CREATION REVEALS GODS GOODNESS

God created the heavens and earth.He created the earth not to be empty but inhabited full of life.God spoke and it came into being.The Word created all things.He was pleased with what He created and saw it was good.The finished product He said was very good. Why? When a artist paints,a writer composes or a craftsman makes it reveals a little about them. What God created revealed His nature.It came from the imagination of His heart.Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.Gods heart unlike mans is good and pure.God speaking out of His heart created the heavens and earth.By Him all things were created.It was good,pleasant,beautiful,excellent,delightful,precious and just right.How often have you looked at scenery and commented “Isn”t that beautiful?”.God is full of life and goodness.His glory is His goodness.His Word is the brightness of His glory.Jesus is the Word in flesh.When we look at creation on the earth and in the heavens we are struck with awe and wonder of its beauty and goodness.Remember it speaks of Him.What an awesome good God we have.
Gen.sky-earth-galaxy-universe1;Isa.45:18;Jn1:1-5,14;Heb.1;Col.1:15,16.

THE LAW OF GOD AND THE LOVE OF GOD.

cross_785x400-300x153 YOU CANNOT DECLARE THE LAW OF GOD WITHOUT THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE LOVE OF GOD.

Preachers often declare Gods Law pointing out right from wrong and the consequences.In some parts of the world we try to legislate right standards to deter us from evil doing and make us a better person or country.The Law is good but it doesn`t make us better,it shows us we fall short and fail.Even when we try to do good we don`t and what we don`t want to do we do.We need rescued from ourselves and then also there are the consequences for breaking the Law.The good news is there is hope.God loved us even while we failed Him and sent His Son Jesus Christ to take our punishment for breaking the Law..He gives us a new life.He forgives and rescues us when we turn to Him in faith.The Law is not and end in itself but it leads us to Christ,We need Him.Just to declare the Law of God without the demonstration of Gods love in Jesus is only half the truth.The love of God in Jesus gives us a new life with a new nature having a desire and power to obey and follow Gods ways. ROM.3-8 ; GAL.3.

THE LAYING ON OF HANDS

The `laying on of hands` in the Bible was an act to impart something from one to another.In my part of the world to `lay hands on someone` meant giving them a `hiding`,beating them up and doing harm.Thankfully in the Bible it has a different use. Here are some examples outlining the purpose for the`laying on of hands`.

1.To place the sins of the people on to the sacrifice offering.Aaron laid both hands on the head of the live goat,confessing over it all the sins of the people,putting them on the head of the goat.LEV.16:21,22.The burnt offering would be accepted as an atonement for the people.LEV.1:1-5.This foreshadowed Jesus who came and God laid on Him our sin-He became the sacrifice for the sins of the world taking the punishment we deserved.ISA.53:4-6 ; HEB.9;10.

2.To confer a blessing.Jacob laid his hands on the sons of Joseph and blessed them.The firstborn who usually received the greater blessing was blessed with the right hand. GEN.48:14. Aaron lifted his hand towards the people and blessed them.LEV.9:22. Jesus laid His right hand on John blessing him with encouragement and strength. REV.1:17 ; ISA.41:10 .Jesus led His disciples out as far as Bethlehem lifted up His hand and blessed them. LUKE24:50. Jesus laid hands on little children,prayed and blessed them. MATT.19:13-15 ; MARK10:13-16.

3.For the healing of the sick. Jesus laid hands on everyone of them and healed them.LK.4;40 ; 13;13. These signs will follow those who believe….they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.MARK16:17,18. Through the hands of the Apostle smany signs and wonders were done among the people Saul received his sight when Ananias laid hands on him. ACTS9:17 Continue reading THE LAYING ON OF HANDS

WORSHIP FLOWS FROM A LOVE RELATIONSHIP.

worshipIn my late teens speaking to a church group in Tilbury, East London I remember outlining valid ways in which to express praise and worship to God.I gave Biblical examples of singing,shouting,clapping,lifting hands,playing musical instruments,bowing,dancing and leaping for joy.Afterwards an elderly woman approached me and commented,`Son it was good to hear Scriptural encouragement to express praise God in various ways but….` and I waited for the `but`….she continued`when you are in love with Jesus you will automatically express praise to God in those varying ways anyway.`It hit me ! I was trying to encourage and justify ways to express praise to God.I learned a lesson not to forget `Worship flows from a love relationship`.You do not have to encourage or prompt `the Kop` at Anfield to sing,shout and clap for Liverpool.The fans do it because they are passionate about football and their team.When you fall in love with someone you want to be in their presence,praise and show acts of kindness towards them.No wonder Jesus taught that the greatest and most important commandment is `to love God with all your heart,soul and mind and to love others` Matt.22:37-40 Deut.6:5 Acts of worship are to be carried out from a heart of desire and not out of duty.Believe in Jesus?The love of God has been poured into your heart. Rom.5:5. Love Him passionately and a life of worship will follow.Worship flows from a love relationship not a routine ritual.It is easy to respond to the love of someone and God loves you with an unmeasurable , unending and unmerited love.I love Him because He first loved me. 1John4:19. Jesus desires His people to open up their hearts and have fellowship with Him. Rev.3:20 ; John14:23 In a husband and wife relationship there are planned times to be alone together and to show affection but those spontaneous intimate moments are even more special.So too in our love relationship with God there is both a place for planned and spontaneous worship.It is not about our performance but our passsionate love for Him.He is the centre of our affections.Delight in the Lord.

GROWING UP TO BE MATURE

growing-upWhen God created mankind He saw that it was good.Man soon however turned from God to Satan and sin.Creation fell but God out of love purposed in His heart to redeem and restore man.He made a New Covenant to establish a New Creation-a chosen people for Himself who would populate a New heaven and earth.Those who turn from Satan and sin to faith in Jesus Christ Gods Son are `born again`.Old things pass away and all becomes new-they are a New Creation.As with new born babes who grow up into maturity so too believers are to grow up.Gods intent is that as individual believers and corporately as His people we become like Jesus Christ mature filled with His fulness.These series of blogs look at that journey or process.

WHO ARE PROPHETS?

trumpet_callIn the past God spoke to His people through prophets at various times and in various ways. HEB.1:1. Three Hebrew words are used of the `PROPHET`. `Nabi` translated `prophet` means `to flow,boil up or over ; bubble or pour forth words,to gush.` EX.7:1-2 ; PROV.15:28.`One who calls`(to men in the name of God) The prophet receives from God and cannot but speak out what he has received. AMOS3:7,8. `Roeh` translated `seer` means `one who receives visions,one who inquires of and hears God` 1AM.9:9. The prophet sees into the heart of God and God reveals His intentions and purposes. ISA.29:10. `Hozeh` translated either `prophet` or `seer`. The Greek word for `prophet` is `prophetes` (pro-forth,phemi-to speak)means one who speaks forth or openly the mind and counsel of God.To receive and communicate an immediate message of God.
Prophets receive a definite call from God and are sent by Him.The Lord called Samuel. 1SAM.3:4. God sent Isaiah and Ezekiel. ISA.6 ; EZEK.2;1-3. To Amos the Lord said`Go prophecy to My people. AMOS 7:14,15. God sent Haggai and the people feared the presence of God.HAG.1:12.Prophets do not set themselves up nor are they called by men. Jeremiah was set apart even before he was born to be Gods prophet. JER.1:5.The prophetic ministry is not received by inheritance. Amos-`I was no prophet nor was I the son of a prophet but I was a sheepbreeder` AMOS7:14 …`Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock…` AMOS7:15. God initiates the prophets call and gives them His Word.The prophet does not receive the message or prophecy by studying but receives it from God.The Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. The Lord put His words in his mouth.God gave him revelation. JER.1:2,4,9,11. The word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel.He saw,heard,the Spirit entered and he was sent. EZEK.1:3 ; 2:1-3.Prophets were often called while worshipping and in communion with God.Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli.1SAM.3:1. Isaiah saw the Lord…ISA6. Ezekiel saw visions of God. EZEK.1:1.
Prophets are friends of God.They have a real relationship and God shares His heart with them.Enoch prophecied.He walked with God and had a personal intimate relationship with Him. JUDE14 ; GEN.5:22.Abraham Friend of God and prophet. GEN.20:7 ; 2CHRON.20:7 ; JAS.2:23.Moses speaks face to face to God like to a friend. EX.33:11.God reveals His secrets to His prophets. AMOS3:7 Reveals His plan (sodh) a word used of friends sharing secrets. JER.23:21,22. PSA.55:13,14 My companion my close friend we took sweet counsel (sodh) together s we walk with the throng to the house of God.Prophets are `servants `DEUT.18:15 ; 34:10 ; NUM.12:6-8; AMOS3:7.They saw their own weakness and were totally dependant on God. EX.3:11 ; 4:1,10 ; JER.1:6,7 ; 17:5-7.
In these last days God has spoken to us through His Son Jesus Christ the Word in flesh. HEB.1:2. Jesus Christ has given to His people – the Church – gifts who include PROPHETS. EPHES.4:7,11-13.These ministries are given to equip us for the work of the ministry and to build us up until we come to unity of the faith and mature.The gift of prophecy given by the Holy Spirit is for edification,exhortation and comfort. 1COR.14:3. This is different from preaching in that prophecy is a specfic word. from the Lord to teach,encourage and comfort believers. Preaching on the other hand is `to announce good news,to declare a particular message of god tidings`.1COR.9:16 Eg. Proclaiming the Gospel primarily addressing unbelievers.
While all believers are encouraged to desire spiritual gifts especially prophecy not all are prophets. 1COR.14.The prophet is the gift given by Christ for the Church EPHES.4:7,11.The person is the gift.The gift of prophecy is a gift given by the Holy Spirit to the believer for edifying others.Just as all are not called to be Evangelists preparing Gods people for service but all believers are called to be a witness for Christ. MK16:15,16 ; ACTS1;8.Christ sets apart certain people as pastor/teachers but each believer is also to `teach and admonish one another` COL.3:16 ; ROM.15;14.

IS IT GODS WILL FOR BELIEVERS TO PROSPER?

Prospering wisely

Many today question – Is it Gods will for us as believers to prosper not only spiritually but physically and materially? The word `prosper` means `well-being,success,thrive and fulness.` The Greek word – Euodoo means `to help on ones way.(eu:well ;hodes:a way or journey).Is it Gods will for us to have well-being,succeed and have help on ones way through life? YES.

1.God blessed Abraham GEN.24:35 and Isaac who became very prosperous. GEN.26:12-14.

2.The Lord made all he (Joseph) did to prosper in his hand. GEN.39:3

3.It was God who gave Israel power to get wealth that He may establish His covenant .DEUT.8:18. God promised His people under the  Old Covenant that if they obeyed His voice blessings would overtake them-these included physical and material things.DEUT.28:1-14.

4.The blessing of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow.PROV.10:22.Many ungodly prosper and gain wealth but have sorrow,discontentment,unsatisfied,emptiness or never have enough.Those who enjoy prosperity as a fruit of the blessing of the Lord are content and joyful.Some try to spiritualize this verse claiming `rich` refers to `spiritual riches`.However when you look at how God blessed Abraham,Isaac,Joseph and Israel as examples note they prospered physically and materially too.

5.When one meditates on Gods law they will be like a tree which brings forth fruit,whose leaf doesn`t wither and whatever he does prospers. PSA.1:2-3.

6.John writes…I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health just as your soul prospers. 3JN2.With all your heart,mind and soul love God. DEUT.6:24,25.Seek and set your heart on God,captivating your thoughts.Prosperity is the reward of the righteous.He who pursues righteousness and love finds life,prosperity and honour. PROV.21:21.Whoever takes heed to instruction prospers.PROV.16:20 Wisdom-cause those who love me to inherit wealth.PROV.8:21.When one meditates/delights on Gods Word allowing it to govern how they run their finances,acting on it and confessing it prosperity follows. The world says GET God says GIVE.It was said of King Hezekiah-in everything that he undertook in Gods service and in obedience to the Law and the commands,he sought his God and worked wholeheartly.And so he prospered. 2CHRON.31:21.

7.Do not worry about food and clothes.Seek first the Kingdom of God and ALL these things will be added unto you. LUKE12:22-31.God will give you all you need to be victorious to prosper,help on your way…He did not spare His own Son shall He not with Him freely give us all things? ROM.8:31-32,37.

8.Gods desire is that all His people have their needs met and not in poverty-with lack,weak and insufficient.The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want (lack). PSA.23:1 The Lord is a sun and shield.The Lord will give grace and glory.No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. PSA.84:11. …I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed begging for bread. PSA.37:25.It is good and fitting for a man to eat and drink,and enjoy all the good of his labour….as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth and given the power to eat of it….this is the gift of God. ECCLES.5:18,19.

Is prosperity your God?

There is a danger when you prosper and live well that possessions become your god.The `Blesser` is exchanged for the `Blessings`.Prosperous living should not become our god.When God promised blessings to Israel as they obeyed Him He laid the foundation of their relationship-love.They were to love God with all their heart,mind and soul.Have no other gods.The same applies to us today .DEUT.6:5 ;MATT.22:37,38 ; EX.20:2,3. When things are going well don`t forget God. DEUT.8:10,11. God will meet our needs therefore don`t worry BUT seek First the Kingdom of God. MATT.6:33.Money itself is not evil but the love of money is the root of all evil. 1TIM.6:10. You cannot serve God and money. LUKE16:13. A persons attitude to riches can hinder them entering Gods Kingdom .Eg. The rich young ruler was unwilling to sell all for Christ and to give to the poor. LK18:18-30.Beware of covetousness for life doesn`t consist in the abundance of things. LK12:15 .Do not weary yourself to gain wealth. Cease from your consideration of it-wealth makes itself like an eagle with wings flies towards heaven. PROV.23:4,5.Often the more you have the more you want-you never seem to have enough .Israel having been blessed by God and restored to their own land ignored the House of God.Instead they were busy building their own homes.The prophet Haggai pointed out that they earned wages to put into a bag of holes-they never had enough.HAG.1:3-11.Always put God first and continue to even when you are prospering.

GIVE ME NEITHER POVERTY OR RICHES-FEED ME WITH THE FOOD ALLOTTED TO ME;LEST I BE FULL AND DENY YOU,AND SAY,`WHO IS THE LORD?`OR LEST I BE POOR AND STEAL,AND PROFANE THE NAME OF MY GOD.  PROV.30:8,9.

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