REscued

 

Anytime we are in danger we can freely call upon God and he will save us; he will rescue us at whatever cost. And, though our salvation comes to us freely, but someone; God, has to give something up. The bible says that God gave his Son so that anyone who believes could be saved (Jh3:16), so God rescued us from eternal death with his son. In a rescue mission several factors have to be taken into account, like costs and availability.  Like in the parable of the good Samaritan who saw the injured man on the road and without thinking took him and cared for him (Lk10:34-35). In bible history each king that requested to be saved from another needed to pay a price in gold, or other valuable such as land. 

Isaiah 43:1-4

3. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom,Cusha] and Seba in your stead. 4. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.

There are certain promises that are part of God’s rescue scheme, like stability that is you will not be swept away. Also, God assures us that he will be with us, that though we walk through the fire it will not harm us. But, like every rescue mission it comes at a price, God has to decide you over someone else. The bible teaches us that we were purchased at a price, and that our body’s are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor6:19-20). The rescue mission of your soul pertain only to God, no one can save your soul (Mk8:36-37). God had a mission to save the people of Judah and he promised that he would restore them as before he had left them (Zech10:6). When God rescues someone there is a total restoration, that is what Job’s friend said that he would restore them for full well being. 

Verse 1

Luke 10:34-35

34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denariie] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

 verse 2

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

verse 3

  Mark 8:36-37

36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

verse 4

Zechariah 10:6

“I will strengthen Judah and save the tribes of Joseph.I will restore them because I have compassion on them.
They will be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.

 

Something good will come

 

There certain things that are promising and have the potential to bringing out something good, and of course there are things that from the looks of it you know that nothing good will come out of it. In fact, there are parents that when their child begins to grow they see either something good or not so good coming out of that child. There are places, jobs, areas of study, and many other things that we can automatically see that something good will not come out of it. But, one thing is for sure and that is that God changes things. He changes the dry places into streams (ps107:35), so just because something does not demonstrate promise it does not mean that there is no hope. Isaiah says; God speaking, that he will open pools in dry places (Is41:18), so something good can come out of something that is known not to product. 

John 1:46-49 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

The Nazarene’s were known to being simple minded, ignorant and just plain sinners, and so the Jews and pretty much everyone could not expect anything good to come out of Nazareth where Jesus grew up. In fact, ever since Samson, whom despised his gift of power and strength for sinful pleasures, could have made something good come out of Nazareth. He could have been a name changer for his people, but instead sought out the pleasures of his heart. The 17th chapter of the book of Judges tells us the story of a man in the tiny town of Nazareth that was challenged with the task of having people say “Come and see and failed”.  Now, throughout the scriptures we are invited to “Come and see”, for example the psalmist says in psalms 66:5 come and see what he Lord has done. The Samaritan women had an encounter with something good: Jesus, and she invited all her people to “come and see”(Jhn 4:28-19) and they went and saw and believed. 

Nathanael believed who Christ was because Phillip invited him to come and see. Once you come and see he will reveal his deity, as he did with Nathanael when he saw him under the fig tree.  

Verse 1

psalms 107:35

He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs;

 verse 2

Isaiah 41:18
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

 

verse 3

Psalms 66:5

  Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. 

verse 4

8  The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29  Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 

 

One of the things that concerns God the most is the nourishment of his sheep. Receiving sound doctrine is vital in this day and age. Understanding the things of the kingdom of God and his promises help us to press forward and obtaining victory over the enemy and his schemes. Jesus told the pharisees that they needed to eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to enter into the kingdom of God (Jhn6:55-57). The correct spiritual nourishment a child of God receives determines the favor he/she receives. We should not be tossed around with every wind of doctrines that are going around today. It will determine the type of grace we receive when we pay attention to the teachings that are out there (He13:9). Like sheep we need to be picky with what we eat, sheep will not eat any grass just because it looks good. Many churches, particularly pastors will bring to their churches whatever seems to please their congregations; and that should not be so. Congregations that are fed different types of nourishment bring about division among them.   

Zechariah 11:7

And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.

After the prophet prophesied against the pastors and the type of nourishment they were feeding the sheep, he took two staves and named them; one was called beauty and they other bands.   Now, beauty he decides to break in pieces and sell it. God was tired of dealing with the people of Israel, and so he needed to pull away from them. The only way that he could pull away from his people was by sending Jesus. John says that he came to his own and his own rejected him (Jhn1:11). The prophet Isaiah said of him that he was rejected of men and that we his our faces from him (Is53:1-5). So, Jesus (AKA Beauty) needed to be broken and sold for the price of thirty pieces (Zec11:10-12, Mt26:15).  That price was the full price of a slave, and after he was sold the money was used to by the land of the potter. Jesus was going to come back in remade in the glorified body, because that is what the potter does he restores.

In fact, Isaiah said that he, Jesus poured his soul unto death for us. The grace that the people of Israel once had was removed and given to a people that were not a people; to a people who were on the road to the slaughter house. Now, the second stave was called bands, and it too was broken. Bands represents brotherhood, and the relationship between Judah and Israel was going to be broken. And, Jesus said that fathers shall be against sons, and everyone in the house shall be against each other (Lk12:53, Mic7:6). 

 

Have you ever found yourself out of luck? It is every persons dream to be called a lucky dog, where every thing you try comes out on your favor. Life would be a breeze if everything would come to us. The odds for winning the lottery today is 1 of 175 million people. Luck deals with chance, it is the force that seems to operate for good or ill on a person. It does not depends on ones ability or skill, luck is a chance that no one can control; at least from a human perspective. Luck has its streaks where for a period of time one can have everything be at their favor or not. Now, to some luck comes every so often and it is hardly present, but it comes. The scripture teaches us that both rain and the sun comes to both the good and the bad (Mt5:45).  There are those that because they get on a lucky streak become addicted to say gambling trying to keep it alive. People take many risks to see if luck is on their side. The only way one knows if luck is with one is if he/she take a chance. Solomon tells us that luck is not for the racer, worker, player or anyone in particular, but it comes to everyone (ecc9:11).   

Proverbs 16:33

33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

The outcome of luck is God driven. He decides where the lot is going to be set on. So, if there is a need for chance to be set on, then God will allow it, but then he might not. Just as with the men who needed to know why was there such a storm in the sea, and so they cast lots and found out that Jonah was the problem (Jon1:7). Because every decision is the Lord’s, we need to become risk takers for his kingdom. God’s favor is on those that please him. As Christians we do not depend on luck, if it comes it comes, but we do depend on God’s favor. The “favor of God” can be described as a divine kindness, or an act of true compassion on the part of God Himself toward needy and undeserving human recipients. One of Job’s friends said is correctly. He said that he would turn back to God and speak with him that he would gain favor from God and be restored (jb33:25-26). When it deals with the Lord’s decision, we have a small window of opportunity to change it. King Hezekiah experienced this idea of changing God’s plans when he turned on his bed and cried unto the Lord (Is38:5), and God added 15 years to his life; that is favor. God has a time of favor, and the bible calls it the day of salvation and that is today (2Cor6:2).  

Are we growing?

not just born again

Change, these days are a bit hard to accept especially since those changes are without option. Having control to a change is not always an option that we have. Some changes in our lives take more effort then other.   There is a saying that change comes from the heart, and when it speaks about the heart it refers to the spirit. There are people whose spirit is broken (pro25:28), and therefore cannot change; they are like a city without walls. 

John 3:3-5

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.a]

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

Nicodemus could not understand the concept of being born again. His ideas for this concept were literal, and to him there was no other way. In order to see the kingdom of God, Jesus said one had to be born again. One does not have die to see the kingdom, but be reborn giving reference to a change of spirit. The word “see” in this text is in reference to being aware of the kingdom of God. 

But, what is the kingdom of God? It refers to Christ’s rule, and Nicodemus was looking at Christ as a great teacher and not God himself. Later, Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to enter into God’s kingdom he  had to be born of water and spirit (Jhn3:5). And, by water and spirit Jesus was referring to having a humble heart and a willingness to a complete change.  

Now, in order to have a complete change the stage goes from having to be reborn to becoming like a child. And, this we see when the disciples asked Jesus who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God(Mt18:3). To “become” like a little child refers to change from being born again, to now a more mature being. Paul writes to the church in Colossians that they need to continue to grow and be rooted in Christ (Co2:6-7, 1Pt2:2-3). 

Jesus expected Nicodemus to know the spiritual context that he was referring to when he spoke to him about being reborn, and because of his immaturity he could not continue to speak concerning the spiritual things (Jhn3:12). Maturity in Chris is vital in these days and age.  We need to be mature in Christ proficient in the use of the word of God, and not babes (He5:12-13).

 

 

 

Ambassadors of Christ Church

Galatians 5:22-24

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

SUBHEADING

LIving without laws

The push to live without laws is on the up rise. We see more and more people reacting defiantly towards those who enforce the laws, such as the police. The bible calls it the spirit of lawlessness. Paul spoke of the day of the Lord and that it will not come until this spirit is manifested (2The2:4). The bible tells us that Jesus Christ is coming like a thief in the night, when no one expects him (1The5:2-3). We are expect to keep watch for the coming of Christ, else we will stay behind as in the parable of the 12 virgins (Mat25:10-13).  

Keeping watchful in times like these where we see so many signs is important for our redemption. Now, wanting to live with out laws where no one bothers you is tempting, and seems intriguing. And, we can live without laws according to Galatians. 

There those who want to live lawless are fighting a losing battle, because the law is here to stay. There is a law for everything that is against human nature. We were not created to be evil and engage in bad works. We were created to please God according to Revelation 4:11. Galatians outlines a list of sample deeds that have laws against them. But, there is a smaller list that does not have laws against them. I mean we have never received a ticket for loving someone. Paul tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law (Ro13:10). He tells us that God’s peace will rule in our hearts through Christ Jesus (Phil4:7).     

 There is no law against the fruit of the Spirit, we can exercise them without thinking that we are going to be penalized. When we practice these things we do not have to be as the proverbs describes the heathen looking behind his shoulder.(pro28:1). Paul tells us that we have been release from the law to the new way of the Spirit (Ro7:6).  

 

The Remnant

2 Kings 19:29-31

29 “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah:

“This year you will eat what grows by itself,
    and the second year what springs from that.
But in the third year sow and reap,
    plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
30 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah
    will take root below and bear fruit above.
31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant,
    and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.

“The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

After all has been said and done what remains standing is important

The last man standing is what declares a victory. During a boxing match if the losing opponent continues to get up with his arms in fighting position the fight will continue. It is when the arms go down that a fight is stopped and a declaration of victory is made. During the time when the people of God were in a war with the Amalekites, if Moses’ arms dropped the people began to lose the fight so Moses needed to keep his arm raised all the time (Ex17:11). And, usually in a battle there is a small group of soldiers that will push to win the battle no matter the cost, kind of like the six marines who pressed to raise the flag at Iwo Jima. Isaiah said that like in the battle of Median where every soldiers boot and garments were rolled in blood and what was going to be left was as said in verse 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Is9:6). The remnant of the battle is glorious. The fact that Christ remain alone steadfast in winning the battle for us is astronomical (1Cor15:57).

The promise to Hezekiah that the victory was going to come came with a sign, that a remnant was going to rise after the third year. Such remnant was going to be rooted below and was to bare much fruit. Now, the reason why a remnant comes about is because they are deeply rooted in the cause, and no matter what storm comes their way they will stand. Now, in order to bare fruits (Jh15:8) one needs to be rooted. Take for instance John the baptist, in Matthew 11:7 Jesus describes him as a reed battered by the desert, but rooted and unmovable. We have gone through so much this year. Many have had no other choice but to entertain themselves; after netflix, hulu and Facebook has been over exhausted, church services. And, have become somewhat rooted in Christ, but the real test to see if you are rooted is when the country opens will you continue to seek Christ; or was it because you had nothing else to do. See, we need to be counted as that band of survival that was promised to Hezekiah that would be rooted. Jeremiah says that when you trust in the Lord you will be like a tree rooted who bares much fruit (Jer17:7-8).

 


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

 

Receiving bad news is not welcoming to anyone at any circumstances. Especially, getting news that is close to home, is devastating and no one wants to be a part of it. Let’s face it, no one was expecting the world wide out break of the covid19, and certainly no one was expecting the racial tension to get out of control. The fact is everyone is at home minding their own business and is not looking for a fight; at least for the most part. When the storm is coming it just appears with out warning signs and everyone has to react. Just like when the the apostle Paul was being delivered to the court in Italy and they set sail after his warning not to sail. That they noticed a soft wind perfect for sailing and when they set sail a hurricane swiped them with fierce winds (Act27:14-15). Luckily, God was with Paul and assured him that no one would be lost. The day seemed calm, but the unexpected happened; the hurricane hit. No one is expecting the storm to come. Peter tells us that we should not be surprised of the fiery trials that come our way (1Pt4:12-15) as something strange. He tells us to rejoice, because his glory is going to appear during those times. When those unexpected hard times come, they are the perfect moments for his glory to appear and so we need to engage in worshiping him. 

2 Chronicles 20:21-22

21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of hisc] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

King Jehoshaphat and the people of Israel had one of those unexpected moments where a gigantic storm came their way. An army of immeasurable size was coming against them. They were warned that three kings with a host of men to many to count were headed the way to take over their lives. Such event spread fear to everyone including the king. That the only thing that the king could think of was to pray. The last couple of months America has changed the statistics of anti-prayer to a praying country. And, one thing is for sure that when we fear and trust the Lord then battles that come our way become his battles; as he said to the King (2Chr20:15). In the story of David and Goliath, David tells the giant that he was going to cut him to pieces so that every one will know that the battle belongs to the Lord (1Sam17:47).  He tells him that this battle does not require spears or sword as it is told to Zerubbabel(Zac4:6) that is is not by might or power, but by his spirit. And, the prophet tells king Jehoshaphat not to be afraid but to go out into battle. 

What is interesting in this account is that after the word of the Lord came a spirit of worship arose and the leaders of the tribes of the Kohathites and Korahites began to worship the Lord aloud. In fact, the day of the battle the king sends out men dressed in splendid to worship the Lord in front as they go into the battle field. And, what happens in verse 22 was that as they came in worship the armies that came against them began to kill each other to the point of annihilation, because the battle really belongs to the Lord.  

Until now, being afraid of dying has not been a problem. Before this virus came the majority of us did not think that death could come anytime soon, so we did not react. Now, we have videos of people crossing the street just not to come close to others. In fact, at the supermarkets we have security making sure that we keep six feet distance. Because the reality that we could die has become our worst nightmare, and we have become fearful of that. John teaches that fear has its torment (1Jh4:18), but that perfect love casts out that fear. We have all dealt with some sort of fear at some point or another, but now most of us trace our steps to see if we cleaned the door handle, carefully removed the mask, cleansed the soul of our shoe, etc… Fear affects our heart with pain, the bible speaks that when they enemies of God came to his city to attack, fear came upon them and then pain (ps48:4-6). All of us at one point or another have behaved in an uncommon way because of fear. Fear leads to bondage or being enslaved and God did not gives that type of spirit (Ro8:15). 

Hebrews 2:14-16

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Now, our verse tell us that Satan had the power of death before Christ came. And, Satan, aka  Lucifer was known as the “morning star”. His beauty was so, that pride came into his heart. He was kicked out of heaven along with one third of the angels of God (Is14:11-12). When Adam and Eve came they freely gave Satan the power of death and they were cast from the presences of God. So, Jesus could not come to man in the form of that very thing that deceived them, the fallen angels or any angel. In order for man to come out of bondage (Heb2:15) or slavery someone had to buy them out, and Jesus did just that (Ga3:13-14). He had to take the form of the seed of Abraham which is the seed of faith (Heb2:16). God told Abraham to leave to land without directions, and he took everything he owned and followed God; without any information. He became the father of faith, and so Jesus took that seed and liberated us from the fear of death. That is why Paul said “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? ” (1Cor15:55) 

The Shunammites Blessing


One thing is for sure that God never forgets those who think and act on him and his elects. God’s rewards are on time, they are never late. When someone acts with compassion and mercy towards one of God’s little ones, their reward is not forgotten (Mt10:42). In Fact, when a person does something nice to you because you are a follower of Christ that person attracts God’s attention.  Isaiah 49:15 Says that although a women might forget the child she gave labor too, he will not forget those whom think on him.

2 Kings 8:5-6

Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

This story of this women the Shunamite is a powerful illustration of God not forgetting his rewards. It begins with this women, because Elisha was a man of God,  preparing a meal for him each time he passed by. She then had her husband prepare a room for Elisha, so that each time he would pass by he could lodge there and rest. Such characteristic profiles a women of a virtuous (chayil) heart such as depicted in Proverbs 31:10. Virtuous is defined as  strong, wealth, army, force. Now, both her and her husband were old and were without children. And, so while Elisha is trying to figure out what is this women in need of to bless her, his servant reminds him that she is barren. Elisha calls her and prophesied to her that her barren days are over (2k4:15-17). 

Because this women displayed her innate ability to be compassion especially to the man of God, the promise for her to be blessed took into effect, and now all the things that were going to happen to her had meaning (Ro8:38-39). The unthinkable happened to her, her son died. But, she did not loose faith; in fact, her run to God for a miracle defied all religiosity and she took her son to Elisha on the sabbath and brought him back to life. This women’s response when her child died was not of fear as the virtuous women in Proverbs 31:21.   A famine was about to strike the land, and because God watches for those who trust in him, Elisha tells the woman that she needs to leave and go to a nearby land and reside there for 7 years. Now, what amazes me the most is God precision with time, that as soon as she comes back everything she had was restored. As children of God nothing is really lost.