Posts tagged ‘old testament’

February 29, 2012

Visions of Glory

by pastortimfowler

The short book of Joel in the Old Testament is a great encouragement to those who may have fallen away from their relationship with God. With only 3 chapters of reading it is full of promised blessings to a nation of people who were far away from where they needed to be in their relationship with God as a people could get. Yet because God desires to love us and bless us, instead of wiping them out, He promises earthly and spiritual blessings for their return to Him.
Most church people know the book of Joel because Peter quoted this verse in his sermon on the day of Pentecost. Joel 2:28After this, I will pour my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. Sadly we don’t read the rest of the three chapters to see what is happening. It is a great promise and exciting to hear that God is gonna pour out His Spirit on us, but somehow, whenever I hear this quoted in the church it is made to sound as if God was doing this because we were doing good things. The promise was made to a people who were in total rebellion and the Spirit of God is given to a bunch of people who still are disobedient and rebellious. We can only do the good things of God with His Spirit and without, we usually get into trouble.
God rejoices in our returning to Him. When we stray, God is grieved. He loves us and desires to have our fellowship. I am not talking about going to church on Sunday fellowship, but rather His desire to have us talk to Him and listen to Him and join Him in the work of making salvation and forgiveness available to anyone who will believe on a daily basis. Sadly though, the church rebels against God as much as Israel did in the Old Testament. But just like His passion to see Israel return to Him, God desires us to return and when we do, He blesses us with awesome love and forgiveness. Then He puts us back to sharing that love with others. That is why He pours out His Spirit on us and allows us to see glimpses of glory through dreams and visions.
What? You are not having those visions of glory? You are not feeling the love? Could it be that you are more concerned with you than with God? Could it be that you want God as your back-up plan in case you fail? I occasionally see a bumper sticker that says, God is my co-pilot. God doesn’t want to be your second in command. He wants to be first. Matthew 6:33 But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you. When we put God first, then we can have the blessings. When we put Him anywhere but first, we can only have the warning of correction if we don’t change our ways, but God always shows the promise of how much it is worth the change to seek Him first and all else after that.
I desire visions of glory. How ’bout you?

January 12, 2012

The Weeping Prophet

by pastortimfowler

I am finishing reading the Old Testament book of Jeremiah and it has to be one of the toughest reads I have had in a while. Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet because his message was constantly rejected by his people. He was abused and imprisoned and called a liar to his face over and over for speaking the word of God. To try to imagine his pain and frustration is impossible and at times for me, a pastor, disturbing.
I have been in the ministry long enough to have been in churches where people would not listen to the truth. Even if you opened the Bible in front of them and read with them the truth of the word, they refused to see it. During those times it was painful and sorrowful but mostly if was angering. I can remember times when I even raised my voice in frustration, right in front of the one I was talking too. But to say that I can empathize with Jeremiah would be a stretch.
I am not saying that I didn’t learn from this or that I wouldn’t read it again, but I had to dig deep to see the positive in it all. So what did I get from it?
Well to start with, God is a very patient God. The people of Israel were in a very rebellious time in their history and had turned to idolatry. The message that God was sending them via Jeremiah was consistent with what they had always heard, so there was no reason for them to doubt that God was speaking truth through Jeremiah. But over and over when they heard from the prophet they rejected the warnings. God remained patient and offered chance after chance to change.
I also learned, well it was reinforced, that God means what He says and does what He says. When God says to turn from a sinful act, he is serious. God hates sin because it separates us from Him and He loves us. He would much rather bless us than to chastise us, but as the Bible says, whom the Lord loves, He chastises. The goal of chastisement is always to correct a behavior. If the behavior is not corrected there are always consequences. When God says that there are consequences, you can count on it. It is not His fault that humans are hard-headed, or should I say, hard-hearted.
Lastly, what I saw was the fact that He will always leave a remnant to rebuild with. The Old Testament can be difficult to reconcile for the casual observer. God was dealing with an earthly people who were promised eternity on earth and is not the church, who is promised eternity in Heaven. Jesus had not yet been sacrificed for our sin and therefore the physical punishments were often drastic and seemed harsh. But remember this, there was not a lack of hearing from God. There was not a lack of knowledge of the consequences that people would face for their disobedience.
The Jewish people were required to memorize the law before age 13 and in order to become an adult, they had to show that they had done so. This includes the part of the law that says “if you do this, this is the punishment”. And, they had seen God carry out these judgments for centuries. Think of it like this. We all have rules to follow in our homes. My parent told me that if I lied to them, I would get a whipping. So, when I lied, I got what they told me I would get. I did not, or should I say, I do not think that they were cruel, but I know that it was them being truthful and loving in their attempt to correct my inappropriate behavior.
God loves us more than we can imagine. We don’t fully understand Him and often believe that we know more than God, so we are quick to look at God as harsh or even unloving. But that is not true. When we respond with repentance, God blesses with restored fellowship and rewards. That is always His goal with us.
His love is so great that He allows His Son, Jesus, to be our sacrifice for our sins. From the beginning, God has told us that our sin will be rewarded with death. But with our asking for forgiveness, He waves the death penalty, (the eternal one) and gives us eternal life with Him in heaven. He is willing to do this for us and our only part is to have faith to believe Him. This means believe it all, not just the parts we like. Sometimes God sends us a message that we don’t like or don’t want to hear. We must trust Him as much then as we do with the promise of the blessings that we like.
So, Jeremiah relayed the message of repent or face judgement. The people chose to rebel and received the judgement that was promised. But, there was a group who decided to trust God, and as we all know, Israel is still here, just like God promised. They will never perish from the earth. As Christians, we are promised to never perish from God’s heavenly and spiritual world. Our obedience is still required and His blessings are as awesome as ever.
I am blessed to know that there are some who still believe and obey God and I am fortunate to not be a weeping prophet of modern times.

November 22, 2011

You’re So Vain

by pastortimfowler

This morning I was reading the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes and as always, spent more time pondering than reading. That’s right, I ponder. This was written by Solomon, the fellow who God gave him anything that he asked for, and Solomon chose wisdom. He was the wisest man to ever live and in his writing this, the wisdom has driven him to understand things that are often not what humans want to know.
I believe that humans will naturally try to find a way to put the “me first” factor into everything. Even the most mature Christians that I know, myself included, (see, I just injected me into the thought), want to think that somehow life is all about them. Our best attempts at humility are much too often filled with thoughts of how to look humble and get recognized for our humility. So Solomon starts out saying that it is all vanity of vanities. I love the translation God’s Word and the way it reads: Ecclesiastes 1:2 Absolutely pointless!” says the spokesman. “Absolutely pointless! Everything is pointless.” But that is what vanity is, pointless. If life is all about me/you, then this life is pretty pointless. This all reminds me of the old song by Carley Simon, You’re So Vain.
When reading this amazing book of the Bible it is easy to misunderstand what he is saying. He says over and over that this life is pointless. It is almost like he is saying that we shouldn’t even have a desire to live. At one point he says that one generation dies and another one lives, but the earth lasts forever. It as if he is saying that we are worthless on this earth, but that is not the point of this writing. But Solomon understoond something that few ever will. Imagine being able to understand everything. The longer you live, the more you understand.
Many times I have people in the church come to me and suggest that we do a certain ministry or project. Part of being the pastor is to try to understand the impact of what our church does and what the impact of what each ministry or project has on the overall mission of our church. Way too often I have to think about the underlying motives of these suggestions. Most of them are not made with any ill intent, but they are made with a selfish motive that generally is not even recognized by those doing the suggesting.
For instance, if someone comes to me with an idea for the children’s ministry of our church and they have children, that idea is usually something that they think will be best for their children. That is not wrong, but it is self motivated and that is vanity. If someone comes to me with an idea to feed to homeless, and I don’t mention that it was their idea, often they get their feelings hurt, even if we implement the idea exactly like they suggested. Vanity.
Solomon said this: Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun. Look at it! It’s all pointless (vanity). It’s like trying to catch the wind. The older he got the more he saw that everything that humans did had a touch of vanity in it. Remember that this is not me talking, this is the man that God granted wisdom.  Wisdom that had never before and never will again be given to a man. And let me add this: If you are saying to yourself, I am not like that, you are being vain. What Soloman was realizing in this wisdom was that man was more about man than about God. That it was God that is the center of the universe, not man. Even the best of man is nothing compared to God. It is indeed vanity and the wisdom that he thought would bring him great joy, in the end only showed him how short he came when compared to the glory of God. This is how he ends Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 After having heard it all, this is the conclusion: Fear God, and keep his commands, because this applies to everyone. God will certainly judge everything that is done. This includes every secret thing, whether it is good or bad.

September 22, 2011

Stuff That Falls From The Sky

by pastortimfowler

On the news for the last week I have been hearing about a satellite that will fall out of its orbit and hit earth in the next couple of days. It is said to be about the size of a school bus and weighs 6.5 tons. NASA says that they are not sure where it will hit, but are pretty sure that it won’t hit you. I feel better now that I know my tax dollars are being used well.
They say it will break up in the atmosphere and that there will be only about 26 large pieces that make it to earth. They do not say what constitutes a large piece, but I feel good knowing that a scientist can be at least as specific as this. There is a 1 in 3200 chance of a person getting hit by some of this debris. That sounds high, but you have worse odds of getting struck by lightning, bit by a shark, and winning the lottery. I don’t know about you but I fell much better now.
When I was in the Navy, we had a message that came through and it was a bit strange at first and due to many of the unknowns it had been classified secret. It said that a Japanese fisherman had been killed by an object that fell from the sky while his boat was about 200 miles out in the Sea of Japan. As the day went by and the messages kept coming in, it got weird. Next it said that a fisherman was killed by a cow while his boat was about 200 miles out in the Sea of Japan. A few days went by and we got the summary of what had happened. A Soviet cargo plane was flying back from an undisclosed destination and one of the crew had purchased a cow and they brought it on board the plane. The cow apparently experienced some sort of panic or discomfort at 15000 feet and began to thrash around and broke its restraints so the crew lowered the loading ramp and pushed the cow from the plane. The cow fell, hit and killed a Japanese fisherman on his boat about 200 miles out in the Sea of Japan.
Once I was camping in my back yard under a tree and I had a pecan fall and hit me in the head and it woke me up, but that is the closest thing I have to a story that is personal when it comes to stuff falling from the sky.
About now I am thinking that I need to stay inside for the next day or two, or maybe do a lot of driving on curvy roads. If one of the large pieces falls and hits the building I am in, I am not sure that it will help me, but the insurance will at least pay for the building to be fixed and if it just happens to be my house, we need a new roof. If I am driving on a curvy roads it will be like running away from someone who is trying to shoot you. They say you should zig-zag as you run and it reduces the chance of getting hit.
I just had this funny thought of cops pulling all these cars over for the next few days thinking that they are all drunk drivers, but everyone telling the cop that the are reducing their chances of getting hit by something that falls from the sky.
I am not worried about this satellite or even a cow hitting me as it falls from the sky. I do still hate it when pecans hit my head as they fall from the tree. We have a pecan tree in our yard now that has really large pecans and they do hurt if they are falling from the top few limbs. But I don’t think they will kill me and if so, someone else will have to promise me that they will do a follow-up blog to this one and tell the world of my freakish death.
I was reading in the Old Testament book of Job this morning and this is what it says: Job 14:5 If the number of his days and the number of his months are determined by you (God), and you set his limit, then he cannot go past it. That means when it is our time, God will take us home. Nothing can change it and we should not live our lives as if we have forever. We should live for God and for His purpose that He has set for our lives. Live it fully and not worry about tomorrow because we are not promised tomorrow. God has great things for each of us to do and for some He has spectacular endings in store for us! You just never know what God has in store for the stuff that falls from the sky.

September 15, 2011

We Love To Give

by pastortimfowler

Early this morning I read the Old Testament book of Esther. It is a strange thing that not once in the whole book does it mention God. Yet the theme of salvation and deliverance run throughout. At the end of the book, Mordecai proclaims an annual feast and celebration called Purim, that involves the giving of gifts to people all around you. It is a celebration that sounds a lot like our modern Christmas celebration.
I do not know of a more joyful time than Christmas morning when you get see someone opening the gift that you thought so hard about and looked for days or weeks to find just the right thing. Or watching a child get that toy they have talked about all year-long. I love seeing a mom get that home-made gift from a child who is so proud of what he or she made and mom beams with love even if the gift is obviously made by a small child. What about the young woman who parades her new engagement ring around, showing it to everyone and the guy who gave it to her smiling with great pride as she does?
Giving gifts is a wonderful thing that is full of reward and joy for the giver as much as it is for the receiver. There have been times when I have heard people during a birthday party shout from the crowd, “That one is from me!” because they are so excited about giving the gift. Yes, giving is a wonderful thing and we love to give.
Then there is church. We spare no expense on gifts for our spouse, children, or even friends. We are willing to go into debt by the thousands of dollars during Christmas in order to give. But when it is time to give at church, we suddenly become cynical. We forget that giving brings us joy and we turn into Scrooge as we grumble to reach into our pockets for change.
I think part of the problem is that we are thinking about giving to an institution called the church instead of giving to a God who loves us enough to forgive our sins and allow His Son to die in our place so that we can have eternal life with Him. It would be a lot more difficult to give my wife something if I constantly thought about what I was giving to the institution of marriage instead of the mother of my children. But because it is personal, I give with joy. We need to get that mindset with giving to God.
The church is God’s way of being personal with people. We are His arms and feet and lips. It is organized and sure there are flaws, but only because humans are flawed, not God. But the church is how people who don’t know God, get to know God.
The Bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. That does not mean that we are not loved if we give begrudgingly. It means when we give with joy, He receives with joy. We love to bring joy to children when we give. We love to bring joy to our spouse when we give. We need think about bringing joy to God when we give. We love Christmas and birthdays and giving to those in need. God loves us so much that He gave His Son. So when it comes to God, shouldn’t we love to give?

August 29, 2011

Laughter Is Good Medicine

by pastortimfowler

I had a really great weekend. Although it was very busy, I had time to go see a comedian Saturday night with my wife and a few friends. It reminded me of this scripture; Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but depression drains one’s strength. There is just something about laughing that makes you feel better, unless you are my wife who complained that her side and head hurt because she laughed so hard.
We all need to laugh. The world has become a far to serious place and people live on the edge with their feelings stuck way out, waiting to be hurt. When did we get to be so serious? Everyone gets offended at the slightest thing and we have to watch what we say even when what we say is meant to be light-hearted.
This comedian said a few things that stuck with me. I have always heard that comedy has to have truth in it for it to be funny, otherwise it is just being mean. A good comedian knows how to look around and just speak to the simple truths that we take for granted. This guy said that all you need to do is open your eyes and you can see what it takes to make people laugh.
This weekend the whole east coast was dealing with Hurricane Irene. Every channel had breaking news, but the problem was that they were no longer taking a break to tell us what was happening, they had to take breaks from telling us what was happening. I heard estimates of how many billions the storm was going to cost, how many lives could be lost, and how bad this was going to be on the economy, all while they were still trying to determine the exact track of the storm. Every report was about how horrible this would be and yet each one included a downgrade of the storms winds and hurricane category. I know that news people have a job to do, but wow, this was over the top. Easy for me to say because I was not there nor were any of my relatives. Add to all this, the fact that the east coast had an earthquake last week and the people went crazy!
So I got to laugh this weekend. I laughed a lot and I laughed hard. For about an hour nothing mattered. The only time I thought about anything serious was when I was being made fun of by the comedian. Even then I was only thinking seriously about how I could make my church laugh about the things I was laughing about. I realized that there are things that happen that are just not worth getting upset about and that somewhere there might be a comedian getting material from those of us who do.
All ready, only a day after the big storm, I have heard of churches and other organizations rushing to help those who did suffer from this hurricane. Some things can be handled right now and other things will need some time, but either way, people are helping. Prayers are being made for those who are suffering and the seriousness of our world is never-ending. Right now, without a hurricane people are going through things that are shattering their world. I went to visit a friend in the hospital last night and as I was leaving I saw woman all alone, crying in the hallway. I walked over and introduced myself and she told me her mother was dying. All I could do is prayer for her. My friend tweeted about a family that lost everything in a fire but the clothes on their backs. Many are rallying to help them. It never ends, the needs of others.
So, I will rejoice in the short time that God allowed me to take this weekend to laugh and hang out with friends. I will not feel bad about leaving the insanity of the real world to enter into a sanctuary of laughter because it did show that even in this crazy world we live in, there are things that we can laugh at and it is okay.
This was Christian comedian so much of the jokes were about church and church life and pastors. I am so glad someone was finally laughing with me instead of at me, or were they just doing both? I don’t care. It was good medicine.

August 12, 2011

Gray Area

by pastortimfowler

Whenever you run out of ideas to blog about, all you have to do is ask and someone will give you an idea. Why they give me all the weird and tough ones, I don’t know. Today I was asked to blog about inter-racial marriage, no problem.
My upbringing was in an environment where I was the minority. My dad was in the Navy and we lived in Panama where most people are black. But I never remember race being a problem or talked about in a negative way. Then we moved to the states and I was part of the school integration program and got to be one of the first white kids in what was then a black school. So most of my life I thought that I was a minority. I am not sure why that matters considering the subject is inter-racial marriage, but I feel like it might let me see a different perspective. If not it will confuse you before you get to the main point and you won’t be so critical.
From a biblical standpoint, there is no reason why different races can’t marry. In the Old Testament God told Israel not to marry outside their tribe and their race but that was only for Israel. Nothing in the Bible ever tells Christians or those who are not of any particular faith that they can’t marry another race. However, in the New Testament, we read this: 2 Corinthians 6:14 Stop forming inappropriate relationships with unbelievers. Can right and wrong be partners? Can light have anything in common with darkness? This means that Christians should not marry those who are not Christians. Race has nothing to do with it.
The human race is full of prejudice and will always find a reason to look down on someone who is different. Ignorance and stereotypes cause us to form unhealthy feelings toward those of a different skin color. Because of this, there can be some emotional struggles for those who chose to marry interracially. This would be the only caution that I would give to someone who is considering this.
Before any two people get married they should talk about things that will be major influences in their lives. Besides money, children are the leading source of early struggles in a young marriage. Things like discipline, education, and how to spend holidays, can cause new parents to argue. These things can be settled ahead of time with proper communication. People who marry interracially need to talk about the potential emotional struggles their future children may have. After all, kids can be cruel and interracial children are easy targets. But this is not a reason not to marry and have kids, it is only something that I, as a counselor would discuss with a couple in this situation. Before you jump to a conclusion, let me also say that short kids, fat kids, skinny kids, tall kids, freckled kids, and many others get picked on, but the interracial issue is a result of a choice, not nature. And again there is nothing wrong with it, but parents need to be prepared when they make choices that they know are or can be controversial in any way.
We often immediately jump to the black and white race when we talk about this, but rarely blink when we see other races marry. One day I pray that we will see people for who they are, God’s most precious creation. It would be great to not have race asked on any form that you fill out. I wish we could all be Americans, except for those who live in other countries, of course. But God in His infinite wisdom made us different and made it obvious. But He never said that we could not love each other as fellow humans or as husband and wife.
But as long as there is humans on earth, there will be prejudice. The will be ignorance. There will be difference. As long as there are black and white, there will be gray.

August 11, 2011

Makes You Go Hmmm

by pastortimfowler

As you read through the Old Testament you can run across some stuff that will make you scratch your head and wonder. Some things seem cruel, some things are just bizarre, and others like what I read today, just makes you go Hmmm. That would make a great song wouldn’t it, “things that make you go Hmmm”?
In 1 Chronicles, we are given a summation of King David’s life. Toward the end, David begins to prepare his son Solomon to take the kingdom and to build the temple. Part of doing this is designating the priests’ assigned duties. There were thousands of them who made sure that the temple was maintained and ready for worship. This is what I found that made me go Hmmm. David appointed almost 2000 priests with the sole purpose of giving thanks in the morning and in the evening. Hmmm. See? Did it again.
My first thought is that this would be a really easy job and where do I apply. Imagine this as your workday: Alarm goes off at 6:30am and you eat breakfast, shower and shave, although the priests did not shave, fix your lunch, and head down to the temple. Once there you clock in, walk into the office, say “Thanks”, tell the boss and your fellow priests, “see you later”, go prop your feet up on the desk and play Angry Birds until 4pm, walk in say “thanks” and clock out. Then go home and tell the wife to keep the kids quiet, you have had a rough day. Sounds pretty cushy, doesn’t it?
Here is the catch. These guys had to spend their days looking for and recording the things that they would offer thanks for. I wonder how hard that must have been some days. You know the days I am talking about. When you get up on the wrong side of the bed and so does every one else. The kids don’t want to eat their breakfast and they don’t want to wear the clothes you laid out for then and you don’t want to wear the clothes you just put on. The coffee maker broke, the toast burnt and that re-heated cup of coffee from yesterday just spilled down the front of your white shirt. You get to work and your boss lets you know that everyone that helps you has called in sick and everything that they did needed to be done by noon. You call to have lunch brought in and once they finally get there, your order is wrong and you left you wallet at home and the person who you usually can borrow a few bucks from is one that called in sick. On the way home you have a flat and its raining and the spare tire was never fixed from the last time you had one of these days, and your cell phone is dead from using it so much at work. Once you finally make it home, you don’t feel like cooking so you decide to go out but realize that there is no money in the bank because the mortgage is due and you received a note from the IRS today in the mail saying that they made a mistake and you owe them $1500 more.
With all of this you finally make it to bed and you realize that you have not stopped to pray or read your Bible all day. So quickly you grab your Bible open it and decide that you will read where ever you open it too and this is what you see: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. Isn’t that just like God to ruin an already sucky day by tell you to be thankful?
Don’t you know that those priests had days like that too? But that did not stop them from having to fulfill their duties and it was their duty to give thanks in the morning and the evening, daily.
What do you do on a day like that? Here are a few things that we can always give thanks for:
~ You were alive to have such a bad day.
~ You have a job
~ You have a home and a family
~ The perseverance that you show will encourage others
~ God loves you
~ You have a brain that works because of things that make you go Hmmm.

June 13, 2011

Judge Away

by pastortimfowler

I was asked the other day about how Christians are supposed to judge right and wrong, when the Bible tells us not to judge. That is a great question and the short answer is that the assumption that we are told not to judge is wrong. That assumption comes from taking one verse out of context and is used by people who are not Christians so that Christians will not tell them that they are sinners, and by Christians who are sinning but would rather submit to sin than submit to God.


Matthew 7:1-5
1 “Stop judging so that you will not be judged.
2 Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.
3 So why do you see the piece of sawdust in another believer’s eye and not notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
4 How can you say to another believer, ‘Let me take the piece of sawdust out of your eye,’ when you have a beam in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye. Then you will see clearly to remove the piece of sawdust from another believer’s eye.

This is where that teaching comes from. It does not say that we can’t call a sin a sin, it tells believers not to be hypocrites by pointing to other people’s sins when we are sinning in a very obvious manner. Let me share some other verses that are better suited for us having the right to judge others.
John 7:24- Stop judging by outward appearance! Instead, judge correctly.” This plainly tells us to judge others, but to do so correctly. That is the key. To judge the sin and not the opinion. Sin is wrong, and people don’t like to be told that they are wrong. So if we do tell them, we can expect to be criticized. But often we turn a blind eye to sin because of that. God has given us the truth to help us judge. If the Bible says it is wrong, we can say it is wrong. There is no one in their right mind would not tell someone who is sexually molesting a child that they are not wrong. That is judging, right?
1 Corinthians 6:2- Don’t you know that God’s people will judge the world? So if you’re going to judge the world, aren’t you capable of judging insignificant cases?
I think that this is an important verse for Christians to understand. There is coming a time when we will judge the world. This means that we will enforce the laws of God. So if God is going to trust us in the future to judge the world, we need to be able to judge ourselves now. The emphasis is on righteous judging, not self righteous judgement.
Overwhelmingly, Christians are shut down because of ignorance of the Bible. Ignorance can often lead to us not doing what God wants us to do because someone who doesn’t want to accept that they are a sinner plays a guilt card on us. There is a whole book in the Old Testament call Judges. It is about people who were given the authority to judge the actions of others according to God’s word. Most of the judging was for the purpose of correcting the actions of God’s people not those who were outside of them.
The same is true today. God’s people must first learn to judge themselves using God’s word before we should go running to tell those outside that they are sinners. My personal belief is that they already know it and are trying to find hope, not judgment. That is where Christians are to use a tool far greater than judgment. That tool is called GRACE. Grace is what God used when we all deserved judgment. When God judges us it is not in comparison to me or you or any other person we know, but He judges us compared to Jesus and we all fall short. So by accepting forgiveness and God’s grace we are reconciled to God and judged as such.
So grace allows us to admit our faults and receive forgiveness. It allows us to know the truth and when we know the truth we are free to judge away.

April 13, 2011

You can trust him

by pastortimfowler

Today I started reading the Old Testament book of Joshua. One of the saddest events of the Bible happens just before this in Exodus as Moses dies without going into the Promised Land. It was really incredible to read that Moses was well over 100 years old when he died but the Bible says that he never lost strength nor did his eyesight ever go bad. I would be happy with either one of those even right now.
For 40 years, Moses lead Israel through the wilderness. He was the greatest prophet ever and talked to God in person. Don’t even ask me to explain his favor with God, but that statement makes me want to study how he lived his life to so win that favor. Moses was allowed to see incredible miracles of God, and incredible rebellion from his people. He interceded for them over and over and at one point told God that if He would not forgive the people the he (Moses) would prefer to be stricken from God memory. That is one incredible leader.
So Moses dies and Joshua is appointed the leader. I feel for Joshua. What huge shoes to fill. On top of everything else, the people he was to lead were not the same that followed Moses for 40 years, they were the children and they had heard all the stories of the great things Moses had done. Sure they knew that God was the power behind it all, but still, they knew Moses was the instrument and not Joshua. But now they were going to have to trust this new leader and they were about to go into a land that they had not seen and about to go to war to take the land.
People always say that trust is earned and this was not different. I have read all this before and I know the great leader that Joshua becomes. But putting yourself in the position of the people at that time, it had to be scary. Joshua had not earned their trust. But…
God had earned their trust, over and over again. He rescued them from captivity on Egypt. He parted the sea and destroyed the pursuing army. He had given them endless food and endless water without them planting and digging. He had defeated enemies that they encountered during the journey. He showed Himself in pillar of fire and a pillar of smoke. At the end of the journey we are told that their clothes and shoes never wore out. They knew that they could trust God.
So why the problem trusting the leader that appoints? Sure humans can and do make mistakes but when the will of God is at stake and the people of God seek Gods will, God will ensure that the right leader is in place. Matthew 6:33 says: But let your first care be for his kingdom and his righteousness; and all these other things will be given to you in addition. God wants our trust. Trust Him and you have nothing else to worry about.
You can trust Him on that.

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