. The storm clouds can fade away when Christ steps in your life. Matthew Poole said, “The invisible things of him: his being and his attributes, particularly his eternity and almighty power; to which we might add, his wisdom, goodness, &c. These, though invisible in themselves, yet are discernible by his works, and that ever since the creation of the world. By what they see created, they may easily collect or understand, that there is an eternal and almighty Creator.” Let the almighty creator speak to you today, he desires to color your world that might be drab dreary and dreadful.Creation calls!

BIG BANG

Psa. 19:1 ¶ The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

I recently saw a post on Facebook that talked about a recent discovery that proved the accuracy of the Big Bang theory. What this discovery showed was that the universe was created instantly and was not a random accident but the act of a superior being living outside of the universe in another reality. That is just another way of saying, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Here is part of an article from CNN by Leslie Wickman, Leslie is director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University. Wickman has also been an engineer for Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, where she worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station programs.

(CNN) The remarkable discovery, announced this week, of ripples in the space-time fabric of the universe rocked the world of science – and the world of religion.

Touted as evidence for inflation (a faster-than-the-speed-of-light expansion of our universe), the new discovery of traces of gravity waves affirms scientific concepts in the fields of cosmology, general relativity, and particle physics.

The new discovery also has significant implications for the Judeo-Christian worldview, offering strong support for biblical beliefs.

The prevalent theory of cosmic origins prior to the Big Bang theory was the “Steady State,” which argued that the universe has always existed, without a beginning that necessitated a cause.

However, this new evidence strongly suggests that there was a beginning to our universe.

If the universe did indeed have a beginning, by the simple logic of cause and effect, there had to be an agent – separate and apart from the effect – that caused it.

That sounds a lot like Genesis 1:1 to me: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.”

As a modern believer and a scientist, when I look up at the sky on a clear starry night, I am reminded that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). I am in awe of the complexity of the physical world, and how all of its pieces fit together so perfectly and synergistically.

If God is truly the creator, then he will reveal himself through what he’s created, and science is a tool we can use to uncover those wonders.”
I love that, The Lord is confirming His word through man’s new technological discoveries that enable us to gaze into the mysteries of creation. How do these scientific discoveries effect us? They really don’t effect our faith, they only confirm the accuracy of the Word of God. For me, these discoveries fill me with awe when I consider the greatness of the One Who created all things. It also overwhelms me when I think of how this Creator of all things entered into His creation to die for me.

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW

“Happy is that people who God is The Lord.” (Ps.144:15)

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

Tonight I heard these lyrics; “The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people passing by
I see friends shaking hands
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying, I…I love you
I hear babies cry and I watch them grow,
They’ll learn much more
Than we’ll know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world world”
Frank and I have spent the last week on the island of Oahu celebrating 40 years of walking with The Lord and marriage. I cannot recall spending this much time resting and soaking in His creation. We have seen beautiful sunsets, rainbows, a tropical storm, waterfalls, rain forests, myriad of fishes, an abundance of sea turtles, and have eaten way too much food. We swam, snorkeled, kayak, golfed, star gazed, hiked, read and tried to do nothing. There have even been two shark attacks in the one week that we have been here! (just great!) But I love this remark from M Henry; “As all this, and much more, cannot make us happy, unless the Lord be our God, so, if he be, the want of this, the loss of this, nay, the reverse of this, cannot make us miserable.”
Thomas Watson says this about being blessed: “Blessedness lies in the fruition of the chief good. It is not every good that makes a man blessed, but it must be the supreme good, and that is God. Christ comes to us and puts a new nature into us. Our state is altered by something that is perfect and holy. We will never be the same again. Watson goes onto to say; “Something which brings blessedness must have a delicious taste in it, such as the soul is instantly ravished with. There must be in it spirits of delight and quintessence of joy, and where can the soul suck those pure comforts which amaze it with wonder and crown it with delight. In God, says Augustine, “the soul is delighted with such sweetness as even transports it.” The love of God is a honeycomb which drops such infinite sweetness and satisfaction into the soul as in ‘unspeakable and full of glory”. (I Pet.5:8) A kiss from God’s mouth puts the soul into a divine ecstasy, so that now it cries out, “It is good to be here.”
One last quote says; “If the earth be bestowed upon us, and not heaven; or the material heaven be opened, and not the beatifical; or the whole world made ours, and God not ours; we do not arrive at happiness. All that is in the first proposition is nothing unless this be added.” Richard Holdsworth
“Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds fly
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Dreams really do come true ooh ooooh
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me ee ee eeh
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops that’s where you’ll find me oh”
ISRAEL KAMAKAWIWO’OLE

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART

Psa. 14:1 ¶ The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.

Creation is enough evidence to prove to us the existence of God. His handiwork is everywhere. We see His creativity in the beautiful flowers of the field. We see His wisdom and intellect in the creation of the human brain. His eternal characteristics and power are clearly seen in the apparent infinite nature of the universe. His creativity is beyond words. He invented light and our eyes to see it; He invented sound and ears to hear it. He is the originator of music and gave us voices to sing. He created animals and sea creatures, birds of the air and insects, He even formed the dinosaur and the mystery that surrounds them. Only the arrogance of man could deny the existence of a Creator. Martin Luther touches on these things in his comments about our Creator.

“The reason and wisdom of man may go so far as to reach the conclusion, although feebly, that there must be one eternal divine being, who has created and who preserves and governs all things. Man sees such a beautiful and wonderful creation in the heavens and on the earth, one so wonderfully, regularly and securely preserved and ordered, that he must say: It is impossible that this came into existence by mere chance, or that it originated and controls itself; there must have been a Creator and Lord from whom all these things proceed and by whom they are governed. Thus God may be known by his creatures, as St. Paul says: “For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity.” Rom 1, 20. This is the knowledge that we have when we contemplate God from without, in his works and government; as one, looking upon a castle or house from without, would draw conclusions as to its lord or keeper.”

This amazing God is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ we see the greatest revelation of our Father God. Jesus went so far as to say that if you had seen Him you had seen the Father. How can we see the Father in Christ? We see His love for the sick as He opens the eyes of the blind and causes the lame to leap for joy. We see His compassion for the hungry as He multiplies the fish and the loaves. His hatred for darkness is clearly seen when He drives out the demons with a word. The greatest glimpse of our Father’s love for us is in the death of His Son. Christ Jesus died to save sinners. He died for people like you and me. This incredible God has gone to great extremes to reveal Himself to us. Only pride can blind our eyes. The pure in heart will see God.