How Great is Our God!
This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Isaiah 66:1-2)
God Almighty, through the prophet Isaiah tells us that heaven contains the throne of God where He reigns! These verses give us a picture of how great and powerful our God is as He sits on His throne. Just think of how vast heaven must be to occupy the throne of God! A throne is defined as “the chair or seat occupied by a sovereign, bishop, or other exalted personage on ceremonial occasions, usually raised on a dais and covered with a canopy.”
On a previous occasion, the prophet described the vision he saw of God’s glory. “It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.” (Isaiah 6:1). The reaction of the prophet to this heavenly vision was so overwhelming that he literally felt like he would die because he saw himself and his nation as filthy in the presence of God.
God told the prophet that no man-made structure could contain him, because He himself made the heaven and earth and that everything in them were His! Think about that! This is a description of a God Whose power has no limits! The prophet Jeremiah acknowledged this when he said “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! (Jeremiah 32:7).
King Solomon, too, acknowledged the greatness of God in his prayer after he had finished building the temple for the Lord’s name. “But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! (2 Chronicles 6:18).
Brothers and sisters, it would do us well to keep in mind how great our God is. We must continuously, unceasingly, without stopping acknowledge the greatness of our God. We must live in complete and unwavering confidence in our God at all times – under every circumstance. Jesus Himself taught us this in the model prayer. Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. (Matthew 6:9).
The key word is “kept” which indicates we must hold onto and maintain our view of our God continuously. We must represent Him truthfully by acknowledging our God’s power and glory at all times for our God, indeed, is a great God!
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“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1, KJV).
In the fourth chapter of the apostle Paul’s writing to the church (believers) at Ephesus around A.D. 60, he addresses their relationships with other believers. He instructs and encourages them to walk worthy of the vocation (lifestyle) they have been instructed to live with others. He challenges them to be unified in the Spirit of peace.
Once we attain and announce the status of born again believers (through the work of Christ the Anointed One) we have a charge to walk worthy of the new lifestyle we have adopted. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new”, KJV). When we make that confession of accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, we commit to living a life that is pleasing to God. The “old way” of living passes away. The old way may include lying, jealousy, hatred, fornication, gluttony, envy, strife, stealing, and much more. The new way of living graduates or promotes us to truth, honesty, love, faithfulness, meekness, peace, and the like. We are instructed to live this new lifestyle and “walk worthy” of the confession we have made that we are the Lord’s representatives.
How we interact, communicate, and treat others will be shown by the walk we project and the sincerity of our commitment. It all centers around maintaining peace with others in our daily walk. Sure there will be days when we are tried or challenged. Sure there will be days of opportunities to overcome and dealing with people who may be trying “our last nerve.” But the challenge and directive from the apostle Paul is to walk worthy of who we are and Whose we are. Our light should shine before men that they see our good works and glorify our Father Who is heaven. We should always represent the kingdom well.
We should be patient and exhibit understanding with others, knowing that the God we serve is able to remedy any situation or circumstance. We should be confident in knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to his purpose. Here is the question. Is your walk a worthy walk?
Accuser – Diablos meaning adversary, enemy, or slanderer. It is a legal term used in the context of one bringing a charge against another. Scripture describes Satan in these terms: the accuser of the brethren, adversary, enemy.
Satan, the Accuser, constantly brings charges to God against us. He watches us closely, develops his strategy, and goes in for the kill. We must know not only who we are, but who our enemy is. Not knowing our enemy is where we fail. Our accuser is expert not only in this area, but also in deception. This truth is illustrated in the book of Job.
In Chapters one and two, we find two instances when Satan came to God to accuse Job. “One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan came with them.” (Job 1:6)
This is a legal setting. The spirits (angels) of God presented their cases before Him. The heavenly court allows the accuser to present as well. This was the case with Job. In the dialogue between Satan and God, God commends Job for his integrity and reverence for Him. However, Satan brings forth the accusation that Job only has integrity and reverence because God has faithfully put a wall of protection around him, his home and family. If these were taken away, Job would no longer have reverence for God, and would surely curse him to His face.
Once the accuser presented his accusation against Job, God allowed Job to experience a season of testing giving the accuser an opportunity to win his case. Thus, it was on the accuser to prove his case against Job. God gave him permission to take all of Job’s possessions and even took all of his children away. Satan did this in a way that was deceptive. He made it look like God was involved in his loss. For Job’s reply was “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord! In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.” (Job 1:20-21)
Still, the accuser was not willing to lose his case against Job, and presented to God another accusation against him. This time, he challenged God with these words. “A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!” (Job 2: 4-5).
God again gave Satan the opportunity to prove his case, and Satan struck Job with painful sores all over his body. Job described it like this: “My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus.” (Job 7:5).
Although Job did not sin by blaming God for his losses or the attack on his health, he thought God was the cause. “Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow! If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of all humanity? Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you? Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? (Job 7:19-20)
The Accuser’s goal is to separate us from our Father. He will attempt to do this by any means at his disposal. How do we win? We follow Christ’s example of trusting in God’s Word. Just as Christ depended on the Word of His Father in His season of testing, we must follow his example when we undergo our seasons of testing. We must know our Father, know His Word, use His Word to win our battles, and acknowledge the power of His Word to make us victorious over the power of our enemy.
Rev. Sharen K. Lightsey
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV).
The scripture referenced above is truly one of my favorites. The two verses have always reminded me that whatever man needs to know about life – the purpose, the formula for success, the antidote for all ills, and everything else can be found in the Word of God. These verses tell us that God inspired men of His choice to write His messages of believing, encouraging, chastising, and teaching so that we (His creation) could live the best life possible.
Yet, with that being said, I still converse with people who find a way to bring in their belief that the holy scriptures, the Bible, is merely a collection of history and mankind’s guide to “live a good life” and to share his individual thoughts and promote his own agenda. These individuals only purpose is to share their own thoughts and promote their own agenda. But that is not what concerns me the most. What’s most troubling for me is that they don’t want me to believe as I do: that all scripture is given by inspiration of God. Yes, God inspired and used man (humans) to record His instruction and direction for all human life. In addition, He let it be known that all of His inspired and written Word is profitable. It is of the utmost value.
My response is never to try to convince them of God’s Word through an argument. I simply state that I believe what is written is God inspired just as much (and probably more) as they say otherwise. I encourage all believers to do the same. God’s Word is not to be argued over. Our Creator, the Heavenly Father has given each of us the ability and privilege of deciding to accept or reject His Word. Therefore, we should respond to the “naysayers” by simply saying. “You make the choice.” Yes, they are free to believe what they want to believe and the best thing we can do is pray for them to come to accept God’s Word by faith. We don’t need their permission to pray for them so they can’t hinder our act of doing so.
I have learned that rather than becoming upset, frustrated, or angry with them to simply listen and allow them to share their thoughts. I share mine and then tell them "you make the choice.” I hope this process is of benefit to all believers and “you make the choice” be known as our final statement in the conversation. now.
A Pleasing Prayer
“In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and with uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing” (1 Kings 3:5-10).
I wonder how many of us would have responded the way Solomon did when God visited him in a dream and told him to ask whatever he wanted and it would be given to him. Would we have needed a couple of minutes to think through the invitation to make sure we asked for “just the right thing” or what could do us a great service?
Notice that Solomon began his response by stating he recognized and remembered all God had done for and through his father, David. He then showed and spoke gratitude and appreciation for God allowing him to sit on the throne as king. He admitted that (in the arena of experience) he was not qualified to hold such a position. Therefore, he asked God for an understanding heart and wisdom that he be able to discern between good and bad.
Verse 10 states, “and the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.” In the verses that follow, the Lord informs Solomon that not only has his prayer request been granted but He (God) has already given him (Solomon) much more, including riches and honor. Why was Solomon on the receiving end of such a dynamic blessing? It’s because his prayer pleased the Lord.
So here is the question. Do our prayers please the Lord or do we just hop into prayer mode to get it “done and out of the way?” Do we pray for our own selfish gain and accomplishments or do we pray for the good and deliverance of others? What we pray and how we pray can (and does) make all the difference. We should always pray “a pleasing prayer.” That is a prayer that moves the hand of God to use us to be a blessing to others – spiritually, financially, etc. The more concern and well-being we have for others, the less selfish and self-centered are our prayers. Let’s all become acquainted with a pleasing prayer.
What Words Are You Speaking?
The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives. (Proverbs 12:6)
The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble. (Proverbs 12:13)
Wise words bring many benefits…. (Proverbs 12:14)
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. (Proverbs 12:22)
Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. (Proverbs 13:3)
A fool’s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe. (Proverbs
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. (Proverbs 15:1-2)
Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4)
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. (Proverbs 18:21)
We are in the age of social media where what people say have more impact in our lives than previously experienced. People are talking a lot. People are saying a lot. We have cyber bullying – a new term and a new way of people interacting with each other using words. These words hurt others and have caused much damage in people’s lives. This kind of bullying have even led some to end their lives prematurely.
Before there was cyber bullying, scripture taught us the benefits of using our words for good, and even warned us of the negative impact of our words. Proverbs is one of those books that drives this point home on how powerful our words are.
You see, we were created with the spoken word, and we create our world by our words. We also impact others by our words. Words are indeed powerful tools. Jesus himself demonstrated how powerful our words are. With a word He healed sick people, with a word the blind, deaf, and mute were healed and restored. With a word He cast out demons. With His words He silenced His enemies. With His words, He calmed storms, and with His words He raised the dead back to life.
Just think about the way your words have shaped your life. What words are you speaking? Are you speaking words of life or death, truth or lies, wisdom or foolishness? What has the fruit of your words produced in your life? What kinds of conversations do you have with others? Do you give praise or criticism? This might be a good time to reflect on what you and I are putting in the atmosphere.
Jesus said it best when the Pharisees accused Him of receiving the power to cast out demons from Satan. He challenged them first by asking how evil men like them could speak what was good and right because whatever is in the heart determines what we say. “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you”. (Matthew 12:36-37).
Yes, my brothers and sisters, we need to watch our words. We need to discipline our tongues. We need to produce life with our words instead of death. We need to bring healing with our words instead of hurt. We need to use our words to save lives and not destroy lives.
Remember the old saying ….” if you can’t say anything good, then don’t say anything at all”. The writer of Proverbs put it like this, “Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything”. (Proverbs 13:3)
It All Belongs to God Anyway
“O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!” (1 Chronicles 29:13-14)
How often have you considered that nothing is yours? All that is yours has been given to you in some way or another. Many of us have heard the expression, “We brought nothing into this world, and we’ll take nothing with us when we leave this world.” It can be a hard reality to realize that we really own nothing. Whether we work, or have an inheritance, or someone gives us something, it all came from someplace else. God the Father, the initiator and giver of all things, is so gracious that He allows us to oversee His blessings. He allows us to experience His goodness. But just think, all that we spend our time working for, all the material possessions we acquire, all the money we save, are not things that we “own”, but things we’ve been entrusted with that we must take care of and use wisely.
It’s hard for many of us to release the money we feel is ours. We want control. For those of us who attend church regularly, we recognize that part of our worship to our Father is giving our tithes and offerings. These monies are used for the upkeep of the ministry, and to help those in need. But we also know that many people who attend church regularly do not give their tithes or any offering – at least nothing substantial. But the thing we must understand is that what we view of as our own, is God’s. It’s His anyway, and what we give or not give is His.
Paul reminded the believers in Ephesus that Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. There is a good feeling that comes with helping someone else. There is a feeling that is inexpressible when we give to our Lord. To give back to God a portion of what He has given to us is a blessing. David understood this. He had a goal to bless His God. From the resources that God provided for him, David, set aside a portion for the purpose of building a house for His God. It was intentional and consistent over a period of time. When he named Solomon, his son, as successor to the kingdom, he revealed to the people what he had done and encouraged them to do the same. The scripture states the people were filled with joy to give willingly and wholeheartedly to the Lord their God.
David understood an important truth when he said, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!”
Yes, my brothers and sisters, it is more blessed to give, for there is a certain and unexplainable feeling that comes with giving. Not haphazard giving, but purposeful giving. Because the true reality is that what we give belongs to God anyway!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16, NIV).
How often do you confess to something you are not ashamed of and easily present your thoughts and feelings about it to others? Maybe there is something you feel so strongly committed to that your stance and position cannot and will not be moved. Perhaps there is something in your life (past or present) that you truly are not proud of and would not want to share the details of it with “anyone”, and I do mean “anyone.”
The apostle Paul held a stance and position concerning how he felt about the gospel - the Good News. In his passionate letter to the church of believers at Rome he informed them that the gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes the gospel message which was at first presented to the Jews but now is presented to the Gentiles also.
There are three points I want to address in referring to Romans 1:16. 1). Paul emphatically states that he is not ashamed of the gospel. He makes it very clear that the gospel is now proclaimed and will always be preached from his lips. As he does in his letter, he takes advantage of every opportunity to share the good news. 2). He states the gospel is “the power of God that brings salvation.” How often do we hear that the gospel is the power of God? Yes, we often hear that the gospel brings salvation but it is not often described as the power of God. I believe if more of us knew this we would be more inclined (without fear) to share the good news. 3). Lastly, the apostle Paul states that salvation by way of the gospel is now the result of everyone who believes – the Jew and the Gentile. In other words, a “no shame gospel presentation” is available to and can save anybody.
We can see Paul’s dedication and commitment in his ministry as he encouraged the church at Corinth to “be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1, KJV). Again, we see that he has no shame in admitting that he is a follower of Christ. He is so committed to his position that he encouraged them to also follow Christ by following his example of righteous living.
So, the conclusion of the matter is now addressed by asking if there is any “shame in your game?” Are you ashamed of the gospel? Are you afraid to say that Jesus Christ the Anointed One is your Lord and Savior? And are you proud to be a child of the Most-High King? Well, I can only speak for myself. I have no shame!
Walk in the Light
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12, NLT). There are so many songs, poems, phrases, and quotes that refer to “walking in the light.” But I have yet to find any reference as powerful and impressive as the words Jesus spoke to the defiant scribes and Pharisees in John 8:12.
Jesus put those religious leaders and hypocrites to the test and in their place in the verses prior to verse 12. While He was teaching in the synagogue, they brought a woman to Him, placed her in the middle of the congregation, and announced that she had been involved in adultery. Furthermore, they stated that according to the law presented by Moses, she should be stoned to death. They then asked Jesus, “What sayest thou?” They were looking for an occasion to accuse Him of supporting the death penalty on adulterers, but they got more than they bargained for.
Jesus responded by saying, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone (John 8:7)!” When they heard His response and being convicted by their own conscience, they left one by one until the accused woman stood alone. After telling her he did not condemn her and to discontinue her sin, He then returned His attention to those in the synagogue. He told them He was the Light of the world, the salvation for mankind and everything else mankind needed.
What He was saying is that forgiveness and salvation does not come by trying to keep and obey laws, but only by walking (living) in the Light. In Jesus, (the Light) there is forgiveness, guidance, revelation, encouragement, and eternal life. With that being said, it is imperative to know that it is not enough to just be “exposed” to the Light but we must walk “live continuously” in the Light. Having a personal relationship with the Lord and Savior means activating and maintaining a strong connection. That strong connection reminds us that within and of ourselves we can do nothing, but with and in (within) Christ we can do all things (Philippians 4:13).
I encourage you to walk and continue walking in the Light so that your witness will be strong and effective, and your joy may be full. Experience all that God has for you and enjoy living a blessed life.
CLING TO YOUR FAITH
“Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. (1 Timothy 1:19)
Consider the vast amount of information available to us that can also be a danger to our faith. We are living in interesting times. Times that call on us to be rooted and grounded in our faith in Christ. Times that call on us to know Who Christ is and what He has done for us. Times that call on us to know the gospel of the good news of the kingdom.
Timothy had a hard time with false teachings by both believers and non-believers in Ephesus. The culture wasn’t as some would call “Christ-friendly”. He felt pressure from within the church as well as the culture in which he lived regarding the gospel of the kingdom.
Timothy faced the onslaught of different schools of thought over and over again. Paul wrote to his son in the faith to encourage him to fight well in the Lord’s battles by clinging to his faith. He instructed him not to get caught up in meaningless conversations. He told him to remain focused on what he knew to be true.
Those of us who walk with Christ must remain true to Him. We know the truth. We must defend the truth to others who challenge us. Paul wrote these words to Timothy: “For the time is coming when people will not have patience for sound teaching, but will cater to their passions and gather around themselves teachers who say whatever their ears itch to hear. Yes, they will stop listening to the truth, but will turn aside to follow myths”. (2 Timothy 4: 3-4)
As believers, we have to guard our hearts and minds to all that would distract us from Christ. Often in our quest to know God and understand more, we allow ourselves to consider other schools of thought. Although there is nothing wrong with learning new things, when we spend too much of our time and mental energy on them, we position ourselves to be drawn away from our faith. The Psalmist prayed: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer”. (Psalms 19:14). We need to stay focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to have our hearts pure and fixed on Christ. I want to encourage you as Paul encouraged Timothy to cling to your faith in Christ and keep your conscience clear!