Another Name?

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Like a lion that has come up from its lair
the one who destroys nations has set out
from his home base.
He is coming out to lay your land waste.
Your cities will be left in ruins and
lie uninhabited.  Jeremiah 4:7

 

As we continue our journey through Jeremiah, I am inspired to continue writing about the dialogue from our Lord through Jeremiah.  What is captured in these words is both the love, and faithfulness of our Lord and the serious nature of our God when it comes to covenant.

What is concerning to me is the current views of our God.  Its the presentation that our God is so filled with Love, Mercy and Grace, that He would somehow be in capable of carrying out Vengeance and Wrath on those who reject Him or refuse to follow and obey.  While we do understand that each man will be held accountable for his own actions, we have a view of judgement day that is more like “Shark Tank”, “The Voice” or maybe “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.”

tinder1The Word informs us that He will divide sheep from goat, almost like the lawless swipe their way through Tinder.  Yep, either covered or uncovered!  Our God swept through Egypt looking at the doorpost, laying to rest the first born of those who were not covered, swallowed up almost all of humanity in a flood, rained down fire on an unrighteous town, allowed famines to come, and allowed His people to be held in captivity (among many other events).  This God, my friends, has been labeled so loving and so forgiving, that He will not honor His Word.

Let me take the time today to point out a name that is not given to our Lord by His people, but a description of our Lord from His own lips to Jeremiahs ears and heart.  God says He is “the one who destroys nations.”  HelloDestorysWe forget that our God’s Word hold back the four corners of the earth, and that one Word from Him can flood the earth, can open up the ground and swallow up rebellious followers.  How quickly we forget that 40 years passed before entering the promised land, laying to rest generations of His chosen ones because the grumbled and complained, and that His chosen vessel died before entering the land promised to him because of disobedience.  This same God gave the man after His own heart the plans for the temple, allowed him to collect all the resources and then wouldn’t let him build!  This God people is the same God, now and forever more.  And despite our teaching and characterization of God, all the interpretive face lifts and implants will not change who He is, just who we believe Him to be.

God has suffered many advertising campaigns that have painted an vague picture of a God; who, has a high concern for righteousness, obedience and covenant.  God reminds His people through His servant, I am “the one who destroys nations.”  Many times the children prayed to God, were outnumbered, not as well equipped, not strategically placed, and the children advanced into foreign territory and dominated because God has either gone before them, or the opposing nations had headed about God to such the capacity that their heart were gone before the children lifted their swords.

throneThis same God allowed His children to lay waste to enemy territory, putting to death women, children and even the animals.  He reminds them that He is capable of not only parting seas, and providing clouds and fire to guide them, but is able to curse the very ground the labored on and remove the hedges that formerly protected them.

They have been fooled into believing that the worst is over.  They think that being in exile was the harshest punishment or that being under the ruler ship of a foreign leader who lacked morals and worshiped a foreign God was the worst that could happen to them, but Jeremiah brings to them a word of warning.

Listen to the Words of our Lord, who is describing Himself.  He says, “Like a lion that has come up from its lair…”  It’s as though He has been in His lair, ignoring the sounds from the entrance of His cave.  propheticroarThe people outside play, taunt and keep up drama and noise in His presence, ignoring the sheer danger of the lion, and playfully beacon from Him to emerge from His throne.  I can see people throwing rocks down the entrance, waving fresh flesh at the caves entrance, yelling into the caves empty threats, growing bolder and louder by the moment before He appears.

Then, like a thief in the night, God (much like He left from eternity) stands up from His throne and makes His entrance.  While God came in the form of man to free and not to judge, here we find God telling the people that He is going to “set out from his home base” and “lay your lands waste…in ruins and lie uninhabited.”  Just when they thought they had experienced the worst, God determines that their actions have called for judgement.  What they had experienced before is punishment, and now they would experience His judgement.

There is a difference between punishment and judgement. 

This bothered me.  I hear person after person talking about our earthly inhabitants being hell on earth.  This is particularly hard to hear us spoiled Americans recite.   Its as though we believe this earthly dwelling is the hardest life could ever be.  We say this knowing that a different level of struggle exist in other countries, and recall this knowing what has been revealed to God’s Prophets.  How foolish we are!  

God presents to Him a plans to take action on  and from the thing that was a blessing to them, but became a stumbling block to them.  JehovahNissiThe place where He purposed to meet them was eventually shared by false Gods, and became a place of manipulation and disobedience.  The law He created for mankind to abide by, because a tool to chastise and prosper those in power with positions.  And it is this bold, public rejection of God that causes God to put into works a public judgement.

In conclusions, He is El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, Jehova Rapha & Jehovah Nissi, but He is also “The one who Destroys Nations!”

 

#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

The Kingdoms’ Electoral College

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I find it interesting that the voice provided by social media has transformed our first culture and now our faith. A medium that could be used for good, has once again been used to divide and conquer our faith. Now Pastors and Parishioners are calling each other out; questioning a persons sincerity, calling and even salvation because of disagreements that should be settled in private and would take all of 30 minutes of discussion a hug and a handshake.

How did we get here? There have always been disagreements in the church and people have and will often find themselves offended at the actions of their brother or sister. Thus Paul advised in 1 Corinthians 6:6 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Why, public arguments just aren’t cute, neither are they beneficial to the faith.

Fast forward through the jargon!!!!

In the grand scheme of things, we have God’s Word to guide our lives by. It speaks truth to us, and gives us boundaries and correction. It gives us the rules by which He will abide, in that He holds to His Word and does not break His covenant! He decided what was sinful. It informs us that we all have a date set to stand before the throne, where we will be divided sheep and goat! Having stated this, none of us need to pronounce judgement on anyone.

electoralcollegesmallFurthermore, I pronounce myself as deserving of a spot among the goats. Yes, I deserve a spot! In sin, I am truly the Greatest of All Times! Yep; The GOAT! And because of this, I haven’t the time to make calls upon what I believe the results of another man or womans’ walk will be. I like Paul am just trying to keep from getting disqualified, and if I am going to use an example of a wretch or someone who is deserving of hell, it should be me!!!!
Paul didn’t spend his time roasting Peter nor did he waste time judging the Super Apostle! He didn’t even waste time speaking ill of those who persecuted him and rejected him. He stayed focused on the prize and stayed true to His call. He stood on truth as opposed to warring with those who refused to recognize it or even fought against him. He stood by this truth until even those who disagreed found themselves in agreement. And the recount of his time with Peter reminded us to confront our brothers face to face.

Now the title of this post 🙂 I am searching through the scriptures looking for God’s Electoral College. Though Revelations is interesting, I couldn’t put my hand on the list of Electoral College Members or even how to become one. Yet it seems that there are many Electoral College Members in the world, casting their votes for Sheep and condemning the goats! I created what I believe the ballot would look like. Vote-PNG-HD.pngI am assuming that Dez Bryant is a member, thus he keeps throwing up the “X” after every touch down. Maybe Malcolm X was one, hence the name change (I know he was Muslim). I just hope its not most of the people that have Facebook and Twitter accounts. If so, we are all doomed!

And if you have a vote, please tell us! You will never buy another meal or pay another bill as long as you live! You can live the good life!

Hmm, I wonder what happens if the Electoral College doesn’t agree with the Lord?

#PastorJDO3

The Lion’s Roar (Amos 3:4-8)

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Amos 3:4 Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey? Does it growl in its den when it has caught nothing?
7  Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing             his plan to his servants the prophets.
8 The lion has roared— who will not fear?    The Sovereign LORD            has spoken— who can but prophesy?

 

This week, we found ourselves in the 3rd Chapter of Amos, looking at his prophetic to God’s people.  He informs the people that the Lord has decided to punish Israel.  Their time spent feeding their flesh and being disobedient to His commandments and to the word given through His prophet have caused God to take action against His people.  There is no turning back he advises them.  The ball has been set into motion.  It’s inevitable!

He then explains further, informing them of something key.  See, they have ignored all the warning signs.  They heard the words of the prophet and would not give heed to them.  Amos says, “does a lion roaring the thicket with it has no prey?V. 4  For those late to the story, God is the Lion and we are the prey.  Amos informs the hearers that God is in the thicket.

Lion sitting in tall grass

20 Jun 2013 — Lion sitting in tall grass — Image by © Jeremy Woodhouse/Blend Images/Corbis

We talked about the National Geographic videos that feature the unaware deer grazing in the field, while the lion sits couched just feet away, waiting for the right time to pounce.  My friends, God is not dead!  He is not unaware!  He is not sleep!  He is God!  He never sleeps nor does He slumber!  He could be called the silent killer, but he gives a warning first.  The people, like us, believed that God was pleased and or not bothered by their action because he not stop it immediately.  They continued feeding their flesh, believing that they were getting way with it. They weren’t!  He watched the whole time!

Sister Ashley spoke of the frustration watching the video.  Though the dear is unaware, the viewer and the lion are not.  Point being, often those around us see the larger picture.  While the dear or person grazes, they  often does not realize they are in trouble.  They eat peacefully, while those watching scream helplessly at the screen.  We are that dear!  We carelessly feed our flesh, as though the lion does not exist.  But a newsflash; God is not sleeping.  He “…neither sleeps nor slumbers…” Psalm 121:4   He is watching us!  24 Hour surveillance!  He sees and knows all, yet we act as though he is knowledgeable of our sins!

Amos continues,“…the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets…” V.7   In other words, before the Lord strikes from the “thicket”he speaks to the prophet.  He informs the prophet of his plans, that he might speak to the people before he strikes.    After crouching, the Lion leaps into action, chasing relentlessly until it corners its prey.

The question was asked of the group, “Have you ever been cornered?” As a consensus, the majority agreed that Sunday service tends to feel like this.  It’s word that comes from the mouth of the prophet that lets you know that God has been watching.   Often we sit through messages that leave  us feeling as though the preacher has been following us around, documenting all our thoughts and actions.  This feeling is the result of God’s leading of the man of God, giving him or her the words to speak to his people.  The listener sits in their seat, confronted by the truth and the power and knowledge of the lion, feeling helpless and powerless, many times looking for a way of escape.  It is amazing how many come to church and are still shocked when the preacher speaks right to their circumstances; however, let us recall this to be God’s process.  He speaks first to His prophet.  He gives instructions and warnings!

Here we find ourselves in the midst of a hidden truth, the Prophet is the Lions Roar.   Amos speaks and then says, “The lion has roared— who will not fear?”  V.8   Verse 6, He says, “If an alarm sounds…do not the people fear?”  Amos speaks forth God’s truth!  The people are cornered.  Their sins have been revealed, and God’s plan uncovered!  He then ask, “…who will not fear?” V. 8   After the Lord roars, we like the cornered dear, should be filled with fear.  We should drop what we are doing.  We should change our direction.  We should hide our face.  We should repent!  However, what we find is often the deer is so caught up in its grazing, that the lion is on his back with jaws clinched between his neck and spin.  The prophet stands before the people sounding the alarm for the city, and yet people continue with business as usual.

When will we heed the word of the prophet?  As our world continues to fall deeper into living for the flesh, we must find ourselves finding a new appreciation for the word of God and for the voice He determines to deliver it through.  We must not look at the Prophet as just another person, but according to the assignment that has been given to him or her.  Respecting the office and responding to His instructions with urgency, because He watches the lion while we graze.

 

#PastorJDO3