Where is God?

Where is God?

Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people—where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock?  Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them . . .  (Isa 63:11 NIV)

. . . just as I promised your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt. Don’t worry. My Spirit is right here with you.  (Hag 2:5 CEV)

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.  (Zech 4:6 ESV)

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Heb 13:5 NKJV)

For all of us who wonder, “Where is God?”  The Scriptures have given us answers as we can see from the passages shown above.

The Lord, who created us in His own image, has promised that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.  In the midst of sorrow, pain, and challenging circumstances, meditate upon these Bible passages. 

When we fancy that God is far from us, and is not moving in any way to help us—we must realize that we are mistaken.  We are in too much pain or in too much worry to see the truth.  The enemy of our souls will do everything within his power to prevent us from seeing the truth—that God is with us at all times. 

God is supplying His grace and His mercy to whatever our situation is.  He is operating in the spiritual, unseen realms to bring us to His victory:  for which Jesus has already paid the complete price.

Meditate upon the stripes that Jesus bore; the painful crown of thorns that were beat into His head by Roman soldiers; the cross that He carried for miles; and the ignominious death that He suffered all for you and for me.  After Jesus’ death, the mighty power of the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead, and carried Him to the right hand of God in heaven. 

Jesus fulfilled His destiny, so that all human beings would be able to have a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord.  He has promised He is with us to the end of the age.  (Mt 28:20) Oh, joy!

In Green Pastures

In Green Pastures

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  (Ps 23:1-3)

This passage of Scripture is addressing the truth that God is our shepherd and He gives us His special and all-encompassing rest.  What does God’s kind of rest really look like for mankind?

First of all, verse two says that He MAKES us lie down in green pastures.  In other words, the Lord in His mercy commands us to rest (Ex 23:12; 34:21); and then He creates an atmosphere where we may rest completely and utterly in perfect safety.  How does He do that?  Psalm 23:1-3 shows us.

First of all, the Lord leads us to green pastures with grass as far as the eye can see and these pastures are situated beside quiet, peaceful waters.  The Shepherd is right there watching over us to protect us.  This image of abundant grass is selected by God to convey the concept of provision for our souls as well as our bodies—through His love and goodness.  That is easily believed because God opens His hand and fills all living things with abundance according to Psalm 145:16.  One of God’s titles is Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider.  (Gen 22:13-14)

The peaceful waters to which the Lord leads us are quiet and gentle waters that induce us to relax and to rest.  God provides for His people, not just food and rest, but refreshment and pleasure. (Ex 31:17; Ps 16:11; Jer 31:25; Phile 1:7; 1 Cor 10:4)   

The Word actually says that God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants!  (Ps 35:27)  Glory to God!

When God supplies for your every need (spiritual, physical, financial, emotional) are you not then in the best possible state in which to relax and to rest?  God bless you!

Leaders, Shepherd the Flock

Leaders, Shepherd the Flock

Here are standards for those who are Pastors, elders, or leaders in a church.  If you would LIKE to become a Pastor, elder, or leader, study the Scriptures to discover what is required of such a person.  Then begin to live that out in your life; behave as if you already ARE a Pastor, elder, or leader.  It will not go unnoticed by God, and He will put you into the position that you desire.  (1 Tim. 3:1)

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords (masters) over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  (1 Pet 5:2, 3 NKJV)

  1. Shepherd the flock of God AMONG YOU! That means everyone that you come into contact with daily!  Make an impact for GOOD on those with whom you connect regularly—including your own family members.  (Mk 3:14; 16:15; Ac 5:42; 8:4; Heb 6:10, 11; 2 Tim 4:2)
  2. We’re to serve as overseers. An overseer is an administrator, manager, or someone who gets things done.  We were not elevated to our responsible position in order to prosper financially or to charge people fees.  We never saw Jesus give us such an example.  We’re to help people—help them receive all that they need by whatever means that the Lord directs us to use.  Whatever a person’s needs are, the salvation of Jesus Christ has already met that need!  We’re put here to help people to see this truth, and to help them to receive God’s blessings.  (Mt 6:10; 16:19; 18:19; Ac 20:28; Phil 4:19; Col 1:27; 1 Joh 5:14, 15)
  3. We are supposed to serve willingly and eagerly, with a good attitude and cheerful heart. We are called, each one of us, to BE a blessing!  (Col 3:23-24; 1 Pet 3:9)
  4. We are told not to “lord” it over people. Instead we are to sacrifice and humble ourselves even as our Savior, Jesus, sacrificed and humbled Himself to provide and secure our salvation.  (Mt 18:4; 23:12; Rom 12:1, 16; Eph 5:2; Phil 2:8; Heb 13:16; 1 Pet 2:5; 5:6; Jas 4:6, 10)
  5. The sheep have been entrusted to the care of their church leaders, and we are NEVER to harm the sheep. We are serving as an under-shepherd under the authority of Jesus, the Good Shepherd!  (Jer 50:6; Eze 34:10; Joh 10:11, 14; 1 Pet 5:4)
  6. The Word tells us that we should be examples to the flock. Jesus was our example, and we’re to follow in His footsteps.  (Joh 13:14-16; Phil 3:17; 1 Pet 2:21)

May God bless you and flood you with His love and grace, as you pursue your leadership role in the Kingdom of God.

The 7 Redemptive Names of God

The 7 Redemptive Names of God

Here are the seven redemptive names of the Lord, their meanings, and where they can be found in the Bible.

  • Jehovah-Rapha, The Lord our Healer – (Ex 15:26; Isa 1:5-6; Jer 17:9; Lk 5:31)
  • Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord our Banner [or Refuge] – (Ex 17:8-15; Ps 20:5)
  • Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord (who) is Present – (Ezek 48:35; Ex 33:14-15; 1 Chr 16:27; Ps 16:11; 97:5)
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness – (Jer 23:5-6; Ps 11:7; 89:14; 1 Cor 1:30)
  • Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord our Peace – (Judges 6:24; Isa 9:6; Lk 1:78-79)
  • Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord our Provider – (Gen 22:8-14; Joh 1:29; Gal 3:8; 1 Cor 2:7)
  • Jehovah-Ra’ah, the Lord our Shepherd – (Gen 48:15; Ps 23:1; 80:1; Isa 40:10-11; 1 Pet 2:25)

As our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ operates with mighty power in each and every one of these offices of salvation and redemption.  He is the Lord who never leaves us and never fails us.  Hallelujah!

Know THE Voice

Know THE Voice

“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”  (John 10:2-4)

Jesus is our Good Shepherd and we are members of His flock.  This passage of the Bible reminds us that because we are His OWN sheep, we not only HEAR His voice, but we KNOW (are familiar with) His voice. 

It’s our responsibility to familiarize ourselves with the voice of our Shepherd, and the way to do it is to read the Bible and to be very familiar with what it says—from cover to cover.  Scripture memorization is also a key component.  Then when we hear a voice whispering to our hearts, we can know if it has the same spirit as the Word of God does.  If “yes,” then we know that we have heard from the Lord.

It’s also important to know His voice so that He may lead us.  When we KNOW the voice, we (as sheep) will surely follow.  By following Him, we qualify to receive the blessings of obedience.  Listen for His voice today, my friend.

A Balancing Act

A Balancing Act

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless [innocent] as doves.  (Matthew 10:16 NKJV – parenthetical definition added)

As believers, we are all sent out as ambassadors to spread the Good News of salvation.  But we’re sent as sheep!  Yes, Jesus compares us to sheep sent into a world that contains wolves.  Sheep have no survival skills, and are not smart or cunning when it comes to safety.  They rely completely upon their shepherd to lead and guide them, to feed and protect them.  Sheep respond to their shepherd’s voice, but they tend to get restless when food is scarce. 

Jesus compared us to sheep because, like sheep, we need our loving Shepherd’s wisdom, protection, the food of His Word, and the living water of the Holy Spirit.  We also recognize our Savior’s voice and respond to it.

We are sent among wolves1 who want to make prey out of any vulnerable sheep.  So, as believers, we must trust God to protect us and guard us, even as He protected Daniel in the lions’ den.

We must be wise like a serpent, who has keen eyesight and is quick to learn.  Yet we must be as innocent as a dove, who is meek and gentle.  (When the Holy Spirit appeared, it would be in the form of a dove.2)  This balancing act is only possible by God’s grace.

How can we share our own, personal story of salvation without offending the unsaved or coming across as confrontational?  We should allow the Lord to control the situation, as we listen for His wise voice and obey it.  We need to be vulnerable, non-combative, and yet courageous in our witness.  The Lord will give us an understanding of the person and the situation as we allow ourselves to be guided by Him.

When we follow the instructions of the Word, we can harmoniously use the traits of both serpents and doves and be a witness of calm discretion!

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1 Mat 7:15

2 Mat 3:16; Mk 1:10