Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day Thirty Monday August 30th, 2010

Day Thirty
Monday August 30th, 2010

A posterity shall serve Him.
It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation,
-Psalm 22:29

I had to look up posterity in the dictionary. It means, “future generations.” God didn’t die on the cross only for the sins of the people who lived before or were living then, He died for my sins, even though I wasn’t to be born for many generations. He died for the sins I have yet to commit (as a Christian). This doesn’t mean I can go and do whatever I want. I still need to stand firm on the Word of the Lord, but if I do fall, I know I have one that comes to the Father on my behalf. I choose to serve Jesus of my own free will, not because He owns me (although He does) but because He loves me. And I Him. And it’s easy to choose to serve the One you love.

Day Twenty-Nine Sunday August 29th, 2010

Day Twenty-Nine
Sunday August 29th, 2010

And all the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship;
All those who go down to the dust
Shall bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep himself alive
-Psalm 22:29

When Jesus reigns on this earth, those who are prosperous, those who have saved up their riches in heaven, will eat and worship God. All those who decided to rebel will be judged and they will bow down before God like a defeated nation to their captor. There is no escape. Either we are on the side of Jesus or we are against Him. I want to be on His side. There are so many reasons to make that decision easy. Jesus is good. He takes care of us and loves us. That should be reason enough but in case you need something to fear, there’s also hell to consider. The natural eternal consequence of our sin is to spend eternity without God and that place is hell. We cannot escape death, and even in death we cannot escape the punishment. Give your life to God and you will escape. The only escape is surrender. Save your soul. The cause is lost. There is more than mercy for those who have surrendered, there is also grace.

Day Twenty-Eight Saturday August 28th, 2010

Day Twenty-Eight
Saturday August 28th, 2010

For the kingdom is the Lord’s,
And He rules over the nations.
-Psalm 22:28

This is prophecy. Jesus often spoke of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God has three parts. The first part is the community of believers. As a believer, I hail Christ as my King and am part of HIs current kingdom on earth. This kingdom is not of land, or even of flesh, but of soul. My soul is His kingdom and it is what He has been fighting for. It is what He had died for. It is what He rose to prove Himself worthy, and it is what He is jealous over. The second part of the Kingdom of God is the millennial reign. He will reign on the Earth for 1,000 years while the devil is cast into the bottomless pit. He will rule with a rod of iron and during that time, no one will be able to resist Him. (Although I will be with Him and I will not want to resist Him.) Then the devil comes out to deceive the nations and they try and fight against God. (And they lose.) The third kingdom is the new heaven and the new earth that He will create. The book of Revelation talks about this one descending from Heaven. This one lasts forever and there will be no more dying nor crying and we will all know as we are known. (There will also be no sun nor moon nor sea. The streets will be made of gold and God Himself will be the light.)
Now as for the current earth and its nations. They all still belong to God. The earth is God’s and so is everything in it. But right now, there are people who do evil with it, like the evil vinedressers in a parable Jesus told, God sends people to collect from them what is expected and they beat and kill them. God will one day repay them with vengeance, but He is waiting. Do you know what for, Wanda? He’s waiting for anyone who would repent to repent. He’s waiting for people to admit that they are evil and ask for forgiveness. He wants to forgive. He is waiting for everyone who will surrender to surrender so that no one would perish who doesn’t have to. He died to make it possible. If you resist God unto death, you resist Him forever. You have no right to ask for mercy. But if you are still alive, His mercy and His grace are already given. You may still repent. It is my prayer that you do. I’m praying for you, Wanda. Repent. Stop resisting His Holy Spirit. Pray to Him and tell Him you’re sorry. Tell Him that you want to live His way and not your own. If you need someone to talk to, let me know. I’ll explain any words you don’t understand and I’ll pray with you. My email address is me@jonathandow.com

Day Twenty-Seven Friday August 27th, 2010

Day Twenty-Seven
Friday August 27th, 2010

All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You
-Psalm 22:27

After the cross, we have victory. Just as sin lost its power on the cross, one day, that victory will be evident to the world. Sin and death will be destroyed and the gates of Hell will be shut forever. Everyone will turn to the Lord and Worship Him together. I long for that day, but until that day comes, there is still work to do. There are still people to tell about Jesus. There is still a fallen world out there that needs a hand up. We need to tell them about Jesus dying on the cross for their sin and His offer of eternal life. How could people resist? They do. One day, it will be too late to make a choice. It will have already been decided. So choose today. There is death and there is life, choose life. (Check out Deuteronomy 30:15.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day Twenty-Six Tuesday August 26th, 2010

Day Twenty-Six
Tuesday August 26th, 2010

The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!
-Psalm 22:26

Have hope. Things will get better. Jesus will restore all things, but for now, have hope. We have reasons to praise the Lord and even though the poor may not currently feast physically, if they have the Lord, they can spiritually feast by getting into His Word. Look at the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Lazarus was comforted in death and not in life. God sees all and comforts those who suffers. And one day is coming when people will stop suffering. It’s not here yet, but soon. Just keep hope.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day Twenty-Five Tuesday August 25th, 2010

Day Twenty-Five
Tuesday August 25th, 2010

My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him
-Psalm 22:25

Do people see you giving praise to God? They shouldn’t see you do it every time you do. You need to have an intimate personal relationship with your Savior. Jesus says that when you pray, go into your room and close the door. (Check out Matthew 6:6) However, that doesn’t mean you should keep God a secret. The Jews were supposed to give light to the world of who God really is. They were supposed to be His ambassadors to the world for His glory. We shouldn’t pray so that others think we’re spiritual, but we should pray so that we can go out and show people who God really is.
Think of yourself as a pitcher in the hands of a waiter. The waiter goes into the back to fill you up with cold refreshing water. Then he takes you out to pour into glasses to be served. When you near empty, He takes you back to get refilled. Let your prayer times be when you get filled and let your times outside your room be when you pour that life giving water out on others. Even Jesus sought time to get alone with the Father. What makes you think that you don’t need to. But when you thank God, thank Him so others know He is worthy to be praised. Let people know that He does answer prayers and He does participate in our daily lives. If you make a promise to God, keep it. But it is better to not promise. The Bible says that we should let our yes be yes and our no be no. (Matthew 5:37)
So now that you are alone, pray that God would fill you up. Then go out and share what you have with others.
Ready… Set… Go!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day Twenty-Four Tuesday August 24th, 2010

Day Twenty-Four
Tuesday August 24th, 2010

For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard
-Psalm 22:24

God sees us when we are afflicted. God does care for us. He may allow something to happen, and that something might be horrible (like Jesus dying on the cross) and He doesn’t get pleasure out of watching us suffer, but He uses it for good. He used the torture and death of His Son Jesus to save us from our sin. He used the Holocaust to gather His people back from all over the world to the land of Israel. Just because we can’t see what He’s doing doesn’t mean He’s doing nothing. A lot of people try to judge God based on very limited information. We can’t judge God because we don’t know everything. Judging before reviewing all the evidence is called pre-judging or prejudice. Do you have a prejudice against God? He knows everything. He knows the beginning from the end. You cannot impose laws on God. He imposes those on Himself and He does stick to them. We have to trust God since He knows everything and we don’t. You can choose to not trust Him if you want, but He will get His way. You can either be on His side or against Him. I know this sounds like God has the opportunity to be selfish and greedy but the only reason we think He is is because that’s what we would be if we were in His position. Every government in the history of man where one guy has all the power has failed because people are corrupt. Every modern government we make is designed to keep one man from having too much power. That’s because men are evil. (Women are too, don’t think you’re getting away with anything, Wanda) But God is good. He is always good and He will always be good. God wanted to be our king because He knows that man is evil. If I had absolute power, I would use it for good… at first… but as I got bored with fixing the problems of the world, I would start to focus on myself. I would become corrupt simply because I cannot handle that type of power until I’m perfected. God can handle that power because He is perfect. He knows when we are suffering and we have to trust that if He hasn’t yet delivered us from it, then He has a better plan.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day Twenty-Three Monday August 23rd, 2010

Day Twenty-Three
Monday August 23rd, 2010

You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
-Psalm 22:23

Do we fear the Lord? Should we fear the Lord? It seems that every time in the Bible that an earthly being has an encounter with a heavenly being, (be it an angel or God) he is afraid. We know this because the heavenly being has to tell that person to not be afraid. I think we should fear the Lord. I think we should be seriously afraid to sin. Maybe the grace that we receive makes us so at ease with the idea of God forgiving us that we forget how bad sin really is. We love it too much. Sin is disgusting and should be disgusting. We should hate it, but we don’t. If sin was as disgusting to us as it is to God, then it wouldn’t be as tempting as it is. It would be like someone coming up to me and saying, “Hey, Jonathan. I just found this rusty dull knife, why don’t you cut your finger off with it. It’ll be fun.” I wouldn’t even be tempted into doing it. But sin is more subtle than that. Sin takes our good Godly desires and entices us to achieve them in a different way. God creates us to be husband and wife, and that’s a good desire. But if someone tries to satisfy that desire outside of marriage, that is fornication, which is sin. God put in us a desire to feel safe, and it’s good to feel safe, but if we have to build walls or bank accounts and we don’t trust that He will protect us, then that’s sin too. If we amass stuff and hoard so we will never feel like we are in need, then we are not trusting God to provide for our needs and that is sin. If we leave the truth through lies or deception to get our way, we are not trusting that God has a better plan and that’s sin too. We are too quick to run to our sin. I don’t think we would run to it as quick if God were standing visibly in our way. It’s like speeding while driving next to a police car. We wouldn’t do it if we knew we were going to get caught, but we play the grace card so we can sin intentionally and not feel so bad about it. I’m not saying grace is bad. I love grace. I just don’t think that thefact that Ihave grace should be any excuse for me to willingly let myself sin. I need to hate sin more and fear God more.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day Twenty-Two Sunday August 22nd, 2010

Day Twenty-Two
Sunday August 22nd, 2010

I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
-Psalm 22:22

Jesus did rise from the dead and declared God the Father to the brethren. We declare God today to each other and to a lost and dying world. We give glory and praise to God no matter where we are. Whether we are in great comfort or great trials… right? That’s what we Christians do… well… that’s what we ought to do. We should praise and declare the Name of the Lord no matter what situation we’re in. No more complaining about school. You’re there. Praise God. No more complaining about work. You’re there, praise God. No matter what assembly you are in the midsts of, you’re there, praise God. We have plenty of examples in the Bible of men who praised no matter the situation. We also have examples of complainers in the Bible. (They died in the wilderness.) Who do you want to be? Praise or complain? I choose Praise!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day Twenty-One Saturday August 21st, 2010

Day Twenty-One
Saturday August 21st, 2010

Save Me from the lion’s mouth
And from the horns of the wild oxen!
You have answered Me
-Psalm 22:21

When we call out for deliverance, God hears and God answered. When the people were slaves in Egypt for 400 years, they cried out to God and He sent Moses to deliver them. They constantly cried out in the wilderness and God met every one of their needs, although He did it His way and not theirs. When the people came into the promised land and loved foreign women and their gods, and they were taken captive, God heard them when they cried out and delivered them from their enemies through the judges. When they cried out asking for a king, God gave them one, and then another, even though He was supposed to be their king. When Solomon asked God to listen when the people cried out towards the temple in Jerusalem, God promised to hear. God hears us and He answers us. He saves us and He delivers us. He did not deliver us to lead a life of comfort and wealth, although a lot of Christians are comfortable and wealthy. He delivered us to be with Him. His home was always heaven. Earth was always just a temporary thing since the fall in Genesis 3. My home is in heaven. Chico (where I am now) is just where I am now. It’s my mission field. I’m here to bring people into a deeper relationship with our Savior. I’m here to extend His hand to the broken and breathe His words to the lost. God saves. He saved me. He can save you. He saves by dying on the cross to pay for our sins. He died in our place. Do you want to be saved? Just call out to Him. He does it. If you need someone to talk to, shoot me an email. Me@jonathandow.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day Twenty Friday August 20th, 2010

Day Twenty
Friday August 20th, 2010

Deliver Me from the sword,
My precious life from the power of the dog.
-Psalm 22:20

Jesus cried out to God on the cross. He said verse one of this Psalm. Before He was arrested and crucified, He cried out in the garden of Gethsemane and asked for the cup to be taken from Him if there was any other way. There isn’t. Here, in this verse, Jesus is given over to the Gentiles to be crucified. The Jews at that time saw the Gentiles as dogs and called them as such. (Probably not to their faces.) Jesus doesn’t get stabbed with a sword (but He does a spear) but He is taken under arrest by them. I think we can focus so much on being delivered from our situation that we forget the greater glory of enduring persecution. Jesus could have come down off the cross, but He endured. What have we endured? Lone lines at the store? Red lights that take forever to change? Our lives really aren’t that bad. I’ve never had to ask God to protect me from getting stabbed or shot. My life has never been in that kind of danger. (That I know of.) Yet still I complain if the air conditioning is too high. It is difficult to be satisfied with salvation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day Nineteen Thursday August 19th, 2010

Day Nineteen
Thursday August 19th, 2010

But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me;
O My Strength, hasten to help Me!
-Psalm 22:19

Jesus refers to the Father as His Strength. He shows us that even in the worst of circumstances, He still can place His trust on the Father. It is still His will that gets done, not ours. I think that’s pretty cool.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day Eighteen Wednesday August 18th, 2010

Day Eighteen
Wednesday August 18th, 2010

They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.
-Psalm 22:18

Mark 15:24 says, “And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.” It’s amazing how accurate prophecy is. Of course I do believe that prophecy must be 100% accurate, but the level of detail is amazing. I know some people who claim to be prophets say stuff like, “I know there is someone in this room who is suffering pain,” or “Someone in this room is having problems with money.” Well… people are always having problems with money or with pain because this world is hard to live in. They generalize and play the odds and are vague enough that someone who wants to believe in what they are saying has something to hope in, but it’s a false hope. It’s a trick. It’s a lie. However, Psalm 22 is so detailed that although it may seem weird at first, once people saw Jesus crucified, it all must have made sense. I imagine it will be like that when the end times come. I don’t expect to be here, but there are many non-Christians who have read and retain knowledge of the book of Revelation who will probably be able to quote it chapter and verse when the end times come. They just never believed. To them it will be abundantly clear that God meant exactly as He said and it will happen. The question I have for you today is this; Do you believe that God’s Word is true before you see it? If you do, you will have no reason to complain or whine because you know that it’s all going to work out in the end and if it isn’t working out, it isn’t the end yet. You have every reason to be optimistic. You have every reason to be joyful and smile in the face of trials and dire circumstances because God is still real. He is still good. He still loves you and His death on the cross still covers Your sin. What’s more is that He knew this was going to happen and prepared a way for you to get through it. It’s like when you go hiking in a national park. It may be hard and strenuous, but the trail is clearly marked and as long as you stay on the path that is in front of you, you have no reason to fear getting lost… that is if you trust the people who made the trail. Trust God in the same way. Don’t complain or whine when things get hard. Do smile and rejoice because you know it’s all going to end well. Journey’s have to be hard to give the end meaning. If your going to tell a story, it’s not interesting unless the main character goes through a change and is somehow better at the end than at the beginning. We love watching those kind of movies and reading those kind of books, but few of us want to be that person. Let God tell your story. Let God show others how He can change you and make you better.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day Seventeen Tuesday August 17th, 2010

Day Seventeen
Tuesday August 17th, 2010

I can count all my bones.
They look and stare at Me.
-Psalm 22:17

Jesus never had a broken bone. I suppose that if He did, He wouldn’t have been an acceptable sacrifice since you were not allowed to sacrifice your lame sheep to God. Also, since He was whipped with the cat of nine tails, He could probably actually see His bones as He hung on the cross. I don’t think the people they put up on the cross were scourged before hand. Usually, the 39 scourges would kill them. (The sentence was always for forty with one removed for “mercy.”) He was probably a spectacle even to those who often passed by people hanging on the cross. So many people seeing this happen and even those who want to do something cannot. I don’t know if I could have watched. Most disciples fled, but John followed and was there at the foot of the cross. It was John’s mother that asked Jesus if John and James could sit on His right and His left when He came into His kingdom. It was John that said He was able to drink from the cup He drank and be baptized with the baptism that He was baptized. I wonder if John thought about that conversation when He looked at Jesus on the cross. I wonder if He looked at the condemned criminals on His right and His left. I wonder if He contemplated the sign that hung above His head that said in three languages, “King of the Jews.” I wonder if John thought at that point that it was all over. The revolution against Rome was dying on the cross in front of his very eyes. But what John didn’t understand (probably) was that Jesus, with His death, was delivering the fatal blow to sin and death itself. This was the point where the battle was won. When Jesus died on the cross, we could claim victory, even though there is still fighting to do.
In a physical war, the heads of state get together to negotiate a surrender. The two politicians don’t duke it out, but they get out their papers and their pens and one surrenders to the other by signing his name. However, that doesn’t mean the fighting has stopped. The soldiers in the trenches are still fighting. The surrender contract includes a cease fire time and date and the fighting continues until the war is officially called off. Part of the reason this happens is that wars are so big, the word of the surrender takes time to get around. So it’s possible that a soldier can die in a war that was officially over, but the fighting hasn’t stopped yet. That’s where we are today. Sin and death have been beaten. Jesus has claimed victory, but we still fight until the appointed day when we get to go home. We can claim the victory in Christ, or we can believe that the war is not yet one. I choose to fight in victory. I choose to stand my ground because I know I’ve already won and I’m just waiting for the other side to get the memo. What about you?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day Sixteen Monday August 16th, 2010

Day Sixteen
Monday August 16th, 2010

For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet.
-Psalm 22:16

The Jews often referred to the Gentiles as dogs. Jesus even did it in Mark 7:27. But of course, this is talking about the death of Jesus on the cross. He was surrounded by the Roman guards who were just about all, if not all, Gentiles. There were some Jews around too, like John and His mother, but there were probably mostly guards. And of course, I don’t have to explain how they pierced His hands and His feet. It’s such a direct correlation to the cross, I don’t need to explain it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day Fifteen Sunday August 15th, 2010

Day Fifteen
Sunday August 15th, 2010

My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And My tongue clings to my jaws;
You have brought me to the dust of death
-Psalm 22:15

When Jesus hung on the cross, and His heart was racing to supply blood and oxygen to HIs body, His mouth would have been extremely dry. All the liquid in His body would have been diverted to keeping the vital organs running as long as possible. He even stated that He thirst from the cross and they put a sponge dipped in sour wine on a stick and raised it to His lips. (John 19:28-29) This verse is a literal description of what it felt like in one’s mouth during crucifixion. It still amazes me the detail Psalm 22 goes into. With all our years of research and knowledge, we can only affirm what the Bible already knows. And on top of that, the fact that the human body takes care of itself to live as long as possible is amazing. The heart knows when to work harder to get oxygen to the brain and when skin gets cut, it heals. White blood cells can recognize and fight disease the liver takes out the poisons that we readily ingest. I have a hard time understanding how anyone who considers the human body can possible believe that it all comes about by chance. Consider muscles. They consist of one function. They can contract. Super simple, but they have memory. You do something enough and it’s like you don’t even have to think about it anymore. I’m currently not looking at the keys when I’m typing because my fingers just remember where they are. Also, they are placed around the bones in such a way to allow a huge range of motion. We are barely able to imitate that in our robots today. It’s all just amazing. God knew what He was doing when He created everything. And I also believe that He knew what He was doing when He died for us on the cross. Even if I can’t understand what He is doing, (like no one understood when He died on the cross) I’m still going to believe that He will work it out for good. It’s what He does.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day Fourteen Saturday August 14th, 2010

Day Fourteen
Saturday August 14th, 2010

I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart melts like wax;
It has melted within Me.
-Psalm 22:14

Jesus hung on the cross. He has emptied Himself of His Godly power to do so. He could have come off the cross at any time. He could have had enough, and left, and let us deal with our sin on our own, but He didn’t. He poured Himself out for us. When He was punctured in the side to see if He was dead, blood and water poured out from His lung. When He was nailed to the cross, His shoulders were dislocated and as He hung, the weight of His body pulled His other bones out of joint. With the body the way it is when it’s on the cross, it’s hard to get a breath. In order to breathe, He would have had to push Himself up on the nail in His feet to get a good deep breath. Otherwise, He could only get shallow quick breaths, which lead to hyperventilation. The heart starts beating really fast to try and get oxygen to the vital organs and literally melts within someone on the cross from working too hard. Jesus went through this for me, because He loves me. He went through it for you, because He loves you. And to top it all off, He knew it was going to happen when He made the world. He knew we would sin, and that our redemption would cost HIm the cross, and He did it anyway. (Keep in mind that this Psalm was written about 1000 years before Christ died on the cross.) If He went through all that for me, what right do I have to ask Him for anything? Well… I’ll tell you. I have the right of a son. I have the right of a child to crawl up into the lap of my Abba Father and ask Him whatever I want. He may say, “no,” but I can still ask. I have that kind of relationship with Him that I can tell Him anything or ask for anything and He will not get upset when I do wrong, because He already paid for it, but He can also tell me anything and ask me to do anything and I don’t get upset at Him. I know that He is God and I trust that He is right, no matter what. Besides, why would I want to get upset at God? Why would I dare? Imagine you find yourself in a minor car accident. It wasn’t your fault. You just got this expensive car and at a stop light, you get rear ended. You might be upset, and you may feel that you have the right to be. You get out of the car and check the damage and it’s horrendous. You may be very angry with the guy who did it, but if that guy is huge and brawny, you will watch the way you talk to him. If that guy gets out of the car with a gun, you would be very careful of what you say. Fear trumps anger. But so many people say such horrible stuff about God and I’m convinced that they wouldn’t dare to say that if they could see Him. I think the fear they would feel would quench their anger. But our God is a merciful God. He takes the abuse and the rejection and the rebellion and He doesn’t immediately distribute justice. He waits for the best time to attempt redemption. He pleads with us to choose Him, because He knows the alternative, but we can’t see it. We have to take His word that it’s bad. There are a lot of things I can’t see. I can’t see God, but I trust Him. I can’t see Hell, but I don’t want to go there. I can’t see Heaven, but I know I’ll like it. I take it on faith. I take Him on faith. I am fearful of Him because He is bigger than anyone and more dangerous to His enemies than any gun. In whatever anger I may conjure up in my life or whatever rights I feel have been violated, I cannot bring up an accusation against my God. I fear Him too much. Also, I know that He is good and I trust that He is doing something good even if it all looks bad to me. But it’s mostly the fear thing. There are people in this world that I would be a fool to start a fight with. But I have a better chance in a fist fight against anyone on earth than fighting against God. I don’t think we can conceive of His power and might. But on the same spectrum. I don’t think we really can conceive of His mercy and grace either. That He would love me so much to go to the cross. The more I learn about what He went through, the more I don’t think I’m worthy of Him dying for me. But He did. And I am thankful. Thank you Jesus.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day Thirteen Friday August 13th, 2010

Day Thirteen
Friday August 13th, 2010

They gape at Me with their mouths,
Like a raging and roaring lion
-Psalm 22:13

Sometimes, when we share Jesus with people, they get offended. Sometimes, it’s our fault for being rash or saying things rudely, but other times, it’s because they are truly offended at Jesus. People who are doing wrong and know they are doing wrong don’t want to be told that they are doing wrong. They try and make up reasons on why they were born that way or why they have to do what they do. They try to justify their sin and proclaim it someone else’s fault that they are not perfect. Still, it does not change the fact that they aren’t perfect. A lot of cults are based on this. The blame has been placed on everyone from past lives to hollywood to technology to aliens. Children blame their shortcomings on their parents and their upbringing and parents blame their lack of sanity on their children. I understand that bad situation don’t help things get better, but at some point, everyone is going to have to stand up and own to their own sin. Christians have done this. A Christian has admitted (confessed) that he or she is a sinner and have sinned against the Holy God. We know we deserve death and we ask for forgiveness from the only one who can. And I agree that Jesus is offensive. The reason that we don’t like to hear the word, “repent” is because we don’t want to believe that we have something to repent of. We want to see ourselves as perfect, needing nothing. However, the irony is that we only need nothing when we trust God for everything. I gladly confess my shortcomings and even admit that my longcomings are not long enough. Whatever I am good at, it’s not good enough to give to God. I can only give Him a perfect gift and I cannot, as an imperfect creation, create one myself. All I can do is hand back the gift that God has given me. I can love Him back. And as a large amount of water can wash away a little bit of dirt, I know God can make me clean. The enemy of God may gape. He may rage and roar like a lion, but I know my God is for me. I know I am for Him. What have I to fear? So I share Jesus with people. I share His Word, His Truth, His Love. If people are going to be offended, I wish to live my life and speak in such a way that they are offended because they refuse Jesus, and not because I’m abrupt or rude. How about you?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day Twelve Thursday August 12th, 2010

Day Twelve
Thursday August 12th, 2010

Many bulls have surrounded Me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.
-Psalm 22:12

Bashan was a kingdom that existed in the mountains east of the Jordan. It was famous for it’s oaks and for the giants who lived there. Og was their king. When Israel was in the wilderness and getting closer to the promise land, Og decided to march out against them. He lost. Bashan is mentioned 60 times in the Old Testament. Almost every time it is listed, it is referring to the victory of the Lord over them. This verse is one of the few metaphorical mentions. The other metaphorical mentions talk of bringing Israel back to Israel (It was settled by Manasseh after the victory as one of the tribes east of the Jordan) and as a hiding place for the enemies of God (my guess is that they are going to hide there and ask the rocks to fall on them). As a territory east of the Jordan, it also represents a compromise in the Word of God, which instructed the Israelites to claim the territory west of the Jordan. It surprises me that God sometimes honors our compromises. He lets us get away with disobedience for a time, but eventually, we will realize that the compromises we make weaken us and comes against us in the end. The tribes east of the Jordan were the first ones conquered when the Assyrians attacked. In fact, they were often the battle ground against the Assyrians. Even though we may get away with compromise in out lives today, we shouldn’t be fooled. We never get away with only partly following the Word of God. He may not strike us down right away like He did to Ananias and Sapphira. (Acts 15) He may let us live there for generations like He did to Manasseh, Gad, and Reuben. (who all staked their territory on the East side of the Jordan) but if we compromise and settle for good enough, we will never see great. We will always struggle to maintain good enough. Those who live closest to the edge are the most endanger of falling off.
Consider you are in a river. Your boat has sunk, and you found a branch to hold onto. You can flop yourself on the branch so you are no longer sinking. Who, in that situation, would think that is good enough? You would only cling to the branch until an opportunity comes that you can make it to shore. But some people in this world think that whatever they have with God is good enough. They’ll just float down the river of life a little longer hanging onto the floating brach they found. What they don’t know is that there is a waterfall down river. What they don’t notice is that the current is quickening. What they don’t realize is that a branch, separated from the rest of the tree, will not save them. It is as if they are only interested in winning the battle against Bashon, and not the war. The inhabitants of the Holy Land were never fully driven out. This mistake has hurt Israel again and again. What compromises in your life will hurt you if left as they are? We all have some housecleaning to do. Get rid of it, before it grows and bites you. It always starts as a small temptation that you think you can handle, but it grows. Check out James 1:14-15.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day Eleven Wednesday August 11th, 2010

Day Eleven
Wednesday August 11th, 2010

Be not far from Me,
For trouble is near;
For there is none to help
-Psalm 22:11

Even though this isn’t one of Jesus’ recorded cries from the cross, I can see how He might be thinking it. It was the only time of separation from the Father. He is surrounded by his murderers and soldiers and HIs disciples are powerless to help. However, He must have kept in mind that He was going to rise again and that His death would provide life for us all.
Sometimes I feel this way, as if the dark powers that be crowd around me and instead of my sinful flesh being nailed to the cross, it’s my spirit that’s there with my flesh crying out for me to come down. I’m tempted to take my own will and put it to action instead of trusting in the will of the Father. And at those times, it’s hard. I feel separated from God, even though I know that feeling to be false. I know that God will never leave me. I know there is nothing that can separate me from my God, but the feeling is still there. That must be what it’s like to be on drugs and see things that aren’t there and you have to trust your memory of the truth. I know that God is there when I can’t feel Him because I remember that He said so. I know that God is good when things are going bad for me because I remember that He said that He is. I trust what I know about God more than what I can see with my eyes, hear with my ears, or feel with my emotions (especially that one) and noting will convince me otherwise. It is the birth of hope in my life and the conduit of the love of God to flow through me. The Holy Spirit is my Helper. I will trust in Him. It’s my choice of where I place my trust and no one can take that choice away from me. It’s the only real God-given right out there. Not even Satan can strip that from me. The battle that wages on in my body is over that choice, trying to sway me to choose God or anything else. I choose God.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day Ten Tuesday August 10th, 2010

Day Ten
Tuesday August 10th, 2010

I was cast upon You from birth.
From My mother’s womb
You have been My God
-Psalm 22:10

Jesus, being perfect, was perfect from HIs birth. He was not born out of sin like everyone else. Perhaps this means that the sin of man is inherited through the father. I’m not sure about that one. I’ll have to see if I can back up that theory from Scripture. Anyway, we know that Jesus was perfect from birth. We know that up until He was on the cross, He was never separated from the Father. I wish I could enjoy such a close relationship. I know I will, but as long as I’m in this sinful body, there is a battle. I suppose Jesus had to battle as well. He was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and endure more temptation than I have or than I could handle. I should stop complaining. I do believe this verse speaks unto the perfection and sinlessness of Christ. Again, this was written about 1,000 years before He came upon the earth to die for our sins and again, it’s spot on. 1 Peter 3:8 says “that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day Nine Monday August 9th, 2010

Day Nine
Monday August 9th, 2010

But You are He who took Me out of the womb;
You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.
-Psalm 22:9

Contrast this with Psalm 139:13 which says, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 22 is not praising God the Father for being created, because Jesus was born, but He wasn’t created. He always was. He was taken from the womb of Mary and He did nurse, and it is with her milk that He trusted the Father. Okay, this is getting a little weird to talk about so I’ll just leave it at that for today, but I challenge you to consider that Jesus was not made. He just is. We are made. We are created beings.The angels are created beings. Satan is a created being. Jesus is not. He is not a brother of Satan or an angel or just a man (although He was a man, but not just a man), because those are all created beings. Jesus is and He always was.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Day Eight Sunday August 8th, 2010

Day Eight
Sunday August 8th, 2010

“He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”
-Psalm 22:8

This is what the people said to Jesus to mock Him. Maybe if this was happening today, the people would have called themselves scientists and were scientifically testing the claims of Jesus. However, their hypothesis would be wrong. If they were expecting Jesus to come down off that cross as a sign that He really is God, they would have been mistaken and when He died on the cross, they would have probably concluded that Jesus isn’t God.
The fact is that you can’t scientifically prove Jesus is God. If you could, there would be no cause for faith. But God always reacts in a way in which you didn’t expect. He’s full of surprises. He likes to work in different ways and there is no pattern and no formula. He wants you to trust Him. If you must test Him, and I don’t recommend it, lay out the parameters of the test and if God does what you say He would do if He were real, then believe Him the rest of your life and never test Him again. Otherwise, the “I’ll believe in You if You do this one thing” would be a lie on your end and God knows when you’re lying. Also, God is God and your not, and He may not do what you tell Him to do. I am in charge of kids a lot, and I don’t mind listening to them or taking suggestions, but when one of them starts bossing me around, I won’t do it. I’m in charge, not the kid. Even if I wanted to do it in the first place, because I love and care for them and wanted to bless them, I can’t do it when they are being bossy. It teaches them to be bossy, and I care more about their character then them being happy. I believe that God is the same way. I think He cares more about your character than you being happy. I’m using “I think” in this section because I can’t recall any scriptures to back it up, but I’m confident that I know the will of God on this issue. Feel free to show me verses to back me up or prove me wrong.
But in this verse, they are not testing Him, but mocking Him. “If He is from God,” they say, “then why isn’t God rescuing Him?” What they don’t know is that Jesus needed to die for the very sins they were in the middle of committing. It is fitting that on the cross, Jesus asks the Father to forgive them. Can you forgive someone for killing you while they were in the act of killing you? Especially after they beat you and whipped you and humiliated you and mocked you the entire time? I don’t think I could.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Day Seven Saturday August 7th, 2010

Day Seven
Saturday August 7th, 2010

All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
-Psalm 22:7

Hmm… tomorrow’s verse is cool because it’s prophecy of what was said. This one is too, since they did ridicule Jesus. (Matthew 26:67-68, 27:29-31, 27:39-44, Mark 14:65, 15:17-20, 15:29-32, Luke 22:63,-65, 23:11, 23:35-37, 23:39, John 19:1-4) I don’t live a life sold out enough for Jesus that people ridicule me. Either that or I don’t enter the world enough to show it. I used to get ridiculed for it in college, and it was an honor to be thought of in that way because they thought of Jesus the same way. I think I haven’t gotten it lately because it doesn’t drive me away from Jesus, but closer to Him. I think my flesh and the enemy of my soul would rather try to get at me through comfort. If I’m not on the front line, I’ll get lazy and complacent. However, the Job God has given me for this season is to build up those who will go on the front line. To equip them for every good work and declare to them the council of God. I’m talking about our children and our teens, who will be going back to school soon and they will be ridiculed if they show Jesus. (Chances are that they’ll be ridiculed anyway, but if people are going to make fun of you, you might as well make it worth the trouble.) If you get ridiculed for being a Christian, I have two verses for you. Acts 5:41 says, “So they departed from the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name,” And Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” So first rejoice that you suffer for Christ and then realize that whatever the suffering, it’s not even worthy to compare it to what you’re going to receive in heaven. So you get a little persecuted. You knew it was going to happen. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it. Each scar you receive from your suffering is a badge of honor in the kingdom of Heaven. When Jesus rose again, notice that He kept the holes in his hands, feet, and side.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Day Six Friday August 6th, 2010

Day Six
Friday August 6th, 2010

But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
-Psalm 22:6

Can we find hope in the humility of Christ? He, who is in His very nature, God, lowered Himself to death on the cross, and considers Himself a worm. As should I. There are times when I don’t feel worthy to be called a man, nevertheless a man of God. There are times when fear overpowers me. But even though I have failed, my Christ is victorious. He died on the cross. He was a reproach of men and He was despised by the people so I could stand. And if I follow, I may also be reproached and despised, but I will stand. I may be a worm and no man. I may be the butt of jokes or the object of the cruelty of others, but I will stand. I stand on the fact that Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead. There is no amount of conversation that can cause me to sway from that. No amount of “evidence” seen or rumors heard that can dissuade me. If I be wrong on this, then I‘ll be wrong to my death. You may call me closed minded or stubborn or a fool, but I know that Jesus died for my sins and I know that He redeems me by His blood. My feet are firmly planted and although the winds may blow and the waves may try to overtake me, I will not move from this spot.
Now the reason I am planted here is not by my own cunning. It is His goodness and His mercy that drew me here and His grace that keeps me. It is His promise and His hand that hold me and it is His strength by which I stand. I admit too that I am a worm, and no man. I can’t do this on my own. I firmly believe because He really died for me and rose again. If He does nothing else for me my whole life, and everything is completely miserable, isn’t His grace sufficient? Shouldn’t I just be happy that I’m going to go to heaven and be with Him forever? Why is it that the joy we had at our salvation fades like the glow on the face of Moses? Why must we constantly ask for a sign or a word from Him to believe that He’s there and He cares? Why isn’t His written Word enough for us?
I say we live a new kind of life. I say we live as if it is enough. I say we live out the joy or our salvation until the day we are delivered from these bodies of sin. If He never speaks to us again or performs another miracle in our presence, let’s live for Him anyways. Let’s pray even if it seems our prayers fall on deaf ears and let’s believe that He hears. Let’s sing songs of Worship as if He is there with us because we know, from His written Word that He is. Let us hope that even though the world around us is plagued with evil that we will be saved and delivered like Goshen was in Egypt. Let’s live our lives fully to God, expecting nothing in return, because we were already given the promise of salvation, and one day, maybe today, He will come to collect us. We don’t know when that’s coming, or if it’s coming through death or rapture, but we know He’s coming. And when He comes, let’s live our lives in a way that would allow Him to tell us that we didn’t falter when things looked bad. We didn’t give up when He didn’t answer our prayers the way we wanted Him to. We decided to trust in Him no matter what that means for us. We can be heros of the faith if we would just humble ourselves in the flesh. We can be the ones that God brags about to Satan when Satan thinks that we only love God because of the blessings. Job was tested. He was tried. And in the end, He had an encounter with the almighty God. He got educated by the Creator Himself.
Don’t be afraid to ask for patience or humility from God. You need them. Don’t be afraid of hard times or dry times or trials or tribulations or persecutions. You need them too. God refines by fire. If you haven’t been in the fire lately, God’s got one ready for you. We, as Americans, (and the rest of the world may have this problem too, but I know we Americans do,) are idolaters, giving ourselves to the gods of comfort and entertainment. We must run the ac in the summer and heat in the winter. We can’t stand it when the temperature is 20 degrees from room temperature. We must always have an iPod playing music because we can’t stand the sound of silence. We must have a tv and watch shows and movies because we can’t stand having nothing to do. I say stand. Boredom only comes to those who think they are better than the tasks that God lays before them. Comfort is dangerous and leads more into sin than opposition.
If I were the devil, (which I’m not) and I wanted to get you to sin, (which I don’t) all I would do is provide you with everything you need and give you a few things you want so you don’t want anything anymore and let your own desires lead you astray. Did you know that God did not make us to be lazy? God made us to strive, to work, to pursue, to race. And we are supposed to strive after Him, do His work, pursue His righteousness, and race toward the goal to win the prize. A crown that we can throw at the feet of Jesus saying, “I did this for You. You earned this, not me.” But when we feel like we’ve got everything we need, we no longer chase, and the chase is what gives us pleasure. We live for it. We love it. That’s why people seem happy when they are chasing, even after wrong things. They think that a particular woman or so much money or this video game or that level or job or status will satisfy, and it doesn’t. So they have to find something else to chase after or they are miserable: a drug, a lifestyle, a rebellion, a cause. We are meant to fight for something. To claim something as right and true and stand in the face of opposition. That is the thrill of life and God put that in us. But He wants that cause to be Him. Otherwise it’s not worth it. You’re either going to die for a cause or without one. Choose to die for the right one. But before you die for it, live for it. If you choose to live and die to save the trees and the rain-forests, they will eventually burn and you will have died in vain. If you want to save the whales, they will eventually die, and you will have died in vain. Live and die for Christ. He will last forever. There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth and the oceans will be taken away. Night will be taken away, but there will be Jesus. And there will be me. I will be there because I choose to live and die for Him. I want you to be there with me. What’s stopping you?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Day Five Thursday August 5th, 2010

Day Five
Thursday August 5th, 2010

They cried to You and were delivered;
They trusted in You and were not ashamed
-Psalm 22:5

God did deliver His people and God does deliver us. If I trust in the Lord, I shall not be ashamed. Jesus took my shame and bore it on the cross. If I am to be ashamed of anything, it will be the times when I did not trust in Him and did not wait for Him to deliver me. If I think I can do things on my own or get out of a situation by my own cunning, I’m missing out of the glory and the power of God. What would God have done for Jacob if he did not contrive less that honorable ways to get the birthright and the blessing from his brother Esau? God had already promised him. Maybe it would be like his son Joseph, who was also promised power and promised, but found himself being sold into slavery by his brothers. But God made him 2nd in command in Egypt and brought salvation to the known world through the planning and preparation of Joseph. Even when he was accused, Joseph was not ashamed because he did nothing to be ashamed of. The world today is trying to shame believers into going along with everyone else. They are trying to shame us into calling something good that God calls evil. If we trust in God, we will not be ashamed on the day of judgement.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Day Four Wednesday August 4th, 2010

Day Four
Wednesday August 4th, 2010

Our fathers trusted in You;
They trusted, and You delivered them.
-Psalm 22:4

The fathers of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, did trust in the Lord… most of the time. But every time they cried out the Lord for deliverance, He delivered them. Even when they didn’t cry out, like Abraham in Egypt, He still delivered them. And the people of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt. They were delivered through the wilderness. They were saved from enemies as they came into the promise land and they were able to overcome those inhabitants who were already there. During the time of the judges, they were delivered over and over again, as they kept falling into sin by not keeping the commandments of God after accepting His salvation. They were delivered from captivity in Persia, from the hand of Haman, from the people in the land during the rebuilding of the temple, and throughout history, God has kept a remnant of them alive and prosperous. They have survived every attempt at extermination, including, but not limited to, the Spanish inquisition and the Holocaust. God has preserved them and brought them back into their own land. God has delivered them from the hand of their enemies and He has plans for them to share His Word in the last days. He will not let them be extinguished. If you stand against the Jews, you will fall. They are still the chosen people of God, even though most of them have rejected His only Son. God still loves them, and He still keeps them. If any punishing is going to happen, God’s going to be the one that does it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Day Three Tuesday August 3rd, 2010

Day Three
Tuesday August 3rd, 2010

But You are holy,
Enthroned in praises of Israel.
-Psalm 22:3

God is holy. He is not like any other, and He chose the people of Israel to be His home. However, the people of Israel did not follow His commandment and traded their righteousness for sorrows. No people have been persecuted throughout time like the Jews. No people have survived such persecution either. And I’m sorry to say that their time of persecution and their time of sorrow is not yet over. But even though the scepter of righteousness has passed from their hands to the Gentiles, they are not forgotten. God still claims them as His people and He is bringing them back into the promised land. One day soon, He will reveal Himself to them and will be on the throne in Jerusalem. But until Israel will praise Him again, we will. God will receive praise from my lips. The rocks may keep silent for now, because I will lift up my voice in praise to my King.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Day Two Monday August 2nd, 2010

Day Two
Monday August 2nd, 2010

O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear
And in the night season, and am not silent
-Psalm 22:2

Jesus cried out to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane three times to let the cup pass before Him, but not His will (Jesus) but the Father’s be done. (Luke 22:42) This is the only request of Jesus that the Father did not grant. He did not interfere with the torture that Jesus endured nor the mocking nor the false trials. Jesus cried out when He was beaten and nailed to the cross and the Father did nothing. Of course we know why. The Father did not hear the cries of His only begotten Son because He placed the judgement that we deserve on Jesus. When I cry out to God, I don’t deserve to be heard. When the Hebrews cried out in the wilderness for meat or in the promise land for a king, they did not deserve to be heard. But He heard anyway. He promised Solomon that when the people repented and looked toward the temple, that He would hear. And the only reason that He could hear and dispense mercy was because He didn’t hear Jesus on the cross. Otherwise, He would have been an unfair judge by not punishing evil. But He has punished my evil. He laid the full sentence on His only Son, so that I may be free. I cry out to Him in the daytime and in the night season, I am not silent, but God hears me, and that is all because He did not hear His Son on the cross. He did not rescue Him so He could rescue me.
Thank You Jesus. I could not have born the punishment I deserve.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Day One Sunday August 1st, 2010

Day One
Sunday August 1st, 2010

To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Deer of the Dawn.” A Psalm of David.
My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?
Why are you so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
-Psalm 22:1

Psalm 22 is a wonderful Psalm. It is prophetic of Jesus’ crucifixion. I wonder what David was thinking when he wrote it. The torturous death that David describes in detail had not yet been invented. However, David didn’t only write this Psalm, he set it to music. I don’t know what “Deer of the Dawn” sounded like, but I’m sure I would like to hear it.
Of course the first verse of this Psalm is famous, since it is quoted by Jesus on the cross at the ninth hour. (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34) Perhaps this was to draw the attention of whoever was there to the Psalm they learned as children. Just the first line alone is troubling. Who has God forsaken? Who is God far from helping and who’s groaning words does God ignore? Is God not known for coming to the rescue of His people? Did He not send Moses back to free people as they groaned under slavery in Egypt? Did He not stay with them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night in the wilderness? Did He not feed them manna for which they neither toiled nor reaped, but simply gathered every morning? Did God not rescue His people time after time in the book of Judges when they followed false idols and played the harlot with false gods? Did He not bring them back from captivity and restore the temple through Nehemiah and did He not bring forth the Messiah, just as He promised? My God does all these things, and even the evil have not been forsaken. I know because I was one. So was Saul who became Paul. The only One that God forsook was His one and only Son. The only One that He didn’t help was Jesus off the cross. The only groaning He ignored was the cry of Jesus as He was beaten for my sin. David sang this in song, and I wonder if Jesus sang this with His disciples when they sang a hymn. (Matthew 26:30) Jesus lived this Psalm out. I read it in awe of what Jesus did for me, and in awe of the prophetic Word of God.

For the Month of August

Here is my next personal challenge. You are welcome to hold me to it. Since August has 31 days and Psalm 22 has 31 verses, I hereby challenge myself to write about a verse every day. You, as the reader, are hereby known as Wanda (still) and your challenge is to let me know if you notice me skip a day. (Please keep in mind that I stay up late and will most likely be writing after midnight, so it may not show up for you until the next morning.) Any questions?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Day Thirty-One Saturday July 31st, 2010

Day Thirty-One
Saturday July 31st, 2010

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself
-2 Timothy 2:13

Jesus is faithful. He does not require us to be faithful first. He doesn’t even require us to remain faithful. He is faithful. His promises to us are guaranteed. When He passed around the cup of the covenant to the disciples, He did not drink because He wasn’t accepting their pledge of faithfulness, but giving His. I need to remember that. I’ve fallen so many times and I apologize to God so much. It’s easy for me to think that I don’t deserve His mercy and grace and the truth is that I don’t. But what I forget is that I never did deserve it. It was always mercy and grace. If I deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy and grace, but just my wages, and the wages of sin is death. (Romans 3:23) He is faithful, even when I’m faithless, or maybe I should say… especially when I am faithless. But that’s when I need Him to be faithful the most.
Let me explain it this way. Let’s pretend that I have a friend named Fred. Fred is a good friend and is nice to me and we get long just fine. We treat each other well. (Some friends just sit around and make fun of each other all day and they think it’s fun. I wouldn’t.) Now one day, when I’ve been having an extremely bad day, I take it all out on poor Fred. I have been living in the flesh and got cut off in traffic. Maybe I just got laid off or yelled at or maybe I tried to argue someone into the Kingdom of Christ and they won the argument and I was kicking myself for losing. Fred comes by and tells me that I can’t argue anyone into the kingdom and I take it as an insult when it is supposed to be a correction. I blow up and say mean things about Fred, stomp and slam the door on my way out. If Fred is a faithful friend, we would still be friends. He would wait until all that emotion is out of my system and then come to me to try and reconcile our friendship. Once I say that I’m sorry, he would act like it never happened and as a result, our friendship would deepen. Well… that’s what Jesus does. He reconciles our relationship and forgets about every time I do something against Him. If Fred was not a good friend, he would figure that I didn’t want to be friends anymore and considered our friendship over. Jesus never does that. If there is still breath in our bodies, He is seeking a relationship with us. And if I, who is already a Christian, ever backslide, (which I hope will never happen,) then Jesus will always be waiting for me to realize how wrong I was and come back to Him. (Check out Luke 15)
Now about the line, He cannot deny Himself. We all know that when we accept Christ and we become Christians, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in our hearts. (Check out Ephesians 3:16-17) Well, God is truly three persons, but one God. If the Holy Spirit is in us, and the Holy Spirit and Jesus are One, then Jesus cannot oppose Himself. He Himself says that a house divided against itself cannot stand. (Matthew 12:25) That is also why that we know if the Holy Spirit tells us anything, it is going to agree with the Bible. We know that He will always agree with Himself. Also, we know that the Bible will always agree with itself so if we get confused by a passage, we can look up other passages on the same subject for a better understanding. There’s also the context and the original language to consider. I believe that anyone who has the Holy Spirit can read the Bible and understand it without needing someone to teach it to him or her. The Holy Spirit teaches. However, I still believe that we should have teachers, (at least until we get to heaven,) because God seems to like using them. It is good for us to serve each other in the way of teaching the Word. Also, there are people who don’t know what the Holy Spirit sounds like even though the bible says that the sheep know the shepherd’s voice. (John 10:4) They are maybe new Christians who don’t quite understand that God speaks to people individually. (Like Samuel in 1 Samuel 3) I like to go and hear how God has moved on these Pastor’s hearts and hear what He told them. They bring a new light to the Word that I haven’t thought of before. I’m not wrong in the way I look at it, but they look at it through the eyes of their experience with God and their experience with the world and I don’t always see it that way. I can learn to avoid a lot of troubles by hearing what they went through and I can learn to follow God more closely when I hear how they follow God. We don’t need teachers, but if anyone thinks that they are too good to sit through a teacher (even a particular teacher) then they need the teaching the most. They are being faithless to the calling of humility that God places on our lives. We are to be gentle lowly creatures, Wanda. We are to lay down our pride and self image and pick up our crosses. My cross isn’t a small golden one on a chain around my neck, but a rugged backbreaking wooden one that gives me splinters. My cross is the cares and prayers of those around me. My cross is the pain that comes when people reject my savior. My cross hurts, but I am called to carry it. But even if I put it down for a moment to “rest,” Jesus is faithful to remind me that I need to carry it. I shouldn’t try to rest from the burdens I carry, but like Simon helped Jesus bear His cross, He’ll help me bear mine. If I grow weary and drop the cross, He will pick me up and put me on it and carry both me and the cross until I’m ready to help again. This is nothing for God. It’s everything for me. But it means so much to Jesus that I do this. And it’s because of the love I have for Him that I obey. I need to leave my selfishness behind. The cross is already heavy enough without me adding more to it.
This is that last day of my personal challenge. I haven’t decided whether or not to continue this into August. It’s been a tremendous blessing to me. I cannot be certain that it has blessed you, Wanda. I was thinking of continuing without asking for accountability, but I already know that I’m faithless, and I would stop. So the question is whether I should just stop, or try to continue and have you help me by keeping me accountable. I’ll pray and sleep on it.