IS GOD CAPABLE?

February 27, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

In Isaiah 36:10 an Assyrian army came against Hezekiah and Jerusalem.  Hezekiah sent three emissaries to speak to the army commander.  Sennacherib’s commander gave them this message.

Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this land without the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’”  (Isaiah 36:10).

The word LORD is in caps to indicate it is the name of God, or Yahweh.  The following translation, the IEB, renders the passage correctly.

I have not come to attack and destroy this country without an order from Yahweh.  Why, Yahweh Himself told me to come to this country and destroy it!” The International English Bible

Did Assyria have an idolatrous prophet who was inspired by Yahweh to give this message to the commander or his king?   Was this just an idolatrous ruler bragging that he had defeated the gods of others, so Jerusalem’s god would fall too?  Some would choose number two.  Even Bible believers have a habit of dismissing God from historical events, especially in modern times!  Some believe the Holy Spirit inspired the 27 books of the New Testament, then left us high and dry.  We have the directions, so we must do our best to save ourselves.  God, like Elvis, has left the house!  His only activity is to watch our feeble efforts and come down hard on us when we fail.

What if that commander’s statement was true?  What if the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had spoken to Sennacherib?  Isaiah includes multiple prophecies of judgments against different nations.  In chapter 13, Babylon’s judgment is given with this statement, “a destruction from the Almighty” (Isaiah 13:6 KJV).  God was active in the history of those nations.  Do those nations have to recognize God’s hand in their affairs for it to be so?   Isaiah mentions with this destruction that “the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light,” “sun shall be darkened,” “the moon shall not . . . shine,” God will “shake the heavens,” and “the earth shall remove out of her place.”  When would this be fulfilled?  It would be fulfilled about 150 years after Isaiah made this prophesy when the Medo-Persian empire replaced the Babylonian one in 539 BC.  God told them, “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them . . . and Babylon, the glory of kingdoms . . . shall be as . . . Sodom and Gomorrah” (Isaiah 13:13, 17, 19).

Man enters his wars to destroy and commit his foolishness.  Yet God uses the worst of man to direct history to fulfill His will and bring honor to His name.  Man’s problem?  We’re not listening.  John informs us, “He came to his own, and His own did not receive Him.”  Why?  Because “the world did not know him.”   As history students, they were failures!  So often, we are too.

If God could open the mouth of Balaam’s donkey to defend her actions, could he not reveal his plan for Jerusalem, if that city did not remain faithful to Him?  Jesus may have been speaking metaphorically, but he informed the Pharisees, that if his disciples did not speak up, “the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).  Was God capable making those stones speak?

Some believe God became an absentee Father and left His children on someone else’s doorstep.  His will is that we will be smart enough to save ourselves.  He surrendered His place among us to Satan and waits to condemn us if we fail to grab the golden ring of perfection.  The devil wants to father us since we believe God is an absentee one.  He seems to be very successful in being an adoptive father.

Is God still working in man’s history (Psalm 37:7; Proverbs 14:12; 16:25; 21:2; Jeremiah 10:23)?  The Assyrian commander believed God was using him and the army he commanded.  Do you believe God is capable or incapable of working in ours?  Your choice!

IS GOD CAPABLE?

February 26, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

In Isaiah 36:10 an Assyrian army came against Hezekiah and Jerusalem.  Hezekiah sent three emissaries to speak to the army commander.  Sennacherib’s commander gave them this message.

Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this land without the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’”  (Isaiah 36:10).

The word LORD is in caps to indicate it is the name of God, or Yahweh.  The following translation, the IEB, renders the passage correctly.

I have not come to attack and destroy this country without an order from Yahweh.  Why, Yahweh Himself told me to come to this country and destroy it!” The International English Bible

Did Assyria have an idolatrous prophet who was inspired by Yahweh to give this message to the commander or his king?   Was this just an idolatrous ruler bragging that he had defeated the gods of others, so Jerusalem’s god would fall too?  Some would choose number two.  Even Bible believers have a habit of dismissing God from historical events, especially in modern times!  Some believe the Holy Spirit inspired the 27 books of the New Testament, then left us high and dry.  We have the directions, so we must do our best to save ourselves.  God, like Elvis, has left the house!  His only activity is to watch our feeble efforts and come down hard on us when we fail.

What if that commander’s statement was true?  What if the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had spoken to Sennacherib?  Isaiah includes multiple prophecies of judgments against different nations.  In chapter 13, Babylon’s judgment is given with this statement, “a destruction from the Almighty” (Isaiah 13:6 KJV).  God was active in the history of those nations.  Do those nations have to recognize God’s hand in their affairs for it to be so?   Isaiah mentions with this destruction that “the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light,” “sun shall be darkened,” “the moon shall not . . . shine,” God will “shake the heavens,” and “the earth shall remove out of her place.”  When would this be fulfilled?  It would be fulfilled about 150 years after Isaiah made this prophesy when the Medo-Persian empire replaced the Babylonian one in 539 BC.  God told them, “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them . . . and Babylon, the glory of kingdoms . . . shall be as . . . Sodom and Gomorrah” (Isaiah 13:13, 17, 19).

Man enters his wars to destroy and commit his foolishness.  Yet God uses the worst of man to direct history to fulfill His will and bring honor to His name.  Man’s problem?  We’re not listening.  John informs us, “He came to his own, and His own did not receive Him.”  Why?  Because “the world did not know him.”   As history students, they were failures!  So often, we are too.

If God could open the mouth of Balaam’s donkey to defend her actions, could he not reveal his plan for Jerusalem, if that city did not remain faithful to Him?  Jesus may have been speaking metaphorically, but he informed the Pharisees, that if his disciples did not speak up, “the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).  Was God capable making those stones speak?

Some believe God became an absentee Father and left His children on someone else’s doorstep.  His will is that we will be smart enough to save ourselves.  He surrendered His place among us to Satan and waits to condemn us if we fail to grab the golden ring of perfection.  The devil wants to father us since we believe God is an absentee one.  He seems to be very successful in being an adoptive father.

Is God still working in man’s history (Psalm 37:7; Proverbs 14:12; 16:25; 21:2; Jeremiah 10:23)?  The Assyrian commander believed God was using him and the army he commanded.  Do you believe God is capable or incapable of working in ours?  Your choice!

IS GOD CAPABLE?

February 26, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

In Isaiah 36:10 an Assyrian army came against Hezekiah and Jerusalem.  Hezekiah sent three emissaries to speak to the army commander.  Sennacherib’s commander gave them this message.

Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this land without the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’”  (Isaiah 36:10).

The word LORD is in caps to indicate it is the name of God, or Yahweh.  The following translation, the IEB, renders the passage correctly.

I have not come to attack and destroy this country without an order from Yahweh.  Why, Yahweh Himself told me to come to this country and destroy it!” The International English Bible

Did Assyria have an idolatrous prophet who was inspired by Yahweh to give this message to the commander or his king?   Was this just an idolatrous ruler bragging that he had defeated the gods of others, so Jerusalem’s god would fall too?  Some would choose number two.  Even Bible believers have a habit of dismissing God from historical events, especially in modern times!  Some believe the Holy Spirit inspired the 27 books of the New Testament, then left us high and dry.  We have the directions, so we must do our best to save ourselves.  God, like Elvis, has left the house!  His only activity is to watch our feeble efforts and come down hard on us when we fail.

What if that commander’s statement was true?  What if the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had spoken to Sennacherib?  Isaiah includes multiple prophecies of judgments against different nations.  In chapter 13, Babylon’s judgment is given with this statement, “a destruction from the Almighty” (Isaiah 13:6 KJV).  God was active in the history of those nations.  Do those nations have to recognize God’s hand in their affairs for it to be so?   Isaiah mentions with this destruction that “the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light,” “sun shall be darkened,” “the moon shall not . . . shine,” God will “shake the heavens,” and “the earth shall remove out of her place.”  When would this be fulfilled?  It would be fulfilled about 150 years after Isaiah made this prophesy when the Medo-Persian empire replaced the Babylonian one in 539 BC.  God told them, “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them . . . and Babylon, the glory of kingdoms . . . shall be as . . . Sodom and Gomorrah” (Isaiah 13:13, 17, 19).

Man enters his wars to destroy and commit his foolishness.  Yet God uses the worst of man to direct history to fulfill His will and bring honor to His name.  Man’s problem?  We’re not listening.  John informs us, “He came to his own, and His own did not receive Him.”  Why?  Because “the world did not know him.”   As history students, they were failures!  So often, we are too.

If God could open the mouth of Balaam’s donkey to defend her actions, could he not reveal his plan for Jerusalem, if that city did not remain faithful to Him?  Jesus may have been speaking metaphorically, but he informed the Pharisees, that if his disciples did not speak up, “the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).  Was God capable making those stones speak?

Some believe God became an absentee Father and left His children on someone else’s doorstep.  His will is that we will be smart enough to save ourselves.  He surrendered His place among us to Satan and waits to condemn us if we fail to grab the golden ring of perfection.  The devil wants to father us since we believe God is an absentee one.  He seems to be very successful in being an adoptive father.

Is God still working in man’s history (Psalm 37:7; Proverbs 14:12; 16:25; 21:2; Jeremiah 10:23)?  The Assyrian commander believed God was using him and the army he commanded.  Do you believe God is capable or incapable of working in ours?  Your choice!

Is This You?

October 20, 2011

I lifted the follow paragraph from an article written by Edward Fudge.

“Someone writes: ‘I am advanced in years and always thought I was saved because I asked Jesus into my heart at age 12. I lived a life of disobedience but have recently been through many profound changes and have turned to God with all my might. I want to be saved but I am going through great torment because I can’t get in touch with Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I can’t even breath from fear I am not one of God’s elect. I don’t feel the presence of God in my life even when I plead with God for mercy. I feel totally abandoned. Can you please help me?’”

From the language used above, I would say the author is not a member of the church that I belong to. However, his fears are rooted deeply in the hearts of too many members in the Church of Christ.

In my youth, I was a preacher in another church. One Sunday I was asked to visit a member’s husband who was bedridden and dying of cancer. The member informed me that her husband was a member of the “Church of Christ.”

I visited with the man and upon leaving, asked if he would like for me to have prayer. He agreed and I held his hand and prayed. Once finished, he held tightly to my hand, looked into my eyes and said, “Preacher, I’m a member of the Church of Christ. The Church of Christ religion is a good one to live by, but a poor one to die by.” That statement has stuck with me for fifty-five years!

If a person makes the second covenant from God into a law keeping one like the first, his efforts to live up to the demands of such will meet with total failure. That failure will produce depression. The depression will rob him of hope. Without hope there will be no assurance. Without assurance one is left only with despair that is clothed in abandonment.

Have you ever felt that God can’t love you? Why do you feel that way? Is it because you realize you cannot live up to the demands of law keeping because you keep breaking them? Does the lack of perfection in your life frighten you? Do you find your efforts to be a “good Christian” are rewarded with failure? If so, aren’t you guilty of trying to win God’s approval in the wrong way?

God already loves you. You don’t have to win his love. You already have it! You don’t have to cross every “t” or dot every “i” in order to please our Father. He isn’t looking for individuals who have all their bases covered. He came to save sinners. Guess what, you and I fill that prescription? We are sinners! Jesus turns us into saved ones.

Jesus did not come to keep us under law, he came to save us by grace through faith (Galatians 3:6-14, 23; Ephesians 2:8-9). You can’t make yourself sinlessly perfect. But you can by faith receive the righteousness of God. It is not about your righteousness, it is receiving his (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Law keeping puts all the burden on you. Why not allow Jesus to bear it (Matthew 11:28-30)? He is the Savior, not you!

Losing Our Freedom?

August 16, 2011

The following link is very interesting. It shows how our government is favoring Islam while abandoning Christianity.

I REMEMBER

July 22, 2011

Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16).

I remember when,

  1. No one locked their doors.
  2. You could leave something in the front yard and no one would bother it.
  3. You could leave your keys in your car and no one would steal it.
  4. You could walk home from a movie and no one would bother you.
  5. You could sleep outside during the summer without fear.
  6. You didn’t have to worry if someone was hurt on your property they they would sue you.
  7. It was safe to hitchhike, for you as well as the person who picked you up.
  8. Men took off their hats in the presence of a woman as a sign of respect and they did not use course language around them.
  9. Youth respected the older generation.
  10. You knew your neighbors and you could depend upon one another.
  11. Neighbors corrected you and your parents appreciated it and you got into trouble twice, first with your neighbor and second with your parents.
  12. Neighbor helped neighbor.
  13. The teachers used wooden paddles to punish unruly students.
  14. Your parents paddled you at home if you got into trouble at school.
  15. Parents supported the teacher when their child was unruly.
  16. Teachers taught and students didn’t talk back to them.
  17. The pledge of allegiance was said every morning in school.
  18. It was okay to pray at school and God was not taboo.
  19. Morality was taught in the classroom.
  20. The Bible was taught on State college campuses and students received credit for taking a course or two.
  21. The Bible was respected, read, and received.
  22. The Bible was quoted in church, court, and classroom.
  23. A person’s word was his bond.
  24. Integrity was praised and lying was condemned.
  25. Couples got married first and then slept together.
  26. Boys were proud to be boys and girls were proud to be girls and opposites attracted one another and got married.
  27. “Gay” was a respectable word before it was highjacked.
  28. Marriage was between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
  29. Children waited for the adults to be served first at the table.
  30. In the golden years of the parents, the children took care of them.
  31. Folks were glad to be Americans and proud of their country.
  32. We put our trust in God.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7).

WE MAY KNOW

July 14, 2011

Kids at a church elementary school were asked questions about the Old and New Testaments. Here are some of their responses in answering those queries.

  1. In the first book of the bible, Guinessis, God got tired of creating the world, so he took the Sabbath off.
  2. Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night.
  3. Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.

Israel had a problem too, just more serious than those children in that elementary school.

“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. ‘Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” (Hosea 4:6).

Someone has said, “Ignorance is bliss.” I don’t suppose he ever had an operation by a man who learned to operate by correspondence course?

God reveals himself through inspired men who wrote down his message. In the New Testament John states,

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31).

“How that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3-5).

You and I can know what is on God’s mind by reading what he has revealed in scripture.

HIS SUCCESS!

June 30, 2011

I believe Satan uses our fleshly weakness to his benefit. He tried it on Jesus (Matt.4) but failed. He tries it on us and often succeeds. We want to be like Jesus, but realize how far we miss that noble goal. We always will. I look at my life and see the glaring imperfections, the missed goals, the times I should have but didn’t, the times I should not have but did, and it grates on my soul. I completely understand Paul’s anguish in Rom.7 when he cried out, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” I want more faith, but seem to have less. I want to be a shining light for my Lord, yet see more darkness than light. My weaknesses haunt me. My weaknesses speak out loudly and testify against me. It is then that Satan steps in and whispers to me, encouraging me to look at myself and the futility of my efforts, goading me to see the impossibility of salvation due to my failures. He did that with Job, using his wife’s tongue, “Curse God and die.” He whispers sweetly in my ear, “Give up. Give in. Surrender. You are a failure. You will never make it.” Jesus speaks out, “Yes, you are a failure. You are not the answer to your salvation. I am. Put your trust in me, not in yourself. I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Satan wants me to look at myself as my answer to my salvation. He knows if I concentrate on my failures I will never see Jesus’ success. He knows how discouraging human effort can be and wants it to be a burden that will crush my soul. Jesus offers, “”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV). Satan wants me to think of myself as my savior. He wants me to focus my sight on myself. When I give in and accept his counsel, I see my failure and it cries out, “Give up.” Jesus throws me a lifeline telling me that he did not fail. He is my rock. He is my strength. He is my Savior. Believe! Paul’s answer is, “Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free. So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 7:24-25; 8:1 (TLB).

Oral or Silent Prayer?

June 21, 2011

My wife and I were celebrating Father’s Day at one of the local restaurants. She was paying! While waiting on our meal, Mary Nell said, “Those folks at the table behind us are having prayer.” She and I did not have a joint prayer, but we each did pray silently giving thanks.

Why didn’t we have an oral prayer together? It wasn’t because of what Jesus said in the sermon on the Mount,

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:6).

Jesus wasn’t condemning praying in public places, he was teaching against praying for the purpose of being seen by men (Matthew 6:5).

Neither was it because of what Jesus stated later,

“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33).

We are not ashamed to openly pray in the name of Jesus. One is not denying his Lord by having private prayer in a public place.

When we see a couple, or several having prayer at their table in a restaurant, we do not look upon such as being an act of hypocrisy on their part. In fact, we think it is a wonderful action. On several occasions, we have practiced the same.

Praying openly or privately is a choice one may make without feeling guilty either way.

I’m thankful that we can still pray openly, that it is a choice we may make without fear of being ridiculed or arrested.

If your relationship with God is right, then whether you offer a prayer silently or openly, it is acceptable. The prayer is right whether people condemn your actions or not.

Got Assurance?

June 19, 2011

Assurance! Is it possible? If I must depend upon myself, there isn’t much hope. A friend was once told by his doctor, “Go home and get your house in order. You only have a short time to live.” Because he had been taught all his life that we were responsible for a large percentage of our salvation, he felt unprepared. He could have done this. He could have done that. His short comings testified against him. He was woefully on the short end. He didn’t have enough of the right things to guarantee passage into heaven. So many are like that. We have been taught that we must work, work, work to guarantee our salvation. Get as close as you can, then leave what little is left for God’s grace to supply. I do most of it. God only has to do a small part. But the threat of sudden death reveals our woeful inadequacies. So, those who depend upon their works to “buy” their passage into heaven suddenly find they are bankrupt. No amount of good works is sufficient to guarantee safe passage. With that knowledge there can be no assurance. We build a lifetime of imperfection and reap an emptiness that surrenders to fear.

The Hebrew writer stated,

“And so, dear brothers, NOW we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is, BECAUSE OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS. This is the fresh, new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain—his human body—to let us into the holy presence of God. And since this great High Priest of ours rules over God’s household, let us go right in to God himself, with true hearts fully trusting him to receive us because we have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean and because our bodies have been washed with pure water. NOW we can look forward to the salvation God has promised us. There is no longer any room for doubt, and we can tell others that salvation is ours, for there is no question that he will do what he says.” (Hebrews 10:19-23 (TLB)).

Do you know where you are right now? You are in the presence of God. How? Why? Because you put your trust in what Jesus did for you through his blood. Do you know what that blood does? It keeps us in God’s holy presence because we are washed clean. We stay clean! If we put our trust in Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross rather than thinking we can gain perfection ourselves through our works, then we will have that blessed assurance that some seek but never find.

Assurance comes by trust in Jesus’ cleansing blood. When we put our trust fully in Jesus and God’s grace, we will come to understand Paul’s words in Romans 8:1,

“Therefore, there is NOW no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 (NIV)).