Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seeing the invisible

Scripture Read: The Book of Esther

Application: We have just spent two months meditating on the book of Esther. We could spend many, many more and still not exhaust the life lessons that fill it. This book is one of the strong evidences that the Word of God was produced and brought together by God Himself. What man trying to write a book claiming it to be from God would place in it a story where God never is named or mentioned? God has no need or ego to try and prove Himself. He is! Just because we cannot see Him does not mean He is not there, perhaps we are refusing to really look. God’s fingerprints and footprints are all through the book of Esther. As we end this meditation it is good to think through some of the bigger issues that God’s Word brings forth:

We need to understand God's relation to His universe:

1.  Creation - How it came to be – it was not a cosmic gas that produced one giant accident – God designed it in detail – like an artist – even in abstract art, a great artist does not accidently spill his paint. It is planned and developed in the mind of the artist. So it is with our world – God, the Supreme artist enjoyed Himself with the canvas of the universe. No one has ever been more creative, funny, beautiful and precise in their art.

2.  Preservation - How it continues – God sustains it all, even if we do not see Him doing it. Just as in Esther, He moves behind the scenes. We need not fear an ending life on earth, that will be controlled by the Sustainer of all things. Remember also, God does open Himself up to those that seek His help.

3.  Providence - Where it is going and how will it get there. People doubt God because of evil in the world. They mistake His gift of free will as disinterest. If I were God I would never have allowed the choice – therefore there would be no evil, there would be no sin AND there would be no creation that by their own volition could choose to return and experience the richness of a relationship founded in choice. I would only have robots that tell me they love me because that is all they can do! God is God, only He is powerful enough to allow that freedom even though the stench and destruction of sin sickens Him. God’s providence is shown in two ways:

(a) Active: God intervenes directly; Joshua's long day is an example. The greatest though is Christ. We could not save ourselves from sin, so God Himself took on flesh and paid the price of the penalty of sin in full! He leaves to us only to accept or reject, we cannot add to or take away from the sacrifice.

 (b) Passive: God allows and manipulates; Joseph is a good example: His brothers sell him as a slave; he rises to greatness in Egypt; a famine hits Israel; his brothers are sent to buy food and learn that he is alive; he saves God's nation. {Gen 45:4-8}  Later after Jacob's death his brothers thought Joseph might change his mind, but he makes it clear Who was behind all this {Gen 50:15-20}

Micah 5:2 - Luke 2:1-6 – The Place of Christ's birth – God used a census to accomplish His will.

Is this important and if so why? – Answer: No, I just ran out of things to write about! LOL :)

Just consider this:

A. There are no accidents, that’s blind faith or trusting in fate. God’s providence gives purpose to and in everything.

B. This will really open your spiritual eyes:
(1) You will see God behind the scenes: John 19:10-11
(2) You will see that everything does work to good Rom 8:28-29 – If we
love GodHe will work all the circumstances toward what He considers
good. This includes our failures.
(3) You will experience true growth in your trust (faith) in Him. You will 
see everything has a purpose. Understanding it is not the issue,  
accepting it and thanking God for it is!  Thanksgiving is evidence of real 
trust (1 Thess 5:15-18)  (Heb 12:2) (Ecc 3:1-8)

Father, thank You for this wonderful book. I pray that we will continue to take the lessons from it and apply it into our lives.

Tomorrow I am starting 1 Timothy. I try to post one each day, but sometimes due to ministry I do not get to the internet. I am seeking only to encourage all of us to take a pause each day and spend some time with the Lover of our soul. God Bless. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trusting Circumstances. NOT!

Scripture Read: Esther 10:1-3 Now King Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land and on the coastlands of the sea. 2 And all the accomplishments of his authority and strength, and the full account of the greatness of Mordecai to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation.

Application: This last, though very short chapter shows an important lesson that is repeated consistently throughout scripture. God controls everything, and everything happens within His timing. That does not mean He makes all things happen. This is about His Sovereignty. Though things change for us, God does not nor do His decrees. The King becomes heavy handed with the people (though this was common among the monarchies.) Notice though, the King has not changed what he decreed for the Jews or Mordecai. You were behind that Lord! Mordecai was now the second highest-ranking person in the Kingdom! Too many of us become focused on the circumstances we are in and depend on what we see to secure our safety, position or well-being. Mordecai kept his eyes focused on You Lord and You sustained Him. 
The lesson I see the Scripture teaches here, is to depend wholly on You Lord and You will be the One that secures us a future and a hope. If we refuse to see our individual situation as controlled by outward circumstances and hold our faith in You, even if we do not see You Lord, instead believe our situation is completely under Your control no matter what is happening all around us and trust You, we will see You move in a mighty way as You did with Mordecai. The Scriptures are replete with examples of this truth! Noah, Abraham, Lot, Joseph, even stubborn Jonah was protected by You when he deserved punishment. If we know from Your Word we will experience Your grace and mercy, even when we are resistant to Your direction, how much more should we be a peace in the midst of any storm when we know we are submitted fully to Your guidance? Our environment may become hostile and circumstances around us may be disastrous, but like Mordecai, if we are faithful to You we will be sustained and even raised up by You. Father, this is such an important lesson! Keep our eyes on You, not the circumstances of our life.

Meditation Questions: Do you have to see God to trust Him? What does that say? So many teach signs today – is that what scripture encourages us to walk by? Sight? God’s methods change, so when we say He does not change what do we mean? Why is it important that we can count on God? Has He ever let you down? If No, what does that say? If yes, how? Have you talked to Him about that? Do you think He is open to that?

Monday, October 17, 2011

What goes around does more than come around, it can consume

Scripture Read: Esther 9:24-32 For Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the adversary of all the Jews, had schemed against the Jews to destroy them and had cast Pur, that is the lot, to disturb them and destroy them. 25 But when it came to the king’s attention, he commanded by letter that his wicked scheme which he had devised against the Jews, should return on his own head and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. And because of the instructions in this letter, both what they had seen in this regard and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and made a custom for themselves and for their descendants and for all those who allied themselves with them, so that they would not fail to celebrate these two days according to their regulation and according to their appointed time annually. 28 So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants. 29 Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 He sent letters to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, namely, words of peace and truth, 31 to establish these days of Purim at their appointed times, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established for them, and just as they had established for themselves and for their descendants with instructions for their times of fasting and their lamentations. 32 The command of Esther established these customs for Purim, and it was written in the book.
Application: Here is the ultimate insult in “the Haman principle”. Haman planned to see all evidence of the Jews disappear from the face of the earth. Not only did this not happen, not only did this evil plan end up consuming Haman and his entire family, but now, all the future generations of Jews will celebrate a feast that recognizes Haman’s destruction and God’s deliverance as well! This is a feast that is celebrated to this day. Though Haman is now dust, his soul awaiting judgment from the very God he had apposed. Therefore we need to consider some basic truths as we encounter this section of Your Word Lord. First, the world always tries to paint You as the big bad God with the lightening bolt, when time after time they forget, You have extended mercy over and over to any that would ask for it. Haman pursued evil and refused to turn from his evil. You are a God of justice, who makes it clear, if evil is what we insist on, then evil is what we will reap. Second,  we need to understand our entire world, is headed toward “the Haman principle”. You have extended Your hand of mercy; through the offer of forgiveness, which You supplied through the sacrifice of Your son. All are welcome to turn from their sin, self righteousness, independence, rebellion or whatever particular way of life they have that rejects You as Creator and God. Churchianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hindu, Atheist, Satanist – all of them, and all others are welcome to turn from destruction and embrace eternal life in Christ. The world is working to destroy any presence of You Lord, but in the end it will experience “the Haman principle”. Help us to love all we know toward Christ! If they are willing, You will love them into an eternal family.

Meditation Questions: Do you believe in the end evil you meant for others will come back on you? How should that impact us? Do you believe that those that have done evil to you really did not get away with anything? How should that impact us? When you look at people that come in and out of your life everyday, do you consider their eternal condition? How should that impact us? How did you come to know Jesus Christ? Have you?