Sunday, April 18, 2010

Are We Limiting God?

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel." Psalm 78:41

I challenge you to read the entire Psalm 78, or at least from verse one through verse 42. When you do, you'll see the familiar pattern of Israel which is that of receiving God's blessings, forgetting him, getting into trouble, then calling on him for help. Being a merciful God, he obliges and brings them out of trouble. Doesn't that sound like us? We receive God's blessing, then we get a little lax or cold, we get into trouble, we call on God, and in his mercy brings us out. I can think of this happening through my Christian life several times. No, I didn't go out into sin, but just got cold and careless about my relationship with him and didn't care if I felt his love and spirit or not, so long as I was doing my duty. But, what we don't realize is, when we act like this, we are limiting God. We are keeping the power of God from moving through our lives and we are also allowing sin to grow in our communities and country. " Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Ecclesiastes 8:11 Men are not judged today in "Christian" America because of lack of power in the church. God is unable to move through the church for deliverance of souls from hell, sickness, demon possession, because of our "limiting God." You may say, God can do anything he wants. Yes, he can but he has made the church and those who are a part of his church his tools for witnessing and vessels of the Holy Ghost for healing and the other gifts of the spirit, and demonic deliverance.

The first thing we see is that Israel "turned back." The backslid or looked back from where they came. They had their hearts set in Egypt which is the world. "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:" Numbers 11:5 We turn back when we get our eyes on the world and forget the battle we are in. We get immersed in worldly things and turn back and lose sight of Christ. While we must work and live in this world, we must keep in Christ and know that he is first. " No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." 1 Timothy 2:4


They then tempted God. They once asked, "Is God among us or not?" Usually, coldness sets in then lack of trust. " I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Galatians 2:21 The Galatians were turning back and began to turn again to the works of the law instead of grace. When we get cold, we get ritualistic and tend to do things just for duty's sake. Don't get me wrong, sometimes there is an oppression and we don't always feel the Holy Ghost so there are times that we just go forward, not on feelings but just because we know we need to. However, after a while victory should come and we should be able to break through that oppression by the power of his spirit.


The last thing is that, after looking back and getting cold and tempting God, they limited his power and work. This is what is happening in the church today and in many lives of professing Christians. But this is not the time to back up on God. Our nation is in trouble and the world is reeling. Christ's return is soon and we know not the day or hour. Now is the time for revival in the church that we can have revival in America! Let's not limit God but let him use us as willing vessels!


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Why Seek Ye The Living Among The Dead?

"And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?"

As they did then, they do now, try to find the living Christ where dead men were. The women who came to the grave in order to finish the work that they had begun before the Sabbath did not fully understand that he was to rise again, or if they did understand it, they were like Martha was with Lazarus in that his resurrection would be sometime afar off. Or, they may have even been like most of his followers, including his disciples who thought that he would immediately establish his kingdom upon the earth and that the prophesies regarding him as reigning king with Jerusalem being the capitol would be fulfilled immediately. But somehow things didn't work out that way and now they were trying to find him so they could finish their work. Can anyone really blame them for their actions as they hadn't read the book so they didn't know the outcome yet.


But do we have an excuse today? Do we still seek Jesus among the dead? Christ is alive but how can we find him amongst a dead congregation and preacher who has no life, no unction, no fire, and no zeal for God. How can we find him among a group of people who do not hold up his Living Word as the word of life and take it as his literal word to mankind yet have replaced it with fables and cunning socialistic dogma and rhetoric. How can we find him when we look for him gospel groups that play, act, and look so much like the world that one can neither understand what they are singing or saying, nor can anyone, without some effort, identify that they are supposed to be "Christian." How can we find him when we look for him in places that we know he deplores.

It is recorded in the scripture that Christ appeared at least ten times after his resurrection. Here they are:

(1) To the women at the grave -Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.


(2) To Mary Magdalene - John 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.


(3) To Simon Peter - Luke 24:34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.


(4) To the two going to Emmaus; in Luke 24: 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.


(5) To the apostles, except Thomas; in Luke, John [and Mark].--These five appearances were on the day of the resurrection, and at or near Jerusalem.


(6) To the apostles, including Thomas, a week later at Jerusalem - John 20: 26 ¶ And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.


(7) To seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee - John 21


(8) To the apostles, and probably at the same time to above five hundred brethren, on a mountain in Galilee - Matthew 28: 16 ¶ Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 1Cor. 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.


(9) To James - 1Cor. 15: 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.


(10) To the apostles, just before the ascension; in Luke and Acts 1: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:


So, since we know without a shadow of a doubt that he is the God of the living and not of the dead, shouldn't we seek him among the living? It's time to come alive and live for Him! Get truly saved and be born again and then filled with the Holy Ghost! This is not the day to back off but to go forward for him. He's soon coming back and when he does, will he find faith on the earth? "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8b