God Goggles

How often have we been in a situation or trial and we feel we can not “see” the way out? It is because we are not “seeing” with Gods eyes.

We feel that that obstacle is a mountain, so big so impossible to get over. When God sees it as a pebble. Easy to be moved.

A doctor tell us that we have a disease and all we see is, “no one ever is healed from this”. Yet, God sees the healing.

How often we see chaos in our world and become worried. We feel it is hopeless. We say, “Lord come quickly” Yet, God is saying “no I want to use you in this chaotic world”.

We need to put on our “God Goggles”. Then we will be able to see clearly. See, as He sees. God has plans for us. We go through those things for reasons and we need to ask to see why or to give us the patience through it. As we draw near to God He offers clarity to life problems and obstacles. As we read His word we also get confirmation as to what we should or shouldn’t’ do. This is “seeing with Gods eyes” as well.

When someone is harassing us, if we have our “God goggles” on, we see that it is not the person who is attacking us but our enemy, Satan. He(Satan) tries to use people to cause confusion and chaos. Not only does he do this through close friends and family, but co-workers, people of other faiths, cultures, and governments.

If we, Christians, are looking at our obstacles, trials, pains and the chaos in our life….we are NOT looking at Christ. If we are not looking at Christ, we are not overcoming, we are not glorifying God, we are not being used by God.

If we are “walking in the spirit” as we read in scripture, then we are understanding the ways of God. We are seeing things differently.

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, ……..Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; ……. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

1 John 4:2,4,5,6 

His Spirit helps us to “see clearly”, to see who the real enemy is, and when someone wrongs us we can forgive. We, “see clearly” because we know who is at work. It is not the person that has wronged us that is at blame, but our enemy, Satan.

When “things go wrong” we know who(God) to run to, and that He has a plan. We see the obstacle is not TOO big for our big God. We remember that we can overcome anything, or we can get through whatever “it” is, because we know God. And more importantly we can have peace through the trial that we face.

Lets be reminded to put our GOD GOGGLES on and remember that..

“… you are from God….. for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4

Hebrew 12

I have been reading the book of Hebrews the last few weeks. Every once in a while I will post on twitter short thoughts and excerpts from the book. I have previously completed some thoughts on a earlier chapter in Hebrews. On completing chapter 12 of Hebrews I wanted to share some thoughts and things that stuck out to me.

Chapter 12 is right after the Faith Chapter. A chapter in which we read about all the faithful that have come before us. Such an encouraging chapter because we see people from all walks of life who have followed God, who were called of God, and who did amazing things for God. Though all have fallen short (all have sinned) they were still considered faithful or righteous by their actions and words and deeds. God wanted to use such men and women.

So lets dig into chapter 12

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

This is an amazing passage. I am sure we have all heard it more than a handful of times. It is encouraging to know that those who have gone before us have stumbled, fell, were not perfect and yet, they endured and are now a part of the “hall of fame” of the saints. This passage is telling us, “Endure. Run the race. Don’t grow weary. They persevered. You can too!.” Talk about a verse that cheers you on in your walk with God and in life. IF there was ever a more positive encouraging verse it is this one.

“…look to Jesus” When we fix our eyes on Him, we see victory. Often times we take our eyes off of the Lord, and it is in that moment that we fail God. But, what God seen in the cloud of witnesses is their heart, Their repentive heart after they failed Him. They turned back to Him and victory came. Always.

And now is “seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” So if God is for us we know we have victory over this sin that tries to cling so closely” to us. Sin that tells us, “You can’t, you have to stay where you are. You will never get rid of this sin.” This verse says, because the saints before have overcome, how much more can you, because of what Christ Jesus endured on your behalf. They saints before could only look forward to what Jesus would accomplish, but since Jesus has come and was victorious, we can look at our struggles and sin and know, without a shadow of a doubt. that we can overcome.

3” Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
    nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

We see here that because Christ endured an excruciating death upon the cross, we are able to live. It is a humbling thing to know and to grasp. When we realize this as a follower of Christ, what it cost Him, we see clearly. We see that our life is truly not our own. But a life that should be surrendered completely to Him. Our body, this temple, our life, my past, presence and future now belongs to Him. We may think what we are enduring is a lot. However, when we compare it to what Christ endured, on our behalf, not just for me but, all who would believe, it is nothing in comparison to our struggle. Not only is it nothing in comparison, but it should humble us. He, God, loved us so much to do such a thing. Sending His Son for OUR sacrifice of OUR sin. Not only does He die for us and rise from the dead but He goes further and disciplines us when we stray. Guiding our footsteps to follow Him.

7” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

If we have a good earthly father, we know now as adults, that he tried his best to better you. By disciplining us he teaches us what is right and wrong so that we could make the right decisions that would lead to life and life everlasting. All the while, equipping us to lead others to Him. When we are not living pleasing lives for God our testimony and witness is ruined. So, God disciplines us. He leads us to the right path. This path is not easy. This path has scoffers. This path can “feel” lonely. Especially, if those who are close to you do not understand the ways of the Lord. The path is narrow, but God is our guide, because eternity is at stake. If we continue down a path of rebellion, a path that is wide, not only are we heading to hell but we may be leading others there too. Therefore, He discipline us for our Good. These moments of discipline can seem horrible but but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness”

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

There is a lot here, in this portions of scripture. The first part is saying that we need to stay focused. Stay the course. You may have felt like it is has been a stumble after stumble but, look up! Staying on the path of life there will be healing. It will not be this tough all the time.

Then the passage shifts from our personal walk to our walk with others. IF we are loving God we will love others. It seems simple to say. But, i know it is difficult to forgive and love others as Christ forgave us and loved us. Our flesh wants to get in the way. Our flesh wants our own way. When we get hurt, we cling to it and want others to feel sorry for us. Sympathize with us. But we are called to forgive  and love. If Christ dwells in us then His love abides in us. Yet , we do have to continually submit our lives to the Lord for us to demonstrate that daily.

Unforgiveness causes bitterness. We have to remember that God forgave us so we too must…i say must, forgive others. No matter if they cursed you, hurt you, divorced you, lied to you, gossiped about you, or worse and unspeakable things. We. Must. Forgive.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” Matthew 6:14-15

Moving on…

18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly[a] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

When I first read this I thought, how poetic. When talking to a friend about it they told me it was the scene from the old testament when the law was being given to the people. So of course I reread it again and again. This is important to us because no longer do we live under the law. The law is written on our hearts now. And by Jesus sacrifice, death and resurrection, we can have access to our heavenly Father for help in every day life. He sent the Comforter to guide us in being Holy. Before it was all works that kept us “holy”. It was all our works. And we could not keep the law. Not on our own. We failed. But now that Jesus came and overcame, it is His grace that covers us. He, Jesus, did all the work.

25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Recently, I have been studying Revelation for my Sunday School class I teach. So what this passage in Hebrews could be saying, One day all this, all that we know here on earth will be consumed by fire. But our hope is in Him. The one who sent His son for our sins. Our Hope is in Him, the One who has redeemed and rescued us. Our Hope is in Him, the One who has offered us life and life abundantly. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…”

How more important for us to share this message with the lost world. Not all will believe this message, some will, some it will take longer before they will believe. But, share the message we must and never give up on sharing the message. Not only sharing it but teaching truth. Discipling others so that they may be rooted in Him.

Knowing truth will set one free. Knowing Christ, His death and resurrection and hope of a life with Him will give us freedom that we have never known.

Our God IS a consuming fire..and we must always remember that. To remember for us to keep our hearts in check and to remember He is returning one day. Because He is returning one day, we must be ready. And share we must the hope we have in Christ with others.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Just as they testified as what the Lord did in their lives let us  do the same. Let us be a “witness” of the Lord Jesus, what he has done in our lives. And what he can do in theirs!

Signs and Wonders

Why do we tear each other a part? If we are preaching Jesus is the Only way of salvation then we are preaching the Good News. So you don’t agree the spiritual gifts are for today ? It Doesn’t matter, people are being reached through these gifts. We should care about their soul. Not debating if signs and wonders are for today . 

Did God leave us unequipped? Are we only to preach scripture? Is that our only way to reach people? As I recall some need “signs and wonders”. The Jews did. Jesus said this, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” John 4:48
Yes, he was speaking to the Jewish people. But are we any different from the Jewish people? How many of us have said, “if I see it then I’ll believe it”? We are no different from them. That’s why God still uses signs and wonders to reach his people.

Sure I know the argument “the gifts were only given to the disciples to get the church started”. But, there are still people out there who have not heard. People who still need to see with signs and wonders. People who are a part of a world where satanic forces use signs and wonders themselves.

So, why would God not equip us for such things too?

I know Pentecostals get the bad rap about speaking in tongues. I know charismatic have abused some of the gifts of the Spirit. And therefore so many are burned by anything that has to do with the gifts of the Spirit. But that doesn’t mean God doesn’t still use those things to reach a world that seeks them.

You look at all the movies that are being made. So many of them are Supernatural, Heroes, super powers. Why? Because many seek those things. Thet seek something greater and miraculous to change their world. Not that the gospel or the good news doesn’t change our world. Obviously what Jesus did on the cross shook the world. But Jesus himself even performed these miracles. He knew the heart of his people not only Israel, but the heart of the world.
 I know it may be difficult for us who believed by hearing, but some people need more.  “Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29. This is talking about us who have seen, not with our physical eyes, but with our spiritual eyes and still believe.
If you have been burned by an abuse of the gifts or you are part of a chirch that says they are not for today, I would encourage you to see God fervently about these things. Seek him about the gifts of the Spirit. Don’t write him off as something that is demonic. Jesus said something about this:

In conclusion, there are still those out there who have to see with wonders and with signs. Words of knowledge, healings, speaking in tongues Etc.  God knows this. He is willing to do whatever it takes to reach many. If it’s through signs and wonders then who are we to deny His moving? If we deny these works then we are blaspheming the Holy Spirit. We know they are real if people are confessing Christ.