Does God Change?

ten-commandments-187967__180If it’s been a while since you’ve read the 10 Commandments, I would ask that you’d take the time to look at each one below. As you look at each one, ask yourself, “Is there anything wrong or flawed about this Commandment?”

20 And God spoke all these words, saying:

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Now, before we go any further, let’s ask the question, does God change? It’s an important question, if we’re to determine whether or not the Law still applies to us.

Is God fickle? Does He say one thing one moment and change His mind the next? Now I will admit God has relented and changed His mind about bringing calamity on nations when they’ve repented; but He has never, as far as I have read, changed His mind about character issues. The Law, as far as I can tell, is all about character.

Malachi 3:5-7
5 And I will come near you for judgment;
I will be a swift witness
Against sorcerers,
Against adulterers,
Against perjurers,
Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans,
And against those who turn away an alien—
Because they do not fear Me,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
7 Yet from the days of your fathers
You have gone away from My ordinances
And have not kept them.
Return to Me, and I will return to you,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“But you said,
‘In what way shall we return?’

Does God still feel the same about sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, or has He changed His mind? If you could talk to God right now and asked Him if His feelings about those things above have changed, what do you think His response would be?

Look at verse 6 again, God says He does not change. So if we are to believe that God does not change, than we would have to believe that He has not done away with His condemnation of sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers and cheats. Right?

What does Hebrews 13:8 say about God?

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. “He does not change!”

What does God say about His Law in Matthew 5:18?

Matthew 5:18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Since Christ has not yet returned, and the heavens and earth are still out there, I have to believe that all is not yet fulfilled. Christ did not come to do away with the Law, but to magnify it. He took it from a physical set of do’s and don’ts to a spiritual compass that leads us to His Kingdom.

I’m not trying to offend, or step on toes, but the Law of God was not fulfilled and done away, it was magnified. Instead of adultery being just a physical act, it was magnified to encompassing lusting in our hearts for another not our own spouse.

Do not commit murder when from being a physical act perpetuated by one man upon another, to hating someone in our heart.

Which of God’s 10 Commandments do we find defective, lacking or in need of being done away?

I would argue that God’s commandments are just as applicable today as they were in the time of Moses. As a matter of fact they are now magnified and so much better.

The Law is not there to condemn us, but to help us. It’s not there to grieve us, but to lift us up. It’s not there to make our lives tougher, but to make them better.

Christ did not die to save us from the Law, He died to save us from the penalty of the Law.

Starting next week, I’d like to begin examining each of the Commandments, and seeing how we might use them to make sure we’re heading in the right direction. I hope you’ll join me to consider these issues.

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If It Can Happen to David

womanIn reading in the book of Samuel about the life of King David, and his encounter with Bathsheba I had to stop and ponder how such a thing might happen. I’m thinking, how does one so close to God end up in a situation like that.

So many of the Psalms express David’s deep passion and commitment toward God. David exudes such a love for Him. He talks about how he meditates on God’s Laws and how awesome and beautiful they are. Even God calls David a man after His own heart. So, what happened?

Well, I can’t say for sure, but we can certainly speculate about what might have happened. There’s no arguing that David loved God greatly, and was a man of deep passion. David was a warrior, a king, a poet, and a man’s man.

At the time this happened Israel was at war, but it seems David was no longer going out to the battles as he once did. He was back in his palace where everything seemed to be going rather smoothly. He had good generals and many mighty men taking care of things on the front lines which took a lot of the burden off of him. Life was pretty good, and David didn’t really have a lot to worry about at the time.

So let me ask you, what happens to us when our life goes on autopilot. What begins to happen when everything is going along smoothly? Do we find ourselves getting comfortable and backsliding just a little? Do we start letting out guard down a bit? Do we start following our own compass instead of our true compass, Jesus Christ?

It seems David let his guard down, and lost his way for a while. He became comfortable and relaxed. Let’s let the scriptures tell us what happened:

2 Samuel 11:1-3
11 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.

If King David would have taken a page from Joseph, one of the sons of Israel, he would have turned around, left, and let it go at that. But remember, David was a man of great passion and he had let his guard down. Let’s continue with the story:

2 Samuel 11:4-10
3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.

At this point not only did David let his guard down, but he gave in to lust and committed adultery with another man’s wife. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he is hit right between the eyes with the results of his sin.

2 Samuel 11:5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”

Wow, what are you going to do with that? You are the King of Israel, and a man that all the people adored and held in high esteem. So, what does David do? Does he repent in sack cloth and ashes for this sin? No, he tries to cover it up.

David sends for Uriah and tries to trick him into going into his wife to cover up what he had done, but Uriah is too loyal to his fellow soldiers and refuses to go into his wife while they are at battle.

At this point what’s David to do? He panics and decides to cover up his sin from the people by sending Uriah to the front lines to get killed.

2 Samuel 11:14-17
14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” 16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

So, not only do we have adultery here, but now we have a man killed to try and hide an egregious sin. David had put down his guard and forgot about his relationship with God. Life had been going good for him and he just started relying on his own importance instead of his deep need for relationship with God. So how does he finally realize the error of his way? It’s after hearing a story from Nathan the Profit that greatly angered him.

2 Samuel 12:1-13
12 Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 3 But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. 4 And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

5 So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6 And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”

7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! 9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”

13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.

Although David repented deeply, and God continued to love David and even called him a man after God’s own heart, David never saw peace again in Israel. Many of the Psalms were written from David’s anguish due to enemies pursuing him, even one of his own children.

So, what’s my point? Well, my point is we need to be vigilant not to back slide and lose our way. Even when times are good, maybe especially then, we need to keep ourselves immersed in the word of God. We need to keep our guards up. We need to be doing things to bless the life of others. It’s not just about going to church and reading your bible either. We need to be lights in this increasingly dark world. We need to be making a difference where ever we find ourselves.

If David, a man after God’s own heart can commit such a sin, are we comfortable putting our guard down?

 

If you’d like to see a beautiful version of L. Cohen’s Hallelujah check this out: HALLELUJAH

 

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The Day of Atonement

A photo of a nail with blood.

Photo by Koshyk

This is a re-post from 2012.

Leviticus 23:26-32 26 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”

Many people look at the above scripture and say that is for the Jewish people, and another group believes the Old Testament was done away with. What do you think?

If you are of either of those beliefs, I would ask you to prayerfully read the following scriptures and reconsider your stance.

Galatians 3:5-9 & 26-29 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[c] 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”[d] 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

It is not my place to judge, condemn, or argue spiritual issues and doctrines with anyone. However, I do think there are some amazing lessons, and deep spiritual insights that can be gained by the celebration and keeping of the Old Testament Holy Days. If you see any merit in what I share, that’s great, if you think I’m brain broke, that’s okay too. I just ask you to consider.

Until Jesus Christ laid down His life as a sacrifice for mankind to make Atonement for our sins, we were cut off from God. Every year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would have to go through a very elaborate and bloody ritual which was a representation of our true High Priest, and His sacrifice to come. Let’s take a look at what was done every year until Christ’s sacrifice.

Leviticus 16:2-22 2 and the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.

3 “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. 4 He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on. 5 And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.

6 “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. 10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.

11 “And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself. 12 Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. 13 And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die. 14 He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.

15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. 16 So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 And he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19 Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

20 “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. 21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

Although Jesus was not sacrificed on the Day of Atonement, this day represents and commemorates Christ’s sacrifice which reconciles us to God through His atoning or covering of our sins.

Romans 5:6-11 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

The Day of Atonement is a fast day in which no food or water is consumed from sundown to sundown. It is a time of repentance, and to reflect on the great sacrifice of our High Priest, Jesus Christ. When you go 24 hours without food or drink you realize just how temporary and weak our bodies are. It is a time of solemn reflection on our short comings and areas we need to improve on. But most of all, it is a time to be humbly grateful for Christ’s sacrifice.

I have been keeping the Day of Atonement for around 30 years now, and began its observance this evening at sunset. Every year I gain a deeper understanding of the significance of this day, and I become more grateful and dependent on our Savior because of it.

There are those who would argue the keeping of these days is not necessary anymore. As I said, it is not my place to judge or debate, only to share. I would not consider this a salvation issue, but a learning and relationship deepening opportunity. I believe if keep this day, you will be spiritually impacted by it.

If you should decide to try keeping the Day of Atonement, let me say this. If you have any health issues, talk to your doctor before doing so. You should take any medications that you’re on with a little water. This day is not an exercise in the letter of the law, but is a day of rich symbolism and meaning that can draw you closer to God.

Again, considering the scriptures in Galatians we read above let me leave you with the following scripture.

Leviticus 16:29-31 29 “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. 30 For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. 31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever.

Show Some Kindness

be right or be kindDoes the Spirit of Kindness live in you? It should if you’re a Christian. After all, Kindness is one of the Fruits of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

From Wikipedia, Kindness is described as a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.

From Merriam Webster, Kindness is described as: the quality or state of being kind.

Some Synonyms of Kindness are: benevolence, courtesy, grace, indulgence, favor and mercy.

So, looking at these definitions and synonyms, are you a kind person? Now, I’m not asking you if you’re kind to certain people, but are you kind in your overall nature?

For the sake of this discussion, let’s substitute the word kindness with love.

Luke 6:32-34
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.

Jesus condemned the behavior of loving only those who love us. Would He feel any different about the issue of kindness toward others?

Do you see where I’m going with this? Even those who aren’t Christ’s do good to their own. They are kind to those who are kind to them. They give and lend to those who will give or lend to them.

What about you and me? Are we only kind to those who are kind to us? Do we only give to those who give to us? Are we only friendly and kind to those who are friendly and kind to us, or who believe as we believe?

I’ve heard people who call Christ their Lord speak disparaging things about those who are not like them. To hear some of them speak if you smoke, drink, have different doctrinal believes, or don’t read the right Bible, you have no place with Christ. Not only is it sad that they believe that way, but scary when you consider that God is going to judge us with the same judgment we use on others. And, where is the Kindness?

If you are a true disciple of Christ’s then you are one of the elect and called upon to “Put On” Kindness as in the scripture says below.

Colossians 3:12
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, KINDNESS, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

Calling ourselves Christian no more makes us Christians than calling ourselves a Cadillac makes us a car. It’s not the things we say, but the way we live our lives. When we are being kind or showing kindness to others, we are showing Christ in us and living according to our calling.

Also, not only does being kind to others bless them, but it blesses us as well. When we are kind, we feel better about ourselves, which makes us feel better about life. When we feel better about life we have more of ourselves to give. When we have more of ourselves to give, God has more of us to work with.

There is a natural law that God has put into place all around us. It is the law of sewing and reaping. In life whether we sew good or evil, whether we sew love or hate, or whether we sew Kindness or hostility; we will reap what we have sewn.

In the New King James version of the Bible, the word Kindness is used 44 times; and the word Kind is used 188. I would say Kindness is very important to God, and if very important to God, it should be very important to us.

Let me leave you with a very good quote by Henry James, “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

So, what do you say we make an extra effort to show some Kindness to others?

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Oppressed by the Wicked

prisonerPsalm 12 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

1 Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains;
the loyal have disappeared from the human race.
2 They lie to one another;
they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips
and the tongue that speaks boastfully.
4 They say, “Through our tongues we have power;
our lips are our own—who can be our master?”
5 “Because of the oppression of the afflicted
and the groaning of the poor,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord.
“I will put the one who longs for it in a safe place.”
6 The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in an earthen furnace,
purified seven times.
7 You, Lord, will guard us;
You will protect us from this generation forever.
8 The wicked wander everywhere,
and what is worthless is exalted by the human race.

Which of you reading this feels safe anymore? Which of you feels this chapter doesn’t speak to us? Who feels like everything is going just fine, with everything chugging along as it always has?

I so look forward to the fulfillment of versus 5 – 7, but right now see the fulfillment of the rest of this chapter. Although there are pockets of individuals that are faithful to the Lord, they are dwindling;. and many in this nation who call themselves Christian are at best a version of Christian lite.

Didn’t Isaiah talk of such a time as ours.

Isaiah 1:4-6 (New King James Version)
4 Alas, sinful nation,
A people laden with iniquity,
A brood of evildoers,
Children who are corrupters!
They have forsaken the Lord,
They have provoked to anger
The Holy One of Israel,
They have turned away backward.
5 Why should you be stricken again?
You will revolt more and more.
The whole head is sick,
And the whole heart faints.
6 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
There is no soundness in it,
But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores;
They have not been closed or bound up,
Or soothed with ointment.

The whole head is sick! Look at our morally bankrupt leaders in Washington flushing this country down the drain. And the whole heart is faint! Look at many of our current Christian leaders who are more concerned about preaching feel good messages that gets lots of donations, instead of crying out for revival, repentance and a return to Christ.

We have an organization that this Country helped fund and train, ISIS, that is tearing through the Middle East beheading men, women and children. There are even pictures of ISIS children cutting off people’s heads. Where is the outrage in our media or our Government. There is nothing but posturing and speaking out minimally only when enough pressure is brought to bear.

A child is not allowed to bow his or her head in many schools for a moment of silent prayer; yet we have schools that have children take on Muslim names and celebrate Ramadan. And just the other day a solider, stopping in his daughter’s school in Detroit Michigan, was not allowed in by security because his uniform might offend someone. REALLY?

The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. We have become a country that is covered in wounds, bruises and putrefying soars. We are obsessed with what we look like on the outside when our insides have become rotten. Unless this Country repents quickly we will run out of time.

I do believe God will look out for His elect. Those men and women who are in this world but not of it. I really do take great hope in Psalms 12:5-7, but I fear right now we are in a place where, “The wicked wander everywhere, and what is worthless is exalted by the human race.”

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