Godless Living

Their thinking became useless. Their foolish minds were filled with darkness. They said they were wise, but they became fools. ROMANS 1:21–22

Since the hedonist has never seen the hand who made the universe, he assumes there is no life beyond the here and now. He believes there is no truth beyond this room. No purpose beyond his own pleasure. No divine factor. He has no concern for the eternal.…

The hedonist says, “Who cares? I may be bad, but so what? What I do is my business.” He’s more concerned about satisfying his passsions than in knowing the Father. His life is so desperate for pleasure that he has no time or room for God.

Is he right? Is it OK to spend our days thumbing our noses at God and living it up?

Paul says, “Absolutely not!”

According to Romans 1, we lose more than stained-glass windows when we dismiss God. We lose our standard, our purpose, and our worship.

In the Grip of Grace

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THE COMPASSIONATE CHRIST

When he arrived, he saw a great crowd waiting. He felt sorry for them … So he began to teach them many things.MARK 6:34

When Jesus lands on the shore of Bethsaida, he leaves the Sea of Galilee and steps into a sea of humanity. Keep in mind, he has crossed the sea to get away from the crowds. He needs to grieve. He longs to relax with his followers. He needs anything but another crowd of thousands to teach and heal.

But his love for people overcomes his need for rest …

Many of those he healed would never say “thank you,” but he healed them anyway. Most would be more concerned with being healthy than being holy, but he healed them anyway. Some of those who asked for bread today would cry for his blood a few months later, but he healed them anyway … He had compassion on them.

from IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

Jesus Sees and Cares

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19)

What the Father sees, the Son sees, and what the Father does, the Son does, for “I and my Father are one,” said the Lord Jesus (John 10:30). God sees everything, of course, for “the eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3), but it is noteworthy that there are just seven occasions where John’s gospel stresses specifically that Jesus saw a particular event and then took special action to do something about it.

At Jesus’ baptism, two seekers followed Him and “Jesus turned, and saw them following” (John 1:38). He invited them to come and they followed Him from that day on. Nathanael, a devout Jew, also followed Him when Jesus said, “When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee” (v. 48).

There was an incurable cripple at a pool and “when Jesus saw him lie” (John 5:6), He said, “Rise, . . . And immediately the man was made whole” (vv. 8-9). There was a hungry multitude: “Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him,” and He prayed, and soon “they were filled” (6:5, 12).

Next, Jesus “saw a man which was blind from his birth,” and soon the once-sightless man could testify, “Whereas I was blind, now I see” (9:1, 25). Not only the lame and blind, but also the grieving came to His attention. When Mary’s brother Lazarus died, Jesus “saw her weeping.” Then “Jesus wept” and soon “he that was dead came forth” (11:33, 35, 44). Finally, even while Christ was dying on the cross, He “saw his mother” and provided for her care (19:26).

Jesus sees those who hurt, or grieve, or hunger, and He cares. For, after all, He is our Father.
HMM

The sacrifice of praise

“Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually.” (Heb. 13:15.)

A CITY missionary, stumbling through the dirt of a dark entry, heard a voice say, “Who’s there, Honey?” Striking a match, he caught a vision of earthly want and suffering, of saintly trust and peace, “cut in ebony”—calm, appealing eyes set amid the wrinkles of a pinched, face that lay on a tattered bed. It was a bitter night in February, and she had no fire, no fuel, no light. She had had no supper, no dinner, no breakfast. She seemed to have nothing at all but rheumatism and faith in God. One could not well be more completely exiled from all pleasantness of circumstances, yet the favorite song of this old creature ran:

“Nobody knows de trouble I see,
Nobody knows but Jesus;
Nobody knows de trouble I see—
Sing Glory Hallelu!

“Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down,
Sometimes I’m level on the groun’,
Sometimes the glory shines aroun’—
Sing Glory Hallelu!”

And so it went on: “Nobody knows de work I does, Nobody knows de griefs I has,” the constant refrain being the “Glory Hallelu!” until the last verse rose:
“Nobody knows de joys I has,
Nobody knows but Jesus!”

“Troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” It takes great Bible words to tell the cheer of that old auntie.

Remember Luther on his sick-bed. Between his groans he managed to preach on this wise: “These pains and trouble here are like the type which the printers set; as they look now, we have to read them backwards, and they seem to have no sense or meaning in them; but up yonder, when the Lord God prints us off in the life to come, we shall find they make brave reading.” Only we do not need to wait till then. Remember Paul walking the hurricane deck amid a boiling sea, bidding the frightened crew “Be of good cheer,” Luther, the old negro auntie—all of them human sunflowers.—Wm. C. Garnett.

Nothing wasted

“The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by Elijah.” 1Kings 17:16

See the faithfulness of divine love. You observe that this woman had daily necessities. She had herself and her son to feed in a time of famine; and now, in addition, the prophet Elijah was to be fed too. But though the need was threefold, yet the supply of meal wasted not, for she had a constant supply. Each day she made calls upon the barrel, but yet each day it remained the same.

You, dear reader, have daily necessities, and because they come so frequently, you are apt to fear that the barrel of meal will one day be empty, and the cruse of oil will fail you. Rest assured that, according to the Word of God, this shall not be the case. Each day, though it bring its trouble, shall bring its help; and though you should live to outnumber the years of Methuselah, and though your needs should be as many as the sands of the seashore, yet shall God’s grace and mercy last through all your necessities, and you shall never know a real lack.

For three long years, in this widow’s days, the heavens never saw a cloud, and the stars never wept a holy tear of dew upon the wicked earth: famine, and desolation, and death, made the land a howling wilderness, but this woman never was hungry, but always joyful in abundance. So shall it be with you. You shall see the sinner’s hope perish, for he trusts his native strength; you shall see the proud Pharisee’s confidence totter, for he builds his hope upon the sand; you shall see even your own schemes blasted and withered, but you yourself shall find that your place of defence shall be the munition of rocks: “Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure.” Better have God for your guardian, than the Bank of England for your possession. You might spend the wealth of the Indies, but the infinite riches of God you can never exhaust.

Using God’s language

My expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5

It is the believer’s privilege to use this language. If he is looking for aught from the world, it is a poor “expectation” indeed. But if he looks to God for the supply of his wants, whether in temporal or spiritual blessings, his expectation” will not be a vain one.

Constantly he may draw from the bank of faith, and get his need supplied out of the riches of God’s lovingkindness. This I know, I had rather have God for my banker than all the Rothschilds. My Lord never fails to honour His promises; and when we bring them to His throne, He never sends them back unanswered.

Therefore I will wait only at His door, for He ever opens it with the hand of munificent grace. At this hour I will try Him anew. But we have “expectations” beyond this life. We shall die soon; and then our “expectation is from Him.” Do we not expect that when we lie upon the bed of sickness He will send angels to carry us to His bosom? We believe that when the pulse is faint, and the heart heaves heavily, some angelic messenger shall stand and look with loving eyes upon us, and whisper, “Sister spirit, come away!”

As we approach the heavenly gate, we expect to hear the welcome invitation, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” We are expecting harps of gold and crowns of glory; we are hoping soon to be amongst the multitude of shining ones before the throne; we are looking forward and longing for the time when we shall be like our glorious Lord—for “We shall see Him as He is.”

Then if these be thine “expectations,” O my soul, live for God; live with the desire and resolve to glorify Him from whom cometh all thy supplies, and of whose grace in thy election, redemption, and calling, it is that thou hast any “expectation” of coming glory.

Dear God, Please Stop — People Are Watching!

adoration-of-the-golden-calf1
February 27, 2013 By Jim Allen, Editor, NuVote Reach

Suffering an acute crisis of identity, feeling dejected because his newly found Hebrew brothers and sisters want little to do with him, and with a murder charge hanging over his head, the prophet Moses went on the lam for 40 years, during which time he got married and herded sheep for his father-in-law.

We learn in Exodus 2:

23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

God needed an appropriate recruit to do his bidding. Someone who could effectively communicate with the new pharaoh, in his own language, knew the ways of the royal court, and had a Hebrew pedigree as well.

Moses, being a fugitive, I suppose, was just a bonus for us, to show that God can use anyone, and manifest a new destiny for someone out of the worst situations.

Moses met and got a first interview with “I AM THAT I AM” by way of a non-consuming wildfire—the Burning Bush. He reluctantly took on his marching orders, got Divine confirmation of his vision quest, then went back to Egypt with his cool walking stick, and connected with his biological brother, Aaron.

Continuing in Exodus 5:

14 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”

Bad move, pharaoh! Lots of unpleasant things began to happen which had a definite, direct and long-lasting impact on Egyptian tourism–10 plagues: Water to Blood, Frogs, Gnats or Lice (not at all helpful to the hotel trade), flies, livestock diseased, boils (that would have done it for me, ‘let those people go’), thunder and hail, locusts, darkness and death of first-borns, as projected in Exodus 7:

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. 5 And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”

After the death of the pharaoh’s son, the Hebrews, or Israelites, were allowed to leave—not on a long-weekend pass, as first requested, but were supposedly free to leave forever.

Sidebar: Moses became the primary moving part of God’s will that resulted in extreme hardships and rejection of the people who for the first 40 years of his life were his kinsman.

Isn’t it hard when you find yourself having to separate yourself from certain people, thinking you are doing God’s will?

That could not have been easy for Moses either. But, of course, when he learned the true narrative of his people, he sought to bond with them.

Meanwhile, back at the palace:

The grief-stricken pharaoh commanded his army to follow and corner the Israelites at the Red Sea (some say, it’s better translated in Hebrew, Reed Sea—Yam Suph—or Sea of Reeds, or Sea of Seaweed) and the waters (and/or reeds, and/or seaweed) parted, by the power of God, at Moses’ command, using his wooden staff.

The Israelites passed through and the sea closed-in behind them, drowning the Egyptian Cavalry.

Fast forward to Moses, being up on Mt. Sinai, in the presence of Elohim, getting Commandments, as rules for the Israelites to live in covenant with-and-as God’s “chosen” people. But he tarried with God just a little too long and the Israeli encampment turned into an idolatrous, fleshly, mosh pit. Look at Exodus 32:

3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.

Meanwhile, our hero, Moses, who has no idea what his then-zany brother was up to, received the bad news directly from GNN—and, I must say, that “bull” especially did not go over well with Corporate.

Exodus 32 continues:

7 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

May Day, May Day!!!

Exodus 32 continues:

9 ”I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

Weeeelllll, a deal with the Most High is on the table!!! Temp-ting!

Moses may have thought to himself ‘you mean to tell me, all I have to do is put my shoes back on and walk out of this scary meeting and I can drop this grumbling, never satisfied, what-about-this-Moses?-whining, stubborn, rag-tag bunch of pains-in-the-neck for a top-billed, solo road act—complete with a mansion, with a four-car garage–an open account at Whole Foods, a Benz for me and the misses, a pre-paid American Express card and a lifetime pass to Disney World for my kids AND my grandkids—yuuuuum, yum!’

Exodus 32 continues:

11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “O LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?

Look at our beloved Moses, standing up for the “stiff-necked” malcontents he had basically just met! Let’s face it, Moses had been gone for 40 years, and had not gotten a glut of bar mitzvah invites before he left town. But he is a making a case—he’s making an argument to save his new family and friends!

Exodus 32 continues:

12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people.

Moses had put the pedal to the metal on the ‘straight-talk express’. The former stutterer, in so many words, said:

‘God, Please Stop! People are watching. Don’t do this right now, people will talk—you know how they talk. Let’s just chill for a moment—‘relax, release, relate’—and think this thing through, rationally!’

Could God be influenced by a cheeky threat of having a bad name on the rumor mill, in Egypt, a place He had just devastated? Could one actually cause God to change His mind?

In Exodus 32, Moses continues:

13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ “

Had Moses struck a resonant chord with the Almighty?

Exodus 32 continues:

14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Oh happy day! “…the LORD relented.”

The indication is that “I AM” was/is quite keen on keeping his covenant promises! Moses heads back down the mountain, and that, in a big hurry.

After having the sand to give God a memory jog, I would say Moses probably grabbed his sandals and high-stepped off that Holy ground at top speed, in his bare feet, if it were not for the fact of having two divinely inscribed tablets of stones in his hands.

But now we learn God is not petty and that He is patient. When Moses climbed down the mountain, he broke the first two stone tablets in disgust with his people.

The bible says those first tablets had writing on both sides, so there were likely more than Ten [original] Commandments, but God didn’t say a Word about Moses smashing His handiwork.

But wait, back in verse 14 when it said that God “relented,” did that mean Moses caused God to change his mind, or, did God just delay executing His will?

Look at Moses’ words, later in the same chapter, Exodus 32:

27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”

Good Heavens! We could do volumes on that passage of scripture. Did Moses just do that on his own?!

Before God exacted his will, by Moses’ command, eventually purging the base camp of a select group of 3000 freaky-deaky, singing infidels, perhaps, Moses had passed a little test on that mountain, to see where his heart was.

Maybe God wanted to see if Moses could be swayed by promises of self enlargement, as opposed to walking in the path of true leadership already laid out for him—to always work in the best interest of His people.

I will leave it up to you to meditate on these things.

What I do know for sure is that much later on, when Moses became frustrated and snippy with God by striking a rock twice with his staff, instead of just speaking to the rock to bring forth water, as he had been so instructed by God, his disobedience caused him to not enter into the “Promised Land,” after walking around in circles with His people in the wilderness for nearly 40 years (See The Book of Numbers Chapter 20).

Things can go downhill, really quickly, if one is disobedient to God’s Word.

The most compelling teachings I hear, these days, focus on instilling principles of love, peace, charity, obedience, scholarship (to study to show yourself approved), character, good stewardship, forgiveness and praying for God’s will to be done, not trying to corner God to enlarge our kingdoms for personal gain.

Would He not want the best for us, as it says in Matthew 6? (Please read Matthew Chapter 6)

We were taught to pray “…Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven…”

Thank God, Jesus did not take the selfish route in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Note to self: Apparently, if one has the favor of God, it’s just fine to remind Him of His covenant promises and fully expect to walk away in one piece, especially, if I am praying on the behalf of other people.

Moreover, I believe I am an heir of the fulfillment of the covenant championed by Moses—with a provision for everlasting forgiveness and a bright future in eternity. (John 3:16). Smile.

http://nuvotereach.com/2013/02/27/dear-god-please-stop-people-are-watching/