Friday, August 31, 2012

Continual Prayer

10 But when Daniel learned that the law (decree) had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. 11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help.
Daniel 6:10-11 (NLT).

Daniel grew up during King Josiah’s spiritual reforms of Israel’s southern kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 22 and 23). After King Josiah’s death, Judah returned to committing sin and evil before God. Eventually, Judah was invaded by King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army and many of Judah’s wisest men and most beautiful women were taken captive. Daniel was part of those captives along with his friends, Hananiah (called Shadrach), Mishael (called Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego). Daniel and his friends assumed important positions while in Babylon.

Daniel was a wonderful example of faith, wisdom, and courage. Even while in Babylon, Daniel established a reputation for wisdom, integrity, and absolute confidence in God. Daniel worked hard and faithfully served several pagan kings, including Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus (see also Colossians 3:22-25). Moreover, Daniel ate carefully and lived prayerfully. He ate simple yet healthy meals of fruits, vegetables, and water and indulged in persistent prayer to God (Daniel 1:8–17). Daniel’s main lifestyle choices was a decision to continually pray and give thanks to God ─ three times a day since his “early days” (Daniel 6:10). Daniel had a regular and disciplined prayer life that clung to God. Daniel did not hide his daily prayer routine from his enemies. He prayed because he could not look to the king or any other human for the guidance and strength. Only God could provide what he really needed. He even continued to pray to and trust God when that meant being thrown into a den of hungry lions (Daniel 6) and facing deadly threats from King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2). Daniel was persistent in his prayers to God and grateful when God answered his requests. When facing trouble, Daniel did not shrivel in fear. Instead, Daniel confidently believed in the living and all-powerful God to answer his prayers for help.

Even more, Daniel would gather his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and pray to God for His intervention (Daniel 2:17–18, see also Philippians 4:6). Daniel and his friends knew that God is all merciful (Daniel 2:18), answers prayer (Daniel 2:19–23), gives help and guidance (Daniel 6:10-11); provides wisdom (James 1:5); and reveals secrets (Daniel 2:28). These Jewish boys knew prayer is more powerful than panic when facing a challenge or struggle because prayer confirms your hope in God.

After God answered Daniel’s prayers, Daniel praised and thanked God for giving him wisdom and knowledge (e.g., Daniel 2:20-23). Daniel also gave God credit and praise as all wise and powerful. So like Daniel, we must continually seek and desire God’s face each day. All the more, we must pray regularly as prayer is our lifeline to God. God is the Ruler of the world and we all need to be completely faithful to Him.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Come To God!

12 For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a Discerner of the thoughts and intents (desires, attitudes) of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest (Jesus Christ) who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace (with confidence), that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:12-16 (NKJV).

Prayer is our approach to God, and we can come to God “with confidence” because of Jesus. Some people approach God afraid to ask Him to meet their needs. Others pray jokily, giving little thought to what they say. The Holy Bible teaches we are all to come to God with humble reverence and respect because God is the eternal King. But also we are to come to God with confidence and assurance because He is our Provider, Refuge and true Friend. Even more, we can come to God because of His Son, Jesus. When we trust our own efforts to provide our needs without God’s power, we are in danger of defeat. Our own efforts and works are never adequate.  Only with God’s power and strength are our efforts acceptable and victorious. Only through faith and trust in God will we find our rest, heart peace and victory. 

The Word of God is alive, life-changing, powerful, active and true. God's Word enters into the core of our human heart and spiritual life and discovers our innermost thoughts, motives, intent, and desires, both good and evil. Nothing can be hidden from God. The Word of God speaks to our hearts and souls giving life-giving communication and direction. God knows about everyone, everywhere and knows all our innermost thoughts. Even when we are unaware of His presence, God is there. No one or secret can hide from God (Psalm 139).

But, Jesus as our Great High Priest has gone to heaven itself to help us; therefore let us never stop trusting in Jesus. Jesus has ready access to God because He is seated in the very presence of God the Father. As both God and humanity's Representative, Jesus understands our weaknesses because He lived on earth as a human too.  Jesus pleads, makes intercessions and negotiations for humans before God (Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 13:20-21) for our needs. Jesus is always at God's right hand and He is always available to hear us when we pray to God the Father. So, humans can come boldly and confidently to God at any time, especially when we truly need help, because of Jesus, our great Intercessor.

Let us continually come before God. Jesus has opened the way for humans to enter God’s presence to obtain God’s mercy and grace for all our needs. Open your hearts to God and trust Him for your help! Do not harden your hearts by resisting God, but instead remain faithfully committed to God (Father, Son – Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Extra Life

1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover." 2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 "Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before You faithfully and with wholehearted devotion (served You single-mindedly) and have done what is good in Your eyes (pleases God)." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5 "Go and tell Hezekiah, 'This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. Isaiah 38:1-6 (NIV), see parallel references at 2 Chronicles 32:24-31; 2 Kings 20:1-11.

King Hezekiah of southern Israel (also called Judah) became extremely ill to the point of death.  The Prophet Isaiah told Hezekiah of his coming death. When Hezekiah learned of this destiny, he immediately turned to God in prayer. Hezekiah knew that that prayer brought deliverance and forgiveness (see Isaiah 37:14–20). God answered Hezekiah’s prayer by allowing him to live another 15 years. Even more, Hezekiah experienced God’s double miracle of healing and deliverance. God had spared King Hezekiah’s life and Judah.

Over a 100-year period of Israel’s history (732-640 B.C.), King Hezekiah was the only faithful king. Because of his faithfulness to God, God healed Hezekiah and saved his city from foreigner attackers, the Assyrians. Hezekiah’s life reveals that genuine faith, humility, and prayer directed to God can change any situation. Never hesitate to ask God for help. When life’s pressures challenge you or when everything is going wrong, do give up but turn to God. God can always change the course of our lives too in response to our genuine and humble prayer for help. God does listen! So turn your heart to God, walk faithfully with and trust Him. As Hezekiah learned, life and good health are gifts from God that the Lord God can withdraw at any time. God has the power of life and death (James 5:15).

Finally, never be prideful or boastful, but honor and praise God for His goodness (see 2 Kings 20:12-19; Psalm 15). After Hezekiah’s healing and deliverance, Hezekiah offered a prayer of thanksgiving (Isaiah 38:10–20).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trust In God Alone!

God provides richly with His many blessings. We can all completely trust God in all circumstances (Psalm 9:10; Psalm 33:21 13:5; Psalm 20:7; Psalm 21:7; Psalm 32:10; Psalm 33:21; Psalm 52:8; Psalm 143:8; Psalm 17:7; Psalm 36:7). Even during trials and other struggles, God can help us if we call on Him. Prayer releases our pressures in times of stress. Sincere faith and prayer directed toward God can change any situation. So pour out your hearts in honest prayer to God (Lamentations 2:19).

The Lord God rescues, cares for, and rewards people who trust in Him (Psalm 7:1; Psalm 16:1; Psalm 25:20; Psalm 26:1; Psalm 31:1-2, 4, 19; Psalm 34:22; Psalm 37:40; Psalm 86:2). Absolute strength is found in God alone and at all times. Psalm 62 teaches not to put our trust in people, status, or riches. Money, power, or prestige can never find you true relief. God is our Rock, Salvation, Defense, Glory and Refuge (Psalm 62:2, 7).  Importantly, God will work as we trust Him and let Him guide our way. So, reject foolishness, evil and sin, and pursue of God’s way of living (Psalm 31:19; Psalm 37:3, 5; Psalm 115:11). Only trusting God and working for Him brings true inner happiness (Psalm 62:12). 

1 I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. 2 He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress where I will never be shaken. … 5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. 6 He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress where I will not be shaken. 7 My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my Refuge, a Rock where no enemy can reach me. 8 O my people, trust in Him (God) at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our Refuge. Psalms 62:1-2, 5-8 (NLT).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Taking Time For God

23 With the crowd dispersed, He (Jesus) climbed the mountain so He could be by Himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. Matthew 14:23 (The Message Bible) (see parallel passages at Mark 6:46 and Luke 5:16)

Jesus often took time away from the crowds and His busy schedule to pray to God the Father (e.g., see Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:28). Seeking privacy with God was an important priority for Jesus. People were congregating to hear Jesus teach and to have their diseases healed. Despite the large crowds that often followed Him, Jesus often withdrew to quiet, solitary places to pray. Jesus made time in His schedule to be alone with God the Father to maintain His close spiritual union with God.

Many things demand our attention. Like Jesus, we should take time to withdraw to a quiet place to pray. Prayer time with God supports our spirits and provides strength to meet our daily tasks and struggles. We all need to spend time alone with God in prayer. Our strength comes from God alone, and we can only be empowered by spending time alone with God in prayer. Jesus relied on prayer. If Jesus needed to pray much, how much greater must our need for prayer. To increase your strength each day, get alone in prayer to God first!

Stop Complaining and Tell God!

1 The people fell to grumbling over their hard life. God heard. When He heard His anger flared; then fire blazed up and burned the outer boundaries of the camp. 2 The people cried out for help to Moses; Moses prayed to God and the fire died down. Numbers 11:1-2 (MSG)

The wilderness was a difficult time for the people of Israel as they headed to the Promised Land. The people often grumbled and complained about their hardships (Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 17:3; Numbers 11:4; Numbers 14:2; Numbers 16:3; Numbers 20:3; Numbers 21:5). God had generously provided for the people’s needs during their wilderness journey. Yet, their complaints were driven by ungratefulness and lack of faith (See Philippians 2:14–15).  God heard the people’s complaints and His angered blazed. In His displeasure, God sent the fire of His judgment to consume some of the people. Fire is often a sign of God’s presence and judgment (e.g., Exodus 19:18; Deuteronomy 4:11; 1 Kings 18:38; Psalm 11:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Ezekiel 1:13; 2 Peter 3:12).

However, the people complained among themselves and not to God first! Yet, Moses took his problems to God, and God answered Moses’ complaints. Nothing is accomplished when we complain to one another about our problems.  But God can solve our problems if we will take our problems to Him. We all need to take our problems and everything else to God in prayer.  God has the answers to solve our problems! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

True Religion Is Both Inward and Outward

15 From now on, when you pray with your hands stretched out to heaven, I won’t look or listen. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear, for your hands are those of murderers; they are covered with the blood of your innocent victims. 16 "Oh, wash yourselves! Be clean! Let me no longer see you doing all these wicked things; quit your evil ways. 17 Learn to do good, to be fair and to help the poor, the fatherless, and widows. 18 "Come, let’s talk this over!" says the Lord; "no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! 19 If you will only let me help you, if you will only obey, then I will make you rich! 20 But if you keep on turning your backs and refusing to listen to me, you will be killed by your enemies; I, the Lord, have spoken." Isaiah 1:15-20 (The Living Bible).

The prophet Isaiah preached to an Israel that appeared to be religious people. They prayed, attended religious feasts, fasted, and offered sacrifices to God. These religious acts were prescribed by God and very important to Him. Yet, these same people perverted justice, oppressed the poor, turned from God to idols, and looked for military help other nations and not from God. God rejected their religious practices and worship to Him. Their worship was corrupt and filled religious hypocrisy, social injustice and un-confessed sin (Leviticus 19:13-17). Even worship, their worship to God was not from an obedient heart (see Proverbs 21:27; Psalms 40:6-8; Micah 6:6-8)!

As long as the people of Israel continued to sin, they isolated themselves from God. God did not abandon Israel, but their sins cut themselves off from Him. The prophet Isaiah encouraged the people to restore a meaningful relationship with God by genuinely repenting of their sins, turning wholeheartedly to God, obeying His Holy Bible, and regularly praying to Him (see also Psalm 140:13; 1 John 1:9).

God desires a sincere faith and devotion to Him from our whole hearts and not just shallow outward rituals (see Deuteronomy 10:12-16; 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Psalm 51:16-19; Hosea 6:6). Our outward religion means nothing to God when they come from someone with wrong motives and a corrupt heart. God wants us to truly love Him, trust Him, and turn from our sin and evil; then He will be pleased with our outward religion acts of time, prayer, money, worship and service. The very prayers of the unrepentant sinners are rejected by God.

Scarlet or crimson is deep-red, and its stain is virtually impossible to remove from clothing and other fabrics. Like scarlet or crimson, the stain of sin is equally permanent, but God can remove all of sin's stain from our lives. God promises that if we are willing and obedient, He will forgive us and remove our most impossible stains of sins (Psalm 51:1-7). As our loving Heavenly Father, God offers a cleansing of the heart along with a life-changing grace, forgiveness and mercy. God (Father, Son – Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit) stands ready to cleanse and forgive all who will turn to Him.

True religion has both an inward and an outward dimension:  genuine heart repentance and social justice. God wants everyone to genuinely turn away from sin, stop doing evil, and totally turn to His way. God’s way includes doing good, defending the fatherless, helping the widow, helping the poor and seeking justice (Isaiah 1:16–17, 21–23; Isaiah 3:13–15).
Many years after the prophet Isaiah, Jesus Christ preached the same sermon to the people. He instructed them to seek justice, mercy, and love (Matthew 23:1-36; see also 1 Corinthians 3:1-23; James 1:21–2:13). Like the prophet Isaiah, Jesus Christ calls us to obey God, be honest and authentic before God and with others, and have both an inward AND outward love for God and people.

God is gracious and forgiving, and He stands ready to cleanse us and to forgive us when we turn to Him. If we are willing to turn from our sins (repentance) and to continue to be obedient (confession), then God will shower us with His full blessings, riches and grace. To rebel and continue in sin brings certain and immediate judgment upon ourselves.
So, let us all let our religion be both inward from the heart and outward to loving actions for others!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Honest Prayer To God

9 Once, after they had eaten their meal in Shiloh, Hannah got up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the entrance to the Lord’s house. 10 Hannah was so sad that she cried and prayed to the Lord. 11 She made a promise, saying, “Lord All-Powerful, see how sad I am. Remember me and don’t forget me. If you will give me a son, I will give him back to you all his life, and no one will ever cut his hair with a razor.” 12 While Hannah kept praying, Eli watched her mouth. 13 She was praying in her heart so her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “Stop getting drunk! Throw away your wine!” 15 Hannah answered, “No, sir, I have not drunk any wine or beer. I am a deeply troubled woman, and I was telling the Lord about all my problems. 16 Don’t think I am an evil woman. I have been praying because I have many troubles and am very sad.” 17 Eli answered, “Go! I wish you well. May the God of Israel give you what you asked of him.” 18 Hannah said, “May I always please you.” When she left and ate something, she was not sad anymore. …  20 So Hannah became pregnant, and in time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “His name is Samuel because I asked the Lord for him.”…  24 When Samuel was old enough to eat, Hannah took him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh, …  27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord answered my prayer and gave him to me. 28 Now I give him back to the Lord. He will belong to the Lord all his life.” And he worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1:9-18, 20, 24, 27-28 (NCV).

1 Hannah prayed: “The Lord has filled my heart with joy; I feel very strong in the Lord. I can laugh at my enemies; I am glad because you have helped me! 2 “There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no God but You; there is no Rock like our God. 3 “Don’t continue bragging, don’t speak proud words. The Lord is a God who knows everything, and He judges what people do. … 9 He protects those who are loyal to him, but evil people will be silenced in darkness. Power is not the key to success. 10 The Lord destroys His enemies; He will thunder in heaven against them. The Lord will judge all the earth. He will give power to His king and make His appointed king strong.” 1 Samuel 2:1-3, 9-10 (NCV), see also Mary’s praise song, the Magnificat, modeled after Hannah's prayer (Luke 1:46-55).
Hannah was a woman of faith and persistent in prayer.  Her prayer for a child showed selflessness as she asked for a son to dedicate completely for God’s service (1 Samuel 1:11). The name Hannah means “grace.”  She modeled devotion for God and complete obedience to Him. Hannah was passionate in worship and real in prayer. Instead of retaliating or giving up hope, Hannah prayed to God in her time of trouble and need. She brought her problems honestly before God and trusted in God’s grace (1 Samuel 1:11). Hannah knew that God is all-powerful and can take any circumstances and turn them completely around. She decided to leave her problem with God (1 Samuel 1:18). Even more, Hannah discovered that prayer opens the path for God to work (1 Samuel 1:19-20). God hears and answers our honest prayers to Him.  All the more, God's timing in answering our prayers is perfect. We can trust God’s timing and His will for our lives.

Hannah made a vow with God and promised God that she would give her son for God’s service if He answered her prayer for a child (1 Samuel 1:10–11). Hannah’s vow was not a "bargain" or "barter" with God. The principle of a vow to God is, “If God will do A, then I will do B” for God. Other examples of vows are found at Genesis 28:20-22; Leviticus 7:16; Leviticus 22:23; Numbers 21:2; Deuteronomy 12:11; and 2 Samuel 15:8. Ancient Israelites made vows conditional upon God granting their requests. However, vows were often abused. In fact, the Old Testament warns against making vows (see Deuteronomy 23:21-23; Proverbs 7:10-14; Proverbs 20:25; Jeremiah 44:25). Many people in the Bible made vows to God (e.g., 1 Samuel 14:24-28) and did not keep these vows (1 Samuel 19:6). Vows would go unfulfilled and never paid, moving God’s anger. So, the Old Testament states that not making a vow is better than backing out of one (Ecclesiastes 5:3-5). In the New Testament, Jesus warnings us not to make any vows, but simply to keep our word (Matthew 5:33-37; see also James 5:12). Hannah distinguished herself in that she carried out her vow to God (1 Samuel 1:24–28). God keeps His promises, and He expects us to do the same.

God honored Hannah’s prayers and faith. Hannah’s son was named Samuel which mean "heard by God" or "asked of God" because she asked for him from God (1 Samuel 1:20). When God answered Hannah’s prayer, she kept her promise to God and dedicated her son Samuel to God's service. Yet more, Hannah praised and thanked God for answering her prayer for a child. God is worthy of praise.

Hannah’s prayer is a good example to follow:  honestly tell God how you really feel and leave your problems with Him. Like Hannah, we should be confident of God's definitive control over the events and circumstances in our lives. God is all-knowing, perfect and in control (1 Samuel 2:4-10). We may also ask God to fulfill the requests and longings of our hearts. God provides for those who genuinely trust in Him.  So, ask God first and trust Him to provide! Always remember that God keeps His promises.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Deep Cleansing!

King David was one of the greatest men who ever lived. Yet, he made a few horrible mistakes in his lifetime.  He committed murder, adultery and lived a lie after his affair with Bathsheba.  David had an affair Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed a result of the affair.  Eventually, David’s friend and prophet, Nathan, confronted David about his sin.  Psalm 51 describes David’s heartfelt confession and sincere repentance to God for his sins.  David pled to God for mercy, forgiveness, and heart cleansing. God answered David’s cry for help by giving him deep heart cleansing from the inside out.

God can forgive any sin! Psalm 51 teaches us that we can always go to God and ask for His forgiveness. God can and will forgive your sin. Like David, we can ask God to give us a deep cleansing from within (Psalm 51:7) by cleansing our hearts and spirits. Good and godly lives can come only from a clean heart and spirit from God. So, ask God for a deep and thorough cleansing to create a pure heart and spirit within you.

Although God forgives our sins, God does not always remove the natural consequences of our sin.  Sadly, David's life and family suffered damages as a result of his sins (see 2 Samuel 12:1-23). Yet, God restored to David the joy and inner happiness of a right relationship with God after his plead for mercy and forgiveness.

1 God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. 2 Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again. 3 I know about my wrongs, and I can’t forget my sin. 4 You are the only one I have sinned against; I have done what you say is wrong. You are right when you speak and fair when you judge. 5 I was brought into this world in sin. In sin my mother gave birth to me. 6 You want me to be completely truthful, so teach me wisdom. 7 Take away my sin, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Make me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you crushed be happy again. 9 Turn your face from my sins and wipe out all my guilt. 10 Create in me a pure heart, God, and make my spirit right again. 11 Do not send me away from You or take Your Holy Spirit away from me. 12 Give me back the joy of Your salvation. Keep me strong by giving me a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach Your ways to those who do wrong, and sinners will turn back to You. 14 God, save me from the guilt of murder, God of my salvation, and I will sing about your goodness. 15 Lord, let me speak so I may praise You. 16 You are not pleased by sacrifices, or I would give them. You don’t want burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin. 18 Do whatever good you wish for Jerusalem. Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will be pleased with right sacrifices and whole burnt offerings, and bulls will be offered on your altar.
Psalms 51:1-19 (NCV).

Friday, August 3, 2012

Real Christians

1 My little children, I am telling you this so that you will stay away from sin. But if you sin, there is Someone to plead for you before the Father. His Name is Jesus Christ, the One who is all that is good and who pleases God completely. 2 He is the One who took God’s wrath against our sins upon Himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and He is the forgiveness for our sins, and not only ours but all the world’s. 3 And how can we be sure that we belong to Him? By looking within ourselves: are we really trying to do what He wants us to? 4 Someone may say, "I am a Christian; I am on my way to heaven; I belong to Christ." But if he (or she) doesn’t do what Christ tells him (or her) to, he (or she) is a liar. 5 But those who do what Christ tells them to will learn to love God more and more. That is the way to know whether or not you are a Christian. 6 Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did. 1 John 2:1-6 (TLB).

The Apostle John offers everyone a wonderful hope.  If you have sinned, Jesus Christ can take away your sins. Jesus Christ is our Advocate, Mediator, and Defender as the Judge's Son (God the Father).  As the Son of God, Jesus Christ suffered our penalty deserved from the Holy Judge, God the Father, and became the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10). Jesus Christ stands before God as our Mediator because His death satisfied the wrath of God against sin and paid the death penalty for our sin. Thus, Jesus Christ removes our sin. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven, purified, and righteous. As we turn and unite with Jesus Christ, we are safe and secure. So, turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins (see Romans 8:33-34; Hebrews 7:24-25). Absolutely no one is beyond forgiveness.

Once you are forgiven, Jesus Christ also wants you to live your life like Him!  True Christian faith results in loving behavior and obedient life for God (see also 1 John 3:23). Jesus Christ loved people and obeyed God.  To live today as Jesus Christ means to follow His example of complete obedience to God and loving service to people (see also Leviticus 19:18; John 13:34-35; John 15:13). Love can be defined as "selfless giving'' to others, including our enemies and persecutors (Matthew 5:43-48). Love is the identifying mark of a real Christian.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Does God Look Like?

God continued, "But you may not see My face. No one can see Me and live."
Exodus 33:20 (The Message Bible).

God told Moses that no human can see Him and live (Exodus 33:20) and that is why no one knows what God looks like. In fact, God has no body because He is Spirit (John 4:24). Yet, the Holy Scriptures tell of many people who have had encounters with God although not directly.  For instance, Moses saw God’s “back” (Exodus 33:23). Isaiah saw God sitting on His throne high and lifted up (Isaiah 6:1–8). And Ezekiel saw God “like that of a man” (Ezekiel 1:26) clothed in fire and brilliant light (Ezekiel 1:27-28) standing above a storm cloud resembling a chariot (Ezekiel 1:1–28). Nevertheless, God has outdone these limits by sending His Son, Jesus. Jesus is God in human form (John 1:14; John 14:8–9; Colossians 1:15). With Jesus, humankind witnessed the fullness of God (Colossians 2:9)! In fact, Jesus promises to reveal Himself all those who believe (John 14:21).