The Truth about Covenant

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“In those days, your population
will greatly increase in the land.
‘At that time’, says the Lord,
‘people will no longer talk about having the ark
that contains the LORD’s agreement with us.
They will not call it to min,
or remember it, or miss it.
No, that will not be done any more!”
Jeremiah 3:16

 

Here we find God speaking through the Prophet Jeremiah.  Addressing the condition of his people.  Not just their physical condition, but the spiritual condition of their hearts.  They were in exile, because they, like Adam, had chosen to live outside of the will and instruction of the Lord.

Lion sitting in tall grass

Photo taken from Web

Jeremiah spoke God’s Word, which parallels our here and now.  The Lord says, in the midst of their pain and suffering, that He would return to them, despite their hardened hearts and disobedient nature.   Here the people are not thinking of the Lord about the Lord, but He was thinking about them.

 

Who is God, that He honors His covenant?

God’s people had walked away from Him, and even while in “timeout”, they remained unrepentant.  They stayed in their sin, and God, who initiated a covenant with their forefather, chose to honor the covenant with his seed.

God is truly committed!

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He is committed beyond what we can understand, comprehend and rationalize.  It would seem that past breaking the covenant, God, like man, would cease to honor the agreement that He made with man.  With any agreement, it must be honored by both parties, and this commitment to the covenant serves to govern the on going commitment to the agreement formed.  This both solidifies and build trust in the agreement established.  And despite the breaking of covenant, God honors the agreement!

I am covenant breaker!

I thought to myself, not about the condition of the world, but about my own state.  Truly I am a covenant breaker.  I have not honored the covenant that God established with me, and yet, He is still mindful of me, listens to me, and even blesses me along the way.  Even when I walked far away, God continued to reach out, speaking, and sending word to me that He desired to spend time with me.

God continues to send a search party!

Scales_of_justiceHas God sent word to you?  Of course, this is a rhetorical   question!  You too, like me, and like the children of Israel have been both an enemy of the cross, and or AWOL!  Maybe you you deserve to be dishonorably discharged!  Despite our behavior, God sends prophets and angels, discharged with instructions and directions, to real us back into relationship with Him.  He sends flowers and blessings, and allows us to experience life without Him, and still reaches out to us.  He watches us walk hand in hand with sin, bathing in iniquity, and soaking in indiscretions, and drafts beautiful love discourses to express His unfailing love for us.  Who does this but God?

Life with you is better than life without you!

I wish our actions were reflective of the above statement!  Often times, they say the opposite.   Sadly enough, when I wrote this, I was thinking of God.  His actions from the start have declared, life with you is better than life without you.  Though he has it all, he chose to share, deciding not to exist in a vacuum, called into existence a paradise, and placed into it a people.  Shared His love, as well as His wisdom and provision, and despite His giving of all He possessed, man still wanted more and sought to obtain outside of Him, risking the covenant relationship with God for someone newly introduced and that had nothing to offer.

He is still consistent and we are still inconsistent!

Maybe you have been saved now so long, that the portion of your life in Christ is now more than your life without Him.  In this, it could be possible that some of us have experienced more forgiveness, mercy and grace than you did before you met Him.  Imagine that!  God has forgiven and looked beyond our past, but loves us in the present, and is committed so that He will love us in the future.  All while knowing what lay ahead!  Its amazing that He would hold our hand and allow us to bare and justice1speak His name in the midst of our sin and struggle.   Why the aisle doesn’t open up to swallow us, one can not justify, but God justifies us!  Through our covenant agreement, we are heirs to a Kingdom via a promise that is undeserved.

We deserve to be disowned.  We deserved to be abandoned.  We deserve to be cast aside.  But His mercy are new every morning!  His grace covers our stumbles.  And His blood covers our unrighteousness.

Why?  It makes no sense.  We do not deserve to be restored, but God restores and renovates, even upgrades us to new levels as we walk with Him.  Praise God!  He is truly better to us than we are to ourselves.  He loves us despite our inconsistencies, and loves us until we are made consistent through His love for us!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

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Where are You? Genesis 3:9

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Yesterday, we found ourselves searching Gods Word and then our hearts, asking ourselves questions In an effort to get closer in our relationship with God.

Our focus,
But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Genesis 3:9-11

Here we find Adam literally waiting for judgment and punishment. Though instructed and warned, Adam allowed himself to be influenced by someone other than the one who created him and was shaping Him.  Sound familiar?garden

Adam, fresh from his mistake, attempted to hide from God. I can imagine him kneeling in the bushes, shielded by shrubs, leaning on the backside of a tree hid in an attempt to avoid or delay facing God. Gods voice calls out, “Adam, where are you?”

 

Thus we began our discussion with the question “Where are you?”

Where are you intellectually, emotionally, spiritually? Where are you on your journey towards being in the image of Christ? Is righteousness within your view? Are you eating from the right tree? Or gathering fruit from each available branch?worship-fast

Much like Adam, many of us have taken bites of fruit only to face the regrets of opening doors that should’ve remained shut. Though warned of the death it would bring, he chose to consume what seemed to be both edible and nutritious. Shamefully, so do we!

How many closed doors have you opened that should have remained closed? Now you sit as Adam, filled with regret, knowing that the day of reckoning will come. We looked at our worship time. A time to be set aside for God, and how many times we find ourselves in Gods presence, while He calls out to us. “Where are you?” God is saying. Your worship used to be so pure, so sincere! You used to hear my voice so clear! Now distortion! Static is in the line. We now exists on different frequencies, interrupted by other voices and conversations.

“Where are You?” God calls out.

Adam opened the door to the adversaries will for his life, and now His encounter with God has changed. Once knowing Him as creator and teacher, he experiences now fear, waiting to experience Him as Judge.lockeddoor

You do know He’s going to return, don’t you?

He’s approaching! And while we walk through the garden, aware of His return, distracted with items, we bare the knowledge that He will return.  He returned to the garden and upon hearing Him, Adam hid and was afraid. Adam braced himself for the reward of his disobedience. Not having the covenant of the blood of Christ, Adam would have to stand without a covenant, solely dependent on God’s love and mercy.

What is challenging about the question God asked was that he was required to do a personal assessment as to his standing. He was asked to look in the mirror and to be truthful with himself about his present state. No progress can be made in our relationship with God without

So, “Where are you?” Are you growing in intellectually, emotionally and spiritually?

Adam didn’t fair so well.  When confronted, he blamed it quickly on the woman God gave to him, and so do we.

 

#PastorJDO3

Valentines 2018

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I am blessed to be surrounded with beauty.  Our home is filled with gift and talents beyond what I can thank God for being entrusted with.  Each year I try to write my ladies on their b-day and v-day to speak into their lives a word for today.  Here are the inspired words given to me this year for my wife, and the oldest 3 girls of our 5.

Wife

The challenge of loving me,
far surpasses any classroom you will ever lead.
More challenging than leading,
I have found is the challenge of being a leader;
and being willing to follow.
As a leader,
Good leadership can be challenging to follow,
Because each leader leads in a different way.
But you allow me,
With all my imperfections,
Mistakes in judgement,
Accept me as your covering,
Choose to follow me,
Bringing to my feet,
The gifts of respect and honor,
Which are not deserved or earned,
But prescribed.
It is humbling!
While you choose to follow,
I have chosen to serve,
Through love,
With humility,
Laying at your feet,
Gifts of love and sacrifice,
Washing our feet from your travails,
Cleaning you with The Word,
The words from my heart,
Pointing you towards a mark that I have yet to reach,
And supporting you,
As we both stumble into God’s perfect will for our lives,
I love you!
May our days be numerous together.

Girlie #1

The feeling of holding you,
Has not been recreated.
In that moment,
Like God,
I was able to hold all of you in my hand.
Though a physical shape,
I was charged with programming you.
I gave you a screen name,
And a password,
Even designed your home screen,
And installed all initial programs.
Yes,
I was your source,
Amidst many trees,
I held the choicest fruit;
But time fades.
Our walks in the garden aren’t as frequent,
The first voice your heard each morning was mine,
And time passes.
I miss those days,
But I look forward to the ones ahead.
I’m so proud of you!

Girlie #2

You came into this world surrounded by love,
Propelled by faith!
Hence your name,
You remind me,
Each day,
God answers prayers!
He listens to me,
He responds to me,
And even when my request is not granted,
I am honored that He listened
And heard each word with compassion.
You are the answer to my prayers,
And will one day be the answer to the prayers of another.
As I prayed for you before I beheld you,
I am assured that the name you will bear,
W
ill be achieved the same way!
I thank God for you daily,
And appreciate your many layers.
You truly have an eye for capturing beauty,
Developed from beholding it each morning!

Girlie #3

Before the sun touched your skin,
The Son touched within,
He guided me to a name,
Assuring me of its claim,
A prophecy,
A declaration,
A statement to the world of His faithfulness,
And the beauty that is within Him,
You changed the entire song (wake up song),
Introducing a new melody,
Adding harmony to a home,
Created balance with your presence,
Life has been your stage,
And though it may seem to be one mic,
You never stand alone!
You only stand out!
And at times;
This feels alone!
Stand firm and know,
You are loved beyond which you can understand!

#PastorJDO3