If God wanted to talk, would you listen?

“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”

‭‭John‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

We listen to so many narratives in life.  There’s no shortage of voices trying to get in on your internal conversation, trying to explain life, and define reality.  We give credence to scholars, philosophers, authors, gurus. Like the ancient Athenians, we love to listen to whatever seems new (Acts 17:21 NKJV).

But in our rush to hear the counsel of the multitude of voices, there’s a short circuit.  Jesus said, “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”  But why?  Why are so many of us so quick to believe everyone else but God?  Why are we willing to stake the destiny of our lives on the words of so-called “teachers” – new age philosophers, business magnates, celebrities, and even those claiming to speak to the dead – and yet be unwilling to even hear out the God of the universe?  He does not just explain reality; in fact, He is supremely qualified to explain reality because He made reality.  And although much of what we blame God for is actually not part of His original plan, He can provide answers and perspective that no one else can.

Will you give Him the same opportunity you may be giving to an outspoken tv personality?

If God wanted to talk with you, would you listen?

“I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”

‭‭John‬ ‭5:43‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;”

‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭NKJV‬

“So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’…”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:27-28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭9:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When God just can’t take it any more

Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.

Isaiah 1:13-14

God’s power is inexhaustible. When you reach a point in an action or attitude, that God, who is tireless and limitless in strength says, “I can’t take this… I’m weary of this…”

When God, who is love, who “suffers long”, who “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” says,  “I can’t endure this,” we need to pay attention. 

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:8 NKJV

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV

The real date of Jesus’ birth

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-10, 14-15, 17, 21 NKJV

Have you ever said, “I’m not Jesus”?

Bless those who persecute you?  Bless and do not curse?  Don’t take vengeance?  Overcome evil with good?

Jesus blessed those who reviled Him, and even prayed that God would forgive those who murdered Him.  But can God really expect me to be like that?  After all, its true: I’m not Jesus. Neither are you.

Much is made over the exact date of Jesus’ birth.  But the most important thing isn’t when He was born, but that He was born.

And because of His birth, today can be your Nativity.

No, you’re not Jesus. 

But is Christ in you? 

Are you crucified with Christ?  Can you say that Jesus Christ now lives His life in and through you, and that you no longer live?

Although you’re not Jesus, Jesus Christ can be born in you today. 

Today can be your Nativity.

These words are like water to a thirsty soul this morning

As you read the promises, remember they are the expression of unutterable love and pity. The great heart of Infinite Love is drawn toward the sinner with boundless compassion. “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Ephesians 1:7. Yes, only believe that God is your helper. He wants to restore His moral image in man. As you draw near to Him with confession and repentance, He will draw near to you with mercy and forgiveness. Steps to Christ,  pg 55

Salvation in the Unseen

Periodic table of the chemical elements Españo...

What does reality consist of?  What’s real to you?  What’s the world made up of?

What are you made up of?

Am I made up of the same stuff as a rock, a table, a chair?  A pair of expensive shoes?  A piece of technology?

Wikipedia says that “almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of the six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.”

Every substance on earth is made up of molecules, which consist of atoms, which have different configurations of sub-atomic particles that form different elements.

Google defines an element as “each of more than one hundred substances that cannot be chemically interconverted or broken down into simpler substances and are primary constituents of matter. Each element is distinguished by its atomic number, i.e., the number of protons in the nuclei of its atoms.”

As far as we can see — there’s no further way of breaking down existence.

One university website says this about atoms:

“What is an atom?

An atom is a fundamental piece of matter. (Matter is anything that can be touched physically.) Everything in the universe (except energy) is made of matter, and, so, everything in the universe is made of atoms.” [Source]

Is that absolutely true?  Is everything in the universe made of matter?

God steps in to this picture and says no.  It’s not true.  There’s something more than matter, molecules, atoms, and elements.

In John 4:24, Jesus Christ said to the woman at the well that “God is spirit.”  You can’t contain Him in anything that exists in the periodic table.

In Spanish there’s a saying – every mind is a world.  There is great truth to that statement.  The way you see things in your mind is your world.  And in many minds, most people’s worlds are made up of only matter.  Physical, material existence.  What’s real is what is tangible, what can be sensed, tasted, and touched.

But God speaks into that world and defies it.  God whispers to us that there is more.  More than matter.  More than mere, mindless energy.  God declares that He is.  He exists.  He is real.

But many of us live in a world where the things we can see are the only things that matter to us.  Even as we claim to believe in God, the world of our mind is a godless one, a world where only the material matters.  We focus our attention on our possessions and our own gratification because they are what really mean something to us.  We live to mold ourselves to the world’s standards, and live like there is no God in our world.  Because if there were a God in our world, wouldn’t He come before all that stuff?  Wouldn’t He be our life?

No, all too often, if we really paid attention to ourselves and the choices we are making, we would see that we still live in a world where everything that exists consists only of matter.  By denying God entry into our mental world, we become idolators.  Are we not idolators when all we care about is what we can see?  When a God who is Spirit doesn’t figure into our daily lives or plans?  When our trivial interests matter more to us than His interests?

The apostle Peter says that a day is coming when the “elements will melt with fervent heat”.  What will become of our world then?  When the only things we truly believe to be real melt away in a supernatural blaze?

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:10-13.

The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”  Isaiah 40:6-8.

Are there things you care about more than you care about God?

When what you care about most are your material possessions, you don’t possess them – they possess you.

When the choices you make center around the opinions and acceptance of others, you have fashioned your own gods made of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Your gods are visible, and they leave no room in your world for the God who transcends the elemental, whose substance we can’t encode on a chart.

There is a cure for seeing the world like the university definition.  We find it in 2 Corinthians 4:18:

“… while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:18

To open our eyes to the world in which the invisible God dwells, He bids us to look at the invisible.  Focus more on what you can’t see than on what you can see.

The things that you can see are temporary.  They will pass away.  They will amount to melted, dissolved, disintegrated nothing.

It is essential, imperative, absolutely critical that you set your eyes on the things that you can’t see, for only those things are eternal.  Only in that world can you connect with the only true God, who is Spirit, who transcends the elements on the periodic table, who is invisible.

When your eyes are focused on the things that are visible, you have reason to fear.

When your eyes are focused on the things that are invisible, you have reason to hope.

If you think you believe in God, but the choices you make every day reflect that you don’t care about Him in the least, you are focused on the things that are visible.  When God asks you to honor Him, and show that you love Him and that He is first in your life by keeping His commandments, you will be incapable of doing so.  When the day comes that the physical melts away, you will melt away with all the things you set your heart upon every day of your life.  You gave yourself to those things, to a world in which Spirit cannot exist.

The word of God tells you that you can choose what you will set your focus upon.  If you want to live in the world where the true God, who is love, dwells, change your focus.  Lift up your eyes.  Dare to look at what you can’t see.  Look for the invisible God.  Let Him in to your world each day.  Then, “when Christ, who is [y]our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4.

Don’t focus on the things that you can easily see, taste and touch.  Remember that those things are temporary, but the Word of God, and those who abide in Him, moment by moment, will last forever.  “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is… set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  Col. 3:1-2.

If you choose to heed the Word of God in this, your destiny will not be tied to the destiny of the elemental things of this world; the day of fire will not harm you, and you will remain forever with God, even when all the elements on the periodic table are dissolved.

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:22-25 NKJV

Now that you’re married to Christ, what does your spousal commitment to Him entail?

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,   “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”  then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”  Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Hebrews 10:15-18 ESV

When we are saved and forgiven, God delivers us out of slavery to sin and condemnation and into this special relationship, this new state of being where we grant God access to our hearts and minds.  We submit both to Him, and He transforms our thoughts, desires, and characters. The two go hand in hand. This is the saving covenant relationship with God that we enter into when we accept Him as Redeemer and Lord.

The verse that says there is no longer sacrifice for sins is both thrilling and chilling: thrilling, because we can know that Christ’s sacrifice for us is completely, absolutely effective – chilling because as vs 26 and 27 clarify, if we go back to a sinful way of life after we come into covenantal relationship with God in Christ, there will be nothing left for us except a fearful expectation of judgment without Christ’s covering over us. The outcome of that judgment would be our eternal loss.

What is God’s Spirit saying to you through this text?