Monthly Archives: February 2015

Restoring the fallen house of David

In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls. From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its for-mer glory.” Amos 9:11.

As we focus on the above scripture, we are informed by the Prophet Amos that, whilst King David ruled his kingdom, God gave to him everything that was according to God’s purposes and plans. When King David died, his son Solo-mon reigned and ruled in his place. In the beginning of his reign everything went well. He was responsible for building the temple. With the passing of time, King Solomon began to drift away from God. He began worshiping foreign gods. “AND SOLOMON DID EVIL IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD, AND WENT NOT FULLY AFTER THE LORD, AS DID DAVID HIS FATHER.” 1 Kings 11:6. Currently as we sum up the state of affairs world-wide, it’s not difficult to see that there has been a drastic decline in the stand-ard of living. What once was sacred to our society, and where Godly princi-ples were a way of life and practised by families, has become estranged. Every now and then we are confronted with news of a family being disrupted through divorce. Every now and then we are informed of children being mo-lested by relatives, and so we could go on exposing the works of the devil. As Christians we are warned in Romans 12: 2, “NOT TO BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD BUT BE TRANS-FORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, THAT YOU MAY PROVE WHAT IS THAT THE GOOD AND ACCEPTABLE AND PERFECT WILL OF GOD.” Our minds can often be the area where the devil places un-godly thoughts that cause us to sin. However, when we focus on Jesus, we overcome the temptation that is put before us. Praise God there is a new day dawning when Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is coming back to renew and restore everything the devil has destroyed. I end with these words taken from Revelation 21:3, “AND I HEARD A LOUD VOICE FROM HEAVEN SAYING, BEHOLD THE TABERNACLE OF GOD IS WITH MEN AND HE WILL DWELL WITH THEM, AND THEY SHALL BE HIS PEOPLE AND GOD HIMSELF WILL BE WITH THEM AND BE THEIR GOD.”

Restoration

Dear Family

It is always so comforting to me to know that we are not alone in this crazy, mixed up world of ours. Not only are we not alone but, as believers, we are active participators with the God of restoration in the lives of broken humanity. In every way we are commissioned to work with Him to be a part of His plan – the restoration of sonship.

I am so proud of our own Luella Campbell who explores this concept of sonship so in-credibly well in her recently published book, “Learning to be a son” – a must read for everyone. “For God so loved the world…” makes so much more sense when we understand the concept of sonship and begin to relate to God on that basis. Personally I see it all as God’s plan to restore. Eden was perfect. It became what we have due to man’s decision not to relate in submis-sion to the Father. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, enabled us back to the Father, back to Eden. And now through Him, restoration!

The prophet Amos looked forward to the day that David’s “fallen tent” would be restored. It must be noted that he speaks of the “fallen tent”, ex-pressing the low condition to which the family of David and the kingdom had fallen. If you think mankind is bad now, Israel was devastated then. But the prophet Amos speaks of a bet-ter time: Amos 9:11–12 “In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name,” declares the LORD, who will do these things.” What a joy to be in that dispensation now! After the cross we have the phenomenal privilege of being a part of that restoration based upon the completed work of Calvary. He has brought “many sons to glory” and continues to do so every second of every day. And He uses us. Wow!

With all of the confusion and chaos around us, from our very parliament filled with Gucci clad, rolex wearing, blue light brigade luxury car driving “servants of the people” to our pot-holed roads and litter strewn pave-ments with street lights that work ac-cording to Eskom’s load shedding schedule known to no-one, we still have hope. Hope because we serve One much greater than the trivials of our day to day experience. Hope be-cause we bear the good news that God is in the process of drawing hearts to Himself. And where He is, there is restoration.

Paul

Inescapable Grace

INESCAPABLE GRACE

Let us make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account. (Hebrews 4: 11-13)

God is inescapable! Does that terrify you?

God’s word, God’s eyes are all around us; He is nearer to us than our breath! Did your mother frighten you as a little child with these words, ‘God is watching you!’? What a cruel thing to do to a child – treating God as though He were some great big celestial policeman who is waiting to pounce on any little kid who puts a foot wrong!

David was also aware of the inescapable God who knew where he was, what he did, where he went, and even what he was going to think before he thought it, but he was not afraid. On the contrary, it made him feel very safe because he knew that God’s nearness and His scrutiny were to bless and protect, not to judge and destroy.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psa. 139: 9-10)

He welcomed and invited God’s all-seeing eye to search and test him because he wanted to stay on God’s path where he would walk in safety and reach his desired destination.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psa. 139: 23-24)

God’s word is like a mirror. When we look into it, is reveals both what we are really like and what we should be. Mirrors don’t lie. They reflect back exactly what we are. Every time God spoke and His people disobeyed and rebelled, their hearts were exposed. Like a surgeon’s scalpel, His word opened up their innermost being and showed them what was in their hearts.

Take Peter, for example. Jesus warned him that he was heading for a crash. He failed to heed His warning and fell headlong into the pit he had dug for himself by refusing to listen. What was the outcome? Did Jesus discard him as useless and worthless? Was He out to ‘get’ Peter because He knew how cocksure Peter was of himself?

No, His intention was to reveal Peter’s heart to Peter’s head, so that he would be aware of his weakness and rest in Jesus’s strength in him. That’s what the scrutiny of God’s word is all about – not to catch us out so that we can get the punishment we deserve for our foolish independence but to make us aware of the flaws in us so that we can throw ourselves on the mercy and grace of God.

Paul had his own experience of weakness. He called it ‘a thorn in the flesh’. It was so invasive that he pleaded with God to remove it. Every time he encountered hardships and persecution, he reacted. The way people treated him pricked him, exposing what was inside his heart. He begged God to put down His ‘sword’ because he didn’t like what he felt. God said, ‘No, Paul, you need the sword because it is exposing what is in you. I won’t remove the sword but I will give strength to keep going.’

Paul’s experience of God’s s’word’ revealed his weakness and right there, in his weakest spot, God provided strength to endure, but not only just to hang on with white-knuckled stickability – but to rejoice because he knew what grace was and how it worked for him.

If only the Israelites had had the maturity to realise what God was doing. Unlike the gods they insisted on worshipping, He was out to refine and purify their trust in Him so that, when the real fight was on in the land of Canaan where there were giants and walled cities, taking over would be a piece of cake.

What is God’s sword about? Not to cut us open so that the world can see all the foul stuff that is inside us? No! To show us what’s there; unbelief, disobedience, rebellion, suspicion, mistrust, fear, anger, guilt, shame, hatred, bitterness, offences and an endless list of imperfections that obscure our view of God’s love. God is passionate about setting us free from all these things so that we can live in His presence without shame or fear and enjoy Him forever.

Don’t fear the sword. Welcome it because it is a surgical knife which cuts with precision to remove the ‘cancer’ that will destroy your life.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Rest From Our Works

REST FROM OUR WORKS

And again in the passage above He says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’

Therefore, since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience,

God again set a certain day, calling it “Today”. This He did when a long time later He spoke through David, as the passage already quoted: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his works, just as God rested. (Heb. 4:6-10)

What is the rest about which this writer was speaking?

If we follow his rather intricate argument, he was using the Promised Land as a picture of the rest into which God invites us when we trust the work Jesus did for us on the cross to fully satisfy God’s justice so that we need not do anything more to be  accepted by Him.

For God’s people in the wilderness it required faith in His promise to go into a land full of giants and walled cities and drive out the inhabitants. God’s intention was for them to take over the entire land with its buildings and its flourishing agriculture so that they would have to do nothing but possess it and settle down in it. If they trusted what He said, it would have been an almost effortless process because He would have gone before them and fought for them just as they experienced when they took the city of Jericho.

However, in spite of all their experiences during their forty-year migration through the wilderness when God supported them and supplied their needs all the way, they refused to obey Him. Twelve spies went in to check out the land. Twelve came back with a glowing report of the land’s bounty, but only two saw the obstacles as challenges which they could easily over come through God’s help. Ten saw them as impossibilities because they refused to view them through God’s promise.

For forty years the people had tested God’s patience by murmuring, complaining and threatening every time they hit a snag. They just didn’t get it! They saw difficulties as the reason to get mad at God and at Moses and to pack their bags and go back to Egypt. God was trying to get them to grow up in their confidence in Him, because a big task lay ahead for them, one that required absolute trust and implicit obedience.

They were not interested in learning to trust God. They wanted their comforts and they wanted them now! They had no idea what lay ahead and how important it was to have confidence in God and to obey His instructions. By doing that, they would have entered into both a land and a lifetime of plenty and blessing. As long as they did what God told them to do, the conquest of the land would have been easy. God would do the fighting and they would gather the spoils.

Just as it didn’t turn out like that for them because they refused to trust God, so the writer warned his readers that they would never gather the spoils of Jesus’s victory over the devil if they refused to trust God. The rest He invited them to share with Him was the rest of entering into a victory already won. They had to do nothing but enjoy it. God required nothing of them but to accept all the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice and live in them.

The time for entering into and enjoying this rest is “today”. That means that every day is “today” as long as the day of God’s grace is still “today”. There will come a “day” when the door of grace will be shut forever, and those who refuse to enter will be shut out. The bridegroom will come and the door to the wedding feast will be closed. “Today” will be gone as time will cease and eternity will be upon us.

‘Don’t miss it,’ he pleaded. Today will not be here forever.

This is not a message specifically for the ‘outsider’ although outsiders are included in the invitation. This is for the people of God – for those who think that they have to add something to what Jesus has already done. We cannot add anything to His completed work. ‘It is finished!’ No good work, no ritual, no keeping of rules, no anything can complete what Jesus has finished.

Only one thing is necessary for us to do – believe it and . . . rest!

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

The Promise Of Rest

THE PROMISE OF REST

Therefore, since the promise of rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God said, ‘So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’

For somewhere He has spoken about the seventh day in these words, ‘On the seventh day God rested from all His works.’

And again in the passage above He says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ (Heb. 4: 1-5)

What exactly is this writer on about?

He seems to be using the words ‘faith’, ‘obedience’ and ‘rest’ interchangeably. The Israelites who disobeyed Him never reached the Promised Land. They perished on the journey because they did not believe that there was ‘rest’ for them in the land of Canaan. They refused to ‘rest;’ in God’s word which would have taken them to their destination had they done what He instructed them to do.

God’s rest was a cessation of His creative work on the seventh day, not because He was tired but because His work was complete. He had done everything He had to do, and it was up to what He had created to continue by carrying out His instructions.

Israel’s journey through the wilderness is a picture, a visual aid, of our journey through life. They had left the land of slavery through the miraculous intervention of God. He destroyed the enemy and set them free from their old lives of bondage to their slave drivers to follow God’s ‘way’ to the land He had prepared for them. All they were to do was to trust Him, do what He said, and stay on His ‘way’. If they left the ‘path’ they would get lost and perish in the desert.

His word was their road map, and obedience to His instructions guaranteed that they would keep going in the right direction. He gave them ‘landmarks’ to keep them on track, teaching them how to relate to Him as their God, and to one another as members of His ‘family’, His people who were to resemble Him in the way they lived together.

The Israelites didn’t get it. When God tested them to check on their trust, they turned on Moses and they turned on Him, accusing Him of bringing them into the desert to destroy them because He hated them. What a terrible accusation in the face of God’s evident love for them! He had proposed to them at Mount Sinai, calling them into a relationship with Him as intimate as marriage and giving them the promise that He had a place for them where they could rest in His love.

Had they believed His word and trusted His motives and His power, their journey to Canaan, as tough as it was, would have been over in a matter of weeks. They would have taken possession of their very own country and settled down to live in the houses and on the bounty that was already there, prepared for them by the inhabitants they were to drive out. It would have all happened smoothly and without stress because God was with them and for them.

What an amazing picture of our journey through life! God has already done everything to rescue us from our enemy, the devil, through the intervention of His Son. He has given us His instructions for navigating the journey of life. He has revealed His love and faithfulness to us by the miracle of new life in Jesus. He has forgiven our sin, reinstated us as His sons and daughters, promised us everything we need for the journey and, best of all, given us His presence in us by His Holy Spirit.

All we have to do now is to rest in what He has done and what He has said, do what He tells us and trust In His love and power to take us home. Every test is not, as the Israelites accused Him, His way of destroying us. It is His intention to reveal His glory by showing us His love through His power. He calls for trust, not complaint, and obedience, not resistance.

Faith, obedience, rest! This is the way home. The alternative is unthinkable – get lost and die in the wilderness, never entering His rest and never seeing the Promised Land.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.