CREATION CALLS

CREATION CALLING ME TO SEE FEEL TOUCH AND HEAR-

MERRY MONDAY-

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
Rom. 1:20

This last week I was able to visit my mom who lives up in the Smokey Mountains. She lives up at 4200 elevation and from her house one can see Mt Pisgah on a clear day. It is not uncommon to see a bear, elk or even a groundhog climbing up a tree like I just saw. Every year I try to go during blackberry season so my mum can make her famous blackberry cobbler. I have been walking her mountain roads for over twenty years. Even now my grandkids can’t wait to go up there to do the same. Why do millions of visitors travel up there, along with so many other people to see natural beauty? Because the glory of God speaks to us, almost as if He is yelling out to us! I believe that the sky, stars, oceans, animals and mountains know that soon now Jesus will plant His Brazen feet back here once again. Each one of them have been doing things that are unusual. I can only pray that I stay “INTUNE” with His voice. One would have to be deaf not to hear, see, breathe and feel His beauty. Barnes said, “Being understood, His perfections may be investigated, and comprehended by means of his works. They are the evidences submitted to our intellects, by which we may arrive at the true knowledge of God.”
All this beauty is “not the parent” but is the “interpreter of our faith in God”. All the inner and outer revelation of God serve to compliment each other. What will you interpret today when you walk out into your world? Sometimes our lifestyle alone makes it extremely hard for God to get our attention and by the time we do hear Him he is yelling! haha—I pray you will open your hearts wide for our God is loud. His voice is the sound of many waters. Let me speak words of hope and life today. Whatever you may be facing allow Him to show you His bigness. Allow yourself to be wrapped up in His love. The storm clouds can fade away when Christ steps in your life. Matthew Poole said, “The invisible things of him: his being and his attributes, particularly his eternity and almighty power; to which we might add, his wisdom, goodness, &c. These, though invisible in themselves, yet are discernible by his works, and that ever since the creation of the world. By what they see created, they may easily collect or understand, that there is an eternal and almighty Creator.” Let the almighty creator speak to you today, he desires to color your world that might be drab dreary and dreadful.Creation calls!

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Called to be saints.
Romans 1:7

Living in New Orleans the word “saints” takes on a different connotation. Of course the term “New Orleans Saints” has taken on a new love and devotion since Hurricane Katrina; the whole world became Saints fans in the year that pigs flew and hell froze over. New Orleans also has a strong Catholic heritage. For the Catholic, the saints become a major part of their faith, even to the place of praying to “saints” who are perceived as having the Father’s ear.
For the born again Christian, the word “saints” takes on a different meaning. The Bible use of the word “saint” was in reference to all who had become a son or daughter of God by faith in Christ. Are you a saint? If Christ is your Lord; absolutely! Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes saints.

“We are very apt to regard the apostolic saints as if they were saints in a more especial manner than the other children of God. All are saints whom God has called by His grace, and sanctified by His Spirit; but we are apt to look upon the apostles as extraordinary beings, scarcely subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as ourselves. Do not, then, look upon the ancient saints as being exempt either from infirmities or sins; and do not regard them with that mystic reverence which will almost make us idolaters. Their holiness is attainable even by us. We are called to be saints by that same voice which constrained them to their high vocation. It is a Christian’s duty to force his way into the inner circle of saintship; and if these saints were superior to us in their attainments, as they certainly were, let us follow them; let us emulate their ardor and holiness. We have the same light that they had, the same grace is accessible to us, and why should we rest satisfied until we have equalled them in heavenly character? They lived with Jesus, they lived for Jesus, therefore they grew like Jesus. Let us live by the same Spirit as they did, looking unto Jesus, and our saintship will soon be apparent.”

So I dedicate today’s devotion to the New Orleans Saints. Not to our beloved football “saints”, but to the church in New Orleans, those who have been purchased by His blood. We have the same access into the Father’s presence as those powerful first century saints. We can come boldly before His throne today and find grace to help in our time of need.

RESURRECTED

Rom. 1:1-4 ¶ Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our Christian faith. Our future hope is entirely dependent on His resurrection. The Apostle Paul was convinced that Christ had risen from the dead, what made him so sure? He saw Christ for Himself. It was on his journey to Damascus to try to stop the spread of the Christian faith where Christ arrested Paul. The resurrected Christ appeared to him that day, our world has never been the same. Paul was changed from an angry Pharisee into the Apostle to the gentiles. His entire message was formed around this truth that Christ had risen from the dead. I recently read a devotional by Charles Spurgeon on the resurrection. Here is an excerpt.

“The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that Christ is risen from the dead; for, If
Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain: ye are yet in your sins. The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in his resurrection, since he was Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. It would not be unreasonable to doubt his Deity if he had not risen. Moreover, Christ’s sovereignty depends upon his resurrection, For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”

In this passage Spurgeon points out two critical results of the resurrection. First, the deity of Christ is confirmed. Many people have made wild claims over the years, their tombs are still with us today. When Christ was raised from the dead Paul said it was a declaration from heaven that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Secondly, His sovereign rule over all things was declared. Death itself is under the authority of Jesus Christ. When Christ was raised from the dead He declared that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to Him. Christ is displaying this sovereignty as He is seated at the right hand of the majesty on high. He is ruling all things today from His throne at the Father’s right hand.
How does this effect me today? If Christ is resurrected, then all of His promises to me are guaranteed. If He is truly alive, He is ruling my life as part of His sovereign rule. Regardless of what you may be facing today, you have a representative Who is risen from the dead appearing before the Father on your behalf.

BIG BANG

Psa. 19:1 ¶ The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

I recently saw a post on Facebook that talked about a recent discovery that proved the accuracy of the Big Bang theory. What this discovery showed was that the universe was created instantly and was not a random accident but the act of a superior being living outside of the universe in another reality. That is just another way of saying, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Here is part of an article from CNN by Leslie Wickman, Leslie is director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University. Wickman has also been an engineer for Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, where she worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station programs.

(CNN) The remarkable discovery, announced this week, of ripples in the space-time fabric of the universe rocked the world of science – and the world of religion.

Touted as evidence for inflation (a faster-than-the-speed-of-light expansion of our universe), the new discovery of traces of gravity waves affirms scientific concepts in the fields of cosmology, general relativity, and particle physics.

The new discovery also has significant implications for the Judeo-Christian worldview, offering strong support for biblical beliefs.

The prevalent theory of cosmic origins prior to the Big Bang theory was the “Steady State,” which argued that the universe has always existed, without a beginning that necessitated a cause.

However, this new evidence strongly suggests that there was a beginning to our universe.

If the universe did indeed have a beginning, by the simple logic of cause and effect, there had to be an agent – separate and apart from the effect – that caused it.

That sounds a lot like Genesis 1:1 to me: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.”

As a modern believer and a scientist, when I look up at the sky on a clear starry night, I am reminded that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). I am in awe of the complexity of the physical world, and how all of its pieces fit together so perfectly and synergistically.

If God is truly the creator, then he will reveal himself through what he’s created, and science is a tool we can use to uncover those wonders.”
I love that, The Lord is confirming His word through man’s new technological discoveries that enable us to gaze into the mysteries of creation. How do these scientific discoveries effect us? They really don’t effect our faith, they only confirm the accuracy of the Word of God. For me, these discoveries fill me with awe when I consider the greatness of the One Who created all things. It also overwhelms me when I think of how this Creator of all things entered into His creation to die for me.

NOT ASHAMED

MERRY MONDAY- “NOT ASHAMED”

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for them that believe”. Romans !:16

A Christian at some point has to “take on” the Apostle Paul. Yes, we have to leave the reading of the Old Testament, the sweet Psalms and even the words of Jesus in the gospels. The Pauline Epistles open up the mystery of Christ in you the hope of glory among many other things. Learning to see God in everything and everything, “will turn our life into a south land, with upper and nether springs of blessing in ceaseless flow; for the life that lies full heavenward lies in perpetual summer, in the eternal noon.” Expositor’s Bible
Paul wrote these amazing words to the Romans. He was bound for Rome and knew he would meet persecution. At some point in all of lives, it has to come down to the power of God. Paul had seen enough and he was convinced. This wasn’t his ability, it was totally up to God.
Gill says, “It is the power of God organically or instrumentally; as it is a means made use of by God in quickening dead sinners, enlightening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, softening hard hearts, and making of enemies friends; to which add, the manner in which all this is done, suddenly, secretly, effectually, and by love, and not force.” There is nothing so beautiful as seeing God working in people’s lives. Paul had so firm a conviction of its value and its truth; he had experienced so much of its consolations, and had seen so much of its working, that he was so far from being ashamed of it that he gloried in it as the power of God unto salvation.
No matter what you may be facing, there is a complete and eternal recovery in God. For there is “power, power wonder working power, in the blood!” We know it is mighty to the pulling down of strong holds, 2Cor 10:4,5. There is no sin or wickedness that God’s power can’t fix. Jer 23:29, “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
It is the simplicity of the Gospel that we can rest in. His power works for you everyday as you “give sway” to his word. We can join with Gideon and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon! Spurgeon says, “Let us but be bold for Jesus, and we shall see what his arm can do. The gospel is the voice of the eternal God, and has in it the same power as that which brought the world out of nothing, and which shall raise the dead from their graves at the coming of the Son of Man. The gospel, the word of God, can no more return to him void than can the snow go back to heaven, or the rain-drops climb again the path by which they descended from the clouds. Have faith in God’s word, faith in the presence of the Holy Ghost, faith in the reigning Savior, faith in the fulfillment of the everlasting purposes, and you will be full of confidence, and like an army with banners.

SEEING THE INVISIBLE

SEEING THE INVISIBLE

Rom. 1:20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],

This is one of my favorite passages about the mystery of God. Paul says that the invisible attributes of God are clearly seen in God’s creation. Because of that, when we get still and listen to His sounds of silence in creation, we can actually touch or experience something of The Lord. That is actually the primary purpose of His creation, to display His qualities. Adam Clarke brings out God’s nature and His handiwork in creation in his comments on this verse.

” The invisible things of him. His invisible perfections are manifested by his visible works, and may be apprehended by what he has made; their immensity showing his omnipotence, their vast variety and contrivance, his omniscience; and their adaptation to the most beneficent purposes, his infinite goodness and philanthropy.
His eternal power. That all-powerful energy that ever was, and ever will exist; so that, ever since there was a creation to be surveyed, there have been intelligent beings to make that survey.
And Godhead. His acting as God in the government and support of the universe. His works prove his being; the government and support of these works prove it equally. Creation and providence form a twofold demonstration of God, 1st. in the perfections of his nature; and, 2ndly. in the exercise of those perfections.”

We can see, for example, His creativity in His stunning attention to detail. Each leaf in His majestic trees is a work of art. The markings on the wing of a butterfly, the various hues of color in His sunset, or the brilliant blue of a tropical ocean or even in the legs of a grasshopper; these all portray His creative genius. Then there is the economy of His creation, everything has its place; water for drinking, air for breathing, grain for our food, His forethought is breath taking. Then there is the eternal nature displayed in the seemingly infinite universe, have you been outside in the country at night and looked up at the sky? Most of the light you are seeing is actually hundreds of years old, it takes that long for light to travel from even the closest destinations in our universe. What an incredible picture of the eternal nature of our God.
No wonder Paul said we are without excuse, creation is shouting out the Glory of His Name. Paul spent the rest of Romans displaying to us the deeper revelation of the Glory of God. You see The Lord reserved His greatest display in the person of His Son. He actually became one of us, a common man like one of us. He loved us, He taught us, He died for us. This is God’s greatest display of what God is like. We see it in the death of His Son.

SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE

SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE

Rom. 1:16-17 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

As much as things seem to change in society, nothing really ever changes. Religion is always trying to build a tower of works to heaven to reach God. Good works can never save a man. That is the essence of the gospel preached by the Apostle Paul. We can be justified before God by grace through faith. Salvation is a gift from God accessed only by faith which is also His gift. The new pope recently restarted this controversy (it never really goes away). Here is a recent statement made by the new pope that proves to be quite alarming.

“But the pope, in a morning Mass on Wednesday, suggested that belief and faith weren’t the biggest factors. He said, CNN reported: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ — all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone. ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist.’ But do good: We will meet one another there.”

This brings us back to the importance of Paul’s revelation of grace rediscovered by the Protestant fathers during the reformation. Here is something Luther said about this topic.

“The Apostle draws into his argument the testimony of the Prophet Habakkuk: “The just shall live by his faith.” This passage carries much weight because it eliminates the Law and the deeds of the Law as factors in the process of our justification.
The scholastics misconstrue this passage by saying: “The just shall live by faith, if it is a working faith, or a faith formed and performed by charitable works.” Their annotation is a forgery. To speak of formed or unformed faith, a sort of double faith, is contrary to the Scriptures. If charitable works can form and perfect faith I am forced to say eventually that charitable deeds constitute the essential factor in the Christian religion. Christ and His benefits would be lost to us.”

Even more terrifying is the recent trend of protestant, supposedly evangelical ministers, who are tip toeing around a message of good works sprinkled with a dose of universalism. Now of course few people will admit their universalist doctrine but a deemphasis of redemption, propitiation, and salvation by grace alone leads down the slippery slope that preachers have slipped into that leads ultimately to universalism. Paul told Timothy to hold on to the precious doctrines by the Holy Ghost ( 2 Timothy 1:13). What are those precious doctrines? Christ died to save sinners. Christ bore our judgment (the judgement of God on the sinfulness of man). Salvation comes by grace alone by faith alone, not of works lest anyone should boast.

CALLED TO CHINA

CALLED TO CHINA

Rom. 1:1 ¶ Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.

The calling of God is one of the great spiritual mysteries. The word church in the original language of the Bible, means “the called out ones”. If you are born again, you know something of the calling of God. You were called out of the world, called out of another lifestyle, to be His own possession. The Bible calls the called out ones “His elect”. In a very similar way there is another spiritual calling. This calling is not for every Christian, it is a calling into the ministry of The Lord. This is a holy calling. Hudson Taylor spoke about his calling to China which happened during an encounter he had with The Lord as a teenager shortly after his conversion. Here is that special moment in his own words.

“Several months after my conversion I had a free afternoon. I closed myself in my room. I wanted to spend the afternoon mostly talking with God. Feeling pretty happy, I poured my soul out to God. Over and over, I told him about my love for him. I felt so thankful! He had done everything for me. He’d saved me when I had given up all hope. I hadn’t even wanted salvation! I asked him to give me something to do for him. I wanted an outlet for my love and thankfulness. I wanted some self-denying way to serve him. It didn’t matter what it was. I wanted something that would please him. Something I could do for the One who had done so much for me. I remember that I dedicated myself without holding anything back. I put myself, my life, my friends, everything on the altar. A deep, solemn sort of feeling came over me. With it came assurance. I knew God had accepted my offering. His presence became real and blessed. I was only a child—only fifteen—but I remember stretching myself on the ground and lying there, silent, before him. I felt indescribable awe and joy I didn’t know what kind of service he accepted me for, but a deep sense of awareness came over me. I didn’t belong to myself any more.”

I received my calling into the ministry at a church service shortly after my conversion. It was at an Assembly of God church near Kerman, California. There was a guest speaker speaking on the call of God from Isaiah 6. I remember him calling out “Who will go?”. I was totally undone. I found myself on my face at the altar under the powerful anointing of the Spirit. I didn’t know where I would go and what all the ramifications associated with the call of God would be. From that day my calling to preach became as clear as my calling to be a Christian. Maybe The Lord is speaking to someone as they read this devotion. I have to repeat the words that have been spoken since Isaiah spoke them 2700 years ago. “Who will go? Who can I send?”

PERFECTLY CONSISTENT 2

PERFECTLY CONSISTENT 2

Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

This verse describes God’s amazing purpose of creation. All that is was created to display the glory of The Lord. Yesterday, I began to describe the comparisons of the natural sun to Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness. I will continue those thoughts today.

5. EMPOWERING- The sunlight is filled with energy and power. It has been shining and heating the earth since the beginning of time, scientists say there are still millions of years of energy available in the sun. Science is just learning to harness the power of the sun. Soon, many of our houses will powered by this solar energy. In the same way, the radiance of the beams of God’s glory are filled with power. The only difference is that the Lord’s power is infinite, He is all powerful. We begin to receive this power through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that we would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us.

6. WARMING- Obviously, we are warmed by the sun. Civilization, or any kind of life, would be impossible without the warmth of the sun. If you are outside in the cold before sunrise it is common to long for the sun to rise. When the sun comes up the warmth of a new day begins. The Lord’s glory also has a strange warming effect on our hearts. As John Wesley said at his conversion, “my heart was strangely warmed”. The converting influence of The Lord brings this strange warmth to our hearts. Suddenly, we are not cold and apathetic to spiritual things. Actually, The Lord sets our affections on fire. We become passionate about spiritual things, our hearts burning with the fire of this Majestic Son.

7. PURIFYING- There is something purifying in the power of fire. After all, that’s all the sun is. It a a mass of gaseous fire. Fire is the agent used in the purification of gold. Gold is melted down and the impurities separate, leaving only pure gold. In the same way, The Lord purifies us. He is the fire that we pass through; the result is spiritual purification. He purifies our hearts and even is said to divide between the soul and spirit and the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Paul paints an amazing picture of this process of purification that will continue at the judgment seat of Christ. He says that all of us, every Christian will stand before the judgement seat of Christ. He describes us passing through the fire of His presence. The result: wood, hay, and stubble are consumed. The only thing that is left is the work of God in our souls. Malachi said it like this, Mal. 3:2 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: “

THE STRUGGLE FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

THE STRUGGLE FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Rom. 1:16-17 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

I love to read about the awakening of the 18th century. One of the key players was John Wesley who inherited the lead role in the Methodist movement in Great Britain. Wesley had started the Holy Club while at Oxford in England. His brother Charles and George Whitefield were also members of this club. Each of these future world changers were struggling in their own righteousness until their lives were interrupted by the righteousness of God. For Wesley, it happened one night as he was attending a prayer meeting being conducted by the Moravians. That night of nights, the moderator of the group was reading from Luther’s commentary on the book of Romans. As Wesley heard the words of justification by grace through faith from the teachings of Luther, his “heart was strangely warmed”. That night Wesley finally got it, it wasn’t their own deeds or religious works that made a man righteous before God, it was the righteousness of God in Christ received by faith. That night Wesley was born again, he would never be the same. Here is some of what John Wesley said about the righteousness of God.

“The righteousness of God—This expression sometimes means God’s eternal, essential righteousness, which includes both justice and mercy, and is eminently shown in condemning sin, and yet justifying the sinner. Sometimes it means that righteousness by which a man, through the gift of God, is made and is righteous; and that, both by receiving Christ through faith, and by a conformity to the essential righteousness of God. St. Paul, when treating of justification, means hereby the righteousness of faith; therefore called the righteousness of God, because God found out and prepared, reveals and gives, approves and crowns it. In this verse the expression means, the whole benefit of God through Christ for the salvation of a sinner. Is revealed—Mention is made here, and ver. 18, of a twofold Revelation,—of wrath and of righteousness: the former, little known to nature, is revealed by the law; the latter, wholly unknown to nature, by the gospel. That goes before, and prepares the way; this follows. Each, the apostle says, is revealed at the present time, in opposition to the times of ignorance. From faith to faith—By a gradual series of still clearer and clearer promises.”

Hundreds of years have passed but our basic need and struggle is the same. In our hearts we know we are messed up, we are sinners hopelessly struggling to be justified. Our struggle ends when we come upon the only righteousness that can approach God. It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ himself and it can only be received by faith.