As 2020-2021 slips away into a history that may or may not be recorded, we are wise to consider all that the Lord has done in the past year and half. I am personally thankful for all the trouble, tests and trials of 2021. My character had been developed through the endurance and I am emerging from a fantasy that the world will return to what it once was, He awakened in me, a deeper trust in God, and that His will is being done in me and in the world. How have you been blessed by the lockdown? Our good, good Father gives us what we need, not what we want. Jesus said our life is but a vapor that vanishes away, or the blinking an eye that’s over in an instant. “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is only trouble and tragedy; for it passes quickly, and we disappear… So as I will live out my 70th year in 2021, Lord teach me to number my days that I may present to you a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10, 12) It is my desire to present to Jesus, face to face, a steady faithful heart. “be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, redeeming your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16) I am excited to meet God very soon. “For we will all appear before the judgment seat of God. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, to Me every knee will bow, and every tongue will give praise to God.’ One glorious day we will each give an account of our choices to God. (Romans 14:10-12) Wow we get to choose to live for the glory of God during 2021 and beyond, and into eternity! Standing firm “in Him” we must choose to do right, no matter the cost, and trust in God’s living Word, no matter tempting doubts. On the last day of 2020 let us focus on what He has given us! Time alone with our Creator, time to reflect His ways and deny self-interests. If we are to follow Jesus, we must be wiling to go where He leads, no matter the uncertainty. Choose to live 2021 boldly as His delight! “coram Deo” – “in the presence of God.”
Consider the sunrise or a blooming flower – listen to the wind rustling in the trees. We cannot see the wind but we can see the leaves moving and know there is a wind! Our heavenly Father makes Himself known in similar ways. He is always accessible through His living Word. As we marvel at all nature, of all He has created for our pleasure, we are in a state of worship. God speaks to us in many gentle, quiet ways. The Truth of who God is — is clear when we open our hearts to hear His voice. Our Father is everlasting, all powerful, and supremely patient and good. God engages us in His self-revelation as we read the Bible. It contains 66 letters we call books. God reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit to ordinary people He personally chose to write His living Word. The Bible is a collection of divinely inspired texts that document what God has done. ”All scripture is God breathed”. As we read scripture, our Father is reading us and imparting love and wisdom. God is the Author of the Holy Bible, however, it was penned by 40 odd writers over 1500 plus years. Our heavenly Father continues to speak directly to us through all generations who encountered, denied or obeyed Him. The Deity to which we are all accountable, speaks to us to bring us back into relationship with our Creator. It is God’s desire that we live together in harmony as we reflect His character – He speaks to us about what is important to Him. Our loyalty, our faith in His ways, and most emphatically, our obedience — is the delight of our Father! The Holy Word of God is full of wisdom, discernment, direction, guidance and correction. It is a good mirror which peers deep into the soul of man. It spotlights our sins, with an accurate diagnosis of who we once were without Hope…and most amazingly His Word encourages our potential ‘in Him’. We are God’s creatures made in His image, for His purpose. What makes us different than other creations, in part, is that we use words to communicate. We only know God personally because He came down in the Old Testament as the Spirit of revelation… then in the New Testament in physical form to testify to us, to speak to us and show us His Way. The Word of our Creator gives us HOPE for today and for our eternal future with Him. We are able to suffer well on this earth because of the Hope in His plan for us to rule and reign with Him in His kingdom.
Walk this Way” No matter who sits in the oval office, God’s remnant sees His glory and we keep PRAYING for His will to be done. God loves all people! Our Father does not determine who He shall love, forgive or extend mercy to by their pedigree, skin color, education or political party! To stay in covenant with the Lord, we keep His Word and trust His way! With zero tolerance for unforgiveness, our holy God gave us His Spirit in order to convict us of our foolish prejudices, that we may see the error of our condemnations. “yeah but” His will is perfect. JESUS is the only Way, Truth, Life and final Judge. In 2021 the world got to witness that justice on earth is impossible without God.
How many failed strategies does it take before we humble ourselves to ask “God what would you have me do?” Our Father patiently waits for us to use the mind of Christ. We were chosen, changed and commissioned to pray for our enemies. “The writing on the wall” was interrupted by Daniel and the king who dishonored God died. In the midst of all the delusion, confusion and chaos listen to what the Spirit of God says. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Liar shouts that our angry rioting, our gossip to destroy reputations, our hate is justified. Christian, Believer, Follower, what did Jesus say when He was betrayed, wrongly accused? “Not my will, but His will be done”
With great joy and tenacity we can walk through the valleys of life knowing He is faithful to never depart from us. In Hebrews chapter 13 we are promised that if we will commit our lives to Him, God will never leave us or forsake us. What we come to know about God, is what He reveals, in His time, through the Holy Spirit. God ties Himself to all of mankind throughout history. He illustrates His character as faithful and true through His fulfilled prophecy. A question that persists in the mind of man; “what is God like, and are there many gods or is there just one God?” On Mount Sinai the One true God revealed Himself in a holy Fire. The Ten Commandments are God’s thundered word, etched on tablets by His finger. Hammered home permanently by the Author of Life, the 10 commandments are an original writing, the very Word of God. Our Creator is the true God, the One who speaks to our souls. God’s Word chiseled in stone is His permanent command that His people were unable to obey, without His grace. Matthew was compelled to tell the impact of Jesus, with a genealogy which confirms His direct lineage. God’s clear purpose is to affirm that Jesus is the fulfillment of the whole Old Testament. The ministry of Jesus fulfilled what God promised, Jesus is the promised Messiah.
Jesus did not come to abolish or eradicate, but to fulfill God’s redemption plan of man. IF it is hard to believe in the Old Testament, or IF you think the Word of God is boring, then You have not encountered Jesus. The Son of God believed and quoted what the prophets foretold in the Old Testament. There is zero debate about how Jesus viewed scripture. He quoted it after His baptism when the devil tempted Him. Jesus perfectly fulfilled scripture. He never reverses what God said. Jesus never minimizes the Word of God, instead He goes beyond it. “You’ve heard it said…”
Never once do you find Jesus in the gospels saying to the Pharisees that you care too much about the law. Jesus pointed out that what they added to the law, contradicted God’s law, His intent, His Word. The final authority is the unchanging Word of God. Jesus reprimanded them for undermining the Word of God by not keeping it themselves. He knew the Old Testament and He affirmed those old scrolls as Holy Scripture by quoting them. Jesus understood that He is the Messiah, and that He is the fulfillment of the law. If anyone denies the significance of the Old Testament then they disagree with Jesus.
A favorite verse in the Bible is John 1 where God says “in the beginning was the Word”. In Greek ‘word’ means Logos, or Logic. So logically we can understand that Jesus was with God in the beginning, and God came down to walk and talk among us. In John 1:14 “the Word became flesh” The Word has great significance. There is some debate as to whether or not the Greek translation should be affixed to Jesus as logic. Not leaning on our own understanding, as we read the Word, God reads us and He enlightens His readers by the Holy Spirit, our Teacher, and Counselor. The intelligibility as God would have us understand is logical. The Word signifies God’s Self disclosure, His Self-Revelation, or how God makes Himself known to us. It is immensely profound, immensely significant and actually quite logical that Jesus would be called the Word made flesh. The invisible God now made Himself visible to His people.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:1-4 Holman Translation
In order that we are certain that the Son of Man has all authority on earth to forgive sins and heal – the Word says “I say to you get up and walk.” The crippled man gets up and walks. Our Creator knew that we needed to see to believe! We saw in scripture that Jesus has the authority to heal, but we cannot see forgiveness. So by His actions, our spirit confirms that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. In that context of scripture the unbelievers tried to reconcile what they saw. “but no one can forgive sins but God.” Exactly! All human talk is cheap and the words we may utter leave the listener with the choice to believe or not. When Jesus spoke and demonstrated that God’s Word had authority to heal and to forgive, it compelled those who were teachable to believe. As we read the Word of God we may reflect on these recorded miracles as a power point presentation, or a written audio visual of the authority of Jesus.
“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt–but God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” Genesis 45:5-8 – “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” Genesis 50:19 God reveals His Ways through the true stories of how He reverses what the others meant for harm, into a blessing, or a future benefit.
The texts that were written 3,000 years ago, perfectly describes the condition of man’s soul and his need of a savior. If a man wrote the Bible, why would he choose words that accurately articulate such blunders of what we would all like to deny? A man would leave out all the failures of humanity!!! The only Person able to know the content of our souls, mind and heart is God Himself. Our heavenly Creator knows everything before we do. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. The Septuagint is the oldest translation done by 70 or 72 Jewish scholars at the request of Ptolemy II. Most scholars agree that only the Pentateuch was completed in the early part of the 3rd century BC. and that the remaining books were translated in the next two centuries. The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) was translated most likely in Alexandria into Greek which was the language of the Mediterranean world when the apostles went out to preach the Gospel. What was translated early on is Proverbs, Psalms, the Major prophets and most Minor prophets.