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Monday, March 31, 2014

Grace is offensive


While examining David's life, some friends pointed out the "offense of Grace."

David's lamenting of Absalom was an offense to Joab.  David's extravagant love that kept coming in spite of the sin of Absalom, is a groaning identification, a desire to take the place of the object of love.  Grace offends, it is free and sovereign.  God's love for those who do not love Him yet is costly to those who do love Him.  If we think we have some "claim" on God's love, we are set up for pride and a fall.  The older brother appears to have a right to be offended, until you consider that "all that I have is yours."  What I give to the prodigal son, does not rob anything from you.  Grace is an intended, built in offense, to examine how we view the grace that WE have been given.
Grace is deeper and wider than we can know in this life and we will spend eternity learning about it and a true understanding of His grace and mercy will compel us to love and obey Him more, not less.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Zechariah Chapter 9 Bible study #14 The Prince of Peace

Zechariah Bible Study #14
Zechariah Chapter 9
The Prince of Peace

Prophecies against Neighboring Nations

The burden of the word of the Lord is against the land of Hadrach, with Damascus as its resting place (for the eyes of men, especially of all the tribes of Israel, are toward the Lord),
And Hamath also, which borders on it;
Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.
For Tyre built herself a fortress
And piled up silver like dust,
And gold like the mire of the streets.
Behold, the Lord will dispossess her
And cast her wealth into the sea;
And she will be consumed with fire.
Ashkelon will see it and be afraid.
Gaza too will writhe in great pain;
Also Ekron, for her expectation has been confounded.
Moreover, the king will perish from Gaza,
And Ashkelon will not be inhabited.
And a mongrel race will dwell in Ashdod,
And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.
And I will remove their blood from their mouth
And their detestable things from between their teeth.
Then they also will be a remnant for our God,
And be like a clan in Judah,
And Ekron like a Jebusite.
But I will camp around My house because of an army,
Because of him who passes by and returns;
And no oppressor will pass over them anymore,
For now I have seen with My eyes.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
And the bow of war will be cut off.
And He will speak peace to the nations;
And His dominion will be from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.

Deliverance of Judah and Ephraim

11 As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you,
I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12 Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope;
This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you.
13 For I will bend Judah as My bow,
I will fill the bow with Ephraim.
And I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece;
And I will make you like a warrior’s sword.
14 Then the Lord will appear over them,
And His arrow will go forth like lightning;
And the Lord 
God will blow the trumpet,
And will march in the storm winds of the south.
15 The Lord of hosts will defend them.
And they will devour and trample on the sling stones;
And they will drink 
and be boisterous as with wine;
And they will be filled like a 
sacrificial basin,Drenched like the corners of the altar.16 And the Lord their God will save them in that day
As the flock of His people;
they are as the stones of a crown,
Sparkling in His land.
17 For what comeliness and beauty will be theirs!
Grain will make the young men flourish, and new wine the virgins.

The big picture of chapter 9-14 is the “overthrow of world-power, and the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom”. Chapter 9-11 deal with the judgment that brings down Gentile world-power and gives Israel power to overcome all their enemies. Chapter 12-14 The judgment that 'sifts and purges' Israel
because of this 'final conflict' is shown and how it transforms them into the holy nation of Jehovah.
Prophecy is powerful, it has a foreground and a distant future that it speaks of. Many stumble at that and limit it to its immediate fulfillment while discounting any need for a further supernatural, over the top fulfillment. They toss Israel aside before the full and totally impossible meaning of a “nation” giving their heart to God comes to pass. They say a “remnant” of Israel was good enough and that the 'big promises and blessings' are for the church. Paul very clearly warns us against believing this lie. Romans 11:25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
The Deliverer will come from Zion,He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”27 This is My covenant with them,When I take away their sins.”

There are promises to Israel that have simply never happened yet, so they must be future if we are to believe that God is sovereign and capable of fulfilling ALL of His “I will” promises.
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.24 For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. 29 Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you. 30 I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!”
33 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35 They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ 36 Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it.” Ezekiel 36:22-36
Just one more scripture because it is so key that we understand that these promises are important to God. These remaining chapters of Zechariah speak of the fulfillment of those promises.
Romans 15:8-13
 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathersand for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,
Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles,And I will sing to Your name.”
10 Again he says,
Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.”
11 And again,
Praise the Lord all you Gentiles,
And let all the peoples praise Him.”

12 Again Isaiah says,
There shall come the root of Jesse,
And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,
In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The part that I highlighted is important and so is the “and.” Because it speaks of the two tracks that are there throughout the New Testament. The promises to Israel AND the promises to the church. Just had to make that point because many dismiss Israel and God's promises to the people and the land.

Zechariah 9:1 – “Burden” is a key word indicating that this speaking is going to be about woe and disaster. Two cities in Syria are mentioned as the place where the disaster will 'start.' When the judgment of God is poured out on the earth the eyes of men look to Him. 9/11 was proof of that.
Verse 2-4 Tyre and Sidon are specifically mentioned and the ultimate destruction of Tyre which had its partial fulfillment by the hand of Alexander the Great is spoken of. Tyre was located on a little island and had a great high wall. They were never conquered, until, Alexander the great filled in the water in a shallow place and made a road. Now it was no longer and island and he conquered it in a short time. He conquered it and burned it, in fulfillment of this prophecy.

Verse 5-7 So the cities to the south see the judgment of God in the form of Alexander and they are shaking in their boots. That is the partial fulfillment and the anti-Christ will be the ultimate. Here God gives a rare “I will” promise to gentile people. He is bringing in those who are outside. Taking the idols out of their mouths and being their God.

Verse 8 is a hidden jewel as it shows the oneness the amazing unity of scripture for those who will dig.
Alexander passed by Jerusalem and spared it because he had a dream and the people in the dream were dressed exactly like a the high priest and the other priests who went out to meet him as he was approaching the city. Supposedly they also showed him the prophecies in Daniel that spoke of his conquests. So that is an amazingly accurate partial fulfillment. Unfortunately the Jews thought this protection of the “house of God” would happen again during the Roman destruction of the temple in 70AD and they died on the roof as it was burned and destroyed. It is very key, to know the times of the fulfillment of prophecy or you could end up loosing your life. In the end times the anti-Christ will pass by Jerusalem once, there will be some protection and then the next time he comes to destroy it.
Daniel 11:28 Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he will take action and then return to his own land.
29 “At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. 30 For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.
If you think that the first time that the powerful leader came through and you got protection that now you are at peace and secure, you will be sadly mistaken. That is the warning to get out, because the next time, He is the anti-Christ and he is coming back to kill and destroy.
The promise from verse 8 that no oppressor will pass over them anymore is only fulfilled in the millennial reign of Christ. Not before.
Verse 9 – Amazing prophecy, fulfilled by Jesus, but only with the salvation that is most needed not the physical being “set free” of the Romans, that they were longing for, but the spiritual salvation of having sins forgiven, and being made right with God. Anytime prophecy is being fulfilled right in front of your eyes, you can bet the “whole city will be in an uproar.”
Verse 10- The millennial reign again, and this is a prophecy that has never happened in the history of the world, but again, there will be a short time of “peace and safety” brought about under the “rod” of the anti-Christ. This is deception and will lead many who desire peace more than the kingdom and rule of God to fall away, and worship the one who is bringing this peace. Baron states that there is a pause of over 2,000 years between verse 9 and 10, “But this is sure and certain, that however long the pause may last, God never loses the thread of the purpose which He has formed for this earth; and as surely as the prophecies of the sufferings of Christ have been literally fulfilled, so surely will those also be which relate to His glory and reign;”

Verse 11 – A waterless pit can't kill you, but it can hold you captive, until someone comes to rescue you.

Verse 12 – “Hope” is what keeps you alive in hard times, and Jesus is our hope, His promise to return is our hope, so our hope is sure and secure. God does the “double” thing with Israel, because of the privilege of being the chosen nation, He gives them double for their sins, but He also gives them double blessings when He returns them to Himself.
Verse 13 – These next three verses, have to do with the process of getting to the fulfillment. The Maccabee's war against the Greeks were a partial fulfillment of this. The total subjection of world power to God's power has not happened yet, but will in “that day.”
Verse 14,15 – Again, these verses have never, ever fulfilled in the history of the world. Micah 5:8 . “The remnant of Jacob Will be among the nations,
Among many peoples Like a lion among the beasts of the forest,
Like a young lion among flocks of sheep, Which, if he passes through,
Tramples down and tears, And there is none to rescue.

Numbers 23:24 and other places speak of this too. Jesus is the ultimate victor in the final battle, but apparently 'the remnant' make up a physical army also. To show that the victory does not come from them they are using 'sling-stones' and things that would never win in modern warfare. This is a final defeat from which the enemy will not rise again. (At least not with any success.)
Verse 16 – He saves them, delivers them and places them in a place of honor to display their beauty. The same is true of us when we come through a trial, trusting in Him and placing our faith completely on His deliverance.
Verse 17 – They will have their ultimate place in the world, being a reflection of the beauty of their God. This is our goal as the church spiritually and physically, and it is the destiny of Israel. It is a joy for the old to see the young flourish and come into their destiny.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Where's does it come from?  What is the root?

"Cold and distant"  was a phrase used to describe me.

Looks like God has some work to do.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How can I be good?

At 2:11 of this video there is a perfect picture of the mercy of God.

This is my teaching on mercy and how contemplating the mercy of God can be used to transform us into His image.

How can I be good?

The enemy of your soul only has two battle plans.
1.Blind you to who God is.
    2. And blind you to who you are. Ann Voskamp

We sin. We fall. We disappoint God and ourselves. We want hope. We want to know that we can improve. That His power to change us is real and that there is a way to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Tonight's the night! We will focus on one aspect of who God is, a God of mercy, and one aspect of who we are, beloved objects of that mercy.

Hopefully you will leave here with two things, my little magnet to put somewhere to remind you of this lesson and a truer, deeper, understanding of the mercy of God.

Going to briefly cover the wrong way and then spend the rest of the time on the right way.

We cannot will our way out of sin. Nor can we be shamed or terrified out of it. In fact, shame only injures our hearts and further hinders us from holiness even more; for when we feel filthy we live filthy. The only way that we can resist sin and embrace purity in any persistent way is by finding something that is more satisfying  than sin and resolving to obtain it.
Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that humanity’s sin problem isn’t the product of our ravenous hunger for pleasure; a hunger that we cannot repent of; nor should we. The Biblical call to holiness is the call to seek and drink deeply of the pleasures (Ps. 16:11) of experiencing the fascinating depths of God (2 Cor. 2:9-11).
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26) To sum up the wrong way, “I must try harder to not do...”

Romans 11:30-32 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. (stop and consider)

So...Let's start at the very beginning...

Genesis 2:25 Exposed, unguarded, visible, without fear, without anxiety, without guilt or condemnation.
Genesis 3:7 Make a covering --- shame 3:8 Hid themselves --- fear 3:10 – Afraid, specifically of God and His punishment 3:12,13 Blaming --- pride.
God's goal is the “restoration of all things” Acts 3:21. Part of that “all things” is the relationship of God to man that was lost in the fall.
What is the path leading to that restoration?
Genesis 30:31-43 - What they looked at they became.
In Exodus 33:18,19 God reveals His glory to Moses. His revelation is, My graciousness and compassion, My giving of mercy to you, is My glory. When we cry out for and seek His mercy we are giving Him glory, because mercy is summed up in the statement. “We can't, You can!”
A revelation of the heart of God.
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like You,Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy. (NKJV)
What do you delight in? What brings a smile to your face just thinking about it and great joy to you when you actually get a chance to do it?
That is how God feels about showing mercy to us.
God's heart --- I don't just enjoy you when you reach maturity, My enjoyment of you takes you to maturity. I love to show mercy. I love that you are dependent on Me for mercy.
God delivered me, because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:19
Remember our visual picture of mercy. We are right with God totally because of what Jesus did on the cross, not what we do. (That is a deep truth that has to be revealed to us by God.)
Nehemiah 8:9,10 The Joy of the Lord is in making us aware of our total NEED of Him, and then making us aware of His TOTAL willingness to meet that need.
Isaiah 54:4-10 A reverse of the curse of the fall.
“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
“For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the 
Lord of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.
“For the Lord has called you,
Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of 
one’s youth when she is rejected,”
Says your God.
“For a brief moment I forsook you,
But with great compassion I will gather you.
“In an outburst of anger
I hid My face from you for a moment,
But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,”
Says the 
Lord your Redeemer.
“For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
When I swore that the waters of Noah
Would not flood the earth again;
So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
Nor will I rebuke you.
10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
Says the 
Lord who has compassion on you.

The path to transformation.

2 Cor. 3:18  “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

What we behold we become. The Holy Spirit's vocation is to transform you into what you see, what you focus on. Look on the cross, focus on His mercy, delight in His compassion. He delights in you. You are His delight.
Isaiah 62:4  You [Judah] shall no more be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land be called Desolate any more. But you shall be called Hephzibah [My delight is in her], and your land be called Beulah [married]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married [owned and protected by the Lord]. (Amp)

Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance.
Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God.” Henri Nowen

One last thought, God treats weak, immature faith totally different from how He treats rebellion and a hardened heart. And the only difference is one throws himself on the mercy of God and one relies on his own strength. Examples Peter vs. Judas, David vs. Saul

Where there is no sin, God has no wrath. Run to Him, confess your sin and experience His joy at showing you mercy!

(Much gratitude to great teachers, Art Katz, Dalton Thomas, and Reggie Kelly.)