Tuesday, January 28, 2014

God is a Wrathful God...

On Monday morning I sat down with a cup of coffee and the national news for the first time in a long time.  One of the top stories was about the Annual Grammy music awards and marriages.  It seems that the Grammys took this opportunity to get political on the issue of gay marriages by performing the marriage ceremonies of 33 couples while the world looked on.  Oh, and there were some heterosexual couples in that group for good measure.

All I could think was “'how much longer LORD will you tolerate our nation’s celebration of sin!” God's timing and ours are so different but His Word is Truth and His Word says, “He will not be mocked.”  

Galatians 6:7 (ESV)   Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Wrathful -  The personal manifestation of God's holy, moral character in judgment against sin. Wrath is neither an impersonal process nor is it irrational and fitful like anger. It is in no way vindictive or malicious. It is holy indignation‑‑ God's anger directed against sin.  God's wrath is an expression of His holy love. If God is not a God of wrath, His love is no more than frail, worthless sentimentality; the concept of mercy is meaningless; and the Cross was a cruel and unnecessary experience for His Son.

John 3:36 (ESV) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Romans 1:18-19 (ESV) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

Romans 2:8-9 (ESV) but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

It seemed fitting to me to finish this blog with the words from Ephesians 5 sometimes called the Love Chapter.  It tells us how to be, how to walk in love, how not to walk, consequences for walking wrongly, how we used to walk, and who not to company with, and gives final words of counsel on walking.

Ephesians 5:1-21 (ESV)

How to be: Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

How to walk in love:  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
How not to walk:  But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Consequences for walking wrongly:   Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Who not to company with:  Therefore, do not become partners with them;

How we used to walk: for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Final words of counsel on walking:  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Love you all and pray the morsels of God's Word sink deep into your souls!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

He is Sovereign...

This attribute of God settles it for me. I personally count on it and consider it my resting place. This past weekend the Pure Joy board, advisors and ministry staff met for our annual retreat on what we have come to call "God’s Mountain". A precious friend who has traveled with us often and her husband offer us their cabin on "God’s Mountain" to get alone with Him as a ministry to praise, fellowship, and listen for His direction for the coming year. Once again we were not disappointed. This year we believe God (1) wants me on the road to get into some of your home churches to meet your missions director, women's ministry director, and/or anyone that is truly interested in ministering to our women missionaries overseas, (2) wants us specifically praying for our director of our first Burst of Joy which we believe is to be birthed in 2015, (3) wants us as a board, advisors, and ministry staff to pray for each other, the ministry, our sponsoring churches and individuals very intentionally on a weekly basis, and (4) wants us to fix our eyes upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, above all of the aforementioned matters.

Yes, God knew before the beginning of time we would sit on that mountain this past weekend and make those decisions for the ministry. So I ask you to pray with us as we move through this year and I challenge you as well to "fix your eyes on the Author and Finisher of your faith" above all things in 2014. Also, pray for us as we are working out the details of our Tanzania trip for the Fall of this year.

Sovereign - God is totally, supremely, and preeminently over all His creation. There is not a person or thing that is not under His control and foreknown plan.

Isaiah 46:10 (ESV)
Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’

Psalm 115:3 (ESV)
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.

Proverbs 21:30 (ESV)
No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD.

Daniel 4:35 (ESV)
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

Isaiah 43:13 (ESV)
Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”

Acts 5:38-39 (ESV)
So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice,

Ephesians 1:11 (ESV)
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

Looking forward to our year together.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

God is Incomprehensible...

This week we look at one of my favorite attributes of God.  He is Incomprehensible.  I like it because man cannot figure Him out!  We know nothing of Him beyond what He chooses to reveal to us.  That in itself is spellbinding to me.  So, even when man claims to have uncovered some powerful truth of God and His character, it is only by His design.  If you want to hear and see some of how incomprehensible and indescribable He is, take a look at a couple of the videos  by Lou Giglio at this link: www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0JF0JJNU

Incomprehensible........Because God is God, He is beyond the understanding of man.  His ways, character, and acts are higher than ours. We only understand as He chooses to reveal.

Romans 11:33 (ESV)
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Job 11:7 (ESV)
“Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?”

Ecclesiastes 8:17 (ESV)
Then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.                                                              

Psalm 77:19 (ESV)
Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.

Job 26:7-14 (ESV)
He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.  He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them.  He covers the face of the full moon and spreads over it his cloud.   He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astounded at his rebuke.  By his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab. By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?”

Please pray for the Pure Joy International Ministry staff, board, and advisors this weekend as we travel to a special place we have come to call "God’s Mountain" and a place of refuge.  We have housed our Annual Retreat there for the past several years.  Pray that we are still and hear God’s voice individually for our personal lives with Him and for the Ministry of Pure Joy to our missionary women all over the world! 


Monday, January 6, 2014

God is Love...

As we step into 2014 I hope each of you took the challenge I placed before you last week to journey through the NKJV Chronological Bible using Iva May’s blog site at www.chronologicalbibleteaching.com.   Click on ‘menu’ and then click on ‘blog’ to follow daily writings to enhance your study from the word that day.

I pray that you also have been taking to heart the look at God's character attributes we are reading about over the last months. I keep saying this, but I must say it again, “We don't trust who we don't know!"  You cannot live a life of faith apart from trusting God. This means trusting that He is who He says He is and that He will accomplish that which He says He will accomplish and He has the power to do it. All of this is in spite of how we "feel" and what our "circumstances" are at the time. I want to continue looking at His attributes today but first let me encourage you to be in pray for us as we solidify our trips overseas this year. We are continuing to work on Tanzania, Ghana, and Thailand. As you know we prayerfully seek God on where He would have us go. We have learned that just because you can go doesn't mean you are supposed to go.  We want to be where He is directing us to go. Also, I want to thank all of you for your giving last year and look forward to how God will use you to further His kingdom work through prayer, giving, gifting, and going in 2014.  

The attribute of God I want us to look at today is God is Loving (Love)...  God so loves that He gives Himself for another, even to the laying down of His own life. He desires the other's highest good without any thought for Himself.  This love is not based upon the worth, response, or merit of the object being loved.

1 John 4:8 (ESV)
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:19 (ESV) 
We love because he first loved us.

Romans 5:8 (ESV) 
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Deuteronomy 33:3 (ESV) 
Yes, he loved his people, all his holy ones were in his hand; so they followed in your steps, receiving direction from you, 

Deuteronomy 33:26 (ESV) 
There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. 

Psalm 103:17 (ESV) 
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 

Jeremiah 31:3 (ESV) 
The LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. 

Charles Spurgeon said of John McDuff...."he writes popularly, yet he is by no means shallow".
Enjoy these words He penned regarding God's Love..

THE LOVE OF GOD - "God is love." 1 John 4:16

"The only real mystery of the Bible," says an old writer, "is a mystery of Love." "God so loved the world that He gave His only- begotten Son." What! that for a lost and ruined world, the Prince of Life should leave His Throne of glory, travel down to a valley of tears, and expire by an ignominious death on the bitter tree! Love unutterable! unspeakable! The reflection of the skeptic of a by-gone age, may have formed at times the musing of better minds, "This is far too great- it is far too good to be true." Infinite majesty compassionating infinite weakness! The great Sun of heaven, the Fountain of uncreated light, undergoing an eclipse of darkness and blood for the sake of a candle that glimmered in nothingness in comparison with His beams. 

"God so loved the world." Man never can get farther in the solution of the wondrous problem. Eternity itself will form a ladder- the saints climbing step by step its ascending glories- but, as the prospect widens, each new altitude will elicit the same confession, "the love of Christ, which passes knowledge." 

My soul! seek to enter into the secrets of this Love of your adorable Redeemer! Before all time, that love began. We have glimpses of it bursting out from the recesses of a past eternity- "Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him!" And "when the fullness of the time had come," though foreseen were all His untold sufferings- nothing would deter Him from pursuing His anguished path- "He set His face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem;"- no, as if longing for the hour of victory, He exclaimed. "There is a terrible baptism ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished!" 

Think of that love now! The live coals in the censer of old form a feeble type of the burning ardor of affection still manifested by our Great High Priest within the veil, in behalf of His own people. There He bears the name of each indelibly engraved on His breastplate; loving them at the beginning, He will love them even unto the end. Earthly love may grow cold and changeable; earthly love may die. Not so the love of this "Friend of friends." It is strong as death- surviving death, no, as deathless as eternity! Listen to His own exponent of its intensity- "As the Father has loved He, so have I loved you!" "You see in Him;" says an old writer, "an ocean of love without bottom, without bounds, overflowing the banks of heaven, streaming down upon this poor world to wash away the vileness of man!"

Blessed Jesus! How cold, and fitful, and transient has been my love to You in comparison of Your love to me! Bring me more under its constraining influence. May this be the superscription on all my thoughts and actions; my occupations and my time– 'I am not my own. Lord, I am Yours! How can I love You enough, who have so loved me! My life shall henceforth be one thank-offering of praise for Your redeeming mercies.' 

Standing this night on the shores of this illimitable ocean- surveying its length and breadth- every wave murmuring, "Peace on earth and good-will to men," "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8  (From  -  THE NIGHT WATCHES by John MacDuff)

Love you all,