Removing Idols

“He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.” -  2 Kings 18:4 

When Hezekiah became king, he broke the bronze serpent into pieces and said, “this is a thing of brass.”  For 700 years before King Hezekiah, the people burned incense to the bronze serpent; they named it Nehusthan, and prayed to it as if it were God Himself.  

What happened 700 years earlier? The Children of Israel were in the wilderness and they complained against God and His Lordship over them. To correct the problem, God sent fiery serpents and the people were dying from their bites.

Now that God had their attention again he commanded Moses to make a serpent from brass and set it on a pole, and if anyone was bitten, just looking up at the serpent on the pole would save them.  This was a miracle from God. He healed them, saved them, so the people did a very, very human thing. They made a religious relic out of it and began to worship the brass snake.

We have to be careful as Christians not to worship anything or anyone except the Lord.  Have you thought about what it means when people start worshipping idols? It means they have lost the consciousness of God’s presence. In reality, God is always there, all around us. 

David asked the question “Where can I go from your presence?”  We’re not always aware that God is present. Somehow within us, we try and recapture that which is lost. That day we felt God’s presence and power. That time when He filled our hearts with joy.

Maybe there’s a certain spot we want to go back to in order to feel God’s presence again. For me, the place is Big Beach on Maui, because God is really present in the waves that break on the beach! So, when I go back there, because I am human, I might want to find God there again. But the reality is, I don’t have to go anywhere or stand by a certain tree or be in a particular church building to experience His presence. I am born again, and His presence now resides within me.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19; “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

Why hold on to relics made with hands when you can have the real deal? Experiencing miracles like the brass serpent and enjoying His presence should be a common thing for us, those who have His presence within. “Nehushtan” – the brass thing isn’t God, it’s not holy or sacred, neither is a tree, a church building or waves at Big Beach, but they come pretty close. J

Jesus said in John 3:13-17 “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Hold fast to the Lord. Let your roots go down deep into His word, and when you do, you will find your life bringing forth all kinds of fruit.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob

Our Future Inheritance

“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” – Colossians 1:12b

Many of us fear what lies ahead, when we enter into eternity. In one sense, we all will stand at the river one day, the river that separates the here and now and Heaven.  If our heart is set on going home to heaven, we will do whatever is necessary to ensure we are on the right side of heaven's door when it shuts for the last time.

According to Paul in Colossians 1:12, the Father has (past tense) qualified us or rendered us worthy, or declared our righteousness as sufficient to receive all that is His. His creation, His kingdom, His possessions, and even His dwelling place called Heaven.

What is heaven?

Ø  Heaven is being prepared by Christ himself. John 14:3

Ø  It is only for those who have been born again. John 3:3

Ø  The name of this city is the New Jerusalem. Rev. 21:2

Ø  It is in the shape of a cube, with the length, width, and height being equal. Rev 21:16

Ø  Its size is roughly 1,400 miles long, wide, and high. Rev 21:16

Ø  The city rests upon 12 layers of foundational stones, with each layer being inlaid with a different precious gem. Rev 21:19-20

Ø  Each foundation has one of the names of the 12 apostles on it. Rev 21:14

Ø  The wall around the city is made of pure jasper. Rev. 21:18

Ø  The height of the wall is approximately 216 feet. Rev 21:17

Ø  The wall has 12 gates, three on each of the four sides. Rev 21:12

Ø  Each gate is made of solid pearl. Rev 21:21

Ø  Each gate has on it the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Rev 21:12

Ø  The River of Life is there, to remind us of everlasting life. Rev 22:1

Ø  The Tree of Life is there to remind us of our abundant life. Rev 22:19

Ø  The main street of the city is composed of transparent gold. Rev 21:21

Ø  The light of the city is God's glory. Rev 21:11

Ø  It is a place of beauty. Ps. 50:2

Ø  It is a place of joy. Ps. 16:11

Ø  There will be no tears. Rev 21:4

Ø  There will be no sickness. Rev 22:2

Ø  There will be no pain. Rev 21:4

Ø  There will be no death. Isa. 25:8

Ø  There will be no more thirst or hunger. Rev 7:16

Ø  There will be no more sin. Rev 21:27

Ø  There will be no need for the sun or moon. Rev 21:23

Ø  There will be no night. Rev 21:25

Ø  The city will be the Bridegroom's gift to the bride, Christ's Church. Rev 21:2, 10

Through Christ you and I have access to an unimaginable inheritance in heaven, waiting for us. Just think on it, imagine what it’s going to be like. Jesus accomplished it all when he rose from the dead, He redeemed us and set us free and forgave our sins.

Now, no matter how good you are, or how hard you try to live a good life, be a good person, you cannot cross the river that separates the here and now from eternity apart from Salvation in Jesus Christ.

In John 1:12-13 it says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

You don’t have to feel afraid of what might be on the other side of the river. Just receive Jesus into your heart and life and become a Child of God. Then you can have help for today and the hope of heaven tomorrow.

Yours In Christ,

Pastor Bob


Empowered For Service

Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?  -Galatians 3:2

The Holy Spirit is looking for men and women to anoint, to empower, and to employ in His service. Imagine unlimited power available for the asking.   God has a perfect will for everyone’s life but when we are not following God’s will, we are under His permissive will.  I must confess that lately I am not content with governing myself, but I want that deeper and better part, for I desire that perfect will of God for myself, for my marriage, for my kids, for my church.

In Luke 11:9-13, Jesus said "And I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

We cannot be all we need to be without God’s help. Jesus said those that receive the Spirit’s power are those who ask for it. To receive the Holy Spirit, is to receive new power to live your life in a way that pleases the Lord.

Jesus said in Luke 24:46-49, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary of the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

The word "promise" (epangelia) in the Greek refers to a gift graciously bestowed, not a pledge secured by negotiation. It is a mercy to be received, not a reward to be earned. It is an assurance freely made and freely given. It is a gift that we receive by faith!

Now, the Lord empowers believers that we might then carry out His will on earth. Check this out, the morale of the story is a simple one indeed. Mankind, although often well-intentioned, simply cannot govern himself. As we read our bibles we see this played out king after king after king. We were created to be governed by God himself, and His rule is always right and just and fair. 

Who will govern your life this week, this year? If you have been the one sitting on the throne of your own life, how has that worked out for you?

This life you are living, the daily grind, the monotony isn’t all there is, my friend. There is a God in Heaven Who loves you and desires a relationship with you. You can experience Him. You can live your life empowered for service unto Him. A rich life, not with the things of this world, but rich in the things of the Spirit - power, love, joy unspeakable, full of glory and flowing with Living Water. 

It is power available for the asking.

Yours In Christ,

Pastor Bob

Spiritual Sight

“And Elisha prayed and said Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see. The the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 2:17 

Here in 2 Kings, we learn that Elisha prayed for spiritual sight. Things could look a lot different for us if we would choose to look at things with our spiritual eyes opened. If I choose to look at my life though the physical, I can despair, and I can think, “There’s just no way out man, I am surrounded.” But if I choose to look at my surrounding with my spiritual eyes, I get a whole new perspective. Instead of feeling I am heading for certain defeat, I now see certain victory. 

Chuck Smith writes:  “Because we live in the physical realm, we lose sight of the spiritual, and are prone to be filled with fear and despair because it looks like things are hopeless. That’s because we’re looking at things which are seen with our eyes.” With my spiritual eyes open and God’s promises before them, I now see a bright future, one filled with joy because I know that Jesus has already won the battle over the armies of darkness and evil. 

Through the eyes of faith I can now pray, “God open my eyes to see the flaming chariots, let me experience all the power the Holy Spirit has made available to me through the victory of Jesus Christ upon the cross." 

Why do some believers always seem confident of victory when others always seem defeated? Could the answer be discovered in what you have your focus on? Charles Spurgeon writes, “Faith serves the believer for eyes, and makes him see what others cannot. This keeps a man quiet and calm, and enables him to check the fears of those who cry, “Alas my master! What shall we do?” 

From the passage today we should understand that the natural eye is blind to heavenly things. God is everywhere, but sin has blinded mankind. God wants to speak to man, but instead of listening to God’s voice, man seeks to know his purpose or future through astrology. We should also understand that only God can open a man’s spiritual eyes. You might be able to lead a blind man around by the arm, but you can’t make him see because that is God’s work alone.

What can you and I do then for those who cannot see spiritual things? This week we must do what Elisha did! We can pray that God would open their eyes. Just think of all the people around you, who don’t know the Lord. They pass through life blindfolded to the colorful works of God. They live in a darkened world that is spiritually full of flowers, and stars and sunsets, but they are not aware of any of it.

This week may our prayer be like Elisha’s, “Lord open their eyes that they might find You, help them to hear your voice, and find the reason why You sent Your Son into the world, to give Your life for theirs, that they might know the One who made them.”  Lord, help us to see that we are not defeated, though surrounded with problems, but help us see the power available to us, that we might have the victory over the sin in our lives, in Jesus Name.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob

Seeds of Faith

“I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  John 15:1-2

God prunes so that we may bear more fruit. What God enjoys growing more than anything else is a person like you and me and what causes us to grow the most is His Word. When a person gets saved, God begins to clean up those areas in their lives that are overgrown and covered in weeds. I have found that this is a very painful process! 

Although God has been gardening in my life for 33 years, he isn’t finished yet! I want my life to be spiritually fruitful and I want God to enjoy the fruit in my life, but occasionally I still get angry.  So God says, “Oh look Bob, there’s an anger weed in My garden, let me get that for you, and rippppppp!” So I pray, “Lord that really hurts, because I see that my anger doesn’t please you.” 

And just when I think he’s finished weeding the old habits in my life, ripppppppp, he pulls up a weed of jealousy, ripppppp!  Oh, look, there’s a nice 4 wheel drive pick-up, it has lift kits and big tires, ripppppppp, there goes coveting.  

So as a believer, I am attached to Jesus the Vine, but it is necessary for the Lord to constantly prune me, why? Jesus said it is so I will bear more fruit for Him. In John 15:3, Jesus said: "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” It is only through the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit that a man or woman can bear fruit for the Lord. 

Now, when you go to the feed store to buy seeds and plant them, within that tiny seed is DNA, the genetic code that tells the seed what to produce. If you plant an apple seed, you get apples.  So it is with God’s word. Within God’s word are the seeds that, if planted each day in the good soil of your heart, will produce spiritual fruit. 

When my daughter Samantha was seven, and I would put her to bed, I would pray for her, and then kiss her on the cheek. Then as I close the door to her room, I would hear her say, “Daddy, can you turn my night light on.”  Now, to her, there was something scary about her surroundings when she couldn’t see them with her eyes.   

Listen carefully my friend; there is nothing in the dark of your surroundings that your Lord cannot illuminate with His word, His love.  So, when you read His word, you implant in your heart seeds of faith.  Faith is a fruit God wishes to produce in you. 

This week may renewal come to you and your house, as you seek the Lord through prayer and study of His word. 

Yours In Christ,

Pastor Bob

© 2014