God’s Love And His Anger

On July 8, 1741, Jonathan Edwards delivered his famous sermon entitled, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.” The message was given in Enfield, Connecticut at the height of the Great Awakening. The powerful imagery of hell invoked fear.

The text was Deuteronomy 32:35, “Their foot shall slip in due time.” God was angry with the Israelites who had forsaken Him and provoked Him to anger with their worship of demons and other gods. Over and over He had been their Rock, their provider and their deliverer but they turned away from His love and now He was angry with their rebellion.

The message was meant to make people think seriously about their eternal destination. He wanted sinners to realize that someday they will be judged by God, whose judgement will be more fearful and painful than they can comprehend. Graphic descriptions and vivid imagery enhanced the themes presented. A short summary of some of the main points were;

1. Unrepentant sinners face a fearful judgement from which there is no escape
2. Time is short for the unrepentant; God’s wrath will come suddenly and unexpectedly
3. It is only God’s free choice that extends the ‘day of mercy’ and provides another opportunity to respond to His call.
4. Although there are not visible means of death before them at the moment the wicked should not feel secure.
5. All that wicked men may do to save themselves will not save them from the pain of hell if they reject Christ.
6. God has never promised to save anyone from hell, except for the provision of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross.

His words were meant to condemn the sin in those who were unrepentant and to shake the “fence sitters” out of their complacency. People responded in various ways. Many times the sermon was interrupted as listeners were moaning and crying out, “What must I do to be saved?” Some fled the church and others screamed and nearly fainted! He scared the hell out of a lot of people!! Some repented, believed and received Christ.

Most of the time we want to think of God as all loving, giving and kind. And He is! Scripture says God is Love, that’s His very nature, but He created us with a will, we are not robots. We can exercise our will to love Him and live a life pleasing to Him or we can turn our backs on Him and follow everything that is pleasing to us. We always have a choice.

When we choose our way, He still shows us His love and stands with arms extended, calling us back to Him as He did with Israel. Unfortunately many people reject His call and decide to go their own way. They think they can do it their way and it will be accepted. God says our righteousness is like filthy rags. We can never be good enough or do enough good deeds to cover our sins.

God created us as eternal beings which means, each person will live forever. We were made with a body, soul and spirit. Our body of flesh and blood will die but our soul and spirit will always live somewhere in eternity! God has provided two places for us to live; heaven or hell. There is no third choice! There is no waiting place where we can buy more time to be made ready for heaven!

Two choices;  #1. Heaven, in the place Jesus has prepared for us, to be with Him forever, in the presence of our Father and His angels,  and #2. Hell (the lake of fire) which is prepared for the devil and his demons but where unrepentant sinners will be sent after they face Almighty God! In his book,”Beyond the Cosmos” Hugh Ross says, “The lake of fire is a place where people and demons get what they want above anything else: freedom from the will and rule of God and freedom from the restraints of conscience.”

Jesus told the disciples, don’t worry about the persecution you will encounter as you witness for Me. “Don’t fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;…” Proverbs 1:7 “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.”

Hell is a real place! It’s a place of torment from which there is no escape once you are there! In parables and stories Jesus spoke of people being  sent to a place of outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The book of Revelation speaks of fire and brimstone as the final end of those who refuse God’s offer of salvation. Those who accept the world’s system will be tormented with fire and brimstone with the smoke of their torment ascending forever. Revelation 14:9-11

Today is the day of salvation! James 4:13-14 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will…’  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.” Hebrews 2 (paraphrased) “We must pay attention to what we’ve heard. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Jesus came to deliver us.” Hebrews 3 and 4, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Jesus, the sinless Son of God, came from heaven to earth, took on human flesh, lived as a man, was crucified as the Lamb, sacrificed for the sins of all mankind. The blood of Jesus, now cleanses from sin and saves all who receive Him as their Savior. Romans 10:9-13 (paraphrased) “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart… the word of faith…  if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.”

“For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation… Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed… Whoever will call upon the Name of Jesus will be saved.” John 3:16 “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

My friend, what about your soul? Will you spend eternity in heaven or hell? The decision is yours! Do not wait, you may not have another time! Christ stands at the door of your heart but you must open the door! Can you say the words from the hymn by Horatio G Spafford, “It is well with my soul!  – My sin – oh, the bliss of this glorious thought – my sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.”

Today is the day! There is no guarantee of tomorrow!

 

 

 

The People Who Know Their God!

Daniel 11:32 “The people who know their God will display strength  and take action (do exploits for God.) Daniel was talking about bad things that are going to happen, evil and wickedness will seem to be winning, but in the midst of it there will be people who will know their God, the true God, the Lord of heaven and earth and they will stand strong!

As we look at the world and we listen to the news we could feel sick. Because of the Media we are more aware of everything that is happening around the world and it does not look very promising! We need to know God in order to stand strong! I need to trust Him in every area of my life.

In my quiet time one day a familiar story in Mark 8 caught my attention. The disciples & Jesus were in a boat, crossing the lake when the disciples expressed concern that they had forgotten to bring food & had only one loaf of bread with them. Jesus said to them, “Why are you arguing about having no bread?”

“How is it that you do not understand? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? Having eyes do you not see? And having ears do you not hear? Do you not remember? When I fed the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up? ” They answered “Twelve.”

And when I fed the 4000 with 7 loaves how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.” “Don’t you understand yet?” He asked. Mark 6:52 says they had not gained any insight from the miracle of the loaves, their hearts were too hardened.

Like the disciples we fail to trust Him many times and in much the same ways.We forget His provision in the past. They had forgotten the miracles. He reminded them, “When I fed the multitudes there was more than enough!”

We look at our resources to meet our need. We think we have to figure out how He will do it! We look at what we have   and do not see how He will be able to do anything with the small amount we possess. The disciples knew one loaf of bread was not enough. We know our limited resources are not enough.

We don’t trust Him when we do not know Him or believe His promises. The disciples didn’t fully understand who He was. He told them but they didn’t believe His words. We do not trust Him when we allow fear to invade our mind & heart. We are afraid He won’t come through for us. We aren’t sure He cares!

The disciples on the stormy sea woke Jesus up & said, “Don’t you care that we’re perishing? Do you know about our situation?” Overwhelmed & afraid, we don’t see any way out. Jesus said to them, “Why are you fearful? How is it you have no faith?” We can’t have fear and faith at the same time, they are not compatible!

Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man whose trust is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream & will not fear when the heat comes, but its leaves will be green. And it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”

Consider four basic ways we can have faith that counteracts the reasons we don’t trust Him.  1. We can live in faith when we look back & remember His past provision! We know He can do it again! Jesus said to the disciples, “Do you not remember?” He reminded them of what He had done before. We need to look back at His miraculous provision in the past.

2. We can live in faith by not looking at what we have in our hands and trying to figure out how God can possibly meet our needs from that. Adrian Rogers told a story of some humanitarians who were caring for some orphans after WW2.  Every night the boys were waking up with nightmares.

It was thought they had fears of an uncertain future, so every night they were fed a big meal and they were given a piece of bread to hold in their hands which would be their breakfast. Somehow, just holding the bread in their hands helped them sleep better. Jesus is our supplier, He’s our bread!

3. We can live in faith by spending time in prayer &  His Word every morning. We get to know Him & his promises. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing but in every thing by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. And the peace which surpasses comprehension will guard your hearts & minds in Christ Jesus.”

4. We can live in faith as we do not allow fear to stay in our mind & heart. 1 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power & love & a sound mind.” God is not surprised by the things that happen to us and He is able to work everything out.

Romans 8:28 says, ” God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We can have hope even when the world around us is falling apart because we know God will take everything in our lives, the good & the bad, and He will work them for our good when we love & trust Him.

In his book, “The Coming Economic Armageddon,” David Jeremiah tells a story about a man named Samuel S.Scull who lived on a farm in the Arizona desert. “One night a fierce storm struck with rain, hail & high wind. Fearing what he would find, Samuel went out at daybreak to survey the loss.

The hail had beaten the garden into the ground; the house was partially unroofed, the hen house was blown away and dead chickens were scattered around. Destruction & devastation were everywhere. While standing, evaluating the mess & wondering about the future, he heard a stirring in the lumber pile that was the remains of the hen house.

A rooster was climbing up through the debris and he didn’t stop until he had mounted the highest board in the pile. That old rooster was dripping wet & most of his feathers were blown away, but as the sun came over the eastern horizon, he flapped his bony wings and proudly crowed!

That old wet, bare rooster could still crow when he saw the morning sun. And like that rooster, our world may be falling apart, we may have lost everything, but if we trust in God, we’ll see the light of God’s goodness, pick ourselves out of the rubble, and sing the Lord’s praise!”

An old song by Ira Stamphill says, “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.”

“I don’t know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day, I don’t borrow from its sunshine, for it’s skies may turn to gray. I don’t worry o’er the future, For I know what Jesus said. And today I’ll walk beside Him, For He knows what is ahead.

I don’t know about tomorrow, it may bring me poverty, But the One Who feeds the sparrow is the One Who stands by me. And the path that be my portion may be through the flame or flood, but His presence goes before me, And I’m covered with His blood.”

Chorus  – “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand;                                                                 But I know Who holds tomorrow and I know Who holds my hand.”

People who know their God do not fear tomorrow, they know He has it in His control.

 

THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND THE BUMMER LAMB

I first learned about bummer lambs when I heard Sheila Walsh telling her story to Leon Fontaine on his TV show. Sheila grew up in Scotland and her mother did accounting for farmers and shepherds. Sheila saw spring lambs being born and loved being around the ewes and their lambs. Once in awhile a ewe would give birth to a lamb and reject it. She wouldn’t feed it or accept it in any way. These lambs were called, “bummer lambs”.

If the shepherd does not take the lamb it will die of a broken spirit. A good shepherd watching his flock finds the little lamb, takes it into his home, feeds it with a bottle and keeps it warm by the fireplace. Then once in awhile throughout each day, the shepherd carries it in his arms, close to his heart so the little lamb can hear and feel his heart beat.

As the lamb spends time with the shepherd it comes to know him and recognizes his voice. When the lamb is strong enough, the shepherd puts it back in the fold with the other sheep and whenever he goes out and stands on the end of the field and calls “Sheep, sheep, sheep!” the first to come running to him are the bummer lambs.

They know his voice and they run to him as soon as they hear him call. They are not loved more than the other sheep but they believe they are loved by him and they respond to his call. When Sheila was going through a very difficult time in her life she remembered the bummer lambs. She was reminded of the shepherd’s care for those little rejected lambs.

When she was little she was a daddy’s girl but when she was 5 years old his attitude toward her changed and she didn’t understand why. One day as she was sitting on the floor playing with her dog the little dog suddenly growled. She looked up to see her dad standing behind her with his cane raised, ready to bring it down on her skull.

The look of hate on his face haunted her for many years and caused her to think there was something wrong with her that caused him to hate her that much. She questioned her value as a human being. Because he fell down when she ran, she blamed herself for his aneurysm and resulting death.  She never voiced it but she tried to stuff it deep inside.

After some years of depression one day everything came to a head and she fell apart. She contacted a Psychologist friend and with his help she checked herself into a Psych ward. About 3 am. as she was sitting in the corner of the room holding onto a blanket she heard the door open. Because she was being watched she didn’t look up right away.

The man came and stood in front of her, so she looked up at him. She thought he was probably a doctor, going off duty, but afterwards she believed he was an angel. Looking at her, he placed in her hand a little stuffed toy, a tiny lamb, and he said to her, “Sheila, the Shepherd knows where to find you!” She remembered the bummer lambs.

In that moment she knew that the Lord, the good Shepherd was with her. She recalled some scriptures that she loved, “Nothing can separate us from God’s love.” “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Today she says, “I’ll always be a bummer lamb.” The bummer lamb is close to the Shepherd’s heart.

Many people have suffered rejection and somehow being rejected or abandoned by a parent hurts the most. We think parents are supposed to love their children but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it is not actually said in words but is expressed by abuse or neglect. Often our response to the hurt is not voiced but is something we carry inside.

This is not an uncommon problem. Some people who seem to have it altogether have been living with deep grief. I will mention two such people that I have heard recently tell of their own relationship with their father. Lee Strobel,  author of “The Case For Grace” told of his father’s words to him, “I don’t have enough love for you to fill my little finger.”

Alex McFarland, author of “The God You Thought You knew,”said that shortly before his father died, he looked at him and said, “You’re nothing to me but a big, dumb ape.” He went out in the dark backyard and sat on a swing. He felt like he wanted to die, like his life was futile. At that moment God spoke to his spirit, “Trust Me, you have value to Me.”

In my own life I have felt the hurt of rejection by my earthly father and I understand how devastating and far reaching the consequences of that can be but my feelings of self worth can not be tied to people or circumstances that change. Like Sheila, Lee and Alex I have heard the voice of the Lord, my Shepherd, telling me I am accepted by Him!

In John 10 we have some of the most precious statements Jesus made about Himself as our Shepherd. He said, “I am the door of the sheepfold” no one gets in except through Me. “I am the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.” I am the good shepherd and I know My own and My own know Me.”

“My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” As the good Shepherd, He goes out, looking for the bummer lambs, the lost, rejected and unloved lambs and He carries them close in His arms where they feel His beating heart.

Healing comes as the bummer lambs spend time with Jesus, our good Shepherd and we learn to know His voice. No one loves the bummer lambs like the Shepherd! Our acceptance is in Him, our worth and our value comes from His estimation of us. We are known intimately, loved deeply and greatly valued by Him.

I am a bummer lamb who wants to spend more time with Jesus, my Shepherd! I want to know His voice and follow Him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE REASON FOR MY HOPE

1 Peter 3:15 “- be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you -”

To begin with I must define  what is meant by the word “hope.” It is not talking about some wish for something which may or may not be a reality. It is not an unknown hope in an unknown future. The word used here means “a desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it.” I am expecting the good I hope for.

The first reason for my hope is that God is real. He is the creator of the Universe, the heavens above and the earth beneath. “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood  through what has been made-,” Rom 1:20

I believe that God made human beings, animals and every form of life. Without God, no living creature exists. Nothing just happened to come into existence by itself. God, the Master Designer created the world and now sustains the world. He keeps the sun and moon in their places and provides the air we breathe.

The second reason for my hope is that God speaks to people. He has always spoken since time began, in various ways. He spoke directly to people like Adam, Moses and Abraham as well as others. He also spoke indirectly through His prophets and others.

He also speaks through the Bible, written by men, at different times in history, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The Bible is the living Word of God. The message in it’s pages is the good news of our deliverance from the slavery of sin.

The Bible is reliable because of prophecies that have been fulfilled, the unity of the message and the many historical facts that are correct. The Scriptures answer the questions: “Why are we here? Where are we going? What’s the purpose of life? ” And most important of all it changes lives.

Some years ago I heard an interesting story that was told by Barry Buzza. There was a missionary in Africa who was preaching the Word and giving out Bibles free to anyone who wanted one. He offered one to a rather inebriated young man who said, “No, I don’t want one!”

The missionary said, “Well take a Bible, it will really help you. This is God’s Word to you!” The man said “No, I’m not interested in having a Bible.” As the missionary kept insisting he should take it, the man said, “Preacher, if I took that Bible I would rip out the pages and use them to wrap my cigarettes in.”

The missionary said, “OK, you can do that but you’ve got to make me a promise that every page that you use for a cigarette wrapper, you’ve got to read it before you wrap your cigarette.” The guy thought that’s a fair deal so he took the Bible and walked away.

About 25 years later the missionary came back for a retirement celebration. A young, black man was preaching up on the platform. After the service the young man came up to the missionary and asked him, “Do you know who I am?” The missionary said, “No.”

He said, “I am the young guy you gave a Bible to years ago and I said I would smoke it.” The missionary said, “Yes, I remember that.” The young man said, “Well, I smoked through Matthew, I smoked through Mark and I smoked through Luke.”

“I was smoking my way through John and I got to John 3:16 where it said,  ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish but would have eternal life.’ I knelt down and accepted Jesus as my Savior.”

Hebrew 1:1 says “In these last days God has spoken through His Son.” God spoke when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to show us the Father and make it possible for us to know Him. He came to reconcile mankind to our heavenly Father.

When man chose his own way instead of God’s it caused us to be estranged from Him. That sin carried the penalty of death. Jesus came to earth and paid that penalty for us when He died a cruel death on a Roman cross. But His death was not the end.

He did not stay in the tomb. Three days later He was resurrected. Everyone who believes that Jesus paid the penalty for their sins receives forgiveness and begins a new, changed life with a desire to know and please God.

Everyone who trusts in Jesus as their Savior has the hope, the certain expectation of a resurrection and eternal life with Him.  I have the hope of fellowship with my heavenly Father in the life I live here on earth and for the life I will live with Him in eternity.

I could not hope to keep the law or do enough good deeds to make it to heaven. The hymn writer put it this way, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” My hope is in the salvation He has made possible for me.

Heb 6:19 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil (the holy of holies in heaven) where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us.” This hope is my sure anchor!

K. Wuest, said this, “This life is the sea; the soul, a ship; the hidden bottom of the sea, the hidden reality of the heavenly word. The soul is seen as storm tossed on the troubled sea of life. The soul of the believer, as a tempest tossed ship is held by the anchor within the veil, fastened by faith to the blessed reality within the veil.”

But what about those who do not choose to put their hope and trust in Jesus? We are eternal beings and will live forever somewhere, either in heaven with God or in hell without God. Hell gives people the right to live apart from God! We have a choice!

I choose to live with and for Jesus Christ. My hope is in Him! Where is your hope?

GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE

“God is still on the throne and He will remember His own,” echos in my mind from many years ago when we sang this in our church quite often. I didn’t really picture God sitting on a throne but I understood the implications of God’s rule and absolute authority. The fact that God is still on the throne should bring us a feeling of security and peace.

We should heave a sigh of relief and say, “God is in control of everything, I don’t need to worry.” There are many Scriptures that speak of God’s throne and His Sovereign rule in heaven and on earth. Isaiah 66:1 God says, “Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool.” Psalm 45:6, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.”

Psalm 47 says the Lord Most High is to be feared, He is a great king over all the earth. He is our King, the King of all the earth. vs 8 ” God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.” In Psalm 50:12 God says, “If I were hungry I would not tell you, or the world is Mine and all it contains (its fullness).”

When we look at the world around us it doesn’t look like God is on His throne. In fact, it looks like the world is out of control. In many places in the world being one of God’s children can cost you your very life or the life of someone you love dearly. People who refuse to deny Jesus Christ as their Lord are being imprisoned or martyred for their faith.

More than once Jesus said we would have tribulation.The truth is we have an enemy who hates us and he is doing everything in his power to destroy all that God has created. Since before creation, he wants worship and he wants to be god. God and Satan are not equal! Satan was created as a beautiful angel but his pride was his downfall.

As a created being he said in his heart, “I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:12-15 The Lord said to him, “You will be thrust down to Sheol.”

In Luke 10:18 Jesus said, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” The devil then set about to destroy man and everything else he could destroy. Starting with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, he planted doubt of God’s goodness in their minds and hearts and tempted them to disobey God and he is doing the same with people today.

Just as he influenced Adam and Eve and everyone who was born after them, he now works in and through the sons (and daughters) of disobedience. Evil is rampant because ungodly men have rejected God and they are following the devil. One of his main works is deception. People think they are doing what they want to but they are doing what he wants them to. They have been deceived by him.

Our enemy is referred to by various names describing his work in the world and his character. One of those names is 2 Cor 4:4  the “god of this world” meaning the world system. For His own reasons, God is allowing him to work in this world for a certain time until His purposes are fulfilled in this earth.

God has given men and women a will, they can choose to follow Him or they can follow the deceiver. Satan’s end will be the lake of fire and all those who follow his ways will join him and his angels there. The good news is, that Jesus Christ has made a way whereby everyone can return to follow God and live forever with Him. No one has to be lost forever.

Look at the world! Is it getting better? No!! Turn on the news! Terror, grief, turmoil, murder, fear and anguish are the order of the day. Tornadoes, out of control fires, disasters on the earth. Man can not control the atmosphere. He can’t command rain or sunshine. God is still in control.

Persecution will continue and even escalate. Even in the family those who do not believe will turn on the believers. But, Jesus said, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Those who follow Christ, carry their cross. But, in the end, they will be victorious over the enemy!

GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE

by Kittie L. Suffield 1929

Chorus-
God is still on the throne and He will remember His own;
Tho’ trials may press us and burdens distress us He never will leave us alone.
God is still on the throne, He never forsaketh His own;
His promise is true, He will not forget you,
God is still on the throne.

Verse 1
Have you started for glory and heaven? Have you left this old world far behind?
In your heart is the Comforter dwelling? Can you say, “Praise the Lord, He is mine”?
Have the ones that once walked on the highway gone back, and you seem all alone?
Keep your eyes on the prize, for the home in the skies;
God is still on the throne.

Verse 2
Burdened soul, is your heart growing weary with the toil and the heat of the day?
Does it seem that your path is more thorny as you journey along on life’s way?
Go away and in secret before Him tell your grief to the Savior alone;
He will lighten your care, for He still answers prayer;
God is still on the throne.

Verse 3
You may live in a tent or a cottage, unnoticed by those who pass by;
But a mansion for you He is building, in that beautiful city on high;
It will outshine the wealth and the splendor, of the richest on earth we have known;
He’s the Architect true, and He’s building for you;
God is still on the throne.

Verse 4
He is coming again is the promise, to disciples when He went away;
In like manner as He has gone from you, you will see Him returning some day;
Does His tarrying cause you to wonder, does it seem He’s forgotten His own?
His promise is true, He is coming for you;
God is still on the throne.

FROM FEAR TO FAITH

Recently I decided to review a course I had taken some years ago. I needed some answers and this would be a good place to start. The course, “Counseled by God” is taught by Mark Virkler who also teaches “How to Hear the Voice of God.” I started each morning  by watching the DVD for that day’s lesson, then spending time with the Lord journaling my questions and His answers.

As I journaled, my time and conversation with the Lord was always meaningful. Although there were aspects of ministry and healing in previous lessons, session seven was very close to home, “From Fear to Faith.”  The application exercise addressed the question, “Are there areas of fear in your life? To help you discern them, list five “what if”s…you have asked yourself recently.”

Ask the Lord, “What do You want to say about these “what if’s?” I made my list and I asked the Lord what He would say to me. His answer was loving, encouraging, and He reminded me that He has always taken care of me all these years. He said, “Let the light of My Word shine into all the corners, the places where dust webs of doubt are lurking. Have faith in Me!” Certain Scriptures came to mind.

One book in the Old Testament written by the prophet, Habakkuk, addresses fear and faith with all the implications we face today. He had a lot of questions concerning things that were bothering him. The world around him was much like ours and he wanted to know why God was allowing the violence and injustice and how long it would go on. God’s answer was, “I am doing something in your days-”

Habakkuk says,”You don’t approve evil or wickedness so why do You look with favor on those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they are?”He says I don’t understand but I want to. “I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me and how I may reply when I am reproved.”

Then the Lord answered Habakkuk, “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.  Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith.”

He has a conversation with the Lord, remembering His Majesty and Power displayed in the past. His mind turns to the coming invasion which God has told him will come and he almost hears the sound of their coming. His lips quiver and his body trembles as he sets himself to wait quietly for the day of distress and the invading people.

Suddenly his faith rises within him and he says, “Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls. yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength, and he has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.”

Listen to any news channel and you will be bombarded with all that’s wrong in the world. From fires in California and as of today’s report, five hundred fires in BC to floods in Texas. We need rain and may have a shortage of water here. Shootings and stabbings every day for no reason. Greece is in financial trouble again and our economy is supposed to take a down turn by the fall.

I was born in the great depression is this the full circle for me? I can’t control the world market or the weather patterns but I can control my attitude. I can be filled with fear, try to stash money or food and wait quietly for the invasion of adverse circumstances or I can say, I will remember that the Lord GOD is my strength. I choose to depend on Him. He will enable me to make it through.

What a wonderful affirmation of faith is Habakkuk’s testimony. As he moves from fear to faith he says, “I will not live in fear, according to my circumstances, the joy of the Lord GOD is my strength. He will enable me to overcome. I will not only survive but thrive!” Our hope is not in this world, it must be in God Who is the only source of stability when the world is crumbling around us. I choose to put my faith in Him.

WHO AM I

A song was on my mind when I got out of bed this morning. It seemed to surface on and off through the day as I went about doing other things. The song, written by Rusty Goodman and sung by his daughter,Tanya.asks the question,”Who am I?” As with many songs it awakened memories, especially my journey in the past four years.

Looking back it doesn’t seem possible that so many things have happened in so short a time. My thoughts go back to the year 2011 when my ordered life took an unexpected turn. My husband and I had dreams of growing old together but God had other plans.Three weeks after having a major stroke he went home to be with the Lord.

Suddenly there was an emptiness in the suite, an empty place in my heart. An unexpected phone call from a Publishing company launched me on writing and self publishing. Although that was an adventure and I thank God for that opportunity. I also invested in my spiritual growth by enrolling in a seminar on hearing the voice of God.

The course, “4 Keys To Hearing God’s voice” was taught by Mark Virkler from the Communion With God Ministries. I was familiar with two way prayer and had, for a number of years, journaled my prayers and God’s answers but I felt I had a lot to learn in this area. At my request I was assigned a personal trainer. She was a blessing.

To some people this sounds rather audacious to say I can hear God’s voice. Who am I that the Creator of the Universe would actually answer my questions? The song asks the question, “Who am I that the King would bleed and die for? Who am I that He would pray not my will, Thine Lord.”

I ask the question, “Who am I, that God, the Creator of the Universe would want that kind of relationship with me?” He speaks and I listen but back and forth conversation is different. In Psalm 8. David expressed a similar thought, “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained, what is man that Thou dost take thought of him?”

In 1 Cor 15:9 Paul said, “I am the least of the apostles who am not fit to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God.” When I come to approach the presence of Almighty God, I see my own unworthiness. Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips!” (Isaiah 6)

Some people will scoff and say it is a bunch of foolishness and I am a foolish person for believing that I could hear God speaking to me specifically about things that I need answers to. I have not heard His audible voice but there are people who say they have and I believe them. God chooses what the world calls foolish.

1 Cor 1:26-31 “But consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God..” I can not boast in anything I do, I can only boast in what Christ has done for me..

WHO AM I  by Charles  “Rusty” Goodman

When I think of how He came so far from glory, came to dwell among the lowly such as I, to suffer shame and such disgrace, on Mount Calvary take my place, then I ask myself the question, “Who am I?”

When I’m reminded of His words, I’ll leave Him never. If you’ll be true I’ll give to you life forever. Oh I wonder what I could have done, to deserve God’s only Son, to fight my battles until they’re won, for who am I?

Who am I that the King would bleed and die for? Who am I that He would pray,not My will, Thine Lord. The answer I may never know, why He ever loved me so. But to that old, rugged cross He’d go, for who am I?

Communion With God website: http://www.cwgministries.org   Also  – http://www.cluonline.com