Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Blessing of Passover

“And you shall observe this thing (Passover) for an ordinance to you and your sons forever...and it shall come to pass, when your children say unto you, What is the meaning of this service? That you shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt.” Exodus 12:24, 26, 27

Historically, Passover (Pesach) celebrates God’s deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt where they were slaves to the Egyptians. Exodus 2:23, 24; 6:5-8; 13:3, 14.

The spiritual application that God wants us to understand is this: Egypt is a type of this world and the world’s system. It’s ruler, Pharaoh, was a type of Satan. The bondage people are in when they live according to the ways of the world’s system is sin. (John 8:34)  The children of Israel were delivered from Egypt’s bondage by putting the blood of a lamb upon the doorposts of their houses. (Exodus 12:2, 6, 13)

First of all, Passover reveals that all have sinned and are guilty before God, both Jew and Gentile. That’s why on that first Passover night in Egypt, both the Israelites and the Egyptians were under judgment. ALL dwelling in Egypt experienced the plagues.

Secondly, we discover that the penalty of sin is death. God’s justice demands the shedding of blood; that’s why we see the angel of death killing all the firstborn of the land.

But thankfully, the third truth we find in the Passover observance is that God’s mercy provides a way. The key word here is PROVIDES!

God promised in Exodus 12:13, “When I see the blood, I will pass over…” The provision taken to satisfy both God’s justice and His love was the blood of an innocent lamb. The Passover Lamb was not only a deliverance from Egypt but also from death.

This shedding of innocent blood for the forgiveness of sins is a central theme in God’s atoning work.

Christ - Our Passover

“For indeed Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor. 5:7) For you and me - and for every person who has been redeemed and transformed by the sacrifice and resurrection of the ultimate Passover Lamb - there is a powerful reminder in celebrating Passover. The blood of that unblemished lamb on an Egyptian doorpost and the blood of Jesus our Messiah shed outside the walls of Jerusalem 15 centuries later carry the same message: THE PENALTY IS PAID! God provided a way! We must trust in God’s provision, and death WILL pass over!    

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Purpose

There is only one scriptural way to discover God’s purpose for our lives– by faith. It is through faith that we understand God’s purpose for the world, and it is through faith that we understand what He wants us to accomplish in the world. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1)

DEFINITION OF FAITH: [The spirit-led ability to see something that God wants done, and the perseverance to do it according to spiritual principles.]

Every great man or woman of God who accomplished significant things for the kingdom of God was a man or woman of faith.This is the recurring theme of the Bible and is summarized in the 11th chapter of Hebrews. By faith Noah prepared an ark. By faith Moses freed God’s people. By faith Joshua conquered the land. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb 11:6) Faith is actually mentioned 25 times in the chapter.

A person without faith is a person without purpose. It is obvious to see throughout scripture that God has a calling in our lives and also a purpose. Our calling is what we do, our purpose is what God desires to fulfill through our call. It is a process that God is working in through us as we continue to be faithful in following and obeying God’s direction for each one of us. Whatever our call may be, our purpose is always the will of God, which is- becoming more and more conformed to the image of Christ and reproducing His character in the lives of others! 

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom 8:28-29)

Now you know what God’s purpose for your life is, allow Him to fulfill it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Opportunity!

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

As we continue with our series BE HOPE, this week our focus is OPPORTUNITY! The word opportunity comes from the Latin and means “toward the port.” It suggests a ship taking advantage of the wind and tide to arrive safely in the harbor. As I thought upon this meaning, it came to me, that this simple rule is that we are favored with opportunity, and that we have the power to take advantage of an opportunity and to do good! It isn't that we are to do it when it is convenient or when it will help us or contribute to our popularity. The word says that we are to do it when we have the opportunity. No matter how many times it comes before us, the more the better. No matter how much self-denial it may cost us; no matter how little notoriety we may get, still, if we have the opportunity to do good, we are to do it and should be thankful for the privilege.

This is to be done to all. Not just to our family members, not just to our neighbors, not just to those who live in the same country with us, but to ALL mankind! If we can reach and benefit a man who lives on the other side of the world, whom we have never seen, and may never see even in eternity, still we are to do good to him. This is Christianity. This is being Christ-like and in this, as in all other respects it differs from the narrow and selfish spirit of our culture which also prevails all over the world.

The brevity of life is a strong argument for making the best of every opportunity God gives us. What if we as Christians began to see the everyday opportunities to invest in eternity accompanied by a “divine guarantee” that our investment would yield priceless, ceaseless, unfathomably blessed spiritual dividends! I believe we would all begin to invest wisely in the lives of those around us if we kept these secular, worldly missed opportunities in mind to motivate us NOT to miss the divine, heavenly opportunities to do eternal good!  Open the eyes of our hearts Lord to see and seize those “opportunities of a life time” for your glory! Amen!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

BE HOPE!

“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.” (1 Thes. 1:3)

Do you remember when you were in a place in your life when it seemed that there was no hope? Absolutely none. You had given into the fact that your life was a dead end street - no way out; wondering what life was really all about and why you were in such a place of hopelessness. Many of you have been there, not even realizing that God had you in mind all along. You were lost, with hope, but didn’t realize it. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

Think of it, your personal salvation was not only well planned but demonstrates God’s abiding faithfulness. Not only that God knew that you would exist, or knew some fact about you, no, God knew you, the person! It was you whom God thought of in a personal, saving relationship. He planned that you would ultimately be like Christ. Now that you are saved and have the blessed hope, you are Christ’s vessel here on earth, His ambassador, His witness to the hope that is within you.

You now possess the very hope that so eluded you. Now you don’t have to ask the question, “What is life all about; why am I here; why do I exist?” Everything you do now, everywhere you go, you are Christ’s hands, Christ's feet, Christ’s mercy, Christ’s compassion, Christ’s forgiveness, Christ’s joy, Christ’s peace, Christ’s patience, Christ’s kindness, Christ’s gentleness, Christ’s faithfulness, Christ's humility, Christ’s courage, Christ’s truthfulness, Christ’s encouragement, Christ’s availability, and Christ’s wisdom.

YOU are Christ’s hope walking here on earth! YOU are flesh and blood evidence of this hope, not in the sense of an optimistic outlook, a wishful thinking without any foundation, but in the confident expectation based on solid certainty! So certain is the future of the redeemed that the New Testament speaks of future events in the past tense, as though they were already accomplished. Hope is never inferior to faith, but is an extension of faith. Faith is the present possession of grace; hope is confidence in grace’s future accomplishment. If you are saved, YOU are HOPE, so go out and BE HOPE!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

God calls Israel the apple of His eye which is a term of endearment. God adds a blessing to those nations and people who bless Israel and a curse on those who curse Israel. Do those blessings and cursing's still apply?

I do not see why they don’t since God changes not (Malachi 3:6). God was seen as the husband of Israel (Jeremiah 3:14). God is evidently still concerned over Israel, saying in 2 Chron. 6:6 “But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.”

Wherever God places His name is where He still places His love. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, knowing what their fate held, as He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, “He wept over it.” (Luke 19:41) This is the very reason that God has prospered the United States of America, as being one of the few nations that have chosen to be her ally, but that seems to have recently begun to change in more ways than one. When America withdraws her support and defense of Israel, God will take His hand of blessing off of the United States.

Israel is surrounded by hostile nations and Islam that seeks her destruction. A blessing is pronounced over those who will pray for and bless Israel. (Numbers 24:9) God will never abandon Israel and in the end, Israel will be saved by God Almighty (Malachi 3:6; Romans 11:1). Since Paul commands Christians to pray for governmental authorities and leaders (Romans 13:1-7) why should we not also be praying for the peace of Israel? She is the chosen people of God.

Today there are Messianic Jews who already believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The national stock of Israel will join these Messianic Jews. Jerusalem is anything but peaceful right now. But the King of Peace is coming. Until then we are to be praying for the peace of Israel and for the King of Peace to come soon.