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Archive for March, 2008

None to Compare


“Now when He (Jesus) had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowels of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” And every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.” Revelation 5:8-14. 
 
When it comes to Christian celebrations, in general, less emphasis is put on Easter and much more on Christmas. Yes, Christ’s entry into this world, through a virgin was miraculous. God came to earth as a man and dwelt among us. But to me Easter means much more. Before Jesus died on the cross there was no hope for any of us. Our sin kept us separated from God.
 
Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened,
      That it cannot save;
      Nor His ear heavy,
      That it cannot hear.
       2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
      And your sins have hidden His face from you,
      So that He will not hear.
Isaiah 59:1-2.
 
We were all destined for hell. No amount of sacrifice could help us. When Christ died He changed all that. His death and resurrection bridged the gap between us and God. We now have access to His throne. But think of the cost.
 
He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Cor. 5:21.
 
Christ took upon Himself the punishment of sin past, present, and future. Every act of adultery, homosexuality, and murder. Every sin was placed on Him and He became the perfect sacrifice. The Blood of God was shed that day and all creation cried out in horror. Three days later the Easter miracle happened. Christ conquered sin and death. He rose physically from the dead. Sin could not hold Him. Death had no power over Him. Because of this miracle we who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior should have no fear. Sin and death has no power over us. As a worship leader I struggle because there is many beautiful songs written by men that worship our Lord and yet at times none of these songs seems adequate enough to truly express His glory and majesty. My heart wants to burst because there are no words to express my love for Him and the thankfulness I have toward Him for what He’s done for us. I long for that day in Heaven when the song in Revelation 5 is sung. No song written on this earth can compare. We will be singing before the King face to face. Then and only then will the worshipper in me be satisfied.
 
I pray that you would take the time this Easter season to reflect upon all Christ has done for you and thank HIm with everything that is in you.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Maranatha!

Slaying the Giants


This past Sunday morning our pastor spoke on the fact the first time the Israelites came to the promised land they refused to enter as they said there were giants in the land.

And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.  There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:32-33 (NKJV)

Because of this that entire generation except for two, Joshua and Caleb, died out and never saw what God had in store for them. These men believed with all their hearts that They would have been able to take the land. They knew that no matter how big the enemy was that God would help them prevail.

But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.” Number 14:6-9 (NKJV)

How many times have you faced situations in your life that just seemed insurmountable and backed down? How many times have you missed out on promises God gave you just because the odds seemed so against it? I’ve been there and I know the feeling of loss you feel because you didn’t persevere. We let the giants intimidate us into thinking it was impossible. How many churches have failed because they refused to cross over into the blessings and promises God had for them? I know a few of them.

In 1 Samuel 17 we once again see the Israelites cowering from a single giant, Goliath of Gath. As he strutted before Israel he shouted at them’ “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. 1 Samuel 17:10-11 (NKJV)

Have you heard that voice before? Is that it mocking and defying you today? It may sound something like this; "You have cancer and only have six months to live. Put your affairs in order.", "This marriage isn’t working out and I want a divorce!", "You are too old to find a good job or be useful.", "That ministry is just too big for a church our size.", "Since you can’t pay, we’ll have to foreclose."

Maybe the giant you are facing is a loved one away from Christ or rebellious children. Maybe it’s a chronic disease or a drug or alcohol habit. Maybe it’s a person who continually intimidates you. It could be unemployment or debts that you just can’t pay.

Whatever it is, we all face giants in our lives in one form or another. The biggest are the devil and his demons. He will mock and taunt you. He’ll try to make God’s promises  seem small and the problems so big. Many times, sad to say we believe him.

David was a man who was not intimidated by giants. His trust was in God.

Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” 1 Samuel 17:40-44 (NKJV)

When you approach the giants in your life, the first thing the enemy will do is try to make them look bigger and fill you head with doubts. "Look at you! Who do you think you are that you think that you can handle this thing?" You can’t, you’re too young, you don’t have enough experience!" "This thing will kill you!" You might as well give up now, you’ll never defeat this thing or have victory over it."

David’s response I believe surprised Goliath.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.” 

So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.  Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. 1 Samuel 17:45-51 (NKJV)

David defeated the giant because he knew in whose name he stood. He knew that God would steady his aim and make the shot from his sling sure. He stood not in his strength but God’s.

When you as a child of God face an attack from a giant, you are never facing it alone. God is with you. That thing is not a master over you, you in Christ are a master over it. When you stand in the name of the Lord all heaven stands with you. Find your pebbles. Where do you find them? In the word of God. His promises are strong and true. Some of the greatest Christians who ever lived were giant slayers and refused to let the enemy intimidate them. They stood their ground, standing firm on God’s promises, refusing to let fear overtake them and back down from the challenges that were before them. Their trust was wholly in God. They knew the battle was the Lord’s.

What about you? Are you a giant slayer or do you let the enemy intimidate you and like Israel stand around waiting for someone else to take care of it or refuse to step into His promises because it looks to big? I have several giants that I am facing in my life right now. How I respond will determine the path I take. Do I go with God and trust Him or do I look at the giants see how big they are and run for the hills? I want to be known as a giant slayer. A man who stood on the word of God and trusted in Christ no matter what he faced. It is God who fights my battles for me.

Here are 5 smooth pebbles you can use. You can find many, many more but these are examples of some.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (NKJV)

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:3 (NKJV)

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7 (NKJV)