En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘glory’

Can I be frank with you men?

Posted by Scott on September 10, 2008

I have been away studying through some great Bible studies the past several weeks.  Over this time politics has really become volatile and the true church is not as visible as it once was.  One observation over the years and especially this year I have listened to men especially Christian men whine, groan, and moan about wimpy stuff.  Today, Christian men are so feminized they complain about the littlest things and whine about things they should be embracing as a man.  The men are now acting like the females while the women are acting like the men.  It is really a messed up world we live in.

Areas I hear the wimpiness coming through for instance is from Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican Convention.  Come on guys, she did not take some things far enough, but was gracious yet “manly” in her address.  She could have said some truthfully nasty things about the opposite side, but refrained.  She was firm on her convictions as us men are suppose to be.  She was combative to challenge the other side like us men are suppose to do.  She spoke the truth unabashedly as us men are suppose to do.  If Sarah Palin is elected as the VP, it is an indictment on us men for failing to rise up and be the men we are called to be.  We are to be tougher.  We are to be unabashedly truthful in all things.  We are to be firm about our convictions.  We are to be supportive of life from the moment of conception and not bat an eye when telling others our convictions.  It is us men that are to live with integrity all the days of our lives so our kids can see this in us and glorify our God.  This great nation is in need of men that hold to the truth, integrity, and convictions that Sarah Palin has exhibited, but He cannot find any, so He will raise a woman up to accomplish this.

Men, we must get a grip on this life.  It is not easy nor did God ever promise it would be.  We must stop worrying about what the Muslim will think about the truth from God’s Holy Word when presented.  We must speak the truth to them without fail.  We must not shrink back into our shell because of some arrogant atheist point of view…a lost person cannot understand the things of God.  Their intelligence is no match for the wisdom and knowledge of God.  Men must take back their children from the government run schools.  If you want your children to grow up in a godly manner then stop sending them to the most ungodly institutions for instruction.  If we want to raise the next generation to honor our God and bring Him glory then you will have to spend more time with them developing a Biblical World View rather than letting the world develop a secular world view.  This will not come about if you give “Caesar” over 40 hours per week with your children teaching them everything but Biblical truth verses your 5 to 6 hours per week talking about everything else and maybe the Bible…if Romans are teaching them then do not expect them to turn out to be anything but Romans.  Our children need to be indoctrinated on the Scriptures not science and social studies.  Our children need to know the Word of God from beginning to end rather than evolution and that two married men can make up a family.  I am tired of hearing these wimpy Christian men with tales between their legs whining about a woman being a bit too rough on a liberal or the preacher in the pulpit is speaking about the reality of hell too much so his friends will not want to come to church.  Either return to being a man as God made you or stop calling yourself a man.

“He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil-this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.  His bread will be supplied and water will not fail him.”   Isaiah 33:15-16

Guys, the calling is back to righteousness.  God wants us to be a holy and righteous remnant for Him when He returns.  It will not matter how rich you are, what legacy you have left if righteousness and holiness were not a part of it.  At work we need to strive for righteousness.  Do not listen to the nasty jokes.  Be a blessing to those around you looking out for your fellow man rather than yourself.  Be in communion with God all day long whether good time or bad.  are you building your home on the mountain fortress as a refuge based on the Scriptures?  Is your faith growing daily as God stretches your faith with events of life you could not imagine?  Is your life a breath of fresh air to God and those around you?  Does your family think of you as a godly man or a work driven person striving for riches?  How much time do you spend with your wife and kids on a weekly basis compared the amount of work you do?  These are tough questions only for real men….if you are wimpy and whiny right now just reading this then you may not want to read further.

Men, read this next passage very carefully.  Read it over and over.  Understand that this is still in effect today as it was when it was written a few thousand years ago.  Read as though your life depends on it, which it really does.  Read it to your children and to your wife.  Read everyday until it becomes so en-grained into your mind you will never forget it.

Deuteronomy 6:3-19 (New International Version)

3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.

 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

 10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

 13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the LORD said.

One final blast here.  Notice that we men really do not accomplish anything, it is God who accomplishes the success through us for His glory.  We can be a great part of life for our families, friends and most of all-God  We are tools used by the Master to accomplish His greater perfect will.  So, men this is gut check time.  I pray that all those reading will be prompted to step back and take a hard look at their lives to see if you are really being the man you are suppose to be or just whining, wimpy, feminized followers of the world’s secular system.  I have to give myself a gut check often as well to make sure I am “maning up” rather than “wimping out”.

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

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The Old Cross vs The New Cross!

Posted by Scott on July 22, 2008

The business of the Church is God. She is purest when most engaged with God and she is astray just so far as she follows other interests, no matter how “religious” or humanitarian they may be.


 

A. W. Tozer
Read about A. W. Tozer

The Church: The Old Cross and the New Cross

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. –Galatians 6:14

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before that cross it bows and toward that cross it points with carefully staged histrionics–but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.

I well know how many smooth arguments can be marshalled in support of the new cross. Does not the new cross win converts and make many followers and so carry the advantage of numerical success? Should we not adjust ourselves to the changing times? Have we not heard the slogan, “New days, new ways”? And who but someone very old and very conservative would insist upon death as the appointed way to life? And who today is interested in a gloomy mysticism that would sentence its flesh to a cross and recommend self-effacing humility as a virtue actually to be practiced by modern Christians? These are the arguments, along with many more flippant still, which are brought forward to give an appearance of wisdom to the hollow and meaningless cross of popular Christianity. The Pursuit of Man, 53,54.

“Lord, it’s not popular today to be ‘old-fashioned.’ But I commit myself today to the old cross. Help me today to deny myself, to take up my cross, and to follow You. Amen.”

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The Goal of God’s Love May Not Be What You Think It Is!

Posted by Scott on July 22, 2008

by John Piper


 


Do people go to the Grand Canyon to increase their self-esteem? Probably not. This is, at least, a hint that the deepest joys in life come not from savoring the self, but from seeing splendor. And in the end even the Grand Canyon will not do. We were made to enjoy God.

We are all bent to believe that we are central in the universe. How shall we be cured of this joy-destroying disease? Perhaps by hearing afresh how radically God-centered reality is according to the Bible.

Both the Old and New Testament tell us that God’s loving us is a means to our glorifying him. “Christ became a servant … in order that the nations might glorify God for his mercy” (Romans 15:8-9). God has been merciful to us so that we would magnify him. We see it again in the words, “In love [God] destined us to adoption … to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:4-6). In other words, the goal of God’s loving us is that we might praise him. One more illustration from Psalm 86:12-13: “I will glorify your name forever. For your lovingkindness toward me is great.” God’s love is the ground. His glory is the goal.

This is shocking. The love of God is not God’s making much of us, but God’s saving us from self-centeredness so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. And our love to others is not our making much of them, but helping them to find satisfaction in making much of God. True love aims at satisfying people in the glory of God. Any love that terminates on man is eventually destructive. It does not lead people to the only lasting joy, namely, God. Love must be God-centered, or it is not true love; it leaves people without their final hope of joy.

Take the cross of Christ, for example. The death of Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of divine love: “God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Yet the Bible also says that the aim of the death of Christ was “to demonstrate [God’s] righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed” (Romans 3:25). Passing over sins creates a huge problem for the righteousness of God. It makes him look like a judge who lets criminals go free without punishment. In other words, the mercy of God puts the justice of God in jeopardy.

So to vindicate his justice he does the unthinkable – he puts his Son to death as the substitute penalty for our sins. The cross makes it plain to everyone that God does not sweep evil under the rug of the universe. He punishes it in Jesus for those who believe.

But notice that this ultimately loving act has at the center of it the vindication of the righteousness of God. Good Friday love is God-glorifying love. God exalts God at the cross. If he didn’t, he could not be just and rescue us from sin. But it is a mistake to say, “Well, if the aim was to rescue us, then we were the ultimate goal of the cross.” No, we were rescued from sin in order that we might see and savor the glory of God. This is the ultimately loving aim of Christ’s death. He did not die to make much of us, but to free us to enjoy making much of God forever.

It is profoundly wrong to turn the cross into a proof that self-esteem is the root of mental health. If I stand before the love of God and do not feel a healthy, satisfying, freeing joy unless I turn that love into an echo of my self-esteem, then I am like a man who stands before the Grand Canyon and feels no satisfying wonder until he translates the canyon into a case for his own significance. That is not the presence of mental health, but bondage to self.

The cure for this bondage is to see that God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the most loving act. In exalting himself – Grand Canyon-like – he gets the glory and we get the joy. The greatest news in all the world is that there is no final conflict between my passion for joy and God’s passion for his glory. The knot that ties these together is the truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Jesus Christ died and rose again to forgive the treason of our souls, which have turned from savoring God to savoring self. In the cross of Christ, God rescues us from the house of mirrors and leads us out to the mountains and canyons of his majesty. Nothing satisfies us – or magnifies him – more.

Originally published in Dallas Morning News.


© Desiring God  By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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A Strange Fire In Worship Services Today!

Posted by Scott on June 30, 2008

The church today, possibly the Emerging Church and even many that do not claim the emerging title to their name are using “strange fire” in their services and calling it “worship”.  I want to speak about this topic in this post on a very serious note.  Our churches today have lost the seriousness, holiness, purity, and worthiness in the worship of God with our church services today.

Psalm 29:2 “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.”

God is worth our time, our efforts, our best, our minds, our hearts, our bodies, and our all.  Today’s church has reduced this to something very strange that is called “worship”, but resembles that of a Saturday night program on the Las Vegas strip.  The church has so diluted “worship” that true worship seems strange to most people.  The “seekers” certainly do not know what true worship is, because in these Emerging or similar churches true “worship” has never existed.

If you are at all concerned about the about truly honoring God in “worth-ship” worship, then read on.

In Leviticus 10:3 “Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is that the Lord spoke saying, ‘I will be sanctified in them that come near Me, and before all the people I will be glorified…then Aaron held his peace.'”

This was what Moses told Aaron after Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu were struck down by God in the temple.  Why did God strike the two upstanding young men to their death?  They entered the temple and worshiped with “strange fire”.  The sin these two committed according to all we find in scripture is that they offered upon the burning alter “strange fire”.  THe command was that the alter would burn constantly without going out…the same fire all the time.  Now, in Exodus 30:9 we see that they were forbidden from offering strange incense, but nothing concerning “strange fire”.  Could it have been the strange incense that created the strange fire?  The claim is they brought the proper incense to the fire, but the fire was not right.

God had never warned these two men nor can we find anything concerning this prior to this account.  God simply made His judgement known on the spot when the “strange fire” emerges from the temple.  What could this strange fire have been I have often wondered.  Is God this specific about worship towards Him that He will kill someone for worshipping Him in a wrong way?  Is this Old Testament account obsolete with the ushering in of the New Testament?  What does God think about the so called “worship” that goes on in many churches today?  What is true worship anyway?  Is God really this serious about how we worship Him?  If God an orderly God or does He just allow us the freedom to worship Him however we see fit?

God has told us here in the Old Testament that “I will be sanctified…”  The Greek form of this is “hallowed” which is “holy”.  He alone is to be worshiped.  He is to be worshiped correctly, not by any means we humans think we want to worship Him.  He is not immused by the entertainment styles of worship today.  He is not amused at all in the entertainment musicial worship of today’s churches.   So, how are we to worship as to not create this “strange fire” in the prescence of God Almighty?  We need to be very careful in our quest to be relevant in church services.  Creating worship services that are “user friendly” or “seeker friendly” is not biblical from what I can find.

“I will be sanctified.”  This means that God will have His people demean themselves and carry themselves so as to hold forth their acknowledgement of His holiness, so that by their  carriage God may appear to be a holy God.  If we are not willing to sanctify God with our worship, if we are not willing to make God’s name appear to be holy, and if we are holding back His glory due Him, then God says He will demean us and carry Himself towards us so that by His actions He will make it very clear what a holy God He really is.  God is not willing that we go through life living unholy lives while supposedly worshipping Him as well. 

I have heard it often put this way, “He will be glorified in our life or He will be glorified in our death..either way He will be glorified.”

God is sanctified by the holiness of His people in their actions and worship towards Him by holding forth the glory of God’s holiness.  Remember that the saints of God snactify the Lord in their hearts by fearing God as a holy God with reverence to Him as a holy God. 

God also sanctifies Himself in ways of judgement on those who do not want to sanctify His holiness or His name in holiness.  Read Ezekiel 28:22 as God speaks.  God wants His people to draw near to Him which is far better, but He will draw near to us as well in order for His sanctification to be fulfilled.

Now, dealing with worship in church these days we must realize that we are there to honor a most holy and righteous God.  We are not there to feel better!  We are not there to worship in whatever manner we fill we can!  We are not there to let loose and be ourselves!  When at worship we are there to lift up the holy name of God, Elohim and Adonai.  We are to approach the throne of God in holy reverence with the highest fearful respect that God requires and deserves.  God is not to be mocked, yet many thinking they are worshiping God are merely mocking the name of Christ with the entertaining games, rock n roll music, and flipent ways of worship.  Music is not exclusive to worship.

You can worship in praise music, you can certainly worship in hymns, you can worship with only the message of God presented by the pastor, you can worship simply in prayer.  Music is not the only act of worship.  This seems to be an issue with churches today as the music must take up an hour of the service, then leave about 15 minutes for a very surface topical message that does little to sustain the listener for more than a one hour lunch on Sunday. 

Something everyone needs to understand is that God killer two upstanding young men that were the sons of Aaron and Nephews of Moses for worshipping with a “Strange Fire”…what would we think if God treated those worshipping in the church today this way?  We have the Word of God to stand firm upon.  We do not have to wonder what direction we are to take.  We do not have to wonder what the truth is.  We can rest upon the truth that is found in the Holy Bible from our youth into eternity.

Be very careful presenting ourselves before God in holy worship to Him.  Although Aaron’s sons came with the right incense to present to God, but it was the strange fire that God was not accepted by God.  Worship is not to be altered to be more seeker friendly folks.  Worship is about God not the worshiper per say.  Worship is our expression of bringing holiness to the name of God because He is worthy.

Each week we can go to church to hear glorious music, sing glorious music, and hear a wonderful message.  Is it near the same “routine” each week?  That is perfectly fine.  There is nothing wrong with it being similiar week in and week out. 

Worship:

-Music

-Instruments

-Expository message each week

-Glorious Special music in service

-Focus on God not seekers or believers

Draw  near to God and He will draw near to you.  Worship in truth-worship in faith!

Scott Bailey 2008

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Ishmael Must Go!

Posted by Scott on June 21, 2008

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: Genesis 21:8-13

But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned” (Genesis 21:12).

If Isaac represents the gladsome fullness of the fruit of the Spirit, then Ishmael represents some pet manifestation of our self-life in which we find comfort and delight and that we do not want to surrender. Some place value on what they have long suspected is not what God would have but that they were reluctant to give up. Perhaps it is some long-standing habit that we have been defending. There can be habits or values in our lives that are really some form of self-indulgence. God may allow them for a while, but the time comes when He says, “Now, these have to go.”

God says that Ishmael could never share in the inheritance with Isaac. This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6). When the time comes for us to stand before our Lord at the judgment seat of Christ, our lives will be classified into two areas: works of wood, hay, and straw, which are of the flesh; and those of gold, silver, and precious stones, which are of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). The Lord says to us as he says to Abraham, “Ishmael must go.” If you refuse to expose, examine, and remove that which is born of the flesh, even though God has said that it hurts you and He has shown you the peace, joy, and love that is the fruit of the Spirit, then you must face this choice as Abraham did.

Dr. Barnhouse once wrote, “Early in my ministry, I had the idea that I must strike out against all error wherever I saw it… if error was in some fundamental leader with whom I was in 95% agreement, I swung hard at the 5%.” This made Dr. Barnhouse a highly controversial figure, often unmercifully sharp and dogmatic. This zeal for truth became an Ishmael in his life. Then he tells how there came a time when the Spirit of God taught him to love, and he faced the choice—Ishmael had to go. He had to learn to be more understanding and more tolerant of some of the variant views of others.

He wrote, “Some time ago, I published a New Year’s resolution expressing regret that I had had differences with men who are truly born again. The results of that resolution were astounding. In the years that followed its publication, my ministry has been transformed.” The closing years of his life show much of his mellowing and of the sweetness of the fruit of the Spirit in one who before had been so harsh, critical, and demanding.

I don’t know what form Ishmael may be taking in your life, but I know there are times when God says to us, simply, this must go. There can be no manifestation of the life of the Spirit any longer until this is dealt with. Abraham obeyed. Early in the morning, he got up and took bread and a skin of water and, though it cost him heartbreak to do it, sent Hagar and Ishmael out, so that he might have the fullness of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Lord, I ask that I would sincerely long to be a completely yielded vessel of Your joy and strength and peace. May I have the grace to cast out Ishmael and find the fullness and joy of Isaac.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “Ishmael must Go! “ for more on this portion of scripture.

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The Suffering of Christ and Sovereignty of God!

Posted by Scott on June 20, 2008

 


By John Piper October 9, 2005 


What I would like to do this final session is magnify Christ in his suffering. And in the process I would like to venture the ultimate biblical explanation for the existence of suffering. And I would like to do it in such a way that you and I would be freed from the paralyzing effects of discouragement and self-pity and fear and pride so that we would spend ourselves—able or disabled—to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things (including suffering) for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.

The Ultimate Biblical Explanation for the Existence of Suffering

I believe the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. I might have said more simply that the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of God. That would be true. But the Bible is more specific. The glory of God shines most brightly, most fully, most beautifully in the manifestation of the glory of his grace. Therefore, this is the ultimate aim and the final explanation of all things—including suffering.

God decreed from all eternity to display the greatness of the glory of his grace for the enjoyment of his creatures, and he revealed to us that this is the ultimate aim and explanation of why there is sin and why there is suffering, and why there is a great suffering Savior. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came in the flesh to suffer and die and by that suffering and death to save undeserving sinners like you and me. This coming to suffer and die is the supreme manifestation of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. Or to say it a little differently, the death of Christ in supreme suffering is the highest, clearest, surest display of the glory of the grace of God. If that is true, then a stunning truth is revealed, namely, suffering is an essential part of the created universe in which the greatness of the glory of the grace of God can be most fully revealed. Suffering is an essential part of the tapestry of the universe so that the weaving of grace can be seen for what it really is.

Or to put it most simply and starkly: the ultimate reason that suffering exists in the universe is so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering. The suffering of the utterly innocent and infinitely holy Son of God in the place of utterly undeserving sinners to bring us to everlasting joy is the greatest display of the glory of God’s grace that ever was, or ever could be.

In conceiving a universe in which to display the glory of his grace, God did not choose plan b. This was the moment—Good Friday—for which everything in the universe was planned. There could be no greater display of the glory of the grace of God than what happened at Calvary. Everything leading to it and everything flowing from it is explained by it, including all the suffering in the world.

The Biblical Pathway That Leads to This Truth

Walk with me now, if you would, on the biblical pathway that has led me to this truth. To this point it just looks like high-sounding theology or philosophy. But it is far more than that. It is what the very words of Scripture clearly teach.

Revelation 13:8

Let’s begin with Revelation 13:8. John writes, “All who dwell on earth will worship [the beast], everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.” That is a good, careful, literal translation. This means that before the world was created there was a book called the “book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” The Lamb is Jesus Christ crucified. The book is the book of Jesus Christ crucified. Therefore, before God made the world he had in view Jesus Christ slain, and he had in view a people purchased by his blood written in the book. Therefore, the suffering of Jesus was not an afterthought, as though the work of creation did not go the way God planned. Before the foundation of the world God had a book called “the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” The slaying of the Lamb was in view before the work of creation began.

2 Timothy 1:9

Then consider 2 Timothy 1:9. Paul looks back into eternity before the ages began and says, “[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us [that is, he gave us this grace] in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” God gave us grace [undeserved favor—favor toward sinners, grace!] in Christ Jesus before the ages began. We had not yet been created. We had not yet existed so that we could sin. But God had already decreed that grace—an “in Christ” kind of grace, blood-bought grace, sin-overcoming grace—would come to us in Christ Jesus. All that before the creation of the world.

So there is a “book of life of the Lamb who was slain,” and there is “grace” flowing to undeserving sinners who are not yet created. And don’t miss the magnitude of that word “slain” (esphagmenou): “the Lamb who was slain.” It is used in the New Testament only by the apostle John, and means literally “slaughter.” So here we have suffering—the slaughter of the Son of God—in the mind and plan of God before the foundation of the world. The Lamb of God will suffer. He will be slaughtered. That’s the plan.

Why? I’ll give you the biblical text which tells the answer, but let me state it again: it’s because the aim of creation is the fullest, clearest, surest display of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. And that display would be the slaughter of the best being in the universe for millions of undeserving sinners. The suffering and death of the Lamb of God in history is the best possible display of the glory of the grace of God. That is why God planned it before the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1

Here’s the Biblical support, first from Ephesians 1 and then from Revelation 5. In Ephesians 1:4 Paul says, “[God] chose us in him [that is, in Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” The goal of the entire history of redemption is to bring about the praise of the glory of the grace of God.

But notice that twice in these verses Paul says that this plan happened “in Christ” or “through Christ” before the foundation of the world. He says in verse 4: God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world in order to bring about the praise of the glory of his grace. And he says in verse 5: God predestined our adoption through Christ before the foundation of the world to bring about the praise of the glory of his grace. What does it mean that “in Christ” we were chosen and that our adoption was to happen “through Christ”? We know that in Paul’s mind Christ suffered and died as a redeemer so that we might be adopted as children of God (Galatians 4:5). Our adoption could not happen apart from the death of Christ.

Therefore, what Paul means is that to choose us “in Christ” and to plan to adopt us “through Christ” was to plan the suffering and death of his Son before the foundation of the world. And verse 6 and 12 and 14 make plain that the goal of this plan was to bring about “the praise of the glory of the grace of God.” That is what God was aiming at. And that is why he planned the suffering and death of his Son for sinners before the creation of the world.

Revelation 5:9-12

Now consider the second biblical support for this from Revelation 5:9-12. Here the hosts of heaven are worshiping the Lamb precisely because he was slain—killed, slaughtered.

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” . . . Then I looked, and I heard around the throne . . . myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

The hosts of heaven focus their worship not simply on the Lamb, but on the “Lamb who was slain.” And they are still singing this song in Revelation 15:3. Therefore we can conclude that the centerpiece of worship in heaven for all eternity will be the display of the glory of the grace of God in the slaughtered Lamb. Angels and all the redeemed will sing of the suffering of the Lamb forever and ever. The suffering of the Son of God will never be forgotten. The greatest suffering that ever was will be at the center of our worship and our wonder forever and ever. This is not an afterthought of God. This is the plan from before the foundation of the world.

Everything else is subordinate to this plan. Everything else is put in place for the sake of this plan: the display of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God in the suffering of the Beloved is the goal of the creation and the continuing of the universe.

The Mystery of God Ordaining But Not Doing Sin

Do you see what this implies about sin and suffering in the universe? According to this divine plan, God permits sin to enter the world. God ordains that what he hates will come to pass. It is not sinful in God to will that there be sin. We do not need to fathom this mystery. We may content ourselves by saying over the sin of Adam and Eve what Joseph said over the sin of his brothers, when they sold him into slavery: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

As for you, Adam and Eve, you meant evil against God as you rejected him as your Father and Treasure, but Oh what an infinite good he planned through your fall! The Seed of the woman will one day bruise the head of the great Serpent, and by his suffering he will display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. You have not undone his plan. Just as Joseph was sold sinfully into slavery, you have sold yourselves for an apple. You have fallen, and now the stage is set for the perfect display of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God.

For not only did sin enter the world, but through sin came suffering and death. Paul tells us that God subjected the world to futility and corruption under his holy curse. He put it like this in Romans 8:20-23:

The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

When sin entered the world, horrible, horrible things followed. Diseases, defects, disabilities, natural catastrophes, human atrocities—from the youngest infant to the oldest codger, from the vilest scoundrel to the sweetest saint—suffering is no respecter of persons. That’s why Paul said in Romans 8:23, “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Ezekiel tells us that God does not delight in this suffering. “As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11). But the plan remains, and Jeremiah gives us a glimpse into the mysterious complexity of the mind of God in Lamentations 3:32-33, “Though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.” Literally: “He does not from his heart [millibbô] afflict or grieve the children of men.” He ordains that suffering come—“though he cause grief”—but his delight is not in the suffering, but in the great purpose of creation: the display of the glory of the grace of God in the suffering of Christ for the salvation of sinners.

The stage has been set. The drama of redemptive history begins to unfold. Sin is now in its full and deadly force. Suffering and death are present and ready to consume the Son of God when he comes. All things are now in place for the greatest possible display of the glory of the grace of God.

Therefore, in the fullness of time God sent his Son into the world to suffer in the place of sinners. Every dimension of his saving work was accomplished by suffering. In the life and death of Jesus Christ, suffering finds its ultimate purpose and ultimate explanation: suffering exists so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering.

Everything—everything—that Christ accomplished for us sinners he accomplished by suffering. Everything that we will ever enjoy will come to us because of suffering.

The Display of the Glory of the Grace of God in the Achievements of Christ by His Suffering

Consider the display of the glory of the grace of God in the achievements of Christ by his suffering.

1. Christ absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf—and he did it by suffering.

Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” The wrath of God that should have caused our eternal suffering fell on Christ. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

2. Christ bore our sins and purchased our forgiveness—and he did it by suffering.

1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” Isaiah 53:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” The sins that should have crushed us under the weight of guilt were transferred to Christ. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

3. Christ provided a perfect righteousness for us that becomes ours in him—and he did it by suffering.

Philippians 2:7-8, “He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” The obedience of Christ by which many are counted righteous (Romans 5:19) had to be an obedience unto death, even death on a cross. This is the glory of grace, and it would come only by suffering.

4. Christ defeated death—and he did it by suffering death.

Hebrews 2:14-15, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” “‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55). This is the glory of grace and it would come only by suffering.

5. He disarmed Satan—and he did it by suffering.

Colossians 2:14-15, “[The record of debts against us] he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” With the record of all our lawbreaking nailed to the cross and cancelled, the power of Satan to destroy us is broken. Satan has only one weapon that can damn to hell. Unforgiven sin. This weapon Christ stripped from Satan’s hand on the cross. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

6. Christ purchased perfect final healing for all his people—and he did it by suffering.

Isaiah 53:4, “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” “The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17). The Lamb was slaughtered and the Lamb was raised from the dead, and the Lamb together with the Father will wipe every tear from our eyes. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

7. Christ will bring us finally to God—and he will do it by his suffering.

1 Peter 3:18, “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. The ultimate achievement of the cross is not freedom from sickness but fellowship with God. This is what we were made for: seeing and savoring and showing the glory of God. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

The Ultimate Reason Why Suffering Exists

The ultimate purpose of the universe is to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. The highest, clearest, surest display of that glory is in the suffering of the best Person in the universe for millions of undeserving sinners. Therefore, the ultimate reason that suffering exists in the universe is so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering and bring about the praise of the glory of the grace of God.

O Christian, remember what Carl Ellis and David Powlison and Mark Talbot and Steve Saint and Joni Eareckson Tada said: they all, in their own way, said that whether we are able or disabled, enduring loss or delighting in friends, suffering pain or savoring pleasure, all of us who believe in Christ are immeasurably rich in him and have so much to live for. Don’t waste your life. Savor the riches that you have in Christ and spend yourself no matter the cost to spread your riches to this desperate world.


© Desiring God  By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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Jesus said He Is God!

Posted by Scott on June 18, 2008

     
“I’ve heard that Jesus never actually claimed He was God.”

John 14:7-10 [7] If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” [8] Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”   [9] Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father’?  [10] Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

John 10:30  “I and the Father are one.”

John 14:11  Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

John 10:37-38 [37] Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. [38] But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

Matthew 27:43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, `I am the Son of God.’

John 17:11   I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one.

“When Jesus said ‘I and the Father are one’ didn’t He just mean they are of one accord, they are merely like-minded?

Taken alone, statements such as “I and the Father are one.” and “The Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” could mean simply that Jesus agrees with God.  But in the overall  context of the Bible this cannot be:

John 10:31-33  [31] Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, [32] but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”   [33] “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

John 17:5  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

John 17:10   [Speaking to the Father] All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.

Note: “Son of Man” was a term referring to the expected Messiah.

Mark 14:61b-62   [61b] Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”  [62] “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Luke 22:66-70  [66] At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. [67] “If you are the Christ, ” they said, “tell us.”  Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, [68] and if I asked you, you would not answer. [69] But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”  [70] They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”  He replied, “You are right in saying I am.”

Daniel 7:13-14 [13] “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. [14] He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
 

Jesus clearly and repeatedly indicated that He is not the one who “calls the shots”.

John 14:31  the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

John 7:16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.”

John 8:42  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.”

John 17:3-12   [3] Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. [4] I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. [5] And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. [6] I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. [7] Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. [8] For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. [9] I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. [10] All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. [11] I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one. [12] While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
 

THE HEBREW BIBLE (OLD TESTAMENT)
SAYS GOD HAS A SON

 


From The Tanakh — The New JPS Translation
(c) 1985 by
the Jewish Publication Society

Proverbs 30:4 [JPS]

Who has ascended heaven and come down?
Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hand?
Who has wrapped the waters in his garment?
Who was established all the extremeties of the earth?
What is his name
or his son’s name, if you know it?

 


Proverbs 30:4 [NKJV]   Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?  Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?

THE HEBREW BIBLE (THE OLD TESTAMENT) SAYS THAT GOD WOULD COME TO EARTH AS A HUMAN MALE.

Isaiah 9:6-7 [6] For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [7] Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. …

When Jesus claimed to be God incarnate, either:

  1. He was telling the truth.
  2. He was lying — He wasn’t God and knew it.
  3. He was a lunatic — He wasn’t God but thought He was.

This is known as The Trilemma.

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Elected! John MacArthur

Posted by Scott on June 11, 2008

Considering Election (Not Politics)

John MacArthur
 

Election is the act of God whereby in eternity past He chose those who will be saved. Election is unconditional, because it does not depend on anything outside of God, such as good works or foreseen faith (Romans 9:16). This doctrine is repeatedly taught in the Bible, and is also demanded by our knowledge of God. To begin with, let’s look at the biblical evidence.

The Bible says prior to salvation, all people are dead in sin — spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). In this state of death, the sinner is utterly unable to respond to any spiritual stimulus and therefore unable to love God, obey Him, or please Him in any way. Scripture says the mind of every unbeliever “is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8, emphasis added). That describes a state of total hopelessness: spiritual death.

The effect of all this is that no sinner can ever make the first move in the salvation process. This is what Jesus meant in John 6:44, when He said, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” 

This is also why the Bible repeatedly stresses that salvation is wholly God’s work. In Acts 13:48 we read, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”

Acts 16 tells us that Lydia was saved when, “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”

Romans 8:29-30 states, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

Ephesians 1:4-5,11 reads, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will . . . also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”

Ephesians 2:8 suggests that even our faith is a gift from God.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, the apostle Paul tells his readers, “God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation.”

Second Timothy 1:9 informs us that God “has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”

Occasionally someone will suggest that God’s election is based on His foreknowledge of certain events. This argument suggests that God simply looks into the future to see who will believe, and He chooses those whom He sees choosing Him. Notice that 1 Peter 1:2 says the elect are chosen “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” and Romans 8:29 says, “whom He foreknew, He also predestined.” And if divine foreknowledge simply means God’s knowledge of what will happen in advance, then these arguments may appear to have some weight behind them.

But that is not the biblical meaning of “foreknowledge.” When the Bible speaks of God’s foreknowledge, it refers to God’s establishment of a love relationship with that person. The word “know,” in both the Old and New Testament, refers to much more than mere cognitive knowledge of a person. Such passages as Hosea 13:4-5; Amos 3:2 (KJV); and Romans 11:2 clearly indicate this. For example, 1 Peter 1:20 says Christ was “foreknown before the foundation of the world.” Surely this means more than that God the Father looked into the future to behold Christ! It means He had an eternal, loving relationship with Him. The same is true of the elect, whom we are told God “foreknew” (Romans 8:29). That means He knew them — He loved them — before the foundation of the world.

If God’s choice of the elect is unconditional, does this rule out human responsibility? Paul asks and answers that very question in Romans 9:19-20. He says God’s choice of the elect is an act of mercy. Left to themselves, even the elect would persist in sin and be lost, because they are taken from the same fallen lump of clay as the rest of humanity. God alone is responsible for their salvation, but that does not eradicate the responsibility of those who persist in sin and are lost — because they do it willfully, and not under compulsion. They are responsible for their sin, not God.

The Bible affirms human responsibility right alongside the doctrine of divine sovereignty. Moreover, the offer of mercy in the gospel is extended to all alike. Isaiah 55:1 and Revelation 22:17 call “whosoever will” to be saved. Isaiah 45:22 and Acts 17:30 command all men to turn to God, repent and be saved. First Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 tell us that God is not willing that any should perish, but desires that all should be saved. Finally, the Lord Jesus said that, “the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).

In summary, we can say that God has had a special love relationship with the elect from all eternity, and on the basis of that love relationship chosen them for salvation. The ultimate question of why God chose some for salvation and left others in their sinful state is one that we, with our finite knowledge, cannot answer. We do know that God’s attributes always are in perfect harmony with each other, so that God’s sovereignty will always operate in perfect harmony with His goodness, love, wisdom, and justice.

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Are You Saved or Just Deceived? Dig Deep!

Posted by Scott on June 7, 2008

John MacArthur presents a magnificent sermon on the subject of being saved or deceived.  Those of us in the camp must dig deep.  Digging deep is not quick.  We must take time to explain salvation to those listening to the gospel.  They must know the difficulty of salvation.  Salvation is not a 3 minute presentation and two line prayer with a feeling at the end.  Listen to this two part presentation.

PART ONE

 

 

PART TWO

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What Is Truly Valuable to You?

Posted by Scott on May 9, 2008

DadsDevoted!
Valuable!
“We live in a world that knows little about what’s truly valuable. People all around us are pursuing things that have no lasting value. That pursuit is ably treated by Anton Chekhov in his classic short story The Bet. This story gives us great insight into the value system of most people.
The plot involves a wager between two educated men regarding solitary confinement. A wealthy, middle-aged banker believed the death penalty was a more humane penalty than solitary confinement because “an executioner kills at once, solitary confinement kills gradually.” One of his guests at a party, a young lawyer of twenty-five, disagreed, saying, “To live under any conditions is better than not to live at all.”
Angered, the banker impulsively responded with a bet of two million rubles that the younger man could not last five years in solitary confinement. The lawyer was so convinced of his endurance that he announced he would stay fifteen years alone instead of only five.
The arrangements were made, and the young man moved into a separate building on the grounds of the banker’s large estate. He was allowed no visitors or newspapers. He could write letters but receive none. There were guards watching to make sure he never violated the agreement, but they were placed so that he could never see another human being from his windows. He received his food in silence through a small opening where he could not see those who served him. Everything else he wanted—books, certain foods, musical instruments, etc.—was granted by special written request.
During the first year the piano could be heard at almost any hour, and he asked for many books, mostly novels and other light reading. The next year the music ceased and the works of various classical authors were requested. In the sixth year of his isolation he began to study languages and soon had mastered six. After the tenth year of his confinement, the prisoner sat motionless at the table and read the New Testament. After more than a year’s saturation of the Bible, he began to study the history of religion and works on theology.
The second half of the story focuses on the night before the noon deadline when the lawyer would win the bet. The banker was now at the end of his career. His risky speculations and impetuosity had gradually undermined his business. The once self-confident millionaire was now a second-rate banker, and it would destroy him to pay off the wager. Angry at his foolishness and jealous of the soon-to-be-wealthy lawyer who was now only forty, the old banker determined to kill his opponent and frame the guard with the murder. Slipping into the man’s room, he found him asleep at the table and noticed a letter the lawyer had written to him. He picked it up and read the following:
‘Tomorrow at twelve o’clock I shall be free . . . but before leaving this room . . . I find it necessary to say a few words to you. With a clear conscience, and before God, who sees me, I declare to you that I despise freedom and life and health and all that your books call the joys of this world. . . . I know I am wiser than you all. . . . And I despise all your books, I despise all earthly blessings and wisdom. All is worthless and false, hollow and deceiving like the mirage. You may be proud, wise and beautiful, but death will wipe you away from the face of the earth, as it does the mice that live beneath your floor; and your heirs, your history, your immortal geniuses will freeze or burn with the destruction of the earth. You have gone mad and are not following the right path. You take falsehood for truth, and deformity for beauty. To prove to you how I despise all that you value I renounce the two million on which I looked, at one time, as the opening of paradise for me, and which I now scorn. To deprive myself of the right to receive them, I will leave my prison five hours before the appointed time, and by so doing break the terms of our compact.’
The banker read the lines, replaced the paper on the table, kissed the strange, sleeping man and with tears in his eyes, quietly left the house. Chekhov writes, “Never before, not even after sustaining serious losses on change, had he despised himself as he did at that moment.” His tears kept him awake the rest of the night. And at seven the next morning he was informed by the watchmen that they had seen the man crawl through a window, go to the gate, and then disappear.
Some people have to learn the hard way what is of value, and there are some who never learn.”

 

MacArthur, John: Alone With God. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1995
I have been studying and meditating and reading through Matthew 6:9-11.  This model prayer or the world calls it “The Lord’s Prayer” is a true model of how we as followers of Christ should pray.  Yet, how meaningless we have lifted up prayers on a daily basis.  Our prayer are full of all our wants from financial security, to health beyond any-ones dreams, to a large house, to a car, to more and more and more stuff.  Why is it that after years and years we have ever figured out that our prayer life is all about God and not about us.  This is the time to spend verbalizing what God wants us to declare from our hearts that is in one accord with His heart.  When Jesus said “ask and you shall receive” He was not saying to ask for all the worldly junk that has no place in the Kingdom of God.  If it is not from the heart and mind of Christ then do not ask for it.  Most of us can understand at least this minimal amount of our prayer life.
Who is our Father in heaven?  Is He an old white bearded man on dusty throne pointing His golden staff in the air sentencing some to death, some to prosperity, some to judgement, some to prison, some to starvation, etc.?  This is what has been pictured for centuries and is not even closely accurate.  Our Father in heaven, who is God Almighty, one part of the Trinity, is our glorious God, most loving Father, protecting Lord, and reigning King!  He is the parent that all of us wish we could be towards our children.  He is the most perfect parent of all. 
In Heaven is the abode of God.  This is an eternal place that exist in continuance and is where God the Father resides.  This is the most royal realms we could ever imagine and I doubt our imagination could even come close to understand what it is like where God lives.  However, we can only catch a small glimpse from scripture of where the future abode of God will be and we will be a part of it.
 Revelation 21:10-27 (NIV):
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadiaa in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 He measured its wall and it was 144 cubitsb thick,c by man’s measurement, which the angel was using. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.d 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
 

 

a That is, about 1,400 miles (about 2,200 kilometers)
b That is, about 200 feet (about 65 meters)
c Or high
d The precise identification of some of these precious stones is uncertain.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Re 21:10-27
Just think this description does not even come close to the splendor of our future eternal home.  For now, we are living in a trash heap compared to the Holy City or New Jerusalem to come.  However, in our prayer life we can prepare ourselves for this future home in heaven.  Jesus left us with this model prayer in order to prepare us, not so that we can dump our laundry list on God everyday and then blame Him because nothing came true on our wish list.   This is juvenile praying. 
 
Some might ask, “What is hallowed be thy name”?  That sounds like a foreign term for movie flick, yet, it is profound.  “Hallowed” means holy and “thy name” is God Almighty.  It is the “Holiest Name of All”.  There is no other name in heaven or on earth that is more holy than Elohim and Adonai and Jehovah and any other name that is strictly reserved for our God.  When we enter into prayer we are speaking to the holiest person that will ever exist or has ever existed.  As a believer in Christ Jesus we have access to the most important being ever.  Do you understand the meaning of this?  You do not have to go through a priest on earth or any other person on this earth….Jesus Christ is our high priest and it is through Him that we go before our heavenly Father.  He wants to hear directly from His people, not from another fallible man on earth. 
As the prayer goes on to ask that God’s will be done.  This is the key to the entire prayer.  This is the key to our prayer life.  We must pray that God’s will be done and not our own.  One of the difficulties that most of us struggle with in our prayer life is getting to the point to where we desire God’s will over our own.  This is a huge nail in the coffin of our Free Will over God’s Free Will.  Our prayer life will go no where as we exercise our will, but rather once we understand that our prayers are to be reflecting the will of our heavenly Father, then our prayer life takes on new meaning that experiences results.  As men we are so result oriented anyway…we have a drive that compels us to get results.  This is a God-given drive.  However, Jesus is telling us how results are achieved here…the achievement is not in ourselves nor is it about ourselves.  The achievement is getting to the point that we prefer God’s will to reign above our own desires and will.  In short, God’s will becomes our will and God’s will becomes the desire of our heart.  It is at this moment we stop bleeding selfishly and start bleeding righteously for the glory of our heavenly Father.  To further the Kingdom of God, our prayers need to reach a higher place that is high above the earthly mindset.
 
We should set our minds on heavenly things in order to be of some earthly good.  The wrong saying is “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you become no earthly good”.  That is incorrect!  If this earth is to improve, believers must become more heavenly minded to be of some earthly good.
What is truly valuable to you?  In your prayer life, what is it that you pray for the most, yourself, your family, happiness, joy, money, job security, groceries, devine revelation, safe travel, an easy life, and so on?  I know that none of us pray for a car accident tomorrow, marrital troubles in June ’08, to loose our job in the Fall!  That would be crazy, but why do we pray in defense of these types events in our lives?  All we need to focus on is God in our lives at any given moment regardless of the circumstance.  Come to grips with the fact that the only thing secure for us on this earth as believers is our salvation in Christ Jesus….nothing else is secure.  We must live the remainder of our life outside of that committment in total faith that God will see us through to the other side into eternity.
 
-Scott Bailey 2008
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