VIDEO God’s plan for us – Clothed by God

Clothed by God

Clothed by God

See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you. Zechariah 3:4

When my kids were toddlers, they would play outside in our sodden English garden and quickly become covered in mud and dirt. For their good and the good of my floor, I’d remove their clothes at the door and wrap them in towels before sticking them in the bath. They’d soon move from dirty to clean with the addition of soap, water, and hugs.

In a vision given to Zechariah, we see Joshua, a high priest, covered in rags that represent sin and wrongdoing (Zech. 3:3). But the Lord makes him clean, removing his filthy clothes and covering him in rich garments (3:5). The new turban and robe signify that the Lord has taken his sins from him.

Lord Jesus, through Your saving death on the cross we can find acceptance and love.

We too can receive God’s cleansing as we become free of our wrongdoing through the saving work of Jesus. As a result of His death on the cross, we can have the mud and sins that cling to us washed away as we receive the robes of God’s sons and daughters. No longer are we defined by what we’ve done wrong (whether lying, gossiping, stealing, coveting, or other), but we can claim the names God gives to those He loves—restored, renewed, cleansed, free.

Ask God to remove any filthy rags you’re wearing so you too can put on the wardrobe He has reserved for you.

Lord Jesus, through Your saving death on the cross we can find acceptance and love. May we receive this gift for Your glory.

Who can wash away my sin? Jesus!

INSIGHT:In today’s passage Satan is not rebuked because he has no grounds to accuse Joshua. Satan is rebuked because Joshua’s current condition (dressed in dirty clothes—symbolic of judgment and sin) was not his final condition. God changed his situation by clothing him with clean garments, symbolic of God’s righteousness. 

———-

God’s plan for us

May 15, 2017

An illustration of how Jesus prepared the way for those He gave His life for by taking our sins upon Him.

 

https://rpcgablog.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/gods-plan-for-us/

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You Can Resist

And do not lead us into temptation. Matthew 6:13a

It was the Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, who quipped, “I can resist anything except temptation.” It’s humorous because it’s curious—what else is there to resist except temptation? We can understand Wilde’s capitulation to temptation; it’s around every corner in life. Not to have a plan to defeat temptation is to plan to give in.

Step one in such a plan is to pray as Jesus taught His disciples: “And do not lead us into temptation.” The Greek word for temptation can be translated either as “temptation” or “trials.” We know that God never tempts anyone (James 1:13) but He does allow tests (James 1:2) and leads us into situations to prove our faith (Matthew 4:1). So Jesus’ prayer not to be led into temptation probably means, “Don’t lead us into a situation in which we might be overcome by sin.” That is, don’t lead us into something we aren’t mature enough to handle. Fortunately, the Bible promises exactly that: With every temptation God provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Unlike Oscar Wilde, the Christian can resist every temptation—by relying on the strength God gives and the desire to please Him. When tempted, pray and look for the way of escape.

Each temptation leaves us better or worse; neutrality is impossible.  Erwin W. Lutzer

A Purpose of Adversity

Psalm 37:23-28

When we’re going through an intense time of adversity, it seems we usually focus exclusively on the momentary trouble. We frequently fail to see any value whatsoever in our suffering. God, however, has specific purposes for bringing us through times of hardship.

One reason He may allow adversity in our life is to teach us to hate evil. Now, you may be hesitant to use the word hate in any situation, and yet this is exactly what the Word of God instructs us to do. Psalm 97:10 proclaims, “Hate evil, you who love the Lord.”

Isn’t it true, however, that we often don’t act as if we hate evil? In many instances, in fact, our tendency is to play around with it, keeping it close by for our own amusement, and making excuses for its presence in our lives. We may say, “Well, I can’t escape evil in this world. It’s all around me! I guess the best I can hope to do is to try and manage it appropriately.” What a deception this is. We are not commanded to manage or manipulate evil; instead, we are instructed to hate its very presence. Psalm 37 says, “Depart from evil and do good, so you will abide forever” (v. 27). When we see evil, we are to turn around and run in the opposite direction!

Yes, we live in a world that is permeated by evil, and we cannot avoid it at all times. However, we can remove ourselves from particularly tempting situations. The heavenly Father can help us recognize the evil one’s pitfalls in our life. Pray and ask Him today for the wisdom and strength to avoid such traps.

Peaceful Security

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

This precious promise is rooted in the “garrison guard” that God will set around our hearts and minds through His peace. Imagine the war circle of angels “full of horses and chariots of fire round about” that Elisha spoke of (2 Kings 6:17).

And it is a war! “But I see another law in my members,” Paul wrote, “warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23). Were it not for the peace that exceeds human comprehension, we would quickly succumb to the fact that “in the world [we] shall have tribulation”; but Jesus also said, “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The “peace of God” is a supernatural peace, not a false calm of meditative hypnosis or a denial of the turmoil that surrounds the “roaring lion” who seeks to devour (1 Peter 5:8). This peace is from our Lord Jesus and “not as the world giveth” (John 14:27). It comes through the “things I have spoken unto you,” Jesus said, “that in me ye might have peace” (John 16:33).

Since, however, this kind of supernaturally guarded and God-given peace comes from and through the message of the Scriptures, this peace must “rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). There can be no vacillation, no hesitation about the source, the authority, the capability, or the stability of such peace—or the war that rages in the members of our body will dissipate the vision of God’s garrison surrounding our hearts and minds. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:15). HMM III

“All His saints are in Thy hand.”

Deuteronomy 33:1-3, 6-17

Deuteronomy 33:1

They had worried but they had not wearied him. Evil was their recompense, but ardent was his love. He died with a blessing on his lips.

Deuteronomy 33:2

saints or holy ones

Deuteronomy 33:3

Love made the Lord reveal himself through Moses; but what shall we say of the divine manifestation in Christ Jesus? Herein is love made perfect!

Deuteronomy 33:6

God grant that our little churches may live and become strong.

Deuteronomy 33:7

May the like blessing be upon each believer. Strength sufficient is what we need and all we need; strength to waste would be no blessing.

Deuteronomy 33:9

This alludes to the fidelity of the tribe of Levi upon several trying occasions, when they not only held fast to the Lord, but became the executioners of divine vengeance upon their own brethren. Being found faithful, they were entrusted with the sacred ministry.

Deuteronomy 33:12

The Lord was the strength of Benjamin, and graciously placed his power where Benjamin carried his burden—between his shoulders.

Deuteronomy 33:13

that is, for the fountains and springs which arise from the bowels of the earth,

Deuteronomy 33:14

The sun of prosperity and the moon of adversity each produces its choice graces.

Deuteronomy 33:16

This was the crowning mercy. Lord, give us this, and we are well content;

Deuteronomy 33:17

The separated one, though persecuted by his brethren, received the richest blessing and the double inheritance. The more we are set apart for the Lord, the more of blessing shall we receive; and as to the persecution brought on us thereby, we may cheerfully bear it as a light and momentary affliction.

 

The people whom the Lord hath brought

From Egypt’s cruel land,

For whom with wondrous deeds he fought

Are ever in his hand.

 

Stronger than death his love is shown;

Right well he doth defend;

And having freely loved his own

He’ll love them to the end.

 

Intellectual Power Alone Is Not Sufficient To Do the Job

1 Corinthians 2:1, 2

After Paul was finished preaching to the intellectual leaders in Athens, he left the city feeling disappointed and sad. He preached in the great amphitheater on Mars Hill to a packed audience of intellectual pagans who yearned to hear his strange message about resurrection from the dead (see Acts 17:22).

In his sermon, Paul did everything perfect from a cultural standpoint. He used a idol from their city as an example of his message—something that showed them honor and surely must have gotten their attention (see Acts 17:23). He quoted their poets and philosophers (Acts 17:28), reaching out to them with their own culture and proving that he was a man of learning, worthy of addressing such an intellectual audience. With this mixture of culture, brain power, and the Word, Paul attempted to reach the leaders in Athens.

From a natural standpoint, Paul’s message was brilliant. Seminaries, schools of theology, and Bible school instructors would applaud any student who preached a message as exceptional as Paul’s sermon was that day. The message is a superb example for missionaries who invade new cultures as they preach the Gospel in the farthest extremes of the world. It excels at demonstrating how to use culture to reach a group that has never heard the Gospel before.

Yet when Paul finished preaching that day and the meeting was dismissed, the results of his masterpiece were dismal and depressing. The Bible says, “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter” (Acts 17:32). After the meeting, it appears that a group of people stayed in Paul’s company, of which a small, unspecified number became believers (v. 34).

When Paul walked out of Athens on the road to Corinth, he must have thought about what happened in Athens. Why weren’t more saved? How could they walk out mocking after such a masterful message was preached? It was the perfect sermon—the right mix of brains, culture, and the Word—so why hadn’t it produced a better effect? As he pondered on these questions, he came to a conclusion! That conclusion is contained in First Corinthians 2:1-4.

In verse 1, Paul writes to the Corinthians, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.” Paul had nothing against excellency of speech, wisdom, or brain power, but in Athens he had taken a purely intellectual approach to preaching, and he was less than satisfied with the results. Afterward, Paul determined that he would never again lean entirely upon the power of his intellect to accomplish the job of preaching.

Athens was a very religious city (see Acts 17:22) in which pagan religions and temples filled with the supernatural were in abundant supply. For instance, Athens had the Temple of Dionysius, a temple where prophecies and supernatural manifestations were regularly heard and witnessed. Athens also had the famous Temple of Asklepios. This was a temple where people came to be supernaturally healed by the Greek god of healing, whose image had a serpent wrapped around his legs. There were many other temples in Athens where supernatural occurrences were reported. These supernatural events were seen to be the proof that these religions were true.

Because of this, the Athenians didn’t just intellectually believe their religions; they had seen supernatural proof that made them believe. Although the supernatural activities in these temples were demonic, it was nevertheless real supernatural activity.

Thus, Paul’s mistake in Athens was that he forgot to demonstrate the supernatural! In a city like that, it wasn’t enough to come with words only. If the Athenians were ever to believe in Jesus, it was essential to preach the Gospel with the power of signs and wonders following.

If you carefully read Acts 17, you will find this is the one element that was missing from Paul’s message. So as he approached Corinth—another very supernatural city—Paul resolved that he would never again make the mistake of preaching without supernatural signs and wonders. This is why he said, “And my speech and my preaching [to the Corinthians after Paul left Athens] was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4).

The word “enticing” is the Greek word peitho, which means to persuade, to entice, or to convince. However, this word also carries the notion of craftily trying to coax someone to believe. In addition, it expresses the idea of someone who is trying to sweet-talk a person into taking some type of action. Apparently, Paul looks upon his ministry in Athens as a futile attempt to intellectually sweet-talk the Athenian intellectuals into faith. Because it failed so miserably, he declares he will never do it again!

He writes that he will never again try to entice a crowd with “man’s wisdom.” The word “wisdom” is the Greek word sophos—the word for wisdom that is attained naturally. Although this kind of wisdom is respected, rare, and honored in society, it is nonetheless insufficient to produce the power that is needed for the preaching of the Gospel.

In conclusion, Paul declares that from henceforth he will preach with a “… demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (v. 4). The word “demonstration” comes from the Greek word apodeiknumi—a word that indisputably refers to something that is outwardly seen or something visible that authenticates, proves, and guarantees the message to be true. It means to display or even to show off.

When preaching to a crowd like this, it was mandatory to do it with the vindicating power of supernatural signs and wonders. Because this was a society dominated by superstition and demonic activity, the people needed supernatural proof to authenticate the fact that God was behind the message being preached to them. This demonstration of power would get their attention more than anything else. Their thinking was similar to that of Nicodemus in John 3:2, when he told Jesus: “… Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

From that point onward, Paul determined to have a supernatural ministry. No, he didn’t abandon his brains, nor did he stop using culture to help him connect to the hearts of the people. But Paul never again preached without the authority of signs and wonders to verify that he was God’s man and that the message he preached was God’s message. All those who saw the mighty “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” that operated through Paul in his ministry knew that God was speaking to them!

As you share Jesus with your friends, family, fellow employees, or acquaintances, you should certainly present the Gospel in an intellectual format that can be easily understood. But don’t be remiss and forget that the supernatural working power of the Holy Spirit is available to confirm the message you are telling your friends, family, and acquaintances. If you’ve made the mistake of trying to present the Gospel only through the power of your intellect, you now have an opportunity to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to come alongside to help you do a better job!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I want to tell You that I am sorry for the many times I’ve tried to present the Gospel to others in the power of my intellect and flesh, failing to let the Holy Spirit confirm the Word with signs following. I have been timid and shy about moving in the power of God, but I know it’s time for me to push that timidity aside. To the best of my ability and with sincerity of heart, I am telling You today that I want Your Gospel-proving power to flow through me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I declare by faith that I am not timid or afraid! God wants to pour His power through me, and I am receptive and open to His using me in this wonderful way. People need the power of God, and God wants to use me to bring His miraculous touch into their lives. I am bold and confident—and I am growing bolder and more confident every day!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you ever felt that your presentation of the Gospel to unbelievers lacked power?
  2. Is there a reason you are timid about letting the Holy Spirit and His gifts work through you when presenting the Gospel to unbelievers? If yes, what is that reason, and what steps do you need to take to start getting rid of this fear?
  3. What kind of difference do you honestly think it would make if signs and wonders accompanied you every time you spoke the Gospel to people who are unsaved? For instance, do you think that a supernatural healing of their sick bodies would get their attention more quickly?

 

“Success” Is A Seductive Mistress

“Success” does indeed have its rewards. Therefore the temptation to parade the accouterments of achievement in front of others in order to garner their admiration is almost irresistible! After all,

 

If youve got it, FLAUNT IT!” (But subtly, of course.)

 

Let’s just admit that it’s hard to be humble when you’re soooo good!

 

God is not against success. But He is against pride. And the pride that often accompanies our success can indeed be seductive.

 

Take for example the experiences of:

 

Uzziah:

 

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God… ” (2 Chronicles 26:16)

 

Rehoboam:

 

After Rehoboams position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 12:1)

 

Jeshurun:

 

Jeshurun grew fatfilled with foodheavy and sleek. He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior.” (Deuteronomy. 32:15)

 

Because “SUCCESS” IS A SEDUCTIVE MISTRESS we would be wise to heed sage old King Solomon — who himself was seduced by his success — when he prayed:

 

Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, Who is the Lord? Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8, 9)

 

QUESTION: How well are you handling your “success” in the eyes of the Lord Jesus?

  • Is He pleased as He observes you, His humble, self-sacrificing, and gracious servant? Or:
  • Is He grieved by a pride-ridden life that is locked on to spiritual cruise-control?

 

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