Tuesday, February 18, 2020

GOD, THE GREAT INSTALLER


We need to trust in God's programming for our lives. When we come into this world, we automatically arrive with infected programming. But God has Virus Ware - Salvation 3.0 that He has purchased for everyone, we just have to choose to Run it. Some accept and Run the original programming - Rebel 0.0 - with eternal consequences. But if the decision is made to Trash the original programming, use God's Virus Ware and install New Creation 7.0, then there are benefits eternal. The only thing that remains is to receive a hardware upgrade - Rapture 1.0 - some time in the near future.

Looking at God as our Programmer/Installer, a summary of Psalm 139 states -

  1. God knows us better than we know ourselves.
  2. His presence in our lives is inescapable.
  3. God saw who we would be and what we would look like in His mind's eye long before creating us.
  4. God's creative "Workshop" for all that makes us who we are was our mother's womb.
  5. "If only you, God, would..." was a phrase even David, in the midst of all this awe and wonder of God's control over his life had at least one of. "If only..." is a non-understanding phrase.
  6. Yet, David sets the example by surrendering to God's probing, testing, gutting out and leadership.

I have surrendered to Christ's programming of my life. However, just like David, I too have a "If only you, God, would...." in the middle of my admiration for Him as Programmer, Installer or Creator. My lack of understanding has to do with the healing of a lot of dear people in my life. The immediacy which I expect from God is not immediate enough in my book. I see few instances in Scripture where Jesus delayed His compassionate action, usually a healing. I have prayed until I don't know what words to use to explain the situation or try to entreat God's heart and hands to the circumstances. 

Yet, what I am going to do? I can attest of miracles in my life and testify to God's track record of leading, guiding and directing me in His ways. The moments of not understanding are hard and frustrating. I do not ask God for Omniscience (all-knowingness), just a drop of revelation toward whatever I am going through - healing of my family and friends right now.

However, just as David said, so I practice praying also - "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." He knows me. He has promised - "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11) He is sovereign and I must trust in that. He is The Designer of my body, mind, spirit and entire Life. He is God the Creator; He is God the Programmer; God, The Great Installer.

Monday, February 17, 2020

HOME IMPROVEMENT


We need to allow God to repave us. I have traveled over many bad roads in my time and to just have the road crew re-surface these bad roads will only see the issues return. Before long potholes come back with a vengeance and major cracks, bumps and dips show their ugly selves again. The underlying problem is just smoothed over for a while. What is needed is a total repaving of the area. This is where the pavement is dug down, gutted out and leveled then fresh road is poured into the cavity.

Put another way, an iceberg is said to only present five to 10 percent of its floating, mountainous self above water. While its shape, features and beauty can be observed and even admired from above the water or in public, possible dangers lurk beneath the waves with the other ninety to ninety-five percent of the iceberg. What is needed is an iceberg specialist. This would be someone who could chisel away at the ugly parts above the water and see through the water enough to remove the dangerous edges underwater.

Whether you might consider yourself a road with cracks and potholes that just keeps getting resurfaced or an iceberg that needs work above and below the waterline, we all need some overhaul in certain areas of our lives. The keys to this repaving or restructuring are (1) acknowledging your issue, (2) surrendering to God, and (3) trusting Him with the repave/restructuring process. This does not mean you will not have work to do on yourself to help in the cause, but the larger transformation or battle is The Lord's.

This lesson is all about improving and usually that involves a process. Paul reminds us of this when he stated, "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18). We get repaved so that our journey and the journey of others is smoother. We get restructured as that proverbial iceberg so that the unseen, underlying issues get resolved before they sink relationships faster than they sank the Titanic.

God called the believer's body His temple. Paul said in his first letter to the church in Corinth - "Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?" This is a far cry from a road or an iceberg. However, our body, mind and spirit - our temple - still has the same challenge as the road and iceberg. We can do changes to the structure of a house, but what is also needed drastically with the help of the Lord is Home Improvement.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

WHEN HE CALLS YOUR NAME


When I was growing up, I could tell you without looking, who was walking from one room to the other simply by the way my family members walked. All the times I have been on a team, in a job or part of a church family for an extended period of time - I knew them. 

Because I shared so much time in my relationships, I could distinguish voices out from the opponents on the court as I played against another team. Because I saw them everyday at work, I knew the cadence of my coworkers from afar in the parking lot. Because I sang, worshiped, traveled and learned with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I knew their voice, cadence, heart and presence when they were around me - seen or not.

Has your name ever been called from where you cannot see the caller for the moment, but just by the voice you recognize the person? That is familiarity. That is relationship. That is recognition of a bond that is close enough to have developed to that level.

John speaks about Christ's voice when Jesus picturing Himself as The Great Shepherd and us as His sheep says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me." (John 10:27) For the Christian today, God's Word and His Holy Spirit within the believer are how Christ mainly speaks to us. Jesus stated -  "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26)

However, I believe there will come a time when ALL believers in Christ will hear His audible voice. In the first three chapters of Revelation, Christ directs His discipline and instructions toward the church because we see the phrase - "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches." - at the end of each church encounter or dispensation or age. 

The revelation is that we do not see the church dealt with like this again in this book. In fact, the next time we see anything resembling the church, they are joined with the multitudes of all believers in Heaven awaiting Christ's Second Coming to set up His Millennial Reign on earth. 

So, sometime between Christ dealing with the churches and the church in Heaven coming back WITH Him on white horses (Revelation 19:11-16) - there must be a transporting, a transformation, a glorification, a snatching away - A Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The two events are not the same. There are two "Comings" by the same person - Christ Jesus. 

The first one is Christ coming FOR His Bride, The Church or true believers. Jesus appears in the heavens or mid-air and never touches the ground. Christ delivers the church from a seven-year judgmental time on earth called The Tribulation Period. This coming is filled with love and compassion.

The Second Coming of Christ refers to when, as a warrior, Jesus comes WITH all His believers in Heaven and actually places His feet on the Mount of Olives (Revelation 19; Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:10-11). Wrath and vengeance are on His agenda as He returns. This begins His earthly one thousand year reign of earth from Jerusalem with all knowing Him as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Therefore, I believe this Rapture of the Church is symbolized by Christ's calling to John in the beginning of the fourth chapter of Revelation - "After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here,..." (Revelation 4:1).

In my experience, if you Know Jesus, you Know eternal goodness and grace. On the other hand, No Jesus, No eternal goodness and grace. The question with eternal significance in view of all this information is - do you have a relationship with Christ to begin with? You have to have a relationship with Jesus before you can know His voice. Then when you have that relationship you will need to be in His Word and be sensitive to the leading of His Spirit, especially to distinguish from false teachings. Christ will want you to develop your physical and spiritual ears so you can hear - When He Calls Your Name.

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