Posted in jesus, repent

Nebuchadnezzar understands the power of a holy God

By Elizabeth Prata

“Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.” (Daniel 3:28-29)

THERE IS NO OTHER GOD. (He is holy and true).

There is no other God ABLE TO DELIVER. (Jesus saves)

There is no other God able to deliver IN THIS WAY. (His power is unsurpassed).

So what does all this mean?

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15).

The scriptures are remarkable!

 

Posted in christmas, Uncategorized

Christmas verses from Old Testament and New

shepherds christ's birth

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7)

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14).

The Righteous Reign of the Branch
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
(Isaiah 11:1).

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. (Micah 5:2).

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9).

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. (Hosea 11:1)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14).

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5).

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:39-45)

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about : His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25).

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:1-20).

 

chris powers full of eyes christmas banner

 

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

How to interpret circumstances, lessons from Jonah and David

“It was a God-thing!” “The sign couldn’t have been more clear!” “It surely wasn’t a coincidence, it must have been from God!”

Have you ever heard anyone say any of these things? Or said them yourself?

Even after salvation we are sinful creatures. It would be so much easier to interpret circumstances rather than interpret the Word. We see what is happening in our lives and immediately interpret that these circumstances are in fact signs from God, omens, and ‘Godly coincidences’ that are directly and presently speaking to us. We go ahead and make decisions based on them.

But should we? Let’s look at two examples of interpreting circumstances, from the Word of God. Thanks goes to my wonderful and brilliant pastor for preaching this yesterday. Here, I summarize part:

We all know the story of Jonah. He was a Prophet of God, who prophesied to Israel. (2 Kings 14:21-25). He prophesied good things to Israel. It was during the reign of Jeroboam II King of Israel, when God was bestowing unmerited grace upon the people even though the King did evil in God’s eyes. The nation’s boundaries were being set and prosperity was growing. Therefore, likely Jonah was popular as a Prophet.

Then one day the word of the LORD came to Jonah. Jonah was told to travel to the city of Nineveh in order to prophesy to them. Nineveh was evil, they were an enemy, and Jonah was aghast. He refused. Effectively resigning his mantle, Jonah ran to Joppa instead, a seaside city where Jonah intended to grab a ship to Tarshish. This was the opposite direction of where God had told Jonah to go.

Source

When Jonah got to Joppa (now Jaffa), he saw that there was a ship at harbor. Jonah paid the fare and flung himself into the bowels of the vessel, tired beyond bearing, and went to sleep. Though this next scene is a little beyond the time frame of my focus today, I can’t resist the glorious language from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick:

All dressed and dusty as he is, Jonah throws himself into his berth, and finds the little state-room ceiling almost resting on his forehead. The air is close, and Jonah gasps. then, in that contracted hole, sunk, too, beneath the ship’s water-line, Jonah feels the heralding presentiment of that stifling hour, when the whale shall hold him in the smallest of his bowel’s wards.

Did Jonah feel vindicated when he saw a ship at sail, ready to voyage with the next tide? Did Jonah say, “See? It is providential! This must be what God wanted, since a ship appears before me at the ready!”

Interpreting circumstances is a dangerous thing.

Let’s look at David. He was fleeing from King Saul, who was seeking David’s life. David and his men huddled in a cave in the wilderness of Engedi, hiding from the fire-breathing king. Saul suddenly appeared in that exact cave. There are hundreds of caves at Engedi. Hundreds. Yet Saul entered the exact cave in which David hid.

Pixabay, free to use. Hundreds of caves dot the En-gedi desert.

David’s men interpreted circumstances, saying, ‘Look, here is the king! It must be the hand of God delivering the king to your sword!’

After stealthily snipping a bit of Saul’s robe David felt convicted. He said to his men,

Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the LORD had given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD’S anointed.’” (1 Samuel 24:10-11).

The word of the LORD had not come to David. David knew that the LORD’s anointed were protected by God, raised up by Him to perform His will and plan. David knew that the LORD Himself had placed Saul into kingship and it was the LORD’s business to remove Him if He so wanted. It was not up to David. (1 Samuel 26:10)

If we detach ourselves from the Word, we will never interpret circumstances correctly.” ~Mark McAndrew, Jonah 1:1-3, June 4, 2017

What Pastor Mark meant here is not that we interpret signs and omens, but that when things happen and we want to know what to do or how to think about it, we refer back to the Word. David knew God’s word and David knew His character. David acted according to this knowledge, not according to subjective impressions of the circumstances.

Romans 8:14 says “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” So we know that the Spirit leads because He promised to lead us. But the Spirit doesn’t speak to us except through His word. And when you start thinking that God is giving you special revelation outside of His word, you have diminished the singular authority of scripture.

Source Special Revelation and the Work of the Holy Spirit, 1-min video

We don’t know whether our interpretation of the circumstance is “a heavy conscience, a strong personal desire, or emotion-driven enthusiasm” as Jeremiah Johnson wrote at the link above. If David had decided to kill King Saul because Saul had showed up in the cave at that moment and had slain Saul, it would have been grievous sin for David. If Jonah had deduced that because the ship was ready to sail in the direction he wanted to go, it must be providential, it would have been a sin for Jonah. There are always ships ready to sail to Tarshish! Jonah would be simply rationalizing his own personal desire and back-hoeing the Spirit into his sin, which is blasphemy. Johnson wrote,

We ought to look for the Holy Spirit’s leadership, but we must be cautious about assigning to Him responsibility for our words and actions. Our feelings are not necessarily a trustworthy source of information, nor are they an accurate indication that God has a special message to deliver to us or through us.

God’s people need to be circumspect when it comes to His leadership, particularly through subjective impressions and inclinations. Moreover, we need to be wary of those who hijack the prophetic seat and presume to speak for God. Source

Some throw out a fleece for guidance, some look for open doors or windows. Satan can create circumstances too. Remember Job. Satan brought about the many different circumstances that plagued Job. Stay away from interpreting signs and circumstances and just interpret life through God’s word.

————————–

Further Reading

Let Us Reason: What does ‘touch not my anointed really mean?

Book Review: Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby : 9Marks
[Remember, Blackaby was the one who ‘legitimized’ interpreting God’s will through circumstances, introducing the concept to conservative evangelicals]