Monday, December 5, 2011

What is your view of God?

I was at church for our pie social and the pastor was ill,so his dad came and spoke.I was so blessed by his message,that I thought I would share it as well as some of the thoughts God has laid upon my heart.

This pastor was saying that there were a large number of missionaries and pastors that dropped out of the ministry within the first few years.He himself was serving as a pastor in a church that was steadily growing and then declined when the ships pulled out as he was serving by a military base.

He said he himself came to the point of burnout and went to talk to a man that gave counsel to pastors and missionaries.He said the man asked him a simple question,
"Do you believe that God loves you?"

He said he thought about it for a minute or two and he replied "No"  He said it shamed him so much to say that here he is the pastor of a congregation telling people of  the love of Jesus and he himself didn't believe that God loved him.

He is not the only one to feel this way.

This is the Psalm of Asaph

Psalm 73

1Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.
2But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
3For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
5They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
6Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
7Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
8They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
9They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
10Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
11And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
12Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
13Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
14For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
15If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
16When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
17Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
18Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
19How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
20As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
21Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
22So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
23Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
24Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
25Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
26My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
27For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
28But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

Asaph was scratching his head and wondering how a lot of us do at times,why do the wicked prosper? Have there ever been times in your life where you think ,what am I doing wrong?
I'm doing the things The Bible tells me to,but yet daily life is  such a struggle.

Like this pastor said people tell you God loves you,but you can't pay your electric bill,God loves you,but someone you love gets Cancer,God loves you,but you lose your job or your home.

The honest truth is that a lot of us base the love God has for us on our circumstances.Unfortunately there are some teachings that are just exactly that.If you are prosperous Jesus loves you.If you are having hard time or sickness Jesus is punishing you.

All through The Bible we see godly men that were in impossible curcumstances,but had to wait sometimes for years,before they saw the promise of God fulfilled.

Look at Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers and then put in prison for many years.We tend to gloss over all of that,because we see what happened at the end, and how God used it all for his good ,and so that Joseph could save all of Egypt and his entire household,but just think of all the years of Joseph's life that he probably wondered what God was doing,but was going to stand on God's promises.

There are lots of examples like this Job,Moses,Abraham,David,Noah,Jacob,The Israelites waiting for The Promised Land,while pharoah was forcing them to be slaves and slaughtering their children.

Hebrews 11

1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
31By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

I know this is a long passage,but it shows how many men and women of God had to step out in faith to see the promises God had for them.

This pastor then said that unfortunately a lot of people reveal their christianity in several different ways.

The first way is this:
There is some head knowledge of God's Word.They seem to know the right words to say: 

But there doesn't seem to be anything in the heart.There is no love or compassion or grace.It's not enough to just believe even Satan does that and trembles.

James 2:18-20

King James Version (KJV)

18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Then there is the one that has some head knowledge,and mainly displays his Christianity by works alone.

What this person fails to realize is there is nothing we can do to add to our salvation.Not that we shouldn't work and do things to further the Gospel.I'm not talking about that,but the person who thinks that their acts of righteousness will add something to their salvation.


Ephesians 2:8-10

King James Version (KJV)

8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Isaiah 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags

Next you have the person who is nothing but heart or should I say emotions and feelings.Everything is based on how they feel.If they are in a good mood then Jesus loves them,but if there are troubles then Jesus must not love them or care at all.

 Do you know what the Bible calls this? It's called being double minded.

James 1:7-9

King James Version (KJV)

7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

But all we have to do is stop looking at our circumstances and have faith,faith as small as a mustard seed to see God do mighty things.

Matthew 17:20
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
I write these things not to condemn anyone,but to encourage.So many of these lessons I apply to myself.I pray God uses these to encourage you all as well.

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