The Magnitude of God

The Magnitude of God

God is big! When I say big, I don’t mean by dimension or size, I mean the magnitude of His reach and presence.

The word magnitude is a word that’s used to describe the brightness of a star, or the power of an earthquake. The word tries to define the measure of His impact and the stretch of His grasp.

If we can get a glimpse of His magnitude all the problems and opposition of life will seem small in the cast of His shadow. That’s why the enemy fights so hard to try and keep us from seeing the magnitude of God. He uses the Satanic scheme of “distraction “that keeps us busy, entertained, or bound by lust, so that all we see is the seemingly overpowering size of our own problems.

Let me suggest that there are two places the magnitude of God can be seen, outside of us in God’s creation and Divine order, and inside of us in that place that Paul calls the inner man.  (more…)

Insights into the Armor of God

Insights into the Armor of God

I think it’s safe to say that when the topic of spiritual warfare is discussed, Ephesians chapter six is a go- to passage that illustrates how God has equipped the believer to function in a world hostile to righteousness. I’ve heard many perspectives as to its meaning and application, but what I offer in this article has helped me to gain insight and understanding that has effectively increased my faith and helped me to refuse to cower to the threats of dark forces.

Paul is writing to the church at Ephesus to encourage and help them to see that even though they were under fire and faltering, they were more powerful and better equipped than they thought. The Apostle Paul is in prison in Rome awaiting trial and is chained to a Roman soldier. He was allowed the freedom to write a letter to his friends in Ephesus. As he searches for the words to help them , God inspires him to use a word picture. He looks at the solider chained to him and knows that those in Ephesus are well acquainted with the intimidating power of a Roman solider decked out in full gear and armor. So, he uses the pieces of armor to paint a picture of the believer hoping to change their perspective, to see themselves in a much different light. (more…)

Weapons of Righteousness

Weapons of Righteousness

The Apostle Paul saw himself as a Spiritual warrior.  He recognized that he was locked in deadly combat with demonic forces who were doing everything possible to stop him from taking the Gospel of Christ to the world. He was a man of peace, but also a man of war, understanding that God had equipped him with powerful weapons to fight off demonic hordes and push forward with the Light of Christ setting captives free.

In 2 Corinthians, he writes about battling false teachers in the Corinthian church that were being used by Satan to try and steal grace from the believers by establishing a legalistic devotion to the Law.

 

 2Co 10:3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (more…)

When the Guilty go Free

When the Guilty go Free

We can divide people into three simple groups, the lost, the looking, and the found.

The lost are those without God and content. They are mostly unaware of their condition and unfavorable standing before the creator of the universe. They move along the path of life not knowing that they are dangerously close to an eternity separated from God and all that is good. But one day it will be over, and all will be lost, most thoroughly and completely lost, as their souls slip from flesh into the darkness of a godless abyss.

Those in the next group, the “looking” group, have been stirred within their hearts to at least recognize that they have a need.  A void of emptiness or even a nagging sense of sin that they feel will be called to account one day. It drives them to try and do good and even join some kind of a religion in order to do what they can to reach up towards God in hopes that they may earn some heavenly credit they can trade for entrance through the pearly gates.  People in this category who are constantly seeking for ways to be good are often miserable because unlike the unaware state of those in the “lost” group, these are very aware that even with all their effort they are still falling short and always live with a sense of failure. (more…)

God Makes the Impossible, Possible

God Makes the Impossible, Possible

Ro 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all– how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

 

Our human mind has limits as to what we will allow ourselves to believe.  We make quick judgments based upon the situation and our past experiences, instantly determining if something is possible or impossible.

This would be perfectly reasonable if God wasn’t in the equation and all we had to trust in was the odds and averages of life.

All of us have been in situations where it seemed a good outcome was an impossibility and all we could do was hope for the best, but deep down we were pretty sure that it was not going to end well.  It’s in these times that we humans tend to grasp the wheel even tighter in hopes of wrestling the situation into our favor, but the secret to success is to let go at that moment and trust that Jesus will make the impossible possible.

700 years before Christ there was a king, his name was Ahaz.  He was the king of Judah and found himself in an impossible situation.  The most powerful empire of the day was Assyria.  They were big, mean, and vicious, and they were on the march conquering country after country and they were coming to Judah.

King Ahaz didn’t know what to do. To make the situation worse the Northern kingdom of Israel and Aram wanted Ahaz to join them to fight Assyria.  Ahaz knew that was a futile cause and would probably lead to his death when Assyria finally defeated them all.

He was in an impossible situation that seemingly had no clear choice, but God sent the prophet Isaiah with a message of hope and a promise.

 

Isa 7:1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it. 2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind. 3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field.  4 Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood– because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.  5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying,  6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘It will not take place, it will not happen,  8 for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.

 

God says to Ahaz, don’t worry, if you trust me you will be neither replaced by Israel or killed by Assyria – trust me.

This was Ahaz’s moment of truth, his situation was impossible to the human mind, but God was offering to make the impossible possible, if Ahaz could believe.

The Lord even went a second step offering to let Ahaz ask for a sign to bolster his faith.  Any kind of a sign, big or small.  This was a huge offer, but Ahaz had already made up his mind to reject God’s offer, and reject joining the Northern kingdom to fight against Assyria.  He thought the odds were with him if he submitted himself to Assyria; he hoped they would not kill him and let him stay the leader of Judah as a puppet king.  How tragic.

But what follows is very interesting because what God says to him, is a part of our Christmas celebration every year as we talk about the birth of Jesus.

 

 Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

 

For us today, this is the promise of the birth of Jesus, our Immanuel.  The name meaning, “God with us”.

To us this verse speaks of hope, but to Ahaz it spoke of judgment.

God was saying to Ahaz, I promised I would be with you and these kingdoms would not hurt you, but you rejected Me.  I offered to give you a sign to prove to you that I would be with you and protect you, but you rejected my offer because you were afraid.

Well, you rejected a sign, but I’ll give you one anyway – but this sign is a judgment on you for your unwillingness to trust me.

700 years from now there will be a little girl named Mary.  I will ask her to trust me in an impossible situation that will be much harder for her that this is for you.

But Ahaz, unlike you, this little girl will trust me.

Her response to Me will be:

 

Lu 1: 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

 

The Gospel of Matthew makes this statement:

Mt 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

 

I can’t help but think that the words of the angel were a reminder of a faithless king who would not believe God was with him, contrasted with the faith of a little girl named Mary who would bring a child into the world that would be God with us, Immanuel. One who would die for our sins.

A reminder to us that nothing is impossible if we believe.

A reminder that the babe born in the manger is God with us.

A reminder that we have a choice to reject the sign or embrace the sign, to trust that if God will give us His Son, then He will give us all things, and that nothing is impossible.

 

Ro 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all– how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

The Hope of  Christmas

The Hope of Christmas

Tragically though, many only hear the invitation, not understanding the reality of what is being promised through the story of Christ. They stop short of truth, satisfying themselves with a secular version filled with candy canes and Christmas trees, but with no redeeming faith in Jesus.

Christmas comes and goes leaving behind a warm feeling as they charge back into self-centered lives in the first weeks of January.

The Christmas story, is the Gospel.  The good news that Jesus became a flesh and blood human being to take the wrath of God for human sin.

In my 57 years of life I’ve watched the world enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas, while at the same time, becoming increasingly hostile to its true meaning.  There’s a lot of talk about peace and love, but we better not use the name of Jesus, display a nativity scene, or even use the word Christmas, because it might be offensive to our politically correct culture. (more…)