August 26, 2012

An Awesome God – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

It seems to me that a very popular phase being used quite often these days is “our God is an awesome God.” There is even a song with that title sung in many congregations of the Lord’s church. But what does that actually mean? To my way of thinking, an awesome God is all knowing (omniscient), present everywhere at all times (omnipresent), and all powerful (omnipotent).

Is He? There are many scriptures in the Bible that can be used to support the claim. But if you want to read something that demonstrates God’s omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, in a few short verses, turn to Psalm 139. This is a beautiful Psalm.

God’s Omniscience

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. (Psalms 139:1-6 NKJV)

The Psalmist knew that God knew everything about him. From the time he arose to the time he retired for the day, God knew his every action, even the words he spoke before he said them. He realized that God’s every thought was above his understanding. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

We might think we can deceive God, but we can’t. (Galatians 6:7) He knows everything we do and say and we will be held accountable for it. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

God’s Omnipresence

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. (Psalms 139:7-12 NKJV)

There is nowhere that man can go to hide from God or to be outside his presence. Jonah learned this lesson the hard way when he tried to flee from God to avoid having to go to Nineveh and preach. (Jonah 1:1-3) Elijah also found that he could not escape the presence of God when he fled to a cave to escape the wrath of Jezebel. God spoke to him and asked what he was doing in the cave when God had other plans for him. (1 Kings 19:9-16)

God’s Omnipotence

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You. (Psalms 139:13-18 NKJV)

How powerful is our God? The Psalmist demonstrates it by using the example of his formation in his mother’s womb. It’s clear that he recognized that from the beginning God has set in motion the process by which man is formed from an embryo through the various stages of development. This single act, as much as any other, shows the power of God. Science has been able to unravel mysteries of cellular division and the code that determines its properties. This code drives the formation of all our body parts and is responsible for developing those features which distinguish one person from another. Yet science has not been able to determine how to initiate the process—to make life from that which is non-living. It is also clear that the Psalmist understood that in the sight of God he was a person before he left his mother’s womb.

There are many today who scoff at the idea that there is an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God, but they are foolish. (Psalms 14:1) Man has come a long way in understanding his environment and the world around him from the smallest particles of matter to the massive distant stars. But when it comes to spiritual matters, God has made foolish the wisdom of the world. (1Corinthians 1:20) Let us heed the words of Solomon who wrote:

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:9-10 NKJV)

— Amen

 

 

 

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August 19, 2012

My Peace – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The Greek word translated “peace” occurs 92 times in the New Testament and is used in every book except 1 John. It is used in several different ways. It is used to describe a relationship between man and God:

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)

between men:

“Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” Romans 14:16-19

and nations:

“Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.” Luke 14:31-32

The peace that Jesus spoke of is unlike any other because it offers contentment in the face of uncertainty, trials and tribulations in this world and eternal comfort and rest in the life to come to those who believe. It is HIS peace.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)

Jesus had said earlier to his disciples,

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” John 14:1-5 (NKJV)

His disciples had been following him for three years and were expecting many more great things from him in addition to what they had already seen. Now he told them he was going away to prepare a place for them and they were troubled. They had no idea where the place was nor how to get there. They only knew that it was in his Father’s house. Jesus finally said to them:

“You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.” John 14:28-29 (NKJV)

This same peace is available today to those who believe and have become children of God through putting on Christ. In writing to the Philippians, Paul summed it up better than any words I could use:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9 (NKJV)

Let us all meditate on these things.— Amen

 

 

August 12, 2012

Search Me – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Would you be willing to have God search your heart and know your innermost thoughts? King David did. He prayed to God:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23-24 (KJV)

Keep in mind that God knows your innermost thoughts whether you invite him to search them out or not. David knew this too.

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” Psalms 139:1-4 (NKJV)

When we ask God to search us and know our hearts, it’s for our own benefit. We know that he will search us perfectly and without bias or deceit. Have you ever asked a friend to tell you what they really think about something you have done or said? It is probably one of the most difficult things we can ask a friend to do. For if the friend is truly honest with you, there is always the risk that an honest answer will jeopardize the friendship. This is especially true if you do not like what you hear. Paul understood this risk when he wrote to the Corinthians to correct their error. However, he explained it this way:

“For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (NKJV)

I could do the search myself because “no one knows me better than I do.” But, this is a faulty assumption because we are so prone to delude ourselves.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-9 (ASV)

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 (NKJV)

Why would we ask God to search us in the first place? It’s because we know that a sinful life eventually will lead us to eternal death. We want sin to be rooted out of our lives. As we noted before, the Psalmist wrote:

“And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:24 (KJV)

The wise writer of Proverbs 23:7 told us that what we think in our hearts controls our behavior. Therefore, we should listen carefully to the words of Jeremiah:

“O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. O Lord, correct me, but with justice; Not in Your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.” Jeremiah 10:23-24 (NKJV)

How does God search and lead us today? By giving us good examples in the Bible to follow and measure ourselves against. This is the very same way that David came to repent. Samuel told him the story of a rich man who took for himself a lamb of a poor man who had little else in life but the lamb. When David became angry, Nathan rebuked him by saying, “Thou art the man,” David realized the sinfulness of his own behavior and repented of it.

We can measure ourselves against the Old Testament worthies described in Hebrews 11. We must measure ourselves against Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“I write not these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though ye have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I begat you through the gospel. I beseech you therefore, be ye imitators of me.”

1 Corinthians 4:14-16 (ASV)

“Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ASV)

Jesus said,

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 (ASV)

Search me, Lord, and make me more like thee.— Amen

 

 

 

August 5, 2012

With Christ – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,  if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:17

One of the most thrilling revelations of the New Testament is the fact that Christians are identified with Christ in all the key events of His great work of salvation.

This is true even with regard to His crowning redemptive act, His death. Christians are considered by God as dying with Him. As Paul said…

“I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;” Gal.2:20.

Furthermore, when Christ was buried we were in effect buried also.

“Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism into death…” Romans 6:4.

Then we are also resurrected with Christ.

“which He loved us,…raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Eph.2:4-6.

“… you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead,” Col.2:12.

But that is only the beginning of our great salvation. Christ then ascended to heaven, sat down on the right hand of the Father, and we are there with Him!

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,…raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Eph.2:4-6.

Not even is this the end, for we are joint-heirs with Christ, as our text assures us. The writer of the book of Hebrews informs us that He has been “appointed heir of all things,” Hebrews 1:2. Then the apostle Paul tells us we share His inheritance.

“…we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” Romans 8:16-17.

This amazing promise even more amazingly includes reigning as kings with Him, now and forevermore.

“It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will [present tense] also reign with Him;”  II Timothy 2:11-12.

“…those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will [present tense] reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:17.

We are identified with Christ in His suffering, His death, His burial, His resurrection, His ascension, and then in His eternal reign!

When He returns, we will be granted the ultimate intimate association,

“…so we shall always  be with the Lord,” I Thessalonians 4:17.

Adapted from an article by Henry M. Morris