Wednesday, February 29, 2012

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT).

God is Holy and Love (Leviticus 11:44-45; 1 John 4:8). There is NO trace of sin or evil in in Him. In all He does, God is holy, perfect, righteous, blameless and pure (Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 20:7). Just as God is holy, so we also are to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). People are made holy when they are wholeheartedly devoted, committed and aligned to God and separated from sin.

In fact, God removes His glory or presence when sin is present (1 Samuel 4).  Moreover, God’s glory and presence depart because of constant sin and disobedience against Him (Ezekiel 11:23).  The ancient Israelite’s main sin was idolatry (meaning worship, allegiance or faith in objects before God alone). 

Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross has made the forgiveness of our sins possible.  We are made holy and righteous through faith in Jesus’ life and death (Romans 3:21-29; Hebrews 9:9-15). To receive God’s glory in your life, simply repent from your heart, turn from sin and turn in faith to Jesus.   

Sunday, February 26, 2012

 IMPORTANT Memory Scriptures

Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him (Moses) and proclaimed His Name, the Lord. And He (God) passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." Exodus 34:5-7 (NIV). 

The Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe My Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God. Do not turn to idols or make gods of cast metal for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:1-4 (NIV).

God is not a human being, and He will not lie. He is not a human, and He does not change His mind. What He says He will do, He does. What He promises, He makes come true. Numbers 23:19 (NCV).

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (NLT).

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the Law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:7-9 (NIV).

But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more. Ruth 1:16-18 (NLT).

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT). 

As for God, His way is perfect; The Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. Psalms 18:30 (NKJV).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, "If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths (Canaanite goddess) from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines." 1 Samuel 7:3 (NKJV).

God First!

Samuel lived at the end of the period of the judges and begins the era of kingship in Israel. He was Israel’s last judge (1 Samuel 7:6, 15-17) and first prophet (1 Samuel 3:20; Acts 3:24; Acts 13:20). In addition, Samuel functioned as a priest (1 Samuel 2:18) and was a wonderful man of God (Hebrews 11:32).

The prophet Samuel urged the Israelites to get rid of their foreign gods (see Exodus 20:3-4; Deuteronomy 5:7-8) and to return to the LORD God with all their hearts.  He wanted the people of Israel to place God first place in their lives and to serve, love and worship Him as God above all else (see also Matthew 6:33).  The prophet Samuel understood that God is a jealous God and we must let nothing rival Him.  God must be our first priority.

Amazingly, after the Israelites repented and returned to God, God gave them victory against the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:3-10).  No one can expect God’s blessing until they place God and His will first (see Genesis 35:2; Joshua 24:14).  Faithfulness and love to God always lead to victory!

Apart from a right relationship with God, all of life can be filled with grief, sorrow and defeat.  Only when life is lived based upon God and His Word is life worthwhile (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 3:12-13 and 12:13).  Commitment to God is the only reason for living.  Besides, pursuit of riches and personal achievement do not bring lasting enjoyment, pleasure and satisfaction.  Only service and faith in God does life have true meaning, satisfaction and enjoyment (see Psalm 127).

Friday, February 24, 2012

What Does God Sound Like?

Then the man (Adam) and his wife (Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?  Genesis 3:8-9 (NIV).

The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.  The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf; He makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with bolts of lightning. The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In His Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as King forever. The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalms 29:3-11 (NLT). 

God controls and holds all power over nature. The Lord’s voice is awe-inspiring, powerful, and breathtaking.  God’s voice dominates the world and can cause even gigantic mountains to shake (see also Psalm 114:4) and giant trees to break.  In addition, God’s voice can be heard throughout world, from the north to the south. God reigns supreme over the whole created order.  Most important, God still cares for you to help with your daily problems. When you feel weak and alone, remember that God is available to you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

If you [Esther] keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives [the Jews] will die.  Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14 (NLT).

God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, but His presence fills the pages.  The book of Esther reminds us that God cares for His people (Jews and non-Jews).  God will use His providential hand to direct the lives of believers and unbelievers alike to accomplish His divine will on earth. 

Although the book of Esther never mentions God, the Book’s central purpose teaches that God works providentially in the background to take care and deliver His people.  The story of Esther is similar to the stories of Joseph (Genesis 37-48) and the Book of Ruth.  The stories of Esther, Joseph and Ruth show God’s hand in history to save, protect and provide for His people, despite any oppositions or setbacks (see also Psalm 37:23; Psalm 91; Matthew 16:18; Romans 8:26-39; and 1 Peter 3:12). 

Esther was queen of Persia during the reign of Xerxes and a Jew.  She was an orphan and raised by her cousin Mordecai.  God miraculously through Esther’s wisdom, courage and willingness rescued thousands of Jews from being massacred by Haman, an enemy of the Jewish people.  The Jewish Festival of Purim was instituted to celebrate God’s deliverance of the Jewish people in the Book of Esther.