I Stand In Awe

Our pastor talked about prophecies in the Bible last Sunday, and how many of them are about JESUS, MESSIAH. Even though the writers didn’t know the who, they knew the when and how, because GOD was directing their pens. It is fascinating to read the prophecies and to see how they have been fulfilled throughout history. Take Habakkuk, for instance. He identifies himself as a prophet, and it is generally acknowledged that he wrote this in the mid-to-late seventh century BC, shortly before the Babylonians captured Jerusalem in 586 BC. He couldn’t know what would happen in the 20th and 21st centuries, yet his words still apply to our world today.

“Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted. Will they therefore empty their net And continually slay nations without sparing?” – Habakkuk 1:3‭-‬4‭, ‬17 NASB

“Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” – Habakkuk 2:2‭-‬3 NIV

Habakkuk saw wickedness, destruction, violence, strife and contention, laws being broken and the courts subverting justice; he saw that wickedness was overcoming his people. Where was his GOD? Why was He allowing all of this to happen? When would the ALMIGHTY GOD redeem them? These are valid questions; questions I have asked myself, and ones I have heard others asking. Why, GOD? Honestly, to really know the answers, I believe we won’t know until we are face-to-face with our LORD. It will all make sense, then. Meanwhile…….

The LORD has seen fit to equip His Prophets with the visions and revelations that He revealed to them to be recorded in His Word, the book we call the BIBLE. I love this anagram of the word:

B – Basic

I – Instructions

B– Before

L – Leaving

E – Earth

We have the complete set of Instructions, written just for us in our time. Let us be like the Prophet Habakkuk, and lean on the foreknowledge that our LORD has seen fit to provide us. Rather than spending our time standing and questioning the things/circumstances we are in, perhaps we would be better known for our thankfulness that we are alive, that we know Him as our LORD, JESUS CHRIST. Thank You, GOD, for Your Forgiveness, Your Mercy, and Your Grace!

“LORD, I have heard of Your Fame; I stand in awe of Your Deeds, LORD. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in Wrath remember Mercy.” – Habakkuk 3:2 NIV

Listen to “I’m A Survivor” by Zach Williams. ( https://www.zachwilliamsmusic.com )

(Image from https://www.everydayknow.com )

Once-And-Done; All-Or-Nothing

When you hear “Sermon on the Mount,” I imagine your mind goes right to the Beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit ….. Blessed are those who mourn ….. Blessed are the meek ….. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness ….. Blessed are the merciful ….. Blessed are the pure in heart ….. Blessed are the peacemakers ….. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness ….. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:3‭-‬12 NIV

My challenge is to go to verses 17-18:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” – Matthew 5:17‭-‬18 NIV

Does the LAW of Moses still stand, just as it did before JESUS came to earth to fulfill it? If it does, what does that mean to us today? Are we still bound by the old laws, the Ten Commandments and the regulations as given by Moses to the Israelites? I am not a Bible scholar, by any stretch, so I rely heavily on the knowledge and information I can glean and learn from others. In my study today, I found some great information in a post written by Pastor Jim McClarty titled “Jot and Tittle.” For a more indepth study, go to Grace Christian Assembly.org.

I think Pastor McClarty clarifies this point quite well.

The New Testament tells us that attempting to seek justification before God by keeping any part of the law automatically makes us responsible to keep the entire law (Gal. 5:3, 3:10, James 2:10). You cannot pick and choose. You will either stand before God and be judged by the law, or you will be established in the righteousness that comes by faith (Rom. 3:22, Gal. 5:5). But, you cannot mix and match.

In other words, if you want God to accept you on the basis of your actions – like tithing, Sabbath-keeping, etc. – then you had also better be killing animals every time you sin. That’s the law. And, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

Whenever JESUS refers to “the Law and the prophets,” He isn’t just saying “the LAW.” The phrasing is critical here: “The LAW and the prophets” was His reference to what we now know as the Old Testament; the only “Testament” available at the time. JESUS CHRIST is the fulfillment of “the Law and the prophets.” When JESUS spoke the words in verse 18, everything had not yet been accomplished because His Blood had not yet been shed; He had not yet been hung on the cross and killed as the ultimate and final sacrifice for our sins. Only after He was raised from the dead and had ascended into Heaven to rejoin the FATHER was the everything of “the law and the prophets” fulfilled. If we believe that we must live a certain way, or follow the old laws, then aren’t we negating His very sacrifice and death? When we insist that we must submit to some kind of man-required penance or that we justify our salvation through our works, aren’t we saying that His sacrifice wasn’t enough?

As Christians, when we accept CHRIST as our LORD and SAVIOUR, we are not bound by the Law of Moses but we are bound by the Words of JESUS.

And [JESUS] said to him, “You shall love the LORD your GOD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the Great and First Commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37‭-‬40 ESV

Here’s the distinction: Under the Law of Moses, you are expected to keep every Jot and Tittle [the smallest letter, the least stroke of a pen] of the Law, including the sacrifice of animals in order to cover your sins with their blood. It’s an ongoing proposition, requiring constant supervision and intervention by the priests in the Temple. Under the NEW Law, the Law of JESUS CHRIST as LORD, His death on the cross is a once-and-done deal! Under Him, we are freed from the burdens of constant guilt and worry, and here’s the best part: even though we aren’t held to the strictures of the Law and the prophets, Moses’ Law, when we truly submit to the LOVE of our LORD, it becomes our desire to please Him by keeping HIS Commandments: First, to Love the LORD our GOD with all of our heart, soul, an mind, and second, to love our neighbor as ourself.

Where do you stand? Freed under CHRIST, or captive to the Law of Moses?

I am FREE, Once-And-Done; All-Or-Nothing – HALLELUJAH and AMEN!

Resolutions

When I place my Hope in the LORD, He takes my fears and replaces them with Peace. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know Who controls the future, and it isn’t me – and I’m thankful I’m not the one in control. Remember Who holds the future! I am incredibly Blessed with more than I ever dreamed – and Thankful, because He has provided more than I ever imagined I could have. I have friends, family who actually like me (or they put on a good act 😎 ), and a home to call my own. That’s so much more than many have.

“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:1‭,3‭,9 ESV

“The LORD is Good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. but, though He cause grief, He will have compassion according to the abundance of His Steadfast Love; for He does not afflict from His heart or grieve the children of men.” – Lamentations 3:25‭, ‬32‭-‬33 ESV

“Draw near to GOD, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the Law and judges the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge. There is only ONE Lawgiver and Judge, He Who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” – James 4:8‭, ‬11‭-‬12 ESV

I am so guilty of ignoring these verses! My plans, my work, my tongue ….. how has all that worked out for me? Really, not so good. It’s a new year, a time of resolutions and good intentions. How many times have I said “I resolve …..” only to break the resolution within hours? My resolutions are like my plans. Without the plan GOD has for me, my plans don’t work out very well. To achieve success, we must commit our plan and our work to the LORD. “Draw near to GOD ….

That’s my resolution for 2019.

“I’m alive, I’m alive, because He lives! Because He lives, I can face tomorrow! Amen, amen!” – Matt Maher sings “Because He Lives” … Such a beautiful truth!

My Soul Yearns for YOU

“My soul yearns for You in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks You. For when Your Judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” – Isaiah 26:9 ESV

We hear a lot about Mary this time of year. As I was reading my Bible this morning, this verse was highlighted as the verse of the day, and it brought to mind the willingness of this young woman to follow the instructions of the LORD. When she was told her destiny by the angel, her response (to me) was amazing:

“And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” – Luke 1:38 ESV

How many of us can truly say that our heart, our soul, yearns for GOD to the point that we completely and unquestioningly accept GOD’s Will for us? Do you think Mary really had any idea of just how big this event would be? We don’t know how old Mary was when the angel came to her, but we do know that the custom was for women to be married young. When you were 15 or 16, did GOD reveal His plan for you? He did to me – I knew what He wanted me to do, and I thought I was willing, but the enemy too easily distracted me and set me on the wrong path. Mary may have been young, but I believe this passage shows just how strong she was in her faith. Absolutely trusting in her LORD. I think that we want to be that strong, but far too often we are too weak in our own faith. We can’t know Mary’s mind, but I absolutely adore the song “Mary Did You Know.” I think it is such a beautiful comment of what was happening to this young woman.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save o
Continue reading “My Soul Yearns for YOU”

‘Tis the Season!

And what a season it is for me! JESUS is the reason I love Christmas and all the trappings. It’s such a fabulous celebration of the birth of the SAVIOUR of the world, even when we have to do some serious digging through the overwhelming and rank commercialism and secularization of what should be a holy time.

Have you missed me? I’ve missed you! No internet access for a week, and I felt like I had been abandoned in the middle of the desert…. a very cold desert! A full week ago, the closing of the house I was selling and the one I bought finally happened, after being delayed and postponed for weeks. (Long story; not really relevant except to say that I was leaning heavily on my LORD to get me through it with my sanity intact – such as it is!!) The internet provider turned off access at the old house, then couldn’t get me scheduled for install at the ‘new’ house – for a solid week. Oh, the frustration of it all….. Please, GOD, in all seriousness, please I don’t ever want to move again! Then, just for the joy of it, the furnace quit the day I closed. 44° in the house with below freezing temps for the weekend, and this was on a Friday afternoon. Really? I mean, Really? I am so blessed to have family who are well-established in the area, and got a repairman out – only to discover that the furnace was toast. Caput. Finished. Again, thanking GOD for family! Four borrowed heaters kept the house a toasty 60° degrees (bwahaahaahaa!) until they could get a whole new HVAC system installed on Monday. Ah, the absolute joy and blessing of heat! Again, I am so grateful to the provision of the LORD that I could access the funds to pay for the new system.

So, finally, everything I own has been moved. Not moved in and settled, but moved. There’s still a storage pod half full in the driveway to be unloaded today (It’s being picked up tomorrow!) and my helper hasn’t shown. I’m not complaining (okay, yes I am, at least my body is – a little!) because I’m really happy it’s all here. The radio has been blasting K-LOVE and beautiful CHRIST-centered songs since the first day here – yet another blessing! I don’t know how people make it through each day without Matt Maher, We Are Messengers, Danny Gokey, Matthew West, NEEDTOBREATHE,” Big Daddy Weave, Phil Wickham ….. sweet Christmas music, too! (Addendum: the pod is unloaded, cleaned out, and ready for pickup tomorrow!)

The thing about this move I’m most thankful for? Instead of being 35 miles and 45 minutes from my sweet 92 year old mama, I’m less than 5 miles away! As a bonus, a sister and her family (all 13 of them!) are also within 5 miles. Much easier for getting together. I can attend Sunday services with my Mom, and see her much more, just in time for the celebration of our LORD’s birth! Are you excited to celebrate His birth? Not His birth date, per se, but His birth. What a fabulous gift the GOD of the Universe gave us in the baby JESUS!

“The Adoration of the Shepherds,” Gerard van Honthorst, 1622 AD

Give Thanks to YOU Alone

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; Bless His Name!” – Psalms 100:4 ESV

Are you thinking about your blessings today? I am thankful that the Almighty Creator saw fit to cover my sins with the Blood of CHRIST, blessing me with eternal LIFE rather than the eternal death I deserve.

It is well with my soul.

Mercy Me sings it so well:
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone….”

If you can’t find anything to be thankful for, pick something from this list:

  1. Toilet paper (Thanks for the reminder, Katy!)
  2. Food to eat
  3. Clean water to drink
  4. Feet
  5. Hands
  6. Sight
  7. Family, whether birth or adopted or chosen
  8. Pets, and their unconditional love …. Just like our LORD!
  9. Life
  10. I am Born Again, thanks to JESUS!

Not everything on the list will resonate with you, but I pray that you can be thankful for the last. He is the only way to true peace and thanksgiving in your life, and without Him, ….. well, without Him, we’re sunk. Period. Remember this?

No JESUS, No Peace;

Know JESUS, Know Peace!

Pure, complete Truth. I urge you to explore the Bible, and if you are new to this, I encourage you to start with the book of John.

“In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with GOD, and the WORD was GOD. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” ….. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of GOD, even to those who believe in His Name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of GOD.” – John 1:1-5;12‭-‬13 NASB

“For GOD so loved the world, that He gave His Only begotten SON, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have Eternal Life.” – John 3:16 NASB

It can all be yours. Just ask! AMEN