The GLORY

“The heavens proclaim the GLORY of GOD. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.” – Psalms 9:1‭-‬4a NLT

WOW.

Verse 3: “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” The heavens, the skies, the sun and the moon and the stars; the planets …. the clouds all display the Majesty and the Glory of GOD! It isn’t just the heavens, either.

“Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the LORD made the heavens! Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for He is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with His Truth.” – Psalms 96:1‭, ‬5‭-‬5‭, ‬11‭-‬13 NLT

Throughout scriptures, everything that we (humans) see as inanimate comes alive in praising the Creator. Picture a black night sky positively bursting with stars, or an impossibly blue sky full of dancing clouds! Can you see the fields and valleys literally glowing with new grasses and flowers and leaves, rejoicing in the breezes? The sea, as the whales and dolphins leap and the fish fly threw the air? Smell the scents of the forest, dirt and pine and newness of life. How can you look at new life, animal or human, and not see the Hand of the Creator GOD?

It just happened?? Who in their right mind could believe it?

The Fear of GOD: Praise Be!

“The fear of God” is a phrase used numerous times in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelations. One of the first times it was used was to illustrate how much God wants us to love Him. In Genesis 22, Abraham is prepared to offer his son, Issac, as a sacrifice to the LORD – his miracle son, born to him and Sarah in their old age. Abraham trusts with his whole heart that the LORD will provide an alternative, and He does. Abraham answered [Issac], “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” He [GOD] said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear GOD because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.” – Genesis 22:8‭, ‬12‭-‬13 NIV

Do I love the LORD, the GOD Who created me, enough to sacrifice my child? I’m pretty sure I don’t have it in me to do so. I would gladly offer myself, my own life, to save my family and loved ones – but to willingly lay one of them on an altar and prepare to offer their life? Could you? Do I “fear” GOD enough? Thank GOD that He made that decision for us by sending HIS Only Son as our sacrifice!

“Praise be to the GOD and FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST! In His Great Mercy He has given us New Birth into a Living Hope through the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST from the dead, and into an Inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This Inheritance is kept in heaven for you….. Concerning this Salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the Grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care….. Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your Hope on the Grace to be brought to you when JESUS CHRIST is revealed at His coming.” – 1 Peter 1:3‭-‬4‭,10‭,13 NIV

“But just as He Who called you is Holy, so be Holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be Holy, because I Am Holy.” “Since you call on a FATHER who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in Reverent Fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed …… with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through Him you believe in GOD, who raised Him from the dead and Glorified Him, and so your Faith and Hope are in GOD.” – 1 Peter 1:17‭-‬19 NIV

To “Fear GOD” means to be awestruck, astonished, conscious, reverential; to live a God-centered life. In Genesis 31:53 NIV, Laban said to Jacob “May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” “So Jacob took an oath in the Name of the Fear of his father Isaac.” (“the Fear” = GOD)

Since we call Him Father and reflect Him as our Father, shouldn’t we want to avoid offending Him or disappointing Him? If I do a thing, will it hurt God? From Romans 14:12, we learn that God judges our work, but He doesn’t judge whether we will be in heaven. Belief in the LORD JESUS CHRIST determines where we will be – heaven – and our service & works determines how we will be there. Our ‘graduation’ is the works we do while still on earth. Our Foundation is Jesus and as such is rock-solid, but the rest of our building will reflect our works. When GOD tests our works, our “building,” will His Holy Fire destroy my building?

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the One already laid, which is JESUS CHRIST. If anyone builds on this Foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11‭-‬15 NIV (Also read 1 Corinthians 4:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

Teachers and preachers are held to an even higher standard because they are the leaders and guides for everyone else. (James 3:1-2) Our life, our deeds will be judged; not our salvation. On earth, money talks; in heaven, only the Blood of JESUS is accepted as payment for our sins because His is the Blood of the Unblemished, Innocent Lamb (Exodus 12, Rev 5). The Blood of the Lamb is the scarlet thread that runs through the Bible from start to finish – there is no hope in a bloodless gospel. We are ransomed with a precious, priceless, infinite price, the price of JESUS as the Lamb. Listen to John’s Revelation:

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, Who was slain, to receive Power and Wealth and Wisdom and Strength and Honor and Glory and Praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To Him Who sits on the Throne and to the Lamb be Praise and Honor and Glory and Power, for ever and ever!” – Revelation 5:6‭, ‬12‭-‬13 NIV

Jesus is our Sacrifice, our Pardon, and all we have to do is to accept the Pardon as offered – Free, clear, no strings attached. If you don’t accept a pardon, then it’s no good. From the great evangelist Billy Graham, “We all have a hunger in our hearts for God – an empty place in our souls that only He can fill.” (Read Psalm 42:2).

We have our past redemption by The CHRIST, and the future prospect of judgement:

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear GOD and keep His Commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For GOD will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13‭-‬14 NIV

AWE

Adoration and Worship with Extravagance

Adore the SAVIOUR with our submission and surrender to Him; Worship the Son of GOD with humility, recognizing that He is 100% GOD and 100% man; be Extravagant with your worship and adoration. Remember the Magi, who brought the CHRIST Child costly and extravagant gifts to show their adoration and worship of Him, and to show the world that they saw in His Person a greater King than any other.

When GOD’s arch-enemy, whom we know by many names, tempted JESUS, our LORD answered him by quoting scriptures: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the Mouth of GOD.'” (Deuteronomy 8:3) Then Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the LORD your GOD to the test.‘” (Deuteronomy 6:16, Luke 4:12) Matthew 4:4‭, ‬7 ESV

The definition of insanity for people in recovery programs is “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Does that ring any bells? You may not be participating in a formal recovery – for any hurts, habits, or hangup, and absolutely not limited to drugs or alcohol – but most people have acted out this definition of insanity at some time in their lives. Satan is a perfect example. He is a megalomaniac, maniacally desperate to show GOD that he can defeat Him, but all the enemy is doing is banging his head against the proverbial wall. Satan knows he loses in the end, so not only is he an insanely slow learner (pun intended), but we humans continually follow his lead….. over and over, expecting different results.

Instead of wasting our time and our lives chasing the irresponsible and impossible, whatever that may be to you, we would be so much better served spending more of our time in AWE with GOD. Not giving up our dreams and goals, but rather in looking at life, learning to recognize when we are falling into insane behavior, and following GOD’s Will rather than our own. There’s a big difference between giving up because we don’t succeed at something, and in falling into the addictive, insane behavior the enemy wants us bogged down in.

Our LORD GOD wants us to be successful. Our challenge is to distinguish between the Will of our LORD and our will, which is probably being manipulated by the enemy to move us away from GOD. By spending time in AWE, and accepting JESUS as our SAVIOUR, we defeat the enemy, and he hates to be defeated.

Adoration and Worship with Extravagance; AMEN.

“Adoration of the Magi” – Leonardo de Vinci

Unto Us

Oh what a day, for CHRIST was born today!

“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 ESV

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His Name IMMANUEL” (which means, GOD with us).” – Matthew 1:21‭, ‬23 ESV

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His Name JESUS. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” – Luke 1:31‭-‬32a ESV

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you Good News of Great JOY that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOUR, Who is CHRIST the LORD. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising GOD and saying, “Glory to GOD in the Highest, and on earth Peace among those with whom He is pleased!” – Luke 2:10‭-‬11‭, ‬13‭-‬14 ESV

“Now after JESUS was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His Star when it rose and have come to worship Him.” – Matthew 2:1‭-‬2 ESV

Worship and celebrate the LORD, JESUS CHRIST, KING of Kings, IMMANUEL, PRINCE OF PEACE, SON of the MOST HIGH!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

A Spicy Christmas

I opened my box of spices this morning! (Remember, I’m still unpacking and organizing from my move 😁 ) It was an insulated box, and the moment I lifted the top, the wonderful aroma of all the spices drifted out and enveloped me in warmth and memories. Cinnamon and nutmeg reminded me of my Grandma and my Mom making our ‘Christmas pudding’ and loads of cookies. We always had Apple Pudding, a cake-like dessert redolent with apples and cinnamon, and lots of assorted cookies…. add in vanilla and nutmeg and allspice; turmeric and chili powder, and the room becomes a tumult of spicy smells.

All of this reminded me of our SAVIOUR and the gifts that were brought to welcome Him to our world. Frankincense, an aromatic resin used as an ingredient of the incense burned in the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, as a symbol of the Divine Name. Myrrh, another aromatic resin was brought to JESUS. It was also used in the Temple, both as a part of a consecrated incense and as an ingredient in the Holy anointing oil. I believe they were brought the CHRIST child to Glorify Him as the Divine LORD, and in preparation of His Body for His death.

From http://www.gotquestions.org/gold-frankincense-myrrh.html :

Frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. The gift of frankincense to the Christ child was symbolic of His willingness to become a sacrifice, wholly giving Himself up, analogous to a burnt offering. [Myrrh] was a spice and was used in embalming. It was also sometimes mingled with wine to form an article of drink. Such a drink was given to our Savior when He was about to be crucified, as a stupefying potion (Mark 15:23). Matthew 27:34 refers to it as “gall.” Myrrh symbolizes bitterness, suffering, and affliction. The baby Jesus would grow to suffer greatly as a man and would pay the ultimate price when He gave His life on the cross for all who would believe in Him.

The Magi, or the wise men of the East as they are popularly called (Matthew 2), brought gold to JESUS along with the Frankincense and Myrrh. In that time, gold was used as currency, jewelry, and for decorating. The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold, and many of the accoutrements of the Tabernacle and the Temple were made of gold (Exodus 25; 1 Kings). It was a symbol of royalty and divinity, so it was quite an appropriate gift for the CHRIST-Child, the King of the Jews. By receiving the gold, Joseph was presented with the funds He would need to take his family to Egypt, as King Herod set about his massacre of all the baby boys in his kingdom, also known as the “Slaughter of the Innocents” (Matthew 2).

As we breathe in the wonderful, spicy aromas of this season, take time to worship the Baby Boy, the Son of GOD; the One Whose birth brought all of this about, and eat a Christmas cookie for me!

Misled; Sleeping From Sorrow

Oh, come worship with me! The radio is playing Christmas songs interspersed with gospel and contemporary Christian songs – Living Hope, All Is Well, Carol of the Bells, Chain Breaker ….. How can we not worship the SAVIOUR?

JESUS spoke to those gathered around Him, “And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My Name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them.” ….. Later, when He arrived at the Mount of Olives, He said to the three Apostles who had accompanied Him, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “FATHER, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” – Luke 21:8; 22:40‭-‬43‭, ‬45‭-‬46 NASB

Misled, lied to, misrepresented. We have all experienced these things, just as JESUS was. Authority figures; politicians, mislead and lie to us constantly, and that is a sorry fact. Worse, though, are those people who claim to represent the Promise of the Messiah; to be the fulfillment of GOD’s Word. They make it all sound so good and true, and we are often duped by it all. How depressing! When we can’t trust the people who lead us, who then can we believe? Test them. As Paul said: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good …..” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NASB

We bow our heads to pray, and fall asleep from the exhaustion of trying to discern Truth. Let the Holy Spirit guide our words. Scripture tells that even when we don’t have words, He will carry our groans to the FATHER OF ALL and translate for us. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the Will of GOD.” – Romans 8:26‭-‬27 NASB

Sometimes I feel like I am sleeping more than I am praying, but ‘sleeping’ can mean more than closing our eyes and being in an unconscious or less than conscious state. Metaphorically, it refers to our hearts, and how we become unresponsive to the LORD and His prompting. In forgetting to pray, we are allowing ourselves to be drawn into temptation and sin. One way to pray is to listen to Christian music. It doesn’t matter if it is old time gospel, hymns, Praise and Worship, rap, contemporary, pop, or bluesy and rockin’. By hearing the Message in the songs, our spirits are put into a better alignment with the LORD. Reading and studying His Word is also a way to pray. Singing – making a joyful noise – is a beautiful conduit to GOD’s ears. “Joy to the world, the LORD has come, the SAVIOUR reigns!”

LORD, we pray for Your discernment in showing us False Prophets and teachers. We ask for the strength only You can provide to keep us emotionally and spiritually awake. In JESUS’ Name, we pray that we will not be misled and that we will not sleep the sleep of sorrow. I love this Truth that Hillsong sings, “In my Father’s House, there’s a place for me; I’m a child of GOD …..” AMEN.

http://www.graspinggod.com/jesus-praying-in-the-garden.html

Triumphant Entry

At the time of JESUS’ birth, and again at His entry to Jerusalem, there were people (and angels) praising Him. At His birth, Herod, the king over Israel, tried to have the baby known as Jesus murdered in His bed. When JESUS entered Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover, the Pharisees were busy plotting His death. As we anticipate His return to earth, there are millions who are Praising and Glorifying His Name – and millions plotting His death. Again. Will the enemy ever learn that the LORD is the Triumphant One, and that His return will be met with tremendous rejoicing both in Heaven and on earth? (Spoiler alert: the answer is ‘YES’!)

As we approach the Christmas season, where is our focus? Is it on praising the LORD and His Triumphal Entry, or is it seeing how much “stuff” we can get? How has JESUS’ birth brought about the absolute insanity that comes over people, driving them to save a few dollars on “Black Friday” and the shopping days leading up to Christmas, the day we have set aside to celebrate His birth? I’m not a shopper like many in my family and friends. Put me in a department store crammed with clothes and merchandise and people, and I am looking for a way out. I’d rather do without than to have to deal with the craziness. (Make it power tools or guns, and that’s a whole different story!)

“Now may the GOD Who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to CHRIST JESUS, so that with one accord you may with one voice Glorify the GOD and FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.” – Romans 15:5‭-‬6 NASB

My perseverance and encouragement fly right out the window in the crowded, rowdy shopping encounters on these big shopping days! I love receiving gifts, and I especially love to give them, but for people’s birthdays – or just because I want to – not because it is expected by society. Couldn’t we focus on the reason we even celebrate this day? Could we give our LORD the Triumphant Entry, the Birthday celebration He deserves? Before you take offense, I know that it is highly unlikely that JESUS was actually born on December 25, and that early Christians preempted and adapted the day from the pagan celebration of the winter soltice. Why should it matter what day we use? No one has been (or will be) able to pinpoint the actual day or date of His birth, so that day was chosen as a substitute for the ‘real’ day. What matters is that we celebrate His Triumphal Entry as a baby, and give thanks that the Creator deigned to live with us and suffer for us, so that we could be washed clean of our sins against Him!

” …. Blessed is the King who comes in the Name of the LORD; Peace in heaven and Glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” – Luke 19:38‭-‬40 NASB

The day we stop Praising and Glorifying our LORD, Savior and Deliverer; that is the day that His entire Creation will cry out to the LORD.

“Shout Joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth and sing for Joy and sing Praises. With trumpets and the sound of the horn Shout Joyfully before the KING, the LORD. Let the sea roar and all it contains, The world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, Let the mountains sing together for Joy ….” – Psalms 98:4‭, ‬6‭-‬8 NASB

“Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light! Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens! Let them Praise the Name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; Mountains and all hills; Fruit trees and all cedars; Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and winged fowl; Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth; Both young men and virgins; Old men and children. Let them Praise the Name of the LORD, For His Name alone is exalted; His GLORY is above earth and heaven.” – Psalms 148:1‭-‬13 NASB

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you Good News of Great JOY which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a SAVIOR, Who is CHRIST the LORD. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “GLORY to GOD in the highest, And on earth Peace among men with whom He is pleased.” – Luke 2:10‭-‬14 NASB

His first Triumphal Entry was Glorified throughout the heavens and the earth, and His Return will be accompanied by the greatest Praise session of all time!

” ….. I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and Glory and Power belong to our GOD; And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give Praise to our GOD, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” – Revelation 19:1‭, ‬5‭-‬6 NASB

Every thing, every person, every part of GOD’s Creation, even the Enemy and all of his followers will Praise and Glorify JESUS and His Triumphant Entry!