What is Worship? Worship is the expression of adoration for God. Most people associate worship as being a joyful noise to the Lord God through song either sung or played. While it is true that this a part of worship, it goes much deeper than that. Worship is any type of communication with God. Singing, Playing an instrument, and Interpretive Dance are only a small part of Worship. Worship is sharing the Word, Living the Word, Speaking with God in Prayer, Studying the Word, and Application of the Word are integral parts of total Worship. This is What we do.
Exploring types of worship, one finds the easiest to do is also the hardest. That is reading and understanding God’s written Word. We will dig into the Scripture to share, find, and apply God’s Word in our lives today. this is a place where we do not judge but we may challenge and cause a conviction in your life. It is ok to disagree but examination of the heart and mind is needed. God does not tell us to solely listen to our hearts, we are corrupt beings, but heed the Word He gives and accept Him into our hearts to clean them.
We are to worship God only. Even His Son, the personification of the Word, worshipped Him. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He told him that we are to worship God alone and no other. The problem is that people tend to worship Jesus and have forgotten to worship God. That is, they worship the man and the teachings forgetting that He is God’s Word, the Truth, in the flesh that was sent to return people to God, not to be worshipped Himself.
There are many aspects to Worship but there is also the Great Commission work which we must abide by. This world is in trouble and if we do not stay in His Word we will fail. Living in constant adoration through the many facets of Worship and conducting ourselves as Christ showed us will show others and hopefully bring them to Christ.
We have a loving and caring God who teaches us to love and care for others but we should not forget that God is also jealous and will judge as He deems fit. Without Christ is our lives we are doomed but following Christ and His commands we will have a place at the great table. One of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to live in this world while learning how to show God’s Love through understanding and sharing His Word. We must have courage and strength but remember that all this comes from the Lord.
God Bless You Brothers and Sisters
On Sunday, the Beatitude discussed here was Blessed are the pure in heart. There are many things involved in keep the heart pure. Jesus does say that what leaves the lips is more dangerous than what enters but sometimes what enters the body has more effect on what comes out, especially if it causes other parts of the body to stumble. There are times in Proverbs where you wonder where the mind of the writer was at that time or if the writer was being descriptive of a personal experience. In one particular section the writer sounds like a drunken sailor sitting in a bar.
Who has misery? Who has regret? Who fights and complains all the time? Who gets bruised for no good reason? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who spend their time over wine, those always trying out mixed drinks. Don’t gaze at the red wine as it gives its color to the cup. It may glide down smoothly now; but in the end, it bites like a serpent — yes, it strikes like a poisonous snake. Your eyes will see peculiar things, your mind will utter nonsense. You will feel as if lying on the waves of the sea or sprawled on top of the mast —“They hit me, but I didn’t feel it! They beat me up, and I didn’t even know it! When will I wake up?. . . I’ll go get another drink.” Proverbs 23:29-35
Grape Juice, The Refreshing Choice
There were so many things infesting the water that it was more common to drink the juice of fruits and vegetables, more so than not, grapes. The juice from grapes was healthier and easier to access since it was an easy crop. People carried around canteens made from animal skin and these would eventually be called wineskins because grape juice would become fermented.
People would also drink olive oil but that was not as popular and definitely not as easy to access. There are great qualities about it but not really a good choice for hydration. Many other liquids were available but grapes were the best choice.
Wine, Good For You But Not in Excess
Mankind has a way of taking a good thing and making it into something that can be enjoyable and dangerous at the same time. As mentioned above, grape juice was a healthier choice for hydration but when they ferment interesting and somewhat dangerous actions can occur. The writer apparently experienced this in one form or another either personally or by observation.
Proverbs are the writings that warn of the evils of this world. This one tells of man’s attempt to remove pain and suffering through means other than the Word, and dependence on God. Dependence on a man- made thing to ease the pain leads to other issues that cause more harm than good.
What Do You Depend On
Alcohol and other forms of “recreational drugs” change a person’s overall appearance and can really mess up the functions of the body when it is the main source of removing misery and pain. The writer expresses this in an almost comedic yet serious manner and tells of how a dependent person will turn to that thing instead of God.
When your mind is clouded, your heart becomes corrupt and malfunctions through either slowing way down or works overtime to move the corruption out of the body. Filling your heart and mind with the Word, and pouring your heart out to the listening ear (spiritual or a close confidant) is much better than depending on something that becomes controlling and does more harm than good.
What Do We Do?
This one is actually very simple. It is okay to enjoy things that give temporary satisfaction but do not take in so much that it completely clouds your judgement and changes your actions. Jesus never said do not drink, He just warns us not to do it in such excess that it becomes the substitute for God. What motivates and helps you function on a day to day basis physically has ramification on your spirit. One thing remains, which one will help you be right in the next life?
O the blessedness of the pure in heart, for they shall see God
King David in the Psalms understands what it means to have a clean heart and had the understanding to pray to God for Cleansing. He knew that if the heart was not right then the rest of the body and his soul would fail him. David had a repentant heart and though his life was tormented with disaster, he still kept God’s Word as best he could.
What is the heart?
The heart in Hebraic thinking is considered the whole person to include the mind, emotions, will, and the spirit or inner life. The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god (Psalm 24:4). The person with a clean heart refuses to accept false teachings and idols of man. Another thought on the heart is: Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the LORD (Col. 3:22). This is talking about the clear devotion to God in every situation. If we stay on course and do not become distracted and victims of the ways of man, we shall see God. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known (1 Cor. 13:12). They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads (Rev 22:4).
Purity Of the Heart
To have purity of the heart we need to keep our mind always on God. This requires us not to confuse the mind with worldly things or ideas that go against the teachings of Scripture. The problem is that we live in an information overloaded driven society that is sometimes hard to get away from. The United States is so commerce driven that everything has an advertisement attached to it. Yes, even this site has advertisements which help support our ministry but we use the funds for God’s will and work not our own. We cannot have duplicity of heart and fully focus on God, it is virtually impossible.
Creation of a Clean Heart
All of Scripture exclaims how to keep a clean heart that wavers in passion for the Truth in God’s Holy Presence. This said we must stay in His Word and trust in Jesus that He hears our plea for repentance and stay the course which leads to oneness in Him. Think of it pretty much like a relationship. When the relationship is connected through unwavering focus, all is healthy and good. When someone does something that makes a separation, the trust and devotion is gone and must be rebuilt to get back into good standing which leads to a healthy relationship. Creating a clean heart is great but keeping it clean, that is the hard part for us.
We have something that some Jews only dream of, a personal relationship with our Savior. We know that we are not worthy of the saving grace and mercy provided for us but because we put our faith and trust in Jesus, and do the best we can to follow His instruction and example as well as repent and change, we are good. The disadvantage is that it is hard for some to change. God knows this He does love all of us but has a special place in His being for those who desire the clean heart and do their very best not to waver. How is your heart health?
Rob Servant of God
Today we celebrate Dad’s.
You now the old saying, “Any man can be a father but it takes a special man to be a Dad”.
What is so different and special? A Dad is the closest thing and the first vision a child has of our Father in heaven. The Dad is the one who takes time out of their busy lives to sit and listen to the child’s day. A father is just there. The one who teaches the child how to work outside in the blistering heat or frigid cold. A father sits inside while the child does all the work. A Dad is much needed figure in a young man’s life to bring him up to be kind to the women in their lives. A father… A Dad watches over his daughter as protector from boys like he was. A father is just there. He teaches her to stand up for herself and gives her the strength to say no (example: my daughter has a great left hook ((and smack)) and the discernment to know when to use it).
But mostly, Dad ensures that God is the center of the child’s life. Our Dads are our heavenly Father’s gift to us sharing in His Love. He is responsible for setting the example for the child on worship, praise, and devotion. He takes the time out to read and teach Scripture. He does not let the church be the sole spiritual guide for the child.
Today, celebrate the Dad. But also, Dad, do something special with the child. Pay attention to your children because they really do look up to you.
The Grace of God has covered mankind since creation itself. Many think that only believers in Christ are covered by God’s Grace, they are wrong. The mission of all Christians is to turn people back to God through His Grace and the Mercy of Jesus. This is also encouraged by Christians thinking that Jews are covered under the Mosaic Law and the Ten Commandments and those things are not necessary under Grace. Wow are they wrong.
When the Bible is translated sometimes certain words are changed due to the translators ideas or basic theology. The Psalms are sometimes changed so much that certain meanings and truths are lost. In Psalm 136, many English translations say that His Love endures forever. The Hebrew text gives a more encompassing word that gives new meaning and a better understanding of the Covenant Promises. Below is Psalm 136 with the translation from the Complete Jewish Bible.
Give thanks to Adonai, for he is good, for his grace continues forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his grace continues forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his grace continues forever; to him who alone has done great wonders, for his grace continues forever; to him who skillfully made the heavens, for his grace continues forever; to him who spread out the earth on the water, for his grace continues forever; to him who made the great lights, for his grace continues forever; the sun to rule the day, for his grace continues forever; the moon and stars to rule the night, for his grace continues forever; to him who struck down Egypt’s firstborn, for his grace continues forever; and brought Isra’el out from among them, for his grace continues forever; with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, for his grace continues forever; to him who split apart the Sea of Suf, for his grace continues forever; and made Isra’el cross right through it, for his grace continues forever; but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Sea of Suf, for his grace continues forever; to him who led his people through the desert, for his grace continues forever; to him who struck down great kings, for his grace continues forever; yes, he slaughtered powerful kings, for his grace continues forever; Sichon king of the Emori, for his grace continues forever; and ‘Og king of Bashan, for his grace continues forever; then he gave their land as a heritage, for his grace continues forever; to be possessed by Isra’el his servant, for his grace continues forever; who remembers us whenever we are brought low, for his grace continues forever; and rescues us from our enemies, for his grace continues forever; who provides food for every living creature, for his grace continues forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his grace continues forever. – Psalm 136:1-26
Notice how mood and emphasis changes when you read the word grace instead of the word love. God’s Grace is all encompassing and Scripture grants us a look into how all things from the deep past through today are all covered by His Grace. By His Grace he gave them the Commandments to live a right life. By His Grace Moses was given the laws and statutes for basic, healthy, and godly living. Let’s look at the Mosaic and New Covenants for their similarities.
Covenants Are Made Through God’s Grace
God made covenants with mankind. When we talk about Grace vs. Works many point to the Mosaic Covenant and state the different between being under law and being under grace. The problem is that we do not see the similarities between the covenants and understand that the Mosaic Covenant is covered by God’s Grace as well.
Both are based on Substitution of an innocent for the guilty.
God’s Grace is demonstrated clearly in both because the guilty human lives while an innocent, sinless being dies in his or her place. The old system of sacrifice was sufficient for the people if their mind was in the right place and they were truly sorry for their sins. This sorrow leads to the need to repent which when true, works.
Both require repentance of the sinner for the sacrifice to be effectual.
Repentance of sin is the only thing that makes the sacrifice work. One can believe in Jesus and say that he or she is saved but without repenting of all sins, Jesus will not recognize you nor defend you. True repentance is an action because words and feelings are not sufficient for true repentance to take place.
Complete life changes are required for repentance to be real.
For true repentance, a person must be fully honest with themselves and actively remove all the things that cause the sin in their life to occur. All past transgressions must end. It may take a complete life change but when you look at the consequences of sin, true repentance is a better choice.
We all have heard the saying, “His Grace is enough”, and that is true to a point. God’s Grace is enough for us to desire to make positive changes in our lives to affect positive changes in the lives of others. This positive change occurs when sin no longer controls our lives.
Both covenants are under Grace but one had led to the other and is still in effect with minor changes. Jesus did not come to abolish the law but fulfill it. He came to take the need for the Mosaic Covenant sacrifices away. He took the Abrahamic Covenant and modified it. He came to become the final sacrifice and open the veil so that we had a closer communion with God.
What Does That Mean For Us
First that means that we need to treat the Jewish population with more kindness and stop feelings of anti-Semitism. They are lost because they had to adjust to no longer sacrificing innocent animals. They understand the need for repentance and have the heart but they are still waiting for the Earthly Messiah. We need to help them understand that the Messiah is here and they need to read Isaiah 53 (coming up is a discussion on that text) to understand that Jesus is the Messiah they are waiting for.
We are obligated to do our best to follow the Ten Commandments even though we know we will fail. We are obligated to truly repent and change our lives by fighting back the temptations and sins, living for God through the teachings of Scripture. The real question is, do you know the difference between just believing and being in Christ? Jesus and His Disciples followed the commands of Scripture except what was revealed to be man-made and made for man. Our bodies became His swelling place, His temple. Our lives are transformed as we turn back to God.
Brothers and Sisters be in constant prayer and communion with God. Share your faith walk with others. Do not fear man for they can only hurt your flesh.
In God’s Love,
Rob, Servant of God
O the blessedness of the merciful, for they shall receive mercy
Have you ever walked down the street and someone was in need of some kind of help but you just walked by like the lawyer and the Pharisee in the Parable of the Good Samaritan’sno o ? Or we’re you like the American v8 whoby uv70g8 went out of his way to help in even the smallest way? The next blessing in the Beatitudes talks about having compassion or show pity on those who seem helpless. Having mercy on someone is the showing of sacrificial love through having empathy and love for those who are without in one way or another. Scripture tells us, “Whoever stops up his ears at the cry of the poor will himself cry, but not be answered.” (Proverbs 21:13).
Like A Good Neighbor
It goes deeper than just helping with giving a little money to the beggar on the street. It is taking the time out to walk with the individual to an eatery and paying for a meal. It is giving the shirt off your back, helping in the soup line and sharing the gospel with the homeless and hopeless. It is going to a school and being a much needed mentor for students who need that extra push or the male/female role model that they are not getting at home. It is putting family first instead of sacrificing family time because your boss made you stay late for something that can wait till tomorrow when your spouse, son, or daughter have an activity you need to be at. It is helping a single mother or father take care of the kids so they can go do the things they need to do even though you had plans. It is planting a garden and giving a portion of the labor to someone in need.
A Sacrificial Love
John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than he who would give his life for his friends”. Jesus was talking about His upcoming sacrifice but like everything in Scripture there are other allusions, it is for us to understand that no matter what we are doing, if you see someone, get a call for help, anything really, you put your business on hold and take care of the others needs above your own. That is Sacrificial Love, that is mercy. It is the easiest thing to explain but the hardest thing to do for some.
Will you show mercy and be blessed with the mercy that Jesus shows us? Will you be a sheep or a goat (Matthew 25:31-46). May you be blessed in your daily walk with God. Jesus will carry you through the rough times in life and set you down when you are needed to help others. He will guide you through valley and set you in the pasture for rest. Share Jesus today.
May God’s Love pour down on you,
Rob, a Servant of God
If you are curious about other verses that discuss Sacrificial Love Here is a short list:
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
1 John 3:16
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
1 John 4:18-19
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
1 Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “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. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
2 Timothy 1:13
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Isaiah 53:1-12 (This chapter is not read by Rabbis and is excluded from the Torah readings)
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death.
This past week we heard of two famous individuals who lost hope and took their own lives and the coverage in the media is partially about them but more-so about getting help. As this is a good thing that the media is at least talking about getting help, it always takes someone famous to take their lives out of God’s hands and into their own destructive paths for them to make that a focus which is unfortunately short lived. The issue is that many regular innocent people take their own lives daily and even though there is constant reminders of help, many do not seek it. This is an epidemic worse than any disease or addiction known to man.
Suicide affects more lives than just the person who died. Many lives close to them are truly affected and if the person was popular, the effect is like a long line of dominoes. Why did these persons not seek help and if they did, was it Christian based? Or even another mainstream religious practice that they may have put their trust in if that would have helped?
Suicide and other teen issues are being glorified on NETFLIX with the show 13 Reasons Why and has been the blame for a rash of teen suicide attempts which resulted in their deaths and research by teens on how to kill themselves. This show must be removed.
Thoughts of suicide are a call for help within the mind. When a person does not understand the call and lets the pain and suffering envelope and control them, they usually end up, seriously and sometimes permanently wounded, very sick, or dead. It is better to seek help against the giants and defeat them in life than giving them success in your death.
As Christians, we are told that pain and suffering is not weakness. As James says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Pain and suffering is a natural part of life. Everybody has it whether they admit it or not but there is no reason for taking one’s own life. As Christians we should find the joy in everything and through prayer and talking out the issues with others we can work through it so the worst does not happen. I can honestly say that I have had moments of weakness that have almost ended my life but by faith and the Grace of God I am still here. I had lost hope and my faith had faltered as I was going through a really difficult time.
Yes I had all the prevention training and was even a trainer for the ASSIT (Suicide Intervention Training) program. All that training still did not stop the devil from trying to convince me my life was not worth living. All I can say is, BUT GOD. God stepped in during that moment of doubt. I was alone and in tears ready to end it all BUT GOD stopped me, He gave me hope again.
There is a book in Scripture that discusses loss and how the hope found in having faith saves a person from all things. This book is about testing a man’s faith and also the faith of the three friends. It shows how weakness can make a person stronger. I wish I had the weakness of Job.
The tested man, Job, had lost everything except his life. Yet he remained faithful and understood that strength comes from adversity. Even though Job was accused of great sin, he knew that he drew strength from his faith and would not give in when his wife taunted him.
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10
Without hope in the Savior there is no hope. There is nothing worse than giving up hope when there are people who are readily prepared to help, even strangers. Suffering and pain, being bullied, and many other reasons are not reasons to take your own life. In our weakness, God makes us strong.
The Military used to call getting help a sign of weakness (well, I think the Marines still do), you know sowing that you are defeated. Now they know that getting help is a sign of personal strength and courage. Understanding and admitting that there is a problem that keeps you from doing what God intended you to do.
Seeking help from a counselor, pastor, chaplain, a trusted friend that will listen and help get you the right help, that is strength. That is strength saying that the bullies are nothing, the giants I face are nothing, the sickness, nothing. Having God’s strength over adversity is the Holy Spirit working inside you guiding you even when your ears are shut.
There are many ways to get help but the true healing comes from knowing, having faith and trust, and a full solid belief in Jesus Christ. This is the best hope for a bright future. Knowing that Jesus Christ is your personal Lord and Savior who already paid for your sins and the sins of those who sin against you (yes even them) gives you the strength to say, “I forgive you” I may be hard but forgiveness is healing and it may even affect the life of your enemy.
This is not about finding religion, this is about finding hope in a relationship in the loving arms of our savior, Jesus Christ through the Grace of our Father God. The devil cannot defeat you if you have the love of Christ in your heart. No matter what, God will get you through it for His Grace and Mercy are mightier than any giant that comes to defeat you.
Rob, Servant Of God
Pictured is Mercy Me with Trace Adkins and Dennis Quaid singing I Can Only Imagine taken by my phone
Last Weekend on the 27th of May the radio station KLOVE had their fan awards. I must admit I had fun even though the family and I spent the weekend as volunteers which was a lot of work. But more than that it was very worshipful and the whole weekend was fulfilling. Meeting some of the artists outside of the meet and greets and concerts, I was honestly amazed at the humility of most of them. While a select few did have a worldly attitude about them, you could tell the difference in the heart.
On Saturday night, true humility came out in a group of five artists who were up on stage pouring their hearts out telling the meanings of their songs. I will not mention them because they are really just people who have a true heart for God given the gift of song. There was a brief time that night where the entire house was in tears and a couple of the artists had a hard time singing after that but because of their faith and the strength and encouragement provided by God’s Grace, they were able to glorify God in worship.
It was a beautiful weekend.
O the blessedness of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied Matthew 5:6
What does spiritual hunger and thirst really mean? To have physical need for nourishment means that the body is wearing down because it lacks the nutrients and chemicals found in food and drink to function properly. So it is with the soul. Our heart from the spiritual perspective has certain needs to truly make us alive. That need is the righteousness of God which truly satisfies the heart.
Hungry for Spiritual Food
The word hunger depicts a deep craving or longing. There is a desire within each of us for knowledge and wisdom. Some seek worldly and are temporarily satisfied and do not understand why they never truly feel complete. Then there are those who seek spiritual knowledge and wisdom. These are the ones who hunger for righteousness seek the divine righteousness that we are given by grace through faith in Jesus. This is a true intention of the heart as the reliance on this food is the reliance only upon God to meet our needs. Seeking God’s righteousness means that material things, though necessary for survival, are not absolutes and will not fully satisfy the longing of the spirit to be with the Father again.
Thirsting for the Living God
The word thirst is that painful need for water to stay alive. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are those who seek to know, believe in, trust, and have faith in Jesus who is the bread of life (the Word) and grants us access to the Living Water. Water is life. Our bodies need water to survive. Not just that it needs replenishment of minerals and other things found in the water that help is move. Water is the main ingredient in plasma that moves the blood cells so that the nutrients can get to where they need to go. Living Water is that which brings life eternal. Without this living water, our spirits cannot move.
This Truly is a MATTER of the HEART
God tells Joshua in his commission to lead Israel that he needs to Keep the Word on the heart not just in it. Keeping the Word on our hearts creates that barrier from the world to take over our needs and desires and provides for the Word to be in our heart so that it is what we rely on to live. What do we seek first? We are told that we should seek first the Kingdom of God for that is where true living and happiness is.
St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Which is more right, seeking spiritual experiences, material blessings, signs of the miraculous, knowledge and wisdom, or seeking the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God alone truly satisfies the heart, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt 6:33). The Humble Heart Seeks God for only in Him will there be peace.
My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. Jeremiah 50:6
There were folks in the religious hierarchy that loved to confront Jesus. Their idea of the Word was corrupted by man-made traditions and practices that had manipulated God’s Word for their purposes and not God’s. Often, they confronted Jesus trying to get Him to slip up and say something that would condemn Him. No matter how they tried they were the ones getting the lesson and were confronted with their own mistakes and misgivings. They were the ones who were lost. Not just those in the hierarchy but all Israel was lost and Jesus even told them as, He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24).
Bringing The Lost Sheep Home
His compassion was first for the chosen people of the Father to bring them home again. We know that this was going to be very hard especially since the people wanted earthly freedom from their oppressors and evidently were not really concerned with spiritual things. But God beats all odds and can get right to the heart.
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:3-7
Jesus, the Great Shepherd, gives this account of searching, saving, and rejoicing. Even more, we can clearly see a picture of salvation in these verses that we do not want to miss today. Even though this was meant for the People Israel, we can clearly see the redemption and salvation that God gives by His Grace and Mercy through putting everything else aside, sacrificing the safety of the rest just to find and rescue one. Jesus lifts us up so we do not have to tread in the waters or the thorns of the world alone. All heaven rejoices even when just one comes to know the Lord and returns home.
The Heart Condition
We are lost to God because of sin. He knows the lost condition of humanity and of our hearts which were given in to sin. But you see, God sent Jesus to rescue and redeem us, to discover and help us choose to repent and change the condition of our heart. All of God’s children are precious to Him, yes even the hardened sinner. We are loved so much. He professed His love in John 3:16, then Paul reminds us how He showed His Love in Romans 5:6-8.
We Are Valued
Like I said, we are precious to Him. Luke 19:10 states, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Brothers and Sisters, we are not something that is created and left to rot. We are created to love and care for one another just as He loves us. He loves us so much that He died as the final blood sacrifice. The innocent given to replace us for our sins. Our value is found in every drop of the Saviors blood which was shed so we could live.
At What Cost
The last line in the Parable speaks volumes on what is needed from us. Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Yes we are saved by Grace but there is still certain obligations. These obligations have not changed since Abraham. Better yet, these obligations have not changed since Abel. We are obligated to Keep His Word on our hearts because our strength comes from His Word. We must repent and not return to our sinful, worldly ways. God continually waits for us in patient love but if we cannot give up the world then we are forever lost to Him. It is our choice though God will continually fight for us. Jesus gave us the examples of Kingdom living and He did it outside the world. He showed us what true love is. He showed us what true compassion is. He thoroughly explained what it is to live for the Father and this generation has thrown it away. We are not perfect so we must depend on His Grace and Mercy but not without making the commitment to giving up the things that keep us away from Him.
Are you willing to peek out so He can find you or will you stay hidden and lost?
The Parable of the Lost Sheep is a tale of a lot more than just one lost person. It is the lost people Israel and the hope for redemption and salvation of all people.
This day we are reminded of the sacrifice that so many gave to defend their home so their families and the rest of the country could retain the way of life, avoiding the tyranny that other countries would have caused. In this way, we as Christians, are reminded that those who go before us are preparing for that final battle that will happen when Jesus Returns.
Yes we should mourn the loss every time we lose a Soldier/Defender of our nation, but we should also celebrate their selfless act of giving up every freedom they had to include their very lives. We need to remember the fallen not those who still fight the fight. Martin Luther had said that Soldiers make the best Christians because they understand what sacrifice is. I wholeheartedly agree. Those in previous authority decided to stop Christians from sharing their faith and have derided Chaplains for preaching the truth in the Word. The devil is in the mix as we still fight to share the Word.
Today do not thank a Soldier for their service but if you must, thank a Soldier for their sacrifice. Thank those who are left behind for their sacrifice especially those whose son or daughter went home.
Have a Blessed Day