Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Peace to you

{Daily Selah}

Peace is a recurring theme throughout all of Paul's epistles. He begins most of his letters with a salutation of peace.

He greeted to the Philippian church by saying, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:2)

Paul deeply desired for his brothers and sisters in the Lord to know peace.

As we discussed here yesterday in Peace be still, Jesus is the Prince of Peace and true peace is found only in relationship with Him. 

When we have known His peace, grace, mercy  and love, we want to share it. We want others to know of the perfect peace, hope, joy and love we have experienced at our Savior's feet. 

Paul wanted his friends to know this place of blessed contentment and assurance in Christ also. "Peace to the brethren..." (Ephesians 6:23)

If you're reading this right now and you don't know peace, let me ask you something...

Do you know that Jesus gave His life for you and that your sins have been forgiven? 

If you do, then they only reason for lack of peace is a lack of focus on Him. Please think about that and refocus so He is foremost in your mind. Think about His promises to you in His Word and how faithful and trustworthy He has always been and always will be. Allow Him to pour His peace into your heart and life.

If you don't know what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I really want you to know His peace too. 

Please visit peacewithgod.net to learn more about Jesus' perfect peace He wants so much to share with you. 

Peace to you. 

{Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Peace, be still

Something happened earlier today that really disturbed my personal peace. The situation is still very difficult and will be for some time, but I'm so grateful the Lord didn't leave me in that place of shaken peace very long.

You know, the world is looking for peace, but peace, for many people, can be an elusive thing. They go through life, trying to find the thing they lack in a relationships, career, other pursuits and sometimes through addictions. And yet there is always something missing. The emptiness they feel is the result being unable to find peace. 

The only source of real, lasting peace is the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ. He Himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). His peace is not a temporary fix that fades away like the world's peace. His peace is real, lasting and complete. 

So, how do we claim this peace? 

How do we live in the calm assurance of His peace, day by day, moment by moment?

The Prince of Peace, who is the living Word of God has given us the answer in His written Word. 

 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, 
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3).

That verse reveals the way to find peace and the way to remain in this blessed state of real and lasting, eternal peace. 

It starts in our thinking. When we dwell on all the chaos and noise around us, we will feel the turmoil within. But, when we re-focus upon the Prince of Peace, placing our faith in Him, He floods our hearts with peace.

A mind that is stayed on the Lord Jesus Christ, our Prince of Peace is not shaken, distressed or disturbed by the mess life can take on at times. 

Peace is the assurance of His presence, His love and His power at work in our lives. 

Real peace doesn't mean the absence of trouble. Real peace is our rock and shelter in the midst of the storm, just like Jesus Himself is. 

One day, Jesus was out in a boat with His friends and had fallen asleep. Check out what happened next...

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:37-39)

Jesus has the power to calm the storm in my life and in yours and to say to us in the midst of the turmoil, the chaos and the strife, "Peace, be still." 

The storm may not go away immediately, but we can still have great calm, safe and secure in the presence of the Prince of Peace. 


Whatever storm is brewing or crashing down over our lives right now, we must remember the Prince of Peace is right there beside me and right there beside you.

He says to us right now, in this moment, "Peace be still."

All day long

[Daily Selah]

What's on your agenda today? 

For me it's work, make dinner, clean up, spend some time with my kids, take the dog for a walk, do a few things around the blog and whatever else comes to my attention along the way. 

Sometimes, we can get stuck in the routine of doing things. The above describes a pretty typical work day for me. 

But in all of that, where do we fit the Lord in? Many Christians say they spend time in the Word and in prayer as they begin their day which is great. But what about the rest of the day?

Psalm 113:3 says, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised."

That means we're supposed to be praising Him all day long as we go about our work, as we interact with others, and as we care for our families and our home. We need to do it all in praise to the One who made us, has given us another day and who has given us we need.

You might think, "Well, I don't feel like praising Him right now." Read that verse again. It doesn't sound like an optional activity to me. Look through the Psalms. Praise is a command we are to obey. Feel like it or not, we need to do it anyway. 

And, you know what? Once we begin to praise the Lord for who He is and for all the many blessings He has poured out on us, we will soon begin to feel like it. 

Praise isn't limited to words or a melody. We praise Him by honoring Him in the way we work and live when we do it all for His glory.

We need to have a heart full of praise for the One who is worthy of all glory, honor and praise. 


All day long. 

Father, thank You for another day, another opportunity to praise You in all we do. Give us a more grateful heart and a heart filled with praise to You for You alone are worthy. In Jesus' precious Name, Amen. 

[Daily Selah] is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Listen Up! (The Sure Mercies of David)

"Hey! Are you listening?" 

Have you ever said those words to one of your children to get their attention?

I'm sure similar words have come out of my mouth on more than one occasion.

When my kids had their first cell phones, it was very difficult to get their attention.

One day, my youngest son, who was 15 at the time, and I were going into the local Walmart. Of course, he was busy texting somebody. Mom's words that day were something like, "Would you quit texting already?" And, "Hey! Look where you're going! Watch out!

Then, bam! He walked smack into the back of a parked car, bounced off, then finally, slightly dazed, he looked up and said, "What, Mom?"

That moment would have done well in one of those funny video competitions, if it had been recorded.

There are good reasons we need to get our children's attention sometimes. Sometimes its to warn them of danger and sometimes to help them stay on the right track.

God is trying to get our attention too. Many times in His word he says, "Take heed," "Hear," "Listen."

Isaiah 55:3 is one of many examples. God says,
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Incline your ear. Hear. 

God is telling us, "Listen up! Don't miss out on something amazing! Hear Me!"

This is something we really need to pay attention to. 

Listen to what God is saying: "your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."

Your soul shall live. How? Because of the everlasting covenant

If you know Jesus as your Savior, you may not be familiar with that term, but you are the object of that everlasting covenant. God has made a very special, eternal covenant with you. It was paid for and signed with the blood of Jesus Christ. 

He has redeemed you, cleansed you and set your feet on the solid Rock, all because of the covenant Jesus died to make and lives to keep. 

When we take communion at church, we often quote Jesus' words, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11:25). 

The communion wine (or grape juice) represents the covenant He made by His blood. It serves as a reminder of all He has done for you. It reminds us that He loves us so much that He gave all for us and reminds us that we are His for all eternity ~ that's His eternal covenant with you and with me.

Even the sure mercies of David. 

Different commentators, expositors and theologians offer different explanations for this term, "the sure mercies of David." 

Let's just take a look at what the Bible says and allow God to show us what He means.

It was repeated by Paul in Acts 13:34. "And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David." 

This promise, to give the "sure mercies of David," was made by God the Father to us and to Jesus. 

Think along with me for a moment of the promise God made to David.

"When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." (2 Samuel 12-13 ESV)

Which descendant of David will seat on David's throne to preside over an eternal kingdom?

The answer is found in the angel Gabriel's message for Mary:

"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:31-33 ESV)

Pay attention to this:

  • God's eternal covenant with David will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
  • God's eternal covenant with us is already fulfilled in Jesus Christ. 

God never breaks a promise, not ever. He promised David that one of his descendants would sit on his throne for eternity. That promise has not yet been fulfilled, but the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, from the line of David, was proof that it will be fulfilled.

"..when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son" (Galatians 4:4).

Jesus' arrival into this world some 2,000 years ago proved that God is faithful and will keep His eternal covenant with David. 

Jesus' arrival, death burial and resurrection are also proof to us that God will keep His eternal covenant with us!

Take a look at David's life. You can't exactly portray him as a perfect man. He was a murderer and adulterer. Yet, God showed him mercy, and said," I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will."

If you and I take a look at our own lives, we have to admit we're not perfect either. Yet, God has shown us mercy, too.
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"  (Ephesians 2:3-5 KJV)

Jesus said the Father's "mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation."  (Luke 1:50 KJV)

The sure mercies of David are the foundation of the eternal covenants made by our eternal God, Whose Word is eternal. 

  • If God did not have mercy on David, there would be no eternal throne covenant.
  • If God did not have mercy on you and me there would be no eternal salvation covenant.

But praise His high and holy Name, He does have mercy on us!

Are you enjoying the blessings of this eternal covenant based on the sure mercies of David?

God is saying, "Listen up! This is important!"

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (Isaiah 55:3)

Want to know more about what Jesus has done for you? Visit PeacewithGod.net

WOW! Just sit...

[Daily Selah]

Right after I clicked the "send" button, I had one of those WOW! moments. 

The email was sent to my good friend and sister in Christ, Kelly, who also uses her writing as a platform to share the Word of God (check out the recommended reading section in the right side bar).

I had shared with Kelly that I've been in the process of writing a book for some time and have had trouble getting quality time to spend on it. Here's a small excerpt from that email, my typo included:

Maybe a week on a deserted island would do it. Just leave me there with my Bible, a concordance lots of paper, lots of paper and some pens. Oh, and a good supply of Dr Pepeer and something to eat. Then, I'd be set :)

After hitting the "send" button, I was still sitting at the computer, praying for Kelly's ministry and for Faith Reviewed and then the  WOW! hit me.

Suddenly, I realized that no island is needed. Nothing elaborate is needed. Only one thing is necessary if I want to be filled enough to overflow into others' lives, whether by my presence or my words, written or spoken.

It's the same thing every believer needs if they are to fulfill their God-given mission and purpose. 

"Just sit," Jesus says. 

Sit? Yes! 


(Perhaps I should have labeled my experience a "Duh!" moment rather than a  WOW!” moment, but we all need reminders from time to time.)

Remember Mary and Martha? Let's take a look at the WOW! moments that happened at their house one day.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. (Luke 10:38-39 ESV)

Mary was getting her WOW! moments right there as she sat and listened to her beloved Savior and friend, Jesus. 

Martha's WOW! moment was coming. Martha was getting all flustered in the kitchen, fussing over getting everything perfect for the meal she wanted to serve their special Guest. 

Finally, she hollers, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” (v 40)

Are you ready? Here comes Martha's WOW!moment. Don't just read. Listen to Jesus' response:

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (v 41-42)

One thing is necessary. Mary chose the "good portion." Some translations say, the "best thing,"or the "better part." 

What's the best thing for us to do if we want to grow to be more like Jesus and point others to Him?

The one thing that is necessary is to sit at His feet and learn from Him and of Him.

 WOW!” Just sit...

Father, thank You so much for using Your Word to bring truth to settle and take root  in our hearts and lives.  I ask that You would help me and the person reading right now to remember the one thing that is necessary. Remind us Father, to take time to sit at Jesus' feet and learn of Him. Help us to become more like Him and be filled to overflowing so we may better serve You and share Your living and written Word with others. In Jesus' wonderful Name I pray, Amen. 

[Daily Selah] is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

No Fear

Watch the news. Look at what is going on in the world, in your own life and within your own family. 

Speaking solely from a human perspective, there are many things people could, with just cause, be very afraid of. 

I am very thankful that, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can walk through this life with NO FEAR. 

You might be thinking, "That's easy for you to say. You have no idea what's hanging over my head right now."

Maybe not, but GOD KNOWS. 

He knows everything we face; the big things and the little things.




Two of my favorite Bible verses are both found in Isaiah 41. They contain precious promises I have clung to in some of the darkest, most difficult times in my life. 

These promises are given to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Take a look at what the Father says to you:

Fear thou not; for I am with thee:be not dismayed; for I am thy God:I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee...
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand,saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:10,13)

When we know God is on our side, we can face anything with NO FEAR. 

And, He went a step further. The Almighty God of the universe has promised to hold my hand and yours. No matter what life throws at you, remember that precious promise.

I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand.

Take Him at His Word. BELIEVE what He has promised and face your life with NO FEAR. 

A Work in Progress

{Daily Selah}
As you may have noticed, Faith Reviewed is currently under construction.  It is a work in progress.  More changes will be coming but the theme and content will remain the same.

The previous template displayed posts pretty nicely, but other functionality was very limited. In other words, it might have looked good but really wasn't so good.

Sometimes, believers can also look good on the outside but may not be always functioning like we're called to.

Most Christians are familiar with Philippians 1:6. We can be assured and  "confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Our God ALWAYS finishes what He starts.

He's working on me to make me more like His Son, Jesus Christ.

God, in His grace and mercy, has changed my life in so many ways. I'm definitely not what I used to be. My testimony is that of a prodigal preacher's kid who came home where I belong - in the arms of Jesus.

Just like any one else, I still have a long way to go. I'm not perfect and won't be until I see Jesus in glory. Like you, there are things I struggle with, areas in my life that don't always meet His standards.

Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is God's work in progress. I'm so thankful he doesn't give up on me, doesn't get tired of me and doesn't ever stop His work in my life.

Think about that for a moment. That's a shot of encouragement. No matter how many times we stumble, our God is always going to pick us up and keep on working.

Praise God! I am a work in progress!

Father, thank you for sending Your Son to purchase our redemption. Thank You for forgiveness and mercy. Father, I'm so grateful that You have never given up on me but faithfully continue Your work in me life. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

{Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

All things... Even the scars...

{Daily Selah}

(Someone at work asked me recently about the scars on my neck. What follows is based, in part, on my answer to her and also partially on a previous post here at Faith Reviewed.) 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV) 

We like to quote that verse, but do we really believe it? 

Do you believe that God can take the bad stuff that has happened in your life and the wrong choices you've made and use them for your good? 

What about your pain? What about the scars? 

Scars? Yeah, I have them.

Some you can see. Some you can't.

Scars on the outside. From surgery twice to remove cancer.

Scars on the inside. From an abusive marriage and divorce and foolish decisions in my youth.

You have scars. I have scars. Everyone does - unless you've had a perfect life.

For a long time, I have said my outward scars serve as a reminder and a testimony of God's faithfulness and healing.

But what about the scars on the inside?

Christian singer Mandisa, a survivor of childhood abuse, knows all about scars.  

But, she also knows the truth of Romans 8:28 and, she knows what scars are for. 


Father, thank You for working ALL things together for my good because You have called me and love me. I may not see how you're working for my good, but I trust you and Your Word. Help me to remember what scars are for and to remember they are a testimony of who You are and what You will do for those who love You. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

{Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Do you smell good?

[Daily Selah]

So, I opened up the patio door to let the dog out and was immediately smacked in the face with the most horrendous stench! A skunk had obviously been in our backyard. It was awful!

I can think of a thousand things I'd rather smell than that!

The Lord doesn't like foul odors any more than we do. Of wicked and rebellious people, He says, "These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away." (Isaiah 65:5 NLT)

Disobedience is an awful stench in God's nostrils. Obedience smells good to Him.

The sweet fragrance of sacrifice is mentioned 40 times in the Scriptures.

God wants us, those who believe in Jesus Christ His Son, to smell good.

Through His servant Paul, God says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1) 

Basically, He says, "Don't stink like the world. Be a sweet fragrance for Me."

What is this sweet fragrance? Take a look at how God describes it in His Word...

"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV)

 Did you catch that? God says we His children smell like Jesus!

Imperial Majesty, the most expensive perfume in the world, sells at for $435,000 a bottle. (No kidding! Check the link if you don't believe it.) $435,000 is an awful lot of money. You could buy a decent house and a car and send a couple of kids to college for that kind of money. But, even a luxury perfume will eventually evaporate into nothingness, the house and car will some day rot away and there will be nothing left.

The "fragrance of the knowledge of him", the "aroma of Christ" and the "fragrance from life to life" were purchased with something of far more value than money. They were paid for by the blood of Christ and freely given to those who trust in Him and they will last for all eternity!

The more time we spend with Jesus and the more we become like Him, the sweeter we smell to God.

Do you smell good?

Father, thank You so much for Your Son who gave Himself as a sacrifice for my sin. Help me to become more and more like Him, for Your glory and to be a sweet smelling fragrance for You. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

A World Filled with Hopelessness

(Disclaimer: this post is NOT about politics. Please read to the end before commenting.)

Want some free advice? 
Don't check out the news right before you go to bed! 

So I read, got disturbed by what I read, and then tried to go to sleep, still thinking about what I had read. Remind me not to do that again, please. After 3 hours of laying there unable to fall asleep, I got up and wrote this post. 

Let me share with you what disturbed me so much. 

Both President Obama and  Ban Ki-Moon addressed the U.N. general assembly today (I guess that would be yesterday now)

In President Obama's speech, he claimed the current murderous rampage (my choice of wording, not his) going on in the Middle East has nothing to do with religion. 

Ban Ki-Moon, the U.N. secretary-general, saw it differently. 

Ban decried the "new depths of barbarity" and called for decisive action to stop "atrocity crimes." But he also said "we must not let the smoke from today's fires blind us to longer-term challenges and opportunities" and address "the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics." Source: foxnews.com

I also have to disagree with President Obama's claims. It has everything to do with religion. A religion is based on human reasoning. True faith is based on God's reasoning. See the difference? 

The president also "urged the leaders to address the failure to confront forcefully enough 'the intolerance, sectarianism, and hopelessness that feeds violent extremism in too many parts of the globe.'" Source: foxnews.com

Obama was right about one thing. The world is indeed in a hopeless state. As I read his comments, I was reminded of Ephesians 2:12-13.

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

The majority of people in this world are alienated from God's promises and therefore, have no hope. This hopeless spiritual condition is made much worse in the Middle East.

The cross, the symbol of hope, promise and salvation is hated, feared and distrusted in that part of the world. Why?

Another murderous religious conquest which took place across much of the Middle East back in the middle ages was carried out under the banner of the cross. Just as is happening now, the perpetrators of atrocity followed human reasoning. They did not have true faith in the One, True God.

The holocaust was also carried out under the banner of another cross and many of those guilty of atrocity in that time and during the middle ages attended churches filled with all shapes and sizes of crosses and other religious memorabilia. 

But, explaining the difference to those who remember is difficult. They see the crosses in our churches and the very real feelings of hate, fear and distrust dictate their response to us as believers and to the message of hope in Christ we share. 

Honestly, I don't have the answers to the problems of the world today but I do know the underlying cause. It is because people simply have no hope.

But, praise God, He has the answer. He provided hope in the form of His Son. He went to the cross to bear the sin, and the hopelessness of the world. 

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.(1 Corinthians 1:18)

God "is not willing that any should perish(2 Peter 3:9). The cross still holds as much power today as it did the day my Savior cried, "It is finished" and the curtain in the temple was torn in two, granting access to the Father's throne of grace for all who will believe

The cross is still, more than 2,000 years later, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to others.

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)

The answer for a world filled with hopelessness is not found in coalitions of nations. The answer is not found in political correctness, or in dividing lands or in embracing the enemy in our midst.

The only answer for a world filled with hopelessness is the power of the cross. 

Romans 10:13 gives the world an awesome and eternal promise.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)

I'm certainly not suggesting we should pack up and go somewhere dangerous. 

But, is the power of the cross evident in your life?

Your neighbor, your friend and your co-worker all need to hear of the hope found in the power of the cross.

That hope needs to be shared with a world filled with hopelessness.

Want to know more about the difference between true faith and religion?  
Check out peacewithgod.net

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I love You, Jesus

[Daily Selah]

Have you ever shaken hands with someone and felt like you were grasping a cold, dead fish? Or, spoken to someone who seemed as though they were devoid of any kind of emotion?

There are those who decry emotions related to our fellowship with God. They say feeling has no place in our prayers, our walk with the Lord or in our worship. 

(Please note, God's Word always come first. Our feelings never negate His promises or His truth. I'm not speaking of allowing emotion to take over, but of allowing it to be expressed.) 

Does God feel emotion? Take a look:

 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV)

God gets angry over sin, He is grieved when one of His stumbles, and He loves us with an everlasting love. And, according to Hebrews 4:15, Jesus feels everything I feel. 

If my relationship with Him was just some cold, methodical following of ritual, would it be real? I don't think so.

My relationship with Christ began with tears, gratitude, joy, and love. Yours probably did too. If we say we are thankful, shouldn't we show it? If "we love Him, because he first loved us," shouldn't we express it?  (1 John 4:19 KJV)

You know what Jesus said is the greatest commandment?

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38 ESV)

Love the Lord your God with everything you are. That's the greatest commandment. 

True love doesn't hide. True love lives that love. 

Don't be a cold, dead fish. 

Do you love Jesus? Live it and tell Him.

I love You, Jesus. 

Father, thank You so much for loving me first and for giving me a heart filled with love for You. Thank you for sending Your Son for me. I love Jesus and Father, I love You. Help me to live it every day for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

[Daily Selah] is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our God is a Consuming Fire

For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29)

This description of our God as a consuming fire is found only 3 times in His Word, twice in Deuteronomy and once in the book of Hebrews.
Understand therefore this day, that the Lord thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord hath said unto thee. (Deuteronomy 9:3) 
For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24)  

To understand this concept a little more clearly, let's take a look our God who is a consuming fire and how the the fire of God reveals His character.

Our God who is a consuming fire

Many writings you will find on this subject focus primarily on God's wrath and judgement poured out upon the wicked, in times past and in times to come. Sodom and Gomorrah are a striking example of judgement by fire.

The Bible is very clear that our God has, does and will pour out His wrath upon sin, but that is not the sum of who He is, noris the wrath of God His primary attribute.

 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4)

God, in all His ways, His works and revelation of Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the absolute expression of perfection. God's perfection is absolute holiness and absolute completeness.

Do you remember the vision of God's throne given to Isaiah? In the KJV, we are told the seraphim cried out, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." Let's take a fresh look at that verse in another translation. They proclaimed God is "More holy than the holiest holiness." (Isaiah 6:3 CJB)

God's perfection is absolute holiness and absolute completeness.

The Lord Jesus Christ pouring out His love on Calvary, the Almighty's wrath poured out on His enemies, the Holy Spirit pouring out His power into our lives - anything and everything our God does is all done in absolute perfection and completeness. We cannot separate His love from His anger. We cannot separate judgement from mercy. These are an integral part of who He is in His absolute perfection and completeness. We could put that another way:

  • Without God's law, we could never comprehend God's grace.
  • Without God's judgment, would we never know God's mercies.
  • Without His wrath, we would never know His forgiveness.
  • Without His anger, we would never enjoy His favor.

Let's take another look at Deuteronomy 4:24.

For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. 

This doesn't mean God jealous of us; He's jealous for us. He doesn't want anything to get in the way of our relationship with Him and doesn't want anything to get in the way of His communion with us. He wants us to enjoy a complete and perfect fellowship with the One who is complete and perfect in all His ways.

The fire of God reveals His character

The fire of God reveals much about who He is and how He expects us to live.

The first recorded incidence of God's fire showed His absolute holiness and judgement of sin, when He rained down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Exodus 13:12).

Next we find God in the midst of a burning bush "and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed" (Exodus 3:2). The God who created the elements can certainly control fire and has the power to reveal Himself through it.

God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (Exodus 3:4-5)

There, on Mount Horeb, God revealed His holiness and power by fire.

The, He sent Moses  back to Egypt with a mission and a message.

Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. (Exodus 9:1)

When Pharaoh refused, God responded in his absolute and complete holiness and rained down judgments upon the Egyptians. He sent blood, frogs, lice, flies, locusts, boils darkness, death, hail and fire.

To the people of Egypt, God revealed His holiness and power by fire.

The fire God used to judge Egypt also revealed more aspects of His absolute perfection and completeness. Look at more of God's conversation with Moses from the burning bush.

And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey... Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.  (Exodus 3:7-9)

Why would God hear the cries of His people and promise to deliver them?

To the children of Israel, God revealed His love and faithfulness by fire. 

So, how did God lead His people to the promised land?

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night (Exodus 13:21)

Injecting and unproven opinion here: it was the Holy Spirit  leading and guiding His people through that pillar of fire. You can ponder that one later.

To the children of Israel, God revealed His leading by fire. 

Later, God called Moses up to meet with Him on Mount Sinai, where He would give His commandments.

And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.(Exodus 19:18)

This God, in His absolute perfection and completeness gave rules to live by, knowing no human would ever be able to keep them all. Why? To show us our desperate condition and need of Him.

To Moses, God revealed His love and His holiness by fire.

There are many more occurrences of God revealing Himself by fire recorded in the Old Testament, including the day He rained down fire on an altar to show His holiness and power by fire, but I would like to highlight just one more.

Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? The refused to bow down to the statue of  Nebuchadnezzar saying, "our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (Daniel 3:17-18).

Despite the threats of the king, these 3 young men stayed faithful to their God who had been faithful to them and believed He would deliver, even in the midst of the fire. Take a look at what God did...

Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Daniel 3:22-25)

This time, God didn't answer by fire; He answered from the midst of the fire, as He had done with Moses, yet without words. He answered by His presence in the midst of the fire. Injecting another opinion here, I think the 4th Person walking in the midst of the fire was Jesus. I'll leave you to ponder that.

In BabylonGod revealed His love, His power and His faithfulness by fire.

Many years later, John the Baptist prophesied, "...one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire(Luke 3:16).

Above, we noted that anything and everything our God does is all done in absolute perfection and completeness. Jesus' sacrificial death, burial and resurrection was accomplished in absolute perfection and completeness. He died once for all, satisfying the holiness of God by the shedding of His blood. those who believe on Him and what He has done for us can enjoy a complete and perfect fellowship with the One who is complete and perfect in all His ways.

Jesus fulfilled that promise made through John to baptize with the Holy ghost and with fire. When He ascended into heaven, He sent another Comforter (John 14:16). The disciples gathered together on Pentecost, but I'm sure they were not expecting what happened that day.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance(Acts 2:1-3)

That day in Jerusalem, and many times since, God has revealed His power and faithfulness to and in His people by fire. 

In times past and in our time, God, in his absolute perfection and completeness, reveals His holiness, His power, His love, His faithfulness, and His leading to His people by fire.

Our God is a consuming fire.