A Lion or a Lamb?

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The world has issues with who God really is and to be perfectly honest so do a lot a Christians. Sometimes I have to be reminded. We look at the Old Testament and see a God who wiped out whole nations, every man, woman, child, and even their animals. Then we turn to the New Testament and read that “God is Love.”
Is He a lion or a lamb? Is He Master and Ruler, or Servant of all? Is He a vengeful God, or forgiving Savior? Is He so Pure and Holy that He can’t bear to be around sin, or did He pour out His blood to get rid of our sin? The answer to all of these paradoxes is YES! Does it make sense? No, but the wonderful thing about God is that He doesn’t have to make sense. He is God after all. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

So how do we reconcile the God that sent the flood, and Jesus who died for our sins?
Let me first explain one thing you need to know about God. He is Love. No matter what He does, even wiping the human race off the face of the planet, minus the eight He saved, was motivated out of love. Think about this for a minute…what if He would have allowed the human race to continue? There was only one person that God said was righteous. Yes, his whole family was saved, but we don’t know if that was because the shared Noah’s obedience to God, or if it was just God’s mercy and love for Noah. How long do you think it would have taken for there to not be a single faithful follower? God, in His love for His creation, took action while there was still one. Think of Sodom. God would have allowed it to remain if there would have been even five faithful! Evil is like a cancer, it is caused by Satan, and then accepted and propagates in the flesh of men. You can’t cut out part of cancer, you can’t leave just a small cancer cell, you have to do radical surgery and cut it out. That’s what God’s cleansing did.

Through His love and patience, a remnant always remained. Noah and his family, Lot and his daughters, the poor and week who were left in Israel after the enemy took everyone of import captive (after killing thousands). Always, He honored His promise to the founding fathers. For David’s sake, He always made sure to leave an heir. When His own chosen people demanded a king, and the majority of those kings led His people into idol worshipping, even sacrificing their own children, God’s hand, as a loving parent, was forced to discipline His children. Talk about tough love. Don’t ever think it didn’t grieve Him. He lamented over the loss of those He loved. We think we have to make hard choices.

God is the same. Who He was in the Old Testament is still who He is now. He lives outside of time. There is no yesterday for Him. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all right now for God. The only difference is that we, who live in time, are in a different state. We live under grace, not under law. Jesus’ shed blood gives us the choice of eternity of Heaven or hell. Just as each new king had the choice to follow after God, or to lead the people in rebellion. We live in the Church age, aren’t you glad, but soon, just as in the Old Testament, God will not spare the world any longer. He will gather up those that are His, and once again, the God who is Just and Holy will deal with evil in this world, once and for all. There will be no more mercy and grace, no “one more chance.”

Isaiah 26:21 (NIV), “See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.”

Revelation 19:11-21 (ESV), “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.”

Time is winding up like a scroll. Soon and very soon, you will see Jesus coming in the clouds and the Holy Spirit will usher us out of here (if you follow Jesus). Will you be like James and John and ask God to call down fire on the rebellious? Or will you be like Abraham who reasoned with God for Sodom, or like Moses and Aaron who pled for the rebellious group they led, or maybe you will be like Amos who lamented over the loss of the house of Jacob and begged God?

Amos 7:1-6 (NIV), “This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the late crops were coming up. When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the Lord relented. “This will not happen,” the Lord said. This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: The Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the Lord relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign Lord said.”

Do I want Jesus to come back soon? You betcha’! However, I also want to reach as many as possible before that great and terrible day. The finality of “the end” should motivate us! There will be no more grace, no mercy, no more chances for those who have refused Him. Those that are His will spend eternity with Him in the light of His love. Those who are not His will spend eternity in the dark, no God, no love, no light, and no hope. No because God is cruel, but because they chose.

He is Love, He is Just, He is a strong Daddy who takes care of His children. He knows what’s best for each and every person and every decision He makes is for the best!

Can you help them find their way to Him?

Book Review for “Fearless”-Christian Military Biography

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This was a wonderful biography of a true American Hero. Adam was the golden boy growing up, friend and defender to all. He became up as a drug addict as a young adult, but turned his life over to God, and became a Navy Seal. His team is the one who ultimately took out Bin Laden. This true story will touch your heart and make you proud of our enlisted men and women. I give this book 5 stars and recommend it to Christian and non Christians alike. A piece of modern history!

Who Do You Think You Are?

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At some point we all ask ourselves the question, “Who am I?” Answers vary. Some say, “I am a McCoy,” “I am a writer,” “I am a Packer Fan,” or “I am a mother.” Others may say things like, “I am a college graduate,” “I am an alcoholic,” or “I am nobody special.” Our ideas about who we are run the gambit. The opinions we have about ourselves are mostly rooted in what others may have said about us, or told us about ourselves. Growing up, we may have rebelled about the labels that others have placed on us and determined to prove them wrong. Weather we think of ourselves as important or unimportant, beautiful or ugly, useful or useless, what we think matters.

Why?

Well, you see before we can truly love others, the way God wants us to, we first have to love ourselves. Not in a narcissistic way, where we think too highly of ourselves and only of ourselves, but in a healthy way. Any type of identity crisis will hinder God in our lives. Weather it is pride and selfishness, or low self esteem and self loathing.

So, how do we get a real picture of who we are? How do we have balance in our opinion of ourselves?
Through God’s word and the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Do a Bible search! Modern technology is great. Here are just a few scriptures that I found helpful:
Psalm 139:13-18 (NIV), “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.”

Galatians 6:3 (ASV), “For if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
1 Thessalonians 5:5 (ESV), “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.”

Matthew 5 13-14 (NIV), “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Here are a few more “I am’s”: I am a child of God (John 1:12). I Am a friend of Jesus (John 15:15). I am a new creature in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17). I am His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). I am a citizen of Heaven (Philippians 5:8). I am love by God (John 3:16). I am chosen by God (Colossians 3:2). That is only a minute portion of what God thinks about you, who He says you are.

So, when Satan tries to tell you you are a loser, and he will, you tell him that God always causes you to triumph (II Corinthians 2:14). When you are feeling depressed, tell yourself, “Why are you downcast, put your hope in God!” Psalms 43:5).When you feel like even your own family doesn’t care say, “even if my mother and father forsake me, God cares for me! (Psalm 27:10).

You see, He has an answer for every negative thought, because you are important to Him. So much that He hasn’t left us comfortless. His Holy Spirit is here to reveal to us everything God thinks about us. He convinces us of who we are in Christ and convicts us of sin. He keeps us on the right path, if we listen and obey Him.

I never wonder who I am anymore. I know who I am!

I am His!

Book Review for “Legacy”-YA Fantasy

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I was given a copy of Legacy by the author, through Story Cartel, in exchange for an honest review. This was a great fantasy. I am very sad that I have to now wait for the other books to be written! This story sucks you in right away. Two worlds, one future America, the other a mediaeval bio dome, where the second generation occupants have never witnessed modern technology. The main characters are well rounded, the sarcastic cyperpunk, the old school big brother and his sister that live in the bio dome, and several secondary characters that come into play. There is mystery, romance, quite a bit of humor. I loved it! Mild swearing, no sexual content. Good for ages 14 and up. Did I mention I loved the cover too!

Are You His

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John 13:34-35 (Aramaic Bible In Plain English), “I give a new commandment to you: ‘Love one another; just as I have loved you, you should also love one another.’ Every person will know by this that you are my disciples, if you shall have love one to the other.”

Matthew 5:9 (KJB), “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Jesus clearly tells us in these two scriptures how we know if we are truly His. In fact it’s a command of the Father that we love one another, not a suggestion, and not just a good idea.

So you would think that we could take a look around us, in the world, and especially in our own churches, and see who belongs to Him.

Unfortunately, this isn’t true.

Most of the time the only sign that a person is a Christian is their t-shirt or bumper sticker, and then still we doubt what our eyes are telling us. Walk into any church and it won’t take long to see the separation of “us” and “them,” the tension between certain people, or even worse, hostility between the leaders and the congregation. This shouldn’t be so!

Reading through the Old Testament, we see many times where God destroyed the enemy armies by filling them with confusion and they turned on one another, “they all helped to destroy one another..” (II Chronicles 20:23).
When I read that part in II Chronicles this week, I said to the Lord, “that sound a lot like us.” I happen to be going through a time when a member of my church is telling lies about me. The leadership and the Pastor’s are handling it, but it still hurts. I hate division in the church and have done many things, including correcting others, when it tried to come in. I assume that is why the enemy has chosen to attack in that way. Now, before I sound self-righteous and holier than thou, let me say, I have done my share of gossiping and back biting over the years. Thankfully God dealt with me and it isn’t an issue anymore. In fact it makes me sick to think about us behaving this way. Jesus says that He is returning for a bride without spot or wrinkle. This devouring one another is a huge spot, an un-iron-able wrinkle. Why do we want to do the enemies work for him?

Let’s take a look at Paul’s warning to the church in Galatia:
Galatians 5:13-15 (NIV), “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”

How do we remedy this sickness in the body of Christ? First, love one another! I hear you saying, “but they are so mean…they have body odor…they said this about me…etc.” So what! Love is a choice, not a feeling. The choice can bring great feelings, true, but love is not just an emotion, if it was God wouldn’t have commanded us to love. Love is an action, it’s the way we think about, and the way we treat others. We need to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. We need to not get easily offended. It’s not an option. How can we win others to Christ when we are busy destroying unity in the body? Proverbs tells us only a foolish woman tears her own house down.
Next, we need to be led by the Holy Spirit. He is the one who “shed’s abroad” the love of God in our hearts. That’s how I can still love the person who tried to stir up division in our church, the very one who has lied about me.

Galatians 5 continues on with this:
Galatians 5:16, 22-25 (NLT), “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves…But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

We all love hearing about the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s how we expect people to behave, how we want them to treat us, looking at the world and judging them by their lack of fruit. But, Paul was talking to Christians, to us. Taking it in context of how it was written, he is correcting their treatment of one another!

Another thing I have learned over the years is that the best way to get over an issue you have with someone is to pray for them. Not a “God get ‘em” prayer, but really intercede for them. Ask God to forgive them, pray for their well being, and bless them. You may have to ask God to show you His heart for that person. I have had to ask the Father for His love when I couldn’t find any of my own. I still chose to love.

That is how I am still married after thirty years, why I still attend the same church after two splits, and why I continue to love and pray for those who despitefully use me. (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:28).

Take a look at your life, a real good look, and ask yourself “Am I His?”

Book Review for “King”-Christian Fantasy

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This was the third book in the trilogy, I loved them all. R.J. Larson is now one of my favorite fantasy writers, and she writes Christian fantasy. Her writing is not “cheesy” and everything faith based is all just part of a wonderfully woven story. Typical fantasy with swords, armies, good versus evil, some romance, and intrigue. I can recommend for teens up. No swearing or sexual content. There is violence and bloodshed. This book finishes up the story of the “Prophet”, the “Judge”, and now we have the “King.” All young adults used by the Infinite to bring about His will. Think Old Testament. 5+ stars for me and am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Truth?

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Psalm 25:5 (Darby Bible Translation), “Make me to walk in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

Psalm 12:6 (NIV), “And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.”

David wanted to walk in God’s truth. He understood that God’s word protects us and keeps us safe.

II Samuel 22:31 (English Standard Version), “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”

Samuel also points out that His word, His truth, is a shield for us.

So, you would think that all of God’s people, His chosen, His children would want His truth.

There was an Old Testament king, Ahab, who most of us know about. He was married to that great manipulator, and idolater, Jezebel. In II Chronicles and I Kings we read about this notorious king of Israel. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than any of his royal ancestors. At one point he is trying to convince Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, to go to war with him. Jehoshaphat agrees on one condition, he wanted Ahab to inquire of the Lord. Ahab gathers 400 false prophets who give him the wonderful, and fully false words, “go and you will be victorious.” Good King Jehoshaphat wants a true prophet of God.

Against his better judgment, Ahab calls for Micaiah, who he says always gives him bad news. When the messenger warns Micaiah to speak the same words as the false prophets his reply is sure.

II Chronicles 18:13-15 (NIV), “But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.” When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?” “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.” The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”

Notice Ahab, he is sitting with a righteous king, he has already admitted that Micaiah always gives him bad news, so he acts the righteous ruler and admonishes the prophet for lying. But, did he really want the truth.
No. Let’s take a look.

II Chronicles 18:16-27, (NIV), “Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’  ” the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?” Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “ ‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. “ ‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “ ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.” Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked. Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.” The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’ ” Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”

How do we know the word was from God? It comes to pass.

There are spirits that the enemy sends to deceive us. God allows one to work in Ahab’s life to help fulfill His own word earlier. They are more than ready to convince us that a lie is the truth. Our flesh is weak and our ears “tickle” to hear what we want to hear. We want to hear facts (the doctor’s report, the news report, the stock market report, the latest statistics) but do we really want to hear The Truth? Or are we like Ahab, putting on some self-righteous act, saying we want the truth, but scorning it when we hear it?
Worse yet, do we hear the truth, and not obey it? Notice that though Jehoshaphat asks for a prophet of God, and listens to the word, he still goes with Ahab into battle. He even allows Ahab to disguise himself as an average soldier while sending Jehoshaphat out in his royal robes. Ahab was killed that day by a random arrow, by the way. God, in His faithfulness to the promise He made David, spared Jehoshaphat when he cried out to Him during the battle. But on the way home, another prophet of God soundly rebuked him for going out to war with Ahab.

James 1:22 (NASB), “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

When Jesus is confronted by Pilate He told him that His whole purpose for coming into the world was to witness to the Truth.

John 18:37 (ESV), “Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.””

Are we like the philosophers of Pilate’s day, as well as our own, who say, “What is truth.” (James 18:38) Here is another common and popular saying, “Truth is relevant.” I want to know, “relevant to what?” Our own stinking thinking? Our whishy washy beliefs? How about our ever changing and changeable circumstances? I would like something a little more concrete, wouldn’t you? Then how about The Truth. Written by a God who cannot lie, a Truth that doesn’t look at “facts,” ignores the statistics and negative reports, the Truth that does not change, ever!

Give me that Truth.

Then once I have it, and continue to search it out, and listen to it when it comes through sound teaching, I pray that I have the courage to walk in it. To do what it says, what He says.

John 14:6 (KJB), “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Let’s follow Him.