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Friday, June 18, 2010

Israel's time of trouble

Reggie Kelly has been given tremendous insight into the "times of the end."
Here is a little portion of a recent e-mail from him to give insight into
the "over-reaction" of the nations to Israel's defense of it's borders.

"In any event, God has chosen to permit the eternally beloved nation (beloved with all the pathos and affection that a good father has towards his errant child) to be morally and politically "framed" far out of proportion to their actual crimes (from the relative human point of view).

Things are coming that will be tragic and pathetic beyond our ability to bear. Our hearts will break, as our faith will be tested to the core. "It will be a terror only to understand the report" (Isa 28:19). This was the prophet, Habakkuk's, dilemma. He was perplexed at God's choice to use a nation of far greater ferocity and wickedness (by human standards) to come down for the scourging of His covenant elect.

The prophet knew keenly the nation's covenant dereliction, but it was difficult for Habakkuk to find the equal weight of justice, not so much in the severity of judgment, but in God's choice to use as the instrument of that judgement a nation that far exceeded Israel for cruelty and pagan defiance of covenant righteousness (see Isa 10:5). It was particularly God's use of a nation far more wicked and fierce than the victim nation that constituted the offense to Habakkuk's own human perceptions and relative measurements. We see not as He sees (Isa 55:8-9).

This is the mystery of God's use of evil in behalf of His elect. We need to see that behind the fierce countenance of Satan's hatred (in this case, the "ancient hatred" of Esau, which has found modern expression through the spirit of Islam; Ezk 35:5), is the even more ultimate opposition of God Himself. It is God who puts hooks into the jaws of the northern invader! (Ezk 38:4). It is God that puts it in the hearts of the ten kings to judge the harlot! (Rev 17:17). We may suppose that this is precisely because the harlot is more covenantally aware and responsible than the ten kings that serve not only the purposes of Antichrist but more ultimately of God.

We need to see this mystery, not only for Israel but for ourselves. When God's elect are exposed through disobedience to "the yoke of a cruel one," it is then they learn how easy His yoke is by comparison, and so flee back under the refuge of the covenant, which only the believer has in Christ.

To understand this hidden principle is to escape much that might otherwise offend and threaten the collapse of faith. We must know for Israel and for ourselves what Jesus understood when He said to Pilate: "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above." Where God's true elect are concerned, this could as well be said of Satan as of Pilate (Ro 8:28).

If a prophet of Habakkuk's spiritual stature could be mystified and offended by God's use of evil, what can be expected for the latent humanism that so deeply pervades most of Christendom when Israel will be betrayed not only by the nations, but once more by institutional Christendom as well?

Therefore, we must not faint when our human sensibilities will be overwhelmed. The reason is clear: Just as God 'got His man' on the Damascus road, He will get His nation, regardless! He does not spare in His pursuit (Jacob's trouble; Jer 30:7; Dn 12:1; Mt 24:21-22; compare also Deut 32:36 with Dn 12:7; also Gal 1:15-16 with Ps 102:13; 110:3).

The church must come to understand what Israel will learn in the crucible of Jacob's trouble, namely, He will not spare to bring all the way down just so that He might raise His afflicted all the way up to sit in heavenly places in Christ, to behold His beauty forever! It will be worth it all.

It is so important that we do not get caught up in endless comparisons of things that are at best relative. It is our prophetic calling to see beyond the veil to that glorious heart and wisdom that does not spare to sacrifice the thing that is momentary for a far greater weight of glory. We must see this for Israel and for ourselves. The judgement may seem by every human measurement and reckoning to be excessive, but the eye of faith knows it is not, and chooses to justify God rather than man. "Blessed be the name of the Lord! "Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me" (Mt 11:6). "

Thursday, June 17, 2010

pride killer

I have never met the man I could despair of after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.
Oswald Chambers

Monday, June 14, 2010

romans 3:25-26 Propitiation

Romans Bible Study #10
Romans 3:25,26
Word: Propitiation

We are doing an amazing thing here. We are studying the word of God, that can only be apprehended and understood, by faith. We must not ever try to change the Word. We must be vigilant to allow the Word to change us. Prayer.

25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Redemption, from last week, spoke of a ransom paid, and part of that truth is, sin had put us into captivity to our fleshly desires and satan, and now, we are set free. This weeks word “propitiation” speaks of something that our natural minds can not wrap themselves around. Propitiation, has to do with averting the “wrath of God” from off of us. ‘Falling short of the glory of God‘ is not seen today as the horrible sin that it is. If the creator and sustainer of all life is despised by His creatures, and they choose to not give Him honor, the universe has been turned upside-down. There has to be a penalty for that. It is ingrained in us by the grace of God, that when one person treats another person cruelly, there needs to be a penalty. How much more so, when a creature betrays God.

Quotes and attempts to define propitiation.
1. Propitiation: This means the turning away of wrath by an offering. It is similar to expiation but expiation does not carry the nuances involving wrath. For the Christian the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass "over the sins previously committed" (Romans. 3:25). It was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation (1 John 4:10) for all (1 John 2:2).
2. Propitiation is a theological term describing an atoning sacrifice. Generally, Christian belief is that the death of Jesus on the cross appeased the justice of God and effected a reconciliation between God and mankind. Christian theology relates this to the "mercy seat" or propitiatory in the Holy of Holies, in the Jewish temple.
3. Romans 3:25 - "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;...."
"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation...." -- that is a big word that throws a curve at a lot of people, and the best way I can define "propitiation" is, that everything that is pictured in that Tabernacle experience (all the material that went in to the building of it, all the furniture, the Ark of the Covenant, the Candlestick, the Altar of Incense, the Table of Shewbread, the Laver of Cleansing, the Brazen Altar, and all of those furnishings) is a picture of Christ in His work of redemption. So, that's really what propitiation is...that complete overall work that Christ accomplished by His death, burial and resurrection

Many Christians (including myself) really don't like to use 'propitiation', because the God of the Bible is unlike idols and emperors who could be bribed or kissed up to with gifts, offerings and such. The wrath of this God is the anger of heartbreak and injustice. God doesn't want appeasement, and won't be placated. God wants real justice and self-sacrificial service. God wants to be known and loved. The problem is, such things are so difficult that they never come about without cost. (See below.) The bigger the wrongs, the harder the changes, the greater the separation between God and people, and the bigger the cost. Picture then the cost of all human wrongs bundled up and tied together. Any propitiation as an attempt at appeasement is dwarfed by all those wrongdoings. How much can even a loving God take? But God's love is so strong, and God's awareness of our limitations is so clear, that God came to be among us as Jesus, knowing that we would sentence Him to what for us is the ultimate cost - death. Thus, for Christians, 'propitiation' is what Christ did by suffering and dying on the cross.

So, basically when the accusation comes against God, “You are too soft on sin, look at how You let people continually get away with stuff,” God’s reply is “Look at the cross, that is what I think of sin.“
Isaiah 53:1-12. If we spend time with this entire chapter and God “quickens” it to our hearts, then we will have a beginners understanding of propitiation.

Proverbs 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.

Include Uriah’s dad’s perspective.

Psalm 103:10,11 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. for as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.

Include the illustration of opening the book and reading and whose name is on it.

Psalm 50:21,22 "These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.
Now consider this, you who forget God, Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.

Proverbs 6:32-35 The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach will not be blotted out.
For jealousy enrages a man, And he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
He will not accept any ransom, Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.

I’ll repeat my thought from the beginning and add one thought.

We are doing an amazing thing here. We are studying the word of God, that can only be apprehended and understood, by faith, by a gracious revelation from God to us. We must not ever try to change the Word. We must be vigilant to allow the Word to change us.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

tenderly, like a father

this one phrase in a sentence was part of our Wed night lesson
and a weight of conviction fell on me, when it was spoken.
Here is where you can pray for me.
Here is where I am weak.
tenderly - doing the father vocation in a way that understands
the fact that those God has given me are at times crushed, bruised, and
fragile. They need a father who is tender, not one who is just
trying to get everyone and everything from point A to point B.
Help me Father to reflect your tenderness.
Isaiah 42:1-4

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

romans 3:22-23

Romans Bible Study #9
Romans 3:23-24
Words - Justification and Redemption

23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

for all have sinned “Genuine fellowship is grounded upon a negative… Precisely when we recognize that we are sinners do we recognize that we are brothers.
and fall short of the glory of God “lacking” the glory of God. Sin is not holding, having, honoring God with all of your life. God deserves to be at the center and at the first-place in all of our dealings. Sin is a failure to embrace God as our highest treasure, the person of supreme value in our lives. So we exchange that ‘glory’ for some other lesser thing. Sin is mainly about God. Dishonoring Him who is deserving of all honor.
We choose to love, lean on, and find satisfaction in some other thing, and not in The God who created the whole universe to display His glory. We were created to value, honor, and display the glory of God. Paul Washer put it like this, every dancer will be confronted with, Why wasn’t every step for Me? Every scientist and engineer with, Why didn’t you discover and reveal Me? Every carpenter with Why didn’t you pound every nail for Me. He is worthy of all. The world goes haywire when it is in rebellion against the purpose that the Creator made it for. Chaos, misery, dysfunction are a result of rebelling against God. Sin is contemplating God as the supreme value and rejecting Him, in favor of something else. What is that thing in our lives?

“being justified” A verb in the passive voice. God is one who is justifying, we are the ones who are being justified. Justification is not our work, it happens to us from outside of us. We are receiving the righteousness of God thru faith. Condemnation is the opposite of justification. These are ‘court of law’ terms. Condemnation is what we deserved. Justification is given freely to us. To be justified by God, means to be counted as just. It is not an act upon our nature or state, but an alteration in how God views us and treats us.
The actual progressive, little by little, becoming-like-Christ is sanctification.
Justification is a “static” thing, a reckoning. It is a declaration of God saying NOW this one is not guilty. We fight the fight of faith, we start off in the Christian life from a place of “not guilty.” God puts us on the solid ground of His declaration, so that we are not tremulously (timidly, fearfully, anxiously) walking out the life of faith, from a position of a person carefully carrying a glass vase around, whoops I dropped it, now it broke, all is lost.
“Being justified” speaks of something far more solid, a foundation of God’s doing. A secure place that we can return to and jump off from again and again. The process part, sanctification, will have many steps forward and back, the Solid part, justification gives us an unwavering ‘house built on a rock’ to withstand the storms.

“as a gift by His grace” Freely given, not earned, not ‘wages’, but a gift.
All that we have earned is condemnation. Without price, available to all. It is an abomination to work for God, to act like you can put Him in your debt.
All we can “do” is receive from Him. He owes us nothing, but gives us everything. Romans 11:35 “Who has ever given a gift to God that he should be repaid?” A song, a missionary life, fasting, etc. None of that can put God in your debt. It is all “from Him and to Him and through Him.”

“through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” All this amazing freely given grace flows to us thru redemption - deliverance at a cost. Release at the payment of a price. Ransom paid, now freedom is obtained. We owe everything to this. Thru no other means could God reckon us as righteous. ONLY thru the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This is the root that holds down the oak tree in the storm. This is the 11th hour reprieve for the prisoner on death row, that includes being welcomed into the Judge’s household with all the benefits of being His son. Jesus suffered the judgment which was due to us. He paid our ransom. The debt was paid in full by Jesus.
This last part is a direct quote from a guy named Reggie, who really “gets it.”
Yes, this so-called 'great exchange' sounds dangerous to the legalistic mind, but let someone get a hold of the implications of the glory of this, and you'll see what the scripture means that the truth sets the heart free, as there will soon follow a far greater power and liberty to fulfill all obedience than ever otherwise. Then will be seen in far greater and more authentic measure the so-called 'practical' righteousness that works itself out into deeds of real love and faith, the outward testimony and evidence of "Christ in you," which reality MUST result in true holiness and the true fruits of the Spirit, and not their laborious and proud religious imitations.

To truly lay hold of this is a resurrection event indeed. "They believed not for joy." Many fail of it, simply because it's just too good to be true. It's just not 'rational'. Exactly! No wonder Rome is offended. What devout and well meaning child of nature wouldn't be? Especially those that are chomping at the bits to "become" sons by their own will power, and are nervous that if they just believed on Christ for their sanctification no less than their justification, why, they might be buying in to 'cheap grace' and lose their guarded restraint against their carnal appetites and impulses. I tell you that those that think in those terms know not the gospel or the power thereof! No wonder such a gospel makes legalism to stumble. Spurgeon once said something like "if you can preach a gospel that doesn't lend itself to the kinds of accusations charged against Paul, then you're probably not preaching the same gospel that he preached."

If we want true holiness; if we want the real implications of true calling unto the fullness of mature sons, then let us approach the standard of holiness and the true fulfillment of the law in this glorious and holy gospel way. Then we will experience the Spirit's liberating empowerment that follows really believing the testimony of God as set forth in the good news of the gospel. That's where the power is; it is nowhere else. Any other source of power, however well meaning and religious, is deceitful and proud and threatens to bring one to the dread reply of Mt 7:21. This is where Israel stumbled; they approached the standard "as IF" it were a law of works" (ro 9:32). That's where all stumbling occurs. Why, I'm certain that any lapse into carnality is only due to a lapse of faith and apprehension of the glory of this most foundational tenet of the unshakable foundation of God (see 2Tim 2:19). And since the Spirit that works the all and all of anything acceptable in the believer is received by faith alone apart from works or pre-qualification, there is no risk that this faith will not be vindicated by the Spirit's liberating power unto true holiness, true sacrifice, because of true love created by the Holy Spirit and shed abroad in a heart set free by the gospel.