A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth


Showing posts with label God's Mercy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God's Mercy. Show all posts

May 20, 2024

What Does God Demand of Us, and What Does the World Tempt Us to Covet?


As I have expressed in past posts, I want less of what the world has to offer. And as I advance in my faith [and my number of years on this planet], I yearn, instead, for more of the Kingdom in my life. Furthermore, as I learn what it means to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, I can discern the differences in a life lived surrendered to Him, and one that answers the call of the world.

So, these considerations have led to an awakening in my spirit of the ways our Enemy diverts the paths of Christians and steals our peace and joy. It's easy to see how the Unbelievers respond to the world. For them, there is no contemplation of what the Lord might ask of them, or how He might desire they live their lives. Instead, those with little or no faith simply are drawn to what the world tells them has value, or that promises them they will receive validation from their fellow men. 

What does that look like? It's easily seen with spiritual eyes. The world sets the standards ... you must have a big house with a pool; hundreds of followers on social media; the latest hairstyle, clothes, and weekly pedicures; belong to the "right" club, group, or clique; climb the corporate ladder; have a title, whether it's in the boardroom, the community, or the church. And above all else, the world teaches us that we put ourselves first; that self-gratification is our means to achieve happiness, success, wealth and power -- it all culminates in the indulgence or satisfaction of one's own desires. 

But did Jesus teach any of that?? What does God demand of us? What does He desire our lives to look like? If we call ourselves Christians, there is an obvious Bible verse that shines a light on what God desires. It's Micah 6:8 ... And what does the Lord require of you except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness [compassion], and to walk humbly with your God. Put simply, God wants you to live a lifestyle that shows you know right from wrong. Such a lifestyle is characterized by being just [ethical, moral, righteous, principled, full of integrity] in an unjust world. Jesus is our example. Consider how He conducted Himself in the midst of Roman autocracy. He did not respond as the world would have responded. He hit the mark on every one of those descriptions that I used to describe what just means. But the world would have us react out of anger, pride, and vengeance. Just turn on the TV and watch the News channels, talk shows, and the live broadcasts of our Congress in action.   

Secondly, God desires that we love others and practice kindness, compassion, and mercy. Remember that at the time Micah wrote this, Israel's religious focus was on their rites and sacrifices as the way to curry favor with God for forgiveness of their sins. But their emphasis was all wrong! They were convinced by hard hearts to add to the sacrifices sanctioned by the Law of Moses. They followed the pagan culture and began sacrificing their firstborn sons as a means to cover their sins. That gives such a profound meaning to Jesus's quote in Hosea 6:6 ... I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I think God's most intimate desire is that we know His love and how to share it with others. That is the most important thing to Him; He sent His Son to model that for us. He does not demand rigid, religious rites. He desires changed hearts which reflect Him to the world; justice, mercy, and love are the foundation of God's Holy Nature. The modern Church has sadly compromised with the world, and too often subverts God's holy commandments in order to listen when the world's culture whispers "diversity, equity, and inclusion".   

Thirdly, Micah 6:8 tells us God desires us to walk humbly with Him. Again, this shows a heart fully surrendered to God; one that sets aside worldly pride to stand committed to showcasing God's glory and His attributes, rather than our own. Let's be honest, it is easy to recognize a person who puts God first in their life. They do not call attention to themselves [as the world tempts them to do], but rather, they simply do what is right, and people are drawn to them because of their loving heart. Their walk with Jesus is their way of life. And that brings us to another thing God desires of us: that we walk in all His ways in our steadfast relationship with Him. That requires a healthy fear [or reverence or awe] of the Lord, rather than idolizing what the world holds up for our entertainment and worship. His goodness should motivate us all to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and spirit because He is worthy of such adulation and respect. Walking in the ways of the Lord means it is incumbent upon us to seek knowledge of His Word, and to walk in obedience to do what He calls us to do, wherever He sends us, giving all honor and glory to Him. The world, however, encourages us to love ourselves and what it defines as worthy -- money, fame, beauty, material things, power.

And anyone who has experienced life with Jesus knows that those things are empty and meaningless in the Kingdom of God. Regrettably, I have seen those very temptations draw people [that I love dearly] further away from a life that will lead them to God. The world speaks lies that these idols are worthy substitutes for a life lived in the midst of God's love, and the joy and peace it brings. It doesn't mean our life in the world will be a bed of roses -- in fact, our Enemy will do everything to persuade us to abandon our allegiance to God and His ways. But, I will continue to pray that I grow more into the image of Christ, that they may have the dirty veil removed from their eyes and see the world in all its decay and deceit. Until then, I will do my utmost to live a righteous life; show kindness, compassion and mercy to others; and to walk in humbleness before my Lord. I know I am not perfect and there will be times I fail [a lot], but I also trust that He knows my heart because I know He is full of forgiveness for the repentant.

So, join me in praying for the world; pray that we who desire to please the Lord by following Him in all His ways can be a righteous influence and role model for those who desperately need to know Him. Let's show them that they don't need to follow any religious rules, but just allow Him to come close to them. They are His delight and His joy, and He paid everything for them to restore their relationship. And then let us invite them to tell them how we know!

2 Peter 1:4     And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.  





September 20, 2022

"The Big Picture": The Lord's Judgment and Mercy; Hope and Redemption

 

More and more, I have been hearing from people who are feeling the tension in the world; most are Believers, some are not; but they all can sense that something dark is coming upon the earth. It is in these times and seasons of fear among men [which, let's be honest, that is what it is], that I earnestly seek the Lord for His clarification and the counsel of the Holy Spirit. I know the warnings against man's rebellion that can be found in the Word, and I know the Good News of the strength, peace, and joy of the Lord that are ours in the midst of such darkness. But I don't have a crystal ball to see into the future to forecast what we might experience in the coming days or years. I can only draw inspiration from Scripture and what it reveals. And lately, I find myself studying the words of the minor prophets at the close of the Old Testament. They speak of both God's judgment and mercy, which are both sobering and hopeful as we reside in a world that is in such turmoil.

So, it is with great anticipation and expectation that I view the approach of the beginning of the High Holy Days of Judaism in less than a week. At sundown on Sunday, September 25th, the Feast of Trumpets commences. This Fall Feast, as ordained by God nearly 4000 years ago, was to begin with the blowing of the shofar to remind the Hebrew people that it was 10 days until the Day of Atonement, when the people were to make amends [by blood sacrifice of animals] for the sins they had committed against Him. Between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (known as the Ten Days of Repentance), people could repent of their sins. The Feast of Trumpets was [and still is] a call to examine our lives because they will be judged.

Fast forward to approximately 600 B.C. [or 2622 years ago], and the prophet Zephaniah hears these frightening words from the Lord, "I will completely consume and sweep away all things from the face of the earth [in judgment]”. Zephaniah had prophesied during the reign of godly King Josiah, whose father and grandfather (Kings Amon and Manasseh, respectively) had profaned the statutes of the Lord and led the people of Judah into wickedness. Josiah rediscovered the Law and brought religious and social reform and restoration to Judah. But it was to be short-lived, as his son Jehoiakim is forced to pay tribute to Nebuchadnezzar and eventually delivers the treasures of the Temple into the hands of the Babylonian king. It is Zephaniah who prophecies that the blasphemous worship of Baal; and "the names and remembrance of the idolatrous priests along with the [false] priests"; and "those who have turned back from following the Lord, and those who have not sought the Lord [as their most important need] or inquired of Him” will bring the downfall of the nation of Judah.

Zephaniah declares that the wealth of Judah will become plunder for its enemies; neither their silver nor their gold will be able to rescue them. He warns that God has set apart another nation [for His use]; a nation that has accepted His invitation to bring judgment upon Judah. The merchants will be silenced and destroyed and all who weigh out their profits in silver will be cut off. The economy and the security of the nation are in dire jeopardy because the spirits of men are in stagnation -- they do not fear God. Zephaniah prophecies that "The great [judgment] day of the Lord is near; near and coming very quickly... That day is a day of [the outpouring of the] wrath [of God]". Except for the names and places, this prophecy in Zephaniah, chapter One, could be spoken over nations today. 

BUT, Zephaniah, chapter Three, brings hope out of the devastation. True, the prophet holds to the forecast of judgment for the rebellious and defiled; for those who did not listen to nor heed the voice of God and accepted no correction; and for those who trusted in their own power rather than the power of the Lord. But just a few verses later, we read that the Lord promises deliverance from captivity for His remnant.... for those who grieve for the appointed Feasts [which have been outlawed]. God promises that their shame will be turned into praise and renown, and that He will gather them together, and restore their fortunes and freedom. 

God tells the godly remnant of Judah to patiently wait for Him; for the day when He will rise up as a witness against the rebellious nations. He says, "For it is My decision and My right to gather the nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All [the heat of] My burning anger; For [in that day] all the earth shall be consumed by the fire of My zeal". So, in the midst of His righteous judgment, God promises mercy to His faithful remnant. “Then I will give to the peoples [clear and pure speech from] purified lips [which reflect their purified hearts], that all of them may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder (united)".

That's why it's important that we keep our eyes and hearts on these Fall Feasts. From their institution in the Old Testament until the Day Jesus returns, they offer a time of Hope, Repentance, and Redemption that we, His faithful Remnant, might be spared His judgment that is due upon the ungodly world. It is such a blessing that God has given us these Feasts to prepare; to spend days in repentance and contemplation on how we can serve Him. It is a time of remembering and repentance for not living up to our full potential as sons and daughters of God. BUT we, who are saved by grace through our faith in Jesus as our Savior live with the certainty of the ancient prophets that our sins are forgiven and we are pardoned; that the blood of Jesus covers our sin and we stand blameless. Whether our Lord returns on this Feast of Trumpets or on a Feast day in the future, we do not fear the judgment of God. Rather, we praise Him for sending His Son back to claim us as His righteous harvest.  

The bottom line is this: It is inevitable that God will punish the wicked. But we have hope in this day when it seems that evil is running unchecked and victorious. God's remnant may number few, but we have the comfort that He will not forget us. So, I am grateful to God for those who reach out; those who are awakening to the sound of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They may not fully understand why their hearts and spirits are being quickened, but it is evidence that the Lord is readying Himself to return. God, the Father, is nearing the final number of His remnant who are willing to answer His call and seek Him. What a joy to be able to speak of the prophetic truths and promises in the Word. And Lord, we look forward to celebrating the Feast of Trumpets on the 25th and excitedly look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles, when You will reside in our midst. Hallelujah!

#Godsjudgment #Godsmercy #RemnantofGod #Feastoftrumpets #thelordsfeasts #bibleprophecies

Revelation 11:15   Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.