What More Power Are We Waiting for?

Are you wishing you had more power to change a bad habit?
More power to overcome a sin?
More power to achieve a goal?

quantum-leap-2Through God we can have all the power we need to change, overcome or achieve—and now, not tomorrow.

♥  Hopefully God the Father is calling you (John 6:44).  God’s calling is individual and flawlessly vetted.  He calls each person at the best time for them to overcome and make it into His God Family.    This is your best time!  We must choose and be faithful (Rev. 17:14).  If God is calling us now, what a tragedy if we are limiting Him.

♥  Israel limited the Holy One of Israel (Psa. 78:41).  One translation says “pained.”  It grieved God that Israel didn’t have the heart in them to change, overcome and achieve (Deut. 5:29).   What a difference when a child wants to please a parent.  Make them proud.  Make them delighted.  How much more likely is that child to change, overcome and achieve!

Verse 42 says the way that Israel limited God was by not remembering His power.  Ironically, it’s God’s power—the Holy Spirit—which brings all things to remembrance (John 14:26)!

Passover♥  At Passover Sunday night we were forgiven of all sin as we renewed our commitment by taking the cup and bread symbolizing the shed blood and broken body of Jesus Christ our Savior.  We have that forgiveness not just once a year but at any time we ask in true repentance for the Father to apply Christ’s sacrifice to our sins.   It’s okay if you want to stop reading for a few minutes …

♥  The Father looks at us but instead of our bad habits or sins, He sees the image of His Son living in us.  “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven … whose sin is covered … to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity” (Psa. 32:1-2).

The power of forgiveness cannot be minimized.  But it doesn’t change our character.  God wants children who actually become god-like with no bad habits or sin.  So after Passover comes the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread picturing God actually leading us out of sin (this year April 11 through 17).

♥  The One who calls us “friend” (John 15:14-15) is the Son of God!  Talk about friends in high places!  In these verses He says to be His friend we must do as He commands.  Obedience is power.  Obedience is visionary.  God gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

♥  The Holy Spirit is God’s power (Acts 1:8).  As a whole Israel did not have God’s Holy Spirit.   If you do, and God the Father and Jesus Christ are dwelling with you or living in you (John 14:17) through the Holy Spirit, you have all the power you need to change, overcome and achieve.  There is no greater power in existence for you to wait for!

toolbox♥  You can take advantage of the Christian toolbox (prayer, study, meditation and fasting) so you stay close to God and choose not to sin.  If you run into something that it seems like you can’t cast out, this is time for fasting and prayer to seek extra godly help (Mark 9:29).

♥  We can ask for the Holy Spirit fruit of self-control.  What will be the sure response?  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).   Do you think His self-control is not enough for your habit or sin?  That somehow you are the exception, you’re so bad?  Too much for God?

♥  Are we struggling to choose the right action because we really want to do the wrong action!  We can ask for the mind of Christ to bring every thought into subjection to obedience to Him (2 Cor. 10:5).  We can ask God to change our thinking to not desire sin.  We want His laws written in our hearts and minds!  Are we thinking that God isn’t powerful enough to change our desires when we are desiring Him to?

On the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, this year April 17, we remember how God displayed His miraculous power:
Red Sea1.  It was on a last Day of UB that God parted the Red Sea to free Israel from Egypt which pictured sin.
2.  Forty years later on the last DOUB, God brought the walls of Jericho a-tumbling down to usher Israel into the Promised Land.
3.  And sometime during UB, indicated by Lot offering the angels a feast of unleavened bread (Lev. 19:3), God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

So the Days of Unleavened Bread picture

The complete and total victory over sin

“Now to Him  who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to  the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).  Are we limiting God by requests and thoughts of doubt?  By not even thinking or asking?

Since the Holy Spirit is the greatest power in existence, what more power are we waiting on?  Why put off for even a day?  Why coast until just before you think Christ will return, O foolish virgin!

Through God

we have all the power we need to change, overcome and achieve.  With God the Father and Jesus Christ our Unleavened Bread living in us through the supreme power of the Holy Spirit, we can have victory NOW.

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What About Tonight Is There to Be Much Observed?

pink moonIs the Pink Moon tonight the reason to get so excited?
It’s not really pink. 
It’s called that color because this is the time of year
when Pink Moss blooms.

Jupiter is at its best and brightest because of
being near tonight’s full moon.

Ex. 12:41-42 calls this The Night to Be Much Observed (or Much Remembered) and directs that all the children of Israel observe it throughout their generations.  As spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:16), I’ll be happily doing that.

The full moon is exciting and plays a big part in it.

The night before, the death angel passed over the Israelites at midnight but slew all the firstborn males of Egypt.  Israel hunkered down in their homes all night as directed.  The next day they spoiled the Egyptians, receiving their due wages from all their years of slavery.  During the daylight all three million of them gathered with excitement in Goshen.

Then this momentous night, in about the year 1447 B.C., the released Israelites began their journey out of Egypt which pictures sin.  Sundown this night begins the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread, with leaven picturing sin.  One could get the idea that God doesn’t want His children making light of sin.

The full moon that night helped light their way.  Who needed an EverReady in hand with such a celestial flashlight!  Better than the Pink Moon tonight, we have

The Light of the World

to lead us on our journey out of sin.

This night Christians around the world are meeting together to share a meal and remember how the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, but more importantly, to look to Jesus Christ the Unleavened Bread of Life to lead us to the Promised Land of eternal life.

Many like to go around the table and have each participant share how God called them to spiritual freedom.

Exodus says Israel walked out 430 years to the night from an event unspecified.  It’s thought to be God’s covenant with Abraham in Gen. 15.  God pointed him not to the moon but to the stars and promised him more descendants than those.  Abraham proved faithful and became  Father of the faithful.  By God’s grace that’s where we come in … to march out!

Israel went out triumphantly “with a high hand.”  God’s people are privileged to “much observe” this night with joy and gladness!

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Tonight We “Proclaim the Lord’s Death Till He Comes”

As Christians we love to talk and sing about proclaiming God’s glory and holiness.  Well,  God says “The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Lev. 23:2).

When I first heard about these feasts in 1969 when I was 19, I couldn’t believe that I’d been going to church my whole life and never heard anything about them.   God’s feasts?  Holy convocations?  Wow!   I wanted to keep them!

Passover service tonight, April 9

passoverwill be my 47th.  On this night back about 1447 B.C. the death angel passed over Israelite homes in Goshen that had blood smeared on the top and sides of the doors.  That prefigured this night in 31 A.D. when Jesus Christ shed His blood for sin.  For my sin.   And I hope you can see how you fit into that.

Tonight we do as Paul commanded and “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).  Tonight we renew our commitment to God.

Tonight’s Passover is the first step in God’s Holy Day Plan.  The Sabbath and Annual Sabbaths picture and teach how the Father and Jesus Christ are reproducing themselves and building the Family—and they show the timing of how it will be accomplished.

HD booklet.jFree on the Internet:  [https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind].

A huge way to give God some of the glory due His name (Psa. 29:2) is to keep His Sabbaths and Holy Days.

Please just start keeping them.  Joy awaits you.

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A Command We Can’t Fully Do

Bible cloudyWe know that we must do everything the Bible commands.
Some commands are challenging to do—
love your enemy; esteem others better than yourself.

But, there’s a command we can’t fully do.
We want to, oh, how we want to!
But we can’t fully fulfill it.

The command I’m talking about David wrote, a man after God’s own heart:

“Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name”—Psa. 29:2

We can try to give God glory every which way we can.  But even for the legendary giant killer, it’s like slinging a pebble against The Rock.

We cannot possibly give God the glory DUE  His name.

OK, so how can we give God some of the glory due His name?

♥   Read the Psalms!   Since summer I’m in the habit of reading a Psalm or more early each day.  This is double effective if you read this at the start of your morning prayer.  David is credited with writing more than 100 of the 150 Psalms, and reading such words will help us speak more gloriously to God.  Oh, we must be ourselves, but the Psalms can help us be better—and more eloquent—selves.

“Holiness adorns your house”—Psa. 93:5.  Only with God’s help can we give Him some of the glory due His name for His holiness when Isa. 64:6 says all our righteousness is “like filthy rags.”

With the Holy Days coming in a little over a week, it’s a good time to read the Egyptian Hallel (Praise) Psalms (Psa. 113-118).  They’re called Egyptian because the Jews use them in commemorating deliverance from Egypt.   For the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16), He is delivering us from sin!

In Jesus’ last Passover with His disciples, they ended with a song.  Tradition says that song (Matt. 26:30) was probably Psalm 118.

As we approach this Holy Day season, these five Great Hallel Psalms can help us give God some of the glory due His name.

Psa. 29:9 says:  “And in His temple everyone says, ‘Glory!’

♥   Visualize God in His glory on His heavenly throne

throneBefore praying, I find it very helpful to first visualize the glorious God on His throne Who will be listening to me.  This helps me look up past the walls and our cat Josie purring for my attention.

I recommend reading Rev. 4:2-11 in the Living Bible for the most exciting description.  As Shannon Wexelberg sings in “Highest Praise,” [I recommend you go listen on YouTube before continuing] “We will join the host of heaven to proclaim!”

As Psa. 57:5 exults:  “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth.”   God’s thoughts  and ways are higher than ours! (Is. 55:8-9).

For the size of the universe the latest estimate is two to three trillion galaxies.  A little leeway there!  Yet the Great God knows every star by name.  We’re challenged just to name our kids!

Treat yourself to the video [http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/man-behind-behind-viral-universe-explainer-cosmic-eye-video-is-a-perth-scientist-20160417-go8blc.html] that zooms from a smiling woman named Louise Mackay in a grassy park out to the ends of the universe 10 billion light years and then back to her—and then inside her eye to the universe of quarks a femtometer across there!  How small is that?  How much men understand women?  That’s one quadrillionth of a meter.  Oh.  I see.

With such miraculous eyes, do we?

♥   Creation shouts to the glory of its Creator

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made … so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).  Verse 21 adds that if we  don’t glorify God and give Him thanks, we have become “futile in our thoughts” with foolish hearts “darkened.”

Many Facebook posts spotlight an amazing rollercoaster, sunset, flower or animal.  Nobody argues that Ferrari World in the United Arab Emirates clocking 149 mph had no creator/designer.   The riders are too busy screaming!  And the cat videos, besides amusing our outnumbered life, testify to God’s amazing creativity!

With these three ways, let us give God some of the glory due His name.  As Shannon sings so powerfully, “let your praise arise!”

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Are There Leeks in Our Thinking?

Do golden calves just appear around us?

Is our Complaint Department such a busy place
that we need some full-time help?

“Now all these things happened to them as examples,
and they were written for our admonition,
upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11)

Earlier in this chapter Paul explained that he was talking about us needing to learn from Israel’s wandering 40 years in the wilderness.

Red SeaPassing through the Red Sea pictured baptism.  God heaped the waters up on both sides higher than their heads, and they didn’t know how blessed they were that total immersion wasn’t required of them!  To picture baptism, perhaps God didn’t even allow sprinkles on them.

So with plagues and parting, God freed Israel from Egypt, but the real challenge was removing Egypt from Israel.  Egypt symbolizes sin, and wouldn’t you know it that though God forgives us our past sin when  we repent of it and sincerely desire to exit from it, the real challenge is changing our minds to not only choose to reject sin in the future but, harder yet, not even desire it.

On the other shore all Israel could do was keep moaning “We want to go back to Egypt”—where they had been whipped and beaten as slave  laborers!  What about us if we fantasize about going back to our old life?   It really wasn’t all leeks, onions and garlic—except that it probably smelled to high heaven!  May God help us plug any leeks in our thinking.   Overcome old habits that hold us back.  “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear” (George Addair).

“For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries … they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation” (1 Pet. 4:3-4).

Meekest man got careless

Moses strike rockEven Moses, called the meekest man on earth (Num. 12:3), had to die before arriving in the Promised Land because he became so overwhelmed and discouraged by the complaining crowd that he got careless in following God’s instruction to speak to the rock.  “Last time I struck it, so let’s do it twice for good measure!”

Yet the reason God said Moses struck out was because he did not hallow him in the eyes of the people when he cried “Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” (Num. 20:10).  Moses called the people “rebels” when it was especially true of him and Aaron!  Most of the time someone who accuses others of something is guilty of the same.

The Rock who led them (1 Cor. 10:4) showed His unmatched mercy—Despite Moses’ rebellion He still made water flow  out for the thirsty murmuring mob.  He backed up His leader.  Paul cautioned Christians not to tempt Christ as they did (1 Cor. 10:9).

Maybe Moses and Aaron lapsed into thinking they could be a little careless because they were God’s exalted leaders.  God holds His leaders and teachers more accountable (James 3:1).

golden calfIsrael became our examples so that “we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted” (verse 6).  Paul called their orgy with the golden calf, which Aaron said just suddenly appeared, an example of not just sexual immorality but also idolatry.  An idol is anything we put before God in thought, time, priority or money.  With God’s help we have a lot to smash in our life!

Paul decries their complaining.  They thought they were

Just criticizing Moses

braggingbut God said it was against Him!  Jude warns “dreamers” who “reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.”  Michael the archangel knew better than to bring a “reviling accusation” against even Satan.  “But these speak evil of whatever they do not know” (Jude 8-10).  What would paying attention to Jude’s instruction do to social media and our news!

Several times they didn’t start complaining until after three days with no food or water (Ex. 15:22, Num. 10:33).   Their breaking point was three days.  Maybe we can’t be so quick to judge if we have never gone without food or water for over a day and that was because we chose to fast.  We aren’t trudging in a hot, dry wilderness.  After hiking just one mile in our beautiful spring weather, I’m famished and thirsty!

You’d think the book of Numbers  is about counting how many times Israel was complaining.   Their minds were too much on onions to appreciate all the orchids God was offering.

God said Israel tested Him one too many times when they did it the tenth time (Num. 14:22).  Ten is the number of judgment (10 Commandments, 10 wise and foolish virgins).  It’s easy to google for  the scriptures of the 10 incidents of accusing, murmuring, complaining, committing idolatry, not believing and not obeying.  Would our total shoot right past that into being worthy of God needing to forgive 70 times seven?

May God help us—spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:16)—to learn these same lessons on our way to the Promised Land.  “We must  give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away … how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb. 2:1,3).

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The Way Ahead

New Testament Christians lived “the Way” (Acts 9:2).
If we are, what would we be doing in the next few weeks ahead?

magnifying glassExamine ourselvesWhile Christians examine themselves all year round, the main time to do this is in the weeks before the spring Holy Days.  We do this, preferably accompanied by some fasting, to evaluate whether we are “in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5) and ready to “eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:28).

This is not a fearsome act.  Christians rejoice that the Father is working with us as sons and daughters and preparing us for future service beyond anything eye has seen or ear heard.  The spring Holy Days begin God’s revelation of how He will accomplish this.

new yearHappy New Year—God says the first day of the new year for 2017 is Tuesday, March 28 (Ex. 12:2).  That’s good enough for me.  On God’s calendar it’s Nisan 1.  And I’m guessing March 28 is going to be a glorious day to enjoy the ride!

Instead of the dead of winter, creation is springing to action and ready to party!    It’s  an atmosphere of greening and growing.  Though this day is not a holy day, it means the glorious spring Holy Days are only two weeks away!  And this 66-year-old is happy we don’t have to stay up until midnight because God’s days begin at sunset.

“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:  ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied: ‘Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way’”—Minnie Louise Haskins, broadcast by King George VI in 1939 at the beginning of World War II.

spring cleaningSpring CleaningMany think we do this because our homes have gotten so dusty and unkempt while being holed up all winter.  Funny, that rationale never motivated me to clean in the summer, fall and winter!

Most sources trace spring cleaning back to the “Jews removing leaven from their homes for the Passover.”  Actually, this was the 12 tribes of Israel of which Judah was only one tribe.  The people in Exodus 12 were all Israel  and they removed the leaven for a “feast by an everlasting ordinance,” which we as spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:16) continue to do.

Some theorize spring cleaning dates back to the Iranian Norouz, the Persian new year, which falls on the first day of spring.   Iranians practice “khooneh tekouni” which literally means “shaking the house.”

This Iranian connection may be significant because historians know many Israelites dispersed through Parthia.  When you read about Parthia, you are reading about some lost tribes of Israel.  That’s why nobody teaches anything about Parthia because the general rule is that truth gets suppressed and somebody wants the lost to stay that way.  The Parthian Empire (247 BC – 224 AD) was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran

So it’s spring and soon I’ll be cleaning out drawers, vacuuming out the car, and steam cleaning floors.  But I’m not spring cleaning.  I’m removing leaven, representing sin, and need to finish by sundown Monday,  April 10 when the First Day of Unleavened Bread starts.   Removing the physical teaches insightful lessons about removing the spiritual that we find as we examine ourselves.

Paul taught “let us keep the Feast” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).   He seems to have written this letter—to Gentile Christians—near the time of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.  He said the Corinthians were physically unleavened, but he corrected them about many problems caused by divisions and tolerating sin.  We can be truly unleavened—with crumbs out but, more importantly, with sin forgiven at Passover and Christ the Bread of Life creating new men and women of “sincerity and truth” out of us.

Most people won’t learn about doing these special ways until after Christ returns to this earth and  His ways cover the earth. If the Master Timer has called you to be one of the “few  who find” the way ahead (Matt. 7:14), thank Him by responding to so great an opportunity and a responsibility.

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What’s the Name of the Church of God?

geese flyingInternet sites such as Wikipedia list
more than 33,000 names of Christian churches.

Which one of these vastly different names and beliefs
is the one Jesus is building?

The only acceptable place to search for the name of the Church of God is in His Bible.

There is “one body … one Spirit … one hope … one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:4, New International Version)—and one Church.  God prizes unity.  So what does the Bible give as the name of the Church of God?

Church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38)

tabernacleThat was the name of Israel when God took them out of Egypt and they wandered for 40 years.  Alas, people have been wondering what the name of the Church of God is for roughly 6,000 years!

Today the Church helps us come out of spiritual Egypt as we wander in the spiritual wilderness, knowing we must come out of her (Rev. 18:4).

In the end times the Church is going to flee to a place of safety in the wilderness for 3-1/2 years (Rev. 12:6).  But after Jesus Christ returns and sets up His millennial reign on the earth, His Church would no longer be in spiritual wilderness.  So the Bible must have a more fitting name.

Church of the Firstborn (Heb. 12:23)

helping handsGod will highly honor the firstborn with a double portion.  But what about the sons and daughters of God who will be born after the first resurrection?  That name wouldn’t cover them.  And besides, shouldn’t the name of the Church of God honor not the humans but the Great God who makes it all possible!

Church of Christ

Jesus promised “I will build My Church” (Matt. 16:18).   So now we’re onto what surely looks  like a good possibility!  Jesus will always be the head of His Church (Col. 1:18).  The Church is His body—obviously not a physical one but a spiritual one.

Let’s look closer.  Jesus said He came to reveal the Father (John 17:25-26).  He said the Father is greater than Him (John 14:28).  He said He could only say and do what the Father wills.  He always gave the Father the glory.

So while Church of Christ would be a pretty good name, Jesus said there is a “greater” name.

Church of God

 Ephesians 3:14-15 makes it plain:  “… the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (New International Version).  The whole family is named after God the Father.  Named what?  The Church of God!

And 12 times in the New  Testament the Church of God is called just that, sometimes accompanied with the location such as the Church of God in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2).

This is obviously the perfect name of the Church for all eternity.  The perfect name to include God the Father.  The perfect name to include Jesus Christ.  The perfect name to include all sons and daughters to come who will be added to the what?

kingdom comeThe Family of God.  To be in the Kingdom of God.  All Gods in the Church, Family and Kingdom.

Oh, the simplicity of Christ (2 Cor. 11:3):  The Bible names things what they are.

Where your very question—what is the name of the Church of God?—gives the answer!

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