Saturday, February 25, 2012

Damascus, will it Survive?

Recently , I have been contemplating the situation in the Middle East, especially, Syria and I would like to share with you some of my thoughts. The City of Damascus, has an important significance of it's own.  St. Paul was on the the road to Damascus with good intentions of destroying the struggling body of Christ, when he was knocked off his horse and confronted by the resurrected Lord Jesus.  Later, believers were first called "Christians" in Antioch, Syria.The Lord's foot print is all over Syria. Bible prophecy tells us in Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 that Damascus will be destroyed as a city in the last days.  Scripture doesn't tell us exactly when or how this will happen, but I believe that day is steadily approaching. Indeed, it may not be far off.

No matter how the world's political and religious systems try to destroy Syria, God's word is final.  Nothing will hinder God's love for the Syrians. Nothing can separate His love from those on whom He has set His affections. The very heart of the Son of God reaches out to the Syrian people, who are in great anguish at this hour. God's word says to them, "Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more." God is in Syria.  He will not leave nor forsake His own. He is with the persecuted church and will bring Her through, because the "Gates of Hell, will not prevail against the Church" Matthew 16:18

 I believe that God will not allow this current evil to go unchecked much longer. It is mass murder and we know who the MURDERER IS. Satan is behind this evil in his attempt to also destroy the body of Christ and the Jews. God has His timetable and it will not be delayed. We can rest in His sovereignty and pray for our Syrian brethren. God is very patient, but will not tolerate evil forever.  In Genesis  12:1-3, the Lord told us that those who bless the children of Israel will be blessed, and those who cursed them will be cursed.  The Syrian government faces great judgment for not only killing its own citizens, but also for killing so many Jews and Israelis over the years, and cursing the State of Israel on a daily basis.

Syria may seems like it is far away, but I do ask myself, if the Lord should tarry, are we as the body of Christ in the United State spiritually ready to meet an evil onslaught?  Are we, by faith, separated unto the Lord?  Do we, by faith, know our spiritual authority in Jesus? Are we living, by faith, in the grace of God and or under the law.?  Do we,  by faith, know one another in Christ?  Will we, by faith, follow the Lord wherever He leads us?   Do we believe, by faith,  the whole council of God's Word? Will we remember WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD?

The gospel is not foreign to Syria,  In Mathew 4:24 "The news about Him (Jesus Christ) spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, and epileptics, and He healed them". One day all the nations will bow to the Lordship of
 Jesus Christ and confess that Jesus is LORD.

 In Isaiah 61 and Luke 4:18, Jesus proclaims "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,  to proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of the prison to those who are bound, and to proclaim the year of the LORD'S  favor".  It is my prayer that the grace and favor  of the living God will once again raise up the the body of Christ in Syria to draw many to Himself. "What the devil means for evil, God means for good."  May God's grace abound to our brethren in Syria.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A True Story

Have you ever been face to face with a Doberman Pinscher?  That dog is scary. I don't mean to offend any owner of a Doberman, but I have a true story to tell. It all started one evening when I got a phone call from a friend who was crying out to the Lord.  She was in very deep waters and wanted Jesus, but was being hindered by a spiritual stronghold. We agreed to meet in a parking lot close to her home. As we sat in her car discussing her situation, she told me that she had been in parapsychology, and that she was finding it difficult to concentrate on the Lord Jesus. We talked together for awhile and I explained to her that she had the power of the Holy Spirit in her and that Jesus wanted to deliver her. By the grace of God, I took authority in the name of Jesus and claimed the power of the blood . My friend passed out, but I  kept proclaiming the name of Jesus and the finished work of the cross over her until she recovered.

When she recovered, she was a new person. The spirit had left  and her mind was very clear. She had been so blessed by the Lord's presence that she wanted me to come back and pray through her house.  I accepted.  She told me to wait until she first went into the house to get control of her dog.  When I entered, that  DOG lunged at my throat. He hated me. He was vicious.  His hair was falling out, and my friend was having a difficult time handling his behavior.  Without thinking, I put up my right hand and said,,"In the name of Jesus you back off and be healed."  He backed down enough for my friend to get him under control and put him in the basement.

We continued to talk, as we prayed through the house.  I left and we told each other we would be in touch. Two weeks after my encounter with the Doberman, my friend called and invited my husband and I over for lunch.  We were delighted, but my first thought was, "oh no NOT that dog again".  We accepted.  When we arrived, fortunately, the dog was nowhere in sight. We all sat down to eat a lovely lunch, a green salad and a tuna fish sandwich.   In the middle of the lunch, my friend left the table and went to open the cellar door. I held my breath.  Out came the most beautiful Doberman. He was now so gentle in spirit and his hair had all grown back.  He very calmly came over to me.  I was in shock. I held out my hand with a piece of tuna fish sandwich and he received it graciously.   The Doberman had been completely healed and delivered.  My friend said that she had wanted me to personally see for myself what the Lord had done. AMAZING.  I have to admit I now have a special place in my heart for that  Doberman.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

True Love Never Fails

Valentines Day is behind us now, and many of our hearts have been affirmed that somebody loves us. How long will that last? A day, a month, a year or to the next disagreement.  Human love is so fickle.  It loves you one minute and hates you the next. Is there another LOVE that will accept us for who we are and not force us to change, but to draw us to itself?  Is there a LOVE more powerful than human love, to miraculously  change us into new creation? A loving creation that has never been before created for eternity?

As much fun and joy as Valentines Day brings to our hearts, I have found  a LOVE that continues day after day, through trials and tribulations. It reaches out to be believed and received. It never changes. It is the always the same, yesterday, today and forever. It is never tired of expressing itself, even if it is rejected or pushed away. This LOVE will pursue it's object endlessly, until it finally captures a heart to confess, "I am LOVED by the very ONE who created me."

 To admit that to yourself, may not be the easiest fact to acknowledge, but it is true. You may look at yourself and say,"Who could love me? I am a failure, a loser, a disappointment to my wife, my husband, my parents and my whole family." All that may be true, but I would like to share with you the other side of your story.

Before the foundations of the earth were laid, when the great Elohim, the Creator God, created the heavens and the earth, He had you and me in His mind.We were not an afterthought,or a mistake. We were created out of His LOVE, because that is who He is.  God is Love. (1John 4:26) He had a plan for us to glorify is name and to enjoy Him forever. The creation of man was the greatest, most magnificent thought that God ever designed. Adam and Eve were two perfect human beings until that grave day, when they both decided to live for themselves without their Creator.  

It is so easy to believe that when Adam and Eve sinned that God stop loving mankind, but that is not true.  God is Love.  It is His nature.  It is who He is and He can't change. His great unconditional LOVE for us was so clearly demonstrated at the cross. (Romans 5:8)  God did not just SAY He loved us. He DID something that no man could do for himself. He sent His only begotten Son to earth to pay a debt He did not owe for a debt we could not pay.  Jesus in ONE extraordinary act, liberated mankind from the penalty of sin of Adam. (John 3:16,17)

 If you, like me, have ever had the thought," I didn't ask to be born or why should I be blamed for Adam's sin?" FORGET IT.  We didn't create ourselves and whether we like it or not, we all were created in sin in our mother's womb (Psalm 51:50). That is the TRUTH, and there is only ONE way out of this dilemma. LOVE, demonstrated on the cross for you and I is waiting for us, if we only accept it.  To reject the cross is to reject  LOVE, as if to say, " God I don't need you .  You and I will never be unconditionally accepted as we are in the Beloved. (Eph.1:6)"

Religion is dead and apart from LOVE we all are dead.  LOVE  expressed in the man Christ Jesus is the only human being, who really does loves us. We knows our talents, our gifts and desires.  He knows our future. He knows our every thought.  We don't have to perform to earn His approval of how good we are.  We are loved simply because He created us and He was willing to be judged in OUR PLACE in order to bring us back to Himself. I have to ask myself, honestly, "I don't know one person who really would die for me."  They might say they would, but, be honest ,the WILL to LIVE is far stronger than we might think. ONLY JESUS really cares for our soul.

It is His love for me that blows me away, not my love for Him.  Repentance is no longer a long drawn out process, because His love is so attractive that I don't want to sin. But, when I do, I know I have my Lord Jesus Christ as my advocate in Heaven, who says, " I am for you, my daughter and not against you. My blood is enough. Go and sin  no more."

Brothers and sisters, we are so blessed to be loved by God.  There is no one like Him in the Universe. The love of the early church for each other demonstrated to the world at that time, that Jesus lived, died and was resurrected. May we as God's children today, surrender to our Lord and allow His resurrected love, once again, to flow through us to a dying world.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Something to think about

How many times have you heard  this verse? The Lord spoke to His disciples saying "Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.."Matthew 11:28:29. Over the years it has brought much comfort to many weary souls, who struggle in this life, and who reaches out to God for comfort and peace. How faithful He is to meet our deepest need. This verse has comforted me many times. However, I would like to share something that I have recently thought about and I would LOVE your thoughts on this.

I have been pondering this verse for some time,wondering about the possibility, could Jesus be talking to His disciples about releasing His people from the burden of the law? When the Lord first spoke this to His disciples, the Nation of Israel was still under the ceremonial laws and the moral law  It was a HEAVY YOKE and a great BURDEN on the people, striving to keep the law 24-7. Every year on the day of atonement the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of a perfect lamb on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. For one whole year the sins of the Nation were covered by the blood, but the people were still were under the burden of the law. But what has interested me is when Jesus says, "Take MY yoke  upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find REST for your soul." Was trying to help His disciples to understand that He was the the promised Messiah ,who would take away their sin and give them REST from all their striving? 1 Cor. 15:56 says "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."  

The one thing I LOVE about Scripture is how relevant it is and that it continuously speaks to life in every situation. Isn't it wonderful that the law of life in Jesus Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1). We no longer have to struggle to keep the law or condemn ourselves when we sin.  Jesus has invited us to repent, (change our minds) come to Him and He will give us rest.  Could the REST that Jesus is speaking be pointing to Hebrew 4:9 "there remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has Himself also rested from His works as God did from His.  Let us therefore be diligent to enter the rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience."The rest of God is really something that I want to pursue to understand more and more. Perhaps, we could discuss this together in another post.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Narrow Gate

Have you ever seen a sheep herding contest? I will never forget the first time I saw one, at the Fryeberg Fair in Maine. There were times when I had to laugh, while watching the sheep  ignoring the sheep dog, refusing to obey his lead. But what was amazing to me was, how patient the dog was, as he waited for the shepherd to whistle his next command. Then the dog would race across the field, nipping at the kneels of the sheep. Eventually, the sheep were herded one by one through a NARROW gate into a pen. Each contest lasted about ten minutes. The shepherd and his dog, who were the fastest to herd their sheep into the pen and close the gate won.

This event was one of the most fascinating to watch, especially the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep dog. It reminded me of one of the glories of our Lord Jesus as our Good Shepherd.  I saw it as an analogy. Jesus Christ is the Shepherd, we are the sheep and the Holy Spirit is the sheep dog, sent into the world to bring us back through the NARROW GATE to the Good Shepherd. The Holy Spirit is often called the "the hound of heaven" and I can see why.  He is determined to fulfill the glory of the Good Shepherd even if we go astray.  The Holy Spirit will come and get us back into line. Sheep have such a mind of their own. How appropriate it is for the Lord to call US His SHEEP. Working together, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit hems us in on all sides leading us through the NARROW GATE on our journey home.  If it was left up to us, we would never find the NARROW WAY. I am just thankful that we can rest in the peace of God, moment by moment knowing that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit only does what they see the Father doing.  If God is for us, who shall be against us. Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd and we SHALL NOT WANT of anything, because He is OUR everything and the Holy Spirit will make sure we know this truth..