The Greatness of God

The whole world is being shaken! And followers of Jesus around the world are experiencing one common issue: FEAR is taking hold.

  • USGS reports 47 earthquakes (greater than Magnitude 2.5) around the world on one day, Tuesday, 2/26/2012;
  • Tsunamis and hurricanes/typhoons ravaging countries;
  • Arab regimes are falling in many Middle Eastern countries. Most are being replaced by radical leadership seeking to impose Shariah Law and anti-Israeli sentiment, while destabilizing relations with Western democracies;
  • Pressure from all over the world against Israel; to divide Jerusalem; to give Samaria and Judea to the Palestinians; to exercise restraint and allow the Iranian-backed forces to continue their relentless rocket barrages, killing people and destroying properties in Israel;
  • Economic turmoil in the European Union; Greece bailout causing riots and potentially threatening the stability of all Western banking systems;
  • US government in a stalemate over increasing debt limit, balance of trade, unemployment, and the radical environmentalism that threatens to shut down many industries and force greater energy dependence on countries vowing to destroy all “infidels.”
  • In two millennia of Christian history, about 70 million faithful have given their lives for the faith, and of these, 45.5 million — fully 65% — were in the last century, according to Italian journalist Antonio Socci, in “The New Persecuted” (“I Nuovi Perseguitati”). There are over 170,000 Christian martyrs each year.

When troubling times come the enemy rushes in like a flood. In Scripture it is defined as a flood of fear that smashes in, wave upon wave.

“The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves”. (Psalm 93:3)

But God has an answer:

“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea–the LORD on high is mighty. Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O LORD”. (Psalm 93:4-5)

God’s greatness overrides even our biggest trial. David grabbed hold of this:

“Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me”. (Psalm 69:15-16)

In fact, no one in Scripture extols the greatness of God more than David. He built up his own faith on his ever-increasing knowledge of God’s greatness. Listen with your heart to these proclamations in the Psalms from David and others:

“Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours . . . For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God”. (Psalm 86:8,10)

“Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you”. (Psalm 66:3)

“Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?” (Psalm 77:13)

According to David all our fears subside in the knowledge (full understanding and acceptance) of God’s greatness. Consider this:

  1. God’s wonder-working power:

“For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him”. (Psalm 95:3-4)

“ . . . to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. who made the great lights–His love endures forever. the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:4-9)

Astronomers tell us there are 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the Universe, each of which has hundreds of billions of stars.

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name”. (Psalm 147:4)

  1. God’s power to heal us:

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”. (Psalm 147:3)

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases”. (Psalm 103:2-3)

  1. God’s greatness of power over any flood:

God is Sovereign; He alone is in control.

“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. . . . Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me”. (Psalm 69:1-3,16)

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;” (Isaiah 43:2-3a)

  1. God’s greatness in blessing those who trust Him:

“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues”. (Psalm 31:19-20)

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living”. (Psalm 27:13)

God’s goodness and rewards aren’t stored up for someday in heaven. They are meant for His people now in their present trials.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”. (Ephesians 3:20)

Why then do we fear?

“But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel”. (Psalm 106:13)

Remember God’s Word. Remember the times He has pulled you from the fire, from the flood, from the hands of those who would hurt or destroy you. Remember the times He has and is blessing you. Trust Him! Trust Him! Trust Him!

Remember and rejoice in the Greatness of our God!

(Portions of this are from a sermon of the late David Wilkerson at the Times Square Church, New York City)

Renaissance of the Disciple #3: The Company He Keeps

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Show me who a man’s friends are and I will tell you who he is”.

Another popular way of stating the same thing is, “You are only as good as the company you keep”.

The idea is very old: “Tell me with whom thou art found, and I will tell thee who thou art”.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

And – as early as 1591 in an Old English form it appears as, ‘if a man can be known as nothing else, then he may be known by his companions’.

Most of us have heard many times and in many variations, “you are judged by the company you keep.” This was also stated in a speech by President John Kennedy.

Actions do speak louder than words! All too true. And people look closely at who we associate with. Jesus lived what He taught. He showed, by those with whom He associated, He was compassionate to those in need. You see, mankind is broken. We need to be fixed. We have all strayed from the path – we are sinners. Jesus offered them, as He offers you and I, peace with God – redemption. We need to be brought back to the state from which we have fallen – as God originally created us. Jesus is THE WAY – the only Way. No one can get back to that position with God unless we believe on the work of Jesus as Savior. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. (John 14:6) His blood sacrifice paid the price for redemption.

Most adults who reject Jesus will tell you part of their problem with Him – if not all of their problem –is “the company He keeps,” the attitudes and/or actions of His “purported” followers. Throughout the ages, since the first century, there have been countless events and actions by people who claim them to be “for the sake of their Lord Jesus,” although those actions run completely counter to the example He Himself set. And, on a daily basis today you will encounter or hear about the actions of many who claim to be “Christ Followers,” yet whose lives paint a very different picture from the record of His life on earth.

“Jesus Christ is the center of everything, and the object of everything, and he that does not know Him knows nothing of nature and nothing of himself.” (Blaise Pascal)

Those pithy little sayings I quoted above are true of Jesus, but the point is backwards. You see, the basic fact is that Jesus is judged by the company He keeps, and rightly so. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)  He spent His time on earth with those at the opposite end of the spectrum from the self-righteous religious leadership, the ones who were convinced they could work their way to a relationship with God. He drove the religious community crazy by eating with tax collectors, those greedy Roman collaborators, and by touching and healing lepers, the unclean and dying men and women of their land. He stood up for an adulteress caught in the act and saved her from a stoning. He was a “man of sorrows,” who wept for the people of Jerusalem whom, five days later, would scream “Crucify him.”

And where is He today. As the Son of God, Savior of mankind, He is with all who seek Him. With the drunk in the gutter of skid row who cries out for Him; with the child molester imprisoned for life who falls on his face seeking redemption; with the tribesman in the jungles of Africa who awakens to the Creator of all he sees; with the Islamic jihadist who is visited in a dream by the Spirit of Jesus and opens his heart to his Redeemer; with the communist rebel who persecutes Christians, finds a New Testament, reads it and opens His heart to the gospel; the young couple engaging in pre-marital sex, whose guilt is driving them to find why their physical relationship is so hollow. And on and on and on . . . He is with anyone, anywhere, who seeks Peace with God. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). Christians in the Western cultures seem to have preconceived ideas of what He should look like and who He should associate with. We are embarrassed with some who call themselves by His name, yet aren’t cleaned up and dressed spiffy, the picture of worldly success. “The best way to see divine light is to put out thine own candle.”  (Francis Quarles)

So, should Jesus be judged by the company He keeps? People fail all the time. Jesus is the very definition of a Redeemer, who loves mankind and gave His life to pay the price for their sin. He loves those who, in humility, claim Him as their Savior, submit to Him as their Master and want to fellowship with Him. It is an unfortunate reality that people will reach the end of their own efforts before they will finally reach out to Jesus. But even though we have the relationship with Him, Christians are still human and will sin (disobey God). His love looks beyond that – and He continues to “keep company with us.” For the redeemed – He will never leave us, He will never even turn His back on us. He is with us eternally.

We have God’s Word in the Bible and we have the Spirit of Christ to teach and guide us. “Beware of reasoning about God’s Word – obey it!” (Oswald Chambers)

Christian, if you are going to carry that name out into a lost, depraved and dying world, it would behoove you to get to know the life of this One for whom you owe your salvation, not by what men say but through the Bible – God’s revelation to us. Then, humbly follow His example.

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing.” (Albert Schweitzer)

At the Edge ( A Non-Typical Rant)

As a nation, the USA seems to be at the edge of a precipice. We have strolled toward this edge, while dreaming of days gone by, enjoying the fruits of those in generations past who toiled tirelessly, unconscious of the threat we are approaching. But we have finally reached the edge, and, even though there are people shouting at us from within our own society, as well as from European nations, we have adopted an attitude of indifference. After all, aren’t we the USA? Aren’t we the land of milk and honey, the one whose open borders invite all to come and join with us?

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  (Emma Lazarus, 1883)

Surely those yearning to breathe freedom and prosperity within our borders want to be a participant in this greatest experiment of a free republic, governed by the people. Surely – right?

Well – wake up and open your eyes. Read the international press. Read the Arab blogs and the Arab Press (ala al Jazeera). There are countless groups wanting to destroy everything about this country. They don’t seek to invade our country. They don’t want our property and “stuff.” They just want to destroy us and the FREEDOMS we espouse. Our materialism drives them to a frenzy. Our Bill of Rights is anathema to them! Women are merely chattels, created by Allah for the pleasure of men and for procreation; they are to be controlled by the men in their culture. (If you believe this statement to be incorrect, study their cultures and read their Quran)

We unfortunately take pride in our new dimension of ‘multiculturalism,’ mistakenly thinking it speaks of compassion for all. Most people 30 or younger think of multiculturalism as a founding principal of the USA. Our public education system, the system that began by actually partnering with parents to educate our children, and that helped build our country, was hi-jacked in the early part of the 20th century. It has become a social engineering laboratory, generating graduates who know nothing of our nation’s true history, how government works under our Constitution, or even how commerce and finance operate in a Free Market (even though we really don’t have one any more). “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20) The recent generations of children have never been taught the truth of the meaning of “e pluribus unum”(“out of many, one”) ,nor our nation’s motto “In God We Trust” (“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6), nor why pluralism (all different philosophies and religions are equally right, therefore, do your own thing) is a threat to our society (“For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” 1 Corinthians 8:6). We, rightly, are a nation proud of the heritage of our many varied beginnings, but commonly united as One Nation. This is the sovereign nation of the United States of America. Our Founding Fathers created a Constitution, clearly and irrevocably drawn from Judeo-Christian principles, and built a Republic that has stood the test of time – at least up to now.

Now we are afraid of hurting the feelings of those who want to live in this country but are offended by our common freedoms and our form of government. They make demands, using many of the rights granted under our Constitution, to allow them to adhere to the laws and societal mores of the countries from which they ran because they had no freedom. Go figure. The fabric of this last great nation is ripping apart.

And WHY? I submit that it is solely because we have been the greatest propagator of the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in history. “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32) I challenge you to document one nation that is worse off today for having been assisted by the people, and in many cases their lives, of the USA. Have we been perfect in our ways? Not on your life! We share the fact with others on this planet that we are fallible human beings. But, have we maintained a ‘true north’ compass setting, even with those ups and downs? You bet we have. At least up until about the last 40 years (or so).

The wheels are coming off! We have lost our way. And, while I believe this must be laid at the foot of the Church in the USA for going to sleep at the wheel, still, there must be a wake up call! “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)  Our citizens have become soft, lazy, materialistic, and self-centered. Our young people, young adults, are more interested in the next American Idol, or the next big hit from their favorite entertainer, or who is sleeping with whom, or the shape of their bodies, than the shape of our country. They think it chic to emulate the lives and the latest one-liners from their favorite sit-com. We want to be fed what to think by some talking head (who was educated under the same corrupted system that is tearing us down) so that we can focus our energy on making money and spending it on ourselves. Our politicians (Left and Right), who are but a reflection of our culture, are greedy power mongers. We want someone, anyone but ourselves, to fix everything. We speak of our “independent spirit” with pride; maybe even shed a tear as we remember past generations. Then we go to the polls and consistently vote for a “Nanny State.” Any candidate who promises to either put money in our pockets, or keep everything ‘green’, or give us security, regardless the price, will get elected.

In the midst of this we have worms eating away at the very core of our nation’s future – our children. And we are already seeing the result in the twenty-somethings. But it is getting worse!

Please take a few minutes to view this short VIDEO (Click here to go to video) from the Founder of ACT! for America. I challenge you to refute this position if you can. And I’m open to discuss opposing facts that might indicate this trend is not happening in our country.