Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Point of Agreement = The Place of Power

I shared these thoughts a few weeks ago and feel impressed to write down the importance of coming into agreement with God.

THE IMPORTANCE OF AGREEMENT

The main reason we do not have the power of God in our lives that we should have as Christian men and women is because we are not in agreement with God. We may agree in some area, and in others we are not in agreement; and perhaps more often we are not in agreement with one another.

Amos asks the question “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) Or can men or women who are not in agreement with each other walk together? The answer is no, they cannot. Psalm 133:1-3 says “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (dwell together in agreement.) Agreement is unity. Then it says “…..for there the Lord commanded the blessings.” The word “there” is talking about a positional place, the place of unity or agreement.

God’s Word indicates that when you are not in agreement or unity, you cannot have power in your life. I am a hunter and when I head into the woods I always bring my compass along. A compass has 360 degrees or points, which make a full circle. If we call the needle point of the compass right on north, and 2 of us are walking together, but one of us is just a fraction of a point off north, how long do you think we will walk together before we begin to separate? The further we walk, the farther apart we will become. The only recourse to come back together is to correct our agreement to the compass. The only power we have to walk together is to come back into perfect unity of direction. “The power to walk together is at the point of agreement!”

The power of God will not be fully released into our presence until there is a point of agreement. In Acts 2 the point where the power of God came down was at the point when “they were in one place and in one accord.” The power of God will not be released in the home where a husband and wife are in discord and division. God wants us to have power in our homes and His power comes into our homes as we learn to walk in agreement. How do we do that? When you agree with someone, in a sense you have a covenant relationship with them on the basis of that agreement. That is where the power lies - in a covenant agreement.

That is how Christ empowered us to become believers who have inherited eternal life through Him. The Father and Son were in perfect agreement to come to earth and lay down His life as a covenant relationship with us. The power that changes our lives takes place when we come into agreement with Christ who laid down His life for us and then we willingly lay down our life to serve Him.           

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Psalm 100 is a Psalm that I would encourage every believer to learn from memory. It is a song of praise for the Lord’s faithfulness to His people. It’s also a Psalm of Thanksgiving.
           
Our attention toward becoming more thankful is even more heightened during the Thanksgiving month of November. Gladness, joy, thanksgiving, and praise is the dominant theme of this Psalm. There is no other Psalm that is designated as a “Psalm of Thanksgiving,” although other Psalms are filled with gratefulness. This Psalm is known as the “jubilate” or a psalm of jubilation.
           
There are seven directives as to how to exalt the Lord and seven reasons why we should praise and thank Him. I will list the seven reasons why we should praise the Lord that are mentioned in this Psalm.

Reason #1: (vs. 3) “He made us.” We can identify our origin. ‘Who made us’ is one of the central questions of mankind and the answer determines our eternal future. God claims the role of creator in the first chapter of the Bible. (Gen. 1:26, 27)

Reason #2: (vs. 3) “We are His.” God claims all those who have been made new in Christ ‘as His.’ (Eph. 3:24)

Reason #3: (vs. 3) “We are His people.” We are corporately identified as His people, living, serving, and worshiping together in His church under the same grace, the same word and Spirit. (Romans 8:27)

Reason #4: (vs. 3) “….the sheep of His pasture.” He is our Shepherd, protector, and provider. As His sheep, we are assured of His love and acceptance surrounding us as we daily feed in the pasture of His word and presence. (John 10:14)

Reason #5: (vs. 5) “...for the Lord is good.” Goodness is deeply rooted in the character of who God is. He is compelled to do all that He does by His essential ‘goodness.’ He will forever be simply ‘good.’

Reason #6: (vs. 5) “His unfailing love continues forever.” The language to best properly express God’s heart is the words, “mercy”, “all generous love”, “loving-kindness” This love is a covenant bond that will never be broken and He invites us to live and participate fully in His “unfailing love.”

Reason #7: (vs. 5) “...and His faithfulness continues to each generation.” Faithfulness is God’s guarantee that all He is and all that He has promised will never be retracted or changed till the end of time.

Our emotions, thoughts, and hopes can all rest on this assurance and because of those reasons we can “shout with joy to the Lord,”  “worship the Lord with gladness,” “Come before Him, singing with joy,” “Acknowledge that the Lord is God,” “Enter His gates with thanksgiving,” “Go into His courts with praise,” and “give thanks to bless His Name!”
           
Take time to learn this ‘jubilate’ Psalm 100!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Be Blessed!

In Genesis 12, God made a covenant promise to Abraham which foretold God’s purpose to bless all the families of the earth. “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (vs. 3)

Abraham was known to be a prototypical “father of faith.” In scripture Abraham is designated as the “father” of all who walk his pathway of faith. God blessed Abraham in many ways, including material blessings.

In Galatians 3:13, 14 God promises to give all believers “the blessing of Abraham,” telling us that Jesus became a curse for us, so that we might receive “the blessing of Abraham.” This blessing begins, of course, with our being born again, or becoming new creatures in Christ Jesus. But “the blessing of Abraham” involves other things as well. The Lord wants us to prosper—spiritually, emotionally, physically, and materially. Abraham’s blessing is ours by His promise.

It was Abraham’s faith by believing God’s promise that God counted him to be righteous. (Romans 4:3) We too, are justified (made righteous) by our faith and not by works or our own efforts that would compel God to accept us. Romans 3:13 says “God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.

Believing in God means acknowledging our unworthiness and depending entirely on God’s mercy. Galatians 3:9 says, “So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”

To have faith, there must be an object. The object of our faith is the blood of Christ which alone joins people to God and entitles them to God’s covenant provisions. It is the shed blood of Christ that satisfied God’s justice upon our sin and is now forever the only means of right relationship with the holy God. It is through faith in the blood of Christ that we are justified in God’s eyes!”

Abraham is called the “Father of Faith” because he believed God’s covenant promise for salvation through faith even centuries before the law was given. We are blessed with Abraham for believing our salvation is received by faith in Christ’s redemptive blood that he shed upon the cross 2000 years ago.

“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9  Believe and be blessed!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Be Thankful

We think of November as the Thanksgiving month. I want to express this month concerning the importance of being a grateful and thankful Christian in this world. A person who is thankful is one who will not be an annoyance to other people, nor one who permits bitterness to go to seed that becomes a defilement to others. My friend Larry Lundstrom wrote a cute story and some thoughts about being “thankful!”

One Thanksgiving season a family was seated around their table, looking at the annual holiday bird. From the oldest to the youngest, they were to express their praise. When they came to the 5-year-old in the family, he began by looking at the turkey and expressing his thanks to the turkey, saying although he had not tasted it he knew it would be good. After that rather novel expression of thanksgiving, he began with a more predictable line of credits, thanking his mother for cooking the turkey and his father for buying the turkey. But then he went beyond that. He joined together a whole hidden multitude of benefactors, linking them with cause and effect.

He said, “I thank the checker at the grocery store who checked out the turkey. I thank the grocery store people who put it on the shelf, I thank the farmer who made it fat. I thank the man who made the feed, I thank those who brought the turkey to the store.”

Using his Columbo-like little mind, he traced the turkey all the way from its origin to his plate. And then at the end he solemnly said “Did I leave anybody out?” His 2-year-older brother, embarrassed by all those proceedings, said, “God.”

Solemnly and without being flustered at all, the 5-year-old said, “I was about to get to Him.”

Well, isn't that the question about which we ought to think at Thanksgiving time? Are we really going to get to Him this Thanksgiving?

As cute as this story may read, there is a solemn truth… “Will we get to the real reason for Thanksgiving? Will we stop long enough between gobbles to actually take turns to express what each one of us are thankful for?” If you are struggling with what to be thankful for, here are a few thankful starters:
  • Thank God for bringing you all together.
  • Thank God for the moment Jesus came into your life. (This is a great way to share your SHORT testimony.)
  • Thank God for the bad things that DID NOT happen to you that you will never know about because of God’s hand of mercy and protection.
  • Thank God for your children and grandchildren and how you desire God will be the center of their lives.
  • Thank God for food when millions in the world are starving.
  • Thank God for providing you a home and money to pay your bills.
  • Thank God for FREEDOM to go to church, read the Bible and worship God. (It’s fragile—don’t take it for granted.)
These few thankful starters will hopefully remind each of us of the bounty that we each have to be thankful for. Psalm 28:7: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him.”